Jennifer Lyon

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Monday, March 21st, 2016
Writing Sprints by Carrie Ann Ryan

Thanks for having me, Jennifer. My name is Carrie Ann Ryan and I’m a NYT and USA Today bestselling author of over forty novels and novellas. I’ve also done all of that within four years, which, as some of you know, is a little crazy. Jennifer asked me here today to discuss a little about my process and how sprinting helps me get things done. My process happens to work for me for now, but I know that eventually I might need to alter it a bit.

To start, I’m a plotter. I know the titles of my books for each series, which character goes with each book, and the main plot of each one before I even put a word on the page. While that can change, having an idea of where I’m going helps me focus.

I’m also a mathematician and chemist at heart, so numbers make me happy!

I set myself goals for each day when it comes to writing, 3k, 5k, 10k for that day so I can slowly work on my book. If I think about each book in parts, it helps me relax. Rather than worry that I have five weeks to write 100k, I can work on things per day. I also know I can’t do things alone!

I’m in a Sprint Loop of ten or so romance authors where we not only discuss business, but do sprints. We use SKYPE but only the text part. There’s no need for video without coffee! We’ve done 15, 20, and 30 min sprints where we focus solely on writing for that time and at the end, report how many words we have. Its not a competition as everyone works at different paces, but it keeps us accountable. I can usually get around 900 words in 20 min, but I know that not everyone can do that. Sometimes I can only get 400 words, but I know that I focused for those 20 min and at least wrote.

Why do small sprints and not #1k1hr? (1000 words in 1 hr)

Well I can’t focus for that long. If I have to sit at my computer and try to write for 60 min, my brain wants to do something else. I’ll start moving in my chair, I’ll get distracted by a cat, or literally a bird outside my window. By doing it in small spurts, I can focus for a smaller amount of time with less distractions.

That doesn’t mean I’m perfect and won’t get distracted, but I do my best to focus for those 20 min.

After those 20 min, we usually take 5-10 min breaks for social media, talking to our spouses, research, or bio breaks. More importantly, we force ourselves to get out of our chairs and stretch. Many of us have joint issues from sitting for so long and other health issues, so doing a group stretch actually is working wonders!

Another thing I have tried recently is using my FOCUS app. I set it for 20 min and that counts as my timer. (I used to use my iPhone rather than a web browser so I wouldn’t get distracted by the internet!) The FOCUS App refuses to let me get on the internet yet still let’s me keep on my Skype loop. You’ll be amazed how many times you go to your browser for something once you hit a sentence that pulls you out of the story. My writing output has increased nicely when I started using it.

Example of writing sprintsOne more thing you can do is keep a record of your writing. I have a wordcount record for each month, book, series etc. I’ve always kept it because I like numbers and it keeps me on target for a deadline. However I’ve also been doing a hand written one for daily counts. It has what my goals are for the day in increments of 1000 words on the left side, and I write the time of day when I hit that goal. It gives me an idea of how I’m doing during the day and where I get stuck.

All of this though, sprinting, focusing, writing down word counts, all of it is so my brain can relax and I can dig into the story. It keeps me on track because writing is a business and I have commitments, and it lets me know when I need to push a bit and when I can breathe and work on a special project on the side.

I hope this helps you if you’re looking for a way to focus and if you ever need anything, feel free to email me!

Thank you so much and happy sprinting!

***

Carrie Ann Ryan Author Photo

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan never thought she’d be a writer. Not really. No, she loved math and science and even went on to graduate school in chemistry. Yes, she read as a kid and devoured teen fiction and Harry Potter, but it wasn’t until someone handed her a romance book in her late teens that she realized that there was something out there just for her. When another author suggested she use the voices in her head for good and not evil, The Redwood Pack and all her other stories were born.

 

Carrie Ann is a bestselling author of over twenty novels and novellas and has so much more on her mind (and on her spreadsheets *grins*) that she isn’t planning on giving up her dream anytime soon.

 

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Monday, March 7th, 2016
7 Marketing & Publicity Points by M.J. Rose

It’s Business Monday and today I have a very special guest: New York Times bestseller, M.J. Rose is the author of sixteen novels, the founder of the first marketing firm for authors – Authorbuzz.com, and co-founder with Liz Berry of 1001 Dark Nights .  Here, she shared her tips on marketing and publicity in the ever-changing publishing world.

No one can buy a book they’ve never heard of.

So, how do readers hear about books? Everyone likes to say it’s word of mouth, but it’s not possible to tell a friend about a book until you’ve heard of it yourself.

That’s where publicity and marketing come in. What’s the difference between the two? Marketing is paid placement on blogs, radio, TV, newspapers, etc. These show up as ads, advertorials, promotions, blog tours, and more. With marketing, if you pay for it, it shows up. You hire a marketing company and they buy the space. The attention is guaranteed to be there.

Publicity is the opposite. You pay a publicist to pitch your book to newspapers, magazines, blogs, TV, radio interviews, and reviews. You are paying for the publicist’s effort to get you some attention. A publicist’s rate of success is determined by the quality and quantity of her connections.

7 Marketing & Publicity Points

1. 85% of all books get less than $2,000 in marketing from the publisher. And more than 85% of all books sell less than 1,000 copies.

2. 95% of all branded bestsellers get more than $25,000 in marketing and PR, and often it’s upwards of $50,000. There are never more than two or three books a year that break out on a fluke with no marketing and PR.

When people say, “If advertising and PR worked every book would be a bestseller,” they are approaching it from the wrong direction. The real question is, “How many books have succeeded without any PR or marketing?” and the answer is: very few.

Advertising and PR can’t make every book a bestseller because not every book is good enough or appealing enough. It is much easier to write an exciting ad than to write a whole book. Not even the most brilliant PR and marketing can sell a book people don’t want to read.

3.  Marketing and PR are both valuable, so I advise that if you have a big enough budget you should hire a publicist. Then for every dollar you spend with a publicist, spend two dollars with a marketing company. That way, even if the publicist can’t get reviews and publicity, you’ll still get exposure.

4. Exposure does work. If you take 100 books and look at the ones that had PR and marketing dollars spent on them and the ones that had none, you will absolutely see that the books that had PR/marketing outsold the others more than ten to one. The problem comes when you look at one book at a time.

For instance, I’ve done AuthorBuzz and blog ad campaigns where I have proof that over 10,000 people clicked through and looked deeper at the book, but ultimately the sales were less than stellar. What happened? We got attention for the book, but when potential readers looked more closely, they didn’t buy. I’ve also done campaigns where we did minimal marketing efforts and the book went back to press, which the publisher never expected, or the book ranked higher on a bestseller list than they expected or it simply sold through at a better rate than other books in the season/genre. What happened? It was a terrific book. It resonated with readers. PR and marketing can’t sell books. It’s worth repeating. PR and marketing can’t sell books.

PR and marketing can expose books to potential readers. The book—the words and the premise, the first few pages, the flap copy, the book cover—must entice, enchant, seduce. The book sells the book.

 In advertising there is a saying: nothing kills a bad product better than great advertising. It’s true for books too.

5. What to spend? The advice I give everyone, and follow myself, is to keep your day job or a freelance job and spend as much as you can on selling your book. I’ve worked with authors who spend $985 and others who, between my services and other efforts, spend $250,000. One way to decide: if you are going to look back and regret spending the money, don’t do it. But if you are going to look back and say, “If only I had tried maybe the book would have succeeded,” then do it. Nora Roberts said you should spend 10% of your advance. For years, James Patterson spent all of his on advertising and kept his job.

6. If you are going to hire a publicist or marketing firm, don’t believe anyone who promises you specific sales numbers. No one knows how many copies of your book they can move and if they start out by lying, you’re going to get screwed. Make sure you look at their testimonials and recognize some of the authors/publishers.

Lastly, if it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not true. People will try to get you to pay money to attend teleseminars on how to become an Amazon No. 1 bestseller for ten minutes. All that achievement actually requires is that you manipulate the system and get 100 friends to buy the book within an hour. Don’t pay anyone anything for advice like that.

mjNew York Times bestseller, ​M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother’s favorite books before she was allowed. She believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice… Books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it.
Rose is the Co-President and a founding member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: AuthorBuzz. She also runs the blog, Museum of Mysteries.
​With Liz Berry she co-founded and co-operates 1,001 Dark Nights and Evil Eye Concepts, Inc.
In 1998, her first novel Lip Service was the first e-book and the first self-published novel chosen by the LiteraryGuild/Doubleday Book Club as well as the first e-book to go on to be published by a mainstream New York publishing house, as well as published in more than 15 countries including France (where she is published as Melisse J. Rose).
Rose has been profiled in L’OfficielTime magazineForbesThe New York Times,Business 2.0Working WomanNewsweek, and New York Magazine. She has appeared on The Today ShowFox NewsThe Jim Lehrer NewsHour, and features on her have appeared in dozens of magazines and newspapers in the U.S. and abroad, including USA TodayStern, L’OfficialPoets and Writers, and Publishers Weekly.
Rose graduated from Syracuse University and spent the ’80s in advertising. She was the Creative Director of Rosenfeld Sirowitz and Lawson and she has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.
liz
Liz Berry has two passions. She is the executive director of International Thriller Writers (ITW), a trade group of over 3,000 thriller writers from around the world. Previously, she was the long-time director of Thrillerfest, the annual gathering of ITW, which happens in New York City every July.
With M.J. Rose, Liz co-founded and co-operates 1,001 Dark Nights and Evil Eye Concepts, Inc — an Internet marketing company that works to brand authors and expand readership within the romance genre.
Liz has a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Georgia and also studied at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. Both areas of study have allowed her to gain twenty-plus years of experience in the ever-changing marketing field.
She proudly serves on the Education Committee for the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board, and, with her husband, novelist Steve Berry, operates History Matters, a non-profit foundation dedicated to historic preservation. For more information, visitThrillerWriters.org1001DarkNights.com, and History-Matters.org.
Monday, February 29th, 2016
Multiplicity (Or How to Deal with a Muse Who Runs with Scissors) by Silver James

Today I’m welcoming author and friend Silver James to the blog to talk about how she juggles writing multiple projects, often working on several books at the same time. She has some awesome tips to share on how she wrangles her out-of-control muse into a creative process that allows her to write and publish an impressive five to ten books a year. So without further delay, here’s Silver James!

Multiplicity (Or How to Deal with a Muse Who Runs with Scissors)

Iffy & scissors smallThis is my Muse. Her name is Iffy. She runs with scissors and is quite dangerous. She also runs in circles, loves chocolate and spends way too much time on stock photo sites looking at shirtless men. Her imagination is way too active and she delights in waking me up in the middle of the night, whispering sweet nothings about new story ideas in my ear. Back before I was published, this wasn’t so much a problem. Well, other than the insomnia-inducing whispering.

Then I sold my first book to a small press, quickly followed by five more. They didn’t schedule a book for release until all the steps had been met. While still pursuing a traditional publishing track, I also took the plunge into self-publishing. When I inked my first two-book deal with Harlequin Desire, I was suddenly faced with hard deadlines based on HQ’s schedule—books set for release before they were finished, plus promises I’d made to my readers on the self-published side. For a disorganized sort, this was my worst nightmare. No really. I had all these stories, all demanding my time and attention. I’d be working on a sexy contemporary for Desire (billionaire cowboys) and my military SpecOps wolf shifters would hijack my brain. I’d madly jot down that idea—usually resulting in a scene with anywhere from 250 to 2500 words. We won’t even talk about pesky vampires, dragons, fae, and the human FBI agent charged with wrangling them. Ah, the joys of being a hybrid author!

To clarify, I have five active series: Red Dirt Royalty for Harlequin, The Penumbra Papers (self-published urban fantasy), Moonstruck (self-published military wolf shifters), and the two off-shoot series in the Moonstruck world, the Nightriders Motorcycle Club, and Hard Target, another SpecOps team that has genetically enhance SEALs, along with wolf shifters and others.

To keep my business plan viable, I have to publish multiple books in each of those series each year. That means I have to write between five and ten books a year. Luckily, most of the books are shorter, category length or are novellas. That helps. So, you ask, how do I get it done? Organization.

First, I had to have solid bibles for each series. Iffy wrangling all the information and keeping it in my head was an exercise in frustrated insanity. FYI, for anyone who might not know, a series bible is like the Wikipedia of pertinent information about the books in the series:

♦ Main Characters: Names, physical descriptions, personality traits, backstory, cars, guns, pets, etc.
♦ Secondary Characters: All the same info
♦ Settings: Names (businesses, streets, places), descriptions, locations
♦ Worldbuilding notes: This includes special words, any rules (like magic, shifting, etc.), important groups, events, etc.
♦ Titles: Published books and blurbs
♦ Upcoming and prospective titles

I can’t even describe the Post-it Notes, white boards, bulletin boards, notebooks, journals, and all sorts of organizational attempts I made before discovering Scrivener. While I’m a huge proponent of this writing platform, it’s not for everyone. It works beautifully for me. Granted, in the beginning, I simply used it to write a book. Then I learned more about the capabilities of the program and got smart. Trial and error. But this is what I do now.

♦ I create a Scrivener project for each series.
♦ Within the project, I create a folder for each book.
♦ I have a folder for all characters—main and secondary, and I also have a character folder within each individual book folder, with just the characters in that book, for easy referral.
♦ I have a folder of settings
♦ I have a Notes folder that contains worldbuilding notes, special words—I have characters who use terms from their native languages so I keep those for easy copy/paste into the working manuscript.
♦ I have an Idea folder, where I can tuck any brilliant plots, characters, or whatever sweet nothing Iffy is whispering.
♦ For Penumbra, I also have a Playlist folder, because that’s part of the series, a playlist of songs for each chapter.

So, that’s the organization. With that in place, I can play the butterfly and flit between projects. And why do I do that? Two main reasons: Deadlines and my writing process.

♦ Deadlines: For the published author, deadlines rule our worlds…and our words. I’m lucky that my Harlequin editor is aware of my hybrid status and he wants me to set deadlines that work within both schedules. But HQ pays me. Advances when the contract is signed, upon acceptance of the proposal, and upon acceptance of the final manuscript. They get priority because…money. As much as I’d like to say I write for the art of it, writing and publishing is a business for me. I have bills to pay. I can’t base a budget on what I might make with my self-published titles.

Traditional publishing and self-publishing both have a rhythm. You set deadlines—finished MS, beta readers, self editing and revisions, professional editing, revisions, final edits and proofreading, release. There are gaps between those steps, and the smart author starts the next project as soon as a finished project is shipped off to the editor. This holds true no matter how you are published. I’m a firm believer that self-published authors need professional edits too. So, you finish your MS, and send it off to a critique partner or beta readers. Start the next project (or in my case, start/return to the next 3 or 4 projects—LOL) Now you learn to multi-task, juggling two or more projects. You’re writing one/more additional project(s), the first project hits your inbox, and you have to shift gears. Some writers drop the current project to focus on the original. Me? I set aside blocks of time so I can work on all of them. Mornings might be edits, afternoons new words on the new project. Or vice versus. Sometimes, I work in sprints—edit two chapters, write a chapter, edit, write. Everyone has to find their own rhythm because this whole process is very much like a dance.

AADDNow, why in the world do I/can I have more than two projects going? Because I suffer from Author’s Attention Distraction Disorder. As things occur to me, I either make notes, or write the scene. Here’s what’s on the drawing board at the moment, including hard deadlines:

1. Moonstruck: Lies, the next compilation novel in final edits/proofing stage for a March 15th release (93K words)
2. Two Nightrider books, one with an October 12th release as part of a Kindle World, one with an April/May release. (25-35K words, each, both started)
3. A Moonstruck world novel with a proposal submitted to a traditional publisher and I’m working to finish it in case of a request for a full. (25-30K words, late April unless they ask for it sooner)
4. A Moonstruck Christmas novella, November (25K words, started)
5. Penumbra Papers #4 Summer/fall release (untitled, 65K words, started, plotted)
6. Hard Target #2 (untitled, 50-55K words, planning, no set release other than 2016)
7. Next three Red Dirt books waiting on a contract decision, all with 2017 release dates: #4 (started/plotted, 50K words), #5 (plotted, 50K), #6 (plotted, started, 50K). All three plots are percolating in my brain and I add to those projects as ideas/scenes pop up.

As you can imagine, the inside of my brain is a totally scary place! The deadlines are noted in big read letters on a white board next to my desk so part of my brain is always aware. That’s the role deadlines play. They’re the framework that nudges my brain—and Iffy—in the “write” directions at the right time. What makes all this work is my crazypants style of writing process. Do I write on every book every day? No. I work on the most pressing deadlines, with side trips as inspiration hits on the others. And trust me, inspiration hits far more than it probably should. *headdesk* So, let’s take a peek into how I write.

♦Writing Process: I’m a puzzler. When I begin a new book, I know who the main characters are, the beginning of the book, and usually, the end. I know the world. I have a decent idea of the plot and character arcs. That’s like working a jigsaw puzzle and getting all the straight-edged pieces put together to frame the puzzle/book. Then I find pieces and I put them together. Sometimes, they fit right into the frame (linear writing). Sometimes, the pieces clump together in the middle, a scene I know will happen but I’m not sure exactly when in the book’s plotline. I write the scene, tuck it into the correct Scrivener folder and move on. Yes, I have AADD. I can be BICHOK madly typing toward the current deadline and a scene from a totally different book will pop into my head based on a song, a word prompt, something on TV, or just out of the clear, blue sky. When that happens, I immediately stop, write it, tuck it away and return to the most pressing current deadline. Sometimes, I have to get a coffee refill, or do a little time on my gazelle, feed the birds, or pay attention to the fuzzy critters before I get back in the correct head space, but those breaks are likely to happen even if I don’t get distracted.

I should also mention here that I write fast and hard when I write. I’ve been known to do the equivalent of NaNoWriMo for several months in a row. I write full time, have no kids at home, though I occasionally babysit the grandson, and my husband is totally supportive so if laundry stays in the basket or dinner is late/extra crispy/fastfood, he goes with the flow. I know exactly how lucky I am!

Do I recommend this crazy load for everyone? Oh heck no! Run! Run far and fast! LOL Yet, with the fast pace of today’s publishing world, a working writer really needs to be able to multi-task with multiple projects. As I mentioned above, the path from blank page to release is a dance. Sometimes, it’s a waltz, sometimes a jive, occasionally the Argentine tango and the cha-cha-cha.

Know your deadlines—whether contractual or self-imposed.Get organized. Find a writing program and a process that works for you. Set a schedule. Don’t be afraid of letting your Muse (imagination) have a long leash. If you aren’t working under deadline, give yourself the luxury of moving to a new project if you stall on the current one. One of the best pieces of writing advice I’ve received is, “When you get stuck in a scene, move on to the next scene you know is going to happen.” Doing that, I often figure out what wasn’t working and can go back, fix the stuck scene, and move on. Sometimes, that next scene is in a totally different project. New words are new words, as far as I’m concerned, and they all get me to the end of the dance and THE END.

Silver 300 long bio

 
To find out more about Silver and her books, visit her at these social media sites: Website | Amazon Author Page | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Newsletter Sign-up

Friday, October 2nd, 2015
Welcome Niki Daninger! Guest Post Interview

We have a new feature today – Guest Blog/Interviews. And here to launch it is Niki Daninger (aka Ban) with her very first release! Niki wrote a short story that is part of an anthology collection titled: BEWITCHING DESIRES: A SAVANNAH COVEN ANTHOLOGY

Micah's Mess cover 12032181_1623094491290087_338278726545482248_nNiki has graciously agreed to let me interview her hero, Micah. Okay maybe I begged, because once I found out he’s a witch, I just had to talk to him. I knew you’d all want to hear from him too. So grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea (or wine or martini, we don’t judge here) and settle in for a fun interview with the hero of MICAH’S MESS by Niki Daninger.

Jen: Hi there Micah. Thank you for stopping by today.  I know you’re busy, so I’ll jump right in with the first question. From the blurb of Niki’s book in the anthology, MICAH’S MESS, it looks like you’re a witch. That’s cool, but all of us here on the blog need to know–are you a hot witch? Like the kind of hot that could entice us to get on the back of your bike and ride off into all kinds of sexy trouble?

Micah: No one would ever mistake me for some pre-teen wizard, waving a wand around, if that’s what you’re asking. I’ve turned more than a few heads, and I’ve seen my share of fights because of it.

Jen: What’s the deal with you wanting to take over the Savannah Coven? Do you really feel you’re the best leader for the coven or do you have ulterior motives that make you a bad boy kind of hero?

Micah: Would I the best leader? Probably not but I’d be better than my sister. No one wants this more than I do. No one has worked as hard as I have— Hell, I’ve memorized every single one of my grandmother’s potions. Now SHE was a leader. Someone has to honor her memory. That someone should be me.

Jen:  Tell us about this angel who gets in your way. Is she hot? Are you thinking about her when you should be thinking about your goal?

Micah: Isa is beautiful in the way that makes breathing hard so yeah, she’s a distraction. And that’s why I didn’t want to take her with me.

Jen:  What is your favorite part of Micah’s Mess?

Micah: My favorite part… good question. I guess it would be learning I can be more than I have been.

Jen:  Since you were “born” in Niki’s mind, maybe you could leave us with one thing about Niki that we probably don’t know about her.

Micah: Well, she just put this on her bio page but— Niki never wanted to be an author. She hated writing growing up! She loved reading but she’d rather take 100 tests than write a paper, even a creative one. Me and the others ‘living’ in her mind took care of that ;)

Jen: And last, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Micah: Yeah, don’t let your past define you. You can be the person you’ve always wanted to be. Life starts anew every morning. Don’t give up or in. Ever.

Great advice! Thank you Micah for coming by today! It’s been a pleasure to have you here. But one word of caution. All the witches who hang out here REALLY like hunky guys. Beware of innocent looking women offering you cookies…more than one hunk has fallen for that trick and ended up under a witch’s love spell until she decided to release him.

If you’d like to get to know Micah, pick up a copy of BEWITCHING DESIRES: A SAVANNAH COVEN ANTHOLOGY and check out Niki’s story in there!

bd-cover

Amazon Kindle  /  B&N Nook

 

Author Bio:

Niki's author pic 12026696_1623094637956739_582126088_nNiki grew up reading fantasy books, day-dreaming about elves, magic, magnificent beasts and worlds that only she could visit. Those imaginings were sketched onto every piece of paper she could find. After High School she went to Manhattan, majored in art, and planned to enter the field of animation but that was not to be. After college, she moved to Pennsylvania, found her husband, and had two daughters. But those stories kept coming back to her and she took up pen and paper for a different purpose. To write. Inspired by her author friends, she joined NaNoWriMo. That’s when her dreams took a new turn. They became insistent. The ideas and characters that had slowly taken up residence in her mind demanded their stories be told. Micah’s Mess is Niki’s first short story, but she hopes to finish her current WIP soon, so she can share more of her dreams with those who have supported and encouraged her over the years. Find Niki on  Facebook  or her Blog

 

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
Kat is in the House!

Kat is in the house sharing her costume for the Reader’s Appreciation Weekend.  The costume kicks butt, in fact it’s so cool it  kicked the Wing Slayer Worthy candidate from today to Friday’s post! LOL!

And now, here is Kat in her Futuristic Air Elemental costume.

First, this is her boot that kicked the WSW Candidate to Friday!

Love the hair with the makeup! I’m very impressed!

A close up of the intricate design:

The whole costume, how awesome is this?

Okay witches, I officially nominal Kat as our Futuristic Air Element Witch! Are you all with me?

And thank you Kat so much for sharing!

Thursday, April 15th, 2010
Winner! From Tuesday’s Guest Blog

Silver faeriefate_300It’s time to announce the winner of a copy of FAERIE FATE from Silver’s guest blog!

Using Random.org, the winner is…

Kami!

Congratulations, Kami! Please email Silver at  email hidden; JavaScript is required with your choice of paperback or ebook, and be sure to include your snail mail address  for the book, or email address for the .pdf version.

And for everyone else, here’s my question of the day: Have you bought or gotten an e-reader yet?

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010
Guest Blogger Silver James!

It’s my pleasure to welcome the one and only Silver James to the blog today! I had the privilege of reading an early version of Silver’s book, FAERIE FATE, and within the very first few pages I was swept away into another world filled with rich characters, deep magic and timeless love.  Please join me in welcoming Silver James!

Writing: One Tenth Inspiration, Nine Tenths Perspiration

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far away, a writer slaved away at her desk. Tap-tap-tippity-tap. Her fingers flew across the keyboard and words magically appeared—translated from her imagination to the virtual paper of her monitor. Yet, times abounded when the illusive WIP danced just out of her reach like a will-o-the-wisp, teasing her with a unicorn’s song. Publication. An agent. An editor. The New York Times Best Seller’s List! Elusive dreams indeed.

When harsh reality knocked on the door, I answered. Woe is me. My quest for publication seemed as futile as laying hands on the Holy Grail at times. I considered giving up; considered laying aside my keyboard-cum-sword. Publication was a dragon I could not slay; that shining unicorn merely an illusion. I could tell stories! Inspired stories of derring do and star-crossed lovers, of dark moments and happy ever afters. I could! Convincing anyone but my friends and family proved tougher. But I made it. Finally. Albeit, my route proved circuitous. And that’s when it got hard. Really hard. See, I thought writers only needed to be inspired—that inspiration led to marvelous books of the sort agents and editors clamored to get. Ha! (I’m still looking for an agent, as my circuitous route to publication led me down a less-traveled path.) Getting the contract was just the tip of the iceberg. Edits. Revisions. Excerpts. Blurbs. Websites and covers and blogs, oh my!

The “ugly” truth hit about the same time I received my release date for FAERIE FATE. One word slapped me in the face. Marketing. ACK! AckSputterCringeNOOOOOOO! You see, there’s a reason I never went into sales or retail. I hate selling. *shudder* I especially hate selling myself. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy standing in front of crowd and giving a speech or acting. THAT’S different. Totally. “It is,” she says insistently. I can stand up and give a ten-minute extemporaneous speech at the drop of hat. A ten-minute pitch session with an editor or agent? FAIL! Writing a cover blurb? FAIL! But that’s a topic for another blog. Today, I’m discussing all the fun a writer gets to have when it comes time to promote The Book. Didja catch the sarcasm? Forget the post cards, bookmarks, and promo items to give away. Those are easy. The hard part is doing exactly what I’m doing here today—connecting, hopefully, with readers and convincing them to buy my book. I know it doesn’t look hard, given I’m sitting here in my fuzzy slippers, jammies, and only brushed my teeth because my coffee tastes better. ;) The hard part comes from projecting personality and a feel for my writing and my work in the two-dimensional world. Yes, it is just like writing a book. But not. See, in a book, I am “acting out parts and telling a story.” Here, I am…acting like myself. If a reader doesn’t like *ME*, will they like my book? Will they even pick it up to give it a try? (Cue the Sally Field “They LIKE me” moment…)

Deciding how much to reveal, deciding on a topic of interest, deciding on how much you can write before boring your audience to death… This is tough! Thomas Edison pinned the tail on the donkey when he said, Genius is 99 percent perspiration and 1 percent inspiration. Simply change “genius” to “writing.”

Silver faeriefate_300 If you could go back, do it over again, would you take a chance to find true love? What if you had no choice?

On her fiftieth birthday, the faerie catapult Rebecca Miller a thousand years into the past to find her happily ever after with Ciaran MacDermot, the last Fenian warrior in his line. In the 21st Century, Becca is old enough to be Ciaran’s mother. In the 10th, she’s young enough to be his bride.

The fae forgot to mention one slight stipulation. The lovers must be bound before the Festival of Light, or Becca will forever disappear into Tir Nan Óg, the faerie Land of the Ever Young. Will they discover the binding words before time runs out and they’re torn apart forever? Or will their eternal love defeat their Faerie Fate?

Without the words, history is doomed to repeat itself.

****
But knowing y’all, you want to get a little more “up close and personal” with our Silver Fate-Ciaran_andredanke16hero. One of the things Becca notices most often is his incredible blue eyes. (Well…along with his muscular legs and chest, shoulders, and his ass…ets. His other assets. That’s what I meant. Really.) Here’s how Becca describes him at one point:

Becca wrapped the mantle around her like a toga. She ran from the room but stopped on the top step of the stairs, unaware her guard had stopped behind her. Men milled about the great hall, Niall and a few others shouting orders. Ciaran stood in the midst of it all, a wild warrior tall and strong.

She couldn’t breathe. He wasn’t just handsome. He was beautiful in the way the Rocky Mountains were with their rugged majesty, the way a desert sunset was all crimson fire, blazing across a blue sky, so brilliant one had to squint. Her eyes filled with rainbows as she blinked away tears.

Earlier in the story, Becca wakes up to discover Ciaran standing in the doorway, watching her. This is what happened next:

Becca sucked in her breath. That gorgeous guy lounged against the doorjamb, leering at her. “How long have you been there?” she sputtered.

Grinning lopsidedly, he affirmed her worst fear when he answered, “Long enough, cailín.”

The man positively purred at her, and she couldn’t keep her eyes from straying. Lord but he was tall, and all that black hair, not to mention… She jerked her gaze back to his face.

Ciaran really hadn’t meant to watch her get out of bed, but when she threw back the covers and was naked… Then she swung those magnificent legs over the side of the bed, and he couldn’t force his eyes to look away or his body to behave. He was pleased she’d boldly looked him over. Tit for tat, he thought. Then the delicate pink tip of her tongue swept across her bottom lip, and he almost groaned aloud. He knew the gesture was unconscious on her part, which made it even more enticing. When her top teeth tugged at her lip, it was all he could do to stand there. Every muscle in his body wanted to sweep her into his arms so he could kiss her soundly. She blushed and the fact she was embarrassed by her perusal of him amused a man who’d never been amused by a cailín before.

Defensively, she pulled the throw closer around her. “Do you mind?” she snarled pointedly.

“I don’t mind at all.” His masculine conceit fueled his smug grin.

Becca looked around for something to throw at his arrogant face. Guessing her intentions, he laughed before ducking out the door and tugging it closed behind him.

Ciaran is all Alpha Male. Arrogant. Strong. Completely sure of himself, even though Becca leaves him gobsmacked. He has a big heart and he loves his cailín with his entire heart. One random commenter will receive their choice of the paperback or ebook .pdf version of FAERIE FATE. If you already have the book, you can pick another FATE goodie (mug, notebook, or totebag)!

Available now from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon.com. and B&N.com: FAERIE FATE by Silver James

Silver_James_smallMy imagination has always run rampant. As a published author, I get to share the stories created there. Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve been a mother, military officer’s wife, state appellate court marshal, airport rescue firefighter and forensic fire photographer, crime analyst, and technical crime scene investigator. Retired from the “real world” now, I live in Oklahoma and spend my days at the computer with my two Newfoundland dogs, the “lolcat” who rules us all, and myriad characters all clamoring for attention. Eventually, I’ll tell each of their stories, including the second book in the Faerie Tales: FAERIE FIRE coming September 17, 2010. For more information visit me at www.silverjames.com

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