To Blog or Not to Blog?

blogThere was a time when I didn’t spend much time on the internet, much less read or follow a blog. Yet, in the last 3 years, I’ve become an avid blogger! Who knew? During this time my blog has undergone several revisions…from colors, to layouts, blogging platforms…and most importantly, what I blog about.

So, why did I start blogging? The answer is simple….to become a better writer.

Sounds crazy, right?

When I started blogging in 2009, I had no idea what I would write about. I mean really, at the time I was a stay at home mom who was attempting to write a book. What did I have to talk about? Hmm…kids, the community, my dogs. BORING!!! Who wanted to read that? LOL! In the beginning I had about 4 people who stopped by to read what I wrote. And that was only because I asked them to check it out. I had no idea how to format a blog post or how long it should be. Adding a picture was a hair pulling experience (did I mention I wasn’t THAT computer savvy?). Yep…suffice it to say I didn’t blog very often. Those blogs are still available if you’d like to read them:

 Four Miles and Counting….(my very first post!)

…Two Pit Bulls, One Paper Clip and a lap top to put it all in! (the next daring endevor!)

I know, I know, the big question is: did it actually help your writing?

The answer: YES!!!! (Seriously, take a look back then and now and you’ll see my writing technique has changed though my voice is pretty much the same.)

What are the benefits to writing a blog? As I stated above, writing a blog helped me find my writing voice, or rather, get comfortable with writing something, having people read it. Getting used to receiving comments and feedback about my blog post helped me get used to the idea of reading reviews as a published author. You can’t please everyone and of course everyone will not agree or like what you have to say. As writers, we have to get used to that idea. Why not do that with a blog?

And as they say about anything you strive to get better at: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE and you will improve. I strongly suggest that if you are an aspiring author looking to practice the craft of writing, start a blog! Find a topic or subject that is important to you (your writing platform or niche), and use it!

As time went on, I gave up on my blog for several months until I discovered my blog niche was writing about my experiences as an aspiring author. The more information I ran across, practiced, or new technique I found, I wrote about it. Sharing my story led me to other writers who were doing the same thing I was. Forming connections with other writers lead to networking, networking lead to learning new writing techniques from more experienced writers…and well, here I am today! It took a lot of work and continues to take a lot of work to keep this blog going, but I am proud to say that as of right now, I have over 900 blog followers.

I guess what I have to say and share means something! Thank you guys!!!

The question I am asked most by writers who would like to start a blog but fear they will never have a following is: “I have something to say, but who is going to read it? How do I promote my blog?” The answer is simple. If you’re tied into the major social networking sites: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, Stumbleupon, etc., your potential readers are right there waiting. Choose a snazzy topic, a witty title, develop your layout, and use those free social networking tools. Before you know it, you’ll have a blog following, too!

Good luck and happy blogging!

MJ

NEW RELEASE DAY for Jaded (Book 2 of The Butterfly Memoirs)!! Hooray!!!

Yes my friends, it is finally here! It’s time to log in to your favorite eBook retailer and One Click away! I am anxious and excited to hear your thoughts after you read Yasmine’s story, so connect with me on Facebook or Twitter and let me know what you think! And please, don’t forget to leave a review!

The Jaded Blog Tour starts on March 25th and runs until April 2nd. There will be an A Heart Not Easily Broken Trivia contest during the duration of the tour. Check in on each stop for your chance to win an Amazon Gift card, eBook  and autographed paperbacks! I’ll post the blog tour contest instructions and stops starting Monday! Happy reading my friends!!!!

Autumn landscape

A devastating breakup leaves Yasmine Phillips in shambles. Unable to trust another man with her heart, she focuses on the one thing she can control—starting her own business.

When her computer crashes, taking months of hard work with it, she must rely on computer genius Zachariah Givens to save her. A complete opposite of men from her past, she doesn’t expect the passion that ensues. But just as she finds happiness, she learns the truth about the other women in Zachariah’s life.

 BUY YOUR COPY TODAY!!

New to The Butterfly Memoirs Series? Catch up with A Heart Not Easily Broken (Book One of The Butterfly Memoirs)

Reviews, Free Chapter Samples, All Sales Links!

 

Interview with Melynda Price!

Today I welcome another  5 Prince Publishing author,  Melynda Price. Melinda writes  Paranormal Romance. Take a moment to get to know her, then check out her book, Until Darkness Comes!

Welcome, Melynda!

What inspired you to write?

A few key things contributed to my becoming an author. I edited a book for a friend of mine, and I absolutely loved it! But as fantastic as her story was, I found myself wanting to write over it. What if this happened? Or what if they said that? At the time, I was also reading the Book of Enoch, which inspired me to write a fallen angel series.

 What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

I write paranormal romance. I think the choosing was mutual, LOL. I only read paranormal, it’s what intrigues me, and I write what I’m passionate about. I love creating a world that’s larger than life, an escape from reality and the confines of our world where my only challenge is to make the unbelievable believable.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I’m the most productive in the morning. I’ve found that’s when my creativity is the best. I like to grab a cup of coffee, settle into my chair with my Chihuahua and spend the day writing. 🙂

 What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

It’s not a quirk as much as a challenge, but I have the hardest time ending a book. I hate to say good-bye to my characters, and I find it very difficult to wrap up a story that will give the reader closure. It’s important to me that they don’t feel like the ending is rushed. I’ve read so many great stories but then was disappointed with the ending. I think cliffhangers are great too, as long as everyone gets their Happily Ever After when it’s all finished. 🙂

 Are you a pantser or plotter?

I’m a total pantser. In fact, half the time, I don’t even know what’s going to happen until sit down to write it. I think this style of writing can make for an exciting, unpredictable read. When I wrote Shades of Darkness, I had my first draft written and when I was polishing it for my editor, I got pulled back into the story and I completely rewrote the ending. 🙂

Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share and example?

My stories are complete and total fabrications. However, I have been told by people who know me, that they can see a little of by daughter in Olivia. I find it funny how even without trying my creative side intersects with reality.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Learn to write deep POV from the beginning. It’s a craft of writing that takes time to develop but well worth it. It will enrich your story and make your writing stronger.

 Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

I’m traditionally published through 5Prince Publishing. My first book, Until Darkness Comes released 3/21/12. Shades of Darkness, the second book in this series, will release 2/28/13.

 What are your current projects?

I’m currently writing the third book in my Redemption Series, Courting Darkness.

Connect  with Melynda on these sites:

Website      FB Author Page      FB      Twitter      Email 

Autumn landscapeA guardian angel… A forbidden love… Eternal consequences…
Olivia Norton was born with a gift—a gift heaven has sworn to protect, and hell is bound to destroy. Her perfect world is turned upside-down when two handsome strangers, Max and Liam, step into her life. Olivia soon discovers that her ‘Mr. Perfect’ is actually a perfect nightmare.

 The rules of engagement have changed and Liam, Olivia’s guardian angel, is forced to cross dimensional borders or risk losing the woman he’s sworn to protect. Suddenly, thrust into a world unlike anything he’s ever known, Liam isn’t prepared to come face to face with the young woman whose life he holds in his hands.

 But nothing is as it seems, and secrets abound that will ultimately force him to choose between two impossibilities. Max will stop at nothing to finish what he’s started, and Olivia is soon plunged into a battle between good and evil. Her very life hangs in the balance as two forces fight to win her heart.

BUY your copy today!!!

Autumn landscape

 Coming  2/28/13!!!

Free will comes at a cost…

Three years after losing the love of her life, Olivia Norton refuses to continue living in the shadows of what will never be. But how can she marry another when her guardian angel still holds her heart?

Bound by Universal Law, Liam is forced to choose between his honor and his heart. Returning for Olivia nearly cost him his salvation once, but twice may prove to be his final undoing. Some sacrifices are worth the risk, while others could bring consequences that would last an immortal lifetime.

The game has changed—new players bring new threats and challenges. The evil that nearly took Olivia’s life three years ago has returned with a vengeance. A legion has been sent, and the Dark Court will not rest until the last sighted female has been killed.

An old enemy returns… Evil has a new face, a new name, and Haden will stop at nothing to possess the key Olivia holds, unlocking the power he needs to claim his revenge against Heaven and Hell.

 

Guest Post: Carolyn Arnold- The Modern Woman

The Modern Woman

Most mothers want to see their daughters grow up, get married, and raise a family.  At least mine did, but I didn’t necessary have it all planned out that way.  Sure I wanted to fall in love and have a man who worshipped me – what girl doesn’t.  But then I grew up.

I got my heart broken a few times along the way and at one point even decided I didn’t care if I ever found a husband.  That was until I met “the one”.

He was handsome, but more importantly he made me laugh.  He listened to me when I spoke.  He was crazy about me.  So when he asked me to marry him, I said yes.

It rained on our wedding day.  They say it does when a marriage will last forever, and so far the old wives’ tale has held true.

For the first few years our mothers asked when they’d be seeing a grandchild – a question we laughed off.  You see hubby and I didn’t really want to have kids, and it’s not because we’re selfish or irresponsible, it’s just our personal choice.

Over sixteen years later, and two beagles as pets, I smile because I did things my way.  I may not have followed a preset mold of “get married and have children” but I’m happy.   My mother-in-law laughs at us when she sees the antics of our dogs.  She says, and you said you didn’t want children?

Of course this is my story, yours might be completely different.  Maybe you’re married with children, and that’s awesome, but the modern woman has independent dreams and desires regardless.  The modern woman doesn’t hide behind a man who takes the lead.  And you know what?  I find that most men like a strong woman.

This is why I wrote Madison Knight.  I wanted a modern woman in the lead who was strong, determined and intelligent, Ties_That_Bind_ Cover (1)and despite being in a career dominated by men, she would hold her own.

You say you don’t normally like a female as the lead detective?   I hope to change your mind.  You see, I’ve written a series with her as the lead, and by doing so have shown my respect for the modern woman.

If you’re a strong woman yourself, or a man who loves a woman who speaks her mind, why not give Madison Knight a try?

Which brings me to why I’m telling you this, I invite you to meet Madison Knight in Ties that Bind.

Did I mention it’s been given a 5-star ratings and the writing style compared to JD Robb?  But don’t take other people’s word for it, find out for yourself.

Here’s the link.  Click it now, before the day gets you distracted: Ties That Bind

pic of me (1)Carolyn Arnold is the author of the best-selling Madison Knight Series, and the Brandon Fisher FBI Series.

She was born in 1976 in a rural town of Ontario, Canada. She currently lives with her husband and two beagles in a city near the well-known Canadian center Toronto.

For more information on Carolyn, visit her website:  http://carolynarnold.net/

You can buy her books via Amazon Author Page

You can connect with Carolyn on Twitter and Facebook

#SampleSunday- A Unique and Memorable Book Review!

One of the best things about becoming a published author (and fearful I might add!) is taking your months, or years, of hard work, creativity, blood, sweat and quite literally tears, and putting it into the hands of anonymous readers, then waiting to hear what they have to say. I am grateful for the great reviews readers have shared, including the ones that aren’t 5 Star. Why? Because for every review, good, bad, or somewhere in-between, there is always something to learn that will make my writing better.

I recently met two great readers on Twitter, @Sweetpidi and @Shay_ Boogiee, who posted their book ratings on Goodreads. Then they went a step farther and did a video book review for their new Youtube channel, SupernaturalSistahs. I am honored to be featured as their first book review. One of the things I appreciate the most in their review is not only their energy, but also their honesty in sharing their opinions about the book.

So, have you wanted to know what A Heart Not Easily Broken is really about?

Sit back, grab a snack, and listen to these ladies share their thoughts! By the way, THERE ARE SPOILERS!  But there is still a lot left to discover when reading the book for yourself. While you visit, be sure to shout these two ladies out, like, and subscribe to their Youtube channel, follow them on Facebook, and be on the look out for more book reviews! I know I am!

*****SPOILER ALERT!!!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!*****

Want to to see what others have had to say?  Follow these links for more reviews!

AMAZON     Barnes & Noble

M.J. Kane- 2012 in Review!

Wow! Can you believe the year is almost over???? It’ll be 2013 in a few hours….This year by far has been my most productive year, well, besides giving birth that is! This is the first year I have ever set a goal and actually worked to see it to fruition. I posted my resolution in January 2012 and promised to write about what I did/did not do, so here it goes: (in order of that post)
* Be published by a publishing company: 
DONE!!! 5 Prince Publishing signed me in July and my debut novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, was published in September!
*Sell a lot of books:

DONE! Hit Amazon Bestseller in Multicultural Romance within hours of publication (have managed to stay there for three months, now it’s off and on). It as also been on the African American Literature & Fiction, African American Romance, and African American Women’s Fiction  Amazon Bestseller lists.

*Be interviewed  by local radio and television stations:

Didn’t happen, but I have done a ton of blog interviews, guest posts, and features…Yay!!!

My manager, Lady Kayne and I.

*Participate in the Writer’s Conference in my city: (Library Headquarters):

ALMOST! Scheduling changed and instead of the conference, a community event was held where local artist, writers, and musicians had the opportunity to share their talent and work. I held my first official Meet and Great as a local author two weeks after my book was published. That was also the day my sales ranking on Amazon  hit its all time peak: #5 in Multicultural Romance and #17 in African American Literature & Fiction!

*Continue to make wonderful connections with other authors and readers: 

This will forever be an ongoing activity, and one I enjoy the most. Having the opportunity to talk to readers via Twitter, Facebook, or in person, and listen to them share their thoughts about my story and characters has been a wonderful experience. It has given me the motivation to continue to write and explore other topics and continue to bring my characters to life.

It is so interesting to go back and look at January’s blog. After writing my list, I spoke of my next thing to do, which was start working on the second book in The Butterfly Memoirs Series, Jaded. I am so glad I did. Here it is, a year later, and because I put in the work a year ago, my publisher will be getting the full MS in a few days with a publication date of March 2013! Whoo Hoo!! I am so excited about that. See what putting in the work a year ago did? It’s actually paying off!

Now, what does MJ have in store for 2013?

*New blog! Yep that’s right! This Writer’s Life has made the transition from Blogger to  Wordpress. All of my blogs have been moved.( Check out the pages entitled, Helpful Advice for Aspiring Authors and Quick Links to My Most Popular Posts for quick access.) The transition isn’t about Blogger because I have enjoyed working with this site. But I have two blogs that I write, this one and one for The Butterfly Memoirs. It’s taken a lot to keep both of them up and going for the past few months. With WordPress, I will be able to combine the two into one site, making blog writing content easier .

*New book release! As mentioned before, my second novel, Jaded, will be released in March. Now that I’ve learned my way around marketing and promoting one book, the challenge will be to do it with two! But before that comes final edits with my editor, final reads, and publishing day, and all the fun stuff in between. It’s work, sleepless nights for a while, and oh so worth it!

*Write book three in the Butterfly Memoirs Series: The third book, who’s title will not be released just yet, is a quarter of the way done. Characters have been outlined, story line plotted, even the first 6 chapters written.  As soon as Jaded is published, I’ll dive into writing this story and giving it the same amount of love and attention that was given to AHNEB and Jaded. So looking forward to it!

*Super Secret Project: Yep, it ‘s a secret, nope not sharing just yet, but keep an eye on my blog and  you’ll know in a few months….you’ll be glad you did.

*Radio Interview: Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to make it happen this year….LOL!

*Attend the Moonlight and Magnolias Georgia Romance Writer’s Conference or the Romance Writer’s of America Conference (to be held in my home town, hello!!!): Start the savings account, cause here I come!!!

So, those are my writing goals for 2013…how about you?

MJ