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Interview with Laura Carroll, author of ‘The Baby Matrix’

Laura Carroll is the author of The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction will Create a Better World, Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice, and Finding Fulfillment From the Inside Out.

In addition to writing nonfiction books, she has worked over the last 15 years as a business and litigation psychology consultant and used her expertise in behavioral sciences, psychology, and communications to advise business, legal, and nonprofit professionals on their communications strategies and goals.

Laura is a seasoned leader of personal and professional development seminars, and has appeared on a variety of television shows, including Good Morning America and The Early Show. She has been a guest on many radio talk shows to discuss social science topics.

You’ll also find her online at her nonfiction book site, LiveTrue Books, and her top blog, La Vie Childfree.

To get your copy of The Baby Matrix by Laura Carroll at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Baby-Matrix-Parenthood-Reproduction/dp/0615642993/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1339007434&sr=8-2

Pick up your ebook copy at Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-baby-matrix-laura-carroll/1110625478

To get your e-copy of The Baby Matrix by Laura Carroll for your Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Baby-Matrix-Reproduction-ebook/dp/B0081HSF3S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339007434&sr=8-1

To learn more about Laura, go to her website: http://lauracarroll.com/

Visit Laura Carroll on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/LauraCarroll88

Like Laura Carroll on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheBabyMatrix

Find out all about The Baby Matrix at Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13641241-the-baby-matrix

Laura Carroll is giving away a free Kindle Fire!  Click here to enter!

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About the Book:

In the movie The Matrix, the character Morpheus offers two pills to Neo—if he takes the blue pill, he will go on with life as he has before, believing what he has always believed. If he takes the red pill, he will find out what the “matrix” really is, and many of his earlier beliefs will be shattered. When it comes to taking a hard look at a specific set of beliefs about parenthood and reproduction that has driven our society for generations, The Baby Matrix is the red pill.

What is this set of beliefs? Pronatalism. At its core, it’s the belief that having children should be the central focus of every adult’s life. In this book, author Laura Carroll shows us how pronatalist beliefs have become so embedded that they have come to be seen as “true” and takes a critical look at their pervasiveness in our society.

Carroll examines the historical origins of pronatalism, the reasons why it has such a deep hold on societies even though most people remain unaware of it, and whether it makes sense – for individuals or for the world as a whole. She examines the ways in which pronatalism is perpetuated, scrutinizes seven major pronatalist assumptions that lead people to accept them without question, and offers alternative mindsets that reflect realities, true reproductive freedom and responsibility in today’s society. Whether you are already a parent, want to be a parent, or don’t want children, you will never think about parenthood in the same way.

Investigating what few have had the courage to discuss, The Baby Matrix examines the negative effects of pronatalist beliefs, including how they dictate the “normal path” to adulthood, put unwarranted pressure on people to have biological children, and fail to foster a society in which those who are best suited to become parents are the ones who have children.

Carroll also brings to light the impact that pronatalism has had on the world at large and will continue to have if its ubiquitous influence is not challenged. Citing compelling statistics, she shows how our belief that we can have as many children as we want is a serious threat in a world with finite resources. In the process, she brings into focus how every life brought into the world directly affects our survival.

This manifesto makes the case for why it’s time for all of us to understand why we can no longer afford to leave pronatalist assumptions unquestioned. Without compromise, The Baby Matrix is a reality check for us all. Are we willing to hold on to beliefs that aren’t necessarily true … even to our detriment? This book will make you examine your own intentions and beliefs, will rile you, and might just change your mind.

The Baby Matrix is a must-read for anyone interested in psychology, sociology, anthropology, parenting issues, environmentalism, and social justice. Those who revere the truth, want the best for themselves, their families and our world, and decide to take “the red pill” and read this book will find the truths that need to be told about pronatalism, and why it’s time to shift our thinking for the betterment of all.

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Interview WITH LAURA CARROLL

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

In addition to my latest book, The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction Will Create a Better World, I am also the author of Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice and Finding Fulfillment From the Inside Out.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

Finding Fulfillment From the Inside Out was initially picked up by a medium size house in California, but they ended up delaying the publication date. I ultimately decided to self-publish to get the work out there.

Families of Two was picked up by a pioneer in the digital publishing industry owned by Random House at the time. I went this route because like them, I believed digital publishing was the future.

Both books ended up coming out about the same time.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

All three books took me about a year to write. Families of Two and The Baby Matrix were out shortly after, but Finding Fulfillment took a bit longer, as I had to decide whether to wait for the house to determine the pub date or to self-publish.

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

I felt like I had finally realized my calling in life. Celebrations have included everything from champagne to weekend splurges at a great hotel and spa!

Q: What was the first thing you did to promote your first book?

With Finding Fulfillment, I sought out print media, schools, and career counselors to tell them about the book. The word got out there, and it ended up being used in college Life Planning courses for awhile.

With Families of Two I hired my own publicist, who ended up being awesome and got me lots of syndicated radio and network TV media, including The Early Show and Good Morning America. I was also interviewed for articles in newspapers and magazines.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I would have to say I am much better now at trying to separate the creative writing time with the editing time, and not attempting to do both together. Trying to do both kills the creative flow. I also realize that half, if not more of what it takes to be a professional writer is being skilled at book promotion. On one hand, writing is so often an introverted endeavor. But to sell the book, one needs to be able to really put on an extraverted hat.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

I have been surprised how long it took traditional publishing houses to go digital. The business model just makes more sense from a profit perspective, and allows them to take on more new authors with far less risk.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

The most rewarding thing is know I have helped people live their best lives. Receiving emails from readers telling me how my work has made a difference in their lives means the world to me.

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

Pursue the questions that you are passionate about, and follow what you are called to create.  In today’s publishing climate, don’t be afraid to get your own editorial, interior and cover art help and self-publish. There are so many talented people in all of these roles outside traditional houses today. Find experts to help you promote your work in all realms of media, and stay on a learning curve of the ever changing art of digital media. But most of all, enjoy all phases of bringing what you want to say into the world.

What’s One Reason Why Pronatalism Remains So Pervasive? Babies are Big Business by Laura Carroll

What’s One Reason Why Pronatalism Remains So Pervasive? Babies are Big Business

By Laura Carroll

Pronatalism is a set of beliefs about parenthood that has driven society for generations. The beliefs encourage reproduction and exalt the role of parenthood.  The historical origins of pronatalism go way back. What people have been influenced to believe about parenthood and reproduction might have served a purpose at one time, but now has outlasted its usefulness. Or, believe it or not, what we have been taught to believe has never been true to begin with.

If this is the case, why does pronatalism remain so pervasive? One reason is because birth and babies are big business. As the recent article in Time magazine, “The 1% Birth” says, the birth business is “worth more than $30 billion a year.”

Recently, the baby business has taken itself to new heights. Take the business of the “luxe” birth. Many hospitals have “VIP” wings with “hotel -like accommodations” and include “limousine labor,” like things such as total hospital room redecoration, birth teams with massage therapists, chefs and more. This is not just for the Beyonce celebrity births. The 1% likes the first class treatment too, says Ellie Miller, a co-founder of Ellie & Melissa Baby Planners. According to the American Academy of Private Physicians, the number of “concierge doctors,” those who don’t take insurance and charge membership fees, has recently increased 46 percent.

Not only do all the baby bump media make getting pregnant cool, the luxury birth business ups the ante to the rich and famous way to give birth to your baby. Hospitals across the country that offer “luxe maternity” can charge around $4000 a day, which is more than most standard hospitals charge for the whole kit and caboodle of delivering a baby.

Pronatalism glorifies pregnancy and the raising of children; “lux” birth adds to the glorification by pushing red carpet delivery. And glorification continued to pay off. Business greatly benefits from the perpetuation of pronatalism. Pushing pro-baby, pro-parenthood values creates more demand for products and services that bring big profits to business. Along with government and religious power structures, business works to keep pronatalist norms in place to promote reproductive conformity, so it can continue to gain power.

And “power” is the operative word when it comes to describing what drives the The Baby Matrix.  This word sums up the reason why pronatalism remains so pervasive today, despite the fact that assumptions that make it up no longer serve, or were never true in the first place.  It is time to take a hard look at pronatalism, why we continue to accept beliefs that ultimately serve others’ agendas, and how this negatively impacts people from all walks of life.

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Laura Carroll is the author of The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction Will Create a Better World. She is also the author of Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice and Finding Fulfillment From the Inside Out. In addition to writing nonfiction books, Laura has worked as a business and litigation psychology consultant, and used her expertise in behavioral sciences, psychology, and communications to advise business, legal, and nonprofit professionals on their communications strategies and goals. She has appeared on a variety of television shows, including Good Morning America and The Early Show, and been a guest on many radio talk shows to discuss social science topics. Laura reviews nonfiction books and more at LiveTrue Books. She lives in San Francisco.

Laura Carroll is giving away a free Kindle Fire!  Click here to enter!

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!!!!

Interview with thriller author James Hayman

James HaymanLike the hero of The Cutting, James Hayman is a transplanted New Yorker. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Manhattan, he spent more than twenty years writing TV advertising for clients like The U.S. Army, Lincoln-Mercury and Procter & Gamble. He moved to Portland, Maine in 2001. Four years later he decided to scratch a lifelong itch to write fiction and began work on his first suspense thriller featuring homicide detective Mike McCabe. St. Martin’s/Minotaur bought rights to The Cutting and published it in July 2009. Hayman is currently at work on the second McCabe novel, due for release in July 2010 and tentatively titled The Chill of Night.

His website is www.jameshaymanthrillers.com

Blog is http://www.jameshaymanthrillers.com/blog/

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/jhhayman

The Cutting 2Welcome to Beyond the Books, James.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

The Cutting is my first fiction and my commercially published book. I’ve written several non-fiction books under contract to clients that they published.

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

The Cutting 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 almost feel guilty answering this question knowing what a lot of writers go through. But I was incredibly lucky.

When I finished the first draft or The Cutting I sent a cover letter and my first eighty pages to exactly one agent, Meg Ruley, of the Jane Rotrosen Agency, who is  one of the top mystery/thriller agents in New York. Well, Meg must have had a light weekend because she read the eighty pages, loved them and emailed me Monday morning to ask if she could see the rest of the manuscript. I said she could.

After we came to an agreement, Meg showed it to, I think, seven publishers in New York. Five said no. Two made offers. We accepted the offer from St. Martin’s Press for a two-book deal for The Cutting and a second Michael McCabe thriller.

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

Three of the rejections came in first. That made me a little apprehensive but it wasn’t too bad because I knew The Cutting was going out to a lot more editors. The first offer (the one we didn’t take) came in about a week or so later and was pretty quickly followed by the one from St. Martin’s.

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

See above.

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

Jumped up and down, yelled “Whoopie,” called or emailed just about everyone I know and then took my wife out to an expensive dinner.

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

I sent press releases to every newspaper in Maine. I threw a launch party for nearly two hundred guests.  The publicity guy at St. martin’s set up readings at six or seven bookstores around Maine. I was interviewed by a couple of bloggers who heard about the book and I got a five minute interview on a TV show called 207 on the NBC affiliate here in Portland.

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’m almost finished writing McCabe #2 which we’re calling The Chill of Night. Everyone who’s read the manuscript so far ( that includes several readers I trust plus Meg and my editor at St. Martin’s, Charlie Spicer) thinks it’s a stronger book than the first.  That’s high praise because they all loved The Cutting. The phrase they most use is “The writing’s more assured.”

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?

As I said earlier. I was incredibly lucky. The stars fell into perfect alignment. The angels smiled down from heaven. It all happened fast. So, I guess, the short answer is nothing.

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

Writing and nearly finishing a second novel in about a year while trying to promote the first.  I don’t think I’ve ever worked so har or so intensively in my life.

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

Advertising was a lot of fun for me. I got to race around the world writing and producing big budget TV commercials for major clients. It was also great training for writing thrillers. It taught me to write “tight” (A thirty second TV commercial has to tell a whole story in a max of 65 words). It taught me how to write dialogue and to think cinematically.

However, if I had it to do over, I would have started writing fiction much sooner than I did. Decades sooner. I think I have a lot of books in me and because I’m not a kid I probably won’t get to write them all. But maybe I will. Elmore Leonard’s well into his eighties and he’s still turning them out.

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

I’ve combined the best of both worlds, sequentially if not simultaneously.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Grayer. Maybe balder. Hopefully not fatter. Hopefully still writing fiction.  At some point in the near future I’d like to try a non-genre book. Literary fiction as they say, although I happen to think that’s a false distinction…a lot of the best genre writing is every bit as good as a lot of the best general fiction being published today.

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

Keep writing. Keep reading. Keep going to workshops and meeting as many agents and writers as you can. Networking helps. And keep dreaming.

I had a lot of luck early on, but if your books are any good, one of these days the luck will fall your way too.

An Interview With Douglas W. Jacobson: Historical Fiction Author Talks Virtual Book Tours

Douglas JacobsonDouglas W. Jacobson is an engineer, business owner and WW2 history enthusiast who has traveled extensively in Europe researching the courage of common people caught up in the greatest catastrophe of the twentieth century. Doug’s first book, Night of Flames: A Novel of World War Two was published in 2007. Doug has also written numerous articles on WW2 resistance organizations and is finishing up his second historical novel focusing on one of the most notorious war crimes in history.

Douglas Jacobson will be on a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours in September and October ’09 and is here with us today to give his impression of virtual book tours and online book marketing.

Night of FlamesThank you for this interview, Doug. Can we start out by having you tell us briefly what your new book is about?

Douglas: Night of Flames is a story of courage. It is a story about common people caught up in unimaginable circumstances who find the strength and determination to survive. The main characters are a university professor in Krakow, Poland and her husband, a cavalry officer, who are separated on the first day of the war. For the next five years they struggle to survive and preserve their humanity while searching for each other across war-torn Europe.

More and more authors are realizing the potential for sales that derives from virtual book tours. Can you tell us your personal reasons why you chose a virtual book tour to help get the word out about your new book?

Douglas: I am a member of the Historical Novel Society and through contacts with other authors in this genre I have learned of the success many of them have had with virtual book tours.

Is this the first time you have heard of them?

Douglas: I have heard about them several times over the past year or so, but at the recent HNS conference in Chicago many authors discussed their experiences with virtual book tours.

What do you hope to achieve through promoting your book through a virtual book tour?

Douglas: Obviously I hope to increase book sales but I also want to establish a niche for my future writing as a historical novelist specializing in the WW2 period.

Do you promote online through other means? Website? Blog?

Douglas: I have contacted book clubs through Reader’s Circle and other similar sites.

Do you promote through Twitter and Facebook? What are your links there?

Douglas: I am only just beginning to learn about Facebook and Twitter.

What are your experiences with offline booksignings? Which do you prefer – online or offline and can you give us the reasons why?

Douglas: I have not done many off-line book signings as such, and the ones I have done have been marginal. I’ve had much more success as a speaker to service clubs and other organization and coupling those with book signings following the event. I’m looking forward to my first experience with an on-line book tour.

Here’s a fun question. If money was no object, how would you promote your book?

Douglas: I’d donate a hundred thousand dollars to Oprah’s favorite charity.

Thank you for this interview, Doug. Do you have any final words?

Douglas: I’m looking forward to discussing Night of Flames with readers on-line and sharing with them my enthusiasm and admiration for the real people who endured the largest conflict in world history.

To find out more about Douglas’ virtual book tour in September and October, click here!

Interview with Lisa Sweetingham, Author of Chemical Cowboys

Journalist Lisa Sweetingham spent four years following in the footsteps of DEA agents and Ecstasy traffickers to bring Chemical Cowboys to life. Previously, she covered high-profile murder trials and Supreme Court nomination hearings for Court TV online.

Sweetingham is a graduate of the Columbia University School of Journalism and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Parade, Spin, Time Out New York, Health Affairs, and many other publications. She resides in Los Angeles.

Chemical Cowboys is her first book.

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Chemical CowboysWelcome to Beyond the Books, Lisa!  What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

Chemical Cowboys: The DEA’s Secret Mission to Hunt Down a Notorious Ecstasy Kingpin 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 know that the submission process can be agonizing, but I’ve been extremely fortunate to have a very talented agent, David Halpern, of the Robbins Office, who is almost scientific about these things. From what I recall, Halpern only submitted the proposal to a small group of editors that he knew would get the material and also see beyond the true crime–genre label to the larger story Chemical Cowboys hoped to tell. I don’t recall how many passes we received at first. But how it worked was that if we were getting the same feedback from editors—and if we agreed with that feedback—then I would go back and revise the proposal before we submitted again. So, maybe, a half-dozen or so No’s was all we needed to get to a Yes.

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

It’s certainly disappointing, but I prefer to gather information rather than dwell on rejection. If there’s something I can learn about why it’s a pass that only helps me to revise the material—to make it cleaner and more compelling. Sometimes, of course, there is no good reason. It’s just not the right fit and that’s all there is to it.

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

The deal for Chemical Cowboys was with Random House, and it was published under the Ballantine imprint. It was the passion and interest of Random House executive editor Will Murphy that made it a perfect fit. He understood the material and was as excited about the subject matter as we were.

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

When I wrote the proposal for Chemical Cowboys, I was a senior staff writer for CourtTV.com, and had been traveling around the country covering murder trials and high-profile court cases. I loved that job, but I’d always wanted to write books. When my agent called to tell me that Random House made an offer, I was at the airport in Houston, on my way home to Los Angeles, and had just interviewed a man on death row who’d exhausted all his appeals and was soon to be executed. I’ll never forget him—Willie Shannon. Gentle, soft-spoken, and resolute. I liked him. And I recall thinking on the plane home: His life is coming to an end, and my life is about to open up. I was excited about the book, but it seemed incorrect to celebrate at the time.

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

It was a strange transition, because for several years I was reporting, writing, and editing. And then, when all of that was finally done, I had to take off my journalist hat and put on a saleswoman hat. I really resisted it at first. But it must be done. Basically, I got in touch with everyone I knew who worked in TV, print, radio, and Internet and asked for their help to publicize the book. My publicists at Ballantine also sent review copies far and wide. I threw a book party in New York, and set up readings in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Hollywood.

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

Not at all.

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

Now that Chemical Cowboys is out, I’ve been devoting more time to freelance writing and reporting assignments and I have a couple of new book ideas I’m developing. It’s hard to say yet how I have grown as an author, but I think I’d like the next book to be simpler. Chemical Cowboys was a tremendous undertaking: nearly four years of reporting and traveling around the world following in the footsteps of drug traffickers and DEA agents. It also was a challenging structural puzzle, as I had to weave the stories of about a half-dozen main subjects into the narrative. Plus, I wanted readers to really see and feel what the agents, dealers, mules, and other main players saw and felt, which meant spending years digging for details and convincing people to share their very personal stories with me. I hope some of that came through. I also hope to tell a smaller story for the next book.

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?

Again, my successes in this realm are largely owed to my agent, David Halpern, who has consistently steered me away from potential pitfalls and mistakes. But, when it comes to speeding things up? I don’t know if that’s the wise way to go about getting published. For non-fiction works, the reporting has to be solid and the writing has to be clear. To achieve that takes a lot of editing, rewriting, and time.

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

Having a life again! When I was in the final writing stages, I spent several months working until 3 a.m., avoiding friends, family, holiday events, and sunshine. People would call to ask if I needed hot meals or a walk. I was obsessed!

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

I’m infinitely interested in human and animal behavior, in fact my undergrad work was in psychology. As a teenager, I once considered becoming a primatologist, but today? If I absolutely couldn’t be a journalist, perhaps I’d be a criminologist. A friend who was baffled by my subject interests once said to me, “You are in a conversation with evil.” Maybe so, but I think that what I’m really interested in is understanding is what motivates “evil” behavior and how to mitigate it.

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

I suppose I’ve combined the best of both.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Professionally, I hope to be writing about the same sort of non-fiction subjects—crime, drugs, mafia, police work, international investigations—while also expanding a bit into sports journalism. I’d like to learn how to deliver those stories through documentaries, feature, and TV.

Beyond the Books Interviews Joey Asher, Author of How to Win a Pitch

Joey AsherJOEY ASHER is one of the country’s preeminent experts on selling skills and communication.

As President of Speechworks, an Atlanta-based communication and selling skills coaching firm that has been helping business people deliver presentations that win business for over 20 years, Asher combines his skills as an attorney and journalist to help sellers communicate a clear, simple message that connects with prospects and wins business.

As a professional communication and selling skills coach, Asher has worked with executives, managers, and salespeople at such firms and organizations as The Home Depot, Skanska, Hardin Construction, Georgia Pacific, Global Payments, The Weather Channel, UPS, Kimberly-Clark, Alston & Bird, PricewaterhouseCoopers, AMVESCAP, Verizon, Cisco, and Kurt Salmon Associates.

Asher is author of Even a Geek Can Speak: Low-Tech Presentation Skills For High-Tech People, which was originally published by Longstreet Press in 2001 and is now in its third printing by Persuasive Speaker Press, and Selling and Communication Skills for Lawyers, which was published in 2005 by American Lawyer Media. How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals that Will Distinguish You from the Competition is his latest book.

A graduate of Cornell University, Asher earned his JD from Emory University Law School. Prior to attending law school, Asher worked as a newspaper reporter for the Gannett newspaper chain in Georgia and New York. Asher practiced law with Troutman Sanders L.L.P. in Atlanta, and worked as an adjunct professor of law at Emory University School of Law.

Joey Asher lives in the Atlanta, Georgia area with his wife and family.

You can visit Joey online at www.speechworks.net.

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How to Win a PitchWelcome to Beyond the Books, Joey.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

This is my third book. The first book was “Even a Geek Can Speak: Low Tech Presentation Skills for High Tech People.” My second book was “Selling and Communication Skills for Lawyers.” My latest book is “How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals that Will Distinguish You from the Competition.”

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

“Even a Geek Can Speak: Low Tech Presentation Skills for High Tech People.” It was published by Longstreet Press in Atlanta.

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 no rejections. I approached the publisher personally with the idea and he liked the title. We had a contract that day and I wrote the book over the next six months.

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

I didn’t have any rejections. I think things are different when you’re writing non-fiction and business books. It’s not like trying to publish fiction.

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

I chose Longstreet Press because I had met the publisher and knew that they did business books.

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

I enjoyed being published. I didn’t really celebrate any particular way. We had a big book signing at a local bookstore where we invited our clients. My company teaches business people how to create and deliver presentations.

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

I notified my clients and gave away a lot of books to key people.

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 have two more books. My latest is How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals that Will Distinguish you from the Competition. I think I’ve grown as an author as I’ve refined my ideas on how to give winning presentations.

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 sure.

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

All the books have been instrumental in promoting my business, Speechworks. We are a communication skills coaching firm with clients around the country.

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

Tennis pro.

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

I play a lot of tennis. So I guess I have the best of both worlds.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

I might write a fourth book. I have an idea for another book. But I want to finish promoting this one before I start on that one.

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

I think the key is finding a market and then writing for that market.

Interview with Dawson Church, Author of THE GENIE IN YOUR GENES

Dawson Church has edited or authored many books in the fields of health, psychology, and spirituality. He has collaborated on articles with many of the leading voices of our time, including Larry Dossey, Bernie Siegel, Caroline Myss, Barry Sears, and John Gray. He earned his doctorate in Integrative Healthcare at Holos University under the mentorship of distinguished neurosurgeon Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D., founder of the American Holistic Medical Association. He went on to receive a postgraduate Ph.D. in Natural Medicine.

Church and Shealy coauthored a compendious survey of spiritual healing throughout history called Soul Medicine. Church founded Soul Medicine Institute (SMI), a nonprofit dedicated to education and research into science-based medical interventions which use consciousness and energy as primary modalities. He is the author of several studies published in peer-reviewed journals, and lectures at many medical and psychology conferences each year.

He presents workshops on peak performance for athletes and organizations through EFT Power Training. He performed the first randomized blind trial of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) for athletes, the first study of EFTs effects on healthcare workers, and a large nationwide study of PTSD in war veterans as part of the Iraq Vets Stress Project.

His research summarizes the biomedical evidence for consciousness-based treatments. The Genie in Your Genes outlines the latest studies on the effects of psychospiritual experiences on gene expression, and predicts that consciousness will reach the front line of medicine in the coming decade. It has been hailed as a brilliant contribution to the literature by many reviewers.

You can visit his website at The Genie in Your Genes


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

My first book was with Penguin USA. It was an anthology called The Heart of the Healer, in 1987. I’ve edited many anthologies, as well as publishing books when I saw a gap in the market, as I did with The Genie in Your Genes (www.GenieBestseller.com), which applies the insights of epigenetics to healing and consciousness.

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-length manuscript was a play about the Byzantine empress Theodora. She was a fascinating historical figure who fought for women’s rights a millennium before the concept was developed. Though she was a prostitute, she married the emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire. I had no luck getting it performed or published, though I tried very hard.

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’s sitting in a box in my bedroom, and I doubt it will ever see the light of day. Most longtime authors have six unpublished manuscripts on their hard drive. I don’t know what’s magic about that number six, but the average seems to hold!

I recommend being very careful about which genre you publish in. I and my agent were gung ho on a one of my books five years ago, and did not find a publisher. Looking back, I am very glad that book did not get published, because it would have put me in the wrong genre. I plan to stick to the science and spirituality genre for the long haul.

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

I first get angry and defensive. Then, when my ego has been suitably humbled, I read the critics views very carefully, and learn whatever I can from them. If they’re valid, I improve. If I don’t consider them valid, I have engaged in a useful exercise of self-scrutiny, and the chorus of self-doubt in my head is temporarily silenced.

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

I had a good agent, and she recommended Penguin. We turned down an earlier offer from Random.

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

I had a good agent, and she recommended Penguin. We turned down an earlier offer from Random.

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

I didn’t do enough for promotion the first time. And for my previous book, Soul Medicine, I did a limited amount, and so only sold about 5,000 copies. That taught me that you can’t be half-hearted about promotion. I sold 15,000 copies of Genie in Your Genes hardcover, and I am determined to sell at least 50,000 of the softcover.

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

Most routes are acceptable, with the exception of print on demand books or ebooks. Reviewers will not review them, bookstores will not stock them, and you are swimming in a sea in which quality control is unknown.

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

It’s not the book per se that counts. It’s all the promotion you do around the book. It’s the workshops, the radio shows, the ezines, the consulting, and all the ways you get your message to the world. The book is part of that whole range of communications, and only if they’re coordinated can your message be powerfully delivered.

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

I’m fortunate in that I do scientific research part time, and also run a specialized independent publishing company, Energy Psychology Press. So being an author is only one of my hats, though it fits into my overall mission.

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

Never accept less than your highest potential.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I expect to be one of the opinion leaders who shapes our understanding of the link between science, spirituality, health and species survival.

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

I observe people often giving up right at the point of breakthrough. Persist. Be excellent. When you face adversity, keep going. It’s not how many times you fall down that determines success. It’s how many times you pick yourself up.

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 Bestselling Author David Brody

David S. Brody is a Boston Globe bestselling author named “Best Local Author” by the Boston Phoenix newspaper. He is a Director at Large of the New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA). A real estate attorney, he resides in Westford, Massachusetts with his wife, novelist Kimberly Scott, and their two daughters. He coaches youth sports and Special Olympics and plays in adult hockey and softball leagues.

You can visit David online at www.davidbrodybooks.com

cabal-of-the-westford-knightWelcome to Beyond the Books, David! Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Thanks for having me. Cabal of the Westford Knight is my fourth book.

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

Unlawful Deeds was 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?

Unlawful Deeds was published by a company called toExcel. This was a company half-owned by Barnes & Noble at a time when Barnes & Noble was trying to get into the publishing business. Most of their titles were self-published, but Barnes & Noble grabbed a few titles every year and marketed and promoted them as would a traditional publishing house. I was fortunate that they chose Unlawful Deeds as one of those titles. A few years later Barnes & Noble pulled out of the partnership and to Excel changed its name to iUniverse, which many of your readers are probably familiar with.

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

This didn’t apply to me.

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

A major part of the plot of Unlawful Deeds was based on the still-unsolved theft at the Gardner Museum of Art in Boston. It was—and still is—the largest art theft in history. Just as I was set to send out query letters to agents, a local newspaper announced they were on the verge of solving the heist. Well, that would have ruined my entire plot! So I rushed to get the book in print before it became obsolete. Here we are, almost 10 years later, and the crime remains unsolved. But the book became a Boston Globe bestseller.

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

I remember thinking that the coolest thing was having my own ISBN number. I was also sad that my grandmother, who was an avid reader, died before she ever saw the book. I don’t remember how I celebrated, but I remember being amazed when a book store invited me in to do a book signing, which I thought was something only really famous authors did.

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

The book was set in Boston, and a lot of it was based on the Boston real estate industry, so I went to the local registry of deeds, where real estate closings are held, and put promotional fliers for the book on all the closing tables.

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

No. It actually worked out great.

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

My last three books have been published by Martin and Lawrence Press. I actually went back and rewrote Unlawful Deeds and Martin and Lawrence Press re-released it. The main thing I’ve learned (and incorporated into the rewrite) is that sometimes less is more—I took out a lot of informational stuff from Unlawful Deeds that may have proved I knew what I was talking about but also may have been a bit dry for most readers.

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 actually got lucky and didn’t fall into that trap of sending out query letters and then just sitting around waiting for responses. I would encourage authors to do whatever it takes—self-publish, vanity press, small publishing house—to get their book out there. In this country we have this notion that an independent film maker is a noble, worthy artist, but also that the only quality books are those published by the larger publishing houses. I have trouble reconciling that.

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

What I find the most gratifying is when readers come to my events or email me to tell me they enjoyed one of my books.

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

I’m a real estate attorney by trade, but I devote about 80% of my time now to writing.

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

I think I’ve found a nice balance. I enjoy practicing law part-time, and it’s nice to have the chance to get out and interact with the world. Writing can get a bit lonely sometimes.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Pretty much doing the same thing.

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

There’s no formula for becoming an author. Doctors come from medical school, lawyers from law school, etc. But writers just sort of bubble up almost randomly from all segments of the population. The only thing they have in common is perseverance (and, of course, creativity). All you can do is keep plugging away and trust your talent.

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