Thursday3Some: Dream Doctor by J. J. DiBenedetto

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Grab a cup of coffee, make yourself comfortable, and join me in welcoming J.J. DiBenedetto, paranormal author of Dream Doctor, to SlingWords.

About J.J. (James) Dibenedetto

Born in Yonkers, New York, J.J. currently resides in Arlington, Virginia, with his beautiful wife and a cat he is sure has taken full advantage of its nine lives.

(When it comes to the cat, he often wonders, but then again it might just be his imagination.)

J.J. enjoys suspending disbelief with suspenseful paranormal tales that are a perfect blend of reality meets fantasy. His popular Dream Series continues to delight readers with each and every exciting installment.

Find J.J. DiBenedetto Online

Website: http://www.writingdreams.net
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jjdibenedetto
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Dream-Series/107699179403603
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/349874-j-j-dibenedetto
Amazon Author Page: http://viewAuthor.at/JJDiBenedetto

About Dream Doctor

Between adjusting to life as a newlywed and trying to survive the first month of medical school, Sara Alderson has a lot on her plate. She definitely doesn’t need to start visiting other people’s dreams again. Unfortunately for her, it’s happening anyway. 

Every night, she sees a different person and a different dream. But every dreamer has one thing in common: they all hate Dr. Morris, the least popular professor in the medical school, and they’re all dreaming about seeing him – or making him – dead. 

Once again, Sara finds herself in the role of unwilling witness to a murder before it happens. This time, there are too many suspects to count, and it doesn’t help matters that she hates Dr. Morris every bit as much as any of his would-be murderers.

1. When did you write Dream Doctor?

I wrote it in the fall/winter of 2012, as soon as I finished the first book in the series, Dream Student. I had a lot of “momentum,” I suppose, and I just couldn’t stop writing, so I just went on ahead with the sequel (I had no idea it would turn into a series with eight books and counting!)

2. What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

There were two things, actually. First was simply following up on the end of Dream Student (Sara’s going to go to medical school, and her boyfriend is going to propose to her). I thought, why not follow that up and see how Sara handles being a newlywed, and a first-year med student. The second idea was reversing the mystery of the first book. Instead of knowing who the killer was, but having to puzzle out where he was and how to stop him, this time Sara would have a more traditional mystery challenge – several suspects, all of whom are dreaming about killing the same person. And it’s up to Sara to figure out which one is actually trying to do it, before they succeed at it.

3. Why do readers buy Dream Doctor?

Because Dream Doctor, and all the books in the series, really, are a mix of romance, suspense, mystery and the challenges of everyday life, all tied together with a paranormal twist. There’s a little something for everyone in these books, and I’d like to think that all the heart I’ve put into them shows through, too!

Buy Dream Doctor

Amazon Kindle

Apple iBooks

Audible Audiobook

Nook

Smashwords

Takeaway Truth

Want some inexpensive entertainment this weekend? Get a good book and get ready for fun.

Meet Award-Winning Author Kathryn Jane

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Please welcome Award-winning Author Kathryn Jane to SlingWords.

About Kathryn Jane

Kathryn loves the ocean, cats, horses, hot heroes, a good mystery, a good belly laugh, all kinds of music, the great outdoors, soft sheets, the color turquoise, dolphins, crispy mornings and brilliant sunsets. "And books," she says. "I devour books."

Find Kathryn Jane Online

Website: http://kathrynjane.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kathryn.jane.921
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Author_Kat_Jane

Kathryn Jane Tackles the Dirty Dozen

1. In which genre do you write and why that particular genre?

Romantic Suspense/paranormal – because I love a good love story and a mystery I can sink my teeth into, I think Extra-sensory perception makes perfect sense, and I believe in happy endings.

2. What's your most recent book and what's it about?

Daring to Love is about a woman who uses nifty empathetic abilities to find missing children, a man who’s able to extract information from women’s minds if he gets them in the right mood, and a mysterious child who’s disappeared. Did I mention the woman had kicked the man to the curb and didn’t want to play his games anymore? Oh yes, it’s a happy ending, but, boy howdy, it’s a complicated journey.

3. As an author, what can readers expect when they read one of your books?

Strong women with soft centers, a good story, interesting twists and turns, surprises, an animal or two, and a happy ending. My Intrepid Women Series, is about kickass women and the men who dare to love them.

4. How did you "become" an author? For instance, was there a moment when you said: "I think I'll write a book."

I always knew I’d write a book. It was just a matter of taking the time and getting it done. Once I had, and I’d experienced the thrill, I was addicted, and many more books were born.

5. What's the best thing about being an author?

Spending my days with imaginary friends I adore… in what would pass for pajamas.

6. What's the worst thing about being an author?

Getting out of the chair after long hours at the keyboard and having my bones and muscles creaking and cracking.

7. Do you have editions of your books available other than ebook editions?

Yep, all my books are available in print.

8. Do you listen to audio books? If so, what device do you use?

Occasionally, when I’m with a friend of mine, we listen to her books on her iPhone.

9. What device do you use to read ebooks?

A Kindle and a Kobo (I’m Canadian).

10. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Put your butt in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard and write. Even if it’s drivel. It takes time and practice just like anything else if you want to get good at it.

11. If you could tell readers one thing, what would it be?

I love you! And there is no sweeter moment than getting an email or Facebook message or review from someone who likes my books!

12. What is your big dream (or goal) as a writer?

The New York Times best seller list.

Buy Daring to Love

A woman who reads hearts… A man who reads minds… And a voice from the darkness forcing them together... again.

Kindle Edition

Print Edition from Amazon

Kobo Edition

Takeaway Truth

Have you read Kathryn Jane before? If not, now is your chance. Grab a book today.

5 More Tips to Grow Your Video Audience

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Happy Friday! A while back I wrote Grow Your Video Audience. Today I have more tips on how to grow your Video Audience.

Quick update on the other how-to video posts I've written which can all be found on the right sidebar under Something To Talk About/Video.

5 More Tips to Grow Your Video Audience

1. Push content.

Yep. Just like blogging, fresh content rules. Produce videos as often as you can. If you're thinking about going into video, then sit down and draw up some kind of production schedule so you can publish a new video on a fairly regular basis. Be smart and try to get several in the pipeline so you can upload often. Every week is considered optimal, but most of us can't do that so aim for something doable.

2. Master keyword usage.

Keywords are king--just like on webpages. Make lists of targeted keywords that describe your video. Use the keywords in the title or headline and description. When you upload the video, be sure and use the keywords to tag it.

3. Collect LIKEs.

Yes, it's nice to be popular and LIKEd. An algorithm based on number of views your video gets plus how many likes versus dislikes as well as other factors determine the video rank. So don't be shy. Ask viewers to like your video. (Please go and toss some LIKE on my videos.)

4. Spread your video around.

Embed your video every place you possibly can--Facebook, Twitter, other social sites, your blog, your website, your friends' websites and social pages if they will allow you, etc. The more places you embed your video, the better because that means more people will see it, like it, and keep that ball rolling.

5. Talk about your videos.

Yes, spread the news about your videos. Tell others. Offer advice. Blog about it. Guest blog about it. Enter your videos in contests.

Takeaway Truth

I invite you to visit my YouTube channel and LIKE the book trailers and other "writing life" videos that I've created (when I should have been writing).

Please Subscribe to my channel so you'll be notified when a new video is produced (and I'll be able to rationalize that my time wasn't wasted).

Thursday3Some: Snow the Vampire Slayer by Rebekah R. Ganiere

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Settle down with your morning cup of java and welcome bestselling author Rebekah R. Ganiere to SlingWords.

About Rebekah R. Ganiere

Rebekah has always been a creative soul and a prolific writer. She is the author of Dead Awakenings, her debut novel released in January 2014 that became a bestseller.

That novel was followed by the award-winning Red the Were Hunter, the first in her Farielle Series. Her trilogy The Society will be released in November by Kensington's Lyrical Press.

Rebekah is the VP of Communications of the FFP&P Chapter of RWA as well as a member of her local RWA Chapter. In her spare time when she isn't writing, you can find her moderating or teaching on SavvyAuthors.com or hanging out with her husband and four children -- and her English Bulldog, rabbit, two bearded dragons, and two tortoises. (The escaped snake has yet to be found.)

Find Rebekah R. Ganiere Online

Website: http://rebekahganiere.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/vampwerezombie
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/VampiresWerewolvesZombies
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/VampWereZombie
Book Trailers: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZavprxez_3O2EAz35nVp9Q

About Snow the Vampire Slayer

Lady Snow Gwyn is tired of playing "mother" to her 7 Vampire Slaying brothers. For the past 2 years, she's yearned to be out there fighting at their side as they hunt for bloodsuckers in the black of night. Snow is as good a fighter as any man, but she wasn't called to be a Slayer. A mere formality in her book.

Prince Sageren, Son of Lothar has spent the last 50 years in exile, awaiting the day when he can finally avenge his family and take back his throne. Barely existing, he's forced to face his inner demons and the monster he once was, compelling him to vow to never drink from humans again. A simple enough task--until he crosses paths with a human who makes his fangs ache to drain her.

When Snow runs into Prince Sage on a late night trip to the woods, she's torn between the urge to kill him and the desire to succumb to the feeling he stirs within her. And when Snow's life is threatened by the same evil that murdered his family, Prince Sage must enlist the aid of Snow's brothers to not only help him save her life but also to regain his rightful place as King of the Vampires.

If Sage can keep the Slayers from killing him first.

1. When did you write Snow the Vampire Slayer?

When I first came up with the idea of the series. I always write my titles first. They help me to solidify the idea of the book.

2. What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

I don't know really. I'd decided to do a series of twisted fairy tales and when it came to Snow's story I knew I wanted to do vampires and since she had seven brothers I thought it would be interesting if they were Vampire Slayers, but she falls for a vampire.

3. Why do readers buy Snow the Vampire Slayer?

Because they love the idea of paranormal mixed with fairy tales. Everyone loves fairy tales and people especially love new renditions of them. I think the fact that this is the second book in a series of Fantasy Romances that are based in the same world, people like that the stories all weaving together.

Buy Snow the Vampire Slayer

All Romance eBooks

Amazon -- Paperback Edition

Amazon -- Kindle Edition

Barnes & Noble -- Paperback Edition

Kobo eBook

Takeaway Truth

A little vacation can always be found between the covers of a book. Buy one today.

Meet Science Fiction Romance Author Veronica Scott

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I'm happy to welcome Science Fiction/Paranormal Romance author Veronica Scott to SlingWords.

About Veronica Scott

Veronica grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories. She is a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award winner and a two-time recipient of the Science Fiction Romance Galaxy Award. She also has a NASA Exceptional Service Medal but must hasten to add the honor was not for her romantic fiction.

Find Veronica Scott Online

Blog: http://veronicascott.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Veronica-Scott/177217415659637?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/vscotttheauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5428500.Veronica_Scott

Veronica Scott Tackles the Dirty Dozen

1. In which genre do you write and why that particular genre?

I write science fiction romances and also a paranormal romance series set in ancient Egypt. Since we’re talking about the science fiction today, I enjoy the idea that the stories can take place literally anywhere in the universe and nothing is off the table or too far out to include. There can be aliens, cyborgs, robots, spaceships, time travel – all kinds of exciting story elements.

2. What's your most recent book and what's it about?

My most recent novel is Mission to Mahjundar.

A Special Forces soldier of the future and a blind princess from an alien planet must work together to accomplish his mission and get safely off the planet against all odds -- including falling in love!

3. As an author, what can readers expect when they read one of your books?

Lots of adventure, a futuristic setting, a Special Forces hero, and a strong heroine who takes an equal part in the danger, the action and the problem-solving. Of course there’s a growing attraction between them as the situation unfolds and they begin to know each other’s capabilities, and there will be a Happily Ever After ending because I’m writing romance. And I personally love an HEA when I’m reading!

4. How did you "become" an author? For instance, was there a moment when you said: "I think I'll write a book."

I’ve always written, completing my first “novel” at the age of seven. Just born with a vivid imagination, I guess. But it wasn’t until both of my daughters were grown and had moved out on their own that I really began to write seriously, with an eye to being published. Prior to that, I took pleasure in writing the stories down for myself, but I wasn’t going through any editing process or submitting to publishers. There were no deadlines!

5. What's the best thing about being an author?

I take pleasure in sharing my stories and I love hearing from readers that they’ve enjoyed one of my books, or really related to one of my characters. Entertaining people as a storyteller, taking them into a completely different world for the span of time they’re reading my novel, is the best thing I can imagine.

6. What's the worst thing about being an author?

It’s hard for me to think of a negative, because I love writing. Probably the biggest challenge I face is too many story ideas and never enough time. I can only write so fast. I love being on social media, blogging and tweeting, and I write the SciFi Encounters column for USA Today Happily Ever After blog. I have to watch out that I don’t give all my time to these various fun pursuits that relate to my writing but which aren’t actually getting new words down on the pages of a Work In Progress.

7. Do you have editions of your books available other than ebook editions?

My science fiction romances are available as ebooks and POD paperbacks. I also have audiobooks of Escape From Zulaire and Wreck of the Nebula Dream, which were narrated for me by wonderful voice actors. We’ll be doing the audiobook of this latest novel early next year.

8. Do you listen to audio books? If so, what device do you use?

I listen to them occasionally, usually on my laptop.

9. What device do you use to read ebooks?

I have a Kindle Fire.

10. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Write every day! No excuses. Setting aside the time to add even 100 new words a day will get you to a completed book faster than if you don’t write at all. Get those words on the page and go back and revise/edit later. But if you don’t write, there’ll be nothing to edit.

11. If you could tell readers one thing, what would it be?

Thank you for all the support and the kind words. I do get requests from readers for sequels to certain books, which is always such a high compliment in my mind. I’m mulling ideas over, I promise.

12. What is your big dream (or goal) as a writer?

I’d love to be able to write full time, of course. And who doesn’t want to see their books hitting the big best seller lists? I’d like to be one of those authors where people talk about your characters and can’t wait for the next book to come out. Of course my ultimate dream would be to have a movie made from one of my stories but while I’m waiting for Hollywood to call, I think I’ll just keep writing.

Buy Mission to Mahjundar

All Romance eBooks

Amazon Kindle

iTunes

Kobo

Nook

Takeaway Truth

Have you tried the Science Fiction Romance genre? If not, why not give it a try with a book by award-winning author Veronica Scott.

Need Ideas? Read A Newspaper

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Newspapers are dying. The ones that still exist have shrunk to a size more akin to a tabloid publication than a daily newspaper.

Yet, I still subscribe to a couple of newspapers because they give something online periodicals don't.

Genesis of Ideas

Every writer has an Imagination File. Even though I keep ideas in a computer file, I also have a plain old shoebox where I drop things I've ripped from newspapers or magazines. I guess that is a habit I picked up from my mom and my grandfather. Both had the habit of clipping things out that interested them.

These clippings make me realize how much people miss by reading their news only online. I urge you to start reading your local paper. Pick up those counter-top newspapers and skim them too. You never know from where a great idea may come.

Why Read Locally

Online publications mainly cover broad topics of general interest to a worldwide audience. There's nothing wrong with this kind of coverage, but you won't find the kind of stories on Yahoo or MSN home pages that tickle your imagination.

When I read local papers, I'm always reminded of an old television police drama my dad liked called The Naked City. (Of course, in the South everyone called it Nekkid City.). The salacious, at that time, name isn't what I remember most. It was the voiceover that began every episode: "There are 8 million stories in the naked city."

That's what local periodicals give you: tons of stories that expose the foibles and people of your city and/or state. I went back through my inventory of articles and books I've written to prove my point and show from where my ideas came. Here are a few of the clippings from past years that inspired me.

Inspiration Struck

From the Franklin Sun, the small weekly paper from the parish where my mom lived: An old, apparently used at some point, coffin was found in an abandoned house that was being torn down.

From a Sugar Land paper: First African American principal, Billy J. Baines, now 77, was honored by the Fort Bend Independent School District by having a middle school named for him.

From Houston Chronicle: Robert Dale Howell put to death. He was the 18th inmate (when this article came out) to die at Huntsville. He was 50; no public campaign was ever waged on his behalf to save him. (It seems the "abolish death penalty" groups aren't impartial in their support. They seem to go for the high-profile cases, and this guy had no PR at all attached to him at trial or afterward. He had killed before and got away with it. Apparently, the only reason his defense could come up with for why he should escape the needle for having killed his crack dealers in a crack house was that "yes, he killed them, but he didn't rob them afterward.")

From Houston Chronicle: Work crew finds skull near terminal site. Anthropologist called in. (Interesting. This was in an area that is now Port of Houston property on a dead end road. There was a serial killer working the area just to the west and south of there. Several bodies were found in League City from the 1980s on. No one was ever arrested. I remember reading about all those unidentified bodies they found in the field near League City and wondering why no reference was ever made to a serial killer. Finally, about twenty years later, there was a big splash in the Houston Chronicle about serial killers working the Texas area, and it was mentioned. Several documentaries since then have also featured this.)

From Bingo Gossip -- oh, this one is good -- a counter-top newspaper picked up at a BBQ joint in Luling, TX. Paraphrased letter to the advice columnist Nosy:

Dear Nosy, My husband and I are newlyweds married 3 months ago when I found out I was pregnant. I met him after he'd broken up with his girlfriend who is also pregnant. She's getting ready to have her baby. He wants to borrow money from me to go spend 2 weeks with her. I understand he doesn't want to miss the birth of his child because he missed the first one when he was in jail. I love him but I feel uncertain about all this. What should I do?

Personal Ads

Then there are the personal ads in big city newspapers. Those are a goldmine for writers! I have a clipping from a newspaper that I actually found stuck in a used book I bought several years ago.

J.E.P. ALBUQUERQUE, CHA-CHA-CHA Lessons Needed. Hurry, he is dying. Call Julia @ (555)123-4567.


Oh, man! Doesn't your imagination just go wild with plot scenarios for that ad? Yes, the fake phone number was in the ad. I've finally sketched out a plot based on a personal ad.

Interestingly enough, the genesis of the idea for this blog post was the current audio book darling hubby and I are listening to: Personal by Lee Child, a Jack Reacher novel, which begins with Reacher reading a personal ad in a military newspaper.

Takeaway Truth

If you're short of ideas, just read a few newspapers -- especially the personal ads!

6 Skills Define Successful Authors

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I've read enough unpublished manuscripts and talked to enough wannabe authors over the years that I can draw certain conclusions about what separates a successful author from those not so successful.

Hardly any writer is an overnight success. Rarely does a writer sell a first manuscript. Unfortunately, in the indie writing world, one often sees what can only be considered first manuscripts being published every day of the week. Some writers are so desperate to make the leap to publication that they don't take a considered approach to publishing.

In my humble opinion, a writer must possess...

6 Skills That Define Successful Authors

1. Basic grammar skills.

Your English teachers were right. Good grammar and spelling are necessary even in this world of Grammatick, SpellCheck, and other apps that do the same.

2. A learned set of narrative skills.

That's plotting, characterization, viewpoint, scene and sequel, stimulus/response transactions, etc. If you don't know the full extent of narrative skills necessary, do yourself a favor and study so you can learn what you need to know.

3. The desire to tell stories.

Every successful author is at heart a storyteller.

4. Talent.

I think if you have the desire to do something, you already possess the talent to follow through. I don't think God gives you the desire to do something without giving you an innate talent for that, but you may need to add the other skills to that innate desire.

5. Business sense.

You need to have business savvy in order to know when you need professional assistance (proofreader, formatter, content editor, agent, etc.). You also need business sense to know -- or learn -- how to network, market, promote, take care of the money aspects of your career, and balance everything so you keep writing.

6. Persistence.

You need to know how to stay the course - to keep plugging away when sales are slow or submissions get rejected.

All successful authors have these characteristics.

Takeaway Truth

Analyze yourself in relation to these characteristics. Is there room for improvement? If so, target the skills you lack and begin work on them immediately.