Category Archives: Authors Talk

Anna Patricio: How the Bible inspired her first novel

Anna Patricio is the author of Asenath, a historical romance that adds some more meat to the biblical story of Joseph. Yes we know much about the dreamer, but what about his wife?

The lack of knowledge led Miss. Patricio to write the novel with Joseph’s wife as the heroine. Read on to learn some more of what finally helped her to find who she truly was as a writer.

Straight from the Author’s mouth: How the bible helped her find her niche.

Can you tell us about your journey as a writer? Why Asenath?

I have been fascinated with the story of Joseph (the dreamer) for the longest time. Some years ago, I realized not much was known of his wife, the priest’s daughter who was given to him in marriage as his reward for interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams. I grew really curious about her. I looked her up, but found hardly anything on her. Thus, I decided to imagine what her life might have been like.

How long did it take you to complete this novel? Can you talk about your writing process?

It took me about 3 years to complete ‘Asenath’ – and then 8 months to seek publication. My writing process is pretty spontaneous. I don’t have any particular procedure. But I write and revise better at night than in the daytime. I guess that makes me a night person. Additionally, I need absolute silence to write. I once tried writing in an airport, but failed.

Any editing tips?

I’ll quote what I heard another writer say – rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Also have another pair of eyes go over your manuscript. My friend and fellow writer did a thorough critique of one of the drafts. His help was priceless.

Who are some of your favorite authors and how have they inspired your writing?

Arthur Golden, who wrote ‘Memoirs of a Geisha.’ I really like his character and plot development. In fact, his novel was one of my chief influences for ‘Asenath.’ I also like Wilbur Smith’s Egyptian series. His novels were actually my foray into reading historical fiction, and I was inspired by how he breathed life into people who lived so far from our time, making them like human beings I could relate to.

Why writing at all? What motivates you?

I have actually always been inclined to writing, but never wrote “seriously” until after college. Until then, you see, I didn’t know my writing niche. I didn’t know my passion – what it was that I wanted to write about. I wished I could write, but I lacked motivation. After college, I was trying to figure out what it was that I wanted to do in life when the idea to imagine the life of Joseph’s wife appeared to me. And like I said, I have always been fascinated with the Joseph account, so this was motivating in more ways than one.

Do you have any other books or new releases that you would wish to talk about?

Not yet. Maybe in a few years’ time – hopefully – I will have another book to talk about.

If you could share one tip you learned with self-published and traditionally published authors who share the same dream of being a successful author what would it be?

Hmmmmmm.. “write what you know.” As cliche as this may sound, it’s true. You must be really enthusiastic about what you’re writing, otherwise the outcome may be pretty mechanical. As for those seeking traditional publication, I suggest you investigate publishers/agents before you submit to them. I nearly fell for some “gimmicks” myself. The last thing you would want is for your dream to be ripped to shreds.

In a humble fishing village on the shores of the Nile lives Asenath, a fisherman’s daughter who has everything she could want. Until her perfect world is shattered.

When a warring jungle tribe ransacks the village and kidnaps her, separating her from her parents, she is forced to live as a slave. And she begins a journey that will culminate in the meeting of a handsome and kind steward named Joseph.

Like her, Joseph was taken away from his home, and it is in him that Asenath comes to find solace…and love. But just as they are beginning to form a bond, Joseph is betrayed by his master’s wife and thrown into prison.

Is Asenath doomed to a lifetime of losing everything and everyone she loves?

Straight from the author’s mouth: Writing Tangi’s Teardrops

When Tangi’s father dies, he leaves her nothing but three empty bottles. A kind uncle takes the poverty-stricken girl and her stepsisters in, and for a time life gets better on his farm. But Tangi remains a lonely outsider; her stepsisters tease her for her crippled leg, and the housekeepers use her like a servant.

Just before her thirteenth birthday, Tangi learns the truth about her father’s strange legacy: the three bottles aren’t empty any more. They’re filled with all the tears she’s cried since her father died, and her tears are enchanted. She must use them to travel to Rosevine, the world of her dead mother. Tangi not only belongs there but is necessary to keep Rosevine alive.

Tangi’s tears will save Rosevine, and Rosevine will save Tangi from a cruelty-filled life, except for one thing: Tangi’s lost the bottles.

Excerpt I

Two days after Uncle Thomas left, something blunt poked Tangi in the chest. She opened her eyes to see Lisa, standing beside her bed, an oil lamp in her hand. In the dim light, her double chin jutted out even more.

“Get up,” she hissed. “There’s a lot of work to be done.”

Tangi rubbed away the sleep from her eyes. She shook her head in confusion. “What do you mean?”

Lisa threw aside the blanket and goosebumps rose on Tangi’s legs as the cold morning air assailed her. “Your uncle is not here to spoil you. Get dressed and go fetch water. Be back in time to help with breakfast.” Lisa strode out of the hut.

Tangi stared after the trail of light from the lamp until it disappeared out of sight. Her head reeled with confusion. Was Lisa implying that she didn’t do anything around the house? Even though Uncle Thomas had two housekeepers that did the housework, she still did her share. She washed her own clothes, washed the dishes, swept their hut and carried out other chores that didn’t place too much strain on her leg. But never mind; one day couldn’t possibly do that much harm.

Her eyes adjusted to the darkness. Lisa hadn’t woken Nona and Maria. They continued sleeping, unaware of what had just happened. Not that they’d care.

Let them sleep, she thought, and heaved herself out of bed. Since Papa died, it hit her that people didn’t live forever. She had relied so much on her father’s love and care for her, like leaning on a strong, immovable tree trunk. Now she was afraid to depend on anyone, even Uncle Thomas. Being rejected at her new school also fueled her decision to learn to be strong for herself. She would prove to everyone she could do everything that they could. She wouldn’t let her disability be an excuse, wouldn’t give anyone reason to pity her. She’d get the water from the tap and learn to handle the pain in her leg.

Short Excerpt II

Tangi stopped midstride and turned. As she walked back to the ditch, a little laugh escaped her lips. She reminded herself of Sarah, the crazy woman of the village, talking to herself, hearing things no one else heard.

But what did she have to lose? She would take another look, and if she still saw nothing, she’d leave without turning back.

She bent lower at the waist and peered into the ditch.

All of a sudden, the ditch filled with crystal clear water.

She jumped away, her heart pounding wildly, and then moved closer again.

Then the rain stopped. Sunrays slanted through the dark clouds and the air was suddenly heavy with the scent of roses.

When the water reached the rim, the ditch transformed into a pond. The crystal water shimmered. The mud had disappeared and the green of the leaves seemed more vivid. No sign at all that it had rained just a few seconds ago.

The reflection of a handsome man’s face stared up at her—short, curly hair, big brown eyes, and the whitest teeth she had ever seen. He seemed to be somewhere in his twenties.

“Hi, Tangi, I’m Daryle, the prince of Rosevine. I didn’t mean to scare you. I came to show you a way out of this world.”

Some Goodreads Reviews

Kimberly rated it

Tangi’s Teardrops is a unique retelling of the classic Cinderella story with some interesting twists. It’s author Liz Davis’s first YA novel and her first novel period. For the purpose of not wanting to spoil this darling little book for other readers I’m going to refrain from posting any spoilers and just talk about my overall thoughts on the book.

First off, I really liked Tangi. Though she started off as a young girl I found her character easy to connect to. As a child with a limp Tangi is made fun of constantly by her classmates and has no friends but the teasing does not stop off school grounds. Instead she has to face more ridicule at home from her older half sisters. I personally hate any form of bullying so my heart broke with her because she was such a good, kind soul I could hardly bare to see her suffering at the hands of those who should care for her.

I really enjoyed the story because it was a quick, easy read that made me feel different emotions. Liz Davis is a very talented author. She gave Tangi heart, something that is getting a little harder to find in YA novels. I highly recommend this light hearted read to everyone! The writing is lovely and you can tell the author has a passion for her work.

Sheilagh Lee rated it

Tangi is a wonderful fairy tale based on a true story of strength of character and courage. When I read the book I had no idea of the true story behind it but I can see the writers own experiences gave her the ability to tell us in a way that we understood the suffering of this child.

Tangi’s life has been miserable while her father was alive she could put up with the teasing and the cruel taunts about her one leg being shorter than the other and even put up with having no friends but now him gone she has nothing. Her two older half-sisters have escalated their cruelness and are now getting servants to harm her and make her act as Cinderella. She must do all the chores all the work only to watch them eat as they don’t even feed her and if that’s not bad enough they beat her. Tangi doesn’t know who to turn to, she can’t tell her Uncle Thomas when he returns for fear of someone else being harmed. Tangi then dreams of the world of her mother. In this world she can escape the pain and the tears that are filling up in the three bottles her father left her. .She is told she is needed there and is the only one who can save Rosevine but to get there she needs her bottles of tears but she can’t find them they aren’t where she left them. This book made me see vividly the character of Tangi and weep for the child so cruelly treated and like any good fairy tale gave me goosebumps and made me smile. I won’t tell you anymore of this enchanting story other than to say read this book it’s charming. If you enjoy a good fairy tale or the show such as “Once Upon A Time” you will love Tangi’s Teardrops.

Delphina rated it
I am not even sure where to begin. This retelling of Cinderella was so unique and simply beautiful. I was immediately drawn into Tangi’s world and while it was a sad premise (as are all Cinderella tales), there always seemed a glimmer of hope that made the sadness not so sad. I am just so happy that this book found me. Yes, I believe books find us. Feel free to chuckle ;).

Here are some things I enjoyed about this book:

*The book took place in a culture completely unlike my own, yet I felt like I was there and not just observing.

*This story is one I consider a true YA. I would feel comfortable recommending it to any teen. There were hardships and she faced cruelty, but there was no violence I would want to shelter a younger teen from and absolutely no sex/sexual tension.

*I loved the author’s voice. I can not pinpoint exactly what it was about her writing that drew me in, but it was beautiful.

*I read a ton (too much if you use my Goodreads Book ticker as a guideline). Among those books, were many Cinderella based tales. This is the first one where I was not sure what was going to happen next. I knew would most likely have a “happily ever after” type ending, but I had no idea how it would get there.

*I enjoyed the characters, even the “bad guys”. It was great to see how even through all of the difficulties of her life, Tangi always had someone there who truly loved her and cared about her well being. Even though she felt “less” because of her disabled leg, they never did. The “bad guys”, that was a different story ;).

*I love the idea that good can come from your tears. It is something I wish more people truly believed, especially when hard times are upon them.

This is Liz’s first novel and I am so glad I read it. I read this after reading a string of really bad, poorly edited books. The timing was perfect! I can only imagine where Liz’s writing will go from here. I am looking forward to her adult novel, which is coming out next week. I hope it holds all of the magic Tangi’s Teardrops did.

Brianne rated it

Tangi’s Teardrops is a story about a poor young girl named Tangi, who’s father recently passed away, leaving her nothing but three small glass bottles. She and her mean step sisters go to live with her Uncle. While her Uncle is away for work, Tangi gets treated horribly not only by her sisters but the housekeeper. One night Tanji has a dream that changes her life forever…

Tangi’s Teardrops was such a beautifully written story. You are not just reading the story, you are shown it. I pictured every detail in my mind. Absolutely great writing. The only problem I have with Tangi’s Teardrops is that its too short. I would have love to see more adventures in Rosevine. Hopefully this means that there will be a second book.

Tangi’s Teardrops is a clean book and I highly recommend it to anyone young or old.



Liz Grace Davis grew up in Angola, Namibia, South Africa and Germany. She now lives with her husband in Vienna, Austria.

Growing up, Liz spent most her days in libraries, diving into the world of books. In her spare time she reads a lot, travels, creates jewelry and designs digital scrapbooks. That’s of course when she’s not weaving stories. She’s in her element whenever she is doing anything that requires creativity.

Liz is the author of a young adult fantasy novel, Tangi’s Teardrops, and a romantic women’s fiction novel, Chocolate Aftertaste.

Now your reward: The Interview

1. Can you tell us about Tangi’s Tears? Why did you choose to write this story?

Tangi’s Teardrops was inspired by my childhood. Tangi is actually my third first name (I know, I have way too many names on my passport). You can read about the story behind Tangi’s Teardrops here:

I wrote Tangi’s Teardrops as a way to make peace with my past and to create a happy ending for the little girl I used to be.

With Tangi’s Teardrops I’d like to remind readers that sometimes crying doesn’t have to be such a bad thing. It can be so freeing. For Tangi, they were, in a magical kind of way.

2. Give us a powerful line from your novel.

Let me give you two sentences.

She wouldn’t let her disability be an excuse, wouldn’t give anyone reason to pity her. She’d get the water from the tap and learn to handle the pain in her leg.

3. Can you talk about your writing process?

I really don’t have a set writing process. I try to write as much as I can, in between working, studying and designing. During the day I like to do things which don’t require me to be creative and at night I weave stories. Many times the creative part of my brain just doesn’t seem to function during the day. I have tried waking up early before work, in order to get some writing done. For a while it worked, but then I decided that the last few hours of sleep in the mornings were just too delicious to give up. I get a lot done at night but unfortunately, as a result, I end up going to bed very late.

I normally write up to three drafts and then I move on to the dreaded editing stage. I have a wonderful editor but I don’t dump all the work on him and relax. We work as a team, editing back and forth.

4. Any editing tips?

Read the manuscript out loud. I find I catch mistakes better that way.

5. What do you love most about the writing industry? What do you dislike?

I love that the industry overflows with creativity and is filled with people living their dreams.

What I don’t like is that sometimes people look down on self-published authors. I think that’s wrong. I’ve read some amazing books this year from self-published authors.

6. Do you have any other books or new releases that you would wish to talk about?

In April I published my second novel, Chocolate Aftertaste, a romantic women’s fiction.

Chocolate Aftertaste is the story of a woman, Nora, who has a very controlling father. He makes all the important decisions in her life, even when it comes to her love life. All her life she has done her very best to live up to his expectations, sacrificing her own happiness. Until she almost makes a major mistake and realizes it’s time to take back the control. She flees to another town looking for a new beginning and maybe love. She soon learns that starting over and falling in love brings along its own challenges. But what matters most is that she has made her own choices and is ready to enjoy the benefits of those choices and deal with the consequences.

My third novel, Honeysuckle & Jasmine (women’s fiction), will be published in late autumn.

The story is about two African Au-Pairs (from different backgrounds) who meet in Germany and embark on a journey that leads them to the true meaning of friendship. Together they laugh, they live, they grow. And then everything changes. Suddenly their carefree days are over and the struggles that come with living in a foreign country begin. The only thing that can hold them together, when everything falls apart, is their friendship.

You can get a sneak peek at the cover I designed for the novel here:

7. If you could share one tip you learned with self-published and traditionally published authors who share the same dream of being a successful author what would it be?

Don’t just write because you want to be published, write because there’s something burning inside of you that wants to be released and shared with the world.

Also, make friends with Facebook, Twitter, and get a blog. Once published, your life as an author has just started. Marketing is a whole new ball game.

8. If you could describe your writing in three words what would you say?

Emotional, thought-provoking, original

9. Tell us about the protagonist of your novel?

Tangi is a twelve year old disabled girl who is surrounded by people who hurt her for no given reason. All she ever wants is for others to look at her and not see her imperfections. But they do and they use them to weaken her both physically and emotionally.

In a nutshell, Tangi’s Teardrops is about a little girl who dreams of becoming something bigger than herself, who craves acceptance and love. This is a story of suffering and pain, hope, love and dreams coming true.

10. If you had to live alone on an island with the antagonist of your novel for the rest of your life, how would you cope?

If I were stuck with the antagonist from Tangi’s Teardrops, Selma, I’d be nice to her until she’s nice back. I always find that kindness is less hard work than spite.

Bonus (Answer if you desire)

11. Why should readers go out and get your novel today?

Tangi’s Teardrops is an African fairytale with a twist. If you want to read a different kind of fantasy, it could be for you.

Thank you so very much for hosting me today. I enjoyed answering your questions. I hope your visitors will enjoy Tangi’s Teardrops as much I enjoyed writing it.

Denise Turney: How to land author interviews and increase sales

Author – Love Pour Over Me (Available at, B&N, iTunes, etc.)

Thanks to online radio directories and organizations like Blog Talk Radio, Shout Cast, Radio Tower, National Public Radio and Streema, locating a talk radio program that fits your book’s subject matter is relatively easy.  Before you reach out to radio hosts and station owners to schedule radio interviews visit and listen to the radio station you’re interested in landing one or more interviews with.  Many online radio stations have a Search box at the top of their homepage.  Type the genre of your book in the search box and examine what comes up.  You can also see if the online radio station has a drop down box that list radio programs by subject (i.e. self-help, business, sports, home improvement).  If the station doesn’t host programs that complement your book’s subject matter, move on. Interviewing on this station may not yield you many, if any, book sales.

Book Authors Landing Talk Radio Interviews

When it comes to scheduling offline radio stations, can contact the station director, a disc jockey or talk show hosts you want to interview on the station with. Write a cover letter to the radio station director, DJ or talk show host, being certain to list specific benefits listeners will gain from learning more about the book.

Include a brief (about one page) bio with a professional photo head shot, synopsis of your book and a list of other works your have published (e.g. poems, short stories) with the cover letter. Address the letter to the station director, disc jockey or talk show host by name. This shows that you have done your homework and are not simply sending interview requests to as many radio stations as you can.

Writer Resiliency and Success

For online radio stations send a professional email instead of a printed cover letter. Your cover letter, publishing credentials and book synopsis can help station directors, disc jockeys and talk show hosts to determine whether the book is a fit for their audience.  As a tip, if you create a spreadsheet that lists the radio stations you have contacted, you can easily follow up with a radio station regarding your initial interview request.

Stay encouraged throughout the radio interview scheduling process.  With effort, consistency and resilience you can and will land interviews.  In time, you might even have radio and television station hosts contacting you to request that you appear on air for an interview.

In addition to conducting interviews on other radio stations, as a book author you can access companies like Blog Talk Radio, National Public Radio and Voice of America to create and host your own radio program.  For example, the author of a home improvement book could create their own “Home Designs in Less Than an Hour” radio show.  The author of a recipe book could host a “Three Delicious Meals a Day” talk radio show. Current literary radio shows hosted by authors include Off The Shelf radio ( and Artist First (

Writing and publishing a book can be an incredibly rewarding experience.  With solid business skills, marketing efforts and grace, as a professional author, you can reach your target audience and increase your book sales.  Radio interviews are effective tools to use to accomplish this. Furthermore, as a business savvy writer you can also make good friends with book readers and other book authors as you continue to give and accept support to and from others.

Also read:

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Victoria Smith: Growing a market for New Adult fiction

New adult author and book blogger Victoria Smith gives us some insight on how she built a community of likeminded individuals over the internet, creating an impressive online presence.

Promoting new adult fiction through book reviews, networking, and promotions, she has helped many authors gain success and a voice in an underappreciated market.

Looking for a reviewer or someone to connect with? Check out Miss. Smith’s blogs and NA Alley, a resource for all interested in new adult fiction.

Having recently obtained a publishing contract for her science fiction romance novel, The Crimson Hunt, Miss. Smith offers some advice on creating a query package. She has provided links to submissions.

If you do nothing, click on the links below and check out her examples. Examples of synopses and queries helped me create a straight-to-the-point cover blurb, landing me review requests even though I am self-published author. So thank you Miss. Smith for sharing the love and knowledge.

Straight from the blogger’s mouth: Growing a market for New Adult Fiction

Can you tell me about your blog and the objective you hope to achieve?

Sure!  My blog is about my journey as a new writer as I write characters that fall between the categories of Adult and Young Adult fiction.  I write what’s called “New Adult” fiction, which features characters that are usually between the ages of 18 – 30.  “New Adult” displays these characters’ journey as they transition into adulthood.  They can be featured in college, starting their first jobs, or paying their first bills.  The publishing industry hasn’t really taken to this type of fiction yet, so my blog discusses my experience with writing this type of fiction despite the low market for it.  I also review books, which feature twenty-something aged characters, so others can read books about “New Adult” characters.  I try to spread awareness of this new category through my experiences writing it and the reviews I do.


As a book reviewer, what do you look for when you consider reviewing a book? 


First, I have to make sure that the books I review are perfect for the audience that reads my blog.  I try to feature books that are, what I like to call, “perfect for twenty-somethings.”  It can be Young Adult fiction or Adult fiction, but it has to be able to reach that audience.  A good example would be maybe a 17 or 18-year-old character that has become completely independent due to unique circumstances.  Say they are a single parent, or they have become the soul provider of their family because of an injured parent.  Maybe they grew up in hardships and have had to rely on themselves to survive.  These are mature experiences that could definitely relate to twenty-something readers and writers.

I also try to make sure that romance is one of the central themes of the writing.  I love reading Young Adult and Adult romances and find those stories compelling. I’m also a big fan of speculative fiction in contemporary settings.  Say a girl is a college student by day and a superhero at night or the local bartender down the street who took the job to pay for school is an undercover alien.  I love seeing stories like these!


How did you get your blog started and how long did it take before you saw results?

I started my blog November of 2011.  It took about a month and a half when I started gaining more followers.  I held contests and joined Twitter.  I also sought out other bloggers who reviewed books like I did, or were writers like me.  I commented and participated on their blogs then they would come to mine and do the same.  Before I knew it, I started to get a following and the rest is history as you say!


What are some tips?

The biggest tips I can give are to join Twitter and find other blogs like yourself. You have to network if you want people to come to your blog.  Make friends! Not only is it fun, but you also get to meet some cool people.


As a writer, I know you said you were undergoing the querying process. Can you talk about a bit about your book, the querying process and what you have learned?

I actually just started researching the querying process recently for my new adult science fiction romance, THE CRIMSON HUNT.  My book is about a college junior who falls for a mysterious collegiate on her campus.  But her involvement with him lands her at the heart of a murder, in which she has been named the prime suspect.  He is the only one who truly knows of her innocence, so she becomes completely reliant on him to survive.  But as the two become closer, she realizes that he may have had more involvement with the murder than he lets on. She has to determine who her true allies are before she loses more than just her rights as a free citizen.


With this project, I was editing and getting my packages together for publishers because I knew I would be submitting it by the end of the summer.  I created a standard package by making a two-page synopsis, blurb, and query letter, which included a blurb about the book and my writing credentials.  While getting the package together, I heard about a contest from an editor that was actively seeking new adult manuscripts.  I entered the contest about a month ago and won.  Here’s my entry here.  I submitted my full manuscript to them and they offered me a contract for publication about two weeks ago!  So, I am now officially a new adult author.  Here’s the announcement I made on my blog about it here.

I suppose I learned that you just have to make sure that you concentrate on your work first and foremost.  Really polish your manuscript to the best of your ability, so when opportunities like pitch contests and other things come around you are prepared.  Obtain a critique partner and beta readers to read your work.  They’ll catch things that you might not necessarily have seen yourself.


If you could share a bit of wisdom with aspiring authors who desire to create a successful blog, what would it be?

As writers we naturally want to show our work to the world, so it’s easy to only want to discuss your personal craft on your blog.  But what you have to make sure of is that there is a balance.  Research your reader and feature things that they would like to see on your blog then insert your own stuff into the mix.  You’ll build a following then you can feature more and more of your own work.  Make sure you network with other writers and readers via Facebook, blogging, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. to create friendships.  They will come to you if you come to them with the same awesome attitude and spirit!

Connect with Miss. Victoria Smith:


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Valerie Bowman: writing to seduce

Seducing readers to read your novel to the very end is a dirty business, one that is not for the weak-fingered.

Valerie Bowman, a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Finalist and author of  the historical romance novel Secrets Of A Wedding Night, seduces readers with strong plot. Some of her writing wiles are  preparing a strong story and character outline. This foundation leads to creating short and intense scenes in her chapters.

RWA really focuses on drilling this type of writing into its members heads. When I attend workshops, every workshop leader will chant, “plot, plot, plot.” They’ll shout even louder, “conflict, conflict, conflict.” It’s the blood a manuscript needs. Without it? Well, you can start opening bottles of wine and digging a grave.

Taking all that she has learned in RWA workshops, Bowman landed herself a contract with St. Martin’s Press.  In her author feature, she reveals some of the tools she used to entice readers to the final page.

Straight from the author’s mouth: writing to seduce

1. Can you tell us about Secrets of a Wedding? Why did you choose to write this story?

SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT is a Regency romance novel. It’s the first story in my Secret Brides trilogy. It’s about a destitute widow who writes a scandalous pamphlet to thwart the marital ambitions of the marquis who broke her heart five years ago. When the marquis shows up on her doorstep and demands she write a retraction or prepare to be seduced, the fun begins!

I decided to write SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT after I came up with the title, actually. It just came to me one night. I loved it. Then I had to think of a story that matched the title. So far, this is the only story I’ve written where I came up with the title first!

2. How long did it take you to complete Secrets of a Wedding Night? Can you talk about your writing process?

Let’s see. I began writing SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT in July 2010, I believe, and I was done in time to enter the manuscript into the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart contest which closes around Thanksgiving. Happy to say, it was a 2011 finalist! I was so thrilled.

As for my writing process, it has evolved the longer I write. Basically, I need the general plot, characterization, GMC, character arcs, and turning points to be mapped out before I can begin. I type out roughly 40 chapter headings (I love to keep my chapters short [5-7 pages mostly] to write TO hooks) and then I type 1-2 sentences for each chapter directly underneath the heading, indicating what the scene will be about and ensuring each scene has a goal. Once I like the layout of the chapters, it’s just a matter of typing quickly.

“When I go back to edit, I spend time on the details”

3. Any editing tips? 

I’ve learned I’m a fast draft writer, which basically means when I’m typing that first draft, I don’t let anything stop me including word usage or historical research. I just type, type, type. When I go back to edit, I spend time on the details including burying my nose in the etymological dictionary online. LOVE that thing! Also, while I’m writing, I highlight anything I think needs more work in blue/bold text and then when I edit, it’s flagged for me to spend more time on it.

4. Who are some of your favorite authors and how have they inspired your writing?

Lisa Kleypas is one of my all-time favorites and she’s greatly inspired my writing. I was stuck in a snowed-in airport in February 2007 and had read all the books I’d brought with me. I found one of Lisa’s books in the airport bookstore. It saved me from a three-hour flight delay AND by the time I was finished, I was seriously inspired to write. Lisa was kind enough to provide a cover quote for SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT and that moment, when I received her email with her lovely quote, was truly a dream come true for me. Seriously, I had a dream about it once. : )

5. What do you love most about the writing industry? What do you dislike? 

I love that it’s an industry full of people doing what they love. You don’t always find that in other industries. It’s really a passion for most people in the industry and that’s a wonderful thing to be a part of. Dislike? Well, I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of change (who is, right?) and the publishing industry seems to change on an hourly (I’m only exaggerating a little!) basis these days. It can be kind of overwhelming, but it’s also a smorgasbord of opportunity for writers.

6. Do you have any other books or new releases that you would wish to talk about? SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT is part of a trilogy.

The second book, SECRETS OF A RUNAWAY BRIDE, will be released in Spring 2013 and SECRETS OF A SCANDALOUS MARRIAGE will be released Fall 2013. Some of my favorite characters from WEDDING NIGHT get their happily ever afters in the sequels.
7. If you could share one tip you learned with self-published and traditionally published authors who share the same dream of being a successful author what would it be? 

When I was a little girl, my mom used to quote some famous actor (though I’m really not sure who originated this quote and a Google search turned up a variety of supposed sources). “If anything can stop you, let it.” I adore this quote. And it completely applies to the publishing industry. You have to want it badly enough to just keep writing, querying, submitting, and writing more. No matter what.

Connect with Valerie Bowman:

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Alicia Brewster: the harsh truth

Alicia Brewster, author of Don’t Call Me Angel, talks about her writing process below.

Don’t Call Me Angel is a nice novella which reads like a comic book. For all manga and comic book readers, this is the book for you, so check out my review. After this, make sure you go out and get a copy.

For everyone else who needs a little inspiration while writing their novel, Miss. Brewster provides her unique take on completing a novel and the steps which must be climbed to be successful.

Straight from the author’s mouth: The Harsh Truth

1. Can you tell us about Don’t Call Me Angel? Why did you choose to write this novella?

Don’t Call Me Angel is an urban fantasy novella about a fallen angel, named Six, who just escaped from Hell. For me, the most fun part about this book was creating her inner voice. Six sees things differently than most people, partly because she’s bitter about having been forced into Hell, and partly because she’s new to Earth and discovering it for the first time. Throughout the series, we’ll see her make a lot of mistakes while finding her way.

I had been working for quite a while on a novel, which I decided I needed to step away from for a while. While I took a break from that novel, I decided to work on one of the other projects floating around in my head. As soon as I opened myself up to working on another project, this one nagged at me to write it.

2. How long did it take you to complete Don’t Call Me Angel? Can you talk about your writing process?

Don’t Call Me Angel was a super quick project because it’s relatively short, and my motivation and excitement for the project stayed high throughout. It took me three and a half months to complete.

My writing process: First, I create a rough scene list for the entire book. Then I write a rough draft based on the scene list. I don’t necessarily write the scenes in order; I write whichever scene I’m most excited to write next, and sometimes I add and delete scenes as the story develops. I do a little editing along the way as I’m writing my rough draft. After the rough draft is done, I start at the beginning and pretty much rewrite everything I’ve written. Then I do a third pass (and maybe a fourth) where I edit my words. Then come beta readers, editors, more beta readers, and proofreaders.

Whew! I think that covers it.

3. Any editing tips?

Communicate with your editors about what you want from them. I always encourage my editors to not hold anything back. At the outset, I tell them something like: Tell me when words, or sentences, or chapters aren’t needed. Tell me when you think the word you’ve come up with is better than the one I used. Please don’t filter yourself; let me be the filter in deciding which of your suggestions I’ll use. If you don’t tell me, I won’t know.

4. Who are some of your favorite authors and how have they inspired your writing?

Laini Taylor, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, J.K. Rowling. These writers all inspire me in different ways. Ms. Taylor creates magnificent imagery that makes me just want to melt. Her words, and how she strings them together, are inspiring. Mr. Rothfuss seems to take his relatively new-found success with a great sense of humor. I admire him a lot. Mr. Sanderson writes the most amazing action scenes and endings. And Ms. Rowling . . . Well, she wrote Harry Potter, so that needs no further explanation.

5. What do you love most about the writing industry? What do you dislike?

One of the things I love about the writing industry is the impact that blogging—and wonderful bloggers like Law Reigns—have had on it. You guys present a platform on which we indie authors can present ourselves and our work and possibly have a shot at competing with traditional publishing houses and their resources. So THANK YOU, BLOGGERS!

I dislike the stigma attached to indie publishing. I think a lot of people assume that authors use small presses and self-publish because they can’t get accepted at big publishing houses. To the contrary, this is a business decision for a lot of authors. But I’m happy to see that there are a ton of readers, more and more each day, who are open to reading indie books. There are a lot of great indie books out there, and I love to read them!

6. If you could share one tip you learned with self-published authors who share the same dream of being a successful author what would it be? 

Have multiple people read your work before you put it out there. Attempt to get your book into the hands of friends of friends—people you don’t know. They’ll be less likely than friends and family to spare your feelings. And that’s what you want before publishing your book: the harsh truth.

Summer Lane: Writing Belle, Indie and self published authors welcomed

Having published her own book, Snappy Social Networking: How to Dominate the Blogosphere & Everything in Between, Summer Lane loves to connect with other authors online.

She reviews both young adult and new adult fiction on her blog, Writing Belle. A lover of indie and self-published books, she spends a lot of time reading books from such authors.

Miss. Lane has even gone as far as turning the dreadful Monday into something fire-filled and fantastic!

Read below and see how Miss. Lane accomplished such a feat. It will inspire you to create something unique for your own blogs.

Straight from the author’s mouth: Writing Belle, Indie and self-published authors welcomed

Can you tell me about your blog and the objective you hoped to achieve?

I started my blog, Writing Belle, last year because I wanted to create a public platform for myself as an author, but I also wanted to connect with other people who were excited about writing and publishing. The purpose of my blog is to accomplish three different things: to talk about the art of writing and surviving in the publishing business, to review books (especially self-published books), and to have fun!

Can you talk about Indie Mondays?

Sure! Indie Mondays is something I created with the purpose of spotlighting self-published and indie-published authors. I spend a lot of time reading indie books, and I think self-publishing is well on its way to becoming the way for an established author. You don’t have to be dependent on big-time publishing houses because of the Internet, the Kindle, the Nook, the blogosphere, Twitter, and all sorts of other incredible tools at your fingertips. I love self-published books – and I feature them pretty much every Monday on Indie Monday!

As a book reviewer, what do you look for when you consider reviewing a book?

I look for uniqueness and category. I generally review Young Adult and New Adult – and occasionally a memoir or biography if I like the subject matter. I won’t review erotica because that’s just not me – but I adore romance within the YA and NA categories. I also love the author who can look beyond the Edward/Bella storyline and create an entirely new story. Liz Long, Richelle Mead, Colleen Houck, Summer Day, are all authors who are both bestselling or self-published…and their stories are all unique.

I love your blog design, what inspired it?

Thank you! When I first started my blog, I didn’t even know how to center my header – let alone create one. Today my inspiration is summer vacation. I basically like to change my blog design along with the shifting seasons. My mom also taught me to love shabby chic antiques, so I use those colors (minty greens, pale pinks, turquoise blues) on my blog, too.

How did you get your blog started and how long did it take before you saw results?

I started it by accident, to be honest. When I was in High School I had named my blog Writing Belle, but I forgot about it for a few years. After I finished my first semester of college I decided to play around with it – and it quickly became clear to me that it was an amazing platform for anybody interested in writing or publishing. I would say it took about three months before I started getting lots of traffic and involvement from the blogging community.

What are some tips?

Three things: Consistency, consistency, consistency! It’s important to keep posting on a regular basis. Readers want to have fresh, updated information – especially in a world where trending topics on twitter shift literally every 2 minutes. Also, interact with as many other bloggers as possible. Build those friendships. It’s the single best way to become successful.

If you could share a bit of wisdom with aspiring authors who desire to create a successful blog, what would it be?

Be true to yourself. It sounds kind of weird – this is blogging, not high school after all – but as you blog, you’ll find that there is some pressure to do what everybody else is doing on their blogs, from interviews to features. It’s being unique that will make your blog highly successful. I wrote a book about being a successful blogger called Snappy Social Networking: How to Dominate the Blogosphere & Everything in Between. But the most important thing of all is to have fun. I have met people from all over the world because I started blogging, and I’m enjoying every minute of it!

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Maryann Reid: tips from a book marketing expert

If you have not heard about the marketing powerhouse, Maryann Reid, then please check out Maryann Reid: guerilla marketing book strategies to catapult your career.

This phenomenal author managed to get her first book, Sex and The Single Sister, published at age 25 by creating a market for herself.

Using innovative book marketing strategies, she has garnered attention from media personalities such as Oprah and Wendy Williams. Her hard work has paid off with over 25 million press hits from around the world.

In her bootcamp titled, Sell It Before You Write It, Reid gives away the book marketing strategies she used to attract agents and publicity.

She also gives you a taste of the kind of mindset we authors need to have if we are going to set ourselves apart in the self-publishing industry, a market that is overcrowded with talent and potential.

Straight from the author’s mouth: tips from a book marketing expert

1. You have written several books such as Marry Your Baby Daddy, Use Me or Lose Me, and Sex and the Single Sister. Can you tell me about these titles? What inspired you to write them?

All of these titles have in common empowered central female characters I like to call alpha females or “Alphanistas”.   I love to talk to people who have changed their destinies, who took control of their future, who stop playing victims and start becoming active creators in their life.  If I loved that so much, I figured I’d enjoy writing about them even more.

 2. How long did it take you to finish each book? Can you talk about your writing process?

I’m published by a traditional publisher.  We have deadlines of about several months.  During that time it can feel like you have to write the book half over.  However, the process from the very beginning takes me about three months.  I start from page 1 and don’t stop.  I tried outlines, they never work and feel contrived.  I just jump in and hit “go”.  I do find that this method can lead to writer’s block.  One way I overcome that is by listening to myself.  That means I have to step back and feed my energy.  It may take days or weeks.  I may need to have some fun, get into some new conversations or just get several nights of good sleep.  I don’t beat myself up.  What people call writer’s block, I just like to think of it as intuition needing to come out and play.  Intuition can’t be serious all the time!  It takes the spontaneity out of creation.

Part of the writing process should include the question “How am I gonna market this?”  When coaching clients, I tell them to think of this before the book is even written or finished.  Infuse ideas into the story you can market later.  It’s called merchandising.  It’s a real department at publishing businesses.  They make products out of successful books that are not the book itself.  Think of what kind of workshops, blogs, memes, movements, or inventions you can create with your book.  That is apart of the writing process as well!

3. Any editing tips?

Hire a professional.  You can only edit yourself so much, and you are limited by your limitations.

4. I noticed you were featured on ABC News, NBC, Wendy Williams, and other great networks. Can you talk about what it is like being featured on these shows? What do you have to do to prepare?

That is my element.  Because of what I write about and how I market my books, especially Marry Your Baby Daddy, the media seems to contact me first without the help of a publicist.  When I am on tv or the radio I feel like I’m shining inside.  It feels natural and fun.  Of course, I’m nervous because I have a tendency to say things I shouldn’t.  I often have to reel myself in and tell myself “behave”, so I can convey exactly the points I want to get across. Now that I have matured and had more practice, it’s like a natural flow.  I had a casting call the other day, and I barely blinked.  It felt like I was supposed to be there.  I was supposed to do this.  To prepare, I just make sure I have a good outfit, and, while being interviewed, I leave the audience with something to think about and a way to contact to me.

5. Many authors are starting to do video blogs and feature themselves in book trailers. What advice do you have when it comes to creating a strong presence for video?

Video is important.  The key here is to be original.  Not every writer belongs in front of a video camera!  Know when you are to hire professionals.  If you can’t be in the video, write the script.  Video blogs and trailers give the reader a sense of not just your book, but who you are.  Make sure if it’s somebody playing you or the REAL YOU, that you share yourself and vulnerabilities.  Nobody is really interested in how Pam met Dan.  They want to know how you met Pam and Dan, and why THEY should care.  If you are spending the money on this.  Do it right. 

6. If you could share one tip you learned with self-published authors who share the same dream of being a successful author what would it be?

Finding an agent is free.  If the cost of self publishing is too expensive or cumbersome, who says you can’t look for an agent at the same time?  Who says you have to do one or the other?  I always tell my clients to explore the route of someone paying you for your work, instead of you spending your own money on it.  There is a credibility when an entity wants to buy in to you.  This doesn’t matter to all authors.  If it does, then go for it and get an agent!

Enjoyed the interview? Feel free to connect with this author: 

Jessica Roberts: how a simple idea evolved into a novel

Jessica Roberts speaks on a very interesting point, the harsh reality of marketing, in her interview.

One of the reasons she said marketing was hard is the tools that are readily available to traditionally published authors are not available to self-published. Then she talks about Amazon.

Although it is a dog-eat-dog world out there for the self-published, it is the same for any artist in any field.

Warren Richie’s article, Inside US lawsuit: How Apple, publishers allegedly brought Amazon to heel, describes how the environment is changing. Here is also a more recent update on the lawsuit, written by Julie Bosman, Justice Dept. Sues Apple . . . After reading these articles, one is not only educated about the publishing market, but learns a favorable environment for self-published authors has been created, one they can capitalize on if they have a superior product and knowledge of marketing.

Even in such an environment, only the best will succeed. I am of the opinion just because someone is traditionally published does not make them the best. Only readers can determine such.

For all you readers, read Roberts’ experience when it comes to writing, and the tools she has learned to use when it comes to marketing her novel.

Straight from the author’s mouth: how a simple idea evolved into a novel

1. Can you tell us about Reflection? Why did you choose to write this book? 
I’ve always loved to write. I can remember in one of my high school classes—way, way back when (laughs)—doing a timeline of my future and filling in the blanks with phrases like “Complete my first book when I’m 20”, “Write my second book when I’m 25”, and so on. So I guess I’ve always had the desire to write.

Also, I knew I wanted to write for a young adult audience since those are the books I enjoy reading the most. Those first looks and first kisses—there’s nothing better!

One day I was in my bathroom drying my hair in front of the mirror, and a scene popped into my head—the balcony scene in Reflection. The following day I was on my computer. I enjoyed writing that scene so much, I knew I had to write a beginning and an ending. And that’s how it all started.

A few years later I finished my debut Young Adult novel, Reflection, a sweet, spicy college romance with a twist!

What is Reflection about? The short teaser on the book’s cover says:

“What if six perfect months with the guy of your dreams, turned out to be nothing but a dream?”

So the book is basically about a spunky high school grad named Heather who leaves her small hometown and ventures off to college. Something happens and she lands in a coma. In the beginning of the book she wakes up from the coma and proceeds to retell her story of attending college and falling madly in love with a rugged classmate named Nick. Throughout the whole book, we as readers are trying to figure out if her love story is real or if it was just an amazing, potentially heartbreaking dream she had while resting in her coma.

2. How long did it take you to write Reflection? Can you talk about your writing process?

If I compiled all the writing days together, it probably took about 4-6 months to write Reflection. But since I wrote in spurts, here and there whenever I had time, taking the summers off in the process, I would say it took about 3-4 years from start to finish. I wouldn’t recommend doing it that way. It’s hard enough to sustain some semblance of fluency even if you write every day. But when you’re a mommy, you do what you gotta do!

Writing process . . . hmm. I don’t know if I have one particular writing process. Obviously, any novel starts with an idea. I’ve always had an active imagination. It’s bothersome at times, especially late at night when I want to fall asleep and my thoughts won’t let me. I can’t tell you how many times I had to tell the characters in Reflection to shut-up so I could get some sleep.

I guess I’m not the best person to answer that question because I know I should have some sort of writing process, but I don’t. For me I write when the dialogue and scenes come to me. Then I compile the scenes together so the story flows, with an engaging beginning, a climax, and an ending.

3. Any editing tips? 

I’m psycho about editing. Still, I can’t tell you how many edits I went through – am still going through. The best advice I can give is to let A LOT of people read your manuscript before you publish it. A LOT!!

4. If you could share one tip you learned with self-published and traditionally published authors who share the same dream of being a successful author what would it be? 

I’ve realized that if you go the self-publishing route, it’s a lot harder to get your book out there so people know about it—which is soooooooo frustrating!

Publishing companies, in contrast, have marketing tactics and promotional connections that bring their books to the masses fast, and those avenues are just not as readily available to self-published authors. It sucks, but it’s the truth. I got ahold of Amazon one day and asked what it would take to be a part of their “featured books” email blast. The rep. told me they are reserved for companies that have contracts with them – namely the big publishing companies. However, there are base packages that include a little advertizing corner in some random location on the Amazon website, starting at $10k. No biggie. Only the price of A CAR! (laughs)

If you do self-publish: goodreads; book bloggers who offer review services; and self-promotion through social media such as facebook, twitter, etc. are great places to start. The goal is to reach a large audience. And don’t forget to be patient. It takes time!


Christi Goddard: the editor that saved her writing career

Four In The Morning is the debut young adult fantasy by Christi Goddard.

Being the daughter of a truck driver gave Goddard the opportunity to travel and learn about the world.

Using the skills she developed in life allowed her to become a renaissance woman in the publishing industry.

Goddard is a book trailer designer, a content editor, and an animator. Visit her website to seek her services.

I am honored to be able to share this author’s unique perspective with you all below.

Author spot lights usually feature just the words of the author, but since I conducted my interview with Goddard over the phone, I get to do something different.

Straight from the author’s mouth: the editor that saved her writing career

Can you tell us about Four In The Morning? What inspired you to write it?

Four In The Morning is a young adult paranormal novel that tells the story of Kathleen, a spunky and witty high school student, whose actions result in her being thrown into a police investigation.  One that leads to her reevaluating who she is as a person.

Goddard described Kathleen as an intelligent and clever character who has a lot of mouth.

“The character is how I would like to have been when I was in high school,” Goddard explained. “The person I was in high school was confident, but not like hey look at me, look at me.”

Though Goddard explained Kathleen does not really support the clique system, she says she has a clique. Not really trusting anyone outside of her friends, she can send off an “I hate you vibe,” Goddard said.

When asked how she came up with the concept for the story, Goddard said it was inspired by DL Hammons’ blog.

While on Hammons’ blog, Goddard engaged in an argument with Hammons over who had the best story to tell.

She told him how she used to write poems for a boy to give to his girlfriend while in high school.

Really liking the story, Hammons told Goddard that would make a good book.

It later led Goddard to write Four In The Morning.

How long did it take you to complete your novel? Can you discuss your writing process?

Goddard said she writes in spurts.  “I will write a bunch really fast and then won’t write for a long time.”

That being said, Goddard explained it took her 6 weeks in all to write Four In The Morning, but she did not write it all at once.

“When I am motivated I can go and just write, write, write it.”

What tools did you use to complete this novel?

Goddard strongly believes in being professionally edited.

Beta editors overlook things. When she finally got a professional editor not only did she get advice on overlooked mistakes, she also learned a thing or two about the industry.

After completing Four In The Morning, Goddard sent it off to agents. She got a lot of interest even though they all eventually passed. Their passing seemed to lead her on her path to Immortal Ink Publishing.

She sent it off to an editor, and the editor loved it.

Goddard said she was surprised by her reaction. “This was my play around book.”

Loving the book so much, when the editor discovered Goddard was having very little luck in the publishing industry she told her about Immortal Ink publishing.

The one thing Goddard loves about Immortal Ink publishing is their ability to listen to suggestions. Such an ability allowed Goddard to keep as much of the original idea of her book as she could.

The ending of Four In The Morning was especially important to her.

“The ending had to happen the way it did,” Goddard began. “For books 2 and 3 to make sense.”

Any Editing Tips?

“That, is the work of the devil,” Goddard said. “That is not a necessary word.  I was able to cut out 2,000 words by going through my story and taking out the word that.”

Goddard’s editing process is not of the norm.

She likes to write a couple pages at a time then go back to edit it before moving forward. Such a process makes it hard to keep count of how many drafts she has worked on for any specific novel.

“I want to know exactly what the character is going to say and have the scene perfect in my head before I write it,” Goddard said.

If you could share one tip that you have learned with traditionally published and self-published authors who desire a successful writing career, what would it be?

Goddard suggested for writers to never be over confident in their abilities as a writer. The actual feel of writing a sentence may be different from the meaning the reader gets.

“Your sentence may not make sense to anybody, but you,” Goddard said.

She also suggested learning about Janet Reid and following her blog.

Reid helped Goddard to perfect her query  letter by doing  a critique and posting it on her blog.

Goddard said, she has a database of edited query letters for those to go over.

“Nothing puts off an agent more than horribly written query letters,” Goddard reassured me.

One last bit of advice is to get your books professionally edited. She explained to me there is a big difference between being a storyteller and an author.

“I love to weave a tale. Being an author is more professional. There are responsibilities. You have to abide by the rules of grammar.”

If someone does not have the average $1500 dollars to throw away on a novel, she recommends On that website, editors can be found for $300 or $400 dollars.