Monday, May 31, 2010

June Releases from Damnation Books

Damnation Books Publishing Company is pleased to announce the arrival of four novels, five novellas and four short stories. Damnation Books strives to provide quality e-books at an affordable price. Readers can enjoy Darn Good Dark Fiction in eBook, digital and print formats.

The following is a list of fiction coming out in June 2010.

The Grace of God, a novel by Sam Cross, A Time for Demons, Book 1 Before the End Series, a novel by Kathryn Meyer Griffith, Zuphreen, a horror novel by Sue Halfwerk and Genesis of the Hunter by Joshua Martyr.

Dead of Night, a novella by C.M. Saunders, Desiree by Ken Goldman, Painter's Green by Cyrus Wraith Walker, Boundless Book 3 of Alyce Kerr, Faith Healer Series by Yolanda Sfetsos and A Hell of a Job by Mike McCarty.

Short Stories coming out in June include, Midnights Drearier by Joe Nazare, Silverman’s Game by Matt Moore , Vasilov's Demon by Jeff Goddin and A Free Lunch by Matt Snow.

A virtual bookstore loaded with good reads, is open 24/7 at

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Interview with author Linda Ballou

Today, my guest is author Linda Ballou. Ms. Ballou’s book, Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawai’i is available through Star Publishing. Linda has agreed to discuss her writing life and answer a few questions.

1) Tell me a little about your book.

Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawai’i- Her Epic Journey is fabled history couched in magical realism set in primal Hawaii. Precocious Wai-nani’s character is inspired by the powerful personage of Ka’ahumanu, the favorite wife of Kamehameha the Great. This was no small accomplishment as he had thirty-one wives. Kamehameha fulfilled the prophecy at the time of his birth to unite the Islands and gave Hawaii a golden age. Upon his death, he bestowed rank upon Ka’ahumanu that made her the most powerful woman in old Hawaii. She used that power put an end to the 2000-year-old Polynesian “kapu system” that called for harsh penalties for law breakers and human sacrifice to the gods.

Wai-nani’s mythological journey that is woven throughout the actual historical events that led to Kamehameha’s rise to power is the bigger story.

2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?

While I was living on the north shore of Kauai a special issue in the local paper about Captain James Cook caught my attention. The fact that Captain Cook was killed by the Hawaiians in 1779 intrigued me. I wanted to know why and became curious about what was happening in the Islands when Cook arrived. Most accounts depict the Hawaiians as blood- thirsty savages who ganged up on the world’s greatest explorer. I learned this was not an accurate picture. It looked like justifiable homicide to me and that the Hawaiians had gotten a bum rap. I wanted to tell the story from the Hawaiian point of view. In my research I ran into Ka’ahumanu, a childless royal, who faced down death-dealing priests and the common beliefs of her day. She struck me as a brave figure in history that had been over-looked.

3) Are you a full-time writer, or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

I have been writing all my adult life, but have incorporated my writing life into the full time job of selling real estate. Real estate is demanding, but it does afford me more personal freedom than a nine-to-five job. When I am working on a project, be it a novel, travel essay or article, I read the night before writing on a given subject and enlist my subconscious to provide me with ideas and answers to writing questions. I rise early and re-read what I have written before and think about what I am attempting to do and allow the night time thoughts to filter through my mind. The results are often exciting and surprising. Then I go immediately to the keyboard. I work on the given project for the first two hours of the day before the phone starts ringing. This schedule has allowed me to write two novels a screenplay, numerous travel articles and essays and a few short stories.

4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

When I was thirteen, I was uprooted from my friends and familiar surroundings and taken to Alaska by my pioneering parents who had a dream of homesteading. Even though I was taken in by the beauty of Alaska, this shift was a shock to my system that made me grow inward. I began reading books that stimulated thoughts and ideas that don’t normally come to people until they are older. I admired writers like Simone de Beauvoir, of The Second Sex fame and subscribed to Ayn Rand’s newsletter. Both of these authors advocated self-actualization as a goal for women. I didn’t really think I could be a writer until I graduated with a degree in English Literature. That is when I decided to take a year off in Hawai’i to rest from the strain of putting myself through college and to determine if I was cut out for the writer’s life.

5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?

Bare minimum, Wai-nani readers will come away with a better understanding of the Hawaiian point of view and a greater sensitivity to the nuances of the culture. They will be able to decide whether my heroine should be revered as the “Mother of the People”, or whether she should be remembered as the “flaw that brought down the chiefdom.” I have tried to capture the poetry, pageantry and sensual beauty of the Islands as well as the deeply spiritual aspects of the Hawaiian people. Hopefully, the reader will feel that they have been on an epic journey in a time and place that they can’t get to any other way.

6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?

Presently, I prefer travel essays or articles. Both are more easily incorporated into a busy working day than a novel. Right now I need to take advantage of the better real estate market in Southern California. I also need to focus my energies on marketing my new book, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales, released May 2010!” This is a collection of essays accumulated over the last tens years, or so, reflecting upon what I received from my various outdoor-travel adventures.

7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?

Writing is not tough for me. It is a form of self expression that allows me to join the choir of creativity and helps me to organize my thoughts. I think the devil is in the details and the exacting qualities needed for professional presentation could be the most difficult part of writing for me. I have overcome my shortfall by developing a relationship with, Barbara Milbourn, my personal editor. Without her, I simply could not have gotten my two books out my drawer and into the hearts and minds of readers.

8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.

Part of my research was visiting the places I’d read about in an attempt to absorb the ancient spiritual power of the Islands and to add a palpable physicality to my story. I spent several nights in Waipio Valley where much of the story takes place. I hiked into the depths of the valley and climbed up the sheer rock holding onto a vine rope, placing my feet into the indentations made by past generations. There is a love scene in the book set in the pool lined with ferns I was privileged to know first hand. Many of the scenes described in the book were taken from actual experiences I had in the Islands. So many, they are too numerous to mention. This book is the culmination of a 30-year love affair with the Islands that became a beautiful obsession for me.

9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?

I identified with Ka’ahumanu’s spirit of adventure and rebellion. She asked the “why” questions. During the sixties and seventies women were breaking out. I am athletic, outdoorsy, independent woman childless by choice. She was childless, not by choice, but she found other meaning in her life. She questioned authority and the established ways of her time.

She insisted on having sexual freedom. She stood shoulder to shoulder with her warrior husband and was a source of strength for him. She was strong brave, athletic, sensuous and deeply spiritual. In short, I saw her as the forerunner of the modern woman.

I learned after writing my first draft and sharing it with the Hawaiian scholar that even though she was loved by the common people, she was a controversial figure. She was perceived to be a threat to the establishment by male power figures. I admired her brave stance against them.

10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?

Extensive reading of the oldest chronicles available made me want to go the places described. I visited the Islands many times over the years to fill in gaps in my story. I visited the Bishop Museum on Oahu which is a wonderful source for the serious student of Hawaiian history. I paid a Hawaiian scholar to read my manuscript as a technical advisor to encourage authenticity in my rendering of the “people of old.” I read the journals of Captain James Cook, seaman Ledyard and Lt. King to learn more about how and why the famous navigator was killed by the Hawaiians. Since Wai-nani’s best friend is a dolphin, I studied dolphin behavior so Wai-nani’s interaction with a sea mammal was realistic. Since Wai-nani spends half of her time in the ocean, I read books that allowed me to get into the mindset of the long distance swimmer. In short, it was a sacred mission for me over a twenty year period.

11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?

I am not interested in writing graphic sex scenes. I am more concerned with the emotions that surround human interactions be they violent, highly sexual or tender. In the scene where Makaha comes back from warring with his enemy Pano, he takes Wai-nani in a rough way against her will. Her passion is ignited by his explosive masculinity. I was trying to illustrate how brutality engenders brutality as well as demonstrate how human sexuality is a physical expression that can separate us from our own free will and cloud our emotions with remorse.

12) What about your book makes it special?

Wai-nani speaks directly to the reader. She is a new voice from old Hawai`i not a scholar looking back. No one else has attempted this. Frankly, if I’d known how difficult it would be I don’t’ know if I would have attempted it myself. Not using modern words that would jar the reader into the 21st century to describe events and places became a real challenge. Deciphering the contradictory accounts of a 200-year-old oral tradition was a daunting responsibility. Weaving Wai-nani’s mythological journey throughout the actual events that led to Kamehameha’s (Mekaha’s) rise in a believable way was a daunting task. Removing the prism of Western beliefs and remaining true to the culture without censor was the goal that remained uppermost in my mind. The result is a book that readers tell me is like no other they have ever read and a thrilling ride.

13) Do you have a marketing plan?

I am working on a map “Walking in the Footsteps of the Ancestors” that takes readers to the places I describe in the book. Many of them are easily accessed and can be enjoyed today by the casual visitor. For example, the Place of Refuge on the Big Island is a beautifully restored village on a cove where dolphin pods come to rest after a night of fishing. The snorkeling here is excellent. Reading Wai-nani will greatly enhance the stay of guests on the Islands. It will allow them to know the significance of the many historical sites scattered throughout the Islands that are often unmarked and unheralded. I hope to find a sponsor who will agree my book and accompanying map is powerful way to promote the Islands.

The internet offers the most resources for the independent author. I try to make use of all that is available, but I admit the task is too much for one person. I am looking for a virtual assistant to aid me in this process. If you know someone who is accomplished at social networking; can do “lite webmastering”; knows how to post blogs; can create and circulate press releases; has an intimate working knowledge of various book marketing sites, and wants a part time job assisting an author who wants to write more not less, be sure and let me know.

14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?

My website is the best place. There is an About Linda page. On Wai-nani’s media page there are radio interviews, a first chapter and reviews. If you purchase my books on my site you will enjoy free shipping. There are numerous reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and all major online distribution sites. Wai-nani is also on Amazon’s Kindle Reader and will soon be available on the IPAD.

15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?

If they go to my home page they will find a free download “How to Make Travel Writing Work for You.” It provides writers with the fast track to getting free trips for their labors.

A novel is a much more challenging proposition that requires a huge chunk of uninterrupted time and a major commitment. Historical fiction is tough because you have to be very careful in your research and take pains not to offend living descendants of the people you are fictionalizing. However, once you have risen to this challenge the reward is a timeless work that will not be outdated in a year. Writing Wai-nani was by far the most difficult thing I have ever done, but completing her epic journey remains my proudest achievement.

Linda, thank you for being my guest today. It was a pleasure getting to know more about you and your work.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Review of Wai-Nani, High Chiefessof Hawaii

WAI-NANI, High Chiefess of Hawai’i
By: Linda Ballou
Published by Star Publish

This review is based on a review copy provided by Linda Ballou in exchange for review, all reviews being my own opinion without guarantee or assumption of liking or disliking.

WAI-NANI, High Chiefess of Hawai’i is a beautiful tale filled with evocative images of a Hawai’i of long-ago. Based on real people, Ms. Ballou has carefully crafted a tale describing how one woman defied the traditions of her people and helped bring the Hawaiian natives, particularly the women, into the modern world.

Ms. Ballou based her character on the Hawaiian chiefess, Ka’ahumanu, who lived during the 1700s. She was born fifteen years prior to the arrival of the British Navy’s Captain Cook. As a young girl, she became the favorite wife of Kamehameha, a fierce warrior chief.

Using history as a jumping point, Ms. Ballou introduces the reader to Wai-nani whose fictional life follows that of Ka’ahumanu. Wai-nani leaves her family in search of freedom and adventure soon after she is publicly humiliated for riding the waves wearing her brother’s clothing. At one with the water, Wai-nani is befriended by a dolphin family who become her life-long companions. With the aid of the dolphins, she is escapes to an island where she meets her soul-mate, Makaha who is on a spiritual quest. Unknown to her, Makaha is destined to rule over all of Hawaii. In their time alone, they discover love and join together as man and wife.

Makaha is called back to his own island, leaving Wai-nani alone and confused. She is guided back to health by Makaha’s faithful friend. Soon, she follows her husband, only to find she will be tested before their marriage is sanctified. While Makaha accepts her before his people, until she produces an heir, her place at his side is in jeopardy. When she cannot provide the needed heir, Makaha takes a second wife, Huali, a royal person in her own right. Huali provides Makaha with a son, leaving Wai-nani to find her own place in Hawaiian society. This becomes her story, her trials and tribulations, her emotional and physical journey.

Ms. Ballou’s creative use of words allows the reader to experience historical Hawai’i through the eyes of Wai-nani. Ms. Ballou’s research into the Hawaiian culture is vast, and she brings this world to life through descriptive passages and the use of many Hawaiian words. She includes a glossary of the common words at the end of the story.

As I read the story, I felt transported to a land of pungent flowers and three-finger poi. I enjoyed this tale and hope someday I can travel to Hawai’i to see this beautiful land for myself.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review 27 Things to Feng Shui Your Home

27 Things To Feng Shui Your Home
By: Tisha Morris
Published by: Turner Publishing Company
ISBN: 978-1-59652-567-2

This review is based on a review copy provided by Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services in exchange for review, all reviews being my own opinion without guarantee or assumption of liking or disliking.

In 27 Things to Feng Shui Your Home, author, Tisha Morris, takes the reader on a step-by-step journey to finding peace and harmony on a daily basis.

A quick look at the Table of Contents shows most steps involve cleaning clutter. For example, there are chapters on cleaning your closet, your basement, and your hallways and corridors. Simple tasks like changing your wall art or painting a room or a doorway can enhance your sense of tranquility.

Ms. Morris begins her book with an introduction and a Chinese proverb: “If you want to change your life, move 27 things in your home.” Following this proverb, she shows you how to rid your life of clutter both physically and spiritually. According to Ms. Morris, it is almost impossible to “properly feng shui a house…until the clutter has been cleared.”

This is an excellent resource for the person looking to make a positive life change. I recall a time when a good friend of mine had an interior decorator come to her home. My friend had been unhappy and needed a change. The decorator was schooled in the art of feng shui and suggested moving some furniture and painting one wall. The difference in my friend’s life was astounding. Up to that time, she had been unable to allow herself a much-needed divorce. By clearing the clutter and giving her wall a new coat of paint, my friend was also able to give herself permission to let go of her husband.

Ms. Morris points out in her book that when you eliminate clutter, you are also shifting energy at a much deeper level. By getting rid of something old, you are allowing yourself to let something new into your life. One thing she suggests is creating a “vision board.” She walks you through the steps of taking a large poster board and slowly adding the things you desire. By placing the completed board in a prominent place, it works on your subconscious. You may be pleasantly surprised by the positive things which come into your life as a result.

In addition to physical space clearing, with feng shui, it’s also important to clear the negative energy from a room. According to Ms. Morris, the simple task of burning a smudge stick (mostly made from sage and available in natural food stores) around the room will help to dissipate the negative energy which tends to gather in corners and behind furniture.

Ms. Morris completes her list of things with a simple plan to integrate feng shui into your own life. The three most important things to remember are “1. Work in baby steps. 2. Be present. 3. Have an intention.” While I have long appreciated the benefits of meditation and yoga, I plan to try several of her suggestions to ensure harmony in my own home.

Be sure to follow Ms. Morris blog tour at the following blogs:

May 21st
• Chelle Cordero's Promo Page - Chelle Cordero
Book Review

May 22nd
• Julie Achterhoff's Blog
What does the movie Avatar have in common with Feng Shui?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Interview with author Syeda Mleeha Shah

Today my guest is Syeda Mleeha Shah. Ms. Shah has agreed to discuss her writing.

1. Please tell me how long you've been writing, and why you decided to become a writer.

Writing and arts are two of my passions, however, the children have always been my commitment. I have been writing poetry for as long as I can remember. My focus when writing poetry has always been inspirational topics such as peace, faith, morality or cultural diversity. I believe that writing is a source of self expression just as art is. I write mostly to share my very own sense of self expression and life experiences with young children in a form of creative and learning material.

2. Are you a full-time writer or a part-time writer, and how do you organize your writing time?

I'm a part-time children's writer and artist and a full-time business owner. I run an early childhood education and development program ( in Virginia. It’s very important to me to find time to write in order to share my inspirations with young children and make a difference in their lives. Most of my quick notes are taken during the day when I am around children as they bring me inspiration along with tons of ideas to write about. The editing is done during the weekends or at night.

2. What influences your writing?

My motivation to write is the presentation of self expression. What influences my self expression are the inspirational concepts such as peace, faith, cultures, nature, unity of the people and, the integration of the cultures and beliefs.

3. Is this your first published work? What other types of writing have you done?

Peace In My World is my first book created for young children. However, I will continue to write a series of peace books following this title. I have been creating arts for young children since 2009 which was first published by World Art Group in 2010, and is available for purchase online.

4. Why did you choose to write a children's story?

As I mentioned above, one of the reasons why I wanted to write is because of my desire to make a difference in the lives of young children. I believe that values and morality can be instilled within the nations if started from the children. My concentration when writing for young children is world peace, I believe that if this concept can be communicated with children now it may bring us a peaceful future tomorrow.

5. What was the process of creating this book from the first idea to the final published book?

Peace In My World is a picture book created for young children that engages them into the exploration of the meaning of peace and helps them learn to appreciate their environment. The concept of peace and environmental awareness have been around since mankind came into existence. Every now and then we are sent a reminder of this precious asset that we all carry somewhere within us.

There is no particular process or dates to describe but that I simply found a new and creative way of sharing existing concept of world peace and environmental awareness with children through Peace In My World.

For more information please view;

6. What are your thoughts on traditional versus self-publishing?

Traditional publishing is the best choice for the children’s authors if given an opportunity and freedom to create materials that reflect the complete sense of self expression of the author. The self publishing is of course the alternative to the traditional publishing and is the second best choice as long as the author is willing to take the challenge of creating materials that will have exceptional value in the children’s market.

7. What is your marketing strategy?

My marketing strategy is to get the message across not only on national level but also within the international children’s book market. This process may take time; however, the topic for this book is universal and involves the entire nation in the process of promoting this title. I have been an active community member and feel fortunate to be providing services to the families with young children within my community through my business of early childhood education and development program. This program and the members involved have brought me a strong support for my book and art.

Also, I am considering some of these marketing and promotional events closer to the release date; Author Book Signings, press releases, Radio & Television Interviews, Book Reviews, Christian Industry Advertising, Trade shows, Internet Advertising, Catalogs, Speaking Engagements etc.

8. What are your thoughts about children's writers needing an agent or not needing one?

I think it depends greatly on how your proposal has been crafted. However, having an agent can expedite the process of manuscript submission and acceptance. Also considering the trends of this industry of writing and publishing you would rather have an agent especially if traditional publishers are your choice.

9. Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

My blog:
My Portfolio:
Join Me: ,,,,

10. Do you have any tips for writers who are new to children's literature?

For the new authors:
“Writing for young children is one of the most significant life changing tools that we can use in order to enhance the lives of young children. So create and produce more materials that may help young children make healthy and positive decisions later in life.”

Thank you, Syeda, for sharing your thoughts and ideas about children’s writing today. It’s been a pleasure learning more about your work.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Review Peace In My World

Peace in My World
By: Syeda Mleeha Shah
Illustrated by: Jason Hutton
Published by: Tate Publishing Enterprises
ISBN: 978-1-61663-009-6

This review is based on a review copy provided by Syeda M. Shah in exchange for review, all reviews being my own opinion without guarantee or assumption of liking or disliking.

Peace in My World is a delightful story for young children told in rhyme. It tells of a place where peace flourishes. Each page is accompanied by full color illustrations depicting children from all over the world in traditional costumes. Each child, no matter, his or her homeland, enjoys the same pleasures whether it’s rain puddles to jump in, or rivers to sit by.

Ms. Shah has crafted a clever story for children aimed to instill in them an understanding of world peace. This concept is one which is universal and important for children to grasp at an early age. The poetry contains simple language which is easy for children to enjoy, yet the repetition of the line “I am in peace from head to toe,” reinforces the idea on every page.

Following the story, Ms. Shah gives children some things to think about the word “peace” and what the letters mean. Also included are pages devoted to some of the countries of the world. There is a picture of the country’s flag, the name of its capital, the language used, and the word for peace. Children will learn about Pakistan, Egypt, the United States, China, and Ethiopia.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Interview with author L.J. Holmes

Today, my guest is author, Lin Holmes, writing as L. J. Holmes. Her ebook, Santa is a Lady, will be published by Muse It Up Publishing in December, 2010. (

1) Tell me a little about your book.

Santa is a Lady is about Angie, a young woman seriously injured in car accident right after 9/11 who is finally able to walk with just a cane. Her best friend Beck, owns a confectionary store and five days before Christmas her Santa is arrested for child pornography. Beck has to scramble to find another Santa, but all professional Santas are working elsewhere. Desperate she begs her friend Angie to be a pal and step in. Cameron Drayton has finally gained custody of his half Iraqi daughter, and wants to give her the perfect first American Christmas. Stepping into Beck’s confectionary store, Cam expects to give his baby the perfect “Tell Santa What you Want” experience, but Fate has something more in store for Cam, his daughter, and Santa Angie.

2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?

Right before Christmas 2009 one of the men in my area who’s been a career Santa was arrested for having child porn on his computer. This story came about because of a question that popped into my mind. What would a store owner do if its Santa was the one arrested and so close to the big day? How would the store owner replace Santa during the crunch time?

3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

I write when my muse wrestles me out of bed, forces me to grab pen and paper and commit what my muse is showing me into concrete form. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on your point of view, my muse is proving its got a lot to say, so sleep is something I am waving at from time to time.

4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

I loved listening to my Grandmother and these two lovely octogenarians who lived two houses down from me when I was about seven. The tales they told about their lives enchanted me so much I just wanted to enchant others. I started with my dog, a beautiful German Shepherd when I was about 13. She’d join me half way down our two acre property, stretch out as my warm, happy pillow, and listen to me tell her tales about the clouds drifting by above us.

5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?

That miracles happen all the time, and when you least expect them.

6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?

This is a Holiday romance done in modern times, but I also love to play with Ancient Greece, Egypt, Rome, and Pompeii via Time Travel stories. I have a paranormal story forming in the background starring a half-human-half-Leprechaun, but all of them are, at their core, romances. As for what do I prefer…cats! I love adding cats with attitude to some of the stories because I fashion them using my own two cats. It’s an extra bonus having my kitties co-starring where I can add them.

7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?

Self-doubt is the hardest element for me. I can’t gauge the effectiveness of my own writing. Is it funny where I want it to be funny? Does the heroine’s pains, doubts, and struggles come through as I want them to? I never get over that, so I ask my daughter, sister, nieces and other beleaguered family and friends that I can lasso in when they aren’t looking, to please, please, please read it for me and tell me what you think!

8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.

As mentioned in #1, one of our local Santas was arrested in 2009…also my brother was a Lieutenant Colonel with the Army Corps of Engineers who served quite heroically in Iraq, so I borrowed his thunder a little in creating my hero. Thanks Eric, love you.

9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?

She’s a great deal like me. I was involved in a serious car accident eleven days after 9/11. Unlike Angie, though, I haven’t found my Cam—yet!

10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?

I scoured through tons of Christmas catalogues for decoration descriptions to use for this story. I also viewed many Christmas Wonderlands so I’d have a vast treasure trove of Christmas d├ęcor to draw from.

11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?

Yes to the violence. I don’t do violence stories at all. It depends on the type of sex. I avoid writing about the more non-traditional sexual practices. My reasons are private. Some day I may change and be more willing to delve into the darker aspects of the world, but probably not.

12) What about your book makes it special?

Besides it being my first ever contracted book? It’s a genuine feel-good Christmas tale, and the first in a three-part series under its series banner CHRISTMAS MIRACLES.

13) What is your marketing plan?

I’m in touch with the people at my County Library system. I’m also advertising on my blog, Facebook page, and will have my family round the country giving out bookmarks with my book cover and all pertinent information on how to buy it when it is closer to its release date. We have several free newspapers here that deliver to the entire State in your mailbox. I ride Para-transit and am enlisting all the drivers to also hand out the bookmarks, talk to their friends and pass the word around. I will be placing flyers at all the grocery stores in the area as well.

14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?

My blog would be the best place since that is where I do most of my sounding off about many things. There’s a short story…a really short story…like two paragraphs with graphics…posted there on a previous posting about Doug a fire hydrant who aspires to be a Fire Dog. I’ll be adding other short stories…ones too short for contracting, but powerful in their own way, to my blog throughout the upcoming summer, that will tell you all a lot about who I am. My daughter is Kat Holmes, herself a published author, and she also blogs about me. My blog address is : My daughter’s is:

15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?

Check the publishers for their submission requirements and genres they are currently accepting from new authors, each one is different. Other than that, write, write, write and do it with joy. Never give up on your dream, no matter how long it takes. It has taken me ten years from my first submission…but it was well worth the time! Believe in yourself and one day, today, next week, next year, or like me, ten years form now, your dream will come true.

Lin, thank you for being my guest today and sharing a bit about your writing life.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Excerpt of Blood Soup by Kelly A. Harmon

Today, Kelly A. Harmon would like to share an excerpt of her book, Blood Soup. This novel is available from Eternal Press at

“Do you want to learn about your sister?” King Theodicar asked.
“Go on.”
“Salvagia had a set of runes, and she cast them over and over and over as Pia’s pregnancy advanced. Always, the answer was the same: ‘A girl child must rule or the kingdom will fall to ruin.’”
“Do you believe that, Father?”
“Your mother did. And so did Salvagia. They came from Omero, where the eldest born ruled, not just the eldest male. They believed your sister should rule.”
“But, did you believe?”
“I think your mother wasn’t meant to bear children. She was little and frail. Her labor arrived early—almost too early for you to survive. Your sister was born first. She was tiny, and just as delicate as your mother. Pia died the moment she was born, without even seeing her. Salvagia cut the girl’s cord and handed her to me. Then your mother’s belly contracted, and we realized there was another babe: you.”
“So, you killed my sister so she wouldn’t take the throne.”
“It wasn’t like that at the time.” Anguish washed across Theodicar’s face. “The girl was
frail, but you were worse. Salvagia could only save one of you. She was certain you wouldn’t last through the night, and she tried to convince me that your weakness fulfilled the prophecy. I wouldn’t listen to her. I told her to sacrifice the girl so you could live.”
“The girl, the girl, the girl. Has my sister a name?”
“Her life was given for yours before she was named. I’d asked Salvagia to remove the body afterward, so there would be no question about who would rule after me.” He looked down at his feet. “I’m fairly certain Salvagia named her, though she never told me so.”
“How did my sister save me?”
“Her blood, Amal. You drank of her blood to strengthen your own.”
Amalric’s hand tightened on the glass in his lap. He swallowed hard, imagining he could taste the tinny flavor of blood on his tongue. It was worse than he first thought: not only was he winner by default, but he was beast—some variation of an incestuous cannibal—alive only because he drank his sister’s blood.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Interview with author Kelly A. Harmon

Today, my guest is Eternal Press author, Kelly A. Harmon. Kelly's latest novel is Blood Soup. (This novel is available from Eternal Press at Kelly has agreed to discuss her writing.

1)Tell me a little about your book.

Blood Soup is a story about murder, betrayal and comeuppance.

The story opens with a heavily pregnant Queen Piacenza. Her husband, King Theodicar naturally hopes for a male heir. The Queen is from Omera, where the first born rules, no matter the sex of the child. This causes no end of friction between them.

The Queen’s nursemaid, Salvagia, casts runes about the birth. Over and over, they yield the same message: “A girl child must rule or the kingdom will fall to ruin.” The women are convinced the baby will be a girl.

When the queen finally gives birth, the nurse and the king are equally surprised, and Theodicar is faced with a terrible choice. His decision will determine the fate of his kingdom. Will he choose wisely, or will he doom Borgund to ruin?

2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?

This is the first story I wrote that didn’t come from a spark of an idea. A friend asked me to participate in the 3-day novel contest which was approaching rapidly…so I needed to come up with something fast.

I usually have tons of ideas for stories, but I didn’t want to use one up on something I was “only” going to be working on for three days…so Blood Soup was born out of method:

I decided I’d write something in a medieval time period…I decided I wanted an old crone figure who was both an herbalist and a “practitioner of magic,” I decided there needed to be a prophecy. I fit the pieces together, pruning out some ideas which would have required a lot more writing, finally coming up with a tale I thought could be told in about 20,000 words.

The blood theme running through the book came later, as I was writing.

3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

I work full time to support my writing habit! Unfortunately, that means I don’t have a lot of free time to write. I write in the evening every night and as much as I can on the weekends. Last year the members of my critique group went away for a few days on a writing retreat. We enjoyed such success that we plan to do annually. Infrequently, I’ll take a day off work and spend it writing.

4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer...I don’t remember ever wanting to be anything else.

5) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?

I write (mostly) fantasy and science fiction.

Fantasy I like for the escapism…I like being transported to a different time and world. There’s something appealing to me about the possibility of magic and the likelihood of meeting some fantastic creature, like a dragon or satyr. Fantasy is like bedtime stories for adults.

Science Fiction appeals to my curiosity. It’s about extremes...I enjoy playing the “what if” game, taking a situation and extrapolating it to the nth degree.

6) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?

Because I work full time, I feel like I never have enough time to get anything done. So, finding time to write is tough. My mind is looking for large chunks of time at a clip…why should I boot up the computer if I’ve only got 15 minutes? But I’m coming to think that this is nothing but inertia that I need to get past. I’m training myself to get used to the idea that I only need a few moments to write at a time…if I can write a few paragraphs while dinner is cooking, or while I’m sitting at a stoplight, I’ve accomplished more than if I did nothing at all.

7) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?

I created the world of Borgund, so there wasn’t much research that needed to be done. Names confound me, however, so I researched old German names for the Borgunds and old Italian and Latin names for the Omerans.

8) Where can people learn more about you and your work?

There’s info on my Website. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, drop me an email.

I’ve also got an Amazon author page which lists most of my stories and anthologies my work appears in.

9) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?

I think all writers should belong to a critique group, even experienced writers…it’s always good to have someone to bounce ideas off of or read a story for clarity. I believe a critique group sharpens skills more than any organization can.

Organizations can help with networking, job placement, leads, etc., but some, like SFWA, won’t let you join until you have qualifying sales. This can be a Catch-22 for writers just starting out.

Look at local, regional or state-wide writing associations. Before joining up, check out a few meetings to see if it meets expectations or desires. Don’t join for the sake of joining.

For women who write speculative fiction, I always recommend Broad Universe. There are opportunities for writers of all levels and interests in BU. The message boards alone are worth the dues.

Advice? Don’t go it alone. Writing is inherently solitary, but the business of it doesn’t have to be. Network, make friendships, and go to conventions. Opportunity will come knocking.

Kelly, thanks for sharing your writing life. Tomorrow, I'll share an excerpt from Blood Soup, so be sure to stop back again.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Meet Author Krista Ball

Today my guest is Krista Ball, one of the authors at MuseItUp Publishing. Krista’s book, Harvest Moon is scheduled for release December, 2010.

1) Krista, Tell me a little about your book.

Harvest Moon is about Dancing Cat, a young woman who was cursed by her tribe. In a moment of desperation, she seeks council from the powerful medicine pouch of her people. It angers an ancestor and Dancing Cat’s life changes, including her body. It’s all downhill from there. Or, at least she thinks it is.

2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?

Two unrelated events. There was an anthology call out for stories looking for gender-bending situations. Then, at the same time, I was working at a homeless agency and had a wonderful relationship with a Cree man who would come by and help mentor other First Nations peoples. We hit it off and he told me traditional stories and tales. Somehow, the two aspects came together.

The story became so much more complex than something that could be covered in a couple thousand words. That’s the great thing about e-books. Writers can once again find homes for their awkward length stories that are too long for magazines and too short for print books.

3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

I consider myself a full-time writer, though I do have a part-time, non-writing job that allows me to consistently pay my bills. For the longest time, I had treated writing as something you do when you have the time. I never seemed to have the time. I decided that it was time to write or stop talking about it. I turned writing into my part-time job.

I was horribly out of practice and quite bad at it, to be honest. But I had always wanted to be a commercial writer, someone who made money off their work. So, I kept at it and learned. In the last two years, it’s been a full-throttle push. I was writing full-time, even when I was working full-time. In January, I left my job so that I could take a part-time position and concentrate on my writing, while having a personal life. It’s been great.

4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

I was twelve and my parents bought me a typewriter to do my homework. Instead, I sat down and wrote a 23-page story. I never looked back.

5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?

I want people to be entertained. There are people who like to be challenged in their entertainment, be it books or movies or music. For me, I want to sink into something that lets me escape the work and thinking about it for a few hours. So, my writing reflects that own need of mine.

6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?

Fantasy and science fiction. I’ve dabbled a bit with some literary short stories, but my love is the speculative world. I used to only like space operas and military science fiction during my angst teenage years and admittedly, that’s still a love of mine. I’m picky about what I read and part of the reason I started writing in those genres was because I figured others would also be picky like me and would read my work. If nothing else, I’m writing what I enjoy.

7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?

Dealing with and accepting burn out. In our day-to-day jobs, we’re allowed to get burned out. We’ve all had that day where we walk into work, look around, and march into our boss’ office and break into tears or go into a fit of rage over the tiniest thing. Writing is no different. Sometimes, writers confuse “writer’s block” and burn out. If you have been producing a lot over a long period and taking huge chunks of your life to do it, sometimes you need a break. I do that every so often. I set aside a timeframe where I’m off writing. Or, at least off a particular project. It helps a lot.

8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.

Not really. I simply wanted to present a First Nations story in a positive manner.

9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?

Ha! We are polar opposites. She’s nice, for one thing!

10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?

Many of the aboriginal people I spoke with on a daily basis at my job told me stories and traditions. They helped me with many of the tiny details so that the world of Dancing Cat would come alive.

11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?

Harvest Moon doesn’t contain either, but I have written them for other works. In my unpublished novel, Tranquility’s Blaze, I had a few violent scenes and a violent rape scene. It was difficult writing some of them at times. I sometimes feel like my mother is looking over my shoulder, tsk-tsking at me. However, I sit back and asked (like I do with all of my scenes), “Is this scene needed?” If the answer is yes, I soldier through.

…And make sure to warn my mother not to read that story or novel.

12) What about your book makes it special?

It represents a tiny taste of the stories and traditions that I was told over endless cups of coffee at the inner city agency I worked at. While this is my own story, I hope that it is told the same way that they told me their stories.

13) What is your marketing plan?

I have a core group of fans online which I plan to get the word out to. But also, I’m hoping to generate some local interest within the GLBT community where I live as well.

14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?

My website – – is the central source of all things me. I put up monthly news on the front page of the website and my blog is active. I also have started an Author’s Clinic on my blog, where I post about being a new author.

15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?

Join a critiquing group, either in person or online. It really helps having another set of eyes on your work. It can sting having five people saying that they don’t like your main character, but it’s better to hear it from them as opposed to the agent or publisher of your dreams.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sharing an article from Penny C. Sansevieri

Today, I'd like to share an article from Penny C. Sansevieri. Ms.Sansevieri is the editor of THE BOOK MARKETING EXPERT NEWSLETTER

Why (Some) Authors Fail
Sorry for the buzz kill title of this article, but instead of spreading pixie dust as many marketing articles do, I thought I'd take a hard look at the realities of self-defeating behavior and some of the things authors might buy into that will sabotage their careers. Over the years I've written a lot of articles on how to be successful, but to be successful you must first learn how to fail up, meaning that you learn from what you did wrong, take full responsibility for it and move on. Lessons in publishing are often costly, both in time and dollars. I don't presume to tell you that you should avoid making any mistakes, but many of them are avoidable. Here are a few for you to consider.

Not Learning Enough About the Industry

The first piece of this is simple: get to know the market you are in. This is a bit of a dual message because I'm not just speaking of the market you are promoting to: your area of expertise, but also to the publishing industry at large. Who else is publishing in this area? What are they publishing? Is your area of writing hot or a fading trend? These are all good things to know before you jump headlong into your area. Getting to know your market can help you not only avoid expensive errors but also possibly incorporate trends into your book that could help to leverage its success. How to learn about the industry? Read up on it at sites like, subscribe to the free or paid newsletter the site offers. This will give you a good sense of what's selling, who's buying, what's being published. Publishers Weekly is another good resource. If you can't afford a subscription try their online site at, or check out your local library to see if they carry any copies. This is a great industry resource.

Not Accepting Feedback

A couple of weeks ago an author who has sat in on a number of my classes, both online and off, asked me numerous times how she could get onto Huffington Post as a blogger. I told her I would try to pursue a HuffPo blogger for her to get feedback on her work. I did this as a favor because, well, she was relentless in her pursuit of this and I had to admire that. So, I finally got a blogger to review her work and the critique came back not so good. In fact it was terrible. I sat on it for a day, wondering if I should share it with her. I finally decided that if she was so relentless about her career, she would be equally relentless about crafting a perfect message, right? Not so much, actually. When I forwarded her the feedback she shot me off an email saying that many other people loved it and that astrologically this was a terrible time to accept feedback so she would dismiss it. Some moon phase or something. I honestly can't recall. No, I'm not making this up. OK, listen, full confession time here. I have a friend who calls me whenever Mercury is retrograde, "don't buy anything electronic" she says, and I listen. Well, sometimes. Anyway, point being that I get that we're all driven by a different drummer, but if someone takes the time to critique your work why would you not try to learn from that? Look, I know not everyone is going to be spot-on with their feedback, but take from it what you can and move on - better yourself, better your writing.

Feedback is a crucial part to any writer's career. If someone who is more knowledgeable than you about the industry you are in is willing to give you feedback you should listen. Really. In a room of one hundred authors I can pick out the successful ones. You know who they are? They are the ones who aren't so wrapped up in their egos that they aren't willing to listen and learn.

Not Surrounding Yourself with Enough Professionals

Let's face it, your mother and immediate family will love anything you write. These are not the people who will offer you the kind of guidance that will further your career. Yes, they will (and should) love and support you through this work, but you need professionals you trust by your side giving you advice, wisdom, and direction. You don't need to keep a group of experts on retainer, but you need to know who they are so you can call on them when you need help.

Not Doing Their Research

What would you think of a store owner who opened a yogurt shop in downtown San Diego only to find that five other stores were opening within months of his, one of them a very successful franchise with a huge following? Wouldn't this make you sort of wonder why on earth this store owner would do that, I mean open a store without doing the proper research? Then why on earth would you launch head first into publishing without knowing your market - I mean the publishing market? So many authors learn the ropes after their book is out, and by then it's too late. Well, not too late really because you still have a book, but late in the sense that you can't really do anything about mistakes made and the money it's gonna cost you. There are a ton of online resources out there. Get to know them, I've listed a number of them in this article and there are more, many more. The Internet is abundant with free content. Use it.

Measuring Their Success in Book Sales

Many of you might be shaking your head wondering how I could possibly say this, but it's true. Book sales, even in the best of economic climates, are sketchy and planning your success or failure around them is a very bad way to market your book. Here's the reality: exposure = awareness = sales. The more exposure you get, the more awareness there is for the book, the more sales you may get. But this equation takes time and in the midst of this marketing many other really great non-book-sale-related things may happen. An example of this is an author who didn't really sell a lot of her books as she was marketing, but found that her speaking gigs started to pick up. Each speaking gig netted her about fifty book sales, and because of the market she was in, many of those book sales turned into individual consulting gigs that brought in much more revenue than a single book sale ever could have. Get the picture?

The other reason I say this is because book sales can be tough to calculate, many reporting agencies don't report sales for three to six months. I know this sounds crazy but it's part of the reason why publishing is such a tricky business. So, if you're doing a huge push in December and you look at your statement in January and find that you've only sold 3 books, it might be because you're looking at sales figures from September or October when you weren't doing any marketing at all.

Still not convinced? Then let me share my own story with you. As of today, Red Hot Internet Publicity has been out since July of 2009. I suspect to date it's sold 5,000 or fewer copies. Not impressive, is it? Does that number bother me? Not at all. Want to know why? Because out of the copies sold I have probably brought twenty to thirty new authors on board who will likely be authors for life. Also, I got a teaching gig at NYU because someone handed someone at NYU this book and all of a sudden - there you have it. So if I measured my success by book sales, you bet I'd be depressed. Thank God I don't. Book sales aren't what drive my success. The same should be true for you. Start measuring your success in other ways and book sales will come. I promise.

Seth Godin, aka brilliant marketer, addressed this in a recent blog post too:

Not Understanding How New York Publishing Works

We may not like how the corporate publishing model works, we may find fault with it, but to understand it is to understand how the industry works. For example, knowing the publishing seasons and why Fall is the biggest time for New York publishers to launch a book and perhaps the worst time for you to send your book to market if you've self-published.

Also, know that corporate publishers don't publish to niches, or rarely do, so if you're publishing to a niche, you may have a real leg up.

As for bookstores, the big six in New York pretty much own most of the shelf space in your local Barnes & Noble, so if you're vying to get in there, you are going to have to do more than show up with a book in hand and a winning smile. You're going to have to promote yourself to that local market and gain enough interest for your book that people start asking for it in bookstores.

Understanding the corporate publishing model means knowing and researching your industry and again, not just the industry you are writing for, but the market of publishing in general. Knowing what's selling, what's not - who's buying, who's closing their doors. Knowledge is power. Arm yourself with it and you'll have a much more successful campaign.

Playing the Blame Game

If something goes wrong, own it. Unless it's really not your fault, unless you were taken for a ride somehow, swindled or whatever. Own it. Take responsibility. Here's an example. Recently an author came up to me after a class I taught and said she'd pitched 200 bloggers and only 5 of them wanted her book. What was wrong with them? Well, maybe it wasn't the bloggers at all. Bloggers are busy, busier than they've ever been so your pitch has to be strong and your book exactly right for the blogger you are pitching. If you're not getting a lot of pick up on your pitch you might need a new pitch and/or you might need a new set of bloggers. Don't assume it's someone else's fault. Investigate what happened and take a critical look at the results. If you don't feel you can be objective, hire someone to sift through the data. Assuming success eluded you because of someone else's lack of interest or follow through might be undermining your campaign and you could be missing out on important data that could really help turn your campaign around.

Believing in the Unbelievable

There are no guarantees. No one can promise book sales, fame, or Oprah. Period. End of story. If someone is promising you these things, run, or if the offer seems too good to be true it likely is. If all else fails ask someone you trust. I get folks asking me all the time about campaigns, programs, and marketing opportunities. Feel free to do the same. Whether you are working with us or not, now or in the future, I will always give you a fair and honest answer. If you'd rather go to someone else, great - but find someone whose opinion you trust and ask before signing on the dotted line.

Success is not about hard work alone, it's also about making smart, savvy choices and not being blinded by your own ambition, creativity, or ego such that it undermines your work. To be successful you need to be relentless, believe in your work and your mission but you also need to be objective, realistic, and humble. That is a successful mix for any author and in the end, isn't it really about getting the book out there? Focus on what matters. Good luck!

Helpful Resources:

Some great and helpful books:

* Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual, Volume 2: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book (ParaPublishing, 2009) - Dan Poynter

* The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote and Sell Your Own Book (Writer's Digest, 2009 or 2010) - Marilyn Ross & Sue Collier

* Doing Business by the Book: How to Craft a Crowd-Pleasing Book and Attract More Clients and Speaking Engagements Than You Ever Thought Possible - Sophfronia Scott (Advantage Media Group, 2008)

* 1001 Ways to Market Your Book - John Kremer (Open Horizons, 2009)

* Red Hot Internet Publicity - Penny Sansevieri (Cosimo, 2009)

* Get Published Today - Penny Sansevieri (Lulu Publishing, 2010)

Great Publishing Blogs

* The Self Publishing Review

* POD People

* Nathan Bransford

* Moby Lives

* Holt Uncensored

* The Book Deal

* Galleycat

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Interview with Author, Tigra-Luna LeMar

Today, my guest is another new MuseItUp Publishing author, Tigra-Luna LeMar. Ms. LeMar’s book, For the Love of Rei is scheduled for a December, 2010 release. Today Ms. LeMar is discussing her book and her writing life.

1) Tell me a little about your book.
For the Love of Rei” is an interracial tale of finding love in the last place you’d expect. It’s erotic —highly erotic— about a Japanese man, coming to the other side of the world and taking one look at this Rochelle woman and knows he wants her.

2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?
I was speaking to my best friend’s brother about getting his manga/anime style book to publishers when the idea hit me.

3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I’m not sure what you mean about full-time writer or part-time. I write all the time because in between school and work and family and friends there isn’t time to set aside writing time. But I mostly write at nights before bed when the house is quiet.

4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I always knew I wanted to write. Ever since I was old enough to read Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys

5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
I hope they take away that love is love, no matter what ethnicity a person is. When it comes to love, everyone deserves a second chance.

6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
I write Interracial Contemporaries for the most part. I prefer them but I am trying to branch out by slipping a bit of paranormal into some short stories that I’ve done recently.

7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
The toughest part is the reviews—when I get them I tend to forward them without reading to a friend and have him open them. It’s quite funny really because I’ve been getting them for years now. I don’t think I’ll ever get past those nerves. I can shrug them off if they’re bad quite quickly and not worry about it but the initial opening is a big deal.

8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
Oh lordy I wish! Because Rei is one steamy lookin’ man! *purrs* ok, seriously, nope. Well sort of…the friendship that is between Rochelle and May, some of the jokes they make together is similar to myself and my best friend.

9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
Oh heavens, Rochelle is like me to the max. Her temper, her self esteem at times, her shyness—me, me, me and more me. I know it’s hard to see but I am a shy person who speaks her mind lol

10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
This story has a second language, Japanese, I had to research this language a lot. I speak a little of the language so most things I had down but others were more difficult as I had to consult books, websites, friends it was a mess for a bit there.

11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
Well, I dabble in light BDSM now and then but I’d never write hardcore BDSM. I give props to those who write it but I can’t seem to get myself to. Writing highly sexual scenes is rather fun because I blush while I’m writing it—I figure if I blush while writing it, it should hit the spot with my readers and make them go red too. Violence bothers me whether writing or not—when I have to write my characters getting hurt I sob like a baby lol. It’s true!

12) What about your book makes it special?
My book is special because it is different than anything you’d find out there—it has a little bit of everything and I hope it will be enjoyed.

13) What is your marketing plan?
A little bit of everything!

14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?
My website at

15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
If the author is a brand new erotic author—Write what you know-- find the kind of sex that you would enjoy and write that. One your taste broadens then so does your writing.

Thank you, Tigra-Luna, for being my guest today.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Meet the author, Mary Andrews

Today my guest is Mary Andrews. Mary is a new author with MuseItUp Publishing. Her book, The Fireborn Chronicles: Resonances, is scheduled for a December, 2010 release. Mary is here today to discuss her writing and her books.

1) Tell me a little about your book.
The Fireborn Chronicles: Resonances
THEY’RE BACK! Once again the Dark Ops crew of the Nemesis is called into action. When a former team member is kidnapped on a Hive drug mining planet both the Universal Government and the new Corporate Overlord have to respond.

For the first time the Nemesis team and the Corporate Archangels join forces against a psychic vampire, his strange twin brother, and the Oracle menace threatening their universe. But is anything truly what it seems?

This is book 2 of The Fireborn Series.

2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?
I guess I got the idea from life itself. Times have become hard enough lately that it’s easy to wonder if a person really has much control at all over their own lives. I sat down and thought about the roles that destiny, perspective and free will play in a person’s life. So, if destiny forges us to play a role in the universe, is it servitude or slavery?

3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I like to consider myself a full time writer but I’ve got my heart set on becoming an organized writer. Efficiency is everything. In today’s market, it’s part of the business to handle social media, blogs, websites, blog tours, interviews, appearances—and all of that is after you sell the book. Before that you’ve got to have mastered your craft, produced a worthy product, summarized into: one sentence, one paragraph and two pages, and then designed a short and long synopsis. Every agent and publisher has a different set of requirements for submittal... The sooner a writer finds a way to handle all these pesky factors, the sooner they can keep to a productive writing schedule.

Since everybody has to work within the parameters of their own circumstances it’s hard to give specific advice but I’ve found it handy to start by working with a timer. I downloaded a free stop watch called COOL TIMER. Then I took a short song that I really like and replaced their horrible fog horn alarm so I don’t die of a heart attack when it goes off. (I like the tune so much, sometimes I’ll go another round of writing just to hear it again—but I’m like that.) SPECIAL NOTE: Using the timer to check email, update sites, social media, etc can really help a person get a handle on where the hours go too.

But back to writing: I like to race against the timer for one to two hours a day or until I get at least one thousand words. When everything is running smoothly I also try to sit down every day at the same time to do so. I believe in Pavlov. I donn my magical head phones and play INTERGALACTIC TOURING BAND/ALAN PARSON’S I ROBOT in a loop. Without fail I’m ready to write...and I crave a coke (side affect of the system from when I first started).

The key to productive writing is to think about whatever you want to write about in advance. It’s not necessary to go into specifics, just give it some thought while you’re doing other thing throughout the day. I work one or two scenes at a time. I say, in this scene I want to introduce how the corporate Archangels operate differently from the Nemesis team and then I just peruse the options. I may even come up with my opening sentence for that scene but when I start the clock, it’s all about writing. Word count is king. Revision is how I warm up for the next round.

4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
When I realized that writing a book was as exciting as reading one. I’m what they call a seat-of-the-pants writer. I know my beginning and I think I know my ending and then I cut the characters loose with a general outline. In The Fireborn Chronicles: The Finding (book 1) even I was shocked when I found out who Tristen’s target was. I had been just tap tapping away at the keyboard when all of a sudden it came to me. I guess it’s like Zen writing because it always works like that. All the clues are there and everything but I’m too dense to see it until it’s time; a reverse Alzheimer’s perhaps.

5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
Escape. In a world full of problems and hardships, I want to give my readers a vacation.
I know I sure enjoy the one I take writing it.

6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
I’ve never cared much for reality but speculation enticing so I prefer Science Fiction to all other genres. I believe we are currently front row witnesses to the inevitable fusion of man, machine and the paranormal. Speculation and elaboration may help us avoid pitfalls in the future...and we should always practice expanding our boundaries.

7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?

Fear. It is hard to throw your baby before a train to see if it has super human powers. No sooner do I master one thing and there always seems to be another at the door. It is a very taxing thing to keep up a productive momentum. And then, every time I think I’m getting ahead in this rat race someone enters a new rat...and it’s bigger than mine.

In this way, writing is the same as living. We learn by doing. ‘No guts—no glory.’ If I write a bad book, I’m sure someone will tell me. I’ll learn from my mistakes and do better next time. No one can be a loser until they fail and if a person hasn’t given up on something, it hasn’t failed.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.

They say an author’s first book is autobiographical. I think they all are. There’s a little bit of me in all my characters but if I had to pick one reality based concept out it would have to be Tristen’s blindness. Back in the 1980’s I walked into a room where some dweebs were having a rubber band fight and caught one in the eye. A few days later I had a full blown rash of herpetic ulcers in first one and then the other eye. (Cold sores are viral, it seems, and though I’ve never had a cold sore in my life, I now had ulcers in my eyes.) Back then all they could do was put acid on the tip of a Q tip, cauterize it and then treat the eye while it healed. I always assumed I’d be blind some day so I began to think on that when I was creating my characters.

The land of ‘what if’ is a strange place and that is where I came up with the idea of having Tristen surgically blinded by her people so that other mental pathways could be developed, trained and enhanced to give her the abilities she’ll need to save her world as predicted. (Ironically enough, though physically blind, she now sees through the eyes of others around her.)

9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
That’s a tricky question. I have four protagonists in this complex tale. I guess one could be my father, one my son, one my husband and the one that links them all together could be me. Hmm. Never thought of that before...hmm.

10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
I research all the time, even when I don’t realize it. I researched the names and characterizations/history of Archangels, rappelling, parachute/hand gliding, some time/dimensional wormhole theories, anti-gravity theories, weather current tendencies (I didn’t think I was ever going to get those characters off that frozen mountain), gravitational weather control theories, you know stuff like that ...but you won’t realize any of it because I don’t write hard sci fi—believe it or not.

11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
12) What about your book makes it special?
Like I said before, The Fireborn Chronicles incorporates a fusion of man, machine and the paranormal.

13) What is your marketing plan?
I’m going to try my hand at social media this time around, blog tours, interviews, a Manic Readers site, blogging, tagging, some Amazon promo options still available from book 1, and signing up with MuseItUp Publishing--one of the most industrious publishing houses I’ve ever seen.

14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?
(I have a sample chapter from The Fireborn Chronicles: The Finding and will soon put one up for The Fireborn Chronicles: Resonances)
TWITTER: FB_Chronicles
FACEBOOK: Mary Andrews
MANIC READER: (sneak preview excerpts from Resonances though it is still in editing.)

15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?

Check out THE SCIENCE FICTION WRITERS OF AMERICA for this subject. Their site CRITTERS is chocked full of wholesome good advice for one and all.

AND: sci fi critique/workshops/ resources:

For a special treat, Lea Schizas, publisher for MuseItUp Publishing is hosting a Meet the Publisher, Editors, Authors and Cover Artist of MuseItUp and MuseItHOT! Publishing tonight at 9 P.M. EST, in the general chatroom of MuseItUp. Mary’s book is one which will be given away to a lucky winner. Please see guidelines listed below and plan on stopping by.

They're new and eager to meet and let everyone know who they are, what books they have coming out, and have you meet some of the authors, editors and cover artist.
To register: send an email to museitupeditor AT yahoo DOT ca in the body of the email include your name and email address on the subject heading place Muse Publishing.

The authors will be on hand to take questions and discuss their upcoming books, and the publisher will be there to answer any questions you may have about submissions and what genres we accept. Our editors will be on hand to answer any worry you may have about changing a writer's voice during the editing stage, and talk about their two-step process before a book goes into the final stage.

For those attending they'll draw names for our upcoming December e-books as door prizes. Your names will be kept on file and as soon as the e-book is released they'll send you your prize.

E-books to be won:
A Taste of Terror by Chastity Bush (Paranormal Romance)
Fallon O'Reilly and the Ice Queen's Lair by Debra K. Dunlap (YA Fantasy)
The Fireborn Chronicles: Resonances by Mary Andrews (Sci-Fi)
For the Love of Rei by Tigra-Luna LeMar (IR Hot & Sizzling Romance-Adult Content)
Harvest Moon by Krista D. Ball (Paranormal Fantasy)
Santa is a Lady by LJ Holmes (Romance - Christmas theme)
The Ghost of Grover's Ridge by James Hartley (Urban Fantasy)

So seven lucky winners on May 3rd will have December gifts coming their way.
The chat room link is found at .

Once in the chat room, if you haven't already done so, you need to REGISTER not LOG IN first to place a username and password. Once you get a confirmation email then you can log in and join them in the General chat room.

TIP: Register before May 3 and try out the chat room. Please read the GUIDELINES of the chat room.

Hope to see you on May 3, 2010.