Getting to know Marilyn Meredith

marilyn-meredithMarilyn has had so many books published, she’s lost track of the count, but it’s getting near 40. She lives in a community similar to the fictional mountain town of Bear Creek, the big difference being that Bear Creek is a thousand feet higher in the mountains.

She is a member of Mystery Writers of American, three chapters of Sisters in Crime, and is a board member of Public Safety Writers of America.

Website URL: http://fictionforyou.com

Blog URL: http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com

Facebook URL: Marilyn Meredith

Twitter: @marilynmeredith

 

Buy links for Seldom Traveled:

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Seldom-Traveled-Tempe-Crabtree-Mystery/dp/1594264333/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1474237735&sr=8-2&keywords=seldom+traveled+meredith

 

Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seldom-traveled-marilyn-meredith/1124443124?ean=2940156979882

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How long have you been writing?

 

As long as I can remember, and that’s a long, long time. When I was about 10, I wrote a fairy tale and illustrated it. I sent if off to a publisher (with my mom’s help) and received my first rejection—a very nice one.

 

 

At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful or satisfied as a writer?

 

I’m not sure I’ve reached that point. The fact that I have two publishers who routinely accept my work is most satisfying—but I haven’t ever felt successful. Perhaps fulfilled is the better word, because I’m writing and others can read what I’ve written.

 

 

Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

 

Though writing was something I always did, I’m not sure I had any thoughts about what “the writing life” would be. I met many authors along the way who were “famous” like Mary Higgins Clark and Jan Burke and I never thought my life would be like theirs. For me, it’s sitting down in front of the computer and writing—but also spending a lot of time promoting too. I don’t know that I ever thought I’d have to spend so much time at the promotion part.

 

 

The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

 

This writer is not wealthy. In fact sometimes when I see the total on my royalties I have to laugh. By the time everyone get their cut, be it Amazon or Ingram, the bookstore, the publisher, my part is very small.

 

 

Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Since you’ve been published, how has your focus changed?

 

I’ve been published since 1981. But that first book really didn’t open doors for me. The editor that signed me on, left the publishing house and I had to start all over. I got many, many rejections after that.

 

 

How long did it take you to get published the first time?

 

This was back in the day of typewriters and carbon paper and mailing the whole manuscript off in a box with another self-addressed and stamped box inside so the manuscript could be returned. That first book was rejected close to 30 times. About every 5th time it came back, the pages would have coffee and food stains and smell like cigarette smoke. This meant I had to retype so I often rewrote too.  I don’t remember the actual time period, but I moved from one town to another and received the acceptance letter at my new place of residence.

 

 

Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

 

With that first book I had no idea what I was supposed to do to promote it. I did set up one book signing which was successful, but that’s all. I got no guidance from the publisher about what I ought to be doing and I have no idea what happened at the publishing house’s end—if anything. Back in that time period there weren’t all the suggestions for promotions like there are now. So sure, I’d have at least set up some speaking engagements and other bookstores for signings.

 

 

Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

 

This is what’s going on with me at the moment. I have a new Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery at the publisher’s right now. Usually that series comes out in the early fall, which means I’ll have edits to go over in a couple of months. I’m also writing a new one in that series. I try to work on it for at least two hours at least five days a week.

 

I’m reading chapters of my next Rocky Bluff P.D. to my critique group every week and then editing them.

 

My latest Rocky Bluff P.D. is out now and I’m in the process of a month long blog tour which takes a lot of time to promote and while that was going on I did another smaller tour with 7 other authors over a period of 14 days—also time consuming. I have several speaking engagements planned, mostly libraries and I’m scheduled to have a booth at two craft fairs this year.

 

 

What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

 

After being a runner-up for an Epic e-award enough times to feel like the Susan Lucci of Epic, this year I won an Epic e-award for my supernatural romance, Lingering Spirit. I was thrilled. (Epic is the organization for e-published authors and publishers.)

 

 

What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

 

I really can’t think of anything except I wish I had more readers.

 

 

What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

 

When someone comes up to me or writes on a blog that they love one of my series or a particular character, tat’s a most wonderful feeling.

 

 

With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

 

My Deputy Tempe Crabtree series has a lot of Native American mysticism in it and is set in a small mountain community in the Southern Sierra—a place where no other series I know of is set. It is very much like the place where I live though I’ve changed the name to Bear Creek.

 

In my Rocky Bluff P.D. series, there is a cast of characters who make appearances in every book, though I usually focus on one or two for each book. I think this series could be described as almost a cozy police procedural.

 

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

 

If money is your goal, you should probably do something else. If you truly want to be a published author, read the kind of books you want to write, attend writers’ conferences, read books on writing, but the two most important things are to write regularly and never give up.

 

 

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

 

Probably being visible on the Internet though blog tours, my own blog, Facebook etc. Though I really enjoy giving presentations at writers’ conferences and libraries or anywhere else I’m invited.

 

 

What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

 

Making the contacts for personal appearances—I do not like to make phone calls.

 

 

Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

 

Willow Bridge Bookstore in Oakhurst, California has been very supportive—and I must mention Kris Neri’s Well Red Coyote Bookstore in Sedona AZ. I’ve given several presentations there.

 

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

 

I’ve listed them latest first:

 

The Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series, set in a fictional beach city between Ventura and Santa Barbara and written under the name F. M. Meredith

 

No Bells

Angel Lost

An Axe to Grind

No Sanctuary

Smell of Death

Fringe Benefits

Bad Tidings

Final Respects

 

The Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, set in the Southern Sierra, Native American.

 

Bears With Usseldom-traveled-front-cover

Invisible Path

Dispel the Mist

Kindred Spirits

Judgment Fire

Calling the Dead

Intervention

WingBeat

Unequally Yoked

Deadly Omen

Deadly Trail

(the next in the series will be available this fall, called Raging Water

 

 

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

 

In No Bells, Officer Gordon Butler has finally found the love he’s been seeking for a long time, but there’s one big problem, she’s the major suspect in a murder case.

 

 

Where can we buy it?

 

Amazon or Barnes and Noble. It is with Ingram so can be ordered by an independent bookstore.

Getting to know John Achor

poster-12-12-13-14The first of John Achor’s three careers spanned twenty years as a U.S. Air Force pilot. He accumulated over 4,000 hours flying planes from Piper Cubs to the military equivalent of the Boeing 707. After the military, he entered the real estate industry. He joined a national real estate franchise as a management consultant working at the regional and national levels. Those positions led him to Phoenix, Arizona, and an affiliation with a major Savings & Loan institution.

In John’s words, “When the Savings and Loan industry melted away like a lump of sugar in hot coffee, I knew it was time to develop a third career.” He became a freelance computer instructor, user-developer, consultant, writer and Community College instructor.

In mid-1999, John moved to Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, where he lived in the piney woods with his wife Pat and their two cats, Lexus and Betsy Ross. As you may know from his latest book or web site; these two cats are no longer with them. Big hole in their lives, but both are waiting for us by The Rainbow Bridge. Their latest move was a recent relocation to the Omaha, Nebraska area where John is busy meeting and greeting new writers, readers and writing groups.

Website URL: http://www.johnachor.com

Blog URL: http://www.johnachor.wordpress.com

Facebook URL: http://www.facebook.com/jachor1

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

 

Amazon buy link for Three Four Kill Some More:

https://www.amazon.com/Three-Four-Kill-Some-More-Fremont/dp/151514805X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478131870&sr=8-1&keywords=three+for+kill+some+more

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How would my friends describe me in 20 words or less?

Friendly and outgoing extrovert. However, check my next response.

 

Tell me a little about yourself

I’m basically a shy introvert. I’ve trained myself to be a trainer, a speaker and present myself as more extroverted. I believe that if I don’t feel a bit of anxiety before performing, I’ve lost interest in the subject.

 

If you weren’t a writer, what you would be?

Most likely a vegetable – spell that couch potato binging on TV mysteries.

 

When did you decide to become a writer?

Back in the day; somewhere in the 80s.

 

When did you begin writing?

I typed (on a real portable typewriter) the beginnings of a couple of stories/vignettes in the late 1980s. I became a serious writer in the mid-1990s. It took me into the -2000s to refer to myself as a writer; and then as a professional writer ― because I’ve been paid for my writing. And, the answer to your next question; do you make a living at writing – the answer is no.

 

Who is you mentor? Who do you look up to?

In the writing field, I like Janet Evanovich and Sue Grafton in the mystery field and for thrillers, I like Vince Flynn and Lee Child. I’ve had a number of mentors via critique groups, who gave unselfishly to help me improve as a writer.

 

Who are your cheerleaders?

Friends, family and readers. I’ve received a good amount of positive support in the form of Amazon comments.

 

Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?

I think that if a person is serious about writing, you need to: Read, read, read – in the genre you like to write and nonfiction books about writing. JOIN a critique group. I’ve learned as much or more from the groups I’ve worked with as any other approach.

 

Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?

Yes, and I’m surprised what previously published authors get away with. Many would have trouble getting their manuscripts through the critique groups I’ve been associated with.

 

Do you read reviews written about your book?

Yes. I enjoy the positive ones and for those who do not like my writing I think; that’s why there are so many shelves in a bookstore and hope they find an author they like.

 

What started you on your journey to be a writer?

I had a short vignette in mind about flying. I wrote it and it became a 10,000 word flash back in a novel. My critique group said, that’s gotta go – cut it. It was cut from the novel, but still resides on my computer hard drive, maybe sometime …

 

When you made your first sale, how did you celebrate and with whom?

The first sale was to “Good Old Days” magazine in September 1992. The check was for $40.00 USD; I puffed out my chest, strutted around, but with the size of the remuneration, there wasn’t a whole lot of celebrating. However, that money put me in the ranks of professional writers.

 

Do you listen to music while writing?

Yes, but not all the time. I do have a favorite play list I put together from five movie albums. When I completed the list, I realized they all had a similar theme: perseverance. Here they are: Flight of the Intruder, Quigley Down Under, The Great Escape, The Longest Day and Monuments Men.

 

What are your favorite hobbies?

While I consider writing a profession, I have fun and enjoy the act of writing, as well as meeting and speaking with readers and writers.

 

What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

I set up a book sales table at an outdoor festival in a small rural town in Arkansas. I asked a lady walking past my table if she liked mysteries. Her response was, “I don’t read books.” I mentioned that with holidays coming up, my book might make a decent present. Her response was, “I don’t give gifts.” I wished her a pleasant day and she kept walking. I smiled at her answers and went back to enjoying the warm summer day.

 

With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

I believe my female protagonist, Casey Fremont, is representative of what many of us face in our lives 3-4-kill-covertoday. She begins the series with her own self esteem in shambles. As the series progresses, Casey begins to regain a belief in herself and recognizes others in her life are of value as well. I do my best to leave Casey in a better place at the end of the book as opposed to where she was before the bodies began to fall. In some ways, she is a mirror of how I have gained my own insight over a life time.

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

Never give up; keep writing and do everything to improve you manuscripts.

 

Your favorite books and author?

I like Janet Evanovich and Sue Grafton in the mystery field and for thrillers, Vince Flynn and Lee Child are at the top of the field.

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?

Mysteries and thrillers top the list, however lately I’ve discovered any number of nonfiction books I enjoyed; The Elephant Whisperer is a top pick.

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

It’s on my phone (Kindle) and it’s a Michael Connelly mystery featuring Harry Bosch.

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

I use both and prefer Facebook.

 

Where can your fans find you?

Google John Achor or Casey Fremont mysteries and you’ll more about me that you ever wanted to know. My web site (johnachor.com) has a lot about me and a search on Twitter or Facebook will pop up my pages.

 

Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

My wife and I have a giant soft spot for Indie bookstores. Living in Phoenix, we loved The Poisoned Pen mystery book store run by Barbara Peters ― we met a ton and a half of major mystery/thrillers authors at her store. Since relocating to Omaha, The Bookworm owned by Beth & Phil Black is a super resource to authors and readers.

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

“One, Two – Kill a Few,” a Casey Fremont mystery

“Three, Four – Kill Some More,” a Casey Fremont mystery

“Five, Six – Deadly Mix,” a Casey Fremont mystery (is poised for release)

 

Where can we buy it?

All are available in Trade Paperback, eBook and audio formats from your favorite online book sellers. If you run into me, I have a couple in my trunk.

 

Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

I am currently writing the fourth in the Casey Fremont mysteries, and I’ve researched and plotted the third in the Alex Hilliard thriller novels. When? Down the line …

Getting to Know Kathryn Bain

kathrynbainKathryn J. Bain is an award-winning author of Christian, mystery, and suspense, including the Lincolnville Mystery series and KT Morgan short suspense series.

Ms. Bain has garnered several awards, including two Heart of Excellence Readers’ Choice Awards and a First Place Royal Palm Literary Award for Inspirational Fiction.

A past President of Florida Sisters in Crime and Public Relations Director for Ancient City Romance Authors, Kathryn enjoys doing talks and teaching about writing.

She lives in Jacksonville, Florida near her daughters and granddaughter. Kathryn has also been a paralegal for over twenty years and works for an attorney who specializes in elder law.

 

Website URL: http://www.kathrynjbain.com

Blog URL: http://www.kathrynjbain.com

Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/Kathryn-J-Bain-248456325239552/

Buy links for Take Her Breath Away

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Take-Breath-Away-Lincolnville-Mystery/dp/1537331884/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1476046602&sr=1-1&keywords=take+her+breath+away+bain

 

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/take-her-breath-away-kathryn-j-bain/1124480960?ean=9781537331881

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Tell us a little about yourself:

 

I grew up in northern Idaho and moved to Florida over thirty years ago. I have an Associates of Arts Degree and am a Certified paralegal. I have worked for the Preddy Law Firm for almost 15 years now. I have two grown daughters and one granddaughter.

 

State a random fact about yourself that would surprise your readers.

 

One of my worst classes in school was English. I disliked it terribly. I still am gramatically challenged, so I hire editors to fix my comma errors. 

 

Who are your cheerleaders? 

 

My two daughters give me a lot of support me with my writing. I also belong to two critique groups and several writers organizations. I also have several people in my church who cheer me on. 

 

Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?

 

I write reviews for books only if I like the book. I try my best to give no lower than a 3, but sometimes the book is so bad, I just can’t, so I won’t leave a review. 

 

Do you read reviews written about your book?

 

I do because I like to know where I can improve. 

 

 

With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

 

I write Edgy Christian which sets me apart from the sweet Christian authors. I deal with dark suspense like child trafficking (One Last Breath) and adultery (Take Her Breath Away). And my short suspense is edge-takeherbreathawaycoverof-your-seat with a killer or two. I also try to make my Christians more realistic than most Christian writers. In Catch Your Breath, the mother of my heroine is a mean Christian woman. She is very pious, as some Christians are. 

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet? 

 

Keep writing. That’s the most important thing you can do. 

 

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

 

Getting out and meeting readers at book festivals and signings. The more you can connect with readers, the better chance you have of getting your books read. 

 

What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

 

Social Media. I’m technologically challenged, so I’m not good at getting out on FB, Twitter, etc. 

 

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?

 

I love suspense more than anything. Every once in a while I’ll read something else, but it’s rare. I prefer non-Christian because the suspense in Christian writing is usually minimal. 

 

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

 

Hank Phillippi Ryan’s What You See. 

 

Are there any particular books and/or authors that inspired you and continue to do so?

 

Love so many, but Dean Koontz is one of my favorites. I also like CJ Box. 

 

How many books do you read/month?

 

I try to read 2-3 books a month. 

 

What is the one book that you think everyone should read?

 

I don’t have a “must read” book. I just think it’s important for everyone to read. Schools frustrate me when they limit their reading lists. I think that’s part of the reason so many kids quit reading – because they’re made to read things they don’t enjoy. 

 

 

Where can your fans find you?

 

I have a website, www.kathrynjbain.com where you can sign up for my Christian newsletter and find out how to get my first KT Morgan Short Suspense, The Visitor, for free. I’m also on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ under Kathryn J. Bain. You can also find me on Twitter @kjbain. And I have an author page on Amazon. 

 

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

 

The Lincolnville Mystery Series, inspirational romantic suspense, includes:

Breathless;

Catch Your Breath;

One Last Breath; and

Take Your Breath Away


The KT Morgan Short Suspense Series includes:

The Visitor;

Small Town Terror; and

Reunion, due out December 9, 2016

 

My stand alone books are the following:

Beautiful Imperfection – Inspiration Romantic Suspense

Knight & Day – Humorous Mystery

Game of Hearts – Humorous Romantic Novella

 

 

Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

 

I just finished Reunion that is the third in my KT Morgan Short Suspense Series which will be released December 9, 2016 and am currently working on a Bible Study titled Holding the Hand of a King set to come out in 2017 if I ever get the thing finished. 

Pay Attention to Your Blurb! By Karen McCullough

karen_mccullough_2015_200I was casting around for a topic for this blog post when just this morning something arrived in my email box that said “perfect topic for blog post.”

 

I’m on the lists for several of those email newsletters that give you daily selections of free and low-cost ebooks. I read a lot and I’m always on the lookout for new authors and series that I can get into.  Those newsletters have introduced me to several authors whose works I’ve really enjoyed and whose backlist I’ve bought at full price after reading their sample.

 

But today as I was scrolling through one of the newsletters (all names and titles will be omitted here), I came across a boxed set that had an intriguing premise. It’s a series of romantic suspense stories connected by a group of investigators. That’s my catnip. Reading the initial blurb for the set, I was pretty sure this was going to sell me.

 

Then I read the description for the first book and tripped over a misspelled word, the kind that wasn’t likely to be either a typo or a possible homonym. But I forgive the occasional error and went on to the blurb for the next book. It contained a badly used word. Not a totally wrong one, but it made the sentence read oddly to anyone with an ear for language. It was the kind of usage that suggested the author didn’t have a good grasp on the nuances of word meanings. The blurb for the third book had another of those—not as egregious as the previous one, but it was the third strike. To cement my decision, a series wrap-up description included another badly used word. Done.

 

As interesting as that set of books sounded, I wouldn’t buy it based on the problems in the blurbs. I’m an author and former magazine editor myself so I’m super-sensitive to language mechanics and usage. I’ll forgive the occasional error in a story. I know all too well how easy it is to miss things. My own books all go through multiple rounds of editing and still the occasional mistake sneaks through. But I can’t forgive multiple errors in a short space like four paragraphs. It completely kills my confidence that the author can deliver a story I’ll enjoy.

 

Perhaps the books themselves are better, but I doubt it. Based on a badly written blurb, I don’t trust that this author realized she had problems and took steps to fix them. I don’t believe she hired an editor and copy editor to help her iron out her problems with language mechanics and usage. My time is too limited and the possibilities of other books too enticing to take a chance on something that shows every evidence of serious flaws.

 

The lesson here? Authors, pay attention to your blurbs. If you don’t have a good grasp on grammar and/or usage, hire an editor. Even if you do, you should still hire an editor. It’s tough to see all of your own mistakes. I spent ten years as an editor for two multi-national trade publications, and I still hire someone else to review my self-published books before they go out. The editor should review your blurb as well.

 

Get it right the first time. You may not get another chance.

 

Karen McCullough is the author of a dozen published novels and novellas in the mystery, romantic suspense, and fantasy genres as well. She has won numerous awards, including an Eppie Award for fantasy, and has also been a four-time Eppie finalist, and a finalist in the Daphne, Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards contests. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the mystery, fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She has three children, an increasing horde of grandchildren, and lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years.

 

Website: http://www.kmccullough.com

Blog: http://www.kmccullough/kblog

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kgmccullough

 

A Gift for Murder Blurb:agfm_v2_200

The Gifts and Decorative Accessories Show is a long week for the event location’s staff, and particularly for Heather McNeil. As assistant to the director of Washington, D.C.’s, Market and Commerce center, she’s point person for complaining exhibitors, missing shipments, and miscellaneous other disasters. It’s a job she takes in stride—until murder crashes the event.

Buy links:

Search Your Memory for Writing Ideas by JL Greger

bugme5Good fiction, even fantasy, needs bits of reality—locations, facts, or emotions, which are relevant to readers. Often authors introduce reality into their fiction by using their memories—personal, and probably slightly biased, facts. I guess a purist would say memories and facts are often distinctly different. I don’t want to argue the point today.

 

Before I wrote The Good Old Days? A Collection of Stories, I talked to dozens of people about their memories, especially of their childhoods and adolescences. Thus each of my stories has a different perspective, but they all address historical or social problems in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960, a time that many refer to as the good old days.

 

I hope as I tell you about the memories which triggered my stories, you’ll remember details from your past or your family’s history that would enliven your writing.

 

Shoes is a story about child abuse. Instead of describing characters’ facial features, I described their shoes. The person remembering her third grade classroom was shy; her teacher was an authoritarian (a kind word for bully). The student seldom lifted her head in class, so her main memories were of the floor and shoes. Many readers may be surprised to learn how colorful and varied women’s shoes were in the 1950s.

 

How did students find information for school reports before the Internet? They used encyclopedias, but most were expensive and only in libraries. Then, A&P grocery stores offered a different volume of the Golden Book Encyclopedia each month as a sales gimmick. How Old Is the Earth? is a tale of how the increased availability of information changed lives. The story also evokes memories of a time when cotton/polyester wasn’t available and all cotton school uniforms were ironed daily. (Not a fond memory.)

 

Do you remember your first bra? (Sorry guys, you missed that experience.) Did it look a bit like Madonna’s costume with two cones of foam strung together with straps? Enjoy the humorous memories in I Look Like Papa.

 

Many towns in the Midwest and New England are awash with grand Victorian ladies (large houses with endless brightly-painted decorations). As an old man remembers his glory days as a high school athlete in Dirty Dave, he also reveals secrets about domestic violence in these so-called nice homes.

 

Then there are old photos. Do they reflect the past or are they attempts to paint an alternate reality? The answer varies in my vignettes. I’ll let you read Thanks for the Memories and Double Exposure and decide.

 

Did I spark any of your memories? We all have memories usable in fiction. Perhaps, you remember with horror a car accident or the death of a love one. You could use your painful memories of you raw emotions to make a scene in a novel memorable to others. Maybe, happy memories could add humor to your books.

 

The Good Old Days? A Collection of Stories is available (paperback and Kindle) from Amazon: covergoodolddayshttp://amzn.com/1537743813

 

 

Bio: Writing this collection of stories gave JL Greger a chance to get to know old friends better and to make new ones. Typically she writes medical mysteries and thrillers: Murder…A Way to Lose Weight (winner of 2016 Public Safety Writers Association [PSWA] annual contest & finalist in New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards), I Saw You in Beirut, Malignancy (winner of 2015 PSWA annual contest), and Ignore the Pain. To learn more, visit her website: http://www.jlgreger.com.

WRITING WHAT YOU QUESTION By Lea Wait

leaonwiscassettownpier          One of the basic rules for authors is to “write what you know.”

My eighteenth book (Dangling by a Thread) is being published this week, and I understand that rule. I often write about the State of Maine, which I know and love. In my Shadows Antique Print Mystery series my protagonist, Maggie Summer, is an antique dealer, as I was for more than thirty years. In last month’s latest in that series (Shadows on a Morning in Maine,), Maggie, a single adult, adopts an older child – something I did four times.

So – yes – I’ve written what I know.

But I’ve also written about a lot of things I wanted to know.

I asked myself … what if ….

Parents of a man who’d watched their son die of AIDS decided it would be a mercy to

kill others with that disease so they would avoid suffering? (Shadows at the Fair)

An elderly woman with Alzheimer’s started talking about the secrets she’d kept for the past eighty years? (Shadows on a Maine Christmas)

A family that has defined itself as descendants of a famous artist discovers an 1890 diary that tears that assumption apart? (Shadows of a Down East Summer)

A woman disappears when her daughter is ten, leaving the girl to believe she’s been deserted. And then, seventeen years later, the mother’s body is found? (Twisted Threads)

A traveling girl spiritualist draws crowds during the first two weeks of the Civil War, and then the two teenage boys who publish the local newspaper decide to prove she’s a fake? (Uncertain Glory)

A boy loses his leg in an 1819 farm accident, but refuses to accept that his life is over? (Wintering Well)

And, in my latest book, Dangling by a Thread, what if a man isolates himself on an island off the coast of Maine that has no water, electricity or heat … and refuses to leave?

For all these books, research and imagination were key ingredients to creating credible characters and plots.

The idea for Jesse Lockhart, the hermit in Dangling by a Thread, came from a man I’d seen when I was ten years old. Townspeople called him “The danglingbyathreadcomp300Character.” I didn’t know his real name until decades later. Like Jesse, he lived on an isolated island off the coast of Maine. Like Jesse, he rowed into town occasionally for food and other supplies. I never knew that man’s story – but, at ten years old, when I first saw him, I imagined what it might be.

And when I imaged Jesse Lockhart, I gave him reasons – reasons to choose to be alone, and reasons to isolate himself on an island.

Jesse is a fictional character and, no, I don’t know what it’s like to live alone without modern conveniences. But I knew people had done it … still do, I suspect. Imagination plus research created Jesse.

My readers will let me know whether I succeeded in bringing him to life.

 

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shadowsonamorninginmaineMaine author Lea Wait writes the 8-book Shadows Antique Print Mystery series, the most recent of which is SHADOWS ON A MORNING IN MAINE, and the 4-book (so far) Mainely Needlepoint series, the most recent of which is DANGLING BY A THREAD. She also writes historical novels for ages 8 and up, and her LIVING AND WRITING ON THE COAST OF MAINE is a series of essays about her life as a new wife, new author, and full-time Mainer, and includes tips for other writers. She invites readers to friend her on Facebook and Goodreads, and to check her website (www.leawait.com) for links to free prequels of her recent books, and more information about all of them. To be on her postcard or email mailing list, write to Lea at leawait@roadrunner.com

 

What Makes for a Good In-Person Promotion? by Channing Whitaker

book-signing-panelHave any other authors out there ever been invited to or heard about an author event somewhere within driving distance, which boasts there will be five, ten, maybe twenty authors at an indie bookstore or some such place, so you signed up? You watched as the event posted dozens of times on Facebook, you shared all the posts with your own followers (as if they didn’t have your books already) you loaded up your book stock, drove over, and then spent most of the day chatting with other authors while everyone collectively sold an average of half a book per person?

 

I’ve only published one book, and I still have lots to learn about book promoting, but I’ve tried a lot in the way of live appearances. I’ve self organized book signings at book stores and once in a coffee shop, I’ve participated in a small bookstore’s “author day” with several authors. I’ve been to a special author event featuring more than 50 authors in the fourth largest city in the country, and yet in my experience, as an essentially unknown author, results have been less-than-encouraging.

 

Now, maybe you’re thinking, I don’t have the personality to generate interest and sales, that I’m too introverted, not engaging people. However, I’ve also tried my hand at pop-culture events such as comic-cons, places most attendees aren’t coming to find authors and books, and at some of these events, I’ve sold boxes of my novel. I’d even go as far as to say that I can turn about one in five people who slow down long enough to be spoken to into a sale at such events – not a bad batting average in my opinion.

 

So I have to ask, why do I have such poor results with book events, and so much better results at events where books are at best one small part of a much bigger focus on pop-culture and entertainment? Is it simply a number’s game? Perhaps. The author event with 50 of us word crafters only drew in 300 people, even in a huge city, while a comic-con, in a city less than half the size can pull in 30,000. Is success dependent merely on the quantity of foot traffic?

 

My intuition leads me to think the attendees of a specific book event come ready to purchase several books, while most the comic-con-goers, as I mentioned before, weren’t even expecting to see authors peddling their works when they showed up in their costumes. I suppose you can’t account for the quality of the product, at least not until you go buy and read my novel (wink, wink) but I wonder if the issue is more one of how routine and avid readers behave in the first place?channing-book-reading

 

Reading is more solitary and less flashing than the other kinds of entertainment out there. Is merely speaking to authors and seeing a bunch of them sitting around waiting to sign books not enough of an event to get readers out of the house? Do we need to start including live bands, acrobats, or celebrities in our author gatherings in order to elevate them to event status?

 

Another difference maker I’ve noticed is that at comic-con sort of events I’m usually able to sit in on or host some sort of short discussion or panel. I get to stand in front of a few people and talk, either about my material or about general genre topics. This activity has translated to a handful of readers heading over to find me and buy my book afterwards. However, I’ve also gone to a huge book festival which held a tight schedule of 15 minute talks by authors in blocks of four hours straight over the entire weekend, and then watched as one after the other authors stood and gave talks to a dozen empty chairs, or maybe to eleven empty chairs and the next author in line who was waiting their turn.channing-wine-and-sign

 

So I ask, what makes for a good live appearance? Is it a must that some other, crowd-drawing activity be included? Is it a must that we authors are given time to speak, at least in panels? Does every author event simply need big name author signings, so we lesser-known authors can hope to draw a few sales as the under-card? Or is it out of our hands, where how the event promotes itself is the real difference?

 

 

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Channing Whitaker is a novelist, screenwriter, and filmmaker originally hailing from Centerville, Iowa. An alum of Indian Hills Community College, Channing went on to study cinema, screenwriting, literature, and mathematics at the University of Iowa.

Post graduation, Channing began his career in the production of television news, independent films, and commercial videos, as well as to write for websites, corporate media, and advertising. His 10-year career in writing has taken Channing from Iowa, to Alaska, Oklahoma, and currently to Texas.

Channing has written five feature-length screenplays, co-written another feature screenplay, and penned a novel. In that time, Channing has also written and directed over 50 short films.

The April 2015 publication of Channing’s debut novel, “Until the Sun Rises – One Night in Drake Mansion,” comes in tandem with the first production of one of Channing’s feature screenplays, “KILD TV” – a horror mystery. “KILD TV” has already filmed, and premiered in a March 2016 release.

 

Website URL: http://www.channingwhitaker.com

Blog URL: http://www.aboveallstory.blogspot.com/

Facebook URL: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorChanningWhitaker/

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/channing-whitaker-4120a614

Skype: Channing Whitaker (williamchanning@hotmail.com)

 

Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Until-Sun-Rises-Channing-Whitaker/dp/1610091639/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1458157959&sr=8-1&keywords=until+the+sun+rises

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/until-the-sun-rises-channing-whitaker/1121808573?ean=9781610091633