Friday

Kindle Author Interview: Laura Lond

Laura Lond, author of The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres?

LAURA LOND: It is a fantasy adventure trilogy with a strong spiritual theme. Book 1, The Journey, begins the tale of Jecosan, a young blacksmith’s apprentice who must prevent a war between two powerful kingdoms. Seemingly simple and linear at first, the story expands, reaching new dimensions in The Palace, the second book, and even more so in the third installment, titled The Battle.

DAVID WISEHART: What research did you do for the series?

LAURA LOND: Mostly character study and world building. Since it is fantasy, I did not have to worry about it being historically accurate, but it still had to be solid and consistent. I enjoy European history, so I drew a lot from it. I guess it shows, some readers have commented that the settings of the book remind them of medieval Europe.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

LAURA LOND: I “watch” them and “listen” to them, before I start writing and in the process. Each one has a biography, of which I might show only a glimpse to the reader, but I must know the rest, especially for the primary characters. Each one has a psychological profile, so to speak; I know how they are most likely to react in specific situations and why. I am saying “most likely” because sometimes they still surprise me. And of course people change as they live through different experiences, good or bad. Jecosan in Book 3 is different from Jecosan in Book 1.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

LAURA LOND: Anyone who enjoys a fantasy adventure and does not mind spiritual themes. You don’t have to be a Christian to enjoy my books, but if you are, we’ll be on the same page from page one.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

LAURA LOND: My first novel was published in 1999, by a small press publisher, after years of searching, sending queries, getting rejection letters, or being simply ignored. I thought I had made it—broke the publishing barrier, and things would go easier from that point on. I was wrong. Even though I did two more books with that publisher that had sold out and undergone a second edition, the dream of becoming a full-time writer and supporting myself with it remained a dream. When I moved from Europe to the United States in 2001, I had to play the query/rejection game all over again.

Today, I have 7 books, released here in the US and overseas. Some of them are published traditionally, others self-published. I have achieved moderate success, but there’s still a lot of work to do.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

LAURA LOND: I usually see a glimpse of a story and start researching it, trying to “see” more. Most of the time I start working on what I have, writing down the scenes I already know, and the rest gradually reveals itself later. It’s a hard way to write. I’d prefer to have a detailed outline of the plot, but it doesn’t work for me that way.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

LAURA LOND: C.S. Lewis and Charles Dickens. There are others as well, I am always inspired by a good book; but these two in many ways helped me to become a writer.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

LAURA LOND: Narnia!

DAVID WISEHART: How did you create your cover?

LAURA LOND: The cover was made by Vladimir Imakaev, a talented author and designer, for the Russian-language edition of The Journey that has come out in Kiev, Ukraine, this year. The picture of Jecosan was drawn by Alla Alekseyeva, the artist I work with when I do illustrated books. I asked the publisher’s permission to use this cover for my Kindle release here, and they agreed. Vladimir changed the title from Russian into English. He also had to move the title and author name around: Russian-language books usually have the author’s name at the top, book title at the bottom.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

LAURA LOND: I am just starting with the Kindle releases. For paperbacks, I had contacted newspapers, magazines, numerous reviewers, owners of relevant websites and forums. From that experience, I can say that reviews work best, people trust them more than paid advertising. For Kindle books, I will concentrate on online promotion—interviews, reviews, perhaps some banner ads, too. I always look for new ways to reach my readers.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

LAURA LOND: Publishing on Kindle saves a lot of time—and frustration. You can have your book out and available to readers almost instantly. The query/agent game takes months, if not years. Having played several rounds of it, I was at the point of just dropping it all. Never again! I am very happy to have joined the Kindle revolution.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

LAURA LOND: Learn all you can about proper formatting and make sure you’ve got your grammar and punctuation flawless. If you can’t do it yourself, find someone knowledgeable who can help you. It will be well worth the effort.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura Lond is an internationally published author of several novels and a collection of short stories. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. Having worked for two years at a literary museum, Laura entered the world of business, working for large international corporations like Xerox Ltd. and Fluor Daniel. After moving from Europe to the United States, she has been self-employed as a freelancer.

Visit her website.



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FBI agent Nick Bracco can't stop a Kurdish terrorist from firing missiles at random homes across the country. The police can't stand watch over every household, so Bracco recruits his cousin Tommy to help track down this terrorist. Tommy is in the Mafia. Oh yeah, it gets messy fast. As fast as you can turn the pages.

Excerpt:

There was a time when Nick Bracco would walk down Gold Street late at night and young vandals would scatter.  The law was present and the guilty took cover.  West Baltimore was alive with crime, but Gold Street remained quarantined, reserved for the dirtiest of the dirty.  That’s how Nick remembered it anyway.  Before he left for the Bureau to fight terrorists.  Now, the narrow corridor of row houses felt closer to him and the slender strip of buckled sidewalk echoed his footsteps like a sentry announcing his presence.  It wasn’t his territory anymore.  He was a foreigner.

Nick scrutinized the landscape and searched for something out of place.  The battered cars seemed right, the graffiti, even the shadows seemed to darken the proper corners.  But something was missing.  There were no lookouts on the concrete stairwells.  The ubiquitous bass line of hip-hop was absent.  The stillness reminded him of jungle birds falling silent in the prelude to danger.  The only comfort came from the matching footsteps beside him.  As usual, Matt McColm was by his side.  They’d been partners for ten years and were approaching the point of finishing each other’s sentences.

“You’re awfully quiet,” Matt said.

“Did I mention that I don’t have a good feeling about this?”               

“Uh, huh.”  Matt tightened his collar against the autumn chill and worked a piece of gum with his jaw.  “That’s your theme song.”

“Really?  Don’t you ever get a bad feeling about a call?”

“All the time.”

“How come you never tell me?”

“I’m going to feed the flames of paranoia?”

They walked a little further in silence.  It got darker with every step.  The number of working streetlights dwindled.

“Did you just call me paranoid?” Nick said.

Matt looked straight ahead as he walked; his casual demeanor caused him to appear aloof, but Nick knew better.  Even at half-mast, Matt’s eyes were alert and aware. 

“Maybe paranoid is too strong of a word,” Matt said.

“I would hope so.”

“More like Mother-henish.”

“That’s better,” Nick said.  “By the way, did you eat your broccoli tonight?”

“Yes, Dear.”    

They strode further; low-lying clouds gave the night a claustrophobic feel.    

“This guy asked for you specifically?” Matt said.

Nick nodded. 

“That bother you a little?” Matt asked.

“No,” Nick said.  “That bothers me a lot.”     

Up ahead, a parked car jostled.  They both stopped.  Neither of them spoke.  They split up.  By the book.  Years of working together coming into play.  Matt crouched and crept into the street.  Nick stayed on the sidewalk and gave the car a wide berth.  In seconds Matt became invisible.  The car maintained a spastic rhythm.  It was subtle, but Nick understood the familiar motion even before he flashed his penlight into the back seat and saw a pair of young eyes pop up through the grimy window.  They were wide open and reacted like a jewel thief caught with a handful of pearls. The kid’s hair was disheveled and his shirt was half-off.  His panting breath caused the inside of the window to fog up.  He wasn’t alone.  A pair of bare legs straddled his torso.

From the other side of the vehicle, Matt emerged from the shadows and charged the car with his pistol out front.  He was just a few yards away when Nick held up his hand and said, “No.”

Matt stopped dead.  He must’ve seen the grin on Nick’s face and realized the situation.  He slowly holstered his Glock and took time to catch his breath.

Nick heard the kid’s voice through the closed window.  “I ain’t doing nuthin’, man.”

Nick clicked off his penlight and slipped it back into his jacket.  He smiled.  “It may be nothing, but you sure worked up a sweat doing it.”

When Matt fell back into step next to his partner, Nick said, “You seemed a little . . . uh, paranoid?”

Matt returned to nonchalant mode.  “Kids that young shouldn’t be doing the nasty out in the street.”

“Consider their role models,” Nick said.  “You can’t change the tide with an oar.”

“Pardon me, Professor Bracco.  Who said that one—Nietzsche?”

“I just made it up.”

“It sounded like it.”

They slowed their pace until Nick stopped in front of an old brick building with a worn, green awning above the entrance.  Nick gestured down a dark flight of stairs where a giant steel door stood menacingly secure.  “There it is.”

Matt nodded.  “You bring me to all the best spots.”  

When he was certain of their solitude, Nick descended the stairs.  Matt followed, keeping an eye on their rear.  In the darkness, Nick barely made out Matt’s silhouette. 

“Listen,” Nick said, “it’ll be easier if we don’t have to use our creds, but let’s see how it goes.  I don’t want to say any more than I have to, and you say nothing at all.  Just be the silent brute that you are.  Capisce?”

“Understood.”

“If we get lucky, I’ll see a familiar face.”  Nick raised his fist, hovered it in front of the door, then stopped to sniff the air.  “You wearing aftershave?”

“A little.”

“You have a date after this?”

“Uh huh.”

“When?”

“Midnight.”

“Who makes a date with you at midnight?”

“Veronica Post.”

“First date?”

“Yup.”

“At midnight?”

“She’s a waitress.  She doesn’t get off until then.”

In the murky darkness, Nick sighed.  He turned to face the door and, just like a thousand times before, he said, “Ready?”

He couldn’t see the response, but he heard Matt unfasten the flap to his holster.  Matt was ready.

Nick used his wedding band hand to pound on the metal door.  He shifted his weight as they waited.  Nick heard Matt chewing his gum.

Nick said,  “Midnight, huh?”

A rectangular peephole slid open allowing just enough light through to see a dark face peering out.  The face was so large the opening supported only enough room for one of his eyes.

“Yeah?” the man grunted.

Nick leaned close to the opening so the man could see his face.  The opening quickly slid shut.

They stood in the silence while Nick thought of his next move.

“He seems like a nice fellow,” Matt said. 

The clang of locks unbolting was followed by the door squeaking open.  It reminded Nick of an old horror movie. 

The large black man wore a large black shirt that hung over his jeans and covered enough space to hide a rocket launcher. The man ignored Nick and gave Matt the once over. 

Matt gave him the stone cold glare of a pissed-off FBI agent.  No one did it better.

Then the man turned his attention to Nick.  His head was round and clean-shaven.  His expressionless face seemed to be set in cement.

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Thursday

Kindle Author Interview: Heather C. Hudak

Heather C. Hudak, author of Breathless, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Breathless?

HEATHER C. HUDAK: Breathless is the first book in a young adult, paranormal series that centers around Lia Jameson, a high-school senior who is on the cusp of popularity, and Chaseyn Lear, a mysterious newcomer who is all good looks and charm.

For weeks, unnerving dreams have been keeping 17-year-old Lia up at night. After she meets Chaseyn, Lia realizes he is—literally—the man of her dreams. Chaseyn’s unrelenting charms quickly win over the teenage girl; however, a visit from her grandmother, Etta Vanderwold, soon raises Lia’s suspicion that Chaseyn may be too good to be true. Etta reveals that Lia is the target of an angry vampire, Alexei, who is determined to make her his undead bride. The eccentric old woman is convinced that Alexei is using an alias—Chaseyn—to cozy up to her granddaughter. Chaseyn must find a way to convince Lia he is the man of her dreams, while battling Alexei in a series of action-packed scenes.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

HEATHER C. HUDAK: For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in reading, and writing, the vampire genre. From Stoker to Rice and Harris to Gray, I truly enjoy all types of vampire fiction. I wanted to create a character that conformed to many of the traditional vampire characteristics but appealed to a modern audience. While I appreciate the creativity of other authors who have created their own view of vampire lore, I wanted to maintain the tried and true elements. Keeping that in mind, I created Chaseyn. He is uncharacteristically beautiful, and he exudes confidence. At the same time, he is exceptionally respectful of Lia and their relationship.

For Lia, I wanted to be sure that she exhibited the same confidence and self-assuredness of Chaseyn. Lia is pretty, and smart, and sassy, but she tends to intentionally slip just shy of her full potential. She could be the "it" girl, but she doesn't want, or need, to be. She doesn't have much money, but it doesn't hold her back. Lia knows what is important to her and she sets her sights on it—no more, no less. She's respectable and strong-willed—a solid role model for young girls.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

HEATHER C. HUDAK: Fans of Twilight, Evernight, Vampire Diaries, and all other YA vampire romances will definitely enjoy Breathless. This may include women of all ages—young and old alike.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

HEATHER C. HUDAK: I have been writing professionally for many years, but mostly as a job. However, at the end of the day, writing is something I want to do more than something I have to do.

I started out as a reporter for weekly newspapers and magazines. After a few years, I began working as an editor for an educational publisher. Eventually, I worked my way up to managing editor. In that role, I developed and wrote dozens of education children's books for schools and libraries. I edited, quite literally, thousands of titles.

For years, I have been writing novels on the side. In fact, my first work of fiction was put on display in the school library when I was in the third grade. However, it was only recently that I completed a novel to the point of publication. That novel was Breathless.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

HEATHER C. HUDAK: There is a constant montage of ideas running through my head. A song can inspire a love scene, a real-life conversation can inspire a chapter, and so on. For me the struggle is taking just one idea and following it through from beginning to end. I often write 20,000 words before stopping in favor of a new idea.

With Breathless, I positioned myself to finish the book before I put my fingers on the keyboard. I thought through various scenarios for the beginning, middle, and end, and then I started writing—a minimum of 1,000 words per day. And, it didn't matter to me the order in which I wrote. If I had a great idea for the end of the book, I wrote it down and found a way to connect it to the plot later.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

HEATHER C. HUDAK: I love Michale Ondaatje, Fannie Flagg, Shakespeare, Thornton Wilder, and Harper Lee to name a few.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

HEATHER C. HUDAK: I recently read Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston and wished I had written it myself. Her use of imagery and poetic language is stunning. There is a true talent beneath her writing. You sense that she has crafted every word, and it's a treat to read her work.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

HEATHER C. HUDAK: I haven't done a great deal in the way of promotion, as my book is fairly newly released. I post on different forums and encourage discussions with my readers. Already, I have received excellent support and sales are really taking off.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

HEATHER C. HUDAK: For a long time, I resented the ebook market. Working in publishing, it was taking away from my livelihood. However, when I finally caved and bought a Kindle, I knew the tides were turning. It's definitely the wave of the future, and Kindle ebook sales are proof of that.

After several rejection letters, not because the work wasn't viable but because the market wasn't, I realized that the best way to generate interest in my first novel was to make it available as an ebook. I can control the price and receive immediate feedback from the market.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

HEATHER C. HUDAK: Just because you have written a book doesn't mean that it is automatically meant to be read by others. Be sure that you have a well-written, properly edited piece of work for which you have garnered feedback from peers. Quality is one of the most important aspects of writing.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heather C. Hudak has worked as a professional writer for more than a decade. She began her career as a journalist with a small northern newspaper, before working as a movie critic for an entertainment magazine. When she arrived at work one day and the doors were locked, she started a new chapter in children's book publishing. For eight years, Heather developed and wrote dozens of books, and she edited hundreds more for the educational market. Now, she is turning a new page in her writing career. Her first full-length, young adult novel, Breathless, is now available for ebook readers. Wanderlust, a second title in the Breathless series, is currently in development. Heather will be publishing her first chick lit novel, A New Life, this spring. When Heather is not writing, she enjoys traveling to new and exotic places, as well as camping in the mountains. With her husband, Heather rescues animals that would not otherwise find a loving home. Hershey, the one-eyed, blind, epileptic, snaggle-toothed cat, and Turtle, a sternumless Siamese, are just a few members of their menagerie.

Read her blog.

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Kindle Author Interview: Sarah Ettritch

Sarah Ettritch, author of The Salbine Sisters, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about The Salbine Sisters?

SARAH ETTRITCH: The Salbine Order is a religious order. Salbine Sisters believe that Salbine, the goddess they worship, bestows upon them the gift of magic. When Maddy, the main character, discovers that she can’t do magic, her spiritual life is thrown into turmoil. The Salbine Sisters is about Maddy’s struggle to reconcile her inability to do magic with her faith in Salbine.

Here’s the blurb:
She gave up everything to become a Salbine Sister, member of a religious order of powerful female mages. But when Maddy nearly dies while trying to draw forth elemental fire, she learns that Salbine has withdrawn from her the gifts every sister works to master. Feeling trapped in an order to which she no longer has any right to belong and believing herself unworthy of the love of Lillian, one of the most powerful mages in the sisterhood, Maddy begs the abbess to let her travel to another monastery to research her condition.

On her journey, Maddy’s faith in both herself and Salbine are tested to their limits. When she attempts to draw fire and fails horribly, frightened townsfolk throw Maddy into prison. Fearing that the abbess will never learn her fate and rescue her, Maddy resigns herself to a short and brutal life.

The only bright spot in Maddy’s existence is Emmey, the pickpocket with whom she shares a cell. Through her and the steadfast love of Lillian, Maddy learns that Salbine’s purpose is not always the same for everyone, and that love and compassion are more valuable than magic.
DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

SARAH ETTRITCH: I don’t consciously develop my characters. I learn about them as I write. My characters have different voices, fears, hopes, attitudes, and goals.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

SARAH ETTRITCH: My ideal reader enjoys character-focused fiction with a good plot. In other words, me! I write what I like to read.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

SARAH ETTRITCH: I started to write seriously when I was in my early forties. I never wanted to be a writer; it just happened. I’m not that far along in my journey. I feel as if the train has just pulled out of the station and is gaining velocity. I doubt I’ll ever reach a destination.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

SARAH ETTRITCH: I write by the seat of my pants. When I start a story, I know a little about the main characters and have a vague idea of the first scene, final scene, and a few key points in between. I figure out the rest as I write.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

SARAH ETTRITCH: I can’t say any author inspires me. I do learn something from everyone I read, and I read a lot!

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

SARAH ETTRITCH: None. I write my own stories. I couldn’t do justice to a story meant for another writer. If I were to write someone else’s story, it wouldn’t be the same.

DAVID WISEHART: How did you create your cover?

SARAH ETTRITCH: I worked with a cover designer (Patty Henderson of Boulevard Photografica). I provided her with a brief synopsis of the book and what I saw as potential visual elements. I’ve received quite a few positive comments about the cover. Patty did a wonderful job.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

SARAH ETTRITCH: Since my book is sold exclusively online, I promote online. I do interviews (like this one), secure reviews, and reach out to my readers wherever they gather (Yahoo groups, forums, etc.).

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

SARAH ETTRITCH: So many readers have Kindles that it would be foolish to ignore that market. Fortunately Amazon DTP is easy to use, so the Kindle market is accessible to any writer. There’s really no reason not to publish on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

SARAH ETTRITCH: Definitely work with an editor. You might get away with cutting corners in other areas, but don’t skimp on the editing step.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Ettritch writes stories and occasionally publishes them. In her spare time, she likes to read, play computer games, and watch TV on DVD. Sarah belongs to several organizations related to writing and publishing, including EPIC, Broad Universe, The Golden Crown Literary Society, and SPAN.

Visit her website.

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Kindle Author Interview: L.L. Bartlett

L.L. Bartlett, author of Murder on the Mind, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Murder on the Mind?

L.L. BARTLETT: It's the first book in the Jeff Resnick mystery/psychological suspense/paranormal series. After a brutal mugging in Manhattan leaves him with a broken arm and fractured skull, insurance investigator Jeff Resnick reluctantly agrees to recover at the home of his estranged half brother, Richard. At first, Jeff believes his graphic nightmares of a slaughtered buck are just the workings of his traumatized mind. But when a local banker is found in the same condition, Jeff believes the attack has left him with a sixth sense—an ability to witness murder before it happens.

Piecing together clues he saw in his visions, Jeff attempts to solve the crime. His brother Richard is skeptical, but unsettling developments begin to forge a tentative bond. Soon, things that couldn’t be explained by premonition come to light, and Jeff finds himself probing into dangerous secrets that touch his own traumatic past in wintry Buffalo—and the killer is ready to eliminate Jeff’s visions permanently.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

L.L. BARTLETT: They come to me—not usually fully formed, but with some kind of mission to tell their unique stories.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

L.L. BARTLETT: Someone with an open mind. Slapping a book with a paranormal label can be a turnoff to some readers, but I like to think that the way I weave it into my books makes it feel a natural part of my protagonist, and that he would be less without his psychic abilities.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

L.L. BARTLETT: Many years of rejection. But I've found great success as a New York Times bestselling cozy mystery author under the name Lorna Barrett, and this month am launching a new cozy mystery series with Berkley Prime Crime (The Victoria Square Mysteries—A Crafty Killing, Feb. 1st), as well.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

L.L. BARTLETT: It seems to differ with every book. I wrote Murder on the Mind (and the second book in the series, Dead In Red) straight through. My current work in progress has been written as a series of unconnected scenes that needed to be joined in a coherent manner.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

L.L. BARTLETT: Those who take risks, and are even willing to change genres to satisfy their muse.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

L.L. BARTLETT: I don't think I can answer that  I've read so many marvelous books it would be impossible to choose.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

L.L. BARTLETT: Primarily through the Internet via social networking sites, my web sites, and blogs. I send bookmarks to conferences, etc. I don't fly (got no wings) so most face-to-face promotion is not an option for me.

DAVID WISEHART: You've been traditionally published. What are your thoughts on the state of the publishing industry?

L.L. BARTLETT: It needs to change—and fast. Especially the prices on ebooks. I understand that costs must be recouped, but offering an ebook at the same or barely discounted rate as a print book is ridiculous. Apart from formatting and uploading, what are the costs associated? Paying authors twice a year is antiquated as well. With computerized inventory, etc., why make anyone wait 6 months to a year to receive payment? No other industry pays its employees in this fashion, which is one reason why publishing on Kindle is so attractive. Authors need to eat, too. (We're not all earning the kind of money of say a Nora Roberts, John Grisham, or Stephen King.)

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

L.L. BARTLETT: My Jeff Resnick books were originally published by a small press with limited distribution. I'm crossing my fingers that via Kindle the books will find the audience I'd always thought they deserved.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

L.L. BARTLETT: Make sure the work is the absolute best you can make it, which means professional editing. Publishing a book before it's ready will tarnish your good name and cause readers to stay away from your work in droves.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

L.L. Bartlett honed her characterization and plotting skills as a frequent writer for romance magazines before being published in novel length with the Jeff Resnick Mysteries. She also writes cozy mysteries under the names Lorna Barrett and Lorraine Bartlett, and writes a life of crime in Western New York.

As Lorna Barrett she writes The Booktown Mysteries; as Lorraine Bartlett she writes The Victoria Square Mysteries; as L.L. Bartlett she writes The Jeff Resnick Mysteries.

Visit her websites at LLBartlett.com, LorraineBartlett.com, and LornaBarrett.com.

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Kindle Author Interview: Amy Corwin

Amy Corwin, author of Love, The Critic, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Love, The Critic?

AMY CORWIN: Love, The Critic is a historical romance written straight from my heart about a subject all authors are all too painfully familiar with. How can creative people handle criticism of their most deeply felt work, and worse, what if you fell in love with your worst critic without realizing it? Like all authors, I’ve got a 2” thick notebook of rejections, as well as criticisms from critique partners, editors and agents, even after having several books published through small publishers. You’d think it would get easier or you’d grow a thicker skin, but it never does, and the heroine of Love, The Critic discovers the same thing. Her first book of poems is lambasted and she feels so humiliated that she stops writing except in secret. When she meets her new neighbor, she falls in love with him, not realizing that he’s her worst critic and responsible for the reviews which convinced her to stop writing.

But like all writers, she can’t stop expressing her feelings through her writing, and eventually, she must find the courage to pursue the things most dear to her: her writing and the man she loves.

DAVID WISEHART: What historical research did you do for the book?

AMY CORWIN: As I have several other historical novels set in the same time period, I’ve done a great deal of continuing research over the last ten years. For Love, The Critic, I found a strange new avenue of research: chickens! While I raise chickens myself and have a smattering of knowledge about the various breeds, I did have to supplement that by researching what breeds were common in the early years of the 19thy century. It sounds so bizarre, doesn’t it? But one can’t take even minor aspects like chickens for granted—I wanted every aspect to be as historically accurate as possible.

In addition, I needed to research medicine in the 19th century as one of the characters is injured and the treatment of that injury needed to be portrayed accurately. Fortunately, I was able to get copies of two medical books written during the period and made liberal use of their information.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

AMY CORWIN: Characters, like people, must have their own unique voices, tastes, and personalities. I actually write up histories for each character, exploring their past, their habits, and their thoughts to try to make them as “real” as possible. In addition, I apply basic character types—combinations of traits you often find in personality tests we are all so fond of. Each character has his or her own pet phrases, habits, and way she views the world. For example, some of us are visually oriented—for those people learning is done via sight (versus hearing or doing) and their language may be peppered with expressions such as, “I see.” Others are more dependent upon other senses, such as touch/working with our hands, and they may use expressions such as, “I can’t quite grasp that.” Each of my characters has their own sensory mode to go along with all the other traits and characteristics which make people unique.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

AMY CORWIN: My idea reader is everyone! Seriously, Love, The Critic, was written for anyone who enjoys a light, historical romance. It’s appropriate for any age, and I hope that young women in particular will find this to be an easy way to slip into the wonderful, romantic world of historical fiction. If I were specifically targeting this, it would be women between the ages of 13-90, although honestly, I know the readership will break down as follows: Women 13-20 as their first introduction to historical romances; and Women 40-90 who grew up on historicals such as Georgette Heyer and Jane Austin and prefer a sweeter romance over the more explicit material available today. (Sorry, men. Although I know men who read historical romances, they are less common than women readers.)

I’m really hoping older readers will pick up on Love, The Critic, as the Kindle makes reading much more appealing for those of us who need reading glasses. It’s easy to increase the font on the Kindle and in many cases entirely eliminate the need for reading glasses!

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

AMY CORWIN: My journey has been long and arduous—just like many other writers. I wrote on and off for many, many years, but seriously started writing about ten years ago. I’ve got a pile of rejections, to prove it, too! Over the last few years, I’ve had two agents and several contracts with small publishers. It’s been frustrating and yet amazingly rewarding to see my manuscripts turned into published novels. The hardest thing to deal with is precisely what Love, The Critic is all about: criticism. How do you handle criticism and use it to produce the best work possible? All of us have room for improvement and writing, like any skill, improves over time if you are willing to accept and consider criticism.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

AMY CORWIN: Generally, I start with character sketches of the hero and heroine, along with the first conflict between the two. Then I write an outline and synopsis so I know where the story is going to go. Once I know the basics, I start writing. The first few chapters go swiftly, but as the characters gain depth and the conflicts get deeper, the story often changes so the original outline gradually morphs. If the characters are drawn well enough, they grab hold of the story and twist it to fit their temperaments, so often, I have to abandon the original outline half-way through.

Once the first draft is written, I revise and send it to my critique group to get comments about all aspects of the story. Then I typically re-edit the manuscript two or three more times to polish it and get it ready for submission to my publisher (or if I wish, to publish on the Kindle).

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

AMY CORWIN: Saki (H.H. Munroe), P. G. Wodehouse, and Georgette Heyer inspired me to write. I love the diabolical humor of Saki and Wodehouse, and Heyer made me fall in love with the early years of the 19th century. Recent authors such as Charles Todd are amazing, too. Todd’s mysteries are brilliant for their portrayal of the post-WWI era and characterization.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

AMY CORWIN: Georgette Heyer’s Faro’s Daughter. I laughed myself silly over that book—I just can’t resist a good story that makes me laugh and leaves me with a smile on my face. There’s one scene where the heroine has the hero tied up in the basement. When she realizes there are rats in the basement, she goes to untie him because she doesn’t want him scared. He gets so incensed that she’d think him such a sissy that he demands she leave him tied up there! It’s an absolute RIOT to have the captive demand to remain in captivity just to prove he’s not a sissy!

DAVID WISEHART: How did you create your cover?

AMY CORWIN: The cover is a composite of a photo of an old book I own from the period, and a quill pen. I wanted something that represented the heroine’s work, i.e. the book, and the cruel pen used by the critic to lambast her work, and the cover seems to do justice to that idea.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

AMY CORWIN: I have a very active blog at http://amycorwin.blogspot.com and have been a “guest blogger” on various other authors’ sites. In addition, I’m active on a great many Internet loops that cater to readers, and share excerpts, contests, and other interesting tidbits. I hold contests, as well, and generally “chat up” my books as much as possible!

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

AMY CORWIN: All of my books with small publishers have been available through a variety of storefronts and Kindle was the most prominent of them. When I got my own Kindle and realized what a great way it was to read, I was totally enthralled. I no longer needed reading glasses or had problems with my wrists/hands caused by trying to hold open physical books. I was so excited that I wanted to take one of my shorter novels, i.e. Love, The Critic, and make it directly available to others who enjoyed lighter historicals. The Kindle seemed to be the perfect choice to me.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

AMY CORWIN: I have several pieces of advice, including: read Konrath’s blog as he has gone into great detail about publishing on the Kindle; know what genre you are writing so you can effectively market your book; have a marketing plan, preferably including a website, blog, and membership in Internet readers groups.

Publishing on the Kindle is not that much different from publishing with a small publisher or even a traditional NY Publisher. You still must market your book and much of the promotion falls on your shoulders. To be effective, you must know how your book fits into the market (genre) and know your audience.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with all your books.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amy Corwin is a charter member of the Romance Writers of America and has been writing for the last ten years and managing a career as an enterprise systems administrator in the computer industry. She writes Regencies/historicals, mysteries, and contemporary paranormals. To be truthful, most of her books include a bit of murder and mayhem since she discovered that killing off at least one character is a highly effective way to make the remaining ones toe the plot line.

Amy’s books include the two Regency romances, Smuggled Rose, and Love, The Critic; three Regency romantic mysteries, I Bid One American, The Bricklayer's Helper, and The Necklace; and her first paranormal, Vampire Protector.

Website: http://www.amycorwin.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/amycorwin
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AmyCorwinAuthor
Blog: http://amycorwin.blogspot.com

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Kindle Author Interview: Angela Kay Austin

Angela Kay Austin, author of Love's Chance, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Love's Chance?

ANGELA KAY AUSTIN: Love's Chance is a novella, about 47,000 words. It was my first contracted piece. I will love Red Rose Publishing forever for that reason. I set it in Central Pennsylvania where I lived for about 3 years. While living in Central PA, I realized that there was a clear divide in the people along the Susquehanna. There was also a separation between the local residents and relocated residents. It made me wonder what would happen if a woman moved there knowing no one. Who would be the first to welcome her, and why? How would she fit in? Could she?

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

ANGELA KAY AUSTIN: I'm not a plotter. Usually, my story ideas come to me in pieces. So, when I sit to begin a story I don't have a fully flushed out idea of the characters or the story. But, as I begin to write...the characters ususally become more fully developed (let's hope). And at times, it will change the entire direction of the story ;-)

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

ANGELA KAY AUSTIN: My ideal reader...is anyone that loves to read. The two pieces that are currently published reach different audiences. Love's Chance is your typical HEA romance. It's an interracial romance and because of that will reach and even more specific audience. While my short story, My Son, has a lesbian couple and one half of that couple is the protagonist of my story. So, no, I don't picture an "ideal" reader, but I do picture loyal readers.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

ANGELA KAY AUSTIN: Believe it or not, an online conference lead me to publishing my first piece. Like so many other authors, I've been writing forever, and I've probably been submitting for just as long. But, not until I joined writers groups did I begin to understand the power of networking. Through those networks, I discovered a free online conference, and through that conference I pitched Love's Chance and that brings us to today.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

ANGELA KAY AUSTIN: Keyboard, type, and let the story flow ;-)  I try to write everyday, but I don't set word limits. I try to finish whatever scene I'm working on, and the opening of the next scene before I call it quits for the day. Usually, it's something around 1,000 words, but on several occassions it's been less or more.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

ANGELA KAY AUSTIN: Toni Morrison, Terry McMillan, Jeaniene Frost, Wally Lamb, Barbara Kingsolver, Jane Green, J.R. Ward

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

ANGELA KAY AUSTIN: Waiting to Exhale.

DAVID WISEHART: How did you create your cover?

ANGELA KAY AUSTIN: Red Rose Publishing has some great cover artists. I usually tell them of a scene in the book that captures a pivotal turning point for my characters, and they recreate it on the cover for me.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

ANGELA KAY AUSTIN: I have a social media platform, and website. Love's Chance will be in print soon, and when it's available I'll add in a fulling integrated marketing plan: advertising, book signings, tradeshows, etc.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

ANGELA KAY AUSTIN: For my publisher, any work under a certain word count goes to Kindle first, and then based on sales goes into print. I love the fact that it went to Kindle because I feel like it opened my book up to a much broader audience. Love's Chance ranked, at one point, in the 6,000s out of 400,000 books available on Kindle. To me, that's absolutely amazing.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

ANGELA KAY AUSTIN: Don't think that because it's on Kindle that it doesn't have to be of good quality: editing, cover art, writing, etc. Put as much effort into your self-published work as you would into work you'd submit to one of the NY houses. One of your readers could post a review that could change your life.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Angela Kay Austin writes, "Like so many other authors, I have a day job. I have worked in marketing for twenty years. I get to write a lot…lots and lots of radio, TV, and print copy. Too bad I can’t compile them, and call it AD Crazy. I’ve tried my hand at different forms of writing, too. I wrote for Rithm ‘n Blues, a webzine. That didn’t last long. But it was fun. I even received a few fan letters.

"To keep the dream alive, I’ve joined different organizations locally, and nationally. I am a member of Romance Writers of America, Washington DC Romance Writers, Chick Lit Writers of the World, and From the Heart Romance Writers. For me, some of the most supportive people have been found in the local and online groups. Because of them, I’ve gotten this far."

Visit her website and read her blog.

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FBI agent Nick Bracco can't stop a Kurdish terrorist from firing missiles at random homes across the country. The police can't stand watch over every household, so Bracco recruits his cousin Tommy to help track down this terrorist. Tommy is in the Mafia. Oh yeah, it gets messy fast. As fast as you can turn the pages.

Excerpt:

There was a time when Nick Bracco would walk down Gold Street late at night and young vandals would scatter.  The law was present and the guilty took cover.  West Baltimore was alive with crime, but Gold Street remained quarantined, reserved for the dirtiest of the dirty.  That’s how Nick remembered it anyway.  Before he left for the Bureau to fight terrorists.  Now, the narrow corridor of row houses felt closer to him and the slender strip of buckled sidewalk echoed his footsteps like a sentry announcing his presence.  It wasn’t his territory anymore.  He was a foreigner.

Nick scrutinized the landscape and searched for something out of place.  The battered cars seemed right, the graffiti, even the shadows seemed to darken the proper corners.  But something was missing.  There were no lookouts on the concrete stairwells.  The ubiquitous bass line of hip-hop was absent.  The stillness reminded him of jungle birds falling silent in the prelude to danger.  The only comfort came from the matching footsteps beside him.  As usual, Matt McColm was by his side.  They’d been partners for ten years and were approaching the point of finishing each other’s sentences.

“You’re awfully quiet,” Matt said.

“Did I mention that I don’t have a good feeling about this?”               

“Uh, huh.”  Matt tightened his collar against the autumn chill and worked a piece of gum with his jaw.  “That’s your theme song.”

“Really?  Don’t you ever get a bad feeling about a call?”

“All the time.”

“How come you never tell me?”

“I’m going to feed the flames of paranoia?”

They walked a little further in silence.  It got darker with every step.  The number of working streetlights dwindled.

“Did you just call me paranoid?” Nick said.

Matt looked straight ahead as he walked; his casual demeanor caused him to appear aloof, but Nick knew better.  Even at half-mast, Matt’s eyes were alert and aware. 

“Maybe paranoid is too strong of a word,” Matt said.

“I would hope so.”

“More like Mother-henish.”

“That’s better,” Nick said.  “By the way, did you eat your broccoli tonight?”

“Yes, Dear.”    

They strode further; low-lying clouds gave the night a claustrophobic feel.    

“This guy asked for you specifically?” Matt said.

Nick nodded. 

“That bother you a little?” Matt asked.

“No,” Nick said.  “That bothers me a lot.”     

Up ahead, a parked car jostled.  They both stopped.  Neither of them spoke.  They split up.  By the book.  Years of working together coming into play.  Matt crouched and crept into the street.  Nick stayed on the sidewalk and gave the car a wide berth.  In seconds Matt became invisible.  The car maintained a spastic rhythm.  It was subtle, but Nick understood the familiar motion even before he flashed his penlight into the back seat and saw a pair of young eyes pop up through the grimy window.  They were wide open and reacted like a jewel thief caught with a handful of pearls. The kid’s hair was disheveled and his shirt was half-off.  His panting breath caused the inside of the window to fog up.  He wasn’t alone.  A pair of bare legs straddled his torso.

From the other side of the vehicle, Matt emerged from the shadows and charged the car with his pistol out front.  He was just a few yards away when Nick held up his hand and said, “No.”

Matt stopped dead.  He must’ve seen the grin on Nick’s face and realized the situation.  He slowly holstered his Glock and took time to catch his breath.

Nick heard the kid’s voice through the closed window.  “I ain’t doing nuthin’, man.”

Nick clicked off his penlight and slipped it back into his jacket.  He smiled.  “It may be nothing, but you sure worked up a sweat doing it.”

When Matt fell back into step next to his partner, Nick said, “You seemed a little . . . uh, paranoid?”

Matt returned to nonchalant mode.  “Kids that young shouldn’t be doing the nasty out in the street.”

“Consider their role models,” Nick said.  “You can’t change the tide with an oar.”

“Pardon me, Professor Bracco.  Who said that one—Nietzsche?”

“I just made it up.”

“It sounded like it.”

They slowed their pace until Nick stopped in front of an old brick building with a worn, green awning above the entrance.  Nick gestured down a dark flight of stairs where a giant steel door stood menacingly secure.  “There it is.”

Matt nodded.  “You bring me to all the best spots.”  

When he was certain of their solitude, Nick descended the stairs.  Matt followed, keeping an eye on their rear.  In the darkness, Nick barely made out Matt’s silhouette. 

“Listen,” Nick said, “it’ll be easier if we don’t have to use our creds, but let’s see how it goes.  I don’t want to say any more than I have to, and you say nothing at all.  Just be the silent brute that you are.  Capisce?”

“Understood.”

“If we get lucky, I’ll see a familiar face.”  Nick raised his fist, hovered it in front of the door, then stopped to sniff the air.  “You wearing aftershave?”

“A little.”

“You have a date after this?”

“Uh huh.”

“When?”

“Midnight.”

“Who makes a date with you at midnight?”

“Veronica Post.”

“First date?”

“Yup.”

“At midnight?”

“She’s a waitress.  She doesn’t get off until then.”

In the murky darkness, Nick sighed.  He turned to face the door and, just like a thousand times before, he said, “Ready?”

He couldn’t see the response, but he heard Matt unfasten the flap to his holster.  Matt was ready.

Nick used his wedding band hand to pound on the metal door.  He shifted his weight as they waited.  Nick heard Matt chewing his gum.

Nick said,  “Midnight, huh?”

A rectangular peephole slid open allowing just enough light through to see a dark face peering out.  The face was so large the opening supported only enough room for one of his eyes.

“Yeah?” the man grunted.

Nick leaned close to the opening so the man could see his face.  The opening quickly slid shut.

They stood in the silence while Nick thought of his next move.

“He seems like a nice fellow,” Matt said. 

The clang of locks unbolting was followed by the door squeaking open.  It reminded Nick of an old horror movie. 

The large black man wore a large black shirt that hung over his jeans and covered enough space to hide a rocket launcher. The man ignored Nick and gave Matt the once over. 

Matt gave him the stone cold glare of a pissed-off FBI agent.  No one did it better.

Then the man turned his attention to Nick.  His head was round and clean-shaven.  His expressionless face seemed to be set in cement.

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Wednesday

Kindle Author Interview: Jennifer Becton

Jennifer Becton, author of Charlotte Collins, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Charlotte Collins?

JENNIFER BECTON: Charlotte Collins is a continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with a unique twist. Instead of retelling or reimagining the courtship of the main characters Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, it features Charlotte (Lucas) Collins, a minor character, and her life after the action of Austen’s novel. In Pride and Prejudice, Charlotte was Elizabeth Bennet’s best friend, and she served as the embodiment of Regency England’s traditional views on marriage for security and as a foil for Elizabeth’s opinion that one ought to marry for love. Following society’s strictures, Charlotte chose to wed Mr. Collins, a simpering fool who happened to have a stable income and a nice home. As a woman of little fortune and no prospects, Charlotte felt she had no choice, and in fact, she did not believe that love in marriage was anything more than “a matter of chance.” Charlotte Collins opens with the accidental death of Mr. Collins, and the newly widowed Charlotte is thrust back into society where she discovers that she has the opportunity to make a different choice.

DAVID WISEHART: What research did you do for the novel?

JENNIFER BECTON: Research was critical to this novel, especially given that there are so many educated Janeites out there who really know their history. I did a great deal of research on topics ranging from language and food to customs and dress. I spent a lot of time searching for original sources, books written during the Regency period, and these sources turned out not only to be the most helpful, but also the most amusing. For a laugh, read Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management or Domestic Manners of the Americans by Frances Trolloppe, both of which are in the public domain and free on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What is it about Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice that most appeals to you?

JENNIFER BECTON: Undoubtedly, I was first attracted to Austen’s wit. Her social commentary never fails to be biting. The first line of Pride and Prejudice alone is worth the cost of the book: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” But upon deeper reflection, I remain attracted to Jane Austen because her writing is proof that books do not require tragedy to be considered great literature. I have always believed that comedies ought to garner as much respect as tragedies in the literary world. Yes, tragedy might reflect the truth that all life ends in death, but in my view, comedy offers hope that transcends the universal tragedy of humankind.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

JENNIFER BECTON: This is a difficult question. How does one articulate characterization? I do my best to create realistic characters that one might be likely to meet in real life. Characters must have both strengths and weaknesses. Their motivations must be logical—at least to them—and even those whose role is to provide comic relief must be believable. If I can’t believe that such a person might exist in reality, I work on that character until I can imagine meeting him in the real world.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

JENNIFER BECTON: The ideal reader for Charlotte Collins is someone who is seeking a Jane Austen experience. My goal in writing the book was to remain as true as possible to her characters and to offer the same type of experience that I had when I first read Austen’s works. I wanted to offer some semblance of her wit and social commentary and, of course, to write a love story that would carry readers back in time. (Whether or not I succeeded is up to the reader.)

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

JENNIFER BECTON: Before Charlotte Collins, I had worked for more than ten years in the traditional publishing world as an editor, so I had a great deal of prior knowledge and a large bias against self-publishing. As a result, I worked very hard to attract the attention of agents and traditional publishers, who invariably had nothing negative to say about my writing, but who still rejected my novel based on their belief that Austen fans do not buy books about minor characters. I just could not believe this to be true. So I took up the challenge to self-publish and see who was right.

Now, my opinion of self-publishing has changed. While I certainly respect my colleagues in the traditional world, as an aspiring author, I found the process incredibly frustrating. I have a deeper understanding of my own industry and a new-found respect for self-published authors. This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and one I will certainly repeat.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

JENNIFER BECTON: My process consists of two phases: writing and editing. And never the twain shall meet. To begin, I try to write the first draft as quickly as possible so that I’m not tempted to get in my own way. I just let words flow, and I do not go back and edit the previous day’s text, no matter how tempting it is. I just write. Next, I edit. In fact, I spend significantly more time in the editing phase than in the writing phase. I cut text, alter it, and add more. During the editing phase, I send the manuscript to my editor, who makes wonderful suggestions, which I usually incorporate. Then, the book is proofread and formatted for publication.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

JENNIFER BECTON: At this precise moment, I am most inspired by J. A. Konrath. His blog has been a great influence on my views of publishing and has had a monumental impact on my future plans. His candid disclosure of his early struggles with traditional publishers and his successful ventures as a self-publisher have shown me that it is possible to connect with readers without the aid of a traditional book deal.

But that’s probably not exactly what you meant by this question. The books that have had the most lasting influence on me are those I read as a child: Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery, The Black Stallion by Walter Farley, and mysteries by Agatha Christie. And, of course, Jane Austen.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

JENNIFER BECTON: Interesting question. I can’t say that there’s a book I wish I’d written myself, but there are a few I wish I could have helped edit. I won’t list them here, but I’ve often felt that some authors get so popular that publishers don’t edit their work as stringently, resulting in overly long texts that could be tightened up significantly.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

JENNIFER BECTON: When I released Charlotte Collins, I had no online platform. Unlike many Austen sequel authors, I had never published any stories online at fanfic sites. I had a Facebook page, but I didn’t even know what Twitter was. And ebooks? Forget about it. I had to learn everything. Twitter has been the best resource for me. Through it, I have been put in contact with some incredible Jane Austen and book-related bloggers. I can honestly say that book bloggers have been the keys to marketing success.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

JENNIFER BECTON: Well, I didn’t originally plan to publish on Kindle; I was envisioning a paperback. As I said, I didn’t know much about ebooks, even after having worked so long in the traditional publishing industry. I knew I needed to make Charlotte Collins available as an ebook, but I didn’t expect the overwhelming response it received. My Kindle edition outsells my paperback 2 to 1. Now, I love Kindle and am an official convert. Kindle connects readers and writers in a way that paperbacks cannot. Not only can I make my book available at a very low price, but readers are capable of following my embedded links back to my websites. I can actually develop a relationship with readers. It’s truly amazing, and I now have friends all over the world.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

JENNIFER BECTON: Hire a proofreader. The first thing everyone says about a self-published book is that there were typos. Defy this stereotype!

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer Becton studied at Mercer University, where she earned a bachelor of arts in Christianity and French, majors that emphasized research, writing, and literature. Upon graduating summa cum laude, she was the recipient of the J. L. Dagg Research and Writing Award and the L. P. Irvin Foreign Language Award.

In 2000, Jennifer began her own freelance editorial and writing business: Becton Literary Services. She has edited literary novels, short story collections, and various non-fiction works for Mercer University Press and Smyth and Helwys Publishing, both in Macon, Georgia, and her lifestyle and equestrian articles have appeared in Southern Distinction, HorseSouth, and Southern Horse Talk. She has been a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Jane Austen Society, and Sisters in Crime.

Jennifer lives near Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband Bert, a civil engineer, and a cat named Puttytat, who rules the house with an iron claw. She is also an avid equestrienne and owns a horse named Darcy.

Visit her website.

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Kindle Author Interview: Daryl Sedore

Daryl Sedore, author of Paranormal Precognitions, discusses his book, his journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Paranormal Precognitions?

DARYL SEDORE: Paranormal Precognitions is a rich tale about a confused girl, Sarah Roberts, who is suffering from trichotillomania as well as attacks of Automatic Writing. Someone from the Other Side channels through her to write out crimes and accidents that are about to happen. Sarah begins to interpret these messages and acts on them, saving a few people. Then one goes wrong. By trying to avert a potential kidnapping, she gets taken instead. During the process, one of the kidnappers is killed.

Now the police are looking for her because they have her notebook which contains intimate details of crimes and accidents, plus witnesses have placed her at the scene of the murder.

On a race to save herself, the biggest surprise is yet to come.

Who is talking to her from the Other Side and why?

DAVID WISEHART: How do you create and maintain dramatic tension?

DARYL SEDORE: One way is by constantly asking, “How can I make this worse?” I challenge my characters on an emotional level, taking them to an extreme place and then holding them there against their will. They fight, they lash out, and finally conflict resolution takes place, yet tension remains throughout.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

DARYL SEDORE: At first I create a character sketch. I evaluate what each character wants and move forward with that motivation in mind, especially during dialogue. That’s what allows for great discourse when two opposing desires come into conflict.

In addition, during the revision process, I do an edit to fine tune the character arc. I go through the manuscript on a scene by scene of each character to make sure they have remained true to their vision, true to who they are. This also allows me to see their weaknesses and strengths and where I have made it worse for them and how they handled it, and whether or not it was still in character for them.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

DARYL SEDORE: My ideal readers are people who enjoy a fast-paced thriller. One where details are limited and the story is king. I believe in relaying the story as a story happens, in real time, with real people dealing with adversity. Not relaying a grocery list of detailed items for the reader to check off so they know exactly what a character is wearing or eating.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

DARYL SEDORE: I wrote my first short story when I was a ten-year-old. Through the years I wrote off and on until the mid-1990s. By 2001, I began writing seriously, producing my first full-length novel by the summer of 2002. In late 2004 I was contracted out by a Northern Ontario magazine for a monthly short story, which I wrote forty stories for in just over a three year deal. A few of those stories went on to win awards and are now published as short story collections on the Kindle. I queried literary agents for years and only received requests for partials and fulls without advancing to the next stage.

Finally, in September 2010, I uploaded Paranormal Precognitions onto the Kindle and the rest is history. I’ve since uploaded my entire back catalogue (11 titles) with four more coming onto the Kindle in 2011.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

DARYL SEDORE: It starts with the idea, no matter how small. Once the idea is formed, I sit down and start writing. I decide where I want the story to start and begin typing there. It develops on its own from that point. At times I might pull away from the story on the computer for a few days, grab a pen a paper and jot ideas down where I want things to go, what I want characters to do. That allows me to map out the next 10,000 words or so. Once those words are typed, new ideas and story directions have formed enabling me to hand write another batch of notes.

I write 10,000 words per week, every week when writing a novel. It takes me about two months to write a novel and two months to edit it. While editing it though, I’m writing the next novel.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

DARYL SEDORE: I’m really moved by Stephen King, Clive Barker, and Charlie Huston. A few other great authors I’ve loved are Michael Crichton, Jack Ketchum, and Harlan Coben. I love the mystery of Barker, the roughness of Huston, the wits of Crichton, and the thrill of Coben. They all inspire me to add these elements and give my reader a thrill ride of mystery mixed with angst.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

DARYL SEDORE: Time Traveler’s Wife would be one. The time it took to write such an intricate, examination of love over the span of a time traveler’s life was immense. How Audrey kept track of time was profound for me. I read that book and was consumed by the talent alone. I aspire to meet those lofty goals one day.

DAVID WISEHART: How did you create your cover?

DARYL SEDORE: A graduate of graphic design out of Denmark, Daniel Johnson, has designed all my covers except one. It was an easy task as Daniel would present multiple covers for me to digest and together we’d take elements of each one and mix them to come up with a cover that works for my story. The automobile in the picture is the vehicle in which my main character is kidnapped in and the image of the girl superimposed represents her being pulled in multiple ways.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

DARYL SEDORE: I’ve mainly been creating a web presence by using Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and LibraryThing. I also blog once a week on writing issues. In addition to that I have just completed a sponsorship of Kindle Nation which will feature my novel on March 4, 2011. I’m looking forward to that as it has proven results for ebook authors in the past.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

DARYL SEDORE: For me, one of the main reasons is the sheer volume that Amazon does through the Kindle for indie authors. They make it easy to upload and they’re author friendly. Kindle offers a great royalty percentage and have the best sales of any other e-reader out there.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

DARYL SEDORE: Do it! Really that’s it. Just commit to it and make it happen. The industry is changing and self-publishing isn’t what it used to be. Authors are taking control now. Authors are in control. You don’t need an agent. You don’t need a publisher. Do it yourself. Just scan some of the blogs of the self-published authors and you’ll discover all the sales these authors are making. Every month my sales increase. I have not had a month lower than the previous month yet.

Just do it. A year or two from now, you’ll be happy you did.

Thanks for having me. I appreciate the invite and I wanted to send a special thank you to Mr. Wisehart. I really appreciate what you’re doing here.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daryl Sedore was born in southern Ontario in 1969. By the age of ten he was already writing short stories. Throughout High School various teachers encouraged him to choose writing as a career, but Daryl decided to invest in the stock market (TSE) in grade 11 and start his first company at the age of seventeen. He built numerous companies and became semi-retired at thirty years of age. During the 1990s he still wrote short stories, but it wasn't until the year 2000, that he started writing novels. Daryl has written four novels and over 50 short stories, plus a work of non-fiction called Publishing Exposed: The Sedore Report which was published in November 2010. Six of his short stories have won awards, including, "The Newspaper" which won 6th place out of thousands of entires in the 75th Annual Writer's Digest Short Story Contest.

Paranormal Precognitions has been released as an ebook. The second of the trilogy is due out in early 2011. His novel Bad Vibes will be released in the fall of 2011.

Read his blog.

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