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Interview with Fiction Author Garasamo Macagnone

Gary MAcc photo

Garasamo Maccagnone is the author of, The Suburban Dragon, St. John of the Midfield, and The Affliction of Dreams. His latest novella, For the Love of St. Nick is a Christmas tale that features four illustrations by acclaimed artist, Al Ochsner. Born in the wake of the Korean War, Maccagnone lives today in Shelby Township, Michigan with his wife Vicki and their three children. You can visit Garasamo online at www.garasamomaccagnone.com.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Garasamo.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published? 

A: I’ve been published four times now, with one book being self-published and  picked up by another publisher for a 2nd run. 

Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why? 

A: Sentiments of Blue. I actually lost this manuscript in a basement flood thirty years ago or so. I was incapable of reciting it and too lazy to try again. I left it alone, though, when I featured it in my writing class at WMU, it was well received. 

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it? 

A: Counting my rejection slips is like trying to add up the national debt. It’s too hard to compute – too hard to wrap your brain around. 

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows? 

A: For a long period of time, I stopped writing. With raising the kids and trying to make a living, it became too difficult to find the time. In the new century, as opportunities opened up in the publishing business, my interest was sparked and I began knocking out a lot of stories. 

The rejections are hard to take, especially if the work is well received critically.  Being competitive, I was resolute in completing the works no matter what the outcome. I always said to myself, I’m finishing this stuff even if my mother won’t buy it! 

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them? 

A: A guy I met in the publishing business decided to give my first work a chance. He was a local guy who had a press of his own. For all his limitations, I thought he did a pretty good job with the product. 

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate? 

A: Truly, I felt good after, and only after, a non-family member or friend purchased my work. When someone likes your work without any strings attached, that’s a good feeling. That’s what it’s all about. 

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time? 

A: With my children’s book, I was invited to many of the schools in Michigan to read the book to the Kindergarten or 1st Grade class.  Since the book was about a Suburban Dragon, the illustrator, Al Ochsner, and I would perform a skit for the kids where Al was clad in a dragon costume. The routine always started with me insisting to the kids that there was nothing to be afraid of with dragons. They didn’t exist of course, I told them, playing the foil, while Al dressed in his costume behind me. As soon as Al would place his index finger to his mouth and ask the kids to be quiet as he approached me, the cackles would start and the kids just couldn’t hold back. Sure it was a dorky performance by both of us but it sold a lot of books and promoted the work well. Typically, we would receive book reviews and drawings from all the kids after the full reading of the book. We were a big hit with the teachers.  

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published? st_nickcover

A: I’m convinced that unless you are sleeping with a higher up at a traditional publisher, or have tenure at a university and know a board member sleeping with a higher up at a traditional publisher, you have little to no chance of seeing your work printed and put up on a book shelf at a major chain. 

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author? 

A: I’m looking at a couple different options with my latest work, entitled, The Fish and the Fox

I’m not certain if I’ve grown at all as a writer. Where I know I’ve improved is in the editorial and marketing side of the process. I spend a lot more time now working with paid editors on making sure my work is fit for critical eyes. It’s a taxing ritual but necessary and vital for a book to succeed.  

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up?  What kind of mistakes could you have avoided? 

A: I should have looked for a higher up at a major publishing firm and slept with her. 

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published? 

A: There’s nothing spectacular in my bio from writing. I’ve had some good reviews from unsolicited quarters and feel good that the writing has been well received. I’ve sold a number of books around the world. What else can I ask for? 

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be? 

A: I’d have made a great sports columnist, like Ray Barone. 

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds? 

A: I have it all. I’m able to work in various fields or industries, with anonymity, and with respect from my peers. 

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

A: Hopefully, ten pounds lighter with six strokes consistently shaven from my golf score.  

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day? 

A: Don’t let the bastards get you down.  Whenever, or however it happens, enjoy it and never lose your humility. One good review doesn’t make you the next Hemingway.

 

Interview with Avi Perry, author of “72 Virgins”

2943714Avi Perry grew up in Israel. As a teenager and throughout his college years, he was a professional musician. He financed his student life with numerous gigs, playing with his Israeli band, writing songs, playing the various keyboard instruments, and enjoying listening to his performances on the Israeli radio (there was no MTV in late 60s Israel). He still plays and writes music, but as a hobby (at home), rather than as a line of work. During the Six-Day-War in 1967, he served in the Israeli military, in the field intelligence unit, and gained valuable and relevant experience in covert communications technology and a variety of spy craft and methods.

He has spent the past four decades in the US, first as a Ph.D. student, then as a professor at Northwestern University, a Bell Laboratories – distinguished staff member, and finally as Vice President at NMS Communications. He signed for early retirement in 2004 with the intention of writing a technical book. The title Fundamentals of Voice Quality Engineering was published by Cambridge University Press in 2007 and became very popular. Readers praised the book for its thoroughness and for my refreshing, unique and entertaining writing style, atypical among technical writers. Throughout Avi’s tenure at NMS, he wrote many short (humor-packed, peppered with company culture) satires, technical reports, white papers (published on company website), press releases, and more.

One may find more information on his websites (www.aviperry.org and http://www.aviperry.com ).

72 VirginsWelcome to Beyond the Books, Avi. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

72 Virgins is my second published book. It is however, my first published Fiction.

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

My first book, Fundamentals of Voice Quality Engineering in Wireless Networks, was published in 2007 by Cambridge University Press.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

I sent 60 queries to literary agents whom I considered good potentials. I was rejected by 31, ignored by 28 and received one phone call from Bob Lieberman (I love you Bob) who liked my proposal. Bob, later on, told me that he had been amazed by his 100% success rate with my book. The first and only publisher, to whom he forwarded my proposal, offered us a nice contract and a nicer advance after having my proposal reviewed by 5 referees who all loved it.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

I got about five rejections before speaking to Bob. There were still 55 left in the drawer. I expected rejections; it’s part of the game. Consequently, I was not upset, worried or terribly anxious. I hoped for the best. I wished for the one (golden) call, which happened to turn up before anxiety had a chance to settle in. Other rejections came in even after I had signed the contract with Cambridge. At that point, they only made me crack a smile.

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

My first book was published by Cambridge University Press. My agent selected this publisher as his first choice. He enjoyed some successes with them in the past, but it was not a perfect record. I had no input as to which publisher my agent would send the book proposal to.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I felt accomplished; and my wife fell in love again. We celebrated with a kiss, then a bit more.

What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I did not think I had to do much. After all it was in the hands of an experienced and a well established publisher. Still, I notified (via email) many whom I had known from my professional dealings in the past.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

I would have supplemented my publisher’s promotion with a little more energy of my own.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

72 Virgins is my second book. I have gained more confidence in my writing ability as a consequence of readers’ feedback. I braved this latest enterprise—fiction writing, only because people encouraged me. Before venturing into the writing I studied several of my favorite authors, trying to learn and absorb their special techniques, then reshape them into my own unique color and style.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

I was never very good at social networking. This is probably the most important ingredient when you are striving for a celebrity status. A successful author must become a celebrity before he can claim victory.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

Readers’ feedback is the most gratifying gift an author can hope for. I received plenty, and from very intelligent and highly professional people.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

I have gone through a variety of careers already. I was a professional musician, a Military Intelligence specialist, a university professor at Northwestern University, a scientist in Bell Laboratories, an engineer and a manger in AT&T and in Lucent Technologies, and a Vice President in charge of technology at NMS Communications. Now in my retirement years I have become an author. And I love it. It fits perfectly into my situation.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

I employ my rich life experiences and extensive knowledge in many aspects of life and science in all of my writings. I can reiterate the line – Been There Done That. I have no desire to do anything else other than writing.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

I hope I keep my energy close to the level where it is now. I hope I can continue to write for the next twenty years.

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Writing, and writing well, is only a small step in the path to the Promised Land, where your masterpiece becomes published, then read by an audience, who may or may not recognize and appreciate your special talent. But even though you think you can write well, you might be shocked at the discovery that you are not perfect. I know. You were confident that your writing was flawless; your spellchecker caught and fixed your typos, your words and phrases were expressive, your dialogs were relevant, your punctuations and prepositions were the envy of your German-born English teacher. Hell, no! Those trifling errors kept sneaking into your manuscript. You didn’t realize it until your little fifth grader, after reading your Preface section, pointed out that she did not understand the sentence: “seize to exist.” “Shouldn’t it be “cease to exist” instead?” she asked. “And how do you “hit the breaks?” Shouldn’t you say—“hit the brakes?”

Oops. This dumb spellchecker; it’s its fault, not yours. Well, you’d better find someone who would spare the embarrassment that would turn off your potential audience, joke about your silly writing style, and ruin your reputation for the rest of your irrelevant life. Your confidence got shaken a bit—you just experienced your first lesson on the way to becoming a published author.

Now, your mother always told you that you should not judge a person by their looks, but rather, by their character. You believed her, (only because you didn’t look like Brad Pitt with those ugly glasses), then applied the same logic to your book. Don’t judge it by its cover, you said to yourself. The contents, the real beef, is the stuff that counts. You didn’t care. Professionally designed book covers are a total waste of money, you reflected… Oh Yeah? Have you ever been to a bookstore? Have you watched the random browsers, the ones who pick up the most attractive book, the one with the red and blue front cover, turn it over to read the excerpt in the back, then rush to the cashier and flash their Visa card before it expires? Not to worry. Your publisher will take care of this little detail, unless of course, you are him. And if you are, then you’d better spend time and effort on this little detail. It’s the first impression you make on your potential audience; you would not get a second chance with this selective bunch. They must be ruthless, saving their reading appetite for shining objects, not minding true quality, like your book.

“But why does it take so long?” You ask your publisher. “Why so many months before it is published? You thought it shouldn’t take more than a couple.” You didn’t realize, but editing, typesetting, book cover design, proof reading, even pre-pub marketing, printing, distributing—all must take place before your book is tanned under the florescent lights of the bookstore, or displayed inside the shiny pages of the Amazon site. It takes time, and your publisher is not in a hurry, or so it seems. You ruminate—He must be lazy, unlike me. I could easily shave a couple of months out of his schedule, and still get it done. No. Don’t be an amateur. The publishing process does take time. And you’d better get it right, than fast and sorry.

Your book is finally ready. Your publisher sent you the allotted free copies he had written into your contract, so why did he set the publication date several months out into the future? Your anxiety is showing. You want to see your name displayed on the shelves in the local Barnes and Noble store. But wait, you need time for pre-publication publicity. Your publisher wants your book to hit the ground running. Books are like freshly baked bread. They taste better when they are fresh. Most books, like most movies, sell more copies on their first year after publication, when they are still fresh and hot. People like to buy new stuff. Go figure.

Your publisher does not want to spend money on advertising. How is he going to generate exposure? There are millions of books out there. How will anybody know about yours? He explains that paid advertising is much less effective that the free stuff. And you always believed that there ain’t such a thing as a free lunch. But he is right. He is not kidding.
Free publicity is not entirely free, although it feels that way. You haven’t thought about it, but here are some examples. Book reviews, press releases, media interviews, virtual or actual book tours, blogging, social networking—all can generate huge exposure if done well. They are not entirely free, however. Free copies cost money. Mailing, shipping, mailing lists, travel, PR agents, the time spent on blogging and social networking, online and offline listings, are not cheap. Some may be less expensive and more effective than paid advertising, but you will have to study and master the free advertising market before claiming victory. The biggest surprise you may be facing is your publisher’s unwillingness to go all the way and do everything possible to promote your book even when it’s “free”. You will have to invest your own time and money and “help” your publisher provide proper exposure to your book. The amazing part is that the more you do, the more your publisher will do. If your publisher foresees success, he will be more willing to invest and promote it.

And finally there are three more surprises, with which you will probably be facing. If you become a successful, published author, your fans will seek your attention. At first, it may seem like fun, but once you become a hot celebrity, the new status may yield all the known side-effects associated with the lack of privacy. Be careful of what you wished for. It may happen. Regardless of annoying fans, the positive part of success is the new respect you would gain from family and friends. The wife or husband will start bragging about you with their friends; they might even treat you with more respect; stop telling you to go wash the floors since you are not doing anything important anyway. Before you became a published author, writing down in the basement was not considered real work. It’s different now. She will stop telling you to go and get a real job.

Some friends will invite you over for dinner. They will want to be seen in your company, so they may invite more friends and call it a party. Some other friends may want to keep you all for themselves. They may do the opposite, invite you to a party where you’d be the only guest.

Well, it’s time to get started on your next book. You are not done yet. If you like your new status you ought to remind yourself that it is temporary unless you keep at it relentlessly. Hot dishes become cold after a while. Freshly baked bread turns stale two days following its birth. And authors lose their glow if their creations fade into the used books section next to the dumpster. So be aware. What goes up must… Not if it’s up to you.

Family Plot: Interview with Mary Patrick Kavanaugh

Mary Patrick KavanaughMary Patrick Kavanaugh recently launched her first novel, Family Plots: Love, Death and Tax Evasion, at an outrageous public funeral event. A writer since the age of eight, Mary’s award winning creative non-fiction has been published in Alligator Juniper, Room of One’s Own, San Jose Mercury News, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her professional writing has appeared in numerous trade journals. She is the recipient of the nonfiction award from the Soul Making Literary Competition sponsored by the American Pen Women and was awarded writing fellowships at The David and Julia White Artist Colony, Hedgebrook: Women Authoring Change, and The Vermont Studio Center. She has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of San Francisco.

NOTE: Mary’s altar ego, “Cemetery Mary,” will be hosting a lively Funeral Event and Resurrection Workshop on December 31, 2009, and January 2, 2010. Participants will bury dead dreams, dashed hopes, and old habits and grudges to make room for all the good that’s coming in 2010. For information about attending, please visit her blog at www.crapintocompost.com.

Book Trailer:

http://www.mydreamisdeadbutimnot.com/trailer/trailer.html

Blog:

www.crapintocompost.com

Twitter:

@marypatrick

Funeral & Website:

www.marypatrick.com

Family PlotsQ: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Mary. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

A: Family Plots: Love, Death and Tax Evasion is my first published book. I’ve published smaller pieces in many literary and commercial journals prior.

Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

A: For the longest time I wrote short stories for a compilation of semi-autobiographical fiction I wanted to write called Losers I Have Known, but in the end, I moved toward telling a compelling true story that held my interest long enough to get through the rollercoaster of writing a full length novel.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

A: Like many writers, I’ve faced a gazillion rejections, but for my first novel, it was a modest sixteen. While that’s “nuthin” for a writer, a confluence of events, ranging from my agent throwing in the towel to the economy, led me to erupt with a great idea to launch my book without a mainstream publisher. The book launch publicity stunt of holding a public funeral for my dead dream of getting a mainstream book contract, garnered more attention initially than the book itself. (The backstory of this stunt can be found here.)

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

A: Ah, rejection. They made me feel like a pulverized puddle of gutless pity, and I wallowed in each and every one of them, while often pretending it was no big deal. With each recovery, my skin thickened a bit more, which I understand is useful in middle age as it can also prevent wrinkling.

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

A: I chose iUniverse because they were quick, affordable, and I didn’t have a lot of time to research it as I had a book funeral scheduled.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

A: At the risk of repeating myself, I celebrated with my whacked-out, crazy, public funeral for my dream of mainstream publishing, inviting friends and strangers to also bury their dead dreams and at this event, sold hundreds of books. How did it make me feel? Best answered on this Feel Good Youtube from the event, showing me and the rest of the room dancing in the aisles.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

A: Besides the funeral, I hustled some radio and TV interviews, and readings at local independent bookstores, which resulted in being a book group pick for some great groups, including the Pulp Fiction Vixens. (Authors really like book groups with lively names. Who wouldn’t want to speak to a bunch of Vixens?)

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

A: Nope. Though this isn’t how I’d imagined my trajectory into publication, it now seems perfect.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

A: Yes, I’ve published articles about the wild experience of this unusual book launch via funeral. I’ve grown enormously as a writer in the process, because I no longer focus on the expectation of succeeding in the mainstream, and instead will write only for the pure pleasure of connecting with myself and others.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up?  What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

A: I was completely dedicated to getting my book published, and never dreamed that the process—start to finish—would take seven years. That said, I think my process, like all natural processes on the planet, had a life of its own, and because I was always doing the best that I could by doing the work, welcoming feedback, and pursuing all leads, looking back, I don’t think I’d change a thing. This experience has, in fact, given me much more patience in all areas of my life. Trying to speed things up (which I always tried to…) is like standing in front of your rosebush or your child screaming “GROW! GROW!” Creation has a time and rhythm of its own, and I’ve learned to just accept that and make the best of it by being happy at whatever stage I’m at.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

A: A deep understanding that my happiness will never come from external success, and knowing it is available to me no matter what the state of my publishing career.

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A: I’d like to be Terry Gross on the NPR show, Fresh Air, but I’d have to be a much faster reader to be able to bone up for the daily interviews.

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

A: I have a job now where I get to meeting and interview authors, politicians, and thought leaders and I can still write when I want to (if only I were more disciplined!), so that combined with a great partner, kids, animals, and health – I’ve got it all. This means much more to me after having gone through periods where I felt I’d lost it all…

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

A: Happy, settled, and debating whether to spend some of my publishing proceeds on Botox and a chin lift.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

A: Don’t think someone or something is going to do it for you. Make the commitment, and make it happen. There are no excuses in this multi-media world NOT to find your perfect place for publishing and self expression.

Interview with Ruby Dominguez, author of The Peruke Maker

Ruby Dominguez

Ruby Dominguez

The author, Ruby Dominguez is challenged by the conflicting complexities of the past and future. Undeterred, she strokes with pen the somber and bright hues of her visions. She currently resides in San Francisco and works in the field of property management/leasing. She has been a recipient of the “Editor’s Choice Award,” by the National Library of Poetry in 1999 and 2007 for her published poems in the SHELTER OF SHADE. Visit her website at: www.outskirtspress.com/theperukemaker, and blog at www.salemcurse.wordpress.com.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Ruby. Can you tell us what your latest book, THE PERUKE MAKER – The Salem Witch Hunt Curse, is all about?

A: Salem 17th Century – A bizarre and deadly detour in American dark history!

SYNOPSIS:

~The witch hunt hits feverish peak! Fear of the devil is as real as God. Witchcraft is a heinous crime a person could commit and is punishable by death at the Gallows Hill for the victims accused of sorcery.

River reflections of Bridget Cane’s scantily clad youthful beauty with long, flowing, wild, red hair, is frozen in fear amidst the overture of the Banshee’s foreboding and bloodcurdling wails of imminent death, that of her own.

The Peruke Maker’s vengeful curse hastens chase for the innocent and is carried off by a whirl of ill-omened wind that transgresses all natural laws of time and space.

The Salem Witch Hunt Curse unearthed from necromancy, violates the course of natural events in a modern day world, relentlessly in quest for the avenger of innocent blood.

Sarah Cane, a product of the 21st century is inextricably caught in a fateful journey that comes full circle. But Michael’s abiding love for her triumphs over evil, transcending the grave in a magical and symbolic act of rebirth at the stroke of midnight of the Autumnal Equinox. ~

SCRIPT COVERAGE ANALYSIS:

THE PERUKE MAKER – The Salem Witch Hunt Curse, inspired by true events, is a meticulously researched screenplay that is laced with relevance and substance.

We follow the unforgettable spiritual and emotional journey of BRIDGET CANE, a stunning 17th Century woman and SARAH, a product of the 2lst Century who are inextricably bound together in a tenuous journey that comes full circle.

The banality of evil which pervades 17th Century Salem, Massachusetts is captured by the screenwriter with penetrating insight as we follow one young woman’s deadly encounter with the forces of Good and Evil.

This compelling journey is deftly played against a storyline that has meaningful things to say about the inherent vulnerability of the human condition.

A screenplay “The Peruke Maker” was professionally reviewed by Lejen Literary Consultants and attained a good script coverage analysis.

“Visually compelling, provocative, suspenseful, memorable characters, smooth pace with excellent twists and turns!” -by Lee Levinson

Are you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

I am multi published with THE PERUKE MAKER – The Salem Witch Hunt Curse (horror/romance)  which is the focus of my Halloween promotion, Romancing The Claddagh – The Curse of Macha (romance/horror) and It’s Over Michael, But…( romance comedy)

The Peruke Maker

The Peruke Maker

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

THE PERUKE MAKER – The Salem Witch Hunt Curse is the title of my first ever book.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

THE PERUKE MAKER – The Salem Witch Hunt Curse is a screenplay and it was my initial intention and still is, that it becomes a Halloween blockbuster  movie.

In the meantime to generate a buzz, I opted for self-publishing/vanity press for immediate distribution to the e-world.

It didn’t take me long to discover Outskirts Press via internet and then submitted my manuscript for their consideration and acceptance.

And now my book is available in 25,000 internet stores around the world.

However, the rejections that I go through are from queries submitted to film producers, directors, etc. But I am confident that the story is compelling that a bankable director or producer shall produce it.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

It took me 1 year of dreaming about it, 1 year of research work, 4 weeks to put down into written words, and another 2 years to crystallize the story.

Submitted it to Lejen Literary Consultant – Lee Levinson for a script coverage analysis and after 2 months received it back with a good review.

Thereafter, it took Outskirts Press approximately 2 weeks to review and accept.

Rejections in general makes me more determined in fine tuning my craft and relentless in achieving my goals.

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

Outskirts Press is a highly professional publisher, who holds your hand every step of the way down the road to success!

I chose them because it allowed me to keep my rights to my book 100%.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I really have not celebrated yet. I have been engrossed in promoting rather than celebrating. But I will as I walk down the red carpet one day soon.

What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I did a 1 minute book video trailer and uploaded it on Youtube, Metcafe, Yahoo, crackle, live video, facebook, etc.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

No regrets… my time…my terms… it all worked out for me.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

Yes, I am multi published with THE PERUKE MAKER – The Salem Witch Hunt Curse (horror/romance)  which is the focus of my Halloween promotion, Romancing The Claddagh – The Curse of Macha (romance/horror) and It’s Over Michael, But…( romance comedy)

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up?  What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

Patience is not one of my better virtues. I took the fastest and quickest route to self-gratification. It doesn’t get any speedier than this.

Mistakes are defined in my book as calculated risk and lessons to be learned. They are insignificant that I don’t even remember one, lest it bog me down.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

A bold step towards the future is my greatest achievement.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

Life comes in stages and you need to prepare for each act. Writing is my retirement plan.

However, acting, music and dancareis still in my repertoire and wouldn’t mind an opportunity if it comes knocking at my door.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

I would mesh it together.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Young, happy, successful, glamorous and walking down the red carpet.

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

When all thing fail, let passion be your retirement plan.

Editor’s Note: Ruby Dominguez is on virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion.  If you would like ot follow along on her tour, visit here during the months of October and November.

The Peruke Maker

Interview with Stephen Ross Meier, Author of Katka

KatkaStephen Ross Meier was born in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, the first of many places he would live worldwide. He received his Bachelors in English from Arizona State University. He currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Inspired by music, films, books, and the world around him, he is currently working on several projects, with his next book, Teaching Pandas to Swim, ready to be released soon. A huge fan of such writers as Charles Bukowski, Milan Kundera, Irving Welsch, Irving Stone, Chuck Palahniuk, and Brett Easton Ellis, Stephen has always been drawn to writing and story telling.

Having been diagnosed with Heart Disease on May 10th, 2006, Stephen has been reminded that life void of passion is really not a life at all.

For more information please visit http://www.stephenrossmeier.com.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Stephen. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

For the first time, wish I was multi-published!

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

Teaching Pandas to Swim. Wasn’t published because…well, let’s say I was probably too young, arrogant, and didn’t understand the business. Plus, the constant rewrites my agent had me to drove me to the nut house! Wasn’t ready…but I want to thank Peter Cox for giving me a shot.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

I was rejected by over 80 agents in the US and London. And then once signed, worked with him for a year, and it never got published. It’s my favorite story, as it was my first, and the one story that my brother says makes him and his friends laugh out loud!

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

At the time, I expected them and knew it would be a tough road. They make you stronger because you have to remember that the best things in life don’t come without struggle. But at the same time, some of the rejection letters were a bit intense!!!

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

I went with Booksurge, a self publishing outfit, and did so because my main goal was to get it made into a movie. So I saw it as a way to pitch the story, by being able to hand them out, and even more important, have them reviewed. That way it wasn’t just me saying how great it was! I’ve gotten some great reviews!

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

It was an amazing feeling! I remember seeing my book available for the first time on Amazon, and just sitting there, like I was in a dream! I celebrated by telling everyone, then taking a long hike to take it all in.

What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I announced it on Facebook and MySpace, plus at my local Starbucks, where I gave out postcards of my book. Oh, and I also went to Sundance Film Festival and handed out free books, postcards, and bookmarks to anyone and everyone!

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

Ummm, no, it’s been a great learning process. Not just in business, but about myself as well!

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

No, it’s only been about five months, but I’ve grown quite a bit, by being able to really sit and talk with other authors, about plot and character development, style, etc. Plus, just on the marketing level…I’ve learned so much! Plus, I’ve really begun to believe in myself more as a writer, and someone whom people love to read.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

Well the first thing would be, to really understand the business and check my ego at the door. When i was first signed to a literary agency a long time ago, I was lacking in both of those things. I think another thing to really understand is how writing is the easy part…marketing is the tough part! It takes a lot of time and dedication.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

Having a production company want to make it as a movie and working with a Producer and Director to make that happen (in the works right now)! Life is very exciting right now!

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

There wouldn’t be, but if I had to…a professional soccer player in Europe. I mean look at the cities you get to play in! Either the Spanish or English Premier League.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

Never. Right now I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Hopefully having several books under my belt, and having my own small production company where i could work with my brother and friends to develop great indy films, and books!

Thank you so much for having me!

Virtual Book Tour: Interview with Contemporary Fiction Author William Petrick

william-petrickWilliam Petrick is an Emmy Award-winning documentary producer/director who has created programs for National Geographic, Discovery, MTV, Court TV and many other cable and broadcast networks. He is currently a senior producer with Bill Moyers Journal on PBS. You can find out more about William’s book by clicking here.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Bill.  Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published? Can you give us the title(s) of your book(s)?

The Five Lost Days is my first novel. I’ve been writing short stories much longer and have had the good fortune of my of them finding a home in various literary magazines.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

Years of rejections including an agent who talked me into spending six months re-writing a section of it only to tell me she couldn’t sell it as soon as I turned it in.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

De-moralized and angry. I jumped back into the fray partly out of a strange sense of getting even. “I’ll show them”. But after this wore away, I tinkered with the book a little more and sent it out yet again. I was too bull-headed to give up.

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

Pearhouse Press—because they wanted me and I was very impressed with what they were trying to do. They really wanted to keep literature—writing—alive and available.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

Immense gratitude. I just felt lucky because I know too many good writers where things haven’t turned out that way—at least not yet.

What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

the-five-lost-daysA pre-publishing party in L.A., set-up by “Power of Art”.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

Anything easier. I hear so many different stories about how people get their first book published and none are very alike—other than an ungodly amount of perseverance or luck.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

Honestly, I think I was too focused on publishing in the beginning. I was always worried about where one of my short stories might get placed. I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time and anxiety with it. It’s a little like yearning for a romantic relationship, isn’t it?—you can’t will it so you might as well go on with your life –without giving up hope but not wasting so much time worrying about it.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

I’m lucky. I like what I do as a Documentary Producer and I love to write fiction. For years, I couldn’t reconcile the two. Now I’ve come to see them complementing one another.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Writing.

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Don’t stop dreaming—or writing. Just don’t let yourself be held down by an age or a time limit. Sooner or later, if you keep at it, it will happen. In the meantime, enjoy what it is you love to do best—and leave your ego behind.

Virtual Blog Tour: Interview with Pamela Samuels Young, author of MURDER ON THE DOWN LOW

murder-on-the-down-lowPamela Samuels Young is a practicing attorney and author of legal thrillers, “Murder on the Down Low”, and the Essence bestsellers, “Every Reasonable Doubt” and “In Firm Pursuit”. A desire to see female attorneys and African-American attorneys as main characters in today’s legal fiction prompted her to begin writing despite a busy legal career. Pamela is on the Board of Directors of the Southern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America and is a graduate of the University of Southern California, Northwestern University, and the University of California Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. A former journalist, Pamela is a legal columnist for Global Woman magazine and served as legal consultant to the Showtime television series, Soul Food.

Pamela is married and lives in the Los Angeles area. She is a frequent speaker on the topics of writing and self-empowerment and loves visiting book club meetings.

Visit Pamela’s website at www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Pamela.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

I’m a practicing attorney and the author of three legal thrillers: Murder on the Down Low, Every Reasonable Doubt and In Firm Pursuit.

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

The first book I wrote was In Firm Pursuit. It didn’t get picked up until after I published the second book I wrote Every Reasonable Doubt because it was actually pretty lousy. I knew absolutely nothing about story structure.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

I received more than a dozen rejection letters and probably another dozen agents who never even bothered to respond to my query.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

I felt like crap for about a day or so. Then I got fired up and said: “I’ll show you, Mr. Agent. One day you’re going to regret not getting 15% of my seven-figure book deal.” I was determined not to let the rejection stop me. Most successful authors were rejected. It comes with the territory.

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

My first book, Every Reasonable Doubt (2006), was published by BET Books, which is now an imprint of Harlequin (Kimani Press). Frankly, I didn’t care who published me. I just wanted a book deal!

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

It felt great! On the official release date, I drove around to a bunch of bookstores in my area and just stood around staring at the book sitting on the shelf. I started to get a little teary eyed until my step-son told me not to embarrass him by crying in the store. I was just so overwhelmed that all my hard work had paid off.

What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I threw a big party and invited all of my friends to my house to drink and buy books!

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

Nope, this was a tough road, but I learned a lot and it helped me toughen up.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

Yes, I’ve been published, two more times (In Firm Pursuit (2007) and Murder on the Down Low (2008) ). After traditionally publishing two books, I self-published Murder on the Down Low. It was a scary venture but it has turned out great. It has been an incredible accomplishment taking my career into my own hands.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

I don’t think there’s any sure fire way to speed things up. “Making it” in the publishing world is based in large part on luck and timing. But I should have spent more time in the beginning mastering the writing craft. Only after I began to study writing and story structure, did I learn how to write a novel that keeps readers engaged. When I receive an email from a reader who calls my books “page turners,” I feel great. It’s a confirmation that all of my hard work was worth it.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

My biggest accomplishment since publishing Every Reasonable Doubt has been finishing and publishing two more books, In Firm Pursuit and Murder on the Down Low. So far, I’ve published a book a year and I’m on track to stick to that record with my forthcoming novel, Buying Time, which will be released in 2009. I think that’s quite an accomplishment since I’m still practicing law.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

I’ve been a journalist and I’m currently practicing law. I wouldn’t choose another profession. I love writing legal thrillers.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

Writing is my dream job. It doesn’t get any better than this!

How do you see yourself in ten years?

I see myself continuing to publish a book a year and giving up the practice of law.

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Don’t let the naysayers discourage you. Agents and editors have rejected lots of writers who went on to major success in the publishing world (e.g., John Grisham, Terry McMillan, Stephanie Meyer, J.K. Rowling). So when you get that rejection letter, take a minute or two to whine about it, then move on. Your day will come. Just keep writing!

Virtual Blog Tour: Interview with Steven Verrier, author of TOUGH LOVE, TENDER HEART

Steven Verrier, born in the United States and raised mainly in Canada, has spent much of his life living and traveling abroad. He is the author of RAISING A CHILD TO BE BILINGUAL AND BICULTURAL (a prizewinning book published bilingually in Japan) and various short dramatic works for the student market. His first novel, TOUGH LOVE, TENDER HEART, was published in the summer of 2008 by Saga Books. Currently he is living with his wife, Motoko, and four sons in San Antonio, Texas. You can visit his website at www.stevenverrier.com.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Steve! Can you start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

As far as novels are concerned, TOUGH LOVE, TENDER HEART is my first. But I’ve had other work published previous to this … in particular, short plays and nonfiction. The first volume of mine I ever saw on a bookstore shelf was actually in Japan, where the book was published bilingually.

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

My first book, a coming-of-age novel set in Japan and titled NIIGATA PORT, was written in the 1980s but hasn’t been published yet. In terms of originality and creativity, I don’t think there was much wrong with it, but my writing has become a lot tighter since then. A couple of years ago, I went back and rewrote much of the story, in the process chopping away about a hundred pages, and I think it’s ready for publication now.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

My first prose book, the one published in Japan, actually won a competition. Since part of the prize was publication, I didn’t have to go through rejection that time around. But I’ve faced more than my share both before and since then.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

Rejections are part of the game. Even Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth made more outs than hits. If you have long-term goals that take into account the probability of failure along the way, it’s not hard to keep things in perspective.

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

Again, winning that competition in Japan pretty much determined who’d publish that nonfiction book … incidentally, titled RAISING A CHILD TO BE BILINGUAL AND BICULTURAL, and published by Hira-Tai Books, based in Tokyo. As far as drama was concerned, I chose Brooklyn Publishers, a leading supplier of dramatic material to the student market. This time around a search for publishers of fiction led me to Saga Books, based in an area of western Canada where I used to live. I contacted Ruth Thompson of Saga Books, sent her a proposal and sample, and things started moving forward from there.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I didn’t celebrate much. I’m usually looking ahead to the next goal.

What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I’ve sent out press releases, done interviews … just generally tried to spread the word. Unfortunately, a lot of other responsibilities get in the way.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

No. This has been an interesting journey, though I’m looking forward to the part where the road becomes a little easier.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

If nothing more, I’ve developed the patience of Job. I’m also at a point where I’m pretty much able to execute my vision of what a particular literary project should be. That’s not to say others share that vision. My most recent publication is TOUGH LOVE, TENDER HEART, and a second novel, PLAN B, will be published by Saga Books not too far into 2009.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

I’m still making plenty of mistakes and wondering when things will speed up. But I’m much more attentive to rewriting than I used to be. Perhaps I could have been less reluctant in earlier days to take an ax to work that really could benefit from a major going-over.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

Nothing huge … yet. But being published seems to help label you as a writer … perhaps give others incentive to refer to you that way … and that’s significant.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

Musician. I’m equally committed to that field. You can listen to a few of my songs on my myspace page (accessible through stevenverrier. com).

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

Again, I’m equally committed to both. Both define much of who I am.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Several books further into my career … and a bit wiser.

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Develop a thick skin. Be The Little Engine that Could. There are few successful writers that couldn’t paper their walls with rejection letters. Set little goals along the way, and be patient when even the tiniest steps take far longer than you’d imagined. And, of course, grit your teeth and be ready to outlast every obstacle you face.

TOUGH LOVE, TENDER HEART is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble. com, and other sources. For more information about TOUGH LOVE, TENDER HEART or about Steven Verrier, visit stevenverrier. com, and drop the author a line telling him what you think about this book!

TOUGH LOVE TENDER HEART VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ’08 will officially begin on December 1 and end on December 23. You can visit Steven’s blog stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in December to find out where he is appearing!

As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors’ blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. The winner(s) will be announced on December 31!

Interview with Young Adult Author Cate Cavanagh

Cate is a published author, GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT, as well as a syndicated columnist in the spiritual and metaphysical genres. In addition she is a published print columnist in New York and was political commentator for WJFF radio in New York and podcast commentator for. Her work also appears in a number of new age publications including but not limited to Self Growth, Lightsource, E Spirit, Grannymoon, Witch’s Voice and Pagazine. She also writes for Circle of Stars a New Age ezine and is an eclectic Witch.

You can visit her website here.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Cate. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published?

Although I have had innumerable articles published and have been a syndicated columnist for many years, Her Godmother is my second published book.

Can you give us the title(s) of your book(s)?

My first book, Gifts Of The Spirit is no longer available or shouldn’t be as I fought to get out of my contract with the dreadful publisher, PublishAmerica. Many authors have been burned by this publisher. I would like to add if you happened to have purchased a copy please contact me at catecavanag@gmailcom. My newest book is Her Godmother which is available online with all online bookstores including barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com as well as fine brick and mortar bookstores, including Barnes and Noble.

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

My first book was Gifts Of The Spirit, which was published by PublishAmerica. My experience with this publisher was extremely unpleasant. After years of battling I won release from my contract so expect to see this book out again in the future!

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

I lost count of the number of the rejections and really do not put much stock by rejections at all. It’s all part of the business and we, as writers, need to get thick skinned about it. It’s like applying for a job. You win one, you lose lots. But rejections provide writers the opportunity to work on their queries and book proposals which can be very challenging. After PublishAmerica, Her Godmother was accepted by a small publisher but unfortunately this publisher went out of business before the book was published.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

At first they were devastating! This is going back many years but here is what I did to not let rejections bother me. I worked in offices for many years out of college. There were protocols I used to follow. For example I would put messages in the order in which they were received–the first one on top and so on. I would do the same for correspondences. As I got management positions I noticed overwhelmed clerical workers, putting letters in a pile as they came which meant the last letters would be on top. I concluded that with the volume of submissions, the same thing is happening in publishing houses and agents’ offices. By the time my work’s turn is up, the quota for how many titles to be published is met. After all, my work is excellent. What other reason could there be? (*wink*)

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

PublishAmerica published my first book. This publisher was among many I had submitted to and they accepted. Little did I know what a nightmare was to follow. I have since learned a lot and became more knowledgeable about what a reputable publisher is supposed to be and what a “real” contract is supposed to look like. There are many sites that list questionable publishers and agents and I recommend doing the research for anyone looking to get published.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

While it lasted I felt as if I had finally arrived! Truth be told it is still to great credit to say yo have been published. Being an author holds great status generally speaking and I was not going to let my later disappointment with the publisher take that pride away from me. I celebrated by letting everyone know. Personally, my celebration was stunted by a lot of personal tragedies that occurred around that time but the main thing was I could cite I was an author and that lent me great credibility.

What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I immediately obtained Janet Elaine Smith’s PROMO PAK and implemented the strategies outlined. This book made navigating the web and getting my name, websites and articles circulated so easy! This book is available through amazon.com and a must for any writer! I highly recommend it. It is a consistent seller! I wrote articles for everyone and everywhere which of course gave me the added plus of plugging myself and my book. With Janet’s book, I learned the importance of tags and the immense availability of free search engines. I also found bookstores all over the world and got my book listed in every database imaginable. The work doesn’t stop with publication.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

Absolutely. I would have opted to do what I did with my second book: “self” publish. I decided I did not need the frustration of constantly submitting and then waiting for word which was very time consuming in terms of record keeping and time. My publisher, StarPublish, LLC is great. What is great about exercising this authority over your work is that the publication is quick, and you are immediately released, set up for POD, print on demand, and on board for royalties rather quickly. Many authors are choosing this route now rather than giving homage to the big houses and many fine books are now available in this manner. Let us not forget many best sellers were originally self published books–Dan Millman was one such author.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

My second book is out right now (of course I have five other books in the works too) and yes, I have grown. As life happens your whole approach to story telling matures. I find also I am enjoying writing articles and short stories more and more. Writing poetry and short stories are my first loves and I will always consider myself a poet first.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

Frankly, in my case, life was my biggest obstacle as there were many things that had to take priority so my creative career really could not have developed in any other way. But my craft was honed during this time as was my perspective on life which of course impacts on what I write about.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

I am a recognized author and authority in my genre which is the supernatural, magic and quantum metaphysics and receive invites all the time from other specialists in these fields to join their groups and to write for their newsletters. Of course the biggest accomplishment is enjoying the reality that a childhood dream is realized–I am a published author!

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

I would have been a lawyer. I have always been drawn to the law but I know I would have also pursued writing even if I had become an attorney. Give me a good legal novel or movie and I am utterly glued!

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

I would have definitely combined both worlds as I said above. My muse is writing and when you have a muse it tends to tell you what to do, if you know what I mean.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

I do not think that far ahead. I believe it is far more important to focus on the now because all those meaningful and productive nows create what will be in ten years.

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Learn about the industry! Research who the publishers and agents to avoid really are. Learn about what makes a red flag. Do not be so proud as to not write for free! Getting published is the main thing. It gives you credibility, publicity, hones your craft and more importantly builds your creative portfolio.

I invite all to visit my website, quantumspirituality.tripod.com and my blog, somethingmagicalinourmists.blogspot.com where you will be able to see my book trailer, produced by Valkyrie Publishing, Theresa Chaze publisher (theresachaze.com)

An Interview with Literary Fiction Author Candis C. Coffee

Candis C. Coffee grew up in West Texas where her family has lived since 1848 when they immigrated from Ireland. The house in Mariposa is based on the 150-year-old home of her grandparents on the banks of the Concho River in San Angelo.

Candis spent nearly fifteen years in Santa Monica, California, where she was employed as a writer for various organizations. She later moved to New Orleans where she helped Chef Paul Prudhomme write the cookbook of his dreams and titled it Fork in the Road. Candis longed for the desert, however, which inspired a move to Santa Fe and graduate school at the University of New Mexico. She has since returned to her birthplace in West Texas where she currently resides.

After receiving a BA in Literature from the University of Texas, she pursued graduate studies in Creative Writing, Literature, and Spanish. She is presently at work on a children’s book and is pursuing a doctoral degree in alternative health care and the healing arts.

You can visit her website at www.candiscoffee.com.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Candis. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published? Can you give us the title(s) of your book(s)?

I co-authored a book with cartoonist, Rick Detorie (One Big Happy), titled ILLUSTRATED SEXUAL TRIVIA, in the mid-eighties. The book sold a lot of copies. Rick had written a number of cartoon books by this point and was about to become famous.

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

My own very first book was MARIPOSA.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

I spent two years each, with three huge NY agents, such as Writer’s House and McIntosh & Otis, being groomed for publication. Representation was assured, if I would just tweak the book a bit, here and there. This is not a good idea, to agree to work with agents under these conditions, for I’ve come to believe that they will not ever be satisfied. In fact, I read an article about this phenomenon in Writer’s Digest decades ago. The author advised writers to avoid doing re-writes for publishers or agents unless a deal was on the table, for there is a psychological force that comes into play, and the publisher/agent will not or cannot reach that needed point of satisfaction. There is always just one more spot that needs work. None of the agents actually ended up representing me, though they’d expressed great enthusiasm for my book at first. I spent most of my time with agents and then was finally accepted, without the help of an agent, by a new, small traditional publisher in California, one that I accidentally stumbled on.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

I would be completely devastated for 24 hours. Just finished with writing, crying to friends, full of pronouncements of my next step…to become a stockbroker, jump into the Mississippi River, etc. Then, after a day of misery, I’d be right back into the game, ready to send out new queries.

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

MARIPOSA was published by Behler Publications of California. I chose them because they loved my book and so many years had passed by this point. I had recently lost a beloved friend and was grieving. I just wanted to have my book become alive in the world, as it was in my heart.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I felt a mix of excitement and distrust. I wondered if Behler would come through for me. An established publisher in South Carolina had long pondered whether or not to publish MARIPOSA, and I wondered if I’d made a mistake, not giving him a bit more time. I celebrated quietly because I was still in mourning. It just felt finally right at least my book would be in the world after so many years of rewrites and rejection.

What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I set up book-signings in my region. A friend contacted the local paper and an interview was arranged. I was nominated for a local contest for best writer in the area.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

No, I don’t know of another route, except that after one re-write, if an agent or publisher does not offer a contract, I would find the courage to walk away from them, even if they are the big guys.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

I have not yet been published again. I don’t know that I have grown as a writer, but I have changed. I no longer see writing novels as a career choice. I, like Mickey Spillane, used to see readers as customers. I wrote MARIPOSA to be read. I have writer friends who write first for themselves, and if the book sells, all the better. That had not been my attitude. Now it is.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

I don’t think I could have speeded things up. I sent multiple queries often. The one mistake I might have made is to not have immediately started on another serious writing project, while sending MARIPOSA out. The only problem is that I didn’t have a serious writing idea.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

I was Writer of the Month for the West Texas/Dallas District of Barnes & Noble. I have heard some lovely words about my book.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

I would have become a veterinarian or wildlife biologist. Or a professor of Romance Languages.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

I am interested in animal communication though I would want to write about that rather than counsel people about their pets.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

My wish is to study animals and learn to genuinely communicate with them. I know that it can be done because I have had very real, though sporadic dialogues with them, in terms of mental words or pictures. I am interested in their true intelligence. I’d like to travel the world and write about both domestic and wild animals, fiction and non-fiction.

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Writing is perhaps 15% of the process. The other 85% is being fabulous, so that people fall in love with you and then want to buy your book. This is true for most writers, though not all. A few writers, the really good ones as far as current culture is concerned, can still be true to themselves. They can be weird, unattractive, unfriendly, and it doesn’t matter because someone somewhere discovered their work and told others about it. That is my dream. Not to be weird, unattractive and unfriendly necessarily, but to have that option if I wish.

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