Book Signing and Work On The Next In The Series

The Grave Blogger book signing

Today was fun! I had a book signing at Jen n Ella’s Boutique in Prairieville, La. I love meeting readers and getting the chance to discuss books with them. Plans are in the works to host more book signing events in the upcoming weeks. Yay!

Speaking of plans, NaNoWriMo began again today. I originally began writing The Grave Blogger during another NaNoWriMo event. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The site describes this event this way:

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.

I began writing this new book earlier, but I’m starting over, starting today! This book is going to rock! There’s lots more in store for Raya and Nick, Dustin and Sharon, and many of the other characters from The Grave Blogger. In this story, we’ll delve deeper into the personalities of each character, discover more about their past, and see them progress in their relationships and friendships. And of course, there will be plenty of suspense and chaos waiting for each of them.

Although the goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a novel in one month, no one expects that effort to turn out a polished book. I hope to have a complete novel written by November 30th, but even if I do, there will be lots of editing and rewrites to come. The Grave Blogger took a total of about 5 months of writing, editing, and refining before it got published. My goal, now that I have the whole publishing experience under my belt, is to shorten that time by a month. I plan to have this next book published sometime in February. I won’t make a promise on that, but I hope you’ll hold my hand to the fire to help push me to meet my goal.

Enough of that…I have to go write a book now! 🙂

 

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How Would You Rate The Grave Blogger?

If you’ve taken the time read The Grave Blogger, it would be awesome if you would take a quick 10-second survey to rate it below. This is completely anonymous.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

 

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Borrow The Grave Blogger For Free

Did you miss out on the big 3-day free event? Are you hearing good things about The Grave Blogger and wish you had scooped it up for free when you had the chance? Well, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can borrow The Grave Blogger for free at any time!

How does that work? It’s not much different than borrowing a book from the library. You simply borrow books from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and read them on your Kindle device. (Borrowed books can only be read on Kindle devices at this time).

Here are the rules of borrowing from the Lending Library.

How To Borrow The Grave Blogger

You can borrow one book from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library each calendar month. You can deliver the book to other Kindle devices registered to your Amazon account.

1. From your Kindle device, open the Kindle Store.

2. Access the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library:

  • Kindle E Ink devices: Select All Categories, and then select Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
  • Kindle Fire devices: Select Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

Eligible titles display the Prime badge.

borrowbadge

3. When you’ve made your selection, select Borrow for Free.

You can borrow only one book at a time. If you’ve already borrowed a book, you’ll be prompted to return it before you can borrow a different book.

borrowforfree So the next time you wonder why you didn’t download The Grave Blogger for free, just go borrow it! (Assuming you are an Amazon Prime member, of course).

 

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Download The Grave Blogger for Free on October 16-18

Download The Grave Blogger FREE on October 16th, 17th, and 18th (2013)!

For three days, everyone can grab the Kindle ebook version of The Grave Blogger, absolutely free at //www.amazon.com/dp/B008G2VM1A.

You don’t even need to own a Kindle to read it! Just download any of the Kindle apps for free by clicking here, and you can read The Grave Blogger on your PC, smartphone, or tablet.

What is The Grave Blogger all about?

Read below to find out more about this mystery / suspense novel that keeps readers glued to the story.

Synopsis:

What if you found yourself reading a headline about a two-decades old gruesome murder which took place in a small Louisiana bayou town, when suddenly images and sounds careen through your mind of that horrible day? What if you were unsure if you were having hallucinations or actual memories? Meet Raya, a young freelance true crime blogger, who faces that scenario in a gripping, suspenseful novel by prominent blogger Donna D. Fontenot.

The Grave Blogger combines mystery with psychological thriller in a suspenseful story that connects the gruesome murder of a family in the past to the psychological games played by a killer in the present. Determined to discover the truth of not only the original crime, but also of her mysterious past, Raya plunges headlong into an investigation. With the help of Nick Simoneaux, the charming Cajun detective assigned to re-investigate the cold case, she discovers that the truth often leads to brutal consequences once you get too close for a killer’s comfort.

Teresa Kennedy, veteran editor of Village Green Press, says:

[Donna Fontenot writes with]… “an enviable sense of place; the atmosphere of bayou country permeates the story almost like humidity, and the rich details of poboys, farmer’s markets, shelling peas and small town gossips all contribute beautifully to a sort of ‘southern gothic’ feel as St. Felicity struggles both to bury the secrets of its past and to somehow resolve the mystery.”

Reader reviews describe The Grave Blogger as “a story that captivates and stirs the imagination“, “one of the best books I’ve read in a long time“, and [a book that]… “had me spellbound to the last page“.

Get your free copy of this exciting, breath-catching novel at //www.amazon.com/dp/B008G2VM1A.

Don’t forget to share this with all your Facebook and Twitter friends so they can get their own copy! But hurry, the free downloads end after October 18th!

 

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Coming Soon: Kindle MatchBook – A Great Deal For Readers

Amazon emailed me today to let me know that it will soon have a new program called Kindle MatchBook. The email described Kindle MatchBook as “an innovative new program which enables you to offer your Kindle book at a discount when readers purchase your print book“. What that means is that when this is launched (in the coming weeks), if anyone buys The Grave Blogger paperback, they will be able to receive the Kindle ebook version for the reduced price of only 99 cents!

Kindle MatchBookAmazon hasn’t disclosed exactly when this will happen. They only mentioned “in the coming weeks”, but of course, I’ll be sure to update everyone when it launches. I know a lot of people who wanted both the paperback and the ebook, so this will enable them to get both for cheaper than they can now. Yay!

 

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Celebrate Independence Day With A Cool Indie AudioBook – The 4th of July Audiobook Giveway of The Grave Blogger

The Grave Blogger - AudiobookAuthors everywhere have declared independence from old school publishing, so to celebrate this year’s Independence Day, I’m holding a giveaway of the audiobook version of The Grave Blogger! Not only is The Grave Blogger a really cool indie book (sure, I might be a little biased since I wrote it!), but the audiobook version is the ultimate indie book experience. Declare your independence from having to turn pages or hold an ereader! Kick back and listen to the story unfold!

It’s easy to enter this contest and win a free unabridged audiobook. Simply click on the down arrow below to answer the question to earn one entry, and then feel free to earn additional entries by “liking” my Facebook author page, following me on Twitter, or tweeting about the contest. Follow the instructions in the box below to enter. Contest begins on July 4th, 2013 and ends at 12:00 a.m. on 7/9/13 CST. Good luck!

P.S. Want to listen to a sample? Go here and click the sample link below the image.

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The Grave Blogger showcases a new modern crime writing style

Chanticleer Reviews, which gave The Grave Blogger a 1st Place award in the Indie Mystery/Suspense genre, released an editorial review of my book today. This review also gives a brief explanation for its selection as a first place award winner.

The Grave Blogger was awarded 1st Place in the Murder/Suspense Category of the INDIE Awards, a division on the Chanticleer Blue Ribbon Awards 2013. Fontenot’s first novel, The Grave Blogger, was selected for showcasing a new style in fiction writing for fans of modern crime stories.

While everyone seems to love the story because it doesn’t fall into the same-old, tired, worn-out, crime script that so many crime novels follow, I think it’s the style of writing that really pulls the readers in. I don’t say that in a “oh gee, I have an interesting style” kind of way. How egotistical that would be! No, I only say that because it seems to be the one thing that every reader seems to mention just after they talk about the interesting plot.

So far, every reader who has spent time giving me an opinion about The Grave Blogger, has mentioned how engaging the style of writing was. Of course, not every reader used the phrase “style of writing”. But the gist of each conversation boiled down to two main factors:

  1. They loved the plot, and loved the fact that it didn’t follow a predictable script
  2. They enjoyed the pace, the style, and the fact that it was an easy read, despite the fact that it is a “tense, seat-of-the-pants, can’t-put-it-down until they know what happens next” style.

I’m sure The Grave Blogger’s style wouldn’t suit everyone’s taste – what does? – but I do think it serves its audience well. Luckily, I’m not the only one who thinks so! 😀

To see what else the Chanticleer editors thought of the book, check out the full editorial review of The Grave Blogger.

 

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Oops, I Accidentally Slipped In Some Heavy Themes

Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t read The Grave Blogger yet, you may want to skip this blog post. Some of the information will reveal bits of the story-line that could spoil the ending for you.

When I set out to write The Grave Blogger, my primary intention was simply to entertain. I didn’t feel the need to write the next great piece of fiction that would be studied in English classes in the future, or even be discussed by Oprah’s Book Club. My goal wasn’t to impart deep wisdom or help solve any of the global issues facing society today. I simply hoped to provide a few brief hours of entertaining escape into the world beyond reality.

While I think I accomplished my goal (or at least I hope I did), I realized that I’d subconsciously interwoven a few “literary” themes throughout the story, in spite of my best intentions to avoid it. I doubt many readers will notice these themes, as they are subtle. I didn’t stop the action during the story to make obvious references to any of these threads, and their subtlety probably keeps them from being noticed at all. That’s ok with me, obviously, since the entertainment value is most important to me. Nevertheless, if anyone did miss the subtle threads woven through the tale, and would like to have them pointed out, then this blog post is for you.

The Bad Guy Is Always Male

Statistics show that the majority of violent crimes – around 95% in fact – are committed by males. It’s just a simple fact, so it’s not surprising that many mystery / suspense / thriller novels involve one or more bad “guys”. There’s good reason why “the bad guy” is the common phrase used. Rarely does anyone wonder who “the bad gal” is in a story. And yes, the bad guy in The Grave Blogger is indeed male, so there’s no strange twist there. Although this aspect of the book doesn’t deviate from the norm, readers will discover that there is another “bad guy” who plays a small, but pivotal role in the story. This bad guy is actually female, and an argument could be made that she is in fact more evil than the central bad guy character.

The evil female in this case is someone who is in a position of power over a group of people who are unstable, vulnerable and mentally incapable of preventing the abuse of that power. The reader only gets brief glimpses into this woman’s world, but it is enough, I hope, to underscore the concept that power is perhaps more powerful than gender in determining root causes of violence and abuse. In the current patriarchal society in which we live, men hold the power; men dominate; and therefore statistics such as the one above aren’t surprising. I believe that if the axis were shifted 180 degrees, and suddenly women held the vast majority of the power in our world, that we would see the stats shift. It may not happen suddenly, but over time, I suspect that eventually 95% of the violence perpetrated would be by women.

So what “lesson” am I trying to impart in all of this? That our world needs to evolve to the point where power is shared equally among genders, races, and nationalities. Of course, perfectly shared power is a Utopian world that isn’t likely possible, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to reach for it. The closer we get to preventing lopsided power among any “group” of people, the closer I believe we’ll get to drastically reducing the violence that is so rampant in society today.

The Characters Behave The Way We Expect Them To

In many books of this genre, you’ll find the attractive female protagonist, who may have a strength of character, but nevertheless needs rescuing by the handsome detective. The detective may have rough edges or he may be a virtuous knight in shining armor, but the one thing we can always expect is that in the end, he will vanquish the bad guy and save the beautiful woman.

The Grave Blogger does indeed have the attractive, strong female protagonist and the handsome knight-in-shining armor detective. The two do have the expected romantic spark between them. But in this case, the handsome detective is not the one who ultimately defeats the villain and saves the woman. He certainly has a hand in doing so, and his efforts are valiant, but in the end, it’s the unexpected character who wins the battle. I don’t think the reader feels any less of the detective because of this, but it is a little surprising and out of the range of our expectations. We not only count on these characters to be the heroes of our novels, but we expect them to be the heroes of our lives.

This, then, is my way of saying that sometimes it’s not the strong, handsome “good guy” who is the hero. Sometimes, it’s the person that goes unnoticed who is able to set our world right again. When we stop placing expectations on who can or cannot be a hero, we begin to accomplish two things.

  1. We remove the pressure from those who feel they must always live up to the expectations we place on them to be heroes. These may be our star athletes or movie stars or police officers. Whoever they are, we often expect them to perform in a certain way, even if they aren’t capable of living up to our expectations.
  2. We allow ourselves to recognize the unsung heroes in our lives, who may be overlooked and virtually invisible, and yet they accomplish great things, whether or not we notice. Not all heroes are obvious, and we should pay more attention to those we pass over in our daily lives.

The Story Always Has A Happy Ending With The Romance Working Out Perfectly

Just as our handsome detective doesn’t fit the typical mystery genre mold, the main female character doesn’t react in exactly the way we expect either. We expect the budding romance between the two central characters to walk off into the sunset, in love and together. What we don’t expect is for the female to walk away instead, with the possibility that she may or may not return. But that’s exactly what the end of The Grave Blogger delivers.

The Central Theme? Control

When I sign the book for someone, I always try to write a little something that has meaning to that particular person. Perhaps I’ve only just met the reader, and have spoken with them for less than a minute, but I try to find some small personal tidbit about that person that I can include when signing the book. No matter what I write to that specific person, however, I always include one extra line before signing my name.

“Control your destiny!”

This is my one non-subtle hint that there actually is an underlying “literary” theme to the book. Of course, only those who possess the actual paperback and have been able to get me to sign it for them will ever see this hint. I guess that’s the perk of having a signed book; the chance to have one tip that others don’t get.

So…back to the theme of control. Of course, we can refer back to the first theme mentioned; that of power. Power and control go hand in hand. Those with the power are those that can take control over others. The Grave Blogger’s main character has spent the majority of her young life trying to find a way to take control over her own life. She only discovers later that others have ripped the control from her, and in the end, she defeats her own personal enemies that have prevented her from making her own choices through the years.

She exhibits this reclamation of control most strongly at the very end, when she doesn’t fall into the arms of the handsome detective. When asked what she will do now that the ordeal is over, we expect her to walk off with him into the sunset. Instead, she admits that she isn’t sure yet, but the one thing she is sure of is that she will decide her future. No one – neither the bad guy nor the good guy – will make that choice for her. She will control her own destiny from now on.

Power, Heroes, Control

So despite my early insistence that I only wanted to entertain, and I didn’t want my novel to be a source of discussion of any of our world’s issues, I accidentally (?) included these threads anyway.

To wrap it up, I unintentionally revealed a few of my personal beliefs.

  1. Striving for a balance of power may be one of the best things we can do to curb the violence that has always been so prevalent.
  2. Our perceptions of who and what a hero is often leads to placing unattainable burdens on those we expect to be heroes, and we therefore often fail to see the true heroes that live among us.
  3. Ultimately, we must prevent anyone – good or bad – from taking the control of our minds, bodies, and spirits away from us.
 

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The Grave Blogger Now Available As Audiobook!

Audiobook iconIf you prefer listening to reading, you’ll be happy to know that The Grave Blogger is now available as an audiobook from Audible.com and will be available in audio format at iTunes and Amazon within a few days. I’m really excited about it. After working with Andi Ackerman (the narrator of the book) for a few months, it feels great to finally see it come to fruition.

The first time I listened to the entire novel, I was amazed because it was almost as though I were reading the book for the first time! Yes, I know, I know, I wrote the thing, so you’d think hearing it read aloud would hold no surprises, but it did! For example, at some point, Dustin made a little joke under his breath, and I giggled, and thought to myself, “Hey, Donna, that was a funny little joke!” Obviously, I didn’t remember writing those particular words, so hearing them gave me the experience of what a normal reader would experience when discovering my book for the first time. That’s amazing to me, and I don’t think that would have happened if I hadn’t been actually listening to the story.

In any case, I hope you enjoy hearing the story narrated as much as I did. Thanks, Andi, for the great work you did!

 

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The Grave Blogger Wins 1st Place Blue Ribbon Award

It has just been announced that The Grave Blogger won the 1st Place Blue Ribbon Award in the CBR Blue Ribbon awards Self-published and Indie-published Division; Murder/Suspense Category. Of coure, I’m beyond excited about winning!

The site’s editor noted:

“Nothing like a murder mystery story set in a small town in the Deep South. Find yourself transported.”

That comment makes me almost as excited as winning…almost! 🙂 That’s what I hoped to achieve when I wrote The Grave Blogger. I wanted the readers to feel transported; to become a part of the book’s setting. I hoped that the story, the characters, and the place would become the readers’ story, the readers’ friends, and the readers’ world…at least for a few days, or however long it might take for them to read the book. To know that I achieved that goal for at least one reader makes me very happy!

If you haven’t read The Grave Blogger yet, I invite you to step into a small town nestled deep in the heart of Bayou Country. I think you’ll enjoy your visit.

First Place Award

 

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