Friday, October 24, 2014

All Hallow's Read Giveaway

It's time for our annual All Hallow's Read Giveaway!

All Hallow's Read Giveaway

Ghost Light (Ivy Granger #2) by E.J. Stevens

Ivy Granger, psychic detective, thought she'd seen it all...until now.

With a vengeful lamia that only she can see on the city streets, reports of specters walking Harborsmouth cemeteries, and an angry mob of faerie clients at her office door, it's bound to be a long night. Add in an offense against the faerie courts and a few foolish bargains and one thing is clear--Ivy Granger is in some seriously deep trouble.

Ivy Granger is back, gathering clues in the darkest shadows of downtown Harborsmouth. With the lives of multiple clients on the line, she's in a race against time. Ivy finally has a lead to the whereabouts of the one person who can help her control her wisp abilities, but will she put the needs of her clients above her own?

If Ivy doesn't find a solution soon, she could wind up a ghost herself.

We are giving away a GHOST LIGHT ebook to one lucky winner!

To enter, leave a comment on this post telling us about a spooky book that you love.  This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.  Ebook available in choice of Kindle, PDF, or ePub formats.  Giveaway ends November 7, 2014 midnight EST.

Good luck!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Q+A with Georgeann Swiger (Cloven)

Please welcome today's paranormal guest author Georgeann Swiger!  Georgeann is the author of The Trinity of Souls series (Adorned, Cloven).

Q+A with Georgeann Swiger

EJ:  When did you begin writing?

  I started out writing news stories at a television station. When I left TV to raise my family, I found something was missing from my life. I realized I missed writing. That’s when I started penning short stories as a hobby. I joined a local writers group and worked on my skills as a fiction writer. After I won an award for the original manuscript of Adorned, I decided to pursue being a serious writer. I queried agents and publishers and started learning the ropes of publishing into today’s marketplace.

EJ:  What brought you to the paranormal genre?

  I love anything and everything paranormal. Even as a kid, I couldn’t wait for a good scary movie to come on television. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, you name it, I like it. When I decided to write a novel, something drew me to the world of angels. After researching these heavenly beings, I knew I wanted to play up the idea of the Heavenly Hierarchy that ranks angels according to their status and assigns them specific jobs. When I found out the angels in the group known as the Powers were Heaven’s soldiers, a story started to form in my mind. Who wouldn’t love to read about a heavenly soldier who is sent to Earth to watch over a new angel learning to be a guardian? It was perfect material for a forbidden romance.

EJ:  If you could be any paranormal or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?

If I could be any paranormal creature, I would be a witch. A good witch. Like a fairy godmother that could cast a spell and make good things happen.

EJ:  Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.

Readers are going to love the characters in this story. Every one of them is flawed and has their own little set of quirks that make them unlike anything readers are used to in the paranormal world of angels. I think when readers finish Cloven, they’ll look at angels in a new way. The story mashes up the stereotypical images of Heaven and Hell and gives readers a new perspective of what these places are like.

EJ:  If your book(s) were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?

Anya really grows and comes into her own in Cloven. In Adorned, she’s a shy, quiet character that is a bit immature for her age. In Cloven, she doesn’t have time to be any of those things. The weight of the universe falls on her shoulders. She becomes tough, determined and fearless. For those reasons, I think in Cloven, Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr would be my ideal Anya.

When it comes to Micah, I have a poster that hangs by my desk that came from my hairdresser’s shop with is picture. I don’t have any idea of what the model’s name is. I’ve tried to research the photographer but haven’t been able to find anything about the model. I wish I could show you the picture, but it has a copyright. In my mind, nobody but the guy on the poster could be Micah. He’s cute, built and everything a heavenly soldier should be. ;)

Cloven (The Trinity of Souls #2) by Georgeann Swiger

What would you do if the only things standing between you and the angel you love were another angel and the fiery pits of Hell?

When Anya and Micah declare their love for each other, the battle for the souls of the star-crossed angels stretches across the heavens. With Heaven forbidding their love, Micah vows to protect Anya by sentencing himself to Hell.

But Anya won’t let him go without a fight. She goes into Hell after him, only to discover an angel from Micah’s past is willing to do anything to keep Micah in Hell.

With love and lies blinding Micah, Anya fights to get him to face his demons and return to Heaven, even if it means hearts will be broken.

The battle for the angels begins where it left off. Between Heaven and Hell is forbidden love.

Release Date:  October 21, 2014
Genre:  NA, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Add to Goodreads.

Thank you Georgeann for joining us here today at From the Shadows.

To learn more about Georgeann Swiger and her books, please visit her website.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Blogging Strategies for Keeping Safe

Now, more than ever, safety is an issue for our community.  Bloggers and authors have become the recent victims of stalking and cyber bullying.  One author even went so far as to stalk a reviewer at her home and workplace, raising an important question.

What can bloggers do to remain safe?

While there is no one perfect solution, there are steps we can take to reduce the risk.  Here are a few blogging strategies for keeping safe.

Quick Tips for Maintaining Your Privacy and Blogging Safely
  • Pseudonym:  Using a pseudonym/nickname/alias is a great way to protect your anonymity.  If you pick a pseudonym that works with your blog name or the topic of your blog, you'll be safer and you'll get bonus points for building your brand and increasing your blog's SEO.  A win win!
  • Blog Email:  Setting up an email account for your blog is another way to keep your personal and blogging life separate.  If you incorporate your blog name into your email address, you'll again be helping to build your brand and your email addy will likely be much easier for your readers to remember.
  •  Phishing Scams:  Okay, if you took my advice, you now have a blog email address that is different from your personal email account.  Unfortunately, that doesn't mean your inbox is a safe place.  A good rule of thumb for email, as in life, is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  A stranger in Nigeria probably doesn't have a zillion dollars that they want to transfer to your bank account. 
  • P.O. Box:  While there are sometimes restrictions on shipping to post office boxes, getting a P.O. box is still a good way to route most of your mail to a location other than your home or business.
  • Ebook Only:  Book reviewers may also opt out of print copies (which must be mailed to a shipping address).  Most authors and publishers have ARCs in ebook format and sending is as simple as attaching to an email message (remember that blog email account we mentioned above?) or providing a download code.  With the rise of ereaders and the ease of loading reading apps, such as the free Kindle reading apps, to any computer, tablet, or smartphone, this option is available to more bloggers than ever before.
  • Computer Security:  One strategy for keeping safe begins with protecting your computer from outside attack.  Protect your personal information (and your blog!) by keeping all of your programs updated and backed up.  Make a schedule for backing up your computer, and your blog, and update your programs on that day.  Picking a day of the week as your backup/update day is a great strategy.  
  • Security Alerts:  It's also a smart idea to keep your finger on the pulse of computer security.  Scheduling regular updates is a great strategy, but sometimes you need to stay a step ahead of the bad guys.  One resource that I utilize is the US-CERT (Computer Emergency Readiness Team) website's email alerts and bulletins.  If you sign up, you can get free bulletins sent to your inbox letting you know whenever new software updates are released or about a new security threat (like Beast and Poodle).
  • Check Privacy Settings:  Check your privacy settings on social networking sites.  Some, like Google+, will default to showing your birthday day and month.  (Note:  Many sites will return to these default settings when they've performed a significant system/site update.)  Information like that can potentially leave you open to identity theft and phishing scams.  My suggestion is to turn off any information that may make you vulnerable (real name, birthday, home address).  If you wouldn't want a crazy stalker to have it, turn the setting to private. Which leads me to my next suggestion...
  • Gut Check:  Before you do anything online, listen to your gut.  If the thought of sending that email, posting that photo, or sharing your personal information with someone makes you queasy, DON'T DO IT.  You are not obligated to share more than you are comfortable with.
  • Report Abuse:  If you are ever the target of bullying or stalking, let someone know.  If threats are made through a website or social network, report the person for abuse and for violation of the site's terms of service.  Most sites have a strict no tolerance policy for threatening behavior.  Abuse reporting will also begin a paper trail demonstrating a timeline of when the bullying/stalking began and that you attempted to take reasonable steps to make it stop.  If at any time you feel unsafe, contact your local authorities.
  • Blogging Community:  While some of my strategies promote keeping certain personal details private, that doesn't mean you can't talk about your situation with other bloggers.  If you're having a problem, it's likely that someone else has been there too and can share a bit of what they've learned from their own experiences.  The blogging community is a wealth of information and most of us enjoy helping our fellow bloggers.  Don't believe me?  Take a look at my Twitter timeline for the past week.  The blogging community is filled with many amazing people who will help you, and stand by you.  All you have to do is ask.

Have you tried any of these above strategies for having a safer online presence?  If so, how have these strategies worked for you?

Do you have any suggestions for keeping safe?

Blogging is incredibly fun and being a blogger means being part of an AMAZING community.  I was saddened to hear that some people were giving up their love for blogging due to feeling unsafe.  If you know of a blogger who could benefit from the above blogging strategies for keeping safe, please share my tips.  I'm also hoping that you will share your own ideas in the comments.  Stay safe and blog on!