Monday, July 9, 2012

Author #JoleeneNaylor is having a sale!

I'm shameless!  I admit it.

I'm a sucker for a sale, I love a good vampire story, and I LOVE sharing good news and good links.  This time, I get to do a little of each.  For a limited time only, author Joleene Naylor, is offering ALL four of the books in her Amaranthine Series...ON SALE!!!  Woo Hoo!!!  If you were to add up the price of all four books together, that's only $4.50 for the entire series, less than what you'd pay for lunch at a fast food restaurant!  How can you go wrong with that?  Check out her blog and the links below.  :)
Shades of Gray

Shades of Gray:  $2.00– FREE


Legacy of Ghosts: $2.99 - $1.50


Ties of Blood$2.99 –$1.50


Ashes of Deceit – $2.99– $1.50


Thursday, July 5, 2012

View from my desk

We call this one "Jackson."
This summer has been especially dry out.  I feel sorry for the critters.  Earlier this year, we began to put out fresh water in dish on our porch…for whoever needs it.  I change out the water at least once a day, so mosquitoes are not an issue; and it’s not that I’m trying to “feed the neighborhood.”  Honest!  I usually don’t feed any critters unless they ask, including the human variety.  J  But that said, I can’t stand the idea of ANY animal dying, due to lack of water or dirty/bad water.  Puddles are not a clean source of water, especially since I have an older car that likes to leave puddles of its own.  Yikes!  I park it on the gravel part of our driveway, but even still...

View of my porch from my window.
Now that I’m writing at my desk, and my desk is in the window, I’m seeing first hand how important fresh water is.  Plus, it’s fun.  I have more visitors than I thought.  Birds drink out of it, cats drink out of it, bees and wasps occasionally do aerial acrobatics over it, and though I’m not a fan of “Mr. Woodchuck,” judging by the dirt I sometimes find, I think she’s enjoying it, too.  Very cool!!!

Random pretty cat that stopped by. 

I LOVE my “new to me” writing space!

Have a great day!!!


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Learning to Embrace Change

I recently made a conscious effort to make some changes in my life.  You see, on April 22, 2012, I injured my right wrist.  That injury, lead to limited use in my hand, which lead to my compensating with my previously injured left hand…and long story short, by May, I had limited use in both of my hands.  As a writer, this was especially devastating.  As a human being, I was terrified that I wasn’t going to heal up, and be the same person I was before.

It turns out, I was only partially right.  I’d forgotten that “change” is inevitable.  Everything changes, regardless.  That’s life.  The good news is, I am healing.  More good news, I’m NOT the same as I was before.

“Change is the way of life.  It throws you when you forget it is your best friend.”
~Tai Sheridan, Secrets Of True Happiness

My injury helped me see that I’ve been living in a holding pattern.  I suppose it happens to the best of us.  I got so wrapped up in the day-to-day stuff, that I forgot how to truly enjoy what I have right now.  I thought about my past and dreamed of my future, but “now,” wasn’t a priority.  But, starting in June, I decided to make some small adjustments, and the universe has been responding in ways that I couldn’t have imagined.  It’s been a positive experience, all around.  I felt as though I spent more living during the month of June, than I normally do in six months.

Now that July is here, I want to continue to grow, to experience living in “now.”  I decided to kick off the month by making a creative space for myself.  I went into more detail on my Wordpress site, yesterday.  Today is the first time I’ve gotten to use my desk in my new space.  I was a little concerned that parking my desk in front of a window would be too distracting.  My garden view is a raggedy one.  But so far, I like the natural light while I work.  I imagine it will get hotter in the afternoon, but I do my best writing in the morning, so I don’t think that will be an issue.  We will see…

Enjoy the day!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Congratulations Lauralynn Elliott, winner of the Ashes of Deceit Blog Tour, Day 5! She won a free e-book from author Joleene Naylor.

I'd like to take this time to say thank you to everyone who stopped in for Joleene Naylor's Ashes of Deceit Blog Tour, Day 5 !!!

While this site was a bit lonesome (new blog) but EVERYONE was extremely supportive over at my Wordpress site.  This was Joleene Naylor's first Blog Tour and my first opportunity to help host an event like this.  You all made this so much fun!!!!!  I appreciate the support and enthusiasm you gave her.  It was wonderful to see all my favorite writers and readers gathered together like this.  Thank you so much!
Juli Hoffman
PS  Lauralynn, I sent you an email.  :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dark Ramblings with Author Joleene Naylor

Ashes of Deceit Blog Tour, Day 5:  Leave a comment and your email address for a Chance to Win a FREE e-book by author Joleene Naylor.  A winner will be chosen on June 25, 2012. 

“So…what blogs do you follow?”
Blogs?  Back in early winter of 2011, I didn’t follow any blogs.  Heck!  I hardly knew what a blog was, but I was an aspiring writer, and all the other aspiring writers followed blogs, at least that’s what they said on Facebook, so according to them, I was way behind.
“You should check out SPAL.”
Self-Published Author’s Lounge.  They’re great, plus there’s this lady who gets on there and posts tutorials and stuff.”
“Sure!  She’s got tutorials on how to make book covers and everything.  By the way, what genre do you write?”
Here’s where things get tricky.  You see, I write about vampires.  Not the sparkling variety, but still…vampires.  For some reason, there’s a stigma attached to this genre, as if vampire writers aren’t real writers at all, as if there’s a chance that your I.Q. points could slip and your popularity will diminish if you read this particular genre.  Your friends will surely have an intervention on your behalf.  Family might offer to pray for you.  Very few people will actually confess to enjoying a well-written vampire novel, and if you write said stories, you will get looks of horror mixed with pity, and the conversation usually takes an abrupt turn.
With this in mind, I reluctantly admitted that I write vampire stories, couching said admittance with excuses.  There isn’t a twelve-step program for vampire writers that I’m aware of, but it feels like there should be.
“Oh!  Well, then…you have to get on SPAL’s site.  That lady I was telling you about, she writes about vampires, too!  I’ve never actually read any of her vampire books, but she’s very knowledgeable when it comes to self-publishing, and she doesn’t even seem crazy, you know, like those other vampire writers.”
It turns out “that lady” wasn’t just “some vampire writer.”  This was independent author, Joleene Naylor, and yes; she is incredibly “knowledgeable.”
In addition to publishing four novels in her Amaranthine series, the fun e-book 101Tips for Traveling with a Vampire, the nonfiction How to Get a Cheap Book Cover, and numerous poems and short stories, Joleene Naylor is a freelance artist, a part-time photographer, a webcomic illustrator, and maintains three blogs.  Her freelance book covers have graced countless novels and e-books, including two by author Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords.  Her photographs have been on the homepage of Digg, and on travel sites and cooking sites.  She’s even had one of her photographs on Oprah Winfrey’s site.
When I think about all of her accomplishments and achievements, I have to wonder, how does she do it?  How does she find the time?
 “I once read a quote that said ‘a woman with a clean house does not have a finished book’. My house usually looks like I must have at least twelve finished books.”
Joleene Naylor’s first novel in her Amaranthine seriesShades of Gray, was published in October of 2009.  In 2010, she published 101 Tips for Traveling with a Vampire, as a free read on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.  Later that same year, Joleene Naylor published her non-fiction book, How to Get a Cheap Book Cover, and the second Amaranthine novel, Legacy of Ghosts.
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but if you judged Joleene Naylor’s books, you’d soon discover that her stories are just as original as her artwork is.  I read Shades of Gray first, but I believe it was the last sentence of Chapter Three that hopelessly snagged me:

“In that moment it seemed the slender thread that separated waking from nightmares had snapped, and she suspected she’d never see a Twinkie again.”

I immediately purchased Legacy of Ghosts.  I hadn’t finished reading the first book, but I knew I’d stumbled across something new and different.  Shades of Gray didn’t begin like a typical vampire story or paranormal romance novel, because its NOT.  Shades of Gray, and for that matter, the entire Amaranthine series, is the story about an average, grown woman, not a teenager, named Katelina Mauldin.  Katelina had a job, and friends, and hopes, and yes…nightmares.  But, she wasn’t pining away, waiting for her life to start.  She had a life, and though she’d suffered through a tragedy, there was the sense that she didn’t originally need rescuing.  That’s the beauty of this series.  Joleene Naylor creates characters that feel as “real” as anyone in your day-to-day life.
“What do I and my main character have in common? Every author would like to say, ‘Nothing’ because we want our characters to be unique, original people that we magically channeled from the realm beyond, but in truth there is some of me in ALL of my characters. Otherwise, how could I write them?”
When we first meet Jorick, there’s obviously something a little “different” about him, but Joleene Naylor gracefully side steps the typical vampire clich├ęs and allows her readers to get to know him as a person first, before we learn anything extra about him.  In some ways, the further the Amaranthine series progresses, the less important the vampire issue becomes.  Joleene Naylor has a tagline that says,
“Nothing is black and white…not even vampires.” 
Her heroes are not all good, and her villains are not all bad.  These are action packed stories about people with the same problems we all face.  But as the series continues, we also learn of the consequences of living an immortal life.  There are bloody wars and fights, rules and politics.  These are not stories fit for tweens.  There’s a shocking amount of violence and gore peppered into a rich story line.  In fact, the body count seems to be rising with each new story.
“I have the same problem Shakespeare had – too many characters. Since he is the master, I believe in following his example: when your character list gets too cluttered, just kill a few off.”
Joleene Naylor’s third book in the Amaranthine series, Ties of Blood, was released in September of 2011.  In between her novels, she’s written a number of short stories, labeled as Vampire Morsels, available as free reads on SmashwordsBarnes and Noble, and Kobo.  These are the adventures of some of the side characters of Joleene Naylor’s Amaranthine universe.  If you’re not generally a fan of vampire stories, Vampire Morsels are a great way to get a feel for Joleene Naylor’s style of writing.  Again, even her short stories are not meant to be tween reads, despite their eye-catching covers.  The scenes she writes are elegantly depicted, but graphic in nature.
“One of the weirdest reviews I’ve ever gotten was on Barnes & Noble. It was for one of the Morsels and said, ‘This is not suitable for little kids at all!’ Good grief! Why would it be? One would think the warning ‘This story may contain sex, violence, bad language..” etc would have explained that before they ever started the story!”
Joleene Naylor’s fourth Amaranthine book, Ashes of Deceit, was released on May 17, 2012.   As a dedicated follower of Joleene Naylor’s writing, I have to say that I think this is my new favorite in the Amaranthine series.  It’s incredibly difficult to keep a storyline fresh, especially when an author has spent years working with the same cast of characters, but Joleene Naylor continues to present her readers with deeper facets inside her dark universe.  And while Katelina and Jorick’s relationship continues to grow during the course of Book Four, so does the body count!  Ashes of Deceit reads like an action movie, so plan accordingly.  Find a comfy seat, as this is a difficult book to put down.  The ensemble cast of characters that have managed to survive Books One through Three, return, as well as a few new characters.  Regardless if a character is a major or a minor one, Joleene knows each and everyone of them, inside and out, a rare find in this type of story.
“The real reason people look down on vampire writers is because they’re jealous. Along with Fantasy, it’s the freest genre there is. I can write something happy, sad, serious, funny, sarcastic, or even a ‘literary’ character study. I can set it in modern times, in the 1800s, in the 1500s or in Babylon. I can make use of mythology, magical powers, ninjas, pirates, robots, machine guns and swords or I can just send them to the laundromat... it doesn’t matter. So long as one of the characters has fangs then – BOOM - it’s a vampire story, which means it automatically falls under the umbrella of my brand. I bet I could even work aliens in.”
And now…
In honor of Ashes of Deceit’s book release, Joleene Naylor is graciously giving away a coupon code for a free ebook from Smashwords to one lucky commenter, so please leave your email address with your comment.  Since this is a series, the winner may choose which of the books they would like to receive:
Book 1: Shades of Gray - Katelina’s "friend-with-benefits" is murdered for stealing something from a coven of vampires. Hunted as an accomplice, she must rely on Jorick to survive. But what happens when her knight in shining armor turns out to be one of the monsters?
Book 2: Legacy of Ghosts - For Katelina and Jorick, peace is hard to come by. Kateesha plans to fight the same battle as Jorick’s fledgling, but a common enemy isn’t enough to overcome previous betrayals.  Drawn into a deathly conflict, Jorick and Katelina must overcome old regrets, or lose their future to the ghosts of their past.
Book 3: Ties of Blood - A trip to Katelina’s home starts a chain reaction; she and Jorick meet Verchiel, a too friendly vampire, then the police arrest Jorick for kidnapping. Worse, The Guild wants to question them.  Will Malick, the head of the vampires, punish them? Or will the mysterious vampire following them do the job first?
Book 4: Ashes of Deceit - Katelina and Jorick must rescue a captured vampire and discover who kidnapped him and why. The truth isn’t easy to find. As Oren’s attack on the Guild draws closer, Jorick and Katelina are led back to the Citadel. When the flames of war ignite, can they rise from the ashes, or will they be consumed?
Follow the tour for more chances to win! (here’s the link to Joleene Naylor's blog post with the dates/links to other posts. - )
You can find more of Joleene Naylor and her vampires at her website: or check out her blog at or her Facebook page at
*Be sure to check out  Angie Bailey's post on June 20, 2012 for another chance to win!  -

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Life updates

It's been a crazy April day!!!  Michigan has odd weather regardless, but this year has been worse than most.  Last month, the weather was in in the 80s and we had a couple of days that got up into the 90s. Today, it was trying to snow.  GESH!!!

I've been trying to finish the ending of my first book.  Yeah, I'm a writer.  There!  I said it.  :)  I've been working on this silly thing for years, but now...well it's time.  Book one needs to leave the nest and venture out into the universe.

I have changed so much since I started my adventures in writing, and my book has changed along with me.  There was a time when I was nervous to talk about my writing, like it was a dark, dirty secret.  Now...well I suppose I've FINALLY gotten to a place where I know how much I don't know!  I need all the advice I can get!!!

Yesterday, I had an epiphany.  I've been looking for cover art ideas.  I've gone to bookstores.  I've spent hours looking at covers online.  Nothing seemed right.  So, I was talking to one of my buddies at work about my dilemma.  She asked me a couple of questions about my story, and within 5 minutes, I had a cover idea that I think will work.  The execution of said cover, will be its own issue.  LOL  The point is, sometimes you have to be willing to throw things out into the universe, even if it makes you feel vulnerable, because you NEVER know when or where a solution will come from.

Take care!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Allow Me to Introduce Myself

My name is Juli Hoffman.  I am the writer and creator of the Williamson Vampires series.  For the record, I've been blogging for just over a year on my Wordpress site.  I had no intentions of creating TWO blogs when I can hardly keep up with one, but you know what they say about good intentions.  :)

I'm a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, and a friend.  Most days I write.  Some days, my dribbles are actually worth reading.  When I'm not "herding cats" at work, I enjoy playing in my garden and taking random pics.

I look forward to meeting other writers and readers, and I thank you for visiting my site.

Have a great day!