Whitby After Dark

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Whitby After Dark by Stella Coulson is a novel about a young girl trying to fit into a new town, a new place where nothing ordinary is as it seems when it comes to the inhabitants. Along her short story the main character Lenore stumbles into Whitby’s secret, a life other than that of any normal high school’s student; filled with vampires, ghosts, beasts and creatures. There is no time to process anything surrounding her as there is a crime to be solved, and she is the link to solving it.
The very first handful of pages, I was mesmerized by the unfolding of what I thought would be a heart wrenching tale of sexual abuse. However, just like Lenore we were swept away (for the most part) from that story line into a world of creatures. The entire book was under 100 pages, and it left something to be desired character wise, plot wise, setting wise…you’re left feeling rushed or confused, and parts left me wanting to explore Lenore and her unusual talent more than I was given the opportunity.
The entire supernatural theme in addition to the sparse development of characters gave you more of a sense that the entire story about Whitby was a dream, so close, but yet the cat has your tongue. That was a new experience for me to go through when reading a book, and it made the lack of development make more sense.

Iniquity by Melody Winter

 

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ACN adores books…and fellow #indieauthors. We strive to help you find and and indie author find each other!

Books like:

Iniquity by Melody Winter

Iniquity is a very beautifully described story, about one girls journey through her assigned place in a demon ruled dystopian world. The way Melody Winter writes you can feel the weather through the description as well as see blindly in darkness as the lead character Athena fumbles her way through a life that she wants no part in.
Almost instantly, I adored Paymon as he went from Athena’s village demon, the stories villain, to a compassionate companion. I couldn’t wait to hear what he had to say, see how much further his true nature (not that of his demon side) came forward.

And then he was ripped from the story…

It was heartbreaking…

His replacement, Erebus completely rubbed me the wrong way, from the very first sentence he’s written in all I saw in his imagery was Gaston from ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ That visual never went away.  Even when he became the hero opposite of his love interest Athena. 

It didn’t change the way the book was written, the imagery was just as vivid and this quick read is something I would recommend to someone who doesn’t normally read dystopian apocalyptic type novels. It is an easy way into the genre.

Our fans rock!

I woke up the other day to have an email containing this:

“Brought A Charming Nightmare on our honeymoon.  She really enjoys mornings sipping coffee from our ocean view balcony! With love from Lares Puerto Rico.”

This made my morning!  Our fans are amazing people, and seeing as how ACN takes you through time and space I thought it might be fun to see where you bring Catch & Aylin.  Send your pictures of ACN sight seeing in your neighborhood!

Send to: mkf.acnbooks@gmail.com and title it “Where in the World is ACN Books” put the picture of your digital or hard copy of A Charming Nightmare right in the body of the email with your location, lets see if we can go around the world in 80 days!

 

So far here are some of our favorites:

wedding flowers

A bridesmaid bouquet made solely out of the pages of ACN in a recent Harry Potter/Magic the Gathering themed wedding in Utica, NY.

chelsea

Our friends in Sidney, NY excited to begin their journey…

Jenny

Furry fans in Denver, CO reading to mom.

 

Where will you bring ACN?

Have you read Team Charlie yet?

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It is no secret that I simply put adore books, the only thing better than a book is that feeling you get after the last page is read…the book hang over. One of the journeys I get to take as an author is reading books done by others in my field and ‘discovering’ new voices.  Seeing the world through someone else’s eyes and letting my mind take its own spin on their written works.  I especially have a soft spot for indie authors.  Let me introduce to one of my favorites; Mark Lages and his Team Charlie…

Meet Mark Lages (that guy up there in the picture). He’s an indie author who never once considered going traditional, why would he?  He has complete control over his children; Church of the Divine Duck, Andy Bloom, & My Remarkable Little Monkey (to name a few of those kids).  Mark’s books are also anything but traditional…just look at how their described:

“Welcome to the extraordinary world of Mark Lages, a place where monkeys can talk, where Jesus has an older brother named Marvin, and where a sweet, unassuming grandmother suddenly bursts into a raging, car-tossing cousin of Godzilla. Often outlandish, yet also remarkably down to earth, Mark’s tales are always memorable, intelligent, and relentlessly entertaining. Mark’s stories aren’t for everyone. If you don’t like testing the waters of the outrageous, and if you don’t like seeing the status quo poked and prodded for the truth, you probably won’t become much of a Mark Lages fan. But if you like pushing at boundaries and seeing the real world explained and exposed in new ways, these stories might be just right for you…”

While, I will admit I haven’t read many of his novels I already have a favorite in Team Charlie. Team Charlie is the story of Charlie (obviously), who is never alone having a pirate, a priest, an ex-girlfriend, a planet, a hippy, and Bob all trying to talk over each other in his head. While this is a story about mental illness, it takes a viewpoint of Charlie and his voices in a way that I have never read before. Immediately, Mark catches your attention and gets you right in the feels in his introduction of Charlie; a middle aged man, once the pillar of his community now needing someone to attend to him 24 hours a day. When you meet Charlie it is through the voice of Charlie’s father, and it sounds as if he is talking to a child, not a forty-something year old man. It has a Catcher In The Rye feel, the same outpouring of protectiveness you have for Lennie, you’ll instantly feel for Charlie (yes, I am bias, out of all the voices in his head Charlie’s is my favorite).

You watch Charlie follow the voices, you listen to them protect him through death, upheaval, the streets of LA, jobs, women, and anything else that Charlie seems to stumble upon. In each scenario you instantly cheer for Charlie, or you get frustrated at how naïve he is, you find yourself actually agreeing with a voice or two, or wanting to argue with the others, and most of all you wonder how a man can fall so far from Grace and never once notice he’s literally sleeping on rock bottom.

There are a range of instant emotions that the author draws out of you in such a quick read. While one moment I was proud when Charlie found himself, I wanted to slap sense into his family (his children in particular). One minute I’m embarrassed at his innocence in normal day adventures, the next instant I’m saying wait a minute why is that even part of the story????? Throughout the entire book you wait, and wait, and wait, for Charlie to find his Julia. The one thing that can hold him all together, without the voices. But this isn’t that kind of story.

In the end, Charlie teaches us that loneliness is a very very powerful thing. The need to be wanted, or part of something (even if it’s of your own imagination) is vital to everything we are. And even though the ending for me was sad, two steps back for such a giant leap forward, my husband agrees with Charlie telling me he would have done the same exact thing.

I did enjoy the book, the views on life are spot on. But it’s the emotions these characters bring out in you that will keep you saying ‘one more chapter.’

Good job Mr. Lages!

If you want to join Team Charlie or any of the other stories (next in my pile is a tall tale of a talking monkey My Remarkable Little Monkey) you can visit Mark at http://www.marklages.com/ pick up one of his novels on Amazon or email the man himself at marklages@cox.net

 

***Are you an indie author looking for a review? An interview, or want to take over this site and share all that you’ve learned about writing, reading, or life in general?  Contact us at mkf.acnbooks@gmail.com and the podium is yours! ***

Ahhh marketing my dear nemesis

Yup, the title says it all…marketing and I don’t get each other.  Truly.  Perhaps it’s the fact that like most authors I work a day job, have a family, and other life obligations. Or perhaps it’s the fact that in order to get the gold star in marketing you have to either have the gold card in funds or enough reviews to support a large city.  Either way my days go like this; I get up, go to work, come home, feed the troops, go to meetings, and finally after everyone is snug as a bug in a rug I settle down with a cup of tea and start book-ish things.

It’s exhausting…

But you do it anyways…somehow…until 2 or 3 in the morning.

Here is what I learned: A Glimpse Into Social Media

FB groups are FILLED to the brim with people just like you, posting their promotions, telling you their 5 star, burying your work under heaps and heaps of “buy now”.  It looks like a normal day on Wall Street, everyone screaming over the other.  And after all your fighting to get to the top of a FB page that, lets be honest, will sell your book to no one, because everyone is trying the damnedest to get the others attention.  Your readers aren’t on these pages; they’re overwhelmed with the amount of spam we’re all flooding their eyes with.

Try simpler, try finding your target audience.  Join groups that want to talk about what you love.  For me it was science fiction.  I got into a group that is totally kick-ass with sci-fi chicks, and of course you don’t spam them.  You join in, talk, share, laugh, post.  Be a human being int heir society, not an infomercial.  Eventually, they will ask what you do.  Winner winner chicken dinner.  Talk about being an author.  If they ask, and they will, show them your book, or direct them to your own website of FB page.  Seems simple right?  Patience grasshopper, that’s all you’ll need.

Instagram is another one that I don’t mind doing.  I find it fun, and the time of day that I have to work with seems to be when my target audience is online (high point for me is anywhere between 8-10pm).  I adore hashtags, making a game out of it.  I stay away from common combinations like #buy #books #NYC, and instead find tags that have under 3,000 posts.  You’ll be what pops up first longer that way, and smaller audiences means more followers, because you’re not hidden.  I learned not to just spam everyone’s feed with my amazon or B&N link.  I tend to find things that make me laugh and post those with clever hashtags, and then once or twice a week I’ll direct my new followers to my page or my kindle link.  I tend to follow people who share the same interests, rather than strictly following book clubs.  Remember you are you, and you are what sells first on social media, your title comes second.  It’s all about connections.

Lastly, for me at least, there’s Twitter.  I don’t get this, not one bit. But I do it, trying to fit my words and tags in so many characters.  I reply or re-tweet and immediately am lost as to where my comments went.  Thank heavens for millennial children…without them I would have thrown the laptop out the window in the same moment I created the account.

Pretty simple, it seems it would only take moments, but social media keeps me up at night.  Creating images, finding words and tags, trying not to suffocate under the weight of a bazillion other writers looking for a sale.

For example: This is the ad I ran this weekend, the picture took me a couple of hours to create, and posting on social media at just the right moments for my audience (US & UK timelines), and just the right tags took another hour…before you know it, it’s 2:45 am.

“Aylin’s journey through time and space will be on sale for Kindle June 10-14. Download it for her attitude, read it for his story, finish it because you can’t stop…”

How to Get Your Copy

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If anyone knows about other social medias, please comment and share!

What I’ve learned along the way

I recently did an guest blog at booksandbeyondreviews.com which talked about being an indie author.  This articles success made me realize that a lot of people are leaning towards the indie approach versus the traditional.  Let me share some of the things from this post that I learned.  As I try new things I’ll share, what works, what fails, and you can feel free to do the same!

https://booksandbeyondreviews.com/2017/05/15/guest-post-marie-kammerer-franke/

We’ve all been there; lovingly turning our stories into print, cringing at the words we just wrote and holding down the backspace key for hours. You love it, it has a name, it’s a member of your family and now you are staring at the send button wondering what form of rejection your child is going to receive this time around.

Or, at least, that’s how I felt.  Hell, if I’m completely honest with you I couldn’t hit send.  Not the first time. It took a very dear friend to look over my shoulder and say “whatcha doin’?” and in the time it took me to turn around to mouth a syllable she had reached over my shoulder and hit that damn button for me.

And then we waited…
And waited….
And waited…
And then it came; “Thank you for your recent submission, we feel that your work is not the right fit for us, but we wish you well blah blah blah yadda yada yadda…”

That wasn’t so bad, they were polite in their mass-generated rejection.  Let’s try that again!

The more I hit send the more brazen agencies became:
“We feel that your novel is not suited for us, we feel that it is too ‘girly’ to be classified as true science fiction…”
“Thank you for your submission, if you could change A,B,C to this, that, and the other thing we would be happy to reconsider your work.”
“We would love to take on your story, it will be a challenge for us to market as is, please change blah blah blah and resubmit.”

This went on for a year.
It wears on you.  No matter how much you adore your baby, you start questioning it, I started considering their suggestions.  So, I took about 4 months away from my child.

When I went back to it, I fell in love all over again.  With it just the way it was.
 
And that is all it took for me to become an indie writer.
 
An Indie write is someone who is in control of every single thing having to do with the piece you created.  You are your books sole advocate, the only person who has any right to change, decide, suggest, ‘yay or nay’ anything having to do with your novel.  No agent asking for more innuendos, no editors highlighted re-writes, no lawyers, publicists, designers, advertisers, accountants, or loan officers.  Those are all hats you wear now as a single parent to your epic story.
 

This is how I did it, a sliver into one indie writer’s mind..

 

#1 Introduce yourself to the neighborhood
 
I tell people to become a drug dealer using free samples; give them a little bit and before the release they’ll be at your door twitchy, itchy, licking their lips, wanting more.  In that same breath I remind them that not everyone is their target audience.  I write science fiction/fantasy with a side of chick flick lit.  I’m not going to ask someone who solely reads Christian fiction if they want a hit off what I’m dealing.  Not at first at least. 
 
Remember that friend who hit ‘send’ for me?  She’s not only the only person in the world who can get away with such an action, but she’s also an amazing artist who owns a shop (mortalthreads.com) that is dedicated to everything fandom.  Months after my whole ‘I’m going to be a strong independent woman, you will not change my book!’ declaration she asked me if I wanted a spot on her website.  Never in a million years would I have imagined as a writer would come in the form of a clothing store!  But think about it…science fiction-fandom…chick flick lit-nerd girls!  Okie dokie, I’m right at home, let’s do this!  Each week Mortal Threads brought you an excerpt from A Charming Nightmare via Mortal Reads.  All in prelude of the book’s grand release.
 
Not everyone has a Mortal Threads at their fingertips (I licked it, it’s MINE), but you have everything you need to build a name on your phone.  Social Media is full of a plethora of people waiting to get their hands on stuff.  Writer’s Digest is another avenue to tap into; several times a year they hold writing competitions, if you place in their contests your writing gets displayed on their site, their magazine, and numerous other sites.  Google it, go ahead, here I’ll give you something to cut and paste…I promise you will not be disappointed.
 
How to promote your book before it’s published
 
#2 Don’t be afraid of the words Self-Publishing
 
Don’t be afraid when I use the term self-publishing, I know we all have visions of Xeroxed papers stapled together to be sold as our life’s work dancing around in our heads when someone suggests self-publishing.  I know, that’s exactly what I thought;  the folded sheets of copier paper, unprofessional 3 ring approach for binding, missing cover art.
 
Self-publishing has grown out of its baby babble into something overwhelming in choices.  I used Create Space (owned by Amazon).  Even before I uploaded my work into its system the choices took days for me to go through.  They cover you, literally, cover to cover. You can choose page colors, fonts, page sizes, numbers, cover art, gloss, matt. Once choices are made Create Space tells you to order a copy, a proof.  This is hands down a must, order it, and read every individual word.  Why?  I looked it over on the website.  I’ve read it a hundred times already.  Once you click the done icon you’ll get approved within 24 hours. You can make changes from there, but once you choose to go live Amazon can take 6-8 weeks to make changes and then those changes are considered a new edition of the book.  One that you’ll have to add into Goodreads and any other book groups you belong to including your copyrights.  This is how I ended up having a sentence that will forever read ‘I looked over to the person closet to me’ instead of ‘I looked over to the person closest to me.’
 
I didn’t touch on what I am sure is a vast wealth in cover art only because I didn’t use it.  Mortal Threads designed my cover using the Create Space specifications (again MT is mine…back off!)
 
The finished product was something that looked ‘store bought’, not handmade!
 
#3 It’s all about the Benjamins
 
Truth, it is all about the Benjamins.  While Create Space is free and they’ll help in getting the product out there once you hit ‘go live’ (they’ll make it appear on Kindle, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Audio Books, make it accessible to library databases, and even give schools the opportunity to get it) you still have to decide on a price, and most of all YOU have to purchase your own books from them.  Don’t go beyond your means expecting to get rich instantly.  Not even J.K. Rowling was J.K. Rowling overnight.  Under no circumstance should a loan payment come out of your need to publish, nor should the opening of a new Master Card.  Instead I talked to my own Benjamin about Benjamins and together we set up an accounting system that would completely separate ACN from our personal finances, including a money max that we both could easily afford.  Remember, every penny invested has to be accounted for; you now have another thing to write down on your taxes.
 
#4 Your eyes ARE bigger than your stomach
 
I say this because you will want to purchase 10,000 copies of your own book…don’t (instead purchase 10,000 copies of mine, someone should benefit from your gluttony) Don’t say you won’t want to over order, I know you will, and I’ll prove it. 
“I’ll buy a copy, can I get it directly from you?  Will you sign it if I do?”
You’ll hear this from mom & dad, grandma, friends, cousins, your next door neighbor, the mailman, the checkout person at the grocery store.  In your head you’ll start a list ‘I bet Sally will want one, then there’s Uncle Don, my 10th grade English teacher, my co-workers, so and so, whoosy-whats-it. Before your first page is printed mentally have sold a thousand copies.  So you’ll buy a thousand copies at around $7.00 each and with a shipping rate of $25.00 per 50, anyone want to do that math?  It’s not common core so we should be able to see its $7,500 before tax.  But that’s ok, its easy money, Beth from accounting wants two, the barista at Starbucks wanted one-
But do they? 
Do they really? 
I ordered a book proof, and walked around with that proof proudly within reach for a month before the final product came out.  I showed and bragged and sold about 3000 copies in that time.  Do you know how many followed through when the shipment arrived?  13 Yup, you heard me right, 13 out of 3000 excited promises.  Luckily, I had bought 50, and 10 of those 50 I had other plans for.
 
#5 In a writer’s world free works both ways
 
So after your guaranteed sales from grandma, mom and dad, and your BFF, have a plan.  My plan was to do a giveaway or two.  Everyone loves free stuff right??? I did an Amazon giveaway. On an Amazon Giveaway you can set up requirements, I was new to twitter so I made it a requirement to follow me on twitter.  After 3 weeks I had 321 new followers, which may seem like nothing to you, but I created my twitter account the same day the Amazon Giveaway started so I would call it my free for their free.  An Amazon Giveaway is also your bank accounts cheat, you buy what you want to giveaway-5 Kindle copies of A Charming Nightmare-and in return Amazon gives you the royalties on 5 Kindle copies of A Charming Nightmare sold.
My Amazon Giveaway cost me $24.98-$17.24=$7.74
 

I also became a Goodreads author and did a Goodreads Giveaway.  5 signed 1st editions of A Charming Nightmare.  3 weeks.  900 people wanted a free book, surprise surprise, and what was my free?  Well, if you win a Goodreads Giveaway you HAVE TO review the book you won!  And here’s a bonus free, you as the author write up their ‘Congratulations you won’ message.  I simply added; ‘if you enjoy A Charming Nightmare feel free to write a review on Amazon as well!’ Amazon is a ratings run website, the more reviews and stars you get from verified Amazon customers the lower in ranking you get, the lower in rankings the closer to the top of their search engine you go!  On the day of its release ACN was ranked as 469,003 out of over 1 million, now, 2 months into its release, some sales, even more Kindle sales, and two reviews ACN has jumped to 21,157th in the science-fiction category.  Again, not even Stephen King was Stephen King when he started.

 

My next adventure in giving things away is going to be a Free on Kindle week.  A couple of other indie authors I’ve talked to said it is hands down the way to go (just don’t think about the lost sales when you see your download numbers).  One of them did 7 days free on Kindle, his books went from 50 downloads in 8 months to 152,265 in 7 days.  That was 2 months ago, as of today he had 3,200 in verified Kindle book sales, and a 30% increase in physical books sales.  A far cry from where he was a year ago!  Andy will tell you though, it is initially a kick in an author’s self-esteem to see how many people only want your book when you’re giving it away.
  
That is a very small list of commandments.  I know, it doesn’t even cover all the hats an indie author wears, but in essence you’re my competition!  Why would I tell you all my secrets?

 

A Charming Nightmare’s Virtual Book Tour

Unknowingly I ended up in a virtual book tour, it was a short tour, a handful of interviews and one guest blog.  The entire experience was new, exhausting, repetitive,  a TON of fun and great for my bank accounts self-esteem!

Here are the stops on our little tour…

http://bookreadermagazine.com/featured-author-marie-kammerer-franke/

http://pretty-hot.com/marie-kammerer-franke/

http://awesomegang.com/marie-kammerer-franke/

https://emmathelittlebookworm.wordpress.com/2017/05/11/authortakeover-with-marie-kammerer-franke-acnbooks/

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