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Monday, December 5, 2011

Guest Post by Linda Welch


This is one story from Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories available on Amazon andBarnes & Noble. To read all of the stories, buy your copy today.
Also included are sneak peeks into 25 novels!
My novel, Along Came a Demon, book one of the Whisperings paranormal mystery series, is one of the novels featured.
All proceeds go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.


When I published the first two Whisperings paranormal mystery novels, I created an icon to use on Facebook and Twitter. The picture is of Whisperings lead character, Tiff Banks. It seemed a good way to advertise my product at the time. But no matter how often I say she is not me, I am not a tall, slim, blond young woman, many obviously don’t believe me. Response to the avatar has amused me over the years. You wouldn’t believe the comments, compliments, and odd comments I think were meant as compliments. Many of them were a hoot. I knew I’d eventually have to come out of the identity closet and say, hey, look here, this is me, not the long-haired cutie.
Then Cheryl Shireman asked me to contribute to the Indie Chicks anthology and also asked for a photo. This is the perfect opportunity to set the record straight. If you want to know who Linda Welch really is, read on. . . .

NEVER TOO LATE

I’m going to tell you something I don’t think you know.
I haven’t been a “chick” for many a year. I’m a couple of months shy of 61. I have been married to the same man for 39 years. We have two sons and four grandchildren. And you thought I was tall, slim young thing, didn’t you. I am what is called a late bloomer and I’m writing this for other old biddies who had a dream and let it pass them by, or think they are too busy, or it’s too late to fulfill their dream. I don’t mean just writing, but any dreamed-of achievement you hide in your heart.
I was born in a country cottage in England. My father was a restless man, so we often moved andnever had much money. I remember days when only Dad had meat on his plate at dinner, but we never went hungry. We had vegetables and fruit from the garden, eggs from the chickens. Times were hard, but we children never knew that. We were loved. When Mum and Dad met during World War II, Mum was a privately educated “well-bred” lady. I doubt I will ever meet anyone as smart as my mother. At 88 years, she is still as sharp as a tack. Dad was a countryman to the bone. He had many artistic talents he didn’t pursue until later in life. When he did, he excelled at them. I like to think some of their intelligence and talent rubbed off on me.
So much has changed, in my life, in the world. I hold memories of my childhood closeI won’t let them fade. One day, I will write about them.
I had a good basic education, first at a village school, then an all-girls school, but I left at 15 (at that time the legal age in England) and worked first as a telephone operator before I went into office occupationsI did not see authorship in my future.
But I have always daydreamed. Often, I recreated the same daydream multiple timesconstantly elaborating.  I did not realize wrote books in my head.
I began writing words on paper in my mid-forties, but it was a hobby. Somewhere along the way, I thought, Could I publish this? and then I’d like to publish. But I talked myself out of it. Authors were young men and women who decided they wanted to write at a young age and worked to improve their skill their entire life. They went to college and university, they had degrees in writing, creative writing or journalism. I was inexperienced; I didn’t have their dedication or education. Anyway, I had a husband to support, children to raise and part-time jobs to supplement the family income. I didn’t have time to write and send queries, synopsis or sample chapters to agents.
In 2008 I discovered the Lulu publishing platform and took the plunge. I published the space opera Mindbender and science fiction Galen’s Gate. I subsequently unpublished them, with every intention of revising and republishing. Some copies are still floating around out there somewhere. However, Tiff Banks, who had been swimming around in this murky thing I call a brain for several yearschose to come out and play. She took over my life. She became my second skin.
When I think back to why I did not publish until in my fifties, I realize it had nothing to do with inexperience or lack of education. I was not readyI had to marry a dashing young American airman, leave my homeland, raise two sons, spoil four grandchildren, live and work with Americans and become entrenched in the way of life. I was not ready to write Along Came a Demon until came to the mountains of Utah, stood looking over my mountain valley, and knew, “this is it. This is where Tiff lives. She knows the bitter cold and snow of winter, the harsh heat of summer. She knows her city and the people inside-out. This is Tiff’s world, and now, I know who she is.”
Then the hard work began. My education was strictly “King’s English.” I wrote formal letters, contracts and legal documents at work. I had to take the starch out of my writing. Research didn’t help. It seemed that each time I read an article or blog about word usage, in particular overuse and what to avoid, the next book I read was a best-selling novel by a best-selling author who broke those rules. And having decided to barge into my life, Tiff was very positive about how she talks. She’s a born and bred American, a slightly snarky, slang-wielding gal who speaks to the reader on a personal level, individual to individual. I had to use a style that practically screamed “you can’t do that!” in my ear every other sentence.
I published the first Whisperings novel for another reason: Nobody seemed to believe in my writing. Not friends, relatives, friendly acquaintances. I think they supposed a 58-year-old with no education in the literary field, who suddenly came out of the woodwork and decided to publish, must be a “vanity publisher” who wanted to force poorly-written books on readers. When I said I wrote fiction, I got blank looks, followed by, “that’s nice. Now, as I was saying. . .” Nobody wanted to read my work, not even my sweet husband. But he enjoyed urban fantasy and I thought he’d like Tiff Banks. So in a way, I also published for him.
I published Along Came a Demon in November 2008. It was supposed to be a stand-alone novella, but readers wanted more and Tiff obliged. Along Came a Demon became book one of the Whisperings series of paranormal mysteries. I published the sequel, The Demon Hunters, inNovember 2009. In 2010 I added material to Along Came a Demon to make it a full-length bookand at the same time made small changes to The Demon Hunters to reflect those in Along Came a Demon. I published book three, Dead Demon Walking, in March 2011. Being a wordsmith, I should be able to express my joy each time a reader tells me they love my books, but it truly is beyond my powers of descriptionNow, when someone asks me what I do for a living, instead oftelling them I am a part-time administrative assistant and adding (hesitantly) “I also write fiction,” I say I am an author. When I fill out a form that asks for my occupation, I proudly write “author” in the little box.
Mary Wesley published Jumping the Queue at age 70 and went on to write ten best sellers until she died twenty years later.
Harriett Doerr was 74 when she published The Stones of Ibarra.
Laura Ingalls Wilder published her Little House on the Prairie series when she was in her 50s.
Mary Lawson was 55 when Crow Lake was published.
Flora Thompson is famous for her semi-autobiography Lark Rise to Candleford, published when she was 63.
Age is irrelevant. You are never too old. For anything.


Whispering books are also available in e-book formats from Apple, Diesel, Kobo and Sony.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

New Release: Mesmerized by Julia Crane & Talia Jager

Seventeen-year-old succubus Lily Anderson can’t have a normal life: She isn't allowed a boyfriend, she has no friends, and school is just one mess-up after another.

Lily’s parents send her away to the prestigious Emerson Academy. It doesn’t appear to be any different from the others. That is, until she meets her roommate, Hannah, and a blue-eyed boy named Jake.

Lily makes an almost deadly mistake, and Jake has a mysterious past that has come back to haunt him. Together, they must go on the run from things neither of them understand in order to save the people they love—and each other. But, Jake’s foe is more dangerous than they realized, and it will take the help of friends and family to save the man Lily loves.

She must learn to use her powers for good before it’s too late.

WARNING: This is a mature YA. Due to sexual content and some language it is not recommended for younger teens.

Approximately 44,000 words



Amazon

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Guest Post by Danielle Blanchard Benson


This is one story from Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories available on Amazon andBarnes & Noble. To read all of the stories, buy your copy today.
Also included are sneak peeks into 25 novels!
Write or Die
2010 was the worst year of my life.
After a very successful career in the banking industry, I suddenly found myself unemployed, my marriage falling apart and to add insult to injury my father dying. I had a 10 month old daughter and suddenly, I was back living with my unmarriedchild-free sister withtwo children. Life was bleak and the most terrifying part about the whole situation was I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do.
I was attending university for a degree in International Business but who was I kidding? I’d always hated business; I was good at banking but should I base my career on something I was simply good at or should I be doing something I love? This was my dilemma and I had no one to blame for my predicament but myself.
Plenty of women had overcome more tremendous obstacles so why was I feeling sorry for myself? I steeled my spine and decided to make some real decisions. In the middle of the detritus which was now my life, I found a wonderful and caring man I fell hopelessly in love with but the problem was he didn’t live in this country and he was a successful and driven attorney. What would he want with someone like me? Unemployed, two children, divorced and somewhat shaky ambitions at an age where most women had it made, were married and excelling towards middle age. My life was a mess and I needed a man like a fish needs a bicycle (thanks, U2!).
I took a long hard look at my life and realized I had failed to plan and therefore I had planned to fail.
When I stood at that podium and looked at the few family and friends who had bothered to show up at my dad’s funeral, my life became so clear. My father had had so many chances;so much lost opportunities and had blew all of them due to fear and inertia. I was my father’s daughter; I was falling into that same black hole of despondency with no way out.
It took another fourteen months before I had the actual courage to see out my dream and make it a reality. Isabelle Solal had written a book, In The Past Imperfect, and her good friend, Sion Dayson, had promoted it on her blog. She was tired of waiting for the agent who wouldnever accept the publisher who could never take a chance and had decided to self-publish her fictional book on Amazon. Was this possible? Could I self-publish? Could I take my book which I had tried to find an agent for the past eight years or so and do it myself? Say it isn’t so!
I was so excited about the possibility of publishing, I dug it out of the place it’d warmed my different hard drives and laptops over the years, decided at over one thousand hard back pages, it was much too long to publish as a full length novel, chopped it up into eight parts and hit publish on the first part.
I was ecstatic as I had done my own cover (a beautiful statue which captivated me while I was on my European vacation) and it was just so perfect. Unfortunately, no one else knew I existed and that is when I realized publishing was more than just about hitting a button. I had to make sure my novel was edited, the right cover was used to attract attention and there was a whole list of indie writers I didn’t know about but they were there and ready to be at my service.
In the beginning, I only used Kindle’s Direct Publishing board because that was the only one I knew about. Another writer, Athanasios, who wrote a thrilling book titled Mad Gods, told everyone on the KDP boards about a new Facebook board group called Indie Writers’ Unite. I joined, Cheryl Bradshaw, the creator of IWU accepted me, and the rest is history.
I wish I could say I am selling thousands of copies and I got the guy but that isn’t life and nothing happens without time. I am selling and many people have discovered my work; I have met some of the bravest men and women on the planet at IWU and I feel like a million bucks even if my life still isn’t a bed of roses. The guy, like everything good in life, will take some time and I am willing to put it in and make the effort; nothing worth anything is easy to accomplish for the matter.
I love to write so that is what I’m doing. I enjoy writing whatever moves me, thus I have work in several different genres including Women’s Literature, Contemporary Romance, Paranormal, Science Fiction and Fantasy. I also plan to do a novel I have had in the works for a while that is firmly Mystery with a Thriller twist.
For the first time, I stayed true to myself, my ambitions and what I want my life to be and represent. I know it will get better and all my dreams will come true—many of them already have. My life is still changing, still revolving but I have come out ahead, stronger and more positive than I ever thought possibleI learned the hard way either I write or I can simply subsist and die.
Life is like writing; it isn’t about perfection but it is about the possibilities we are given every day, the decisions we make and what we want to do with them. It is about forks in the road and deciding which direction to take and making the best with whatever is thrown at us once we make our decisions. It is the way it should be and that is simply imperfect.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Interview with Author R.G. Porter


Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? 
I always loved to daydream, from the time I was a small child up until now. I used to love
writing poems when I was little and then began on short stories as I got
to high school. There was a few years I did not write, but it came back in
full force back in 2005 and I've been going ever since.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? 
Most of my books are just my imagination in overdrive, however, there are
a few instances of scenes that are from things that have happened to me
and I've just expounded on them. There are also some characters in my
books that are from those people I've met, known or still speak to. Others
are from experiences I've had watching people as well.

Do you work with an outline, or just write? 
I try to do a rough outline, so I have a general idea of where the story
is supposed to go, but mostly I'm a pantser. I love seeing what my
characters are going to come up with, because they tend to surprise the
heck out of me at every turn.

What are your current projects?
Right now I am working on re-editing and adding to my current backlist. I am hoping to release a new book every
month from this backlist as well as working on new projects as well. I
have books coming out from my Darkness Unleashed series, as well as a
horror novel and new fantasy series in the works. If all goes well I will
be releasing at least one novel a month throughout the next year.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read all you can and write. Even if you are not sure what you want to say, just write. It could be crap or
it could be great, but until you start doing it you can never improve.
Also, learn to find the groups that are out there for writers. Be it
critique groups, or support, you will find a wealth of information within
them.

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
Networking like crazy. I use Facebook, Twitter, Google+, writer boards, reader boards, word of mouth, blogs, anything and
everything I can to get my name and books out there. Hopefully, one day, I
will step into print and can hook up with some other authors in the area
and do book signings. The only limit out there is the one we place upon
ourselves.


Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 
Thank you, thank you for your time, your thoughts, your opinions and mostly
importantly, thank you for taking the time to read the adventures I write.

Links: Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005R1PD9K
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005R1PD9K
Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B005R1PD9K
Amazon FR: https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B005R1PD9K
Barnes & Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shades-of-night-r-g-porter/1101129503?ean=2940013338067&itm=1&usri=shades%2bof%2bnight
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/92765

Friday, October 21, 2011

Interview with Penelope Crowe


Penelope thanks for stopping by. I’d to first say that I love your name! Alright, on with the questions.
Is anything in your book 100 unfortunate days based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?                                                                                  Oh, yes.  Many parts of 100 Unfortunate Days are based on things that happened in my life, and sometimes the lives of other people I’ve known.  Many times in the book real occurrences merge with dreams or fantasies, but I did not want the reader to know where.  Some things are just my opinion taken to an extreme, and some things are just made up.
Do you relate to the narrator of your book?
I relate to the narrator in my darkest hours.  I tried to write the entire book from that terrible place we have all glimpsed here or there, but are happy to leave.  Maybe some other people have felt some of the dark stirrings and emotions the narrator feels in the book.  Sometimes it is good to know you are not the only one out there with crazy thoughts.
What is it that draws you to the psychological aspect of writing?
I love psychology in general.  I had taken it in college, and I became fascinated with the mind and how we are all affected by things differently.  I love the idea that we as writers have the ability to affect the way people feel, even if only for a short time.  Reading something dark can be cathartic, it can be a safe place to have those terrible feelings, and then let them go when the book is over.
 Describe yourself in three words. 
Distracted, hopeful, competitive
Any words for someone thinking of writing their first novel?
Hmmm.  Nike says just do it.  But I will make my own version and say shut up and do it.  Stop talking yourself out of everything and start with any action.  Even if it’s just picking three potential new names for a new book.  Action leads to more action, right?  Because once you start, you have momentum and it gets easier.  Starting is the hardest thing.
What is the last book you read?
Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindgvist.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?
Somebody that has great hair (my hair is always messy).  Who has great hair?  I think Helena Bonham Carter could do my crazy side…but her hair is messy too…  

Thank you so much for stopping by! You can check out Penelope's work on Amazon and BN.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Interview with Camelia Miron Skiba


Tell us your latest news?
CMS: While receiving feedback for my debut novel "Hidden Heart", it's an ongoing latest news, I'm proud to announce that finalized the cover and began the final edits on my second novel, a war romancetitled "A World Apart". The novel should be out by the end of December this year and I'm really excited!

When did you realize that becoming a published writer is what you wanted to do?
CMS: It was on my bucket list since high school, pretty much at the same time I knew I wanted to write. While I am fulfilled in my career, writing is my passion.

Would you say that being a reader is important to being a writer?
CMS: Absolutely. You have to read in order to create your own world, characters, learn the crafts of creative writing. People that write have talent, but it takes more that having a story line in your head to actually finish a novel. To give you an example my debut novel "Hidden Heart" begins atop Mount Etna in Italy on an August afternoon. I had to read about the climate, the scenery, even about gondolas. I could've made something up, but someone familiar with the area would've called my bluff and then my credibility, as an author would've really suffered. My upcoming novel "A World Apart" is set during the Iraq War. Half the book is set in Romania, the rest in Iraq. We all know what war meansattacks, victims, explosions, terror, deadbut I needed more than that. I spent more time researching that actually writing the novel. So to answer your question, it’imperative to read in order to write.

Are you a part of a critique group? 
CMS: I have a wonderful critique group that formed over 18months ago, with a new member added over the past month. We exchange work as needed, sometimes daily, sometimes week passes by before we review another chapter. What's unique about us is that we write different genres, from YA to dystopian to romance, yet it works best because we can see in each other's work what writers from the same genre can't only because they have the same style.

How long does it generally take you to write a book? 
CMS: It varies. "Hidden Heart" was done in three months (the first draft) with another six months spent editing. "A World Apart" took me over a year of intense research. My next project should be done fasterwithout the need for research.

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
CMS: I'm born and raised in Romania. Before I moved to the U.S. in September of 2003, I lived in Austria, Germany and Hungary. Love took me to Austria, work to Germany and month-long vacations to Hungary. Then I returned to Romania for about five years, before love found me again. This time it brought me here to the States. Looking back, I realize that every single place I’ve been to, its people, its traditions, culture and language, every memory helped me create characters with different backgrounds and lifestyles, adding spices to the story. Aside from the romantic tone in my novels, my heroes are always coming from different countries. I use English as the books’ language not necessarily because it’s my adoptive tongue, but because no matter where we travel in the world, English is the catalytic, love’slanguage, as I like to call it.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
CMS: Write from your heart. Find critique partners. Edit. Edit. Edit. When you think you're done, edit more. Put as much effort into finding the right cover as you put into writing the bookit's your sales key. Be patientstardom doesn’t come overnight.

Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?
I'd love to hear from them at camiskiba@yahoo.com
Facebook 
Goodreads 


Debut novel Hidden Heart in paperback and e-format on:
 Goodreads 
 Smashwords 
Barnes and Nobel 
Amazon