Tuesday, December 30, 2014

COVER REVEAL!!!!

I can't wait any longer. I just LOVE this new cover, designed once again by Mel at Melchelle Designs.


(look closely at the far left edge. :) )

This is the second book in my middle grade mystery series, (Samantha Wolf Mysteries). The first book, The Mystery of Hollow Inn, came out in January of this year. I wrote it while taking a 'break' in between the 1st and 2nd book of my trilogy, The Forgotten Origins.

I completed the trilogy a couple of months ago, and since then, created an audiobook for Hollow Inn and Bloodline, (book #1 in the trilogy). THAT was a huge undertaking, but a fun experience, and I so far, I think was worth the effort.

SO...I am now back to focusing on the mystery series! I hope to ultimately have a good number of books (at least 20), by the time it's done. In them, we follow the fun antics of two twelve-year-old best friends, Sam and Ally. They have a knack for solving crime and of getting in (and out) of trouble. It's been compared to Nancy Drew, and Scooby Doo. (both favorites of mine!)

I am currently busily writing away on this second book, titled:

The Secret of Camp Whispering Pines

Here is the 'back of the book blurb':

What could be better than hiking, swimming, and horseback riding? Having a mystery to solve, of course!

When Sam and Ally embark on their next quest together, they have no idea what secrets hide in the shadows at Camp Whispering Pines. Set in the beautiful, rugged mountains of the Pacific Northwest, the clues are slowly revealed, and it’s up to the two girls to figure it out.

New friendships are formed, while at the same time enemies lurk nearby. The closer they get to uncovering the truth behind the camp, the further they are pushed into danger and deceit. Can Sam and Alley put all of the pieces together before it’s too late? Follow them on another thrilling tale filled with excitement and adventure, along misty, high mountain trials and deep ravines, where the answers wait to be found!



I have an expected release date of February 1st, and I'll be doing my best to meet it. Meanwhile, if you haven't read the first book, you got time!! :)



Saturday, December 27, 2014

December 27th, 2014

Another BIG sigh of relief! Not only did I survive Christmas, but another birthday! Yesterday I turned 43 years young. ;)

I also got my first review on the audiobook for Bloodline...five stars! *phew* It's always good to get that first one under your belt, plus it was from someone I DON'T know. (despite friends and family insisting they are being honest in reviews, you just never really know until a stranger writes one! :) )

I am getting back on track with my writing for the 2nd installment in my Samantha Wolf Mysteries series...and I'm really liking it! I have a cover prepared already (thank you mel!) and I will be doing a reveal in the next week or two.

Today I had the pleasure of writing a review for a newly released book from friend and author, Jim Bernheimer. He's one of those authors we Indies look up to: he's SUCCESSFUL! He's got numerous titles under his name, but his most popular is the D-List Supervillain series. It's not even my typical genre, but he's an exceptional storyteller. Please check out my review for 'Secrets of a D-List Supervillain' on the book review tab, but meanwhile, here is a Direct Link to his Amazon author page. You'll want to start with book #1 'Origins of a D-list Supervillain'. They are also available on audiobook, and 'Confessions' is a best seller! (narrated by the amazing Mr. Jeffrey Kafer)

I hope your holidays have been filled with the love of family and friends, and here is to a peaceful, happy 2015!

I'll leave you with a couple of photos I took near my home on Christmas Eve:




Oh! And don't forget to go VOTE FOR BLOODLINE for the Best Scifi Indie Book of 2014!



Sunday, December 21, 2014

Bloodline on sale for 0.99!

In light of the Holidays and also since Bloodline is in the running for a contest (best Indie book of the year), I am putting it on sale for 0.99 until the first of the year!

Find it HERE on Amazon


On other fronts, I am finally able to relax a little and say, "Yes, I am ready for Christmas". ;)

I had the pleasure of watching my beautiful daughter dance in a Christmas recital last night and I get to go again tonight! Parents will understand when I say how special it is to watch your child participate in something that they work so hard for, and are rightfully proud of. Whether it be sports, a play, dancing or a science fair...they are those milestones in life that we tend to always remember!


Friday, December 19, 2014

Vote for Bloodline, best Indie scifi Book of the YEAR!!

I'm pretty excited about this, and I need YOUR help!

Read Freely is a decent sized site that helps to promote Indie books. In looking at last years competition, the top books seem to have had a good sales bounce, so winning this could really help me to get Bloodline (and the trilogy) out there to a larger audience.

PLEASE follow this link and vote for Bloodline. It is very fast, there is no registration required at all. It will give you the option of leaving an email address to enter a book drawing, but you don't have to!

Click here to vote for Bloodline!

Thank you all for your support!!!


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bloodline Audiobook is Out!!

It seemed like a long wait, but I hope that it was worth it!

Here it is: Audible site with sample


I'm excited to be taking this new road, and I hope that it leads somewhere!!! :)


December 18th, 2014

Christmas is fast approaching!

Do you ever get a little...weary of people always asking each other if they are "ready for Christmas"? Like it's a burden, rather than a time of joy and love. I feel that a lot of people have become a bit overburdened by the holidays, due to the commercialization. So in answer: no. I am not ready. I never am, because I'm not good at time management and therefore am always the one in line at the post office on the last day that a package can be shipped out priority to get there on time. :)  But I still love Christmas, because as I said, it isn't about the gifts. Right? Right.

I'm still waiting for the final production of the Bloodline audiobook to be released (drumming fingers)...should be anytime now! It's been over a week since it was approved. I am not a patient person. Have I mentioned that before?

Meanwhile, I have decided to run a Kindle Countdown on The Mystery of Hollow Inn, since sales have most definitely stalled. If I thought it was hard to find an audience for my Young Adult books, that's not near as hard as the Middle Grade genre! I guess I need to target the moms...or something. I don't know, I haven't figured it out yet! Anyway, here is the link. Only 0.99 for the firs three days of the promo. So if you haven't read it, now is a good time to pick it up, or give it as a gift! You don't have to be a middle grader to read or enjoy it. I know I have gone back and re-read my Trixie Beldon and Nancy Drews many times as an adult!

Amazon link to the Mystery of Hollow Inn .99!




I will post again before Christmas...but keep your chin up! Throw out some lights, don't spend too much on needless trinkets, and maybe donate instead to your local charity, or go give out some gift cards at your local grocery store. (I've done that a couple years in a row now...it's a great experience!)

I will leave you with a picture of our family project this year. It was a group effort, but I think I chose the worst part: painting! About 20 hrs later, after lots of tracing/cutting/nailing/painting and planning:



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

December 9th, 2014

Our weather continues to be undecided as to if it's winter or spring! Here it is, fast approaching mid-December and it's over 60 degrees. The bad news, is that it's accompanied by rain and this equates to lots of melting snow up in the mountains, and more flooding down here on the Skagit. I posted about our local flooding less than two weeks ago, and the river predictions are looking like it's going to be the same scenario by Thursday. Praying that the rain eases up, and we get by without any local damage.

This past weekend was an exciting one for our small town of Sedro Woolley! Our local high school football team took the 2A state title! This is the first time in the history of our school, so it's pretty amazing! My son played Woolley football for six years and was a first-pick conference offensive line and 2nd pick defensive line his senior year (2 years ago), so I spent plenty of time under the 'Friday night lights'! I'm so happy for these kids and I hope it ends up creating college career opportunities that they might not have had otherwise. It's hard to get noticed in football, no matter how good you are, when you're on a 2A team...unless you make it to a state game! Way to go CUBS!

Last night I played around with a unique site called, The Imagine Film List. It gives people the opportunity to make movie suggestions based on books, etc, and even match up actors to characters. Take a look at what I have going for Bloodline, and maybe give it a bump if you agree with me that it'd make a great movie!  IF List



I haven't done this on my blog yet, but I know a fellow Indie Author who is running a 0.99 cent promo on her book, Dangerous Liaisons, and I'd like to give her a mention:

******


DANGEROUS LIAISONS by SARAH STUART

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00M9CU1Z6 

eBook & Paperback

Lizzie, daughter of a wealthy Scottish laird, inherits a Book of Hours passed down the illegitimate female line from a 16th century queen. It carries a Royal Command: find love. Lizzie, and Michael, a backstreet boy determined to escape the poverty trap with a successful career in the theater, develop a passionate relationship. Sparks, ignited by decoded secrets recorded by the queen’s unscrupulous, vengeful, granddaughter, break the bounds of marriage, the law, and the church.

19 4 & 5 star reviews on Amazon

******

I have to admit that I haven't read it yet (now that I'm working on writing The Secret of Camp Whispering Pines), I am back to my reading hiatus. I just can't mix others words around in my head while I am writing, but I have added it to my TBR pile and I plan on getting to it soon. It looks like a good story, so check it out!

Speaking of Whispering Pines, I will be doing a cover reveal soon, so be on the lookout for that!

I FINALLY finished the audio book for Bloodline!!!!!  I'm just waiting for it to be approved and then processed for distribution. I am pretty excited about this. The editing process just about kicked my butt, but I learned a lot from it. (mainly that I am WAY too picky and need to lighten up if I also do Heritage and Descent)

I will let you all know when it is out, and offer up some free codes for it!

On the photography front, I still have my work up on display at out local hospital, United General, and I'm still averaging several sales a month. I've created a couple of new images for Christmas cards, so I will leave you with one of them!



Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1st, 2014

Oh my gosh, where did November go?!

I can't believe it is already December, and I sit here looking at the naked Christmas tree, waiting to be decorated.

I like the holidays, but I think that I am not alone in that there is also a certain amount of stress and pressure to get things done that come along with them. It is always this time of year that I try and slow things down and remember what the season is really all about. NOT giving and giving gifts, but LOVE.

So take a deep breath and hug someone. :)

I am STILL working on finishing up the audiobook for Bloodline,  but I can see the finish line. I will cross it this week and then it should be available the following week. I'm excited to get it out there!

I am also excited about my next book: The Secret of Camp Whispering Pine (Book #2 in the Samantha Wolf Mysteries) I just got the proof for the book cover and I LOVE it! I will be planning a reveal for it in a week or so.  I'm still hoping to get the book out by the end of the year, but we'll see. While I always try and keep the deadlines that I set for myself, it will never be at the cost of the story quality. I'm behind on it as of now, due to the audiobooks taking me longer than anticipated, but it will just depend on how fast the writing goes these next few weeks. Either way, it will be soon and I think readers will like this next installment!

I've had a blast doing senior pictures these past couple of months and I just completed a really fun shoot yesterday. It flooded this past week on our street, and then froze. So we took advantage of this unique setting and literally went out on the ice! The pictures turned out great, and I always feel privileged to be a part of such an important time in their lives. I continue to charge just $50 for everything (including copies of all the pictures), because I can't stand to take more. My son just graduated two  years ago, and I know that the going rate for a professional photographer starts at around $250. These kids already have so many expenses, and there are a lot that can't afford the pictures. (I also do some free ones each year)  I will end up doing about eight senior portraits this year, and I hope to continue it!

Happy Holidays to everyone!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Giveaway for The Mystery of Hollow Inn!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Mystery Of Hollow Inn by Tara Ellis

The Mystery Of Hollow Inn

by Tara Ellis

Giveaway ends January 15, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Nov 16th, 2014

I did another fun, senior photo shoot yesterday in the COLD sunshine! I have a few more coming up, which will make seven senior pictures I have the privilege of doing this year. I have seen a lot of my kids friends grow up and reach this milestone over the past few years, and it's an honor to be a part of it.

Yesterday, while getting my camera ready, my daughter asked if she could use my old camera. Of course! (maybe she'll let me post one of her pictures here. She is quite good!)  While going through it, and making sure it was in working order and had a memory card for her, I discovered that the old card still in it, had some images on it from our vacation at Flathead Lake a couple of years ago.

I was a bit surprised when I saw one of the images. It immediately jumped out at me as an instant favorite, but for whatever reason, hadn't done so when I took it over two years ago. Granted, there were a few others on the same card that I was drawn to back then and they are quite popular, and I believe I had close to 1,000 pictures originally taken that week...so maybe it isn't so surprising that this one got over-looked. Whatever the reason, I am SO glad to have found it. I absolutely love this picture. It immediately takes me back to those precious, treasured days as a child, when I spent time with my own dad. The world was such a simple place. (I don't know who the people in the picture are, this was a totally spontaneous moment, which kind of makes it even more...honest.)


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

November 11th, 2014

So a friend of mine shared her daughters book report that she wrote, for my middle grade book, The Mystery of Hollow Inn. THIS is why I write!!! :)


Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10th, 2014

Today's blog is pretty simple: I have got some amazing, GREAT kids that God has blessed me with!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November 4th, 2014

The rain has set in this past week and seems determined to stick around. Last night was too windy for me to get any recording on my audiobook (Bloodline) done. However, I have only six chapters to go! I seem to be on target for my end of November release date. I still have a TON of editing/mastering to do of the audio files, but at least I can accomplish that pretty much anywhere, any time. Once I get closer to completion, I'll provide a link for any readers to take a sneak 'listen' to a sample audio of it.

My artwork has been up at United General Hospital for just over three months now, and I consider it a great success! I have sold over twenty pieces during this time. I am going to be offering a sale this next week, since I will be taking it down soon and also because Christmas is coming up! *hint, hint*

The following picture has been, by far, my most popular. It was taken in Blue Bay, at Flahead Lake in Montana. This is a favorite spot of mine, and holds a ton of great, family memories. I was standing in about two feet of water when I took this, and YES, the water really IS that clear, and the rocks that colorful!


For those that are not local to me, I also offer my work through either direct sales (contact me at taraellisphotography@gmail.com), or if you prefer, through my website at FineArt. This is a complete service, with great ways to view the pieces in different formats and then purchase/ship direct from them. They use all high-quality material. Artwork

I've also recently outlined the next three stories in my kids mystery series, so I expect to remain busy in the coming months!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Oct 29th, 2014


So yesterday was interesting! I read a report from our local news source, Skagit Breaking, about a bear sighting in town. No one had been able to get a picture of it to share a couple of hours later, so since I was already headed in that direction to pick my daughter up from driver's ed....I grabbed my camera. The area was cordoned off by police, but from a distance, with my telephoto lens, I was able to quickly determine that he was a BIG bear...and he had chosen one of the biggest trees in the center of town, in a residential neighborhood, right next to an elementary school!


As I was leaving, I passed by an alley some distance away, and I could see a group gathered by a fish and wildlife truck. I made my way over to them...they were situated under the other trees near the one where the bear was, so he likely couldn't see us from his angle.  It was obvious that the agent and other officers were doing their best to come up with a feasible way to deal safely with the bear. I was saddened to learn later last night, that he died in a fall after being tranquilized. There has been a lot of criticism over how it was handled, but it is always easy to second guess. I haven't spoken directly with anyone that was involved, but according to reports, they tried for some time to get the bear down lower in the tree (he was around 75 feet up there!) and then used a low-dose tranquilizer, in hopes that he would come further down afterwards, on his own. Instead, he fell from the tree, and because of  the angle, he missed the net they had out under him. Sad. :(

My first picture has gotten a whole lot of recognition from local news, and I just want to say that I was very careful when I took it. I did NOT use a flash, remained low where the bear couldn't see me and be scared, and I was right next to a game and Wildlife agent. (I was there for maybe five minutes)

As to what happened: Please remember that it was a HUGE bear. Yes, he was cute, but if he HAD come down the tree, into the neighboring yards, people wouldn't have thought he was so cute. Keep in mind that it was literally right next to an elementary school. Did it pose an actual threat? I don't really know, I've never dealt with bears and I have no idea how they behave...but it seems somewhat like a lose-lose situation for the wildlife agents. I just wish it had had a happy ending.



Monday, October 27, 2014

Oct 27th, 2014

I took the plunge today and started working on a new website to sell my artwork from. I've had numerous requests from people on how to purchase my prints, and now I have another option! Not only can you get high quality prints, but also canvas, metal, acrylic, cards and phone cases!

Check it all out here: Fine art

Or, you can access it direct from this website, by going through the widget at the bottom of this page!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Oct 22nd, 2014

So, I've been slacking!

I've been caught up this past week in homecoming for my daughter, and finishing my first audiobook!

The Mystery of Hollow Inn is now available on Audible.com, Amazon and Itunes in audio format.

Audible.com
Amazon

I'm actually thrilled with how it turned out, and I've already started recording Bloodline!


Oh...and homecoming was a success, too! I am blessed with a gorgeous daughter on the inside and out!

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13th, 2014

Last night, I accomplished a 'first'! I completed my submission for the audiobook version of my book, The Mystery of Hollow Inn.

This story has special meaning to me. I began writing it when I was sixteen. I can still remember sitting in detention (for being late to class. I was a pretty good kid. :) )  writing my book. I was thrilled to be detained in the small room, isolated so that I could write uninterrupted. I guess I was always a bit weird.

I didn't finish it until I was twenty, and then I tried to get it published. This was back when you had to mail out your manuscript to the publishers...after painfully printing it off the dot matrix printer. I gave up very quickly.

This manuscript sat in a box for over twenty years, until I took it out last year, in between writing Bloodline and Heritage. I was taking a 'break' from the trilogy, but got bored. So I decided to revisit Hollow Inn. I ended up re-writing the whole thing, changing the POV and adding a couple of chapters.

I just love this book and the nostalgia it evokes. As soon as I finished Descent, I went back to it again and concentrated on giving it a new cover and doing the audio. The cover that Mel at Melchelle Designs made is just so absolutely PERFECT, that I can't get over it. I employed a couple of family friends to model for me (putting my photography skills to use), so that I could capture exactly what I was hoping for. Mel has a way of taking the image and blending it and matching it up with the perfect concoction, to produce a near perfect match with the image I have in my head.

Here is the new cover for The Mystery of Hollow Inn, #1 in the Samantha Wolf Mysteries

I is a middle grade book, (ages 9-12, but a fun read for anyone!) Amazon link





Friday, October 10, 2014

October 10th, 2014

The fog is thick outside this morning, but it sure makes for a gorgeous sunrise! I wish I had my camera with me, while taking my daughter to school.

The season has most definitely turned, although the temps are still mild. I've enjoyed the weather this summer/fall, although we'll see what that means for our winter. I think it's either going to continue to be unseasonably warm and dry, or else we'll get hit hard with a severe and rapid change.

I am nearing completion on my first audiobook! The Mystery of Hollow Inn should be uploaded by this weekend. Since this is my first attempt, I have no idea how long the review process takes and I'll be crossing my fingers that none of the files get rejected. I'm doing my best at the mastering level, to make sure everything meets the specs...but we'll see.

I am also VERY excited to be revealing the new and incredible cover, soon. Mel at Melchelle Designs has done it again! Along with some willing models for me to photograph, we've come up with what I see as a perfect image.

I'll leave you with a picture I took a few years ago of the fog and sunrise combination in our backyard:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Oct 5th, 2014

My husband I had a great little weekend getaway! There is a gorgeous spot in the Methow Valley, called Freestone Inn, or Wilson Ranch. It is a retreat rich with history and meticulous grounds. We first visited there for our honeymoon and have returned several times, as it's only a couple of hours from our home, along the North Cascade Hwy.

The area is loaded with popular hiking trails, and only a ten minute or so drive from Winthrop.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Oct 2, 2104

Man, these last few days have been busy, but in a good way!

I'm still working on juggling my different activities, but I'm having fun with it. I have discovered that sound mixing is an art all of its own! (If you know anything about it, send me a note!! :) )

Descent came out on the 30th, and I'm thrilled! This past week, I've had a sudden, increased interest in the first book of the trilogy, Bloodline, and the timing couldn't have been better. I've had both Bloodline and Heritage reviewed on the blog, Gimmiethatbook, as well as an interview. It's a good site, you should check it out. (Link is on the sidebar)

I have another interview coming up next week on another great blog (I will post it when active), as well as one scheduled for November. I have an active giveaway promo for the month of October on Goodreads, Bloodline was chosen for a buddy read on the 4th, and I'm doing a G4R (give for review) on the 8th. (also for Bloodline) I'm banking on people liking Bloodline enough, that they will then move on to Heritage and Descent, so that is where I'm focusing. I don't know if that's a mistake or not, but honestly...I'm having a hard time keeping up with just this stuff.

My advice: If you want to write a book and publish it yourself, GO FOR IT! But be prepared: if you want to actually SELL your book to anyone other than family and close friends, it's going to take a heck of a lot of your time, patience and perseverance.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday, Sept 28, 2014

You know, one of the nice things about being self-employed is the ability to do what you want, when you want. The problem however,  is that I tend to do this seven days a week!

It's okay when you're in the middle of a big project or have a deadline (like I do right now with Descent), but at some point, I'm going to have to make more of a regular schedule, to make sure I leave enough time for family and housework! :)

Today, I got my FIRST interview posted on the blog: Gimmiethatbook. Please feel free to visit the site and see what I had to say about my Young Adult Trilogy, The Forgotten Origins!

Link to Interview

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sept 26th, 2014

Today was a busy day.

It marked my deadline to get the final copy of Descent uploaded! I've been working on the final edits, which is always a bit of a challenge.

I am eager to get the book out there and find out if everyone likes it as much as I do. ;)

I didn't get much else done today, but I still managed to enjoy some time with my husband over lunch, and my son, Brandon and his girlfriend Ash made dinner!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sept 24, 2014

Fall has most definitely arrived!

The sound of rain on the roof, the dry leaves littering the roads and yards. How did it all happen in just one day? We went from 80 and summer to 60 and fall, seemingly overnight!

Oh well, time to pull out the sweats and sweaters!


Monday, September 22, 2014

Sept 22, 2014

Today, I took a plunge and decided to attack my next venture: recording my own audio books!

I explored having them produced/narrated by someone else, but after being encouraged that I sounded just as good...I thought a bit more about it. I've done some drama and plenty of 'story times', and have always enjoyed performing...so why not?

There is something to be said for the author knowing the story and character best. SO, I got some equipment and I'm working on coming up with a good are for a sound room to do the recordings. I'll keep ya posted! ;)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sept 21st, 2014



Today, I am thankful that my husband came home safe. I used to be a 911 dispatcher, and I am still in the habit of listening to the scanner from time-to-time. Today, I happened to turn it on just before my husband was toned out for a fight-in-progress involving a subject with a gun.

As I suspected, he was the first to arrive and I knew that it would be with gun drawn, and an intense scene. It was with great relief when I heard him call out "code 4" (all okay) and "one in custody".

No one was hurt, and I was again reminded of the danger our officers place themselves in on a daily basis.

On another positive note, there was an AMAZING sunset, and although I already posted my 'picture of the day', I want to share another. :)