Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Character Interview from author Meg Mims

Double Crossing - Lily Granville and Ace Diamond Square Off

What do you get when you pair up a wealthy, well-bred heiress – sheltered and educated with an impulsive streak – and a gambling, mercenary Texan cowboy?

Double Crossing is a twist on “True Grit” but it takes place on the 1869 Iron Horse – months after the Union and Central Pacific railroad lines joined at Promontory Point. Nineteen-year-old Lily Granville is stunned with her father is murdered and vows to track the killer across the country to California - who also stole a valuable gold mine deed.

Once Lily arrives in Omaha, she discovers that someone is now tracking her. Could it be the killer? And why? Lily decides to enlist “Ace” Diamond, who agrees to protect her – for a price.

Q for Lily – how did you feel when you first met Ace?
A – Since he literally crashed his way into my life, I did feel a twinge of compassion… he was injured, and I felt my Christian duty was to help… until I caught sight of his Confederate belt buckle with the Texas Lone Star. I *know* my father would never have approved of an ex-Rebel soldier – and that deepened my guilt. However, after someone searched my hotel room and my personal belongings, I had no choice but to hire Ace Diamond for protection. He was the most unlikely “angel” as an answer from God after I’d prayed for help! I suppose beggars can’t be choosers, though.

Q for Ace – what was your first impression of Lily?
A – First time I set eyes on that pretty filly, all golden-haired and sweet, with the most kissable mouth, I was bushwhacked. Couldn’t remember my own name.

Q for Lily – were you surprised that Ace bargained with you over his fee?
A – To be truthful, I was. I offered him a fair wage, but then he demanded an exorbitant amount in addition to the expense of a Pullman ticket! But it made sense that he had to be near on the train. Still, he insisted on a bonus once we reached California. And I was furious when I discovered that Ace had bragged to the other gentlemen in the smoking car about that bonus I promised my uncle would pay - him when we arrived in California! And that was before we were halfway across country. Really, Mr. Diamond was quite presumptuous. And forward, given his roving—well, let’s just say he’s no gentleman. I shouldn’t have been surprised at that!

Q for Ace – why did you accept Lily’s offer?
A – Easy as ropin' a baby steer, riding shotgun on a train. But that stubborn little gal sure fooled me. I earned my fee. And then some.

Q for Lily – before the railroad trip, what was your dream for a happy future?
A – I wanted… well, I wasn’t really certain what I wanted and whether I'd be happy becoming a missionary to China. I know my father wanted me to marry and provide him with grandchildren. He believed I deserved a decent man, a good provider and one who supported my ideas. I did want to experience adventure and independence, since I'd lived a sheltered life in Evanston, just north of Chicago, but I also wanted to come home again where I felt safe. I so enjoyed long talks with Father, sketching my pet lizard in the lovely garden and watching the leaves change in fall and the snow fall in winter. Father’s death changed everything, however. I was devastated. And I *had* to see that justice was done.

Q for Ace – what about you, same question?
A – A good woman in a nice, cozy bed. I’ve got my eye on a certain woman now.

Hmm -- seems Ace is a man of few words. Lily will soon find herself in hotter water in the sequel, Double or Nothing -- I hope readers are looking forward to more adventures!

You can follow Meg Mims at:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Character Interview

On Kindle and Nook: &

Seven very different singles – four women and three men – rent a New Jersey beach house for the summer: author Shontae Nichols, self-employed accountant and realtor, Linda Harris, Linda’s sister, hip-hop video dancer Kinnik Watkins, cosmetologist, Jovita Blassingame, Calculus professor Curtis “Doc” Whetstone, actor and drama instructor, Kip Lee, and new housemate, up and coming film actor, Devon Burke.

During their two month stay, romances bloom, friendships are tested and when a tragedy strikes one of the housemates, they all learn the answer to the age-old question: Can men and women ever be just friends?

Interview with Kinnik Watkins, the female antagonist in HOT FUN IN THE SUMMERTIME

I have been invited to Beach Haven, New Jersey to the house where Kinnik Watkins and her friends are spending the summer. To give us some privacy, we cross the beach and sit in the gazebo about 100 feet from the house. All the tall, voluptuous bronze goddess is wearing is a microscopic bikini and a pair of oversized sunglasses.

Me:  Before we get started, can you tell me the correct way to pronounce your name?

Kinnik: (with a coquettish smile I find a bit strange.) It’s Kinnik. It rhymes with unique.

Me: You’re my second interview. As I explained to Shontae, I write for a magazine that wants to do a story about real singles living at the Jersey shore, considering how the TV show has become such a big hit.

Kinnik: (She slides her shades to the end of her nose and glances at me with soft, light brown eyes.) Something’s always on and popping on that show. I love it.

Me: (I sit on the chaise next to where she is reclining.) Thanks for agreeing to talk with me.

Kinnik: (flashes a captivating smile and runs her manicured fingers through the long strawberry blonde hair that complements her cafĂ© au lait complexion) Sure, why not? You’ll probably need me to straighten out whatever Shontae told you anyway.

Me: I’m going to ask everyone the same questions, and I’ll be taping this, if you don’t mind.

Kinnik: (She crosses legs that make me want to hurry and call the nearest plastic surgeon for an emergency liposuction appointment.) No problem. I’m used to being recorded.

Me: I understand this is your third year together, so you must know your housemates pretty well. Can you tell me a little bit about each of them?

Kinnik: I guess this is the best they can do when it comes to vacations, considering none of them are making really big money. I’m only here because my sister begged me to come. Personally, I think she has something up her sleeve.

Me: (checking my notes) Linda’s your sister. Is she older or younger?

Kinnik: (rolls her eyes) Older, and she always has to make it a point to remind me. She says she wants to talk to me about my career. Since she paid my rent for the summer, I couldn’t very well refuse. Linda doesn’t like me dancing, but I am not a nine-to-five person. She forgets that I make more than she does in a year, and I have two kids to take care of.

Me and Jo have been friends for years. She’s for real people, the only one in this house that doesn’t judge every more I make. Jo is my makeup artist and hair stylist and she’s got mad skills. She’s just here to chill and see if her old man is going to pop the question.

Me: Tell me about the men.

Kinnik: (Flips her hair over one shoulder) Kip is my boy. We spent some time together during our first summer in Beach Haven, but that’s ancient history. Kip’s here to see how much coochie he can conquer in eight weeks. Doc, well there isn’t much I can say about him. When he doesn’t have his nose stuck in a book, he’s sniffing after my sister. Linda is the only reason he’s here, but he’s wasting his time, if you ask me. Kip and Devon provide the testosterone. They’re both so fine; you can hear the panties dropping when they walk into a room.

Me: You forgot Shontae.

Kinnik: (with another eye roll) No, I didn’t. She’s just not worth mentioning.

Me: Why is that?

Kinnik: Because she’s easily forgettable.

Me: That’s funny. Shontae seemed very pleasant.

Kinnik: (stiffens and haughtily raises her chin) That’s because you don’t know her. That bitch is boring as hell and thinks she’s better than everybody else. I can’t understand why. All she does is stay closed up in the sunroom banging on her laptop. She lives in her little fantasy world cooking up stories in her head. Shontae wouldn’t know how to deal with a real man if her life depended on it. She thinks she’s better than everyone else. I can’t stand her cheap dressing, snobby ass.

Me: Do you think each of your housemates has a motive for being here this summer?

Kinnik: They sure as hell do. Doc is chasing Linda. Jo says she’s researching her new stylist business, but she’s really waiting for Walter to ask her to marry his dusty old ass. She’s been waiting for five years. Devon is rehearsing for the lead role in the new movie Denzel’s directing, and he needs to study the script.

Me: (smiling at the way she’s avoided telling me about herself.) So what about you, Kinnik? Why are you here?

Kinnik: I’m just breezin’ in and out when I’m not in the Hamptons with Q. I’d much rather be there.

Me: That’s Q.E., Quentin Edwards, the rapper?

Kinnik: (a proud smile lights her beautiful face) That’s right. I’ve been staying with him for the past couple of months, but Linda insisted I spend some time with her.

Me: Isn’t Q.E. the one who was recently assaulted his personal assistant?

Kinnik: (puckers her lips then sucks her teeth) That’s never going to court. The heifer is still working for him, so she can’t be too upset about him clocking her in the head and pushing her into the pool. (Her face spreads into a proud smile.) Yeah. This place is okay, but his estate is off the chain. It’s all about luxury. The food is better, and I don’t have to do any housework when I’m there. His chef and butler wait on me hand and foot.

Me: So are you two a couple.

Kinnik: (her eyes becoming flat and unreadable as stone before she picks up her sunglasses and puts them back on.) “When we’re together, we’re a couple.

Me: (the thread of warning in her voice lets me know it’s time to end the interview.) Kinnik, it’s been a pleasure. As I mentioned to Shontae, maybe I’ll be back at the end of August to hear what actually happened during your vacation.

Kinnik: (rising to her impressive full height. Adjusts her bikini to make sure it’s covering everything important.) Yeah, check in and see who’s left standing.

Character Interview from Author Jennifer Alli

Interview with a Vampire.

I suppose I should tell you a little about me. My name’s Jennifer T. Alli, feel free to call me Jen J. I write paranormal romance novels and am getting quite prolific. Not anywhere near as many as Kresley Cole or Gena Showalter who I adore, but still…I have 5 books under my belt and a sixth on the way. I realised the other day that I’ve written over half a million words and I think anyone would agree that’s a lot. I’ve been writing for quite some time, initially I kept my writing private but then I discovered the internet and made everything public. The internet is awesome and I met some lovely people by posting my work online but after 3 separate cases of plagiarism I decided to start self publishing and so here I am.

I think that’s probably quite enough from me we’re here to have an interview with a vampire not listen to my ramblings. If you’ve not read anything in my Elemental Passions series then I suppose I should introduce you to Lucian. I still don’t know whether I’d be intimidated or enticed if I met him in a dark alley late at night. Dark hair, even darker eyes, tall and wide with a no nonsense mouth that only a certain someone has ever managed to make smile. If I’m honest he has a bit of an attitude problem so bear with us I’ve had to coerce him into this interview but here goes.

(Available on -

JTA: “Evening Lucian, how are you tonight?”
Lucian: “Busy. Just ask your questions so I can be on my way.”
JTA: *mumbles to herself* “Rude much?”
Lucian: “I’m a vampire, I can hear you.”
JTA: “Fine, tell us a little about yourself.”
Lucian: “Are you serious? If that’s the sort of question you’re going to ask then I’m leaving.”
Sara: “Lucian, you agreed to do this remember? If you don’t want me to wear my sword crafting clothes you’re going to do this. Ask your questions Jen.”
JTA: “Okay, so we’ll try that again. Tell us a little about yourself.”
Lucian: “If you haven’t already guessed I’m a busy man. Wars don’t win themselves.
JTA: “War? Do tell.”
Lucian: *Sighs* “I’m not going to be able to get out of doing this am I?”
Sara and JTA: “No.”
Lucian: “Fine. I’ll tell you about myself. I’m a vampire. The oldest of my kind and I’ve spent hundreds of years at war.”
JTA: “Why?”
Lucian: “Because I got sick of people trying to take my head when I was asleep. My people needed a leader otherwise we were going to get ourselves all killed by silly humans like you. For the sake of pride if nothing else. We don’t need to kill as we feed. William didn’t quite understand that but don’t worry, I fixed that problem easily enough.”
JTA: “You’ve made me want to know more. Spill it! Tell us what happens to you in your story.”
Lucian: *groans* “This is going to take much longer than I was told it would…If you must know I was trying to win a war when this woman shows up and ruins everything…Well at the time I thought she was going to ruin everything. I know better now. But it still stands that she was a distraction. One that literally came into my life and turned everything upside down. I wanted to bite her so badly…She was a walking, talking temptation especially in those ridiculous clothes she uses to craft her swords.
JTA: “You’re a vampire, you’re meant to bite people and you said it yourself you don’t need to kill as you feed. I’m not seeing the problem. If you wanted to bite her you should have just done it.”
Lucian: “You sound just like Sara. It was complicated.”
JTA: “Complicated? That means interesting. Spill the beans.”
Lucian: “I’m not telling you anything. Why would I want to publicise my one and only weakness?”
JTA: “Good point, good point…But we do find out what it is if we read the book right?”
Lucian: “Sadly I can’t kill everyone who knows the secret all I can do is keep it contained.”
JTA: “Fine, next question. Tell us about your relationship with Sara.”
Lucian: *A small smile touches his lips.*
JTA: *mumbles to herself* “A smile like that should be illegal, it’s a lethal weapon. Yup, I’ve decided if I met him in a dark alley I’d definitely be enticed…”
Lucian: “My relationship with Sara is complicated. The relationship between a vampire and his bride always is.”
JTA: “Details!”
Lucian: “I didn’t want her. The first time I saw her, smelt her blood I knew she was the one but I left her…unconscious on the street.”
JTA: “You did what? You really left her passed out alone on a street? Anything could of happened to her!”
Lucian: “But it didn’t. I assigned someone to watch her but I knew without even speaking to her that she was going to be trouble. She was on fire and calling out for help. What normal person does that?”
Sara: “I was cursed at the time.”
Lucian: “You’re not really saying anything that contradicts my point. In fact, that’s another point. I was trying to win a war and this woman, who I didn’t even want anywhere near me forces her way into my life and says that I’m the cure to her curse. If that isn’t a distraction then you tell me what is.”
JTA: “So you don’t want her then?”
Lucian: “………If you ever make such a suggestion again I’ll cut your tongue out so that you can’t ever ask such a ridiculous question again. She’s mine.”
JTA: *mumbles to herself* “Changed my mind, I’d be terrified if I met you in a dark alley. I don’t think I’m ever leaving my house at night again.”
JTA: “Fine, so you want her. That’s fine, keep her. If you had to describe Sara in one word then what would it be?”
Lucian: “I’ll describe her in three.”
JTA: “But I said one…” *Remembers the flash of red in his eyes* “Fine, have three.”
Lucian: “In a nutshell Sara is brave, fierce and a menace to my sanity.”
JTA: “That was more than three…but moving on. Sara, I know we’re technically not interviewing you but could you describe Lucian in a word?”
Sara: “Determined.”
JTA: “Well I was going to go for rude but to each her own…”
Lucian: “Are we done yet? Some of us have better things to do.”
JTA: “Fine, you can go I just have one last question for Sara.”
Lucian: “I told you she was a menace to my sanity. I can’t leave her anywhere by herself. She’s a magnet for trouble. Just ask your question and we’ll both leave.”
JTA: “Fine. Sara, can you tell us a little about the Elemental Passions series as a whole?”
Sara: “Well the Elemental Passions series is about four people who have each been cursed. Each curse is different and we’ve got to try and figure out a way to break it. Lucian was the cure for my curse but I needed the one to cool my flame and who better than a vampire? If he’s not touching me he can be freezing at times. Is that everything?”
JTA: “Just one last thing I promise. What was your curse?”
Sara: *Smiles as she gets to her feet* “If I hadn’t met Lucian I would have died. If you want to find out more about my curse and my three siblings of the soul then the information is out there somewhere right?”
JTA: “Yeah, it’s on my blog.”
Sara: “Perfect.”
Lucian: “Can we go now?”
JTA: “Yes, go.” *Waits until they’re both gone* “I think I’d rather be dead than tied to that man for all eternity…to each her own I suppose.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Love Talk with Adora Smutz

Today's character interview is from author Jean Joachim. Enjoy!
This week Adora interviews, Mac Caldwell, hero of Now and Forever 1, a Love Story:

Adora: So, Mac, hunky guy, how are you today?

Mac: A little annoyed, Adora. Danny Maine said he got his name in the title of his book by sleeping with Jean. Well I've been sleeping with Jean for a much longer time and I don't have my name on a book though she said she would!

Adora: Really, Mac. Grow up. Jean is telling you what you want to hear, just to get at your hot body. And it is hot, I'll admit that!

Mac: *blushes* Thanks, Adora. She has actually said I'm her favorite hero. Oh, don't tell Callie about Jean and me. I haven't slept with Jean since I started sleeping with Callie. Don't want to get them confused, Jean might write Callie out of the next book and I'd be a horny and frustrated guy. Not to say I don't love Callie...

Adora: Yeah, yeah Mac. We get it. You love Callie's body, be honest here.

Mac: Callie is more than a body to me, Adora, you know that. Why are you trying to cause trouble between us?

Adora: Okay, okay, Mac. No harm meant *Adora holds up her hands*. Geez. Sensitive aren't we? So tell me, what is your favorite position with Callie?

Mac: Any position. I love making love to her anyway I can. And you can print Jean going to read this? *Mac starts to sweat.*

Adora: She better read this or I'm quitting!

Mac: Then maybe you should take back what I just said.

Adora: *wearing an evil grin*, Too late, Mac. It's already in print.

Mac: Oh, crap!

Adora: So how many times a week do you and Callie make love *Adora picks up pen, poised over paper*

Mac: What? I'm not going to answer that. Jean said you'd try something like this. She said to stick to the plot of the book. Ask me about the drug gang...or how I felt about Callie doing things without telling me...

Adora: Doing what things? Is Callie sleeping with someone else?

Mac: She is? Where is he? No, no, that's ridiculous. Callie would never...

Adora: Is she sleeping with Danny, the hero of Now and Forever 2?

Mac: She'd never do that! Eliza would kill her. I would kill her, then we'd both kill Danny. *Mac comes halfway out of his chair*

Adora: Had you going there, didn't I?

Mac: Danny said you were a real ball buster and I didn't believe him. Maybe I should ask you who you’re sleeping with…there’s a rumor you made a play for Danny but he turned you down.

Adora: *blushes* That's all we have time for today *gestures neck cutting with her hand to cameraman.*

Mac: You don't get off that easy. I want to talk about the book.

Adora: Come back again soon, Mac. For “Love Talk”, this is Adora Smutz, signing off!

Check out the book on

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Kathleen Grieve's character interview with Dr. Cruz Avery

Every day for the next few weeks a different author each day will post an interview with one of their characters.

I hope you'll keep coing back to join everyone each day. Thank you.

Today author KathleenGrieve's interviews Dr. Cruz Avery.


“Hello, I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Dr. Cruz Avery and you will meet me in Kathleen Grieve’s current release, Dating 911. It is the story of my twin brother, Jett and how he doesn’t use the best judgment when dealing with his post traumatic stress disorder after he lost his best friend in a fire.”

“But has Jett ever used good judgment?” A bitter laugh escapes full, sexy lips. “Hell no! I remember the time when we…”Cruz shrugs and shakes his head. “Never mind. So. He steals my girl and I get stuck at a dinner party with one of my Mother’s “choice” dates, who by the way was no peach, not even if you counted the fuzz growing on her chin. Why would I be pissed off? Well, Roxanne wasn’t exactly mine…but she would’ve been if Jett wouldn’t have come barging in, fire hose blazing…”

Cruz paces the new office he was recently given when he was promoted as the Director of Phoenix General’s Emergency Room. It’s small, windowless, with only enough room for a generic desk, bookshelf crammed with medical texts and budget binders, and a chair for a guest, but he spans the 5x10 room anyway.

He turns to me and pierces me with those penetrating grey eyes. “Why didn’t I get Roxanne and not Jett? Was it because he was so tragic? Lost? Women fall for that sort of thing, I guess. Do I sound like a bitter asshole?” He straightens and smoothes the dark blue silk tie and black Armani suit jacket he is wearing. “I’m not hurting for dates. I have more women than I know what to do with. I am Dr. Cruz Avery, after all.” He winks.

It was my turn to shrug. As his creator, I’m fully aware that Cruz doesn’t want to hear my answer, as he sits back behind his desk and shuffles some papers.

“Work. That’s what I need. Forget women…Forget dating all together. This ER is a complete mess and I intend to make some real changes here…”

Poor Cruz. What happened to him in Dating 911? Did he deserve Roxanne’s love? What’s in store for him in Book 2 of my Dating Series, Dating Impossible? Will he finally find the happiness he deserves?

Before I go I’d like to thank you for having me here today! I’d like to leave you with a picture of Dr. Cruz Avery looking a bit more relaxed…

When you look like this, I can see why Roxanne had a really hard time choosing between these hot twins! Dating 911 is available now at

To find out more about Kathleen Grieve and her books, you can stop by her blog, Keeping A Pulse On Life & Romance at:

Her website:
Follow her on Twitter: @KathleenGrieve

Follow her on Facebook:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Vacation (kind of)

This Thanksgiving I have sixteen people coming for dinner, and since housework is the first job to go by the wayside when I'm writing/editing, my house needs some major help!


So I'm taking this week as a blog/Twitter vacation. I'll be back on Monday, November 28th!

Wishing all of you in the States all a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

"Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Writer Wednesday - Indie Author Spotlight #2

Today I am pleased to welcome author Cynthia Meyers-Hanson. Cynthia is one of Twitter pals, and a very interesting person. Below is the story of her fascinating and prolific self-publishing journey. Welcome, Cynthia!

B Inspired by Cindy

My favorite question during book interviews is: How did you get started?  The short answer is that my mother died.  Some people dream of being authors; my writing began as what could be described as a nightmare!  However- as she died, mom’s experiences ran the gamut from going through all the grieving steps a terminal soul follows to having what would be called a Christian NDE- if she had lived.  I was in the room most of the times that she visited with God, Jesus, or multitudes of angels and souls.  Believing everything she said even during what others called babbling, I became her translator.  When most of her messages from God panned out, people in Orlando buzzed with the story of my parent’s death or Cindy’s tale.  My grief counselor listened to my version of the events requiring I write my first book: Mom’s on the Roof and I Can’t Get Her Down. That covers 1991-1994 or until interest in my saga died.
Mom's on the Roof and I Can't Get Her Down

Years later, to my surprise- people from all over the USA suddenly called asking for copies.  I had no paperbacks of my first book left even though 1,000 had been in print. Meanwhile, computers changed so drastically that my backup disk was useless.  So, I input one chapter at a time freely e-mailing my new fans the story that way.  The demand became too great, and my e-mail provider balked or locked me out.  Soon, I found a POD and distributed through them.  At about the same time or starting in 2000, mom or God’s prophecies found in my first book began to materialize.  My story-copyrighted in 1994- was proving itself as the truth!  It felt miraculous- even for me!

Much later, I produced more books including chronicling my niece’s merge into my family Stacey’s Song.  Another short paperback The Evans Terrace Girls was about small miracles as my neighborhood grieved seven parents’ deaths within about two years.  Right after that hard time, I met Wavie Green.  After a car accident, while pregnant, she outlived a 14-day coma. The lady claims that she talked with God during while unconscious state; according to her story, she still communicates with HIM even while wide-awake.  After reading my three works, Wavie asked me to write her sage Through the Storms He Performs.  That was my first book outside of my personal realm; I have written and rejected other books since then.   Most of my first seven books were about faith, God, hope, faith healings, angels and miraculous interventions. 

Stacey's SongThe Evans Terrace GirlsThrough the Storms HE Performs: Learning to Trust and believe in Jesus

Changes were coming!  Due to a genealogy study, after meeting with some cousins at a local grave yard, I wrote my first novel.  Talk about relatives coming out of the woodwork when they think you are famous.  I am jesting- of course!  My relatives handed me some incredible family secrets asking me to compile a book.  I acquiesced but only if it could be a novel.  Their notes became my very first attempt at writing fiction; I came up with a pen name of Sydney S. Song to differentiate between my true stories and my novels based on truths or half-truths Surreal- The Hell in the Family.  Soon, some of my other readers with secrets wanted stories told anonymously and autonomously.  Thus, I released three more books based on true lives of normal people!

SURREAL- The Hell in the Family

Then, the really fun writing started.  While working for free at my daughter and her husband’s Christmas tree lot, I blogged my experiences.  This effort became It’s a Celebration, a limited edition non-fiction book that you can only get from me- as a gift.  My experiences that holiday, also, led to my first children’s books Frasier the Fir is Forever Green.  After completing that story including the illustrations, I only gave copies to my children and grandchildren; for obvious reasons, I kept my real name on these three books.  The youngsters asked for more books. Quickly, I wrote an Easter tale and a book about accepting your ‘Lot in Life.’  Three is a charm!

Frasier the Fir is Forever Green

When my books were written, what did I do to market them? How do I do my PR?  In my self-promotion work, I’ve run the gamut of suggestions from other authors and people. I’ve done it all. I queried publishers and agents.  I used a small publisher willing to risk a thousand copies on my first printing of mom’s miracle story.  I had a marketing agent but got my own interviews and book fairs for my first book.  I even handed out copies of my books to strangers and celebrities. I ask for reviews and ratings from those reading my books.  I giveaway free books hoping for a following as well as ratings, rankings, and FB likings- which doesn’t always pan out- but I’m a believer!

Currently, my goal is selling more books to people outside my circle of colleagues, neighbors, friends, and family!  I started at the local book fair circuit where I found myself in the darkest corner tables in the less trafficked areas so I decided to branch out online.  I dove into Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to establish relationships for promotion.  I needed more PR and awareness of my writing. Years later, instead of me asking them, people have begun asking me to write essays for inclusion in their ‘Chicken Soup’ type books- to write short stories for their anthologies- to become the subject of their blogs- to compile articles- to ghostwrite- to co-author, and the like.  In fact, some people have blogged my works or done nice reviews of some of my books without me even asking them to do it. Plus, as my book count grew from one to more than fourteen, I have learned other avenues of publishing and PR from fellow authors in social networks.  Some fellow writers have introduced me to Kindle, Smashwords, and e-formatting so that I could convert my work into eBooks.  I, also, left my stories as traditional paperbacks, which broadens my audience. Other authors have made me a part of their blog hops and fests.  In other words, being online has opened new branding opportunities as well as sales and writing avenues for me.

It’s a numbers game- for sure! After working a short time at a celebrity branding company, I’ve been trying to brand myself so people know what they are getting.  For example, my forte is being honest; this sincerity helps me with my image or branding because - half of my books are non-fictions. I try to be and remain authentic for my readers.  Therefore, I write fiction under a pen name so that my reader knows the difference between my inspirational, miraculous, true books- and my fictions full of embellishments with poetic license but based on half-truths. Furthering my PR efforts, I do interviews whenever possible.  Plus, I write a book based blog  Using my computer skills, I built a web presence; my author page is; it’s where people can get a feel for my books by category and find all my sales links.  I speak at churches and other gatherings when possible; I continue to go to local book stores and fairs for signings.  Also, I am trying GoodReads and similar sites, now!  Better late than never?  

Now for my last truthful comments for this piece!  PR- including good marketing and branding- are very time consuming.  If there was a better way to promote my books that was truly affordable- I’d do it!  Plus, let’s face it; there is an explosion of writers especially in the e-book arena.  Let’s be honest!  The place is so flooded that even free books can lag in sales.  That is why branding and PR has been my focus for over a year, and I have not written any new non-fiction or novels for that long.  I’ll let you in on a final secret; people like free stuff!  If you give too much, they begin to assume freebies!  Sometimes, I have pulled back on contests and free books to make people aware that I have them for sale.

My author page points to my other online locations; it contains a blog as well:

You can find all my paperbacks as well as Kindle versions through Amazon

some I-books are via LULU

and most e-versions of my books are available through Smashwords

My first and longest running blog site is

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fun Friday

This weekend I am feverishly working on finishing up the revisions to Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing. My editor is working on the first half, and I promised I'd get the balance to her by November 14. With the exception of attending the 100th birthday party for a friend's mother tomorrow, you know what I'll be doing all weekend ...

Hope these will help you start yours with a laugh:

What I'd really like to do this weekend is rearrange my tree-book keeper shelves in the family room like this. Since I'll probably never read them again, they don't need to be in any particular order. Nice, colorful idea, isn't it?

Okay, I'm heading back to the revision cave. Maybe by Sunday night I'll be able to chill for a while ...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Writer Wednesday - Indie Author Spotlight

Starting today, my Writer Wednesday entries will have a different focus. I want to let other indie authors talk about their experiences in this "brave new world," as some have called it.
Today I am proud to introduce Pamela Kay Noble Brown.

I met Pamela Twitter several months ago and we have since become faithful tweethearts (loyal followers that retweet each other's posts.) Her writing journey is very similar to my own in that her venture into the publishing world also began as a result of a job layoff, But I'll let her tell you about that.

Thank you so much, Chicki for having me as a guest on your blog.

Like many other authors, my road to indie publishing came by way of what I thought at the time was a horrendous detour on the highway of life.  I have always been an avid reader from the time I was a small child.  My parents started my love of words and stories by buying me toys that were fun, but always had an educational bent.  I also remember them reading to me constantly.  And I don’t think a summer went by, up until the time I was 16 or 17, when they didn’t have me enrolled in the reading program at the local library.  I was always so proud to get the gold star on a certificate at the end of those summers, signifying that I’d read the required number of books.

My love affair with books came to an abrupt halt in college with its required reading lists.  There was just something about being forced to read certain books that turned me off immediately, not to mention the book reports and exams on those books.  As an adult, I look back on those days and know it was not the quality of the books but rather youthful rebellion on my part that fueled my aversion to those volumes.  Much to my surprise, from time to time I’ve come across books I avoided like the plague in school (“The Great Gatsby” for one) and have thoroughly enjoyed reading them on my on terms, in my own time frame.

Now back to my self-publishing journey.  In addition to being a voracious reader, I have always loved telling stories.  Even though I have written short stories and poems for years, I never explored getting an agent or trying to get my books published the traditional route.  I wasn’t afraid, but as odd as it may sound, it just never occurred to me to try traditional publishing.  I’d see all of these books in the bookstores and libraries and that whole world just seemed shrouded in mystery to me.  It seems funny now, but somehow I equated them with some of the stories you hear of actors getting discovered sitting in Schwab’s Drugstore and someone approaching them and saying they could make them a star.  I figured that someone happened to read the stories of any given author and begged them to publish with their company.  Having since read the biographies of many authors, I now realize the huge effort that many of them put in to making their success stories happen, i.e. queries, agents, and receiving numerous rejection letters before that big break came along.

My horrendous detour referenced earlier came in the form of being laid off my job last year.  Although I’d purchased books and other things from Amazon, I didn’t know self-publishing existed.  My friend, author Sharon Oliver, introduced me to the concept of being an indie author.  Pointing out that sometimes life’s detours can actually be roadways to an unexplored destination, she encouraged me to use the forced downtime to consider publishing some of my work.  I was astonished and pleased to learn that writers have an avenue to put their works out there and let the readers decide if they like them.

I published my first book Revelations in February 2011, the second book Handcuffs and a Pyramid of Satin in July 2011, and am currently editing my third book.  What has my journey been like?  Well, one surprise was that every self-publishing story isn’t a carbon copy of Amanda Hocking’s monetary success.  One author said self-publishing is a not a sprint, but a marathon, and I have come to agree. Another thing I definitely was not expecting was the amount of time that would have to be devoted to marketing/promoting my books.  In my naivety, I assumed that as an author I would devote all of my time to writing.  But I quickly learned that even the most prolific author in the world will have their books rot on the virtual shelves unless they get the word out.  People can’t read a book that they don’t know even exists. 

Being an author is also an opportunity for constant growth.  Almost daily I learn something new about formatting, promoting, and different software packages.  As I learn, I’m still struggling to find that somewhat elusive balance wherein my day job, family life, writing, and marketing all work together to be mutually beneficial.  Wish me luck. LOL!

I must note that with writing being such a competitive field, I was amazed at the giving nature of the self-published authors I’ve come to know.  Instead of scoffing at newbies, they readily take time out of their busy schedules to answer questions.  Indie authors are one of the most welcoming communities I’ve ever had the pleasure to be a part of.  There is a prevalent and abiding “pay it forward” spirit.  I can’t count the number of times a more seasoned author has stepped up to kindly point the way and saved me hours of frustration and anguish.

I’ll close by saying that I wouldn’t trade the self-publishing experience for anything. I enjoy writing stories that make people think, but most of all, stories that make the reader feel something and care for my characters. I encourage anyone who has a story to tell to take the plunge, because you never know whose life your story was meant to touch, motivate, or entertain.

Revelations (Christian Fiction/Family Drama/Inspirational)

Melanie has finally met the man of her dreams, but life is never easy for one who has suffered a lifetime of horrific loss. She was compelled to return to her hometown, sure that enough years had passed since the tragedy. But why does she keep having those same horrible nightmares? Was domestic abuse a curse that was passed on from one generation to the next with no escape?

And her boyfriend's mother Mrs. Harriet Cornelius seems to be a sweet person, but there's something about her that Melanie just can't put her finger on. A shameful family secret may just keep Melanie from becoming too deeply involved, yet she longs for the kind of life and love others have. Will she find a way to overcome her fears, or will she simply walk away?

Handcuffs and a Pyramid of Satin   (Christian Fiction/Suspense Thriller/Romance)

Everybody knows Kelly has a wonderful marriage.  So why is she so restless?  Determined to get that elusive spark back in her life, Kelly takes off to her birthplace of Frankfurt, Germany, for the adventure of a lifetime.  There she is befriended by the ever so charming David, who immediately appoints himself as her translator and tour guide.  Kelly is so totally in love with her husband, but finds herself wishing he were more like her new friend David.  But it isn't long before Kelly realizes that life is not always greener on the other side of the fence.  In fact, it can be downright deadly!

*Pamela Kay Noble Brown’s books are available on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.  You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and her Blog.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Search for Balance

This weekend came to a close with me finding myself exhausted - even with the extra hour of sleep.

Of all the disciplines required for a full-time author, I have the most trouble with striking a balance between work and recreation (or relaxation). No matter what plan I concoct in my mind, write down on paper, confess to my critique partners, etc., I end up working seven days a week. This is not bragging, for sure. You see, I am not a proud workaholic like some.
Hardcore Workaholic by HolidayT-Shirts

My predicament could very well be because I don't have much of a life outside of my writing. Don't laugh. I'm serious. Other than church and the infrequent literary or family event, my daily schedule consists of housework, errands and television. I know that's sad, but by the time I finish working I'm too tired to do anything else.

After an early morning trip to Home Depot, for items to finish up the new bathroom floor, we spent Saturday morning sprucing up for Thanksgiving. Everyone comes to our house on Turkey Day, and we all go to my sister's for Christmas. After returning newly washed dishes to the now sparkling clean china closet in the dining room, we stripped the living room slipcovers and I vacuumed and Febreezed the furniture while the covers washed. He put the clean covers back on while I finally got to work on revisions for The Real Thing, which is supposed to go to my editor by this coming Friday.

Yesterday was the first Sunday of the month, the day I serve in the nursery. Over the years I've served in different ministries, and taking care of the babies so their moms can enjoy the service is my favorite. Unfortunately, one of my sweeties wasn't feeling well and had a case of diarrhea which resulted in my having to change her three times.

Another of the little ones is relatively new to the church and still hasn't grown accustomed to being away from her parents. Needless to say, she wasn't exactly a happy camper yesterday. Thankfully, I did have one joyful, smiley child. Thank you, Miss Kyla!

By the time we got back home from church, after hubby stopped at Blimpie for subs, all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and read for the rest of the day...

Only I had 104 e-mails, 24 Facebook messages and a few Twitter DMs to which I needed to respond.

Granted, all of the e-mail is a result of the groups I belong to, and most of those messages aren't addressed directly to me. Still I have to at least sort through them and delete the ones I don't need to read.

Once I dealt with the mail, I needed to continue working on the TRT revisions. But I just couldn't do it, and instead went upstairs to read and finish watching Fast Five on DVD. Within fifteen minutes of starting the movie, I was out cold with my Kindle resting on my chest (and people wonder why it takes me so long to read a book these days...).

By five o'clock we were hungry again. You know who wasn't cooking anything at that point, right? Curbside To Go from Applebees provided dinner while we finally watched the end of the movie. At eight o'clock, BET aired the fabulous Black Girls Rock special, and I watched that while I typed the questions for a blog interview I'm doing next week.

I've said all this to say that I think I'm losing the time management battle. There seems to be more and more to do and less time in which to do it. I feel as if I'm drowning. A recurrent daydream I have is one of a world where I can simply write endlessly and my work magically appears in cyberspace without the aid of Tweets, Facebook posts, online features, and interviews.

Well, I'm done with my rant (and with my Monday blog entry.) I'm not asking for answers to my mess, just some listening ears.

Thanks for listening ...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sample Sunday

Romance author, Shontae Nichols is spending the summer with seven very friends – four women and three men. 

This year her housemates will be a drama instructor, an accountant, a hip-hop video dancer, a cosmetologist, a calculus professor and a film actor.

For eight weeks sibling rivalry, girlfriend drama, and sexual attractions threaten to change every one of their relationships. But when one of the housemates faces a tragedy, it affects how all of the friends view life and each other.

“Remember I said I had this funny feeling about Devon?”

I crossed the room and sat on the edge of the bed, hoping she wasn’t about to reveal something about our new housemate that would require me to run a background check on him.

“I couldn’t figure out what it was until I got back to working on my story,” she continued.

“Nothing like this has ever happened to me since I’ve been writing.”

“Will you please tell me what you’re talking about?”

“He is the exact likeness of the hero in my book right down to his voice.”

“Fascinating,” I said, sounding like Spock from the original Star Trek.

“After Kinnik said who he was, I thought he looked familiar from the commercial or maybe from the few times I’d seen him walking the red carpet with Shari Wilcox on one of those magazine shows. That wasn’t it. Here, read this.” Shontae got up from the desk and patted the chair so I could sit in front of her laptop.

She pointed to the screen. “Start with the second paragraph.”

“Every eye was glued on Gregory when he walked into the conference room. This was the new district director? He looked like one of those models from the cover of Details magazine. The custom-tailored suit he wore emphasized his height and the straightness of his shoulders. Thick but neat brows framed his deep-set brown eyes. I’d never seen such a stunning face on a man. But what did irreparable damage to my nervous system was his voice. When he opened his mouth to greet the staff, it captivated every female at the table, the kind that demanded obedience, in the boardroom or the bedroom. My body immediately reacted in ways I didn’t want to be seen in a business meeting. I squeezed my thighs together and tried to will it away.

The passage described Devon perfectly.

“I don’t know how that happened. A few months ago I saw this face in a dream and when I woke up I decided to use it in my next manuscript then completely forgot about it until this afternoon. I don’t put too much stock in coincidence, but this is scary.”

Shontae and I had been friends for a long time. I knew she wasn’t easily flustered. That’s why I was so surprised at how shaken she appeared.

“Could be automatic writing. It’s writing produced without conscious thought; like a written message given through a spirit guide. And maybe Devon was sent here for a reason. You probably don’t believe in that sort of thing.”

Her eyes narrowed in suspicion. “Like what?”

“Don’t ask me. Is this guy in your book good or bad?”

“Good.” She smiled a coy smile. “Very good. He’s the hero. They’re not the same person, Lin. Devon is an actor.”

“Don’t say it like it’s a disease.”

“Isn’t it? Look at Kip. The man is so in love with himself and his looks, it’s sickening. I think the attitude comes with the job. They have so many women running after them. It can’t help but go to their heads.”

Now I was confused by the way she’d brushed Devon off. “So if he’s your dream man, what’s your problem with him?”       

“Come on, Lin. The man in my book is a fantasy. I created him to be the way I’d like him to be. My character is a serious businessman who’s developed a good reputation in the business world by being honorable and trustworthy.”

Right away I knew what her issue was. “For all you know, Devon could be the most honorable man on the planet. You’ve already made up your mind that he’s got issues.”

“He gets paid to pretend,” she insisted.

“He’s not Ronald, Tae. Don’t hold that idiot’s sins against all men.”

Her mouth twisted and her eyes narrowed to slits. “Did I say anything about Ronald?”

“You didn’t have to. This is a different summer. Devon’s a different man. I know you don’t believe in karma like I do, but I think you saw him in that dream to let you know he was coming into your life. Give the man the benefit of the doubt.”

Shontae studied my face for a few beats and considered my words. “Yeah, I have to admit it is a little strange.”

4/5-star reviews! 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fun Friday?

I'm sitting here trying to come up with something funny for today's entry. Usually I have something waiting in the wings, but not this week. What I need to do, rather than post blog entries, is finish up the revisions on Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing so I can get it to my editor next week.

So, I'm putting my nose back to the grindstone and getting back to work ...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Indie Spotlight - Author Christy Hayes

I am beginning a new feature on Writer Wednesdays called the Indie Spotlight. Every Wednesday (or whenever I can get a willing participant) other independent authors will tell the story of their experience with self-publishing.

Today my first guest is author Christy Hayes, whom I met a few years ago at a Georgia Romance Writers meeting. If you don't know anything about these meetings, they are held at a local hotel. The room is set up banquet style with round tables that seat 8-10 people. Those of us who aren't particularly outgoing can find this arrangement a little intimidating. At the time I didn't know anyone in the group, so I scouted around for a friendly face. Christy introduced herself to me, and we ended up sharing about our writing. Neither of us have been regular participants in GRW lately, but we caught up with each other online.

I'll get out of the way and let Christy tell her story ...

Thank you, Chicki, for having me on your blog!

I’ve been writing since 2004 when my youngest child started kindergarten. As my daughter prepared to graduate from elementary school and head to middle school in the spring of 2011, I made the decision to go rogue as a writer and join the ranks of Independent Publishing.

I’d just completed my sixth full-length manuscript, letting it breathe before my final round of edits. I was gearing up for the query process when I read an article by writer Kristine Kathryn Rusch about success. In a nutshell, Ms. Rusch told writers to figure out how they define success and then she encouraged them to do everything in their power to achieve their stated goal. Basically, she said the only one putting boundaries on the writer was the writer.

Her article sparked something inside me at a time when I felt proud of my work and yet sore from banging my head against the wall in terms of trying to get it published. I’d done everything right. I researched and queried agents, diligently following their guidelines. I spent lots of money attending conferences and lots of time at writers meetings, networking and pitching to agents and editors. When my material was requested, I followed their submission requirements to the letter. All the while working on my craft.

Something shifted inside of me that day and suddenly the ugly term self-publishing sounded like the most efficient route to achieve my goal—to reach readers. Believe me, this was not an easy decision to make. In my close-knit critique group, you could have heard crickets when I announced my decision. But as loyal friends and writers who have endured the ups and downs of the publishing business, they supported my decision and wished me the best.

The learning curve was huge. From formatting to cover design (which I now thankfully outsource to the fabulous Laura Morrigan) to marketing and social media, my head still spins with the sheer number of options available to the self-published author. As technology changes, so does the publishing industry and writers who publish their own material have to know what’s coming around the bend. That means hours of time researching online while still trying to write the next book.

For me, publishing my own work was a huge step. I’d always treated my writing like a job and yet considered it a hobby because I hadn’t earned the validation of a publishing professional. I wrote in secret, only letting my closest friends know I spent hours writing and pursuing publication. God knows what they all thought I did all day, but now everyone knows I’m a writer because I’ve had to market my work. Coming out of the closet, so to speak, was a giant leap out of my comfort zone.

But here I am, with five books published and sales steadily climbing from month to month. I’ve changed my covers, tweaked my blurbs, played with pricing and joined an incredibly supportive independent writer’s online loop. In less than a year, I went from pounding the keyboard in secret to running my own small business. Looking back, I wouldn’t have done it any other way. It’s a wonderful time to be a writer no matter how you define success!

BIO: Christy Hayes writes romantic women's fiction from her little basement office in the South. She’s cooked up all kinds of trouble for her flawed characters when she’s not driving her kids to one sporting event or another or walking her pesky rescue mutts through the neighborhood. She lives outside Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two children and two dogs. Check out her books at her, follow her on twitter @SeaHayes, and read her bi-monthly blog at Women Unplugged. Christy donates a portion of the proceeds from her book sales to charity.