Sincerely Me…

sinsundaySo I thought since I have interviewed hundreds of authors over the years on this blog, that you would enjoy hearing me answer some of the questions I have posed to them over the years.

Each week I will answer one or two questions, if you want you can leave your own questions for me in the comments and I will try and answer them in a future blog post!

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Why do you write?

I write for the same reason I read. Well one of the reasons I read anyways. I write to escape the everyday hum-drums of reality. I write to help others to escape their realities as well. I remember many hours spent reading when I was younger to escape and I wanted to give that back to someone else who might need a break. I figure if I have managed to take them away from their realities and given them a few moments of peace and quiet then I have done my job.

I also write because I have to otherwise I think I’d go crazy with all the voices in my head chattering away (I am completely sane — I swear! Well mostly… completely harmless for sure!)

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Q&A with Yancy Caruthers

q & a

Please give a cold dead body welcome to our first gentleman on the blog this year… Yancy Caruthers!

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Profile photoWhat were you like at school? Were you good at English?

I was a classic nerd, awkward with girls and not taken seriously by the popular crowd. High school was hell, which was probably one of the reasons I joined the Army when I turned 17. I had no idea that twenty years later I would be an author. The only class in high school that I ever had a ‘C’ in happened to be English.

Which writers inspire you?

The ones no one has ever heard of. There are people out there who write fantastic books but fail to rise above the slush. These are authors who don’t write ten books a year of complete drivel because they think it’s the flavour of the week, but those who pour their souls onto the paper to try harder and harder to write something truly great.

So, what have you written?

Northwest of Eden is a true account of my personal experiences working in an Army emergency room during the Iraq War. I was sure that it would be my only book, but I’ve since began a six-part book called Medic! about an Army medic from each of the living wars. These are also true stories, obtained from veterans I’ve met along the way. Two parts are out, two in editing, and two in draft.

 

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

The main character of Northwest of Eden is me. I went into the experience confident, almost arrogant. I was good at my job and secure in my ability to lead. Over that year, I realized the toll that it all was taking on all of us, and I was not as immune as I thought. It took writing a book to realize that.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

The other characters and I have discussed this at length. They insist that I could only be played by Steve Buscemi. My officer in charge, Maria, insists on Katherine Zeta-Jones.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?Front Cover Final

I started writing the book as I was still experiencing it. I took notes during that year and even wrote a few chapters in draft. I toyed with it for another five years – every time I tried to finish it, I had horrible dreams and more than a few daytime preoccupations. The horrors of some of those experiences were haunting me. I finally realized I had to finish it if I ever wanted peace. I can’t

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

When I find myself stumped, I’ll print out the last few pages of draft and start taking notes on it with an old-fashioned red ball point pen. I think it’s probably a different part of my brain waking up.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

When I was a kid, I couldn’t get enough books. I read every Hardy Boys ever written inside of three weeks, and I finished hundreds of books a year. I’ve read less than a dozen ebooks in my life. It’s just not a format that works for me. There is something about feeling, even smelling the staleness of the pages, that takes me back to that escape from my youth.

You asked several questions about my editorial process, so I’ll try to answer them collectively.

When I finish a draft, I’m done with it for a while. I send it to my best friend, who is also a writer. He doesn’t look for misplaced commas – he’s telling me which parts make sense and which don’t – it’s pure content editing. Once I reconcile all of his changes, then it will go through my author group. There are four ladies, all romance writers, who go through it line by line looking for better word choices, open quotes, missing commas, etc. Once they are through, then I send it to the last line editor, who happens to be OCD with an IQ of 150+. Even after that gauntlet, my mother will still find a typo or two.

How are you publishing this book and why?

I started out with queries to agents and I think I wrote about a dozen, but I heard nothing back. While I was waiting, I was reading more and more about independent publishing, and decided to go that route. Anyone who thinks that was the easy route needs a CaT scan! Suddenly I was plunged into marketing and promotion, aspects of the business that I never thought I’d learn. Writing Northwest of Eden was the easy part.

Final front Cover part 4How do you market your books?

I do all the standard online stuff, but honestly it doesn’t work for me because it’s so lazy and impersonal. About half my sales are online but I enjoy handing someone a physical copy. If I can connect with people, then they want to read my work, and I’ve found that it’s much easier in person to do that. I love talking with people, whether it’s one or a hundred. When I do events, I never fail to meet people who open more doors for me.

Would you or do you use a PR agency?

I would, if I ever met one that wasn’t trying to blow smoke up my… They all promise ‘exposure’ but that isn’t worth as much as they are asking for it. Spotting a fraud is as easy as listening to the silence when I want to talk about ROI and conversion rates.

What do you do to get book reviews? How successful has it been so far?

I asked! Every time I got feedback from someone, I asked them if they would leave one. I also approached several of Amazon’s top reviewers and managed to score two with that coveted ‘Top 500’ tag!

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

I got my first legitimate critical one a few days ago, and it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. The reader just didn’t like what I wrote. I’m okay with that, because there are plenty of others out there who did.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?

It’s good for building hype around a release date, but beyond keeping family and friends up to date on the status of the next book, social media as a means of advertising has been ineffective. It’s a means of engagement with readers, but buying an ad is a waste of money.

Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch?

I’ve done several newspaper and radio interviews to coincide with signing events. It can be fun to share the passion I feel about my writing with others and that comes through in the press.

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?

I started an Amazon Pay-per-click campaign a few months ago, and saw an immediate positive return of about $1.50 for every dollar I was spending. I think authors have to be careful how much they bid per click, but if I could figure out how to turn a dollar into $1.50 a million times, I would.

Do you think that giving books away free works and why?

It is absolutely essential to give away a percentage of every box of books you order. Give them to members of the press, librarians, reviewers, and other influential people. In other words, people who can help you drive sales. Your family and friends? You’ll want to set a policy early on, but most of them should be buying, not expecting a copy at your expense.

Did you format your own book?

Yes, and I absolutely do not recommend it! It was the second most painful learning experience in my life (the first was learning Spanish at age 40). I will do it myself in the future, but only because I did it once. It would have been $99 well spent.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Two things – first, your mother will always love it. Get an editor, not just your eighth grade English teacher, but one that can help with content. Preferably someone who hates you. Secondly, the Internet will NOT make you a best-seller by magic. If you are an introvert who hates talking to other people, then either bite your lip and develop some social skills or chase a different dream. It’s harsh, but true.

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Thanks so much Yancy for joining us on the blog this week! Please be sure to follow Yancy and check out his books!

Website: Yancycaruthers.com

Facebook: Northwest of Eden

Twitter: @yancycaruthers

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Yancy-Caruthers/e/B00KDE445A/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Book Links:

amzn.com/B00JXWZ7CC

amzn.com/B019A3B4OS

amzn.com/B00X2F4MLS

 

WIP Wednesdays: Only The Willing

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And of course I cant leave you without a peek at Julian and what he is up to!

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“You’re awfully quiet today kid what you got on your mind?” Stan said smoothly changing the subject and moving the focus off his eating habits onto something else.

“Nothing just heard a few things through the local grapevine and i was waiting on the both of you to set the record straight like you always do.” Julian answered staring into his milk shake as he spoke.

“Never miss a beat do you?” Stan chuckled.

“Not really.” Julian smiled, “So whats the deal with the woman they found in the motel room? You wouldn’t believe the strange and rather disturbing things I have heard today.”

“You wouldn’t have heard anything if you knew when to keep your nose off the police scanners.” Jane said narrowing her eyes at Julian.

It was another of Jane’s hopeless causes that she tried so hard to champion. Ever since they had found Julian at the scene of his adopted mothers murder he had been around them in some capacity or another. First staying with Stan to assist him in solving his mothers murder and then helping with other various cases over the years much to the dismay of not only Jane but the Chief as well.

They as a group had gotten better at hiding Julian’s involvement in solving some of the cases, but int he end the Chief knew that Julian was involved somewhere and so long as the chief could say he didn’t know and not be lying then nothing was said to Stan and Jane about it. Jane on the other hand had tried and tried to keep Julian away from police work, but in the end there was little she could do to stop the boy. He just kept poking his nose into case after case and for all her efforts to dissuade him she had to admit that he was handy when they were desperate for a break in one case or another.

Then there was the fact that the kid genuinely wanted to help, with no ulterior motives involved. And to top it all off the kid was actually good at what he did. There wasn’t a question of a doubt in Stan’s mind that if he truly wanted to he would become an amazing detective. His joining the police academy was another thing that bothered Jane. It on the other hand made Stan secretly proud. With no children of his own he had taken to the boy and was happy that there was someone out there who understood the way he felt about police work. He suspected that despite her outward disapproval of the situation Jane was secretly proud of him as well.

“So are you guys going to fill me in or am I going to have to become a psychic to figure out what is going on?” Julian asked as Holly, their waitress brought their food.

Stan looked at Jane and shrugged. It certainly wasn’t going to hurt anything to straighten a few bits of misinformation out that the boy had heard, and you never know with Julian he came up with some pretty interesting lines of thinking.

“You aren’t seriously considering telling him whats going on are you?” Jane asked her forkful of lettuce stopping half way towards her open mouth.

“Well what can it hurt at this point? He had probably already heard everything that the chief has heard and then some. It certainly isn’t going to give him any less nightmares if we straighten a few things out for him.”

“Ugh! I cant believe it! Every time we get to this point in the conversation you tell me that this will be the last time and that you promise you wont get Julian involved again. And every time the boy wonder here asks you look at me like the over protective parent and make me feel all guilty for not letting the boy in on the case.”

“Well that’s what you are, are you not? Aren’t you the bad cop in the good cop bad cop scenario.”

“Why is it that I always end up being the bad cop all the time?” Jane said stabbing at her salad with her for while Julian watched the exchange with a slightly amused grin on his face.

Teaser Tuesdays: Bodyguard

teaser tuesday

This is it folks! Only a few short days to go and you get the entire story! Who is excited to see what happens?

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A doorman greeted him as he entered the front doors.

“Can I help you sir?” The older man looked at him suspiciously.

“Yes. I am here for Ms. Woods. Im sure by now youve heard whats happened. I’ll be looking after her to ensure her safety until the situation had been resolved and her safety is no loner at risk”

The older man looked at him a moment before speaking.

“We had some detectives in here already this morning asking questions.”

“Yes I know. They are the ones who hired the company I work forto handle Ms. Woods security.”

“You work for a security company?” The mans voice sounded a little more at ease but there as still a hint of suspicion in his voice.

“Give them a call if it will make you feel better about my being here. I don’t mind waiting until you have confirmed with them that I have a legitimate reason for being here.” Bo placed his gear on the ground at his feet.

“Alright Ill do that. You just wait right there.” The old man shuffled off slowly.

“Not going anywhere. Take your time.” Bo said watching him go, wondering how he was still standing. The man looked about ninety.

A minute later Bo’s cell phone started ringing.

“Jackson.” He answered it.

“You sure are causing a lot of shit aren’t you?” The voice on the other end of the line responded.

“I’m sorry?” He tried to place the voice, “Who is this?”

“Detective Brookshire.”

“Oh.” He had to smile, the man was certainly living up to his reputation, “Detective, I am sorry for the mess of phone calls you have had to field, I’m sure you dealing with enough as it is, without having to deal with this as well.”

“Its fine Bo, at the end of the day I know DOT is on the job. I think I would be more concerned if I wasn’t hearing you lot making your way around the city taking care of Ms. Woods.”

“You never need to worry. We are on the job.”

“No problem, Jane is talking to the doorman right now clearing everything up for you. Anything else you can think of off the top of your head that you will be needing? Things that I can maybe take care of ahead of time for you?”

“Not at the moment. But If i do Ill give you a call?”

“No problem, you have my number, let me know what you need.”

Bo was just hanging up when the doorman shuffled back.

“Ill take you up to her floor.”

“Do you have a key or do you need me to get on for you?” he asked as they headed towards the elevator.

“I already have one from Ms. Woods.” He said holding up Olivia’s key ring.

“Well I will see to it that you will have a copy for yourself when you leave today.”

The elevator door opened on Olivia’s Floor and the doorman lead the way down the long hall to the north end of the building. Olivia’s apartment was the door at the very end of the hallway.

The doorman unlocked the door for Bo before swinging the door open and ushering Bo inside.

Bo stepped into the apartment. Everything in the apartment was neat and in its place. It was the apartment of a highly organized individual. He had expected nothing less, given what he knew about Olivia.

“Do you need anything else from me?”

“No I think I am good for now. I have some things Ill need to set up in the common areas but Ill let you know when I do that.”

“No problem. Ill leave you to it then. You know where to find me when you need me.” The old man waved a wrinkled hand over his shoulder as he turned and closed the door behind him.

Bo heard the lock click as his guide locked the door behind him.

Taking a deep breath he turned back around to the task at hand and started unpacking his gear.

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Grab your copy at a special 99 cents pre-order price! http://amzn.to/1SqhBMW

Sincerely Me…

sinsundaySo I thought since I have interviewed hundreds of authors over the years on this blog, that you would enjoy hearing me answer some of the questions I have posed to them over the years.

Each week I will answer one or two questions, if you want you can leave your own questions for me in the comments and I will try and answer them in a future blog post!

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

When did you decide to become a writer?

As much of a cliche I am aware that the following statement will sound like, I can honestly say I’ve been picking at detective stories since I was a kid. Twelve to be exact. I hand wrote a really awesome one out when I was younger. I filled out four or five notebooks and tied them all together with a bit of yarn that I had gotten from my grandmother. I was very proud of it. What I remember of it was there was a female lead detective who had overcome a ton, and I do mean a TON of things in her life and her idea to ‘give back’ was to be a cop and solve murders.

Sounds suspiciously like what I write now don’t it?

Q&A with Lauren Gregory

q & a

Please welcome the lovely Lauren Gregory to the blog this week!

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LGBetaphoto250lrgWhat were you like at school?

I was always very quiet, not in the popular crowd—I was too nerdy and bookish—and a teacher’s pet.

Were you good at English?

English and History were always my favorite and best subjects. But I’ve still been amazed at how much I’ve learned in the last couple of years while writing When Doves Fly.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I’d love to build a solid audience and make enough to live on. But ultimately, I want to write stories with a message that speak to people, and to bring women into the spotlight in genres where they’ve been neglected.

Which writers inspire you?

I’m horrible with favorite lists. A start would be Stephen King, Tracy Chevalier, Jean Auel, and Helen Hooven-Santmeyer.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Lily has a difficult, but sheltered, childhood. She follows a path most women did at the time—straight from her parents’ house to marriage—and could have stayed there. But she has a rebellious streak and sets out on a frankly ill-advised journey. In the process, she learns to depend on herself and stand up for herself in a time when independent women were scorned. She develops into a strong woman without losing her femininity.

What are you working on at the minute?

I’m writing the sequel to When Doves Fly.

What draws you to this genre?

My love of history and a desire to represent complex women in a traditionally male-dominated genre that often has women only as simplified tropes.

Why do you write?FrontCoverWDF

I spent many years being afraid I had nothing important to say. Once I conquered that fear, I found a need to express some of my experiences and thoughts, and hopefully give women another voice.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

It sounds clichéd, but I actually just woke up one morning with an idea, sat down at the computer, and wrote for 16 hours. Something clicked, but I still don’t really understand what.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

I don’t think of it as Writer’s Block. I think it’s a manifestation of fear and lack of direction—fear that the story or the writing is not good enough and/or not knowing the story well enough. I’ve encountered both a few times. Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block? Write. Write about the fear, the frustration, the daily obstacles, where you want to go.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

I revised/edited When Doves Fly six times, had six beta readers, a proofreader, and an editor. I firmly believe in having as many eyes as possible on work before it’s published.

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Thanks so much for being with us on the blog this week Lauren! Please be sure to follow Lauren and to check out her books!

Website: http://www.authorlaurengregory.com

Blog: authorlaurengregory.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorLaurenGregory

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mslaurengregory

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mslaurengregory/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Lauren-Gregory

Book Links: http://www.amazon.com/When-Doves-Fly-Lauren-Gregory-ebook

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/LaurenGregory