Welcome to Our World-Building blog

Welcome! We weave dreams, some dark, some not, but all fantastic.

We are authors of Fantasy, Romance, and much more. Enter our infinite worlds....

On this blog, our visitors will find advice and opinion from published authors on much more than just world-building. We'll tell you in Craft and Opinion posts what we do, how we do it, and what we think works for us.

Authors with A-names post on the 1st of each month, B-names post on the 2nd, C-names on the 3rd etc.
The 29th, 30th, and 31st are free-for-all days.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Seducing the Sherriff by Marie-Nicole Ryan

So--I have a good friend who just had a release this last week. Yes, she's a fellow romance author and unlike some of my other friends. She lives close enough that I get to see her once a month at our local writers meeting. I am so happy for her and want to help her get the word out about her new book.

“Seducing the Sheriff” by Marie-Nicole Ryan
Samhain Publishing
Genre: Historical Romance, Red Hots!
ISBN: 978-1-60504-846-8
Length: Category
Price: 4.50
Publication Date: December 15, 2009

Half dressed and going for naked…

Starlight Tyler needs to lose her virginity, as in yesterday. With her mother, a Pinkerton, and a wealthy man she doesn’t love on her tail, there’s only one place to cut their cruel intentions off at the pass—get herself back into the arms of long-lost love Cordero Tate. Pronto.

She never expected to be tripped up by someone else’s past.

Sheriff Cordero Tate is a haunted man on a mission. Come hell or high water, he’ll round up every member of the gang responsible for the deaths of his wife and unborn child…and make damned sure he never puts his heart on the line again. As in never impregnating another woman. One look at Star, though, and all the old feelings come back in a rush. Worse, she’s just as determined to brand him as hers as he is to keep her chaste.

Their exploration of ways around that impasse leads to three nights of unbearable sensual pleasure. Until her past catches up to her…

Warning: This story contains a lot of hard ridin’, some ass kickin’, and a whole lot of lovin’ goin’ on. No doors left unopened.

Read an excerpt here or buy now.

I got my copy already and can't wait to read it! Just have to get a few minutes of baby free time. lol

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Incredible resource... over a dozen different sfr authors' first chapters

Authors in this sampler include:

Joy Nash, Jade Lee, Deborah Macgillivray, Beth Caudill, Rowena Cherry, Susan Grant, Linnea Sinclair, Dawn Thompson, Cindy Spencer Pape, Charlotte Boyett Compo, Robin T Popp, C L Wilson, Nina Bangs ... and more.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mudflat Fortune Cookie -

Part of the fantasy world is fortunetelling. And Mudflat. Mudflat is a neighborhood in Seattle where old magic gets handed down through families, and the fortuneteller plays a big role in the Mudflat series. So once a week a fortune gets posted in Claire's Prediction page. If you are totally bored, hop over and check it out. I won't post here on a weekly basis as that would be taking up too much space, but I'll post now for the balance of this week to give an idea of these simplistic fortunes based on the phase and placement of the Moon and the placement of the Sun and the influences of the decanates. If you know what decanates are, stop now because you probably know a lot more about fortunetelling than I do.


- Phoebe Matthews, 2009 winner of the EPPIE for Best Fanasy AND (drum roll, please)
the third Mudflat book, Mudflat Toy Boy, is a 2010 finalist!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Writer's Evolution: e-Piracy...You CAN Do Something!

This blog has some interesting tips for authors.

Writer's Evolution: e-Piracy...You CAN Do Something!

Monday, November 2, 2009


Creatures of myth. Creatures of dreams or even nightmares. Tales of dragons are found in many cultures. Dragons of the air, the earth or the sea. All types of dragons have been imagined by men. Dragons sitting on their hoards of jewels. Dragons breathing fire to destroy towns. Dragons being hunted by valiant knights to rescue maidens or safe towns. Magic beasts. Ones engineered by science. Dragons who help and dragons who harm. Dragons have many faces as shown in stories penned by authors.

I've read many of the tales of dragons and have a number of stories on my shelves or in my ereader. Among my favorite are the dragons of Pern. Dragons who were engineered for a specific purpose. Yjamks to Anne McCaffrey for many hours of fun. Another of my favorites is Temeraire, a fighting dragon and the hero of a series of books in an alternate world by Naomi Novik. There are probably a dozen or more other dragons and writers who have brought their creatures to life.

On the shelf above my computer is a dragon collection, including one made by my oldest grandson by chance when he was doing splatter art in nursery school. There are cloth dragons, glass dragons, pens and lamps. I'm not sure the menagerie inspire me to keep writing but they have influenced two of my stories.

The Dragons of Fyre is the story of dragons threatened by an evil man who sells their hides to the wizards of Fyre. A yellow dragon, the Old One, a green dragon, Verde aid the hero and heroine as they battle to save the dragons. These dragons are magical creatures but they do not flame. Their riders either physically fly on they or fly the dragons during a mind meld.

The Amber Dragon is a novella that will be released next year. Here a spoiled princess is turned into a dragon by an evil magician. To become human again, she must entice a prince to kiss her. Problem is, she has insulted all the princes in the surrounding kingdoms. She does encounter a prince transported from another world to hers. The story revolves around her attempts to gain her kiss and the prince's quest for a kingdom.

So tell me about your favorite dragons, either the ones you've read about or the ones whose stories you've told.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I recommend a quickie, when it comes to research

Research may be seductive, but it can take too long!

With my very first draft of Forced Mate, I got carried away by the fact that there is (or was, in 1993) still a type of plane just big enough to carry a stretch limousine across the Atlantic, but small enough to take off from an abandoned World War II airbase near Cambridge, and fly below radar all the way to Las Vegas, Nevada.

An amateur pilot mapped out the route for me.

Eventually, I came to see that there was no logical reason why a space alien would abduct his heroine from Cambridge in the UK and take her (kicking and screaming) to Nevada. No! He'd take her to his mothership with the least possible delay.

Another researcher told me that the most plausible place for a spaceship (a smallish shuttle) to land in the UK would be on Salisbury Ridge, close to Salisbury Plain (and Stonehenge). I've lost touch with that researcher, unfortunately.

So, now I'm on my own, trying to find Salisbury Ridge. I'm using Google Earth. There's a place called Ridge at Chilmark. Another possible place to hide and lose a spacecraft appears to be in the Nile Clumps... I hate to make things up, if I don't have to do so!

I took a spin on Google Earth. My first destination was Ridge, Chilmark, which does look possible, but is a bit far from Stonehenge. I can zoom and bank to view the terrain with a hawk's eye view or with the perspective of a galloping sauropod... one with poor eyesight.

Seriously, I can see hills, trees, fields, crop circles, overgrown gun emplacements, drone launch pads (circular). If I wish to, I can see churches, pharmacies, ATMs, Holiday Inns, roads, fire hydrants... and more. I can also view photographs taken by tourists.

Sadly, some of the really cool things, such as "pimples" (of the anti-tank kind) that were posted on the Google Earth 3 version, are not on Google Earth 5, but GE5 has more whizz bang stuff and links to Wikipedia.

While virtually scouring the surroundings, looking for places to hide a star-fighter, and enjoying images of stormclouds over Stonehenge --and very useful photos of forks in minor British roads--, I found a fitting backstory for my latest hero. Now to check it out.

There's a Google Earth Community with forums and chats and groups, not to mention a Search function that is everything you'd expect from Google. It's possible to meet a potential source in whatever part of the world interests you. This is too cool! Moreover, it is free.

Google Earth doesn't stop there. You can look at Mars. It's a separate download. I haven't done that. I doubt I'd find men there, anyway. You can look at the stars, which is a great way to finally get a handle on astronomy and the placement and shapes of the constellations. Finally, there's the Moon and it has flags and icons denoting info dumps, and all sorts of good and useful stuff on its surface.

Enjoy it.

Rowena Cherry
Space Snark TM

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cowboy Up!!!

Who doesn't enjoy a sexy cowboy story? I know I do!

My writing over the last few years has been mostly experimental. I have been genre hopping. Hoping eventually to settle on a favorite kind of storytelling. When it works--great! When it doesn't--it's time to try try again.

One thing I keep coming back to is westerns. I must have a love for cowboys, but there is something more that calls me to write these kinds of stories. The code of the west, wide open spaces, realizing the dream of making a home and starting a family. It's all just a small part of why I go all sweet on a good cowboy story.

I started writing westerns with a historical called Gold Fever. As much as I enjoyed writing it, I thought it would be my last. I foolishly thought writing about one cowboy would be enough to get it out of my system. Foolish girl! Once is never enough!

I had to have another cowboy come into my life. Jesse Burke is a gentleman, but he is a cowboy first. He gave years of his life to the rodeo and when he came home to the ranch, he put down roots. Angela always loved him, but he treated her like a baby sister. Her last chance to win the cowboy's heart would be to teach him the dance of desire.

Cowboys Don't Dance will be releasing from Siren Publishing December 2009! You can check out my website for more info: www.missylyons.com

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Writing the villain-hero or the likable bad guy!

By Brenna Lyons

Turning good guys to bad and vice versa or writing characters that are a hearty mix of both has always been a favorite pastime of mine. People were convinced Ty was the hero of TYGERS until about 4 scenes in, when I turned the tables and showed them a 4 y/o boy's best friend was a psychopath instead of his hero, which completely freaked one reviewer for a few chapters. OTOH, Mik, Jorg/Veriel, and Jurel all started out as villains, but when you got to see from their POVs...well, how about that? Not villains anymore...or at least villainous heroes, in Jorg's case. At the beginning of PROPHECY, people were convinced Joe was a stalker. Perception is a fun game to play.

So, how do you do it? How do you make a villainous character engaging and appealing to the readers?

First of all, the character has to be three-dimensional. A two-dimensional villain will automatically be disliked by readers. That's the point of a villain. To be three-dimensional, a villain has to have a backstory and reasons for what he/she does. Those reasons have to have a logic, even if that logic is skewed.

You have to make the reader empathize with the character's position...not necessarily sympathize with or agree with or even approve of the choices morally, but empathize with and understand why and how this happened. One way to do that is with sympathy. People who are seriously wronged and seek revenge is a good way to invoke the knee-jerk support or sympathy of readers, but it's the cheap seats of doing the job.

What else works?

Alien or non-human sensibilities. Write a were or animal-type paranormal creature, and you have instincts in the mix. You can also have instincts for creatures like vampires. Write someone from a culture not our own, and you have cultural mores, ethics, and laws that call for things we wouldn't engage in and might find horrific. Write a creature driven by hunger, and everything will be flavored (pardon the pun) by that driving need.

World situation. Men will commit atrocities in a war that they never would otherwise. I'm not saying war corrupts absolutely. It doesn't, but... A friend of mine (the wonderful author Teel James Glenn) once gave me an old quote that applies here: "The rules of engagement only apply until the first attack." After that, it's fight or die, and any dirty trick that lets you live is fair game, in the heat of the moment. I can't recall the movie, but there is a great scene of Russian soldiers being sent out (WWII, I believe). There were only enough firearms to supply one in ten of the men, so you'd stay close to another soldier and try to stay alive long enough for him to be shot, so you could grab his rifle. Whatever you did to stay alive was what you did. Was that ENEMY AT THE GATES? Maybe?

Likewise, people who are starving will choose the lesser of two evils, steal or die. Ethics are often situational, and the spirit of the law is not black and white. In a severe enough situation, people will rethink their ethics and are much more likely to slide toward neutral from lawful.

Politics. Closely linked to world situation. If you see something happening or coming that you feel is ethically bankrupt, what would you do to stop it? From the Declaration of Independence... "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." It is often seen as a duty to right the wrongs, and if the despot is abusing his power, violence may call for violence. THAT is your Robin Hood character, in a nutshell. No, he wasn't a murderer, but he didn't shy from killing a few soldiers, when he had to. That bow and arrow or long sword or staff weren't for show, after all.

Protection of the innocent. This is another lesser of two evils moment. If you had a choice to stand by silently and allow innocent children to be hurt...whether they were your children or not...you may be spurred to do something extreme in their protection.

Madness. Pure and simple. This takes the idea of revenge a step beyond. What if the abuse was so severe, the character went mad from it? What if, in his grief and pain, he does things that are horrible? It could happen, and I've found readers very receptive to the mounting madness in a character.

The mind of an innocent. What if the person doing wrong has a very childlike understanding of right and wrong? What if, in order to protect another, he does things that most people would consider the very WRONG choices, because he doesn't understand what the right choices are? What if the wrong is all he's seen? Or he's so sheltered, he's never faced the situation to know the right answer? Think SLING BLADE. Think DOMINICK AND EUGENE.

The horrific justice-bringer. There is a reason Hannibal Lecter is so popular with readers (including myself). "I only eat the rude." Look at who he preys on: pedophiles, serial killers, officious types, thieves, corrupt or abusive officials in positions of power... In short, all of the people many feel, deep down inside, the world is better off without. The people who are nice don't need to fear him.

However you do it, it's a rare and challenging writing feat to write the villain-hero or the likable bad guy.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Book Fair in Bellevue, Washinton -

The Greater Seattle RWA is sponsoring a Book Fair on October 10, 2009 at the Bellevue Hilton. The event runs from 4:00-6:00 pm in the Skyview Ballroom and includes signing opportunities with more than fifty authors. This is a free event and open to the public. The Bellevue Hilton is located at 300 112th Avenue SE in Bellevue, Washington. Their phone number is 425-455-1300. Visit www.gsrwa.org for more information.

Yes, I will be there signing books, postcards, bookmarks - so drop by and say hello! - Phoebe

Deja Vu Lover, Vintage Rose, TWRP

Friday, September 18, 2009

Petition for authors, artists, and musicians!

Are you an author, artist, or musician who lives and/or publishes in the US? Are you concerned about piracy? If so, consider signing Copyright Alliance's letter to President Obama and VP Biden. Let them know we care about our IP rights and need their help to protect them when new legislation comes up!

Copyright Alliance is hoping for 500 signatures in the next week. We can do better than that. Can't we?



Thursday, September 17, 2009

SUBMISSION CALL- Charity Anthology- Fantasy

This call comes from Karen Woods of Sleeping Beagle Books. Over the last few years, both she and I have lost several friends to pancreatic cancer. For that reason, Karen has decided to fight back. How do authors and publishers do that? They commit to a charity anthology (or more than one, if she gets enough submissions for them) titled FORSWORN. No one (save the distribution channels) will be taking a cut of this. Authors and cover artists will be donating, and as publisher, she's donating her portion as well.

What is she looking for? Fantasy stories between 5,000 and 10,000 words in length, dealing (at least loosely) with the consequences of being dishonest. It's not as hard as it sounds, since many disagreements and internal struggles come down to people being dishonest with themselves or someone else. All manner of fantasy is welcome EXCEPT fantasy erotic romance and fantasy erotica. Reprints are welcome, as long as you have rights back.

The rights are non-exclusive. The book/s will release in e-book (anthologies AND stand-alone stories) and print, via Amazon. It is a lifetime plus copyright agreement, but with non-exclusive, you can use the story later for your own purposes. Not to mention you'll be getting exposure for your work and supporting a great cause!

Additional details can be found at Sleeping Beagle Books. You can reach Karen directly at forswornanthology@gmail.com.



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Don't Copy That 2 (Official Sequel to Don't Copy That Floppy)


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Plant Next Door Wants To Eat Me

We have a triffid growing next door.

At least, I'm pretty sure it's a triffid. It kudzu-ed its way to domination of the neighbor's backyard and is now swelling up over the back garden wall. Scores of tentacles flail the air, seeking something to grip, entwine and overpower.

It's coming for my balcony. You can see the greedy little green fingers reaching out. And each day it's a little closer.

I think I'm going to have to take up arms against this sea of tendrils. Like some big pruning shears.

Although I don't know what sort of defense mechanisms it might possess. You know that scene from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea where they fight the squid? What if I'm dragged off the balcony?

Wish me luck. I'm afraid.

- Susanne
Free Book Giveaway on GoodReads!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Do you know a teen writer who wants to hang out with the pros?

EPIC’s 5th annual New Voices contest opens, and plans are unveiled for this year’s youth writing track at the annual convention

It’s August, and that means big changes for your average middle or high school student: new teachers, new class schedules, sometimes new schools… It also means the opening of the 5th annual New Voices contest, e-publishing’s premiere youth writing contest.

What makes the New Voices contest different than other writing contests? Several things.

New Voices is a worldwide contest, just for middle school and high school students (or the country of origin’s variation thereof). The contest is intended for students aged 11-18 years old, writing in the English language. In previous years, students from as many as sixteen US states, four Canadian provinces, and several foreign countries have won places in the contest.

The contest is split into middle school and high school divisions, then further split into poetry, essay/non-fiction, and fiction short story categories in each division. Contestants may enter one piece of work in each of their division categories.

There’s no entry fee for the contest. At the same time, sponsors and EPIC (The Electronically Published Internet Connection) underwrite the contest to provide prizes for entrants. Prizes range from gift certificates and cash to PDAs and/or e-book readers. And all winners are included in the yearly New Voices anthology.

Entrants never need to pay a dime. Unlimited copies of the e-book anthology are provided to winners. A CD copy and a print copy are provided to each of the winners and their schools. Additional print copies may be purchased at cost, but no one is required to purchase anything.

This contest is ideal for students with an interest in writing. All entrants, win or lose, receive feedback from published authors, editors, publishers, and other industry professionals.

For those with a serious interest in publishing, EPIC provides a youth writer’s track at the yearly convention, EPICon. This year’s convention will be held at the Sheraton (New Orleans, LA) from March 4-7, 2010. The youth track is scheduled for Saturday, March 6th. The youth track costs $40 and includes lunch, where contest winners in attendance will receive their awards. Non-attendee winners will receive their awards by mail. For an additional $27, youth track attendees can have breakfast while several established independent press publishers answer questions about their businesses and submissions.

But time stands still for no young writer. Anyone with an interest in entering the contest has until midnight October 20, 2009 to get an entry in. Anyone with an interest in attending the youth writing track at EPICon has until February 5, 2010 to register.

Any questions about the contest can be addressed to the New Voices chairs at newvoices.competition(at)gmail(dot)com. Any questions about the convention can be addressed to the EPICon chair at cjparker1(at)att(dot)net For more information on them, please visit http://www.newvoicesyoungwriters.com/index.html or http://www.epic-conference.com

Feel free to pass along!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

10 Mistakes Authors Make

This is an excerpt, posted with permission and attribution, from Penny Sansevieri's newsletter. All pronouns are as written by Penny.

Featured Article - 10 Mistakes Authors Make That Can Cost Them a Fortune (and How to Avoid Them)
When it comes to books, promotion, and book production I know that it can sometimes feel like a minefield of choices. And while I can't address each of these in minutia, there are a number of areas that are keenly tied to a book's success (or lack thereof). Here are ten for you to consider:

1) Not understanding the importance of a book cover
I always find it interesting that an author will sometimes spend years writing their book and then leave the cover design to someone who either isn't a designer, or doesn't have a working knowledge of book design or the publishing industry. Or, worse, they create a design without having done the proper market research. Consider these facts for a minute: shoppers in a bookstore spend an average of 8 seconds looking at the front cover of a book and 15 seconds looking at the back before deciding whether to buy it. Further, a survey of booksellers showed that 75% of them found the book cover to be the most important element of the book. Also, sales teams at book distribution often only take the book cover with them when they shop titles to stores. And finally, please don't attempt to design your own book cover. Much like cutting your own hair, this is never a good idea.

2) Trusting someone who has limited or no track record
When you hire a team, make sure you ask the service provider for their track record. Often I see an author who successfully marketed their single title now feel they have all the marketing knowledge they need to help you market yours. Unless you are in similar markets, I would avoid this at all costs. You want people who have worked in the industry and know the needs of the market beyond just one title. You also want someone who has some history. Ask for referrals, and success stories. I give references all the time to potential new clients, but when I am the one interviewing a new service provider I will ask for them but never call them. I mean who's going to give you a bad referral? I want to see that they have some names they can give me, then I'll go online and Google them to gain some insight into their history and online reputation.

3) Listening to people who aren't experts
When you ask someone's opinion about your book, direction, or topic, make sure they are either working in your industry or know your consumer. If, for example, you have written a young adult (YA) book, don't give it to your co-workers to read and get feedback (yes, I know some YA books have adult market crossover appeal, but this is different). If you've written a book for teens, then give it to teens to read. Same is true for self-help, diet, romance. Align yourself with your market. You want the book to be right for the reader, in the end that's all that matters.

4) Trusting Oprah to solve all your problems
Getting on Oprah is an article in and of itself, but let me say this: the quickest way to turn off a publicist is to use the "O" word. Why? Because anyone worth their salt knows how tough a road the Oprah pitch can be. Not just that, but sometimes authors will become so myopic and obsessed about this show that they lose sight of other, maybe better opportunities. And trust me on another point: someone (friend, co-worker, family, spouse), somewhere will tell you, "You should go on Oprah," and while you might be 100% perfect Oprah material the only people who can determine if you should be on her show are her producers. Shoot for the stars, dream big, but be realistic about your campaign, otherwise you'll spend a lot of time and a lot of money chasing a potentially elusive target.

5) Planning for the short-term only
There's a real fallacy that exists in publishing and it's this: "instant bestseller." Anyone who has spent any amount of time in the industry knows there is no such thing as "instant," and certainly the words "overnight success" are generally not reserved for books. Book promotion should be viewed as a long runway. Meaning that you should plan for the long term. Don't spend all your marketing dollars in the first few months of a campaign. We find this especially true for self-published titles that need a little more TLC than their traditionally published counterparts. We offer campaigns that last 90-days, but that's not because we think 90 days is all it will take to make your book a success, it's because we find it's a reasonable time to get started, get a foothold and start your progress down the runway of success.

6) Not understanding timing
Timing is a funny issue. First, there's the timing that books follow to get reviewed, lead times as it were. Then there's production timing, and if you're lucky enough to get a distributor there's the time it will take for a distributor to get your book into the proper channels. A book launch should be planned carefully and then leave wiggle room for slipped dates and late deliveries (which will happen). I recommend that you sit down with someone who can help you strategize timing so you can plan appropriately for your book launch. A missed date is akin to a missed opportunity.

7) Hiring people who aren't in the book industry
Let's face it, even to those of us who have been in this industry for a while it still doesn't always make sense. So hiring someone who has no book or publishing experience isn't just a mistake, it could be a costly one. With some vendors like web designers you can get away with that. But someone who has only designed business cards can't, for example, design a book cover. Make sure you hire the right specialist for the right project. Also, you've likely spent years putting together this project, make sure you make choices based on what's right and not what's cheapest. If you shop right you can often find vendors who are perfect for your project and who fit your budget. There's an old saying that goes: You can find a good lawyer, and you can find a cheap lawyer, but it's hard or near impossible to find a good, cheap lawyer. The same applies in the book world.

8) Designing your own website
You should never cut your own hair or design your own site. Period. End of story. But ok, let me elaborate. Let's say you designed your own site and saved a few thousand dollars instead of paying a web designer. Now you're off promoting your book and suddenly you're getting a gazillion hits to your site. The problem is the site is not converting these visitors into sales. How much money did you lose by punting the web designer and doing it yourself? Hard to know. Scary, isn't it?

9) Becoming a media diva
Let's face it, you need the media more than they need you. I know. Ouch. But it's the unfortunate truth. So here's the thing: be grateful. Thank the interviewer, send a follow-up thank you note after the interview. Don't expect the interviewer to read your book and don't get upset if they get some facts wrong. Just gently, but professionally correct them in such a way that they don't look bad or stupid. Never ask for an interview to be done over. Most media people don't have the time. I mention this because it actually happened to a producer friend of mine who did an interview with a guy and he decided he didn't like it and wanted a second shot. Not gonna happen. The thing is, until you get a dressing room with specially designed purple M&M's, don't even think about becoming a diva. The best thing you can do is create relationships. Show up on time, show up prepared, and always, always, always be grateful.

10) Hiring the best and then not trusting their advice.
Here's the thing that's always confused me. You hire me, then don't listen to my advice. And it's not just me, I hear this all the time from other industry professionals. Look, it's not an ego thing, it really isn't. It's just this: if you're paying good money to your vendors, asking them for advice and then not taking it, you might have a disconnect. Perhaps a breakdown in communication, maybe you don't trust the person you hired. If you don't trust them, then you should part ways and find someone you have some chemistry with. Otherwise what's the point? Build your team with people you enjoy working with and respect. Then when they try and guide you or save you some money, take the time to listen.

Reprint permission
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~
You are welcome to reprint any items from "The Book Marketing Expert Newsletter." However, please credit us as a source with the following paragraph:

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com

Contact Information
email: penny@amarketingexpert.com
web: http://www.amarketingexpert.com

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fantasy Fans on Facebook (it's all about the F's)

On Facebook, the N3F group is without many fans (could be because of their fiendishly clever and geeky name) but are apparently very receptive to Fantasy lovers....as fans.

The url is http://www.facebook.com/pages/N3F/89128934330

It's not my group (btw) I'm merely a fan, but one of the admins asked me to spread the word.

Best wishes,

Rowena Cherry
Please vote for my cover/title/blurb in a social networking contest for authors

Thursday, August 13, 2009

How To Make The Most Of Being On A Radio Show

I spend a lot of time setting someone (maybe three someones) straight on GoodReads about being on internet radio.

A little background.

PIVTR has only been going for three years, and it is not a full time station. It does not do business commercials, and it is heard all over the world where ever people have computers... from grandmothers on tiny British islands (a friend of my mother's heard my show without even knowing I was a talk show host, and emailed me) to truckers crossing continents to publishers and... who knows, TV scouts, as well as the colleges and universities you mention.

We support three charities by sending them the hosts' theoretical royalties from mp3 downloads (which cost around $2.60 last time I asked).

A royalty on $2.60 isn't much, but yesterday I forwarded a check for $25.00 to the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit.

Hey! If only Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh would donate their entire host's proceeds for their shows to the hungry and the homeless, and help former incarcerees who've served their debt to society to learn a useful skill (baking bread or organic gardening).

A good show can turn into sales. It's not guaranteed, of course. For a start, the interviewee has to be prepared, has to be absolutely fascinating as an authority on some subject, has to speak clearly (on a land line), has to entertain, and has to be likeable.

Above all else, be likeable. The hard sell doesn't work. Authors who unintentionally project a sense of entitlement don't do so well. Listeners aren't going to buy a book just because someone has written one and mumbles a title and a url repeatedly on the radio.

(I should take my own advice, eh?)

Also, an interview on a show is not the end in and of itself. Authors need to understand that. Before the interview, it is a (flimsy) news item... something to post as news to all your sites and groups and to Tweet and Smak, and post on all your Updates. But, you really need to have a decent hook: an elevator pitch to make people want to tune in.

You also ought to have a Google Alert. You can Tweet that. Afterwards, you can blog about your experience, especially mentioning what you did wrong because people love to read about pratfalls. You can purchase the mp3 from Lillian, and post it on your MySpace page etc etc (I don't need to tell you!) and everywhere that allows you to upload a podcast.

It's not the show that will sell books. It's what you do on the show and with the show. Unless, of course, Oprah was listening.

On my next show, Crazy Tuesday, September 1st, I shall be interviewing USA Today best selling author Jade Lee, and international best selling author Susan Kearney. We'll be talking about Dragons.

Rowena Cherry

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Copyright attorney's blog

I've just added a new, useful link to the sidebar. Ben is a copyright attorney with lots of helpful and interesting links in his sidebar. The post I've linked to is an interview with an unrepentent pirate.

I think you should read it if your blood pressure is low, or your metabolism needs stirring up.

Rowena Cherry

Monday, July 20, 2009

Give Me Red!

When a new story starts to form, and I begin developing a book, the first thing I start with is the general feeling. Is it a futuristic Sci Fi? A whimsical fantasy? Is it comical? Tragic? One of my hobbies is collecting rare gemstones, so it’s not unusual for me to assign a gemstone to convey the feeling of a book or a character. For example, in Imperative: Missing You, much of the plot hinged on an aquamarine necklace. In Black Planet: Little Dragon, stolen topaz figured into the story. These are internal cues to myself, and to the reader as to the overall feeling of the book.

When I began to develop the sequel to Bad Angels: Falling, one color came to the front. Red.
Noemi is the heroine who has entered the series. She is ruby. She is fire. She is heat and fire and damnation. Thus the name of the book: Burn.

Rubies are all about their color. Yes, value is also derived by clarity, carat weight and cut, but the most important element to a ruby is its vivid, passionate coloring. The finest ruby should be a medium-dark, vivid red. Blood red.

What does red mean to you? Power, blood and anger, or passion, love and heat? In either case, the ruby is a strong stone, a strong color, and in this case the perfect symbol for a powerful, divided heroine.

Noemi Gastineau is of Native American background, she has black hair, dark skin and brilliant dark eyes. She’s smart and canny, but she’s also a tortured woman with many secrets. She is a doctor and a healer, but also a deadly warrior. She might have started the story as a victim, even as a villain, but her trials and suffering have made her stronger and heroic.

Like the color red, Noemi is passion and love, fire and anger. Red is about good fortune in some cultures, hatred and war in others. Noemi’s red is a wonderful compliment to the calm, celestial blue of Orion the fallen angel, and the earthy colors of Rex the sidhe. Noemi’s heat and fire has the potential to tear apart her lovers, or to bring them closer together.

Regardless of the association that you make with the ruby, and with the color red, you will most likely agree that there is nothing weak about the ruby, nothing passive or indecisive about the color or the gemstone.

Incidentally, the ruby is the birthstone for the month of July.

Bad Angels: Burn releases July 24 at Changeling Press.
Buy Link: http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1197
Belinda’s Homepage: www.belindamcbride.com

Monday, June 29, 2009

Second Book Angst

When The Key released, I had no idea it would be another two years before I wrote the next book. Life happens. It happened to me. Life quit happening quite so much and I've been hunkered down, working on the next book: Girl Gone Nova. I shouldn't have second book angst, when I'm working on book nine (if you only count fiction).

But The Key won the Dream Realm award and took a bronze IPPY. That's a bit of pressure to deliver on the next book. Reviews and reader feedback have been great, too. That pressure had me almost banging my head against the wall (I would have banged my head against the wall, but they have this rough texture. So not worth it.) for the last few months, but I do have a rough draft!

Now I just have to edit it and get it turned in.

I didn't think I'd ever like any character as much as I liked Sara (okay, I always feel this and I always believe it, but Sara was pretty cool, IMHO), but Doc, the female lead in this book is pretty fun (not just my HO, but that my beta readers!). I know that just because me and my beta readers like the book, that doesn't mean readers will, too.

So that got me wondering, do readers have second book angst, too? Do you worry that an author is going to let you down with the next book? How much hope do you feel when you find a book you love? Do you give the author another chance? Or is that it? You move on? (Like I need more angst in my life...)

Okay, need to get back to my edits, but inquiring minds needed to know. Maybe.
Perilously yours,


Sunday, June 28, 2009

What Time (period) is it?

This month has raced by! School is over, I've taken the GRE's (still waiting to see what score I got on the Analytical Writing section) and now summer is in full swing! I have two months until school starts again, and I'm planning on getting the first draft of a new book mostly done before September rolls around.

I have a schedule, but this week it went right out the window, because I had to go and buy a new car. Then I started Tweeting and time just disappeared. But I DID start a new book, and I researched too - it's the Steampunky (I don't think it's going to be a true steampunk, because the machines are going to be more background than vital - well, except for one) Cinderella retelling.

I went round and round with this story before deciding on a time period. First it was going to be 1880 England. I would write about the Season, because what is Cinderella without a ball? Then I though...nah, been done. Then I went to NYC- better. But I finally settled on 1876 Philadelphia. Why 1876?? Doesn't it seem random? Well, no, not really. 1876 was HUGE year in Philly. It was the 100th anniversary of America, and there was the Centennial Exposition in Fairmount Park. You'd call it a World's Fair. This was the very first one. I've spent hours researching it, just to see what was there. The Free Library of Philadelphia has a terrific site with pictures and everything.

What this comes down to is research. I won't bore you with all the details, but it's fa ascinating bit of history that will serve well in the background of my story. And that brings up a question: how accurate do you like your historical fantasy to be? Would anyone but me know much about the Centennial Exposition? Maybe, but probably not. But I like to get the facts right when I can. I could have made up something like a World's Fair for the purposes of my story, but since there is already a real event, why shouldn't I use it? I think it'll be cool if anyone decides to look up the Exposition to find out it really happened.

That isn't to say that I can't bend time a little - I am moving Wanamaker's from it's original location on Market Street (where I think the current Reading Terminal Market is now) to the more well-known location near City Hall, which didn't open until a few decades later. Wanamakers actually DID open in 1876, though. All this research will make the story more real to me, I guess, although I don't know what it will do for my readers. It's one more layer of a time period not many are familiar with. (Never mind I bought a coloring book of Godet's Fashions in order to get the period dress right. We won't talk about that.)

So what do you think: Does research make better fantasy? Not just historical, but any type.

What's in a Name?

Take a look at the cover sitting over there and you'll see my author name. It's my real name and not a pseudonym. I wanted the people in the town where I grew up to know I did achieve my dream of becoming a published writer even when they said I wouldn't. I am very proud of both names...my father's and my husband's. The names mean even more to me now because those wonderful men are both gone.

One name...BOYETT...is Anglo/Saxon. Not French as some would think or as they would pronounce it. Boyt..like Hoyt... is how it is pronounced. Sharp and succinct, the precise meaning has been lost in the mists of time. It is a harder word than the effeminate pronunciation of the French version which is spelled Boyet or Boyette and pronounced Boy Yay or Boy Yet. The French meaning of the word equates to young bull.

Then there's Compo.

Originally spelled Compeaux when my husband's people came to America from France, it is pronounced Com Poe with the emphasis on the second syllable. His people changed the name because the maternal link was Italian and when they arrived in America, they moved into a predominately Italian neighborhood in New York City and the denizens of that class-conscious area of the city were not enamored of the French. His family labeled themselves Italian to keep the young boys in the group from being beaten to a bloody pulp every day after school.Thus the change in the spelling.

It isn't Camp, Campo, Campes, or Campos. Those surnames are English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, but of Roman (Latin) origins from the 1st century a.d. Those names are topographical in translation and literally mean the countryside.

Nor is the second part of my surname Compton, Compote or Cornpone. It isn't Compass, Composite or Campus, either.

It is Compo. How hard is that to get right?

My first name gets misspelled quite often, too. Many people spell it Charolette for some odd reason that I can't fathom. My paternal grandmother spelled it Sharlet or Charlut depending on her mood. It is pronounced Shar Lut...not Shar Ruh Lut...and is Germanic in origin and means 'free man'. It is a derivative of Charles. The emphasis is on the first syllable, btw.

Likewise my nickname gets misspelled more often than not. It's Charlee which is pronounced Shar Lee..a soft and delicate nickname...but nearly everyone gives it the hard Char Lee as in Charlie's Angels. People spell it Charlie, Charli, or Charley. Some people even chop it off with a brutal Char which is pronounced Shar and which I hate with a bloody passion. I've reached the point that I, myself, even pronounce it Charlie because it just isn't worth correcting nearly everyone in my circle of acquaintances. It's not as important that it be corrected as my professional name is.

Just as I've gotten into the habit of calling myself Char Lee instead of Shar Lee, I've gotten into the even worse habit of pronouncing my maiden name Boy Yet. Most people pronounce it that way, anyway so I go along to get along.That really isn't too bad because my mom often felt compelled....as Hyacinth Bucket of Keeping Up Appearances pronounces her husband's name as Boo Kay... to give herself airs. Daddy didn't seem to mind or care although he hated that his parents called him by his middle name Carl instead of the more forceful first name Floyd.

But I digress.

Put all together, my professional name is Charlotte Boyett-Compo. There is a hyphen there but some people ignore it and leave it off when writing about me. I really wish they wouldn't. Some folks even put me in the C section instead of the B.

And oh! the combinations I've had!

Either Charlotte Boyer-Campo or Charlotte Boyette-Campo seems to be the favorite ones of many reviewers. Some even add the ubiquitous 'S' on the end of Campo to add insult to injury. Charlotte Boyer-Compote, Charlotte Bayette-Compton, Charlotte Boyd-Compos, Charlotte Boy-Comp and Charlotte Boyette-Campus are just a few of the combinations that have slaughtered the name. My personal favorite of all time though was Charolette Bayer-Cornpone. The person who came up with that bizarre combination surely has a special place in Hell reserved for her!

Yes, it rankles me when my name is misspelled. It makes me grit my teeth. It also makes me have less respect for the one who misspelled it in the first place. I feel the same way about people who make errors in their reporting or who use bad grammar in their writing. It's slipshod writing. It's lazy writing. It's just plain discourteous to misspell the name of someone you've interviewed or reviewed. It makes me think they just don't care about what they put their name to. It doesn't take all that much time out of a reviewer's or interviewer's day to make sure they have spelled the name correctly. They took the time to read the book and review it. They took the time to email you the questions for the interview. What's a quick glance to make sure the name is as it should be on the piece? I'm sure they don't appreciate having their own misspelled name put out there for the world to see.

It isn't too much to ask an interviewer or reviewer to get your name right. After all, it is your professional name and you are defined by it. It isn't too much to ask that they glance at a cover from one of your books to ascertain the correct spelling if they are unsure. Nor is it too much to ask that they correct the name in a timely manner when informed they misspelled it.

So, I'm asking reviewers and interviewers and the writers of blogs to LOOK at what you right before you hit the publish button. Make sure you get the author's name right. It's simple courtesy.

And if you're wondering about the above book, Wyndstones is my latest novel and its the first of two long-awaited sequels to my popular NightWind. It was just released this week from New Concepts Publishing. You can read all about it http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/wyndstone.jpg



Monday, June 22, 2009

America's Rare Desert Flower

DESERT WILD has the richest setting of any book I’ve written to date. Set in both Santa Barbara, California, and The Sonoran Desert in Arizona, I learned after months of research that the rare species of plants and animals found in America’s most hostile desert are also some of the most unusual and beautiful in the world.

Living among deadly snakes, mountain lions, and bobcats are exquisite bouquets of Desert Lavender, butter yellow wildflowers called Paper Daisies, delicate Rock Flowers that peek from mountain crevices, and countless varieties of blooming cacti. Even the symbol of The Sonoran Desert, The Saguaro Cactus, ripens with blood red fruit that is crushed into ceremonial wine by the desert’s indigenous people.

The rarest, most exotic flower of all, The Queen of the Night, became a symbol of love inside my stand-alone desert books DESERT FEVER and its sequel DESERT WILD. The queen blooms only one night each year and her flowers die at the first light of dawn. Only the stars enjoy her beauty at midnight and the desert air breathes her intoxicating scent. The flowers remind me of lovers who reveal themselves under cover of night.

To navigate the hostile American desert and keep my hero and heroine safe from predators while seeking the mysterious Queen of the Night, DESERT WILD needed a guide. The heroine’s GPS system, dubbed “Guy,” is a powerful but endearingly kinky navigator who grants wishes. Though not exactly a genie, his satellite receiver locates whatever his driver needs most. “Guy” brings a touch of magic to the desert, where beauty and danger live in delicate coexistence.

If you had a GPS navigator like Guy who could locate whatever you needed most, what would you wish for?

Here’s a short summary of my new release.

DESERT WILD by Adele Dubois


Sonny Wild Horse of the Tohono O’odham Nation is a danger to a woman’s heart. Though he lusts after Caitlyn Spencer, his desire to live inside two conflicting worlds—the Sonoran Desert of his youth and the California coast where his future as a photographer is assured—tears the lovers apart.

When Sonny disappears inside America’s most hostile desert, Caitlyn borrows a unique Thunderbird convertible and embarks on a desperate search. The car is equipped with a powerful but endearingly kinky GPS navigator that grants wishes. Though not exactly a genie, “Guy’s” system locates whatever his driver needs most.

And Caitlyn needs to connect erotically with Sonny. Again and again. If only she can find him in time.

Adele Dubois is a former journalist who writes erotic romance that receives consistent outstanding reviews. Titles include DESERT WILD, DESERT FEVER, INTIMATE ART and DREAM TRAVELER. Look for additional titles in 2009 and 2010. Please visit Adele on her website at http://www.adeledubois.com/


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Accidentally Paranormal

This is a story about writing a book, rewriting a book, then writing a book you didn't know you wrote.

Back in December 2007, I had this brilliant idea to pen a "ride along" piece for a paranormal series in development. It was supposed to be short and sweet but also representative of my writing style and this world I was trying to build. In two weeks (lucky it was the holidays) I completed about 30,000 words and was thrilled with the piece. However, I had only wanted it to be about 10,000 words and, well, the story was much more of its own entity than I had ever intended.

So I was left in a pickle. Do I flesh the story out even more and make it a full length novel? Do I cull the novel down quite a bit and go ahead with my plans to publish on my site? OR do I just submitted it to my publisher as a novella and move on to something new? I decided to take option number three. My publisher accepted the piece... Then things really got interesting.

The blending of the paranormal aspect and the strictly contemporary romance aspects of the story weren't as smooth as either I or my editor wanted. Instead of being in synch at some parts those pieces of the story seemed to war against each other. So some tough, tearful decisions had to be made.

I worked long, hard hours to strip out the paranormal second story in order to focus on this outstanding, amazing developing relationship between the principals. My editor helped me do that. She was phenomenal in keeping me on task and keeping the story very tight. By the time the novella released last month, it was something different than it was when it began, but it was still a piece of which I was very proud.

I just received a review for The Builder from The Romance Studio (5 Hearts, yay):

"A bit of the supernatural flowed in this book. Usually I don’t prefer these type books, but this is so well written that I was mesmerized. I promise you a great read from an author who obviously knows how to keep readers’ attention. I highly recommend that you read this book. "

Hey, it's subtly paranormal anyway, and successfully so, who knew? I love this story. It's been a harrowing process from the first character typed to the first copy edit, to the great reviews coming in, but goodness it's been worth it.

Grayson Reyes-Cole

The Builder available here.
Check our Bright Star, my dark fantasy/sci-fi-y piece in print.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Back pain and next week -

Yes, I have the Homedic chair cover plus their foot massager and oh yes!  Love them both and yes, they are a blessing for anyone who spends hours working on a computer.   I got mine at the local drugstore.  About next week, here's your astrological fortune cookie.  The main character in my Mudflat series is an astrologer and so I do these things weekly.  


This week I have a short story titled “Neat Alyssum” in the June issue of Crossed Genres Magazine at http://crossedgenres.com 

For more fortunes, reviews, excerpts, check http://phoebematthews.com.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Writing Through Back Pain

The hardest part about being a full-time author is not writer’s block, but back pain. After several hours at the computer, day after day, the muscles between my shoulder blades tighten to the screaming point. The knife-sharp pain can be so severe it debilitates me for days. Lost time means lost momentum on a project, which adds to my frustration. If I cut my work hours to fend off the back pain, my projects don’t get completed. When I return to writing for several hours to pick up the slack, pain strikes. Either way, my back pain controls my schedule–and I don’t like that one bit.

I’ve tried switching chairs, alternating desks, wearing a neck support, using a heating pad, and writing curled up on my sofa. I take breaks, brisk walks, and beg family members to massage my shoulders. While some of these tactics bring relief, nothing has helped long-term.

My husband and I were shopping recently at J.C. Penny, where a Homedics Shiatsu Massaging Cushion store display allowed customers to sit in a chair and sample a free mechanical massage. I sat for more than a half hour with the massager, the remainder of my shopping forgotten. I’d found the solution to my back pain!

The portable cushion can be placed on virtually any chair, and the moving Shiatsu massage mechanism travels up and down the back to loosen tight muscles. Press a button to add quick heat. Press another for localized massage to upper or lower back. Since the mechanical masseuse never tires, I can use it as long as I like.

If you have chronic back pain, and no medical reason to avoid mechanical massage, you might want to give this product a try. I promise, I’m not a company spokesperson, just a very happy and more productive author.

DESERT WILD by Adele Dubois -- Coming June 17, 2009.

Adele Dubois is a former journalist who writes erotic romance that receives consistent outstanding reviews. Titles include DESERT WILD, DESERT FEVER, INTIMATE ART and DREAM TRAVELER. Look for additional titles in 2009 and 2010.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Twenty-five Free Ways To Help A Sister Author

No one could possibly do everything on this list, but even doing one or two that you are not doing already might be a good idea if you are into "paying forward" or "paying back".

All authors for the purpose of this article will be considered female. (No sexism intended no offense to the great guys in the IWOFA group).

#1. Help the search engines find her. Why? Even if you know where to find your alien romance writing friend, her blog, and her books, “hits” help. The more visitors the search engine spiders find, the more priority the author's website gets. So: Google her. Ask Jeeves about her. Dogpile her. A9 search her. Use Alexa. Try a Yahoo search. Blog search. Search on Technorati. Even better, set up a Google Alert for her name, also common misspellings of her name, and for her book titles.

#2. Having “Searched” or been "Alerted", Visit… her website; blogs; author pages. If you may comment, do so. Everyone who takes the time to blog or post content is grateful when visitors comment. Human nature leads more people to read a post that has received a lot of comments.

#3 Follow. Favorite. Share. Google's Blogger, Twitter, Facebook "Pages", Squidoo lenses, You Tube videos and more allow you to become a follower or a fan. Do so. Connect wherever you can. It's good for both of you, because follower/fan photos show up.

#4 Click to read (and rate) any reviews she has written, or Lists she has set up. These days, anyone can make an EssentiaList on Barnes and Noble.com, a Listmania on Amazon.com, a Top Ten list on Chapters.Indigo.ca, also Listopia on GoodReads.com/ If you like her reviews or lists, click Helpful.

#5. If you see a good review of a book you've enjoyed —on any bookselling site that allows customers and visitors to comment on reviews-- click Helpful if it truly is a helpful review. Votes help both the reviewer and the author.

#6. Tag her books wherever you can. Amazon isn't the only place (Amazon isn't even one site… there's Amazon.ca, Amazon.uk, Amazon.de etc etc) Many book selling sites encourage readers to tag.

What is a tag? It's a search term that a reader might be using to find a type of book she likes, when she is looking for a new author. Some tags might be "Romance", "Fantasy", "Mystery", "Shapeshifter", "Georgian Romance", "Humor" or "Space Opera".

#7. When you are on an admired author's Amazon book page, click on links to:
Put it on your wish list, it’s extra, free advertising for the book. Tell a friend. Scroll down the book page to Tag this product. Or make a search suggestion).

#8. Join in the Customer/Reader discussions on her book page, or on the forums. Ask a question. Start a discussion. Hundreds of eyeballs scan the discussions on Barnes and Noble bookclubs. The search engines pick up on the discussions. The longer a discussion keeps going, the better the PR buzz for your friend. This does not just apply to Amazon and B&N. Discussion anywhere is "buzz".

#9. Review her book… Most people know that a customer can write a review on Amazon.com. There's a purchase requirement with Amazon (and I think with Barnes and Noble, too). However, many sites don't require a reader to have bought a book from them in order to post a review: GoodReads.com, Shelfari.com, LibraryThing.com, E-Bay, Powells, FlipKart, We-Read (on Facebook), NexTag etc etc.

#10. Smak her. Have you ever noticed the "Add This" or "Share" or "Recommend" widgets on online pages and on You Tube? If you think your author friend's blog, or news about her is interesting, syndicate the news to Digg It, Reddit, Technorati, Stumble Upon, Furl and as many of the other 40 or so sites as you have time and energy for. It's self promo when she does it. It's news when someone else does it.

Smak is SmakNews.com. News for women, posted by women.

#11. If the author has a reminder on a public calendar (Amazon has one, other sites have the function, too) for a booksigning near you, click on Remind Me Too. Booksignings are nerve-racking. Support is always appreciated, even if you don’t buy a book.

#12. If she lists an "Event", which one can on Facebook, GoodReads, and too many other places to mention, be sure to RSVP with a kind comment about the book.

#13. Make her a top friend on MySpace, Bebo etc, Give her book cover image as a "gift" on Facebook, with her permission, make her cover into a widget or tile it as a background, or keep it on the top page of your Shelfari/GoodReads/MyB&N display of what you are reading.

#14. If you have a MySpace page or Bebo.com, or Twitters, or Clasmates.com, or facebook.com, or theyack.com (and if you don’t, but really want to help, get one… it’s free) invite your author friends to be your friends there. Write a bulletin about your friend or her book. Add a comment on their profile page’s comments section. Your comment is their opportunity to say something about their book without the appearance of soliciting. Review their book on your MySpace blog. Or on You Tube!

#15. If her publisher has a forum, join it and ask her questions. For instance, Dorchester Publishing (home of Leisure and LoveSpell authors) has http://forums.dorchesterpub.com/

Again, your comment will be seen by hundreds, if not thousands, and it will give your friend a reason to post something interesting and quotable about her book without seeming to be self-promoting.

#16. If you have a blog or website, (and you should always secure your own domain name before you become famous yourself) publicize your friend’s upcoming signings/author talks/workshops on your blog. Mention her website URL. Link to your author friend’s website or blog on yours. Put her book as a 'must read' on your own site, or in your own newsletter. Have a list of links to authors you like, and blogs you enjoy.

#17. If you belong to readers’ group sites, or book chat sites, or special interest sites, post what you are reading. Plugs never hurt. These are also picked up on RSS feeds and the search engines.

#18. Join your favorite author’s yahoo group, let her know where you’ve seen her book in stores, or where you’ve seen discussions of her book, or reviews of her book.

#19. Drop in on her online chats to say how you enjoyed her book. Supportive friends at chats are cool because chats can be chaotic, and typing answers takes time.

#20. Tweet on Twitter about how much you are enjoying the book. Retweet or reply to any comments you see that promote the book, or the author.

#21. Offer to take a bunch of her bookmarks to conventions, or conferences, and make sure they are put in goodie bags, or on promo tables. Or simply visit her table at a convention, and sign up for her newsletter, or pick up her bookmark and tell someone else how good the book is. Offer to slip her bookmarks into your own correspondence when you pay bills, taxes, etc.

#22. Instead of quoting Goethe in your sig file, try quoting a line from your friend’s blurb in the week of her launch.

#23. Ask for her book in your local library. If they don't have it, maybe they will order a copy. If the library won't do that, ask if they would enter the book in their system if the author were to donate a copy to them. Once a book is in one library's system, it gets into the database for other libraries.

#24. If you see your favorite author’s books in a supermarket or bookstore: face her books (if there is room), turn one so the cover shows. Tell store personnel how much you like that book, or that the author is local. If you don’t see her books, especially when they ought to be there, ask about them.

#25. If you are connected on LinkedIn.com and your author friend is listed as "Author" or "Freelance Writer" or similar, consider "recommending her" on the strength of her writing. Recommendations on LinkedIn are intended to be for professional purposes.

Bonus Tip:
If you are an author buy colleagues' autographed books from them at booksignings to use in your own giveaways instead of always giving away your own books.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Defeating Threshold Guardians by Adele Dubois

During the production process of my upcoming paranormal release DESERT WILD from Ellora’s Cave Publishing, I re-read Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers. This landmark work is based on The Hero’s Journey, the universal elements of storytelling, as identified by mythologist Joseph Campbell.

Vogler’s chapter on Threshold Guardians was of particular interest to me, because these character archetypes often separate mediocre fiction from great fiction. They represent the obstacles protagonists must overcome to win their rewards at the end of a story. Threshold Guardians test the protagonists’ determination, while also adding tension and increasing story conflict. While their tactics may be overt or subtle, their purpose is the same—to stop the protagonists from reaching their ultimate goals.

As writers, we meet countless Threshold Guardians that thwart our efforts and test our desire for achievement. Procrastination, nagging self-doubt, fear of success, confidence-shaking rejection letters, poor reviews or negative critique partners may erode our resolve. Unsupportive family members who ridicule our need to create may wear us down. Conflicting demands on our time slow our progress. For us to become successful, career-focused authors, we must learn to recognize and outwit these Threshold Guardians. As Vogler suggests, we must either make them our allies or defeat them and keep going.

While my heroine in DESERT WILD escaped vipers and bobcats in The Sonoran Desert, I found a way to eliminate chronic back pain and keep writing. When my hero from the Tohono O’odham Nation confronted the inner demons that threatened his future, I closed my office door and turned off my Internet access. No outside forces deterred us from our paths. We tackled one problem after the other until our goals were reached.

What are your Threshold Guardians? The challenges may change from day to day. They may be friendly forces or hostile, yet they stall our progress. Once we learn to identify roadblocks we can make them our allies or learn to outwit them, and ultimately reach our goals and claim our rewards.

©Adele Dubois, 2009

Adele Dubois writes paranormal and contemporary erotic romances for Ellora’s Cave Publishing that earn consistent outstanding reviews. Titles include DESERT WILD, DESERT FEVER, INTIMATE ART and DREAM TRAVELER. Visit Adele Dubois at www.adeledubois.com/

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Try the e-book experience at Dorchester

Several IWOFA authors are published by Dorchester Publishing. Let me think... Deborah Macgillivray is (amongst others), Helen Scott is. I am.

This last week, we all received emails from Erin Galloway, the Dorchester PR boss, informing us that we now have widgets, which will allow readers the e-reading experience. Yes, the pages turn.

These widgets don't give away the entire book, but they do allow readers a very decent sneak peek. Up to 10% of the book. Now, having said that, anyone can choose any keyword they please. I chose "and" because there is an urban myth that words like "and" and "if" will fake out a system and let a reader read the entire book.

Doesn't work. I haven't tried requesting indecent words, but then again, my royal aliens don't use a lot of those... unless they are villains, who deliberately want to shock and offend.

Check it out. Let me know what you think of the technology.

If you click on one of the other links, I expect it will take you back to http://www.dorchesterpub.com where you can try out other widgets.
Best wishes,
Rowena Cherry

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Writing advice

Advice on becoming a writer
Years ago when I first began to dream about becoming a writer, I went to a one day writer's seminar. The main speaker was a well-known author, but after many years I can't remember his name. He said three things about becoming an author that have stuck with me for the forty years I've pursued my dream.1. You have to wish to be an author. For me this means the dreams I had since I was a child and the stories I tried to write and seldom completed but I kept dreaming even while I pursued other goals, like becoming a nurse and being a mother.2. You have to want to be an author. To me this means more than just the wish. This means reading other authors, reading books about how to write and most of all sending one's writings into the world. This can be hard because there is the rejection and leads to the third piece of advice.3. You have to need to be an author. I remember him saying rejections shouldn't matter. You have to keep writing and sending things to editors. This piece of advide was about persistence and about obsession. Persistence is a writer's best friend and obsession is what drives the dream. So it all comes to a circle.
Posted by JL Walters at 1:52 PM 0 comments
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Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Wolverine, The Queen, and The Pirate

"it's only stealing if you take something away from someone - so if i wasn't going to pay to see the movie if even if i couldn't watch it for free, then it would be ok if watched it for nothing - cos i wouldn't have paid to see it even if i couldn't get it for free - right?
if you are working in movies and you can't support yourself perhaps you should give up on a dream you're never going to achieve and step back into the real world."

To read the rest of the discussion of Wolverine and some lovely shots of Hugh Jackman in action here:

It's been an interesting week.

J K Rowling and other bestselling authors took on SCRIBD, and the Times of London Online reported sympathetically.

On a Copyright Alliance blog, a commentator suggested that President Obama's gift to The Queen of England may have set an unfortunate example of piratical behaviour.
How about the Queen? Should she have to give her Ipod back? Technically what she did is infringement!


Another interesting discussion of infringement

Apparently, there is a report that someone at the prestigious TED conference has analyzed morality and petty theft, and the conclusions may tend to be rather depressing.

If I read the argument correctly, humans are hardwired to cheat and steal if they think they can get away with it, especially if they know someone else who does so.

When I started teaching, it wasn't easy to steal copyrighted material. Those were the days of carbon copies and the Banda machine which you rolled to press out glorified and very messy copies one at a time, and before you could do that, you had to use an old fashioned typewriter, and type every character. Your time had to be worth very little for piracy to make economic sense!

Now, photocopiers are everywhere, and they probably do not come with the same warnings that are stuck on FedEx Kinkos machines for the public to use. "Copying Is Illegal" is printed large on materials intended for school use, and teachers copy the materials, warnings and all, and give them to children. A generation has grown up honestly believing that, if you don't have the budget, it is fine to copy and share, and nothing bad will happen.

What a difference 25 years make! Where will we be (morally) in another 25 years, assuming that Nostradamus was mistaken, and the world doesn't end in 2012.

Will there be an entertainment industry? Will it be like ancient Rome again, with the Emperors responsible for putting on mass entertainment (free) to pacify the masses and deciding --based on brutal popularity polls and Imperial whim-- whether we are paid and how much, or whether we are put to death for not being appropriately amusing?

For those artists and writers and musicians who want their copyrighted work taken down from "file-sharing" sites, look at the Footer of the site in question for words such as "Copyright". That's the text link to find out what their requirements are for a "Take Down Notice". Usually, you will need a screen capture, and dual processor so you can have two windows open at the same time. You also need an ISBN. Not all works have ISBNs.

You also need an email account that suggests that you are the copyright holder. This, too, is a problem these days.

Here's the form of words that one site requires:

Pursuant to 17 USC 512(c)(3)(A), this communication serves as a statement that:

1. I am the exclusive rights holder for [TITLE OF WORK] ISBN [OF WORK], the titles of copyrighted material being infringed upon, which were published [DATE OF COPYRIGHT/DATE OF PUBLISHING];

2. These exclusive rights are being violated by material available upon your site at the following URL(s): [GIVE THE URLS TO THE DOWNLOADS AND TO THE PAGES OFFERING YOUR WORKS]

3. I have a good faith belief that the use of this material in such a fashion is not authorized by [YOUR NAME] the copyright holder, the copyright holder's agent, or the law;

4. Under penalty of perjury in a United States court of law, I state that the information contained in this notification is accurate, and that I am authorized to act on the behalf of the exclusive rights holder for the material in question;

5. I may be contacted by the following methods

I hereby request that you remove or disable access to this material as it appears on your service in as expedient a fashion as possible. Thank you.

Please be aware that if you send a take down notice, the site is likely to post a note telling the world that you were the person who requested that the download be removed.