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Friday, May 31, 2019

Supporting Indie Authors: How to Help

As an Indie author, one of the questions I hear most often is "How can I help support Indie Authors?" Without the backing of a publisher, being an author can be super stressful. Everything falls on the shoulders of the author, which means we spend as much time on things like creating ads and arranging marketing as we do actually writing or engaging with our readers. It can be a LOT to take on, so Indie Authors are always so grateful when readers want to help.

Personally speaking, some of my greatest friendships are with readers. Without their help and friendship, I'd probably still be floundering along, trying to figure it all out myself. They're some of my biggest cheerleaders, and are always the first to jump in when I'm overwhelmed with things to do. And let's be honest…I work 12 hour shifts in a 911 Dispatch Center as a Supervisor, and have been doing mandatory overtime since December (yeah…save me!). That doesn't leave a lot of time for writing related tasks. Heck, it doesn't leave a lot of time for life related tasks.

Like me, most Indie Authors have a full-time job, a family, and a never-ending to-do list. We're writing on a budget and trying to make the most of an ever-changing, ever-confusing industry. And we are always grateful for every little bit of help and support that comes our way.

Here are a few ways you can help your favorite Indie Authors. And don't fret. Most of these don't require spending money!

    Read and Review – Reviews are a big deal. On Amazon, for instance, in order for books to go out in Amazon's marketing emails, the title has to have so many reviews. Books also have to have so many reviews in order for the author to advertise on services like BookBub. Most readers don't leave reviews, even if they loved a book. Taking a few minutes to write a quick review on sites like Amazon can be such a huge help. Reviews don't have to be long or profound, either.

    Share their Work – Do you like a book or an author? Share their work with your friends and family. Post about it on your social media accounts. Heck, donate a copy of the book to your local library or suggest it for your Book Club. Word of mouth goes a long way when you're operating on a shoestring budget!

    Buy the Book – Most Indie Authors make less than 10k a year. Releasing a new book or doing a sale can be a huge expense. Purchase a copy of their book on release day or during promotional sales. Rankings really do matter when it comes to getting books in front of readers. Grabbing a copy on release day helps give the book a boost, helping to put it in front of other readers. Grabbing a copy for a friend during a promotional sale is also a big help.

    Ask to Help – A lot of authors aren't great at asking for help. We're introverts by nature and feel bad when we ask for assistance, even when it's really needed. Ask your favorite authors how you can help them. Maybe they need members for their Book Launch Team. Maybe they need Reviewers. Heck, maybe they just need someone to distract them from setting their next book on fire. Let your favorite authors know that you're ready and willing to help, and then follow through on the tasks you took on.

    Join their Reader Groups – Reader groups are really popular right now. Ask your favorite authors about theirs and join in. Authors often post new book information, sales information, bonus content, and a ton of other stuff to these groups. They also turn to their groups when they need help with various tasks.

    Join their Mailing Lists – If your favorite author has a Mailing List, join it! Like reader groups, Mailing Lists often get all the goods! They're also a great way to keep up with new releases, sales, and events. I personally use mine to send out deals, exclusive content, freebies, sale information, and giveaways.

    Engage on Social Media – With Facebook Pages having made the turn into "pay to play", you miss most of the content authors post on their pages unless you regularly engage or they pay to "boost" their post. Even if you like their page, if you don't regularly engage, you don't see the majority of their content unless they pay to boost it. Crazy, right? Like and share their posts, leave comments, drop by and say hello…stay engaged so you see new content without your favorite authors having to shell out even more money to reach you.

    Say Hello – We love our readers and we love chatting with you, but we're not always the best at engaging. Like I mentioned earlier, we're introverts by nature, which means we sometimes need others to come to us first. Otherwise, we feel like we're bothering you. Tag us on social media, drop us an email, or send us a message. We promise we don't bite!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Commonly Misused and Confused Words

Happy Writer Wednesday!

As a reader, nothing makes me cringe harder than reading a book where the author has mixed up or misused certain words. As an author, I get that it happens. It took me a long time to get "Its" and "It's" down! English is a tricky language, and there are as many rules as their are words. 

It can be frustrating. 

Some of the most common offenders are listed in the graphic above. If you can memorize which indicates possession and which are contractions, you're halfway there!

Here are a few other common offenders: 

affect vs effect: affect means to influence something, effect means to accomplish something. Effect is also the result of something (cause and effect).
accept vs except: accept means to take something, except means to exclude something.
farther vs further: farther is a physical distance. further is an extent.
lie vs lay: you can lie down, but you lay an object down.
sit vs set: same as above. You can sit down, but you set an object down.
rein, reign, and rain: Rain falls. You reign as a king/queen. You rein something in (such as a horse).
breath vs breathe: You take a breath. You breathe something in.
vise vs vice: In American English, one is a tool or grip (vise). The other is a fault (vice).
blond vs blonde: Blond without an "e" is reserved for males. Blonde with an "e" is for females.

Which words do you struggle to keep straight?

You can check out Wikipedia's fairly exhaustive list of commonly confused and misused words here if you need a little more help with keeping various words straight.

You can also check out Hayley Milliman's article over at ProWritingAid for a list of the Ten Best Websites to Improve Your Grammar if you need more help.

Irene Fenswick has also compiled a list of 150 English Grammar Tools you can bookmark for extra grammar help!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Magical Criminal Justice Systems and Databases

Happy Writer Wednesday!

One of my biggest pet peeves when reading is when an author creates some "magical system" that tells a police officer everything there is to know about a person. Having spent most of my life in the Criminal Justice field as a student and then as a professional, I can't express enough how completely unrealistic and inaccurate this is!

Each state has a system like the Arkansas Crime Information Center. This is a central system where things like criminal history, driver's license information, and vehicle information is stored.

The National Crime Information Center is, for lack of a better way to explain it, the national equivalent of this. NCIC stores thing like stolen vehicle information that law enforcement agencies enter, missing person entries, etc.

Each individual state's system and NCIC are interconnected, meaning you can access information in one state from another state. Using these systems, you can find out if someone has a protection order, a DL out of another state, a criminal history, and other limited information. BUT these systems DO NOT contain every piece of information available on a person. Your credit score isn't in there. Your last fifteen addresses aren't in there. It doesn't tell anyone where you work or what you do for a living.

Each law enforcement agency then has their own systems. These can contain things like your address, your phone number, your known associates, any "street" names you use, etc. They can also contain things like some medical history (if you've ever had to call an ambulance or if you've requested certain information be added), where you work, previous addresses, or if you own Mama's Grocery down on 12th Street.

It takes a lot of work to weed through information to find what you need simply because there are so many different places you have to look, and none of them are completely interconnected. Officers and dispatchers spend a LOT of time piecing together information when they need to find something. It can be an exhaustive, time consuming process.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Fun Facts about the Her Best Friend's Father Series

When I first started to write Roman and Mila's story, I had no plans to actually write an entire series of novellas. Roman appears as an important secondary character in Rapture (The Teplo Trilogy #3). He's this badass ATF agent who helps Tristan Riley throughout the course of that novel. I wanted to get to know him so I could better understand how his backstory leads him into hooking up with Tristan to kick major ass.

Turns out…Roman has his own very interesting story. Not only do he and Tristan share a common enemy, but they've been working the same case from two very different angles. The more I learned about Roman and his story, the more I liked him and Mila. I couldn't resist finishing the story.

Here are a few other fun facts about their story!

·         The covers for Devour Me and Destroy Me are actually two different sides of the same photograph. For Devour Me, we used the left half of the photo. For Destroy Me, we used the right. I love the way they turned out!

·         Because Roman spent most of his adult life working with the ATF's Gang Taskforce, trying to keep guns out of the hands of gang members, some of what I already knew about gangs and gang violence naturally found its way into his story. I grew up in California during the gang wars of the 1990s, and still remember the chaos and fear they caused. When my family moved to Arkansas when I was a teenager, we lived in a very poor area and I saw another side of that coin. My younger sister and I got to know many of the gang members in our neighborhood really well.

·         The titles for the books in the series all come from something one of the characters says or thinks during the course of the series.

·         Trying to write the steamier scenes in this series with police officers constantly in and out of the room was incredibly awkward! I had to write everything by hand and then type it up later because I just couldn't do it. Luckily, I love to write by hand, so it worked out well in the end.

·         I spent quite a lot of time learning about cartels in Mexico and South America during my college and grad school years. In some areas, being sentenced to prison as a cartel associate is a walk in the park. They're very well taken care of inside prisons, so the threat of being locked up doesn't always serve as much of a deterrent. Being able to put some of that knowledge to use in Roman's story was a lot of fun.

·         Roman curses a lot. But it's still probably less than most of the cops and dispatchers I know! Seriously. We're all foul-mouthed and wildly inappropriate.

·         I hesitated to publish this series at all when I finished it. My dad is married to my older sister's best friend. Their story is nothing like Roman and Mila's, but I worried that family and friends would draw parallels that don't really exist. My husband is the one who finally talked me into taking the plunge so readers could see just how Roman fits into Tristan's world.

·         Speaking of husbands, I love that Roman is a monster of a man! My husband is 6'8". Most of my male characters are pretty tall, but it made me happy to finally have one almost as tall as my husband.

·         Roman is named after Rome from The Fast and Furious franchise. I fell in love with the name. It didn't hurt that I have a huge crush on Tyrese Gibson. Have you ever heard him sing? Phew!

·         Mila is named after Mila Kunis. I've loved her name since the first time I heard it.

·         The peaches references are for one of my best friends, Marita, and I still haven't told her about them! I'm waiting for her to find them on her own.

DEVOUR ME is FREE on Amazon through May 17th! 

Don't get caught.
Never fall in love.
And steer clear of his daughter's friends.

The rules were easy enough for Roman Gregory...until Mila Lawson set out to break every single one of them.

When the twenty-two year old lands on the ATF agent's doorstep after a nasty breakup, he knows all too well that she's off-limits. At thirty-eight, he's almost twice her age, she's hurting, and the blonde bombshell is his daughter's best friend.

Mila knows all about wanting what she can't have. For four years, she's lusted after Talia McPherson's scary hot, terminally single father from afar. After walking away from her cheating ex and what she thought was her happily-ever-after, the last thing on her mind is jumping into a new relationship.

Until she find herself living with Roman in Santa Cruz...

Now all she can think about is making all those dirty fantasies come to life. With nothing left to lose, she makes him an offer he can't refuse: Two weeks of no-holds-barred sex. No strings. No commitments. No messy emotions.

Roman has no business agreeing to her insane proposition, but he does anyway.
He can't have her. He shouldn't even want her. But he's going to take her… and he has no intentions of stopping until she's his completely.
If there's one thing Roman knows for a fact, it's that he doesn't lose. Ever.

Devour Me, Book One in the Her Best Friend's Father trio is FREE through May 17th on Amazon! Get it at the link below! 

For more fun facts about Roman, Mila, and the series, don't forget to follow me on Instagram @aydenmorgen.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Defend Me Release Day + Devour Me is #FREE + #Giveaway

Today is release day for Defend Me, the third and final book in the Her Best Friend's Father series! Check out all the details below, read an excerpt, and enter the giveaway. Plus, Devour Me (Book One) is FREE through May 17th!

Defend Me
Her Best Friend's Father #3
by Ayden K. Morgen
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Forget the rules.
Forget right or wrong.
Forget letting go.

When Roman Gregory's daughter caught him and Mila Lawson together in Santa Cruz, he swore he would face whatever he had to face to keep Mila by his side and win back his daughter. But now Talia isn't speaking to either of them, and their relationship has gotten a whole lot more complicated thanks to the violent gang gunning for the ATF agent.

Mila knows nothing good comes easy, but she never imagined being the reason Talia stopped speaking to her father. All Mila wants to do is fix what she broke before the man she loves loses his daughter for good…even if that means she has to break her own heart to do it.

For Roman, bringing Mila to Los Angeles with a gang war looming on the horizon is the most terrifying thing he's ever done. But now that he's fallen in love with the gorgeous blonde, he can't let her go. He will do whatever it takes to keep her safe and regain his daughter's trust…even if he has to walk away from his career to do it.

But neither Roman nor Mila could have foreseen the news that will change their lives forever.

When his worst fear becomes a reality and Mila is targeted, more than just their hearts are on the line. To save Mila's life and guarantee a future with her, Roman will do more than break the rules. He'll rewrite the rule book entirely.

Nothing will stand in his way. Not even the law itself.

Defend Me is the third part of Mila and Roman's steamy story.

**Only 99 cents!!**

"What the fuck are we watching?" I ask Mila. She's lying on top of me on the couch, my hand on her ass and her head on my bare chest. We're watching some bullshit on the History Channel. Well, she's watching it. I'm thinking about taking her upstairs to fuck her.

"The Curse of Oak Island," she says with a little laugh. "They're searching for treasure the Templars buried on an island in Nova Scotia centuries again. They're going to find it this year." She sounds so certain. It's fucking cute.

"Baby, I doubt the Templars buried treasure in Canada," I say, laughing.

"Whatever," she mumbles. "They're going to find it."

"How long have they been looking?" I ask her, my gaze on the television as a group of men lower a diver down into a pipe. The damn thing is so narrow, the diver can barely move.

"A few years. Well, this group has been looking for a few years. People have been searching the island for a long time though. They've found all kinds of really cool stuff."

"But no treasure."

"Yet," she says. "They haven't found the treasure yet."

I chuckle at her and squeeze her ass. She kisses my chest and then settles, her eyes locked on the television again. I just lay there and hold her, running my hands up and down her back.

The fact that she's afraid the only way to fix shit between me and Talia is by her leaving fucking kills me. There's no way in hell I will ever let that happen. I know not hearing from Talia is breaking her heart, but I'm working on it. I just need a little more time to deal with this bullshit with Guerrero. Until then, if Mila needs to go see her, go talk to her, I'm all for it.

Regardless of what is said though, Mila isn't leaving me. I'll drag her back kicking and screaming if I have to do it. She's mine. My entire fucking future rests in her little hands. I'll do whatever I have to do to keep her with me.

"Let me up, baby," I murmur to her when my cellphone starts ringing from the kitchen.

"I'm comfortable," she grumbles and then lets me slide out from underneath her, her eyes still riveted to the television and whatever the fuck they're digging through the mud looking for.

I run a fingertip down her cheek and then head toward the kitchen to get my phone.

"Yeah?" I ask Finn, holding the phone to my ear.

"Are you secure?"


"The raid is going forward," he says without preamble.

"About fucking time," I mutter, my heart slamming against my ribcage. I've been waiting for weeks for word that we're finally going to make a move and do something. We've been playing cleanup since I got back to Los Angeles, running around picking up bodies while we waited for the fucking paperwork to go through. I'm ready to get this shit over with so I can deal with Talia. "When?"

"Early Monday morning. The FBI and ICE are sending a team. The DEA is sending in Jason Ames from Seattle and a couple of their guys from Sinaloa to help get shit sorted." He snorts like he doesn't think we need the help, but I'll take anyone they want to send us so long as it means we're finally doing something to stop the gang war threatening to erupt.

"What about the agent Francisco's people tried to kill?" I wouldn't mind getting a chance to talk to him. If they were worried enough to blow up a club with him inside, I have a feeling they think he knows more about their plans than they'd like. I want to know what they were trying so fucking hard to hide.

"No," Finn says. "Ames was adamant that we leave Riley out of it for the time being. He's still pretty fucked up. I'm not even sure if he's out of the hospital yet." He pauses for a long moment. "I need you for this, Roman. You know I wouldn't ask if I didn't have to, but you know these motherfuckers and their hideouts better than anyone. We're going to need you inside with us if we're going to bring them down."

"I'll be there," I say, swallowing hard at his words. I knew they were coming—I've been planning for them for days—but hearing them still sends a little flicker of uncertainty through me.

"There will be no going back if you're with us on this," he reminds me.

"I know. I'll be there," I tell him again, my voice soft.

Destroy Me

Her Best Friend's Father #2

Two weeks.
No strings attached.
No messy emotions.

Those were the terms Mila Lawson offered Roman Gregory when they found themselves living together in Santa Cruz. Now that the ATF agent has his daughter's twenty-two year old best friend in his bed every night, he's finding it more and more difficult to deny what he's felt for her since the day they met.

With a drug cartel threatening to go to war and his daughter becoming increasingly suspicious, the last thing Roman should be thinking about is keeping Mila by his side. He's never wanted much, but he wants her…and he's willing to break more than a few of his own rules to convince the feisty little blonde to put her heart in his hands.

For Mila, falling for Roman might just be the most terrifying thing she's ever done. Trusting him with her body is one thing, but with her past still hanging over her, she knows all too well that the scary-hot man who drives her wild has the power to destroy her.

As their time in Santa Cruz draws to a close and the world beyond their little stretch of beach closes in on them, Roman and Mila will be forced to confront the truth about their relationship and make decisions neither could have imagined.

But who ever said falling in love would be easy?
Destroy Me is the second of three steamy novellas featuring Mila and Roman.

**Only 99 cents!!**

Devour Me

Her Best Friend's Father #1

Don't get caught.
Never fall in love.

And steer clear of his daughter's friends.

The rules were easy enough for Roman Gregory...until Mila Lawson set out to break every single one of them.

When the twenty-two year old lands on the ATF agent's doorstep after a nasty breakup, he knows all too well that she's off-limits. At thirty-eight, he's almost twice her age, she's hurting, and the blonde bombshell is his daughter's best friend.

Mila knows all about wanting what she can't have. For four years, she's lusted after Talia McPherson's scary hot, terminally single father from afar. After walking away from her cheating ex and what she thought was her happily-ever-after, the last thing on her mind is jumping into a new relationship.

Until she find herself living with Roman in Santa Cruz...

Now all she can think about is making all those dirty fantasies come to life. With nothing left to lose, she makes him an offer he can't refuse: Two weeks of no-holds-barred sex. No strings. No commitments. No messy emotions.

Roman has no business agreeing to her insane proposition. He can't have her. He shouldn't even want her. But he's going to take her anyway… and he has no intentions of stopping until she's his completely.
If there's one thing Roman knows for a fact, it's that he doesn't lose. Ever.

Devour Me is the first of three steamy novellas featuring Mila and Roman.


Ayden is the Amazon Bestselling author of the Ragnarök Prophesies series. She lives in the heart of Arkansas with her childhood sweetheart/husband of fourteen years, and their furry minions. When not writing, she spends her time hiking, reading, volunteering, causing mischief, and building a Spork army.

Ayden graduated summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Forensic Psychology in 2009 before going on to complete her graduate degree in CJ and Law. She currently puts her education to use in the CJ and Social Services field.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Deleting Overused Words and Passive Voice #writerwednesday

Happy Writer Wednesday!

I don't know about you, but I'm really bad at overusing certain words when I'm writing. They tend to creep up on me, and before I know it, I've used "just" 10 times in one page. Erm...yikes!

Over the years, I've learned to keep a list of my "frequent offenders", or the words I find myself overusing from manuscript to manuscript. When I start editing, I pull out my list, and search for these words in my manuscript. I go through each and every use and remove as many instances as possible by deleting that word or rewriting the sentence. I also add "telling" words and passive voice to my list (things like it is/was, she is/was, he is/was, feels, etc), and then search those out and rewrite as often as possible.

I'm not going to lie to you, this is a time consuming, painful process. But having a polished manuscript at the end is so worth it! Your writing will be much stronger when you eliminate passive voice and those overused words.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Her Best Friend's Father: The Playlist

I'm a sucker for a good playlist. Music is such a central part of my life, I can't imagine now having it playing in the background while I write. The playlist for the series was all over the place. You can check out some of my favorites below and listen to the entire playlist on Youtube!

The Weeknd – High for This
·         I love anything by The Weeknd, but this is probably one of my favorite songs to put on while writing. It's such a sexy song.

Boy Epic – Fifty Shades
·         This is another incredibly sexy song that just fits Roman and Mila's story really well in so many ways.

Machine Gun Kelly and Camila Cabello – Bad Things
·         This one is such a great fit for Roman and Mila and their story. It gets pretty steamy.

Halsey – Without Me
·         Admittedly, this one doesn't necessarily fit the story, but it reminds me of Mila in a lot of ways. Her ex is kind of an ass, and he's the reason she finds herself in Santa Cruz with Roman.

Billie Eilish and Khalid – Lovely
·         This is such a haunting, beautiful song. Mila's backstory is a little sad, and this song captures that so perfectly.

SVRCINA – Meet Me on the Battlefield
·         This song reminds me of Roman. He loves to call Mila a warrior, but he's definitely a bit of warrior himself. He's lived most of his adult life amongst gangs and cartels, trying to keep people safe. He's tired, but he keeps fighting anyway.

Sam Smith and Normani – Dancing with a Stranger
·         I'm always singing this song. It doesn't necessarily fit the story, but it's Sam Smith. I could listen to him all day, every day, and find inspiration!

Bazzi and Camila Cabello – Beautiful
·         Roman and Mila have fought their attraction to one another for a long time. But let's face it, she's it for him…and he is so freaking sweet to her (even when he's being dirty). This song reminds me of him.

NF and Britt Nicole – Can You Hold Me
·         Mila hates to be vulnerable, and she knows that Roman has the potential to break her heart, but she wants him anyway. This song is all about being vulnerable and exposed. It's such a gorgeous song.

Alec Benjamin – Let Me Down Slowly
·         There's a specific scene in Devour Me that makes this song such a perfect fit. I'm not going to spoil it here, but suffice to say…Roman plans to make damn sure Mila misses him if she goes!

The Weeknd – Where You Belong
·         This song, y'all. It's perfect. Roman can be a little rough and wild, and a little dirty. This song fits him so well!

You can listen to the playlist on YouTube!

About the Series:

Two weeks.
No strings.
No commitments.

Those are the terms Mila Lawson offers Roman Gregory when they find themselves living together in Santa Cruz.
With a violent gang gunning for him and a cartel threatening to go to war, the last thing the ATF agent should be thinking about is claiming his daughter's twenty-two-year-old best friend. But after four long years of lusting after the gorgeous little blonde from afar, once Roman has her, he's not willing to give her up. 
She may be off-limits, but something about Mila drives him wild. There's nothing sweet about the things he wants to do to her, and nothing gentle about the way he takes her. She makes him crave a future he never envisioned for himself…one so much better than he ever dreamed was possible.
To keep her, he'll be forced to face the daughter he adores. To save her, he'll break every rule in the book.
Nothing will stand in his way. Not his daughter. Not the gang hunting him. Not even the law itself.
The first two books in this steamy series, Devour Me and Destroy Me, are available now. The final book, Defend Me, releases on May 15th!

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