Dare to Read

November 15, 2012

My Road to Publication: M.V. Freeman

 

Today my fellow author, M.V. Freeman, shares with us the road that took her from writer to published author. Her journey shows that, as it is the case for most of us writers, perseverance is key to getting published.

Here is her story.

First of all, thank you Carmen for allowing me to be here on your blog. It is a pleasure to be here.

I love adventure, mayhem, and larger than life stories. As a writer, my instinct is to create a fabulous saga to tell you of my road to publication, to fill it with fantastical details, maybe a car crash for good measure–actually, I put that in my story.

The truth? It is a simple tale. I finished a book.

Sounds easy enough? I rewrote the book five times.

I never knew how long it would take to write my book… or how much I would learn. I thought once you wrote it—that was it. Editing what was that? I am embarrassed to admit how green I was. I have since rectified that little problem.

At this point I want to cue hysterical laughter because after I polished my manuscript, wrote my query letter and started to send it out. I expected—like every writer–the people I sent it to would love it. Everyone makes this mistake, I don’t care who you are. It is human nature.

I thought–who wouldn’t want a story about a dangerous Russian man, desperate and charming who will do anything to protect his people? Throw in some strange creatures, elementals, and a woman who wants nothing to do with him.

Apparently a lot of places didn’t want this story. My story was rejected—many, many, times.

I’d like to say I handled it in stride. Of course I didn’t. Knowing that people don’t want or like your story is hard. I won’t lie. The experience toughened me up. Publishing is a subjective business, not objective.

I could’ve given up. Instead, I decided I was going to be fearless. The worst I would get was a “no”. Heck, I was getting plenty of those. I kept submitting (and eating way too much chocolate when I go the rejections).

That’s why when I opened the email form Crimson Romance—I actually expected a “Sorry, but not this time.”  Instead–they wanted to take a chance on my story—as a Paranormal Romance. I had to read the email several times to comprehend that.

It was one of the best decisions I made accepting that offer with Crimson. With Publication I have been exposed to even more learning opportunities. I’ve had to learn about networking, marketing, more editing and other craft writing elements. A writer never stops learning or writing.

My road to publication isn’t very exciting—but I have no regrets and it is only the beginning.

What have you pursued in spite of rejections? Have you succeeded? Are you still working toward your goal?

Author Bio: M.V. Freeman is a native of Minnesota, but calls North Alabama her home. She is a member of RWA, and the chapters: Georgia Romance Writers and Southern Magic. By day her mind is filled with medical jargon at the local health clinic, but at night she finds herself exploring alternate worlds within our own. Heavily influenced by Slavic languages and culture, you will find she weaves these elements into her stories. Her award winning story INCANDESCENT is the first in a series. She is currently working on the second book in the series while plotting another project. When she is not writing, she’s reading, cooking, throwing around kettle bells, or making coffee.   www.mvfreeman.com  my twitter @MVFree

INCANDESCENT: Some gifts are unwanted, and Laurie Hudson’s affinity for fire is one she hates. It has destroyed her relationship with her family and she has few friends. She’s fought hard to keep the fire inside suppressed, living a low key life as a bartender, until a brutal and charming man blows into her life.

Around Mikhail Petrov, her careful control disintegrates. She is at once drawn to his urbane, cool demeanor and irritated by his overbearing manner. Her options are taken away when he kidnaps her, forcing her into a fight she wants nothing to do with.

As she learns to survive, Laurie faces the hardest choice of all, her freedom or the destruction of the frustrating man she’s come to care for.

October 18, 2012

My Road to Publication: M.J. Schiller

 

 

 

Today my fellow author at Crimson Romance, M.J. Schiller, tells us about what inspired her in this difficult road to publication.

Please help me welcome her here at Dare to Read.

Hello, all!

On Tuesday of this week I discussed my “Road to Publication” on The Ladies in Red blog, a blog that was set up for all of the Crimson Romance authors.  Today I’d like to tell you a little bit about what got me onto that road in the first place.  For you youngsters out there, this may come as a shock, but…just the other day I was twenty, trying to figure out my place in the world, and the next day, all of a sudden, I was forty, still trying to find my place in this world.  I’m afraid that’s how it happens.  Time passes far too quickly.  When you get to be my age, you start to look around and realize that the rest of your time will go just as rapidly, and you better do something with it.  So you begin to ask yourself The Big Question, why am I here?

As I began to search around for the answer to that question, I ran across Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life.  (Coincidentally, Warren put forty chapters in his book because, not only is forty the age that you begin to question your life, but it is also a spiritually significant number in the Bible.)  The main premise of Warren’s book, and, of course, I’m simplifying here, is that God gave you your talents for a reason; He wants you to use them.  The book then suggests that you do some thinking and inventory those talents.

I have two skills of which I am proud.  I can fall asleep just about anywhere, at, pretty much, any time.  And, I can write.  Now, I couldn’t see how to work that first one into some kind of purpose for my life, so I was stuck with the writing thing.  ( ;

At about this same time I was watching the Emmy Awards show.  They were giving a lifetime achievement award, post-humorously, to Aaron Spelling.  You probably remember him as the man who gave us such classic television as The Mod Squad, S.W.A.T., Starsky and Hutch, Family, Charlie’s Angels, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Vega$, Hart to Hart, T.J. Hooker, Dynasty, Hotel, Melrose Place, Beverly Hills 90210, and 7th Heaven, my favorite being The Mod Squad.  Yes, when I grow up I want to be just like Julie, Pete, and Lincoln.  I also discovered, when looking him up for this blog, that Spelling produced one of my favorite movies of all time, Mr. Mom.  Ho But I digress.

I believe it was Jaclyn Smith who got up to talk about Aaron Spelling and quoted the producer as saying something profound like, “Reach for your dreams.”  I don’t know how many times I’d heard or seen that phrase before, but somehow, that night, it struck me.  Aaron Spelling had once, perhaps, been a geeky, pimple-faced junior high student like the rest of us, but had eventually made himself a household name.  How?  He put his talents to use.

I started writing my first book the next day.

Incidentally, I also read that “Aaron Spelling was so severely taunted by his classmates for being Jewish, he was rendered psychosomatically unable to walk for more than a year,” according to NNDB.  Had he not risen above that to use his God-given gifts, my childhood would have looked a lot different.  So that is what got me started on the long road to where I am now, about to publish my debut novel Taken by Storm.  If you’d like to hear more about that journey, read Tuesday’s blog at http://crimsonromanceauthors.com/ .

Or you can check me out at  www.mjschiller.com or M.J. on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest.

Taken by Storm can be purchased at Amazon, BN.com, and other e-Book retailers.

So, what are your talents?  I’m betting you don’t have anything as cool as super-sonic sleeping power.  Ever have one of those wake up moments like I described above when watching The Emmy’s?  Owe a little push down the road to your success to anyone?

Thank you for your attentive ear today.  Or should I say attentive eye?

Taken by Storm is a romance about Prince Tahj of Avistad and begins with a coup in the palace.  Tahj escapes with his captain, Radeem, and a young woman he finds bound and gagged on his bedroom floor, Bashea.  He falls in love with Bashea, but has to overcome a lot of obstacles to win her love–being on the run from Lord Boltar’s men, facing desert storms, even fighting off a panther.  But perhaps the toughest impediment to their happiness is Bashea’s own insistence that a prince can’t love a sheep herder’s daughter.  If you’d like to hear the rest of their story, you can purchase Taken by Storm at Amazon.com, BN.com, and through other E-book retailers.  Come visit me at www.mjschiller.com.

Check Taken by Storm and other titles at: www.crimsonromance.com

September 6, 2012

My Road to Publication: Kate Fellowes

 

 

Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban talks to Kate Fellowes

 

 

Today my fellow author at Crimson Romance tells us all about her exciting road to the publication of her novel Thunder in the Night. Please help me welcome her.

Here is her story:

My new romantic suspense novel, Thunder in the Night, has its roots in a betrayal from the distant past.

You see, there was this elephant.

Lota lived in a zoo for over thirty years before being sold to a circus for one dollar.  She was stuck there in that circus for over a decade, as her health deteriorated and as the USDA investigated allegations of abuse.  Eventually, she and all the rest of the circus herd were confiscated by the USDA and poor sick Lota finally got to sanctuary, where she should have gone thirteen years earlier, straight from the zoo.

But it was too late.  She was dying.  For only three short months, she lived at the Elephant Sanctuary, but at least for those last months, she felt grass beneath her feet and knew the touch of loving hands.

I’ve always thought this was a horrible betrayal of that animal.  Those entrusted with her care were meant to protect her and see to her well-being.  Instead, they sent her to her doom.

What other ways have humans betrayed animals, I wondered, and a thousand examples flooded my mind.  After sifting them, combining them, discarding some and keeping others, I had my plot.

In Thunder in the Night, Allison Belsar is a journalist assigned to write a travel piece on a tour to Belize sponsored by the local zoo.  She finds adventure and danger and, yes, betrayal while on the trip.  And she also finds, most unexpectedly, love, in the form of Mart Lawler, assistant director of the zoo.

While Thunder in the Night covers a lot of ground geographically, at its heart are the hearts of Allison and Mart, who see in one another a strong and compassionate partner.  As with all my novels, (Thunder in the Night is my fifth) I’m aiming for wide appeal.  You can read this book—and so can your daughter and so can your grandmother.

My own favorite authors from what I think of as the golden age of romantic suspense—Barbara Michaels, Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney—all sprinkle details of their settings, occupations and events into their books and I’ve tried to do that as well.  There are no elephants in my novel, but you will meet a lot of other species.

A launch title with new publisher, Crimson Romance, Thunder in the Night has a fantastic cover, hinting at the mystery of the rain forest.  The publisher did a wonderful job of accurately reflecting my story.  There’s a good-looking guy with a glint in his eyes and you can tell he knows more than he’s saying.  The book is available in two formats—e-book and paperback.

And it’s all happened so quickly!

I read on one of my writers lists about a new publisher taking submissions, so I sent off a query straight away.  In less than a week, I had a request for the full manuscript and a week after that, a letter of suggested revisions.  I took a few weeks to make those changes and shortly after I submitted the new and improved version, I was signing the contract.

The line launched on June 4, 2012 with twenty-five titles, one of which was mine.  I’ve been talking it up on blogs like this one and encourage anyone with a completed romance to check out Crimson Romance at www.crimsonromance.com.  They have been terrific to work with and I’m already planning my next romance.

Thanks so much for having me here today.  I know firsthand the value of writers sharing information and ideas and hope my path to publication will encourage someone else to take that next step, too.

Kate Fellowes’ working life has revolved around words—editor of the student newspaper, reporter for the local press, cataloger in her hometown library. She’s the author of five novels and numerous short stories and essays. Married, she and her husband share their home with a variety of companion animals.

You can find her at: http://katefellowes.wordpress.com/

June 21, 2012

My Road to Publication: Becky Lower

Filed under: Author's Interview,My Road to Publicatin — carmenferreiroesteban @ 5:22 am
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by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

 

 

Today, I want to introduce you to another of my fellow writers at Crimson Romance.

I hope you find her story as interesting as I did.

My debut novel, The Reluctant Debutante, is an historical romance sent in America as it is poised on the brink of the Civil War. I consider it a cross between Edith Wharton and Julia Quinn. Julia’s Bridgerton series is my true inspiration for this series, which focuses on the Fitzpatrick family’s nine children, who are all named for an herb or spice, as they come of age in a new country. The Cotillion tradition was introduced to New York society in 1854, so The Reluctant Debutante introduces the first of the Fitzpatrick females–Ginger–who will participate in the Ball and season only to secure the right for her younger siblings, not because she wants to.

The cover of my book was designed by the killer graphics team at Crimson Romance. They gave me two choices, and judging from the early comments I’ve received, I picked the right one. It has the right historical feel, the debutante is there, but vague enough so the reader can make her look the way the reader envisions her. The band of Indian print along the bottom gives a hint of things to come inside the book. The book is available for pre-orders on Amazon until July 2, at which time it will become available on most digital publishing sites. Plans are underway to make it available in print later in the year.

My road to publication was a long and winding one. I entered a lot of contests, and received valuable feedback from them. I sent it out to several publishers, who told me it was an odd time period since most people writing historicals set in America either focus on the Golden Age after the Civil War or they write Westerns. No one cares about New York in the 1850s, according to them. Also, it was advised that I change the name of my characters, since the name Ginger wasn’t common during this time period. I stuck to my guns about certain elements of the story and kept revising and tightening the rest of it. Crimson Romance is a new publishing house who is willing to take a chance on the not-so-traditional books, and I’m glad to have found a home with them. They’ve already signed me for the second book in the series, which will be out in December. My marketing plan is being formulated as I go. I have a new website, www.beckylowerauthor.com, and a blog attached to it, so I’m going to see about doing a blog tour. I’m being reviewed in my local paper, and an arts publication in Northern Virginia, where I used to work. I may also do some advertising.

My advice to anyone who has ever wanted to write a book is twofold. First, if you think you’re too old to start the process, I’ll quote George Eliot: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” To those who are younger and busy getting married, launching careers and nurturing children, I’d say, don’t let life get in the way of your dreams.

Ever since submitting my first screenplay to Bonanza at age twelve, I have had a love affair with the American west. Perhaps it has something to do with an old family legend that I have a Cherokee Indian great-great grandfather. That might explain why I tend to plunk my characters into the middle of momentous historical events that helped shape the United States. I pursue my passion for history by watching The History Channel, visiting old graveyards and civil war battle sites and by writing about it. I am a graduate of Bowling Green State University and currently live in Oberlin, OH with my puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary.

 

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.

  BIO:

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 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
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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 9, 2012

My Road To Publication: Robin Helm

 

 

 

 

 

On the other end of the spectrum from last week blogger, Sabrina Beluris, today we have as guest, Robin Helm, an indie author who tells us candidly why she chose to self publish and explains how to do so.

As different as the road to publication of these two authors was, they both share a common thread in their stories as both their series have angels as protagonists.

The twist in Mrs. Helm’s story? The human girl’s name is Elizabeth Bennet. Her guardian angel’s? Xander/Darcy.

Below, Mrs. Helm tells us how her story became a book.

I taught high school English for twenty-five years. A few years ago, I noticed that my students were obsessed with the Twilight Saga, so I read it. The hero was a beautiful, intelligent, talented, self-sacrificing, natural bad guy trying his best to be good. The story was every girl’s dream scenario.

My story line would flip that. My protagonist would be the ultimate good guy, a guardian angel, gifted by God with emotions. He would fight his growing love for his charge, seeking instead what he thought was best for her.

I wanted to ensure that my work would actually be read, so I chose to write a Pride and Prejudice fan fiction and post it as a WIP (work in progress). Because it was my first effort, I chose to write about what was familiar. I set my story in a small southern town, similar to the one in which I live. I graduated from a religious college, so I used Scripture to introduce my chapters and develop the spiritual warfare angle of the books.  The time period matched my own life, so I knew about the technology, clothing styles, and music.

My genre is religious fantasy fiction (similar to Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness, or Twilight with a religious angle), and I am an Indie author. I have published the first two books of The Guardian Trilogy, Guardian and SoulFire, through CreateSpace, Amazon Kindle, and Barnes & Noble Nook. My books are available in both paperback and e-books, and are doing very well. SoulFire was a “Hot New Release” rated in the top three of its genre for the entire first month of its publication. (One month is the period of eligibility for that list). Both books are on the top rated list for the genre, and both have been consistently in the top 100 in sales of that genre on Amazon. Self-publication through these avenues is free, and the author receives 70% of the royalties. I did spend $40 to buy the pro-plan through CreateSpace, because it was a smart marketing decision.

CreateSpace provides a free ISBN, publishing template, and choice of cover templates. Phil Thompson, a friend of mine who is a professional photographer, provided the cover photography for free. Six friends of mine who are also writers served as “betas” or editors, and one of them did the final edits after the books were formatted. I in turn beta for them. My books were published, available, and in the hands of readers within six weeks of completion. I began writing Guardian in March, 2011, finished writing it in June, and published it at the end of August. As soon as I finished writing Guardian, I began writing SoulFire, which I finished in November and published at the end of December. I am now writing the third book in the trilogy, Legacy, and I hope to publish it by the end of April.

The photographer, seeing the continued success of the first two books, did a photo shoot for the third cover and helped me with design. That cover is already completed. All of my covers have spiritual significance; for instance, the cover of Guardian shows light breaking through dark clouds, symbolic of good overcoming evil.

I chose this route on the advice of several of my friends who are published by traditional publishing houses. They wait up to eighteen months to have their work published and no longer retain the rights to their work. They also receive about 30% of their royalties, and they have to do their own publicity, just as I do. I don’t see a down side to self-publishing in my case, though if I could be guaranteed help with marketing and promotion, I would consider signing with a traditional publisher.

Robin Helm has published the first two volumes of The Guardian Trilogy, Guardian and SoulFire, and is presently writing Legacy, the third and final volume, posting as a work in progress on four different forums. She has also published two Regency short stories. She and her husband have two grown daughters and a Yorkie-Poo named Tobey.

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