New Release -Webs In The Mist by Maggie Plummer

Today I have a new release for you, Webs In The Mist Book Two in the Jessie Morgan series by my friend Maggie Plummer.  I also have a great author interview with Maggie, hope you enjoy it.

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Description1

It’s 1972, and San Francisco is a global mecca for hippies and radicals. In Book Two of The Jessie Morgan Series, 21-year-old Jess can’t wait to join her friend Donna there. Driving her VW down the Pacific Coast, she’s more than ready for the city’s open Bohemian vibe, bongo-mad street life, perpetual protests, and cutting-edge counterculture.

Among the characters she meets are Cat, a tall, fun-loving Sicilian, and Carl, a Harley-riding enigma with bushy red hair. As Jessie gleefully spreads her wings in the City by the Bay, she leaves her stormy past behind.

 Or does she?

This novel is recommended for mature readers due to 1970s-era sex, drugs, and profanity.

Maggiephoto 1 by mary o'brien

 

Short author bio: Maggie Plummer is a multi-genre author whose latest novel, Webs in the Mist, is Book Two of her semi-autobiographical Jessie Morgan Series. Like Jessie, she lived in San Francisco during the freewheeling 1970s, riding the cable cars in raggedy bell-bottom jeans. These days the author works from her Montana home near the shores of Flathead Lake, where she loves camping with her sweet black lab, Peaches. Webs in the Mist is Maggie’s fourth published novel.

 

Author

 

Hi Maggie, welcome to my blog, please tell us about your book.

Webs in the Mist continues Jessie Morgan’s story, covering the San Francisco years, 1972 to 1975. Like Jess, I lived there in the early ‘70s – an amazing time in that city! People from all over the world were moving there, to be part of it. On the various jobs I had there, I met people from the Philippines, Italy, and Scotland. San Francisco was still affordable then, and the various ethnic neighborhoods were still authentic and working class. I wouldn’t trade my experiences there for anything.

 In this novel, the fiction takes over, compared to book one in the series, Bell-Bottom Gypsy. Webs in the Mist has a tighter plot structure and more dramatic tension. While the framework of the story is autobiographical, much of what happens in the book is pure fiction.

 Tell us how you came up with the title?

 This novel is about the webs we weave as we go through life – innocently or not. Webs of deception, webs of self-loathing. I decided to use San Francisco’s fog and mist as symbolic layers of confusion swirling around the webs we weave. At first, the book title was “Webs in the Fog,” but I felt that the word “fog” didn’t fit. So I changed it to “mist.”

 Can you tell us what inspired you to write this book?

 I’m almost 69 years old, and have grown tired of hearing myself tell my stories. Shut up and write them down, I told myself. That’s what I’m doing, beginning with Bell-Bottom Gypsy (Book 1 of this Jessie Morgan Series). In the process of creating fiction from my own stories, I had to add fictitious elements. For example, Twisty’s personality is fiction. My real boyfriend in Key West, Florida was not edgy like Twisty, although he did play guitar and sing, and was into black and white photography. I was inspired to write Webs in the Mist (Book 2 of the series) by my years of living in San Francisco. The early ‘70s were a unique time in the Bay Area, and I’m grateful to have lived there then. San Francisco back then was so amazing, I struggled as I wrote Webs in the Mist, trying to capture the magic of that time and do my experiences justice.

How much of the book is realistic?

Some of this novel’s events and characters are based on real events and people – but not all. Jessie’s life in San Francisco is based on my own time there in the ‘70s. But Webs in the Mist is less autobiographical than Bell-Bottom Gypsy. I created an enigmatic character named Carl, who is fictitious but a composite of quirky real people I’ve known. As I’ve already said, the dark aspect of the Twisty character is pure fiction. It’s fascinating, weaving my real life stories into these novels. I find myself assembling quite a few composite characters and re-arranging the timeline of real events in my life, for the sake of well-constructed fiction.

 How long did it take to write your latest release?

Webs in the Mist took me a little over a year to write, and that’s a record for me. Hopefully I’m getting faster at writing and publishing novels.

 Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?

 I don’t currently belong to a critique group, but I have in the past. I was in two separate writers’ groups, and learned a ton from the writers I met there. That’s where I met my writer friends, and I recommend it. Not only does it help to hear feedback, a group also provides important deadline pressure to produce something to bring and share. One caveat, though: if a critique group is negative, or “bitchy,” run away as fast as you can and never go back. Above all, listen to yourself. Now and then, creative writing classes and writers’ groups can include competitive, envious people who are too willing to tear you down for no good reason.

 Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?

 I didn’t, but I think most writers should hire an editor. Let me explain: I’m a freelance book editor, and have a background in journalism (including proofreading and editing). I’m good at catching my own mistakes. That’s not enough, though. I have four very good advance readers who read, edit, and critique each of my manuscripts before I publish.

 Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

 I began keeping a journal when I was about sixteen. I was always attracted to reading and English and languages, in school. My grandmother was a poet and journalist in the 1920s and ‘30s, in Missoula, Montana. Maybe she is the reason for my interest in writing. In the early 1980s, I went back to college and earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon. After that, I was a journalist for about 25 years. But I have always wanted to write novels, because my first love is fiction.

Have you published anything else? If so can you tell us their titles.

 I sure have. Webs in the Mist is my fourth published novel. I have also published Bell-Bottom Gypsy: A Jessie Morgan Novel, a wild 1970s ride that takes the reader on adventures along America’s back roads. My first novel, Spirited Away – A Novel of the Stolen Irish, paints an intimate portrait of 1650s Irish slavery in the Caribbean. It was a 2013 finalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Book Awards as well as a quarterfinalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards Competition. The book has 242 Amazon reviews. Daring Passage, my second novel, tells the rest of the story begun in Spirited Away. Delighted readers call it “a stunning sequel.” I’m also the author of a nonfiction book entitled Passing It On: Voices from the Flathead Indian Reservation.

 Tell us what is next for you? / What is your next project?

 Since I’ve committed to writing a four-book Jessie Morgan Series, my next project is Book 3 of the series. I don’t have a title yet, but I think it will be a good book. If you read Webs in the Mist, you’ll know where the new novel is set. No spoilers here!

 

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Author Interview – Maggie Plummer

Today’s Author Interview is with my friend Maggie Plummer.  She has just released a new book called Bell-Bottom Gypsy, the first in the Jessie Morgan series.

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Author bio: Maggie Plummer is a multi-genre author based in northwest Montana. Along the winding trail to becoming a novelist, she has worked as a journalist, school bus driver, Good Humor ice cream girl, fishing boat mate, and race horse hot walker, among other things. Bell-Bottom Gypsy is her third published novel.

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A photo of Maggie as she looked in the 1970s

Book Synopsis:

 In this galloping departure from her previous novels, author Maggie Plummer takes the reader on a wild 1970s ride – an adventurous coming of age journey along back roads in far-flung corners of the United States.

At twenty, Jessie Morgan is fed up with just about everything. It’s September 1971 – time to drop out, tune in, and turn on. She leaves college and Detroit in the rearview mirror, hitting the road in her 1965 yellow Volkswagen convertible. Wandering America’s byways from Kentucky to Key West to Montana, Jessie is out to test herself and experience everything.

She didn’t count on meeting a man like Twisty.

Bell-Bottom Gypsy is recommended for mature readers due to plenty of 1970s-era sex, drugs, and cussing.

 

Author

 

Hi Maggie, tell us a little about your book? 

Bell-Bottom Gypsy: A Jessie Morgan Novel is a 285-page novel LOOSELY based on real 1970s experiences I had on the road. Much of the novel is pure fiction, embellishment, and wishful thinking. For years, I have told my various travel stories to friends. I’ve been thinking of writing them down for a long time, and it feels great to finally have done that. My real stories provide only a framework for the novel, which is about 1970s-style self-discovery via travel adventure.

 

Can you tell us how you came up with the title?

Imagining a book about my 1970s travels, I thought that the title would be “Tales of a Volkswagen Gypsy.” Then I wanted it to be simply “Volkswagen Gypsy.” I was set on that title, but then learned that Volkswagen does not allow use of their name or logo without specific permission. I tried and tried to get that permission, with no results. It was time to re-think my book title. I decided that, given the main character’s love of bell-bottom pants, the new title should be Bell-Bottom Gypsy. Many of my friends and critiquers like the new title better than the old one. The subtitle is “A Jessie Morgan Novel” because this is the first in a four-book Jessie Morgan Series.

 

And can you tell us what inspired you to write this book?

At this point, at my “ripe” old age (ha!), I am tired of hearing myself tell my stories from the road. I kept telling myself to shut up and write them down. So I finally did. In order for the novel to work, though, I had to add many fictitious elements. For example, Twisty is pure fiction. (My real life boyfriend in Key West, Florida was nothing like Twisty, although he did play guitar and sing, and was into black and white photography…) Anyway, my main inspiration to write this novel was to preserve my wacky stories, which are unique to the early 1970s.

 

How much of the book is realistic?

The book’s main plot, in which Jessie travels America’s back roads and works seasonal jobs, is based on real life adventures. Along the way, some of the travel narrative is fiction. And, like I said, the edgy, dark aspect of the Twisty character is also pure fiction.

 

What process do you use for your writing?

I approach writing a novel by listing scenes. It’s not a true outline, but a scene list. That seems to help me zoom into the action and figure out where things are going. Meanwhile, I create Word files for character studies, and do research that often helps drive the plot. For me, writing first thing in the morning is the best. I find that I have my best energy then, thanks to my strong, black morning coffee.

 

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Bell-Bottom Gypsy was a challenge to write. I think that’s because it is based on real experiences, some of which were emotionally charged. As I wrote it, I found myself feeling “triggered,” at times. But I am so happy to have written it.

 

How long did it take to write your latest release?

It took four and a half years. I am hoping to learn how to be a faster writer.

 

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? 

I began keeping a journal when I was about sixteen years old, so I think it was about then that I began thinking of myself as a writer. I was drawn to reading and English and languages, in high school. Also, my grandmother was a writer in the 1920s and ‘30s, in Missoula, Montana. So maybe she is where my interest originated. In the early 1980s, I finally went back to college and earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon. After that, I was a journalist for about 25 years. But I always wanted to write novels.

 

Have you published anything else? 

Yes, I have two previous novels, both of which are historical fiction set in the 1650s. The first one, Spirited Away – A Novel of the Stolen Irish, was a 2013 finalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Book Awards as well as a quarterfinalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards Competition. It has 225 Amazon reviews. Daring Passage, my second novel, tells the rest of the story begun in Spirited Away. Delighted readers call it “a stunning sequel.” I’m also the author of a nonfiction book entitled Passing It On: Voices from the Flathead Indian Reservation. Find out more about me and my books at https://maggieplummerauthor.weebly.com/

 

What’s next for you? / What is your next project?

Next up is Book Two of the Jessie Morgan Series. Then Book Three, and then Book Four. I have my work cut out for me, following Jess as she continues testing herself, facing plenty of adversity as she grows into the woman she wants to be.

 

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Author Interview – Roni Kennedy

Today I have an interview with author and artist Roni Kennedy about her book The Boy That Grew Teeth in His Ear.

Roni Kennedy Photo for bookShort bio: – Roni Kennedy was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and comes from a family of eight. She is the oldest of six brothers and sisters and was taught at an early young age that she needed to set the example for her younger brothers and sisters. In her later years she moved to Salt Lake City, Utah and has three children and four step children.

Roni is a self-starter and has her own sign business which she used to run out of her home for 20 years and now at a location in Tooele, Utah for the past 10 years of her life. In her shop she designs, prints banners, does vehicle lettering and all types of signs. She has an artistic talent that she has been blessed with to support her family and lively hood. She also has and still paints windows as well seasonal and promotional for businesses and homes. She is a hard worker and likes to do crafts in her spare time and spend time with family and keep a clean home.

In the early 1996 Roni and another partner had two clipart books which were called Primary Paraphernalia Volume 1 and 2 that were published by Sounds of Zion in Salt Lake City Utah and were distributed all over the United States In Deseret Book Stores. She considers herself accomplished and when the going gets tough the tough get going.

Description1

Has someone you care about experienced bullying in their life? When Aaron is teased and bullied in his new neighborhood, he feels left out, so he decides to join the crowd of bullies hoping for a better life.

But Aaron soon learns a valuable lesson – about forgiveness and what it takes to be a true friend.

The Boy That Grew Teeth in His Ear, isn’t just about bullying, it’s about friendship and respect – about being fair and not making fun of others – no matter how different they may appear on the outside.

Roni Kennedy

Author

1.Hi Roni, can you tell us a little about your book.

The Boy That Grew Teeth In His Ear is a book about how sometimes we can get caught up in following the crowd and want to be popular. Since bullying has been a problem from the beginning of time this book is to invite children to realize they can be good friends and not pick on others and make fun of others that are different than them or new to a school or neighborhood.

Aaron had moved to a new neighborhood and was being teased and picked on. In order to fit in he started doing bad things to make himself fit in to the group that was picking on him. He soon found out that a tooth started forming in his ear and he tried to hide it. When his friends discovered it they wanted to have one just like he had. They thought it was cool so this made him more popular so they started picking more and more on others. Then more teeth grew in Aaron’s ear until he had none left in his mouth. Then Aaron started hiding out in his upstairs bedroom and wouldn’t go out and play or anything. He felt like a total freak and sobbed and cried himself to sleep. Then the ear talked to Aaron in his sleep and told him to repent of his wrongs and he would get better. So Aaron regained his mouth full of teeth and also lots of friends.

How did you come up with the title?

I came up with the Title because the story was about a boy growing the teeth in his ears and thought it would catch the attention of prospective readers.

What inspired you to write this book?

I think part of it has been my life events. My mother was a school teacher and 3 of us older siblings went to the same school she taught at and were somewhat picked on. I remember one time we were spit on and called teacher’s pet. A few other things have been insensitive people that I have encountered throughout my life. I have been married 3 times. I was verbally and physically abused in my first marriage and he did not want to work. My second marriage was not so good either. He lied about money and to me about a lot of things and when I published the Primary Paraphernalia books he became very jealous of my ability to do something for myself. Part of my book writing ideas came from my hard times in my life.

At the time I wrote this book I was doing well with the Primary books and wanted to make a career of it. Everything was put on hold due to a divorce in 1998. At one point during my single life II sent it in to Agreka Books and they wanted me to publish and do a second book about morals another book of the same type of odd or growths on a human due to a bad character flaw. I did not have the funds and this book was put on a shelf for 18 years. I had to raise my daughter and just worked on getting the sign business going. Due to more humbling experiences in my life and moving to a small town with my sign business, I decided to blow some dust off of it and get it published this year. I cannot tell you it all except small towns have bullies and mean people as well as very good people so this book was a perfect time to get published. I have been bullied by a newspaper out here that was trying to put my sign business under when they advertised in their paper that they did signs and banners in full page and undercut my prices after I closed my sign shop up in Salt Lake. I had two shops at the time and the economy was going south. I did not go through them for my published book needless to say.

How are your story ideas born?

They are born by certain people. This book started a flame or a fire when I had a next door neighbor who thought he was all it and had a better than thou attitude.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes! Don’t follow the crowd just to have friends. You don’t have to have bad friends to feel like you need to fit into a society, a school, or a club.

How much of the book is realistic?

This book is a fiction but it is a great teacher for anyone if they really have an open mind or have ever experienced bullying or being ganged up on by a group of malicious individuals.

What is your writing process?

At the time I wrote this is was all on paper and as I edited it, I drew the pictures. It all came together so fast. I simply felt like God had his hands in my right hand and gave me all the ideas and they came quickly.

What’s your favorite part of the writing process?

The adventure and the ideas that would just pop into my head.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?

Maybe just a few of the illustrations to make them more enlarged and vivid.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

At the time I wrote this book I had to little or no money. That is why I let it sit for so long and I was running my sign business and just put it on the back burner. The original was all pencil sketched with no color. I was advised by a publisher to add some color to my illustrations. Knowing my time schedule and lack of spare hours, I hired someone in my neighborhood to color the pages in photoshop.

What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book and how did you overcome it?

Writing it was great it was the process afterwards of finances and then no time to get it accomplished over the years. I made 2015 my New Year’s resolution to get it done and I did.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I can concentrate and do well when it is quiet. I can think when there is peace. Noise and clutter causes the mind not to be able to create.

How long did it take to write your latest release?

2 days.

Do you have a favorite line or scene from your latest release?

Aaron tried everything possible to pull the unwanted tooth from his ear, from his dad’s tweezers to his mother’s sewing scissors. Nothing could remove the tooth. I love the illustration that goes with it.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?

No I do not. My publisher has been helping me with critiquing.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?

Yes

What are the future plans for you and this book?

To advertise and promote and sell as many as I possibly can.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?

Yes with previous books in the past.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?

The low cost in publishing

What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?

Quite a lot. I am learning about interviews, marketing and how much time is involved.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?

Yes. Barnes and Noble, Goodreads.

What are you doing to market your book?

Presently I am working with my publisher. I will probably try to spend a few minutes a day in the near future doing this myself once I get some knowledge. I am kind of green to all of this. I am working on getting a website as well and also want to link it to my sign business website.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?

All that you have asked. I am considering going to local free classifieds and advertising there as well.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?

Yes. Due to having a full time business it is very difficult. It is kind of like exercising or spending time reading daily devotionals, scriptures, or uplifting spiritual matter. I have to make time to do it all.

How have sales been? Where have you had the most success?

It’s only been on the market for two weeks and I have not checked Amazon for two days. I had only two sell that I know of and they were relatives.

How are readers/reviewers reacting to your book?

Anyone who has read at thinks it is a very cute and different book.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?

This is not going to make you a million dollars. Just take it in stride and have fun with it.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

As a teenager I used to write poems.

Have you published anything else?

Yes in 1996 a previous partner by the name of Debbie Corbridge and I published Primary Paraphernalia Volume 1 and 2 by Sounds of Zion in Salt Lake City Utah and were distributed all over the United States In Deseret Book Stores and more. They were clip art books for teachers and also included directional signs and door signs for classes with church related info in them.

What’s next for you? / What is your next project?

When I was a child back in the late 1960’s my mother wrote a couple of books and sent them to publishers. I did the illustrations in them and I they all need to be edited, shortened and re-written. She wrote a book called Timmy Mitton. That is my next project. To re-construct her book. It is also a children’s fictional book.

Tell us your latest news.

My latest new is I just published a children’s book and It is called, “The Boy That Grew Teeth In His Ear.”

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

If you know someone that is experiencing bullying or bad behavior this would be a great book to read or read a child to give them an insight on wrong behavior.
Tell us about your artwork?

It is all illustrated by me except for the photoshop and it describes the book.

What are your plans for future work? What are you currently working on?

I would like to pursue more children’s books and maybe even a biography about my life if time allows.

What is your best advice for up and coming artists?

Stay focused! We live in a world of lots of distractions and adversity. Try to prioritize time for the things you enjoy doing.

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Author Interview – Nicole Evelina

Today I have an Interview with author Nicole Evelina about her book Daughter of Destiny, Book 1 of Guinevere’s Tale.

Niclole Evelina Horizontal

Short author bio: Nicole Evelina is St. Louis historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her first four books are coming out in 2016. She is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness. Nicole has traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere trilogy, where she consulted with internationally acclaimed author and historian Geoffrey Ashe, as well as Arthurian/Glastonbury expert Jaime George, the man who helped Marion Zimmer Bradley research The Mists of Avalon.

Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for the The Historical Novel Society, and Sirens (a group supporting female fantasy authors), as well as a member of the Historical Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, Broad Universe (promoting women in fantasy, science fiction and horror), Alliance of Independent Authors and the Independent Book Publishers Association.

Her website/blog is http://nicoleevelina.com and she can be found on Twitter as well as on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.

Nicole Evelina Daughter of Destiny eBook Cover Large

Book Synopsis:

Before queenship and Camelot, Guinevere was a priestess of Avalon. She loved another before Arthur, a warrior who would one day betray her.

In the war-torn world of late fifth century Britain, young Guinevere faces a choice: stay with her family to defend her home at Northgallis from the Irish, or go to Avalon to seek help for the horrific visions that haunt her. The Sight calls her to Avalon, where she meets Morgan, a woman of questionable parentage who is destined to become her rival. As Guinevere matures to womanhood, she gains the powers of a priestess, and falls in love with a man who will be both her deepest love and her greatest mistake.

Just when Guinevere is able to envision a future in Avalon, tragedy forces her back home, into a world she barely recognizes, one in which her pagan faith, outspokenness, and proficiency in the magical and military arts are liabilities. When a chance reunion with her lover leads to disaster, she is cast out of Northgallis and into an uncertain future. As a new High King comes to power, Guinevere must navigate a world of political intrigue where unmarried women are valuable commodities and seemingly innocent actions can have life-altering consequences.

You may think you know the story of Guinevere, but you’ve never heard it like this: in her own words. Listen and you will hear the true story of Camelot and its queen.

Fans of Arthurian legend and the Mists of Avalon will love Daughter of Destiny, the first book in a historical fantasy trilogy that gives Guinevere back her voice and traces her life from an uncertain eleven year old girl to a wise queen in her fifth decade of life.

Author

Hi Nicole, please tell us a little about your book.

This book is the first in a trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view. In Daughter of Destiny, we meet her as an uncertain 11 year old girl who is struggling with maturing into womanhood, as well as suddenly showing signs of the sight and having to make choices that will affect her future without the wisdom to understand how. By the end of the book, she’s a more mature 15 year old woman on the brink of becoming queen. In between is the story of her life (and love) before Arthur and now it affects who she is as queen (which you’ll see in the second book).

How did you come up with the title?

Guinevere has a fate she doesn’t know about but can’t escape no matter how hard she tries. As readers, we know what it is, but she doesn’t have that knowledge. Therefore she is a daughter of destiny.

What inspired you to write this book?

I tell this story in the author’s notes at the end of the book. The short version is that I’ve loved Arthurian legend and the character of Guinevere my whole life. When I read The Mists of Avalon, it changed my life in many ways, but I hated the portrayal of Guinevere. This led me to read other books about her and wonder what happened before and after the part of the story we traditionally know. Then she came into my head and told me she wanted me to tell her story – that of a strong warrior woman who was a priestess and a lover, a mother, a wife and so much more than the wallflower whore of medieval legend. This is one kick-ass Guinevere who is finally getting the chance to take her rightful place next to her famous husband.

Please tell us how your story ideas are born?

I am a firm believer that my characters choose me. And they talk to me. As I mentioned above, Guinevere came into my head and asked me to tell her story. For my romantic comedy that’s coming out in May, the main character appeared fully formed and with her story in tow. My historical fiction about Victoria Woodhull (first US female presidential candidate in 1872) that is coming out in July was similar. I found a picture of this 19th century woman on Pinterest with an intriguing caption saying she was also known as Mrs. Satan, and the more I investigated her life, the more I knew it was time to restore her name to the history books. One of my future characters came from a fellow author’s presentation at an RWA meeting. The author talked about how her fictional character was loosely based on this historical woman and I knew I had to tell the real woman’s story (with that author’s permission, of course, which she gave).

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?

Well, I’m fortunate that it’s taken 15 years to get this book from concept to print, so I’ve had a LOT of time to edit it and make changes. So at this point, I would say no.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?

I did. I actually had an agent for two years. This book went to acquisitions three times (twice at a Big 5 publisher and then at a smaller press) but never got a deal. Mostly, they weren’t sure the time period would sell, especially due to me being an unknown author.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish?

Well, it was a long road with my agent and the industry. I finally decided that I wanted to be in control of my own career – after all, I’m never going to fire me, even if a book doesn’t do well. I heard a presentation at my local RWA chapter by a very successful self-published romance author that, along with the experiences of some of my indie writer friends, convinced me I could be successful as an indie, even as a debut author, so I went for it. I LOVE being personally involved in every aspect of my book’s creation, from editing, to cover design, to choosing my audio narrator and working with the layout team. Love it!

What are you doing to market your book?

I am a marketing/communications professional by education and trade (it’s my day job), so I have a huge marketing plan. Mostly it consists of a blog tour, guest blogs like this, articles on related topics in national publications, some advertising, reviews, social media and getting word of mouth every possible way I can. It’s an ongoing thing; the release blitz is just the beginning!

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?

Oh yes. I have a full-time job as well, so there are only so many hours in the day. I’m actually taking time off of writing in order to focus on getting my first four babies out into the world (in a 7-month time period). After that’s over, I’m hoping there will be more balance, with the marketing being steady but simple (except when there is occasion to do a sale or other kind of blitz) so I can get back to the writing. I think every author struggles, especially if they don’t write full time.

What’s next for you? / What is your next project?

I’m releasing my next three books:

  1. Camelot’s Queen (March 23 – The second book in the Guinevere Tale trilogy)
  2. Been Searching for You (May 10 – a contemporary romantic comedy that won in the single title romance category of the 2015 Great Expectations Contest and Gold Rose Contest and was a finalist in five others.
  3. Madame Presidentess (July 25 – Historical fiction about 19th century American Presidential candidate Victoria Woodhull, the first American woman to run for President)
  4. I hope to have the final book in Guinevere’s Tale available in late 2016 or early 2017.

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Author Interview – Andy Peloquin – The Last Bucelarii

Today I have an interview for you with author Andy Peloquin about his book, The Last Bucelarii, book one of Blade of the Destroyer.

Short author bio: Andy Peloquin–a third culture kid to the core–has loved to read since before he could remember. Sherlock Holmes, the Phantom of the Opera, and Father Brown are just a few of the books that ensnared his imagination as a child.

When he discovered science fiction and fantasy through the pages of writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R Tolkien, and Orson Scott Card, he was immediately hooked and hasn’t looked back since.

Reading—and now writing—is his favorite escape, and it provides him an outlet for his innate creativity. He is an artist; words are his palette.

ANDY Peloquin

Book Synopsis: The Hunter of Voramis is the perfect assassin: ruthless, unrelenting, immortal. Yet he is haunted by lost memories, bonded to a cursed dagger that feeds him power yet denies him peace of mind. Within him rages an unquenchable need for blood and death.

When he accepts a contract to avenge the stolen innocence of a girl, the Hunter becomes the prey. The death of a seemingly random target sends him hurtling toward destruction, yet could his path also lead to the truth of his buried past?

 

Author

Hi Andy, tell us a little about your book.

The book follows the journey of the Hunter, an assassin who has risen to prominence in his city. He is ruthless, unrelenting, and near-immortal, but he has no idea who he really is–or what he is. His memories only stretch back 50 years, and they begin with him walking into the city of Voramis. His only possession at the time: Soulhunger, a dagger that feeds him power every time he kills.

He is the “top dog” in Voramis, but his profession has made him many enemies. For this reason, he has to hide his true identity, forcing him to wear disguises. No one knows who he is, so he has no real connection to humanity. This is very much a story about an outsider looking in on a world where he has no place.

What inspired you to write this book?

I started out writing the story of a classic villain (a half-demon assassin), but over time it morphed into something much deeper and more fascinating. It’s about this character trying to find his place in the world, as well as what happens when you have forces beyond your control–even internal forces–fighting for control over you.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes: everyone has a reason why they do what they do. What is perceived as “evil” to one person may not be, but until you understand the reason why, it’s impossible to tell. There is no such thing as a true “villain”–only shades of grey.

What’s your favorite part of the writing process?

The creative part, of course. I love to sit and create, writing a new story and making it something others would want to read. After the writing, of course, comes the re-drafting and editing–every author’s least favorite part.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?

You bet! No work is good enough to be published without an editor or three, and anyone who believes that they don’t need an editor is fooling themselves.

What are the future plans for you and this book?

This book is the first in a series of six, each of which takes the character of the Hunter further on his journey. He discovers more about his past, learns more about himself and his desires, and finds his place in the world–even if it’s not what he was expecting.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?

I do. Marketing is not my forte, but I’m very good at interacting with people. If I stop looking at it as “marketing” and focus more on talking to people and being friendly, it’s much easier!

How are readers/reviewers reacting to your book?

Pretty awesome, actually! The book still has a 4.6 star rating, and that’s after 50+ reviews. Fingers crossed that it stays that way!

What’s next for you? / What is your next project?

Book 2 in the series is already with the publisher, and I’m working on Books 3 and 4. I’m also working on a secret side trilogy set in the same world, but following different characters.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Yes: Plot is less important than characters. Write good characters that people can relate to and will want to read about, and they will love the plot. Without a good character, your plot–no matter how good–is going to fail.

 

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Author Interview – P S Bartlett

Today I have an interview for you with fellow author P.S. Bartlett about her book Jaded Tides, from the Razor’s Adventures Pirate Tales.

PS BArtlettAuthor Photo

Short author bio: P.S. (Peggy) has always had a love of books and writing. She also paints and draws and although writing takes up the majority of her free time by choice, she loves spending time with her friends and family.

Her first novel “Fireflies” was published in March of 2013 with GMTA Publishing and her second, “Hope From the Ocean” was published in March of 2014, also with GMTA.

Peggy’s goal is to become a full time writer and spend the remainder of her days creating worlds, characters and stories that will carry on long after she’s written her last word.

PS Bartlett Jaded Tides

 

Description1

Book Synopsis: After finding love in the most unlikely of places, Ivory’s life appears to at last be falling into place. Having proven herself a force to be reckoned with, she has at last set sail for the first time as a pirate. The only problem is she’s a woman and must disguise herself in order to set foot on a ship. Being in love with her captain isn’t helping matters either and whole new set of obstacles are presenting themselves at every turn. Her brash style and tenacity, however, could prove to make her, her own worst enemy.
With a sword in her hand and her new found love at her side, Ivory Shepard is about to embark on a mission to rescue and return every young woman she can who has fallen prey to the jaded tides of the Caribbean sex trade. Armed with a secret log book she acquired from a pirate captain—who also happened to be an evil smuggler, she believes herself well prepared for the task. As she’s already learned the hard way, pirates always prove to be unpredictable and ruthless. Unfortunately for them, so is she.

 

Author

Hi Peggy and welcome, can you tell us a little about your book.

Jaded Tides is the second book in the Razor’s Adventure Series. Although there is a prequel novella, as well as another full length novel; The Blue Diamond, The order of the books are:

IVORY DAWN

DEMONS & PEARLS

JADED TIDES

AMBER WAKE – GABRIEL FALLING (Hoping for a December release)

THE BLUE DIAMOND – THE RAZOR’S EDGE.

There will most likely be other books between JADED TIDES and THE BLUE DIAMOND but for now, that is the correct order.

JADED TIDES chronicles the continuing journey of Ivory Shepard and her three cousins; Cassandra, Keara and Miranda, as they begin making a life for themselves in Port Royal Jamaica. This book primarily focuses on Ivory’s relationship with her friend, confidant, captain and love, Rasmus Bergman, as they set out after a ring of slave traders who are selling young women into the sex trade.

Ivory is growing up fast and life is coming at her at such a rate of speed, she’s spinning like a top. She’s passionate, dangerous and often hap hazard in her attempt to catch the bad guys and save the young women at the same time.

Her love for Rasmus is hot and fiery but she feels he’s holding something back from her. Her patience is running thin but with so many obstacles flying at them, they barely have time to breathe let alone spend time exploring their hidden demons. However, when passions collide, an inferno of lust, passion and deep love explodes, only pulling them closer together. The true challenge will be keeping that flame lit as together, they fight the bad guys and continue making enemies throughout the Caribbean.

How did you come up with the title?

All of the titles in the series have a precious stone or gem in them. In this book, Rasmus gives Ivory something made of Jade but the true meaning is that she believes she is indestructible because her cause is honorable. However, the obstacles that present themselves will leave her a bit disillusioned when she finds out it doesn’t matter how honorable and just the cause, you can’t save the world.

What inspired you to write this book?

The story must go on.

How are your story ideas born?

I honestly don’t know. The characters carry me on through the story with what they want and need and I try to give it to them but there’s a price; they have to be interesting and when I give them what they want, they have to accept the consequences.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Nope. I just want them to be swept away and get lost in the story. Whatever they take away is up to them but there are no hidden meanings or messages. Just let go and have fun.

How much of the book is realistic?

Everything is deeply researched and as true to historic fact as I can get it. The only fabricated parts of my stories are the characters and the story.

What is your writing process?

I just sit down and write. I do a soft outline of the story and the characters and then write. My life is crazy and full of obstacles. Sounds familiar lol Seriously though, I don’t sleep much. I work a full time job and take care of a husband and a home. I have my two adult children still living with me as well as three granddaughters; one five year old and two year old twins. Writing is my escape from the real world, although sometimes running away on a pirate ship sounds less dangerous and crazy sometimes.

What’s your favorite part of the writing process?

Editing. I LOVE to edit. If I ever stop writing, I will become an editor. There’s just something about making a sentence flow perfectly into the next and making the story so clean it shines. I have a great editor but I always strive to give her my best effort every time.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?

Maybe but it’s too late now. Maybe not.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Finding time to write it.

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Author Interview – Erica Miles

Today I have an interview for you with fellow author Erica Miles about her book Dazzled by Darkness.  Also we have the first couple of chapters for you.

Erica Miles millie photo (edited)

Short author bio: Erica Miles is a poet, writer, tutor, and retired university gopher. She spends much of her time daydreaming and communing with her cat. In a previous lifetime, she was a graphic artist, actor, and dancer, until an accident left her with a movement disorder. But thankfully, she has not lost the ability to put thoughts to pen (or computer, as it were). Born in Brooklyn, New York, the setting for Dazzled by Darkness, she currently lives in New York City and is the Non-Fiction Editor & Principal Fiction Editor of The Greenwich Village Literary Review. Samples of her fiction and poetry were published in the Spring 2015 issue of TGVLR. A memoir and author interview were featured in the September 2015 issue of VOID Magazine. Her debut novel, Dazzled by Darkness, is, according to Kirkus Reviews, “a well-crafted and satisfying work about art and relationships.”

 

Author

Hi Erica, can you tell us a little about your book.

It starts off as a love story, a fantasy in the mind of the female protagonist come true. Her name is Sara. She suffers from mental illness, hears voices, and one of the voices in her head comes alive for her. The voice belongs to Gavilàn—a working-class, dark-complexioned Hispanic guy—an artist who’s into all kinds of experimental enterprises. Sara is a middle-class, college educated Jewish girl, and she, too, is an artist, but her tastes are more traditional.

Throughout the novel, the hero periodically withdraws into his own world and fantasizes about talking to artists from the past. He learns from them and challenges them. He’s a fast-talking street guy. Sara never knows anything about this. As far as she’s concerned, he’s not going anywhere, but she’s attracted to him. Their relationship has a lot of ups and downs.

Don’t want a spoiler, but the artist also has another relationship—with his best friend James—just suggestive but significant—as in significant other. The culture clash/ego clash between the main male and female characters gradually intensifies to the point where they separate. So it is not a conventional romance, no happy ending, but a twist ending all the same. There is a lot of humor in the scenes between the young artist and great masters. There is also a lot of tragedy in the mixed-up romance.

The reader—of whatever ethnicity—gets a chance to peek into other cultures. The book may seem “quaint” to younger readers who are used to a more liberal society—not one in which interracial love was more or less forbidden—or, at least, considered revolutionary. It’s a true glimpse into the Hippie culture of the ‘60s and a thorough tour of European art through the eyes of a Brooklyn street guy.

Who is the main character?

There are two main characters, or actually three—a secret love triangle. Sara, the sensitive introvert who’s not very good at social relations and is thrilled to be loved and pursued by someone; Gavilàn, the male protagonist, a younger man, younger than Sara, who is interested in anything different and extraordinary, who has a dream of becoming a world-famous artist and standing among the ranks of the artists he emulates; and finally, James, Gavilàn’s best friend, and a friend to Sara, too, a gentle man of wisdom, a lover of poetry, a compassionate listener, and unfortunately, one who dies too young.

Do you relate to your character? Is your protagonist anything like you personally?


Yes, I suffered from mental illness as a young woman, too, and know what it’s like. I was also in a hospital, as Sara was. But overall, I identify with my male protagonist, Gavilàn. Though he’s a street character, his temperament is not that different from mine, and it was fun to jump into his crazy, creative mind.

What inspired you to write this book?

As with any work of fiction, part is inspired by autobiography and part inspired by imagination, the latter all the more so, because of the fantasy element.

Did you have to do research for this novel and, if so, why?

Yes, I had to do research about the artists I described in order to develop their characters and give authentic details about their backgrounds and environments. The Lives of the Artists by Giorgio Vasari was an invaluable resource. I also enjoyed The Philosophy of Andy Warhol.

But I was pretty well informed about art history to begin with. I loved reading about Picasso’s different mistresses and his macho personality. I loved the anecdote about Yvette Guilbert, a model of Toulouse Lautrec’s, and how she was a singer at the bistros, was adored by her audience. I loved reading about what she wore—long yellow gloves, long black dress—you can see her on the Art Nouveau posters. I loved descriptions of Paris in the early 20th Century.

I loved fooling around with time travel and juxtaposing Gavilàn’s slang and relaxed demeanor with the formality of the artists he interviews. But I used a lot of dialogue, as if I were writing a play, and provided drama from my own imagination.

What’s your favorite part of the writing process?

Painting decoratively with words and adding brushstrokes of philosophy.

Is there anything you specific want readers to know about this piece of work?

When you look back in the long run, you can see the bigger picture. It’s very interesting to put yourself into the head of your antagonist and feel compassion, redemption, and release. I believe in making beauty out of broken glass. Making beauty is a labor of love.

I’d also like you to know the book is illustrated with wonderful sketches throughout, some by me, a few Photoshopped by Firefeet, but most done by my dear friend Selma Eisenstadt, who unfortunately died not so long ago. At least, she lived long enough to see the initial publication. I owe her a debt of gratitude for the beauty she contributed to the novel. Firefeet was also a jewel with his Photoshop ingenuity. I think the drawings really add a lot to the book and emphasize the theme of the story.

What’s next for you? / What is your next project?

As Non-Fiction Editor & Principal Fiction Editor of The Greenwich Village Literary Review, I will soon be editing submissions for the December 2015 issue. Two of my own pieces will appear in the magazine, as well—a poem and a memoir—both selected not only for their literary merit, but also for their winter holiday themes.

MILLIE

chapter

HEARING VOICES

While other young Americans were caught up in Civil Rights marches, the Vietnam War, protest songs, and psychedelic drugs, Sara Got was hearing voices in her head and trying to relate to them.

It was the decade when John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated, and psychopaths were rampant in the nation.

Sara’s voices were quiet. No bouts of hysteria. No telling her to kill. In truth, they sounded just like telephone voices—“Hello? Who is it please?”—enunciating in Brooklynese like the loud-mouthed men and women around her; making themselves heard above the everyday sobs of electric guitars; chatting away to their friends on a mysterious party line wired to her brain. Still, they were distracting.

How could she work, for example, or lead an ordinary life? And aside from those personal considerations, what if the disturbance worked both ways?

Do the voices sense my presence, my breathing, my beating heart? Do they interrupt their ranting as I respond to them telepathically?

Sara knew they were real voices belonging to real people. But people she wouldn’t normally meet. Most likely from other neighborhoods—dangerous neighborhoods—like Sunset Park, Crown Heights, Bushwick, Bedford Stuyvesant.

One voice, in particular, commanded Sara’s attention. It spoke in Black slang, and—as any fantasy-ridden woman would expect—its late-night calls were all about you guessed it!—turning her on. Not sexually, but linguistically. Its fascinating rhythms, so loose and free, resonated with a wild streak deep within her.

I’ll call this voice “Sweet Sir Galahad,”

so he can come into my bedroom at night through the window.

How much should she tell her doctor? Better just let him know she still felt depressed, had trouble concentrating, felt lonely and isolated at times—the usual patient complaint list.

But he saw through her. “You can’t stop hallucinating,” he remarked, when she showed up that Monday. “I could send you to the hospital—but I’d rather not.”

How did he know?

“Oh, no, please don’t send me to the hospital.”

“I won’t—if you’re willing to work with me. But you need to find some structure in your life.”

“Like a real job?” Sara offered.

“Well, I didn’t exactly mean—but it’s not beyond—You think you could handle that, Sara? A little more medication might make it possible.”

As long as it doesn’t interfere with my voices.

Especially his. You can take away the rest—

but not “Sweet Sir Galahad!”

She couldn’t picture his face, but she knew he went from phone booth to phone booth, all over Brooklyn, just to reach her. Even though he was talking to somebody else.

Sara lived in Flatbush but longed to explore other parts of Brooklyn, too. So, deciding to leave her parents’ house—I’m twenty-five year’s old, for God’s sake!—with a nod from her shrink, she set out on her journey.

Being a fan of fine art, the first thing she did was circle a Help-Wanted ad in The New York Times for a secretary at the Brooklyn Museum Art School.

LOOKING AT TREES

A week later, Sara was sitting at a green aluminum desk in a tower office, surrounded by brightly colored tempera paintings, buoyed by the novelty of typing letters that asked for money.

The museum was just her kind of place—a monumental building, taking up an entire block on Eastern Parkway, and topped by an eerie-looking dome.

The gothic arched window in her office—on her supervisor Margaret’s side—offered a microscopic view of the Botanical Gardens below. Since the fall flowers were now in bloom, Sara decided she’d spend the lunch hour of her first day strolling through those gardens.

When the clock with Roman numerals on the wall showed both hands on the XII, she let out a working woman’s sigh, aglow with a sense of normality. Neither Margaret nor Lloyd had criticized any aspect of her performance so far, despite her stolen glances out the window. This job was going to be a breeze!

She boldly stood up from her desk, pulled her sweater from a peg on the wall, and announced that she was going to lunch.

How ethereal the scenery was in the fall, a well-kept secret! How thickly the foliage grew on a wisteria-covered arbor!

Some of the deciduous trees were beginning to turn orange.

Flower beds, verdant and dense with blossoms—chrysanthemums, daisies, lavender, phlox, the last of the summer roses.

What do I smell? Is it everything?

And why am I feeling so strange?

It’s like I’m—happy….

She wandered down a deserted lane of lampposts and benches, with fertile crab-apple trees on either side.

What a paradise for the small, probably migrating, birds she saw feasting on the little crab apples!

At last, she came to a spacious lawn, such as one might see before a Southern manor.

She stopped to admire a Japanese cherry tree, while tearing off pieces of her tuna sandwich to throw to the pigeons on the grass.

The silky-barked tree was bare—it was well past the cherry blossom season—but its trunk was gracefully divided into two parts, branches twisting outward.

As Sara looked through the opening from twelve feet away, she found herself staring straight into the bemused eyes of a young Black man, standing immediately on the other side, practically camouflaged.

He’s almost the same color as the trunk of the tree—a pinkish, silvery light brown. No, he’s actually a golden brown! In funky clothes and slightly skimpy Afro, he seems to be frozen in a dance motion like a reflection of twisted branches.

Sara was transfixed. A tree god! She curtseyed. I am queen of the pigeons….

A crowd of pigeons had gathered at her feet, jostling each other for the choicest pieces of bread.

She tossed her last crumbs, aiming for the stragglers at the margins.

Then, the terror burst from the sky, moving too fast for her eyes to comprehend! It swooped to the ground before her—hitting one of the pigeons—and then flying back to its original source. The rest of the flock took off.

Oh, my God! Sara stared at the unmoving youth by the tree. He appeared to be posing for her, watching her intently, waiting to see what her reaction would be to his performance.

The targeted bird lay on its side before her, its claws clenched.

“Did you see that?” she called.

No answer. No motion.

“It must have been a hawk!” Sara said.

It didn’t take its prey. Will it come back for it later? And what if hawks attack humans…?

“Do you think we should call the police?” she cried.

More silence.

He had a concave chest and minimal biceps. She saw him as a reed, a sapling. He didn’t scare her—the way knottier-bodied, mature men sometimes did.

In spite of her shock at the attack she’d just witnessed, she smiled awkwardly at his strange beauty, the way he fit so naturally into the scene, and even at the joke he seemed to be playing on her.

“Can’t you talk? Or are you pretending to be a tree?”

Out of the corner of her eye, Sara saw another shadow coming toward her….

“Oh, my God!” she screamed, running directly into the path of her garden companion, desperately latching onto his arms. “It’s just like in that horror movie—‘The Birds!’”

The young man didn’t reply, seemingly content with gazing up at the bright noon sun.

Maybe he doesn’t go to the movies. Why should I assume it of people from his culture?

She took a step back.

“Thank you,” she said.

“Who me?”

He speaks!

“I don’t see anybody else.”

His brown eyes shifted to the pigeon’s corpse.

“We don’t have time to bury him,” Sara murmured in sympathy. “We’ll just have to leave him lying there. Maybe the leaves will cover him.”

The young man pressed his palms together in a prayer position against his chest. Then, lifting one foot to his other thigh, he resumed his treelike stance.

She turned to go. Lunch hour was almost over. When she glanced back at the cherry tree, he was gone.

Sara spent the rest of the day with his image rooted in her mind—a youth who resembled a tree.

I didn’t imagine him, Dr. Schwarzkopf.

I touched him. He was real….

The following day at lunch break, she spotted his rough-hewn face in the museum cafeteria and attempted a friendly “Hi.” They were passing each other and had stopped about a foot apart. He stared at her intently and answered her with a casual smile. Sara felt a powerful current between them, almost mystical.

Away from the grass and sky, he now looked like a regular person. He was about six feet tall but not very muscular—a youth still developing into a man—dressed in black chinos, a white t-shirt, and black sneakers that slapped the floor as he walked.

His head seemed larger, but maybe that was due to his explosive head of hair, and the gold-rimmed glasses he’d just pushed up his nose gave him the look of an intellectual.

He was much lighter than she remembered—hardly Black at all. He also appeared more mature, somehow.

She inhaled. Fresh cologne.

Was that really the way he smelled?

She met his eyes again and felt herself flush, as if he had lifted her skirt.

He walked away, not looking like a tree at all.

Later that day, back in the office, Sara was leaning bent over, labeling crayon drawings, chewing gum, when she heard rapid footsteps on the tower stairs, ten feet from her desk, and caught a whiff of his fresh young male aroma.

He rose up, panting, onto her landing.

Laughing between deep breaths, he strode up to her—one hand pressed to his side, the other hand extended. He didn’t stop at the front of her desk, but boldly strolled over to the side of her chair.

“Name’s Gavilán. Umm, I’m a prospective art student here. Just ran up seven, umm, flights to see you.”

She swallowed her gum and sat up straight.

“Why didn’t you take the elevator?”

He waved his hand dismissively. Then he broke into a dazzling smile, turned his hand palm up, and offered it to her.

She immediately slapped it. It was the first time she’d ever tried that with anyone. With him it felt right.

“Umm, I didn’t mean slap me five.” He grabbed her hand, and they quietly held hands for a few seconds.

“I’m Sara.” Ooh, she had a frog in her throat. “Please tell me your name again. I didn’t quite catch it.”

He laughed. “Just call me ‘G.’” A final squeeze. “Is your boss around?”

Sara felt a rush. “No. Why?”

“If he was, I’d shake his hand, too.”

“It’s a her,” she said.

“’Scuse me?”

“My boss is a woman.”

“She look anything like you?”

G’s eyes explored her long brown hair, Indian mini dress, bare legs, and black leather sandals, taking her in as if she were an exotic flower. To Sara, the message was unmistakable: I want to be close to you, study you, be inspired by you.

“I saw you in the cafeteria this morning,” he said.

“I know. I saw you, too.” She blushed a deep pink. “What about in the Botanical Gardens?”

He looked at her quizzically.

“What were you doing behind that cherry tree?”

“The cherry tree? Like in George Washington?”

She giggled. “I hope you didn’t think I was being too forward.”

“Not at all.” He smoothed the dark fuzz on the sides of his mouth.

“It’s just that I was feeling really scared.”

“You were?”

Sara nodded her head. She would never forget her bizarre brush with death but remembered to give a bounce to her hair.

G seized her hand again and pulled her to her feet.

Are we about to kiss? To dance?

“Did you see the movie, ‘Carousel?’” he asked.

“Yes. But it was a long time ago.”

“I know. But you remind me of Julie.”

That ingénue who falls in love with the rough-talking Billy Bigelow? Who marries him and has his baby, after he goes off to jail?”

“Thank you.”

He swung their joined hands through the air, indicating the entire room around them and the view of the Gardens through the window. He dropped her hand, just as she was getting into the movement.

“It can be an in-timid-dating place,” he joked, “if you don’t know your way around.”

“You know that’s not why.”

“Why what?”

“Why I was afraid.”

G gave her a flirtatious smile.

Sara really wanted to talk about the hawk. He obviously didn’t. Maybe it wasn’t a cool topic.

Talking with G is like dancing.

Better just let him lead.

“Oh, but it’s an interesting place!” she continued. “I love to wander through it all.”

“What’s your favorite part?”

Now Sara wanted to flirt.

“The cherry esplanade!”

“Uh—I’m talking about in the museum.”

“Oh. I thought you meant in the Botanical Gardens.”

“That’s a cool place too. What do you think of the Art School?”

Sara was beginning to feel confused.

Let him ignore my comments. Just let him keep looking at me like he never wants to take his eyes off of me.

“Do you like it here?” He shot a glance around the office, taking in the psychedelic posters and junior masterpieces on the walls.

“You mean at my job?”

“Or at the museum….”

Before she could answer, he picked up one of the damp clay sculptures from the glass table next to her desk and turned the figure over in his hands.

“What’s this supposed to be?” he asked. “A horse?”

“Or a dog. You’re not supposed to touch.”

There’s something about his voice.

Something familiar. What is it?

G continued to handle the statue for another five seconds. Then he set the animal down. When he looked at her again, his eyes were filled with curiosity, his smile irresistible.

“Oh. You asked me what I liked here! That’s what you want to know! I like the American watercolors on the second floor and the glazed pottery on the first. I haven’t seen much of the rest of the building—oh, except for the African exhibit on the main floor.”

“You like Africans?”

This time it was Sara who didn’t respond.

G shifted his eyes away from her. Was it with embarrassment?

Say something appropriate, Sara.

It’s your turn to explore.

“Do you come here often?” she asked.

“Where?”

“To the museum.”

“Oh. I thought you meant here—to your office.”

“Well, that, too.”

“Now I will,” he said, deepening his voice.

Oh, no! It can’t be! Oh, ‘Sweet Sir Galahad!’ That’s your voice! You can lock me up now, Dr. Schwarzkopf!

Was she really meeting her imaginary phone man? Was she someone in a movie that was playing in his mind?

Sara had never experienced such instant chemistry, or any chemistry at all, for that matter.

Did he find her alluring because she was white? If he was flirting with her, she had never been flirted with so eloquently.

Letting her questions drop like petals to the ground, she felt a sweet awakening—as if she were drinking in new nectar.

Does G thirst for it, too?

But the second he walked out the door, she realized she was once more projecting her own fantasies onto her would-be paramour, as she pictured him locked inside a glass booth, head cocked to one shoulder, bragging into a corded, black receiver.

“Hey, James. It’s me. I just met this girl in the museum. Not quite a girl. She’s an older chick, but not too old… old enough to make it interesting, you know what I’m sayin’? I got this feeling I’m gonna make it with her…. Not much to look at though. Wears thick glasses. Looks like a school teacher. No makeup. Not even lipstick. Average figure. Straight brown hair… yeah, right, the hippie shit.

“Funny thing. She thinks she saw me standin’ next to some fuckin’ cherry tree. She kept talkin’ about it. Don’t know what she’s talkin’ about.

“I don’t hang out in the Gardens, man… all that pollen… I could paint you what a sinus headache feels like.

“Oh wow, it just came to me! Y’know who gets off on the Gardens? Yeah, that quiet cat, Vinny… He can stand in the sun for hours… doin’ trees and flowers in day-glo colors… inhalin’ all the sickly-sweet aromas… and he hardly ever takes a break to eat. Matter of fact, he spends his lunch hour learnin’ some form of tai chi… says it loosens up his drawing… and he’s now a junior master of the tree pose.

“Hmm… Bet that little hippie got herself a case of mistaken identity. Yeah, exactly, all the black guys look alike. Dumb-ass white people. She don’t notice Vinny’s two years younger and a few shades darker than me.

“That’s all right. She wants a Brother. I’ll give her one. Uh-oh. Time’s up, man. Gotta go…. Yeah, I know we just got started, but there’s this heavyweight brother outside, waitin’ to make a call, and I don’t wanna mess with him. Looks a little like Cassius Clay—or should I say, Muhammad Ali? Shit, he’s big. I better go. I’ll talk to you later.”

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Author Interview – Marie Lavender

Today I have an interview for you with author Marie Lavender about her book A Little Magick.

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Short author bio: Bestselling multi-genre author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 20 other books. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 50 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 21 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series and The Blood at First Sight Series.
A list of her books and pen names are as follows:

Marie Lavender: Upon Your Return; Magick & Moonlight; Upon Your Honor; Second Nature; “Lovers Like Us” (from the book anthology, Poets & Writers in Action); A Little Magick; Second Chance Heart (coming soon)

Erica Sutherhome: Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night; Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom; Leather and Lace

Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life

Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things

Marie Lavender A Little Magick - final cover

Book Synopsis: Little Rosie goes to stay with her uncle. There she meets some new friends…and some enemies. She doesn’t know that her emotions will trigger something unusual. So far from home, suddenly Rosie has become a full witch like her mother. For a time, it is great fun to use her powers the way she wants, but can Rosie figure out how to use these newfound powers for good or will she be lost to the dark side forever?

BOOK TRAILER U TUBE

 

Author

Hi Marie, tell us a little about your book.

A Little Magick is a children’s fantasy book about a little girl who suddenly discovered she has powers. The story is about how she copes with this change in her life. The book is actually a spin-off of Magick & Moonlight, a romantic fantasy also about a witch. A Little Magick is book two in the series, but because it can cater to children and adults alike, it can also stand on its own.

How did you come up with the title?

I just wanted to find something cute that would also express the magick in the story.

What was your inspiration to write this book?

The character Rosie just began to nag at me one day, begging for her story to be told. What a surprise, as I don’t often write from the child’s point of view, but how could I say no to the muse?

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?

Not with A Little Magick, I didn’t. However, I have tried both options with my writing. Four books have been traditionally published through Solstice Publishing, and 17 were self-published.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?

For this book, a lot of it was actually contingent upon my publisher’s guidelines. They no longer accept children’s books so I didn’t see any harm in releasing it independently while still trying to keep the book related to the series. The third book in the trilogy, Magick Sunrise, will be submitted to the publisher, however.

How are readers/reviewers reacting to your book?

Everyone seems to love it! It has received glowing remarks from reviewers as well as readers at the release party.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Not specifically, no. I think I was always fascinated with the written word. When I was a young child, my mother would read to me and I just loved hearing about these stories and the characters within. When I could read on my own, I poured over any book I could find. As I grew up, I developed certain reading interests, of course. But I still love the feel of a book in my hands. As a young girl, fictional worlds would play in my head, and I often acted them out with dolls and such. It didn’t occur to me until a few years later that I should try writing them down. I guess it just snowballed from there, and I’ve been writing stories ever since.
Have you published anything else?

Yes, of course. I have published 20 other books in various genres and under different pen names.

What’s next for you? / What is your next project?

I am currently editing a historical romance manuscript, which will be the final book in the Heiresses in Love trilogy. That is called Upon Your Love. I am also working on a sci-fi romance titled Blue Vision. And I have a new contemporary romance story coming out in October, which is titled Second Chance Heart.

Tell us your latest news.

I just received word that Second Nature, book one of the Blood at First Sight Series, was nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards. Reader voting is going on now so cast your vote for the next round! You can vote on the book page here (at the top, it says ‘sign in to nominate this book’ or you can go to the main voting page (Second Nature is three-fourths the way down the page in the ‘paranormal romance’ category).
Marie, congratulations on the nomination and thank you for sharing some of your work with my followers.

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Author Interview – Lyn Horner

Today’s interview is with author Lyn Horner about her book Decoding Michaela.

Lyn Horner in cat shirt cropped.2Short author bio: Lyn Horner resides in Fort Worth, Texas – “Where the West Begins” – with her husband and several very spoiled cats. Trained in the visual arts, Lyn worked as a fashion illustrator and art instructor before she took up writing. She loves crafting passionate love stories, both historical and contemporary. Lyn also enjoys reading, gardening, visiting with family and friends, and cuddling her furry, four-legged children.

The author’s Texas Devlins series blends authentic Old West settings, steamy romance and a glimmer of the mysterious. This series has earned multiple awards and nominations, including Crowned Heart reviews and a Rone Award nomination from InD’Tale Magazine.

Lyn is a contributor to Rawhide ‘n Roses, a Western Romance Anthology. This book is a finalist in the 2015 RONE Awards anthology category. Lyn is proud to be in company with such a talented group of authors.

Jumping from the 19th century American Old West to the present time, Lyn is now hard at work on her romantic suspense series, Romancing the Gaurdians. These books combine her trademark flashes of psychic phenomena with Irish folklore and a chilling apocalyptic theme. Along the way, readers will be treated to thunderous action, terrifying suspense and sizzling romance.

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Book Synopsis:

Decoding Michaela is book 2 in the 8-part Romancing the Guardians series.

Michaela Peterson can read minds but can she tell good from evil? A Guardian of Danu sworn to protect one of seven sacred scrolls, her identity is known only to the High Guardian. Or so she thinks until a stranger brings word that her revered leader has been murdered by vicious “Hellhounds” who want the scrolls. She’s attracted to the handsome messenger, but is he who he claims to be? Or does he mean to gain her trust and steal the scroll she guards?

Dev Medina often dreams of a woman he calls his golden goddess. He believes she is real and meant for him. Expecting to deliver a warning to Dr. “Michael” Peterson from the new High Guardian, he is stunned to find the doctor is his dream girl. Fearing the Hellhounds may be coming after her, he wants to whisk her to safety, but she stubbornly resists leaving her Galveston, Texas, home. Can he convince her to trust him before tragedy strikes?

Rescuing Lara, Romancing the Guardians (Book One) sets the stage for this continuing series. Each book features a “happy for now ending.”

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Capturing Gabriel, Book 3 will be released in September 2015. It’s set in Colombia, South America!

Author

First, thank you for hosting me on you beautiful site, Ch’kara. I’m delighted to be here!

My pleasure Lyn and welcome, can you tell us how did you come up with the unusual book title?

The title, Decoding Michaela, popped into my mind as I was writing the second half of book one, Rescuing Lara. You see, Dev Medina has a talent for deciphering codes. While serving in Afghanistan, he was a code breaker for the Special Forces. Now a civilian, he decodes vital information for Lara, the High Guardian, in book one. Consequently, she sends him to contact Michaela Peterson, one of the other six Guardians, and warn her that she is in danger.

In book two, Dev finds gaining Michaela’s trust is no easy matter. Convincing her to disclose the secret that has frozen her heart proves even more difficult. However, Dev is determined. If he can break complicated codes, he figures he can decode Michaela. J

How are your story ideas born?

A story idea often grows out of previous books I have written. The idea for this Romancing the Guardians series sprang from my western historical romance/supernatural series, Texas Devlins. The Devlin books center around three Irish-American siblings who each possess a secret psychic ability. The premise is that they are descended from ancient Druid ancestors.

As I was writing about Jessie, Tye and Rose Devlin, I began to think how fun it would be to explore their ancestral roots. However, I wanted to try my hand at contemporary romance. That led to the idea of a modern day group of psychics who guard secret prophesies handed down through untold generations from the same ancestral tree that spawned my Devlins. And those ancient ones are now revealed to be the mysterious TuathaDanann of Irish legend.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes, two messages actually. First, accept that psychic abilities are real I know this to be true because I myself experienced precognitive dreams when younger. That’s why I gave Jessie Devlin second sight, the power to glimpse the future. Second, keep an open mind about the potential of such “gifts” to influence humankind.

How much of the book is realistic?

The settings are quite realistic. Decoding Michaela is set mainly on Galveston Island, where I have visited several times. The first half of Rescuing Lara takes place in County Kerry, Ireland, which I had the great pleasure of touring several years ago. The second half is set in Houston, where I lived for a short time, and in the piney woods of East Texas, also previously visited.

As for my characters, they are of course fictional, but they often bear traits I either admire or detest in people I have met. Their story, well, that’s as real as my imagination could conjure.

Can you tell us what is your favorite part of the writing process?

Research is one of my favorite parts of the writing process. I can get so caught up in studying background information that I forget why I’m delving into it, a time consuming, believe me! My other favorite part of writing is plotting. Yes, I am a plotter and proud of it! I usually write the first three chapters of a book, allowing me to get acquainted with the characters. Then I use a storyboard and stick-um notes to arrange plot points. From there, I transfer the plot points to computer, beefing them up as I go and breaking them into chapters. This gives me a framework and the writing moves along faster.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?

Short answer: No! I like the story just fine as is.

How long did it take to write your latest release?

About five months. Since Romancing the Guardians is a continuing saga (basically a long serial) I’m keeping the books short. They will each run between 40-55K words. My historicals are much longer. They take a year or more to complete.

Do you belong to a critique group and if so, have they helped improve your writing?

Not now, but I have belonged to crit groups in the past. They helped immensely. I learned a great deal about the mechanics of writing and meeting regularly made me write faster.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?

No, I’ve never hired an editor, but my former critique partner, Sharla Rae does an excellent job of editing for me. She often catches logistical glitches in the plot. Se edited Rescuing Lara and Decoding Michaela for me, and I just sent her the first three chapter of Capturing Gabriel, book three in the series. I, in turn, am helping Sharla prepare her first ebook for publishing. (She’s multi-pubbed by traditional publishers under a different pen name.)

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?

Yes, I was agented two different times, but neither agent was able to sell my books. I also tried submitting myself, with the same result. I got discouraged and pretty much quit writing for a few years. Then Amazon’s KDP platform was introduced and I jumped on it with both feet, although quaking in my author boots.

What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?

Well, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about book formatting and eventually accepted that I’m not a book cover designer, despite my background in the visual arts. These days I use professional book designers, namely Kin Killion of the Killion Group, Inc and Charlene Raddon of Cover Ops.

How do you go about marketing your book?

Marketing is not my strong point, but I’ve made it my goal to improve in that area. I promote my books on twitter, Facebook (including some FB groups) and on a few groups on Amazon’s Meet Our Authors Forum. I also announce new book releases and sale prices on my website and do guest appearances on blogs like yours, Ch’kara.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?

Absolutely! I work 12-16 hours a day on writing and marketing. Anyone who thinks an author’s life is easy needs to think again! Which is not to say I would trade it for anything else. Writing is my passion. It’s what gets me up in the morning. I love bringing my ideas to life and can only hope they give readers enjoyment.

Do you have any advice for other writers/indie authors out there?

Study and practice your writing skills, take advice from experienced authors on how best to present and market your books. Above all, be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are most writing careers.

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Author Interview – Thomas Watson

Today I have an interview for you with friend and fellow author Thomas Watson about his books Mr. Olcott’s Skies: An Old Book and a Youthful Obsession (a memoir) and War of the Second Iteration (Books 1 – 4 available).

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Short author bio: I’m a writer, gardener, naturalist, science fiction fan, and amateur astronomer living in the Sonoran Desert of the American Southwest. All of these interests are rooted in my Midwestern childhood. I grew up in a rural environment in north central Illinois in a land of streams and ponds, fields and forests, and dark skies at night. It was, for me, the perfect place in which to be a child. At the same time, I grew up during the Space Race, a child of the count-down to launch era. Imagining what might come next, when we’d been to the Moon and back, led me to science fiction, a thing that was encouraged by an aunt who happened to be a fan of the genre. All of this played a role in shaping who and what I am, but running through it all has been the desire to write, to live by and for writing. That’s been true for so long I can’t remember how it started. It may well be that my desire to write is the cumulative effect of a life-long print addiction. My parents claim that I learned to read before I could tie my own shoelaces. Whether or not that’s true, I did learn to read very early in life and have always cast a very wide net. The experience of reading, of feeling the power of words, may have become a desire to see if I could do the same thing. If so, I’m still trying to answer that question, and on some level, that will always be true.

THomas Watson LOH 1600x2400 copyBook Synopsis:

Robert MacGregor is a musician and a starship pilot, a citizen of the Commonwealth and part of the crew of a traveling space habitat, a Survey probeship called the William Bartram. The crew of the giant vessel is sent to make the historic First Contact with an alien species, only to discover the not-quite-alien Leyra’an have already met a splinter group of the Human species. The “other Humanity,” as the Leyra’an call the people of the Human Republic, have been waging war against the Leyra’an for decades. Before Robert and his shipmates are able to contact the Republic and hear the other side of the story, Robert’s wife Alicia, a molecular biologist, discovers an astonishing reason for the very Human form and appearance of the Leyra’an. She barely has a chance to begin a full investigation when the crew of the William Bartram is suddenly and unwittingly drawn into the conflict, with tragic consequences that change the course of Humanity’s future. As the saga of the Second Iteration unfolds book by book, Humanity and the Leyra’an face challenges that threaten to destroy everything they are, or could hope to be.

Author

Hi Thomas, tell us a little about your book.

My first book – Mr. Olcott’s Skies – is an exploration of how I came back to amateur astronomy after a long hiatus, and came to understand at last the hold it’s had on my imagination since I was a small boy. I eventually intend to produce other works on amateur astronomy, as well as natural history and gardening, two other major influences in my life that date back to childhood. For now, however I am thoroughly immersed in the imaginary universe of the War of the Second Iteration. The story is set four hundred years from now, and tells of how a long episode of peaceful prosperity and exploration is brought to an abrupt end by contact with an alien intelligence. The alien Leyra’an prove to be all too Human, to a degree that defies coincidence. The search for an answer to how the Leyra’an came to be ultimately reveals that the universe is a stranger and more dangerous place than anyone imagined. Four volumes in this five part series are currently available: The Luck of Han’anga, Founders’ Effect, The Plight of the Eli’ahtna, and The Courage to Accept. The fifth and final installment – Setha’im Prosh – should be released near the end of 2015.

How are your story ideas born?

You can’t see it from where you are, but I cringed when that question came up. When you ask a story teller where ideas come from, you’re essentially asking for an explanation of daydreams. Why do daydreams happen? And why do some of us feel compelled to take an extra step and make our daydreams accessible to others in an organized fashion? I don’t have an honest answer to that one, even though, like all writers of fiction, I find the question impossible to ignore. I do know that my daydreams that become stories are nourished by real life experiences, and that everything I’ve seen and done, every book read or song heard, every person I’ve loved or turned away from, becomes in a way part of the substance of what I write. Experience is the raw material of daydreams, and the more you have the stronger the stories you tell will be.

What’s your favorite part of the writing process?

To be honest, I don’t have a favorite part. Writing is, for me, a single process, from the first glimmer of an idea to hitting the “publish” button, and it’s an entirely joyful experience. This isn’t to say writing always comes easy. It doesn’t! But the challenges are part of what makes it worth doing. Writing the draft, making revisions, correcting errors – even working up a cover and doing the self-promotion – all the steps that turn that daydream into something other minds can share add up to the thing I most want to do in my life. So it’s all good!

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?

Professional editors are beyond my financial means, at this time. That’s likely to be true for some time into the future. I decided to try using beta readers, instead, and had the good fortune to find people who are not only willing, but eminently capable of giving me frank and honest feedback. The stories I tell would be much weaker things if not for these beta readers. I’m also fortunate enough to be married to someone who could probably make a living as a copy editor. Those who compliment me on the scarcity of errors in my work have her to thank.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?

I did, and it never worked out. I wrote and tried to sell ten novels and dozens of short stories between the late 1970s and the early 1990s. (I did better with nonfiction – magazine articles and essays – for a time, but changes in magazine publishing ended that.) In 1993 I decided to return to college and finish a long-delayed degree. I didn’t do much writing (aside from what would be expected of a college student) until 1997, when I wrote the precursor of The Luck of Han’anga. After three different publishers turned it down as well-written and certainly publishable, but not marketable, I gave up. Or tried to. That was an awkward episode, believe me! Fortunately the self-publishing revolution driven by ereaders and print-on-demand came along in the nick of time!

What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?

The main thing I’ve learned is that there are no guarantees of success, no easy methods or tricks (or even difficult ones!) that will bring readers to your work, and money into the bank account. You can do your best, and in fact be among the best, and ultimately accomplish little or nothing in the long run. The element of luck in this business, an element too many pretend can be wished away if you just follow someone else’s methods, has a profound influence on all authors, whether traditionally or self published. You can write the best example of a novel in a given genre ever to see print, but if no one is interested in that genre this year, your book isn’t going to sell. All you can do is give the story in you everything you’ve got, from the daydream to shameless acts of self-promotion, and then write the next book!

What are you doing to market your book?

Very little, for the time being. I have a zero budget for advertising, so I have to rely on various venues in the “social media” and word of mouth advertising. Twitter and Amazon’s “Meet Our Authors” fora have been useful, with Goodreads, Shelfari, and Facebook providing more limited, though useful, exposure. When funds are available I’ll investigate more direct approaches. One thing I have resisted (it wasn’t hard, actually) is the free giveaway madness that has dominated self-publishing in recent years. I have a short story (“Long Time Passing”) available as a free download that I use as a sort of calling card to introduce the Second Iteration universe. That’s as far as I’ve gone, as far as freebies as a marketing tool is concerned. Free books and price reductions, used with discretion, can be powerful marketing tools. I will use such a tactic at some point in the future, but only sparingly. Unfortunately, both price drops and freebies are being used so heavily (over-used would not be putting too fine a point on it) that their potential is being blunted. In a way, this is true of just about all self-promotional options, these days, there are so many hopeful authors out there eager for immediate gratification. So I’m taking a sort of low-keyed approach, for now, and spending more time writing than working at self-promotion.

How have sales been and can you tell us where have you had the most success?

Sales have been modest at best, but with as little attention as I’ve paid to self-promotion, that is neither surprising nor worrisome at the moment. I’m actually surprised (and delighted) by how many readers I’ve acquired to this point, under the circumstances! It should come as no surprise that the majority of my sales (eBooks and paperback combined) come through Amazon. Between Amazon’s dominance of the marketplace and the blundering we’ve seen by their alleged competitors (please, someone, buy the Nook from Barnes & Noble and give that ereader a fighting chance!) it’s only to be expected. I keep my books available through all channels, using Smashwords and Draft2Digital as distributers, but this has generated so few sales that there are times it seems I’ve become an Amazon exclusive by accident!

What’s next for you? / What is your next project?

That’s hard to say, there are so many ideas stuffed into my head! Sticking to fiction, for a moment, I’d like to dig out some old short stories and see what it would take to bring them up to my current standards, then publish them in small collections. After that, there are ideas at the heart of all my unsold novels that are worth revisiting, and some of them have been talking to my Muse already! Further off, I already know that I’m far from finished with the Second Iteration universe, when the fifth book is released. And then there’s nonfiction: nature, gardening, and amateur astronomy. Isaac Asimov was once asked (in a great, sad irony, as it turned out) what he would do if he learned he only had six months left to live. “Type faster,” was his reply. I have no idea how many years I have left, but yes, it’s just like that.

Do you have any advice for other writers/indie authors out there?

Three things:

1) Ignore trends. If you try to force your ideas into plots that seem trendy, hoping to make a few bucks, there’s a good chance you will fail to be true to whatever stories are in you. I believe the tendency by some to chase trends is part of why we see so much poor fiction being self-published, these days. Tell your tale, and don’t worry that it lacks zombies, vampires, or explicit sex. (Unless, of course, the story in you is honestly about zombies having explicit sex with vampires.) There’s a reason the phrase “hack writer” is usually used as an insult.

2) Remember that the worst editor in the world is the author of the book being revised and edited. It’s often said that a self-published author wears all the hats of publishing. No. Do not don the editorial cap. Find beta readers or hire an editor, someone who can tell you where you’ve missed the mark. And find someone who can provide some level of copy editing at the very end, to avoid published just another error-ridden “indie” book – and yes, regrettably, that’s something we’re known for. By the way, if all your beta readers have to say is, “Good job!” find alternative beta readers. No one is that good!

3) It is okay to go into this business with high hopes, but leave any and all expectations of immediate gratification behind.

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