A very nice review of Ice. Thanks to Ms. Janis Cramlett



Writing is like fishing. You toss out your line (i.e. your book) hopping to hook a fish(i.e. a reader). They say as well that if you don’t hook your reader within the first few lines then it’s over. That person will probably not continue reading your book. Well luckily Mrs. Wren is a great fisherman for she hooks you within the first few lines with her tantalizing use of words. She writes with a mystery that begs you to read more to find out the meaning behind her setting of words.

Jessica Wren’s book “Ice” takes you on a dramatic, jolting ride. There is a mystery brewing in the small town of Minterville, Georgia. First two mysterious families have moved into the small town of Minterville, which has also brought on an eerie physical gloom of clouds that hang over the town. The clouds just hang there like a cover of gloom giving no rain. Next the Minter stopped. The Minter is this little secret mental communication board some of the towns folks have in Minterville. The big problem with it stopping is that it only stops when there is an evil presence around.

If that is not of enough worry for the residents of Minterville, the women of Minterville start disappearing…

Jessica Wren then takes the floor out from under you as the story takes a shockingly, wicked turn. To remind you this book is title “ICE

 ” there is a reason for that. I enjoyed how the Mrs. Wren weaved the title of her book into the story itself. There is a reason this book is entitled “ICE”. It is not pretty either.

Written in parts, with different narratives by certain towns folks of Minterville was an interesting narrative choice. It worked too. It gave the book a feel of finding an old town newspaper, or town history book. This worked with the overall tone of the story too.

Overall I enjoyed “ICE”. The book was not what I thought it would be. Jessica Wren sets up a nice cozy setting then all of a sudden it takes an enthralling unexpected turn that does not disappoint you.

There were a lot of characters and people being related to this person and that in the book. It kind of confused me a bit, but that is just me. Genealogy confuses me sometime with your brother being your uncles monkey or something like that. In the end good read. This innocently titled book will shock you.

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Presenting a Special Guest, Mr. Ian Probert

Ian Probert

Good afternoon! It is my pleasure to present a very special guest, Ian Probert, author of the hilarious young-adult comedy. Johnny Nothing. Johnny Nothing follows the adventures of a neglected but good-hearted young boy who wins a fortune from an estranged uncle. The money comes with a challenge: he must, after one year, have only a little more in the account that the original amount. If he can meet this challenge, he will receive ten times the amount. Johnny’s challenge is to keep his greedy, uncaring parents from squandering the fortune. Can he meet the challenge, or will be in the same position where he started. Readers will be laughing their heads off at every page at Probert’s irreverent sense of humor.

About Mr. Probert:

Author biography:

Ian Probert has been scribbling down words ever since he learned to spell the phrase: ‘Once upon a time…’. He is the author of Internet Spy, Rope Burns and a bunch of other titles. Internet Spy was a bestseller in the US and made into a TV film. Rope Burns is a book about why books shouldn’t be written about boxing. Ian has also written things for a shed load of newspapers and magazines. When Ian was a student he used to write lots of letters to the bank manager.

Here is what critics are saying about Johnny Nothing:


“Great new kids book alert! My two are in hysterics reading Johnny Nothing by Ian Probert (and I am too).” Jane Bruton, Editor of Grazia

“Oh, Wow! Dark, sordid, grotesque and hilarious are only a few words I can conjure up to describe this hilarious book.” Lizzie Baldwin, mylittlebookblog

Critics are comparing Ian Probert to Roald Dahl. And Johnny Nothing we have a modern successor to Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.

Johnny Nothing is best-selling author Ian Probert’s first ever children’s book – although adults are enjoying it too. The story of the poorest boy in the world and the nastiest mother in the universe, the book is earning rave reviews. Children and grown-ups are all laughing at this incredibly funny kids book.

To celebrate the paperback launch of Johnny Nothing we are offering a free Kindle copy of the book to the first 100 people who Tweet the following message:

@truth42 I’m reading Johnny Nothing by Ian Probert. http://geni.us/3oR8 #YA #Kindle #kidsbooks

The first ten readers who answer the following question will also receive a signed print of one of the book’s illustrations.

Q: What is the tattoo on Ben’s arm?

Send your answers to truth42@icloud.com


Amazon http://geni.us/3oR8

iBooks https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/johnny-nothing/id908777441?mt=11

Book promo http://youtu.be/xaWO4tR4oj0?list=UUzLRcpNMLRKKtJhes1s1C7w

WordPress http://ianprobertbooks.wordpress.com

Website http://ianprobert.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/716683635030173/

Twitter @truth42

Here is an excerpt and an excellent example of the hilarity that you will encounter:

Bill had a shaven head and was wearing a blue tracksuit. He was almost seven feet tall and built like an outdoor toilet made of brick. Bill didn’t realise this but he was a distant descendent of Neanderthal Man. He had only one eyebrow – one long bushy eyebrow that reached right across his forehead. He looked like what you might get if you force fed a member of Oasis with a half-tonne black plastic sackful of steroids.
And if you were brave enough to be present when he took off his tracksuit you would discover that his back was so covered in hair that he was able part it with a comb. If Bill had had more of an interest in fashion, he might even have considered giving it a curly perm and perhaps a few extensions
On his right arm, Bill had a tattoo which simply read ‘Bill’. This was in case he woke up one morning and forgot who he was. This was actually less unlikely than you might imagine because standing next to him was his twin brother. His name was Ben and he was identical to Bill in every way except that the tattoo on his arm read ‘Bin’ (the tattooist was either South African or not a very good speller). He was wearing a red tracksuit.
Bill gave Mr. and Mrs. MacKenzie the tiniest of smiles and managed to grunt ‘hello’. Ben gave the couple exactly the same tiniest of smiles and also managed to grunt ‘hello’.
The two men were standing protectively close to Johnny. They were so large that in the confines of Johnny’s bedroom they looked like giants, which they were. They were so enormous that each of them had their own postcode. They were so gigantic that they had their passport photos taken by satellite. They were so humungous that you could spend all day thinking up rubbishy jokes about how big they were and never adequately describe just how indescribably, earth-shatteringly ENORMOUS they were. By no stretch of the imagination could you call them small (unless, of course, you were a lot bigger than them).
The pair of Goliaths were having to stoop slightly so as to avoid head-butting the ceiling, which actually even looked a little scared itself. They were a terrifying sight. Even scarier than a school trip to a Weight-Watcher’s nudist camp.
There was a long, pregnant silence in the room like this:
This eventually gave birth to an even longer post-natal silence, which, in the interest of preserving the rain forests or the battery on your Kindle, I shan’t demonstrate.
The four grown-ups eyed each other nervously. Bill and Ben looked at the Mackenzies like they were looking at insects that could be squashed into pulpy insect juice any time they so desired.
The Mackenzies looked at Bill and Ben like they were looking at two giant skinhead Neanderthal bully boys who had just appeared from nowhere in their recently and unexpectedly decorated council flat.
Johnny looked a little scared.
Finally Billy Mackenzie managed to get his mouth working a little and spluttered: ‘Who are you?’ And then: ‘What do you want?’
There was another long silence – let’s call it a pause – while Bill and Ben looked at each other as if trying to decide who was going to answer. Finally Bill spoke: ‘You the boy’s parents?’ he demanded in a voice that sounded like an angry rhino with horn-ache. Although if he was clever enough he would have realised that this was a rhetorical question.
There was yet another long silence (you’ll be relieved to hear that this is the last silence you’re going to get in this chapter) before Billy Mackenzie mumbled ‘Yes’.
‘We’re Johnny’s bodyguards,’ continued Bill. ‘We’re here to make sure that everything’s hunky dory.’
‘Hunky dory?’ Mrs. Mackenzie suddenly found her voice. ‘What do you mean ‘hunky dory”?’
Now Ben spoke: ‘What my brother means to say,’ he explained. ‘Is that we’ve been – how shall I say – contracted – to make sure that this young feller’s affairs are in order.’
‘Get out of my house!’ interrupted Mrs. Mackenzie, suddenly feeling a little braver, although she had no idea why.
Bill and Ben looked at each again for a moment. They did this almost as much as your mum looks in the mirror. Or you dad looks at websites that he shouldn’t be looking at. ‘First of all,’ said Bill, ‘This isn’t a house – it’s a flat.’
‘And second of all,’ said his brother. ‘We ain’t going nowhere. And neither are you.’
‘Johnny who are these men?’ Mrs. MacKenzie asked her son, ignoring the two giants.
‘I’m sorry mum but…’ Johnny started to speak but Bill cut in like a pair of scissors that chops sentences into bits.
‘…What the young feller means to say is that the fun’s over.’
‘The fun’s over?’ repeated Felicity MacKenzie numbly.
‘That’s right,’ continued Ben. ‘You’ve had a right old time. You’ve been spending his money like it’s your own. You’ve been ripping the poor young feller off. And we’re here to put a stop to it. From now on things are gonna be different.’
‘I’ve had enough of this,’ said Mrs. MacKenzie. ‘Nobody speaks to me like this in my house…’
‘Flat,’ corrected Ben.
‘Nobody speaks to me like this in my flat. Billy, call the police!’
As usual Billy MacKenzie did as he was told. He reached into his pocket for his mobile phone. Before he had the chance to even turn it on the gigantic frame of Bill was towering over him.
‘That an iPhone?’ asked Ben.
‘Erm… Yes,’ said Billy, who could only watch as the huge man took it from him and with one hand crushed it into a chunk of buckled metal and shattered touch screen.
‘I think it’s broken,’ said Ben. ‘You ought to take it back to the Apple store. Tell ‘em that you’re not getting a decent signal.’
‘Right!’ cried Mrs. MacKenzie. ‘We’re leaving! You’ll be very sorry you did that. I’ll fetch the police myself!’
Now the giant frame of Bill was standing in front of her. He was holding something in his hand that looked a little like a child’s toy space gun.
‘Know what this is?’ he asked. Although once again he wasn’t clever enough to recognise that this was a rhetorical question.
Mrs. Mackenzie regarded the object for a moment. Then she shook her head. Whatever it was she guessed that it was not intended to provide pleasure, happiness or fulfilment. Anything that has a trigger and a barrel and goes ‘bang!’ seldom does.
‘Come on Billy!’ she said. ‘We’re leaving!’
Bill stood in front of her blocking the doorway. ‘Not so fast,’ he said, not so slowly. ‘It’s called a Taser. See this little trigger at the front? If I press this it’ll give you a small electric shock. It won’t hurt you…Well not too much anyway.’
Bill raised the object and gently touched Mrs. MacKenzie on the arm. There was a loudish bang and a flash of blue neon light and Mrs. MacKenzie collapsed groaning to the floor. She was conscious but wasn’t able to move her arms and legs
‘Oh my gawd!’ said Billy Mackenzie bravely charging out of the room in terror. He got as far as the stairs before there was a second flash. He, too, crumpled to the floor. Bill dragged him back into the bedroom by the scruff of his neck.
Johnny Nothing got to his feet and stood over his two parents. He looked anxious. ‘Are they… Are they… OK?’ he gasped.
‘Don’t you worry yourself,’ smiled Ben. ‘Give em a few minutes and they’ll be right as rain.’
‘But they’ll think twice before they try to run off again,’ said his brother.

 I read Johnny Nothing and wanted to ask Probert some more questions about his life, his work, and writing career in general. Here is the interview:

  1. What made you decide to be a writer?
    > I never really made that decision. Nor was it made for me. It just kind of happened by osmosis and probably because I can’t really do anything else. In the late 1980s I was a squatter in London. One day I found an old typewriter and used it to write an article. I sent it to a magazine and was amazed when they published it. So I did another. And another. Then I started writing for newspapers and one of them offered me a full-time job. Then I became the editor of a sports magazine. Then books. I’ve been writing for a long time, although I was insulted when someone online called me a ‘veteran writer’. Blimey. Give me a break
    > 2. What gave you the idea for Johnny Nothing?
    > I was very ill for years and years. You can read about it here if you’re interested.http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/sep/08/underactive-thyroid-was-slowly-killing-me. By the time I was finally diagnosed and given the correct treatment I had a lot of catching up to do. I hadn’t written anything in 13 years! Johnny Nothing was for my daughter. I wanted something to read to her at night that might make her laugh. It was written during a three-month splorgasm of activity.
    > 3. What attracted you to the YA genre?
    > For the reasons above. However, in reality I don’t write with any genre in mind. I might have less swear words in Johnny Nothing and no sex but it’s a mistake to ever intentionally dumb yourself down. Kids are just as intelligent as adults.
    > 4. Your protagonist has a good heart in spite of having few friends and cold, neglectful parents. Do you believe that goodness is a product of raising, an inherent quality in each person, or a combination of both?
    > Well in reality Johnny Nothing is probably me. All the characters in my books are probably me. I was brought up in a working class family. Things were tight when I was growing up. We slept in a cardboard box in the middle of the street. I think the question you’re asking is nature versus nurture. I’m definitely on the side of nature. People come out fully formed – being a parent has taught me that. All you can do is try to point them in the right direction.
    > 5. In Johnny Nothing, you make very clear allusions to A Christmas Carol, and Johnny Nothing seems like a modern-day Oliver Twist. Were you inspired by the works of Charles Dickens?
    > I love Dickens. What wouldn’t you? I think that ‘Marley was dead…’ is the best opening paragraph ever written. In fact, I wanted to begin Johnny Nothing with the same sentence. Hence Uncle Marley. However, things have a habit of changing.
    > 6..What were your other inspirations for Johnny Nothing?
    > Douglas Adams, whom I once interviewed. Rick Mayall. Fawlty Towers. Seinfeld. Larry David. Dad’s Army. Anything anarchic that mentions bottoms really.
    > 7. Johnny Nothing is written in a humorous, irreverent tone, which offsets its more serious themes of poverty, child abuse/neglect, and conspicuous consumption. Was it your intention to teach a moral lesson with humour in Johnny Nothing?
    > My only premise when I set out was to make readers laugh. However, as things developed I guess I wanted to demonstrate that being a good person is not a bad thing to be. Is that an oxymoron?
    > 8. In the book, you have a fake contest entry form. Did anyone actually try to enter the contest?
    > Unfortunately not, although who’s to say if the Prime Minister has had any strange abusive letters from kids? However, I have had emails asking me if I was serious. This takes me back to my days as a sports writer. I once wrote a caption for a picture of two boxers who had fallen over in the ring along the lines of: ‘Benn helps Eubank to look for his contact lenses…’ In the morning a journo from the Daily Express rang me to ask if Eubank really was wearing contact lenses. ‘It’s very dangerous,’ he said.
    > 9.. The ending leaves room for a sequel. Is there one in the making?
    > Dunno. Yes I did definitely leave things open ended a little but I’m not sure. I’ve never written a sequel before. I don’t like repeating myself. I don’t like repeating myself. I don’t like repeating myself. However, the reaction to the book’s characters – especially the mother – have been so positive that it sometimes seems a waste to ditch them forever.
    > 10. Your book also has a recurring theme of karma. What are your beliefs in karma?
    > Well I suppose I very much believe that you reap what you sow. But I’m interested that you say that. It hadn’t occurred to me that there were any themes of karma. I’ll have to read the thing one day.
    > 11. Your novel also manages to weave in health lessons, such as not smoking, not drinking, and eating a healthy diet. For this reason (and another which I won’t ask here because I don’t want to give away too much), I got the impression you wrote this to be read in schools. Have you contacted any schools about possible selling copies of Johnny Nothing to the library?
    > I’m pleased to say that schools have been contacting me. In March I’m due to do a tour of schools in the North of England. I plan to do some type of interactive slide show. Get the kids involved. have them reading parts in funny distorted voices.
    > 12. Are you working on anything new at the moment? If so, do you care to give us a hint?
    > While I don’t like to talk about current projects because you can look a pillock if they don’t come to fruition. I can tell you that the main character dies on page one which, I believe, is a first. It’s another kids book I think.
    > 13. Do you have any other thoughts you wish to share?
    > Only that I’d like to thank you for conducting this interview. And that readers really ought to buy Johnny Nothing. Several copies each, in fact. It would be splendid if they could do this for me.

Johnny Nothing is on a very short list of Jessica Wren’s must-read-before-you-die’s. Pick up your copy today and place it on your reading bucket list. After all, dying from funny-bone failure is one of the most pleasant ways to go.

Need a Quick Read? BUY THIS! AND… Support Indie Authors!

The Dystopian Nation of City-State

Buy Here     jinn cover complete

Don’t have time to read a full-length novel or book right now?  Short stories are the new trend!  The Dystopian Nation of City-State has a plethora of shorts to capture your attention and keep you moving through your busy day!

Check out the reviews and our work on Amazon and Goodreads.  They are written by complete strangers during the writing, editing and publishing process:

The Dystopian Nation of City-State – “How to Kill Your Senator” (short story – about 3,000 words)

A great, quick read for $.99 –


The Dystopian Nation of City-State: An Anthology (a collection of short stories that outline and provide the foundation for this dystopian paradise) priced at $1.99 –


*The hard copy of the anthology is coming soon… oh, the joys of Create Space!  Stay tuned for that blog post.

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“ The Homicide Unit!” Prince John stated in surprise as McGuire faced him in the interrogation room.  “Yo, I ain’t killed nobody.”

“We never said you did. You’re not under arrest for murder,” McGuire told him. “It’s just that we could use your help. If you can do that, we won’t tell your probation officer that you sold heroin to an undercover cop.”

“I hear ya, miss. Whatcha need my help with?”

“Well, for starters, I’m just curious,” McGuire began to break the ice. “Why do they call you Prince John?”

Prince John let out a loud, hearty guffaw, revealing gold caps on his teeth. In the few minutes that he was here, McGuire found, a little to her dismay, that she liked the high-profile drug dealer. He had a strangely magnetic personality that made him charming.

“Well, I sho ain’t no Robin Hood,” he said. “I take the money from them po’ mothafuckers and make myself rich. For just a bit of that shit, they be giving me all they money. They be shootin’ and robbin’ and killin’ for a shot of dope. And I just keep pullin the in dat bread.” This was followed by another hearty laugh. McGuire tried her best to contain her own mirth but found herself laughing along with him.

“Well, you must have made a load of bread the other night,” McGuire said. “Two pounds of heroin. And that’s what we need to know. Who did you sell it to?”

“What make you so sho I sold dat dope?”

“Oh, come on, we both know you “da man” when it comes to sellin the dope,” McGuire told him with a fist pump for emphasis. “The thing is, the dope you sold was used in a homicide.”

The joyful laughter went out of Prince John’s face, and he was suddenly panic-stricken. “You talkin’ bout them two girls..Oh, shit!” Prince John buried his face in his hands.

“Yes, and we’d like to know who killed them,” McGuire told him.

“See, I only deal this shit fo’ the money, yo. I got a daughter dat mean everything to me, and I wanna make sho she got the best, you hear me? My sista got into this shit when she was just a kid, you know what I’m sayin? Now she got the AIDS and she gon’ die soon. I sho hope Regina, my daughter, don’t ever get into this shit. I do my best to hide it from her. It kills the body and the soul. I don’t shoot it up, I just sell. I..I..oh, my God,” Prince John was becoming flustered.

“I’m sorry about your sister. Can you tell me who you sold the heroin to?” McGuire asked, genuinely moved to compassion.

“It was some white dude. No one I ever met. Not one of my regulars. He was all dressed, ya know, in a suit. Like he be some kind of businessman. And wearin’ this stupid ass lookin’ mask. I was thinkin’ ‘dis mothafucker gon’ get hisself shot out here.’ And here’s the thing. He was talkin’ in some kind of accent. Talkin’ like he from England or some shit. Like he was actin’ in some play. “Cept I could tell he be fakin’ it. I just look at this clown while he asked me for two pounds of heroin in this accent and I be thinkin ‘who this fool think he is?’ He just be talkin’ like he from England. I just stared at this fool and wonderin’ why he was tryin’ to disguise his voice and I be like “But of course, sir, would you like some tea and  crumpets with your dope?” Prince John mimicked a British accent, which made McGuire burst out laughing.

“What did the mask look like?” she asked.

“It was…a white mask. Looked like the face of a man who be cryin.’ I think it was made of plastic, like the kind the kids wear for Halloween.”

“He didn’t look like this, did he?” McGuire aked, showing him the sketch of Seth Jordan.

“Nah, that man the other night was thick. That dude in the picture, he too skinny.”

“And you’re positive it was a white man?”

“If he wasn’t white man, he was an ugly ass-sounding white woman.”

“And you’ll let us know if he shows up again?” Prince John nodded. “Also, before you go, will you tell us if you recognize this woman?” When McGuire showed him the picture of Christina Anderson, Prince John froze.

“Someone killed her, too?” he asked in a low voice.

“We think so, and we think that the same person who killed her also killed Brittany and Samantha Hicks. Anything you can do to help us would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time, but may I say something before you go?” Prince John nodded. The shock prevented him from responding verbally.

“Just remember that everyone you sell to is someone’s sister, or brother, or parent. What would you want to say to the dealer who first sold your sister drugs? I know you want the best for your little girl, but consider that there might be a better way. And think of the example you are setting for her.”

Prince John opened his mouth as if he wanted to say something, but left the room without a word.

Author Spotlight-Mark Shaw

Mark Shaw is a pioneer in the movement to get indie books noticed. He is the founder of the hashtag (and corresponding promotional group) #indiebooksbeseen. His motto is “making indie trendy.” He is also an indie writer himself, and one day I got to thinking that maybe his work needs some recognition. I picked up Keeper of the Wind and got a pleasant treat.

In Keeper of the Wind, three high school seniors wander away from a school camping trip and get lost in a cave, where they discover some Indian artifacts. They post the items for sale on eBay, and are immediately contacted by Professor Waters, an anthropologist, and Justin Sigo, a malevolent shaman. Of particular interest is a staff that has the power to control the winds. A stand-off ensues that will culminate in an epic battle of good vs. evil.

Through his work, Shaw reflects a deep respect for Native American cultures, and for other cultures in general. The teenagers speak using adolescent street slang, which gives the book a humorous element and takes the edge off its more serious themes (respect, tolerance, justice) Readers will also feel nostalgia for their own teenage experiences (first love, prom, going out with friends, graduation, etc.). A highly recommended read.

To read: http://www.amazon.com/Keeper-Wind-Mark-Shaw-ebook/dp/B00I8P9JLK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1421794109&sr=1-1&keywords=keeper+of+the+wind

Need a favor.

Please Join my Facebook group Jessica Wren Fiction. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1397640247199145/

It would be most helpful if you would invite your friends. There will be a $10 (minimum) drawing for an Amazon gift card every week starting February 1st, for which all members will be entered. Trying to get this book to take off, and some of the methods that worked in 2013 don’t work today. (simple supply and demand at work).

Author Spotlight-A.S Aramiru

As writing goes more indie, I am getting the pleasure of reading many more blended genre books. Authors are no longer pigeonholed into a single genre. The novel I just finished, A.S. Aramiru’s Black Halo: The Witch and The Guardian is an expertly blended book that is equal parts young-adult, dystopian, and fantasy. And like a perfectly mixed drink, Black Halo gives you a satisfying buzz without leaving you with a hangover. 
Out of nowhere, a mysterious light appears out of the sky. The world descends into chaos, violence, and confusion,and world leaders blame the mayhem on the “gifteds,” a group of mostly adolescents with supernatural abilities, such as telepathy, teleportation, clairvoyance, and element-bending. It is rumored that the gifteds got their powers from the Light, which created The Witch.
The theme of friendship and loyalty is prevalent throughout.  The Witch and Kalin (her guardian) are completely devoted to protecting and supporting each other, which gives the story a heartwarming feel. As for the other characters, the reader is left wondering whom to trust, as it is difficult to tell friend from foe amidst the chaos and everyone seems to have his or her own personal agenda. Other very important themes are acceptance vs. stereotyping and intolerance.  Aramiru also contemplates the role that free will has on our destinies, and to what extent our destinies are pre-determined. 
Is The Witch really as evil as the media claims she is? What power does she have to change the world? What will she have to sacrifice in order to fulfill her destiny? This page-turner will keep you reading just to find out the answers to these questions.”
To read:  http://www.amazon.com/Black-Halo-Guardian-S-Aramiru-ebook/dp/B00PGFI8HQ/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1421713813&sr=1-3&keywords=Black+Halo

Indie Book Promotion-What Not To Do

It’s a little frightening, really. When you Google “tips for Promoting an Ebook,” the thought that something that worked as well as early as 2013 is outdated now. The indie book publishing market is evolving at a frighteningly rapid pace, and to keep up, you can’t take a bicycle. You have to take the express train.

When i first published “Ice” in September of 2014, oh, you would laugh at how ignorant I was. here was the first in a long of of “don’ts” that I am guilty of:

1. Sit back and twiddle your thumbs and hope your readers find you-I’m a notorious procrastinator, and I just assumed that if I had an ebook on Amazon, it would get downloaded at a breathtaking pace. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. You know what they say…oh wait, I’m not done yet HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Ok, that’s better. As I was saying, you know what they say about ASSuming. So my next step:

2. Post a tweet or two and wait for the magic to happen.-Ok, I’m going to have to stop for a second because I’m in serious danger of busting out laughing again. You know how it is. You’re scanning Twitter and you see a tweet about a book. You think “that seems interesting. Wait, did I remember to pay the Visa bill?…” I made the mistake of ASSuming that an interesting tweet will automatically make people think “OMG, I have to have that book right now! Screw Visa! Screw my credit score! I have to have that book RIGHT NOW!” Sure I got a lot of favorites and retweets, but, unfortunately, retweets and favorites do not equal sales. So, what’s next?

3. Tweet the hell out of it.-Nope. Carpet-bombing Twitter and other social media sites had little effect on my sales but did a lot to annoy others. (And I still do it. Will I eva loin?)

4. Paid services, maybe?- I can’t speak for the success of many of them, mostly because my broke behind can’t pay $50 for a single mention in their sea of others. And some others have such restrictive requirements and/or such a long waiting list it’s like “Why bother?” I can tell you that Bookdaily sure ain’t worth the $50 a month. Which brings me to my next don’t:

5. An Email list, maybe?- As an Bookdaily author, I also get their emails. Guess what I do with them? I suspect most folks do the same, especially if they are free members. Do you really think that people are sitting there, anxiously awaiting the emails from BookDaily (or any other emailing list) to see what’s featured? Ain’t nobody got time for that. (another throwback from 2013. Damn, I’m starting to feel old.) People are busy. They are going to scan their inboxes and look for the important stuff. Things like “YOUR VISA BILL IS 30 DAYS PAST DUE’ are probably going to get their attention faster than my gorgeous cover and expertly-written blurb. Once the dizzied, panicked feeling subsides, they are probably going to delete everything else. Plus, you know how when you get the same email every day you tend to ignore it after awhile?

6. Sneaky mentions of your book into everyday conversations.-One site I read suggested that you set the autoreply of your email to “Working on my book-get back with you ASAP.” Well, maybe, but the people who email me already know I’m working on a book and the other is my work email (gotta keep the day job. The yungin’ still needs to be fed).  And go ahead and be honest. You’re not going to buy “Ice” after reading this blog, are you? Darn :(.

7. KDP Select- This might as well stand for Ke$ha Dance Party, because it’s soooo 2011. It may have been great back in the old days, when we still used MySpace. The concept was that people would download your book when it was free, get totally into it, and leave a smashing review. The reality was that people would download your book when it was free, remember that they had to pay the Visa bill, and forget your book was in their Kindle. In any case, neither of my free promo periods resulted in a single review in spite of over 1,000 copies being downloaded.

8 Book trailers?-Maybe. I haven’t tried this, so I can’t speak for its success. But my spidey senses are telling me a book trailer would be competing with a gazillion videos of cute kittens and wiggly babies. Plus, you have to have videos that are interesting enough that viewers will watch them til the end, and unfortunately, the Gem Sweater Lady set that bar hopelessly high. They cost a lot too, unless you are tech-savvy and can make them yourself (not I).

So, is there ANY hope at all for an indie author who has a yungin’ to feed and is 30 days past due on the Visa Bill (*whistles*)?

I have noticed that I had a spike in sales after a successful review exchange (which, please don’t argue with me over the pros and cons of review exchanges. I made a lot friends that way, which are waaay more important to me than sales. Yeah, go ahead and groan, but i mean it.). Here are my theories, which may lead to some new and creative ways to market until 2016 gets here.

A review exchange works because another person (not me) is representing him- or herself as a reader (not a fellow indie author) and talking me up on social media, a blog, a website, or my word-of-mouth (does that even exist anymore?) to friends. To test this theory, I chose a book that I reviewed in the past and asked the author if he would like for his book as Book of the Month. I then proceeded to scream his name (wait, that sounds wrong, let me backtrack) scream his title on the four winds of social media and invite people to join my Book of the Month club, where this title would get a month’s worth of undivided attention. I was surprised myself at how well my idea caught on. People are enthused and I was even able to gain a club co-sponsor. And the happy guinea pg, er, author is reporting better than ever sales. Soooo, my advice would be to:

1. Enlist the trust of a few supportive, gregarious friends. Instead of tweeting the hell out of your book and getting a warning from a Facebook group moderator (which has never happened to me. No, sir. Not ever.) have your friends scream your name  title on the four winds of social media (even better if they actually read the book hehehehe).

But, are people really flocking to read a title from a very talented but equally unknown author just because I told them to? Maybe it’s my magical power of persuasion? (Please buy “Ice.” Reading it will not only entertain you, but it will cause the acne on your butt to clear up). Or not. it could be the fact that I have offered to enter every valid reviewer into a drawing for a $20 Amazon gift card. So Tip #2.

2. Via your friends, offer some kind of incentive.- you can get creative with this, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be money. Are you bribing people to read your books? Absolutely. But be honest: do you get up every morning at 6:30 because you just can’t wait for an exciting day of grumpy customers and computer glitches? Just sayin…Just about everything people do is either to gain a reward or avoid punishment (whether extrinsic or intrinsic), so why not use any kick-in-the-pants method you can (legally and ethically) use? Provided it doesn’t actually involve kicking someone in the pants. They may not appreciate that.

But are people really flocking on my book of the month bandwagon for a slim chance of winning a measly prize? Hmmm.

3. People are joiners by nature so if you have someone scream your name title on the four winds, the group mentality may take over- So instead of having people promote your title per se, create a group for your book, and have your friends invite others to join it. Then the friends should invite their friends, and their friends, and their friends, and on and on. You can even offer some kind of incentive once the group reaches a certain member ship. The goal is to…

4. Create a captive audience-This is why Superbowl commercials are so memorable. The commercials themselves are goofy, but the viewership of the Superbowl gets attention for the product that it wouldn’t otherwise receive (and why people are still taking about Janet Jackson’s nip-slip). By having people join a group, you can create an audience that you can say “Hey! Check this out!” to. They may or may not buy your book, but they may be kind enough to refer your book to someone else. And you can then start getting them interested in your next book.

5. You have to continue to keep them interested, but not in a pushy way.- The fact that your friends have enjoyed your book so much that they are creating a group for it (hehe) gives your book that special “handpicked” feel. Would you have bought Divergent if you didn’t see a display of it every two seconds or hear you friends rave about it? Possibly, but the chances are greater that someone will buy your book if it passes the awesome-book-clearance-test (that is, someone on the internet says it’s an awesome book). But humans have an attention span that lasts as long as Lindsey Lohan’s periods of sobriety, so you got to keep giving them fresh material to keep them interested. Start having your friends post about your next book (which I should be working on, but I’m a notorious procrastinator) by giving sample chapters, teasers, book covers, giveaways, whatever works (I know nothing about releasing a second book, so I’ll save that for another post).

6. But you are asking your friends to do you a ginormous, possible career-changing favor. What’s in it for them?-A steak dinner at Longhorns? A diamond ring? Your undying gratitude? You’ll have to work that out with your friends, but in any case, NEVER forget to show your appreciation for those who support you and speak on your behalf. People remember things like that.

Now, please go buy “Ice” while I deal with this 30-day past due Visa bill and fix my yungin’s bottle. Aww, look at the wiggly baby….

Revenge really IS a best served cold…

The way twenty women are brutally punished over one person’s long-ago mistake will leave you chilled to the bone. How many women will survive the vicious attack? Who will survive, and who is receiving secret help? Find out when you read Ice today


Elenita was kidnapped 17 years ago. What really happened to her?

In the otherwise crime-free town of Minterville, Georgia, little Elenita Velasquez disappeared without a trace in 1994. it was one of only two crimes that had ever occurred in the town’s history. Elenita has not been seen or heard from since, and her diappearance has never been solved.

But what really happened to her? Who took her? The answers to these questions will shock you to the very core. Check out Ice and find out what happened to little Elenita.