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Don't let #Doubt extinguish your #Sparks. Find the #Sparks you need to ignite your stories, dreams, and life.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Dream Interpretation - Guest Post by Stephen Tremp / Salem's Daughters


Chrys: Welcome, everyone! I've got a great post for you today created by Stephen Tremp, the author of Salem's Daughters. He's discussing dreams...one of my favorite topics. Without further adieu, here he is!

**Salem's Daughters is 99¢ for the Halloween weekend!

***


Thank you, Chrys Fey, for hosting me on Salem’s Daughters Blog Tour. This is my first time appearing on your website and I’m thankful for the opportunity to share one of my favorite all time topics: Dreams and Interpretations. 

Dreams and their meanings have captivated mankind since we first walked the Earth. Some pass dreams off as just weird stuff our brains are doing while we sleep, and we have no explanation or control over them. They say that large triple pepperoni pizza or mega burrito with everything you ate the night before is the cause of your funky nighttime imaginations. And sometimes, this may very well be the case. 

But let’s dig a little deeper. Dreams are very much symbolic. Many people are not satisfied to merely dream dreams; they passionately seek interpretations, believing their true meaning can influence all aspects of their lives, for better or worse. But before we do anything, let’s briefly look at different types of dreams, because it’s difficult if not impossible to simply define ‘dream.’ 

Day Dreams: a series of pleasant thoughts that distract one's attention from the present. 

Lucid Dreams: a vivid dream in which one is aware of the dream and their place in it, and can make conscious decisions to control their actions and reactions. It’s as if they are alive inside their dream. I have these from time to time and they are cool and weird and trippy all at the same time. 

Premonition Dreams: These are truly astounding cases where people dreamed about events which happened to them, or someone else, in a similar or exact manner they dreamt about. Some call these prophetic dreams and attribute them to God. In the Old Testament Joseph, while in prison, interpreted the dreams of his cellmates. Translation: a cup bearer to Pharaoh was restored to his former position while a baker was impaled on a pole and birds ate away his flesh. 

Recurring Dreams: Recurrent dreams generally are stress related or nightmares related to anxiety and fear; you dream of being chased, you may run in slow motion, or you’re falling. They are often associated with events in life where the dreamer is losing control of their sphere of influence like family, job, finances, or health. I’ve had many of these dreams over the course of my life, but not recently. 

Sleep Paralysis: The inability to move and there is a sense of an evil presence in the room with you. I’ve experienced this and it is truly terrifying. Wifey had to wake me up and I’m glad she did. Wish I had more time to expound on this. 

Dream Interpretation: When interpreting a dream, one first focuses on who or what is the focus of the dream. After that is established, particulars such as colors, setting, time of day, people, and other pertinent information are interpreted. 

Can We Record Our Dreams: I’m out of space and time (no pun intended for those who know me. Space. Time. Get it?) This is a blog for another day on my Blog Tour. 

In Salem’s Daughters: One of the thirteen witches who inhabit the body of a cat, Angel, has the ability to cause a person to not only dream, but influence their dreams and prophecy about their future. For better or worse. I use this as an opportunity to introduce one of my favorite characters of the book Joseph Meicigama, a native American of Ojibway descent, better known as Chippewas. The elderly shaman not only has the ability to interpret Bob Steven’s (protagonist) three dreams initiated by Angel. But his appearance as a guest at the bed and breakfast pours gasoline on a fire that is set to ignite between the thirteen cats and a popular cable paranormal television crew filming a live three-hour episode. All hell breaks loose in these chapters! 

Stephen Tremp: Writes Speculative Fiction and embraces science and the supernatural to help explain the universe, our place in it, and write one of a kind thrillers. Salem's Daughters: is supernatural thriller (with lots of dark comedy). 

A four hundred year old evil is unleashed when souls of the daughters of those killed during the Salem Witch Trials find a new generation of people to murder at a modern day bed and breakfast owned by a young unsuspecting couple. 

Thank you Chrys for hosting me on my Salem’s Daughters Blog Tour! Below are the pertinent links: 

99¢ Discount for the Halloween Weekend:



Question: Do you remember and write down your dreams? Do you seek interpretation for their meaning?


***

Chrys: Thank you for such a fascinating post, Stephen!

I have written down many dreams and sought meanings for ones I had during tough times in my life.

Please leave Stephen a comment and answer his question.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

National Cat Day



The winner of my Halloween giveaway is....

Janie Junebug!

***

Tomorrow is National Cat Day!

If you’ve been to my blog before, you know that I have four cats. I rescued them two years ago...and not from a shelter. I rescued them from the dangers of living outdoors. You see, this female cat was born outside my apartment complex. Her mom left with the other babies but this one stayed behind. I named her Kitty, fed her, and offered her shelter on my porch. She had three babies and then four more. Soon after having those four babies, she left. I took care of her babies from a distance until something happened and I knew I had to take them in to give them a safe home.

To read that story, go to The Great Kitty Rescue.

Now those four babies are my babies. I’ve shared pictures of them before (see: My Cats), so here are the best ones for this past year. :)


Last Christmas. Milo is the biggest pain in the butt!
Yup, Milo again.
This is Cole. He loves my desk.
Cole is my fatty. :P
Clover likes to look out the window.
And this is Otis. He loves boxes. The box he's sitting on is my
baby shower gift for my new nephew.
"Mom, what are you doing outside?"
"Mom, there's a lizard!"
My boys. Taking up the couch.


QUESTION: Do you have cats (or a cat)?


Celebrate your cat(s) today (and tomorrow)!

Monday, October 26, 2015

How to Promote Free Days / Listing Blog Hop



*If you're here for the Listing Blog Hop, scroll down. :)

***

Some publishers set up free days on Amazon for their authors. This program is called Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) in which Amazon publishes your eBook three months sooner than your release date and during this time you get 5 free days. So many first-time authors don’t know how to promote these free days. I didn’t when Hurricane Crimes was free, so I had to learn.


First, let me warn you about expectations. 

Free days are great for first-time authors because it gets your name out there and your eBook into many Kindles. But...

1. Not everyone who downloads your eBook will actually read it. Many people just love the word FREE and will one-click every free eBook they can find.

2. Many authors shoot to the top of Amazon’s 100 Top Free Ebooks list. But this won’t happen to everyone.


Now that those pesky expectations are out of the way, let me tell you how you can promote your free days:

1. Create an event on Goodreads. Goodreads is always my #1 tactic for spreading the word about a new release, sale, or giveaway.

2. Make a special post on your blog to announce it. (You can even create a Google Form to ask bloggers to post about your free eBook. After they sign up, send them all the info, including an HTML code for their ease.)

3. Of course share the news on Facebook and Twitter.

4. Also share the news on Google + (tag your circles) and any Yahoo Loops you’ve joined.

5. Now the one that’ll take the most time...submit to free eBook websites. You can find them by simply using Google.

Here are some websites you can use to promote free days:

TIP #1: Check their guidelines. Many of these sites require you to submit your book info ahead of time. And some of them cost money or don’t accept short stories. 


The results of my Free Days for Hurricane Crimes:

Hurricane Crimes reached #10 in the Top 100 Free Suspense books, making it an Amazon Best Seller (or freebie), which thrilled me to no end. It also cracked the Top 100 Free list for Romantic-Suspense at #22. After that, Hurricane Crimes clung to the low 400's, staying around #20 in the top free suspense books.

Number of free downloads - 2,324.

TIP #2: You can do all of these things when promoting a book sale. Just look for discount eBook sites instead of free ones.

For more tips on how to promote see:



QUESTION: Have you put any of your eBooks for free? What did you do to promote it and what was the result? 


************************************************************

The List Blog Hop is hosted by Bish Denham and it's pretty much what you think it is...a blog hop of lists. These lists can be about anything at all, anything you find fascinating or even a bucket list. My list consists of things I've Googled for my books.


Research for my unpublished series:

- Types of fighting styles
- Military guns
- Helicopter machine guns
- Military combat uniforms
- Code Red
- Arrow quivers
- Sai daggers
- Circular saw blades
- Taser guns
- Bones in arms
- Tourniquet
- Seizures
- Carotid artery
- Thoracic curve

Research for Seismic Crimes:

- China Town

Research for new WIP:

- How to hot wire a car
- How to escape from a trunk
- Crossbow pistol
- Throwing knives
- Road flares
- Voodoo
- Zombies

And that's why I need this mug:




Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box / Charity


Every year a wonderful thing happens; children in orphanages all over the world are presented with a shoe box full of goodies from toys and books to personal hygiene products. How are these boxes delivered? They are shipped by volunteers of Samaritan Purse who run the Operation Christmas Child national program. Where do these boxes come from? People like you!

Operation Christmas Child’s mission is to give kids, who wouldn’t normally get a single gift, a happy Christmas. But they need help to do this. Wouldn’t you want to be the one responsible for bringing a smile to a child on Christmas?

The shoe box and items I put together for Operation Christmas Child in 2011.

What you need to do:

1. Find a normal-sized shoe box (not for construction boots) or a 6-quart plastic storage box with a lid.

2. Pick an age group and gender for your shoe box.

The age groups are 2-4, 5-9, 10-14.

3. Buy items appropriate for the age and sex of the child and pack it all into the shoe box.
TIP #1: You don’t have to buy anything expensive. I bought everything at the dollar store.
Suggested Items:
Toiletries
Toys
Clothing
School Supplies
Stuffed Animals
Shoes/Socks
Towels
Books
Soap
Toothpaste
Toothbrush
Hair Brush/Hair Ties
TIP #2: Put toothpaste and soap into separate Ziploc baggies.
4. Participants have included photos of themselves and a letter to the child. I’ve read that many children have written in return.

5. You can wrap the box with Christmas wrapping paper. If you do, wrap the lid and box separately. Then get a label to put on top with the age group and gender clearly written.
TIP #3: Let your kids decorate the box with markers, glitter, stickers, whatever they want.
6. Fit two rubber bands around the shoe box to keep it closed.

7. You can add $7 to help with shipping costs, but this is not mandatory.

8. Locate a collection site where you can drop off your shoe box. Find your local drop-off.

National Pick-Up Week is Nov 16-23.

9. You can even track your box to see where it goes. You'll have to get a tracking label from Samaritan's Purse, which costs $7 on their website. 

10. Tell your friends to do this fun, charitable project with their kids.
  

I first found out about Operation Christmas Child in 2009 when I read an article about it in my local newspaper. I still have that article. And this year, I'm doing it with my nephews.




Monday, October 19, 2015

Writing About: Ghosts (Part Two)


Last year I blogged about how writers can create a ghost character. In that post, I discussed supernatural ghosts and human ghosts, and how to treat both in your story.


Now I'm delving deeper into human ghosts. If you ever want to write about a ghost character, especially if you’re in his/her perspective, there are a few things you should consider to stay true to a ghost's physical abilites.

NOTE: These aren't rules. By all means, use what you want and create your own type of human ghost.

Image from Pixabay

1.
Limited Senses

Ghosts can see and hear, but they can’t smell anything. Not the scent of fresh grass or their mom’s perfume. They also can’t taste (as a matter of fact, they don’t eat) or feel. Ghosts can’t feel fabric, skin, or objects with their hands. Nor can they feel the cold or pain.

Jolie, my ghost in Ghost of Death, misses the smell and taste of pizza.

2. Humans

No one can see or hear ghosts. Well, usually not anyone. Psychics can and even family members have claimed to see their departed loved ones. So while scores of people ignore your ghost, maybe one person can see and hear him/her.

3. No Reflections

Vampires aren’t the only paranormal beings who don’t have reflections. Since no one can see ghosts, and even if one special character can, they are usually transparent, so it makes sense that they wouldn’t have a reflection. In Ghost of Death, Jolie tests this theory out.

Image from Pixabay

4. Doors and Walls

Since ghosts don’t have bodies, they can usually pass through objects such as doors, walls, and furniture.

5. No Physical Reactions

Ghosts don’t have heartbeats. They don’t breathe or cry. Nor can they develop tears, so don’t mention a racing heart, a deep breath, or teary eyes when you’re talking about your ghost.

6. More Limitations

On top of not having certain senses and physical reactions, ghosts also don’t sleep or get tired. They won’t be yawning or taking naps. Your ghost could go into a comatose state or disappear for stretches of time, though.


7 Signs You’re a Ghost:
1. No one can see or hear you.
2. You can’t smell anything. Not even a pile of dog poop at your feet.
3. Your hands pass through objects like mist.
4. You can’t cry. Try as you might.
5. When you try to take a breath, your chest doesn’t rise.
6. You feel nothing. No pain. No sensations. Nothing.
7. You’re standing over your dead body.


Excerpt from Ghost of Death:

With the sound of her mom’s grief wafting up to her, Jolie came to terms with her present state. I’m dead and now my mom knows it. She eyed the door in front of her. She hadn’t yet walked through a door, but if her hand could pass through metal then she knew she could move through wood.
If I have to be a ghost then I’ll be a damn good one. All across the afterlife I’ll be known as the Ghost of Death! And I’m going to start by walking through this damn door!
            She would’ve taken a deep breath to brace herself if she could have, so she mentally pumped herself up instead. You can do it! Easy-peasy. Nothing to it. And she took a step forward. Solid matter slipped around and through her form. On the other side, a familiar site confronted her: a black and white bed, the bright green shag carpet in the middle of the room, and a white desk.
            Stepping up to her desk, Jolie eyed her ancient desktop computer, the one she used before her dad gifted her with a laptop when she announced she was accepted to the local university. Wanting to send out the first ever tweet from the afterlife, she pushed the button to bring the device to life, but her finger poker straight through it. Resigning to her Twitter-less fate, she moved toward the full-length mirror hanging on the wall. She saw nothing. Not even a shimmer in the air hinted at her presence.
            Being a ghost sucks!

Book Links:


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Bullying Awareness Project



October is National Bullying Prevention Month!

In high school, my Government teacher gave us paper gingerbread men to color. When we were done, she told us to rip off an arm, a leg, and then the head. She said the torn limbs were a result of our hurtful words. Then she instructed us to tape the ripped pieces back together while saying nice things to our little gingerbread friends. She pointed out that even though we "fixed" our gingerbread friends, the rips were still visible because hurtful words leave scars. 
I still have my gingerbread lady from high school.

Teach your kids this valuable lesson, and set an example by not saying hurtful things to people you know.

Need:
Paper
Crayons/Colored pencils
Scissors
Tape

Instructions:

1. Trace gingerbread men onto paper and cut them out.                  

2. Give the gingerbread men to the kids to color. They can give it a face and clothes. Whatever they want.

3. When they are done, instruct them to tell their gingerbread friend “You’re stupid.” And have them rip off one of the gingerbread man’s arms.
TIP: I did this with my nephews. The youngest was all too happy to rip off parts of the gingerbread man and laughed as he told the gingerbread he was stupid, but the oldest was resistant. He didn’t want to ruin what he had just done. If this happens, reassure the child that their friend will be taped up soon. 
4. Have the kids tell their gingerbread friend, “You’re ugly.” And have them rip off one of the legs. Finally have them say, “I hate you!” And let them rip off the head.

5. Now is the time to explain to them how words can be hurtful. “See what the things you said did to your gingerbread man?”
                
6. When they grasp the idea, it’s time for them to say kind things to their gingerbread friend. “You’re smart.” Help them to tape the arm back on. “You’re pretty.” Tape the leg back on. “I love you!” Tape the head back on.

7. But point out to the kids that the rips can still be seen.


Lesson: When you say something mean to a friend, it hurts and leaves a mark. Not even saying kind things afterward can make those scars disappear completely. That’s why it’s not nice to bully anyone. And if you see someone being bullied, tell a teacher or an adult.

My nephews' gingerbread men.

QUESTION: Were you bullied as a child?

I was bullied on the school bus by a girl who would take my things. Even if I changed seats, she'd follow to sit right in front of me. Later I was bullied at school for my clothes, shoes, eyebrows, ears, how skinny I was, and even the color of my nail polish. At home I was bullied by my siblings for being the youngest as well as for writing stories.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Easy Ways to Promote Your Book (on Social Media + More)



We all want easy ways to promote our books, don’t we?

I’ve tried many techniques to promote my books in unique ways, especially on social media. So sit back and take some notes. :)


Social Media:

1. When you’re editing your book, create a list of fun facts to share.

2. Post short dialogue as statuses or tweets

3. Find some of your best descriptive paragraphs, share them.

4. Create picture quotes that are thrilling, engaging, or inspirational.
TIP #1: Use your own photos or get permission to use another's.


Blogging:

5. Create a recipe based off something your characters cook in your story.

6. Beth Kennedy in Hurricane Crimes wrote poetry, so I penned a few poems in her name and posted them on my blog HERE.

7. Did you delete any scenes that you loved? Make a post out of it. I have.


8. Did you have to rewrite the ending? Share the alternate ending.


TIP #2: Make sure to include spoiler messages for the deleted scenes and alternate ending posts. 
 TIP #3: You can try all of these ideas for your website and newsletter as well. 
 TIP #4: Include the Amazon link after all of these promo statuses and tweets.

Now that you have some ideas to promote creatively on social media, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of promotion. When your book first comes out you may be so stressed and excited that you may not do enough promoting. 

First things first, you’ll want to make the announcement EVERYWHERE.

When one of my books comes out I make announcements on:

2. Facebook groups
4. Twitter
5. Yahoo Loops
6. Goodreads Groups for Writers/Readers
7. Google + (And I tag the extended circles.)
8. Google + Groups for Writers/Readers

Then I:

10. Update my website with my new book.

11. Fix my email signature by putting “OUT NOW” next to my new title under my signature. Sometimes I include a link.

12. Create a headline on The Romance Reviews. (You have to be a member to do this and it has to be approved.)

And I always:

13. Create a Goodreads event and invite everyone.

14. Set up a blog tour. (I can't say enough how much this helps. It really does. If you doubt it, give it a try anyway.)


So what can you do? All of these things! Look at the social media you’re part of and every single group you’ve joined and make a list of them. On release day, use that list to spread the word.

Now that you’ve made the necessary announcements and have some unique promo posts scheduled to go up on your Facebook and blog over the next couple of months, it’s time to check out sites that you can add your book to. These sites are places where readers may come across your book.

Promo Sites I Add My Books to:

The Romance Reviews (For romance only.)
Wanton Reads (No Children’s books or YA.)

Bargain Sites I’ve Submitted My Book to for a Sale:


**There are a lot more sites. A ton, in fact. Some cost money, many only accept novel-length books, or only promote free books.

For more tips on promoting your book see:

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