Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Love Story Paradox by Angela Burke

Posted on July 23, 2011 by mtmuse

As I finished writing my debut novel, Lucidity, I had difficulty determining what genre the story fit into. I was stuck. It certainly didn’t meet the criteria for the traditional romance genre, nor was it an exact fit for the realm of paranormal. Eventually I was given a bit of advice and it was determined that Lucidity would be categorized as mainstream fiction containing a love story. Ah…a love story. Of course. And what exactly is that?

I suppose a love story could be considered a new term for the old tragedy. True to its name, a love story must contain, well, yes, love. But it is the element of misfortune that sets apart this unique sub-genre from most romantic stories. A love story doesn’t guarantee a happy ending and yet, it is the critical component of tragedy that makes it unforgettable.

Life is full of contradictions – the night versus the day, the winter cold versus the summer heat, femininity in contrast to masculinity. To recognize the opposite is to understand the whole. The love story paradox is simple. To know love, we must know loss. And we can only experience loss if we have loved.

Perhaps this is the appeal of the love story – to seek an understanding, a balance – between idealism and realism. Tragedy enables us to appreciate the entire circle of human experience…the so-called yin yang of our universe.

Read any love story – Romeo and Juliet, The Bridges of Madison County, The Notebook – and you will discover the irony in life and death, love and loss, and the darks and lights of life.
But perhaps the real paradox is what we experience as a reader. Aristotle believed that tragedy leads to catharsis, or a purging of heartbreaking emotions. It is through tragedy that we find healing.


If you would like to learn more about author Angela Burke, you can find her at www.angelaburkebooks.com. Lucidity is her debut novel published by Solstice Publishing ( www.solsticepublishing.com ). It is available at most e-book sites and in print through Amazon.

LUCIDITY by Angela Burke
Raya Walden doesn’t believe in ghosts…just the thought sends shivers up her spine. But as she falls in love with Jack Castille during a summer job at the rustic Hideaway Lodge, a resort nestled in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Raya discovers she has an undisclosed paranormal talent. A talent that she doesn’t want. Yet it is this gift that will ultimately save her life…
Lucidity is a story about the secrets of the unknown, the essence of the spirit and the endurance of love….will you believe?

ABOUT ANGELA…

Writing has always been a part of my life and it is truly one of my passions. I was born and raised in Nebraska, but I currently live in Grand County, Colorado, home of Winter Park resorts, Sol Vista, Grand Lake and the west entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. The beautiful mountain surroundings can be incredibly inspiring and the long winters give me ample time to develop my story ideas.

I keep busy running after my three great kids, ages 8, 4 and 1. I am also a part-time special education and gifted and talented teacher. I religiously write five nights a week...once the kids are tucked in. The other two evenings are spent with my love Mark (his nights off) and we are currently revisiting all of the past episodes of LOST via DVDs.

I enjoy running and it is during these long hours on the trail that I get many story ideas. I also love to hike in the summer and when I can, ski.

Thanks for taking the time to visit this page. Namaste!

Find Angela at:

FACEBOOK
TWITTER
GOOD READS
MANIC READERS
The Mountain Muse

A Thousand Strides


Now Available at the STANLEY HOTEL gift shop!
Check out
Seriously Viewed for the Lucidity trailer review!

Check out the Book Trailer for LUCIDITY...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Interview with author, Vanessa Kelman

I'd like to welcome Vanessa Kelman author of Chasing Fate and Accepting Fate to discuss her adventures in publshing. 


Tell us something about yourself and how you became a writer.

If you believe in fate, I was destined to be a writer since before I was born! While my mother was pregnant with me, she was actually taking a writing course. To the best my knowledge, she's never had anything published, but I guess the interest was there, and the course was all it took to determine my life's work.
           
I've been writing stories since I was a child, though I didn't make the decision to have it be my career until relatively recently. When I turned 30, I found myself unhappy with what I had accomplished so far in my life. I didn't seem to be getting anywhere. So I made the decision to take charge of my life. And a big part of that was taking charge of my career. The only thing that had remained consistent in my life had been my writing, so I decided to focus on that.

Tell us about your novel and where readers can purchase a copy.

I actually have 2 novels that I've recently self-published. Their titles are Chasing Fate and Accepting Fate, and both deal with acceptance, reinvention and finding happiness – themes that really hit home for me and have become a bit of a focus. I call it "self-help fiction," and it's really about taking charge of your life and making it what you want it to be. Chasing Fate follows two characters, Melanie and Bobby, as they start to come to terms with the hands fate has dealt them. Neither is happy with their current lot in life, and how they move past that to find happiness is really what this story is about. Accepting Fate is a spin-off from Chasing Fate, and it follows a character we meet in Chasing Fate, Mary, and her co-worker, Kelly, as they deal with the disappointments of previous relationships and determine how best to move past them.

Both novels are available in trade paperback and in e-book formats. They can be found on Amazon.com, through my website (www.VanessaKelman.com), and on Smashwords.com. Chasing Fate is also available on Barnes & Noble's website.

What have you had published to-date?
           
In addition to my novels, I am a contributing writer for an online magazine, Suite101.com. I've written a variety of articles for the site, with my most current focus being children's birthday party themes. I've also written articles/pages for my website, Life Skills Simplified (a work-in-progress). In my previous life (aka before I got married), I also worked briefly as a town reporter for a daily newspaper.

What are you working on right now? Tell us a little about it.
           
I've got quite a bit in the works right now! I've just begun the third book in the Fate trilogy, Tempting Fate. I'm also still working on articles for Suite101.com on different children's birthday party themes. Plus I'm designing a website, Life Skills Simplified, that provides general information on a wide variety of subjects.

How much of the marketing do you do?

I do pretty much all the marketing myself. Of course, my husband and parents help, too. But at this point in time I can't afford to hire anyone, so it's either do it myself, or it doesn't get done!

Anything you’ve found to be particularly helpful in marketing your books?
           
Word of mouth has been the biggest success, but I'm really just starting with my marketing efforts. I had the website up a while ago, and I've tried contacting bookstores in the area, too. Neither seems to get me much by way of return, but, as I said, it's still early days. I'm hoping something will pan out eventually. And there are lots of marketing ideas floating around there that I hope to put to good use soon.

Are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience of that process?

Both of my books are available as e-books. Since I can't afford the formatting services, I did all the formatting myself. I actually found it easier than formatting the paper versions. In this day and age, I felt it was important to offer my readers the e-book versions. A lot of people rely on their Kindle, or Nook, etc., and I didn't want to lose readers because I was limited to print.

Both Kindle and Smashwords made the process simple, and I'm glad I did it. It doesn't hurt that profits from e-book copies are higher than print copies!

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Don't give up. I've definitely had my share of ups and down when it comes to writing. There are times I just don't feel like writing, and times when I really don't want to edit or format or whatever. But sticking with it makes everything worthwhile.

Another bit of advice: take charge. I was getting frustrated with querying agents and not getting anywhere. No one had anything bad to say about my debut novel (Chasing Fate), but it was always "not right for us." When I decided to take charge of my career, I decided to change how I was approaching the process. That's when I looked into self-publishing. I haven't regretted it so far. I was able to publish the book I wanted. I was able to publish it on my time table. And, most important, I was able to get published! Everyone has been supportive, and I feel better about myself because I was able to do what I wanted, without having to wait for someone else to agree with me.

Where can readers find you?

The simplest way is through my website, www.VanessaKelman.com. I also have a fan page on Facebook, a Twitter account, a LinkedIn account, and an author page on Amazon. I love to hear from readers!



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Anyone want a free ebook?



In celebration of the release of my novel, Invisible, I'm going to give away five kindle editions to the first five people to leave a comment. Please leave your email address with your comment.

Here's the blurb -


Lola’s not pretty. Lola’s not popular. Lola wishes she could disappear
… and then one day she does just that...


For seventeen-year-old Lola Savullo, life is a struggle. Born to funky parents who are more in than she could ever be, Lola’s dream of becoming a writer makes her an outsider even in her own home. Bullied and despised, Lola still has the support of her best pal Charlie and Grandma Rose.


Not only is she freakishly tall, Lola’s a big girl and when forced to wear a bathing suit at her summer job as a camp counselor, Lola’s only escape from deep embarrassment seems to be to literally vanish. Soon after, she discovers the roots of her new “ability”.


Slowly, with Charlie’s help, Lola learns to control the new super power. The possibilities are endless. Yet power can be abused, too…


Then, when tragedy strikes, Lola must summon her inner strength, both at home and at school. She has to stand up for herself, despite the temptations and possibilities of her newfound super power.


A coming-of-age story that will warm the heart.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Interview with author, Tim Andrewartha

I’m pleased to welcome author, Tim Andrewartha to my blog.

Originally from the UK, Tim now lives in Tokyo. Like many native English speakers there he teaches his mother tongue, as well as finding the time to write fiction. He gets inspiration from reading books by authors such as Philip K Dick, China Miéville and Haruki Murakami.

Tell us something about yourself and how you became a writer.

Growing up in Dorset in the UK I tried various ways of expressing myself creatively, including drawing cartoons and playing guitar in a band. I went to university in Southampton and studied Media Writing.

After graduating I made a short film about a paranoid milkman using a script I’d written before realizing I wanted to focus on my prose. I moved to Japan in 2006 to teach English and I found the different culture and lifestyle provided a good environment for nurturing my ideas. After finding my style though writing short stories I progressed onto my first novel, Vitality. Now I live in Tokyo with my girlfriend and am currently working on my second novel. 

Tell us about your novel and where readers can purchase a copy.

Vitality is a weird soft drink dystopia. 

Set in an alternative version of the present day, Stylo Green moves to a nameless city to work for Vitality. The company is making a purple soft drink which they promise will change people’s lives – a welcome gesture in a place where society is spiralling down towards its demise.

The New Movement Party hope to win the next election and clean up the city. Real food is banned so everyone eats plastic-tasting Easy Food except the few who dare to eat illegal fruit and vegetables available on the black market. Dr. Mooseball produces recreational narcotics which are legal and a popular way to relax while Soft Dreams employs people to suck up the ghosts that float around the city.

Emulla, the girl with the beautiful voice, is different from the others. She and Stylo hit it off, and Stylo's packaging designs are chosen. Things seem to be going well for him, but he begins to notice something peculiar about his colleagues. The truth starts to unravel but not without bloodshed. When he finally faces his nemesis, nothing can prepare him for what he is about to discover.

Vitality is going to be published on February 14th 2012. It will be available from various websites including Dam Good Publishing, Smashwords and Amazon. 

Tell us a little about your road to publication. Was it a long one?

After writing Vitality I posted some of it on the website Authonomy and was able to get some valuable feedback. I then submitted it to a few places and fortunately Dam Good Publishing offered to publish it.

What do you think makes a good story?

Originality is very important for me. I’m excited by imaginative ideas that make me think about something in a different way.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I like reading books, watching films and listening to music.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Including all the editing and rewriting Vitality has actually taken a few years for me to be happy with it. However, I think I should be able to finish my second novel much quicker. I’m now about halfway through writing it and I started in January this year.

Where can readers find you?


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Interview with author, J.L. Campbell

It’s my pleasure to host a good friend and fabulous author, J.L. Campbell. I know her as Joy, so that’s how I’ll refer to this prolific writer and generous woman. Joy’s the author of several books and has just recently decided to take things into her own hands and self-publish. She’s here to discuss her experiences in the publishing world as well as to discuss her novels.
Tell us something about yourself and how you became a writer. 
I’m a Jamaican, Catholic, wife, mother and devoted learner. I believe in learning something new everyday, and I usually do. My writing career began in high school with self-manufactured romance novels – read that as exercise books taped together and filled with bad handwriting. My school mates enjoyed the stories, and they made the rounds in the classroom. I stopped making up stories for over two decades before I remembered that I used to write. I started off writing craft articles, moved to short stories and then novels.
What have you had published to-date? And where can readers find your books?

Contraband, which is action/adventure/romance was my debut novel. Dissolution came out in May. A third novel, Hardware is at the proofreading stage at Wild Child Publishing. Both books are on Amazon and Smashwords.

What are you working on right now? Tell us a little about it.

I’m editing Distraction for the gazillionth time. It’s a novel about three female friends, whose choices have dire consequences, including blackmail, infidelity, and rape. The women triumph mostly, but the book is a study of relationships, communication and how the choices we make affect our lives. I hope to have Distraction out by year end.

You’re a traditionally published author who is now seriously contemplating self-publishing. Will you tell us the reasons behind this decision? 

My main reason is to have control of my work. When you’re published by a small press, you’re pretty much on staff everyday pushing your work and feeling like a prostitute every time you try to do any form of promotion. Many of us don’t realize that marketing is going to be a full time job on top of whatever else we have going on. Also, there are things that I’m willing to do to try to get my book in front of readers that a publisher won’t be gung-ho about.

Another thing is the wait time. I had a full request for a YA manuscript from a local publisher over nine months ago. They can’t give me a definitive answer on whether they will say yes or no until they hear from the education ministry. I figure I can get that manuscript fine-tuned and edited in the next year and I’ll still be waiting to hear from that publisher. Having read that YA book years ago, some writers still ask me about the main character and whether the book has been sold. All of these different things have given me the confidence I need to move toward self-publishing.

Have I ever told you that I’m morbidly preoccupied with death? I can keel over and die at any minute. I’d like to achieve as much as I can before that happens. The greatest tragedy for me as a writer would be to rest six feet underground with so many manuscripts sitting in my hard drive. So while I’m learning about the business, I’ve gone ahead and committed by publishing a story at Smashwords called Giving up the Dream. An aside here, make sure you download GutD after you leave here. Reviews are always welcome. On Monday, I will be launching a collection of  stories on Smashwords entitled Don’t Get Mad…Get Even. These should filter over to Amazon with the week.

How do you market your books and what has brought the most success?

Regrettably, I don’t do a lot of marketing. I have my book covers on my blog and from time to time, I may reference a character/book while I’m writing a blog post. I’m part of the Romantic Friday Writers Group, where I post snippets of my work on yet another blog. At some point, people begin to realize that I’m published and go looking for my books.

The one thing I do know is that the writing/blogging community is like being part of a supportive family. I’ve never put out a cry for help and not received assistance. I think that a fair portion of my sales to date have come from other bloggers and writers. It’s impossible for a self-published writer or one published by a small house to promote solo. We need a support network to help get the word out. As they say, word of mouth is the best form of advertising. For me, a recommendation by a writer I trust is good enough for me to put down my money on a book by a new author.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

I’m visualizing the half-dozen completed manuscripts I own out in the world and being read. By then, I’m sure I will be finished with the other half-dozen or so that are in various stages of completion. I’m also seeing a local writing workshop and by then, if I’m working for someone else it won’t be by choice.

Are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience of that process?

Yes, both my traditionally published books are available as eBooks on Amazon and Smashwords. I know my limitations and so I got a blogging buddy to format Giving up the Dream and Don’t Get Mad for the Internet. I think I’d tear my hair out in clumps if I had to do the formatting myself, but knowing myself as I do, I’ll probably take on that challenge at some point.

Where can readers find you?

I’m on my blog daily at The Character Depot 
The Readers’ Suite is my book review blog
My website is at http://joylcampbell.com/
Tweet me @JL_Campbell
Link with me on Goodreads 
Jeanne, thanks very much for having me. You’re a great friend and excellent critique partner. Wishing you all the best with Invisible.

Joy, it was an absolute pleasure to have you visit on my blog. Best of luck to you too, my friend :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Interview with author, Penny Estelle

It's my pleasure to host author, Penny Estelle on my blog today. Penny, take it away!

My name is Penny Estelle and I am a retired school secretary. During school and high school I never read. I thought it was a bore and I had better things to do. After I was married and had children – crawling, crying, children – I discovered escaping to other times/places was not a bore at all. As a matter of fact, it helped to keep my sanity in tact! The more I read, the more I thought, “I would not have ended that story that way! I would have...”

And so I started writing on a regular electric typewriter. It was a historical/western/romance. It took five years to finish. That was approximately twenty-five years ago. I put the finished book in a box, put it in my closet, and it is still there to this day!

My genre, at this point, is MG/YA. After working with kids for twenty-one years, I have a fondness for their sense of humor, actions, excuses, etc. They make me laugh.

A year ago I wrote Hike Up Devil’s Mountain. At the time my daughter was teaching fifth grade. I had done the first three chapters and asked her to read a chapter to her class and see if they showed any interest or fell asleep. Much to my surprise, she ended up using my story as incentive for good behavior because they wanted to hear more.

My novella, Hike Up Devil’s Mountain, is about a ten-year-old boy, Andy Thompson, who disobeys his mother and breaks into the basement of an old house that is about to be demolished. He stumbles across a box that contains a brown, wooden stick. To his amazement the stick glows a burning red, but only sometimes. Unfortunately for Andy, the school bully and his ten-year-old brother find the old basement, and Andy, and the stick. A fight ensues and the bully is now a toad. The two ten year olds must hike up Devil’s Mountain to find the only person who can help them. The question is, will they survive the climb! This story is an ebook and can be purchased at:





I have a short story, Billy Cooper’s Awesome Nightmare, scheduled to be out in May of 2012. It was picked up by Museitup Publishing. I am excited about this one and I think it could possibly be a series.

Both of my books are ebooks. I really don’t have much experience on the ins and outs of ebooks. I am learning as I go. I know marketing, blogging, etc. is something that is important and a must if you want your stories to sell.

As a relatively new writer myself, the only advice I can give is write, write, write…send stories to publishers and write some more! You never know when another Nora Roberts or James Patterson is waiting to be discovered.



Thank you, Penny and best of luck with all your endeavours.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Interview with Brian Henry of the Quick Brown Fox


I’ve been a follower of your blog, Quick Brown Fox, http://quick-brown-fox-canada.blogspot.com/ for quite some time and I am a huge fan. I was wondering where you find all the interesting and varied information? Do you have to look for it, or do people approach you?
 

Both. People who have been in my classes or workshops are always emailing me to let me know they’ve gotten something published. I post those emails, and I also check if I’ve done a post about the journal or book publisher they’ve gotten published with. So, suppose someone’s gotten published in CommuterLit or Jersey Devil, Ronsdale Press or ECW. Then I figure that’s a good place for other writers to send their work, so I make sure they can look up the submission info on Quick Brown Fox.

Also, I continually get emails from agents, literary journals, organizations sponsoring writing contests, book publishers, authors with a new book, etc. The bottom line is that Quick Brown Fox is Canada’s most popular blog for writers. So when someone wants to get info out to writers, they send it to me. I get more stuff than I can use.

Also, though, I have a clear idea of the variety of content people look for on Quick Brown Fox. Most Mondays, I post information about an upcoming writing contest. Thursdays I usually post information about literary agents looking for authors. Every two weeks, I post information about a literary journal looking for submissions and another post every two weeks about a Canadian book publisher. 

Book reviews come from anyone who feels like writing one.  For a writer looking to get published, submitting a book review to Quick Brown Fox is an easy way to add a writing credit to their resume. Yet I get few submissions. Frankly I’m amazed.

Stories and poems are by invitation only. They’re usually pieces that a writer started in one of my classes or workshops or that was read aloud at one of our reading nights at CJ’s Café. (The next reading night is Sept 13, by the way. Everyone’s invited. See here. http://quick-brown-fox-canada.blogspot.com/2011/08/were-reading-out-loud-at-cjs-cafe-in.html)

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I write myself occasionally – sometimes true personal stories; more often opinion pieces on political issues of the day. I’ve been a regular columunist for The Jewish Tribune – a national weekly newspaper – and I’ve had opinion pieces in The Toronto Star, the National Post, etc. I used to write book reviews for Books in Canada and for The Toronto Star, and I have a children’s book – a shortened version of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Primarily, though, my background is in the publishing business as a book editor. By profession, I’m a midwife, not a mom, which I think is why I’ve been successful as a creative writing instructor. After all, an editor job is the same as an instructor’s: to help a writer create the best work she can.

Tell us about the writing workshops you offer.

I offer both weekly creative writing courses and Saturday workshops. Some of the weekly courses are for beginners or people who have been away from writing for a long time or who need some inspiration to get them moving again. In these courses, we explore different kinds of writing and try them out.

Other weekly classes are for writers who have some work in progress – short stories, memoirs, a novel, or whatever. These courses provide the writers with on-going supportive feedback, teach the art of revising, and recharge them with a weekly jolt of enthusiasm.

The courses are all in the GTA – Mississauga, Oakville, Georgetown and Burlington. But I offer my Saturday workshops all over Ontario, and sometimes farther afield. Last year I was in Moncton and Charlottetown. This September I’ll be in North Carolina.

My Saturday workshops take a specific theme – such as plotting or dialogue, getting published, writing memoirs and other personal stories, or writing for children – and I address the topic in depth. You can see a list of my upcoming workshops and courses here. http://quick-brown-fox-canada.blogspot.com/2009/08/quick-brown-fox-newsletter-includes.html

I’ve heard you were a mentor to best selling Canadian author Kelley Armstrong, could you tell readers a little about this?

Sure. Kelley lives in Aylmer, down in Southwest Ontario, and she used to be a regular at my workshops in London. She asked me to look at a manuscript she’d been working on for five years and to tell her whether I thought there was any hope and maybe make some suggestions about how she might improve it.

Well, it was pretty rough in the way a manuscript always is when it’s a first effort and it’s been written and rewritten a dozen times. But – and this is the important thing – when I read it, I got goose bumps. The writing was brilliant.

Kelley reworked it a bit and then I phoned the agent Helen Heller to convince her to take a look at it. That was tough because Helen hates anything like a horror novel and this was a werewolf book. So I softened Helen up by explaining the manuscript was hip and contemporary, with sentences that skipped off the page. Then I just whined until Helen broke down and said she’d read the damned thing.

Well she did – and all in one sitting because she couldn’t put it down. She phoned Kelley the next day and offered to represent her. A couple weeks later, Helen took a brand new prologue that Kelley didn’t have in her original manuscript and a new opening chapter to the Frankfurt book fair. She quickly sold rights to the book to publishers around the world. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Kelley still comes to my workshops but as a guest speaker. But now that she’s a New York Times bestselling author she’s busy, so it can be hard for us to make a date. Right now, for example, she’s doing a book tour of Australia. Our next workshop together will be “How to Write a Bestseller” on March 3 in Toronto. (Details here.) http://quick-brown-fox-canada.blogspot.com/2011/08/how-to-write-bestseller-workshop-sat.html

You mentioned whining. Is that one of your talents?

Yes. In fact Ryerson University pays me to whine. Every year or every other year, I arrange for three people from the publishing industry – very senior people – to sacrifice a Saturday afternoon and come down to the university to answer questions for three hours straight. To make me feel better, my boss at Ryerson says I have this gig because I know everyone in Canadian publishing. Really, it’s because I whine well, and that’s how I get them to come.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Yes. The business is very straightforward; Write. Write better. And submit.

Other things will help. Beyond the actual writing, having a community is probably most important; sharing your work with other writers who can give you moral support and intelligent, supportive critiquing is invaluable. Learning something about the craft also helps. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There’s nothing secret about how to proceed in plotting a novel or about how write good dialogue.

But the bottom line is still: write, rewrite and submit. Do that and you will get published. It’s not that hard. Hey, I know a great blog that’s begging for book reviews. (Guidelines here.)  Anyways, write and publish short stuff and eventually, you may get a novel published, too. The trick is to write a good one.


Thank you very much, Brian. I really enjoyed our chat and will definitely attend one of your course in the near future....Jeanne

YA TRAILER PARK: Invisible by Jeanne Bannon

YA TRAILER PARK: Invisible by Jeanne Bannon: For more information about Jeanne's books, visit http://beyondwordsblog.blogspot.com/

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Interview with author, Angela Fristoe


Born in Northern Canada, Angela grew up in the Canadian prairies amid dreams of becoming the next Dian Fossey or a world famous flight attendant. Those, thank goodness, were never meant to be. Instead, she moved to Texas  and then eventually beautiful Colorado where she divides her time between writing and her other job, teaching.

Tell us something about yourself and how you became a writer.
Writing is something that I truly just started one random day. I'd never really considered it a possible career for myself. My sister was always the writer in our family. Once I started, though, I fell in love with it.
Tell us about your novel and where readers can purchase a copy.
Songbird is Young Adult novel about a seventeen-year-old girl struggling to put her past behind her. Dani Mays wants to move on with her life, to put the murder of her brother at the hands of their father and the disintegration of their dysfunctional family behind her. But her memories are a controlling force in her life and she struggles to hold onto what little she is certain of. When she takes a chance on the love she feels for her best friend Reece, Dani abruptly finds herself alone again and staring into the face of her past.  

Songbird is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble in paperback and eBook formats.

Tell us a little about your road to publication. Was it a long one? Do you have an agent? In your opinion are they even necessary?

When I first finished Songbird, I wanted to go the traditional route the entire way and find an agent first. I spent a few months researching agents and sent out about 50 queries. I had a few nibbles, but none seemed as passionate about Dani's story as I was. I finally decided to skip the agent, and settled on self-publishing when I was contacted by Little Prince Publishing. I jumped at the opportunity to publish with them. I have complete control over my book, but tons of support I never would have had on my own. I do see agents as valuable, if you are wanting to get on with one of the larger publishers. It depends entirely on what your goal is.

How much of the marketing do you do?

Up to now, I have done almost all of my own marketing with some great advice from those at LPP on where to start. As LPP is really starting to grow, they are working on some new marketing strategies that will combine the efforts of all of their authors.

Anything you’ve found to be particularly helpful in marketing your book?

Social media, Twitter in particular, has been the most effective after word of mouth. It's amazing how one well timed, interesting, tweet can pull in new readers.

Are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience of that process?

Songbird is available as an eBook. Both Nook and Kindle were fairly easy to use, although I had a few glitches in the review process. Songbird has some unusual formatting that had to be adjusted for which took almost two weeks. For anyone not comfortable with formatting in word, I would recommend hiring someone to do it for you.

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

For me Songbird is all about not letting the past prevent you from living in the present. 

Where can readers find you?

Thanks for stopping in for a chat, Angela and best of luck with Songbird.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Announcing the Release of INVISIBLE

Lola’s not pretty. Lola’s not popular. Lola wishes she could disappear … and then one day she does just that...

For seventeen-year-old Lola Savullo, life is a struggle. Born to funky parents who are more in than she could ever be, Lola’s dream of becoming a writer makes her an outsider even in her own home. Bullied and despised, Lola still has the support of her best pal Charlie and Grandma Rose.

Not only is she freakishly tall, Lola’s a big girl and when forced to wear a bathing suit at her summer job as a camp counselor, Lola’s only escape from deep embarrassment seems to be to literally vanish. Soon after, she discovers the roots of her new “ability”.

Slowly, with Charlie’s help, Lola learns to control the new super power. The possibilities are endless. Yet power can be abused, too…

Then, when tragedy strikes, Lola must summon her inner strength, both at home and at school. She has to stand up for herself, despite the temptations and possibilities of her newfound super power.

A coming-of-age story that will warm the heart.

INVISIBLE is available at http://www.amazon.com/Invisible-Jeanne-Bannon/dp/1466368756/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_p?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1317517120&sr=1-1

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Author, Felicia Rogers Stops by for a Visit

Today I welcome author, Felicia Rogers to my blog. Felicia is a prolific author with many books under her belt.
About Felicia
Felicia Rogers, born and raised in the southern part of the United States, is a Christian wife and mother. She is just your average, ordinary woman, with a side interest - writing. For eleven years, every waking moment of her life was consumed with changing diapers, wiping noses, and kissing scrapes. But now that her children have grown and she enjoys a modicum of freedom, in addition to taking care of hearth and home, she writes! She enjoys adding a flavor of realism and humor to her all too real romance stories. For what is love without a little laughter?
Welcome, Felicia...take it away
How I became an author is an interesting story.  Sometimes I think it happened by chance, by accident, completely without my help.  Although if I calculate all the hours I’ve invested into my writing, I realize that’s not entirely true.
About two years ago, I told my cousin I wanted to write a romance novel.  I’ve read romances in every genre for years.  At one time about five years ago, I’d tried to write one, but it never made it past the editing stage.  When I informed my cousin of my plan, she encouraged me.  Said it would be a joint effort.  I didn’t know at the time she would become unable to help me and I would be completely on my own.
I went on to finish the manuscript and I sent it out to several agents and publishers but it never made it past the first stages.  Disgruntled and looking for new ways to get my work out there, I stumbled across a forum post for Solstice Publishing’s Celebrate the Season contest.  I was waiting to hear from a publisher on my manuscript at the time so I set all my other ideas aside and started work on a submission.  In two weeks I had written a novella of about 13,000 words and submitted it for the contest.  Now all I had to do was cross my fingers and wait.
Within a few weeks I discovered I was one of five winners and my novella was to be published!  This gave me renewed hope that anything was possible.
Currently my published works include, The Holiday Truce (included in the Celebrate the Season book), The Key (YA paranormal romance novel), Mara’s Secret (sequel to The Key) and The Perfect Rose (a contemporary novella).

Here is a little more about each of my published works.

The Holiday Truce

Lena Phillips and Frank Campbell are headed to Colorado for a professional conference.  The couple is far from being friends, however, and bickering is one of their favorite pastimes.  On their way, they find themselves on a country road and, because of their arguing, they have an accident.  They are lost and alone.  Will they be able to resolve their differences in order to survive?  Will facing the elements allow them to discover their true feelings for one another?   Follow Lena and Frank as their love is revealed in a permanent truce. 
The Key
A teenage girl suffering from a family tragedy, Maddie Clevenger is oblivious to the ancient mystery surrounding her. She’s young and incredibly unlucky, in life and in love. She should be enjoying her senior year of high school, but instead she is tormented by a reoccurring nightmare and a very real stalker. But all that changes when Chase Donovan, an Air Force brat with a protective streak, shows up at school. Will Chase be the key to helping her solve her stalker problem? Will he be the key to solving the mystery surrounding her family’s past?
Mara’s Secret
Sequel to The Key
Dougal Lachlan was prepared to spend the rest of his days in prison, but he wakes up in an unexpected place and time with a new mission. Should he be thankful, or terrified?
Mara Hess has been unable to speak for the last ten years. Her family believes she is dimwitted. But Mara knows something. A secret she is afraid to share.
The Perfect Rose
Abandoned by his wife and left to raise a child alone, Caleb Reed falls short of the ideal work-from-home dad.  He needs a woman to help him, in every sense of the word.  At the suggestion of a friend, Caleb agrees to hire Ariel Lauren on a trial basis.

As an orphan, Ariel has more issues than just how to make it on her on.  Yes, she needs the money that Caleb offers her, but more than anything she finds she desires his love.  One calamity after another befalls her and jeopardizes her new job and her chance at having a family.  Will they decide to continue life alone or will the magic of the holiday bring them together?

Coming soon:

There Your Heart Will Be Also – Inspirational Suspense
Only daughter of an English lord, Sarra of Greenbriar, is used to getting her way. So when her father passes and the King begins sending suitors, she feels justified in taking matters in her own hands. Through a series of harmless pranks, Sarra works to keep the potential husbands at bay.

Cedric MacNeil is a Scotsman who has lost it all. Death claimed his parents and jealousy claimed his entitled position as Laird of his clain. Since his mother was a familiar of the English court, he leaves his native land and heads to England to fight on behalf of the English King. Tournaments are won, earning honor and glory for the crown. Cedric's reward is the opportunity to gain what he wants most in his life, land.

But as he gets to know Sarra, he realizes he might get more than he bargained for.

For more information on me or my books check out my website:
www.feliciarogersauthor.webs.com or on my Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Felicia-Rogers/115490501841225.  And last but not least, I can be contacted at:  feliciarogersauthor@yahoo.com

Monday, September 5, 2011

Interview with author, Greg Crites

Welcome to author and all round funny guy, Greg Crites.


Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m an alcoholic. Not reformed. A practicing alcoholic. In fact, I’m practicing right now!

In what genre do you write?

I write humor. Laughing is good for you. I read that in one of those lurid tabloids with headlines like ‘My Vacuum Cleaner Is Really A Spaceship."

How many books have you written?

Twenty in the last five years. Twenty-four if you count the ones I’m not fond of. OK, I’m not fond of any of them because I forgot what they were about and my favorite book is my next one.

You’ve chosen to self-publish and are very successful at it. What would you say is the key to success for the self-published author?

There are several things I’ve observed after numerous mistakes.

Style. I stay true to mine. I don’t do litrachur, which I’m unqualified for. I aim to entertain and I never lose sight of that goal.

Approbation. I don’t delude myself that everyone will enjoy my work. I do what I’m good at. Humor. It comes natural and unforced. Some don’t think it’s funny, but I do. That’s what counts.

Work. If a sit-com aired five episodes a year, it would fail. I keep a steady stream of stories underway. You have to produce. You have to imagine you are a writer for ‘Lost’ and you had better get some words typed or start looking for a real job.

Anything you’ve found to be particularly helpful in marketing your books?

Audiobooks. My sales became respectable when I started narrating my books and offering them as paid downloads. I can state, with provable accuracy, 90% of my sales are audiobooks. Beyond that I don’t see any silver bullet marketing scheme, so I don’t bother looking. My entire marketing theory is ‘write another book’.

What are you working on now?

I’m narrating a funny novel entitled Sheriff Skunk written by Robert Tacoma. I have fun narrating books I like and for some reason folks enjoy my reading aloud. I try to bring the book to life with ridiculous voices and appropriate emotional tone. As for writing, I keep five novels underway at all times, sometimes more. That way, no matter what kind of mood I’m in, there’s some spot of work needing done I’m in the mood for. At present I am editing (typo hunting) the fifth instalment of my Devlin Abnormal Investigations series. A sequel to Crusade entitled Crusodomy. A sword and sorcery comedy tentatively titled The Magnificent six-and-one-half (I’m enjoying this one because I’m the star. Well, I’m the idiot bard who writes poems opening every chapter). Also a comic romp about a giant gator called Big’Un, a private eye thing, and a couple others.

You’re a very prolific writer. Tell us what your writing schedule is like.

I pound out 1,500 words a day, regardless. It takes about three hours of actual typing. I walk, work-out, fix tractors and stuff, until the hour arrives when I can begin drinking. That’s my creative time, when I contemplate what I’m going to write tomorrow. Sometimes the entire novel flits across my eyes. I don’t remember it the next day, but I remember I wrote it in my head the night before, and I was drinking, so it can’t be that hard. Also, I know this is not how it is done and I don’t advise anyone to attempt the nonsense I engage in. Seriously, the story is always there in my head, I just have to force myself to type it. I then edit which is basically weed out typos. My stuff is always first draft, and it ain’t literature. I do things the way the Pulp masters did. The guys who wrote Doc Savage, The Shadow, Tarzan, Conan. They got paid by the word and they churned out some words. Some of them wrote 50,000 or more a month. I’ve found that’s the way I enjoy doing it and I can continue to do it as long as I remain true to my goals. Show the reader/listener a good time. Make them smile. Make them laugh. Make their day a little lighter. Make them open their wallet and give me money.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

In a coffin. With a liver that exploded like those old black-and-white films of nuclear testing on the Marshal Islands. They actually screwed up the Bikini Atoll. That’s unforgivable. I like bikinis. If I could get my hands around the responsible person’s neck, well, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Did I mention I’m a 6’4”, 220 lb Alcoholic? Har!

Where can readers find you?

I was kidding about all that ‘alcoholic’ stuff. If it gets out it could adversely affect my security clearance. Anyway, you can find all my audiobooks, six-bucks or less! Instant download! At veinarmor.com Samples of everything are available for free downloading and listening pleasure. E-books I don’t care about but I put them on amazon. If I ever get started the audiobooks will be on audible.com but don’t anticipate their arrival. If it doesn’t involve writing or narrating, I am not really keen on messing with it. Actual paper books? I occasionally make a print run, it sells out and I don’t bother ordering any more. I sign every book and I make sure veinarmor.com is the only place you can get one. Actual paper books are a low priority. They’re expensive. Bulky. Subject to me spilling rum on them (I sell them anyway, stain and all. It’s my Caribbean Seal of Approval. Adds value, I like to think.) Oh! And I am veinarmor on Twitter where I make bad jokes and announce new releases. I quit all those other social thingamadoodles but I enjoy Twitter.

Thanks, Greg for your wacky and very entertaining interview!