Friday, December 21, 2012

Last Post and A Christmas Carol

Today will be my last post of the year. My next post will be on January 2, 2013, when the Insecure Writers Support Group meets again.

I hope you all have a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.

As a point of interest, Givin' Up The Ghost takes place in a modern day medieval village called Sabrina Shores. Sabrina Shores is modeled after the town of Shrewsbury in England, where George C. Scott's version of A Christmas Carol was filmed. If you read Givin' Up The Ghost, you might enjoy the photographs of what Sabrina Shores looks like HERE.

And now, I'll leave you with my favorite quote from Charles Dickens', A Christmas Carol:

“And how did little Tim behave?” asked Mrs Cratchit, when she had rallied Bob on his credulity and Bob had hugged his daughter to his heart’s content.

“As good as gold,” said Bob, “and better. Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

"God bless us, every one!"

~Tiny Tim, A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Promoting: Amazon, GoodReads and PIP Newsletter


You might recognize some of the books on this list as belonging to authors you know. That's because some of us YA indie authors teamed up to do an event. Check it out!

Best Sellers in Fantasy Series
Top 100 Free
December 15, 2012

Forged by Greed (The Forged Series)1. Forged by Greed (The Forged Series)
Angela Orlowski-Peart
4.4 out of 5 stars (25)
Auto-delivered wirelessly

Julie Cassar
4.8 out of 5 stars (104)
Auto-delivered wirelessly

Wicked Sense (The Singularity Series, #1)3. Wicked Sense (The Singularity Series, #1)
Fabio Bueno
4.5 out of 5 stars (31)
Auto-delivered wirelessly

4. Neverlove (Shadow Jumpers)
Neverlove (Shadow Jumpers)
Angela Brown
4.9 out of 5 stars (8)
Auto-delivered wirelessly

5. The Soulkeepers (The Soulkeepers Series)
The Soulkeepers (The Soulkeepers Series)G. P. Ching
4.3 out of 5 stars (290)
Auto-delivered wirelessly

 6. Givin' Up The Ghost (An Indigo Eady Paranormal Mystery)
Givin' Up The Ghost (An Indigo Eady Paranormal Mystery)
Gwen Gardner
4.7 out of 5 stars (3)
Auto-delivered wirelessly

Turns out, giving your book away for free pushes it further up the list, however fleeting.

Here are some of the deets for Givin' Up The Ghost:


US 1093
UK    66
DE    15
ES      1
CA     2

    1177 Total downloads for 12/14 - 12/15.

This was a definite improvement over the Black Friday freebie when I had 679 downloads for two days. But the Gifts Aren't Only From Santa event was a bit more high profile, and it helps when you've teamed up and are promoting each others books as well.

I have to say it - I suck at promoting. I find it really hard to promote / push / pimp myself. I'd be the vacuum cleaner saleswoman at your door saying, "You don't want to buy this vacuum, do you?" Honestly, I'm better behind the scenes. Give me something to organize and lists to make and things to check off. You know, books to write, that sort of thing.

But I have seen a direct correlation between those who are really good at promoting themselves and sales.

So what happened after the promotion?

The day after the promotion, on 12/16, I went down to #281,289 in the Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store.

On 12/17, I sold 2 ebooks and my ranking went back up to 79,162 in the Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store.

And now I'm back up to 148,236. Probably more by now. But I had started out over 400,000.

I'm thinking none of the numbers makes sense, but hoping that the giveaways get my book more exposure.


I had a giveaway on GoodReads of two autographed prints books. It's really fun to watch the number of people entering to win my book go up everyday. (They want my book!!! WooHoo!!!). It's over now, and here are the details:

Entered to Win: 969
Added to TBR:   499

PIP Newsletter

Coming in 2013

Because Angela Brown and I don't have enough to do
(Sarcasm? Why no, what makes you think that?), we're starting a
Partners in ParanormYA newsletter.

You can sign up using the link in my sidebar to find out the
latest news and other awesome stuff we're up to.

If you enjoyed our blog tour, you'll enjoy our newsletter! 


How do you feel about promoting?

How much is too much?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

1301 The Marquis: Writing Paranormal Romance

Superstitious? Ever been to the 13th floor? I have to say that this book and series is so intriguing based on the title alone. So I am thrilled to have the author, Christine Rains, here to talk about her new book, 1301 The Marquis.

Take it away, Christine!


Despite what my husband thinks, paranormal romance isn't about vampires and werewolves getting it on. Well, maybe a little, but that alone does not make a great story. It's about intriguing characters, twisting plots, and intense emotions mixed with an equal dose of mythology and the supernatural. Balance is key to writing good paranormal romance. Fall to one side or the other, then it becomes something else and you lose your audience.

Paranormal stories are still in high demand. Though the best sellers are about vampires, readers and publishers are looking for something new. Do some research and dig up some rarely seen supernatural creatures, or take certain aspects of a few beings and make one of your own. Originality is vital to standing out in this genre, but make it believable in the rules of your world. Have a solid mythology with many details. Yes, sometimes when writing about the paranormal less information is better to create a compelling mystery, but too little will confuse readers and leave them disappointed.

Romance continues to be the best selling genre. The main character's relationship must be central to the plot. Readers love experiencing the whirlwind of emotions along with the protagonist. It's important to create a deep emotional connection between your protagonist(s) and your readers. Though we read these stories to escape reality, there needs to be something real about your characters for your readers to relate to. Tragic flaws and embarrassing weaknesses. Strengths and morals to admire.

Remember paranormal romance is a blended genre. The supernatural and the relationship both need to drive the plot. If one or the other doesn't exist, the story cannot move forward. There is also the expectation of a Happily Ever After (HEA) ending or, at least, a Happy For Now (HFN). Failure to provide one will outrage your readers.

I love to write and read the fast-paced stories with women who are as strong as the men in extraordinary situations. The supernatural has always fascinated me, but so have relationships. I found my niche long before I knew it had a name. And with the 13th Floor series, I hope to offer something unique to paranormal romance fans.

Thanks so much for hosting me today, Gwen!


Title: 1301 – The Marquis

Author: Christine Rains

Genre: paranormal romance

Release date: December 13th, 2012

Buy Links:
Amazon . Smashwords . Kobo . B&N


Life after Hell isn't more exciting than watching football and fixing a busted pipe. Once a powerful demon, Marc enjoys his quiet existence and a good cup of coffee. With big ambitions to gain his master's favor, a trickster demon named Vetis shatters Marc's peace and vows to deliver Marc's head to the fires of Hell. Not before he destroys everything Marc cares about, of course.

Marc's power has diminished over the years. Heaven will never grant him absolution, and he refuses to return to Hell. Running isn't an option. The city of Carmine is his territory. It's also home to his favorite cafe owner, Mae Hopkins. The dame has a lovely smile, but it's her heart and soul that shine bright.

While his city burns and his love is captured, Marc must decide to surrender or let hate and anger fuel him to become the fearsome beast he so loathes: The Marquis. If the Marquis rises, Vetis can be defeated and Mae saved, but Marc would be lost to his demon forever.


Author Bio:

Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she's not writing or reading, she having adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She's a member of S.C.I.F.I. The 13th Floor series is her first self-published series. She also has two novellas and sixteen short stories published.
Website . Blog . Facebook . Twitter . Goodreads

Monday, December 17, 2012

Please Come Back Tuesday

Hello Blogger Peeps!

I don't have a post for today, but please come back tomorrow
because I'll have the awesome Christine Rains here talking about
 the 13th Floor series.

Now how can you resist that?

See you Tuesday!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Giveaways and Hobbit Blogfest!

Before we go on to the Hobbitfest, I wanted to point out some awesome giveaways I'm involved in:




You can't go wrong with FREE, right?





Thanks so much for hosting Tyrean and M. Pax!

This is a great blogfest, especially since The Hobbit is coming to theaters today! All you have to do is answer the questions below. Of course, this is easier if you've read (or reread) the book recently, which I have. For more information, go HERE.

What is your favorite hobbit characteristic/or the one that you think closely resembles you . . .?

Bilbo Baggins. He is such a homebody and yet he wants adventure. I'm always up for an adventure, but then I'm always ready for the comfort of home, my chair, my fireplace and maybe a little hot toddy and some cake. Plus, I'd give away the jewels, too. I just want everyone to get along - and you can't take it with you, as you'll see below from one of my favorite parts of the book.
If you could choose between a scrumptious second breakfast and a perilous unexpected journey – which would you prefer?

Can't I have both? No? Okay then, it will have to be a perilous journey. I can barely eat my first breakfast, let alone a second. Wait - how perilous is the journey? But no, never mind. Stormy Knight can face anything, even Smaug. Especially if Ghost Knight is there, because she can do so much more than Precious with that whole disappearing thing she does.

Have you ever left behind something on a journey (expected or unexpected) and wished you could have it over and over again? (a pocket handkerchief?)

I can't say that I have. I always travel light, and really all I need is a couple of outfits, comfortable shoes ---but wait! I would never ever ever go anywhere without a few books - 5 or 6 - or my Kindle.

What is your Favorite part or quote from the book that you hope will be in the movie?

This is hard because there are so many great parts.

The movie should have the touching scene between Thorin and Bilbo, when Thorin is dying and forgiving Bilbo:
"Farewell, good thief," he said. "I go now to the halls of waiting to sit beside my fathers, until the world is renewed. Since I leave now all gold and silver, and go where it is of little worth, I wish to part in friendship from you, and I would take back my words and deeds at the Gate."
Bilbo knelt on one knee filled with sorrow. "Farewell, King under the Mountain!" he said. "This is a bitter adventure, if it must end so; and not a mountain of gold can amend it. Yet I am glad that I have shared in your perils - that has been more than any Baggins deserves."

"No!" said Thorin. "There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell!!
~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Check out the other entries here:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday Indie Giveaway

It's a Holiday Indie Giveaway!

I've teamed up with some fellow indie authors to celebrate the season by having a Christmas giveaway.

There will be 3 lucky winners (announced after December 24th) who will each receive all of the following:

•$10 Amazon Gift Card

•ebook copy of Ocean of Dust, by me

•ebook copy of The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer, by Lisa Orchard

•ebook copy of The Super Spies and the High School Bomber, by Lisa Orchard

•ebook copy of Neverlove, by Angela Brown

•ebook copy of Givin’ up the Ghost, by Gwen Gardner



Here's a bit about the books and their authors:

YA Mysteries by Lisa Orchard

Read more about the book and author HERE.

Find Lisa here:

YA Fantasy by Graeme Ing

Can Lissa unravel the secrets of the dust before it’s too late?

Read more about the book and author HERE.

How to contact Graeme:

Twitter: @GraemeIng

YA Paranormal by Angela Brown

Neverlove – For Abigail and Basil, there is a choice they both fear making.
Duty or love? There can be only one.
Read more about the book and author HERE.

Find Angela here:

Watch the trailer HERE.

YA Paranormal "Cozy" Mystery by Gwen Gardner

Read more about the SERIES here…

Find Gwen here:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gift's Aren't Only From Santa Event

Gifts Aren’t Only From Santa Event

You are cordially invited to participate in our Gifts Aren’t Only From Santa Event. For two days only a group of young adult indie authors are offering books for FREE.

Mark your calendars for December 14th and 15th. In addition, you will find some books steeply discounted, with 100% of the sales proceeds going to Children's Hospital.

So why not stock up for the upcoming holidays?

Join us for the three-hour Gifts Aren’t Only From Santa Event on Facebook for games and giveaways. Awesome prizes are being donated by Young Adult fiction authors.

Please invite your friends, too, and share the information and links.

Our goal is to show appreciation for the young adult genre readers and the support they give us throughout the year.

There will be something for everyone: ebooks, paperback books, bookmarks, jewelry, Amazon gift cards, picture books and even a popular DVD!

Find all the goodies at these links:

  1. Gift’s Aren’t Only From Santa Facebook Event (Join in the games, prizes and giveaways on 12/14 from 9:00 - 12:00 PST)
  2. Gift’s Aren’t Only From Santa Amazon Listmania (all the FREE books in one place on 12/14 and 12/15)

The participating authors:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cheers Cavanaugh Alexfest!!!

Thanks Mark Koopmans, David Powers King, Morgan Shamy, and Stephen Tremp  for hosting this fun Alexfest! Click HERE for the rules.

We're all curious about Alex Cavanaugh, aren't we? I mean, he's the nicest guy in the blogoverse, always supportive and encouraging, recognizing our accomplishments while humbly playing down his own. Part of his mystery (I know he's laughing at this) is that no one in blogtown knows what he looks like. BUT! The grand prize winner of this contest gets his photo - with restrictions - and the first place winner gets a signed copy of his book CassaStar!

SO, on to the questions:
1. What does Alex look like?

Alex is medium height and lean. His hair is blondish-brown, not too clean-cut but not long, either. It curls up a bit on the ends. His eyes are a warm brown.
2. Who could play Alex in a documentary (living or dead)?

Jude Law, but he'd have to practice an American accent.

Jude Law, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

3. Who does Alex remind you of?

Based on the Space Times article below, I'm going to say Jimi Hexdrix.

4. Write flash fiction using all these prompts: Cavanaugh, Ninja, IWSG, Cosbolt, Guitar.

Space Times News Release: Ninja Captain Cavanaugh hand-picked a group of faithful fans to attend his long anticipated guitar solo concert aboard the revamped Cosbolt last evening. Both fighter pilot Byron and the Cosbolt were brought out of retirement for this one time only special event.

Seventeen hundred lucky winners were flown into deep space first class amid much fanfare. The concert itself was held in Vindicarn amphitheatre, specially built using black hole accoustics. But the real hit of the night was Cavanaugh's wildly popular IWSG song. Although no longer known what the letters stand for, it is rumored to be about the writers' plight. The standing ovation could be heard as far as Venus.

Visit the other participants here:

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Funnies: Writing Music

Thank you Debbie Ohi!

I don't generally listen to music while I'm writing because I'm afraid it would distract me. But I did create a playlist for some of the scenes I wrote in Givin' Up The Ghost after the fact. Leave it to me to do it backwards!

But when I came across this very same scenario today at Millie Holmes' blog - thanks for the laugh, Millie - I had to post about it. 

I think it's hilarious. 

And I think I might try it.

Do you listen to music while writing?
How about listening to some music in particular to inspire a scene? 


I also posted over at Run Gwen, Run! today. Ever heard of the Love Doctor? Not what you think, I'm sure ;)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Creating A Paranormal Monster, Giveaway and IWSG

This is going to be a fun day! First, we have Cherie Reich talking about how to create monsters. And then, if you'll scroll down, you'll find my IWSG post.

But first, the fun stuff! Take it away, Cherie!

Thank you so much for hosting me, Gwen!

Creating paranormal monsters is a lot of fun. I love playing off legends and mythological creatures and making them my own.

When I first consider a paranormal monster, I have to decide which one. Do I need someone more human or beast ... or a combination of the two?

For The Nightmare Collection, I wanted something like Bigfoot in appearance but not quite. A hairy humanoid monster creeping through the forest. But I needed more. After all, Bigfoot isn’t all that creepy or scary. I thought of a monster that lives a long time, almost like a vampire in its immortality and bloodlust. So I combined longevity and a thirst for blood with my Bigfoot-like monster.

So I had appearance and a couple things that made the monster scarier, but that wasn’t enough.

Paranormal monsters are the best if there is a hint of humanity in them as well as a touch of reality. My monster can talk, although not very much or well. And forensics has discovered genetic mutations within him.

So combining legends and science, the familiar with the unfamiliar, and the old and new can create fascinating new monsters waiting to keep you up at night.

What is your favorite paranormal monster?

The Nightmare Collection Information:

A legend is hungry tonight.

A child monster will get its first taste of blood in Nightmare at the Freak Show. Four friend will enter the forest on December night, but only one can survive in Once Upon a December Nightmare. Almost ten years after Cassie's December nightmare, the monster awakens to hunt again in Nightmare Ever After.

 Purchase Links for the ebook:

Purchase Links for the print book:

Author Bio:

A self-proclaimed bookworm, Cherie Reich is a writer, freelance editor, book blogger, and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies. Her e-books include the horror series Nightmare, a short story collection with authors Aubrie Dionne and Lisa Rusczyk titled The Best of Raven and the Writing Desk, the futuristic space fantasy novelette trilogy Gravity, and The Foxwick Chronicles, a series of fantasy stories. She is a member of Valley Writers and the Virginia Writers Club.

Author Links:

Website. Blog. Twitter. Facebook . Goodreads
Rafflecopter Giveaway:

I am giving away prizes to two lucky people. The prize packages are open internationally and include: a signed copy of The Nightmare Collection, a signed copy of Gravity: The Complete Trilogy, and a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I'm not sure what the heck happened to November, but my calendar assures me that it's now December and time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. Thank you Alex Cavanaugh for hosting!

Today I'm going to talk about the new business I'm about to launch. Yikes, did I say that? Me? Run my own business? Of course, I know how to run a swimming pool construction business, inside and out. I did it for ten years. But that's somehow different:
  • It wasn't my business and I didn't start it.
  • I wasn't middle-aged (Can you believe it? But 50 is the new 40, right?).
  • It's success wasn't solely reliant on me.
Who knew it wasn't easy to make a living at writing? Well - I did. I knew it. So - how to supplement my novel-writing income? The only thing that makes sense is for me to have my own business, working from home.

I live in the mountains, 60 miles (through mountain passes) from the nearest big town that might employ me. It's way too far for an employer to be comfortable with me being reliable enough to always show up, even during a snow storm.

And besides, I love the career change I made. I love writing and everything that goes with it: editing, proofreading, formatting. I LOVE it all! It's what I'm good at.

Those who know my background know that I had a life-changing epiphany which prompted me to leave my good-paying job: Life is too short to not chase your dreams. That's how I ended up in this writing business. And now I'm expanding to formatting, proofreading and copy editing.

But now I'm feeling insecure about my new venture:
  • What if people won't hire me?
  • What if they do, and I make a mistake?
  • What if I don't have enough experience?
  • What makes me think I can do this?
Yep, I could go on and on, but I won't.

Whew! Glad I got this off my chest. And really, I already took the biggest leap, right? Wow, I feel better already. Thanks for listening!

What's your insecurity?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Crime Fiction With A Kiss: Guess Who's Here Today?

I'm so pleased to have Carol Kilgore take over my blog today. She's going to be interviewing Summer Newcombe, the star of her debut novel, In Name Only. So please, give both our guests a warm welcome!

Welcome, Carol and Summer!

Hi, Gwen!

I’m so happy to be here with you today. I came by to chat about my debut novel, In Name Only, and to give you a personal glimpse of the main character, Summer Newcombe. I also want to let your readers know that the Kindle edition of In Name Only is on sale at Amazon for the holidays at only $2.99 until December 15.

I went looking for Summer … and found her at the beach! In December! But she does live on Padre Island, off the south Texas coast, where it’s warm this time of year.

So grab your favorite beverage and enjoy learning a little more about what makes Summer tick.

CK: How are you doing now that the novel’s been out for a few months?

SN: Great! At first I was embarrassed by all the attention.

CK: I want the readers to know a little more about you. So let’s get started. What’s your favorite color?

SN: It’s always been blue, but now it’s hot pink!

CK: Girly-girl or tomboy?

SN: Tomboy!

CK: How old were you when you went on your first date?

SN: Ancient. I was nineteen, and a sophomore in college. That was my first real date. I was petrified.

CK: None in high school?

SN: A bunch of us hung out together. And my parents were protective. I always had my head in a book. So did everyone else in our group. We all went everywhere together – even to prom. But I crushed on Vincent Chang for a while, and he kissed me once.

CK: And?

SN: He was a year older and went to college. He met a girl from Seattle, and fell in love with her.

CK: I think we all have a story like that. What’s one thing you had to learn how to do that you hated doing?

SN: Learning how to shoot a gun. Hated it. But I’m glad I learned how.

CK: One more question. What would you do for a Klondike Bar?

SN: I don’t think I can say that here. Seriously – and I’m thinking about doing this anyway – I’d volunteer for Turtle Patrol in the spring down on the National Seashore.

CK: Wow. You surprised me. Good for you.


Now that you know a little more about Summer, here’s something about her story in In Name Only.

No home. No family. No place to hide. For Summer Newcombe, that's only the beginning.

The night Summer escapes from a burning Padre Island eatery and discovers the arsonist is stalking her, is the same night she meets Fire Captain Gabriel Duran. As much as she's attracted to Gabe, five years in the Federal Witness Security Program because of her father’s testimony against a mob boss have taught her the importance of being alone and invisible.

No matter how much she yearns for a real home, Summer relinquished that option the night she killed the man who murdered her father. But Gabe breaks down her guard and places both of them in danger. Summer has vowed never to kill again, but she's frantic she'll cost Gabe his life unless she stops running and fights for the future she wants with the man she loves.


REMEMBER: The Kindle edition of In Name Only is on sale until December 15 for only $2.99. You can find both the Kindle and the paperback editions HERE.


Carol Kilgore is a Texas native who has lived in locations across the U.S. as the wife of a Coast Guard officer. Back under the hot Texas sun in San Antonio, Carol writes a blend of mystery, suspense, and romance she calls Crime Fiction with a Kiss. She and her husband share their home and patio with two active herding dogs, and every so often the dogs let them sit on the sofa.

website . blog . facebook . twitter . goodreads . amazon author page