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All posts for the month July, 2012

Author bio?

Published July 31, 2012 by Ema Volf

Editing is getting closer to being done and I realized that I need to work on an author bio. I’ve helped with other people’s but I’ve been putting off mine because it’s such a huge step for me. Anyways. What do you all think?

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Ema lives in Northwest Arkansas with her husband, son, cat, two dogs, chinchilla, and bird. She spends her days trying to balance the never-ending work of a homemaker and the schedules of all members of her household while remaining relatively sane.

An avid reader, what time she has to herself is usually spent buried in the pages of a book. While she enjoys nearly every genre, she particularly enjoys paranormal fiction of all types and age ranges.

Ema’s first stories filled the pages of countless childhood diaries. Writing is something she never grew out of.

While she constantly has stories and characters rolling around in her head, Avery called to her the loudest. After several months of conversing with Avery, Ema decided to put pen to paper and let others visit Eirny and its beloved residents.

For more ramblings from the mind of Ema, along with shoutouts and reviews of books from other authors, check out her blog found at https://emavolfauthor.wordpress.com/.

Unforgiven by Cat Miller

Published July 30, 2012 by Ema Volf

Unforgiven has released a day early! Buy it here!

I was fortunate enough to have been gifted an ARC copy if Unforgiven by Cat Miller for review! Unforgiven is the second book in the Forbidden Bond series. I had read Unbound, the first book in the series, and LOVED it, so needless to say, I was extremely flattered to be given the opportunity!

Unforgiven starts where Unbound left off. Dani (Soleil) and Chase are at their bonding ceremony, when Dani is abducted by Darren, who still believes that Dani is his mate. In Unbound, he had given her his blood so she would live after The Rogue had almost completely drained her, changing her into a full vampire. This event created a blood bond that was, unfortunately for Darren, one-sided. The Rogue, as we also learned in Unbound, has been kidnapping young vampires and draining them to steal their abilities in his quest for power.

In this book, we get to see much more of Brandi than we were able to see in the last one. Just before Dani’s bonding ceremony, she had decided that she wants to stop blending into the shadows and start standing out in her vampire society, so she gave herself a makeover. Much of this book is watching Brandi as she tries to find out who she is and what she wants to be. We also find that Brandi has a surprising new power that she’s trying to learn how to control.

In addition to the characters we saw in Unbound, we also get to meet a few fascinating new ones! This includes two new swoon-worthy men who are competing for Brandi’s attentions. Greyson, the typical warrior hero and Derek. You thought Cayden was your favorite bad boy? Just wait until you meet Derek.

We also get to watch Derek as he tries to decide whether Brandi is enough of a reason to leave his bad boy lifestyle behind him. Can someone who has forever hidden in the shadows survive in the light? Can Brandi forgive Derek’s past transgressions? What will happen to his mother, who Derek believes is being held captive as a guarantee of Derek’s complete subservience? Who are really the traitors to the vampire nation. And who is aiding The Rogue financially and slipping him information? For that matter, who is The Rogue exactly? Are you sure?

I enjoyed the fact that Cat gave us several instances where she went back and gave us a completely different side of the story from a completely different character. When I started to feel comfortable with one character, Cat immediately whisked me away to another before I got bored. When I was comfortable with one situation, Cat shook it up a bit for me. There were enough twists and turns to keep me on edge, but not so many to leave me utterly confused.

I also enjoyed the fact that there was very little “fluff” in the book to distract me. Everything that happened, happened for a reason. There wasn’t any filler in an attempt to make the book longer.

As she did with Unbound, Cat gave us amazing and colorful characters. Our “leading ladies” are women that we can look up to and respect, even though they make some major mistakes. They show us that it’s okay to mess up and it’s just part of life. I thoroughly enjoy stories with lessons. It makes me extremely happy to see that this series has several that can be applied in everyday life.

Also, as Cat did with Unbound, she gave me, the reader, a book with a story that I would like to live in for a while. It was very hard for me to put this book down, and the only reason I did, was because I was in dire need of sleep after this book kept me up until 4am.

My goodness …

Published July 25, 2012 by Ema Volf

It has been a very dramatic few weeks in the Book World … At LEAST two Facebook pages were hacked, and one man has made a website that is the book version of Napster. Both pages were quickly restored, but the website will probably not be going away anytime soon. Although there are an incredible amount of authors and publishers who are going to give shutting it down their best shot.

I’m not going to focus on the page hackers for this post. It happens all the time. Sometimes it can be helped. Sometimes it can’t. And it’s always the same old story. Hacker hacks page like hackers always do. Hacker deletes and bans all admins. Hacker or Facebook eventually restore the page. Usually Facebook.

I will, however, bring attention to the book pirate issue. As an aspiring author and avid reader, I feel like it is my responsibility to at least mention it. I have mentioned it to those in my writing group, but I feel like mentioning it here too.

Usually, I would stand smack in the middle of this issue. I get why he runs the site. I get that some ebooks are really stupidly expensive. I get that some books are harder to find than others. I get that people hate having to purchase different file types to go on different readers, and I get that buying the same book in e-formats twice is stupid and expensive. I get that people want to decide whether the tangible print copy is even worth spending that $10-$20+ on. I get it. I’m pretty broke, myself. My book funds are very limited. There is no shortage of authors who “sell” their own books for free or cheap, but sometimes you just want to read that SPECIFIC book. I get it.

BUT …

He doesn’t stop there. He takes it a step further and publicly shames anyone and everyone who doesn’t appreciate their work being pirated. Publicly attacking authors, who didn’t give you permission to use their works in the first place, for wanting you to take their hard work down from your page is childish and uncalled for. I might understand your reasons for your site, but I will never understand your words and actions against those whose very work you’re stealing AND encouraging others to steal.

Don’t even get me started on the blatant lie about it being okay because he encourages you to go buy the ebook if you like it, and it’ll magically increase ebook sales. I’m sorry, no. It won’t. Why would someone buy an ebook when they got it for free already? It might increase PRINT book sales … I’m guilty of borrowing books or reading ebooks and loving them so much that I spend the however-much money on my own print copies. But insisting it increases ebook sales is ridiculous and inaccurate.

While I do get his overall purpose with the site, I could go on and on about the reasons I’m also against this piracy. I could rant about copyright infringement and all that typical stuff you hear in every single piracy argument EVER. But another aspiring author said it better than I EVER could. Her name is Sinead MacDughlas. Her first full-length novel comes out in August. Through the power of social networking, she was informed about this website and, in the typical coping mechanism of an author, wrote about it. Her coping piece was featured in Author Stephen L. Wilson’s blog:

http://stephenlwilson.blogspot.com/2012/07/from-heart-of-one-of-our-buccaneer.html

One thing that REALLY stood out to me in this piece was simple and fit nice and neatly in one little sentence: “If he’d asked, knowing each of these authors as I do, they would very likely have gladly lent their books to his cause.” Why does this stand out for me? Because I know it’s true. I’ve seen it. I’ve watched countless authors donate countless copies of ebooks to countless people for great reasons, and for no reason at all.

The generosity of some of the authors I’ve met just within the last few months is incredible. If you ever want to hear a story or two about fantastic indie authors making a difference, I have plenty. I’ve watched several authors donate books, notebooks, bookmarks, t-shirts, tote bags, etc. as incentive for readers to write reviews FOR OTHER AUTHORS. I’ve watched them donate to countless blogs for giveaways and birthdays and random events just because they can. I’ve watched them hand out more freebies than they sell. I’ve even had the privilege of writing a review for an author who not only gifted me not one, but THREE books, not to mention gifting these same three books to countless other reviewers, but also donated food to her local soup kitchen for every few reviews she received! Yes, I will say that again! She GAVE AWAY free books so that she could GIVE AWAY free food!

The more I talk to these authors and the more I get to know them as authors and as PEOPLE the more privileged I feel for being given the opportunity to be a part of it all. This is why I don’t mind promoting the heck out of random authors in my spare time on my own blog and my own Facebook page. They’re amazing people who do amazing things for each other, their readers, and the random person that happens to cross their paths on any given day. It really tears me up to see someone treat these people with the disrespect that this man sees fit for them.

I really could go on and on about this, but it’s nearly 2:30 AM here, and I really should attempt that sleep thing sometime in the near future. But I hope I gave SOMEONE something to think about regarding this issue.

Time for the Forbidden Bond Blog Tour!

Published July 24, 2012 by Ema Volf

The Forbidden Bond Blog Tour is here! I’m going to tell you a little bit about what we’re celebrating, and then I have managed to score an interview with my beloved Cat Miller! I have to say, I have thoroughly enjoyed being her “Adminion” so far! She is a lot of fun and exactly the kind of author I hope to be! ♥ You know … As long as I get to keep some of my minor techy-nerd skillz …

On July 31st, Cat Miller, author of Unbound, will introduce the second book of her Forbidden Bond Series! Unforgiven will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords!

About Unforgiven:

Happily ever after is interrupted and the vampire nation is turned on its ear. Brandi Vaughn struggles to find herself in the shadow of her powerful vampire family and her socialite twin sister. The search for her abducted half-sister, Danielle, lands Brandi in an emotional tug of war between the light and the dark, good and evil, a warrior and a rogue. Good people do bad things. Sometimes the bad guys have a good reason. Could you forgive the unforgiven?

For the first time ever, Unbound is now available in print!

About Unbound:

Betrayal, passion, family secrets, murder, and vampires … What else would one expect during their freshman year of college? Danielle Vaughn is secreted away after her birth and hidden until she leaves her small town in search of high education. She quickly finds herself maneuvering through a maze of enemies and lovers who are all out to capture her at any cost. Danielle’s life is turned upside down by the return if her father and the society of vampires that shattered her human mother’s life. She must find a way to survive in the new world she is thrust into by a power hungry rogue on the hunt for gifted vampire youth. The hierarchy of the vampire nation is rocked by the existence of a demi-vamp who challenges their narrow-minded views of the human race.

Now for the interview!

Where did you find your inspiration for Unbound?

It came to me one day in the shower. Wait. You didn’t mean the physical ‘where’ did you? Silly me. Well, I wanted to create a different type of vampire who would be more relatable to us humans. I tried to explain a lot of the standard vampire traits and blend them with enough humanity to make them feel like they could be neighbors or friends. I was really just going for a new twist.

Who is your favorite character? Why?

I love all of my characters but I believe Cayden Paris may be my favorite. His transformation from a playboy and a wild child to a defender of his people and a romantic brought him close to my heart. I think all of us girls love the bad boys and dream of being the girl they love enough to change their wicked ways. I am always drawn to those characters. Maybe I live a little vicariously through Dani’s relationship with Cayden.

 If you could make a soundtrack for Unbound, what songs would be on it? Why?

That is tough but I can name a few.

Apocalyptica – Not Strong Enough

This song is a perfect for background for the struggles of Dani and Chase. “I know it’s wrong and I know it’s right.” Wow.

Nickelback – Savin’ Me

This song brings to mind the need in all of us to be accepted by that one person we believe will make our lives complete. Many of the characters in Unbound are looking for someone to want them, love them, save them. “Heaven’s gates won’t open up for me. With these broken wings I’m falling and all I see is you.” That says it all.

Seether – Careless Whisper

Chase makes mistakes he regrets in a hurry. “I should have known better than to cheat a friend and wait the chance that I’ve been given.”

The Veer Union – Darker side of Me

Dani struggles to deal with her duality in a world that expects her be just like everyone else. To humans the vampire in her is darker side. The vampire would see her humanity as a stain.  “I don’t think that you want to be a part of me. I don’t think that you want to see the deeper darker side of me. I don’t think that you’re ready for reality.”

The Pretty Little Liars – Make Me Wanna Die

This Dani’s song. “You make me wanna die. I’ll never be good enough.” She doesn’t believe she will be loved or accepted by either race of beings.

 What is the most important thing that writing has done for you?

I think my writing has given me confidence I didn’t have in the past. I am indie writer without a college degree. In the beginning I had to convince myself that I had something to say that people wanted to hear. I had to convince myself that I was capable of doing the job. It took many readers and a lot reviews to help me believe in me.

Would you say you have any writing quirks?

I like to write at night when the house is quiet. I can’t sit at my desk to write. I prefer the corner of my sofa. I can’t write in the first person, at all. It was terrible when I tried to write the way.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

The hardest thing to do as a writer is to develop a character that others can relate to. When I write I live the scene and experience the emotions with my character. If you don’t feel it, neither will your reader. You have to find a subject you love and can immerse yourself in to make it believable. The biggest compliment I have ever received is that my readers laugh, rage, and cry along with my characters. They pick sides and cheer for their favorites. That is what you have to strive for in your writing.

 What is the most fun thing about writing?

I think getting to know the readers has been the most fun for me. I am a very social person. So having a reason to chat with people from all over the world is a lot of fun.

 What does your family think of your writing?

My kids think it’s cool. They tell their friends their mom is an author. I know it gets on their nerves at times. They don’t like to hear that I’m not chauffeuring them around because I have to finish my edits or I’m busy writing, but they are supportive.

Do you get jealous of other writers?

Heavens no! I would never begrudge someone else their success. I hope that one day, after I have paid my dues, I will be equally as successful.

What is the most demeaning thing ever said about you as a writer? Did you care?

I recent heard someone same that I’m not a “real writer” because I don’t have a publisher. Apparently, real writers don’t need a day job and I need to stop this silliness before I really embarrass myself. This person hasn’t read my work so I take it with a grain of salt but, it did bother a bit.

How do you react to bad reviews?

Bad reviews are tough for me as a newbie writer but I don’t think it will change over time. When you put your work out there for the public you have to understand that not everyone is going to like it and they have the right to say so in a public forum. I try to look at the few bad reviews I have received as constructive criticism.

Do you have any suggestions for those wanting to be better writers?

My advice for other writers is to write about what you love. The hardest thing to do as a writer is to develop a character that others can relate to. When I write I live the scene and experience the emotions with my character. If you don’t feel it, neither will your reader. You have to find a subject you love and can immerse yourself in to make it believable. The biggest compliment I have ever received is that my readers laugh, rage, and cry along with my characters. They pick sides and cheer for their favorites. That is what you have to strive for in your writing.

If you could stand over the shoulder of your past self while you were writing Unbound, what would you say to her?

I would tell myself to get a professional editor the first time. I would tell the past me to take her time and do it right the first time around. I may have told her not to be so long winded.

How important is it to you to keep in touch with your readers?

Without the readers your writing means nothing. Making yourself available to them is what it’s all about. I love chatting about their favorite characters and their favorite scenes. The scenes I cried or laughed through writing are the scenes that affected them as well. Without my direct interaction with my readers I wouldn’t know that.

Is there anything specific you want to say to your readers?

I would like to thank my readers for spending their valuable time with me and my character. I started writing for me. I continue to write them as well as myself. Thank you for walking the streets and roaming the rooms I have created while you living along with my characters in their world. Without you, they don’t exist.

About Cat Miller:

I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and now I live not far from my birth place in Perry Hall, Maryland. I have two teenage daughters and a man that keep me busy when I’m not working full-time as a Certified Medical Coder. I’m an avid reader and I love all genre of romantic fiction from historical to contemporary to paranormal. Sleeping has always been a problem for me so most nights I can be found in the living room reading or writing instead of in bed like the rest of the world. I don’t watch television. It’s not a conscious decision, it just never occurs to me to turn it on when I have books to read and writing to do. It can actually be a hazard, because I never know what the weather will be until I look outside and I have to rely on my kids and coworkers for local and world news. I love creating the characters you love and love to hate. My characters remind me of people I know and people I wish I had never known.

Blog: http://catmillerbooks.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/catmillerbooks

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CatMillerAuthor

Weddings

Published July 15, 2012 by Ema Volf

Congrats to Milton and Tabitha on their wedding day!

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The wedding is over, and I was surprised with this amazing bouquet for helping out with the wedding! Tabs sure knows how to make a girl feel loved and appreciated!

The wedding itself was fantastic! It was breathtakingly beautiful and the guests were amazing and supportive of both of them.

I wish them many years together and hope they remain this happy forever!

Unfortunately, I also managed to break my foot at the wedding, because I have mad skillz. I see a lot of downtime in my near future.

Random annoyances

Published July 11, 2012 by Ema Volf

I’ve been looking back on some reviews I’ve done in the past, on seller sites or through emails. I’ve noticed a trend on most of the negative reviews I’ve given. Lame female lead characters that are put there for us to look up to. It’s not the ONLY thing I knock off for, but it’s definitely one of the majors ones.

There is a difference between not having the power to do something and being completely incompetent in nearly every way possible. Not skilled in the art of fighting? Fine. Brainpower. Use it. If you’re not creative or smart, nor are you able to fight or defend yourself or others, why are you a lead character? Why are all these other people going out of their way to destroy you? And why are your companions going out of their way to save you? Don’t tell me it’s because you’re “good,” because there are countless other “good” characters in your world. Like the ones that are constantly saving your rear end.

Speaking of companions …

I don’t mind when the female character doesn’t WANT to be without whomever. I mind when they feel like they will absolutely, positively DIE without them. This doesn’t mean that I mind when said person rescues them when they would have died on their own. I mind when said person disappears, and the female lead either waits in place for them to come back or behaves in a suicidal manor.

Remember in Shrek the 3rd when all the girlies get locked up and Snow White says, “Ladies, assume the position!” and Sleeping Beauty goes to sleep, Snow White lays down in her coffin pose, and Cinderella sits on the floor and stares dreamily into space? Or in New Moon when Edward left and Bella decided she wanted to die of exposure? Yeah that’s not cool at ALL.

And to be fair, I can’t stand it when the males are that way either. There is a HUGE difference between being willing to die for someone and attempting to die because you’re without someone.

If these characters are growing into those people that we can look up to by the end, fine. I’m okay with this too. But show me that growth. Don’t just think I’ll assume that there’s been some by the beginning of the next book when you haven’t even shown it to me in the first.