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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Bestseller joins BestSelling Reads: Meet M.L. Doyle

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Bestselling and award-winning author M.L. Doyle has joined the ranks of BestSelling Reads.

Mary Doyle is the author of two memoirs, three mystery novels, a four-novella erotic romance series, and the first of a series of urban fantasy novels. Her first novel, The Peacekeeper’s Photograph, won the Carey McCray Memorial Literary Award for best unpublished novel from the South Carolina Writer’s Workshop. It has since been published and received consistent five-star reviews.

“When I published my first book in 2010, I thought writing was a solitary thing. It’s still up to me alone to put words on the page, but I’ve learned that working within a writing community means you can find the support you need when you need it,” she says. “I know and have worked with many of the authors in BestSelling Reads already and I am honored to be invited to join such a talented group.”

Mary Doyle’s first book was as the co-author of  I’m Still Standing: From Captive Soldier to free citizen—my journey home (2010, Touchstone) which chronicles the story of Spec. (Ret.) Shoshana Johnson, a member of the 507th Maintenance Company who was captured during an ambush and held prisoner in the early days of the Iraq War. The book was nominated for a 2011 NAACP Image Award in the literary category for best Autobiography/biography, a year in which the category included books about Nelson Mandela, Jay Z and Ray Charles.

Mary has also co-authored another military memoir. A Promise Fulfilled, My life as a Wife and Mother, Soldier and General Officer tells the compelling story of Brigadier General (retired) Julia Cleckley, the first African-American female general of the line in the U.S. Army National Guard. The book chronicles Cleckley’s journey from joining the Women’s Army Corps, to a position of power wearing the star of a military general. The story details her journey to success while facing the most devastating losses a woman can endure: the loss of a husband and of a child.

Originally from Minnesota, Mary Doyle served almost two decades in the Army Reserve. She was stationed in Germany, Korea and the U.S., and her career took her from Central America, the Middle East, and across western and eastern Europe.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcast communications from Metropolitan State University and a Master of Arts in International Relations from the University of Oklahoma.

The Peacekeeper’s Photograph was planned as the first in a trilogy that now includes The Sapper’s Plot and The General’s Ambition, both featuring Master Sergeant Lauren Harper. But experience has shown that Mary isn’t done with writing about Master Sergeant Harper and her British companion, Sergeant Major Harry Fogg. Mary has written companion short stories, The Ceremony and Canceled Plans. She is planning a fourth and perhaps a fifth book in the series.

Mary’s adult romance series is called Limited Partnerships. It comprises Part I – Charlie, Part II – Luke, Part III – Wolf and Part IV – Derek, are available as individual ebooks format and as the Limited Partnerships Omnibus in ebook and paperback.

Her current project is a second novel in her Desert Goddess urban fantasy series that began with The Bonding Spell (2015). “I’ve been working on The Bonding Blade for a couple of years and I can’t wait to release it to the world,” she says. “It’s the second book in the Desert Goddess series aand I think it moves the story in a whole new direction. Ever since I released The Bonding Spell, my readers have been clamoring for the next book. I’m so happy to be closer to delivering it and can now promise that I’ll announce a release date by very soon.”

Mary loves to hear from readers. Find out more about her and her books on her BestSelling Reads Author page; check her out on Facebook.com/mldoyleauthor, or Twitter @mldoyleauthor.

You can read excerpts of all of her work on her website, www.mldoyleauthor.com.

 

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Monday musings: Life inspired writing inspired life

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By Autumn Birt

I love adventure, especially traveling. One of my remaining bucket list trips is cave rafting in New Zealand (seriously).

The only thing that makes a trip more interesting is throwing in some local history and artifacts and I’m pretty much in love. Hiking the Inca Trail in Peru to Machu Picchu was an experience that will live with me and color my writing. How could following an ancient pathway of stones and steps through mountain passes and by a handful of stunning ruins, each unique, to end at one of the wonders of the world not show up in a story somewhere, especially when you are a fantasy writer?

My hobbies of hiking, kayaking, and sailing have lent a realistic air to many of my books. I know what it is like to carry everything you need on your back for days at a time, slogging through mud and crawling over steep ledges. I’ve ridden horses, though prefer motorcycling over long distances. I know the feeling of stepping into a new land and feeling equally lost and fascinated.

Those are the easy details that permeate my writing, often without me realizing it. But it was a conference in Miami in 2010 that not only changed my worldview but inspired an entire series.

The guest speaker was a proponent for an Everglades National Park, but had given up because he didn’t think the Everglades would exist in fifty years. Slide by slide, he unrolled more scientific details on climate change and historic trends in past climate changes than I’d ever seen. He ripped away the idea that the seas would rise slowly and lethally. Instead, he showed the ancient benchmarks where the land dropped feet at a time due to storms. A storm surge would arrive, inundate everything, and never leave.

The future we have crafted due to past actions is not going to be predictable or follow a smooth chart laid out by scientists doing the best they can with predictive modeling. It will be messy, chaotic, and cause havoc we can only guess at. Working as I did in sustainable agriculture for a government agency, my mind whirled with how would governments respond? How many such storms as Katrina in the US would it take for an area to be abandoned? How many would it take to weaken a government to the point it could be overthrown or bought?

Throw in increasing droughts, lack of clean water, and a pandemic or two, and you have a world in chaos.

It took years with those ideas planted in my brain to finally grow into the post-apocalyptic series, Friends of my Enemy. A twisted tale of a dark future rife with conflicted relationships, it is nevertheless one of my favorite things to have written, even though it is so far different from the epic fantasy books I usually prefer. It is my nightmarish dream and imbued with a bit of hope for mankind in our not-so-distant future.

Plus, the unruly roots sprouted out of that conference eventually lead me to quit my job.

I’m not a prepper or survivalist by any means, but when the future looks unstable, the government you work for is not responding to mitigate anything of what might be coming, and you are going to be in your late 60s by then anyway, grasping life and seeing the world while you can still enjoy it feels so much better than saving for retirement because some guy in a suit said you should. Ok, I might be a bit of a rebel at heart too.

And, you know, it doesn’t hurt that I live in a self-contained, all-terrain adventure vehicle. I’m totally prepared for the zombie apocalypse. 😉

Autumn Birt

is a bestselling author in fantasy, epic fantasy, and war – not all on the same series though!

She is the author of the epic fantasy, adventure trilogy on elemental magic, The Rise of the Fifth Order. Her newest series is Games of Fire, an epic continuation of the world and characters begun in The Rise of the Fifth Order. Book 2, Gates of Fire & Earth, is also a Fantasia Reviews 2017 Book of Year nominee and winner of Best Worldbuilding.

She is also the author of Friends of my Enemy, a military dystopian/ dark fantasy tale laced with romance.

Stop by her website and blog to learn more about the worlds of her books at www.AutumnWriting.com. You can also find her on Facebook at Author.Autumn.Birt or more frequently on Twitter @Weifarer. Check out Exclusive Stories page to pick up free short stories.

Learn more about her on her BestSelling Reads author page and Amazon Author Page.

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Horror Thursday: The Dark

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This week’s teaser is from the award-winning horror novel. Read on to find out how you could win a free copy of this outstanding book 

By David C. Cassidy

The Dark: award-winning horror by David C. CassidyStanding at his chopping block, Harmon Wyatt spun around. His ax was poised, ready to strike fire into the heart of the sorry son of a bitch who had snuck up on him. Yet all he saw were woods, as far as his old eyes could take him.

Not thirty yards from where he stood, a pair of pine crosses stirred horror within him. He relived it all in an instant. And before his terror could best him with a scream, he forced his gaze away, into the woods.

Woods of silence.

Woods of eyes.

The nape of his neck grew cold as the gray hairs there stood on end. His grip on the ax tightened.

There was a shift at that precise moment, a bad turn in the way of things. He could not put his finger on it, yet somehow, in some dark and elusive way, the world changed.

“Sweet Jesus, no—

As it had come to him yesterday as the light had fled, it had come to him now, a preying darkness reborn, aching from desires ancient and gross. There was no mistaking its hold over him, no subtlety to its message. It wanted. It needed. And it would take what it chose. He had faced it long ago, when he still held the fight of a younger man. The fight that had carried him. But for him to rise against it now … no mountain could loom higher.

Harmon turned to the graves. Their crude markers were barely visible, two wooden stubs buried in the snow. He moved closer, only a yard, and no farther. His fear—his guilt—sent him hustling to the back door in terror.

Something was out there. Something cold and wicked. And though it had been thirty years if a day, he knew what it was; knew its black work was unfinished.

Trembling, he set his ax beside the step and retreated inside. His legs nearly buckled as he huddled against the door. He feared he might lose his grip, just as he had last night. Only sheer will steeled him against his fright.

He stood in the cramped kitchen. The woodstove crackled. Don Maclean sang American Pie on his portable radio. The volume was low, but it was loud enough to make him rush across the room and kill the music with a hard slap to the power button.

He stuffed his work gloves in his pockets, then ducked below the small round window at the door. He rose slowly and peered through the grimy glass.

Trees. Everywhere, the trees.

He grabbed a beer from the fridge, an old Westinghouse with a wonky handle. His trembling fingers struggled with the bottle cap, finally getting it off.

He sat at his kitchen table. Don’t you look, he told himself. Don’t you dare look. But as he had countless times before, in his sleeping nightmares and in his waking ones, he did look. To the top of the fridge, to a small wooden box that lay in wait amid a clutter of junk.

He thought he might piss himself. Thought he might die.

“You ain’t real,” he said, and guzzled the entire brew. He wiped his lips on his sleeve and tossed the bottle to the floor. He fetched another. “No more you ain’t … no more.”

But he knew. Knew it to be as real as the two shallow graves buried beneath the snow.

It was real, and he knew what it was.

The Dark.

The Dark: Award-winning horror.

IBPA (IPPY) Award-Winner in Horror Fiction

ReadersFavorite.com Award-Winner in Horror Fiction

ReadersFavorite.com 5-Star Selection

Award-winning author David C. Cassidy draws you into a realm of terror, a world unlike any other. With the inspired flair of Clive Barker and the pulse-pounding beat of Stephen King, The Dark will leave you breathless, reminding us all that for all we desire there is always a price, the currency in suffering and sacrifice. Brimming with insidious evil and a nerve-wracking pace that never lets up, this story will grab hold of your most primitive fears and crank them up to Warp 10—and won’t let go.

It knows what you want.

It knows what you need.

In denial over his father’s death in a horrific accident, Kelan Lisk has grown fearful and withdrawn. For this meek and bullied child, a burning desire to tame a deadly sledding hill consumes him, drawing him inside a wondrous place where anything is possible … including his father. But as this strange new realm spills into this one, twisting an innocent little boy into an agent of evil, the world is forever changed, devoured by an even greater evil—the Dark.

Get it on Amazon.

Win a free e-copy

The author will pick a name at random from horror readers who leave a Comment below. Good luck!

Meet the author

Award-winning horror author David C. CassidyAward-winning author David C. Cassidy is the twisted mind behind several chilling books of horror and suspense. An author, photographer, and graphic designer—and a half-decent juggler—he spends his writing life creating tales of terror where Bad Things Happen To Good People.

David lives and plays in Ontario, Canada. From Mozart to Vivaldi, classic jazz to classic rock, he feels naked without his iPod. Suffering from MAD—Multiple Activity Disorder—he divides his time between writing and workouts, photography and Photoshop, reading and rollerblading. An avid amateur astronomer, he loves the night sky, chasing the stars with his telescope. Sometimes he eats.

Learn more about David on his

BestSelling Reads author page     |     Amazon Author page     |     website     |     Facebook     |     Google+     |     LinkedIn     |     Twitter     |     Instagram

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Monday musings: When you didn’t realize art mimicked reality …

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By DelSheree Gladden

I started writing “Invisible” based off one of those random questions that gets stuck in your head. “What if a child’s imaginary friend wasn’t imaginary, but invisible? How would they ever convince others that person was real? How would the invisible friend carry on when only one other person in the whole world could actually see them? Okay, so that’s a series of questions, but they stuck with me until I started putting those thoughts down on paper, so to speak.

I didn’t plan out Mason and Olivia’s story. I had little more than a vague idea of where their lives might go: a normal human girl and the invisible boy who was in love with her but knew she saw him as little more than a brother. I rarely write with a plan and prefer to let a story go where it may, but with this one I had that experience where I felt like the characters wrote the story themselves and I was simply along for the ride.

It wasn’t until much later, when the book was published, maybe all three books in the series (I can’t remember at this point), and I was asked to do an interview with a blogger (I also can’t remember which blogger, which I’m so sorry to admit!). One of the questions asked which character I identified with most. I had to think about that for a while, mostly because the characters had taken on a life of their own and seemed like their own people at that point and not so much a part of me anymore.

When I really considered what had been the impetus behind writing a story about an invisible boy, I realized it was because Mason was me, in many ways, as a young child and even as a teen. I often felt invisible growing up. Partly that was because I was painfully shy and had a hard time making friends. Another part of that was a very strained and complicated relationship with my mother and siblings that made me feel isolated and unimportant.

There were many times I felt as Mason did, frustrated that no one seemed to notice me or care about what I could do in life. I wanted to wanted to get people’s attention, show them who I was, but I didn’t know how. It wasn’t until a few friends took me under their wings and helped me realize I wasn’t invisible and definitely was worthwhile that I felt that cloak of invisibility begin to slip away.

My own story isn’t nearly as exciting or world altering as Mason’s but, to a person who feels invisible, that friend who truly sees them does change their world and how they see themselves.

The Southwest is a big influence in her writing because of its culture, beauty, and mythology. Local folk lore is strongly rooted in her writing, particularly ideas of prophecy, destiny, and talents born from natural abilities.

DelSheree lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. When she is not writing, DelSheree is usually reading, painting, sewing, or working as a Dental Hygienist.

Visit:

And follow her on Twitter @Delsheree.

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