Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Book Launch Q&A: Shami Stovall, Author of DREAD PIRATE ARCANIST #booklaunch @GameOverStation @pumpupyourbook




Shami Stovall grew up in California’s central valley with a single mother and little brother. Despite no one in her family earning a degree higher than a GED, she put herself through college (earning a BA in History), and then continued on to law school where she obtained her Juris Doctorate.

As a child, Stovall’s favorite novel was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. The adventure on a deserted island opened her mind to ideas and realities she had never given thought before—and it was at that moment Stovall realized story telling (specifically fiction) became her passion. Anything that told a story, be it a movie, book, video game or comic, she had to experience. Now, as a professor and author, Stovall wants to add her voice to the myriad of stories in the world and she hopes you enjoy.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:











While protecting the newborn griffins on the Isle of Landin, Volke Savan and his adopted sister, Illia, run afoul of the Dread Pirate Calisto, the same cutthroat who carved out Illia’s right eye. As a master manticore arcanist, Calisto’s strength and brutality are unrivaled. When Illia suggests they bring him to justice, Volke wonders if they’ll have what it takes to fight the corsairs on the high seas.

A fast-paced flintlock fantasy for those who enjoy How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, Unsouled (Cradle Series) by Will Wight, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.

Praise for the Frith Chronicles!

Perfect for those who enjoy the Codex Alera series, the Homas Wildus series, and the Harry Potter series. Stovall is quickly becoming a name I look for.”– Seattle Book Review

An addictive series. Shami Stovall has produced a mesmerizing story of magic, intrigue, and true adventure.”– ManyBooks

Absolutely brilliant.”- Archaeolibrarian





After your book was finished, what was the first thing you did when getting ready for your book launch?

I like to get reviews lined up for the novel. Then I like to reach out to blog tour people—even if the blogs are small, having more “exposure” on the internet helps the SEO score of my novel’s name, so every little bit helps!

Did you do anything different to spice up your website in lieu of your upcoming book release?

I update my website regularly with reviews, upcoming releases, and blog posts. For Dread Pirate Arcanist, I made it was at the top of the books page, and that I talked about it a few times on my blog.

Did you ever consider using a PR agency to help you promote your book or did you prefer the DIY route?

I’ve used a few PR agencies in the past. I actually used one to land this interview! They’re very helpful—most agencies will contact blogs on your behavior and schedule everything. Very convenient.

Were finding reviews a top priority for you and, if yes, how did you approach that?

I have some pre-release reviewers I like to go to personally (people who do Youtube or Instagram stuff) and there are some websites I’ve used in the past (like NetGalley) but once you have an established series, it’s a little less important.

What are your views on social media for marketing your book?

It depends. Twitter is great place to meet other authors, but a horrible place to market your book. Sure, some of your author buddies will buy your book because you chat with them every other day, but it won’t generate huge sales.

Facebook, on the other hand, is where you interact with all your fans. Plus, it’s a lot easier to set up marketing on Facebook, and thus, easier to get sales.

What social media has worked best for you?

For selling my book? Facebook.

For meeting fellow authors? Twitter.


Did you have other books you offered for free in order to help sell your present book?

No. I don’t offer free books, but I do give away short stories (and audio short stories!) for free in my newsletter and my website. I love those stories to pieces, and I’m always happy to hear other people like them as well.

You can check out my best short story here: https://sastovallauthor.com/2019/06/15/audio-short-story-weakness/


Did you set up booksignings and, if so, how did that work for you?

I’ve done booksignings before – actually, I not only sign the book, but I also draw a free caricature as well (those cartoon drawings of a person you see at festivals and fairs). I took a lot of art classes, so I have to put that skill to work. It entices people to wander over to the booth and check out what’s going on.

Did you time your book launch around a certain holiday?

No. I just finish the book and then plan for a certain release. I guess I would try to avoid most holidays, if I could.

What was the best money you ever spent on your book launch?

Bookbub.

Any tips for those authors wanting to set up a successful book launch?

Give yourself a few months to line everything up. Remember to get the reviews, and keep in mind the search-ability of your novel on-line! Get exposure through blogs and interviews just like this!


Thank you again for having me, and please remember to check out Dread Pirate Arcanist!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

New True Crime Thriller! Dead Reckoning by Caitlin Rother @caitlinrother @pumpupyourbook

Who doesn't love crime thrillers? We're happy to be a part of Caitlin Rother's  DEAD RECKONING Blog Tour. Scroll down to read an excerpt and find out how you can pick up your copy!

DEAD RECKONING
Caitlin Rother
* True Crime *


Title: DEAD RECKONING
Author: Caitlin Rother
Publisher: WildBlue Press
Pages: 504
Genre: True Crime



Tom and Jackie Hawks loved their life in retirement, sailing on their yacht, the Well Deserved. But when the birth of a new grandson called them back to Arizona, they put the boat up for sale. Skylar Deleon and his pregnant wife Jennifer showed up as prospective buyers, with their baby in a stroller, and the Hawkses thought they had a deal. Soon after a sea trial and an alleged purchase, however, the older couple disappeared and the Deleons promptly tried to access the Hawkses’ bank accounts.

As police investigated the case, they not only found a third homicide victim with ties to Skylar, they also uncovered an unexpected and unusual motive: Skylar had wanted gender reassignment surgery for years. By killing the Hawkses with a motley crew of assailants and plundering the couple’s assets, the Deleons had planned to clear their $100,000 in debts and still have money for the surgery, which Skylar had already scheduled.

Now, in this up-to-the-minute updated edition, which includes extensive new material, New York Times bestselling author Caitlin Rother presents the latest breaking developments in the case. Skylar, who was ultimately sentenced to death row for the three murders, transitioned to a woman via hormones while living in the psych unit at San Quentin prison. Recently, she legally changed her name and gender to female, apparently a strategic step in her quest to obtain taxpayer-subsidized gender confirmation surgery and transfer to a women’s prison. Combined with Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent moratorium on executions, this only adds insult to injury for the victims’ families, who want Skylar to receive the ultimate punishment for her crimes.

“Rother gives readers compelling insight to an unthinkable American nightmare. A gripping read… frank and frightening… it sizzles.”
Aphrodite Jones, host of True Crime on Investigation Discovery and bestselling author

★ORDER YOUR COPY

 WildBlue Presshttps://tinyurl.com/yyj9xlvk
 

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PROLOGUE

Alonso Machain was unemployed, with bills to pay, so he took up his friend Skylar Deleon’s offer to help restore a family boat at the Cabrillo yard in Long Beach, California.
As they were sanding the Hatteras together, Skylar boasted about his plans for fixing up his new toy, which he’d gotten from his grandfather. Then Skylar offered his twenty-one-year-old buddy a much more lucrative job.
“How much are you talking about?” Alonso asked.
“A couple million dollars,” Skylar said.
“Wow. How do you make a couple million dollars without it being illegal?”
“Well,” Skylar said, “it’s not really illegal, unless you get caught.”
As Skylar’s plan evolved in the coming days of October 2004, the promised payoff for Alonso soon increased to “several million” dollars to help Skylar “take care” of some people who had done something bad and pissed somebody off.
Skylar wasn’t usually paid for these gigs, he said, but he got to keep the assets of the “targets,” who were typically well-off. His first contract, for example, was a guy who’d been selling drugs in Huntington Beach schools and owed money to the wrong people.
Skylar said he’d split the proceeds of his next job with Alonso, but didn’t give him much time to mull it over.
“So, you want to do it or not?” Skylar asked a couple days later.
Alonso wasn’t really sure what to think. Skylar was always talking about how rich he and his family were, and Alonso believed him. Although he knew Skylar liked to tell stories, he never stopped to consider that the few times Skylar had thrown him a mere twenty dollars for the boat restoration work, they’d had to drive to an ATM to get it.
After Alonso decided to take the job, Skylar went into more detail about the plan, showing him photos of a yacht called the Well Deserved, whose wealthy owners had put it up for sale. Alonso’s role was to help Skylar get “in” with the owners, Tom and Jackie Hawks, then hold them down.
The fifty-five-foot trawler was moored in the upscale community of Newport Beach in Orange County, a sharp contrast to the sprawling mix of urban, industrial, and suburban areas of Long Beach, where Skylar lived with his wife, Jennifer, in neighboring Los Angeles County.
Unlike the spacious homes in Newport, decorated in the mute beiges and sandstone of the wealthy, home for Skylar and Jennifer was a cramped converted garage behind her parents’ duplex. Space was so tight the Deleons had to stack their belongings on the floor and hang their clothing from a pole lodged between two dressers next to the bed. It was a far cry from the opulent mansions featured on The Real Housewives of Orange County and The O.C.
Contrary to the story he’d told Alonso about the $3 million a month he’d earned working with Ditech Funding, Skylar had been fired from his job as appraiser’s assistant there and looked at his wealthier neighbors in “The O.C.” with envy. He coveted their waterfront homes, boats, and private planes that he couldn’t afford, and he lied to persuade folks that he could.
Although he wasn’t anywhere near as smart or capable as Bernie Madoff in building a complex financial scheme, Skylar’s scam was just as—if not more— deceitful. And when it came to lying and manipulating people, Skylar was pretty good at that, too.
The next time he and Alonso met, Skylar said he’d analyzed photos of the boat’s interior for radios and weapons, such as spearguns, and had determined the best way to overcome the couple. Using stun guns and handcuffs, Alonso would grab Jackie in the galley while Skylar took down Tom in the stateroom, where no one could hear him scream.
Skylar said he’d considered taking Tom scuba diving and finishing him off underwater, but he’d realized that would preclude the Hawkses from signing over the boat title and power-of-attorney documents he was going to draw up.
“What I’ll do is just take them out to sea and toss them overboard,” he said.
They purchased two stun guns together, then Skylar sent Alonso, a former jail guard he’d befriended while serving time for armed burglary a year earlier, to buy two pairs of handcuffs.
The next day, November 6, Skylar said it was time to do the deed. By now, Alonso felt it was too late to extricate himself from the situation. If twenty-five-year-old Skylar really was a hit man, what would prevent him from harming Alonso?
As they drove to the dock, Skylar stopped a couple blocks away to scope out who was aboard, then called Tom to pick them up in his dinghy. The Hawkses were expecting them.
On board, Tom proudly gave them a tour of his home, but Alonso could see from Skylar’s tone of voice and body language that he’d changed his mind. Skylar seemed far too relaxed to kill anyone as he chatted with Tom for forty-five minutes about possible modes of payment. Before they left, Skylar made sure that Tom and Jackie knew he was definitely interested in purchasing the vessel and would be back for a lesson on how to operate it.
Skylar told Alonso afterward that he’d changed his mind once he’d realized that Tom was too muscular for the two of them to overpower alone. They really needed a third man. Skylar also sensed some discomfort on the Hawkses’ part, so he called Jennifer on his cell phone as soon as they got back to the car.
“Hey, you need to come down, take a look at the boat, to make these people feel a little more at ease,” he told her.
After sending Alonso on his way, Skylar and his pregnant wife went back on board, pushing their ten-month-old daughter, Haylie, in a stroller, to do just that.



 

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New York Times bestselling author Caitlin Rother has written or co-authored 13 books, ranging from narrative nonfiction to memoir and crime fiction. Her latest titles are the true-life thriller Hunting Charles Manson and her memoir short, Secrets, Lies, and Shoelaces. A former investigative reporter at daily newspapers for 19 years, Rother has been published in Cosmopolitan, the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Boston Globe and Daily Beast. She has appeared more than 200 times on TV, radio and podcasts internationally, including Australian Broadcast Corp’s “World News,” “Crime Watch Daily,” “People Magazine Investigates,” “Nancy Grace,” “Snapped,” and dozens of shows on Netflix, Investigation Discovery, Oxygen, A&E, Reelz, C-SPAN and various PBS affiliates. Rother also works as a writing-research coach and consultant, leads writing workshops, and plays keyboards and sings in an acoustic group called breakingthecode. She is working on two new books, one titled “Justice for Rebecca,” about the Rebecca Zahau death case, and one about the San Diego Zoo’s Frozen Zoo. Please visit her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter or visit her website at https://www.caitlinrother.com.

★ WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS: ★

Website → https://www.caitlinrother.com

Blog → https://www.caitlinrother.com/blog

Twitter → https://twitter.com/CaitlinRother

Facebook → https://www.facebook.com/caitlinrother





 

Monday, October 7, 2019

New Urban Fantasy! Witches Protection Program by Michael Okon @IAmMichaelOkon @pumpupyourbook



Witches Protection Program
Michael Okon



Title: WITCHES PROTECTION PROGRAM
Author: Michael Okon
Publisher: WordFire Press
Pages: 200
Genre: Fantasy/Urban Fantasy



Wes Rockville, a disgraced law-enforcement agent, gets one last chance to prove himself and save his career when he’s reassigned to a 232-year-old secret government organization.

The Witches Protection Program.

His first assignment: uncover a billion-dollar cosmetics company’s diabolical plan to use witchcraft for global domination, while protecting its heiress Morgan Pendragon from her aunt’s evil deeds. Reluctantly paired with veteran witch protector, Alastair Verne, Wes must learn to believe in witches…and believe in himself.

Filled with adventure and suspense, Michael Okon creates a rousing, tongue-in-cheek alternate reality where witches cast spells and wreak havoc in modern-day New York City.

Praise:

Witches Protection Program is a great summer choice, ideal for beach or poolside reading, and with elements of romance, action, crime, and fantasy, there’s a little something for everyone to enjoy.”—Foreword Reviews

“…mixes predictable elements–corporate intrigue, sexy witches, cat familiars, car chases, family secrets, and steampunk weaponry–into an enjoyable story.’—Publisher’s Weekly

“Cleverly offbeat, often cheeky, and loads of fun.”Kirkus

WITCHES PROTECTION PROGRAM is a fun and quick read, and the out-of-the-norm narrative choices make the novel feel like something wonderfully subversive.” – IndieReader

Witches Protection Program is a unique gem, one that’s fast-paced with twists, action, and fun characters.” – Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers’ Favorite, Five Star Review

Witches Protection Program will hook you if not for the action, then the romance and if not for the romance, then the sheer humor, what with its funny dialogue.” – Liezl Ruiz, NetGalley Reviewer

★★★★★ORDER YOUR COPY★★★★★

Amazon → https://tinyurl.com/y6a7lq9m

 Barnes & Noble → https://tinyurl.com/yy34sbxm

 

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The narrator filled in more information. “It wasn’t until this land became my land that the government decided to create an organization to protect women at risk. The Davina Doctrine went against everything that the Willas stood for. Even though they ran the risk of persecution, the Davinas chose to work with law enforcement to expose the evil deeds of the rival sisterhood. President George Washington established secret legislation under Title VI of the Control Act of 1792. The law was enacted to protect the good witches that exposed the evil deeds of their sisterhood.”  
The screen went dark. There was only a chair in the center of a dimly lit stage. A single spotlight focused on the top of the blond actress’s head. Wes was right; it was the actress he’d suspected. She had a hit sitcom and two Emmys, and there was some recent Oscar talk about her last movie.
“Yes. There are witches. Living among us. They are women who believe in using their power to protect love and life. And then there are some who use their powers for all the wrong reasons.”

The camera came to rest on her beautiful face. She winked saucily as she placed a triangular witch’s hat on her head. 

“Welcome to the WitchesProtection Program.”

Alastair smiled broadly. “I love that part.”
“That was Jennifer Anis—”


 

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Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling in his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.
Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.

★WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS★





 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Book Launch Q&A: Leonard Bassed, Author of THE WITCH PORT VIDEO GAME #booklaunch @leobassed @pumpupyourbook


Writer-actor-singer Leonard Bassed was born in the town of Middleburg, Mpumalanga and raised in Johannesburg.  He started taking vocal lessons at age eight and studied drama throughout his high school years.  A mentor encouraged him to pursue an acting career.  Leonard went on to complete acting classes in both South Africa and later Los Angeles.  Currently, when not writing or singing, Leonard continues to study acting techniques with the renowned Margie Haber Studio in Hollywood. In his free time, he enjoys travel, reading and movie going.  His latest book is The Witch Port Video Game.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:


Facebook page for author: https://www.facebook.com/leobassed/
Twitter page for author: https://twitter.com/LeonardBassed



Leonard Bassed had no plan to write a novel titled THE WITCH PORT VIDEO GAME when he set out to create a movie script with a similar name.  “I had written the pilot script first and I kept the same ending for the novel…everything from the script I wrote found its way into the finished book version of ‘The Witch Port Video Game,’ said writer-singer-actor Leonard Bassed.  “I was able to spend more time developing the characters and their world…the whole thing was just such an organic experience and extremely enjoyable, creative for me.”
THE WITCH PORT VIDEO GAME tells the story through the lives of three ordinary teens who live in the fictional town of Cradle Creek, USA – a small town they hope to one day escape, attracted by the bright lights and promise of the Big City.  All three are students at a prestigious performing art school with hopes of one day making names for themselves in the entertainment world.
Mr. Bassed continued about his story, “A chance encounter the three have with a girl named Bianca Morris threatens to derail their plans. Bianca introduces them to an enticing video game, ‘The Witch Port Video Game’.  This encounter, coupled with the arrival of the MacQuoid brothers sets in motion a series of bizarre events that spins their lives into chaos and disarray as the three head into a world of sorcery with an ultimate fight for survival.”
As a young boy growing up in South Africa, Leonard dreamed one day of working in the arts.  He wanted to write, to act, to sing.  While drawn to acting and song writing, he was also a good story teller.  “The auditions I would go out for as an actor were never reflective of the kinds of roles I was after to play. It was this realization that led me to writing the pilot script which I planned to pitch to TV and movie producers.  But, once I finished the script I’d grown too attached to the characters and the wonders of their world that ultimately led the script into the shape of a full novel,” he went on to say.
PRAISE
“While the book’s final moments leave us with a rather sudden, enigmatic ending, an end note does indicate a sequel Witch Port Igniting the Coven on the horizon. For those who enjoy the entertaining literary chemistry that results from inquisitive teens and their foray into the mysterious world of sorcery, Bassed’s venture should prove an intriguing reveal.”
--Pacific Book Review

“Filled with cheeky references to famous pop-culture stories of sorcery and mixed with some classic teenage angst, this book is a fast-paced, suspenseful story. The novel’s premise that some teenagers gain special powers through a video game is an updated, modern take on magic and suits the story quite well for a 21st-century setting. The author sets up the story mechanisms so that everything that happens through the students’ video game play also happens in real life. The author states that this novel was originally a screenplay, and those elements shine through, from the descriptive settings to the fast pace in which the action occurs on the page. It will be interesting to see how the protagonists grow with their powers in the sequel.”
--The U.S. Review of Books
Book can be purchased at the author’s web site at www.leonardbassed.com



After your book was released, what was the first thing you did when getting ready
for your book launch?

I didn’t actually have an official book launch, at the time I figured I didn’t really have a big enough readership to warrant a launch I thought my funds would be better spent publicizing the novel, so I’d reach a bigger audience. I launched the book on my website.

After that, what was your next step?

I took part in a media campaign to market my book, drove sales by selling my book through my website and word of mouth, I’ve also got an e-book version of my book available online. I’m currently taking meetings with book distributors who will work with me on getting my book into stores if all goes as planned.

Did you do anything different to spice up your website in lieu of your upcoming book release?

Yes, I had my website completely redone for the purpose of my book and my current sound. I ‘m a singer and actor as well and before my online profile focused solely on those aspects of my brand.

Did you ever consider using a PR agency to help you promote your book or did you prefer the DIY route?

I’m a creative and with self-publishing there is just so many hats one has to wear, so for that reason I sought the expertise of The Barrett Company, they are a PR Agency based out of Los Angeles the entertainment hub. They’ve proven to be an invaluable asset to me and my book.

We’re finding reviews a top priority for you and, if yes, how did you approach that?

Yes, getting my work reviewed was really important to me I wanted a unbiased opinion from someone emotionally removed and well a professional. I enlisted the aid of a PR agency to achieve this end and they issued a press release on my behalf.

What are your views on social media for marketing your book?

I think social media is a great tool for book-promotion and brand awareness campaigns. It provides you a great platform to interact and engage with your readership, and in my case establish one.

What social media has worked best for you?

YouTube and Instagram.

Did you write a press release and do you think it worked for you?

My PR agency wrote mine and yes, it definitely generated some interest in my book.


Did you have other books you offered for free in order to help sell your present book?

No, while this is the first installment in The Witch Port Video Game book series it is my debut novel.

Did you set up booksignings and, if so, how did that work for you?

No.

Did you time your book launch around a certain holiday?

No.

Any tips for those authors wanting to set up a successful book launch?

Though I didn’t have a book launch as I mentioned earlier, if I were to, I’d get an event company to help organize it, preferably someone in the industry. If you have a publicist, they might be able to assist you by making sure you get some coverage.