Today’s Featured Author – Mia McKimmy

Today I welcome author Mia McKimmy to my blog. Her paranormal romance, The Sacrifice, came out in May. You can purchase The Sacrifice on Amazon.

Interview

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a registered nurse who was forced into early retirement due back problems. Years of lifting patients and pushing beds up and down halls can wreck a back. I had always been an avid reader of romance novels, and had written a few short stories in college. While watching an Ancient Aliens marathon on the history channel, I began getting ideas for a novel. A week later I had an outline for my first novel. About halfway through, I hit a roadblock and knew I needed help. I joined Romance Writers of America and began taking classes. It was the best move I could have made to advance my knowledge and meet the many kind authors who don’t mind helping an inexperienced writer. I also joined my local chapter, which gave me face to face contact with so many great authors and friendships.

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born in Augusta, Georgia but I’ve lived in the Atlanta area most of my life. I’ve never liked living in a big city, and the many suburbs around Atlanta allows you to have a small town feel without being too far from the amenities and culture of the city. It’s kind of the best of both worlds.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

When I was writing, The Sacrifice, I didn’t realize so much of my personal experiences and feelings about life were being poured onto the page. The story deals with sibling rivalry, which most of us with siblings have probably experienced at some time. Retaliation plays a large role in the plot, which I’m not big on, but I’d like to be. That’s one of the great things about writing…you get to do things you’d never do in real life. I’ve never liked crowds, and neither does the heroine. But the major theme of the book is self-sacrifice. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for those I love, even at great harm to myself. I think most of us would sacrifice ourselves to protect someone we love.

Tell us about your current release.

The Sacrifice is the first novel in the Sons of Sivadia Series. It’s the story of  two hundred survivors who fled their planet after it was invaded by a stronger species. Once on Earth, their first law was never to harm a weaker species, which humans were. Sivadians require blood to survive, and a war divided their race between those who feed from humans and those who drink a synthetic blood substitute. Each side of the war is led by twin sons of the Sivadian king. Cy was named by his father to become his successor, and his brother, Vind led their army. But Vind’s brutality and craving for human blood led to a witch cursing female feeders, making them infertile. Male feeders began abducting Sivadian females who don’t feed on human blood to breed with and replenish their army. Cy developed the League of Protectors in order to protect them and humanity. And he’d never become seriously involved with a female, until he meets one he can’t resist.

How did you come up with the title?

That’s a good question, one most people laugh at when I answer. I needed to name their planet something no one had ever heard before. I began spelling names backwards. I had long list of words, most of which sounded ridiculous. The one I chose is my real last name, Davis. The backward spelling is sivad. I really didn’t like how it sounded until I added (ia) on the end. The entire time I wrote the book, it was titled The Sons of Sivadia. It wasn’t until later on that The Sacrifice encompassed the theme of my story and I decided to change it. But I was so attached to the first title I couldn’t bear parting with it. Since this is a series, the Sons of Sivadia became the series title. And I was happy I didn’t have to part with it.

If this book is part of a series, what is the next book? Any details you can share?

Absolutely! The next book in the series is titled, Crucify My Heart. The current release date is October 7th, 2016. It’s Kam and Elle’s story from book one, in which they despise each other. She thinks he is an egotistic man-whore, trying to bed every woman he meets, which he kind of is. Kam thinks she’s an over-confident blow-hard who will end up getting herself killed. Elle is the best friend of the heroine in book one, and was traumatized by a feeder attack when she was a teen, resulting in her swearing off any male of her own race. After her brother is abducted by a Sivadian serial killer, Kam comes to help search. Elle begins to realize Kam carries his own set of demons from his past, and there’s more to him than meets the eye. They have quite an adventure on their road to finding love.

For fans of, The Sacrifice, who want to know more about events that led to Sivadians leaving their planet, I published a novella, ebook called, Leaving Sivadia, currently $o.99 on Amazon.

Book Blurb

Sacrifice ebook 800x533Will their love survive the sacrifices that must be made?

Almost three hundred years ago, a race of immortals fled the planet of Sivadia and came to Earth. When a war divided their race, each side was led by twin sons of the Sivadian king.

From the moment Riana Martin meets Cy, the dangerously sexy Sivadian Protector, she knows it will be hard to resist him. From the first touch, Cy sets off a firestorm inside her heart and soul.

Cy knows Riana is his destiny, but since their father named him successor to the throne, his twin has been determined to destroy him.

Can Cy protect Riana from his brother…one of the most evil beings to ever walk this planet?

About the Author 

miaMia McKimmy writes paranormal romance novels reflecting her belief that everyone has one great love, and when you find them, there’s no denying you have met your destiny.

Mia counts herself lucky to be married to her one true love. She is Mom to two grown daughters, and Nana to four grandkids who have her wrapped around their fingers.

She is a former hairdresser, and has a degree as a Registered Nurse from Georgia Highlands College. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, and Georgia Romance Writers.

If you’d like sneak peeks of future books and new release dates, please visit her website.

Feel free to follow Mia on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase The Sacrifice on Amazon.

 

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Publishing a book: Part 3 – Self-publishing an e-book

For the past two weeks, I have been discussing publishing your own book. The first week I covered traditional publishing and what steps you would need to become published through a book publishing house.

Last week, I discussed the options of self-publishing a physical copy of your book. This week I want to focus on the steps to publish an electronic book (e-book).

Of course step number one is to have a well-written novel. I am assuming any editing or polishing has already been done at this stage, and you are ready to publish.

Cover

HILL_KILLING_DEPTHSOne of the most important aspects of selling your book is to have a good, eye-catching cover. Even though this will be online instead of a brick-and-mortar store, many readers select their books based on appeal.

While some authors are skilled enough to design their own cover, I would highly recommend that you have a professional do it. And go to one that is going to custom design a cover for your book rather than just one that will take a stock cover and add your name and title.

Book Blurb

Just like paperbacks have descriptions on the back cover, your e-book will need an enticing blurb. This is the second most important aspect after the cover. Your cool, awesome cover made the reader click on your book link. Now it is up to the book blurb to seal the deal.

Please take a lot of time when writing the blurb. Don’t just jot down something quickly. Go read book blurbs and decide what works. After you write yours, polish it just like you did your novel. It needs to shine!

Content

There is much more to having a novel than just the story. You need front matter (cover page, copyright page and perhaps a table of contents or dedication page) as well as the back matter (a biography and list of other books you have written and perhaps even an excerpt of another book).

Formatting

This is one of the trickiest parts of preparing your novel for publication. Both Amazon and Smashwords (e-book distributors) offer steps to format your book for their publication. My suggestion would be to follow Smashword’s steps first. It clears out many of the problems that you didn’t even know existed. If you aren’t completely savvy in the ways of computers, please elicit or hire help for this step. Formatting effects how your novel appears on e-book readers so it is an important step in allowing readers to enjoy your writing.

Distribution

Once you have a properly formatted book, you are ready to self-publish it. And to begin, you should start with the largest e-book retailer out there – Amazon.

Kindle Direct Publishing is Amazon’s platform for self-publishers. They offer step-by-step instructions on offering your book on their website. You have the choice of either 35% or 70% royalties based on the selling price of your e-book. If you approve it, your book will be sold in all markets from the UK to Japan and Italy as well as the United States and Canada. They also offer a program called KDP Select which where you exclusively allow them to publish your book. It is up to you to decide if being only found in the largest e-book retailer will benefit you more than having your book available at ALL e-book retailers. (You can opt to do KDP Select for a limited time.)

Smashwords offers a way to publish your work with many distributors from Amazon to Barnes & Noble and iTunes and many other retailers. It can save you time from having to do each distributor individually though since you are paid through Smashwords instead of directly from the other retailers there is a slight lag in payment processing. (I use Smashwords for all the retailers except for Amazon.)

As I said earlier, Smashwords had the best walk through in getting your manuscript ready for publication. It strips down most of the formatting and ensures that your novel will look good on multiple e-readers. And I love that you only have to do this once to show up on several major e-book retailers’ websites.

Once you have completed all these steps, you are a published author! With that begins the fun of marketing your books.

My kids don’t get enough exercise

You hear so much about the rising obesity levels in kids and adults in the United States that I thought I would look and see if my kids are getting enough exercise. Who am I kidding? I already knew they probably aren’t as active as they should be.

exerciseThe American Heart Association recommends 60 minutes of moderate to vigorously intense aerobic activity EVERY day. Most other websites only said an hour of physical activity but recommended it be aerobic. They also suggested children participate in muscle-strengthening activities three times a week.

Great, I don’t even get that. I admit it – my family leads pretty sedentary lives. I know we all spend too much time in front of the computer, TV or tablet.

But even before kids or heck, even when I was a kid, I don’t recall being very active. My husband said it all depended on what year of his childhood we are asking about. But his father was a high school basketball coach, so I suspect he was more athletic than I was.

As for my own kids, we do go to the park and sometimes ride bikes, but outside play is usually quite limited. Some of this is due to Lexie’s allergies. They were quite bad when she was a toddler, and we have never really gotten use to her spending a lot of time outside. When she does, you know she will be itching later no matter how much antihistamine we give her.

We are in Texas, so in the summer it is HOT – as in high 90s and low 100s. The only time worth going outside is before 9 (maybe 10 am) or in the evening. This makes outdoor activities more of a challenge.

Both kids do participate in indoor sports. Lexie does gymnastics, and Jase has karate. But these activities are only once a week. Neither of those is exactly vigorous exercise. When they took soccer, it still wasn’t daily practice. They had one practice and a game each week.

During school time, both kids have physical education classes. Jase had them three times a week while Lexie went daily. We also walk to and from school daily (barring really bad weather). But other than that, the rest of our time was sitting down doing homework or relaxing, which probably included an electronic device. (At least it sometimes includes dancing around to a Wii game.)

Even if their downtime isn’t focused on electronics, they are playing in their rooms. While that is great for the imagination, it does little for getting them exercise. (I say this as Lexie is tumbling and jumping in the other room. So much for quiet – but hey, at least she is moving around.)

DSCN0350

Lexie playing in the wave pool at Six Flags.

In the summer, I take them to the pool but this isn’t for serious competition-type swimming. It is for playing around. We do go places such as the zoo, the park or to a museum but really nothing strenuous in the way of exercising.

I guess I can blame most of this on my husband and me. As role models, we are falling down on our responsibility. Neither of us is very athletic and we too lead pretty sedentary lives.

I know we should restrict screen time and encourage more activity, but we don’t. The only good thing is that neither child is overweight. According to their doctors, their weight and BMIs are in the healthy range for their ages.

But I know they need more exercise so for the rest of the summer I think I will make sure they get out and do at least a little something every day. That is at least a start in the right direction.

 

Today’s Featured Author – Parker J. Cole

Please welcome author Parker J. Cole to my blog. She is on a book tour promoting her latest release – Vengeful Vows – the third book in her Sins of the Flesh series. (You can purchase Vengeful Vows on Amazon.)

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am an author, speaker, and radio show host with a fanatical obsession with the Lord, Star Trek, K-dramas, anime, romance books, old movies, speculative fiction, and knitting. I’ve finally kicked the off and on addiction to Mountain Dew and marshmallows.

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I am a Detroit born and bred and still call the D my home. I love Detroit. It has a wonderful rich history integral to the success of the United States. It’s a city that constantly shows its ability to rise from challenges. Even in tough economic times, Detroit exhibits its innate fortitude to overcome difficulty. I like to think the spirt of Detroit lives in me. No matter what adversity may drive me down, from the ashes I will grow. In fact, the city’s logo came from the 1805 burning of the city from an, “We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes.”

What or who inspired you to start writing?

I always knew I would be a writer. Since the moment of my birth, it was evident. I lived with a book in my hand. I told stories to my siblings. I wonder around in dreamland. Being a writer was always going to happen.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

Each one of my books incorporate some element of me in then. My first book, Dark Cherub, was based from an experience I had with a friend and the idea ballooned from that. The romantic series, Sins of the Flesh, has many elements of myself in them. In Many Strange Women, I deal with the self-hatred I carried for a long time. In the second book, The Other Man, I deal with a nasty temper that can sometimes get me in trouble. The third book, Vengeful Vows, deals with trying to control everything and the problems that arise from the effort.

Please tell us about your current release.

My current release is Vengeful Vows, which is book three of the Sins of the Flesh series. It’s the book that readers have said has twists and turns, and a roller coaster ride. Well, it reflects what went on in my life at the time so yeah! Everything was topsy turvy. In fact, this book was the first book that helped me therapeutically.

How did you come up with the title?

Funny you should ask. The original title of the book was ‘The Ex-lovers’ Revenge’. When I looked it up online, I saw a number of books, movies, and the like with similar titles so I wanted to get a title no one had. Thus, it was renamed Vengeful Vows.

Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?

The black moment is when everything changes for the main characters. When things happen that spiral out of control, you’re caught in a windstorm. All of a sudden, you realize what you thought was control was only an illusion.

Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

I am a recovering addict of Mountain Dew and marshmallows. Those used to be my go to’s for writing. But I’ve kicked the habit now. What do now is make my dog, Sarah, sit near me or on my feet. She’s my muse.

Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I’m afraid of the dark. Like terrified of it. I sleep with the computer or TV on with some movie or show I’ve seen a thousand times. It’s strange too because I remember sleeping as kid in complete darkness but somewhere along the way, as I grew older, I became afraid of the dark. Go figure.

Book Blurb

Vengeful Vows book coverWILL YOU WALK INTO MY PARLOUR?” SAID THE SPIDER TO THE FLY?

Daffodil Simmons is a spider, and all the world is her fly. Her latest scheme for revenge against the two men who abandoned her—her father and her former lover—seems to be going as planned until . . .

. . . ANOTHER SPIDER ENTERS THE WEB . . .

It’s a battle of wits against a powerful foe. Will Daffodil gain the revenge she craves? Or will she be trapped by her own threads?

About the Author

parkerParker J Cole the author of Dark Cherub and the Sins of the Flesh series; this includes Many Strange Women, The Other Man, and Vengeful Vows. She is also host of The Write Stuff, which showcases Christian authors worldwide and the Parker J Cole Show interviewing guest, news, and commentary. When not writing or hosting, she spends most of her time reading, knitting, cooking and concocting new ideas for stories. She lives in Michigan with her husband and dog, Sarah.

You can find out more about Parker on her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase Vengeful Vows on Amazon.

Publishing a book: Part 2 – Self-publishing

Last week, I wrote about publishing a book through a traditional publishing house. This week, I wanted to discuss going the self-publishing route.

There are many benefits to be self-published. You have complete control over what you publish and when. You retain all rights to your book, and you receive 100 percent of the profit. The main drawback is that you have to do all the work and pay for any expenses yourself.

You have several options when it comes to self-publishing. You can opt to publish just an electronic copy of your book (an e-book), or you can actually print a physical copy or you can do both. Let’s look quickly at the options for physically printing a book.

Vanity

In this option, you pay for all the services to print your book but own the book and receive the profits. You are in charge of distribution. This is best for the hobbyist or those who just have a goal of seeing their work in print. (Hence the reason it is often referred to as a vanity press.)

Subsidy

While similar to a vanity press, a subsidy publisher contributes toward the cost of editing, distribution, warehousing and marketing of the book. Typically, the author pays for the printing and binding of the book and will receive royalties.

Print on Demand

This is a good option for someone with a limited audience. You use your own money to produce the book and then have a company (such as Amazon’s Createspace) print them one at a time as they are ordered. The plus is that you don’t have any books that you need to store.

Self-Publishing

You pay to produce, market and warehouse your books.

With all of these methods, the majority of the work and expense of publishing falls on the author’s shoulders. And as hard as it is to find a traditional publisher, it can be equally hard to find physical retail location that want showcase your new novel.

But often with today’s technology, many readers no longer buy physical copies of books. Many readers now have e-readers so authors need to determine whether they even need physical copies of their books to sell.

And this leads us to the last section in this three-part series on publishing a book – e-book publishing. Next week I will go over the steps to publishing your e-book.