3 S.R. Johannes: April 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

Cover Love for Closed Hearts

Eek!! Look at Susan Quinn's cover for Closed Hearts (Book Two of the Mindjack Trilogy) - coming May 23rd.

Isn't it Gorge!

When you control minds, only your heart can be used against you.

Eight months ago, Kira Moore revealed to the mindreading world that mindjackers like herself were hidden in their midst. Now she wonders if telling the truth was the right choice after all. As wild rumors spread, a powerful anti-jacker politician capitalizes on mindreaders’ fears and strips jackers of their rights. While some jackers flee to Jackertown—a slum rife with jackworkers who trade mind control favors for cash—Kira and her family hide from the readers who fear her and jackers who hate her. But when a jacker Clan member makes Kira’s boyfriend Raf collapse in her arms, Kira is forced to save the people she loves by facing the thing she fears most: FBI agent Kestrel and his experimental torture chamber for jackers.

Click Here to sign up for the Virtual Launch Party on May 23rd! There will be prizes, reviews, and bonus content!

PRAISE FOR Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy)

Susan plunges readers into a compelling and frightening world where nearly everyone can read minds when they come of age. The very idea makes me shudder. This is easily one of the best books I've read not only this year, but in recent years.”
Heather McCorkle, author of The Secret of Spruce Knoll

"Susan Kaye Quinn's Open Minds is an edge-of-the-seat YA sci-fi, where 16 year-old Kira dodges psychological bullets from all sides."  — Catherine Stine, author of Fireseed One

You can get caught up by purchasing Open Minds for $2.99 on Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes&Noble, and iTunes

Susan Kaye Quinn, Author

Susan Kaye Quinn grew up in California, where she wrote snippets of stories and passed them to her friends during class. She pursued a bunch of engineering degrees and worked a lot of geeky jobs, including turns at GE Aircraft Engines, NASA, and NCAR. Now that she writes novels, her business card says "Author and Rocket Scientist" and she doesn't have to sneak her notes anymore. All that engineering comes in handy when dreaming up paranormal powers in future worlds or mixing science with fantasy to conjure slightly plausible inventions. Susan writes from the Chicago suburbs with her three boys, two cats, and one husband. Which, it turns out, is exactly as much as she can handle.

Way too often, you can find Susan on her blog, facebook, and twitter.

You can also read a prequel to Open Minds in the In His Eyes Anthology - all short stories from a hot boy's perspective. Currently free!

Friday, April 27, 2012

IndieView with Shannon Duffy (author of Spectral)

Today Shannon Duffy has stopped by to talk about her new book, SPECTRAL.

Convinced she’s a part of the witness protection program, sixteen-year-old Jewel Rose is shuffled around the globe with her family like a pack of traveling gypsies. After arriving at lucky home twenty-seven, she stumbles upon a mysterious boy with magical powers claiming to be her guardian . . . and warning of imminent danger. Despite the obvious sparks between them, Jewel discovers a relationship is forbidden, and the more she learns about dark, brooding Roman, she begins to question who she can even believe — the family who raised her, or the supposed sworn protector who claims they’ve been lying to her all along.

As she struggles to uncover who her family has really been running from, she is forced to hide her birthmark that reveals who she is. With new realities surfacing, unexplained powers appearing, and two tempting boys vying for her heart, Jewel battles to learn who she can trust in an ever growing sea of lies, hoping she’ll make it through her seventeenth birthday alive.


Thanks for inviting me to spend a little time on your blog, Shelli. You’ve asked about my journey to publication for my new YA Paranormal Romance, SPECTRAL, so here it is:

On a dark and stormy night… okay, no really, Spectral all came about with an idea for the book over Christmas of 2010. I couldn’t sleep one night, which is a great time to come up with story ideas—at least for me—and an idea came to me for Jewel’s story. It was the basics of the storyline, but one that got me pumped up. The next day I spilled my story idea to my husband and visiting family members, tumbling over my words at rapid speed and excitement.

I started writing Spectral in January 2011. Two of my amazing critique partners, Rachel Harris and Trisha Wolfe both critiqued chapter by chapter being the rock stars they are. When I got their notes back, I’d incorporate any changes that made sense—which they usually did—because as mentioned, they are truly rock star writers. It took me about seven months to write Spectral…I know I won’t get any speed awards for that. Some authors can cough out books every couple months—I’m just not one of them.
Once I finally typed the proverbial THE END, I sent it off to a great freelance editor (Enter Georgia McBride), for edits/critique. And then, I revised some more. After that, I sent Spectral to my fantabulous agent, Lauren Hammond. I was relieved when she loved it, and after a few more edits from her, ta da! It was time to send it out on submissions to publishers. Eeks! I was excited and nervous all wrapped up into one. Sending my story out into the world for the first time to be judged was surreal. I prayed someone would love it enough to want to publish it, and not hate it so much that they’d laugh. J

I was very lucky with Spectral as it wasn’t out on submission too long when I got an offer for publication from the amazing Tribute Books! (Insert happy dance here) It was one of those…Where were you when moments. I happened to be in San Francisco on the way home from a writer’s retreat in Big Sur, California. Lauren called me with the fab news in my hotel room and after a moment, of OMG and seriously? ...I began calling everyone close to me while pacing my room and panting the good news into the phone. I can’t tell you how good it felt to tell my loved ones, and in particular, my parents, who believed in me from day one. *Sigh.*

After “meeting” Nicole at Tribute, I was even happier that I’d have someone sweet and down to earth to work with. Then the fun began with the cover design, book trailer, and finding out the release date. All moments of excitement and worry, hoping those things would turn out just right.
Then finally, after a few more edit/revisions (Yup, they keep on coming), my little story was ready to meet the world. (Insert moment of panic.) I can only hope people will enjoy the story…and maybe even fall in love with my characters along the way.
Special thanks to everyone who shared in my journey to publication, and thank you, Shelli for having me here today.


Shannon Duffy's Bio

Shannon Duffy writes young adult and middle grade fiction. She grew up on the beautiful east coast of Canada and now lives in Ontario, Canada. She is the mom of one boy, Gabriel, her angel. She loves writing, reading, working out, soccer, and the sport of champions-shopping. She is the author of the young adult paranormal romance, SPECTRAL. Her upcoming middle grade fantasy novel, GABRIEL STONE AND THE DIVINITY OF VALTA is scheduled for a January 2013 release.

Find Shannon online
Tribute Books

Purchase Links


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Uncontrollable Sneak Peek

Here is a sneak peek at the first chapter of Uncontrollable scheduled for late summer.

Hope you like it!

To catch up on The Nature of Grace series, you can purchase Untraceable at all major booksellers including your local indie bookstore, B&N, and Amazon.

More to come later!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Guest Post: Link Sharing in Publiciy (Imogen Reed)

Whether you’re an aspiring author or you’re launching a new business, publicity is all important. Finding a means of promoting your ventures in an efficient and cost-effective way is paramount – and the web has given us all new ways of achieving this goal. From social media to banner ads, the internet is full of different ways to advertise and promote, but how are you to know what works and what doesn’t? Take link sharing sites, for example. A lot of people claim that sites such as Reddit, Digg and Delicous are invaluable resources for aspiring business people. They allow users to post their own content for review by the community, who can then ‘vote’ on or recommend it to the whole site. But are link sharing sites a good means of promotion, and should you sign up and try to reach the wider audience they can offer?

Beware of looking like a ‘spammer’

If you’ve ever visited a link sharing site – especially the new or upcoming sections – you’ll have seen just how many other people there are trying to push their services. And, unfortunately, a good proportion of these people can’t really be described as reputable. In fact, the word ‘spammer’ would be a much more appropriate moniker. The reason that sites like Reddit attract spammers is that they offer anyone the ability to share content and get instant traffic. There will always be someone who clicks every link, no matter how spammy it is. But that doesn’t mean this traffic is reliable. In fact, you can almost be guaranteed that these people will never visit again. It’s a false economy. What you need to do as a promoter is prepare something that’s valuable to the community – and that’s an art form in itself.

Don’t be too pushy

In order to take advantage of the thousands of people that use social link sharing sites, you need to be able to offer them something. If you’re an author, for example, you can’t come off as simply trying to sell your books. Instead, you need to solve a problem or offer some insight for free, and offer the book on the side. This will help the community feel like you’re actively contributing and not just marketing at them. If you simply post a link to buy your book, you’ll quickly see how much of a bad idea that can be. Traffic will spike then bottom out, and none of the links you post again will gain much traction. It’s a slippery slope.

Bide your time and do things properly

By rushing in and posting poorly thought out content to sites like Digg, you may get a quick shot in the arm in terms of traffic, but it’s very unlikely that this will convert to sales. Instead, you want to craft something of value to the community, and only post it once. If the community sees that you’re posting your link over and over again, you’ll end up doing more damage than good to your reputation. It’s hard enough to make a positive impact without shooting yourself in the foot. As mentioned above, the best thing you can do to make a splash on link sharing websites is to post something that offers the community something, and offer the option to buy something too. For example, as an author you may want to post an insightful article that will be of interest to the community, then include a link to your eBook in your sidebar. It’s a more subtle, and generally more effective, means of self-promotion.

The bottom line

So can link sharing sites be a good form of publicity? Yes they can, but they can quickly become a double edged sword. It’s easy to get swept away by the numbers than can be driven to your website to see your offerings, but if you’re viewed as ‘spammy’ for even a moment, these communities can quickly turn on you. There have been numerous horror stories about companies that have acted unscrupulously, been found out trying to ‘game’ sites like Reddit, and then suffered a serious PR nightmare. The bottom line is: be careful. They’re a great tool, but need to be used in the right way to make the best impact. 

Good luck!

Contributor Bio

Imogen Reed is a full time freelance writer and researcher who specialises in marketing and branding. In her spare time she likes to spend time with her young family exploring the great outdoors, making use of her all-terrain mountain buggy and enjoying all things natural and organic. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Guest Post: Marketing 1 book with 1,662 Postcards (Caroline Rose)

In the last eight months, I've written, labeled, and mailed 1,662 May B. postcards. Yes, really.

Much of marketing a book is like throwing darts, but as I've learned, a personalized, audience-focused dart has more potential to hit the board than those thrown willy-nilly.

I can't take credit for what I've done  -- that goes to Saundra Mitchell and her bossy self-marketing plan. Using her suggested wording, I determined my audience and tweaked what I wrote for each.
My audience:

Kansas schools and libraries 
Why? May B. takes place in Kansas and is primarily a school and library market title. Also, Kansas Day is 1/29. Teachers are required to teach KS history on or around this day -- perfect for an early January release date!

Plains state/frontier/pioneer museums
Why? May B.'s focus on the frontier era will ideally interest museums that focus on the plains and pioneer history.

Dyslexia schools and camps
Why? May B. (the character) struggles with dyslexia. While her story is one of a specific time period, ideally her feelings of isolation, shame, confusion -- and ultimately hope -- will resonate with children with disabilities now.

NM schools and libraries
Why? This is where I live! Hopefully that alone will be a start in drawing local interest, library purchases, or speaking opportunities.

My postcards:

For KS schools and libraries:
My historical verse novel, May B., is set on the Kansas frontier. It releases 1/10/12, just in time for Kansas Day! I hope you'll consider it for the students of ________ school / for the _______ library's children's collection. I'm available for Skype visits.

For plains state/frontier/pioneer museums and historical societies:
My historical verse novel, May B., is set on the frontier. I hope you will consider it for __________. It's a great way to introduce young visitors to the pioneer era.

For dyslexia schools and camps:
My historical verse novel, May B., focuses on a child with dyslexia in an era when such struggles were misunderstood. I hope you'll consider it for the students and families of _________ school. I'm available for Skype visits.

For NM schools and libraries:
I'm a NM author. My historical verse novel, May B., will appeal to fans of Hatchet and Laura Ingalls Wilder as well as reluctant readers. I hope you'll consider it for the students of ________ school / for the _______ library's children's collection. I'm available for Skype visits.

Roughly 50 postcards have come back to me (incorrect address, no drop box at this address, and -- sadly -- vacant buildings).

Hits to my website increased with each batch I mailed, coming from the locations where postcards were sent.

Roughly 20 people have reached out to me -- teachers, camp directors, directors of learning disability organizations, librarians, and a museum or two.

   My publicist has sent on ARCs to several responders or contacted marketing to set up direct sales for gift shops. 
   One teacher is using May in her classroom this year. 
   One NM librarian scheduled an author program. 
   Several librarians contacted me to let me know they'd already ordered or planned on ordering my book. 
   One camp director would like to share May B. with campers this upcoming summer.

Most postcards probably went straight to the trash. But I have to think that even that brief exposure counted for one of those 3-7 times on average that marketers say a person needs to be shown a product before they respond. My cover in front of new eyes = never a bad thing. Besides, maybe a docent in a prairie museum somewhere took my postcard home to a granddaughter or a local teacher. I'll never know for sure, but thinking this way was enough to keep me motivated.

Will I do it again?

Yes, though I’ll probably not send as many. The last five hundred weren't as exciting as the first thousand. In some small way, though, I've taken hold of my book's success by spreading the word, one postcard at a time.

Contributor Bio:

Caroline Starr Rose spent her childhood in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and New Mexico, camping at the Red Sea in one and eating red chile in the other. As a girl she danced ballet, raced through books, composed poetry on an ancient typewriter, and put on magic shows in a homemade cape. She’s taught both social studies and English in New Mexico, Florida, Virginia, and Louisiana and is the author of the historical verse novel, May B., and the forthcoming picture book, Over in the Wetlands

Visit her at her blog and website.

Have you used Postcards? Do you think they are effective?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Protected Blog Tour - Cindy Hogan

If you haven't heard about Cindy M. Hogan's novels, today's your lucky day. Her first novel, Watched was featured on Jessie's blog here with a "dream cast" for that novel.

Today we will be highlighting her dream cast for her second book, Protected.

First, a little about Protected

Christy has the guy. The terrorists have been taken care of and she has a shot at becoming popular. Life is great!
Until they find her.
Now she must run and leave behind everything she knows, including herself.

If you love suspense with a dash of romance, you'll love this novel.

Now for the DREAM CAST- are you ready to drool?
John (Paul Walker) Intolerable, pompous trainer we all love to hate, who just happens to be Alex's dad
Mrs. John(Mila Kunis) Alex's mom who has it in for Christy
Christy's mom (Sian Williams) Overprotective mother who believes so much in her daughter that she overlooks her.

Christy's dad (Clive Owen) Overprotective dad that overlooks his obedient, quiet child, Christy
Katie Lee (Christina Ricci) Head Bully of the high school. Mean to her core.

Marion (Lauren Graham) John's facilitator. Makes Christy's life a tad bit better under John's reign
Katy (Sian Williams) Federal Marshall and nanny extraordinaire
Wendy (Lela Rochon) Christy's closest friend on the cheer team

Lillian (Bella Thorne) Cheer captain who makes sure all the cheerleaders follow "the rules"
Matthew (Logan Lerman) The perfect trainable nerdy boyfriend

Cort ( Josh Lucas) Agent who teaches Christy to be a master of disguise

What do you think of that cast? Do you agree with Cindy? If you want a peek at the dream cast from her first novel, Watched, go  to Jessie's blog . Of course Christy, Alex and Rick are there.
To celebrate the release of Protected(3/24)WATCHED, the first book in the series is only $.99!!  You can get them both at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  You can also find Cindy online on her blog, here, on Facebook or on Twitter.

To continue on with Cindy's blog tour, please check out She's Got the Write Stuff  blog.

Here's what a few people are saying about Protected:

"A suspenseful, romantic, and intriguing novel. Protected is a riveting novel that I couldn’t put down until the very last word." Miriam Barton, author 

"This is one of the very best YA series I have ever read and it's definitely worth picking up."
Kitty Bullard- GMTA Reviewer

"From bullies to terrorists, Christy faces challenge after challenge in this stunning sequel that raises the stakes, both for her safety, and her love-life. A fantastic addition to a series that is sure to catch the hearts of readers." ~Heather McCorkle, author of the Channeler series 
Here's author Cindy M. Hogan's mug

Monday, April 09, 2012

Guest Post: Doing Your Own Book Trailer (Rebekkah Ford)

I’m in the process of self-publishing my YA paranormal book, ‘Beyond the Eyes,’ and recently discovered I can make my own book trailer, which totally rocks. To be honest, though, I am less than proficient at computers. However, I think I can do this.


I think I can.

Yeah, I know. I sound like the little engine that could. But check this out so you can see why I think this.
Oh, and as a side note, there are several ways you can make a book trailer. You can make it as an actual movie with actors portraying your characters, you can use animations, or you can use still photos, set to music with the storyline written on the photo, which is what I’m going to do.

My computer has the Windows Movie Maker software in it, and I’ve read that most computers do. If yours don’t, I think you can download the program for free. There are other programs you can use as well, but I’m mentioning Windows Movie Maker because that’s what I have.

Now obviously, I don’t know the first thing about Windows Movie Maker, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn on my own, right? There are YouTube videos on how to use the program. So after I have everything put together, I’m going to watch those videos, and then go into that program and play around with it until I know what I’m doing.

Once you decide to make a book trailer, here are the things you’ll need to do first . . .

1.) Go to YouTube and watch the book trailers there so you have an idea on how it works and what other people have done. Take notes on your likes and dislikes. It’ll help you generate ideas for your own book trailer. Pay attention to your feelings, and what type of music and pictures arouses the type of emotion(s) you’re seeking to convey to your audience. Write it down because that’s what you want. You want people who watch your book trailer to feel a connection with your character(s) and the story. Write ideas down for your own book trailer.

2.) Next step is selecting the pictures. There are free photo stock images out there that won’t violate copyright laws. You can google "royalty free photo." Choose images that fit the theme and setting of your book. Save them in my picture’s folder.

3.) Now you get to choose your music. I didn’t know this until recently, but there’s music available you can download for free without violating copyright laws.

How cool is that?

Like everything else, the selection of the type of music you’re going to use is very important because it connects the audience with tone of your book, and hopefully stirs enough emotions, to get them to take interest in your book.

4.) Next is summarizing your plot. Honestly, I think that’s going to be the hardest part. Right now, I’m still struggling with the blurb for the back of my book, so I’m guessing this might be a challenge as well. Just remember when you write the text for your book trailer, not to get too wordy. As long as you can put across the premise and characters of your book, you’ll be fine. And of course, the text needs to match the pictures you put it on, but that’s a given, right? It’s not rocket science.

5.) And finally, you need to learn how Windows Movie Maker works and putting it all together.

And then . . .

Ta da!

You’re all done.


Now you have a book trailer you did all by yourself that you can be proud of, and is a great marketing tool for your book.

Contributor Bio

Rebekkah Ford grew up in a paranormal family. Her parents’ Charles and Geri Wilhelm were the Directors of the UFO Investigators League in Fairfield, Ohio, back in the 1970s. They also investigated ghost hauntings and Bigfoot sightings in addition to UFO’s. Growing up in this type of environment and having the passion for writing is what drove Rebekkah at an early age to write stories dealing with the paranormal. At one point in her life, she thought she wanted to be a journalist, and although she enjoyed writing articles, she quickly discovered her real passion was writing fiction. Her fascination with the paranormal is what led her to write the ‘Beyond the Eyes’ series. Visit her online and read her blog.