My Indie Author’s Day Experience in Buhl, Idaho

 

Yesterday (Oct 8), I participated in Indie Author’s Day at the Buhl Public Library. The event was surprisingly successful and went by quickly, considering it was most of the day. And that’s always a good sign.

The first part of the day was a youtube presentation that was fairly informative as a discussion concerning getting into libraries. From the standpoint of someone doing this for awhile, I don’t know if I considered it particularly useful for me, and maybe it was geared for writers a little newer to the paying field. At this point, having been doing this since 2012, I’ve got different methods. the talk about getting into libraries was by far the most valuable, but still not something I intend to act on in the near future. The gist is that libraries will help you find people to buy your books in the future. Here’s the video:

Following this one hour presentation, the library had 4 panels – Creation, Editing, Differences in traditional and indie publishing, and Marketing. I did Editing.

At the end, around 3:30, we returned to our tables, and those of us who have books did a book sale and signing. I’ve done signings and several libraries in the past, and the overall takeaway from those events is that people do not come to libraries to buy books. They are there to check out books – for free. This signing was pleasantly different. Books were sold. I also was asked to do a speaking engagement for the Idaho Writer’s League in January. 🙂

There’s a lot of other activities I know other libraries did, like author readings and critiques, that would’ve been fun to include. However, all of the allotted time was used up, and I don’t know how we could’ve squeezed anything else in without cutting out other stuff.

The participation, too, was great. For the video and presentations, our small library was packed. Packed means about two dozen individuals. There were people who have never published to people who have been doing this for years. The book signing too took up about half of the library, with the librarians having to drag out additional tables for those who showed up.

I did not know many of the authors, which kind of surprises me. I expected to see more of those in this area that I know, but only a couple showed up. Maybe Octoberfest distracted them, and I know at least one author was out of town.

But then an author group I belong to with heavy numbers in the Boise area ignored this same opportunity from their library, and I’m totally surprised by this. Are the authors/writers I used to run with getting burnt out? It would be a shame. I know life happens. Or maybe I’m seeing a dropout. Maybe they published one book and no longer care about selling it. We all write for different reasons. No judgment, but I’m left with unanswered curiosity.

I expect this event to continue next year, and hopefully, my author/writer friends will attend next year. I know a certain librarian (my wife) worked incredibly hard to make the one in Buhl a success, and I think it’s great that libraries across the nation participated in creating an event for those of us chasing this dream.

So did you attend? What did your library do, and what are your thoughts?

 

 

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Guest Post by Michael R. Collins

So. Mick and I go way back. We’ve worked at three of the same jobs at the same time, and I guess both of us having author on our resumes adds a fourth. He also runs a weekly internet radio show called the Headphone Bleed, well worth checking out. In this post, I’ve asked Mick to introduce us to his novel, Night Shall Overtake

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Night Shall Overtake is a whodunit creaturefest set in a city whose gritty underbelly might try to eat you. Weird creatures that normally inhabit bad dreams roam the streets. Lovecraftian horrors have day jobs, things that defy imagination are running convenience stores and fast food joints. Twila Matthews, an underpaid shapeshifting private detective with a cell phone possessed by an unnerving demon, is hired on a simple missing person’s case. But when she finds her target dead, an unraveling conspiracy leads Twila and her crew into the darkest parts of the city in direct confrontation with the most evil and diabolical of monsters…

I didn’t intend to write this story, but I suppose that’s for the best.  It probably wouldn’t have turned out the way it did if I had intentions. Truth be told, when I started writing it a few years ago it was because I had stopped writing.  I had taken a 3 or 4 year hiatus from writing in part because of my divorce and in part because I felt I had to express myself another way. In this case through an electric bass guitar.

I started to write again but only with some exercises to work some atrophied writing muscles.  This was one of those exercises.  The damn thing took on a life of its own despite that and wound up an actual story and something I began to care about. It became a detective novel because I was too lazy for it not to be. The character that takes us on this weird little ride is Twila, a surly shapeshifter. She’s tough, grumpy, and wrestling with a self imposed loneliness (traits in which Twila and I share two out of three).  In a city with a myriad of different creatures, she and her crew have to navigate through and eventually wind up in the darkest places confronting the most horrible of evils.

This story fell together completely on its own and there was very little I could do but try and keep it from resembling a pair of headphones left alone for more than a minute: a small but surprisingly compact knot of nonsense.  The main plot revolves around our intrepid detectives getting caught deeper in a conspiracy concocted by three disenfranchised idiots.  It was a reflection of all the completely impractical policies and practices I was dealing with at the time. It was also a good way of working through my frustrations. Which explains all the questionable language.  Twila was to be the one pragmatic voice of reason in a vortex of stupid.  As the story grew and matured I started to play around with different elements. The idea of have all these horrible nightmares and crazy monsters just walking around in regular society is a theme that I’ve played around with as a kid.  Shows like the short lived Ugly Americans and the video for the song I Monster by The Blue Wrath helped bring that back and consciously/subconsciously they became a major part of the book.  Being a massive fan of H.P. Lovecraft I couldn’t resist making the most evil things on the block C’thulian. Because there ain’t no evil like an Elder Gods evil.

I really wish I could say that I was carefully building metaphors about society, acceptance, and how we view those different than us.  Those metaphors are in there, but they slipped in while I wasn’t looking.  This was not what I envisioned my first published work to be, but I’m happy as hell that it is. As Twila so sagely put it: “Be wary when stupid people start making plans.”

Grab your copy of Night Shall Overtake on Amazon

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  Excerpt:

The world is a strange place.

Supernatural is a misnomer, it’s pretty much natural. Weird creatures that normally inhabit horror films and bad dreams skulk the streets. Things that practically defy imagination are running the 7-11’s. Last week, I was almost eaten by a green boogeyman, and afterwards, he gave me his number. Sad thing is, I almost called him, but luckily my phone talked me out of it. Score one for the phone spook. By the time I got to the office, Kevin sat at his desk near the front door frazzled by some little troll-like man berating him loudly, while Joe morosely sat in his office. It wasn’t a big area, just a little hole in the wall tucked between a dry cleaners and a barbershop. The yellow and white linoleum was chipped and faded, as well as the walls. The place had the kind of lighting that was never enough in the daytime, but almost blinding at night. I had hopes that today was going to be relatively hassle free, but that was immediately dashed by the dark corner full of Shades. I tried to ignore the living shadows because they gave me the creeps.

As I sat at my little desk in the dim back corner, I wondered if Kevin even knew they were here, the sneaky little bastards. We never officially called Kevin the receptionist, but that’s pretty much what he was. He didn’t get a chance to do much fieldwork, but he was a wiz at research. He was technically my assistant, so he was getting paid even less than I was. I felt slightly guilty for not telling him about the difference in pay, but I rationalized that if he wanted to be a good investigator someday, I’ll leave it to him to figure it out.

Our reception area was a threadbare couch that sat across from Kevin’s desk so potential clients could give him the stare down while they waited. Joe, naturally, had his own private office at the rear, where he sat with the door shut most of the time. My desk was a dented and chipped metal affair with a poorly veneered top. Just as I sat down, as if on cue, the Shades slithered around the corner amongst the shadows, up to my desk, and reared up like some two dimensional cutout.

A whispery voice floated on the air, “Ms. Twila Matthews? We need to hire you.” I nodded. Shades don’t like to be spoken to directly; usually they don’t like to be bothered. Which doesn’t seem to stop them from peering at you in the dark or being ace pickpockets. I know both from experience. “We need you to find Janae Hollifield,” it said.

“I trust you can pay.” It may seem unprofessional to be a rude to potential customers, but they didn’t have pockets, so where were they going to keep their money? They shuffled, affronted.

“Yes, we have a bank account,” it said, realizing I wasn’t impressed by the affronted shuffling. I doubted they had a bank account. You had to be relatively humanoid-ish, or at least corporeal, to get one .What they probably had was a stack of wallets somewhere.

“Where was she last seen? I need a picture and any pertinent information you have that can help me.” I began rummaging for a pad of paper in my war zone of a desk drawer. The first thing I was taught when I started working here is a client is a client. If they have the money, we have the time.

“She is in the Dark Quarter. When you find her, please, just kill her, and come to us looking exactly like her. We will pay you triple your fee, plus expenses,” it said.

“Get. The fuck. Out.” I slammed the desk shut with such force that Kevin’s loud troll finally shut up for a second. The shades started to protest, but I cut them off. “I don’t care how much you pay me, I’m not doing your dirty work, and I sure as hell am not replacing anyone! Leave!” I pointed to the door. After a moment’s hesitation they slithered off to the door and left. I stood, stomped off to Joe’s office, and slammed the door behind me.

“Goddamit, Joe, this is the third time in one month. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I don’t replace people and where the hell are these things getting the idea we bump people off?” Balding and paunchy, my boss sat in his cracked brown leather chair, staring blankly at the picture frame in his hands. It looked like he was wearing the same clothes from yesterday, brown suit and striped tie. If only he had a mustache, then the 70’s cliché would be complete. His office was a cluttered mess of papers, take out containers, and file cabinets. I sighed and slumped into the cracked leather chair across from his desk. He wasn’t listening. He hardly did anymore. His divorce was still affecting him even though it happened over a year ago. I really need a new job.

“Joe!” I yelled and jerked him out of his reverie.

“What’s up, Twila?” he asked distractedly. His eyes looked bruised from lack of sleep and too much alcohol.

“I just had a pack of Shades come in here wanting me to bump off some chick and take her place.”

“Fucking shadows,” he mumbled.

“This is the third time this month we’ve been asked to kill a person. Twice they asked me to do a replacement. This is bullshit.”

“They offer extra?” He saw my glare and put up a hand, “Sorry, force of habit. What do you expect? We extract the occasional rogue creature, so they assume that we exterminate. Occupational hazard, don’t take it so serious.”

“That’s not the problem. It seems that word is getting out about me. You aren’t advertising, are you?” He didn’t look directly at me, but he knew what I meant.

I am a Shapeshifter. No, I can’t change into a lamppost, or anything like that, but I can change my appearance and resemble human and human-like creatures. It’s a skill most people would love to have. Make yourself as beautiful as you want and hide all those ugly genetic hand-me-downs. I could be a different beautiful model everyday for the rest of my life, but instead, I hated it. Sure, it’s useful now and again, but for the most part, I just forget I can do it. Though, in fairness, I do occasionally change my hair color, mainly because it costs too much to have it done professionally. Usually, when people ask about it, I tell them it’s none of their damned business. As occupationally useful as it might be, I don’t brag about what I can do.

“Don’t worry, I’m not advertising. It’s not like you keep it a deep dark secret anyway.” He placed the picture frame on the desk and actually took a moment to pay attention to me. In the frame, was a photograph of a pretty brunette with piercing and lively green eyes, who up until a year ago, was married to him.

“Hey, I was drunk that night, and I didn’t see any of you discouraging me.” I glared at him, but it was no use. He was gone again, looking back into the picture of Madeline. After a moment I stood, and he slid a scribbled-on piece of paper towards me.

“Go find this chick, there is damn good money in this one.” I took it, looked at it, and then slammed it back on his desk.

“Asshole! This is the same girl the Shades just wanted me to off. I told you I’m not doing it.”

“Then it looks like a race to see who will find her first. Our client isn’t the Shades. The client said something about keeping her from the Shades and the Uglies. You got this; I know you can handle it.” He didn’t even bother to look up or sound interested. I snatched the paper back and stormed out of his office.

* * *

Michael R Collins is an author of stories that need be told.  Often dark and sometimes seedy, they can also be poignant. They are fast-paced and atmospheric stories with characters both fantastic yet relatable. Born and raised in Southern Idaho, he currently lives in the creative bosom of Austin, Texas.  If he’s not working for the man, he’s either writing or annoying the neighbor by playing his bass guitar far too loud.

His other passion is music and getting music out there for the masses.  He hosts an internet radio show live every Saturday night at 9pm called Saint Zero’s Headphone Bleed.  You can catch it live at www.live365.com/stations/saintzero or previous episodes here on the blog.

Follow me on all these internet things!

Twitter: @michaelr4224

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

Tumblr: http://michaelr4224.tumblr.com/

Blog: http://michaelrcollins.wordpress.com/

Revisit Cocos Island – a Guest Post by Virginia Williams

Today’s guest post comes from Virginia Williams. Over the last few year, Virginia has been publishing her grandfather’s manuscripts that he wrote in the early 1900’s. You can check out her blog at http://rosepointpublishing.com/ and Stanley McShane’s published works on Amazon

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It is said that Jacque Cousteau called Cocos Island the most beautiful island in the world, and the island is also on the short list to become one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”. The island has long been declared to be hiding more than just natural beauty within its rugged landscape:

William Thompson loaded jewels, gold, silver, heavily adorned candlesticks, and two life sized gold statues of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus aboard the Mary Dear and left the harbor as expected. Thompson was overcome with temptation, however, and he and his crew killed the Spanish guards and changed their original course from Spain to Cocos Island[2], (Isla del Coco) located 340 miles off the pacific coast of Costa Rica where they buried the treasure said to be worth well over $160,000,000 (now known as “The Loot of Lima”. Whether buried above ground in the sand of one of two bays (Chatham Bay or Wafer Bay) or below the water, no one has yet recovered any riches.

But Thompson wasn’t alone in thinking Cocos Island represented a quick and safe haven for secreting away pirated treasures from the hapless ships sailing on the main shipping channels toward destinations many never completed successfully!

My grandfather, Patrick John Rose (pen name Stanley McShane who wrote “Cocos Island Treasure“), separately ventured to the island in the early 1900′s about the same time as John Keating spent nearly 12 years (from 1897 to 1908) searching for the treasures that so many pirates reportedly buried on Isla del Coco (Cocos Island). In total, it was reported that Keating eventually found 6 gold coins. (No information documented on the location of the find.)

But it was the buccaneer Edward Davis that was the subject of my grandfather’s book and goal of his trip to Cocos Island. Edward Davis was one of the earliest (1680) recorded (by writer William Dampier) buccaneers to have buried treasure on Cocos Island. According to Wikipedia[3], Davis with his flagship, the Bachelor’s Delight anchored in “Chatham Bay and supposedly left behind several chests containing ingots, pieces-of-eight and £300,000 in silver bar and plate taken from settlements in Peru and Chile.” They also go on to say that he may have been the same privateer to accompany Captain William Kidd to America after a meeting at St. Mary’s Island in 1697.

The jungle infested island described in the book by my grandfather also alludes to the waterfalls from almost perpendicular rocks and feral pigs deposited on the island by the many treasure laden visitors over the years. The shear cliffs testify to the uninhabilitability of the island though the island purportedly boasts fresh water, as well as the namesake, coconuts, lending a siren call to either bay whether for depositing ill-gotten gains or to find a safe haven from the frequent tropical storms that assail the area. The tropical trees and plants, choking vines and creepers apparently hide quagmires or deep crevices, which, following a misstep, can swallow a human whole. Millions of insects inhabit vapor laden air while the raucous cries of birds careen overhead. Patrick describes a stream west of the bay shore of Chatham Bay that they followed by laboriously hacking bushes and vines as they went. The party ascended up and over immense boulders where they eventually discovered a pool created from waters from above. It was within the pool that water also disappears into a hidden, underwater cave.

It is definitely the stories handed down from generation to generation and writers such as Dampier and my grandfather that lend themselves to the folklore of the romanticized pirate legends. That and the occasional find of a golden doubloon!

[1] http://www.new7wonders.com/ You can view the “new” 7 wonders as listed. There are continuous feeds on Twitter, Google, and Youtube.

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocos_Island

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Davis_(bucccaneer)

 

Follow Stanley McShane on Facebook

http://rosepointpublishing.com/

Read Cocos Island Treasure

 

 

Comparing Hockey & Writing – A Guest Post by Luke Murphy

Today I have a guest post for you from Luke Murphy, retired professional hockey player and author of the thriller DEAD MAN’S HAND
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It can almost be said with certainty that I didn’t follow the path of the average writer. As a child, I never dreamed of writing a best-seller, never aspired to write the next classic novel, I wanted to be an NHL superstar…period.

With the death of my mother in 1992, losing a battle to cancer she had fought so hard against for years, I sensed it was time to get serious about reaching my dreams, and moved away to pursue hockey.

From 1992-1995, while playing for the Pembroke Lumber Kings in the Central Junior Hockey League, I noticed a shift in the game of hockey and realized that the odds of making it to the NHL were unfavorable for a kid who stood 5’9’’ and weighed 160 pounds. So, my goals shifted. I accepted a hockey scholarship to Rochester Institute of Technology. If I couldn’t make a living playing hockey, at least I could achieve an education and open doors for my future.

After four rewarding years at College, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing, I wasn’t ready to give up on the game I love.

I attended the Florida Panthers Rookie Camp and played well, playing in four games, as well as scoring the game winning goal against the Ottawa Senators.

Unfortunately, I broke my hand in an awkward hit in my fourth exhibition game that ended my camp, but my hard work paid off. The Panthers offered me a Minor League contract, $500 a week to play the game I love. I spent six years in the minors and retired in 2006 with no regrets.

From a family of avid readers, even as a child, I always had a passion for books. Whether it was reading novels on road trips or writing assignments in school, literature was always part of my life.

In the winter of 2000, after sustaining a season ending eye injury while playing in Oklahoma City, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands, and a new hobby emerged.

One day, with an idea in mind, I sat down in front of a computer and began writing. I wrote a little every day, around my intense rehabilitation schedule and before I knew it, I had completed my first manuscript.

I didn’t write with the intention of being published. I wrote for the love of writing, as a hobby. Ever the perfectionist, I didn’t see my novel at the level to compete with best-selling authors across the country. I continued to hobby write through the years, honing my craft, making time between work and family obligations.

Then I made a decision – I enjoyed writing so much, I decided I wanted to take my interest one step further – write a story with the intention of being published. I realized that I wanted to be like my favorite authors – entertain readers and allow them, like when I read, to escape reality and for a moment be in another place and time.

I’ve never been one to take things lightly or jump in half way. I took a full year off from writing to study the craft. I constantly read, from novels in my favorite genres to books written by experts in the writing field. I continually researched on the internet, reading up on the industry and process. I attended writing conferences and made friends (published and unpublished authors), bombarding them with questions and learning what it took to become successful.

Feeling that I was finally prepared, in the winter of 2007, with an idea in mind and an outline on paper, I started to write DEAD MAN`S HAND. It took me two years (working around full time jobs) to complete the first draft of my novel.

I then worked with editors and joined a critique group, doing anything I could to learn, to improve my writing and my novel to point where I could create the best possible novel.

I sent out hundreds of query letters to agents. After six months of rejections, I pulled my manuscript back and worked on it again. Then in my next round of proposals, I was offered representation by Ms. Jennifer Lyons of the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency.

After months of work with Jennifer, and more rejections from publishers, my dream was finally realized in April, 2012, when I signed a publishing contract with Imajin Books.

The term “practice makes perfect” can basically relate to anything you do. Hockey and writing are no different.

Many people might not see a connection between writing and hockey, but there are many similarities in not only your preparation, but “musts” once you’re there.

In both hockey and writing, you need three things: patience, persistence and thick skin.

My transition from professional hockey player to published author was surprisingly smooth. Hockey and writing have many things in common.

For both, it takes hard work and practice. There are many critics, and you need to be able to take criticism with a grain of salt. Both the hockey and writing worlds are small communities, filled with people who want to help you succeed. In order to find success, in both you need to be persistent and confident.

It’s all about taking a chance, putting yourself out there to be evaluated by your peers. That’s the scariest part.

It takes time to get “good” at something. I started writing when I was young and playing professional hockey. A couple of hours a day on the ice and in the gym and then the day was mine. I also suffered a serious eye injury and couldn`t play, so I had a lot more time on my hands. Now that I`m older, with a family and full time job, makes it a lot harder to find the time to write. Take advantage and chase your dreams while you’re young.

My one piece of advice for all aspiring hockey players and writers…you’ll get a lot of “no’s” along the way and people trying to bring you down. But remember, it only takes one “yes”. Stick with it. Anything is possible. It’s all about “staying the course” and not getting off track. Have no regrets and leave nothing on the table.

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Luke Murphy lives in Shawville, Quebec with his wife, three daughters and pug.

He played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. Since then, he’s held a number of jobs, from sports columnist to radio journalist, before earning his Bachelor of Education degree (Magna Cum Laude).

Murphy`s debut novel, Dead Man`s Hand, was released by Imajin Books on October 20, 2012.

For more information on Luke and his books, visit: www.authorlukemurphy.com, ‘like’ his Facebook page www.facebook.com/#!/AuthorLukeMurphy and follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/#!/AuthorLMurphy

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DEAD MAN’S HAND

What happens when the deck is stacked against you…

From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.

…and the cards don’t fall your way?

 When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.

 What if you’re dealt a Dead Man’s Hand?

 Against his superiors and better judgment, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance. To redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer, while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a professional assassin hired to silence them.

  Review Blurbs:

 “You may want to give it the whole night, just to see how it turns out.”

—William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Lincoln Letter

“Dead Man’s Hand is a pleasure, a debut novel that doesn’t read like one,

but still presents original characters and a fresh new voice.”

—Thomas Perry, New York Times bestselling author of Poison Flower

“Part police procedural, part crime fiction, Dead Man’s Hand is a fast, gritty ride.”

—Anne Frasier, USA Today bestselling author of Hush

Interview with Author Jamie Campbell

Jamie Campbell
Please take a moment to introduce yourself. 

 

My name is Jamie Campbell, I’m an author based on the Gold Coast, Australia. I write mainly young adult paranormal romance, however I do write some adult murder mysteries on the side. I enjoy both genres so I write whatever story comes to me.

 

Describe your writing process. Do you have a daily routine?

 

I have a set word goal every day. Without fail, I do at least 2,000 words. On a day where I get to write all day, I’ll write about 8,000 words across all my current projects.

 

Introduce us to your latest work. What’s it about?

 

A World Without Angels is the first in The Aron Angels series. It follows guardian angel Jerome as he inadvertently falls to Earth during a battle with some demons. While on Earth, he falls in love with a human, Leila. In order to stop the demons killing all the guardian angels and therefore plunging the world into the influences of evil, he and Leila must solve an ancient prophecy. Only then can peace be restored.

 

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Speaking of your work, you have a number of titles available. Which of your books are you the most fond of?

 

I really enjoyed writing the Aron Angels series, mainly because Jerome is such a sweetheart. I also had a lot of fun with the Fairy Tales Retold series, where I twisted the perspective of well known fairytales. I changed the antagonist into the protagonist and enjoyed making the villain the hero.

 

If you had the choice of which book to introduce a new reader to, would that be it, or would you start them with a different book?

 

I would start with A World Without Angels as the reader can see the kind of worlds I create and fall in love with Jerome.

 

Do you have a character in your writing that you relate with more than most?

 

A have a four part series called A Hairy Tail going at the moment, I’m just in the middle in the forth installment. The main character is named Hannah and she’s a lot like me when I was fifteen. I have found a lot of myself in her when I read it back to myself, even though it wasn’t intentional.

 

Where do you find inspiration?

 

Inspiration is everywhere. Sometimes it’s found when I hear a song and then suddenly see this whole book in front of me. Other times, it’s from something I’ve seen or heard in the street. The best ideas always come to me in the shower and then I’m scrambling to remember them afterwards.

 

What can we look forward to in the future?

 

I have lots and lots more unpublished books. I’m currently working on an alien trilogy which I am so excited about that it might push all the others aside and jump the queue to be released next.
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Every day this week, I am featuring a different author on my blog as part of the Blogger Book Fair.

The Top Eight Things You Might Like to Know About Mindy Kilgrove – Guest Post

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Hello and thank you to everyone for reading my Guest Blog today. I’d like to extend a special thank you to G.S. for allowing me to post on his blog. My name is Mindy Killgrove and I’m a contemporary fiction, romance, and humor novelist. I have a great time popping from one genre to the next, but most of the time, I focus on creating fiction that my readers find realistic. On my own blog, I enjoy writing top eight lists. (Eight is my lucky number.) For today, I’d like to share with you:

The Top Eight Things You Might Like to Know About Me:

8.  I just moved to Perrysburg, OH with my family. I’ve lived in Ohio for the majority of my life, but I spent two years living near Charlotte, NC.

7.  I love media! In my own blogspace, I devote my blogs to writing about media-related items that move me. Movies, Books, Television, Music, Video Games: You name it and I cover it.

6.  I have two little boys at home. My obsession for media spread to them, as both were named after famous people.

5. In my books, I aim to write storylines that feel relatable to the readers. I use my own experiences as a jumping off point for my tales. When you read my stories they may feel real, because they are (in some cases).

4. The first book in the Missy Lawrence Series, Meet Me at the Pond, was dedicated to my sorority: The Philalethean Society of Heidelberg University. They are a local group, and I’m proud to call myself a member of this fine organization.

3.  Meet Me at Fountain Park, the second book in the Missy Lawrence series, is dedicated to the Fit Chicks of Ravenna, OH. I was a member of this group for a number of years and I was supremely moved by their caring and encouraging ways. The Fit Chicks promote healthy living that will not only benefit your body, but your mind and your soul as well.

2.  Every chapter in the Missy Lawrence series is based around answering a question. In that way, you can read a chapter, just like you would watch an episode of a TV show, and then come back to the book later—if necessary. (Or, you could read through the whole book in one afternoon, if that suits.)

1.  I love reading–I love sitting on my back porch and reading a book. This can be done in the sunshine or the shade, but either way, I enjoy kicking back and devouring a new novel. My own novels are what I would describe as the perfect books to throw in your beach bag and take down by the water. Whether you’re downloading the ebook or taking the paperback along with you, Meet Me at the Pond and Meet Me at Fountain Park are pure fun. They’ll help you relax and enjoy your vacation.

I created the Missy Lawrence Trilogy a few years ago. Currently, Meet Me at the Pond and Meet Me at Fountain Park are available in paperback and ebook editions. The third and final book in the series Meet Me at Rock Creek will be published before the end of the year. If you’ve ever been in love, or if you’re still searching for the right one, let Missy Lawrence and her gang of girlfriends entertain you (and commiserate, perhaps).

Meet Me at Fountain Park front cover large pond cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pen name: Mindy Killgrove

Website: http://www.mindykillgrove.com

Featured title: Meet Me at Fountain Park

Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Meet-Me-at-Fountain-Park/dp/1612962262/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1373456383&sr=8-1&keywords=meet+me+at+fountain+park

Barnes & Noble buy link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/meet-me-at-fountain-park-mindy-killgrove/1115785856?ean=9781612962269

Smashwords buy link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=meet+me+at+fountain+park

Book video link (YouTube preferred): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqS9PKkWGps

I’ll be conducting a giveaway during the Blogger Book Fair. I’ll be giving away three copies of each book.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/YmU5M2JlMTlmNjBjY2VmNWU4NTgwYWQwNGFlOTAwOjA=/

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Every day this week, I am featuring a different author on my blog as part of the Blogger Book Fair. Check back tomorrow for another author.

Writing About Tough Topics in Fiction – a Guest Post by Heather Topham Wood

compressed profileIf you’ve read my paranormal romance Second Sight series, you’re likely to be surprised over what a huge departure The Disappearing Girl is from it. I would consider my series a light read where I often use humor and romance to diffuse a lot of the tension from the more suspenseful parts. The Disappearing Girl is far from funny or light.

Tackling a tough subject is a daunting task. Many people read to escape and may not want to explore subjects that make them uncomfortable. Although my book has a love story, Kayla’s bulimia and anorexia is central to the story. A girl starving herself and binging and purging can’t be romanticized.

My goal with The Disappearing Girl is to make people think about their words. Kayla’s mom is very obsessed with beauty and her harsh comments are one of the reasons Kayla’s eating habits spiral out of control. As Kayla remarks in the book, she was far from innocent though, she had sat around with her friends and judged other girls on their weight fluctuations.

I didn’t want to come off as preachy in my novel and I think that is important with any book dealing with a tough topic. Instead, I thought it was important to explore the emotions of someone who develops an eating disorder because she believes it will fix everything wrong in her life. The reason I wrote the book in first person was because I wanted readers to see inside Kayla’s head. They may get upset with her and wish she would snap out of it but I hope they gain an understanding of why she can’t stop her extreme dieting.

When writing about a tough topic, research is key. Although I’m familiar with the feelings of taking extreme steps to lose weight, I wanted to use other stories and experiences. I read A LOT in order to see what others have gone through and also to learn about the treatments used for eating disorder patients.

Finally, I think the most important thing to remember when writing about a tough subject is to make the characters and plot believable. If you’re including things like rape, suicide and abuse, only for shock value, it is going to leave readers with a bad taste in their mouth. Explore the topic in a meaningful and respectful way to make it work well for your book.

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Heather Topham Wood’s obsession with novels began in childhood while growing up in a shore town in New Jersey. Writing since her teens, she recently returned to penning novels after a successful career as a freelance writer. She’s the author of the paranormal romance Second Sight series and the standalone The Disappearing Girl.

Heather graduated from the College of New Jersey in 2005 and holds a bachelor’s degree in English. Her freelance work has appeared in publications such as USA Today,Livestrong.com, Outlook by the Bay and Step in Style magazine. She resides in Trenton, New Jersey with her husband and two sons. Besides writing, Heather is a pop culture fanatic and has an obsession with supernatural novels and TV shows.

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Twitter: Heather’s Twitter Account

Blog: Heather’s Book Chatter

Facebook: Heather Topham Wood’s Author Page

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Every day this week, I am featuring a different author on my blog as part of the Blogger Book Fair. Check back tomorrow for another author.

Guest Author – Becca Campbell

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My Romantic Sci Fi Thriller Foreign Identity is FREE this week at most online retailers. Check out this character interview with Jax, then find the links below and be sure to get your free download while you can! (Free promo ends July 26th.)

Who is Jax?

As the author, I have the advantage of being able to materialize in and out of my story at will. This gave me the unique opportunity to speak with two of my characters and find out how they felt about their dire circumstances.

Deep in the heart of a cold building runs a labyrinth of corridors. It was in one of these halls that I stumbled upon two people, known to each other only as “Jax” and “Kel.” They were wandering, seemingly lost, but I managed to snag a few minutes with Jax to find out a little more about what is going on in this strange place.

BC: So you just made it out of a prison of sorts. What was your reaction to waking up trapped like that?

Jax (runs hands through his hair): Waking up in chains was a shock, that’s for sure. But once I came to, I pushed aside my confusion and focused on the problem. It seemed to be a puzzle, sorta like everything else in this place. After that, it was just putting the pieces together.

BC: Your problem-solving skills must be excellent. How does it feel to have escaped that room?

Jax: At first I was relieved we’d found a way out. But now I’m not so sure. Maybe that was all part of the plan… I keep wondering if maybe we were safer in that cell.

BC: That’s quite a statement. What do you make of this place? You’ve found what appear to be other puzzles as well. What do you think the significance might be?

Jax: No idea yet. But I’ll tell you one thing. The more rooms we find, the more sure I am there’s something going on here. And it can’t be good. I’m guessing we were meant for more than to be prisoners—but what? And where’s our captor? There’s definitely something strange behind this place. It creeps me out.

BC: What can you tell me about Kel, the woman you were imprisoned with?

Jax: (Eyes shift over to where she’s standing out of hearing range.) I don’t totally get her yet. She seems nice and all, but I can tell she’s holding something back. I guess we both are. It’s hard to know what to make of our situation and how to act around each other.

BC: It seems a bit odd that you both have amnesia. You can’t remember your past, but have you seen any clues about yourself since you woke up here? Any guesses about what sort of life you might have had before you lost your memory?

Jax (shrugs): I guess I’m pretty logical. Figuring out the puzzle with our chains. So maybe some profession involving math—or construction. I sorta have a photographic memory—I can memorize floorplans in my head.

BC: It must be nice to have a gift like that.

Jax: I guess. It’s just…weird. I mean, it feels totally normal to me, but it seemed to freak Kel out a little when she found out.

BC: Kel is the only one in your entire world right now. What’s it like to have no memories of anyone else?

Jax (Takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly.): Well, it’s kinda trippy. I feel like I should know other people, I even remember what kids are, though I can’t remember a specific person. I guess if I have to be here with anyone, I’m glad it’s Kel. She’s pretty good company. (He glances at her again and then his voice lowers.) You want to know the weirdest part of it? I feel this strange connection to her. I don’t know… Just like there’s a reason we’re here together.

BC: Is there any…physical attraction between you?

Jax: (Reddens slightly.) Maybe. I’m a guy, I notice women—that’s normal, right? Can’t really help but be aware of each other, what with us both being prisoners and all. (Clears his throat.) I mean, she’s not bad to look at, either.

BC: You’ve been searching the corridors. What’s your plan from here on out?

Jax: Getting out of here. Getting home—wherever that is. Hopefully we can both figure out who we are in the process, maybe find a way to get our memories back. If we can’t…well, we’ll deal with that when the time comes. First step is finding a way out. If it’s possible, I’ll find it. I’m not quitting until I have the answer.

BC: Thanks for taking time to chat and good luck!

Jax didn’t seem too happy at my abrupt and somewhat flippant exit, but I’m sure he’ll be able to figure out the mysteries behind the place–I just hope it’s sooner rather than later.

Want to see what Jax and Kel look like in my head? Check out my Pinterest board dedicated to Foreign Identity.

More About Foreign Identity

Cold. Confusion. Fear. This is how it all begins.

Waking up without your memory in a cell and bound by chains is terrifying.

Two nameless strangers, a man and a woman, find themselves imprisoned together. With no memories of their own identities, let alone their captor and tormentor, escape is the only option. The pair faces a bizarre labyrinth of rooms and clues that confuse more than they explain. Every discovery only brings more questions.

Who captured them? Why were they taken? What does their captor want from them? What can the riddles mean?

Who are they?

Lacking allies and options, the duo must learn to trust one another. Mazes, puzzles, and even strange, lurking creatures force them to rely on their wits–and each other–for survival. But survival isn’t enough. They need answers.

Will the answers be enough? Will the truth bring them closer together, or drive them forever apart? Will discovering their identities finally bring them home?

Grab Foreign Identity for FREE:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

IMG_9817 a lowresBecca J. Campbell is the author of the New Adult Romantic Science Fiction novels Foreign Identity and Gateway to Reality, and Sub-Normal, a series of short stories.

An avid lover of stories that tiptoe the line between fantasy and reality (even when they plunge off one side or the other), Becca looks for new angles on bridging the gap between the two. She holds a special place in her heart for any story that involves superpowers or time travel. Her passion is defying the limits of her own creativity. You can find her on her Author Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Amazon.

July BBF button copyEvery day this week, I am featuring a different author on my blog as part of the Blogger Book Fair. Check back tomorrow for another author.