Sunday, October 16, 2016

Meet Jonuel Negron, Author

Jonuel Negron is a horror and fantasy writer from Land O Lakes, FL. The goals of each story are to both entertain and terrify readers who brave to read them. He is a veteran who has served proudly, a father of five wonderful children, and a husband to a loving wife.

He has just released Mid Harvest Road, the prequel to his Jacob Kearns Series. For more information, check out Mid Harvest Road on Amazon. You can also learn more about Jonuel and his work on his Facebook page.

1. Could you give us an overview of the Jacob Kearns Series?

Without giving too much away, it is a horror series based mostly on supernatural encounters that are both by chance and by design. Although the series has many moving parts to it, Jacob Kearns is the protagonist that navigates his way through the series with the most interesting angle for readers to discover.

2. Why did you decide to launch the series by publishing a prequel?

This is probably the most fascinating buildup I could implement to the series as it will actually have two prequels. Again without giving away too much... This first "Mid Harvest Road" short story is based on Sarah Knox, who will be an important returning character. I wanted readers to get a glimpse of how the series storyline can transform in a short 45 minute read. This way potential new readers wouldn't have to invest too much money or time to decide if my series was something they wanted to follow.

The second prequel will be "I Understand," a novella which will set the stage for Book 1 of the series. This can actually be read independently from the "Mid Harvest Road" short story although they both complement each other.

Any reader can decide to start with Book 1 of the series as it is an intricate story arc by itself without having to read the prequels.

3. What are your favorite parts about writing thrillers?

Translating my nightmares. I have been working on this series for two years now without knowing it. Originally, this was not much more than a rag tag collection of notes I had written down after a nightmare or two. In my youth I aspired to be a writer, but life had other plans for me, I guess. Now at the age of 41, several of my friends and family convinced me to take a refresher writing class. I caved under the pressure and began to write my thriller. I can't seem to stop trying to remember every detail of what wakes me up at night.

4. For you as a reader, what makes a book a gripping, suspenseful read?

As a reader the most gripping or suspenseful moments I have always found in most thrillers is how close to home the monsters can be. It is scary enough to read a thriller about the giant sea monster that can pull your boat under the water. It is equally scary to read a thriller about scholar who is a cannibal not limited to water. The distance from the monsters is what I find gripping and suspenseful.

5. What are you currently working on, and is there anything else you'd like readers to know about you and your writing?

I am currently starting Book 2 of the series, although I don't really feel Book 1 is 100% complete. I have this tendency to finish my work and start my next one. Then I will go back to reread my previous work looking for my obvious mistakes and smooth out the rough edges. I have learned from my past mistakes in life that if you are too eager to release something before you are content it is a finished product, well, customers will feel cheated by you. Book 1 is written, but I must be satisfied readers will enjoy the story that I have put together before I send it to my editor.

Thanks, Jonuel!

Meet Sally Ramsey, Author and Chemist

Sally Ramsey has two grown sons with autism. After decades as a chemist with multiple awards and patents, she has turned a lifelong passion for writing into a mission writing autism related books.

Sally shares her thoughtful insights into life and writing on her blog, and you can learn more about her and her fiction and nonfiction books by visiting

1. When did you become interested in writing fiction, and what do you enjoy most about it?

I started very young. I wrote my first novella at age 12 and short stories even earlier. I enjoy being able to build a world of my own, but yet one I can share with others. I love being able to fix on the page, problems that are intractable in real life. I also love immersing myself the pure romance of heroic relationships. 

2. What gave you the idea for Dark Awakening?

I've had a thing for vampires ever since I saw Frank Langella's Dracula. I have two sons with autism, so writing about an autistic vampire came naturally.

3. Would you tell us a little more about the main character of Dark Awakening and how he is similar to and different from other vampire characters readers might be familiar with?

The main character in Dark Awakening is Grayson Miller PhD. He has autism. His sensory symptoms and communication problems are lessened by becoming a vampire, but he still retains social awkwardness and a very strong sense of right and wrong. He refuses to kill, and works out a way so there is no need for him or other vampires to do so. There is also a scientific basis rather than a supernatural one for his vampirism. He doesn't turn into a bat or hypnotize people. He just needs blood, heals quickly, and can be burned or killed by the sun. Becoming a vampire allows him to find love in scientist Tina Chow, but he also discovers great danger to himself and Tina. They work together to develop a way to fight ancient evil vampires so their love can survive. 

4. What are the unique challenges--and pleasures--or writing fiction and nonfiction?

One challenge that writing fiction and nonfiction share is just the act of sitting down to do it. In either case, there is also quite a bit of research involved. I try to be as accurate as possible in terms of both settings and whatever science I use. I have to decide when to use whatever is out there or when it is appropriate to just make something up. A shared pleasure of both kinds of writing is in the act of creation, producing something unique. I also enjoy helping people understand and cope with the challenges of autism, and that is the focus of much of my work.

5. How do you find the time to write (not to mention to edit your work and collaborate with publishers!)?

I've always made a point of fitting writing into the interstices of my day. When I set up an experiment to run, or let materials mix, I write. These days, I work only with non-toxic, edible materials, so I can do almost anything from home. I've also turned over my latest technology to larger entities who can take care of much of the grunt work. I am very disciplined in terms of setting aside time for writing, allocating specific parts of the day to specific projects. I also have daily goals for writing and/or editing, and I don't go to sleep until they are met. Fortunately, I don't seem to require a great deal of sleep.

Thanks, Sally!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Meet Vicky Wu, Marketing Guru

In her own words, here's a bio of Vicky Wu...

My clients are like my family. In over 30 years spent working the marketing and advertising for businesses big and small, I've uncovered some golden themes and tactics that work wonders, no matter the size of the budget. Nothing puts a smile on my face more than enjoying my client's success as the result of their marketing plan. In my years of experience doing marketing with top level organizations like Nokia, Southwest Airlines, the Dallas Cowboys, CENTURY 21 Judge Fite, and a number of nonprofits, I've uncovered some tough strategies that are super powerful and can easily be applied to smaller business with minimal time and budget. I love teaching others, from simplifying complex marketing strategies, to teaching couples to ballroom dance for their wedding!

To learn more about her work, check out and Vicky Wu's Facebook page.

1. How did you first know that you wanted to pursue a career in marketing?

Looking back, with 20/20 hindsight which we all wish we could have before we begin, I was thinking with a marketing brain when I was still in elementary school. I remember designing things; one that comes to mind is this amusement park which had a theme of fruits and vegetables. I've been an artist since I was that age, drawing and painting, so I would sketch out the whole park on paper, drawing the rides. A tomato would be a spinning cup-type ride, with the seeds being the cups you ride in. But I would go beyond that and be designing all of the other little pieces that would go into it, the parking lot, the logo, totally branding the entire thing on paper. I would even draw out what the customers look like--I was doing customer "avatars" before it became a big thing or I had even heard of them--and what the TV commercial would look like.

I didn’t know any of this was "marketing." I just knew I was having fun.

Moving into middle school or junior high, I continued taking art classes, in addition to having personal lessons from family members who were professional artists, and while I wanted to be an artist, I didn't want to be a starving artist--a business acumen was emerging even then.

In high school, I began taking journalism classes and became editor of the school newspaper and the school yearbook. I knew I didn't want to become a journalist, but it's when I first became interested in advertising from working on the ones in the newspaper and yearbook. I remember going to meet with the counselor to talk about college, explaining how what I wanted to do wasn't offered at any of the local community colleges, which was all I felt there would be any hope of affording, and knowing my parents wouldn't be able to help with bigger colleges anywhere else. His suggestion was I needed to decide what I wanted to do with my life that wouldn't require college at all, or something I could take at the local college. Even as a teenager I didn't think that was much help and felt it was just trying to squash my dreams. So I knew I may have to blaze my own trail, and that's exactly what I started doing. I like to tell my clients I made the mistakes so that they don't have to!

I didn’t realize that the field of marketing was exactly where I wanted to be until my second full-time job (the first one was in advertising), but once it all clicked together, I forged ahead by learning as much as I could from the best in the industry, and continuing my education and earning my degree (from a four-year university, not our local junior college). Continuing to learn and seek and develop best practices is a big part of my professional life today.

2. I noticed a variety of both "DIY" and "done-for-you" solutions offered on your website. Could you tell us a little more about your business and what you do?

Our services are broken down into three levels:

Do it yourself – this is for the entrepreneurs who want to do the marketing, graphic, or social media work themselves, have the time and desire, but may not have all of the technical skill. Our training programs help them learn the skills they need to know without having to make all of the mistakes that we learned from over the years.

Our newest addition to this level is our Business Startup Marketing Mastermind training program, which is a convenient hands-on platform which takes a small business owner step-by-step through a proven system to begin and boost their business marketing. Each lesson has specific how-to instructions and helps the business owner tie everything together without needing any prior knowledge of marketing. It's fed out in small bite-size pieces so that the program is convenient and not overwhelming.

Do it with help – this is for businesses that have someone on staff, maybe the owner or another employee, who can do the work (either they already know some of the technical skills or they've gone through our training) but need help with strategy and direction to implement it in the manner most strategic for their business to realize the greatest return on investment. This includes our marketing coaching programs, Marketing Bootcamp, business coaching, and the "Hire a CMO" program.

Have it done for you – this is for the business that wants to outsource some of their graphic design, social media, and other marketing pieces. The problem with finding your own freelancers is that you often have to go to multiple places to have the differing pieces accomplished, and this can result in a lack of brand consistency, which is very bad for a business. We have a whole team of freelancers on call so that you can have all of your needs met in one place, and provide an account manager who acts as your Marketing Director or Art Director to oversee it all and make sure your brand messaging and design is consistent.

3. For small business owners, how can they know when it might be a good time to work with a coach or consultant?

When an owner has the desire to grow their business to the next level, whatever that may be, yet is feeling the pain of already too much work and knowing they won't have time to invest to achieve that growth without something else dropping, it's a good indication that it's time to bring in some expertise.

In every business, and every area of every business, there's a tipping point where future growth is limited by current resources. Every small business owner understands exactly what I'm saying. A point at which, to take the business to the next level, it is either going to require more time than the owner can devote, or require more expertise than the owner currently has (or wants to have). Yet they haven't grown enough yet to justify additional salaries.

There are a lot of things a small business owner can do on their own in the vast realm that is marketing. There are SO many choices today in the area of marketing; it can be very hard to know which ones you need to pick and choose. If they have little experience in marketing, they may not be as easily able to determine which tactics could be most efficient for their business and provide the best return on investment – which can result in being inefficient with their finite time. No business owner has the luxury of things taking longer than they need to or not bringing the best results!

A coach or consultant can bring years of expertise with numerous business large and small, and help a business focus their marketing strategies and plans based upon what has been proven to work. It can allow the business the flexibility of not having to hire a permanent position before the business has grown large enough to justify that type of ongoing expense.

4. What are some of your favorite parts of your work?

There are so many stories I could share, but they really all boil down to developing people and businesses. I am proud when a business achieves a goal (and I'm a HUGE fan of a business envisioning and achieving a big, hairy, audacious goal--when it's right for the company--and even better when I'm the one helping achieve!).

I am proud when I coach an employee or company and they enhance their marketing efforts and achieve their goals. I am proud to see them proud of themselves.

Really for me it;s all about the win. The win for the company I'm working with. That's a win for me.

5. Is there anything in particular about marketing that you wish more people knew?

Not knowing what you don't know can make it harder on you. Yet it doesn't have to be hard at all; you need a simple plan and a simple strategy and to know how to tie it all together. The biggest concept that I share with all of my clients is don't keep switching up your strategy. Most strategies are longer-term and take time to fully develop; yet once they do, they quickly snowball and bring bigger results than you may have imagined. But you never may get to that point if you give up after a week to try something new.

Thanks, Vicky!

Some T-Shirt Gift Ideas on Amazon

There are countless things you can buy on Amazon along with books and media. I've bought quite a few different food items on Amazon, from breakfast cereal to gluten-free cookies. And it's often a good place to get deals on tech and household items. One thing I haven't yet bought on Amazon is clothing, but there's no shortage of clothing available there. Amazon even has a special Amazon Fashion section.

When it comes to clothing, one of my favorite things to buy is t-shirts. A lot of indie t-shirt makers are creating and selling unique tees on Amazon. You can find a tee to fit pretty much any theme and/or artistic aesthetic. You can also find tees made for special occasions, such as this novelty baby shower tee to celebrate having twins. A lot of couples have showers where both mom and dad attend, so this tee could be fun for exactly that type of party.

The same t-shirt designer has created a couple of other fun t-shirts for women that would make one-of-a-kind gifts. If you like sweets, there's a "sugar obsessed" t-shirt with a fun typographical design. There's also a "happiness is calling" t-shirt which features a simple, upbeat message in a design that's pleasing to the eye.

Especially if you have Amazon Prime, it doesn't cost much to add gifts like these creative t-shirts to your order. With such fast shipping, your t-shirts or other fun clothing items can be at your door in no time at all.

Meet Hyder Ali Zaman, Digital Marketing Strategist

Hyder Ali Zaman is a highly accomplished and experienced internet marketing professional with a successful track record extending 13+ years. His ability has helped startups grow into successful business enterprises, drive online marketing strategy in sync with the offline marketing tactics, deliver SEO results, cost effectively manage SEM / PPC / FB Ad campaigns, and use non-traditional yet highly effective organic (SEO) traffic driving techniques to help organizations become successful in any highly competitive online industry in any region of the world.

Learn more by visiting as well as Hyder Ali Zaman's profile on LinkedIn.

1. How did you first become aware of SEO?

I was one of the earliest adopters of the internet and the World Wide Web, not only in Pakistan but globally. Back in those days, people did not know much about the internet. However, to me I could see the potential of the internet to actually change the world. I came to know about SEO through my own interest in the internet. For me, SEO has always been a passion to help online businesses succeed. And I strongly believe that when you work for passion, money automatically follows.

2. In the years you have worked in the industry, how have things changed when it comes to improving a site's search engine rank?

Yes, a lot, to say the least. Those old shoddy tricks up the sleeves of the so-called SEO experts to get you to the first page of Google do not work anymore. Google and other search engines have evolved a great deal. In the coming years, you will see a lot of people complaining that SEO is not working (many are already doing it). It is the SEO they know that is not working. Look, SEO is a patience-driven, watch and act kind of endeavor where you keep on adjusting to the changing dynamics. SEOs who are trying to get quick results will not see any success. Areas in which you particularly need to focus in the future include natural link building, social media marketing, blogging, guest posts, and relevant content marketing strategies. Niche-oriented focus would greatly help improve your site's rankings. SEO has finally become something which would only reward people who are willing to work hard and know what it actually means to be an SEO expert.

3. What are some common mistakes you see businesses making with their websites?

Here is my top list of mistakes online businesses really make.

a. They think onsite SEO is just a hoax and they do not really need to think about it much.

b. They spend so much money on paid advertisements, but eventually they run out of money. They should diversify and think about SEO and other ways of generating traffic online.

c. A lot of businesses do not pay any heed to social media marketing when it actually makes a lot of difference. Paid social media advertisement is good, but you also need to find a way to generate leads through other regular updates as well.

d. Old online businesses established for years think that mobile responsiveness is not for them. Google has already penalized such websites, and we are going to see more of that happening.

e. Content does not just mean rewriting everything which is already there. Instead it gives online businesses a way to connect with their customers.

4. What are some of your own best practices?

Here are some of the most important things for me in terms of SEO.

1. Content Marketing
2. Affiliate Marketing
3. SEM & SEO
4. Social Media Marketing
5. Guest Blogging
6. Onsite SEO (deep enough to identify and resolve onsite issues)
7. Offsite SEO
8. Work on domain authority and increase website's authenticity.
9. Evolve my overall SEO strategy in light of the changes recommended by Google and other search engines.
10. Diversify and rely on multiple sources of traffic.

5. What else would you like readers to know about you and your work?

Well, whomever you choose to work with, make sure they are worth their money. Do not work with anyone who does not understand everything and has not been proactively following SEO from the start.

I strongly believe in living up to my clients' expectations, and my work speaks for what I have done in the past. I have successfully helped many startups getting from zero sales to thousands of USDs or even more in revenues per month. I am passionate about my client's website and take every step to ensure that their interests are watched. No matter which SEO expert you wish to work with, always remember that experience has no shortcut. I do not promise my clients to deliver quick results but meaningful results where they can actually see the return on their investments.

Feel free to get in touch with me via email should you have any questions or need SEO consultation for your online business.

Thanks, Hyder Ali!