Showing posts with label IWSG. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IWSG. Show all posts

Friday, March 29, 2019

Masquerade: Oddly Suited #IWSG #Book Spotlight

Masquerade: Oddly Suited Tour Banner

#AtoZchallenge is taking part in the blog tour for Masquerade: Oddly Suited, a young-adult romance anthology from The Insecure Writer's Support Group which is coming out on 30th April 2019!

About the Anthology

Title: Masquerade: Oddly Suited
Release date: April 30th, 2019
Publisher: Dancing Lemur Press
Genres: Young Adult Fiction: Romance – General / Paranormal / Contemporary
Print ISBN: 9781939844644
EBook ISBN: 9781939844651


Book cover for Masquerade: Oddly SuitedFind love at the ball...

Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise, Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual Traveler or a virtual date to the ball?

Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…


eBook / Paperback / Goodreads / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest


Stories Featured

Oddly Suited, LG Keltner
The silliest situations may be oddly suited for romance.

Behind the Catcher’s Mask, Jennifer Lane
Who can help her through a meltdown on the pitcher’s mound?

The Dark Charade, CD Gallant-King
The new girl in town falls in love for a mysterious boy who is maybe, probably, most definitely, a vampire.

The Cog Prince, Elizabeth Mueller
Falling in love, saving the day, and a masque—oh my! Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince?

A Diver’s Ball, Angela Brown
You can be anything you want in the online world of Cumulus. A human. An elf. A powerful beast mutation from your wildest imagination. But can you be in love?

Flower of Ronda, Myles Christensen
What if life's price of servanthood could be changed?

Fearless Heart, Deborah Solice
Is he a figment of her imagination conjured to keep her sane, or is he something else…something more?

Charleston Masquerade, Carrie-Anne Brownian
Can two worlds come together and find love?

Sea of Sorrows, Anstice Brown
What could a shapeshifting siren know about love?

Remedy, Chelsea Marie Ballard
Everything is against Remy and Rudy, but on the night of the Masquerade Ball, they must choose: each other or their lives?

You can find out more about the authors of Masquerade: Oddly Suited here.



The authors of Masquerade: Oddly Suited are giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to one winner. To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway is open internationally from 12:00 am GMT 17th March to 12:00am GMT 6th May.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Tour Schedule

Visit the other blog tour hosts below to find out more about the stories and authors featured in Masquerade: Oddly Suited.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

#AtoZchallenge Pre-Challenge Survey Results

If you were curious, here are some results from the 2018 Pre-Challenge Blogging from A to Z Poll.

(No, taking the survey was not manditory. Yes, you can still join the challenge if you didn't take the survey. A big thank you to everyone who did take the survey! There will be one after the challenge, as well.)

71% of survey takers feel they are proficient in using Google Forms.

Google sheets, however, 28% of survey takers might be learning for the first time.

69% requested a video or written instructions on how to use forms and sheets. That's why we made them available for you. Our team of cohosts has been getting a lot of questions which we hoped the videos had answered. It'd be great to know what or how the instructions were unclear. So, please, if you're asking a question that we attempted to cover in the videos, but the instructions there were not enough, please include the timestamp of the portion of the video where we "lost" you. If we don't know what's confusing, we can't make it better.

Passion Led Us Here image Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

81% of you wanted categories! (Don't worry, we created a "don't know/ prefer not to say category for the other 19%.)

A short theme description on the Master List? 69% of you said, "Yes, please!"

Sort the list? 60% of you are looking forward to this feature.

How did survey takers feel about posting links to their blog daily?
The longer a blogger has been with us, the less they liked the idea of that being the only option. However, a majority of people from all four groups agreed that "I would use both the Master List and Daily List (including posting my own link each day)."

According to the survey, people really want the Master List.

Leaving a comment on Facebook or Twitter was ranked mostly with a "3" on the 1 to 5 scale.  Those both remain optional.

Daily commenting on the blog ranked lowest. Thoughts on the matter included disheartening statements about there being far too many comments to keep up with, especially with the scrolling and needing to go to "load more" to find the next stack of comments. Participants saw a drop in visitors. And the further away a blogger was from the UTC timezone, the more they disliked it. (They were still in A, others were already in B.)

The only way the A to Z team can compensate for our global timezones is to offer the daily letter forms in advance. However, not everyone knows how to determine what their link will be before their post is live. (There are too many variables for us to try to teach that lesson.) We are NOT going to edit the daily letter sheets because they are relevant for such a short time. Daily letter linking up is optional.

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

People who use Twitter are hoping for more Twitter chats (including different days and times). The team is working on it!

Deciding which blogs to comment on last year during the challenge was, overall, a matter of random picks. Some people only commented on blogs they knew or on the blogs of people who commented on their blog first. A couple bloggers only commented on blogs similar to their own. In previous years, categories were the most popular method of deciding which blogs to comment on first. (Random numbers were second.)

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Nearly everyone has participated in another blog hop at some point. Lots of them had to do with books or writing. IWSG is very popular among the A to Z crowd. Broken links, bloggers who drop out, or hosts who gave up mid-hop were the biggest complaints about other hops. A few of you were kind enough to say that A to Z is your favorite! ๐Ÿ’— Thanks! We love you, too.

A blog hop is a way to share your blog while also visiting, or hopping, to other blogs using the links of the participants. It's a way to network, increase engagement, and build a community.
A few mentioned that they hate it when someone links up in the hop and then doesn't comment on any other participating links. Others mentioned feeling too much pressure to comment on all the blogs.

Listen up: MOST people do not manage to visit EVERY blog in the A to Z challenge in April. There were 1,344 blogs in 2016. And 1,509 in 2015. BUT, if everyone makes an effort to comment on as many blogs as your schedule will allow, there are good odds that everyone will be visited. 

Non-list methods from other blog hops included daily emails with less than a dozen links, Facebook groups, or the use of pingbacks for Wordpress blogs.

Some people who participated years ago asked if the random blog post picker would be back. (The one that figured out which blogs you hadn't seen yet and suggested you see a set of randomly generated selected ones.) No, sadly, we don't have that in the works. However, there are plenty of random number generators or dice rollers on the Internet, so you could try to fiddle around with those on your own.

One idea offered was making an e-book with our favorite posts. 

Also, people wanted more motivation to complete the challenge. Some survey takers asked if we could make all blogs more mobile friendly, get everyone to include images for Pinterest sharing, or if we could get Wordpress and Blogger to play nicer together. (I appreciate the omnipotent-like power that some participants think the co-host team has over the blogosphere. Alas, we put our pants on one leg at a time.)

Probably NOT a picture of your A to Z team Photo by on Unsplash
^ Probably NOT a photo of Arlee, Zalka, John, Jayden, and J ^
(Strikingly similar though, right?)

For the people who asked, there's a page on the site with the story of this challenge. CLICK

A handful of people would like to know how many followers each participant's blog has currently.

People worried we'd require a theme, or require the use of Twitter and/or Facebook. We don't. That's optional. The nearest thing to a required theme is using the alphabet letter of the day, incorporating it some way in your post. (You could just toss in a picture of something that starts with that day's letter and then do your blog post.)

There was the usual "debate" of some people requesting that people leave links in comments (easier to track them down and reciprocate), versus people who think links in the comment section look "spammy" and could alter Search Engine Optimization and Domain Authority. (Here's a link to an article that discusses this issue in depth.) Here's MY suggestion, which isn't full proof but could help:
If that's important to you, end your post with an open-ended question (so that people have something inspiring and original to write about in the comments); and also ask them NOT to leave a link, but rather to include their "blog name as it appears on the A to Z challenge Master List." 
The Master List is searchable. You'd have a way to find the person who left a comment. Yes, this method will require a few more clicks, a bit more effort to reciprocate a comment. It could work though. Bonus: It requires no HTML.

HTML Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

THANK YOU to everyone who used the comments on the survey to thank the co-host team. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’–

Congratulations to Cheryl "Calensariel"
Winner of the pre-challenge survey giveaway.

Wow, this has been a long post. Here's a link to a POTATO recipe I found on the blog of one of our participants: Simple Potato Fry

Don't forget that there will be another survey in May, after the challenge is over.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Wake Me Up When September Ends

How is life treating you?

It's Autumn in my area. The time when people take mini-vacations to look at leaves that have changed color. (Yes, it's a thing. They're called "leafers" or "leaf peepers.")
"Autumn is the third season of the year. This is when crops and fruits are gathered, and leaves fall. In the northern hemisphere, it is from September to November." (Thanks, Google.)

September has been especially hard for several areas. In my newsfeed, I see:
  • Montana suffering from fires.
  • Texas still taking hits from the horrible weather.
  • The historic destruction in Florida.
  • Puerto Rico facing months of devastation.
  • Fallout from the earthquake in Mexico.

I'm sure there are more stories like this all over the world. These are just the headlines where I live. It's been terrible. As Green Day put it, "Wake Me Up When September Ends."

#AtoZchallenge -Wake Me Up When September Ends post- Photo by Bruno Ramos Lara on Unsplash

Then there's happier news:

WMMR, a radio rock station in Philadelphia (PA, USA), was voted the best rock station of all time.
I heard about this while checking out the A TO Z event they held.

Cool stuff! I was listening to tunes while finishing the publication of my debut novel, an urban fantasy titled "Fractions of Existence."

Operation Awesome (a blog in the 2017 A to Z Challenge) had team member Kara interview me. Usually, I'm the one interviewing debut authors, so this was an interesting experience!

If you happen to be a writer, I suggest checking out this IWSG post. Not one, but TWO contests! What??? That's amazing!

#AtoZchallenge -Wake Me Up When September Ends post-  Photo by Dora Reis on Unsplash

Have you encountered any A to Z fun in a non-blog place?

Are there any books by debut authors you're looking forward to in the coming months?

Do you have any big news to share?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Don't Be A Stranger

What a wild ride it is to be part of this group. There is so much energy but that energy is needed. I have my own blog and am part of the IWSG admin but I still wasn't prepared last year when I volunteered to be part of this group. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes.

The administrators of the Challenge have soooo much enthusiasm and creativity. They constantly brainstorm on ways to make the challenge better every year. From the outside, it may seem like the majority of the work in done during the craziness of the challenge in April, but there's actually a lot of things going on all year long.

It has been such a privilege to be part of this but I am stepping down as an administrator this year. I'll still be helping out as someone's minion next April and I would never miss participating in the challenge but I will be leaving all that behind the scenes work to the other wonderful people of the Challenge. Thanks to Arlee Bird for starting this endeavor and for letting me be part of it. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for asking me to step up last year. With a lot of regret, I'm stepping back this year but not out.

As an experienced A to Z'er, I'm already thinking about my theme for next year. I expect to be able to visit even more blogs than I did last year since I won't be administering anything but myself. I'll still be promoting and encouraging everyone to participate and keeping going to the end.

Finishing the Challenge is a terrific, fulfilling accomplishment. So, I'll be seeing you all in April. In the meantime, I hope you'll visit me at my personal blog, Susan Says.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Little Group Love

If you're like me, January flew by so quick that it seems that Christmas was just yesterday. And now here comes Valentine's Day. As a romance author, this can be a big week. Like last year, I spend a few hours on the 14th peddling my books at an author event. There will be twenty other authors involved so it will be a great networking opportunity also.

As a writer, every networking opportunity is one not to be missed. And what greater one than A to Z Blogging Challenge. There are some bloggers who would like to be involved but find posting every day to be too much of ... a challenge. But some still find a way to be part of the whole, crazy-fun event if they're part of a group blog.

A perfect example of a group blog participating in the challenge is IWSG blog. The seven administrators of the blog take turns and none are over-burdened by how many posts they have to do. The group decided together on a theme, easily done, and that will help the creativity factor of the blogging challenge. And by the way, you should visit the blog today for a special guest, Literary Agent Alex Slater.

Untethered Realms is another group blog participating this year. They have twelve contributors. I don't know their theme this year but with all that creative talent behind their posts, you can bet it will be really cool.

Another great way to network is to work as a helper to one of the busy folks working behind the scenes to make sure the list is up-to-date. If you'd like to help me, just say so in the comments or visit my blog at Susan Says and leave a comment there. Lots of virtual kisses and love coming your way if you do.

Are you part of a group blog? Any group blogs you're especially fond of? Are you interested in being one of my firebugs? Did you think I meant something different with that title 'Group Love.'

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Why Show Up?

I'm amazed every year during November when so many writers take on the challenge of NaNoWriMo. Challenge is the correct word as they attempt to write a novel in a month. Reading their tortured posts and updates on social media makes me wince in sympathy. 50,000 words in one month is hard work and some do it year after year. I gave some tips on succeeding at NaNo on Monday.

In April, thousands of bloggers will sign up for the A to Z Blogging Challenge. 2015 will be my fourth year and I couldn't be more excited. But honestly, after that first year I wasn't sure I would ever take it on again. It's work. But then my blogger friends were doing in, some of them running it, and I took the plunge again. I had learned some things the first year and the second year there was as much fun as there was work. I met so many wonderful bloggers outside the novel writing community and learned from them. My third year, I served as a Minion to Alex J. Cavanaugh and gained another perspective on the massive effort that is A to Z and appreciation for the people who started it and keep it running.

Some things I learned is that blogging isn't just about book promotion or 'building my platform.' And participating in the A to Z blog isn't just about growing my blog readership. It's about being part of a community. A welcoming community who offer understanding, advice and opportunities.

I blog three times per week at my personal blog, Susan Says, and take turns on the IWSG blog as well as occasionally at The Susquehanna Writers blog. And now you'll see me on this blog once or twice per month, one of those wonderful opportunities I mentioned. Like those taking on the work involved in NaNoWriMo, there are good reasons to show up and keep at it. Whatever your motivations for blogging, joining hops, posting regularly and being part of a community, you have to show up and work at it. I'm thrilled to show up here and be part of this team.

Why do you show up to blog on a regular basis? Are there days when it feels more like work than fun? Has blogging become easier for you with experience?

Susan Gourley writes science fiction romance and epic fantasy. She blogs at Susan Says, has a Facebook page and Tweets as Susan Kelley. This is her first post as a new member of the A to Z team.