Thursday, May 5, 2016

Straight from the mouth of Anne Turner Coppola, author of Fly Away Free



Inside the Book:


Title: Fly Away Free 
Author: Anne Turner Coppola 
Publisher: Xlibris 
Genre: Juvenile Fiction 
Format: Ebook

The story begins when Tessie Farrell, an older woman living in South Florida, is walking her dog and rescues a baby osprey whose parents are killed by three young boys raiding the osprey’s nest to steal the baby ospreys. Taking the rescued baby osprey home, Tessie contacts the police to report what happened. After caring and feeding the baby osprey and building a cage for the bird, Tessie finds herself exhausted. Lying down to rest, Tessie is transported back in time, when she was a ten-year-old girl living with her parents on a dairy farm in northern New York. Devastated to learn that she is adopted, Tessie is taunted by her classmates as she struggles to understand why she was unwanted by her biological parents. In her isolation from children her own age, she creates her own fantasy world with the help of Dolly, a horse that is boarded at the farm and whom Tessie adopts as her pet horse, and two pet geese, raised and nurtured by Tessie as hatchlings. While Tessie roams her fantasy world with Dolly, she meets and befriends an older woman, Maudie, who will play a very important role in helping Tessie find herself as she learns to accept who she is and to find acceptance by those around her. This is a story of courage, self-discovery, and love, and a young girl’s struggle to overcome the pain of being adopted.
ORDER INFORMATION
Fly Away Free is available for order at
amazon

Tessie Farrell, an older woman living in south Florida is walking her dog near Miami Beach when she comes across three young boys who have taken the newly-hatched ospreys from their nest. Confronting the boys, the two on the ground flee, and the third flees when the osprey nest falls to the ground, forcing the nesting baby osprey to attempt to fly, landing in the bay. Tessie rescues the baby osprey and finds the osprey parents, who have been killed by the young boys who raided the osprey’s nest to steal the recently hatched babies. Having had some experience caring for birds in her youth, Tessie takes the baby osprey home, and calls the police to report what happened. After caring and feeding the bird, and building a cage for the osprey, Tessie finds herself exhausted and needing to rest. Lying down on the porch sofa, sleep soon overtakes her, and she is transported back in time, when she was a ten-year old girl growing up on her parents’ dairy farm in northern New York, on the St. Lawrence River.
            Devastated to learn that she is adopted, Tessie is taunted by her classmates as she struggles to understand why she was unwanted by her biological parents. In her isolation from children her own age. Tessie creates her own fantasy world with the help of Dolly, a horse that is boarded at her parent’s farm and whom Tessie adopts as her pet, and two geese, raised and nurtured by Tessie from hatchlings. While roaming her fantasy world with Dolly, she meets and befriends an older woman, Maudie Carroll, the local high school librarian, who plays an important role in helping Tessie as find herself she learns to accept who she is, and to find acceptance by those around her. This is a story of courage and determination, self-discovery and love, and a young girl’s struggle to overcome the pain of being an adopted child.
Question2 – Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?

Anne was a teacher who taught children at all levels of learning- elementary, midlle and high schoolers. She loved her students, particularly her elementary kids. I believe she had these stories germinating  for some time, and only needed the the right opportunity to begin. That opportunity, I believe, came when she retired and had the time to sit down and write.. I also believe that Fly Away Free was close to being autobiographical. Anne identified with Tessie Farrell, Fly Away Free young heroine, and although she wasn’t adopted, Anne was raised in a foster home, on a farm in northern New York at the age of twelve, after her father died two years earlier, and following her mother’s hospitalization for severe depression. Certainly, Tessie exhibited many of the same emotions that Anne must have felt throughout that difficult period in her life.
Question3- What cause are you most passionate about and why?

Continuing Anne’s legacy and sharing the importance of safe homes for children in Foster Care and adoption.
Question4- Do you have any rituals you follow when you finish a piece of work?

No!
Question5- Who has influenced you throughout your writing career?

Can’t say, possibly me. I was also writing a book at the time for Doubleday.
Question6- What are some of your long term goals?

Learning how to use social media more effectively to be able to share these stories.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Straight From the Mouth of MC Domovitch, author of 'Scorpio's Kiss'



Monique Domovitch has had many careers, starting with being one of Canada’s top models. When she retired from modeling she moved on to a career in the financial services as an adviser and planner, specializing in helping women attain financial freedom. During those years, she was also one of the first women in Canada to host her own national financial television show. During all those years, Monique’s dream was always to someday become a writer. Ten years ago, Monique attended a writer’s conference where the first line of one of her novels was read out loud in a workshop, attracting the attention of a publisher and an agent.

Since that life-changing conference, Monique Domovitch has published nine books, four with Penguin using the pen name Carol Ann Martin, two with Harlequin using her own name, and another two with Lansen Publishing. Scorpio’s Kiss was previously published as two novels, Scorpio Rising and The Sting of the Scorpio. Scar Tissue, her latest, is her ninth novel and she is hard at work on her tenth.

A great believer in the energizing power of writers’ conferences, she says that if not for that first conference she attended, she would not be published today.

For More Information
About the Book:

Scorpio's Kiss is a spell-binding tale of love, ambition and greed that will keep the reader turning the pages until its surprise ending. Set in New York and Paris amid the glamorous and competitive worlds of art and real estate, Scorpio's Kiss takes the reader from the late 1940s to the 1960s through the tumultuous lives of its heroes.

There is Alex Ivanov, the son of a Russian immigrant and part-time prostitute. He yearns to escape his sordid life and achieve fame and fortune. His dreams of becoming a world-class builder are met with countless obstacles, yet he perseveres in the hope of someday receiving the recognition he craves.

Half a world away, Brigitte Dartois is an abused teenager who runs into the arms of a benefactor with an agenda all his own. When she finds out that her boss has an ulterior motive, she flees again, determined to earn her living through her art. This career brings her fame, but also the unwanted attention of her early abuser.

Domovitch’s novel is a compelling tale, filled with finely etched characters and a superb understanding of the power of ambition. Scorpio's Kiss promises to resonate with all who once had a dream.

For More Information

  • Scorpio’s Kiss is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads. 

Thanks for letting us interrogate you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

For me, it was when I realized that I had hit middle age. It came as a shock that I had already lived half my life. The shock brought home the hard fact that if I kept putting off my passion in favor of my successful career, I might live comfortably, but I would never achieve my life goal. I pictured myself on my death bed. I know that everybody imagines they would regret having spent too much time working, and too little time with loved ones. In my case it was a sense that unless I wrote, I would have wasted my life. Writing is what I was meant to do. It gave me the kick in the behind I needed to get going.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?
Writing isn’t for everyone. The hours are long, and one never knows if there will be financial reward. On the other hand, I get such a thrill from giving life to characters, and creating stories that people later read. The demands are simple, sit and write. And keep doing it day after day after day. The perk, for me, is that I get to do what I love, and I get paid for it.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?
I’m a bit of an oddball in that I have done both. I was fortunate enough to find an agent and a publisher right from the start, and had seven novels published in the traditional way. I decided to go it the self-published route for my two last novels because these deviate from my other novels, which were cozy mysteries. If I wanted to break free and write the kind of books I craved to write, I had to re-market myself. I was already a best-selling author, my publishers were not thrilled with the idea of changing from my original style. Self-publishing allowed me the freedom of writing whatever I wanted. If I crashed and burned, then so be it. My hope was that my readers would follow me to my new novels, and I’m happy to report that it looks as if they did.

What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry?
The snarkiest thing is that publishers are risk averse. That means they don’t take chances. Not that I can blame them. Their entire goal is to run a financially successful business.  This means they don’t easily take risks, try out new authors, new genres, new voices, which is why true artists are often overlooked, and end up going the self-published route.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

I am so incredibly fortunate in that they are all behind me one hundred percent. Although, it wasn’t always that way, at least not in the very beginning. The problem many authors face is that in they spend enormous amounts of time on a project, and have no income to show for it. In this society, where a person’s worth is often measured by the amount of money they earn, it can be difficult for friends and family to look at writing as anything but a “cute hobby.” In my case, my help was important to my husband’s success in his real estate business, and it was rather challenging to make him understand that my writing was as important to me as his business was to him. It wasn’t until I pointed out that most new ventures don’t turn a profit until the fifth year, that he got it, that writing is, in essence, the same as manufacturing. An author’s product is his book. Then, when at the end of my first year, I had already found representation and signed a three-book deal, he was convinced. He’s been my staunchest supporter since.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

The craziest thing was when I submitted one of my novels, written in the first person and in the present tense. My agent decided it should be rewritten in the past tense. So I rewrote it. It took me a bit over two months. Then, one of the BIG publishers decided they liked it. They loved the voice, they loved the characters, they loved the relationship between the characters, but they weren’t crazy about the murder. The asked me to rewrite it without the murder. In other words, turn a murder mystery into, what? I did it, but that was totally crazy. And in the end, it was published with the original murder. All that work...

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?
I’m a big fan of Facebook. I never quite got the Twitter thing. I do it, but have a hard time enjoying it. But that shouldn’t surprise me. To me Facebook is like a dinner party, where you can spend time chatting with one person, whereas Twitter is like speed dating. I like relationships, and I’m not a big fan of huge parties where all you can manage is a quick, “So nice to see you,” and a cheek brush.

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?
I was lucky that through Facebook, I reached a large number of readers and that a few of them loved Scorpio’s Kiss enough to propose it to their book clubs. Book clubs create a lot of buzz, not only for the members but also among their friends and acquaintances. Whenever somebody asks, I will do the impossible to attend a book club. It’s amazing how many people this reaches. And while I’m in their city, I sometimes give readings at libraries and get interviews in local papers.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
What I keep repeating is that, No, the main character in Scorpio’s Kiss, Alexander Ivanovitch, is NOT Donald Trump. True, back in the eighties I was a friend of Ivana’s, Trump’s first wife, and I met Donald on a number of occasions. As everybody knows, he is a bigger-than-life character, so I did model my main character after him, but the story is entirely fiction.

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?
I like to say that I am more of a storyteller than an author. That’s like being a singer rather than a song writer, and a singer needs an audience. What I love the most, what I live for, is the feedback I get from my readers. And the feedback I get time and again is how, once a reader picks up my book, they can’t put it down, that because of me people have sleepless nights because they simply must know what happens next. That is what I love the most. So please, please, all you readers out there, make my day. If you enjoyed Scorpio’s Kiss, leave me a review. You will make me a very happy writer.


Giveaway!

Monique Domovitch is giving away 5 paperback and 5 ebook copies of SCORPIO’S KISS!


Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Five people will be selected to win one of five paperback copies and five people will be selected to win one of five ebook copies of SCORPIO’S KISS
  • This giveaway begins April 18 and ends on July 18.
  • Winners will be announced on Monique’s tour page on July 19.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!






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Friday, April 8, 2016

Straight from the Mouth of Randy Rawls, Author of 'Dating Death'

Randy Rawls' newest book is DATING DEATH, book 3 in the Beth Bowman, South Florida PI series. Beth is invited to a meeting by the Chief of Police of Coral Lakes. They have a history from the kidnapping case Beth called BEST DEFENSE. There are other places she'd prefer to be at nine AM, but such an invitation cannot be ignored. Chief Elston explains that his department has the goods on Roger Adamson, a dirty politician; however, he knows Adamson has additional information that could bring down a drug lord and disembowel his organization. He asks Beth to assist by becoming Adamson's consort/bodyguard while Adamson parses out data. Beth agrees, not realizing multiple homicides, a kidnapping, a tight frame for murder, and the loss of the man she loves await her. If not for Beth's homeless friends, all might be lost. 
Amazon Link to Book
Questionnaire:
Thanks for letting us interrogate you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?
          Simple. I'm a reader. And what's better than reading a great book? Writing one. Just takes longer. 
Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?
          The perks are the people you meet who tell you they enjoyed the book. What a wonderful feeling it is to have entertained someone for a few hours, and, perhaps, to have given them a chuckle along the way.
          The demands. The need to keep producing as the stories back up in your head. 
Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?
          Most of my books are traditionally published by small presses. They are the gold vein in the mine of writing. Yes, it would be better to hit the big time with a NYC major publisher, but that door is closed (nailed shut) to most of us. 
Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?
          My wife tolerates me well. I try to put it aside when she needs me, or wants to do something outside the home. 
This is for pet lovers.  If you don’t own a pet, skip this question, but do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?
          I have a dog, a Pomeranian. She's a grazer, so we load her dish with hard food, and she eats when she feels like it. It's the walks she might have to "wait a moment" for. 
This is for plant lovers.  If you don’t own a plant, skip this question, but if you do, are they actually still alive?
          I'm the gardener in the family. My wife has a black thumb. And yes, I manage to keep three plants alive. 
In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner, or your boss calling you saying you’re late?
          No problem on number 3—boss calling. I'm retired.
          But yes, I find the first two irritating. When I'm engrossed and the words are flying, any interruption is a major irritant. 
What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?
          One of my publishers sent me their recommended title for my book. It was so far out from what I had submitted, I thought it was a joke. I replied in that manner. The publisher was not thrilled with me, and let me know in no uncertain terms how much time and research they had put into finding that name. (I still like mine better.) 
How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?
          I am terrible at social networking. I wish it weren't necessary. I'd rather be working on my next book. 
Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?
          For DATING DEATH, I hired a publicist, Maryglenn McCombs. She is pushing my name and my title out there. Hopefully, it will result in sales. For the other eleven books, well, it's been hit or miss. 
What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
          Alzheimer's disease. What a horrible, horrible way to die. We must find a medical solution. 
Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?
          Ego. Pride. Legacy. Enjoyment. Each of these things are affected whenever I pick up one of my books. I love to read. I love to write. I love the idea of something I wrote living on after my death. That's enough for me. If I can make a few dollars at it, that's simply icing on the cake.


Book Feature: The Adventures of Archibald and Jockabeb Series by Art Collins


 

Inside the Book:



Title: In the Forest 
Author: Art Collins 
Release Date: October 1, 2015 
Publisher: A&J Publishing 
Genre: YA Fiction 
Format: Ebook


When two young brothers, Archibald and Jockabeb, find and old leather map hidden in the forest just beyond their backyard, they can’t help but sneak out one night to follow its path. So begins the first of the boys’ amazing adventures. After a terrifying encounter with supernatural creatures, the boys meet a young Indian brave, Haktu, who shares with them the tragic story of how he was separated from his tribe and placed under an evil spell. The saga leads the two boys into Haktu’s secret world behind the forest mist, the power of the blue feather, and teaches them the importance of friendship and loyalty in the face of untold evil.

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Inside the Book:



 Title: In the Mountains 
Author: Art Collins 
Release Date: October 1, 2015 
Publisher: A&J Publishing 
Genre: YA Fiction 
Format: Ebook

In the first book, the two brothers meet Haktu, the young Indian brave who was trapped inside the body of an underwater dragon, and then find his lost pony, Uno, deep within a mysterious forest. After the boys narrowly escape several vicious attacks from evil wolf-crows, they receive a magic blue feather from Haktu as he bids them his final farewell. Book Two begins with Archibald and Jockabeb flying to a secluded summer camp perched high in a rugged mountain range far from home. The fact that they are the only two campers to show up at Camp Bear Claw that summer is just the first of many surprises — incredible surprises that test the protective power of their magic blue feather in completely unexpected ways. On their way to a final face-to-face showdown with a deadly creature that possesses supernatural strength, the young boys meet several unforgettable characters who end up changing their lives forever. If you liked In the Forest, hold onto your hat as you read its sequel!

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Inside the Book:



 Title: In the Amazon 
Author: Art Collins 
Release Date: November 10, 2015 
Publisher: A&J Publishing 
Genre: YA Fiction 
Format: Ebook

In the first two books, Archibald and Jockabeb make a number of wonderful friends while battling unearthly foes that possess supernatural powers. In a dark forest close to home, they escape almost certain death with the aid of a young Indian brave, Haktu, and his pony, Uno. Later, in a distant mountain range, they come to know the kindness of Gran, Ben, Tommy Two Feathers, and their four-legged companions, Champ and Ghost Rider. Stalked relentlessly by the blood-thirsty wolf-crows in the forest, and then by the cunning devil cat in the mountains, the two brothers manage to barely escape with their lives. However, when they accept their uncle’s invitation to visit him in Brazil, little do they know that their most terrifying adventure is about to unfold — an amazing adventure that will again test the magical power of Haktu’s blue feather. So, as you prepare to read In the Amazon, get ready for an unforgettable journey into the dark recesses that lie between the crevices of reality and fantasy!

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Inside the Book:



 Title: In the Desert 
Author: Art Collins 
Release Date: April 2015 
Publisher: A&J Publishing 
Genre: YA Fiction 
Format: Ebook

In the first two books, Archibald and Jockabeb make a number of wonderful friends while battling unearthly foes that possess supernatural powers. In a dark forest close to home, they escape almost certain death with the aid of a young Indian brave, Haktu, and his pony, Uno. Later, in a distant mountain range, they come to know the kindness of Gran, Ben, Tommy Two Feathers, and their four-legged companions, Champ and Ghost Rider. Stalked relentlessly by the blood-thirsty wolf-crows in the forest, and then by the cunning devil cat in the mountains, the two brothers manage to barely escape with their lives. However, when they accept their uncle’s invitation to visit him in Brazil, little do they know that their most terrifying adventure is about to unfold — an amazing adventure that will again test the magical power of Haktu’s blue feather. So, as you prepare to read In the Amazon, get ready for an unforgettable journey into the dark recesses that lie between the crevices of reality and fantasy!

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png    

Inside the Book:



 Title: In the Caribbean 
Author: Art Collins 
Release Date: April 2015 
Publisher: A&J Publishing 
Genre: YA Fiction 
Format: Ebook

The fifth book in The Adventures of Archibald and Jockabeb series picks up right where the fourth book left off. With many questions about what really happened in the Sonoran Desert still unanswered, Archibald and Jockabeb's family head to the island of Jamaica for spring vacation. What begins as an idyllic stay at a secluded beachfront inn soon takes a turn for the worse when the boys and the inn's proprietor, Salty, charter a fishing boat for the day. The captain of the boat is none other than Tommy Nat, Mr. Natonto's estranged son. The violent storm that follows turns out to be only the first of many unexpected events that quickly propel the two brothers toward an unexpected showdown on another Caribbean island. The elusive Tommy Nat, a mysterious island doctor, a giant Haitian named Maurice, and unseen zombies all combine to set the stage for another classic clash between the forces of good and evil. While the final confrontation that unfolds inside a deserted cafe ultimately provides answers to the remaining mysteries of Lizard Flats, it also places the boys in untold danger. The book contains a number of interesting facts about the Caribbean, its culture and religion, and a bit of the occult. As in past books, the reader observes firsthand how Archibald and Jockabeb grow as brothers and young teens, all the while learning the true meaning of friendship."

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Inside the Book:




Title: In the Big City 
Author: Art Collins 
Release Date: April 2015 
Publisher: A&J Publishing 
Genre: YA Fiction 
Format: Ebook

The sixth book in The Adventures of Archibald and Jockabeb series finds the two brothers and their younger sister travelling to New York City to spend a long weekend with their aunt. After finishing a wonderful dinner at Sardi's the first night, the boys become separated from Tess and Aunt Claire in nearby Times Square. Events quickly take a menacing turn when a mysterious person from the past suddenly appears with two henchmen in tow. Frantically trying to escape, Archibald has no idea what he'll find when he leads Jockabeb down the stairs into a nearby subway station-and what the boys do find launches one their strangest and most electrifying adventures to date. A beautiful young girl named Willow, a one-armed man called Meatloaf, and a dangerous gang leader who goes by the name of Shabazz are just a few of the characters who the boys meet in the abandoned subway tunnels far below the streets of Manhattan. As Archibald and Jockabeb try to make their way safely back to Aunt Claire, they only move closer to a final confrontation with their pursuers, both human and non-human alike. The reader will learn interesting facts about America's largest city while once again watching the teenage brothers' personalities evolve. As in all the previous books, the forces of good and evil are pitted against one another-this time, above and below the streets of "The Big Apple!"

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Meet the Author:



When Art Collins retired as a highly successful chairman and CEO of a Fortune 500 company, he didn’t write the book on leadership that many had expected. Instead, he decided that penning adventure stories that could be enjoyed by young and old would be far more interesting, not to mention much more fun. Borrowing two characters, Archibald and Jockabeb, from tales told by his father many years before, and drawing upon his own rich imagination, Art introduces the two young brothers to an incredible cast of characters—some human, some otherworldly—in locations that range from the mysterious forest behind the boys’ house to the lush and exotic Amazon. The nine book series reflects his love of the mountains and ocean, as well as his extensive travels that have taken him to every continent except Antarctica. Art currently divides his time between Chicago and the Vail Valley in Colorado. 
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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Straight from the Mouth of Clea, Author of 'When Bunnies Go Bad'

Clea Simon is the Boston Globe-bestselling author of 19 traditional/cozy mysteries in the Theda Krakow, Dulcie Schwartz, and Pru Marlowe pet noir series, most recently Code Grey (Severn House) and When Bunnies Go Bad (Poisoned Pen). In March, her 20th mystery, The Ninth Life, (Severn House) launches the new, dystopian Blackie and Care series. A former journalist, Clea lives in Massachusetts, and although her books are getting darker, they still always include a cat. She’s not sure why. www.CleaSimon.com

Questionnaire:

Thanks for letting us interrogate you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?
I always told stories. Took a while before I realized people would pay to read them, though! Honestly, I was a journalist for years before I realized I could just make sh*t up.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?
The perks are people reading my books and talking about these peope I’ve made up as if they were real! Demands are … deadlines! You mean, you want ANOTHER book?

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?
Traditional!! I love/hate being edited, but I KNOW my books are better for it! Also, who wants to do all that work?

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you? 
My husband is so supportive sometimes I think he has more faith in me than I do.

This is for pet lovers.  If you don’t own a pet, skip this question, but do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?
Are you kidding? Have you read my books? My cat Musetta comes FIRST in this household. Everything waits on her!

This is for plant lovers.  If you don’t own a plant, skip this question, but if you do, are they actually still alive?
So far!!

In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?
I disconnect the phone and dinner just keeps getting later and later… and my only other work is freelance, so I just do it in the corners of the day.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?
Getting quoted on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in a story about a supposed conflict in the world of cat mysteries – I was the author who “turned tail” and started writing cats who talk. That was really bizarre!

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?
Well, I’m on Facebook and Twitter. I don’t know if they help, but they’re fun!

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?
I just do everything I can and hope for the best.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
People who review books that they were never going to write. I mean, if you don’t like books with pets in them, why would you read a “pet noir” like mine?  Also, spoilers – NO SPOILERS!!!

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?
I love that I don’t have to live in the real world too much! You’ll find me in Beauville, talking to Wallis, the crabby tabby… see ya!




Sunday, March 27, 2016

Straight from the mouth of Julie Ann James, Author of 'Irish Jewel'

Julie Ann James lives in Sarasota, Florida. Her passion for words came at an early age and has inspired her to plant seeds literally all over the globe. She is the founder of the Peppertree Press book publishing company and The Pepper Tree Literary Magazine, an avid public speaker, a published children’s author and novelist. 

Questionnaire:

Thanks for letting us interrogate you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

A writer since I was ten years old, it seemed only natural that I would continue writing as an adult. I started out like most writers submitting short stories to magazines, hoping for that byline and then venturing off into creating children’s book stories for early childhood level. After becoming a publisher, I was surrounded by amazing talented writers and challenged myself to write a novel. My first book, Haunted Echoes was a paranormal mystery and from that book forward, I was hooked. I am in the process of writing my third novel and the fourth is swirling around in my head, getting ready to put pen to paper. 

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

There is nothing like turning an idea into a creative masterpiece. Yes, it is completely worth it to write, publish and promote my books. I cannot imagine not writing.  Since I sit on both sides of the desk as a writer and a publisher, I so get and understand the desires that writers want and expect. Expectations do run high at times and keeping yourself grounded in this writing experience is so important.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

I have always wanted to be a writer since I was ten years old. I didn’t actually start writing seriously until after my children were in middle school. All I really wanted is to get a byline and not necessarily be paid for it. I submitted many short stories for parenting magazines and then switched gears and started writing children’s books.  I can recall my first published piece which means that was my first byline. I received a check for $25.00 and because I was so excited, never cashed it.  I later submitted many children’s stories to what I refer to as the “Big Houses” most of their offices are in  New York, and they filled my mailbox with those dreaded rejection letters.  I later found a self-publishing company online and published two books with them.
I have learned so much in all these years, especially after self-publishing.  With that said, during this process I decided to start my own publishing company and offer the personal touch that writers so deserve. I have learned that you don’t have to be traditionally published to become a successful author as long as you love writing, work hard and get the word out, literally.  It is important to keep yourself grounded and keep your expectations in check at all times. 
Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

I am very fortunate that my family and friends are so supportive with my writing and the writing process. They are amazing sounding boards for when my creative juices are flowing and know when to keep quiet and exit the room when I don’t respond right away to their questions. They know I am in the writing mode and to not bother me. Since I am a night owl, I write when everything is quiet anyway so it is just me and my characters in the room. 

This is for pet lovers.  If you don’t own a pet, skip this question, but do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?

My Abby Girl is a 5 year old Aussie and she herds me to the treat counter no matter what my urgency is, so with that said she rules!  I would not be able to write unless her belly is full.

In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?

Again, since I write at night it really doesn’t  interfere with my family life or my work schedule.  When I write, the television is on softly as background noise and my fingers are flying on the keyboard. 

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

Of course there are amazing blogs out there that are fun to send out messages to fellow writers and readers. There is the infamous Facebook that is great for creating events for my books. I can recall stalking my own event daily just to see how many people were going to come and get a signed copy of my book.

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

I have just hired an amazing book publicist (Maryglenn McCombs) and she is doing a remarkable job sending out press releases and promoting my book, Irish Jewel.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

I would love to share with the world that my press releases went out today on St. Patrick’s Day and I am extremely excited to see the results.

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

I love being creative all the times.   I suppose you can say that I wear many creative hats, and writing is my greatest love. I cannot imagine not writing on a daily basis and wish I had more time to do so..



Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Straight from the Mouth of Marie Bacigalupo, Author of 'Ninth-Month Midnight'

When Marie Bacigalupo was nine, she read Louisa May Alcott’s Eight Cousins and was instantly hooked on fiction. She grew up to teach high school English before focusing exclusively on fiction writing, studying under Gordon Lish at The Center for Fiction, taking classes at the Writers Studio, and attending a number of university-sponsored craft workshops.

Marie won First Prize among 7000 entries in the Writer’s Digest 13th Annual Short-Short Story Competition with her entry, “Excavation.” Her other works have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Journal of Microliterature, The Examined Life Journal, Romance Magazine, and elsewhere. Ninth-Month Midnight is her debut novella.

The author is a native New Yorker who lives and writes in Brooklyn. Visit her at : www.mariebacigalupo.com.

Find out more on Amazon

Questionnaire:

Thanks for letting us interrogate you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

Reading and writing have always been my main passions (cerebrally, that is!). I escaped a lonely childhood by eagerly entering a multitude of fictional worlds, and to this day I keep re-reading my favorites.

I had to work a little harder at writing. After earning an M. A. cum laude (the M.F.A. was not widely offered at the time), I worked as a copywriter for a couple of years. But my dream was to write creatively, and I realized I couldn’t seriously tackle fiction unless I addressed my shortcomings in craft. The fix: I went back to school, so to speak.

I attended The Writers Studio, took a number of workshops at NYU and The New School, studied at the Center for Fiction, and participated in Narrative Magazine and One Story summer programs. This background, along with the publication of my short stories, gave me the confidence to write a book.
         
Ninth-Month Midnight focuses on a woman who, grieving for her dead child, develops a desperate attachment to a male psychic. The first draft was the hardest. Helping me over the rough spots were some words of wisdom that never fail me: Allow yourself to write garbage, said the wise person whose name I can’t remember. In other words, just get the words on paper. Once purged, I searched for kernels of value that I could expand and revise into a finished manuscript.

Here’s the short answer to your question: one of the reasons I wanted to be an author was that fiction allowed me to express myself, to deal creatively with compelling ideas and issues, like the nature of life and the possibility of an after-life. For Ninth-Month Midnight, I asked myself: What if the souls of the dead linger among us for a while? Would we be able to communicate with them on some level?
         
Another idea I wanted to probe involved the inner life of women. I think their strengths are too often unacknowledged, their feelings and judgments too often dismissed, and their spirit too often crushed by socially defined limitations. My book combines the idea of a spirit world with the story of a troubled woman who develops a desperate attachment to a male psychic.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

One obvious perk is the freedom to work when, where, how it suits me, in pj’s or buck naked if the spirit moves me (and . . . ahem . . . no one else is around). Most important, however, is the exhilaration I feel when my work is published and I can see and touch what my creative throes labored into being.

One of the demands of the writing life is the flip side of its freedom. Since there’s no one telling me what to do, I have to discipline myself by developing routines that maximize productivity. 

My daily routine gets me up around 7:00 a.m. If family obligations don’t interfere, I write for a couple of hours in the morning. After a late lunch break, I return to the computer for another hour or two. If the writing goes very well—and this is rare—I’ll write continuously for five hours.

Marketing a book is also demanding, especially since I’m a private person, an introvert really. The necessity of promoting Ninth-Month Midnight and engaging with readers through social media was hard for me in the beginning, as was asking for reviews. I had to shake the feeling that I was imposing on my readers’ time because, let’s face it, the most saleable book in the world won’t sell a single copy if your readers don’t know it exists.

Still, despite its demands, I’d have to say the writing life definitely is all it’s cracked up to be.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

When I had the final draft of Ninth-Month Midnight in hand, I thought about shopping out the manuscript. I weighed the prestige of traditional publication against reports about the difficulty of getting past the gatekeepers. I had also read that traditional publishers considered only agented manuscripts and were providing less and less support in promotion and marketing.

Self-publication, on the other hand, had significant advantages. Besides putting the writer at the helm, it’s relatively quick to pull off. The turn-around between manuscript upload and Amazon epublication is about 24 hours; the CreateSpace paperback is ready in two or three days. That’s a lot sooner than the yearlong wait between contract signing and publication by the Big Five.

Another advantage: self-published authors exercise control over content and pricing; their royalties go as high as 70% of sales (as opposed to about 25% minus the agent’s fee).

The balance tilted in favor of the direct approach: I decided to self-publish through Amazon and its paperback arm, CreateSpace. I accepted the fact that my book would probably never grace the shelves of a retail store without the mojo of a traditional publisher.

It was obvious from the beginning that professionalism would be the key to my credibility as a serious author. I knew I didn’t have certain technical skills to go it alone, so I searched the Internet for people who could assist me and who charged reasonable rates. Ultimately, I hired Polgarus to do the layout for my book and Ellie Augsburger of Creative Digital Studios to create the cover.

Once Ninth-Month Midnight was available for purchase, promotion became critical to sales. To let people know about the book, I established a website and blog, created author pages on Goodreads and Facebook, opened a Twitter account, and did a virtual blog tour. My challenge now is to maintain a media presence that leaves me enough time to write.
         
To authors who ask if I would recommend self-publication, I say, Go for it if you’re organized and multi-talented, or willing to hire people to do what you can’t do yourself. However you take the journey, success depends ultimately on the three p’s: patience, persistence, and professionalism.
Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

For real, my husband is proud of my publications and seems fine with watching a ball game, if he has to, while I’m working.

If my husband questions anything, it’s my reading habits. He wonders how I can keep reading the same books over and over. I tell him I like to hang out with old friends like Elizabeth Bennett, Holden Caulfield, George Smiley, and the list goes on.

Oh, yes, he does occasionally express dismay when he compares the amount of work I do with the amount of profit I make. But then, so do I!

This is for pet lovers.  If you don’t own a pet, skip this question, but do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?

While I don’t live with a pet at the moment, I was once the guardian of a cat named Ariel, whose death after fourteen years pierced my heart.

As I worked, Ariel would lie at the side of the computer while I absentmindedly stroked her back, her purrs lulling me into a creative daydream, her serene presence erasing petty distractions.

Ariel never showed impatience; on the contrary, her stillness was unflappable as long as I was working. She was a boon, never an impediment, to my writing life.

This is for plant lovers.  If you don’t own a plant, skip this question, but if you do, are they actually still alive?

I was born and bred in New York City, so plants haven’t been a big part of my life. Be it noted, however, that the poinsettia plant I bought before Christmas is still thriving, and I think know why. Like my writing life, I integrate watering the gorgeous red blooms into a daily routine: I boot up my computer, then a swig of Evian for me and a swig for the pretty plant.

In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?

Routine. Routine. Routine. My family knew when I was writing and didn’t disturb me. I didn’t turn off the phone because I feared an emergency. Instead, I let someone else pick it up or excused myself and, when appropriate, promised to call back later.

As for dinner, my husband is the cook in our family (I shrewdly burned one too many dinners), so there’s never an argument about mealtimes in our house.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

I needed to change an ISBN on the epub version of my book. I discovered the error at the same time as the formatter’s wife took ill and had to go to the hospital. The formatter was, understandably, distraught. I couldn’t persuade him to make a change that would have taken two or three minutes, and I couldn’t wait for his wife to recover because I wanted the epub and mobi versions to appear simultaneously. 

I considered using Calibre and making the change myself, but I didn’t know the program and was sure I’d bungle the effort. I wanted the book to look professional.

In desperation, I searched the Internet, and though I can’t retrace my route today, I found a young guy who took care of the problem for $15, but by then I had decided to forgo the epub version.

P.S. The formatter got back to me with the correction after the book was published.

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

Most, I think, are worthwhile.

For sheer audience mass, Facebook serves writers well. I like Goodreads because it’s dedicated to books and authors although it’s so feature-rich, it can be intimidating.

I like Twitter, too, and should use it more, but sometimes the 140-character limit deters me. Mark Twain, who said, “I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead,” knew what I’m talking about.

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

To make sales happen, I started by writing the best book I could. Then I worked with an illustrator to produce the best cover, a critical promotional tool. I hired a professional to do the formatting and another to create my website.

After the book was published, I tried to drum up interest through social media. Later, I did a short-term price reduction through Amazon to encourage sales.

I also tried to make it easy for readers to purchase my book by offering it through three outlets: Amazon, Goodreads, and my website (www.mariebacigalupo.com).

So how are my sales? Don’t ask!

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

Hmmm. Is that a scream of joy or frustration? I screamed for joy when my book finally came out. I screamed in frustration when the writing was going poorly, when I couldn’t get the dialogue right, when the structure wasn’t working, when the Are you kidding? voice sounded inside my head, as in,  “Are you kidding, taking yourself seriously?”

Writing is hard work. From the outside, it might look easy, but, in fact, it’s a struggle to align words with ideas, forge credible characters, and shape engaging plots. To those onlookers who say, I can do that, I want to scream, Prove it! Sit down day after day, month after month gestating a novel, and don’t stop till the baby is born. You may succeed in producing a book, but I guarantee you’ll never again call it easy.

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

I love generating situations in which recognizable people, people like us, feel joy and pain, face surmountable and insurmountable problems, do good and evil.

I love the fact that readers take pleasure in the company of characters I created, that they respond to their plights with real emotion.

I love populating a reader’s imagination with worlds that did not exist before I put pen to paper or, rather, fingers to computer. It’s magical, a little like playing God.