Friday, October 30, 2009

The Great Annual Book Video Contest!

Heads up, last day to enter!

(see details in the sidebar)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Writer's Retreat

You can find out all the details of my writer's weekend at the Vauxhall Vixens today!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Manic Readers

So, I was asked to do a review--not of a book this time, but of a website and its services.

Manic Readers is a website that offers book reviews, and paid advertising opportunities, but has also built a reputation for offering free services to authors in the form of page-building. By that I mean that their site allows every author to create their own page to post excerpts, interviews, pictures, and links. I thought it was great and I've always had wonderful experiences with it.

Now they've made some serious upgrades to their website and services (and I will say up front that I received a free trial membership for promising to test and report on the new site).

I understand that even on the new site, authors will still have the option of creating and maintaining free pages, but some of the added services that are now being offered will be part of a "plus" membership that you'll pay for if you want access to them (things like the chat feature, ability to add to news and contests feeds, etc.). While the price seems reasonable ($3.99/month) and the new features are really very cool, I have to admit that I don't think I'd pay it. As an author, I already pay chapter membership dues for three different organizations, pay for advertising for my books, pay conference fees, shipping fees, contest entries, etc... (the list is ridiculously long). This small cost may not seem like much, but I would probably keep taking advantage of their free services and thank them very much for them, but pass on the paid ones.

Manic Readers

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fun Friday!

It's Friday! And I'm off on a writer's weekend with 5 other writing buddies from my TRW Chapter group. I'm bringing the pasta and the wine, and we're all bringing our laptops and our brainstorming hats. I can't wait and I'll be back with details on Monday. Have a great weekend.

For your viewing pleasure in the meantime...

So, what do you think? Are we so lazy we won't do something that's good for us unless it's fun?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wicked Wednesday

It's Wednesday and what better way to spend hump day than by being as wicked as possible?

With that in mind, join me and the Dark Divas for Wicked Wednesday! I've been interviewed, The Trouble With Destiny has been reviewed (eek!) and there are prizes involved!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Great Annual Book Video Contest!

I'm having a contest!


Monday, October 19, 2009

Be My Guest...

Please visit with my guest Ms. Saare today (see post below) but then drop by the Menagerie Authors to check out my interview with them!


First and foremost, thanks for having me on the blog, J.K. It’s great to be here, and I really appreciate it!

So about that time crunch…Remember the Rolling Stones classic, Time is on my side? Well, I hate to tell ya, Mick. It’s not on mine.

Everyone that has published a story (or is in the beginning phases of publication) knows that the real work doesn’t begin until after the book is done. Family responsibilities aside, with the promos, loops, blogs, chats, and contests, not to mention Twitter, Myspace, and Facebook, it’s a madhouse. There just aren’t enough hours in the day!

So how do I get promotion done, tend the homestead, and find time to write? Honestly? I’m not there yet. But I have implemented a few new strategies to keep me on track.

1.) Have a schedule.

As a mother to four, this rule is the hardest. Unforeseen things occur all the time and I never know if everything will have to go on the back burner while I tend to the family unit. But the basic premise applies. What I suggest is learning what days are best for each thing you need to tackle, for example, promos and loops are best done for me on Mondays and Fridays. For that reason, I only post them up on those days and have it written on my schedule to reflect it (and plan my contests according to it, so my blog will be ready for random comments). Learn what works for you and use it to your advantage.

2.) Buy a calendar…or Three.

For those that choose the electronic devices to keep up, that’s excellent too. But yours truly is a self proclaimed widget idiot and has maintained a love for pen and paper that just won’t die.

I have three calendars. One for releases of TBR books (relevant because you want to track when something is coming out so you can block off a piece of time to read it in your schedule above), one for blog visits and promotional work, and one for deadlines (that applies to blogs as well). The best investment I’ve ever made is my desk calendar. It’s a massive eyesore I can’t miss, even if I want to. Nothing feels better than when you put a nice fat line through a task, know it’s done, and can finish up the rest of the day in peace.

3.) Prioritize the blogs/websites you visit, so that if you can’t check them daily, you visit at least once per week.

Blogs, in my humble opinion, are a very important source of promotion. It’s a place people get to know you, and hopefully, gain an interest in your work. But it’s a back scratch back kind of thing. Truth is people won’t visit your blog more than once if you don’t drop in to say hello to them once in a while. I have multiple blogs and websites I enjoy, and have started visiting certain ones on particular days.

4.) Just say no to Twitter and Facebook.

I know I’m going to take heat for this, but hear me out! I’m not anti-tweet or anti-FB. My thing is moderation. Just the other day I was speaking with my husband and this. Networking sites are like a juicy game of Tetris. Once started, they become impossible to pull away from.

As I stated with the blogs above, I think scheduling a day is good if you can, or perhaps a block of time during each day. Right now, I simply can’t devote that kind of time to it, as much as I wish I could. All it takes is one good tweet or comment to get my attention, and I’m drawn in like a junkie. *smile*

5.) When the time comes to write, don’t make excuses, do it.

Believe me when I tell you that there are evenings when I glare at my computer and curse the day it was invented. Once upon a time, I would keep the laptop open and divide my time between writing and Twitter. I quickly discovered that didn’t work (who wants to write when you can enjoy #yourlame?) and reevaluated my strategy. I wasn’t getting the work done, and when I did, it was awful. Now I come into my office, turn of all distractions (minus the music with helps the process), and set a goal. The goal can vary, whether it is a word count or a chapter finished, but I don’t leave the cave until it’s done.

Five small things, but they have helped me cope with the stress of being all over the place. Now I don’t wake up with that horrible feeling I’ve forgotten to do something, or muddle through the day because I’ve waited too long to write a blog entry or submit a theme story.

What things to you do to organize your time? Share in a comment.

J.A. Saare
Books available from Amira Press

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Contest Winners!!

I'm pleased to announce the following winners:

From Marilu Mann's guest spot, the winner of a coffee mug and print copy of Changing Hearts:


And from Courtney Milan's visit, the winner of a copy of the anthology, The Heart of Christmas:

Keri Ford

Please email me at jkcoi(AT)rogers(DOT)com with your snail mail addresses as soon as possible! Thanks for visiting and come back soon!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009!

I promised some pictures from our trip up north this last weekend and here they are! It was COLD with a capital everything! But it was also beautiful, peaceful and great to be able to relax, just the three of us. We had a wonderful time!

This was the view we had on one of our hikes through the trails. The water was so clear (although you wouldn't want to be swimming in it this time of year)

This was just outside our cottage door, and kiddo went fishing with hubby off of that dock. It was amazing first thing in the morning with the mist coming off the water and the ducks floating on the crystal clear lake.

Yep, fish were caught (not by me)

I don't know how well you can see them, but there were a couple of chatterbox blue jays visiting us in the tree outside of our cottage. Kiddo named them Mag and Pie--I couldn't bear to tell him that was a different species of bird

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Keep Writing!

Click over to see my blog at the Vixen site today! I'm kicking myself in the ass to keep the momentum going on this book and I could use all the support I can get!

Also, stay tuned in the next day or two for some pics from our trip up north over Thanksgiving--it was tons of fun!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

GUEST AUTHOR: Courtney Milan

I've seen authors share recipes with their fans. Usually, these are old family recipes, or new inventions. In any case, the recipes usually have one thing in common: They describe items that are actually good.

This, however, has not been my consistent experience in the kitchen. I've weathered more than my share of cooking disasters, so when my heroine's brother enters the kitchen for the first time (or, in historical terms, approaches the hob-grate) in “This Wicked Gift,” I naturally thought of the charred side of Christmas. And lo, that is about how well her brother performs:

Lavinia woke to a cloud of thick, choking smoke. Her first panicked thought was that the books downstairs had somehow caught fire, that their livelihood, half owned by creditors, was going up in flames. But then her conscious mind caught up to her racing fears and she correctly identified the smell.

It was the more mundane—and rather more unpleasant—scent of burning porridge.

Frowning, Lavinia pulled a wrapper over her nightdress and padded out into the front room.

James, his hands blackened with soot, was juggling a pot. The vessel let off billows of gray smoke, its sides streaked black.

“Ah,” he said essaying a weak smile. “Lavinia! I made breakfast for you.”

She didn’t dare respond, not even with so little as a raised eyebrow.

He peered into the pot, frowning. “There’s still some white bits in here. Isn’t it odd that porridge turns yellow when it burns? I’d have thought it would go directly to black.” He prodded the mass with a spoon, then shrugged and looked up. “Want some?”

Over fifteen years, Lavinia had become quite fluent in the foreign tongue known as Younger Brother. It was a tricky language, mostly because it employed words and phrases that sounded, deceptively, as if they were proper English.

For instance, the average woman off the street would have thought that James had just offered her burnt porridge. Lavinia knew better. What James actually said was, “Sorry I stole your money. I made you breakfast by way of apology. Forgive me?”

So in honor of terrible cooks, both real and fictional, I present:

Worst. Cookies. Ever.

Stir together 3 C flour, 1 t baking soda, ½ t baking powder. Forget you already added baking soda, so add another tablespoon.

Cream together 1 C butter, 1 C sugar, 1 egg (include generous portion of shell). Unlabeled soy sauce looks just like vanilla, so add a teaspoon.

Blend dry ingredients with butter mixture. Drop in cookie-sized blobs on baking sheet. Bake at 375 F.

Start reading novella by Mary Balogh--or Nicola Cornick--or, ahem, Courtney Milan. Forget cookies for three hours, until the smoke detector goes off. Open windows and turn on fan to dissipate smoke, even though it is extremely cold outside. Sheepishly remove charred bits from oven and wish that we still kept pigs.

JK Coi: LOL, thanks thanks for the great exceprt, Courtney! And I'm sure those cookies are going to to make, if not great tasting :)

Courtney Milan's novella This Wicked Gift is part of a Christmas anthology called The Heart of Christmas, with authors Mary Balogh and Nicola Cornick and is in stores now.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Before I leave on a much anticipated family getaway for this Thanksgiving weekend, let me share these great new reviews I just received for The Trouble With Destiny!

From Teagan S. Boyd at the Book Wenches

The Trouble With Destiny is an action-packed, hot-blooded, paranormal romp. I enjoyed this fast-paced novella from the first sentence. The witty thoughts that come from Sarah kept this reader smiling throughout the book. The quick morphing of her character from student to slayer is cleverly written to give the needed background concisely. The rapport between Sarah and Dorian is unique, and I enjoyed Sarah's approach to breaking down Dorian's barriers. This book puts a new twist on paranormal. I can only hope that Ms. Coi carries on with this unique world she has created.

From Dawn at Love Romances and More:

THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY is the first of this author’s books I have read and I found it well written, very engrossing and very entertaining. I enjoyed the way Sarah reacted to her newfound powers and the fact she now had her life turned upside down within a blink of an eye. This is an author who really keeps the reader enthralled with multi-dimensional characters that literally step off the page and a fast paced storyline that leaves you on the edge of your seat, eager for more. I started THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY in the evening and had to finish it in the wee hours of the morning. I just had to know what happens next with Sarah, Dorian and the whole destiny thing.


Take care everyone! "See" you on Tuesday when my special guest is the fabulous Courtney Milan! Her debut novel Proof by Seduction is scheduled for release in January, 2010, but she has a novella in stores now that is part of a Christmas anthology called The Heart of Christmas, with authors Mary Balogh and Nicola Cornick.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

To Critique Or...

One of the things I've learned about being a writer is that while it is often a very solitary endeavour, this business also has opportunities for great partnerships. There are many different types that I could mention but I want to focus today on the critique relationship.

It's one of life's more tricky and delicate relationships to enter into because both parties must be comfortable and be able to trust one another.

Still, if you can find someone you're willing to take the chance with--sounds like we're gettin' married or something, doesn't it?--I say go for it, because a good partner (or group) to critique your work is worth its weight in publishing contracts.

Having said that, just as valuable to a writer is the benefit we get from critiquing the work of others. It must be done carefully, always being mindful of the hard work and heart that the other person has put into their book, but it's very important to do because it helps us to read a book with a view to editing--but without the need to hold onto every word like we do when it comes to our own work.

Being able to take a red pen to someone else's book (in the nicest, most constructive way possible, of course) should help us to find the courage to look at our own with that same critical eye.

Do you have a good critique partnership with someone? How did you meet?

Friday, October 02, 2009

A Visit to the Apple Orchard

So, let me just say YAY!! I made my 30,000 words in a month! I feel great about it too. This book is totally rocking!!

So what am I going to do to celebrate? Well, considering the book isn't done, I've already started my next 30,000 words! Wish me luck!!


Last weekend, we went with my parents to the orchard to go apple picking. It was a beautiful day and we had a ton of fun! Here is my favourite picture of hubby and kiddo. Don't you just love these kinds of memories? The ones that seem so simple, but sweet as the pie I'm going to make with all those apples?

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

On Tuesday, A Lady of Persuasion, the last book in my trilogy released. It was both exciting and a little bit sad. I worked on those books for two years, and by the time I wrote that third book, I knew and loved the characters so well. Now their stories are told, released out there into the world, for readers to do with them what they will. I have new projects I’m excited about, new characters I love. But I’ll miss that circle of friends that started with four hunting buddies and a hoyden.

The end of a well-loved series is always bittersweet. I remember the release of the 7th Harry Potter book. It was so exciting—I couldn’t wait to find what happened—but at the same time, it was sad to think that was the last time Mr. Dare and I would be waiting up till midnight to purchase a book, then feverishly reading it all night long.

Right now, I’m on pins and needles for To Desire a Devil, the fourth and final installment in Elizabeth Hoyt’s “Four Soldiers” series. Half of me wants it in my hands NOW, and the other half wants to never read it, because then that’s The End!

Diana Gabaldon’s latest, Echo in the Bone, came out this week. I won’t be reading it—yet. I loooove Jamie and Claire, but a few years ago, I decided I just couldn’t handle the years of suspense between each installment of the series! I’m waiting for her to finish, and then I’ll read them all straight through.

Are there books you yearn for, yet dread at the same time because they mean the end of a wonderful thing?

Tessa Dare