Dare to Read

May 17, 2012

My Road to Publication: Kit Grindstaff

Filed under: Author's Interview,Fantasy,On Publishing,On Writing — carmenferreiroesteban @ 5:47 am
Tags: , ,


by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban



Today we have here at Dare to Read a dear friend of mine who came to writing from an unusual and fascinating background (no spoilers here. If you want to know you must read on).

Her first book, a middle grade dark fantasy, The Flame in the Mist, will be published in the spring of 2013 by Delacorte.

Here is her story:


The start to my book came from a homework assignment in a writing class: write a short synopses. It took 3 tries before one leapt onto the page: Girl discovers she’s been abducted by evil family who live in castle. Ooh. I was hooked. The whys and wherefores of that kernel unfolded later, as I wrote.

The story is set in an imagined Olde England called Anglavia. The main character is 13-year-old Jemma, who has magical Powers she’s initially unaware of. Her supporting cast includes her colorful but bad-to-the bone “false family”, their sinister old servant Drudge, her 2 magical rats, her friend Digby, as well as ghosts, supernatural monsters….

I initially thought I’d finished the book in late 2008, and began querying agents a few at a time. Meanwhile, I attended conferences and critique groups, and soon found that my ms was far from finished! Friends loved it (never completely trust friends’ glowing reports!), but agents still weren’t getting it. So I kept revising-especially those vital first pages. Then, almost 2 years and 25 rejections later, I decided to shelve it and focus on my next ms.

In early 2010 I heard about the NJ SCBWI summer conference. I went for broke and signed up for agent, editor and author critiques. You could only submit a finished ms, so I dusted mine off and sent in the first 15 pages.

Now, you can choose who critiques you, but I was assigned to Michelle Poploff, snr. Ed and VP of Delacorte Press. I immediately liked her—but while she was cautiously encouraging about my pages, I couldn’t gauge how much she really liked them. So when she asked to see the whole ms, I almost fell off my chair. Excited? Ecstatic!

Michelle responded within a month—Gasp! But…by no means a deal. She mailed a 9-page editorial letter: She loved the idea, but wanted a major rewrite of the middle, and would be interested in seeing it again “with a view to acquiring” if I chose to take her suggestions on board. In truth, I’d known it suffered from the proverbial sag, but not how to remedy it; her ideas were just what I needed. Those “view to acquiring” words carried me through months of reworking. Almost a year later, “send” again. This time, I heard within 3 weeks: Michelle loved what I’d done, and was ready to “move forward”!

Since then, more revisions, and a new title (quite commonly requested, writer be warned!). The cover artist is Chris Rahn, who’s done a wonderful job of capturing a sinister mood in a magical way. You can see the background—brooding Mist-shrouded castle, complete with bats and belfries—on my Facebook author page www.facebook.com/kitgrindstaff and website holding page www.kitgrindstaff.com (website, and the rest of the cover reveal, coming soon).

My advice to writers with mss they feel are ready is: Don’t be too hasty in querying! Get plenty of feedback, but be discerning about it. One person’s opinion is just that, but if several say the same thing, take note. Be ruthless, prepared to kill many darlings. Keep honing your craft, making your prose as tight as possible. Ask: Does this drive the plot? Is this passage/phrase/word really needed? NY agent Donald Maass says every paragraph should have tension in it, to keep the reader hooked; either large – a major antagonistic confrontation, or small – an internal conflict, like doubt or regret. His books contain terrific advice for any author, aspiring or published.

Thank you Carmen, for inviting me to contribute to DARE TO READ. It’s been fun to revisit the journey!

THE FLAME IN THE MIST will be available from Delacorte Press in April 2013 in hardback, e-book and audio formats.

Bio: Kit Grindstaff was born near London, and grew up in the rolling countryside of England, a country which is curiously similar to Anglavia. After a brush with pop stardom (under her maiden name, Hain), she moved to New York and embarked on her still-thriving career as a pop song writer. Kit now lives with her husband in the rolling countryside of Pennsylvania. The Flame In The Mist is her first novel.

March 15, 2012

My Road to Publication : Terry Spear


Interview by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban




Today, I’m pleased to have, here with us at Dare to Read, Terry Spear.

Terry is the award-winning author of the urban fantasy and medieval historical romantic suspense novel, HEART OF THE WOLF, named in Publishers Weekly’s BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR, NOR Reader Choice for BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE.

I asked Terry about her new YA novel The Dark Fae and she kindly answered my questions.
Here is what he had to say.

Hi Terry,

Welcome to Dare to Read and congratulations on your new novel The Dark Fae. Tell us, first of all: What made you want to write The Dark Fae?

A. I love both historical fantasy and urban fantasy and wanted to write a book about the mischievous fae and how they impact on the human world.

Q. What genre is it?

Teen historical and contemporary fantasy.

Q. Who designed your cover (which, BTW, I think is very intriguing).

The cover was available at one of the photo stock companies, and I used PhotoShop to add the title and byline.

Q. How would you describe your cover?

Dark, mysterious, fae-like girl on the cover. Each of the covers has a similar theme.

Q. In which formats is your book available?

A. e-book and paperback

Q. Why did you choose to self-publish?

An agent told me I ought to self-publish my vampire stories since they were such a glut on the market. That led me to publishing some of my YA that I hadn’t sold, and a couple that I had sold and had received the rights back on.

The Dark Fae was my 14th book to upload, had been turned down by two agents, and I never sent it out again. I didn’t think anything would come of it. But it began selling a 100 copies a day and has remained on the best seller list at Amazon and does well at B&N, so the book turned into a series.

Q. What are you working on right now?

I’m on deadline for a wolf and jaguar shifter series for Sourcebooks, but I am also writing another medieval Highland story because that series is doing so well, and am working on The Dragon Fae, book 5 in the series!

Q. Any advice you want to share with our readers who are considering self-publishing?

Keep writing, editing and submitting. If all else fails, try self-publishing!

Blurb for The Dark Fae:

Ever wonder why you trip over your own feet when there’s nothing there to trip you up? Why you spill a drink when there’s no reason for the mishap? Why you can’t find something that you just set down and there’s no one else to blame but yourself? But maybe there is.

Alicia’s always known she’s different–that she can recognize the mischievous fae when they show up to “play” with the humans. Only now she’s faced with one highly annoyed dark fae and she’s certain he knows the truth about her. She can see him, which means her life is forfeit.

Add to that, his sister arrives, who wants to play, too. And their mother, the queen of the Denkar, will want Alicia’s head, once she learns what Alicia can do.

And all because Alicia was attempting to rescue her friend, Cassie, on their beach excursion at South Padre Island, from the wicked fae. Now, Alicia has really gone and done it–and she’s thinking she should have let the fae have his fun. Her friend’s broken heart would be a lot easier to deal with, than Alicia losing her life.

But it is too late for regrets. As soon as she threw the soda at the dark fae’s chest, she had declared war on the fae. And he is happy to take up the challenge.


Terry Spear is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and has an MBA from Monmouth University and a Bachelors in Business and Distinguished Military Graduate of West Texas A & M. She also creates award-winning teddy bears, Wilde & Woolly Bears, to include personalized bears designed to commemorate authors’ books. When she’s not writing or making bears, she’s teaching online writing courses or working full time at a library in the heart of Texas. You can visit her at her website: www.terryspear.com

March 10, 2012

Sabrina Benulis discuss her debut novel ARCHON at The Enchanted Inkpot

Filed under: Author's Interview,YA — carmenferreiroesteban @ 12:06 pm
Tags: , ,

Several weeks ago Sabrina Benulis discused here at Dare to Read her Road to Publication.
This week she talks candidly about her book and the fantastical world where her story takes place.

Please join us at The Enchanted Inkpot (http://goo.gl/EkcPF) for a fascinating peak behind the scenes.

March 8, 2012

My Road to PUblication : Alison Ashley Fomento

Today I’m excited to introduce Alison Fomento to my readers.

Alison is a special guest because she is the first picture book author I’ve ever interviewed.

Please join us to welcome Alison as she tells us how her new book THESE BEES COUNT! came to be.

Here is what Alison has to say:



interview by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban



•               Good morning, Alison, could you tell us, first of all, why did you write this book?

A honey-vanilla ice cream cone inspired my new picture book THESE BEES COUNT! Our family was vacationing in Florida and what’s a vacation without daily ice cream stops? This particular ice cream shop had signs posted about the disappearing honeybees and colony collapse disorder and how important bees are for pollinating crops.

I had a light bulb moment of how bees count in our world. My first picture book, THIS TREE COUNTS!, had only been out a few months at that time, and the phrase “Bees Count!” stuck with me and I started writing a draft right away.

•               I know THESE BEES COUNT is a picture book. But do you consider it to be fiction or non fiction?

THESE BEES COUNT! is a fictional and non-fiction counting picture book suitable for kids from kindergarten to fourth grade. There are talking bees in my book and a fictional group of school children visiting a bee farm, but every bee fact mentioned in the book and the “The Buzz on Bees” end notes are fully researched and fact-checked with several apiarists (bee experts).

•               Who is your illustrator?

Sarah Snow is the fabulous illustrator for THESE BEES COUNT! She’s done a great job capturing the beauty of the bee farm and you can almost hear the buzzing when you turn the pages of the book. She uses collage and paint so the art has texture and seems to pop in each scene. Sarah illustrated THIS TREE COUNTS! and will illustrate my next book out in 2013, THESE SEAS COUNT!

•               Which formats is it available?

THESE BEES COUNT! is now available in hardback, and I hope that it will be available in other formats (paperback/e-book) and languages soon, as has happened with THIS TREE COUNTS!

•               Can you tell us a little about your road to publication

I had experience writing for various magazines and newspapers such as The Writer, Parenting, and The New York Times, but I really wanted to get my fiction in print. In 2008, I attended an SCBWI conference where an editor from Albert Whitman & Company spoke on a panel about writing picture book. I submitted two stories which were rejected, but in each letter, the editor gave me promising feedback and mentioned that they were seeking nature stories. I had a very short 200 word story ready about a tree and the third submission time was the charm in this case. THIS TREE COUNTS! became my first published picture book.

•               Do you have a marketing plan?

As any author knows your publishing house can only do so much for your book. I’m part of the KidLit Authors Club, a regional promotion group, and I actively seek out libraries, bookstores, and festivals to share my book. And schools! My book is geared for the school market, so one of my favorite activities is visiting schools and sharing my books.

•               Any advice you want to share with our readers who have a manuscript ready?

Don’t rush. Sure, it’s possible to write a book in a week, but revise, revise, revise, as long as it takes to get your story in great publishing shape. And always think before you submit a query. Do your research to find the agent or editor that might be most interested in your type of writing.




Alison Formento grew up in Arkansas and now writes and lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, a dog, and a few fish. Learn more about Alison at alisonashleyformento.com.

March 1, 2012

My Road to Publication : Jennifer R. Hubbard



Interview by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban



Today, Jennifer R. Hubbard shares with us how a serious commitment to her craft paved her road to publication.

Jennifer, an insightful critique partner, is the author of two moving realistic YA novels: The Secret Year (Viking 2010) and Try Not To Breathe (Viking, January 2012).

You can read my review of Try Not to Breathe here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/282282727

This is, in her own words, her story:

My road to publication was both short and long. I began sending out short stories while I was still in high school, and one of the first stories I sent out got published.

But it was a long time until I sold another.

I took a day job in another field, but I kept writing. For years, I sent out stories, and some of them appeared in magazines. It wasn’t until 2003 that I looked at all the young adult (YA) novels on my shelves and thought, “Why don’t I try to write the kind of book I’ve always loved to read?”

I’d made a few attempts at novels over the years, and most of them would qualify as YA—except they wouldn’t really qualify as novels. I usually only managed one or two short drafts. In 2003, I took a course in writing children’s literature, taught by Vivian Grey. I started going to SCBWI conferences and joined that organization. I sought out critique partners. And I began revising my novels more deeply than I ever had before. When my level of commitment changed, my results changed—slowly, but surely. Late in 2007, I queried an agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd. with my latest effort: a novel about a secret relationship, a sudden death, and a notebook left behind. The agent signed me and sold the book to Viking. It appeared early in 2010 under the title The Secret Year. Earlier this year, my second YA book with Viking, Try Not to Breathe, appeared. It is the story of a boy recovering from a suicide attempt, and his friendship with a girl who is trying to reach her late father through psychics.

When I began my publishing journey, self-publishing was not nearly as viable as it is now. Even so, for an unknown writer doing contemporary realistic fiction, the traditional route still has advantages: access to reviewers, eligibility for awards, access to the school and library market as well as the chain bookstores. My first book appeared on an Indie Next list, an ALA list (Quick Picks), and a Texas Library Association list (Tayshas). Also, I had the benefit of an editorial team, professional book designers, and a marketing team.

It’s very true that publishers don’t send most of their authors on book tours, nor do they buy co-op (prime bookstore placement, such as special displays) for most of their authors. A lot of the social networking, approaching local bookstores about signings, and ordering swag (e.g., bookmarks, pens, postcards) falls to the author. I’ve definitely found that it helps to band together with other local authors for live events, rather than trying to go it alone. I’m currently working with both the Kidlit Authors Club and the New Jersey Authors Network.

However, publishers still do a lot of the behind-the-scenes heavy lifting: contacting national media, handling author appearances at the major conferences like ALA and BEA and NCTE, distributing review copies, and interacting with the bookstore buyers. And my literary agency handles foreign rights and other subsidiary rights (film, audio, etc.) that I would have a hard time shopping on my own.

With traditional publishing, you have less control over the process, but more team members pitching in at every stage of the process. So I think authors can be happy on either road, but just have to choose the route that will work for them.

Bio: Jennifer R. Hubbard (www.jenniferhubbard.com) is the author of The Secret Year and Try Not to Breathe, both young-adult novels. Besides books, she loves hiking and chocolate, and can be found on Twitter @JennRHubbard.

February 23, 2012

My Road to Publication : Mike Mulin

Interview by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

Today Mike Mulin, my fellow author at Tanglewood Press is here to tell us how he came to write and publish his debut novel Ashfall, a thrilling YA dystopian story you don’t want to miss.

Q. Ashfall tells the story of two young people trying to survive in the barren landscape of a United States covered in ashes. How did this story came to be?

A. I wrote ASHFALL because the idea—a teen struggling to survive and find his family after the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts—seized me in its jaws and wouldn’t let go. The idea started with another book—Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. Dozens of novel ideas lurk within its pages, but the one that stuck with me was the supervolcano. A few weeks after I read Bryson’s book, I woke at 3:30 am with a scene occupying my head so completely I was afraid it would start spilling out my ears. I typed 5,500 words, finishing just before dawn. Then I put the project away and let it gestate for eight months. When I returned to it after researching volcanoes and volcanic ash, I realized the inspired scene I wrote in the middle of the night wouldn’t work, and ultimately that whole section had to be scrapped. The only three words that remain from that draft? Ashfall, Alex, and Darla.

Q. What genre is it?

A. Young Adult Science Fiction. It’s an apocalyptic novel with dystopian elements.

Q. Who is the expected audience?

A. Teens and adults who love dystopian fiction and disaster stories. If Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It had a baby with Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet were the godfather, the baby would be something like ASHFALL.

Now tell us a little abut the book as product:

Q. Who designed your cover?

A. Ana Correal. I love her work! She’s a Columbian artist whose medium is digitally-modified photography. You can see more of her work on Facebook and Flickr.

Q. How does the cover reflect your story?

A. The idea for the cover came from my editor, Peggy Tierney. I thought it captured the emotional tone ASHFALL beautifully, so I added a scene to the manuscript that roughly mirrors (bad pun totally intended!) the cover art.

Q. In which formats is your book available? e-book, hardcover, paperback?

A. ASHFALL is available in hardback and all major ebook formats. The paperback will come out at the same time as the sequel, ASHEN WINTER, October 8th of 2012.

And finally we would like to know about your journey to publication:

Q. How did your book get published?

A. ASHFALL was rejected at some stage—query, partial, or full—by 24 literary agents. (If you’re struggling to get published, take heart from this. Yes, your work might not be ready. But it might also be great work that simply hasn’t found a champion. Take a look at the list of awards and blurbs at http://www.mikemullinauthor.com, including a starred review from Kirkus and a listing among NPR’s top 5 YA novels of 2011. I’m pretty confident that ASHFALL wasn’t garnering rejections due to its quality.)

Two editors requested ASHFALL after hearing about it from my mother. (She owns Kids Ink Children’s Bookstore in Indianapolis) I haven’t heard back from one of them yet. The other was Peggy Tierney of Tanglewood Press.

Q. What is your marketing plan?

A. You would think that a guy who has an MBA with a concentration in marketing would have a big formal marketing plan, wouldn’t you? Well, not so much. My plan is more or less to meet as many people who love books as possible, both online and in person, learn from them, and tell them a little bit about ASHFALL. I did a whole seminar and series of blog posts about book marketing for NiNoCon—for those of you who are interested, it’s archived here.

Q. Any advice you want to share with our readers who have a manuscript ready?

A. Find mean critique partners and beta readers. If you give a manuscript to someone and they love it, never show them any of your work again. The meanest readers you can find will be patsies compared to agents, editors, and reviewers.

Mike Mullin’s first job was scraping the gum off the undersides of desks at his high school. From there, things went steadily downhill. He almost got fired by the owner of a bookstore due to his poor taste in earrings. He worked at a place that showed slides of poopy diapers during lunch (it did cut down on the cafeteria budget). The hazing process at the next company included eating live termites raised by the resident entomologist, so that didn’t last long either. For a while Mike juggled bottles at a wine shop, sometimes to disastrous effect. Oh, and then there was the job where swarms of wasps occasionally tried to chase him off ladders. So he’s really hoping this writing thing works out.

He holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with his wife and her three cats. ASHFALL is his first novel.

Mike has agreed to share with us the first two chapters of Ashfall.

You can access them by clicking this link, then scroll to the bottom of the page:  www.mikemullinauthor.com.

February 16, 2012

My Road to Publication: Linda Wisniewski

Filed under: Author's Interview,My Road to Publicatin,On Publishing,On Writing — carmenferreiroesteban @ 5:27 am
Tags: , ,


interviewed by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban



Today our guest visitor is Linda Wisniewski.

Linda is our first non-fiction author. Her book OFF KILTER is a memoir about growing up, my favorite subject. I write YA novels after all.

In her post today Linda talks about how her book came to be and got published.

If you have any question for Linda, please leave a comment below.

Linda says:

My memoir, Off Kilter, grew out of a little essay I placed in a literary magazine called Mindprints.  To my great surprise and joy, the editor nominated it for a Pushcart Prize, and one of my writing mentors advised me to expand it into a book. My theme used my scoliosis, or spinal curve, as a metaphor for the twists and turns of a life that did not “fit,” a life of conformity to a church and culture of abuse and suffering. I wanted to describe my journey away from all that and toward the peace of an authentic life. I gathered the memoir pieces I had been writing around that common theme, connected them, and added chapters to flesh out the main message I wanted to convey: we create our own happiness.

Many writers have taken that same journey. Among my favorites are May Karr’s The Liars’ Club, Dani Shapiro’s Devotion and Maureen Murdock’s The Heroine’s Journey. I think anyone who has struggled with feeling “different” will relate to my story.

My publisher, Peggy Elam of Pearlsong Press, designed the book cover and the layout, using a picture my son took of me from the back, showing my scoliosis or spinal curve. I am standing on a curved pathway to reinforce the emotional journey metaphor in a visual manner

Off Kilter is a trade paperback and is also available as an e-book for Kindle, Mobipocket and PDF.

When my book was ready, I sought out publishers who had brought out women’s memoirs I liked. Once a week, I sent out a package with their submission requirements, whether a summary, sample chapters, outline, etc. Number thirteen was my lucky number: Pearlsong Press offered me a contract.

Since the book came out in 2008, I’ve done a blog tour, library talks, and bookstore signings, and posted on relevant blogs as well as written my own, lindawisniewski.blogspot.com. I teach memoir writing at a community college, senior centers, and writers’ conferences, and use excerpts from my book among the examples in class. Often, students want to purchase a signed copy. My publisher also sends me opportunities she comes across for radio and online interviews.

For anyone with a book ready to pitch, I’d say first, make it as good as you possibly can. Show it to someone whose opinion you trust, not a friend or relative. When you get a few opinions that it’s publishable, look for agents and/or publishers of books similar to yours in theme, audience and subject matter. And follow their submission guidelines to the letter! And finally, to memoir writers, don’t be afraid to put your personal story out there.  True stories connect us and help us understand each other. What could be better than that?


Linda C.Wisniewski lives and writes in Bucks County, PA. She is a reporter for the Bucks County Herald, and also writes columns on women authors for the Bucks County Women’s Journal and the Mohawk Valley Independent.  Linda teaches memoir workshops at retirement centers and writers’ conferences. Her work has been published in the Christian Science Monitor, the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Rose and Thorn, Metropolis, and other venues both print and online. Visit her website at www.lindawis.com.

February 2, 2012

My Road to Publication: Sabrina Benulis

Interviewed by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

Today, the talented Sabrina Benulis, author of Archon (Harper Voyager, December 2011) has joined us at Dare to Read to talk about her book and her road to publication.

Please make Sabrina feel welcome by leaving your comments below.

Hi Sabrina, welcome to Dare to Read. First of all could you tell us where the story started. In other words:

Q. Why did you write Archon?

A. Initially, I wrote ARCHON and what would be the framework for its sequels for the sheer enjoyment of it.  The novel had been simmering in the back of my mind, slowly building itself up on its own for quite a while during my latter college years.  At that time, there were hardly any novels that had angels in them to be found–especially in fantasy–and I had a rich reading background in mythology and world religions.  That, combined with my desire to create a very original story, something that hadn’t been done before, spurred me to write and revise, and revise and write, until the trilogy was (at that time anyway) finished.

Q. What genre is it?

A. THE BOOKS OF RAZIEL trilogy is gothic fantasy.  However, the plot is written in the style of a thriller as there are many mysteries important to the story.

Q. Who is the expected audience?

A. Older teens and adults would be the appropriate readers, especially people who like paranormal thrillers and unique fiction.  I’ve been told Anne Rice’s work is similar to mine in tone and atmosphere.  Perhaps I could also compare it to dark fantasy like Holly Black’s.  I’ve also heard mention of Anne Bishop’s The Black Jewels series.  The marketing has thus far tried to wedge me in with other paranormal romance authors with novels about fallen angels, but that is ultimately a skewed comparison.  There is romance in my story, but it develops slowly and does not put the novel solidly in that category.  In essence, I’m what you want to read if you’re tired of the same old thing.

Q. Who designed your cover which, BTW, is outstanding?

A. A graphic artist who goes by the name of Nekro was contracted for the cover.  He does great gothic-style illustrations and is apparently becoming quite popular lately.

Q. How does the cover reflect your story?

A. The two characters on the cover are the protagonist of ARCHON, a red-haired girl named Angela Mathers, and a great angel named Israfel who would be her love interest if not for the fact that he comes off as a villain.  Whether or not this is true is revealed in later books.  Overall, the colors of the cover are perfect for the book, as coincidentally black, white, and red are quite prominent in the story for different reasons.  Also, the gothic sensibility with the cathedral and Angela’s tattered dress fit the atmosphere of the novel almost perfectly.  As she stands in front of the church doors, you get the sense that both she and the reader are being invited to experience something special.

Q. In which formats is your book available?

A. ARCHON is available as a hardcover and most e-book formats.  The paperback should be coming out around fall of 2012.  From what I understand, the international version is also a paperback.

Q. Could you share with us how did you get your agent and publisher interested on Archon.

A. I got my agent the old-fashioned way, by query.  After she read my query, she immediately wanted to read the entire novel (as it was back then), and after a preliminary revision, I was taken on as a client.  I then had to go through another revision before the book could be sent out to publishers, and when Harper Collins took me on as an author, I had to do an entire rewrite of the book! (And in a month and a half!)  They  initially took a keen interest in my novel series mostly because of the unique way I protrayed angels and demons, which fascinated them.  It was they who also emphasized that they wanted me to make the book more gothic, bringing out a very supernatural atmosphere.
ARCHON was not the easiest book to get published, mostly because it is so very different.  It crosses a lot of genres, takes a lot of chances, and does things with the plot that just haven’t been attempted before, especially in its sub-genre.  But at the same time, that uniqueness was what got it published in the end, and if anything, it should be a lesson for authors to write what they love.

Q. Any final advice you want to share with our readers who are considering self-publishing?

A. For any reader who wishes to be an author, remember that as long as you believe in your story, others will too.  In this industry, it’s all about perseverance.

Thank you so much Sabrina for being with us today and answer our questions so honestly.

Let’s hope your audience embrace Archon for its uniqueness and loves it as much as I did.
For my review of Archon please go to http://www.myshelf.com/teen/fiction/12/archon.htm

Sabrina Benulis lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and a short-tempered cockatiel.  When she isn’t hard at work revising and writing that next novel, she can be found watching anime, reading, or anxiously awaiting her next beach vacation.  Sabrina has a Masters in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, and ARCHON is her first novel.  When asked how real her angels might be, she often shrugs and smiles mysteriously.

January 26, 2012

My Road to Publication and Giveaway

Interview by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

Today, we have with us Emily Casey the author of the YA fantasy The Fairy Tale Trap, a delightful and imaginative retale of my favorite Fairy Tale, Beauty and the Beast I highly recommend.

Emily has generously agreed to give a free copy of The Fairy Tale Trap to one lucky commenter. So, don’t be shy and leave your comments below.

Hello, Carmen! Thanks for letting me visit your blog. And hello to all the book lovers out there! I’m really excited to announce the release of my book The Fairy Tale Trap

Hello Emily! You’re very welcome. And talking about your book, why don’t you tell us

Q. Why did you write this book?

A. I wrote it because… well… you’ll think I’m crazy, but the honest truth is that my main character (Ivy Thorn) made me do it. Ivy is a fictional character that I created to fill some creative space. I was between books and wasn’t ready to start my next one, so I created this character that hopped from fairy tale to fairy tale, wreaking havoc wherever she went. Ivy became such a strong character, that I felt like she needed at least a whole book, maybe even a series.

Q. Who is the expected audience? (List 3 books similar to yours)

A. She’s around fifteen years old and even though she’s running around with princesses and fairies, she has a voice similar to Rachel Hawkins’ character Sophie from the Hex Hall series (spunky and smart). Gail Carson Levine also comes to mind, since she likes to put strong heroines into fairy tales with a twist. And of course, anyone who ever enjoyed a fairy tale would be a match for The Fairy Tale Trap.

Q. In which formats is it available?

A. At the moment, The Fairy Tale Trap is only in ebook format. Since I’m self-published, all the costs come out of my own pocket, so a print version hasn’t been a possibility. I’m currently trying to make that happen, though.

Q. Why did you choose to self-publish?

A. I chose to self-publish for two reasons: 1) I couldn’t put Ivy in a drawer. I realize she’s a fictional character, but whenever I tried to move on and write something new, the stories always fell flat because I was thinking about Ivy’s next adventure. 2) I couldn’t stop reading about self-publishing. Eventually, I realized I was putting a lot of time into researching it, so I prayed about it. I felt strongly that I should at least move in this direction. I was never promised success if I self-published, but I feel that I’m meant to be on this path.

Q. One of the perks of self-publishing your book is that you get to choose your own cover. This is also a challenge for those of us not artistically oriented. How did it work for you? Did you design your own cover or hire somebody to do it.

A. The cover for The Fairy Tale Trap was a collaborative effort. A friend of mine (Ryan) is really good at Photoshop. He chose the photo of the girl running and put it into the woods and worked on blending and lighting. I added the text, extra color, and sparkles. I love the cover. I’ve already made the cover for the second book in the series, based on its design. I did this one all on my own, but I credit Ryan’s creative mind for laying the groundwork.

So you have already finished the second book in this series. Congratulations. I hope you publish it soon so we can have you again at Dare to Read to talk about it.

Q. Before we end this interview, is there any advice you want to share with our readers who are considering self-publishing?

A. Self-publishing is a hot topic and a lot of people are considering it. My advice is to take a step. Don’t sink a lot of money into it, but go ahead and act on it. You may find that the stress of marketing and coordinating release dates isn’t for you. If that’s the case, what have you lost? A little time. But if you turn back to traditional publishing, you’ll understand a lot more about the process and you may be a bigger asset to your future publisher.

Emily Casey is a writer from Tallahassee who chases two crazy kids around the house all day before collapsing in front of her computer. Her debut young adult fantasy, THE FAIRY TALE TRAP is on Amazon and Smashwords. If you want a taste of the book first, you can watch the book trailer.

You’ll find Emily on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Thank you so much Emily for being with us and best of luck with your book.

January 19, 2012

My Road to Publication

Interview by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

Today we have with us my friend and fellow author Chris Bauer.

I met Chris at the Bucks Country Writers Workshop when Chris was writing his wonderful and scary, and wonderfully scary novel SCARS ON THE FACE OF GOD: THE DEVIL’S BIBLE. So I was privileged to have a first peek into his story, while accessing his expertise as beta reader for both TWO MOON PRINCESS and its sequel THE KING IN THE STONE.

I confess I am no fan of horror stories (life is scary enough as is) but I loved his protagonist and was enthralled by his strong and distinctive voice.

I highly recommend you try this book, it’s above all a well written and compassionate look into a human soul

Why did you write this book?

SCARS ON THE FACE OF GOD: THE DEVIL’S BIBLE started as an attempt to exorcise some demons re an apparent cluster of mentally and physically impaired children in my old northeast Philadelphia neighborhood in the 1960s. It ended up with a more epic sweep when my research turned up a religious artifact known as the Devil’s Bible, a 13th century manuscript with a demonic legend. The massive book became a spoil of more than one European war, and is currently on display in the Royal Library of Sweden.

What genre is it?

Urban fantasy/horror. Maybe horror fits its description best, considering it was an EPIC Awards finalist as best for that genre for 2010. Alas, it took home the silver as runner-up. It’s been blurbed by multiple Bram Stoker award winner and NYT bestselling author Jonathan Maberry and Scott Nicholson, a majorly independent horror/thriller writer who is currently breaking some records in self-pubbed offerings. (Wow. This sounds like boasting. Sorry.)

Who is the expected audience?

Folks who liked Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist and to some extent The Da Vinci Code might like this. I’ve been asked if it’s a religious book. Nah. There’s a religious bend to it but the subject matter dictated this bend, and it’s not preachy in the least. Anyone who enjoys a few twists, a forty-year love story and some apocalyptic mayhem would be the intended audience.

Who designed your cover?

Deena Fisher, publisher, Drollerie Press. Drollerie Press is kaput, sorry to say, because of Deena’s debilitating health issues. (Hi, Deena. Hope you’re feeling better.)

How does the cover reflect your story?

It depicts the misty, eerie quiet of an early morning in the small town of Three Bridges, PA, just before tragedy strikes. People have asked me about the black bird. He’s just hanging out, waiting for something bad to happen, and it does.

In which formats is your book available? Ebook, hardcover, paperback?

Ebook if you want me to earn anything on it. A small number of trade paperbacks are still available on Amazon from the original publisher but I doubt I’ll ever see those royalties. Plus the ebook has some revisions vs. the original. Here are the links: amzn.to/tV3K0g (Amazon); bit.ly/smashwords_scars (Smashwords).

Why did you choose to self-publish?

Aforementioned sudden closure of small press Drollerie Press, the original publisher. Closed its doors in October 2011 and returned all rights to me plus threw in the cover art. Yes, it was kind of ugly the way it went down (internet silence from the publisher as she mended from a devastating illness while the press tanked), but she tried to do more right than wrong for her authors. I could have either a) held off as I shopped my new book, hoping I could entice a prospective agent and/or publisher into re-launching SCARS as part of a two-book deal or b) re-launched it myself. Extremely unlikely a publisher will be interested in it as a second book, considering its only modest success when originally published. And let’s face it, Amazon and Smashwords now have some very attractive royalty programs. And don’t forget that much of a book’s success depends on the author’s own marketing, which I have to do anyway. So why not try to direct that chunk of income into my own pocket, you dig?

What is your marketing plan?

Hit up as many reviewers and bloggers as I can find. Giveaways, guest blog posts, reviews. Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, other social media. So far I’ve had a number of takers, all breadcrumbs for this new bend in the changing publishing environment. Here’s where the breadcrumbs lead, in case you missed the earlier links: amzn.to/tV3K0g (Amazon); bit.ly/smashwords_scars (Smashwords).

Any advice you want to share with our readers who are considering self-publishing?

It looks very attractive, but it’s deceiving. Authors who are doing well by self-publishing their work brought their platforms and readership with them. J.A. Konrath and Scott Nicholson are examples. Then, of course, there’s Amanda Hocking, whose success has been freakish. My advice: Have your work critiqued (a must): peers are good, professional is better. Read your work aloud! Attempt to take the normal road to publishing first. Find an agent who can sell your book/series to a traditional publisher and establish a readership before entertaining self-publication. I’m following my own advice, am currently pitching a new novel to agents. But going the traditional route is easier said than done. Rejection sucks. Do it anyway.

C.G. Bauer writes horror, crime, mystery, mainstream and anything he damn well pleases, most of it really good. In addition to his novel SCARS ON THE FACE OF GOD his short stories have appeared in Shroud Magazine (“Zombie Chimps From Mars,” Spring 2011 print edition) and Thuglit, and his “You’re A Moron” short was podcasted by Well Told Tales (tale #60) with more than 94,000 free audio downloads/plays to date. “Sink,” a short-short, will be released late January 2012 in the new anthology 100 HORRORS. He’ll be releasing a collection of short stories later this year.

« Previous PageNext Page »