Thursday, November 27, 2014

Hungry Moon~Quicksilver

One of the things I love best about my life is the time I get to spend reading. There is something deeply satisfying about being able to gift myself a day devoted completely to pleasing myself with a good book. That pleasure enters a whole new dimension of enjoyment when the book of choice is one of Claudy Conn's paranormal romance novels.  Most recently, Hungry Moon~Quicksilver captivated my attention.  Did I make a day of it? Yes, I did. I lounged in my floor length, red silk nightie, with painted toe nails, and generally pampered myself for a whole day. It was blissful.  If that is the kind of respite you need from your otherwise busy life, I highly recommend taking a page out of my book, with Claudy's Quicksilver.

Now, on to my review, because you need to understand why lounging dramatically in pretty lingerie, reading can be so satisfying.

Series/Title: Hungry Moon, (Book 1) Quicksilver
Author: Claudy Conn
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 9, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1481072196
ISBN-13: 978-1481072199
Reviewed by: AvidReviewer.com editor, Vonnie Faroqui
Rating: 4/5

Ravena Macallister, Is a woman on the verge of sexual exploration. Only one problem. She is running from herself and as long as she is doing that, self exploration is going to have to wait. You can think you are ready for the next level in life, and not be ready when you get there. That is Ravena. For all of her beauty, academic achievement, and sleek athleticism, she is still an untried, inexperienced girl, playing with fire and love.  Well, we know what happens when little girls play with fire?

Claudy Conn's heroines usually start out as virginal, with simmering sexual desires carefully hidden below the surface of their persona. Quicksilver's Ravena is no exception. Standing on the edge of the future she prepares to step over the edge of the known and begin her sexual exploration. She is vibrant, powerful, talented and free; a sexual volcano waiting to erupt under just the right amount of heroic pressure. Don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking it. Claudy's formula for thrills is a potent and powerful mix. As an author, she has skillfully balanced plot, story line and character development, with steamy sexual erotica.  And her writing has only gotten bolder with time. Claudy, goes there when she writes and she isn't shy about taking you there too. [I digress.]

First off, the heroine is going to be innocent, virginal even. She will be a stunner and will have waited for the right man. He will be a man, all man, virile, powerful,  magically and in physical prowess. He will be a man of purpose, equal to our heroine in nobility of heart and of soul. He will not be virginal. He will, quite probably be afflicted with some curse, or handicap that makes their coming together seem impossible.

We know. those of us who have been following Claudy's many series, that a way will appear in which the hero and heroine will be together in every sense of the word. Because it is destiny!  No matter how much tension Claudy is going to build for her characters, no matter how vile the villain, or terrifying the obstacles may be, nothing is going to prevent our hero and heroine from consummating the intense fires of passion and love burning in their souls. Yes, we know Claudy will take us there. The fun is in discovering how.

What will Claudy throw along their path, our path? Will it be a tragic loss, or a terrible curse. Will there be a monstrous evil to overcome or a sinister unfathomable threat. Will it be pride or humility that prevents one or the other of the lovers from opening up? We may not know the how, but we know in the end it will happen. There will be no denying satisfaction. satisfaction on every level. That is just how good it is going to be.

So, I assure you, Quicksilver is not going to disappoint. It has all of the classic elements of good story telling. There is a villain, he's truly evil. He totally wants the heroine. Thankfully, he is just a little too over confident and that sets the warning bells off.  Our heroine has just been burned by awesome looks and superficial interest, masking as love. She sees Evil coming from a mile away; no real danger of her falling under his love train.  Still there is the threat he might rape her.

The real problem is in how to go about rescuing our hero. He is out of this world, gorgeous, smart, self sacrificing, out of this world! No, I mean it, literally. He is out of this world, unreachable in any way but by magic. And, he is cursed with ill luck. not literally this time. Just, well he's been bit by a were-wolf. It doesn't look good for him, trapped, cursed, full of sexual potency himself. She is in one world and he is in another, helpless to protect her, or help her, forced to watch as her life blood is spilling. It's dramatic.

If only Ravena would stop denying her uniqueness, and surrender to her true nature. Then her power would be a strength instead of a weakness. Ah me. Claudy even manages to weave in a little character building morality along side the sexual tension. Nothing comes too easily. The struggle to find each other may be destined, but in order to overcome the threat of evil and stay together, there is going to be real pain, the kind that grows self knowledge, and enough sacrifice to demonstrate sincerity, giving the relationship value.

I don't want to give you any more or the story than this. You can read the synopsis, and guess at the plot line. The real enjoyment comes when you let go of what you know or think you know, and simply go on the journey. Surrendering to a story is as enjoyable as surrendering to destiny, to love, to great sex. When you are in it, there is nothing else.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tip Tuesday: “Above the Fold”

It is Tip Tuesday!

Expand your online marketing reach by developing effective strategies, SEO best practices and knowledge.

Tuesday's Tip for 11/25/2014  “Above the Fold”

The term “above the fold” refers to the contents of a website which are visible to the user without having to scroll down on their browser.

"Above the Fold"
Did you know the less work people have to do in order to see your offer, announcement, or incentive, the more likely they are to respond to it.

Marketing research shows that the upper right-hand corner is the most effective spot for an opt-in offer.

You can use this knowledge to your advantage.  If the sign-up form for your news letter, the like/share button, the purchase incentive, or that advertisement for your book/music cd/products are not already located above the fold, moving them to a more visible spot will often increase your conversion rate.

Tip Tuesdays, because the more you know . . . the better you do.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

How Google's Panda Makes Content "King" for SEO.

"Content is King" for Google's Panda
Bow down because Content is King for search engine optimization.
Google's newest page ranking algorithm, Panda, is smarter than ever, able to recognize and make relevant content distinctions.  This has had a deep impact in online marketing circles and spammy strategies aren't going to yield results.

Google Releases the Panda

In February of 2011, internet marketers everywhere were shocked. Google had released a new update, and with it, changed the way SEO would work forever.

At first, it was difficult to know exactly what the damage was. Massive "authority" websites were reporting HUGE losses in traffic. But it wasn't mindless destruction - no, Google's latest update targeted a specific group of websites with surgical precision.

These were websites who played a crucial role in SEO. Websites like:

Article Directories
Online Forums and Message Boards
Web 2.0 "write-and-earn" Websites (HubPages, Squidoo, etc.)
Online Informational Sites (eHow)
The SEO process relied heavily on these types of websites. Since building backlinks was the most important part of the process, these websites were used to get quick and easy links.

And not just any links - the best type of links you could have. Links on pages with relevant information to your website (written by you). Links in the content of this relevant information. Links Google, before the update, loved. ~ SEOSiteCheckUp.com

How Does this Impact Authors, and Book Marketing?

It is my opinion that, done with integrity and sincerity, the old strategies are still going to serve authors. If you aren't abusing the system these changes may in fact help you by eliminating many of those competing in the market who are.

Genuine comments and posts in online forums and message boards, comments which include discrete anchor links within a signature or byline, are still likely to be approved and, as long as the links lead back to reputable content, they will continue to hold relevancy for SEO.  Since Google's Panda is able to recognize relevant content, it should be able to discern when your site and book are referenced appropriately.

Article marketing directories may have been severely impacted by the changes affecting search engine optimization, which does mean there is a potential impact on an author's ability to reach audiences using this method, as article directories themselves have taken a hit in relevancy and credibility. On the other hand, excellent content has become even more significant for SEO to bloggers and site owners; who are now forced to offer richer content in order to gain popularity and relevancy ranking. Article marketing websites could retain or gain relevancy themselves by offering richer content using tighter submission guidelines.  I believe that is what has been happening. Article marketing websites have tightened their quality controls, denying publishing acceptance to authors and articles that abuse the privilege of contributing to the directory by filling an article with links that lead to marketing sites.  True and relevant articles are actually going to be in greater demand, as those in need of content seek out quality articles.  Savvy authors will be using their bylines to lead readers back to their sites. These authors benefit by the environment clean up.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Marketing Doesn't Have to Kill Your Creative Joy

The writing and publishing worlds have been going through a deconstruction of their traditional roles and relationships ever since authors envisioned using the Internet to self promote, and market their own work. The role of traditional publishers is still being re-framed.

As publishers have less and less to offer aspiring writers, more and more authors choose self publishing. Gone are the days when publishers had budgets to give fat advance checks, or to invest in marketing for their authors. Even their best selling authors are feeling neglected in the pinch, forget marketing for the mid list picks. Within the traditional publishing houses the majority of promotions and marketing efforts are being left squarely in the author's lap. Traditionally published or self published, we are all in the same boat when it comes to getting our books in front of readers. Now is the time to re-imagine how we are going to bring marketing into our creative writing processes.





Don't Separate Marketing from your Creative Writing Process . . . Use it! 

As an author you have to know your target audience. You have to anticipate and plan for your reader's desires. You have to engage them if you are going to keep them reading. You should ask the same questions when choosing your audience, theme, and plot influences, as you would for marketing your book.

What is my audience looking for? What are they going to get from my book?
Are they looking for answers or seeking entertainment? What is it that will attract them to my book and my website over the books and websites of other authors? Is it my themes? Am I teaching a skill, proselytizing an ideal, or prophesying a dire warning? Am I making a political comment or a spiritual declaration? Does my book hold expert or life knowledge? Do I have more to offer than just this book? Can I hook my audience into purchasing and reading my book through a shared interest, a cause, or sentiment?

These may be questions that both influence who an author is writing for or even about, plot devices, and theme development, as well as where and how they might market a book in the future.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Creative Process and Marketing Innovation


Starting a marketing strategy before the book is written can benefit the creative process.

  • Plan to meet your target audience's needs from the start.
  • Build interest and plot themed hooks into your story or material, usable themes which will open up marketing angles in the future.
  • Is your book of a self help nature, or does it have an element or theme that could be used to attract related interest groups? 
  • Knowing your audience wants may lead you to write in or material suggestive of marketing venues and purchase incentive opportunities. 
  • It allows you to bring your audience into the creative process, through blogging, "chat"-ter, forum activity, collaborative challenges and competitions.
  • Having an interested reader base before you go to print can encourage creative output, and editorial excellence.
Write down marketing ideas as you go. They will feed your creative process and may help you develop new plot elements, as easily as creative marketing strategies.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tip Tuesday: Diversify!

It is Tip Tuesday!

Expand your online marketing reach by developing effective strategies, SEO best practices and knowledge.
Tuesday's Tip for 10/22/2014: Diversify! Diversify! Diversify!

Approach building your online presence and marketing power from multiple angles. Attract larger, more loyal audiences, and increase your Search Engine ranking while doing it. Approach your marketing and creative process with an eye to diversify. Deconstruct, re-frame and then re-imagine how you will reach your audience.

Three areas of the utmost importance in attracting an audience to your blog or website are

  • SEO ranking: clean up your webpage for search engine optimization; start by loading quality content.
  • Social Media: reach out and engage audiences using social media
  • Mobile Apps with visually optimized webpages
Search Engine Optimization
With "Content as King," SEO is hands-down your best way of bringing traffic to a blog or website. However, search engine ranking criteria is constantly changing. Technologies are also changing, so are the ways people enter and use the Internet.  In order to increase and safeguard your ranking, you will have to be flexible too.  Diversify your marketing activities, so that when changes occur the impact on your website will not be catastrophic. 

Social Media
Did you know, Facebook has partnered with Bing to use LIKES as a major factor in which pages will rank highest during keyword searches. If one of your friends has liked a page and you perform a corresponding keyword search, that page is most likely to appear at the top of your search query. 

Google has also associated social media activity with ranking clout; analyzing Facebook, Twitter and other social media interaction and connections to a webpage or blog, and is assigning rank with these factors in view. Social Media gives Google a more reliable tool in gauging site popularity, than counting back-links ever did. Back-links aren't dead, but social media activity which leads traffic back to your site has taken the lead in determining SEO popularity.

Mobile APPs, Smart Phone/Tablets
Technological advances change the way people use the internet. Mobile apps -- smart phones and tablets, are the fastest expanding point of access for Internet users. Be sure to optimize your website for easy mobile app viewing. 


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy Birthday AvidReviewer.com!


Ink Slinger's Whimsey just gave birth to our first offspring, AvidReviewer.com! Officially born today, but we already have some dreams for her. . .
  • To Share our listening and reading enjoyment with others 
  • To Grow as readers, listeners, and reviewers 
  • To Invite others to share their reviews 
  • To Discover new books, music CDs, authors, musicians, vocal artists, and bands 
  • To Introduce our friends to what we have experienced and 
  • To Give authors, musicians, vocal artists, and bands a place to connect with their audiences.
Ambitious parenting? Well, maybe a tad. No Worries. Books and music bring so much enjoyment, this is an awesome hobby to indulge in. I hope you will continue on the journey with us.

Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing the Ink Slinger's Whimsey archive of reviews and interviews with a new home on AvidReviewer.com. This will allow us to further dedicate the ISW blog to writing and promotion themes, while developing a more friendly reader and listener focus through AvidReviewer.com.  If you are a reviewer looking to further your reach, an author, or a musical artist seeking audience exposure, please visit our submissions pages on AvidReviewer.com. We are happy to share this space with you.

Cake?