Thursday, June 28, 2007

Free Promo for Children's Book Authors

If you have a new children's book coming out, visit the National Writing for Children Center to find out how you can be a guest on our weekly podcast,Book Bites for Kids.

Suzanne Lieurance
Founder, Director, and Coaching Coordinator
The National Writing for Children Center
P.O. Box 8422Kansas City, Missouri 64114
http://www.writingforchildrencenter.com

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Lynn Voedisch, Author of EXCITED LIGHT

We have a special guest today! Lynn Voedisch, author of Excited Light, joins us today in a candid interview to tell us what the writer's life is all about from her standpoint!

TWL: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Lynn! Can you tell us when the passion for writing began for you?

Lynn: I was a writer right from the start and knew I was going to be a professional writer in fifth grade. My teacher had told my parents that my fiction projects were outstanding and that they should encourage me to be a writer. They did, and I have followed my dream ever since. I also had a secret desire to be Carolyn Keene, the writer of the Nancy Drew dectective series. I didn't know at the time that Keene was actually a made-up name and that several different writers did the Nancy Drew books.

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

Lynn: I don't have one. Unlike many writers, I don't write every day. After so many years of deadline training at newspapers, I don't have any problem churning out many words when the occasion calls for it. I just don't believe in writer's block. I often think for a few days and then will do a whole chapter in a few hours. A lot of my "writing" time is spent thinking out the plot and characters. It doesn't look like I'm doing anything, but I'm working like crazy.

TWL: Do you write full time?

Lynn: Yes, although I need to start doing more journalism again. Marketing has taken up way too much time.

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

Lynn: My book could be called magical realism, but it's definitely not typical fantasy. It's a modern story of a young boy with a single, alcoholic mother, who finds help in the spiritual world. It's a novel of magic and second chances and appeals to anyone who believes in hope.

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

Lynn: My book is published by ASJA Press, an imprint of iUniverse. ASJA (the American Society of Journalists and Authors) is a pretty difficult organization to get into. So, you know that only the best writers are allowed to use the ASJA logo. But essentially, it's self-published via iUniverse. I've had no problems at all with iUniverse, but do wish their business partner, Barnes & Noble, was more cooperative with them and would stock books in their store.

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

Lynn: My book was inspired by an angel experience that I had when I was desperately ill. I'm not going to say there were fluttery wings and glowing halos, but I did hear words of inspiration that helped me heal and keep me well to this day.My main character, Alex, hears angels also, although readers may want to take that as a metaphor for hope.

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

Lynn: I did an e-mail blitz to everyone I knew in the world (almost) in January that propelled the book to no. 515 on the Amazon.com list. This is unheard of for a debut novel by an unknown writer. I am going to do a book signing at an angel museum. And I will be at the Printers Row Book Fair in Chicago in early June. Later in June there will be other book signings. And I'm doing this blog tour.

TWL: Do you have a mentor?

Lynn: I have a publishing guru in New York, who I'll keep anonymous. He used to be with Avon books and now works solo. He has helped me shape my work to better fit the needs of New York publishers.He has read and helped me with all his books. And I did some ghostwriting for him.What future projects do you have in the works? I'm working on a novel about a woman living two lives at one time (more magic!). Much of it in includes the story of women of Egypt who were second only in power to the Pharaoh. It has been fascinating to research these largely unknown women of power.

TWL: Can you give aspiring authors words of advice towards getting published?

Lynn: Don't quit. If you love writing, it's going to be hard to keep going. Don't let the jerks make you stop! Those rejection slips will pile up and can make you break down and cry. I have sobbed on several occasions when agents or editors decided to be downright nasty. But I just dug my fingernails in and kept going. There is no way I'm going to stop, because writing is what I do.

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

Lynn: My spirituality. No one knows that I am a highly spiritual person and that I meditate, do Reiki, do affirmations, and pray. I may not be a typical religious person, but I also am very full of gratitude and never fail to express that to God.

TWL: Thank you for coming, Lynn! If you'd like to visit Lynn at her home on the web, visit http://www.lynnvoedisch.com/ and if you'd like to watch the book trailer for her book, Excited Light, click here!

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Vicki M. Taylor, Author of TRUST IN THE WIND

We have special guest, Vicki M. Taylor, author of Trust in the Wind, here with us today at The Writer's Life!

Vicki is an award-winning author who writes dramatic fiction with strong, unforgettable women. You can visit her website at www.vickimtaylor.com or her blog at www.vickimtaylor.com/blogs. You can order her books from any brick and mortar store or find them online at Amazon.com, BN.com, or if you'd like to purchase an electronic copy, you can go to Fictionwise.com.

TWL: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Vicki! Can you tell us when your passion for writing began?

Vicki: I think I was born with the soul of a writer. Writing has been a part of my life for as along as I can remember. Writing and reading. My passions.

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

Vicki: I don't think I have a typical writing day. I try to write every day, at least something. Sometimes, that will be in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon. I like to have some of my household chores done before I write. It makes me feel less pressured to hurry and write so I can get them done.

TWL: Do you write full time?

Vicki: I don't work outside the home, if that's what you're asking. But, I do have quite a bit to do, inside the home. I take care of my husband, dog, and bird. They all take up their fair amount of my time. I probably write for a couple hours a day. The rest of the time is answering e-mail, keeping up with various forums, promotion, and maintaining websites.

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

Vicki: My most recent book is Trust in the Wind. The blurb is as follows: When pregnant teen, Joanne, chooses single motherhood, she loses everything, including her family. Four years later, she's fiercely independent, trusts no one and is barely keeping her head above water. Roy is a Hillsborough County Sheriff, and a widower who lost his wife and child during a burglary gone terribly wrong. Six years later, he still refuses to love for fear of losing it again. Together, these two just might get a second chance to learn about trust and love. When you can't count on people, TRUST IN THE WIND.

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

Vicki: My publisher is Mundania Press, LLC. They can be found at http://www.mundania.com. They are an author friendly publisher who believes in quality in their books and their authors. They've been great. They help provide the author with as much promotion as they can, considering their size and staff. They'll work with authors, that's the best part.

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

Vicki: Trust in the Wind was a dream I had. I woke one morning with a book synopsis in my head. I hurried to write it all down before I forgot any of it. I believe there are ideas for books all around us. We just have to listen and pay attention.

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

Vicki: The Internet has been by far the best place for promotion. When Trust in the Wind came out, it was a featured book at www.fictionwise.com. That was incredible publicity. I also join forums related to writing, promotion, and general topics like special interests I have. I use my websites and books in my signature and people follow them to my sites. I spend time with potential readers on author chats too. It helps to keep your name out there in front of people. Give workshops. People are interested in what you have to say. One of the things I've put most of my money in was my website and bookmarks. I'm not exactly sure what the return on investment is with the bookmarks but they're a great way to get in front of a lot of potential readers. Earthly Charms lists conferences that are looking for stuff for goodie bags. I send them bookmarks.

TWL: Do you have a mentor?

Vicki: Not exactly a mentor. But, I do belong to my local RWA chapter and I consider everyone there a success. They are so great about sharing information. They're an awesome motivator. I feel so energized and buzzed about writing after our meetings.

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

Vicki: I have finished a romantic/suspense that I've been sending to contests. It hasn't made the finals yet, but I'm getting outstanding feedback. I'm currently working on a women's fiction about a 39 year old mother of 5 who decides to adopt a pregnant fourteen year old and her baby. The results are tragic.

TWL: Can you give aspiring authors words of advice towards getting published?

Vicki: Never give up. Never sell yourself short. Read. Read. Read. Everything that is out there. Read your genre. Read outside your genre. Keep that butt in the chair and write. No one else is going to type "The End" except you.

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

Vicki: How passionate I feel toward my pets, my dog, Jack, and my parrot, Bailey. They're part of my family. I love them so much. I've even created websites for them. My dog, especially, he's an extension of me. We can't be apart for very long or we both start suffering from melancholy. That's why I take him on vacation with me.

TWL: Thank you for coming, Vicki, and we wish you much success during the rest of your virtual book tour!

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Fran Silverman, Author of TALK RADIO FOR AUTHORS

We have special guest, Fran Silverman, editor and publisher of Book Promotion Newsletter, a bi-weekly ezine for authors of all genres, and author of Book Marketing from A-Z (2005) and Talk Radio for Authors (2007), both published by Infinity Publishing, here with us today at The Writer's Life!

TWL: Welcome Fran to The Writer's Life! Can you tell us when your passion for writing began?

Fran: When I think back, I always loved writing - letters to friends and writing in my diary. I started as a newspaper reporter and only began thinking about becoming a published author when my husband and I spent a weekend in the Catskills and were blown away by its beauty. I then wrote a guidebook called Catskills Alive (2000 and 2003), followed by Long Island Alive (2003).

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

Fran: I spend a lot of time now on the computer since the newsletter has expanded into an on-line publicity service for authors and others. My writing is restricted now to writing book proposals since I am thinking about writing another book.

TWL: Do you write full time?

Fran: I mix up the writing and researching.

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

Fran: My latest book, Talk Radio for Authors - Getting Interviews Across the U.S. and Canada, contains 230 talk radio shows with the contact information, theme and guest criteria. There are also bios of the hosts and their takes on the best and worst guests.

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

Fran: Infinity Publishing published my book. They are wonderful people to work with but I am unhappy with POD publishing because there is virtually no editing done and mistakes come through.

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

Fran: I was inspired to write this book because as an on-line publicist I find many radio spots for my clients. I accumulated so many radio shows that I decided to write the book. The real reason was the need for this book. Radio websites are generally badly designed and provide little information useful to a potential guest, such as a show's theme or whether guests are welcome on - a problem I call "rookie radio." The hosts in my book are responsive - they responded to my questionnaire.

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

Fran: As author of a radio book, I have been on many radio shows talking about it. In fact, I will be on tomorrow night (Monday, May 21, 2007) on 91.5 FM in New York City, talking for a half hour about the problem with "rookie radio."

TWL: Do you have a mentor?

Fran: No.

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

Fran: I would like to write another book about talk radio and focus on what hosts are looking for. I'm in the process of compiling a questionnaire.

TWL: Can you give aspiring authors words of advice towards getting published?

Fran: Learn everything you can about the publishing business. Talk to other authors. Subscribe to my newsletter - the authors are super-supportive.

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

Fran: I think that my clients have no idea how many bios I send out without a response. I charge very little and spend hours trying to get them exposure.

TWL: Thank for coming to The Writer's Life, Fran, and happy sales to you!

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

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Friday, June 08, 2007

All for the Sake of the Al'Mighty Pen

Interesting story in the NY Observer yesterday.

The title was what caught my eye: "My Book Deal Ruined My Life."

Say it isn't so.

Here's part of it:

Brendan Sullivan, 25, moved to New York after studying creative writing at Kenyon College in Ohio. He hasn’t landed a book deal for his novel, but is determined to find a publisher. “Writing has ruined my life and cost me many, many girlfriends,” he wrote in an e-mail. “I have thrown away several careers and one college degree to spend my time working in bars, D.J.’ing in bars and drinking my rejection letters away. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy, and I’ve made many of them since I started …. I also abandoned my agent with words harsher than those I’ve saved for lost loves.”

That's only one case. The article quotes other cases where one's life was disrupted by the al'mighty pen.

Six years ago, I had a life. I was thirty pounds lighter, I actually knew where all members of my family were going after they told me and rather enjoyed frivolous waste-of-time shopping trips where I had nothing to do all day but ogle clothes I only wish I had the money to buy.

I showed up for work on time and actually volunteered for overtime to increase the paycheck so I could have more money for said shopping trips.

The car got washed and the garden got watered, not to mention my body took on a golden glow from all those trips out in the summer sun.

Relatives were visited, neighbors were checked in on and playing in the park with my dogs was an every day thing.

Clothes were thrown out on the line to save on the electric bill instead of tossed in the energy-guzzling dryer and food actually was prepared up on top of the stove (or the grill) instead of the microwave.

All for the sake of the al'mighty pen, I have given up all those things.

Every morning, there is a mad dash for the computer to either read email from my writing group, write in my blog or start working on a scene in a novel that was hauntingly driving me to write it down, lest I forget it.

All for the al'mighty pen do I do this because...

I'm not quite sure.

I'm thinking it might be a disease that inflicts ordinary people that drives them to give up on what they used to know as everyday life and turn it into a frenzied marathon of writing, editing, revising, writing some more, sending said writing to agents and publishers, reading the rejections, screaming, writing again, sending again and repeating the whole process over and over until you finally give up and start on another novel and repeat the same process over and over.

It's a disease of the al'mighty pen.

Anyway, what prompted me to get out of bed, empty my bladder, grab a sandwich and some pepsi and turn on the computer at 4 a.m. in the morning when I could still be sleeping is a condition that strikes every known man or woman on the face of this earth if they decide to become a writer. And, God forbid them to want to become a published author because if that happens, they're in for a treat and their life will never be the same unless they take that al'mighty pen, lay it down and refuse to pick it up again.

But, we don't do that.

We can't.

We just can't.

So, I'm sitting here at the computer at 4 in the morning - errr, make that 5 by now - and I come across an article in the NY Observer titled "My Book Deal Ruined My Life" and I'm thinking...no matter how much my life has changed and no matter how much I long for the times when I could kick back and enjoy life without having to turn this blasted computer on, I still think because of the al'mighty pen, my life has become a little richer, and a little more meaningful.

I don't know how or why because that book deal is just not happening; but somehow, somewhere, I just feel it and if I wait just a little while longer, and pray a little harder, and keep on writing and revising and submitting, I'll finally get to where I'm going.

All for the sake of the al'mighty pen that just won't let me let it go.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

SPECIAL GUEST: Kim Robinson, author of THE ROUX IN THE GUMBO

We have a special guest here at The Writer's Life! Kim Robinson, author of The Roux in the Gumbo is stopping off here on her virtual book tour!

We usually do interviews here, but today I'd like to give you a glimpse into what The Roux in the Gumbo is about by posting an excerpt of the book instead. I think this speaks more than any interview could.

Kim is a remarkable person in her own right.

She was born in raised in Compton, California, and is a survivor. She is a motivational speaker, sometimes bringing the crowd to tears with her moving personal accounts detailing the background of her life.

The Roux in the Gumbo is an emotional and inspirational look into the lives of a family that opens their door and hearts on every page. Spanning the years between 1800 to 1997, The Roux in the Gumbo’s story is told through one of the main characters before her passing; the remainder is accompanied by the memories of family members and friends.

Based in Louisiana, with all its flair and Southern culture, it describes the experiences throughout history, contributing to the shaping of generations. In spite of the obstacles and struggles that llife brought their way, these characters persevered with unity, love and laughter, due to a strong familial support system that carries universal appeal.

And this is from the pages of The Roux in the Gumbo by Kim Robinson...

Gizelle welcomed the feel of the cool sheets against her skin. She crawled exhausted into her bed, naked as always during the humid summer. As Gizelle slept, her subconscious took her back to a night twenty years ago in 1850. She was twelve years old and alone in the middle of the night. Scared, tired, hungry, and sick, she sat crying and shivering under a huge magnolia tree in driving rain, deep in the bayou near Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Gizelle decided to sit and wait. Surely, one of the water moccasins or some deadly spider would put her out of her misery. No matter what, she was not going back to the plantation.

Before Gizelle was old enough to be weaned, she had been wrenched from her mother’s breast and sold to the Sunrise Plantation. They should have called it the Graveyard because so many slaves were buried there. They worked clearing the bayous so the boats could navigate through the waters to bring in materials to build plantation homes and slave quarters. They also brought in seed and supplies to cultivate the fields of cotton, rice, and sugar cane; anything that was agriculturally profitable.

The overseers did not allow slaves who labored in the fetid water to get out as they watched others pulled under by the alligators. If the poisonous snakes and spiders did not kill them, the elements would. They worked regardless of rain or snow. Those who fell ill were left on the bank to die. The owners could always buy more slaves.

During the epidemics, cholera and yellow fever laid claim to many. Hundreds expired from colds, croup or the many diseases that thrived in the swampy water. The soles of their feet split open from the fungus brought on by standing in dirty water for too long. They bound their feet with bandages but without proper treatment, the cuts developed gangrene. The limbs were amputated. Cripples sat in pirogues to transfer the debris from the water to the bank. A slave was lucky to make it through a year working at Sunrise.

Gizelle’s dark skin dictated that by the age of four she was sent to the fields to pick cotton. When she was nine years old, the overseer gave her a gift. He raped her. He had been doing so for three years now. He had very strange and unnatural desires, and she could not take it anymore. She would prefer death to the tortured existence she was living.

Each time lightning brightened the sky, Gizelle prayed for God to end her life. Finally, the storm passed. She gathered Spanish moss from the trees and made a pallet. She closed her eyes, hoping they would never again open.

“Cher, Cher, Wake up chile! What are you doing here? Get up Cher you are soaking wet. Come with me. Open your eyes,” the voice said.

Gizelle heard the words but did not want to open her eyes. She did not want to be alive. Maybe God was a woman, or maybe he was busy and had sent an angel for her. She peeked out with one eye. Nope it was not God; God did not have long white hair that hung down to his waist. She opened the other eye and looked into eyes that looked like a cat, colored a greenish-gray. Her face was soft with what seemed to be concern. No one had ever looked at Gizelle with such kindness.

“Can you stand, Cher? Are you hurt?” The woman touched Gizelle’s forehead and found it burning with fever. “You poor chile, you come with Tallulah; I will make you better,” she said.

Gizelle rose shakily to her feet and leaned against the strange woman. Tallulah was the tallest woman she had ever seen. When Gizelle got dizzy and could not walk, Tallulah carried her.

Tallulah took her to a cabin built three feet above the ground alongside a creek, allowing the water to flow under rather than through the house when the water was high. It was a cozy habitat.

Three large rooms were more than adequate for Tallulah. One, a large inviting kitchen kept warm by the stove where she prepared her food. Another was the bedroom, which boasted a four-poster bed with night tables and an armoire that covered an entire wall. The custom furniture would have done any mansion proud. The last room had a massive desk on one wall.

The other three walls were bookshelves, overflowing with books and mementos of her life. The collection of Indian and French artifacts spoke volumes about Tallulah’s heritage.

Gizelle dreamt that someone removed her wet clothes and placed her in a large metal basin filled with lavender scented water that had been warmed in a teakettle that sat on the top of a big pot-bellied stove. Her hair was gently washed and braided. She was spooned hot soup; the tastiest she had ever eaten, nothing like the slop at Sunrise. The woman held a cup for her so she could sip delicious honey-sweetened herb tea. It soothed and warmed her from the inside out.

When she was out of the tub, Gizelle’s body was rubbed down with oils that made her skin feel smooth and soft like a baby. The towel was soft, like freshly ginned and cleaned cotton. She wondered if she was dreaming, or maybe this was heaven. Wherever she was, this was where she wanted to be.

Gizelle awoke in the comfort of a soft feather mattress. This must be how the people in the big house slept, she thought. She was afraid that if she moved, her surroundings would disappear and she would find herself back on the floor of her cabin. Tallulah warmed the sheets by filling a bottle with hot water and rolling it between them. The quilt smelled as if it were filled with fragrant flowers. She drifted back to sleep.

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For more information on Kim, please visit http://www.kim-robinson.com/. You can pick up your copy of The Roux in the Gumbo at Amazon.

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