What I learned from my first blog tour

Well, the Make Believe Blog Tour is over.  There is a part of me that is sad.  After all, who doesn’t like meeting new people, making new friends, expanding your marketing base.  But there is also a part of me that is very happy it’s over.  It’s very time-consuming to set up a blog tour.  While I enjoy talking to people, it takes a well-oiled machine to follow-up on all the posts to make sure you ‘participate’ in your own marketing.

I have to admit I was completely lost in the beginning.  What do I do?  Who do I contact?  I don’t think I could have done it without some hand-holding by Aimee Lane, J.A. Belfield and Julie Reece.  These are authors who have run the blog tour gamut before and offered up some great advice like:

  • Don’t be afraid to approach people who follow your blog to ask for a tour stop.
  • Don’t be afraid to throw out a universal request and see who bites.  The ones who say yes are generally interested to host your tour.
  • Try to find hosts who write or features stories similar to your own.  That way you know the audience will be geared to your writing.

Some other thing I learned:

  • Some hosts like you to write your own guest posts.  Familiarize yourself with the host’s blog and write a blog post that will appeal to your host’s audience while finding a way to tie it into your own.  For example, one of my hosts is a Christian woman, so I focused on morality in my fictional characters.
  • It’s okay to say “no”.  I had several requests from potential hosts to participate in the tour, but after reviewing their sites (which were more than a little on the risqué side), I declined their kind offers.  I am not a prude, but I write YA and New Adult fiction.  I wanted to direct my attention to those audiences, not just to anyone.  While I appreciated the offers, I felt I needed to remain true to me.
  • It’s inevitable.  Reviews will be a part of a blog tour.  Some will be hot, some will be cold and some will be just right.  This was the hardest part for me because I wanted everyone to love my story as much as I did.   I thought I had thick skin.  I realized very fast I needed to toughen up a bit more and understand not everyone will like what I write.  The main question I need to ask is did I write the story I wanted to write and did I like it?  My answer to both is yes.  If someone else loves it, then that is icing on the top of the cake.  If someone didn’t like it…it doesn’t mean my story was bad.  It means someone else didn’t like it, and that’s okay.  The world would be very boring if we all liked the same things.
  • Be ready and willing to reciprocate when the time comes.  I found many hosts are aspiring writers as well as book bloggers.  They need help in promotions, too.  Be willing to help them as much as they helped you in whatever way you can.  They’ll thank you and your name will make it around to others that you are a gracious guest and an even more gracious host.
  • Offering giveaways is a great way to thank people for visiting your blog and the blogs of your hosts.  People love getting cool items for free.   It’s also really nice to give to charity events as well.  Several Facebook sites raised lots of money for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and authors gave away their books to raise a lot of that money.  Wherever you can, give yourself to others and ask nothing in return.  It’s the best kind of feel good medicine out there.
  • Last of all, be yourself.  Stay on top of all the tour posts and comment as often as you can.  Engage all your readers, even those that comment on your hosts’ site.  There was one blog that got over 70 comments in one day on the Make Believe tour.  It was awesome chatting it up with new peeps from all over the world.  Don’t be afraid of being who you are.  People will recognize your genuineness and will love you for being you.

I want to personally thank all those who helped me out with the Make Believe Blog Tour.  If you ever need anything of me, please do not hesitate to ask:

Julie Catherine

Reading and Writing Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance

Lynda Young

J.A. Belfield

Kelly Said

Jennifer Eaton

Terri Rochenski

Ruth Ellen Parlour

Julie Reece

Vikki Thompson

Lori Freeland

Brook Syers

Rebecca Hart

J.C. Martin

Jamie Ayres

Clare Davidson

Vanessa Chapman

Susan Rocan

Maghon Thomas

I would also like to thank all the reviewers who participated in the Make Believe Tour and for taking the time to read the anthology and sharing your thoughts with the world.  Your time and honesty is greatly appreciated.

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We have a new #MakeBelieve winner!

Happy New Year everyone!!!

perf5.250x8.000.inddToday I have some really good news.  There is another drawing for a copy of the Make Believe anthology!  It seems the winner I announced the other day, Kourtney Heintz, already purchased Make Believe (thank you very much, my lady), which means I have to pick another winner.  I threw all the names in the Random Picker and

free glitter text and family website at FamilyLobby.com

is the new winner!!!!!

Everyone give a round of applause to Erika!!  Erika, please contact me at kford2007(at)gmail(dot)com and let me know what e-format you would like to receive:  Kindle, Nook, EPUB.

More winners of bookmarks and digital signed covers of Make Believe are forthcoming (as soon as I find my notebook that got shuffled in the Christmas ‘cleaning’).

For the love of selkies

Happy Saturday, everyone!  I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season so far and your plans for the new year are falling into place.

Today, as part of the Make Believe blog tour, I’m skipping over to Susan Rocan’s blog to talk about a not so well-known creature…the selkie.  Why?  Well, because (1) they appear in The Amulet of Ormisez, my short story in the Make Believe anthology, and (2) not many people have ever heard of them, so I thought it would be kind of cool to introduce them.  So head on over to Susan’s.  I’ll see you there!


What did you Make Believe as a child? Tell Vanessa and you may win an Amazon gift card

When you were little, what did you Make Believe?  Did you ever pretend to be anyone other than you?  Did you ever sing into a fork or a spoon in your bedroom and pretend you were a rock star?  Did you ever pretend to be married to your favorite actor/actress?  Did you ever play an air guitar?

This was one of the questions Vanessa Chapman asked of Jennifer M. Eaton, J.A. Belfield and me during an interview for the Make Believe blog tour.  You can find all the intimate details here.  And, if you leave an interesting/funny/sparkling comment on Vanessa’s post by 11pm (GMT) on Friday 28 December, you may just win an Amazon gift card.

What do Atticus Finch, Scarlet O’Hara and Augustus Waters have in common?

What do Atticus Finch, Scarlet O’Hara and Augustus Waters have in common?  I revealed this secret to the lovely and talented author, Clare Davidson, as part of the Make Believe Blog Tour.  Why don’t you hop on over to her blog and find out, then when you’re done, offer up some of your own ideas either at Clare’s site, the Dreamweaver’s Cottage (here), or both.  I know I would LOVE to read your thoughts.

I have a bunch of folks winning a digital copy of the signed cover of the Make Believe anthology. This is only the cover folks, but it’s signed and it’s beautiful.  Look at it.


Ok, so who are the lucky souls to get their very own copy?

Congratulations to you lucky duckies!!!  Send me your e-mails, winners, and I’ll send over your own signed Make Believe cover to you ASAP.

Oh, and don’t forget the

grand prize giveaway - christmas2

On December 30th I will give away an e-book copy of the MAKE BELIEVE anthology, just in time for New Years.  What do you have to do to win?  Just comment on my blog between now and December 29!  That’s it.  Very simple, very easy.

Until tomorrow …

How about some cheese straws with that martini?

Happy Friday!!!

Wow, am I the only one who has had a crazy week?  I guess it’s to be expected with only 11 days to Christmas.  Do you have all your shopping done?  Not me.  As always, I’ll be hitting  the stores up until Christmas Eve.  What can I say.  I like the last minute hustle and bustle.

Today, I’m taking a little tour later over at Brook Syer’s blog.  If you don’t know, Brook is a hubby, a dad and is also the author of THE BRAINIAC series and you can read all about them here.  He has graciously decided to help me and the Make Believe gang promote the anthology by interviewing me on his blog today.  That should be up later on his site under Author Interviews.  He’s a fun guy so make sure you head over and say hi and thank him for spreading the Make Believe goodness.

Speaking of goodness, yesterday I posted a recipe for a delicious alcoholic drink called Reindeer Trax.  But what about those treats you have to have on the table for your guest when they come over for your Christmas party?  Or what if you have to take some sort of food to a holiday party?  Well, do I have the perfect treat for you. This is my grandma’s recipe for her famous cheese straws.  You cannot go wrong with these delightful goodies.  Enjoy and Bon Appetite!


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2/3 stick butter (1/3 cup)
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon each celery seed and paprika


Sift the first 4 ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add butter and 1/2 cup of grated cheese and cut into a coarse crumb consistency. Add water and toss lightly. Shape into a ball. Roll to 1/8″ thick – sprinkle 1 side of the dough with 1/4 cup of cheese. Fold dough over and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese. Roll again to 1/8 inch thick and cut into 4″ strips that are 1/2″ wide. Sprinkle with celery seed and paprika. Bake at 350° for 12 to 15 minutes. Makes 5 dozen. (For other variations, you may substitute garlic powder for the celery seed and paprika, or leave plain.)  Serve with marinara to add an extra zing.

And, speaking of parties, Robin Coyle has all the info on a super-duper virtual Christmas party taking place tomorrow night.  Why don’t you pop in over at her place and let her tell you all about it.  It’s going to be a fantastic get together.  Hope to see you at the big shindig!

Quote of the Day:  

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. ~ Anonymous

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Interview with Julie Belfield

Today I have the lovely and talented J.A. Belfield with me.  In case you don’t know, she’s the author of the highly popular Holloway Pack series – a swoon-worthy collection of really hot, steamy adult paranormal romance stories.  She’s also a fellow MAKE BELIEVE anthology buddy (and I would have been completely lost in this whole blog tour thing if it hadn’t been for her and her unending patience).

So, Julie.  Tell us in one sentence why we should read your short story.

Because Escort to Insanity is fun and whacky, and full of action, and there’s even a little bit of romance—and snow!

Brr. Sounds hot and cold.  Steamy.  Do you have any other short stories or novels in the works?  Goals for future projects?

I actually just had the second full length novel in my Holloway Pack series release on the same day as Make Believe. Which means Blue Moon is available now! 😀 (<<sorry, couldn’t help myself).

As for future goals and works? Yeah, there’re too many to list, probably, so I’ll narrow down to: finishing the Holloway Pack series, writing a spin-off trilogy for the characters from Escort to Insanity (my story in Make Believe), and break into YA. 😀

Ah, yes.  Blue Moon.  I’m helping you out on that blog tour on December 26 and I’m telling you, you guys have got to come back for that one.  This book is Muy Caliente.  So hot.  Jem and Sean…they’re just so…so…and Ethan is so…ahhh…ahhh…

Oh wait.  Where was I?  Make Believe.  *clears throat*.  Sorry about that.  Back to the interview.  Hmm.  *taps pencil*  What gives you the most pleasure in writing? (Please tell me it’s writing about Ethan Holloway).

🙂  Forcing myself through a reeeeeeeaaaaaaally difficult scene and feeling like crying with the stress of it all, and then reading it back the next day and deciding it actually kind of rocks and I don’t suck a$$.

I have to agree, that is the schiznit.  What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Write until steam leaves your ears and blood trickles from your nose, and even then don’t stop. I would say practice makes perfect but nobody’s perfect, though practice certainly will make you better. And research. The industry I mean. Knowledge is power.

I like power.  I also like money.  Let’s say, you won a million dollars.  What’s the first thing you do with the money (besides pay the taxes on it).

This is the beauty of living in the UK: we don’t have to pay taxes on lottery winnings. 😀 So if I won, my first expenditure would be a new car. Just don’t tell my old car that. She’s kind of sensitive. 😉

Sure ‘nough, sweet cheeks.  Mum’s the word.  Now for the tough questions.  When you were 12 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to drive an ice cream van. What? I’m serious. O_O

Oh my, you wouldn’t be one of those diabolical blondes who taunted the little kids while while blaring The Sting, right?  “Here little kiddies.  Here’s one ice cream for you…a whole truckload of fudge pops for me!!!  Bwhahahahaha.”  Ok, ok, I know you wouldn’t do something like that.  It’s the writer in me.  Sorry. I digress again.  Tell me about your pet peeves (and don’t say interviewers who go off topic).

POV breaches. Oh, d’you mean outside of writing? Um, dunno—I’m pretty laid back. 🙂

Ok, ice cream lady.  Final question. Reece’s Pieces or M&M’s?

M&Ms, baby!

There you have it, the incredibly awesome J.A. Belfield.  If you want to connect with her, you can find her on her web, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.  And don’t forget to get your copy of MAKE BELIEVE, now available in e-book from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and Julie’s new novel, BLUE MOON.  Oh, and be sure to check out her blog today because she’s kind of doing an interview with me over on the other side of the great big pond.

perf5.250x8.000.indd                     blue moon

Thanks, Julie, for stopping by the Dreamweaver’s Cottage.  Come back anytime. (Bring ice cream sandwiches the next time, ok?)  🙂

Yesterday’s #MakeBelieve Goody Winner

As promised, I am giving away another Make Believe Goody to one lucky winner who posted on my blog yesterday. May I have a drum roll please?


The winner is:

Susan Rocan!!!!!

Whoo Hoo!!

As Susan has already received a Make Believe Bookmark, she will get a digital copy of the Make Believe e-book cover. Susan, check your e-mail for your new goody, and congratulations!!

How can you win a Make Believe goody? Just leave a comment on my blog every day.

Kicking off the #MakeBelieve Blog Tour Buddy Style!

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock PhotosToday I officially kick-off my blog Tour for the Make Believe anthology and I’m happy to say I’m not doing it alone.  My fellow antho mate, Jennifer M. Eaton, agreed to take the plunge with me. Luckily, we ended up in the arms of a very sweet blogger who made our first leap into the world of blog tours an easy and cushiony one…the lovely and artistic Julie Catherine.

I have to admit, the whole concept of setting up a blog tour was overwhelming to me when I first began.  Who do I talk to?  What do I do?  Do we do interviews, blog posts, giveaways?  How do I set them up?  What is Rafflecopter?  How do I put Rafflecopter on my WordPress site?  Oh, wait.  I can’t.  Free WordPress doesn’t allow it.

This experience has been a real eye-opener into Marketing and Social Networking 101.   So far, so good, for this rather shy author.  I have to say, though, I couldn’t have done it without the superb team at J. Taylor Publishing and the multitude of experienced authors and antho buddies to guide me along the way.  I’m sure there will be mistakes.  Perhaps I should have done something different, said something better, but I’m not going to be too hard on myself.  I’m just glad I have my friend and antho buddy, Jennifer, to stand on the precipice with me and take the leap of faith.   And to Julie, thank you for soft-padding the landing. The rest of the tour should be a breeze.

So pop on over to Julie Catherine’s blog  and join in the kick-off celebrations and don’t forget to enter to win your very own copy of Make Believe!   Also, everyone who comments on my blog today gets a chance to win an autographed bookmark or a digital signed copy of the Make Believe cover signed by all the authors.

MakeBelieve-Bookmark-Front-printable                                 perf5.250x8.000.indd

Good luck and thanks for taking the journey with me and my fellow anthology buddies.  Don’t forget to visit their sites as well, because they’re celebrating too.

J.A. Belfield

Kelly Said

Lynda R. Young

Terri Rochenski

Jennifer M. Eaton

#MakeBelieve Blog Tour and other Goodies!


December 3 kicks off the official #MakeBelieve blog tour.  I’m so excited.  When I found out 6 months ago that my short story, The Amulet of Ormisez, would be published in the anthology, December seemed so far away.  Now, it’s here and I can hardly contain my excitement.

In celebration, every day between December 1 and January 3, I’m going to give away to one lucky person who comments on my blog either an autographed Make Believe bookmark or a digital copy of the Make Believe cover signed by all the authors.  Then, on December 23, I will pick one random name from everyone who commented on my blog between December 1 thru December 22 and that person will win their very own e-copy of the Make Believe anthology, delivered to your Kindle or Nook in time for  Christmas (I hope).  🙂  It’s my way of saying Thank You for being there for me on this incredible journey to publication.  So mark your calendars and come back every day to increase your chances of winning.  Please feel free to check out all my blog tour dates here and stop by and say hi to my lovely hosts.

Also, please make sure you stop by the other author’s websites and blogs to see what they’re doing to promote the Make Believe Blog Tour.  They all have giveaways and contests going on, so make sure you visit often to increase your chances of winning something fantastic.  You can find their links below.

Jennifer M. Eaton

J.A. Belfield

Kelly Said

Lynda R. Young

Terri Rochenski

Once again, thank you so much for staying with me and reading my ramblings.  I appreciate every single one of you.  Big hugs to all of you.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays…and may the odds be ever in your favor to win a Make Believe goody!