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Friday, August 26, 2011

Interview with Suzy Turner

Name of the book: Raven (Part I of The Raven Saga)

Kindle Price: $2.99

Available from: Amazon Kindle US, Amazon Kindle UK, Smashwords

Authors Website: http://suzyturner.com & http://suzyturner.blogspot.com

Bio:

Although I'm a Yorkshire lass at heart, I left my home town of Rotherham, UK, to move to Portugal with my family when I was ten. The Algarve continues to be my home, where I live with my childhood sweetheart and husband Michael and our menagerie of cats and dogs.
My career began soon after completing my A levels when I was offered the position of trainee journalist for a local English newspaper. My love of writing developed and a few years later I moved on to become assistant editor for the region's largest English language publisher. Since then I have also worked as the editor of one of the Algarve's most loved monthly lifestyle magazines. Early in 2010 I was made redundant and so I began working as a freelance writer and author.


Tell me about your book?

Raven is a fantasy novel for children and young adults set in the beautiful province of British Columbia. After the inexplicable disappearance of Lilly Taylor's parents, she has no choice but to move to Canada where she unravels some frightening yet intriguing family secrets...
Her whole life had been based on a lie. Lilly had grown up in a loveless home with a father who she had barely ever seen and a mother who was... well, not very motherly.
After they mysteriously disappear without a trace, Lilly is sent to Canada where she finds a whole new way of life. A life filled with love and people who care for her. But that's not all she discovers, Lilly also finds out that she isn't who, or what, she thinks she is.
Lilly has a very special ability and it's just a matter of time before her true self starts to shine. And when it does, her life will never be the same again.


What will readers like about your book? That it's mysterious and a little eerie. It will keep them guessing about what's going to happen next. It should appeal to all ages.

What inspired you to write this particular story? It was while visiting western Canada in 2009. We were sitting having a picnic on a little beach in Powell River, surrounded by the most awe inspiring natural beauty. Little islands off in the distance, trees everywhere, the ocean lapping by our feet while fish kept hopping in and out of the water. The beach was covered in huge pieces of driftwood too. It was so serene... and yet a little eerie. This all got the cogs of my brain turning and, a few months later, the idea for Raven was born.

When did you start writing? I always loved the process of writing, even at school, but it wasn't until I began working as a journalist that I realised I wasn't too bad at it!

When did you realize that you were a serious writer? After I'd written my first novel (Molly, a romantic comedy), I tried to get an agent but failed and so I gave up trying for a little while. But once I knew I had it in me, I guess I knew then that I was serious.

When did you decide that you wanted to write a book? It was after reading an interview with an author I liked (Jenny Colgan). Everything she said just appealed to me and I knew then that I had to give it a try.

Why did you choose this particular genre to write your book in? Although I write in two different genres (chick lit and YA urban fantasy), the setting of Powell River was just too perfect not to write a fantasy book based there. I am also a big fan of both genres... I love everything supernatural and everything girlie!

What is your writing process? I give myself targets to work to... for example, I start off telling myself I must write 10,000 words by the end of the week. I work so hard during that time that I've usually written closer to 25,000!

How long does it take you to write your first draft? In total, probably three or four weeks but then of course it's all the re-writing, editing and proofreading that is so time consuming.

Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders? After receiving 18 standard rejection letters from agents, I was feeling a bit downtrodden. A friend of a friend had put his book on amazon and told me how easy it was so I thought I'd give it a go. I was excited at the prospect of my book finally getting into the hands of readers and I'm absolutely delighted at the feedback I've had so far. I had my first review by a book blogger the other day and she gave Raven 5 stars!

What kind of advice would you like to share with an aspiring writer who’s looking to publish a book for the first time? Just do it! Unless your book isn't up to scratch, you've got nothing to lose. I would recommend you get either a professional editor or several other people to look at your book first though. And work hard on your cover... that first impression is crucial.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Interview with Best-Selling Author Blake Crouch

Name of the book: RUN

Kindle Price: $2.99

Available from:Amazon Kindle US, Amazon Kindle UK, Smashwords, Nook, Createspace, Kobo, Diesel

Authors Website: www.blakecrouch.com

Bio:

BLAKE CROUCH is the author of DESERT PLACES, LOCKED DOORS, SNOWBOUND, and ABANDON, which was an IndieBound Notable Selection, all published by St. Martin's Press. Blake's latest thriller, RUN, his first indie release, hit the Amazon Top 50.

His short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Thriller 2, Shivers VI, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and other anthologies.

In 2009, he co-wrote "Serial" with JA Konrath, which has been downloaded over 500,000 times and topped the Kindle bestseller list for 4 weeks. That story and ABANDON have also been optioned for film. He is currently at work with JA Konrath on the novel STIRRED, the conclusion to his Andrew Z. Thomas series. Blake lives in Colorado. His website is www.blakecrouch.com.


Tell me about your book?

For fans of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Thomas Harris, picture this: a landscape of American genocide...

5 D A Y S A G O
A rash of bizarre murders swept the country…
Senseless. Brutal. Seemingly unconnected.
A cop walked into a nursing home and unloaded his weapons on elderly and staff alike.
A mass of school shootings.
Prison riots of unprecedented brutality.
Mind-boggling acts of violence in every state.

4 D A Y S A G O
The murders increased ten-fold…

3 D A Y S A G O
The President addressed the nation and begged for calm and peace…

2 D A Y S A G O
The killers began to mobilize…

Y E S T E R D A Y
All the power went out…

T O N I G H T
They’re reading the names of those to be killed on the Emergency Broadcast System. You are listening over the battery-powered radio on your kitchen table, and they’ve just read yours.

Your name is Jack Colclough. You have a wife, a daughter, and a young son. You live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. People are coming to your house to kill you and your family. You don’t know why, but you don’t have time to think about that any more.

You only have time to….

R U N



What will readers like about your book?

I hope the intensity of the pacing, the realism, and most of all, that they fall in love with the characters.


What inspired you to write this particular story?

A simple question that popped into my mind a couple years ago....what would an American genocide look like?


When did you start writing?

8 years old.


When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

When I was a senior in high school and set out to write my first novel.


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

Because these are the types of books that I love to read.


What is your writing process?

I will typically try to hit 1000 words per day. When I have those 1000, I'll take a break, and then read through them again. Usually, I find that I've merely sketched out the scene and I'll go back in and bring more detail. I do this for several months until I have a first draft. Then I share it with a few trusted friends to get their take.


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

About 4 months, give or take.


Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

At first, just as an experiment to see what would happen, and as a way to get my short stories to a wider audience. Now...because it gives the writer complete and total control.


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

Read a lot, write a lot, rinse, repeat. There's truly no secret other than immersing yourself in the consumption and creation of the written word.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Interview with Khyrra

Name of the book:

First Monday In August


Kindle Price:

$1.99



Available from:

Amazon, Amazon Kindle, LuLu (paperback & download), Barnes & Noble (Nook is pending), Alibris



Authors Website:

www.khyrra.webs.com


Bio:

Khyrra has always been a gifted story teller and finally decided to put that gift to work in 2007 after writing & self-publishing First Monday In August her first novel. She's currently working on the sequel to First Monday In August, entitled Your Tomorrow May Be Today so please keep an eye out for the release. She's super excited about this path God has placed beneath her feet to share her stories with the world and she hopes you enjoy the stories as much as she's enjoys writing them. Happily married for eleven years & counting, the support of her husband & close family members means the world to her & she is forever grateful. She was born & raised in Mt. Vernon, Ga. & currently resides outside of Atlanta. Stay tuned! Because you haven't seen the last of her yet!


Tell me about your book?

First Monday In August is a riveting sequence of events stemming from the murder of Omar Bentley, the local football star who was headed to greatness. This small Georgia town is rocked to its core with the secrets that start spilling forth. Tyeese, who witnesses the murder, is afraid to tell anyone because that would mean confessing her infidelity to her longtime boyfriend Turk. But as we all know, what's done in the dark surely comes to light. And as Turk tries to figure out what’s going on with the woman he loves, he will face some of his own demons along the way. Tyeese's godfather Malcolm, who is home for the first time in years, wants to help but finds that investigating the murder of this young man reveals a love he thought was long gone. Could Omar be the son he never got the chance to know? And if so, how will he handle this news?

Mama Cee and Papa Walter regrets the decision they made those years ago to keep the knowledge of Omar a secret for their son's safety. Sometimes pain is caused even when it's not intended. Feeling that if the knowledge of their son's relationship with Sarai ever got out, it would probably put this small Georgia town on a level of unrest; racial discord that will unsettle the already fragile way of life in their part of the South. This first Monday in August is one the residents won't soon forget.

First Monday In August is an entertaining story of love, lust, betrayal, and family secrets which will keep readers captivated until the very end. Step into the lives of Tyeese, Turk, Malcolm, Sarai, and a host of other memorable characters as life does what it does best, teach.



What will readers like about your book?

I hope they enjoy everything, but I feel my willingness to "go there" with any of my characters is what readers will enjoy most. They get to see the good, the bad, & the ugly of life & be entertained along the way.


What inspired you to write this particular story?

I’m from a small town with one stop light, so not many people know that First Monday in August is an actual event that goes on there. I wanted to share some of my small town upbringing, wrap it up into an intriguing story of love, murder, racial differences, etc.


When did you start writing?

I would say off and on since elementary school but I began to take it seriously in 2004.


When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

I realized this after reading the first few chapters I’d written of First Monday in August and was in disbelief that I’d actually written it. And after the shock wore off I felt very proud and said “this is me”. I found I enjoy the entire process of writing a story, building each character, each facet of what makes them tick, the situations they find themselves to be in; much like we do in life. Along with my hyperactive imagination; there's something about stepping into their "shoes" & viewing life through their eyes.


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

A very good friend encouraged me to give it a try after committing the offense of telling her an entire movie she’d wanted to see. She said "you described it so well it felt like I just watched it. You should write a book." I thought of a story line & sat down to the keyboard; a new passion blossomed within me.


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

I still don’t know what genre my story fits into. I simply wrote a story that came from the heart of me.


What is your writing process?

Kissing the hubby goodbye for a few hours, no tv, no internet, no phone; just me, wine, music, and a losing myself in a story.


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

It depends, with First Monday In August it took me about 6 months. Since I’ve been working on the sequel, it’s been 3 years off and on between bouts of writers block and life in general.


Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

I’m learning to keep up with how consumers are purchasing, not everyone wants to be an old fashioned page turner.


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

No one author is like the other so don't worry about where your book will fit in the grand scheme of things. You'll have some people who feel you & some who won't. Don’t be afraid to keep learning and do what’s best for you as an author rather it be to self-publish, publish online via e-book, or publish traditionally.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why I Don't Post 1-star Book Reviews

As I've made my return to writing and publishing books, I've dedicated myself to becoming a student of writing fiction. How? By reading books from the best authors in the genres I love to read and write: mysteries, suspense, thrillers and romance. In doing so, I've mostly been reading books by Stephen King, Dean Koontz, JA Konrath, and recently I gave John Locke a try --I'm impressed. This is not to say that I haven't given any indie authors a try, for JA Konrath and John Locke have certainly become some of my favorite authors. Blake Crouch, Misha Crews, and Scott Nicholson also write page turning novels that I enjoy. On the converse, I've read a lot of shitty novels that were overly descriptive, didn't transition well from scene to scene, and needed an editor, both indie and traditionally published-- which dispels the myth that big, traditional publishers do a wonderful job of quality control to ensure that fecal matter doesn't get released.

Sometimes, I've become so frustrated after finishing someone's crap novel that I started to go to their Amazon.com page to give a detailed reason as to why their book sucks, but I thought better of doing so. Even then, I would have given the book two stars.

One reason I don't post 1-star reviews is because I remember when I first released A Thousand Chances on paperback. I didn't get an editor, because I didn't have the money for one and I didn't see a need for one, until a friend of mine book pointed out a very critical error. I wrote one of my friend's names as one of the characters... oops! Since then, I've realized the importance of having editors beat my manuscript to a living pulp because no author catches all of their own mistakes.

The second reason is because the book has to be epically bad. I'm talking about instances where every element in the story was fucked up. The only work I can think of that accomplished the epic fuck up status was a movie entitled Sweetback's Bad Ass Song --clearly the worst fucking movie I've ever seen. For the most part, no one with a brain fucks up this badly. And to give Melvin Van Peebles credit, the same bad movie I referred to was critically acclaimed in many circles. Unless you wrote Sweetback's Bad Ass Song as a novel, your book is not an epic fuck up.

The final reason is because I know that the author has put a lot of work into his/her book to sit at a computer and work on a story for days, weeks, months and sometimes years. Contrary to my former high school classmates opinion, I'm not a big enough asshole to rip someone's heart out and start feeding on it right before their eyes when all they've done is write a shitty novel that they worked hard on. Not to mention that there's usually a thin line between a good novel and a bad one. For instance, I've been reading an urban lit novel --don't laugh at me-- where the plot was pretty good, but the execution of it wasn't because 1) her descriptions throughout every scene disrupted the dialouge and made it difficult for me to keep up with the story; 2)the sequence of events made no sense; 3)the author placed unnecessary scenes just for the sake of meeting a page count; 4) she didn't transition well from scene to scene.

My subjective opinion is that she was writing the book from the seat of her pants. Some authors execute their stories effectively writing in this manner, but most can't. In her case, I could tell that she wrote chapter by chapter, and that she had no idea what should happen next after finishing a chapter. Because of this, her story lacked the cohesion that would have made it a page turner. Even with all of this said, she wrote a two-star book because she did one or two things right with her book. She just did more wrong things.

Besides, if I really felt that a book was awful enough to warrant 1-star, I'd shoot that author an email and respectfully explain why.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Interview with Michael Lamendola



Name of the book:
Dirty Work (THE RED FOX SERIES Book 1 of 2)


Kindle Price:
$2.99… It costs more to buy a gallon of gas, and my books will take you so much further!


Seriously?
Seriously. You try driving to all the dive bars in San Diego. Follow that with a ten mile street race on interstates and highways, THEN all the way to San Diego’s East County, all the while stopping in a dozen other places, for $2.99. A Prius can’t do it, but DIRTY WORK can.


Available from:
Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, iBookStore, Sony, Kobo, Diesel


Authors Website:
http://www.MichaelLamendola.net
Preview chapters can be found at http://www.MichaelLamendola.net/RedFox.html
You can also follow me on Twitter @MichaelDola.


Tell me a little about yourself:



I make my bread as a cruise ship singer… seriously. I’ve been all over the world sweating over a hot microphone while donning a sequined bow tie, most recently a year contract working on the Asuka II, a Japanese cruise ship sailing all over Japan and the South Pacific. It took years of training to wear gaudy clothes and sing show tunes, and I have a MFA in Musical Theatre to show for it… really, they actually give out those things! When I’m not singing “Blue Spanish Eyes” off the coast of Estonia, I can be found in San Diego playing disc golf, jogging, or hanging out by the ocean.


Tell me about your book.


Okay, going to avoid just cutting and pasting the book’s blurb here and shoot from the hip… It all starts when two guys end up inadvertently pissing off a small Mexican crime family. Running an errand to make things right, they end up getting on the wrong side of an illegal gambling kingpin with a thirst for revenge, and a verb for a name. Stumbling face first into a world of organized crime, they realize that staying alive means learning who to trust and how to kill. A handshake deal with the Mexicans who want them dead takes more than guts, and to survive they'll need all the booze-fueled courage they can swallow, quick and dirty lessons in semi-automatics, and a rust-bucket Buick with a leaky trunk full of luck. I may have cut and pasted a little there… sue me.


What will readers like about your book?

Here’s the deal, and one of the main reasons why I wrote DIRTY WORK. I have read so many dust jackets and back covers of the crime and suspense genre claiming that the book in my hands is funny. And you know what? It never is… and that kills me. My crime thrillers claim to be “funnier than hell,” and I guarantee that you will laugh out loud while reading them. Add that to my sarcastic protagonists, loads of foul language, shootouts, car chases, awesome sweeping metaphors, bad guys that know how to be bad, good girls that know how to be bad, poor decision making, and enough drinking to make Betty Ford swoon. My stuff is basically Literary Porn.


Literary Porn?

Yeah, Literary Porn. I came up with the phrase when I was writing DIRTY WORK. While my books can be enjoyed by anyone, I want them to also be the gateway drug for guys (and girls) who don’t consider themselves to be readers. My books are easy to pick up and enjoy, no matter if the last thing you read was “Jane Eyre” or “The Auto Trader.”


What inspired you to write this particular story?

Well, I had just read one too many of Stuart Woods’ Stone Barrington novels. I used to like them because I was living vicariously through the title character’s romps through upper crust muck, but in the end I grew distant for the same reason. I mean, “Hot Mahogany?” Come on Stuart, why do I care about deck shoe wearing New Englander uppity snobs trying to hustle some guy with a counterfeit piece of antique furniture?!? So I thought “what would normal people identify with?” And that’s how I came up with the feel for DIRTY WORK. I took the idea of Stone Barrington, your typical “Man’s man and lady’s man,” and distilled it down to an everyman kind of character. The kind you’d find sitting at a bar or walking down the street… just your average guy with nothing special going on. Only this guy gets tossed smack dab into a bad situation that he isn’t prepared for and will kick his ass if he doesn’t learn how to fight back. What if that was you or me? I’m cornered, can’t go to the cops, so it’s gonna be curtains unless I grow a pair and fight back. To me, this type of situation is more identifiable with a broad group of people.


When did you start writing?

I started a blog back in 2006 (www.MichaelLamendola.Blogspot.com) and did a few ramblings about my hometown of Waco, Texas (yes, that Waco), and a couple more about some stupid mailing the USPS did with some Cathy cartoons on them. Then I started working on ships and travelling all over the world. I started to see tons of interesting things that I wanted to share them with my friends, so I started to write about them. I think I have over fifty travel blogs now, all pretty substantial in size, talking all about life on cruise ships and my travels. It’s blogging that help me cut my writing teeth, and prepare me for writing novels.


When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

I guess it was sometime in 2007. I was revisiting a blog I had written while in the Baltic when I realized I had developed a voice. I went back and read some more of my blogs and noticed that they were all written sarcastically and had a funny edge… at least to me. That leant itself to my RED FOX SERIES, since my main character is so pessimistic and sarcastic about everything that’s happening to him. It was that, or maybe it was in 2009 when I started work on my second novel, THRIFT STORE BOUNTY HUNTERS. Or maybe it’s now, since there’s some guy on the Internet who wants to know when I became a serious writer… yeah, never thought of it until you mentioned it. I guess now would be a good time. From now on, you may only address me as Michael, Serious Writer.


Okay Michael, Serious Writer, when did you decide that you wanted to write a book?


Honestly, I read some Stuart Woods book, maybe “Hot Mahogany” or something similar, and after finishing it and feeling a bit unsatisfied, I thought “I could do better.” I bet a lot of writers have started because of the same reason… at least those of us who don’t have any formal training.


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

I just fell into it. A few years ago the only stuff I read was… well… I didn’t read. But during one sea day too many cruising between Bermuda and Boston, I went to the ship’s library and picked up “Dirty Work” by Stuart Woods. For a guy who doesn’t read, I killed that book in 48 hours. After that I started to find other books by Woods. The earlier stuff, as some of you know, was way better. I guess if I had picked up “Under the Tuscan Sun” things would have turned out differently. But really, I’m a guy… I like action and boobs and fights and dirty words and car chases. You don’t find that sorta stuff in many other genres. And it’s no coincidence that Stuart and I share a title. I didn’t know how overused the phrase “Dirty Work” was then, but I know now. It was sort of my wink and nod to the guy that, for better or worse, inspired me to get going. Still, I decided to go a more unique direction with the sequel’s title, THRIFT STORE BOUNTY HUNTERS, though you’ll still find one or two hidden references to Woods’ titles in there. In any case, I thought the action sequences in Woods’ “Dirty Work” were cool, and liked how Stone always knew what to say, but I wanted more of both, and I’ve made sure my books have plenty.


What is your writing process?

Organic from the seat of my pants. I know I know, it’s probably the wrong way, but I like the freedom of just closing my eyes and mashing down on the pedal. So far I’m two for two, with no heavy rewrites of either manuscript. I like to listen to music while I write as well. For DIRTY WORK, I wrote the bulk of it listening to Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast” album. For THRIFT STORE BOUNTY HUNTERS I went with Pandora Radio, and trained a station to play organ funk from artists like Booker T and the MGs and The Beastie Boys. Usually I am highly caffeinated when I write, especially since I write most of my stuff at Twiggs Coffee House here in San Diego.


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

It changes from book to book. I was still teaching myself how to write in novel form when I wrote DIRTY WORK. As I wrote, if a question popped up, I would literally pull out a Stuart Woods’ paperback and see what he did… no kidding. The way I thought about it was if I just dropped $7.99 on a small ream of paper, whatever is in there is probably done the right way. I wrote the first draft of DW in two periods of time from the fall of 2007 until the fall of 2008. If I were to bunch all the typing time together? Beats me… probably several months worth of solid work. Now the sequel, THRIFT STORE BOUTNY HUNTERS, I wrote in one period of time, and it took me six weeks to peel out a first draft. Tell ya what, for my next book I’ll set a stopwatch out…


I’ve also seen that you recently made a book trailer for Dirty Work. Was that easy?


Actually, yeah, it was. Some of the others I’ve seen use stock footage, and it all looks pretty detached from the story they are trying to push. All I did was some interesting close up pans of my cover and then narrated the book’s blurb on top. I think it’s pretty compelling, but I’d love to know what everyone else thinks. You can check it out on Youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRM2eyprlts. Leave a comment and tell me how I did!


Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

Welp, I tried the literary agent route first, and learned all there is to know about it from the thousands of different opinions on the web. After distilling down what I felt was the best way to go, I went for it. I got some positive feedback, but that’s about it. I let the manuscript sit in my computer for another year, and finally I said “to hell with it! All I want is for people to enjoy what I worked so hard on!” The waitress at Applebee’s didn’t know what I was talking about… but it didn’t matter. So, after teaching myself how to format for eReaders, (and there isn’t a silver bullet approach for that either) I sent it out there. To me, there’s the Kindle… and then everyone else. Sorry B&N, but the Kindle (and the Kindle app) is the Kleenex of the eReaders, at least for now. Even in the tablet world, I feel that the Kindle App has them all beat, and has the biggest marketplace to boot. My sales numbers have reflected this 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 am actually writing a blog about this right now. Here’s the deal: don’t worry about your market, the rules, proper format, and all that other bull shit. Just write for yourself. Write what moves you and tell your story. And finally, don’t think of other people’s opinions while you create. It was a hurdle for me to get over, but it really opened me up creatively once I did.

Interview with Rosanne Dingli

Name of the book:

According to Luke is my newest novel. A romantic thriller with a religious twist, it is published by BeWrite Books.

Kindle Price: Amazon.com = US $5.95. Amazon.co.uk = £4.27 Amazon.de = €4.77



Available from:
All Amazon stores worldwide in eBook and paperback; B&N nook, Sony Bookstore, Book Depository worldwide, WH Smith, and wherever good books are sold.


Authors Website: http://www.rosannedingli.com and http://rosannedingli.blogspot.com

Bio:

Rosanne Dingli – originally from Malta – has lived in Australia since 1982. Her writing has appeared in journals, magazines and other periodicals since 1985. Literary Mouse Press (now defunct) published her collection of awarded and published poems in 1991. Her first novel, Death in Malta, appeared under the BeWrite Books imprint in 2005, and is still her bestseller. In 2011, Dingli independently published her body of short works, which went out of print in 2003, in seven small volumes she made available on Kindle and in paperback. Her new thriller According to Luke was released in March 2011 to critical acclaim.

Rosanne Dingli has been connected to the publishing industry in some role or other since 1985. She has worked as editor, author, journalist, EIC, literary editor, manuscript assessor, slush pile reader, proofer, columnist and reviewer for various state and local periodicals, university journals and presses, and online. She has served on the WA State Literature Board for two terms, and on the management of the KSP Foundation in Western Australia, among a host of other roles and responsibilities. She has lectured in English, Creative Writing and Journalism at ECU, and has taught at TAFE. As a languages teacher, she has also taught Italian and French.

Tell me about your book.

I would like to talk about According to Luke, which BeWrite Books released in March and which I launched in Perth with an unusual exhibition launch in May 2011. I worked with a local award-winning artist who painted and sculpted images and icons from the narrative.

It is a time-and-place significant novel that many people say is engaging, although controversial. I wrote it around a premise that started as a joke and ended up as a very feasible concept. I also used important European locations – places I have visited in person and which became inextricable from the main thrust of the story – and finished up the narrative in Australia, which is after all, a location of personal significance for me and many of my readers.

According to Luke contains an alternative biblical explanation that will astound some and to which others will react with quiet understanding. I treated it with the respect it deserves, and I have been told that readers with differing viewpoints have found something with which they could agree.



What will readers like about your book?

So far, I have had praise for the pacey writing, the weaving of plot and story, and most of all the lifelike characters, who all have some sort of engaging fallible side, yet display some strength. I made them inconsistent and very human, and readers say they can relate to them immediately. Writing character-driven fiction is something I feel I have learned to do with some facility, although I am still learning about real people, and how to make characters in a book act, feel and seem like real people.



What inspired you to write this particular story?

I have a deep distrust of ‘inspiration’ and ‘ideas’ – I do not like idea-driven things because they are generally short-lived and rely on aspects that need a surprise or novel element. I like to write about old notions to which I give a new angle or perspective. In the end, when people read, they like to find bits of themselves in a book, even if it is fiction. I like to present the human condition, how people perceive it affects them, and float that in a story whose plot is somehow possible. According to Luke came to us at a breakfast time discussion, almost as a joke, but eventually built into a story I could work with. When I visited the locations in 2008, I did not suspect they would move me as deeply as they did – I changed the entire plot and turned the narrative upside-down, inside-out and back-to-front. Locations do that to me… perhaps you can say that’s inspiration.



When did you start writing?

During the Winter, in a New South Wales country town, in 1985. I read the introduction to a book that described me – and what I wanted to do – in such an eloquent and personal way that there was nothing I could do but what it told me to do. It was the Penguin Book of Australian Women Poets. I took my Olivetti manual typewriter and turned it into an author’s tool rather than just an instrument to write letters to my mother in Malta. It was the beginning of something very fundamental – I was always good with words and people would say I should be a lawyer. But what I should have been was an author, so I started then, and the trickle of success spurred me onward, to when I met my husband, who promptly gave me a computer and steered me towards fiction in a very definite way. He recognized something in my writing I could not really see myself, and I shall never forget that.



When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

When I could joke about it. Not taking oneself too seriously is vital – I have always called myself a dabbler and of course my fans protest that it’s just not true. What makes an author realize what they do is for real is good research, drastic rewriting and careful planning, whether it takes place on paper, on a spreadsheet or in their head. Planning and “cooking” a novel slowly over a number of months is a serious business. But to consider yourself a serious author does not always work – it needs to be tempered with humor, with real life, the responsibility of family, work, pets… it is a complicated mix not unlike the development of a very good novel. Life and work must contain a complex mix of things, and a good novel must present the reader with enough of the human condition and all that is compelling in life, if it is to work in any ‘serious’ way.


How did your family and friends respond the day that you told them you would give this “writing thing” a try?

Oh – friends only take you seriously when you make a physical point of it. A real book to place in their hands, a mention in a paper they read… it’s a well-known fact that the hardest people to ‘sell’ your success or books to are your friends, because they know you well and know you could not possibly be that name on the cover of that book. And I never tried to be a writer – I just became one, one lonely Winter. There were no ifs or maybes. There I was. And I made no announcements.

Family is different – I would never be enjoying any sort of success without the belief and admiration of my husband, who perpetuated the idea and made me see there were stories and narratives in the short pieces I wrote that should really have been novels. We have two teenagers now, and although they do not really read what I write, they respond to my writing in a very normal way… it’s what their mum does. Mums do stuff. This is my stuff.



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

My first novel, Death in Malta, had to be written rather quickly before I had my son in 1995. I knew there would not be another quiet moment, so in 6-8 weeks I had a rough draft, which then took about two years to fix. There were lots of breaks, and subsequently Jacobyte Books published it in 2001. It was lack of time that spurred me on – it always works for me to have the devil treading on my tail. BeWrite took it up when Jacobyte called it a day in 2005. The ‘decision’ to write a book is always a practical expedient for me, decided by time and what else is happening in my life. Teaching was very distracting. When I stopped in 2009, According to Luke took real shape, and I could proceed. BeWrite Books sent it back for a re-write they wanted within a certain time, so I did it – it’s external forces that make me ‘decide’.


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

I did not know where to place what I had written really, when I conceived According to Luke, until BeWrite Books told me I had written a thriller, which was news to me. I always inject a mysterious element, but they showed me I had written a romantic thriller with a religious twist, which fitted in the genre that Daniel Silva, Dan Brown, Lev Grossman and Bill Napier, among others, had written in with great success. I was pleased it could be categorized in some way – still, I feel it belongs in the general fiction slot, because it has elements that can be enjoyed by those that read literary fiction, romance, and controversial novels, as well.



What is your writing process?

It is haphazard and takes places mostly in my head… while I am doing other things such as cooking, ironing, or cleaning a bathroom, shopping, tidying up or calculating something complicated. My head multi-tasks. Then I spend a lot of time procrastinating online, and eventually I squeeze a deadline out of something else and place my hands over the keyboard with a new Word doc, and it all comes out of my fingers. I have taught writing classes, and that is nothing like the processes and methods I advocated of course – but how one does write and how one should write are really two different things. The methods and processes I value all occur, but they most take place mentally. Having physical and actual writing discipline is a monumental phenomenon I have not mastered yet.


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

Which – According to Luke? Ages. It was one of those books that did not really consolidate until I had seen my locations. Sitting at a restaurant in Venice, visiting Santa Maria della Salute, sitting at an outdoor café in Ravenna – the places got me going. We came back home to Australia and I tapped it all out. I have no idea now how long it took: perhaps a year. It took ages to rewrite and edit, polish, rewrite and edit again. BeWrite Books accepted the final finished draft in May 2010.



What kind of reaction do you get when you tell people that you’re an author?
I do not announce it publicly that much. There are so many authors these days that it’s not such a big deal. Some are slightly impressed and others raise an eyebrow. Some ask if they can get my books at the local Dymocks.


Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

My publishers, BeWrite Books, have been poised for the amazing explosion that happened last year ever since I signed my first contract with them in 2005. Ebooks were nothing new to Jacobyte Books in 2001 – Death in Malta was available as a PDF right away. BeWrite had all their titles on Kindle almost immediately – it made perfect sense for them and it actually works. When I took my out-of-print works and put them out independently, it made sense to follow suit. I did what BeWrite does so successfully, and used Kindle, Nook and Sony Bookstore.


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 do it. Get as far away from publishing as you possibly can. Do something else that’s impossible, like travelling the canals of Europe in a barrel, or making a living as a Prince William impressionist. Publishing is a crazy industry that is only getting crazier, and there is little room available for newcomers simply because it IS full of newcomers who glimpse the unusual success of some celebrity, or the fluke of some new writer who strikes it lucky, and think it’s possible for everyone. It is not. It’s tough, unpredictable, changes very fast, and is so dependent on quirks and luck that it’s much more sensible to spend your time buying lottery tickets.

Having said that, I’ll say this – there are some people who have enough of a gift that hard work and true grit can turn into talent. It takes literally years, impossibly hard work, and many instances of giving up. If you keep coming back to it and have managed to garner some sort of attention, then by all means keep trying. But you are only as good as your last success, and that fades very, very fast.

It is an industry you can liken to show biz – it’s impossible to get noticed, you need to be famous for something else first, and there are too many others who want it too.


I must thank you, Glenn, for this opportunity to chat with you. Being asked about my writing just after a novel of mine has come out is excellent timing. I enjoyed it very much.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Interview with Renee Angelah

Name of the book:

In A Dream

Renee Angelah


Authors Website:
www.reneeangelah.com


Bio:

A native of Champaign, Illinois, Renée Angelah, is a former substitute teacher and special education advocate who encompasses the totality of global unified community. With a Bachelors specializing in Business Administration from Eastern Illinois University, Renée applies and utilizes the learned techniques to formulate a successful business in cultivating people. Passion, motivation and sincerity are her keys to living an abundantly happy, faith-filled life. Renée Angelah began writing around five years ago, after conscientiously observing relationships between friends, family and the external world. She paid particular attention to interactions between males and females both intimately and non-attached. As she researched these interactions through many avenues such as lectures, self-help books and romance novels, Renée began to feel a pull to contribute her thoughts to the public. Thus she began formulating "“In A Dream"” as a vehicle to express her ideologies in a creative story-telling way.

As “"In A Dream"” began to take shape, Renée found it to be a useful tool in keeping students interested and intrigued. She would often bring her laptop to assignments and read parts of the story as it unfolded captivating classes of students from 7th -12th grade. In 2007 Renée Angelah shelved her literary efforts in order to pursue advocacy for students’ rights. As she watched her daughter who has Autism, as well as many other students with disabilities, fall thru the cracks of public education, her mission became clear to assist parents in overcoming stigmas, labels and limited expectations. She continued advocacy thru 2009 until she was forced to completely release her daughter from the despair of public education in favor of a focused homeschool curriculum.Traumatic events continued to follow as Renée was presented with emotional and physical trials that shook the very foundation of her existence. Within the first nine months of 2010, life altering situations such as car accidents, death, cancer and a broken engagement left Renée broken, defeated and in despair. It was “In A Dream” that proved to be her saving grace as she began once again to reformulate the manuscript, holding tight to its completion and release in December 2010.

Tell me about your book?

“In A Dream” is an adult fairy tale, a contemporary love story that intermixes fantasy with reality. It revolves around relationships in all aspects; male/female, friendships, parental relations as well as ex-spouses. “In A Dream” centers around two main characters Johnny Walker and Celeste Tucker who meet on a beach after virtually being invisible to each other for 3 years

On a college campus. Johnny is an all-star basketball player with a head for engineering and a spiritual foundation based upon Buddhist practices. Celeste is a single mother who has not dated seriously since she left the Peace Corps and gave birth to her son. She maintains her volunteer efforts as well as educational pursuits. Both Johnny and Celeste have best friends who add to the light humorous undertone by voicing their opinions, but also display what true friendship entails.

As differences in class, socio-economic status, associations and sensual experience become more apparent one is always left wondering whether the couple will truly live happily ever after.

“In A Dream” may appear to be predictable, on the surface, but with each chapter a new situation arises with more surprises.



What will readers like about your book?

I believe readers will appreciate the descriptive ease and poetic flow of “In A Dream” exposing them to terminology not otherwise used in everyday language. The novel will encapsulate the reader taking them away from the mundane repetitious lifestyle and for a moment draw you into a new world.




What inspired you to write this particular story?


I began to write this romance after having left several very intense and abusive relationships reflecting on what would a perfect man for me be like. I put pen to paper to describe the perfect relationship and out came “In A Dream.”



When did you start writing?

I started writing in 2005/2006 while working as a substitute teacher.


When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

When I self-published “In A Dream” in December 2010


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

After having went thru so much turmoil in 2010, writing gave me a voice that I felt
I could finally express without having to worry about anyone else’s feelings but my own.


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

I choose romance because I believe love is exactly what the world needs. In the midst of chaos, confusion strife and worry, love is what brings about peace and order. Romance is the harmonious balance, the floetry of songs, the overlapping of colors to produce a painting, the sleek contours of designs. Romance is love and love is the greatest creation.


What is your writing process?

Most of the time I am up in the wee hours of the morning just thinking how I would like a story to develop. Then I write on pieces of paper until I can’t write anymore. I may just have a chapter or a paragraph, it may not even be in the order I desire. I allow for inspiration to fill me and I draw from that wellspring. When
I feel I have enough handwritten work, then I begin to type, add, delete, and edit many times over until I feel my book is the most perfect piece of work I can release at that moment.


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

That is hard to determine because when I write, I do not operate in time.


Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

Kindle and other ereaders are the wave of the future and they allow many to access your work who otherwise would not.



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


Be open and receptive to whatever the universe has to offer even rejection can be a stepping stone to something better make your presence known in all avenues you can think for doors may open that you can never imagine if you just stay flexible.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Too Many Authors Writing the Same Book

I love the internet and use it to research various topics. In fact, internet research allowed me to release my debut novel A Thousand Chances in 2009 without spending tens of thousands of dollars on a book release and distribution --although its still expensive to publish in print.

Internet research is how I found Lightning Source.

I quickly became discouraged when I didn't see the results that I wanted to see no matter how hard I tried to push A Thousand Chances, and didn't publish another book for 2 years for a number of reasons:

1) Cover design, ISBN numbers, editing, set-up fees and small print runs are still expensive for print, even with Lightning Source.

2) Its hard to get into bookstores, and the grind of hand selling your books in public is just as hard when you are gainfully employed.

3) I spent too much time trying to figure out how to sell more copies of A Thousand Chances, and not enough time writing.

4) I was too stubborn to publish my book on Kindle and probably missed out on a lot of sales.

Fast forward two years and I got back in touch with Teresa Patterson, who has gone on to become a Kindle Best Seller since the days of us trying to figure out how to put together her book Ex-Boyfriend. She told me that she was having success with Kindle, and that I should put A Thousand Chances, on Kindle. I reluctantly agreed to do so, but not before I wrote Bon Appetit first --in retrospect, it probably didn't make a difference one way or the other.

Now that I personally know a Kindle best-selling author who made a living selling Kindle ebooks, the shit had become realistic to me. I had to find out more about the process of putting together an ebook to publish on Kindle. So I started researching, and I ran across Joe Konrath's blog and found some inspiration there. Then I looked over various message boards, ebooks, etc. on how to publish a book on Kindle, then I read somewhere where Joe reminded me to do the most important thing that a writer can do --WRITE DAMMIT. Ah, thanks Joe! He reminded me that I was putting the cart ahead of the horse instead of --you get the picture!

So I wrote three books in the Jim Money series so far, and I'm working on #4 which will be published on Kindle in a few weeks once I have my editor cover my manuscript in red ink as she write the following in her comment bubbles:

WTF

SMH

SMDH

Glenn, I need a drink to edit this maze of bad punctuation, misspelled words, etc.

Glenn, you are aware that you can take an English 101 course at your local community college to learn how to use correct punctuation, right?

In my second publishing journey, I've found the internet to be quite cumbersome and hurtful to many newbie writers. My advice to writers, don't spend too much time doing internet research on how to market your debut book to increase sales because even if you make 100,000 sales on a book at $.99, that's only $35,000 and I've been paying attention to the sales trends on Kindle for almost a year. I've seen so many top-selling novels sell 100,000 units in one month go down to less than 10 sales per day in a matter of weeks. Not even the best-written books stay high in the sales rankings forever, so if I made $35,000 on 100K in sales last month and only $350 on 1,000 sales this month, I'll be looking for a job at Target very soon --another reason why I can't afford to price all my books at 99 cent, and yes $2.99 - $4.99 are still a low prices, but that's another blog post for a different day. Warning: I will repeat myself here.

My advice to writers, don't spend too much time doing internet research on how to market your debut book to increase sales.


Not that any of it isn't valuable, but you'll find all the misinformation confusing just as I did. For instance, you have a large number of newbie authors who only have 1 or 2 books to their name seemingly frothing at the mouth to announce how the 99 cent price points and mass giveaways of their books are the only ways to market your books in this competitive ebook market. What ever happened to writing the best book you can and eliciting an "I enjoyed your book" reaction? That's all that really matters when you're an author. Sure, I can giveaway 100,000 copies of my ebook on Smashwords, but dammit my work is more valuable than a free T-Shirt giveaway on a college campus that will leave you with the temptation of racking up unnecessary credit card debt and a low-quality T-Shirt that will shrink four sizes once your prankster friends throw a water balloon on you. The difference between the credit card companies and most free giveaway authors is that the credit card company is going to make 10,000 times more than the cost of their T-Shirt, whereas the average free giveaway author has no idea on how he or she will capitalize on giving away their free ebook. In most cases, they're aimlessly giving away their work.

Another thing, dropping mass twitter bombs announcing how your book is only 99 cents, or free only adds to the clutter of spam tweets from the other authors on twitter and Facebook. Of course, you're advised to take such actions on the self-publishing blog sites, message boards, and in the ebooks. There are just too many marketing experts on the internet telling you how to become a Kindle best-seller by just using twitter and facebook. It gets to the point where the basis of writing novels gets lost in this massive sea of promotional gimmicks.

Is promotion and marketing important? Yes, but not in the way that you see it.

I will make some not-so-bold predictions.

Within the next year you will notice a lot of the authors that you followed on twitter will stop publishing books, even if they sold a lot on their first book. These folk are not going to be able to carry on the huge fanbases that they generated by selling 200,000 copies of their 99 cent best-seller. You will see some authors announcing that they're re-entering the workforce --which they left prematurely in my opinion.

Only John Locke will be able to make a ton of money pricing his books at 99 cents. The others will be applying for welfare benefits.

The marketing gimmickery advice will continue to rise as new self-published authors receive their golden horseshoe and experience short-term boost in sales, followed by a sharp decline in sales when it takes them a year to publish a second book that doesn't take off.

You will hear more affirmations that ebook publishing will turn into a Netflix subscription model. There are so many reasons why this will not happen for books. I'll just simply say that the publishing industry is different from the movie industry in the streams of revenue that's available to them. In order for the Netflix model to happen, the publishers would have to agree to license their catalog to a subscription based provider. Unless there are shifts in the industry, I don't see this happening for books as it would for movies.

The people who will make a good living writing fiction are the authors who treat this as a profession and build long-term relationships with bloggers, other authors, and their fans. A relationship cannot be built on a gimmick... only one-night stands are.

My advice to the newbie writers, ignore all the speculation of what's going to happen in the industry and just focus on becoming a better writer with each release.


With all that I've said, sometimes its better not to worry about sales, especially when you only have one book release to your name. Write a catalog of books

Interview with Eden Baylee

Name of the book:

Fall into Winter


Available from:

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

Chapters Indigo

The full list can be found here: http://www.edenbaylee.com/books.html


Authors Website:

www.edenbaylee.com


Bio:

I’m the first-time author of Fall into Winter—a book of contemporary erotica written as four novellas, two take place in the fall, and two in the winter, thus the title. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, I was a banker for twenty years.






Tell me about your book?

The stories of Fall into Winter were initially written to be sold separately, but I decided to put them together into one book. Though common elements unify them, each is unique and stands alone. The themes include: younger man, older woman; ménage à trois (MFM); past lovers; and second chance at love. It’s a very diverse collection, and I’m extremely proud of it.


What will readers like about your book?

It’s a book that will make you feel: emotionally connected to the characters; deeply aroused by the sex; and fully committed to knowing their stories.
What inspired you to write this particular story?

The four stories in my book are very different and inspirations varied; however a song sparked each of them.

Seduced by the Blues was inspired by: “Lovin’ in my Baby’s Eyes” – Taj Mahal

Act Three by: “Walk on the Wild Side” – Lou Reed

The Norwegian by: “And the Healing has Begun” – Van Morrison, and finally
The Austrian and the Asian by: “I Don’t Want to Talk About It” – Rod Stewart


When did you start writing?

In my teens. I’ve written in a daily journal since I was about twelve.


When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

January 30, 2010. That was the day after I quit my job and I woke up thinking, “Now, I’m a serious writer. Oh shit!”

All kidding aside, even though I’ve written since I was a teen, for me to say it was serious meant I had to consider it my passion, the thing I wanted to do more than almost anything else in the world. I had tried to write when I had a day job and failed miserably. Earning an income always trumped my writing, and in later years, my day job infringed into my nights, and it was impossible for me write creatively at all.

I knew I had to make a choice, and I don’t regret for one second that I gave up the income (for now), and followed my passion. Though I am creative, I also treat writing as a business and fully expect to earn an income from it. The most important thing for me now is that I have my priorities straight.


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

I was fifteen, and I’d just written a pseudo-erotic story for my English class. I got an “A” on it, but my teacher told me never to show it to my mother! I liked that I got a rise out of him and thought it’d be fun to write a book and earn a living from it.


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

I like erotica for the emotional relationship to the reader. If written well, feelings of love, lust, and intimacy set in scenes that span gentle foreplay to sexual abandon have to elicit a response. Of course, sex cannot be written in a vacuum, so there needs to be a good plot as well. It’s not unlike any other genre except that it’s very character driven with graphic sexual content. I like the challenge of incorporating erotic sex scenes into a story.


What is your writing process?

Meticulous. Ha! Is that a process? I can write a story very quickly, and I write 2000 words daily when I’m writing. Where I get slowed down is when I’m editing because I’m absolutely anal about it. I am a grammar and spelling freak, and I also read my manuscript aloud to hear the rhythm of the words. If it doesn’t sound right, I can spend a long time trying to perfect a sentence. It’s very important to me that nothing pulls my reader out of the story, particularly with things that are preventable such as: typos, misuse of words, or awkward phrasing.

I’m also the ultimate pantser because I dislike organization. Sometimes I jot notes, sometimes I talk into a tape recorder, but most of the time, I come up with great plots while taking a shower. It makes for expensive waters bills.


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

It took me four months to write Fall into Winter.


Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

It’s vital to publish for this market because it’s the future of books. I’m not saying that hard copies will disappear entirely, however, it’d be foolish not to have an e-book version. Why? You’d be missing the opportunity to reach a large number of potential buyers.
These are people who:
(a) only read e-books
(b) don’t want to spend a lot of money
(c) are voracious 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?

Three things.

Keep writing and keep learning. It’s an exciting time to be an author, and the industry is changing rapidly for indie writers. As with anything, it’s important to keep abreast of the changes and not have wasted effort doing things incorrectly.

Be persistent. Talent is important, but it’s nothing if you don’t keep at it. Success rarely happens overnight.

Last, but not least, believe in yourself. Believe in your work. At the end of the day, you’re going to have to sell it, and whether your book costs $1.99 or $12.99, it’s still someone’s hard-earned money you want, and they need a good reason to part with it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Interview with Best Selling Author Vincent Zandri

Name of the book:

The Remains


Kindle Price:

$2.99


Available from:

Amazon Kindle US, Amazon Kindle UK, Smashwords, Nook



Authors Website:

www.vincentzandri.com

Bio:

Vincent Zandri is the No. 1 Internationally bestselling author of The Innocent (formerly As Catch Can), The Guilty (formerly Godchild), The Remains, Moonlight Falls, Concrete Pearl and the forthcoming
Moonlight Rises. A foreign correspondent and adventurer, he divides his time between New York and Florence, Italy.

Tell me about your book?

Thirty years ago, teenager Rebecca Underhill and her twin sister Molly were abducted by a man who lived in a house in the woods behind their upstate New York farm. They were held inside that house for three horrifying hours, until making their daring escape.

Vowing to keep their terrifying experience a secret in order to protect their mother and father, the girls tried to put the past behind them. And when their attacker was hunted down by police and sent to prison, they believed he was as good as dead.

Now, it’s 30 years later, and with Molly having passed away from cancer, Rebecca, a painter and art teacher, is left alone to bear the burden of a secret that has only gotten heavier and more painful with each passing year.

But when Rebecca begins receiving some strange anonymous text messages, she begins to realize that the monster who attacked her all those years ago is not dead after all. He’s back, and this time, he wants to do more than just haunt her. He wants her dead.




What will readers like about your book?


I’ve always been fascinated with identical twins and how they can sometimes read one another’s minds. The Remains takes that concept even further by suggesting twins can communicate even after one of them has died.



What inspired you to write this particular story?

I love contemporary art, and have always thought it interesting that everyone sees something different in any given painting. What would happen if someone starting reading messages in a series of paintings that no one else sees with the naked eye?



When did you start writing?


In grammar school. I had a lot to learn. I’m still learning.



When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

When the Albany Times Union, the newspaper I’d been stringing for all Summer and Fall of 1991, asked me to come on staff to write sports full-time. That’s when I decided instead to enroll in an MFA in writing program, which I eventually did at Vermont College. I graduated in 1997.



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

The day I was born. I just didn’t become aware of it until my teens.


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

The genre sort of chose me. I like well plotted novels and mystery, suspense, noir, pulp, hard-boiled fiction…all of it requires pile-driving plotting. That appeals to me.



What is your writing process?


I write a first draft, and that’s the general outline, and rework it until its done. It goes through a lot of changes along the way. The entire process can take anywhere from four months to a year.


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

About 6 to 10 weeks.



Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?


My publisher StoneHouse Ink/StoneGate Ink rely heavily on E-Book sales, especially Kindle, than any other form. Our books come out in trade paper too but they don’t sell 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?

Make certain a real editor reads it first, as well as any trusted readers who can offer constructive criticism. That first book must be perfect and must be representative of what’s to come. If it’s bad it will haunt you your entire career.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Jim Money Series

Currently, I'm setting up blog stops for the Jim Money blog tour. This has been a good experience and a learning experience. Thank goodness I began contacting bloggers 2 months in advance for my blog tour. I really don't know how JA Konrath managed to write 100 blogs in 27 days. I'm finding it challenging to email enough bloggers to fill my blog tour dates because of time constraints.

So far, I've got 21 blog stops in 21 days booked for reviews, guest posts, and interviews. That means I've only got 10 days... Make that 9 days left in October--someone just emailed me mid-sentence agreeing to feature me for a guest post.

What does this mean to you?

If you want to feature me on your blog to guest post, answer your list of interview questions via email, or review my book during the Jim Money Blog Tour then you need to get in touch with me NOW at glenngamblebooks(at)gmail(dot)com

Now that you have that pertinent information, there are more than a few things that you should take into consideration before booking me:

1) All of the books in the Jim Money series are suspense thrillers that are fast paced and keep you wondering what will happen next. If you are a reader who believes that good characterization is a dedication of one chapter per character describing his/her physical features then I may not be the author you want to read, but maybe your readers might like my books, so tell them to come to GlennGamble.com

2) When you read a book in the Jim Money series, you should expect prose that contains harsh, profane language. Why? Because Jim and his associates are shylockers, gamblers, and criminals. Most players in such an underground society don't say please and thank you, and use strong language. If the words, fuck, shit, pussy, motherfucker, bitch, and other obscenities that I can't think of make you cringe to the point that it interrupts your reading experience and you feel like you must put the book down for the sake of great cozy literature, then the Jim Money series isn't for you.

3) The books in the Jim Money series are not literary works where I devote entire chapters describing the walls in a room, and the brewing coffee in the pot --unless those descriptions serves a purpose in contributing to the storyline and building suspense. If you like overly descriptive settings and don't want to use your imagination, fine by me. The Jim Money series isn't for you.

4) If you like a good build up of suspense before you reach the climax of the story without having to describe what kind of paint is on the car that Jim's driving. Then you just might like the Jim Money series.

5) If you like suspense in tandem with action, there's a good chance that you will like the Jim Money series.

Now that you've taken all of the above into consideration, if you'd like to be a part of the Jim Money blog tour, then shoot an email to glenngamblebooks(at)gmail(dot)com

Friday, August 5, 2011

Interview with Darcia Helle

Name of the book:

I have six books currently available and number seven will be available in July. The titles, from oldest to newest, are:

Enemies and Playmates
Hit List
No Justice (A Michael Sykora Novel)
Beyond Salvation (A Michael Sykora Novel)
Miami Snow
The Cutting Edge
Into The Light (soon to be released)
I also have three short stories: The First Kill and Wilted Brown Eyes are available individually and You Can Call Me Ari is part of The BestsellerBound Short Story Anthology, Volume One.

Kindle Price:

My first novel, Enemies and Playmates, is 99 cents. The next four books are priced at $2.99 and The Cutting Edge is $3.99.

The short stories, including the anthology, are free downloads.


Available from:

Print copies are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and my website. I think they are also on Books-A-Million's website.

The ebooks are available on Smashwords, Amazon for Kindle, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Sony's ebookstore, Kobo, Apple's iPad store and Diesel.

The free short stories and anthology are available on my website, Smashwords and hopefully soon all of the others.

Those are too many links to list, so I'll give you two:

My Amazon Author's Page: http://www.amazon.com/Darcia-Helle/e/B002LTMF7O/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1307376520&sr=8-1

My Smashwords Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/DarciaHelle


Authors Website:

http://www.DarciaHelle.com or http://www.QuietFuryBooks.com (same site)


Bio:

I write because the characters trespassing through my mind leave me no alternative. Their stories come alive and I write them down. When I try to twist the characters into something I'd prefer, they get cranky. Sometimes they yell at me. They do not conform any better than I do.

I live in a home ruled by four-legged babies. My books and music addiction often leads to compulsive purchasing and downloading. Some people feel I should seek intervention but I'm happy being surrounded by words and music.


Tell me about your book?

I don't want to take up too much of your time by talking about them all, so I'll tell you about my most recently published novel - The Cutting Edge. This is a dark comedy/suspense novel that draws heavily from my own experiences. It's also the only book I've written in first person. Here's the blurb:

My name is Skye Summers. I'm a hairstylist and I can't stop fantasizing about killing my clients. Not all of them, of course. I only want to kill the ones who irritate me, which, if I'm being honest, is most of them. My occasional fantasies have turned into chronic daydreams. They're bloody and vivid, like watching a slice-and-dice movie on IMAX.

I also want to kill my husband's ex-girlfriend. She's not a client but she tops my list. Eighteen years ago, she gave birth to his daughter and she has tormented him ever since. I should be troubled by this growing desire to use my surgically sharpened shears for more than a haircut. Instead, I wonder how I can get away with it.



What will readers like about your book?

I hope they enjoy the humor and the characters. Most people can relate to job burnout and I think we've all been irritated by people a time or two. Skye's job is to please people and it requires a lot of personal contact. Her case of job burnout is pushed to the extreme.



What inspired you to write this particular story?

I was a hairstylist in a small town salon for fifteen years. In fact, the town I placed Skye's fictional salon in is the same town I worked and lived in. While I was a stylist, the women I worked with and I would always say how the place would make a great sitcom and how we should write about some of the things that went on. One day Skye popped into my head and I decided that it was time to fictionalize a bit of my life. To be clear, Skye is not me. But almost all of the clients, conversations and incidents that take place within the fictional salon are based in fact. Those clients were real and those conversations happened. I just changed the names and minor details to protect the innocent and hide the guilty. :)



When did you start writing?

I started writing as soon as I was old enough to put a sentence together on a piece of paper. When I was very young, I wrote silly children's picture book stories (and I was and am a terrible artist!). As I got older, I'd pick ten random words from a dictionary and write a short story using them all. Then I moved on to my teenage angst poetry stage. Writing has never been something I thought about doing one day. I've just always done it.


When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

I think I've always been a serious writer. Even when I only wrote for myself, I would rewrite sentences and change words until the image I wanted to portray became crystal clear. But, as a profession, I became serious after my illness forced me to stop working. I'd been home a couple of years and had put that time into writing. When I had three books done, I decided it was time to do something with them. I'd queried agents off and on over the years and that is a daunting process that I didn't enjoy. Self-publishing and PODs had just begun to get popular. I did my research, taught myself HTML, designed a website and published my books. By that time, I was completely serious about getting my books out into the world.



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

I decided that when I was about a quarter of the way through writing my first one. I had bits and pieces of random nonsense tucked into drawers. Snippets of scenes would pop into my head and I'd write them down. For a variety of reasons, I never thought much about turning those ideas into a book. I had these characters that would not leave my head, so I sat down to write the scene that wouldn't leave me alone. That scene kept moving forward and soon I realized that, like it or not, I was writing a book.


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

I don't believe I chose a genre. If anything, the genres choose me. I'm drawn to the why behind human behavior and I love the unexpected. These factors are likely the reason that I typically write some form of suspense.


What is your writing process?

My best answer to that is that it's totally unstructured and unpredictable. I don't plan ahead, I don't outline at all and I don't write at any specific time of day. I write all the way through a first draft without worrying about research and minor details. I fill in the holes during my first major edit.

My books start with a vague idea. Sometimes one or two characters pop into my head, with a flash of a random scene. For instance, my novel Hit List began with my character Corinne pacing in her living room. I saw her there, thin and fragile and frightened. I had no idea who she was or what was happening to her. I wrote that scene down and followed her. Corinne didn't turn out to be the main character but she led me there.

Other times, a 'what if' scenario runs through my head. With my novel No Justice, I wanted to explore the unjustness of our Justice system and the things that would lead a man to murder for a living. I wanted the character to be a likable killer. That was my challenge. That idea floated around my mind for days before Michael Sykora, my lead character, was born. But, as soon as he stepped into my head, he led the way.

Then there are the times when I want to follow a specific path and a character stamps his feet and says absolutely not. That would be Max, in my upcoming novel Into The Light. Initially, I'd planned to write a story about a private investigator who hears ghosts speaking to him. The P.I. would be the main character and the book would follow him as he solved a ghost's murder. Then Max entered my head. He is particularly stubborn and took me down paths I had no intention of going. There is still a P.I., though he is not the main character, and Max is still a ghost but the story is not at all what I'd expected.


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

That varies with a few factors. If the book is complicated with many twists to the plot, such as Hit List, the first draft will take me longer than a book that's less complicated with an easy flow, such as Into The Light. Overall, the time it takes depends on how I feel. I have chronic health problems, due in large part to chronic, late-stage Lyme disease. The neurological complications sometimes jumble my thought process and make writing difficult.


Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

This is probably the easiest question you've asked me! My answer is because it's fairly easy, cheap, and reaches millions. And I can offer them free without spending a fortune on production and shipping.

It's funny, really, how far I've come with my opinion of ereaders. I am an old school book and music addict. I still love vinyl and print. I long ago conformed and turned to CDs but I'm not a huge fan of digital music. I'll buy it on occasion, usually if it's something I like but don't love and/or don't want the entire CD. I love my iPod but I want to own the physical CD, complete with artwork and liner notes. I felt the same way about books. I love print. I love the feel of books and the look of them on my shelves. (And I have many!) When ereaders came out, I said there was no way I'd read a book that way. Then I started networking with other indie authors. Many would send me PDFs of their books for opinions and/or reviews. Reading on my laptop killed my eyes, so I broke down and got a Sony Touch. Now I also have a Kindle. I will always prefer print books and I buy only print for those that I plan to keep, which is mainly nonfiction or fiction by authors I know. But ereaders are great for most fiction, since I only read that once. The ebooks are (usually) far more affordable. And I help the environment by saving paper.


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'm always hesitant about giving advice. Really, I'm fumbling through this journey myself.

These are some of the things I've learned are important. Before publishing, seek unbiased opinions. Network with other authors. Ask one of them to do a beta read for you. Get someone to edit your work, whether it be a fellow author or a professional. Editing your own work properly is a horrible ordeal. I know. I tried! Make yourself visible. Get a website, a blog, a Facebook account, a Twitter account. But don't just talk about yourself. Listen to others, make friends, talk about other people's books and things you enjoy reading about. If you write about a particular topic, find others who enjoy the same. When you decide to publish, do a lot of research on your choice of publishers. Don't just do what your friend did or go with the first one that comes up in a Google search. Research what they offer. Some cost a lot, others nearly nothing. Some distribute your book to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. Others do not or only do so for a large fee. Then comes formatting. The look of your book matters. Either learn how to format the interior (for both print and ebook, which are different techniques) or hire someone to format for you. And don't forget to design a great cover that draws readers in.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Interview with Best-Selling Author Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Instructor for the renowned UCLA Extension Writers' Program

Author of the multi award-winning series of HowToDoItFrugally books:

The Frugal Book Promoter

The Frugal Editor

The Great First Impression Book Proposal

Great Little Last-Minute Edits

E-mail: HoJoNews at aol.com
Web site: http://www.howtodoitfrgually.com

Name of the book:

The Frugal Editor: Put You Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success

Kindle Price: 9.00

Kindle Link: http://www.amazon.com/Editor-3a-Forward-Humiliation-Frugally-ebook/dp/B0011EK6VC/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

Available from:

(Amazon Kindle US, see above

Amazon Kindle UK, 5 pounds 19. Link to Kindle UK page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Editor%253a-Forward-Humiliation-Frugally-ebook/dp/B0011EK6VC/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1309548608&sr=1-2

Also as paperback: www.budurl.com/TheFrugalEditor







Authors Website: www.howtodoitfrugally.com



Bio:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s first novel, This is the Place, won eight awards and her book of creative nonfiction, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, won three. Her fiction, nonfiction and poems have appeared in national magazines, anthologies and review journals. A chapbook of poetry, Tracings, was named to the Compulsive Reader's Ten Best Reads list and was given the Military Writers' Society of America's Silver Award of Excellence. She speaks on Utah’s culture, tolerance and book promotion and editing and has appeared on TV and hundreds of radio stations nationwide. She is an instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program and her how-to book, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won’t was named USA Book News’ “Best Professional Book 2004." and the Irwin Award. Her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success also won a nod from USA Book News and won Readers' Views Literary Award. Her marketing campaign for that book won the marketing award from New Generation Indie Book Awards.

Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, the Book Publicists of Southern California's Irwin Award and her community's Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly's list of 14 women of "San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen."

The author loves to travel and has studied at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal with her wherever she goes. Her website is: http://carolynhoward-johnson.com and www.howtodoitfrugally.com.







Tell me about your book? This is a how-to book aimed at my favorite niche market, writers. It will help them write query letters that could actually sell their books--to agents or publishers--and could actually get them free publicity when they query editors or media hosts and bloggers, like you! It has practical tips on how to use Word to edit and still avoid having Word screw up one's manuscript. I interviewed more than 100 agents to learn what turns them off about unprofessional query letters and most were willing to help me help authors!





What will readers like about your book?


I think they'll like the easily followed sidebar instruction and the light tone. Most of us don't want to read a another textbook, even when we're in the learning mode.



What inspired you to write this particular story?

I teach at UCLA's world renowned Writers' Program and I have a marketing/publicist background. It broke my heart to see blossoming writers do things (or not do them!) that could kill their careers.



When did you start writing?

I started in high school. All the cute boys were on the journalism staff.


When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

When my writing began to get some recognition from the daily on-campus newspaper of my university and I was hired as a staff reporter for The Salt Lake Tribune, "A Great Pulitzer Prize Winning Newspaper."



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


Right about that time. But it took me about 40 years to get around to it. Talk about procrastination!

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

I fell into publicity potholes--even with a marketing background. I knew I could help others avoid doing that. I also needed a textbook that didn't talk about marketing generalities for the class I taught at UCLA.


What is your writing process?

I do way too much marketing and not enough writing. You don't want your readers emulating me!




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

No time at all. I could do it during that November 30 Day exercise if I wanted to. It's those drafts and revisions that are killers. About three years for a novel. About a year for a book of nonfiction.

Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

I have retailing in my background, too. (see my retailing blog at www.frugalretailing.blogspot.com) As a retailer, we wouldn't tell our customers that they could only pay with cash. We'd lose lots of business. Same with authors. We give them what they want, the way they want it. I'm slowly getting around to publishing all my books for every kind of reader there is. BTW, I think it's the reader who loses by not having all reader formats integrated!

I am so enamoured of e-books, I even publish my poetry chapbooks that way. They're on Smashwords. They're published with a co-author--Magdalena Ball and we try to keep our work very low priced, even as paperbacks. ($6.95). We all know price is one of the best reasons to buy e-books, right?


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

Just get started. Having said that, READ. Take classes. Learn enough about the publishing industry that others can't take advantage of you.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Interview with Maureen Gill

Name of the book:

January Moon

January Moon is the first book in the “Del Carter Calendar Series.” Its sequel, March Storm, will be released Fall (2011).
Price: ebook $.99; print $14.99

Available at: Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords
Authors Website & Blog:
www.maureengill.net
www.windycityauthor.blogspot.com


Bio:

Maureen Gill has worn many hats but the one she believes most defines her, especially in the way it informs her writing, is her historian's hat. Among other academic awards, Maureen has won four Carnegie-Mellon Foundation awards for outstanding historical research and writing. A former legal and medical researcher, paralegal and college history and philosophy teacher, Maureen uses her grasp of US history and popular culture, as well as her skills for in-depth research and analysis, to write cutting edge contemporary fiction that tackles hot button topics such as female genital mutilation, racism, religious fanaticism, political corruption, animal abuse, human trafficking, mental illness and the vagaries and puzzles of family dynamics. Her debut novel, January Moon, has received outstanding reviews. A native Chicagoan, Maureen is pleased that her writing style has been described as a gale force wind off Lake Michigan. Her style has also been compared to Michael Connolly and Lee Childe. Maureen’s been praised for her biting humor and sardonic wit, as well as for her fast-past drama, unique plot, and unforgettable characters.
Tell me about your book:

January Moon is about two very different men and their fierce struggles to save the women they love from the very real and terrifying monsters who would destroy them.

Del Carter is a young, handsome, well educated Chicago homicide detective who loves music (especially sexy jazz) and Jessica Farrell, a history professor at Loyola University. Del and Jess have a few issues, not the least of which is she swore she’d never marry a cop and he’s haunted by memories of the serial killer he helped capture and who now rots in prison. They have a dog whose name is Wolf and he plays an important part in the story.

Then there’s Fred Wiley; Wiley’s a homicide investigator with the Illinois State Police. Wiley’s a ‘Nam era vet and very eccentric; calling him a crusty sonofabitch would be spot on. But waters run very deep in Wiley and he’s full of surprises – one of which is that he’s been madly in love with the same woman who walked out of his life without any rational explanation over thirty years ago.

Which brings us to that same woman: the beautiful and brilliant, Elnora Ness. Wiley nicknamed her Eliot years earlier and it stuck; now everyone knows her as Eliot Ness. Eliot was Cook County’s first black female prosecutor (a double token) when she signed on with the State’s Attorney’s office right out of law school and now she’s become a legend around the country. Eliot and Wiley had a torrid affair when she was a new prosecutor and he was a young cop but Eliot fled the relationship after Wiley proposed; all she would say was that she would never marry a white man – a statement that infuriated and completely puzzled Wiley.

The story begins when a thirteen year old girl mysteriously dies in Del’s father’s truck while he’s driving from Champaign-Urbana to Chicago. It’s quickly determined the girl’s a runaway from a religious cult that curiously has ties to Jess and her family but when her forensic autopsy reveals she was the victim of female genital mutilation shortly before her death things begin to go from damn bad to very damn bad quickly. January Moon weaves these four people together in a complex web of love and hate, secrets and lies, and human tragedy.

Besides the cops and the remarkable women they love, there’s a whole cast of other memorable characters, including whackos in the cult, good and bad FBI agents, a screwy Mayor of Chicago, several domestic terrorist wannabees, an elegant African model, a white-supremacist assassin working for a radical fringe Christian church, and most of all one of the creepiest female villains in literature. One reviewer called her a “living, breathing hate machine.”

I can’t give any more spoilers except to say every thread is tied together and there are no loose ends at the end of the book – although it’s clear the stage has been set for a sequel.

What will readers like about your book?

There’s something in January Moon for everyone, except maybe for those looking for vampires. There’s not a single vampire in January Moon. Oh, and racists and rednecks and right wing extremists: they’re not going to like January Moon.

More seriously, I’ve been astonished to see how people respond differently to various parts of the story, even the whole book. Men think January Moon is a fast-paced cop story but women see it as a powerful love story. A priest pointed out themes of redemption and spiritual rebirth. Some women adore Del, others are crazy in love with Wiley; men relate to the fathers, the politics, and the scene where the cops, the feds and even an assassin all descend on the cult and all hell breaks loose. But you know what? The women loved that scene also; some women have told me they were literally screaming out loud when they thought Wolf was dying.

Lately I’ve been hearing from a lot of book clubs. January Moon’s a great choice for book clubs because it’s packed with richly nuanced characters (both good and very evil), has an incredible plot and a variety of themes. It’s the kind of book you can really sink your teeth into and pull apart and discuss.

I think readers like the book because it’s uniquely written and tells a fascinating extremely contemporary story that’s not been overdone. It’s also fast-paced, the dialogue and characters are very believable, and it has a nice balance of suspense, humor and romance.


When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

I’ve never written anything I wasn’t serious about except maybe a grocery list. I don’t care if it’s only email -- I try to write it well and make it appealing to read. I view everything I write as an exercise in good writing. When I was in business I was as serious about small memos and routine letters as the largest most detailed project. I worked in a large international law firm and earned a reputation for being able to write with great clarity and I worked with some of the most talented lawyers in the firm to help draft, revise and tweak some very special documents. When I taught college I was just as serious about the syllabi and notes I created for my students as I was about my own scholarly materials for publication. If it’s worth writing, it’s worth writing well.


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

I didn’t choose a genre. I just told a story and everyone else is trying to make it fit into a genre. Genre means nothing to me.


What is your writing process?

I’m not sure I understand the question. I don’t think I have a process; I just write.


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

I wrote January Moon, Prologue to end, in 12 weeks. During those 12 weeks I wrote every day but four. I found I did my best writing in the very early morning; I’d write from 5 AM to sometimes Noon; 7 hours. Then I’d proof and make corrections, maybe redraft, for several more hours later in the day. Sometimes I’d write 12 or 16 hours straight if I was on a roll but that was rare because when I’m tired I can’t write worth a damn. After I’d written the entire story, beginning to end, I devoted another 16 weeks to editing, polishing, formatting and polishing some more.

OK, so is that a process? Yeah, maybe.

Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

Ebooks are big; if you want to sell books you go ebook. I also published with CreateSpace so January Moon is also in print.

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 want to actually see your book published in your lifetime and you’re a newbie then publish it yourself. The odds of getting an agent are grim and then if you land one, things still aren’t all that wonderful.

I emailed 48 queries and received 5 positive responses and quickly moved into very serious discussions with two agents. The relationships broke down after I was asked to “dumb the book down” and remove some of the controversial content (or what one agent thought was controversial anyway). Things went south after those conversations and I realized I had to control my own product.

I’ve talked to author wannabees who absolutely cannot believe anyone would walk away from an interested agent. Well, I did -- and I’ve never looked back.