WANTED – Authors for Featured Author Spot

wantedNOW Looking for August, September & October! 

Are you an author looking for some additional publicity for your latest book?

I host guest authors every Friday – any genre, both traditionally and self-published. In the past 5 years, I have hosted 288 authors on my site!

The Featured Author post can take one of three formats: author interview, book excerpt or a guest post on any aspect of writing, publishing, or book marketing.

Sign up is on a first-come-first-served basis, though I do have a few Tuesday openings to accommodate special requests for dates related book tours, book releases or cover reveals. (Click the Featured Authors link on the left to check out past authors.)

If you are interested, send me a message along with any date requests, and we’ll take it from there.

Today’s Featured Author – Michelle Stimpson

Please welcome author Michelle Stimpson to my blog. Michelle currently is on a virtual book tour for her short story, Who Killed My Husband?, which was released in June.

Guest Post – Advice for first time authors

The publishing industry has changed tremendously since I first became an author in 2004. In fact, I would say that anything written about publishing/marketing books before 2012 is pretty close to obsolete.  Here’s what I would tell first-time authors who are entering the market in this digital age.

  • If you’re writing non-fiction, know the purpose of the book before you publish. Did you write this book to get clients? To establish yourself as a fresh, innovative voice in your field? If your goal is to use this book to validate your expertise, use it that way—not necessarily as a money-making tool. You might end up giving away more copies to secure radio/TV appearances than actually selling them online to the general public.
  • If your goal is to become a full-time writer, realize that also means become a full-time marketer. This doesn’t mean you have to become a sales person, per se, it just means you have to be serious and deliberate about reaching your market with your message. Be prepared to pay money in order to get in people’s faces on social media and Amazon. Free advertising is just about over these days. Can you post stuff on your page? Yes. Can you make and share memes? Yes. But the question is: How many people will get to see them? These days, not many unless you pay for the exposure. Don’t be afraid of this. You can start small ($2-5 a day for 7 days), then gauge your success. If it’s not working, quit and try something else. When it does work, scale up to $10 and more a day for as long as it works. You’ve got to think of this like: Somebody’s selling 20-dollar-bills for $10. The only catch is you have to wait 60 days to get the $20. If you’re in it for the long haul, this is not a problem.
  • If you really don’t have a goal for your book, that’s okay, too. Whatever happens happens. It’s all good. Write because you want to have fun with it. If your book helps just one person, you’ve succeeded in your own way. This is what matters most. You won’t have to live with regrets your whole life about not ever writing the book that’s been sitting on your heart.

Book Blurb

Ashley Crandall finally convinced her husband, Allan, to attend the Christian men’s retreat…but he ends up dead there. What happened to him on the campgrounds? Who would want to kill Allan? And why are the detectives pointing fingers at Ashley? In her quest to solve the mystery and clear her name, Ashley will learn something about her husband that she didn’t want to know and something about her Christian faith that shifts her life.

About the Author

Michelle Stimpson is an author, a speaker, and an educator who received her Bachelor of Science degree from Jarvis Christian College in 1994. She earned a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2002. She has had the pleasure of teaching elementary, middle, and high school as well as training adults. In addition to her work in the field of education, Michelle ministers through writing and public speaking. Her works include the highly acclaimed Boaz Brown, Divas of Damascus Road (National Bestseller), and Falling Into Grace. She has published several short stories for high school students through her educational publishing company, Right Track Academic Support Services, at http://www.wegottaread.com. Michelle serves in women’s ministry at her home church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, in Dallas, TX. She regularly speaks at special events and writing workshops sponsored by churches, schools, book clubs and other positive organizations, and she has taught writing classes at the University of Texas at Arlington. Michelle lives near Dallas with her husband, their two teenage children, and one crazy dog.

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

You can purchase Who Killed My Husband? on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks or Google.

Today’s Featured Author – Candy Korman

Today, I welcome author Candy Korman to my blog.

Guest Post – Location, Location, Location…

I live in real estate obsessed New York City, but this post is about a special kind of real estate—locations in fiction. The place in a story can be everything from a simple backdrop to a fleshed out “character.”

As a reader, I often travel via fiction. I’ve visited Donna Leon’s Venice so many times, that I half expected to run into Commissario Brunetti every time I entered a quiet piazza on my last actual visit to that beautiful city. Last night, I couldn’t sleep so I spent a few hours in Carl Hiaasen’s Key West. The sense of place that some authors achieve is seductive.

Real places help establish credibility for the incredible. Placing a wild adventure with improbable twists and turns in a setting that feels familiar draws the reader inside the drama (or comedy). This can be a typical suburb or a clichéd small town, but I think it works better when it’s a REAL, real place—a specific location that many, if not all, readers know on some level. Set a chase scene on the Capitol Mall and even people who have never traveled to Washington, DC will recognize the landmarks.

I just want to caution authors who know a popular place only from movies and TV to be very, very careful about how they use the location.  Real places are tricky if you don’t know your territory. I’ve read all too many novels set in NYC that were written by people who seem to use old Woody Allen movies and Law & Order episodes as their primary source of location details. It’s upsetting when a subway goes to the wrong place or people use the wrong regional expression, i.e. sack versus bag. When I’ve set a story in place I love, but do not know intimately, I check maps, and verify as many details as possible.

When you know the terrain well, you can plunk a fictional restaurant, warehouse, office tower, horse farm etc. into the landscape and get away with it because it’s similar—or even based upon—a real place in a real area. This allows you the freedom to create the right location for your fiction. Just don’t give it an address that puts it in the East River!

A realistic setting makes the vampire, werewolf, ghost or other paranormal, supernatural or magical creature seem possible—even probable. I like “ground” such stories in places I know very well, taking a walk on the streets where the character lives—or hunts, haunts, hovers and hides.

There’s something to be said for the pure invention of places in fantasy and science fiction. I admire the ability of these authors to “map” a universe in its entirety, while I’m more excited by writing about a werewolf on Wall Street or the Devil dropping in to visit my favorite coffee bar. In fiction and in life, it’s location, location location…

Book Blurb

mary-shelley-game‘The Mary Shelley Game’ is a contemporary literary thriller inspired by the horror classic — Frankenstein. A group of friends gather in a country house to share gourmet food, excellent wine and their own stories based on Frankenstein, but in the woods surrounding the house, a real monster lurks, plotting a bloody and violent end to the party.

‘The Mary Shelley Game’ is the first of ‘The Monsters,’ a series of new stories with roots in familiar tales of terror by Candy Korman.

About the Author 

candyCandy Korman (AKA Candida) lives, writes, and dances Argentine Tango in New York City. Visitors to the Candy’s Monsters blog site will find twice weekly Monster Meditations on writing & all things monstrous; free short stories on the Timeless Tales page; links to books available on Amazon; and periodic Monster-themed contests.

You can find out more about Candy on her website.

You can check out all of her books on Amazon.

Guest Post: Author Holly Kerr

Today I welcome author Holly Kerr to my blog. She recently released her latest book – The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd.

Guest Post: Why The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd was the Most Fun I’ve Had Writing a Book

First of all, I am incredibly lucky to be able to write full-time. Writing is my career and it’s something I enjoy doing every day. I love to write; to create characters, develop plots and dialogue. I’ve had amazing experiences writing my novels and for each, I’ve put in a little certain something of myself; from adding real life pregnancy trials and tribulations in my first book, Unexpecting; to delving into my relationship with my sister in Coming Home; to researching the infamous spirit in Absinthe Doesn’t Make the Heart Grow Fonder and especially using my kids as characters in my kids lit novel The Dragon Under the Mountain.

But writing The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd was something special.

For the first time, (except for Dragon) I moved away from the women’s fiction/ chick lit genre. I still classify Charlotte as chick lit, but it’s more. There’s action. Adventure. Fight scenes. Jumping out of a helicopter. There’s even a car chase where a Mini Cooper does a 360 degree spin and our heroine manages to shot the car following them.

There’s the old advice – write what you know.  Great advice and I do my best to follow it. I don’t write about architecture or Russian espionage or quantum physics because I wouldn’t have a clue where to start! I write about having a baby and sisters and girls’ night outs. And for Charlotte, I wrote about a twentysomething girl confused about her boyfriend.

Charlotte is a little more than that.

I have to admit, I haven’t exactly done all of the things that Charlotte gets to in the story. I’ve got into a drunken shouting match in my youth, but I’ve never actually thrown a punch. I’ve ziplined, but never between high-rise hotels.  I would love to say I have first- hand experience of all of Charlotte’s adventures, but I can’t.

Note to self: maybe I shouldn’t admit that! It might be a great marketing tool if I let everyone think I’m as bad-ass as Charlotte. After all, there were readers convinced Unexpecting was an autobiography. (It isn’t btw, nor is it non-fiction. It’s a made up story!)

But I can’t do it. I can’t devise a Charlotte-like persona to sell books because I would inevitably slip up and make myself look silly.

I’m getting off topic. Charlotte – fun to write.  But how could I write about all these dangerous situations Charlotte finds herself in?

Research. And research for me means watching movies and T.V shows!

I scrutinized and analyzed every movie, every television show I watched for moves I could use for Charlotte. I re-watched episodes of Alias and Buffy the Vampire Slayer; both Buffy and Sydney Bristow were my inspiration. I watched the fight scene in Fast and Furious 7 between Lettie and the female guard countless times. Writing fight scenes are like choreographing a dance. Your hand goes here; your foot goes here. Could someone actually pick you up like that? Is this even possible?

And I dug deep into my imagination for scenes of excitement. Like the helicopter scene. Why wouldn’t you have a character base jump from a helicopter onto a hotel, than zipline across to the neighbouring building instead of having her simply walk through the lobby?!

Writing action scenes was something I’d never done before. I guess I did have a fight in Coming Home but adding in fists and flips and body-slamming is a little different. And again – so much fun!

I’ve enjoyed myself so much that I’ve already started writing the next book, a sequel to The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd!

About the Author

Holly Kerr writes chick-lit with a twist. No broody men, no obsessions with shoes, just fun stories about strong women going after what they want.

Her books include Coming Home, Unexpecting and Absinthe Doesn’t Make the Heart Grow Fonder and her latest, The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd.

If you require more information about Holly and her books (and she really hope you do because that was her whole reason for setting up this page!) feel free to visit her website
or follow her Blog. At times she discusses the craft of writing but usually she muses about her life and what’s she reading, writing or watching. Following her blog would be a great way to make Holly happy.

Holly hopes you enjoy her books and she welcomes a chance to interact with her fans, but not in any creepy way. A simple comment “Hey, I really like/don’t like…” would be a lovely way to begin a conversation.

You can find out more about Holly on her blog.

You can purchase The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd on Amazon.


Today’s Featured Author: Sue Parritt

Today I welcome Australian author Sue Parritt to my blog. Please enjoy her guest post about writing her book Sannah and the Pilgrim.

Guest Post

Set in twenty-fourth century apartheid Australia, ‘Sannah and the Pilgrim’ is a tale of courage defiance and deceit as a group of women risk their lives to undermine an oppressive regime. The women gain unexpected support for seditious exploits when Sannah, the village Storyteller, finds a stranger (Kaire, who insists he’s a pilgrim) on her domestep. But when Sannah turns ‘Truth-teller’ even Kaire’s white privilege and advanced technology cannot save her from subsequent retribution.

What inspired me to write my book?

Anger, abhorrence and disbelief motivated me to write ‘Sannah and the Pilgrim.’  I was and remain, appalled by past and present Australian governments’ policy on refugees and asylum seekers. News bulletins and current affairs programmes helped fuel my deep concerns about the direction our country is heading. From a country that welcomed scores of displaced people after the Second World War, we are becoming xenophobic, rejecting those that have fled what for most of us are inconceivable terrors. As a migrant myself, I tried to imagine how I would have felt, if instead of paying my ten pounds and travelling here on an ocean liner, I had been forced to flee my homeland, hand over my life’s savings to greedy people smugglers and risk my life by boarding a leaky overcrowded boat.

My thoughts then turned to a different category of refugees, those we can expect in the not so distant future. Low-lying Pacific islands are already under threat from accelerating climate change, about which wealthy first-world countries have so far failed to act. Soon there will be a flood of environmental refugees seeking a safe haven in our sparsely populated and prosperous nation. How will our government react then, turning back the boats won’t be an option?

I felt my option as a fiction writer was to draw on contemporary government policies regarding refugees and climate change to create a portrait of a future Australia that is, to my mind, entirely possible. The idea to divide the country into zones according to race of origin came from a thinly veiled proposal made by an ultra-conservative politician some years ago. Research into climate change led me to place my characters in the most inhospitable part of twenty-forth century Australia, the extremely hot, humid and disease-ridden north. Confined to the Brown Zone, the descendants of Pacific environmental refugees, are forced to cultivate the remaining fertile coastal strip to produce food for White Southerners, whose zone, although more suitable for human habitation being hot and dry, is too arid to support agriculture.

I was inspired to create the role of Storyteller for my protagonist, Sannah, by the manner in which information is often distorted by both the media and government in order to provoke certain reactions. For example: fears of being swamped by refugees are intensified by using terms such as ‘illegals’ and concerns over rising utility costs assuaged by promises to repeal the Carbon tax. Sannah’s people are kept in ignorance through a steady diet of Tales (a weird blend of historical fact and fiction) delivered by government-trained storytellers. In similar fashion, we are fed only what governments and multi-national companies want us to hear and it takes a great deal of effort to uncover the truth. Lies ensure compliance in both twenty-first and twenty-forth century Australia.

Book Blurb

Sannah-BC-frontWhen Sannah the Storyteller, a descendant of environmental refugees from drowned Pacific islands, finds a White stranger on her domestep, she presumes he’s a political prisoner on the run seeking safe passage to egalitarian Aotearoa. However, Kaire’s unusual appearance, bizarre behaviour, and insistence he’s a pilgrim suggest otherwise.

Appalled by apartheid Australia, Kaire uses his White privileges to procure vital information for Sannah and her group of activists regarding new desert prisons that are to be built to house all political prisoners. The group plans sabotage but needs help, and Kaire is a willing accomplice. But when Sannah turns Truthteller and threatens to reveal the country’s true history, even Kaire’s White privilege and advanced technology cannot save Sannah and her daughter from retribution.

Author Bio

Sue Parritt is an Australian writer, originally from England. Her poetry and short stories have been published in magazines and anthologies in Australia, Britain and the US. After graduating B.A. University of Queensland 1982 (majors: English Literature, Drama and French), Sue worked in university libraries until taking early retirement in 2008 to pursue her long-held dream of becoming a professional writer.  Since then she has written ‘Sannah and the Pilgrim,’ numerous short stories and poems and ‘Feed Thy Enemy’ a feature film script set in Naples in 1944 and 1974 based on a true story (Sue is currently seeking a producer). She recently completed a second novel ‘Safety Zone’ and is now writing a sequel to ‘Sannah and the Pilgrim’ – working title ‘Pia and the Skyman.’

You can find out more about Sue on her website.

Sannah and the Pilgrim is available from Amazon and Odyssey Books.