Sunday, December 30, 2012

NovelFriends Blog

Around September, or October (darn it, my memory is going), I started a group blog with three wonderful friends of mine; Donna, Dulcie and Jamie.
The NovelFriends are four writers who met through Wisconsin Romance Writers and initially became bonded by our love of books. That connection has expanded, grown, and deepened to true friendship over the years. We look forward to sharing our experiences with you, so follow the blog and join in the discussions - we're always happy to have more NovelFriends.
We're hoping to grow our readership in 2013, so in addition to our regular scheduled Tuesday posts about Writing, life, and everything in between, we'll be participating in some blog hops with tons of prizes to be given away, we'll post book reviews, and even a recipe every now and again.

Hop on over and follow the blog to meet my NovelFriends, and join us in all the fun. It's going to be a great 2013!

Stacey Joy Netzel

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Meet the Book Blogger: SM Boyce

Today I'm happy to have book blogger and author, SM Boyce visiting with us. She was kind enough to answer some questions and share her blogging experiences. Please make her feel welcome by leaving a comment at the end, or ask her a question yourself.




What can readers expect from your reviews?
Honesty, a thorough critique, and a video review if I like it a lot (4+ stars). I’m not rude or overly snarky with my reviews, but I put my Creative Writing degree and freelance editing experience to work. I’ll mention both strong and weak moments when I see them (as I expect others to do with my novels, no worries). So I can keep things positive, I only review books I can rate at least 3 stars. I focus on key areas of a novel and address everything from the characters to the pacing to the logic and narrative voice.
I also do video reviews for highly-rated novels because they come in handy as marketing tools for writers. I like to help, and these are fun to do…but they’re also time consuming, and thus I only do these reviews for the best books I come across. Feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you’d like to see more as I add them.

Very cool about the video reviews; thank you for putting that time in for the books you love!

What does it take in a book to absolutely annoy you to the point where you quit reading or throw the book at the wall?
Characters that are too stupid to live. You laugh, but you know what I’m talking about, right?
It’s like in a scary movie, when the MC hears someone rifling around in the dark when they’re home alone and calls out “hello?” The killer isn’t going to respond with “Hey, I’m in the kitchen. You want a sandwich?” so why would she say anything in the first place? Run, girl! RUN.
It’s those moments that break the story’s logic and kick me out of the narrative, and I usually have to put the book away if it happens more than once.

I know exactly what you mean with scary movies when the character goes to explore in the dark. I usually yell at the TV. 

What makes you a fan for life?
Characters with whom I can connect. If I think about a character afterward as if they’re a real person, I’m pretty much hooked on that author forever.

Many book bloggers are also writers—are you? If so, SHARE with us what you write and some of your book titles.
Yes, actually. I’m a fantasy and paranormal author working on my debut, the Grimoire Trilogy. It’s a YA epic fantasy series, and it’s been seven years in the making. A lot of sweat went into it. The first, LICHGATES was just re-released with a new publisher (Immortal Ink Publishing) and the sequel, TREASON  will be available on October 27. You can click those links to read the blurb and learn more about them.

Both books sound really good. I had to get a copy of each, now I just need the time to read them!

Have you ever stayed up reading all night even when you had to work the next day, and what was the book you cursed while fighting to stay awake all afternoon?
Yeah, I’ve definitely been there. Hasn’t every book nerd, though? 
I tore through Entangled and Duplicity by Nikki Jefford that way. I couldn’t help it. Those books are so addictive and just so fun! Vaempires: Revolution by Thomas Winship and Five by Christie Rich were two other books that kept me up. (All titles and authors linked to Goodreads.)

What is the most challenging part of book blogging? Rewarding?
Rewarding: The reward is connecting with talented authors and learning about stellar new series. I’ve made some of the best connections and closest friends through reviewing strangers’ books.

Challenging: The challenge is getting queries from authors who obviously didn’t read my requirements. I know it takes longer, guys, but let’s not waste our time here. It’s so important that an author read the bloggers’ requirements before they submit a query.

Do you like to hear from an author after a review? How do you and your fans feel about authors following, reading and posting on your blog?
I love it! Like I said, connecting with authors is part of the fun. I love to hear if an author really enjoyed a comment or a review, and it means a lot when they can still reach out and say hello even if it wasn’t a glowing review. 
My fans also don’t seem to mind. I actually think they enjoy seeing the author engage like that.



Can you share with us up to 5 authors who are auto-buy for you?
YES. All right. It’s actually kind of hard to choose just five, but…Nikki JeffordRebecca Hamilton, Thomas WinshipJessica Fortunato, and Christi Goddard. (Again, authors linked to Goodreads.)

I get the "it's hard to choose just five" with just about every interview. :) But thank you for sharing!

How much is too much for an eBook?
This is an awesome question! I wish more people asked it.
For me, more than $5 is too much unless it’s in a series and I got the first one for free. Even then, I’d really rather not pay more than $5. When I see eBooks for $10 or more, it’s just a turn off. 
There’s an argument that publishers price eBooks high so they don’t detract from print sales, but I don’t care how much the print edition is…there’s no reason to price an eBook at $10. After all, it’s just a copied digital file.

Do you know how many books currently reside on your To Be Read list?
Oh goodness. Too many. As of this moment, I’m at 250. I know. But it changes often, so you can check it out if you’d like. Suffice to say, I had to close inquiries for a while. I doubt I’ll actually go through the list before I reopen, though. There are just too many good books out there!

I agree, so many good books and never enough time. :) I'd say 250 is a lot, but I fear my list is catching up way too fast. 

Well, that's all I've got. Thank you very much for answering my questions and letting us peek into your world, Boyce!

Boyce is a YA, fantasy, and paranormal fiction author/book blogger. You can find her books on Amazon or check out her reviews on her blog.


Connect with Boyce


Readers, it's your turn; something you want to ask Boyce about her blogging or her books? Now's your chance!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mistletoe Rules in my Holiday Boxed Set

Romancing Wisconsin Volume I
Holiday Boxed Set

Save on the set and get a bonus story!



The Romancing Wisconsin Volume I (Holiday Boxed Set) includes the 2010 Write Touch Award-winning stories Mistletoe MischiefMistletoe MagicMistletoe Match-Up, and the brand-new exclusive bonus short story, Mistletoe Rules.

Christmas recipe for love—combine a matchmaking Santa, lots of mistletoe, one iron-clad rule, fated hearts; mix and stir. The Riley siblings don't stand a chance. 

MISTLETOE MISCHIEF: Christmas in July at the zoo is the last place single parents Eric Riley and Marissa Wilder expect to find love. Thanks to some mistletoe mischief in the form of their two young daughters and Santa, they discover mistletoe rules were not made to be broken.

MISTLETOE MAGIC: Major Mark Riley plays Court Jester to Janelle Walsh's Snow Queen at the Christmas Parade and is instantly captivated by the cute redhead whose grandpa just happens to be Santa. When Mark learns she's the tenant he evicted from his newly purchased property, it's going to take a little bit of Santa's mistletoe magic to save their romance.

MISTLETOE MATCH-UP: When Lisa Riley comes home for her brother Mark's Christmas Eve wedding, her high school rivalry with his wife Janelle's cousin, Derek Walsh, picks up right where it left off, only this time Derek has the upper hand. Santa bides his time as they battle it out because he's waited a whole year for this mistletoe match-up.

Exclusive holiday bonus story, MISTLETOE RULES: When Benedict Riley first meets Susan Whitcomb at a college holiday dance, she’s engaged to be married to another man. In this story where mistletoe rules, you’ll learn how the Riley Family Mistletoe Rules all began one fateful Christmas, not too long ago…

Excerpt from bonus story, Mistletoe Rules:

“Why is a beautiful girl like you sitting all alone under the mistletoe?”

Sue startled at the deep voice from directly in front of her. She jerked her attention up—way up—to meet the smiling face of a guy maybe a couple years older than her.

“I’m not.”

“Alone?” he clarified, his eyebrows drawing together in a slight frown.

No, beautiful. Pretty maybe, but beautiful is pushing it.

Out loud she replied, “Sitting under mistletoe.”

His gaze rose to a point above her head, and in the dim light, she tried to decipher if his eyes were light blue or gray.

“I beg to differ.”

Sue twisted in her seat to look. Nothing—oh, wait, painted on the paper banner taped to the wall was a bundle of leaves that might pass for mistletoe. Her heart lurched for a moment, but she ignored the sensation and faced the guy again.

“All in the eye of the beholder.”

Tall, dark, and handsome immediately came to her mind’s eye looking at him. Unlike most of the other guys in their corduroy pants and wide-collared shirts, his black boots, faded jeans, and gray turtleneck sweater completed the attractive package before her.

He studied her for a moment. “So true.”

“Well, I don’t believe it is mistletoe.”

Feeling at a distinct disadvantage with him towering over her, Sue twisted her fingers in her gauzy, flower-print skirt. Standing seemed the obvious solution, but if she stood, they’d be much too close, and his self-assured stance warned her he wouldn’t back down.

“You know what they say about mistletoe, don’t you?” he asked.

“No, what do they say?”

He grinned, revealing white teeth and a very cute set of dimples. “It’s bad luck to refuse a kiss.”

“Good thing it’s not mistletoe, then.”

“You really want to take that chance?”

The note of humor in his voice drew her like a magnet, and against her better judgment, she teased, “Exactly how bad would this luck be?”

He bent forward to place his hands on the arms of her chair, clearly taking her question as invitation. She pressed back, her pulse racing. Her gaze flicked to his mouth when he spoke.

“Black cat cross your path on Halloween bad. Break a mirror bad. Seven long, lonely years bad.”


~~~


Happy Reading!

Stacey Joy Netzel

Friday, December 14, 2012

Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop - Win prizes!

Welcome to my Hop Stop


When I was growing up, my dad used to play Santa Clause for the neighbors around the lake, and after he was done, he'd come by our house to take pictures. It was always a treat when we'd hear the jingle bells outside the door and his hearty, "Ho, Ho, Ho!"

He inspired the character of Santa Butch in my Romancing Wisconsin series, and I had a blast writing scenes with him. I plan to expand the series and continue cameos by Santa Butch, but in the meantime, you can read all about him and his matchmaking schemes in my brand new Holiday Boxed Set:


The Romancing Wisconsin Volume I (Holiday Boxed Set) includes the 2010 Write Touch Award-winning stories Mistletoe Mischief, Mistletoe Magic, Mistletoe Match-Up, and the brand-new exclusive bonus short story, Mistletoe Rules.

Christmas recipe for love—combine a matchmaking Santa, lots of mistletoe, one iron-clad rule, fated hearts; mix and stir. The Riley siblings don't stand a chance. 

MISTLETOE MISCHIEF: Christmas in July at the zoo is the last place single parents Eric Riley and Marissa Wilder expect to find love. Thanks to some mistletoe mischief in the form of their two young daughters and Santa, they discover mistletoe rules were not made to be broken.

MISTLETOE MAGIC: Major Mark Riley plays Court Jester to Janelle Walsh's Snow Queen at the Christmas Parade and is instantly captivated by the cute redhead whose grandpa just happens to be Santa. When Mark learns she's the tenant he evicted from his newly purchased property, it's going to take a little bit of Santa's mistletoe magic to save their romance.

MISTLETOE MATCH-UP: When Lisa Riley comes home for her brother Mark's Christmas Eve wedding, her high school rivalry with his wife Janelle's cousin, Derek Walsh, picks up right where it left off, only this time Derek has the upper hand. Santa bides his time as they battle it out because he's waited a whole year for this mistletoe match-up.

Exclusive holiday bonus story, MISTLETOE RULES: When Benedict Riley first meets Susan Whitcomb at a college holiday dance, she’s engaged to be married to another man. In this story where mistletoe rules, you’ll learn how the Riley Family Mistletoe Rules all began one fateful Christmas, not too long ago…

EXCERPT with Santa Butch from Mistletoe Mischief:

Eric braced a hand on each girl’s shoulder, waiting until the crowd thinned. “Thank Santa for the ride.”

Reese and Heather sounded a chorus of thanks before taking off across the asphalt path toward Marissa. Eric made sure they reached the tree before turning around to face the older man.

“This was great. Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” Butch shifted his gaze toward Marissa and the girls. “So, I expect you’ll be taking the lady and her daughter home?”

“Ah…” Eric frowned, wondering where the man would get that idea.

Butch backhanded him on the arm. “Open your eyes, boy. She can’t drive with her foot all wrapped up like that.”

Eric absently flexed his shoulder as Butch climbed back up to the driver’s bench. The old guy might be…old, but he still packed a wallop. Then his words registered. Eric’s gaze went straight to where Marissa sat, smiling up at the girls, her foot extended in front of her. He started to smile, too, unconsciously straightening.

Santa was absolutely right.

Butch gave a merry chuckle. “Got ya thinking, now, don’t I?”

Eric reached up to clasp the man’s hand with a grin of appreciation. He’d been dreading the end of the field trip without even realizing it. Now he didn’t have to figure out a clever way to see her again to collect on the invitation from earlier. When he started to back away from the wagon, Butch tossed a handful of leaves down toward him. Eric caught them, then laughed.

Mistletoe. Santa was handing out presents early this year. Eric eased the green sprig into one of his pockets, careful not to crush the precious gift.

Santa Butch winked at him before lifting the reins to urge the reindeer forward. Over his shoulder he called, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”


~~~
You can get your copy of the Boxed Set here:



  • Leave a comment telling me if you prefer SNOWMEN or SANTAS in your Christmas decorations (don't forget  your email address!)
  • use the Rafflecopter to enter the contest
  • and have a Merry Christmas!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to visit the other blogs for chances to win TONS more individual prizes, plus...

Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop Prizes:

1st Grand Prize: Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: $200 Amazon or BN Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!

Merry Christmas!

Stacey Joy Netzel

(who loves her Santa Butch, but collects snowmen because they're so cute!)


 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Looking for a good book this Christmas?

The Beach Book Blast is throwing an

December 11-12th

Hop on over there to check out all the new holiday books
and even a bunch that are not strictly holiday themed.

All books are under $5 and make a GREAT GIFT for
yourself, or the wonderful readers in your life. 



MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Stacey Joy Netzel

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Meet the Book Blogger: Karielle

Please welcome Karielle from Books à la Mode

 

Karielle is one of the very first book bloggers I met. She's tough, but honest--exactly what other readers want from a review, and authors should to! So, let's get to know Karielle, shall we?

When and how did you get started with book blogging?
When I first started Books à la Mode, it was a place for me to vent, to write, to blow off the kind of steam any repressed, frustrated, but passionate kid would suffer from. That I got sucked into the world of literary blogging and bookish endeavors (reviews, interviews, giveaways, tours, et cetera) was pure happenstance. It happened like this:
I'd always loved reading, loved books as tools for escapism. The summer before I started 10th grade, I read The Hottest State, by Ethan Hawke, and it struck me fiercely. Incredibly emotionally resonating, it became a book I grew attached to, a book I knew I would never forget. The moment I finished the last page, I furiously jotted down my thoughts onto the front cover, title page, dedication page, every blank space in the book I could find, out of fear that I would forget such a feeling in a few day's time. That was something I didn't want to ever happen; to forget the instant rush and reverence of a phenomenally affecting book would be truly tragic. I later typed up these musings onto the blog, making sure they would actually be coherent for other readers (in a mad state, my mind is but a dissonant jumble of words and at worst, feelings). I reposted to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads. People loved it. People requested their own books be reviewed.

That's how the modern-day Books à la Mode was born.

I'll be frank with you. The above process is pretty much how all my reviews are written: with a stroke of passion and a drop of insanity ;)

Sounds like the best way--raw reaction and emotion to the written word.

What can readers expect from your reviews?
A unique rating: while I do have a five-heart scale for the sake of retail sites, my criteria is individualized and personalized depending on the book. My reviews not only contain ratings, but also verdicts: why such a book deserves such a rating. The review itself is mostly justified opinion; my reviews are highly subjective and extremely personal; I’ll tell you straight-off what I hate, what I adore, but more importantly, why, as well as analysis: I tend to critique the plot, characters, and author’s style a lot; what I wish would have seen happen, what was weak, what was strong, from a more objective point of view. I try to balance partiality and professionalism.

Recently, you started a brand new Meme on your blog; tell us about it.
Back to the Classics features one book (or series) each week (or however often you choose to post) that you consider classic. It doesn't have to be a Greek classic or a Victorian novel... contemporary classics are always welcome!
This is a free meme, meaning there's no scheduled post dates, no requirements, no prompts—it's completely up to YOU what you decide to post. You're welcome to write a review, ramble in anticipation, make historical rundowns, or provide any other interesting content pertaining to the book you choose. This is supposed to be a fun way to fawn over your favorite books while sharing with your readers your preferences as well!
Sounds great - I hope it catches on and lots of bloggers join in.

What is your favorite genre and is there anything you won’t review?
Literary fiction, by far. I’m a fan of almost all fiction, really: romance (including erotica), sci-fi, mystery, thriller, young adult, children’s, fantasy, paranormal. I’m purposely excluding historical fiction here because, while I won’t not review it, I’ve noticed a trend over a years that I don’t enjoy most historical fiction books I read. Just preference. I’ll consider the occasional health- or politics-related non-fiction book, as those are personal interests of mine, but usually when I read non-fic, I don’t exactly enjoy myself... it feels like I’m reading for school (which I get enough of already!).

Reading should definitely be fun if you're not working toward a grade.

How many review requests do you get per week, and how many are you able to actually review per week?
Including tour requests, maybe about 40 a week? Normally, my ‘acceptance rate’ is around 10 per week, but I’ve recently closed my review queue because I’m awfully busy this semester at school, so now I’ve become much more selective. I’ll only take a book if it really captures my attention, not just if someone requests a review for it. I used to accept almost all requests, but I simply don’t have the time to do that anymore. Once school’s over, hopefully I can accept new books regularly again.

Where is your favorite place to read?
I love snuggling in bed, though I often end up falling asleep ‘cause it’s so comfy LOL. I like quiet, public places too, such as a corner café (the patios at Panera rock!) or the library.

Karielle & Austin

Do you have a pet who loves to snuggle with you when you read? 
I’ve the cutest puppy in the universe, no joke. Meet the main man in my life, Austin :D  He’s a little too.... restless.. to snuggle with while reading, but he’s definitely a sweetheart.


He looks like a little Boyd's Bears Teddy Bear!

Paper books or ebooks— and why?
Paper, always. This is probably a really trite answer, but there’s seriously nothing better than being able to flip pages, smooth my hands over a glossy or matte cover, and just carry a print book around.

What does it take in a book to absolutely annoy you to the point where you quit reading or throw the book at the wall?
Stilted dialogue. Can’t stand it. I’ve gritted my teeth through some embarrassingly poorly-executed dialogue in fiction in the past, but no more. Once I encounter it, I’ll gently put it down because if I continue, I know there’s a chance I’ll start beating it with a stick (or bashing my head against the wall, plucking my eyes out, etc etc etc).

Oh, boy! (note to self: Make sure dialogue is NOT stilted!)

What interview question are you always wishing someone would ask but never does? Now answer it for us!
What’s your worst habit?
Being the world’s worst caller-back(er?) or ever picking up my cell, for that matter. The moment I come home I just throw my phone on my bed and forget about it til I check it once before turning in for the night. So if you’re trying to reach me at home, best bet is via land-line or email (which, on the contrary, I check 24/7).

I so get this!

Have you ever stayed up reading all night even when you had to work the next day, and what was the book you cursed while fighting to stay awake all afternoon?
I do this with too many books... *sigh*. Recently, The Original Sinners series by Tiffany Reisz (The Siren and The Angel) did more than excellent at keeping me up all night. Bonus points, I didn’t get anything done those nights (e.g. errands, homework) either! I think when I was in fourth grade...? I stayed up under the covers, pretending to sleep, so that I could finish The Million Dollar Shot by Paul Gutman. I used the crack of light under my bedroom door to read it. I reckon this is why I’m so near-sighted today... it’s all Gutman’s fault *grumble*.

:)

What is your favorite kind of M&M’s? (Plain, Peanut, Almond, Peanut Butter, Pretzel, Dark Chocolate, Coconut)
Dark! Milk chocolate’s always just been too sweet for me. Peanut and almond are pretty addicting, though, I’ll admit. Peanut butter doesn’t taste like peanut butter and pretzel M&M’s are always stale. And coconut?!?! There’s coconut?!?

Thanks for answering this one! We're the opposite in this--I love the Peanut Butter and Pretzel, and Dark isn't sweet enough. *grin* And yes, there's coconut!

Do you like to hear from an author after a review? How do you and your fans feel about authors following, reading and posting on your blog?
When authors give me insight about what they thought about my review of their work, I think it reflects their writing as much as it does mine. As much as I love compliments, I’m also always eager to hear constructive feedback, because it helps me improve the quality of my reviews. If they’ve nothing to say about it, no problem, a simple thank you is fine. I can’t stand it when I send off links to reviews and never hear from the author again. It’s not only unsettling, but it feels like they either hate the review or could care less about it, it makes me feel bad :( So authors, please please at least acknowledge that you received the review, even if you don’t like it! This already-half-insane blogger needs peace of mind ;)

I can say, when reviews come in that are less than stellar, it's a bit unsettling for authors, too. Not that we don't appreciate the honesty and constructive criticism, but our books are our babies, so sometimes an author might not reply because they don't really know what to say, or they're sad the reviewer didn't love it. Or they've been conditioned to not reply to reviews AT ALL. I'm not excusing those who don't respond, because I know you've taken time to read, and write your review, just explaining maybe why they may not have. You're completely right in saying that an acknowledgement and polite "Thank you" is appropriate. (Though I must add, arguing with the blogger's opinion is not.)

As for authors following and posting at the site, of COURSE I love it! It thrills me when authors leave comments on or subscribe to my posts because receiving recognition from writers I so much adore and revere myself, is an amazing feeling — it’s like my work is being appreciated in return.

Do you know how many books currently reside on your To Be Read list?
Absolutely not — my to-be-read stack is piled to infinity and beyond. Literally the only thing in my life guaranteed never to end.

Authors everywhere love that last answer!
Austin's growing up, and he's still adorable. :)

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer questions and visit, Karielle. I really enjoyed getting to know you better and hope readers did, too.



Karielle has a beautiful blog with some great pictures, so check it out and then follow her online:

Twitter: @touurnesol

Readers, now it's your turn ~ any questions for Karielle? Or you can simply wish her happy holidays while she's overseas!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Giving Back in December with a little bit of Mistletoe Magic

**Update: Feb. 2013**

Thanks to the  generosity of all the wonderful readers out there, I was able to donate $6,033.00 to the animal shelter! You guys ROCK!



 AmazonBNAppleAReKoboSW

Buy this book in December 2012 for just $2.99, and 100% of my royalties (approximately* $2 for every copy sold) will be donated to my local WI no-kill animal shelter:


Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary

Wait - did I forget to mention the first book in the Romancing Wisconsin series is FREE?


So really, it's like getting 2 for 1 and giving to charity!

Two books for less than the cost of a cup of coffee at Starbucks or McDonalds...what are you waiting for?

Buy Mistletoe Magic
 AmazonBNAppleAReKoboSW

Get Mistletoe Mischief for FREE:

And have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

The animals from Mistletoe Magic and the Animal Sanctuary say, "Thank You!" 

 
Duke and Daisy                                     Rose 

Zara

Read an Excerpt

Any likes and shares of this post are greatly appreciated!

Lastly, if you want the complete set of 3 Mistletoe stories, check out:

MISTLETOE MATCH-UP
Amazon, BN, Apple, ARe, Kobo, SW

Thank you!

Stacey Joy Netzel

(*sales in some countries only receive 35% royalty -vs- 70%, in which case the amount is $1)