Monday musings: Three under-appreciated indie authors I’d like to invite to dinner

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by Raine Thomas

The indie author community is both very large and very small. We pursue our passion from all over the world and find each other through author events and on social media. I’m happy to say that I’ve been a part of this community for almost seven years now and in that time I’ve met some incredible people, both virtually and in person.

If I could, I’d host a huge party and invite all of the wonderful indie authors I’ve gotten to know over the years. For the purposes of this post, however, we’re narrowing our invite list down to three. That’s a tough task, but here we go!

The first author I’d invite to dinner would be Amanda Jason. Her popular book Lucky Number Four was one of the first indie rom-cams I’ve ever read, and it had me laughing from the very first paragraph. I also happen to know that Amanda Jason is the pen name of a truly beautiful soul named Carol Kunz. Carol also co-writes with her son, Adam, as under-appreciated indie YA author C.A. Kunz. If I could count them together as one author, I’d for certain have them both to dinner!

My next invite would go to Michelle Cornwell-Jordan. Michelle is one of the kindest, most supportive people I’ve ever known. Michelle has numerous books, most of which are YA paranormal or steampunk and all of which are (in my opinion) under-appreciated. One of the things I love about Michelle is what she does to support the indie author community, from sharing posts across her blog and social media to reading and reviewing ARCs and even hosting her own podcast. She is a force to be reckoned with, and it would be an honor to have her over for dinner.

The last dinner invite I would extend to an indie author I haven’t yet met in person would go to South African author, Deborah Leigh. Deborah’s first book, a hard-hitting romance called Firebird, was intense and powerful, clearly written from the heart. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Deborah through social media and I have a sneaking suspicion we’d get into all kinds of trouble if we had dinner together!

There are many, many other indie authors out there who I’d love to meet in person. Hopefully one day that will happen! Until then, I can live in my fantasy world and think of what fun I’d have if I could sit the above three authors down to dinner.

Raine Thomas

is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine has signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen. She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream.

Raine is a hopeless romantic with a background in the fields of mental health and wedding planning…two areas that intersect far more than one would think. Her years working with children and young adults with emotional and behavioral challenges inspired her to create protagonists who overcome their own conflicts. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Where to find her

BestSelling Reads author page  |  Amazon Author page  |   Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Tumblr  |  Instagram  |  YouTube  |  Goodreads  |Linkedin  |  Tsu

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A Fantasy-romance teaser: A Silent Prayer

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This week’s teaser is from the fantasy-romance, paranormal thriller first book in the Prayer Series

By Samreen Ahsan

A Silent Prayer coverWhen I reach my destination, I exit the station and notice that it is not raining anymore. I walk down the entire block and see the Gibson Enterprises sign on the opposite side of the street. It is a tremendously tall building, fifty stories at least, touching the skies above. Outside the building is an ostentatious stone and marble entry with the company’s name etched on it. It makes me smile, wondering how much money has been spent just to carve the marble. As I continue toward the main entrance, my bag gets stuck on one of the decorative bolts sticking out of the wall. Everything spills out of it like spring showers.

Damn! Why do things like this always happen to me? And always in the wrong place? I free the strap on my bag and begin to pick up my belongings.

Thank God it’s not raining, otherwise my Kindle would have been soaked by now. I realize someone is gazing down at me intently, and I look up to meet the most beautiful dark green eyes I have ever come across. I look away and continue picking things up, cursing my handbag and the decorative bolts and wondering why the hell he is not helping me pick up the stuff. I look up again and the emerald eyes are still on me, apparently dumbfounded. They are not just eyes; they are like two precious gemstones with all four Cs: Color, which is composing my soul, Cut, which is ripping my clothes off to expose me, Clarity, as if he is looking through me, and Crystal, like he is an open book, with nothing to hide. Each emotion is visible from his eyes. As if he has not seen anyone like me. As if I am the only woman on this planet at this very moment.

Or is he enjoying my misery?

I get up and look at his blank face, then head to the door.

We were told two days ago that since the main office of Greenway Advertising is also located somewhere in this building, we are authorized to go through the turnstile by swiping our badges. I check the time: 8:55 a.m., still five minutes to the start of the meeting. I would have arrived early if not for the bolts. I reach the turnstile and slip my hand in the front pocket of my bag where I always keep my badge.

It’s not there. Damn! Where is it? Did I lose it when I dropped everything?

I curse myself and turn back so as not to block other people coming through. My body slams into a tall strong masculine form, causing me to lose my balance. He holds me tightly by my waist. I meet those amazing eyes again as he swipes the badge and propels me through the Plexiglas door into the building.

Whoa! What was that?

He releases me and I see a silent smile curving his lips. He has not spoken yet. The security guards are looking at me with ‘it’s okay’ expressions on their faces. What kind of security do they have here? I am here for the first time and they let the green-eyed man bring me through the high-security door without any questions. Why didn’t they check his ID?

He finally condescends to speak, hiding his smile. “You dropped this when you were struggling with the bolts.” He hands me my badge.

So you were enjoying the sight and didn’t have the courtesy to give it to me earlier?

“Thank you for picking it up for me.” I don’t hide the sarcasm in my voice. I leave the doorway, as people are passing through the turnstile and it is not appropriate to stand here and gaze at this alluring man. I move toward the elevator and take out my phone to confirm where the breakfast meeting is actually happening. The invite says “The Maple Room,” but not where it is located. I read the email again and again to make sure I am not missing the floor number. I should ask the management or those guards if they know.

“You look lost. May I help you?” I look up from my phone and meet those green eyes again. This time he is actually smiling. His bright shiny teeth look like they belong in a toothpaste commercial. For the first time, I notice that he is not only the owner of beautiful emerald eyes but he has a charming physique—the kind of guy who can seduce a girl with his sexy body. Along with a beautiful smile and magical eyes, he has a really charming face with a little bit of stubble, but very neatly trimmed. He is hot. Just like a Hollywood celebrity.

Control yourself, Rania.

About A Silent Prayer

About A Silent Prayer

A Silent Prayer is the Book One of A Prayer Series

Adam Gibson is a young and powerful Toronto millionaire. Despite his many blessings, he is an atheist, though he has an altruistic soul. He denies there is a God–until he meets a beautiful stranger in a place that does not exist for anyone but him.

Rania Ahmed strongly believes in God, but has lost hope she will ever find her soul mate. Endowed with hypnotic beauty and cursed by a brutal past, Rania has no idea she has cast a spell on Adam, who has never received more from a woman than physical pleasure. As Adam slowly discovers the true meaning of love from Rania, he begins to face his demons and reconsider his beliefs. He learns to love, forgive and repent. But as Adam grows closer to Rania, a series of strange, unexplained events threatens to drive them apart. To keep her from being destroyed by her past, he must persuade her to trust him with her deepest secrets.

In this spiritual romance, an atheist embarks on a path of enlightenment with a tormented soul who may just have the power to change everything he has ever believed to be true.

A Silent Prayer is the multiple award-winning title.

  • Winner  2014 Los Angeles Book Festival
  • Winner  2014 Paris Book Festival
  • Winner  2014 Hollywood Book Festival
  • Honorable Mention — 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards
  • Honorable Mention  2014 New York Book Festival
  • “An intense, joltingly modern love story.” Kirkus
  • “This is a love story with a twist – perhaps one of the most unusual love stories I have ever read.”—Raheel Raza, freelance Journalist & documentary filmmaker
  • “I think A Silent Prayer by Samreen Ahsan is destined to become a classic in the romance genre.”—Readers’ Favorite
  • “A powerfully written modern day romance with a strong spiritual element. Highly recommended.”—The Wishing Shelf Awards
  • “Samreen Ahsan gives their love story a series of obstacles, but a love as powerful and inevitable as gravity pulls them together. Five stars!” — Scott Bury, Author of Army of Worn Soles
  • “Once I started reading this book it was very hard to put down.” — Books and Beyond Fifty Shades Blog
  • “Samreen Ahsan’s A Silent Prayer gets 5 stars hands down!” — Julies Book Review

About the author

History, art and literature are my passions. I love digging out information about prophecies, divine miracles and paranormal events that are mentioned in history and holy books, that don’t sound possible in today’s modern world.

Since childhood, I have been into reading and writing—and yes, it can’t happen without imagination, which luckily has no boundaries. Dance and music are also pastimes I enjoy, as well as reading romance fiction. I love to travel and explore historical cities.

A Prayer Series” is my first Multi-Award-Winning Series about paranormal events, based on Islamic concepts.

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Six ways to choose your next read: Monday musings

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By Raine Thomas

Woman hoping her next read is worth the effort

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

I’ve seen a common complaint on social media lately, one I’ve experienced myself as an avid reader. The complaint is about finding a book to next read. It’s getting more and more difficult to find affordable, well-written e-books. I know you’ve been there: you download a book that has a great cover and blurb and hundreds of reviews, you dig into it, and you promptly realize it’s got a flimsy plot and tons of proofreading errors.

Frustrating, right?

With the market getting more saturated by uploaded e-books every day and some unscrupulous authors buying or farming reviews, how can we as readers choose books that we’re most likely to enjoy? Here are a six tips to choose your next read:

Ask your friends to help you choose your next read

There’s usually at least one person in your life with a reading passion similar to yours. Exchange feedback with him or her about books you’ve each read and take their advice on the best ones to add to your Must-Read list.

Join groups on social media

You’ve likely found that people tend to be quite opinionated and frank on social media, which makes it a potentially solid place to get honest feedback about books. Find groups with similar interests to yours and see which books get the best buzz. Don’t be shy about asking whether people in the group have read a book you’re considering downloading. Most people would be happy to answer!

Read the free excerpt

Most e-book retailers offer the option to take a peek inside the book before you buy it. Take a few minutes to read the free excerpt to get a gauge of the author’s writing style as well as how well edited it is.

Revisit authors you’ve enjoyed in the past

Most authors produce at least a book or two a year. Go back through your reading history and find authors whose books you enjoyed. Find them on book retailers or social media to see if they’ve released anything new. Better yet, sign up for their fan page and/or newsletter to make them tell you about your next read.

Follow reputable book bloggers

Book bloggers are wonderful sources of information about books. Seek out bloggers with an established reputation who point out elements in their reviews about things like storyline and grammar issues to help guide you on your purchasing decisions.

Check out the reviews

Before purchasing a book, read the reviews … both positive and negative. Be sure to read the reviews objectively to avoid being swayed by “trolls” who try and reduce an author’s sales by leaving unjustified negative remarks. You want to look for consistency in the content of multiple reviews to best judge the book’s content.

Do you have a method for choosing your next read? Let us know about it in the comments here or on social media!

Raine Thomas

Bestselling author Raine Thomas is careful about choosing her next readThe multiple award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction, Raine is known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination. She has signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen.

She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites to find her next read, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Where to find her

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Monday musings: Reading pet peeves

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By Raine Thomas

Photo by Nic McPhee on Flickr and used here with Creative Commons license.

Pet peeves. Everyone has them. Yes, even readers and writers…perhaps even more than most people!

Exploring the pet peeves experienced by readers and writers can be a helpful way to clear the air and help us see each other’s points of views on some rather serious topics. In the hopes of engaging our readers in a spirited dialogue, we thought we’d explore some of these pet peeves over a couple of blog posts.

Let’s begin with some of the pet peeves experienced by readers, shall we?

  1. Poor editing. This pet peeve has to top the list for most readers. There’s no justification for an author uploading a book for sale when it hasn’t been properly edited. The author is essentially asking readers to pay them the same amount for substandard work as they pay other authors who shelled out the money for an editor. You know what? This could be considered a pet peeve for authors too.
  2. Cliffhangers. There are certainly readers who love a good cliffhanger. There are equally as many authors who make a living off of stories that end this way. But for many readers, this is a critical pet peeve. I’ve seen a number of reviews stating that the reader was upset or offended that a book ended on a cliffhanger, which prompted them to boycott any other work by the author. In fact, many Amazon reviews for books with a cliffhanger ending are titled just that: “Cliffhanger warning!!!” as though this should warn everyone off. Definitely a pet peeve of note!
  3. Love triangles. Many of the arguments for the above pet peeve can be made here. There is a valid reason that love triangles appear in many novels, and that’s because a love triangle infuses a story with inherent tension. Who will the main character choose? The problem is that in the end someone always loses out, often leaving the reader unsatisfied.
  4. Spoilers. Authors, take care not to reveal too much about any previous books in a series within your book blurbs, teasers, or other promotional commentary. Readers, don’t ruin books for your fellow readers by leaving spoilers in your reviews or social media comments. This pet peeve ranks right up there among the top for most readers.
  5. Long waits between books. There is little more frustrating to a reader than having to wait long periods of time between releases for books in a series. The generally accepted wait is up to a year, but less time between releases is better!
  6. Books with weak endings. Readers want a compelling read from start to finish. Period.
  7. Interrupted reading time. When readers get into a good book, they’re living in that world until they read the last word. Even then, they’re often suffering a significant book hangover. Do the world a favor and if you come across a reader involved in a book, walk the other way.

What reading pet peeves should we add to this list? Let us know in the comments here or on social media!

Raine Thomas

The multiple award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction, Raine is known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination. She has signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen.

She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Where to find her

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Thursday teaser #excerpt: A Silent Prayer

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This week’s excerpt comes from the first volume of the Prayer Series.

By Samreen Ahsan

As I stare out over the city, a sound catches my attention. It’s music, but not the music from the restaurant. It’s magical-sounding. I try to determine where it’s coming from. I see a door and head toward it. It feels like it has not been opened for years; in fact, like no one has ever opened it at all. I struggle with the rusted knob and finally get it to turn and open the door. I am expecting another set of fire stairs, but instead there is a passage. There is nothing to the right or left and I follow the passage; or rather, I follow the magical music.

…The sound of the music is so warm and comforting that I realize I am not feeling cold anymore. I take a few more steps and what I see freezes me, just like the weather outside. There are no doors, no stairs in this piece of architecture. It’s nothing but a spiral passage leading down to ground level. I look down to the bottom and my heart comes into my throat. A girl is dancing to the music. From here on the sixth level I can’t see her face clearly, but the way she moves takes my breath away. I feel as if the dance and the music are casting a spell on me. The girl is lost in her dance, not caring about anyone watching her. I see the shadows of other people dancing with her, but since the light is on her, I am unable to see more than shadowy figures. For the first time in my life, I feel my soul is pulling me…toward her.

…I start walking down that spiral passage. The music becomes clearer and melts in my ears, in my body, in my soul. I have never heard of anything like this. How can mere humans create such a heartwarming composition?

Why can’t I take my eyes off her? This has never happened to me before. Or perhaps, I have never seen anyone like her.

…The violins behind me accelerate, and so does her body. She moves round and round with the music, unaware of my presence until all of a sudden, she crashes against me. I hold her by her waist tightly to give her support. The music stops, and so does her dance. Our eyes meet. Under the pink mask, her big eyes, darker than ebony, catch my attention. She looks at me as if she is looking directly through my soul. The madness in her eyes rips my existence and peels off my flesh and bone to search my soul. The darkness in them draws me to let her devour my presence, insanely and willingly.

…I want to touch her skin, but its softness and tenderness scares me in a way I have never experienced. Instead of touching her, I raise my hand to take the mask off of her beautiful face, wondering if it is as perfect underneath as it looks. She backs off and releases herself from my grip. The lights grow dimmer. The music fades. It is just me and her, staring at each other in consternation. I watch her stepping back, but cannot follow her; it’s as if my feet are frozen to the ground and I cannot move at all. I see her pick up her bag and look back at me, and then she leaves me in the darkness that she has cast on me with her one last look.

…I stand there numb, not sure for how long.

…I rush out of the spiral structure to catch my breath. Inside my body, my heart is skipping from one place to another. I feel like I have caught a really high fever. My body is trembling, and I can’t even stand properly on my own feet.

…I turn around to look back, and I’m flabbergasted. There is no spiral structure behind me. It twists my mind completely, wondering where I saw that beautiful girl, and where I came out from.

…I had never seen such an alluring woman in my entire life. A refinement that surpasses all levels of beauty and grace. An artistic existence so pure that even the angels would envy it. How could someone make your heart beat so fast, without even touching, without even kissing, without even making love? The urge to see her again is unexplainable.

About A Silent Prayer

A Silent Prayer is the Book One of A Prayer Series

Adam Gibson is a young and powerful Toronto millionaire. Despite his many blessings, he is an atheist, though he has an altruistic soul. He denies there is a God–until he meets a beautiful stranger in a place that does not exist for anyone but him.

Rania Ahmed strongly believes in God, but has lost hope she will ever find her soul mate. Endowed with hypnotic beauty and cursed by a brutal past, Rania has no idea she has cast a spell on Adam, who has never received more from a woman than physical pleasure. As Adam slowly discovers the true meaning of love from Rania, he begins to face his demons and reconsider his beliefs. He learns to love, forgive and repent. But as Adam grows closer to Rania, a series of strange, unexplained events threatens to drive them apart. To keep her from being destroyed by her past, he must persuade her to trust him with her deepest secrets.

In this spiritual romance, an atheist embarks on a path of enlightenment with a tormented soul who may just have the power to change everything he has ever believed to be true.

A Silent Prayer is the multiple award-winning title.

  • Winner  2014 Los Angeles Book Festival
  • Winner  2014 Paris Book Festival
  • Winner  2014 Hollywood Book Festival
  • Honorable Mention 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards
  • Honorable Mention  2014 New York Book Festival
  • “An intense, joltingly modern love story.” Kirkus
  • “This is a love story with a twist – perhaps one of the most unusual love stories I have ever read.”—Raheel Raza, freelance Journalist & documentary filmmaker
  • “I think A Silent Prayer by Samreen Ahsan is destined to become a classic in the romance genre.”—Readers’ Favorite
  • “A powerfully written modern day romance with a strong spiritual element. Highly recommended.”—The Wishing Shelf Awards
  • “Samreen Ahsan gives their love story a series of obstacles, but a love as powerful and inevitable as gravity pulls them together. Five stars!” — Scott Bury, Author of Army of Worn Soles
  • “Once I started reading this book it was very hard to put down.” — Books and Beyond Fifty Shades Blog
  • “Samreen Ahsan’s A Silent Prayer gets 5 stars hands down!” — Julies Book Review

About the author

History, art and literature are my passions. I love digging out information about prophecies, divine miracles and paranormal events that are mentioned in history and holy books, that don’t sound possible in today’s modern world.

Since childhood, I have been into reading and writing—and yes, it can’t happen without imagination, which luckily has no boundaries. Dance and music are also pastimes I enjoy, as well as reading romance fiction. I love to travel and explore historical cities.

A Prayer Series” is my first Multi-Award-Winning Series about paranormal events, based on Islamic concepts.

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What to give the fantasy reader on your list? A BestSelling Read!

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It’s getting to crunch time in the gift-buying season. What can you get the fantasy reader on your shopping list? A BestSelling Read, of course. And this it the perfect place to find great fantasy reads.

Samreen Ahsan

Samreen Ahsan’s award-winning A Prayer series is a romantic fantasy based on Islamic themes. Her new series, starting with Once Upon a [Stolen] Time, combines fantasy, science-fiction and time travel in a powerful love story that spans centuries.

Frederick Lee Brooke

The Drone Wars trilogy is a fast-paced, thrilling and chilling science-fiction series that peeks a few very short years into the future civil war that tears the United States apart.

 

Scott Bury

The Bones of the Earth breaks the mould of fantasy. Set in the real sixth-century Byzantine Empire, it tells the story of a young Sklavene named Javor who needs to find out how a dagger and amulet he inherited from his great-grandfather is connected to deep forces bent on erasing humanity from the face of the earth.

DelSheree Gladden

The Something Wicked This Way Comes series tells the story of young godlings finding their way in a world that doesn’t believe in them—and facing forces that want to destroy them,.

Her Twin Souls trilogy evokes Native American mythology in a reader-favorite series.

In the Aerling series, beings who are not ghosts depend on Olivia to guide them to their destiny.

DelSheree goes to the world of actual ghosts in her Ghost Host series, where poor Echo Simmons needs to learn what to do with the ghosts that haunt her YouTube channel.

Her Destroyer series tells the story of Libby, who’s person capable of destroying the world—so it’s no big surprise when she ends up with a Guardian blade at her throat.

Toby Neal

On the island of Lanai, teens from very different worlds must find a way to survive when all technology is destroyed, aided by a mysterious `aumakua dragon that may or may not be imaginary.

 

Raine Thomas

Raine Thomas

Raine Thomas has crafted several fantasy series. Each book in the Daughters of Saraquel series focuses on one sister who has to learn what it means to Become, and how to live on the Estilorian Plane.

The Firstborn trilogy traces the story of the descendants of Saraqael as they embark upon their own thrilling adventures and race against time to save the Estilorian plane…battling for love along the way

The Ascendant series are New Adult novels intended for audiences over 17 years. It tells how secret lovers Kyr and Ty must save the planet of Alametria, even while its inhabitants are trying to kill them.

Subscribe to get this blog by email to keep on top of all the best new fantasies, mysteries, romances and thrillers that the avid readers on your gift-giving list will love.

 

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