Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pump Up Your Book Promotion Introduces V-Logs

Pump Up Your Book Promotion, an innovative public relations agency specializing in online book promotion, now introduces v-logging into their virtual book tour packages.

V-logging, or blogging using video, is the latest trend that Dorothy Thompson, CEO/Founder of Pump Up Your Book Promotion, is now implementing into her clients’ online book campaigns.

“V-logging is simply blogging using videos,” she says. “We have tried the traditional methods of getting online attention for our clients; now it’s time to take it a step higher. What better way to sell our clients’ books than to have the clients themselves talk about their books using video technology. We’ll be the first company to use v-logs to promote our authors and are looking forward to seeing the results from this innovative promotional tool.”

Kelly Epperson, author of When Life Stinks, It’s Time to Wash the Gym Clothes, was eager to become Pump Up’s first client to incorporate v-logging in with her virtual book tour in December. Her first stop is at The Writer’s Life on December 1 where you will be able to watch Kelly talk about her book or you can watch it at YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYRK5S0CgUo.

Pump Up Your Book Promotion leads the way in providing authors touring packages that is economical, yet produces the results authors are looking for.

“In my career so far,” says Joel M. Andre, author of the horror novel, Kill 4 Me, “I have worked with several promotional companies. None have shown the professionalism and dedication that Dorothy Thompson & Pump Up Your Book Promotion has. For a fourth of what I paid some of the other companies on the market for no actual results, Pump Up Your Book Promotion has delivered the results they advertise, and give you a great tool for marketing your books. I endorse them without any hesitation, and they will continue to represent me in all future endeavors. With class and heart, they are an important part of my team. I am sure you too will be impressed with them as well.”

For more information or if you would like to book your own virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion, you can visit their website at www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com.

Virtual Book Tour: Interview with Political Expert Reb Bradley

Reb Bradley is a radio counselor, talk show host, writer and national conference speaker who has devoted his life his life to strengthening the modern Christian family. He conducts seminars and teaches extensively on issues related to marriage, fatherhood, child training and single Christian living.

Reb’s prior book, Child Training Tips: What I Wish I Knew When My Children Were Young has sold thousands of copies to parents anxious to give their children the best possible start in life. Reb and his wife Beverly are homeschoolers and live California. You can visit his website at www.familyministries.com or www.rebbradley.net.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Reb. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I have been writing for about 20 years. In that time I have written more than a dozen books, booklets, and manuals, all of which, except for my current book, are self-published.


Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

The title of my new book Born Liberal, Raised Right: How to Rescue America from Moral Decline -- One Family at a Time makes it sound like a parenting book, but it is not. It is an analytical work that looks at social trends and political philosophies, and reveals how parents, by their style of parenting, create the character and worldview of each generation of adults.


I wrote it because I listened to radio talk show hosts discuss society’s problems, but miss the root causes for those problems. As an instructor on raising children I felt like I could write a book that would expose the causes of society’s problems and offer practical solutions.


What kind of research was involved in writing “Born Liberal, Raised Right: How to Rescue from Moral Decline -- One Family at a Time”?

My research into parenting has been a lifelong study, and is based on an exhaustive study of the Bible’s wisdom and guidelines for raising children. I have found that families who apply those principles see their homes wonderfully transformed. I have also taken careful notes on my own parenting foibles, as well as the parenting journeys of so many thousands.


My research into culture was taken from news articles over an 8-year period.


How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

I had very little input into the title and dust jacket design, although I tried to have LOTS of input. It was the most challenging part of dealing with a publisher. I have always self-published all my books until this one, so I was not ready for the publisher/author relationship, defined by the contract. My publishing house is managed by a team of very good people. However, I was not ready for the release of control that comes with signing a contract. They have power to change the title and direct the marketing. That has been hard to experience, since I have my own ideas about what words and images accurately represent me and my book.


Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

This journey has been simple for me. In 1998 I mentioned to the publisher some of my observations about the power parents have to shape a culture and he suggested I write the book. Eight years later, when I finally sent him the first two chapters he immediately started talking contract.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

It took 4 months.


Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

The publisher assigned me an agent, Sandy Frazier, who books me radio and TV interviews. She has done a fantastic job so far. I have 4-5 interviews a day. If I self-publish my next book, I will definitely get an agent.


Do you plan subsequent books?

I have several books in mind to write. If this one is a success, I will go for the next one.


Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

It doesn’t matter what time of day it is for me, I struggle at writing just the same.


If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

The first thing I would invest in is a professional marketing team to create a catchy title and attractive cover, then a promotions agent.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

It is important for an author to use his existing network of supporters and any movers and shakers he knows.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

A book will only happen if you put the starting date on your calendar. My first book was a result of collecting my thoughts on napkins, 3x5 cards, and memo recordings for 10 years. I finally set a day to start, and then sat down to organize all the cards into categories. I then typed them into a Word document, cutting and pasting them into sections. I organized those random thoughts into a reasonable flow and started writing an outline. As I completed sections I gave them to a trusted friend to critique -- my wife, usually. I took to heart her comments and went back to work. I have concluded that a dream will never come to pass if you wait for it to find you. You must chase it to make it happen.


Thank you for coming, Reb! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

I have two web sites: www.familyministries.com and www.rebbradley.net. The book is available on both sites, as well as on Amazon.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Guest Blogger: Marta Stephens Gives Tips to Writers

Think You Want to Write?
Marta Stephens 2008 all rights reserved

You’ve written an amazingly brilliant novel. Your tension is excellent, the suspense is fantastic, your subplots are beautifully woven together--every word, every phrase is sheer perfection.

In the begin, the reaction from your friends and family to your writing may range from curious amusement to mild enthusiasm. Months pass, your family begins referring to you in past tense. You friends call less frequently -- eventually they quit, your kids stop setting your place at the table, and dog you’ve raised as a pup begins to bark and growl every time you shuffle your feet from your desk into the kitchen for another cup of coffee. The only television you “watch” are the infomercials at two in the morning only because you’re so wound up from working out complex plots that you can’t go to sleep. But that’s okay, because this is your goal, right? You’ve raised the bar a notch higher and now you have to roll with the punches. You have no choice but to push yourself to the brink of exhaustion and push you will!

So the fateful day comes when you give your manuscript one last read, say a prayer, and send it off to a publisher. He will, of course, immediately accept it and will pass it on to the next available editor. That editor will drop whatever she is doing to read your book because...after all, she knows from that opening paragraph that it's going to be an amazingly “brilliant book.” Within a day or so, the editor who stayed up all night because she found it impossible to put down your manuscript will return the book to you with only a few minor recommendations because she cannot improve “perfection.”

You correct the errors, make some more changes, and send it back. This process will continue any number of times until you and your editor are in complete agreement that the manuscript is just as it should be.

The next in line to receive the manuscript is the publisher. He will shove everything off the desk, unplug the phone, and call in an order for take out so he too can concentrate on the next NY best seller. The publisher reads your manuscript, makes a few more recommendations, dances a jig, and shoots it back to you for another round of proofreading--every page from beginning to end.

Now comes the tedious part. Proofreading the PDF version of the book you've committed to memory. You can recite every line of dialogue and narrative. You understand each character’s motives and the subtleties that makes them unique. The trick is to catch the typos your eyes no longer see because your brain “fixes” those pesky words and tells you the “of” or “the” are there when they aren’t. You overlook the “where” when it should be “were” because you’ve read this a million times and your brain is conditioned to “read it right” and thus, you don’t see the error. But this is no time for trickery. You need to catch everything that jumps off the page like: misspellings, typos, repeated words, passive phrases, unnecessary/or excessive tags, excessive use of pronouns, pronouns and more pronouns. Check for inconsistencies (If your character has blue eyes, in chapter one, she better have blue eyes in chapter 50). Other stuff includes, punctuation, run on sentences, and did I mention repeated words? What about facts? Have you done your research? If your story includes a scene where someone is heating up a sandwich in a microwave, your story can't take place prior to the 1970's. Sure the microwave was accidently discovered during WWII, but it wasn't marketed for domestic use until the late 1960s. It would be another ten years before prices would start to drop and another several more years before they became a household "must" item.

If you’ve gotten this far in the process, you’ve probably had no less than 8-10 set of eyes read, critique, and edit your manuscript a number of times each. Still, it’s up to you to scan every one of your 100,000 plus words and start making a page by page, line by line inventory of errors that need to be corrected, deleted, added, or tweaked. You proofread your proofreader's notes and go over the whole thing once more before you shoot it back into cyberspace straight to the publisher’s desk for his final seal of approval. And now you’re done, right?

Wrong!

Don’t even think of propping your feet up. If you’re lucky, you’ll only need to proofread the darn thing once more. Next comes the advanced review copies (ARCs). They’re printed and sent to a group of reviewers who have been waiting months for the privilege to review your masterpiece. While they’re busy doing that, you might be asked to proofread the manuscript again—just to be sure. THIS is by far the most nerve-wracking phase of all--the literal road of no return. No “Get Out of Jail Card” for you if you haven’t caught every mistakes by now.

You hold your breath and wait for the reviews to trickle in. Will they love the cover? Will the plot pull them in? Will the characters WOW them? Who knows? All you can do is wait and hope you've done your part to near perfection because the fate of your book is now in the hands of your readers.

Okay, so maybe I’ve exaggerated a thing or two, but in essence, this is what an author can expect after he/she has written “The End.” What every aspiring writer needs to understand though is that novels don’t materialize over night. It takes time—often years of dedication, research, and a massive amount of hard work to turn that “great idea” into a polished page-turning story. You’ll spend months in solitary confinement. You’ll write several versions (if you don’t, you should) before it’s ever ready for a critique. Oh, yes, before I forget, make sure to slip on the thick skin because no manuscript is perfect, brilliant, or totally unique. Readers will chew it up and spit out into a million unrecognizable bits and pieces -- better be prepared for the comments. Study the craft, learn about plot, characterization, point of view, imagery and the many other aspects of fiction writing. While you’re at it, brush up on your grammar and for crying out loud, learn how to research—Google everything.

From beginning to end, the quality of the story, depends on you. The truth of the matter is, there are no magic wands, no shortcuts, or easy answers. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a few selfless souls who will guide you along the way, but in the end, the fine line between success and failure is totally up to you -- just as it should be.

Now, about your marketing ...

Marta Stephens is a native of
Argentina who has made Indiana her home since the age of four. This mild-manner lady turned to crime with the publication of the first in her Sam Harper Crime Mystery series, SILENCED CRY (2007) which went on to receive honorable mention at the 2008 New York Book Festival and top ten in the 2007 Preditors & Editors Reader Poll. The second book in the Harper series, THE DEVIL CAN WAIT, will be released by BeWrite Books (UK) on November 3, 2008.

Stephens holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism/Public Relations from Ball State University (IN) where she is employed in human resources. She is a member of Sisters in Crime International, Sisters in Crime Speed City Indiana Chapter, and the Midwest Writer's Workshop.

Stephens believes learning is a life-long adventure. Aside from her writing, she is trained in graphic and web design. She co-designed the award-winning book cover of her debut novel, SILENCED CRY with friend Scott Parkison (IN), created the book trailer, and designed/administers her website, www.martastephens-author.com, her personal blog, http://mstephens-musings.blogspot.com, and the authors’ blog, MURDER BY 4 http://murderby4.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Writing Advice from Bestselling Author Mary Burton

Today we have a special visitor and what a treat! Mary Burton, author of the romantic suspense novel, Dead Ringer, is here with us today to give us writing advice through her experiences as an established and well-respected published author.

Writing Advice from Bestselling Author Mary Burton

For my last “real” job I was the marketing director for an engineering firm. When I gave notice, my boss asked if I’d like to freelance articles and promotional pieces for the company. This arrangement meant they company didn’t have to rush to refill the position and it provided me with steady income. It was a perfect fit for us both. Water and sewer rates and landfill construction was a far cry from historical romances, but it didn’t make sense to turndown paying work. For the next few years I did this kind of freelance work. There were times when it was a push to write the fiction and get the paying work done but somehow it all got done. In those four years I ghost wrote a number of articles, THE INSIDER’S GUIDE TO DIRECT MARKETING and several marketing pieces for different engineering firms.

The novels did start to sell and slowly I let the non-fiction work go. A few years after I sold my first historical novel, I decided to make the transition to romantic suspense. But again instead of giving up the historical cold turkey, I continued to write them as I worked on romantic suspense propels. Again, it was tough at times doing double duty but it all got done in the end.

So what did I learn from all this? Don’t walk away from the expertise you’ve acquired in your day job. Use that expertise. Freelance for your last company or consider writing nonfiction articles about the work. All writing, if done well, can open doors.

Becoming a full time writer takes time. The transition won’t happen over night so don’t fret if the path to being published isn’t perfectly straight. Be open to what comes your way.

That made good financial sense for them but they had several marketing projects in the pipeline that needed to be finished. Doesn’t matter if you’re focused on the paranormal market, historical romances, or mysteries, there are some basic bits of advice I always share with aspiring writers.

Love what you write! Don’t just write to the market, but write what you love. Getting published can be a long, tough process so write the stories you adore. Your passion and excitement for the story (or lack of it) will show.

Finish the book! I’ve seen too many talented writers who’ve never written beyond chapter three. They spent years polishing those beginning pages, never moving on to finish the book. It’ll never sell if its not finished. The first draft doesn’t have to be perfect or pretty. Remember you can’t fix what’s not in the computer.

Rewrite! This is when the magic happens. Rewrites are the time to smooth your beginning, fine-tune your pacing and honing word craft. It can take me seven drafts to get a book just right.

Network! If you can get to a writers conference, go. You’ll not only get to mix and mingle with other writers, but you’ll also have the chance attend educational sessions and meet editors and agents. And if travel isn’t available to you, search out online groups and classes. You’ll benefit by being in the company of writers.

Don’t give up! You are going to get rejection letters—its part of the business. Most every published writer has that first book that never sold. The trick is to learn from the rejections and keep writing.

Mary Burton is the author of the Zebra Romantic Suspense novels I’M WATCHING YOU and the upcoming DEAD RINGER (November 2008) and Christmas Past in the SILVER BELLS anthology (November 2008). She has also written twelve historical western romances for Harlequin Historical and four novels for Silhouette Romantic Suspense. For more information stop by her website at www.maryburton.com.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Interview with Horror Author Joel M. Andre

Joel M. Andre was born January 13, 1981 in Cottonwood, AZ. He began writing back in 1994 on a personal level, discovering the passion and feeling the words brought him. Although more of a hobby at the time, he collected his works and in 1999 released the poem The Midnight Express. It received positive feedback, and was quickly followed by For the Salem Witch. To date Joel has released over 60 poems, and 3 books.

Pray the Rain Never Ends was the first book, which includes the poem he wrote for his nephew Christopher Andre. A gripping work that shows a different side to the creator of work that usually holds a darker flair.

The follow up book A Death at the North Pole brought a new side of Joel out. This was a dark journey through a winter wonderland, and provided a more in depth look at Joel and his long form writing.

Most recently Joel released the book Kill 4 Me, a technological ghost story, of a woman haunted by a vengeful spirit through the use of a cell phone and computer.

With a passion for writing, you can tell Joel loves what he does. Although some would say his imagination runs more left field, there is no denying his original thoughts and ideas will provide enjoyment for years to come.

You can visit his website at www.joelmandre.com.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Joel. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

Hello, and thank you for having me. I have been writing working with poetry since 1999 and horror since 2002. I was born in a small tall called Cottonwood, AZ and was raised there. I moved to Phoenix in 2004.


Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

My book ‘Kill 4 Me’ was written over the course of a couple of months Summer 2008. I was working one night, when I received a text message and it sent my mind through a series of ideas. The final product turned out to be about a woman who is stalked by a demonic spirit through text messages and other forms of digital communication as the result of a near fatal car accident several months before the haunting.


What kind of research was involved in writing “Kill 4 Me”?

I studied different areas to find the perfect setting for the location. In addition, I went through old house plans, and verified the deaths the happened in the book could potentially happen the way they were described. There is a reason for the car in the opening scene that I chose. But I don’t like to give too much away. I spent half my time researching.


How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

I had 100% input on the cover design. I actually hired my brother John Andre who does photography to design it for me. He does good work.


Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

It has been smooth sailing. I am not a traditional horror writer, and had to prove there was a market for me. I have caught the attention of several main stream publishers, and who knows where the journey will twist next.


For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

Not very long at all. This was my third book with this particular publisher.


Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

I think in an effort to continue in writing you need an agent. I am in discussion with a couple, and still waiting to hear back from one, who if they said they would represent me, it would happen on the spot.


Do you plan subsequent books?

I have a few books written and in the pipeline. Next up is ‘The Price of Blood’ a sequel to A Death at the North Pole.


Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I write at night, and at times by candlelight.


If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

I would invest in literacy programs. It’s more important to me that people read than what they actually read.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

You are your own best marketing tool. Self-promotion is imperative in the success of a new author. I have been doing a bookstore tour, among other appearances in person. Online I have been talking on message boards, sending out press releases, and just making my presence known. I am happy with where I am going.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?


Thank you for coming, Joel! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book? Thank you for having me. You can find more out about me and my books at www.joelmandre.com and my books are available online at most online book retailers.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Spotlight on Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Author of NOURISHMENT FROM THE WORD

Nourishment from the WORD
Dr. Kenneth Genry, Jr.
Nordskog Publishing
Click here to purchase!

About the Author:

Dr. Kenneth Gentry, Jr. received degrees from both the Reformed Theological Seminary and Whitefield Theological Seminary. He pastored for twenty-five years in both the Presbyterian Church in America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. He now serves as Director of NiceneCouncil.com and the executive director of GoodBirth Ministries. Both organizations are dedicated to advancing serious Christian education, scholarship and apologetics. Dr. Gentry is the author and co-author of over 20 books.

About the Book:


This book is for serious Christians following the Biblical encouragement to “be a good servant of Jesus Christ, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of sound doctrine” (1 Tim. 4:6). Dr. Kenneth l. Gentry, Jr. provides a banquet of nourishing entrees too seldom found on the menu of the modern evangelical church, to help hungry believers grow in understanding.

You can visit his publisher's website at www.nordskogpublishing.com/.

Endorsements

Nourishment from the Word: Select Studies in Reformed Doctrine is a welcomed collection of shorter writings by the noted Reformed theologian, Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry. He puts forth concise arguments and well-articulated distinctions of Reformed theological thought on a variety of subjects. Every student of the Holy Scriptures will greatly benefit from reading this book.
— Dr. Kenneth Gary Talbot • President, Whitefield College and Theological Seminary, Lakeland, FL

I have found this volume to be of tremendous help to my own theological study. Whenever I forget about the Scriptural details of these issues, I find myself rereading these chapters, because Dr. Gentry is so organized, concise, and to the point about what really matters.
— Brian Godawa • Author, “Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films with Wisdom and Discernment”; Los Angeles, CA

From the dawning of a six-day creation to the world’s ending, Dr. Gentry’s collection of writings contains some of his most profound insights and God-honoring thinking. Masterful understanding of Scripture combined with sound logic causes one to deeply ponder his conclusions. Thorough and incisive in his research and argumentation, Dr. Gentry epitomizes the Spirit-inspired man who has dedicated himself to loving the Lord with his entire mind.
— John David McPeak • Lieutenant Colonel, Ret., U.S. Army, M.S., Strategic Intelligence, Joint Military Intelligence College

It is impossible to love God with our minds if they are empty. This volume, with clarity, relevance, and wit, equips Christians to develop minds so that they cease being empty-headed children, and instead can in their “thinking be mature” (1 Cor. 14:20). Even where I disagree with my learned friend, the cogency of his analysis remains compelling.
— Jeffery J. Ventrella, J.D. Senior Vice-President, Strategic Training, Alliance Defense Fund, Mesa, Arizona

Dr. Gentry has constructed a wonderful resource on key ecclesiastical and doctrinal issues. The format is easy to read, the organization is clear and succinct, and the argumentation compelling. This will be helpful to pastors and laypersons alike.
— Rev. Dan Dodds• Minister of Counseling and Care, Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church (PCA), Greenville, SC

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Interview with Romantic Thriller Author Dave Donelson

Dave Donelson’s career as a broadcaster, entrepreneur, and writer has taken him from the jungles of Australia’s Cape York Peninsula to the minarets of Riyadh. He’s climbed the spire of the Empire State Building, floated the Usumacinta River to the Mayan ruins at Piedras Negras in Guatemala, and photographed the tree-climbing lions and mountain gorillas of Uganda.

Dave’s inquisitive, active lifestyle finds its way into freelance writing and photographic assignments for magazines like Disney’s FamilyFun, Woodworker’s Journal, and Las Vegas Magazine. Closer to home, he writes features for Westchester Magazine as well as a regular column on golf. He is a member of the prestigious Metropolitan Golf Writers Association.

His first novel, Hunting Elf, began as an audio book at www.huntingelf.com and was published as a trade paperback in 2006. K9 Perspective called it “…a delicious romp through the suburbs of New York.”

Dave’s first book was Creative Selling (Entrepreneur Press, 2000), a non-fiction prescriptive described by Brian Tracy as “…a terrific book on selling.” As a business journalist, he writes for The Christian Science Monitor, Family Business Magazine, and dozens of trade pDave Donelson on assignmentublications serving industries from the automotive aftermarket to sporting goods retailing.

Dave has a BA in Rhetoric and Public Address from Missouri Western State University. He serves as a Trustee for the Westchester Library System, a consortium of 38 public libraries serving Westchester County, NY. He lives in West Harrison, NY, with his wife, Nora, and an ever-changing roster of dogs and cats.

Visit www.davedonelson.com for a selection of Dave’s work. You’ll also find him on MySpace, Facebook, Gather, and Amazon.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Dave. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I’ve been a writer as long as I can remember, although I made it my full-time profession about eight years ago. Before that, I had a long career in broadcasting, starting as a radio newsman and ending as a TV station owner and entrepreneur.


Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

Heart of Diamonds is a romantic thriller about blood diamonds in the Congo. It’s a high-concept novel with a plot that involves the White House, the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and an American televangelist in a diamond smuggling scheme that is uncovered by a TV reporter, Valerie Grey. It sprang from an article I read in Time Magazine about the cozy relationship between Pat Robertson, the famous American televangelist, and Mobutu Sese-Seko, the dictator who raped the Congo for thirty years. When I found out Robertson owned diamond mines and timber concessions in the Congo—making profits from slave labor, no less—I simply had to write a book about it.


What kind of research was involved in writing Heart of Diamonds?

I spent a full year studying everything from the politics and history of the Congo to its flora and fauna. Then I traveled to Central Africa to get a real feel for the landscapes and people. I actually made two trips—one as I was finishing the first draft and a second one just before I wrapped up the third and final version.


How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

Actually, quite a lot. Kam Wai Yu, the designer, was great to work with. The first version didn’t capture the theme of the book, so I sent him some photos I’d taken in Africa and made some suggestions. He not only came back with a really great cover, but suggested we use some of my photos as chapter heads, which worked very well.


Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

There’s nothing smooth about publishing a book! It takes an immense amount of patience and perseverance. I’ve started, ran, and sold multi-million dollar companies with less personal difficulty.


For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

It was about a year, which seems like an eternity but really isn’t when you consider how much prep work has to be done for promotion and production.


Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

I don’t have an agent currently but am not adverse to it. I hesitate to make a blanket statement because so much depends on the book itself, I think, and the writer’s expectations for it.


Do you plan subsequent books?

As of the moment, I have three new novels underway. On the front burner is the sequel to Heart of Diamonds, which finds Valerie Grey investigating drugs and corruption in Central America. I’m also working on a follow-up to my first novel, Hunting Elf, and writing a historic romance set in the early days of radio.


Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I start very early. I’m usually at my desk by 5 AM and write until noon, with a break for breakfast and a chat with my wife. I developed an early morning writing habit when I had to produce radio newscasts that aired at the crack of dawn.


If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

A publicist would be invaluable. It’s very time-consuming to set up appearances, readings, and signings, arrange blog tours, send out press releases, and so on. I do it myself now, but I know it would be much more effective if I could turn it over to someone else.


How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

You can’t do too much self-promotion and if you do too little, you’re book is doomed to failure. I used my experience in starting businesses to draw up a marketing plan for Heart of Diamonds as soon as the release date was set. It includes extensive blogging and a big presence on social sites like Facebook, weekly press releases to both online and traditional media, and a virtual book tour. I also did an email campaign specifically directed to libraries. I set aside a day every week to make face-to-face calls on bookstores. I’ve also become very involved in fund raising events related to the terrible war in the Congo, although that’s more public service than book promotion.


Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

As they say in the Congo, “opika pende.” That means “be strong.”


Thank you for coming, Dave! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

You can learn more about my latest novel at www.heartofdiamonds.com. Among many other places, I blog at heartofdiamonds.blogspot.com. Heart of Diamonds is available at Amazon and other online retailers as well as bookstores everywhere.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Interview with the Authors of Grit for the Oyster: 250 Pearls of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers

A powerful motivator for aspiring writers, Grit for the Oyster: 250 Pearls of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers, offers wit, wisdom, and inspiration to take that first step and persevere through the writing journey. More than a how-to, this confidence-building book is designed to draw readers to a closer relationship with God, to affirm their calling to write, and to offer pithy practical guidance from successful writers like Terri Blackstock, Martha Bolton, James Scott Bell, Liz Curtis Higgs, Dr. Gary Chapman, and Kavid Kopp.

We interviewed the authors - Joanna Bloss, Debora M. Coty, Suzanne Woods Fisher and Faith Tibbetts McDonald - to find out more about their new anthology for aspiring writers!

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Suzanne, Deb, Faith, and Joanna. Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and how long you’ve been writing?

All of us are freelance writers for magazines, newspapers and anthologies and each of us also has a busy life outside of writing (that inadvertently makes our writing more interesting!). We are all moms and squeeze precious writing moments from full schedules. Suzanne raises guide dogs for the blind and cares for her elderly parents. Deb’s an orthopedic occupational therapist and piano teacher, Faith’s a writing instructor at Penn State University and avid runner, and Joanna is a certified personal trainer and graduate student. Between us we have about 30 years of professional writing experience.


Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

We became acquainted through a writer’s conference in California in 2006. Around this time Suzanne birthed the idea of writing a powerful motivator for aspiring and experienced writers, offering wit, wisdom and inspiration to take that first step and persevere through the writing journey.


There are many books that address the mechanics of writing and getting published, but not about the heart of writing. The other three of us eagerly jumped on board and Grit was soon underway. Each of us is on different legs of our writing journeys but we were united by the desire to create a motivational book for writers that affirms, builds confidence, inspires, and offers practical guidance.


What kind of research was involved in writing Grit for the Oyster?

The bulk of the writing was garnered from our personal experience so most of the research was conducted in the school of hard knocks. We did, on the other hand, spend hours (and we mean hours) contacting via e-mail the more seasoned authors who offered quotes about their real-life experiences. These enormously helpful quotes are scattered throughout the book. We found these authors to be extremely willing to share their expertise and appreciate their graciousness.


How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

Initially, very little. Although we had batted around some ideas, the first cover presented by the publisher was nothing like we had in mind! However, since Joanna has some graphic design experience, she mocked up a cover that we felt better represented the image we were trying to convey. Thankfully our publisher listened and the end product was one about which we felt very good.


Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

That question really captures the essence of Grit for the Oyster. Our quick answer would be “all of the above.” All of us have had some amazingly smooth sails interspersed with quite a few bumps along the way. For the more detailed answer, you’ll have to pick up a copy of the book!


For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

About eight months.


Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

Suzanne is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency and HIGHLY recommends that everyone pursue finding an agent. Deb is represented by an agent on a book by book basis. Faith and Joanna are currently free agents.


Do you plan subsequent books?

As a foursome we’ve joked about a sequel to Grit for the Oyster, but no, we don’t have anything planned at this time. However, Suzanne, Deb and Joanna all have forthcoming books in the works.


Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Whenever we can squeeze it in. Because Suzanne lives in the west, Joanna in central and Deb and Faith in the eastern time zone we can easily say that we have every hour of the day covered.


If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

Hands down—a publicist. (That and full-time housekeepers so we can devote less time to cleaning and more time to promotion!)


How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

Like many authors, we wrestle with the idea of self-promotion. But unless your name is well enough known to be automatically associated with great writing (oh how we long to be named Hemingway or Michener!), you absolutely must work very hard to promote your own work. We do speaking engagements, blog tours, bookstore signings, send out copies of our books to influential readers and pretty much any other moral, ethical and legal thing we can think of that might inspire someone to purchase our book.


Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Get started. Keep going. Don’t give up. And pick up a copy of Grit for the Oyster: 250 Pearls of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers. You won’t be disappointed!


Thank you for coming, Suzanne, Deb, Faith and Joanna! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

Thank you for this great interview! Our blog, www.gritfortheoyster-book.blogspot.com contains even more helpful information for up and coming writers and our book can be found on Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble online (www.barnesandnoble.com).

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Author Interview: Suspense/Mystery Author Richard Roach

Suspense/Mystery author Richard Roach was born in 1931 in Galveston, Texas. Short stories of his have been published in Man’s Story 2, Happy 2007, Vol. 20 and Bibliophilos 2006, Vol. 42. His first novel, Scattered Leaves, hit the book stores on September 1, ’08, and his second novel, Scattered Money, will be published in 2009. You can visit his website at www.richarderoach.com.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Richard. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

Yes, thank you for asking. I started writing one foggy night back in 1957. The rig was making a trip (changing the drill bit) and I sat alone in a lab filled with gas detection equipment that was so small you had to turn sideways to enter. I decided to pass the time by writing a western. Since then short stories of mine have been published in Man’s Story 2, Happy 2007 volume 20, page 58, Iconoclast 2006 volume 91, page 73, and Bibliophilos 2006 volume 42, page 54. My first novel, Scattered Leaves, is available on Amazon and other fine book stores. My second novel, Scattered Money, will be published in 2009.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

Scattered Leaves is the book currently published and available. The protagonist is Ben McCord. He’s an oilfield worker who comes home to find his wife raped and murdered. McCord is not the brightest penny on hand but he’s long on perseverance. He thinks might is right and his thoughts are simplistic. Protect the women and children and don’t lie. The men are on their own!

Scattered Leaves is a wonderful book combining suspense, mystery and romance. From the descriptive writing, I could visualize the characters and surroundings. You could feel the emotions of the main character Ben - from the loss of his love and really the only family he had to finding her murderer and finding love again. I look forward to reading more of this author's books. Trish Tuesburg

What kind of research was involved in writing Scattered Leaves?

Very little. It came from my imagination.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

Multi-Media listened to my suggestion and designed it.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

The main thing I would say is it takes time. It is difficult to write day after day when you see no results.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

About two years.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

No. I have had two agents but they didn’t sell my work. Yes, I feel all writers need an agent.

Do you plan subsequent books?

SCATTERED MONEY is written and will be published in 2009.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Daytime only.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

Take a full page ad in The New York Times.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

I do what Irene Watson tells me to do. You don’t hire someone to promote your book and disobey them.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

You must have patience and be willing to work without recognition for months, maybe years.

Thank you for coming, Richard. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

It was my pleasure. Amazon.com ought to do the trick. Please buy it, you’ll find it action packed. I love you all! www.richarderoach.com

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Guest Blogger: Tips to Help New Authors Promote Wisely by Karen White

Once upon a time, I was a voracious reader. I was never without a book in my purse, in my hand, on my bedside table or all of the above. And in all the times that I went to a library or bookstore and saw all of those books on the shelves, it never occurred to me that I could be one of those authors.

Fast forward twenty-some years. While staying at home with my babies, I sat down one day and just started typing. I wanted to write the kind of book I like to read—characters who are real and emotional stories that mix a woman’s journey with a little romance and mystery thrown in. I entered that first manuscript in a writing contest, and I ended up winning. The finalist judge was a literary agent in New York and she offered to represent me. I signed an agreement and she sold the book to the second publisher she sent it to. And then it was all clear sailing, right? Wrong!

My first four books were published by two different and small New York publishers. My print runs were miniscule and my distribution even more so. Despite this, I did what everybody was telling me to do—promoted myself! I got a website (mandatory), printed my own advanced reader’s copies and mailed them to select bookstores from a list I bought, sent out postcards to everyone on my mailing list (mostly friends and family members in the beginning). I made bookmarks and bought giveaway items for no other reason than everybody said that’s what I needed to do. But I made a gross miscalculation—I’d spent my entire (very tiny) advance and then some. And when I failed to earn even a single penny in royalties, I told myself it was okay. I was starting a business and I needed to sink funds into it before I could start seeing a profit.

I’m embarrassed to say that I have a business degree—graduated with honors, even—and it took me a while to realize how quickly one overlooks the principles of business when it comes to something that’s so much a part of us—our books. I spent a lot of money promoting books that were never printed. It didn’t matter how many readers I got excited about my book if there were no books for them to buy. I would have been better off burning my advance check in a tiny bonfire. At least I would have had warm hands for about five seconds.

In March, 2008, my 8th novel, The Memory of Water was published by my current publisher, Penguin Publishing Group. It’s a long story how I got here; suffice it to say that in the eight years between my first and my eighth novels, I’d learned quite a bit. The most important lesson, to me, was that if you weren’t one of the lucky few chosen from the get-go to be a bestseller by your publisher (and yes, 2/3 of the time, this is a preordained thing) you need to do what you can to be noticed by not only potential readers, but also by your publisher. Remember all of those books in the library and bookstores that I mentioned before? Those (at least those published by your publisher) are your competition for a very limited amount of promotion budget.

By the time The Memory of Water was published, I was ready to move on to the next level. Since starting with Penguin, I’d seen my sales and visibility climbing at a slow but respectable rate. But I was ready for more and I knew The Memory of Water would be the book to start with. I knew it was a good book, but when they gave it the most beautiful cover to ever grace a book, I knew that this could be my breakout book.

So I hired a publicist. I didn’t take this decision lightly—publicists are expensive. And I already had an in-house publicist working with me. But my in-house publicist worked with dozen of other authors, and my own knowledge of media contacts and other publicity sources were highly limited. I needed a professional to help me reach further and I got one (with a strong recommendation from my agent).

Suddenly, I was everywhere—at large events, appearing in print, radio and TV, and all over the Internet—and my book was on the front tables of independent and chain bookstores everywhere. My sales tripled, and orders for my backlist and my next novel were increased. Because of this success, my print run for my November book, The House on Tradd Street far exceeded my expectations. After eight books, I was suddenly an overnight success!

So, what have I learned in eight years that might help newer authors promote wisely?

1) Unless you’re one of the lucky ‘chosen few’ who are preordained to be a bestselling author with your first book, don’t expect too much from your publisher. They’re not being mean or stingy: they simply have a limited budget and a lot of authors. What does this mean for you? You need to prove to them that you’re working hard not only to deliver a great book, but that you’re also working to promote the book. Make sure you share with your editor and/or in-house publicist EVERYTHING that you’re doing on your behalf: lists of booksignings and appearances; promotions and contests; ads and media coverage.

2) With every book, give yourself a budget. I think the accepted rate is 10% of your advance should be spent on promotion. A given is a website. In this day and age, every author needs a website. If you can do it yourself, even better because then you’ll be saving a lot of money. For anything that you’re going to pay money for, consider who your target market is and the most effective/efficient way to reach them. I write southern women’s fiction. I target media in the southeast and SIBA (Southern Independent Booksellers Assoc.) bookstores. My publicist and I contact and/or send an ARC to almost every one of those stores. ARCs (advance readers copies) are a really effective way of getting your books into reader’s hands. It’s like sending out a free sample of shampoo. If they like it, they’ll tell their friends and/or customers. My publisher provides them for me and I have that in my contract.

3) Wasting money. Have you ever bought a book because you had a pen from the author with her name on it? I haven’t either. So why would you spend your money on promotional pens (or other such items)? If you need giveaways, think of things that will keep your name and/or books in front of potential readers. Tri-fold bookmarks are great because you can give an excerpt as well as promote more than one book and your website. I do post-it notes with my name and website because everyone uses post-its and my name and website will be seen every time they use one.

4) Freebie stuff. There’s quite a bit of promotion that you can do that costs you nothing more than time. FaceBook, MySpace, UTube, Gather.com are just a few with huge audiences. And don’t forget all of those reader sites out there that welcome author blog posts. Online newsletters are an easy/cheap way to keep in touch with readers. Have a signup on your website and then send a regular (not more than once a month) newsy newsletter to everyone who signs up.

5) Publicist or not? I know lots of successful authors who don’t use an outside publicist. For me, with an increased output (I went from 1 book a year to 2), I had less time but more money so it made sense to hire one. She had access to media outlets and bookstores (and the time to contact them) than I could have ever dreamed of. I can’t tell you for sure that my increased sales were a direct result, but my sales did triple in volume and I have to think that her efforts were responsible for at least a part of that.

In November, 2008, my 9th novel (The House on Tradd Street) will be published. My publicist has been working on this book for several months now and I can’t wait to see the results. Ultimately, however—and I tell this to every aspiring author—you can’t promote a book that a) isn’t yet written or b) isn’t the best book that you can write. No promotion in the world is going to help you sell a bad book. Writing a great book is your first priority and should never take a back seat to promotion. Remember, it’s the good books that get the word-of-mouth promotion that can’t be bought.

Karen White marries her passion for Charleston, the architecture of the area, and its history and legends in her new novel THE HOUSE ON TRADD STREET, the story of a real estate agent who, though she specializes in homes in the city’s historic area, detests them. To do so, Karen had to conjure up and face a universal horror—renovation. Unlike her recent book, The Memory Of Water, for which she physically confronted her lifelong fear of deep water for the sake of research, this time out she enjoyed a metaphorical wallow in the joys associated with restoring a one hundred and fifty year old house and garden and let her characters deal with the pain.

White’s protagonists face everything from a leaky roof, old fountains, and cracked cornices to overgrown flowerbeds, paint chipped ceilings, disintegrating plaster and warped floorboards. For herself she saved the best. Her research included luxurious strolls on the streets of Charleston, sampling and choosing restaurants such as Magnolias, Gaulart & Malicelet, Cru Café, Blossom and Anson for her characters to enjoy. Rumor has it she also did a bit of shopping at RTW on King Street and spent an afternoon on the Battery visiting White Point Gardens. Relishing the architecture and choosing among Victorians, Federals, Colonial Revivals, Queen Anne, Dutch Colonials and others, along with the amazing range of colors and appointments, Karen eventually placed the house at the center of her story at “55 Tradd Street” in the downtown historic district and, inspired by an actual house on that street, imagined it as a Federal style single family home.

Italian and French by ancestry, a southerner and a story teller by birth, White has moved around quite a bit in her life. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, she has also lived in Texas, New Jersey, Louisiana, Georgia, Venezuela and England, where she attended the American School in London. She returned to the states for college and graduated from New OrleansTulane University. Hailing from a family with roots firmly set in Mississippi (the Delta and Biloxi), White notes that “searching for home brings me to the south again and again.” She and her family now live near Atlanta.

It was love at first sight when White first visited Charleston and South Carolina’s lowcountry in 1995. She says it was “inevitable” that she would set several novels in the area, as she did with 2005’s The Color of Light, which Booklist praises as “an accomplished novel about loss and renewal.” Three years later, she returned to the there with The Memory Of Water and, now, to Charleston with THE HOUSE ON TRADD STREET. Her love of the southern coast shows no sign of abating. Her next novel, The Lost Hours (May 09) is set in and around Savannah.

Karen White’s work has appeared on the South East Independent Booksellers best sellers list. Her recent novel The Memory of Water, was the Borders Books and Atlanta & Company’s Book Club Selection for May, topped off at the end of the month with their live, television interview with Karen. The Memory of Water, which is well reviewed in Atlanta Magazine and an array of other print and online book media, and was adopted by numerous independent booksellers as a book club recommendation and as a featured title in their store. It’s been back to press five times since its March 2008 publication, the first time within its first four weeks on sale. It is one of NAL/Accent’s fastest selling titles.

Adding to the excitement of The Memory of Water’s March 2008 debut, was the resounding, continued recognition achieved by White’s 2007 novel Learning to Breathe. This spring Learning to Breathe was honored with a National Readers’ Choice Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Virginia Romance Writers HOLT Medallion. It was also named a finalist for the Romance Writers of America’s Award for Best Novel, the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence and the Georgia Author of the Year Award.

White credits years spent listening to adults visiting in her grandmother’s Mississippi kitchen, sharing stories and gossiping while she played under the table, with starting her on the road to telling her own tales. The deal was sealed in the seventh grade when she skipped school and read Gone With The Wind. She knew—just knew—she was destined to grow up to be either Scarlet O’Hara or a writer.

In addition to THE HOUSE ON TRADD STREET, White’s previous novels include Learning to Breathe, Pieces of the Heart, and The Color of Light.

You can visit her website at www.karen-white.com.



Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Interview with Poetry Book Author Laura Grossman

Laura Grossman graduated from Lehman College with a degree in English literature and won several awards from poetry contests. She has attended poetry readings and has enjoyed positive feedback on her work. She is the author of the poetry book, The Sighing of the Winter Trees, and you can visit her website here.

Welcome to the Writer’s Life, Laura. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I’ve been writing for awhile and I am working on a second book.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

My book is about the mystery in the world and hope and inspiration of mankind and I wrote it to satisfy and urge in me and others.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

I told my publisher what I wanted and they followed up on it.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

It has been smooth sailing.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

It took several weeks.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

I have not had an agent and it is not necessary to have one.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes, I am working on another book.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I am a morning writer I love to get up and work at the crack of dawn.

Monday, November 03, 2008

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: William R. Potter, Author of LIGHTING THE DARK SIDE

"I was born in the late 60's in a suburb of Vancouver, Canada called Burnaby, and haven't moved far from home over the years.

My very active childhood imagination and knack for making up stories often got me into trouble. Perhaps this is where all writers get started? Shortly after watching the first remake of King Kong, around the age of ten or eleven, I decided to write a "book." I remember something about a monster crab attacking Vancouver.

Throughout my teens my mind was in a state of unrest and I used poetry to journal the ups and downs of those difficult times. Later, my work was published in a poetry anthology.

I returned to my love of storytelling in my twenties, writing numerous short stories; and now at forty, I am re-working two full-length novel manuscripts for publishing. Many more book ideas are at the researching and outline stage, keeping me busy at the PC.

When I'm not writing or working I am playing with my two children, aged three and five."

You can visit William's website here.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, William. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I would first like to thank The Writers Life for having me. I guess you could say I was bitten by the writing bug at an early age. Shortly after watching the first remake of King Kong, around the age of ten or eleven, I scribbled a few lines about a mutant crab and said I was writing a book.

I discovered poetry in my teens and continued to write verse into my twenties and early thirties. However that kid’s dream of writing a book never went away. In 2001 I decided to get serious about fiction and dabbled in short stories with some success. With my confidence surging I attempted larger and larger word counts. Before long I had a collection of shorts and two novellas approaching novel length. It was time…after waiting twenty-five years since that monstrous crustacean of my childhood I attempted another novel in 2003 and finished the first draft just before Christmas 2004.


Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

Lighting the Dark Side is an anthology of short fiction, including three novellas and three shorter works running the gamut of fiction genres. After I finished the first draft of my first novel I decided to let the manuscript sit and cool for a while. I then returned to the assortment of stories I penned from 2001 to 2003.

The first thing I noticed about the group of fiction was the darker subject matter. I credited this gloominess to pain and sadness still lingering from my divorce of a few years previous. My writing was getting some favourable feedback and I wondered if grouped together the short stories might be enough for a book. I began to polish the stronger selections and wrote two more novellas in 2006 and 2007. I pared the total down to six and then began to seek out a publisher.

I believe everyone has a darker side to their personality that troubles those who witness it. For some it is pure evil, and for others it is perhaps anger management or jealousy. The key to triumphing over this darkness is to recognise it, and to turn a light against it. This became the theme and title of the book.

The characters in the book all follow unique paths in order to escape their own personal short comings; from Dwayne Johnson, a man who struggles to find love despite a severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; to Brad Stewart, whose lottery win becomes a nightmare when his son is kidnapped for ransom; to James Goodal, a gentle man with a rescue complex who resorts to murder when he takes in a young street prostitute.

What kind of research was involved in writing “Lighting the Dark Side”?

Each of the six stories required different amounts of research. As soon as I realised that Dwayne in the novella “Bent, Not Broken” suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, I stopped writing and began researching online OCD sites. The internet makes research so much easier and I quickly had a feel for this much misunderstood anxiety disorder. It took me a while to feel confident that I wouldn’t offend people who suffer from OCD and I almost cut the story from the book. I’m glad I kept it in, as the piece is always mentioned first by readers and reviewers.

For the police procedural, “Prominent Couple Slain” I studied as much information about police detective work as I could find. If you don’t have access to a real life detective, the World Wide Web is a good alternative to learn about weapons and tactics of law enforcement.

Researching the novella “Surviving the Fall” was a very sad experience for me. Ashley Metcalf is a fourteen year-old prostitute who was put on the street at age eleven to finance her mother’s drug addiction. I found numerous stories from around the world of girls as young as nine forced into this nightmare world of fear and violence.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

From early on I had a vision of how I wanted the cover to look. I made my own “working cover” and hoped the publisher’s professionals could improve it. The publisher’s designer went in a different direction with the title font. I disliked his first draft as it made the cover look like a self help book and it took me many weeks to persuade him that my idea was better. However, he continued to send galleys with lower case font and I became discouraged. I’m still not happy with it and it bothers me that the main title is not centred properly. Nevertheless, readers and reviewers have called it eye catching, striking, and unique.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

From the beginning I didn’t expect a traditional publisher to pick up a short story collection from an unknown and unpublished author, and after several rejections I decided to go the self publishing route. The self publishing industry was my first adventure in publishing so I’m not sure how the ride compares to those who work with mainstream publishers.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

From the time I submitted my finished manuscript to the release date was about six months.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

I don’t have an agent and I know that if I’m going to be taken serious by traditional publishers I will need a good one. Finding an agent is my number one goal for 2009 as I attempt to leave my POD past behind me and sign that elusive contract.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Definitely. I’m currently in the rewrite stage of a sequel to the short story “Prominent Couple Slain” from Lighting the Dark Side called “DEAD of KNIGHT-A Jack Staal Mystery.” It should be available by Christmas 2009—fingers crossed. I think the Detective Jack Staal character is strong enough for a series and already have two sequels outlined.

Another completed novel manuscript is about an average family man and how he and his wife deal with his depression and addiction following the sudden tragic loss of his eyesight. “Falling Down the Hole” is my 2010 project and I dream about it becoming my first book published by a traditional publisher.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Any chance I get at the computer works for me. However, I have a full-time job and my wife works evenings—throw in two kids under six and you can see how my writing time is very limited. I get up at 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning most weekends and fuel myself with a few gallons of coffee and then type away on my laptop until the kids wake up three or four hours later.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

Unfortunately, you can’t see the smile on my face as I answer this one! I would write a two or three minute video trailer and then hire the best in the film business to produce it. M. Night Shyamalan or perhaps Marty Scorsese would direct. U2 would record the soundtrack—hey you said money was no object—and an all A-list cast would be hired to play the characters from each story. Then I would unveil it during the next Super Bowl.

Seriously, if I had a larger budget I would try a shot gun approach, running ads in newspapers and magazines around North America. I would place banners, video clips and ads in every website and blog I could find featuring writers and books. Then I would hire a publicist to get me some radio or local television spots.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

For self published authors self-promotion is the only promotion. I’m always on the lookout for new opportunities to market my book. I am a member of Authors Den and several other sites that connect writers with readers. I try to spend at least an hour a day posting in forums, writing articles for blogs, and for maintaining my websites. Despite the negative reactions of bookstore managers toward POD books, I continue to investigate the possibility of a signing in the near future.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Write something, anything, every day and read as much as you can. Set realistic goals for your self such as how many pages you write every day or each week. Pick a date for when you will be published and then be prepared to work your tail off to reach your objectives. If you have a burning desire to be an author then keep at it and never give up until you get to where you want to be. Most of all—have fun with it!

Thank you for coming, William! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

Thanks again for having me I appreciate the support. I can be found at http://www.lightingthedarksidewrp.com or at http://www.authorsden.com/wrp

My book is available at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, Borders.com with the current best prices found at Tower.com.