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April Newsletter


Hello!

We have lift-off! Yup, this is the first edition of my incredible, highly-addictive, info-packed newsletter. Booyah! 
I've got lots to share (the gift of gab for a writer being both a curse and a blessing), so let's get started. :-) I debated on including all the expanded content in this first edition so everyone could see what it'll be like, but nah. I went with straight and simple. If you want it, you need to adjust your newsletter preferences.
Reading Roll Call

Most of you know from my previous newsletter and Facebook posts, that my mother suffered a hemorrhagic stroke last August. Reading during the past eight months has helped save my sanity, and consequently I have a lot of book recommendations to share with you.

This section has been divided into genres, so that you’re not reading through recommendations for books you have no interest in. Click here to update your newsletter preferences regarding Genre Preference.

Paranormal Mystery:
I rediscovered Victoria Laurie’s Psychic Eye Mysteries, and picked up book seven, where I’d left off. I quickly fell back into the light-hearted banter, terrific characters, and the ever lovable Abby Cooper and her FBI boyfriend, Dutch Rivers. I plowed through the remaining six titles and am eager for more. The mysteries and adventures aren’t overly complex, but they’re not super-predictable either. Light paranormal elements, with the MC being a psychic, but very believable and woven into the plot with the perfect balance.

Next, I started Angie Fox’s Ghost Hunter series and have read everything she’s published so far, including a short novella not included in the Amazon series listing. I love the small-town Southern setting, the charming cast of characters, and the quirky ghosts. Another light-hearted read good for late-night reading, long past when you should have put the book down and gone to bed. At least, that’s how it was for me. :-)

Urban Fantasy:
Melissa F. Olson has two connected series set in the same urban fantasy world. The first is the Scarlett Bernard trilogy, and the second trilogy (third book releases next month) is called Boundary Magic. Olson has created a complex world filled with magic, vampires, shifters, and lots of cool creatures! Her interesting characters and fast-paced story lines left me eager for the next book.

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I’ve got way more recommendations, but as this edition was my first time with the expanded content, I’ll include more books next time.

Writing Updates
All my grand plans to write and get back on track with work have been hanging in limbo (see Personal & Health for more details). The words aren’t flowing. The ideas are there, but with no direction, and no idea how to fit them all together. If I was looking to place blame, I’d place it firmly at my own feet. After all, where else would blame be? But that won’t get words out of me, so it’s best to move on from blame and find a new way to continue. 

This section is also divided by genre preference. You’ll need to update your preferences in the future to see all this section will contain.

V V Inn Series: I started Sharpen the Blade with the sole intent that it would be a small “between the books” novella, released to newsletter subscribers in four monthly increments to keep interest in the series high between releases. But the book is growing larger than I intended, and I’ve discovered I have real issues with writing with no clear plot or direction—who knew? ;-)

I’ve torn apart the book, mapped out all the scenes, and am now expanding it to be an actual book (not simply a place-holder that fills in data from one story to the next). But considering the book didn’t start that way, the revision task is proving harder than I’d like.

After it’s completed, I’ll begin the last book in the V V Inn series, Blood Reckoning. Yes, you read that right, the LAST V V Inn book. 

Before you all respond with scathing emails, rest assured, I have plans for the existing characters in a continuation series, which would be titled Beyond the V V Inn. Why am I ending the series only to continue it with another name? Because I’ve done market research on long series, and readers can be reluctant to start a new series that has twenty books in it, and no apparent end in sight. This way there will be a clear separation between over-arching series arcs. And trust me, Blood Reckoning will truly be an end to one era and the beginning of another.

The latest installment is live on the website. The story has been rearranged, and that means the first three chapters that were previously released are no longer in the same order. You’ll find the excerpt here (same password and user name, different location on my website):
((Only available to subscribers))

Walk on the Wild Side: The completion of the third book in Heather and Tony’s saga, Vanilla Spice, is scheduled to be written after Blood Reckoning. When that series is done, I plan on working on a new series—details to follow. And to answer so many of you regarding will I ever write more contemporary romance books, at any heat level, the answer is probably not. Unless the books sell a ton of copies, I have no desire to write in this genre again for a long while.

Upcoming Appearances
Do you live near southern New Jersey or Maryland? I’ll be attending two events in those locations this year. They aren’t large, expensive events like I’ve attended in the past. But, they’re within driving distance of me, sound like fun, and the first one is a location my whole family will enjoy with me. Yay!

June 4-5: I’m pleased to announce I’ll be joining a group of authors in a sales/signing tent at the New Jersey Renaissance Faire in Bordentown, NJ. I’ll be there 10-6, both days, with my family. Admission is $25 for an adult day pass. I haven’t been to this faire before, but my kids and I love the NY and MD one, so we’re really looking forward it.

October 21-23: I’ll be contributing on panels, enjoying the evening activities, and signing at Hallowread. This year the event is in haunted and historic Havre de Grace, Maryland located on the Susquehanna river at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. I’ve never been to this location and can’t wait to do the ghost tours and meet the folk from Dead of Night Paranormal Investigations. The weekend looks like it will be a blast!

Giveaways
Readers asked for non-Facebook (FB) contests, and I listened. There are two running this month, and I will continue to have at least one non-FB contest per month for as long I can. Notice of giveaways will always be in this section, with links, and the giveaway will remain open for a few weeks after the newsletter goes live.

The first is an Amazon eBook giveaway—first I’ve ever held—and it’s for all my V V Inn titles. I’m giving away over fifty eBooks, and since everyone on my newsletter list has received the first two titles already, please feel free to share this information with anyone who likes to read the genre. Click on a title below to be redirected to Amazon, where you try your luck and find out instantly if you’ve won:

Death’s Servant
Vampire Vacation
The Hunt
Big Game
Death Times Two
Blood Legacy

Second non-FB & FB giveaway (meaning you should be able to enter this contest via the link even if you aren’t a FB user): An exclusive V V Inn prize box, containing signed V V Inn Books, a mug, hoodie, and more. Click here to see the prize pic and enter.

FB Giveaway Winners: The following people have won a prize box from one of my FB Author Page giveaways. You have one week to contact us before we choose a second winner from ARC Team entrants.

Samantha Althoff (Jones): March 27-April 2, prize pic #11
Deidra Leigh: April 3-9, prize pic #8
Heather Coulter: April 10-16, prize pic #13
Betsy Pauzauskie: April 17-27, prize pic #14
*****
Expanded Content: You asked for it, you got it! :-) 

**If you don't see anything in this section besides the free eBook offer below, and you'd like to, please update your newsletter preferences here.

Personal & Health
Health: Most of you have been following me for years, and know about my long, ongoing battle toward good health. 

For those of you who don’t, I’ll give a brief summary: I have five autoimmune diseases that fall under the Lupus umbrella (hence my clinical diagnosis of Lupus). While undergoing diagnosis for the myriad  of issues I was suffering, I contracted Lyme Disease, Rocky Mt Spotted Fever, Bartonella Henselea, and then a slew of other smaller bacterial infections including two forms of walking pneumonia (Mycoplasma & Legionnaires), Strep in the blood, Candida, and… good God, I’ll just stop now before I get depressed writing it all out. 

Suffice it to say, my immune system was severely compromised and I was extremely ill, for a very long time. The excessive prescription drugs to battle everything led to issues with my organs, and my inevitable rebuild to “normal” has taken longer than I thought—but hey, it’s better than the alternative, which as my doctor’s pointed out, would have been death. 

It’s been two years now since my last prescription of antibiotics. According to my doctor, I’m not completely out of the woods, but the Lyme and other co-infections are finally gone, and two of my five autoimmune diseases are in remission. Now my goal is to build back to health, get stronger, and ensure I never get that sick ever again. 

Okay, now onto what I’m doing that’s working: Lots of you ask about my supplements and daily routines, and surprisingly, more than a few ask me for medical advice. I’m not qualified in any sense of the word to give anyone medical advice, but I can tell you what I’m doing that’s working for me.

SeroVital-hgh: This is a daily supplement consisting of an amino acid that triggers your body’s natural production of human growth hormone. This product is billed as a beauty supplement (to feel better, increase your sex drive, look better, less wrinkles…etc). I think having a product FDA approved for “cosmetic” use is easier than proving the supplement can heal damaged internal organs—but that’s precisely what I took it for. I was told I had elevated kidney enzymes related to kidney damage and possible kidney stones were in my future. My theory was if SeroVital could repair skin damage, and skin is our largest organ, then it should also repair other organs, too. With my doctor’s consent, I took the supplement to reverse the damage and it worked. As a side benefit, it also helped lessen the muscle pain I experienced every damn day with exercise, courtesy of my two forms of arthritis, Reactive and Rheumatoid. I’m still waiting on the younger-looking skin. ;-)

Recently, due to everything with my mom and dad, I’ve experienced moderate to severe depression. Unwilling to go on an anti-depressant, I started counseling with a depression and grief social worker and began using a cranial electrotherapy device called the Fisher Wallace Stimulator. It claims to help with depression, anxiety, and insomnia. I can report that after a month using it, I’ve been sleeping better and have a brighter outlook. If you’re like me, and reluctant to go on any prescription meds, check it out. It’s expensive, but could be covered by your insurance.

Personal: I realized six weeks ago I was becoming increasingly depressed (hence trying the Fisher Wallace gadget). And after taking 30-45 pills a day for years, battling more shit then I ever hope to face again in this lifetime, I’m not one for medication unless there’s no alternative—so, I’ve been working through emotional issues on my own, with my husband, with outside help, and with alternative medicine therapies. 
What triggered my depressive spiral: Sure, the stress of my mom’s stroke and her intensive recovery has been taxing on all of us. But the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back for me was an incident with my father last month. 

My dad has suffered severe balance issues, accompanied with lots of falls, for years. His diagnosis of Parkinson’s Plus has no medication and no cure. Last month he had a bad fall and I had to take him in for x-rays. During our wait, he announced he’s had enough of life and is ready to “check out” once my mom is better. 

Nothing I said mattered, no amount of encouragement has helped, and it took me some time, but I have finally come to terms with the simple facts: I can’t help someone if they don’t want to be helped. This seemingly simple realization of acceptance is the path to peace for many, but only if and when they’re willing to truly see it. 

Perhaps, with so much of my life the past decade being micro-managed and controlled to survive the many diseases plaguing my body, acceptance was an elusive concept for me. After all, I’m firmly in the camp of “you can accomplish anything if you set your mind to it.”  I sure as HELL was not going to give up and did not accept any of the diagnosis as a final word on my health. 

Recently experiencing the damaging, paralyzing, and stifling effects of negative thinking in the people I love crippled me emotionally. How could I be so mentally strong and the ones I love be so mentally frail?

Sadly, you can’t save everyone. You have to accept and move on. That’s not to say the acceptance is an overnight epiphany and you’ll magically wake up feeling great, but understanding what you’re working toward and why may be enough to alleviate the worst of your guilt, anguish, despair, and grief.

My hope is my father will get help for his depression and that he’ll regain the desire to live as he sees my mother slowly improving. Time will tell.

For me, I think therapy is helping. This isn’t the first time I’ve sought help for issues I couldn’t handle on my own, and it may not be the last. Being open to trying anything is a strength, and one I hope to instill in my children.

Family Life:
Remember that epic trip we took across the country last year? We won’t be doing another trip like that this year, but we do plan to go away for long weekends whenever we can. 

We’ve gone on two trips so far this season, and brought not only the three dogs, but the two kittens with us, too! When you own a big fifth-wheel trailer and a four-door pickup truck, just about anything is possible with your pets.

Our first trip was a shortened one (due to one child’s stomach bug) over spring break. We went to Natural Bridge, VA and had a fantastic time. The bridge was a nicer park and exhibit than we expected, the  historic hotel across the street was cool too, we visited an April Fool’s joke called Foam Henge (a styrofoam life-sized reproduction of Stone Henge, done by a local artist), enjoyed the best drive through Safari we’ve ever seen, and walked around historic Lexington, VA. 

Recently the kids had a Friday off from school for a teacher work day. We pulled the kids out of classes Thursday afternoon and enjoyed a relaxing trip to Luray, VA and Shenandoah National Park (the link takes you to my FB Page where the pics are). We hiked, went horse-back riding, and the kids even got a short trip in to Luray Caverns.

Charities, Mentoring, & Volunteering
Unbeknownst to most of my readers, I support small charities, mentor aspiring and established authors, and volunteer in a writing club at the local high school. In this section you’ll see updates and offers corresponding to those topics. 

Charities: If you’ve got a fundraiser you’d like signed books for, please reach out to my assistant Jen at jen@cjellisson.com 

I’ll donate books for ten causes this year, and will add more for next year if there’s high demand.

Mentoring: Do you dream of writing? Do you have a manuscript started? Is it finished and you don’t know what to do next? Or are you already published and struggling to gain exposure and build a reader base? 

If you’d like my help, contact me direct at cj@cjellisson or hit reply on this newsletter. I’m offering two mentoring spots with email support from me and a one hour call scheduled bi-monthly. 

**Serious Applicants Only. This is not a chance to gab with me about my work for an hour—it’s a chance to pick the brain of someone who’s done what you’re trying to do and is offering their time to HELP YOU.

ARC Team
Being on an author’s ARC Team should come with perks, right? Well, it certainly does with mine!

Second Chance to Win: Enter any and all contests you see from me. If the winner does’t claim their prize in two weeks, we reissue the prize to a random ARC Team member who also entered the contest.

Print Book Discounts: ARC Team members have the option to buy signed, personalized print books direct from me for the cost of printing (under $5 per book) and shipping. 

Special Time at Events: If you’re an ARC Team member and attend a reader convention that I’m attending, you’re eligible to enjoy a meal or drink with me (and other team members) during the event. You must reach out to us ahead of time for planning, and the offer is first-come, first-served basis. 

Holiday Card List: ARC Team members who email us their physical mailing address will receive a personal holiday card from me in December. *International members are included in this offer, but we can’t guarantee arrival before Christmas due to airmail delays.

More perks to come!

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How do I join your ARC Team? Sign up form is here. If you can write a ‘readable’ review, you’re in.
 

What’s readable mean? It means that even if you’re typing it on your phone, you check for spelling errors and punctuation, before you submit it

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for every review, good or bad, however readable it is. But if you want free eBooks from me in exchange for a review, your review needs to be:

1) At least four to six sentences long
2) Readable
3) Focus on the book, and not the author

***

Free eBooks
This section is a new feature in my newsletter. Next month you won’t see the exclusive offer(s) unless you’ve indicated in your
newsletter preferences that you’d like to receive it. 

Additionally, I will try to offer more than one title and plan to group them via the Genre Preferences listed, so if there’s an Erotica title offered and you’ve not selected that genre, you won’t see the link.

Without further ado, here’s April’s exclusive free eBook download for my newsletter subscribers:

((Only available to subscribers))
The Book Funnel download link above is good only until May 7th. Please get your copy today! Well gang, that's it! Please let me know what you think of the expanded content (you can hit reply and it'll come right to me). And I'm looking forward to reading what people think about the latest installment to Sharpen the Blade! Thanks, as always, for your interest and support.  ~C.J.

 


Additional Newsletters Listed Below:

September 2015

I’ve been pretty quiet lately on what I’m working on, when the next release is, and what’s been going on with contests and such. And there’s lots of reasons. But reasons often feel like excuses to me. And maybe that’s because they are.

At first, our dream trip of a lifetime (traveling by camper to several national parks across the country) filled my focus. I needed to be strong, healthy, and mostly out of treatment in order to go. With months of following doctor’s orders, I made it and the trip was amazing. When we returned, I thought my summer would fall into place with lots of writing and organization – I’d become super woman again! I’d tackle what had to be done and come out on top… just a little frazzled, you know, like always.

But that didn’t happen. I gave myself a few weeks to unwind, unpack, and settle back in from a month on the road. I eventually started back in with organizing and plotting (feeling accomplished to be working again), only to be derailed when my mother had a hemorrhagic stroke in mid-August. My life, like hers, completely changed from that point forward.

Today is the first day I haven’t been to a hospital or rehab center since August 18th. The goal was to work all day and get some things accomplished, and yet instead, I’m floundering and wracked with guilt that I’m not there helping my mostly non-verbal mother to communicate with the people around her.

Helping her through the anxiety and depression that’s slowly taking over has affected me more than I thought. Throughout all my years of battling Lupus, Lyme, and more bacterial diseases than I ever want to think about ever again, I really only had to worry about me (that's the joy of marrying a competent spouse). I knew I would beat it. Sure, I didn’t know when, but I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, I would survive.
When you’re battling chronic illness for any length of time, and you witness others around you lose the battle, you quickly realize what sets the living apart from the deceased is ATTITUDE. If you don’t think you’re going to make it, guess what? You’re not.

This is no surprise to health care providers, they’ve seen it all. But to average Joes like us, it’s the strongest piece of weaponry you have to survive, if you only recognize it and utilize it before it’s too late. No one can make you change your mindset, but I intend to do my best, every damn day, to convince my mother her life is still worth living.

I don’t know when I’ll be writing again. I don’t know when the next title will be ready. The words aren’t there, I don’t want to write, and I’m tired of beating myself up over not writing. Right now, my sole focus is on helping the woman who brought me into the world (and taught me to be the fighter I am today) to survive.

Just like my husband and children have been there for me through every step of my healing process, I need to be there for my mom. My father isn’t equipped and my brother is doing what he can, but neither of them are me, nor do they have the experience years of chronic illness have brought me.

I’ll keep you all posted on when I’ll be writing again, but I’m not making any promises on deadlines or dates. I am the best advocate my mother will ever have, and I will be there for her in her time of need.

One thing I can tell you I’m doing, and that’s reading. A Lot. The next newsletter won’t be filled with sadness, I swear. It will be filled with what I’m reading and what’s going right in my life, because even though my mother is struggling and I’m doing my best to help her, I’m still living and still looking out for me and my family. Life continues, no matter what, we just have to live it.

I’m grateful for every kind word, every note, and every well wish. Thank you for your continued support and friendship. If I’m a long time in responding to emails, requests, and messages, at least now you know why.

Recent giveaway winners: I’ve not done a giveaway in a while, and I’ll get back to posting them when I can. If your name is listed below, you won a prize. Please contact my assistant Jennifer at jen@cjellisson.com and she’ll tell you what you won and collect your mailing info.

WINNERS:

Cassie Utley
Robert Richards
Dawn Cates
Aimee Greenspan
Merena Frizzell
Helen Ganzer

Wishing you all a good start to the fall season,
~C.J.

June 2015


Hello from the road! We’re traveling this summer on the vacation of a lifetime: a cross-country road trip to visit four national parks! You can follow the daily update posts on my Facebook Author Page and check out the Cross-Country photo album on there, too. I've arranged the pictures chronologically and have updated photos as of a couple of days ago. More will be added in the days to come.
 
Reading Roll Call: I’ve been reading a ton of excellent books lately and will be sharing my thoughts on them in the next newsletter. I just haven’t had time while on the road to jot down impressions and reviews.
 
Social Media: I spend a lot of time on Facebook (FB). It’s the easiest way to connect with the majority of my readers. I apologize to those without FB accounts who’ve written to me and requested more contests and updates be posted on my website. I will implement changes this summer, when we return, to include more on the website.
 
For a recap, here’s what’s been happening on FB (these links will only work for you if you have a FB account):

Name that Character: I asked readers to name a character in an upcoming book.

Question to readers: What country/setting would you like to see in Blood Reckoning?
 
Name the secret group for manipulators in Blood Reckoning

New Subscribers: We’ve recently had a ton new subscribers who’ve signed up and received my starter library of books, which currently includes Death’s Servant and Vampire Vacation. Thank you for trying my work! If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read, please consider leaving a review at your favorite retailer or reviewing site, like Goodreads. If you’d like to receive more books from me for free, consider joining my ARC Team. You can read more information about the group on my website.
 
Book Club: I apologize to the FB urban fantasy book club members. In April, I posted links to a bunch of FB events in May for other authors, hosted by the book club, that either got postponed or cancelled. In the future I will only give notice of my events, or events I’m sure will happen. Terribly sorry for the inconvenience!

Writing Updates: Despite what’s posted everywhere online, I have not been able to finish the next installment of Sharpen the Blade (a free read for newsletter subscribers only) and the release date for Blood Reckoning has been pushed to September. I’d love to be able to blame the trip on the books not being completed, but that’s not the case.
 
I’d planned on finishing both before we left so my editor could work on them while we were gone. Alas, the story refused to come together in my head and I wasn’t able to force it. Struggling with this latest installment has made me decide to end the series with the seventh book, Blood Reckoning. The last book will wrap up all the threads that have been woven together in the recent books, but it will also leave the door open for future adventures if I decide to come back to it at a later time. This decision has required re-plotting to ensure everything is covered adequately.

This doesn’t mean I won’t be writing anymore – I will. I’ll just be working on other series for now. I’ve been plotting two others while we’re traveling, and I’m excited to get started when I return.

Behind the Scenes: My publicist has recommended I write short "behind the scenes" type of pieces about each book and what may have been going on while I wrote them, the inspirations, and thoughts that went into creating them. Please look for the first link to such a feature in the July newsletter.
 
Upcoming Appearances: For personal reasons, I’ve backed out of Authors After Dark in August, and Readers n ‘Ritas in November. I will not be attending any other reader conventions in the near future. If I sign up for any next year, you’ll hear about it here in my newsletter.

Contests: I’ve started a Summer of Giveaways weekly post for boxes of books and other goodies. Here’s the recent one you can still enter

Recent Winners: The winner for the giveaway ending June 20th is Elaine Gausden Colle! The winner for the June 27th giveaway is Lucia Filomena Russo! Ladies, you have one week from today to contact Jen, my assistant, at jen@cjellisson.com. We need your mailing address. The packages will be mailed the week we return from our trip, which will be mid-July.

**Please note: as with all my contests, if we don't hear from you in a timely fashion, the prizes will be awarded to someone else. **

As always, thank you for showing an interest in my work and in supporting me. Wishing you a fabulous summer!

~C.J.

April 2015

Reading Roll Call: Last month I mentioned all the new books and new authors I planned to read before this newsletter. I read and enjoyed Karpov Kinrade’s first two books in the Seduced series, and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. The books are more PNR, in that they focus largely on the building relationship between the two protagonists, but I thoroughly enjoyed the steadily growing plot of mischief brewing between the Druids and the witches.

Shannon Mayer’s latest release, Recurve, was terrific! Excellent world building and a well-told story I eagerly devoured. I’m looking forward to additional installments with Mayer’s newest heroine.

Viola’s Rivard’s novella, Trust, book one in her Running with Alphas series, was a welcome diversion from reality. Written in a serial format, think of it as an amuse bouche for your evening—a tantalizing story to whet your appetite, that you can read in one sitting. You get a good feeling for the characters as the story is unfolding, even if the over-arcing story isn’t resolved yet. More PNR than the other two, but a really fun read!

Denise Grover Swank’s latest Rose Gardner book releases at the end of the month, and in anticipation she’ll have two boxed sets containing the whole series on sale for 99 cents each starting on April 20th. Trust me, that’s a bargain you won’t want to pass up!

Writing Updates: I’m on track with July release dates for both of my current writing projects and am super-excited to share installment one of the first “between the books” novella, titled Sharpen the Blade, which takes place directly after Blood Legacy. Since I’m still completing the novella, it has not been sent to my editor yet, so please overlook any glaring errors on my part.

Instructions on how to read part one: Please follow this link and enter (sorry this information is for newsletter subscribers only) to read the first installment. Remember, there will be another part releasing next month, free only to newsletter subscribers.

Want an early copy of book seven, Blood Reckoning? Consider joining my ARC Team!

Sales: I joined a group of fabulous PNR and UF writers for a big 99 cent sale on Apple’s iStoreVampire Vacation is the only title in my V V Inn series included in the sale, but check out the other great reads by Lara Adrian, Jennifer Ashley, Cynthia Eden, Colleen Gleason, Donna Grant, Felicity Heaton, Erin Kellison, Laurie London, Elisabeth Naughton, Patricia A Rasey, Katie Reus, Caris Roane, Erin Quinn, and Bonnie Vanak!

Upcoming Appearances: The only reader con I’m going to all summer is Authors After Dark in Atlanta, August 12 to 16. The master of ceremonies this year is Sherilyn Kenyon! Woohoo! This will be my only reader con for the next six months. I may do a few local ones in October, but nothing is set. I’ll keep you posted.

Contests: Jennifer, my assistant, picked all the winners from last month’s blog tour on Blood Legacy, and for the review giveaway widget posted on my author Page. Please check your inboxes and spam folders for notice. Prizes will be mailed out within two weeks. Thanks for participating and for your support in the series!

Personal Updates: My family and I went camping in Myrtle Beach State Park for spring break. If you’re interested in seeing pictures, or my daughter’s attempt at playing Taps on her trumpet, please follow the embedded links.

I posted last month on Facebook that one of the cross-country "camping" trips I’ve dreamed about for years will finally happen. Yay! We’ve planned excursions to Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and Dinosaur State Park this summer. Our fifth-wheeler will also be stopping in Toledo, Oh, Madison, WI, Des Moines, IO on the way there and back. If you live near any of those parks or cities and would like to meet up, please contact my assistant Jen at jen@cjellisson.com for the dates we’ll be at each one. I’d love to arrange a drink or a meal together if our schedules allow it.

Book Club: We’ve set up a Facebook Event for the book club discussion of Blood Legacy on April 21, 2015, from 7-8:30 pm EST. Have a question about the book? Want to chat with other readers and hear their thoughts? Join us for book club! Hope to see you there. :-) 

Want to join us to chat about the latest books written by Shannon Mayer, Angie Fox, Karpov Kinrade, or S.M. Reine? Click the links on their names to be taken to the FB Event for their book discussions. Dates and times are not accurate yet, but if you "join" the event you'll receive notice of the correction when it occurs.


TBR Pile: As most of you know, I read even while I’m working on a book. It’s my reward and escape all rolled into one. Currently, I'm reading book one from Angie Fox's Southern Ghost Hunter series, titled Southern Spirits. I just started it and am really digging her heroine! I'll report back after I finish it, but so far I like it better than her Biker Witches series. These are the three I plan to read next:

  • RaShelle Workman’s free reads, Blood Snow Volumes 1-4 and 5-8. The first four segments together are about 270 pages, so I’m thinking this is a serialized piece that’s completed. Vampires and a new twist on Snow White, what’s not to love?
  • K.F. Breene’s Chosen, book one in the Warrior Chronicles, sounds right up my alley. Magic, mayhem, and war. Can’t wait to read it!
  • I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the three books I’ve read so far in S.M. Reine’s Preternatural Affairs series, and I’m eager to start book one in her latest War of the Alphas series, titled Omega.


**If any of the authors are interested in joining us in the online book club for a discussion, you’ll see notice in my next newsletter. 

Once again, thanks for your interest and support. I sincerely hope you enjoy the first installment of
Sharpen the Blade!

~C.J.



March 2015

Reading Roll Call: I’ve been reading a ton lately, and I hope you all are, too! I’ve recently become obsessed with a twenty-four year old sheltered virgin who breaks free of her oppression and blossoms into a successful amateur sleuth in the pages of Denise Grover Swank's Rose Gardner series.

The books remind me a little of Janet Evanovich’s
Stephanie Plum series, but with southern charm, lots more declarations of love, and even more emotional upheavals. The writing is smooth and the story really draws you in. I’m on book six and can’t seem to put these books down. Give them a try and let me know what you think.

Writing News: I’m working on the next installment of the V V Inn and have a big announcement for newsletter subscribers. Before I write Blood Reckoning, the continuation after Blood Legacy, I will write a “between the books” novella catching up readers with points of view they haven’t heard from in a while (or at all), like Drew, Paul, Asa, and Candy, as well as filling in what happens with our regulars, Vivian, Rafe, and Jon before the next adventure begins.

I will be releasing this novella in three to four parts (one every month) to newsletter subscribers for free before it is published and sold as an eBook.
You’ll find a link to a password-protected page on my website, and the password, in my next newsletter, so please look for it.

Speaking of my website, I’ve had issues for over five months with accessing my website’s hosting server to upload updates. It’s frustrating for me, but I wanted to let you know why it hasn’t been updated in a while and that it will be fixed soon (or I will start drinking heavily out of aggravation!).

Online Events: I don’t have any upcoming Facebook events planned, but I’d like to thank everyone who attended Blood Legacy’s release day event last month and let you know physical prizes will be going this month (and follow up on awarding eprizes to outstanding email addresses, too).

Free Short Read: My daughter submitted a short story in her first writing contest on March 1st. She brainstormed her concept with me and I helped her with editing, but the voice, story, and style is all her.  If you’d like to check it out and tell her what you think, you can find it in the Notes section on my author Page on Facebook.

Other Book News: As stated in my last newsletter, Blood Legacy was only available to all sales channels for two weeks. It is now exclusively in Amazon’s Select program and available to Kindle Unlimited subscribers as well. In addition, the whole series is in Select except for Vampire Vacation, as it is in a bundled set that is sold at several locations. I’m working on uploading a page on my website offering an ePub file for readers who provide an Amazon email receipt of any book in the series that is currently exclusive to Amazon. For now, if you have a Nook or other eReader that uses ePub only, please email your receipt to jen@cjellisson.com and she’ll get you the file you need.  

To Be Read: We all have “to be read” selections of books we’d like to read, whether they’re new-to-us authors or writers we’ve grown to love. I want to start a new segment in my newsletter letting you know what I plan to read over the next month. If you’ve read any of them or plan to, we can talk about the books in my online book club. Here’s what’s next up for me:

  • Shannon Mayer’s Recurve, the first book in a new urban fantasy series, is near the top of my TBR list. I’m a huge fan of Shannon’s work and love her Rylee Adamson series. I’m eager to see what adventures await Larkspur, an Elemental half-breed with no power who must join her father’s guard to survive as the King’s bastard.

  • Karprov Kinrade’s Seduced by Innocence is the first book in the five-book Seduced Saga paranormal romance series. All five books are out and will be cycling through Kindle Countdown Deals throughout the month of March to celebrate the launch of the final book, Seduced by Darkness, which released a week ago. This husband and wife writing duo is new to me and I’m really looking forward to reading the first book.

  • Viola Rivard’s seventh book in her Running with the Alphas series, titled Home, released yesterday and I’m starting with book one, Trust, this weekend. Viola writes steamy novellas involving werewolves and menage (yay!), and I can’t wait to dig in and see what her characters are like.


Giveaways: My reviewer giveaway for Blood Legacy ends tomorrow! If you’ve read the book, consider leaving a review and saving the URL links to enter for your chance to win one of four signed V V Inn Tee shirts, or one of six swag packs with signed books. The giveaway is posted on my author Page on Facebook and ends tomorrow night. Not many entries so far, so you have an increased chance of winning—whoohoo! ;-)

As always, thanks for your continued support of my work! You honor me with your interest and I’m grateful you enjoy my stories.

Until next time,
~C.J.


New Release ~ BLOOD LEGACY, Book Five in the V V Inn
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I’m thrilled to share the latest V V Inn installment with all of you! Early reviewers are loving the story and I sincerely hope you do as well.

Special note: We recently updated the numbering in the series, due to no half-numbering allowed at retailers on shorter books or novellas, so please don’t be confused when you see Blood Legacy listed as book five. To clarify, Death Times Two was technically book four.

For everyone
not buying from Amazon, Blood Legacy will only be on sale elsewhere for two weeks. After that, it will be exclusive to Amazon in their Select program, so please don’t delay in getting your copy while you can.

For convenience, here are the links to various retailers and Goodreads:

Amazon:
http://amzn.to/1uUsNmy
Kobo:
 http://bit.ly/Kobo-BL 
Barnes & Noble: 
http://bit.ly/Nook-BL
Apple: 
http://bit.ly/Apple-BL
Goodreads: 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23898060-blood-legacy 

I’ve included the Goodreads link for easy access with leaving a review later. ;-) Save all your review links! In addition to a big giveaway for all the blogs participating in a virtual book tour, there’s one on
my author Page on Facebook for anyone who leaves a review within the first two weeks. We've got four signed V V Inn tees up for grabs, plus lots of other singed goodies, so please check it out!

If you’re able to post a review within the first two days of the book's release, you will automatically be added to the list for the next available ARC in the series. We'll need your review links to qualify you, please send them to
jen@cjellisson.com, with ARC for Book Six in the subject header.

If you're online today, please consider joining us at the 
release party on Facebook, from 11am to 10pm, EST. There will be lots prizes throughout the day, including fabulous guest authors: Denise Grover Swank, Laura Kaye, Shannon Mayer, Suzanne Johnson, Caridad Pineiro, Lisa Kessler, Milly Taiden, Mina Khan, Carrie Ann Ryan, Joey W. Hill, Lindsay Buroker, Laurie London, Jess Haines, James R. Tuck, Alyssa Breck, Erin Kellison, and Morgan Hannah MacDonald!

For more prize opportunities all month, check out the notices for blog appearances posted
in my street team on Facebook. You’ll have a chance to enter the blog tour giveaway at every stop, and can enter multiple times. Please consider joining the street team for weekly prizes, exclusive content, and easy access to me and others who love the series as much as you do. Just click “request to join” while viewing the group.

Happy Reading! And I hope you enjoy the book!

~C.J.

February 2015

Happy February! Are you sick of winter yet? Some of us live in areas that have been hit hard with snow this year. Other lucky souls live in the southern hemisphere and are cackling loudly at our travails. Wherever you live, I hope you’re looking for something good to read!

This month I’ve got two very special releases, the first is an incredible ten-book bundle devoted to heroes and heroines with psychic abilities, titled
Psychic Storm. The books are listed in the bundle from slightly steamy to scorching hot, so be sure to read the rating. If you’re in the mood for hot, you jump to the end. When you’re having a lazy afternoon and craving a less-scorching tale, jump to one of the earlier books. You know me, I’ll be reading the hot ones first. ;-)

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Buy Links:
Amazon:
http://amzn.to/1yMWbNx 
Nook: http://tinyurl.com/Psychics-Nook
iBooks: http://tinyurl.com/Psychics-iBooks
Google Play: http://tinyurl.com/Psychics-GP
Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/Psychics-Kobo
Smashwords: http://tinyurl.com/Psychics-SW

Here’s what readers are saying about the included books:

Haunted on Bourbon Street by Deanna Chase
"Love, Romance, Action, Mystery this has it all! The writing is spectacular and draws you into the story." ~ 
SupaGurl Books

Tuesday's Child by Dale Mayer
"I loved TUESDAY'S CHILD! I couldn't stand to stop reading it and when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it! Truly the sign of a great book." ~ 
By Lynn Cunningham, Fresh Fiction

Vampire Vacation by C.J. Ellisson
"Adults, it's time to replace your drab teenage vampire novels & move up to the real thing!" ~ 
Gina Gareau-Clark

Just a Little Nudge by Jesi Lea Ryan
"Fast moving, spicy fun..." ~ 
Toby Neal, author of the Lei Crime Series

The Allie's War Series by JC Andrijeski
"Such strong chemistry between Allie and her guide, Revik, that it takes your breath away..." 
~ Literary R&R

Among the Living by Jordan Castillo Price
"Mesmerizing, slightly twisted." ~ 
Joyfully Reviewed

The Daughters of Dark Root Series by April Aasheim
"Rich in both fantasy and heart." ~ 
My Book Addiction

Touched by Hazel Hunter
"WOW! Great read! Fast paced, good quick character building, excellent protagonist." ~ 
Deborah Grinaker

Spirits Among Us by Morgan Hannah MacDonald
"From the opening scene to the final I didn't want to put this book down..." ~ 
Cindy's Reviews

New Revelations by Heather Topham Wood
"The ending of this book will BLOW your mind!" ~
 It's A Book Life

**If you’d like to meet all the authors, we’re hosting an 
online Facebook Event next week to celebrate the bundle’s release. There will be lots of questions and prizes, and a ton of fun! If you haven’t attended a Facebook book party yet, I highly recommend checking this one out.
Now that I’m finished with
Blood Legacy and working on edits, I’m going to start reading the books in the bundle that are new to me. If you’d like to read along with me, and possibly discuss the books, please check out my online book club. I recently held a V V Inn Chat in a public Event through the book club and awarded four signed print copies of the upcoming release, plus five Advance Reader Copies to those who attended. You can also read an exclusive peek at the first chapter I shared in the Event that night.

In honor of the sixth story in the
V V Inn releasing later this month, I’ve put all of the previous books on sale for 99 cents! If you’ve got a friend who reads steamy urban fantasy it would make a gift. I’d also appreciate any sharing of the buy links through social media. As most of the books are exclusive to Amazon’s Select program right now, I’m only including that one.

Amazon: http://bit.ly/VVInn-Amazon

Online Events: In addition to the party mentioned above, I’m also holding a special all-day release party for Blood Legacy on February 25th! The author guest list will be awesome, trust me, you won’t want to miss it!

Pre-Orders: There have been questions on pre-orders for Nook and iStore shoppers, as Amazon is the only one live so far. The other retailers will follow soon, but probably not until next week. I promise to do a quick newsletter blast when they do go live so you’ll have your copy the second it releases!

ARC Requestors: As I stated in my last newsletter, if you’d like an advanced copy of Blood Legacy you need to provide proof of reviewing all the books in the series first. Please send your URL links to admin@cjellisson.com for inclusion on the list, we are limiting it to fifty, so please don’t delay in getting your review links to us. Acceptable sites to post reviews are a book reviewing blog, a retailer website where the books are for sale, GoodReads, and LibraryThing. Instructions on how to find your URLs are available via PDF and video formats, please email Andrea at the email provided for links. ARC copies will be emailed out on the 10th, a full two weeks before the book will be for sale anywhere.

Thanks again for your support and I can’t wait until
Blood Legacy is live for you all to enjoy!

~C.J.

December 2014

HellOooOoo, my lovelies! First and foremost, I’ve shaken off my writing slump and am finally creating again. Yay! I’m more than halfway done with Blood Legacy, the next title in the V V Inn series after Big Game & Death Times Two, picking up where we left off in Argentina.

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More Good News: It’s up for pre-order on Amazon! And remember, you aren't billed until the book is sent to you. Other retailers will follow when we get closer to the release date in February. Even though the series is currently exclusive to Amazon, the new book will be available through all channels for the first two weeks of release.

In addition to the preorder going live for
Blood Legacy, we’ve also put Vampire Vacation up for sale at 99 cents through Dec 31st, and Death’s Servant is listed again as a FREE READ for a limited time. I’d appreciate any and all sharing of the links you care to do! It is my sincerest hope we can generate enough interest in this series to make it worthwhile to keep writing it. I love the characters and the adventures just as much as you do.

Easy, sharable links: 

Blood Legacy: http://amzn.to/1uUsNmy
Vampire Vacation: http://amzn.to/1sJC4Ts
Death's Servant: http://amzn.to/1sveSrN

eBooks make the perfect gift! Did you know you can gift an eBook to someone and pick the delivery date? That means you can buy a bunch of books on sale and the person can receive them on Christmas just by deferring the delivery date. I do it every year for my folks and it's always much appreciated.

Are you a blogger? If yes, and you’ve got an active blog, you’re eligible to receive an Advanced Reader Copy of Blood Legacy before it hits the shelves! Please email Andrea at admin@cjellisson.com with your request, and if you’ve reviewed the earlier books she will get you on the ARC list.

Non-blogger ARCs: There will be a shout out for non-bloggers to get on the ARC list next month. Just like the bloggers, you'll have to show you've left reviews for the earlier books to qualify. The limit on this offer is 100 copies. I've been burned in the past with promises of reviews going up opening week, so this book will have a limited number of copies handed out ahead of time, and only to those who've proven they can follow through. Members of my street team will get slots first.

Curious about the street team and what it is? If you've read and reviewed my work, you're welcome to join and can read more here

I started this new manuscript last month as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a worldwide novel-writing challenge for authors to write 50k words in 30 days. I didn’t “win” NaNo, and was around the 40k mark when the month ended, but that was fine by me. The projected word count of this book is 85k words, so hitting 50k wasn’t really my main focus as I knew I’d still be writing after the month ended.


In addition to attempting NaNo, I volunteered to lead an after-school writing program at my children’s middle school. We had four eighth-graders sign up for the student-goal of writing 30k words in 30 days. October was filled with plotting and planning, as well as understanding the ins and outs of writing a book.


Once November hit, the five of us met four to six days a week in a classroom, the nearby Panera, the local Wegman’s café area, my house, or the school’s library. I’m proud to report that every student “won” NaNo!! Not all of them finished their books and are doing so this month, but all of them reached their 30k word goal. Over the next five months the girls will be focused on revising, self-editing, and then going through extensive peer-editing and teacher-editing before the books are finally ready to be read by friends and family.


I’ll be helping every step of the way, and have offered to publish their books through my publishing company if they make it all the way to the end of the editing process. It’s an exciting time for the young writers, and my dearest hope is they all make it!


These kids gave me a very valuable gift – the one of inspiration. Their enthusiasm and passion spills over every time we meet. Working with them was exactly what I needed to re-ignite my passion for writing. I will keep you all posted on their progress.


And last, but not least, a big THANK YOU to everyone who helped support the Covenant House charity box I auctioned off on eBay. We raised $215 for the children’s shelter!! The funds will go toward warm coats, meals, and other necessities the children need this winter.

Contest winners for the $50 gift card (winners picked by random.org on the Facebook post from my
Facebook Page): 

Existing Subscriber: Robin Priddy
New Subscriber: Aubrey Jean Davis

Please contact me at cj@cjellisson.com so I can send the GC to the email of your choice. 

Wishing you a terrific holiday season no matter what you celebrate. May you have time with family and friends, good food, and great conversations!

Much love,

~C.J. 

To read older newsletters, please visit this archive.