A Perfect 10 with Jane Risdon

Today’s perfect 10 interview session is with author Jane Risdon. The questions in these interviews are designed to gain more insight into the inspiration, background and strategy of the authors that stop by.

Please enjoy this edition of A Perfect 10 and look for an exciting announcement regarding all of the participating authors for 2018.


Jane Risdon

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

I think it depends on what is going on in my life. Sometimes I cannot wait to sit down and write and other times it can be a real slog. If I have a list of ‘to do’ things which is nagging me I find it hard to concentrate and write so then it becomes exhausting. Mostly it is very uplifting and exciting so I guess I am mostly energized.

Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

Actually, this is something I have been thinking about a lot. But it is too late, I think, for the projects I had in mind. I’d already started both books. I wish I had known earlier that I would write short stories in different genres – after I’d started my crime/thriller writing – and that I would also write a novel which is in the Women’s Fiction genre. I might have used a pseudonym for the latter especially. However, I wrote both my Crime novel and Women’s Fiction novel at the same time – crazy, I know, having two on the go at the same time, and actually I had four in progress – there are two more to be completed yet. By the time I got round to wondering about writing under a different name, it was too late. My name was out there.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

Oh cripes. Now there is a question. I think to do anything in life where you expose yourself to an audience you need to have some self-belief and perhaps ego. I know putting my work on public display has – for me – been excruciating. I feel naked every time I allow someone else to read what I have written. I’ve worked in an industry – the music business – where I’ve dealt with massive egos on a daily basis, and not just those of the recording artists I managed. They needed an ego to get up on stage and perform, but funnily enough quite a few were painfully shy off stage. Some used to be physically ill before going on stage. Those whose ego was out of control and was massive, were often really disliked and hard to work with. Whatever talent they possessed ‘supposedly’ made up for their over-sized and really trying ego and behaviour. I’d hate to be thought of in the way some artists are. It can be very counter-productive. I think it depends on how much of an ego the folk around you are prepared to tolerate. I think I have learned enough, through experience, to not have a massive ego and to be grateful for having the opportunity to share my writing and to allow that do my talking for me.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

In the hope that my crime writing will be more authentic and accurate I have invested in various University courses to better educate myself. I’ve taken seven courses in Forensic Science and Criminal Justice and one course in general Archaeology. I consider this as money well spent. I don’t write Police Procedurals but a background knowledge in Forensics and how the Criminal Justice system work has been invaluable to me.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

Oh cripes, another hard one. To me success has been writing something that others have been happy to read and enjoy. I didn’t really have an ambition to become a major success as an author, when I started writing in earnest. I just wanted to write and was thrilled to be included in several anthologies (about 10 to date) and was happy with this achievement – and I still am. Later when I signed with my publisher – Accent Press Ltd. – I had a little ‘tingle ‘moment of delight and a feeling of accomplishment. But I am not stupid enough to think of it as success. Let the book buying public judge that. I am content but if I –by magic – become a Best-selling author, I guess I’d have to consider that success. I’ll let you know if that happens.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

I get an idea for a story, often from an over-heard conversation, a news item, or an experience I’ve had, and I sit down and write. It comes as if from nowhere. However, as I mentioned before, I mainly write crime stories and thrillers and so it often happens that I find myself in need of some technical information relating to decomposition of a corpse for example, or how to identify a skeleton in a shallow grave devoid of any identifying items in or around the grave. That is when the Forensic courses and Archaeology course I have undertaken come in handy.

I never know what I am going to need by way of research until I am writing the story and as I said, my stories tend to write themselves so I have no idea where it will take me or what research I might need until I reach that part of the story.

If I cannot find what I want from my studies then I am an avid fan of Google and other search engines. I am also very privileged in that I know a couple of former detectives who have been very generous with their advice, experience and knowledge which has helped me with my series Ms. Birdsong Investigates, and I am deeply in their debt. I have researched the Secret Intelligence Services for Ms. B. – she is a former MI5 Officer and her adventures have an element of espionage and organised crime through-out.

With Only One Woman – co-authored with best-seller and award-winning author, Christina Jones – my own research was undertaken by going through old diaries, tour posters, postcards, and letters from my life-time in the international music business. I used them as a rough guide for dates of chart songs, and venues on the live circuit back in 1968/69 when the book is set. The work is fiction but events are factual – the book is not only about music during that era, but there is a lot of fashion and of course, world events taking place which take place during the story, therefore I needed to be accurate when portraying life back then.

How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

Names just pop into my head, as if from nowhere. Sometimes it is a name which gives me the idea for a story. Ms. Birdsong just appeared as if from nowhere and I just knew she was a former MI5 Officer.

The title Only One Woman was inspired by the hit song of that name recorded by The Marbles in the late 60s. As soon as I got the song in my head I realised it would fit the story – almost completed at that time – perfectly. Plus Graham Bonnet (Marbles and Rainbow etc) is one of my all-time favourite lead singers so any excuse to play his material…if you know anything about me you’ll know I am a huge rock fan and his is one of the most iconic rock voices on the planet.

I have not regretted any names I have used in my stories. I try to fit the name I pick to the personality of my character. I am a fan of Time Team – an archaeology programme on British TV which sadly has ended after 21 years. When I was contemplating one of the lead characters – there are two – for Only One Woman I immediately thought of one of the main archaeologists on the show, Carenza Lewis. My character became Carenza – Renza for short.

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

Oh my goodness! I don’t so sex – well, not in my books. I cringe reading about it and I’d never stop blushing long enough to be able to write a sex scene. I am a convent girl after-all. I get ‘around’ it in my stories – stop laughing! It is hard to write about a grown-up relationship without doing the sex in detail.

I don’t write graphic violence or bloody, gory scenes in detail either. I read books with it in but I don’t want to have it in my books. I do have death and murder most foul, of course, but I find a way to write it without glorifying it or being explicit and brutal. It can prove challenging but I think I manage it well…so far.

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

Albert Einstein and Carl Sagan would be absolute musts.

1-einsteinI’d love to ask Einstein about his research and what he thinks of the world today and the threats of nuclear war.

2-saganI would love to just chat with Carl Sagan, about the Cosmos and all things to do with the Universe and beyond.

The Sky At Night

I adored the late Sir Patrick Moore and The Sky at Night was one of the very first programs on TV I watched as a small child, and have ever since. I would love to ask him about mapping the lunar surface with his telescope and how the Apollo missions used them when NASA put the first man on the Moon. So much I’d ask him.

The last guest has been difficult to pick. Professor Stephen Hawking or Professor Brian Cox? You notice there aren’t any music stars or writers listed…I need more guests!

4-cox

I think I would ask Professor Brian Cox because he is not only a theoretical physicist but he was the keyboard player in a band, D-Ream. We could chat about music as well as The Large Hadron Collider at Cern in Switzerland, and The Higgs Bosun Particle.

I’m not saying that I’d understand even 5 percent of what they’d be chatting about, but just imagine it…

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

This is a hard one as I haven’t as yet, been involved with outright marketing of anything I have written. My publisher is a great believer in Social Media and I have lots of followers on both Facebook, Twitter and on my WordPress Author Blog, and so far the word is being spread far and wide regarding Only One Woman using these platforms. I am yet to dabble in Instagram. Which is the most successful platform to date, I cannot say.

Jane’s Book:

Only One Woman is published 23rd November 2017 on Amazon to begin and on 24th May 2018 in Paperback and Audio in UK/USA/Australia and other territories to be announced.

UK: http://amzn.to/2x1UIdr

USA: https://www.amazon.com/Only-One-Woman-Christina-Jones-ebook/dp/B075D88JBP

Australia: https://www.amazon.com.au/d/Only-One-Woman-Christina-Jones-ebook/B075D88JBP

The two main characters – Renza and Stella – in Only One Woman have their very own YouTube Playlists of favourite songs from the book:

https://www.youtube.com/user/AccentPress/playlists?view=1&view_as=subscriber&shelf_id=0&sort=dd

Only One Woman has a Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/RenzandStella/

Connect with Jane:

My Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00I3GJ2Y8

My Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/JaneRisdon2

My Author Blog: https://janerisdon.wordpress.com/

My Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jane_Risdon

Christina Jones: https://www.facebook.com/ChristinaJonesAuthor/

 

A Perfect 10 With Author Karen Ingalls

Today’s perfect 10 interview session is with author Karen Ingalls. The questions in these interviews are designed to gain more insight into the inspiration, background and strategy of the authors that stop by.

Please enjoy this edition of A Perfect 10 and look for an exciting announcement regarding all of the participating authors for 2018.


Karen IngallsDoes writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing energizes me and sometimes I cannot believe how the time has flown by. I must remind myself to get up and stretch to relax my muscles. I am tired at times, but it is a “happy” tiredness because I feel fulfilled and good.

Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not, have you considered it? Why or why not?

I have never considered to write under a pseudonym. I am proud of my work and want my true name attached to it.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

This is a very interesting question. After thinking about it, I believe that a writer needs a strong ego to feel confident in their writing skills and the purpose of their book. If the ego is too big, the person might not accept constructive criticism or rejection of their written piece. We do need to feel confident about our works, but not to the point of refusing to listen to any criticism.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

When I was ready to publish my first book, I spent the money to get a highly-recommended editor and cover designer. I knew nothing about the world of publishing, so I sought out the help of Beavers Pond Press, which did charge a fee, but it was money well spent.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

I feel my writing career has been successful because of the positive reception I have received from family and strangers. To read positive reviews from people that I do not know is quite heart-warming. I do believe I am successful even though I am not on talk shows or the New York Times bestseller list.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

I definitely do research. I had to do an extensive amount of research for my book, Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. For that book I used previous writings, some letters I had, the curator of the Saint-Gaudens’ National Site, and the Internet.

For my book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir my research included other books as well as the Internet.

And, for Novy’s Son, which is a novel, I did not have to do very much research. I did use the Internet to confirm historical, geographical, or industrial information.

How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

Since two of my novels are based on real-life stories, I rarely had to create fictitious names. When I did, I would draw from my imagination thinking what name fits that character. I have not regretted choosing a name. However, my first edition of Novy’s Son was purely fiction. I was not happy or satisfied that I did that so I rewrote the book using real names.

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

I have not come across that challenge. I think it would be very difficult to write a fight scene with fists flying, etc.

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

grandparents

I love this question. I would invite my great-grandfather (Augustus Saint-Gaudens), his mistress and my great-grandmother (Davida Johnson Clark), and my grandfather, their only child, and Uncle Louis Saint-Gaudens.

My questions:

Why didn’t you leave your wife and marry Davida?

Davida, where were you born, how did you come to the U.S., and how did you meet Gus?

For my grandfather Louis, what kind of a relationship did you have or wanted to have with your father?

How did you handle being called a bastard?

Davida, tell me about your childhood, your parents, your beliefs?

Gus, do you regret not marrying Davida?

Uncle Louis, were you ever jealous of the fame that Gus achieved?

Uncle Louis, were you in agreement with Gus’s decision to not marry Davida and claim Louis as his son?

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

My two blogs, personal appearances, and Facebook. Along with Rave Reviews Book Club

Karen’s Books:

http://www.kareningallsbooks.com

davida

http://www.amazon.com/Davida-Model-Mistress-Augustus-Saint-Gaudens/dp/153097871

Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens is a historical novel based on the true story of America’s premier sculptor and designer of the $20 gold coin and his love affair with his model, Davida. It has received two awards.

Novys Son

http://www.amazon.com/Novys-Son/dp/BO1BO2VQY

Novy’s Son is based on the true story of the first grandson of Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Davida. The novel tells the turmoil this young man had all through his life trying to find unconditional love and acceptance from his father. A common problem in our society.

 

Outshine

http://www.amazon.com/Outshine-An-Ovarian-Cancer-Memoir/dp/1592984622

Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir is the award-winning story of the author’s journey with ovarian cancer. It is informative and inspirational and can be of help to anyone dealing with any type of cancer.

Proceeds from the sale of all these books goes to cancer research.

Connect with Karen:

http://www.kareningalls.blogspot.com   (a blog for authors and avid readers)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNLHvrnlqRY&feature=youtu.be   (for Davida)

https://youtu.be/5-rNU2pUZnI  (for Novy’s Son)

http://twitter.com/KIngallsAuthor

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Karen-Ingalls

http://www.linkedin.com/in/karen-ingalls

http://goodreads.com/kareningalls

http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/kareningalls

http://plus.google.com/+KarenIngalls1941

http://www.outshineovariancancer.com

http://www.outshineovariancancer.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

A Perfect 10 with Melanie Jayne

Today’s perfect 10 interview session is with author Melanie Jayne. The questions in these interviews are designed to gain more insight into the inspiration, background and strategy of the authors that stop by.

Please enjoy this edition of A Perfect 10 and look for an exciting announcement regarding all of the participating authors for 2018.


DSC_7639

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Wow, let’s jump right into making me sound like a crazy woman. I’m in the process of writing my twelfth book and I’ve finally figured out a few things about my process.

I am a slow starter. Although I’m a Planner and I have a very extensive outline, the first third of the book is a grind. I wonder if this story is the worst ever, if I should stop, maybe I should look at the job postings in my area? And then, I find my rhythm and I zoom. I can’t wait to turn on my laptop and continue the story. I talk about it constantly; people think the characters are real people. How my poor husband’s head has not exploded is really a mystery because I am difficult during the beginning and annoying until the end.

Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

I write using a pseudonym. It’s a combination of my best friend since college- Melanie, who is brilliant, generous, and truly a lovely person. Jayne is my mother’s middle name and the author, Jayne Rylon was instrumental in pushing me to publish my first book.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

I’m a Leo so I don’t think that I can answer this question. What? I really need to. Oh, okay….

In today’s world I would say that a healthy ego is helpful. I published after I turned fifty so I had life experiences and I knew myself and I had time to create Melanie Jayne the author. I watched author friends go through so much pain over a bad review or a snub. I entered this game with my eyes wide open.

I try to stay true to myself. I try to think before I post on social media. If something makes me angry or hurt, I usually take some time before I respond. But reviews, cruel comments, and being ignored still sting, I’m not going to lie. I try to focus on the positive and hang onto the belief that good things happen to good people.

And since I am amazing, they will happen to me.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

I’m an extrovert which is uncommon for a writer. I LOVE going to conferences. I am social and can’t wait to meet people. I met my closest advisors at conferences because I’m comfortable talking to strangers. I think I sell books at signings to people that have never heard of me because I’m friendly and I can chat.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

I had my first “I feel like a success” moment this past June. I was at a conference and two strangers were reading my book, Best and they kept seeking me out to discuss the story. They were reading the book on their phones while waiting in line to eat! For me—that was amazing.

I write Contemporary Romance featuring characters over the age of 35, so that is a niche. I write what I love, but currently that market is small. I feel like I’ve accomplished something major because I can do what I love.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

My research in general is limited. I keep a file of people that know things. I have an EMT for medical questions, a Marine, an attorney, a teacher, my assistant is in law enforcement.

I try to keep things general, because by nature, I am someone that gets caught up in learning new things. I would never get to the writing part because there would always be one more book or paper to read.

How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

I don’t really like my given name so when I pick character names, I have fun. I like odd names, dramatic names. My editor has a rule that unless they are closely related, the main characters and active secondary characters cannot have first names that start with the same letter. That rule sounds simple but I always end up looking at my book of baby names because I have to make a change.

My Change Series has many “L” names and I just found another I love, but I’m wondering if that will be too many. I’m arguing with myself because Lyric is so feminine and her character has a gentle soul, it would be perfect.

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

The opening. I swear my muscles just tensed as I thought about the question. The general rule is you must hook a reader within the first three chapters, which makes the opening SO important. The need to set the tone, the location, give insight into the characters…that’s a lot of pressure.

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

1-richardsKeith Richards of the Rolling Stones. Songwriter, Guitarist. My question- Are you really human?  Read about his life and escapades.

2-adeleAdele, Singer, Songwriter. So talented and so young. My Question- What is your writing process? And what is your skincare regimen? Her complexion is amazing.

3-levin

Harvey Levin, Creator of TMZ. If I were 30 years younger, he would be my boss. My Question- Are you hiring?  He knows many secrets- I’d try to learn a few.

4-deb

Deb C. She is my friend and is a creative force behind many authors. She can tell a story or recount a moment with such flair. I would sit back and listen to her talk. It’s always entertaining and educational.

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

Recently, I was chosen (do you hear trumpets?) to run a BookBub ad. That brought traffic and there were purchases which I was very happy to see. It was expensive, but there was a return. Plus, my next choice is too.

In Person at Conferences- I sell my books very well when I can interact with readers.

Melanie’s Books:

People starting over, Doing it Better, Getting it Right.

MJ-ACFTGOODhttp://bit.ly/mjACFTG

MJ-BETTER-Kindle

http://bit.ly/mjBetter

MJ-BEST-hi reshttp://bit.ly/mjBest

MJ_Achangeinperception-HiRes

http://bit.ly/mjPerception

Connect with Melanie:

www.ReadMelanieJayne.com

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn

https://www.facebook.com/ReadMelanieJayne/

Twitter- @1MelanieJayne

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/ReadMelanieJayne/pins/

Amazon:  amazon.com/author/readmelaniejayne

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/readmelaniejayne/

A Perfect 10 with Kathrin Spinnler

Today’s perfect 10 interview session is with author Kathrin Spinnler. The questions in these interviews are designed to gain more insight into the inspiration, background and strategy of the authors that stop by.

Please enjoy this edition of A Perfect 10 and look for an exciting announcement regarding all of the participating authors for 2018.


Headshot

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Mostly, it energizes me, especially when I’m caught up in an interesting project. There’s nothing better than being inspired by my work, and gradually seeing how the story or article evolves. Only when I feel stuck or unhappy with my progress, it can be exhausting. Usually it takes a few hours of dedicated, concentrated work to get out of such a slump.

Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

No, I do not use a pseudonym. I like my name – it is very international-sounding and can be pronounced in many different languages, especially German, English and French. As an international writer, that’s useful for me. But I do see the appeal of writing under a pseudonym: it allows you to step away from your private life, and to keep the two more separate.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

No matter how good a writer is, he or she will be faced with rejections, and usually not just a few. That’s why a decent-sized ego is a must in this job. Being sure of yourself and your writing is essential, both for the actual writing process and for selling your work. You can be the best writer in the world, but if you lack the confidence to share your work, you’ll never make it. I definitely think a big enough ego helps – it only becomes a problem if this self-confidence morphs into arrogance.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

For all my writing, my Acer laptop is invaluable. It was a birthday present from my dad, and definitely the best investment so far. Although it’s big and bulky and not very modern, my laptop has traveled from Switzerland to New York to London with me, and it’s never once failed me yet.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

Writing success is very individual, and there’s no right or wrong answer here. It will be different for everyone. For me personally, I hope to publish some works of fiction in the future. I picture success as seeing my book on shelves in stores, or overhearing people on the street talking about it. I hope to touch people with my stories, maybe help them in a certain phase of life.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

Right now, I am working on a factual article series about joint mobilization and well-being. It’s for a non-profit company based in Switzerland and concerned with all things health. Although I have some background knowledge of anatomy, this project requires a lot of research, especially since I have to write it in German. I probably spend 75% of my time researching and only 25% actually writing content.

How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

As I mentioned, I am working on factual pieces at the moment. However, when I do write fiction, I have an extensive list of names in a little golden notebook. The dates back to when I was about 11 and intent on becoming the next J.K. Rowling. Back then, I scoured the web for baby names and wrote down all the ones I liked. There must be about 300 names in that book – each one with a little box next to it, so I can check it off when I’ve used it in a story.

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

Personally, I think love scenes are really challenging to write. Not sure why, but it always feels difficult to get the wording just right.

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

1-montgomeryI have always been fascinated by the author L.M. Montgomery. I read her ‘Anne of Green Gables’ books as a child, and her less known adult novel, ‘The Blue Castle’, is one of my all-time favorites. I would love to ask her about her own life and how it relates to the wonderful worlds she has created in her stories.

2-moyesAnother author who inspires me is Jojo Moyes. I’ve always wondered how she keeps coming up with these great, engaging plots.

In addition, I would invite the Queen of England and Walt Disney. I just moved here to London and find Queen Elizabeth’s long reign fascinating. I’m sure she would have extremely interesting stories to tell. Disney’s movies and brand have influenced millions of children’s lives, including mine, and I would love to get to know the person behind it.

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

I am not marketing any books at the moment, but I am running a blog on WordPress, called ‘My Cup of English Tea’. It’s all about my recent move to London from Switzerland, and how I am managing my new life here, as a dancer, Pilates teacher, and writer. This has so far proven to be a great way to reach out to people who are interested in and read my content regularly. I am excited to see where it leads.

Kathrin’s blog:

my Cup of English Tea

A Perfect 10 with Author Charles (Chuck) Jackson

This edition of a Perfect 10 features author Charles (Chuck) Jackson. He brings a lot of great insight on how he draws from his life experience for his writing. I enjoyed his responses to my questions.

NOTE: I’m not including the links to the previous interviews as I normally do. The number has grown so large that it was taking up a great deal of real estate. I’m looking at establishing an archive of all of the authors I’ve interviewed over the past two years as an offshoot of my site. It’s in development.  Look for it soon along with a new way for authors to get exposure on my blog in 2018.

Now, please enjoy this edition of A Perfect 10 with Chuck Jackson:


Charles Jackson

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

I don’t think I’m any different from most authors, when the mood hits me, I can’t wait to get started. Once the thoughts and emotions start to flow, I can’t get them written fast enough. Often, I have to stop and take notes before the idea leaves my head. I lose myself within my writing and I’ll sit at the computer two, three, and even four hours without a break. When I have one of these marathon sessions, when finished I feel exhausted, but also on an emotional high from the experience.

Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

I’m a novice author and I only have two books published. Personally, my writing is not in the limelight enough for the need to have a pseudonym. If it ever was and it caused an evasion of my privacy, I might consider it.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

In my opinion, big egos hurt any professional, including writers. Before I retired, I would tell my staff, no one is irreplaceable. Anytime your ego gets in the way of your performance, you are hindering the operation. I don’t think a big ego would enhance a writer to take risks he/she would not ordinary take. Modesty opens yourself to your readers and you can learn from your peers.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

I’m sure there will other things in the future, but at my level, finding a good editor willing to take on my work was the best investment I’ve made.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

Success for me would be for my peer writers to recognize me and for them to acknowledge my writing as good. I’ve had some compliments, but I feel I still have many things to learn.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

Since my two books were based on my life experiences, they didn’t require an extensive research. The first book was about my years in the military and deployment to Vietnam. It was over forty years ago and I could not remember the aircraft and the locations I had been. I used the Internet for identifying the manufacture and nickname given for many of the aircraft. I also used the maps from the Internet to identify locations. For my second book it was just the opposite, since it was about my childhood.  I did change names and locations to protect the identity of people. The events did not require research.

How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

In both books, I changed the names of the protagonist and the individuals involved in the story. I will admit my selection of names were not the greatest. I used last names of people (not relatives or friends) I’ve known and then added first names as it came to me. I would not say I regretted my selection, I think I could have done better.

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

I would say writing about action involving tragedy or destruction is difficult at my level of writing. Selecting the nouns, adjectives, and adverbs to give the reader the visual of the action is difficult. I often rewrite it several times before I’m satisfied.

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

Now this is a great interview question. I’ve had this type question asked when I interviewed for an accounting position. My answers now since I’m retired are very different from back then. Now they are:

1-psych

(1) I went to a psychiatrist for several years and she help me through some though times. I would love to discuss how much I have grown since then. I would want to thank her again, she did change me life.

obamas

(2) Barack and Michelle Obama would give me that insight of life in the White House and what it was like to have that responsibility.

(3) I have read several authors through the years, some I have read everything they published. For example Anne Rice and John Grisham. It would be educational to be able to pick their brain on writing tips.

3-peter

(4) What an experience it would be if you could sit and talk with one of Jesus Christ’s disciples; especially Peter. I’m sure it would be life changing.

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

The things that did not work are more numerous than the ones that did. Social Media was great in notifying friends and friends of friends of my book. It was also great obtaining more followers for my blog site. When I was a guest on another writer’s blog sites, it did nothing for obtaining reviews or selling books. However, I got some great support and following from the WordPress community. I did a Kindle Countdown deal, sold less than ten books, and got no reviews. What has worked best for me has been Kindle’s Sponsored Ads. In saying that, you do have to watch the data closely. What is getting attention (clicks and sales) one week, may not work the next. I watch for new books in my genre and place a sponsored ad on their page. The greatest thing that has helped has been the tips, corrective criticism, and support from peer writers and followers. It feeds my ambition to improve.

Chuck’s Books:

book cover 1One Month, 20 Days, and a Wake Up, follows a young man’s account of his four years serving in the Air Force. This novel follows him and his best friend as they volunteer to cross train into the elite career field of Pararescue. They spend 14 months of grueling training where only the best and those with the desire to push themselves to the limit, successfully succeed in becoming a PJ.

When he graduates and proudly wears the burgundy beret and Pararescue Flash, he knows it is only a matter of weeks; he will be assigned to a Pararescue flight crew in Vietnam. The book follows his 13 months in Vietnam where he quickly learns the horror of war and how he must adapt to not only keep his sanity, also return alive. His story contains several of the rescue missions he and his PJ brothers complete where not all of the rescued are returned alive. When he faces personal bereavement, he must reach deep to restore his integrity, and keep his oath, “These things I do, that others may live.”

https://www.amazon.com/One-Month-20-Days-Wake-ebook/dp/B01IPNO68U/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Book Cover 2

What Did I Do? is Chuck Jackson’s true recollection of the abuse he received from both his parents. It is a story where he spent years struggling to please them without succeeding. It is a story where they told him he was irredeemable and unworthy of being their son. When he saw love and happiness in other families, he wondered why not his.

 

Chuck came out of the darkness to expound on the stigma attached to child abuse. He admitted to the affects of shame, anger, guilt, and depression that he and so many experience. He tells the story of survival where he felt invisible. Follow him where he sought a warm touch and a kind word of praise. Follow his desperation for love from anyone. Follow Chuck’s story and help answer his question, what did I do?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073R2B3RK

Connect with Chuck:

website:  http://www.chuckjacksonknowme.com/

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/cljjlk/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/chuck_cljjlk

Google Plus:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/105624026158453424361

Flipboard:   https://flipboard.com/@ChuckJackso2017


 

 

A Perfect 10 with Victoria Zigler

Today, I have the distinct pleasure of featuring author Victoria Zigler on this edition of A Perfect 10.

Please enjoy this special installment of A Perfect 10

 


Tori - September 2015

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

How I feel during or after a writing session depends on the subject of what I’m writing.  Sometimes it will leave me feeling energized, other times I feel exhausted and drained, other times it’s somewhere in the middle.  Even during the times when it exhausts me though, I still feel better after a good writing session.  It might sound strange to some, but I’m sure any fellow writers reading this will understand what I mean.

Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

I use my real name when writing.  I can understand why some authors might do otherwise, but I personally see no reason to hide that the books are mine.  Besides, my Mother asked me to use my real name when I started publishing my books, so I’m keeping my promise.  I’m not sure if she meant it – it was when I was young, and trying to make her accept that not everyone outside of the family had to call me Victoria (she used to really hate it being shortened by anyone but my brothers) – but I kept the promise anyhow, even though I didn’t start publishing my books until several years after she became more relaxed about people outside of the family calling me Tori.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

A writer needs enough of an ego to give them confidence in themselves and their own work, otherwise self-doubt will take over and the writer won’t even be able to finish that book they’re working on.  But an over-inflated ego is a bad thing, since a writer also needs to be able to accept that you never stop learning and growing as a person or a writer, and to be able to accept criticism of their work, without taking it as a personal attack on themselves and throwing a temper tantrum over it.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

About a year and a half ago I bought myself a really comfortable computer chair.  My back has been thanking me ever since.  It was an expensive purchase, but well worth it! That may not be what you were thinking when you posed this question, but you should never under estimate the importance of a good chair, especially if you’re in the habit of settling down for regular long stints on the computer.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

I consider my writing successful if the people who buy my books enjoy them.  Judging by what I’ve seen of my reviews, this is generally the case, so I’d say I have achieved it.  I mean, it would be nice if there were more of those people buying and enjoying my books, but those who actually do buy them seem to enjoy them, which I think is the most important thing.  I enjoy writing them, people enjoy reading them… Sounds like success to me!

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

I don’t generally do much – if any – research before I start writing.  If I’m not sure on something but can move on without needing the information immediately, I make myself a note to remind myself that I need to find out more about whatever it is, continue writing, and schedule myself a research session in the near future.  If I need some information before I can continue, I pause the writing while I go do some research.  I also double check facts during the revision stage.

As for sources: It varies.  I’ve used the internet, non-fiction books that discuss the subject, and family or friends who are more knowledgeable than I am on the topic in question, sometimes all of the above in one writing project.

How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

There are several ways I name my characters.  Some are named using baby name sites or Google searches for names with a particular origin or meaning, others are named after the pets they’re based on, others are because the name carries an association for me that feels right for how I see the character, still others are random names that just pop in to my head and feel right for the character.  For example:

In my Magical Chapters Trilogy, all the characters were just named the first name that came to mind and felt right for them.

In my Toby’s Tales series, the main character got the name Toby because it’s a male name that has a similar sound to the name “Tori” that I’m called a lot which felt right since there’s a lot of me in him, while his little sister Emma was named after a little girl I know who was around the same age as the character when the books were written and who kept springing to mind whenever I was writing her part.

In my Kero’s World series and Degu Days Duo, all the characters are named after the pets they’re based on.

In my Zeena Dragon Fae Series, all the characters have names I found via Google by searching for names with particular meanings.

As for regretting giving a character a particular name: No.  Never done that.  Either a lot of effort goes in to finding the right name, or the name they choose for themselves is so clear in my mind that it leaves no room for doubts and regrets regarding it.  Either way, once a character is named, the name becomes the right one, and I don’t look back.

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

For me it’s battle scenes.  I’m not sure why, but I struggle with those.  I’m working on that, including getting some tips on doing so from a fellow author who is also a historian.

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

I always hate these kinds of questions.  Partially because I always want to add more than the number given, and partially because it changes regularly.  Seriously, I could give you a list now, and then you could ask me again later today and I’ll give you a different one.  If you’re planning a dinner party, tell me who you’re inviting, and I’ll tell you if I’m excited to meet them.  I think that will be easier.

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

I have no idea how to answer this one.  Marketing isn’t a strong point for me.  I promote my books on my blog, as well as the blogs of others who are kind enough to let me have a spot from time to time to do an interview, guest post, or whatever.  I also Tweet about my books on Twitter, and post about them on Facebook (including sharing the already mentioned blog posts on those last two).  Some months sales are good, other months they aren’t.  Do I get more sales from posts on one or the other? I have no idea! I just keep writing my stories and poems, try and figure out what I’m doing with marketing, and hope for the best.  Some people seem to buy my books from time to time, so I guess I must be doing something right.

About Victoria’s Books:

The Toby’s Tales series is a five-book series that follows a little boy named Toby’s efforts to adjust after sight loss.  It was written as a way to show those in similar situations that they aren’t alone in their fears and frustrations, while also being tools to educate sighted people – mainly children, but adults too – about the daily struggles faced by blind people, and how they overcome them.

The books were written by Victoria Zigler following her own sight loss.  They’re available in multiple eBook formats, in paperback, and now in audio – read by Joseph A. Batzel.

Regardless of the format you’d prefer, here are some of the places where you can buy the books:

Book 1 – Toby’s New World

Audible: http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Tobys-New-World-Audiobook/B074P7FV1M/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/229561

CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/5519989

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tobys-new-world-victoria-zigler/1113041202

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/toby-s-new-world

Chapters-Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/tobys-new-world/9781476234342-item.html

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/tobys-new-world/id562790799

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/tobys-new-world-tobys-tales-volume-1-unabridged/id1270858515Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tobys-New-World-Tales/dp/1512358908/ Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Tobys-New-World-Tales/dp/1512358908/ Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Tobys-New-World-Tales/dp/1512358908/

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Tobys-New-World-Victoria-Zigler/9781512358902

Toby's Monsters Cover 1 - 1600x2400Book 2 – Toby’s Monsters

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Tobys-Monsters-Audiobook/B074SZ9BJX/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/247103

CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/5519996

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tobys-monsters-victoria-zigler/1113744687

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/toby-s-monsters

Chapters-Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/tobys-monsters/9781301157921-item.html

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/tobys-monsters/id574780594

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/tobys-monsters-tobys-tales-volume-2-unabridged/id1272267691

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/cka/Tobys-Monsters-2-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512358975

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/d/cka/Tobys-Monsters-2-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512358975

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/d/cka/Tobys-Monsters-2-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512358975

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Tobys-Monsters-Victoria-Zigler/9781512358971

Toby's Outing Cover 1 - 1600x2400Book 3 – Toby’s Outing

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Tobys-Outing-Audiobook/B074W95DRX/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/251587

CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/5520007

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tobys-outing-victoria-zigler/1113846045

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/toby-s-outing

Chapters-Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/tobys-outing/9781301643264-item.html

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/tobys-outing/id577001695

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/tobys-outing-tobys-tales-volume-3-unabridged/id1273856055

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tobys-Outing-3-Tales/dp/1512359041/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Tobys-Outing-3-Tales/dp/1512359041/

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Tobys-Outing-3-Tales/dp/1512359041/

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Tobys-Outing-Victoria-Zigler/9781512359046

Toby's Games Cover 1 - 1600x2400Book 4 – Toby’s Games

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Tobys-Games-Audiobook/B074WCT1W4/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/271594

CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/5520032

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tobys-games-victoria-zigler/1114302957

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/toby-s-games

Chapters-Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/tobys-games/9781301441082-item.html

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/tobys-games/id595641562

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/tobys-games-tobys-tales-volume-4-unabridged/id1274236264

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Tobys-Games-4-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512359262/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/d/Books/Tobys-Games-4-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512359262/

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/d/Books/Tobys-Games-4-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512359262/

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Tobys-Games-Victoria-Zigler/9781512359268

Toby's Special School Cover 1 - 1600x2400Book 5 – Toby’s Special School

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Tobys-Special-School-Tobys-Tales-Volume-5-Audiobook/B0756Q5KB1/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/281507

CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/5520068

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tobys-special-school-victoria-zigler/1114473423

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/toby-s-special-school

Chapters-Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/tobys-special-school/9781301489220-item.html

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/tobys-special-school/id600171798

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/tobys-special-school-tobys-tales-volume-5-unabridged/id1277169221

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Tobys-Special-School-5-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512359335/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/d/Books/Tobys-Special-School-5-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512359335/

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/d/Books/Tobys-Special-School-5-Tales-Victoria-Zigler/1512359335/

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Tobys-Special-School-Victoria-Zigler/9781512359336

You can also find the books on Goodreads.

Book 1: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15992610-toby-s-new-world

Book 2: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16098832-toby-s-monsters

Book 3: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16127032-toby-s-outing

Book 4: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17209761-toby-s-games

Book 5: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17314257-toby-s-special-school

About Victoria:

Victoria Zigler is a blind poet and children’s author who was born and raised in the Black Mountains of Wales, UK, and is now living on the South-East coast of England, UK. Victoria – or Tori, if you prefer – has been writing since she knew how, has a very vivid imagination, and spends a lot of time in fictional worlds; some created by her, others created by other authors. When she remembers to spend some time in the real world, it’s mostly to spend time with her hubby and pets, though sometimes to indulge in other interests that capture her attention from time to time. To date she has published 8 poetry books and more than 40 children’s books, with more planned for the near future. She’s also contributed a story to the sci-fi and fantasy anthology Wyrd Worlds II.

Connect with Victoria:

Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk

Blog: http://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/toriz

Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler

Google+: https://plus.google.com/106139346484856942827


If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. FlorySteve BoseleyKayla MattMae ClairJill SammutDeanna KahlerDawn Reno LangleyJohn HowellElaine CouglerJan SikesNancy BellNick DavisKathleen LopezSusan ThatcherCharles YallowitzArmand RosamiliaTracey PaganaAnna DobrittKaren OberlaenderDeby FredericksTeri PolenDarlene FosterRobert Rayner, C.C. NaughtonSherry RentshlerLinda BradleyLuna St. ClairJoan HallStaci TroiloAllan HudsonRobert EggletonPaul Scott BatesP.C. ZickJoy LennickPatrick RolandMary CarlomagnoKathleen JowittMichele JonesJ. BlissMaline CarrollAlethea KehasAngelique CongerColin GuestRebekkah FordAndrew Joyce, Win Charles, Ritu Bhathal, Deborah Jay, Robin Leigh Morgan, Marjorie Mallon, Marina Costa, Lynda Filler, Lorinda Taylor, Aidan Reid, Lizzy Chantree, J.M. Goebel, Kent Arceneaux

 

A Perfect 10 with Kent Arceneaux

Today, I have the distinct pleasure of featuring author Kent Arceneaux on this edition of A Perfect 10. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Kent partnered with me on the book, Frank Immersed. He has been a friend for about 20 years and he is a multi-talented guy that paints, cooks, sings and now is now an author. His writing style is a cross between John Grisham and Stephen King. I had the pleasure of previewing his book, The Cove. It’s an engaging story that pulls in many elements from his youth in Louisiana.

I highly recommend checking out his book and I hope you’ll welcome this promising author into our blogging community.

Please enjoy this special installment of A Perfect 10

 


Kent

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It does energize me when I am in the groove and I think of new material.  Too early on to get exhausted yet, I guess?

Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

I haven’t yet, but there are a few possibilities in the future that I would like to write about and will most likely need to be anonymous.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

Personally, I think a big ego in any situation is not helpful.  There is a big difference in ego and confidence.  You should have or at least portray some confidence, especially being a writer.  You will have to take the criticism along with praise and do your best to learn from it.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? 

So far, the best money I’ve spent was on my editor, Catherine Violando.  She did an incredible job.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

Success is measured differently by everyone.  My goal when I first thought of doing this was to publish at least one book.  Now that I have, I have the fever and my goals have changed.  I want to continue writing and possibly have one of them turned into a movie or series.  Dream big or go home, right????

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

Depending on what the subject matter is, I try to be as accurate as I can if I’m writing about a place.  I feel the best way to draw the reader in, is to describe a place they may have visited in the finest details.  I want them to feel like they are there or at least want to be there. I spend as much time as I need to achieve this and use every source I can from Google and even go as far as interviewing people.

How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

Usually I will use people I know and change first or last names.  In my line of work, I meet quite a few people and I will use their names in some sort of combination.  I find myself paying more attention to their personalities and try to use that material in my writing.  I haven’t regretted a character name yet, but I’m sure I will at some point.

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

I haven’t published this type of writing, but I have dabbled in romance with some love scenes.   There is a fine line, if you know what I mean?  LOL!

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

1-GrishamJohn Grisham

What motivates you to continue to write, besides the money?

What was it like when “The Firm” hit the mainstream?

Would you like to co-write a book with me?

2-EastwoodClint Eastwood

What would you say was the one key to your success in Hollywood?

Are you really as tough as the roles you play?

Do you feel lucky?  Well do ya, PUNK?

3-KiyosakiRobert Kiyosaki

Can you give me the best advice you have on financial and time-freedom?

The real secret stuff that isn’t in your books.

4-JesusJesus Christ

No questions, just a night full of gratitude and listening!

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

Just getting started so for now it’s Amazon, KDP, Facebook and word of mouth.  Working on a website now.  Any advice is welcomed.

The Cove

Adventures Beyond The Fence The Cove (Volume 1): Kent A Arceneaux: 9781978277014: Amazon.com: Books

Frank Immersed

Frank Immersed: A Frank Rozzani Detective Story (Frank Rozzani Detective Series) (Volume 5): Don Massenzio, Kent Arceneaux, Catherine Violando: 9781541000131:

About Kent:

Born and raised in the bayous of South Louisiana, Kent Arceneaux loves writing about the culture of his homeland.   He now resides in Ponce Inlet, Florida with his wife Shannon and their three beautiful girls.  A Paramedic / firefighter by trade, but the fire he battles is between the pages of his writings.

Connect with Kent:

Website:  kentarceneaux.wordpress.com

Email: kentarceneaux68@gmail.com

Instagram:  firefighterwriter68

A Perfect 10 with J.M. Holmes

Today, I have the distinct pleasure of featuring author J.M. Holmes on this edition of A Perfect 10.

Please enjoy this special installment of A Perfect 10

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. FlorySteve BoseleyKayla MattMae ClairJill SammutDeanna KahlerDawn Reno LangleyJohn HowellElaine CouglerJan SikesNancy BellNick DavisKathleen LopezSusan ThatcherCharles YallowitzArmand RosamiliaTracey PaganaAnna DobrittKaren OberlaenderDeby FredericksTeri PolenDarlene FosterRobert Rayner, C.C. NaughtonSherry RentshlerLinda BradleyLuna St. ClairJoan HallStaci TroiloAllan HudsonRobert EggletonPaul Scott BatesP.C. ZickJoy LennickPatrick RolandMary CarlomagnoKathleen JowittMichele JonesJ. BlissMaline CarrollAlethea KehasAngelique CongerColin GuestRebekkah FordAndrew Joyce, Win Charles, Ritu Bhathal, Deborah Jay, Robin Leigh Morgan, Marjorie Mallon, Marina Costa, Lynda Filler, Lorinda Taylor, Aidan Reid, Lizzy Chantree


Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing energizes me when I’m working on a story with characters I enjoy spending time with, and a story I can see develop. When I hit a roadblock in the story, or when I’m editing, writing is a more exhausting exercise.

Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

I’m writing under my initials, J.M., in the mystery genre. I read an article some time ago about how women writers are still trying to catch up to male authors in certain genres, such as mystery/suspense. The article detailed one writer’s experiment with querying the same work, with her full name, then with her initials. The queries with just her initials got more attention than the ones with her full name. She suggested her initials didn’t indicate her gender, so the queries weren’t subjected to a gender bias. Also, if I add more genres to my repertoire, such as fantasy, I will write under a pseudonym.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

I think an ego can be beneficial for marketing, because marketing requires confidence—which ego fosters—in the product:  the writer’s work. An oversized ego, though, can hamper the humble in a writer that encourages her to continue improving her craft.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

The best investment I’ve made in my writing journey was a week-long writing retreat at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I met five other wonderful authors and a superb writing teacher in my master novel writing class. We “clicked”; we’ve now been a writing group for five years now. My “writing sisters” have become more than just a writing group—we are great friends.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

To me, success in writing includes not only getting to the publishing goal line, but continuing to improve the craft. I think when people say “I love that” about your work, you are successful. I haven’t achieved it yet, but I’m getting closer, one step at a time.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

My research depends on what I’m writing. I’ve written a police procedural set in San Francisco. I’ve been to San Francisco, but I found Google Earth to be invaluable when looking at street-level scenery. I also do book research, and through the wonders of Facebook, I’ve been able to ask direct questions to people who know the information I’m looking for, including retired detectives and forensic specialists. For example, in my debut novel to be published in 2019, my main character ends up babysitting a pet ferret. I’ve never had a pet ferret. One question in a FB writers’ group yielded a handful of people who’ve actually had a ferret. Google is a great resource as well, but I’m always wary of Wikipedia. Because the information is crowd-sourced, there’s no guarantee it’s accurate.

How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

For me, the characters often determine the name they get. When I need a name for a new character, a main or strong supporting character, certain names come to mind when I think of the character. When I can’t decide on a name right away, I look at lists of names on the Internet. As I look at the lists, a couple names will usually stand out for the character. As for name regret, in my debut novel I gave the main antagonist a particular name. When my writing sisters read the first few chapters, they all said I had the wrong name. They suggested a number of other names, one of which fit the character much better than the original.

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

I think the first scene of the book is the hardest. Am I starting the story in the right place? Will the scene entice the reader to continue on? If a reader pulls the book off the shelf and reads page 1, will she continue to page 2? Will he like it enough by virtue of that very first scene to buy the book?

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

1-momFirst and foremost would be my mom. She passed away almost thirteen years ago, a victim of breast cancer at 56 years old. I’d ask her what she thinks of my family, of how we’ve gone on despite her absence. She’s never far from my thoughts, especially as I work through the challenges of parenting two teenagers.

Leonardo da Vinci would be fascinating to talk to about anything, but especially how he came up with some of his inventions. I’d love an opportunity to talk to Agatha Christie, the Grand Dame of mystery. I could spend an afternoon asking Tami Hoag about her writing, her process, and why she moved away from Minnesota. I mean, the winters aren’t all that bad.

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

My debut novel is due out in 2019. I’ve just started working with my editor, and I don’t have a cover yet, so I can’t answer the question. A number of the writers whose blogs I follow have been posting about their experiences with various marketing strategies and platforms, so I’m taking notes.

Connect with J.M.

Blog: facetsofamuse.wordpress.com

Twitter: @jmholmes2k13

FB: @JMHolmesAuthor

A Perfect 10 with Lizzie Chantree

Today, I have the distinct pleasure of featuring author Lizzie Chantree on this edition of A Perfect 10.

Please enjoy this special installment of A Perfect 10

 


chantree

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing energizes me. It can be tiring when deadlines are looming, but writing a completely fresh story is very exciting and I can’t usually wait to start work each day.

Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

I write under my own name. I paint landscapes and I use another name for that, which is Beth Juniper. I did this to keep my writing and art separate and not confuse anybody.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

I don’t know many writers with a big ego. Most of us spend so many months and years writing a book and then wait nervously to see if anyone enjoys our work. When they do, it’s such a compliment. Getting good reviews is an empowering feeling, but ego doesn’t come in to it for me.  It makes me feel like someone has just handed me a rainbow.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

After editing and proof reading, it would be images for cover design. Without good editing, it’s hard for a book to find the audience it deserves.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

For me success was publishing my first book, Babe driven. I had left the manuscript in a drawer for five years and finally plucked up the courage to self-publish. I was offered a book contract, but decided to publish myself, as I was a bit scared about being offered a book deal and didn’t know any other writers to ask for advice! After two further books and two further book contract offers, I am now publishing my 4th novel with Crooked Cat Books in Jan 2018.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

I use my years of running businesses as research. My books are modern romances that are full of friendship and relationships, but they all have slightly zany businesses in them run by entrepreneurs. I began my first business at the age of seventeen, so I use that experience in my writing.

 How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

I often pick quite unusual names. These are the names that come into my head as I’m writing, so I usually stick with them. I really like all of the names and they seem to fit the characters well.

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

Something with painful emotions can take time to write, as there are often so many thoughts going through a characters mind. Getting that onto paper and expressing it with feeling is so important.

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

I would invite Ed Sheeran,  Adele, Chris Martin and Beyonce to dinner. I am fascinated by the way they tell stories through their music. I would ask about their writing processes, what inspires them in life and if they feel that drive to create new ideas all of the time.

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

Twitter. I run a popular networking hour on Twitter every Monday evening called #CreativeBizHour 8-9pm (GMT). It’s an hour of networking and is a great way for creatives to support each other. Twitter is a great way to meet other people with similar interests.

Lizzie’s book:

A Perfect 10 with Aidan Reid

Today, I have the distinct pleasure of featuring author Aidan Reid on this edition of A Perfect 10.

Please enjoy this special installment of A Perfect 10

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. FlorySteve BoseleyKayla MattMae ClairJill SammutDeanna KahlerDawn Reno LangleyJohn HowellElaine CouglerJan SikesNancy BellNick DavisKathleen LopezSusan ThatcherCharles YallowitzArmand RosamiliaTracey PaganaAnna DobrittKaren OberlaenderDeby FredericksTeri PolenDarlene FosterRobert Rayner, C.C. NaughtonSherry RentshlerLinda BradleyLuna St. ClairJoan HallStaci TroiloAllan HudsonRobert EggletonPaul Scott BatesP.C. ZickJoy LennickPatrick RolandMary CarlomagnoKathleen JowittMichele JonesJ. BlissMaline CarrollAlethea KehasAngelique CongerColin GuestRebekkah FordAndrew Joyce, Win Charles, Ritu Bhathal, Deborah Jay, Robin Leigh Morgan, Marjorie Mallon, Marina Costa, Lynda Filler, Lorinda Taylor


ajrDoes writing energize or exhaust you?

Somewhere in the middle. Some days, it can flow very easily. Hours go past and before I know it, I’ve forgotten dinner and it’s almost time for bed! Other days, it can be like pulling teeth. Nothing clicks. Sometimes you don’t really know until you sit down and open a vein on the page.

Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

I don’t currently. I would consider trying it to test myself in another genre. I believe you need to have an interest in what you’re writing about though. Ultimately, it will be reflected in the finished product. The reader will know if your heart is in it or not. For example, would I write a rom-com novella? No way. I like mystery/thriller/sci-fi. However, lines blue between genres. I’d give anything a whirl if motivated.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

You certainly need a thick skin and positive attitude to last the course if choosing the path of a writer. But you also need a degree or realism. Many authors have unrealistic expectations. They think they’ll write the next 50 Shades, or Harry Potter. For 99.9%, it won’t replace the salary of the day job.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Hiring an editor. It was a big expense. I didn’t think I would need it at the time. I was naïve. It was my first book, Pathfinders. Reviews from friends and family enjoyed the pre-edited version. I decided to seek external evaluation and as a result, it helped bring my game up a few notches and provided focus areas that I could work on for future novels.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

If you can create something from thin air, package it in a way that is unique, compelling and of a high quality and THEN people are willing to pay, read and complement you on it…. then, that for me is success. By that definition, I’ve achieved it.

However, it’s a whole new challenge spreading that message to a wider audience. Now, writers need to have more tools in their toolbox to get noticed.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

I tend to write about things that I already know about. I don’t sit down in anticipation of writing a college text book. I’m telling a story. It’s a work of fiction. There are, of course, certain areas where I would need to swot up on. Locations, customs, etc. I leave those details blank and color them in at a later date. Worst thing you can do is stop your momentum, fact check and before you know it, your enthusiasm has left. Once you find the wave, you gotta surf it. You don’t know when the next one will come along.

How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

I don’t have any difficulty coming up with names. They seem to step forward in my mind when I sit down at the laptop!

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

Love scenes. Probably one of the reasons why those scenes don’t feature much in my books. I prefer the ‘less is more’ approach. Don’t need the details. Unless it’s erotica. That’s as far removed from my books as you can get though.

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

M

1-father

My father – he died ten years ago in November 2007. Apart from the obvious (how are you, etc), I’d pick his brain for some ideas from the other side!

1-mathesonRichard Matheson – he’s my favorite author of all time. I’d love to talk about what inspired him to write certain stories. He was a magician with words.

2-ickeDavid Icke – an incredible mind and researcher. Some of the topics he explores, I like to delve into in my books. We’d have an interesting chat.
3-ramsayGordon Ramsey – He’d be the one cooking the dinner. For obvious reasons.

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

I’ve been slow to build my email list. This year I’ve used Instafreebie and Bookfunnel to build a list of almost 3,000 engaged subscribers. all from giving away a couple of my free short stories.

Aidan’s Book:

Pathfinders - 3D Render - Size 1Pathfinders –

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Pathfinders-Aidan-J-Reid/dp/1523245727

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pathfinders-Aidan-J-Reid/dp/1523245727
Barnes and Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pathfinders-aidan-j-reid/1123423210?ean=9781523245727

Pathfinders is an action-packed, exciting rescue mission that explores our deepest fears, and what lies hidden in our subconscious.

A comatose man is trapped inside his nightmare. There, a dangerous enemy stalks him. His only hope of rescue is from his best friend Victor. Working with a mysterious librarian, Victor finds a way to enter the dream state and soon realizes the horror that lives there. A place where nightmares are born.

Connect with Aidan:

www.aidanjreid.com

www.Facebook.com/aidanjreidauthor

www.twitter.com/aidanjreid