Monthly Archives: November 2013

Creating Your Author Brand

Well before you sell your first book, consider how you want to market yourself. I have a dual career, Young Adult Fiction author and shamanic healer. Before I sold Spell Check (The Teen Wytche Saga #1), I waffled between maintaining two separate websites or finding a way to present both careers on one site. The latter was preferable, but seemed impossible until I realized that the heart of my work was to be a story catcher. Authors catch and translate the stories delivered to them through dreams, inspiration, muses, and observations. Shamans journey between worlds to capture the stories hidden in chakras, past lives, and childhoods. These stories, often flashes or visions, guide the shaman  to the source of their client’s emotional and/or physical wounds. Thus Story Catcher became part of my brand.

Color is another way to signify your brand. Purple is both a healing color and a color favored by many tweens and teens, readers of my Teen Wytche Saga. Also, I wear a lot of purple. So purple became the signature color of my brand. Themes of karma and empowerment play out in my books and in my healing practice. What initially seemed impossible, a single brand for two diverse careers, blossomed once I concentrated on the similarities between my two careers instead of the differences. You can glimpse the result on

Author Kristin Wallace, Marry Me, has written an excellent How-To article, “Brand Smart – Your Guide to Creating Your Author Brand.”

Happy writing!

~Ariella Moon

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Book Series for Children and Adults

Book Series for Children and Teens

Have you ever fallen in love with a character or fictional setting and didn’t want the book to end?

I spent my childhood solving clues with Nancy Drew and shadowing Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy as they saved and then ruled Narnia. As an adult, I watched my daughter embody Hermoine Granger as she became immersed in Harry Potter’s world.

Later, I despaired, then raged against the Capitol with Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games. Gail Carriger drew me into steampunk London and the wilds of Scotland with her Alexia Tarbotti novels. My current favorite series include Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate, Shelley Adina’s Magnificent Devices, and Jasmine Haynes’s Max Starr novels.

Book series enable us to revisit characters who have become like old friends or family members. We enter worlds far more interesting than our own. Book series for children and teens empower youth by giving them young role models. Often set in paranormal or dystopian worlds, the heroes and heroines are about the same age as their readers. Adults serve as mentors, but it is up to Harry, Ron, and Hermoine to save Hogwarts. Katniss and Peeta appear to have a terrible mentor, yet they ignite the rebellion to save the Districts.

Settings for book series need not be too different from our own world. Many romance writers have succeeded with series set in contemporary Every Town, U.S.A. My Teen Wytche Saga is a contemporary young adult series set in the fictional town of Lamorinda, which strongly resembles the towns I used to live in. I fashioned fictional Jefferson High after Stanley Intermediate School, and Athenian Academy resembles my daughter’s former high school.

Every series author strives to write compelling characters and settings readers will want to revisit.

What is your favorite book series?

The Teen Wytche Saga is currently featured on Highlighted Author. 



    Author Amy Mullen posted a fun interview of me and an excerpt from Spell Fire (The Teen Wytche Saga #3). You can read both at Fans of historical romances can learn more about Amy Mullen’s novel, A Stormy Knight, … Continue reading

Authors Live and Die Over Reviews

Authors are an insecure group. We toil in private, some receiving no feedback until their manuscript reaches a contest judge or editor. When a book is finally released, especially one by a small or indie press, the publisher’s author loop lights up with worried posts.

My book released two weeks/one month/six weeks (pick any that apply) ago, and still no reviews! Agghh!

Marquee authors have no trouble lining up advance quotes and reviews. But the rest of us… It took awhile for my first Young Adult novel, Spell Check, to build traction. I didn’t breath easily until Clean Teen Fiction gave it a wonderful review, and it garnered 5 Stars and became the Book of the Month at the Long and Short of It Reviews (LASR).

I knew my second book, Spell Struck, was at least as good, if not better. But as the weeks ticked by without any reviews (other than raves on Facebook) I began to worry. Spell Struck seemed in danger of becoming the forgotten middle child when my third book, Spell Fire, debuted just three months after Spell Struck’s July 2013 release.

One night while checking my Author Central stats on Amazon, I clicked on Reviews and was astonished to see a 5 Star, extremely well written review of Spell Struck. My elation continued when shortly thereafter, Sarah E. Bradley reviewed Spell Struck in the November issue of InD’Tale Magazine.

Spell Struck (Teen Wytche Saga #2),
by Ariella Moon
 InD’Tale Magazine
5 Stars, Crowned Heart for Excellence
Review by Sarah E.Bradley
“A fantastic YA paranormal read, reminiscent of the film “Practical Magic”! Spell Struck combines quirky but fun teen characters dealing with new schools, romance, and family problems, with magic,
and more serious topics like suicide and kidnapping.””Readers who haven’t read “Spell Check” will want to go back and read it, just to enjoy more of Salem and her fun friends. Any reader who enjoys YA paranormal should definitely add “Spell Struck” to their list!”


Spell Struck may be off to a reassuring start, but it has a long way to go. The number of reviews as well as the assigned ratings  are key to a book’s ranking and sales.

And what of Spell Fire, the third book in the Teen Wytche Saga? I’m in the midst of a book blast (see links below), and several reviews are expected during the December online book tour. Meanwhile, I will be holding my breath and checking Amazon and Barnes and Noble for more happy surprises.

Open Call For Submissions


No agent needed!

~Ariella Moon

Writing YA and the Importance of Reader Engagement

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Have you ever become so engaged in a book, movie, or television show that you dreamed about its characters? This happened to me during college when I allowed myself a one-hour study break each weekday to watch a soap opera. The show’s villains, heroes, and star-crossed lovers penetrated my psyche and took up residence. I became emotionally invested in their fates. I plucked the characters and twisting story lines and wove them into my own mental narrative. Successful YA novels inspire similar devotion and emotional involvement. Teens especially embrace trilogies and book series. They love returning to familiar worlds and journeying along as new truths are revealed, and more difficult obstacles must be overcome.

Intense Emotions and Reader Engagement

Do you remember the heightened emotions connected to high school? Developing brains and raging hormones amplified feelings about friendship, love, family, and peer approval. Beliefs and thoughts grew to epic proportions. There were no shades of gray. A well told YA novel will inspire similarly intense emotional engagement, and inspire fan fiction, Street Teams, and reader/blogger loyalty.

In her Romance Writers of America University class, “Romancing YA,” author Nancy Holder asked students to “Describe how reader engagement is built into your story idea.”

Since I write series YA (The Teen Wytche Saga), I applied the question not only to my individual books, but also to the series overall. In doing so, I discovered that I had employed the characteristics outlined in an article Holder referenced, “Fiction Writing: What Makes Your Readers Care About Your Characters?” and had strengthened them with each subsequent book. Ask yourself the same question about your work-in- progress and then read the Men With Pens article.

Your World As a Reader Springboard

Imagine the world you have created in your YA novel, be it a contemporary high school, a dystopian setting, steam punk, Fairy, between worlds, or a mental institute. How would a reader react if he or she were plopped into your setting? Whether your characters are aliens, vampires, lunatics, or Every Girl and Boy, would the reader identify with their humanity enough to want to aid and befriend them, help them overcome their obstacles, and destroy their enemies?

As an author, my visceral reaction to the characters I write is a good predictor of how my readers will react. (I so wanted a happy ending for Aidan in Spell Struck!) Like the soap opera characters of my college days, I want my characters to be so relatable and compelling that they get inside a reader’s head and enter his or her dreams. I’d consider that level of reader engagement an epic success.

Ariella Moon



Holiday Cash Giveaway from Astraea Press

The authors at Astraea Press know how much the holidays can stretch a family’s budget. So some of us banded together to give back to our readers. Follow this link to the Astraea Press Paypal Cash Giveaway. No strings. Super easy to enter. Our gift to you.