Review of Take Me Tomorrow

take-me-tomorrow-cover

I must say I’m really getting into sharing reviews of books I’ve read on this blog. This one is of the latest novel by Shannon A Thompson.

It’s called Take Me Tomorrow and it’s a YA dystopian novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Here’s my review:

This was an exciting, intriguing tale. In the dystopian world Sophia, her family and friends are living in, there is a war on between the State who control the various regions in this post-modern America and those who use and promote a clairvoyant drug.

At the beginning of the story Sophia has an unusual encounter with a mysterious boy in the woods. After meeting him her life will not be the same. As the story unfolds, Sophia learns things about her family and friends that she’d been blind to before, some of it shocking. At the same time she begins to get to know the boy in the woods better and he draws her into his world.

Sophia finds herself having to make choices: who to trust and who to follow. The potential consequences of these choices aren’t always clear to her and she finds herself having to trust her friends and family more than she’d like. But none of the decisions she makes have easy outcomes…

I really enjoyed this book. It was refreshing and different. I haven’t read a whole lot of dystopian fiction before, but what I liked about this was the different angle it gave – a war on a very potent drug. I thought it was brave of the author to tackle the subject of drug abuse – even indirectly like this. Drug abuse and its effects is a very divisive issue and I thought Thompson handled it skillfully.

As the author, I felt she remained neutral on the subject and just allowed her story to flow, the characters to discover things about themselves that they didn’t know, and the reader to make up their own mind.

Of course, drug abuse isn’t the only aspect to this book. The relationships between the characters were well drawn and, at times, heartbreaking. None of them were black and white, not even Sophia, which I thought was realistic and one of the attractions of the story as a whole.

On the whole I thought that this was an excellent book, gripping and exciting and well worth a read. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys an exciting, edge-of-your-seat, thrilling story.

Review of ‘Emergence’

Emergence

I thought I’d post another review of a book I’ve enjoyed here on my blog. It’s by the lovely K. L. Schwengel who kindly hosts WIPpet Wednesday on her blog once a week.

It’s called Emergence and it’s the second in her Darkness and Light series. It was a hugely enjoyable book to read. Here is my review:

This novel picks up the story of Ciara, and the battle for her power, where the last story ‘First of Her Kind’ left off. As the story begins Bolin, who is trying to protect Ciara, has a summons from the Emperor of Nisair demanding that he bring her to him. Bolin does everything he can to try to avoid this. There are powerful people who want Ciara and her powers for themselves and Bolin doesn’t want to risk taking her away from the safety of the Greensward, where she is being cared for, on a potentially perilous journey where she could be captured…

I really enjoyed this novel. I thought it was even better than the first, although I would say that to understand the story fully it might be helpful to read the first in the series, ‘First of Her Kind’, before this one.

The characters were vivid and memorable. Bolin in particular stands out for me. He is a troubled character, desperately trying to ignore what he feels for Ciara and always putting himself in dangerous situations before others. He refuses to let anyone get properly close to him and the consequences are often near fatal.

Reading this novel, it is clear that the main character, Ciara, is maturing. She is less hotheaded and headstrong than in the first novel, and she actually listens to people who’re trying to give her advice. Like Bolin, she is a memorable character – a strong young woman, yet endearingly vulnerable at times too.

I thought that the battle scenes were realistically described and the author also drew me, as a reader, into her world. The people and places felt real to me. All the characters were well drawn and I really felt that I got to know them as the story unfolded.

The story was gripping and exciting. There were plenty of twists and turns and the author kept me guessing as to who would have the upper hand by the end.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys an adventurous, thrilling tale. You won’t be disappointed.

If you would like to read it, it’s available from Amazon.com and Amazon UK.

Guest post by Barb and Babs for their blog tour

Today I’m pleased to welcome Barb Drozdowich and Babs Hightower to do a guest post on sharing blog posts as part of their blog tour for their collection of books which have the aim of enabling writers to fully develop their social media platform.  The books and their topics are listed at the end of this post.  They look really great so please check them out.  So now I will hand over to Barb.

What is Sharing and why do you need to encourage it?

I’d like to thank Elaine Jeremiah for inviting me to share some thoughts today! My name is Barb Drozdowich and I teach WordPress and work with authors on a daily basis to help them understand the technical aspects of Book Promotion.

Today I thought I’d talk about Sharing. This is a topic that comes up frequently in my interaction with authors.

Authors love to get comments on their blog posts – don’t we all? Comments are lovely! I often see comments encouraged in blog tours that are posted on my blog as well as others. In the big scheme of things, however, comments are not very important. Sharing is hugely important. Sharing buttons are those little icons that sit at the top or bottom of post or maybe float along the side. Ideally, they have icons for every social media platform known to man.

It’s your job to create great content that your readers want to share with their friends and followers. I don’t care if you don’t have a Stumbleupon account. Maybe your readers do and that’s where they want to share. You just need to make the content interesting and easy to share.  You want your readers to share your post on Twitter, on Facebook, on Stumbleupon and on whatever other social media accounts they favor.

Easy, right?

So why do I think that sharing is more important than comments?  Because Google thinks that sharing is more important than comments. Although readers will find your blog from many sources, some will find you from a Google search. You want to do everything that you can to make your blog rank as high as possible in a Google search. Think about it – most people will only look through the first few pages of a Google search. So, you want to be on one of those first few pages.

Understanding some of the technical aspects to promoting your books is challenging for many authors. Authors write beautiful stories – that’s what they do really well! You wouldn’t hesitate to take a writing course or go to a workshop. Likewise, don’t waste your valuable writing time wrestling with technical issues; ask for help.

Bio: Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught at Colleges and Universities, trained technical personnel in the banking industry and, most recently, used her expertise to help dozens of authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular Romance Book blog, Sugarbeat’s Books. Barb has published 4 books specifically to help authors understand some of the technical issues that they come up against when promoting their books.

Barb can be found: 

Bakerview Consulting (Business Site) http://bakerviewconsulting.com

Barb Drozdowich (Author Site) http://barbdrozdowich.com

Sugarbeat’s Books (Book Blog) http://sugarbeatsbooks.com

Facebook (Author blog) https://www.facebook.com/BarbDrozdowichAuthor

Facebook (Bakerview Consulting) https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bakerview-Consulting/576090425782155

Twitter http://twitter.com/sugarbeatbc

Google+ https://plus.google.com/110824499539694941768

Goodreads http://goodreads.com/BarbDrozdowich

Amazon Author Page http://amazon.com/author/barbdrozdowich

Information for Barb and Babs’ books:

B&B no 5

Do you feel out of your comfort zone when dealing with book bloggers? They are the New Gatekeepers to book publishing success – but how can you tap into that source of free promotions by putting your best foot forward?

The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers combines the advice of 215 blogging professionals collected in a survey covering all aspects of communication between authors and Review Blogs. Whether you are a new author, or have many titles under your belt, let us demystify the promotion of your book on a book blog.

You’ll learn about whom and where book bloggers are, and the following:

The Query,

The Review,

The Giveaway,

The Author Interview,

The Guest Post,

The Book Blurb Excerpt and Cover Reveals and more!

“I’ve found Barb’s advice on forging a professional relationship with the blogging community indispensable. Her step-by-step approach will help you garner the reviews needed to increase book sales.”

–Christine Nolfi, bestseller author of Treasure Me

The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers is available on:

AmazonUS  AmazonUK  |  Kobo  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Smashwords

Creating buzz for your book – and your career as an author – just got easier. Go Global: Building an International Author Platform That Sells will help you decode the mystery behind building a powerful author brand and navigating the social media platforms essential to publishing success. Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich will steer you through the technology behind international marketing without all the techno-speak. She has helped many authors just like you build an author platform that engages readers and builds sales.

B&B no 3Go Global teaches you why you need the various facets of the author platform to build visibility.  Barb uses a simple analogy, Operation Book, to help you understand the steps to successful book marketing in the media age. She covers:

- The Difference between a Website and a Blog

- What Your Blog Should Contain

- The Important Components of a Blog

- The Nine Essential Social Media Platforms

- Newsletters

- Amazon’s Author Central

With simple-to-follow steps, Barb will help you create and manage an Author Platform to support your career.

Go Global: Building an International Author Platform that Sells is available:

AmazonUS |AmazonUK | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

B&B no 4What are Book Blog tours? Are they something that you have tried yet? “Book Blog Tours – An Essential Marketing Tool for Authors” covers the topic of Virtual blog tours from beginning to end with the following topics explained:

• What is a book blog tour?

• How is a tour different from Online Public Relations

• How to set goals for a blog tour

• How to choose a Book Blog Tour Company for your book

• Giveaways and Tour Graphics

• Author responsibilities before, during and after the tour

• Follow up and planning for your next tour

• Book Blog Tours from the point of view of a book blogger

This book covers all aspects of a Book Blog Tour in easy to follow language that will help any author take on the challenge of a blog tour with confidence.

Book Blog Tours – An Essential Marketing Tool for Authors is available:

AmazonUS | Amazon UK | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

 

 

 

The Ultimate Goodreads Guide for Authors is the must have book for all authors. Every author has heard of Goodreads – some like it, some not so much. With over 120 color graphics, this book leads you through the process of creating your account, adding your books, making friends and so much more.

B&B no 2Let us share with you all those little gems of networking potential that Goodreads offers, such as:

- Blog posts

- Excerpt downloads

- Widgets

- Apps

- Event invitations

- Groups

- Polls

- Lists

- Trivia and Quizzes

- And many more

The Ultimate Goodreads for Authors is the most comprehensive book available today. Suitable for all authors, from the newly published to the experienced. It has something for everyone to learn.

The Ultimate Goodreads Guide for Authors is available:

Amazon US |Amazon UK

B&B no 1Getting help to promote your book just got easier. Public Relations for Authors Take Hold of Your Own Promotions will help you locate that special publicist who will help you promote your book the right way. A Publicity Director for two publishers Babs brings knowledge to this book.

Public Relations teaches you why you need a publicist and how to find the right one for you. To understand what you need she covers:

How publicity can help sell books

What you need to know about publicity

Writing Pitches

Media Kits

Press Releases

Where to find a PR agent

What to send to your PR agent

A practical, step by step book that helps you find the correct publicist, when publishing a book. ” by Lynelle Clark

 

Public Relations for Authors is available:

Amazon US| Amazon UK| Kobo| Barnes & Noble| Smashwords

About the authors:

Barb Drozdowich

Bio: Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught at Colleges and Universities, trained technical personnel in the banking industry and, most recently, used her expertise to help dozens of authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular Romance Book blog, Sugarbeat’s Books.

 Barb can be found: 

Bakerview Consulting (Business Site) http://bakerviewconsulting.com

Barb Drozdowich (Author Site) http://barbdrozdowich.com

Sugarbeat’s Books (Book Blog) http://sugarbeatsbooks.com

Facebook(Author blog) https://www.facebook.com/BarbDrozdowichAuthor

Twitter http://twitter.com/sugarbeatbc

Google+ https://plus.google.com/110824499539694941768

 

Babs Hightower

Bio:Babs has been helping authors since 2000. She owns a book review blog Babs Book Bistro which got her started in PR and helping authors promote themselves. In 2012 she started working for Entangled Publishing and worked her way up to Publicity Director over the Scandalous Imprint. She is a publicist for World Castle Publishing. She is also known as Morgan Kincaid writer of Historical Romance.

Babs can be found: 

Babs Book Bistro website: http://www.babsbookbistro.net

Babs Hightower PR website: http://www.babshightowerpr.com

Author website: http://morgankincaid.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/babsbookbistro

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BabsMorganKin

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BabsHightowerPr

Facebook Author: https://www.facebook.com/authormorgankincaid

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/babsbookbistro/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1970552-babs

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/102563748897854093407/posts

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

Emergence by K. L. Schwengel – Cover Reveal!

coverreveal

I’m pleased to have the privilege of doing a cover reveal from one of my favourite fantasy authors, the lovely K. L. Schwengel.  First of Her Kind, the first book in the Darkness and Light series can be found at Amazon.com and Amazon UK.  Emergence is the second book in the series, and continues the story of Ciara, a young woman who in the first book was gradually learning about the forceful magical powers she possesses and how she could control them…

Emergence ~ Book Two of the Darkness & Light Series

The battle for Ciara’s power has drawn the full attention of the Emperor and the Imperial Mages, forcing Bolin to put duty above safety and take her to Nisair. It won’t be an easy trip, even with an Imperial escort and a Galysian elder accompanying them. Especially since Donovan has found himself some new allies, one of whom wields a dark magic that has literally gotten under Bolin’s skin.

For Ciara, coming to terms with the increasingly tangible manifestation of her power could destroy her. Even if they make it to Nisair–something that grows more unlikely by the day–there is no surety of safety for Ciara, or any of them. Not with Donovan willing to gamble everything to achieve his goals, or Bolin’s uncharacteristically reckless behavior, the result of which is the attention of something that has everyone worried.

Loyalties will be tested, lives will be lost, and no one will emerge unchanged as they find things are not always so clear on the line dividing Darkness and Light.

About the author:

K. L. Schwengel lives in southeast Wisconsin on a small farm with her husband, a handful of Australian Shepherds, Her Royal Highness Princess Fiona the Cat, and assorted livestock. Growing up as the youngest of nine children, and the daughter of a librarian, Kathi spent many hours between stacks of books, and secluded away in dusty archives, drawn to tales of medieval heroes and conquering knights. With so many characters and ideas spinning in her head, she had to get them onto paper or risk what little sanity she possessed.

She has been penning wild tales of magic and mayhem as long as she can remember, but opted to follow her artistic muse first. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts and spending many years working as a freelance artist, grocery clerk, art teacher, graphic designer, stable hand, advertising account coordinator, dog trainer, and process technician (among other things) she answered the call of her writing muse. When not writing, Kathi trains and trials working Australian Shepherds, still paints, dabbles in photography, graphic design, and anything else creative her assorted muses send her way.

Kathi’s work is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and other on-line retailers in both paperback and e-book versions. Signed copies are available via her blog.

mequinnHow to connect:

Blog: http://myrandommuse.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KLSchwengelWrites

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kathils01/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KLSchwengel

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6871795.K_L_Schwengel

 

Cover reveal for Slave Again by Alana Terry

I’m delighted to be able to do a cover reveal of the upcoming Slave Again, the latest novel from talented author Alana Terry.  She’s the author of the brilliant The Beloved Daughter, a story about one family’s plight in North Korea and the daughter’s desperate attempt to escape.  It’s available from Amazon.com and Amazon UK and I would highly recommend it.  So here it is:

She escaped a North Korean prison camp only to find herself enslaved again.

Slave Again, by inspirational suspense novelist Alana Terry.
Cover Reveal: Mee-Kyong endured a childhood fending for herself in a North Korean prison camp. When she finally flees across the border into China, Mee-Kyong must draw upon all her survival skills. Does Mee-Kyong have the cunning she needs to escape the world of abuse and shame into which she’s been sold? Can she manage to save both herself and the innocent child under her protection?

About the Author:  Alana Terry is a homeschool mom, pastor’s wife, and Christian author. Her debut novel, The Beloved Daughter, has won awards from Women of Faith and the Book Club Network. The Beloved Daughter was a number one bestseller in Christian suspense on Amazon. Her next novel, Slave Again, is due out this summer.

Giveaway Time! Alana is giving away free copies of her next release to anyone who makes a donation to Liberty in North Korea, an organization dedicated to rescuing refugees who escape North Korea. She’s also giving away a mini kobo e-reader and several copies of Slave Again, so be sure to enter the giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Indie Blog Chain

I was tagged by the lovely Laekan Zea Kemp on her blog to take part in a blog hop to help connect and promote indie authors. Laekan is the author of three novels: Breathing Ghosts, Orphans of Paradise (which I’ve reviewed here) and The Things They Didn’t Bury.

So I’ve answered four questions about my work and my writing process.  Here they are:

What am I working on?

I’m currently working on my second novel with the working title Reunion.  It’s a romance, about a young woman who’s invited to her school reunion and what happens to her while she’s there and afterwards.  She has very unhappy memories of her school days so it’s a difficult thing for her to do and she’s only gone along because her best friend, who was also at the school, has encouraged her.

How does my work differ from others in the genre?

A lot of romantic novels I’ve read have been romantic comedies.  This definitely isn’t one.  My character goes through a great deal during the course of the novel.  I don’t give her an easy time of it!!  I think the romance genre is very broad and there’s a lot of scope for how to tell a romantic story.  It doesn’t have to be just romance with comedy or romance with erotica, there are many ways a romantic story can unfold.

Why do I write what I do?

I enjoy writing whatever I feel like at the time.  Having said that I’m finding that in general when writing, it’s a good idea to think about genre and which one your story fits into and to try and tailor it to that.  My first novel, The Inheritance, doesn’t really fit that easily into any one genre which has made it a bit problematic for me to market.  So for me, I feel that writing romance is something that my style lends itself to.  And I’m trying to write for that genre at the moment.

How does my writing process work?

I start off by making a fairly detailed plan – but I seem to end up not sticking to it!  Or at least I stick to the essence of my original plan, but veer from it quite a lot.  The story often goes off on a tangent and I find myself exploring whole other situations and possibilities.  I definitely have an idea in my head of the basic plot though and more or less know how it’s going to end.Jade

I’m now tagging the lovely Jade Reyner who’s the author of Twelve Days – The Beginning and the upcoming Twelve Days – The Future.  She’s a fantastic author and her blog is excellent with plenty of helpful information and humour about the writing process. She also posts short stories and some poetry, so go check her out.

Interview with David Lewis

David Lewis

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing an exciting new author David Lewis who has just published his debut novel Xakk Marks the Spot.  Here’s what he had to say about his writing process and the path to publication:

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

The dream originally struck between 2nd and 3rd grade.  I had read the entire “Goosebumps” series by R.L. Stine and knew right then I wanted to be an author.  Though the dream came and went over the years, as do many things growing up, it returned in full force around 3 years ago.  I began 2 other manuscripts and decided the stunk.  Finally, the right idea hit and I never looked back.  I’ll continue this in the next question.

 

How did you come up with the idea for Xakk Marks the Spot?

There I found myself hanging out with a friend of mine who happened to live in my garage at the time.  As we were there listening to music and simply relaxing with nothing better to do, a vision popped randomly into my head.  There on the deck of a pirate ship staring back at me were two teenage boys and a girl the same age; a younger boy in the center, on his right a clearly related boy closer to 20, and to the young boy’s left, a blonde girl whose looks could kill.  The ideas began to flow and one day at a time, things became solid enough to begin a book.

 

Did writing Xakk Marks the Spot require much research and if so what did that research involve?

Before I began writing the first book, I went to the library and read deeper into books on writing, and the process as a whole.  It wasn’t my first manuscript, but I was so ecstatic on the idea that I wanted to do everything write (lousy pun intended).  During the same three weeks or so, I plotted out what was originally a series of five books.

I would say more and more research truly came during the actual writing of the book.  The main goal of my new age world of piracy was to avoid becoming the same old 17th century cliché pirate tale with swashbucklers, nearly impossible to understand, go hunting for Black Bar’s cursed gold while on the run from Port Royal.  We’ve all been there and done that; Hollywood, too.  While classics such as Treasure Island, of my favourites, can never be replaced, I felt it was time to give the world something new.  Why not have their tale take place in the future and have them hunting for “lost” treasures of today?

Overall, more of my research went into geographical information, nautical language, and root words of foreign languages in titling elements of the story.  During the year and a half it took to get it to where it is today, I’d like to think I sat on most elements of the story to bring out originality and to avoid nasty plot holes.

 

What’s the biggest challenge you faced while writing it?

My biggest challenge was waking up every day and continuing to work.  Between over 100 rejections by literary agents, people who thought I was crazy and that it would never succeed, stress, and insomnia, the challenges were never ending to say the least.  Though that many agents rejected versions 1 and 2 of my work, version 3 (which is the published work) was only turned down by one agent.  Her response made it feel like she sat on it for 11 weeks, then opened to page one already set on finding something reasons to reject me.  She was very nice about it, but I’d wish she read more than 10 pages.

 

What have you found to be most helpful to your growth and development as a writer? 

Rewriting, editing, rewriting, editing—wash, rinse, repeat.  I look back to the original version of my book, and even at past manuscripts in the drawer, asking myself how in the world did I ever think this was good enough for anyone to spend time on?  It wasn’t.  My biggest growth came from practice, practice, practice.  Tiger Woods never stepped out onto the course for the first time without countless repetition on the driving range.  I had the ignorant opinion that my work would shine through from the very get go due to its originality.  That just wasn’t the case.  There are tons of great books being written by no name authors that will never reach the shelves.  I’d like to think some of the greatest works ever composed will never be read.

 

What has the experience of going through the self-publishing process been like for you? 

The process of publishing seems synonymous to the word migraine.  I found myself in constant mental anguish over every small detail, constantly second guessing my “executive decisions”.  Between final edits, formatting, and the difficult process that is having an artist bring your characters to life, I lost plenty of sleep.  However, being published, regardless of sales success or not, was a major dream of mine since a young age and now it has come true.  Seeing it up on the e-shelves (soon to be paperback) is an indescribable feeling.

 

Looking back over the whole process of writing and publishing Xakk Marks the Spot, is there anything you’d do differently?

I would’ve waited to query literary agents.  I rushed the editing process in a couple months, which felt like enough, only to be rejected again and again.  Even my first full rewrite was rejected again and again.  Also, I would’ve started my social network such as Twitter and Facebook much sooner.  Agents take authors who’ve established a platform much more seriously.  It shows you’re not another hack who read Twilight or Harry Potter with plans of writing something way better.

 

Have you got any tips for other aspiring writers?

Going off what I just said—my absolute number one piece of advice for authors beginning the journey is DON’T QUERY TOO EARLY.  Once you are turned down by your whole list of dream agents, you’re faced with tough decisions.  My next piece—never give up, EVER.  I wanted to quit and give up more times than I can count.  I convinced myself, however, that I’d regret giving up way more than finishing the job and failing.  Once you reach a certain point, failure isn’t an option, as if it ever was…

Thanks to David for being a great interviewee.  If you’d like to find out more about David, his blog can be found here and he can be contacted on Twitter via: @DMWLewis

You can buy Xakk Marks the Spot from Amazon.com or Amazon UK.

 

 

Meeting her new agent

Hello and welcome to my contribution to this week’s WIPpet Wednesday.

Thank you so much to all of you who gave me suggestions for the title of my novel.  In case you didn’t catch my earlier post, some weeks ago I did an Amazon search for Reunion just to double check that there wasn’t too similar a book with the same title. Unfortunately there was so I needed to come up with another title.

I was  stumped but Xina Marie Uhl and Kate Frost separately came up with the title Reunion of the Heart.  I really like it.  Seeing as it’s a romance I think it’s a great title as I want to ground it in the romance genre if that makes sense.  I needed a title that people who were wanting to read in that genre would be able to find and recognise it as being a romance.

So a big thank you to Xina Marie and Kate!

Back to the main event.  Continuing my spate of generosity in terms of length of excerpts I share, here’s two paragraphs from chapter five of my novel for the 5th February.  I’m hopping about a bit with my excerpts.  This one is a bit further on from last week’s.  My MC Anna, who’s an author, has just walked in to her new agent’s office.

She glanced surreptitiously around her.  It was the same office his predecessor Geoffrey had used but it was a lot different now.  It looked a little as though World War Three had hit it.  There were half emptied boxes on the floor with their contents spewing out.  The books on the shelves which lined three walls of the room were arranged haphazardly, some standing vertically, others lying horizontally in piles waiting to be arranged properly. And Peter’s desk.  That was a work of art in itself – a work in disorderliness.  Anna couldn’t even see the desk through all of the papers and books that covered it.  She smothered a smile as he rooted around his desk trying to find something.

‘Ah ha.  Here we are,’ he said brandishing the piece of paper in his hand like a sword.  ‘Before we start I should reassure you that I’ve read all your books and thoroughly enjoyed them.’  Anna felt her face flush with pleasure.  Peter went on, ‘These are some of the notes that Geoffrey gave me which relate to you and to how things are with your work.  But in all honesty, I’d rather hear from you.  What stage are you at with your current work in progress?’

Hope you enjoyed that. :) If you don’t already take part in WIPpet Wednesday and would like to, simply post on your blog an excerpt of whatever you’ve written lately which relates to the date.  Then add your details here.

Thank you K. L. Schwengel for hosting.

Interview with new author Chloe Corin

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I’m delighted to be interviewing an exciting new author I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in the world of blogging writers.

Her name is Chloe Corin and she recently published her debut novel The Hall Speaks. She was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions about how she came to write her novel, what her experience has been and any advice she might have for other budding authors.

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

I love that you asked this question. My love for writing came much later, after college when there wasn’t any pressure to perform. Growing up I didn’t like writing at all. I practically hyperventilated anytime I had to write a paper in English. But one day I just decided to face my fear and write. I did this for two reasons: 1) I’m dyslexic and was told numerous times I couldn’t and shouldn’t write. Well, I wanted my children to know that they could do anything they wanted whether others believe in them or not. 2) Written word is amazing! It will last for centuries–it’s a great thing to pass to the future. I truly believe each writer leaves a part of themselves in their work.  Knowing that one day my great grandchildren would read my novels and get a sense of who I was motivated me to start writing.

How did you come up with the idea for The Hall Speaks?

I lived it. The Hall Speaks is my version of Big Fish—the marriage of fiction and nonfiction. I worked in Residence life for years, living with hundreds of college students, and dealing with everything imaginable that could happen with unsupervised kids. I worked in Reslife at Virginia Tech while I was in graduate school. And as some know, they had the largest school shooting to date. The fact that student staff (RAs) were some of the first responders to this awful situation amazed me. That’s when I knew I wanted to tell a story from the perspective of a RA. However, I didn’t want to write a book just about a shooting. That’s like watching the Titanic and only seeing the part where the ship sinks. There was something really powerful seeing the characters’ lives, their struggles, who they loved, what they fought for, before the unsinkable ship crashed into the iceberg. So I knew I wanted to do something similar with this project because life happens before the tragedy. However, I do love happy endings and I made sure my novel had one! :)

Did writing The Hall Speaks require much research and if so what did that research involve?

Mostly I was just pulling from my memory. However, my book deals with quite a few things that require legal action so I have to research the law. But most of my research was on the literary world, from agents, genres, indie authors, publishing, etc. I seriously researched for an entire year on what do with a completed novel.

What’s the biggest challenge you faced while writing it?

Oh my goodness! I wrote the first draft in less than 3 months but like I mentioned, I have dyslexia so there was a ton to revise. Then the other challenges came along with life: my husband had some health challenges; we switched jobs, moved to another state, which caused me to lose my critique group. All of this prolonged this project because it was hard to dedicate time to writing when I really needed to keep up with my changing life! Once I moved I felt totally lost when it came to finding a writing group. Not having weekly support of other writers hurt my growth and focus as a writer. My husband’s awesome, however he doesn’t read fiction. So his input was kind but not helpful.

What have you found to be most helpful to your growth and development as a writer?

I loved my critique group when I lived in Texas. Many of the writers there were published and had agents. They were always really helpful and supportive, the energy of the group was inspiring! I never felt like anyone was competing against me, secretly wanting me to fail. It was quite the opposite, actually. Being part of the DFW Writers’ Group has been one of the best experiences for me and definitely helped my writing skills!

What has the experience of going through the self-publishing process been like for you?

I’m so glad that we have self-publishing! I love indie authors and think they are so brave for going at it alone. The hardest part so far has been the marketing and contacting readers. I came across an article, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Readers, that discussed publishing. One of the things I gathered and I agree with, is that with the ease of self-publishing and the volume of books available, readers aren’t sure what to read. That’s why a lot of people will just read whatever is popular. So finding that group of readers that will make your book popular is hard for new authors. Readers are the best marketing tool; they sell your book for you.

Looking back over the whole process of writing The Hall Speaks and publishing it, is there anything you’d do differently?

Yes, yes, and yes! I should have published my book a long time ago. Working on it for 3 years I found it difficult to stay excited about the book.  For me, it was like watching the same movie over and over again for three years. No matter how good the movie is, you get to a point where you can hardly stand another line from it! I was getting too much advice, doing too much research, that I eventually got confused and stuck. At the time, New Adult wasn’t around so I didn’t know how to sell my novel. And looking back, I should have just gone for it! Timing means so much in the world of entertainment and over the last year, I’ve noticed one of my themes in other New Adult novels. Not that it’s a horrible thing, but it makes one of my story lines old news now. However, three years ago that story line would have been a fresh concept for this market.  I’m not upset or anything, just learning along the way!

Have you got any tips for other aspiring writers?

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I’m sure there are a lot of practical things that writers can do to improve their work. I’m not going to comment on those because I feel they change like the time. I’m sure at one point critiques were against 1st person narratives, and novels with two POVs, YA, and now NA, but as we can all see, time changes everything. However, one thing I think every artist should strive for is inspiration. Find this, and if you lose it, search for it until you find it again. Inspiration is the magic; it’s powerful enough to separate the talented from the phenomenal. I think about J.K Rowling, John Green, Michael Jackson, even Stephanie Meyer. They were able to create works that connected to people in such a way it impacted a culture.

Thanks so much for taking the time to interview me! I had a blast answering the question, it was great for reflection! ~Chloe CorinJ

Thank you too Chloe for taking the time to answer my questions.  I wish you all the best with your novel.

The Hall Speaks is available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

You can contact Chloe via her blog: chloeleighcorin.wordpress.com and on tumblr at:  chloecorin.tumblr.com

The Inheritance does well in free promo!!

Well that was certainly an exciting 5 days. From Thursday last week until yesterday, my debut novel The Inheritance was free to download on Amazon.

I’d worked hard in the weeks leading up to it and applied to lots of free promo sites to register my details with them in the hope that some of them would mention me.

I paid for 3 of them to feature my book, the rest I left to chance. I was amazed when over the course of the 5 days a total of 9 sites I’d applied to for free featured my book on their site. I was happy to say the least.

What surprised me the most about the free promo was how well it did Stateside. Having only had meager sales of The Inheritance over there, I was amazed at the huge number of downloads there were. I had just over 9000.

The image I’ve uploaded from Amazon isn’t very clear, but I got to #53 in free ebooks on Amazon.com as well as #1 in romance and #3 in teen/young adult fiction. This result is more than I could have hoped for. I’m grateful to my blogger friends and Twitter followers as well as friends and family for spreading the word.

Although I didn’t do as well back here in the UK, I did get a few hundred downloads so I’m glad about that. In total, when I notched up the number of downloads across the world it came to 9461 which is just incredible for me.

Having had great success in the US but less in my own country, it got me to wondering why exactly that was. Thinking about it, I guess it may have been the cover that appealed to the American market and less so in the UK. It might also have been the subject matter, that a story about an inheritance and family issues may have been more appealing in the US than the UK.

Whatever the case, I’m just glad that thousands of people are now reading my book. That’s a good feeling. I’m also hoping that I’ll get a few more sales out of it. I was rather disappointed that my ranking in the sales category on Amazon had plummeted, both in the US and UK. Then I thought a bit more logically and remembered that technically I hadn’t sold any books anywhere since my free promo began, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

I’ll definitely be keeping a close eye on how The Inheritance does in the coming days. It’s exciting times.