The Cypress Trap – available August 16th

Reader 1A good vacation delivers you home alive.
This is not a good vacation.

When Rayanne commandeers her husband’s weekend fishing trip, she knows it’ll take work to adjust Owen’s attitude. She has no choice. Since the tragedy, they lost so much. They need to reconnect.

Without her knowledge, Owen texts his best buddy, Daryl, to join the getaway. The three of them aren’t alone in the backwoods of Georgia, though.

Owen took something that didn’t belong to him. Something that changed their lives. And now the owner wants it back. By any means — including a posse led by a killer dog.

At first, Rayanne is clueless about the item and its value. One thing becomes crystal clear: If it’s not returned, they might not make it home alive.

You can purchase the book on Amazon or by clicking here.

5 Ideas to generate book reviews

canstockphoto15925493Sometimes I feel more excited about the reviews on my books than the checks from Amazon. To an extent, I’m sure every author feels the same way. However, it can be tough getting readers to write one. Personally, it looks like my numbers for ‘Prey of Desire’ are one review in twenty sales.

So if you’re like me and looking for a way to increase reviews, here are a few tips I’ve found that work:

  1. Trade Reviews with fellow writers

You probably personally know quite a few writers from local critique groups, writing conferences, book fairs and social media. See who would be willing to trade reviews. It’s a time investment, but will be a good way to start building some numbers. However — and I can’t stress this enough – don’t trade 5 stars for 5 stars. You must still provide honest, thoughtful reviews.

  1. Join Review Groups in GoodReads

GoodReads has several review groups. You’ll find readers looking for a free copy in trade for an honest review. You’ll also find round robin groups that will provide four people to read and review your book while you read and review four other books. There’s also a great benefit in networking with other authors.

  1. Jump on the Blog Tour circuit

Blog tours are great way to get reviews, especially from bloggers that are specific to your genre. Through this tour, a set number of book review bloggers will read and post reviews on their website (and generally Amazon & Good Reads). There are blog tour services that will organize everything for you, but they generally cost between $100 to $500, depending on the company. However, you can contact book review blogs on your own and submit your book to them at no cost.

  1. Participate in Facebook Groups

Run a search on Facebook for “book groups” and you’ll find an entire author/reader network out there. Like GoodReads, there are groups that exchange reads & reviews. There are also book clubs and book marketing clubs. You’ll even come across the occasional post from someone saying, “Hey… I just finished the book I was reading. Anyone got any suggestions?”

  1. Ask for help from email and/or blog followers

If you’re serious about your writing career, you should have a website and blog that’s collecting followers and email addresses. Send the word out that you’re trying to get to X number of reviews and need their help. Offer to provide your book for free for an honest review. You’ll get some takers.

Knowledge is Power: GoodReads for Authors

Goodreads-For-Authors-How-To-Use-Goodreads-To-Promote-Your-BooksWith the job of marketing falling square on the author’s shoulders nowadays, it seems like most of us are spending more time peddling our books and less time writing new ones. That’s why Good Reads is such an important tool.

Michelle Campbell Scott’s Goodreads For Authors: How To Use Goodreads To Promote Your Books is a comprehensive guide to the social networking site. The book is clear, concise and easy to read. It’s got a logical order that’s invaluable to beginners, giving a soup to nuts crash course to get you up and running. Intermediate users will find a wealth of details that will raise your understanding to the next level. And, the end of chapter summaries will allow the no-time-to-read browser a quick study and immediate answers.

I’d been poking around on Goodreads for about  year, and was somewhat familiar with the website. Yet I didn’t yet understand how best to use groups or giveaways to promote my books. There were a lot of features that I was completely unaware even existed. The book walks you through everything from signup to reviews to widgets in meticulous detail. I spent a couple of weeks studying this book—not because of any problem with the content, but because I kept jumping over to Goodreads to implement the book’s suggestions. To cap it all off, there’s an outline on how to accomplish and prioritize these tasks, which can seem overwhelming if viewed all at once.

This is a must have for any author serious about taking his or her career to the next level.

Build Your Author Platform: “How I made $42,000 in 1 month selling my Kindle ebooks”

How-I-Made-Over-42k-Selling-My-Kindle-Books-by-Cheryl-Kaye-Tardif-200x300I downloaded this book over a year and a half ago, and not because I thought I’d really make $42,000 in one month. I was looking for direction on how to establish an author platform.

Since I was familiar with mystery author Cheryl Tardif I started with her book, How I Made Over $42,000 in 1 Month. There’s good advice here for launching an author platform. She touches on maintaining a blog, using Twitter and setting up a Facebook author page. However, the focus of the book is on Amazon’s KDP Select. She describes her experiences and successes with the system. The books excels at explaining how the program works and understanding how to utilize it.

Unfortunately, this is an established author with a following describing her experiences. I appreciate the candor that Tardif puts forth, describing her sales as “modest” until she used KDP Select back in 2012. Today, things have changed on Amazon. I wouldn’t expect authors just starting out to experience the same results.

I still believe it’s a great starting point though. And I also believe it would be worth a reread some 18 months later, as I’ve implemented many of the suggestions in her book. With some experience under my belt, I’ll probably discover some tips that went over my head when I was just starting out.

“This book will make your head spin. I was constantly on the edge of my seat.” — Electively Paige

Prey of Desire coverPrey of Desire‘ is featured on ElectivelyPaige.com, a book review site. They wrote:

“*I received this book for review from the author, this in no way affects my thoughts as expressed in this review*

“I was so excited to read this book! I have been a big fan of Mr. Gatlin since, not very long ago actually, I read his amazing novella. So, when I found out he had another book out I jumped at the chance to read it! 

“A prologue opens this book and from the first page I was hooked. JC just has a way with words, let me tell you. This book will make your head spin. I was constantly on the edge of my seat. I could not put it down. You will have so many guesses as to how the book will end but you will not see the ending coming. I absolutely loved it. If you are a lover of fantastic action-packed thrillers that make you think, ones that really make your mind work over time, well this is the book for you. 

“I considered myself a fan of this author from the first few pages of The Designated Survivor but reading Prey of Desire cemented it. He has definitely gone on my auto-read list and I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us next! ” — Paige Boggs, ElectivelyPaige.com

To read the full review, click here.
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Dean C. Moore calls Prey of Desire: “Fast paced, fun, with that extra shot of adrenaline”

Prey of Desire coverDean C. Moore reviewed ‘Prey of Desire’ on his blog at deancmoore.com. In the review, he writes:

“JC Gatlin reprises his role in Designated Survivor as a master of the psychological thriller in his latest offering, Prey of Desire. Once again he proves that when it comes to teen heroes, no one quite gets inside their heads better to understand the mental machinations that will lead them into increasingly hot water. Fast paced, fun, and with his usual black humor for that extra shot of adrenaline.”

To read the full review, click here.

Dean C. Moore is a thriller writer and author of “Blood Brothers: Escape to Creeporia,” “The Hundred Year Clones,” “The Renaissance 2.0” series, and many other novels. You can visit his Amazon page here.

Attention Book Lovers: 10 great sites to find your next great read

Girl ReadingLooking for your next book to read? Amazon and Barnes & Noble can recommend titles based on your purchase history. You probably already knew that, though.

But did you know there are a lot of offbeat, interesting sites out there specifically targeted to us readers? Below is a list of sites I like, in no particular order.

1. What Should I Read Next?
WhatShouldIReadNext.com answers the obvious question. Type the last book you read and enjoyed and it returns a suggestion list with tags that allow for even deeper searches.

2. The Book Lamp: Home of the Book Genome Project
Similar to how Pandora matches music lovers to new music, booklamp.com helps you find books through a computer-based analysis of “written DNA.” Their mission statement: “To be the best in the world at applying science to the written word.”

3. Good Reads
Goodreads.com is a free website that connects readers and book lovers. This online community allows users to create as well as peruse other member’s bookshelves, reviews, and book ratings. You can create book clubs and groups, and my personal favorite — lists! Want to see what Good Reads Members consider the best Florida Mysteries or the Scariest Books by Stephen King?

4. WattPad
Wattpad.com is a free website that connects writers and readers. Members post short stories, novels, poems and even fan fic. There’s complete works and works-in-progress, by both undiscovered and published writers. Users are able to comment and like stories or join groups.

5. Opening the Book (aka Which Book)
Openingthebook.com/whichbook/ is a really cool site. By clicking sliders to set the degree of your preference for Happy/Sad, Funny/Serious, Expected/Unpredictable, No sex/Lot’s of sex, Short/Long and much more, this website enables those combination of factors to suggest books which most closely match your interests.

6. Book Gorilla
BookGorilla.com sends you a daily email with the best deals on books that match your reading genres and preferences, including bestsellers, 99 cents and freebies!

7. Book Bub
With over a million subscribers, Bookbub.com is an e-mail newsletter operated out of Cambridge that’s essentially a “daily deals” mailing list for avid readers. It offers free or discounted downloads of what co-founder Josh Schanker calls “acclaimed books” in digital form.

8. All Readers
Allreaders.com, while in desperate need of a modernizing face-lift, is definitely unique. Browsers can search books based on plot, setting, character, and writing style, in addition to traditional search parameters. So, if you liked a specific plot, you can find other authors who write similar kinds of stories. For example, if you just loved the mystery about the murder of a lawyer on cruise ship in the 1990’s where the investigator loves her Mom but hates cats, you can actually search for a crime story with that kind of plot and main character. Cool, huh?

9. The Book Reporter Network
BookReporter.com is a sleek website that posts thoughtful book reviews, compelling features, in-depth author profiles and interviews, excerpts of the hottest new releases, contests and more every week.

10. Book Browse
BookBrowse.com is a glossy, online magazine for book lovers, that includes reviews, previews, “behind the book” back stories, author interviews, reading guides, and much more.

For more information, check out the following articles:

“17 Ways to Find a Good Book to Read” by Alex Morris, LifeHack.org
“20 Unique Ways to Find Your Next Favorite Book” by Leigh Boyer, LeighBoyer.com

“This book takes readers on a joyride, through twists, turns and unexpected detours” — M.J. Joachim

The Designated Survivor Cover PhotoM.J. Joachim reviews ‘The Designated Survivor‘ on her blog, M. J. Joachim’s Writing Tips.

In the review, she describes the mystery as “fast paced, full of energy, action, adventure and excitement.” She also is including it on her Recommended Reading List (in her Romance category, oddly enough).

She summarizes the book as, “Tess is an escaped convict who meets up with a mentally disturbed man, destined to be her companion for a perfect getaway. Okay, so it’s not so perfect, after all, since he appears to be completely off his rocker.”

To read her full review, you can visit her blog at www.mjjoachim.blogspot.com/

Electively Paige reviews The Designated Survivor

The Designated Survivor Cover PhotoElectively Paige reviewed The Designated Survivor.

In the review, she writes:

“This short novella has enough action packed suspense to fill a full-length novel and I found it to be a very entertaining read.The Designated Survivor is certainly… different, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. I felt like I’d never read something quite like it and I was delighted to find it a very entertaining story. The twists and turns had me on edge and I easily read this book in one setting.
“Tess is on the run after escaping from prison and hitches a ride from a not-quite-right man who is convinced she’s his(dead) wife. That’s crazy enough, not to mention the urn in the passenger seat and the body in the trunk. Yes, Tess is in for one crazy ride, and I was happy to ride–er, read along. I recommend for any fan of a quick, suspenseful read that’s a little on the quirky side! “