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2017 Rate Increase Bulletin


Price Increase for 2017 and Terms and Conditions Update

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Editing Prices are going up on January 1, 2017. The prices go into effect for every manuscript done on and after January 1, 2017, even if it was scheduled for 2017 in 2016. The price goes into effect for every author, new and established. 

The common rates through the Editorial Freelancers Associations are $40-60 an hour with the norm being an accepted ONE to six pages done in an hour. 250 words is considered a page. At my HIGHEST rate, six pages at 250 words a page only adds up to $13.50. I strive to keep my prices affordable for independent authors. It is my goal to help every book possible achieve its greatest potential, despite budget. Rate increases are necessary to keep a business running, but never will my prices jump to unachievable levels. I look forward to working with you in the coming year. 

2016 Prices:

Proofread starts at: .0045 a word

Copy Edit starts at: .0060 a word

Copy/Proof starts at: .0080 a word

2017 Prices

Proofreads starts at: .0055 a word

Copy Edit starts at: .0070 a word

Copy/Proof Package starts at .0090 a word

The minimum price for under 20,000 words for each package will also increase according to the new prices.

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Terms and Conditions that may have been Modified or Added (These are in effect now)

I occasionally update my Terms and Conditions. It is a client’s responsibility to glance at it once in a while to see if anything has changed. 

MANUSCRIPTS must be submitted in Times New Roman, size 12 font, and double spaced. If they are not, I will change them. It makes the editing process cleaner and easier.

I DO NOT edit non-fiction books. However, I will edit non-fiction articles, website material, press releases, and other such subject matter. I am also not familiar with UK grammar. I will edit UK books, but only if they are being completely Americanized. If you want to keep some UK tone, (colour instead of color, sayings, etc) that is fine. You just have to make sure to tell me. However, any and all grammar related issues I do recognize will be Americanized.

GRAPHIC and/or gratuitous rape scenes are not accepted. Books containing them are subject to IMMEDIATE return without refund or completion.

HOWEVER, books that contain rape are not an automatic no. A girl trying to get over being raped, a fade-to-black rape scene that is integral to the story, a book about rape that inspires hope in victims, a crime book that manages to impress the violence without making it graphic and pleasingly sexual, etc… would all be considered and most likely accepted. Please just explain the scenes to me. Erotica books that use rape as something pleasingly sexual, or any book that does, or any book that describes rape in graphic, violent, sexual, scene-by-scene detail, will not be accepted, and, if in a book I accepted without my knowledge, will be returned with NO REFUND OR COMPLETION.

AUTHORS are responsible for getting their books to me by the date agreed upon. If I have not received it within two days of the agreed-upon date, I will move on to the next in line, unless I have an email from the author and we agree on other terms.

RUSH jobs, which I very rarely take, will incur a fee. It will depend on length and time given to finish. The start amount is $100, and it goes up from there.

PLEASE be aware that books that need excessive editing outside of the package picked may lead to extra fees. The fees will be discussed with the author before any work is done. If while editing the book, excessive editing outside the package becomes a problem, progress will halt while the author is contacted. This rarely happens. However, I have had a book for proofread that the sample was great, but when I received the book, only the first two chapters were acceptable. The rest needed more of a developmental edit. This is the reason I ask for middle-of-the-book samples, although that is not always a foolproof method.

PAYMENT is accepted up front. An invoice is sent through PayPal when I receive the manuscript. No work will be done until invoice is paid in full. PayPal fees are calculated and added to final bill. A $100 cancellation fee will be charged if the client cancels their time slot less than a week before their date. A $50 cancellation fee will be charged if the client cancels their time slot less than two weeks before their date. This fee is strictly enforced.

*If an author contacts me and makes other arrangements to reschedule or cancel before the two-week mark, there is no fee. Be respectful of my time and let me know two weeks in advance if you cannot keep your spot.

PRICES are baseline prices. Each sample or manuscript is evaluated before a quote is given. Prices depend on how much work each individual manuscript needs. I am very fair, and baseline prices are given whenever possible. I encourage every author to self-edit at least twice and to use (good) beta readers BEFORE turning it in for editing. It is the best way to keep your prices down.

HOLIDAYS and holiday weekends DO NOT count toward the estimated amount of time given to edit your manuscript. Those times are spent with my family. We always take a vacation during the week of Thanksgiving and a week in the summer, usually in July. Please be respectful of those times. If any of those fall during your time period, please be aware of this.

Example: If you are given a time period over Christmas, please be aware the holidays will interfere with the edit time. Times given are estimates unless completely firmed up by way of a pre-order publication date. Two-week turnarounds are no longer given. Manuscripts are given my complete attention and are turned over in as timely a manner as possible. Please be patient. 

I am NOT a developmental editor. I am a final-draft editor. If you are a FIRST-TIME author who needs extensive help with plot, character development, and flow, I would recommend that you hire a developmental editor to work with you before contacting me for copy/line and proofreading.

I reserve the right to refuse any and all manuscripts at my discretion.

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If you have any questions regarding this post, or an editing slot, please contact me either through this form or cynthiashepp@yahoo.com.

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CHRISTMAS IN JULY FROM CTP


READY TO WIN?

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How is it July already? This year is passing by at super sonic speeds. For some of you it’s smoking hot outside, and for our friends on the other side of the planet some of you are donning your July winter wear. No matter where you are, now is the perfect time to celebrate our Christmas in July giveaway! The winner of this giveaway will receive a Kindle Fire if in the US, along with 12 of our most recent  digital releases. If you live outside the US, don’t fear, we will send you $50 in Paypal cash in lieu of the Kindle Fire, as well as the 12 of our new e-book releases. Be sure to get as many entries into this giveaway as you can because this prize is worth nearly $100! Also, check out the details below to see how you can earn up to $200 in additional Paypal cash during this giveaway! 

“Wow, I never win anything!” ~says nearly everyone who has won a Clean Teen or Crimson Tree Publishing giveaway. So don’t pass this giveaway up because you aren’t feeling the luck today.

ENTER THE RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST

WHAT E-BOOKS WILL I WIN AND DID YOU SAY SOMETHING ABOUT $200 CASH?

You could win any of the following ebooks during this giveaway. But don’t wait for this giveaway to end to get your copies of these amazing titles! If you win this giveaway and already own any of these books, we will give you an additional $10 per title you own if you can provide proof of purchase! That’s the ability to earn up to $120 if you have all 12 books.

But wait, you could earn even more!

If you have purchased at least 10 of the titles below, we will increase your cash to $200 total! This is all on top of the Kindle Fire Prize! Two of these books are pre-orders, so pre-order sales count! 

*For more info check out the very bottom of this post. 


OUR NEW RELEASES THAT WILL BE INCLUDED:

You can press on any of the covers below to view the title on Amazon in a new tab.

Ebook - Bad Bloods - Rain  extracted coverEbook - A Long Way Home 212241777_10205735402487802_5841090998511505689_nEbook- Date an AlienEbook - ChangingEbook - Lightning ForgottenEbook - Neverland Wars 2The Undoer CoverEbookBloodthorn-400x600Ebook - Broken FateEbook - Raging

 


ENTER TO WIN HERE:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


More details regarding the cash prize: Any or all cash prizes will be awarded via Paypal and paid in US Dollars. To win the additional cash that is available if you own any of the 12 titles listed in this giveaway, you will need to provide proof that you have purchased each of the titles you are claiming the cash for. This can be through an order history screen shot in Amazon, or physical receipts from other retailers. The purchase has to have been for a physical amount and cannot be proof of having used a coupon code to download the title for free, such as the type of coupon codes we use for reviewer copies. The proof of purchase can be for either the digital or print version. The burden to provide proof of purchase will need to be on the winner. All purchases must have been made on or before July 30, 2016 to be eligible for the additional cash award. You do not have to provide this proof of purchase prior to the end of the giveaway. Only the winner of this giveaway will need to provide this proof and will have 10 days from the date their name is drawn. If a winner is drawn who has not purchased any of the above books, they will still receive the original prize of the Kindle Fire and the 12 digital books (or the alternative International prize.) If you have any further questions regarding this giveaway, please don’t hesitate to contact us at: info@cleanteenpublishing.com.

June is Audiobook Month


June is Audiobook Month!

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June is audiobook month. I am a SERIOUS audiobook addict. Any moment I’m not working, I’m listening. I can carry on conversations and go about my day with the book still going, rarely having to rewind as long as it’s not an involved conversation. I mean, I take breaks, of course lol. My husband likes to talk occasionally. 😉 But even with the people who enable my habit (thank you, by the way 😊), with my Audible membership, and with whispersync audio so I never actually pay full price for an audiobook, it can be an expensive habit. However, it’s worth EVERY penny to my sanity.

I have thousands of kindle books lol, but even when I have the book itself, I get upset and just say, “oh well,” if I can’t find the audio. Reading used to be my absolute favorite thing in the world to do. When my job made it hard to differentiate between work and pleasure reading, listening became a lifeline I grasped with both hands. (It’s harder to hear mistakes, though I still find myself hearing them more the longer I listen lol).

Listening takes books and makes them into movies in my head–complete with different character voices if the narrator is good. (I only listen to good narrators. If I can’t handle the person’s voice, I can’t make it through the book. That is one of the only downs to audio. The other is that not every book is available on audio.)

Audio, just as paper or electronic books used to do (and still do in work), transport me out to places I’ve never been and takes me on adventures that leave me reeling. The best thing about audio is that you don’t have to just sit and take hours doing nothing. You can clean while surviving the apocalypse, you can walk the track while sailing the high seas, you can drive while falling in love with a new character, and you can sit through your kids many practices and games “watching” with the secret earbud in your ear while you find the cure for the zombie outbreak.

I always thought I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on them. That because my brain never stops, I wouldn’t comprehend them. It was a challenge at first. It’s something you have to kind of teach yourself. And depending on your mood, some days are harder than others. But eight times out of ten, it’s a seamless connection. One that calms my heart rate, soothes my worries, sweeps away my stress, and allows my brain to find the peace it needs.

If you have an anxious brain or one that never stops with the worrying, what haves, what might bes, what you need to do, what everyone else needs, etc, audio is like a Xanax. It’s allows for me time with a simple slip of a bud in your ear. With only one in, you can stay attuned to the world, listen to your kids, answer questions, and live a normal life. But when you get the rare chance to slip them both in, it’s a transportation to a place that only exists in the ether of you and the words. It’s bliss.

Audio has transformed all the mundane parts of my life that were usually filled with my brain on overdrive into enjoyable tasks (well, cleaning is never enjoyable lol, but a book makes it bearable 😉). It opened up more opportunities to experience new things. It got me off the couch in my spare time.

This month, I challenge you to try an audiobook. Pick one you’ve wanted to read, listen to the sample and make sure the narrator is a great one, or ask for recommendations. Keep an open mind and slip on the headphones. (Wireless ones where you can choose to put in one or both buds are the best.) Escape to another world while you do your chores or on your commute. Let me know how you like it. ‪#‎audiobookmonth‬ ‪#‎iloveaudio‬

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My recommendations for audiobooks are:

Until the End of the World is free on Amazon, so don’t use these series as your free Audible credits if you are a new member. It is whispersync ready, which means if you buy the kindle book for $0.00, you get the audio for a reduced rated. I think it was like $2.99 after buying the eBook. The whole series is amazing. I think they are all also whispersync ready. However, the novella, So Long, Lollipops, is FREE on Audible, but $0.99 on Amazon, so don’t buy it on Amazon. Don’t listen to it first either. It has to be listened to after the first book.

 

 

 

The Lunar Chronicles is also an amazing series that you must check out. The narrator is so good. If you are new to Audible, these are the books you should get for free when you sign up.

 

 

 

 

Of course, anybody who knows me knows I LOVE Harry Potter. The audio of the books is amazing. Even if you have read the books, you must listen to them. It is a whole new experience altogether.


 

 

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Editing Services (2016)


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NEW WEBSITE

Putting your manuscript into someone else’s hands is a scary task. With four years of experience, a BA in English/Literature, and over three hundred edited books, this is where I can help. My pledge is to treat your book with the respect it deserves, working with you to polish your dream into a reality. Everything from proofreads to detailed copy edits, and even money-saving packages, I can give you the best service possible at an affordable price.

Prices & Packages: 

Proofreading starts at .0045 a word

Proofreading is done on a final draft and includes line-by-line correction of spelling, grammar, and minor sentence structure issues. Each proofread receives at least two passes before being sent back to the author. This package does not include second edit after author reviews changes.

Package fees are baseline fees. Please be aware that books that need excessive editing outside of the package picked may lead to extra fees. The fees will be discussed with the author before any work is done

Anything under 20,000 words is automatically $100.

Detailed Copy Editing starts at .0060 a word

Copy Editing is done on a final draft and includes detailed, line-by-line editing for sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and, if needed, other issues that do not require major changes, such as plot consistency, character analysis, and style. Each detailed copy edit receives at least two passes before being sent back to the author. This package does not include second edit after author reviews changes.

Package fees are baseline fees. Please be aware that books that need excessive editing outside of the package picked may lead to extra fees. The fees will be discussed with the author before any work is done

Anything under 20,000 words is automatically $125.

Detailed Copy Editing & Proofread Package starts at .0080 a word

(Recommended)

This is the package I recommend most for every author, as well as my best-selling and best-value package. It also includes a free blurb edit ($35 value). The Detailed Copy Editing and Proofread Package combines both services. This package has two different steps. First, Detailed Copy Editing will be done to a manuscript and sent back to the author. The author will then make all the changes they need to based on offered suggestions. Once the author has finished this stage and sent it back, a thorough Proofread will be done on the finished product. Please refer to the above explanations for each service to see what they entail. This is the most cost-effective package if you desire both a detailed copy edit as well as a final proofread after suggested changes have been made. This package gives the most-polished end product. It is the author’s responsibility to supply the blurb at the time of the edit.

Package fees are baseline fees. Please be aware that books that need excessive editing outside of the package picked may lead to extra fees. The fees will be discussed with the author before any work is done

Anything under 20,000 words is automatically $165.

$35 Flat Rate for Blurb Editing & Critique

Need help making your blurb great? Need a fresh pair of eyes to check for errors and readability? This is your option. This is a flat-rate service with a two-day turnaround. 

$50 Flat Rate for Small Jobs

Almost anything under 2500 words, such as query letters. (Query letter format)

Experience:

BA from Grand Canyon University in English/Literature.

Graduated with Honors: Cum Laude.

Four Years of Experience.

Editor in chief for Clean Teen Publishing and Crimson Tree Publishing. www.cleanteenpublishing.com and http://www.crimsontreepublishing.com.

I have edited, compiled, and published four anthologies through Indie Style Press, which is a compilation of Editing Services by Cynthia Shepp & Phycel Designs by Rene Folsom, Author. 

Apocalypse: An Anthology by Authors & Readers, Paranormal Anthology with a TWIST, Stalkers: A Collection of Thriller Stories, and Stardust: A Futuristic Romance Collection.  You can find these on Amazon.

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Terms and Conditions:

I occasionally update my Terms and Conditions. It is the client’s responsibility to occasionally glance at them to see if anything has changed. 

MANUSCRIPTS must be submitted in Times New Roman, size 12 font, and double spaced. If they are not, I will change them. It makes the editing process cleaner and easier.

I DO NOT edit non-fiction books. However, I will edit non-fiction articles, website material, press releases, and other such subject matter. I am also not familiar with UK grammar. I will edit UK books, but only if they are being completely Americanized.  If you want to keep some UK tone, (colour instead of color, sayings, etc) that is fine. You just have to make sure to tell me. However, any and all grammar related issues that I do recognize will be Americanized.

GRAPHIC and/or gratuitous RAPE scenes are not accepted. Books containing them are subject to IMMEDIATE return without refund or completion.

HOWEVER, books that contain rape are not an automatic no. A girl trying to get over being raped, a fade-to-black rape scene that is integral to the story, a book about rape that inspires hope in victims, a crime book that manages to impress the violence without making it graphic and pleasingly sexual, etc… would all be considered and most likely accepted. Please just explain the scenes to me. Erotica books that use rape as something pleasingly sexual, or any book that does, or any book that describes rape in graphic, violent, sexual, scene-by-scene detail, will not be accepted and if in a book I accepted without my knowledge, will be returned with NO REFUND OR COMPLETION. (Rape Clause Added October 20, 2015)

AUTHORS are responsible for getting their books to me by the date agreed upon. If I have not received it within two days of the agreed upon date, I will move on to the next in line, unless I have an email from the author and we agree on other terms.

RUSH jobs, which I very rarely take, will incur a fee. It will depend on length and time given to finish. The start amount is $100, and it goes up from there.

PLEASE be aware that books that need excessive editing outside of the package picked may lead to extra fees. The fees will be discussed with the author before any work is done. If while editing the book, excessive editing outside the package becomes a problem, progress will halt while the author is contacted. This rarely happens. However, I have had a book for proofread that the sample was great, but when I received the book, only the first two chapters were acceptable. The rest needed more of a developmental edit. This is the reason I mainly ask for middle-of-the-book samples.

PAYMENT is accepted up front. An invoice will be sent through PayPal when the manuscript is received. No work will be done until invoice is paid in full. PayPal fees are calculated and added to final bill. A $100 cancellation fee will be charged if the client cancels their time slot less than a week before their date. A $50 cancellation fee will be charged if the client cancels their time slot less than two weeks before their date. This fee is strictly enforced.

HOLIDAYS and holiday weekends DO NOT count toward the estimated amount of time given to edit your manuscript. Those times are spent with my family. We always take a vacation during the week of Thanksgiving and one week in the summer. Please be respectful of those times. If any of those fall during your time period, please be aware of this. Example: If you are given a time period over Christmas, please be aware the holidays will interfere with the edit time. Times given are estimates unless completely firmed up with me by way of a pre-order publication date. Two-week turnarounds are no longer automatically given. Manuscripts are given my complete attention and are turned over in as timely a manner as possible. Sometimes, life happens. Please be patient.

***I am NOT a developmental editor. I am a final-draft editor. If you are a FIRST-TIME author who needs extensive help with plot, character development, and flow, I would recommend you hire a developmental editor to work with you through the different stages of pre-editing before you contact me.***

I reserve the right to refuse any and all manuscripts at my discretion.

 

Contact Details:

To contact me about availability, questions, or to submit your manuscript, please email me at cynthiashepp@yahoo.com. Please be aware that my schedule fills up quickly. For assurance of a spot, a 4-6 week pre-schedule is necessary. However, do not hesitate to contact me about sooner availability. It is possible that I have open spots.

(Many are not listed due to privacy)

Jason Brant: The Gate, Tartarus, Sheol, The Dark, Devoured, Consumed, Ravaged, Ash, Madness, The Perfect Crime

Marquita Valentine: (NYT and USA Today Best-selling Author) Twice Tempted, Just Desserts, Only For You , True For You, Not Over You, Wish For You, Burn For You, The Request, Be Mine, All the Right Moves, The Deception, Need You Tonight, Love So Hot, Dare Me Once, Love So True, Love So Irrestible, The Forgotten Bride, The Temporary Bride, The Billionaire Bride, Seducing the Billionaire’s Wife, Skin Deep,

Sawyer Bennett: (USA Today Best-selling Author) Off Course, If I Return, Forever Young, Off Chance, Legal Affairs 1-6, On the Rocks, Make it a Double, Confessions of a Litigation God, Sugar on the Edge, Uncivilized, Off Season, With a Twist, Off Duty, Shaken Not Stirred, Wicked Fall, Clash, Crash, Grind, Yield, Love Uncivilized, Wicked Lust

Rene Folsom: Heart You, Voices of the Soul, Eyes of the Soul, Truths of the Soul, Blood of the Soul, Secrets of the Soul, Bind Me, Hearts of the Soul, Shuttered Affections, Exposed Affections, Flatter Me, For Liberty, Adventurous, Tempt, The Wager, Game Changer, Trust, Trapt, The Break, Game On, Promise You,

Shelly Crane: (NYT Best-selling Author) Smash Into You

Tabatha Vargo: (NYT Best-Selling Author) On The Plus Side

Tabatha Vargo & Melissa Andrea: (NYT Best-Selling Authors) The Procedure

Jon Messenger: The Brink of Distinction Trilogy, Card Tricks, Rage

T.L. Frye: The Secret of Magik and Dragons

Rebecca Gober & Courtney Nuckels: Exposing Ele, Surviving Ele, Ending Ele

Magen McMinimy: Blood Claim, Resurrection Stone, Shadowed Memories, Primal Hunger, Immortal Craving, Primal Calling, Immortal Promise, Immortal Blood, Immortal Rapture, Immortal Rising, Wicked Perfection

Tanith Morse: Super Dark 2 and Super Dark 3

Rene Folson & Juli Valenti: Adventurous, Bound, Charming

Hans Cummings: Zack Jackson & The Cytherean Academy, Zack Jackson & The Hives of Valtra

Rachael James: Hook, Line, and Garter, Crazy B*tch, Baby B*tch

Erika Kathryn: Audie the Angel and the Angel Army, Audie the Angel: Plague

Phil Taylor: White Picket Prisons, 50 Shades of Phil, The Sneaker Tree

Nicholas Andrews: Festival of the Saints, Babyface Fire

Cheyanne Young: Powered

Shelby Fallon: Stealing Grace, Taking Faith

Ryan Casey: The Painting, The Disappearing

Jennifer Foor: Hustle Him

Andris Bear: Angel Unleashed, Demon Undamned, All Wicked’s Eve, Lover’s Lane, Memory Lane, Dead End Lane, Inked, Daring to Fall

M.L. Ryan: Special Offers, Special Attraction, Special Passage

Nicki Scalise: Prayer for the Dead

Jennifer Clay: The Other Side of Normal

Bart Hopkins: Dead Ends

Michael Loring: Number Eighteen, Say My Name

Dawn Husted: Safe

E.G. Gaddess: Dhampyr Journey

Jim Proctor: Made in the Stars, Veronica Phoenix

G.E. Saturley: The Real Deal

Toni Aleo: (NYT and USA Today Best-Selling Author) Breaking Away, Tangled in the Laces, The Whiskey Prince

Shaun Dowdall: Rebirth (A Thousand Hearts), Second Chance, From Beyond, Chrysalis Blooms 1-2

Kay Bratt: Somewhere Beautiful

Sonya Loveday: The Summer I Fell, End Note, If Ever I Fall

Candace Knoebel: Evernight, Everlost

Sonya Loveday & Candace Knoebel: Love Always, Runaway Heart

Stephanie Summers: Haunting, Awakening

Stephanie Erickson: Unseen, The Dead Room, Unforgiven, Undivided, The Fate

Kyan Yauchler: Homeostasis Lost, Autumn Nation

Katie French: The Brothers, Clay: A Breeder’s Story

Marta Brown: Sun-Kissed Summer

Shelbi Wescott: Virulent Stories

Peter Boland: The Spiral Arm Episodes 2-4

Pete Bauer: Kneel and Pray, Lost and Found

Annalise Nixon: Hard Place 1-6

Anthologies: Apocalypse, Twist, Stalkers, and Stardust

Clean Teen Publishing:

Rebecca Gober & Courtney Nuckels: Exposing Ele, Surviving Ele, Ending Ele

Gabrielle Arrowsmith: Concealed in the Shadows, Released from the Darkness, Reduced to Dust

Cindy Saunders: Double Star

Wonderstruck: Various Authors

B.T. Lyons: Heartkeeper, Heartbound

Jon Messenger: Wind Warrior, Flame Caller, Water Shaper, Earth God

Lauren Nicolle Taylor: The Woodlands, The Wall, The Wounded, The Wanted, The Willful (Woodlands Novella), Nora and Kettle

Jennifer Anne Davis: The Key, Red, War, Cage of Deceit

Holly Kelly: Rising, Descending, Avenging

Melissa J. Cunningham: Reluctant Guardian, The Elementalist, The Celestine Sword

Erica Kiefer: Lingering Echoes, Rumors, Vanishing Act

Kelly Risser: Never Forgotten, Current Impressions, Always Remembered, Sea of Memories

Sherry Ficklin: Haunting Zoe, Queen of Someday, Queen of Tomorrow, Queen of Always, Playing With Fire, In Too Deep

Delsheree Gladden: Wicked Power, Wicked Glory

Neil Harris: The Last Orphan, The Harvest, Enslaved

Amanda Strong: The Awakener, Hidden Monster, Holy and the Fallen, Inner Demons

Michelle K. Pickett: Finding Willow, Unspeakable, Milayna, Milayna’s Angel, The Innocent

K.C. Finn: A Place Halfway

Sandy Goldsworthy: Aftermath, Aftershock

Renee Shearer: The Hunted, The Forsaken

Shannon Maynard: Wicked Luck, Wicked Fate

Tyler Jolley and Sherry D. Ficklin: Prodigal, Riven

Audrey Greathouse: The Neverland Wars

Jennifer Derrick: Broken Fate

Audrey Greathouse: The Neverland Wars

Kendra Saunders: Dating an Alien Pop Star

Crimson Tree Publishing:

Alicia Michaels: Secrets (Bionics 3), Spark (Bionics 4), Flame (Bionics 5), Revolt (Bionics 6), The Resistance

Jon Messenger: Brink of Distinction series, Wolves of the Northern Rift, The Blood Thief of Whitten Hall, The Golem of Solomon’s Way

Peggy Martinez: Sweet Contradiction, Perfect Contradiction, Contradiction Cookbook

Ranae Glass: Chasing Daybreak, Chasing Midnight

June Stevens: Voodoo Moon

 

References:

Clean Teen and Crimson Tree Publishing: 

We have worked with numerous other editors in the past. There hasn’t been one that has stood out from the crowd for us like Cynthia Shepp has. Cynthia’s edits are not only thorough and accurate, but she offers a personal touch by adding simplified grammar lessons along with her edits to help our authors grow. Her professionalism and desire to go the extra mile make her a notch above the rest. We will continue to use Cynthia for our editing services for many years to come!

Marquita Valentine:

I highly recommend working with Cynthia for all of your editing needs. She always goes the extra mile, and catches things that most others wouldn’t in a manuscript. I find her prices reasonable and her work exceptional. I plan to continue to work with Cynthia on future projects. (New York Times and USA Today Best-Selling Author)

Jason Brant:

For anyone reading this and thinking about hiring Cynthia Shepp, let me tell you to stop waffling around and do it.  That’s a decision you won’t regret.  Her quality of work is so spectacular that she is now my full time editor.  My prose is stronger, my characters more believable, and my stories more plausible because of the fantastic work she has done.

Timely, accurate, professional, and affordable – what more could you ask for?

Jon Messenger:

Like most independent authors, I spent a significant amount of time looking for a quality editor.  I tried companies that didn’t live up to my expectation.  I found numerous editors who charged far more than Cynthia did but, when compared side-by-side, Cynthia’s editing work was of a far higher quality.

If you’re looking for an editor, you won’t find a better quality for a better price and a quicker turn around.  Cynthia is absolutely dedicated to providing the highest quality editorial services.  Her editing was so impressive that I’ve even hired her to re-edit novels that I’ve already published, just because she makes my work that much better.

If you’re still on the fence or searching for an editor, hire Cynthia.  You won’t be disappointed.

Sawyer Bennett:

Cynthia just finished a manuscript for me and I cannot even begin to describe how thrilled I am by her work. It was thorough and professionally executed. Her insight into my work was invaluable. I will be using Cynthia for all of my future editing work. I cannot sing her praises loud enough. (USA Today Best-Selling Author)

Tanith Morse:

Let me start by saying that I have worked with a LOT of editors and Cynthia is hands down the best ever. Not only is she first rate at spotting all those little typos and continuity errors that all authors dread but her turn around time is nothing short of miraculous. Throughout working with Cynthia she was always a consummate professional, always keeping me up to date with her progress and, wait for it … she actually delivered the project THREE days earlier than agreed. Cynthia is a truly marvelous editor and I cannot recommend her highly enough. If you are an Indie author concerned about finding a diamond in all the murky waters of sub par editors I can wholeheartedly say that Cynthia is the real deal. A truly first rate editor that I will be recommending to all my friends.

Phil Taylor:

I recently received my first manuscript edited by Cynthia Shepp. I was blown away by the quality of her work. Her editing increased the quality of my writing immeasurably. Her rates gave me an incredible return on my investment and she was fast as well. I could not be more satisfied. I plan to use her again and have no hesitation at all recommending her to others. Thank you, Cynthia!

Hans Cummings:

I’ve worked with other editors before Cynthia, but she is the one I will be going back to. Her feedback was extremely helpful and her communication was great. There are many comments already left here which sum up my feelings for working with her, so I’ll just say: they’re right!

Cheyanne Young:

Cynthia is a fabulous editor with a really quick turnaround time. She promised dates to me and they were met with no problem. One thing I really liked about her editing was that she would include the reason why she changed some of my grammar errors, thus enabling me to learn from my mistakes and not make them again. I found that super helpful and it was a way of going above and beyond when editing my novel. I can’t wait to have her edit all of my future novels.

Shaun Dowdall:

Cynthia was recommended to myself by my cover designer and I must say I was more than impressed by the quality and efficiency of her work! I would definitely recommend her services for editing and I hope to work with her again once my second draft is complete! Wonderful job on my blurb. Thank you very much.

Rachel James:

I recently hired Cynthia Shepp to edit my manuscript and to critique my blurb. I was positively thrilled with the results. Not only is Cynthia professional, timely, and affordable, she was also very much committed to bringing out the best in both. I have learned so much from the experience, and I truly believe she has helped me become a better writer. For anyone looking for an editor, I cannot recommend her strongly enough. We have already begun discussing my next project, and I am very much looking forward to working with her in the future. Cynthia, you are fabulous!

Andris Bear:

Cynthia is fabulous–efficient, professional, and affordable. She met my high expectations on a tight schedule and was delightful to work with. She explains her reasons behind every suggestion (which is a big value to the flighty, anal retentive, worrywarts such as myself). I cannot recommend her enough and will definitely hire her again!

S.L. Dearing:

I have been fortunate enough to have three of my short stories chosen to be in Cynthia’s Anthologies and through the course of being chosen I have also had the opportunity to be exposed to her editing abilities.  She is exactly what a writer is looking for in an editor!  She is thorough, detailed, knowledgeable and interactive.  She is looking to make your manuscript the best it can be not only when it comes to correcting the grammar and punctuation, but also the flow and content.  She is definitely my first choice when my next novel is finished and I have complete confidence in her ability to make me shine!

Tara Moeller:

Best.  Editor.  Ever.  Seriously.  She is fast, good, and friendly.  She does an excellent job, without taking your voice out of your work. 

M.L. Ryan:

If you are thinking of hiring an editor, you can’t do better than Cynthia.  A consummate professional, she is thorough, prompt, and a joy to work with.  I can’t envision trusting my future manuscripts to anyone else, and you shouldn’t either!

Jim Proctor:

Cynthia edited a short story for me, and I was thrilled with the results. I had thought that the story was well written, having carefully gone over it numerous times. Cynthia’s edits amazed me. She made my work shine. She made rough sections flow beautifully. She suggested changes that made the story better without changing my meaning. Her comments explaining various issues throughout the story were very clear and extremely helpful. I was blown away. Her work is impeccable and her prices are very reasonable. I will never publish another book or story without hiring Cynthia to edit it.

Carrie Avery Moriarty:

Cynthia was great in editing my short story. She was concise in her changes, never making the story deviate from the original, and helped me present a better finished project. If she was unsure of my intentions, she asked for clarification. This was helpful because I was able to see where a reader would question what I had written. I couldn’t ask for a better editor for my work.

Kay Bratt:

When it comes to editing, Cynthia Shepp is one of the best. I’m first and foremost a storyteller, and I’ll admit my weakness is grammar and its plethora of rules. However, with Cynthia on the job, I can rest easy knowing that her attention to detail will give my manuscript that professional touch it needs. (Bestselling author of The Tales of the Scavenger’s Daughters.)

Pete Bauer:

Cynthia Shepp’s skills are top-notch. She has an extensive knowledge about the genre and age range for which my book was intended and gave clear, concise guidance on areas of concern. She has an eagle eye when it comes to finding punctuation, spelling or grammatical mistakes. No matter how many times I’ve read my book or had it read by others, Cynthia was able to spot the places we missed.

Best of all, Cynthia is a dream to work with. She was clear in her communication and remained true to her word on expectations and process, delivering her services in a timely manner. I spent a lot of time researching editors and her previous/current clients were all unified in their satisfaction. Like them, I couldn’t be happier.

Marta Brown

I cannot thank Cynthia enough! She is an amazing editor who goes above and beyond for her clients. She is a real find. Quick, kind, and a consummate professional. You will not be disappointed!

Stephanie Erickson

I have worked with Cynthia Shepp on my last four books, and I have no intention of stopping any time soon. As a perfectionist, I require two things from my editorial team: Accuracy and reliability.

Cynthia does an amazing job editing. One of the most consistent compliments my books get is that they are well edited. That is thanks to Cynthia’s critical eye and firm grasp of grammatical rules. Not only will she make a change, but she cites why the change was made, and even includes online links so you can see—and understand—for yourself.

Second, with such a tight publishing schedule, I have to have someone reliable, and Cynthia is just that. She tells you upfront when she can have your project done, and then she delivers on or before that date. That quality is priceless to me, and it helps me meet all my deadlines.

I highly recommend Cynthia for all your editing needs. Seriously, she’s amazing. Stop reading this now and get in touch with her. I mean it.

A.G. Henley

Cynthia did an excellent job proofreading my novel, The Fire Sisters. She was timely, professional, detailed, and always available for questions. She even taught me a few tips and tricks to make my next manuscript better. I highly recommend her! (author of The Scourge, a 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Award finalist)

__________

Contact: cynthiashepp@yahoo.com

(No Refunds… No Exceptions.)

I always recommend that authors send the manuscript to betas after editing. No manuscript will ever be 100% perfect. Betas can help find those stray errors before publication. They are a valuable asset.

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Giveaway from Stephanie Erickson


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Mackenzie Day constantly struggles to silence the voices in her head. The inner thoughts of those around her intrude upon every aspect of her life, threatening to turn it into chaos. 

All her life, she thought she was alone as a mind reader—a freak. 

Then a member of a secret organization called The Unseen suddenly introduces himself, and she’s immersed in a world she never knew existed. They teach her to hone her skills as a reader, but to what end? Secrets surround her, humming just out of reach, filling her with questions. 

Who are they? What do they do with their mind-reading abilities? In the end, just how far will Mackenzie go to be part of The Unseen?

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$25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Stephanie on Facebook

A Note from A Stranger


As most of you know, I am fixing to undergo a hysterectomy. I ordered a book USED called Through the Land of Hyster: The Hyster Sisters Guide. This book contains pre-op and post-op information, checklists, helpful hints for recovery and more. Advice given in the book is shared as a form of sisterly advice and women to women support. “Bedtime Stories for Hyster Sisters” are included to add to the sisterly charm of this book. This book reflects the solid information along with a bit of humor known at the Hyster Sisters website. I adore the website. It is a great place for any woman considering, getting, or recovering from a hysterectomy.

Regardless, the book I ordered was a USED book in perfect condition. Inside this book, I found a note that made my day. I thought it needed to be shared. People are wonderful. I just thought that people should know that. A simple note from a stranger can make a whole day brighter. God is good. 

I also want to thank everyone donating to my GoFundMe. You have no idea how much it means to me. ❤

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SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY (SHATTER POINT by JEFF ALTABEF)


3D-ShatterPointAbout the book: Maggie met Cooper at a young age, but even then she sensed something was wrong with him. His charm, good looks, and wealth could not hide the danger that burned in his sapphire eyes.
Some nightmares don’t go away. He’d been haunting her from a distance for as long as she could remember.

Now things have changed.

When her sons Jack and Tom discover she’s been taken, they set out to rescue her and uncover nefarious family secrets, explosive government conspiracies, and a series of horrific murders along the way. Only their colorful great aunt and a covert resistance group can help them navigate the dark underworld full of political subterfuge and class warfare.

All the while, Maggie struggles to outwit her tormentor in a life and death psychological battle of tense desperation. Will Jack and Tom arrive before Cooper reaches his shatter point?

Midwest Book Review has described Jeff Altabef as an “articulate and engaging story teller” and “a contemporary novelist of considerable merit and imagination.”

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Readers' Favorite 5-Star ReviewReader’s Favorite has given Shatter Point two 5 Star Reviews!

This is one of those books that no reader will be able to part with until they reach the end, I guarantee it. —Anne-Marie Reynolds, Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews and Awards

This book has myriad twists and turns that will keep you holding on and wondering what is coming next.—Kathryn Bennett, Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews and Awards

 

 

About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win a $15.00 gift cards to Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or an autographed copy of Shatter Point!

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HeadshotAbout the author: Jeff Altabef lives in New York with his wife, two daughters, and Charlie the dog. He spends time volunteering at the writing center in the local community college. After years of being accused of “telling stories,” he thought he would make it official. He writes in both the thriller and young adult genres. Fourteenth Colony, a political thriller, is his debut novel. Jeff has a blog designed to encourage writing by those that like telling stories. You can find his blog, The Accidental Writers Workshop, on The Patch.

Connect with Jeff on his website, Facebook, Twitter,or GoodReads.

 

Read an Exceprt!

I’m a killer. No better than a common murderer, and worse, really. More like a serial killer who can’t help himself as he takes life after life, unable to stop even if he wished he could.

Darian frowned at the corpse on the stainless steel autopsy table. “Damn it, Zeus, I thought you were going to make it.” His frown deepened until long lines etched into his face. Remorse wasn’t good enough. It was useless. Pointless, really. Remorse would not bring Zeus or any of the others back.
He glanced at the video projections of Zeus’s brain development. His original brain on the left screen appeared normally formed and perfectly functional. The one on the right showed Zeus’s brain after he had injected him. Misshapen and grotesque, it was so overdeveloped it strained against the skull.
Darian shook his head. “Not again. I can’t lose another batch of test subjects.”
“We’re making progress, Doctor Beck. This time, the brain enlargement slowed at the end. With some adjustments, next time it might stop before….” George attempted to smile, but only the tips of his lips responded. Twice Darian’s age, he was so optimistic he could see the silver lining in a hurricane, but this lethal turn of events left even him speechless.
“We’re missing something critical. We need to stop the brain development before it overwhelms the subject.” Darian peered through the glass wall that separated the autopsy room from the rest of the laboratory. The remaining five subjects sat perfectly straight and stared mournfully at the glass as if Darian and Zeus and the table with death hovering above it drew their gaze.
An icy chill tickled its way up his spine. The others had no idea Zeus had died. They were often separated. To them, the glass wall was a simple mirror. They had no idea—could have no idea—a laboratory sat beyond the glass, yet he suspected they knew the truth: that Zeus was dead and he the killer.
Darian nodded toward the remaining subjects. “It’s odd that they haven’t eaten their breakfast. It’s already past noon. They must be hungry.”
Color drained from George’s face. “It’s unnatural for them to stare at the mirror like that.”
Darian pressed a button on a keypad and the one-way glass window turned gray, blocking the other subjects from view. Led Zeppelin started playing. “It’s just our imagination. Hand me the circular saw. Let’s hope we can learn enough from Zeus to save his friends.”
George handed him the shiny autopsy tool, but before he switched it on, the lab door swung open and Brenda Callaghan darted into the room. The normally composed, rather attractive young researcher appeared ashen, her jaw clenched tight.
“What’s wrong, Brenda?”

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River’s Remorse Release Day Blitz & Giveaway (Charlotte Abel)


 
After waiting for…ever, it’s finally here. The sequel to River’s Recruit is now available! 
To thank her loyal followers for their patience and encouragement, Charlotte Abel is making it available for the first twenty-four hours for just $.99. On June 21st, the price will go up so grab it while it’s a bargain.
 
 
http://bit.ly/RiversRemorse
 
Here’s an excerpt from River’s Remorse:
 
Jonathan closed Ephraim’s journal then put it in the fireproof safe in the basement. He rubbed his eyes. He had no trouble seeing the tiny words, thanks to his enhanced vision, but it didn’t help him decipher Ephraim’s nearly illegible handwriting. It was pretty to look at but a bitch to read. 
Thanks to Dad’s genealogy addiction, he was used to reading that type of stylized writing. He’d already studied the book with a magnifying glass and was able to tell Jonathan what he needed to know. He knew not to eat or drink anything in wolf form—unless he wanted to be a wolf for the rest of his life. He also knew he needed to be careful about how much time he spent as a wolf and that he needed to stay in charge. He’d figured that part out on his own the night he merged.
There was a lot of stuff about shifter history and lore, but that could wait. It was fascinating, but Jonathan needed to focus on the things that would keep him alive and human. 
He hadn’t shifted again since merging, and didn’t want to, but apparently he didn’t have a choice when the moon was full.
He locked the basement door, double checked the plywood sheets he’d nailed over the windows then stripped and removed his prosthesis. He wrapped a towel around his waist then FaceTimed Dad. “Okay, I’m ready.”
“I wish I could help you.”
“You are helping me.” Jonathan didn’t know how out of control things might get so there was no way he was endangering Dad by letting him stay in the basement with him. “Promise me you won’t try to come down here.”
“I can’t even get out of bed without help.” Dad’s bitter tone surprised Jonathan. It was the first time he’d heard him complain about anything to do with his illness.
“There’s nothing you can do down here that you can’t do over the phone. The sound of your voice will help me remember who I am.” Jonathan hoped it would be enough. According to Ephraim’s journal, he should be surrounded by older, more experienced shifters. He hoped River was with Reuben. 
The thought of her ignited a radiant heat deep inside his chest. Ever since he’d merged, he felt her presence. It was a blessing and a curse. Their connection was real and tangible and he was grateful to have it. But the need to find her ate at him like an addiction. 
Electricity charged the air. Jonathan’s hair stood up on end. He didn’t want to short out his phone, so he propped it up on a box then scooted over until his entire body was in view of the camera. “Can you see me okay?”
Dad nodded. “Plain as day.”
“Can you reach your water?”
“I’m fine, son. How are you feeling?”
“Itchy.” Jonathan scratched his chest. His bones ached, but he wasn’t going to complain about pain to Dad. “I feel like bugs are crawling all over me.”
“Don’t fight it. Embrace the change. Let your wolf help, but stay in control.”
Tremors racked Jonathan’s body as fever consumed him. His connection to River intensified exponentially. She must have shifted. 
Yes! Run. Find mates!
Jonathan felt as if someone had embedded a giant fish hook in his heart and was trying to reel him in. Beads of sweat popped out across his forehead and upper lip. He gritted his teeth to keep from screaming.
“Jonathan? What’s wrong?”
Dad carried enough guilt about delaying Jonathan’s search for River. He wasn’t going to add more weight to that burden by confessing how much it hurt to fight against their bond. “The fever’s started.”
“It’ll break as soon as you shift.”
Jonathan’s body convulsed then exploded in a blinding flash of pain. But it happened so fast, and disappeared so quickly, he wasn’t sure if the pain was real or imagined. He scrambled to his feet and howled.
Escape. Run.
There was nowhere to run.
Jonathan trotted around the perimeter of the basement, knowing it was futile. He scratched at every board covering every window, but was thwarted by his own prior diligence. A corner piece of plywood splintered under his front paw. He wedged his muzzle into the triangular opening and bit off another chunk. 
“Jonathan? What are you doing? I can’t see you.”
Dad’s worried voice pricked Jonathan’s conscience, but his wolf refused to acknowledge it. He was hellbent on escape. He could almost feel the wind in his fur and the damp gravel under his paws as he ran along a river bank. The sharp tangy scent of pine layered over the sweetness of meadow grass called to him. He knew that he’d find River there. He intensified his efforts, digging and biting at the wood. Splinters pierced his gums and paws, but he barely noticed.
“Jonathan, please, I can hear you tearing something apart but I can’t see you. You’re not on camera.”
Jonathan tried to regain control of his wolf when he heard Dad’s plea, but the beast was too strong. Too determined to escape and find his mate. He knew he wouldn’t be able to shift back until after the moon set, but he tried anyway.
That got his wolf’s attention. He trotted over to the box where Jonathan had set up his phone and hiked his leg.
“No! Jonath—” The screen flickered then went black, silencing the distracting voice.
A feeling of pride and ownership flowed through the wolf. He sniffed his mark then moved to the next box and claimed it, too. 
He marked each wall, establishing his territory. Mine. Mine. Mine. He sniffed the pile of clothes his man had discarded and marked that, too. Mine.
He scratched the floor with his hind legs three times then trotted to the window and got back to work. He would find his mate and bring her here to his new den. They would stay until the man upstairs died then go home.
Happy?
Jonathan was glad that his wolf at least acknowledged his existence, but he was not happy. I can’t believe you pissed on my clothes!

If you haven’t read River’s Recruit yet, pick it up today. And grab River’s Remorse while it’s on sale.

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About Charlotte Abel

Charlotte Abel was born and raised in Oklahoma where she met her soul mate, Pete. She chased him to Boulder, Colorado and finally convinced him they were meant to be together forever. They’ve raised three kids, two ferrets, three dogs and countless hamsters — and are still happily married.
She’s in love with “real” life and paranormal romance. When she’s not reading or writing, Charlotte enjoys hiking, bicycling and primitive archery (although she’s never shot at anything other than a target!)
The final book of The Channie Series, “Finding Valor,” is now available!
Look for “River’s Revenge,” the third book of “The Sanctuary Series” in early 2015.

Jennifer Zane – Crazy In Love Series Book Cover Re-Reveal & Rafflecopter Giveaway – 6/7-6/14


Jennifer Zane


Crazy In Love Series Book Cover Re-Reveal


6/7-6/14

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Jennifer Zane Bio:
Jennifer Zane has lived all over the country–from Georgia to Maryland, New York to Colorado. including an exciting five years in Montana. Her time in Big Sky country was the basis for this book. When she’s not writing, she savors the insanity of raising two boys, is figuring out how many meals she can make with a pressure cooker, and teaches a pretty mean karate class. She currently lives with her family in Colorado.

Email: jennifer@jenniferzane.com 

Website / Facebook / Twitter

 

 

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BOOKS:

Waiting (Crazy In Love Series- Book 1)

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Once you get the zing you can’t go back.

Jane West has everything a woman could want. A job in a small Montana town’s only adult store, two busy young boys and one dead husband. She’s been waiting–for a little zing. That all changes one summer morning at a garage sale with her kids.

Now someone wants their garage sale find and will let nothing get in their way. Including Jane. This new excitement for Jane spells trouble for a relationship with new neighbor–and hot fireman–Ty Strickland. Can Jane and Ty handle a relationship meddling mother-in-law, crazy kids, and stay alive while trying to solve the garage sale mystery? Will their love be worth the wait?

 

Wanting (Crazy In Love Series- Book 2)

Now on sale for .99!

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Veronica Miller is a plumber on a mission—buy out her dad and the family business is finally hers. One big, handsome problem stands in her way. And it’s not a clogged toilet.

Jack Reid is the boy she mooned over in high school. He’s back in town, but he’s no longer a boy. Ten years ago he broke her heart, skipped town and never came back. Now he’s a big shot lawyer in Florida whose uncle feigned a health crisis to trick Jack into coming back into town.  Upon arrival Jack finds his uncle is gone, he’s homeless, and forced to be roommates with the one woman he could never resist.

Jack discovers his lust hasn’t cooled for the sexy Veronica, but neither has her heart forgiven him.  A sex-toy educational party, romance novel writing gone awry, Goldie’s meddling, an escape artist snake, a strange stalker in a fluffy pink coat, a house fire, plumbing gone awry, bitter cold, and a smart-faced garden gnome all conspire to force Jack and Veronica to work through a decade of baggage, disappointment, wanting and unrequited lust while figuring out the mystery behind the stalker.

 

Wondering (Crazy In Love Series – Book 3)

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Emma Hardy hasn’t been able to forget Sam Carter, or his incredible kiss in the elevator. Sadly, he rocked her world (and her libido), then calmly walked away, quit his job, and disappeared for two months. Not exactly the hot kiss follow-up she’d been hoping for. But Sam was busy making plans. And now, thanks to a glued-together gnome name George, a set of handcuffs, mistletoe, and a meddling adult store cupid disguised as aneccentric but innocent grandmother, Emma’s about to get the greatest Christmas gift of all…true love.

 

Wishing (Crazy In Love Series- Book 4)

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Violet Miller is a teacher savoring her summer break until she’s been called in as emergency reinforcements—of the dating kind. She volunteers to help an old flame by pretending to be his girlfriend. In Alaska. At a family reunion. Since the guy is a handsome, lumberjack-sized doctor she’s never quite forgotten, faking a relationship won’t be hard work—while wishing for more.

Mike Ostranski is a desperate man on vacation. His mother wants grandchildren and sees a crazy Alaskan woman as a candidate for daughter-in-law. Mike needs Violet by his side to deflect the lady’s advances.

A week in Alaska as boyfriend and girlfriend should be easy for them. They grew up together, even had a brief fling. What could go wrong?

 

Wanting (Crazy In Love Series- Book 2) – NOW ON SALE FOR $0.99!

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Copyright 2012 – Jennifer Zane
CHAPTER ONE

When little girls play make-believe with their dolls, most pretend they’re mommies or princesses or teachers. Have little tea parties with them, play dress-up. That’s what my sister, Violet, did with hers. Me? I played plumber with mine. I dressed my little Betsy Wets-Alot up in a pair of gray coveralls stolen from a male test pilot action figure I’d found at the toy store. He’d been tossed, naked, into the back of my closet until my sister found him and used him for the groom in her pretend weddings.

Not only did I dress my self-wetting doll in menswear, I ran a straw down the pants leg to divert the faux pee away from her anatomically-incorrect little body. No potty for her. I was five and knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I, Veronica Miller, wanted to be a plumber. Just like my father.
Now, over twenty years later, I’d fulfilled my childhood dream. I was the plumber I’d longed to be, working with my dad. Soon to be working on my own. One last payment to my old man stood between his official retirement and my small business owner status.

I smiled to myself about this almost-upon-me momentous occasion while lathering my hair in the shower. I squealed when the spray of water I was standing beneath went cold and quickly rinsed out the strawberry scented shampoo.

“Stupid hot water heater,” I grumbled to myself as I yanked back the plastic shower curtain and stepped out into the steam filled room. I longed to get back to my own house as Violet’s plumbing system needed some serious work. Even in the thick humidity, goose bumps popped out all over my body as I quickly toweled off and snuggled into my ratty, yet wonderfully comfortable flannel robe.

While I leaned over and rubbed my wet hair with a bright pink towel, I heard it. The sound of a key in a lock, the front door opening. I froze in place upside-down, staring at my knees between the edges of the robe, towel tangled with my long hair. Since I was a plumber, not a law enforcement officer, I lacked the training to keep panic at bay. That hot, adrenaline-induced fear rose up inside me between one heartbeat and the next. I swear the little wet hairs on the back of my neck stood up. Help. I needed to get help, but my cell was in my purse, which I’d dropped by the front door, one room away. No house phone.

I stood up, flipped my dark hair back over my shoulder, held my breath and listened. Rustling and a little mumbling was all I could make out. Who was in the house? Sure, they must have a key since I hadn’t heard a window break, but the only other person who was supposed to have one was Violet, and she was in Utah.

I tiptoed over to the door, bit my lip and winced as I turned the knob and hoped it didn’t squeak. I slowly opened the door as I held my breath. Peeking into the bedroom, I saw nothing out of the ordinary. Barely made bed, dirty clothes tossed haphazardly at the wicker hamper. Something heavy thumped onto the floor from the vicinity of the front door and I looked in that direction as if I had x-ray vision and could see through the wall to the person in the living room.

I squeezed through the small gap I’d made in the bathroom doorway, afraid if I opened it anymore, the old hinges would give me away. Breathing as quietly as possible, which was pretty hard in panic mode, I bent down and grabbed the first thing I could get my hands on to use as a weapon. What I held didn’t register. I knew it was solid wood like a baseball bat and as good as I was going to get for protection.

Violet’s house was small, with only one floor and a scary basement I rarely visited. Living room, kitchen, bedroom and bath. That’s it. Which also meant there wasn’t anywhere to hide.

For breaking and entering, the guy wasn’t Mr. Stealth. It was the middle of the afternoon, he’d come in the front door and he was awfully noisy for someone being where they weren’t supposed to be. Even if he was the worst robber ever, that didn’t mean he wasn’t dangerous.

My palms were sweaty as I peeked around the door jamb into the living room. His back was to me and he appeared to be looking down at something he held in front of him, probably a cell phone. It appeared he was texting, or reading one. Tall, around six feet, maybe a little more, and solid. He wore jeans and dark leather shoes. His black jacket was a lighter weight than one would expect for the dead of winter in Montana in the throes of a bitter cold snap. A gray knit cap covered most of his dark hair.

I didn’t recognize him, but I wasn’t in the mood to wait for him to turn around and see me. I decided to use the element of surprise. I tiptoed over to him and whacked him on the arm with my wooden weapon. Hard.

Thwack!

I’d aimed for his head, but nerves and slick palms messed me up and I hit his shoulder instead. The reverberations tingled in my fingertips.

“What the fuck?” Mr. Intruder said, his voice deep, full of surprise, the cell phone dropped to the floor at his feet. He raised a hand to his upper arm.

As he started to turn to face me, I hit him again, this time on the back of the head.

Crack!

It wasn’t the sound of his skull breaking, but my weapon instead. The wood broke into two, one piece clattering to the floor.

Intruder grunted, fell to his knees with a thunk, then fell face first onto the floral area rug in front of the fireplace, his face turned toward me.
I stood there motionless, stunned, holding half of my broken weapon. Huh, varsity softball had paid off. It appeared I’d hit a home run. I looked down at the prostrate form on the floor. One leg moved a little, which, combined with some groaning, indicated I hadn’t killed him. Even with his eyes closed, I instantly recognized him.

“Oh, shit,” I whispered as I knelt down next to him. The thick wool of the carpet was scratchy against my knees. Why hadn’t I known who it was before I knocked him unconscious? I should have been relieved an axe wielding mad man wasn’t trying to kill me, but I was too surprised instead.

It was Jack Reid. The guy I’d been in love with in high school who I hadn’t seen in over ten years. Ten years where I’d often fantasize about him, about what could have been. I’d often dream about the moment he’d come back into my life, but this definitely wasn’t it. Sure, when he’d gone out with Violet instead of me senior year I’d wanted to kill him, slowly and painfully for doing so, but I’d envisioned strangulation or a pummeling of some kind. Now that I’d possibly killed him, at least knocked him completely unconscious, with—I lifted my broken weapon—the Triple Smacker paddle from my box of sex toys for the toy party I was hosting tonight, I realized the anger and bitterness at his long-ago rejection hadn’t gone away.

How dare he barge into my life again, unannounced, when I wasn’t the least bit ready for him! I wanted make-up, a killer dress, some fuck-me heels on, my hair done, with a hot guy in love with me on my arm when Jack saw me again. To make him see what he’d missed out on. Then I’d crush him beneath my stiletto heel before my lover shifted my attentions elsewhere.

But a robe and tangled, wet hair? A sex toy paddle? Revenge and maybe a little payback would be nice, but a felony conviction for assault? Oh boy.

Dropping the broken paddle onto the floor, I leaned over Jack and gently probed the back of his head. No brains gushing out, no blood seeping from beneath his hat. One huge goose egg of a bump though. I winced, thinking about the headache—maybe concussion—he might have.
Man, he smelled good. Woodsy, clean, male mixed with the fruity scent of my shampoo from my hair tangled about my face. His scent was sexy in an unconscious sort of way.

“Jack, Jack wake up,” I said, gently moving his shoulder. “Jack!” He had to wake up because I couldn’t live with myselfbeing known around town as the woman who killed Jack Reid with a Triple Smacker.

After another groan and a few moans, he rolled onto his back, blinked his eyes a few times and stared at me. At first, unseeing, then with focus.
Boy, even knocked practically unconscious, he sure looked amazing. Ten years had done the man a lot of good. His face was more rugged, jaw more pronounced. It could have been the five o’clock shadow at two in the afternoon that helped with that. He had a fabulous tan. The kind you get from living in Florida. Lips I’d dreamt about kissing when I was sixteen still looked appealing now. His dark hair that peeked out of his cap had a little curl. His blue eyes, even unfocused, were just as I remembered. Longing, once forgotten, flared back to life.

He just stared at me, looking me over as if I was a space alien. I couldn’t tell if he was confused or just addle pated. “Jack, say something.”

He blinked. Smirked, but quickly winced.

“Um.”

Oh God, had I caused him amnesia?

He cleared his throat. “Nice breast.”

I glanced down at myself, one breast was definitely out there for Jack to see, my nipple hard. I yanked at the side of my robe that was glaringly open, my hand at my neck holding the lapels together.

“Is this how you treat all your boyfriends?” His blue eyes had cleared, weren’t quite so foggy as a minute ago. “A kiss hello would probably be better, although maybe that’s not your way.” His gaze dropped to my chest.

My mouth fell open as anger flared. “You’re not my boyfriend. You lost your chance ten years ago,” I said tartly.

Jack leered. The smile he gave me couldn’t be described as anything else. “So you flash everyone who comes through the door, or just me?” He lifted a hand and rubbed the back of his head, winced.

I felt my cheeks burn hot at the thought of my epic wardrobe malfunction. It was completely and utterly mortifying, and on top of that, he was being a complete jerk about it. “Only ones I bash on the head first.”

 

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The Heartless by James Ticknor


The Heartless by James Ticknor

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Eighteen-year-old Menar Redfield, a gifted Healer apprentice, plans to settle in the city of Cajoi with his pregnant fiancée. However, his unexplained visions show him a secret war masked by the king’s political regime, placing them both in danger. When his visions come true, his fiancée is killed in the attack on Cajoi by the Heartless, a malicious raider cult.

In his body-strewn path of vengeance, Menar intercepts intelligence revealing the location of Crual, the Heartless’ sadistic combat commander and the one responsible for the death of his fiancée and unborn child. Menar vows to slaughter Crual and sabotage the Heartless’ insurrection. Yet the more blood he spills, the more a dark power grows within him.

If he can use this power to overcome Crual, end the war, and disband the Heartless, their increasing control over the debilitated country will be stopped. But he must hurry, because the dark power Menar possesses threatens to consume him.




Interview

Will Green: Tell us about your books that you have available.

James Ticknor: The Heartless is my debut novel, and it is the first in a trilogy. It is about a young man preparing to begin his life with his fiancée, but she is killed by a malicious raider cult. This atrocity makes him catapult himself into a clandestine war hidden by a political regime. As the story progresses through the book and the trilogy, his internal struggle fans the flames surrounding a corrupt political hierarchy and incites chaos among factions vying for control of the country. In this trilogy, I kept the action/pace intrigue of Game of Thrones in mind, and I also drew inspiration from the Eragon Cycle in the sense of magic. (Though, there are no dragons in this trilogy. It is light fantasy.)

Will Green: What can you tell us about your next project?

James Ticknor: Quite simply, my next project is going to be working on the second installment of this trilogy. This second novel should come much faster than The Heartless. For my audience, I promise that I will write it in six months. For myself, I promise to write it in three months. That way, I can surprise my readers if I finish early, but I can give myself some slack if I need to. In this second book, the political spectrum and factions are given a bigger spotlight, but I really wanted the first book to be focused on introducing and developing the characters. I know how to execute intrigue while still taking my time, something I admire George RR Martin for very much, and he’s played quite an influence in this trilogy.

Will Green: Where do you get the information for your book(s)?

James Ticknor: Well, at first it was Wikipedia. Then I realized researching was turning into an excuse. It also kind of sucked because I would read something about the era I’m writing in that I found astounding (such as impressing seals as signatures), and I would want to write all about how it’s done. Now, I only research on the edits, and skimp over what I don’t fully know in the first draft.

Will Green: What was the most surprising thing you’ve learned since you started writing?

James Ticknor: Without any shadow of uncertainty, I was immensely surprised that writing something could make me gasp and sting my eyes with tears. I am not an emotional man. I didn’t cry at The Notebook, Titanic, or even Forrest Gump. What I find amazing is that for most things, I kinda already knew what was going to happen. However, I remember when I was writing one part of the story and a character said something totally shocking and out-of-character for himself, and I didn’t gasp until after I had typed it- after he said it. I hold that as proof that characters act for themselves, and they can surprise you.

Will Green: How long does it take you to write a book?

James Ticknor: Oh, God. You know, Stephen King once said that writing a book should never take more than three months. This book took me…oh….nearly 5 years to write. I was writing on and off, because I joined the military and for about 2 years my writing suffered immensely with deployments overseas and training. During that time (before the military) I also experienced homeless and extreme poverty (I’m talking $5 a week to eat off of and nothing else). There were several other personal issues that I would never discuss, but the 5 years it took me to write this is poured with every emotion and influence of going through all this. I will never take so long to write a book again. 3-6 months is ideal, 1 year max. The thing that made it take so long aside from these is I was 16 at the time, and I’m 21 now. My writing style changed very much during that time, and the book was written by a different person in the beginning, middle, and end.

Will Green: Who or What inspires you to write?

James Ticknor: Sad songs inspire me. Seeing a couple kiss. Seeing a leaf fall. Squashing a spider in my house. Anything inspires me to write, because I will craft the craziest shit from the dumbest stuff. It’s easy to be inspired to write, but it’s practically impossible to maintain that inspiration. Inspiration is like an adrenaline shot, but it takes an Olympian writer to keep working after that boost.

Will Green: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

James Ticknor: You know, I had to think for a second before I answered this, and I actually have a good one for you. I’ve always treated my characters as if they were real. Occasionally, I will have them randomly engage in erotic behavior with one another, kill each other for no good reason, etc. Of course, I know I am going to delete this, but the characters are real, and I think they need a little release sometimes. If you’ve ever seen Monster In Law, you know what I mean.

Will Green: What book are you reading right now?

James Ticknor: I am reading two, actually. I am reading Under the Dome by Stephen King, and I am also reading A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin.

Will Green: Who is your favorite author and why?

James Ticknor: Stephen King! Oh God Stephen King! The guy is a freaking literary master, and he has proven it over and over again. He takes the most ordinary things and makes them outrageous, yet still believable. I love hearing how he comes up with stories. However, the main reason I am so enthusiastic about him is because of his interviews. A multi-million dollar entrepreneur, he walks into TV spotlight with blue jeans and a pocket T shirt that only my grandfather would wear. He cusses and engages with the population vocally in the same style of his writing. If I find out he voiced an audiobook of one of his books, I’d buy it and ask him to autograph it. I know it makes no sense, but I’m using “shut up and take my money” logic here.

Will Green: What kind of music do you listen to and why?

James Ticknor: Quite frequently, Evanescence. Although she said in an interview she doesn’t consider herself dark, I think she is. Nearly everything that I write is dark. I’ll otherwise listen to classical music. Songs can sometimes distract me.

Will Green: What do you watch on TV and why?

James Ticknor: I watch Netflix, not cable. On Netflix, I watch Futurama, Family Guy, American Dad, and American Horror Story. I love Disney movies too. I watch these comedy shows because comedy, in my firm belief, is the element of surprise, to get you to look at something in a new way that sparks sudden emotion and physical reaction. For American Horror Story, it’s because I like a long story, but still want to move on to other things at one point. For Disney, it’s just a good story. Also I like understanding the fucked up plots I didn’t understand before. My favorite Disney movie is The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and I love looking back at it because I didn’t understand the religious intolerance, lust, and ethnic persecution when I watched it at 5 years old.

Will Green: What kind of advice could you give an aspiring writer?

James Ticknor: Get the fuck off the internet. That doesn’t mean go and watch TV or check your phone for “just one more text”. Electronic recreational devices or social media is the death of inspiration and writing. How many times have you been inspired from something you read on Facebook? Exactly. No, I’m serious. Don’t argue with me. Get. Off. It.

On another note, live in doubt, but don’t let it cage you. Doubt makes us question all aspects of our writing, which is good. There’s going to be people who hate your writing. Listen to criticism, but be aware of who is speaking (Stephen King quote). I remember when I was in high school I wrote the worst, most profane literary piece to no one in particular. However, it got to the principal somehow. There was no violence, no threats or anything- just cuss words. In this public school where assault warranted 1-2 day suspension, I was initially suspended 10 days with recommendation for expulsion based on that writing piece. That is when the biggest critic of my life made me believe (from the amount of controversy and trouble it caused) that I was damned good writer. The message from that is even if someone hates your work, it can be because you are a very powerful writer.

Connect with James Ticknor

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