Posted in Authors, Interview, Reviews

Interview of Sandra’s Book Club: Readers Get Free Books, Authors Get Reviews, Free options Available.

Q: First, tell us how you came to be a published author and how you came up with the idea to provide services to authors.

A: I wrote my first novel, Esperanza: A Latina Story, WHILE I was still in college. The book follows the story of a 14-year old Mexican-American girl trying to get out of the barrio and make something of her life. Full of humor and refreshing dialogue, this book was voted as an inspirational favorite by teen readers. Shortly after that, I wrote the sequel entitled Beyond the Gardens, published in October 2009.
In the second book, the lead heroine gains new confidence and strength as she learns the hard way that “you can take the girl out of the barrio, but you can’t take the barrio out of the girl.”
I write stories with strong and independent female characters that I, myself, would like to read about.
When I’m not writing, I get my fill on reading for the enjoyment as well as to improve my craft.
Like every published author, I was emailing book bloggers, asking them to please review my book. But, like querying to a publisher, most of them were unresponsive and some weren’t interested. And, of course, I used paid services that would list my book in their newsletters, reaching potential readers that may or may not review my book. That worked out okay. But let’s face it: getting reviews is tough. It’s hard when your book isn’t well publicized and no one is willing to give it chance. That’s what started my book blog. Initially, it started as just a blog for my own personal reviews on books that I read. At that point, I started taking requests from authors and publishers. My own personal review would be free, but, of course, like every other blogger, I only chose the ones that I wanted and rejected those that I didn’t. Yes, my readings tastes are pretty open in a wide variety of genres, but there are some that just don’t really interest me (i.e. westerns, politics sports, etc.) So how do I help those rejected authors get reviews? After all, I couldn’t possibly review them all. That’s when I came up with the idea of starting a book club of readers and a review program to supply authors with more reviews besides the one that I give them. Readers can sign up to get free books from authors, and authors can get reviews for their books. It’s a simple, easy, and convenient program. And it’s working!


Q: How can this review program benefit writers?

A: The review program allows authors to list their books and reach a wide range of readers. It’s been a hit so far! About 85% of participating authors get at least 1 – 2 reviews on Amazon, and we receive over 75 reviews a month from readers. And the best part about it is that we offer free ways for authors to list their book in our program. As an author, I totally understand that budgets can be tight, which makes it harder (maybe even impossible) to promote your books. Most authors shy away to any promo service when there’s a price. What better price is there than FREE?

Q: What do you think is the most important aspect of a book to make it sell?

A: The story itself along with a fabulous cover is definitely important. But probably the most important would have to be reviews. Let’s face it: reviews are the life blood of any book. More reviews equal a greater online exposure and a higher sales ranking, which, could result in sales. My book, Single Chicas, has over 70 reviews, and that has given me more royalties on Kindle sales. The reviews made
the difference because before I got no royalties, and now I’m surprised to actually see one come through knowing that I didn’t do any promotion. Book reviews are definitely the key thing here.


Q: How is your author review program unique?

A: My review program is unique because I offer a free option for authors, and I do that because I want authors of all kinds to get a fair chance at getting reviews for their books. Every book deserves a review. These are HONEST and LEGIT reviews. There is no buying reviews here. Readers are free to choose any book and reserve the right in whether or not a review gets posted. It’s all strictly voluntary
and 100% honest.


Q: I see on your website that you also do graphics. Would you mind telling us a little more about that end of your service?


A: As a graphic designer, I help authors with book covers, bookmarks, flyers, social media graphics, headers, and so on. I often try to offer clients bundle packages that include graphic design, book promotion, AND an opportunity to get listed in my review program to reach potential reviewers daily. I definitely know what authors want and I try to give that to them in a bulk deal.

Q: How can authors and readers sign up?


A: For authors interested in submitting their book to get reviews, please go to:
https://sandrasbookclub.blogspot.com/2020/08/submit-your-book.html
For readers interested in signing up to read free books, please go to:
https://sandrasbookclub.blogspot.com/2019/09/read-review-program.html

Posted in Blog Tour, Freebies and Special Offers, New Releases

October Giveaways, Blog Tours, Parties, and Sales (Updated)

The blog tour for my 5th Cobble Cove cozy mystery, No Gravestone Unturned, runs October 28 – November 8. It features spotlights, guest posts, excerpts, and other exclusive content from this Halloween tale. There is also a giveaway for all 4 of the previous novels, plus the three other short eBooks in the series.

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

October 28 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

October 28 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book -AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 29 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

October 30 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

October 31 – Christy’s Cozy Corners– REVIEW, GUEST POST

November 1 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST

November 2 –  Thoughts in Progress – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

November 3 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

November 3 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 4 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 5 – This Is My Truth Now – REVIEW

November 6 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

November 7 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

November 8 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews– REVIEW

I’ve also teamed up with 4 other authors for a Cat Cozies and Feline Fantasies Giveaway that runs through October 29 on James Cudney’s blog, This is My Truth Now. One lucky winner will win 5 paperback books, and runner-ups will win an eBook from each of the participating authors.    

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

On Friday, October 30, my cat character, Sneaky, and I will be hosting Sneaky’s Cozy Halloween Party from 1 to 10 pm EST. on Facebook with 7 other authors and a few character cats. There will be giveaways and lots of fun. I hope you can join us.

I hope you can make all these great events. You may win some awesome reads.

Posted in Cozy Mystery, Freebies and Special Offers

Free Cozy Mystery Book October 11-15

Each week in October, a few Solstice Publishing authors are offering special sales on their books. This week, the 4th book of my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series, Love on the Rocks, is free.

Purchase Link:  mybook.to/cc4

This is the book that introduces Kittykai, the calico who becomes Sneaky, the Siamese library cat’s, gal pal. It’s the last book before my new release of No Gravestone Unturned, Cobble Cove Mystery #5. Even though you can read all the books in the series as standalones, this is a nice chance to catch up on the characters. This book also won a Certificate of Excellence from the Cat Writers’ Association.

Posted in Blog Tour, Characters, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Hiding Cracked Glass by James J. Cudney

How do you Keep Track of Characters in Your Series?

What a great question! When Shalini and I decided to make this an open opportunity for bloggers to ask any questions they wanted, I knew it would be fun. Big thanks to Debbie for asking about character tracking… it’s definitely not easy. In my Braxton Campus Mysteries, of which there are 6 current books and 1 in draft mode, there are 137 characters. If you ask me any questions about them, I will know the answer off the top of my head. I am actually really good at keeping these details in my brain. I sometimes forget how to walk, pour a glass of water, or open a door knob, but I don’t forget my characters. Mostly, they feel so real to me, I picture them as though they are alive. Hopefully I’m not caught talking to them when wandering the street; that would be embarrassing.

In the combo of Watching Glass Shatter and Hiding Cracked Glass, there are ~50 characters. This series has been more complicated to keep track of because I wrote the first book in 2016/7 and outlined the second book at the end of 2019… with 2 1/2 years’ hiatus between. While I noodled ideas around in my head, I actually had to go back to my original outline to determine the key points I wanted to focus on in the sequel. I began with circles for each main character. Since these two books actually alternate chapters by character, everything had to be lined up. I did the exact same thing style-wise for the sequel, and each main character needed 2 or 3 supporting characters to pull off the story and the threat of ‘who wrote the letter and wants to hurt someone in the Glass family?’

In the Braxton Campus Mysteries, I keep an Excel spreadsheet and a Word document for tracking the details. Excel has names, parents, key relationships, ages, descriptions, whether they are a murderer, victim, suspect, or something else. I actually go a bit more detailed in terms of balancing the suspects, victims, and murderers so that it’s generally split across genders, ages, ethnicities, etc. I’ve intentionally tried to bring in at least two non-traditional characters so that I can help move books and the genre toward a more diverse cast. I also try not to stereotype nor make this too obvious. Names and descriptions must be strong but not overpowering so it appears fake.

In the Word documents, I cut/paste all detailed descriptions and a summary of the person’s role in each book. I need to know that I don’t mess something up… I’ll confess two things though… two changes I actually made between the first and second book. I swapped the birth order of Kellan’s siblings while writing the second book. The first was with beta readers and during launch week, when I went back and updated the final format. The other is to change the details on Kellan’s grandfather’s death (before the books started) because I wanted to leave a bit of mystery around it. There might be a plot in the future that focuses on what happened to Nana D’s late husband!

When I draft the outline for each new book, I start out with ‘where did all the major characters end up’ in the last book. I’m famous for my cliffhangers, so I also have to focus on closing those loose ends. It’s a lot of work, and I have to think about journeys in between books; everything needs to be documented in my main tracking sheet, especially birthdays and facts that sometimes mean very little but could be problematic if I say Kellan’s brother graduated from college in a year that wouldn’t line up to his proper age… or I said a certain skin tone that is different between books — that shows the writer isn’t thinking about consistency, which is important to me. Mistakes happen, totally understandable… but it’s critical to think of both short and long term before committing to a character action or description.

Quite honestly, in the last Braxton book, I backed myself into a corner with the ending… and now, although I have the plot worked out and who will die… I am thinking about how I could change it without causing any disconnects. Why did this happen, you ask? Because us writers can be highly creative, and sometimes a new brainstorm pops up and you can’t help but want to find a way to incorporate it. So… the big question is:

At the end of Hiding Cracked Glass, did I leave room for a third book in a trilogy? Or will it end at just the two? And just like all my Braxton books… yep… you guessed it… I’m ending this guest post with the cliffhanger. I might’ve left room for a third Perceptions of Glass book… and you’ll just have to wait to find out in the coming years!!!

At the end of Hiding Cracked Glass, did I leave room for a third book in a trilogy? Or will it end at just the two? And just like all my Braxton books… yep… you guessed it… I’m ending this guest post with the cliffhanger. I might’ve left room for a third Perceptions of Glass book… and you’ll just have to wait to find out in the coming years!!!

Thanks for sharing that wonderful guest post, James. Here are the details for your blog tour, author bio, and social media links.

ABOUT THE BOOK

An ominous blackmail letter appears at an inopportune moment. The recipient’s name is accidentally blurred out upon arrival. Which member of the Glass family is the ruthless missive meant for?

In the powerful sequel to Watching Glass Shatter, Olivia is the first to read the nasty threat and assumes it’s meant for her. When the mysterious letter falls into the wrong hands and is read aloud, it throws the entire Glass family into an inescapable trajectory of self-question. Across the span of eight hours, Olivia and her sons contemplate whether to confess their hidden secrets or find a way to bury them forever. Some failed to learn an important lesson last time. Will they determine how to save themselves before it’s too late?

Each chapter’s focus alternates between the various family members and introduces several new and familiar faces with a vested interest in the outcome. As each hour ticks by, the remaining siblings and their mother gradually reveal what’s happened to them in the preceding months, and when the blackmailer makes an appearance at Olivia’s birthday party, the truth brilliantly comes to light.

Although everyone seemed to embrace the healing process at the end of Watching Glass Shatter, there were hidden cracks in the Glass family that couldn’t be mended. Their lives are about to shatter into pieces once again, but this time, the stakes are even higher. Someone wants to teach them a permanent lesson and refuses to stop until success is achieved.  

HIDING CRACKED GLASS BY JAMES J. CUDNEY

Series Name: Perceptions of Glass

Book #1 Name: Watching Glass Shatter

Book #2 Name: Hiding Cracked Glass (cover reveal for this one)

Publication for Book #2:

Next Chapter, October 8th, 2020

Amazon Link:

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54399989-hiding-cracked-glass

About The Author

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote some short stories, poems and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career in technology and business that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I refocused some of my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing and publishing.

Websites & Blog

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com/

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Amazon: http://bit.ly/JJCIVBooks

Next Chapter Pub: https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/james-j-cudney

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/james-j-cudney

Social Media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesJCudneyIVAuthor/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BraxtonCampusMysteries/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThisIsMyTruthNow/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

Posted in Cozy Mystery, New Releases

New Release and a Free Book

I’m excited to announce that the 5th book of my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series, No Gravestone Unturned, has been released. Featuring a murder in a cemetery on Halloween and a family secret that goes back generations, this is a perfect October read.

Purchase link: mybook.to/CobbleCove5

Blurb

It’s October in Cobble Cove, and Alicia is busy preparing for the library’s Halloween party when she learns that John’s aunt from Florida has died and that John’s cousins and their spouses are coming to town to bury their mother. The day after the funeral, the caretaker’s son is found dead by John’s grandfather’s gravestone, from a blow on the head. The only witness seems to be Sneaky the library cat, who, having left the library, turned up at Alicia’s door with blood and dirt on him.

As Alicia, Gilly, and Sheriff Ramsay investigate, it uncovers a generation of family secrets. Is one of the guests staying at the inn a killer? Will the humans solve the crime, and can Sneaky, Kittykai, and Salem, the inn’s guest cat, team up to help?

Free October 6 – 10

mybook.to/BulletBack

With Friends Like These…

When Susan Drummond accompanies her husband, Ray, to his cabin where he goes to get away from it all and write, her friends and father become concerned that she isn’t answering her cell phone. They all decide to check in on her and find no trace of her or Ray except a newly dug grave. 

Posted in Cozy Mystery, Reviews

Review of Christmas Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

*

*****5 stars

This review appeared in the October 1, 2020 issue of Booklist..

As a big fan of Joanne Fluke’s cozy mystery series featuring cookie baker Hannah Swenson and her family in Lake Eden, Minnesota, I was thrilled to review her latest mystery, Christmas Cupcake Murder. Although part of the series, this book takes place before Hannah solves her first missing person’s case and before her mother, Delores, opens an antique store with her friend, Carrie Rhodes.

When Hannah finds an injured man on the floor of a vacant building that her mother is renting to house her antiques, she learns that he’s had a blow to the head that’s rendered him with memory loss. Determined to help the man, who seems to identify with the name “Joe” and is experienced with furniture repair and restoration, Hannah begins a search to find his family. When “Joe” befriends Freddie, the intellectually disabled man who helps at the hospital, he recalls that he has a brother with a similar condition. As Hannah follows further clues about “Joe,” she discovers that someone attempted to murder him. The mystery is finally solved by locating a recipe in a library book.

At the end of nearly every chapter of this fun story are delicious holiday recipes. There is also a handy index at the back. Don’t miss this charming cozy mystery that will also satisfy your sweet tooth.

Posted in Freebies and Special Offers, Mysteries, Thriller

October Sales, New Release, and Interview

Each week in October, I will be offering a Kindle Countdown, free book, or a 99-cent deal for my Solstice Publishing mysteries. My mystery thriller, Reason to Die, is on Kindle Countdown until October 5 when it will go back to its original price. My psychological thriller, Sea Scope, published by Next Chapter is on sale for 99 cents until October 4.

Someone is strangling disabled people in the small town of Baxter, Connecticut. Detective Courtney Lang and her ex-partner and ex-lover, wheelchair-bound Bill Thompson, are paired up again and put in charge of the investigation. During the course of their search, Courtney uncovers information that points toward a connection between the murders and an unsolved series of muggings by a masked man, the same man who shot and disabled Bill a year ago on the night he proposed marriage to her.

Complicating matters for Courtney is her guilt about Thompson’s shooting, her affair with her new partner, Mark Farrell, and her unresolved feelings over the deaths of her mother and sister who perished in a fire while she was away from home.

As the deaths accrue and the “Handicapped Strangler” as the killer is coined by the press continues to rampage the town adding victims of different ages, sex, and disabilities to the murder count, Courtney discovers a clue that could crack open the case but may put her and Bill’s life in jeopardy.


Sea Scope has been chosen by Readers Favorite as a silver-medal winner in their 2020 contest.

Sarah Collins needs an escape. Mourning her brother’s death and the impending breakup of her marriage, she returns to her childhood home in South Carolina, where her family operated an inn.

Sarah hasn’t been back to Sea Scope for twenty years; not since she and her brother Glen discovered a body by the nearby lighthouse. She never understood why her parents left Sea Scope so suddenly, or the reasons behind her father’s suicide.

After Sarah returns to the inn, she faces long-buried memories, text messages and strange clues. Something is not right in Sea Scope. Reunited with people from her past, she tries to figure out what’s going on in her childhood home.

When past and present collide, Sarah must face truths about her family, and what happened that summer day by the lighthouse. But will she survive to tell the tale?


My latest mystery, Memory Makers was featured in the October issue of the Big Thrill, the magazine of International Thriller Writers. The article included an interview and review of the book.

Besides my books, two of my short science fiction stories, Mirror Image and The Felindae Mission, have been published in What Lies Beyond, a new anthology published by Red Penguin Books.

Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery, New Releases

Spotlight, Blog Tour, and Giveaway for Cake Popped Off, A Cupcake Catering Mystery, by Kim Davis


Cake Popped Off (Cupcake Catering Mystery Series)
by Kim Davis

About Cake Popped Off


Cake Popped Off (Cupcake Catering Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in the Series
Publisher: Cinnamon & Sugar Press (September 22, 2020)
Print Length: 295 pages
Digital ASIN: B08DZ7Z96H

Cupcake caterer Emory Martinez is hosting a Halloween bash alongside her octogenarian employer, Tillie. With guests dressed in elaborate costumes, the band is rocking, the cocktails are flowing, and tempers are flaring when the hired Bavarian Barmaid tries to hook a rich, hapless husband. Except one of her targets happens to be Emory’s brother-in-law, which bodes ill for his pregnant wife. When Emory tracks down the distraught barmaid, instead of finding the young woman in tears, she finds her dead. Can she explain to the new detective on the scene why the Bavarian Barmaid was murdered in Emory’s bathtub with Emory’s Poison Apple Cake Pops stuffed into her mouth?

With an angry pregnant sister to contend with, she promises to clear her brother-in-law’s name. As Emory starts asking questions and tracking down the identity of the costumed guests, she finds reasons to suspect her brother-in-law has been hiding a guilty secret. Her search leads her to a web of blackmail and betrayal amongst the posh setting of the local country club crowd. Can Emory sift through the lies she’s being told and find the killer? She’ll need to step up her investigation before another victim is sent to the great pumpkin patch in the sky.

Includes spooky Halloween recipes!

About Kim Davis

Kim Davis lives in Southern California with her husband. When she’s not spending time with her granddaughters she can be found either writing stories or working on her blog, Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder or in the kitchen baking up yummy treats. She has published the suspense novel, A GAME OF DECEIT, and cozy mystery, SPRINKLES OF SUSPICION. She also has had several children’s articles published in Cricket, Nature Friend, Skipping Stones, and the Seed of Truth magazines. Kim Davis is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Author Links

Website: http://kimdavisauthor.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kim-Davis-Author-1532277473479031/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Kookiesandbooks
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kimdavishb/

Purchase Link – Amazon

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

September 28 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT

September 28 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEWS

September 29 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – SPOTLIGHT

September 29 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 29 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

September 30 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

September 30 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

October 1 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

October 1 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

October 2 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

October 2 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT

October 3 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

October 3 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

October 3 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

October 4 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

October 4 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

October 5 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

October 5 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – REVIEW

October 6 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

October 6 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

October 7 – Carstairs Considers – REVIEW

October 7 – eBook addicts – SPOTLIGHT

October 7 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

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