Friday, February 18, 2011

A Win/Win Raffle

      As some of you know, I started taking Amazon Gift Card Donations to help four kids get Kindles after their home caught fire and their family lost everything (see post HERE). Many people didn't understand why I would want to get them Kindles instead of clothing, food, or other essentials; my reasoning is simple. I want to give these kids a sense of security in something. They have their family together banding around them, helping with essentials right now, but hearing that they cried because of their lost book collections and not laptops, Christmas gifts, or clothes gave me an idea on how we could band together and help out in a way others wouldn't think of. While we cannot get them back their copies of books, we can give them a way to always take their collections with them. A way they won't have to worry about leaving them behind and this happening again. Knowledge that something of theirs is safe. Members of the publishing industry across all genre have taken an interest in this, as it is something very dear to their hearts as well, and have banded together for prizes to be included in the raffle in an attempt to raise the money and in offering Young Adult PDFs to be adding to the Kindles.Any and all proceeds will be used towards this. Any amount that goes over and above the amount needed to procure the Kindles will be used to fill them with books.Help me not only give them a sense of security in something they own, but to bring back the fantasy in their lives.

Now for the Raffle!
The Raffle will continue through until March 14th.   
Winners will be announced On March 16th.

For every $10 worth of Amazon Gift Cards sent to you will get one entry for the raffle. So if you send a $30 Amazon Card you will get three entries! Are you wondering about the prizes? They are wonderful!

1. I am offering a pre-submission edit- Winner's choice of either an edit for an 80,000 word manuscript or 2 edits for manuscripts up to 45,000 words each

2. Two people will be able to choose any piece of Author Margie Hall's jewelry. Just a couple of examples of  her designs- Winners will be emailed with a listing of all designs.

3. One lucky winner will win a cover designed by Author and Cover Artist Mina Carter example below

4. One lucky winner will get Prince's Courtesan by Mina Carter (winner must be 18 or older as book contains adult content)

5. One lucky winner will win Thrill of the Night by Mina Carter (winner must be 18 or older as book contains adult content)

6. One lucky participant will win a signed copy of DC Juris's Finding Sanctuary (winner must be 18 or older as book contains adult content)

7. One lucky participant will win the first two books in the Hunter series by Stacey Thompson-Geer offered by Wicked Nights (winner must be 18 or older as books contains adult content)

8. One lucky Participant will win the ENTIRE World series by Stacey Thompson-Geer offered by Wicked Nights (winner must be 18 or older as books contains adult content)

9. One lucky person will win FIVE books offered by Ashlynn Monroe offered by Wicked Nights (winner must be 18 or older as books contain adult content)

10. One lucky person will win The Lawn Boy and books 1-4 of the Captivation series by Julie Lynn Hayes offered by Wicked Nights (winner must be 18 or older as books contain adult content)

Prizes may be added to the raffle as the raffle continues. Entrants for the raffle must return to this post and comment leaving their email or emailing me at so that they can be notified of their winnings.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Deena Remiel bringing awareness

Today we have a post from author Deena Remiel. One that will touch you and make you think. Please welcome Deena to the blog.

Human Trafficking is global, insidious crime. Everyday a child, a woman, a man is sold into slavery- whether for work, drugs, or for sex, it is happening all around us. Even to families we know. One young woman has been rescued from her years of captivity by a brave champion, Dottie Laster of Laster Global, Inc. To commemorate the 6 month anniversary of her freedom, and to bring about awareness, I present here today, FREEDOM IN CHAINS, a short story. Blinders off.
~Deena Remiel

Freedom in Chains
By Deena Remiel

I am born. Without forethought. Without intention. Without love. I am thrust out of a darkness so warm, sheltered, and secure. Thrown into another kind of darkness so cold, exposed, and depraved. I cry and reach out, instinctively, for a mother’s love that should be there, instinctively, and is not. I learn instead to reach inward. I learn to design my own world in a corner of my mind. I learn not to cry.
Bad things happen when I cry. Bad things happen anyway… when you’re not intended.
In my world, it’s best to be invisible. If She can’t see me, I’m forgotten for a while and safe from the brutal attacks on my fragile heart. I know She can’t help herself yet, and I forgive her… over and over. She is Mother. If He can’t see me, my body is safe from unwanted, unwarranted intrusions.  I just can’t be invisible long enough, though. I know He can’t help himself. He tells me so as He hurts me and cries… or laughs.
No longer a person, but a receptacle for other people’s basest desires, I exist. I am pissed on and passed on to innumerable faceless people who don’t see me, a precious child, but see me, a thing to be exploited. This is not my choice, but I have no voice. It was stolen sound by sound, thread by thread, each day sucked up more and more by the vacuum my family surrounded me with, veiled as “protection”.

My name is Freedom, and it was my birthday, once.
Freedom’s not my real name, but I chose it on that one birthday. The one that was actually remembered. The one that made Mother angry at remembering, angry at me. My birthday dinner was Rice Toasties and milk. My birthday gift? I got visited by Him and his friends. As my body was repeatedly invaded, I made plans for my revolution, my escape.
To freedom.

Today is the dawn of my revolution. Mother isn’t home, and He’s too doped up to lift his head when I walk into our apartment. So I gather my few belongings and walk right back out, never looking back. The streets have to be safer than where I have been for the past fourteen years.
I walk along the bustling city streets of my town, seeing everything just a bit differently than I had only minutes before. I see, for the first time, because my head is up and not turned down in shame. The store windows sparkle brilliantly in the sunlight, just for me. In upstairs apartments, window shades are pulled down and then up to let in more light. But I know they’re really winking their approval at my decision. My heart is light, my cheeks lift, and I touch them. I am smiling. What a strange feeling.
Awareness and attention to detail assault my brain like a battering ram. There’s an old lady with wrinkled tissue paper skin pushing a shopping cart, but I know she’s not shopping anywhere. I see her lips moving but nothing’s coming out. There’s a pack of boys, acting as if they owned the corner they were hanging out on, whistling after pretty girls walking by. Some of the girls give them nasty looks, while others ignore them altogether.
I notice the smells. The sweet, succulent aroma of the flowers from a flower shop is tucked away in a little box in my heart labeled “sweet things”. Next, I smell pizza. I know pizza. I eat it a lot. My nose wrinkles in defiance of the familiarity. No more pizza for me! I smell garbage. I know that smell, too. It perfumes my apartment. It creeps into my nostrils and lingers. I put my hand to my face and smell my skin. Anything is better than the smell of where I came from.
Darkness is inevitable. Hours fly by in a dizzying swirl of sights, sounds, and smells. More swiftly than I would think, the insipid darkness descends upon the city. I am tense, anxious. My stomach grumbles. I haven’t considered where or what I might eat. I haven’t considered where I might stay. I haven’t considered how I might pay for anything. I simply haven’t considered. My thoughts wander as I stand frozen in the middle of the sidewalk. I am now one of those people, the street people, who lay on benches or cardboard boxes on the ground. It’s still better than who I was before.
 An unnatural breeze, sour and rank, wafts over my face. I know that smell, and a shiver snakes its way up my spine and clenches hard at my neck. It is Him, and my stomach roils in abject humiliation. My revolution, only in its infancy, has been suppressed. I am tugged and pulled and squeezed by his cruel hands. And He smiles at the people we pass on the way to his car that He left parked in the middle of the road. He calls me an incorrigible teenager to mollify the onlookers while shoving me into the front seat, and they respond with an understanding glance. But they don’t understand! I scream that I’m being kidnapped and they shake their heads disbelieving me, believing Him instead. How can they believe Him instead of me? His right hand forms a manacle around my wrist as He drives one-handed all the way back to the apartment. I am barraged with insults and curses and threats meant to intimidate me.
They will work… for a while.
A closet, a very dark closet with some matted carpeting, becomes my home, and I am chained by my ankle to the floor. But not before my whipping, not before cigarettes are burned into my flesh, and not before I am reminded of what my only purpose is on this earth. I don’t know what day it is. I only know day from night when the door opens and I’m given a sandwich and water. And when They come to fetch me.
In the darkness I hear them scheming. I know they have to send me to school. It’s the law. But they won’t until I’m healed. Mother told me she called me out sick so the police won’t come. They’ve told stories to everyone at school about how difficult I am at home and how I’m a habitual liar. Mother told them she’s getting me into counseling because I hurt myself intentionally. My teachers don’t believe them. Do they?
I am scheming, too.
I am finally set free to go to school. I have no clue what’s going on in my classes and no friends to ask. I’m never there enough to string concepts or friendships together. My stomach is cramping, so I ask to see the nurse. Denied. I’m only allowed to have stomach cramps in between classes. I see my assistant principal at lunchtime and decide to approach her. Maybe she can help me. We go to her office and she leans back nonchalantly in her seat and stares blankly at every tale I tell. I even show her the scarring from the cigarette burns and the chain marks around my ankle. I’ll look into this, she says, as she walks me out. I turn around to see her shaking her head and tossing her notes into the waste basket. She doesn’t believe. They’ve gotten to her. She’s one of Them now.
The end of the school day brings no relief, as He is there, waiting for me in his car. He waves me on and I can do nothing but obey. Mother’s gone. On and on, my days blend together. Every day the same routine- chains unlocked, get ready for school, go to school, go home, chains locked. Sometimes He comes, sometimes his friends, sometimes it is people he doesn’t even know. I am His meal-ticket. I am His drugs.
 I am His.
He has a computer on the table in the kitchen, right next to the pizza boxes and dirty paper plates and cups and empty beer bottles. While in my closet I have been busy. I have found a way to get out of my chains and back in them again. Malnourishment has its advantages.
The front door slams shut and I wait. I listen. There is silence. Boldly, I remove the chain from around my ankle and I stretch. Reaching up for the doorknob, I hesitate. What if He’s testing me and He’s really laying in wait, ready to pounce? What if the door is locked and I can’t get out? Enough of the what-ifs, I scold myself. What if you just open the Goddamn door?
I do, and I am alone.
Energy hums through my body as I rush to the computer. Now what? I search for freedom. I had been in Civics class once where the teacher taught us about human rights violations around the world. He had mentioned human trafficking and children being sold into slavery as a couple of examples. I remember hyperventilating and being sent to the health office. I retched and dry-heaved for a while and then she sent me back to class. Only other people get to go home when they’re sick.
Human trafficking brings up 9,000,000 pages to view. I only need one to confirm that I am what is called a victim. It takes a couple more clicks and I find my savior. Someone actually saves people like me, victims of unspeakable human rights crimes. I quickly write down a phone number, put it in my pocket and return the computer to exactly the way it was before.
 I hear loud cursing and laughing coming from the hallway. He’s back, and he’s got company. Scurrying like a mouse, I scramble to my closet, close the door, reattach the chain to my ankle and curl up in a ball. I say my nightly prayer, “Please make me invisible tonight.” Tonight, it works. His company is female. Poor woman.
At school today, I skip out of English. I borrow some kid’s cell phone. Okay, I steal some kid’s cell phone and race outside to make the call. The call to freedom. My finger trembles as it pushes each number. It knows this is my last effort to be free. The thrumming of my heart threatens to drown out the voice on the other end. Hello?

I am born. Again. It is a long row I hoe with many ruts and boulders in my way. Nightmares and depression replace my former reality. But I have people in my life now who help me plant the seeds of strength and trust and happiness. People who show me what it is to be treated with human kindness. People who show me I am deserving of such. The evil that bought me when I was but a child has his own shackles to wear now in his own “closet” for the next forty years. It should bring a smile to my face, but that’s still hard to do.
My name is Freedom, and I had a birthday once. I named it my Freedom Day. My Freedom Day dinner was a real steak, a baked potato, green beans, and a Coke.
My Freedom Day gift? My new life.

©Deena Remiel, 2010. All rights reserved.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Call out for help for a family that was burned out of their home

A friends brother's house JUST burned down. They were on their way to a Renessance Fair when they got a call to turn around and come home. Literally just yesterday. They had put one dog in a kennel, and left one at home to be looked after by a neighbor. Someone broke into their home right after they left Friday, took their gas can from the garage and started fires in the kids rooms. This family lost everything they left behind on what they thought would just be a weekend trip. From pictures, clothes, books, and laptops, to their beloved pet that was left in what they thought was the safety of their home.

The dad when asked what he needed answered "I have everything I need right here." He pointed to his wife and children. One of his daughters started crying, "I won't ever hold my books again." I was called to see if I could send the kids some of the Young Adult books that I have reviewed, since they are all avid readers. I would like to go one step further. We will never be able to put the things they lost back in their hands, but I would like to be able to put smiles back on the kids faces, with your help. I am taking donations of Amazon Gift cards, YA ebooks, or Kindles. I want to buy these four kids Kindle Wi-fis, and load them with books that they lost-as well as new ones. I want them to shed tears of joy if tears must be shed, instead of tears of loss and sorrow.

The ages of the kids are:
16 year old girl
13 year old boy
11 year old girl
9 year old boy

Please share your love and show the kids some heart on this holiday weekend. Help me to help them with donations of Amazon Gift Cards for Kindles and PDFs of Young Adult books to fill them.
Send all donations to:
here or  if you don't have outlook.
If donating books please use Fire Donations in the subject line. I will add all of the names of the participants to the card that is sent to the kids, unless the you wish to remain anonymous. Thank you so very much in advance, for making a difference in this tragic time for these kids!

I am starting donations with my own $25 Amazon Card. Any amount from $10 on up will help.

We have started a raffle as well- see HERE for the post and list of prizes available.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why am I doing a self editing set of blogs?

I have been asked, "Why are you doing a SET of self-editing blogs? Won't that cut into your own freelance business?"
My reply is "Because I believe in helping authors. If I can help them get started on edits, and get signed easier then I am thrilled to have done something positive! And no I don't think it will cut into business, because fresh eyes are ALWAYS a plus. *grin*"

Some of you have asked me why I don’t do the "Tips and Tricks" in one blog post- just put it all out there. One reason is because some authors know some of these tricks- so it will be easier to find what you need if they are done as individual blogs. I also don’t want to bog you down with too much information at once. Nothing is worse than a long tiresome lecture, especially if you already know some of the information! *Yawn*
As writers we want our manuscripts, our “babies”, to show their true potential. We want them to find the perfect House and a great niche. And we all know that is more likely to happen if we have a great storyline and a clean manuscript. Make the baby shine! These are some easy simple things you can do to help set yourself apart from all others, whether this is your first book or your thirty first.

Also don’t think that if you use all of these tricks you will have a 100% clean manuscript. Each House has their own set of rules; working for five Houses trust me I have learned this! You will still have rounds of edits to go through. I also suggest, if you are unsure, getting a pre-submission edit done. They can be expensive, but they can also be worth the cost. 

Freelance (pre-submission) editors can help you a lot. Especially getting used to dealing with someone who will make you take an outside look at your own work. It is one of the reasons I love doing freelance- you have a bit more time and get more one on one with authors. Make sure you do your homework when choosing a pre-sub editor. It helps if you can talk to them and they are able to get their point across to you on why they think some changes work better. Rude doesn’t mean an awful editor- it just means they have no people skills, lol. Just like kiss ass doesn’t mean great. 

You should find someone who will point out both the good and bad points. I prefer it when I see an “OMG I LOVE this line!” on occasion between the “Repetitive usage” or “? This doesn’t make sense, suggest rewrite of:” ;) Because really, if all you see is a sea of red (or in my case blue) with no comments in a positive manner, you are more likely to give up. This is about making something as perfect as can be, helping others to succeed, not knocking down dreams and staunching creativity. Just because we are showing you what can be changed does not mean we can't show you what is great!

And now I will get off my soap box, lol. but I wanted to answer the question I have gotten a minimum of nine times in one day. And please note- not all editors think the same way- just as people/authors don't all think the same way. I will post Tips and Tricks part two soon! 

Keep writing!