Blog

Posted in writing, writing thoughts

My first six months in journalism

Typewriter illustrationThis past February I started a job as an editorial assistant at a local newspaper. I’ve been writing since I was a teen, and got started publishing fiction almost ten years ago, but journalism is a whole new world of writing for me. I’ve learned a lot so far, some writing-related and some just plain interesting.

The AP Stylebook is the end-all be-all for journalists, even though it says not to use the Oxford comma, which drives me batty on a daily basis.

On the rare occasion AP doesn’t have the answer, Miriam-Webster gets the final say. Any questions either of these can’t handle go to David Buck, who knows everything about journalism but is still super nice.

InCopy has this amazing feature that can change capitalization with one click. It’s my favorite thing about it, especially since the program is kind of a pain in the ass in general. I have no idea why Word can’t change capitalization like this. Get on it, developers. Please?

Writing length is measured in inches, not pages or words. I still haven’t figured out the conversion and need to see it visually, but as usual, my articles are often too long!

Storytelling in journalism is a lot different than in fiction. There’s no room for a detailed backstory or well-developed plot. Journalism answers questions and informs more than tells stories most of the time.

Journalists don’t accept change easily. There were audible gasps when AP announced the percent sign could now be used instead of writing it out.

Last but not least, I’ve learned that one of my coworkers carries a cross in her pocket, not because she’s religious, but because you never know when you might run into a vampire.

I still have a ton to learn about journalism, but I’m enjoying the process and the people.

2019-07-15 13.02.03
If you want to see what I’ve been writing, stop by The Durango Herald and The Journal!
Posted in book covers, books, contemporary romance, date shark, date shark series, new release, romance

The Date Shark series is back!

The Date Shark Series is available again is independent books, complete with new covers and editing!

The first book in the series was so much fun to write. It was a challenge not to rely on anything supernatural to keep the story going, but it made me work harder and I was really pleased with the results. The idea for this book came from an experience I had when I submitted a query letter to “The Query Shark,” which she promptly ripped to shreds (deservedly) and set me on the right path. I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like if there was a similar “shark” for women who needed a dating overhaul.

Date Shark, book 1

Date Shark FRONTLife as the marketing director for a popular fashion boutique is overwhelming for Leila Sparrow, to say the least.

She’s not sure what ever possessed her to add revamping her dating life to her already hectic schedule. Calling in renowned Date Shark, Eli Walsh seemed like a good idea until she actually met with him…

Date Shark was only meant to be a side-enterprise to his thriving couple’s therapy practice, but Eli Walsh knows it’s become more of an obsession.

At least, it was until he agreed to take on Leila. Somehow she has stolen his entire focus. He wants to admit his fascination with her and growing romantic interest, but he knows coming on too strong will scare her away.

His plan to convince her that she is worth any man’s interest by first being her friend is challenged when his tips start to pay off and Leila begins dating Luke.

Will his friendship with Leila mean the end to any romantic pursuit?

Available Now!

Amazon ButtoniBooks ButtonSmashwords ButtonKobo ButtonBarnes Noble Bttn

 

Shark Out Of Water, book 2

Shark Out Of Water FRONTGuy Saint Laurent is too busy cursing his sister for roping him into taking over Eli’s Date Shark business to prepare himself for the slew of bizarre women he’s about to get involved with. This is the last venture he intended to take on, but somehow he’s just become Chicago’s newest, most reluctant Date Shark.

On top of dealing with bug-toting, mothering, obsessive women, Guy faces personal tragedy that changes his outlook on life, whether he wants it to or not. He’s not sure what it is about Charlotte Brooks that draws him in, but getting her off his mind after a brief encounter proves impossible.

As Charlotte tries to help Guy deal with his loss, he begins to get the impression she’s hiding something from him. He knows he could simply walk away, continue as he always has, but he suspects whatever she’s hiding, she won’t be able to face it alone.

Charlotte is the one woman who can capture his attention, but she may also be the one woman capable of breaking him.

Available Now!

Amazon ButtoniBooks ButtonSmashwords ButtonKobo ButtonBarnes Noble Bttn

 

 

The Only Shark In The Sea, book 3

The Only Shark In The Sea FRONTVance Sullivan has always been the rock everyone turns to for help…

His work with patients recovering from traumatic events makes him the perfect person to help his friend, Guy Saint Laurent, with one of his Date Shark appointments. When Vance meets hesitant, frightened Natalie Price, he suspects she’s hiding the truth behind her fears, and he’s drawn in by a need to help her.

Haunted by a terrible event from her past, Natalie can’t even endure being touched without suffering a crippling panic attack…

She doesn’t know why, but Natalie feels Vance might be the only one who can help her put the pieces of her life back together. Despite the tension their arrangement causes with his girlfriend, their bi-weekly sessions seem to be helping…as long as he keeps his promise not to push her to reveal more than she’s ready to share.

Suddenly the tables have turned…

When Vance suffers his own unspeakable tragedy, asking for help is the last thing he wants to do. Drowning in grief and guilt, crushed by betrayal and lies, Vance needs a lifeline.

Natalie has no idea why anyone thinks she can help him, given her own deep-rooted fears—but she knows she has to try. A twisted notion of justice makes the danger all too real, and Vance and Natalie realize it might take one broken soul to mend another…

Available Now!

Amazon ButtoniBooks ButtonSmashwords ButtonKobo ButtonBarnes Noble Bttn

 

 

 

Shark In Troubled Waters, book 4

Shark In Troubled Waters FRONTSabine Saint Laurent is known as the Princess of Paris. Polite, beautiful, charming, polished…perfect.

Everything is always under control, and when it isn’t, she handles it. It’s been an eventful few years with friends getting married, having babies, getting kidnapped, and almost dying, but she’s made it through each upheaval with poise. Just as she’s looking forward to things calming down, her entire life is upended by a startling piece of news.

Aside from her agent managing her day-to-day affairs, Sabine does not ask for help. Not even from her close knit group of friends and family. So when she finds herself struggling to cope with major changes in her life, she’s determined to power through on her own. It should be easy enough. Everything is always easy for Sabine: modeling, men, money, languages, art, cooking. Finding out she’s pregnant shouldn’t be any different, right?

Except it’s not easy. Nothing about navigating pregnancy, custody, complications, and a man she despises trying to seduce her is simple. Michael Moniteau’s intentions are questionable, but she desperately needs help and he’s the only one who understands enough to give it. It could be the beginning of something wonderful, or it could break the heart she’s kept carefully shielded for so long.

Available Now!

Amazon ButtoniBooks ButtonSmashwords ButtonKobo ButtonBarnes Noble Bttn

 

Posted in books, contemporary romance, ebooks, mystery, new release, romance, torino dreams

Torino Dreams is Available Now! #newrelease #romance

Kate can fix the damage to Sam’s car after their accident, but can she protect herself from falling for him and putting all their lives in danger?

Torino Dreams

Torino Dreams Front Cover Final Kate hates hiding, but the risk of her past sneaking up on her is too great to risk getting involved in anyone else’s problems. At least, until getting involved is the only way to avoid a run-in with the police.

The snow was to blame for the car wreck, but desperation forces Kate to make Sam an offer she’s sure she’ll regret. If she can fix Sam’s car and send him on his way without the getting the cops involved, she can get back to her normal, safe life.

It should be easy enough. Kate knows cars better than almost anything else. She can repair the damage to the car, but can she protect herself from falling for Sam and putting everything she’s worked for in danger?

This is a standalone book, so no waiting for part 2!

Amazon ButtonSmashwords ButtoniBooks ButtonBarnes Noble BttnKobo Button

Posted in marketing, social media

Getting Started with Twitter Marketing: Part 3

Ads on Twitter

Ad Types

Amerikaanse dollar Americk dolar AmerikanskThere are several different types of paid ads you can utilize on Twitter. Each one serves a specific purpose and should be chosen with a particular goal in mind.

  • Follow Ads: used to gain more followers. These ads show up in the “Who to Follow” suggestions. These are typically the most expensive type of ad, averaging $3 per follower added.
  • Awareness Ads: used to build brand awareness and get your content in front of more users. You will pay for every 1000 impressions rather than new followers. These tend to be more effective than Engagement ads.
  • Engagement Ads: used to get more likes, tweets, and retweets. You will pay for each action taken by a user. These can be helpful for getting a particular tweet noticed.
  • Clicks/Conversion Ads: used to get clicks on links that lead to conversations (email signup, purchase, etc.). You will pay for clicks, not impressions with these ads. These ads are optimized for clicks and have a specific/set bid.

Ad Campaign Tips

  • Target interests and keywords for the most effective results
  • DON’T use photos, links, or hashtags in Follow campaigns
  • DO use photos and links in Engagement campaigns – helps increase clicks
  • Trust the suggested bid from Twitter – they have detailed analytics the suggestions are based off
  • Follow ads should NOT be sales pitchy, but should instead describe your brand and tell people why they should follow

Twitter Analytics

Creating a Marketing PlanTwitter has in-depth analytics that can help you determine whether or not your everyday tweets and ad campaigns are effective. Studying the analytics can help you perfect what type of content works best for your followers and what types of ads will be most effective for your brand.

Using Analytics Effectively

Use Twitter Analytics to determine what content is performing the best and meeting your brand’s needs

  • Retweets show that followers value the content enough to share it
  • Likes show that they appreciate the content
  • Clicks show they are actively interested in the content and want to learn more

You can also use analytics to learn more about your followers and what they are interested in by reviewing the “Audience” section. This will tell you more about your organic audience.

  • Use demographic info of your organic followers to fine tune what types of new followers to target
  • Use information on your audience’s current interests to plan your content – check back often and adjust to any changes
  • Check out the Top Ten Interests of your followers and incorporate keywords and hashtags into your tweets

Marketing on Twitter starts with strong content curation and understanding your audience and their interests. Once you have a firm grasp on that, moving to paid advertising can help you improve brand awareness, grow your following, and increase engagement with customers.

61cac-istock_000021963294large

Posted in marketing, social media

Getting Started with Twitter Marketing: Part 2

Engaging on Twitter and Growing Your Following

Tweet BirdAs with other social media platforms, engaging with followers is key to growing your following and producing effective marketing campaigns. Hashtags and trending topics are a great starting point to engage with followers and potential followers, but you can’t stop there.

Twitter Chats

Twitter chats are organized via a specific hashtag. They are typically planned for a specific time, with a specific topic, and can be followed and joined by using the chat hashtag in a tweet. This is a great way to connect with followers and new users because it opens a dialogue and shows who and what your brand is about.

Ongoing Engagement

  • Follow conversations important to your brand or industry and join in regularly
  • Track “mentions” and comment or thank the person who engaged or shared your brand/name
  • Reply to retweets with a thank you or to continue the discussion
  • Follow industry authorities to learn from their examples and keep up on industry news
  • Comment often on tweets relevant to your brand or industry
  • Answer questions via mentions or tags in a timely manner – many users engage on Twitter to have questions answers or for customer service inquiries
  • Avoid Auto DMs as most Twitter users don’t like receiving them and often ignore them. Instead take the time to reach out to new followers with a quick thanks or welcome.

When to Engage

bb5f5-clock2balarm2bclockTwitter appears to be a nonstop, all-day conversation, but there are peak times to engage and tweet. Time plays an important role, and different times are better for different types of results. Results may be slightly different depending on your target audience, location, and industry, but in general many Twitter users tend to engage in the evening and late night/early morning.

  • Friday is the best day to post (9-10 a.m. specifically)
  • Everyday 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. is a good time to post
  • Sunday morning has the least engagement
  • Most clicks are seen in the 2-4 a.m. time frame (except Mondays)
  • After 5 p.m. are when the most retweets happen

Engagement is one of the most important factors in building a community and dedicated followers. Take the time to make followers feel like they are a part of the community.

Posted in marketing, social media

Getting Started with Twitter Marketing: Part 1

Curating Strong Content

Specific Content

DeathtoStock_CreativeSpace3 11.45.06 AMBefore promoting a tweet on Twitter, it’s important to have strong content that will be effective to promote. Every social media platform is different and specific types of content work well on each platform. For Twitter, great content should:

  • Be informative and useful
  • Comment on trending news
  • Be related to highly searched keywords
  • Retweet other user’s useful content
  • Lead or begin a discussion on trending topics

Pinned Tweets

DeathtoStock_Desk5On Twitter, you have the opportunity to highlight your content with a pinned tweet. It’s important to choose a pinned tweet that shows followers who your company is, what your brand is about, and what is going on in your company’s world. Pinned tweets are great for:

  • Upcoming events
  • Announcements
  • Summarizing your company’s brand or mission
  • A tweet with a strong call to action that will further your goals (i.e. email signup, purchases)

Images and Video

Film ReelEnhancing your content with images and video is very effective on Twitter. Tweets with images or video are, on average, retweeted 150% more often than tweets that are text or links. Another benefit or images and videos are that they take up more space in the feed and grab the viewers attention.

  • Ideal image/video size for Twitter is 1024×512 pixels

Hashtags and Trends

Hashtags are a great way to increase the visibility of your content on Twitter. Hashtags operate as search keywords for users trying to find specific topics. Twitter tracks trending hashtags. These are important to pay attention to and incorporate into your tweets when they are relevant. Using trending hashtags will help your content get noticed more.

Trends are important topics being discussed on Twitter. Trends are also tracked on an ongoing basis. When trending topics are relevant to your brand or mission, join the conversation and lead a discussion.

149bb-istock_000019063405large

Posted in book covers, books, cover design, delsheree gladden, ebooks, eliza carlisle mystery, mystery

Eliza Carlisle is Back and Stirring Up Trouble

Exciting news for Eliza Carlisle fans!

The Catalyst is available again (post-Kindle World rewrite version) for purchase as an ebook on Kindle, B&N, and Smashwords. Apple Books and Kobo are coming soon as well! The Catalyst is also available in paperback for the first time!

Catalyst reboot available now

Looking after Eliza Carlisle is about as easy as bathing a cat!

Amazon ButtonSmashwords ButtonBarnes Noble Bttn

goodreads

 

 

MORE exciting news is that book 4, Incendiary, is close to being finished and will be released in early 2019!

Here’s a sneak peek!

Incendiary (Coming Soon)

Eliza Carlisle Mystery, Book 4

Incendiary FRONT

How long can Eliza keeping looking over her shoulder before she finally sees her own death approaching?

New Year’s means resolutions, getting on track, making decisions.

For Eliza Carlisle, starting a new year means making tough choices, even if those decisions mean losing friends and possibly getting kicked out of culinary school. She’s all set to take her life in a new direction when her demented half-brother Simon’s reappearance changes everything.

Broken and more alone than she’s been since fleeing her childhood home, Eliza struggles to hang onto the fragile threads that are holding her life together. Only a comically disastrous young chef and the threats against her life pull Eliza out of her fog of self-loathing. Saving seven-year-old Clara means ignoring the threat Simon now poses and surrendering to burnt grilled cheese sandwiches and whipped cream-splattered kitchens…not to mention family secrets, death threats, and a whole host of spy gadgets. And who can forget about Baxter?

With so much mounted against her, Eliza has as much chance of surviving the criminal elite, her psychotic half-brother, and Baxter’s determined advances as she does escaping Chef Harper’s quest to kill her culinary dreams.