Monday, June 30, 2008

Something To Think About

As I sit here in the midst of finishing up edits for one book, talking to my husband about construction work and trying to decide which illustrations I want to do today, I pulled some papers off of my organizer. Out falls a packet of inspirational sayings that I saw on the wall of a doctor's office (they gave me copies) that I'd intended to post here. So, right now, right this minute, that's what I'm doing before I get sidetracked on something else. I'm going to try to post one a day until they're all up here. Let's see how many days I'll forget. LOL

Today's Something To Think About:

If you had a band that credited your account each morning with $86,400, carried over no balance from day to day, allowing you to keep no cash in your account, canceling all unused funds at the end of each day, what would you do?

You have such a bank. It's called TIME.

Every morning, each person's account is credited with 86,400 seconds. Every night, each second not put toward a good purpose is cancelled. Time carries no blanace forward. Nor does time allow us to borrow against future allocations.

We can only live on today's deposit and invest our time toward the utmost health, happiness and success.

--cited in Leadershop When The Heat's On

What are you going to do with your time today? Me, I think I'm going to use a little of it to relax. Time goes by too quickly when you have ten thousand things to do on your plate. What will it hurt to just walk away from it all for a few minutes and enjoy the blessings in your life? It's not going to hurt at all and may even be better for you in the long run. Enjoy your time.



Thursday, June 26, 2008

Guest blogger Marcia James

My guest-blogger today is Marcia James, an author of “hot, humorous romances”. Her debut comic romantic suspense, AT HER COMMAND, was released in trade paperback and e-book last year from Cerridwen Press. In June 2009, she’ll have a short story in a Berkley charity anthology with nine other authors. After a career in marketing and advertising, she enjoys PR almost as much as writing love scenes. Marcia offers her 150+ file of author promotion information to any author who requests it. Just email her through the “Contact Me” page on her Web site:

Please join me in welcoming Marcia. Here's her guest blog post:

When I was offered the chance to guest-blog on Melissa/Ariana’s blog, I asked her if I could talk about my favorite topic: author promotion. I never get tired of chatting up readers and authors about their favorite types of PR. I would love to hear opinions and suggestions from posters on this blog. ;-) Readers, what types of promotional items—bookmarks, excerpt booklets, autographed book plates, trinkets?—do you like to receive from authors? Authors, what are your favorite or most effective promotional efforts—blogs, chats, paid ads, booksignings, workshop presentations? Readers and authors, which PR things do your dislike? For example, I’m not a fan of public speaking, although I make myself present PR workshops to get my name out there. I also write PR articles, and the following is one from my Web site’s Articles page. I hope you enjoy it! – Marcia

THE PR BUDDY SYSTEM: The Benefits of Author Cross- and Co-Promotion
By Marcia James

Self-promotion. Say the word aloud in a room full of authors and watch a fingernails-on-the-blackboard shudder run through the crowd. Promotion can be a scary drain on time and finances. For this reason, savvy self-promoters are joining forces with other authors to share the expense and effort—a sort of PR buddy system.

The simplest form of cross-promotion is reciprocal links—authors posting each other’s URL links on their own sites. Cerridwen Press author Paige Cuccaro added a clever hook, posting both links and photos of other authors’ offices on her Web site’s popular “Writer’s Cave” page. And debut Samhain author Janie Mason has a Happily Ever Afters page with links and photos of authors and their spouses.

Another form of cross-promotion is guest-blogging, a free and easy way to introduce yourself to another author’s readers and vice-versa. Melissa/Ariana offers many guest-bloggers this opportunity. {{Thanks!}} Another example is Kensington author Shirley Jump, who has featured guest-bloggers on her recipe-filled “Eating My Words” blog. She even offered me, a non-cook, a shot at posting on my Avocado Body Paint recipe. It was a fun PR opportunity that cost nothing and required only a short commitment of time.

Interviews are another enjoyable way to cross-promote. Each month for my Web site’s “James Gang” page, I interview an author who has “James” in his or her name. The monthly “James Ganger” brings traffic to my site by announcing the interview to readers and email loops, while my fans learn about the featured author. And the interviews themselves can be used by the James Gang’ authors as part of their print and online press kits.

Co-promoting with other authors is another smart PR move. Many writers are banding together to do co-op ads or form group blogs. One example is the Vamps & Scamps blog. Kensington’s Dianne Castell, one of their ten authors, said, “The Vamps and Scamps loves guest-bloggers, too—both authors and readers. It’s fun to discuss books from both viewpoints.”

Authors can co-promote through a variety of joint ventures. For example, a group of Ohio authors, under the leadership of Berkley author Lori Foster, has a MySpace page. As one of these authors, I was able to dip a technically challenged toe into the MySpace pool without jumping in—possibly over my head—with the time commitment of my own page.

Another way authors can co-promote is conducting workshops together at conferences. Taking it a step further, Dianne Castell has joined her best friend Lori Foster to host their own conference, their annual Readers & Authors Get-Together in Cincinnati. “It’s a fun, relaxed weekend of readers and authors, and now agents and editors and publishers,” Castell said.

Creativity is part of a writer’s “toolbox”, and many are putting it to good use in cross-promotion. For example, Ellora’s Cave/Cheek author Michele Pillow sometimes does scavenger hunts, in which readers search authors’ Web sites, then answer quiz questions or locate hidden logos to win prizes. “I participated in the Halloween Scavenger Hunt,” Jenna Black said, “and my Web site hits [went] up hugely.”

Sourcebooks/Samhain author Terry Spear has turned her talent at making award-winning teddy bears into an author PR op. “I’ve been making specialty bears for authors’ books,” Terry said. “When they have their contests, I advertise their books and the contests on all my loops and my sites.” She also teaches online workshops, using examples from other authors’ books in the courses.

Mira author Brenda Novak is an amazing promotional role model. Her well-publicized, annual online auction for diabetes research offers an opportunity to join other authors, readers and industry professionals for a wonderful cause. “Everyone gives great stuff, but those who get creative and really run with it get spotlighted in my newsletter, [which] goes out to 22,000, and on the front page of my Web site,” Novak explained. In addition, she’s co-promoted her books. For example, she joined three other authors to produce a poster for bookstores when they all had a book coming out at the same time.

These examples of pro-active co- and cross-promotion are just a fraction of the opportunities available today. So the next time you hear the dreaded “self-promotion” word, don’t cringe. Instead, connect with other authors. The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Melissa....where are you??

Here I am! Good morning everyone. It’s been a while since I blogged. The kids are out of school for the summer and it’s pretty crazy around my house. I wanted to let everyone know what I’m up to so you guys don’t think I just fell off the face of the Earth. LOL

Pretty soon I’ll be able to announce the specifics for two new books. I’m itching to tell you all about them but I’m waiting to get my signed contracts back and then I can give you all of the juicy details. In the meantime, I have several other writing projects going on that I can tell you more about. First there are two metaphysical nonfiction books that are nearly finished but I’m not sure what publisher they’ll land at yet. When they’re released you can find them under my real name, Melissa Alvarez. One requires a lot of artwork that I need to provide so we’ll see what happens.

I’m currently in the midst of illustrating two children’s picture books that will be released in September by Adrema Press under my pen name Jara Jordan. They are It’s My Day, Jake! and Penelope Panda’s Shooting Star. Right now these books are planned to be released in both English and Spanish. I also have another book scheduled for release in October titled, Read With The Lights On! Spooky Stories For Kids. As Jara Jordan I’ve also got a young adult series and a middle readers series that are in the works. I’m going to seek agent representation on those two once I have a couple of books in each series completed.

O.M.G. - What happened to Ariana Dupre? Relax… Don’t worry… Ariana is still kickin’ it! Since it’s summer, I’m juggling my writing around illustrating, horses and family things. I’m giving Ariana a couple of months off. I do have more books planned for Ariana and I’ll go back to her books once the kids are back in school and I can think straight again. It would be very hard for me to leave the romantic suspense behind.

Also, look for a newly designed website sometime in the near future. I’m going to change it all up so everyone can find all my stuff in one place – if you like books by Ariana then your kids might like Jara’s books. If you're looking for enlightment then check out my metaphysical books. I’m planning to do the website redesign before September. Check it out at .

But Melissa – what about the radio shows?? Look for Celtic Seers in September (there's a lot happening in September isn't it?). Sally Painter and I are co-hosting the show and will discuss all sorts of metaphysical topics. The link is . I haven’t decided about my radio show yet. Did you guys enjoy it? Want to hear more of it? Comment here or send me an email and let me know what you think. It will definitely help my decision as to whether or not I start it back up again.

Right now I’m heading to the farm to feed the horses (we’ve got some of them up for sale if you want to buy one!) and then I’ll be back for the pool to tire the kids out, do some cleaning so my house doesn’t turn into a disaster, wash some clothes so my kids will stop complaining that they don’t have anything to wear (what they really mean is both of their two favorite outfits are dirty and they don’t want to wear any of the clean things hanging in their closets LOL), do some psychic readings that came in and then back to illustrating.

I hope you all are having a great summer! On June 26th my guest blogger is Marcia James. She’s talking about book promotion!


Melissa Alvarez/Ariana Dupre
Talgorian Prophecy On Sale Now ,

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Guest Blogger Mirella Patzer

Please join me in welcoming guest blogger Mirella Patzer। I asked Mirella some interview questions which she has answered below। If you have more questions for Mirella just leave them in the comment section! Thanks for being here today Mirella!

Bloodstone Castle by Mirella Patzer - Virtual Book Tour June 2008

Bloodstone Castle stands sentinel on the shores of the Ligurian Sea. Secreted somewhere in its dungeons is an ancient Roman treasure of immense value. Contessa Morena of Bloodstone Castle possesses a mysterious bloodstone pendant, the only proof the treasure exists. Since childhood, she has been promised in marriage to Duke Ernesto of Savona. Ernesto is a desperate man, a gambler who has lost his family's fortune, a man who resorts to murder, not once, not twice, but three times to keep from paying his debts and to hide his dirty secret. Marriage to the lovely Morena will make the treasure his and restore his power and desperate circumstances. After the brutal murder of his father, Duke Amoro of Genoa swears two oaths. The first is to avenge his father's death. The second is to honour his father's dying wish and wed Morena of Bloodstone Castle and end the violent feud with between their two families. He severs his affair with his mistress, Laria, and departs for Bloodstone Castle to propose to Morena. But Morena refuses to marry him. Her life thrown into chaos, Morena must choose between obligation and honour, truth and lies, good and evil. She must honour the betrothal her father arranged with Ernesto. Amoro continues to try to convince Morena otherwise.

Ernesto arrives at Bloodstone Castle to claim his bride, but finds Amoro there. The two men confront each other with much animosity.

Then, when the murdered body of Morena's father is brought home, Amoro helps her with his burial, then her and takes her to his home in Genoa. He is fiercely protective over her. This angers Morena at times because she insists upon her independence. While she is conducting an act of charity, she notices Amoro's men following her. As she tries to escape, she falls from her horse and is taken back to Amoro. When Amoro agrees to allow Morena full independence, they set a wedding date.

Laria and Ernesto meet and together they plan to separate Amoro and Morena.

On the day of the wedding, Morena falls into the clutches of Ernesto. Amoro arrives to rescue her and the two men agree to battle each other - winner gets the girl. Ernesto cheats and Amoro is held prisoner. Morena realizes her love for Amoro and to save his life, agrees to marry Ernesto. Laria is free to pursue Amoro again. But Amoro continues to refuse Laria. When Laria learns that Ernesto plans to kill Amoro, she aids Morena in a daring rescue to Amoro and his men.

In medieval Italy, two men face each other with ruthlessness and intensity. Enter their world of splendour and depravity, of passion and wickedness. It is Italy's most dazzling and dangerous age, and as Duke Amoro of Genoa and Duke Ernesto of Savona match wits and cunning, it is a dance the death to decide which one of them will win the hand of the beautiful Countess Morena and the hidden treasure of Bloodstone Castle.
Meet Mirella Patzer - Your Guide on This Adventure

Books are one of Mirella Patzer's obsessions, especially those that pertain to medieval eras and with Italy as a backdrop. To fulfill a life long dream, she began writing several years ago and has never looked back. Since then she has published several short stories and completed two novels with several more novels in various stages of completion. Her fascination for women of history and Italy is often reflected in her work, blogs, and website. When she's not immersed in research or writing or blogging, Mirella works as an editor for Enspiren Press. She writes from her home in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, surrounded by her husband, two college-bound daughters, and a rambunctious little grandson who frequently interrupts her work with a variety of unanticipated, yet humorous calamities and interruptions. For her, life couldn't get any better.

Interview with Mirella Patzer:

1. What drew you to write about the medieval era and Italy?

I am the eldest daughter of Italian immigrants who came to Canada in the late 1950's. I have visited Italy on several occasions during my life to meet my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who live there. From a very young age, I fell in love with Italy, its history, its beauty, its culture. I have always felt cheated - that I wasn't born there. The longing never leaves me. But my life and my immediate family are here in Canada. So I indulge my yearning for my Italian roots by researching and writing about Italy. As far as the medieval era goes, I think I was born with a strong interest in the Middle Ages. As a child, I read every fairy tale book in my library several times over, year after year. I loved reading about princesses, queens, kings, knights. I have carried that with me all my life except that now I read and write medieval era novels. My heart will always be in medieval Italy.

2. Did you have to do a lot of research for this book?

I have been researching 10th century Europe since 2003 because I'm writing a trilogy / family about Otto the Great and his family. But writing a true historical based on actual persons can be quite challenging because one must stick to the facts. And it takes years. I cannot change history so I know the plot and how it will end. But the creative side in me demanded to be set free - I needed a detour - a reprieve from so much fact, so I decided to write something purely from my own imagination. Thus was born Bloodstone Castle. To save time, I deliberately kept it in the 10th century so that I could focus on letting my imagination run wild and still keep historically accurate to the times without having to do a ton of new research.

3. How long did it take you to write Bloodstone Castle?

It took me about 2 years to write it on a part time basis. I had a full time career as a manager of several departments at a local police department, so I wrote after work and on weekends. During the writing of Bloodstone Castle, I was blessed with the birth of my grandson. In July 2007, I was able to take early retirement. I can only still write part time however because I care for my grandson on a full time basis while my daughter is going through law school. The day will come, however, when I can devote full time hours to my writing. But for now, I've never been happier. I have the best of both worlds - my grandson and my writing with no official day job.

4. What do you think is the hardest part of writing?

It takes a great deal of energy to be creative. And it takes several re-writes before I deem a chapter good enough to progress to the next. I change and fix almost constantly. Many author friends tell me to just write and not worry about polishing and editing until after one is finished their first draft. I'm too much of a perfectionist to take that advice, so writing takes me a little longer than most. I'm very critical of my writing and it takes a lot effort before I am pleased with the product I just completed.

5. The easiest?

I find editing and polishing the easiest. Once I have written the bones of a particular chapter, I love going back over it to add sights, smells, descriptions, reactions, details. That's when the scene really comes alive for me.

6. If you could be one character in your book who would it be and why?

I think I would be Smerelda, the wise woman and healer. She is mature, educated, self-assured, and knowledgeable. Wisdom comes with maturing. I agree with Oprah when she says that women in their 40's and 50's are enjoying some of their best years. I'm nearing 50 and I have never loved my life as much as I do now. I'm very blessed to have such a wonderful, supportive husband and daughters and the freedom to pursue my passion - writing.

7. What has been your most inspiring moment as an author?

I wrote a short story entitled Down Three Steps. It is a true story about an spiritual experience I had at my brother's grave in Italy. My brother died as an infant before I was born and before my parents immigrated to Canada.

The story was featured in the anthology Mamma Mia: Good Italian Girls Talk Back which became a Canadian bestseller. I travelled to Toronto for the book launch and met the other 17 Italian Canadian women who also contributed stories.

At the book launch, when I read part of my story to a large audience, at the end of my reading, I noticed many people crying or with tears. It was then I realized the power of the written word and how we as authors and writer can influence the lives of our readers.

8. If you could give other authors or aspiring writers one piece of advice what would it be?

Just do it. Just write. Figure out what it is you need to do to get writing and do it. For me, I knew I needed a laptop. So I went out one day, bought it, and I've never looked back. If it means buying a desk, or finding a quiet space, or buying a special pen or paper, get it and write. And don't worry about whether it's perfect or not. Once something is written, I recommend joining a critique group or online critique group which will help you hone your skill. Persevere. All is achievable if one sticks to it.

9. How are you enjoying your book promotion tour so far?

I am enjoying it immensely. The book tour allows me to meet other authors and readers and learn from them. I'm an avid reader too, so it's wonderful to be able to share what I've learned too. The Internet truly is a modern miracle.

10. Have you had any interesting fan moments?

Yes, I have and it is very gratifying. I love receiving email from a reader to let me know they want to buy my book or have read it. It's gratifying to know that my words have provided someone with a little entertainment or provided them with a tiny escape from our sometimes very stressful lives.

Thank you very much for allowing me to spend time with you and your readers. It was a true pleasure to be here.


Find Out More About Mirella Patzer and Bloodstone CastleMirella Patzer's Website -
Mirella Patzer's Blogs

Watch a Video for Bloodstone Castle

Reviews for Bloodstone Castle by Mirella Patzer