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Deep Roots by Neetu

March 26, 2022 by in category Poet's Day by Neetu Malik tagged as , , ,

Deep Roots

I will weave you garlands
of dazzling wisteria
twine the flowers
with stems of love
growing from roots
seeded strong and deep
where the ground stays warm
and evergreen.


© Neetu Malik

Poem written for my children, 2019.

Some of Neetu’s Books

THE OCOTILLO REVIEW SUMMER 2018 VOL 2.2

THE POETIC BOND V

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THE POETIC BOND V

THE POETIC BOND VI

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THE POETIC BOND VI

THE POETIC BOND X

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THE POETIC BOND X

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Love by Neetu

February 26, 2022 by in category Poet's Day by Neetu Malik tagged as , , ,

Love

why love?

no one knows     but
everyone does

why hurt?

no one knows     yet
everyone does

love hurts
but         it’s the only thing
that heals the hurt

that comes from loving
and giving your all even
when it hurts to love

because without love

there would be no
us

© Neetu Malik


Some of Neetu’s Books

THE OCOTILLO REVIEW SUMMER 2018 VOL 2.2

THE POETIC BOND V

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THE POETIC BOND V

THE POETIC BOND VI

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THE POETIC BOND VI

THE POETIC BOND X

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THE POETIC BOND X

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Chatting with Nikki Prince by Jann Ryan

January 2, 2022 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , , , , ,

Jann Ryan is taking a much earned break. We’ll be running some of her past interviews while she’s off. Hope you enjoy this chat with Nikki Prince as much as we all did.

Today, I’m happy to be chatting with author, Nikki Prince. Nikki is a mother of two, who always had a dream to be a published author. Her passion lies in raising her children, gaming, reading and writing.  She has two Masters, one in English and the other in Creative Writing concentration in fiction.

Nikki’s a multi-published author with several publishing houses. She loves to write Interracial romances in all genres but wants to let everyone know to not box her in because there is always room for growth.  Nikki believes that love should truly be color blind and for all.

Nikki’s a member of Romance Writers of America National, DARA, and several online chapters.

Author Links

Website 
Instagram
Facebook Page 
Facebook Group
Twitter

Bakersfield Romance Writers Links

Facebook Group
Facebook Page
Instagram 
Twitter 
Website: coming soon


Jann Ryan: Since 2012, you have published seventeen books, earned a BA and MA in English and Creative Writing, active in several Romance Writers of America chapters, moved twice all while raising two wonderful children. Wow—how did you do it all?

Nikki Prince: It’s actually about 25 books and I earned another Masters in Literature during this time frame.  My two teens have been a great help as well as inspiration for me because I want them to know that anything is possible in their life as long as they go for it. 

I went back to school in 2014 and garnered the BA, and two MA’s in a 3-year span and have maintained a 3.9 GPA.  I’ve been wanting to write since I was 11 years old.  I finally made that dream a reality when I turned 43 and realized it is never too late to do what you’ve always wanted to do.  Writing and reading has been a passion for since I first found romance books at age 11.  Before finding my grandmother’s romances, and Johanna Lindsey on my father’s dresser I hated to read. 

Reading helped me in so many ways, you see I had a learning disability.  However, once I found romance books and started reading that all changed for me and the only inkling of a disability that I still have is in math which is another part of the brain.  Reading and writing saved my life in so many ways and knowing that I can bring joy to someone else from reading the worlds and characters that I build is so satisfyingly wonderful.  Another shining part in my writing and real life is belonging to RWA it is a wonderful community where writers of like minds can be together to nurture one another.

Jann Ryan: It’s Complicated debut in April of 2018. A reviewer declared it was a “steamy, intriguing romance.” Another said it was “friends with benefits until it goes sideways.” You have two great characters, Ashton Locke and Keiko Jarrett. For our readers who may not have found this incredible book tell us about it.

Nikki Prince: I’ve had this thought of creating a bunch of friends for who all intents and purposes are the best of girlfriends with great guy friends.  Three sets of friends and the desire to be together and yet there is something holding them back.  Ashton and Keiko’s love story has a few twists along the way to get to the HEA, because everyone deserves a happy ever after.

Jann Ryan: When can we read the next Nikki Prince novel?

Nikki Prince: The last story that I had come out is a short called Blurred Lines, and it came out June 2019.  I am working on edits for the second book in the Undeniable Series with  Áine Reid and Darian Tisdale in a story called “It’s Work” and following that the next story which is Emmerson Collins and Royce Hanson’s story called, “It’s Real.”  Beyond that I have a lot of stories still left in me to write.  Stories that may be paranormal, contemporary and love between the same gender, opposite gender, interracial mix or same racial mix as I believe everyone’s story should be told.

Jann Ryan: Have you ever suffered writer’s block? If so, how did/do you get past it?

Nikki Prince: Indeed, I have.  I know there are some that say that writer’s block is imaginary.  In some ways I think that is true because there is inspiration to write everywhere.  However, there are times when the brain doesn’t want to function and let you put out the stories as you have before.  Because let’s face it, life can be messy it is one of the reasons most of us read romance is because it lets us get out of our own heads, our own lives and for a moment in time live a life of beauty. 

How I get past it is I game (I play World of Warcraft have since 2006), I spend time with my children, Travel somewhere different , read something else and sometimes a nap will rejuvenate the mind and spirit.   When I moved to Dallas last year in 2018 it was hard to get a chance to write and for me that was a block, however if it is in you to write and to create it never goes away so here I am.

Jann Ryan: What are you doing now between writing and life?

Right now I am working on putting together a writing community here in Bakersfield, California.  I knew when I moved here that RWA wasn’t represented here and I want to change that.  So far I have about 7 other people within the group.  I hope to gain more so that I can apply for Bakersfield Romance Writers to be a full chapter of the Romance Writers of America.  I am also in grad school for a third Masters.  This is a Masters in Marketing and Social Media.  I’m taking my time with this MA as I already have two and there is no rush, besides I have plenty of stories within me that I want to share with the world.

Jann Ryan: What’s your writing day like?

My writing day really depends.  Between having two teens in High School, being in grad school and looking for a full-time job here in Bakersfield (I’ve only been here since June), I write wherever and whenever I can.  That has always been the way of it since 2012.  I love writing and creating so I will write at night, in the afternoon, and in the morning.  Whatever it takes to get the stories done, I’ll do it.  One of the ways to do that is I love to do National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo) every November so that I can just immerse myself in my stories for a whole month.


A Few Books by Nikki Prince

#Me Too

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#Me Too

IT’S COMPLICATED

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IT’S COMPLICATED

ON ANGLE’S WINGS

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ON ANGLE’S WINGS

PURE ADRENALINE

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PURE ADRENALINE

SWAGGER

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SWAGGER
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Featuring The Extra Squeeze Team

February 21, 2021 by in category Featured Author of the Month, The Extra Squeeze by The Extra Squeeze Team tagged as , , , , , , ,

Each week in February we’ll be featuring The Extra Squeeze Team.

Ever wonder what industry professionals think about the issues that can really impact our careers? Each month The Extra Squeeze features a fresh topic related to books and publishing.

Amazon mover and shaker Rebecca Forster and her handpicked team of book professionals offer frank responses from the POV of each of their specialties — Writing, Editing, PR/Biz Development, and Cover Design.

 

Have you a question for The Extra Squeeze Team? Send them to us by using this handy link.

Dear Extra Squeeze Team, How do you prepare for a new book release?

Robin Blakely | The Extra Squeeze Team | A Slice of Orange

Robin Blakely

PR/Business Development coach for writers and artists; CEO, Creative Center of America; member, Forbes Coaches Council.

You need a PR plan to succeed. Straight up, any plan is better than no plan…and even if you are working with a traditional publisher, your plan may be the only plan that is ever created with much concern about building your long-term career. Accept early that your success as an author is not your publisher’s concern. Their business is centered around the products they have curated for their brand; it includes the book you created–not you.

The reality is, take care of yourself and build your own business.

Phase One is prep time.

 

Build or refresh your website. Connect your social media platforms to your website. Make sure that you use one author picture across platforms so that your brand has a singular face. Establish a media page to create and post your downloadable press kit. Include links to downloadable high-resolution images of your book cover and your author photo. Make sure you have a landing page for book sales.

Prepare a press release that offers the announcement of your book to share with your local paper, bloggers, industry influencers, and reviewers. Don’t know who they are? Figure it out. Clearly define the top four niches of your audience and start building a database of contacts to help you reach each target. In Phase One, fully create the day-by-day choreography for book launch week.

Phase Two is book launch week.

 

Synchronize your PR efforts to reach every corner of your world with news about your book in the seven days of the week that your book is first released. Everyone you can imagine needs to know now, all at once. Either plan a parade of activity or nothing will happen.

Phase Three is steady-to-the-course season.

 

PR efforts must be sustained. That means shift your message from new book announcement to relevant reasons to discover your book, reasons to peek inside, opportunities to read and buy.

How does a blog tour figure into all this? Up to you. The key is to decide when, how, and if you want a blog tour. It is hard work with lots of moving parts. It is a godsend for some authors and hellish for others.

Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange

Jenny Jensen

Developmental editor who has worked for twenty plus years with new and established authors of both fiction and non-fiction, traditional and indie.

Marketers say someone has to see your book 7 or 8 times before they buy. I’m not a marketer, so I can’t vouch for that but all the on-line exposure of a blog tour must be good. It can’t hurt – or can it? Just as a poorly written book will not sell, a poorly presented blog tour will turn off your audience before they even turn on. You need to leave a positive, compelling impression.

 

Prepare Several Blurbs

 

Since the content should be unique to each site you’ll need to prepare several blurbs – those enticing peeks at your story – not to mention tweets and whatever other social media is on offer. You can approach a blurb in different ways: lead with the most startling action element, lead with the dilemma, lead with a spotlight on character or setting, but lead with a sentence that hooks.

 

Describe Your Story Well

 

However you describe your story it’s critical that it be well written. This is, after all, the reader’s first taste of your voice. I’ve read choppy, unstrung blurbs that show what might be an interesting plot if you overlook the way the words are strung together. Regardless of how intriguing the plot sounds my immediate reaction is: This person can’t write. I won’t be reading this one.

 

Edit. Edit. Edit.

 

Of course, you’ve written a great book. It’s been carefully crafted, closely edited for errors in all respects from plot and character development to syntax and grammar. Your beta readers love it. Now you have to craft the words to sell the story without a single spoiler and with the same silver voice of the book. Craft your blurbs and interview responses with the same care you gave your book. And edit, edit, edit.

Rebecca Forster | Extra Squeeze

Rebecca Forster 

USA Today Bestselling author of 35 books, including the Witness series and the new Finn O’Brien series.

When I published my first book over thirty years ago I assumed the publisher would have all sorts of glittery, fantastic promotions planned that would shoot me to literary stardom.

Not!

In those days – just like these days – the author is responsible for launching their book and establishing their brand. The good news is that now the opportunity for promotion is controllable. I maintain a new release plan that has proven manageable and effective over the course of more than thirty books.

1) Write a good book: professional, exciting, as error free as possible and packaged beautifully. All the promotion in the world will not support an inferior product.

2) Set up your pre-orders and then create excitement with a sneak peek of a few chapters on your website (don’t forget buy links at the end of these chapters).

3) Alert interested parties starting with distribution channels. Smashwords, for instance, has an alert for author’s running BookBub ads. Once they know your ad date, they will pass the information along to their bookstores, those bookstores will consider your book for further promotion. BookBub Partners has an automated per-order alert for your followers. Amazon has the same. Read the distributor’s newsletters and find out what free opportunities are there for the taking.

4) When your manuscript is ready, start submitting it for reviews (I love PRG and InD’Tale).

5) Continue to nurture and grow your social media followers and plan affordable advertising geared toward look-alike audiences. Try sites like LitRing (have loved the 4 promos I’ve done with them). Many advertising sites won’t take pre-order advertising but purchase spots for immediately after your launch while your book is new. I am not a fan of blog tours. I have only paid to do one but I couldn’t quantify the results so for me this isn’t part of my strategy.

The bottom line is this: write well, be aware of what is available, be as genre specific as possible in your target marketing and remember that the launch is the beginning and not the end of your marketing efforts for your book and your brand.

H. O. Charles | A Slice of Orange

H.O. Charles

Cover designer and author of the fantasy series, The Fireblade Array


I wish I knew the answer to this one because if I did, I would be a ££££££££££££-ionaire by now! I can tell you what NOT to do. When I launched my first book, I did little more than list it on Amazon and submit it to Smashwords. I had no idea about advertising (still learning on that front), and I published in secret, under a pseudonym, so had no friend or colleague network to exploit.

 

Tip 1: Don’t go it alone – if you know people who can help, use them. This applies to other authors. If they see your work and like it, they might team up with you to do a newsletter promo or similar.

 

Tip 2: Don’t do what soooo many authors do and sign up to a forum, then post once about your amazing new book. It won’t get you sales, but it will get people’s backs up (may have done this <coughs>).

 

Tip 3: Don’t list your pre-orders at full price. If you’re unknown, no one will take a chance on you anyway so you may have to lure customers in by being cheap!

 

Positive tips:

  • Do look at advertising opportunities, and check out writers’ forum reviews on their effectiveness.
  • Do make sure all of your pages are set up nicely – web page, Goodreads page, Facebook page… etc. so that readers can look you up, contact you and leave reviews easily.
  • Try to get on a few blog interviews.
  • Do be careful with your PR and the claims you make. It’s perfectly okay to brag about your past achievements, as long as they’re verifiable. I’ve noticed a few writers recently who claim to have sold 200,000 books in a month – you go to their Amazon page, and their book is ranked #100,008,282,212! It’s very easy to see through such fabrications, and once a writer loses trust from their readership, it’s unlikely to be regained.

Last of all, I would say to keep your expectations low. I know that sounds dreadfully pessimistic, but realistically, very few authors do well on one book without the backing of an expensive PR agency. It’s only once you have a good body of work out there and plenty of positive reviews that more readers will start to notice you.

The Extra Squeeze | A Slice of Orange

Ever wonder what industry professionals think about the issues that can really impact our careers? Each month The Extra Squeeze features a fresh topic related to books and publishing.

Amazon mover and shaker Rebecca Forster and her handpicked team of book professionals offer frank responses from the POV of each of their specialties — Writing, Editing, PR/Biz Development, and Cover Design.

Send us your questions! 

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Featuring The Extra Squeeze Team

February 14, 2021 by in category Featured Author of the Month, The Extra Squeeze by The Extra Squeeze Team tagged as , , , , ,

Each week in February we’ll be featuring The Extra Squeeze Team.

Ever wonder what industry professionals think about the issues that can really impact our careers? Each month The Extra Squeeze features a fresh topic related to books and publishing.

Amazon mover and shaker Rebecca Forster and her handpicked team of book professionals offer frank responses from the POV of each of their specialties — Writing, Editing, PR/Biz Development, and Cover Design.

 

Have you a question for The Extra Squeeze Team? Send them to us by using this handy link.

Dear Extra Squeeze Team, I have a story I want to tell that is loosely based on family and friends. How do I tell my story without hurting anyone?

Robin Blakely | The Extra Squeeze Team | A Slice of Orange

Robin Blakely

PR/Business Development coach for writers and artists; CEO, Creative Center of America; member, Forbes Coaches Council.

Begin by writing the complete story—beginning to end—the way you truly imagine it. Write with precision honesty without the fear of hurting anyone.

When done writing, evaluate what you have created. It is in the editing stage where you will objectively be able to decide how to share the story publicly without hurting anyone. If the finished story is meant to be fiction, you can go back and make sure physical identifiers that link to nonfiction people (like a skull tattoo on the left arm above a knife scar) are changed to protect the innocent or the not-so-innocent.

If someone has inspired you to recreate their character in a fictional world, rest assured your depiction of their internal thoughts, feelings, and motivations won’t be the tipoff that the character is loosely based on this real person; it will be the physical attributes that you choose.

Most people don’t recognize themselves in someone else’s writing unless they are told the character is modeled after them or the physical facts are eerily the same: age, body build, hair color, scars, name, physical location, profession, relationships with others, or facts from exact encounters are replayed in the work.

If the story you are telling is meant to be nonfiction, you have a different issue. In a biography or a memoir, you need to tell the truth as you know it, but you must also share your truth in a way that can be formally substantiated by the research of others. If you are afraid you might hurt someone by telling the truth in your work and you are naming names across your work, you need to consult an attorney before publication because hurting feelings may result in a lawsuit.

Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange

Jenny Jensen

Developmental editor who has worked for twenty plus years with new and established authors of both fiction and non-fiction, traditional and indie.

 

Cue dramatic music:

Deep Voice Over: The names in this story have been changed to protect the innocent.

That’s a start. Every writer works from what they know — even if they’re writing about elves and spaceships and unicorns. Our own experiences are what we draw on to launch our imagination. And it’s the real-life situations that often give a writer the rich soil for a gripping tale.

Just write the story. When you’ve laid it all out, step away for some distance then read it with fresh eyes to spot what might be so obvious as to be hurtful. If you find the narrative is obvious, even though it is based loosely on family and friends, then consider what the compelling idea is in this tale. What was the single most gripping element that made you want to write about it in the first place? Take that compelling idea and re-write from that prospective.

Or just start with that single compelling idea rather than with the cast of friends and family. Stories have a way of charting their own course and it’s very likely, that with that shift in perspective your story will be unique enough to withstand the scrutiny of sensitive family and friends.

Rebecca Forster | Extra Squeeze

Rebecca Forster 

USA Today Bestselling author of 35 books, including the Witness series and the new Finn O’Brien series.

 

I have used family and friends for inspiration in many of our books. For the most part if I didn’t tell the individual who inspired me, they did not recognize themselves. If I did tell them I was going to do it, most of them were thrilled.

Then there came a time when I happily told my sister I had used our age differences as the foundational inspiration for my story. (she is fourteen years younger than I am and we were born on the same day). She was thrilled­–until she read the book. She asked, “Is this really what you think of me?” To be fair she was the bitchy, beautiful sister accused of murder, and I was the smart but downtrodden attorney who saves her.

It had nothing to do with real life other than the span in our ages. Still, when she asked that question, I understood that there was a difference between inspiration and hitting close to home including the perception of hitting close to home.

The answer was, no, the character in no way was my sister. Their physical characteristics were the same, not their character.

What you’re talking about is even more delicate. You are going to be exploring actual things that happened to you and your family. If this is an honest memoir you need to be ready for the fallout. If this is fiction, you’ll need to be very skillful when you write to navigate the hurt feelings—or worse— that might arise. Ask yourself a) is this book is necessary to your well-being and b) if you are strong enough to face any and all consequences that will come with writing it. You are the only one who knows the answers.

H. O. Charles | A Slice of Orange

H.O. Charles

Cover designer and author of the fantasy series, The Fireblade Array


Ooooh *eyes widen* “awaits gossip*
I think the only way to do that is to write under a pseudonym and don’t tell them about it. People aren’t always as stupid as we hope they are. They’ll figure out it’s them in no time!

The Extra Squeeze | A Slice of Orange

Ever wonder what industry professionals think about the issues that can really impact our careers? Each month The Extra Squeeze features a fresh topic related to books and publishing.

Amazon mover and shaker Rebecca Forster and her handpicked team of book professionals offer frank responses from the POV of each of their specialties — Writing, Editing, PR/Biz Development, and Cover Design.

Send us your questions! 

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