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Pump Up Your Book March 2011 Authors on Tour Facebook Party!

Strike up the band and join the chorus…Pump Up Your Book will be hosting the March 2011 Authors on Tour on Friday March 25, 2011 at 9 – 11 p.m. (eastern time – adjust to your time zone). Tell your book friends that not only will this give them an opportunity to chat with their favorite authors there will be a huge giveaway at the end of the chat, too!
Here’s how it will work:

The party will kick off at our Facebook Party Page with a 2 hour chat in which all authors will get a certain time slot to answer questions. All time slots will be listed on the party page so that you’ll know who is going to be up next. After the party, everyone is invited back here to find out who has won our fabulous prizes with directions on how to claim them. Easy peasy!

What you must do before the chat if you’re going to attend:

1. In order to participate in the chat, you must “like” our Facebook Fan Page at www.facebook.com/pumpupyourbook.

2. Sign up before the chat so we have time to approve you which will be the second step.

3. Once you’re approved, head on over to the Facebook Party page at http://www.facebook.com/thewriterslife#!/note.php?note_id=10150097454282449 and leave a comment so we know you made it in.

Note: If you wait to sign up too late, you might not get in because once the party starts, it will be nearly impossible to get back into email to see if anyone needs getting in, so do this early please.

What to do when the chat ends:

Once the chat is over, head back over here to find out if you have won a prize. All prizes and winners will be announced in the body of this blog post. If you are a winner, you have 72 hours to contact me at thewriterslife@yahoo.com to claim your prize. If we do not hear from you during that time, we will find another winner.

Rules & Regulations Recap:

  1. If an author does not show up, prizes will still be awarded.
  2. If you do not claim your prize within 72 hours, another winner will be chosen.
  3. You must participate in the chat in order to become eligible to win a prize.
  4. Leaving comments on this page does not make you eligible to win a prize. You must participate in the Facebook chat.
  5. Pump Up Your Book is not responsible for lost or damaged prizes.
  6. We will be using Random.org to determine winners and will be posted on this blog after the Facebook chat.
  7. This contest is in no way affiliated with Facebook and is promoted solely by Pump Up Your Book.

Our March 2011 Authors on Tour who are participating in the chat/giveaway includes:

Caitlin RotherCaitlin Rother is the author of true crime books Dead Reckoning, Body Parts, Twisted Triangle, and Poisoned Love, and the thriller, Naked Addiction. She is also the co-author of My Life, Deleted and Where Hope Begins, soon to be re-released as Deadly Devotion. She is now working on The Makings of a Monster, the story of the rape and murder of beloved teenagers Chelsea King and Amber Dubois. Rother, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist, worked as an investigative reporter at daily newspapers for nineteen years before deciding to write books full-time. She is the founder of the San Diego Writing Women blog, and her work has been published in Cosmopolitan, the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and The Daily Beast. She has appeared as a crime expert on E! Entertainment, the Oxygen Network, Investigation Discovery, Greta Van Susteren’s “On the Record,” and America at Night.” She also teaches journalism, narrative non-fiction and creative writing at UCSD Extension in San Diego. She is now working on The Makings of a Monster, the story of how John Gardner grew from a caring troubled boy into an angry man who couldn’t control his compulsions to rape and murder beloved teenagers Chelsea King and Amber Dubois.” You can visit her website at www.caitlinrother.com.

Caitlin will be giving away a paperback copy of her true crime novel, Dead Reckoning!

John AmesJohn Ames has a master’s degree in English from the University of Florida, where he was a Ford Fellow. After graduation, he built a rustic house and lived for several years on the edge of a spiritual community located near Gainesville, Florida. John’s search for enlightenment ended when he decided that he was too far from a movie theater. He moved inside the Gainesville city limits and taught English and film for thirty years at Santa Fe College. He has produced and acted in numerous short films and videos, including the cable TV series the “Tub Interviews,” wherein all the interviewees were required to be in a bathtub. For ten years he reviewed movies for PBS radio station WUFT. He has appeared as a standup comedian and has designed and marketed Florida-themed lamps. He coauthored Second Serve: The Renée Richards Story (Stein and Day, 1983) and its sequel No Way Renée: The Second Half of My Notorious Life (Simon & Schuster, 2007), and Speaking of Florida (University Presses of Florida, 1993). His recent book is a coming-of-age novel titled Adventures in Nowhere. You can visit his website at www.johnamesauthor.com.

John will be giving away a paperback copy of his coming of age novel, Adventures in Nowhere!

Megan van EyckMegan van Eyck lives near Seattle, Washington with her husband and children.

Memoirs of a Widowed Mistress is her first memoir.

You can visit Megan’s website at www.widowedmistress.com.

Megan will be giving away a copy of her memoir, Memoirs of a Widowed Mistress!

Allan LeveroneAllan Leverone is a three-time Derringer Award Finalist whose short fiction has been featured in Needle: A Magazine of Noir, Shroud Magazine, Twisted Dreams, Mysterical-E and many other venues, both print and online.

His debut thriller, titled FINAL VECTOR, is available February 2011 from Medallion Press.

For details, please visit www.allanleverone.com or his blog at www.allanleverone.blogspot.com.

Allan is giving away an e-copy of his thriller, Final Vector, and 6 e-copies of Postcards from the Apocalypse!


Barbara BarnettBarbara Barnett is Co-Executive Editor of Blogcritics, an Internet magazine of pop culture, politics and more owned by Technorati Media. Always a pop-culture geek, Barbara was raised on a steady diet of TV (and TV dinners), but she always found her way to TV’s antiheroes and misunderstood champions, whether on TV, in the movies or in literature. Barnett’s regular column, “Welcome to the End of the Thought Process: An Introspective Look at House, M.D.” features insightful episode commentaries and interviews with the House cast and creative team. It is the place for intelligent discussion of the hit television series starring Hugh Laurie. Barbara has had an eclectic career. With an undergraduate degree in biology and minors in chemistry and English, she pursued a PhD in Public Policy Analysis after spending a few years working in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Her first professional writing gig was with a food industry trade magazine, and although it wasn’t exactly like writing for The New Yorker, it completely hooked her on the profession of writing. She also writes lots of other things, including technology (from a non-geek perspective), the movies, politics and all things Jewish. Based in the north shore suburbs of Chicago, Barnett is married with two brilliant children and a dog. Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D. is her first (commercial) book. She hopes it’s not her last. Visit Barbara’s website at www.barbarabarnett.com.

Barbara will be giving away a copy her television nonfiction, Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide of House M.D.!


Hayley RoseHayley Rose grew up in the beach side town of Pacific Palisades , California, to a family of visual artists. In the early 1990’s she traveled the U.S. with her band Crush Violet. In 1994, after a family reunion, she was inspired to write a children’s book. Looking for a cute and catchy name for a main character, she kept hearing “first in, first out”. Hence, the name Fifo was born. Hayley’s mother would often ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up, so Hayley decided to start her series of “Fifo” books with that very question. Her first book, Fifo “When I Grow Up” was published in 2002. Her love of travel inspired her second book in the Fifo series, Fifo “50 States”, published in 2010. Along with writing children’s books, Hayley has been working in entertainment business management for the past 15 years, specializing in concert touring. She has worked with many “A list” musicians including Michael Jackson, Rod Stewart and Candlebox just to name a few. Hayley hopes to one day soon release an album of children’s songs. She is a currently member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and resides in Los Angeles, CA. You can visit her website at www.fifothebear.com.

Hayley will be giving away one copy of her children’s book ‘Fifo: 50 States’ and one copy of ‘Fifo: When I Grow Up’!

Kristina McMorrisKristina McMorris lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Her foray into fiction began in the fall of 2006 as a result of interviewing her grandmother for the biographical section of a self-published cookbook intended as a holiday gift for the family. Inspired by her grandparents’ wartime courtship, Kristina penned her first novel, a WWII love story titled Letters from Home. This award-winning debut is scheduled for release in trade paperback from Kensington Books (2-22-11; U.S.) and Avon/HarperCollins (5-5-11; U.K.). The condensed book rights have been sold to Reader’s Digest, and the film rights are represented by the prestigious Creative Artists Agency of Los Angeles. Prior to her literary career, Kristina acted in numerous independent films and major motion pictures. She began hosting an Emmy-award winning television show at age nine, and most recently served as the six-year host of the WB’s weekly program Weddings Portland Style. Adding to her diverse résumé, McMorris is a professional emcee, literary workshop presenter, and former owner of a wedding/event planning business. Her previous writing background includes being a contributing writer for Portland Bride & Groom magazine and ten years of directing public relations for an international conglomerate. A portion of Kristina’s sales proceeds from Letters from Home will benefit United Through Reading®, a nonprofit organization that video records deployed U.S. military personnel reading bedtime stories for their children. She is currently working on her next novel. You can visit her website at www.kristinamcmorris.com.

Kristina will be giving away a copy of her women’s fiction, Letters From Home!

F.M. MeredithF.M. Meredith, also known as Marilyn Meredith, is the author of nearly thirty published novels. Her latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series, from Oak Tree Press, is Angel Lost. Marilyn is a member of EPIC, Four chapters of Sisters in Crime, including the Internet chapter, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at http://fictionforyou.com and her blog at http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com. You can like Marilyn on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marilyn-Meredith/276444167416.

F.M. will be giving away a copy of her mystery/crime, Angel Lost!


Cynthia KocialskiCynthia Kocialski is the founder of three companies – two fabless semiconductor and one software company. In the past 15 years, she has been involved in dozens of start-ups and has served on various advisory boards. These companies have collectively returned billions of dollars to investors. Cynthia has worked with established companies to bring start-up techniques and technologies to corporations desiring to process improvement and efficiency. Prior to her work in the start-up community, Cynthia has held a wide range of technical, marketing, and management positions at major corporations. At IBM, Cynthia began with financial software to facilitate the tracking of sales and inventory for international operations. She later moved into development and engineering management working of scientific workstations. Finally, Cynthia transitioned into technical marketing and strategic planning role for graphics and digital video components for personal computers. At Matrox, Cynthia was the general manager, overseeing the R&D area of digital video and image processing product lines, Cynthia graduated of the University of Rochester with bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and applied statistics. She also has graduate degrees from the University of Virginia in both electrical engineering and systems engineering. She also writes the popular Start-up Entrepreneurs’ Blog and has written many articles on emerging technologies. Her latest book is Start Up from the Ground Up: Practical Insights for Entrepreneurs. You can visit her website at www.cynthiakocialski.com.

Cynthia will be giving away 10 paperback copies of her startup business book, Startup from the Ground Up!

LainaLaina Turner-Molaski is a businesswoman, mom, author, Professor, and a major supporter of shopping. She has an undying love for shoes and coffee, which is why she created her main character and alter-ego Presley Thurman. With a lot of letters after her name and a ton of student loan debt, she is always working to pay the bills. While she enjoys her day job, her passion is writing, and she uses a lot of company time writing her fiction or working on her social website for women, Chiczofrenic.com. She is hoping to sell her book before she gets fired from her day job for goofing off. Laina is currently living in Indiana, with her family, and is always writing something, whether it’s blogs, articles, business journals and books or ideas for her next novel. She is continuously doing what she loves which is writing or drinking coffee. You can visit her website at www.lainaturner.com.

Laina will be giving away a paperback copy of her novel, Stilettos & Scoundrels AND a copy of The MS Project: Orange is the New Pink!

Pump Up Your Book will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift certificate!!!!

More prizes to be announced!

If you have any questions, you may leave your question below or email me at thewriterslife@yahoo.com.

See you at the party!!!!

Virtual Book Tour: Interview with Historical Fiction Author Kathye Quick

Kathye QuickKathye Quick has been writing since the sisters in Catholic School gave her a #2 pencil and some paper with ruled lines.

From stories about her family for Writing Week in fifth grade, to becoming editor-in-Chief of her high school newspaper, The Blueprint, to 1999 when she realized her dream of being published, Kathye’s love of the written word span numerous genres.

She writes contemporary and career romances for Avalon Books, romantic comedy and historicals for Wings Press, urban fantasy for Cerridwen Press, and most recently medieval historical romances for Wild Rose Press.

Kathye is one of the founders of Liberty States Fiction Writers, a group launched in January 2009 to help writers of all fiction genres in their journey to publication. She had been a member of New Jersey Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America since 1988 and considered it an honor to have been NJRW President in 1992 and 2001.

Kathye’s fifth hardcover romance for Avalon books, ‘Tis the Season, a holiday romance complete with Santa Claus, a sleigh ride and a New England snowfall earned a 2006 HOLT Medallion nomination.

Her debut historical romance, Daughters of the Moon, from Wings e-Press has been heralded as a flawless glimpse into the world of the ancient Greeks.

Writing as P. K. Eden with writing partner, Patt Mihailoff, Firebrand, an urban fantasy based on the fall of the Garden of Eden, has won two Reviews Choice Awards and many five-star ratings.

In August 2009, Avalon Books will publish her three-book contemporary romance series entitled Grandmother’s Rings. The books, Amethyst (August 2009), Sapphire (December 2009) and Citrine (early 2010) follow the Archer family siblings in their quest to find their soul mates using rings given to them by their Grandmother. Kathye used the birthstones from her family for her inspiration for this series.

While writing romances has been her dream for many years, the book of Kathye’s heart, is a non-fiction work entitled, Hi Mom, How Are Things in Heaven, a book that developed after the death of her mother and deals with coping with grief though humor. She is currently still working on the concept for this book.

In her “other” life, Kathye works for Somerset County government. She is married with three sons. You can visit her website at www.kathyequick.com.

Cynthia and ConstantineWelcome to Beyond the Books, Kathye. 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)?

It still seems strange to me to consider myself multi-published, but I am so blessed.

I write for a few houses.

For Avalon I write contemporary and romantic comedies. My first book was actually considered a Career Romance (that line has since been rolled into the Contemporary Romance Line) entitled BLUE DIAMOND. It was followed by JESSIE’S WEDDING, STEALING APRIL’S HEART, FALLING FOR YOU and ‘TIS THE SEASON.

‘TIS THE SEASON is a holiday romance in which Santa quits the family business. It was a HOLT (Honoring Outstanding Literary Talent) Medallion finalist.

Coming out beginning in August 2009 is my GRANDMOTHER’S RINGS series for Avalon. The three-book contemporary romance series follows the Archer Family siblings in their quest to find their soul mates after being given their Grandmother’s Rings by their mother. I used the birthstones from my family as inspiration. AMETHYST will be out in August 2009, followed by SAPPHIRE in December 2009 and lastly, CITRINE in early 2010.

I also write romantic comedies and historical romance for Wings ePress. Those titles are ONE RAINY NIGHT, my first book, and DAUGHTERS OF THE MOON, my favorite book an ancient Greek Historical

Most recently I was fortunate to have the Wild Rose Press publish a historical romance set in Arthurian times entitled CYNTHIA AND CONSTANTINE. Second to my love of Greek myths and legends, I am totally caught up in Camelot.

Finally, with writing partner Patt Mihailoff, I write as P. K. Eden. P. K. writes urban fantasy for Cerridwen Press. FIREBRAND, a book based on the fall of the Garden of Eden came out in 2008. FIREBRAND has won two Reviewer’s Choice Awards and many 5-star ratings. In giving us a Review’s Pick from Affair de Coeur, the reviewer said that FIREBRAND was “a story worthy of the Hobbit series and Harry Potter.” Patt and I were blown away with the compliment.

Patt and I are both lovers of sci-fi/fantasy and had a great time with this book.

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

OMG. My First Book – what a disaster!! It was called DUTY OR DESIRE and I thought I was the most prolific writer in the world. I quickly came to find out that I knew NOTHING about writing or publishing.

It was never published. It was a train wreck on paper.

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?

Rejection? I think I had the ultimate rejection.

I’ve been writing since crayons and Catholic School lined paper, but didn’t really set my mind to anything until the 1990’s. Being a voracious reader, I decided to try my hand without any guidance. I wrote a book I thought was wonderful without any chapter breaks, without any page numbers (if you could believe it) and without any advice. I just picked a publisher and sent it off.

That was on a Friday.

On Wednesday it came back.

Well, I thought to myself, it must have been mistake, so I put it in another envelope and sent it back out. That was on the following Friday.

That weekend, I ran into Barbara Breton, a romance writer of note who was writing for Harlequin at that time, and we got to talking about writing. She told me about a local writing group that was meeting the next day and invited me to go to the meeting.

At that meeting, I learned exactly why my manuscript had come back so fast. I had done everything wrong. I was no where near ready for submission let alone publication.

Needless to say the manuscript came back again. On Tuesday this time!

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

Rejection is awful. Anyone who ever got a rejection notice knows that. It’s like someone looking at your baby and telling you the baby is ugly.

But you have to go on if you really love to write and are serious about it. It’s much easier to give up if you were only dabbling.

I wanted to have a book out, so I kept on writing. After learning more about the right way you do things, and after finally getting a book that was at least ready for submission, I just kept sending it out and growing a thicker and thicker skin.

Writing is a humbling process. For everyone who loves your work, there is someone who thinks it is the worse thing he or she ever read.

But if you keep it at and keep perfectly your style and technique, you’ll not only find your voice, but also your audience.

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

My first book was published in 1999. It was called ONE RAINY NIGHT and was about a hero and heroine who met during a Hurricane. I got a few rejection letters from the New York houses like Harlequin and Silhouette, but I believed in the story and kept submitting it around.

Then Hurricane Floyd hit the east coast. The foundation of my house collapsed and I lost just about everything I owned up to four feet on the first floor.

But I also got a call from an eBook publisher – Starlight Writers – who said they wanted to publish my book. I think that call helped me through the next eight months of rebuilding.

Starlight Writers does not exist any longer, but the book was then placed with Wings ePress which is going strong today. In fact I still get some small royalty checks for ONE RAINY NIGHT because it is an eBook and Print on Demand. I will be forever grateful for that call. It helped me through some pretty dismal times.

But if I thought my first book would have been sp prophetic, I would have written about a lottery winner instead of a hurricane!

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

There is nothing in the world like getting “the call.” Writers know it; non-writers cannot really relate.

Because I was in the center of a disaster at the time, there was no time to celebrate. I had to rebuild my house so I could get my computer room back and write book two!

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

ONE RAINY NIGHT came out in time for a writers’ conference the following year. I purchased magnets in the shape of an umbrella with the book title and website address on them, and gave them to each conference attendee. I think they were 50-cents each at the time and there were 400 conference attendees. I did make up the promotional cost in sales, although it took a lot longer than I would have liked. EBooks were in their infancy at the time.

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

I may have tried to get an agent, but I think it would have taken more books and a few more years.

I am very comfortable in the ay things have turned out since that first book. I am very happy with small press and eBooks right now because I have a high-powered day job I love and am not ready to give it up. Especially in today’s economic climate.

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

I am fortunate to have become quasi-successful in the small press and eBook market. I don’t think I have submitted to a large house since I was first published, but I may have in the early years.

Patt and I, writing as P. K. Eden our fantasy alter-ego, are planning on securing an agent for our urban fantasies, however. Based on the success of FIREBRAND, we have a series planned that we would like to see in a larger house to get more exposure. We are in the planning and first draft stage of that process and are excited about the concept. We both love the sci-fi channel and are voracious about it. We sometimes do a MST3 (Mystery Science Theater) commentary when we watch it.

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 think my post on rejection covered this to the fullest. Doofus me!!

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

I think that meeting my writing partner, Patt Mihailoff, has made the biggest difference in my life and my writing. My weaknesses are her strengths. With her, I can write way outside the writing box and write the story that had been stuck inside my head for years.

With her, I have won two Reviewer’s Choice Awards. Having someone else like your writing besides your family (which was my biggest fear) has been the most rewarding thing ever. If I did this without the help of Patt, I know it would have taken years longer to accomplish.

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

Both my professions seemed to have chosen me. If I wanted to be a successful writer or find the job I have in government, it would not have worked.

I can’t imagine not being in government now that I have been for over 18 years. It’s an ever-changing job with nothing scripted or the same every day beings a new challenge that requires insight, forethought, creativity, networking skills and the ability to find answers. There is nothing routine or mundane about it. Who could want anything more?

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

I do believe I have the best of both worlds. In my ‘daytime’ job I have met so many people and discovered so many resources that I can call upon them it I get stuck in a writers block or write my character into a corner.

I can find law enforcement professionals if I need to find about how the system works or how to MacGyver someone out of a jam. I’ve worked with environmentalists, lobbyists, researchers, lawyers, medical professionals, senators, you name it, and have a vast wealth of information, both valuable and useless  locked inside my head or my computer.

More than once something I have remembered has ended up bridges scenes in one of my books.

I am totally grateful for those opportunities. So what I’m saying is keep your eyes open and keep a journal. Writer everything down from a quirky name to an unusual fact or source. You never know when you’ll need it.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

I’d love to be on my 50th book with one or two as Lifetime Movies. Hey, we can dream, can’t we?

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

Never give up polishing your work and submitting it. I can’t remember who said it right now but one of my favorite quotes is “Failure is simply not knowing how close you were to success before you gave up.”

I truly believe that.


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Interview with Kim Smith, Author of Avenging Angel: A Shannon Wallace Mystery

avenging-angelKim Smith was born in Memphis Tennessee, the youngest of four children. After a short stint in a Northwest Mississippi junior college, during the era of John Grisham’s rise as a lawyer, she gave up educational pursuits to marry and begin family life.

She has worked in many fields in her life, from fast food waitress to telephone sales. “I always got the seniors on the phone who were lonely and wanted someone to talk to. My boss couldn’t understand why in the world I spent so much time talking to them and not enough time selling. That was when I realized I love people and care deeply about their lives.”

After the birth of her two children, she gave up working outside the home for the more important domestic duties of wife and mother. When her kids decided they wanted to pursue theater as an extracurricular activity, she gave up her free time to drive them to rehearsals, training classes, and plays. During those years, she found herself bored with nothing to do to while away the hours stuck in a car. She began thinking of stories to entertain herself and pass the time. Before long she started telling her husband about her stories and he assured her she could write a book if she really wanted to. She put the idea away once she landed a job as a network administrator for a small corporation, and together the Smith’s started their own video production company.

Writing was a dream, hidden but not forgotten, and soon Kim began to talk again of trying her hand at it. She played with words, and wrote several poems, one of which was picked up for an anthology

One day in the early nineties her husband came home with a desktop computer and sat her in front of it. “Now you have no more excuses,” he said, and she realized the truth in his words. Procrastination, now no longer an option, she took off on the pursuit of penning her first book. Though that book, a young adult fantasy, was lost due to unforeseen circumstances, she kept going, writing a historical romance, and another YA.

When she decided to try out her hand at mystery writing, she discovered her true love and niche in the writing journey. She has since had four short stories, and her first mystery novel accepted for publication.

Kim is a member of Sisters in Crime, and EPIC. She still lives in the Mid South region of the United States and is currently working on her second book in the mystery series.

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

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Kim. 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)?

Avenging Angel, a Shannon Wallace Mystery is my first published book, but not my first book per se. I have written three other books, although I decided to keep working on them rather than seek publication.

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

The Realm, my very first book, was never published as it was not publish-worthy. I do not even have a copy of it anymore, and that is probably a good thing as my writing has improved dramatically since then.

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?

More than ten, maybe less than twenty, and all from agents. When I gave up trying to get an agent, and began submitting to small publishers (who accept submissions direct from the author) I was accepted straight away.

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

Initially, the rejections stung a bit. I was not mature enough to know that they were not rejecting my writing, but the book instead. I believe that if I were to seek an agent today, rejections would not bother me at all.

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

Avenging Angel was published by Red Rose Publishing, and I chose them upon a recommendation by someone who works for them. I have never regretted taking their advice.

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

I have to tell you, it felt wonderful. I kept going back to the buy page just to look at the way MY work looked to the public. I went out to dinner and celebrated with good food, good friends, and dessert.

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

I didn’t wait until my book came out to begin promoting. I think that is something that a lot of folks do that is a bad idea. I set up my website, streamlined my blog, and began joining every social networking sites I could. I belong to 35 yahoo groups, and seventeen other groups like Facebook, Myspace, and Gather.

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

Yes, my journey was a little different with this book than most authors have to travel. I actually pulled this book from my very first choice publisher and took it to Red Rose Publishing. I would advise authors to investigate your publisher thoroughly.

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

Yes, I have had the next book in the Shannon Wallace series accepted, titled Buried Angel, as well as a novella, A Will to Love, and a short story, Love Waltzes. I believe that I understand the writing process and the publication phase of the writing process better now and that has “grown” me as an author. I would tell aspiring authors to be sure and remember that there is nothing you write that doesn’t need rewriting.

What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

I wasn’t really devoted to getting an agent, and so I spent a lot more time researching them and waiting on them to tell me that they didn’t want my book than actually trying to get published. I would not do that again. I believe that your work will find a home if you are devoted to sending it out.

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

Avenging Angel made it to the publisher’s number six spot on the bestseller list, and that was a big deal to me. I would love for the cover to win and award, or for it to final in a contest.

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

I do have another profession, in fact I have two. I am a network administrator for a small remanufacturing company and I am a professional videographer/ photographer.

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

I could never give up writing, no matter what happened. I have tried, and it wouldn’t let me alone. So in answer, I believe that I have accepted that writing is not something that I do, it is instead, a part of who I am.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Old. Old as dirt, in fact, but wiser, a whole lot wiser. I will have a LOT of work out there for my readers and fans, and I hope in ten years they love me even more.

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

Keep going. There is nothing stopping you from being published, but you. It’s like I tell some of my brides(as a videographer)- if you can’t wait to find a place to get married, go see a JP. You are still just as married. If you are unsuccessful at finding an agent, or a NY publisher, try a small press, go the ebook route. You are still just as published.

Interview with Marvin D. Wilson, author of Between the Storm and the Rainbow

Marvin D. Wilson is a published author who has been awarded the prestigious AVATAR award for excellence in spiritual books. Wilson has had articles published in several Ezines, and has been interviewed on hundreds of blogs, radio and TV shows, both over the internet and on the airwaves. Marvin is a prolific blogger/essayist. He maintains his internationally acclaimed award-winning blog at Free Spirit, and also his other very popular “Old Hippie” blog. Free Spirit was awarded first place in the 2008 Book Blogger Appreciation Week award contest, in the Christian/Inspirational Fiction category.

marvin-wilsonWilson is a family man, married for thirty three years, with three adult children and six grandchildren. He has been around the block of life several times, through the ups and downs, and has survived in good enough spirits to desire to write about life, to write about living life on purpose. Wilson is a self-described “non-religious,
dogma-free, Maverick spiritualist Christian.” He writes books that deliver spiritual and inspirational messages in an engaging, thought provoking, often times humorous, more than often irreverent, sometimes sexy and even ribald way, through the spinning of an entertaining tale.

Marvin D Wilson is an editor with All Things That Matter Press and also does freelance editing.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Marvin. Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published? Can you give us the titles of your books?

Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure. Well, if three counts as multiple, then I would say I’m a “multi” published author (smile). My published books so far are, I Romanced the Stone (Memoirs of a Recovering Hippie), Owen Fiddler, and the just released Between the Storm and the Rainbow.

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

I wrote a book length manuscript nearly a decade ago. It was titled, “My Daughter the Muslim.” I never had it published because, while it did have some good chapters and writing in it, and even though friends and family and even a couple “trusted” critical readers said it was worthy of publication, I just didn’t feel it was good enough to be my first book. With what I’ve learned over the past several years about excellence in the art of professional writing, I may go back one day, dust it off and see if I can’t turn it into a book that has enough literary merit to warrant publication.

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 could write a whole book on this subject. I have written a lengthy article about the arduous road to obtaining that elusive first publication, the different routes available and the pros and cons of each.

My first book, I Romanced the Stone, is a memoir, the story of how I overcame a deadly narcotics addiction that had ruined my life in my mid-fifties, through a profound spiritual experience. Due to its unusual combination of Christian salvation themes and the vivid depictions of scenes in the crime and drug-infested streets of inner city America, it was rejected by all the “traditional” pubs. The Christian pubs considered it too graphic and worldly, and the secular pubs thought it to be too “religious.” Go figure. The book is not religious at all, it is a tell-it-like-it-is truth telling. But anyway, I eventually gave up on getting a contract with the big boys and started submitting the manuscript to smaller, quality POD’s – the ones that only print books that have gone through an evaluation process by their staff and been deemed fit for their standards. I finally got an affordable deal with a fine outfit. This whole process took nearly a year.

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

They motivated me. I kept all the rejection letters and emails from pub houses and agents and still have them in a hard copy file cabinet. I used to pull them out occasionally and re-read them just to get fired up and try harder. I would prove them all wrong!

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

I went with Global Authors Publications. My manuscript had been approved by three “selective” POD’s by then, and I felt that the quality of their books, the level of scrutiny they put a new author through, combined with their fees-to-royalties-paid ratio was the best deal on the table for me.

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

It was like seeing and holding your first born child. Exquisite joy, I was ecstatic. I took the wife out for dinner to one of those gourmet restaurants that are definitely not in the normal budget.

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

I started promoting months before the publication release date. I joined writers and readers Yahoo groups, and other online groups like Goodreads and Shelfari. I networked and interacted with other authors, read and learned everything I could. I prepared media releases. I created a marketing plan. I lined up radio, TV and blog interviews in advance, created a website about the book, started cross-linking and inter-linking it, and marketing it as best I could. Once the book was out I put my marketing plan into full swing. I had personal speaking engagements lined up, a couple local book signings, I did the shows and interviews online and on the airwaves, made online announcements about the book’s release to all my groups, e-blasted the news to all my email contacts, every possible tool at my disposal I used to its fullest capacity.

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

Only if I could have gotten a contract with a large mainstream traditional publishing house. And even then maybe not. I’ve heard horror stories about novice authors getting taken on by the bigs. Often they will edit the book (you have to give them this right in many cases before they will agree to “take a chance” on you) to the point where they feel it will sell better to their readers but you scarcely recognize it as your book anymore. You give up a great deal of say in the finished product.

For most aspiring first-time authors, especially if you are an “unknown,” I recommend going with a good quality POD or a small traditional press. The exception would be if you are already a household name, someone who is popular because of some previous notoriety, or perhaps if you have an inside connection – like your relative or friend is a decision maker with a big pub house or literary agency. Aside from those situations and the one-in-a-million perfect Cinderella story opportunity, the POD and the smaller traditional pubs that give greater control to the author are the best choices.

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

Well yes, as I said previously, I have since had two more books published. The second book, Owen Fiddler, was published with Cambridge Books. They are a small traditional pub, one of the new breed of “cross-over” presses that offers contracts for the rights to publish your book, but they also print on demand. I even got a small (okay I admit, it was “tiny”) advance! Woo Hoo! They don’t have the budget to print up tens of thousands of books and then hope that they all sell. This, by the way, is I believe the wave of the future. If you read the news articles in the literary world, even the bigs are moving away from huge advances to the author and the automatic printing of masses of hard copy books. Ebooks and advance orders for print books are part of the new “green” movement. I submitted my manuscript to Cambridge Books under the recommendation of an author friend who had used them before. I was elated when they voted to take my book on. They are very selective. They have to be because again, they are small and have only so many resources of staff and time. And they have to make sure the books they choose will turn out to be profitable for them, since they take on all the costs of production.

My third and latest book, Between the Storm and the Rainbow, was published by another fine quality POD, All Things That Matter Press. Another “cross-over” pub house, they are “traditional” in that they do not charge the authors fees to print the books they choose to publish, but they are very selective. They actually contacted me and requested a submission from me. How cool is that?

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 would have done more homework on which agencies and publishing houses I submit to. I also would have studied how best to write an effective query letter before starting to send them out. Each pub house and literary agency has different preferences with regard to what format they want queries and submissions to come in. They also will let you know on their websites what genres they are looking for and whether or not they are even accepting any new submissions at all – especially from first-time authors. I highly recommend going to http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/ for extremely valuable information when putting your submissions plan together. An informed, skilled and targeted submissions process is the most effective in terms of energy and time spent procuring a contract for your book.

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

I always wanted to be an NBA All Star. But as an aging short white guy with no shot left who can’t jump and is getting slower every year, I’ve had to give up on my dream – ha! Seriously, my first love was music. I was a Hippie rock and roll musician back in the late 60’s, and all through the 70’s and wanted to make it as a big name rock star, helping to change the world with original message music. But that career never made the big bucks or the cover of the Rolling Stone, so I went into business. Had to. I had gotten married and had a kid on the way. Everybody has to grow up some time. So I raised a family, and now in my golden years I feel writing is my calling. And it’s starting to work out for me.

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

Not anymore, I don’t have the kind of youthful energy required for touring and playing a rigorous schedule of concerts, doing the clubs, all that. I still play my guitar, and I write and record music. Not professionally, but for personal enjoyment. I have a CD produced that I sell, but only on a small scale, it’s mostly for fun and diversion. So while I do not have the best of both worlds, I do derive satisfaction from both of my main loves, music and writing.

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

That would be becoming a fairly well known and followed blogger essayist. I started blogging seriously in the summer of 2008. I post every day on Free Spirit and at least twice weekly on Tie Dyed Tirades. I’ve won an international blog popularity contest, a boat load of awards, and have a globally growing following of readers now. Free Spirit is read by people from nearly 70 countries last I checked the stats. Now when I publish a new book I automatically have a readership that likes my writing and it’s much easier to get a new publication paid attention to, talked about, and bought.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

I want to be known as a best-selling novelist and an author who creates positive, peace engendering effects on people, our society and planet through my spiritual/inspirational writing.

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

Never give up. No matter how many times you feel knocked down, get back up and try harder. Take criticism seriously, look at it with an open mind, and if it has merit, do the work to correct your errors and try again. But don’t let criticism and rejection affect you personally. Like any other art, practice makes perfect. Be a student of your craft. Work at it every day. Study, write, read other authors all the time, study, write, and never give up.

Virtual Book Tour: Interview with Christian Leader Ray Comfort

you-can-leadRay Comfort is the author of more than 60 books, including, God Doesn’t Believe in Atheists, How to Know God Exists, Evolution: The Fairy Tale for Grownups, You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence, but You Can’t Make Him Think, and The Evidence Bible. He was a platform speaker at the 2001 27th convention of “American Atheists,” and in 2007, he appeared on ABC’s Nightline (with actor Kirk Cameron) debating “The Existence of God.” He also co-hosts an award-winning television program, and has a daily blog called “Atheist Central.”

For more about Ray and his work, please visit www.livingwaters.com and Ray’s blog at http://raycomfortfood.blogspot.com/.

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

I am the author of more than 60 books, including, God Doesn’t Believe in Atheists, How to Know God Exists, Evolution: The Fairy Tale for Grownups, You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence, but You Can’t Make Him Think, and The Evidence Bible. I was a platform speaker at the 2001 27th convention of “American Atheists,” and in 2007, I appeared on ABC’ray-comforts Nightline (with actor Kirk Cameron) debating “The Existence of God.” I also co-hosts an award-winning television program, and has a daily blog called “Atheist Central.”

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

It was a book called, My Friends are Dying! It told the true story of the drug deaths of five of my surfing buddies, and explained to parents what they could do to keep their kids out of the drug scene. The book has been published in the United States (I’m originally from New Zealand) under the title, Out of the Comfort Zone.

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?

It was sell-published. I didn’t get any rejections until later on in my writing career.

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

The bulldog is designed with its nose slanting backwards so that it can get a grip with its teeth, and still keep breathing. The driving force behind teeth-gritted tenacity is a passion for what you write. I was passionate. I wanted the bone and I wasn’t going to let go. That helped me handle the hard knocks of rejection. A slap across the head doesn’t deter a bulldog.

Someone once told me to aim at the moon and if I cleared the trees, I was doing fine. So I made an attitude adjustment. I deliberately became an optimistic tenacious pessimist. I am cynical when it comes to getting published. I expect the worst and if I get it, I don’t feel disappointed.

So, I still have low expectations, am thick-skinned, and I stubbornly kept trying. I can tell a rejection letter without opening it. It is very light because there was only one sentence on one page. It says “Thank you for your query letter. We regret to inform you that we are not interested in your book, but wish you well in your search for a publisher.” The first 100 or so upset me. Then I got used to them and handled rejection like a trooper because of my new “life as it is” attitude. Passion fuels me for the long haul until a publisher listens.

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

Whitaker House published it in the United States. I didn’t choose them, they chose me (amazing grace). At that time, I would have gladly taken anything.

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

I was extremely encouraged, and I am forever grateful to that publisher for taking the risk. I celebrated by jumping over a full moon.

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

I went, at the publisher’s request, to a book convention, and signed.

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

No.

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

I now have seven published and have written sixty books.

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 see any glaring mistakes.

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

In 2003, I produced an award-winning TV program (with actor Kirk Cameron). It’s now in its third season, in 70 countries and on 31 networks.

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

Chocolate-taster.

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

They are combined (daily), especially since some nice scientists said that dark chocolate is good for us.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Really fat.

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

Make sure you realize that you have something no other generation has had. You don’t have to wade through fat and heavy books in libraries to find key address, hand-write their addresses, then distastefully lick a million stamps to send them query letters. You have search engines. So use them to make contacts. Look for key people on key sites. Keep your emails short. Offer to write free columns and don’t hold your breath until you get an answer. Move on.

Interview with Brian L. Doe, Author of The Grace Note

Brian L. Doe was born in Ogdensburg, New York, and grew up on the shores of the St. Lawrence River. From a young age, he recognized his passion for the written word and committed himself to the pursuit of writing. He is currently an English teacher in Upstate New York where he lives with his wife and children. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in writing from St. Lawrence University, and a Master’s Degree in secondary education from the State University of New York at Potsdam College.

Mr. Doe is also an amateur violinist who works with John R. Lindsey, concertmaster of the Orchestra of Northern New York, at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, New York. He has been associated with the musical world in a number of capacities for years and has been involved in public performances ranging from concert presentations to musicals.

Brian L. Doe’s first novel, Barley and Gold, was published in 2001 and again in 2008. In addition, he is co-author of the trilogy, Waking God, with Philip Harris. His newest release, The Grace Note, was published in November 2008 by All Things That Matter Press.
More about the author, his writing, and music can be found at his official website, www.inkslingernotes.com.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Brian. 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 multi-published author. My first book, Barley & Gold was published in 2001 and again in 2008. I am also co-author of the Waking God Trilogy with Philip Harris. My newest book, The Grace Note, was published in November of 2008.

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

The title of my very first book was Barley & Gold. I began writing it as a freshman in college while working at the university library. A song on the radio gave me an idea, and I wrote the last chapter first. Over the course of the next ten years, I finally finished the manuscript.

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 38 agencies alone before one agency decided to represent me. With representation, I was then rejected by every major publisher that the work was presented to.

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

Although I was continually assured by my agent that the rejections did not mean that my writing was worthless, it still stung me a little each time. I did have the opportunity to read what many of the major publishing houses had to say about my work, and it was not all bad. Perhaps the worse phrase to read or hear again and again when trying to get published is that your book “just isn’t right for us at this time.” I eventually came to realize, however, that my writing was worth reading, and that I’d either be published or I wouldn’t. It’s all about confidence.

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

iUniverse first published Barley & Gold, and at the time, it only cost $199.00. They were the first in their field to really market themselves as a POD publisher, and I wasn’t quite sure what it all meant. But I felt so strongly about my story, that I was determined to see it in print. After all, I believe even Laura Ingalls Wilder paid to have her work published in the beginning.

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

Seeing my writing in print was amazing and made me feel like I’d accomplished something. I didn’t really celebrate the event, though. I was surrounded by people whom I felt didn’t see the value of such a venture, and even then, others grumbled at the fact that I’d paid to have it published.

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

I was interviewed by the local newspaper that ran a story about a local teacher being a published author. It garnered some response, but sales of the book were never high.

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

I don’t know if I would have any new options if I had to do it all over again at that time. Now, however, there many options for authors that don’t cost a cent. One of the newest movements in the publishing world is the independent publishing house. Piers Anthony, the New York Times bestselling author, even champions independent publishing houses. They tend to be smaller and more personal. My current publisher, for instance, is an independent, and my contract with them is more like a friendship than a business arrangement. The large publishing houses seem to be on the road to extinction.

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

I have been published twice since then, and soon to be three times when the next installment of the Waking God Trilogy comes out in a few weeks. The Grace Note, I believe, shows a tremendous amount of maturity on my part. I was 19 when I started my first book and 36 when I wrote The Grace Note. My writing is cleaner and more direct now.

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 often wonder if I could have done anything differently. Back then, and in many ways now, agent representation and publisher marketing was a laborious and tedious process. The book industry is so overrun with poor writing (a problem agents and publishers themselves have created over the last decade) that moving from manuscript to printed novel involves many months of time and energy. And even if a large publisher picks up your work, it will take another 18 months to get it into print.

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

I can Google myself and get pages of results. It’s overwhelming to realize how much of a presence you can make on the Internet just by being involved in the marketing and promotion of your work.

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

A professional violinist. I would have started playing much earlier than I did, and I would have wanted to play at Lincoln Center.

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

That’s an interesting question, because my new book, The Grace Note, does just that. It is about a professional violinist who, after a tragedy strikes him, becomes disillusioned with his craft. In writing the book, I was able to combine both worlds.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Hopefully on the New York Times Bestseller List, or maybe having one of my books played out on the silver screen. I’ll take either.

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

Don’t give up. Ever. Rejections are only jabs to a writer’s ego, and no indication of whether he can write. The world will decide if you’ve got a story worth telling. And in the end, if your writing is no good, those closest to you will let you know. But we must keep writing; we are the historians of our day.

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