Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Booksignings at Casinos?

Big news for those seeking ways to sell their books - sell them at casinos! Wonderful article in the NY Times last week. Here's the article:

It's been awhile since I've been to the casinos (I kinda like keeping my money in my pocket), but what an ingenious way to have a booksigning. Janet Evanovich went all out giving away balloons, fortune cookies and stickers at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn., and as I understand it, more authors are looking into this very different means of signing books.

Question for my subscribers and anyone who happens upon this blog:

What is your opinion of having booksignings at casinos? Have you ever tried it?

Leave a comment in the comment section to air your views!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

TWL Author Talks - Next Guest: Daniel Lazar

Daniel Lazar of Writers House Literary Agency is coming to TWL Author Talks on Monday, June 26 and Tuesday, June 27, 2006! If you haven't joined yet, go to!

Interview with Theresa Chaze, Author of AWAKENING THE DRAGON

Theresa Chaze is a fully dedicated Wiccan Priestess who leads her readers to magical realms and others worlds. Her work is based on her philosophy that all peoples can live together in peace as long as we come from respect, not only for ourselves but those who follow different paths or beliefs.

Her resume is as diverse as her interests. On the mundane level, she graduated from Michigan State University with Bachelor Degrees in English and Video Production; after which she worked for several years at local TV stations. However the politics in the stations burned her out and she moved on to various jobs finally ending up at a small factory. On a more spiritual level, she is a Tarot Reader and a Reiki Healer. In the summer of 1981, she initiated on the Wiccan path. Samhain of 1997, she fully dedicated to the path of the Goddess. She is a natural born intuitive and empath with an instinctive connection to animals and nature spirits.

Theresa Chaze's major works so far include the first two novels of the Dragon Clan Trilogy and a free fantasy ebook called, Sisters, Mother, Daughters. Her screenplay, Never Can Say Good-bye, is one of the 2006 winners of the Gloria Film Festival. Other shorter works include political and social commentary and can be found at Additional non-fiction articles and observations can be found in her blog; the link can be found on her site at Readers are welcome to visit both her site and her blog.


TWL: Welcome, Theresa! I'd like to begin this interview by asking you when did your passion for writing begin?

Theresa: Age 11 when I wrote a poem for my Mom on Mother's Day.

TWL: Can you tell us what your typical 'writing' day is like?

Theresa: I don't do have a typical day. But I do my best writing late at night.

TWL: Do you write full time?

Theresa: Between the promotions and actual writing it's nearly full time.

TWL: Can you tell us a little bit about your books?

Theresa: Awakening the Dragon: When the House of Christ moved to Coyote springs Katherine found allies. Wrapping herself in religion she murdered Sarah. Not for the money, the status, or the big country home, but because the Bible dictated “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live.” Katherine thought she‘d get away with it. No one knew. No one would care if a witch died. But there were those who knew and cared for they loved her. Kevin saw his mother come home that night as did her husband. Using guilt and their love, Katherine forced them kept her secret--until the keeping started to consume them from the inside. Kevin found his father dead on the path to the cottage; the gun still in his hand. He found the note his father left him, not where his father put it, but half burned in the fireplace; it said he could no longer live with the lie. Not knowing whether it was keeping secret or the decision to reveal it which killed him, Kevin confront his mother; she denied any involvement in either death. Kevin loved her; she was all he had left. He did not have proof. Unable to face the what he knew, he buried it deep within; denying the truth he could not face sober, he sat in his father’s chair night after night, bringing the glass to his lips. The tequila helped him remember and he’d promise that he would reveal the dreadful secret. But morning would come and the skeletons would again be locked deep within the closets of his mind. Until one night, he sat in the light of the full moon and prayed to the Goddesses. Believing himself to be too drunk to be heard, he asked for justice to be done. Only they heard and said, “So mote it be.” Only Kevin doesn’t know and he has run out patience trying to protect the people his Grandmother loved from Katherine’s fury. He doesn’t trust that justice will be done, so he turns to the dark magic for vengeance. He will no longer allow his mother to harm others or to escape the consequences of her actions.

Rachael moves to Coyote Springs to create her dream and to fulfill the promise she made to the Goddesses. She came to find peace and share her wisdom. The space for her store was quickly found and the renovations were easier than she expected. Yet she had not found a comfortable home for her fur-kids and herself until she found a listing the real estate agent didn’t want to show her. With persistence and bullying, Rachael was able to see the country cottage. The agent wouldn’t go inside claiming the place was evil because a witch lived and died there. Rachael went in alone to be welcomed by the lonely cottage. It opened is doors to her even though it had rejected many others, including Kevin who had inherited it after his grandmother had been murdered. Kevin wouldn’t believe until he saw Rachael inside that it openly accepted her. He warns her about the House of Christ’s attempts to destroy it. Rachael isn’t afraid. She feels quite capable of taking care of herself. Reluctantly Kevin agrees to let her move in.

It does not take long for the House of Christ to try to convert Rachael. When their attempts fail, they resort to threats and violence. Her store and car are vandalized. The spirit of the cottage appears to Rachael to help her find the inner strength to protect all she loves. In the middle of the night, the House of Christ attacks; only they are the ones who pay with their lives as the guardians of the cottage defend their new mistress. Suddenly the violence escalates and Rachael becomes the catalyst in exposing a murderer as the House of Christ attempts to destroy evidence. To protect herself, her fur-kids and the cottage, Rachael awakens her dragon spirit prematurely. Unprepared, she channels the powerful dragon energy through her body. Only she will not have time to understand or control her new gifts before the House of Christ attacks again. To protect herself and her loved ones from the violent cult, Rachael risks everything by awakening her dragon spirit prematurely. As the dragon rises within her, the cult surround her home with the intent on killing the new witch who lives inside and burning the evidence of the murder of the previous owner.

Dragon Domain: My name is Cheyenne. As a toddler my broken and dying body was tossed in the desert like yesterday’s trash. Under the blazing sun, my spirit started to drift away until a shadow suddenly blocked the burning orb. Celeste found me and brought me back. Before that moment nothing remained. I became the daughter her cursed womb could not bear; she became my mother, my mentor and friend. Together we wandered, drifting without roots to wherever the Goddess sent us. As I grew she taught me the ways of the Earth until the Dragons came to claim me. Celeste was not pleased but she accepted my decision to follow the path of the Dragon.
Although I longed for a home, a special place of peace and tranquility, Celeste kept us moving. She never told me why we needed to continual run. It was one of her secrets. We used our psychic gifts to support ourselves; that is how we came to Coyote Springs. It was here the Goddess answered my prayers; she led me to a very special farm. I saw the lush forest, bountiful fields and the spiritual center, which radiated with the love of the Goddess: I couldn’t leave. Reluctantly Celeste stayed. With our new friend, Jane we built a spiritual sanctuary. I finally found peace and safety among those who I thought loved me. Here I felt secure enough to allow others to see my true gifts and be part of my life.

We were happy until Dominic and his friends appeared on our door. He was an old love from Celeste‘s past and one more of her secrets. Rapidly the darkness of the night brought terror as sacrificial blood was shed. I warned her. Celeste refused to listen. She let him in and slowly changed into someone I didn’t know. He wanted to steal everything--my home, my property, my loved ones, my life. No one was safe from his darkness. I called the dragons and they drove him back. But then Celeste joined him in an old evil. Alone I was barely able to defeat him, but now with Celeste’s help and knowledge of all our weakness, how could we possibly stop them from stealing our very souls?

TWL: Who published your book and how has your experience with them been?

Theresa: Pagefree--the experience has been mixed, but better than other publishers.

TWL: Can you tell us the inspiration behind your book?

Theresa: Life, music, politics, The Goddesses, Spirits of the Earth, dreams.

TWL: Can you tell us ways you are promoting your book? Have they been successful?

Theresa: There hasn't been much I haven't tried or am in the process of doing. I don't know yet; I'm at the beginning stages for the new releases.

TWL: Do you have a mentor?

Theresa: Not really.

TWL: What future projects do you have in the works?

Theresa: The third in the Dragon Clan Trilogy, Return of the Dragon Clan, another fantasy book that has yet to be named, and smaller projects.Can you give aspiring authors words of advice towards getting published? Read the genre that you right and keep faith in yourself.

TWL: What’s one thing about your life that you think is important, but nobody asks?

Theresa: Why haven't you given up your dream?

TWL: Thank you, Theresa, and I hope you have many sales!


If you are an author and would like to be interviewed, click here.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Literary Agent Kristin Nelson in TWL Author Talks!

I'm happy to announce that literary agent Kristin Nelson will be fielding questions in TWL Author Talks on Monday, June 12, 2006 for the entire week! Last week, as you know, we had the talented Jenny Bent and the response was overwhelming! Fifty people signed up overnight, so now's your chance to get in on finding the agent of your dreams!

Now, here's the coolest news....Kristin has agreed to a pitch slam on Friday, June 16th!

So, what's a pitch slam?

A pitch slam is summing up your entire book in one sentence, in this case, and having one of our literary agent guests tell you if it's something they would be looking for or not. Not as easy as you think.

Last week, we had Jenny Bent giving her input on the pitches and you'd be amazed at how hard it is. While some of us walked away with out tails tucked between our legs, we learned just what it is that makes a pitch stand out and was an invaluable lesson!

Kirsten Mortenson, one of the members of TWL Author Talks, explains some of the things that Jenny didn't like in the pitches people submitted while she was a guest (thank you, Kirsten!): 1. Not original enough/has been "done to death."Takeaway: Make sure your pitch shows that you have the twist/color that makes your concept stand out from similar novels. 2. Pitch confusing. Couldn't tell who was doing what.Takeaway: Edit out extraneous information. Make sure its clear to what/whom the pronouns of your sentences are referring. Maybe follow a fairly simple setup/conflict/resolution structure in your sentence to make sure it's easy to follow . . . 3. Missing story "arc."Don't just list the characters and setting. Make sure you've also set up the main conflict and resolution. 4. Conflict not compelling.Make sure the conflict you've presented is "big" enough to show that you've got a strong plot. 5. Bland title.
Jenny got me on #2. I totally confused her and I'm revising before the next pitch slam with Kristin Nelson.

Another member of TWL Author Talks, China, explains just what it might take to gain an agent's interest in a pitch slam:

"There are a few different ways, that I know of, to do a one sentence pitch. I'm not saying these are the only or best ways, or guaranteed to work, or anything like that. These are just a few of the ways we learned to do them at the creative writing program from which I graduated.

**Note--my examples are not real, and shouldn't be held against me. ;)

The first technique: Character, Conflict, Hook

Describe your character, why we should care about him or her (ie the conflict), and what makes this book different from any other with a similar theme or storyline.

A lot of times the different parts of your pitch blur--your conflict can also be a hook, or your hook can also be a conflict.

Example: A struggling single mother (character and conflict al lwrapped into one) loses her job (conflict) and finds the only way to support her family is to become a stripper (hook, conflict). That's a little low concept and a whole lot rough, but I hope itillustrates the technique.


The second technique: GMC (Goal, motivation, conflict)

This is pretty similar to character, conflict, hook. It's simple--your one sentence should introduce your character, explain his or her motivation, his or her goal, and his or her conflict.

Example: When a waitress (character) is inadvertently sucked into another dimension (conflict), she must battle not only the forces of darkness but her own inner demons (conflict AND motivation) in order to find her way home (goal and motivation). As with the CCH style pitch, sometimes the goal, motivation and conflict can intertwine.


Third technique: The high concept pitch.

In this one, you mostly introduce the concept of your story.

Example: Martians and vampires fight for world domination, leaving astring of human bodies in their wake.

There are many other techniques, but I want to add in some general tips.

1. You don't need to give very much detail about your character, plot or world. This should be your story boiled down to its absolute barest bone structure.

2. Using a character archetype is more effective than using character specifics, and also cuts down on length. Use "a washed up musician," rather than, "Lenny Diamond, a struggling singer-songwriter in his 50s..."

3. Your pitch--even a single sentence pitch--should have a little bit of the flavor and tone of your story. If you write light and frothy, your pitch should be light and frothy. If you write with a quick wit, your pitch should display some of that. If you're writing humor, your pitch should be at least a little funny/witty."

Thank you, China!

I can't imagine doing this in person. I know many authors who have gotten book deals this way, but who knows, maybe there's a book deal or two that will be result out of our virtual book slams with our agent guests. If nothing else, it gives you invaluable input by professionals in the field. See you there!