To Tweet or Not to Tweet – Guest Post from Author Madelyn Hill

Today I’m pleased to host fellow Soul Mate Publishing author Madelyn Hill, who will share some of her tips of the trade when it comes to marketing through Twitter.

Don’t forget to check out info on her latest release, Heather in the Mist, at the bottom of today’s post!

I’ve been on Twitter for quite a while, however I’ve just started embracing the social networking tool as a way to connection, share and learn.

My goal for the rest of the year was to increase my followers in a big way. So, I did some research and learned you have to tweet—a lot—to engage and increase followers. Also you do not want to constantly push your books, you need to share your interests and offer something of value to followers. And finally followers like images and quotes. I found some tools to help me achieve my goal.

Some of my rules of practice:

  1. Always thank followers with a Tweet including their Twitter Handle
  2. Favorite or ReTweet tweets from authors promoting their books, reviews, or sales
  3. Follow those who follow me
  4. Look at the Moments (new to Twitter) and retweet or reply to a tweet of Moments that interest me
  5. Interact with Trending tweets (left hand side of Twitter page) Many times there are author friendly trends such as #WritersWednesday #MondayMotivation etc
  6. Follow celebrities, but don’t expect them to follow you back or interact, however, this may happen! I’ve had some great interactions with celebrities and brand I love to use.

CoPromote is cross promotion source for engaging with others and having them re-tweet your boosted tweets. I use the free service and do not feel I need the paid service. I boost a tweet and others who have a shared interest re-tweet my tweet, thus increasing tweet impressions (number of followers who will see your tweet). I can gain more re-tweets by tweet others post. I get to select and determine what I will share.

RSS Feed is a way to have a direct feed from blogs. Real Simple Syndication (RSS) allows for me to have the feed automatically sent to an aggregation site. In this case Twitter via Twibble (see below). I use RSS feed for writing sites and cooking sites. The sites I like are Romance University, Helping Writers Become Authors, Positive Writer, Pioneer Woman, and Extra Virgin Cooking Blog. This way content is sent directly to my twitter feed and I do not have to search out the content I want to read. Also, I love cooking so the information is feed to my Twitter feed as well.

Twibble allows for me to copy an RSS feed and arrange the blog post to be automatically sent to my Twitter feed. I pick the day and times I want the post sent and the rest is history.  I use the free Twibble and haven’t found the need for the paid service.

I have been doing this for the last 2 weeks and here are the results:

  1. Tweets have increased by 81.8%
  2. Tweet Impressions increased by 215.1%
  3. Profile visits increased by 243.8%
  4. Mentions increased by 550%
  5. Followers increased by 344

I will continue to watch the stats of my efforts and will keep you posted. To follow me on twitter, my handle is @AuthorMaddyHill

Check out Heather in The MIst by Madelyn Hill

Forced to wed to save her clan, Lady Rogan Cameron agrees to wed without love. heatherinthemist (200)
What her father doesn’t know is Lady Rogan has plans of her own—plans to keep her from a loveless marriage. Can she save the clan before she has to say “I do?”

Ian Albright abolished all ties to Scotland after his family betrayed him and he is now nursing a wounded ego due to an unfaithful fiancée. He pledges never to return to his home until the fateful day he accepts an invitation to his dear cousin’s wedding. The minute he sees his cousin’s betrothed, his heart is captured. If only she didn’t belong to another . . .

Lady Rogan and Ian have known each other since they were young and bent on vexing each other. Now, the only thing they find vexing is the fact Rogan is betrothed to another. Together they fight their growing attraction while investigating the forces bedeviling the clan. Yet at every turn their foe appears and wreaks havoc. When tragedy strikes, their hopes are dashed again.

Can Lady Rogan and Ian’s love win when fate seems determined to keep them apart?

Buy on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B015EFRB6G/

about Madelyn Hill

Madelyn Promo-PhotoMadelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she’d sneak books into her textbooks during school. And she devoured books daily. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a “closet” writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts out there and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. And she couldn’t be happier!

A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They now have 3 children and keep busy cooking, watching their children’s sporting events, and of course reading!

Follow Madelyn on Social Media

Website: www.madelynhill.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/madelyn.hill.94
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorMaddyHill
Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/madelynhill68

It’s World Teacher’s Day!

World Teacher Day

*This infographic and website content was prepared and distributed by Grammarly.com.

Historical Context – Guest Post from Author Kenneth Hart

Kenneth Hart is the author of the Ron Tuck series. The first book in the series, Reinforcements, will be re-released on September 18th. Today he will be sharing his thoughts on researching and writing in an historical context.

When I write in an historical context, I always try to be accurate with detail. It helps to create a picture for the reader and even though you may not use many of the researched details in your stories, I think that it also helps to put you, the writer, into the proper frame of mind.

If you were alive during the time that you are writing about, you may use memory to help you, but I have found that is not the most reliable source of information. As the cliché says, your memory plays tricks on you. Sometimes they are delightful tricks, but if you are writing about the election of John Kennedy and have a Beatles song playing in the background, you’ve blown it.

I have found the internet an incredibly valuable source for research. I recall writing a story that was based on my father’s life. It was called The Good Life. My dad was involved in the juke box business. He spent a lot of time in luncheonettes and candy stores. When I wrote about him, I looked at the dates of the releases of various songs that were popular and matched them to the years about which I was writing. I think that listening to some of those songs really helped me with the mood of that story.

More recently, I wrote a story called Dates and Cigarettes. It was set in the early part of the 20th century. For it, I researched fashion and automobiles. I looked at pictures of what Newark, New Jersey looked like at the time. It was very illuminating to learn that there were many dirt roads in the city back then. I never used a dirt road in the story but the image in my mind was a valuable one. It gave things a certain context.

For example, I learned that cars did not have heaters for the longest time. And so, it was natural for the back seats to have blankets. That was something that I did use.

For big historical events, like the assassination of John Kennedy, I found a website that showed almost all of the original footage that CBS aired in the three long days that followed that tragedy. My character is injured and unable to walk and so he cannot help but spend all of his time in front of the TV. Having that original footage provided me with images to which he would respond. I did a similar thing later in that book with the Watergate Tapes. Having the original footage was incredibly valuable and provided a verisimilitude for the feelings that my characters expressed about what they were thinking at the time.

More difficult and yet even more rewarding is researching the ways that people spoke in different eras. In some ways there seemed to be a lack of intimacy in the language of certain time periods. An example would be that people would say that they were feeling “blue” to describe what we call depression. Or they would say that they had “the blues” the way that we might say that we were feeling “down.” I guess that David Bowe also used it in his song Space Oddity when he sang, “Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do.”

I had never really liked the expression of saying one had the blues until I connected it to the musical genre. I’m not sure that connection is accurate but it allowed my mind to appreciate the use of the phrase.

Another aspect of creating historical context that I love to use is sports, particularly baseball, football and boxing. It is hard to remember the power that boxing used to have on the American people until you realize how many boxing gyms existed in a city like Newark.

One of my characters is a fighter named Walter Pierce. In one scene, I have him meet with Jack Dempsey and Dempsey tells him, “When you are fighting every couple of weeks, like what you have to, you need to toughen up your skin.” Walter asks how he does that. Dempsey responds, “I soak my hands and face in brine, every day.” Dorothy saw a fierce look in his dark eyes. It was a look of savage cruelty. It was dark and yet frighteningly casual. That kind of detail, I think, creates interest in the character and helps to create the portrait of the era. It rounds things out with the small, very human, details.

In my mind James Michener was the very best at it. It saddens me that he is not more widely read today. In his day, it was necessary to spend countless hours in libraries, or later on, have his staff do that.

There is something overwhelming and yet magical about doing library research. I used to go with my mom, who was searching for her father using microfiche of old newspapers. We scrolled through countless articles in the newspaper and I learned the strange ways that people wrote back in the 1930’s. I got a chance to document some of that in a story called Misguided Directions.

James Joyce wrote that “history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awaken.” And yet contradictory to that, we have the proverb that those who do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. In my mind, I attributed that quote to George Orwell and yet perhaps it was really George Santayana. Memory does play tricks and the truth of history is, I think, somewhere between those two points of view.

The Ron Tuck Series
Reinforcements (Book 1)Reinforcements11-219x300

A coming of age novel spiced with the rock of the late 60′s and early 70′s, Reinforcments is a story of friendship, education, protest, a country divided over the Vietnam War, sexual exploration, mind expansion, cultural mores, and the foundation upon which those conflicts occurred.

Available on ebook and paperback

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Invite to Re-release party for Reinforcements

Visit Kenneth Hart online

Website: http://www.kennethedwardhart.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kennethedwardhart
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ken_edhart

Cephrael’s Hand – Guest Post

Please enjoy this guest post by Melissa McPhail, author of the spellbinding epic fantasy, Cephrael’s Hand. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $450 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

 

My Take on Magic Systems

A guest post by Melissa McPhail

 

One of the most enticing aspects of writing fantasy is developing a magic system. The author’s magic system is inextricably woven into their world and contributes greatly to the reader’s vision of the world overall. The way a system is created either makes the world seem real or unreal, depending on how well the author has grounded the system with laws and limitations.

For example, scientists in our own world have defined laws—inertia, gravity, the periodic table—that describe the physical limitations and properties of energy. We don’t expect a stone to rise upwards when we throw it, but we might believe it could float if it were somehow made of helium. Likewise in a fantasy world, it’s important to codify the system with laws and rules (and to stick to those rules once established), to set boundaries for what the magician can and cannot do with magic, and to establish consequences for and ramifications of magical misuse.

This all shows that magic systems require significant thought and research on the author’s part to develop realistically. Yet for all of this, the manner in which one might design and describe the magical process is potentially limitless—there are as many magical systems as there are fantasy novels, and equally as many readers eager to pontificate on their pros and cons and/or to organize the systems into categories and types.

The one thing most magic systems have in common, however, is that they all handle energy. Whether that energy is spiritual, omnipotent, corporeal, or derives from physical objects or living things, the working of arcane arts surrounds the manipulation of energy.

I designed the magic in Cephrael’s Hand based on scientists’ existing understanding of electrical fields. The process of thought has been scientifically proven to produce energy, and human bodies are known to generate electrical fields. For the magic in Alorin, I proposed that all living things produce a metaphysical energy which is formless but which flows across the world in natural currents. This energy is called elae. This is the energy a magician of Alorin uses to produce arcane workings. How he does this is the creative part.

In Cephrael’s Hand, all things are formed of patterns. A single leaf derives its pattern from the larger pattern of its motherly oak. The snowflake harbors the pattern of a storm. Rivers form patterns that mimic the pattern of the world, and a living man harbors within him the pattern of his immortality. These inherent patterns collect and compel energy (elae) toward a certain purpose—growth, action, states of change.

To compel energy, a magician of Alorin (called a wielder) must learn to first identify and then usurp control over the pattern of a thing in order to command it. This is a laborious process requiring a lifetime of study.

Unlike wielders, the Adepts in Cephrael’s Hand are born with the ability to manipulate certain patterns. Adept Healers can see creation patterns (life patterns) and mend them where they’ve become frayed. Truthreaders can hear certain thoughts and read minds to see what a man saw versus what he says he saw. Nodefinders have the ability to move long distances with a single step by traveling on the pattern of the world. And Wildlings tap into a variant aspect of the lifeforce called elae to shapeshift or even skip through time, among other intriguing talents. The last type of Adept can sense the patterns of nonliving things—stone, air, water, fire, etc.—and use those patterns to compel the elements themselves.

Adepts are limited by nature of their birth—they can only inherently work one category of patterns.  They are limited by their training, their inherent intelligence, talent and ability. And of course, like us in real life, they are limited by their own vision of their capabilities.

Above all of these limitations, we find Adepts limited by “Balance.”  The concept of Balance draws from my studies of Eastern philosophies. It is the high governing force, the yen and yang, karma, cause and effect, fate. It’s as esoteric and arcane as these concepts imply. How far can the Balance be pushed in one direction without lashing back at the wielder? Which actions stretch it and which ones defy it? Balance is a complex and complicated subject—as difficult to define as our own world’s myriad competing religions. The only real agreement on the subject of Balance is that all magical workings stretch the Balance to some degree. Understanding how far they can be stretched without snapping is central to survival in the arcane arts.

The concept of Balance provides, well, the “balancing” force to all magical workings in Cephrael’s Hand and is central to its plot. You see, the entire realm of Alorin is out of Balance and magic is dying—and the Adept race dies along with it.

 

Cephrael Tour BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Cephrael’s Hand eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.

The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $450 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Purchase your copy of Cephrael’s Hand for just 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event

About Cephrael’s Hand:  Two brothers find themselves on opposite sides of a great battle, neither knowing the other is alive… A traitor works in exile while preparing for the disaster only he knows is coming… A race of beings from beyond the fringe of the universe begin unmaking the world from within… And all across the land, magic is dying. Cephrael’s Hand is the first novel in the award-winning series A Pattern of Shadow and Light. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the author: Melissa McPhail is a classically trained pianist, violinist and composer, a Vinyasa yoga instructor, and an avid Fantasy reader. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, their twin daughters and two very large cats. Visit Melissa on her websiteTwitterFacebook, or GoodReads.