Book Blitz: Approaching Twi-Night by M. Thomas Apple

Literary Fiction / Sports Fiction
Date Published: February 2015

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

An aging baseball player is given one final chance at professional and personal redemption in small town America as he struggles to come to grips with his past, his sense of self, and his career.
Journeyman relief pitcher Jonathan “Ditch” Klein was all set to be a replacement player during the 1994-1995 baseball strike…until the strike ended. Offered a contract in the minor leagues, playing at the same Upstate NY ballpark he once found success in high school, Ditch has one last chance to prove his worth. But to whom? A manager with an axe to grind, a father second-guessing his pitching decisions, a local sportswriter hailing him as a hometown hero, a decade older than his teammates and trying to resurrect an injury-ridden career…Ditch thinks he may have a possible back-up plan: become a sportswriter himself. The only question is whether he is a pitcher who aspires to be a writer, or the other way around…
EXCERPT
From his perch on the mound, Ditch shaded his eyes and watched the foul ball gently curve over the grandstand toward the parking lot. As he held his glove out for the new ball, he could hear his father’s voice from a high school game: “Straighten that out, Johnny, just straighten it out!” And he could remember himself at the plate, thinking, “I can’t, Dad. I can’t hit it.”
He gripped the dull white leather in his pitching hand, tucked the glove under his left arm and slowly circled the mound. Ditch’s hands worked the leather, trying to deftly massage life into the ball. His fingernails found the seams and began to pull them up from the leather; Ditch had always wondered as a kid why pitchers on TV wasted so much time walking the infield grass, if “raised seams” actually did anything to curves like his father claimed, if pitchers who stared out at the crowd were actually looking for someone. He stopped on the first base side of the mound and glanced at the runners on first and second, not really to check on them, just let them know he knew they were there. The runners strayed a step or two from their bags, sauntering back and forth with hands on hips, kicking the bags a couple times impatiently. They knew Ditch wouldn’t throw, he knew they wouldn’t run, not on Holforth’s arm.
Ditch tugged at his cap and deliberately ignored the anxious hometown crowd on “Opening Day Two.” Absently he wondered if his family was in the stands somewhere, his father holding little Jennifer up on his shoulders, pointing, “There’s John, there he is.” He climbed back up to the pitching rubber, haphazardly pulling his short sleeves up and shrugging them down again. The murmurs changed to a soft buzz of rushing air in his ears as he dug in with his right foot and stared in at Holforth behind the plate. He squinted on purpose at the flashing fingers, set for the third pitch, and threw.
The batter fouled it off again, this time straight into the visiting team dugout, nearly hitting the coaches at the top of the steps. Ditch received the next new ball and began his ritual anew. The batter fidgeted, stepping out of the box with one foot and nervously swinging his bat a few times and changing his grip as if he were uncomfortable using wood instead of aluminum. Ditch looked at the wispy clouds overhead, the one-two count in the back of his mind, and decided to waste a pitch.
Holforth almost failed to block the errant pitch, but he managed to smother the forty-foot curve, hurriedly flipping his mask off and alertly checking the runners back to their bags. The catcher turned to ask for time, and Ditch turned his back on the plate. Holforth was bound to be angry. He knew Holforth hated it when his calls weren’t taken seriously. He tugged his cap and kicked at his trench.
The catcher pulled the ball out of his mitt and placed it in Ditch’s. Holforth darted a look at the vacant right field foul line bullpen, then back at Ditch. “You can let go now,” Ditch said. “I’ve got it.”
Holforth withdrew his hand from the glove. “Inside and high,” he stated. “This guy’s never used a wooden bat before.” He turned back to the plate and pulled his face mask on over his hard hat. Neither have you, Ditch thought, already pacing at the back of the mound, massaging the ball. He found the soft spot, brown from the last pitch. The Majors spoiled their pitchers, he thought. They want a new ball, they get one. Even now, he knew, a batboy was rounding up the foul balls in the dugouts and along the foul line, ready to hand them over to the plate ump between half-innings. He randomly glanced at the rust-green electronic scoreboard with the Pepsi label slapped on it in left-center field. A two-run lead he was supposed to protect, for the last two innings. Collins had made that clear; Ditch was on his own. He felt the urge to spit, then changed his mind, then did it anyway. What the hell, he thought, pushing his sleeves up again.
He stepped up again and caught the signs. High and inside. At the hands. He checked the runners, reared, and threw at the batter’s head. The kid ducked as the ball flew at the backstop. He could hear Holforth’s muffled curse as the catcher futilely flung his glove hand back and followed it with his body. Ditch loped to the plate to cover, but the runners stopped at third and second as Holforth got the ball back in play. Someone in the crowd behind third base booed, but his neighbors quickly hushed him. Ditch cleared the dirt around the plate with the tip of his shoe and tugged again at the hat. He headed back to his incantations. The infielders hesitantly moved back to their positions, pounding their gloves and muttering nearly inaudible words of encouragement. A hit would tie the game. Ditch let his sleeves fall down as he mounted.
Holforth was standing right in front of him. Ditch betrayed no surprise. “You’re making me look bad, man,” the catcher said tersely. He rubbed the sweat dripping down his chin onto a sleeve. “We can’t do that again, so I want you to throw the pitch.”
He shook his head and dug at the trench. Holforth called it “the pitch,” as if it were a secret weapon of some kind; he wanted the awkward slider he made Ditch work on in the bullpen, the one he could throw with the bent finger underneath. He hated it. He hated using a trick pitch.
“I’m telling you, do it,” Holforth repeated. “Cut the crap and get this guy.” He turned abruptly and trotted back to the plate. Ditch placed his right foot behind the rubber and looked up. The other ump had moved to behind third base. Only two umpires in this league, Ditch remembered with a chagrin. He looked in at the plate and jerked his head back to third as he faked a throw. The runner froze, then looked embarrassed, realizing that the third baseman wasn’t anywhere near the bag for a pick-off throw. Ditch smiled to himself and tugged at his cap with his ball hand. The third baseman edged towards the bag, pulling the runner closer. Ditch paid the two no mind.
He looked back in. Holforth signaled for the pitch. Ditch shook his head. Holforth signed for it again. Again, Ditch shook it off. Exasperated, Holforth audibly slapped his thigh. He angrily flipped down a single finger. Ditch laughed out loud. The batter called time. Ditch stepped off and put his head down. He could hear the plate ump say, “Let’s go gentlemen.” Gentlemen, he thought. Yeah. He watched the batter take a few more swings, adjust his helmet without adjusting it at all, and then step back in. The crowd noise briefly interrupted then seemed to recede.
He looked in and he saw Holforth stand up and adjust his cup before squatting again. Ditch turned his head to peer at the runners momentarily, then turned back and got the expected signal. He didn’t respond. The signal came again, insistent. He lowered his head, and stood, hands ready at his belt. He could sense Holforth settling back, the ump crouching behind with a hand on Holforth’s shoulder. The bent third underneath and two forefingers on the seams, he withdrew his hand from the glove. His wrist snapped out and down, and the ball spun towards the batter’s waist. It seemed to rise and curve left, directly into the batter’s wheelhouse, but suddenly it dropped to the right at knee-level. The batter swung.
Ditch looked over his shoulder as the second baseman scooped up the ball and lazily tossed it to first for the third out. He was out of it. He tugged his cap, maybe to acknowledge the smattering of applause, and walked to the dugout. He was vaguely aware of the fielders passing him, some smacking him on the back, some not, as Holforth appeared at his left elbow. “Told you,” was all he said, then found his place on the bench. He passed his manager on the steps. Collins pretended to be absorbed in pitching charts. Whatever, Ditch thought. He found his jacket and shoved his right arm into the sleeve. The end of eight. Maybe he would get through this after all.
One of the starting pitchers approached from the left side of his peripheral vision: the tallish Hansen, the deposed starter of the day. Hansen looked tired, but not beat. He held a cup of water, and nodded towards the bench. “Mind if I sit down?” he asked. Ditch shrugged, watching a Wildcat batter, the first baseman Reynalds, take a hefty cut at an eye-level pitch. After Reynalds would come a second-string outfielder, Williams or something, batting as designated hitter in the pitcher’s place. He was glad he didn’t have to bat, the only good thing about the minors.
The kid sat down with a contented sigh and took a sip from his Gatorade cup. “Hey, you want any water?” he asked.
Ditch shook his head. “Nah.”
 “Lemme get you one.” The teenager was up and at the cooler before he could say anything else. He opened his mouth and shut it after a moment. Why not, he thought. Doesn’t really matter. Reynalds swung mightily at a pathetic curve and topped it back to the pitcher. Just one more run, he thought, no, make that two, or three. He moved forward, resting his elbows on his thighs as he pulled his cap off and worked the rim.
Hansen walked over and handed him a paper cup with rosin-stained fingers. The chalk clung to the green cup as Ditch mumbled a thanks and took a small sip. Hansen sat down again with a thump and said nothing for a moment. The DH was at the plate, wildly swinging at anything near the strike zone. Ditch sighed, thinking that maybe he should be allowed to bat for himself.
Hansen finally spoke. “Thanks for getting me out of that jam.”
Ditch was silent. What jam? Oh, yeah, he remembered, he had inherited the first runner. He turned to Hansen. “Sure thing. I didn’t help myself with that walk, but…yeah, sure.”
“Hey, you’re saving my game for me, right?” Hansen paused to finish his water and toss the cup aside. “I owe you one.”
“You don’t owe me anything,” Ditch mumbled. “It’s my job.”
Hansen was quiet. The DH finally connected — luck, Ditch thought — and hit a worm-burner past the shortstop for a hit. Now one of the outfielders was up, somebody, he didn’t know his name. All he hoped for now was that the batters took a few pitches and gave him a little more time to sit. The next batter swung at the first pitch and popped it straight up to the catcher. Ditch hung his head and spit at his feet as the third baseman Corrales took his turn batting.
Hansen coughed into a fist and shifted on the bench. The batter was taking his time. Ditch hoped so. Corrales was their “star player,” according to friend Grant. In the on deck circle, Holforth was taking his practice swings with his chest protector and shin-guards on. Ditch sat back and pulled his glove on, half-heartedly to head back to the mound. “Hey, Ditch,” Hansen began. Ditch didn’t take his eyes off the field. “Uh…some of the guys were thinking of, you know, hanging out after the game,” Hansen continued. He shoved his hands into his pitching jacket and banged his cleated feet against the concrete floor of the dugout. He had knocked the dirt from his cleats the previous inning, Ditch noted. Hansen cleared his throat. “You know, like go out to a movie or something. You wanna, I mean, if you want to come with…”
Hansen let a breath out slowly and stopped kicking. Ditch finally looked over at him. Jesus, he thought, the kid was actually nervous just talking to him. “Yeah, okay, sure,” he said. Hansen looked at him, then lowered his head and resumed banging his shoes. “Maybe we could hit a bar or something first, you guys don’t mind.
The sharp crack of the bat cut off Hansen’s reply. They both looked up to see the ball soaring straight up, a routine infield fly. The opposing team’s shortstop didn’t have to move as he gloved it.
“Well,” Ditch said, dropping his jacket behind him, “back to work.” He heard Hansen’s voice say “…one, two, three…” as he bounded out of the dugout. He glanced over his shoulder and saw Hansen get to his feet and show signs of pacing. Ditch reached the mound and, stooping to pick up the ball, immediately dug at the seams with dirty fingernails. He mopped off a sudden downpour of forehead sweat and looked back to the dugout. Hansen was sitting again, his face buried in a hand towel.
Ditch waited until the first batter of the ninth slowly stepped in and paused to dramatically spit and flutter his bat menacingly. The crowd murmur rose and fell in waves as he readied for the signs. He wanted this game, he realized suddenly. A fine time to get sentimental, but he wanted to win.
Well, then, he thought, rearing back for the pitch. Here goes nothing.
About the Author

Originally from Troy, New York, M. Thomas Apple spent part of his childhood in the hamlet of Berne, in the Helderberg escarpment, and his teenage years in the village of Warrensburg, in the Adirondack Mountains. He studied languages and literature as an undergraduate student at Bard College, creative writing in the University of Notre Dame Creative Writing MFA Program, and language education in a Temple University interdisciplinary doctoral program. He now teaches global issues and English as a second language at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan. Approaching Twi-Night is his first novel. A non-fiction book of essays about parenting and childcare (Taking Leave: An American on Paternity Leave in Japan, Perceptia Press), is scheduled for publication in late 2015, followed by a collection of short fiction and poetry (Notes from the Nineties) in early 2016. The lead editor of the bestselling Language Learning Motivation in Japan (Multilingual Matters, 2013), he is currently co-editing a non-fiction educational research book, writing a science fiction novel, and outlining a baseball story set in the Japanese corporate leagues.

Contact Links
Purchase Link
GIVEAWAY
$5 Amazon Gift Card
 
 
Advertisements

Book Blitz: Casting Lots by William D. McEachern

Historical Fiction
Date Published: January 14

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Casting Lots is the tale of how a Greek slave, Lucinius, becomes an influential religious leader and literary figure in the First Century A.D.  His spiritual awakening is prompted by an unlikely mentor, a Centurion, who was at the crucifixion. 
Lucinius is ordered by his master to assemble the stories told by eye-witnesses to the life and death of Jesus Christ.  Cornelius was the Centurion at the Crucifixion. Cornelius is hated by the Jews and the Romans.  He is haunted by the Crucifixion because he won the shroud worn by Christ in a game of dice.  He takes Lucinius on a journey throughout the Empire and tells him what seem to be fantastic stories about famous Romans during the era of the Republic, some 100 years ago.  These stories contain elements which Cornelius could not possibly know, unless he is making them up or unless there is some other explanation.
The book answers the question of who wrote the Gospel of Luke and why he wrote it.  The book answers the question of who is Cornelius and why he said Jesus was an innocent man at his Crucifixion.   Thus, it is a tale of the two men’s spiritual journeys.
Excerpt
I walked to his home again. The streets were crowded and the world’s smells washed over me: the sweat of the men, the perfumes of the women, the urine of the animals, bread baking, cloth just cut, fruit drying on the stands, gutters of the streets, leather being tanned. Sweet, pungent, acrid, acidic, salty, bitter, biting smells grabbed my nostrils as if I smelled these for the first time. The smells were counterpoint to the sounds of the city. The hammer of the artist cracking tiles, rocks, and glass to make mosaics, bleating of sheep and lowing of cows as they awaited slaughter, the rumble of wagons carrying bolts of cloth, or carcasses of meat and exotic goods along the cobblestone streets, the tramp of soldiers’ caligae, their hob-nails clicking on stone, as they marched, crying babies needing to be nursed, yelling mothers trying to find lost children, heralds blaring out the whereabouts of some legion killing some barbarians somewhere on some frontier, tax collectors demanding payment of tax, while the taxpayer screamed insults or begged for mercy, and the sound of my heart pounding so hard that it might burst, blended together in a discordant cacophony of life. If the smells did not grab your attention, or if the sounds did not demand your notice, then the play of light would surely command your consideration. The light side-by-side with the dark was sharp, stark, defined, and distinct, as where the land ends and the seas begin. You walked most of the time in the shadow of the tall insulae, the apartment buildings, fearing that from the darkness above would flow that most unsavory of liquids. Then the sunlight blaring from a blue crystal-clear sky dazzled your eyes, when you walked across some broad street. The brilliant sun radiated off the temples’ gold-leaf veneers. You were in the presence of the Gods. All the while, I thought about how I could approach him. An offer of money, I thought, would only insult and repel him. The quest of my master disgusted and dismayed him. Before I had decided what to do and how to do it, I was there at his door. “Damno ad averno!” (“Damn it to hell!”) Cornelius spat as spoke these words as if the spitting added to the curse. “I will wait until you tell me.” I stood resolutely. “What?” “I will wait until you tell me.” I sat down and smiled slightly. “Get underfoot, eh?” “If necessary.” “All day and all night?” he asked. “If necessary.” He turned into the darkness of his home. I waited. Time passed. Then I saw him coming back, his vitis rudis, that is his vine hand. No true centurion was ever without the symbol of his authority, his vitis rudis, gnarled and worn. “Do you think a man who has wielded this,” he gestured with his vitis rudis, “will ever break?” “Do you think that a slave who has been beaten all of his life will fear one more beating?” “Well, that is the first thing you have said that makes any sense at all!” He smiled.
About the Author

William D. McEachern is a graduate of Duke University with a bachelor of arts in religion and psychology. His focus at Duke was on early Christianity. His fascination with Rome grew out of his Latin and Greek classes at St. Paul’s School in New York in the early 1960s. Reading Caesar fueled his love of Rome and ancient history, which he has studied for half a century. A practicing tax attorney for more than thirty-five years, he has written numerous articles and several law treatises about estate planning, estate and gift taxation, and the use of trusts. In this his first novel, Mr. McEachern’s unique voice blends law, religion, and history.
Contact Links
Purchase Links
Giveaway
$5 Gift Card
 
 
 photo readingaddictionbutton_zps58fd99d6.png

Cover Reveal: Beyond the Veil by Laura N. Anile

Time-Shifters-Book-2-cover-

BOOK & AUTHOR INFO:

Beyond the Veil by Laura N. Anile
(Time Shifters, #2)
Publication date: September 2015
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Synopsis:

In the first book of the Time Shifters series, seventeen-year-old Ryder is mysteriously pulled into the year 2127, swapping places—and bodies—with eighteen-year-old Ziron. Caught in a web of lies and forced to conceal his true identity, danger is lurking around every corner. Desperate to survive, Ryder needs to unravel the conspiracy and figure out why Ziron stole his life if he hopes to find his way home. Unable to deny his heart, he is drawn to a girl who can never learn his secret. But how can he be with her when she thinks he’s someone else?

Book Two in the Time Shifters series follows Ziron’s journey to 2015 and reveals how and why he performed the brazen act that tore Ryder from his home. Why did he risk everything to swap places with Ryder? And how can he deceive Ryder’s family and friends when he knows nothing of Ryder’s world? Ziron has put it all on the line to travel back to 2015, knowing the future of humankind is at stake. He will give his heart to a girl he meets there, but will he be forced to give his life to protect those he loves? Ziron only hopes he can stay alive long enough to complete his mission, before his enemies catch up to him and the future is changed forever.

__

To celebrate the release of the sequel, the first book in the series will be available to download *FREE* for a limited time via Amazon, iBooks, B&N and Kobo. Please join the mailing list to be alerted when Book 2: Beyond the Veil is available in bookstores (coming September 2015).

AUTHOR BIO:
Laura has had a lifelong love of writing, which she explored in a successful marketing career before penning her first novel. She loves all things humorous, laughs too loudly and finds her own jokes amusing. She has a Laura

passion for traveling and exploring the world but has a phobia of suspect hotel rooms with questionable hygiene. And, oh yeah, she isn’t clairvoyant and doesn’t own any crystal balls.

Laura has written two novels, ‘Time Shifters Book One: Beyond Time’ (YA dystopian) and Visions (paranormal); a children’s book, ‘Lets’s Go, Fabio! (Florence)’; and a free collection of short stories, entitled ‘Unmasked Secrets’. The second book in her Time Shifters series is due for release in early 2015.

Book Excerpt: Purified by Elizabeth S. Sullivan

purified
Thriller / Noir
Date Published: November 27, 2014
Published By: Short on Time Books
 
 
When a mutilated body of an African American girl is found in a park sandbox, the media shows no interest. Instead, their attention is riveted on the disappearance of Olivia Safra, a college student and only child of the powerful and dangerous Richard Safra. Suspended ADA, Beck Oldman, demoted to a rookie PI is assigned her first cases to find a missing teenager and Olivia Safra.

Leads connect the murders to the Safra case. The investigation into her client’s private life reveals a dark side in the relationship between a father and daughter and exacts his wrath against Beck. More girls are found murdered, putting Beck in a race to stop a serial killer and stop her own client from destroying her.

EXCERPT:

The fact it was drizzling did not dim the useful moonlight. The body had been meticulously scrubbed with antibacterial soap; hair shampooed; new white underwear guarded against the old jeans. The plastic gloves and the rain slowed down the digging. The skies opened just a bit more, but enough to wash away progress. Voices from a distance slightly accelerated the final touches. The exact placement of the artifacts was crucial. Finally, success. It was a shallow grave, but it was never meant to be anything more than a beginning.

The Chicago Park teemed with summer life. Amber light washed over the lazy sun worshippers, glazing them in a healthy hue they did not earn. Dogs chased invisible balls and actual Frisbees in the wet grass, almost tripping women pushing baby strollers worth the price of a small car. The low thrum of conversations, an intermittent rebuke handed down to an out-of-line participant was suddenly obliterated by a shrill, inhuman wail. A collective sucking in of breath heralded the series of joy crushing waves everyone knew were coming.

Wave One: a young boy collapsed near a group of teenage girls. Normally squealers, the girls silently tried to ease the boy out of his fetal position. Reluctantly, onlookers approached, knowing their light reverie was scrolling into some kind of weird nightmare.

Wave Two: a chorus of other worldly screaming came out of children as they abandonede the swings.

Wave Three: a man screeching, “Get the kids away from the goddamned sandbox, get them OUT OF THERE. Call the cops, there’s a bloody hand sticking out of the sand.” Human sobs were accompanied by police sirens, almost if they were keeping tempo to the chaos. People fled from the blood and the sand.

Wave Four: a murdered adolescent girl’s mutilated hand reached out of the sand, tripping the boy whose summer dreams would become nightmares, as would the entire city’s.

 

PURIFIED is a thrilling story that explores many dark subjects, including what it does to those who have to live in the world of killers in order to stop them.

Elizabeth S. Sullivan was born in Chicago and grew up in the L.A. area. Impassioned by social justice issues, inspired by her parents, she pursued teaching and earned a law degree. She has written five purified-ElizabethSullivanscreenplays, one short. Her screenplays have placed or won such as: Nicholl, Austin, Page, and American Zoetrope. These recognitions garnered her a manager, Alexia Melocchi, Little Studio Films. Her first novel, PURIFIED, portrays a strong female protagonist in the genre of a noir thriller.  Sullivan explores issues of race, gender, privacy in the cyber age. She has written several blogs on of women in fiction featured on Venture Galleries.  She is busy working on the sequel to PURIFIED and a new screenplay.

Cover Reveal: Seelie by Sarah J. Pepper

fantasy colorful beautiful young woman portrait

Seelie by Sarah J. Pepper
(Fae Wars, #1)
Publication date: Fall 2015
Genres: Adult, Paranormal

Synopsis:

Kian traces his thumb over Ryanne’s bottom lip, waiting impatiently for his Seelie princess to surrender to her blood-lust. Her fervor is nearly untamable, particularly when tempted by his addictive kiss. She’ll do anything for him, but he is just as enslaved by her. However, Ryanne’s blood-lust turns lethal as soon as Niall, the Unseelie Prince, steps into her Court. In Faerie, lies are punishable by death. Murder is justifiable. So when Niall oversteps his bounds, Ryanne has no choice but to unleash the blood-lust that rules her.

AUTHOR BIO:
Sarah J. Pepper specializes in dark, paranormal romance – think “happy ever after” but with a twisted, dark chocolate center. SarahReal-life romance isn’t only filled with hugs, kisses, bunnies, and rainbows. True-love can be more thoroughly described in times of darkness and tribulation. It’s in those harsh moments where you see what a person is truly capable of – both the good and bad. Sometimes prince-charming isn’t always on time, and the glass slipper is a little snug. However, it doesn’t mean Charming is not Mr. Right, and who says every shoe is the perfect fit? Get a glimpse inside her head at www.sarahjpepper.com

Author links:
ButtonXBT

Cover Reveal: Inconceivable by Cherrie Mack

inconceivablereveal

About the Book

Inconceivable E-Book Cover

Title: Inconceivable

Author: Cherrie Mack

Genre: Romance / Fantasy

When Prince Charming comes looking for the woman who stole his heart at a Manhattan shoe store, he instead finds her stepsister, Allie. Allie doesn’t leave the best impression with the handsome Zach Brady, who quickly dismisses her as the maid. But an unusual fairy godmother with bulging biceps, long hair, and a cool demeanor has plans for her. Can Allie keep herself from falling for the wrong man and convince him to help her snag Zach? This duo quickly learns that sometimes if the shoe fits, the pair could be all wrong.

Author Bio

Cherrie Mack is a multi-published romance author who grew up in Flushing Queens NY, the youngest child of six. The city’s diversity gave her a great appreciation for many different cultures and lifestyles. After love finally claimed the girl from the city and dragged her to the suburban madness of Long Island, she settled into a quiet life with her new husband. Two children and one mini-van later, the family found themselves moving towards the sunny skies of Florida where they currently reside.

Cherrie is happiest sitting behind a keyboard doing the one thing she loves most—writing. However, when she isn’t writing, she is struggling to man her website, promote her books, keep up with social media and run a household. She loves to hang out with her 12 and 10 year old kids and spend time with her smart, sexy, fun loving husband. She struggles to master the art of meditation but with so many people living inside her head, demanding a story of their own, the task is daunting. She takes time to relax by playing with her best friends–Bailey and Simba.

Cherrie continues to flourish, writing contemporary erotic romance, romantic comedy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance and her latest venture into sci-fi. Her ability to cross genre’s fuels her imagination and gives her the desire to continue to push her boundaries and branch out as a writer. Although she hasn’t settled into any given sub-genre, she is confident her ability will lead her down the right path.

A member of Romance Writers of America, Cherrie is slowly spreading her wings as a romance author. Look for her books at all digital bookstores such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Bookstrand, ITunes, Nook, Kobo and many more.

Links

Blog: http://cherriemack.wordpress.com

Website: http://www.cherriemack.com

Author facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/CherrieMack

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CherrieMack

Google email: mackcherrie@gmail.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.cherriemack.com

Guest Post: Does EXAMINER.com profit the freelance writer? by Chris DeBrie

A calculating examination of Examiners' pay.
A calculating examination of Examiners’ pay.

Sometimes we have an idea and don’t act, because we figure someone else much be working on it. We didn’t want this to be one of those times. No one is currently asking the question, so let’s do it here.

The issue is that of freelance, part-time and casual writers working for websites like Examiner.com. Avenue Books is ‘bumping’ this conversation thread on the Inter-Web.

Does writing for content sites profit the writer?

Apparently, there was a time leading up to 2007-08 when online writers enjoyed a bubble. These writers could farm out their talents to sites like Examiner, pick a topic, and plug away, actually seeing some fruit of this effort.

I missed the bubble, writing fiction and blogging on my own, never considering content writing until 2009, when flesh-and-blood jobs in town were drying up and we were in search of supplemental (residual?) income. I signed up for every farm I could find: Associated Content, Examiner, Suite101, Constant Content, even a place where site owners supposedly bid on your content called Ghostbloggers. There were others that blurred past. I never tried About.com, nor any similar “how-to” sites.

I remember a lot of excitement from these sites’ communities. Some of these people were making profits that rustled, not jingled; or they were getting exposure, or a combination. I pulled in $3,000 last month, you would see in the threads. My first month was maybe $250. Like listening to a trucker’s story, it’s best to be prepared for exaggeration. But there was an optimism and a sharing of ideas on platforms like Suite.

Like most writers, I didn’t understand how much it took (if you actually want to make cold profit)

One former top earner at Examiner estimated that
One former top earner at Examiner estimated that “it takes about 1,000 short articles” before you start to make real money. He said it took about seven months for him.

to really build an audience around those sites. I didn’t see results quickly enough, so I tagged out of the grind early, having other means to pay the rent. Examiner and the like require you to write a lot for other people, knowing that a payoff is distant at best. There needs to be a foundation of your stuff, a continuity that people might put into their routine. Meanwhile, you keep on churning and building your own web within the Web. Same as the Space Shuttle, which uses up so much energy just escaping the atmosphere. But maybe it wouldn’t have mattered what I knew, because things were changing in the online freelancer world that I had barely put a toe into.

The freelance community excitement turned into griping at unseen computer geeks who had done us writers wrong. At some point, Google and other search engines began adjusting their algorithms in ways that denied these writers the same earnings. [I know very little of the technical or monetary reasons; feel free to expound.] Added to that was the fact that many of these ‘content mills’, as some term them, seemed to be taking a larger chunk from the advertisers. The writers were at the bottom, knowing that pay had been lowered but never able to get straight answers about rates.

By 2010, writing for ‘pennies a click’ didn’t seem worth the time. Why spend hours a day writing articles that can’t be used as professional clips? when I could concentrate on ONE article, query it, sell it, and get paid for what it takes the Examiner.com girl 100 articles to reach? There was a memorable response  to that reasoning in one site; someone asked, Aren’t you basically writing for free and uncertain when you are querying, shopping from editor to editor?

Many in the publishing industry have said that the pros doesn’t respect any of this online writing; in fact, at least one headhunter claimed if she saw Examiner writing samples in a resume, she would trash the applicant.

Arguments that are pro-writing for these sites include the very real benefit of name exposure. An independent or self-published writer who likes working outside of the editor-publishing-media machine sees a lot of good in Examiner. She can get her ‘brand’ out there, find an audience that will recognize her name in the future… if, of course, she knows what she’s doing in terms of topic, writing style and quality, SEO knowledge, and that good stuff.

“The key is to write topical articles and SEO them very well,” wrote a successful Examiner from the Cleveland area.

Exposure doesn’t matter to some. They are just trying to pay the bills. A swift, motivated writer can finish an Examiner article in a few hours. To them, it is definitely worth it to spend the equivalent of a part time job’s hours, in trade for months of potential monies that will collect while they aren’t even writing. Then again, both AC and Suite famously shut down…

That seems to be what bothers some freelance and professional writers—the Examiner.com, blogger-type who puts out his own ebooks seems some kind of threat. Not a threat to the pro’s livelihood, necessarily, but to his very worldview. To the old school, the online writer who zips out popular pieces on Rihanna and the Jenners is an abomination. Such a writer has lowered the bar and lowered rates, according to the professionals. They have dodged the gate and entered by some other way. This is why many writers for those sites use pseudonyms, one commenter wrote.

This is the same horror that the music industry showed. The big labels went ballistic once digital sharing became an actual thing—‘ripping’, or stealing music is wrong, but it’s not the true issue. The underlying theme of the little guy doing his thing without a cosign from The Man… that shakes the gatekeeper. You can apply it to any industry…

Haven’t seen many updates on those comment sections in months or years. Obviously a lot has changed since those days. So we bring the issue here, to you.

All of this is just musing. Correct us where we’re wrong. Write your experience and opinion.

This is an open call to all you ‘writers-for-hire’… tell me a story.

Chris DeBrie is the author of many novels, comic books, and short stories, including the acclaimed mystery “Cap’n Random.” He earned a B.A. in Communications/Journalism, and has hundreds of writing credits both online and off since 1986.

Links to past discussions on this topic:

http://www.makealivingwriting.com/full-time-living-blogging-examiner/

http://www.angengland.com/can-you-make-money-writing-for-examinercom/

http://writersweekly.com/angela-desk/how-much-are-examiner-com-writers-really-earning-

http://www.residualsandroyalties.com/2010/01/17/make-money-online-writing-for-examiner/

http://paulamooney.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-much-does-examinercom-pay-writers.html