December 12, 2012

Wisteria Blog Tour: Bisi Leyton Interview

Please welcome the fabulous author of Wisteria . . . Bisi Leyton!

Myopia (Wisteria Series #2)

When and why did you begin writing? 

I started writing when I was eight, but I wrote my first novel when I was twelve. It was a version of Sweet Valley High set in Nebraska. I guess, I tried to inject a version of me into the book.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? What is the easiest?

The easiest thing is coming up with new ideas for a new book. When it comes to random ideas I can brainstorm a lot in a short period of time as everything inspires me.

I find outlining sequels is trickier as I’m bound by the rules and laws I set up in the earlier books. I definitely think it’s worth it to outline the book because it helps guide my writing. Outlining was the only way I was able to complete my novel as an adult.

What music do you listen to while you write?

No, I watch television or rather I have the television on while I’m writing. Generally, I like watching police procedurals, cartoons (Ben Ten, Johnny Test or Thundercats), and sometimes the Twilight Zone.

What inspires you?

I’m really moved to write by the sad things that either happen in my life or to those around me. I don’t think life is fair, so I try to make my writing reflect that sometimes decent people suffer and the unjust succeed, what matters is how we cope in that situation.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I love singing and I’m teaching myself to play the guitar.

What are your current projects? 

I’m currently outlining Hysteria (Wisteria Series #4). It will be the last book in the Wisteria series. This book should wrap up most of the loose ends in the series as well as leave the reader with even more questions.

Aside from young adult paranormal romance, I’m working on an historical romance series called 20 Guineas. Based in colonial Lagos, it is about a girl who’s trying to grow up without a mother in a 1950s polygamous home. The girls foolishly falls in love with an English student and son of her employer.

Quick: Vampires or Shapeshifter? Why?

I don’t write either genre, but I like Shapeshifters because I love Star Trek Deep Space Nine’s Odo.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Love what you do because that’s the only thing that will keep you going. Also, try not to worry about what sells right now because no one knows what will sell tomorrow.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I want to thank them for all their support and I hope they enjoy Wisteria.

Wisteria (Wisteria Series #1)

Sixteen year old Wisteria Kuti has two options—track the infected around the Isle of Smythe or leave the only known safe haven and face a world infested with flesh eating biters. But even with well-armed trackers, things go wrong and Wisteria ends up alone facing certain death, until she is rescued by the mysterious Bach. Uninfected, Bach is able to survive among the hordes of living dead.

Eighteen year old Bach, from a race known as The Family, has no interest in human affairs. He was sent here to complete his Great Walk and return home as a man—as a Sen Son. The Family regard humans as Dirt People, but Bach is drawn to this Terran girl, whom he has never seen before, but somehow knows. 

Hunted by flesh eaters, cannibals, and the mysterious blood thirsty group called Red Phoenix, Wisteria and Bach make their way back to the Isle of Smythe, a community built on secrets and lies.

December 5, 2012

Black Writer, White Characters: Too Weird?

I always get this look when I mention that I (as an African American woman) that I don't write urban fiction. You know the type they put in African American section in Barnes and Noble?

Yep. That's the one. 

It's not like I have anything against authors like Sister Souljah. Quite the contrary. I look up to these authors since they can write with the authentic African American voice. 

Even though some people forget that not all African Americans live this way (I timidly raise my hand), these are still stories that are important to our culture and are now valued.

However, I just don't write these type of stories.

Now will I say I will NEVER write these type of stories?


But as of right now, I'm not writing urban fiction. I like to write with European American characters (a.k.a. white characters).


One word: Suburban.

I've lived in the suburbs my whole life and pulling from my experience, it's just easier for me. It's not like I'm denying my African American roots or history. I'm just not writing stories about it. Yet.

Now, I will eventually write minority characters and in fact, I have inserted some minority characters into my stories. Specifically Angel Diaries and some short stories most recently.

And I will start a novel with a main character of a minority race. I just have to pull all of the information and write it.

Until then though, my main characters will be white.

Is that too weird that I write with white characters instead of black? Or should I, as an author, have the right to choose how I want to star in my novels?

November 30, 2012

Take Five! Links for Language Arts by Kaye Hagler

Take Five! for Language Arts: 180 Bell-Ringers That Build Critical-Thinking Skills

Kaye Hagler s unique bell-ringers for language arts help you transform the first chaotic five minutes of class into authentic opportunities to practice critical-thinking skills.

Students in grades 6-12 exercise their mental muscles as they work collaboratively, warming them up to tackle your standards-based lessons.

Whether your students are inventing secret codes, concocting potions, rewriting history, making conjunction paper chains, or thinking like newspaper editors, these diverse and creative prompts will have them looking forward to the part of the day when they re asked to Take Five for critical thinking.

The 180-plus prompts set up your teaching day from the minute that students step into your class.

Each ready-to-use prompt includes: corresponding standards, supply lists, language arts links, teacher tips, assessment options, rubrics, and digital connections that add more than 100 extension lessons.

Begin every day of the school year with a burst of critical thinking and fun with this comprehensive resource. Ready? Set? Take Five!

My Thoughts:

Before I begin this review, I would like to inform y'all that this isn't a normal review. I can't compare, contrast and analyze literary elements since this book is an education book. This means that I'll be talking about general ideas the author has about what to incorporate into the classroom. In this case, I'll focus on the bell ringers since the author has provided in the book.

Additionally, I'm going to make this review short and sweet since I couldn't actually incorporate these ideas into my classroom. But I'll review this book as best as possible.

Now onto the review!

Now most bell ringers that I've known are simply drills in a not-so-clever disguise. And if they are not drills, and new teachers like me try to inject some fun activities, then it can be seen as not part of the curriculum and be forced back onto the drill cycle.

Fortunately, the author has found a balance between having the students learn something in the first five minutes of class (or even as a filler) but not make it boring.

The Take Five prompts and activities have a lot of hands on and SOL (Standards of Learning for us Virginian Teachers!) ties that would be great for my students. Unfortunately, like I mentioned before, I was unable to try them with my kids for a variety of reasons (inject plenty of excuses here). But I really think the kids would have reacted positively to them.

Especially some of the hands-on activities. I know that they would have loved to play with play-do (sorry if I misspelled it) and have a good excuse for it. Especially in the name of English class. It's almost like the author took the needs of the students into consideration when creating these bell ringers. The author thought about the teacher what a teacher could do to prepare for it easily and effectively. 

Some bell ringers require up to maybe a list of supplies but others only require items from the student, which is nice since that means it would be easy to implement.

The only problem I saw that was very glaringly obvious: The bell ringers were WAY too long. Even for high school students.

I think the author has to remember that students have a short attention span. They don't want to read a whole three paragraphs just to get to the fun part. My students complain about reading more than a paragraph. So obviously having most bell ringers have two paragraphs worth of instruction isn't very convenient for me, as the teacher, since I'll have to go back and shorten them to a link that my students will be able to read through (and we're not even talking about the vocabulary and rewording it for my students either).

Considering everything, would I still recommend this book? 

Absolutely! This book has very valuable bell ringers that every English teacher should take into consideration. The thing I most worry about is the length, but over the summer, that can be taken care before starting any bell ringers in class. Therefore, despite the extra work involved, I think it's completely worth it.

November 28, 2012

Sales Report: Everblossom and Angel Diaries

You know, a lot has happened between July and now. I simply cannot WAIT to share the excellent news I've been keeping to myself.

I got my FIRST paycheck! Full squeal and clapping hands!

Yeah me!!

So let's break this down into months and percent earnings and all of the other technical stuff for Strictly Everblossom.

July: 1
August: 0
September: 1 (Smashwords)
October: 1 (Amazon UK)

I know this looks pitiful for Everblossom. However, when I release Everblossom 2, I think the sales for the first one will go up. If not, it's still there ready to be taken full advantage of.

I think the main thing to remember is that: Everblossom hasn't paid any bills or gas. 

Angel Diaries: Volume One has! 

Check this out!

August: 5
September: 4
October: 1

Total: 10

Smashwords: 4
Amazon US: 2
Amazon UK, ES, IT, DE, FR: 0
Createspace: 0
B&N: 4

I already got paychecks from Barnes and Noble AND Amazon! :)

Happy dance! Together they total: 23 bucks!

That's why I think B&N been holding out on my as far as sales wise since I got paid by them in October but they didn't report any sales. I think it's the same way with Smashwords since I'm very close to getting a paycheck from them too but they haven't reported a lot of sales . . .

Anyway, main point: Angel Diaries is doing fantastic. Please remember: I didn't market this book at all! Can you imagine what's going to happen when I start marketing this book during the holidays!?

I simply cannot wait!

And now that I have some free time, thanks to some interesting switches from work, I now have time to market, blog, and conversate about my book! Yippee skippee.

You know these past couple of months have been rough, my job wise. And not just strictly from the kids. Administration has been just pure . . . Not nice syrup has been poured all over me from them. 

But looking at my books has been my saving grace. It's the one hope I hold onto when I walk into work and face some demons. That maybe, someday, with the extra time that I now have, that I can make some real money from my books.

Oh wait. What am I talking about? I HAVE made some REAL money from my books. Now all I have to do is just make those profits grow and I may be able to take a giant leap from working at a place I can barely stand and may even laugh at a little (thanks to my family and my fantastic coworkers) to working at home with all of my characters surrounding me with their lovely stories.

I seriously cannot wait! :) 

November 26, 2012

Discovery of Ebooks

As you guys probably know, I've recently received a Tablet (Andriod Zeki, if you are curious) for my birthday back in September.

And I have to say I love it to death!

For the past couple of months, I'm sure you've noticed that I'm reviewing more books quicker than ever before. Thanks to my tablet, I've been reading more and more ebooks on my Zeki.

It's not until recently though that I really started to read (in depth and not for work purposes) books on my tablet. And despite the inner printer book lover in me that has refused to get an eReader for the past year, I have to say, reluctantly, that I'm addicted to reading ebooks on my tablet.

It's wonderful. Awe-inspiring. And I'm 100 percent hooked onto reading on my tablet.

Of course, I didn't always start out this way. I loved the feel of print books in my hands and the smell of walking into a book store filled with used books.

What has changed since then?

Indie writers! And . . . Slightly shamefully, free books through Amazon Select Program.

Ever since another tablet lover told me about all of the fabulous free books out there on Amazon and how to get them on my Android . . .

"You have GOT to try reading some of these free romance books on Kindle! They are better than even [insert famous best selling traditionally published romance author name here]!"

"But I don't have a Kindle."

"All you have to do is download the app for Amazon Kindle and download those books! I have an iPad (insert oohs and ahhs here) and it's the best thing ever!"

"Well, if you insist . . ."

"Trust me, you will thank me later. Just type in top 100 free romance books and you're in. Every time I open up my start page the list is right there for me. You should try it."

"Okay, I'll give it a shot!"

And there started my love affair with Amazon and the top free list. And trust me, there's a top free list for everything! Even for teens.

*big audible sigh*

You know I LOVE paranormal romance books, and they have them in the crap load. And they are written beautifully.

The only thing my taste buds are missing is that indie book that will just take paranormal romance into the next level: having the influence of the non western culture.

That would certainly kick it up a notch! And having some minority characters as the main character would be fantastic.

Anyway, anyway, I have to say regardless I am happy reading books on my Zeki! The only other thing that bothers me to no end is the battery life on this thing. I never had to worry about batteries before with a print book (even if I needed lights--that's what a cell phone was MADE for) but using an electronic reader definitely has its negatives.

Especially since my Zeki cannot last more than eight hours (at the top) without recharging. And when it gets to a certain low percentage (like 14 percent), it shuts off automatically.

Talk. About. Annoying.

Other then that though, I have to say, I am an eReader lover!

What about you? Had any similar experiences (like battery low issues) with your eReader or Tablet? Do you like eBooks over print books!? I would love to hear about it!

October 24, 2012

Author Interview: Olivia Martinez

Please welcome to Feed My Need, the fabulous author, Olivia Martinez!

Author Interview

When and why did you begin writing?

Like many people, I've always wanted to write a book. One day I just decided to do it and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? What is the easiest? 

I, being the genius that I am, decided that for my first attempt at writing I would write it in the first person. Not one of my brighter moments. As stubborn as I am though, I didn't give up and refused to change it to another perspective. I think the easiest was making up the world I created. There are no rules but the ones you make up. It was also the fun part too.

What music do you listen to while you write?

I think I listened to just about everything writing this book. Classical, big band, dub step, Dave Matthews, Widespread Panic, Top 40, and the list goes on.

What inspires you? 

As far as writing goes, it would have to be all the other indie authors out there. If it wasn't for them, I probably wouldn't have written my book. They were the pioneers that made it possible for the rest of us to follow in our dreams.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I love to paint and have actually sold quite a few of them.

What are your current projects?

I started Book 2 in the Mistfall Series two nights ago.

What book are you reading now?

I just finished re-reading the Ya-Ya series.

Quick: Vampires or Shapeshifter? Why?

Shapeshifter. You don't have to rely on securing your meals.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just do it. Do what you love and write your book.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I definitely want to say Thank You!

Mistfall: Book One of the Mistfall Series

Mags has lived in hiding most of her life. One of the two last jinn of her kind, she's being hunted by one of the Kings of Hades and the Elf King for her power. When one disastrous date sends her on the run, Mags knows her life will never be the same. The only question is, will she survive it?

October 19, 2012

Betrayal Promo

  When Zachariah and Matthew McCannon were young, their parents abandoned them, leaving Zack to take care of his little brother, Matt. Though they lived with their grandmother, she was always sick, so Zack was forced to raise him. This was not an easy task.

   Zack had his hands full because of Matt’s unusual powers. He has visions and dreams that come true, and when he gets angry or upset, he can move things with his mind. Because of this, evil seeks him, keeping Zack on his toes as his protector. 
    As the brothers grew older, they became hunters, pursuing evil supernatural forces. After Matthew has a dream, it sends them on a hunt for cave, not knowing why, but realizing it is necessary. When they arrive, Matt finds the vision was a trap.
    A Darkness like no other wants to control Matt and kill Zack. The Darkness is named, Alanya, which means, The Destroyer.

    Alanya hates the brothers. In the past, every time he tried to apprehend Matt, Zack would thwart him by protecting his brother. Alanya is incensed that a mere human boy can beat him, for demons are not to be defied.

    When Alanya asks Zack, “How far will you go to save your brother?” Zack answers, “As far as I have to.”

    Now, the brothers are faced with a deadly force they never had to deal with before. This demon is on a deadly mission to destroy everything the brothers hold dear. If the McCannon’s are not careful, neither of them will be able to escape.

Finding Fiona by Emily Ward

Finding Fiona

The victim of a brutal attack, Fiona remembers little about her life until she meets someone who claims to be from her past. He tells her that her parents were killed for a human replication machine. He's shocked to discover she's still alive since her body was found in the wreckage of the fire.

She soon travels to her old home in New York to figure out what happened to her and her family. She needs to find out who she is, but more importantly, confront the men who killed her parents.

My Thoughts

I sucked in from the beginning and literally couldn't put it down. I read it on my new tablet, and I seriously couldn't put it down. Every where I went, I took it with me on my tablet. I couldn't pry my fingers from it. I couldn't look away.

I HAD to read more. 

Therefore, I thought I would share with you all about this lovely, capturing book. Let's break this down . . .

Characters: Loved all the characters. Fiona was a character I could really identify with. All of the other characters were good and intriguing. Finding about Fiona and her life was interesting to say the least.

Dialogue: Straight and to the point. 

Plot: This is what literally swept me away and won me over.

Setting: I liked the small town setting at first, but then it kept moving to typical places. So it didn't do anything for me near the end. 

Ending: I think the ending was perfectly appropriate for the story. It was slightly sad, but it fit the story line.

Overall: Would I recommend this book?

Absolutely! I loved it from the beginning to the ending. I would highly recommend this book! :)

October 15, 2012

Book Spotlight: The Indigo Butterfly


A revealing dream lures a young woman on a quest to discover the mystery of who she is. In a triumph of the Human Spirit, this book is a reminder to follow your heart. The depth, wisdom, and compassion of this book's message will stay with you long after the last page has been turned. Rewritten as narrative vignettes from the author’s journals, this inspirational book is the kind that is needed at times like this.       

The Indigo Butterfly is the true and inspiring story of a young writer’s journey of self-discovery and a yearning for her place in the world. On the eve of college graduation the author has a revealing dream that leads to an epiphany. At the same time, Desert Storm is causing a recession throughout the country, leaving few opportunities for a new writer.

Forced to make some difficult decisions, the young woman rejects conventionality in order to follow her dream of becoming a writer. But she soon discovers that the outer voyage is interwoven with her inner journey to understand herself. While she is on the road, the writer encounters fellow travelers, teachers, mystics, artists, and unique individuals who welcome her into their communities.

The Indigo Butterfly chronicles the author’s fifteen-year odyssey across North America as retold through vignettes culled from her journals during that time. From Seattle’s lush rainforest to the mysterious islands of South Carolina, no region of the country goes unexplored in the determined writer’s quest.

                                             THE DREAM...

     A young girl with hair the color of the sun wanders through a grassy meadow bursting with colorful wildflowers. Her eyes are drawn to the cragged branches of a gnarled elderberry tree. Hovering high above her is a spectacular indigo butterfly. Sunlight dances on its iridescent wings.

     The butterfly flutters towards the clearing’s edge before disappearing into the canopy overhead. The girl searches anxiously for the path, unable to find her way in the darkness. Every shadow becomes a possible threat.

      She searches for the path by the light of the moon, yearning for a sign that will lead her out of the darkness. On the verge of collapse, the girl falls to the ground. A dark shadow approaches. The girl struggles to pull herself up from the place where she has fallen.

      A voice softly whispers, “Hello.” Resting on a rock is the indigo butterfly.

     “I am lost!” the girl cries out in fear. She covers her face with trembling hands.

     “Dear child, you are never lost.” The butterfly leads the young girl to the clearing.

      The butterfly effortlessly transforms into a beautiful maiden. Her shimmering indigo gown gleams in the moonlight, and her flowing hair smells like jasmine. Clouds of tiny lavender butterflies swirl around her. With a sweep of her hand, she gestures to the surrounding woods.

     “All writers begin their lives in the darkness, cloaked where the alchemy of transformation resides. One must allow for this precious unfolding before emerging into the light. Without it, the journey is meaningless. Soon, you will be called. Do not be afraid. When you are ready they will be waiting for you. Remember all that I have told you.”

     The maiden places an enormous book with a frayed red velvet cover into the girl’s hands. A golden tassel hangs from the spine of the book. The script has been recorded in rich, dark hues matching the maiden’s gown.

     The edge of each page has been gilded from gold, and though it appears to be extremely heavy, the book is entirely weightless. Within a moment, the book fades from her hands. The maiden raises her cloak and disappears into the fading night. The girl is alone again in the woods, but this time she can see the clearing. As she departs the forest, the wind stirs gently for a moment. On the winds of the night, the maiden’s voice calls once again:

“Go forth with the soul of an artist with the wings of a butterfly…”

Readers Are Saying:
​"The Indigo Butterfly is exquisite! I'm recommending it to everyone I know."
--S. Eaton, Managing Editor

​"I couldn't put it down. This book is a testament ​to the human spirit. Lovely."
                                                                                                     --Konda R., Publicist

"Well done... this book has it all. This  story will captivate you until the last word."
                                                                                                       --Robert, Publisher

October 8, 2012


Guys, I know you feel neglected and abandoned and I'm so sorry about that. There are literally a million excuses in the book I can use. The fact that I have a new job along with a special surprise (I just received a kitten recently for a surprise gift) could be part of those excuses.

In truth, I don't think I've tried hard enough to keep up with this blog.

Now, don't get me wrong. I do try hard to at the very least, keep one post a week, but I could do more. I know I can.

So I just wanted to let you guys know I will try harder from now on and to let you know that I haven't neglected y'all. Things have been a little rough as of late.

Ready for the list of things that have happened? And let's bring out the time watch . . . Ready, set, go!

I recently was verbally assaulted by a student (who is strangely still in my classroom three days later). Another student threatened to blow the school up. I found out two of my students are homeless. One used to be a cutter. And another one of my students was touched in an inappropriate manner.

All of this on top of the fact that I still have a writing life to keep up (which I have started to market yesterday). And like I said previously, I have a new kitten at home with a very interesting story. But more about that when I get pictures and can dedicate a whole post for her.

She's my first kitten (I've always had dogs) and her name is Lex. 

She's kinda my sunshine in the darkness now. I know things have been glum this week, but she was the best surprise by far. 

Anyway, this post is just to let you guys and fabulous ladies know that I will try harder. I just have a lot of changes going on in my life. Please just bear with me! 

October 5, 2012

Seven Point Eight: The First Chronicle

Seven Point Eight: The First Chronicle


Seven Point Eight:
The most powerful number in the universe.
The number that connects everything.

It is time to wake up....

A physicist begins a quest to measure the soul but soon finds himself drawn into the world of the
enigmatic Max Richardson, where research is sold to the military at the
highest bid. However, he soon discovers another purpose when an
extremely talented young psychic enters his life. He devises a project
and builds a team to stretch the frontiers of exploration, only to make a
reality-shattering discovery...

Written in the style of a TV series, The First Chronicle is the beginning of a 5 part epic which
follows the spiritual and emotional journey of five people; their quest
to understand the universe and our place within it. 

Quantum physics meets spirituality in a tale which begins in the 1940s, unfolds
during the 1960s; an era of social and spiritual transformation and
reaches its conclusion in the modern age.
It interweaves the human dramas of love, betrayal, bitterness and above
all, courage in a world where everyone must face their own dark shadow.

For fans of the paranormal, big sweeping epics, metaphysics, science fiction, 'Lost', 'Fringe', contemporary fantasy, alternate realities and new age/spirituality.
It's also highly suited to Young Adult readers, who like sci-fi along with their paranormal, or those who like a more challenging read.

My Thoughts:

Unfortunately, this book just wasn't for me. I hate to say it was too detailed and "sciency" for me but that's exactly what  happened. It was just too much science and detail and not enough plot. But maybe for other folks, it may be what the doctor ordered.

Therefore, I'll list the positives and negatives:


1. Very interesting plot:

I have to say, from the word go, this author swept me off my feet and begged me for more and more chances to delve into the plot and uncover the secret. 

2. The characters had depth

Again, the characters were interesting. I liked the main character and the other lady in the story. 


1. Way, way, way, wait for it . . . Way too many details

I understand as an author myself that you have to explain a lot of things. Especially in a science fiction. I am currently trying to tackle this genre myself.

However, there is just way too many details about the main character thrown at you at once. Did I really need to know his whole life story on the first few pages?


So why put it there? 


Psst writers, this is what you call an exposition dump (when you give out all of the details about a character in the first few pages, or even in huge page-like chunks in the story). Don't do it. Just some advice.

2. Overwhelming with Science

This could just be me guys since I have a love hate relationship with science, especially with Physics. I was forced in college to take that class, and I have to say it was the most confusing science class I have ever taken in my life. So when the author started talking about, I cringed.

It's not the author's fault about my prior experiences with sciences (more like embarrassing bump ins) have been mostly negative.

However, I still didn't like how much science was in it. 

I know what you're thinking, "Silly goose, it's a science fiction!"

But (I hold one finger high in the air) to assume that the reader understands basic Physics concepts isn't asking too much? 

Hmm, that's what I thought too.

It's not that I didn't expect science in a science fiction novel, but I would like some more break down of the science part. That's all I ask. Especially since science is the weakest area, academics wise. 

3. Formatting

You guys know what I'm about to say: Chunky paragraphs.

I hate them. I loathe the very legs they stand on. I just want to rip them off the page and put them in the corner, and burn them with a lighter.

Too much?

Anyway, lol, this author put WAY too many chunky paragraphs. I just can't stand them but this could be a just me sort of thing.

Overall, would I recommend this book?

Take this into consideration: This book has had fabulously high reviews, the author writes extremely well, and  the plot is riveting.

Now, if you want to take a chance on a fabulous science fiction book that just wasn't my flavor, feel free.

But if you have the same picky-ness level that I do, then don't pick it up.

My gut says give it a shot but my head cautions you if you haven't read science fiction before.

You choose ultimately though. 

October 3, 2012

5 Tips to Successfully Market an eBook: A Guest Post

Please welcome to Feed My Need, Samantha Gray!

Samantha Gray was born and raised in Houston, Texas, where she is now a writer for Bachelor Degrees Online. She loves receiving feedback from her readers at

5 Tips to Successfully Market an E-book 


Play to your audience.

One of the keys to successfully marketing a product is having a product that is designed to sell. Writing fiction that is well-suited for commercialization may mean sacrificing artistry for entertainment – or finding a way to combine the two.

If your goal is to revolutionize the literary world, you’re probably going to need the team of professionals that would come with a major book deal. Those who are considering self-publishing should conduct significant research before beginning their endeavors and align their work to coincide with an opportunity in the market.

Research your target audience to uncover what themes and characters are trending. For YA fiction, supernatural and paranormal elements are popular. However, it is important to include something in your stories that will make you stand out from the competition.

Start something.

Remember that word of mouth is still an extremely powerful tool. Twilight and Shades of Grey – two sides of the same coin – are examples of how books can become conversation pieces. The unraveling of backstories, mounting tension and a fast-paced plot is a recipe for a “good read”, but best sellers often walk the line between socially acceptable and scandalous. Incorporate a plotline that is juicy enough for your audience gossip about, but not so risqué that readers feel uncomfortable discussing it or sharing the content with friends.

Build your empire.

You’re not only a writer, you’re a publisher. That means that you need to take control of your business Begin reaching out to your audience through a Website, a Facebook fan page and a blog. Any promotional materials such as book covers and advertisements will be out-of-pocket expenses.

Although this is about your work, this is also about you. A great photo and biography are two things that will help establish loyalty. Remember to invest your time wisely. You may be tempted to write on your blog daily, but being too accessible or inundating readers with the duller details of writing can completely blow your cover as a mysterious and powerful author.

Your book should also carry a distinct and attractive image. Writers should network with other creative professionals for the best cover art possible. Regardless of the old axiom, readers do judge books by their covers; and even though you’ve written, edited, published and marketed your own book – chances are you aren’t a visual artist. Find someone you trust and hire him (or her). This could prove to be an opportunity for rewarding artistic collaboration.

Lead up to the launch.

Build hype before you launch your book. Send copies of your manuscript to various review sites, ask bloggers to review your book or solicit editors for a review. Create teaser blurbs or turn your Website into a countdown clock. Choose the best passages for excerpts on e-commerce Websites and let all of your Facebook and Twitter fans know that the day is approaching!

Control your output.

Leading e-book author Darcie Chan limited availability of her book to Kindle and kept the price at 99c. This makes advertising easier. By paying for advertising spots on sites and blogs dedicated to Kindle, Chan was able to market directly to her target audience. For more on marketing strategies, consider reading this interview with successful indie publicists Robin Sullivan.

In addition to limiting the availability of your content, you will also need to plan to continue publishing. Maintaining momentum can be extremely exhausting and the income can be variably low; however, publishing multiple books will increase sales, especially if you can successfully tap into your consumer market.

October 1, 2012

Author Interview: Venessa Kimball

Please welcome to Feed My Need, the lovely author, Venessa Kimball!

When and why did you begin writing? 

I wrote throughout my adolescent years and well into college.  I enjoyed creating different places, times, and characters.  I stopped for a while when I became a teacher, held a career,  and started having children.  I always want
ed to go back to writing. I just didn't have the down time.  So, I became an avid reader over those non-writing years.  I was heavily active in book clubs.  I devoured them!  

My children started becoming less dependent on mom and I started having more time on my hands in 2010.  By this point, I was bursting at the seams with this one particular storyline that kept playing out like a movie in my head.  It was a perfect opportunity for me to go for it and start writing my first novel, Piercing the Fold: Book 1. 

What was the hardest part of writing your book? What is the easiest? 

The hardest part was that I had never written a novel. I had written short stories and poems. But, never a novel.  I had to Google like crazy to figure out how I was going to lay out this story in my head on paper.  2 composition notebooks and a year later…I had the story on paper.  Then the typing began.  Yes, I did the first entire book in composition notebooks.  Long process, but amazing!  

The easiest part was the story and the characters. They were already there in my head.  I just had to listen to them!  

What music do you listen to while you write?  

I set up a playlist before I start writing.  I actually have a place on my website that gives you the Spotify playlist for  Piercing the Fold Book 1.  visit to listen!  The ones that stand out immediately are Silversun Pickups, Muse, Paramore, Radiohead, Bob Marley, the Beatles, Nirvana, Morissey, Florence + the Machine, Fleetwood Mac, Howls, The Church, No Doubt, Placebo, Pixies. 

What inspires you?  

I am an observer.  I take in everything around me.  I let in emotions, the environment, people around me.    I'm really open like that. Sometimes I feel like I'm a sponge.  Then, from those observations I put my "what if" spin on it!  Music….it is a must for me when I'm writing!  Add in an amazing playlist and the creative juices start flowing!

Do you have any hidden talents? 

Hmm.  None that I can think of. 

What are your current projects? 

I am currently working on the second installment of the Piercing the Fold series, Surfacing the Rim Book 2.   StR will be released March 2013.  The third installment (Title not announced yet) will be released July 2013.

What book are you reading now? 

I am banning myself from reading any books right now.  I am really diving in with Surfacing the Rim.  I'm getting into some heavier character interaction. So, I have to have complete attention on Book 2.  However, I have a must read list that is growing daily. As soon as StR is drafted I will indulge for a couple of weeks.  My must read list right now is Beautiful Creatures- series, Angelfall, Dark House- An Experiment in Terror series.

Quick: Vampires or Shapeshifter? Why? 

Shapeshifters.  Because of the unknown and building suspense of what the shift will create.  There is a bit of shifting in PtF. 

Do you have any advice for other writers?  

Have a plan and a goal for every aspect of your writing.  You are your true, sole, motivator.  Keep yourself accountable…And, if you are blessed to have some great friends that would love to be a beta reader for your books, take them up on it- they will help keep you accountable too and give you some great insight! 

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 

I hope you enjoy getting  lost in the reality that the Piercing the Fold series  presents.  Every time I start a book as a reader, I get giddy because I know I'm about to disappear into a different  place. And into another persons reality.  I hope this for Piercing the Fold readers! 

Such is life, Jesca Gershon-Sera does not see this coming. 

Life is pretty normal for Jesca in Marrieta, Georgia. She is a sophomore at Southern Polytechnic State University and holds a part-time job at a local bookstore. Her life is predictable and comfortable; nothing out of the ordinary. Until, Jesca begins experiencing reoccurring childhood nightmares. The terrors take on a stronger meaning, when dark looming auras, distorted beings, and her unnatural physical and mental abilities begin to seep out of the dream realm and into her real world. Jesca begins to question her sanity as these terrors increase and flood her reality. 

At the peak of her mental breaking point, Jesca has multiple coincidental encounters with her professor, Ezra Kahn. Jesca is blind-sided as Ezra exposes how these terrors are part of a reality in our world set askew and that Jesca must claim her role in a battle to protect humanity from eminent catastrophe. 

Jesca begins her quest discovering herself, her inevitable purpose, and the undeniable truth that she is part of humanity’s salvation whether she is ready or not. 

Piercing the Fold: Book 1 brings forth “smart” science fiction reflecting on real scientific and spiritual endeavors of our time. Artfully intermingling science fiction, the paranormal, romance, and thrilling suspense leaving the readers questioning where Jesca’s journey will take them next. Older Teen/ New Adult Fiction. Book 1 in series.

September 26, 2012

Lessons Learned from my Worst Writing: A Guest Post

Please welcome to Feed My Need, Angelita Williams!

Angelita Williams is a freelance blogger who specializes in education-related content. She’s familiar with educational practices for every age and lifestyle, from online college courses to homeschooling to traditional learning. You can contact Angelita anytime at

Lessons Learned from my Worst Writing 


During college, I minored in creative writing. The courses placed immense pressure on my ego, but it also bred a sense of camaraderie and respect among our tiny group of writers. I think all writers have heard the famous advice from William Faulkner that to write good fiction means having to “kill your darlings,” but when you are a young, eager writer, this advice can be difficult to take to heart.

Looking through my old work, I stumbled upon a short story that I once considered brilliant. My teacher dismissed it completely, and my peers gently prodded me to make revisions. I was appalled that they couldn’t see its genius, and I sulked for the entire semester. My ego was so bruised, I refused to put effort into any other work; and I began editing other people’s work with an insane vigor.

My ego eventually healed, and I avoided alienating everyone with my absurd passion for editing; but I always remembered the short story as captivating and vivid – until I reread it this morning.

It is a period piece, set in industrialist New York City and is my adaptation of the Greek tragedy Madea – which ends with a woman’s ultimate revenge – except in my version, Jason is a mobster and Madea (Madeline) is a deadly assassin and illegal immigrant.

It’s an absolutely bizarre plot, but the Greek version is no less peculiar. There is still a very slim margin of possibility that the story could be good; but what I produced was some hybrid of a bad soap opera and a cheesy mobster movie.
Generic descriptions are ineffective.

His clean-shaven jaw line was strong, and, despite his advancing age, there were no traces of gray in his black hair. His charcoal suit was expensive and well-tailored.

When we talk about art, it is sometimes very difficult to discern between the good and the bad. There is nothing intrinsically valuable in a single word. As writers, we string words together to convey meaning, to paint scene or evoke emotion. Good writing is not only about intention; it is about successfully communicating your intention to a reader.

Obviously, my intentions and my character were not well thought out. The description gives no information about Jason except that he is wearing an expensive suit, has a strong jaw line and has black hair.

The man at the head of the table sat silently as smoke coiled above his head. He did not notice when the cherry of his cigarette fell onto the table, scattering ashes onto the highly polished mahogany. To the average onlooker, Jason Marchetti would have appeared lost in thought; but Lou knew what the tiny wrinkle between Jason’s brows meant. He knew that a deadly focus sat behind those blank green eyes.

I just whipped up the passage, and it’s not brilliant; but the intent is much clearer. I wanted to convey Jason as preoccupied but capable of destructive power. I brought in Jason’s right hand man Lou to give the reader insight into the tone of the scene, and included the description of mahogany to imply wealth. 

Passive verbs and repetitive sentence structures are boring.

His clean-shaven jaw line was strong, and, despite his advancing age, there were no traces of gray in his black hair. His charcoal suit was expensive and well-tailored.

The structure of these two sentences is almost identical; and each hinges on a passive verb. The cadence, or rhythm, of the passage reads like a catalog. Essentially, the passage was little more than my way of cataloging Jason’s generalized physical aspects. In a word, it is boring. 

Set firm guidelines for your character’s actions.

The faint echo of clicking heels sounded outside the doorway, and the four men fell silent. Jason smoothed his suit jacket and straightened his tie. The doorknob turned, and the men waited.

*Note how the variation of active verbs and varying sentence structure makes the passage more interesting and lyrical.

Why would a fearless mobster smooth his suit jacket and straighten his tie? He wouldn’t. Again, I didn’t have a clear enough concept of Jason as a character.

In the patch of silence that followed the men’s laughter, the echo of clicking heels sounded from the hallway. Lou cleared his throat and straightened his tie before glancing sideways at Jason. The line between his boss’s brow had deepened, but offered no trace of surprise. As the doorknob turned, Jason dropped his cigarette into the crystal ashtray and swept the spilled ashes aside with the side of his hand. He leaned back in his chair, looking straight ahead to the door.

Jason is the leader of violent men, which leaves little room for fear. The passage is meant to show that the mobster carries concern under his nonchalant demeanor. The ashes that he sweeps from the table are meant to display that carelessness requires a clean-up and that he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty or soil the sleeve of his suit. Lou, obviously, is the less certain of the two, and he looks to Jason for reassurance. 

Build mystery by providing clues in each scene.

Hopefully, the looming question is, “Why are these dangerous men so afraid of a woman?”

Only time will tell why the echoes of high heels drive fear into the heart of these ruthless mobsters; and that is what keeps people reading.

September 24, 2012

Excerpt: Doppelganger by Milda Harris

Please enjoy this free excerpt of Doppelgander by Milda Harris!



Citrus Leahy is having a really bad day. First she's late to school. Then she runs into the girl who drives her nuts because she always calls her Orange instead of her name. To cap it all off, when Citrus finally makes it to class, she sees herself already inside. Wait. What? Citrus Leahy has a doppelganger! It's probably aliens taking over the world and her life has just turned totally upside down. Goodbye, normal. Hello, paranormal. Luckily, her crush Aedan has the exact same problem!

Check it out here, here and here!

“Citrus Leahy?” The Receptionist said as if on cue.

I jumped up and made sure not to turn and look at Melissa. I could feel Melissa staring at my back, regardless. Why did she want to talk to me anyway? I focused my gaze on the Receptionist, who was watching me approach.

“You weren’t here first period?” The Receptionist asked.

“No,” I said, “That’s why I’m in the office. For a late pass, so I can go to second period. I have a test.”

The Receptionist frowned and I noticed that she was looking at an attendance sheet. She grabbed a pencil and made an erasure. I felt overly anxious. What was this woman doing? There wasn’t time. I was going to miss my test and it was going to majorly affect my grade. The day was definitely not going well. I needed to get to class.

“Okay, here’s your tardy slip. This one’s a warning. One more and you have detention,” The Receptionist said in monotone, as she handed me the slip. She obviously made this speech all the time.

It was a relief about the detention, but now I was worried about missing the test. I grabbed the slip and immediately turned to leave. I was only going to be about ten minutes late. I could finish the test in forty minutes. I may not have studied adequately, but I was a great test taker.

“Bye Orange!” Melissa yelled after me.

I cringed, but outwardly ignored Melissa and sprinted for my World History class. I didn’t even have time to go to my locker. I’d have to swing back and get my Spanish book before third period, but I’d be okay for history.

As soon as I rounded the corner away from the office, I broke into a sprint. My class was at the other end of the school. The quicker I ran, the more time I had to take the test.

I was breathing hard by the time I made it to the right hallway. I was definitely not a runner. Sweat drops were forming on my face. It was going to be one of those days where I just couldn’t wait to get home and take a shower. I couldn't believe I felt gross and it was only second period. I couldn't help thinking that I was probably going to get a pimple from the sweat on my nose or something too. I bet that it would be one of those ones under the skin, that wouldn't pop and totally hurt. The lengths I went through to get decent grades and be the good kid.

I walked the rest of the way to my classroom, totally forgetting to obsess over World History facts and instead wondering if I had any face wash in my gym locker to try and head off that pimple. I couldn't remember if I had taken it home or not. I crossed my fingers that the face wash would still be there, in my locker, when I had gym in a few hours. I tried to even out my breathing and dabbed the sweat off my face with the bottom of my shirt. I wasn’t going to give the other students anything to talk about by running in, out of breath, and sweaty. I was just going to walk in and hand Mr. Meadows the tardy slip, ask for the test, sit down, take it, and get a decent grade, and hopefully not a pimple. Then I could get back to reading my fun book and not worry about my grades for the rest of the day.

My mind was already planning how it was all going to turn out, as I caught a glimpse of the classroom through the window in the door. That’s when everything froze for me. The Receptionist in the Main Office had been correct in thinking that the attendance reports were strange because they were. How else could I be standing outside of my World History class waiting to go in and take my test and also be inside, already busy with the business of test taking? I swear. I'm not kidding. I was dressed in different clothes, but it was definitely me - same body type, a little longer than shoulder length dirty blonde hair and side swept bangs, oval face, and green eyes. Well, I'm guessing her eyes were green because the girl I was looking at was focused on her test and not looking directly at me. Still, it was me in there. I just knew it.

The thing is - I didn’t have a twin. What I was seeing was totally impossible. I couldn’t be in two places at once. What in the world was happening? And, really, could my day get any worse?

September 19, 2012

Book Spotlight: Pleasant Lake P.D. by Kelly Fitzpatrick

Alexandria Moreno, parking enforcement officer for the serene town of Pleasant Lake, has signed on with the FBI to nail a gorgeous suspected criminal, Miguel Diaz, who’s passing himself off as a legitimate businessman. Alex’s assignment is to use her feminine wiles, of which she has few, to infiltrate Diaz’s world and find some evidence for a conviction.

To complicate matters, she’s teamed up with Detective Roman Plow, who is her ex-boyfriend, though the FBI doesn’t know it. As they focus on retaliating for past wrongs, real and imagined, their smoldering love/hate relationship brews. They’re not exactly an ideal team.

With her bumbling nature, a steamer trunk full of emotional baggage, and no investigating skills, Alex spends most of her time reminding herself that the tall, dark, and handsome Miguel Diaz is not her real boyfriend and struggling to keep from falling into his bed. As she tries to dig up dirt on her undercover lover, the steamy investigation leads to a fight for her life. But who is behind the attacks?