Change Jar Books, Snowflakes And #ASOT2015


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This is why I love Change Jar Books… and why you need to find a little mom & pop independent bookstore in your area and buy from them and keep them around… 

Suzanne and Craig have always been great to us local authors, giving us a nice section in their store and letting us do book signings and pretty much whatever we want. They even have a nice display of my Flagler Beach Fiction Series books on their counter. Book six just released, which is set right in Change Jar Books. Yeah, I love the place. 

I’ve been very lucky because when I started doing Authors Supporting Our Troops in the beginning of 2014, they were very helpful with ideas and took care of all the shipping. I simply dropped off the many, many boxes going to the soldiers and they streamlined the shipping and paying for me so I didn’t have to stand in lines at the post office or have any worries. 

All throughout the year I’ve shipped sporadic books, even when the event was technically on hiatus. Whenever I filled a couple of boxes I’d drive down to Flagler Beach and they’d be shipped. Nice and easy. 

On top of that, they also put a jar on the counter and asked customers to donate to the cause with their spare change. And the book buyers of Flagler Beach always amazed me, because every week or so when I went in there was not only a pile of coins but singles and fives (and sometimes even bigger!) stuffed in the jar. Truly a Change Jar… see what I did there?

So, when I was in Change Jar Books (in their huge new location at 319 Moody Blvd, Flagler Beach, FL 32136) yesterday to ship out five boxes to three soldiers and collect a full jar of donations, owners Suzanne and Craig hit me with a great idea…

Snowflakes for $1.00.

Like you see in many businesses, instead of just collecting a donation, we were going to ‘sell’ a snowflake for a buck and you can proudly write your name on it. Change Jar Books will post them around and show off that you care about the soldiers. How neat is that? 

They’ll kick it off tomorrow and collect until they run out of room to post them! And with all the love I get from Flagler Beach and their customers, it shouldn’t take long…

If you’re in Flagler Beach, stop in and see the new Change Jar Books and say hi to the owners. Buy one (or three) of my books, and donate to the Authors Supporting Our Troops event as well! 

ASOTCraig2

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Joe McKinney Guest Post for #WinterZombie2014


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Why I Write the Dark Stuff

 Joe McKinney

 

 

In my day job, I’m a patrol supervisor for the San Antonio Police Department.  I work the west side of town.  The police officers who make the calls, who make the arrests, who keep the peace in the busiest part of the city, they work for me.  I’m the one they call when they have major crime scenes that need managing or when something just doesn’t look right.

 

What that means is that I have to see a lot of dead bodies.  And I mean a lot of them.

 

Like last week.  One of my officers called because he had a decomp (police parlance for a body that’s been rotting in place for a good long while) and he wasn’t sure if it was suicide or homicide.  So I showed up to the apartment and there was the dead guy, seated on the floor (or almost on the floor, his butt was about two inches off the carpet).  He had a noose around his neck, though you could barely see it because his skin was so bloated and gummy with rot that it had sort of oozed over the rope.

 

“So, what do you think?” the officer asked.

 

“Suicide,” I told him.

 

“But he’s sitting down.  Wouldn’t he have rolled over or something when he started to choke?  That’s like an instinct or something, isn’t it?”

 

“No,” I said.  “What you’re looking at is an act of will power.  If you want to do something bad enough, you’ll see it through.”

 

He looked from me to the body and shook his head.

 

“Besides,” I added, “look at all that medication in there in his bathroom.  Those drugs are for hepatitis and cancer.  He did this because he was hurting pretty bad.  And look up there.”  I pointed to the ceiling where our dead guy had nailed the rope to the rafter.  “He did that because he didn’t want the rope to slip off.  And look at where he chose to do this, here in the bedroom, so his relatives coming in the front door wouldn’t have to see him.  I bet if you look around here, you’ll find a note.  Probably in the other room, out of sight of the bedroom.”

 

The officer nodded.

 

We both stood there, staring at the body.  The apartment didn’t have air conditioning, and it felt like standing inside an oven, even though it was the middle of the night.  The smell was really bad.

 

The officer kind of chuckled and said, “So, Sarge, I guess this is one for your next book, huh?”

 

I offered him a bland smile.  Cops develop their gallows humor long before they learn that it’s actually a defense mechanism against the horror of confronting your own mortality, and this officer was one of the young ones.  He still had a lot to learn.

 

“Go look for the note,” I said.

 

He stiffened.  “Yes, sir.”

 

When he was gone, I found myself looking at that dead man’s face.  Suicides always get to me. Something about standing in the presence of someone so desperate to take control of their pain and their emotional devastation that they would resort to this makes me feel numb.

 

In the other room, the young officer was clumsily knocking around.  Something fell over and broke.  I almost called out to him to be careful, but held my tongue.  You see, my mind had drifted from my day job to my night job.  I was thinking about what he’d said about my next book.  So many people seem to have that opinion about horror, and about zombie fiction in particular.  To them, a book about shambling dead things eating the living must be nothing but gratuitous violence and gore.  What else could it be?

 

Well, I take exception to that.

 

I started writing because I was scared of the future.  My wife and I had just gotten married.  Then we had a daughter, and the world suddenly seemed so much more complex.  In the wink of an eye, I went from a carefree young cop—a lot like the one in the other room knocking stuff over—to a man with more responsibilities than he could count.  I had obligations and commitments coming at me from every angle.

 

I’d been writing stories for a good long while at that point, starting sometime in my early teens, but never with the intention of doing anything about them.  I would write them out on a yellow legal pad, staple the finished pages together, and leave them on the corner of my desk until the next idea came to me.

 

Never once did it occur to me to do something with what I’d written.  I just threw those stories away and forgot them.  But then came adulthood, and parenthood, and I found myself groping to put the world in order, to regain some of the control I felt I had lost.  I realized that writing could help me with that.  I realized that I could focus my anxieties and make something useful of them.

 

And so I started writing a science fiction novel.  It was a big space opera epic, and it was pure trash.  Every word of it was awful.

 

The reason?  Well, it wasn’t authentic.  It wasn’t me.

 

The real me, the kid who sat at his desk filling up yellow legal pads rather than going out bike riding with his friends, was a horror junkie.  I was crazy for the stuff.  Horror was my first literary love, and I figured, seeing as love was what drove me to return to writing, that I should write what I love. I was feeling like the world was rushing at me from every side, so I wrote a zombie story about characters who had the living dead rushing in at them from every side.  That’s when things started to click.  That’s when it all made sense.

 

But it wasn’t just that simple.  You see, I sincerely believe that fear is the most authentic, and the most useful, emotion available to the storyteller.  It is as vital as love, and indeed, gives love its profundity, for what makes love, and family, and everything we treasure so valuable but the fear that it could all go away in the blink of an eye.  For me, fear goes far beyond monsters.  It is the catalyst for my creative process, and without that creative process, I’m afraid I would wither up inside.  I’m not saying I’d end up like that suicide I just told you about if I couldn’t write anymore, nothing that melodramatic, but absence of that creative outlet would be a hole that nothing else could fill.

 

So that’s why I write the dark stuff.

 

Joe McKinney

San Antonio, Texas

September 11, 2012

Plague of the Undead

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The stench of frozen rotted meat is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 10 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of November.

 

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #WinterZombie2014

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/1524813084430035/?ref_notif_type=plan_user_joined&source=1

 

AND so you don’t miss any of the posts in November, here’s the complete list, updated daily:

 

http://armandrosamilia.com/2014/11/01/winter-of-zombie-post-list-winterzombie2014/

 

Guest Post: Carson Buckingham


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How Can A House Be So Scary?

Carson Buckingham

I have always been in love with the style of the grand old painted ladies of architecture—the Victorian Era.  I grew up in an 1880 Victorian and it was a real challenge to sneak in late at night without waking my mother, with all the creaking that went on when I walked.  I finally figured out that if I went up the stairs with each foot on the extreme side of the steps, I could make it without a sound.

I first saw the movie Psycho in a Victorian, while babysitting for my chemistry teacher’s two boys.  They were in bed.  An electric storm was raging outside, and there I was, sitting at the top of the house watching this movie. What can I say?  I was a moron at age 15. Believe me, I was never so happy to see my chemistry teacher in my life when they finally got home!

But what makes these houses scary?

I’m writing about Victorians because my novel, Gothic Revival, takes place in one.  Let’s start with the fact that they are so old that at least one person has probably died in each of them, and it’s easy, especially when alone at night, for your imagination to run away with you.  Every creak becomes a footstep.  Every sigh of the wind or groan of arthritic settling becomes an uneasy spirit afoot in the night.

I think another contributing element to this mystique is the fact that there are few electrical outlets in Victorians, and therefore, fewer places to plug in lamps.  The shadows from lack of bright light seem threatening, seem to be hiding something.  Most people associate shadows and dim lighting with nothing good.

The venue has everything to do with interpretation of mundane structural events, too.  For example, a poorly hung door in an ultra-modern, well-lit house might swing shut on its own, as ill-installed doors tend to do, and nothing is thought of it; but if it happens in a Victorian, the next call made is to the Ghostbusters.

Additionally, many Victorians were built on a large-ish parcel of land.  There may have been neighbors, but they weren’t right on top of each other the way they are building houses now.  A feeling of isolation, whether real or imagined, also leads to anxiety in a house from this era.

So shadows, night sounds, and a lonesome place… that’s what makes a house so scary.

CarsonBuckingham_GothicRevival_front_cover_forpublicity

Gothic Revival

Carson Buckingham

Alex and Leo Renfield are a husband and wife contractor team who’ve recently moved to the village of Woodhaven, Connecticut to escape the chaos of life in New York. Pretty close to broke, they meet Theodora Hamilton, a somewhat unsavory and odd individual, who offers them an astronomical amount of money to repaint the first floor of her family home.

But along with the huge paycheck comes a set of unsettling rules that must be followed explicitly if they are to accept the offer; one of which is they must reside on the property having no direct contact with the outside world until the job is complete.

Is Theodora Hamilton just an eccentric woman with a peculiar way of doing things, or is there a more sinister agenda that Alex and Leo are unaware of? What exactly does she have in store for this down-on-their-luck couple who have no choice but to accept the offer and the strange requirements that come along with it?

Gothic Revival can be found online at major retailers including:

Amazon:

US | UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | France | Italy | Spain | Japan | Mexico | India | Brazil

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Amazon Print

iTunes

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Carson Buckingham knew from childhood that she wanted to be a writer, and began, at age six, by writing books of her own, hand-drawing covers, and selling them to any family member who would pay (usually a gum ball) for what she referred to as “classic literature.” When she ran out of relatives, she came to the conclusion that there was no real money to be made in self-publishing, so she studied writing and read voraciously for the next eighteen years, while simultaneously collecting enough rejection slips to re-paper her living room… twice.

When her landlord chucked her out for, in his words, “making the apartment into one hell of a downer,” she redoubled her efforts and collected four times the rejection slips in half the time, single-handedly causing the first paper shortage in U.S. history.

But she persevered, improved greatly over the years, and here we are.

Carson Buckingham has been a professional proofreader, editor, newspaper reporter, copywriter, technical writer, comedy writer, humorist, and fiction author. Besides writing, she loves to read and work in her vegetable garden. She lives in the United States in the state of Arizona.

Twitter | Facebook | Blog

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There’s also a tour wide giveaway!

You could win 1 of 5 digital copies of Gothic Revival by Carson Buckingham!

Direct Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/be80de5212/

Embedded Link:

Win 1 of 5 digital copies of Gothic Revival by Carson Buckingham!

HTML Code for giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Being Interviewed Is An Honor To Me


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I’ve been asked many, many times to be interviewed over the last 3 or so years, and I get excited every time. Whether it is an e-mail interview, podcast interview via Skype or in person, it is usually enjoyable. It is definitely helping me to reach new potential readers, too…

I’ve lost count of the interviews I’ve done and I’m way too lazy to go back and figure out a number. I know it is between 1 and 987 (I don’t believe I’ve done 988 or more). I know they’ve all been fun. Hell, even the interviews that were boring are fun because it let me see what not to do when I was interviewing someone, so each time it is a learning experience. 

I’m hoping to do more interviews soon, because January 1st 2015 the new year of Authors Supporting Our Troops officially begins. I want to create more awareness for the event and what I need. You can read about all of it Here if you’d like. If you’re an author, kindly sign and ship us some of your books. If you are a reader and/or supporter of the cause, kindly donate towards the massive shipping bill. 

I always have a new release as well, so I like to do interviews to promote myself, too. I like to tell goofy stories and try to add something unique to each interview whenever possible. I am a really big fan of chatting on podcasts, too. 

I do my own podcast, Arm Cast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast, and love to chat with other horror authors each week. I try not to be just another interview podcast. I have a conversation with the guests, swap stories and try to have fun. No set questions in front of me. Whether I’m good friends with the guest or I’ve only heard their name, I try to get to know them better. 

It is quite odd when an author doesn’t get out there and promote themselves to me. Doing a written interview takes a few minutes of your time, and going on a podcast maybe burns an hour. If I had my way I’d be ‘wasting’ four hours a day doing written interviews and a couple of podcasts a day. I love to talk about myself… yes, I am quite humble. 

If you’re an author, where do you fit into the equation? Do you want to do more interviews, or think they aren’t worth it?

As a potential reader, do you read and/or listen to interviews with new authors to see if you’re interested in reading them? Does it affect your buying habits?

I want to do 5 interviews a day, to be honest… so… who’s got some questions? Send me a message at  armandrosamilia@gmail.com and we can begin! 

Armand

Authors Supporting Our Troops – Soldiers Needed


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I am amazed at all of the authors asking the information about donating signed books to the Authors Supporting Our Troops event, as well as non-authors wanting to donate money to help with the massive shipping costs. You can find out everything you need to know Here.

With the goal of 3,000 author-signed books shipped in 2015, the only part of the equation I’m a little worried about is actual soldiers to send books to. 

This is where you hopefully come in and help…

Are you a family member of someone in the military (any branch) or friends with someone who is currently overseas in a remote area? We’d love to make contact with you and send over a couple of boxes of books so they can share them with their unit. I’m not interested in a company that does this or a random person, i want to actually touch people you know… 

The greatest thing for me is seeing the pictures of the soldiers opening the boxes and taking out the books. It makes all the hours spent receiving, opening, taking pictures of, sorting and packaging the thousands of books worth it for us. 

All I need is the soldier’s name and address and the basic dates of when they’ll be stationed overseas and where. That’s it. Contact me at  armandrosamilia@gmail.com and we can talk. 

*   *   *   *   *

For the rest of today I’m going to run a mini-contest… I want to build up the followers on the Authors Supporting Our Troops Facebook page, so I’d love some help…

Anyone sharing the group on your Facebook page and letting people know what we’re trying to accomplish will get a free ‪#‎ASOT2014‬ sticker (shown) mailed to them. Also, random envelopes will contain other cool stuff (maybe bookmarks, coupon codes for free audiobooks and/or eBooks,etc.) and a lucky random winner will also get signed print books from me as well… how does that sound?

If you share the link to the group and say something about it, all you have to do is then PM me your physical address and I’ll begin sending out the thank-you envelopes until I run out of stickers (I think we have about 50 left, so hurry up!)

As always, thank you for the support! And we’re always looking for more soldiers in remote areas to send boxes of books to as well!

Guest Post: Denise Grover Swank


 

Thirty-Three and a Half
Shenanigans
,
the sixth book in the USA Today bestselling Rose Gardner Mystery series will
release on November 4, 2014.
Rose is called into action
when Neely Kate’s cousin goes missing and the police refuse to 
take it seriously. But
while the authorities—Rose’s ex-boyfriend, included—are certain the missing
woman has run away, mounting evidence points to foul play. Rose agrees to
help her friend, even if it means partaking in
Neely Kate’s shenanigans, including 
an impromptu trip to a
strip club.
And because trouble never
comes without a guest, Skeeter Malcolm, Fenton County’s newly crowned
underground king, resurfaces, saying he needs Rose’s visionary gift to track
down his enemies. He makes her the only offer she can’t refuse: The guaranteed
safety of her assistant DA boyfriend, Mason Deveraux, who is being threatened
by forces unknown. The Fenton County law enforcement is still abuzz about the
infamous Lady in Black, who took part in the underground auction that earned
Skeeter his crown. Can Rose risk a reprisal of her role?
As the stakes
continue to rise and the search for Neely Kate’s cousin becomes increasingly
complicated, Rose must struggle to keep both her secret identity and her sanity.
iBooks:
 
 
 
 
THIRTY-THREE AND A HALF SHENANIGANS is an
iBooks Best Books of the Month in
 Australia and New Zealand!!!Rose Gardner is an endearing heroine who’s just
trying run a landscaping business, but her ability to glimpse the future keeps
putting her in harm’s way. The latest lighthearted installment in Denise Grover
Swank’s bestselling romantic suspense series should hook newcomers while
continuing to delight established fans. With
its small-town Arkansas setting, likable characters, old-fashioned mystery, and
easygoing humor, Thirty-Three and a Half Shenanigans is an entertaining weekend
read. 

–iBooks Editors’ Note

–iBooks Best Books of the Month, November 2014,
Australia and New Zealand

#ibooks #rosegardner

Cracking my eyes open. I glanced around the room. Everything looked fine
until I noticed specks of red all over my ivory comforter.
Red rose petals
were strewn all over my bed.

Shrieking, I sat up and scrambled backward, bumping into the headboard.Rose petals were scattered in a path that led from my bed out the open doorway
into the hall.

My heart hammering in my chest, I got out of bed and rounded the corner into
the hall, terrified of what I’d find. The petals continued down the hall and
led to my sofa, which was now covered in red splatters, eerily similar to
Momma’s sofa after her head had been bashed in by Daniel Crocker’s rolling pin.
I fought hysteria and swallowed to keep from throwing up as I inched closer,
terrified the red stains were blood. A wooden rolling pin covered in red on one
end lay on the middle cushion next to a geode with purple crystals, both
pinning a piece of paper in place. I carefully pulled the sheet out, my hand
shaking so hard I could barely read the handwritten note.

My dearest Rose,

You and I have business that I’m very much looking forward to finishing.

Eternally yours, Dan

 
New
York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in
Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she
became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over
the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English
and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive
Nick Jr. immersion period. Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in own
her mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you
believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and
the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within
two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many
unspeakable tasks.
 She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity.
Or
so she leads you to believe.
Website: 
Facebook:
Email: 
DeniseGroverSwank@gmail.com
 
 Denise Grover Swank, Amy Miles, Kristie
Cook, AnnaLisa Grant and Chanda Hahn
 will be touring the UK April 21-30th
2015!

We will be stopping
in London, York, Glasgow, Birmingham and Cardiff. Here’s the schedule:
Tuesday 21st April 2015

4pm – 7pm

Kensington Central Library

Phillimore Walk

London

W8 7RX

Thursday 23rd April 2015

3pm – 7pm

Hotel 53

53 Piccadilly

York

North Yorkshire

YO1 9PL

Saturday 25th April 2015

Glasgow

TBC

Tuesday 28th April 2015

5pm – 8pm

Library of Birmingham

Centenary Square

Broad Street

Birmingham

B1 2ND

Thursday 30th April 2015

3pm – 6:30pm

Cardiff Central Library

The Hayes

Cardiff

CF10 1FL

Space at the signings are limited. To guarantee you
get to meet the authors we are recommending that you purchase an exclusive book
bag for £5 and this will confirm your spot. Book bag purchases are not a
requirement but are recommended.

Here’s the link to purchase your book bag and
guarantee your spot at your desired location: 

Anti-NaNoWriMo Rants – Shut Up Already


I am a big fan of NaNoWriMo. I do it most years as an added writing exercise because I try to hit the goal each month regardless. I have fun because many of my friends also do it and we encourage one another, I get a chance to go out around town and meet other writers who are doing it, and it is just a fun time. 

Then I read a bunch of posts bitching about how stupid it is and writing is not a race and they wouldn’t be caught dead doing it because they are seemingly too good and write all year and blah blah blah. 

Shut up.

The first year I did NaNoWriMo I was working a full-time 60 hour a week job. I wanted to see if I could do it. I was far from becoming a full-time writer and I just wanted to finish a longer story. So I did it. And then never stopped writing. I consider that 2007 November the kickstart to my writing career. 

And if everyone who ever said ‘I want to write a novel’ decided the motivation was to start it this month, why is that such a bad thing? Your post about them basically being pretenders to the throne you don’t occupy (how’s that day job?) sounds like sour grapes. What if someone else succeeds and jumps over you? You’ll still be trapped in that cubicle working 9-5 and daydreaming you’re a real author, I guess… 

Every author is quick to point out how much they help fellow authors… but your posts prove once again why your career is where it is… practice what you preach. You want to help out fellow authors?

Shut up and do your own shit quietly and let the rest of us doing NaNoWriMo have a fun month of writing and community…