Monday, October 31, 2011

Indie Insider - Steven Montano

What is the best way to create tension?

I like to use short, vivid descriptions establish a rhythm and pace of the story.

Cross gazed into a metropolis of chains: tall and crooked buildings made of metal and bone, bound together in a massive web of iron links. Everything was the color of blood and rust. Every surface in that steel jungle of towers and parapets and jagged bridges was dented and browned from the touch of desert storms.

Like that. ;D

Do people judge a book by it’s cover? Who makes yours?

They do. The best book in the world can have an awful cover (and vice versa), but the cover is very important in attracting that initial eye, and I encourage authors to have their professionally done if they can. Mine are provided by the amazing Syd Gill ( =D

What are the best ways to ‘show’ and not ‘tell’?

That’s a difficult one, because you’re asking me to “tell” you. ;D
When it comes to character emotions, for me it works to make those emotions into a physical description. “He was scared to go in there” is kind of cheesy. “His gut churned at the thought of going in there” is a much more visceral way of explaining the same thing. It’s also important to be cognizant of all of the senses. I still see a lot of writers stick with visual sensation, when the sound, smell, taste and tactile sensations are often much more real, and if handled properly can really make a story and experience for a reader.

How many books do you produce a year? Are you meeting your goal?

Well, this is my first year, and so far I’m on….2. (Not bad considered I started in April.) I will hopefully have 3 by the end of the year, and shooting for 2-4 over the course of an entire calendar year seems fairly realistic for me.

How many words do you produce a day? Do you have a daily quota to fill?

I don’t, but I probably should. I don’t write every day (bad), but when I get engaged with a project I’ll do about 1,200 words a day on average. When I get to about 50-60K, I’ll do my own “Nanowrimo” project to finish it out and crank production up to about 2,000 a day until it gets finished.

What is your greatest challenge as an author?

Marketing! Good grief, as if having a full-time job, a nasty commute, and two medically challenged kids wasn’t enough, promoting yourself through social networking is a lot of time and energy. Oh, and you have to keep writing, too. 8O

Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? Briefly describe your process.

I’ll go through a serious edit before I send anything off to beta readers, and my work with them actually coincides with the later edits. I’ll take feedback from them and apply it to my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th revisions. By the time the 5th and 6th edits roll around, I’m wondering why I ever quite smoking, drinking a lot of wine, and wishing I was better at writing drafts that didn’t need to be edited so much.

I do not use a professional editor, but probably should. Working with a limited budget only permits for so many expenses, however, and most of what I “make” goes into ISBN costs and cover art. Eventually, someday, hopefully, maybe I can afford a professional editor…in the meantime, that’s why I do 6 full revisions, and that’s been doing the trick just fine. ;D

What is you favorite part of the whole process? (Besides receiving a check or 5 star review!)

I love the part in the writing process when the entire project just “clicks”…that is, when you discover that element of the story that makes all of the other disparate pieces in your mind suddenly fit together. Sometimes it happens 1/3 of the way through the first draft, sometimes it happens during the 4th edit, but my wife always knows when it hits me, because it usually involves me walking around and talking to myself while grinning like an idiot. ;D

What are three web sites or blogs that you can recommend? (related to writing etc.)

Oh, geez, just three?
Ok…Alan Edwards, author of “The Curse of Troius”. His site is often about football, things he hates on TV, and exercise videos, but he’s *also* a writer, and his insight into the process, trials and tribulations of Indie authorship are quite keen. Oh, and he’s funny as hell.

Jen Kirchner is the author of a number of awesome online Vote Your Own Adventures set in a an awesome futuristic world infested by demons. I’ve been beta reading her first novel, “The Fourth Channel”, and it’s excellent stuff.

Icy Sedgwick is one of the most prolific and purely talented flash fiction authors you’re ever likely to find out there. Her site is just chock full of great reading content.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Thanks for having me! =D

My links:


The BLOOD SKIES series on Amazon:

The BLOOD SKIES series on Smashwords:

Follow me on Twitter:!/Daezarkian

Facebook Fan Page:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bestseller For A Day - All Hallow's Eve

On October 28th help us drive this award-winning novel to #1!!! 
All Hallow’s Eve: The One Night it’s Bad... to be Good

People are being martyred but not for their faith. Instead the deaths are part of a serial killer’s sick game as he chooses his victim by their name… then kills them in that Saint’s grisly manner.
“Beautifully written and masterfully executed. You will keep guessing until the end who could have planned such a horrific night! Do not read this while alone in the house!”

Book Reviewer

“Scary and smart, All Hallow’s Eve is perfect for anyone who wants to read a horror story that hits them in the gut. From the intricate psychopathology of the serial killer, to the hair-raising tension, to the skewering of pop culture, 'All Hallow’s Eve' is simply a great read.”

~Your Need To Read
Book Reviewer

What are bestselling and award-winning authors saying about Cristyn West’s All Hallow’s Eve? See for yourself:

“Cristyn West does it again. After her international best seller, Plain Jane, Cristyn brings to life another thriller that takes you to the edge and beyond. Not for the weak stomached, 'All Hallow’s Eve' is macabre, yet still manages to be heartfelt. But with people dying in the manner of the saints, we knew the body count would be high, and Ms. West did not disappoint!”
~ThrillersRockT, Book Reviewer

Today, it’s your turn to grab All Hallow’s Eve for the incredibly low price of 99 cents and see for yourself why it makes readers sleep with the lights on.

Just purchase All Hallow’s Eve at the promotional price, send a friend who you know would love finding a fun, fast-paced read at an awesome price, and grab the 3 Bonus Buys that are the perfect companion reads to this Halloween thriller:

Buy to Win!!! Enter to win a Kindle!!!

That’s right!
By helping us drive “All Hallow’s Eve” to the top of the Kindle Lists on October 28th, YOU can win!

Because Carolyn, Amber, and Rachel are giving away a brand new Kindle!

Simply purchase “All Hallow’s Eve” on October 28th, then head to the Best Seller For A Day website.

You will only need to enter your email address and the first five numbers from your Amazon purchase confirmation code.

And tah-dah! You just gained 5 entries to win a Kindle!

For more info visit:

Indie Insider - A. K. Taylor

What is the best way to create tension?

Tension can be caused by a lot of ways. A long lasting feud can be one. A person you can stand to be around whatsoever for whatever reason can be another. War is the ultimate climate for tension. Things or people who cause fear also create tension. There really is no best way except to relate to things that causes you tension or what is known to cause tension and then put it into the writing.

Do people judge a book by it’s cover? Who makes yours? 

Oh yes! I can say that they do without a doubt, and people have loved my book’s cover. Readers love it when they pick it up and a radio show host says the book is screaming, “What’s inside me? Take a look!” I design the cover with a skeletal layout and character sketches that I have drawn. I work with a professional cover designer to put it all together. It’s like a joint effort.

What are the best ways to ‘show’ and not ‘tell’? 

The best way I do this is with pictures. I show the readers what the characters look like in an illustration so I reduce the amount I have to tell. Pictures take away much of the words and bring them to life. Another way to cut out the fluff is to have the characters talk about the backstory rather than narrate it; too much narration is boring in my opinion. I don’t like the “Blah, blah, blah,” approach, and I would like to demonstrate how the characters react to another’s knowledge of the backstory. Also discovering a piece of the backstory is a fun way to show rather than tell. I hate a lot of fluff and would like to get into the action already; I’m addicted to action. I also like to remind the reader about a character’s character traits with action entwined. I can remind the reader that Neiko’s eyes are green by saying how they convey how she is feeling at a moment in time with the tidbit mixed in.

How many books do you produce a year? Are you meeting your goal?

Around 1-3 books a year as far as writing goes, but getting them published is a new venture. I have only published my first and I hope to get my second one out by next year. I finished one book and am about 2/3 of the way through another, so I’m doing pretty well. Marketing has slowed me down a little, but I just have to find that perfect balance.

How many works do you produce a day? Do you have a daily quota to full?

Hmm, how many words? I have to guesstimate since I don’t know the exact count, but it is a lot. After my writing, social media, blog, etc, I can write about 3K to 10K words. A heavy day can be up there to 15K or more. Words rack up really quickly on me. I don’t really have a word quota, but I have my writing ‘to do’ list. If it gets done, I’m happy, unless I pile the words onto something then I just move it up to the next day or stay up late since I’m a night owl.

What is your greatest challenge as an author? 

My biggest challenge to me is marketing and reaching my audience. This is all new so I’m learning as I go. I had to teach myself about 85% of what I know since I didn’t have teachers and I am cut off from a lot since I live in an extremely rural area. The rest of writing is cake to me.

Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? Briefly describe your process. 

I use a professional editor. I write and edit as I go along. Then after I am done I do a complete readthrough. After that I let it sit for a while and then do another couple of readthroughs. Then I send it to the editor. I go over the editor’s comments, make the changes, and send it in through another round since I usually go through a comprehensive edit. After I get it back, then I do another readthrough to check for missing punctuation or typos that I or the editor missed. After that I send it into the publication process. There is a couple more chances for edits, just in case.

What is you favorite part of the whole process? (Besides receiving a check or 5 star review!) 

Well, I have two actually. I like the whole part of creating something; I have a gifted imagination that can create, and it’s something I love doing. Now, that I am sharing with others, (I almost didn’t) I love for people to say they loved my book and everything about it: cover, story, and illustrations, and they want more when I tell them that this is only book #1.

What are three web sites or blogs that you can recommend? (related to writing etc.) a great place for tips on writing, publishing, etc, and new sections coming soon. I also write articles for this site that will be posted soon. with Shelley Hitz, a great place for free and cheap tools, info, and coaching a listing site that also has author information and resources, paid subscriptions coming soon.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Well, I guess that I could add that the book that I am sharing as of write now I wrote when I was 16 years old. I have been writing books since then. I have 14 stash away on my computer right now and more coming, and all of them would like to be released into the wild and read by readers. I enjoy writing them so I sincerely hope the readers would like to read them. I believe that energy and enjoyment that the writer puts into their work should transfer over to the reader. I have many interests, but I love the outdoors. As I mentioned earlier, I’m a night owl, so I hate mornings.

Pages and Links:

Book Website:

Amazon Pages:
Author page:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Indie Insider - Karen Pokras Toz

Do people judge a book by its cover? Who makes yours?

Definitely – first impressions are everything. It’s hard enough being an “Indie.” You need to make sure you are putting out the most professional product possible, and that includes the book cover. That’s not to say you need to spend a fortune. I have seen many great covers that were done for little or no cost. On the flip side, I have seen professionally done covers that are unimpressive. For my book cover, I knew I wanted a professional to take over. I interviewed several artists until I found one who really understood my vision. I finally hired Deana Riddle at Deana was not only talented, but very professional and a pleasure to work with.

What are the best ways to ‘show’ and not ‘tell’?

For me it’s all in the dialogue. It’s okay to have some descriptive narration, but if I feel like it’s going on for too long, I’ll stop and have the characters start talking to each other instead. If you tell the reader everything that is happening, there won’t be anything left for them to imagine, resulting in a less engaged reader.

How many books do you produce a year? Are you meeting your goal?

It’s hard to say. The very first book I wrote took fourteen years, and I’m still not satisfied that I have a final draft, worthy of publishing. On the other hand, I wrote and published Nate Rocks the World in ten months. I’m currently working on book two of the Nate series. I started it in May and I’m about one-third done with the first draft. Ideally, I’d like to have it released in early summer. We shall see.

How many words do you produce a day? Do you have a daily quota to fill?

I try to write everyday, but I don’t have a set word quota to fill. Depending on time constraints, mood, motivation, etc, I’ll write anywhere from 200-2000 words at one time. I find that on the days where I tell myself: you have to write 800 words today, I usually wind up scrapping what I wrote. For me, I have to be in the right mindset or the words just will not flow properly.

What is your greatest challenge as an author?

Marketing! For me – writing the book was the easy part. Talking about my book and especially about myself is something I just am not comfortable doing. Then there is the sheer amount of time it takes to get yourself out there. I had no idea the amount of work I was in for. I spend many hours online every day trying to make connections, in hopes of spreading the word about my book.

Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? Briefly describe your process.

This goes back to the concept of trying to put out the most professional product you possibly can. So yes, to all of the above. In my case, I had a writing/critique coach, readers, and a professional editor. Then, after all edits were done, I had more readers. It was getting to the point where I just had to stop and say – enough – this book is done!

What is you favorite part of the whole process? (Besides receiving a check or 5 star review!)

I just love hearing that kids enjoy my book. When I see emails from parents telling me “my daughter almost fell on her face getting out of the car this morning to go to school because she had her nose in it!” I am so excited (disclaimer – I am not responsible for any injuries incurred while reading Nate Rocks the World!) I also love getting pictures of the kids. Some of them have even sent me artwork. You can see all of their smiling faces on my website (link below.) Having something fun for kids to read is goal #1 for me.

What are three web sites or blogs that you can recommend? (related to writing etc.)
Please don’t mention any social media platforms, Amazon, Kindle Direct Publishing, Goodreads etc.)

Three of my favorites:

Indie Book Collective:
Novel Publicity – check out their blog for a lot of great free advice:
Write to Publish (which I just discovered, but love!)

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Yes – I so believe that encouraging young children to fall in love with reading is the greatest gift we can give them. I hope all who are young at heart will experience as much enjoyment reading Nate Rocks the World, as I did writing all of Nate's adventures.


Purchase information for Nate Rocks the World:

Barnes & Noble:

Connect with me online:
Twitter: @karentoz

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Indie Insider - Marie Harbon

How many words do you write a day? Where do you do it?

I have no set target for word count as such; I tend to aim for writing a particular scene, which may only be 500 words or more than 1000. This way, it keeps the action, dialogue or emotional content in my head so it’s more consistent. I feel like I’m living that scene in its entirety. Writing is produced at home, as it’s important for me to control the environment and its ambience.

Do you think that people judge a book by its cover? Who makes yours?

The task of a book cover is to draw the eye, to persuade a reader to read the blurb and look inside, in the same way that food packaging entices the shopper to consume the product. If a book cover doesn’t excite the reader, then it isn’t doing its job so I would have to say people do judge a book by its cover. It’s all about drawing the eye and arousing interest. My cover was designed by Richard Crookes, a British artist living in Thailand who has produced numerous book jackets and even movie posters. He’s a very skilled and intuitive designer and I’m thrilled with ‘Seven Point Eight’s cover.

What do you do when you get writers block?

I find creativity has a natural ebb and flow so there are times when I don’t feel the words. When this happens, I put a story aside and concentrate on something else for a while, such as stitching or designing something. The writing urge always returns in its own good time, or I may find the solution to a tricky part of the story comes to me after waking up.

How much time do you spend on social media per day? What do you concentrate on?

Sometimes too much! I check emails, facebook, twitter etc over breakfast and return to them again in the evening. If I’m working on my laptop during the day, sometimes I’ll flick between what I’m doing and social media sites. I have quieter days as well as interactive days though.

Which narrative form and tense do you think is the most difficult and why?

Like most writers, I find working in the past the most straightforward and in most cases, it serves its purpose. In my book ‘Seven Point Eight: The First Chronicle’, the narrative switches between third person and first person from two journals written by a few of the characters. I like to explore different perspectives and angles, it makes their experiences seem more personal and it better firs the non-linear aspect of time that I’ve touched upon later in the book.

Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? What is your process?

I’m a big fan of readers and critique buddies, gathering an initial feel for the story and some analytical feedback about what works and what doesn’t. I like to hear the nuts and bolts through the eyes of a reader. I’m very strong on my grammar and structure, so with my self editing, critique buddies and readers, I find all the angles are covered.

How important is it for an indie author to use a professional editor?

I think it depends how strong that writer’s literary skills are, whether they can pick up on any continuity, grammar or narrative issues. All writers should at least have several sets of eyes and ears to read the story, as different people will pick up any issues with narrative, technical details, literary fluency etc….

How long does it take you to create a book from start to finish?

‘Seven Point Eight: The First Chronicle’ took four years from start to conclusion, mainly due to working pretty much full time throughout. More pieces of the puzzle dropped into place as I progressed through it, with the overall title for the series and underlying theme of the number that connects it all together dropping into place in the last six months. Because it’s so complex, in plot, characters and research, and also as I’m a perfectionist, the first book was a steady marathon. I’ve already started the second book, which I expect to release late spring/early summer of 2012.

Please list three unique blogs or web sites for writers that you read on a regular basis.

At the moment, I visit numerous sites as I’m scouting out the best ones to use on a regular basis. I tend to visit Goodreads, Librarything and Smashwords the most, in addition to social networking media sites.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

My first novel ‘Seven Point Eight: The First Chronicle’ begins a science fiction opera with a vast scope; covering quantum physics, mysticism, alternate realities, psychic powers, twentieth century history and culture, and a little romance. It’s in the initial stages of adaptation to a movie.
You can read the blurb, sample chapter and a collection of reviews so far at, plus a collection of author interviews.

You can also grab a copy at Amazon US, Amazon UK or Barnes & Noble, as a paperback and Kindle/Nook book, plus through Smashwords as an ebook in the most popular formats.

Indie Insider - Derek Haines

What is the best way to create tension?

I must admit that I don’t intentionally go about creating nail biting tension. Especially in my recent books that have been far fetched farces. But even in saying this, pace is an easy tool to use. A chase or something similar.

In previous books though that were a little more serious and dramatic, I did use the old trick of leaving a particular part of the story hanging for a chapter or two.

Do people judge a book by it’s cover? Who makes yours?

Book covers have become far less important with the advent of ebooks. Well, that’s my opinion and it may not be shared by others. Creating an image to use in promoting a book is really what it’s about now. It does have to look like a book cover, but can be so easily changed, I see them as more promotional tools than the traditional cover sitting on a bookstore shelf.

I still create the covers myself as I have a background in typography and graphic design.

What are the best ways to ‘show’ and not ‘tell’?

Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. Then when you feel the need to tell, go back to more dialogue. While not the standard model of writing, I have a simplistic rule I try to enforce on my writing. Dialogue let’s the characters develop their own story, while narrative gives information. Sometimes though, a bit of narrative to speed things up doesn’t hurt.

How many books do you produce a year? Are you meeting your goal?

I never set myself goals. I really have to want to write a story, and this is the reason I am a staunch indie. From a child I have been completely useless at doing as I am told, so I would hate to have a fixed schedule to produce a book. Then again, if things flow a couple of books can come together quite quickly. As was the case for me earlier this year when I published two new books and then a third, which was a complete re-write of a book I wrote nearly twenty years ago.

How many words do you produce a day? Do you have a daily quota to fill?

As I said, I’m not goal driven. But this year I have spent most of my writing time developing my blog. This is a new discipline, and being a daily blog, I have to produce 400-500 words every day, come what may. I still have a few WIPs underway, so when I have time I get back to these.

What is your greatest challenge as an author?

Selling books. That’s the challenge for any author nowadays. Whether you are self-pubbed or have an agent and publisher, marketing has become the lot of authors. This is a real time eater and I’m sure many authors would agree that it is time that is being taken away from their writing.

Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? Briefly describe your process.

Yes, yes and yes. No matter how good you think you can edit and proof, no one can do it to their own writing. It needs an independent eye, and many of them, during the process of getting a manuscript ready for publication. Apart from an editor, I like to have at least 15-20 people read the MS before publishing.

What is you favorite part of the whole process? (Besides receiving a check or 5 star review!)

Knowing that when I’m pushing up daisies, someone will stumble across my words. Hopefully my grandchildren.

What are three web sites or blogs that you can recommend? (related to writing etc.)

I have three favourite blogs.
Charlie Coutland - A great book reviewer:
Debbi Mack - A great writer:
Leslie Moon - A great poet:

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Derek Haines’ Website
BlogAmazon Author Page

Indie Insider - Lada Ray

Q: How long does it take you to create a book from start to finish on average?

A: You know how kids are, some are easy, others - difficult; some grow with no problems, others - it's easier to pull your nails out with pliers (ouch!)
Books are my children. I love them all, but they are all unique and different. My first kid, I mean book, a cozy mystery VIRTUAL PARADISE (Jade Snow Adventure series 1,) took me about one and half years from start to finish. It was initially conceived as a comic relief from my 'serious writing,' and it became my 'guinea pig' of sorts. I experimented on it, feeling my way through in writing fiction - terra incognita for me at the time.

The second book, a short novella GREEN DESERT (length - 12,000 words,) set in Iraq, took me only one week to write, but the idea was percolating in my head for several years before that.
I am currently working on Jade Snow Adventure 2, GOLD TRAIN - a mystery/spy thriller, set in Russia. The story is based on true events and centers around the disappearance of the entire Gold Reserve of the Russian Empire and a conspiracy, threatening to destabilize the world. I started this August and am planning to release it during the Holiday Season 2011. This book practically writes itself, and I'll confess, this amazing story is one of my favorites.

My new spiritual fantasy/thriller The EARTH SHIFTER, which I usually refer to as 'my serious book' (and my biggest passion,) took me several years to figure out how to write. I think I finally nailed it, so, look for it on digital shelves in the spring, 2012.

Q: How many hours a day do you spend writing? Editing? Procrastinating?

A: Discipline to write? Yeah, right! What is discipline, anyway? I think what counts in writing is passion, a burning desire to see your creativity materialize into something people would enjoy (I hope.) As far as passion goes - I've got plenty of it. As far as discipline - not much. Sometimes, I write for 12 hours a day, until my back rebels against such mistreatment. Other times, slack off for a week or two. My favorite time to write is in the dead of the night, when the world is asleep and imagination reigns supreme.
Editing is different. I like to finish editing large chunks of manuscript in one go, to ensure continuity of impression. Sometimes, I'd sit and edit for 15-20 hours straight, until I am satisfied. Sounds a bit obsessive, I know!

Q: How are your book covers designed?

A: Because I treat my books as my own creation, I make them from start to finish, including the cover. It took me some time to get the hang of the cover design business. Learning never ends, of course, so I'll always continue sharpening my 'cover design' saw.

Q: What do you do when you get writers block?

A: Watch movies, especially comedies to get my mood up, or read murder mysteries. I also like to go for a long walk or to leave town all together for a day or weekend trip - what I call 'airing out my mind.'

Q: Which narrative form and tense do you use and why?

A: I usually write in the past tense, the traditional tense for fiction.
The Jade Snow Adventure series is written in the first person - the main heroine, Jade Snow's POV (although Green Desert is more complex.) This POV makes the feel of the series more personable, more intimate.
The EARTH SHIFTER, the upcoming fantasy/thriller series, will be written in the third person unlimited/ omniscient POV, due to the complex structure, global cataclysmic events that are part of the narrative, and characters that span different countries, positions of power and even realms.

Q: Where do you get your ebooks formatted?

A: I format my books myself, with the help of my computer wiz husband.

Q: Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? Briefly describe your process.

A: As a linguist, I am able to do a lot of editing myself. Of course, I get help from a couple of literary friends and relatives.
My process? Hmm… Just do astronomical amounts of proofreading, polishing and editing, until I feel like I've gone cross-eyed. And stake out my friends and relatives, until they actually sit down and review my writing, as they've been careless enough to promise.

Q: Which is the most important social media platform and why? Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, LinkedIn, or any other one you use.

A: I am especially partial to Twitter. Find it user friendly and have met many great people there! Check out ladatweets:!/ladatweets
My other favorite - YouTube. Just started my new channel, created two book trailers, as well as a funny Halloween video, starring the Halloween cat, and the Enchanted Autumn video with my original photography and beautiful music. I love the creative aspect of YouTube and intend to use its potential to the fullest. Stop by and say hi, rate my videos and subscribe!
LadaRay channel:
I have a blog on Blogger:
But I intend to start a new one on my main website:
Started my Facebook and Goodreads pages, but the jury is still out on those.

Q: What are three unique web sites or blogs that you follow on a regular basis? (related to writing etc.)

A: Ooops, you caught me off guard with this one! I used to participate in Kindleboards and follow the blog by Joe Conrath (who, incidentally, introduced me to the idea of going Indie,) but I've been so busy writing, that I haven't had any time for the past few months. Besides, there are so many awesome new blogs/websites coming up!
One of them is:
And your website, Patricia:

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share?

A: My main reason for writing is not to sell millions of books, although, I'd be lying if I said I don't dream of it, but to fulfill my life's potential to the fullest. And the key is to treat every book as a new, exciting adventure. I do.

My book links:


Both books are also available @ B&N, Diesel, Sony & Kobo.

GOLD TRAIN, a mystery/spy thriller, set in Russia, is coming Holiday Season 2011.

Thank you, Patricia, for a lovely conversation!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Indie Insider - Melissa Foster

What is the best way to create tension?

Do you mean in a suspense novel? I think tension can be created in many ways. When someone is in jeopardy, tension can be created with time constraints/deadlines, or tension between two characters can be created through body language (discomfort), or of course, the obvious argument scene.

Do people judge a book by it’s cover? Who makes yours?

I’m a cover girl. I always choose by cover first, back cover second, and first three pages third. So yes, I think some do judge books by the cover.

I designed Megan’s Way and Chasing Amanda’s covers, working with photographers, of course, and Croco Designs created the cover for Come Back to Me.

What are the best ways to ‘show’ and not ‘tell’?

That is the million dollar question. When you “tell”, you are spelling out, with words, not actions, what is happening in a scene, and when you “show”, you are creating mental pictures through your words.

How many books do you produce a year? Are you meeting your goal?

My goal has been to produce one book each year, and I’m doing pretty well. I hope to produce two new books in the next twelve months, but I’m not sure if I’ll make it or not. I’ll sure try.

How many words do you produce a day? Do you have a daily quota to fill?
My goal is 3000 words per day, which should allow time for marketing, the WoMen’s Lit Café, and the Women’s Nest, as well as social media attention. If I can hit that mark, I feel as though I’d dong pretty well.

What is your greatest challenge as an author?

There never seems to be enough time to read. My TBR pile is taller than I am (which isn’t saying much). In terms of writing, I think the greatest challenge is making sure that what I’m writing will be exciting for the reader all the way to the end.

Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? Briefly describe your process.

I use all of the above. I use an editor several times throughout my writing process. Each manuscript is edited about 5-6 times. I always use several beta readers and often times they’re different readers than the book before. As for critique partners, I wouldn’t call my writing friends formal critique partners, but I have several writer friends that brainstorm with me as I do with them.

What is you favorite part of the whole process? (Besides receiving a check or 5 star review!)

The check doesn’t even come close to the best thing about writing. In fact, that’s near the bottom of the list for me. I love the creative process. The feeling of bringing characters to life and watching the stories unfold is exhilarating. Meeting and talking with readers is probably my favorite part of being an author. I never get tired of meeting new people, and discussing my books – even when controversial, is thrilling to me. I do a happy dance for every positive review I receive.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Yes, writing is a solitary process, but not a solitary profession. There is an Indie movement on the rise, and incredible support can be found between Indie authors and bloggers, reviewers, and publishers who work with them. If you’re an Indie, be sure to check out WoMen’s Literary Café after we launch our site. Our goal is to promote great literature without breaking your budget. There’s a lot to be learned from others, and the Café will be the place to share.


"Melissa Foster is a wonderful connector of readers and books, a friend of authors, and a tireless advocate for women. She is the real deal"--AuthorJennie Shortridge

Melissa Foster is the award-winning, bestselling author of three novels, Megan’s Way, Chasing Amanda, and Come Back to Me. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, and WoMen’s Literary Café, a literary community. Melissa is currently collaborating in the film production of Megan’s Way.
Melissa has written for Calgary’s Child Magazine, and Women Business Owners Magazine. She hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children, and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC.
Melissa is currently working on her next novel, and lives in Maryland with her family.

Melissa's interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping women see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod. A portion of every book sold is donated to Provincetown Cares.
Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.

Megan's Way
2011 Beach Book Award Winner (Spirituality)
2011 Readers Favorite Awards, Winner (Fiction/Drama), Finalist (Women's Fiction) 
2010 Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist (Spirituality)
Chasing Amanda
2011 Readers Favorite Awards, Winner (Paranormal), Finalist, (Women's Fiction, Mystery)
2011 Dan Poynter's Global eBook Awards, Winner, (Paranormal)

Member: Maryland Writers' Association
Member: Independent Author Network
Member: RABMAD, Read a Book Make a Difference.


Twitter: @Melissa_Foster
My social network for women:
Facebook Melissa Foster : (profile)

Melissa's Books:




Monday, October 24, 2011

10 things I wish I'd known before writing my first novel.

This is a guest post by Emlyn Chand, author of Farsighted

When did you have enough confidence in your abilities to officially call yourself a writer?

For me, it was when I first received money for my work as a freelance columnist. For you, it may have been when you finished the first chapter of your first novel or won a prize for a short story. Maybe you never had any qualms about saddling yourself with this label. Maybe you still don’t consider yourself a “real writer.”

Me? Now I know enough to see that I was a writer long before someone handed me that first paycheck. It’s kind of something you’re born with—like it or not.

But being an author, that’s different.

The term writer focuses more on the craft—engaging in the actual activity of writing. The term author encompasses not only the craft but also the business aspect of it.

So when are you worthy of the label author? Why, when you publish your first book of course!

I write this post just days before I make the transition from writer to author. My first novel Farsighted releases on October 24, which means my 26-year-long (AKA life-long) dream is finally coming true. When I look back at the journey that brought me to the peak of this beautiful achievement, I can’t help but think of what I wish I’d have known before starting on my path.

I’ve identified 10 lessons I’ve learned along the way. Maybe you already know these things. Maybe you don’t. I’m gonna share ‘em anyway...

1. Something’s gotta give. 

Writing is not something you can do with just a little bit of effort. To get through the first draft, editing, what-have-you, you'll have to work hard! Yes, you could space it out over several years, but if you want to finish anytime this year, you’re going to have to make sacrifices. For me, this was less time with friends and family, less television, and less attention to my health (eating right and exercising). Oops.

2. Write what you want to write—not what you think you should be writing. 

Boy, this was a hard one to learn. I’ve always fallen back on being “that smart girl.” When things didn’t go right in my personal life or when I was picked last in gym class, I took pride in my intellect. Therefore, I’ve always done what I can to improve my wit and make my best trait the best it can be. That being said, I spent a long time forcing myself to read classic literature. I did enjoy it, and I still do, but it’s definitely not what I find most entertaining (YA is). Still I kept at the classic literature because it was important to me that others respect my intelligence (damaged by high school much? :-P).

Naturally when I decided to write a novel, it came out as literary fiction. That’s the me I wanted to portray to the world. I wanted  people to salivate over my talent and proclaim my literary merit... Except the novel wasn’t that good, because it wasn’t a piece of who I really am. Now that I’ve cozied into YA, I couldn’t be happier. And the larger facade of who I once pretended to be has lifted. I. AM. FREE. Now this lesson doesn’t just mean:  don’t put on a false front. It also means:  don’t chase trends. Write what your heart wants to write, and it’ll all be good in the end.

3. You’re going to make mistakes. LOTS of mistakes. 

Practice makes perfect. Well, it makes it better than before. You may be an excellent writer, but if you’ve never written a novel before, you’re a newbie. That’s okay too! When writing that all-important first novel, you’re pretty much going to make every mistake in the book.
In my first novel, I really struggled with keeping a consistent point-of-view and writing authentic dialogue. The POV problem was very difficult to fix, but in trying, I learned an important lesson—one I couldn’t have learned if I hadn’t made such huge blunders. Now that I do know how to correct and avoid these problems, dialogue and POV are two of my strongest areas (at least that’s what readers tell me).

4. Writer’s detour is a bigger problem than writer’s block. 

Writer’s block gets all the PR, but it’s not as dangerous as writer’s detour. When you’re blocked you’re not moving forward. When you take a detour, you’re moving in the wrong direction. Will you get to California quicker by taking a small rest in Boise, or will you get there quicker by following a pretty red car to Ontario first? (My advice, drive straight-on through to Cali if you can). Don’t get so caught up with a minor character (or a theme you want to convey) that you stray all over the place. Which brings me to my next point...

5. Structure is important. 

We writers fall into two camps:  pantsers and plotters. Some pantsers consider themselves superior, because their writing leads their plots—not the other way around. I used to think like that too. Even if you want to keep your plotline fluid, you need some form of structure. Shudder at the thought of outlining? Then mapping your characters is crucial. You need to know where you’re going and/or who's taking you there. Otherwise you’re just groping about in the dark. Yes, writing is absolutely a creative process, but don’t under-estimate the value of good planning.

6. Novel #1 may never leave the drawer. 

Or it may leave the drawer, journey around the query circuit, and then come right back to where it started. My first novel DID get me an agent, but 9 drafts later, it still wasn’t good enough to publish. When my agent suggested I change 2/3 of it for draft 10, I decided to move onto my next project. I just wasn’t enjoying the process anymore. I’m so glad I finally called it quits on novel #1, because novel #2 is so much better, and now I get to put it out there into the world. If I would’ve kept agonizing over the inferior manuscript, novel #2 may have never happened!

7. When you’re done, you’re not done. 

I’m just a big ball of sunshine today, aren’t I? But it’s important to understand just how much work follows being “done.” Anne Lamott said it best in Bird by Bird, you’re going to write “shitty first drafts.” I can guarantee it! Don’t let that stop you, just be prepared for it.

8. Writing is a business just as much as it’s an art. 

Getting a novel published and promoting it once it’s out there is infinitely more work than writing a novel in the first place. That’s not to under-value the writing process, but it’s true. Sure, you can finish your novel, self-publish it, and then do virtually nothing to promote it. Fine. But if you actually want to sell copies of your book, you’ve gotta handle the business side of things. Finding an agent is an extremely formal business interaction—you even have to write fancy business (AKA query) letters. Marketing your book is a TON of work. It’s pretty fun (at least, I think so, but I moonlight as a book publicist, so I realize I might not be normal). However, being fun is not equivalent to being easy. Not even close. Expect lots of work and lots of stress and not very much sleep. The good news:  you get out what you put in, so give it all you can!

9. Querying will destroy your soul. 

My unhappy place is remembering query letter Hell. I honestly can’t remember anything harder in my life. Ever. Make sure you have a good support system in place. Because even if you’re brilliant, you can pretty much expect a slew of rejections. I ultimately got an agent but had to suffer through 60 “not for us”s first. Of course, it hurts. As writers, we pour our hearts and souls into our manuscript. Our words are a part of who we are. Having a faceless stranger tell you it’s not good enough is pure torture. End of argument.

10. You will sustain injuries. 

Gosh, my neck is killing me while I’m writing this post. You’re probably going to get neck and back pain too. Headaches from staring at the computer too long. Possible eye problems. Definite poor posture. Maybe even carpal tunnel syndrome. That’s just the way it goes, so be prepared.

Seems pretty cynical, doesn’t it? I <3 the craft and would never abandon it (like I even have a choice), but I find that those who are starting out with visions of Stephen King or JK Rowling-esque fame already see the pretty side of writing—the glamor. Having a balanced picture is so important. Even still, all the practical knowledge just can’t compare to experiential knowledge. Follow YOUR path to author-hood, make your own mistakes, learn lessons from them, and then share with the rest of us.

Blog Tour Notes

THE BOOK:  Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still “see” things others can’t.  When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider. Get your copy today by visiting’s Kindle store or the eBook retailer of your choice. The paperback edition will be available on November 24 (for the author’s birthday).

THE CASH PRIZES:  Guess what? You could win a $100 Amazon gift card as part of this special blog tour. That’s right! Just leave a comment below saying something about the post you just read, and you’ll be entered into the raffle. I could win $100 too! Please help by voting for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll. To cast your vote, visit the official Farsighted blog tour page and scroll all the way to the bottom. Thank you for your help with that.

THE GIVEAWAYS:  Win 1 of 10 autographed copies of Farsighted before its paperback release by entering the giveaway on GoodReads. Perhaps you’d like an autographed postcard from the author; you can request one on her site.

THE AUTHOR:  Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she’s not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb. Visit for more info. Don’t forget to say “hi” to her sun conure Ducky!

MORE FUN: There's more fun below. Watch the live action Farsighted book trailer and take the quiz to find out which character is most like you!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Indie Insider - Matt Posner

Introducing Matt Posner, author of the School of the Ages series, magic expert, teacher, poet, percussionist, indie author advocate, and nearly full-time interviewee.

Hi, Patricia. Thank you for thinking of me for this interview.

How many words do you do write a day? Where do you do it?

I don't have a consistent writing schedule. I sneak in writing where I can here and there. Typically I write in a notebook on the subway, in the car, in bed. Lately I have been writing on my iPad, using a Bluetooth keyboard, when I am at lunch or some similar situation. However, my main habit for years has been to do the first draft in a notebook and the second draft by improving and adding as I type. Then I niggle at the second draft on the computer. I still have a notebook with me and I will open it when I am at loose ends and try to add to whatever incomplete projects I have in mind. My present notebook has about five different projects in it.

Do you think that people judge a book by its cover? Who makes yours?

My covers for School of the Ages have been made by my cousin Mike Cohen, who is a videographer by trade. His covers have beautiful proportions and color balance. People do judge a book by its cover -- that's what book covers are designed for!

What do you do when you get writers block?

I switch to a different project. If I can't write my novel, I write another novel. If I can't write one part of a novel, I write a different part. I don't get writer's block anymore per se; instead, I get "no time to write because of other stuff that's going on." However, I did have writer's block for many years. I think writer's block has two causes. One is not having done the planning necessary to write the material you want to write; and the other is feeling bad about your writing or yourself. I have faced all of those problems. Improving how you feel is a complex process; as for the other, it might mean that you need to do some outlining or creativity exercises, or it might mean the project isn't right for you at that particular time. All of us writers have what might variously be called "albatrosses" or "tar babies," projects that weigh us down and interfere, projects that get us stuck. I have plenty. I actually made a computer file called "Tar Babies" back in the 90s, and I still look at it once every couple of years, but my creative impulse is pretty different after so long, so I doubt I will use any of that material ever again.

How much time do you spend on social media per day? What do you concentrate on?

At this point I spend several hours a day on social media. Mostly I am networking with other writers on Facebook. There's a Facebook group called Writing Kindle Books that you and I are both active in, Patricia. I also try to maintain my website to the extent I can, and I twitter a few times a week. I can also do that while I'm walking from my car to my workplace and in other such situations. I retweet stuff in order to get followers and don't advertise myself too much. And of course I have some activity in Goodreads also. I don't use Google+ or LinkedIn, and I rarely visit Kindleboards anymore. As overwhelmed as I am with the social media I'm already doing, it's unlikely I will add anything. I wish I were doing less of it, but I'm very attached to the people I interact with and I'm always trying to hustle for a marketing opportunity also.

Which narrative form and tense do you think is the most difficult and why?

I don't write in present tense at all. It feels very weird to me. I prefer past tense, which feels most comfortable to me. I write with equal facility in first or third person, but I like first person more, or at least a limited viewpoint. I have never written in second person, except in poetry maybe. As far as narrative forms, I like novels better than short stories, because I like the space and time to develop characters and situations with more situations and dialogue, but I can write short stories well, too.

Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? What is your process?

I use beta readers and critique partners. I met some at that I am building ongoing relationships with. Here's a shoutout to Felicia Cash, who is fast and tireless and patient. I am still open to meeting more partners for this purpose. I don't use a professional editor; I don't think I'd be satisfied that I got my money's worth.

How important is it for an indie author to use a professional editor?

It depends on the author. I need other opinions -- I am painfully needy in my craving for feedback from people, of course -- and I need proofreading help, because I have trouble seeing my own typos, but I don't think I need major help with anything structural, such as an editor would provide. I trust myself for that. I have an academic background in fiction writing that is sufficient to help me recognize and solve gross problems, and my beta readers can help with the rest.

How long does it take you to create a book from start to finish?

My first published novel, The Ghost in the Crystal, took five years. The second and third took a year and a half each for first draft, and then of course more time after that for revision, formatting, and so on, but I think I am doing so much social media now that I am slowing down. I haven't worked on my novel-in-progress in months. Eventually I'm going to flip out and vanish from social media and focus on writing, but not yet.

Please list three unique blogs or web sites for writers that you read on a regular basis.

I don't read anything regularly anymore except New Yorker magazine, a clinic in writing style, I daresay.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I think many writers who are struggling creatively seem to me to be struggling with the fact that that their work is focused on concept not character. It really doesn't matter how intriguing your situation is if the characters aren't interesting enough for the reader to journey along with them. I absolutely hated being in graduate creative writing for many reasons, and I was writer's-blocked for years as a result of many experiences there, but I did learn a few things that I still use, and the main one is that the characters you are focused on need to be complex, and that a good piece of fiction is always about the characters more than anything else.

Here are some of the many links that bring you to me.

My website, with links to my books in various places:

My amazon author page in the U.S:

The Kindle All-Stars Project website (I am one of the All-Stars):

An interview with my character, Goldberry Tinker:

An extra-long interview I did recently:

Masquerade - Final Day!

Blog Tour de Force - Masquerade - Day Six

An IBC Horror Anthology - 
Go to this page and leave a comment for your FREE ebook!

(I have a short story called 'Coffee Shop' in it!)


Go to this page and leave a comment for your FREE ebook! 

Guess who's blogging there for a chance to win your very own Kindle!

If you've just arrived at the Masquerade party, don't worry! You have until Monday to leave your comments and make your guesses! 
Start here!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Masquerade - Day Five!

The Blog Tour de Force Masquerade Tour has two more days left. If you're just joining, you can still do the whole tour. Start here!

Day Five:

Jackie Channel: Change of Heart -


M. Todd Gallowglas: First Chosen -

Go to their blogs, leave a comment & your e-mail address to get a FREE ebook.
Guess who the disguised blogger is for a chance to win your very own Kindle!
Simple right?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

WidowMaker - A Movie To DIE For

Masquerade - Day Four! 

A horror movie that is causing people to die? 

Something so scary that people watching it are bleeding out of their eyes, having heart attacks and ripping their own faces apart? 

The docu-horror film inside the book is called Terror in the Trees. Sounds harmless enough, doesn't it? 

That's what FBI Agent Derek Bolder thought when he was given the mission to go to Hollywood to bring back the film. He hadn't yet understood the sheer evilness contained within it...but he soon would. 

Derek's ex-fiancée Jill, the beautiful and sexy film executive, is dead set against giving him the film. It would ruin her career. What lengths would she and her nasty boss go to, to protect their reputations even as the bodies pile up?

The Widowmaker is compelling and entertaining. It's an action packed read, a page turner you won't be able to put down. The writing is impeccable and the imagination of the authors truly remarkable.

I don't want to spoil the end but Widowmaker will make you leave the light on and jump at things that go bump in the night. You will love this book. 

I hope there's a sequel if anyone is left alive at the end that is.

Leave a comment on Elena Gray's blog to get this awesome ebook for free.
You'll be scared silly you did.

Then head over to Jeremy Rodden's blog for another free ebook as the Blog Tour de Force Masquerade party continues!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Indie Insider - Rose Robbins

What are three unique web sites or blogs that you follow on a regular basis? 

I appreciate the informal advice to independent publishers on this site:

Excellent articles here:

Much valuable information here:

Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? Briefly describe your process.

This time, I used beta readers. In the past, I’ve tried to get feedback from forums that critique writers’ work, but ended up confused as various people bickered over my content. I’m not willing to put up with THAT again! My beta readers have done a wonderful job for me.

How long does it take you to create a book from start to finish on average?

About a month. Once I start to write, it comes out in a flood! But I arrange the book in my head for months or even years before that – if the book is fiction, I like to live with the characters awhile, and get accustomed to each of their particular voices. (Wow, I think I just confessed to hearing voices!)

If it is non-fiction, I want to think about and discuss my theories over a fairly long period of time, to make sure they are as sound as they first appear. Many times, I have a great idea only to discover that it won’t hold up when I discuss it with my teenagers. They are brilliant and very critical. Sometimes that criticism is a drag, but I trained them to be that way myself, so I can’t complain!

How many hours a day do you spend writing? Editing? Procrastinating?

When I start the actual writing, I spend as many as twelve hours a day at it. While I am getting ready in my head, I often try to start writing, spending an hour or two putting ideas down, but I can’t keep it up. I prefer not to think of that as procrastinating, but as “preparing.” Once I feel mentally prepared, I am unstoppable.

How are your book covers designed?

I am a freelance photographer and graphic designer, so I design my covers myself. I have a certain amount of angst about it, especially when I see covers that have special effects which I can’t achieve, but the price is right! Also, taking photos is therapeutic for me, so I really enjoy setting up a photo shoot for a cover.

What do you do when you get writers block?

Something Else. I rarely get writer’s block, because I wait to start writing until everything is lined politely up inside my head! But occasionally I find it hard to get from Point A to Point B, and then I make myself go do something else. Sometimes, re-reading one of my favorite books (Jane Eyre, A Busman’s Honeymoon, Invisible Boy, and many more!) helps, because it inspires me and jump-starts my flow of words.
 Another thing that helps is going over what I’ve already written. When I start writing in the morning, I always read over the last chapter first, and I usually find I need to make some changes to it as I read. Once I do that, I can usually plunge right into the next chapter.

How many hours a week do you spend writing?

Wow, I’m not sure! At least thirty, on average. Again, it depends on what stage I am in – when I am in full-on writing flood, closer to sixty. After I finish a book, go through the harrowing editing process, and get it released, then I usually don’t write much for a couple weeks, just to give my brain a break, but I am still blogging, writing poetry, etc.

Which narrative form and tense do you use and why?

I like to use first person narrative, because it is so direct and personal. My first book (which is unpublished) was actually two people’s personal journals, which eventually intersected. THAT was a challenge!

Where do you get your ebooks formatted?

I use the lovely and speedy Nick Ambrose, at He does a wonderful job, and since he’s in the UK, he works while I am sleeping, like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy! I really enjoy waking up to his emails, and his prices are very reasonable, too.

Which is the most important social media platform and why? Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, LinkedIn, or any other one you use.

For me, Facebook has been the most important. I use all the others mentioned, too, and I feel sure that Google+ will be huge in the near future, it just hasn’t quite got there yet. For ease of use and quick visibility to a vast number of viewers, Facebook can’t be beat. I think it depends a lot on your style – I tend to have a personal and conversational style of writing and interacting, and Facebook lends itself well to a style like that, whereas Twitter is perhaps better for a more concise approach. (That is a polite way of saying that I talk a lot and Twitter doesn’t give me enough space!)

I love Goodreads, and am learning more about their groups and the various ways to be involved there as an author.
Also, I use and have had several blogs there over the years. It is also pretty user-friendly, and works for longer posts, book excerpts, etc. My current blog is at

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I’d love to briefly talk about my book, Deep Blue Ocean. It is sort of a spiritual memoir, a collection of thoughts on God that are outside of any religious box. I think that, very often, people join religions because they believe it will help them to be happy, and then they are surprised and disillusioned when they discover they’ve only added a bunch more rules to their lives.
 Religion is so often used as a method of control, or even as a weapon with which to beat others into submission! That’s a terrible thing, since I believe that’s the opposite of what a friendship with God should be. My spiritual journey has led me through some pretty catastrophic life events, but has brought me to a place of happiness and love toward other people, and my goal is to spread that around.

Thanks so much, Patricia, for this conversation!

Here’s the link to my book’s Amazon page:

Masquerade - Day Three!

Blog Tour de Force Masquerade is at the halfway mark and the party is still going strong!

Day Three:

Augusto Pinaud: The Writer:


Ann Charles: Dance of the Winnebagos:

Go to their blogs, leave a comment & your e-mail address to get a FREE ebook.
Guess who the disguised blogger is for a chance to win your very own Kindle!
Simple right?