Friday, March 30, 2012

#Romance + a GIFT CARD, how FABULOUS!

Best-selling author, Sandra Edwards, is sponsoring a monthly contest and you can win a $100 gift card to either Amazon, Barnes & Nobles or iBookstore (your choice.)

You can also find all the details on how to enter at her Facebook author page:


As many of you know, I've decided to run a contest for all my readers out there. The main thing I'm changing is that this will be a reoccurring contest. A new winner will be chosen EVERY MONTH beginning in April!

MONTHLY GRAND PRIZE: $100 gift certificate from Amazon, BN or iBookstore (winner's choice).

TO ENTER: all you need to do is review one (or all) of my books. The review can be GOOD or BAD, it doesn't matter to me. Just leave a review giving your opinion of the book.

Post your review anywhere online (i.e.,,, Goodreads, your blog, or any other place you can think of), then send me a message (via Facebook or email) and let me know where you posted the review.

For each review, you'll get one entry per site where you've posted the review. So, the more places you post, and the more books you review, the more chances you have to win! Posting your review to online bookstores like, and the iBookstore gets two entries per review.

If you've already posted a review for any of my books at Amazon, BN, etc., just message me and let me know where the reviews are posted and you'll be entered into the contest.

First round of the contest ends April 30th. Winner will be chosen via Winner will be notified via email, and will be announced here on my Facebook fan page and at my website by May 10th.

For subsequent months, the contest will end on the last day of the month and the winner will be announced by the 5th of the following month. You only need to send me your information once. Past review info will remain in the "pot" until you win!

*Spreading the word is encouraged!*

Disclaimer: A positive review is not necessary to win. Contest may end at any time. In the event the contest is cancelled, a prize will be issued for the month in which cancellation takes place, and the contest will officially end on the last day of that month.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Interview with Martin Pond

 Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
Dark Steps is a collection of eight short stories, each with a twist in the tale. I try to avoid genre pigeon-holing, and these certainly aren’t horror stories per sé – it’s more that they’re unsettling tales. That’s what I’m aiming for, at least, and hope to leave the reader thinking about these stories long after they’ve put the book down.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Not for Dark Steps, no. Partly because I don’t believe there is much appetite in conventional publishing for a slim collection of dark tales from an unheralded author, and partly because I wanted to retain complete control over the book – everything from the order the stories were in, the cover art, the title.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
Absolutely, and it has been invaluable! It’s a small group, and one that grew out of a creative writing diploma course I took some years ago. The course ended and we just kept on meeting. Having been together for so long, I really feel that I can trust the feedback I get from the other group members. I can almost here their voices in my head when I’m writing now.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
Nothing more complicated than the fact that I own a Kindle! Although in retrospect it was entirely the right decision going with Amazon, seeing them dominate the e-book and e-reader market in the same way that Apple lauds it over the MP3 world.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
No, and some might argue that this was a mistake. I’m pretty good at proof-reading, and my critique group had already helped to rein in my worst excesses! Having said that, any writer will tell you that it can be hard to let go of a line you really love, even when the rest of the world is telling you it’s not so great. I try very hard to avoid that pitfall, but an editor would probably help.

What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?
Not to expect too much, too quickly! It’s easy to fall into the tap of checking your sales figures on a daily basis, much harder to recognize that for the unhealthy and unproductive behavior it is. The simple fact is that it’s hard to achieve massive success as any writer, let alone as a self-publishing indie. The lesson here is to be gentle on yourself, try your hardest, take every promotional opportunity you can to push your book but if it doesn’t lead to massive sales remember, you’re not Random House.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Plenty. Lulu, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, Smashwords, Sony, iTunes, Diesel, Kobo, W H Smith. Oh, and I’m working on Waterstone’s too.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I have a blog dedicated to all my writing endeavors at and I tweet, mostly about books and writing, as @MartinWrites. Having said that, my most successful marketing has come about from hassling book review websites and blogs, plying them with review copies of my book, and asking nicely for a mention.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
There’s a definite correlation – the harder I push Dark Steps the less progress I make with the work-in-progress novel. The latter is important though – one of the reasons for publishing the collection was to build a readership, in readiness for the novel’s publication. It’s just one more thing to juggle though: with a full-time (non-writing) job and busy family life, there are a lot of balls in the air.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
It is possible to do it all yourself – the writing, the editing, the proof-reading, the cover design, the publication, the PR and marketing, the media. It really is, and without incurring any expense other than time. But it’s hard work. Take advice where you can. Accept any help offered. And remember not to get sucked into checking those sales figures!

What’s next for you?
I’m working on a full-length story, provisionally entitled Drawn To The Deep End, that I hope to have ready to publish by September of this year. It concerns the downward spiral our hero’s life takes after the death of his fiancée, and the reasons for the relentless guilt he feels.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Release: GODS OF SAND AND STONE by Walter Shuler

Book blurb:
After the brutal slaughter of his family, Conn takes justice into his own hands in a quest for vengeance that carries him the length and breadth of the land, earning him the name Fuilteach – Bloodthirsty.

When a seemingly chance encounter reveals that he is merely a pawn in a dark plot by the God of Death, Conn must decide to pursue his vengeance or unravel the twisted strands of conspiracy and stand against the greatest threat humanity has ever faced.

His decision is complicated by the arrival of a dead chieftain’s daughter who might be more than she seems and a strange old man poking into the secrets of Conn’s past. Can Conn thwart the plot before the god’s agents find him? Can he stand against a god? 

Buy link:

Author bio:

Walter Shuler is a father, husband and fantasy writer. His books Blood and Brass and Gods of Sand and Stone are both available on Amazon, as well as Smashwords.

You can connect with him on Twitter at:!/anakronistical
And check in at his website here:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Interview with Caroline J Rose

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
No Substitute for Murder is a cozy about a woman who’s trying to get her life back on track—she’s divorced from a cheating con man and downsized from her job as a radio producer—when she discovers the body of an unpopular teacher and then is assigned to cover his classes. Many of the characters are quirky or a little over-the-top and it was a lot of fun to write.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
When I decided to get serious about writing novels, that was the accepted way to go, so that’s the way I went. I have a file cabinet stuffed with query letters and rejections—hundreds and hundreds of them. Twice I’ve had agents, and once was within a whisker of a deal when that particular division of a major publishing company folded. After I sold Hemlock Lake to Five Star, I realized the electronic rights weren’t part of the contract and I released the e-version myself. That gave me confidence to launch other works as indie titles—first An Uncertain Refuge, then A Place of Forgetting, and most recently No Substitute for Murder.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I belonged to a critique group for many years, but last year broke away. I found that others’ stories were getting stuck in my brain and I was spending more time thinking about their plots and characters than my own. I’m not getting any younger, so I decided to put my books first.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
The answer to question 3 is part of the answer to this one. I’m not getting any younger and I don’t seem to be writing what agents and editors are looking for. I decided to take a chance that readers might be interested and invested in cover art and professional formatting. Amazon made the rest of it so easy that I was able to upload the books with just a little help from my friends.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
I worked for many years as an associate editor for Elizabeth Lyon’s Editing International so I’m able to do a lot of this myself. But Elizabeth looked at my books and so did some sharp-eyed friends. Still, a few typos slipped past. The eye and brain often fill in what isn’t there on an unconscious level and I’ve found typos in hardcover recent releases from major publisher. That’s no excuse, though, and I intend to fix my errors as soon as I can.

What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?
To help others when I can, to be kind to myself, and not to let bad reviews get to me.

I taught a novel-writing boot camp in Vancouver, Washington, for about a decade, and am in touch with many writers who took it and are putting books into production one way or another, so I help them when I can.

I don’t compare my progress and success to that of others. I’m not much of a saleswoman/promoter, and I don’t tweet because I don’t think I have anything to say—at least not on a daily basis. But I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way—like this one—and I’m patient and I believe in the power of reader recommendations to sell a book. But not every book is for every reader and freedom of speech is what this country is all about, so I have to expect and accept criticism.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
They are also available at Barnes & Noble

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I use Facebook, but not often, and I participate in some of the Amazon forums and blog as a guest for others (mostly mystery writers) and on my own blog. I don’t do as much of this as I should, but I make an effort to do something every day.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
 Like I said, I don’t do as much marketing as I should so the juggling isn’t all that difficult—it’s more like I’m juggling two rubber chickens instead of six chainsaws. When I get into “writing mode,” lot of other things fall by the wayside—cleaning, laundry, gardening, etc.  Every morning I scan my e-mail and I make an effort to set aside one day a week to catch up on marketing projects.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Make sure that self-publishing is the right choice. If your dream is to be published by a major house, then pursue that as far as you can. But if you decide to go the indie route be a good friend to your book, make sure it’s ready, and don’t rush to publication just because you can. Get a picky proofreader and “professional” formatting and cover art. Write a strong blurb with multiple hooks and create compelling tags when you put the book up. Then be flexible. Review your blurb and tags regularly and change them if you need to.

Go out and get all the reviews you can, participate in forums, blog for yourself and others, use Facebook and Twitter if that’s your thing, and let your personality come through.

What’s next for you?
In a few months I’ll release Through a Yellow Wood, the sequel to Hemlock Lake. It’s also set in the Catskill Mountains and begins with the death of a search-and-rescue dog trainer at the hands of a serial killer attempting to cover up his crimes.

Monday, March 26, 2012


4 of 5 stars

This is the second installment in the “Journey to Nyorfias” series. GRAVITY picks up not too long after book 1, “Convergence”end. Rett is a Sgt. in a Nyorfias elite commando group, F-troup and their orders are to travel to the sister planet of Epnoce with the rest of the 2023rd to try and defeat the Yixolyrn Coalition, an alien race, once and for all. The planet Epnoce seems to be against them with its harsh climate and heavy gravity, but Rett is affected by more than planetary anomalies. Her ego-merge Pam is gone, her sister and lover are acting strange and she’s running into problems with her long-time friend and commander, Evetez.  Everything appears to be against her and Rett is struggling to cope with adversity while keeping up with training in the heavier gravity.

What Rett doesn’t release, however, is that she is a major player in the game of balance between light vs. dark in the universe. The deity of this universe, Pheasyce, is forced to watch as Rett is stripped of support from everyone who cares about her. Rett must reach deep within herself and rise above the confusion and depression that threatens to overwhelm her or the deity, Xonomer, will win.

The author does an excellent job of letting the reader inside Rett’s head to feel her outrage as she struggles to keep it together to her utter dismay as one thing after another is stacked against her.  Her combat skills are legendary, but is it because of love and respect of the soldiers under her command that would willingly die for her or is she a lone wolf who needs no one’s support to accomplish the impossible?

The book has its fair share of intense battles against the Yixolyrn Coalition including an epic battle of wills between Rett and her old nemesis, Avok. There is a lot more going on in this book besides battles to defeat an evil enemy. To say any more would be too much of a spoiler, but suffice it to say, T.M. Roy, keeps you entertained and throws some unexpected curve balls into the mix. To fully understand what has happened in the past, I would recommend that you read, “Convergence” first, but even without reading book 1, GRAVITY is one that scifi fans will enjoy. Recommended.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

New #Romance Release: I RUINED HIS LIFE by L.K. Rigel

If you're looking for a sweet escape from the humdrum of weekend chores, check out this contemporary romance, I Ruined his Life, currently being offered for .99 on Amazon.

Book blurb:
Guilt and attraction make a strange blend...

On her first case as a lawyer, Bethany Draughen exposes shoddy workmanship done by a luxury home builder and forces a multimillion dollar settlement. The case establishes Beth's reputation - and ruins Caleb Marke's life.

That was three years ago. When by chance Beth sees Cale again at a deposition, he makes it quite clear he wants revenge--then he double-dog dares her to go out with him. Beth should run the opposite direction, but she can't deny her attraction to the guy.

It's a battle between lust for revenge and just plain lust. Beth ruined Cale's life. Can she trust him now not to ruin hers?

I Ruined His Life is a short novella (novelette length), about 10,500 words. Equivalent to about 42 pages in print. Sweet contemporary romance. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sponsorship: FALL FROM GRACE by Richard Jackson

Book blurb:
Tyler made a good living as a Caster - broadcasting his experiences, physical and emotional, through cybernetic implants to millions who accessed him online. But someone wanted him out, and Tyler ended up hustling illegal broadcasts to survive.

Tyler may be out of Casting, but darker players in the industry won't let him go. When Tyler's agent is murdered, he's framed for the crime. He finds out who his real friends are - the only people who don't abandon him are a bartending medical student and an ex-cop gone bad.

Now the lives of Tyler's friends are at risk, and his fate is bound to that of a mysterious little girl. No one will be safe until he discovers what's going on - and who engineered his fall from grace.

Buy Link:

Reviewer's Comments:
"Imagine a world where you not only see the news but you can also experience it while it's happening. Now meet Tyler, a `caster' who would do anything for a great story. After this superstar falls from grace, he begins to see life through new eyes. Jackson does a terrific job creating a world that's sure to put you on the edge of your seat. Not only is the main character well done, but all the supporting characters are finely tuned as well. Even the psycho killer is someone you will love to hate. Take the time to read this adventure packed thriller, a great read and an author worth watching."  Extreme Broadcasting

Author Bio:
Richard Jackson was born in New York and raised in the Bronx. He has been writing off and on since high school. Over the years, he has held a variety of jobs and worked in a wide range of fields. It’s given him a very diverse skill set which has come in handy on numerous occasions. His interests include the martial arts, costuming, travel, gaming and just having fun. He enjoys meeting people and talking to people with similar interests.



“I have a job you might be interested in,” Manny said.
It took all of Tyler’s willpower to stop himself from dancing a jig.
Manny offered Tyler a smile, one reserved only for someone who could make him money. “I know it’s been a while since you last worked. How are your implants?” the agent asked.
Tyler nodded. “They’re fine,” Manny probably knew what the answer to that question would be.
“And your training?” he asked.
“I’ve been sticking to my diet and exercise plan. I also keep busy so my skills don’t get rusty.”
“Good,” Manny said. The agent reached into his suit pocket for his notebook. He turned the page in the journal and started to rattle off details about the job as he jotted down some notes.
Tyler only half heard what his agent was saying. He had waited a long time to get back into the business after his show was canceled and he was blacklisted. He could finally have his life back. No more busting his ass as a bar back or hustling quasi-legal castings.
Tyler’s moment of happiness was shattered along with the frosted glass door to Manny’s office. The invader filling the doorway was trouble. He held a strange looking device that resembled something out of an old Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon movie serial. Tyler threw himself down and to the side just as the big man pulled the trigger of his ray gun.
There was no beam of light or anything Tyler could see. He felt the wave of heat and intolerable pain during the brief time he was in the thing’s line of fire.
Manny didn’t have the benefit of Tyler’s reflexes. The beam caught him full on. He shrieked like a lobster being dumped into a pot of boiling water.
Tyler snatched a paperweight off of the desk and hurled it at the intruder. It wasn’t the most aerodynamic object in the world but it flew true hitting the man in the side of the head. It didn’t stun the guy but it got the beam off of Manny. Tyler moved fast. He ducked quickly behind the couch Manny used to “audition” some talent.
Tyler heard the man walking. He waited right where he was at. It was his only play. Out in the open, Tyler didn’t have a chance. He wouldn’t be able to close the distance before the man focused his weapon on him. If the big man leaned over the couch or came around the side of it, Tyler would make him regret it.
The man decided to break the stalemate. Tyler could hear him moving away from the couch. “Come out or I’ll kill him,” he said.
“Sod off!” Tyler yelled before he could stop himself. He knew what would happen. The caster had heard a lot of threats. This guy wasn’t bluffing. He would kill Manny if he didn’t come out. Well, it sucked to be Manny. Tyler signed his death sentence with those words.
Tyler heard a crunching noise followed by another long drawn out scream from Manny. Even more disturbing was the large man’s giggle. It made Tyler’s skin crawl. He didn’t want to see what the big man was doing to the agent. He wanted to see the killer’s gleeful expression even less.
When Manny stopped screaming, Tyler risked a peek to see where the man was. The big man was heading for the door. He was bleeding from a small gash on his forehead, yet his weapon remained steady and pointed at the couch where Tyler was hiding. The man wasn’t taking chances. If Tyler tried something, the killer would be ready. Tyler ducked back under cover and waited. The risk of fighting the man wasn’t worth it. Manny was already dead or close to it. Someone else could avenge him. Tyler waited for the guy to leave or to make the mistake of coming after him. Only when he was sure the killer had gone did he emerge from behind the desk.
“Manny, speak to me,” Tyler said.
Tyler’s stomach did a slow barrel roll when he looked at what the killer had done to Manny. He wasn’t sure the agent could see him, let alone speak. His face was a bloody ruin. Tyler could make out part of a boot print where the man stepped on Manny’s face while roasting him alive with his weapon. Smoke still rose from the agent’s clothes where the beam had been focused on him.
Somehow Manny was able to croak “Tyler?” The effort of speaking sent the agent into a fit of convulsions.
“Yeah, it’s me Manny. You’re hurt bad. I called an ambulance,” Tyler said. Even if he picked up the phone to call one, the agent would probably be dead before he hung up the phone. For a moment, he wanted to ask about the job but he couldn’t do it. Manny was dying and he wasn’t going to be a prick to him. Maybe the man wouldn’t have killed Manny if Tyler had cooperated? It was doubtful. More likely, the two of them would be dead.
Manny tried to speak, but the pain and his injuries made his voice incomprehensible. The agent was fading fast. His voice was barely above a whisper as he said, “the journal…..”
Tyler nodded in understanding. Manny’s journal was still on the desk. “What about it?”
Manny was beyond listening. His final act was to point towards the desk then he was gone.
“God damn it!” Tyler yelled.


Joey didn’t like killing people. Sure, he was good at it but it seemed like such a waste. Pain was where it was at. You hurt a man or woman enough and they will do anything to make the pain stop. When it came to hurting people, Joey had a lot of practice.
Manny wasn’t a very satisfying kill. He wanted to take his time with the agent. Joey didn’t expect him to have company. It complicated matters and Joey hated complications. The only thing he hated more than complications were witnesses. He would have to do something painful and fatal to whoever it was after he reported in. At least, he accomplished his mission and silenced Manny.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Interview with Shauna Granger

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
My most recent release is Air: Book Two in the Elemental Series, which is a Young Adult Urban Fantasy series set in Southern California. The series follows the lives of three teens, Shayna, Jodi and Steven, each of whom can control one of the four elements, Earth, Air and Fire respectively. In the first book, Earth, the trio battled a demon, summoned by a black magic user, but in this installment the three are trying to stop a psychotic Air Elemental from ruining the lives of a local family.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
I did try the traditional route to publishing. I tried for a couple of years, never really getting very far. Unfortunately it isn’t always about how good or bad your writing is, but how saturated the market is; it doesn’t matter that readers still want more paranormal books, agents and editors are getting a little tired of it and it is just that much harder to break into the market. I really, really wanted to be traditionally published but it just didn’t work out. But I have been really pleased with going my own way; this year may prove to be the year I can pay all my bills with my royalties and that’s a huge accomplishment.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I don’t have a critique group, but I do use beta readers and they have been invaluable. The problem with editing your own work is that you’re just too close to it. Even if you get to the point where you can emotionally separate yourself from the work, sometimes you just can’t see the forest for the trees. But people who have no idea what the story is about or haven’t put months into the crafting of it, can see the issues and help you see it from a reader’s viewpoint.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
All the success stories that came out in 2010 and 2011. I just couldn’t believe how many people were able to start writing full time or had created a huge fan base without the help of a big publisher behind them. It was so encouraging I decided I had to try.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Oh, yes. I was a writing tutor in college but I didn’t think I would be doing myself any favors without professional help. I was very lucky to meet a girl through a friend who had a MBA in literature and when I approached her with the idea of proofreading my first book. I couldn’t believe what an amazing job she did, now, thanks to her experience with me, she’s a part time editor and proofreader for Red Adept Editing. So it worked out for both of us!

What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?
Reach out to as many bloggers as you can to read and review your work and when you do, find out which ones offer blog tours and do them! Do them as much as you can without overloading people with promoting. I know I didn’t do enough to promote the release of my first book because I was so new to all of this, but now I know better. I am releasing the third book in my series in June and have already finalized the cover so I’m doing a cover reveal tour next month and then I’ll be doing a blog tour for the actual book.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Yes, my books are available through Barnes and Noble, Itunes, Kobo, Smashwords and All Romance Ebooks.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I have a blog,, I’m on twitter @dyingechoes, I have two Facebook Fan pages, an author page ( and a page for my series ( but I try very hard not to overwhelm my followers with promotion. I think it’s important for fans to feel like they’re getting to know me as a person and not just as a billboard for my books.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
No, I try to make sure I have designated times of the day for each. I write in the morning and try not to do anything until I’ve hit my word goal for the day. Then, if I’m working on a tour or something, I have the whole afternoon to do that. As for tweeting or face book posts, I try to do those naturally throughout the day. You just have to find your balance, but what is most important is your writing. First figure out when you write your best and schedule your day around that; nothing else matters if you have nothing else to put out.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Join the Kindle Boards forum and read as many posts you can about people’s experiences. I didn’t know about the Kindle Boards until after I was published and I wish I had. There are so many successful indie authors on those boards who are very active and eager to help others, it is an invaluable tool.

What’s next for you?
I am working on the third and fourth books in my series, Water and Fire. Water is being released in June and I anticipate having Fire ready for release in December of this year. After I finish editing Fire I hope to start on a new project, an Adult Paranormal Romance to give myself a break from The Elemental Series before I write the fifth and final installment, Spirit.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

FUNNIES: Maxine for President!

One of my favorite characters is Maxine. You gotta love her and her no-nonsense style. Here's some of her latest funnies:

And there's your chuckle for Wednesday! How about you? Whose your favorite cartoon character?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New #Romance Release: THE MARRIAGE BARGAIN by Sandra Edwards

Book Blurb:
Camille Chandler is a tabloid journalist whose career is right on track--until her boss sees a curious ad in the L.A. Trades.

Wanted: Single actress for an extended gig abroad.

France's mega-rich playboy Julian de Laurent is up to something and Camille's boss expects her to find out what. Who knew the eccentric gazillionaire was looking to hire a temporary wife?

When Camille refuses to accept Julian's proposal--and secretly write a juicy tell-all about the de Laurent family--she's fired and left financially destitute, forcing her to entertain Julian's proposal for real.

But what'll happen at the end of the contract period, after Camille has spent six months as the wife of a man she learns is capable of stealing her heart? 

Buy link: 

Reviewer's Comments:
"...a beautiful and sensually sweet story..." ~ Long and Short Reviews

"The Marriage Bargain is for anyone who loves a good love story. A real fairytale romance with totally engaging and likeable characters." Loves Romance

Author bio: 
Sandra is an award-winning author of romance. She has eclectic tastes, penning tales in a variety of genres such as paranormal (mostly time travel and reincarnation), contemporary and suspense. She lives in the U.S. (west coast) with her husband, two kids, four dogs and one very temperamental feline. Sandra's books often push the envelope and step outside the boundaries of conventional romance. For more info on Sandra's books, visit her website at

Monday, March 19, 2012

Interview with Jim Bruno

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
TRIBE is about how power, love, and fathers and daughters come into play in conflict-riven Afghanistan, and how the government gets it all wrong. What separates TRIBE from its competition is its authenticity - so authentic that the U.S. government censored it. I draw heavily from my service involving Afghanistan, including in the field.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes. I've had three good agents, the last one (still my agent) also representing Stieg Larsson. Each agent tried hard to land a traditional publishing deal, but, alas, no offers came in the shrinking traditional market. After my books took off and became Kindle paid bestsellers, I decided to abandon the traditional route. My agent handles movie and audio rights, etc.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
No. I tried one out early on and my experience was so negative, I quit, vowing never to go down that road again. I know all critique groups aren’t alike, but I’ve always been bad in team dynamics. My books have all been Kindle bestsellers and they’ve gotten excellent reviews. I’ve landed a top agent. I’ve had national and international media exposure – all without the benefit of a critique group.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish to Amazon?
I self-published to Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and others as well. But Amazon wins the authors’ hearts and minds game hands down. They truly level the playing field to give unknowns a fair shot.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Each of my agents took care of this aspect. I didn’t have to pay a dime.

What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?
First: That it takes a lot of time and hard work, but that, if you master the various processes, you, too, can achieve success as a published author. Second: Pursuing traditional publishing is a waste of time. Life is too short.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
All the social media that everyone else uses. I question, however, just how effective these outlets are as marketing tools. My first two books reached bestsellerdom without any of these tools. I had to play catch-up with social media.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Very much so. I spend a good 50 percent of my time on marketing and keeping on top of trends. My most productive writing time is beween 9:00pm and 3:00am.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
It’s a steep and l-o-n-g learning curve.  Successful authors are those who never give up.  Improve your craft; learn the business side.  Again, I would skip the legacy route altogether and self-publish.

What’s next for you?
HAVANA QUEEN, an espionage thriller set in Cuba, where I’ve served, is due out in 2012 (after the Feds finish with their security review – a requirement for all of my writing).

Saturday, March 17, 2012

New #Romance Release: LOVE BY MOONLIGHT by Debra Elizabeth

Book blurb:
Caroline Fleming had a perfect life -- a loving husband, 2 great kids, a beautiful mansion to live in -- or so she thought. When her husband of 23 years announces he wants a divorce, Caroline's perfect world crumbles in an instant.

She retreats to the beach house to clear her head and
heal her broken heart. She swears off men, that is, until she meets a sexy stranger running on the beach. Could this be her second chance at love?

Love by Moonlight is a novella of ~18,000 words (72 pages)

Buy for .99:

Reviewer's comments:
"The author packed a lot of story into this novella, and she did it quite successfully. Wonderful characters and couple of twists and turns made it a great read. I'd definitely recommend it to all the romantics out there." WestcoastBookLover

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rebecca Writes About

by Rebecca Forster

Sometimes I find myself uninspired. Creatively shot. My mind becomes a veritable wasteland. Think dust blowing over a dry lake bed, a potholed lunar landscape, a book signing where no one shows up. The next turn of phrase, the analogy, adverb or adjective is on the tip of my tongue but that tongue is tied. The fuel pump’s blocked, the door is closed.  I am, so to speak, between a creative rock and a hard place.  Giving up is out of the question, so I take a walk to jar my thoughts lose. My destination is the bustling village a mile down the hill from my house.
If I head to the beach, I will walk on white sand that rings the sapphire blue ocean which fills a horseshoe of a bay. I can see Malibu across the water and dolphin in the curl of the waves as they frolic with the surfers. There are skaters, volleyball players, cyclists and a plethora of beautiful California bodies which I would probably appreciate more if I were younger (the bodies, not the view). As it is, all those beautiful people only serve to remind me that I’m not as young or as skinny as I once was.
  If I go the other way, I walk on asphalt, past rows of well-kept, modestly-sized ranch style houses. This is the route I usually take; there is one house that never fails to pique my curiosity. Actually, it isn’t the house but the rock that sits on the lawn in front of the house that I find so curious. 
This rock is unimpressively grey, round on top and flat on the bottom. Rather than move it, the owner of the house planted grass around it. The lawn is beautiful; the rock is not.  The rock is arm-span wide and a little more than knee-high. There is a stone on top of it that looks like a dinosaur egg. The rock and the stone could be one of those Boy Scout signs my brothers built in the backyard as if I couldn’t find my way home. For me, the rock points the way to inspiration. Whoever lives in the house makes the rock and stone his canvas and three times a year it becomes something else entirely.
In October the rock is wrapped in orange paper, the stone in green and it is transformed into a pumpkin.
Come December, the rock becomes a granite snowman with a red and green-stripped scarf wrapped around its nonexistent neck.
 Ah, spring! Rock as Easter Bunny…
You get the idea.
With a little help, the rock and stone become a herald of good cheer and harbinger of happy times to come. The rock speaks of faithfulness, passing each year with the owner of the house, marking time, submitting to the ‘artists’ vision. The rock, all dressed up, is funny and pleasing to the eye and unexpected. It is a public service and I, as a member of the public, never cease to be delighted by the ever morphing rock and his friend the stone. Here is a story told completely, without need of explanation or overt flourish.
 I believe in getting lost in a narrative, in creating fantasy, in telling a good story.  I believe that around every corner is a mystery or mayhem or madness or magic if we just keep our eyes open. I believe that someday I will walk by the rock and it will lament that it is too hot to wear a scarf during the California Christmas season. When that happens, I’ll pause and loosen the scarf. Maybe I’ll rest on the lawn and we’ll have a chat. 
 And when my mind is mired, when I feel that I am stone-deaf to inspiration and that my creativity is weighed down by real life, I won’t despair. I know I will have to go no further to find either than to walk through a modest neighborhood where I will give a wink and nod to a rock, and a stone.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Interview with George L Potter

Can you give us a brief overview of yourself and your featured book?
I am a retired oil company executive born and raised in rural Louisiana. I’ve been living in western North Carolina since retiring and moving here from Dallas about ten years ago.

My book is titled In Search of the Yellow Dog. First let me say, there are no canines in this book – the reader will learn quickly what the yellow dog is and who is searching for it (and who doesn’t want it found). 

A brief overview: Randall Oliver is a lawyer semi-retired from a Dallas practice now living in the rural Louisiana community where he grew up. His only active client is his former father-in-law dying of cancer but wanting to drill his last wildcat oil well in an environmentally sensitive Louisiana swamp. Life is peaceful in the little town of Bogalusa, Louisiana, and that suits Randall Oliver just fine. He keeps his legal skills sharp mostly by helping his family and childhood friends with their legal matters, but is happy to take on one final project for his former father-in-law, dying oil wildcatter Buck Townsend. It's hardly the routine affair he expected. Within weeks, Randall finds himself neck-deep in a quagmire of environmental politics. His opponents, including his own brother James, are more than willing to use dirty pool and strong-arm tactics in an attempt to halt the drilling in the swamp near Bogalusa. It's nothing Randall hasn't encountered before, so he forges on in the face of both negative political ads and physical threats. He's made a promise to Buck, and refuses to bow down to the bullying of their adversaries...though his resolve is seriously tested when eco-terrorists strike the project, and his fiancée, Deena, is attacked by armed gunmen. Driven by a relentless determination to protect Deena and complete this final project for his dying friend, Randall pushes onward through a morass of political cupidity, family crises, and repeated attacks to pick apart the tangled threads of a conspiracy seemingly designed to destroy everything he loves. What he discovers isn't quite what he expected...and it almost gets him killed.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes, I submitter queries to 26 agents and got only one nibble and after I sent her the additional items she requested even that possibility evaporated – that’s when I went the self-publishing route.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
No, I haven’t joined any groups – I’m basically a loner. I will mention that for my current work in progress I have submitted my manuscript to four ‘beta readers’ and have gotten some great feedback from them. Incidentally, that work in progress is a prequel to In Search of the Yellow Dog.

What authors have influenced your style?
I’ve read mysteries and science fiction ever since I can remember – I guess the greatest recent influences would be Dick Francis, Ross MacDonald and James Lee Burke.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Yes, I used Floyd Largent for In Search of the Yellow Dog. Right now he has started editing the prequel which has been tentatively titled, The Treasure of Money Hill.

What have you learned during your self-publishing journey?
I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I’ve learned when an idea strikes you at three a.m., you’d better get to the computer right away or that idea is going to vanish!

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
I’ve published on Smashwords and the book is available through their various marketing outlets. Hard copies of the book are available at a couple of independent bookstores that have agreed to carry it: Bayou Booksellers in Hammond, Louisiana and Malaprops Bookstore and Café in Asheville, North Carolina.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I have a Facebook fan page: and I am just starting my own website: which was set up for me by my granddaughter.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Not really – being retired has numerous advantages and having sufficient time to devote to writing a new work and promoting my existing ones is perhaps the greatest of those advantages.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Just to paraphrase the shoe company, “Just do it!” I had wanted to write this novel for some time – I checked “how to” websites and bought a couple of books, but in the final analysis it just took me sitting down in front of the computer and letting the story write itself.

What’s next for you?
As I mentioned above my next book, The Treasure of Money Hill, is with my editor and I expect it to be published this summer. I’m currently working on a book; I don’t even have a working title yet, set in rural Louisiana in the 1930s and 1940s, following friends, three boys and two girls, coming of age as World War II looms.

Thanks for this opportunity to express myself to your readers.