<![CDATA[Aria Michaels * Fiction Author - Blog]]>Sun, 17 Sep 2017 03:48:28 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[YOUNG AUTHORS ANTHOLOGY ANNOUCEMENT!!!]]>Tue, 22 Nov 2016 01:21:14 GMThttp://ariamichaels.com/blog/young-authors-anthology-annoucement
I've spent the last few months on tour and it's been both humbling and amazing. I've been to author events and conventions making connections with others in the field. I've visited creative writing classes, high schools, and college campuses speaking with young authors who are not only HUNGRY to leave their mark, but eager to learn all about the indie publishing industry. Their passion and energy has not only inspired my writing, but it's pushed me to create something amazing....ALTERNATE ENDING PUBLICATIONS! This is a unique opportunity to bring the indie publishing world to the young writers of the world, and I couldn't pass it up. 

On December 10th, Alternate Ending Publications will begin accepting submissions for a new short story anthology project. The theme is fairy tales with a modern twist. Submissions are open to ANY author between the ages of 13 and 19! Proceeds will benefit one of three children's literacy charities (still working with these organizations to determine the best fit for our project's contributions), and each selected author will be published on Kindle and in paperback! I'm crazy excited about this and cannot wait to read ALL THE EPIC WORDS!


The Twisted Fairy Tales (note: this is a working title), aka TFT anthology project is open to all unpublished authors, ages 13-19. All submitted short stories must adhere to the submission guidelines below and submitted no later than 11:59pm CST on the submission deadline date in order to be considered for publication within the anthology. Written works must fall within the selected theme; i.e. a retelling of a classic fairy tale, folklore, or fable as it applies to modern times. The original moral/message of the fairy tale must remain intact (though creative license with the story, itself, is encouraged). Each submission will be evaluated based on merit, creativity, and originality by author Aria Michaels and the support team at Alternate Ending Publications. The stories we deem to be the best fit for the project will be included/published in the TFT anthology. We will begin accepting submissions on December 10th and the final deadline will be 11:59PM CST on January 1st, 2017 (sorry, no late submissions). Selections will be announced on February 14th, 2017 and estimated publication date is early April 2017. This is an amazing opportunity for young writers to have their work published and made available to readers worldwide!  

Alternate Ending Publications: ANTHOLOGY SUBMISSION DETAILS

Theme: Twisted/Modernized Fairy Tales and Fables 
The most simplistic definition of a fairy tale or Fable is a short story conveying a traditional moral but these stories serve an even greater purpose. For thousands of years, fairy tales have peeked our sense of wonder and adventure as a way of learning to face the world. They are a fantastical way to encourage creative problem solving, inner strength, and perseverance through hardships. These stories instill empathy and courage and feed the audience's creativity. The idea behind the TFT project is for each author to take a classic fairytale or fable, give it a modern twist, and make it relatable for a new generation. Tweak the characters and story line so they grab your audience. Here's a thought; maybe the Three Little Pigs are actually teenage computer geniuses recruited by the FBI to stop a hacker called BigBadWolf. Think outside the box! The possibilities are endless, bound only by the limits of your imagination. Remember that folklore is not without conflict and does not necessarily have to have a happily ever after as long as it teaches the reader a valuable life lesson. 
Examples of Fairy Tales and Fables- (Many more can be found with a basic internet search. Kids, remember to ask an adult before engaging in online activities.)
  • Aladdin
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Briar Rose: The Sleeping Beauty
  • Cinderella
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears
  • Hansel and Gretel
  • Jack and the Beanstalk
  • Little Red Riding Hood
  • Peter Pan
  • Pinocchio
  • Puss in Boots
  • Rapunzel
  • Rumpelstiltskin
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Snow White & Rose Red
  • The Frog Prince
  • The Little Mermaid
  • The Emperor’s New Clothes
  • The Selfish Giant
  • The Nightingale
  • The Fox and The Hound
  • The Three Little Pigs
  • The Ugly Duckling
  • The Gingerbread Man
  • The Princess and the Pea
  • Thumbelina
  • Tom Thumb
 
The goal of this project is to give young authors the opportunity to have their work published (as a teenager, no less) and gain valuable experience in the publishing industry. It's an amazing feeling to know that your stories have reached the hearts of readers around the world. As an added bonus it looks awesome on a college application. Once the project has been published, we will organize an event where all contributing authors will be invited to sit in on an author signing, meet their fans/readers, and sign copies of your first published work! Paperback copies will be available for purchase to the public.

​Remember to have fun with it and be creative! For more information, including project requirements, rules, and guidance on the TFT project to alternateendingpublications@gmail.com .
 
Happy writing,
 
-Aria Michaels
Alternate Ending Publications
alternateendingpublications@gmail.com
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<![CDATA[The Torture of Comparison]]>Sun, 20 Mar 2016 20:23:21 GMThttp://ariamichaels.com/blog/the-torture-of-comparison
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photocred-gingersassatelli
The writer in me needed to hear this today...probably every day, if I'm being completely honest. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely, positively have faith in myself and my abilities. I believe with every ounce of my being that this is what I am meant to do in this world. I am a writer, a creator of worlds, an instigator of literary mayhem, and I love every agonizing minute of it. I even have the audacity to believe that one day, the name Aria Michaels will be as recognizable as such indie greats as Meredith Wild, Colleen Hoover, and Tarryn Fisher. That's right, you better save a spot for me on your bookshelves, people, because one of these days...I'm talking TOTAL WORLD DOMINATION. 

Please do not mistake my confidence for arrogance. I know I am not "there" yet. I still have dues to pay, mistakes to make, and hard lessons to be learned. I have legitimate ambition, not delusions of grandeur. Despite countless Facebook ads that suggest otherwise, I know there is no "Easy 5 step program that is guaranteed to have you on the NYT's Bestseller list." (insert eye roll). In fact, I fully expect to scale this mountain barefoot, over a bed of hot coals, in the middle of a tornado. I embrace the challenge, and I'll gladly take my lumps (with a glass of red to soften the blow) because I know my journey will all be worth it in the end.

That's the rub, though, isn't it. It's MY journey, and like many of you, I'm just getting started.

Sometimes I forget that part. I see how far others have come and I start to wonder...We left at the same time. Why did they get there first? I get a glimpse of the finish line and I'm bouncing in the back seat. Are we there yet? Are we there yet? The logical part of me knows this is a waste of my energy, that comparison is the thief of joy, and so on. I know that my final destination is not indicative of the road I've traveled or the detours that lie ahead. I have no doubt that I will get there, it's simply a matter of how and when, and I know that the only person with the power to get me there is me.


Why, then, do we authors constantly torture ourselves by comparing our journey to that of others? We spend so much time scrolling through the perceived successes of others, that we become blind not only to our own accomplishments, but the pain and sacrifice that likely went in to another's. All we see are results-- So-and-so just released their sixth bestseller in a year...that girl you didn't get along with in high school lost 40 lbs...John Smith just signed a movie deal with Warner Brothers. We see the harvest and forget about the hard work that went into the growing the crops.

Reality check. Those people we idolize, whoever they are, whatever they've accomplished, they worked to get where they are. They've been where we are. They have likely been rejected as much as (or more than) they've been rewarded. They fell down eight times and got back up nine and they have done amazing, awe-inspiring things. Guess what? You will, too.


Cut yourself some slack, already. This is your beginning and it's not fair for you to compare it to someone else's middle. You have this. You really, really do, but you have to keep moving, keep fighting, and keep believing you will get there. Some day you will look back on this time and smile. Some day you will be someone else's Meredith Wild, or Colleen Hoover, or Tarryn Fisher. That someday could be tomorrow, or in ten years, but it's there. It's waiting for you at the end of whatever broken road you travel. Just do yourself a favor and stop worrying about where others are going and keep your eyes on the road ahead, so you can get to your someday in one piece.
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<![CDATA[My Zombie Crawl Grand Prize Giveaway!! (2/3)]]>Sat, 31 Oct 2015 04:01:09 GMThttp://ariamichaels.com/blog/my-zombie-crawl-grand-prize-giveaway-23
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My grand prize this year is something a little different and a lot epic. Of course, I may be a bit biased since I did design and hand-paint it myself. I call this fun little design The iScream hoodie. It is an Extra Large, extra soft, extra awesome way to show your flesh-eating, undead-loving zombie pride to the world. Better yet, it will come to you with the roomy front pocket stuffed full of super-secret zombie swag! What could be better than that, right? BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! Two more lucky winners will crawl away with one of these zombie gift packs. 

All you have to do is check out my zombie content & enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!
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Includes:
Zombie Swag Stickers
Zombie car air fresheners
Signed Icarus Series print and bookmark
Icarus series keychain
Grow-n-glow Pet Zombie
The Walking Dead playing cards

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Includes:
Two signed Icarus Series prints (Including cover and teaser)
Three signed Icarus Series bookmarks
Killshot lip balm
Icarus keychain
small Killshot spiral notebook
Grow-n-Glow Pet Zombie

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<![CDATA[BOD Zombie Crawl 2 - Three Epic Zombie Apps (3/3)]]>Fri, 30 Oct 2015 04:02:12 GMThttp://ariamichaels.com/blog/bod-zombie-crawl-2-three-epic-zombie-apps-33PictureImage courtesy of humerusonline.com
Hello zombie junkies, walker fans, and undead sympathizers and welcome to the Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans Zombie Crawl...where the dead are the life of the party, and they living are dying to get in. *gasps*

Thank you so much for stopping by and playing along with me and the other hosts. This year's #BODZcrawl promises to be a lot of fun, so let's get right to it, shall we? 
They say there's an app for everything and as it turns out zombies are no exception to that rule. In fact, I did some digging and found three pretty awesome Zombie Apps that are sure to have you biting & scratching your way to the app store! I even rated them for my own amusement. *laughs*

PictureImage courtesy www.zombiesingles.com
1) Zombie Connect
"The Official Dating Site of the Walking Dead."
The Zombie Connect app has fun features that let you create your own zombie picture and profile, vote on the Gore or Bore factor of others, and even claims it will help you "find your slowly rotting soulmate." With the advent of dating sites that cater specifically to everything from farmers to psychics, it was only a matter of time before we acknowledged how difficult it can be to meet that one special corpse to spend the rest of your life...err, DEATH with. I give it one bloody thumbs up for managing to surprise me.


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Image courtesy zombiesrungame.com
2) Zombies, Run 
The premise behind this app is simple. It immerses you in a zombie apocalyptic adventure as a means of helping you get in shape. With Zombies, Run you can walk, jog, skip or run anywhere in the world. You will hear your mission and awesome music through your headphones as you go. When you are being chased by zombies, you had better speed up. As you go, you will automatically collect supplies to help build up your base, all while burning those extra calories from this morning's trip to Starbucks, I give this one and a half thumbs up...it lost a half a thumb for trying to make me work out.
PictureImage courtesy amazon.com
3) ZombieBooth
This app is HILARIOUS. I am not easily impressed by apps. In fact, aside from social media, the only apps I have on my phone are the ones it came with. But this...this one is a blast and the best way to see exactly how you would look as a zombie--You know, without all the guts and gore that go along with being mauled by the undead. With ZombieBooth you can turn yourself or your friends into a grisly 3D, animated zombie. The coolest part is that once you have zombie-fied yourself, the image that will blink, scowl, and even breath. Hear them growl and work themselves into an fierce and unrelenting frenzy or watch them try to eat your finger if you get to close. I have to admit, I played with this one for almost twenty minutes, laughing so loud my husband started giving me funny looks and asked me how many glasses of wine I had emptied. Totally worth it, though. Two half-bitten thumbs up! 


There you have it, folks- Three Epic zombie apps that are sure to entertain and amaze. 


The apps mentioned in this article are not endorsed by this website. The information herein is meant for entertainment purposes only. Make sure you have permission from a parent or guardian before downloading any mobile application. Please use apps responsibly, and remember this is all just for fun!
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<![CDATA[Band of Dystopia Zombie Crawl 2 is here!!! (1/3)]]>Fri, 30 Oct 2015 02:32:32 GMThttp://ariamichaels.com/blog/band-of-dystopia-zombie-crawl-2-is-here-13 It's the BOD Zombie Crawl 2...Where the dead are the life of the party, and the living are dying to get in! 
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Zombie Crawl 2 - Blog Party

October 22 - 31, 2015

by Band of Dystopian Authors & Fans

How it works: Each day, the scheduled authors and bloggers will post awesome zombie-tastic content for your enjoyment along with a giveaway on their site/blog/page. You can hop around to all of the participating sites and enter as many giveaways as you like! If you would like to be emailed links to the new posts each day, join this Zombie Crawl Daily Digest list which will ensure you don't miss a post (or join the party on Facebook to get notifications). Make sure to leave comments and interact with the participating sites. Thanks for joining the party!

The Schedule:

OCTOBER 22 - Thursday

Band of Dystopian Authors & Fans (Party & Grand Prize Host)

Jo Michaels Blog (author)

Rissa Blakeley (author)



OCTOBER 23 - Friday

Claire C. Riley (author)

2 Girls & A Book (blog)

Emily Shore (author)



OCTOBER 24 - Saturday

Kathy Dinisi (author)

Us Girls & A Book (blog)

The Voluptuous Book Diva (blog 18+)



OCTOBER 25 - Sunday

Casey L. Bond (author)

THE KATY blog (blog)



OCTOBER 26 - Monday

Saul Tanpepper (author)

Warren Fielding (author)

The Leighgendarium (blog)



OCTOBER 27 - Tuesday

Kody Boye (author)

Rhiannon Frater (author)

ER Arroyo (author)

OCTOBER 28 - Wednesday

Allen Gamboa (author)

Armand Rosamilia (author)

Ethan @ One Guy's Guide to Good Reads (blog)



OCTOBER 29 - Thursday

Kate L. Mary (author)

aftershockzombieseries (author)

Eli Constant (author)



OCTOBER 30 - Friday

Aria Michaels (author)

Brian Parker (author)

Mama Reads Hazel Sleeps (blog)



OCTOBER 31 - Saturday

Cindy Carroll (author)

M. R. Pritchard (author)

Toni L.H. Boughton (author)

Digital Dirty Girl (blog)

To learn more about Band of Dystopian and/or to enter our Grand Prize Giveaway, visit BandofDystopian.com and don't forget to join the group on Facebook!

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<![CDATA[Would you survive if you had to Bug Out? ]]>Thu, 29 Oct 2015 21:20:55 GMThttp://ariamichaels.com/blog/would-you-survive-if-you-had-to-bug-out
A little over a year ago, when I was deep in the throws of writing Killshot (Icarus Series, Book 1), I asked myself this very question. For months I had been researching the ins and outs of what it would take to survive a SHTF scenario. I spent countless hours scouring prepper websites, reaching out to various "experts" in the field, pouring over books and articles, all in the hopes of lending a touch of reality to the post-apocalyptic wasteland I had created in my book. Solar Storm Icarus would be a wonder to behold. Her destruction would be complete and undeniable. My characters would face the greatest challenges of their young lives in an effort to survive, butI was just the person to get them through it, right? 

After all, I had stacks and stacks of information at my disposal, an endless collection of obsessively highlighted materials about "bugging out," wilderness survival, and emergency evacuation protocols. I knew all about natural disaster preparedness. I was confident that I had amassed enough knowledge to create just the right formula for an engaging conflict in my story. When I sat down to write it, I hit a wall. My characters thumbed their noses at me, refusing to cooperate. For weeks, they gave me the silent treatment and no matter how hard I tried, they wouldn't tell me their story. I sat there, day after day, staring at a blank screen and wishing I could simply put myself in their shoes. *FACE PALM* Duh. The solution was right there in front of me.  

Two weeks later, my husband, our two oldest boys, and I set off on what will forever be referred to as the epic SURVIVOR-CATION of 2014. The Bug Out rules were simple, but far more difficult than anticipated.
1. Figure out where you are going and get there quickly-
If the SHTF (sh*t hit the fan) tomorrow and you had to get out, would you know where to go? Maybe...but what if motorized transportation was no longer a possibility? What if the grid went down and communication was out. If you had no GPS, would you know the easiest and safest way to get there? For most of us, this is likely a resounding NO. If I am being honest, I would be out of luck. I have zero sense of direction. NoneWe ended up choosing a national park in Wisconsin- one that would be about a 3-4 day walk from us (I can't lie, we drove there...shhh). It had a lake stocked with fish, lots and lots of trees, and large animal population. It was a bit stereotypical, sure, but since this was only a simulation, it would serve our purposes. 

Downsides to this location- LOTS of hills, bugs the size of your hand, poison ivy and all kinds of other itch-inducing plants, hills, muddy grounds, minimal sun exposure to the camp, wet brush (which made finding firewood difficult), and did I mention the HILLS? I like to think I am in pretty good shape, but I swear it felt as though everywhere we went was uphill. My calves still burn when I think about it. Note to self: MORE CARDIO.
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2. Bring only what you can carry- 
Those massive hiking packs served as our "Bug-out" bags. In a real SHTF scenario, you would want to travel light so you can travel farther, faster, with less exertion. You know, bring only the necessities. As it turns out, pairing down is much harder than you would think. Nowadays, we are so spoiled by our modern conveniences that EVERYTHING feels like a necessity. Each of us were allowed one "luxury item," but for the rest of our bag's contents was limited to only what was needed.

The packs, themselves, were sturdy and really light-weight but the crap we crammed into them was not. As is my way (I'm a chronic over-thinker), I tried to anticipate EVERY possible scenario we'd encounter on our travels and ended up packing waaaaaaay too much. By the end of the trip, I had mentally eliminated over 60% of the things I had brought in my pack. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do so in real life. I felt like I was carrying a seven-year-old on my back for 48 hours.  The survivors in my story were being  forced to do that for much longer. I think I heard one of them laugh.

3. Don't depend on manufactured food products or standard cooking elements in order to eat-
Yeah, this one sucked. I did bring a small amount of food with us, since my characters did manage to raid a vending machine and snake a few MRE's from a garage before they were forced to bug-out. Aside from a handful of granola bars, a couple dehydrated meals, and a few bottles of water, we were on our own food-wise. 

We made simple pocket-sized fishing poles out of sticks, fishing line, hooks, and weights. The boys dug for nearly an hour trying to find earth worms and grubs to use as bait. It was fun for them for the first couple minutes, but they quickly grew bored. When it became obvious that the success or failure of this one, simple task could mean the difference between eating and going hungry, I took pause. That's scary.
I could have sworn I just heard one of my characters clear their throat...I must have imagined it. 
4. You can only use what you have-
This statement just screams "Master of the Obvious," I know, but have you ever really thought about what that would mean in a SHTF scenario? Probably not. This picture is my oldest trying desperately to cook a package of Ramen noodles (his chosen luxury item) on a tiny cook-stove; the kind that run on those little white cubes of fuel. Sadly, that old "watched pot never boils" adage held true. Between the serious lack of juice in those fuel cubes and the insanely windy day, his noodles were a flop. Truth be told, they were pretty disgusting, but in a real survival scenario, you eat the food you have and prepare it in a way within your means. In a life/death situation, Ramen--cooked or half-raw and rubbery--would likely be a excess that most could not afford. 
That got me thinking...I had packed so much into our four B.O.B's (bug out bags) but there were still things we didn't have that we thought of later. Like sunscreen, toilet paper, and rope to hang/dry clothes, just to name a few. But what about things like medicine, and weapons? What if someone were to get sick or injured. We had packed a small first aid kit with the basics and we could use our small shovels and sticks to defend ourselves in a pinch, but I was beginning to doubt how long we would last out there long-term. In the back of my mind, my characters scoffed at my fading arrogance...their "told you so," glares were burning a hole in me. 
5. Do what you can to stay sane-  
It's true, our survivor-cation only lasted for two days, but it didn't take long for me to realize that this would prove challenging for anyone forced to survive out here for a longer period of time. I didn't realize how much of my life I had spent surrounded by non-stop sound, buzzing and binging electronics, and constant motion. When all that noise was stripped away, I started getting anxious. I was surprised how dependent I had become on that auditory pollution or how much of my time I spent "plugged in." 

Eventually, when the withdrawals wore off, I found it to be a blessing in disguise. My children and I spent time together, talking to each other rather than staring at our screens. We played cards and truth or dare. We went on hikes and tried to catch frogs. My husband and I talked for hours (and it was just me doing the talking, lol). We told scary stories by the fire and went fishing at midnight with the boys. Turns out, my boys are actually pretty cool people. Who knew?
By the time the weekend was over, we were exhausted, hungry, sun-burnt and covered in a virtual road map of insect bites, bumps and bruises. We barely slept the whole weekend, I was in desperate need of a glass of wine, and the boys were desperate for some chicken nuggets. On the last night, our campsite flooded and our tents floated off down the rain-washed hill. The kids were sniffling and sneezing and I felt like an eighty year old woman. We drove home at 2am that night, covered in mud, soaked to the bone, and one-hundred percent humbled. Our survivor-cation was the most educational experience of my life. I still had a lot to learn about survival and the art of bugging out and I had a feeling that no amount of internet research was going to cut it. Thankfully, my characters decided that I had learned my lesson and the next day they broke their vow of silence. 

Killshot has been on the shelf for just over a year now and has been met with rave reviews. My absolute favorite things to hear from readers is this: 

"When I read Killshot, I felt like I was one of the survivors. I shared their struggles and celebrated their victories. It felt like I was right there with them." 

Me too, reader. Me too. 

(Note: Every one of these pictures was taken by yours truly during our adventure. Yes, I had my phone with me in case of emergencies, but I turned off my wifi, put it on silent, and only used it to take pictures. A special thank you goes out to my boys, Alex and Jacob, and my husband Mark, for humoring this crazy author and subjecting themselves to another one of my insane ideas. We are considering another Survivor-cation...I suggested Hawaii)
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<![CDATA[BOD ZOMBIE CRAWL 2 - My Giveaways!]]>Thu, 22 Oct 2015 19:44:38 GMThttp://ariamichaels.com/blog/bod-zombie-crawl-2-my-giveaways
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My contests will be up and running through the length of the Zombie Crawl Blog Party, but the big reveal on my one-of-a-kind hand painted zombie-themed hoodie will not happen until October 30th, 2015 which just so happens to be when my Zombie content goes live...I know, I know. We hate cliff-hangers, right? I promise, it will be worth the wait (and the front pocket may or may not be full of surprises, too).
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In addition to the SWEET zombie hoodie, this zombie-utiful collection of undead swag will also be up for grabs. It includes a large pack of zombie swag stickers, a set of Zombie car air fresheners, a pack of The Walking Dead playing cards, a personalized and signed print from the Icarus Series by yours truly, an Icarus Series keychain, a signed Killshot bookmark, and my personal favorite a Grow-Glow pet zombie! Any zombie lover worth their salt will be scrambling to get their rotting hands on this prize...will it be you? 
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...and, of course, who could forget the Icarus Series Swag pack; two signed and personalized prints, three signed Icarus Series bookmarks, Keychain, Killshot lip balm, Icarus Series notebook, and your own Grow-Glow Pet Zombie. 



Below, you will find the Rafflecopter Entry method for taking part in my special Zombie Crawl Blog Party prize contest...The prizes above are ALL included in the Rafflecopter (as three separate drawings, of course). Click into the box below and click on the left and right arrows to enter each individual drawing. The Rafflecopter will be up and running for the length of the crawl, so be sure to stop back and add entries daily. On 10/30 when my content goes live for the tour, the super secret design for my Zombie Hoodie Grand Prize will be revealed! (contest is accessible here on my website, as well as on my Facebook page.
To learn more about Band of Dystopian and/or to enter their Grand Prize Giveaway, visit BandofDystopian.com and don't forget to join the group on Facebook!
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<![CDATA[.........Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans........]]>Thu, 22 Oct 2015 17:38:09 GMThttp://ariamichaels.com/blog/band-of-dystopian-authors-and-fans ZOMBIE CRAWL 2
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Zombie Crawl 2 - Blog Party

October 22 - 31, 2015

by Band of Dystopian Authors & Fans

How it works: Each day, the scheduled authors and bloggers will post awesome zombie-tastic content for your enjoyment along with a giveaway on their site/blog/page. You can hop around to all of the participating sites and enter as many giveaways as you like! If you would like to be emailed links to the new posts each day, join this Zombie Crawl Daily Digest list which will ensure you don't miss a post (or join the party on Facebook to get notifications). Make sure to leave comments and interact with the participating sites. Thanks for joining the party!

The Schedule:

OCTOBER 22 - Thursday

Band of Dystopian Authors & Fans (Party & Grand Prize Host)

Jo Michaels Blog (author)

Rissa Blakeley (author)



OCTOBER 23 - Friday

Claire C. Riley (author)

2 Girls & A Book (blog)

Emily Shore (author)



OCTOBER 24 - Saturday

Kathy Dinisi (author)

Us Girls & A Book (blog)

The Voluptuous Book Diva (blog 18+)



OCTOBER 25 - Sunday

Casey L. Bond (author)

THE KATY blog (blog)



OCTOBER 26 - Monday

Saul Tanpepper (author)

Warren Fielding (author)

The Leighgendarium (blog)



OCTOBER 27 - Tuesday

Kody Boye (author)

Rhiannon Frater (author)

ER Arroyo (author)

OCTOBER 28 - Wednesday

Allen Gamboa (author)

Armand Rosamilia (author)

Ethan @ One Guy's Guide to Good Reads (blog)



OCTOBER 29 - Thursday

Kate L. Mary (author)

aftershockzombieseries (author)

Eli Constant (author)



OCTOBER 30 - Friday

Aria Michaels (author)

Brian Parker (author)

Mama Reads Hazel Sleeps (blog)



OCTOBER 31 - Saturday

Cindy Carroll (author)

M. R. Pritchard (author)

Toni L.H. Boughton (author)

Digital Dirty Girl (blog)

To learn more about Band of Dystopian and/or to enter our Grand Prize Giveaway, visit BandofDystopian.com and don't forget to join the group on Facebook!

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<![CDATA[WELCOME ALL to Victoria L. James and Izzy Moffit’s 1 year published celebratory blog hop giveaway!]]>Wed, 14 Oct 2015 16:19:07 GMThttp://ariamichaels.com/blog/welcome-all-to-victoria-l-james-and-izzy-moffits-1-year-published-celebratory-blog-hop-giveawayPicture





~*~*~*~ Welcome to Victoria L. James and Izzy Moffit’s 1 year published celebratory blog hop giveaway! ~*~*~*~

You've arrived at STOP TWENTY-ONE.


For the next few days, the blog hop will be pinned to the top of over 35 pages for you to follow the trail and discover new authors, while also taking up the chance to win lots of exciting prizes and giveaways.


Because this is a birthday party of sorts, feel free to pull up a chair, stick on a party hat and help yourself to some cake while Victoria L. James and Izzy Moffit fight over who will be the one to blow out their single 1 year anniversary candle.


In just under a year, Victoria L. James has released three books, all of which can be found on this little Amazon author page of hers right here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00RKL6AME


From ditsy teenage blondes with hearts of pure gold, stumbling their way around Manchester, England, to dirty, rough and ready bikers born and raised in the town everyone wants to live in, Babylon, Texas, there’s a character for everyone in VLJ’s head. Please help us celebrate a fantastic year by heading over to her page and bopping her on the nose with a balloon: www.facebook.com/VictoriaLJamesAuthor.


~*~*~*~ WIN A FREE E-BOOK COPY OF KILLSHOT AND BEFORE THE SKY FELL and SWAG PACK!~*~*~*~

All you have to do is share this blog post on your Facebook Wall, Tumblr or Twitter Feed, Blog or any other form of social media platform you deem fit. Then leave a comment here and let me know it's done! One lucky winner will receive an Ebook copy of Killshot, an Ebook copy of Before the Sky Fell, and a Zombie swag pack from YOURS TRULY, in honor of Moffy''s birthday (...and Liv's as a matter of fact). Winner will be chosen by Random from verified participants. Results will be posted HERE, as well as Facebook, so be sure to follow me and LIKE my Facebook page to see if you've won! 

LIKE HERE-->  https://www.facebook.com/AriaMichaels.Fiction 


Then hop to STOP TWENTY-TWO here: https://www.facebook.com/BareN4kedWords?fref=ts


A full list of all the authors, bloggers and pages that are a part of the blog can be found here: http://www.victorialjames.blogspot.co.uk/


``````````THANKS FOR TAKING PART AND SUPPORTING IZZY'S ADVENTURE! <3 ```````````````

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<![CDATA[TOP TEN LIST- What you should know about book covers (and the geniuses who create them).]]>Tue, 01 Sep 2015 00:37:50 GMThttp://ariamichaels.com/blog/top-ten-list-what-you-should-know-about-book-covers-and-the-geniuses-who-create-themPicture
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For authors, both newbie and veteran alike, those two words bring with them some of the most complex emotions one can imagine. Relief that it's finally over; all the blood, sweat, and tears you have poured out onto those pages have finally paid off. Accomplishment; Holy crap! I just wrote an ENTIRE book, start to finish. How huge is that? Then, of course, comes the fear. What if my editor tears it to shreds and I have to start over? What if this book is total garbage and no one likes it? Or worse, what if everyone likes it and I can't live up to my own standards? What if....Oh my god, what do I do now? 

First things first, BREATHE. Have a glass of wine and celebrate the fact that you just created an entire world full of living, breathing, honest-to-god beings. Readers will love them, hate them, root for them and cry for them. Bask in that for just a moment and realize there is no greater feeling than being able to touch another person with your words. Better? Okay, good because the real fun is just beginning. 

First, a reality check...Regardless of what your grandma told you growing up, people will ABSOLUTELY judge a book by its cover. Your book's cover is perhaps the most powerful tool in your marketing arsenal, so choose your weapon (and the one who creates it) wisely. When I first started out, I had no idea what I was doing, but I got lucky. I landed an amazing artist who was kind enough to show me the ropes (thank you Kari Ayasha). With that in mind, I reached out into the virtual world of cover designers, graphic artists, and visual specialists to give you a leg up in this perilous journey. These tips come to you from industry leaders, talented artists, and some of the absolute coolest people I have ever had the privilege of working with. So, here it is...


The Top 10 List 
of
Things you should know about book covers and the geniuses who create them. 


PictureNBC via popscreen.com (image edited)
#10 Do your research and be sure to shop around.
There are literally THOUSANDS of artists out there. Some only do pre-fabricated covers while others will customize every option. Regardless of which route you go, you don't want to pick at random. This is an important decision. Your artist will play a major role in the success or failure of your project, so choose carefully. Search through book markets and social media to find covers you like and find out who created them. Reach out to other authors for recommendations. Once you find an artist whose work "speaks" to you, read their client reviews, check their satisfaction ratings, and find their rates (no sense reaching out to someone you will never be able to afford). Then, and this is important, have a conversation with them. You need to know that you and your artist are on the same page, that you can communicate effectively and that you understand each other. Communication can make or break your design process. 

PictureNBC via www.superherohype.com (image edited)
#9 Always be prepared
Have your proverbial ducks in a row (or at least a small cluster) BEFORE you reach out to potential artists. Write your synopsis or blurb, have your title (series/volume names), and be ready to provide a general idea of what you are envisioning. You do not have to create the cover for them, but you DO need to provide them with enough information to do their job. If you don't, you might as well ask them to nail Jello to a tree. 

PictureNBC via www.sodahead.com (image edited)
#8 Know your markets 
Will your special little word-baby be available exclusively through Amazon, or will you diversify? Perhaps you want it up on iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, etc? Each platform will have different specifications for the cover art. It helps to know your trim size, resolution, and whether you will be needing a full wrap (for paperbacks and hard copy), as well. Be sure to let your artist know if you would like any additional promotional art such as Facebook banners, cover reveal images, or bookmark designs. Things will go much smoother (and probably save you money in the long-run) if you give your artist all requests up front. This way you get everything you need and the rights that go along with it.

The more information you provide them with now, the less time, the two of you spend chasing your tails later. 

PictureNBC via musingforamusement.blogspot.com (image edited)
#7 Define your genre
This is book marketing 101 and vital to the survival of your creation in the market. Whether it's adult contemporary, science fiction, high fantasy, or even young adult dystopian, it is vital that you hone in on your genre. The more specific you can be the better. The focus of your imagery shifts based on your categories and your artist needs this information in order to best represent your story.

PictureNBC via www.nbc.com
#6 Establish the mood or tone
Is your story dark and mysterious or light-hearted and up-lifting? Is there a message of hope or an overall feeling of doom? This is vital information. Everything from the tint and clarity of your image to the color and style of your fonts will be affected by the mood of your novel. Your finished product will vary greatly based on this information so be sure to include this in your communications with your artist.

PictureNBC via muppet.wikia.com (image edited)
#5 Know your audience and set clear expectations
Close your eyes and imagine your ideal reader. Is it a middle-aged working mom desperate for a touch of romance? Maybe your reader will be a a vibrant young businessman hell-bent on success. Is your picture-perfect fan a love-struck teenager in search of their next ugly cry?  Whatever your target demographic, know that each and every one of them is searching for something specific. Your choice of image will either pull them in or push them away (no pressure, right). Your cover image is your first line of defense in assuring your potential readers that you can offer them what they seek....the perfect escape. 

PictureNBC via www.nbc.com
#4 Think Thumbnail! 
When readers are scrolling through online markets for their next great read, the often do so from a mobile device. Remember, your book's cover will appear to them in THUMBNAIL size. Often times, what looks great in a 6" x 9" inch paperback format simply does not translate in a smaller scale. As is so often the case, less is more. Keep your cover simple and concise with appropriate levels of contrast. Too much detail will clog the image, and confuse your reader...or worse, they will simply scroll right past it. If it doesn't grab you in thumbnail, it may be time to reconfigure and simplify. 

PictureNBC via pinterest.com
#3 Show AND Tell
You can describe what you want until you are blue in the face (and you likely will), but try to remember that artists are visual people. In addition to an explanation of your ideal cover, try to provide your artist with images. Show AND tell them what you want. Send pics of covers that you love so that together you determine the individual elements that grabbed you in the first place. Perhaps you like the font from one cover, and the layout of another. Maybe this one has the abstract feel that you are going for, but that one has the perfect cover model. If you find a stock image that suits your needs, send the link and explain what it is you like about it. If there is a pivotal scene in the story that would serve as the perfect cover image, send it to your artist (provided it that one scene wouldn't spoil the entire book for your reader). If you want models on your cover, be sure to provide your artist with the character descriptions. Don't just tell your artist you want a brunette with blue eyes on the cover, send them a picture of a the celebrity you imagined when you wrote that character. Show AND tell...one without the other is not nearly as powerful. 

PictureNBC via http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x266/k9-bob/IMAG0094.jpg
#2 Respect your artist's time
You have written your masterpiece and handed it off to your editor, you rest a bed of nails desperate to hear back from your beta readers, and you just can't WAIT to finally wrap it all up in a pretty little bow and get your baby out into the universe. Everything feels urgent. EVERYTHING. 


The problem is, you are not your artist's only client. There are people in line in front of you, who are paying their hard-earned cash for the same services you are. As important as your novel is to you (and your new artist), please understand that they have a professional obligation to create the highest quality products for ALL of their clients. One of the most important ingredients in this recipe is time. As devoted to the project as they likely are, your artist is not at your beck and call. They have a life, a family, and often times a day-job. They want nothing more than to provide you with your dream cover image and they will do everything in their power to do so, but you must allow them the time it takes to do so. Find out what their waiting list looks like, determine if that fits your publication schedule, agree on a timeline and hold each other accountable. 

PictureNBC via media1.giphy.com/media/10CX8MskVexYhW/200_s.gif edited)
#1 Relax & have faith!
Provided you have done your due diligence (i.e. all of the tips above) there should be little for you to stress about. At this stage you know that your artist is not only the best fit for your project, but that they have everything they need to create the perfect visual representation of your story. Do yourself and your cover artist a favor and take a step back to let them do their thing.  You have given your chef all the ingredients they need and they have a recipe, so take a breath and let those cookies bake. Your artist will send you preliminary mock-ups once they have made some progress on the design and you will be able to provide feedback or suggest changes when they do. In the mean time, pour yourself another glass of wine, binge-watch The Walking Dead on Netflix and sleep well knowing that your baby is in good hands. This is going to be EPIC. 

Picture
NBC via www.alaskalawblog.com (edited)
All images obtained from NBC via various sources, as cited in the captions below. 
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