Protect your Self-published Writing from Online Theft

Hey writers, do you hesitate to release your self-published writing because you’re afraid the content could be stolen? I hate to say your fear is well founded but it happens to so many writers these days.

Wait, that’s not what you wanted to hear, right? You want to hear that trolls and criminals have been sent to idiot island where there’s no internet access and everyone can live happily ever after, right?

Sadly, that’s not the case. But, I’m here to assure you that your self-published writing can be protected. After reading this article you’ll be in the know about how to put the smack-down on those nasty thieves and come out the other side smiling because your work is finally seeing the light of day!

DMCA takedown notice: If you share your work, fiction or non-fiction, on a blog, there’s a possibility it could be swiped and re-posted. I’ve had this happen but knew just what to do about it and the problem was solved swiftly. DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act and is something every writer should know about. A DMCA notice is sent to the host of the site with the copyright-infringed material in order to have it removed. When I sent my notices, not only was my copyrighted work taken down, the entire site was brought down both times! Most of what they had on their sites was ripped off material from other writers and the DMCA meant the site host had to investigate and take proper action.

Copyright office of the United States: As a self-published writer living and releasing work in the good old U.S. of A. I take full advantage of submitting my work to For fiction works it costs $35 to upload a deposit (your book). You’ll have a much easier time in court if you already applied for legally binding copyright status. Yes, your copyright is yours the moment you put “pen to paper” but that fact will be much easier to prove when you have a big government entity standing behind you with the proof.

Creative Commons licenses: There’s a fine line between being ripped off and having someone share your work in today’s world. If someone copies your work then pastes on their own blog but links back to your site, there’s not much you can do. Most bloggers and writers would be fine with that type of share because the link back is a good thing. But here’s the rub. Google doesn’t like the exact same content in multiple places. When a site gets pinged to be removed from Google indexing, 9 times out of 10 it will be your website! Uncool. Tell people how much they’re allowed to share by placing a CC on your site. Then, if they go outside the parameters of the license you provide, loop back to that DMCA.

So how can you find out if your work has been swiped?

I do the following things every time I release any kind of self-published writing:

1. Set up a Google alert. If the work in question is a blog I generally set up 2 alerts – one on the title, another on the keyword I built the post around. For books, I set one on the title. It can get cumbersome to have all those alerts show up in email, but I’d rather scroll for ten seconds every day to make sure nobody is trying to steal and re-publish my work as their own than have someone else profiting off of my hard work!

2. Share the link everywhere. This might sound strange but it works. The more of your networks and followers who see the content of your self-published writing, the more who could recognize it if it shows up somewhere else. When your “street team” sees the stolen work, they’ll let you know and you can get with the takedown.

3. Consider launching an LLC. When I first started blogging it was just me and my thoughts. Intellectual property, sure, but I didn’t consider it self-published writing (even though it is!). Once I started writing books I knew I wanted protection from weird people who will stop at nothing to take down a little old indie author like me. So I contacted an intellectual property attorney and created my LLC. The LLC covers my micro-press (I self-publish under my own house, Writesy Press) and all my DBAs (Copywrite That for freelancing, Jenn Flynn-Shon for bloggers, etc.).

Protecting your self-published writing can be a bit of work for those of us running a business all on our own, but in the end it is so worth the extra effort just knowing our words are protected. Now, put fear aside, get out there and get publishing!

Have you ever been robbed without proper credit? How did you fix it? Share in the comments!

Due to a severe spike in spam, I no longer accept comments from Anonymous users. All comments made on posts 3 days or older will be moderated. Spam will be deleted (it is up to the blog administrator to determine if a comment is spam). A new window opens when you click to comment.

My Boss is Kind of Crazy but in a Good Way

We’ve all been there. We get to work and immediately encounter a boss who makes almost impossible seeming demands of our time, talent and resources. We come home at the end of the day exhausted, wondering if this is really what we should be doing with our life.

So what happens when you work for yourself? Do you tell your boss she’s crazy for the schedule she wants you to keep, or do you blindly follow everything she wants you to do in order to run a successful business?

As self-employed people we have a great responsibility resting on our shoulders. We’re everything in a company from intern to owner and sometimes it’s really tough to keep at it day in and day out.

And, if I’m being truly honest here, that dedication can be more intense for a writer running a self-publishing business. Why? I think this quote pretty well sums it up:

Because it can take years, decades even, to become a writer who starts making a steady income stream from their words.

If at all.


We can type, scrawl and scribble for years and never make any headway at being able to do it full-time. Hell, I wrote fiction since I was 14 but didn’t even publish my first blog until I was 34. The books came later and the income? Well, that’s an entirely different issue.


Disheartened yet? Thinking of quitting? Believe me, I’ve been there.

But bear with me and hopefully you’ll see why:

Quitting is the last thing you should do!

Last fall something amazing happened and not only did I blow my own mind but I completely changed the way I looked at my writing. It’s made all the difference in my dedication level to running this thing I call a business and I actually can see an income stream beginning to grow. Yes, as a fiction author!

Want to know what happened?

It was two-fold.

First, I fractured my wrist in early October last year. I’d love to tell you I was doing something super cool like playing hockey but not so much. Drunken patio yoga did me in for almost 2 full months. Sigh. What can I say, I’m human. AKA: sometimes a freaking idiot.

But, second, and this is actually where my mind-shift began, I had to do that to myself. Because, in the end, it led to my ah-ha moment. It was imperative I allowed myself to go through the physical and mental pain of that injury because it solidified my thoughts from the entire prior year.

So let me back up and give you a bit of that story.

Will write for pay

I was freelancing for a couple years ghost-writing/tweeting, blogging, writing web copy and other marketing pieces for clients. It was okay. I was pretty good at it. I made money. That’s where my love for it ended, however.

Because I didn’t want to do that shit for someone else. I wanted to do it for myself. I just struggled to see how all that blog, tweet, newsletter writing could lead into anything for my company.

My flailing, sinking, haven’t-released-a-book-in-3-years company.

If I could just figure out how to write blogs and tweets for my readers, I could probably re-launch Writesy Press, LLC.

Fucking lightbulb.

All the work I’d been producing for clients for two years was my training. I learned how to write to entice. To write marketing stuff and keep it going consistently by establishing a schedule.

And I had all of this old work (fiction and reference) just sitting around doing nothing. Like I had been doing for 8 weeks with a broken bone. We both needed to get back in the game.

I bought voice-to-text software immediately.

No way was my stupid identified drunken injury going to keep me from doing my job anymore!

And at that moment, my job was all about getting my real message weeded out, shared, and to start connecting with people. Helping other writers who might be struggling with writing their first book.

Because I was a fiction author at heart, not a freelancer. I’d already written 3 books, released 2, and it was the only job I ever did as a writer that brought me joy and income (regardless of how small that number was to start).

Once I started dropping freelance clients I simply replaced the hours I worked for them with doing the same thing for my company. Blog client gone? I write blogs for my readers. Web copy client gone? Time to start that newsletter I’d been mulling over. You get the point.

When the last client dropped off, I knew the time was there to get back to writing my books too. So I started and in the process lost sight of all the other stuff – blog, newsletter, twitter – making real connections.

Enter Oktoberfest and broken wrist

Isn’t it Murphy’s Law that as we get ahead we fall behind? Well, after a few weeks of introspection & lack of activity due to pain (Hallmark movies rule!), I turned it into a sign to get my shit together before trying to move forward.

During my downtime I handwrote a lot of the book Reckless Hearts (broke left wrist & I’m a righty) and started getting my marketing materials in check:

  • First and foremost, wrote a business plan.
  • Second, wrote and implemented a marketing plan.
  • Blogs that furthered my message were left alone.
  • Blogs that didn’t were deleted or moved.
  • Created shortened links to remaining posts.
  • Developing a spreadsheet to track/organize/manage tweets.
  • Researched hashtags for writers.
  • Started a tweet database with hashtags & links.
  • Opened a hootsuite account so I could schedule my tweets (AKA: free up time for fiction).
  • Created a newsletter template.
  • Established a monthly schedule for work days and days off (very important!)

And within three months not only was I following the schedule, I was crushing it! Why? Because I birthed a viable monthly schedule out of 2 of my darkest months ever.

What’s that quote about doors and windows opening and closing?

If I never got hurt I wonder if I even would have finished Reckless Hearts, not to mention seven months of consistent tweeting/connecting and a second title this year – Creative Writing Kickstart. That title is a culmination of six months of writing prompts, plus a lot of new ones, that I shared with my fiction writer following.

Holy shit!

Even writing it out I’m amazed I was able to pull it together to write a business plan but it was that very document, coupled with my marketing plan, that forced me to evaluate in total honesty where I came from, where I was and where I wanted my business to be.

From misery came determination and if I learned anything on that journey it was this:

When you want to give up is when you’re most honest, your emotions are raw and that truth is going to come through in every word you write.

Use it as fuel to stoke the fires of your business building and you’ll never look at your boss as the crazy person ever again. Instead, you’ll build a business you can be proud of, high-fiveing yourself for being the best boss you’ve ever had!

If you need a nudge at killing writers block and want some cool story starters check out my book Creative Writing Kickstart. With over 365 writing prompts you’re sure to find something that jumpstarts your fiction and career.

Because there’s no better way to shut up the boss than by doing your job, am I right?

Due to a severe spike in spam, I no longer accept comments from Anonymous users. All comments made on posts 3 days or older will be moderated. Spam will be deleted (it is up to the blog administrator to determine if a comment is spam). A new window opens when you click to comment.

Why Spellcheck Sucks

I love writing in a program that indicates my spelling and grammar mistakes. It helps when I’m on my seventh read-through of my own book and have to get through it even though I’ve all but glazed over at the jumble of my own words.

Google Docs will give me spelling advice, and I love to use it when working on project pieces with Kate for Blogging Your Book. But my go-to program is MS Word.

In lieu of having an editor on staff (because, well, I’m an indie author so let’s get real about the level of income that’s happening in this office, huh?) I can rely on Word to give me similar suggestions as an editor when I’m doing my first read-through.

Or can I?

Take, for example, the following sentence that I wrote for a personal blog post about 3 years ago:

“Regardless that Stephanie Meyer is a Phoenix based Author.”

Notice the spelling mistake? Yeah, well neither did Word. Or my brain while I was typing it or when I did my read-through after pasting the text into my blog post.

Because that line should read:

“Regardless that Stephenie Meyer is a Phoenix based Author.”

If you aren’t familiar with her work you might have done something similar to what I did and just typed her first name the way that name is generally spelled. I wasn’t really thinking, I was lost in a Twilight haze and since it was spelled “correctly”, Word didn’t flag it.

People have spelled my name wrong too. The most common is Jen because that’s the usual way people spell it, not with 2 n’s. But I’ve also seen Jenn Flynn-Shonn – 2 n’s for everyone!

It wasn’t until the post came out that I noticed my error, then made the necessary edit. Luckily, my blog wasn’t super popular so I’m pretty sure nobody noticed except me. Still, I was partially mortified. I mean, I’m an author too and it makes me cringe when people spell my name wrong so how could I get the name of a famous local author wrong?!

But these things happen, right?

Sure, and it’s why, as fiction writers, we need an editor!

Editors and proofreaders will help you to ensure as few spelling and grammar mistakes as possible. But they leave your voice alone. They still let you tell your story in your way, just, better. More polished.

And proofreaders will help you reign in where you typed ‘an’ instead of ‘and’, where you missed the word ‘to’ in the narrative, or when your character is ‘charging if the front door’.

These pros are an invaluable asset, especially for an indie who has probably read their own book so many times the prose is blurring together in one big glob of letters.

However, I’m sure you’ve noticed the myriad of these pros scattered about the internet and social media sites. So how can you know if the pro really is a pro, not just a fly-by-nighter trying to make a quick buck with no real experience behind them?

Here’s my criteria when looking for someone to help polish my books:

  • They must be a reader (bonus if they read my specific genre).
  • They must have a website.
  • That website must look and feel professional, and be easy to navigate.
  • It also shouldn’t have any spelling mistakes (hello, red flag!).
  • They have to understand modern fiction (because sometimes we have to dangle participles or end a sentence with a preposition in order to stay true to a character’s voice, but we also shouldn’t make a habit of it.)
  • Their fees should be reasonable (we’re talking Goldilocks Zone here, people – one cent per 100 words isn’t realistic but neither is $50 per page, for a 500 page book, as a proofreader).
  • At least one book in their portfolio (I don’t care if it was written by their BFF, mom, brother, I want references and examples of the kind of work they can do before I fork over my “baby” and all that moolah!)
  • They get back to me in a reasonable amount of time (because I don’t expect a response in 10 minutes but it should be less than 72 hours or I’ll question how much attention they can give their clients – fostering a relationship is key to repeat business).

Bottom line, don’t rely on spellcheck and grammar checks in programs to bring that finished quality to your fiction. Hire the right people and your investment will pay off in the professionalism of your work!

Do you have an editor or proofer you use on the regular? I’ll be looking for a new one for my next book and would love suggestions. Leave their twitter ID in the comments or come on over and connect with me on twitter

Due to a severe spike in spam, I no longer accept comments from Anonymous users. All comments made on posts 3 days or older will be moderated. Spam will be deleted (it is up to the blog administrator to determine if a comment is spam). A new window opens when you click to comment.

Planning by the Seat of my Pants

If you’ve spent any time reading the inner musings of novelists then you know there are essentially two types of writers – pantsers and planners.

To define each, a pantser is someone that flies by the seat of their pants and writes whatever comes to them in the moment their fingers hit keys while a planner meticulously details a full outline of each book and sticks to it through the end.

Which is better? As far as I’m concerned either way is terrific if it works to produce a quality piece of fiction.


To the tune of the Osmonds: I’m a little bit pantser, a little bit plan it out. But to fully understand how that’s possible, let me share a bit of my writing process.

Outline pantser

When I sit down to start working on a new book I think about the characters, the basic plot and some of the scenes. I’ll start writing and maybe come up with one or two gems that stick around but at the beginning all I really try to do is figure out what the characters are trying to say and why they do what they do.

In other words, I am an outline pantser.

An outline can be a great tool while working on a book. Consider how many characters there might be in a piece of fiction. Then how many personality traits each of those characters have. How many places they go, things they do, moments they have that push the story forward.

Those little nuances are what give a book a feeling of completion, fullness.

But I couldn’t possibly plan for those moments, sometimes spontaneity is crucial to a story so it feels organically birthed and not contrived.

The first 25 or so pages I write will work toward developing a story. One that isn’t real yet but is on its way. Meaning that I haven’t spent enough time with the characters yet to understand their motivations or background.

Think of it like this: you get invited to a dinner party but know no one other than the host. Could you tell me what will happen at the end of the night before you even arrive? (If you can then you might be a planner!)

Likely, the answer is no.

What might happen at the end of the night only becomes apparent after a glass of wine, some food and dialogue among your peers. A book is the same thing with the only difference being it all comes out of your head.

Planning plot points

That’s the point where things get interesting for me as a writer. After meeting and getting to know all my characters in a pantsy way, I start to dwell on the good and evil sides of their personalities.

After all, I write mystery fiction. Which means every character in the book will have something to hide as well as the face they put on for the general public around them. Good guys aren’t always 100% good people, just like killers aren’t always 100% evil.

But once I have a general idea about who those characters are, because of the handful of pages I write to work it out, that’s when I can get down to the planning phase.

In the past I mentioned my novel journal where I make notes of the various aspects in my book. That journal is a direct result of caution-to-the-wind pantsing (and yes, I’m using this as a verb, sue me). The cast is established, motivations of the killer/victim/observers are clear and the setting established.

Then I can take that info and start building scenes because, like a game of chess, I can now see three moves into the future.

The moments that make a book special are the ones that seem to spontaneously appear on the page though, the unexpected things that turn a corner or change a reader’s perception of a character.

All that stuff comes with pantsing an outline.

They surprise me in a good way and then I work hard to fit those surprises into the greater structure of the story as a whole.

Some make it, some don’t, but all of that early work has merit because it gets you closer to your character’s inner motivations.

But I don’t get bogged down

To be a pantser means writing stream of consciousness and not caring much about how it will fit. Because, to be a pantser also means you understand how much editing you’ll be doing later, regardless if there’s a solid outline or not.

For me, to embrace being a pantser means to just keep writing. Even when I encounter things that trip me up.

For example, a new character can be confusing at times. I’m just getting to know them so sometimes I can’t name them until more of their “self” shines through.

In that instance I use brackets and come back to the issue later. Sometimes not until the end of editing the first draft! Here’s how that might read as I pants my outline:

I looked out the driver’s side window at this twenty year old kid in front of me. He was average height and build and his fancy nametag read [VALET NAME] but all I could think of was that episode of Friends where Ross bleached his teeth. The kid’s smile had to glow in the dark.

How I do it:
  • Use the bracketed label in the story as I write
  • Immediately note down the character and bracketed info in my journal (for reference)
  • Use the same label throughout the book
  • Take advantage of Word find/replace when the name comes to me
  • Note the name in the journal (for future reference)

So, as you can see, I feel there’s a lot of merit in both styles of writing and I use both in the crafting of my books.

Which do you use? Do you do a little of both, like me, or does your writing tend to lean one way or the other?

Due to a severe spike in spam, I no longer accept comments from Anonymous users. All comments made on posts 3 days or older will be moderated. Spam will be deleted (it is up to the blog administrator to determine if a comment is spam). A new window opens when you click to comment.

Excerpt from soon to be Released Reckless Hearts

For the past few months I’ve been writing, editing and creating a new adventure for Shaw McLeary, the main character from my first book, Reckless Abandon.

And I’m really excited to announce that my sassy leading female will be back for book 2 in The Shaw McLeary Mystery Series – Reckless Hearts.

My latest work of fiction is slated for novella length of about 30k words and a release in July. And I can. Not. Wait!

If you read Abandon you remember there were a few nagging questions that didn’t quite get answered. Things that could totally alter the direction of Shaw’s future. The wait is almost over for those answers. Hearts will answer them all!

Of course that begs a new question – what might Shaw have to work through this time and what decisions did she make after finding out the truth?

Want a little taste of what’s to come? Just go ahead and continue reading. Then don’t forget to sign up for my monthly newsletter so you’ll be the first to know when you can pre-order Reckless Hearts!

Excerpt from Reckless Hearts A Shaw McLeary Mystery #2**

Ready to find out just what happens when Shaw and Krista get where they're going?

Reckless Hearts is out now! To get your copy please stop on over to Amazon and buy it here.

Don't forget to leave a rating and review after you finish reading it, reviews really help Indie Authors to connect with their fans and write even better books in the future! Thanks & keep reading!

Reckless Abandon Cover Re-release!

After weeks of design consultation back and forth, the re-booted, re-designed cover for Reckless Abandon is HERE!

But before I get to showing it off, first please allow me a minute to thank my kick-ass cover designer extraordinaire – Judi FitzPatrick!

For those of you who don’t know Judi, here are a few fun facts:

  • She’d been snapping fine art photos for more than half her life.
  • Judi started blogging about photography and her process 8 years ago.
  • She loves to do collage and manipulation to bring ideas to life in visual format.
  • This isn’t her first rodeo (AKA: Not her first book cover).
  • Judi is my mom.

Now, you might be thinking that I’m super biased and the truth is, well, I am! But as an objective artist I can also see so much freaking awesome in this new cover that I can’t even stand it!

Let’s review my old and lame as hell cover first. Remember this exceptionally boring design:


That’s because I had no idea what I was doing. Not really. Three years ago when I asked my mom to put the original cover together I was so green and had just started reading Indie Author books. Covers were one of the last things on my mind.

Of course they shouldn’t have been last, I even wrote about judging a book by its cover.

But now…

I knew the cabin image had to remain (because it has SO MUCH plot intertwined) but didn’t know how to really convey the book in visuals. So what to do?

Well, that’s where my mom came into play. Because, now I've got this:

Can someone say BOOM?!

Even if you haven’t read the book there’s no denying a sense of the mystery, the story and the characters (maybe even some of their motivations?) just by looking at the cover.

And that’s what a cover should do after all, right?


Judi, AKA: mum, totally nailed it! Thanks so much mum, I am in love with this new cover and I'm so excited to share it with the world!

Please visit Judi’s (AKA: mum’s) website and check out some of her work to see if she can help you put together a cover that really pops and sings - like this one!

If you haven’t read Reckless Abandon yet you'll want to pick up your copy soon because book 2 in the Shaw McLeary Mystery Series – Reckless Hearts – will be out this summer.

And wait until you see the cover!

Pick up Reckless Abandon for your eReader today, just go here.

Plus, to get the inside skinny on when Reckless Hearts hits the stores sign up here for my newsletter and be the first to know!

EDITOR NOTE: Due to a severe spike in spam, I no longer accept comments from Anonymous users. All comments made on posts 3 days or older will be moderated. Spam will be deleted (and I decide what's spam). A new window opens when you click to comment.

And the Winners Are…

Sometimes it’s hard to admit that the things we do aren’t working. We really want to believe we’ve put our effort in the right basket. Especially when you’re really good at something. Like writing blogs.

As I watched the views tick up on the post I wrote 2 weeks ago, I also sat in wonder at a irtual lack of activity.

Because, while the views were good, not a single person entered the giveaway.

Which forced me to take a very long, hard look at my work day. To look at it without the rose colored glasses I'd been wearing for years as I continued doing the same thing over and over, never getting different results, but hoping for those different results every time.

Can someone say 'definition of insanity'?

I had to admit some harsh truths and at first, the truth was tough to digest. Because when I really allowed myself to admit it, the truth was:

My blog is lots of work for very little return.

And there it was. Admission that the thing I love to do, that I've been trying to use as a business builder and engagement tool, might just be the wrong thing to put the biggest percentage of my focus into.

You see, I work for myself as a writer and an author. Which means I write books and blogs and tweets and newsletters and anything else that allows me to connect on a personal level.

And every single day I sit in my office or out on the sofa all alone and I beat my head against the laptop to put well-crafted words out there that can both help and entertain.

Everyone loves getting help for free. Hell, I surf the internet on a daily basis looking for free advice, information and guidance, so clearly I’m no exception.

But if I’m going to share it, especially for free, with an expectation that an audience will grow, people actually have to want it, to make the growth occur, right?

I mean, if I'm only talking to myself then why should I waste precious hours blogging when I could be writing what I really want to write.

AKA: fiction.

I want to turn this to a positive so I guess the best thing I can do is see the whole thing as having learned something. Learned about marketing and how it does and doesn't work. Where to concentrate my efforts and where to pull back.

So as of this moment, my blog is getting lopped off at the waist.

Bringing it down to manageable

I’m reducing my posting to once a month (and honestly, that’s only going to happen if I get around to it).

Because a girl can only type so many words in a day. And from now on, when I want to share, market, connect with people, I'm going to focus on twitter and my newsletter.

I would absolutely love to connect with you in either of those places, please stop on by and say hi on twitter and sign up for my newsletter: Facts & Fiction for self-publishing and writing advice and articles.

Maybe this blog will become something I do more often again in the future but for now I'm looking forward to the restructure and getting back to the thing I love to write - fiction!

Recognize the Differences and Enter to Win!

Back when I was a kid there was a really cool activity in the paper where they asked you to spot the differences. Two seemingly identical pictures sat next to each other and it was the viewer’s job to figure out the subtle differences. It’s a fun challenge to test your powers of observation.

These days you can take part in this challenge online, through Apps, or maybe even still in some newspapers across the country.

In my paper you could circle the variations and send it in to win a prize before the next one was published the following week.

Did someone say, “win a prize”?!

But I hate winning things…

Said no one ever.

And I’m in the mood to give stuff away. Plus have a little throwback fun. Let’s do a spot the difference photo challenge right here on the blog!

The following is the original and a modified version of a few mountains that I snapped on a recent trip to Bartlett Lake area doing research for my next book. So pretty right?

How to Enter

Here’s the skinny:

1. Study both pictures and make a note of the differences.

2. BEFORE MIDNIGHT APRIL 3, 2015 - Go here and sign up with your email to receive my monthly newsletter and FREE download – Does My Book Suck? And other no-nonsense questions you need to answer before self-publishing your fiction.

3. Then, leave a comment on this post with the following information:
  • Four or more of the differences (HINT: there are seven total)
  • The date you signed up
  • Your name
  • The word eleven
  • Your email address so I can reach you in case you win!

So what fabulous prize could you win?

Three winners will receive an autographed copy of the first book in my Shaw McLeary Mystery Series -  Reckless Abandon!

Yup, you read that right – I’m giving away THREE signed copies. So tell your friends!

Here’s a little teaser about the book:

In Reckless Abandon Young Adult fiction Author, Shaw McLeary, returns from grocery shopping to discover her husband, Danny, is missing. So is their stash of cash but little else. She knows he took off fast. When the guys chasing him show up at her front door, Shaw flees to the only person she can trust to help - JJ Anderson. Private investigator, and her ex-fiancé.

A retired Phoenix cop turned P.I., JJ grudgingly agrees to take the case and help find Danny. They chase the clues from Phoenix to Manhattan to upstate New York. In such close quarters Shaw is confronted with her past head on. And she isn’t sure which one she wants to face less – the bad guys with guns right on their tail or her long dormant feelings for JJ.

Ready to win your free signed copy?

Just click here to get your entry started per the rules above and come on back on April 10 to find out if you’re one of three lucky winners!

Good luck!

The fine print you need to read

One entry per person.

Open to residents of the United States.

Entries posted on 4/4/2015 12:01 or later will not be counted (so get in early!)

All requirements must be completed to qualify so read the skinny carefully before entering.

I’ll randomly select the winners.

Winners will be notified by email and their names will be published in a post on April 10, 2015. If the winner doesn’t respond by April 15 with their mailing address, a new winner will be selected in their place.

Open to residents of the U.S. only.

And just so you know, I will not sell, rent or otherwise distribute your information  to anyone. Ever.

Getting it Done and Giving it Away

Another 6 weeks of furious fiction typing is behind me, and I have to say that I’ve loved every second of it!

Back at the beginning of February I posted about my monthly agenda. It included writing content for Blogging Your Book, posting and promoting blogs, 4 admin days, newsletter & opt-in creation, a writer's meeting, and 13 full days of working on book 2!

Goals? Set realistically.

So I started researching and writing a blog post. And the thing took on a life of it's own.

When I got to 3,000 words it started me thinking that instead of a post or even a series of posts, the piece would make a great eBook.

And now that eBook is ready to share with you! Woo hoo!

In Does My Book Suck? (a self-publisher's guide to finishing your book with confidence) you'll get:

  • Quotes from people who live the dream of writing.
  • Advice for how to tighten your writing.
  • How to kick start your author platform.
  • Industry stats.
  • Organizational tips.
  • Resources to take your writing even further.
  • Writing prompts that will add depth to your stories.
  • And so much more.

And it will all cost...

The low, low price of free for Newsletter Subscribers! Become one by clicking those words and get started downloading your copy of the guide.

Next blog post, you don’t want to miss it!

Stick around for my next post in 2 weeks because I’m hosting a giveaway of my novella – Reckless Abandon the first book in the Shaw McLeary Adventure Series.

In fact, I’m giving away 3 signed copies so come on back and enter!

Need a reminder? No problem!

Sign up for my newsletter and you’ll never miss an update!

And now, back to book writing…

Image courtesy Sura Nualpradid on

Will Work for Wine

I’m in the furious stages of editing and completing my second novella in the Shaw McLeary Adventure Series. Hence the desire for a wine glass that holds an entire bottle.

But as tempting as it sounds, I refuse to allow myself the distraction. Not when I’m so close to the end!

Of course, there are always things to learn, study, that help us become better writers. And I don’t consider that distracting. Not when it helps us grow.

After a recent interview, I started thinking about smart marketing. Her advice was spot on and made me actually want to market my books the right way.

Marketing will be the mountain I conquer!

But first I need to conquer the last few chapters of this book.

So while I'm off in the great abyss, better known as the fantasy world in my head where multiple "personalities" live, I'll leave you with 7 marketing tips I gleaned from the interview Kate & I did with Karen Yankovich.

These tips for using a blog as a marketing tool will hopefully help you bring your strategy to another level as well. Enjoy!

1. A blog is a powerful tool when it’s used to share information and not focused on sales.

2. Posting just once a week can establish authority in your niche.

3. Daily news stories are a great place to get inspiration for fiction or blog posts.

4. People love to connect with authors because it’s cool! (Love her for this one!)

5. Your blog drives content, everything else should branch from your blog posts.

6. Blogging is a first step to an author platform to encourage credibility.

7. Start conversations with anyone that inspires you to do better work; social media is there to help you!

This year I’m making a pledge to connect with people who are like me – authors who choose to self-publish and understand the value in reading a great story by an an Indie Author.

Image courtesy Carlos Porto on

Sign up for my monthly newsletter here for more fiction and self-publishing tips. You'll get a copy of my eBook Does My Book Suck? - a self-publisher’s guide to finishing your book - free just for signing up!