April 27, 2012

Interview with Sci-fi Author, Cara Michaels!

Welcome back to Week 5 of Getting Published! Today we have sci-fi author Cara Michaels, author of Gaea’s Chosen: The Mayday Directive and Gaea’s Chosen: Event Horizon.

Thanks for having me, Nicole. It’s a pleasure to chime in on a subject near and dear to me.

1. Tell us what inspired you to write the Gaea’s Chosen series.

Gaea’s Chosen was born during an afternoon at the day job. Once a month, my day is overtaken by the mind-numbing chore of folding and stuffing billing statements. It’s not exactly the most stimulating job, and so I have a tendency to daydream to pass the time. One such day gave birth to the idea for a gore-fest horror story (the no-one-gets-out-alive type) that morphed into Gaea’s Chosen as I wrote.

2. Now that you’ve self-published, are you interested in seeking representation for future works?

Absolutely. I opted for self-publishing due to the short length of these stories. I didn’t want them lost in some magazine or anthology somewhere. But self-publishing is serious work and you’re really on your own out in these shark-infested waters. I’m happy to build a readership for these stories, though. They’ve been really well received so far, and I hope that counts in my favor when I consider representation for my longer works.

3. How do you prioritize which projects you’ll work on next?

Ahhh… well… I’m a bit (okay a lot) of a pantser when it comes to what I’m working on and when I’m working on it. I have three projects actively claiming my attention at least once or twice a week right now, and then I have several more projects in various stages.

4. What can you tell us about your upcoming projects?

I’m definitely working hard on Gaea’s Chosen: Heavenly Bodies. I also have an ancestor story for one of the main Gaea characters in the works. Outside of that, I am part of a dystopic, end of the world, flash fiction anthology. I’m getting my final draft to my beta readers this week on that one.

5. What advice would you give authors looking into self-publishing?

• Make sure your book is well edited and COPYedited (even if you have to save up to have a pro look it over) – one of the biggest complaints I see for indie and self-pub regards typos. You’re already having to work extra hard to get noticed in the sea of mainstream publishing. Don’t get people noticing you for the wrong reasons.

• Take the time to design a nice cover – A poor cover can immediately announce to the world that you don’t have the backing of a house. There are a number of inexpensive services to help if you don’t have any graphic design skills yourself.

• Set aside a small budget for promotion – And I do mean small. I’m a full-time office drone, I have a kid in Tae Kwon Do, I spend $200/paycheck on my commute… I don’t have a lot to spend. But you can launch a Facebook ad for a couple bucks a day. Take advantage of offers from your host, if you have one. Mine throws $50 and $100 Google Adwords gift cards my way all the time. Just remember you’re making an investment in yourself. You have a lot more control over your output than you do any stock. Any little bit you can spend increases your exposure and builds your name and your sales in return.

Don’t expect to get rich quick. DO expect to lose a lot of sleep. If you’re like me and you’re doing this on the side while still holding a day job, raising kids, etc, you’re going to be fondly remembering those days of spending QT with your family and sleeping. Promotion is all on you, but it’s worth it to see your first reviews coming in and watch your sales numbers go up, even if it’s only by one or two a week.

Thank you for visiting with us, Cara, and congratulations on your newest release, Gaea’s Chosen: Event Horizon.

Thanks for stopping by the blog today. You can find Cara and her works through these links:
Google Plus

April 20, 2012

Interview with Paranormal Romance Author, Sherri A. Dubb!

Welcome back to Week 4 of my interview extravaganza! For this week, I have Sherri A. Dub, author of Goddess Cottage, The Witch Ball and Threshold of Bones.
Thanks for talking with us today, Sherri!

Tell us a little about yourself.
Thank you for having me.
I’m happily married, not in the cliché sense, but seriously in the completed sense.  My husband and I are approaching our 17th year of marriage on April 21st, so I feel pretty confident that he’s the one.
I have a wonderful son in the USAF and two grandsons.  I have a penchant for spoiling them, and I don’t see that particular habit ending any time soon.
I’m a major Disneyland fanatic.  Also, I will never give up looking for my owl to Hogwarts.  Magical inspirations of the fantastical are what keep me going.
I love to travel, read and watch classic film.  Film Noir is by far a favorite, but I actually own and devour all the old Black & White horror films from the early Hollywood film days.  Seriously, I can’t get enough of those bats on strings, or the way the light hits the creature effects just right, showing the real teeth beneath the fake.  Love it!
And, I’m officially a Hawaiian resident as of April 20th.  Who can’t be happy being an Islander?
Now, of your three published books, your plotlines include some type of paranormal element. Why paranormal and what is your favorite part of writing these paranormal stories?
I believe in the supernatural, the spirit world and all things that go bump in the night.  I have enjoyed Hitchcock, King and M. Knight.  I think movies, books and even radio broadcasted plays are what keep our imaginations alive.  However, I don’t think anyone does it better than Spielberg in explaining to us, our own fears.
After seeing:  Close Encounters, E.T., Poltergeist and all the Indiana Jones films, I believe that the paranormal realm is where my heart feels most comfortable.
I love writing about something that “may” be possible, to even the most stubborn non-believer.
Your heroine in your latest release, Threshold of Bones, is an Anthropologist. Is anthropology a subject you’ve personally found an interest in and did you have to do a lot of research for this profession? How much research do you recommend for a novice writer?
I have a BA of Anthropology from UAA. 
I spent 10 weeks in the field, 4 years in college collections and 2 years in a museum setting.  I feel pretty confident in my own capabilities to express the occupation and the subject on paper, but I believe anything can be researched and written well, if one does their homework.
I am currently delving into the Victorian era to write a YA Steampunk Trilogy.  Therefore, I am taking the research quite seriously.  I’ve spent days online, purchased too many books, and antiques.  I want my writing voice to be as authentic as possible to my readers, but the details are what will pull that together.
I always recommend that anyone does their research.  Who wants to read about a cellphone say, in Victorian times?  False information is unrealistic and a definite deal breaker for any author.
Apart from Twitter and Facebook, what marketing strategies are helping you find success?
I use Goodreads.  It’s the best tool available, not being completely utilized, in my opinion.  If everyone read, rated and reviewed books in that one spot, it would be much easier to get a feel for what is out there and to find new authors. 
I also have my own website and push promotions through other author’s sites. I print postcards, do mailings and cannot wait for my first book (Goddess Cottage) to be in print, to do signings this summer.
Last question, your self-pubbed books seem to be doing well. As a self-pubbed author, are you interested in seeking representation from an agent or publisher?
My books are doing well, and I have a nice following on Twitter and Facebook.  As well, I have over 500 friends on Goodreads.
But, I’ve learned a lot on my own.
I’d like an agent, and to be represented, but I want someone who is serious and that is excited about my voice.  I don’t want to be picked up as a “flavor of the month” and dropped when the next one-hit wonder arrives on the scene. 
I had many typos in all 3 of my books.  The last one is being corrected as we speak.  It would be terrific to have representation and help in that area, but I can’t wait for that to happen.  I’m a writer, so I write and publish and tread through the slush piles.  But, to me, just waiting for a call to “make” me an Author, isn’t in the cards.  I’ve done that myself and I’m pretty proud of it.
With that said, I am currently looking for an agent/publisher that realizes my potential.  I put myself on a track to publish 3 books in one year, and beat my own time line.  I’ve created a web presence and a following. 
I’m ready!
Thank you so much for visiting with us, Sherri, and congratulations on your newest release. You are truly an inspiration for writers everywhere.


April 13, 2012

It's Here! New Release: White Trash Beautiful!

My newest release from Evernight Publishing is available today! Woot!

Trey Aston is hiding from the mob.

Desperate to save life, she sells her body in order to make the monthly payments her father owes the mob, but when Trey discovers he hasn’t been making the payments, she’s forced to turn to the one man she hoped never to see again for help.

Deputy Luke Johnson refuses to acknowledge his high school sweetheart is a prostitute and is determined to make Trey see it for herself. Until she starts treating him as a client. His ability to know right from wrong is challenged and he isn’t the only one who’s noticed. The force doesn’t have his back where Trey is concerned, leaving him to fight against them for a criminal.

The Camino Family is out to make her pay, but what really has Trey on edge is the fact she’s fallen for the deputy who wants her behind bars.

Pick up your copy of White Trash Beautiful today from these vendors:
Evernight Publishing

Interview with Romance Author, Shirley Kennedy!

Welcome back for Week 3 of Getting Published! In this series, if you haven’t been following, I’m interviewing published authors in order to discover their secrets to getting noticed.
Today we have Shirley Kennedy, author of Heartbreak Trail, Who Killed Rudy Rio?, Selfless Sister and many more.

Shirley, what was your road to publication like? 
When I started writing, I read someplace that it took the average writer seven years to get published.  Maybe that was a self-fulfilling prophesy, but that’s exactly how long it took—seven years!
How many manuscripts did you complete before you became a published author?
Four.  My first, a little scuba-diving romance called Dive Down to Heaven, still awaits the light of day.  Maybe I’ll self publish it on Kindle.  On second thought, maybe I won’t, thus sparing the world a painful experience.
(Preference) Digital books or print?
Up until Amazon Kindle, I would have said print, by far.  Now my western romance, Heartbreak Trail, has been making phenomenal sales through the Kindle Select program, so I’ve changed my mind.
Do you see any down sides to self-publishing?
Yes and no.  Back in the day, “self published” carried a huge stigma.  Not anymore.  In fact, I’ve just self published one of my old books, and it’s doing okay.  The problem is, anybody and her sister can self publish these days, without any regard to grammar, syntax, spelling, and all that makes a good book.  There’s a lot of trash out there, and that’s not fair to readers.
And one more thing:  Those who self publish will never have the thrill of getting “The Call,” that truly unforgettable moment when an agent or editor calls to tell you that you’ve sold your first book.
What do you think of the rumor claiming in as little as three years, paper will be obsolete?
Really?  I honestly don’t know.  Right now, I read books on my Kindle, but I’m also reading print books.  If I were to guess, I’d say the two formats will co-exist for a long, long time.
Do you have some advice for both published and unpubbed writers out there?
Yes. Before you sit down to type that first “Chapter One,” read and study everything you can get your hands on about writing.  Two books I found invaluable were:  Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass, and How to Write A Damn Good Novel by James N. Frey.  If, before I started to write, I had read these and similar books, I might not have needed seven long years to get published!

You can find Shirley at her website, www.shirleykennedy.com
And you can purchase her books here:
The Last of lady Lansdown, Camel Press, will be released May 1st, both in print and e-book form. Unlike the "sweet" Regencies I used to write, Lady Lansdown is larger and more adult.  The paperback can be pre-ordered on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Last-Lady-Lansdown-Shirley-Kennedy/dp/1603818189/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334081111&sr=8-1

Heartbreak Trail, a wagon train romance, has remained on Amazon's Kindle History best seller list for several months.  Find it at

The London Belle, originally published by Signet is now available on Amazon Kindle.  http://www.amazon.com/The-London-Belle-ebook/dp/B007RSGZPW/ref=sr_1_2?m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&ie=UTF8&qid=1334081722&sr=1-2

In fact, all my old Signet Regencies will soon be available on Kindle.

Who Killed Rudy Rio? is a fast-paced female P.I. mystery available on Kindle for (such a bargain!) $.99.

And by the way, I have just sold a paranormal romance to Inkspell Publishing.  Titled Deadly Gamble, it will be released in October, 2012.  It’s about a haunted casino in Las Vegas and promises to be a fun read.

Congratulations, Shirley, on your upcoming release and thanks for stopping by! I hope this week's interview has given you a little more insight into the publishing world. Next week, come back to check out sci-fi author, Cara Michaels!

April 3, 2012

Free Ebook of Let Me Out!

I am giving away (gifting) 3 eBooks of Let Me Out.

How to get one: leave a comment per the rules below and agree to leave an HONEST review at your eBook vendor.

Rules: No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Must be 18 or older. I can only gift at US vendors who allow gifting of eBooks and who are selling Let Me Out (Smashwords and Barnes&Noble both allow the purchase of an eBook as a gift).
Leave your comment by midnight pacific April 6, 2012.