Amanda Thrasher, author, books, Cereal Authors, Character Quotes, Excerpts, Fiction, Life, Literary, Sharing, YA

BITTER BETRAYAL

5 Stars – Reviewed By Ankita Shula for Readers’ Favorite

Bitter Betrayal by Amanda M. Thrasher is a book with a purpose. She aims at educating teenagers about how their idea of “just having fun” can actually spoil their future. Payton, a sixteen-year-old teenager, is head-over-heels in love with Reece, a senior at a different school. In her head, she can see herself marrying Reece and spending the rest of her life with him. As romantic as it sounds, their teenage love — like any other love — has its own share of problems. Although Reece keeps trying to go all the way with Payton, she respectfully declines him every time. She is not ready to go down that road, just yet. She second guesses her decision every now and then, but is determined to wait until she is ready. Trouble knocks on their door when the coach’s daughter, Stacie, enters their lives. The green eyed monster is blinding Payton with jealousy and this is affecting her romantic life with Reece.

The author, Amanda M. Thrasher, has highlighted one very important problem that follows when teenagers consume alcohol. Being a teenager is difficult enough as it is, but adding alcohol doesn’t make it any easier. The book is not just about the after effects of consuming alcohol; it also focuses on how it might impact the teenagers and their families. With the social media boom, can any secret remain buried for long? Bitter Betrayal is written in a very impressive style. Payton’s conflicting thoughts and inner struggles would seem relatable to every teenage girl who is in love. There are so many emotions to deal with that Payton finds herself mostly overwhelmed. Reece, like any other teenage boy, finds his girlfriend’s emotions annoying and irrational. He is, however, not a negative character. He respects Payton’s decision to wait until she is ready. He doesn’t push her to give in to his desires. There is a lot to learn from this book. I wish that parents would encourage their teenagers to read Bitter Betrayal and learn from it. An impressive plot, excellent story-telling, and smooth development of the story make this very readable.

Chapter 9

She’s One of Us

Several of them met at their usual Mexican restaurant for lunch. It was good, but more importantly, it was cheap. Trevor was the only guy who brought his girl, the new girl, Stacie. The boys gave him a hard time at first, but after a few minutes no one seemed to care, and she didn’t mind that they were harassing her boyfriend. She just kept eating; everyone noticed that, refreshing. She ate like them; she didn’t pick at her food, she actually ate it. And she didn’t turn up her nose at how much or what they ate. She even slouched just a bit. Most girls Reece knew, including Payton, were hesitant about eating in front of the guys. This girl couldn’t care less. He hadn’t counted them all, but he’d seen her put away four tacos while they were sitting there. She also contributed to their conversation. Real stuff. Trevor hadn’t mentioned she was the outdoor type, but she talked football, deer season opener and, of all things, trucks. She held her own when they talked about their last game, and even bitched about Trevor’s truck for all the right reasons! Clearly she had brothers, or her dad wanted a boy and got stuck with her. Witty, hot, ate like a horse but didn’t look like one, liked sports, had a great laugh, and didn’t seem to notice that she was way out of Trevor’s league. Damn! That girl was a keeper. She had all the boys mesmerized, not just Reese, but part of her charm was that she didn’t know it, nor care. Her mannerisms reminded Reece of Royce’s girl, Jenna; she was hot. A text brought him back to his girlfriend, Payton.

 

Payton: TOY 143

(Thinking of you, I love you)

Reece: love ya babe

 

         Straight to the words he knew she wanted him to say. Cut it short so he could finish eating and listening to everyone else. Just as he slipped his phone back into his pocket, the table erupted into laughter. Everyone was staring at Stacie’s screen, a clip she’d been describing, and she’d pulled it up.

“I know, right? Who would’ve believed it?” She laughed.

“I’m trying to get it to go viral, see how many hits it’s got already?” Her face beamed.

“Damn!” Duncan screeched. “No freaking way! How’d you capture that?”

Trevor replayed the video again, realizing his friends were stunned. Reece reached out his hand and took the phone. Trevor didn’t object.

“What is it?” Reece asked.

“Dude, check this pass out and who caught it.” Trevor pointed to the phone. “It’s freaking awesome!’

They weren’t kidding. Reece had the same reaction they did.

“Whoa! Seriously!”

“Hell yeah,” Stacie hollered. “That’s exactly who you think it is!” She laughed. “That’s my boy, right there, doing it!”

“How’d you capture that?” Reece asked. “Looks like you’re right there, on the side lines.” Puzzled, he asked, “Why are you there?”

Stacie took a bite out of her taco and did something Payton would never do: spoke with her mouth full, kinda gross, but funny.

“Cause I was, there, hanging with my dad.”

“Wait, what?” Reece looked shocked. “Hanging with your dad. How’s that possible, what does he do?”

Stacie swallowed her food and started to laugh. “Fool, how may people in this town do you think have the name Wiggins?”

“You’re kidding me! You’re the kid of the new defense coach they brought in?” Reece asked, and then stared at Trevor. “Trev! C’mon man!”

“Dude, she didn’t want me to say anything. Figured ya’ll would figure it out.”

“I was wrong.” She laughed.

That wasn’t a small deal. No one thought to mention that crap?! Hell, if Reece didn’t want to leave Texas as badly as he wanted to, he’d consider playing for them. The guy, evidently her dad, had been all over the media for months. Recruited for the university when they didn’t renew the contract of their last defensive coordinator. They had high expectations for Coach Wiggins; his reputation preceded him, he had an exceptional record.

“Wow! That’s cool!” Reece stated and he really meant it. “Really cool!”

“Hey Stacie, can we meet him, Coach? I guess your dad,” Shane asked, grinned and added, “you don’t know if you don’t ask, right?”

“Yes, I’ll introduce you morons to him.” She grinned. “No, he won’t care, and yes he’ll let you hang at the field with me sometime.”

Trevor had just elevated his position to a level he couldn’t begin to imagine with his friends. He was proud of his new girl. No wonder she was so confident around guys; she’d been around him her whole life, not to mention all the players over the years she must’ve hung out with. Everyone knew the coach was coming, but they didn’t know much about his family. Now his daughter was their new best friend, at least to them. Hanging with the coach’s kid. Trevor, of all people—now she was one of them!

Half in fun and half dead serious, Shane playfully shoved his friend, Trevor, knocked his cap off his head and asked Stacie a question.

“How come you’re with this joker right here? I’m available!”

Trevor placed his ball cap back on his head and waited to see what she’d say. He was as surprised as they were that this girl had actually said yes and gone out with him, let alone stuck around. Reece’s ear perked up. Why was a girl like that with Trevor? He liked Trevor, but seriously. Stacie had their attention as they walked back to the truck. The ridiculous seriousness of the question they were trying to get an answer to caused her to burst out laughing.

“OMG, you idiots. What do you expect me to say? He’s Trevor.” She grabbed his arm. “He’s nice, why not?”

“Well hell, you’re not gonna hear me complain!” Trevor said, throwing up his arms.

“Hail Trevor!” Chase laughed.

“Will you let us know when we can go to practice, then?” Shane asked. “I can’t wait to meet Dustin Miller.”

She nodded. “But I think I should have everyone over first, like a meet-and-greet of my new friends.” She laughed. “I swear, you better be on your best behavior. All of you!”

Reece couldn’t wait to tell his dad and Royce he was going to Coach’s house. She’d even said Payton could go. He wasn’t sure how thrilled Payton would be, but she’d have to deal. The question was, how quickly could she plan it? They were all ready!

 

BITTER BETRAYAL

Amanda M. Thrasher

 

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author, books, publishing, Rachel Rueben, Social media

Why Authors Must Learn Social Media: The New Reality

Why Authors Must Learn Social Media

Lately it is becoming more and more common place for agents and publishers to assess an author’s platform.  That means they are looking for authors who can reach the readers they are targeting.  In fact at the Digital Book World Conference & Expo in 2017, representatives from Hachette and Perseus admitted they are checking out author platforms and social media engagement then reporting those findings at their acquisitions meetings.  This shouldn’t be a surprise, literary agents have admitted to doing this for years.  Like it or not, publishers are using social media as a measuring stick so wouldn’t be nice if we could impress or at least pass the inspection?

While doing research for my upcoming book Social Media Hacks for Authors, I came across several resources that can help authors who struggle with social media.   Many of these resources are available for free directly from the social media sites themselves.  I understand that many authors can’t afford the more expensive social media courses so I went on a mission to find the help we all need for free or at the very least, real cheap.

Below I list several resources and no, I’m not affiliated with any of the services or products mentioned.

Direct From The Horse’s Mouth

Did you know that Facebook has its own set of video tutorials that cover everything from advertising to analytics?  Twitter also has a Skillshare video featuring their marketing manager Sandra Vega and it’s all 100% free.  Below are listed the top 7 social media sites in the English speaking world.

General Social Media Courses

If you want to go further in your education there are several websites that will help you with your social media marketing.  The course topics range anywhere from content creation to targeted marketing.  Some of these are free while others have both free and paid options.

Tip:  Take advantage of the free material and later, if you feel like taking a more targeted course like Mark Dawson’s Advertising for Authors then go for it.

In Closing

Don’t be discouraged if you’re not an overnight sensation because building a following takes time nonetheless, you do have to start.  Gone are the days where social media was optional, today’s authors are expected to have an online presence no matter if they choose to go the traditional route or not.  Yes, this is more work but it is also a good thing because whether we choose to go traditional or not, our audience will follow us, not our publisher.  It’s this connection to your audience that is the key to a long-term career and isn’t that what we all want?

 

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.  😉

 

Rachel Rueben

Social Media: What’s Really Going On

 

Last time I shared an excerpt from my latest project: Social Media Hacks No One Tells You About” and today, I want to share a bit more.  This post involves bots, slackers and a billionaire that rescues several foolish celebrities.  So let’s get into it…

Why is Social Media Important Again?

Last year, an author on Wattpad was given a six figure deal after writing 3 fan fiction stories about the member of a boy band which got over 1 billion views.  So publishers love big numbers, go figure! So if you’re an author wanting to go hybrid, (meaning self-publish as well as traditionally publish) you are going to have to grow your social media following.  There’s no way around it.

Keeping Your Followers Legit!

When Twitter was still in its infancy, the advice was to follow those who followed you, in order to build up your following.  In fact several companies popped up offering “automatic follow back” services to help you get those numbers up.  However, times have changed and it’s just not wise to do this anymore because you’ll only wind up with spammers, porn and gibberish in your feed.

Rise Of The Bots

Case in point, years ago it was discovered that spammers were creating social bots (software) to avoid detection on Twitter.  That doesn’t sound like a big deal because back then bots usually just followed or liked an account and when that person followed back they were often bombarded with either porn, sales pleas or gibberish.  However today’s bots are different, much different.  Today’s social bot has taken things to the next level with more sophisticated programming such as data mining and more lifelike interaction. For example, back in 2011, a group of security specialists decided to create a social bot and programmed it to mimic human interaction.  By the end of the experiment, the bot: James M Titus, had over 700 followers and successfully evaded detection by Twitter’s algorithms.  The creators did this by programming the bot to retweet other users and ask them randomly vague questions like: Name three places you’d like to visit?, What experience has changed your outlook on life?, and my favorite, Was it something I said? Amazingly, people responded to this robot tweeter even though there was something quite odd about this James fellow.  This particular bot was harmless but others are not.

This is why it’s so important to check out people before you like or follow them otherwise, you could inviting spam onto your social media feeds.  If you get any bad vibes from an account, walk away.

Why You Shouldn’t Stress Out Over Your Numbers

It’s story time again and yes, I’m including celebrities in this one.  In December 2010, Twitter Superstars Kim Kardashian, Ryan Seacrest and Lady Gaga as well as several other celebrities declared they wouldn’t tweet anymore unless their followers donated $1 million dollars to an AIDS charity.  Guess what?  They only raised half of that and a billionaire from a pharmaceutical company had to come to their aid and donate the rest of the $500,000.  The social media stunt was quickly brushed under the rug and never mentioned again.  Can you say #TwitterFail?

It’s sad but only 3,600 people are reported to have donated to the AIDS charity even though these celebrities had millions of followers.  So what happened?

Why Was This Such An #EpicFailure?

As you can see, even fame and social media doesn’t move products.  Social media is about socializing not shilling a product.  I’m not telling you not to talk about your book, just don’t make it the only thing you talk about.  Also, don’t build yourself up so much that no one wants to buy anything from you like the airheads oops, I mean superstars of Twitter.  😉

It Wasn’t All Their Fault

Though many celebrities are well educated in the science of promoting products they aren’t experts at nonprofit work.  There are people who spend years in school learning that stuff and it’s a lot more complicated than selling a service or product.  You have to make people care and that’s hard to do just ask anyone in the nonprofit sector.  There are so many worthwhile charities as well as many fraudulent ones out there that it sometimes makes people paralyzed.  Also, remember what I said about people being lazy when it comes to responding to posts?  This is especially true of online charity work.

Recently, UNICEF Sweden released a video geared towards “slacktivists” people who like their page but never cut a check.  UNICEF isn’t the only group to notice the apathy of social media users.  Indie authors as well have complained about people liking them on Facebook or following them on Twitter only to receive no engagement whatsoever.

Vanity Metrics

On Twitter I have around 2,100 followers and 1,200 Facebook likes but did I sell 3,300 books?  Ah, nope.  That’s because these people may have simply stumbled upon my page/account and found me interesting.  Some of them may not even be readers, let alone, fans.  The amount of followers, subscribers or likes a person has is considered vanity metrics and is often confused with social proof.

You can have the biggest following on Twitter, and millions of subscribers on your blog, but if no one isn’t buying your book or responding to your posts, then it’s pointless.  You win at social media by leveraging your connections, that’s means finding out what can you get from these likes, follows and pluses.  Personally, I’ve found freelance work, career advice and new friends.  Sometimes this can be way better than a book sale.

Incest or a Relationship?

 

It’s been preached for a while that authors shouldn’t follow other authors on social media, in fact, it’s been called incestuous but that’s total nonsense.  Social media is about mingling, sharing news, and asking questions.  For example, this week, an author in one of my Facebook groups asked, about free images she could use for her book.  Immediately, several of us gave our input which ended up saving her big money.  If all you want to do is sell, sell, sell then social media isn’t going to work for you.

Social media can be helpful for promoting, but you have to connect with the right people.  I started networking online almost 5 years ago, without even realizing it.  I started joining groups and asking questions about writing but most importantly, I listened. Many authors are under the impression that they can sell books to a complete stranger.  When in fact, people who don’t know you have no obligation to help you let alone give you their money.  So in closing, if it feels weird asking for help, you may not be as well connected as you thought.  Asking for help only feels weird when you’re asking complete strangers like UNICEF.

 

Author Bio:
Rachel Rueben is author of the bestselling YA novel “Hag” and “The Eternal Bond Series” both available on Wattpad. To keep up with Rachel, you can sign up for her frighteningly entertaining newsletter here.

Rachel Rueben

Social Media: Why Your Numbers Mean Nothing!

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Image via Pixabay

Here’s a small sample from my upcoming book “Social Media Hacks No One Tells You About.”  It includes celebrities, cheating and public scorn, I hope you enjoy it. 😉

These days you can buy just about anything online like fake book reviews, fake girl friends and yes, even fake social media followers.  There are multiple online businesses that promise to help people look popular online and increase the number of their social media followers.  Their prices range from a cheap $10 for 5,000 Facebook followers to $300 for 10,000 Facebook followers.  These tactics are appealing for those who are lazy or for people who want instant fans but there’s no way to fake popularity no matter how hard you try.  Let me prove it to you…

According to a Forbes article celebrities like Shakira, Lady Gaga and even President Obama were called out on their inflated Twitter following when it was noticed that many of the same accounts were following famous people, which had little or no activity on them outside of just following people.  It was presumed these were fake accounts from a hired service but no one involved anticipated being discovered.

You see someone created an app that can go through a person’s Twitter account and tally up all the fake or suspect accounts.  Since that time several websites offer this service for free and for today’s lesson, I’ll be using one called Twitter Audit to prove a point.  But before I do that, let’s see how this service works.

According to the online site Twitter Audit, “Each audit takes a random sample of 5000 Twitter followers for a user and calculates a score for each follower. This score is based on number of tweets, date of the last tweet, and ratio of followers to friends. We use these scores to determine whether any given user is real or fake. Of course, this scoring method is not perfect but it is a good way to tell if someone with lots of followers is likely to have increased their follower count by inorganic, fraudulent, or dishonest means.”

Excerpt taken from: https://www.twitteraudit.com (Scroll to bottom of page)

So I decided to use Twitter Audit and see if anything had changed with pop star Shakira’s Twitter account which was featured in the Forbes article.

I typed in her user name and according to Twitter Audit 64% of Shakira’s Twitter followers are fake.  Now let’s take those numbers and put them into perspective:  As of Aug 19th 2015, Shakira had a following of 32,686,984 on Twitter and of those 20,919,699.76 were fake.  To break it down even further as to how many people that is, keep in mind there are only 19.75 million people living in the state of New York.  Yes, Shakira can populate the entire state of New York with her fake Twitter followers!

Now do I believe Shakira was directly involved in this scandal, no.  However I do believe her PR team was involved and they were desperately trying to build their client’s social media account by any means necessary.  Sadly they chose to use a technique known as black hat SEO.  It’s the process of artificially inflating web visibility either for social media accounts, websites, or blogs using unethical techniques.  Now granted, if websites like Twitter find out what you’ve been up to, they won’t throw you in the slammer.  However they can delete any ill gotten followers, or retweets, they can even ban you if it suits them.  Keep in mind, when you sign up for an online account, there are rules called Terms of Service, or TOS, and it would be wise to adhere to those rules if you want to do business, on a particular site.

Case in Point

According to The Daily Dot, Sony/BMG and Universal Music were stripped of two billion views on their Youtube accounts.  No, you did not read that wrong, I said billion with a B.  They violated Youtube’s TOS by hiring a service that uses bots to click on pages and artificially increases views for their clients.  So keep in mind social media websites like Youtube can and will clean house when they see someone abusing their platform.

Author See, Author Do

Since it seems that everyone and their mother is doing this, some authors mistakenly believe there is nothing wrong with “faking it till they make it”, and are risking credibility in order to create artificial buzz over their books.  Several years ago, author John Locke was one of those exposed by a New York Times journalist doing a story on businesses providing fake reviews on Amazon.  To add insult to injury, Mr. Locke was outed by the very person he paid to supply the reviews!  Later on several retailers had to give refunds to customers who had purchased Mr. Locke’s book on self-publishing.  Ouch!

Mr. Locke was probably trying to get the Amazon algorithms to work for him.  According to many, if you get enough reviews, Amazon will start promoting your book for you.  But as you see, things didn’t go according to plan.

Why Are You Bringing This Up?

As you spend more and more time on social media you may be approached by these services and you need to know the facts.  Keep in mind there are services which are legitimate and can help you boost your social media following using various methods like advertising, cross promotional groups, and even helping you with content creation.  However, they don’t guarantee a specific amount of followers let alone any engagement.  Though it may be tempting to cheat the system in order to look popular, it isn’t worth it.  Besides aren’t real followers better than fake ones?  Like most things, social media takes time and effort.  You can’t create a bond with readers overnight so don’t waste your money on services that can’t deliver what you really need.

Now I’m handing the mic to you, have you ever thought of buying fake popularity on social media?  If so, dish in the comments.

Author Bio:
Rachel Rueben is author of the bestselling YA novel “Hag” and “The Eternal Bond Series” both available on Wattpad. To keep up with Rachel, you can sign up for her frighteningly entertaining newsletter here.