Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Interview with J. Carson Black - Part Two

J. Carson Black is the bestselling author of seven novels, including her Laura Cardinal series, which currently has under three titles under its belt.

She has a total of 12 books; seven published and also one short story. Her Laura Cardinal series has three books in the series: Darkness on the Edge of Town (#59 on Kindle), Dark Side of the Moon (#387 on Kindle), and The Devil's Hour (#362 on Kindle).

All of her books are doing amazingly well, and she is a truly talented writer. I was thrilled to be able to host her on my blog for a two-part series; the second, catered to the readers and fans of her work.


Tell me about yourself, how you became to be a writer, and why you are a writer.

The simple explanation: I can’t not write. I am a writer by every definition of the word, and was a writer from the time I was a child. My first “book” was THE EASTER EEG, written and illustrated by me – a few scrawled words (kind of ) in crayon on the flipside of my dad’s test papers (he was a teacher). My mother was brilliant at appealing to my materialistic instincts to keep me reading. Every Friday night we’d go to a store called the House of Paperbacks, and my parents would turn me loose to buy whatever books I wanted. (Books were about 75 cents then.) I’d pull together six or seven books. I remember buying THE MOUSE THAT ROARED and ANIMAL FARM, and of course---you’ll like this---MY FRIEND FLICKA. When I read Ray Bradbury’s SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES, I wish I’d written that book. I wanted to be an author. I got shunted into music because I could sing well, but eventually I found my way back, and sold my first book, DARKSCOPE, in 1990. It was a horror novel, inspired by THE SHINING and GHOST STORY.

Tell me about your book – what inspired it?

My husband and I were watching TV (cable news) and John Mark Karr was being flown to Boulder to face charges for killing JonBenet Ramsey. He’d been flown over from Europe, dining on shrimp cocktail and entertaining his captors---federal marshals, I believe---and now the press was lined up to watch his arrival in Boulder. So the private jet came in, and you would have thought it was the Space Shuttle. All the cameras, all the microphones, an absolute frenzy! Just as it was for Michael Jackson when he went to court. This is the new American way. Celebrity out of nothing. It turned out later that John Mark Karr was playing everybody---he didn’t kill JonBenet Ramsey. But he’d fulfilled his purpose---he’d fed the hungry maw of the media for a short time. Glenn and I looked at each other and had the idea for THE SHOP fully-blown.

What’s your favorite chapter in your book, and why?

It wasn’t a chapter, but was surprised that one of my bad guys turned out to be a lot of fun. The former Attorney General of the United States, Franklin Hubbard, loved his wife and admitted he loved her more than she loved him. He was funny and interesting and was a good foil to my assassin. My assassin planned to kill him, but couldn’t help liking him. There’s a scene on Franklin’s boat where he cooks the assassin eggs benedict, and they get along great. They teamed up together…for a while.

How did you choose the title of the book?

It just came to us – when Glenn and I watched Karr’s plane come in, we thought there had to be a secret government “shop” to do what we planned, and so the title became THE SHOP.

How long does it take you to write a book, and what’s your daily writing schedule?

I’m a slow writer. I can do a book a year. But I will have to pick up that pace now. I try to write 6,000 words a week, when I’m working on a book. That doesn’t take into account all the research and preparation as far as characters, scenarios, etc.

What made you choose your particular genre?

I love thrillers and I love crime fiction. It’s what I read. There are about 30 authors I love in the genre, and the only thing as fun as writing a thriller, is reading a thriller.

Are you working on another book now – if so, what would you like to tell the readers about it?

It’s another thriller, along the lines of THE SHOP as far as the style goes. The book, ICON, stars a movie star, literally – the Tom Cruise of his day, a man named Max Conroy. He escapes rehab in the Arizona desert, but they’ve screwed him up---and now someone is coming to kill him. He teams up with a sheriff’s deputy who has autobiographical memory. His memory plays tricks on him, and she remembers everything. I’m about 25K into it.

Where can you be found on the internet?





Friday, July 15, 2011

Interview with J. Carson Black - Part One

J. Carson Black is the bestselling author of seven novels, including her Laura Cardinal series, which currently has under three titles under its belt.

She has a total of 12 books; seven published and also one short story. Her Laura Cardinal series has three books in the series: Darkness on the Edge of Town (#24 on Kindle), Dark Side of the Moon (#149 on Kindle), and The Devil's Hour (#182 on Kindle).

All of her books are doing amazingly well, and she is a truly talented writer. I was thrilled to be able to host her on my blog for a two-part series; the first, catered to her fellow writers.


How long did it take you to achieve the success you are having with your books right now?

My husband and I first put up DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN in June. we sold one book. The following month, we sold two. I didn’t crack 100 books sold until February. Then sales went up precipitously!

What was the best thing you did marketing wise that you believe helped you get where you are today?

The single best thing I did was become a member of the Kindle Boards Writer’s Café. That ‘s when I saw what was possible. I know that doesn’t sound like marketing per se, but seeing all the success stories focused me like nobody’s business. I’d see someone who was successful commentating on a thread and I’d ask them how they achieved their success. That’s how I found out about the Victorine Method – drop the price of your books down to 99 cents, and a week later the books took off.

What do you do to market yourself? What works, what doesn't?

I don’t do a lot---some interviews and guest blogs, some blogging. I have a Facebook and Twitter presence. I think it comes down to the quality of the book, the quality of the cover, and the quality of the product description. If you have several books, as I do, you want that look to be as uniform as possible to create your brand.

What tips/advice do you have for other writers?

Write the best book you can. Do scrupulous market research on your genre and the kinds of books that are selling, the kinds of covers that are selling, and write a great product description. (Try it out on a lot of friends, and ask for honest answers.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Blog Tour Tuesday with my Guest - Danielle Blanchard

Daniella Blanchard is the author of a couple saucy and steamy books that are brand new to the Kindle.

Her first is called The Proposal: Book One (The Beautiful People), and the second is The Hook Up: Book Two (The Beautiful People). Both are under $1.50 on Kindle.


1. Tell me about yourself, how you became to be a writer, and why you are a writer.

I am a writer because it is the one true gift that has been given to me. I wrote my first short story in 2nd grade and have never looked back. I finished my first novel when I was fifteen and decided to write a novel in the spirit of Jackie Collins at the age of 19. I finished it several years later and it has been on various desktops and laptops for many years. I finally decided to publish it myself after all the rejection letters I received (all very nice by the way; the book wasn't what the agents were looking for and I can understand that and appreciate that). Perhaps they are correct and this isn't the right time for my novellas but I adore writing and this was my slice of mindless summer reading. I love literature as well and consider this my true calling but I also adore I was able to come up with something fun and airy for anyone to enjoy who likes books about the entertainment industry.

2. Tell me about your book – what inspired it?

The book was inspired by my love of everything from Jackie Collins. She is the original feminist; women can do everything! I realize that sentiment is a bit blase now but I love her ballsy way of writing and her sheer guts for pushing the limits. The Beautiful People series is a take on her vision of Hollywood with a twist. Most of the characters are multicultural and come from all walks of life. Some are straight, some are bisexual and some are gay. I think I have pretty much summed up America in the 21st century. It was very important for this not to be a run of the mill book about Hollywood. You still have the "ladies who lunch" types and there is plenty of gossip and fun to be had for anyone who reads the book. I just hope I have added a more modern twist to a stale genre. I am the first to admit that Jackie Collins, Joan Collins and Danielle Steel paved the way for this type of literature but I can only hope I have "kicked it up a knotch" as Emeril Lagasse would say, and added a bit of extra spice!

3. What’s your favorite chapter in your book, and why?

Now, you are asking me to play favorites and that, I try not to do. Without a doubt, in the first novella: The Proposal: Book One, "Chapter Eleven: Christina (Nina)". I love this character. Perhaps it is because she is blonde and beautiful; she is a ball-breaker, she pulls no punches. She is real and fake at the same time but more than that, she shows heart and you can see a los tand lonely young woman who has experienced real heartache but has a knack for not showing it. I suppose she is a lot like me (without me being blonde and blue eyed). I think she is one of the best characters I have ever created.

In The Hook Up: Book Two, one of my favorite chapters is "Chapter Twenty-Four: Hooking Up & Breaking Up". I suppose that is because there is so much excessive energy and there is so much going on. Many of the characters are in turmoil and again, it features Christina, one of my favorite characters. She has broken off a relationship with one man and is hooking up with a rock star in a band. Everyone thinks she has gone insane but there is a plan in her madness and she sets herself on a path that no one can predict. I like to weave excessively complicated plots because sometimes, people don't understand where they are leading but I always find a way to explain them and wrap them up in the end. This is one of my favorites about being a writer.

4. How did you choose the title of the book?

Choosing a title for your work of fiction is never an easy task but it has to be done for us all. My working title was Film Star (a famous song put out by the British group Suede) but that got changed to The Beautiful People (a notorious song by Marilyn Manson) once I realized I was going to release this behemoth in novella form. Then it was as simple as coming up with titles for each novella. The Proposal: Book One was easy as there are all sorts of proposals (sexual and otherwise) in the novella. The Hook Up: Book Two, was also easy as there are many of those in the second novella. Heartbreaks & Lust Aches: Book Three took a bit more time. I have managed to name all eight novellas though they are all under the series title of The Beautiful People. I wrote them down on a napkin one day in between picking up my daughter from school and taking her to an after-school function!

5. How long does it take you to write a book, and what’s your daily writing schedule?

It all depends. The Beautiful People took almost three years to write as I had written it on this really old word processor that was on its last leg. I had then had to transfer it to my desktop. My ex-husband fried that so I was only left with a rudimentary copy of the novel in Microsoft Works form. I then had to rewrite it into Word form and it has been officially finished for the past year. My current series, Murder, Inc.: The Pop Stars series has been in the making for over seven years. DeGeneration, my literary masterpiece, has been in the works for almost a year, give or take. I am almost 1/3rd of the way done but have not been able to write for the past 6 weeks. The Beautiful People series monopolizes all my free time!

In an ideal world, I would like to set aside at least 2 hours of writing time per day but lately, that has not happened!

6. What made you choose your particular genre?

I don't know--fate? I love literary novels and that is what I feel I am particularly good at as it takes a lot of research and planning. I have always been fascinated by German and French history. My literary novel written at thirteen was about a complex family living in Nazi Germany during World War II. In the late 90s, I came up with a sequel to that novel which focuses on the later generations. The very wealthy family has now acquired tremendous political power and are on the verge of winning some major races in the German elections. A bloodless Fourth Reich, if you like. DeGeneration is also a very literary piece of work. It is convoluted and very complicated novel to write and to read.

As for The Beautiful People series and Murder, Inc.: The Pop Stars series, these were supposed to be my "money-makers". Light reading when you must endure long hours on a flight or mindless reading on the beach. They were never about me flexing my real might as an author. I suppose I wanted to see if I could write something easy and fun. It proved I could and I was quite proud of myself for these entertaining reads.

7. Are you working on another book now – if so, what would you like to tell the readers about it?

Oh, where to begin with the masterpiece that is DeGeneration? It is a play up of the title of our generation (Generation X, the generation I am proudly a part of, even if I am on the tail end) and the word, degeneration, which means to go back as opposed to going forward. In many ways, we are the first generation since the Baby Boomers who will do much worse than our parents. Most of us aren't looking forward to any kind of pension. We are listless, lost and I feel a sense of apprehension in the air. The title is just the beginning.

My book revolves around two best friends: one American and one French. The American has shed her cozy life in the States and moved to France. She comes from a well-to-do family, extremely educated and knows French fluently. She falls in love with her best friend's brother who is quite the player. Like many Europeans of his time, he lives for himself, has a successful job, doesn't really ponder the meaning of life and kind of just goes through the motions. This is the first time either one of them has ever been in love. Their love is obsessive and all-consuming. They make their partnership permenant but something happens to change the course of their life forever. They part and once again come together again at the wedding of the American's best friend and her partner's sister. They must work through their issues if they are to survive as a couple.

It is at best described as a deconstruction of a relationship. Yes, we, as humans (whether hetero, homosexual, bisexual, transgender) get together but what happens to tear us apart? Why do we find ourselves separating from those we love? It is above all, a human story because we all want to be loved as human beings and it seems it is harder to connect to one another in a world where machines control more and more of our lives (or shall I say technology).

It is a novel I am truly proud of and can't wait to finish if I am being completely honest. I think it is some of the best work I have ever done.

8. Where can you be found on the internet?

Many, places but I will only list a few:


I am not all that successful yet so I am still very gracious to hear from anyone who has purchased my book and wants to give me a shout out. My novels are located on all the usual suspects (Amazon Kindle, CreateSpace in paperback, Smashwords and Barnes& Thank you all for reading! And thank you, Cheryl.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Guest Post by Cheryl Shireman

Cheryl Shireman, an author who I also consider a friend, is the author of six books, two of those are novels, including Life is But a dream that is burning up the charts right now.

At this moment, Life is But a dream is ranked #346 on Amazon and is #16 in Women Sleuths and #25 in Literary Fiction, which is an amazing achievement for an indie writer.


1. How long did it take you to achieve the success you are having with your books right now?

Well, I published Life is But a Dream just over four months ago and I am currently selling about 100 copies a day on Kindle. So – four months?

2. What was the best thing you did marketing wise that you believe helped you get where you are today?

Actually, I have not done much to “market” myself other than two things –
I have done several interviews on various websites and I also participated on a website called Free Book Friday. Every week they showcase books in four categories – Fiction, Teens, Romance, and Indie. The book descriptions and an interview with the authors are posted on Saturdays. Then, readers enter to win a free autographed copy all during the week. The following Friday, the winners are announced. I have been fortunate enough to participate in promotions for both of my novels – Life is But a Dream and Broken Resolutions. When they told me that over 900 people entered to win Life is But a Dream, I was just stunned! My most recent book, You Don’t Need a Prince: A Letter to My Daughter will be promoted starting May 28th.

3. What do you do to market yourself? What works, what doesn't?

I put up a website. My husband designs websites (, so that certainly makes things easier for me. I started a blog and have had a lot of kind responses to that. I became more active on Twitter and Facebook. I joined Kindleboards and “hung out” in the Writer’s Café so I could learn more about Indie writing. I joined a Facebook writer’s group (which I LOVE) called Indie Writers Unite! Imagine a cyber coffee shop with a bunch of writers hanging out with each other and talking shop. I can’t honestly say that I have noticed a spike in sales after doing any of these things. It has been more of a gradual but consistent increase in sales every day. For one three day period in late April I had a spike in sales, but I still have not determined what caused that. On April 28th I woke up to find Life is But a Dream in the #3 spot on Amazon’s Movers and Shakers list. What a morning! Number 1 was a book by Bob Greene (Oprah’s trainer), and he had just been on Oprah that week! I took a screenshot of the Amazon page so I could save it forever. My brief moment of glory. Ha!

4. What tips/advice do you have for other writers?

First – write. I often hear people say they want to write, but they don’t have time. You do have time, but you will probably have to sacrifice other interests – such as watching television, following facebook and twitter, or reading the books of other writers. Especially if you have children. If you have children at home, they should be your priority. Enjoy them while you can. Soon they will be out of the house and you will wish you had another afternoon to color in a coloring book or build a tower with Legos. Savor those moments. Write before they get up, or after they go to sleep, or while they are at school. If you don’t have children at home, then you really don’t have any excuses. If you are not writing, then you probably like the idea of being a writer more than the actual act of writing.

Second – be nice. There is so much negative energy in the world. Don’t add to it. Find ways to encourage your fellow writers as well as those who are just beginning to write. Writing is a tough and solitary profession. We all need encouragement and support. This is especially true of Indie writers who are really on their own without the support of an agent, publisher, editor, and marketing team. Use every opportunity to support other writers. Choose to be kind.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Guest Post by David Lender

David Lender is the bestselling author of Trojan Horse and The Gravy Train, both of which are selling well on Amazon, with The Gravy Train currently at 75 and Trojan Horse at 108 in the Kindle Store.

His latest novel, Bull Street, should be out in the next couple weeks. I was privileged to do the copy editing for him and can tell you that if you enjoyed his last couple novels, you will enjoy this one as well.

What I like about the way David writes is that he does a great job of creating a mental picture in your mind and he understands the importance of showing instead of telling. He also offers great detail in his novels and understands how to put words together so they convey what they need to. He's expressive and not every writer can do that, which I find refreshing.

I've enjoyed the opportunity of getting to know him a little bit this year and of becoming familiar with his writing.


1. How long did it take you to achieve the success you are having with your books right now?

It’ been over fifteen years since I decided to start writing. That’s been an evolving process, including finding someone to teach me. I wrote my first novel—that’s all I’ve been interested in writing—fifteen years ago. I’ve had a career as an investment banker, which is a demanding profession that leaves little time for much else. But I made a commitment to writing, and just muscled it into my schedule. I started getting up at 5:00 a.m and then writing for about an hour before heading to the office. In my investment banking career I always wrote with a mini-cassette dictaphone. I was used to working that way, so I hired a typist in my neighborhood and bought a transcription machine. I’d leave the tapes in my mailbox and she’d pick them up and drop off the transcriptions in hard copy and on a floppy disk. I’d outline on the bus or train, in the car service, on airplanes, anyplace. I did rewriting and editing drafts wherever and whenever I could.

It took me about a year to finish my first thriller. I showed it to a friend’s brother, a successful commercial thriller writer. He said to consider it a Master of Fine Arts and move on. I did. I wrote the second novel over the next year the same way as the first.

Then I educated myself about the agency and traditional publishing businesses, targeted my queries and sent both novels around. In the course of that, a well-connected friend sent Trojan Horse to a prominent literary agent. Her reaction was, “Not bad for somebody who doesn’t know what he’s doing.” She introduced me to some thriller editors. I started working with a seasoned publishing exec who’d edited Robert Ludlum’s first nine thrillers. Eighteen months later, after one of the most intense meat grinders I’ve ever experienced, a finished Trojan Horse emerged.

Around that time I got caught up in my career again, so I didn’t send Trojan Horse out to more than a dozen agents; nobody bit. And so it wasn’t until about three years ago that I got serious again. I signed up for Thrillerfest in New York and spent the Agentfest day of face-to-face pitching to agents. Some people in all walks of life are knuckleheads. Agents are no exception. I had some offers, but who wants a knucklehead working for you? I kept writing and querying. I did Thrillerfest again the next year. Nothing.

Then I got a Kindle for my birthday last year, and one of my brothers converted Trojan Horse to a .mobi file to read it on his Kindle. It started me thinking. I educated myself about Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform and decided to try it. I started reading blogs about what was going on, observing the market. After about a month of screwing around with pricing at $9.99, $6.99, $4.99 against established authors I got real and changed my price to $0.99 and Trojan Horse took off. It’s now been in the Kindle Top 100 for over six weeks.

2. What was the best thing you did marketing wise that you believe helped you get where are you today?

I’ve done some Book of the Day sponsorships on Kindle Nation Daily,, eReader News Today, The Frugal eReader and Kindle Author. I seek out opportunities to guest blog and appreciate invitations to be interviewed on various blogs. I am in a writing group on Facebook and try to help out my colleagues and they help me out. I’ve sent out some review copies to local newspapers and reviewers. It’s all little bits and pieces, but I think it all helps to get the word out.

I can’t put my finger on any one thing as pivotal. Luck helps. Timing, too. This is a unique time in the life of the epublishing business. It’s like a rising market that lifts all stocks and makes people think they’re great stockpickers. I’m grateful for the reception of Trojan Horse, but I’m going to continue to work hard, write the best stuff I can, have it edited, proofed, properly formatted, etc. Now The Gravy Train is out and is doing well, also in the Kindle Top 100. I’m releasing Bull Street soon and am into my next novel in earnest. I believe it’s important for readers to know you will be there consistently writing the best quality books you can for them to read, that you’re in it for the long haul.

3. What tips/advice do you have for other writers?

First, if you’re going to epub, treat it like a business, because it is. Educate yourself about what’s happening out there. Look at what successful authors are doing with pricing, their platforms, their content. Read blogs and other tools to learn the business. Joe Konrath. Kindle Review. Kindle Nation Daily. Read Steve Windwalker’s book on pricing ebooks for Kindle. See what people are talking about on the KindleBoards.

Write the best material you can and find people to edit, proofread, format and produce professional covers for it. Buy a Kindle and a Nook and see what your books look like on them, and on the mac or pc versions of Kindle and Nook before you release them. Then spend at least a few hours of every day staying current with the blogs, maintaining your social network presence, corresponding with your readers and doing everything you can to expand your readership. Don’t spend all day writing. But do set goals for your writing; number of pages or words per day, or on average per day over a week. Keep grinding. That’s what I’m doing.

For more on David Lender, visit his WEBSITE. And thank you David for sharing your insight with your fellow writers!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Guest Post by Heather Killough-Walden

Heather Killough-Walden is the author of several novels which you can find HERE on She is also the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of the Big Bad Wolf series and The October Trilogy.

Her novels are fantastic and offer readers that rare opportunity to step out of their lives for a moment and to be swept away into a world of fanstasy and suspense. All of her books are well written and appeal to a multiple of audiences.

To give you an idea of her current success, check out these numbers on Amazon from just a few of her novels (current as of this moment):

#98 paid in Kindle store
#4 in Romance Vampires
#4 and #5 in Romantic Suspense

#114 in Kindle Store
#6 in Romance>Vampires
#9 Romance>Contemporary

#180 in Kindle store
#7 Children's Fiction>Love and Romance
#14 Children's eBooks

#165 in Kindle Store
#9 Fiction>Action Adventure
#32 Thrillers>Suspense

#559 in Kindle Store
#10 in Fantasy>Epic
#11 Science Fiction>Adventure
#11 Romance>Fantasy

And that isn't even the best part. All of Heather's novels are only $1.00 on the Kindle right now.

I had the chance to interview Heather and I asked her to share some of the secrets of her success with other writers.

1. How long did it take you to achieve the success you are having with your books right now?

It took quite a while. I did the query letter routine for ten years without success and publishing houses almost never accept unsolicited manuscripts any longer. I have more than 300 rejection letters in my closet. Finally, Amazon Kindle came around, providing for people like me a venue and platform through which to share their work with the world. I hastily posted a vampire romance I wrote called The Third Kiss: Dorian’s Dream. It shot to #1 in vampire romance on Amazon and prompted a call from an incredibly prominent (and very good) agent. That agent, the CEO and chairman of Trident Media Group, managed to secure a number of publishing deals for me in record time. I have the best agent in the world!

The entire process, from the time I finished my first novel to the time that I signed my first deal took approximately ten years. I felt like giving up a hundred times. Maybe more. But Churchill’s famous speech kept ringing in my head and I hung in there. I’m very, very glad that I did.

2. What was the best thing you did marketing wise that you believe helped you get where are you today?

Again, that would have to be simply posting my work on Amazon. Amazon also possesses a number of blog sites and lists that you can join as an indie author in order to promote your work. I have to admit that I’m relatively shy, so I only posted on one or two of these. However, I priced all of my books at $1.00 and that, combined with the incredibly popular paranormal genre and (I’d like to think, lol) my writing skills, ensured that the books sold anyway, thrusting me into the top ranks on Amazon. I recently made it to the USA Today Bestsellers List, in fact. It’s an incredibly momentous occasion for me.

3. What do you do to market yourself? What works, what doesn't?

At the moment, Trident Media and my print publishers are in charge of a lot of the marketing for my upcoming print publications (The Lost Angels series, due out in the UK in July and here in the US in November). However, for my electronic works, I have created a number of mild marketing techniques.

Once I had enough readers, I developed a newsletter through which readers learn of upcoming releases, contests, awards, etc. A good friend of mine handles the list for me. I also have a Facebook page and I love to friend readers and carry on conversations with them; they’re all very unique and precious individuals and I am more grateful for their loyalty than I can say. I have a website as well, and through that website, I keep readers informed of what is going on in my literary career, I have a blog, and I thoroughly enjoy feedback. Now that my books have sold a good number of copies, Amazon also does a bit of marketing on my behalf by suggesting my books to readers for me. That’s a big, huge help.

4. What tips/advice do you have for other writers?

I have very often felt like giving up on pursuing my writing career. The rejections really hurt, and when you get enough of them, no matter how good you are, a part of you begins to believe them.

Plus, if you’re not selling books, then you’re not making any money, and in so many peoples’ terms, that means you’re not “successful.” Like it or not, you’re judged on your financial worth. Add to that the fact that being poor can be literally painful at times, and you have one disheartening situation.

So, to those writers out there struggling day after day, rejection after rejection, Ramen meal after Ramen meal, I take a page from Winston Churchill and say this:

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty. Never give in….”

Want to learn more about Heather Killough-Walden? Visit her WEBSITE.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book Review: Spotlight on Michael Robertson's Regret (writing as Dan Dawkins)

Oh what a tangled web we weave...this is a good way to describe Michael Robertson's novel Regret. What initially attracted me (besides the fact that it was nicely formatted and easy to read) was the use of language throughout the novel. He does a great job of turning a phrase. I also enjoyed many of the chapter endings and thought he did a good job of creating a hook that makes the reader want to keep reading. Here's an example of that:

"It was only a few hours after this that I awakened naked in Jenna's hotel, her body pressed against mine, under the sheets of the bed, and had then been propelled into the unbelievable and despair-filled horror that would become the rest of my life."

A lot of books these days are predictable, but not this one. There were twists and turns that I didn't see coming, and I can usually guess what's going to happen next, so I really enjoyed the suprise that came with not knowing what to expect.

The novel is well written and well thought out, and I highly recommend it. And you can get it for .99 right now on the KINDLE and the NOOK.


1. Tell me about yourself, how you became to be a writer, and why you are a writer.

Before you can even begin to write, you have to read—A lot! I was fortunate enough to have a mother who loved to read and did her best to pass the fascination with books onto me. She didn’t have to try very hard. From since I can remember I’ve always had a book by my side. I wrote a few stories when I was young, and enjoyed it, but didn’t really start and try my hand at seriously writing fiction until I was about 20. I’ve written two novels since then, but only published the second one, Regret.

2. Tell me about your book – what inspired it?

Regret is about a young author named Dan Dawkins who, just as all the pieces of his life begin to fit together, experiences a great tragedy, for which he blames nobody but himself…at first. As he tries to outrun his past he begins to become less and less stable, eventually adopting the persona of a character he’d written about. A character that isn’t so nice. The new Dan begins to think of revenge instead of guilt, and the outcome is pretty shocking. The story itself is a first-hand account told by Dan, detailing everything that happened, and offering up and explanation. This is why I published the book under Dan’s name, since it really is his story.

As far as inspiration, it’s hard to say. Regret is a classic case of the characters doing things that the writer didn’t expect. When I started writing the book the plot was a good bit different than the final product. Somewhere around the first 100 pages the story completely changed (for the better) and I never looked back.

3. What’s your favorite chapter in your book, and why?

A few of my favorites I can’t talk about because I don’t want to give anything away. But, I really enjoy the chapter where Dan spends his first night at The Sanderson Homestead. It’s where he meets Ralph, who some of my readers tell me is their favorite character in the book, and it was a lot of fun to write, bringing Ralph to life in that chapter.

4. How did you choose the title of the book?

I wrote the entire book without a title. Then I did all my edits without a title. The title is literally the last thing that I figured out with this book and ultimately settled on Regret because in the end regret is just about all Dan Dawkins had left.

5. How long does it take you to write a book, and what’s your daily writing schedule?

Regret took me a little over a year from first day of writing to final draft. Since I work my full-time job and at the end of the day just don’t always have the motivation to sit back down at the keyboard, to say that I have a writing “schedule” would be a lie. I simply wrote when time would allow and I felt that I was focused enough to do so. Sometimes this would mean starting to write at 9PM and go till midnight, sometimes it meant getting up at 5am and writing till it was time to go to work. Sometimes it meant actually writing at work (Shhh, don’t tell my boss). The most important thing, though, is that I wrote it. And that’s what matters.

6. What made you choose your particular genre?

They say that writers tend to write what they know, and what they themselves enjoy reading. Horror, suspense, and thrillers are my favorite genres, and really all I can ever imagine myself writing. I’ve written a couple short stories that don’t really fall into these categories, but they were simply ideas that wouldn’t go away.

7. Are you working on another book now – if so, what would you like to tell the readers about it?

Well, I have a collection of short stories and one novelette coming out in May called The Teachers’ Lounge, also being published as Dan Dawkins (readers of Regret will understand), and after that I’m going to start focusing on my newest novel. I don’t have a title yet (of course) but it will be a more supernatural tale compared to Regret, full of mystery and tension. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

8. Where can you be found on the internet?




Monday, April 4, 2011

Book Review: Spotlight on Indie Writer Gary Ponzo - A Touch of Deceit

Today I am spotlighting Gary Ponzo. His latest novel is called A Touch of Deceit, and it's doing well in the Kindle market. Really well. One of the reasons for this is that I believe his book offers something a little different than many others out there, and the fact that he incorporates his Sicilian background into the story also helps.

The novel opens well with the line, "There was a time when Nick Bracco would walk down Gold Street late at night and young vandals would scatter." I like this because it incorporates action right from the start and gives readers plenty of things to question such as:

1. Who is Nick Bracco?
2. What's so special about Gold Street?
3. Why were vandals afraid of him?

This keeps the reader reading, which is exactly what should happen. And from there the story moves along well and at a fast pace and Ponzo adds several cliffhangers at the end of chapters to keep the readers turning the page.

I liked the many visuals offered throughout the book such as, "The evil seeped through the door like toxic waste." He also sets up scenes where you think you know what's happening and it turns out to be something else.

The terrorist aspect of the book reminded me of a good episode of 24 and he switches it up and allows you to see what's going on through different perspectives with multiple POV.

Overall, I found Gary Ponzo's novel entertaining and full of suspense.

The Interview:

1. Tell me about yourself, how you became to be a writer, and why you are a writer.

I've always written even as a young child. I guess it became apparent I had some skill when my teachers seemed to pick my work to copy and show the rest of the class. The most memorable came as a senior in high school when I'd forgotten to write an English assignment and scribbled a couple of paragraphs while taking the bus to school. The next day my English teacher gave me an "F" on the assignment and wrote, "Who are you kidding" on top of the paper. Naturally I thought she was referring to the jumpy script from writing on a bus with worn out shocks. When I meagerly asked why I received an "F" she flatly told me I couldn't have written that work, it was simply too good. Of course I was flattered, but needed to prove my innocence. She told me to sit down in front of her and write two paragraphs of an action scene. I did it. When I was done she'd read the work and looked at me with a red face and said, "Why are you wasting your time in my class? You never raise your hand, you never join in conversation, you barely complete assignments--why are you not getting serious about this skill you have?" Of course it took me many years to take her advice to heart. Too many.

2. Tell me about your book – what inspired it?

My book is political thriller about an FBI agent, Nick Bracco, who recruits his cousin Tommy to track down a terrorist. Tommy, however, is in the mafia. It's this relationship between law enforcement and those who break laws which sets up the drama of the novel.

My inspiration was born out of working in my father's candy store when I was just sixteen. I used to work alone on weekends and my father had some Sicilian friends watch over me while I was working, especially at night. I guess I knew they were mafia at the time, but to me they were family friends. They'd sip coffee and talk about their kids, baseball, my school. I wanted to show how these people were actually very patriotic, so when a terrorist comes to America to bomb soft targets, these Italian Americans show how much they value their American side.

3. What’s your favorite chapter in your book, and why?

Probably the climax. When Nick finally does come face to face with this terrorist, he finds a way to straddle the line between becoming a vigilante and legally protecting his country. I think it's my most powerful chapter in the book.

4. How did you choose the title of the book?

I wanted to come up with something which would display the undercurrent of using the mafia to scour the underworld for these terrorists. The FBI become's desperate and actually hands over classified files to these Italian Americans to help find these assassins, so they use a Touch of Deceit. It also can refer to the time Nick Bracco lies to the president about capturing this terrorist so he won't acquiesce to the terrorist's demands.

5. How long does it take you to write a book, and what’s your daily writing schedule?

This one took me over a decade because I was still publishing short stories and trying to make a living and be a dad and a husband too. I write mostly at night when the family is asleep so I'm not interrupting anyone's lives for me to get my story down. But if I focused just on writing novels I could probably get one done in six months.

6. What made you choose your particular genre?

I guess it's what interested me. I'm Sicilian and I thought a Sicilian protagonist was interesting, but once I realized he would be an FBI agent, I knew my story would be a little different than most in that genre.

7. Are you working on another book now – if so, what would you like to tell the readers about it?

Yes, because of the success of A Touch of Deceit I'm furiously working on the sequel, A Touch of Revenge. A week doesn't go by without receiving a comment from one of my readers about the progress of the sequel. It's a very rewarding feeling knowing there are literally thousands of people waiting to read what I'm writing. I'm very blessed.

8. Where can you be found on the internet?


Strong Scenes Blog

Monday, March 7, 2011

Self-Publishing: How to Find a Great Graphic Artist/Book Artist/Cover Designer

The first and most important part of finding a great graphic artist is making sure they are skilled in YOUR genre. Some are multi-genre, while others are experts in one specific area.

On my author group, Indie Writers Unite, I have a Yellow Pages document of cover designers that you can get quotes from.

When I wrote, Black Diamond Death, I was still getting my feet wet in the industry, and I went with a talented lady, and I thought the cover turned out good, but then I found someone who took it to the next level. So sometimes it's trial and error, but it's a great feeling when you find that perfect fit.

To point you in the right direction, a good place to start is by looking on my Yellow Page list on Indie Writers Unite.

And here are a few recommendations that are affordable:

FLIP CITY BOOKS - Christine DeMaio Rice

She is quick, sharp, and affordable--and she can do any genre. Tell her I sent you.


Jack is both a talented writer and designer.

Medium--but still affordable--designers

Author J.A. Konrath uses Carl Graves as his cover artist.

Bob Aulicino has designed covers for J.A. Jance and Lawrence Block.

And here's something really cool - it's a video that shows how a book cover was made. Love it!

Now, as one final item of note - I want to caution you all NOT to pay too much. I believe all the graphic artists I have listed here to be honest and fair, but please be careful. I received quotes from under $100 to almost $1,000 SHEESH!

I believe anything up to about $500 for both an eBook cover and a paperback cover, complete with spine, is acceptable.

Some authors also offer pre-made covers, where they just take a stock photo and slap your title and name on it. It's a good option if you are writing just an eBook novella or novelette that won't be in print. But you need to understand going into something like that--it's a possibility you'll see your cover on another authors book as well. Stock covers can be bought by anyone.

Self-Publishing: Book and eBook Cover Artists/Graphic Artists and Why You Need One

So you've finished your novel and you have decided to publish it yourself. Well, to do that, you need a graphic artist (unless you are talented enough to do it yourself, and if you are - bravo!) For the rest of you, here's some help...

The first thing I want to say is that you don't just want to hire the first person who comes along. Here are my recommendations:

1. When you query a graphic/book cover artist, check out samples of their work and if they don't have any, request them. And here's why. Book covers can increase or decrease your sales so you want a cover that reflects the fantastic book you wrote.

2. One of the coolest things about self-publishing is that you are in control. Usually you don't even get a say with the cover of your book when it's being distributed by a publishing house so here's where you can get creative, and also - you can tell the artist that you like it, don't like, want this change and that change, etc. You CAN be picky, and you should. After all, this is your baby we're talking about, right!

For an idea of the process and how it works, let's use an example from my novel Black Diamond Death.

The first thing I did after choosing the person I wanted to design the cover was to tell her in a few sentences what the book was about and what I thought the cover should look like, and then I let her do her thing.

Here's the metamorphasis:

These were the first images that I got back, and I chose the first because I thought the background was lovely, and in my novel, it's a clear day when the skier is on the slopes and in the second and third photo, I thought it looked like she was caught in a tornado of some kind. I also didn't like the font or the colors, so I made some suggestions and actually sent her a few novels with fonts that I did like.

These next two were starting to look a lot more exciting to me. I liked the first one quite a bit, and I didn't like the second one at all - mostly because I thought it looked like he was in a cartoon. But, cool graphic. And then I decided, well - I didn't like the skier because my skier was a girl and this person looks like a dude.

So then, she sent me these two options for women skiers, and I loved the second one.

Now we had the new skier and the graphic artist was ready to make the final adjustments to the cover and add the tagline.

And I know I'm partial because it is my own book cover, but how amazing is my graphic artist? It doesn't get any better than this.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Featured Author - Jacquelyn Mitchard

I think the world of Jacquelyn Mitchard. And it's not just because she kept trying to write out something for my blog in the midst of everything else she was doing this month (although in my book she gets a gold star for fabulousness for that). Jacquelyn is a gifted writer and has written many books including Deep End of the Ocean - you know, the one that was made into a movie starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Whoopi Goldberg and was an Oprah Book Club choice...yes, that's the one ;) She also has a great blog which I highly recommend, and she is wonderful about sharing her wisdom with new authors.


By: Jacquelyn Mitchard

MYTH: If my book is published by a large press, such as Harper Collins, I’ll only be a face in the crowd to my editor.

TRUTH: A good editor at a large publishing house, a small independent or a copying machine in your basement will give you professional treatment, understanding and support. Your book’s success matters to your editor and your publisher.

MTYH: Agents are crooks and the best writers don’t need them.

TRUTH: Bad agents are bad and bad lawyers are bad and bad doctors are bad and bad singers are bad. A professional, powerful, thoughtful, determined agent is the angel in your corner. Make sure that agent is a member in good standing of the Association of Author Representatives and then, trust your gut. But negotiating the world of e-rights, not to mention a, b, c and d rights, is a full time job and not yours.

MYTH: No one can get published anymore. The market is too tough. You have to be an established “name.”

TRUTH: It is much more difficult to get a novel published now than it was a decade ago. Many doors are at least opened to “name” authors. That said, Charles Bock’s ‘Beautiful Children’ Kathryn Casey’s ‘Minotaur’ James Syrie’s ‘The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen’ and Ann Wentz Garvin’s ‘On Maggie’s Watch,’ were all first novels that generated lots of buzz and, in some cases, lots of $.

MYTH: I need an advanced degree to write fiction.

TRUTH: You may wish to sturdy for your MFA to do deeper into your fiction and poetry. In teaching, an advanced degree is an enormous advantage. In being published, it is neither an advantage nor a disadvantage.

MYTH: The biggest of the big writers don’t write their own books.

TRUTH: A few (such as James Patterson) produce detailed outlines that are then written in first draft form by a salon of newer writers whom Patterson encourages and nurture in their own work as well. Most writers whose names you know as important, however, write every page just as I am writing this blog.

MYTH: You have to be under the age of 30 to really make it. Editors want to have a long term relationship with the writers they “raise” from their first books.

FACT: If you write a great book, no one cares about your age. Many authors (such as Lisa Genova, ‘Still Alice,’ and ‘Left Neglected’) are 40 or older and have been very successful in other fields before their first novels are published. Orange Prize short lister Patricia Kesling Woods was 53 when ‘Lottery!’ was published. Editors do want a long- term relationship, so walk two miles every day and eat your bran flakes. They do not want to hold hands with a neurotic adolescent. Being a person who has found herself as well has her voice is no disadvantage.

MYTH: a professional editing job, pre-submission will mess up my book’s vision.

TRUTH: Good editing before an agent ever sees your first 50 pages is a wonderful idea if you can afford it. Professional editors with proven track records probably do the best job but the “second eyes” of a friend in the craft is a terrific boost.

MYTH: All top-notch writers live on the east or west coats.

TRUTH: Elizabeth Berg lives near Chicago. Jane Hamilton lives in Wisconsin. Billy Bryson lives in England and Carl Hiassen lives in Florida. Chris Bohjalian lives in Vermont and Jodi Picoult lives in New Hampshire. A very famous writer once told me that living in New York City actually kept him from writing because there was so much more temptation to participate in social and cultural events.

MYTH: Other writers will steal your ideas. Agents will steal your ideas and give them to more established authors.

TRUTH: This is called paranoia and results from extraordinary stress and pre-publication blues. While I have never personally known a situation in which this happened, the lawsuit based on the PROOF of its happening would set you up for life and let your write your first ten books without having to wait tables.

MYTH: I have young kids. I cannot write. I have a job. I cannot write.

TRUTH: When I wrote my first novel, I had four kids under the age of ten, and was a widow, and had three day jobs .I had no money. I was besieged by grief. As Jane Hamilton said to me at the time, “These are very good excuses. However, they are excused.” You are barking up the wrong writer with this song. The truth is that children do better if they pay more attention to you than you pay to them. The truth is that you don’t have to be a bad parent to be a good writer. And you do not have to be a woman. Andre Dubus III (‘House of Sand and Fog,’ ‘Townie’) is one of the best family men and one of the best writers I know. He also is a full-time professor.

Jacquelyn Mitchard is the author of ten novels for adults, including The Deep End of the Ocean and the upcoming Second Nature: A Love Story. she also is a frequent contributor to magazines such as Parade and Real Simple and adjust professor of Creative Writing in the MFA program at Fairfield University.

Featured Author - Chelsea Cain

Chelsea Cain has published 12 novels, her first in 1996 at the age of 22. Her newest novel The Night Season will be released in March 2011. Her novel Heartsick made it on NPR's 100 Best Killer Thrillers list. What's great about Chelsea is her sense of humor which translates into her books. To get a good idea of what I mean, here's what she sent me for all of you:

What I Wish I Knew About Getting Published Before it Happened To Me
By Chelsea Cain,
Author of The Night Season

•Travel with a corkscrew. Otherwise you will end up having to buy one every time you want to take a bottle of wine back to the hotel room.
•Never get photographed holding a glass of wine. The glass always looks askew, and you will look drunk.
•When an agent/editor says they "don't love it," it means they hate it.
•Every copy counts. You'd be amazed how few copies you have to sell to get on the bestseller list.
•Don't tell people you will read their manuscripts. You won't, and then they'll think you're an asshole.
•If there is a mistake in your book, readers will find it and they will mention it over and over again.
•The Oregon State Bird is the Western Meadowlark.
•Sometimes you will give readings, and no one will come. The resulting crushing despair will pass.
•The best signing pen is the extra fine tip Sharpie. The regular tip Sharpie emits more fumes and will make you high after about a half hour.
•Always ask people how they spell their names before you write an inscription, even if you are certain that there is only one way to spell "Pat."
•Protect your writing time at all costs. When you are published at a certain level, you will find that you have very little time to write, among all the events, social networking, interviews, book tours travel and endless online Q&As. Marketing is important, but only if you have a book to promote.
•Get a really good accountant.
•Make friends with booksellers, they are some of your most important allies.
•No red wine before photo shoots -- it stains your teeth.
•Don't put a heart on the cover of your book if you want lots of men to buy it.
•On a related note, don't put the word "heart" in the title of your book if you want lots of men to buy it.
•If you have any say, go with trade paperback, as opposed to mass market.
•When you start to panic because of a publishing issue, wait 24 hours before you send the frantic email to your agent/editor/publisher. This will save you having to write the second email where you apologize for the first.
•People like it when you look like your author photo, so don't go dying your hair platinum right after the book comes out.
•Get a P.O. Box.
•Few of your friends or family will ever truly understand exactly what you do. Tell people you are a nurse or a ballerina.
•It is perfectly natural to hate your copy editor.
•If you have to sign 1000 tip-in sheets, you probably want to do this over time rather than waiting until the night before.
•Trust your translators. They are collaborators and they know their cultural markets way better than you do.
•If you happen to know a language your book is translated into, never ever read it.
•Some people like to see their names in books; some people do not.
•Do not, under any circumstances, start checking your sales ranking on Amazon.
•If you go to Book Expo America, wear really comfortable shoes. Even then, bring band-aids.
•Sign stock anytime anyone asks you to.
•Norwegians are awesome.
•At some point you will be doing an event, and someone will bring you a used copy of your book to sign and you will open it only to find that you have already signed it to some dear friends who immediately unloaded it at the used books desk at Powell's. Do not feed sad. It will make a funny story later.
Copyright © 2011 Chelsea Cain, author of The Night Season

Author Bio
Chelsea Cain's, author of The Night Season, first three novels featuring Archie Sheridan -- Heartsick, Sweetheart, and Evil at Heart -- have all been New York Times bestsellers. Also the author of Confessions of a Teen Sleuth, a parody based on the life of Nancy Drew, and several nonfiction titles, Chelsea was born in Iowa, raised in Bellingham, Washington and now lives in Portland, Oregon, with her family.

Chelsea Cain's newest thriller, The Night Season, is out March 1, 2011.

For more information about the author please visit and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

Friday, February 25, 2011

Featured Author - Lisa Gardner

One of the things I like about Lisa Gardner's website is that she includes a link for aspiring writers called WRITER'S TOOLBOX. There's some great stuff on there, so take some time to check it out. She has published many books (both romance and thrillers). She sold her first novel when she was just 20, and her latest novel Love You More comes out next month, March 2011. She has 12 New York Times bestsellers and won The International Thriller Writers award for her novel The Neighbor.

She sent along some advice that's short and sweet but certainly relevant:

My best advice is to sit at your computer and write. Every day. Get to know your market and go for it. You can’t get rejected if you never submit. Those rejection letters are just more steps on your path to publication.


Lisa Gardner

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Featured Author - Karen Kingsbury

Karen Kingsbury has written over 40 novels and has made it both on the USA and New York Times Bestseller list. Her novel Like Dandelion Dust was released in theaters in 2010 and she has three others that are either in production and scheduled for production. She has also written music and wrote on an upcoming album for Marie Osmond - the song is called Tell me to Breathe. Her books include series books and childrens books, and what's refreshing about her books is that they are uplifting.

Karen's mother, Anne, was kind enough to respond to my request and her comments are below:

"Thanks for asking about writing tips. Karen has put together a list of "Writing Tips" on her web site. We have heard from many writers that these were helpful to them. Click HERE for her tips.

Additionally, if you search the Internet under "Christian writing tips" loads of information comes up from many well known authors. There are also online writer's associations such as the Christian Writer's Guild - which will lead you through a course that helps you write your book. If you're interested in this, that's something Karen recommends. It is run by a good friend of hers - author Jerry Jenkins.

Here's another author's blog with writing tips: by Randy Ingemanson

Here's a website that has very good information on how to submit a manuscript to an agent:
Then click on "Submission Guidelines".

Karen didn't struggle to get published like most authors do. A New York agent discovered her because she was a news reporter for the LA Times and was covering a trial. The agent asked her if she could make the story into a book and she did and received a four book contract from a big publisher. The rest is history as they say!

When you get time please stop by Karen's Facebook page. Karen posts there almost every day! There's a link on her website.

"Unlocked" which is Karen's new "stand alone" book released on October 12th. You can also watch her new talk show on her website. Karen interviews those who have inspired this story. She also introduces "Cody Coleman" who is a character in her "Above The Line Series"!

Thanks so much again for your letter, and for taking time to share your thoughts."


Anne Kingsbury
Karen's Mother and Assistant

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Featured Author - Marta Perry

Marta Perry aspired to write from the tender age of eight. She has several different series of books in the romance and suspense genre and writes an Amish series as well. She is also a New York Times bestseller. She has written and published over 40 books and I was honored to have her do a guest blog this month.

"When I was getting started in writing, the internet didn't exist, I hadn't heard about organizations like RWA, and I'd never even met another oddball person like me! Aspiring writers today have so many wonderful opportunities to network with other writers and to learn from the best, and I would urge them to take full advantage of that. Seek out groups, either in your community or online, who have the same aspirations you do, and who have the same level of commitment. (Beware the group which turns into a coffeeklatch, talking about writing instead of actually doing it!) I think it's also helpful if the other folks in the group are at your skill and experience level or a little farther along. Remember, you need honest critiquing and encouragement, not criticism.

Above all, aspiring writers must read, read, read, especially in the genre in which you want to write. Know what the classics are; know what the bestsellers are; know what's selling now, not what sold last year.

And write, write, write. It's my personal belief that all of us have a certain amount of dreck that we have to write before we can get down to the real stuff--the things that only we can write, the stories only we can tell."

Wishing each of you all the best in your own writing journeys,

Marta Perry

Visit me on Facebook at Marta Perry Books
MURDER IN PLAIN SIGHT, Amish suspense, HQN Books, Dec., 2010
SARAH'S GIFT, Pleasant Valley Amish Book 4, Berkley Books, March, 2011
VANISH IN PLAIN SIGHT, Amish suspense book 2, HQN Books, June, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Featured Author - D.B. Henson

One of the reasons I chose D.B. Henson is because of her story. It's not typical like those who went the usual route trying to get an agent as far as being rejected and then plugging along like this for a time before becoming published.

D.B. took advantage of what the new era has to offer - the power of the internet. She published herself, and in doing so, landed an agent. Her first novel Deed to Death is an Amazon Kindle bestseller, and I'm sure this is just the beginning of a long and prosperous career. For those of you toying with the idea of self-publishing, this is for you.

"My story is not typical; I did not choose a route to publication that would lead to rejections. When I was finishing Deed to Death, my first novel, I read about Joe Konrath’s success self-publishing on Amazon. Rather than querying agents which could take months, I decided to follow Joe’s lead and upload the book to Amazon myself. I reasoned that if the book sold, it would help me to secure an agent for my next novel. I had no idea Deed to Death would become so popular. It caught the attention of Noah Lukeman, president of Lukeman Literary Management. He just recently sold the book to Simon & Schuster.

The best advice I received was from Joe Konrath – to self-publish. Had I not gone that route, I would probably be sitting amidst a pile of rejection letters.

Question: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers about the industry?

Answer: The industry is rapidly changing. I believe the future lies in e-books, however, I think there will still be a market for paper books for several years to come.

Question: What books did you read that you feel are must reads for new writers?

My agent, Noah Lukeman, has written three books I feel are must reads for writers."

They are:

The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile

The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life

A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation

My other favorites are:

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass

Stein on Writing by Sol Stein

On Writing by Stephen King

- D.B. Henson

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Featured Author - Janet Evanovich

Janet Evanovich has her own unique style of writing that is unlike anything I've seen before, and that makes her stand out among other authors. She has three different series of mystery novels and has written romance as well (she actually got her start when her romance novel was published). I asked her a few questions about her experiences and this is what she had to say:

1. In the beginning of her career when she was rejected, what motivated her to keep going instead of giving up?

I actually did give up. I wrote three books and just couldn't seem to get published. I burned all my rejection letters and went out an got a temp job. But four months into my new secretarial career I got a call from an editor wanting to buy my last manuscript.

2. Was there one piece of advice she received from an agent or someone in the business in the early days that improved her writing or helped her to eventually get published, and if so what?

There wasn't one piece of advice that helped me get published, but after I was published an editor told me to never hold anything back for the next book. Always put all your good stuff in the book you're writing. I think that's good advice.

3. When her first books were rejected, did she do anything to different with the next book (the first one to be published) that made all the difference, and if so what?

Those first books were mostly about me teaching myself. Typically, a rejection letter doesn't come with a lot of criticism, constructive or otherwise. It's usually pretty much just a "no."