Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"Pen Scratching Poets" by Marilyn B. Wassmann

Pen Scratching Poets
by Marilyn B. Wassmann

Pen Scratching Poets by Marilyn B. Wassmann is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Pen Scratching Poets has been described as a delightful book in which the author shares her family’s collection of creative poems.
The poems compilation and art work are by Marilyn B. Wassmann with contributions by members of the Benjamin family and their descendants, with the technical assistance of Paul A. Wassmann.
The book is divided into two sections. The first section, Pen Scratching, consists of the poems by Ethel T. Benjamin and her descendants, and the second section is Marilyn’s poems.


About the Author
Marilyn Benjamin Wassmann was born in a leap year.
She earned four degrees: two in Art History, one in Library Science and one in Studio Art.
In 2011, she retired from her work as an art cataloguer at the Library of Congress.
Marilyn and her husband, Paul, authored the children’s book, What the Wind Blew In. They live in Hyattsville, Maryland.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

"Social Media Just for Writers" by Frances Caballo

Social Media Just for Writers
by Frances Caballo

Social Media Just for Writers by Frances Caballo is currently on tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

You wrote your book and sold copies to everyone you know. But you have goals that extend beyond a few dozen copies sold.
How do you achieve your dream of selling books around the world? With social media, you can build your platform and reach readers in locales you never imaged possible before.
In this book, you’ll learn how to:
             Create a Facebook fan page and actively engage with your readers.
             Optimize your LinkedIn profile.
             Tackle Instagram, Tumblr, and Snapchat.
        Build and optimize Pinterest pinboards for SEO to maximize exposure of your books, blog, and other landing pages.
             Improve your blogging.
             Excel on Twitter.
             Create images for your blog and social media posts.
The second edition of Social Media Just for Writers is both a primer for authors new to social media and an advanced study of platforms that weren’t widely known four years ago. Whether you write romance, historical fiction, young adult, or steam punk novels, you’ll find help in reaching your online audience of new and dedicated readers.

This handbook is for you. You’ve spent more days than you can count working on your novel, memoir, or anthology of poems. You wrote, rewrote, corrected, edited, developed new scenes, twisted the plot, and returned to make additional edits. Finally, your book was ready for the world to see.
You celebrated your achievement. You invited friends to your book launch, welcomed them with glasses of sparkling wine and cheese, and scheduled readings at local bookstores. Then you wondered, “How can I reach more readers?” Selling books to your friends, colleagues, and family members was easy, but how do you reach people you don’t even know?
By promoting your book online with social media, you can sell your books up and down your state, across the nation, and to people you have no idea how to reach. How, you ask? This book will explore and explain strategies for maximizing your online sales efforts. As a bonus, in the last chapter you will find tips for offline promotion too.
By the time you finish reading this book, you will know how to:
             Use Facebook effectively and efficiently to market your book.
             Tap into Twitter to create your tribe.
             Use virtual pinboards to expand the reach of your brand.
             Be more successful at blogging so you can reach new readers.
             Use LinkedIn with renewed confidence.
    Get started on Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat to reach younger audiences.
         Learn how to incorporate more visual marketing into your social media use.
I wrote this book because authors like you asked me to write it. Like you, they wanted to feel more grounded in social media, learn to spend their time more resourcefully, and discover some of the secrets to social media marketing. They wanted a handbook they could take home to use as a reference.
Social media is a dynamic field, and networks are constantly updating features to improve the user’s experience. While writing this book, I frequently rewrote portions and updated my screenshots so that you would have the most recent and relevant information  possible.
To keep informed of the newest updates to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr, and to learn about new social media channels as they surface, visit my blog and website at
This edition of Social Media Just for Writers deleted the chapter on Google+ due to changes on the social media landscape including the in the number of people using that platform.
You are about to begin your social media marketing journey now. Enjoy your time meeting and engaging with your readers.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"A must-read book for all writers and bloggers! This book is such an excellent book to have in your writing toolbox! I don’t write books, but I am a blogger and pretty much have just learned how to blog on the fly. [...] I know there was still a lot that I was missing with my blogging and this book has helped fill in some of those holes. There is so much I learned from this book that I am so excited to start practicing and incorporating into my blogging. There is always room for learning and whether you are a writer or a blogger and have been for years, this book can still help you!" ~ Ally Swanson
"It is a clearly written manual that will help you connect with your readers easily and efficiently. Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!" ~ Ryshia Kennie
"Though this book is called Social Media Just for Writers, it is not just for writers. This book has incredible information that anyone who wants to use social media to promote their product or business should read this book. Some information is common sense, but most of it, I had never thought of. The Author Frances Caballo also has a website that has current marketing trends and tips, that is updated often. Highly recommend going to her website and reading her blog for so much more information." ~ Amazon Customer
"I'm a firm believer that writers should be on social media, and the earlier they start, the better. This book is very comprehensive and explains how writers can use each of the major social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Instagram. Frances Caballo has a very clear way of explaining how to do things. One thing about social media is that it is constantly changing, so it was good to see that the author has updated her book with the latest advice for 2017." ~ Gary McLaren
"I would not limit this book to the audience of only writers, it's a great resource for anyone that wants to take full advantage of the online platforms available. Social media is constantly evolving, this 2017 updated reference piece is extremely valuable and includes the major social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Instagram are prominently featured. Ms. Caballo writes in an easy, conversational style, and the advice contained in this book is clear and easy to apply. It's a great reference piece to have in your toolkit!" ~ Janet

My Review
In this informative guide, the author provides a comprehensive overview of the social media platforms every new and established writer should join: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, and Goodreads. She also covers the topic of blogging.
The key takeaways: balance information with entertainment; know the audience of each social media platform; market yourself appropriately on each platform; think about branding; engage with other users.
Things I learned: how to access Twitter analytics; Pablo by Buffer; how to access Pinterest analytics; use ALT text when adding images to your blog or website; Goodreads tools; adding your local library link to Goodreads to find books; Goodreads deals (US only); the Advanced Marketing Institute’s test for analyzing blog headlines; end your blog posts with a question to elicit feedback. You're bound to learn something you didn't know, too!
At the beginning of the book, the author states: "This book will explore and explain strategies for maximizing your online sales efforts. As a bonus, in the last chapter you will find tips for offline promotion too." While the first part is certainly true, unfortunately, I couldn't find the tips for offline promotion.
There is a handy Resources section at the end of the book, including information on how to create passwords, image dimensions for the different platforms, social media post ideas, and Twitter etiquette.
Keep up to date with these ever-changing social media platforms by visiting the author's website. While you're there, you can even sign up for the author's free email social media course and receive a bonus ebook.

About the Author
Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference. In addition, she’s a contributing writer at, and blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks. She’s written several social media books, including The Author’s Guide to Goodreads and Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writers’ conferences.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win some a $50 Amazon or B&N gift card.

Plus, download a FREE copy of Avoid Social Media Time Suck by Frances Caballo on Smashwords.


Monday, May 22, 2017

"Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier" by Elaine Faber

Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier
(Mrs. Odboddy Mysteries Book 2)
by Elaine Faber

Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier is the second book in the Mrs. Odboddy Mysteries by Elaine Faber. Also available: Mrs. Odboddy, Hometown Patriot (read my blog post).

Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier is currently on tour with Great Escapes Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Asked to accompany Mrs. Roosevelt on her Pacific Island tour, Agnes and Katherine travel by train to Washington, D.C. Agnes carries a package for Colonel Farthingworth to President Roosevelt.
Convinced the package contains secret war documents, Agnes expects Nazi spies to try and derail her mission.
She meets Irving, whose wife mysteriously disappears from the train; Nanny, the unfeeling caregiver to little Madeline; two soldiers bound for training as Tuskegee airmen; and Charles, the shell-shocked veteran, who lends an unexpected helping hand. Who will Agnes trust? Who is the Nazi spy?
When enemy forces make a final attempt to steal the package in Washington, D.C., Agnes must accept her own vulnerability as a warrior on the home front.
Can Agnes overcome multiple obstacles, deliver the package to the President, and still meet Mrs. Roosevelt’s plane before she leaves for the Pacific Islands?
Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier is a hysterical frolic on a train across the United States during WWII, as Agnes embarks on this critical mission.

Excerpt from Chapter One
Agnes dodged puddles across Wilkey’s Market parking lot, struggling to balance her purse on her wrist, her umbrella and a bag of groceries under each arm. She lowered her head and aimed for her yellow and brown 1930 Model A Ford, parked two rows over and three puddles down. Why hadn’t she let Mrs. Wilkey’s son, George, carry out her bags when he offered? Maybe Katherine was right. She tried to be too independent. No harm in accepting a little help from time to time. Let the kid experience the joy of helping others.
As she approached her car, a black Hudson slowed and stopped alongside her. The passenger door opened and a man stepped out.
“You Mrs. Odboddy?” He ran his hand over his bald head. A scar zig-zagged across the back of his hand.
Agnes’s stomach twisted. “Depends. Who’s asking?” She took two steps closer to her Ford. “What do you want?” Her gaze roamed the parking lot. Not a man in sight, except the thug blocking her path toward her car.
The man reached out and grabbed her arm. “You’re coming with me!”
Blood surged into Agnes’s cheeks. She caught her breath. Wouldn’t you know it? Kidnapped in broad daylight and not a gol-darned cop in sight! No wonder, with every able-bodied man off fighting the war, leaving defenseless women and children victims of rapists and murderers. In less time than it took to come up with a plan, she dropped her grocery bags, wielded her umbrella and smacked it across the man’s shoulders.
“Hey! What’s the big idea? Smitty! Give me a hand. The old broad’s putting up a fuss.” Scar-Hand snatched the umbrella from Agnes and shoved her toward his car.
Oh, good grief. What shall I do?
Smitty ran around from the driver’s side.
Despite her struggles and a few well-aimed kicks, the two scoundrels shoved Agnes into the back seat and tossed her umbrella onto the floorboards. “Don’t give us any trouble, Mrs. Odboddy,” Smitty growled, rubbing his shins. “Like it or not, you’re coming with us.”
Agnes scooted across the mohair seat, huddled into the corner as far as she could get from Smitty’s leering grin. “What do you want with me?”
Smitty and Scar-Hand jumped into the front seat. Smitty gunned the engine and the car lurched through the parking lot toward the street. He glanced over his shoulder. “Don’t try any funny business, lady. The chief asked us to bring you to him, and that’s where you’re going.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"This book is a hoot, wait until you get to the names of some of the characters, Mrs. Whistlemeyer, a rooster, Chief Waddlemucker, the police, and of course Odboddy for a starter, are just a couple, full of chuckles." ~ Maureen’s Musings
"It’s a unique take on the cozy mystery genre. The story is fast-paced, filled with many twists and turns to keep your head spinning." ~ Socrates’ Book Reviews…
"The author writes amazing descriptions, incorporating valuable facts from history. This is a wild train ride and dangerous adventure." ~ Laura’s Interests
"I really think this is a great book for those who love mysteries that take place during wartimes. Definitely keeps you laughing in some areas and following the adventure in others! Can’t wait to see what is next!" ~ Community Bookstop

Interview with the Author
Elaine Faber joins me today to discuss her new book, Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
This is written for adults but teens will also enjoy. The story includes WWII era information in the way folks lived and some little known historical war-time events are woven into the tale.
What sparked the idea for this book?
I was asked to write a scenario about an eccentric, outspoken, spunky elderly woman as a potential plot for a TV sitcom. I thought setting it on the home front during WWII would add fun elements to the plot. Before long, Mrs. Odboddy had more adventures and it evolved into three novels. In Undercover Courier, Agnes carries a package to President Roosevelt which she believes contains secret war documents. Oh my!
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
Idea for the plot comes first and as I begin to write, the characters jump in to "tell their own story". Agnes is sure that a Nazi spy on the train will try to steal her package. When she is witness to the suspected spy "committing murder", she is convinced that she is next on his list.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
Starting at the beginning and setting the scene, introducing the plot and the goal, and laying the groundwork for the story to progress to the exciting climax is the hardest part. I unfold the sequence of events in a chronological order. Knowing the general story arc, I’m always anxious to get to the exciting part, say ... on pages 180-200. Little patience.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I want to lift the reader from whatever problems they have, take them into a tale where they can laugh and forget their troubles. The Mrs. Odboddy series also incorporates little known war-time events and customs and issues. I hope the reader will want to read my other novels.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier took about six months and two more months to decide on the best title and cover to convey the concept of a humorous book about a journey across country by train. How did we do?
I think you succeeded! What is your writing routine?
I write when "the spirit moves". As an Indie publisher, I have no deadlines and no pressure to produce any given number of pages or words. I do pursue my writing every day, however, in the form of blog posts, teaching a writer’s critique class, editing, writing, or in some way to promote my published books.
How did you get your book published?
My son owns a small Indie publishing house. Lucky me!
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Hone your "writing craft" sufficiently before attempting to seek either traditional publishing or Indie publishing. Attend workshops, join a critique groups, seek advice from knowledgeable people, study independently with a mentor. Don’t be in a hurry to publish.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I volunteer at the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop, read mystery books, work in the yard and help new writers learn better skills.
What does your family think of your writing?
They are very proud of my success and love my stories.
That's great. Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
Small town, youngest child, animal lover, poetry and short story writer with a huge imagination.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Loved reading. I could read before I started first grade.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve written short stories and poems since childhood but never pursued publication until nearly retirement years.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
Paul Gallico wrote The Silent Meow, a book "supposedly" written by his cat. The concept of the cat telling the story influenced my first novel, Black Cat’s Legacy, a cat mystery. I wrote three Black Cat books before the Mrs. Odboddy series. Of course, there’s a cat!
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
My readers say they feel as if they are "there" in the story and love my characters and ask, "When is the next book coming out?"
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
A third Mrs. Odboddy adventure will be published next year: Mrs Odboddy: And Then There was a Tiger! And yes, there will be a real live tiger. I’m also working on the fourth cozy cat mystery. I hope many of your readers will choose to read my novels. All are available on Amazon.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Elaine. Best of luck with your future projects.

About the Author
Elaine is a member of Sisters in Crime, Inspire Christian Writers, and Cat Writers Association. She lives in Northern California with her husband and four house cats (the inspiration for her three humorous cozy cat mysteries, Black Cat’s Legacy, Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer, and Black Cat and the Accidental Angel).
Mrs. Odboddy’s character is based in no way on Elaine’s quirky personality. More Mrs. Odboddy adventures will publish in the near future. Many of Elaine’s short stories have appeared in magazines and multiple anthologies.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of three ebook copies of Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier by Elaine Faber (US only).