Here is a guest post from a friend and fellow author, Melanie Smith.

Mount Haven Code

***NEW RELEASE*** Romantic Suspense…Action Packed ***
I’m excited to announce the release my new Romantic Suspense novel, MOUNT HAVEN. It’s now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes. Go get your copy today!
When Rowdy Cooper’s life is turned upside down he & his family must find a way to go on. Will the move to Mount Haven prove therapeutic or lethal? Bailey’s on the run. For years she’s been able to keep her secrets and fly under the radar. Will that all change now that there’s a new sheriff in town? Not to mention his sexy, too observant brother. She loves Mount Haven but maybe it’s time to move on before her past proves lethal for everyone.
I hope you will take a minute to check it out. I’m already getting great reviews!
–Melanie P. Smith

Watch the eBook trailer on YouTube

Get to know Author Melanie P. Smith

Like Paranormal Romance? Check out the Warrior Series Brochure by Melanie P. Smith

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Brochure contains information, buy links and eBook Trailers.

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Why Write in Kindle Worlds: Something All Fiction Writers Should Consider

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Today is the launch of the Jack Daniels and Associates Kindle World, which includes my short story White Lady: A Jack Daniels/Bill Roberts Thriller. I’ve talked to a number of writers and bloggers, and to my surprise, few of them knew about Kindle Worlds. I thought the idea of the original KW was intriguing but when Joe Konrath let a number of his friends, fans, and followers know what he was planning, I couldn’t resist. In fact, I couldn’t wait. I didn’t even have to think about it. I quickly emailed him with, “I’m in!” Here’s why.

For those unfamiliar with Amazon’s Kindle Worlds, the KW site describes it as: “Welcome to Kindle Worlds, a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games. With Kindle Worlds, you can write new stories based on featured Worlds, engage an audience of readers, and earn royalties. Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment for Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries; Valiant Entertainment for Archer & Armstrong, Bloodshot, Harbinger, Shadowman, and X-O Manowar; Hugh Howey’s Silo Saga; Barry Eisler’s John Rain novels; Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines series; and The Foreworld Saga by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, Eric Bear, Joseph Brassey, Nicole Galland, and Cooper Moo. Licenses for more Worlds are on the way.”

Here’s a visual of the different Worlds.

Essentially, there is a preexisting storyline, environment and characters that have been successful and have a following. The originators or owners, are allowing anyone else to use their Intellectual Property to build on. To be clear, this means you can write your own stories based in these Worlds. This has been a great way to get your name out there. To tap into an already primed audience. To introduce readers of a similar genre to your work. Besides that, you get to expand on stories you may already love. And, you get paid for it!

Although this has been a great opportunity, there was a hitch. Everything you submit to KW, becomes the property of KW. Your stories and characters could, in turn, be used by future writers to expand on as well. Still not a bad deal.

Then Joe Konrath came along and explained a different scenario to the people at KW. He explained that people are reluctant to give up the rights to what they create. There must be a way they could keep their rights. Through a lot of negotiation and working with KW and their team of lawyers, the New KW was born. Available only with the J.A. Konrath and Associates (for now), you keep your Intellectual Property (or at least some of it). The story belongs to KW, but any characters, places, or things you create remain yours.

What does this mean? The biggest advantage, and it’s huge, is that you can blend your existing world with Joe’s. In White Lady, I bring a couple of Joe’s main characters, Lieutenant Jack Daniels and her partner Herb Benedict, of the Chicago police, to Toronto for a Police convention where they get mixed up in an assassination attempt on the Toronto Mayor. They work together with my characters Inspector Bill Roberts and his team from the Toronto Police, to try and figure out what’s going on and stop it before it’s too late.

The beauty of this is I all ready have a book out with these characters, and am planning more. There is a chance, and I’m betting on it being a good chance, that some of Joe’s readers will become my readers. Joe’s also betting that some of my fans will become his. Now multiply this by thirty, which is what the expected launch involvement is. Then we have indirect cross-pollination as well. Readers will see others authors who write in a similar genre. On the launch date, Konrath fans will be introduced to thirty new writers, but each of those writer’s fans will also be introduced to the rest as well.

A few other bonuses, when you publish a book on Amazon there are a number of tricks you can use to boost visibility. Best Sellers lists is one way. It is very hard for a new author to get on the Best Sellers Lists but KW have their own smaller lists making it easier to land on one. There is also the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section under your book. This could propel your books, and your name, onto the pages of any of the other participants’ pages as well, and it expands from there…more cross-pollination.

Then there is the pay. Authors submitting to KW do get paid royalties. I’ll direct you to the Amazon information page as it depends on length and a few other conditions.

One of the criticisms of Kindle Worlds has been the restrictions put on by the originator. Here’s a comment by Joe Konrath. “I went into this Kindle World giving writers almost total freedom, with the exception of the guidelines that Amazon imposed (no ads, no porn, no racism). I allow any kind of sexual relationship. I allow writers to kill my characters. I allow writers to bring in their own characters.” Enough said about the writing freedom that allows.

One last point. Up until now, KW has only been available to U.S. residents. Apparently this is a complicated issue for Amazon to work out and not a priority at this time. Joe Konrath has set up a Management agreement with his Agent allowing non-U.S. residents to play along.

You can read more about it on Joe Konrath’s blog here and the terms and conditions here.

Is this something you could see yourself doing? What is your favourite World of the list I provided above? And, what concerns or negatives do you see in this? Please leave a comment.

Write on,

Silas Payton

White Lady: A Jack Daniels/Bill Roberts Thriller

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White Lady will be released on March 3, in the New J.A. Konrath and Associates Kindle World.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Kindle Worlds, it allows writers to write using the Intellectual Property (IP) of the originator. There are a number of great Worlds you can choose to write in like Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines or Hugh Howie’s Silo Saga, to name just a few. Here’s a list of the current worlds.

The problem with the original Kindle Worlds is that if you wrote something, and added new characters, or places (IP) of your own it became the property of Kindle Worlds. Any future writers in Kindle Worlds could build on your story and characters. Still quite fun and a great way to get your name out there. Many very good authors have written in KW, but they know they are giving away their IP. This was the only option…until now.

Joe Konrath, and Amazon have changed this. They have worked out an aggreement whereby you can write in his Kindle World while keeping the rights to your own IP. This means you can bring his characters into your writing world! Think about this. An established author — in my case, one of my favourites — who has sold over a million books and has a following, allows you to write stories mixing your characters and his. What a great way to cross-pollinate. Some of your fans will starting reading his other works, but more likely, some of his may start reading yours. I happen to know Joe is way too busy lately and his writing has slowed so his fans are starving for more books.

You can check Joe’s Website for more details on this great opportunity.

White Lady: A Jack Daniels/Bill Roberts Thriller

Synopsis:

Lieutenant Jack Daniels is dragged to Toronto for a Leadership in Policing Conference where she is to be the Chicago poster girl, while Captain Bains presents on their success with serial killers. The place turns into a media frenzy, when the mayor of Toronto announces an appearance to officially open the conference, in the midst of recent corruption charges. Unfortunately, the commotion becomes an opportunity for an attempt on the mayor’s life by a hit man known as the Messenger.

A dead body, a conference center full of police and media, a corrupt mayor, and a bomber…what could go wrong?

Lieutenant Jack Daniels teams up with Toronto Police Inspector, Bill Roberts, to find the hit man before he can blow up the building. When she mistakenly walks into a transvestite fashion show, little does she know, it may help her track down the killer…but will it be too late?

This novella of roughly 15k words, ties in the Jack Daniels characters of Kindle best selling author, J.A. Konrath, and the Bill Roberts characters of up-and-coming author, Silas Payton. If you like a high action thriller laced with laugh-out-loud humor, you will enjoy this book.

All Bloggers and Writers Should be on Flipboard: Here’s Why, and an Idea on Collaborating

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If you’re not Flipping your writing, you should be.

How are you driving people to your blog?

If you have a blog, chances are you want people to read your words. If you didn’t, you’d be keeping them on your computer and not loading them up for the world to see. Once you have a blog and some content, the trick is to get people to your site…to get people to actually tune in and see what you have to say.

Most bloggers I know turn to Twitter and Facebook which are fun and a great way to build a following and meet connections. But, one of the best ways I have found to increase hits on my blog, is with Flipboard. It involves a very low time commitment and draws viewers from around the world. Once you have it set up, you can load post in seconds.

A recent article in Wired, describes Flipboard, the personal magazine now available on desktop and mobile browsers (PC, Mac and Android), as a beautiful, responsive, and algorithmically impressive website where you can read about your favorite topics, catch up on news, and browse photos and GIFs.

You list your own interests and Flipboard creates a magazine with many articles on the topics you have chosen. You can also create your own personal “magazines” based on your interests, giving them their own titles. You can then Flip content you like from the main magazine or the web, into your personal magazines, as well as “love” them or comment on them. You can also send it out via Tweet, Facebook, email, chat, etc.

Here’s where it gets interesting. The articles that feed into everyone’s main magazine are chosen partly by the Flipboard editorial team, and partly by the other users, meaning they come from everyone else’s personal magazines. I also have no doubt that the cream rises. The more an article gets flipped, “loved” and commented on, the more it will appear.

To add to the visibility, as the user is turning through pages in the magazine they are in, Flipboard will suggest other magazines with similar content. This could be one of yours. As users find magazines they like, they can “follow” them as well, which clips them to their main page.

Every time someone clicks onto an article, they are directed to the original source, ie. your website. So, if you have side content like a subscription button, a giveaway, or a list of your book titles, the reader will also see those!

As an example of the power of this app, I wrote an article and in a few seconds Flipped it onto one of my magazines on Flipboard, and went to bed. I woke to see a message from WordPress that there has been unusually high activity on my blog. By the end of the day I had reached 953 hits, whereas my usual before that was 20-50. Twelve days later now, that page has been hit close to 2000 times. I know that this is mainly from Flipboard. Granted this sort of traffic hasn’t happened for my other articles since, but Flipboard continues to drive significant traffic my way.

Let’s Work Together.

What I’m proposing is that you find friends with similar interests and work together to Flip each other’s writing/posts. You can look them up by user name. It’s a great app to use, is enjoyable to read on, and has lots of interesting articles. Why not help your fellow writers to get noticed as well. A couple Flips, “loves” and comments could be enough to tip the scales and drive them onto the main magazines.

I would love to be added to your list of friends!

I have interests in writing, happiness, and mindfulness, science, and music, to name a few. If anyone has similar interests, I welcome you to contact me with your areas of interest. Invite your friends to create their own magazines and follow along. Together we can have fun, find new articles and information, and be helping our our fellow authors and bloggers at the same time.

Leave a comment if you have any questions or are interested in following each other.

Let’s flip stuff together on Flipboard.

Silas Payton

Here are 2 links you might find helpful:
A Quick Tutorial on Flipboard, and
Steps to Flip Your Posts into Flipboard.

Image copied from Flipboard but I’m promoting their app so hopefully they won’t care.

There’s Something New Going on at Amazon. Exciting Times for Writers and Readers.

Something’s been brewing at Amazon, and it has just been announced. This is truly an exciting time for both writers and readers. Just when you thought the game had plateaued, Amazon has broken the mold once again. Thanks to the vision, time, and effort, of one of my favorite authors working together with the open-minded Amazon team, the company will be testing out something new. In fact, it’s likely the first time this has been done, anywhere…definitely on an large scale.

It was just announced that this opportunity will go live March 3, 2015. I have no doubt it’s going to be fun to watch, and to take part in. I can’t wait.

Tune in here to get the details. I’ll be outlining how writers can take part and benefit, as well listing authors involved as it unfolds.

For the announcement check out Joe Konrath’s Blog.

Follow here for the latest info. What a time to be a writer!

Silas Payton

Free Giveaway Feb. 18 to 22 on Amazon. Going Under: A Bill Roberts Thriller

Going Under: A Bill Roberts Thriller

Going Under: A Bill Roberts Thriller

For the five days of Feb. 18 to 22, I’m doing a free giveaway of my debut novel, Going Under: A Bill Roberts Thriller. Please pass this on to anyone you know who might be interested. Tweet it. Reblog it. Pin it. Flip it. Do what ever else you can to help me spread the word. I’d appreciate your help. If you like it, I’d be truly greatful for a review on Amazon.

Here’s a summary:

While investigating three unexplained deaths, Inspector Bill Roberts finds himself in the middle of a retaliation, after a biker gang moves in on mafia territory. With few leads and increased scrutiny by the Chief of Police and the Mayor of Toronto, he tries to track down whoever is responsible, making himself a target in the process.

Bill Roberts, an Inspector with the Toronto police, has decided today was the day to drag himself back to the gym, for the first time since a recent arrest attempt left him with a broken leg. A mishap on his first day back sets the tone for the next twenty hours. When he gets called to the scene of a murder, he finds a wife has shot her loving husband, for no apparent reason. He and his team of detectives investigate, finding bizarre connections to a local biker gang, the mafia, and the Mayor’s office, throwing themselves in the middle of a much larger scandal.

With few leads, Inspector Bill Roberts must connect three strange deaths and find the person responsible. When he suspects the connection is a psychiatrist, Dr. Barry Nelson, the Inspector’s priority becomes finding him before he leaves the city, onto his next job. What he doesn’t realize is the doctor has one more job to finish… to eliminate Bill Roberts.

This is a thriller laced with humour. It will keep you intrigued and on the edge of your seat to the last sentence, while giving you a few laughs along the way. If you like the books of J.A. Konrath, Blake Crouch, Jude Hardin, or Tracy Sharp, this book is for you.

An Update on Current Silas Payton Projects

Going Under Free Giveaway Feb. 18-22, 2015
With the release of Going Under: A Bill Roberts Thriller, I have been busy with my blog and other social media, letting people know of it’s release. I’ve also let many promoters know about an upcoming five day free promotion on Amazon running February 18 -22. Tell everyone you know.

White Lady
In the past year, I’ve been working on a project involving one of my favourite authors. It is a brand new concept with Amazon that I will be posting about very soon. White Lady is a short (15k word) story being proofread now. I’m very excited about this project with Amazon and will tell you more as soon as I’m able.

Paralyzer
Along the same lines as White Lady, this is a novel involving the Bill Roberts characters that I look forward to releasing with Amazon under this new, soon-to-be released, opportunity. I’m in the editing phase of this one.

14 Gable Lane
I’ve also just finished the first draft of a horror novel. This book will keep you up at night, and make you question everything you think you know about good and evil. It gave me chills while writing it. It is set in the first “Lunatic Asylum for the Criminally Insane” in Canada. It is one of the creepiest places I’ve seen and still exists although, for “safety reasons” has been sealed up and fenced off. The place was once called Rockwood, and had the long-forgotten address of 14 Gable Lane. This is going to freak you out. I hope to have it out in the summer of 2015.

I’m happy to answer any questions in the comments, and thanks to all my fans for your support. I look forward to getting these out to you as soon as possible.

Working with a cover designer: how to make it easier for you and your designer

Going Under: A Bill Roberts Thriller

I recently had a custom cover designed for my new thriller, Going Under, and the experience was fantastic…but this didn’t just happen by chance. I’ve heard many stories of frustration and disappointment about working with designers. Now, in their defence, they have a difficult job and they are not mind readers.

Some authors may wish to give up control completely, and see what the designer comes up with…but that’s not me and I wouldn’t recommend it. Designers are artists, not necessarily marketing experts. Nobody knows your book like you. It is critical to the success of your book, that you get the cover right. I’ve put together some important steps in finding and dealing with designers that should make the process smooth and efficient for both parties.

1. Figure out what you want, and don’t want.

Surf the internet and bookstores. Use a notepad. Quickly scan the shelves, giving the covers a couple seconds each. What in your genre catches your eye, and why? What makes you pick up a book? Is it a face, a fantasy scene, a big bold heading? What colors do you like? Make notes of all the points you like. Also make notes of what you don’t like. Why do you scan over some books and have no interest? Is the cover too busy? Is the font hard to read? Cut and paste covers you into a Word document and put them in a lists of what you like and don’t like.

2. List any specifics you think you need in your cover.

Have a clear title and author.
For a book cover, in my opinion, there are a few important points that a lot of covers don’t have. Keep in mind that most people will be seeing the cover in a small thumbprint, and will likely only spend a couple seconds looking at it. The title and author should be clear and easy to see. Have the main title stand out and keep any subtitle smaller, so it doesn’t distract.
Make the genre very clear.
It also should be very clear from the cover, what genre it is. Don’t put a steamy half naked love scene on a horror novel. You’re not selling cars. You might sell a few books that way, but readers don’t like buying books that aren’t what they thought they were.

Decide on what style of art you want.
Do you want to use a photo-style images or illustration artwork? Do you want to use your own images or artwork, or are you going to need the designer to find or draw them for you? Research the stock images available on the internet for something that you like or that might work for you. I doesn’t need to be the exact image but it will give the designer an idea of what to look for. Cut and paste these into your document, with the URLs of where you found them. Here are a few sites for free stock photos:
Everystockphoto.com
Creativecommons.org
morguefile.com
flickr.com
Freeimages.com

3. Find a designer.

Search the Internet.
Once you have a clear idea of what you want to see in your cover, research designers on the web. Look for previous covers they’ve done. Do they convey the “feel” you’re looking for? What’s their website like? Confirm the authors who used them really exist, and contact them if you want. Search for reviews on the designer. Make sure the work they have posted was actually designed by them.

Ask around.
Go back to your list of covers you liked and email the authors. Ask who they used and if they would recommend their services. The indie community is amazingly supportive.

4. Make sure you and the designer are right for each other.

Once you find a designer who you think can do the job, email them. Send a brief description of what you are looking for and see if they are interested. Also ask their timeline and estimate costs. Ask what is included, ie. how many concepts, how many revisions, what do they give you. Let them know where you plan on selling and make sure they know how to do it. Print, Amazon, CreateSpace…they are all different and each have specific requirements.

If they respond promptly, seem interested and their schedule and estimate are good, send them the document you’ve put together (or a summary version). Add a brief description of your book, the feel you are looking for, and any particular ideas or scenes in the book they can use in cover ideas. Again, neither of you have committed yet. See if this is a job they feel they can handle and want to do. If they get back to you and you feel comfortable with their response, it is time to proceed.

5. A couple final thoughts.

Be respectful of their time. Respond quickly to questions, and requests for feedback. And finally, pay them promptly. They’ve often Put a lot of work in. Don’t make them wait for payment.

I recently had the pleasure of working with Marianne Nowicki of premadeebookcovers.com, on the cover of Going Under: A Bill Roberts Thriller. The experience was exciting and I was very impressed at the back and forth interaction. She was able to turn my words into a great visual. I look forward to getting through the edits on my next book so we can work together again soon.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments.

Silas Payton

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Now Available on Amazon!! — Going Under: A Bill Roberts Thriller

I would appreciate you spreading the word, or leaving a review on Amazon. I’d also love any feedback here in the comments or feel free to contact me. The book is available here Going Under: A Bill Roberts Thriller.

Going Under: A Bill Roberts Thriller

Going Under: A Bill Roberts Thriller

 

Here’s the description:

While investigating three unexplained deaths, Inspector Bill Roberts finds himself in the middle of a retaliation, after a biker gang moves in on mafia territory. With few leads and increased scrutiny by the Chief of Police and the Mayor of Toronto, he tries to track down whoever is responsible, making himself a target in the process.
Bill Roberts, an Inspector with the Toronto police, has decided today was the day to drag himself back to the gym, for the first time since a recent arrest attempt left him with a broken leg. A mishap on his first day back sets the tone for the next twenty hours. When he gets called to the scene of a murder, he finds a wife has shot her loving husband, for no apparent reason. He and his team of detectives investigate, finding bizarre connections to a local biker gang, the mafia, and the Mayor’s office, throwing themselves in the middle of a much larger scandal.

With few leads, Inspector Bill Roberts must connect three strange deaths and find the person responsible. When he suspects the connection is a psychiatrist, Dr. Barry Nelson, the Inspector’s priority becomes finding him before he leaves the city, onto his next job. What he doesn’t realize is the doctor has one more job to finish… to eliminate Bill Roberts.

This is a thriller laced with humour. It will keep you intrigued and on the edge of your seat to the last sentence, while giving you a few laughs along the way. If you like the books of J.A. Konrath, Blake Crouch, Jude Hardin, or Tracy Sharp, this book is for you.

 

An update on Going Under and other projects coming in 2015.

Going Under: A Bill Roberts Thriller

I had high hopes of having Going Under done in the summer of 2014. Unfortunately, a lot of my energy was needed elsewhere — in my more-than-full-time career/business. I was left with little extra time to devote to publishing. I also underestimated the time involved to properly edit a book. Although, my first book wasn’t published when I had hoped, I have learned a lot in the past year about writing and self-publishing, and as a result, I am confident the finished result will be much better.

Going Under: A Bill Roberts Thriller is currently at the proofreader, and I’ve hired a designer to do the cover. I anticipate it will be available in the next month or two on Amazon.

I have learned that, for me, the easiest and most fun part of writing a book is the first draft. I enjoy the writing process…seeing where the story will take me, and getting to know my characters better. One of the best parts of writing the first draft is that I can fit it in when I’m able. Half hour here and there, or more time if I have it. Even when I am extremely busy with other aspects of life, I can usually fit in some writing. For me, it’s a way to relax…even better than reading an exciting book.

I have also discovered that I don’t really enjoy taking the time to figure out some of the other aspects of publishing such as creating book covers, and formatting. As such, I’ve opted to get help with these. I must admit, I lost a lot of time putting off decisions because I didn’t feel I knew enough about these things. I read a lot about it, tried learning some photo editing, and tried reading how to format. I have concluded…I’d rather be writing.

Other Projects:

In the past year, I’ve been working on a project involving one of my favourite authors. There is an almost finalized short story, and a novel I’m doing the second pass on now, both of which involve Bill Roberts from Going Under. I hope to be able to announce more details about this project in the next couple months.

I’ve also just finished the first draft of a horror novel. This book will keep you up at night, and make you question everything you think you know about good and evil. It gave me chills while writing it.

Watch for more on these upcoming projects in 2015.

Silas Payton