Six reasons why you should vlog like nobody’s watching

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Monday Musings

By Corinne O’Flynn

Let talk about video blogging—vlogging. I can hear you saying to yourself, “Vlogging? What do you mean, vlogging? I am not a YouTuber… I am a writer!”
Trust me, I totally get it. But I’m here to share with you six reasons why vlogging is something you should consider adding to your author platform—even if you don’t think anyone is watching.

Vlog to become a better speaker

Even if you’re already a decent public speaker, vlogging will improve your speaking skills because it forces you to address your audience directly. When you’re vlogging, you usually have to look at the camera. Even if you’re demonstrating something with your hands, there will be (and should be) a large portion of your video that features you facing the audience. This means that while you can have notes to assist you during your talk, the medium lends itself to more conversational and natural speaking.

Vlog to become a better storyteller

When you start vlogging, you start thinking about vlogging. And when you start thinking about vlogging, you start thinking about topics and how you’re going to share them. Vlogging is done in short intervals, which requires you to be concise and stay on topic. Being able to distill your message to make it interesting and engaging is a skill that develops as you vlog. Being able to shape your message into a story will engage your audience!

Vlog to connect with your audience

Video allows your audience to see you as a real human—to truly connect. While conventional blogging is alive and well, adding video to your repertoire will bring your audience closer to who you are as a person. They see your personality, your wit, and your humor. They see how you move, they hear your voice. They see you. The reason authors have a platform is so we can connect with our audience.

Vlog to diversify content and Your Audience

People consume content online via blogs, podcasts, images, audio, and video. The more ways you have to connect with people, the more people you’ll connect with! It’s that simple. Adding vlogging to your platform will help you broaden your reach. Video isn’t going anywhere—it’s only gaining popularity.

Learn a relevant skill

Video is the present and the future. Learning to vlog is a valuable skill that will help you maintain an interesting and diversified platform to reach your readers. It is so easy to start vlogging with only a cellphone! Whether you’re reading from your own writing, talking about your process, sharing a book review, or just talking about life, your audience wants to hear from you. Why not try doing a video next time, instead of blogging?

Vlogging is fun!

When most people start vlogging, there is a lot of stress over what to wear, where to sit, how you look… but I’m here to tell you that the message is what’s most important. I used to stress about lighting and what was in the background of my videos, and what my hair looked like. But the reality is that people tune in to my videos to hear what I’m going to say. They’ve seen me vlogging from my car, from my office, all dressed up after a night out, and on days when I haven’t left the house. They’ve even seen me lounging on my couch with my dogs in front of the Christmas tree. If nothing else, vlogging has made me much more at ease with how I connect with my followers, and it’s shown me that being real on camera has made that connection deeper.

Corinne O’Flynn

Married, raising four kids, she is the founder and executive director of a non-profit organization, and a professional napper. She also serves on the board for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW).

You can check out all of her books on her website or on Amazon.

Anyone interested in staying connected can sign up for her emailsWhether you’re a fan of mystery or fantasy stories, or a fellow busy human looking for ways to build your own productivity systems, Corinne O’Flynn invites you to join her as she shares what she learns on her adventures.

“I believe in doing things with intention, and making sure those intentions are good. :)”

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Thursday teaser: Defenders of the Realm

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This week’s urban fantasy teaser is from

The Aumahnee Prophecy Book 4

By Lisa Manifold and Corinne O’Flynn

I spun a U-turn and parked the car in one of the angled spots outside the bookshop and fought to stop laughing. Something about that billboard struck me funny. Here we were—a fae warrior with an invisible sword and magic portal stones that didn’t work, and me, a witch who had recently been turned into a wolf shifter—driving across country, looking for the keepers of an ancient portal to allow us to travel to the Fae Realm. And as we arrived in this tiny town, the first thing we saw was an advertisement for conspiracy hunters? What are the odds?

“Marigold, I do not see what has made you laugh so.” Eamonn was so earnest and serious it made me laugh even harder. I sputtered, fighting to get the words out between fits of the giggles.

“Maybe we should… should call them. You know? The crackers, or whatever they were called, from the billboard. We could report a witch-wolf and a fae spotted in Eureka.” My voice rose up higher and higher until I squeaked out the words. The unreality of everything that had happened over the past few weeks seemed to have finally caught up with me.

Eamonn smiled and laughed a little, the moment finally growing contagious. “It is nice to see you…feeling better. Happier.” His sherry eyes held mine, bringing me back to earth and stirring something else inside me.

I wiped the tears from my eyes and checked my face in the mirror. Life at the no-tell motels hadn’t done me any favors. I pulled my unruly hair into a braid and tied it with a hair tie I wore around my wrist. I had no makeup on—wolf shifting was not at all kind to mascara—but on the whole I just looked tired. Whatever. It would have to do. “Okay, so what’s the plan? How does this go?”

Eamonn looked at me and the setting sun made his sherry eyes seem to glow. Damn. 

“Well, I suppose we walk inside the shop and request the portal from the portal keepers. Then we will be on our way.”

“There’s no secret handshake or anything? That doesn’t seem very secure.” I couldn’t understand why he didn’t seem to be more bothered about this.

“Honestly, I do not know what we shall find. I have never used one of the old portals for travel. I’ve never met a portal keeper for that matter.”

“Alright-y, then. Let’s do this.” I turned the key and listened as Matthias’ old Buick rattled to a stop. That we’d finally be out of this car was a blessing no matter where we ended up. This thing sucked. 

Eamonn opened his door and used it for cover as he attached his sword to his belt. The moment he let it go, the sword and scabbard became invisible.

“Do you really think that is necessary?” I asked, eyeing his sword.

“Given the current climate across all the Realms, I’m not willing to take any risks. Besides, would you have me leave it behind?” He smoothed the front of his black T-shirt, checked his hair in the window’s reflection, and looked through and caught me watching. He arched an eyebrow at me and smiled.

I rolled my eyes, hoping he wouldn’t see me blush as I walked around the front of the car to meet him.

About Defenders of the Realm

War is here. There is no escape.

A witch at risk.

For Marigold, the questions keep mounting while answers remain elusive. With the drama surrounding her mother growing darker and the intrigue regarding her missing sister deepening, Marigold struggles to face reality over the lengths her family is willing to go to get what they want.

A Fae warrior in turmoil.

Navigating his new position in the King’s court should be enough to keep Eamonn busy, but he can’t stop thinking about Marigold’s illness, and her willingness to put herself in harm’s way–both of which could be deadly. He failed the king once before, he will not do it again.

The portals between the realms are broken and the Veil is under attack. The battle waged by the wolves–and their odd alliance with the witches–threatens everything the Fae hold dear.

And despite it all, the prophecy continues to unfold.

Available on Amazon.

Corinne O’Flynn

is a productivity geek, graphic designer, ghostwriter, and the author of an ever-growing list of fantasy and mystery novels and short stories.

Married, raising four kids, she is the founder and executive director of a non-profit organization, and a professional napper. She also serves on the board for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW).

You can check out all of her books on her website or on Amazon.

Anyone interested in staying connected can sign up for her emailsWhether you’re a fan of mystery or fantasy stories, or a fellow busy human looking for ways to build your own productivity systems, Corinne O’Flynn invites you to join her as she shares what she learns on her adventures.

“I believe in doing things with intention, and making sure those intentions are good. :)”

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Monday Musings: Life imitates fantastic events

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By Corinne O’Flynn

It’s interesting when life imitates art, but pretty strange when events in a fantasy author’s life echo something from their fiction. When this question was first posed to me—to share a moment when something from my fiction seemed echoed in real life, my instinct was to dismiss it. I mean, I write paranormal suspense and fantasy adventure with telepathic talking animals and ghosts—what could there possibly be that reflects on something that happened in my life after the books were written?

I sat down and thought about my character’s journeys, looking for events in their inner growth that later appeared in my own life. But then I remembered a particularly amazing moment I had with what I feel was a ghost that could have come directly from the pages of one of my books. 

In my book, Ghosts of Witches Past, the main character, Wavy McClintock is a witch with the rare ability to see ghosts. She cloisters herself in her village because she knows where the local ghosts are and how to avoid them. During the course of ths story, she has a moment where she sees her mother’s ghost. The sight doesn’t scare her; she is intrigued and curious and tries to catch up with the ghost. 

As someone who writes about the paranormal, it should come as no surprise that I am interested in all kinds of new age things. One afternoon, I was with a friend at her house so she could perform Healing Touch on me. For those of you who may not be familiar, Healing Touch is a modality of energy work for stress reduction and relaxation to promote healing of the body, mind, and spirit. Like Reiki, it is performed fully-clothed, on a massage table, and in my case, under a blanket.

I should preface this story by sharing that my friend is someone who was a very close friend of my mother’s while she was alive. It isn’t odd for her to share that she had a dream about my mother or felt her presence with her from time to time. In fasct, she almost always shared these things with me because I so rarely have them. 

This one evening, while laying on the table during a Healing Touch session, I had the strangest sensation. The room was dark and I lay on my back with my eyes closed. The session was nearing the end, and I had the sensation that the table was floating; almost as if it were suspended from the ceiling instead of standing on the floor. 

When the session was over, I was overcome with a lovely sense of calm. As I opened my eyes, I saw my deceased mother’s shape. She appeared in black and white, like chalky fog. She had been laying her ear on my chest, as if listening to my heart. As I sat up, she pulled away, smiled at me, and disappeared. 

I sat there stunned for a moment before mentioning it to my friend. We usually sit on the couch and chat after each session and discuss random things and catch up. My friend told me that she felt my mom with us the whole time, and wanted to mention it to me, but the session had already started and we don’t speak while she’s doing her energy work.

I know it sounds bizarre to share something of the paranormal, but I personally have had too many of these kinds of experiences to dismiss them outright. I want to believe that my mother is checking in on me. And now that I have made this connection to a moment in my book, I wonder if my subconscious was directing that part of the story. 

If nothing else, it’s intriguing (at least to me)!

Corinne O’Flynn

is a productivity geek, graphic designer, ghostwriter, and the author of an ever-growing list of fantasy and mystery novels and short stories.

Married, raising four kids, she is the founder and executive director of a non-profit organization, and a professional napper. She also serves on the board for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW).

You can check out all of her books here on this website or on Amazon.

Get to know more about Corinne on her:

And follow her on Twitter at @CorinneOFlynn.

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Magic Thursday: Song of the Sending

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This week’s teaser is from Book 1 of The Expatriates children’s magic fantasy series

By Corinne O’Flynn

Song of the Sending: children's magic fantasy I dodged Sam’s sword by dropping to the ground and rolling away, then waited for the tiger to do the same. My best friend’s blade fell in a wide arc beside me, but Cotton stood still, the spotlight overhead making his white fur like frosted glass. I got to my feet and glared at the tiger as if I could guilt him into complying. The walls of the old big top puffed in, then out as if the tent were sighing my frustration. Cotton watched me for another moment before he crouched and rolled, a belated mirror of my movements.

“He’s too slow, man.” Sam pointed out the obvious. Always had, since we were kids. He rubbed the sweat off his face, leaving light dusty stripes on his brown skin. I tried not to laugh as he leaned on his sword. The blunted point pried a triangle of packed dirt from the ground.

“I know.” I let my sword fall and pulled off my gloves. The tang of diesel fumes choked the still air inside the tent.

“He’s not in sync.” Sam wrinkled his nose. “Can’t you make him do it like Bak?”

“It’s not the same, and you know it. Bak doesn’t need me to teach him.” I stepped over to Bak and scratched the fur between my tiger’s ears.

I slipped my mind into his.

You don’t need me, do you, boy?

Bak pressed himself into my side. Bak need Jim. My tiger’s thought whispered through my head like the swish of canvas moving in the stifling summer breeze, and the sun wasn’t even up yet. Way too hot.

I need you, too, Bak. Me too.

Sam loosened the straps of his dented chest plate and plopped on the ground next to Cotton. “He’s gonna make us look stupid. We should scrap the new stuff.” He tilted his head to indicate Cotton. “Maybe it’s time we really change the show. You know, leave him out of it.” He lifted his dark hair off his neck. “Freaking hot in here.”

“Yeah, you try selling that to my Uncle. What would Sweetwater’s be without the Dueling Knights of Mysteria?” I pictured the carnival without its signature event. With makeup and armor, nobody would ever guess a sixteen- and a seventeen-year-old played the two knights beholden to the powers of Heaven and Hell. Along with our trusty tigers, Light and Shadow, we settled the eternal fight over good and evil—nightly at 8:00 PM and 10:30 PM.

Sam snorted. “A monkey might do better as my sidekick.”

I ran my hand down Cotton’s shoulder and wondered if the animal could tell Sam was ripping on him. “Don’t talk about him like that. You’re supposed to be the good guy. The white knight.”

The big cat sat there, licking his paw.

“Dude. Then let’s switch and you be the good guy. Besides, if Cotton knows what’s going on, then he should be able to keep up. Right?” My friend turned to the tiger as if waiting for a reply.

“Give him a break. It’s a new move. He’ll get it.” I connected with Cotton. Watch me and Bak, boy. You know what to do.

The tiger stopped licking his paw and locked his pale eyes with mine.

That’s right. Good boy.

“Come on, Bak, let’s show him how it’s done.” I pulled on my gloves and picked up my sword and turned to face Sam and Cotton. Bak took his place next to me. I mind-tapped my tiger.

Get down low. Sword right. I bent my knees and raised my sword over my right shoulder. Bak lowered his body and tensed as he lifted his right paw, claws extended.

Slice. My sword flew toward my invisible opponent. Bak raked the air in front of him with his paw. His tail whipped out behind him to compensate for the shift in his balance.

Down. Roll right. I dropped and rolled, pretending to dodge Sam’s blade as I rose to my knees. Bak moved in perfect sync, coming to rest on his belly, paws on the ground.

Up and—I got to my feet, feeling like I’d been punched in the side of my head. My connection to Bak broke. I looked at my tiger, a little dazed and unsure what had happened. Bak’s attention went upward, near the roof of the big top. But aside from the lights and the normal rigging, there wasn’t anything to see.

“What’s wrong?” Sam said.

“Don’t know.” I tapped Bak again.

A siren screamed through my head. I covered my ears, but it did nothing to ease the pain. It felt like my brain was trying to fly out of my skull. The pressure was unbearable. Bak rolled on the ground, swatting at his nose and shaking his head as if a swarm of hornets had attacked him.

Bak. You okay? I sent the thought to my tiger—but I couldn’t get through to him. He lay on the ground, writhing.

Children’s magic fantasy: Song of the Sending

They told him his world was destroyed.
And they were the last to escape.
They thought he was safe.
They were wrong.

Jim Wales can communicate with animals, but that’s not why he lives with a traveling carnival. Turns out his family’s been hiding him there since he was little, since someone started hunting all the scholars. Jim is a scholar—someone who can manipulate energy using magic—and he has no idea.

When a message arrives from Jim’s supposedly-dead father, Jim’s whereabouts are discovered, their carnival is attacked, and his mother is kidnapped. On the run with a strange glass map and a single coin, Jim finds himself racing to reclaim the father he thought he’d lost, plotting to save his mother, and discovering the truth about who he is.

But going home isn’t the same as being safe, and trust is everything.

If you liked this excerpt from this magic fantasy story for young readers, get the whole book on Amazon.

About Corinne O’Flynn

Corinne O'Flynn author of children's magic fantasyProductivity geek, graphic designer, ghostwriter, Corinne O’Flynn is the author of an ever-growing list of magic, fantasy and mystery novels and short stories.

Married, raising four kids, she is the founder and executive director of a non-profit organization, and served on the board for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW).

Get to know more about Corinne on:

Check out all of her books on BestSelling Reads or on Amazon.

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Thursday teaser: Ghosts of Witches Past

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This week’s teaser is from Book 1 of the Witches of Tower Hill series

By Corinne O’Flynn

Ghosts of Witches PastWhat was left of Niall Tobin shivered as he waited under an elm tree just beyond the border of Tower Hill. He blew into his fists, his breath weaving like arctic fog through his fingers. Damn if the woman wasn’t taking forever.

Icy rain fell heavily through the trees, thick drops causing low branches to dip down and brush his shoulders. He flinched with each touch as if the forest concealed countless chilly hands reaching from the darkness to snatch him and carry him home. And here he thought autumn in Ireland seemed miserable. He’d never felt the bite of October in New York’s Hudson Valley before.

Looking down at his bare feet, pale and freezing, he thought he’d never be warm again. Had he been able to plan properly, he would’ve worn a coat and shoes. But there’d been no time. He’d barely escaped as it was. Thank the gods, or whoever was looking out for him that Blackie, the old bartender, had taken pity on him.

Hiding in the shadows, he recalled his surprise the night before as his brothers had grabbed him from bed. How easily they had overpowered him and carried him down the stone steps to the crypt. How worried he’d been that Mother would discover they’d entered that part of the house. His shock at seeing Mother waiting by the altar. The greedy look on her face as they’d strapped him down and his own mother had woven the spell that stole his magic away.

At seventeen, and still a minor according to magical law, his power was under his parents’ control. But that’s why they picked him—his magic wouldn’t be his own for another year. He was theirs to use.

When he was younger, he had yearned for his family to be like other families they knew. Most families didn’t treat their children like animals. Most families…

He’d been lucky to escape. But standing now in the freezing rain, he wondered if he’d made a mistake in coming here.

He’d used the charm Blackie had given him to entrance a mouse to do his errand, pushing away the shame that he lacked the strength to spell something grander—like a cat or a raven—to such a simple chore. The message itself would have to be enough to make Prestiger Amber McClintock come out to meet him—a stranger—in the pouring rain. It had to work. She had to come.

He imagined her untying his note from the mouse’s tail. Would she be surprised by the photo or would it make her angry?

He didn’t know the woman in the picture, though everyone knew who Prestiger McClintock was. The legendary McClintocks of Tower Hill were one of the old families, held in the highest regard. And she was a ranking member of the ruling Prestigium who governed the magical world.

But none of that mattered. Amber McClintock was in the photo, so she’d been there that night. And she was the key Niall needed—an alternative witness for his family. Someone who could answer their questions. He’d have to convince her, but if she agreed to help him, he’d bring her back to his family and explain. With her help, they wouldn’t have to kill him. With her, they’d have a witness that didn’t require his death.

Another branch tapped its finger on his back. Niall’s already racing heart jumped. He stole a quick glance over his shoulder. Damn the rain.

What this teaser from Ghosts of Witches Past is about

A mother’s love.
A dying wish.
Secrets from the grave.
The past never forgets…

Seventeen-year-old Wavy McClintock is a witch with the rare ability to see ghosts. Traumatic events with “city ghosts” when she was a child have forced Wavy into a life of seclusion. She never leaves the safety of Tower Hill, where the local ghosts are easy to spot and avoid.

Niall Tobin is a witch from an outcast family. At seventeen, he is unable to stop his parents when they strip him of his magical soul in a plot to clear their family name. When Niall escapes, he seeks out the only living witness to the murder that ruined his family. His search brings him to Tower Hill.

When a ghost appears to Wavy, revealing a mysterious symbol that sends her on a hunt for answers, she discovers Niall injured in the woods. Convinced that he will die if left alone, Wavy defies her family and agrees to help Niall.

But helping Niall means leaving the safety of her home and facing the ghosts who want nothing more than to tear her apart. As Wavy and Niall work together to learn the truth about the murder, they discover connections that haunt both their families and uncover long-buried secrets that will change their lives forever.

If you enjoyed this teaser, get the book on Amazon.

Corinne O’Flynn

Corinne O'FlynnProductivity geek, graphic designer, ghostwriter, Corinne O’Flynn is the author of an ever-growing list of fantasy and mystery novels and short stories.

Married, raising four kids, she is the founder and executive director of a non-profit organization, and served on the board for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW).

Get to know more about Corinne on:

Check out all of her books on BestSelling Reads or on Amazon.

 

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Monday musings: My literary plans for 2018

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By Corinne O’Flynn

I’ve got big plans for 2018, and they are already underway!

In February I re-launched my fantasy adventure series The Expatriates with book one, Song of the Sending, in preparation for the March release of book two, Promise of the Scholar. I’m currently working on book three, Soul of the Sword, which will be my focus for spring.

In the summer I plan to release the next book in my paranormal suspense Witches of Tower Hill series, as well as the next book in my Aumahnee Prophecy urban fantasy series that I co-write with author Lisa Manifold.

In June I’ll be a guest author at Denver Comic Con for the second time. This is a ton of fun and I especially like doing book signings and speaking on author panels. I especially like supporting DCC because it’s the only Comic Con that is run solely to benefit a nonprofit—Pop Culture Classroom.

I recently learned that I was a named a finalist for the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers “Independent Writer of the Year” award. The IWOTY is an award they give out annually, and as one of three nominees, there will be events happening all summer leading up to the conference in Denver in September. Whether or not I win, being a finalist is pretty super and the events are a lot of fun.

For the fall, I am planning a new mystery series! Around that time, my publishing co-op, Wicked Ink Books, will be releasing our third themed anthology. Our first two books were TICK TOCK in which all the stories had a theme of time, and OFF BEAT which had stories inspired by songs.

Aside from writing and the business of publishing, I stay active online in my reader group and on social media. I love connecting with readers!

Corinne O’Flynn

Productivity geek, graphic designer, ghostwriter, Corinne O’Flynn is the author of an ever-growing list of fantasy and mystery novels and short stories.

Married, raising four kids, she is the founder and executive director of a non-profit organization, and served on the board for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW).

Get to know more about Corinne on:

You can check out all of her books here on this website or on Amazon.

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