Friday, March 29, 2013

Brilliance of Bunnies by Rebecca Forster

It’s almost Easter and I have bunnies on my mind.  Not chocolate. Not Marshmallow. I’m thinking about are the gorgeously gammed, heavenly endowed, multi-talented (ever try to do the Bunny Dip?) ladies who helped to build the Playboy empire.

There are two reasons that Playboy sprung to mind. First, I recently had reason to take a stroll down memory lane and ambled back through my previous life as an advertising maven.  In my 14-year-long personal episode of Mad Men, I spent my days with a cigarette in hand (quit years ago), stilettos on my feet (can’t let go of those), and an not-quite-sincere blue suit on my back as I traveled, cared for my clients, and indulged three-martini lunches (mostly lunch, not martinis) with media reps. One of my favorites was the guy from Playboy Magazine. I didn’t actually spend a whole lot on Playboy ads, but I was still invited to events at The Mansion and treated to a box at the Hollywood Bowl for the Playboy Jazz Festival every year. The good old days. I sometimes wonder how I got so lucky to literally fall into a career like that. Nothing I ever plan is so exciting.

The second reason I was thinking about Playboy was because I am working on a new book. It’s darn tough to build a solid story on top of an exciting plot and pepper the whole thing with a bit of style. I was looking for some inspiration, thinking about intensely creative people, and that’s when Hugh Hefner came to mind. Hefner is the master storyteller. He didn’t just write a novel, he conjured up an empire, peopled it with imaginative characters, and did it all with such style that both he and Playboy became legendary.

Hefner’s vision of the girl-next-door dressed like a siren, as personable as a best friend and yet as out of reach as a Goddess, was unprecedented. Even more impressive was his ability to transform that vision into reality and build an empire that was seamless in its commitment to his vision. 

Consider the Playboy bunny. Those ears, the jaunty little tail, the luxurious satin and daring cut of her maillot combined to create a look that was sexually provocative without being immodest, indulgently playful without being prurient.  With Playboy as the playbook, I learned an invaluable lesson about writing, business, and life. Here is what it boils down to: Have a point of view, choose a way to communicate it, work until it’s perfect, and then own it without apology.

A million other people might have dreamed about a business like Playboy, but only Hefner acted upon it.  From the magazine’s pictorials to the fiction selections, the bunny costume to the casting, the mansion to the grotto, every last detail of Hugh Hefner’s narrative was adjusted until his vision became the reality he wanted. Hefner showed me that there is a fine line between modesty and abandon, desirability and lust, being colorful rather than crass. He owned Playboy in the same way we should all own our work and our lives: he was proud of what he did, professional in how he did it, and joyous every moment of his creative life.

So this Easter when bunnies abound in all shapes and sizes, I want to celebrate an iconic bunny. Here’s to Playboy and all the bunnies who were celebrated in print, those who dipped to serve us at the clubs, and lived in our fantasy worlds. Thanks for the life lessons. Maybe they weren’t the ones you intended, but they were exactly the ones I needed.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

New #Paranormal Release: KEEP ME GHOSTED by Karen Cantwell

Book blurb:
Ghosts. Do you Believe?

Sophie Rhodes doesn't have a choice. She's surrounded by them.

Desperate to pay the bills, 29-year-old Sophie ignores the advice of her stuffy spirit-friend, Marmaduke Dodsworth, and takes a job with the handsome Dr. Callahan, an optometrist with a desperate situation of his own. The good doctor's problem? He has a spirit-friend as well: one with a fiery crush and a vicious jealous streak. When chemistry starts to brew between Sophie and Dr. Callahan, his green-eyed ghost wreaks some bad-tempered havoc, scaring away his patients and putting Sophie on edge. Will Sophie give up the ghost and quit the new job, or buck up and find a way to rid Dr. Callahan of his pesky specter, freeing their romance to find a life of its own?

Buy Links:
Amazon: buy icons listed below



Author bio:
I have been writing plays and short stories for many years, some of which are published in short story collections.

My first novel, TAKE THE MONKEYS AND RUN, is a comedy-mystery, inspired, to some degree by a true monkey sighting in my own neighborhood. Because I love to laugh as well as make other people laugh, I have great fun writing the characters Barbara Marr, her friends and her adversaries. When I set out to write this book, I knew I wanted to write something that readers would say, "Now that was FUN." I HOPE I have achieved that goal. And if I did, please feel free to drop me a line at and let me know! I love to hear from readers. (especially if they LIKE the book!)

Books in the Barbara Marr series are: TAKE THE MONKEYS AND RUN (#1), CITIZEN INSANE (#2), AND SILENCED BY THE YAMS (#3). SATURDAY NIGHT CLEAVER (#4) will be released December of 2013. You can also enjoy a Barbara Marr short story collection, THE CHRONICLES OF MARR-NIA, as well a holiday short story, IT'S A DUNDER-BULL WIFE. All are available on Kindle.

Book Tour Blast: THE GUILTY INNOCENT by D.N. Simmons

The Guilty Innocent 

The Guilty Innocent is the second novel of the Darkness Chronicles Series. In this installment, Darian, the gorgeous, charismatic and charming master vampire of Chicago is framed for a crime he didn't commit, but why? His lover, Xavier, Natasha and a few others must travel halfway across the world to find out who and why before time runs out and all hell breaks loose! Original, sexy and gritty, the Knights of the Darkness Chronicles will suck you in and take you for a ride you won't forget!  

Purchase The Guilty Innocent on Amazon.

About Author D.N. Simmons

D. N. Simmons lives in Chicago IL., with a rambunctious German Shepherd that's too big for his own good and mischievous kitten that she affectionately calls "Itty-bitty". Her hobbies include rollerblading, billiards, bowling, reading, watching television and going to the movies. She has been nominated at Love Romances and More, winning honorable mention for best paranormal book of 2006. She has won "Author of the Month" at Warrior of Words. She was voted "New Voice of Today" at Romance Reviews and "Rising Star" at Love Romance and More.  

Follow D.N. Simmons Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads 

Read Reviews by Bloggers -  
2nd Book to the Right Sizzle and Swoon This is a very good length story and the author has put a lot of thought into the creation of a complex plot and well written characters. There is humor, angst, anger and tenderness between all the characters that gives the book a well rounded feel. 

Diane @ Turning Back the Clock The Guilty Innocent was an excellent read. It's packed with action, passion and vivid characters. If you love the supernatural genre, you'll enjoy The Guilty Innocent

Jessi @ Mamas Got Flair The Guilty Innocence is an addicting, sexy, mystery that's very hard to put down. D.N. Simmons crafts a fast paced world where the supernatural works and plays in one of my favorite cities, Chicago. 

 ~Jen @ The Crafty Cauldron What more can you ask for than shapeshifters and vampires. Wouldn't life be devine stuck in a love triangle with 2 hot vampires. 

Lisa @ Mommy Read too Much D.N. Simmons is giving away a $100 Amazon Giftcard and everyone who enters gets an ecopy of Desires Unleashed. 

Fill out the form below to enter! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Review: EASY BAKE COVEN by Liz Schulte

5 of 5 stars

This is the first book I've read by this author. EASY BAKE COVEN is a engaging light-hearted story about twenty-something Selene Warren. She's a witch and with her best friends from college, who also are witches, formed their own coven. They only dabble in witch craft, nothing serious in their minds. Everything changes when a handsome brooding stranger shows up and tells Selene that she's in danger. He also tells her that she is part elf. What?

So begins the story of Selene and Cheney and their complicated relationship. I was enjoying the story when I thought she was only a witch, but throw in half-elf and you have my full attention. The author does a great job of fleshing out these two along with a delightful cast of characters. The dialogue was witty and I found myself laughing throughout the book. Each chapter revealed something new and kept me turning the pages. The twist at the end was fantastic.  It's a quick, easy and most enjoyable read. I can't wait to read the next book to find out what Selene and Cheney will be up to next. Recommended.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Interview with Molly Best Tinsley

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
My latest novel, co-authored with Karetta Hubbard, is SATAN’S CHAMBER, a spy thriller set in Sudan, Africa, and the environs of Washington, DC, which turns the macho clichés inside out.  Junior CIA case officer Tory Pierce lands the assignment she covets: Khartoum—the city where her father, a veteran operative, disappeared five years before.  From the minute she arrives in-country, nothing is what it seems. The one-eyed Kendacke, descendant of the first female black pharaohs, is a fugitive in her own land. Bart Wilkins, the buff but bumbling supply officer at the Embassy, keeps turning up one step ahead. The super-rich Adam Marshall has information, but it comes with strings attached.  Whom can she trust as she begins to uncover the pieces of a horrific plan?

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
I’m one of the many “mid-list” authors who were dumped by mainstream publishing—in my case, after my first novel (MY LIFE WITH DARWIN, Houghton Mifflin), a work of literary fiction, didn’t turn out to be a blockbuster.  A collection of my stories, THROWING KNIVES, won the Sandstone Prize and was published by Ohio State University Press.  When I cut loose and wrote a spy thriller for fun, traditional publishing was floundering (as it is today), and our queries to agents and one publishing house didn’t go anywhere.   That’s when Karetta and I decided to launch our independent press, Fuze Publishing, to bring out the book.  (We’ve since published nine other titles.)  It’s been a steep learning curve—book production, bookkeeping (!), publicity, etc.—but it’s been really liberating, and creativity-affirming, to take charge of our own fate. 

Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will self-publish?
 We’re currently in the second draft phase of the sequel to SATAN’S CHAMBER—another spy thriller centered on Tory Pierce.  The title is HOTEL LIMBO, and of course, Fuze will publish it.  It is set in Ukraine, as well as Washington, DC, against a backdrop of human trafficking.
Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I love critique groups when they are the setting for honest and cogent feedback.  Some writers may just want encouragement, but I want to hear what isn’t working as well as what is.  A writer doesn’t always have to act on the response of other readers, but it’s important to know how your writing is landing on another sensibility.  We are, after all, writing for an audience, not simply for ourselves. 

When I lived in Washington, DC, I actually belonged to two terrific groups.  I haven’t succeeded in forming an equivalent since moving to Ashland, OR, but I do facilitate a writers’ group for former workshop students that meets monthly.  Writing groups also provide a safe, sympathetic place to moan and groan about the challenges of writing—the struggle to get your work out there, the inevitability of rejections—how to survive and surmount them, and carry on.
Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
Both.  In assembling what I call the “zero draft,” I like to follow the “what if’s” and allow the characters to develop backstories, quirks, objectives, not to mention specific bodies and gestures!  The result will be a too-long narrative that goes off on tangents and may include scenes I wanted to write, but upon later analysis prove unnecessary.  That’s when it’s time to think about structure, and in a spy novel, forward momentum.  I begin to look for the main character’s arc and to identify important turning points in her development, then orient the narrative around them.  Too-long is good as a starting point, as long as you recognize the value of cutting away narrative flab and getting down to the live tissue.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
After twenty years of teaching literature, composition, and creative writing, I figured I’d better be able to edit my own work.  Meanwhile, the dynamics of collaboration meant that there were always two brains processing every narrative choice—making sure that characters were consistent, action was plausible, and writing that didn’t develop characters or action was left on the cutting room floor.
Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
SATAN’S CHAMBER is on sale on the Fuze website,, at a bargain price compared to Amazon.  It’s also available from Barnes and Noble and on all the ebook sites.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
 We publish a spectacular e-newsletter at Fuze, which comes out every week and offers an absolute banquet of information and inspiration for writers and readers!  A typical issue includes an article about the ever-explosive publishing scene, a writing prompt (along with responses readers have sent in to previous prompts), a literary nugget, something funny (one of our writers is also a prize-winning cartoonist), and then information about the latest doings of our wonderful authors.
Fuze Publishing also offers a blog link from our website, and maintains both a Facebook page and Twitter account.  We welcome friends!!

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Well, it is definitely a juggle—that’s a good word.  I also serve as the chief editor of Fuze Publishing, so I have to factor that work in as well.  It becomes crucial for me to protect whole days for the writing.  Marketing, editing, and other Fuze maintenance work is easier to take care of in shorter blocks of time.  I work weekends. 

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
The theatre—I’m a produced playwright, and living in the same town as the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, I write a monthly theatre column for our regional NPR magazine.  I often see the OSF productions multiple times.

What’s next for you?
Finish HOTEL LIMBO.  I’ve also made a start on a YA fantasy novel about twins.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring Craft Show is Here!

This weekend I'll be at the Castleberry Spring Craft Show in Salem, N.H. It's the first spring show that I'll be doing. I'm excited to see how my new designs sell. Here's a few of the new ones:

If you're coming to the blog for the first time, there's plenty to read. Check out the sidebar to see lots of guest posts, author panels, ancient symbols and most important, kitty posts!

If you're in the Salem, NH area, stop by and enjoy the show. There's plenty of beautiful crafts to buy. Have a great weekend!

Book Tour Blast: BOUND TO YOU by Lola James


Bound to You (Book 3 of the Spellbound Series)

Toni’s life is just one complication after another. First, her past comes back to her, then she has to deal with a psycho, and now it’s the biggest of them all. A choice that could destroy one life and be the bright future to the other. How is a girl supposed to choose between two men that she loves? On one hand, she has the Greek god Hades, the love from her past and the other, Ben the hot Vampire nurse that she met just over a week ago. Both have captured her heart in their own individual ways but whose love is the greatest? Who does she ultimately love the most? In the end, a decision is made in Bound to you... 

**This Book Includes Sexual Content** 

Bound to Remember, a Paranormal Romance (Book 1 of the Spellbound Series) FREE Unbound, a Paranormal Romance (Book 2 of the Spellbound Series) $2.99 Bound to You (Book 3 of the Spellbound Series)

Amazon / Barnes & Noble


About Lola

Lola JamesLola James has been reading romance novels since her teens, and fell in love with the paranormal after discovering Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. Her love of the dark worlds of vampires and witches, as well as her fascination with Greek mythology led her to create the Spellbound Series, an ongoing Paranormal Romance combining all of the above into tales of suspense with a little bit of humor in an Urban Fantasy setting. A long time lover of reading and writing with a passion for a great story, James became discouraged by the complicated and arbitrary publishing process, James had initially set down her laptop and her hopes of being a writer. However, with the purchase of her first e-reader, James became re-energized by the new possibilities for an undiscovered author to reach the masses. Dusting off her keyboard she finally finished Bound to Remember, the first book of the Spellbound Series and self-published it. Energized and ambitious, James is now hard at work on both the Spellbound Series as well as the Fate Series, a paranormal romance about dreams and what happens if they come true. 

Follow on Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Website 

Lola James is giving away a Fun Swag Pack. Open to US residents 18+. 

Fill out the form below to enter. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Interview with Tawdra Kandle

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series? 
ENDLESS is the fourth and final book in The King Series. It picks up Tasmyn’s story at the beginning of her freshman year in college, as she and Michael continue to recover from the train wreck that was Tas’s senior year in high school. She’s working to get her life back on track, regain Michael’s trust as well as that of her parents, and learning to control her new powers. Of course, life is never that easy, and so there are a few bumps in the road.

Do you have a favorite character? 
I always love Tasmyn and Michael, and of course Rafe and Nell hold a very special place in my heart. But in this book, I really enjoyed writing Cathryn. She is much more complex than what we realize in ENDLESS. . .enough so that she is going to pop up here and there in other books.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
Absolutely. Michael and Tasmyn’s friend Anne actually had her own subplot in FEARLESS, which was something I loved. And Nell was supposed to end her run at the conclusion of the first book, yet here she is about to have her own book!

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
I did, with the first book in The King Series. I queried a number of agents, and I was very fortunate to develop some internet relationships that helped me to polish both the MS and my query letter. Ultimately, though, after spending a great deal of time listening to agents and editors, particularly in NYC, I decided to try the indie route.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I write whenever, wherever, however. When I got serious about my writing again, I learned that my life was not going to open up and give me more time to make it happen; I had to create the time. I take my computer with me everywhere. My first two books were written at baseball practices, in orthodontist offices, at the hair salon. . .that was the wherever. Often I write very late into the night, if I have a light schedule the next day. That’s the whenever. And I am not married to a particular set up or environment. I write in bed or on the sofa with the TV on, with little ones running around, while in the middle of cooking. . .that’s the however! I don’t need silence, which is a good thing since it is a rare thing at my house. I love writing with music, and much of my inspiration comes from hearing certain songs at specific times, even when I’m not actively writing.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
At the beginning of each book, I sketch out where I see the story going, including character names, pertinent information and important turning points. I add to that and tweak it as I write. However, I am never a slave to what I’ve planned. When I quiet my mind and hear what is going on with my characters, I just follow them, even if it doesn’t stick with my original plan.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
As the co-owner of a public relations company that targets authors and books, I have unique perspective on marketing. Because so much of my work is on Facebook, that tends to be my biggest marketing focus. I have connected my Twitter account to my author Facebook so that it isn’t totally left out. I’ve also joined with other authors to do a weekly Twitter chat called #book30, where we discuss just about anything and everything related to genres, books and writing. That helps us connect with our readers.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Always. I think that all authors struggle with that balance. Sometimes I love marketing; I enjoy chatting with bloggers and readers. But there are also times I would prefer to be holed up, just writing without any thought of promotion.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
It’s said so many times, but it seems to be a necessary reminder: do the work you can and hire out what you can’t. Cut ruthlessly; polish longer than you think you must. Use an editor, at least; if you can, use a proofreader as well. Find the best cover artist and formatter possible. And then promote, but do it wisely. Don’t spam your friends. Use social media to connect, not to sell.  Don’t use being indie published as an excuse for mediocre work. As indie artists, we actually have to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

What’s next for you?
It’s going to be a busy year! I’m releasing a contemporary romance called THE POSSE this spring, followed by the first book in my adult series. I’ll have a short story in the anthology ETERNAL SUMMER, coming out in June, and then the Serendipity Duet, which are Rafe and Nell’s books. A post-apocalyptic book is in the works, but it may be headed for a 2014 release. 

Author bio:
Tawdra Kandle is the author of THE KING SERIES, a young adult urban fantasy quartet. Born in South Jersey, Tawdra published her first short story at the age of 13 in Child's Life magazine. During the early years of her marriage and motherhood, she wrote articles and columns on parenting and homeschooling, as well as some homeschooling curriculum. THE KING SERIES is her first published full-length fiction. Tawdra currently lives in central Florida with her husband, and children, both skin and fur types. And yes, she has purple hair.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

5 Tips for Successful Blogging for Writers


The Internet has made it possible for writers to be their own one-made shop. You can write your book, publish it, sell it, and market it all on your own. You reap all the profits, and you can former closer relationships with your readers.

Blogging is one of the best marketing tools available to writers. You can use it to promote your work and to connect directly with your fans. You can reveal insights into your process, share news about upcoming publications or sales, and participate in a direct conversation with your readers.

However, blogging may not be like the writing you're used to doing. You need to take a special approach in order to make your blogging successful (and, therefore, a useful tool in marketing yourself). Here are a few tips:

Be Yourself
In their quest to put on a professional, public face in their blogs, many writers lose their own voice and fail to connect with readers. It is important to be yourself when you write -- just like you would in your professional writing. Being yourself will help you to stand out and will help readers to feel a connection with you, which will encourage them to read your blog and your published writing.

Offer Value
Blogging is a great tool to promote yourself and your work, but if all you ever do is promote yourself, you'll alienate your audience. You must offer your readers something of value in order to keep them coming back to your site (where they can learn more about you and your work). You can offer value by sharing useful information (perhaps some writing tips or some information about the publishing industry) or by writing entertaining content. Strive to create a healthy mix of promotional content and content that creates value for your readers.

Adapt to the Format
Every type of writing has a very specific format. So does blogging. Some guidelines include:
·       Short sentences.
·       Short paragraphs of only 2-3 sentences each.
·       Bulleted points.
·       Bold headers and other elements to break up the page and improve readability.

If you're a novelist, it may be hard to break up your long paragraphs, and if you're a poet, it may be difficult to pare back the descriptions. Be aware of your format, and adapt as necessary.

One of the best ways to get your blog noticed is to optimize it for search engine results. That way, when someone searches for something in your niche, they are more likely to find your blog. SEO incorporates a large number of elements, but the key strategies involve identifying the right keywords for your blog and then using them in your content, headers, and other page elements Other basic strategies include link building, increasing page loading times and optimizing your design.

Get Social
Social media is a great compliment to your blog. You should be sharing all your blog posts on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and should be striving to expand the conversation with followers there. Social networking can help you to reach a larger audience and can increase the page rank for your blog (getting you more exposure and more traffic).

Blogging is a great way for writers to promote themselves and to build relationships with their readers. If you are new to blogging, or if you aren't seeing the results you would like from blogging, consider these tips for success to start reaching your goals.

Are you blogging to promote your work? Share your best tips for success in the comments!

Chloe Trogden is a researcher focusing on school grants who writes on specific opportunities such as grants for nursing students. Her leisure activities include camping, swimming and playing her guitar.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Review: PARALLAX VIEW by Allan Leverone

  5 of 5 stars

It's the 1980s and the height of the Cold War, but something is about to change and not necessarily for the better. It's up to CIA agent Tracie Tanner to prevent World War III. She's been tasked with delivering a secret and highly sensitive letter from Russian leader Gorbachev to US President Ronald Reagan. The KBG knows something is amiss with Gorbachev and will stop at nothing to retrieve that letter. 

I'm a fan of this author and have read a number of his other stories. He's a master at crafting a compelling and exciting story taking the reader on a journey of highs and lows, and numerous twists and turns. The PARALLAX VIEW is an explosive thriller that does not disappoint. Tracie is one kick-ass agent and it's great to see a strong female lead carry the story. Add in high level betrayals, intrigue, and a life and death race against time and this book will keep you reading long after your bedtime. Fans of political thrillers will not be disappointed. Highly Recommended.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Interview with Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
SUBMERGED is a thriller with a hint of supernatural, and I think it's going to leave readers holding their breath. This is a story of battling weakness and guilt, and finding redemption.

Marcus Taylor is a former paramedic and recovering addict. Working as a 911 operator, he's drowning in guilt and remorse over the tragic deaths of his wife and son. Rebecca Kingston is a mother of two and an abused wife who has finally had enough. She decides to take a much needed weekend holiday, but it doesn't turn out to be as relaxing as she'd hoped. Trapped in her vehicle as it submerges, the only thing keeping her sane is a voice—Marcus's—on the other end of her dying cell phone.

SUBMERGED is a standalone thriller. However, it has an interesting tie-in to my international bestseller, CHILDREN OF THE FOG. And vice versa.

Do you have a favorite character?
Marcus is my favorite. He's so human, so flawed, so angry in his guilt. He has made mistakes and suffered for them. But he's also a very likeable guy. He's trying to deal with his losses, searching for a better life, for a future. And when put to the test, he's a hero who boldly does the right thing.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
Actually, John Zur, the detective in this story was supposed to be a relatively minor character. After all, Marcus is the hero in SUBMERGED. But as I wrote, John became a more integral part of the plot. He started to show up more often, and he always had some advice for Marcus. Interestingly, my agent suggested I consider a third book featuring John (and Jay, the detective from CHILDREN OF THE FOG), with tie-ins to the other two—even though these are complete standalone thrillers.  It may happen.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Oh yes! And I have the rejection letters to show for it. In fact, I could probably wallpaper my office with them—twice. I was traditionally published by a small company in 2006. They released the second edition of WHALE SONG. But they closed doors a few years later and I republished the novel for its third edition.

I've also queried agents galore. I did sign with Jack Scovil from Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency a few years ago, but nothing much happened and I discovered later he was ill and passed away.

In March 2012, after huge success with CHILDREN OF THE FOG on Amazon (it made it to #4 in the Top 100 Paid OVERALL, out of almost 2 million ebooks and sold nearly 50,000 copies in a few months), I was contacted by two agents. I signed with an agent from Trident Media Group in NY.

Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will self-publish?
I am under contract for future books, but I also have the freedom to self-publish. My agent and I are working as a team, with not only my career in mind but also my readers. It was my agent who suggested I publish SUBMERGED on my own because she knew I had readers waiting and she didn't want them to wait. Neither did I. Our game plan is to take SUBMERGED to a major publisher once it has sold a substantial amount of copies, since I'll be able to get better contract terms.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
I am very involved. I've made a point of finding talented designers I can work with. I always have a concept in my mind that is very detailed. I'm very artistic, but I don't work with cover designing programs, so I describe my vision and my designers make it happen.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I listen to mood music when I write. When I wrote WHALE SONG, I listened to a lot of killer whale/dolphin music. With THE RIVER I had a very tribal instrumental CD. WITH SUBMERGED and CHILDREN OF THE FOG I listened to anything intense and driving. Usually only instrumental.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I make general notes of my story, anything that comes to mind while it's fermenting in my mind. Once I start writing, it just takes off. I always know the beginning, major scenes in the middle, and how it ends. I allow my characters to tell their story through me. They tell me where to go. ;-)

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Definitely yes! I don't agree with publishing a book that hasn’t been through at least 2 other sets of eyes. Mine go through numerous edits by me, then by at least 2 editors, then by a final proofreader. Yes, sometimes we all miss something, just like the big pubs do. But you'll find my books to be fairly solid when it comes to editing.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
I would give them the same wonderful advice a friend once gave me. If you have a story idea and you want to write, write. Don't worry if it gets published or how you'll publish it. Write it for yourself. Write it because you have to.

Once you've written your book, learn everything there is to know about the publishing industry. This is a business. If you plan to earn an income from your writing, you must be marketing savvy.

And never, ever let anyone tell you that you can't do it. You can!

Learn more about Cheryl Kaye Tardif at and follow her on Twitter.

Enter Cheryl’s March Giveaway – 59 Prizes!