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Why? – FYI…

Tracee Ford, Author:

Makes sense to me :)

Originally posted on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog:

1. Why do I ask my new Guest Authors to write about themselves, rather than about their book(s)?

A

Because there are already an excessive number of ‘Buy My Book’ spam tweets, promos and the like already circulating around Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Blogs and many other media, so potential readers usually switch off and turn away from them.

B

It satisfies humankind’s natural curiosity, aka nosiness, about other people, especially those who have done something the vast majority of others may never do themselves, i.e., written books and actually published them.

C

It takes authors out of their normal comfort zone, making them learn how to talk about themselves without sounding pompous, self-serving, conceited, etc.

This is also a useful talent when dealing with Agents, Publishers, etc, as well :D

D

It gives authors the opportunity to prove and demonstrate their writing talents are not just limited to the books…

View original 225 more words

TEASER TUESDAY

SNIPPET FROM VOICE OF THE DEAD

Later that evening, everyone piled in cars and headed to Middle Village. The Christmas holiday didn’t stop patrons from gathering at this little piece of winter heaven. Most of the family enjoyed the sleigh hill, but there were some who preferred the ice skating.

Lauren sat alone on a bench as she watched Annie and Morgan skate on the ice arm in arm. After all these years, they were still madly in love. It gave her hope.

Haunted CastleSuddenly, she felt warmth beside her. She glanced over and saw Nick covered in snow. “You look like you’ve been in a tragic skiing accident,” she chuckled.

“I bit the dust a few times,” he laughed.

Turning her attention back to the skating rink, she smiled.

“Let’s skate,” he said as he started taking his shoes off.

“Oh, I can’t skate,” she said lightheartedly.

“You mean to tell me you have been coming here your entire life and no one has ever taught you how to skate?”

“I always refused to learn,” she answered, turning her face toward his.

“Well, you’re not getting out of it tonight,” he insisted as he bent over to tie the laces of the skates.

“Bennette, I really can’t.”

He sat up again. “You don’t know that. You’ve never tried.”

“I don’t… I…”

“It’s no use,” he said. “Go get some skates.”

She obeyed and came back with skates. He knelt and took her snow boots off of her feet. Gently slipping the skates on, he laced them tightly, concentrating hard on making sure they supported her ankles.

He stood and held out his hands. She looked up at him, still refusing to move.

“Doc, don’t make me embarrass you.”

She knew she didn’t want any part of that, so she grabbed his hands and steadied herself.

With fright in her eyes, she looked into his. “I can’t do this.”

He leaned in closely to her and smiled. “Listen to me. Keep your ankles as straight as you can. Take it slow and hold onto me. I won’t let you fall.”

She felt the blood rush to her face and rapidly her body warmed. “You promise?”

“I promise.”

Freedom

“Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose…” I love Janis Joplin, but I don’t necessarily agree with these lyrics from Bobby McGeeFreedom’s cost is quite high and there is certainly much to lose when talking about its price. The payment can include, but is not limited to blood, tears, and sacrifice. Looking back, I am sorry that I did not enlist in the navy. I wish I would have. But, it is likely I wouldn’t be where I am today.

10384908_807003676012540_2701226259654529276_nI saw the photo to the right on Facebook the other day and it really spoke to me. It basically says that each military member wrote a blank check to the government, giving up all to ensure the freedom of this nation.

I don’t know why this Memorial Day means so much to me. Perhaps it’s because I’ve grown up a little and I realize how much our military serves as a buffer against the forces that would love to take what we have acquired. Maybe it’s because I can feel the foundation of this nation shaking beneath my feet, unstable from the corruption and decay of political agendas. Or maybe it is because I now understand the utter selflessness it takes to enlist in the military.

It is a scary proposition, enlisting. You never know when you will be called into active duty. Better yet, as a mother, you don’t know when you will be offering up your son or daughter as YOUR ultimate sacrifice. However, bravery comes in many forms. My son is only a teenager, but the likelihood of him steering toward the military is real. It’s real for every parent. It is an honorable profession. I have heard some people say that because someone isn’t smart, they enlist as an alternative to attending college. Let’s ask this questions: What does intelligence mean when it stands up against courage? Let that sink in.

MemorialDayFlagOur patriots dating back to the colonies should be honored. They set our country free, fighting against tyranny from across the ocean. Simple men with pitchforks came to the lines to forge a path to freedom for this nation.

In the same token, I must bow my head in reverence to the Native American nations that were broken apart as a result of our ambitions. There are so many things we can learn from their culture. They were the true people of this nation and we built up ourselves on the backs of their dead. So, even as we honor this day, we need to remember their sacrifices, too.

The American Civil War. Many feel that we should look down upon those that served for the South. I do not agree with that. Brothers against brothers and women disguised as men just to fight for what they believed in. Right or wrong, the intentions were pure. The sacrifice is worthy of recognition. In fact, from what I have researched, my father’s family came from Virginia. So, deep down, I’m a southerner I suppose.

11350408_10203262932053735_4067349960589304620_nWorld War II marked a time in our history that won’t soon be forgotten either. Those gentlemen are few at this point, most of them dead having lived out their lives. However, when I think of the many that died overseas, I pause. As a collection of individuals, both living and dead, their impact will be felt forever. They saved the world… literally. Do you know why we don’t raise our hand hailing allegiance to Hitler and why we don’t have swastikas in our yards? Our World War II vets can be thanked for that. The discovery and confirmation of the death camps and the Holocaust, the shift in history, the A-bomb. World War II and its veterans saved life as we know it and liberated a people that died by the millions as a result of hate and an unquenchable thirst for power.

1475880_441934332595363_1938017607_nI don’t watch war movies. However, Band of Brothers is one I can’t watch enough. I loved learning about Easy Company. Such knowledge comes from that generation as a whole. It was a different time. It was a different way of life. It was a time when women were called up to work in factories and serve in a different capacity. A capacity they had never served in before.

Vietnam. My father-in-law was headed for Vietnam. My father and uncle grew up during this conflict also. They didn’t have to enlist due to medical issues, but they were called up to do their duty. Those that served in Vietnam deserve the same honor as any other veteran. They left their homeland to wander the jungles, ensuring that the United States remained free. How dare we say they weren’t patriots!

Lastly, but certainly not least are our service animals. Think of their sacrifice. They don’t have to understand their purpose, but they serve in blind faith. As we have charged into battle, swords raised; as we have sent our four-legged companions into danger zones ahead of us. They have died for the causes we hold dear. Birds flying high with messages attached to their legs. Camels in the dessert escorting our warriors to where they needed to go. The list goes on and on.

1461364_674460309253259_80882961_nI watched War Horse and had to get up several times during that movie. I could not contain my sorrow. It was a movie that was much more than I could handle. The story alone was overwhelming. As I said, I typically can’t handle war movies. Still, I stayed to finish the movie because I felt like I needed to. After all, I was able to sit and watch the movie because someone fought and died for that particular freedom.

My paternal grandfather was a serviceman. I don’t know about my maternal side because I don’t even know who they are. I know that my mother’s adopted father didn’t serve, but that’s all I can tell you there.

My husband comes from a long line of military. His paternal grandfather, his paternal great-grandfather, his paternal uncle, and his brother all served this country. Friends we know that have served, too many to even be included in this blog post. The parents and grandparents and relatives of friends who have served. We all pay homage to them on this day. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE! And remember to #thankavet!

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Ozwind & Marketing

Ozwind banner (2)Each day I discover something brand new that Ozwind can do. So, I’m focusing on marketing for the post. I didn’t realize that clarification was needed about our marketing benefits until today. So, I wanted to relay some information about what we do as a provider.

There are two options available not only to Ozwind authors but also to those simply needing support. There is a 3 month package for $100 and there is a yearly package for $400. Both of these include a spotlighted blog post here once a month. Keep in mind that the blog feature will be reblogged by my own followers and I will be networking with other bloggers to advocate for a feature about the author.
twitter-iconAlso included are tweets up to 3 per day on my Twitter account as well as Ozwind’s, 3 times per week. Additionally, is posts on Ozwind’s Facebook page and my page up to 3 per days 3 times per week. Our marketing department will also place phone calls to set up books signings. Lastly, 2 posts per day on TSU.co 2 times per week is included in the package. 
facebook-logoFor authors taking advantage of the AUTHOR BUNDLES, 3 months of marketing is included in the bundles. This means that the marketing begins once the book is published and lasts for 3 months. Thereafter, an author can choose to renew for another 3 months or for 1 year.
tsu-logo-social-networkBook trailers are $170. Banners are $20. Facebook parties are $10 (2 hour hosting). Book teasers are $20. Posters range from $10 to $30. An ad on Ozwind’s website is $10 per month.
Please visit our website for contact information. Have a wonderful night!

TEASER TUESDAY

Enjoy this snippet from THE FINE LINE:

“I won’t. We’ll go down together.”

After putting the wet towels and dirty clothes in the hamper, Robin took Olivia’s hand and led her down the stairs into the dining room.

“Why don’t you wait here and I’ll get a snack for you? Think that might help?” she asked thoughtfully.

“Yes,” Olivia replied.Abstract background

While Olivia ate her snack, Robin walked to the basement to grab sleeping bags from storage. Matt sat on the futon with the phone to his ear. She tried hard to figure out who he was talking to, but couldn’t. So, she abandoned the investigation and walked back upstairs.

With the sleeping bags scattered on the floor, Olivia snuggled into hers and proceeded to watch a movie. She calmed and drifted into a dreamless sleep.

Feet up and the laptop resting on her legs, Robin worked diligently approving assessments and trying hard to stay focused on work. Nevertheless, as hard as she tried, she found herself, once again, enveloped in concern about the happenings with the house.

Finally, she heard the sound of footsteps coming up from the basement. As he entered the living room and sat down, Matt didn’t say a word.

“Who were you talking to?” she asked.

“Your dad and my brother,” he answered.

“Why?” she asked.

“Because I really want to understand what’s happening. You don’t realize how hard this is for me, Robin.”

“I know it’s hard for you.”

“I didn’t tell my brother much. I really just wanted to hear his voice. Your dad, on the other hand, talked to me about some things to try to help me out. He agrees that we’re dealing with something… different in the house.”

Robin looked down at Olivia. She slept soundly.

“Daddy thinks it’s demonic, doesn’t he?”

What You Don’t Know

I have dealt with a lot of controversy involving my books in the BETWEEN WORLDS SERIES. In fact, I have lost employment over them at one point. I have been judged harshly because of them. I have been judged in every way possible. I have been accused of not being a Christian or believing in God because of them. Well, here’s what you don’t know…

In 2003 I became an atheist. I stayed that way until 2012. I wrote those books during that time. During the darkest time of my life, I conceived stories about ghosts and demons and a haunted house and serial killers and a belief system that didn’t fall under conventional Christian beliefs. Stands to reason, doesn’t it? I was lost.

Here something else you don’t know…

11074484_10205659068109837_6927604007353647784_nThose books came out after I came back into the light. I went through with publishing them even though I composed them during one of the most horrible, uncertain times in my life. Here’s why: Those books are a testament to me of what God has done in my life since then. He has changed me and reworked me. I will not pull those books off of the market because they serve as a constant reminder of where I was and where God brought me from. Those books do not tell a story of my personal belief systems. They simply tell a story; a fictional story of a family and characters and an account of what happened to them. THEY ARE FICTION, which means it did not happen.

So, when you get ready to pass judgement on my books and me, remember this… God is the only one who is even allowed to judge me because He knows my entire story from back to front, beginning to the present. So, the fact that I put out three stories of my own serve only as a testimony of what I won’t go back to. I won’t go back to the darkness. I emerged from that period of my life a new creature. We all fall short of the glory of God and it is only by His grace we can even hope to understand all of the things He tries to teach us.

11039514_10153108166348959_639178523_o (2)TREAT TUESDAY renamed, TEASER TUESDAY! Enjoy this snippet from THROUGH GLASS DARKLY.

Olivia felt comfortable enough with Lauren to explain about her past. She spoke of her abuse growing up, how wonderful her parents were, her siblings, the darkness she lived through, and her near death experience.

“Besides my friend Sarah,” Olivia said, “the instant connect with you gives me confidence that there are still people out there that can accept me.”

“Daniel accepts you.”

“He is a good partner and a good friend.”

“Does he know what you can do?”

“No. I can’t tell him. It’s too soon, and he’ll probably ask for me to be transferred to the psych unit at OSU,” she said with a smile.

“You’d be surprised at what a man can accept when he cares about you. Nick surprised me.”

“But you were in love.”

“We weren’t always. I hated him when I first met him. He was annoying and brash and pompous. He didn’t like me very much either, but we connected when we let those walls fall. You still have them built up quite high.”

“They keep me safe, I guess. And they keep Amelia safe.”
“Someday, you’ll have to lower those walls, you know. Take it from someone who knows firsthand.”

“I’m not sure I know how to.”

“You will when the right person comes along. You have to be brave enough to let someone behind that wall. Then you have to be braver still to let them take each brick in the wall down, seeing exactly who you are.”

Her eyes filled with tears. “I don’t know if I can ever do that, Lauren.”

“I believe you can and you will. I think you’ll do great things and I think you’ll find someone to share in those things with you.”

TREAT TUESDAY!

Haunted CastleVOICE OF THE DEAD

CHAPTER TWO

Lauren leaned over the lifeless, pale body of the girl wearing only her bra and panties, just like the others. The crusted blood on her fingers allowed Lauren to conclude that the victim tirelessly scratched at the plastic trying to free herself. Smears of blood covered the sides of the coffin as well as the lid. A cigarette lighter lay beside the victim’s hand.

The top of the coffin still lay in place, sealed and air tight. Lauren saw rings around the girl’s wrists, consistent with ligature marks. Sparse bruising covered the body and torture seemed to be a primary element. Nonetheless, the cause of death would be consistent with suffocation.

After the two other victims had been found, Lauren’s team made it a priority to calculate how much air supply existed in the plastic box. They quickly realized that a mere twenty-four hours of oxygen existed for the previous victims.

As she gazed upon the victim, Lauren whispered, “It never ceases to amaze me just how much torment the human body can endure, and how sickening these crimes are. How could anyone do something like this to another person?”

She quietly separated herself and walked around. Calmly, she waited patiently for what she knew came next.

I wanted to address something that was brought up last night on LinkedIn. I was basically placed on the chopping block because the company I founded (Ozwind) actually charges fees to providing publishing services. Can you imagine? A company that asks for payment in return for services? And entry fees? For a contest? How unreasonable! Right?

WRONG!

This sort of situation is exactly why I left LinkedIn before. The nastiness and disrespect hasn’t changed much it seems. My stay here may be temporary yet again, not that anyone would notice it if I left. I don’t mind discussions and exchanges, but there is no sense in being involved in perpetuating harsh comments and arguments. I won’t. It goes against who I am and what I believe in.

I run my life with a positive outlook (or at least I try). I also use that same concept as a foundation for my business. STRENGTH-BASED approaches to problems, situations, and personnel go much farther than negativity. The old saying, “You attract bees with honey, not vinegar” still holds water.

econ 101Perhaps this will serve as an explanation for why Ozwind asks for fees. AND it may also give you an idea as to why we are charging entry fees for a contest we are running currently:

The fact is that everything in this world COSTS us something, whether it is time or money. When I get a hair cut, I have to pay for it. When I go to Wal-Mart, I have to pay for goods. When I want to be involved in a virtual book tour, I have to pay an entry fee. When I want to set up a booth at an event, I have to pay a set up charge.

Ozwind DOES charge fees because we are PROVIDING A SERVICE. Our authors get 60% of their net royalties. That is much more than a traditional publisher, whether they are large or a small independent press. I have personal experience in that area, so I know I’m speaking the truth.

We are a small business just beginning our journey. To ask for entry fees for a contest IS NOT unreasonable. The PRIZE is that the chosen works are put together with other stories and the winners WILL BE PUBLISHED. I would have jumped at a chance like that when I started out in my writing career. It would have been well worth the $5.00 entry fee.

I know there are “free” services out there, such as GoodReads, but formatting, editing, cover design are NOT free, unless you can take care of all of that yourself. So, as I said, in some form, there is a cost.

From researching our business model, I learned that large traditional publishers usually ask authors to sign over their rights, so essentially you lose the control that you have over your work. Vanity presses simply ask you for the money and then publish the work, whether it is ready for the market or not (that I know from my own experiences).

HYBRID PUBLISHERS, which is what we are, have guidelines that are put in place to ensure quality. The contest we are having right now is aside from all of this. It is to give first time authors a chance to add something to their history. It makes them more marketable. Essentially, we are helping one another by gaining momentum toward the same goal: being published and finding a fan base.

Summary:

First of all, if you can’t be nice, don’t say anything at all. That’s how I was raised. So, if you disagree with our business model or anything I’ve said here, that’s okay. Not everyone is going to agree on everything. Nevertheless, if you’re going to be rude, keep your thoughts to yourself. We don’t mind being challenged, but there is no point in being hateful about it.

Secondly, if you have questions, we welcome those. We don’t mind explaining who we are and why we do what we do. It gives us the opportunity to help.

Thirdly, if you do leave a nasty comment, then we will rise to the challenge gracefully. I don’t believe in responding to hate with hate. That doesn’t solve anything. What I do embrace is professionalism. With that said, I will not tolerate hate filled language or hate filled criticism. So if life on LinkedIn is cut short again, I won’t go back. And if Ozwind “lost” you “at the fees,” then we wish you all of the best in seeking free publishing services, because trust me, you will not find them.

As Indies, and yes, Ozwind is an INDEPENDENT HYBRID PUBLISHER, we need to be helping one another. That is why I hosted three blog tours, devoted myself to countless other activities, and give away more than I need to. I believe we are all trying to reach the same goal and if we don’t give each stepladders to get there, what does that make us? Well, what it makes us is rather ugly, so I won’t get into that. The point is that we need to support one another in this market because it’s overwhelming. The market is flooded and to stand out is a hurdle in itself. So, I hope you read this post with an open mind and heart and leave the negativity in the dark.

GENERALBANNEROZWINDOzwind is seeking authors who are interested in publishing anthologies of the aforementioned genres. This will not only be helpful to us as a new publishing company, but will also be great for first time authors to get their name out there and build a resume. I have put submission guidelines up on the website, detailing what this project is about and the deadline for each genre.

http://www.ozwindpublishing.com/#!anthology-submissions/c3d3

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