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Friday, July 29, 2011

Interview with Devyn Dawson

Name of the book:

The Legacy of Kilkenny


Kindle Price:

$2.99



Available from:

Amazon Kindle US, Amazon Kindle UK, Smashwords, Nook



Authors Website:

www.devyndawson.com


Bio:

I write paranormal YA books about the characters that live in my head. I’m an avid reader and carry my Nook with me everywhere I go. I’m married and have two children, a daughter that is almost 21 (ouch) and a son that is 17. They are my reason I’ve stayed young in my heart and head. I’m from Oklahoma and will always consider it home but I live in New Bern North Carolina. I was Goth before Goth was a style, I dreamt of being Star from The Lost Boys and knew Keifer would one day find me and we’d fall madly in love. Since Keifer never came around, I decided to write books.

I have a deep love of the paranormal (The Lost Boys reference confirms it's been a passion long before Edward met Bella) and I’m totally interested in things such as ghost hunting and cemetery visiting. My menagerie of pets serve as my muse for my characters - the only royalties they request are hugs and treats.
Tell me about your book? The Legacy of Kilkenny is a story beyond boy meets girl, for instance he doesn’t get the girl, not her at least. The story is told by both Abel and Pru, giving it two points of view. Abel Casey lives in Piedsville Oklahoma (an imaginary town) a small town without any excitement. Pru Phelan starts her junior year as the new girl in school; she is beautiful and drives a hot car. Little does Abel know that Pru is there on assignment, one to kill him (at least make everyone believe he is dead). Why? So he can get in touch with his soul. Why? Because she is a werewolf and the lore from Ireland reveals that Abel is the Great Wolf. He hasn’t shifted yet and doesn’t believe his new friend until she shows him her pack via astral projection. Her assignment to make everyone believe he is dead is to protect his parents and sister from other supernaturals that could use his family against him. Abel goes along with it at first, but the thoughts of losing his real family weighs heavily on his conscience. Allie, Abel’s older sister is away in college. Allie fights insomnia by going to parties on campus and meets Arien. He is not only gorgeous but he is a vampire that has been keeping tabs on Pru’s pack. Arien realizes that the Phelan Pack is friends with the Casey family, and he wants to know who the Great Wolf is. To blackmail the pack, he starts the process of giving Allie the Human Vampiric Virus (HVV) which consists of him biting her three separate times on three separate new moons. Can the Phelan Pack protect both Abel and his sister Allie? Allie has an attitude problem as the vampire venom runs through her veins. Can the Great Wolf have a sister that is a vampire? The vampires try to frame the wolves for attacks on humans, exposing humans to the supernatural world. The Phelan Pack alpha General Phelan has had enough, he puts together a group to hunt for rogue wolves that are helping the vampires, he ends up brutally murdered. Pru has spent so much time with her bodyguard Oakley, his southern charm steals her heart but she has been ordered to keep her attention on Abel and him shifting. Their hot and steamy affair may have to end, can their love survive? Her love for Oakley could get in the way; can she have both Oakley and protect Abel? Her father dead may be the straw that breaks her will.


What will readers like about your book?

The reader will love the humanity behind the characters. Everyone likes a good love story, and in this love story it is sexy and heartfelt but it isn’t between the obvious characters. A twist on both vampire and werewolf lore, giving it an edge will have the reader turning pages faster and faster. This book builds up the multiple personalities that will be showcased throughout the series. The series will continue forward as the kids become adults with more adult issues along with a darker vibe.



What inspired you to write this particular story?

Ironically my dogs did. I love the communication between the animals and I have 8 pets so there is a lot of communication going on. Not only are my pets inspiration to me but my kids are young adults and they have so many dramatic events I knew teens would like a dramatic book. Even though it is all fiction, the reader can identify with family dynamics and relationship drama.


When did you start writing?

I don’t remember a time I didn’t write.




When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

I think I’ve always been a serious writer; I just didn’t have the time and motivation to take it to the next level.



When did you decide that you wanted to write a book?

On Valentine’s day 2009 (a Saturday) I went to the eye doctor for a routine exam (relevant, I promise) and found out I have a rare form of glaucoma. I was referred to Duke for an exam. When the head of the glaucoma center saw my eyes he told me that I needed emergency surgery and they were going to put holes in my eyes within the hour. I almost fainted! I have narrow angles glaucoma and can have a narrow angle attack at any given time. If I have an attack I need to get to an Ophthalmologist immediately to salvage my eyesight or I can have an optic nerve attack causing blindness. I’ve had 5 operations on my eyes to help drain my them, but I still have to worry about the pressure. I realized that if I never get to share my characters and see my words in book form, I will have failed my life ambition. I knew it was time to leave my full time job that was sucking the energy from me and create my story. Even though that Valentine’s day rocked my world, it motivated me to push forward and finish writing a book.


Why did you choose this particular genre to write your book in?

Oh, I’ve always known I’d write for young adults…. I’ve never grown up. I love reading the genre too.




What is your writing process?

I don’t know if I have a process, but I do have a side kick. My cat is always with me when I write, he is sitting here reading over my shoulder as I write this.





How long does it take you to write your first draft?

It took me about seven months. I spent most of my time developing the character voices and deciding which way I wanted the series to go.




Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

Because werewolves are relevant now. If I went the traditional route I’d be waiting another year or so, and I like instant gratification.




What kind of advice would you like to share with an aspiring writer who’s looking to publish a book for the first time?


Edit, edit, edit. Take criticism as constructive. Make sure to have a group to read the book, but make sure they read your genre. It would be silly to have someone that only reads Amish Fiction read your paranormal young adult book. I don’t even talk to my real friends on Facebook anymore… I friended every author I could find, and I read what they were doing. Wow there is a lot of free information out there if you look in the right places. I don’t enjoy blogging much but there are so many good ones that have a plethora of information. Another place to find information about what literary agents want is by reading their blogs and go to their websites, they are always posting about what they are looking for. DON’T GET DISCOURAGED. Don’t give up. Remember you didn’t know how to ride a bike the first time you got on it, you had to practice until you could do it right. I’ve just taken off my training wheels.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Interview with Linda Urbach

Madame Bovary’s Daughter a novel of Fashion & Fortune by Linda Urbach.

Published July 26, 2011



Published by Radom House, Bantam. On July 26, 2011
Available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Random House.com
Kindle Price $9.99

Author’s Website:
www.madamebovarysdaughter.com


Author’s Bio:

Linda Urbach was born in Los Angeles, raised in Denver, spent a year in Paris trying to master the language and “came of age” in NYC. She is currently working on a new novel, Sarah’s Hair, the story of Sarah Bernhardt’s hairdresser. Two novels published by Putnam’s (under the name Linda U. Howard) The Money Honey and Expecting Miracles.

She co-authored with Roberto Mitrotti “The Secret Diary of Sigmund Freud” (20th Century Fox Specialized Film Division). Her one act play “Scenes from A Cell” was a finalist in the 2002 New England One Act Festival. She is the originator of “MoMoirs: The Umbilical Cord Stops Here!” a theatrical production in conjunction with Theatre Arts Workshop of Norwalk, She’s also the creator of MoMoirs-Writing Workshops For and About Moms.
Linda spent over 30 years writing advertising copy in NYC. Her big claim to fame was a CLIO for “My Girdle is Killing Me.” She worked for at least seven different agencies on more than 50 different accounts from Excedrin to Ocean Spray. She lives in Black Rock, CT.


Tell me about your book.

Bovary, literature's greatest dreamer and worst mother?

What you may remember about Madame Bovary is that after being betrayed by one lover after another, she drove her devoted husband into bankruptcy and finally took her own life.

Who even remembers she had a daughter?

What ever happened to the only, lonely daughter of the scandalous Madame Bovary?

Poor Berthe Bovary.

She was neglected, unloved, orphaned and sold into servitude before the age of 13. Worst of all, she was the most insignificant and ignored character in that great classic novel.

But in Madame Bovary’s Daughter we see how Berthe used the lessons she learned from her faithless, feckless, materialistic mother to overcome extreme adversity and yes, triumph in the end.

As a young girl Berthe becomes a model for Jean Francois Millet, later a friend to a young German named Levi Strauss and finally a business associate of Charles Frederick Worth, the world’s first courtier.

This is a Sex and the Cité tale of a beautiful woman who goes from rags to riches, from rough muslin to highly profitable denim, from sackcloth to satin, from bed to business,

Busy as she is, she still has time to wreak revenge on the one man who broke her mother’s heart. And to have her own heart broken as well.

From her grandmother’s farm, to the cotton mills to the rich society of Paris, it is a constant struggle to not repeat her mother’s mistakes. She is determined not to end up “like mother, like daughter”.

Berthe Bovary is a Victorian forerunner of the modern self-made woman.


What will readers like about your book?

For Flaubert fans, I think they’ll like the fact that I’ve taken up the cause of the most neglected character in any of his books and given her a wonderful and exciting life. For readers who are unfamiliar with Madame Bovary, there’s lots of historical detail, lots of fashion of the times, and lots and lots of drama and romance. Anyone who is interested in France, in the Victorian period, in famous French artists and in Paris as the fashion capital of the world will like this book.



What inspired you to write this particular story?

My daughter Charlotte, to whom the book is dedicated.
When I encountered the novel Madame
Bovary for the first time in my early twenties thought: how sad, how
tragic. Poor, poor Emma Bovary. Her husband was a bore, she was desperately in love with another man (make that two men), and she
craved another life, one that she could never afford (I perhaps
saw a parallel to my own life here). Finally, tragically, she committed
suicide. It took her almost a week of agony to die from
the arsenic she’d ingested.

But twenty- five years later and as the mother of a very cherished
daughter, I reread Madame Bovary. And now I had a different
take altogether: What was this woman thinking? What
kind of wife would repeatedly cheat on her hardworking husband
and spend all her family’s money on a lavish wardrobe for
herself and gifts for her man of the moment; most important of
all, what kind of mother was she?


When did you start writing?

I wrote my first poem in the third grade. It was something about Halloween. And every line rhymed. The next writing I did was for a Junior National Scholastic short story competition in the 4th grade. (It was the story of a sardine who gets separated from his family.) I won first prize. (A $25 savings bond) My mother typed the story for me and I always had the sneaking suspicion that she re-wrote it and that’s why I won a prize. The next year I also won a prize in the same contest. Still, I believed it was my mother’s typing that somehow elevated my writing to a prize-winning level.


When did you realize you were a serious writer?

I remember undergoing fertility tests in my 30’s and finding out that I couldn’t have children. At that point in time, I thought, if I can’t have a baby, I’ll have a book. I am very grateful that I ended up with both.


When did you decide you wanted to write a book?

My first long project was a collaboration I had with my friend Roberto Mitrotti. We wrote a film, “The Secret Diary of Sigmund Freud”. I realized then that a screenplay was never your own. When you finished it you handed it over to a producer, a director a whole slew of people who were able to change whatever they didn’t like. So I wanted to write something that I could feel a real sense of ownership about. A book was the logical next step.


Why did you choose this particular genre to write your book in?

My first two novels were fairly autobiographical. I have plumbed the depths of my life and there’s nothing left that’s particularly interesting to write about. Historical fiction opens up a whole new world of far more fascinating people and times. I love doing the research. History was never one of my strong suits and now I feel like I have a wonderful opportunity to go back and re-learn.


What is your writing process?

Oh, if only I could call it a “process”. It’s so much more of helter-skelter operation. I stare at the computer. I get up. I water the plants. I go back to the computer. I read my email. I throw out the plants that have died from over-watering. You know the drill. Anyone who has ever written will recognize this routine. But seriously, first I have an outline, just broad strokes of what the story is and where I want to end up. With historical fiction, many times, my research will affect the plot and the characters. I’ll suddenly come across someone who is so fascinating that they end up in the book. That’s what happened with Charles Frederick Worth in my novel. He literally jumped out of the pages of history and took over my story.


How long does it take you to write your first draft?

It took about two years. But that was with the “writing process” as described earlier.


Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

Until about six months ago I wouldn’t have touched a kindle with the tip of my pinky. Now I’m a complete convert. It is the future of books. I don’t know if this is a good thing or bad. I can tell you, however that I’ve purchased more books in the last six months than I have in the last six years. And, I’ve read them all.

What kind of advice would you like to share with an aspiring writer who’s looking to publish a book for the first time?

The only and best advice is keep writing, keep writing, keep writing.
The only difference between books that get published and books that don’t is one person sticks with it and the other one doesn’t. Also make friends with other writers, read their bogs, get involved with supporting their efforts. You need it and they need it. Form a writer’s group of fellow writers. Don’t hide out in your writing. Don’t wait until you think it’s perfect to show it to someone. And, don’t, I repeat, don’t give up!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Interview with Thomas Amo

Name of the book:

An Apple For Zoë ~ The Forsaken


Kindle Price:

$0.99


Paperback Price:

$9.99


Available from:

Amazon Kindle US, Amazon Kindle UK, Nook
Paperback Available via Createspace and Amazon


Authors Website:

http://authorthomasamo.blogspot.com/


Bio:

Thomas Amo is the author of the 1920's adventure romance, "Silence" and the stage-play of the crazy British farce, "Bob's Your Auntie!" This former full-time theatrical producer and playwright has written over 20 comedies and farces for the live theatre. Outside acting, directing and producing, his first love has always been writing.
An Apple For Zoë ~Book One ~ The Forsaken, marks his debut into paranormal fiction.
"I've always had a fascination on the subjects of Old Hollywood and True Crime. The best part of writing about these subjects is the interesting places you get to see when doing the research. Spending three hours in The Hollywood Forever Cemetery was an amazing experience!"

"The other thing I absolutely love about being a writer is...you can do this job, from anywhere in the world!"


How would you describe your story/book?

An Apple For Zoë is a story that questions what you believe. Your faith, values, trust, your own sanity.

When you're a homicide investigator and everything before you doesn't follow
traditional procedures and you are lead down a road that can't possible be. You
have your world turned upside down, that everything you thought was
only fantasy or imagination turns out to be reality in the worst way.

It's a journey for Inspector Thomas James, one for certain that
will change him forever and not necessarily for the better.


What will readers like about your book?

If you love horror, true crime, paranormal elements then this book is right up your alley. There are NO vampires, werewolves or Zombies, it's all about what lies beyond the veil out there. What lies on the other side, what's watching us that we can't see.


What inspired you to write this particular story?

An actual murder scene I worked on during the early 1990's. It was just such a bone chilling experience, that it never left me. I knew while I was there, evil was there standing next to me. I know it sounds melodramatic but if you had been there,
you would have felt it as well.


When did you start writing?

Around the age of 9 after a trip to Disneyland. The haunted mansion ride started it all! That and of course Horror movie magazines, like Famous Monsters of Filmland by the late Forrest J. Ackerman and the Universal Horror movies from the 30's and 40's.


When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

Not until I became a playwright in the late 90's. After having written my 5th play for the stage did I truly embrace I could write well enough that it was entertaining
for audiences. My play writing days instilled the confidence to write novels.


When did you decide that you wanted to write a book?

I had already written a book in the late 1980's. It wasn't published until 2000 but I had always wanted to write a really great novel, and of course you know, become the next Stephen King. But I didn't approach it the right way back then. I was serious about writing but didn't approach it professionally. Now I see what Stephen King means when he says if you don't have time to read you don't have time to write. Like any professional in any field, if this is to be your chosen craft then you must mold it, work with it until you and your craft are one. Now my writing is my job. It's what I do. I'm a full time author. 40+ hours a week working on my books.


What is your writing process?

An idea starts, I write notes to begin with, then sit down with coffee on hand,
and begin to write, I don't do plot lines. In other words I don't do full on outlines.
I have a basic idea of where I would like the story to go, but it's always vague
until I discover what lies beneath.


How long does it take you to write your first draft?

Because of how I write I can't put a time stamp on it. When I was writing plays, sometimes 7 months to write a play sometimes two weeks. "Silence" took 2 and half years to write. But as I mentioned I didn't approach it in a professional manner. I only wrote when I felt inspired or if time allowed. An Apple For Zoë took 4 years to get the first draft finished. But same thing as before until I got to part two of the book, then I really changed gears and made this my job. So the second part of the book took about six months.

I'm working on the 2nd installment of the trilogy and I started in March it's
June and I'm very early still in the book. Although I hope for a late summer early fall
release..it will depend on if my characters let me finish!


Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

Kindle is a no brainer! It doesn't cost you anything to publish, it gives you instant
access to the world, the same with Nook. you can reach an audience so much faster
now than you could back in 2000 when I published "Silence." i've sold more copies of An Apple For Zoë in 4 months than I ever sold of Silence in 11 years. That's why Kindle!


What kind of advice would you like to share with an aspiring writer who’s looking to publish a book for the first time?


If you seriously want to be a writer for a living, then this has to become your job, not a hobby. You have to do it everyday, I'm not saying you have to write a certain word count daily or anything like that, but you must be doing something that is pushing your book your name your brand of who you are everyday. Use Twitter, goodreads, make friends in the writing/reading community, read others books, know your genre. Make sure you are pitching your book to the right audience. And always...can't stress this one enough ALWAYS be NICE! Even if you get the worst review of your life, be nice. Don't lash out and be rude to the reviewer, even if the reviewer is in the WRONG. You're going to end up being the bad guy. Even Stephen King gets one star reviews. It's a fact, deal with it professionally. Do beta versions of your book
find out how much cleaning up it needs before it goes to an editor and yes....HIRE and editor. You've worked too long too hard to look sloppy in the end!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Interview with Robert Capko

Name of the book:

SAY GOODBYE by Robert Capko

Kindle Price:
99 cents for a limited time



Available from:

Amazon Kindle
Amazon books
Amazon UK
Amazon DE
Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook)
Books A Million.com
Smashwords.com
Sony eBooks
Apple iBooks
Kobo.com
Diesel eBooks
Or ask your favorite book seller (if they don’t have it in stock, they can order it).


Authors Website:
http://www.robertcapko.com/
Fan page: http://www.facebook.com/robertjcapkofanpage

Bio:

I am a decorated veteran of the United States Air Force. I am an educator and I live in Florida. I am currently finishing my second thriller THE LONG ROAD HOME that should be out in time for the Holidays.






How would you describe your story/book?

It is an Action/Adventure Thriller about an Air Force pararescueman (PJ) named John Paxton.

John Paxton is a man who understands duty—both to his family and to his country. As a highly decorated pararescueman in the Air Force, he's risked his own life numerous times to save the lives of others. He was the epitome of the pararescue motto: These Things We Do That Others May Live. But now that he's married with two small children, he's content as an instructor at Lackland Air Force Base.

Then Paxton is commanded to lead a team on a dangerous mission—supposedly to rescue the pilot of a stealth fighter shot down over Serbia. Yet, nothing is as it seems. As the mission goes from bad to worse, Paxton uncovers a deadly plot that threatens National Security. But to fight an enemy with ties to one of the most dangerous organizations on the planet, he risks not only his own life, but also the people he loves the most.

Here is a video trailer for the book: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYOGNcKgO88



What inspired you to write this particular story?

I first learned about the PJs when I served in the Air Force. The more I learned about these heroes, the more I was convinced that their story needed to be told. They do an amazing job of saving lives and most people have never heard of them. I felt it was about time they start to get the recognition they deserve. I hope my novel, small contribution that it may be, helps in that regard.






When did you start writing?


I have been writing stories for as long as I can remember.


When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

I’m having too much fun writing to take it seriously!






What is your writing process?

I take a lot of hand-written notes in spiral notebooks. I come up with ideas for scenes and plot. Then I do the research to support the story, including talking to folks in the know. Then I start writing it in my computer, one scene at a time. Then the painful process of editing takes place. I keep editing and revising until I have to stop to meet some production deadline—otherwise I’d keep revising for the rest of my life!



How long does it take you to write your first draft?


Too long. I spent years on it mainly because I kept putting it down and then going back to it. I wish I had just worked straight through. I could probably have five or six novels out there already if I hadn’t limited myself.


Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

Since many readers have never heard of me, it is a low-cost (thus low-risk) way for readers to try me out. I hope they like what they read. If you do, please leave a review—they are like gold to new authors.




What kind of advice would you like to share with an aspiring writer who’s looking to publish a book for the first time?



Make sure it is the best you can offer, get it professionally edited, and the GO FOR IT!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Interview with Amelia James

Name of the book:

I have two:

Tell Me You Want Me

Secret Storm


Kindle Price:

$2.99 each


Available from:

Amazon Kindle US, Amazon Kindle UK, Amazon Kindle DE (German), Smashwords, Nook


Authors Website:

http://trashystreasures.wordpress.com/


Bio:

Amelia James has been reading romance novels and other forms of erotica since junior high. When she isn’t busy daydreaming and writing, she lives happily in the real world with her goofy husband, spoiled cats, and hyper dog. Besides reading and writing wicked stories, her hobbies include watching action movies, watching football, and tempting her husband.


Tell me about your book?

Tell Me You Want Me is a contemporary erotic romance. It’s flirty and fun, sexy and steamy. It’s the story of two people who have a lot to learn when it comes to love and relationships. Austin Sinclair is a charming bad boy who has so many women he can’t remember their names. Jane Elliot is a career-oriented woman who desperately needs some fun in her life.

Secret Storm isn’t a sequel, but it takes place after Tell Me and it involves the same characters. It’s darker than Tell Me, and it has more emotional depth and passion. Jack Wheeler is a man with a dark past, but he won’t let anyone close enough to help him deal with it. Sara Jensen is a caring, giving woman who jumps at the chance to help others, but she runs away from her own problems.


What will readers like about your book?

Steamy sex scenes. ;) I think they will like characters they can relate to – strong women and sexy men – people with realistic problems who help each other overcome them—and fall in love in the process.


What inspired you to write this particular story?

I finished writing a short story about a man who was dark and brooding and it took a lot out of me, so I decided to write about a fun hero, a charming bad boy. After I finished having fun with Austin in Tell Me, I went back to my dark side again to write Jack’s story in Secret Storm.


When did you start writing?

I’ve been writing short stories since the third grade. My teacher wrote ‘tends to daydream’ on my report card. I’m gonna have that carved on my tombstone. I started writing romance novels in July 2009.


When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

I’m a serious writer? ;) I try not to take myself too seriously that’s why my Twitter handle is TrashyWriter. My books are all about having a good time. There’s a message in each one if you want to see it, but mostly they’re just trashy romance novels. I like trashy books. I started writing seriously when I lost my job in January 2011.


When did you decide that you wanted to write a book?

I was in the middle of writing Tell Me when I realized I had a lot more story than I could fit into a short story format. I never wrote a full-length novel before so it was a challenge, but I loved doing it. I loved it so much that I wrote another book for my secondary characters, and I’m daydreaming my next novel now.


Why did you choose this particular genre to write your book in?

I think the romance genre chose me. I grew up in a very conservative and sexually repressed environment. I wasn’t allowed to explore my sexuality so I do it through my writing. And it’s just a lot of fun to write romance, especially the research and fantasizing, er, plotting. ;)


What is your writing process?

I get to know my characters and listen to their stories. Then I write a basic plot so I know what I want to do to them. After I finish the first draft, I edit, re-write, nitpick, re-write, proofread, re-write, etc….


How long does it take you to write your first draft?

Tell Me took almost a year. Secret Storm didn’t take as long, about 9 months. I hope my next book will be finished by summer 2012. Marketing my current books takes up a lot of my time.


Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

Because I have no patience. When I lost my job, I realized I wanted to get my books in front of an audience as soon as possible, and I couldn’t wait months on end to hear from a publisher who may or may not accept my manuscript.


What kind of advice would you like to share with an aspiring writer who’s looking to publish a book for the first time?

If you choose to go through a publisher, be prepared for brutal rejections. They are not kind when they say no. If you choose to self-publish, be prepared for a lot of hard work. Publishing is the easy part. Selling the book takes patience, persistence and more determination than you know you possess. Be prepared to deal with the stigma that because you’re self published, your book is crap. Never stop learning and never give up.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Interview with Alexander Greenwood

Name of the book:

Pilate's Cross


Kindle Price:

99 cents!


Available from:


Smashwords, Barnes & Noble/Nook, Diesel, Kobo, Sony Reader Store, Apple. Will be available on Amazon in mid-July.
Available in paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Lulu.


Authors Website:

http://www.PilatesCross.com or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Pilates.Cross.Book
Book trailer and more here: http://www.pitchengine.com/pilatescross/mystery-thriller-sparked-by-1950-college-murders-/137358/


Bio:

I'm a former journalist, politician, actor, television executive and radio talk show host. I wrote the thriller novel Pilate's Cross, the award winning short story Obsidian, a half dozen or so failed book manuscripts and thousands of press releases in my day job as a public relations consultant.

I reside in Kansas City with my wife and two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. My grandfather was a midlist Western and historical fiction writer who encouraged me to write.

I'm currently working on a sequel to Pilate's Cross and a novella based on the art of my Pilate's Cross book cover artist David Terrill titled What the Gardener Saw.


Tell me about your book?

When my career in public relations took me to Peru, Nebraska a few years ago--a place I affectionately call "the smallest town in the world," I found the inspiration for a mystery thriller. I didn't know a soul in the town--I was a total outsider working there as marketing and public relations director and instructor at a small college. The core of this book is about the open secrets that can fester in a community until an outsider raises questions.

When I worked in Peru, every day I'd walk past a plaque in the administration building that honored the college's former president and dean, who both died on the same day in the 1950s. It didn't hint at anything nefarious; it could have been a car wreck for all I knew. I finally asked--and it was more tragic than I ever imagined.
I eventually gained access to police records, crime scene photos, witness affidavits and news coverage of the decades-old murders, but the book is not a thinly veiled fictionalization of an historical event.

The professor's motive was, in the grand scheme of things, terribly petty. Pilate's Cross is inspired by the questions this terrible crime created; but as a work of fiction it's set in a different place and has a more complex motive for the murders.
Nearly all aspects of the book, including the location, characters and most importantly the mystery are strictly from my imagination. However, recent real-life events are chilling in their similarities, and lead me to reconsider marketing the book.

In April 2010 the former president of the college took his own life as news of a financial scandal was about to break. Though I wrote this book three years ago (it was published in December 2009), I had some serious trepidation about promoting it in the wake of this tragedy. The 'college president' character isn't based on my former boss, and I would be very concerned if readers thought he was. Peru was very good to me, and it's very important that people know this book was not meant to mar his memory or upset anyone--especially my friends in Peru, Nebraska.

The blurb:
Inspired by a true story, "Pilate's Cross" follows John Pilate, his sardonic imaginary pal Simon and lovely new friend Kate as they investigate the cold case mystery of a murdered college president. In too deep to wash his hands of the mystery, Pilate risks his life to uncover the truth of what happened in 1963 and why it's just as deadly today.


What will readers like about your book?

I've had four book clubs read the book recently. Members tell me they like the characters--that they seem totally plausible and (mostly) likable to them. They also say there is a definite "roller coaster" feel to the pacing. The book ratchets you slowly at first to the top--then once you crest that high point, it lets you go and you don't stop racing until you hit the finish line. It's a good beach or airplane read.


What inspired you to write this particular story?


My grandfather was a midlister--he wrote Westerns. On his deathbed he literally told me I should write. That admonition had hung over my head for several years. I wanted to write, but life has a way of throwing other things at you to take up your time. Ultimately, I think I needed to get rid of some bad mojo I gathered in my life leading up to my move to Nebraska---this book was an opportunity to finally write something and tell a fun story. I suppose it's trite to say, but I think I exorcised a few demons along the way.


When did you start writing?

I've written since I was twelve--nothing particularly good. I mean my teachers said I had potential and could turn a phrase pretty well--but it was only when I hit my late thirties that I felt like I had the confidence to put my work out there.


When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

I suppose when I figured out that I had written for 4 to 6 hours a day, three months straight on a manuscript and then spent another two years editing, rewriting and trying to get it repped. That's when it clicked that I was serious.


When did you decide that you wanted to write a book?

Probably when I was twelve. I wanted to be a writer in the worst way, and I have a drawer full of failed manuscripts to prove it.


Why did you choose this particular genre to write your book in?

I love stuff that's a little off balance--a hint of mystery with suspense and thrills. To sum it up, I love The X-Files, and would be perfectly happy writing stories that are mysteries, thrillers or suspense with just a hint of horror--or a combination of all those genres--as long as the characters are relatable like Mulder and Scully. I also occasionally write short stories about relationships that are paranormal or mysterious only in the way the human heart is.


What is your writing process?

I try to write 1,000 "good" words a day. Once I finish a draft, I rewrite it a few times until I'm satisfied enough to open it to criticism. At that point, I let a few trusted readers give me feedback. I make changes and then send it to an editor. Once I get her notes I give it a final polish and it's done.


How long does it take you to write your first draft?

When I have focus and not a lot of demands on my time, three to six months. I started my own PR firm last year and have a young daughter, so it's tougher to make that happen. I'm working on getting back into the groove as I complete the sequel to Pilate's Cross and the book I'm collaborating on with David Terrill.


Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

I tried for two years to get an agent and was within inches of finally signing a deal when the economy fell apart and the agent backed away. I loved this book too much to shove it in a drawer, so I started looking for alternatives. I found Smashwords and thought they looked pretty cool. I think Pilate's Cross was among their first 10,000 or so books. I haven't looked back. I went print on demand (POD) in 2010 and it has helped bolster support for the ebook versions by granting me entre to book clubs. Most book clubs that have read my book are about 70% paperback, 30% ereader.


What kind of advice would you like to share with an aspiring writer who’s looking to publish a book for the first time?

Do the work--and be serious about it. When you think it's finished, show it to people who actually read and love books. Let them give you critiques (listen!). Hire an editor if you can--and get a good cover. I think my cover (by David Terrill) for Pilate's Cross is fantastic--but my covers for my Amazon short stories (Obsidian and Skin and Sand) are self-made and pretty bad. I need to take my own advice about the covers--my artist pal David cringes when I make my own. Finally, don't rush a half-baked book out there--it's easy to do that these days and it makes all indie authors look bad when a book crammed with plot holes, typos and a bad cover hits the market. Oh, and one more thing: if you love writing--truly love it--don't give up. I make very little money on my books, but that's not why I write. If you're doing it because you think you're going to strike oil in your keyboard, well, God bless you but I think you're misguided.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Interview with Jason Krumbine

Name of the book:

TWO AND A HALF DEAD MEN


Kindle Price:

$0.99


Available from:

Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004XVZP02/
Barnes & Noble
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Two-and-a-Half-Dead-Men/Jason-Krumbine/e/2940012453921
Smashwords
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/55629
Authors Website:
www.jasonkrumbine.com
You can also find me on twitter @jasonkrumbine and Facebook at, www.facebook.com/jmkwriter.


Bio:

Jason Krumbine is the author behind the pulse pounding, wisecracking Alex Cheradon Series, the dead soul hunting Grym Brothers Series, and the tongue-in-cheek paranormal romance "A Graveyard Romance." He can be reached at onestrayword@gmail.com, on twitter @jasonkrumbine or on www.facebook/jmkwriter. Visit www.jasonkrumbine.com to keep up to date on all of Jason’s newest releases.

How would you describe your story/book?

TWO AND A HALF DEAD MEN is kind of a ghost story by way of the crime genre. It’s the first in a series called, The Grym Brothers. The idea is that grim reapers are real and are kind of like bounty hunters, going after stray dead souls that aren’t quite ready to go to the afterlife.

Here’s the official book description:

People die every day.

But not all of the souls can or want to move onto the afterlife.

That’s where the brothers Thane and Mort Grym come in.

Thane and Mort are bounty hunters for dead souls. They inherited the job from their father and they’re two of the best in town.

But when there’s a double homicide at the Kirkland Motel the Grym brothers end up with more than they bargained for. In a world without vampires, zombies or the undead, one of their bounties might not be as dead as he’s supposed to be.


What will readers like about your book?

I think they’ll like the relationship between the brothers, Thane and Mort. It’s a fast paced novel with a lot of humor and mystery that’ll keep the reader hooked until the end.


What inspired you to write this particular story?

It was my wife’s idea. We were looking for a concept that was a little more conventional then my usual work. Typically my books revolve around a single lead character and the idea of brothers working together has always been something I’ve wanted to explore. The Grym Brothers gave me the opportunity to explore that relationship.


When did you start writing?

I started writing in my teens, finishing my first book in my early twenties.


When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

I’ve always taken my writing pretty seriously. However, in the past year and a half I’ve made a real effort to turn my writing into my livelihood. To that extent, my wife and I worked out a publishing plan for the remainder of the year that has me writing and publishing a new book every month.


When did you decide that you wanted to write a book?

Oh, I decided I wanted to write a book when I was about twenty. Mostly it was out of curiosity to see if I could do it. Up until then my writing had consisted of short stories and I wanted to see if I could actually write something longer than twenty pages. It turns out, I could!


What is your writing process?

It used to be I simply took my idea, sat down at the keyboard and went with it. I didn’t plan much out, some times I would know what the last page was, but beyond that, I just went wherever the story took me.

These days, with my new publishing plan of one book a month, I’ve applied a little more structure. I outline my book beforehand. It can be anything from a detailed, beat-by-beat outline, to just the broad strokes and ideas I want address.


How long does it take you to write your first draft?

With the Grym Brothers series it takes me about two weeks to write the complete novel. For the most part, my first draft is my final draft. I’ll do a read through after I’ve finished writing it and pick out any phrasing or wording that bothers me, maybe massage a plot point or two, but that’s it. I don’t like to caught up in multiple drafts or endlessly polishing the work.


Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

It was the cheapest and easiest way to get my books out there. With epublishing I didn’t have to worry about overhead, stock, shipping, storefronts, etc. I write the book, design a cover, edit and then deliver it directly to my readers.


What kind of advice would you like to share with an aspiring writer who’s looking to publish a book for the first time?

Don’t be afraid. There’s no real right or wrong way to publish a book. I’ve seen books with crappy covers become bestsellers. I’ve seen great books with awesome covers go nowhere. There are people who will say your book has too much description and there will be people who it doesn’t have enough. Just write whatever makes you happy. Make sure you, as a writer/reader, are satisfied and don’t worry about anyone else.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Interview with Misty Evans

Name of the book:

Soul Survivor, Lost Worlds Series, Book 1

Kindle Price:

$3.99

Available from:
Amazon Kindle US, Amazon Kindle UK, Amazon Kindle DE (Germany), Nook, Carina Press


Authors Website:


www.readmistyevans.com


Bio:


Misty Evans writes the award-winning Super Agent and Witches Anonymous series, as well as the new Lost Worlds series, featuring Soul Survivor, with Carina Press. Her debut novel, Operation Sheba, Super Agent Series Book 1, won the CataNetwork Reviewers’ Choice Award in 2008, a CAPA nomination in 2009, and the New England Reader’s Choice Bean Pot Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2010. Operation Sheba was the number one Kindle Romantic Suspense book and a Top 10 Kindle bestseller for over a month in 2010. I’d Rather Be In Paris, the second book in her Super Agent Series, was nominated for a 2009 CAPA for Best Romantic Suspense, and along with the third book in the series, Proof of Life, was a Top 100 Kindle Bestseller in 2010. Soul Survivor won the Utah RWA’s Great Beginnings Contest in 2010.

Misty is currently at work on the next books in all her series. She likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. Learn more and sign up for her newsletter at www.readmistyevans.com. Like her author page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.


How would you describe your story/book?


In Soul Survivor, a powerful shamanic priestess cursed with immortality must convince a suspended FBI profiler he is her reincarnated soul mate—the enemy warrior she long ago killed in an effort to save her family. In order to do that, she must resurrect their erotic past of deadly secrets. However, when a killer targets them both, the two discover the only way to defeat their common enemy is to once again turn against each other.


What will readers like about your book?


Readers will find suspense, humor, and romance in my story. There’s the idea of soul mates, reincarnation, immortality and what family means to each of us…how far we’re willing to go to save them. There’s also a truly evil antagonist. Mwahaha.


What inspired you to write this particular story?


I wrote the kitchen scene where Keva tries to convince Rife he’s her reincarnated soul mate for a contest. I didn’t win that one, but the scene and the characters wouldn’t leave me alone. Keva even showed up in a dream I had and I never dream about my characters, so that weirded me out. Eventually, the first chapter went on to win the Great Beginnings Contest and I sold the story to Carina Press a few months later.


When did you start writing?


When I was in 4th grade, I won second place in an essay contest, writing about my dad. My essay appeared in the local paper, and once I saw my name and my essay in print, I started writing all kinds of stories.


When did you realize that you were a serious writer?


After 9/11. I’d submitted nonfiction articles to a parenting magazine and a few were printed, but after 9/11, I got serious about writing fiction. The CIA and the fight against terrorism inspired my first series.


When did you decide that you wanted to write a book?


I always wanted to write a book—not just one, but dozens. I have way more stories in my head than I can ever get down on paper!


What is your writing process?


I write every morning, usually 4-5 days a week. Afternoons are for promo, catching up on fan email, writing lessons for my online classes, etc.


How long does it take you to write your first draft?


Depends on which series I’m working on. A Super Agent book usually takes 4-5 months. They’re full length novels and require a good deal of research. A Witches Anonymous story takes 2-3 weeks, since they’re novellas and require more imagination than factual research. A Lost Worlds book takes 3-4 months. These stories are around 50 to 55k and do require some research.


Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?


Two of my publishers are digital-first publishers and that was one of the reasons I went with them. Digital books are a welcome addition to many readers’ collections and I’ve known this was going to be a huge market for me since the first Kindle was introduced. Now I’m also an indie author and love the freedom I have to reach even more readers.



What kind of advice would you like to share with an aspiring writer who’s looking to publish a book for the first time?


All the things I’ve learned over the past ten years would fill a book. LOL. My best advice would be to know yourself and what you want out of becoming a published author. Do you homework and make your own path. The publishing world is changing rapidly and it’s crucial you stay up-to-date and informed, so you don’t give away rights you shouldn’t or don’t understand how each avenue works. Talk to other published authors, ask questions and then once you have all the facts, be true to your vision and make your own decision based on what’s right for you.



Look For These Titles by Misty Evans:

If you like Romantic Suspense…
Operation Sheba, Super Agent Series, Book 1
I’d Rather Be In Paris, Super Agent Series, Book 2
Proof of Life, Super Agent Series, Book 3

If you like Dark Paranormal Romance…

Soul Survivor (June, 2011)
Sweet Demon, Entangled Anthology (October 2011)
Revenge is Sweet, Kali Sweet Series, Book 1 (Fall 2011)

If you like Light Paranormal Romance…
The Devil & Venus di Milo (Witches Anonymous prequel)
Witches Anonymous, A Tickle My Fantasy Story
Jingle Hells, Witches Anonymous, Step 2
Wicked Souls, Witches Anonymous, Step 3
Dark Moon Lilith, Witches Anonymous, Step 4 (Summer 2011)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Interview with Ruth Harris

Name of the book:

MODERN WOMEN

Kindle Price:

99c (for now)


Available from:

Amazon Kindle

Bio:

New York Times bestselling author Ruth Harris enjoyed a long career in publishing working as a copywriter, editor and publisher. Her books have sold many millions of copies around the world in hardcover and paperback editions and been translated into 19 languages, published in 25 countries and selected by the Literary Guild and Book-of-the-Month Club. Ms. Harris lives in New York City with her husband, writer Michael Harris.


Tell me about your book?

MODERN WOMEN is about three women coping with opportunity—and the men in their lives. They laughed. They cried. They did their best. But would they live happily ever after?

Lincky Desmond: With beauty, brains and money, she married Mr. Right—only to risk it all for Mr. Wrong.
Elly McGrath: She was loyal and idealistic but when faced with the ultimate betrayal, would she be able to stand up for herself?
Jane Gresh: Bawdy, outrageous and determined not to be ignored, she managed to shock the entire country.
Owen Casals: Handsome, successful, magnetic. He would marry one, betray another and make one of them very, very rich.

“Sharp and stylishly written. Passionate, daring and unconventional.”
—Chicago Sun-Times
“Glory be! Excellent.This is the story of today’s women.”
—Los Angeles Times
“FICTION AT ITS BEST!”
—New Woman Magazine


What will readers like about your book?

The characters are lively and appealing, people the reader can identify with & root for. There is also lots of humor, some of it quite spicy.


What inspired you to write this particular story?

My friends and I encountered many of the same successes and setbacks portrayed in the novel and it occurred to me we were representative of our generation and the volatile times described in the book.


When did you start writing?

In the fourth grade & it was a disaster. We were supposed to write a story and I did: it was about a huge flood during which all hell broke loose, very vividly described. My teacher was appalled by my gory imagination and yelled at me in front of the class. I suppose today it would be praised as apocalyptic fiction—but not way back when! I didn’t write for many years after although I was always compulsive reader. Miss Nose-In-A-Book.


When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

Still don’t think so. I tend to take a skeptical view of such claims.


When did you decide that you wanted to write a book?

When I found out I could get paid for it.


Why did you choose this particular genre to write your book in?

Because people’s lives are interesting and the intersection between culture and the individual is fascinating and ever-changing.


What is your writing process?

Write, rewrite, edit, repeat.


How long does it take you to write your first draft?

No set time, varies from book to book.


Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

Because it offers a huge opportunity for writers to avoid the narrowing window of conventional publishers.


What kind of advice would you like to share with an aspiring writer who’s looking to publish a book for the first time?

Grow a thick skin.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Interview with Richard Guidice

Name of the book:

Romance Is Dead


Kindle Price:

$6.25


Available from:

Amazon: Kindle and paperback, Barnes and Noble: Nook and paperback, Author House.com: E-book and paperback, other book retailers.



Authors Website:

www.suspensetales.com


Bio:

I’m a New York City resident and I’m single. I work full time as a MIS supervisor for a Manhattan based firm. My debut novel, Romance is Dead, was released in February, 2011. It recently was named a Suspense Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards. My next novel, Everyone’s a Suspect is in production and should be released in early July. I expect to have the third book in the Napoli series out in the Fall.


How would you describe your story/book?

It’s a suspense novel about a serial killer and a NYPD detective. The twist is they are best friends and their friendship is a major part of the story. It’s not just a book filled with murder; there is also a personal element between the main characters. By the way, I have included some romance in it despite the title.


What will readers like about your book?

I think they will enjoy the characters and the plot. People who have read it have told me it was a quick, easy read. I don’t believe in using fancy words or long explanations to get my point across. People will read the book and find it moves along at a brisk pace. I think readers will also like the setting. I use a lot of New York flavor in Romance is Dead and people familiar with the different neighborhoods said they related to it.


What inspired you to write this particular story?

I’m not sure if anything in particular inspired me. I just thought it was an interesting premise and people would like it.


When did you start writing?

20 years ago.


When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

When I finished my first novel and got an agent to represent it. Unfortunately, he was never able to sell it to a publisher. After many years I decided to self-publish.


When did you decide that you wanted to write a book?

I had been writing song lyrics for several years. One day I wrote a chapter for a book, but stopped because I didn’t think I could write an entire novel. Two years later I read What Color is Your Parachute and looked at the chapter I had written. I continued from it and finished the novel about a year later.


What is your writing process?

Some people might think it’s crazy. I write notes as an outline on post-its, then write each chapter in a notebook. When I’m done writing the entire book in long hand, I type it on the computer and edit it several times. It takes a while, but I do wind up with a finished project.


How long does it take you to write your first draft?

Usually a year, but lately it has been a little faster, about 8 or 9 months.


Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

I believe the Kindle and all E-readers have opened up the book market tremendously. Writers don’t have to rely on traditional publishers anymore to see their books in print. It’s also great for readers because they provide more books to choose from at affordable prices. I bought a Kindle in September and use it every day. E-readers continue to grow and will probably replace paper books one day. I have mixed feelings about that because holding a book in your hands is different from holding a Kindle. However, the Kindle and other E-readers can hold thousands of books which save space and trees as well.


What kind of advice would you like to share with an aspiring writer who’s looking to publish a book for the first time?

I would tell them to believe in themselves and never give up. Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done. There will be obstacles and low points along the way, but if you persevere your book will be published. Try traditional publishers first, and if nothing happens within your set timeframe, publish on your own. Also, expect to make mistakes, but as long as you learn from them you will become a better writer.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Interview with Jennifer Willis

Name of the book: Valhalla

Kindle Price: $2.99


Available from:

(i.e. Amazon Kindle US, Amazon Kindle UK, Smashwords, Nook, etc) Amazon Kindle U.S., Amazon Kindle UK, Amazone Kindle Germany, Barnes & Noble (Nook), Goodreads
Authors Website: http://jennifer-willis.com


Bio:


Jennifer Willis is an author, essayist, and journalist in Portland, Oregon. In her non-fiction work, she specializes in topics related to sustainability, spirituality/religion, history, and health. Her articles have appeared in The Oregonian, The Christian Science Monitor, Salon.com, The Portland Tribune, The Writer, Ancestry Magazine, Aish.com, Skirt!, InterfaithFamily.com, Vegetarian Times, Spirituality & Health, and other print and online publications at home and across the globe.

In fiction, she focuses on urban fantasy and playful mayhem. Her new ebook, "Valhalla" is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Goodreads.

Visit her online at jennifer-willis.com.



How would you describe your story/book?



“Valhalla” is a work of YA/urban fantasy, involving the Norse gods having lost their divine powers and working regular jobs in Portland, Oregon, while still fulfilling their obligation to protect the World Tree, and by extension the entire universe. However, one of their own seeks to take possession of the Tree and so destroy the world, and there’s a very powerful but naive 16-year-old witch running about, accidentally calling up Berserker warriors when she thinks she’s casting spells for peace and harmony.

Here’s the ebook synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Sally Dahl is a rare, modern-day Norse Witch with more power than she realizes. Playing sick from school in Portland, she's casting rune spells during a rare astronomical convergence to bring about a better, happier planet -- and hoping her parents don't find out.

What Sally doesn't know is that the Norse gods are still around, albeit without their divine powers -- Odin is a high school principal, and blustering Thor is about to lose yet another job as a photocopier repairman. But Heimdall has the perfect cover as a forest ranger while he and his kin hunt for the newly reincarnated World Tree and try to prevent Ragnarok, the literal end of the world that could be timed to the same alignment of stars.

Instead, Sally stumbles across Managarm the Moon Dog, a lost god who seems desperate for her magickal help. But does he really share Sally's vision of a more peaceful world, or are his intentions much, much darker? And what can she do about the ancient Berserker warriors she accidentally calls up, who pledge their allegiance and then demand junk food runs to Voodoo Doughnut and Burgerville?


What will readers like about your book?

What I’ve been hearing most often from readers is that they enjoy the re-imagining of mythology for the 21st-century, the fun of having the story set in infamously irreverent Portland, and the humor that runs throughout the story.

While “Valhalla” is tailored to a Young Adult audiene -- so there’s no sex or drug use, some violence and creative cursing without using too many actual “bad” words -- I think I have more adults than young adults reading the ebook right now, so the story does appeal to a wide ranging audience.



What inspired you to write this particular story?


I’m afraid I don’t have a particularly inspiring answer to this question! One day as I was driving, I suddenly got the idea that it would be really funny if the great Norse thunderbolt god, Thor, had lost his divine powers (and his hammer) and had to find work as a photocopier repairman. I don’t remember precisely what inspired that thought, but it stuck with me and wouldn’t let go.

A few months later, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo; nanowrimo.org) was coming around again, and I started pondering what I might like to write about. I was having hot chocolate with another writer when I mentioned this image of “repairman Thor” I had in my head, and it seems to me that within about five minutes, other parts of the story for “Valhalla” started falling into place.

I still had to do a fair amount of research to learn more about the major and minor players in the Norse pantheon and to steep myself more deeply in Norse mythology -- and then to bring in the more human element by fleshing out Sally, the sixteen-year-old human witch who is at the center of it all.



When did you start writing?


This particular book? “Valhalla” was my NaNoWriMo project in November 2008. I then spent about 2.5 years -- on and off -- rewriting a number of different versions, before publishing the ebook at the end of April 2011.

When did I start writing in general? That’s a tougher question to answer. I’ve always been writing in one form or another, as far back as I can remember. However, because it was something I was always doing, I didn’t take it particularly seriously in terms of career direction for a good while.

As I worked in multimedia, IT and web development, I found my employers coming to me for their writing needs more and more, and a local (Richmond, VA) newspaper editor encouraged me to start freelancing for her paper. Before I knew it, I’d produced a decent portfolio of magazine and newspaper articles, business plans, user guides and more, and I decided in 1999 to focus on writing as a career.



When did you realize that you were a serious writer?


See above. (Got a little ahead of myself there!)



When did you decide that you wanted to write a book?


“Valhalla” is not my first book. I wrote “Rhythm” -- a “visionary fiction” story of a pair of soul twins -- over the course of about two years (1999-2001), and released that book in print in 2001. My writing style and voice have evolved significantly since then: “Rhythm,” while still whimsical, is more literary while “Valhalla” is decidedly quirkier.

Prior to that, I’d thought about writing a book for several years, but had been completely intimidated by the idea. It’s a large and daunting process! It took a while for me to work up the courage to give it a try. As luck would have it, my work group got laid off as part of a large corporate merger in 1999, and I used this as an opportunity to go to graduate school and to focus more seriously on writing -- through taking up technical and journalism projects, and trying my hand at novel-writing with “Rhythm.”



What is your writing process?


That’s a tough question to answer. A lot of it involves battling procrastination and getting myself to sit still long enough to concentrate on what I’m doing. Once I really engage, however -- whether it’s an essay, a newspaper feature or a novel draft -- it can be difficult to pull myself away from my work.

I still have a tendency to over-research, but I’m glad to have reached a point where I’m much less self-conscious about my writing style and material.


How long does it take you to write your first draft?

These days, I find I have great success writing first drafts each November when it’s time again for NaNoWriMo. I’ve participated -- and finished -- every year since 2004, and there’s only one NaNoWriMo project that I don’t plan to develop into a published book.

So these days, I’ll write a first draft in 30 insane days. There are now similar opportunities in July (JulNoWriMo) and August (NaNoWriMo Summer Camp) for people who either don’t want to wait until November or can’t do it then. After I’ve cleared this year’s projects from my plate -- because I am booked at this point through the remainder of 2011 -- I look forward to writing at least two first drafts each year.


Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?


As others have written, there are many advantages to going the route of indie publishing -- specifically focusing on ebooks. J.A. Konrath, for instance, has posted an enlightening -- and lengthy -- conversation with fellow author Barry Eisler on his blog about going the independent route.

Ebooks and e-readers continue to increase in popularity. Amazon released figures recently indicating that ebook sales from their inventory now outnumber their sales of hardcover and paperback books combined, and with more “established” authors jumping on the indie ebook bandwagon seemingly every day, there's not as much of a stigma associated with self-publishing as there used to be. In fact, many self-published authors (myself included) have adopted the term "indie author" to emphasize the positive opportunities of presenting our work directly to readers rather than going through third parties.

In the case of “Valhalla,” I'd been on the fence about self-publishing an ebook until this past March when I found out about the blockbuster summer movie "Thor," to be released at the beginning of May. While my story isn't at all related to comic books or superheroes, I do draw heavily on the same Norse mythology for my tale -- and Thor is one of my main characters.

Even though I was getting a good response from prospective literary agents while trying to go the more conventional route with “Valhalla,” I figured that if I wanted to take advantage of this unforeseen coincidence with “Thor” I’d have to act right away rather than waiting for the gears of traditional publishing to turn (which can take years). That’s what finally swayed me.




What kind of advice would you like to share with an aspiring writer who’s looking to publish a book for the first time?


I won’t get into giving advice on the craft of writing. There an countless books and untold blogs dedicated to that very subject. Assuming you’ve completed a manuscript -- and that you’ve also rewritten and revised it a few times, and have gotten input from editors and proofreaders -- your next step is to figure out how you want to have your book published.

Indie publishing isn’t for everyone. It’s a lot of hard work. Even though I knew going in that I was responsible for all of my own marketing, and even though I’d laid out a detailed plan for promoting “Valhalla,” I still found myself unprepared for just how much time and energy these efforts would require. Of course, many traditional publishing houses these days leave it up to the authors to do much (if not all) of their own marketing, so why not go indie and keep more of the proceeds for yourself?

Regardless of which route you choose, study other titles in your genre. Take a look at what’s selling and what’s not -- not so you can try to identify trends and hop on whatever bandwagon is most popular in the moment, but so you can look at how these books have been marketed. What strategies have those authors and publishing channels employed to get readers’ attention? Are there book reviewers who specialize in reviewing books like yours, and how can you get your title into their queue? Definitely get creative with your marketing. You don’t want to be obnoxious or spammy and end up alienating the audiences you most hope to reach, but you’ll also never know if a marketing strategy works until you give it a try.

Other than that, I’ll fall back on encouraging aspiring authors not to give up on themselves. Every writer who has ever had a single word published has stared at that same blank page and has wrestled with the same self-doubts. Your book may not be a global best-seller like “The Da Vinci Code” or the Harry Potter titles. It might not stand the test of time like Homer’s “The Odyssey” or Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina.” But if you never get your manuscript off of your computer harddrive or out of your notebook and into a form that readers can access, you’ll never know. And isn’t your story worth a try?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Interview with Sidney Williams

Name of the book:

Midnight Eyes


Kindle Price:
$3.99


Available from:

Amazon Kindle US, Amazon Kindle UK, Amazon Germany, Smashwords, Nook, Sony, Diesel e-book store, iPad and really almost anywhere e-books are sold.

http://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Eyes-ebook/dp/B004XQVSQW
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Midnight-Eyes-ebook/dp/B004XQVSQW/
http://www.amazon.de/Midnight-Eyes-ebook/dp/B004XQVSQW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=digital-text&qid=1307206464&sr=8-1
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/55304
http://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/sidney-williams/midnight-eyes/_/R-400000000000000378966
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/midnight-eyes-sidney-williams/1030939854?ean=2940012481436&itm=1&usri=midnight%2Beyes%2Bsidney%2Bwilliams


Authors Website:

www.sidisalive.com


Bio:

I'm a former newspaper reporter and the author of numerous published books. I'm currently published by Crossroad Press which has brought out many of my original novels in Kindle, Nook and other e-book editions. In addition to fiction writing, I've worked as a librarian and web content editor. In 2010, I earned an MFA from Goddard College. I met my wife when we worked at the same newspaper. She’s a healthcare marketing executive, and we are the custodians of four cats.


How would you describe your book?

It’s a novel, a psychological thriller with mystery elements. It’s about the brutal murders of several men in a small Louisiana city. All are possibly involved with a mysterious woman. The unsolved murders create a political firestorm for the sheriff. He has to call in his estranged son, Wayland Hood, who’s a behavioral science specialist. A TV reporter is in the mix as well, pursuing her own ideas about the case which involve a theory that the present murders are tied to an attack years earlier. It all builds to an action climax.


What will readers like about your book?

I hope they find that it has a lot of suspense and mystery with surprising twists. Several plot and character strands converge, unveiling the big picture as the story unfolds. It’s not just about identifying a killer but unlocking a number of guilty secrets underlying the central city’s veneer.

The strained relationship between father and son is at the core of everything also. They have to work out their personal issues while trying to solve the case. That means a lot of conflict. Wayland is plagued by his mother’s death and by the stress of his FBI work. Coming home and working with his father is a tough journey for him and challenges a lot of what he’s about. Jemy Reardon, the TV reporter, is an interesting character to me also. She’s an ethical journalist with an editor who has a vendetta. She has to work on the big story while appeasing him and maintaining her personal standards. Everything builds toward the climax in rural Louisiana. There’s a confrontation, danger for the core characters and an action sequence that’s kind of unlike what, I believe, readers have seen. I got the idea for that portion while working as a librarian. I had to look up some material for a patron, and I thought the activity might fold well into a storyline.


What inspired you to write this particular story?

When I worked for years as a reporter in Central Louisiana, I saw cops at work, and experienced news from the inside also. This is kind of the culmination of my journalism experience and of seeing both sides of the coin. I covered a lot of crime as a general assignment reporter. This novel is not based on any one case, but it reflects what I observed about human behavior. It seemed in the city where I worked, which was medium sized, we had one major, heinous crime a year. Some of those still haunt me because I was exposed to details even when I didn’t visit the scenes. The human nature that drove some of those cases is kind of at the core of this story.


When did you start writing?

When I was very young. I wrote as a teen. I completed a trunk novel when I was in college, a private eye story. I decided I didn’t have anything new at that time to bring to what Chandler and Ross MacDonald had done, so I looked in new directions. I wrote into the wee hours of the morning when I was a beginning reporter. It was kind of brutal to balance–news work and fiction writing, but I was determined not to let my newspaper job destroy what I wanted to do. You hear the same story from many writers. They wrote on the bus on the way to work. They scribbled wherever they could. They found a balance. I think it indicates that somehow writing is part of the genetic makeup of those who do it. I really feel a kinship with everyone who’s driven to pursue creative effort. I don’t ever want to sound pretentious. That just seems to be true.


When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

I guess early on. I guess I always wanted to tell stories with some underlying meaning even though I was writing genre fiction. I read Faulkner when I was a young reporter or tried to. I’ve been more successful in recent years in reading and starting to understand Faulkner. Absalom, Absalom is a fabulous book if you can penetrate it. I pursued an MFA because I wanted to understand thematic writing better. I want to write books that people want to read, but I want to inject them with the true reflection of the human spirit and human experience that, I believe, elevates a work. Though I’m more of a literalist, I’m also intrigued by books like The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami that also that function metaphorically and kind of mysteriously.


When did you decide that you wanted to write a book?

In high school at least. I read Chandler, Poe, Lovecraft, Stephen King. In reading, I knew something like that was what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to do something creative anyway, and to write a book you just have to sit down and write it. You didn’t have to go penetrate the Hollywood system or the New York theater world. I’m from the South. You couldn’t throw a stick and hit a writing program when I was a kid. I had Writer’s Digest, a couple of encouraging teachers and I read and observed and forged ahead.


What is your writing process?

As I mentioned, I wrote in the wee hours in the early days. I’m a web editor for a healthcare system now, so I’m in a corporate setting. I write in the mornings before work now. I’m more alert, after a cup of coffee, during that time. I feel unfettered, unburdened. Often I sit on my sofa with a MacBook, put the shopping channels on mute and hammer away.


How long does it take you to write your first draft?

I’m slower than I once was. I contemplate narrative decisions more these days. I have a fantasy thriller that I’ve been working on for a while now and that will take me a while to finish. Midnight Eyes was written in a creative burst a couple of years after I stopped working in newspapers. It took probably six months for the first draft and then a few months of rewriting. My first agent on it kind of crashed and burned, so I put it aside. When I started having books roll out from Crossroad Press, I decided to look at it again. I did a five-month re-write, updating and re-polishing. Happily I was really pleased reading the plotting cold. I surprised myself with a few twists. Sometimes I’d say: “OK, I can cut this.” Then I’d get several chapters forward and realize: “THAT’S why I put that in. OK it stays.”


Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

It’s a changing world. That’s where the readers are moving, and David Niall Wilson of Crossroad approached me about bringing my backlist out. I thought about it, wondered if I should just let my backlist be a closed chapter of my writing life, let it be something that people find in used bookstores. Then I thought I’d rather have it out there for people to find easily. What I’m writing now is quite different in some ways than what came before, but I’m happy to have the early part of my work available anew


What kind of advice would you like to share with an aspiring writer who’s looking to publish a book for the first time?

Diligence on all fronts is what’s critical. Write everyday, get something down and revise it until it’s the best you can make it and always look forward. Read and study the craft and don’t worry how anyone else is doing. Don’t worry much about what they’re saying either. If there’s something beneficial learn from it, if it’s a negative personal opinion let it slide.