Calling All Book Bloggers!

Hey everybody!

Sign-ups for the Diary of a Rocker’s Kid (DORK) book tour are now live! The tour will be taking place between Dec. 7-18 and there are all kinds of options for participation. Please check out this link and if you like YA/Music Fiction, go ahead and sign up! People who liked If I Stay, Where She Went, and The Princess Diaries may like this book series.

Tour Sign-Up Link:

Thanks for your participation/interest!

Haley Despard


5 Areas Where Authors Need To Think Like a Reader

One thing I have learned over the past few months as I was working on my debut novel is that there are times when a writer has to get out of their own head. If you plan to publish/sell your book, you’re going to want to produce a product that’s going to appeal to more than just you. In an ideal world, each and every one of us would have a million people out there just like us who love our writing style (actually, let’s be honest, that would be one crazy-ass, over-populated planet), but in this world, readers want to read something that appeals to them, not just you.

There are several areas in which you’ll have to pull a Facebook…you know, where you view your “timeline” or “profile” as another person (in this case your plot or novel). Here are some areas where authors need to think like a reader.

#1: Backstory and plot development.

Readers don’t know the tragic backstory behind your twisted villain unless you tell them about it. When writing a book, you really need to spell out every last detail of the backstory and the plot. The challenge is to do that without clunky backstory dumps, rambling, and detracting from the main story. There are several techniques that help with this, such as revealing backstory through dialogue, working it in as you go along, etc. My techniques of choice for the shameless backstory dumps I included in my upcoming novel were blog posts written by the MC and a documentary about her rock star father, but of course that won’t work for everyone.

#2: Reader expectations.

There are certain genres in which a certain outcome is absolutely expected. Romance is the biggest one that comes to mind. In a romance novel, you almost always want the MCs to end up together. Romance novel readers are going to need Prozac at the end if they don’t get the all-important HEA. Some other genres are more flexible with their expectations, but you’re always going to want the book to feel like a ______ book (sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, thriller, etc.). This is one area where I took a bit of a risk in my debut novel because I did not pattern it after any book I’d ever read, ever. Because of that, it reads differently from your typical YA fiction book. Some people love my style and some people don’t, I’m finding, which is a-okay. You can’t please everyone. But in most cases, you’re going to want to know your demographic’s expectations and deliver on them, otherwise you’re going to end up with a pissed off demographic.

#3: The Three-Act Structure.

I scoffed the first time someone told me I needed to follow a three-act structure while writing a novel. I thought that was only for plays and movie screenplays, but it turns out it does help to build just the right amount of tension in your storyline. It also feels more natural to readers, who will be expecting this layout even if they don’t even know they’re expecting it. Try dividing your chapters or word count into three equal thirds, and see if your story fits into three distinct, separate, recognizable acts. If not, you may want to re-evaluate your novel planning method. It works for plays, it works for screenplays, and it might just work for your book.

#4: Character development.

This one is a big one. If you want readers to make it all the way through your book and be screaming your name from the rooftops at the end (followed by five-star ratings on Amazon and Goodreads, of course), you need to write about characters that they can connect with. Give your characters quirks and flaws that will endear them to the readers, and make sure you always expose their good and bad sides. No one wants to read about one (or even two) dimensional characters. They always need to be 3-D and larger than life.

#5: Marketing.

Heh…yeah…this was another one of those “learn by experience” areas for me. Don’t shout your book anywhere and everywhere. It’s not effective, and it just comes off as annoying. No one is going to buy your book and read it if you’re in their face 24 hours a day screaming, “Buy my book! Buy it! Buy it!” Give your desired readers another incentive to buy and read your book. Run a contest with a giveaway, include it in a box set with other books, show excerpts, post teaser trailers…but for the love of God, don’t blast it on Twitter every five minutes. You’ll get un-followed by everyone you know and love in a hot second.

I’m sure there are more areas than just the ones I’ve listed, and if you have anything to add, please comment below 🙂 More information about the DORK release and blog tour(s) to come!

Thanks for reading!


Mass Invite – Santa’s Helpers Book Release Party!

Hey everybody!

Been super super busy lately, but I just wanted to drop a quick line to tell you that all of you are invited to my Santa’s Helpers Book Release Party on Nov. 30, Cyber Monday! KM Taylor, myself, and a bunch of other Limitless Publishing authors will be giving away books and other cool swag from 3-10 PM EST on Facebook. While you’re online shopping great deals for the holidays, why not drop by and enter to win a few free books? Sounds reasonable to me!

Here’s the link for the event, you won’t want to miss this! Santa’s Helpers Book Release Party

Hope to see you there!


Writing Through Depression and Anxiety

“I have to get this book done. I have to. I have to!”

“But no one’s going to read it. You suck compared to all the other writers. No one even gives a crap about you.”

“It doesn’t matter, this book has set my brain on fire. It needs needs needs to be written. Now now now!”

“Shut up, lay down on the couch, and do absolutely nothing. It’s not like anything matters anyway.”

“Everything matters! All the freakin’ time! I never get a break! I’m gonna explode!”

“You’re such a loser. You’ll never amount to anything. Just lay down on the couch and give up, because that’s the only thing you’re good at. It’s all you’ll ever be good at.”

“What if…what if you’re right? What if everybody hates me? What if I lose all my friends and end up a bitter loner for the rest of my life?”

“It’s bound to happen. You might as well just quit while you’re ahead.”

“No…no! I need to do this! It’s in my blood. It’s burning my veins! I need to get this done!”

“Ugh, you suck. You’re so wishy washy and weak. It’s no wonder nobody cares about your stupid book.”


That drama, combined with an occasional interruption from my voice of reason, is on a constant loop in my head all day long. Depression and anxiety is no joke, folks. That lethal duo can honestly drive a person to insanity. If you’re unlucky enough to suffer from either or both of these mental illnesses (or any others), believe me, I feel your pain.

Writing requires an extra burst of fortitude whenever my illnesses both rear their ugly heads at once. It’s paralyzing. I’m afraid to write, yet I have to write, yet I don’t feel like writing or doing anything else for that matter. Wanting to do something and doing it used to be so easy as a kid, and now it’s all I can do just to get out of bed in the morning.

Depression is mean. It sucks the life out of you. Anxiety has good intentions, but it ends up being a pain in the ass. Caring about getting things done and keeping your friends is great until it turns into excessive, out-of-control, panicky worrying. Reason is good. It’s grounded. But sometimes it’s hard to keep around. It fades into the background whenever it sees depression and anxiety stalking down the alleyways of your mind, ready to strike.

Mental illness has many causes. It could be a hormonal imbalance, a result of trauma from your past, or it could be just the way you’re wired. I’ve always been kind of an anxious person, and certain difficulties in my past brought that tendency out and magnified it. At least, that’s my self diagnosis. I’m sure there’s more to it than that.

It always gets worse when I have a deadline, though. Right now, I’m desperately trying to get pre-edits done, but it’s not going as smoothly as I thought it would, and I’m panicking. What if I don’t get it done on time? What if I ruin the book while I’m trying to fix it? What if I piss somebody off by cutting out a part of the story they liked?

Truthfully, in the end, all I can do is try my best to do right by myself, my publisher, and my future (and past) readers. If I mess up, I mess up. I’ve got the “human being” excuse to fall back on if some faulty detail slips past my perfectionistic eyes. Also, now that I have an editor, the pressure is not all on me. An extra set of eyes will come in very handy for catching small details and smoothing out the kinks in my writing.

The best thing to do as a depression/anxiety sufferer is STOP, take a deep breath, and let reason take the front seat. Reason won’t steer you wrong or make you want to tear all your hairs out one by one. Reason will guide you to the solution. Reason will save your life.

Thanks for reading! Follow me here, on FB, and/or on Twitter for news about my upcoming series with Limitless Publishing, Diary of a Rocker’s Kid (DORK).


Book Review: Touch Me Not (A Manwhore Series Book One) by Apryl Baker

Check out this book! It’s awesome!

Silver Day Book Reviews

Amazon book link: Touch Me Not (A Manwhore Series Book One)

This book is available for pre-order and will be going live on Sept. 22, 2015.

Content Warning: For mature adults 18+.

Touch Me Not Apryl Baker

4.5 out of 5 stars


Lily Holmes can’t stand to be touched by anyone after the death of her twin sister, not even her best friends or family. She’s in love with her best friend, Adam Roberts, but there can never be an intimate relationship there because of her phobia. He can’t even give her a hug without setting off a panic attack. Lily has to suffer in silence as she watches him plan a wedding with a woman who is completely wrong for him.

Along comes Nikoli Kincaid, a cocky, swaggering, self-assured “connoisseur of women” who never has to hear the word “no.” Lily captivates him because she refuses his advances, and even seems frightened of…

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