Art and Writing, craft of writing, From the Editor's Desk, Fun Friday, Getting Organized, setting goals, writing craft

What are you going to accomplish this year? by Joanna D’Angelo #amwriting #health #lifebalance

Dream Big - one goal at a time.  Image: screenrant.com
Dream Big – one goal at a time.
Image: screenrant.com

Many of us have made resolutions for 2016. Some of us have stuck to them, while others have already fallen off the wagon. But before you kick yourself and declare 2016 to be a bad year, read on!

I want you to set THREE goals for yourself in 2016. I will too. Let’s start with that. They don’t have to be grand and they don’t have to take up every hour of your day that isn’t devoted to work, family, or sleep. But they have to be challenging enough to require SOME effort on your part.

Each goal you set should have a time limit. Whether you spend time on each one separately or at the same time, you should set a clear amount of time to work on the goal and a DEADLINE.

Each goal should include a before and after picture or a note, or blog post, or facebook post, or journal entry, or even a notation in your calendar, or heck – how about a post-it note on your fridge with a happy face. So you can document that you actually achieved this goal.

Each goal should be something that you have always wanted to do but haven’t had the time, or perhaps the encouragement to do it. I’m encouraging you today. Do it! Let’s all do it!

Each goal should be something that could lead to more goals, growth, change. One goal at a time.

Each goal should represent ONE ASPECT of your life that you want to make better and may include the following: HEALTH, WORK, HOME, ORGANIZATIONAL, PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS, SPIRITUAL/INNER GROWTH.

Allow me to elaborate:

HEALTH: We all want to be more healthy but how do we achieve that? It’s one of those seemingly BIG challenges. But how about setting just ONE GOAL regarding your health and just FOCUS ON THAT in 2016? For example:  You are a diet coke FANATIC and you know that ALL THAT POP – diet or otherwise – is not good for you. Your goal could to CUT OUT ALL POP/SODA/DIET DRINKS for seven days. See how you feel at the end of the week. If you feel better, keep going, until it’s completely out of your system and LIFE.

Make time for that creative work-out.  Image: www.practicalcreativewriting.com
Make time for that creative work-out.
Image: www.practicalcreativewriting.com

WORK: You want to write THAT book. It’ a cool idea, but you can’t find the time because of your day job, your familial responsibilities, sleep, and the other two books in various stages of completion that you are working on and have to get to your editor. What do you do? Make yourself a doctor’s appointment. We ALWAYS keep THOSE. I sure do. MAKE A NOTE OF THIS “DOCTOR” APPOINTMENT in your calendar or date book. This will be a STANDING “DOCTOR” APPOINTMENT. And you must keep it ONE HOUR A WEEK FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR. Use that hour to work on your “special” creative project. At the end of the year review what you have accomplished. Hey, your book might just be finished by Dec. 31st! 🙂

Your zen getaway awaits . . . Image: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/zen-bedrooms/
Your zen getaway awaits . . .
Image:
https://www.pinterest.com/explore/zen-bedrooms/

HOME: You want your home to be welcoming to people but also your own “getaway” from the world. You want your home to be a cozy nest for your family, but also a well organized and functioning household (see below). So how do you do that? You do that one room at a time. How about starting with your bedroom? Turn your room into a “zen hideaway” and get rid of all the WORK STUFF  – i.e. no desk, no computer, no files. Just include things that will give you pleasure. Books, candles, aroma therapy oils, music, cozy comforter. You get the picture right? Give yourself one month to set your plan in motion. You don’t have to do everything at once – spend one hour a week on your little “zen” project until it’s done. It could be as simple as changing the lightbulbs to soft lighting in your bed side lamps. Now, relax . . . but get going.

Behold a cozy reading nook.  Image: todayscreativelife.com
Behold  – a messy closet turned into a cozy reading nook.
Image: todayscreativelife.com

ORGANIZATIONAL: This is a DOOZY isn’t it? Many of us have a “junk” room  – everything in the house that doesn’t have a place gets shoved in there. Or closets that are overflowing with old clothes and too many shoes. Here’s an idea: Given that it can be OVERWHELMING to declutter and organize the ENTIRE house in one shot, how about picking one area in your house to “fix” and give yourself a time limit. One chest of drawers or even one drawer. One closet or even one shelf in the closet. One room or even one corner in the room. Start with that. Spread the work load out. Spend only one hour at a time on this project. Perhaps one hour a week. And give yourself one month to complete it. Make sure you have bags and boxes READY because you are going to DONATE or RECYCLE that stuff. What about a garage sale or yard sale? You know what? It takes time to plan a yard sale. So if you want to make it ONE of your projects this year, go for it. I prefer to pack stuff up and haul it to a local charity. If you are VERY MOTIVATED then set up three boxes. KEEP, DONATE, SELL and take it from there. As you tackle the next chore in your house  you can do the same thing. And don’t forget to drive to your local charity or phone them to pick up your donation. Do it. Otherwise you’ll have more boxes piling up and more agita filling up.

Image: austinot.com
Love in a latte. 🙂 Image: austinot.com

PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS: Always a tough one to nurture – but how about you and your significant other or friend or sibling or child  – work on this one together. Have a sit down chat and come up with ONE THING that you would both like to do together. And do it once a month. Try this for three months and see how it goes. You can do the same thing once a month or different things. How about game night, movie night, dinner night or coffee outing? A little twist for a COFFEE DATE- how about you and your significant other arrive there separately. Like a real date. First one there grabs a cozy, corner table. And you can stare into each other’s eyes for the next couple of hours. Try this once a month. That’s doable right?

Tea time Image: siptea.net
Tea time
Image: siptea.net

SPIRITUAL/INNER GROWTH: I don’t know about you, but this is an ongoing journey for me. One thing that I enjoy doing is working out. Especially weight training. I find it gets me into a calm and relaxed stated of mind. Yes, pushing and lifting weights does this to me! Maybe it’s the repetition. Or maybe it’s the feeling of accomplishment. Or maybe it’s just all the endorphins my brain is releasing. My younger sister has been practicing Qigong meditation for the past two years. She loves it and has a wonderful support group as a result. Find something that you have always wanted to try, and try it once, twice, three times, to see if you like it. Or at the very least, take five minutes a day for seven days and sit quietly in a comfortable chair. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. And think of something relaxing like floating on the water on a sunny day. Try that once a day for seven days and see how you feel. If you have trouble doing that – how about making yourself a nice cup of tea and sipping it slowly, until the entire cup is finished. Okay?

No matter what changes you want to make or what goals you have in your life – it always begins with the first step. Just. One. Step. In the right direction. Write it down. Give yourself a time line and a deadline. And do it. Let’s get going!

Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing. She loves chai tea, social media, and good writing. 

Connect with Joanna on twitter@JoannaDangelo, on facebook and on pinterest.

Her facebook page is: Love Romance Novels (on facebook)

Her other blogs are: thepopculturedivas and therevolvingbook

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

 

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When Your House is Haunted by Patricia Grasso (historical romance author)

Image: www.blogto.com
Image: www.blogto.com

Everyone knows the expression ‘things that go bump in the night’. Things go bump 24-7-365 in my house.

In the early 1960s, my father bought an old carriage house (horse and buggy and later cars) two blocks from where we lived in a house with apartments. He kept the framework of the carriage house and built a whole house from it. I was 12 when we moved, and the house was like a palace. Two floors, 2 bathrooms, attic, cellar. But whenever I was home alone, I felt like I was being watched, and walking in the attic made me uneasy.

Decades passed. Lots of decades passed. My sister and my brother (both older) left home, and finally I left home too. My mom and dad still lived in the house with the 3rd family dog we’d had. Dusty was an overweight, hermaphrodite mini-schnauzer.

Image: breakfastwithmelvin.tumblr.com
Image: breakfastwithmelvin.tumblr.com

My mom passed in 1999. One summer day, I stopped by to visit my dad. Dusty was on the enclosed back porch so I sat on the couch out there and patted him. My dad was upstairs and called out to see who it was. I answered that it was me. I never left the porch. My dad walked downstairs and, passing the first floor bathroom, asked if I had shut the bathroom door. I said no. He was irritated because he wanted the door open and insisted I had closed it. When I went home, I thought about it and realized that my mom always wanted that door closed. I knew then that my mom was still there. I called my sister and said, “Ma is still in the house.” My sister said, “I know.” Apparently something similar had happened to her. We were convinced my mom was still there. As time went on, other little things started to happen.

A few years later, Dusty the dog passed. (Guess who got stuck taking him to be put down. It was one of the saddest days of my life). When I visited my father, I pulled into the driveway and got out of the car. I heard Dusty barking. He sounded as if he was a distance away, but I knew it was him.

Image: thoughtcatalog.com
Image: thoughtcatalog.com

Then my father (by that time was in his late 80s) became ill. We needed 24 hour care. The overnight woman didn’t know my mother was still a presence in the house. She saw my mom walking down the stairs and then vanish. She didn’t tell us for a long time because she didn’t want us to think she was doing drugs.

My father finally passed. The house was empty except for the furniture and other stuff everyone had dumped there: my mom’s clothes, my dad’s things, my sister’s and brother’s extra free storage. Since I was getting the house, I had to clean it.

I didn’t move in right away because I wanted it painted. I also had the kitchen renovated. So the house was empty for quite some time.

That’s when things really started to go bump 24-7-365. There were the usual things: footsteps overhead as well as the pitter-patter of little dog’s feet. Yes, Dusty the dog was still there. Doors opened and closed on their own, lights on were that shouldn’t be on, sometimes voices.

I needed to put extra locks on the attic door, the cellar door, doorstops for bedroom doors upstairs. I had cats and didn’t want them to get stuck in a room.

One summer day, I stopped by with a friend. When I unlocked the front door and stepped inside, I called jokingly, “Hello!” From upstairs a voice called, “Hello!” I looked at my friend who said, “That’s your father’s voice.” I thought “Oh, crap, my father’s here too.”

image: deepsouthmag.com
image: deepsouthmag.com

Four or five ghost hunters groups came through. All the psychics who walked upstairs to the attic asked me who the little boy was. (I was being watched when I was 12). Jeremiah, the little boy, died in the carriage house decades earlier and was waiting for his sister (who had most likely died decades earlier). Jeremiah and my mom like to play pranks on me. I’ve heard the sound of a little boy running and a dog running with him.

Lachesis Publishing author Jeanine Spikes (author of The Possession) came here with her group. On the voice recorder she caught my mom and the boy whispering. She caught my father on the recorder AND heard with her own ears my father say, “pack up”. It was 1:00 am in the morning and he wanted them to leave.

It would take me a week to write out all the incidents that have happened. For example: The man who installed my new furnace told me I had a ghost in the house.

I’ll leave you with this. I recently called my sister and said, “If you die, don’t come here. There’s no room.”

Enchanting the Duke by Patricia GrassoPatricia Grasso is the author of eighteen historical romances including the Douglas Series which follows the love stories of the amazing Douglas sisters (Angelica, Samantha and Victoria) in Regency London and the Lords of Stratford Series, Regency historical romances with a fairy-tale twist about the aristocratic families in Stratford-on-Avon. 

Patricia Grasso‘s latest release is Enchanting the Duke. You can purchase it at Lachesis Publishing or on amazon, BN nook, or kobo.

Connect with Patricia Grasso online on her web site and on facebook

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blog post, blogging, From the Editor's Desk, Fun Friday, Good Books, Good Non-fiction books, Good Reads, good self-help books

Tell me about a good non-fiction book you’ve read lately . . .

www.dailymail.co.uk
www.dailymail.co.uk

I’m always looking for a good non-fiction read . . . Okay I also mean “self’-help”. There. I said it! Sometimes I need to be re-energized or I need to re-think an aspect of my life and a good non-fiction book always helps. Books about personal journeys or popular psychology books about our society or books about how to manage your time/life/health, or books about achieving goals or making a change. So tell me about a non-fiction book that really inspired you or had an impact on your thinking or how you approach life. Something that made you go aha!

Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing. She loves chai tea, social media, and good writing. Connect with Joanna on twitter@JoannaDangelo, on facebook and on pinterest.

Her facebook page is: Love Romance Novels (on facebook)

Her other blogs are: thepopculturedivas and therevolvingbook

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

 

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Spooky Tales of Haunted Observatories by David Lee Summers (horror and science fiction author)

Percival Lowell Mausoleum earthspotter.com
Percival Lowell Mausoleum
earthspotter.com

This past week, my editor sent me her notes for my novel The Astronomer’s Crypt. She declares it scary stuff, but has several good ideas for improving the pacing, strengthening the characters, and tightening the plot. I’ll be working diligently on the re-write, over the coming weeks and will look for some insights about the process to share.

One of the hallmarks of The Astronomer’s Crypt is that it’s set at a haunted astronomical observatory. Haunted observatories are not an area heavily explored by fiction or even ghost lore. So it’s fair to ask where I got the idea. Part of the idea comes from two prominent men who are interred in or just outside the observatories they founded. One is Percival Lowell, whose mausoleum is right outside the 24-inch telescope on Mars Hill in Flagstaff, Arizona. Another is James Lick who funded the University of California’s Lick Observatory and is interred under the observatory’s 36-inch telescope.

Maria Mitchell Observatory http://www.mariamitchell.org/visit/vestal-street-observatory
Maria Mitchell Observatory http://www.mariamitchell.org/visit/vestal-street-observatory

However, it’s not just bodies near telescopes that gave me the idea. My first job in astronomy was at Maria Mitchell Observatory on Nantucket Island. The building is an old-fashioned Gothic-looking building right next to the house once occupied by America’s first woman astronomer. My fellow research assistants and I would scare each other by telling stories of Maria’s ghost walking through the building. One night, one of my fellow research assistants even climbed on the roof while I was observing, made thumping noises, and sprayed Lysol in the dome to make me think I was smelling the perfume of Maria’s ghost. In a dark, cold dome in the middle of the night, it was pretty effective!

Mayall 4-Meter Telescope at Kit Peak www.noao.edu
Mayall 4-Meter Telescope at Kit Peak www.noao.edu

Even today, when I walk around the main floor at the base of the Mayall 4-meter telescope, I sometimes feel like I’m being watched. I look up to an alcove at a darkened stair landing, where I think I see someone out of the corner of my eye.

It always proves to be empty, and my skeptical mind always knows its just my mind playing tricks on me, but every now and then I wonder if a ghostly presence haunts the dome. One astronomer was killed at the Mayall 4-meter almost thirty years ago in a tragic accident, several people have died over the years on the twisting mountain road to the observatory, and I just learned that a construction worker died while excavating the tunnel for the McMath-Pierce Solar telescope just across the mountain from the Mayall. There certainly is a potential for ghosts at the observatory.

Perkins Observatory wosu.org
Perkins Observatory wosu.org

I’ve only discovered one observatory that describes itself as haunted and that’s Perkins Observatory which was built for Ohio Wesleyan University, a small liberal arts college near Columbus. Ohio State University partnered with OWU to run the facility for a number of years, but finally terminated the relationship in 1998. The history page for the observatory tells us that the ghost of Hiram Perkins, the math and astronomy professor who founded the observatory, haunts the site out of frustration that he could never use the site his money funded.

I’m a skeptic who believes science helps us understand our amazing universe and our place within it. However, being a skeptic doesn’t mean I dismiss things ghosts or the spirit world out of hand. I believe the paranormal deserves serious investigation. What’s more, I love a good spooky story and believe they tell us something about ourselves.

Author David Lee Summers
Author David Lee Summers

I am curious whether anyone else knows of a haunted observatory. Has anything ever been documented sufficiently well that it bears closer investigation? Although I’m familiar with several television shows about paranormal investigations, I don’t know of any that have ever visited an observatory. Can you think of any? I’ll be happy to follow up on any leads and report about them in a future edition of the blog.

(Originally posted on David Lee Summers’s author blog THE SCARLET ORDER.)

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Fun Friday: Books and stairs make great pairs!

http://m.atchuup.com/books-and-stairs/
http://m.atchuup.com/books-and-stairs/

Don’t you just love finding cool places to shelve your books?

stairs-made-into-bookshelves-13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

stairs-made-into-bookshelves-16We love the idea of turning your stairs into book shelves. So cool. And very eye-catching. Not to mention a great use of “dead space”.

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FUN FRIDAY QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What is Your Favourite Kind of Cupcake?

Image: https://hdwallpapers.cat
Image: https://hdwallpapers.cat

This week we’ve been spotlighting Ashlyn Chase, the author of  The Cupcake Coven, a sassy, funny and yummy paranormal romance. It’s the first book in Ashlyn’s new Love Spells Gone Wrong Series for Lachesis Publishing. So it’s fitting that our Question of the Week is all about cupcakes. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE KIND OF CUPCAKE? Leave a comment here or on our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook and you could win a free e-book of The Cupcake Coven,

 

Cupcake Coven Cover-edit (2)PURCHASE THE CUPCAKE COVEN RIGHT HERE at Lachesis PublishingCLICK HERE TO BUY IT!

OR GET IT ON amazon, kobo, ARe.

Ashlyn Chase is a best selling author who writes funny and sexy, light paranormal romances and erotic romances. Connect with Ashlyn on her website and on facebook and twitter.

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“The Bestsellers” – Round 3: Q and A with Jennifer Ashley (romance author)

JenniferAshley360x500This is the third Q and A in our series at the Lachesis Publishing Daily Blog – featuring interviews with bestselling authors. Today we feature the dynamic New York Times Bestselling author Jennifer AshleyJennifer  writes historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance as Jennifer Ashley; mysteries as Ashley Gardner; and paranormal romance and urban fantasy as Allyson James.

MateBondFinal390JenniferAshley_Grant350Jennifer Ashley’s latest release is MATE BOND, book 7 in her SHIFTERS UNBOUND series.

Jennifer Ashley’s latest release is RIDING HARD: GRANT (book 2 in the RIDING HARD series)

Welcome Jennifer Ashley!

JD: 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?

cover-feral-heat cover-wild-wolfJA: The first book I hit a bestseller list with on my own (I had been in I think two anthologies that hit before, but not because of me!) was Immortals: The Calling in 2007. That hit the USA Today list at I think around 127. The book that first hit New York Times was Pride Mates (Shifters Unbound, Book 1). That hit both USA Today and NYT; NYT was I think number 26 or something. The first time I hit the big bestseller lists was with Wild Wolf and Feral Heat last year—which each hit in the top 10 NYT Ebook, top 10 Ebook plus print, and Wild Wolf hit top 10 NYT in paperback. Both of these also hit in the top 50 of USA Today. These were all milestones for me.

What were you doing when you found out you hit the bestseller list? And how did you celebrate or mark the occasion?

JA: For my very first time, Immortals: The Calling in 2007, I had gone to bed the night before knowing the USA Today list would be posted the next morning. I couldn’t sleep all night! I kept dreaming that I’d hit the list, then waking up, knowing it was only a dream. It wouldn’t hit. I knew it in my heart. 

My husband woke me in the morning with, “I saw that The Calling made USA Today. Saw that in the middle of the night.”

Me: “Why didn’t you wake me up????

Him: “I didn’t want to disturb you.”

Me: Ahhhhh!!!!!!!!!!

We had a nice dinner out. 🙂 When I made NYT for the first time, I got so many bouquets of flowers sent to me my neighbors started to worry!

JD: What does being a “successful author” mean to you? 

JA: My idea of “success” has changed over the years. At first it meant getting more than one publishing contract. Then it was making bestseller lists and/or being offered a certain level of advance from a publisher. Now it’s more about connecting with readers. I want to write books that readers love and want to read over and over again, regardless of whether it sells a squillion copies or 125. More sales just means I can pay my rent. 🙂 Bestseller lists are calculated by statistics, weighing numbers, and secret arithmetic formulas, so who knows what’s truly “bestselling?” But a book that connects with readers lasts forever. I have books that have sold an enormous number of copies over time but never made a bestseller list—in fact these books have sold more copies thus far than those that did make the lists. So it’s all relative.

JD: Some authors are great at it, while others can’t find the right formula, but in order to be a success in today’s market, you have to do promotion. So, what are the top three things that you do consistently when it comes to promotion?

JA: For promotion, my top three things are my email newsletter, posting on FB (whether I pay for boosting the posts or not), and being available to answer questions about the books, on email, FB, Twitter, or wherever.

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

JA: The very best thing about being an author—I write full-time—is making my own schedule. I can work all weekend and take Tuesday off. I can work from 5 am to midnight if I want. Or 10 am to noon and then knock off for the day. I work to the projects I need to finish, not to a clock. I LOVE that. I completely suck at working to set hours! That said, it can also make me crazy. Scheduling is tricky—you can overfill your schedule (which I tend to do) then have to work your butt off to not fall behind. I both self-publish and traditionally publish, so I have to coordinate those schedules and not let down the publisher who offered me a contract and advance. But I think the number one thing that makes me crazy is interruptions! People think that because I’m at home, it means I’m available. Friends, family, agent, and publisher all demand my attention – – and to write, you have to shut all that out. It’s hard, and they’re not always understanding.

JD: Who are some of your favourite authors and why?

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 11.29.04 AMJA: Elmore Leonard: He created the most wonderful villains, who are human beings, but very flawed. Often these villains are trying to do the right thing, but just can’t. You think they’re going to make it, turn out to be good, and then . . . no. He was a master.

Donna Leon: She has painted Venice, Italy, in her Brunetti mystery series so well I feel like I’ve lived there (I’ve never been).

ladyx_450Eloisa James: She is excellent at writing romance with not-so-stock romance characters.

Raising-Steam-PaperbackTerry Pratchett: His Discworld series is full of great characters and humor, but it’s very thoughtful at the same time.

TheRake2012_150Mary Jo Putney: I read her historical romances back in the 90s, and she proved that an author could write a well-plotted, character rich story without resorting to “formula.” (She’s still writing and still does that). She very much inspired me to try to write historical romance.

JD: What are you currently working on?

AshleyGardner_MurderMostHistorical350JA: About seven things at once.

  • Shifters Unbound novella. It’s called Lion Eyes and will come out in a multi-authored boxed set in June.
  • An anthology of short historical murder mysteries (Murder Most Historical, as Ashley Gardner, also out in June);
  • White Tiger—Shifters Unbound book 8, which will be out next spring—must turn it in to my trad publisher soon (they want books way in advance);
  • Bad Wolf, another Shifters Unbound short book, out in July.
  • Dreamwalker (Stormwalker, book 5, contemporary (‘urban”) fantasy by Allyson James)
  • Thames River Murders (book 10 in the Capt. Lacey Regency Mysteries I write as Ashley Gardner), and
  • Carter, book 3 of the new Western series, Riding Hard. That should take me up to August.

JD: In your daily work routine what do you do first and why?

  • write/plot/creative
  • social media/promotion
  • email/admin

JA: First is a) write/plot/creative. I write first thing in the morning. I am very productive between the hours of about 7:30 and 10. No idea why, but I’m not going to question it. I do all my social media promotion and my email business right after that (like I’m doing right now :-)) then I take a break for lunch. The afternoon / evening is filled depending on what and how much I have to do. Yesterday I did a lot of what I call “publishing business”–I was in contact with audio book narrators, paid people, ordered audio book covers from my designer, finished page proofs of another project. Today I will spend all afternoon and evening writing a novella, to try to finish it up.

DeskJenniferAshley(600x800)JD: What would I find on your desk at this very moment? (Could you take a picture and attach it? –– just think it might be fun).

JA: A big mess! I don’t write at a desk—it’s for business. I write at a coffee house (in a booth), on my laptop in a bungee cord chair (really it’s made of bungee cords; very comfortable!) or on my laptop on my couch. Writing at a desk gives me too many neck, shoulder, and back problems, so I abandoned it long ago . . .

JD: Finish this sentence: I’m a writer because . . .

JA: I love to tell stories. Stories well up in my head and must come out! (Sorry, that was two sentences)

tmfullNew York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Jennifer Ashley has lived and traveled all over the world, and now lives in the Southwest. She writes historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance as Jennifer Ashley; mysteries as Ashley Gardner; and paranormal romance and urban fantasy as Allyson James.

Jennifer’s/Allyson’s/Ashley’s more than 83 novels and novellas have won RWA’s RITA award, the Golden Quill, RT Reviewer’s Choice awards, and the Prism award, among others. Jennifer’s novels have been also been translated into French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, Norwegian, Hungarian, Italian, Thai, and other languages.

Jennifer enjoys writing and reading above all else, but her hobbies include cooking, hiking, playing flute and guitar, painting, and building miniature rooms and dollhouses.

Connect with Jennifer on her website and on facebook and twitter, pinterest and goodreads.

tumblr_nnkni9diM61qd7yjyo1_1280Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing. She loves chai tea, writing in coffee shops, social media and romance novels.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

 

 

 

authors, Bestselling Authors, blog post, blogging, Fun Friday, Lachesis Blog, paranormal, paranormal romance, Promoting Your Book, promoting your books, Q and A Bestselling Authors, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels, romantic suspense, suspense, suspense thrillers

“The Bestsellers” – Round 2: Q and A Misty Evans (dark romantic suspense and sexy paranormal author)

USA Today bestselling author Misty Evans
USA Today bestselling author Misty Evans

This is the second in our series at the Lachesis Publishing Daily Blog – featuring interviews with bestselling authors. Bestselling authors have “been there and done that”. They know how much work it takes to hit a bestseller list and they are here to share their wisdom (and wit). Today we feature USA Today bestselling author Misty Evans. Misty writes dark romantic suspense and sexy paranormals. Welcome Misty!

JD: 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?

10ME: Oh, gosh, I suppose my first “bestseller” was Operation Sheba. My publisher did a promo on it in 2010 and it went to #1 on the Amazon Romantic Suspense list, #2 in Romance, and #3 in overall Kindle books. The other two books in the series at that time did well too, ending up high in the RS list. I’ve had two books hit the USA TODAY list, Deadly Pursuit, and The Secret Ingredient. Both were in boxed sets and there was much celebrating by all of us.

JD: What were you doing when you found out you hit the bestseller list? And how did you celebrate or mark the occasion?

5ME: With Operation Sheba, it was huge. My first published book…I was over the moon. I had been watching the Amazon lists the first day of the promo, but it was an email from my editor later that evening that told me I’d reached so high. There was Snoopy Happy Dancing and champagne the next day from my hubby.

What does being a “successful author” mean to you?

ME: Success isn’t about lists or royalties or rankings to me. It used to be, and I made myself a ver
y anxious and not very happy author. I had to change my thinking. Success is about what’s inside you, not what’s outside. Are you happy? Do you look forward to sitting at the keyboard everyday? I can’t control numbers, algorithms, or new technology. What I can do is love my job, write the books fans adore, and find ways to help other authors make their dreams come true. That is true success to me.

JD: Some authors are great at it, while others can’t find the right formula, but in order to be a success in today’s market, you have to do promotion. So, what are the top three things that you do consistently when it comes to promotion?

ME: 1.) Write the next book—you absolutely can’t do any better promo than putting out the next book in a series and having the links to your other stories in the back matter. 2.) Nail your keywords and categories. When a potential reader searches by subject matter on any retailer, you want to be sure your book comes up in the appropriate category. 3.) Put out a quality newsletter with behind-the-scenes snippets, recipes, and engaging content, not just “Buy My Book” messages. This goes hand-in-hand with social media as well. Engage your readers, don’t just preach to them.

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

301810_435630796455597_1824116361_n503fcedff1466-525369c545c9cME: I love creating stories and seeing how they resonate with readers. In January, with the release of DEADLY FORCE, the fourth book in my SCVC Taskforce series, I raised money for Paws & Stripes, an organization that rescues shelter dogs and trains them to be service companions to veterans with PTSD. My fans loved the idea and really got behind it, sharing our Operation Freedom Dogs campaign and I recently mailed a check for over $2000 to P&S.

What drives me bonkers is trying to find enough hours in the day to write and promote!

JD: Who are some of your favourite authors and why?

ME: I have too many favorite authors to name them all, but my favorites tend to be the ones who create fascinating worlds I can sneak off to whenever I want and forget the real world for a few hours . . . for a few days!

36JD: What are you currently working on?

16ME: I’m writing the next SCVC Taskforce novel, Deadly Intent, and editing the next Justice Team Series book, Exposing Justice, with Adrienne Giordano. Both books release in July.

JD: In your daily work routine what do you do first and why?

write/plot/creativeI definitely write first thing in the morning. That’s when my creative energy is high. I often write later in the day when I can, but I’m most productive first thing in the morning. My best plots come in the evening or at night. I don’t know why, but that’s how my brain works!

social media/promotionSocial media is so much fun, I have to save it for a treat after the work is done. Usually that means waiting until lunch time or later.

email/adminThis area is best handled after the work is done, too. It takes me too long to get the right energy flowing if I start with email or admin duties first thing in the morning. They tend to suck my creative-self dry.

JD: What would I find on your desk at this very moment?

ME: I don’t have a desk anymore. I write on my laptop, often in bed or sitting at the kitchen table. I’ve found I’m more motivated and inspired if I move around and don’t confine myself to one set place. I’m definitely a minimalist these days! The clutter-free zone frees up my mental space.

JD: Finish this sentence: I’m a writer because . . .

ME:  . . . it makes me happy!

Misty Evans at a bookstore signing
Misty Evans at a bookstore signing

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Misty Evans has published twenty-eight novels and writes romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. As a writing coach, she helps other authors bring their books – and their dreams of being published – to life.

The books in her Super Agent series have won a CataNetwork Reviewers’ Choice Award, CAPA nominations, the New England Reader’s Choice Bean Pot Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2010 and the ACRA Heart of Excellence Reader’s Choice Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2011. OPERATION SHEBA has been a military romance, action-adventure, and romantic suspense bestseller on Amazon.

Her Witches Anonymous series was dubbed a Fallen Angel Reviews Recommended Read. The Super Agent Series, Witches Anonymous Series, and the Kali Sweet Series have been on multiple Amazon Kindle bestsellers lists. Her culinary romantic mystery, THE SECRET INGREDIENT, and the first book in her Deadly series, DEADLY PURSUIT, are both USA TODAY bestsellers.

Misty likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, movies, and hanging out with her husband, twin sons, and two spoiled puppies. Learn more and sign up for her newsletter at www.readmistyevans.com. Like her author page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.
website: http://www.readmistyevans.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMistyEvans
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/readmistyevans
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/authormistyevans
Email: misty@readmistyevans.com
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/mistyevansbooks/

tumblr_nnkni9diM61qd7yjyo1_1280Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing. She loves chai tea, writing in coffee shops, social media and romance novels.

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“The Bestsellers” – Round 1: Q and A With VK Sykes (contemporary romance and romantic suspense authors)

We’re launching a new series here at the Lachesis Publishing Daily Blog – featuring interviews with bestselling authors. It takes a lot to hit a bestseller list. It ain’t just dumb luck. It takes determination, hustle, and damn good writing. We have some great authors lined up so sit back, enjoy, and have fun reading and learning from these talented writers!

Vanessa Kelly and Randy Sykes
Vanessa Kelly and Randy Sykes

Our first Bestsellers Q and A is with V.K. Sykes – which is actually the husband and wife writing team of Randy Sykes and Vanessa Kelly. How fun is that? They write contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Randy is great at plotting and characterization and Vanessa handles the emotion. Together they’ve written nine books and one novella. Vanessa also writes sexy historical (Regency romance) under her own name Vanessa Kelly. She’s penned eleven historical novels and four novellas.

This is definitely a dynamic duo.

Welcome V.K. Sykes!

patriots2-coverWhat 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?

Hi, Jo—thanks for hosting us! Vanessa reporting in for V.K. Sykes. I actually don’t remember the exact numbers – LOL! The first major list we hit was USA Today, and we did that with our sports anthology, The Philadelphia Patriots. It was between 120–130 (I think 127). And we also hit the top 50 on both Kindle and Nook.

images-1What were you doing when you found out you hit the bestseller list? And how did you celebrate or mark the occasion?

I was just browsing the USA Today list because friends of mine who were in a joint anthology had just posted on social media that they made the list. I went to look, and there we were! It was quite a surprise. As to what we did to celebrate . . . I think we just got a bottle of champagne and had a few glasses of bubbly. We tend to be pretty low key when it comes to celebrating.

What does being a “successful author” mean to both of you?

Not to be crass, but it partly means not spending more than you make. It’s always a temptation to put too much money (and time) into promo in the hopes that you’ll somehow find the winning formula for the next book. To me, being a successful author also means having the time to write the books you want, finding readers who “get” you, and having a good work/life balance. It means finding people you like to work with, and who help you to be a better writer. Would we like to sell more books and hit more bestseller lists? We sure would. But we also want to have a life that we can enjoy, without being absolute slaves to deadlines.

Some authors are great at it, while others can’t find the right formula, but in order to be a success in today’s market, you have to do promotion. So, what are the top three things that you both do consistently when it comes to promotion?

My newsletter is the most important thing, and I’ve worked hard to build that up. I also engage with my readers on facebook and Twitter; mostly that’s social interaction, but I do use it to promote our books. I’m also a big believer in running giveaways on Goodreads. Very little effort with a pretty big bang for the buck. But the most important thing any author can do is to write more good books.

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

I love that we’ve made so many new friends, both readers and other authors. And it’s fabulous when a reader writes to tell you how much she loves one of your books. What makes me crazy is how much promotion there is in the industry. There is just an insane amount of promoting going on, especially on social media. And if you’re not careful, you can start comparing yourself to other writers and feeling like you’re not good enough, or smart enough, or successful enough. It’s very debilitating and absolutely not the way to nurture creativity.

544583877f83d_ctytriver_bigACB-2002015-royally-ever-afterthedeath-coverWho are some of your 23664710tkk-compiled-400x600favourite authors 20454672and loveinafternooncoverwhy?

Right now I’m on a Karen Rose binge—she writes the most amazingly smart, suspenseful, and emotional romantic suspense. So satisfying! I also love Elizabeth Peters and the books in her Amelia Peabody Series, which are insanely fun.

Those books also feature my favorite romance hero, Amelia’s grown son, Ramses Emerson. Other favorite authors are Deanna Raybourn (Lady Julia Grey is probably my fave romance heroines), Loretta Chase, Lisa Kleypas, and Meljean Brooke. All of them are talented storytellers and amazing wordsmiths. Randy is a big fan of the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child. He also likes Sandra Brown and would probably list Pat Conroy as his all-time favorite author.

cover_highlanderWhat are you currently working on? We just submitted SEE YOU AT SUNSET, the 3rd book in our Seashell Bay Series of small town romances, so we have to get started on a new proposal for VK Sykes. I’m also starting work on a new historical romance series for Kensington, which is a spin-off of my current bestselling series, The Renegade Royals.

In your daily work routine what do you do first and why?

write/plot/creative: I do this in the afternoon, which tends to be the quietest time of the day for me. It also takes several hours for my brain to kick into creative gear. I am NOT a morning person. Randy, however, does do a lot of his best writing in the morning, so our schedules tend to be reversed

 social media/promotion: morning.

 email/admin: morning

Where the magic happens.
Where the magic happens.

What would I find on your desk(s) at this very moment?

Not much. Lots of scraps of papers and my computer. And my headphones, which are essential for eliminating outside noises. I can’t write when it’s noisy!

Finish this sentence: I’m a writer because . . . I (we) enjoy it!


beach-cover-lgV.K. Sykes is really two people – Vanessa Kelly and Randy Sykes, a husband and wife team who write USA Today Bestselling contemporary romance. The second book in their Philadelphia Patriots Series of sports romances won the Kindle Book Review Best Indie Books of 2012 Contest, in the romance category. MEET ME AT THE BEACH, the first book in their new series of small town romances set in Maine, released in February, 2015. Vanessa also writes award-winning, Regency-set historical romance for Kensington Zebra and was named by Booklist as one of the “new stars of historical romance.” Her current series,The Renegade Royals, is a national bestseller. You can find them on the web at vksykes.com or vanessakellyauthor.com. Follow them on facebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

tumblr_nnkni9diM61qd7yjyo1_1280Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing. She loves chai tea, writing in coffee shops, social media and romance novels.

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Free Book Friday Question: You could win a free book!

cutcaster-photo-100143589-girl-in-winter-outfitIt’s winter. We need to keep warm. So . . . Gloves or Mittens? and Toques or Ear Muffs?

All you have to do is leave a comment here or on the Lachesis Publishing facebook page or my facebook page (Joanna D’Angelo) by midnight tonight EST (Feb. 6)  and you will be entered into a draw to win a free Lachesis Publishing book of YOUR CHOICE! It’s just that easy. Good luck and happy reading!

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Cheers and Happy Reading! 🙂