Thursday, December 1, 2016

Books from Santa

A Book for Christmas? Are you serious? Has Santa fallen on his head? OK, even if you don't celebrate Christmas....a book, as a G-I-F-T?
Hmmm, I might need to think about this...

No, but wait!

Haven't you seen it?
It’s been making its way around the internet. You know, on sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.

Personally, I like it. So here it is:

...Something to why would you want to do that?

Excellent question! Because you see, it is the most wondrous gift of all.

"Something they want," will be quickly replaced by what they really want -come January.

"Something they need," will move over so the  next need can make itself known,

"Something to wear," will be outgrown in the blink of an eye, if not outdated before, but 

"Something to read," will live on forever. 

Wait, hear me out. Just think about it...

A book is so much more than a movie. It's portable, doesn't require batteries, and then there's the fact that you can get inside your character's head. You know their innermost thoughts and emotions. you feel along with them. 
The special effects are as limitless as the imagination, and the stories are more fantastic than one's dreams.

Every time you read it, you notice something that might have been overlooked in the past. Yes, you can re-read a book. This is not a 'one-time' gift.

You get to know and love the characters. You think about them as though they were right there beside you...making you laugh or cry, taking you on the ultimate adventure to save the universe or just sharing good conversation and a comforting cup of cocoa.

Here are two articles that give you 10 reasons why people who read more make better leaders, or how they are more likely to be successful. They go on to list how these readers have better people skills, a wider vocabulary, a more rounded perspective, to name a few. Now aren't these good reasons to promote reading? Your gift can impact a person's life....whoa, profound.

Paperbacks and hardcovers can be expensive, but have you ever considered an e-book? It can be read on one's phone, iPad or PC if the receiver doesn't have an e-reader.

Owning an e-reader means you can carry literally thousands of books with you everywhere you go. With built-in dictionaries and some models who can read to you, this makes the idea of offering a gift that 'keeps on giving' phenomenal. From the very young to the very old, makes it out to be one fantastic gift. (Not to mention the tons of free or bargain priced books offered by authors, just waiting to load up the e-reader).

Taking a trip to your local bookstore can be quite the treat once that spark for reading has been ignited. And it is one that will burn on throughout a lifetime. 
From picture books to comics, reference manuals to novels, cookbooks and craft ideas, there IS something for everyone.

Now admit it....this is something that just can't be beat!

Friday, July 1, 2016

A Lesson in Living History

History, a word that has made many cringe, shudder, and possibly cry in high school. But what if we were to consider just how much we could learn from reading historical novels of any genre. Fictional characters like Sherlock Holmes, or writers like Jane Austin, have allowed us a glimpse into an era long past.

Charles Dickens
Historical fiction authors have the burden of research, and the joy of discovery, while today’s readers have a wonderful opportunity to step back in time and let a world long gone come alive in a way no history book could compete with.  If you choose an author like Charles Dickens, his authentic characters and descriptions of setting must have some measure of historical accuracy…don't you think?

Arriving at Ellis Island
The magic comes alive as you open a book, for amidst the lines on the page you find yourself walking through New York over one hundred years ago, breathing in the smells from the steamships docked at the port. It’d rained yesterday, transforming the streets into a thick mud that clings to everything that dares touch it. You wait, anxiously glancing around, hoping to spot your family coming in from Ireland, praying they made it past the inspection on Ellis Island…hoping they haven’t succumbed to illness on the long ride in the overcrowded, unsanitary conditions.

Stark Home, Co
Or maybe, you're a young woman, moving west to a new life. Promised to a man you’ve never met.
Used to a life of privilege overseas, nothing could rightfully prepare you for what lies ahead. As our heroine comes to face her reality, so can readers.

The richness found in novels brings not only random facts, but life itself, filled with emotions, situations, struggles, sights and smells of a time lost to us. So when you add a date and event to the lives of these characters, it makes history real, easier to remember, and if you’re lucky, stirs your curiosity.

Read on, Watson.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Marketing We Will Go...with Colorado Marshal

Summer! Yes, it appears to have arrived at last. (So we won't complain about it being only 3 degrees above freezing last week). Yes, I know, and I'm sorry that the posts have been sparse of late, but let's hope we can get back into the swing of internet things. Today we are going to welcome Colorado Marshal, so let's dive into is and see where it takes us. 

Could you share a little about yourself and what led you to become a writer?
I have always been telling stories. I grew up on a ranch in the middle of nowhere, so self-entertainment was a necessity. I used to pass the time by watching a lot of old, classic movies and trying out my own wild adventures on the Breyer collection I had. I don’t know when I started writing things down, but once I did I couldn’t get enough of it. When I was little, I had extreme night terrors, and my mom used to help me try to “fix” the endings to the dreams; added to that, I had a really bad time as a teenager – depression, horrible anxiety, and zero confidence – so writing became a lifeline. I used it to heal. I suspect the impetus for using storytelling to improve my own situation came from my mom and those horrid dreams I had. I can relate to using writing as a means to heal. Good for you to have made use of your creativity to heal!

Do you write full time? How much of your life is set aside for writing?
I write as much as possible. At any given time I will hold between 2 and 4 jobs during the summer, but as I live in a tourist town, it dies off in winter. I use those months to write (a lot). I spent an entire winter, standing at the back counter of the ice cream shop I managed at the time, working on my book. The longer I do it, the more I am realizing the importance of routine, and the establishment of one. A routine can give the craziest of days a semblance of normality.

What genre do you write? Do you think your genre makes marketing easier or harder?
I am adventure romance all the way! A lot of my influences were the old movies I watched as a kid; as a result, my writing reflects similar values, methods, and relationships. I don’t believe this genre is any harder or easier to market than anything else, but my target audience is smaller than that of most adventure romance novels due to the “clean” nature of what I write. In the end, you must respect your writing and not worry about writing for others or the market because that'll be reflected in the writing. Trust that there is an audience for your work...and your job is to find it.

Do you know your target audience? What efforts do you make to reach out to these potential readers?
I am currently in the process of narrowing down and defining a specific audience. I have it generalized at the moment, and am starting to “stalk” them online to find out where they hang out. So it's kind of like stalking? You might want to rethink that in the future lol, but for now, as long as it is strictly for research, I suppose you can get away with it.

Do you have a traditional publishing contract, are you with an Indie publisher or do you Indie publish your own work?
I currently publish my own work and hope to expand into publishing the works of others, as well. Now that's ambitious. I couldn't imagine adding publishing to my schedule because then I'd really have to give up sleep.
Do you have an author platform? Can you tell us what yours consists of? 
*Crickets* Well maybe you can pick up some tips from the other authors participating in our blog series. Or let me know if you'd like my help.

How do you handle marketing? Do you have a plan, a publicist or just take one day at a time? Please elaborate on your methods.
At the moment I am taking it one day at a time, learning the craft of marketing, and trying to understand the various methods and outlets. Once I have done that and gotten my feet wet with a few reviews, experiences, etc, I will take what I’ve learned and properly establish a set plan. I believe a marketing plan is just as essential as a timeline for a novel; you need to know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there to avoid being distracted by all the tangents you will encounter along the way. Marketing today is an ever-changing experience. What worked today, may be of no use tomorrow. One must keep on trying and learning. Action, any action, is better than none.

Do you have perma-free books, occasional sales or leave your books at a fixed price?
I will. Once I have finished/published Part II of the trilogy, I will set Part I as perma-free. I think this method will work particularly well for series that have heavily-integrated plotlines, where the reader must finish all books in order to finish the story itself. That seems to be a popular option.

Where can your books be found? at the moment, as well as all outlets enabled for their extended reach (paperback only). The ebook version is Kindle only for the time being.

Do you actively seek out promotional sites?
Yes. Currently, this is what I am doing.

Are there any sites or actions you now avoid when it comes to marketing, either due to poor response, or large costs vs poor income results?
Get back to me in a few months once I’ve done some experimenting, and we shall see! OK, fair enough. But don't hesitate to reach out and let us know what you've been up to.

Do you use Goodreads, LibraryThing, Bookbub author page or other sites to promote yourself?
I have only tried Bookbub and got rejected after 48 hours, so still working on that one!


The only option is consorting with the enemy. What is your next move?

            “That was close,” Jared said, wiping a hand over his forehead. “Sorry, man, I thought I killed the program.”
            “It’s all right, Jared,” Gregg said. “But Miss Goldstein is right: we can’t stay here. It won’t take them long to find us. What I want to know is who set that alarm off.”
            “Well, they were about to shut down for the night. Maybe somebody walked past the wrong sensor.”
            “The alarm wouldn’t have been armed yet, as there was still staff inside,” Amantha said. “Someone set it off intentionally. The only place to do that is in the back of the building, near where I ran into that guy –”
            “What guy?” Gregg asked sharply. Even as he said it, the situation became clear. Gregg looked at Jared, found him looking back, and slumped hopelessly back against the wall.
            Ian. Ian was the guy. Gregg should have known he couldn’t lose him for long.
            “An uncouth beast,” Marilla said indignantly. “Had his arms all the way around Amantha, he did. The poor girl was pressed against him like a grape.”
            “Yeah that sounds about right,” Gregg muttered to himself as Amantha tried, rather unsuccessfully, to hide the blush coloring her fair cheeks. Even in the darkness, her discomfiture was tangible.
            Bloody Ian. He had set up this whole thing, waiting until Gregg was well and truly committed before setting off the alarm in the building and making things too hot to handle. Somehow, some way, he had known about the museum despite Gregg not saying anything, used the information to his advantage, and engineered a very slick job. He had set up the trap, sat back, and was probably somewhere nearby, just waiting for Gregg to call him for help. And by doing that, Ian would get his hands on what he really wanted: Marian’s Necklace, and the riddle.
            Add Amantha Goldstein into the mix, and Ian would think all his Christmases had come at once.
            How had he known? How had he figured it out? Gregg sighed. Maybe, at the end of the day, Ian was just that damn good.
            “What are you going to do?” Jared’s question was quiet.
            “You know what I’m going to do.”
            “Look… I know I suggested it, but I was sort of kidding. Are you sure that’s a good idea?”
            What Ian would do with them was uncertain. For all Gregg knew, calling him might be worse than taking their chances on foot. The problem was he didn’t have a choice. Two men had just come into view through the gloom and found Jared’s trail across the way, five more were fanning out along the street on either side. Flashlight beams were everywhere. Slowly, the entourage began to tighten their circle, heading right for the small alcove where Gregg and the others waited like so many ducks in thunder. One of them was pointing at the building across the street; it wouldn’t be long before they closed in. And Gregg knew there was only one thing to do. He only prayed Ian wouldn’t shoot him on sight.
            “Who are you ringing?” Amantha asked as Gregg whipped out his phone.
            “The bloody guy that got us into this bloody mess in the bloody first place,” Gregg groused, and hit call.
            “Who’s that?”
            “Ian Lowell.”
            Amantha glanced over.
            “And who is he?”


Home at last. But at what cost?

            “Robert of Locksley,” she said. The voice was not kind. “I see you have found your way back.”
            “Hello, Marian,” Robin said. “It’s been a long time.”
            Marian Fitzwalter stepped forward slowly, out of the doorway, light sliding in muted shafts up her figure. And Robin knew as soon as he saw her that his previous expectations were far from accurate. “Little Marian” was no longer a child. She was no longer the girl he used to play with. She was a woman, and a beautiful one at that, endowed with a grace and poise he had seen in very few places – or on very few people. Her hair had darkened over the years to a color nearly touching black, a contrast made all the more apparent by the cream of her skin and vibrant, sizzling green of her eyes. Robin could only imagine how easily those eyes could shift straight to blue with the right hint of color. Her figure was curvy without being too much so, imparting a willowy elegance fit for royalty, one that would surpass even the most perfecting of opinions.
            If Marian noticed the slight look of surprise that crossed his face, however, she ignored it, sauntering casually into the courtyard with her arms hugged lightly to her chest. The expression on her face was tolerant enough, but far from welcoming. Not surprised at all.
            “It has been a long time,” she said as she reached them. “I believe the last time we met was the day you allowed my brother to accompany you on this suicide trip you called a crusade.”
            Robin knew he should have expected this; Marian hadn’t changed in the least. Subconsciously he prepared for battle. Again.
            “He made his own decision,” he answered.
            “He followed you,” Marian said sharply. “He always followed you because he respected you.” She surveyed him briefly, reading in his eyes what Robin couldn’t say aloud. “He’s dead, isn’t he?”
            Robin nodded.
            “I should have known,” Marian said, her voice edged with bitterness. “It was a fool’s hope I entertained that you would look after him.” She turned to Jasmine, who, though unknown to her, provided an adequate outlet for anger that had been pent up for a long time. “You may not know it,” she added in an enlightening tone, “but you are traveling with a man who has managed to single-handedly take away the two things I held most important in this life, all within five years.”
            “I know little about him,” Jasmine answered in Robin’s defense. “Only that he has given me the thing I hold most dear. Freedom.”
            Marian rounded on Robin again.
            “And just what is it you want to give me, Robert? Come to pay your penance?”
            “I’ve paid my penance, Marian,” Robin said, and he could hear the anger etched into his own voice. “I spent a year locked up with twenty other men who would have gladly given their lives for our king’s quest, eleven of whom did, rotting away like rats in a cage while the rest of the army came home without a second thought. I watched men suffer and grow ill with fever, watched their hope slowly fade away until there was nothing left. I have seen war and killing and bloodshed, all of it locked away in my mind forever, never to be removed, never to be forgiven, so believe me when I tell you, Marian, I have paid my penance.”

Reviews for Forever the Horizon: Part I, Fortune’s Charm

“If you like the story of Robin Hood (and who doesn't) you will LOVE this book!!! The author has done a tremendous amount of research on the Robin Hood story and incorporates this into a modern day treasure hunt! This is a fun, fast- paced, action-packed read with a little romance thrown in for good measure. A must buy! The only bummer..... waiting for Part Two!”
-        D. Shinn

“A cool spin on Robin Hood's adventurous life! Flashbacks really make this fun to read...this definitely has "movie" written all over it!”
-        C. Christie

“Great Read. A quirky little insight into Robin Hood and a group modern-day treasure hunters. Fast-paced and easy to read.”
-        Davo

Purchasing and Review Information

Contact Information

About the Author

Colorado Marshal was born and raised in rural California. An avid storyteller, she has been writing for most of her life. A wide variety of interests and hobbies gives her plenty to put on the page, and themes ranging from aviation to equestrian vaulting are all likely to crop up in her books at some point or another. In addition to writing, she is in the process of starting her own publishing company, Tomcat Alley Press, with the intent of helping other writers achieve their literary dreams. She divides her time between beautiful San Luis Obispo County, California and the equally-beautiful Margaret River Region of Western Australia.

About the Press

Tomcat Alley Press was derived from the simple notion that adventure is everywhere in life, and all you have to do is reach out and grab it. Adventure means many things to many people. Sometimes, it is simply creative expression at its finest, those moments in life when one’s desires match up perfectly with their actions. Writing. Singing. Painting. Creating something that, until then, only existed in the mind. Tomcat Alley Press is an embodiment of many of these concepts. The thrill of travel, the freedom of flying. The reward of success after a long, hard road to the top. Our authors are the alley cats of art: they are tough, resilient, and determined to succeed in their craft.

Welcome to Tomcat Alley Press. Adventure lives here. Enjoy the trip.