Tag Archives: indie publishing

Author Linda Mims Stops by The Indie Spot!

It is my privilege and honor to introduce to you indie author Linda Mims. Take a few minutes to read about this talented writer and show your support by leaving a comment for her. Take it away, Linda…

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An interview with the Author …

 

Why did you write this story? I wanted a story that would resonate with the Millennials who are moving away from the inner cities. I wanted them to see the affect that not giving back to the community will have in the long run. It’s for the Black and Brown Lives Matter advocates who must also teach that education matters. Voting matters. Stopping the violence matters. Breaking the code of silence matters. LOVE matters. I put it in a mystery because people like them, but I hope they will still hear the message.

 

Who is this book for? Originally, it was for the New Adult category, but as it grew, it became a story that any adult could read and relate to. I’d like for teachers in the inner-city to recommend it to students who are mature enough to handle adult themes.

 

How did you come up with the title? When I was writing the scene where Cameron Reed explains to his son-in-law, Dickey, how Noel received her sight, I was in the “zone”. Dogs were meowing, cats were barking, and the houses were sizzling with electric lightening. I saw them glowing in bright, neon orange and yellow.

 

Why did you give your main character paranormal powers? As I was writing I wanted her to have a secret and I decided, “wouldn’t it be great if her own husband didn’t really know the extent of her secrecy?” Also, paranormal is a popular trend and I wanted to keep it current for my readers.

 

You say this is a series. When can readers expect the next installment? The outline has been created and the rough draft is swimming around in my head. I’ll say before the end of 2017.

 

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Author Bio:

Linda Mims started creating tales in her head as a child. At age 12, she knew she was onto something when she sold a story to her grandmother for a quarter, but it was her dad’s more practical advice, to get a good education and find a real job, that she followed.

After retiring from her “real job” as an educator, Linda began her writing career as an indie author. The tale of The Neon Houses was born out of a careless comment that people had lost interest in reading. The joke was that decades from now we’d need to hold reading nights in neighborhood parks for citizens who wouldn’t be able to read.

Linda rolled that idea around in her head until it turned into a whole society of have-nots. Once the idea got rolling, she worked nonstop until she’d finished the first draft. Writing is now her real job!

Linda Mims resides in a small suburban town 30 miles outside of Chicago, IL where she likes to cook, garden, and blog, sometimes simultaneously. She is married to her long-time love, has two grown daughters and one bossy, bichon-pom, Alexis.

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/boom_lyn

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLindaMimsmbria

Website – https://lindamims.com/blog/

 

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THE NEON HOUSES
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M8P63E3

Dr. Noel Kennedy hears screams inside her head, but the screams aren’t hers. While preparing for her annual end-of-summer barbecue, Noel hears her young friend—twenty-year-old Zarah Fisher—screaming for her life. However Zarah is miles away!

Noel knows the exact moment Zarah takes her last breath because Noel has a secret! It’s a secret that not even her husband Richard knows.

As the Deputy Chief of Schools of Gang Territory, Noel has perfected her life. She is a solid, middle-class citizen from New Chicago, Incorporated. New Chicago and Gang Territory have become vastly different societies since the early Urban Wars. Now, year 2087 finds New Chicago’s military-trained police determined to enforce laws that keep “gang people” out.

Harlem Pierce, a New Chicago police detective, has been warned to stay away from this case and he urges Noel to let it go. But a new killing involves Noel’s younger cousin and her boyfriend and links Noel to it in a startling way.

Who can Noel draw on? Must she turn to Warren Simpson—the menacing, treacherous boss of Gang Territory? Or … could he be the killer?

https://youtu.be/_JrglVENUOs

“The tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.”

Writers: Don’t Get Lost in the Traffic!

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Wrote a great book, did you? Looking for ways to reach readers, are you? Well, have I got the place for you. It’s called RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB! Yep! I’ve been telling you all about it for the past three-plus years.

And just what exactly is RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB? I’m glad you asked. RRBC is an online community of readers and writers whose sole goal is to support one another. Members buy, read, and review fellow members books. It’s what we do.

But wait!!! There’s more!!!

Book Club Badge Suggestion copy (1)

By joining the RRBC community, you will have your book(s) placed in the club’s online catalog, making it available to the entire membership (currently at just under 400). Those who choose to be supportive of fellow members will discover the perks of membership. Books of the Month? We select three titles and promote them on Twitter, blogs, and Facebook each and every month. Many club members purchase these titles and review them.

Spotlight Author? Well, let me explain it to you. When chosen to stand in the spotlight, the author embarks on a month-long journey that includes wicked Twitter support, a blog tour, a seat on the shelf with club President Nonnie Jules (chit-chatting about you and your book), and a live interview on one of the RRBC Blog Talk Radio programs.

Look, most of us here are writers. We understand the marketing struggles indie authors face in today’s world. RRBC is meant to be a tool for the writer. But it requires more than just signing up. Support is vital. Those who don’t support, well, they receive little support themselves. It is through support that members become familiar with the names of fellow members. Marketing, branding — this is a foothold, an opportunity to meet other authors who also happen to be readers. This is the writer’s chance to build a foundation on which to establish their work.

If it sounds like something you may be interested in, stop by the RRBC site and have a look around. It only costs $25 per year (though it’s just $20 for those who join before 11:59 pm CT 2/22/17).

Click here to visit the RRBC SITE!

Author Tia Shurina Pays Us A Visit!

Time to introduce you to another talented indie author. Today, fresh on her global blog tour, is Tia Shurina, author of the memoir Everything and a Happy Ending. Take it away, Tia…

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DAY 2

A blessed begin in gratitude to Beem Weeks for sharing your sacred spotlight… your blog space with me & to the Rave Reviews Book Club members who organized this tour.

From the moment I closed the cover of EAT PRAY LOVE, I somehow sensed it would be made into a movie… so important was its message about staying true to self I felt.  That book ending was also a beginning for me, of a challenging time, as I faced myself in my mirror everyday day, moved in a very sad way, by my cowardice & lack of courage to be true to my own self.   Who knew where the start of that particular reflection would ultimately lead & how the Universe would guide that cowardice inside…who knew?!   I not only didn’t, but detoured, delayed & deterred that journey for a great deal of time.

Years passed, & gratefully, my reflection slowly passed some important seasons as well.

Quite a bit of time later, an old friend & I re-connected.  As Ray & I began to round an old sacred circle of friendship that birthed something new & beautiful together, we both also moved through our own challenging times separately.  Our new story, already a bit complex in its roots, grew more complicated as our circle rolled ‘round.   I had already been trying to release the last little grip I was hanging onto in a relationship that was ready to die, so that I could finally, fully, honor my own self above all else.  As I struggled to let go, my husband struggled to hang on to our marriage, with all his might.   Ray’s wife was sick with cancer.  Who he was, & what his celebrity symbolizes in the world, called for a hyper-sensitivity on our part to those around us as we tried to stay sensitive to our own wants, needs & desires at same time.  That very important career, & who he is, along with our holy honoring of those other important people, also “set the stage” tho, for a fantastical love story, fueled by a most unique way to be able to communicate.  It is an extraordinary, beautiful story, yet, balanced by an ordinary, bittersweet sadness.

Since I feel so strongly that the struggle to honor our own selves is so hard for so many of us, for so many reasons, &, as a longtime lover of movies, feeling equally as passionate about the power of Hollywood to inspire & influence so positively, I was especially thrilled to be invited recently to a Q&A with Matthew Welsh of SpiritualMediaBlog.com, a site devoted to spirituality in entertainment in Hollywood.  I’m honored to share it with you here.

1.What is your book about & why did you write it?

My book, Everything and a Happy Ending, is a memoir that shares my journey with 3 separate, different, yet similar & very interconnected relationships & love stories with the 3 most important men in my life. I share a very full circle journey with each man which details that connectedness & sheds light on how each impacted me & has helped move me around my circle of life.

I wrote the book, & published the book for 2 different reasons. I wrote it to be another tool for one of the men, the 3rd of the special trio, that had been using my writing for quite time some very privately, with a beautiful, almost heavenly, holy, success. He’d been struggling to shed the persona he had created for himself & our relationship was the key he needed to unlock the hold from a role everybody loves for himself. The 3rd part of the trifecta is an extraordinary spectacular love story along the lines of the Oscar winning movie, Marty. He’s a writer himself & was wanting to do the re-make but still needed a little more help from me at that point, so I decided to ghostwrite it. I still felt strongly it was his story, & his desire, to tell, along with his own equally moving story about his relationship with his own dad. He’s the writer & the one I felt most would want to hear it from. At a certain point, though, I started to gain clarity & accept the possibility that maybe the story was meant for me to tell, from my perspective. I began to realize it might be “meant to be”, for me, to be the one to share it & communicate it in order for it to have the impact it’s meant to have & to be seen in a different light than if he was the one to write it. I began to understand that him telling it actually held potential to do a dis-service to our story, simply because of his name…. who he is might taint the story for many, before it could be told through in its entirety. I felt many would judge it, criticize it & label it for no other reason than his identity. I also realized as a young woman petrified of ever being looked at or stared it, for fear I was surely being judged, it might be an important opportunity that was being gifted to me to step outside my comfort zones that I had realized along my way I was desperate to do in my life.

I decided, eventually, to publish the book as a way to help me regain the financial security I gifted to him along our journey together. It was an incredible gift of trust that I’d never been able to give in my life before that I felt strongly I not only wanted to give another, but finally felt the confidence in myself & had the tools, the faith, & the strength, thanks to my father, who is one of the men I share about, to give another. In giving him “everything”, I showed him, the Universe, & most importantly, myself, I was capable of giving the exact kind of love I wanted to allow myself to receive in my life. To experience a mature, healthy, adult, romantic relationship with a beautiful balance rooted in a true love, not in guilt or entitlement or fear or obligation…just pure desire & free choice to be in the relationship. And with that, I handed him my heart, my soul, & my wallet too …I offered up my mental, emotional, spiritual & physical well-being as I risked “everything”, in an “All-in” act of complete & total trust. Our re-connection, & my influence, moved him powerfully, & I ultimately decided it was powerful enough to move another, if one was wanting to move themself, to a metamorphosis & transformation like I had helped my dad with, then he helped me with as I moved myself through one & then held the 3rd man’s hand through his own after his own dad passed.

When I ended my 20-year marriage, a 25-year union with a very important man I loved very much but was not “in love” with, on the heels of my dad’s death, I was ready to move on to a new start & a new “mini life” as my old boss used to say. I put that new start on hold to help an old special friend. I am thrilled for him for where he is at this point in his life. His happiness is very, very important to me. But, so is my own, & I would like the same for myself & I’d like to re-turn to the new start I had taken a big step towards but then stuck myself in a standstill of stagnation after re-connecting with him & committing myself very privately to him. Stillness & stagnation are two very different things & I allowed myself to blur some lines while I waited which was a very unhealthy thing for me to do. Publishing my writing, my story, was a firm faithful step towards moving in stillness again, allowing myself to be led out of an unhealthy standstill as I re-committed to myself, 1st & foremost, & going with the flow of my life instead of trying to push against it in fear.

 

  1. You have written your journey almost destroyed you. How did your journey almost destroy you?

When I ended my long marriage, it was a complete flip of almost everything that had been put in place in my life up to that point. I had chosen, when I was much younger, a very safe life because I was scared of so much. I was afraid as a child & I grew into an afraid adult. Ending my marriage was part of a process of reversing a lot of choices I had made as a younger woman, of my own free will, but wound up in my life, as a woman of a certain age, with a lot of dissatisfaction & sadness. The life of security & protection I had chosen as a younger woman, I realized along my way, may have protected me from SOME certain things that I felt strongly at the time I wanted & needed protection from, brought a whole different set of worries, pains, & insecurities that I had not had the maturity nor the health of body mind & spirit to help me understand would be waiting down the line for me as my choices caught up with me. When I made the flip, I turned everything on a dime as I rounded a soulful circle & in order to balance out a life of safety I had lived up to that point, I wound up out on an incredibly lovely, but very scary, unsafe limb. It would have been challenging enough, given my age, & statistics that surround long term committed couples splitting, & society’s view of divorce equaling failure for the most part…but, the story took an incredible turn that upped those stakes with risks worthy of a Las Vegas casino & craps table when I crossed paths with an old special friend at the exact precise special moment I embarked on that change for myself. The story, & our journey is detailed in the book, but I’ll share here that at a certain point along the way, a very private, very personal, very intimate prayer for him was shared with God, & with him, & what unfolded, as the Universe answered my prayer is our extraordinary story. That it came on the heels of his own prayer, a very public, very specific prayer, shared with his fans &, of course with God, makes our story that much more spectacular. Our journey together “almost” destroyed me, as I gave every single sacred spec of trust I finally felt safe enough & intimate enough with another to give & made the choice to leave myself totally, completely vulnerable, for the 1st time in my life, at an age when many are deepening their footholds on security & safety. The shit really hit the fan for me & my life as I went All-In, and stayed all-in instead of folding, but I kept my faith, thanks in good part to my dad, a real & true gambler, & my story wound up my saving me, not destroying me.

 

  1. What did you do that helped you through your journey and make it so your journey did not destroy you.

I leaned on my dear, but very dead dad, in the same way I had finally allowed myself to lean on him as an adult in the few years before he passed as our relationship changed. And I prayed, with the same faith, to the same Universe & life force that I had prayed along my way in my story…the perfect power that my dad was now a part of. The unbreakable bond of love reached through time & space & would not let me give up. I gave up so easily as a young woman. My dad came to know this, as well as the why’s that was as we forged a new relationship later in our lives & I opened my soul to him. And he truly reached from heaven I feel, to hold my hand through a very challenging transition & metamorphosis long in the making for me. The power that our transformed relationship held, changed my life, my “story” & then that same unbreakable bond of love changed another’s.

 

  1. What is your—or the book’s—connection to Ray Romano? How does he tie in to the journey or the book?

Ray is the 3rd man in the trio. He is called by another name, Emilio, a private nickname between he & I that he gave himself many years ago, when we were much younger. An amazing faithful foresight the divine gifted our story at that perfect time as a special seed was planted given who he would eventually become & the need for such privacy many, many years later. I lived a few years with his need for complete & total privacy and discretion at the very top of my list. Unfortunately, it came at the exact time I had finally felt ready to put myself 1st & foremost in my life. And there was a clash as I tried to do what I felt was best for myself, for my ex & for my old special friend at the same time. And, that clash came with incredible consequences to me. Trying to juggle all 3 wants & desires exhausted me. I used his nickname as I wrote as a way to stay in the authenticity of the way I had lived my life for those few years, & stay true to the spirit of the life I had been living …. very privately, very much committed to keeping the identity of the very special man in my life private, at all costs.

 

  1. What advice would you give to other people who are trying to love themselves but are often too hard on themselves?

I will share my athlete dad’s most profound advice to his children as we were growing up, “hold your form”, as I offer up that in my case, the gift of patience & fortitude I finally gave myself made a huge difference. When I finally started to be gentler with myself & take the time to “just breathe” through some certain difficult times instead of feeling a failure because I had allowed them in the 1st place, it was then that “everything” started to change for me. I baby-stepped through a complete & total transformation, with a few faithful fantastical leaps thrown at the right & perfect time to balance those baby steps, but, for the most part…I moved slowly, & thoughtfully & instead of losing patience & scolding myself for all the things we can usually find to berate & betray our own selves, I decided to keep the faith. Whether it’s a new weight, a new job, a new relationship, or a whole new life one is wanting for themselves… it can be daunting & overwhelming & certainly discouraging when only focused on the end result. Holding your vision is so important, yet, holding your form the best you can through each & every day is what moves you to that vision & often, just zeroing in on the baby steps necessary to make it through one beautiful but brutally challenging day is the most important thing we can do for ourselves. If anyone had told me after my dad passed how long, how challenging, & how much heartbreak & sadness I was going to have to move through to make it through to the other side I feel quite certain I would have turned around & ran the other way, as I did for much of my life. Suffering is different than sadness though, & when I began to give myself some patience as I committed to “holding my form”, I began to see the difference & was able to start inching through the sadness as I released my grip & my choice to stay & suffer by shutting the uncomfortable down or ignoring it or trying to move through it quickly as if it didn’t exist.

 

  1. Anything else?

As a piggyback & a p.s. to #6, I’d like to share the importance of gratitude. It is so challenging sometimes when we are faced in real life with the pains & struggles & sufferings we are witness to as well as have to move through ourselves in our human life. But, in my own story, when I began to search for the blessing, & the meaning that might be held for me through any given experience, especially the hard & painful ones, instead of allowing myself to play the victim as I asked “why me” as I had done often in my younger years, it was a powerful gift & shift that helped me immensely as I embarked on the journey to change the ending for my story.

 

Everything and a Happy Ending, an award-winning memoir published by Mascot Books, details the soulful shift of a story as Tia shares her holy grail & trail she took to transform her life.  After moving through her own metamorphosis, she then helped an old friend, Ray Romano, move through his own transition, going with the flow very privately, but most profoundly.

“My journey almost destroyed me.”  Almost.  Boy, have I come to like that word.  What a pleasurable word “almost” can be.  You may almost be ready to buy my book.  You may almost be ready to begin an exciting new journey of your own.  You may almost be over that rainbow Judy Garland sings about.  What great potential “almost” can hold if you can flip your way of thinking.  Just imagine, controlled pessimism, doubt & fear flipped into blind optimism, faith & love.

That flip helped Tia move to a place where heaven meets earth…the pearly gates of her own happy ending.  Changing the ending for her story brought a pure, precious peace of heart, but kicked her butt a bit as she made her way… committed to keeping her faith. The book was a plan C, maybe even D, but Tia was determined, after a dedicated intention & divine decision to start swimming more with the current of her life, instead of bucking that flow.  Her ordinary, relatable story took an extraordinary, fantastical turn when she showed the Universe she was committed to her intention & her desire to be given an opportunity to make some new, different choices for herself.  EAAHE is a memoir that shares the “how’d that happen?” & the “how’d she do that?” in a holy hope of helping others to see life in a new way.

EAAHE recounts 3 interconnected relationships & stories that enable Tia to love truly, deeply, & most of all, love herself.  Three special circles she rounded with Ray, her dad, & her ex-husband.  A woman’s full circle journey to learn how to really trust, how to “thine own self be true,” & then, the “real & true” love it led her ‘round back to.  It shares how the power of love & a journey to intimacy helped her make a faithful flip which began a sacred circle and new chapter… one that would allow a different ending for a story she had begun writing for herself when she was much younger.  One that Tia feels strongly will inspire other women of a certain age keep faith that it’s not too late to write a new ending for their own, as they embrace their history, not try to re-write it.

Tia is, most days, filled with joy.  She is, every day, filled with peace.  She looks forward to a happy ending each new day now, however it unfolds, whomever it holds, & whatever way the Universe molds, as she continues to create a new “happily ever after”, staying committed to rising above her fears, moving out of her comfort zones, & going with the flow of her life.

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http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/will-tia-shurina-give-ray-romano-a-happy-ending-new-memoir-reveals-relationship-and-unveils-transformation-300212049.html

http://everythingandahappyending.com/

Here are what some customers are saying on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015I13RDC/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1#customerReviews

“The tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.”

Peggy Hattendorf: Author & RWISA Member!

Greetings and welcome to The Indie Spot. It is my privilege and honor to introduce to you author and RWISA member Peggy Hattendorf — in her own words! Take it away, Peggy…

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The Interview

1) How long have you been writing?

My professional writing started in the mid-1970’s, when I created volunteer and staff handbooks for a number of agencies in the non-profit field.

I entertained the idea of writing a novel about 10 years ago but purposely shelved the plan for nearly two years due to other commitments. The notion of writing fiction still gnawed at me and I would jot down potential characters, ideas and storylines during this hiatus. When I finally dusted off my old notes, scribbles and research and read over the material, I realized I had the makings for a good story. With new found enthusiasm, I set about writing my first novel. My background with upscale and luxury travel products served a cornerstones in the character development and storyline.

2) How many books have you authored?
At present, I have one novel Son of My Father – A Family Dynasty.

3) Do you have a writing schedule?

Yes. Currently I am working on my second book in the family dynasty series. This one still focuses on the wealthy Barrington family, and I utilize some of my travel destination research for the magazine to add new locations and settings for the book.

4) You’re a member of RAVE WRITERS – INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS (RWISA). Why do you think you were accepted into this exclusive group?

I was honored and humbled to have been selected by personal invitation from Nonnie as one of the first 10 people to join RWISA. I believe I was invited into this organization because I am a strong and focused writer with a distinct voice and style. I take writing very seriously and continue to strive to be the best in all I produce. With my debut novel, I’ve been able to create a captivating story with well defined characters in exquisite settings and locations; appropriately interrupting the narrative with savvy and funny dialogue while maintaining suspense with plot twists and turns to keep the reader engaged until the very end.

5) Modesty aside, what separates your writing from the millions of other writers in the world?

I am a serious writer who continues to advance my professional endeavors, hone my skills and strive for excellence. I write with passion and want to translate that deep purpose to the reader. As a character driven writer, I use that passion to create a compelling and richly developed cast. I write in my head and start assembling this small grouping around a central theme and the storyline develops. I use logic, structure and organization in developing clear ideas and how to express them in a solid story. I’m grounded in data, research and fact-checking for credibility and authenticity. For example, in certain instances, it’s more appropriate for character and life-style to use more formal language in dialogue. I deliver a readable story with good content, a strong storyline, an intriguing plot, crackling dialogue from well crafted characters presented in elegant settings around the world.

6) If you could spend a day picking the brain of one author, who would that be? Why?

I was fortunate years ago to have had this experience. My husband and I had dinner with the late Allen Reed Folsom and his wife Karen at their home in Malibu. He was a screenwriter for years but his big break came with his thriller, The Day After Tomorrow, about a Neo-Nazi cult. We were with them shortly after he sold this debut novel in 1993 for $2 million dollars, a record at that time. As elated as he was to have sold his novel, he said it took him decades to get to that point. He was diligently working on his second book at the time of our visit. Had I known then, I would someday venture into this whelm, I would have been armed with a list of questions to ask him over dinner.

There is another author, Patricia Cornwall that I would find most interesting to involve in conversation. She is a seasoned serial writer and I am writing my second book in my family dynasty series. Her Scarpetta Series is one of my favorites as she uses a strong female lead, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, a medical examiner by training. I too have a strong female lead, also a career woman, Christiana Lynn Barrington. If I could “pick” Ms. Cornwall’s brain, I would inquire as to how she keeps a series “fresh” and interesting writing a total of 35 books in 27 years. As she also writes children’s books and cookbooks, I would be curious as to what prompted her move into other genres. In addition, I would ask if she found her work as a journalist an asset in writing fiction.

7) Are you a die-hard INDIE writer who loves having complete control of your work, or, if you were offered a publishing contract today, would you sign on the dotted line?

I do love being an INDIE writer and am not looking for outside representation. But with that said, if I was offered a publishing contract today, from a recognized publishing house, it would warrant my time and attention to understand the facts and terms of the contract. My desire is to have Son of My Father – A Family Dynasty adapted into a television movie or mini-series and that might be one of the major advantages of having an agent.

8) As an author, where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I would like to have the third and final book in my family dynasty series complete. In so doing, this will require more travel for my inspirations, settings and research.

9) What is the ONE tool that has been the most beneficial tool in the marketing of your books?

I joined a very supportive network – Rave Reviews Book Club. I would tell any new author to commence the overall marketing process well before completion of the book and go online and immediately join Rave Reviews Book Club.

10) Name one writer that you know of, member or non-member of RRBC, who you feel should be added to the RWISA Roster of elite members? Why?

I would suggest Rebecca Reilly. I believe she is a gifted writer as demonstrated in her book Haunting Megan.

11) What is the one piece of advice that you could share that would be most valuable for those aspiring to not only be writers, but those aspiring to be great writers?

Enjoy each and every step of this “creative journey” and don’t be in a rush to publish.

12) Do you believe that writers who churn out several books a year are really putting out quality work?

There are certainly a number of prominent authors who publish several books per year to satisfy contractual terms of their publishers and keep their readership engaged through new releases. Some writers are co-authoring books possibly to keep ahead of the competition. It is hard to place a chronological time period on quality work. I believe each body of work should be judged on the quality alone without regard to the amount of time it took to produce the manuscript.

13) If you had promised your fans a book by a certain date only to find that your book wasn’t the best it could be, would you go ahead and publish your book just to meet that self-imposed deadline and deliver as promised, or, would you disappoint your fans and shelve the book until it was absolutely ready? No matter your reason, please explain why?

I would absolutely halt the release date if the book was not deemed ready for publication. At the same time, I would issue a statement that the release date had to be pushed back and add the new publication date to keep up the interest from my fan and readership base. In the interim, I would continue to have contact with my readership via blogs etc.

14) In your opinion, what makes a book “a great book?”

In my opinion, a “great book” is based on a number of key elements and I use the broad categories of fiction and non-fiction works. For a fiction book, I look for the following: *interesting storyline, * intriguing plot, * proper pace and flow, * well-defined characters, *crisp dialogue and * above all it must be a readable story! In a non-fiction book you also need an interesting storyline and proper pace and flow. Moreover, a non-fiction book must: * present an engaging topic, subject or person, * deliver insight or knowledge – possibly not known prior to reading the book and * be well researched with verifiable data and first-hand documentation, if possible. No matter the type of book or genre, it must be well written and hold the reader’s attention.

15) If you received a review of your book which stated that there were editing & proofing “issues,” what’s the first thing you would do? And the second?

I take my writing career very seriously and strive to deliver quality and excellence in all my work. Unfortunately, some editing issues have been brought to my attention and I have engaged Nonnie Jules and her team at 4Wills Publishing to address the items not identified and corrected by the former contracted editors.

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The Importance of your Author Brand and Reputation

By Peggy Hattendorf

Improper branding or a tarnished reputation can sink your career.

Proper messaging and a solid reputation, on the other hand, add both tangible and intangible benefits. A recognized brand is a strategic tool and important business asset which can determine your success as an author – as much as quality or price. Branding is imperative to commercializing your business, advancing product exposure and leading to increased demand for your books and products.

The American Marketing Association defines brand as, “a name, term, sign, symbol or combination of these, intended to identify the goods and services of the seller and to differentiate it from competitors.”  Branding is all activities that raise awareness for your business and helps shape consumers’ perceptions, awareness, associations and loyalty.

Professional reputation is defined as the “public” opinion about your business determined in part by the image and quality of products and services and further conditioned by consumer understanding, knowledge and intuition.  A “good” reputation helps build brand loyalty. The terms brand and reputation are interrelated and sometimes a strong brand image can combat some reputation issues.

Branding:

  • Improves recognition.
  • Assists in promotion of products/books/services.
  • Attributes quality, value and reliability.
  • Associates an image – “luxury” or “mass-market” as examples.
  • Creates trust, credibility, legitimacy and loyalty.
  • Supports advertising.
  • Differentiates from the competition.
  • Generates customer sales.
  • Builds financial value and resources.

Reputation:

  • Defines public beliefs or opinions generally held about a person or business.
  • Harder to build than to destroy.
  • Requires effort, patience and time to build.
  • Needs consistency and constant attention.
  • Represents your value in the marketplace.

The establishment of a solid brand, positive image and a good reputation are key elements for creating success in the literary world.

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Social Media

Twitter handler – @peggyhattendorf

Facebook – www.facebook.com/peggy.hattendorf

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Web Site/Blog

Website/blog – www.peggyhattendorf.com

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Thank you for supporting our RWISA (RAVE WRITERS-INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS) Members!  Please follow and support the entire tour by visiting 4WillsPub.

 

Writing the (Almost) Perfect Book Review

Today we will take a look at what goes into writing the (almost) perfect book review. Nothing is ever really perfect, but those imperfections should never be an excuse for being unprofessional or rude.

Okay, so you’re new to the fine art of writing book reviews. Maybe you’re not quite sure how to go about sharing that incredible (or terrible) story you just finished reading (or couldn’t force yourself to read the entire thing). The hope here is that perhaps we can shed some light on approaching the task—regardless of your feelings toward the book in question.

Book reviews are opinions and nothing else. But these are valued opinions (when done correctly) that can guide readers to—or away from—an author’s hard work. Opinions will always vary when it comes to books, movies, restaurants, or anything else that is often the target of reviews. I may not have enjoyed the mashed potatoes at Cracker Barrel, but those same spuds may stir recollections of Granny’s home-cooked Sunday dinners from way back in another patron. So does that make my opinion any greater than another’s? Not a chance. My opinion is just an option for those reading reviews of dinner choices at the local Cracker Barrel.

But this presentation isn’t about culinary creativity. We’re here to discuss books and the reviews we seek to write. I’ve written over a hundred book reviews and dozens of concert and record album reviews. Book reviews (and movie reviews) are a different breed from other write-ups in that there are certain things of which you need to be aware when sharing your thoughts on the latest novel you’ve read.

The first (and most important) item to remember is: NO SPOILERS! Not even with a “spoiler alert” attached to the front end of your review. If there’s a twist at the end of the story that really blew your mind, then please allow the next mind to be equally blown. I hate it when such things are divulged—even with a warning. I may choose to not read beyond the warning, but that doesn’t mean a friend will stop at that point. This friend then decides to bring up the twist as I’m mentioning the new book I just added to my Kindle.

I call to mind the first time I saw the movie The Others. I hadn’t even heard of this film prior to my viewing it one lazy afternoon. I remember thinking that the film trotted along at a rather slow pace—so much so that I nearly turned the channel. I’m glad I didn’t. As the film progressed, I became even more invested. And as it reached its conclusion, POW! I honestly did not see that twist coming. And thankfully, I was able to be floored by the brilliance of the writing and the acting because nobody spoiled it for me.

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I’ve read the novel Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock. This wonderful story contains a twist at the end that spins the entire story into a whole new perspective from the one through which I’d viewed it right up to the final two chapters. Good writers will do these things. Good reviewers will leave those things hidden, allowing the next readers to discover those gems for themselves. So please leave the spoiler alerts out of your reviews.

The next thing to keep in mind is: DITCH THE PLAY-BY-PLAY! A review is never meant to be an outline spilling plot details. Neither is it supposed to be a road map through the story. If I can gather most of what’s going on between those book covers from your review, what reason do I have in investing money and time in reading it for myself? This only serves to cheat the reader out of a good read, and it snuffs out a sale for the author.

A well-written review will give us just a taste of the plot, a glimpse into the lives of the characters, and offer opinions on whether or not the author has what it takes to tell a fine story. It should be a critique of story and style.

This leads us to another very important point: ATTACKING CONTENT MISSES THE MARK! Okay, so what exactly am I talking about? Saying you didn’t like the story in question because the girl was raped or a child died says more about the reviewer than it says about the book. If we’re voracious readers, we’ll eventually run into a story that may, at points, make us feel uncomfortable. My skin was crawling at times while reading The End of Alice by A. M. Homes. It’s a dark read, this story. But Miss Homes is one of my favorite writers. Her stories are vivid with living characters. She, as a writer, is skilled at yanking the reader from his or her comfort zone. The best writers are able to do these things without a second thought.

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The End of Alice is a bestseller. I mention this only because, as such, there are quite a few reviews for this work. The titles of some of those reviews posted on Amazon are rather telling. Beautifully Disturbing; Disgusting, But Impossible to Forget; Fascinating, Frustrating and Disappointing—but Unforgettable. Most opinions of this book award four and five stars—even though many of these reviewers found the story quite disturbing. Then there are those who simply attack the content and do all they can to steer potential readers away from this work.

Did the writing captivate you? Are the characters believable? What sort of emotions did you experience while reading? Did the author pull you out of your comfort zone? Is it a well-written story without punctuation or spelling errors? Did you care about the characters or were they worthy of being hated? These are the sorts of questions we should ponder while determining our opinions of the works of others.

Not all reviews warrant four and five stars. But that’s not license to attack an author’s work either. An honest review should be constructive in its criticism, not destructive. Social media is rife with mean and nasty comments that are designed to tear down rather than build up. Take into consideration the author may learn something from your review, and thus become a better writer because of you! Be honest, be tactful, be kind—even if it’s a 1, 2, or 3 star review. If you don’t like a particular story, explain the reasons behind your opinion.

As reviews coordinator for RRBC, I’ve heard from members who found issues with books they’ve read. They tell me they feel guilty writing a one or two star review. Well, if that’s their honest opinion, then that’s what they should award. I challenge them to offer the author—as well as potential future readers—an explanation on why they arrived at this rating. Are there punctuation problems? Plot holes? Is the story just too unbelievable? Share these details—but do so in a way that teaches. Be encouraging rather than discouraging.

And finally, when posting your reviews, be sure to proofread before sharing with the world via Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Nothing is quite as ridiculous as a critique of another’s work in a review filled with misspellings, missing or poor punctuation, and sentences that make little or no sense at all. If need be, allow another pair of eyes to do the proofreading for you—before you hit the post button. Your words represent you as a writer—whether they’re reviews, blog articles, essays, or novels. Always strive to make a strong impression. And remember, writing reviews is another way to make connections in the indie author world. If you’re needlessly harsh in your criticisms, that’s a reflection on you.

 

Discussing Book Trailers!

Once upon a time, authors, no matter the talent level, needed a big machine known as the publishing house, to get their work into the hands of readers across the globe. Publishing houses offered cash advances, secured shelf space in all the leading retail shops, and made sure the media received advance copies for the purpose of writing reviews of the project at hand.

Unfortunately, getting published by the big machine proved limited in potential for most writers. Your work wouldn’t even find its way to a publisher without first getting discovered by an agent. And even if you did manage to catch the eye of one of these middlemen, you still weren’t guaranteed that big advance, the prime spot on the shelf at Barnes & Noble, or the five star review from the New York Times. In fact, writing for 95% of those who fancied themselves authors was little more than a wishful fantasy.

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But we are no longer living under the shadow of the big machine. If we want to write and be published, it’s an easy task. And that may not always be such a great thing. See, here’s the problem: Everybody is a writer today. That means the novel you spent months (or even years) writing is now in direct competition with two million other titles, all seeking the same readers.

While great opportunities are now within reach, the deep pockets of those large publishing houses are not. That means there likely won’t be a marketing team to plot our campaign for world domination. So we learn from one another. We find those things that work for us and mingle them with new ideas that may have worked for others. It’s the indie way.

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One of the tools within our reach is the book trailer. Sure, YouTube seems flooded with videos touting this story or that one. But these sneak peeks work quite well for the movie industry. In fact, most of us determine the films we’ll pay to see based almost entirely on the trailers we watch. If done right, there is no reason book trailers can’t accomplish the very same results.

And how do we do it the right way? By making ours stand out from the million or so other clips already on social media. Offer the viewer something that’s visually appealing, that snags the attention and holds it until the very last frame. Even the music must be compelling, telling the story as much as the images do. But don’t just rely on simple music and still photos with blurbs splashed across them. Seek out that which is different.

Fresh Ink Group

Fresh Ink Group offers that which is different! We utilize video, animation, music, voice-overs, still photos, graphics unique to the project, and a large array of sound effects. If you want something more in your trailer, consider taking a look at Fresh Ink Group.

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Visit Fresh Ink Group: Click Here!

A Rose of A Writer!

A few years ago I stumbled upon an indie novel that so entertained me, I became an instant fan of the author. Sienna Rose has since published three more novels. The second and third are science fiction stories. Truthfully, I have never really been a big science fiction reader. But I read her books, and they shine. It’s her most recent book that has me sitting here, in front of my computer, seeking to share this gem of a writer with you, my readers. So let me introduce to you the author of Sparrow in the Wind. This is Sienna Rose!

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The Interview:

  1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

In second grade. I remember what it was like to hear Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Swing. I loved the rhyme and the imagery. I could just see the “cattle and all”. Because of those elements, I found I could quickly memorize the poetry and keep them with me. I was so inspired that one day while I was supposed to be doing math (which I can’t do, due to learning disabilities) I wrote a long poem with similar rhyme and meter. When I proudly showed it to the teacher, she found it so sophisticated that she accused me of plagiarism and demanded to see “the book I stole that from.” Of course, there was no book. She then told me I wasn’t supposed to write poems, because I needed to spend my time on learning math; I never wrote again until it was assigned in grade six. Teachers, don’t ever do that. I still can’t do arithmetic and I would have spent the time better writing. I think that early lesson (more like trauma) warped my future. If I hadn’t been so worried about finding a regular job, I definitely would have become an English major and gone on to an M.F.A., instead of a psychology Major and then an M.Ed. I didn’t start my first novel until age fifty, after the degrees I took led me to jobs I didn’t like and wasn’t really suited for.

  1. How long does it take you to write a book?

At least two years, often sitting 8-9 hours per day. The most important part is getting every phrase, every single word “right” in the first chapter. The rest won’t flow until that’s done. Once a story comes to life, I am immersed in the writing and can’t think of much else. I admire people who can do more than one thing at a time, like work a day job and write. I do student advocacy, but when I have a case, the writing gets put aside until it’s resolved. I really have a one tract mind.

  1. Your characters are quite vivid and believable. What goes into your creative process when developing characters?

Thank you, Beem. When I wrote my first novel (Bridge Ices Before Road), I heard vague whispers from two characters that became Frances and Maddie. They were in an embryonic state in some closet in my mind, waiting to come out. I didn’t know much about who they were until I started at the keyboard. As soon as I got Frances right, Maddie burst forth and took over. She wrote herself into the world—told me her story and the details of each of her family members. Sometimes my fingers could barely keep up with her demands. I began to dream about the characters. I would walk the dog or take day to go kayaking (very important to care for the body if you want your mind to create) and I’d be dialoguing out loud without realizing it until I saw someone staring.

  1. Where do you find these ideas that become the basis for your books?

The idea for the plot is very loose. The real story begins with a solid character or two, and the rest just flows. I don’t know what will happen until they tell me.

  1. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

The mysterious process of character development and the story that flows from them once they turn real to me.

  1. What does your writing process look like? Do you outline, or do you write as the story comes to you?

I’ve pretty much answered that. I never outline—it would halt my creative process.

  1. If you could write any book in history, which would you like to have created?

I can’t imagine wishing to have created another author’s work.

  1. If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of Sparrow in the Wind, who would play your characters?

I picture Gudrun as a forty-something Liv Ulman; of course she’s much older now, but I can’t think of anyone else. George Parsons is definitely a young Jimmy Stewart. Since they aren’t available, I don’t know who I’d cast. When the time comes, I’ll let the film industry decide for me.

  1. How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name-choosing resources on which you rely?

Names are important, some more than others. The idea of the Sparrow in the Wind as an Indian name came to me out of the blue. It began with the story of the half Ojibwa girl and how she got her name. Cassandra was coming to life at the same time. I knew that they had to meet and have a life together, so I built the story around them. Once again, they told me the details. I was just as surprised at some of the things they did as any reader might be.

  1. Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy? So far I haven’t noticed. The characters seem to do all the work.
  2. What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

Don’t write in hopes of getting published or of even getting widely read if you do publish. Write because you have a story waiting to be born. You know it when you feel it.

  1. What are you working on now? What is your next project?

I’m sorry to disappoint you, Beem, but I’m working on another science fiction book. Three characters materialized in my mind. One is a being from Mars that was stuck in stasis nearly 4 billion years, after the last Martians launched him on a quest to locate a new world since Mars was dying. The other is an eccentric, rich, science geek who befriends him and the third is the woman who falls in love with him. This stirs up controversy because the Martian is of an aquatic race and not at all humanoid. I am having a wonderful time in my own little world writing this story, which brings me to the best advice I have for aspiring authors. If the work is a genuine creative expression that makes you feel—whether you’re laughing, crying, angry or anxious—then that’s all that matters. Having said that, I wouldn’t be above contriving a commercial success (under a pseudonym). If I could only think one up.

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The Book:

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Funny how memories work, the things you remember, the things forgotten, the things that change you. Back in the summer of 1962, ten year-old Cassandra Parsons has her life all figured out. She lives with her father and mother in the upstairs flat of a well-appointed two family house in a pleasant neighborhood of Racine, Wisconsin. Her maternal aunt and grandfather live right downstairs and her best friend Kitty has always lived two doors down. Cassandra’s well-ordered world comes undone when her father decides to move his nuclear family to the backwoods of Northern Wisconsin, to renovate and manage his father’s hunting lodge. Isolated and friendless, she is suddenly left to her own devices as her parents plunge themselves into their new business endeavor. Loneliness and self-pity gradually give way to growth as Cassandra learns to appreciate the beauty of nature and the peace of quietude. Soon she meets a half-Ojibwa girl named Sparrow. The girls become fast friends and have a final fling with childhood, spending their last carefree days fishing in the river and roaming the woods, pretending to be ancient Ojibwa. But their sweet Indian summer comes to an abrupt end as tragedy strikes both girls’ families. Cassandra and Sparrow’s friendship is tested as they try to forge a mature, enduring relationship that hopefully will see them through even these darkest of times.

Click here to buy Sparrow In The Wind

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The Author:

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Sienna Rose is a Massachusetts native, born in 1959 and residing in Florida since 2002. In 1996, she earned a BA in psychology from UMASS Boston, and in 2001, an M.Ed. in school counseling from Cambridge College, Cambridge, MA. Because she has always been concerned with those who are different and vulnerable to bullying and abuse, Ms. Rose wrote her master’s thesis on the needs of gay/lesbian/bi/trans youth in school. In addition to school counseling, she is licensed to teach English, social science, primary education, and exceptional student education in the state of Florida. In 2011, Ms. Rose started an educational consulting and advocacy service, ESE SOS, in order to assist parents of children with disabilities in school. Bridge Ices Before Road is her first novel.

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My Review:

Sparrow In The Wind is the fourth novel I’ve read by S. Rose. The middle two books, while well written and entertaining, are science fiction. I’m just not a big fan of that genre. This most recent novel—along with her debut title—falls into my favorite genre: coming of age.

Sparrow In The Wind tells the story of young Cassandra Parsons, a girl living with her parents in 1962 Wisconsin. As the story’s narrative voice, Cassandra shares her life’s experiences with readers, telling us about her move from the “big city” of Racine, to the backwoods of northern Wisconsin.

Along the way Cassandra learns of several long-hidden family secrets—some of which have the potential to destroy relationships within her family structure. Upon her move to the sticks, she befriends a half-Ojibwa Indian girl called Sparrow. The stark contrast between these two girls’ worlds is painted onto the pages of the book in vivid living color.

Cassandra, brought up in a solid middle class home filled with love and family, has never gone without the necessities of life. Sparrow, living in abject poverty, has never known any but a life of nothingness.

Despite these contrasting situations, these two girls forge a bond that holds their lives together even as the world around them spins recklessly out of control.

Ms. Rose writes coming of age stories as well as anybody within the genre—and this includes both indie authors as well as the traditionally published. To say I am a fan is an understatement. Her ability to bring characters to life is an admirable skill, to be sure. However, it is her rare gift of moving readers to actually care for her characters that sets her stories apart from other writers working in the coming-of-age genre.

I read her debut novel, Bridge Ices Before Road, several years ago. The story and characters remain with me to this day. Good writers do this with regularity. S. Rose has two books now that occupy the book shelf in my mind. If you haven’t yet discovered this incredible talent, the loss is yours.