Category Archives: Uncategorized

What I’m watching: Eyewitness on USA

October 23rd 2016

Let’s be honest, I have been a real shitty blogger lately. I blame part of that on the fact that I blog for two great group sites (Across the Board & Mysteristas) and all my good blogging topics go to them. The other part, well, I get lazy. I’d rather be watching TV than writing a blog post. I’d rather be watching TV than doing almost anything. Because I freaking love TV. Is it not the golden age of television right now? I credit Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu for forcing the cable networks to step up their game.

Because even TBS, TNT, and now USA are putting out really great shows. I remember, once upon a time, there was no cursing or sex on basic cable. Now, Samantha Bee is dropping asshole and bullshit on Full Frontal, although still no fucks. Maybe in a few years.

PSA: Watch Animal Kingdom on TNT. It’s a John Wells show (same guy responsible for Shameless, ER, Southland). It’s fucking amazing. It’s about a crime family in Southern California led by a manipulative, incestuous matriarch. I can’t wait for Season 2.

Which brings me to today’s topic: Eyewitness on USA Networks. It’s a 10-episode series, based off a Norwegian show, about two teen boys who witness a crime in a sleepy, Upstate New York town. You can stream the first episode on USA’s website and watch the rest on the cable channel on Sunday nights. (I’m DVRing the show.) Catherine Hardwicke, who you might know from directing Twilight, directed a few of the episodes. And you can tell because the show has those muted, dark colors like the movie. Even the woodsy Hudson River valley has a similar vibe to the Pacific Northwest. It’s all very atmospheric for a crime drama.

For me, the best part of the series is the romantic relationship between the two boys because I am currently writing a YA mystery featuring two gay leads. In the show, Philip is openly gay and Lukas is not. This poses a problem when the boys, who were making out in a secluded cabin, witness a murder. Lukas is fearful he’ll be found out while Philip is struggling to hide what he knows from his foster mom, who is also the town sheriff.

Anyway, watch it, love it. Thank me later.

What are you watching?

Signature

YA Scavenger Hunt 2016

March 29th 2016

What up, y’all. Or yous guys. I’m Kimberly G. Giarratano (my author friends call me KGG) and I’m a YA mystery writer. I’m participating in the Spring 2016 YA Scavenger Hunt. I’m on Team GREEN — the perfect color for spring. YA_ScavengerHunt_ColourLogo_CMYK-01

This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! 

Green Team(1)

This year there are 9 teams of 20 authors! Lots of goodies going around.

I’ve hidden my favorite number in this post in GREEN and I’m doing my own special, separate giveaway. Check out the Gleam widget in the post.

 


I’m delighted to host Tanya Lisle!

Tanya’s bonus content is a deleted scene! Always fun. Some of my best writing are scenes that didn’t make it into the book. I bet I have over 14 (wink wink) deleted scenes in various folders.

Tanya Lisle
Tanya Lisle is a novelist from Vancouver, British Columbia. Publishing several novels annually, she writes in a variety of genres from young adult urban fantasy to post-apocalyptic science fiction. When she isn’t writing, she is either working as a web developer or working on a variety of game projects.

Find out more information by checking out her website or find more about the author’s book in the following places:

Goodreads | Amazon

White Noise
After an unusual day at school of mute goth kids, disappearing acid burns and the feeling of someone hunting for him, Max just wants to unwind at home. When a stranger appears in his room and abducts him, he witnesses the murder of his parents and becomes the prime suspect.

Max soon finds himself on the run with several other abducted teens, all being hunted down because they’ve developed unnatural powers. Even with his new allies and new found ability to heal, Max can’t get too comfortable. He knows that the people looking for him are still out there – and they’re closing in.

Exclusive Content

Running. She had to keep running.

Jaime’s feet pounded against the cobblestone streets and she wove through the sparse Thursday evening crowd, many of them looking angrily around unable to figure out what had just brushed past them. Jaime knew none of them could see her, at least, and none of them did more than look around for a moment before going about their own business.

It would have been infuriating if she wasn’t terrified. None of them knew she was there, so how did he? Who was he? This strange boy that could see her and was now chasing her down, he shouldn’t be able to see her either. But he moved too fast, vanishing from one spot and appearing in front of her a moment later.

The first time Jaime saw him, he was with others. There were five of them in total, all looking at one another angrily and saying nothing. They would gesture now and then, but it wasn’t until one of them caught on fire that she realized just how wrong they were. That, and when this one looked directly at her.

That boy was ahead of her again, turning a corner ahead, ready to try to grab her again. Jaime took a hard left into the nearest door she could find. She’d been running for what felt like days now and it had done nothing to throw him off, so it was time to try another tactic. Hiding in sight. People saw him and not her, after all.

She walked into a restaurant, the door closing behind her. The smell of beef broth permeated the air of the small pho restaurant, little more than a hole in the wall with very limited places for anyone to sit. The dinner rush had not begun yet, though it was already beginning to fill.

Jaime took a seat at one of the tables, trying her best to blend in while trying to catch her breath. She put her head down on the table, gulping down air and the smell of food around her as people chittered on in a mix of languages she couldn’t quite make out. Her stomach grumbled, starving from the run and the fear, but she didn’t dare take anything and draw attention to herself. Not yet.

She finally looked up and jumped, seeing the boy now sitting across from her. She looked around wildly, but it seemed that no one else even batted an eye that this boy was there. The woman behind the counter looked at him and frowned, her fingers lingering over the menu and debating whether she wanted to bring it to the table. He didn’t notice, his eyes on Jaime alone and a careful smile across his chapped lips.

Jaime tried to get up, already on her toes under the table and ready to run, but it felt like something was holding her down in place. She felt like she was running again, her heart pounding in her chest and her breathing becoming difficult.

Was he doing this? It had to be him. There was no one else who could possibly be doing this. But he wasn’t even looking at her when he did it, his eyes looking around everywhere in front of him and trying to figure out where she was.

But if he couldn’t see her, then how?

It was impulse that made her decide to become visible again. She thought about screaming and causing a scene, to bring the other people in the place to her aid. Really, though, she was tired from running and she wanted to know who this boy who’d been chasing her down even was.

His eyes lit up at the sight of her. Good to see you, his fingers said as they moved. The movements were clumsy and confused, but Jaime understood what he meant by them. Sign language. It was… sign language?

The fear was rapidly being replaced with curiosity as she looked at him. He was hopeful as he tried to move his hands, though it was clear that his hands were not quite moving as he wanted them to.

“Who are you?” she asked out loud, her hands moving to match her words.

Luke, he said. Nice to meet you.


YASH Giveaway

Thanks for stopping by! Your next stop on this hunt is Michelle Madow. You’re in for a treat — her covers are beautiful!

Signature

What am I doing?

March 11th 2016

What am I doing lately?

Answer: writing. And planning.

Or trying to. Since I won Kindle Scout, I’ve hustled to finish a really crappy first draft of a new cozy mystery series with a curmudgeony protagonist based on my dad. I started working on a New Adult mystery serial set in the 90s. Sort of a Veronica Mars meets My So-Called Life. I’m 10K words into that project and loving it. It’s very freeing to write short episodes. If I’m smart, I’ll write the whole serial in one go and then release it every two weeks. Smart, being the key word.

Since I went on a writing retreat — an overnight at The Inn at Pocono Manor — and wrote 11K words in 30 hours, I have been making a habit to draft every day. I’m averaging 1500 words a day, but I’ll have to increase that output if I’m to compete in Camp NaNoWriMo in April. I’m writing Book 2 in the Cayo Hueso Mystery series. If Amazon puts Dead and Breakfast on a promo in the summer, I’d like to have it drive sales to the self-published sequel.

I am quite ambitious this year. I’d like to show my husband that I can turn a profit on my books. At least a small one. He’s very supportive, but money talks. Let’s hope it’s an exceptionally chatty year.

Total aside: If you’re a mystery lover, you must watch Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on Netflix. It’s crazy good. I wrote a blog post about my devotion to the show on the Mysteristas blog. You can read it here. I’m reading the books (by Kerry Greenwood) now and they’re sooooo good. The books are different from the show, so by all means, watch and read both. It won’t feel redundant.

Signature

Dead and Breakfast and Kindle Scout

January 23rd 2016

Good news — Dead and Breakfast was selected by Kindle Scout and will be published by Kindle Press! In early December, I decided to hold off publishing the book, and instead submitted it to Kindle Scout. Kindle Scout is Amazon’s crowd-sourcing publishing arm. Authors submit publish-ready  manuscripts with cover art to the site. The book is listed for 30 days, and during that time authors are to campaign for nominations, thus earning them spots on the Hot and Trending list.

I blogged about the experience here and here. But long story short, I get a $1500 advance and Amazon springs for another round of editing. I make no money on my books, so $1500 is a big deal. It will pay for the cover art and editing for the entire trilogy.

After waiting 12 days, I was notified last Wednesday. And by notified, I saw my book cover on the website. I got the email a little while after. I’m very excited and I hope D&B is published late March or early April. That’s much later than I ever intended, but better to have a great book than a quick one. Stay tuned.

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 9.02.43 PM

 

Signature

Running a collective giveaway

October 31st 2015

I wrote this post for Across the Board, a group blog, and I’m posting it here with permission from Stephen Kozeniewski, the admin.

What up, guys! Are you in for an informative treat today. This post is all about running a collective giveaway. But before I begin, I must thank my author BFF, Kate Moretti, for her wisdom in all things marketing. She is Mr. Miyagi to my Danielson. Anyhoo, moving on…

I’m currently running a YA collective giveaway that ends today and I want to talk about how to set up a collective giveaway and why you should bother doing it — cuz’ you really should.

What is a collective giveaway? 

It’s when a group of authors donate prizes and promote the giveaway to their respective readerships. Giveaways can last anywhere from days to weeks — although a shorter time period is best (I’ll explain why in a bit), have 8-10 authors participating, and award one mega prize for one winner.

Why participate in a collective giveaway? 

Two words: visibility and access. I’ve tried to run one-author giveaways on my website and I’ve gotten zero traction. And that’s after I contacted my Facebook friends and subscriber list. Last month, I gave away five hot YA books (by big name YA authors — not me) and I had only 12 entrants.

If you want to be seen, you need a large group of people willing to participate and share the giveaway. One author screaming into the void isn’t going to cut it.

How do you set up a collective giveaway?

Someone needs to volunteer to organize and host the giveaway. This is work, but the organizer reaps the benefits.

1. Set up the parameters. If you’re running the show, you need to figure out some details. Is the giveaway global? In which case, are your participants willing to ship books overseas? If not, can everyone contribute an ebook? If you’re doing ebooks, can multiple ebook formats be offered? If you’re going to limit your giveaway to the U.S. to keep shipping costs down, signed paperbacks and swag can increase interest. But, it also limits entrants to being U.S. residents — so there’s that. How long will you run the giveaway for? A month is too long. A few days too short. The biggest spike of entries come in on the first few days and the last. I’d say no shorter than a week, no longer than two weeks.

2. Pick a theme. If you’re running your giveaway in October (as I am), then it makes sense to do spooky reads for Halloween. This would be be great for speculative fiction or horror writers. Romance writers would do better around Valentine’s Day. Cozy mystery writers might do well during Christmas. It doesn’t mean you have to wait until a holiday to roll out a giveaway, but using a theme will make your giveaway cohesive. Last year, I organized a YA giveaway for the ‘Back to School’ season. A SciFi giveaway would be cool to coincide with the new Star Wars movie release. The possibilities are endless.

3. Gather thee author buddies. Put out a call to your author friends. You want around 8-10 authors. Too few and the prize isn’t big enough to draw interest. Too many and it becomes unwieldy. In my opinion, 8-10 is a good number. There are plenty of larger giveaways (YA Scavenger Hunt comes to mind), but I could not imagine the organizational undertaking. Ask your author friends for their cover art, website, and what they’ll be donating to the giveaway. Ebook only. Signed paperbacks. Swag. Boxed set. In the current giveaway, I have two generous authors offering up boxed sets.

4. Set up a prize widget like Rafflecopter or Gleam. Gleam is awesome and I’m currently using it for the Halloween giveaway. I think it offers more than Rafflecopter and allows entrants to use their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter accounts to enter. Everyone can gain one entry with just an email. Nice and easy. But you can gain more entries by tweeting the giveaway, viral sharing, liking a photo on Instagram, or pinning a photo on Pinterest. It’s not about following social media accounts. It’s more about sharing your book covers and having readers interact with the giveaway and spreading the news. Check it out! We have over 1350 entries!!!

I asked the authors what they hoped to get out of the giveaway and everyone said newsletter subscribers. Of course. We indie authors need to expand our lists, BUT…here’s the rub. One, the free versions of Rafflecopter and Gleam do not offer adding newsletter subscribers as an option and two, asking contest entrants to sign up for 9 newsletters as a way to gain entries is tedious. And a turn-off. The goal here is visibility. Readers need to know who we are and they need to see our book covers. That’s not going to happen if people are bogged down by the contest itself.

5. Get graphic! Go to Canva and make something pretty with all the book covers. You need this graphic for several reasons. First, you put it on your website above the Rafflecopter or Gleam widget. This shows readers exactly what they’ll win (all these jazzy books). Second, you’ll be using this graphic to advertise the giveaway — for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, your newsletter. And third, you’ll need this graphic for the Gleam widget where readers can gain entries by pinning the graphic or liking it on Instagram. Below is the one I made. See? Nothing fancy. You can do it.

6. Build the giveaway on your website. I made a separate page on my website for giveaways and all traffic is being directed there. Include the graphic, contest widget, links to all the authors’ websites, and any other pertinent information.

7. Advertise the giveaway. On opening day, every author should be promoting this via their subscriber list, Twitter, Facebook page, etc. I checked my website stats and saw referrals coming from the authors’ newsletters and Twitter accounts.

8. Let the contest run. Eight days into our Halloween giveaway, we have over 1200 entries. I could continue to promote it, but things seem to be moving nicely on their own. I’ll do one big push on the last day or two.

9. Let the contest widget pick a winner. Pretty self-explanatory. Email the winner to let them know they won this awesome contest. I don’t think it’s uncalled for to also ask the winner to review the books they read. Maybe, if the winner is willing, interview the winner for a blog post.

What kind of results can one expect?

Well, your miles may vary on this, but here are the results I’m seeing.

  • A huge uptick in web traffic. One the first day of the giveaway launch, I had 251 views on my website. (That’s unheard of for me. My website normally gets no more than 10 views a day.) It dropped off the next day, netting me 84 views. Then on the 6th day, I had 163 views. Not sure why. Perhaps, newsletters went out (mine did the day before). This means new eyeballs on my books page, blog, and writers resource page (which I spent a long time cultivating).

  • An uptick in newsletter subscribers. With that new web traffic comes an influx of readers voluntarily signing up for my newsletter so make sure your newsletter sign-up is visible on your website. One week into the giveaway, I had 27 new subscribers. I only started with 70. Because of this, it is only fair that authors take turns hosting and organizing the giveaway. I did ask the other authors if they had seen an uptick in newsletter subscribers and one author replied that she had gotten a couple of new subscribers and some sales on a short story she hadn’t advertised. Another author said her blog post about the giveaway got “great reader interaction.” So even if you’re not the organizer, you will gain reader attention by participating.
  • A slight uptick in Instagram followers. Since liking the graphic on Instagram was a way to gain entries, it’s no wonder a few readers decided to follow my feed as well (although it certainly was not a requirement on the widget). Honestly, I’m terrible at marketing my authorness via IG. It’s mostly photos of my kids.

So that’s it, folks. Phew! I’m done.

What say you, dear readers and writers? Do you like collective giveaways? Do you have any tips or tricks that I’ve neglected to mention? Please sound off in the comments.

Signature