AUTHOR WEDNESDAY – LORI CRANE

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She’s back! One of my favorite authors and a dear colleague and friend, Lori Crane (click here for previous interview) visits Author Wednesday to tell us about her new release, I, John Culpepper. Lori is quite popular and famous for her works of historical fiction, and this book is no exception. Here she is to tell us all about it.Culpepper_1

Hello, Lori! I’m so happy to have you return as a guest on Author Wednesday. Let’s get right to it. Give us the one sentence pitch for I, John Culpepper.

I, John Culpepper is a work of historical fiction based on the life of the 17th-century man historians refer to as John Culpepper the Merchant who was forced to rise against his father to achieve his childhood dream.

I know you usually write about your ancestors, so give us the scoop. Are you related to this fascinating man? 

John Culpepper is the progenitor of the modern-day American Culpeppers. He was my 10th great-grandfather.

I’m always amazed at how far you’ve been able to reach back in your ancestry to pull out these characters worthy of a novel. I’m very envious, but mostly I’m in awe. How long did it take you to finish the book, from idea to publishing?

I first had the idea to write his story in August of 2014, but the more I researched, the more interesting tidbits I found and it became four books with four distinct stories: his childhood, his life during the English Civil War, his rise to family patriarch, and finally, his coming to terms with his past, his family, and his beliefs. His story became the Culpepper Saga with “I, John Culpepper” being the first of the four books. From idea to publish, since I ended up writing four books at the same time, took nine months.

So we have more to look forward to. That’s amazing that you wrote four books in nine months. Is there a message in I, John Culpepper for us?

As a young man, John had to stand up to his father. For those of us who have stood up to a parent, we understand the pain involved in that process. At the end, John realized that, perhaps, his father wasn’t the bad guy after all. I think that’s a lesson we all learn when we finally realize our parents are only human.

I can relate as I’m sure many others can as well. I’ve been both the parent and child on that process! What is the best thing someone could say about I, John Culpepper?

I love it when readers tell me how interesting my family is, not realizing these stories are of our collective past. We are all the products of the survivors, the heroes, the brave men and women. I hope they see John as the hero he was. He was a bit of a rebel, but his rebellion is what eventually saves his family…on more than one occasion.

Thank you for saying that. Yes, it’s our collective history. What kind of research did you do to pull off this work of historical fiction?

I started with my family tree. I initially wondered how the Culpeppers of 16th-century England, with their stately manors and vast land holdings, ended up being the modest people I knew in my childhood in Mississippi. Why would they give up that kind of prestige to move to an inhospitable land filled with savage Indians and probable starvation? I also researched the school John attended, the ships of the time, the colonial records of 1630s Jamestown, and I spent a lot of time on the Culpepper family website called Culpepper Connections. In the second book, the English Civil War breaks out, so I researched everything from the timeline of the battles, to the generals and the king, to the transcribed minutes of the House of Commons. I spent three days reading those minutes. Even though I knew I had family serving in Parliament at the time, to read their names on the actual roll call was exciting.

I’m sure it was–history coming to life right before your eyes. Tell us about your favorite scene.

I have a couple. The first is at the wharf the day John is born. John’s father is quite a formidable character. The second is when John sees the product of his prank on his headmaster. I laughed out loud when I wrote it. The third is when John takes his brother aboard his ship for the first time. I can just picture the pride and excitement on John’s face.

When you become that invested in the writing, magic is sure to follow! Is there anything else we should know about the book or about John Culpepper?

John Culpepper was a very, very popular name in English history, and each John had a brother named Thomas. All of those Johns and Thomases had sons also named John and Thomas. Deciphering which John was which from English and Colonial records was difficult, but after reading other theories and putting all of the different names and birth and death dates to paper, I believe I got the family history figured out. I took great freedoms in giving some of the men nicknames, just to keep them straight, but be assured, in historical records they are all named John and Thomas. The nicknames are mine and mine alone. I didn’t take them from any records.

Thank you so much for stopping by today, Lori. I look forward to reading your I, John Culpepper. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it as much or even more than your other books.

1394868_10201454031930551_434799525_nAbout Lori Crane:  BESTSELLING AND AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR LORI CRANE IS A WRITER OF SOUTHERN HISTORICAL FICTION AND THE OCCASIONAL THRILLER. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including her book Elly Hays, which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She is a native Mississippi belle currently residing in greater Nashville. She is a professional musician by night – an Indie Author by day.

Click here to read my review of Elly Hays.

Click on the links below to purchase and connect with the author 

I, John Culpepper Amazon US 

Amazon UK

Website

Blog

Twitter

Culpepper Saga fan page

Author Wednesday – Uvi Poznansky

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Welcome to another edition of Author Wednesday. There are so many things to say about today’s author. She’s multi-talented, writing across genres and never letting one type define her. No wonder she came up with the idea of creating a box set of Indie Authors who also defy definitions, as do their characters. So I’ll start there, with the introduction of the At Odds with Destiny box set, which is Uvi Poznansky’s brain child from conception to birth.

Click cover to pre-order

Click cover to pre-order

She created, produced, and designed the product, all with the hopes of sharing the talents of other like-minded authors under the umbrella of one set. Full disclosure: I’m honored to have been asked by Uvi personally to join the set with my contribution of Native Lands

As impressive as that is, Uvi Poznansky, the writer is even more so. She writes historical and literary fiction, poetry, dark fantasy, and children’s books.

Poetry Collection

Poetry Collection

I’m sure I’m leaving something out, but I’m tired just thinking about all she does. So without any further introduction, I present to you the talented and gracious Uvi.

Welcome, Uvi. I know you’re doing so much right now with getting out At Odds with Destiny. What knowledge have you acquired recently that might assist other writers?

I am acquiring new knowledge every single day, doing the best I possibly can to keep up with the changing landscape of book publishing. Beyond the nitty-gritty details, the most important piece of wisdom is this: Promoting literary work is a huge undertaking, best achieved by forming alliances with other strong, talented authors. I explore different ways to do it, creating multi-author events and producing multi-author boxed sets, to reach out to a shared audience eager to hear our stories.

You’re very wise. I’m learning so many things from you. What type of research do you conduct before writing your series, The David Chronicles?DavidChronicles

I go through meticulous research, like every author worth his salt, and collect every detail about the time and the setting. But then, I choose where to take my departure from the reference material. In this series, I chose to let the character speak in modern language. This is a design decision, meant to bring the reader into the realization that this is a universal story, happening here and now, rather than an old fairy tale.

It is essential to anchor fiction in the real setting of the plot. You can do it in a myriad  of ways: visit the place, read about it, and look at art and photographs that depict it.

RisetoPowerhistoricalFor example, in my novel Rise to Power, David describes the Valley of Elah, where he will soon face his enemy. I visited this place when I was a child, and at the time it surprised me that the valley was so shallow and well, boring. I imagined that perhaps it used to have dramatically sloped walls, as befits the scene of an iconic battle. I told myself that perhaps over the generations dust has settled over it and covered the rocky slopes, hiding the drama.

Before writing the scene, I also looked at a lot of paintings in the history of art. Then I set it all aside, and wrote the scene from imagination:

“There, with their backs to me, they are: three silhouettes, drawn sharply against the gray, gloomy landscape. The horsemen in the center is the one I am watching with keen interest. He is tall, formidable, and cloaked. A ray of morning light reaches hesitantly for his crown, sets it afire, and then pulls back.

Ahead of him, the valley opens like a fresh cut. Thin, muddy streams are washing over its rocks, oozing in and out of its cracks, and bleeding into its soil. Layers upon layers of moist, fleshy earth are pouring from one end to another, then halting on a slant, about to slip off. And from down below, somewhere under the heavy mist that hides the bottom of the valley from sight, stir some unexpected sounds. 

I wish I could ignore them. For a moment I am tempted to stick my fingers in my ears—but to do so I would have to let go of my lyre. Let go I cannot, because its strings may tremble in the air. My music may betray me, I mean, it may betray the place of my hideout. 

So I go on cowering, trying to imagine silence—only to be startled once more: in place of the first birdsongs of the day, there rise the shrieks of vultures.”

Being an artist, I find my inspiration also by artwork depicting the story. In each era, the artists did not shy away from staging David in garments that belongs to their time, and surrounding him with a contemporary scene. I take my cues from them. Here, for example, is a modern painting by Shaggal, depicting David and Bathsheba. Compare it to this excerpt from the book:

And the one image that keeps coming back to me is our reflection in the glass, where our faces melded into one. My eye, her eye, and around us, the outline of a new, fluid identity. A portrait of our love, rippling there, across the surface of the wine.”

Beautiful. I know you write in a variety of styles, but is there one message you always try to convey to your readers? 

As an artist and writer, my mission is to let the characters speak to you through me. The story is happening here and now. I invite you to step into their skin, and look yourself in the mirror.

This mission has come to its height with my trilogy, The David Chronicles, because it is here that you will find yourself inhabiting a character from youth to old age. I find this amazing, and I hope you will too.

That sounds amazing and inspiring. It seems silly to ask you, but do you plan to continue writing in this particular genre? 

The classification to genres is only one method available to you to discern the subject of a book. This method can be rigid. I trust that you use it in combination with reading the book description, and taking a peek at the first few pages, which gives you a true taste of the writing style.

I strive to stretch the envelope of what I create. In writing all of my books, I often break the confines of the particular genre, because life as we know it–and my art, which mirrors it– constantly changes from one genre to the next. One moment is is humorous; the next, it is erotic; then, it might be a tragedy.

In art, I use different mediums, which enriches my designs: I sculpt (in bronze, clay, and paper, draw in charcoal, ink, and pencils, paint in watercolor and oils, and create animations. I love to be lured outside of my comfort zone, and I hope you do too.

Certainly I do. That’s what makes the artist grow and without that growth, there is no challenge. To me, that means nothing important can be achieved. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your wisdom. You’ve given us all something to think about.

UviAbout Uvi: Uvi Poznansky is a California-based author, poet and artist. “I paint with my pen,” she says, “and write with my paintbrush.” She received a Fellowship grant and a Teaching Assistantship from the Architecture department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she earned her M.A. in Architecture. Then, taking a sharp turn in her education, she earned her M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Michigan. Uvi writes across a variety of genres: Apart From Love (literary fiction), Rise to Power (historical fiction), A Peek at Bathsheba (historical romance), The Edge of Revolt (historical fiction), A Favorite Son (biblical fiction), Home (poetry), Twisted (dark fantasy), and Now I Am Paper (children’s book.)

Author Links:

Blog

Art site

Twitter

Google+

Amazon page

Goodreads page

Pinterest

Book Links:

The David Chronicles ebook

The Edge of Revolt ebook

A Peek at Bathsheba  ebook print audio

Rise to Power  ebook print audio

Apart From Love  ebook print audio

Twisted ebook print audio

A Favorite Son ebook print audio

Home ebook print audio

Now I am paper print

 

A Grateful Author on Wednesday

It’s a different twist on my usual Author Wednesday fare, but I purposefully didn’t schedule anyone for today’s slot. I knew I would be releasing ffs_boxset_finalmy Florida Fiction Box Set, which I did. I also knew that the new box set, 5d833-heroes2bto2bswoon2bfor_ebook_mediumHeroes to Swoon For would be in pre-order phase, getting ready for release on December 8, which it is. And I knew all of you would be busy with your holiday activities with little time left over to read my blog. So on this day before Thanksgiving here in the States, I’d like to offer my humble attempt at expressing gratitude for my life.

Yesterday as I prepared for the holiday, I received a call from my daughter. “I’ve got some bad news, Mom.” My heart sank. It’s not a call you want to receive, and those are words you never want to hear.

It seems books I’d had mailed to her place in Florida for two upcoming book signings had arrived. Only the mailman decided that the best way to deliver to her apartment would be to leave the box in the parking lot on a day of torrential rains in northeast Florida. She sent a photo of the books, and my heart sank to see those babies of mine all warped and useless. I fumed; I fussed; I used the “f” word in more ways than I did in this sentence.

And then sometime this morning in the wee hours of sleeplessness on how to proceed, it came to me. They are books. They are things that can be replaced. My daughter and others I love cannot. Perspective, my dear readers, changes everything.

Anna and MomI am grateful to my daughter Anna who has always encouraged me to be a writer. She was the first to tell me to jump from teaching to writing way back when. And she’s been unwavering in her support ever since.

My husband Robert is the reason I can write full time (all you writers know that’s a fallacy as an Indie Author) without worrying about a job outside of the home. He believes in me and what I do. ???????????????????????????????He loves my work and is proud of my determination despite the lack of economic contribution to our finances.

60 CelebrationI am grateful for my friends who are my cheerleaders.Two of them were my earliest supporters when everyone else thought I’d gone bonkers to think I could write a novel. Tonja gives me kudos and support at every turn. Having her at my book signing in September made me feel like I had my own little private fan club. Then there’s Linda, who buys my books first, reads them first, shares the news first. She buys all versions and shouts out to the world my virtues as a writer. If my success depended on her view of me as a writer, I’d be as famous as that “gray” shady lady.

I am so grateful to my fellow Indie Authors who inspire and encourage me on a daily basis. There are so many of us and so many of them who not only manage to write books, but they are tireless promoters for the rest of us. I couldn’t be doing what I’m doing today without them.

And last, but never least, I am so grateful to all of you who take the time to read this blog, comment on and like the posts, and read my books. It’s a crowded field out there, and I have trouble hearing my voice heard above the roar. That makes me all the more grateful for all of you.

016So a few wet books and a less than smart mailman are mere pebbles in the road.

I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season. All my friends in the East–drive carefully or stay home and mark your blessings.

I’d love to hear from you. Let me know what makes you smile with thanks today.

With gratitude,

Patricia

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How to help Indie Authors – A Primer

Help an IndieHow to help Indie Authors – A Primer for family, friends, fans, and other Indie Writers

It’s not easy taking the route of Indie Author or any route as an author. The field is crowded, and it’s hard for readers to sift through it all. So in addition to writing, most of us Indies spend a great deal of time promoting our work. Most of us try not to annoy our friends and family, but it’s inevitable that many of them will see our promotional stuff. So as we move into the holiday season, I’d like to give some advice to anyone associated with an author. Also, there’s a little bit of advice for other authors as well. I wish you peace and relaxation during the coming season. Take the time to read a book, maybe even from an Indie Author in your life.

Besides buying the books of your favorite authors, there are other things that can be done to help raise the visibility of Indie Authors, who are adrift in a massive sea of other Indies trying to be seen, heard, and read. So here’s a primer for simple things you can do to help raise us up. It all has to do with SEOs and Google searches, and believe me, it all helps. In the case of Facebook, it means more people see the post if there are likes and comments on it. It’s amazing to see what happens to a post on Facebook when even a few people hit the “like” button. Your vote does count in a huge way.

Amazon and other book purchase sites

  • Leave a short review after reading an Indie Author book. If you’re related or somehow related to the book, leave the review to someone else. If you’re not, leave a short review. I’m a believer in the short, but sweet, reviews. They all help. Here’s one of the best ones for my book Live from the Road.
    5.0 out of 5 stars A Trip Worth Taking May 29, 2012
    By Marisella Veiga
    Format:Kindle Edition
    This novel is a spirited travel story. It is packed with humor, understanding, and difficult conflicts. What is more, it is sprinkled with insights,love and no love. If you’re looking for a fun read that shares nuggets of wisdom, this is the book for you.
  • Press the “review was helpful (or not)” button on other reviews.
  • If you don’t purchase the book, at least add it to your “wish list” and then push the Twitter button about it.
  • Tweet after you purchase a book (buttons are provided on Amazon).

 Blog help

  • After reading a blog post (large hint here), “like” it. I get tons of notices about blogs every day, and I can’t read every one of them, but I open many of them and at least give a “like.”
  • After reading a blog post, leave a comment.
  • Press any of the share buttons at the end of most blog posts.

 Facebook

  • Leave a comment on posts by Indie Authors.
  • Follow or like author pages.
  • Share posts by Indie Authors if you feel your friends might enjoy something.

 To Indie Authors

  • If you are featured on someone’s blog, go to the post, and “like” it AND post a comment.
  • Follow the blog where you’ve been featured. Check back for comments by others for a few days after post. Comment on comments!
  • Like all comments on posts where you’re featured.
  • Share the post on all of your social media sites.
  • If you have your own blog, reblog to your followers.
  • If you’re a blogger, respond to every comment left on your posts. Also, now that WordPress gives you the choice of liking comments, do so.
  • And as you were taught as a child, send a thank you note to the blogger who featured you. Remember your manners.
  • Treat your fellow Indie Author as you wish to be treated as an Indie Author.

I hope this helps. Helping out an Indie Author is really quite simple and easy, but it might mean the of a sale of one book or the addition of one follower. I think of my journey as an Indie as a domino effect, with one thing leading to another.

Give the gift of “like” to your favorite Indie this year. What did I leave out? Please let me know, by leaving a comment below. I promise I’ll respond.

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Author Wednesday – Carol Ervin

???????????????????????????????I’m pleased to introduce Carol Ervin to Author Wednesday. Carol’s first two books are a part of a historical fiction series. The Girl on the Mountain and Cold Comfort will be joined by the third in the series, Midwinter Sun, later this month. Today she’s stopped by to talk about her newest endeavor which takes her from historical fiction to science fiction. Dell Zero is the story of a society that uses drugs to control everyone. Dell-Zero - Ebook

Welcome Carol. I’m intrigued that you made the jump into science fiction. Tell us a little bit about Dell Zero and how it’s been received.

Dell Zero is the story of a society that uses drugs to control everyone. The main characters are Dell, a young (un-medicated) woman who has grown up outside the system, and John, an old-timer who is hundreds of years old and unhappy about living forever. One reviewer called the story bio-punk; another said dystopian. I think of it as futuristic. I like science fiction that’s based in reality, and I think elements of this story, such as character behavior, are true today.

Making it relevant to our society today even though it’s futuristic is an excellent way to draw in readers. What’s your one sentence pitch for your book?

In a society of humans medicated to live forever, only newborns like Dell think and act independently, and they will change everything.

How did you choose Dell Zero as the title? Has it been the title from the very beginning?

When I started Dell Zero, there was no Dell, just John, a disillusioned, confused man, hundreds of years old. Early-on, I added Dell to the story, and she took over. So the story that began as John 316 changed to Dell Zero. My sister, the book’s first reader, suggested the title.

I like it because it’s unique and easy to remember. Is the book traditionally or self-published? Why did you choose one over the other?

Dell Zero is my third self-published book. I love the opportunity to do it all myself, and I wouldn’t do it any other way. The self-pubbing tools offered by Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace are wonderful. I’ve proved I can be successful (at least in my own estimation), and I like not being handled by a publisher or agent. I also like formatting the books myself, and the ability through digital publishing to make changes at any time. However, I would not be self-published without the wonderful community of self-published authors on the Internet who help each other. I give a lot of credit to authors Victorine Lieske, Rachelle Ayala, and others who led the way and continue to share good advice.

I like all those things about being an Indie Author as well. There is a tremendous support system out there. It’s one reason I do Author Wednesday. I like giving other Indies exposure. Since this is such a departure from your previous works, tell us you conceived the plot.

Dell Zero: The idea of a society made immortal by drugs came to me on the road to a week-long fishing trip. The week was rainy, so I had a lot of cabin time, and of course I’d brought along my laptop. So any time we weren’t fishing, I was making notes, creating details of the society and exploring plot ideas. At the time I was also developing Midwinter Sun, the third book in my historical fiction series. All year I went back and forth between these two books. Both have two narrators, and both are in present tense.

I’m impressed that you could switch back and forth so easily. Tell us a bit about your writing rituals?

I’m a planner, not a “pantser,” and a heavy re-writer. I’m editing before I finish a sentence. I make tons of notes and then do four or five drafts, and I rely on feedback from trusted readers.

I’m a pantser until I get deep into the novel and then the planner in me takes over. You’ve now tried two very different genres. Are there other forms you’d like to try?

I’d like to try different approaches to narrative fiction. I wrote two books this year in present tense (Dell Zero and Midwinter Sun), and I liked that so much I’m not sure I can go back to past tense. All four books are in third person, and I’m ready to try first person. Midwinter Sun is a love story. I might write another love story in first person.

Tell us about your latest endeavor.

Midwinter Sun is the third book in the Mountain Women series, and continues characters and settings from the first two books. But unlike the others, it’s told from the point of view of two characters: May Rose, the main character of the first book, and Barlow, the man she rejected years ago. The story reunites these characters fifteen years later. It’s been fun, being in both heads and re-building their relationship.

What advice can you give to other writers about receiving a bad review?

If you have good feedback from a group of writers you admire and trust (or support from agent, editor, and publisher) and these people approve your work, then pay no attention to a bad review. There’s a huge range of reader preferences and expectations, and no book will ever appeal to everyone.

That’s excellent advice. How does your immediate family feel about your writing life?

My husband is very glad that I have stories to write, because he knows I would not be content as a retired person without something to keep my mind and fingers busy. I think my kids are proud.

I’m so glad you stopped by today, Carol. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you a little bit better. We’ve crossed paths before in our various writing groups, but I’ve never had the pleasure of chatting with you. I wish you success in all your writing endeavors.

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From Carol Ervin: I’ve been a teacher and business owner, and now am happy to write full-time. (married, two kids, two grandkids). I grew up in a small town in Ohio, and have lived most of my life on a farm in West Virginia.

Click links below to purchase books and contact Carol
Dell Zero – Amazon
Cold Comfort – Amazon
The Girl on the Mountain – Amazon
Facebook
Twitter: @carolervin6

Author Wednesday – R.J. Crayton

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LF_lowres_brownWelcome to Author Wednesday. Today I welcome R.J. Crayton, who writes science fiction thrillers. She left a Second_Life_2014_lowrescareer as a journalist to care for her young children, but writing wouldn’t leave her alone. She’s published the first two books in her series, Life First and Second Life, and the third will be released later this year.

Hello, R.J. You’ve worked as a journalist for some very large publications, but do you remember when you first called yourself a “writer” or “author?”

I’ve always loved to write, and I first called myself a writer when that’s what I did for a living. I’ve written for the Kansas City Star, Wichita Eagle, and several smaller publications. I’ve called myself an author since publishing my book in June 2013, so not really that long.

Since you were once a reporter, how about giving us a sample of how you’d write a brief article about yourself as an author on the rise.

Ha ha, I feel like a ringer answering this question. But, here goes:

WASHINGTON  – With the new ease of self-publishing, it seems these days that everyone’s published a book. Many of these books are simply work the authors “put out there” to see what happened. What happened was nothing. A newcomer to the pile last year was author R.J. Crayton, an Illinois native who came east with her husband and never left. She’s written two novels, part of a dystopian thriller series, and something has happened: readers are clamoring for more.

Excellent. I find it very difficult to write about myself, but you did a fine job. You have the third book in your series almost ready for publication. Tell us a little bit about the book.

Right now, I’m completing the third book in the Life First series. It still needs a title (yikes!). The first draft is done, but it needs editing and beta readers. I’m also working on a paranormal YA novel, which is a lot of fun. It’s loosely titled Scented.

Since you’re relatively new to the Indie Author thing, what knowledge have you acquired  that might assist other writers?

I’ve learned many things. One is to ask for help if you don’t know something because the writing community is extremely generous with its time and assistance. The second thing is to get not just professional covers, but covers that are eye catching and help pull in your readers. I recently underwent a cover change. The previous cover was well done and professional, but I think a little too abstract for the subject matter.

That’s an interesting point. I’ve considered changing the cover on my latest release which is very nicely done by a professional, too. But I don’t think it pulls folks in. I’ll be interested in how the change worked for you. Since you’ve been writing a series, do all your books have a common theme or thread?

At present, the only books I’ve written are all part of the same series, so they clearly have a common thread.  They all involve this same Life First society and how it reacts when people, Kelsey and Susan in particular, go against the grain.

What kinds of techniques do you like to use in your writing?

The main thing I do is try to make my writing page turning. I want my readers to want to keep going, to feel like they don’t want to put the book down. If they shove their kids in front of a continuous loop of Dora the Explorer or the Fresh Beat Band so they can read my book, I’ll absolve them of their guilt, because that was always my nefarious plan.

That’s a great plan.What’s the best thing said about one of your books by a reviewer?

Life First got a great review from Griffin’s Honey Blog: “This novel was a poignant, riveting, thought-provoking read that had me entranced from page one until the very end of the book. In simple speak, I literally could not put it down.”

I’m sure that felt rewarding since that should be the goal for all writers. Tell us the one sentence pitch for the new book.

Strong-willed Kelsey Reed must escape tonight or tomorrow her government will take her kidney and give it to someone else.

Geez, I hope she escapes. That certainly captures the reader’s attention. How was the book was conceived in your imagination?

I got the idea after seeing an article about a woman who refused to have cesarean section because she didn’t want to be “sliced open like a pig” and the baby died. There was much conjecture over whether doctors should have simply done surgery without the woman’s permission to save the baby. After reading the article, I wondered what a society would look like if it pitted one person’s survival against another. A society where they’d slice you open and take what they needed to save someone else.

Without giving us a spoiler, tell us a little bit about your favorite scene in this book.

My favorite non-spoiler scene is one where Kelsey and Luke discuss what will happen if she doesn’t escape: a holding facility. In holding facilities, the future’s answers to prisons, inmate are held until their organs are needed by law abiding citizens. At that point, the organs are harvested and the inmates die. Kelsey has this great line about holding facilities being the “used parts drawer the government reaches into to cure it’s neediest patients.”  That’s a great, early scene in the book, one of my favorites.

What else do you want readers to know about your book?

It’s an Awesome Indies Approved book.

Thanks for stopping by today, R.J. I wish you the best on your books and the completions of the unnamed book 3.

RJCraytonAbout R.J. Crayton: She grew up in Illinois and now lives in a Maryland suburb of Washington, DC. She is a fiction writer by day and a ninja mom by night (What is a ninja mom, you ask? It’s the same as a regular mom, only by adding the word ninja, it explicitly reveals the stealth and awesomeness required for the job of mom). Before having children, Crayton was a journalist. She’s worked at big publications like the Wichita Eagle and the Kansas City Star, and little publications like Solid Waste Report and Education Technology News. Her first novels, Life First and Second Life, were published in 2013. The third novel in the series will be released in 2014.

Links

Website: R.J. Crayton

Facebook: R.J. Crayton, Author

Twitter: @RJCrayton

Goodreads

Pinterest

Amazon Author Central

Author Wednesday – Cate Beauman

typewriterWelcome to Author Wednesday. Today I welcome Cate Beauman, author of The Bodyguards of L.A. County series. She’s published four books in the series and the fifth will soon be available.All-Book-Covers-Side-by-Side

Welcome to Author Wednesday, Cate. I’m very happy to introduce you and your series today. I love to hear from fellow authors about the moment they first realized they were writers/authors. When were you first able to call yourself a “writer” or “author?”

Honestly, I still have a hard time calling myself an “author.” The past year of my life has been incredibly surreal. When I released Morgan’s Hunter, Falling For Sarah, and Hailey’s Truth last October, I had no idea the books would go bestseller, especially not as quickly as they did. When Forever Alexa did the same in May, I was ecstatic. I often read of people’s dreams coming true, but you always think that will happen to someone else. I never planned on being a writer—and a successful one at that. I’m thrilled and blessed that I get to wake up and do what I love every day.

Congratulations on a very quick rise to success. Is there someone who’s influenced or inspired your writing? 

Hands-down, Nora Roberts. I want to be Nora when I grow up! The woman’s a machine! She’s written more than two hundred amazingly entertaining novels. I’ve read just about every one. Ms. Roberts manages to create compelling characters you can’t help but fall in love with while she immerses her readers in a great story.  If I entertain my readers even half as much as she’s entertained me over the years, I’ll be a very happy lady!

Ms. Roberts’ work ethic is also inspiring. She’s the epitome of ‘how bad do you want it?’ Her dedication to the craft keeps me going when I’m certain I can’t possibly type one more word.

Tell us a little bit about your next release.

I’m currently getting ready for the November 3 launch of Waiting for Wren, the fifth novel in The Bodyguards of L.A. County series. I’ve also started writing the sixth book, Justice For Abby, which will be available in spring 2014.

Since you’re writing a series, I assume all of the books have a common thread. Is that true?

The Bodyguards of L.A. County series is about the close protection agents of Ethan Cooke Security. Each novel chronicles a different guard and the woman he meets along the way. Technically, the books can be read as standalones, but most fans enjoy reading them in order since past characters show up in future stories.

Are you planning to continue writing in the same genre?

I’m a Romantic Suspense girl all the way.  I love creating complex plots that weave love and danger together.  I think the romance in a story is heightened considerably when your characters have so much more to lose. I can’t imagine writing any other genre.

What advice can you give to other writers about receiving a bad review?

Oh, the bad review. Unfortunately negative reviews are inevitable. Not everyone is going to like our work. Some readers will love the stories and characters we create, and others will hate them. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Honestly, I choose not to read my reviews—positive or negative. I don’t feel as though reviews are written as a personal message to me but as someone’s guide to helping others choose a quality book to read. I think the path to peace lies in knowing you’ve given each story everything you have. If that’s the case, then it’s easier to shrug your shoulders and move on to writing of the next great adventure.

You’re very wise. It’s so very true that reviews are subjective and are not personal laurels or attacks. Are your books traditionally or self-published?

I’m proud to say I’m an Indie Author. I love self-publishing. I’ve truly never been interested in going the traditional route. After doing lots of research, I knew self-publishing was right for me. I like that I set my own schedule, my own word counts, deadlines, and promotions. I work with a great editor, cover artist, and formatter. My business manager does an excellent job of helping me keep everything together. I truly love what I do and wouldn’t want to do it any other way.

One last question: Do you listen to music while you’re writing?

I can’t imagine NOT listening to music while I write. I’m a huge fan of Pandora and YouTube. I enjoy all kinds of music—Top 40, classical, oldies. Usually my selections depend on my mood and where my characters are in their stories.

Cate, it’s been a pleasure to host you today, and I hope you’ll come back to promote your new books.

Cate profile picAbout Cate Beauman from Cate Beauman: I currently live in Tennessee with my husband, two boys, and our St. Bernard, Bear. I recently resigned from my day job to concentrate on this thing I refer to as ‘My Dream Come True’ career! I’m a pretty lucky girl; one day I woke up and my entire life changed. I saw the light, so to speak, and decided I was going to be a writer. Now, two years later, I’m working on the fourth novel in my best-selling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards Of L.A. County.

Links to Cate and her books:

Amazon page with links to all books

Website: www.catebeauman.com

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/CateBeauman

Goodreads:  www.goodreads.com/catebeauman

Writer’s Write, and Then They Write Again

crazy author

writer writing

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

Here I am with four books published on Kindle and in paperback through Createspace. I started this journey of Indie Author with the publication of Live from the Road in May 2012. It’s been sixteen months, and I’ve learned and suffered and fretted. I’ve also enjoyed being in control of my work. I still don’t have a formula for success, but I keep plodding along.

At the prodding of another fellow author and blogger, I decided it was time to check the figures on my books. All four books are enrolled in Amazon’s KDP Select program, which means every ninety days I’m given five days to offer one of the books for free. I decide what days and can split them up into different free days. The point of giving away the book is to get it into the hands of as many folks as possible, hoping for reviews and residual sales after the free event. The number of reviews on Amazon affects the sales or so the experts say. Also, with KDP Select, readers can “borrow” the book on their Kindle. Authors receive a percent of the KOLL fund for these borrowed books. The amount varies month to month. For instance, in June, five of my books were borrowed, and I received a payment of $11.19, in addition to my royalty for sold books.

I do know sales have dropped since last summer. I’m disappointed in my sales record for Trails in the Sand, my latest release. I’m pleasantly surprised with the success of Live from the Road, a book I published simply to test the Indie Author waters.

Embarking on the Indie route requires an outlay of money for editing services (an absolute must) and cover design (another must unless you’re a trained graphic designer). Fortunately, I have a background in formatting so I did my own work there, but some folks may have to pay for that service as well. I’ve kept my advertising budget low. The biggest expenditure I made was for a book tour ($120, plus a giveaway valued at $50) for Trails in the Sand, and it was a bust as far as sales. I might have picked up a few blog followers as a result, but there was no residual effect for book sales. Next time, I’ll organize the tour myself and find blogs better suited for my platform. I’ve paid $5 and $10 here and there for advertising my free days, and I believe that works well. One time I paid out $80 for advertising after the free days on the advice of one of the biggest Indie Author support groups, and I didn’t see any benefit in networking or sales.

For my one nonfiction book on Kindle, From Seed to Table, I didn’t pay for editing, but I did have proofreaders on the project. I paid for a cover, and I haven’t converted it to paperback, and probably won’t because it contains so many images.

Here’s the breakdown of estimated cost to produce and advertise each book, along with sales, borrowed, and free “sale” figures:

FinalWebSizeLive from the Road (May 2012 – August 22, 2013)

Cost to Produce – $530

Sold – 430

Borrowed – 53

Free – 26,009

Politics Florida-styleTortoise Stew – (July 2012 – August 22, 2013)

Cost to Produce – $130 (reprint)

Sold – 28

Borrowed – 1

Free – 677

3-D1webTrails in the Sand (December 2012 – August 22, 2013)

Cost to Produce – $1,030

Sold – 46

Borrowed – 0

Free – 3,499

S2T-5From Seed to Table (May 2013 – August 22, 2013)

Cost to Produce – $150

Sold – 43

Borrowed – 7

Free – 10,204

I’m still in the hole for three of the books, but Live from the Road has paid for itself and covered the cost of some of the other books as well. I’m getting reviews for all of the books, except Tortoise Stew (one did come in last week after the free days, so hopefully reviews will increase). In the beginning, I chased down reviewers for Live, but then became disillusioned with giving away books and never seeing a review in return. I’m up to forty-one reviews for that book – they keep coming in steadily even sixteen months after the book’s publication. So far, Trails in the Sand has garnered eighteen reviews. I hope the free days from this month will result in more.

I do know having the books available for sale is better than having them languish in a file cabinet. I’m constantly trying new things, but I don’t have any magical formula for you.

Right now, writing and selling books is my job. It’s a great luxury to have this time, but it’s not supporting anything quite yet.

I remain optimistic as I keep writing. It’s the best advice I can give anyone. When I get a bad or good review, I get back to writing. When I do get discouraged, I write. Usually by the end of the day, the cloud dissipates, and I’m back on the keyboard hacking happily away.

I’m definitely a writer in my heart, body, mind, and soul; therefore, I write.

I’d love to hear about your experiences or answer any questions you might have. It’s a whole new world out there for authors, and I’m content for now to be exploring the Indie Author gig.