books, Rachel Rueben, Romance, Thriller

Fedelta 2: Hustling

Fedelta Excerpt 3
Image via Pixabay

*Warning Language*

Meanwhile, just a few blocks away in front of a laundromat, Cassandra was hunting for new clothes.  In most people’s eyes, she was loaded but in reality, she was asset rich and cash poor.  She couldn’t just walk into a store and pay with her jewelry, no matter how nice and expensive it was.  So in essence she was broke, so Casssandra did what she always did when she was broke, she stole.  First, she cased the joint for security guards but only found surveillance cameras on the outside of the building as well at the register.  The rest of the place was free of interference.  Relieved, she began looking for women who were about her size and observed their alertness.  The last thing she needed was someone putting up a fight.  However as she scanned the place, Cassandra noticed only one woman who fit the bill and she seemed to be a young woman with three small children.  It didn’t feel right, so Cassandra decided to make it right.  Sitting in one of the plastic neon orange chairs near her target, she began taking off her diamond earrings.  She figured they were worth around $10,000, way more than anything this woman owned and slipped them into the woman’s purse. With the flick of the wrist, Cassandra slid the goods into the woman’s bag and began her scheme.

Appearing to be busy on her phone, Cassandra patiently waited for the woman to be distracted and it didn’t take long when her kids began fighting.  Completely overwhelmed, the woman snatched one of the boys by the arm and began yelling.  As she did, the baby next to her started crying.  The woman sighed and commanded, “Come on!” as she headed off to the lady’s restroom.  It was the diaper change sent from the gods, and without arousing any suspicion, Cassandra went over to the dryer and plucked out a damp t-shirt with a pair of jeans from the load.  Then without saying a word, she left the laundromat before the woman could return.  When she got to her car, she began putting on the lavender peasant top and cropped blue jeans.  Now the look was complete, no one would ever think of looking for her driving a dirty SUV while dressed in Boxmart style clothes.  Even though she wasn’t dressed like her normal attire, it was still way better than the sweaty and dirty evening gown that she was nearly murdered in.  When Cassandra got to the nearest Mc Restaurant, she threw the gown in the dumpster.  Smelling the food inside her stomach growled.   It had been over 6 hours since she last ate and though it would kill her family to know that she was eating food cooked under a heat lamp, it was cheap and convenient.

None of that mattered because she still had no money, and the only thing Cassandra had left to give away was her engagement ring.  There was no way she would ever part with that.  So she had to find another way.  Looking through her purse, she desperately looked for anything but all she had was makeup, tissues and gum.  Then her phone vibrated.  Looking at the screen, Cassandra noticed the call had a local area code with an unfamiliar number.  She knew better than to answer.  In fact, she knew what to do next, she had to pawn the phone.  But before she did that, Cassandra deleted all the contact info as well as all the apps.  She had another phone in her suitcase, she wasn’t going to miss this one.  Before Cassandra left the restaurant, she looked around for a fencer.  Usually, they hustled on corners or in parking lots.  She knew there would be interest in her phone because it was brand new and had a brand named.  Scouring the block for her new buyer, she noticed a man in front of a gas station.  Checking him out, she noticed he was dressed in a newish football jersey and jeans so he wasn’t homeless.  Cautiously, she scanned the block to make sure he wasn’t a cop.  Cassandra couldn’t see any unusual cars parked on the street and decided to take the risk.  Casually, she walked over to him and smiled then, asked for the time.  Returning the smile he said, “Baby, I got all the time in the world.”  It was the corniest thing she had ever heard, and couldn’t help but roll her eyes.  Seeing the ice had been broken, she straight up asked him, “Hey, I’m looking to unload a phone, is there a pawn shop ‘round here?”

“Naw, baby girl, but lemme look.”

From a distance she held up the phone and his eyes bulged, “That’s the new Andromeda 10!”  Hearing the excitement in his voice, Cassandra asked, “Yeah, you interested?”  And before you knew it, she had closed the deal and scored an extra $40 in her pocket.  It wasn’t a lot but enough for food and little bit of gas for her ride.  With this Cassandra ordered her McSlop which she ate in the car because she was too embarrassed to eat inside.  As she inhaled her food, Cassandra wondered about her next move.  It was the first time in nearly 8 hours she had time to sit down and think.  She could flee the country but she had to do it quickly before she was named a suspect or a person of interest by law enforcement.  And since she stuck a gun in a cop’s face, they were more likely to just book her on that.  Then there was Stephano’s killers, she would have to deal with them sooner or later.  She needed to get her hands on Danny Marchesi, the man who ruined her life and took Stephano’s.  Angry, all Cassandra could do was fantasize about what she would do with him and his crew once she got a hold of them.  But for now, she was just some chick in a fast food parking lot and wasn’t riding with any crew.  In fact, she had to assume that everyone had turned on her.  It was the safest thing to do.

Feeling all alone, the tears streamed down her face but Cassandra decided to shut that part of her brain down in order to survive.  She needed to survive this attack on her life, Casssandra needed to survive the police and their bullshit, and more importantly, she needed to survive for Stephano.  She was the only one who could deliver justice for him now.  With her mind already made up, she threw what was left of her lunch out of the window and started the car.  It was reckoning time.

 

Thank you for following along with the Fedelta series, if you need to get caught up here are the first two posts:

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books, Fiction, Rachel Rueben, Romance, Thriller

Fedelta 2: Hardball

Fedelta 2 Second Excerpt

Meanwhile across town, Detective Amato was back in his cubicle with the other detectives in the financial crimes unit.  It was his own personal nightmare, a desk job  he had to do from a shoe box but at least he had a job.  In the last year, he went from fugitive, to being welcomed back into the fold and it was all a complete mystery to him.  Well not really, he knew that someone called in a favor and he was let back into the force through the cat flap.  Amato managed to keep his nose to the grind and keep out of trouble but it was secretly killing him.  He wanted more and Amato wasn’t even sure if this is how he wanted to live his life.  Looking at spreadsheets and nitpicking over ledgers was not what he dedicated himself to at the academy.  It was pathetic, he didn’t even have a gun anymore.  The last time he discharged his firearm was when he was taking the marksmanship test.  He felt like a dog that had been neutered, a ball-less wonder.  Okay, maybe it wasn’t the gun that was bothering him so much.  Maybe it was the fact that he knew that the only reason why he was back on the force was because of Cassandra Fenetti.  The woman who he owed his newly resurrected career to and the woman he wanted dead for betraying him.

With blurry eyes, he did his best to read the rows and columns of financial data that graced the screen.  His job was to flag any inconsistencies and send the documents off to his supervisor.  Rinse and repeat, all the day long.  It was soul crushing for a man who was used of being out in the field taking risks and chasing bad guys.  He didn’t know how long he could take this, in fact, he had already started looking for another job in another town.  There had to be someone, somewhere, who needed a cop?  As his mind wondered off, his boss, Agent Nicholson, yelled from his office, “Amato, get in here.”  Startled, he nearly tripped over his own feet trying to exit his work station, God he couldn’t wait until this day was over.

Once in the office, he noticed Supervisory Special Agent Cohen from the Organized Crime Unit was sitting across from his boss’ desk.  “Shut the door,” Nicholson ordered.  Doing as he was told, Amato shut the door and approached the desk.  Pointing to a folding chair, his boss commanded, “Take a seat.” Once seated, Cohen addressed Amato, “There was a hit this morning on Columbus Avenue and 96th Street.  Double homicide, both males.”  On the desk was a folder which he reached into and pulled out several photos of two men in a vehicle, shot multiple times.  Handing them over to Amato, he asked, “Recognize, the vics?”

Stunned, Amato answered, “Yes, the male behind the wheel is Lucus Hobbs, driver for Stephano Rimaldi, the very dead gentleman in the backseat.”

“Right,”  Cohen said as he pulled out a tablet and handed it to Amato, “Press play.” Doing as instructed, a grainy surveillance video played the final moments of the unlucky occupants in the car.  “This is overkill” Amato remarked as he saw four men shooting at the vehicle.  He watched as the assassins fled the scene and the patrolman approached the vehicle.  Pressing stop, Cohen corrected him saying, “No, keep going.”  Not certain as to what he meant, Amato pressed play again and watched as Cassie appeared in camera range.  “Recognize the female?”  Cohen asked.

Hesitantly, Amato answered, “Yes, it’s Fenetti, Cassandra Fenetti.  She’s the fiancé of Rimaldi.”

“Interesting,” Cohen said staring at Amato.  “Those of us in homicide would appreciate any assistance you can offer in our little investigation.”

“Of course,” Amato replied.

“We’re looking for the female suspect,”

“Suspect?”

“She couldn’t have done this.”

“No, we don’t believe she’s the mastermind of the hit, but she did threaten an officer with a weapon and we would like to talk to her.”

Chuckling, Amato answered, “Good luck finding her, let alone getting her to talk.”

“Yeah about that,” Cohen said sitting back in his chair, “We want you to lead the fugitive task force.”

“Wait, what?” Amato exclaimed, “This is the wrong way to approach the case.”

Smirking, Cohen looked at Amato, “It’s not your call.”

“I’ll provide intel but I’m not leading any task force.  It’s a waste of time.”

“Why?”  Cohen asked.

“Because she’s probably halfway to Timbuktu already.”

“Are you saying you can’t do it?”

“I’m saying she’s one of the richest women in this town and it will be a million times harder to trace than she was before.”

Questioning his loyalty Cohen asked, “Why should we believe you?  Word is you had a relationship with Fenetti during your excursion away from the force.”

A rush of heat hit Amato’s face from the insinuation that he was protecting some girlfriend.  Nonetheless, he took a deep breath and as calmly as he could, Amato responded, “I stepped in to protect a witness when our agency was unable.  There was never any inappropriate relationship between myself and Miss. Fenetti.”  He kept referring to her by her last name to keep his distance emotionally but also to show that he was not on friendly terms with her which, at that point, he wasn’t.

“If you don’t trust me, then find another agent to do the job.  Problem solved,” Amato said, calling Cohen’s bluff.

“I don’t like your attitude, no wonder they put you in the shitter.”

“Hey!” Nicholson interrupted, “I run this shitter and right now I’m flushing you right back to OC (Organized Crime).”

Without a word, Cohen stood up and gathered his tablet as well as his folder and walked out of the office.

“God, I hate those guys.” Nicholson said with disgust.

‘Yeah, me too.”

“You’re dying to get back in OC ain’t ya?”

“Yep,” Amato said as he stood up.

“So what was all that, I’m not the guy for the job shtick?”

“I’m gonna make them beg.”

Rolling his eyes, Agent Nicholson said, “Get the hell out my office.”

 

 

books, Fiction, Rachel Rueben, Romance, Thriller

She’s Back…

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Image via Pixabay

Warning: Language

Stephano quickly returned with her shawl and his jacket which he draped over his arm.  Fortunately for them, the gala was held on the first floor of the hotel so Cassandra didn’t have to endure the elevator.  God only knows what would happened there.  As they got to the front door, their Bentley Bentayaga was already waiting for them.  While Stephano opened the door, she noticed a man who looked out of place, he was wearing faded jeans and a white t-shirt.  With a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, Cassandra figured he was just of the hotel employees, a poorly dressed one at that.  Nothing to look at here she thought to herself until, he gave them the side eye.  Okay, so he was a badly dressed hotel employee with an attitude problem.  However, Cassandra’s gut told her there was something more to this perceived slight but she wasn’t feeling well and figured she wasn’t thinking straight.  Maybe it was the wine?

As the driver opened the passenger door, Cassandra happily got in while Stephano followed.  Once they pulled away from the curb Cassandra started to relax knowing they were only ten minutes from their apartment.  When they pulled up to a red light, Stephano remarked about the lack of traffic and just as he made that statement, the car behind them turned up their high beems, blinding the driver.  Cassandra’s heart stopped as she realized what was going on.  Looking at Stephano, she grabbed his arm but before anything came out of her mouth, several men approached the car from the front as well as the side.  Two of them pulled out guns, and started shooting, “Oh God!” she gasped as a hail of bullets started showering the car.  In an act of utter selflessness, Stephano pulled her down to the floor and covered her with his body.  Though it only lasted seconds, it felt like an eternity for the shooting to stop.  Shaking to her core, Cassandra said not one word as she heard footsteps approaching the car.  Hearing the driver’s door open, she heard a raspy voice announce, “Yeah, they’re dead.”  Listening as the others approach, Cassandra had to fight the urge to shake.  Closing her eyes, she controlled her breathing and lied as still as she could. “Good job fellas,” said one of the men.  This voice she recognized, it was Danny Marchesi, Stephano’s best friend.

“Dump the car and the bodies in the river,” Danny instructed one of the henchmen.  However before they could follow through, Danny groaned “Aw shit!” Listening closely, Cassandra heard several footsteps running in the opposite direction of the car.  As she remained motionless, she heard a car slowly pulling up and to her relief it was an elderly couple who stopped when they saw the driver slump over the wheel.  Thinking he was having a heart attack, they called 9-1-1 and within minutes, a patrol car arrived.  When the officer assessed the scene he knew immediately he was not dealing with a motorist in distress, this was a shooting.  Cautiously, he approached the car, and as he inched closer, he drew his weapon just in case the perpetrators were nearby.  Observing the driver, he nudged him with his hand and asked, “Sir, are you alright?”  After two attempts to communicate with the driver, he stepped back and noticed a black heap of clothing in the back seat area.  With his weapon still in hand, he opened the back door and realized it was yet another male.  Again, he repeated the proper procedure and tried to make contact with the male.  When he nudged Stephano, Cassandra popped out from under him.  Pulling back in fear, the officer nearly fell backwards into the street.  Drawing his weapon on her, he demanded, “Hands in the air.”  However, instead of complying, Cassandra pulled out her Glock 26 and yelled, “Fuck off!”

As the officer took cover behind his car, Cassandra got out of the passenger door and without taking her eyes off the guy, she retreated to a nearby alley.  Calling for backup, the officer could only watch as Cassandra disappeared from his range of vision and when assistance finally arrived, it was already too late, she was long gone.

Article, publishing, Rachel Rueben, writer's life

Advice To Self-Published Authors

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Image via Pixabay

In 2009, I decided to become an author, unfortunately, I had no idea what kind of journey I was signing up for.  As I threw my hat into the race, publishers were closing left and right due to the Great Recession.  Also, Amazon had just started challenging the U.S. publishing industry by creating the Kindle e-reader and their Kindle Direct Publishing company.  Now in 2018, the publishing industry has changed so much, today, many authors are choosing to go indie and major publishers are being even more selective about what they acquire.  So what would I say to an author just starting out today?  Well, I gathered some of the best advice I could and decided to publish it all here.  Hopefully, you too will pass it on to the next generation of newbie authors who don’t have a clue about how the publishing thing works.

 

  1. Educate yourself on the business and keep up with industry news. ~Rachel Rueben

 

  1. My advice to authors is to EDIT EVERYTHING WELL! If you aren’t confident of your own skills, hire someone. Yes, it gets expensive, but it’s worth it. We all make mistakes, miss things, or simply don’t know the correct way to say something. Research your would-be editor well. I’ve seen professionally edited, big company published, best selling authors, with grammatical errors. Apparently, neither they, nor their editors, knew the correct grammar. Find someone who will do a good job at a fair price. If you can’t afford an editor, then read your manuscript until your eyes bleed and your brain melts.” ~Dellani Oakes

 

  1. Avoid vanity presses they accept your manuscript but they charge you for the privilege of getting published.  It’s fine if you have money to throw at the endeavor but you are better off self publishing on Amazon.” ~Karen Vaughan

 

  1. Best advice? Decide how much control you want in the decisions about your new work. A finished story can be like the writer’s baby, so that writer has to decide how they feel about letting it go to another for the “growing up” process. Whether to self-publish with a POD, an ebook indie publisher, or try for the traditional publishing houses, it can be a matter of time and persistence. However, the bigger the publisher, the less control a writer might have on the decisions of cover, marketing, or even the edits. So, a new writer will have to choose whether they want to take the time to submit queries, submissions, and find agents so that they can possibly get more notice (and hopefully money) for their work, but have to let the fine details go to someone else and start working on the next. Or, if they have the tenacity to market themselves, they can have complete control of their baby and self-publish. An indie ebook press can offer a range between these two. Some have their own artists and editors, some let the author have the final say. But, once you have your “baby” fresh from your brain and “on paper” (as most books are files rather than typed manuscripts anymore), you need to decide which path of hard work, long hours, and promotion you want to do. It’s a lot of tedious work either way. As a self-publisher, I like having a say in what my books look like, but I sure would appreciate someone else doing the editing and marketing sometimes. Having a strong network of fellow authors is always good to have as well, no matter how you decide to publish..” ~Ruth Davis Hays

 

  1. Business is business, dead weight is just that, dead weight. If they are not contributing revenue they will drain your resources, cut them loose.” ~ Mike Thrasher – Chief Sales and Marketing Officer – Apex Capital From Amanda Thrasher

 

  1. On verbal agreements: “Some states do not honor verbal agreements. Others do. If one of the parties in your contract is from one of those states, then you could be agreeing to something you think you’ve mentioned casually over the phone.This one fact alone is why I do not conduct telephone negotiations with anyone on any project for any reason.

    People who want to negotiate with me must do so by letter or, these days, by email. I print those emails and keep them as work product for any agreement that we come up with, or don’t come up with, as the case may be.”  ~ Kristine Kathyrn Rusch

 

  1. You can definitely build an author platform and generate good sales from free marketing – but you will pay with your time.” ~ Joanna Penn

 

  1. About mistakes he sees authors make on social media:  “Shouting, ‘buy my book’, ad nauseam, on Twitter. No one is listening.” ~Mark Dawson

 

  1. Whatever you may have heard, self-publishing is not a shortcut to anything. Except maybe insanity. Self-publishing, like every other kind of publishing, is hard work. You don’t wake up one morning good at it. You have to work for that. ~ Zoe Winters

 

Here are a just a few books worth reading if you want to learn more about self-publishing:

  • (APE) Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur by Guy Kawasaki
  • Write. Publish. Repeat: The No Luck Required Guide to Self- Publishing Success by Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant and David Wright
  • Closing the Deal on Your Own terms by Kristine Kathyrn Rusch
  • Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook, Second Edition, by Helen Sedwick
  • How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn (This is book 2, in a series.)
  • Let’s Get Visible by David Gaughran

Also, if you want more information and resources you can check out: Important Resources for Indie Authors Parts One & Two, right here on the Cereal Authors blog.

 

Happy 2018, if you have any advice that you would like to impart to the next generation, please share it in the comments section.

 

Musings, Rachel Rueben, Ramblings, Uncategorized

Exercising Your Sarcasm

Exercising Your Sarcasm

Sarcasm has been no doubt been in use since the dawn of humanity, with most languages have their own forms of sarcasm.  Sarcasm is a form of humor, an ironic statement that can be considered either funny or rude depending on the delivery of the comment as well as the situation.  Humor can be a powerful tool in the arsenal of a communicator because if used at the wrong time, you can make a terrible impression.  This can be awful for the artist whose job it is, is to reach people with their work.  Imagine not being able to reach someone on a personal level because that’s what it equates to when you can’t joke around with someone.  There’s this barrier between the speaker and the listener and no matter what, it’s not easy to communicate with someone who can’t understand language on a basic level.

People who aren’t able to use or understand sarcasm are often seen as not culturally fluent. That’s because sarcasm is considered a vital part of language which is a source of human bonding.  So if a person can’t effectively use language, they therefore, can’t bond as well.  As writers, it is our job to connect and we can’t do that if our statements aren’t clear.  So does that mean writers should stop using sarcasm?  That’s a complicated question.

Images of Sarcastic People

Believe it or not, not everyone enjoys sarcastic language.  In fact, a survey was done on U.S. Southern college kids and only 35% of respondents said they like sarcasm, not only that, they found it often unnecessary.  This is probably because sarcasm can be viewed as passive aggressive and used only by the timid, while others see it as threatening or subversive.

So what does this mean for those of us who love sarcasm, does this mean we’re doomed to censorship?  Well no, remember sarcasm is a way to connect with people on a deeper level, and not everyone you meet is going to connect with you or even want to.  That’s their right.  However on the flip side, you honestly weren’t put on this earth to connect with ever single creature.  It’s impossible.

Cereal Authors Sarcasm Fact

The Consequences Of Not Understanding Sarcasm

Over the past few years, scientists have conducted studies which suggest those who have trouble understanding sarcasm may have a certain form of dementia called, frontotemporal dementia.  It’s believed that the brain is dysfunctional or damaged when it can’t detect insincere statements or humor.

In a Canadian study, children as young as six years old are reported to be able to detect sarcasm in conversation.  Needless to say, if a loved one is not understanding obvious sarcasm, you might want to take them to the doctor.

Making The World A Better & Healthier Place

It’s been proven that the brain works much harder to decipher lies and sarcasm.  So instead of seeing yourself as a smartass, see yourself more like a physical trainer, making people workout their brains.  Who better than a writer to take up that challenge?  So today, I am challenging you to take your sarcasm, your humor, and your spirit and go out into the world to make it friendlier and funnier place.  Humanity is depending on you!  No, really!  😉

 

Sarcasm Post 2
Pic by Johanna B. via Flickr

 

 

Article, Book Marketing, Rachel Rueben, Social media

Instagram For Authors Part 2

Instagram for Authors Part 2
Image via Pixabay

In my last post. I talked about Instagram and how authors can use it to build a social media following as well as what type of content to post.  Today, I’m going into the specifics on how to use Instagram to promote a book.  I’m also going to give a few ideas on when to post as well as how to maximize your time spent there so that you don’t spend all day posting pretty pictures.  So without further ado…

A Free Feature Authors Can Use For Book Promotion:

Instagram recently released a new feature (copying SnapChat) called, Instagram Stories where you can post a series of pictures, or videos for 24 hours.  Why would somebody want to do that?  It’s to create a sense of urgency and trigger the impulse mechanism within a human brain which can be ideal for things like:

  • A presale
  • A limited sale
  • A book giveaway
  • Or even a contest

The images or videos appear as a slideshow and you can post throughout the day. The only drawback is, there’s no ability to interact with your followers because there are no comments or likes for these kinds of posts.  If you’re interested, here’s a post from Instagram’s own blog which goes into further detail.

Instagram Carousel

Last year, Instagram launched a feature of slide shows posts called Carousel where users can load up to 10 photos or videos to one single post just like the Stories feature but without the time limit.  Like the Stories feature, users can spread their posts out over a period of a day or several weeks building up to a big sale or your even the release of your next book.  It’s all up to you.

Here are more ways authors can use Instagram’s Carousel feature:

  • Post a set of teasers from your work
  • Reveal a book cover
  • Announce a book release
  • Have a book sale
  • Hold a giveaway
  • Host contests
  • Post a series of book trailers

A refreshing example of an author using the carousel feature wisely is author Krystal Sutherland, who used it to display her book covers in various languages.  Also, blogger Ana Hoffman, took the feature and used her pics to introduce herself, as well as her work to her followers.  These two ladies knocked it out of the park.

Instagram Polling Stickers

One big complaint that many users had about Instagram was it’s very basic features.  I mean, there really wasn’t much you could do to engage your followers outside of responding to comments. So in response, Instagram recently introduced polling again, copying SnapChat’s Polly service.

Ways authors can use polling:  

  • Ask about questions about pricing for example: Is $5.99 too much for an ebook?
  • Opinions on book covers.
  • Thoughts on book titles.
  • Ask about various characters for example: Do you think Character A deserves his own book? Should Character B get the ax?

This feature can be very helpful to authors wanting to mine data from their followers.  And the good thing is, people love to give their opinions so it’s not considered intrusive.

Scheduling Apps Are A Complicated Business On Instagram

Sadly, Instagram doesn’t allow third party apps to post to their site.  But, there are several companies that have gotten around that by offering reminder services, where you create a post on an app and after you schedule it, it sends you a reminder to your phone.  When you receive this reminder, you can post it through your phone.  It’s a roundabout way to get past the obstacles that Instagram has created for users.  If you’re wondering why do they do this?  It’s to keep people posting through their (Instagram’s) mobile app and not via a desktop or third party app.  However, there are a few rogue services that break those rules but I won’t mention them here, because if you’re caught, your account can be suspended.  Remember, Amazon is still suing multiple companies as well as several individuals that repeatedly broke the rules on their website.

I have to admit, I do make it a point to preschedule things just so my account doesn’t lie dormant for months at a time while I write my next book. However, I only use the services approved by Instagram, I’ll list those later on.

Before I do that, I’ll discuss why authors should consider pre-scheduling apps.  During a book launch, you might be asked to do interviews or even write a guest post on a popular blog.  Most hosts would appreciate it, if they don’t require an author to promote the project on their own social media sites.  Now I know that sounds like common sense but you’ll be surprised at how few authors actually do this.  It’s not because of ego or the fear of marketing but usually because during a book launch, authors are busy or just plain nervous.  Nonetheless, this can be seen as rude or unprofessional by those trying to help promote us and our work.

What can scheduling/ reminder apps help authors promote or remember?

  • Book signing dates
  • Radio or television interviews
  • Online or offline book tours
  • Holiday posts: Wish your followers a Happy New Year or World Book Day. Yes, that’s a real holiday.
  • Post while on vacation or even while sick.

Many authors use these scheduling apps for pretty much all their social media accounts, though I don’t recommend relying solely on these apps to post, I do believe they can be aides in helping keep authors organized.

The more popular scheduling/ reminder apps are: 

There you have, it more tips and ideas for authors who want to use Instagram for their book marketing.  If you have anymore tips, please let me know in the comments section.

 

Rachel Rueben, Social media

Instagram For Authors

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Instagram, is one of the fastest growing social media sites in the world with over 800 million monthly users.  With a user base that is between the ages of 18 and 29, it’s globally the most popular social media site beating Facebook and Twitter for online engagement.  I’ll admit when I think of Instagram, I image teen girls posting those duck face selfies or foodies, posting pictures of every crumb that touches their plate.  So I really didn’t believe that Instagram had anything to offer me, or any author for that matter.  I mean, I’m a writer and writers write, they don’t do pictures let alone, video.  However over the past several years, I’ve been seeing the trends in social media go from long form text to short visual posts.

Don’t believe me?  This past year, Facebook began letting their users choose to frame their text posts within bright eye-catching backgrounds.  This is mainly because their algorithms favor images and video over text which has left a lot of people complaining about reach.  So this was Facebook’s answer to the problem…

Rachels Happy Halloween on FB

Corny, right?  It’s no secret that visual media works better than plain text, it’s one of the reasons why Facebook purchased Instagram back in 2012.  It’s also the reason why the most popular and fastest growing social media sites are the ones with richer content like pictures and video.

So using my brand new Instagram account, I went to work and started studying how authors and readers use the site successfully.

Okay, So What Do Authors Post About?

At a place like Instagram, a long form post is not very practical. The content you share on Facebook or Twitter is most likely not going to work here.  You need to tell a story with your posts which shouldn’t be too hard for an author.  Below, I’ve listed several examples of how authors are using Instagram to share their work and reach readers.

Ideas For Instagram Posts:  

  • Share quotes (usually short)
  • Include teasers from a WIP (work in progress)
  • Ask questions to followers. Here’s writer @macxlopes asking followers if they would even want to read his book if it were published.

Time to embrace my fear… #walkingwithwords

A post shared by Mãcx £õpes (@macxlopes) on

  • Share behind the scenes peeks. For example, author Barbara Freethy posted a pic of her cat starring intently while she worked.
  • Post pics of book swag like this one from author K.S. Thomas.
  • Reveal new book covers via pic or video.
  • Upload book trailers.
  • Do a live video. Many authors and celebs use live videos to do live Q&As but you can also use live video to make announcements about publication dates.

Here’s a tip: If you have a text post you’d like to share on Instagram be sure it’s written on visually appealing pictures or backgrounds. There are many sites that offer free graphic design software like; Canva, Stencil and Crello.  These sites will provide backgrounds, and even resize your work according to the requirements of various social media sites.

Book Related Hashtags

After figuring out what to post, the second step on my journey was to find all the book and publishing related conversations.  To my surprise, it wasn’t hard to find readers and book reviewers.

  • #Books 24,140,100 people used this hashtag in their posts
  • #Bookstagram: 14,223,284 posts
  • #Bookworm: 8,347,983
  • #Reading: 14,298,588
  • #Writing: 7,730,884
  • #Author 3,612,412
  • #Ebook: 892,842
  • #Shelfi: 836,264
  • #Readers: 565,197
  • #ReadersOfInstagram: 394,919
  • *Bonus: #Bookstagrammer: 1,251,555 to help you find reviewers on Instagram.

Tip: There are several sites that track the most popular hashtags being used on Instagram like TagBlender, RiteTag and Hashtagify.me.

A List of Popular #Bookstagrammers:

I recommend just looking at these accounts to observe and learn about how Instagram functions.  Find an author in your genre and look in the comments section.  Engage and follow them, these people are your target audience.

More Word & Book Related Accounts:

There you have it, tips authors can actually use for their Instagram accounts.  Stay tuned for next time, because I’ll be sharing how to use Instagram for book promotion as well as sharing useful apps.

 

Excerpts, Fiction, Rachel Rueben

A Meeting Of The Minds

Lilly From Miss Mary Mack
Image from Pixabay

Not knowing what to do, he went downstairs to ask and was met by the little girl he met outside in the chicken coop.  “Hi Oscar!  Why ain’t you in school with the other boys?”  Lilly asked.  Shrugging his shoulders, he answered, “I’m going tomorrow.”

“Good,” she said, “We don’t need anymore stupid boys in this place.”

“What about you?  Why aren’t you in school?” Oscar asked curiously.

“I don’t need it, I’m already smart.”  She declared.

Not believing her, he said, “Nuh uh, everybody has to go to school, Miss Mary said so.”

“She’s not the boss of me!”

“Oooh,” Oscar exclaimed, “You a devil child!”

“A what?” Lilly asked, rather dismayed.

“My momma used to say when a girl wasn’t right, she was a devil child.”

“That’s silly!  If I’m a devil, then you’re a devil too!”

Resisting the label, Oscar declared, “Nope!  I’m saved by the Lord, and am one of his sheep.”

“You look more like a goat to me!”

“Baaah!” Oscar bleeted, having finished his closing argument.

Not quite sure what to make of him, Lilly began walking away and said, “Just another stupid boy.”

Article, books, Cereal Authors, Rachel Rueben

Humor & Sarcasm In Writing: Examples of Laughter Throughout History

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I was asked by Dellani Oakes and Karen Vaughan to participate in a blog series about sarcasm and humor so I decided to find out what was considered funny in literature.  This quest took me way back in time before Terry Pratchett and Mark Twain even before Shakespeare.  I actually found one-liners from ancient Rome, and even further back to the Eyptians.  Below I listed some of what you could call an evolution of humor throughout the ages.  Most of these come from literature, while others are of unknown origins.  One thing to keep in mind is that what people may have found funny in ancient times may have us scratching our heads today.  Nonetheless one thing unites all cultures, people loved to laugh no matter the time or place.  I  really enjoyed researching this subject and hope you enjoy it as well.  So without further ado..

Ancient Egypt:

“I do not see a stoneworker on an important errand or a goldsmith in a place to which he has been sent, but I have seen a coppersmith at his work at the door of his furnace. His fingers were like the claws of the crocodile, and he stank more than fish excrement.”       –Satire of the Trades

Ancient Greece: Aristophanes’ Rant About Modern Poets:

“A disgrace to their art. If ever they are granted a chorus, what does their offering at the shrine of Tragedy amount to? One cock of the hind leg and they’ve pissed themselves dry. You never hear of them again.” –The Frogs

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Image via Pixabay

 

Ancient Rome:

A man is taking care of his departed wife’s burial. Someone asks him: “Who is it that rests in peace here?” The man answers: “Me, now that I’m rid of her!”  –Source Unknown

China:

After his wife had beaten him badly, a man crawled under his family bed. “Come out this instant!” his wife screamed.
“I am man enough to do as I please!” he said. “And I’ll come out when I’m good and ready.”  –Ming Dynasty Tales

 

Shakespeare:

CHIRON:  Thou hast undone our mother.
AARON:  Villain, I have done thy mother.

Titus Andronicus: Act 4, Scene 2

Ben Franklin:

In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria.  –There is debate if Ben actually said this but it’s funny, so I included it.

Mark Twain:

To create man was a fine and original idea; but to add the sheep was a tautology (redundant).  –St. Louis Post-Dispatch (30 May 1902); also in Mark Twain : A Life

Dorothy Parker:

You can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think.  You Might As Well Live: The Life & Times Of Dorothy Parker

 

Dorothy Parker Quote

 

Douglas Adams:

“In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”  –The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe

Bill Bryson:

“I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to.”  –The Lost Continent

Terry Pratchett:

“Just erotic. Nothing kinky. It’s the difference between using a feather and using a chicken.”  —Eric

Terry Pratchett Quote

So what are your favorite one-liners from history, tell us in the comments section.

Bio: Rachel Rueben is author of YA, supernatural as well as romance books.  Her work can be found her on the Cereal Authors blog as well as Wattpad.  She is also a blogger at Writing By The Seat Of My Pants where she discusses self-publishing and rarely refers to herself in the third person.  😉

Article, History, Rachel Rueben, Writing Process

The Research Process That Went Into Miss Mary Mack

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Image via Pixabay

At the beginning of most writing projects there is a bit of excitement as well as fear when it comes to approaching certain topics.  Many authors love stirring the pot but at the same time we need to be sure that we’re making sense.  No matter how desperately we want to be articulate or intellectual, if we’re not making sense we’ve failed as artists.  For example, in one of my scenes in Miss Mary Mack, I had several scenes where the children were in school and back in the 1930’s, school was a much different place than it is today.

I wanted to begin the chapter with the children saying the Pledge of Allegiance however, there was problem with that, the Pledge of Allegiance wasn’t officially accepted by the U.S. Congress until 1942 and even then it was revised in 1959.  So I had to find the right version for my book to recite.  That was my first hurdle, the next would be another scene where several kids were chosen to raise the flag but as you guessed there was a problem.  You see the flag we know today was different back then because there were only 48 states.  Alaska and Hawaii were still only territories.  So my scenes had to be rewritten to reflect that.

Regrouping & Redeploying

To say I was annoyed by all this would be an understatement but I was determined to learn how schools functioned back then.  I found interviews and historical sites that filled in the gaps and learned everything you possibly could about school.  I learned about burn barrels which were used for waste disposal in country schools and even what types of lunch children brought to school (mainly leftovers from dinner or breakfast).  This type of information enabled me to make this world more tangible and relatable.

Including Myths & Folklore

As I mentioned last month, Miss Mary was a compilation of people but she was mainly inspired by the character Rosa Carmichael, a matron of a Civil War orphanage.  Rosa was an infamous character who was accused of abusing children in her care however, there is no proof that she ever existed.  The story goes that she was tried and acquitted of abuse only to be ran out of town after being accused a second time.  There are no court documents mentioning such an event and no grave was ever found belonging to Rosa.  Yet this doesn’t stop the tale from being told by locals as well as tour guides.  I took pieces of the story and wove them into my own, for example, folklore says, that in the cellar of the orphanage, there were chains where children were beaten and tortured.  However, the folklore forgets to mention that the orphanage was commandeered during the Civil War and it was most likely POWs that were shackled in that cellar.  So in my story, I make the cellar a place where unruly children are disciplined.

Why Fuss Over Minor Details?

It’s true that most people won’t notice the finer points if you don’t tell them so would it have mattered if I had the children in my story saying the Pledge of Allegiance in 1930?  Probably not, but it would’ve been embarrassing if someone did notice.  Yes all books have mistakes or inaccuracies but that doesn’t let us off the hook.  It’s our responsibility as authors to make sure our work is as great as it can possibly be.  Things don’t have to be perfect, but they do have to be professional.  If you can go the extra mile, why not?  Who knows, maybe your readers will go the extra mile for you and tell everyone about your book.  🙂

Bio: Rachel Rueben is author of YA, supernatural as well as romance books.  Her work can be found her on the Cereal Authors blog as well as Wattpad.  She is also a blogger at Writing By The Seat Of My Pants where she discusses self-publishing and rarely refers to herself in the third person.