GETTING PUBLISHED FOR FICTION WRITERS

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

MY Author Radio Interview!

Hi everyone and thanks for taking the time to stop by. I'm very excited to announce that my radio interview with The Authors Show has been scheduled for December 5, 2013! This is the #1 author radio show IN THE WORLD. Yes, in the world. :)

A little about the show:

The Authors Show is not a "show" in the traditional sense of the word, it is a professional book marketing audio & video program that offers participants
two major benefits that authors serious about marketing their work need to consider, especially inasmuch as each of these benefits has long lasting effects:

These benefits are...

the production of a professionally edited audio and/or video tool showcasing the participating author and his/her book;

we share with participants our own pool of readers by broadcasting their interview on our network, putting their work in front of thousands of potential book
buyers they would otherwise not reach.

Because the show broadcast is continuously updated with new interviews our website maintains a high ranking in Google search engine, which contributes to
giving our show extremely high production value. Radio interviews and the original broadcast are done at no cost. Interview copies and/or archiving of interviews
for periodic rerun on the show are available for a nominal fee.

I really hope you stop by for a listen and I'd appreciate it immensely if you'd help spread the word.

The interview covers the story of THE CONSEQUENTIAL ELEMENT on an in-depth level where you'll hear answers to questions like:

- What is the most important message in this book?
- What benefits will my buyers get from reading this book?
- Who is Danielle Montgomery and why did I make her the main character in the novel?
- How did I come up with the plot for this novel?
- Discussion about the jungle scenes and the mercenaries traveling in the Congo.
- What is the relationship between Rare Earth Elements/Minerals and China?
- Why is this an important issue?
- Why did I choose to write a fiction book instead of a nonfiction book on this important issue?

And so much more!

This was such fun and I encourage fellow writers who have been contemplating a radio interview to check this site out, listen to the interviews, and then go for an interview of your own! Don's a great guy and tremendously easy to work with. I can't even tell you how nervous I was at the beginning, but he walked me through every step and we got along great. A very gentle, calming soul at the other end of the phone.

I'll let you know how it works out as far as publicity for my book. Fingers crossed that I will get a fair amount of exposure. The tips and marketing suggestions that the show offers for FREE appear to be very useful and I'm in the process of putting many of them in place.

Don't forget - SPREAD THE WORD... pplleeaassee! Again, The Authors Show.

And as always, please take a moment to visit my website at www.deeannwaite.com and join my mailing list. Drop me a note to let me know you've joined and I'll send you a FREE eBook copy of THE CONSEQUENTIAL ELEMENT.

All my best wishes for your continued writing success.

Dee Ann

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Have you met your characters yet?

For several years now, I’ve been on an endless search for me. Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950) – teacher of yogic tradition, posed the question, Who am I? Who hears what I hear? Who sees what I see? Who feels what I feel? For me, I’ve come a little bit closer to understanding this now that I’ve fallen into Michael A. Singer’s novel The Untethered Soul. He speaks of these questions and answers them simply with, I am the one who sees; I am the one who feels; I am the one who hears. I am me. But who am ‘I’? ‘I’ live in the seat of consciousness. To know this is to attain inner freedom. I’ve learned to step back within myself and realize that I am spiritual. I am not the voices that speak incessantly within my head. I am not the thoughts that run swiftly through my mind. These voices, these thoughts, they are separate from me. They are the maniacs that share my ride – my body. Understanding this has freed me to understand that I am in control of my life. I do not have to feel beaten, abused, afraid or confused. I choose not to be a victim but a victor in this thing called life. I am, after all, ME.

What brings this post about? I’ve recently started my third novel, a psych thriller about a woman by the name of Allison Rigby who has some terrible obstacles to overcome. The reader may not see her strength at first, or even when the story is through, but if they read between the lines, if they allow themselves to hear what Allison hears, feel what she feels, see what she sees, the reader will walk away with a better understanding of who Allison ‘is’ and why she does the things she does.

The same is true for Danielle Montgomery, the female protagonist in THE CONSEQUENTIAL ELEMENT The reader may put the book down and think, “That’s not what I would have had the character do.” If that is the reader’s thought, then they misunderstand the concept of a character.

Characters are not actors or actresses. They are created by a living, breathing being to become living, breathing beings on the pages of their story. You, as the author, must get to know each one thoroughly. You must take the time to meet them, see what they see, feel what they feel, hear what they hear, taste what they taste, and touch what they touch. Become them for a day. Move through your day in their shoes; react to your environment as they would. Ask the question from their point of view – who am I? And then listen for the truth. That is the character you need to write. If you make it up, the reader will know.

Thank you for visiting. I’m glad you stopped by. Don’t forget, the eBook version of THE CONSEQUENTIAL ELEMENT iS on sale now through Thanksgiving for .99. Spread the word if you get the chance.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. May it be safe, happy, and full of love.

Dee Ann

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Scary Thought

Last night was Halloween and although all the little ghosts, goblins, princesses, and the like were out in full force, somehow it just didn’t seem right. I’m a New Englander. It’s in my blood. Sitting beneath a palm tree in Florida handing out candy just didn’t cut it for me. The warm air gently swaying the palms beneath a slow breeze made the children seem more like intruders than welcomed guests.

So I sat beneath the palm tree, closed my eyes, and let the soothing sounds of kids going door-to-door drift by. Neighbors oo’d and ah’d with delight at the makeshift costumes, ghosts called eerily as intruders ascended driveways, misted lawns hid partially exposed giant spiders, and pumpkins glared with flame-filled eyes at all who passed.

My mind drifted back to my own neighborhood, my own childhood, my own spooky Halloween… and the headless Reaper dressed in black. He sat in an old rocking chair on an old, crickety porch strung thick with cobwebs. I remember him well. His body sat as still as the dead and his bony hands wrapped around a plastic pumpkin filled with candy. I approached with caution trying to be as brave as the other kids who walked up the porch to ring the bell. The door opened and a woman with a warm smile appeared. She reached into the pumpkin on the headless man’s lap and handed out fistfuls of candy to the kids on the porch. Still he didn’t move. Something was wrong. I felt it. I knew this with every bone in my body, but my little eight year old eyes focused more on the candy now.

I waited for that group to leave the porch, took hold of my pillowcase with both hands, and bravely began my ascent up the long winding driveway. My foot hit the first wooden stoop and then it happened. His large, ominous frame slowly rose; his long black robe draped over his body. His head was gone, yet his low, deep voice rumbled in my ears. “Happy Halloween little trickster,” he said. It seemed like forever to catch my breath, but once I did I let out a startlingly shrill scream that made everyone stop and stare. As I turned to run, my face hit a spider’s web complete with occupant. I wiped at my face with frantic hands. Cleared of the web, I dropped my prized pillowcase full of candy and ran all the way back to my brother standing in wait at the end of the driveway. The man followed behind. “Wait! I’m sorry, honey, it’s okay. Here, I have candy for you.” But it was too late. The damage was done. The fear of that night would forever be burned in my soul.

A small voice sounded and I opened my eyes to rest on a beautiful little princess no more than five standing in front of me. “Hi. I mean, trick-or-treat,” her tiny voice spoke as she held out her bag.

I leaned forward to drop a few snickers inside and she backed away a step with wide eyes. “What’s wrong?” I asked and followed her eyes to my arm.

“Is that a real spider on your arm?”

I glance down and my heart stops for the briefest of seconds. I shake my arm and the large, fury insect falls to the ground disappearing into the night. Again the fear of long ago returns and for a moment… only a moment… I embrace and love it. A shot of adrenaline courses through my veins and I feel the sudden rush of someone who has just escaped something horrible.

I smile at her. “Why, yes it was, but my friend is gone now. Here,” I say and reach out to drop the candy in her bag.

She squeals and runs away. “Ewww! Mommy, that lady had a real spider on her arm and she called it her friend!”

The woman and I exchange a smile and they continue down the road.

This is the same fear my character, Danni Montgomery, from THE CONSEQUENTIAL ELEMENT feels when she has to return to the Congo to face the man who killed her mother, stole her innocence, and may have kidnapped her uncle. She embraces it and loves it.

If you’re in the mood for an action/adventure thriller and could use a burst of adrenaline, check it out at amzn.to/17qT2an. The ratings are steady at 4 and 5 stars and I promise you’ll enjoy the ride. Oh, and it's FREE on Veteran's Day at amzn.to/17qT2an.

How does this post pertain to writing? Simple. Don't let fear stifle your flow. Embrace it; love it. Feel the adrenaline rush through your mind when the words begin to flow. It's a high unmatched by any other.

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to leave a comment.

All my best,

Dee Ann

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Author Interview with Alicia Dean

I'd like you to help me welcome Alicia Dean. She is a suspense and paranormal romance author living in Edmond, Oklahoma. She has three grown children. Her passions are reading, writing, wearing pajamas, and watching her favorite television shows such as The Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Justified, and Dexter. She is a huge MLB and Elvis Presley fan.

So, lets get down to the nitty gritty. Ready Alicia?

  • What do you do when you’re not writing?
    I edit, critique, hang out with my kids and other family, work my full-time job, go to Martini Club every Friday with my writer friends, and watch television.
  • How do you handle writers block?
    I write. If I am ‘blocked’ and the story isn’t working for me, I just write out crappy sentences about what is happening. Or I skip that scene and write one that is pulling at me. Eventually, the other scene either clicks, or I realize I was going about it all wrong, or it needs to be trashed.
  • Do you work with an outline, or just write?
    I work with an outline. I have to know where my story is going before I can present obstacles for my characters, before I will know how they’re going to act, the mistakes they’ll make, the awful things that will happen to them, etc.
  • If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel, or getting it published, that you would change?
    No, because I think that every gain and every setback is part of our journey and we need to experience them all to become the writers we are today.
  • Can you tell us about your latest book?My latest release is Liberty Divided Isle of Fangs Book Two. It is a sequel to my YA Vampire Novella, Liberty Awakened. Here is a blurb:
One man can fulfill her destiny…the other can fulfill her fantasy.

To quell the rise of evil vampires, Liberty Van Helsing must embrace her newfound Hunter destiny. But she has a great deal to learn, and Eli Barkley—the vampire who has been teaching her—has already betrayed her once. Her goal is to shut Eli out of her life and become a better hunter on her own—and to focus on her new romance with hot Australian, Ryan Kelly, a human she can trust.

But when a rogue vampire begins savagely killing young women, the authorities insist Liberty work with Eli to find the murderer. Liberty must overlook Eli’s epic betrayal and find a way to get along with him if they are to stop the unknown maniac and protect innocent lives.

Yet, the more time Liberty spends with Eli, the more her unwanted attraction to him grows. She starts to question her feelings for Ryan—are they real, or could Eli be ‘the one?’ As Eli and Liberty delve further into the murders, clues surface that point to Eli as the culprit. Can she trust him now? Or will she have to plunge a stake into his heart, breaking her own, just when she’s learning to believe in him again?

  • How did you come up with the title?
    All of the books in this series will be Liberty (Somerthing) and in this story, my protagonist, Liberty, is torn between two men and also torn between believing in someone or taking them down. The funny and cool thing was, my cover artist did not know the title when she created the cover, yet it fits perfectly the way it shows half of Liberty’s face, like she’s divided.
     
  • What project are you working on now?I’m working on a Halloween story and a Christmas story for blog posts in conjunction with other authors, but the book I’m working on now to be published is a sequel to We All Fall Down, my Gossip Girl story I wrote for Amazon Kindle Worlds.
     
  • Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
    Don’t give up, and don’t be afraid to explore all options, whether it’s small publishers, self-publishing, etc. Most importantly, ALWAYS be working on your next book. Many writers focus so hard on getting that first book published that their writing stalls. It’s difficult to sell your first book, and even if you do, you want to have something ready to offer as a follow up.
     
  • When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
    The first time I read a book. I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first romance at eleven.
     
  • Do you have a book trailer?
    I have a trailer for my Vampire Diaries Kindle Worlds books, and it’s fantastic. You can check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQrjBQw_RWI&feature=youtu.be
     
  • I have to ask: White wine or red?
    White, Reisling to be exact. Vanilla ice cream or chocolate? Swirl J  Coffee or tea? Coffee, STRONG coffee.

Link to Liberty Divided: (Will be FREE on Kindle starting tomorrow, October 24 through October 26) http://amzn.com/B00FIB67OO

Liberty Awakened, Book 1 in the Isle of Fangs series, is only 99¢ on the Kindle. http://amzn.com/B00B3N6PMA
 
Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing with us. Your book sounds amazing and I can't wait to read it!
 
Don't forget to leave a comment for Alicia to show her your support and appreciation for her taking the time to share with us.
 
Until next time, I wish you all my best in your writing success.
 
Dee Ann
 

Friday, October 11, 2013

How to Build an Author Website

How to Build Your Author Website

Does your website have a good design with easy navigation? This is a must in today’s world in order to keep your viewers on your site. Uniformity and conformity help your viewers quickly discover what it is your all about without having to continuously search around your site for repetitive information. If you have a link to your books at the top of your home page, it should be in the same place on all consecutive pages.

Whether you choose to build your own site (I use Dreamweaver but you can use Wordpress software quite easily) or have it professionally built, you will need to acquire a domain name and host for the site. I use GoDaddy because I love the service I get whenever I call.

Feel free to check out my site for an example of setup.

Below are some things you may want to consider adding to your website:

• Home Page – this is the first page that people see when they log onto your site. This page should be used as an overview and not for details. It should consist of:

o An intro blurb about you and your books
o Links along the top or side of the page to all other pages of interest
o Remember to add visuals! Visuals are critical to hook viewers into wanting to see and know more. You should always try to put a professional photo of yourself and of your books.

Some links you may want to have in the design of your site are:

• Sign-up/mailing list – you should have somewhere for your viewers to be able to sign up for news and information, such as updates, next book, book signings, book launches, etc. Some people put this on their home page, and others choose to add it to their Contact Me page. I have it on both. I use MailChimp for my mailing list, but I hear great things about AWeber as well.

• A link to all of your books – you should have a page just for your books which also lets your viewers know the formats the books are available in as well as where they can purchase them.

o Once you have more than one book, you can break down this page even further by having links on this page to bring the viewer to a page per each book. This is recommended by many pro author site developers, as well as marketers.
o You can also create an Excerpts page where you provide an excerpt or a chapter or two to pique their curiosity and tempt them to purchase your book.

• Contact Page – this is where you let people know about where they can get in touch with you. Along with an email address, you would list your social platform such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and any other social networks you may be on.

• About Page or Bio Page – this is where you would get into the details about you. Try to keep this interesting and not sounding dull and boring. If you go on and on about all of the wonderful credentials you have, you risk losing the interest of the viewer. Credentials are great, don’t get me wrong, but you’re a writer, right? Present them in a creative and interesting way. No credentials? No worries. Again, you’re a writer, so be creative in the telling of your story and you’re sure to get their attention.

• Press Page or Media Page – here you would include your contact details as well as your representatives and photos, questions for interviews, press releases, radio interviews, and any other relevant information.

• Social Proof – this is a page you can use to flash great reviews from readers and fans, as well as blurbs from other authors.

As always, I'd love to hear from you. Have questions? Maybe I can help. Have advice, ideas, or anything to add to this discussion? Please leave a comment! :)

All my best for your writing success,

Dee Ann

Friday, September 27, 2013

HOW TO PITCH YOUR BOOK

Pitching can be done to a lot of people, not just to agents. Do you know the best way to pitch your book? Do you even know what a pitch is?

What is a Pitch

A pitch is either verbally or in written form and is used as a means of selling your book. It’s a short recap of your book that captures the meat of the story and grabs the attention of the person you’re pitching to.

First, Creating the Elevator Speech

You need to create a killer “elevator speech”, meaning a 1 to 2 sentence speech designed to sell you/your book in 30 seconds or less. This is as essential as a business card. You have a very short window in which to say who you are, what you do, and what your book is about to catch the interest of the listener.

Some idea of what it should do:

- It should paint a compelling mental image
- It should give an idea of the genre and audience

Example:

"A cop comes to L.A. to visit his estranged wife and her office building is taken over by terrorists." - Die Hard

"A businessman falls in love with a hooker he hires to be his date for the weekend" - Pretty Woman

Next, Creating the Pitch

Write out several (10-15) versions of the pitch and then pick the best one. Share it with family and friends and get their honest opinions. Firm it up; make it the absolute best it can be. This is so important. If you can nail your pitch, you virtually guarantee further action from your audience. This may be a request for your MS by an agent or a visit to your website for more information by a potential reader, or even immediate sales of your book. I’ve done and do this. It feels great.

Preparing to Pitch

Now, read it until you memorize it. Practice pitching in front of a mirror, a friend, family member, even your dog. You don’t want to come off sounding like a robot; you want the listener to feel the energy of the book. Whether it be romance, action/adventure, thriller, suspense, mystery…you want to convey its energy through your words.

Finally, the Pitch

At this point you should have burned your pitch to memory. If you are meeting with an agent, or are getting ready to do the querying process, practice on live people. The next time you’re in the grocery store, Wal-Mart, the pharmacy, or any place else where there’s a chance to speak face to face with someone, drop your pitch on them.

I’ve sold three hard copies in the supermarket just by smiling and asking the man or woman in line behind me if they like to read and then taking it from there. I sold five copies at an airport while picking up a friend. The man and woman ordered them right in front of me. Awesome feeling, by the way.  And I’ve had my MS requested many times.

Rachel Gardner has a great website chock full of information for writers who wish to make writing a career. Even if you are a self-pubber like me, you can learn a tremendous amount from her site.

Here are a few other resources to help you out:

Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency
Publishers Weekly
Agent Query

I hope this information was helpful. Leave me a comment and let me know how your pitch is coming along. Need help? Just ask!

My best wishes for your writing success,

Dee Ann

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Secret to Keeping Focused on Your Novel


Many of us struggle with keeping focused on our novel. How do we fight the many hundreds of ideas that pop in our brain and direct our concentration on the task at hand? But they’re great ideas, we say. If I don’t stop and give them attention, I’m going to forget them and they’ll be lost forever, we say. There’s a difference between jotting down an idea, and actually getting side-tracked by it.

Your main focus should be on the novel at hand. If you spread yourself thin by working several projects at a time, chances are you won’t be able to get the book published, or at least not within a reasonable time period. Remember, you have competition out there in the big, bad world of writing, and I bet your competition is completing their novels and getting them published.

So, what’s the secret? Discipline. Yep, good ‘ole fashioned discipline. You have to discipline yourself to become accountable to your project. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

ORGANIZATION:

o Organize your schedule: Set specific writing time. I mean genuine writing time, not research, social marketing, or anything else that takes you away from writing your novel.

Here’s where some real discipline comes in: If you absolutely must go on the internet to research a bit of information, do so quickly, get what you need, then close it out immediately. DO NOT check email, DO NOT check Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, or any other form of social media. Nothing, nada. Get back to work!

o Organize your social media time: This is the time you use for your novel, not personal time. Use it to do marketing, advertising, announcements, connections, etc., but DO NOT use it for personal use such as simply chit-chatting with friends. You can do that when your work time is through.

o Organize research time: Make a list of things that need to be researched for the book and then set the time aside to do it. Again, stay focused on the research. Don’t let anything else pull you away from it. Get an email while you’re in the middle of research? Well, why the hell are you checking email! You’re supposed to be researching. Close that program, NOW! (Didn’t think you’d get caught, did ya?) Research time is for research. Nothing else. Remember… DISCIPLINE.

Next, to reinforce the discipline, you need to do the following:

Milestones: Set milestones to reach. Achieving these milestones will help you feel a sense of achievement along the way and will keep you motivated. Example: “I’ll complete 2000 words every day” or “I’ll commit to two hours of writing each day”, etc.

Goals: Set achievable, yet challenging goals to reach. If you can accomplish reaching the milestones above, you will meet your goals, again reinforcing your commitment to writing and building your self esteem and motivation to continue on.

PENALTIES: Make them strict! Something that will hurt; i.e., for me I set penalties such as having to pay someone $50.00 for a goal not met, or not going out to dinner on Friday night, or buying something I’ve wanted . Choose a strict penalty and write it beside each goal. If you think you will be disciplined enough to pay the penalty yourself without the interference of another, fine. However, if you don’t think you will pay the penalty on your own, make sure you bring in someone – a friend, spouse, partner – anyone who will help reinforce the penalty.

These are just a few ideas that have helped me complete two books and work on a third while maintaining a full time job, a house and family, and all the other obligations that go along with life. Without discipline and accountability, I don’t think I could do it. It isn’t easy, but it is necessary.

Until next time, I wish all the best success in your writing. 

Dee Ann

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Interview with Jessica Tornese

Welcome, Jessica and thank you for taking time away from writing to be with us today. Time travel has always fascinated me and your books are so well done that there are times when I feel it's a real possibility! I understand you're writing a trilogy beginning with Lost Through Time. So lets move on to learn a bit about you and the wonderful characters who are sure to thrill just about everyone.

The question that is always asked—what inspired you to write Linked Through Time, and Lost Through Time?

I grew up with a large family. My Dad was one of eleven children, so I have endless tales of cousins and extended family. My Dad’s stories always stuck with me because he grew up with nothing. Absolutely nothing! He did not have indoor plumbing until high school- in Northern Minnesota! I admire him and wanted to keep his stories alive. A lot of what happens to Kate in “Linked” are true events from my dad’s childhood. Lost Through Time mentions a disaster that actually occurred in my home town in 1910. I guess I just really like to keep the stories of our ancestors from dying out. They were true, hard core Americans fighting just to make a living.

Your take on time travel is unique did you do any research to help you form the idea?

I love the idea of using something that had to do with the region. Of course, northern lights are not often seen as brilliantly as in Alaska or Canada, but they are amazing and kind of mysterious, so I thought they could be a believable reason!

What challenges have you overcome in having such a unique take on time travel?

As with any book, I had to keep going back and forth to remember my rules and events to make things happen. Since I change the rules in the second book, I had to really sketch out why and how Kate could travel differently than other characters.

You create a very realistic picture of farm life in the 1960’s—did you do research? If not, how did you create such a realistic picture without research?

I actually lived on the farm I am describing. For a few short months, I had to live with my grandparents in the very house my Dad grew up in. They were still doing the same chores and living the same kind of lifestyle - except with indoor plumbing of course! The chores were endless and I absolutely hate haying.

Who is your favorite character and why?

I love Kate. She reminds me of myself. I was the snotty city girl that was taken out of the city and moved to a small northern MN town when I was fifteen. I thought my life was over! I learned a lot about myself as a person and learned how to work outside. I appreciate my Dad more, and am so glad to have been raised closer to his family. I love Kate’s growth and life lessons about boys. There are good boyfriends out there and bad…definitely something we have to learn!

In book one you create sympathy for the character of Sarah, but in book two she’s quite evil. Was making a character that was originally likable into a bad character hard?

Yes. It was actually my husband’s idea to make a villain. He basically said that the story will go nowhere without a villain, so we decided Sarah had the most to be angry and vengeful for. Once I started, it was really fun to write the villain part because I never get to act that way. It was a peek into the dark side.

Kate matures a lot through book one, did you always plan this, or did she mature as you wrote the novel?

Kate was really a mirror of myself. I think I wanted to show that from day one - how she can go from a judgmental teenager focusing on her own needs, to learning about serving others. I think everyone makes this same transition at some point in their lives; it’s just a question of when.

In Linked Through Time keeping track of so many brothers and sisters was hard for Sarah, how did you do it as an author?

I literally took my Dad’s family and just changed the names! He had 6 brothers and 5 sisters, and I just kept picturing them in my mind.

How did you evolve the story of Linked Through Time into Lost Through Time?

I didn’t want Kate’s story to be over. I knew I wanted to write about Baudette’s historic fire, so once I decided to bring Sarah back into the picture it all fell into place. I love history and am trying to decide how to connect with the final chapter in Kate’s and Sarah’s life in book three.

We saw a very little bit of Travis’ son—will we see more of him?

T.J. will make an appearance in book three. I think we will see a bit more develop with him. I want Kate’s story to have something good in it for her. Though it is a little Jerry Springer, I think Kate deserves a good man and some closure in all the chaos she lives in.

When did you start writing?

I didn’t really start writing books until a few years ago, but I have always loved writing and reading. They go hand in hand, I think.

As an author, what is your biggest challenge and how do you overcome it?

Finding time to write. I have three kids and it is a constant tornado in the house. I try to take some time once a week to nail down some outline ideas.

You are with an independent publisher, Solstice Publishing, how did you find them?

I submitted my work based on a newsletter I received called Children’s Writer. They give contact names and emails and it just happened to work out that Nik Morton liked the manuscript.

What do you like best about being with a smaller press?

I like the camaraderie with the other authors. We have a daily interaction on line. Mostly we use it for questions or support, but it’s nice to have others in the same boat as yourself.

What is the biggest challenge of being with a smaller press?

Marketing. There just isn’t enough time or money to get the word out. It has to be done over time, mostly on your own doing. But Solstice is trying hard to work with everyone and do what they can with their resources. I was just voted Solstice’s Author of the Year, so that was very exciting and proof that I do have fans out there that love the books.

For budding authors out there, how much say do you think you have in the final product, from cover to the insides, to the marketing?

Depending on the publisher, you can have a lot of say in your product. I wouldn’t let someone change my work completely, especially if it was something I didn’t believe in. Stay true to your style and someone will come along that likes it!

Author Bio, Links, and Contact

Jessica was recently voted Solstice Publishing’s 2012 Author of the Year!

Jessica Tornese’s debut novel, Linked Through Time, was inspired by her home town Baudette, MN. She graduated from high school there and continued her education at Minnesota State University – Moorhead where she earned a degree in education. She spent several years coaching in the Junior Olympic volleyball program in Minnesota as well as the junior varsity team for Lake of the Woods High School in 2010.

Her favorite hobbies include reading, scrapbooking, playing volleyball, and extreme outdoor sports like caving, ziplining, and white water rafting. Jessica is also active in her church and has run several Vacation Bible School programs and Sunday school programs. She enjoys working with kids of all ages!

She hopes to finish her Linked trilogy soon, and continue writing. Recently, she self-published her first juvenile fiction book for kids online. (see M&M Twins)

Links:
Twitter: @jltornese
Blog/Website: http://www.jessicatornese.com

Again, thanks for joining us Jessica. It's been an absolute pleasure.

Let's support Jessica by leaving her a comment about this great interview. She'd love to hear from you and so would I! :)

All my best,

Dee Ann


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Interview with Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz

You're in for a treat today! We've been fortunate enough to get Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz, author of the historical novel, Lady In Waiting, as well as over 100 short stories. Please join me in welcoming her by leaving a brief comment at the end of this interview.

Welcome Penny, thanks so much for joining us today. Let's just jump right in.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

The book I’d like to talk about today is Lady In Waiting, published by MuseItUp Publishing.  It is an historical romance.
Can you provide a short blurb for us?

Mabriona is cousin to the beautiful and spoiled Princess Alana. When
Alana is forced to marry a man she despises, Mabrina is torn between
her loyalty to her cousin and her attraction to the handsome Prince
Blayne.

Tragedy befalls the cousins on the way to Prince Blayne's castle. Servants,
believing Mabriona to be Alana, refuse to listen when she tries to explain.

While she waits for Blayne to recover, Mabriona meets his equally handsome younger brother, Madoc, a bard.

When Blayne awakes, will Mabriona choose life with a future king, will she be sent home in disgrace because of her inadvertent lies, or will Madoc win her love with his poetry?


Do you have a day job as well?

I retired from my day job in 2008. At that time, I was working as the Office Manager for the Columbia County District Attorney.  A year or so after I retired, I took on a part-time job as an editor for MuseItUp Publishing.  I also care for my 97-year-old mother and help out with my young grandchildren on a regular basis.

Where do you get your ideas?

I tend to get my ideas from lots of places.  I take notes when someone tells a story I think is interesting.  I cut out articles from newspapers or magazines that appeal to me and make me think “what if?”  Sometimes something that happens to me becomes part of a story.  Most of my non-fiction articles are related to my volunteer activities.  Lady in Waiting, however, was a bit of a fluke.  I wrote it simply because I was interested in the time period and felt compelled to try my hand at writing an historical romance.

How do you handle writers block?

Since I enjoy writing both fiction and non-fiction, plus I write for adults and children, I don’t generally face writers’ block.  If I’m stuck with a story, I can switch to something else and then go back to what I had been working on with a clear head.  I believe variety helps keep me going. Also, since I’m the type of writer who doesn’t feel obligated to write every day, if my muse isn’t singing, I’m usually not working.

How do you market your work?

I use the Internet for most of my marketing.  I am on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, as well as JacketFlap.  I have a blog where I feature other writers on a regular basis.  This gives me contacts to other bloggers with similar interests (such as yourself) who offer to reciprocate with a spot on their blogs. 

When I have a new release, I set up a virtual blog tour that will last from two to four weeks and makes stops with bloggers around the world, ensuring exposure to a large audience.  Depending on the age level of the release (and if it is a print book), I have done local book signings, library readings, and school visits.  I always do a press release and send off information to the local newspapers.

How did you come up with the title?

The title for Lady in Waiting was easy since I wrote a story about a young woman who was employed as a lady in waiting.  It’s a bit of a twist on the words, though, since it turns out she is also a lady who is waiting for the love of her life.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have written many more short stories than books.  In fact, while Lady in Waiting is available in eBook form, it is only about 15,000 words long. I have written over a hundred articles and another hundred or so short stories.  They have been published in a variety of magazines and online ezines.  I collected sixteen of them (fantasy and science fiction) and released them through Sam’s Dot Publishing and Smashwords: A Past and A Future. I have two other stories with MuseItUP: Love Delivery (contemporary romance) and Mirror, Mirror (time travel romance).  I have recently released a picture book, Boo’s Bad Day, through 4RV Publishing.  I have contracts for three other children’s books with them:  Ghost for Rent and Ghost for Lunch (middle grade paranormal mysteries) and Coat of Many Colors (children’s picture book).

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Finding the time to write is probably my most challenging problem.  There always seems to be one more thing that needs handling.  It’s always worth it, though, when I finally do sit down and work on a writing project. I also have a hard time staying focused long enough to finish a full-length novel, which is why I enjoy short stories and children’s books, which tend to be shorter.

Who designs the covers of your books?

I have had several different illustrators and have been very pleased with all of them. Each publishing house has its own artists.  Depending on the genre of the book, an illustrator with expertise in that area is assigned to do the artwork.

Where can people buy your books?

Thanks for asking!


Love Delivery:


Mirror, Mirror:


Boo’s Bad Day:


A Past and A Future:

Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz has published more than 100 articles, 75 stories, a chapbook, and her stories have been included in two anthologies. She writes for both adults and children. Her fiction has appeared in numerous genre and children’s publications, and non‑fiction work has appeared in a variety of writing, parenting, and young adult print magazines and on line publications.  She edits for MuseItUp Publishing.  Visit her web site at http:// pennylockwoodehrenkranz.yolasite.com. Her writing blog is located at http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.blogspot.com/.
She has three romances published by MuseItUp Publishing: Love Delivery, Lady in Waiting, and Mirror, Mirror. She has recently released Boo’s Bad Day with 4RV Publishing and has three other children’s books under contract with them: Ghost for Rent, Ghost for Lunch, and Many Colored Coats.  Her short story collection, A Past and A Future, is available through Sam’s Dot Publishing and Smashwords.
Penny, what a great interview. I'm glad to have learned so much about your success as an author. I'm sure many will be hopping over to your blog and other sites to check things out. Thank you for joining us today.
Okay, everyone, let's drop Penny a note and let her know what you thought of the interview and her new book, Lady in Waiting. Thank you all for stopping by once again.
All my best,
Dee Ann

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Keeping Track of Scenes

The first thing you need to do to organize your novel is organize your scenes. There are various ways to do this. I know some authors who prefer to use a spreadsheet method, and others still who choose to write out 3 x 5 index cards so they can spread them about, but I use Scrivener which is great for organizing scenes.

Next, you’ll need to make some decisions on the scenes in order to manage them:

• When does the scene happen? (date/time)
• What happens in the scene?
• What order should you place it in?
• Which character’s POV will be used for the scene?

Remember, you can make a scene list whenever you feel like it. There’s no cut and dried method; it’s whatever works for you. I’ve known some writers who prefer to make a scene list before they write their first draft, and others who’d rather write out the first draft and then go back and create a scene list. I am more like that latter. I usually write through my first draft and then go back and review my scenes. But there are also times when I know what I want to take place but can’t quite see it through in my mind. In this case, I’ll make a scene list for this particular point in the book.

Let’s take a closer look at the decisions mentioned above to create a great scene list:

When does the scene happen? Each scene should have a date and time woven into it in order to keep the reader’s vision clear. If you’ve ever read a book where the character was sunning at the beach one minute and then walking in the woods in the middle of the night the next without warning, you’ll know what I mean.

What happens in the scene? You should write one or two sentences that outline the scene, just enough to know what the scene accomplishes. You want to get an overview of the scene at a glance as you look down the scene list.

What order should the scene be in? Many writers start out by putting their scenes in chronological order but there may be times when you find that it makes more sense to put them out of order. Having your scenes in a list format will allow you to move them around quite easily.

Which character’s point-of-view will be used for the scene? This is a big one for me. I tend to switch POVs as I switch scenes, and there are times when I’m writing a longer scene that I forget which POV I intended on using. There are little tricks you can use to track your characters. When I’m working a scene, I give each character a color and highlight their part in the conversation. That way I’m able to determine how much time they’re on stage and who seems to dominate.

Once you have a complete scene list of all the scenes in your first draft, then it’s time to go back to the beginning and start working the scenes to see which ones you’ll keep and which ones you’ll cut. What?! Cut?! I can feel your shocked brainwaves at the thought. As hard as it may be to believe, not every scene in your story will be deemed essential. Your job is to review each one and, setting your emotions aside, cut out those that don’t move your story forward. However, don’t be too quick to cut a scene based on how it’s written. Read it over carefully and see if you can breathe some life into it. If after all attempts at keeping it alive you still feel the necessity to lay it to rest, then draw a line through it (or highlight it) before deleting it. This will show you all of the revisions you’ve made for the next draft. Now you can move forward confident that the scenes will flow smoothly together to provide you with a better book.

Here are a couple of links that will help you in your scene writing:

The Scene Book: A Primer for the Fiction Writer
Scene Length: Short Scenes Versus Long Scenes
Writing Action Scenes

As always, thanks for stopping by. Please leave a comment; I’d love to hear from you.

All my best wishes for your writing success.

Dee Ann

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Stop Stalking and Start Communicating

Stop Stalking and Start Communicating

You’re an author, you wrote a book, and now you want help spreading the word, so you turn to your social network. But something is wrong. You don’t see your posts being re-tweeted and people aren’t reaching out to you. You sit back dumbfounded. Why?

This is an area that disturbs me and I've been seeing it more and more, so I figured I'd take a moment and vent a little.

There’s more to developing a social network than simply following someone. I’ve had many people follow me without ever saying a word. They click ‘follow’ and sit back and wait for me to follow back, which I do… sometimes. First, I usually check out their profile to see if they are someone I’d like to follow and then I follow back with a quick note of acknowledgement. I try to comment on something from their profile. You know… break the ice, so to speak. Sometimes I get a response back, but more often than not, I don’t.

If you want to just count numbers and say you have XX number of people following you then go ahead and stalk away. But if you’re looking to actually build a strong social network you have to take the time to sit and visit. You have to. This is not a suggestion.

Here are a few tips to help you form a better network:

1.Choose your audience carefully. Decide what who you want to follow and pay attention to what they’re saying. Utilize RSS feeds, and watch what your people are talking about.

2.Participate in conversations. Engage your contacts in discussions other than your book. Let them know you’re interested in what they’re doing or what’s going on in their writing world. You don’t have to get into personal stuff if you don’t want to; you can keep it on a professional level, but by all means ENGAGE.

3.Ask lots of questions… and respond to their responses.
Here are a couple of links that you may find helpful:

Ben Heyman – Tactical Tips & Trick for Social Media
Social Media Today – 9 Twitter Tips and Tricks
Social Media Tips and Tricks: How to Build Fans and Followers

Do you have some tips that you'd like to share? Leave a comment!

Until next time,

Dee Ann

Monday, July 22, 2013

Writing Effective Dialogue

Flat Dialogue - What is this beast and how do we kill it?
I’ve heard people talk about ‘flat dialogue’ and thought back to several books that stood out. Recently, I was asked to read a book for someone who advertised the book with great energy and finesse and really sold the book to me. The plot sounded promising, the character details appeared good, and the setup started well. I was anxious to get into the nitty-gritty.
It didn’t take long for me to become bored and annoyed with the dialogue; and there was a lot of it. This writer had an opportunity to bring this book to life, but instead brought it to a dead stop by virtue of flat dialogue.
Realistic dialogue is one of the most powerful tools a writer has. Nothing pulls a reader out of the story faster than bad dialogue.
What does flat dialogue mean? Here are a few tips to help correct the problem.
·         Unable to determine which sex is speaking – Men and women don’t speak the same, so you can’t write their dialogue the same. You have study the sexes, learn their mannerisms, learn their details. And above all, know your character. Is he shrewd, cunning, reserved; is she feminine, a tomboy, strong, weak? Show it through their dialogue.

·         Writing a transcription of a conversation – Unessential dialogue - remove it. Become aware of how people talk, their expressions, and their natural speech patterns. Read something from Larry Jeff McMurtry for samples of great dialogue writing. Also, tap into Stephen King’s On Writing to learn some good tips.

·         Feeding too much information and important facts instead of letting the story unfold naturally – Use dialogue to show the story, not as filler information. Again, natural conversation can do wonders to say was would otherwise become fluff and filler.

·         Writing only conversation – People are real and seldom stand still while talking. They are physical and conversations need to be broken up by some description. Make your character pick up a cup of coffee, walk across the room, peek out a window behind a blind, cough; anything that would break up straight conversation.

·         Overdoing dialogue tags – Stick to the tried and true, “he said” “she said”. Adjectives are not always necessary if you’ve written the dialogue right to begin with. Use them sparingly.
When writing a natural conversation, you will find that you write with a certain indirectness. The dialogue will leave some questions to things we don’t want to hit head on. This is good for the readers. It draws them in, makes them eavesdroppers, gives them mysteries to solve, suspicions to confirm.
Here are some great resources:
Do you have any techniques that you’ve found helpful? Or a source that you’ve used to help perfect your dialogue building? Leave a comment and share it with the rest of us! We’d love to hear it.
Thanks for stopping in.
Until next time, I wish you all the best in your writing success.
Dee Ann

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fellow Author - Free Book Giveaway!

Hello everyone. This week I have the pleasure of sharing with you the talent and creativity of author, Roy Huff. His novel, the first book in his Everville series, Everville: The First Pillar, is out and he's agreed to allow me to hold a raffle for a free Kindle eBook right here for all of you.
 
Click on the entry form at the bottom of the page to enter!
 
Don’t have a kindle?  Not a problem!  Download the free Kindle app to your smart phone or PC!
 
Contest ends August 13, 2013 at midnight. You must have a valid non-Kindle email address. The winner will be sent a free Kindle eBook directly from Amazon. In order to enter you must reside in a country that allows Kindle downloads.
 
About the book:
 
Everville: The First Pillar is Amazon’s #1 international epic fantasy bestseller!

This is the first installment in the remarkable Everville series which combines elements of epic fantasy and young adult fiction in a form that nearly anyone will enjoy reading, young or old.
Owen Sage is the emblematic college freshman at Easton Falls University. With all the worries about his first year in college, he was not prepared for what would happen next. His way of life was flipped upside down when he mysteriously crossed into another dimension, into the beautiful land of Everville. His excitement was abruptly halted when he discovered that there was a darkness forged against both the natural world, which he knew well, and the new land which he discovered, Everville. He must devise a plan to save both worlds while joining forces with the race of Fron and The Keepers, whom both harbor hidden secrets he must learn in order to gain power over the evil that dwells in The Other In Between. With a race against time to save both worlds, his short time at Easton Falls did not quite prepare him for the evil, dark forces he must fight in order to conquer The Other In Between.
 
Can’t wait to for the raffle to end to read it?  Click here to purchase it now!



About the Author:

Roy Huff is a man of many interests including but not limited to science, traveling, movies, the outdoors, and of course writing teen and young adult fantasy fiction. He holds five degrees in four separate disciplines including liberal arts, history, secondary science education, and geoscience. Roy Huff’s background includes work in art, history, education, business, real-estate, economics, geoscience, and satellite meteorology. He was born on the East Coast but has spent more than half his life in Hawaii, where he currently resides and writes his epic fantasy sagas.




Also, be sure to stay tuned for details on the upcoming second book in the series Everville: The City of Worms, expected to be released in late summer!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

How Do You Self Publish?



As most of you know, I decided to indie publish my novel THECONSEQUENTIAL ELEMENT. I attempted to go through the traditional channels, and actually was accepted by an agent and a publisher, but ultimately chose to go the indie route instead. There are several reasons for this long and thought-out decision; one being that I didn’t like the contract… at all. The traditional contract that was presented to me was very much like the standard traditional contact offered to many new authors. The biggest drawbacks were the giving up of my rights, and making little money. This is my first novel. I’m sure there are going to be mistakes, the writing – though good - may not be up to top professional standards just yet, and there is still much for me to learn. Though I have no doubt about my abilities as a writer, and I know that I will reach the top standards of the pros, but because of my desire to learn the craft to the best of my ability, I decided to go the indie route. I want to learn the ropes on both sides. I will seek the traditional route in the future with other novels, but for now I feel confident that I’ve made the right decision for me.

With that said, it has afforded me a great deal of learned experience in the entire process of writing and getting published for fiction writers. (Like that plug for this blog, huh? Pretty slick, don’t you think?)

What Do You Do When the Book is Completed?
Well, if you’ve chosen to go the indie route, and you are positively, absolutely, undoubtedly sure that your book is to the best it can be, and you want to publish to Amazon Kindle, then you go to Amazon’s KindleDirect Publishing and Get Started. 

You’ll be able to:
* Enter product details
* Upload and preview book content
* Confirm publishing rights
* Enter pricing and royalty information

That’s it! Sounds simple, right? 

Make Sure Your Book is Properly Formatted

Filling out the information is a breeze, no kidding. The hard part was making sure the book was properly formatted. You will spend a good amount of time on this. You will read and re-read your work numerous times, review it in the Reviewer for layout, submit it, then realize you forgot to thank someone, or you didn’t do your dedication page, or you forgot a chapter header. Whatever, you will need to take it down and fix it, and then resubmit. Each time you submit, you go into a Review status. It can take up to 24 hours for the review to be completed and you go live. So try to have all your ducks in a row before you submit.

You’ll also have to have your cover art complete. This is separate from your interior and will require different skills. If you have your own cover art, you can upload it to the site. You will be able to review this also before submitting to go live. If you don’t have a cover yet, you can design one on this site. They have numerous templates to choose from, and from what I saw, it seemed pretty easy to do. I designed my own cover so I utilized the upload service.

Little Notes of Interest

Before you hit Save and Publish, you’ll want to make sure you’ve checked a few things, like;
* Layout and design of the interior: are you going to have a copyright page, dedication page, acknowledgements page, a poem or blurb related to the story, and/or a table of contents page as front copy? If so, look around to see what the order of those pages should be. Mine is in the order mentioned here.

 * Are you going to have any back copy? A photo? Check out this link to see how it’s done. People will know shoddy work.

 * Keywords: when they say you have up to five keywords you can choose, they don’t mean individual words. You can use a stream of words, such as; Action & Adventure, International Thriller, Rare Earth Elements, Discoveries, Mystery & Suspense. Often, people are not aware of this and choose single words that help little in placing them efficiently among the genres.

Do You Want a Hard Copy?

I wanted to make my book available in hard copy so I chose to use Createspace. It was easy enough, but I did have some trouble with my cover art. Like I said, I created my cover myself, so the specs were off from what Createspace required. I submitted it, got rejected, and resubmitted 6 times before it was finally accepted, and even then they had to tweak it a little for me. I just ordered the hard copy to proof. Once I receive it in the mail and provide my go-ahead, then my book will be live to buy as a hard copy. And it will be linked through Amazon so customers can order it there, as well.

This is the current position of my journey thus far. As new things occur I will be happy to share. Tell me about your trek through the indie published world. What worked for you? What didn’t?

Be sure to check back in a week or so when I will be discussing marketing techniques. I’m trying a few out and will let you know how they’re working for me.

Until then, I wish you all the best on your own special journeys.

Dee Ann
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