Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Interview with Jeff Crimmel

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
My first book to date, Living Beneath the Radar; A Nine Year Journey Around the World is an account of my travels from 1970 to 1979.  The adventure took me from Europe to India overland through Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan three times and eventually down through SE Asia in 1975, ending up in Australia. The book starts off with a little of my background including experiences with the army draft board, post college life and other influences that directed me to take this journey during a time of world turmoil. The book is full of events and encounters with people not found in the world of media and news.  The stories are humorous as well as true, even though some readers may challenge the author as to their possibility of ever happening. 

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers? 
I tried the traditional route after the book came out in the first edition as self published.  I sent query letters to agents in order to find a larger market for the book.  After I edited the first edition and added 100 pages of more stories and adventures I still searched for an agent, but may republish with the same self-publishing company in order to get the edited version out into the world quickly.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I would have to say that Goodreads book club has become my critique group as well as other writers who pointed out my need to edit and redo parts of the first edition.  I was in a hurry to get my book published and did not take the needed time to go through the final copy to the degree needed before printing.  I received very good reviews but the editing needs really made me sit down and spend 4 months rewriting and editing the book.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
Amazon is the top name in on line bookstores and any independent author needs to get his or her book on their site.  It would be like building a solar car that can travel for free because you built it in the desert and the sun shines every day.  If there are no roads in the sand dunes for you to drive you solar powered car then you will go nowhere.  Amazon is the road in the desert for your book and it offers a place to be seen and travel on.  Without this avenue your book will be stuck in the sand and not journey very far.  (How’s that for a green vision of Amazon?)

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing? 
A friend of mine used the Word edit-program and read the book through once.  He gave me some corrections but Word does not replace a human reading the book. Finding all the words that are spelled correctly but are the wrong word.  Where, were, choose, chose are just a few examples that only editing and reading a book can catch.  Also I found that one really needs another person to edit and review because the author will continue to re-read the same mistakes over and over again and still not catch them.  I now have re-written Radar, changed the passages in order to flow easier, and corrected grammar. I still have several friends reading it again and giving me their input. 

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey? 
The most difficult part of self-publishing is the promotion.  Bookstores will not accept your book in their store if it does not come through a big publisher.  Getting people to read your book and writing a review is one way to get it noticed and hopefully the buzz will reach someone who has an “in” with promotion.  Some writers are good at writing but cannot self promote or do not want to.  Promotion has to be the biggest hurdle for indie writers.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
I did get the book on all the e-book links.  Authorhouse sells the book and it is available on line with all the bookstores.  My Goodreads site is also helpful because there is where serious readers see reviews, read about the book and decide if they want to get it and read it.  I have given away a lot of books through Goodreads and have received many good reviews as well as a few that drove me to edit and redo the book.  I am glad I did edit Radar and now I feel the product is ready with out any regrets.  I hope to have the second edition available by fall of 2011.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I have a facebook page for Living Beneath the Radar.  I do get some interest when I do things like radio interviews or T.V. interviews and I post the links to these media spots for those interested. I also have a twitter account and hope to expand my exposure there as well.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
I have started another book on the experience of moving to Mexico.  The working title is “Learning to Love the Peso”. The move is taking place as I write this.  I just returned from my last load of furniture.  I move down June 8 and my wife will arrive around June 19.  I dropped all work on the book when I edited Radar.  Marketing one book while working on another can be a real challenge. It takes a person who is very dedicated to write at certain times every day and promote at other times.  In other words the writer has to be dedicated to a writing window and move on to a marketing window in order to complete both.
What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
The biggest advice I can pass on is to not be in a hurry.  The book has to be edited to the 10th degree.  If not you will end up redoing the book later.  Do not be in a rush to push the send button.  Get a friend or person who edits and take your time getting everything right before taking the plunge.

What’s next for you?
My next is having Radar written into a screenplay.  I was interviewed and the person doing the interview fell in love with the stories and wants to write a screenplay.  She knows producers and it just might make it to the world of film.  We are also moving to San Felipe in Baja California in June.  I started writing about the move last year and I hope to make the book a need to know before anyone else tries to do such a move.  There have been other books in the past that have done such a story but the mechanics of such a move change all the time and those books are outdated.  This book will also be full of humorous adventures because humor is what I find in many of the situations I have been in.  Moving to Mexico is no exception.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011 - Let's Take A Moment

To most Americans Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to summer.  The weekend is celebrated with family gatherings, picnics and bar-b-ques, but let's not forgot the real meaning behind this day.  It is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service to our country.  Luckily for my family, all of my brothers, nephew and niece came home from the various wars unharmed.  So please take a few moments out of your day and remember all of our military, each and everyone of them is a hero in my book.

America's War Dead From the Revolutionary War to Iraq

Photo of Ceremony at KoreaThroughout our history, thousands of brave Americans have died serving their country and fighting for their beliefs.  From the early days of the American Revolution to our current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the numbers of battle deaths speak to the sacrifices our soldiers, and their families, have made.
American Revolution (1775-1783)
War of 1812 (1812-1815)
Mexican War (1846-1848)
Civil War (1861-1865)
140,414 (Union); 74,524 (Confederate)
Spanish-American War (1898-1902)
World War I (1917-1918)
World War II (1941-1945)
Korean War (1950-1953)
Vietnam War (1964-1975)
Gulf War (1990-1991)
Afghanistan War (2001-present)
1,527 (as of April 7, 2011)
Iraq War (2003-present)
4,446 (as of April 7, 2011)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

New: Monday-Friday Schedule

I have been blogging non-stop for almost 3 years now and I need to step back just a bit.  So starting next week, I will only be posting on a Monday through Friday schedule.  This will back up posts a little, but not too badly.

Everyone should be out enjoying the beautiful summer weather on the weekends anyway!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

ZOMBIE book Contest Winner

The lucky winner of the zombie tale, "Hungry for You" by A.M. Harte is:


Congratulations.  You will be hearing from the author directly about how to collect your book.

Thanks everyone for entering the contest.

Friday, May 27, 2011

And the Winners of the Fantasy Titles Are:

Drum roll please....

The winners of the fabulous fantasy titles are:

Bleeder by LK Rigel:  webDzynz (Che)

 Dance of Cloaks & Dance of Blades by David Daglish:  Serenity (April)

Quest of Nobility by Debra L Martin & David W Small: Georgia 

Blood of Requiem by Daniel Arenson:  Sirhijinx (Josef) 

Congratulations to all the winners.  You will be hearing directly from the authors about your contest wins.  It would be great if you'd consider leaving a review when you're done reading the titles.  Authors love reviews!

Stay tuned for another fabulous giveaway contest next month with 7 fabulous authors!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The World of Symbols: The Unicorn

by Michelle Snyder, Symbologist

Unicorns are one of the most loved symbols in art. The mythology of the unicorn is ancient and is concentrated in the northern hemisphere. Placing symbols in historic context is important when decoding them; knowing when and where a symbol was used is the first step. Who, what, when, where, why, and how are important questions to ask.

Although the opinion that unicorns really existed is common, to date there is no provable evidence beyond the many images that resemble oral tradition and literary descriptions. In ancient China the unicorn is called Ki-lin, was a badge of kingship, and symbolized kingly qualities. Emperor Fu Hsi (2852 - 2738 BC) is said to have received the secrets of written language from a unicorn 2,800 years ago. Like the western unicorn, the elusive Ki-lin is solitary and hard to capture. Considering their qualities, the images likely have a common ancestor.

As with many symbols, unicorn legends developed a dark side. The mythology of a dark, menacing unicorn developed from tales of the dangerous and mean-spirited wooly rhino during the Paleolithic (12,500 BC). The history of the more common white unicorn mythology developed from narwhal hunting during the same time period.

In folklore from Babylon, c. 3500 BC, the lion and the unicorn hate each other; a battle that may have roots in the unicorn, which represents spring, and the lion, which represents summer. England, with a lion emblem, and Scotland, with a unicorn, were at war for a long period; the battles are remembered in a traditional nursery rhyme from 1603 where England was usually victorious:
The lion and the unicorn were fighting for the crown
The lion beat the unicorn all around the town.
Some gave them white bread, and some gave them brown;
Some gave them plum cake and drummed them out of town.

Today, the unicorn and the lion are reconciled on the British coat of arms, the unicorn as a symbol of goodness and honor in women, and the lion as a symbol of courage and strength in men.

In general, unicorns are associated with unified absolute monarchy, stressing courage, grandeur, wisdom, nobility, and justice. Unicorns are attributes of sun-heroes and are associated with courtly love. According to legends, only a virgin, on whose lap it willingly lies down, can catch a unicorn. An engraving from the 15th century depicts the “capture” of the unicorn; however, the maiden has removed the animal’s neck chain, and he is sitting with his head in her lap as she pets him.

What a symbol looks like is also important in decoding. Unicorns are often imaged as white horses with a single horn growing from their foreheads. In depictions of the unicorn and lion in the Royal Arms the unicorn has split hoofs, a small beard like a goat, and a tail that looks more like that of a donkey, which curls up over his back, like the lion he faces. The golden chain and crown around the unicorn neck denotes his royalty. Old esoteric writings describe the unicorn as having a white body, red head, and blue eyes; some have a horn that is white at the forehead, red in the center, and black at the tip. Added to the mythology associated with the unicorn, this description indicates royal Celtic origins, perhaps unicorns are a symbol for the bloodlines of princes and kings.

Unicorns are much loved characters in Faerie tales and their history has been preserved through these great stories. The character of Prince Charming, the hero prince, is the Unicorn at his best (the deconstruction of the Prince Charming ethic is evident in the film Shrek 2).

Article and artwork © 2011 Michelle Snyder, author of Symbology: Decoding Classic Images, available at Amazon. Her website is www.whiteknightstudio.com.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

10 Things I Hate About Zombies by A.M. Harte

Flash back ten months ago. It is the summer of 2010 and I’ve just been issued a challenge I’m determined to refuse.

The challenge doesn’t involve crazy aerobatics, unnatural physical endurance, or intense focus and commitment. No: the challenge is simply to write a zombie love short story.

I read through my friend’s email challenging me to take part, scowl in disgust, and hit ‘reply’. In the subject line I write ‘absolutely not!’ and in the body of the email I write:

10 Things I Hate About Zombies”

1. They’re infectious
Nothing creeps me out more than disease. Remember that really cheesy film Mission Impossible II, where Tom Cruise has to destroy the genetically modified disease ‘Chimera’? Yeah. That gave me nightmares.

2. They’re insatiable
There really is no way to reason with these chaps. You know how the Athenians used to send 14 youths every so often to placate the Minotaur? That wouldn’t work here. Zombies will always be hungry for more.

3. They’re unstoppable
Combine reasons 1 and 2 and you get an unstoppable monster. Scientists have run projections on how a zombie virus would spread, and come to the conclusion that if it ever happened, we’d all be screwed. Great. So our options are either to become a zombie, or die while killing zombies? I’m taking the first spaceship out of here.

4. They’re disgusting
Zombies have no panache, no style. With zombies, you have all the issues of a decaying corpse: maggots, the smell, the exposed bone and sinew... ew! At least vampires look good while they’re doing their thing.

5. They’re the living dead
No one likes to be reminded of their own mortality, and zombies do just that: they show you how fragile your hold on life is. Their bodies are a full-colour moving model of what’ll happen to you when you die (minus the brain-hunger, hopefully).

6. They’re faithless
Zombies have no loyalty, no friends. The moment the infection sets in, everything—hopes, loves, relationships, dreams, goals—ceases to exist, replaced only by hunger. A zombie doesn’t even care what happens to another zombie.

7. They never give up
Zombies don’t get bored or impatient, or, you know, just plain tired of the whole hunting thing. Pretty soon you’ll run out of food and supplies, open your front door, and bam! They’ll be there, waiting. You wouldn’t want to queue behind these guys.”

That’s when I hit a roadblock. I was missing three reasons and my mind had gone blank.

I reread through the list, searching for inspiration, and all of a sudden I found myself wondering: What if zombies don’t have to be this way? What if they can feel emotion, fall in love? What if they are just as sad and lonely and human as the rest of us?

‘What if’: the two words that always mark the beginning of a story. I saved the email to drafts, opened a new document, and began writing.

One story turned into two, two into three. I kept my list handy and tried to break the rules. Swimming zombies, married zombies, zombie swans, zombies who fall in love.... The possibilities were endless.

Flash forward to today, and I’ve published an anthology of zombie love short stories I never thought I’d write.

I guess I don’t hate zombies after all.
If you'd like to enter to win a copy of HUNGRY FOR YOU, please leave your name and email in the comments section by Friday, May 27.  The winner will be announced on Saturday, May 28 just in time for the long Memorial Day Weekend!


A.M. Harte writes twisted speculative fiction, such as the zombie love anthology Hungry For You. She is excellent at missing deadlines, has long forgotten what ‘free time’ means, and enjoys procrastinating over at amharte.com.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

INCREDIBLE DREAMS Blog Tour & K3 Giveaway

My deepest gratitude goes out to those who are following the Incredible Dreams Blog Tour & Kindle 3 Giveaway this month. Now that the tour is winding down (the last stop is May 30th at Everybody Needs A Little Romance), please don't let that deter you from entering the giveaway. A nice starter library from a group of fantastic authors (about 20 ebooks) will be awarded to the winner in addition to the new Kindle 3. For more information on the Kindle 3 Giveaway, please check the details at my website (http://www.sandrawrites.com ).

Here are the questions for this stop on the tour:

1. In Convergence by T.M. Roy, On what planet does this book take place? -- Find the answer at:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0036RTYLA

2. In Cathy Wiley's book Dead to Writes, in what city does this book take place? -- Find the answer at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003ZYEVWG

** Please do not post your answers here in the comments section. Send an email directly to Sandy at sandywrites@sandyslibrary.com.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Are you looking for something new to read over the long Memorial Day weekend?  Here's just want you need.  Enter to win one of the 5 fantasy titles listed below (actually 1 lucky winner will be given both books by David Dalglish).  I have read the other titles and they are fantastic.  The participating authors are: LK Rigel, BLEEDER, David Dalglish, DANCE OF CLOAKS and DANCE OF BLADES, yours truly, QUEST FOR NOBILITY and Daniel Arenson, BLOOD OF REQUIEM.

Just leave your name and email in the comments section BY THURSDAY, MAY 26 along with your ereader device(KINDLE, NOOK etc) so the authors can be sure to send the right files off to the lucky winners.  4 lucky winners will be announced on Friday, May 27!

The King of Garrick wants to kill her.
The King of Allel wants to love her.
And shapeshifters stole her baby's soul!

It's been a hundred years since sea-level rise and global nuclear war wiped out most of humanity. Mallory is a chalice, one of the world's rare fertile females who contract with the kings of the Concord Cities to provide natural-born heirs. 

It was supposed to be a pampered and uneventful life, but Mal becomes caught between King Garrick's scheme for world domination and the goddess Asherah's desperate plays for another god's attention. 

In her struggle to survive, Mal must confront the most terrifying threat of all -- the truth of her past and the inevitability of her destiny. 

"Many aspects of this book riled me, but in a way which was satisfying because of the realism. Think Darth Vadar: an absolutely wicked character but in such a way where you can't help but say he's a kick-ass villain. So with that in mind, I went through Bleeder hating characters, attitudes, and situations, but absolutely loving the book because of it."

"Yes! After having my interest piqued with Space Junque and Spiderwork, this book finally delivers on the promises those two novellas make. I was almost immediately sucked into this book, and where I found the two prequel novellas enjoyable but lacking a bit of depth, this book was just right. Rigel made me care about what happened to Mallory and Edmund, and I found myself biting my nails and rushing through to the end ...."

David Dalglish, DANCE OF CLOAKS
Thren Felhorn is the greatest assassin of his time. Marshalling the thieves' guilds under his control, he declares war against the Trifect, an allegiance of wealthy and powerful nobles. His son, Aaron, has been groomed since birth to be his heir. Sent to kill the daughter of a priest, Aaron instead risks his own life to protect her from the wrath of his guild. In doing so, he glimpses a world beyond poison, daggers, and the iron control of his father.

Assassin or protector; every choice has its consequences.

"A Dance of Cloaks is what would you get if Mario Puzo #1) knew how to write, and #2) constructed The Godfather to take place in a land of swords, spears, and magic rather than New York and Sicily."

"The story is filled with well fleshed-out characters from various members of the thieving guilds, to the nobles of the Trifect, but most commendable, this author shines the light on strong female characters. From Kayla, the assassin, to Alyssa Gemcroft and the Faceless Ones, the women play a prominent part in the book."


It's been five years since Haern faked his death to escape the tyranny of his father. He has become the Watcher, a vicious killer who knows no limits, and whose hatred of the thief guilds is unrivaled. But when the son of Alyssa Gemcroft, one of the three leaders of the powerful Trifect, is believed murdered, the slaughter begins anew. Mercenaries flood the streets, with one goal in mind: find and kill the Watcher.

Peace or destruction; every war must have its end.

"The whole point of reading fiction is to become lost in the story the author puts forth. David achieves this in every book of his, I've had the pleasure to read."

Debra L Martin & David W Small, QUEST FOR NOBILITY
The parents of royal Otharian twins Darius and Dyla have been murdered; their cousin is stealing their throne, and they are falsely accused of murder. Their only choice is to flee to the forbidden and quarantined planet Earth, but it could turn out to be a one-way trip.

To return home, they must find an ancient crystal, that once belonged to Merlin, to power the return portal. When the twins stumble upon the location of the crystal, the local crime boss sends out his assassin to retrieve it. Can Darius and Dyla use their PSI powers to open the portal home and reclaim their throne before the assassin catches up to them?

"...this fantasy tale is highly imaginative and quite engaging..."

."..science fiction/adventure novel has a lot going for it: believable lead characters, a classic coming-of-age narrative, and an interesting mixture of both high-tech science fiction and fantasy elements..."

"...The end is fantastic when all the threads that run through the tale are uncovered..."

Daniel Arenson, BLOOD OF REQUIEM
Long ago stood the kingdom of Requiem, a land of men who could grow wings and scales, breathe fire, and take flight as dragons. Requiem ruled the sky.

But Dies Irae, a tyrant leading an army of griffins, hunted Requiem's people, burned their forests, and shattered their temples. Requiem fell. This ancient land now lies in ruin, its halls crumbled, its cries silenced, its skeletons littering the burned earth.

In the wilderness, a scattering of survivors lives in hiding. The griffins still hunt them, and every day promises death. Will Requiem's last children perish in exile... or once more become dragons and fly to war?

"Beautifully written, engaging, exciting. The characters are well-developed with good depth." 

"A wholly original, gritty fantasy full of angst and epic battles."

Be sure to leave your name and email in the comments section for a chance to win one of the books!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

WINNER of Intern with the Vampire

And the winner is:

Deb Peterson

Congratulations Deb!  You will receive an email from the publisher, 1889 Labs, with instructions on how to claim your book.

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Review of RUBIES AND OTHER GEMS by Joyce DeBacco

 3.5 out of 5 stars

RUBIES AND OTHER GEMS is the story of a modern woman, Lily Manning, who struggles to balance being a wife, mother and finding time for herself.  It's never easy with two rebellious teenagers and a laid back husband who leaves all the difficult parenting to her.  What she wouldn't do for a few moments of peace and quiet to herself.  Through the power of her grandmother's ruby jewelry, Lily unwittingly has her wish granted when she is transported back in time to a simpler life.  It's all a beautiful dream for Lily, one that she cherishes as her "me" time.  When she wakes up from her dream, she has no idea that she has actually time traveled and that's when the trouble begins.  The next time her life sets her nerves on edge, Lily grabs her grandmother's rubies and is once again transported back to the same time frame, but with a twist.  She seeks out the sexy Daniel that she had met her first time back and indulges in every woman's fantasy enjoying an afternoon of passion.  This one decision sets Lily on her own path of self-discovery.

I found the character of Lily believable.  What woman today doesn't struggle with balancing work, home life, demanding teenagers and her own needs?  However, I struggled to understand some of Lily's decisions especially concerning her husband's reaction to her infidelity.  Yes, she felt guilty about her indiscretion and was trying to right a wrong, but she let herself become such a doormat to her husband's whims.  After awhile it was too much and I found her behavior annoying instead of sympathetic.  Dealing with a rebellious teenager is tough and Lily suffers through all the abusive behavior her daughter throws at her, all without the support of her husband Sam.  When she tries to reign in Molly, Sam undermines her authority again and that sets another disaster in motion.  Will Sam ever realize that his own "good guy" parenting is part of the marital problems he has with his wife?

All and all, RUBIES AND OTHER GEMS is an enjoyable read of a modern woman's struggles to find out what she really wants in life.  Ms. DeBacco throws one final twist in at the end bringing this story to a "good-feel" ending.

Friday, May 20, 2011


I just read a book improbably titled The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I say improbable because my editors always advised that less is more when it comes to titles. Readers, after all, only give you seconds to catch their interest. It took me longer than that to sound out all the syllables in the aforementioned book. But all the seconds in the world would not have convinced me to read this except that it was recommended by an extraordinary person: a bookseller.

Which brings me to the lament the day and it goes like this: I miss real, true, dedicated booksellers like Mr. Bruce Raterink, Barnes & Noble, Virginia. He knows exactly what I like to read and what I write (contemporary thrillers and mystery, true crime) but he also instinctively knows how to broaden my reading horizons. Considering I live in Los Angeles and he lives on the east coast his talent goes beyond gift to pure wizardry.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, written with great verve, exquisite sensitivity and deceptive gentility, is set in a time of great sorrow, distress and courage – Europe’s recovery after World War II. Juliette, the heroine, is a writer and the cast of characters are all readers (of sorts). A bookseller is early engaged to attempt to find a book in the ruin that is England. The intersection of my normal read and this book pivoted on excellent characterization and astounding pacing. 

But it was Juliette’s praise of booksellers  - selfless people willing to endure long hours and no pay simply for the love of books and their readers - that gave me pause. Booksellers have played an intimate role in my professional and personal growth and I fear I have met the last of them.

Over twenty years ago Michelle Thorne enticed me to do book signing at her independent store. Unlike my first cool and corporate experience, signing at Bearly Used (and new) Books was like a riotous party at the Mad Hatter’s table – always joyous. My books were piled in an optimistic pyramid as if Michelle knew they would sell by the bushel. There were cookies, praise, decorations, readings. Michelle was a social director, best friend, stern mom and cheerleader wrapped into one. She made me confident about writing when I was anything but.

Robin Elder was a beautiful red-haired woman who moved gracefully through her store lined with English mysteries, intrigues and thrillers and a select few American authors. I was thrilled to find my books on the shelves of her bookstore/tearoom. Having just moved, finding Robin made me feel as if I was home. But what I remember most is that she embraced my youngest, my curious little boy who preferred books to soccer in a new neighborhood that didn’t have much use for the athletically challenged.  For over a year, before she was forced to shut her doors, she discussed books with him and allowed him to read as long as he wished, settled on a small window seat, kept company by her cat. He is now a playwright. His ability to write may be somewhat genetic, but his love of a good story was nurtured within the walls of a small store stuffed with unique books and overseen by a perpetually thoughtful bookseller to whom words meant the world.

Corki Brucellas, the energetic corporate angel who launched my last five books at my local Borders was a literary earth mother who believed each novel was a special delivery. She could discuss individual author’s strengths and weaknesses. Knowing how fragile a writer’s ego could be, she never voiced the later.  Now my local Borders is closed. Corki will always be a friend but it is sad she will not be a bookseller any longer.

Of all the booksellers who have helped me, nurtured me, celebrated with me, it is only Bruce who continues to ply the trade. The others have moved on to other things, their small stores unable to turn a profit for their wonderful owners, the corporate stores failing to recognize how vital the roll of a true bookseller – not a clerk - is. And, yes, in this age of internet, IM and Twitter, good reads are recommended by people I’ve never met, my books are reviewed and criticized but there are few left who will look a reader in the eye, pluck my book from a shelf, press it into someone’s hand  and say “I have read this; you will love it”.

In my own backyard there is no one left who will call me by name when I walk into their store, I will no longer sign my name on the flyleaf of my book. I will not sit beside a pyramid-stack of real paper in anticipation of meeting people and being cheered on by the bookseller.  

Oh heck, I miss them. They will never be back because a good bookseller is inefficient and unprofitable. A good bookseller takes too much time to read, to understand, to seek, to find, to chat, to listen to author and reader alike. I am happy that at least one of them is still standing. He makes me lists of books to read and bucks me up when the writing is slow. He picks out passages of my work that he believes are particularly inspired which makes me work all the harder. Because he is there, I write and I read and I am better at both. Lucky me to know him and others like him and lucky Virginians to still have Bruce to press a book in their hands and say “I loved this, so will you”.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Maureen Miller, 1 Year Later

How have things changed for you in the past year?
I have two more wrinkles and perhaps two more pounds around the waistline. I have also had the tremendous opportunity to be published through Carina Press, which has not only given me the opportunity to showcase my writing in front of a broader audience, but also introduced me to so many new friends and peers in the industry.

What kind of marketing did you do to get your book in front of readers?
I have been an active participant on Kindle Boards for several years, a site that hosts dedicated readers and authors that are all so very supportive.  I am active on blogs and I have a decal on the side of my car that says, “Read my book and I’ll wash your car.”

Do you have an agent now?  
No. Not at this time.

Do you have a publishing contract for your current book?  
Yes, I am published with Carina Press, Harlequin’s digital press.

Did they contact you directly or through an agent?
I received the call from none other than Angela James herself, the executive editor for Carina Press.

Is it for more than 1 book?
No, currently it is just for Endless Night, however I am busy at work on a follow up.

Have you written your next book?
Yes, I have completed the first draft and am fiercely editing as we speak.

Will you still self-publish?  
 There are times when your inner-author decides to write a genre or a subject that publishers might feel is not marketable, so I always see self-publishing as being an option.

How are your self- published titles doing?
Very well. I understand that they may not be as polished as my published book so I compensate by offering them at .99 cents each. Two of my self-published novels have been in the top 100 Kindle romantic suspense books for several months.

Any advice for newbie authors?
Don’t write for the money. Don’t write material you think people will like. Write from the heart. Even if you are writing a story about a woman, a whale and a grasshopper…it needs to entertain you before it could ever entertain others.

As a programmer, I felt that the natural next step in my career was to write romance. Seriously, the romance writer was always there inside me, programming just paid the bills.  We all have that little muse hiding inside us that wants to come out and dazzle the world with some form of artistry.  My inner muse finally came out and produced a Golden Heart nominee in Romantic Suspense.  Since that, I never looked back and kept on writing.