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USA Today bestselling author Anna Snow loves lipstick, cats and sassy blonde sleuths #amreading #cozymystery #mystery

USA Today bestselling author Anna Snow
USA Today bestselling author Anna Snow

USA Today bestselling author Anna Snow writes the break-out successful BARB JACKSON MYSTERIES for the Gemma Halliday Publishing House. While Anna is a happy wife and mom, she has a deep dark secret – she’s a  self-confessed lipstick junkie. Anna carries no less than 15 lipsticks in her purse at all times. You never know when you’re gonna need one! 

Welcome Anna!

LP:  You are published with a small boutique houseGemma Halliday Publishing and Gemma Halliday is also a bestselling author – tell us how that came about and what is it like working for a boutique house?

AS: I started my writing career writing steamy paranormal and contemporary romance but after a while I wasn’t happy with that genre. I felt out of touch with it, I guess you could say, so I decided to try my hand at cozy mystery. I wanted to stick with mysteries because that’s what I love, but I also wanted to write with humor because I love making people laugh. I’ve always been a huge fan of Gemma’s so when I heard that she had started her own publishing house, I knew that I had to submit my Barb Jackson Series to her, and I’m so glad that I did! I absolutely adore working for GHP. Gemma is amazing.

KillerBeachReads_5inLP: You’re a USA Today bestselling author – which book or books did you hit the list with and what did you do to celebrate or mark the occasion?

AS: I was fortunate enough to have one of my Barb Jackson Mysteries (Blondes’ Night Out) be included in a collection of summer stories alongside some of my awesome fellow GHP authors, titled Killer Beach Reads. We hit the promo hard and were blessed with a spot on the USA Today Bestseller List.

I didn’t really do anything to celebrate. Can you believe that?

LP: You write cozy mystery – tell us about your series and why you love this genre?

AS: I’ve always been a huge fan of cozy mysteries. I dipped my toes into the genre by reading books by Jana DeLeon and moved on to Gemma Halliday and many others. I love cozy mystery because it has two of the things I love most while reading. Mystery and humor!

14232598_1136793886381193_4572252941410000382_nThe Barb Jackson Mysteries is a fun, light-hearted series about a petite blonde private detective, her best friends, and her wacky aunt Mona. Barb is clumsy, not very girly, and (hopefully) very relatable. I wanted people who read this series to see Barb and instantly relate to her. She has bad hair days, a coffee addiction, she’d live in her pajamas if she could, her detective boyfriend is constantly worried about what she up to next, and she’s a complete work-a-holic. Barb is near and dear to my heart and I hope reader’s lover her as much as I do.

0dc35a_2e03c54caab146298f520974dd0bc199-mv2_d_2800_4200_s_4_2LP: Do you have anything in common with your heroine Barb Jackson?

AS: I love coffee and I’d live in my pajamas if I could. I’m a bit clumsy, but nothing like Barb. I hope most people who read about Barb find that they have something in common with her.

LP: The industry has gone through some big changes in the past few years and some authors who had been doing well with a big pub were let go, meanwhile many indie authors have really taken off – what do you think authors need to do to stay sharp and stay in this business?

AS: Just keep writing and promoting. That’s all we really can do whether we’re published with a big publisher or an indie. I’m still climbing the ladder, so I’m probably not the one to be giving advice, *big grin* but what’s worked for me is that I just keep working. I keep writing. I keep submitting, and I keep moving forward. Do I have set backs? Of course. I sit down have a good pity party, then stand up, brush myself off, and get back to work.

0dc35a_455c489fbfa443afbe51633b95e78666-mv2_d_2100_1500_s_2LP: What do you have coming down the road for your blonde sleuth Barb Jackson?

AS: Barb has a lot of things coming up. Illegally Blonde (Book 2 in the Barb Jackson Mysteries) releases on November 15th, 2016. In this one we’ll see Barb working hard and fast to prover her best friend’s innocents when she’s accused of killing her shifty rock star boyfriend.

In April 2017, Barb will be helping an acquaintance find out who’s killing the dancers of the Double Trouble Gentlemen’s Club, with some help from her office girl and pal Mandy, and her crazy Aunt Mona in Blonde and Fabulous (Barb Jackson Book 3). This is going to be a crazy fun one!

Anna Snow loves to give away swag as part of her promotions.
Anna Snow loves to give away swag as part of her promotions.

And later in 2017 Barb will be headed to the Bahama’s on a cruise with her hunky detective boyfriend Tyler Black in Bahama Blonde (Barb Jackson Book #4). This time, Barb discovers the slimy lounge singers dead body in an elevator and just has to stick her nose in and find the killer.

LP: What are three things that you think authors should do to promote their new releases?

AS: Word of mouth is HUGE. Always tell people about your work. Don’t beat them over the head with it, or nag them about it, but talk about it, and social media is a great tool to utilize when promoting a new book.

I, myself, always have business cards, bookmarks, ink pens, book cover postcards, and other swag items that I send out to whomever wants it and I hold a huge giveaway on my Facebook page every release day. Also, try to get a BookBub advertisement. They’re hard to land, and pricey, but if you can hook one, it’s definitely worth it.

LP: Tell us about three authors you love and why?

BrashBlonde_5in5136CAqBvzL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_5164RgMCkRLAS: Gemma Halliday is always first. Her stories are just so funny that I find myself thinking about them even after I’ve finished the book. The same goes for Jana DeLeon and Hannah Howell. I adore these women!

LP: You are also a self-published author and have written erotica – under the same name Anna Snow – what has been the response of your mystery readers to your foray into erotica?

0dc35a_bc52505095d34f2e8a50a442e7601f02-mv2_d_1600_2400_s_2AS: I have the best readers in the world!

I wrote erotica before stepping out of that genre and into cozy mystery and my readers have been so incredibly supportive and responsive to my books in both genres. I keep the two genres separate on my website and everyone seems to be alright with my writing both genres.

14264876_1434602186554854_774958497900340075_nLP: BONUS QUESTION: I know you love cats – let’s say you’re Anna Snow’s cat – what could you tell me about Anna that she doesn’t want people to know? 

AS:  As Anna’s cat Roscoe:

Anna’s insane. Seriously.

Do you know that she steals my poop from the litter box and puts it in a plastic bag in a big thing she calls the trashcan? Geez. What a whack-job. That’s my business she throwing away!

She also does this thing where she tries to sing along with someone she calls “Prince” on the box that she calls a “radio”. It’s not pretty.

And she hides these yummy cookie things she calls a “Fig Newton” in her top desk drawer, then she complains that she didn’t lose any weight this week. But she gave me a piece of the “Newton” one time. I can’t blame her for eating them. They’re stinking delicious!

Check out the trailer for the Barb Jackson mysteries. Click on the image to view.
Check out the trailer for the Barb Jackson mysteries. Click on the image to view.

LP: Thanks so much for joining us Anna!

AS: Thanks for having me here today. I had a great time!

Connect with USA Today bestselling author Anna Snow via her website, on facebook and twitter.

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USA Today bestselling author Kimberly Kincaid gets SKIN DEEP in our new Q and A #amreading #romance #newrelease #suspense

USA Today bestselling author Kimberly Kincaid
USA Today bestselling author Kimberly Kincaid

Kimberly Kincaid  is a USA Today best-selling author and a 2016 and 2015 RWA RITA® finalist and 2014 Bookseller’s Best nominee. Her latest release is out today! SKIN DEEP. When she’s not writing her contemporary romance and romantic suspense bestsellers, Kimberly is most likely cuddled up reading one of her favourite authors, or cooking up a storm in her kitchen, or downward dogging and other Yoga poses. Kimberly lives in Virginia with her awesome husband and their three awesome daughters. You can click here to subscribe to Kimberly’s Newsletter. 

Welcome Kimberly!

You’re an indie author but do you also still publish with a traditional publisher? Why did you decide to go indie? And how has that worked out for you?

I am a hybrid author—best of both worlds! I’m fortunate in that I’m able to write full time, and because of that, I usually write 4 books a year. That’s quite a load for many publishing houses, so I made the decision to both Indie publish and have a traditional contract. I have to keep to a pretty detailed schedule as a result, but it works out beautifully.

51wBZ4YVHZLYou’re a USA Today bestselling author – which book or books did you hit the list with and what did you do to celebrate or mark the occasion? 

I hit the USA Today list with a really fun Christmas anthology last year. My story in that collection is titled PLAY ME (it’s now available as a stand-alone, as the anthology was a limited-time-only publication.) It’s a sexy contemporary about second chances. I was actually under the weather on the day we found out we’d made the list, so I celebrated with a nice, long nap! Not very glamourous, I know. But after I felt better, there was champagne J

You write romance and romantic suspense – what attracted you to both and what is your level of “heat” in your books?

I love the aspects of both subgenres. In my contemporary romances, I’m able to focus on my characters a bit more deeply, and in the suspense, there’s a lot of fast-paced action. I always write with emotion, though, and all of my books are fairly steamy. Romantic suspense allows me to dive into some edgier aspects. My Station Seventeen series (suspense) is a little sexier than my Cross Creek (contemporary) series, but there’s a definite intimacy level in both.

511n8K9HrLLLet’s say I’m new to Kimberly Kincaid – I’ve just discovered you either through facebook or amazon or through a friend. What kind of story am I going to be getting in a Kimberly Kincaid book – and which book of yours do you recommend I read first?

I do have a handy list, broken down by series, on my website. But you’re in luck, because this year I am starting not one but two new series, so you can get in on the ground level of both! The prequel story to my Station Seventeen series is titled DEEP TROUBLE (it’s out now!), with the first full book, SKIN DEEP, coming out today – 9/20. This series revolves around a fire house, and is full of action-packed suspense and sexy characters.

For my Cross Creek series, the first book, CROSSING HEARTS, will be out on February 7, 2017. It’s up for preorder, for those folks who want to be sure not to miss a minute! That series is about three brothers who run their family farm with their father, in the foothills of the Shenandoah. If you like small town charm mixed with big time sizzle, salt-of-the-earth heroes and feisty, fun heroines, you’re in the right place with this one.

A happy reader never sleeps. :)
A happy reader never sleeps. 🙂

Promotion is key to every author. But you can’t always predict how well a promotion is going to work out. Tell us about one thing you do on a regular basis for each new release that has worked for you?

No matter what I do (Facebook parties, book signings, newsletter blasts), I always try to be genuine. I can’t do this job without readers! I want to make sure my interactions with them are engaging and fun.

Tell us about your latest release. And what do you have coming down the road.

512iaCYPXAL._SY346_I’ve got SKIN DEEP coming out today! September 20, and CROSSING HEARTS on February 7, 2017. There will be more books in each series in 2017, plus a really fun charity anthology in March 2017. I’m thrilled to be so busy!

I read that you make a mean enchilada! – tell us about that and what inspires you in the kitchen.

Oh, we are big cooks in my house! In the kitchen, it’s all about flavor and fun. My husband, kids, and I make it a team event. We do a lot of tasting and laughing as we go, and we try a lot of new things. You never know where your next favorite will come from!

Kimberly's latest culinary creation: Chorizo stuffed peppers! Yummy!
Kimberly’s latest culinary creation: Chorizo stuffed peppers! Yummy!

If you were offered a cooking show on the Food Network –what kind of show would it be and why?

I’d want to focus on easy meals that combine comfort food and healthy living. My very favorite foods come directly from the earth. Give me a good BLT, and I am a happy camper!

Staying fit and fabulous!
Staying fit and fabulous!

Authors sit in front of their computers all day. A recipe for potential weight gain and lack of exercise. What do you do to stay healthy and energized?

I have a fitness background, so thankfully I know a lot of ways to stay active and cross-train. I do a lot of yoga, as well as making time for cardio workouts and healthy eating. It’s all part of daily routine for me. I write my workouts on my daily To Do list to remind myself that they are as much of a priority as paying bills or going to the grocery store. It’s all about balancing the chair with movement

 

Tell us about a great 51RMEPp9wULTheDarkestLink+(1)BDTN250author or book that you just discovered that you absolutely love!

This list is long. I adored M. O’Keefe’s BURN DOWN THE NIGHT, and Cristin Harber is adding to her Titan series with LIVE WIRE. I’m also quite addicted to Scarlett Cole’s series, which she just finished up with THE DARKEST LINK.

What do your daughters and husband think of your writing career?

They are all insanely supportive! I could not write a single word without them in my corner.

BONUS QUESTION: When you’re really stressed out – how do you blow off steam?

Usually, yoga, although I won’t say that sometimes, a good glass of wine cures a lot of ailments.

Thanks and cheers!

Connect with Kimberly Kincaid on facebook, twitter, and via her website.

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Love & Hope an Anthology featuring Kayla Perrin, C. J. Carmichael, Brenda Gayle #amreading #ovariancancer

Love and Hope CoverLachesis Publishing is pleased to announce the anthology LOVE & HOPE is now available for pre-order. Featuring USA Today bestselling authors Kayla Perrin and C. J. Carmichael and author Brenda Gayle, LOVE & HOPE contains three beautiful and poignant stories about hope, healing, and the power of love. 

*** Proceeds from sales of this anthology will be donated to Ovarian Cancer Canada.

WHERE YOU CAN ORDER IT:

AMAZON: http://amzn.to/2abCTzq

KOBO: https://goo.gl/4p9YUY

BARNES AND NOBLE

iBOOKS: 

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Twice and Forever by Brenda Gayle

Jill Bennett had her life planned out, and then everything changed. Soon after her husband’s sudden death from a heart attack two years ago, Jill’s daughter Rachel was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the very young age of 21. Widowed and scared, Jill threw herself into caring for her daughter 24/7. Now that Rachel is in remission, Jill is finding it hard to let go and give her some breathing room at home and at her new job working for a local vet named Grant Palmer. Grant has a knack for getting under Jill’s skin, especially where Rachel’s future is concerned. The last thing Jill has in mind is getting on with her own life. So why can’t she stop thinking about the handsome Dr. Palmer?

Devoted to Her Cowboy by C. J. Carmichael

When rodeo champion Blake Timber returns home as the star attraction of the Sheep River Rodeo Days he doesn’t expect to find his nerdy high school friend Shelby Turner looking so beautiful and so not nerdy. He also doesn’t expect to find his grandmother, frail and wearing a headscarf. When Grams reveals she has ovarian cancer, Blake is shocked. He’s thankful that Shelby, who works in his grandmother’s flower shop, has been there for her. But he wants to take over the reins and get his beloved Grams the best care money can buy. In spite of his best efforts, his well-intentioned plans are met with stubborn resistance from both women. Adding to his frustrations is his ex-girlfriend Kelli-Jo Calhoun, who is the Sheep River Days organizer. Unhappily married and with a son, she seems hell bent on roping him into something that could put everything he cares about at risk—especially his growing feelings for Shelby.

Her Angel by Kayla Perrin

Tasia Montgomery never thought she’d get “that” phone call from her mom. Stage four ovarian cancer. Tasia puts her job as a chef in a busy restaurant in Atlanta on hold, to go home to Miami to be there for her mother. When her mom passes away, Tasia is left with a huge burden of guilt, sadness, and loss. Now, she is tasked with the duty of packing everything up and selling the family home. She knows her mom didn’t want her to sell but what choice does she have? Her brother Andrew, who is living in Seattle with his wife and their baby, is as distant as can be. Just like their father, who up and left them when they were kids. But when Tasia meets Malcolm Robertson, the contractor her mom hired to renovate the house before she died, Tasia is drawn to him. Her mom treated him like a son and shared things with him that she never revealed to Tasia. Malcolm becomes a good friend to Tasia, but does she want something more with the handsome contractor? As Tasia, sorts through her mother’s belongings she makes a discovery about her mom that shocks her to her core, but will it make her see the truth of her own life or make her head back to Atlanta for good?

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Hot Cowboys and Sexy Navy Seals: Q&A with New York Times bestselling author Cat Johnson

61YDuWoxhYL._UX250_Cat Johnson not only has hit the New York Times bestseller list – she is a at Top 10 NYT bestseller! She is also a USA Today Bestselling author and the recipient of a Publishers Weekly starred review. Her contemporary romances focus on cowboys and Navy Seals. Cat’s books are so popular that Amazon invited her to create her own world on kindle. More on that later.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 9.55.37 AMAn “out of the box” thinker when it comes to marketing, Cat has sponsored bull riding cowboys and promoted her books using bologna?!? Check it out on her website.

Cat is known as a hybrid author – that is she is both self-published and traditionally published. She joins us today to talk about her remarkable publishing career and some fun stuff too!

LP: You are both traditionally published and self-published – tell us when and why you began self-publishing

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.00.57 AMCJ: I had some backlist books I’d gotten rights back to when the small press I’d been with sold. This was about the time that KDP and Smashwords (which distributes to Barnes & Noble and iBooks) had opened to authors to self publish. So I uploaded a few backlist books but didn’t pay much attention to them. They were shorter romantic comedy stories I’d written years before, and they’d already been out with a publisher, so I figured any sales I made was money I didn’t have before and I basically ignored those stories. I was too busy writing new cowboy and military romance for my publisher . . . until I’d read an article about how much money Selena Kitt was earning self publishing erotic romance. That’s when I decided it would be worth writing something new to self publish and see what it could do. That was Educating Ansley, a cowboy ménage. I very quietly uploaded it in May of 2011 and that 40K word story sold 6,000 copies in the first 6 weeks at $2.99. After that I was hooked.

LP: What are the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing?

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.02.44 AMCJ: Control is a huge pro self publishing offers that traditional does not. I can be quick on my feet. I can make changes on a moment’s notice. I can write a story this week and have it in readers’ hands next week, rather than 2 years from now after the genre is flooded and the reader interest has cooled. I have the freedom to change my price to take advantage of a special event or promotion at Kobo or iBooks. I can tweak my metadata to see if something else works better than what I’m doing. Today’s publishing landscape is changing at the speed of light. Publishers (and that includes self published authors) have to be ready, willing and able to change just as quickly. The problem is the systems in place at most big publishers are not set up to do that.

But there are cons to self publishing as well. Self publishing at my level still does not have the legitimacy or the distribution that I can get with a traditional publisher. There are still people who equate quality with big publishing. And it is still easier to get stocked on shelves in stores or in libraries or for a booksigning with a trad pub book.

LP: What are the expenses involved in publishing your own book? How long does it take you to get a book out?

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.03.57 AMCJ: The costs and the time are both minimal. I am a control freak, so I do everything I can myself. My USA Today bestselling Hot SEALs series covers are done by me in Photoshop where I can play for hours to get my vision for the cover just right. By my manipulating and combining stock art photos, my covers can cost a few dollars rather than hundreds. I format the files and upload them myself to each vendor, which means there is no additional cost other than my time. I have a couple of trusted people who beta read and then proof read for me and can usually turn the book around in a few days so the time from when I finish writing to release is usually less than 2 weeks.

LP: You have your very own KINDLE WORLD on Amazon for your Hot SEALS series. Tell us about how that came about and what it entails.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.06.54 AMCJ: About 2 years ago, Amazon began expanding its Kindle Worlds program to include romance worlds. Bella Andre’s world was one of them and I was approached by Amazon to write a story within her world. The relationship I built with the KW team throughout that experience, and the level of my sales, prompted them to offer me my own world. I couldn’t license Amazon my traditionally published series without worrying about being in violation of my contract but my SEALs are self published. The Hot SEALs KindleWorld launched in August of 2015 and was a huge success. It’s basically fan fiction of my Hot SEALs series that is for sale. Anyone can write in the world, readers or authors, as long as they follow the guidelines outlined. They can write new characters into my world, or if they have an existing series, they can write their own characters doing things alongside mine. It’s a lot of fun for my readers who want more Hot SEALs stories. It’s nice for the authors too, since we all band together to help promote the world. Those interested in writing a story can check out the world guidelines at catjohnson.net/kindleworlds and those who want to read the stories can shop the titles at catjohnson.net/shopkindleworlds.

LP: Based on YOUR OWN experience. How much TIME do you spend each day doing marketing and promotion (over all and including social media, newsletter, booking ads etc . . .)

CJ: This is my fault, because I will choose promo and marketing over writing every day, but it’s probably 10% writing and 90% everything else, which includes keeping abreast of changes in the market, posting and reading on social media, handling email, newsletters, blogging and creating graphics. I try not to feel guilty about that ratio being so skewed because all that other stuff is important too. But I do need to learn to focus better and prioritize the writing.

LP: You’ve published several bestselling series including RED HOT AND BLUE, STUDS IN SPURS and OKLAHOMA NIGHTS. Why do you write series books? Tell us about your series. And what can an author—self-published (or otherwise) accomplish with a series?

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.11.11 AMCJ: Series are not only fun for authors to write but they are huge sellers. And I am NOT talking serials where there is basically a cliffhanger at the end of each installment and you have to get the next book. I’m talking about a connected series that shares a world, where there is an HEA or at least a HFN at the end, and the story is complete.

All of my series stories can standalone but readers love to read them all because it’s fun to catch up with the hero and heroine from the past books. Or to see the hero’s best friend you’ve come to know and love get his happy ending in the next book. Once I get to know the characters and the setting I like continuing with them, and series allow that. Red Hot & Blue and the Hot SEALs series are military romance. The Studs in Spurs, Oklahoma Nights and Midnight Cowboys series are about modern day cowboys. Visitors can find all my series listed at my site at CatJohnson.net, along with other fun stuff like quote graphics and recipes.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.13.52 AMLP: You’re a Top 10 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. What are 3 KEY THINGS that newbie authors should do when they release a new title, whether they are indie or traditionally published?

CJ: 1-Write the next book! 2-And then write the next one after that. 3-And then release those books, steadily and predictably, promoted in advance so the readers know what to expect from you and when. Then do it all over again. Rare is the author who can make a living, or a career, on one or two or even three books. I’ve found the best way to sell the last book is to release the next one. Breakouts and anomalies aside, a career in publishing is a living thing. You don’t keep feeding it, it’s gonna waste away and eventually die.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.16.09 AMLP: Tell us about an indie author YOU like and why?

CJ: I love Cristin Harber. Our genre and writing voices are very similar and I love how she approaches the business with a combined analytical savvy and creative enthusiasm that is rare.

LP: Bonus Round: Between your COWBOYS and SEALS: 


Who would take a gal out to dinner at a fancy restaurant and who would make her dinner at home?

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.19.10 AMCJ: My SEALs would take me out (they eat bad food so often, they’d want something nice from a restaurant) while my cowboys would definitely cook . . . probably steaks they raised themselves on the ranch.

LP: Who would pick up his lady’s dirty tissues from the floor when she’s sick in bed and who would give her a back rub instead?

CJ: SEALs fear no germs! And I’m thinking they’re neat freaks, at least judging by the way they clean their weapons. Cowboys are very hands on. They’d be using all that hand strength they’ve built fixing fences and such for a nice back rub.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.20.53 AMLP: Who would seduce his lady with sweet words whispered in her ear and who would seduce with a sexy growl?

CJ: Cowboys are sweet talkers with their darlin’ and baby girl and even a well placed ma’am. SEALs aren’t going to waste time with words. A growl will do.

LP: Who would bake a birthday cake for his lady’s birthday and who would surprise her in his birthday suit?

Cat Johnson at one of her many book signings
Cat Johnson at one of her many book signings

CJ: I think SEALs can be overachievers at times, and I think going the extra mile to bake their lady a cake might be just the thing he’d do to show his prowess in all things. A cowboy would get right down to the business of delivering his gift—him. Naked.

LP: Thank you!

CJ: Thank you for inviting me!

Connect with Cat Johnson via her website, on facebook, twitter, pinterest and instagram.

 

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From Self-Published to Star: Q and A with USA Today Bestselling Author Nana Malone

USA Today Bestselling Author Nana Malone
USA Today Bestselling Author Nana Malone

We are starting a new series of Q and As at the Lachesis Publishing Daily Blog featuring self-published and hybrid published authors. First up is USA Today bestselling author NANA MALONE.

You began as a self-published author and now you self-publish AND traditionally publish. Tell us how that came about?

18624965NM: Funny story really. I was actually originally published first by the Wild Rose Press back in the day for Game Set Match. Then I saw my first royalty check and immediately went Indie. Lol. But a little over a year ago, Harlequin Kimani saw one of my titles doing well on the Amazon multicultural charts. They called me and asked me to write for them. I never intended to be with a publisher again, but it was an interesting proposition so why not? Especially with an advance.

What are the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing?

NM: Control. Lol. On both ends. Some people don’t want to have to think about the covers and the blurb and all of it. So for those people, traditional publishing is a good option. But if you like control, then it is not a good idea because you normally don’t get a say unless you are already a HUGE seller. Oh . . . and money honey. Hands down, unless you are blazing and one of the lucky minority, you will almost always earn more on the Indie side. Just by way of the way advances work. If you don’t out-earn your advance, you will never earn royalties. And given how little authors earn per book. This is REALLY hard to do.

Ball-park figure. How much TIME do you spend on each self-published book versus traditionally published book?

Nana Malone is a smart and savvy author who has has built a strong and positive reader following.
Nana Malone is a smart and savvy author who has has built a strong and positive reader following.

NM: HAHAHAHHAHAH. I only do novellas for Harlequin. So they get about 10% of my time because I earn my money from my self published books.

Ball-park figure. How much MONEY do you spend on each self-published book versus traditionally published book?

NM: Well, I spend 0% of money on my traditionally published books. I do all the free marketing in the world, but my philosophy is that money flows to the author from the publisher. So I don’t spend money on those releases. I will have my Advance reader group do reviews, but I won’t pay for a blog tour. My publisher should do that. I will do social media, hit up my mailing list etc etc, but I will shell out no money. None. For those of us who have a little trouble with math, I spend 100 percent on my self published books.

514p6yWkN4L._SX339_BO1,204,203,200_You have many series on the go. Some of which are ONGOING. Why do you write series books? And what can an author—self-published (or otherwise) accomplish with a series?

NM: Because people love to revisit old couples that they love. It’s why people go to see sequels. They don’t want the fun to end. Oh, and because Bella Andre told me to. Well, not me, me, but she was on a panel at RWA and said friends don’t let friends write stand alone books. Readers want a familiar world. They want things that are a twist on the familiar. In my case, each book visits a new character in the world, a best friend, a sibling, a cousin, the neighbor down the street. But the world is the same. As an author It gives you potential ongoing revenue stream for years to come. Not to mention you can do the first book free in series or boxed sets, or if you want to get fun and funky 3rd book free in the series and force readers who are really anal to go and buy the precious books. You’ve got built in marketing for days.

What social media networking sites do you use? Which one(s) work best for you and why?

NM: Facebook and Twitter. I keep it simple. Matter of fact, I spend my time writing, not kicking it on social media. I go on for a set amount of time each day. Usually fifteen minutes in the morning and in the evening, then I get off. In that time, you can update a status, like some friends statuses, share some great books, then get off. I will say, I hired an assistant to help manage some of that to manage my group and my author page. There just isn’t enough time to do it all. Do what you like to do and do not feel like you have to do it all.

Nana Malone publishes fun and endearing videos for fans and readers.
Nana Malone publishes fun and endearing videos for fans and readers.

You produce YouTube videos – why? And what kind of feedback do you get on them?

NM: Well, I think with video, people can see your personality. So when you do them, you need to be “on”. If you are not an on kind of person, don’t try to fake it. Video is not a medium for you. Your fans will be able to tell. As for feedback, here’s the thing . . . you will get more views on Facebook than you will on Youtube. Unless you have some kind of niche that people are looking for on Youtube. At least that has been my experience. I do post my FB videos up there though. Just in case.

You’ve hit the USA Today Bestseller’s list. What are 3 KEY THINGS THAT an author needs to do to REALLY SELL BOOKS?

NM: Write a good book. Like really good. Like the best book you can that is hooky. Have it professionally edited. Like for real. Even when you think it’s good, do another round. Get a Bookbub. I’m kidding a little, but the keyword is Newsletter. That is all bookbub is. It’s not voodoo magic. No rain dances here. An aggressively built newsletter. No reason why each person can’t have one of their own. As an author, it is your responsibility to have a direct line to your end customer. And those of you who are like “Oh, I want to grow my list organically . . .” I’m giving you a look right now. Just because you offer someone an opportunity to read your book by getting a free one, doesn’t’ mean they aren’t good subscribers. Put them on a list. Offer them a sale book. See who opens. Offer them a full priced book, see who opens. The openers, you move to a good list. It’s not rocket science. And those people liked what they read and want to buy your books.

NanaMalone_LondonBound_800pxWhat is the most EFFECTIVE thing you do to market and promote your books and why?

NM: Newsletter. In June 2015 I had 1280 people on my list. On January 19th 2016, the day of my last release, I had 11,098. I made it my goal and I aggressively built my list. FB ads, offering reader magnets in my books. I went after my readers and low and behold, lots of people want my books . . . at full price no less.

Based on YOUR OWN experience. How much TIME do you spend each day doing marketing and promotion (over all and including social media, newsletter, booking ads etc . . .) Do you think it’s enough or not enough? Why?

NM: About 2 hours a day. I work during the day and in the evening I do most of my marketing. Planning for releases, setting up paid ads etc.

What are 3 KEY THINGS, in your opinion, EVERY AUTHOR should do when they RELEASE A NEW TITLE?

NM: Hit your mailing list. Do a Facebook ad. (Yes, they work. There are a million courses that will show you how. Don’t boost. Learn about FB power editor, it is your friend. Get reviews. Not from your family. But bloggers, fans, Goodreads reviewers. Reviews are crucial.

static1.squarespace-1WHO are 3 authors that YOU look up to and admire and why.

NM: Bella Andre, Minx Malone, Marie Force. Beside them just being killer sellers and they write books I love to read consistently, but they are super savvy about the market and what readers want. Smart, smart women.

When readers message you – which series or book comes up most often as a fan favourite and why?

NM: The Stilettos girls. But I still get lots of love for Love Match. And with more Donovans out they’re starting to get a lot of love too. I think the thing is, each book is branded specifically and people like what they like. But my author branding (Romancing the sass) runs through them all. And I write women that readers can relate too. No matter the age or race, everyone tells me they have a friend like x character or y character reminds them of themselves. I write characters I would hang out with.

static1.squarespace-3What is your favourite guilty pleasure treat that you indulge in when writing and why?

NM: No treats till I’m done. I’m sort of insane about my goals. I can read a new book, have chocolate, sleep, play, drinks with the girls, date night with hubby— when I’m freaking done. I don’t play if the book isn’t done, what am I doing binge watching The Flash for? That’s hours I could be writing.

Thank you Nana Malone for joining us today!

You can connect with USA Today bestselling author Nana Malone on facebook, twitter, @NanaMalone, and YouTube. You can watch all of her fun videos on her facebook author page. You can sign up for Nana’s newsletter by clicking on this link. Check out Nana’s latest video on her facebook author page for her latest release, Love in Plain Sight (book 4 in the Donovan Brother’s series).

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My friend the superstar author: Q and A with bestseller Annette Blair by Jeanine Duval Spikes

Friends forever: From left (Annette Blair, Lynn Jenssen, Christine Mazurk and Jeanine Duval (JD) Spikes
Friends forever: From left (Annette Blair, Lynn Jenssen, Christine Mazurk and Jeanine Duval (JD) Spikes

I sat down with one of my best friends and fellow author Annette Blair, a multi-award winning and New York Times bestseller, to talk about her writing journey.

Here’s what she had to say:

JD: To start, Annette, tell us who inspired you early on in your career and why?

Rita Award (Annual Awards) of the Romance Writers of America)
Rita Award (Annual Awards) of the Romance Writers of America)

AB: I’d have to say, early on, Nancy Bulk who wrote as Dee Holmes, a Harlequin  Silhouette author. We met at a local writers group, became friendly and she took me under her wing. I admired not only her writing, but her work ethic and her  determination. I was seated in the audience at RWA National (Romance Writers of America) when she won their Rita Award and I cried, it was so inspiring. She was the first author I knew to win such a big award.

Unforgettable+RogueJD:   That must have been very exciting. You, yourself, have now won many awards for your writing. My favorite book of yours has always been Unforgettable Rogue, with the fascinating hero Bryceson Wakefield. I love how you gave the Beauty and the Beast theme that Annette Blair twist, too. Do you have a favorite Annette Blair book?

5140WlcTjfL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_AB: Actually, Unforgettable Rogue is one of my favorites, too. And Thee I Love, rereleased as Jacob’s Return, an Amish historical and one of the three books that comprised my first sale. I loved trips to Amish country to research and Jacob and Rachel’s struggles hold a special place in my heart.

JD: You had a fan send you a touching note about that book, didn’t you?

AB: Yes! A European fan wrote to say that reading Jacob’s Return, taught her God would forgive anything. That was sweet, and a testament to the power of words, I think.

JD:  When did you realize that you were truly a successful author? That you’d “made it” so to speak?

9780425198810AB: When I started writing for Berkeley, now Penguin Random House. That was the first. The Kitchen Witch really took me into another realm. The second first was when I hit the New York Times with one of my cozy mysterieCloaked emal lgs. That was the culmination of a dream.

JD: OMG, yes! Hitting the NYT was as exciting for your friends as it was for you. So  tell me, what advice can you give authors who are just starting out, or who haven’t broken through in terms of sales or hitting bestseller lists, to reach their dream?

AB:  Two pieces of advice that are the best, in my opinion, are write the best book you can and Never Give Up. Tenacity sometimes appears to be underappreciated but  it’s truly what helps you to succeed.

JD: Very good advice, Annette. Speaking of the best, what qualities do you feel make a romance novel a true “keeper” – a beloved book that you will read over and over again?

Beautiful Emotional Book.
Beautiful Emotional Book.

AB: Emotional connection. If your emotions are engaged, you can become those  characters. You enter their world and lose the real world around you.

JD:  I agree. I’ve always said the mark of a keeper for me is when I feel I’ve lived the    story. I’ve inhabited that world and know these people by the time I reach the end.

I’m sure many readers have Annette Blair books on their keeper shelves. What’s one of the coolest things a fan has ever done for you?

AB:  One reader crocheted a table mat that she’d woven Annette Blair into. That was pretty impressive.

JD: Nice! No easy task, either. Can we tell your fans about your latest release?

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 9.47.08 AMAB: Of course (we laugh). I’ve recently released Three Days on a Train, a romance novella about lost love that finds its way home. They met as youngsters, two different sides of the tracks, neither impressed with the other, but by high school  theirs was a passion for the ages. Her disapproving father interferes, causing each to think they were the abandoned one. Thirteen years later their friends trick them  into three days on a train.

JD:  Sounds intriguing. What do you have in the works for novels?

AB:  My current project is Everlasting, a contemporary romance. The hero and heroine meet when a building collapses and they are trapped. Fate planned for him to live and her to die, but he turns the table, giving her his escape route that can only hold one. In heaven, he becomes her guardian angel, a reward that quickly becomes a punishment for him when he falls in love with her. Noticing his poor attention to his other charges, his angel friend pushes him back to earth for a chance at everlasting love.

JD:  That is a great story. As friends, we often bounce ideas and questions off each other. You have many author friends dear to you. Why is this type of community so important to an author?

AB:  A fellow writer will understand you like no other. Writers get writers, even better than the people who love them, They get those writer idiosyncrasies and understand the issues that can throw you off track – or keep you on. Ours is a solitary art and having people you can reach out to within that world is priceless.

JD:  Very true. Now, you are considered a hybrid author since you are published both traditionally and independently. You’ve since chosen to exclusively self-publish. How did you find that transition?

Lachesis Publishing Anthology
Lachesis Publishing Anthology

AB:  I didn’t find it difficult at all. While I still have published work with Lachesis and Penguin Random House, and those experiences were good experiences, I’m very happy with self-publishing. I enjoy the control I have over my work now.

JD:  That’s a good point. Can you tell us what’s changed for you in terms of marketing and promotional work?

AB:  I now have daily marketing responsibilities, so much so that I’ve had to hire help, so it’s time-consuming, but it’s rewarding.

JD:  For you, what have been some pros and cons of self-publishing?

AB: PROS: I have total control of my work, from back cover blurbs and marketing to  covers. Covers were a huge incentive for me. CONS: Foreign sales and audio sales can get complicated. It’s a learning curve, but again, to me it’s worth it.

images-2JD:  Before you go, I have one last question. It’s tricky, because we know you love snacks, but what go-to treat do you like to indulge in when you’re writing.

AB:   I do love snacks. Now you said treat, so I’m going to go with Cape Cod Chips.

JD:   Great choice! They’re so crunchy good. Thank you for sitting with me and chatting, Annette. As always, it’s been fun and informative.

Secret-Journals-Posession-1400x2100-500x724J.D. Spikes is the author of the YA paranormal The Possession and co-author of  Sisters of Spirit Anthology You can purchase The Possession at Lachesis Publishing or on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or ARe.

Annette Blair a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Her novella, “Moving Pictures” is featured in the lyrical romance anthology the Sisters of Spirit  published by Lachesis Publishing.

You can purchase the Sisters of Spirit Anthology at Lachesis Publishing and on Amazon.com, on Kobo, on Barnes and Noble and on itunes (iBooks).

Connect with Jeanine Duval Spikes and Annette Blair on facebook.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our facebook page.

 

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Bestselling Indie Authors: Q and A with Kathryn Le Veque (historical romance author)

Author Kathryn Le Veque
Author Kathryn Le Veque

KATHRYN LE VEQUE is a USA TODAY Bestselling author, an Amazon All-Star author, and a #1 bestselling, award-winning, multi-published author in Medieval Historical Romance and Historical Fiction. She has been featured in the NEW YORK TIMES and on USA TODAY’s HEA blog. In March 2015, Kathryn was the featured cover story for the March issue of InD’Tale Magazine, the premier Indie author magazine. She is also a quadruple nominee (a record!) for the prestigious RONE awards for 2015. Kathryn has accomplished a great deal in her amazing career – and she’s done it all as an independent author.

How many of your books have been bestsellers and what lists have you hit? Tell us how you felt when you hit those lists.

51eINN3qkcL._SX355_BO1,204,203,200_KLV: Currently, I have 73 published novels, collections, and bundles. Out of that group, 62 have hit #1 on Amazon for any length of time in Medieval Historical Romance, Scottish Historical Romance, or Ancient Historical Romance. This means they were there for one day or, in the case of my novel NETHERWORLD, held #1 for six weeks in July and August of 2014. Most recently, I was part of the USA Today bestselling collection WITH DREAMS ONLY OF YOU that hit the USA Today bestselling list in July 2015. As for the Amazon Author’s Ranking, I have consistently been in the top 10 authors in Historical Romance since February 2014 and in 2015, I have been fortunate enough to remain in the top 5. As of today, I’ve been #1 for three days, so I’m extremely grateful for my readers and their love of my books.

It’s interesting to ask how an author feels about hitting a list – it’s a milestone to achieve for an author so it feels as if you have really accomplished something but to me, there was more to it – it meant that the readers were loving it and that, to me, is the most important thing of all. As an author, the only thing that should matter are your readers and how they receive what you write. It’s always a great feeling when they love it.

USA Today bestselling anthology WITH DREAMS ONLY OF YOU featuring Kathryn Le Veque
USA Today bestselling anthology WITH DREAMS ONLY OF YOU featuring Kathryn Le Veque

When something awesome happens in your career how do you celebrate – with food, fun, or flowers? (details please! 😉

KLV: I write another book. LOL! Seriously, I don’t really celebrate. No flowers or anything like that. I look at every achievement as a bestseller a motivation to do the same thing again and again – celebrations are short lived. It’s the product you produce that matters and that’s what I focus on – a consistently quality product at a reasonable price.

Tell us why you write historical romance specifically Medieval. And you also write contemporary adventure? Tell us about that.

51fVkSaCj8L._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_KLV: Early in my career, I was big on writing contemporary adventure. Clive Cussler is one of my favorite authors and I really wanted to write what he wrote, so a lot of my earlier works are modern adventures. I wrote an entire series about a female Navy S.E.A.L. back in the ’80s before it became popular to write Military Romance. It was written long-hand on spiral notebooks, which I just recently had my assistant type up, so we may see them published yet. But in the early ’90s, I read a book called THE FALCON AND THE FLOWER by Virginia Henley, and that changed the course of my life. After reading that book, I felt such a connection with Medieval England that I began to read everything I could on it. Then, I started writing in the genre. I don’t consider myself an ‘expert’ on Medieval England, but simply a student of the era. It’s difficult to explain my love for the period but I think the best way to explain it is to say that I’m fascinated with the post-conquest era because it’s a period in Man’s history where he was just coming out of the darkness and trying to find his way into the light. So much growth as civilization became more refined. The period was raw and rugged and brutal, so it’s a testament of Mankind’s strength. It was either do or die. And I find that inspiring.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 8.06.02 AMPromotion is an important part of every author’s work routine. What do authors need to do – hands down – to promote their books?

KLV: An understanding of the market. You can’t just write a book and ‘hope’ people buy it. Understand your market. Understand your genre. Reach out to people (like me) who have learned something about it. Most people in this business are extremely helpful and willing to impart their knowledge on a newbie. Start with websites like Kindle Nation Daily to advertise and reach out to other authors to see where they’ve advertised. It’s all about advertising AND word of mouth in this business. Also, there are several books out from Indie published writers on how they do things – single out some top sellers and see if they’ve written a book about it. But most of all – and this is key – understand how to WRITE. Learn how to craft a book and understand the English language. You can be the best promoter in the world but if you produce a mediocre product, you won’t get very far with readers.

51BxN3YofVL._SX356_BO1,204,203,200_You’re an indie author – independently published author. How did that come about?

KLV: It’s come about from twenty-five years of rejections. I wasn’t going to let that stop me. It’s taken a long time, but the market and technology was at the right place and right time for me to go Indie. I have a very specific style of writing (romance with heavy male POV) that traditional publishers don’t necessarily embrace, so honestly, the only way for me to publish is to go Indie and I’ve been fortunate enough to be very successful at it, which tells me that traditional publishers don’t always know what readers like. I’m a perfect example of that. Had I not Indie published, and had I listened to the traditional publishers, I would not be where I am today. Therefore, even if you’ve been rejected by publishers, don’t let it stop you. It didn’t stop me!

You’re a prolific author. You’ve published more than 50 books since 2012, and 37 of them have hit #1 in the Medieval Romance Category on amazon. That’s a big WOW! How does your typical day work?

515+K7LSlaL._SX345_BO1,204,203,200_-1KLV: Here’s actually the breakdown on what I’ve published to date because I need to update my numbers – 57 published novels (individual) and 16 collections (either bundles of my own novels or bundles with other authors). I will publish my 58th novel (SWORDS AND SHIELDS) on November 6. My day usually starts about 7 am where I go through emails and conduct other business for a couple of hours before jumping into writing. I usually do between 3k to 8k a day (depending on how strongly the muse is singing), and I don’t stop until about 7 or 8 at night. That’s when I’m on a deadline. When I’m in between books (I usually take about a week off in between), then it’s revising covers, working with my editor, doing administrative stuff, and things like that. I have two assistants and one editor who work for me but there still aren’t enough hours in the day! Ah, to clone myself!

What are some pros and cons to being an indie author?

KLV: The only con I see is the lack of a big publishing marketing and PR machine behind you. That means it’s up to the author to really get out there and sell themselves, which can be extremely time consuming. Hiring marketing and PR companies can be extremely expensive. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to even start (refer back to the answer on the promotion question). Other than that, being an Indie author, if you manage your business correctly and smartly, is the best job in the world because the control is yours, the creativity is yours, and the revenue is yours.

Not every book can be a bestseller. Heck, some only sell a handful of copies – tell us about one book (or author) that you’ve read recently that is a true gem waiting to be discovered.

TT-button31-1KLV: I have so many authors friends whom I’d like to see just explode because they’re so darn good at what they do – Suzan Tisdale, Eliza Knight, Christi Caldwell, Meara Platt, Scarlet Cole, Violetta Rand, Barbara Devlin, Victoria Zak, Christina McKnight, Amanda Mariel, Hildie McQueen, Christy English . . . I could go on and on. But one author in particular comes to mind – author Victoria Vane writes westerns but her heart is in historicals. For some reason, they really haven’t gotten off the ground for her but she is a phenomenal historical writer. Her historical novels are well worth the read.

What is the coolest/nicest thing someone in this industry has done for you or said to you?

Free on kindle and audibles
Free on kindle and audibles

KLV: It’s so hard to pick one particular incident and I’ll tell you why – this business is full of generous authors who are more than willing to help you. I have had countless kindnesses given to me by fellow authors that are too numerous to name. I wouldn’t even want to try because my heart is so full of gratitude for these people who have done it selflessly and without the need for recognition. If I could single one person out, however, it would be NYT and USA Today bestselling author Tanya Anne Crosby, who has been my mentor through this process. Her wisdom and generosity is unparalleled.

And my readers – oh my gosh! – I have been blessed with some of the greatest readers ever. Their enthusiasm and support are what keep me going. I tell them this all of the time – without them, there would be no me, so I am deeply grateful for each and every one of them. But I will single out one lady who is just enamored with my novels, so much so that she knitted a knight’s helm and visor and sent it to me. She really did. I made my son model it and it was amazing. I treasure it. Or the couple that always drive to my book signings – they’re just wonderful.

Tell us about your latest release. And what do you have coming down the road?

51WbhbpYrSL._SX358_BO1,204,203,200_KLV: My next release is called SWORDS AND SHIELDS, available now on pre order at Amazon (Release date Nov. 6, 2015). It’s a novel about a reluctant bride and reluctant groom who end up not being able to live without each other and face some pretty serious tribulations during Edward I’s wars in Scotland. After that, I have one more release for 2015, DARK DESTROYER (Release date Dec. 24, 2015)  about a legendary warrior and rake who meets his match in love. and then I’m into 2016 where I already have 9 novels scheduled. I am scheduled out until 2020, which is normal for me. I have so many books to write – because that’s just the way my brain works – that I have to plan out at least four or five years in advance. In that sense, I’m very organized. With so much material, I have to be. My website contains lots of information about this at www.kathrynleveque.com.

If you could meet a hero and heroine from one of your books – who would they be and why?

51BwKOxnKwL._SX354_BO1,204,203,200_KLV: What’s weird (or maybe not so weird) is that I already ‘know’ these people. I have created them, every single one of the, so I know everything about them. I can have conversations with them because I know exactly what they would say. But if I could meet one, it would be Matthew Wellesbourne from THE WHITE LORD OF WELLESBOURNE. He’s my favorite – a man of uncommon compassion and humor. What’s not to love?

BONUS: Tell us about one of your “guilty pleasures” that is just for you to indulge in.

KLV: I am a massage girl! I would get five hour massages if I could, every single day!

Thank you so much for having me!

Kathryn Le Veque loves to hear from you. You can connect with her via her website, on facebook, twitter, and amazon.

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Bestselling Independent Authors: Q and A with S. E. Smith (Susan Smith) scifi and paranormal romance

51B+PB4lVCL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Continuing our ongoing series featuring bestselling authors we chat with the talented and prolific New York Times, USA Today and Amazon bestselling author S.E. Smith. In case you didn’t know – S.E Smith is an indie author -which means she is self-published –  and she hit the bestseller lists as an indie author.

How many of your books have been bestsellers and what lists have you hit? How did you celebrate your first big bestseller?

SES: Wow! That is a loaded question. Off the top of my head, I’ve had as many as twelve at one time on a Bestseller list. I’ve had eight of my stories make the USA TODAY and three make the New York Times to date. I celebrated my first New York Times with four nights of hot fudge yogurt for dinner. My hubby twisted my arm, what can I say? I totally adore the guy.

You’re an indie author so hitting a bestseller list might be more of a challenge because you don’t have a publisher or agent backing you. How did you overcome that challenge and become a bestseller?

SES: Hard work . . . Lots of it! I work approximately 80+ hours a week. I also write unique stories that pull the readers, and myself, into the worlds of the characters. I care about my readers and spend time chatting with them. I always answer my emails, comments posted to my website, and FB posts. I enjoy communicating with my readers and find our conversations relaxing and invigorating.

2302845imgresTell us why you write science fiction and paranormal romance? Why are you passionate about these genres?

SES: I’ve always had a fascination with things that were different. I would lay out on the driveway when I was a child, gaze up at the stars, and wish that I could travel there. I’m also a sucker for any type of books that held a moment of magic in them. My favorites are The Secret Garden, The Black Stallion, The Forgotten Door, and Escape to Witch Mountain. I am totally a kid at heart. My favorite movies include The Princess Bride, Beauty and the Beast, Stardust, Guardians of the Galaxy, the original Star Wars, and the recent movie, The Age of Adeline.

Promotion is an important part of every author’s work routine. What do you think every author should do regardless of whether they are indie or traditionally published?

SES: I believe it is important to stay in touch with your readers. I care about them as an individual. I send out birthday wishes every day, see who has something going on, share pictures and ask them to share, and take the time to listen to what they want. Promotion comes from the heart and it should show that you care about the readers who are supporting you. After all, without them, I wouldn’t have a reason to share my wonderful worlds.

51RMxCFy1AL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_51W3WP1K2mL._UY250_You’re a prolific author – what does a typical workday for you consist of?

SES: Is crazy a good answer? LOL. Each day varies. Some days I’ll spend twelve hours in front of a computer with minor breaks and type thousands of words. Other days, I might not type a single one. If I feel like I need time out, I take it. I have to in order to be able to write. I usually get up around six in the morning, do paperwork until around eight-thirty, work out, then come back and do more work. I do some of my best writing in the late afternoon, early evening. I think it was because that was the only time I had to write when I was working full time.

You have a special jewelry collection that you offer to your readers on your website. Tell us about it and why you put it together?

S.E. Smith custom bookmark
S.E. Smith custom bookmark
S.E. Smith custom keychain
S.E. Smith custom keychain

SES: I enjoy being artistic. If you look at my book covers, you’ll see that. The jewelry emerged when I thought about what it would be like to make smaller versions of my books. I used to do things like this all the time when I was working. It is a natural extension of being in business, having merchandise to go along with the books. S.E. Smith Etsy Page.

What are some pros and cons to being an indie author?

SES: The Cons are the amount of work involved that takes away from writing. As an Indie Author you are the publishing company and every aspect of it. That means everything from the mail clerk to the graphic designer, accountant, marketing expert, fire handler, coffee maker, housekeeper, etc. The writing could easily get lost in all of that if you aren’t careful. You also have to remember to find balance. Without balance, it all comes crashing down. You have to have a family/life outside of everything you are doing and make sure you take care of yourself which is easy to push aside.

The Pros are being the boss of me. I make all of the decisions and can go as far as I want. I also like having the flexibility to branch out into other venues, including other genres, Audiobooks, and movies. Success is in the eye of the beholder, some only feel successful if they achieve a certain criteria, while others might be just happy paying the bills or seeing their name in print. I enjoy the challenge and have to admit, I am learning a tremendous amount.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00029]riseoftheshadowwarriorsfinal-200x300The-Warrior-WomanNot every book can be a bestseller. Heck, some authors only sell a handful of copies – tell us about one book (or author) that you’ve read recently that is a true gem waiting to be discovered.

SES: I could name a dozen in a dozen different genres: Geri Foster, Sylvia McDaniel, Evelyn Lederman, H.D. Smith (no relation), Paula Gruber, Michelle Howard, and M.K. Eidem . . . the list goes on and on! All of these authors write great books and work hard at providing a story that will captivate readers.

What is the coolest/nicest thing a fan/reader has done for you or said to you?

SES: There are so many it is hard to pick just one. The copy of The Secret Garden that I received had me bawling like a baby, the special handmade birthday card that came from the Netherlands was magnificent, the young girl that asked me to include her beloved dog in one of my books was heartwarming, and the fan that reached out to let me know that my stories gave her the strength to fight back after a devastating injury are just a handful of emails, notes, and gifts that I have received. They are the ones I reach for when I get a negative review or am so tired I wonder what I’m doing. I am definitely a giver and for someone to give me a beautiful gift, including an email that says your stories touched me, is something that I hold dear to my heart.

Tell us about your latest release. And what do you have coming down the road?51XzQQpLyRL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_51YgVkDfSCL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

SES: My newest release is called Voyage of the Defiance. It is a young adult story with heart. The story had been pushing at me to write it for the last five years. I’ve had many readers asking me to write a story they can share with their children/grandchildren and I listened. I love writing, whether it is adult romance, young adult action/adventure, or children’s fantasy. A great story is not limited to age or genre, but to the imagination of the reader. It would be a travesty if I were to ignore the other stories I have to share because they did not fit into a certain category. I hope those that read my stories understand and respect that I am a storyteller who has many stories to share – across all genres/ages.

I have quite a few stories I am working on at the moment. Challenging Saber: The Alliance Book 4; Jaguin’s Love: The Dragon Lords of Valdier Book 8; The Dark Prince’s Prize: Curizan Warriors Book 2; Roarrk’s Revenge: Zion Warriors Book 3; Core’s Attack: Cosmos’ Gateway Book 6; and my Gliese 581g Science Fiction series to name just a few. Yes, I have a few others, but out of respect for the list and my sanity, I’ll just name a few.

Bestselling author S.E. Smith
Bestselling author S.E. Smith

BONUS: What do you do to “de-stress” or relax and re-energize yourself?

SES: I love going to the movies and camping. I’m also beginning to get back into my drawing and I want to work with clay and do some sculpting. Also, every Friday night I go out on a date with my hero who helps me find the balance I need to continue living whatever new dream I might have.

Find out more about S.E. Smith and connect with her online:
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twitter @sesmithfl
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Bestselling Authors Q and A with C. J. Lyons (suspense thrillers with heart)

CJERContinuing our ongoing series featuring bestselling authors we chat with the talented and dynamic New York Times bestselling author C.J. Lyons. C.J. Lyons is a former pediatric ER doctor who was inspired by her very challenging work to pen award winning and bestselling suspense novels. She calls them “Thrillers with heart.”

51VCyQs5cNL._SX305_BO1,204,203,200_What was your first book that hit a bestseller list? What was the list, where did the book rank when it first hit, and how high did your book get? Did you think it would make the list? Were you surprised?

CJ: BLIND FAITH was my first major bestseller, debuting at #2 on the NYT list (and staying on the list for 7 weeks) and rising to #4 on the USA Today list. I was surprised that it hit so high so fast on the lists as I wasn’t aiming for any list other than cracking the Amazon Top 20.

When something awesome happens in your career do you celebrate with food, flowers, or fun? 

CJ: Depends on my mood. Chocolate is always appropriate, but often I’ll also indulge in a nice dinner with friends or a special outing.

Promotion is an important part of every author’s work routine. Tell us one promotion that you did – for a new release, or an event, or a conference – that worked well for you.

CJ: By far my most effective promotional tool (other than writing more books) has been my mailing list. In fact, that’s how I hit it big with BLIND FAITH—I simply emailed my readers and asked them to help me make a dream come true of cracking the Amazon Top 20 . . . boy did they respond!

What are some key ways an author can invest in his/her career in order to do better, get better, be better?

CJ: My agent has an easy rule for this: Write 2K a day, Read 2K a day . . . 

chaseweb1You’re a doctor by profession and you write “thrillers with heart” – tell us about that? Does your passion for your work have a huge impact on the kinds of books you write – or would you ever consider writing something completely different – like a racy Regency Romance? 

CJ: My most popular and bestselling novels haven’t been medical thrillers, but my FBI thrillers. But the common denomination of all my novels has been their “heart,” that emotional core of honesty that resonates with readers. Which is the reason why I coined the term for my particular subgenre, “thrillers with heart.”

300Nerveshires-copy-2-200x300I’ve incorporated romance in some of my thrillers (the Shadow Ops thrillers have tons of romance intertwined with the intrigue and my Hart and Drake medical suspense novels follow one couple’s evolution from first meeting to marriage), I’ve added historical elements, I’ve written novels with strong science fiction/supernatural elements, contemporary YA, and straight character-driven thrillers. By focusing on that core “heart,” despite technically mixing genres, my readers haven’t complained.

What is one thing you absolutely LOVE about being an author and one thing that makes you BONKERS?

CJ: Wow, I pretty much love everything about the creating and writing . . . the only thing that drives me bonkers (but it’s a big one!) is when fellow professionals (co-authors, publicists, editors, web designers, graphic artists, marketing folks, etc) act unprofessional: missing deadlines without warnings, not doing their job, or flat out flaking out and leaving me high and dry . . . I treat this as a profession, take it as seriously as I did medicine, and hate it when others don’t see it that way

StationElevenHCUS2You know the old story – that Al Pacino won the Oscar for Scent of a Woman because he should have won it for the Godfather? Not every book can “win the Oscar” or hit a bestseller list, but that doesn’t mean the book isn’t a wonderful book and worth reading. Tell us about a wonderful book that you’ve read in the past year that you think is worth reading.

CJ: I absolutely adored Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

What is the coolest/nicest thing a fan/reader has done for you or said to you?

CJ: My fans ROCK!!! I don’t know what I’d do without their encouragement—they’re always doing super fantastic things or sending me lovely notes. I think the most memorable, probably because it was one of my first fan emails, came from a man with cancer who thanked me for my books because they helped him get through the night free from pain . . . not too proud to admit that I cried after that one!

SnakeSkinweb1As a writer, what does CJ Lyons do best?

CJ: Thrillers with Heart: character-driven, adrenaline-fueled stories that explore the grey areas between the black and white of good and evil.

200x300FTDragingdawn200x3001Tell us about your latest release. And what do you have coming down the road?

CJ: I’m launching my new Fatal Insomnia medical thrillers (yes, it’s a real disease!) in both ebooks as well as trade paperback and hardcover. Book #1, FAREWELL TO DREAMS, is out now and Book #2, A RAGING DAWN, just released as an ebook with the print versions coming in January, 2016. I adore their covers—when I was carrying FAREWELL in my arms at the London Book Fair, people were coming up and reaching out to stroke it as if it was something precious and magical. First time I ever had that happen with a book cover! badbreak200x300

And, of course, my most popular series, the Lucy Guardino FBI Thrillers, will be continuing with a new twist and new start for Lucy as she leaves the FBI, giving new readers a chance to meet and fall in love with Lucy. The first book in her new Beacon Falls series is LAST LIGHT and will be out in May, 2016 (but subscribers to my Thrillers with Heart newsletter can not only get the first Lucy book, SNAKE SKIN, for free, they will also have exclusive early access to LAST LIGHT—learn more at CJLyons.net)

sweetchaiBONUS: What is something that you do on a regular basis that is a treat or fun or relaxing just for YOU.

CJ: did I mention chocolate? The darker the better . . . oh, but I also indulge in a lovely tea that most folks have never heard of, it’s a wonderful cinnamon flavor, called Good Earth.

 ABOUT CJ:

C.J. Lyons
C.J. Lyons

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 29 novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons writes her Thrillers with Heart for the same reason she became a doctor: because she believes we all have the power to change our world. In the ER she witnessed many acts of courage by her patients and their families, learning that heroes truly are born every day.

Two time winner of the International Thriller Writers’ coveted Thriller Award, CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly).

Learn more about CJ’s Thrillers with Heart at www.CJLyons.net, facebook, twitter @cjlyonswriter 

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