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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: author interviews, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Zeus the Great Dane (And a BRANDED Giveaway) by Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki

BRANDED (Sinners #1) Abi Ketner and Missy KalicickiPublisher: Month9Books Amazon | Barnes & Noble |Goodreads Fifty years ago The Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. To punish the guilty, he created the Hole, a place where sinners are branded according to their sins. Sinners are forced to live a

0 Comments on Zeus the Great Dane (And a BRANDED Giveaway) by Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki as of 8/21/2014 12:53:00 AM
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2. Awesome Author Interview: Adam Wallace

I recently had the pleasure of meeting funny man and children’s book author, Adam Wallace, creator of titles including Mac O’Beasty, The Negatees, The Pete McGee series, Jamie Brown is Not Rich, and Better Out Than In. I am even more fortunate that he has agreed to answer some of my questions! Firstly, congratulations on being […]

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3. Interview with Author Susan Gloss on VINTAGE

Vintage

Susan Gloss is the author of the debut novel VINTAGE (William Morrow/HarperCollins), a charming story about friendship set in a vintage clothing shop. Each item of clothing has a story behind it and so do the women who find themselves drawn together in this emotionally complex and beautiful novel. Gloss let us into the world she created for VINTAGE and all the “what ifs” she found along the way.

Tell us the story behind the story. How did VINTAGE come to be?

The idea for the novel grew from many hours spent in thrift stores, antique shops, and flea markets. At first, I was buying a lot of items from those places, simply because they fascinated me–a box of baby clothes from the 1950s, a pair of Ferragamo shoes in a size I could never wear. At some point, my storage space and my cash flow couldn’t take this “fascination” anymore. So instead of compiling items, I began compiling the stories I imagined they contained. My husband and I joke that, if I hadn’t written VINTAGE, I would have ended up on the TV show Hoarders.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing VINTAGE?

Writing from multiple points of view. Each shift in viewpoint is also a shift in generation and background. There’s Violet, a divorced shop owner in her late thirties; April, a pregnant teenager; and Amithi, an Indian-American woman facing an empty nest. Getting each of these characters’ voices right, without letting one story drown out the others, was a balancing act.

What is the message you want readers to take away from your book?

At its heart, Vintage is a story about second chances. In our consumer culture, there’s an emphasis on whatever is new and flashy and unblemished. We use things up and throw them away. The same “use and toss” attitude ends up getting applied to people, too. With this novel, I wanted to explore the idea that a person’s history and imperfections make her beautiful, just like with a vintage gown.

Describe your writing schedule. Do you outline? Any habits?

My only true writing habit is coffee, and lots of it. I write whenever I can, wherever I can—early mornings, late nights, and weekends. I have a toddler at home, so I often have to get out of the house to make any real progress on a manuscript. I spend a lot of time at coffee shops and know what time all the ones in my neighborhood close.

What books are on your nightstand? What are you currently reading?

Right now I’m reading Bread & Butter by Michelle Wildgen, a novel about three brothers, two restaurants, and all the back of the house drama that unfolds when customers are out of earshot. I have to make sure I don’t pick it up on an empty stomach, though. The food descriptions are incredibly vivid.

Next up is Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck, a historical novel about the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. I’m a sucker for stories about the lives of writers.

Which authors inspire you?

Emma Donoghue for her incomparable ability to keep readers turning the pages, Jhumpa Lahiri for her heartbreakingly beautiful prose, Isabel Allende for the magical worlds she creates, and Helen Fielding for laugh-out-loud humor.

What have you learned from this experience?

Writing a novel is a solitary experience, but the process of launching it out into the world shouldn’t be. I’ve been lucky to be part of a group blog for first-time authors called The Debutante Ball. The blog is in its seventh year, and past members include bestselling authors Sarah Jio, Eleanor Brown, and Sarah Pekkanen. Every September the torch gets passed to a new batch of five debut authors. The group has been a lifeline for me while riding the ups and downs of publishing a first book. Each of the five “debs” posts once a week on the blog, but the real value takes place behind the scenes, where we have daily sanity checks via email.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

My advice for writers comes from a Wallace Stevens quote I have framed next to my desk: “After the final no there comes a yes / And on that yes the future world depends.”

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

My grandfather told me that the most important skill is learning how to listen. He was right. And I’m still learning.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a second novel, a standalone title set in the wine country of Spain. It’s slated to come out in summer of 2015.

Joan Didion famously explained that she writes “entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” Why do you write?

I write because I have a very busy mind. I’m constantly asking “what if?” On the page, I can explore the “what ifs” in a productive way, rather than simply letting them spin around, gerbil-wheel style, in my head.

Susan Gloss

This interview originally appeared on The Huffington Post.

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4. My Writing and Reading Life: Mary G. Thompson

Evil Fairies Love Hair is Mary G. Thompson's third novel. She was a practicing attorney for more than seven years, before she moved to New York to write.

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5. Player Profile: K.T. Medina, author of White Crocodile

Katie Medina, author of White Crocodile Tell us about your latest creation: The name of this novel, my debut, is White Crocodile.White Crocodile is a thriller set in the land mine fields of northern Cambodia.  Teenaged mothers are disappearing from villages around the minefields, while others are being found mutilated and murdered, their babies abandoned.  And there are whispers about […]

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6. Interview with Author Allison Winn Scotch on The Theory of Opposites

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Allison Winn Scotch‘s debut novel, The Department of Lost and Found, put her on the map as a smart and talented addition to the women’s fiction genre. She then followed up her stellar success with hits like Time of My Life and The One That I Want. Her high-concept novels take compelling plots (“What if you could go back in time and fix your mistakes? What if you woke up one day and all of your dreams had come true?”) and mixes them with well-drawn-out characters and realistic settings. In our interview, Allison talks about her latest novel, The Theory of Opposites. She discusses her decision to self-publish, the need for risk taking and the importance of finding your own voice.

Where did the idea or spark of inspiration come from for ‘The Theory of Opposites’?

I think it started by, well, just getting a little older and taking a look around and seeing some random, very difficult things happen to friends or people I know. Illness, accidents… things that none of us can prepare for and seem to happen at random. Parenthood certainly also played a role in my inspiration: As a mother, I like to think I can control everything that happens to my family, to me, in terms of keeping us safe and sound and happy and protected. But sometimes, life just happens… and whether that is fate or bad luck… that’s what I hoped to explore.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing ‘The Theory of Opposites?’

I took about a six-month break between writing the first few chapters and returning to the manuscript. I had almost lost my passion for writing due to outside pressures of the industry, and I sincerely thought that I was done with novel-writing completely. It was a hard time for me professionally: I really had to consider who I would be if I weren’t writing fiction, and I also had to decide how much my career contributed (or not) to my personal happiness. So this was certainly the most challenging aspect of the book: Do I write it at all? Did I want to put myself out there again? Slowly, over those six months, I gained some perspective and sort of re-strengthened my backbone, and eventually, I remembered this little book that I had started and left dwindling on my computer. I sat down and reread it, and it made me laugh and relit my passion. From there, honestly, the rest was pretty easy. I fell completely in love with these characters and just wanted to spend time with them every day. So I wrote almost daily and had a finished first draft (which then went through lengthy revisions!) within a few months.

What is the message you want readers to take away from your book?

That finding your own voice matters. That choice matters. That there is always an option to be your own best advocate. It’s probably not coincidence that this is the message of the book when I had to reteach myself that too.

You have been very public about your decision to go the independent publishing route. What has been the best and worst part of your journey?

Gosh, to be honest, and I’m not trying to be all Pollyanna-ish about this, but from start to finish, the experience has been almost entirely amazing. I was truly terrified of taking this route, but I also knew that, much like my answer above, if I didn’t, if I didn’t try to fix a system that had broken for me (traditional publishing), and I just sat around and complained about said broken system, that I’d be selling myself short. But to answer your question: I guess the best part of the journey has been the control that I now have over the book. Everything about this book was mine. The cover, the pricing, who I hired to work with me — the editors, the designers, all of that. It doesn’t mean that it has been perfect — I found some typos in the finished book and freaked out! (and corrected them) — but that ownership and the pride of ownership — is HUGE. In the past, I’ve filed a manuscript, and then it’s sort of ushered downstream by a team of people, some of whom are fantastic at their jobs, some of whom are not. But I just had to sit back and watch it go. No longer. I suppose the downside of indie publishing is that it is still very difficult to break into store space. In the past, I’ve had a presence at places like Target and Costco (and of course Barnes and Noble), and while we’ve had some initial conversations with these outlets, they are still unlikely to carry an indie book. So that stinks. Because of the low price point of Theory ($2.99), most of the book sales are e-books, which is totally fine, but it would be great to get the paperback out there in stores as well, not just via online outlets.

Describe your writing schedule. Do you outline? Any habits?

I don’t outline. I’ve tried that in the past, and it just does NOT work for me because I find myself backed into a corner with where I thought my characters should go… when in fact, they should go somewhere else entirely. I usually start with an idea — forTheory, it was: how much control do we have over our own lives — and then I develop my protagonist: who is she, how has she found herself in her current circumstances. And then, I just write. It sounds almost crazy, but this method works for me. When I’m writing a manuscript, I write every day except for weekends, though sometimes, I write then too. I like to take a long walk in the morning or go for a run, which always helps settle my brain and also fuel my creativity, and then by about 10 a.m., I sit down and just write, write, write for a few hours. If I’ve reached my designated word count for the day (somewhere between 1000 – 2000), I give myself permission to quit. Sometimes I do, sometimes, I don’t. But writing every day gets you in the habit of it, much like exercising every day. And then it doesn’t feel like a chore. And when I’m not working a manuscript, I surf a lot of gossip blogs. :)

What books are on your nightstand? What are you currently reading?

I have so many books that I’m dying to get to! I just bought Golden State by Michelle Richmond, The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick, and Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse. Oh, and The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh — just finished that, and it’s fantastic.

Which authors inspire you?

I have a long list of authors whose work has helped me over the years — everyone from Stephen King to Judy Blume to Jonathan Tropper to Nick Hornby to Laura Dave. But right now, authors who inspire me are those who are trying to challenge themselves a bit in their writing and their work: I love reading an author who surprises me. It doesn’t matter if they’ve written one book or 20. If I’m surprised by what happens and what I’m reading on the pages, it’s a home run.

What have you learned from this experience?

That taking a risk is worth it. In fact, this is really another big theme of the book too. There are so many times in our lives when it is just easier to accept the status-quo, to give into inertia, but for me, that wasn’t enough, and it wasn’t making me happy. If you want to make yourself happier, you have to work for it. There’s nothing wrong with that.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Keep writing; don’t think that your first draft is good enough… in fact, don’t think your fourth draft is good enough. Be open to constructive criticism: It works for a reason. Take your ego out of the equation: The best writers know that there is always room for improvement.

What are you working on now?

I’m actually working on some film stuff, which is fun because it’s a totally different experience and muscle. And I do celeb interviews for a few magazines, so I have a few of those in the pot. Oh my gosh, I moved to L.A. last year. How L.A. is this answer? :)

Find out more about Allison at her website and don’t forget to check out her blog for compelling information on the publishing industry.

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This interview originally appeared on The Huffington Post

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7. A writer’s journey

On WritingWriters have a tendency to gather in groups, large and small (I wonder what the collective noun would be? A scribble?). They conglomerate at festivals, frequent bookstores and go to each other’s book launches. So, as an author, I know lots of other established authors. I also know lots of aspiring and emerging authors. People always want to know about the writer’s journey of established authors. There are blogs and articles and books full of these journeys. But aspiring and emerging authors also have interesting and inspiring stories to tell. Yes, they are still in the early part of their journeys — but sharing those journeys can be wonderfully inspiring for other writers who are at a similar stage. So I asked friend and emerging author Karen Carlisle to share her story on this blog. Take it away Karen…

When George asked me to write a post for his blog, I thought: Me? What can I say that would be of any use to other writers? I am just starting out on my own writing journey? I think that was the point. There are many people who want to be writers but they do not do the one thing that a writer should do — write. Thank you for asking me to share your space, George.

Here is the thinking behind my journey…

When I grow up, I want to be a writer
By Karen J Carlisle

I love stories. I used to collect the Target Doctor Who books in the 70s and 80s. I read every Star Wars book I could afford. I wrote my own adventures. I longed to travel to different worlds and accompany The Doctor on his travels through time.

I longed to grow up and become an astronaut, a Time Lady or a writer. Though I excelled at both English and Physics at school, I did not have the advanced maths skills to be an astronaut. (Sadly I was not born a Time Lady).

Both halves of my brain — the Logical Left and the Creative Right — fought for control. I was encouraged to follow a stable career path. My urge to write was shelved (for a few decades); I finished my Bachelor of Applied Science and became an optometrist. I never had the courage to follow my dream. Not practical.

Now I have all grown up. I have a career. I have a family. I have a home. Sometimes life has a way of throwing things at me — circumstances have rekindled my dream. I still want to be a writer — more than ever!

But what did I need to do to achieve my dream goal of becoming a writer (dare I say — possibly a published writer)?

The Logical Left side of my brain went into full gear: You used to get 95% for essays in high school. You can do this!

My plan of attack was:
1. Posit the question
2. Research
3. Practical work
4. Discuss conclusions. (There was no escaping the university scientific training.)

1. The Question: What was the secret to successful writing?

2. The Research: Writing is a skill. Like many skills, training is required. I devoured books and followed blogs by authors and publishers to learn their secrets. The following points kept popping up:

9781599631400Read or write every day.

The most influential piece of advice I have read was: Write (or read) 1000-1500 words a day (not always achievable, mind you). In 2009, Malcolm Gladwell proposed the 10,000-hour rule — to become an expert at anything, requires 10,000 hours of practice. Though not a guarantee, it was obvious that I would need to practice writing every day.

Finish and Submit the Work.

Anything can be proven by manipulating statistics but any way you spin the following, it is scary. Maybe 3-5% of writers finish their work. Of these, 3-10% might submit their story. (Stats vary but it is safe to say it is a very small percentage.) To have any chance at success, I would have to finish and submit my work.

In my final year of high school, I wrote a science fiction/comedy novel. It is in our shed… somewhere… unread by more than two people. So I had finished one book. Surely I could write another? This time round, I resolved to improve on the ‘submitting’ phase.

Learn to handle rejection.

Very few writers succeed with their first book. Even JK Rowling got rejected a dozen times before being published. Rather than discouraging, the statistical reality actually consoled me. If I finished and submitted my work, then I would be ahead of 95-99% of other writers. This increased my chances of success significantly. Game on!

3. Practical Work: Time to put my research into action.

Reading was the easy bit. Regular writing required some organisation. My plan would begin with writing short stories and a personal blog. This would get me into the habit of the good ‘work practice’ of writing daily.

Both short stories and my blog exploit my obsession with completing things to a deadline. A blog is public. If I don’t write, there is a vacant space on the Internet. I can’t fake it. My readers will know. Though less public, short story competitions have a deadline and the added incentive of prizes.

A year of competition entry rejections has been beneficial. I have adopted an excellent piece of advice — wallpaper my room with the rejection letters! Each one is proof that I am a writer who can (at least) finish in that 1-5%!

4. Conclusion/Discussion: Statistically I have come out on top.

Of my twenty short stories submitted for competition, I achieved one short listing. (I am told this is good.) This year, I joined NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo (online incentives to finish up to 50,000 words in a month). I completed my goal for ‘Camp’ in April (10,000 words) which then grew to become my first completed novella of 35,000 words (now in rewrites and edits). I have completed 30% of a novel length manuscript and have a rough outline for a first draft of another steampunk novella length story (for NaNoWriMo in November). I am happy with this progress.

Currently I am preparing to publish a series of short stories in the steampunk-alternative history genre — my current passion. Without it I would not have been inspired to begin my writing journey… all over again.

9781599632124George’s bit at the end

Thank you Karen, for sharing your journey. I’m sure that other writers will find it inspiring. I certainly did. To find out more about Karen and her writing, check out her website or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

For those of you who are interested in reading more about writing, Karen supplied me with a list of some of the instructional books she has read…

Happy reading… and writing.

Catch ya later,  George

PS. Follow me on Twitter

 

AltantisCheck out my DVD blog, Viewing Clutter.

Latest Post: Blu-ray Giveaway  — Altantis

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8. Seize the Tuesday!! Post by Adi Alsaid, Author of LET'S GET LOST {+Giveaway}

Adi Alsaid, author of the new contemporary YA novel Let’s Get Lost, is touring the web with ‘’Seize the Tuesday” posts to celebrate the publication of his new novel! Each piece focuses on a different, fun example of how Adi was able to "Seize the Tuesday" in his own life and how that can inspire others to make a change in their lives too! Seize the Tuesday not only gives readers a glimpse

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9. Interview with Jack Heath

Jack's latest novel Replica is a thrilling and thought-provoking sci-fi novel (with a super creepy cover - check it out) about a robotic replica assuming a teenage girl's life. My review is forthcoming! In the meantime, I had a chat with Jack about writing Replica, potential sequels, writerly regrets and the benefits/pitfalls of having a replica (I'm currently manufacturing Clone Steph/Steph 2.0 to write my novels for me while I eat cheese toasties and read sci-fi novels*).

I'm interested in the process of writing Replica, which is science fiction in a way that's very much based in our reality. What were your sources of inspiration? Was there a lengthy research process before you started writing? Was it difficult to decide what real-life technology to include, and where to embellish? (It seems a novel weighted towards real-life technology, but then that's the magic of fiction: things that sound real versus things that exist are often entirely different.)
Jack: I usually start with something preposterous – time travel, thief who can walk through walls, et cetera – and then try to include as much real-life science as possible to make it convincing. In this instance, I didn't even have to set the book in the future. It is possible, today, for a teenager to build a mechanical duplicate of herself, thanks to 3D-printing, open source artificial intelligence software and other real-world developments. But fooling her friends and family with the duplicate is another story. I think in real life, Chloe 2's cover would be blown as soon as she opened her mouth. Still, in ten years, who knows?

Your first novel was published when you were a teenager, so you've been writing professionally for almost a decade. Has your writing process or style evolved with subsequent novels? Is there anything you wish you could go back and change about earlier novels?
Jack: I used to structure my books around action scenes – the plot was just a series of flimsy excuses to get Ashley Arthur from one explosion to the next. These days I usually focus on realisations; each chapter reveals a little more of the truth to the main character, and plants some more misleading clues for later revelations. (If that sounds dull, rest assured that I still cram in as falls-from-great-heights as I can.) I also focus much less on how things look, and much more on how they feel. But the only thing I'd change about my earlier books – leaving aside the fact that some were not profitable and arguably shouldn't have been written – is that Agent Six has a slightly preachy monologue at the end of The Lab which now makes me wince.

Replica features lesbian characters without that being the central focus of the plot, which I think is awesome - and realistic (as realistic as a novel about robotic replicas can be). Was that a conscious choice you made, and what inspired it?
Jack: The lesbian element actually started out as a plot consideration. If one of the characters had been a boy and the other a girl, readers would immediately suspect they had a romantic past. (In the immortal words of Avril Lavigne, "Can I make it any more obvious?") Making both characters female kept the suspense going a little longer. At first, that was my only goal, but later a copy editor mentioned how thrilled she was to see such a positive gay relationship in a sci-fi YA novel. It hadn't occurred to me that for most LGBT protagonists in YA books, the main conflict was a struggle with identity and acceptance, rather than a struggle with, for example, teams of ruthless soldiers with high-tech weaponry. (Of course, Replica is all about identity too, but Chloe's sexual orientation is the least of her worries.) After that, I tried to make her relationship even more prevalent and positive, so readers would get something which was otherwise missing from the genre.

You've written two series and a couple of stand-alone novels: Do you prefer one over the other? It is easier to write novels with characters and settings already established, a familiar world? Is there any possibility of a follow-up to Replica?Jack: I spend so much time on plot and sensation that world-building and character development are usually left by the wayside in the first draft. They're often still pretty bare in the published version. I love writing sequels, because I know the characters better, and I have a more solid sense of the world they inhabit. I don't have to spend so long wondering, "What would Chloe do in this situation?" because I've seen how she coped with similar ones. Having said all that, I'm not good at writing series – just sequels. I always take it one book at a time. I'm really keen to write Replica 2: The Replicationing – I have a new story for Chloe to find her way through, a new cast of characters for her to meet and a new setting for her to get lost in – but I can only do it if Replica 1 is a success. You could argue that a book has value even if no-one reads it (a tree falling in the woods type debate) but as I mentioned, I've spent too much of my life writing sequels to books which didn't sell.

Replica is set in Canberra, and I'm not familiar with particularly many YA novels set there: Is there any particular reason you chose Canberra? What do you think it offers as a setting that makes it unique to other Australian cities?
Jack: I've travelled extensively, but Canberra is the city I know best. I went to primary school, high school and university in this town. Setting a book here feels natural to me, but with Replica, I thought it would feel natural to other people, too. Canberra is a small town, so characters can bump into one another unexpectedly without the coincidence feeling forced. The political/espionage side of the plot, meanwhile, would feel forced if it took place anywhere else in Australia. Having said all that, the language has been sanitised for the UK market and then resanitised for the USA market. In the construction site scene, a UK copy editor circled "bobcat" and wrote in the margin, "Is that an Australian native animal?" So while Canberrans will find a few familiar landmarks, no-one from outside the ACT will feel like they've had a holiday here after reading the book.

Imagining if a replica of yourself was created. Would you be able to peacefully coexist with a robot walking around with your face? Would that be an awesome prospect or a terrifying one? (I imagine a replica of myself would be a great friend, but maybe that's the sort of thinking that would result in my replica killing me and assuming my identity.)
Jack: How easily I could coexist with a replica would depend entirely on his temperament. If it were much like mine, we wouldn't get on. I'd think he was a selfish, lazy nincompoop. But if he were happy to go out and do school visits, TV appearances, radio interviews, book signings and so on – while I stayed home and wrote – it would be a beautiful friendship. Jackbot could be my public face, while I became a recluse. (In fact, Replica came about partly because I was overwhelmed with my life, and I wished I had someone to take over for a while.)

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You can read a preview of Replica and find out more about the novel at jackheath.com.au.

*The first Jack Heath novel I read was Third Transmission five years ago (here's the review, as written by baby fifteen-year-old Steph - I have been keeping this blog a long time, it seems) which was stellar but sadly seems to be no longer in print. THIS OFFENDS ME. In keeping with the themes of Third Transmission, I should perhaps travel back in time and prevent it from going out of print. Maybe I should just send the clone through time, instead, in case all my atoms are destroyed or something. Time travel: it's pretty dangerous.

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10. CINDER & ELLA {Excerpt & Giveaway}

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11. My Writing and Reading Life: Chris Grabenstein

Chris Grabenstein is an award-winning author of books for children and adults, a playwright, screenwriter, and former advertising executive and improvisational comedian. Winner of two Anthony and three Agatha Awards, he is also the co-author with James Patterson of The New York Times bestseller I FUNNY.

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12. OCEANBORN by Amile Howard {Giveaway & Blog Tour}

Check out the tour page HERE The coronation is over. But the battle has just begun. Nerissa Marin has won her crown. But can she keep it? Already, her ties to the human realm are driving a wedge between Nerissa and her people. When word arrives that her part-human prince consort, Lo, has been poisoned, she makes the difficult choice to leave Waterfell and return landside. As the

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13. Lucas A. Dyer

As a US Marine, Lucas A. Dyer engaged in combat with the Taliban in Afghanistan’s heroin capital of Helmand. As a small unit leader and platoon commander leading Marines in battle, he fought terrorists and their allies on their home turf, witnessing unspeakable violence in the process. He and his fellow Marines realized that an eye for an eye would not accomplish their objectives so, relying on counterinsurgency operations, they began shaking hands one at a time and ultimately drove the Taliban away. Day by day and week by week, they proved that a small fighting force could work together with Afghans to become brothers-in-arms.

In his memoir, Lucas recalls the events of his time in Afghanistan, sharing true stories from the front lines of how his company was able to win their battles through handshakes.

Hi Lucas, please  tell everyone a little about yourself.

Lucas croppedLucas: I was born in Randolph, Vermont where I grew up a pretty normal life for being raised by a single mother of two. I was an athlete my whole life and achieved honors earning my way into a private school where I was a star hockey player. I then graduated heading off to college where I made a last minute decision in August of 2000 to join the United States Marine Corps and become an Infantry Marine. I deployed four times and served thirteen years on active duty and transferred to the reserves in the summer of 2013. I started writing professionally in 2012 where I was picked up by Jiu-Jitsu Magazine and wrote monthly articles on nutrition for the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)/Jiu-Jitsu community. My current book, A Battle Won by Handshakes, was a project I started in 2010 after returning from combat in Afghanistan. It was completed and published in June of 2014. It currently is the number 1 best seller iUniverse.

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?

Lucas: I first got into writing in early 2010 when I started working on my recently published book A Battle Won by Handshakes. The genre is non-fiction/military/bio. Along the side of working on this book, I wrote weekly blogs on nutrition for athletes and later got picked up by a popular MMA magazine called Jiu-Jitsu Magazine. Jiu-Jitsu Magazine has become the second most sold magazine under UFC for MMA.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Lucas: When I got the idea to write this book, I wanted to finish it as soon as possible. I felt that that book should come out sooner than later so it would be relevant to the current war in Afghanistan at that time. However I realized that it wasn’t that easy. There were a lot of details and facts to check on. Names of places, people and events that I had to research to make sure I was correct on all accounts. I wanted it to be perfect so not to upset anyone by quoting someone incorrectly. After talking to several other authors, they all shared one final thought in common, to take my time and don’t rush. They told me to write a little, take a break, and to write some more, then take a break. It ended up being the best advice I had received.

Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?

ABattleWonLucas: My recent book is titled A Battle Won by Handshakes and as of now it is a stand-alone. I do have ideas for another one to follow but I will keep them to myself. The book is about my experiences as a United States Marine fighting against the Taliban in Helmand Afghanistan. What was unique about this battle was that after a short period of time we realized that fighting the Taliban with weapons was a very challenging task so we utilized a tactic called counterinsurgency (COIN) operations. The idea was to get the Local Nationals on our side, and gain their trust. In turn they would help provide information free of fear instilled by the Taliban. Our unit was very successful in doing so and it makes for a great story. It gives amazing insight to what goes on in combat for those who have always wondered.

Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?

Lucas: Although I don’t really have characters so-to-speak. There are stories about Marines in this book that I feel have the reader cheering for them to survive. There were some close encounters with death and several of us were lucky at times. On the opposite end there are also some who were not so lucky and did not make it back. One in particular that has grabbed the hearts of many was one of my Marines Lance Corporal Donald Hogan who was killed August 26, 2009 protecting his Marines. His story is remarkable and has earned him the second highest medal under the Medal of Honor for his bravery.

Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Lucas: I found it very helpful to write a little bit, then turn away for a week or so to collect my thoughts. It helped me feel more organized to write several pages, and then walk away. This technique was useful.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Lucas: The most influential aspect that helped my writing was being a Marine and having first-hand experience on the subject being written about. My upbringing only added to the drive and determination to be able to say “I am a published author”.

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.

Lucas: The reviews are amazing. I have been blessed with so many fans. However the ones that really get to me are the ones from fellow Marines that I served with, who have had a hard time dealing with some of the losses on this deployment. When they tell me the book heals, or helps them, I really tear up. Here is a recent one:

So today I decided to open your book and it brought back a lot of emotions that I knew would resurface. It took me many years to accept what happened and I tried to live a better life for Swanson. As the pages started turning, an old life style, and brotherhood I miss so much came to life. I have not finished reading your book yet, and to be honest I don’t want the book to end. Your book has brought back many memories of the brotherhood I miss so much. I still have many memories of good times we have shared. I want to thank you for sharing your story. I hope all is we’ll and I look forward to seeing your book at #1. Semper Fi brother.

What are your current projects?

Lucas: I am currently working on a Sports Nutrition book for the MMA/Jiu-Jitsu athlete. I have a years’ worth of nutritional articles that I am slowly turning them into a nutritional guide.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Lucas: It can be purchased online at iUniverse, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Indigo book stores. I have copied the links in for easier assistance. Also my facebook page keeps everyone in the loop with what’s happening.
Facebook: A Battle Won by Handshakes The Story of Alpha Company
iUniverse: A Battle Won by Handshakes
Amazon: A Battle Won by Handshakes
Barnes and Noble: A Battle Won by Handshakes

Thanks for joining us today, Lucas.

Lucas: Thank you for your time.

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14. THE SOUND OF LETTING GO {Blog Tour & Giveaway}

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15. Illustration Inspiration: Bob Shea

Bob Shea has written and illustrated over a dozen picture books including the popular Dinosaur vs. Bedtime and the cult favorite Big Plans illustrated by Lane Smith.

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16. Interview with Kate Gordon: Writing Clementine Blog Tour

So thrilled to be interviewing Kate Gordon for the blog tour for her newly released novel Writing Clementine! It's a beautifully endearing and very charming contemporary YA novel about Clementine, trying to figure out who she is and negotiate life at school and with her family (My review is coming shortly; I'm still trying to decide which synonyms of splendid to use).

Here's Kate's bio, because it is fabulous:
Kate Gordon lives in Hobart, in a mint-green cottage, with her husband, her very strange cat, Mephy Danger Gordon, and a wonderful little girl who goes by the name of Tiger. Kate dreams that one day she and her little family will live in another cottage, by the beach, with goats and chickens. In the meantime, she fills her house with books, perfects her gluten-free baking technique, has marvellous adventures with Tiger, and she writes. 

And onto the interview!

You've written both paranormal fiction (Thyla and Vulpi) and contemporary YA fiction (Three Things About Daisy Blue and now Writing Clementine) - are there any significant differences in your process when writing in these two different genres? Do you prefer one or the other?
Kate: I think I feel more comfortable writing contemporary YA – not that it’s not as hard, and not that I don’t love writing spec fic, it just feels as if it comes more naturally. And I guess that informs my process, too. I tend to write much more stream-of-consciously (is that even a word?), when I’m writing realistic YA. It’s much more structured when I write spec fic, and I actually do some planning (NOT like me).

Clementine gets involved in a Steampunk Society in Writing Clementine, which is just terribly cool - have you considered writing a steampunk novel?
Kate: Ah, egad, no. And not because I don’t adore steampunk. It’s one of my favourite genres – that’s why I sneakily worked it into Clementine. I just feel woefully inadequate as a writer when I even consider writing it. It’s the same with high fantasy. I love it, but then I read Tansy Rayner Roberts and I think, nope, I could never do that. I read Michael Pryor or Gail Carriger or Ben Chandler and I just feel like I’ll never have a millionth of their talent. I’ll leave it to the masters. Doesn’t stop me spending hours Googling pretty steampunky things, though!

You live in Tasmania and often write novels set there: What do you enjoy about writing Tasmanian settings? Do you think they offer something different to stories set in mainland Australia?
Kate: I do. I’m ferociously proud of my island, and I think it makes the best setting for stories, purely because of its uniqueness. There’s nowhere on Earth quite like Tassie, and it’s largely unknown in much of the world. I’ll never forget being on a bus between Launceston and Burnie when I was a teenager and hearing an American say that they were surprised there were people in Tasmania – they thought it was uninhabited. I write about Tasmania so people can learn about it and love it like I do, and because I want teenagers here to see their own world reflected in art. There was almost no literature set here when I was young. I want young people of Tasmania to know that the place they’re growing up in is awesome.

In Writing Clementine, Chelsea-Grace and Cleo are the most hilariously horrific friends (and Sam from Grade 10 is the worst), but Clementine tolerates them - do you find it easy to channel the feelings and motivations of being fourteen? Do you use real-life experiences?
Kate: I do. And it’s funny that you say that Chelsea-Grace and Cleo are horrific. They’re two of my favourite ever characters. Chelsea-Grace is, I think, my favourite character from all my books. I don’t think they’re horrific friends. I think they’re just working out how to be, same as the rest of us. Sam, on the other hand, is a total wally. I loved writing him because I hated him so much, and also because it allowed me to take revenge on so many boys from high school who were exactly like him! Some of his lines are verbatim from things boys said to me and my friends in school. I know I won’t get in trouble, though. I doubt those boys read (*cue evil laugh*).

What inspired you to become a novelist? Any particular books, teachers, experiences?
Kate: Two words: Steven Herrick. I’d always loved writing and creating stories – I made up stories long before I had the ability to write them down. But when Steven Herrick visited my school, it was the first time I’d ever met a real-life author. And he seemed so normal. He was very encouraging to me and made me believe I could do this thing. Also, I had a phenomenal English teacher, Mr Wilson, in high school. He challenged me and never allowed me to accept second-best for myself. He instilled a work ethic in me that I’ve never lost. Also, I worked for a few years in a high school. I’d never considered writing for teenagers before that, but it made me want to write books that they would want to read!

You're a really prolific novelist - practically a book a year - and I'm wondering: Are you super disciplined? Do you have a writing routine? Do you advice for other writers who would like to be similarly productive (i.e. me)?
Kate: I have a two-year-old who only sometimes naps during the day, and often not for very long. I have to be disciplined, otherwise nothing happens. I also had a full-time job before becoming a mum. I forced myself to get up at 5am each day to write. Now, I write 1500 words a day, no matter what, no excuses. If Tiger doesn’t nap, I write when she goes to bed. If she goes to bed late, I write first thing in the morning. It happens, one way or another. And they might not be good words – they probably aren’t. but they’re words and once they’re there I can make them better later. A story doesn’t exist if it’s just inside my head. At least once it’s there, on the page, it exists.

Imagining you could travel back in time to visit your younger self without tearing the fabric of space-time and imploding the universe, what advice would you give your sixteen-year-old self about writing and life?
Kate: I’d tell her that she’s doing just fine. I’d tell her that her best is good enough, and not to strive to be perfect all the time. I’d tell her that life is for living, to laugh often, and to never stop believing in fairies.

--

Here's Writing Clementine on the publisher's website.

Kate's lovely website and blog.

Some great guest posts by Kate here on my blog: on inner ages, being raised by books and her editing secrets!

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17. Born Reading: An Interview with Jason Boog

Folks, I talk a fair amount about my upcoming book with Candlewick but I’d be lying to you if I said it was the only book I worked on that’s out this year.  For lo, I helped write the introduction for another book that will be coming out this month on the 15th and it is awesome.  Behold:

bornreading23 Born Reading: An Interview with Jason Boog

Cute, right?

At the end of June The New York Times released the following story: Pediatrics Group to Recommend Reading Aloud to Children From Birth.  For those of us in the literacy-minded community, this comes as no surprise.  But what about those parents for whom reading aloud poses a challenge?  Born Reading: Bringing Up Bookworms in a Digital Age is a delightful aid to any new parent, with (as the official description says) “step-by-step instructions on interactive reading and advice for developing your child’s interest in books from the time they are born.”

So I figured, why not interview the author himself?  If only to give you just a taste of what the book has in store.  Because you know me.  I don’t write introductions for no junk.  Jason kind submitting to my grilling.

Howdy, Jason. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

When I was a toddler, my mom took me to the Lyons Township District Library in the village of Lyons, Michigan (population 789). I kept reading and writing for the rest of my childhood, and I ended up studying English at the University of Michigan. After college, I spent two years working with youth groups in Peace Corps Guatemala.

In 2003, I studied journalism at New York University and I have worked as a writer ever since. Most recently, I spent five years as the publishing editor at Mediabistro, where I led the GalleyCat and AppNewser blogs.

There’s no lack of parenting books on the market these days, but your book appears to be doing something we don’t see that often. Can you give me the gist of the project and where it came from?

When my daughter Olive was born in 2010, I wanted her to love books as much as I do.

But it had been more than 25 years since I had read a kid’s book—so I needed some help. I consulted with child development experts to find out the best way to read to my daughter. Then I interviewed librarians, teachers and app creators to find the books, eBooks and apps to share with my child.

Through this research, I discovered the art of “interactive reading” or “dialogic reading.” Child development experts crafted these reading techniques 25 years ago. These simple and easy reading tricks will literally make your child smarter.

I tried to show parents how they can use interactive reading techniques to enrich books, eBooks, apps and any kind of 21st Century media experience. More about the art of interactive reading: http://www.born-reading.com/the-art-of-interactive-reading/

And had you written a book before?  How did you hit on the best outline and format for the content?

I had written a book before, but this experience was unique. I was literally living the book with my daughter and my wife.

Over the course of writing Born Reading: Bringing Up Bookworms in a Digital Age, I watched Olive change from a mute newborn into a voracious and opinionated young reader.  The form flowed naturally from that growing experience. I dedicated a chapter to each year of a young reader’s life, incorporating all the books, eBooks and apps we read together during the writing process.

Whenever I learned something new from my team of amazing experts, I would immediately share it with Olive and my wife. We all grew up as the book evolved.

I could not help but notice that in the book you don’t just talk to reading specialists and educators but also teachers, librarians, and children’s authors themselves.  All told, do you have a rough number of who you spoke to?  How did you decide whom to speak to in the end?

I spoke with more than 50 different experts during my writing process. I asked all the questions that I had as a parent or that I had heard from other parents.

For instance, when local parents debated how much screen-time was appropriate for toddlers, I contacted child development experts and neuroscientists to get an expert opinion. It was so amazing to have these experts to guide me every step of the way.

Once Olive could voice her own opinions, I let her interests shape the book as well. When she developed a love of comic books, I reached out to the wonderful folks at TOON Books to find out how to nurture that interest. When Olive got into cooking, we shared the Julia Child cooking app with her. When she obsessed over Disney’s Frozen, I created a whole bundle of new stories to share with her: http://www.born-reading.com/born-reading-bundle-for-disneys-frozen/

One of the things I really liked about the book was the amount of attention given to screen time, particularly when it comes to the youngest children.  In our day and age it seems like the wild west in terms of shiny rectangles (as my brother-in-law calls them).  Did you initially expect this to take up as much time in your book as it did?

Oddly enough, I first envisioned my book as focused entirely on digital reading and the shift to a new kind of reading. My own reading and writing is mostly digital now, and I imagined my daughter would spend lots of time with these new devices. My wife totally disagreed and wanted to be more cautious.

Once I started exploring the research (and lack of research) into the benefits of digital materials for kids, I realized that I had to caution parents as well as share new kinds of reading. Thanks to the experts I interviewed, I learned how to moderate my daughter’s time on devices and how to make sure she has the best experience with the tablets and smartphones in our house.

These devices can be very seductive, but my wife and I worked together to create a more healthy relationship with technology.

In the course of your research, did you hit on anything that surprised you?

The art of interactive reading was by far my best “discovery.” Many librarians and teachers are trained in these awesome interactive techniques, and they are more than willing to share them with parents.

I was shocked that nobody ever told me about these techniques as we prepared for Olive’s birth. These interactive reading techniques should be taught to parents as they leave the hospital with a newborn.  Reading can truly change a child’s life.

At the American Library Association conference this year, a roomful of inspiring librarians shared a list of interactive picture books. Even if you are a shy reader, these books will help make any reading experience more interactive: http://www.born-reading.com/best-interactive-print-books-for-kids/

Any plans for a follow-up?  

I really hope my daughter spends the rest of her life as a reader. If I can take the journey with her into middle grade or YA books, I might have to write about that experience as well…

Thanks, Jason!  We’ll all look for your book next week!

 

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18. Historical Fiction with Goldie Alexander

9780992492434Writing historical fiction requires more than just authorly talent and an interest in the past. It requires a love of research and, even more importantly, the ability to turn that research into a story that will be relevant to current readers. It’s not an easy task, but there are writers out there who do it remarkably well.

One such author is Goldie Alexander, whose latest young adult novel, That Stranger Next Door, is another in a long line of historical novels for young people. Today, Goldie has stopped by with an account of how she approaches the genre. Take it away Goldie…

Fictionalising History
By Goldie Alexander

Over the years I have had 6 historical fictions published for young readers. The challenge was to create convincing settings, characters and dialogue, and the all-important story line to keep my readers involved. This narrative develops from the problems my characters encounter — their aims, wishes and fears. All fictions based on history start with the premise ‘what if you were there at the time’. Though they are based on carefully researched facts, this research must never show. The story must be seamless.

In Mavis Road Medley my two contemporary youngsters find themselves in Princes Hill Melbourne at the end of the Great Depression. In My Australian Story: Surviving Sydney Cove a thirteen-year-old girl convict lives in the Sydney of 1790, when the First Fleet felt cut off from the rest of the world. Body and Soul: Lilbet’s Romance describes a disabled girl’s life just before the outbreak of World War Two. In Gallipoli Medals Great Uncle Jack is a soldier in WW1.

9781741304954The Youngest Cameleer is viewed from the perspective of a fourteen-year-old Moslem. This lesser known exploration into the interior led by William Gosse in 1873 included both Europeans and Afghans, and is based on Gosse’s own journal. This expedition was the first non-indigenous group to stumble across Uluru, and without the use of cameleers they might never have survived the harsh desert conditions.

My most recent historical fiction That Stranger Next Door is set in 1954 at the height of the ‘Cold War’. In the United States, Senator McCarthy was using anti-communist laws to force academics, film-makers and other intellectuals to a senate hearing to ask if they ever belonged to the Communist Party and to name anyone who had gone to their meetings. Many people lost their jobs and their families. Some even committed suicide.

We think of this time in Australia as a time when Prime Minister Menzies ruled, the Queen visited us wearing pearls, England was Home, there was the Korean War, migrants being shunted into camps, the Snowy Mountain Scheme, the six o’clock swill, nuclear families, housewifery for women, and the coming of television. Politically, there was the Communist Referendum, the split in the Labour Party into ALP and DLP, and the infamous Petrov Affair.

When an insignificant Russian diplomat called Vladimir Petrov defected to Australia, promising to provide information about a Russian spy-ring, he ‘forgot’ to mention this to his wife. As Evdokia was pulled onto a plane in Darwin, she was rescued at the last minute by ASIO and hidden in a ‘safe house’. At the time PM Menzies was also trying to bring in similar anti-communist legislation to the US, and thankfully, in this he was unsuccessful.

In That Stranger Next Door, fifteen-year-old Ruth, her Jewish mother, father, four-year-old brother Leon and her grandfather (Zieda) live above the family milk-bar in Melbourne’s Elwood. Because Ruth’s father once belonged to the Communist Party, the family fear that the ‘Petrov Affair’ will help bring in anti-Communist legislation that will produce another wave of anti-Semitism.

The story opens with Eva moving in next-door and Ruth meeting Catholic Patrick O’Sullivan. (Patrick’s father is about to work for Bob Santamaria and the emerging DLP party). Patrick offers to teach Ruth to ride a bike at a time when some Jewish girls were actively discouraged from riding bikes, never allowed to mix with gentile boys, and kept sexually ignorant. Eva agrees to provide Ruth with an alibi for meeting Patrick, but only with the proviso that her presence also be kept secret. As Ruth rails against her mother’s authority, she is fascinated by Patrick’s totally different background. Between Ruth’s account of her first love, Eva fills in her own story. All this takes place during the height of the Cold War when the world seemed on the knife edge of nuclear annihilation.

Australians are sometimes chastised for dwelling on immediate present, as if only 21st Century problems are relevant. Nevertheless I agree with those who argue that ‘those who are ignorant of history are destined to repeat it’.

George’s bit at the end

My thanks to Goldie for sharing her approach to writing this kind of fiction. I am amazed by the amount of historical knowledge demonstrated in just this short article. Imagine what her books might be like! Well, guess what? You don’t have to imagine. Go read one. :-)

Catch ya later,  George

PS. Follow me on Twitter

 

mrsmuir01Check out my DVD blog, Viewing Clutter.

Latest Post: DVD Review  — The Ghost & Mrs Muir: Season 1

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19. Lauren Henderson Talks About Kissing in Italian

Author Lauren Henderson is just as fun to talk to as we imagine Violet, the heroine of her book Kissing in Italian, would be. Half American and British, Henderson seems both posh and down to Earth.

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20. Author Interview: Lindsay Cummings, Author of THE MURDER COMPLEX

I love interviewing debut authors on the blog. This is because aspiring writers can look at their path to publication and identify what they did right. Today’s featured author is Lindsay Cummings, author of the YA futuristic thriller, THE MURDER COMPLEX (June, Greenwillow Books).

Lindsay Cummings is a 22-year-old author of YA and MG books at HarperCollins. She lives in Dallas, TX with her husband Josh, her hedgehog named Hedwig, her two German Shepherds Hurley and Kai, her wolf cub Kimber, and a draft horse named Dan the Man. Lindsay deals with Chronic Fatigue issues, believes Jesus is the reason for all of her success, and swears that book hoarding is not a problem at all. She’s still waiting on her letter from Hogwarts–it was probably just lost in the mail. You can visit her book blogging website for teens at www.booknerdigans.com. Find Lindsay on Twitter. Her other books are THE FEAR TRIALS and BALANCE KEEPERS: THE FIRES OF CALDERON (Sept. 2014).

 

the-murder-complex-novel-cover      lindsay-cummings-author-writer

 

Please describe what the story/book is about.

THE MURDER COMPLEX is about two teens who must struggle to survive in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birth rate, and pre-programmed assassins plague the night.

Where do you write from? 

Dallas, TX

Briefly, what led up to this book?  

This is my debut novel. Before this, I was simply writing short stories and half-novels, but with TMC, it really clicked!

(Tips on how to find more agents who seek your genre/category.)

What was the time frame for writing this book? 

I wrote this book in two weeks, but it took about 2 years to edit, rewrite, etc.

How did you find your agent (and who is your agent)? 

My agent is Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. I originally used the Guide to Agents book to find out who I wanted to query. I saw Louise’s name (formerly at a different agency), along with several other agents I wanted to query. I got to meet a few of them at a writer’s conference in Dallas (DFWCON), and from there, Louise became my agent!

 

2014-childrens-writers-and-illustrators-market

Writing books/novels for kids & teens? There are hundreds
of publishers, agents and other markets listed in the
latest Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market.
Buy it online at a discount.

What were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?

I never realized that publishing is such a slow business. Everything takes months and months of time, from getting an agent, to the book deal, to the editing process, cover design, marketing and branding. I never realized that! Another big aspect was that there are people out there who WILL read and review your book, and give the entire world their honest thoughts about it. Whether the feedback  will be harsh or glowing, an author can never know. The hard part is learning how to take it all!

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in?

I started as a book blogger, and that really helped me get to know the business of publishing. What books were coming out, how authors were marketing, etc.

On that note, what would you have done differently if you could do it again?

I think I would tell myself that I just need to RELAX and breathe. Publishing is a business, and often as authors, we forget that. Our books become our lives, and sometimes we just need to sit back, relax, and understand that it takes time to see it happen (and hard work!).

(What query letter mistakes will sink your submission chances?)

Did you have a platform in place?  On this topic, what are you doing the build a platform and gain readership?

I am very adamant about social media. I love Instagram and Twitter, as those have been pivotal in helping me sell books! It’s been great to connect with fans. I still review books as well for publishers, and that helps me connect with fellow authors!

Best piece(s) of advice for writers trying to break in?-

Write a great book. The publishing world may be hard to break in to, but if you have a great book, they’ll have no choice but to notice you. And on that note, EDIT. Edit like your life depends on it.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

I live with Chronic Fatigue, and it’s the real reason I began writing!

Favorite movie?

I love all 8 of the Harry Potter movies, but I always have a soft spot for The Bourne Identity.

Website(s)?

www.lindsaycummingsbooks.com

 

Want to build your visibility and sell more books?
Create Your Writer Platform shows you how to
promote yourself and your books through social
media, public speaking, article writing, branding,
and more.
Order the book from WD at a discount.

 

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21. Katherine James, A.K.A. The Lynch Sisters, Dish on The Sugar Plum Tree

On special occasions the girls’ parents told them of THE SUGAR PLUM TREE and they awoke to small candy treats or TREASURE waiting under their beds. It’s this TRADITION, of POETRY IN ACTION, the girls now hope to pass on to your family.

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22. Bad Luck Girl Blog Tour: Author Interview with Sarah Zettel

Please welcome Sarah Zettel to GreenBeanTeenQueen! Her amazing historical 
fantasy series, The American Fairy Trilogy, concludes with book three, Bad
Luck Girl.
About Bad Luck Girl: After rescuing her parents from the Seelie king at Hearst Castle, Callie 
is caught up in the war between the fairies of the Midnight Throne and the Sunlit Kingdoms. 
By accident, she discovers that fairies aren’t the only magical creatures in the world. There’s also 
Halfers, misfits that are half fairy and half other—half paper, half steel girder, half electric spark. 
As the war heats up, Callie’s world falls apart. And even though she’s the child of prophecy, she doubts she can save the 
Halfers, her people, her family, and Jack, let alone herself. Bad Luck Girl, they call Callie, and she’s starting to believe them.


The American Fairy Trilogy is historical fantasy. What about history inspires 
you to write?
That’s a big question.  I guess the first reason would be because history is full 
of people and people are endlessly fascinating and inspiring.  The actions of people 
who did big things, small things, good things, bad things, both, who survived, who failed to, are the raw stuff 
of stories.  Add to that a dramatic landscape, like, say, the Dust Bowl or Chicago in the age of Depression 
and jazz, and how could anybody fail to find inspiration?  Plus, I am very much interested in the way things 
work, and it’s only by studying history and trying to understand it that we find out how the present works, 
and how the future might work. One of the reasons I write is to learn, and writing about history is one 
heck of a way to learn about history.

What does it feel like to have your trilogy come to an end?
There’s a certain amount of relief.  It means I don’t have to work on it anymore.  For me, there comes
a point when, no matter how much I love a story, I just never want to see it again.  There’s a certain amount
of satisfaction as well, as there always is when you’ve finished a big job.  Of course, I’m a little sorry too. 
 I spent a lot of time with Callie, Jack and their world.  I had a lot of fun, a lot of frustration and I certainly
learned a lot with and from the process of writing these books, and it’s always hard to let that go.  

What are you working on next?
I always have more projects in the hopper than is good for me, or my long-suffering, hard-working 
agent. I’ve just finished the third book in my other YA historical trilogy: Palace of Spies.  Book #2 in that 
series, Dangerous Deceptions, is coming out this November.  I have a mid-grade book about a girl who 
finds unicorns and monsters living in the shopping mall her parents manage.  I’m working on another
historical YA set in Greenwich Village during the Red Scare.  Oh, and did I mention the thriller,
and the epic fantasy and…

What time period would you travel back in time to if you could?
Me, personally, I wouldn’t go back.  I like history, I enjoy the mental exercise of setting stories there.  
But when it comes down to it, the past is a messy, uncomfortable place where I wouldn’t have had 
many rights, not to mention conveniences like antibiotics and eyeglasses.  If I was going to time travel,
I’d go forward, maybe fifty years?  Maybe a hundred?  See what the future holds.  

Thanks to Green Bean Teen Queen for letting me stop by!

Sarah Zettel

0 Comments on Bad Luck Girl Blog Tour: Author Interview with Sarah Zettel as of 6/26/2014 10:21:00 AM
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23. Learn About Sleepover at the World Cup in Brazil, by Geeta Raj

Geeta Raj brings an 11-year career in international development and humanitarian assistance to The Global Sleepover series, including over 8 years as a Senior Program Analyst with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

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24. 5 Questions with Best Selling Author Sharon Bayliss

 

BookBuzzr author Sharon Bayliss’ book – Destruction: The December People, Book One recently hit the #1 spot on the Amazon. We reached out to Sharon to learn more about her story.

The screenshot below was taken on June 20, 2014.

 

Hi Sharon, thank you for taking the time to do this interview.

1. How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?

 I have been writing fiction since I was fifteen. I clearly remember when my English teacher pulled me aside and told me I was talented. That gave me the motivation to keep writing and getting better. It has always been my dream to be an author.

 

2. How did you come up with the title of your book or series? Tell us a little bit about your book series.

Destruction is book 1 in The December People Series. The December People Series revolves around the Vandergraff family, a family of dark wizards living in Houston, Texas. There will be four books in the series, in honor of the four seasons. The series is called “December People” because wizards are classified by seasons, with winter being the darkest. “Destruction” refers to the destructive quality of dark magic.


 

3. Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

Every time I’m asked that question, I chuckle a bit. My life is chaotic. I have a full time job and also have two small children. I don’t have dedicated time to write and just squeeze in it whenever I can.

 

4. Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

I wrote a blog post on this topic called, Why I Read My Book’s Reviews. So, yes, I do read them! I often thank people for their reviews, but I never argue or make comments other than “thank you.” As for dealing with bad, I recommend looking at the big picture. It’s amazing how much one scathing review can hurt, even if you have 50 others that are glowing. Do you best to look at the overall star rating and remind yourself that ALL successful authors get bad reviews!

 

5. Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?

99 cent sales always work for me, especially if well-promoted. On the day I reached the #1 spot above, my publisher had put Destruction on Book Bub. It was certainly the one single marketing tool that had the most dramatic effect. If you can make it in, and can afford it, I highly recommend it.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Vikram Narayan is the founder of BookBuzzr Book Marketing Technologies. Vikram is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to starting BookBuzzr, Vikram founded another software company that has been successfully serving clients from all over the world since 2001. When he is not dreaming up ways to help authors accelerate their earnings and book sales, Vikram spends his time playing the guitar, practicing Aikido and spending time with his family._________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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25. Player Profile: Stav Sherez, author of Eleven Days

stav-sherezStav Sherez, author of Eleven Days

Tell us about your latest creation:

Eleven Days - 11 Days before Christmas and a small convent in West London is burning. When the detectives get there they find ten dead nuns and one unexplained body. The case stretches back to South American and the upsurge of Liberation Theology in the 1970s. I always wanted to write a locked room mystery and this was my attempt to do so. It’s also the closest to a cosy I’ve written (or am likely to write) :)

Where are you from / where do you call home?:

London / London.

9780571290536When you were a kid, what did you want to become?  An author?:

Always an author. Since the age of ten or so. I always loved books and read all the time. There never was any other possibility!

What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:

I like all my books for different reasons. Eleven Days is the one where I’m most happy with the writing.

Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:

I have an office room which is quite bare. I face the wall not the window to avoid distractions. I keep it quite ordered otherwise the chaos clutters up my brain.

When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:

Crime fiction, of course. American literary fiction. Poetry.

What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:

I read a lot of the geopolitical thrillers that were very popular in the 1970s – Alistair Maclean, Frederick Forsyth, Wilbur Smith as well as Stephen King.

If you were a literary character, who would you be?:

Always impossible to answer this as all my favourite literary characters have awful lives.

Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:

Mainly listen to music! Not that surprising, I know but it’s the only thing that allows my brain to switch off from narrative discourse.

What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:

Burgers and Coke.

Who is your hero? Why?:

William Burroughs – for showing that anything is permissible in the novel.

Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:

The many electronic distractions of our lives.

Website: www.stavsherez.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/stavsherez

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