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Serena Zane was kind enough to stop by and see me today! Check out what she has to say about her new book, ‘Mortal Ice’, and her writing process!

1. What’s the title of your latest release? Link?

Mortal Ice released on October 30th!  http://www.amazon.com/Mortal­Ice­Serena­Zane-ebook/dp/B00O4BOVMO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414451572&sr=8­1&keywords=mortal+Ice+by+serena+zane

2. Why do you like writing in this genre?

Once upon a time, another (much more famous) author recommended to me that you should both write what you know, and what you love. She suggested to take a look at my bookshelf and see what was there, and try writing in that genre. Finally, a few months later, I rolled over one morning and looked at the bookshelf right next to my bed. Nothing but paranormal romances lined the shelves. So, I started writing my first paranormal romance, The Christmas Present. Although just a short story, I loved it and the words just flowed onto the page. I didn’t have to struggle with finding a storyline, or an idea, because I was already familiar with the genre and the readers (as I am one).

3. What do you like to read?

Paranormal Romance, Katie McAllister and Christine Feehan are my current favorite authors.

4. Favorite movie?

Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightely

5. What are your writing habits?

I like to go into the “zone”. Once my headphones are on, no one better bother me…I get grumpy. I like to write in one hour blocks, and do what is called “sprints” – writing in stints without editing, then, once the manuscript is done, I go back and edit, and edit again, oh wait, and edit again.

6. Music or silence?

Music, I like listening to “action appropriate music” mostly Goth as I write my paranormals, some alternative, and occasionally trash or metal.

7. Daily regimen or spurts of creativity?

Daily Regimen. If you want to be a serious author and make a career out of it, you have to write daily, and take it like a job. Writing is fun, but if you want to succeed then you have to work at it. I like to set goals for myself.

8. How can readers find you?

http://www.serenazane.com or on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/serena_zane or on Twitter @serenazane

9. What do you know now about being published that you wish you’d known before submitting?

The length of time from submission to actual publication. With final edits and approval of cover art, blurbs, and creating media such as trailers, it may take up to a couple of months to a year. Also, the amount of promotion that an author needs to do themselves upon publication is almost like a second job. If you can afford it, I would recommend hiring a promo company such as The Purple Papaya.

10. Favorite snack/drink while writing?

Coffee with a little sugar, and fruit.

11. Look at your writing area…what’s the item you keep to inspire you (piece of artwork, figurine)?

I love frogs, so I have my frog figurine world straight in front of me, and then pictures of my family, a vase of fake flowers that are mementos from weddings, events, etc. My most inspirational piece is “Dance in the City” by Renoir which is right in front of my desk.

Best of luck with the new book, Serena!

BB

Hey, everyone! I’m pleased to host author and t.v. host, Jim Baugh!

  1. What’s the title of your latest release? Link?

AFTERMATH, it is the sequel to my first novel HOOKED

http://www.amazon.com/Hooked-Jim-Baugh-ebook/dp/B00578KEUG/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414417265&sr=1-3&keywords=jim+baugh

  1. Why do you like writing in this genre?

Writing autobiographical content is certainly something I can relate to. (laughs) Producing Jim Baugh Outdoors TV for over 25 years now I certainly have had a lot of hilarious stories to tell. All total it is a four book project not including the screenplay.

  1. What do you like to read?

I like non-fiction, autobiographies. I read a lot about musicians and enjoy that a lot. Although I wrote one very out there Sci Fi short called Roxswell, I do not enjoy sci fi fiction as far as reading goes, but love the movies! (laughs)

  1. Favorite movie?

Jaws. It was a great film and the story behind how it was made was even greater. If you think back, when people went to see Jaws folks would run screaming out of the theatres. Pop corn flying everywhere, the audience was just blown away by the film. I have never been to a movie that ever had that impact on an audience, actually I have never even heard of one, except maybe the Exorcist. So, although the film now is just something you would see edited for late night, but when it came out, there simply had not been anything like it since as far as the reaction from the audience. I do like a lot of films, but like anything else, 95% sucks, the other 5% pure genius.

  1. What are your writing habits? Music or silence? Daily regimen or spurts of creativity?                        

   I actually write books much the same way I write music, mostly in my head before I ever sit down to type. Writing to me is very similar to composing music, and go about the projects (music & Books) using basically the same methods in regards to timing, pacing, etc.

  1. What was the most surreal moment you’ve had as a author?

Well, in my case writing autobiographical content can be very strange. You’re putting stuff out there than can be very difficult to write about. It is a bit odd that someone I don’t know will talk to me and ask questions about my personal life, because I wrote about it in the book. It is a strange feeling, however I did not have any choice. If I was going to tell the story of HOOKED and AFTERMATH, I would have to spill everything, and that was extremely difficult to do. So in a way, the entire experience is rather surreal. The underling message in both books is the power of faith, and how to recognize it, and live by it regardless of the circumstances. Both books do a good job of getting that message out there, especially in AFTERMATH. That was an incredible experience because I actually was living and writing the memoir, right up until I got married. Life, and the book was an everyday event. It was in a way very strange, but I believed that was the path the good Lord wanted me on, so I did it. As bizarre as some of the content is in the book, the story has some of the most hilarious things you will ever read. AFTERMATH has a lot of valuable life lessons in the story, but at the same time is just one of the funniest things on paper.

  1. How can readers find you?

All our books are on Amazon, just do a search on name and title and it will come right up. Our main web site that links to everything, tv shows, books, blogs, etc is jimbaugh.wordpress.com

  1. What do you know now about being published that you wish you’d known before submitting?

Nothing.

  1. Favorite snack/drink while writing?

HA!! That’s funny you should ask, again my answer is……nothing!

Yeah, I am dropping a few pounds. It is working good. But I have never been a snacker anyway, just never have. But I do drink a LOT of coffee.

  1. Look at your writing area…what’s the item you keep to inspire you (piece of artwork, figurine)?

Again, nothing. (Laughs).

You see, everything I do, my writing, music, the television show, everything, is inspired and directed by the big eye in the sky. I look to the good Lord for my guidance, and that is where I put my trust and faith.

If anything, the one thing that I do a lot of that helps me in everything I do, is always be around music. Mostly Jazz. I play it, perform it, write it, and it is always in my head. One writing trick that I will do (and I do this before editing our show) is that I will get my mind in “The Zone” by practicing some piano. Experimenting with some new composition always get the creative side VERY active.

Thanks for stopping by, Jim!

BB

Everyone please welcome UK fantasy author, Francene Stanley!

1. What’s the title of your latest release? Link?

My latest release is Tidal Surge. Link: http://amzn.to/1hmEn98 However, I’m nearly finished editing the third in the Moonstone series, Shattered Shells, which I plan to submit to Solstice Publishing soon.

2. Why do you like writing in this genre?

I love fantasy—working out what could happen if things were different in the tangible world. We all hear a little voice inside us—whispering advice, giving words of caution. What if a person had the ability to speak inside the mind of another? Humans, with their moral frailty, could be influenced to use the terrific power to generate good or evil. In my first book, Still Rock Water, link: http://amzn.to/1ejUH2r Liliha inherits a star moonstone ring and with it the ability to help people in trouble. However, in Tidal Surge, her daughter finds a bracelet, slips it up her arm and is drawn into murder. Mother and daughter fight the moral battle, unaware of each other’s role.

3. What do you like to read?

The books that draw me to read are science fiction or fantasy. While I was growing up, I read every published science fiction book available, and then books based on the readings of the renown psychic Edgar Cayce as he delved into the afterlife.

4. Favorite movie?

Movies that contain hidden possibilities fascinate me. Labyrinth with David Bowie, all The Lord of The Rings, Chrysalis with the bunch of old-uns who moved to a higher plane … so many.

5. What are your writing habits? Music or silence? Daily regimen or spurts of creativity?

I write every day, as soon as I’m dressed and prepared. I start by reading the news at 8am, then write a daily views on news, link: http://bit.ly/JBC6am Once that is published, I spend about an hour on social media. I like quiet when I’m writing. My husband sleeps late, so I’m free to concentrate. In the afternoon, I work on my current manuscript—usually two on the go and one in the draft stage. Self-editing takes the longest time. I want to ensure everything is perfect before I submit a chapter a week to an online critiquing group at Internet Writers Workshop.

6. What was the most surreal moment you’ve had as a author?

My most surreal moment came when the local paper sent a photographer after the launch of my first book. What shocked me was my change. Instead of the calm woman who took everything in her stride, I became a shaking wreck, unable to speak without a quiver in my voice or form a proper sentence. I can laugh about it now.

7. How can readers find you?

My author page at Amazon shows a little about my varied life experiences and lists my books. Link: http://amzn.to/1ljAdMf My author website: http://Francene–wordstitcher.weebly.com

8. Look at your writing area…what’s the item you keep to inspire you (piece of artwork, figurine)?

On the shelves above my writing desk, I can gaze at photos of my three children (two deceased), an embroidery of wildflowers, my singer/songwriter brochure, photos of myself and my sister as children, my grandmother’s bible, a woven Indian headband and some preserved ginger in a jar from my German co-writer. They remind me of who I am and how far I’ve come.

Best of luck with the books, Francene!

BB

So close!

Good morning!

I’m up! I’m awake! I’m rested and caffeinated! That is a recipe for a very productive day.

The giveaway for ‘Fin’s Magic’ officially ended last night. Overall, I call it a success. The book was downloaded quite a bit, and hit best seller lists on Amazon in both the U.S. and overseas. It actually climbed as high as #5 in Spain, and #4 in Germany!

In other words, I came very close to being able to say my book was #1 somewhere in the world.

Yes, it was free. And I know that overseas rankings work a little differently than U.S. ones. A book can be in the top 100 from a single sale.

Still, I was close. So close that I realized how much I wanted that top slot.

There’s 5 more weeks of sales and freebies coming. This coming weekend (10/24-10/26), “Permafrost” will be free. Who knows? Maybe that one will give me that magic number.

Putting a book on sale or free is not for everyone. Some will think it’s giving money away. I see it differently. Being that I’m still waiting to be found by readers, it gives me the chance to put my titles into the hands of someone who wouldn’t have taken a risk on me if they’d had to spend money. It’s someone reading my book who would’ve passed before.

Let’s face it, we all can be cheapskates on occasion. Readers are no different. They want a bargain. They want to feel their money is well spent. If they can get one book of mine for free, who’s to say they won’t like my voice. And go search my name on Amazon. Now, they’re thinking of buying a book instead of getting it for free.

Just like postcards and bookmarks, free and sales are promotions. They put your book into the hands of the readers. At the end of the day, that’s what’s most important.

BB

Yes! A random post from me on a Thursday! LOL

Starting today, I’m going to either have a free book or a book on sale for the next six weeks in a row!

Today through the 19th, you can pick up a copy of ‘Fin’s Magic’ for free!

I’ll be doing additional blog posts as the event progresses, so keep an eye out!

BB

fin'smagic with quote

Spent the weekend trying not to let a head cold get beyond a minor annoyance, with marginal success. This tends to make me a little short tempered, no matter how much coffee I have. You’ve been warned.

One of the only guarantees about being published is that you can’t force people to buy your books. And, to be perfectly honest, people are going to lie to you and say they did when they didn’t. This is particularly true with friends or family. They may have every intention to do so…some day. But they’ll tell you they have if you don’t live close by to shut you up.

Like most everything else in life, there’s two ways to sell books. There’s the hard sale, where you’re in the face of everyone you meet. Facebook and Twitter is a constant barrage from you about your book. It’s spending half an hour each week and scheduling your tweets for a week, all consisting of buy links and quotes from reviews. There’s buying ads on FB, and including a buy link on each and every post you make.

Then there’s the soft sell. That’s when you try to establish some connection with someone first, build a relationship of some kind. It’s saying hello to new followers, let me know if you want to learn about my books. Talking about coffee and bookstores and kitten stories with people over reminding them hourly that you have books out in the world.

There’s not bringing it up to your friends and family each time you talk with them.

In my opinion, that’s just rude. Presumably, they’re intelligent people. While we can’t control our family members, few of us have friends we don’t think are able to retain simple facts. They know you got a book or ten published. You need sales and reviews. To bombard them constantly with questions about who they loved to hate is going to have them secretly whisper, ‘you, you numbskull! shut up!’ in their brain.

Family and friends can be the biggest supporters an author has. A supportive immediate family (spouse/kids/significant other) is really necessary to give you time to write, console you to try again when you get a rejection from a publisher, celebrate that contract. The rest of them? That gets sticky.

Because they can also be our harshest critics.

Some will rip your cover apart. Others will whine that they don’t like one character’s name. Another will constantly harp on one single typo in the book. Ignore them. They aren’t being supportive, no matter what they tell you. They’re being jealous and trying to tear you down.

I myself prefer the soft sell. The whole process of being ‘found’ by readers takes time. By doing a soft sell, it helps establish a relationship with readers, gives you a solid base that will propel your other book sales. The in your face hard sell? You might sell a few books, yes. But your foundation is going to be full of cracks left behind by readers who read one book and chose not to stay around. Why? Because all you want to talk about is you and your books.

And they’ll start lying to you, ignoring you, just like your great aunt Gertie who is tired of hearing about your book every time you visit her. Or your cousin Dave who thought the autographed copy was the cheesiest (and cheapest) wedding present ever.

BB

But not the way you’re thinking. LOL.

We adopted a kitten over the weekend, and her name is Muse. Now, one of my author friends has declared it to be the perfect name, as now I can blame the Muse for not just lack of writing, but spilled drinks, potted plants, broken dishes, etc.

The thing is, even though I’d like to, I can’t blame the lack of a muse in my life as the reason I have so many wip’s and none sitting with my beta readers/crit partners. It’s not the reason why The Raven Chronicles aren’t finished, or why the next installment for the Amari books hasn’t made it past the first few pages. Or why Sanctuary languishes, untouched for months, in my dropbox.

That’s all on me.

Writing takes discipline. It takes sitting down and ignoring social media and putting words to paper. It takes the drive and determination to write even if the Muse isn’t visiting, you aren’t feeling inspired.

It takes a routine.

When I started this blog, I wasn’t sure what I was going to write. How could I come up with some sort of topic each month? Is anyone going to ever think it’s worth time to follow? It was so sporadic at the start that I had to put post it note reminders all around my monitor. Topic ideas, post on Monday, use the time you have before kids head out the door, all sorts of notes to myself.

And that’s what I think I will be doing with my writing. Some sort of visual reminder, every day, to put at least 500 words or more down on a story. Will it take time? Heck, yes. It took me three to four months to get into the routine of posting each Monday here. But if I don’t make it a priority, carve out time each and every day, I’m not going to get the books done.

Everyone has notions of what it means to be an author. They can imagine all sorts of things, and tend to not see others. We don’t all have a fancy desk in a dedicated office, surrounded by books and manuscripts. We don’t all sit down with a mug of coffee and cheerfully create prose. Authors, especially those who are still seeking their readership, have to walk a delicate tight rope, balancing between writing time and family time. Getting the words down and the laundry put away. Debating between descriptions of characters and parent/teacher conferences. Deadlines and alarm clocks.

We can’t sit back and expect the readers of the world to flock to us once our first book is out. We have to keep writing, find that discipline, and connect with people.

All while listening to the Muse. Because she’s not always screaming to be heard. Sometimes, it’s a whisper.

Oh, but here’s our new Muse. Have to share a picture of her because, well, she’s just that cute.

SAM_1602

BB

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