Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Meet Alex Carver

1- Did you pick your genre or did your genre pick you? Explain.
I guess my genre (mystery/crime) picked me. I’ve always wanted to write fantasy, it’s my favourite genre, but I haven’t been able to come up with a good, workable story; I can come up with plenty of ideas for crime novels, though.

2- Where do you get your stories- are they ripped from the headlines or drummed up in your brain?
I am constantly being struck by new ideas, they come from all directions, anything and everything I see is likely to spark a notion for a book; sometimes the ideas pan out and can be fleshed into a novel, otherwise they’re just a spark.

3- Do you consult with police for accuracy and will you sacrifice realism for drama?
I haven’t consulted with the police, but I find that isn’t as necessary as it once was for an author to speak directly to a professional about a subject, thanks to Google and the large amount of information that can be found on the ‘net and in books. I would prefer to be as realistic as possible in my writing, but there are occasions when realism must be sacrificed for the story.
Case in point, I have a scene in a short story where I have been accused of inaccuracy by having a window smashed with a tennis ball thrown by a young woman; it was suggested by a reviewer that a golf ball would have been more accurate. A golf ball is more likely to break a window than a tennis ball, but to me it seemed more likely that a young woman would have tennis equipment in her bedroom than golf equipment, so a slight suspension of disbelief is required there. I hope readers will be able to make it and accept this minor detail.

4- What do you see long term for Inspector Stone? Who would play him in a movie?
I have a few plot points coming through in books I have already written, but not yet published, which includes some heartache for Inspector Stone, and hopefully some more positive moments moving forward. I have nothing specific in mind for him long-term, other than a continuation of him solving crimes and coming across as human as possible.
I’m not sure who would play him, but if I’m honest I think the character and the stories would better suit a TV series than a film.

5- Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I would like to see all of the books I currently have on paper released and selling decently; ideally I will be making enough money from my books to make a living and to enjoy some pleasant holidays around the world.

6- What has been the hardest part of being an indie author?
Learning to promote, no doubt about it, promoting requires either money or good social skills, and normally both, since I am not overly burdened with either I struggle, but I am getting better, I think.

7- If you could do something over in your writing career, what would it be?
I first publishing 5 or 6 years ago, and I made so many mistakes then, I’d like to go back to the beginning with the knowledge I now have, I’m confident I could have a moderately successful career by now if I could do that.

8- What are you working on now?
Two books, the 2nd book in my Inspector Stone series, that’s temporarily on hold but is in 1st draft stage, and Written In Blood, a thriller about a serial killer terrorising a small English village.

9- What advice would you give an aspiring indie writer?
I would have to say ‘read all you can’, reading novels by other authors will help you to hone your craft, but you should also read up on how to do things other than write so that once you have your book out there you can get it the attention it deserves. Being an author requires many skills beyond simply writing, and while you can pay for many of those skills, nothing beats having them yourself.

10- What should someone expect reading an Alex Carver novel? What do you want them to take away from it?

That’s a toughie. I hope that people will expect a reasonable degree of accuracy when it comes to the technical side of things, obviously accuracy sometimes has to be put aside for the sake of the story, and engaging characters. Mostly what I want them to take away is a sense of pleasure, that they’ve passed the time enjoyably and not that they’ve wasted the time spent on my book.

Alex Carver has worked a number of jobs over the years, none of which provided the satisfaction he got from writing, and he has now given up the day jobs to write full-time. Primarily he writes crime fiction, reflecting his interest in the seedy underbelly of life, but science fiction and kids adventure have featured in his writing, with books in those genres on the long list of titles he is preparing for release. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Meet The Blogger: My Interview With The Paperback Princess

1- How did you start blogging?
Well..I LOVE to read and since I'm on good reads, I thought it would be nice to start a blog and share my reviews with others alike.

2- Has the direction changed since you started?
Yes. I added other interests like tv shows & movies I watch, foods I like to eat with recipes and food allergy info to help raise awareness.

3- What do you enjoy most about it?
Meeting other bloggers and writers. It's such a welcoming and supportive community.

4- How do you get material, ideas?
Honestly, it's whatever pops in my head.

5- What is the most unpleasant thing that happened with blogging?
Running into another blog with the same name.  

6- What would you tell a person who is starting out about blogging?
Figure out what you want to write/blog about and stick to those few topics.  Pick a name that reflects what you're blogging about.  

7- How has it impacted your everyday life?
At first it took up a lot of my time away from my kids.  But I was able to figure out a schedule and keep my posts to only once or twice a week, after they go to bed.

8- What blogs do you read?
Other book blogs, food, entertainment and travel.

9- What is your favorite book and why?
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch. It has such a great message for little girls. It teaches young girls to be brave, strong and independent. It also teaches you not to be shallow and what type of guys to dump. Lol.

10- Where do you see your blog in five years?

I would eventually like to become a book reviewer for a publisher and maybe even monetize my blog.

Find The Paperback Princess HERE!

Blog: princessofpaperback.wordpress.com

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Interview With Julie A. Gerber

1- How did you start this journey?
I began this journey after being asked my friend and client if I wanted take on a project. I never seriously thought about writing my own book. I was happy to promote authors and beta read. When asked to co-write with Linda Cadose and M.M. Hudson, I decided to go for it. I learned a lot from that experience and it has helped me understand and connect with my clients even more. 

2- Name a turning point and explain why your life changed.
In March 2007, a tornado hit our house. Contractors destroyed what the tornado spared. We moved out, using our saving to make extensive repairs out of pocket and pay to live somewhere else until we could move back home, which ended up being a few years later. I had two small children (a newborn and a five-year-old at the time) and things were so tight, I couldn't afford clothes, Christmas or birthday gifts, and sometimes food. I decided to begin blogging and became somewhat successful rather quickly. In my time of need, blogging was a blessing and I am thankful for that wonderful start. If it hadn't been for blogging, I never would have started reviewing books for authors. That led me to create Away We Go Media and a new job, which was helping authors promote books and beta reading. I am a nurse by trade, but I have found a new career and joy beyond anything I ever expected. All that came from one of the darkest moments of my life. I learned a lot about myself and found enough strength to grow from those experiences.

3- What are the various projects you've published and how were they different?
I have published Tortured Souls: The House On Wellfleet Bluffs and Navigating Indieworld: A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Publishing and Marketing Your Book. Tortured Souls is a paranormal book with a little bit of history thrown in. I wrote the book with two others and found the process difficult. When you have three ideas about how something should go, it is hard to accept compromise. It was a wonderful opportunity and it gave me a lot of insight into publishing. Before that, I worked behind the scenes. After writing it, I could relate to my clients even more. Navigating Indieworld was very different. I wrote the book with Carole P. Roman and I think we wrote the book in a week! We had the best time. It was like meeting your best friend for a girl's night. We would write, laugh, and write some more. The book was easier to write because this is what we have done for years. It seemed to pour out of us!

4- Do you have a preference in the way you write?
Not really, unless you count having Carole P. Roman online reading along with me as I write!

5- You are active in all different phases of publishing from beta reading, to writing, to marketing and promotion. Describe some of the many hats you wear. What is your least favorite part? Most favorite?
I have recently started tutoring authors on how to use social media and creating lessons based on their needs. I may teach them how to design and create graphics or create ads for social media. I meet with them over a chat box on Facebook and the phone and talk them through things for one hour. I may send screenshots to show step-by-step how things are done. I am enjoying the one-on-one time with these new clients. I also work with authors on beta reading, publishing, creating audiobooks, marketing and book promotions. I may run their social media or blogs, or maybe I will set up book signings. I am a consultant when needed and give advice based on what I've learned. My least favorite part of my job is trying to get an author to understand that big changes don't happen overnight. Sometimes it takes trial and error and sometimes you get lucky. My favorite part of my job is beta reading. It is exciting to see how my input can impact a story. 

6- What are your biggest challenges in this business?
My biggest challenge is getting people to believe that spending a little on marketing is a wise investment. If you don't know how to market your book, ask for help. There are affordable options that can make a big difference. If you don't have the budget to hire someone long term, hire someone to teach you the ropes so you can invest time. Another thing that is a challenge is the false information that some authors put out there. They will tell you to write, and imply that the marketing isn't important. "Write a lot of books. You will eventually sell a few because you have multiple books out there." This couldn't be more wrong. While having more than one book out helps, investing time in promoting those books is the only thing to move those books and boost your rankings. The next time an author tells you not to worry about promoting your book, look their book up on Amazon. Then decide for yourself. Do their review numbers and sales ranks look good to you? Chances are they won't be as impressive as they'd like you to believe.

7- What has been your biggest disappointment? Biggest surprise?
My biggest disappointment has been not meeting more of my authors/clients in person. I grow attached, and some feel like family. Let me rephrase that. Some ARE family. My biggest surprise, besides meeting Carole P. Roman and Michael Phillip Cash in person, was receiving Captain No Beard and crew artwork to hang on my wall above my desk. When I received artwork from One to Ten: Squirrel's Bad Day, I was overwhelmed. These beautiful reminders of the books I help promote are priceless treasures and some of my biggest surprises.  

8- What is next for you?
I WILL finish my book- solo. And I will name it something other than The Book. It is loosely based on the life of my great aunt. She was one of the first women doctors in North Carolina and she faced many challenges in her journey to become a prominent physician in what was widely known as a man's field of expertise. I have always been fascinated with her life. I will also work to find new ways to help authors and expand to make myself available for more classes to authors or anyone else that wants to learn more about social media. If I can teach more people to use social media and promote their books, they will have more success. I want all indie authors to achieve success. This is not a cutthroat business and paying it forward (by reviewing a book, sharing what works, or what they know) should be everyone's theme.

9- What is the most interesting thing about you?
I never really thought of myself as interesting. I read books. I am shy and enjoy being home with my family. I hate shopping (unless I am shopping online) and I love Christmas and the beach. If you ever visit, you'll find a candle burning somewhere, a vase of flowers (if they are blooming outside) and my computer screen turned on. I've been told that I'm funny. I have a dog that adores me. I think my family likes me too. Part of me thinks the most interesting thing about me is my job. I get to work with brilliant authors. I am asked to be a part of those worlds they create just to see if I can make suggestions to make those worlds even better. I earn a living working with authors and books. I have a beautiful and blessed life.

10- What's your five year plan?
My five-year plan is to grow Away We Go Media into something bigger and better. I want to reach more authors and share what I know. I want to teach others how to expand their reach. I want to empower authors so they can no longer be afraid of marketing or promotions. Maybe in five years, I will have a few more books available on Amazon. More than anything, I want all indie authors to sell more books and have success stories! 

Julie A. Gerber is the founder of Away We Go Media, a social media management and consulting firm for authors. She is the Executive Vice President, Business Manager, and Director of Social Media at TopShelf Indie Authors & Books, Director of TopShelf Magazine, and co-author of Tortured Souls: The House On Wellfleet Bluffs. She can usually be found at home refereeing her sons or glued to her desktop as she works from home. She lives in Georgia with her husband, two kids, and her little sidekick, a doting Pekingese rescue named Abby. Visit her at awaywegomedia.com.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Interview With RL Jackson

Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm an Aries, I love vampires and the mystique behind them, I used to be a singer and I'm a screenwriter as well!

What motivated you to write this book?
I guess I wanted to shake up the status quo of traditional romance. I got tired of the damsel in distress, or the doe-eyed girl who fell for the bad boy and didn't know any better scenarios. I wanted to tell a story, where the cards were pretty much on the table, raw and real the way life actually is sometimes.

How long did it take you to write this novel?
I started writing in 2014 and put it down for a month to three months and would go back and revise, add, delete etc. I finally put it down for about a year and a half before deciding to finish it. Had I not wasted time by doing that it would've been done much sooner.

What were the biggest challenges?
I would have to say the love scenes. I'm not a fan of excessive expletives, or vulgarity, but I wanted to make the scenes steamy and realistic. I read what others had in their romance books and it didn't help at all really. Finally, I had to close my eyes and express the best way I could. Lots of blushing ensued, lol

How has writing impacted your life? Did anything change? 
Writing has impacted my life because it's brought very interesting people into it. I wouldn't have met the people I know now or had the chance to build those relationships. Over the years I've become a people watcher. I study their mannerisms, the way they hold a spoon, subtleties in the curves off their mouths. This helps me when describing my characters because these descriptions are often based on people i know.

Give three quotes from the book and tell us why they were important to the story or to you.
 “So let me get this straight. It took me longer to report what you did, than it took for you to be arrested, get booked, make bail, and get here before me so you can  lounge around in your underwear?” -I like this quote because this summed up not only what happened that night, but pretty much everything he has been about up until this point. She realizes she really doesn't like him, but impressed at the level of power he has over others around him. This intrigued her, without her wanting to admit it.

What is your favorite genre and why?
I like post-apocalyptic, and supernatural themes but they mean nothing if the underlying message isn't about romance and love if that makes sense lol

Give two examples of your favorite books and tell us what makes them special to you.
The Time Travelers Wife- Had me hooked until i finished the book. I couldn't stop until i knew what happened with those two and it broke my hear to bits. I guess I'm just a sap for love and wanting people to beat the odds to be with each other.

What is next for you?
My next endeavor will be finishing book two of Crashing Into Me, as well as releasing my YA Fantasy series "The Fairy Queen: Land of Ravinia. I have TV Pilot scripts in the works as well, so my fingers will be busy for the foreseeable future.

Follow RL Jackson

Book Blurb: 
A year after being left at the altar, headstrong E.R Nurse, Lana McKenzie is finally piecing her life back together. Tired of dealing with seeing her ex and his new girlfriend at every turn, she longs for blissful solitude and can't wait to enjoy a peaceful vacation alone in the mountains. However, her plans go awry when a rude stranger literally embeds himself into her life and mind.

Handsome, wealthy, and troubled, Kayden Capshaw is struggling with the death of his brother, while also trying to escape the claws of his controlling mother. In his grief, the last thing Kayden wants to deal with is the fallout from his last run in with the law. Yet, he also longs to get to know the woman now snowed in with him at the house on the hill. 

The ice between them thaws every minute they spend together, and they find that they have more in common than they realize. Will they find a way to make it through, or will it all, like the snow, melt away?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Do You Struggle With Writer's Block?

So. I am currently experiencing a writer's block.  I've had intentions of starting my third book.  I know the plot, the main character's name, and the working title.  And so far I've written Chapter One.  That's it.  Just the words "Chapter One."  I think I'm too easily distracted by the internet. Well I know I am actually.  For instance, do you know Pantone's color of the year?  I didn't until it popped up on my MSN page. It's greenery by the way in case you were interested. What does that mean anyway?  Also, I was fascinated (insert a sarcasm emoji here) to learn that many other actors were excited to see Brad Pitt at the Golden Globes.  I really don't know why but it was on my news page. And the fact that they've arrested some suspects in the Kim Kardashian robbery.  Now I can sleep better at night just knowing that.  And reading all the 3,250,000 blogs that I look at during the week.

And then there's Facebook.  Oh, good ol' political/religious ranting people on Facebook.  Most of the time I just scroll past the rants and raves.  But then I get sucked up into the craziness and spend WAY too much time debating with myself who is right and who is wrong.  Ugh.  Such a waste of time and yet there I am.  Then I make the mistake of really looking around my house and decide there's too much dust under the sofas.  And come on - if I don't get that dust right now - I'm not going to be able to concentrate. So on and on it goes.  Here's hoping that nothing "interesting" happens in the world in the next few months so maybe I can actually get the first paragraph written anyway. It may be 2019 before this book gets written.  Oh wait, is that a dust bunny that just rolled by?

Bio - I am a Maryland girl born and raised.  I've been married for 40 years (wow) to Joe and have two children, Greg and Kaitlyn, and three grandsons.  I didn't start writing until 2014.  We also have a house in southern North Carolina and will be retiring there in two years.  I hope to live out my life relaxing in my back yard, drinking wine and observing how badly people are at golf.


Friday, January 20, 2017

Four things a first-time indie author really needs to know

I recently released my first novel, Heirs of Power, it was the realization of a life-long dream and one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done, and I knew from the start that I wanted to self-publish. But I was unaware of the sheer scale of what I had taken on board or exactly what the process involved- you write a book, whack a cover on and Amazon does the rest, right?
Wrong! So today I’m going to share the biggest lessons I learnt during my first indie adventure.

1 - Read and research.
Hopefully you’re already a big reader, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to be an author if they aren’t…
But I’m talking about forum threads, articles and blog posts, and you aren’t looking for answers to your questions- you’re discovering the questions you didn’t even realise needed asking. Without the backing of a publisher, you’re going to have to become familiar with every aspect of the process of getting the story from your head into people’s hands, and be confident with making decisions that will affect how your book sells. What cover design works for your genre? Should you stay exclusive to one platform? What promotions are the best for you?
And don’t worry! There’s a chance you’ll miss something and be frantic about it at zero-hour. Covers and manuscripts can be updated, there’s always another promotion opportunity and if you are genuinely at your wits end, someone has been there before and will be able to advise you- I’ve found groups on Goodreads to be an amazing source of wisdom and encouragement. You’ll remember the lesson well and take it forward for the next book.

2 - Get a team.
After writing up a ‘to do’ list longer than a wedding planner’s, you’ll note that not everything on it falls under your expertise (how do you even begin building a website?). Self-published doesn’t mean you have to go it alone! Unless you are massively confident in your skills you should at least hire an editor and a cover designer, these are the two things that can break even the most incredible story.
Less obvious to me was how much I needed my support team, writing a book takes a long time and huge amounts of dedication and discipline. Indies need to conjure that up themselves- there are no deadlines or demands other than your own, so it helps to get them imposed by other people and ask them to make you accountable. The best decision I made was to send my sister each chapter as I wrote it, she knew it wasn’t an edited or finalised piece but she got invested in the story and constantly pressed me for more. And she isn’t someone who pulls punches, so she told me when things needed fixing too.

3 - Plan effectively.
This is your first book so odds are you have another job, and a family, and friends, and other commitments… So, where’s the time to write?
The only way is to make time. If you sit down whenever you suddenly find yourself with a free afternoon and you don’t have anything better to do, it will probably never happen. Set goals, dream big! Think about when you would like to have your first draft completed by, estimate a word count (search online for the average length for your genre) and then break it down into weekly chunks. At first you may not have a clue what a realistic target is for you, but the more you write the better you will understand what is achievable and you can adjust your goals.

4 - Love what you do!
It will spill out onto the page, I promise.
If you don’t adore your characters and think about your story constantly and just can’t get it out of your head, then maybe you’re writing the wrong book. There will, of course, be moments that you stare at a blank page for hours or can’t get that bit worded right- it won’t all be easy. But the ideas will creep back in and when they do it will be even more amazing because you persevered with something you cherish.
This is a big thing you’re taking on new author, an incredible thing, but all the research, planning and assistance won’t get you over the finish post- passion will.

Bio- Kay MacLeod is author of The Constellation Saga, an epic fantasy filled with magic, sarcasm and unpredictability.
Confession time, I’m a fantasy addict! For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved the concept of magical worlds. I was the kid with dragons doodled around the edge of her school work, the one with her head constantly buried in a book. As a teen, I shunned partying to play Magic the Gathering and DM Dungeons and Dragons games.
I live with my husband and cat in Nottinghamshire in England. When I’m not writing (or planning something I’m writing) I’m usually working, reading, playing bass for my church’s worship team, playing computer games (World of Warcraft, Dragon Age, Pokemon, Minecraft) or drinking tea.

Monday, January 9, 2017

New Release!!! Let's Go To MARS!

Join Carole P. Roman when she blasts off to colonize the planet Mars, in the newest book of her informative series. Learn about how life would be living on the Red Planet. Travel to Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system. Look into the sky and watch Phobos and Deimos, Mars' two moons. Discover what you would wear, and how the seasons change. See Mars through the eyes of an adventurous youngster like you and understand what life is like in a trip of a lifetime. Don't forget to look at the other books in the series so that you can be an armchair traveler.

Buy it HERE

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Game of Queens Review


Detailed and wonderfully written book celebrating powerful queens of Western Europe. Starting with Isabella of Spain and ending with Elizabeth. Gristwood writes of the various women from England, the The Netherlands, Spain, Hungary, and France and how they impacted history. Isabella of Spain broke the mold as a warrior queen, setting the precedent of a woman taking control of her country as well as standing beside her troops in battle. With each new personality, Gristwood shows how they influenced the next generation of queens in training. Isabella's fierce ability to govern and defend her country set the example for her own daughter Katherine of Aragon to act as regent in Henry's absence and defeat the Scots at Flodden. Similarly, the author compares Margaret Tudor role in Scotland as well as Anne of France's impact of the girls she mentored. The author moves through time, describing the dynamics of Marguerite of Savoy's relationship with both her brother Francis I and her mother Louise of Savoy. Each new era brings a widening influence affecting women across Europe, the older queens tutoring the younger girls in their future roles. Interestingly, she writes that Anne Boleyn's failure and ultimate downfall may have been the result of her not being an actual princess, her common roots leaving her unprepared the navigate the dangerous shoals of palace politics. She asserts that Boleyn was so caught up in the idea of courtly love, she had no understanding of when to stop and perhaps protect herself. She shows the differences of a political savvy Marguerite of Navarre played with her brother, the king when he forced an undesirable marriage on her daughter. Marguerite understood the dangerous dance of when to push and when to retreat, unlike Anne who did not. Mary of Hungary, Catherine de Medici, Elizabeth 1, Mary of Guise, Mary of Scotland, are a few of the ruling queens mentions, the times created women who learned how to steer the world, shaping bloodlines as well as borders with quiet strength. They changed what they believed in with passionate dedication proving leadership did not belong solely in a kings hands.
Interesting, at times riveting, this is a fascinating glimpse into a world that is too often overshadowed by the achievements of kings rather than the women who surrounded and influenced them.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Now Available On Kindle!


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Mirth Defects

Mirth Defects by Clint Forgy is one of those books that reminds me of Forrest Gump's famous box of chocolates: "You never know what you're gonna get."

Hysterically rich and with a vivid voice, Forgy writes a story of JD Ferguson, a young boy growing up in middle America in the early 70's, born in a small town in Iowa.
Forgy begins his novel with JD's birth. He arrives with the clarity and sarcastic wit of an old soul, entering this world as if he's ready for action, and indeed he is. This is the story of JD's life and how his world evolves; the highs and lows, the rites of passage that bring him to manhood.

This is no boring accounting. It's fun, lush and complex, laced with humor, and filled with soft memories of riding bikes up and down a street in the hazy twilight. JD has it all. The agony of a boy's kindergarten crush, first kisses and the tender passion of young love. The story is rich, as real life as it can get, astoundingly insightful and side-splittingly funny.

Forgy is a brilliant author with the rare skill of growing JD's voice from boy to man. His delightful sense of humor and flair for dangerous pranks left me breathlessly reading, wondering how JD and his cohorts would escape unscathed. The cast of characters includes JD's younger brother Bob, his best friend Gasser, and the lovely Lana.

Roadapple Ridge is a town of possessed of fodder, ripe for Forgy's pen. JD and his cohorts leap from scrape to scrape, with JD's sharp mind constantly outsmarting the locals. At times, it reads like those old Keystone Cops silent movies. The only sounds were my chuckles. It's a special book that makes you laugh, even better when it makes your eyes sting, and Mirth Defects has the distinct honor of doing both.

Forgy is a wonderful writer, stepping forward to give a voice to the twilight of the twentieth century. Dinner was eaten with your parents, you rode your bike until the stars were out, and you went steady instead of hooking up. Despite his rough and tumble ways, JD has a sweetness. While he may court trouble, he knows when to do the right thing. Better than that, he knows when to say it. He tells his girlfriend, "If you think you're ten foot tall then you are," letting us know he has become a man. When his grandfather dies unexpectedly, JD says, "I'm trying to hear him breathe one more time." That line undid me, voicing true grief in a way that says it all.

Near the end, JD laments,"You can't always get what you want but sometimes you get what you need." Mirth Defects manages to do both, giving the reader everything they want as well as what they need.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman