Friday, August 11, 2017

#authorinterview on The Kronicles of Korthlundia

Enjoy another author interview, also part of my Goddess Fish Promotions virtual book tour, originally posted on The Kronicles of Korthlundia: A Window into Fantasy, and take another glimpse into my life.


Tell us a little about yourself?

Married with two young sons, I spend most of my time focused on family. We have a lot of fun together, reading, watching superhero movies, playing board games and Lego, and taking nature hikes. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing, going to rock concerts and live theatre. I wish I was a better cook, but I enjoy baking. I also enjoy my morning coffee… and my afternoon coffee… and a sweet or two or three.

Tell us something about how you write? i.e. are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you have any weird or necessary writing habits or rituals?

I am a total pantser. Every other facet of my life is so organized and scheduled, as much as a family with young children can be. I write sporadically. I don’t plot. When a story idea pops into my head, the characters emerge as well and I follow their lead. In the past I have tried to outline, but it felt forced and stalled my creativity so I ended up abandoning the idea.

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book?

A Vampire’s Tale is a full-length paranormal romance novel. The heroine Marisa Clements is a struggling author. She writes genre fiction – paranormal romance novels about vampires – to pay her bills. But she doesn’t believe in vampires. The hero Corgan Halton is an ancient vampire with a finite mission. He wants to tell the world his story and then end his unnatural existence. He sees Marisa playing an important role in his future and selects her to author his tale. Corgan’s presence places Marisa in danger from his enemies cascading them into a journey filled with danger, venomous vampires, and a wizard or two.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

I find the most difficulty in revising my work. At the editing stage, my editor recommended I omit several scenes involving insignificant, secondary characters. I took her advice, but deleting these scenes resulted in revisions in a number of other scenes which referenced those characters. Any revision is difficult because you are invested in your work. Rewriting, essentially, a portion of A Vampire’s Tale was very time-consuming and emotionally draining for me. I was very pleased with the end result which was a definite improvement to the previous version.

What is your favorite writing tip or quote?

I enjoy reading the #writetip posts on Twitter. As writers, we are adept observers of life. There is much wisdom and insight to be found in simple observations like the one below.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou




Friday, August 4, 2017

#authorinterview on Two Ends of the Pen

I really enjoy giving author interviews. So much of my writing is, intentionally or not, personal and reflective of my own life and experiences so I think that if readers find me interesting, then they may also enjoy my books. In fact, a friend told me a few months ago that she could actually hear my voice when she read A Vampire's Tale.

This author interview was originally posted as part of my Goddess Fish Promotions virtual book tour on Two Ends of the Pen.


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?

A Vampire’s Tale is a standalone, paranormal romance novel. My heroine, Marisa Clements, is a paranormal skeptic who writes vampire stories. She doesn’t believe in vampires… until she meets one. The vampire in question is my hero, Corgan Halton, whose supernatural talents range from clairvoyance to telekinesis. His ability to see the future, and Marisa’s role in it, lead him to seeking her out in order to accomplish his goal. He wants to tell his story and end his unnatural existence. Involving Marisa, though, puts her in a danger so grave that he alone cannot protect her. He enlists help from his maker and their wizard friends to keep Marisa safe.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?

Yes, absolutely, I have published two books using traditional publishers. As a novice author, I never considered self-publishing. The support and guidance of a publishing house appealed to me.

For my first book, Dream Hunter, I researched which publishers were accepting unsolicited queries and their submission requirements. Then I sent query letters to the ones I deemed a good fit. My third query letter resulted in a contract offer.

For A Vampire’s Tale, my second book, I initially followed the same process of researching and sending query letters. Social media offered me alternative routes to gain access to publishers. I participated in pitch parties on Facebook and Twitter. A June 2016 #PitMad tweet caught the attention of Tirgearr Publishing. They “favorited” my tweet, meaning they were interested in my work.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?

The book covers for both my books were created by publisher’s designers. I had significant input into both, though, by providing the designer with a comprehensive amount of details about the book and its characters. I also noted covers I liked, ideas I had, and specific things I didn’t want included. The designer took this information and created the cover art. Then the publisher provided draft book covers for my comment.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?

In 2010, I “met” an online group of budding authors. The group’s name is UCW (Up and Coming Writers) and we connect via a private Facebook group and email. Many members live in the UK and they have real meet-ups as well. We are an eclectic bunch, writing in a number of genres, and many of us have published work. I think belonging to a writing group, UCW is more than a critique group, is great for support. We’ve all been there – rejection letters, horrible reviews, editing headaches – so whatever we need – encouragement for our life or our craft – a friend is just a post/email away. And we also critique/promote each other’s work. Their feedback is invaluable and has definitely helped improve my work.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?

I would be the first to confess I don’t write using an outline. Although, I do keep some semi-unorganized notes to keep me on track. Details like eye color and characteristics, and spelling and formatting choices need to be consistent throughout. I guess you could say I follow my muse, but leave bread crumbs along the way so I can make it home safely.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?

I rely on my writing group and their eagle eyes to spot any glaring errors before I send out query requests. We use the track-changes function in Word to suggest changes and make comments. As avid readers and experienced authors, we have a unique perspective to share with each other.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?

My first book Dream Hunter is also sold on Just Ink Press’ website and Barnes & Noble.

My second book A Vampire’s Tale is also available through Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?

Finally, my business degree is coming in handy! <<laughs>> Marketing and promotion are two different, but related, processes. Marketing covers price, product, place, and promotion. Promotion, part of marketing, covers the modes of communication used to create awareness and provide information about the product.

My author website is my platform and includes information about me, my books, and current events.

I track my promotional activities, including review requests, social media interactions, and promotion requests, in a spreadsheet. As a new author, obtaining reviews is especially important. I have sent out nearly 300 review requests for A Vampire’s Tale, resulting in 3 completed reviews and over 30 pending reviews (as of mid-March). I target book reviewers and bloggers interested in paranormal romance and send personalized review requests. Blogging is a great way to promote new content, I also visit other blogs for book spotlights, author interviews and guest posts. An organized Facebook or Twitter party or a virtual book tour is an effective way to release a new title. I have a virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions running from March 22 to May 10 visiting several amazing blogs, including this one. Regular posts and interactions on social media, especially promoting other authors and new, relevant content, is another great tool. There are many companies which offer promotional services, but I research my options, for best value and potential results, before I make a purchase. Whatever your approach, be consistent and mindful.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?

Reading… <<goofy grin>> With the advent of the ebook, I can bring, literally, hundreds of books with me at all times on my phone. I still read a print book, there’s nothing like the feel or smell of a book in your hands, but ebooks are so convenient… and light to travel with. I also enjoy music – going to rock concerts and musical theatre. I love to sing and I play the piano, although not often. Other passions include Disney, coffee, and eating but not cooking. My husband, the absolute love of my life, is the cook in our house and, thankfully, his meals are a crowd-pleaser for our particular children.

What’s next for you?

Dynamic dedication to completing my next novel… perhaps a sequel to A Vampire’s Tale… and living life to the fullest with my husband and two young sons!

Friday, July 28, 2017

#authorinterview on Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews

See Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews for the original post.


Book-related:

Please share a little bit about your current release.

A Vampire’s Tale focuses on heroine Marisa Clements who is a struggling writer. Unknown to her, a paranormal skeptic, a vampire has been influencing her life path. This is not any ordinary vampire. Corgan Halton is ancient and powerful with the ability to see the future. He wants to tell his story and end his life. He chooses Marisa to author his tale. But his presence in her life puts her into danger, the helpless target for Corgan's enemies. It takes a coordinated group (of wizards and vampires) effort to fight the enemy. During the progression of the story, Marisa and Corgan fall in love - the emotions intensified by the high-pressure, dangerous situation they find themselves in.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always been fascinated with vampires. I’ve read the books, and watched countless movies and TV shows about them. They are fascinating creatures and, despite their blood-thirsty, murderous natures, Hollywood casts them as heroes. Every author has their own version. From “sleep in a coffin during the day and hunt at night” to the possibilities of day-walking and reproduction. Than you factor in their interactions with other supernaturals… I think some of the concepts bear more merit than others so I, too, created my own version.

Excerpt:

Marisa’s mind raced… “This is unbelievable.”

“What?” Corgan smirked. “The little you actually know about vampires?”

“For your information, I can tell the difference between truth and the Hollywood version.”

Corgan looked at her with a raised eyebrow.

“I can,” she insisted. “No coffins, blood with healing properties, flying, super speed, super strength, immortal, mind-reading, fortune-telling, death by sun…” She looked at him and tilted her head. “Why couldn't I compel you to leave my apartment that first night?”

“You could have, if that's what you'd really wanted.”

“Oh.”

“Can anyone enter the home of a vampire then?”

“Only if the property is in the name of an undead.”

“Is yours?”

“No.”

“Oh. What about holy water, wooden stakes…”

He laughed. “Are you thinking of doing me in?”

“No,” she gasped in horror. “I would never—”


What exciting story are you working on next?

My next project may very well be a sequel to A Vampire’s Tale… I’m also working on a prequel to my first paranormal romance Dream Hunter.


Writing life related:

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I first became published in 2014. Before I published a book, I wrote stories and I blogged, but it was more of a hobby. I still write as a past-time, but now I have an author platform – website, blog, social media presence – and it’s evolved into more than a sideline project.

Do you write full-time? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

I don’t write full-time… I have two busy little boys who occupy most of my time. My family is definitely my priority. I make time for other interests like rock concerts and musical theatre. Writing time is carved out of “my time” either early morning or after the kids go to bed.

Fun related
:


What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? I love clich├ęs and often work them into my stories, even if they are ultimately omitted during editing.


As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Writer, actress, lawyer, in that order. I ended up going to business school.


Anything additional you want to share with the readers? I love visitors and you can reach me through my website or by email
mayatylerauthor@gmail.com.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Promo for Slow Burn by @SaschaIllyvich

Tempting secrets of an angel
Seductive mysteries of the beast


Derrick, a former spy, has been asked to protect the sultry Sonja, a death metal singer whose magical voice grabs him by the balls and won’t let go. He’ll protect her, all right…with every part of his body tight against hers.

"I'm burning for you, baby. I need inside of you. Beg me," he growled, a low sound that rumbled through her chest, exciting her further.


Her touch hardened him and made his nerves very aware of the swell of her ass and luscious curve of her breasts.


Right now his fingers were walking a delicate, arousing line up her spine.


Sonja uses her voice to purge her fans of their darkness, their hate and hopelessness. But evil forces want to use her magic for their own ends. All she wants, at this point, is safety for herself and her band.


When Derrick and Sonja team up, Sonja does her best to resist the lure of safety he represents, until a radical league that wants her dead propels her into his arms. Will his help be enough? Or will she lose her heart to him, only to be killed in the process of saving the world?





Author Bio:

Sascha, who was proclaimed by the publishing industry as The Gentleman Playboy of Romance, started writing eighteen years ago. His erotic romances have been listed under Night Owl Romance’s and Road to Romance’s Recommended read lists, and he’s been nominated for a CAPA by The Romance Studio.  Recently, Torn to Pieces was a USA TODAY Recommended Read.

Sascha is a trained and experienced public speaker, and enjoys giving talks and teaching, particularly on aspects of romance, erotic romance, and writing.   He was the former host of The Unnamed Romance Show on Radio Dentata, and is fond of doing guest spots and interviews, on both traditional radio and podcasts.

Sascha writes for City Lights Publishing, Red Sage, Sizzler Editions, Totally Bound, and Decadent Publishing.


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Monday, July 24, 2017

The Future of Design by @mayatylerauthor

This blog post is a part of Design Blogger Competition organized by CGTrader.


Technology—and its rapid, ever-changing presence—is the driving force behind design, now, and—will continue to be—in the future.

Technology is the driving force behind design.

Born a “cusper”—during the transition of Generation X to the Millennials—in most respects, I relate more to Gen X. I witnessed the amazing evolution of computers—from the ones that filled an entire room to the ones we put in our pockets. The Millennials were born into the computer age. They expect the constant cascade—and easy access—of information. If the information they want isn’t immediately available, then they move on to the next topic.

The content on blogs, websites, novels, articles—and pretty much any written media—is composed of words—the unique combination of black, Times New Roman 12-point font letters. With 10-second attention spans and the desire for instant gratification, readers often seek out content in audio or video form. The Internet is a visual medium.

The Internet is a visual medium.

Written content is losing its relevance. And, with this revelation, the design—of your blog, website, novel, article—takes on greater importance.

Design, once largely discounted as mere “window dressing” for the all-important written content, is now the gatekeeper between you and your audience.

Effective design will attract your audience, but concise—and purposeful—writing will keep their attention. Starting with the headline. In Brian Clark’s 2006 article “Writing Headlines That Get Results” for copyblogger.com, he notes, “According to some of the best copywriters of all time, you should spend half of the entire time it takes to write a piece of persuasive content on the headline.” The headline entices, on average, only 20% of viewers to read more. The better the headline, the greater chance of exceeding this statistic.
Four headline writing tips:
  1. Useful to reader.
  2. Provokes urgency.
  3. Unique benefit.
  4. Ultra-specific.

And it’s not only what you write, but where you put it. The field of customer behavior studies eye tracking, which is a measurement of where, and how long, people look on a web page. In a 2014 article, Neil Patel analyzed several public eye tracking studies and summarized his findings.
Eight takeaways from eye tracking studies:
  1. Put most valuable content above the fold.
  2. Put calls to action at the bottom of the page.
  3. Use big, bold headlines.
  4. Break content into chunks of information.
  5. Use white space.
  6. The left side of the page is important.
  7. Don’t use banners.
  8. Use pictures of people.

Design is about what you write, where you put it, and its ability to adapt to different users.
Content. Location. Adaptability.


While your content must appeal to different audiences, your design must adapt to different devices—desktop computer, tablet, smart phone—so the user’s experience is consistent.



HubSpot, a marketing and sales company, knows “consumers now expect this type of experience from all of their digital interactions” and has incorporated an adaptable website design. A mobile user doesn’t want less information, they are looking for quick and easy access to information on whatever device they are using.

Conclusion:

Technology is the driving force behind design today. Technology will continue to be the driving force behind design tomorrow.

You have 10 seconds to reach your viewer so plan a user-centered design, adaptable to any device—anywhere, anytime.

Design for the future: use well-written content; place content strategically; and select a responsive design.


References:
Clark, Brian. (2006, March 6). “Writing Headlines That Get Results.” Copyblogger. Retrieved from http://www.copyblogger.com/writing-headlines-that-get-results/ Accessed on 2017, June 22.
DeKrey, Will. (2015, June 8). “Beyond Responsive Design: How to Optimize Your Website for Mobile Users.” Retrieved from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/optimize-website-mobile-experience#sm.0001953jk5631e10peo2m0sr1cqfl on 2017, June 22.
Patel, Neil. (2014, April 16). “8 Powerful Takeaways from Eye Tracking Studies.” Quicksprout. Retrieved from https://www.quicksprout.com/2014/04/16/8-powerful-takeaways-from-eye-tracking-studies/ on 2017, June 22.