Where, oh where have my Zemanta posts gone, oh, where, oh where can they be?

I lost my Zemanta pet, you know the one that lets you attach ‘Recent Articles’ at the bottom of your WordPress blog?

Yes, in January, WordPress did away with Zemanta and now have their own “Recent Articles” feature which only lists past posts from your own blog that might be similar to the one you’re currently writing.  I think this was a big mistake.

For those of you who don’t know, Zemanta is a third-party ultimate blogging assistant and it provided WordPress bloggers fantastic tools to automatically discover related articles to their blogs, in-text links and pictures.  I can’t begin to express how much more efficient blogging became for me and how much easier my life was to find related content.  It also sent my visitors to other blog sites around the globe, increasing other bloggers’ ‘hits’.  What a fantastic idea, right?  I mean, isn’t that what blogging is all about?

I don’t know what happened between WordPress and Zemanta, and honestly, I don’t really care.  All I know is I wanted Zemanta back because I liked the idea of linking other blogs that my readers might be interested in reading.

After scouring the WordPress forums and asking a few questions of my own, I discovered WordPress bloggers can actually bring Zemanta back to their blogs.  All they have to do is go to the Zemanta website and download their browser extension.  It’s compatible with Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Safari.

So, if you’re like me and want your Zemanta “Recent Articles” feature back, just go here, click on your download and voila!

Don’t you love it when you find your lost pets and bring them home?

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5 – no – 6 new Young Adult novels that have me salivating

2014 is chocked full of new YA books that have me salivating and wiggling on the edge of my seat to read.  Here are five that are coming out this month alone.  The last two have me jumping out of my skin (well, not literally, but you know what I mean.)

Release Date:  Jan. 21, 2014:

Now that Nikki has rescued Jack, all she wants is to be with him and graduate high school. But Cole tricked Nikki into feeding off him, and she’s begun the process of turning into an Everliving herself… which means she must feed on a Forfeit soon — or die.

Terrified for her survival, Nikki and Jack begin a desperate attempt to reverse the process using any means possible. Even Cole, who they expected to fight them at every turn, has become an unlikely ally — but how long can it last? Nikki needs to feed on Cole to survive, Cole needs Nikki to gain the throne in the Everneath, Jack needs Nikki because she is everything to him — and together, they must travel back to the Underworld to undo Nikki’s fate and make her mortal once more. But Cole isn’t the only one with plans for Nikki: the Queen has not forgotten Nikki’s treachery, and she wants her destroyed for good. Will Nikki be forced to spend eternity in the Underworld, or does she have what it takes to bring down the Everneath once and for all?

In this stunning conclusion to the Everneath trilogy, Brodi Ashton evokes the resiliency of the human spirit and the indomitable power of true love.

Release Date:  Jan. 23, 2014

Welcome to the world of the fabulously wealthy in London, 1909, where dresses and houses are overwhelmingly opulent, social class means everything, and women are taught to be nothing more than wives and mothers. Into this world comes seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling, who wants only to be an artist—a nearly impossible dream for a girl.

After Vicky poses nude for her illicit art class, she is expelled from her French finishing school. Shamed and scandalized, her parents try to marry her off to the wealthy Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. But Vicky has other things on her mind: her clandestine application to the Royal College of Art; her participation in the suffragette movement; and her growing attraction to a working-class boy who may be her muse—or may be the love of her life. As the world of debutante balls, corsets, and high society obligations closes in around her, Vicky must figure out: just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?

Release Date:  Jan. 28, 2014

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she’s struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn’t easy — not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she’s really safe.

Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She’s sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she’ll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels?

With stunning prose and a captivating mixture of action, romance, and horror, The Unbound delves into a richly imagined world where no choice is easy and love and loss feel like two sides of the same coin.

 (Who’s with me on this one huh???)

Release Date:  Jan. 28, 2014

The earth-shattering conclusion to Veronica Rossi’s “masterpiece” Under the Never Sky trilogy and sequel to the New York Timesbestselling Through the Ever Night (Examiner.com).

Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it’s time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do-and they are just as determined to stay together.

Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won’t even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because Cinder isn’t just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he’s also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

In this final book in her stunning Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.

(Yeah, baby!)

Release Date:  Jan. 28, 2014

The Year of Souls begins with an earthquake—an alarming rumble from deep within the earth—and it’s only the first of greater dangers to come. The Range caldera is preparing to erupt. Ana knows that as Soul Night approaches, everything near Heart will be at risk.

Ana’s exile is frightening, but it may also be fortuitous, especially if she can convince her friends to flee Heart and Range with her. They’ll go north, seeking answers and allies to stop Janan’s ascension. And with any luck, the newsouls will be safe from harm’s reach.

The oldsouls might have forgotten the choice they made to give themselves limitless lifetimes, but Ana knows the true cost of reincarnation. What she doesn’t know is whether she’ll have the chance to finish this one sweet life with Sam, especially if she returns to Heart to stop Janan once and for all.

With gorgeous romance and thrilling action, the final book in the Incarnate trilogy offers a brilliant conclusion to the compelling questions of this fascinating world, where one new girl is the key to the lives of millions.

(Most definitely looking forward to this one!)

Release date:  Jan. 28, 2014

Lying is unbearable, betrayal is inevitable, and choosing which path to take is impossible.

Olga Gay Worontzoff ended her senior year as an eighteen-year-old girl totally in love with Nate, enjoying their new romance and about to attend the university of her dreams. Now she’s spending her summer in the weird subculture of the Underworld, with charmingly witty and powerful angels, and problematic demons, trying to rescue Connor, the best friend and secret crush she was unable to save during a freak accident.

But Nate has other things on his mind, mainly Grace. She’s their first assignment as joint spirit guides, and Olga’s feeling hurt and jealous. His mysterious behavior has Olga questioning everything she believed about him and now she must decide whether to stick to their plan, or follow her heart. Unfortunately, a series of mistakes threatens everyone around her and plants Olga in the center of cosmic events much larger than she ever imagined.

Only one thing is certain: the chilling truths uncovered during her journey will leave no one untouched.


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Teaser Tuesday – What are you reading?

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My current read is:

And the quote is:

“Ashen had made bad choices because of Leck’s fog.  Bitterblue didn’t have that excuse; her bad choices were all her own doing.”

What are you reading and what are your random quotes?

The Darkest Day is here!

Today marks the release of DARKEST DAY by Emi Gayle!  I’ll have more on this final chapter in the 19th Year series on January 31, so mark your calendars to come back. In the meantime, swoon over the cover and then, go grab you a copy to keep you warm over the next few days.

Mac Thorne’s time as a Changeling is coming to an end.

It may have taken eighteen years, but Mac did finally manage to do what the Council wanted: she chose a teacher and renounced the in-between.

There’s just one last step. She must say goodbye to her human. Forever.

After being challenged in every way possible, Mac leaves what she thought would be the easiest task for the last possible moment. As midnight on July fourth draws near, though, she hasn’t found a way to give up Winn Thomas.

Nor does she want to.

With time running out, Mac stands at a literal crossroads. Choose Winn, and she’ll be stripped of the only family she’s ever known — vampires, dragons, and her favorite demon. Even her own mother. Accept her position on the Council and rule as an equal to her twelve peers, and she’ll forget Winn ever existed.

Independence and freedom have never before been so limiting.

In this final chapter of the 19th Year Trilogy, it’s time for Mac to decide.

Responsibility? Or Love?

The Darkest Day Blog Tour kicks off TODAY over at My Guilty Obsession. Be sure to drop on by to say hi and for the chance to win some great prizes.

DARKEST DAY is available NOW!


My 1st “Short Story” trailer

I’ve wanted to make a trailer for my short stories for a long time and didn’t know where to even begin. The whole process seemed daunting and way too difficult.  But when my friend and fellow author, Jamie Ayres, made her first book trailer video a few days ago, I knew I had to try it.

I used a free program at Animoto.com, and played with the trailer when I wasn’t taking down Christmas decorations or raking the yard or making dinner.  It’s been a crazy day, let me tell ya.

Anyway, the final result is below. What do you guys think?

Create a map – visualize your world

I’m not an artist, nor do I pretend to be one.  I do like to dabble with painting on glass and shell art but I do it for fun and stress release.

I am a writer, however, and I am knee-deep in writing a YA epic fantasy trilogy, The Chronicles of Fallhollow, complete with knights, dragons and damsels not so fair or in distress.  The realm of Fallhollow where much of my story takes place is huge and while writing the scenes, I found myself getting lost.  I knew where things were in my head but lost perspective on how long it took to travel from one place to another.  I had to find a way around it, so I drew a map.

Map of Estaria2As you can see it’s a very crude drawing but it gives me an idea on where everything is and I can visually relate to how long it would take to travel from one spot to another.  There will be some minor changes to this and some tweaking, but for now, it hangs on a board near my computer so I can refer to it when I write, just to make sure I have it ‘right’ when placing a scene.

What do you do to ‘ground’ yourself in your story to keep from getting mixed up in time and space?

5 questions to ask before plunking down money for a writing contest

If you’re a writer, you’ve seen them advertised online and in magazines…contests offering money and/or publication for stories you’ve written.   For aspiring authors, these contests may sound like a way to break into the publishing world and earn a few ‘published’ credits, but are they worth the effort and in many cases, the entry fee that can range from $5 to $100?

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before plunking down the money.

1.  What is the prize?  Make sure it’s something you really want.  Also look at the prizes for 2nd – 5th place and see if you would be happy with those prizes as well.  Avoid contest with high entry fees and cheap prizes.

2.  How much does it cost to enter?  First, consider your budget.  Contests are like gambling, so don’t invest more than you can afford to lose.  Short story contests fees can run upwards of $40 or $50 for each entry.  Book entries can run closer to $100.  Before investing, research the publisher/magazine.  See if they are reputable and what their track record is.  Also make sure you read the fine print and make sure you’re not relinquishing all your rights to the story or novel.  Some unscrupulous publishers will do this.  As to fees, rule of thumb is try not to spend more than $15 for a short story or more than $35 for a novel.

3.  How prestigious is the award?  Does the magazine or publisher publish everything they receive?  If they do, it may not be the contest for you. Try to stick with well-known and/or well-respected magazines or publishers.   They have a reputation and will only print stories worthy of that reputation.  It will also boost your ego a bit more as well as provide a more reputable publishing credit.

4,  If you don’t win one of the prizes, do you get anything for your entry fee?  Some magazines provide 3, 6 or 12 month subscriptions to their magazine or journal.  If this doesn’t matter to you, then you can check this one off your list, but if you’re like me and would like to have something for your buck, you may want to consider some sort of ‘consolation’ prize.

5. Who are the sponsors, organizers and judges?  If you can’t find information you need in the “About Us” section of the contest’s website, email the organizers and ask for details.  If they’re reputable, they’ll respond. If they’re not, odds are you won’t get an answer or at best, it will a very vague one.  Also, if you can find out who the judges are, that may also determine if you enter.  If the organization is unheard of but Stephen King or J.K. Rowling is one of the judges, you may want to consider entering.

So have you entered any contest?  Have you won anything?

Wanna a sneak peek at some hot stuff?

BTS Book Review Magazine has just released their January 2014 issue and it’s a great one!

Get a sneak peek of Alexandra Ivy’s bestseller, BORN IN BLOOD!

You won’t miss the sneak peeks or interviews with these other hot authors:

  • Libby Waterford
  • Joao Cerqueira
  • Kate Deveaux
  • Shiloh Saddler
  • Karyn Gerrard
  • Caris Roane
  • Erin Quinn
  • T.J. Blake
  • Ella Grey

Plus, this months’ columns keep you entertained and informed:

The Lowdown with Laurie:  Free Books and Cheap E-book Pricing – Page 11
With this being my last column for BTS, I wanted to share my heart with the authors I love, to let them know how much money they are losing by giveaways and by pricing their e-books for so cheap…

Chic Trends in Romance: Your Favorite Authors’ 2014 Resolutions and Predictions – Page 39
Happy 2014! I love the beginning of a year. It’s like flipping open the cover of a new writing journal. It’s a clean slate of sky’s the limit! The first thing to add to that blank page is a resolution or two…

The Heat Diva: Otherwordly Interaction – Page 47
Sci Fi has long been a favorite of mine. The thought of other planets filled to the brim with warriors of old primed and ready to fulfill all your needs? Yes, please. I will take several…

The Scrying Eye: Mysteries and Mayhem – Page 81
Winter spreads its wings and flaps its cold winds upon us. So come inside, warm yourselves by the fire, and prepare your mind and soul for what The Scrying Eye has to reveal on this visit…

Don’t miss our special Short Story Extravaganza:

janissue_flowerandflameThe Flower and the Flame – a contemporary romance short story by Lexi Adair – Page 31

“Why can’t men be like that?” Madison Parker gestured to the television screen.
“Because,” Sara murmured as she stepped into Madison’s apartment, picking her way through the clutter of empty takeout that littered the floor. “We don’t live in a movie…”

janissue_trainrideThe Train Ride – an erotic short story by Sandra Bunino – Page 61

Alexis Winters rolled her eyes. Yet another polyester-bearded Santa Claus gawked at her bare legs. The straps of her what-the-hell-was-I-thinking high-heeled pumps dug into her ankles as she snaked through the crowds toward Grand Central Station. Slipping the phone from her purse’s outside pocket, she glanced at the time. 7:34. Damn. She had eleven minutes to catch her train or she’d be stuck in the city for another hour…

janissue_escapingedenEscaping Eden – a science fiction short story by Danielle Devon – Page 71

“Come on, just a little bit closer!” Trave Macom clutched the trigger of the phase cannon as he watched the Drakon starfighter break from space and thunder into the planet’s atmosphere. The faulty navigation system had sent him deep into enemy territory. He had been hoping to escape without alerting the Drakons when two fighters had closed in on him. One he’d managed to out maneuver and bring into firing range, but the other ran hot…

janissue_siliconSilicon– a suspense short story by Terri Talley Venters – Page 95

Priscilla squealed with excitement as she danced in circles, delighted to receive the coveted Valentine’s Day party invitation hosted by her friends, twins Jeb and Shelby. Priscilla, along with everyone else fortunate enough to attend, looked forward to this annual party of the season. The tradition started several years ago when Jeb and Shelby’s parents wanted society to mingle with their teenage children on Valentine’s Day…

janissue_wovenWoven– a young adult short story by Kellyann Zuzulo – Page 103

Not one day had passed that I didn’t think about him. It was odd, really, considering that I’d last seen him in middle school, nearly five years before. And there he was. His appearance was so unexpected that I almost forgot the spasm of pain in my back that had made me gasp and stop walking. Forgot the telltale pearling of cold sweat on my forehead…

Also, join Nicole Morgan as the adventure continues in Sex & the Single Woman – Page 65

 And of course, you can’t miss all the wonderful book reviews featured in this issue!

Read the full issue for free now!