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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 Teen Fantasy Author Kamilla Reid

At age 29 Kamilla Reid became the youngest person to hold the position of Artistic Director for a professional theatre company in Edmonton. During this time at Celebrations Theatre she honed her artistic skills by writing and directing five shows per year. Over this ten year incumbency the position evolved and Kamilla developed her own independent theatrical production company to which the dinner theatre contracted out. This worked quite well with her new schedule due to the birth of her daughter.

After forty produced plays, Kamilla felt she’d creatively done all she could within the live theatre format and, during a period of massive change whereby she found herself in the role of single mother, she began scrawling and plunking on the keyboard and finally, drawing out the long held images of DréAmm and its freckled young inhabitant Root Karbunkulus.

Currently Kamilla is working on book two of the “Questory” series. You can visit her website at www.rootkarbunkulus.com or her blog at www.rootkarbunkulus.com/blog.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Kamilla. 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 am a first time published author of “The Questory of Root Karbunkulus”, a teen fantasy series of six books. And I must add that the thrill in saying that never ceases J

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

“The Questory of Root Karbunkulus” is my first 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?

I knew from the start that I wanted to go out on my own first. After years in live theatre where budgets dictated everything and I just couldn’t treadmill out another 6-person musical, I wanted complete freedom to explore this new field on my own. I wanted to write my book and have fun creating the book cover and I wanted to make an awesome website and book trailer. I wanted to do it all for the fun of it but also to learn the business of books. It was very worth it to me. Since then however, I have expanded to the place where I want and need a traditional publisher to take the book into wider distribution. It has become too much for me to wear so many hats, not to mention the Single Mum Crown. And to my surprise, despite the clear success of my efforts I have choked down my share of rejections.

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

I hope this doesn’t sound too arrogant but I was really shocked that they would let something so awesome slip through their fingers. So then I told myself that they clearly weren’t ready for success J

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

I’m the kind of person who likes to celebrate every mark along the way, which is great because it’s funny how when it actually happens, it just feels so…logical. I mean amazing for sure but…see, I remember visualizing getting my first book, the smell of the pages, the smoothness of the cover, the color, the feel…and it was just so delicious. But when I actually got the books, they were weeks late and I was in a rush to get them to a reading. So, sometimes the process wrecks it a bit. However, having said that, not a day goes by when I don’t thank the gods at how lucky I am to be living my dream, sharing my stories with the world, knowing my words are making readers laugh and cry and smile and cheer. I love getting emails from kids who have read my book and can’t wait to find out what happens next. It is pure joy!

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

Having spent so many years in live theatre where entire companies live off government grants and marketing is the first thing to get cut, I just really wanted to do it right. I think self-promotion is absolutely necessary. Right out of the gate I was building an amazing website and book trailer. The trailer won awards and took off on the internet, which was great for creating some buzz. But it was also the most important part of my book tour. I played it on big screens before every reading and it was a huge hit with the kids. You can view it on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIgo1wS_0JI

Or at the book’s website, http://www.rootkarbunkulus.com

which is also truly incredible and creates a big impression on my teen readers. I had trendy dogtags made up and used them as prizes for Q and A’s along with props and my signature red ‘Valador’ cloak as a costume. I did a huge book launch, too that really got the word out at the beginning. You can also view it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA-b7DAfZrQ&feature=related

The book tour was by far the most rewarding and successful as it helped me to sell 1000 books in 8 weeks. Since then it has been a steady sell. I also submitted my book for reviews and used them in promotions. The internet was probably my biggest challenge as, after the website and trailer, I just had no idea where to even begin. But I think the internet is a huge, HUGE asset to promoting and so I have been learning as I go along.

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

Sometimes I wish I’d have just gone straight to the agent/publisher route. There were times I was doing too much and getting burnt out. But the good thing is that I had managed a fair amount of success on my own, which was a great thing to bring to the tables of agents and traditional publishers. My book is currently being considered by four major literary agents, many of which were attracted to me via my internet presence.

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

I have grown leaps and bounds. My writing voice is so much stronger and more confident. It is amazing what confidence can do. I feel like I have come back to the pure joy of writing, sans the doubt that used to pick at me.

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?

In all honesty, I think I could have relaxed more. It seems that every time I got stressed and pushed too hard, everything would fall apart. I have learned that a relaxed mind is a creative mind and not just for writing my novel but for anything I apply myself to. It seems to keep thing flowing smoother. So, yeah, I have learned to let go and stop forcing things and to trust in myself and the universe more.

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

By far the biggest and the best has been my rekindled confidence in myself as a writer. It has given me back the joy that brought me there in the first place.

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

Performing…probably musical theatre. But this is so much better. Actually it’s great now because when I do my readings I enter in the dark, with my red cloak and only a lantern for light and the music is all eery and dramatic. And then I get to read and interact with the kids, which I LOOOOOOVVVEE. So, I guess I can do both J

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Writing. Traveling. Living on the coast. Having backyard bar-b-q’s and bonfires with great friends and family. Not much different than it is now. I have always made a balanced life my top priority. Writing is a wonderful part of my life, just as important as my family, my friends, my dogs, my home, my health.

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

We all have different paths to our dreams…it’s like the way a ship is navigated with many detours and changes as the sea demands but always the compass remains steadfast. However way you decide to go doesn’t matter. Just never, ever lose sight of your inner compass. Never give up. You’ll get there sooner than you think. But more importantly, as cliché as it sounds, enjoy the journey. Get there balanced so that you have no ‘tunnel vision’ regrets. Get there with great memories and friends and family to share it with.

An Interview with Young Adult Fiction Author Kim Baccellia

Ms. Baccellia’s writing credits include numerous poems published in a variety of magazines, ranging from Beginnings magazine and Latino Stuff Review to Coil magazine. Her poem, My Father , appears in the Mind Mutations Anthology published by The Sun Rising Poetry Press. Her essay on the adoption of her son, Finally, Our Turn , appeared in both Adoptive Families magazine and the Adoptive Families 2003-2004 Adoption Guide . She is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators ( SCBWI).

Earrings of Ixtumea is a finalist in the 2006 Dream Realm Awards and was a finalist in the Smartwriters 2006 WIN contest.

You can visit her website at http://www.kim-baccellia.com/ and her blog at kbaccellia.livejournal.com.

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

Earrings of Ixtumea is my first novel.  I’ve had numerous poems and essays published in a number of publications. 

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

Earrings of Ixtumea  

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 had 58 rejections!  I ended up going to a small press, who first published it as an e-serial, then an ebook, and finally in print. 

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

Wow, that’s a loaded question!  At first the rejections got me down, but I put them aside and tried again.  One way I had of overcoming a rejection is to send out three more queries. 

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

Virtual Tales is my publisher.  I liked the look of their product and how they thought outside of the box.  The whole e-serial concept intrigued me.  I thought Earrings would be perfect for this format.  Also I went with them so I could get my toe into the publishing world.  I’ve learned a lot this past year!   

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

I was very excited!  Yes, I’d had poems and essays published but not a book!  I even had a poem published in an anthology but nothing that was just my work.  It was very exciting!  We went out to dinner to celebrate.  I told the people next to us I was going to be a published author and they saluted me.   

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

I signed up for a PR class with Louise Ahern who teaches through AuthorMBA.  She has a number of classes available but the one that really helped me was her boot camp for writers.  I also had a contest. 

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

No.  I don’t regret signing with Virtual Tales.  The whole team has worked very hard to help make my book be a success.   

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

Not yet but I’m working on it!  Yes, I’ve grown a lot this past year.  I’ve learned that writing the book is only a small part of the whole publishing thing.  PR and marketing is a whole job by itself.  I’d highly recommend first time published authors to have a blog, website, and to have a virtual book tour.   

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?

Not send out my manuscript until I’d done a few revisions.  I got very impatient the first time around.  I’d recommend others to put their manuscript aside for a few weeks then go back to it.  Don’t be impatient!  You don’t want to burn any bridges. 

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

Earrings was a Dream Realm 2006 award finalist.  I completed a month long virtual book tour. 

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

Too funny!  I was an elementary school teacher for fifteen years.  I’d like to go back to school later and finish my post graduate work and maybe even get my PhD.  I’d also like to do research into autism and sensory impairment issues.   I’m surprised at how little the schools help these children. 

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

Right now I enjoy being an author.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.  It’s also great that I have the opportunity to help my son at his school.  I used to tell my parents how important it was to help out but I felt like such a hypocrite as I couldn’t.  Now I help the teacher.  Let’s just say they are excited to know that I’m a credentialed teacher too.  Plus I’m able to help in the library and see what books the students like.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Wow, let’s see…I see myself speaking at conferences.  I’ll also have a few more books under my belt. 

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

If you want to be published, you need to write!  There’s no secret potion to being published.  Believe me, if I knew it, I would have taken it!

Be persistent.  Don’t give up.  Take advantage of any opportunities that come your way.  

An Interview with Young Adult Fiction Author L. Diane Wolfe

L. Diane Wolfe’s series, The Circle of Friends, focuses on the pursuit of dreams and the overcoming of obstacles. The stories intertwine as the characters learn that with belief and encouragement, they can achieve anything. Her latest in the series, “Mike: Book IV”, follows one young man’s journey of forgiveness.

Traveling the East Coast to promote her series, Wolfe sets herself on a heavy tour of extensive book signings and speaking engagements. The author averages over sixty appearances each year, maintains a website & blog for her series, and contributes articles for several other sites. She conducts seminars on publishing & promoting, goal setting and works with writer’s groups. Meant to inspire as well as entertain, Wolfe’s books have been described as “encouragement personified”.

You can visit her website at http://www.thecircleoffriends.net/.    

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Diane! Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published? You are welcome to tell us about them if you like.

Good day! I am the author of a series of five, four of which are currently in release. My Southern-based series, The Circle of Friends, focuses on the pursuit of dreams and the overcoming of obstacles. Book I, LORI follows a young swimmer pursing Olympic dreams. Book II, SARAH follows a Georgia Tech student searching for trust and belief. Book III, JAMES follows a young man struggling to overcome past abuse. Book IV, MIKE follows a young man unable to let go of past mistakes and forgive himself. Book V, HEATHER will be released in 2009. The stories intertwine as the characters learn that with belief and encouragement, they can achieve anything.

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

My first completed novel was LORI! However, I began writing as a teen and have two incomplete science fiction stories that were to be part of a series. While I have long since scrapped the idea of the second book, the first story’s basic premise will be the next book I attempt after my current series is complete. Working title CASSASTAR, it will follow two brothers in a war.

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?

Book I of my series, The Circle of Friends, followed a swimmer with Olympic dreams. By the time the book reached the editing step, the Olympic games were just one year away. I realized that if I pursued the traditional route, it would be a minimum of five years before my book would be published. Outside of the time it would take to find a publisher, I knew Book I would be held to coincide with the Summer Olympics. Eventually I selected a subsidy publisher. They offered Print-On-Demand digital printing and a return option for the books that no other subsidy publisher at the time could match. Whereas POD and subsidy publishing tend to kill most authors and their books, I had two things going for me – naïve willingness and a rep that understood marketing. My rep suggested numerous books and websites to assist me with promotions and told me to start making bookstore appearances. I eagerly followed all of his advice and by the end of the year, I’d done fifty book signings and built a good fan base. I did send out a handful of queries for Books II and III, but not enough to see any results. By this time, traditional publishing was not a route that excited me. I have since then done my research and am preparing to start my own publishing company in 2008 and take on other authors.

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

Almost every rejection was a form letter, so none of them really bothered me.

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

As I said before, I went with a subsidy press, AuthorHouse. I selected them because they offered returnable Print-On-Demand, something that was just unheard of at the time. I stayed with them for the next few years because of the easy access my books and I had to the bookstores and because of the assistance I received from my rep. During this time, I learned so much about the publishing industry!

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

Holding that first book is quite a thrill! My husband brought me a dozen roses and took numerous promo pictures of me holding LORI.

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

I threw a book release party in my hometown. The local newspaper ran a big article and I sent out invitations to everyone I knew. It was a tremendous success and so encouraging!

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

I do not regret the path I chose. I could have waited and done all of the self-publishing research before releasing LORI and started my own company first. However, so much of what I learned came from experience. I’m not sure I would’ve been prepared to do it completely on my own.

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

After LORI, a new book followed every year, up to the current release, MIKE. And I don’t know how one could write all of that and NOT grow as an author! I cannot wait to do revisions to Book I, although I am still pleased with the spirit and storyline of each book. I can see a big difference as the books have progressed, the stories becoming more focused and with stronger conflict. Of course, this really puts the pressure on Book V, HEATHER!

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?  

Knowing more about the industry would have helped tremendously!! But I put off my dream of being an author for so many years. I tell other writers learn the craft, do research, but don’t put it off forever!

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

On a professional level, I am now a paid speaker. I teach publishing & promoting seminars, speak to clubs & organizations, and do seminars on overcoming obstacles. On a personal level, it is the friends I have made along the way and the people I’ve affected through my books that matter the most! That my work inspires others means the world to me.

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

I am also a professional photographer and could have been happy continuing with that. However, writing for a roller coaster magazine would be the best, because I’d HAVE to travel the world and ride roller coasters!

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

I would rather just ride the coasters than give up being an author! And my photography fits well with my writing, as I take my own promotional shots. My camera also travels with me when I make appearances, and I have pictures of fans and such all over my website.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

As a successful small publisher, with at least four other authors, and four more books under my belt. I will continue with speaking engagements as well. Most important, I will feel good knowing I have made a difference in other’s lives!

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

Begin with the end in mind! If you want to be on the New York Times Bestseller List with a fictional title, you will have to land one of the major publishing houses. If you want just family & friends to read your book, self-publish a hundred copies for yourself. No matter what though, do your research. You need to fully understand the path you’ve chosen before boldly going forth, or you’ll just wind up frustrated. Just don’t give up on your dream!

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