Posted in Blog Paws, Cat Writer's Association, Conference

Five Important Things I Learned from Attending the Cat Writers and BlogPaws Conference

Before reading this, you may want to check my previous preview post about the BlogPaws/CWA conference that took place at the Sheraton Convention center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. As a follow-up, I’d like to share five important things I learned from the conference.

  1. Multitasking is counter-productive.  Although I’ve suspected this for some time, Robbi Hess of All Words Matter in her seminar, “Overworked & Overwhelmed? 4-Step Process to Reinventing Your Writing & Your Routines,” stated that “multitasking is not your friend” and that the only way to get things done effectively is to focus on one task at a time. Hess also outlined a way for conference attendees to organize their goals.
  2. You’re Perfect the Way You Are. This was one of the ending remarks of Kathleen Gage’s keynote address, “The Delaney Factor: Discover How to Overcome any Obstacle and Achieve More Than You Dreamed Possible.” Gage emphasized, through personal example and those of other people who have achieved their dreams despite setbacks, that the only person we need to compete with is ourself. We are all unique with unique talents and abilities, and we should not let fear or insecurity stop us from reaching higher goals for ourselves.
  3. Content Differs by Medium. Twitter users know that they are restricted to 140 characters and that images are the primary focus of Pinterest and Instagram, but how are similar posts fashioned to reach audiences of various social media sites? Susan C. Willett, CWA member and award-winning blogger of Life with Dogs and Cats, explained with examples how this can be done in her presentation, “Telling Tales: How to Write & Craft Posts that Attract, Engage & Keep Your Audience Coming Back for More.”She also went over some important blogging facts such as keeping posts short, how and where to find ideas for posts, and the average length of a link that sets engagement (it’s longer than you think).
  4. Networking in person at conferences and events adds a dimension beyond online networking.  Although it isn’t always possible to attend in-person events because of costs or travel issues, the benefits outweigh the problems. Even if you are restricted to a local author event or book talk, meeting people in person, even those you “know” online, can forge a deeper connection. One of the highlights of my trip was meeting Amy Shojai, CWA founder, CABC, and nationally known bestselling author and pet expert who writes the September Day series of novels, or “Thrillers with Bites,” as she calls them. Amy and I met for the first time years ago at one of the CWA conferences. We have been in touch online, but seeing her in person again after all these years was like reuniting with an old friend. I also enjoyed meeting Mollie Hunt, another CWA member and online friend, for the first time. Like me, Mollie writes a cozy mystery series, The Crazy Cat Lady Series. A new CWA friend, Dawn White, who I met at the conference and had not known online realized that we live very close to one another despite the fact that CWA has members all over the U.S. and several in other countries.
  5. Attending Conferences can be stressful and tiring but also a lot of fun.  While traveling and networking carry
    One of several pets I “dined” with during the conference
    Pet strollers were common sights around the convention center.

    some anxious and exhausting moments, they can also be enjoyable and fun. During the joint conference of BlogPaws and the Cat Writer’s Association, cats and dogs were seen throughout the conference center and were guests during sessions and at meals. The exhibit hall was full of booths featuring great products, information, and creative displays, some of them interactive. One of the sponsors, Red Roof Inn, a hotel chain where pets stay free, held a Sip and Paint Night where attendees painted a sunset beach scene with pets and, for those who wished, could have their paintings shipped home free of charge. The CWA kitty lounge included a feline/human astrologer, Ellen Zucker of Practical Astrologie. The CWA Happy Meower and awards banquet was a great opportunity for members to chat, grab a bite to eat and drink, and dress up in their fanciest cat clothes. Food was plentiful, and desserts beyond delicious especially one memorable Key Lime Pie. And, of course, the overflowing swag bags by the generous pet exhibit sponsors, made all the pets left at home happy when their person returned from the conference.

    The Sip & Paint event sponsored by Red Roof Inn, a chain of pet-friendly hotels, was a fun event.
    The Happy Meowr and CWA Banquet gave me a chance to strut my kitty clothes. Note the ears and shoes.
    Bug, Dr. Ken Lambrecht’s plus+ at the conference

    I had many other wonderful experiences at the BlogPaws/CWA 2017 conference. These are only some of the highlights and important concepts I learned.

  6. I was able to dress up and have my photo taken at this interactive exhibit booth.
    Key Lime Pie was just one of the luscious desserts at the conference that I didn’t care about cheating on my diet for.

    My cat Stripey sensed something good for him was in my suitcase when I got home and couldn’t wait for me to open it.

 

Posted in Cat Writer's Association

On the Road to BlogPaws and the Cat Writer’s Association Conference

In a few days, I’ll be leaving for Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to attend the joint conference of the Cat Writer’s Association and BlogPaws. For those not familiar with these two great groups, let me fill you in. The Cat Writer’s Association (CWA) is a group of authors dedicated to spreading the word in all formats about felines. Their mission, as stated on their website, is “to encourage professionalism among cat writers, photographers, artists & broadcasters.” The group was founded in 1992 and is still going strong. Its first president was Amy Shojai, a nationally known, award-winning pet expert and CABC (Certified Animal Behavior Consultant) who has written numerous articles and both non-fiction and fiction pet books.

I am honored to have been a member of this association for many years and actually published my first two pieces of writing so I would be eligible for membership. Last year, I won a special award from Hartz Corporation for my entry, “Brush Your Cat for Bonding, Beauty, and Better Health,” in their annual contest.

BlogPaws is known as “the premier social media company for pets and their people.” Founded in 2009 by pet lovers and bloggers,  Their website states that, in less than 5 years, they became “the go-to resource for pet bloggers and social media enthusiasts looking to build their online presence to enhance their social networks and support animal shelters and rescues around the world.”

The conference features speakers, workshops, one-on-one sessions, table topics, and much more. Topics range from branding, copyright, social media, videography, photography, SEO, and other areas of interest to writers, bloggers, and pet enthusiasts. The keynote speakers are marketing strategist and product-creation expert Kathleen Gage and New York Times bestselling author and most re-tweeted person among digital marketers, Jay Baer.

There will be a banquet dinner on Friday night, May 19, at which CWA awards will be presented. The Nose-to-Nose Blogpaws awards event is the following night along with a final party before the conference ends on Saturday, May 20. The exhibit hall where sponsors and other vendors will display their pet-related products and services throughout the conference will also feature a cat lounge where CWA members will sell books, offer giveaways, and provide information about CWA to those visiting their table. I will be volunteering there on Thursday, May 18 from 4-5 pm and on Friday, May 19,  from 11-12. The conference hotel is also pet-friendly, and there will be a pet park as well as a rest/nap area for attendees who bring their pets. Although I’m not bringing my cats, I’ve promised them I’d bring home some kitty souvenirs.

To give you an idea of what goes on at a BlogPaws/Cat writer’s conference, here’s a video from last year’s event that I, unfortunately, couldn’t attend.

As with all conferences, the volunteers and sponsors are the ones who make things run smoothly. There will be special events hosted by Bayer, Merrick Pet Care, Pet Safe, Red Roof Inn, and VCA. Purina is also sponsoring the CWA Awards. For those who have registered for the conference, a weekly email newsletter is sent with updates and an online planner is available for them to organize their schedules. Blogpaws has also been hosting weekly twitter sessions about the conference on Tuesday nights.

For more information or to register before it’s too late, check out the conference site at http://blogpaws.com/events/2017-conference/ The complete schedule can be found here: http://blogpaws.com/events/2017-conference/agenda-and-speakers/ If you can’t make it, I’ll be posting the highlights when I return to show you what you missed. As Sneaky, the character cat from my Cobble Cove mysteries would say on his blog, “it’s going to be a pawsome event.”

Posted in A Stone's Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Free and On Sale May 9 and 10 the First 2 Cobble Cove Mysteries

The first of my Cobble Cove mystery series, A Stone’s Throw, is free on Amazon on Tuesday, May 9 and Wednesday, May 10. The second book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, is on sale for 99 cents. Grab a copy of both for less than a $1.

5-star review of A Stone’s Throw: “A wonderfully written cozy murder mystery! I was completely enraptured from the first page and found myself quite unable to put it down! The storyline was masterfully crafted and flowed smoothly, unveiling more and more secrets and tidbits as it progressed and kept me completely hooked the entire time.”  myBook.to/Stonesthrow

5-star review of Between a Rock and a Hard Place: “If you like a small town mystery with a twist you will enjoy this book. Cobble Cove is a cozy town and reading about its residents makes you feel like you are there and know the characters.” myBook.to/CobbleCove2

The books are also on tour with Great Escapes through May 13. Hosting blogs feature reviews, guest posts, spotlights, and interviews of my series as well as a chance to win all 3 books in a giveaway. The tour schedule is below:

May 5 – My Journey Back – SPOTLIGHT

May 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

May 6 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

May 6 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

May 7 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 8 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

May 8 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

May 9 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT

May 10 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

May 11 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

May 12 – deal sharing aunt – INTERVIEW

May 13 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

Posted in Books, New Releases

New Release: Superior Species 2: Finding Karen by K. A. Meng

Hello, thank you for having me on your blog. I want to introduce you to my newest book in the world of Superior Species: Superior Species Book 2: Finding Karen. There is a surprise later.

Amazon link: http://getBook.at/SuperiorSpecies2

Superior Species Book 2 Finding Karen Blurb:

Ivory Ames has learned the truth about Los Roshano, New Mexico and the university she attends there, but it isn’t what she expected. Monsters exist. They’ve been running the town in secret to fill their ranks. She vows to keep her friends and herself safe from their evil clutches.

As soon as Ivory makes her pledge, her best friend is missing. The race to find Karen Bakke is on before she is killed or worse.

Teasers: 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Trailer:

https://youtu.be/miDzdFjFmfA

I made you a promise. As part of Superior Species Book 2 Finding Karen release, you can obtain a FREE ebook copy of Superior Species Book 1 on Friday, May 12, 2017: http://getBook.at/SuperiorSpecies

Superior Species Blurb:

Ivory Ames has caught the attention of four gorgeous guys. At Los Roshano University this isn’t normal, even when all the upperclassmen have perfect physiques, flawless complexions, and hypnotic looks. That’s not even the weirdest part. The town has a strict sunset curfew because of wild animals attacking.

To keep her friends and herself safe, Ivory must figure out the truth behind the town’s mysteries before it’s too late. 

Meet the Author:

K. A. Meng lives in North Dakota, in the same town she grew up. Her love for the paranormal started at a young age when she saw her first ghost.

Today, she spends her time writing paranormal romance, fantasy, and everything in-between. When life drags her away from it, she hangs out with her son and friends, goes to movies, watches TV, plays board games, walks her dogs, and reads books. She is actively involved in two writing groups and wishes to some day visit Disney World.

Find K.A. Meng:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012856366750&fref=ts

Facebook Like Page: https://www.facebook.com/KAMengAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KAMengAuthor

Blog: https://www.kamengauthor.com/blog

Website: https://www.kamengauthor.com/

 

Posted in Blog Tour, Freebies and Special Offers

My Birthday is Coming and My Readers Get the Gifts

To celebrate my birthday, I’m giving away free copies of my first Cobble Cove mystery, A Stone’s Throw, and also offering the second book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, for only 99 cents. Both these offers are good on my birthday, Tuesday, May 9, and the day after, Wednesday, May 10. In addition, both books including my latest, Written in Stone, will be on tour with Great Escapes Book Tours from May 5 to May 13.

A Stone’s Throw

Free on Amazon 5/9 – 5/10

myBook.to/Stonesthrow2

Widowed librarian Alicia Fairmont needs answers…

After her husband is killed in a hit and run accident, Alicia travels upstate to his hometown of Cobble Cove, New York. She hopes to locate his estranged family and shed light on his mysterious past. Anticipating staying only a weekend, her visit is extended when she accepts a job at the town’s library.

Secrets stretch decades into the past…

Assisted by handsome newspaper publisher and aspiring novelist, John McKinney, Alicia discovers a connection between her absent in-laws and a secret John’s father has kept for over sixty years. Her investigation is interrupted when she receives word her house has burned and arson is suspected, sending her rushing back to Long Island, accompanied by John.

Back in Cobble Cove, cryptic clues are uncovered…

When Alicia returns, she finds a strange diary, confiscated letters, and a digital audio device containing a recording made the day her husband was killed. Anonymous notes warn Alicia to leave town, but she can’t turn her back on the mystery—or her attraction to John. As the pieces fall into place, evidence points to John’s involvement in her husband’s accident. The past and present threaten to collide, and Alicia confronts her fears…

Has she fallen in love with her husband’s killer?

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

99 cents on Amazon 5/9 – 5/10

myBook.to/CobbleCove2

Librarian Alicia McKinney has put the past behind her…

Two years ago, Alicia discovered both a terrible truth and lasting love with John McKinney in the small town of Cobble Cove, New York. Now a busy mother of twin babies and co-author of a mystery series, Alicia couldn’t be happier.

Alicia’s contentment and safety are challenged…

Walking home alone from the library, Alicia senses someone following her, and on more than one occasion, she believes she is being watched. Does she have a stalker? When the local gift shop is burglarized, the troubling event causes unrest among Alicia and the residents of the quiet town.

John and Alicia receive an offer they can’t refuse…

When John’s sister offers to babysit while she and John take a much-needed vacation in New York City, Alicia is reluctant to leave her children because of the disturbances in Cobble Cove. John assures her the town is safe in the hands of Sheriff-elect Ramsay. Although Alicia’s experience with and dislike of the former Long Island detective don’t alleviate her concern, she and John take their trip.

Alicia faces her worst nightmare…

The McKinneys’ vacation is cut short when they learn their babies have been kidnapped and John’s sister shot. Alicia and John’s situation puts them between a rock and a hard place when the main suspect is found dead before the ransom is paid. In order to save their children, the McKinneys race against the clock to solve a mystery more puzzling than those found in their own books. Can they do it before time runs out?

Check out the tour schedule for my Cobble Cove Mystery series on these blogs for spotlights, reviews, interviews, and guest posts:

May 5 – My Journey Back – SPOTLIGHT

May 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

May 6 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

May 6 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

May 7 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 8 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

May 8 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

May 9 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT

May 10 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

May 11 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

May 12 – deal sharing aunt – INTERVIEW

May 13 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

 Bio

Debbie De Louise is an award-winning author and a reference librarian at a public library on Long Island. She is a member of Sisters-in-Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Cat Writer’s Association. She has a BA in English and an MLS in Library Science from Long Island University. Her Cobble Cove mystery series by Solstice Publishing includes A Stone’s Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and Written in Stone. Debbie has also written the romantic comedy novella, When Jack Trumps Ace, along with articles and short stories for several anthologies of various genres. She lives on Long Island with her husband, daughter, and two cats.

Social Media Links 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debbie.delouise.author/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Deblibrarian

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DebbieDeLouise

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2750133.Debbie_De_Louise

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2bIHdaQ

Website/Blog/Newsletter Sign-Up: https://debbiedelouise.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Posted in Anthology, New Releases, Solstice Publishing

New Release: Plots and Schemes – A Mystery Anthology by Solstice Publishing

Mystery and intrigue, your local town to international locations—mysteries abound in this collection of stories from ten very talented authors!

https://bookgoodies.com/a/B072L7KZ6K

Her child vanishes in a puff of smoke.

When Murder is on the Itinerary

An eavesdropped comment leads to an impossible scheme!

Mysterious events pull Dana into danger.

A rock star’s murder leaves Emlyn Goode questioning everything she knows about herself.

Murder most foul puts this cop to the test

One murder, one plan, two possible outcomes.

Losing your mind is scary…

If you’re not at the beach, the Tough Luck stories will take you there.

Trail Town Texas leans heavily on their sheriff

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nF8qt9YIkW0&feature=youtu.be

Murder, kidnapping, mysterious events, and more are our treat to you in this wonderful anthology from Solstice Publishing. Discover the talents of K.C. Sprayberry, Debbie De Louise, Donna Alice Patton, E.B. Sullivan, Susan Lynn Solomon, Johnny Gunn, K.A. Meng, Leah Hamrick, Lois Crockett, and Stephy Smith.

Special Bonus!

Wildcat Crew returns with their next adventure. Marnie, Garth, Tish, Les, Brad, and Suzie are celebrating the summer solstice as only true sun worshiping California teens can!

https://bookgoodies.com/a/B0722P7Z89

The summer solstice has arrived. Being the sun worshipers they are, Wildcat Crew heads to the beach for a day of fun and a picnic. But first, Marnie gets a huge surprise. Her parents have replaced her Camaro, destroyed in their first case.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fNpuvm724I&feature=youtu.be

At the beach with thousands of other Southern Californians, the crew stumbles over a small, crying child. Instead of checking out the waves and working on their tans, they go on the hunt for the little boy’s parents.

 

 

Posted in Monday blogs, Solstice Publishing

Teaching the Ins (and Outs) of Indie Publishing

I’m designing a course on Indie Publishing that I hope to teach as an adult education class at my local high school. I spoke to the continuing education program director recently, and she was enthusiastic about adding this type of class to their offerings. This won’t be my first time teaching a course, but my first one teaching a class on this subject. As a librarian, I’ve given small group instruction on various topics involving databases and computers. But now that I’ve had over two years of experience in the Indie Publishing field, I thought I would share that information with my community.

The class will be geared toward publishing with an Indie publisher, although I will briefly cover Indie self-publishing and publishing with a large publisher. The reason I chose to focus on publishing with an Indie Publisher is that I have had experience publishing my own books with two Indie publishers, but I also self-published my first with a self-publishing company. I have not yet published with a large publisher, but I am currently querying agents with one of my manuscripts in the hope of doing so one day.

Below is the blurb for the class and an outline of what I’m proposing. The outline will be developed further as I research and organize the class this summer. If you’re an author, editor, or publisher with knowledge of the Indie field, I welcome your feedback on this post. The class will be scheduled in Fall 2017 as a one and a half hour evening session. If it is well received, I may expand on it or teach multiple sessions next spring. I will have access to an Internet computer on which I plan to show websites and possibly create a photoshop presentation.  I will also distribute handouts.

How to Publish Your Book with an Indie Publisher

Have you written a book but had no luck finding a publisher? Is your manuscript turning “yellow” as you try to figure out what to do with it? Are you considering starting a writing project but afraid of being rejected before you even begin? If your answer to any of these questions is “yes,” you will benefit from taking this course.

Note: This class will only cover fiction writing. Most Indie Publishers are not interested in non-fiction.

Course Outline

  1. What is an Indie Publisher and how do you locate one?
  2. How to submit and query an Indie Publisher
  3. The role of Social Media in Indie Publishing
  4. Signing a Contract with an Indie Publisher
  5. Promoting Your Published Book with an Indie Publisher
  6. Beyond Indie Publishing – A look at Self-publishing and the Big 5 Publishers
  7. Q&A