Here are the dates for my upcoming blog tour
October 29 Guest blog
Books in the Hall
October 30 Guest blog
Lisa’s World of Books
Forget About TV, Grab a Book
November 6 Interview
Michelle @ Mom With A Kindle
November 7 Interview
Creatively Green Write at Home Mom
November 9 Interview
November 10 Interview and review
Always a Booklover –
November 12 Guest blog
And in honor of my blog tour, you’ll be able to download the book of poems that goes with the book, Sand in the Desert, FREE on October 29, 30, and 31!
I’m in the process of creating a protagonist for a new humorous mystery series, called Persephone Cole and the _______ (insert subject here). It’s agony. Getting to know a person — even a fictitious one — takes time, thought, energy, trial and error. Sometimes they get pissed off and you don’t know why. Sometimes they laugh when you think they should cry. You thought they’d like bagels in the morning but they don’t. A living, breathing character, even one on paper, has a will of his or her own. It’s maddening.
It brings to mind the latest of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, Death Runs in the Family, which debuts in May. One of the central characters takes off for Rio de Janeiro, just like that, out of the blue. I mean, excuse me? I don’t know anything about Rio de Janeiro. I’ve never been to Rio de Janeiro. I’m sure it’s a terrific place, but come on; I’ve got a novel to write. Then this character has the effrontery to park herself in Ipanema, a fancy schmancy beachside community, and at a pretty posh place. What now? So I did scads of research, which took me weeks and weeks, cursing the day this character was born, even though I birthed her. Some kids are really ungrateful.
Thank Gawd, Lee Alvarez, the protagonist for the Alvarez Family series, has never betrayed me like this…yet. I’m waiting. I need to be careful. Every now and then Lee does something I’m not expecting her to do. She isn’t your typical protagonist and it’s starting to worry me. She’s funny, impulsive, smart, talented, loves dancing, handbags and a good joke. She knows her own worth, but has moments of self-doubt. She also has a mind of her own. These are all recipes for danger for the wretched author.
Agatha Christie hated Hercule Poirot. She wanted to dump him like crazy, unwrite him, banish him. She was sick and tired of him going his way when she wanted him to go hers. Like Arthur Conan Doyle, she even killed him off. But Holmes came back four years later and I suspect Poirot is wandering around London searching for an unsuspecting author to give him voice. I say, be careful England’s writers. Avoid any egg-shaped little guy with a mustache.
But back to me and my characters. I keep creating these strong women with minds of their own who breathe disdain for anyone who tells them what to do. Pity this poor novelist. I’m in for it, I can tell.
Heather is a story teller by nature and loves the written word. In her career, she’s written short stories, novels, comedy acts, plays, television treatments, ad copy, commercials, and even ghost-wrote a book.
Her first two novels of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, Murder is a Family Business, and A Wedding To Die For are now out in bundle at MuseItUp Publishing: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage-ask.tpl&product_id=227&category_id=1&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1
The 3rd of the series, Death Runs in the Family, will be out in May 2012. Heather says they are a joy to write. She gets to be all the characters, including the cat! She lives in San Jose, California, with her husband and, yes, two cats.
Follow Heather’s blog at: http://tinyurl.com/4nensnp
Murder is a Family Business Youtube book trailer:
A Wedding to Die For Youtube book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zE5dfVzMRzA
Follow Lee’s daily Twitters at: http://twitter. com/PILeeAlvarez
Talent Is Cheap
Stephen King said, “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” From a man who has published 49 books thus far, these words speak for a lot of writing experience combined with more hard work. You may or may not be a Stephen King fan, but the truth of his commercial success lies in the sales numbers, devoted fans, and bestseller list status. I believe what Stephen King says about talent being cheap. It’s abundant out in the world. There are countless writers who craft eloquent and mesmerizing stories…and they never make it. Here’s what I believe to be the magic formula for becoming a successful author: Talent + Hard Work + Opportunity = Success.
Writing is hard work. I’m not just talking about the act of putting words on paper. There is much more to the business than turning a blank page into a great story. Most of the writers I know study craft, write numerous drafts, critique for others, discuss techniques, attend writer meetings, and work a job that pays the bills.
Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book called Outliers, The Story of Success, where he talks about the 10,000 hour rule. One of my favorite lines in the book is, “Achievement is talent plus some preparation.” Then Gladwell begins to talk about how small the role of talent is in relation to the bigger role of preparation. In Chapter Two, he mentions the names that we all know: Bill Gates, the Beatles, and Mozart. Gladwell says that research shows us a common component to the success of these individuals. They all worked hard pre-success by practicing for many hours- 10,000 hours at the very least.
Although talent and hard work are necessary in the beginning, you must then find an outlet for the story and people who will travel on the journey with you. Query letter writing and the pursuit of an agent or publisher are a must. This is the best way for opportunity to “drop” into your lap.
I have talked with quite a few people who say, “I’ve written an unpublished book.” The problem is that no one else knows about it. A book stored on your computer is about as useful as singing in the shower. You only did it for the recreation. It fulfilled you in some way. There’s nothing wrong with that if that makes you happy.
If you didn’t write the story purely for the act of writing itself, then you must take the next step and find your opportunity. You can seek opportunity by networking and research. Engage in activities where work can be submitted. The internet makes it impossibly easy to find the people who can guide, advise, critique, and discover you. Believe me when I say that opportunity is out there. The difficult part will be selecting the best resources. You might find that some hard work helps someone discover your talent.
Summer Blog Tour Contest rules: http://www.brindaberry.com/summer-2011-blog-tour.html
About the author: Brinda Berry has always loved reading about the
adventures of others. She also believes there’s a little romance in
every story ever told. Brinda lives in Arkansas with her family and a
couple of terribly spoiled cairn terriers.
Her debut YA novel, The Waiting Booth, released on July 15th, can be
found at various online bookstore links:
All Romance ebooks: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thewaitingbooth-581654-140.html
Blurb: A missing boy, government agents, an interdimensional portal…
Mia has one goal for her senior year at Whispering Woods High—find her
missing older brother. But when her science project reveals a portal
into another dimension, she learns that travelers are moving in and
out of her woods in the most alarming way and government agents
Regulus and Arizona are policing their immigration. Mia’s drawn to the
mysterious, aloof Regulus, but it’s no time for a crush. She needs to
find out what they know about her brother, while the agents fight to
save the world from viral contamination. But when Regulus reveals that
he knows Mia’s secrets, she begins to wonder if there’s more going on
than she thought…and if she was wrong to trust him…
Focus is one’s ability to concentrate exclusively on a particular thing through effort or attention.
Determination is an unchanging intention to achieve a goal or desired end.
Perseverance takes determination a step beyond by using steady and ongoing actions over a long period of time to ensure its intention is accomplished. It continues on through ups and downs.
These elements combined with positive thinking and projection can be an unstoppable force.
I’m a huge fan of positive thinking and projection. I believe our mind has a great influence over our well being and the direction our life can take. Granted, it’s not always easy to harness that influence, but there is enough content out there, including The Secret, to at least strive to think positive and project.
For example, Jack Canfield and co-creator Mark Victor Hansen, of Chicken Soup for the Soul, were rejected 144 times from publishers. Finally, in 1993, their book was accepted. Since they were in debt and couldn’t afford a publicist, they did their own promotion. In 1995, they won the Abby Award and the Southern California Publicist Award.
In a teleconference I attended with Jack Canfield as the speaker, he said he and his co-author created vision boards of what they wanted. They even took a copy of the New York Times Best Selling Page, whited out the #1 spot, and replaced it with Chicken Soup for the Soul. They put copies of it everywhere, even in the toilet. They had focus, determination, perseverance, and they envisioned and projected success. The rest is history.
On a much smaller scale, my daughter and co-author of Day’s End Lullaby, practices the philosophy of The Secret. For ten years she dreamed of being in the audience of the Oprah show. She actually got tickets twice, but for one reason or another she was unable to attend. It didn’t stop her though; she persevered and kept trying; she knew one day she’d accomplish her goal.
Well, the weekend of May 8th, 2010, Oprah had her Live Your Best Life weekend in New York City. Robyn got a ticket for the weekend event and ended up being photographed. Her photo was up on Oprah’s website. Then, in May of 2011, through amazing circumstances and a friend who works for the Discovery channel, she got to go to the next-to-last Oprah show.
So, what has this to do with you and me as writers . . . plenty . . . the elements for obtaining your goals are the same whether for business, pleasure, or writing. Just about every writer has heard the adage, it’s not necessarily the best writers who succeed; it’s the writers who persevere. Be focused and determined on your writing goals. Project success, and don’t let rejection stop you . . . persevere.
Karen Cioffi is an author and ghostwriter. Her new MG/YA fantasy book, Walking Through Walls, is based on an ancient Chinese tale:
Longing to be rich and powerful, twelve-year-old Wang studies the legend of the mystical Eternals. Certain they are real, he journeys to their temple and begins an apprenticeship with the Eternal Master. There he enters a world of magic where not everything is as it seems, and where he learns the magic formula to ‘walking through walls.’
Walking Through Walls should now be available through online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and book stores. If it’s not yet listed, it will be very soon!
You can also order the book today at:
To learn more about Walking Through Walls, its touring schedule and contest, and purchasing information visit: http://walkingthroughwalls-kcioffi.blogspot.com
To learn more about Karen and her books, visit:
Please be sure to stop by Magdalena Ball’s site (http://www.magdalenaball.com) on July 25th for the next stop on the Walking Through Walls Tour.
ANNOUNCING 2 EXCITING CONTEST FOR THE
SH SH SH LET THE BABY SLEEP BOOK TOUR!
AUTHOR: KATHY STEMKE
ILLUSTRATOR: JACK FOSTER
There will be drawings at the end of the tour from those who comment or answer a superhero trivia question on this or any other site during the tour from June 13th-July 5th. Please include your email address in a safe format: dancekam1(at)yahoo(dot) com
The prizes include:
• $10 Amazon gift certificate
• Mozart in the Future by Tania Rodriges-Peters
• “The Wild Soccer Bunch” books 1 & 2 by Joachim Masannek
• “30 Days to a Well-Mannered Dog” by Tamar Geller
• Superhero figurines
• “The Green Bronze Mirror” by Lynne Ellison
• “The Face of Deceit” by Ramona Richards
Download a coloring page from http://educationtipster.blogspot.com for the book, “Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep.” Color it, and email a picture of it to Kathy Stemke at dancekam1 (at) yahoo (dot) com for a chance to win one of the prizes below.
• “Small Gifts in God’s Hands” by Max Lucado
• Superhero figurine
• “Making Memories” by Janette Oke
THE BOOK BY KATHY STEMKE IS AVAILABLE ON GUARDIAN ANGEL PUBLISHING, AMAZON, BARNES AND NOBLE, AND OTHER EBOOK SITES.
CHECK OUT REVIEWS OF THIS ACTION PACKED BOOK educationtipster.blogspot.com
Hello and thank you Margaret, for welcoming me!
My name is Grace Elliot.
By day I am a veterinarian and by night I write historical romance. Being a vet is my dream job, but it can be emotionally draining and several years ago I started writing as a form of stress relief. I live near London and I am married with two teenage sons, five cats (we peaked at nine) and a guinea pig.
Is this your first book?
I have written four novels prior to ‘A Dead Man’s Debt,’ but this is the first that I felt ready for the public to read. Writing is a learning curve and with each book I learnt something, improved and moved on. I expect that process will keep going for as long as I keep writing and publishing, especially as some reviewers make very perceptive comments.
What led you to tell this particular story?
The inspiration behind A Dead Man’s Debt sprang from a portrait of the young Emma Hart (who later married Lord Hamilton and became Horatio Nelson’s mistress)
The painting by George Romney shows an innocent yet lush young woman, scantily clad with a hint of bosom, brazenly staring out of the canvas with an allure that is quite hypnotic. It struck me as sensational for an 18th century work, that the sitter was not prim, proper, straight backed and starchy. At the time the picture must have been utterly scandalous.
But who would be bold enough to commission such a portrait? (As it happened Emma Hart was ahead of her time…but that’s another story.)
What a delicious idea for a story!
What if the woman in the portrait wanted to shock? From this idea, Lady Sophia Cadnum, Ranulf’s mother, was born. A woman who hated being a brood mare and resented her children….
What if years later, this same portrait threatened to disgrace her son, forcing Ranulf to do the very thing she resented…and marry out of duty…
Thus the stage was set for the story of blackmail, sacrifice and redeeming love that in ‘A Dead Man’s Debt.’
You’ve written a historical romance. How did you go about researching the period?
I came to writing historical romance through a love of history. I discovered the wonders of history whilst pregnant with my second son. It was a difficult pregnancy and I spent a lot of time resting and reading, and by chance picked up an engrossing book by Margaret George called ‘The Autobiography of Henry VIII.’ That this novel was based on fact was a revelation…but how could this be so when the book was so interesting? Out of curiosity I read my first non-fiction history book outside of school, and fell in love with the past. From then I was lost and history books became an addiction…and research from my HR is the best excuse yet to buy more!
How did you find working with your publisher?
I am eternally grateful to Solstice for taking a risk and giving me this chance to become a published author. One of the main benefits that I can see of belonging to Solstice is the network of supportive fellow authors, who are so generous with their advice and experience. I’m not particularly computer literate and with their encouragement I have started a blog (updated twice a week with posts on historical trivia) a website, Tweet (@Grace_Elliot) and am active on Facebook.
What are you working on now?
You can’t beat historical romance for sheer page turning, escapism and I hope my next novel ‘Eulogy’s Secret’ lives up to this.
‘Eulogy’s Secret’ is a story about hidden identity, dangerous assumptions and prejudice. Our heroine, Eulogy Foster, has a secret that could destroy lives…but will she keep that secret if, in the telling, she could win the man she loves?
Once again set in the Regency, this book is the first in a series of three, about very different brothers, and will be available later this year.
How do you feel that your work as a vet plays into your writing?
Oh, this is a good question!
Writing and being a vet are complimentary occupations. As I said earlier, writing is a release from the sad, raw emotional side of being a vet, (it’s so hard, saying goodbye to patients I’ve known for years.) In my work, each day I meet all sorts of interesting and very different people with all their quirks and peculiarities, and it’s a great way to get inspiration for characters! On occasions I’ve also woven some of my veterinary knowledge into a novel (such as when Lord Ranulf Charing meets Miss Celeste Armitage for the first time….not in a ball room, but in a muddy ditch as he’s helping a cow give birth to a breech calf.)
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever gotten? The worst?
The best writing I ever read was “Write every day, whether you feel like it or not.”
Even when I’m really tired after a hard day, I buckle down and write for a minimum of twenty minutes. If at the end of that time I want to stop then fine (mostly that twenty minutes stretches into two hours) ….but at least I’ve inched my WIP forward.
To be a writer you need to write and even if that twenty minutes work is poor, at least I can go back and edit it later, but you cant edit a blank page!
I don’t think I’ve ever been given bad writing advice….at least nothing that I thought worthy of remembering!
Any favorite authors/books in your genre?
My favorite historical romance authors are Julia Quinn (for her humor) Mary Balogh ( consistently enthralling books) Gaelen Foley (writes great heroes) Lisa Keyplas ( emotional depth) and Stephanie Laurens ( sheer numbers of books.) One of the joys of the internet and eBooks is the number of forums for fellow book addicts, I’m constantly discovering new and promising authors, such as Marissa Patzer (The Blighted Troth) and Rose Gordon (The Intentions of the Earl.)
Where can readers find your book?
‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ is currently available as an eBook from Amazon, Smashwords, Fictionwise and other eBook retailers. ($2.99 US, 2.14 GBP UK.)
Any last words?
If you have enjoyed this interview, or are interested by ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ then you might enjoy my blog. This is a blend of history, romance and cats! I update twice a week at http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com
I am also on twitter: @grace_elliot and I’d love to hear from you.