Wednesday, December 29, 2010

After the Last PR by Dave Griffin

What an inspiration this book is. And not just for runners.

Written as a collection of stories from the authors life, Mr. Griffin talks about his family, his friends and his career and how his dedication to and love of running helped him enjoy all those things.

As a novice runner myself, this book gave me inspiration and a feeling of acceptance. I am the only runner in my family, so when I talk about endorphins or the “need” to run, I get blank stares or shrugs and shaking heads. They don’t get it. They don’t understand that need to run.

Mr. Griffin does. And so do millions of other runner out there on the planet. Like in chapter five, the Chapter on Discipline. To a runner discipline is more than the act of running. It is the ritual of connecting with something larger than ourselves. The experience of the outdoors, of time and space that brings us back again and again, no matter how hot or cold it is. We go. We know that once we get moving, our bodies will adjust, we will complete our task at hand and return, refreshed and ready to face the day ahead. And because we have accomplished this task of running, we will accomplish our other tasks. This is something a runner knows.

I enjoyed this book for many reasons. First, as a runner, I could relate to the stories. Second, also as a runner, this book provides me with the inspiration I sometimes need to get my shoes on, get outside and run. Because like so many others out there, I don’t always feel like doing it. So I keep this book first by my shoes to remind me that I’m not the only one who can come up with reasons not to do it, and for all the reasons I should. Then after my run I keep it on my desk for more inspiration. I’m telling you, this is good stuff!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Blog Talk Radio is Making Changes

In February 2011 Blog Talk Radio is going to change their membership policies, which could affect Page Readers.

I've been hosting Page Readers at Blog Talk Radio since March 2008.  I've always used their free membership and have a wonderful experience with the service.  Because I don't charge authors for being on the show or blog, the free membership at BTR worked for me.

They do offer a Revenue Sharing option, but to be honest, that isn't going to make me rich, or even pay a bill or two.  Even though Page Readers is averaging 1,000+ listens per month the Revenue Sharing option nets me about $1.00 a month.  And since their payout threshold is $25.00... you can see paychecks from BTR are few and far between.

So now they're telling me and all the other free members of the site that in order to continue using their service as is, we'll have to start paying for it.  They are putting restrictions on the free membership:  One show a day, no shows during "Prime Time," and no Private Episodes.  

I will keep you all posted on this development.  I don't think this will change the way I host Page Readers, as I can't imagine that noon on a weekday is "Prime Time," one show a day works for me, and I'm pretty sure I'm not hosting "Private Episodes," since all my shows are open to the public.  We'll see.

In the meantime, I'm open to change.  If any of you have a suggestion or use a different way to create your own podcasts, let me know.  I have added other ways for authors to appear on and be promoted by Page Readers but I definitely want to continue offering live/recorded interviews because that really is the fun part of the work I do here.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Belinda Kroll talks Quirky Historical Fiction on Page Readers

Belinda Kroll joined me on Page Readers to talk about her newest novel "Haunting Miss Trentwood."

Belinda describes her work as Quirky Historical Fiction because she adds in such interesting twists that she just can't call it regular historical fiction.  After talking with her about her work, I'd say she's got it right.

Haunting Miss Trentwood is about a young woman who set aside her own life to take care of her father at the end of his life.  Then during his funeral, his daughter sees him climb out of his casket and continues to have to deal with him and his fatherly input as she tries to get on with her life again.  Sound quirky enough for you?

But, this wasn't even the best part of the interview!  Belinda wrote and self published her first book, "Catching the Rose" almost a decade ago when she was in high school.  In Internet speak, a decade ago is an eternity - I think we were still listening to dial tones that far back!  And self publishing?  It certainly wasn't as easy as CreateSpace is today!

Connect with Belinda online at www.worderella.com.  See if you can keep up with this talented and driven author!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Harvey Stelman and Andy Nathan create "Eyes of Emerald"

Listen to Harvey Stelman and Andy Nathan talk about their novel Eyes of Emerald.

These two were a lot of fun to talk with. 

Eyes of Emerald started off as a story told by Harveys' father.  As Harvey put it, "a two minute story" about a relative and her extraordinary life, that captured his imagination enough that he retold the story to Andy and the two of them brought the story to life by adding in a bit of historical fiction.

I especially liked hearing Andy talk about their decision to self-publish this book.  Once they had it done, they didn't want to wait for a traditional publisher.  And, because self publishing has become so easy to do, they felt this was the best avenue for their work.  Love it!

Visit them on the web at http://www.eyesofemerald.com/

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Anjuelle Floyd Discusses Relationships of the Heart in "The House"

Anjuelle Floyd joined me on Page Readers to discuss her new release "The House."

In her second release, author Anjuelle Floyd poses the question: Could you care for your dying ex-spouse?  I think the second part of that question should be, and do it with grace and dignity?

The House is a complex story of Ana who must come to terms with her own anger towards her ex-husband as she helps care for him in the last weeks of his life.  Along the way she learns how her marriage has affected her children and their relationships, and now she must help them unlearn their own patterns of dysfunction.

In the end, well, I guess I can't tell you about the end.  You'll just have to read it for yourself!

Anjuelle just finished up a November blog tour, where she was able to really connect with her readers.  She said it was fun, she learned a lot about what her fans like and interestingly, a lot about her characters.  Check out her website at http://www.anjuellefloyd.com/ where she has links to the tour and so much more.

And be sure to watch for upcoming events Anjuelle has planned!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Susannah Raulino shares her skills in "It Writes Itself"

This one is for all you authors out there. 

Susannah Raulino stopped by Page Readers to discuss her book, "It Writes Itself, A Traveling Guide to Writing Fiction."

"It Writes Itself" began as a class syllabus that Susannah was teaching on creative writing.  As the class progressed and ideas were added, she realized this information needed to be shared with more than just her students.

As an improv actress, Susannah realizes the need for inspiration and sometimes even that gentle push that brings on creativity.  While up on stage her troupe takes suggestions from the audience, creates a play and then acts it out - on the spot!

Doing this taught Susannah that sometimes stories have their own purpose and characters want to tell their own tales.  Sometimes, an author is nothing more than a scribe, just taking down the events as they happen around them.

It's an interesting thought.  So many authors get caught up in telling their story that they don't realize what they've created can tell it from a better perspective.  I've had other authors tell me that too - their characters take on a life of their own, and tell them, the author, their story.  And when the author finally gave up control and just listened to those voices, the story wrote itself.  And turned out better than expected.

So, if you're an author looking for a way out of your creative funk, or you've come to a point where writing isn't fun anymore or you are in need of stretching those creative wings, I highly recommend Susannah's book.  I found it to be unique, inspiring, fun and most importantly - different from all the other "how to" books on writing.

Visit Susannah online at www.raulinobooks.com for more about this fabulous book and talented author.

Monday, December 13, 2010

All The Way from Switzerland: Page Readers presents author Carolyn Moncel

What a treat!  Today author Carolyn Moncel joins us to talk about her book "Encounters in Paris."

Welcome Carolyn!  Please introduce yourself!
Currently, we are a family of expatriates! We moved overseas from Chicago, my hometown in 2002 and for exactly five years, I got to be “An American in Paris.” When my husband accepted a job offer in Paris, I packed up my two daughters (ages 5 and 2 weeks at the time), my business, a dog and a cat and joined him! I’ve been living in Lausanne, Switzerland since 2007 with my husband Philippe, two daughters Chloe and Jillian and a very, very old cat called Poeme.

When I am not writing fiction I’m a bit of “Jill of all trades.” I run two companies with offices in Chicago, Paris and Geneva: MotionTemps, LLC (www.motiontemps.com) a bilingual Digital Project and Web Content Management firm, and its subsidiary, MondavĂ© Communications (www.mondaveinc.com), a media relations training and now, publishing company.

Like the character in the book, Ellery, I had a pretty typical childhood growing up Catholic on Chicago’s southwest side. My dad was a factory worker and my mom a cashier in a department store. Unfortunately, my dad died when I was four years old, so most of my life, it was just my mom and my two other brothers.

I come from a family of story tellers – my parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, brothers, etc. With my brother, Kirk’s help, I think I wrote my first story at age four or five. I could read some but I couldn’t write very well yet. It was a story about a snake named Sammy. My mother remembered it as being something pretty special; I just thought it would be cool to have a snake. I think I kept reading and writing out of boredom. In my neighborhood, there just weren’t very many girls around; and the boys didn’t want me around. Writing allowed me to create my own world and keep myself entertained.

I can’t remember when I started writing stories, but I do remember when and why I stopped. While in college I discovered what George Orwell meant by, “writing being “a horribly exhausting struggle.” So I put it aside briefly and concentrated more on journalism and public relations. Even then, my attraction to those disciplines had to be related to storytelling. I graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a BA in Communications; with a minor in political science in 1991. From there I bounced around from PR and Advertising agencies to dot.com companies, finally deciding to open my own company, MotionTemps. It wasn’t until we moved overseas that I started writing again seriously.

What is your story about?

Well, Encounters in Paris is a collection of short stories. There are five stories that all center around Ellery Roulet, a 35-year-old African-American who lives and works in Paris. Ellery thinks she has everything. She is married to handsome French guy, has twin daughters and runs a successful bilingual PR firm in one of Paris’ trendiest parts of town. Unfortunately, Ellery soon realizes that life isn’t always so perfect. In one story she loses her job, in another she finds out her husband is having an affair, and yet in another she deals with the death of her mother. She realizes that life can be quite messy; some problems can be solved while others can’t and that’s okay.

How did this story come to you?

The inspiration came from observing life in general while living and working in Paris. Expatriate life is hard, and I wanted to address some of the more common scenarios but through the eyes of this character, Ellery. Originally, I envisioned the project as a novel, but somehow, I just could never finish it. When a friend back in Chicago suggested that I break up the novel into shorter stories, the ideas really starting flowing.

What compelled you to write it?

I finally had something to say. It helped that I didn’t have any real expectations other than to just publish something.

Who is your favorite character?

The main character, Ellery without a doubt, is my favorite character. There is so much more to her personality waiting to be explored, and I am really looking forward to expanding her experiences in future projects. Once again, she is not me entirely, but definitely, there are aspects of my personality, along with others, reflected in her. But her actions are all her own.

Do you have a favorite story and why?

I love all of the stories but I think my favorite story to write was Some Birds of a Feather. I think I like it so much because it’s a tribute to my mother who passed away in 2006. She was a character in her own right and because of her life growing up on the Mississippi Delta, she could spin some yarns better than William Falkner or Flannery O’Connor. The pigeons are real. There are two of them that sit on my kitchen window sill right now. For me, losing both of my parents, it’s just comforting to imagine that these two pigeons are there to watch over me. It’s a feel- good story.

What was your favorite scene to write?

I have two favorite scenes. In the story, Pandora’s Box Revisited, I really enjoyed detailing the interaction between Ellery and her husband French husband, Julien. In the other, A Brief Indiscretion, I liked exploring Ellery’s relationship with a long-lost lover. In the passages involving Julien, it was really important for me not to portray him as a bad guy or jerk. Also, I wanted to prove that Ellery was just as flawed as any other character in the book or as any human being is in general. On the one hand, two wrongs never make a right but on the other hand, when you’ve been betrayed by a spouse, sometimes it really just sucks to always take the “high road.” I would imagine that you’d want some kind of revenge. We all make mistakes for any number of reasons, but the act may not make us bad people necessarily.

Is there a back story for A Haunting in Courbevoie?

Actually, there is a back story to A Haunting in Courbevoie. Of all of the stories written, A Haunting in Courbevoie and Some Birds of a Feather contain the most truthful information. While living in Paris in 2006, my mother did pass away suddenly, during the early morning hours. When one loses a parent, it’s very scary. It is especially so for expatriates because you live so far away and there is nothing you can do about it. You feel guilty for not being where you ought to be, so I could really relate to Ellery’s feelings. At the time, I did live in the town of Courbevoie, which is just two metro stops outside of Paris, near the business district, La Defense. There was an old Catholic Church in my neighborhood call Saint Pierre Saint Paul. On the morning that my mother died, I did visit the church and encounter a figure, much like the one described in the story. I cannot say for certain whether or not the woman was a ghost, but I can say that I had never seen her before that day, and I have never seen her since. So I let others draw their conclusions.

How long did it take you to write the story?

After nearly eight years of procrastination it only took me two months to write the book actually. I wrote on the weekends. Over the years, I had been writing snippets here and there – on napkins; on the inside cover of books, but nothing cohesive. Then one day, with a really big push from family and friends both overseas and back home, I realized that I needed to finish at least one story. But to do so, I had to admit that I wasn't really interested in writing a novel at all. I just wanted to tell some good stories. Once I made peace with that revelation, the pressure was off and I could concentrate on writing short stories with connecting characters and themes.

When was it released?
Encounters in Paris – A Collection of Short Stories was released on November 5, 2010.

Where can we find it? Online, book stories, your website?


Now, it is widely available on at many online bookstores in a variety of different formats. For example, the paperback version is available online directly at CarolynMoncel.com, as well as online book retailers, Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and GoodReads.com and soon on Google Books and Borders.com. Customers can read excerpts. Encounters in Paris is also available in all digital formats as an e-book at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, GoodReads.com and Smashwords.com and soon iBook.com. On Amazon.com for instance, customers can even choose to download the entire eBook or purchase an individual story as flash fiction. In January 2011, some eBook sets will contain bonus stories and previews of the next book. Also in January 2011, a shorter, three-story audio book version of Encounters in Paris will be available on Amazon.com, Audible.com and also PodioBooks.com.

What was your publishing experience like?
The publishing experience so far has been awesome. It is has been an exciting experience and I learn something new every day. In my case, I didn’t bother sending out query letters to publishers or agents simply because through my research, I knew that most would not be interested in a collection of short stories. However, I also believe there is a huge disconnect between publishers and readers. There is a market for this type of work, especially in this increasingly mobile world in which we live, and that was enough for me to move forward anyway – despite the risks. I purposely decided to self publish because I wanted to have more control over my work. I had watched other friends and colleagues self publish with relative success. Each year it becomes easier and more affordable to self publish so I figured if I could create a high-quality work, it was worth a try.

Did your background in media help you with your decision to self publish?

Yes, I think my background in media and web consulting has been very helpful but it hasn’t made the journey that much easier. Breaking into the publishing world is tough. I am still learning so much about that world, and well, self publishing is its own animal. At first, I was a really overwhelmed by the entire project. Then one day, I decided to calm down and do one thing at a time. As I worked through the project, I realized that everything that I’ve needed done with this project, I have already done at some point in my career. I have prepared layouts for client manuscripts; I have edited books and other documents; I have written and assembled media kits; I have built and coded websites and last I have pitched stories to the media. I figured if I could do these things for my clients, then I could do it for myself. That has been a huge comfort as I continue to progress and learn. For other authors who find themselves in the same situation, they should learn to trust their instincts because they have way more skills than they ever imagined and that’s exciting. The only thing that I would have done differently is I would have planned the release. Out of sheet excitement, I violated my own rules of PR!  Once I started writing and finished the collection, I forgot to plan out some of the marketing, like acquiring reviews in advance. Now that I know what is expected, I will take what I’ve learned and do a better job with my second work.

Are you working on any new projects?

Yes, I am working on a new collection of short stories called Five Reasons to Leave a Lover. It will be out in fall 2011. One day recently, I was walking down the street and heard Paul Simon’s song, “50 Ways to Leave a Lover.” I thought, well that song is only half right. The ways in which to leave a lover are infinite, but the reasons are pretty finite. At the end of the day, it usually boils down to death, divorce, cheating, deception, and ambivalence. So I decided to write a fresh batch of stories surrounding these themes and Ellery and Julien Roulet from Encounters in Paris return in this series, providing further explanation into their story, but there are new characters as well.

Where we can we find you online?
Follow me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/carolyn.moncel;
Join the Encounters in Paris Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Encounters-in-Paris-A-Collection
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/motiontemps;
and on Twitter: http://twitter.com/carolynmoncel

What other publicity events are in your future?

I have some book signings planned in both Paris and Geneva, Switzerland in January 2011. The exact dates will be available soon so please check http://www.carolynmoncel.com/ for more details.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with Page Readers! Thank you for allowing me an opportunity to share my story with your readers. It was such a treat and continued success!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Accidental Author Gary Turcotte visit Page Readers

Author Gary Turcotte stopped by to answer some questions about his newest book "Monster Heart."

Welcome Gary. 

So, when did you start writing?

Although I've published 11 books since 2008, I really don't consider myself a writer. I didn't set out to publish any. I don't know where the stories come from......I got divorced when my daughter was 10. I was lucky enough to get full custody. I bought her a computer for school work, but the nights that she was away at her mother's house, I spent in the den writing stories to escape the loneliness. One manuscript rolled into another and soon there were five.

What made you decide to pursue getting them published?

I met a woman whose passion was to be an author, but she struggled to get three chapters written in four years. I told her I had written five books by accident, I showed her my hobble books, sitting on a shelf in the basement. She found Outskirts Press and encouraged me to publish them.

Tell us about this latest book.

Monster Heart is the story about a High School football star that turns to drugs to enhance his game. He experiments with steroids and other mind altering drugs. He loses his High School sweetheart, to drugs and alcohol. Francis mixed any drugs that he can get his hands on; risking his mental and physical health. He became delusional and he can't distinguish what is real or part of his drug induced illusions. He's involved in heinous crimes that he has trouble remembering. Pimples, cyst, cuts, and dark circles under his eyes, make him look like the monster that the drugs have created. The terrible reality is that this story is happening to today’s youth. The Monster lurks nearby. Don't let it get your children!

Who was your favorite character to create?

My favorite character is Francis, he's a focused football star, but his friend and workout partner Patrick was a bad influence. Francis' mother pampered him, and showed support-------he reveals his soft side. He had a big heart and once he saw the damage he had done to his family, he went to all cost to make things right.

What was your favorite scene to write?

My favorite scene is when Francis is high on a mixture of pills and alcohol; he runs the railroad tracks in the center of town until he's caught in a downpour. He hides in a neighbor's shed-------the storm intensifies and he watched the rain through a knot hole in the wall. Thunder and lightning roll in with the storm and Francis is terrified. He thinks the lightning will hit his eye while he watches it. He panics and breaks out of the shed running for his life. I liked seeing the big monster frightened by nature------besides Frankenstein and lightning are a must in this story, but not in a corny way with electrodes and operating table.

Are these characters new to the Frankenstein story?

Yes. All the characters are mine and fictional.

Why the new twist on an old story?

I used the iconic Frankenstein to attract readers, (every writer wants to be read) I used a play on words and my character was Frank N. Stein. A modern day monster------ the monster is really drug addiction, and happening to a super sized athlete with stars in his eyes. I didn't want to write a remake, or take away from the Frankenstein of yesterday. I just wanted to use similarities of the two, and trust me when I say that Francis Norman Stein is truly a monster and not a let down to anyone expecting to read a monster story.

Is there a message in this story?

The message in MONSTER HEART -------Even the mighty can fall. Those thought to have it all fall prey to drugs and bad influence. Francis' choices affected everyone-----his mother,father, friends and neighbors.

Why this topic?

I chose the topic of prescription drug edition to turn a once ambitious teenager into a monster because it’s happening daily to families----people can relate. The best fiction stories are believable, interesting, entertaining and not too predictable.

Do you have anything new in the works?

I have a 12th book in production with Outskirts, it should be released by Jan 2011 titled “Tom and the Troubled Teens: Suicide Seth” Tom is unemployed, his benefits run out and he takes a job as a substitute teacher at a private school. The guidance councilor gets caught drunk driving and is forced to resign. Tom is asked to fill his spot and soon discovers secret files about the most troubled teens. He stumbles onto an online suicide club that some of the students frequent. One student 'Seth' poses as a councilor on the site and advises kids to confront their fears and end their lives. Tom is not a trained councilor and doesn't know what to do. He confides in the Principal, but she is aware of the problem and wants it swept under the rug since the school is funded by tuition and donations by alumni. The reputation for a safe and mentally stable school population is the most important thing to her, even if it's not so.

I have another one half done, targeted for March release 2011 'Brutus the Baby Snatcher.'

Where else can we find you on the web?

I will have Facebook up and running soon. I'm new at it; hopefully I'll be a quick learner.

Sounds like an interesting story!  Thanks so much for stopping by Page Readers!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Power of Receiving by Amanda Owen

Author Amanda Owen joined me on Page Readers today to discuss her new book "The Power of Receiving."

This book is POWERFUL.  There is no other way to describe it. 

We are all taught to give, to be kind to others, do for others.  What we are not taught is how to receive when what we give is given back to us. 

Think about how you respond to a compliment.  Someone likes your blouse, your shoes or your hair.  How do you respond?  With a "Thank You," or "Oh, this old thing?"

It is the same with our goals.  If we are not open to receiving them, then our goal will feel unwelcome and move on.  We must be open and aware to receiving our goals when they come to us, regardless of how they come to us.

And believe it or not, there are so many things we do subconsciously to keep our goals from reaching us!  Amanda shines a light on these "monsters" and helps us deal with all the things we keep in the closet that keep us from our dreams.

The Power of Receiving will help you learn with simple exercises designed to teach the act of receiving.  While you are charting out your New Year's Resolutions, be sure to add this book to your wish list.  It will help you achieve your goals this year and beyond!

Visit Amanda on the web to learn more about this exciting book!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"Killer Recipes" raises money for Cancer Research

Hi Friends,


Do you like to cook? Are you always on the hunt for new and delicious recipes? If so, I have great news for you. Killer Recipes is a combined effort of writers of Mystery, Murder & Mayhem around the world who’ve come together in support for the American Cancer Society. We have all been touched by this dreaded disease and it's a wonderful feeling being able to contribute toward its cure. I do hope you will consider joining us in our effort to help find a cure or to help those suffering from cancer.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Author Catherine Chisnall releases "Descending"


Today I bring you an interview with author Catherine Chisnall who shares with us her newest release "Descending."

Welcome Catherine!  Tell us a little about you and your background.
I was born in the Midlands of England and now live with my husband and child in the South. I have had a varied career working in banks, libraries, charities and for the last 10 years, secondary and further education.

I am now a full time mum after trying for a few years to ‘job share’ with my husband (we both worked outside the home part time and looked after our daughter part time). That was exhausting, it turns out it is easier for one partner to be full time parent and one partner to be full time career worker. So I also have time to write while at home, which is wonderful.

For many years, I ignored the desire to write, thinking it wasn’t a valid career but can’t ignore it anymore. I have had several factual articles published and this has given me the confidence to publish some of my fiction.

My articles: http://www.wikinut.com/author~whmd/CatherineC/


What is your story about?

My story is called Descending, it is about inappropriate relationships. I have realized over my life that relationships are never straightforward, they often do not fit into conventional categories. The synopsis is:

Emily is a lonely, disillusioned, teaching assistant at a college of Further Education (for over 16 year olds). Jamie is a neglected, unpredictable student. Trapped together in a falling lift, wherever will this lead? Told from Emily's point of view, this story explores the ambiguity of relationships between staff and students, and reflects on who is actually in control.

How did this story come to you?

It was a combination of things really: news stories, gossip, my own observations. Years ago, I watched documentary about a teacher and 15 year old boy- a black and white situation because she was obviously in the wrong. But I wondered what sort of person she was to get involved with him: she seemed lonely, misguided, unwise. It's an occupational hazard for female staff to be propositioned by boys: most just laugh it off, so why did she succumb?

What compelled you to write it?

There are loads of stories about teachers having relationships with students, but I wondered what about learning support assistants?

They are more likely to cross the boundary with students because they sit amongst them. It's their job to develop supportive relationships with them, so some are bound to go astray. Teachers are removed, in control at the head of the class, so I think they are less likely to get involved.

I've heard of learning support assistants having difficulty working with older boys because they're attracted to them. I've observed young learning support assistants being flattered by boys flirting with them. So a relationship could quite easily start. It's a very grey area. Especially if the boy was over 16, but under 18, which is why I made Jamie seventeen.

I wanted to explore what would really happen if this sort of relationship actually took place. It wouldn’t be all hearts and flowers and happily ever after, would it?

I also wanted to set the story in a post 16 environment. In schools, you can go to the head of year and they will tell the boys off if they act inappropriately. But in post 16 colleges there is less of a ‘chain of command’, so if staff are harassed, they could be unsure where to turn.

Who is your favorite character?

Probably Jamie because I can sympathise more with him. He has a terrible life, he just wants a break from it. I don’t condemn Emily really, she is a lost, misguided and lonely woman who in turn wants a break from that.

What was your favorite scene to write?

The scene where Emily and Jamie go to the gay club and get found out by some other college students. I found that scene quite funny as it shows how homophobic and immature Jamie is, plus there is the air of danger as now their affair is becoming public knowledge.

How long did it take you to write the story?

About one month. It was a dark, cold winter and I was feeling bleak and as if I had nothing to look forward to in life. So I wrote a bleak and cold story. Its not long, it’s a novella, so its not like I’m a high speed writer however.

What has the reaction been to the controversial aspects of your story?

I can honestly say I've had a different reaction from every reader, which is better than I‘d hoped for.

I've had:

'Emily is wrong, she should go to prison.'

'But who is abusing who here? Isn't it mutual?'

'What an unlikely, boring story.'

‘I was rooting for them all the way through.’

Some have said Jamie is smooth and knows exactly what he's doing.

Some have said Emily is a horrible person with no redeeming features.

I suppose the majority of readers have felt sorry for Emily, however, and related to her situation. I don't mean they want to have affairs with 17 year olds! But she seems to be a character that women, especially, can sympathise with. I didn't expect that. I thought everyone would say she was wrong and should go to prison.


When was it released?
July 2010.



How is it available?

Print and e-book.



Where can we find it?

Descending is available on Amazon, Smashwords (and all its distribution channels) and Createspace.


What was your publishing experience like?
 I sent a couple of query letters and emails to mainstream publishers but heard nothing. Then I decided to put Descending onto one of the online critiquing sites.

I chose Authonomy, and although I didn’t get to the Editors Desk, I got incredibly useful constructive criticism. I then put it on Slushpile Reader and Night Reading. Both sites promise that the most popular books will be published.

Night Reading is the social arm of the company Night Publishing and holds a monthly competition where the most popular books are voted on and the winner gets published.

I didn’t win the monthly competition, but luckily the Night Publishing editors also decide which books they would personally like to publish. And Descending was chosen!

So Night Publishing paid for publishing via Createspace.

Would I have done it differently? Well I haven’t had any money from the books yet, but I wouldn’t do it differently because I am so happy to have some published books and be a published author. I have had mainly good reviews, so that is very satisfying.


Where we can we find you online
www.catherinechisnall.co.uk (my blog)

I am searchable as Catherinewrites on Twitter

Do you have upcoming publicity events you'd like to share?
The sequel to ‘Descending’ has just been published by Night Publishing. It is called ‘Surfacing’ and is the further adventures of Emily and Jamie, bringing their story to a conclusion. So many people said ‘aw, poor Emily, what happens to her next?’ that I wrote a sequel. I am amazed that she gained so much sympathy from readers, I didn’t expect it.

‘Surfacing’ is available in the same places as ‘Descending’ i.e. Amazon, Smashwords and all its distribution channels, Createspace.

My publisher also decided to put ‘Descending’ and ‘Surfacing’ in a compendium, conveniently called ‘Descending Surfacing’. This is also available from the same places.

Congratulations Catherine!  And thank you so much for stopping by Page Readers to share your story.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Keeping in Touch: Feed Burner or Feed Blitz?

Hello to all my wonderful authors, guests, fans and followers!

As with anything that happens on the web, change is inevitable.  Same goes for Page Readers.

I've been doing a lot of research into the best way to get the word out, keep you informed and of course, promote the authors who honor me with their appearance on Page Readers.

For some time now I've been using Feed Blitz to send out weekly blog updates to everyone who subscribes.  In some ways it has worked well, in others not so well.

During the course of my reading and research to keep up with the changes that seem to occur daily online, I've read that Feed Burner is a better way to go. 

The point of this post?  I would love to get some feed back from any of you who use Feed Blitz or Feed Burner to promote your sites.  What do you use? What do you like, and what don't you like, about either of them?

Do you like getting the once a week update, or would you prefer to get updates sent to your RSS Reader as they happen?

I welcome your emails and/or comments left here on the blog.  Comments could help others with their own RSS/Promotion issues.  If you have done your own research, please share!  I also welcome links to other information out there - books, articles other blogs!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Robert C David, The Undaunted Life

So many books have been written on the subject of building a successful life, perseverance and determination, but none tell the story like Bob David in “The Undaunted Life.”

Mr. David points out the important, teaches us to let go of the unimportant and tells touching stories of his own journey along the way.

The best part of this book is that it is fun to read. Because of Mr. David’s ability to talk to the reader in an intimate way, the information is easily absorbed, understood and put to use in everyday life.

You don’t need to be in the financial industry as Mr. David was to enjoy the book, or learn from it. The tips are more than tips, they’re steps to help anyone to create habits that will lead to success in any area of one’s life to which they are applied.

This is a book that I will recommend to many people around me. From the stay at home mom raising the future leaders of life, to the business professionals seeking to raise their level of success, this book is a must read.

Visit Mr. David on line at http://bobdavidlive.com/

And to see Mr. David in action as "Bob as Bill" watch this video.  Pretty cool stuff!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Savings offered by author Mark McGinty for his book "The Cigar Maker"

Mark McGinty joined me on Page Readers a few months ago to talk about his novel "The Cigar Maker."

Today he sent me an email offering this Holiday Special:

From now until Christmas “The Cigar Maker” by Mark McGinty is 30% off at the official site. Makes a great gift for the book lover, history buff or cigar smoker in your life!! http://www.thecigarmaker.net/store.php 10% of the proceeds will be donated to the United Way.

I hope you all stop by his website and support this fabulous author!

Aggie Villanueva author of "The Rewritten Word"

Hi everyone!  I have something a little different for you all this time, a Video Interview.  Isn't technology wonderful?

My good friend and best selling author, Aggie Villanueva has written a how to book about an all important part of writing, rewriting.  In "The Rewritten Word," Aggie explains the importance of rewriting what you've created.

I hope you like the video!  And if you've like to do a video interview for Page Readers, send me an email.  I'd love to host your smiling face on the blog!

Here you go:


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Liliana Badd discusses "EXIT"

Author Liliana Badd joined me on Page Readers to discuss her novel, "EXIT."

Interviews with authors like Liliana Badd are what make doing Page Readers so much fun.

Lilana is not just an author. She is more than a survivor.  She is someone who lives life with passion and compassion, never giving up no matter the circumstances and sees the silver lining in every cloud. 

Her book "EXIT" is one of her many accomplishments in life.  She dreamed of becoming an author like so many other do, but she has done it, and done it with passion.

Visit Liliana on the web at http://exitlilianabadd.com/

Nancy Lynn Jarvis author of "Buying Murder"

Author Nancy Lynn Jarvis stopped by Page Readers to discuss her latest work "Buying Murder."

The real estate market is a mess. What’s a Realtor® to do? One twenty year veteran of the industry, Nancy Lynn Jarvis, is writing murder mysteries set in Santa Cruz County instead of selling houses.“Real estate is an interesting business,” the author says. “The stress level involved in buying or selling a home ranks right after death and divorce. People reveal a lot about themselves during the process. The business attracts its share of colorful practitioners, too.” Their stories and Nancy’s experiences provide the settings where her realtor and part-time sleuth, Regan McHenry, works while she unravels mysteries. Find her online at http://www.goodreadmysteries.com/
Nancy is one of those people who did something she dreamed of doing after someone told her she couldn't possibly succeed at it.  I love that kind of spirit!  Taking on that challenge has paid off in so many ways too.  Not only does she write wicked murder mysteries, she's reading them to a seniors group who hang on every word!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Guest Post by Johnny Tan, host of BTR show From My Mama's Kitchen

This is a wonderful Holiday piece written by author and Blog Talk Radio show host Johnny Tan. 



Some of us already realize this, and others will experience it for the first time: The kitchen will be the most important room in the house in the coming weeks.


Regardless of whether it is a modern-day designer’s kitchen or just one of the so-called “timeless” efficiency kitchens, it is time for it to claim center stage, as it will serve as the hub for the transformational loving energy that will bind families and friends alike during this holiday season.
Known as the heart of any home, the kitchen is the place that will serve as a wonderful backdrop where you will always find an abundance of joy and laughter from family and friends reminiscing and sharing meaningful communication, from knowledge gained to lessons learned.

As you already know, you do not have to know how to cook to be drawn into the kitchen as your five senses will eventually draw you straight toward it once the mouth-watering aromas start to fill the air.

My late Southern Belle mom, Eleanora, once eloquently described to me that being in the kitchen is like being a mother; it is about creating something special. It requires patience, a happy attitude, and a touch of love. It is the perfect blending of all these ingredients that ultimately produces a signature dish.

Since we now live in a global village, with the lifestyle to match, where families can only get together during special occasions, the holiday seasons have become more meaningful than ever. Although there are many of us who are fortunate to have a family to spend the holidays with, there are those of us who are less fortunate due to various reasons. We are the ones that, over the years, are able to find home from within our own hearts. Then, there are those among us who are fortunate to have the opportunity to experience the family holiday spirit thanks to the generosity of our friends.

Whatever the situation may be for you, if we can all take a moment to be mindful, perhaps we can truly experience the true holiday spirit as it is meant to be experienced.
For mothers — They cannot wait to have the family back home together to break bread with.

For children — Believe it or not, your mom will always be more excited to see you than you are to see her.

For singles — For those who are fortunate to have the generosity of a friend’s invitation to be with their family, be very thankful for the love you are receiving.

For those who will be by themselves — Always remember that you are never alone. Home is where the heart is, and be very thankful that you have made it this far. Happiness and glee are always generated and experienced from within.

For the families who will be celebrating this holiday season together with their loved ones — I would like to share with you what my Cajun mom, Ginger, told me a long time ago: “The natural life can always be funny and humorous. The most ordinary events usually end up being the sweetest memories. Being present during the small moments will always make us appreciate the happiness when it happens.”

For the families and individuals who have graciously opened their hearts and homes, and to those who are contemplating doing so — I would like to share with you what my German mom, Dianne, told me a few years back: “Every once in a while, a situation may occur that requires us to radiate our energy of positive goodwill, compassion, and love for others. Until we try to put ourselves beyond our comfort zone, we will not realize we have what it takes to make a difference in that person’s life and in ours.”

For those of us who will be spending this holiday season by ourselves – I would like to share with you what my Malaysian mom, Nyah, told me just before I left home to come to the United States: “Since childhood, you have been and will continue to be exposed to all kinds of experiences. Some experiences, good or bad, will stay with you for the rest of your life. However, it is how you manage them that will ultimately determine your idea of success and happiness, or failure and sadness, in your life. Always remember you are never alone, and although food may fill your tummy and the camaraderie of friends gives you a sense of belonging, it is the loving energy you generate from within you that will nourish your mind, body, and soul. This spiritual grounding is what will ultimately touch the heart and move the soul of others.”

Finally, here is my wish to everyone during this holiday season:

Health — makes all things possible.

Wealth — makes all things work.

Love – makes all things beautiful.

May you have all three.

Johnny Tan

Leadership Speaker
Talk Show Host: FMMKTalkRadio
Award-Winning Author: From My Mama’s Kitchen-”food for the soul, recipes for living”
(Mom’s Choice Awards® Gold Recipient – Inspirational/Motivational)

Thank you Johnny for sharing your work with the Page Readers audience. 

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Debra Christenson author of "Hairy Harry"

Children's author Debra Christenson joined me on Page Readers to discuss her book "Hairy Harry."

Debra is not only a gifted story teller, she is also a very talented artist, having done all the artwork for her book "Hairy Harry." 

Stop by her website to see the wonderful drawings she's done for this book.  And be sure to check out her Kids Pages.  There you'll find several wonderful games to play with the younger kids in your life.  Great stuff!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Richard Buzzell author of "ZombieStop Parade"

Fun interview with Richard Buzzell author of ZombieStop Parade on Page Readers.

Richard Buzzell has an interesting sense of humor.  While we did talk about his latest book "Zombie Stop Parade," he also talked about a guest post he did for Joylene Butler on her blog, giving his take on a "Jersey Shore."  Funny stuff!

Back to his book.  ZombieStop Parade is written in diary form, which gave him a lot of room to write in a less formal style to tell his story.  I enjoyed how easy this was to read.  It's a short novella (164 pages on my iPad) and a good story, so I was able to get through it in a little more than an hour. 

During our talk on Page Readers, Richard said he wasn't working on anything new, yet.  I hope he gets back to more story telling, he's definitely got a talent for it! 

Visit him online at www.zombiestop.com

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Kathryn Rose author of "The Parent's Guide to Facebook"

Kathryn Rose joined me today on Page Readers to discuss her latest book "The Parent's Guide to Facebook."

Face it, everyone is on Facebook.  If they're not, they're thinking about it.  And if you are, you need to know how to guard your personal information and that of your children.

In her easy to follow, understand and more importantly - put into use, guide to Facebook, Kathryn gives us the information we need to protect ourselves and our kids from the unknown that lurks beyond our computer screens.

There is so much we don't know, and so much we just assume to be normal or even mandatory.  Just because there is an empty box waiting to be filled with your phone number or email address, doesn't mean we have to turn over that information.  Be careful of what you share!

Read through the privacy settings on your account, and your kids accounts.  It really is an eye opener when you begin to see all the little boxes that are automatically checked for you, that gives out your information because you didn't read the instructions!

The game and rules are always changing, so as a player you've got to know what's happening or before you know it you'll be out of the game, and possibly so much more.  Get Kathryn's book NOW, get and stay informed!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cori Jones author of Hanging Wasp

Cori Jones joined me on Page Readers to discuss her yet unpublished novel "Hanging Wasp."

This is one book I can't wait to read.  Cori has an obvious love for "the dark side" of story telling, mixed together with her background of being a teacher and all the craziness that goes on in the world of academics. 

After listening to Cori introduce her characters, giving us a little background about each one of them and a bit about the part each one of them plays in her story - okay, that alone had me hooked. 

But wait until you hear her read from her story, a couple of emails sent out by one of her twisted characters - too funny!

Visit Cori on the web at her schools site www.raritanval.edu.  She's going to be doing a Podcast soon, which will be a lot of fun.  And she promised to get working on her own site so we can keep up with her journey of getting her book published. 

What do you think - should she continue searching for a traditional publisher or go the self-published route? I'm curious to hear what you writers have to say about that!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Today my guest is author Peter Clement, who is going to tell us about his latest book, "The Darkness Drops." 

Welcome Peter!

First a little about Peter - 

I’ve always been fascinated by story telling, especially when my imagination is free to provide the visual narrative. Novels, radio plays, audio books—these have played a role in my life since I was a boy. Ours was a home without TV, and I spent summers with extended family in a small town where the aural tradition was strong, and weaving a good yarn was an art form. As I grew older, the books ranged from science fiction to thrillers to classics to contemporary literature. Anything good that took me away to an exciting new reality could capture me for days, and I’ve never lost that love. In my case, much later in life, it morphed into a love of telling my own stories. One of the truisms I often hear quoted is you can’t be a writer without having been a reader. The ironic reality of becoming a writer is that, while creating my own stories, I must refrain from reading other novels, or I start imitating the author’s style. Editors can tell. Out would come their red pen and they’d not only slash away the offending pieces, but identify the source. “Reading Chandler again!” “Leave Nabakov to Nabakov!” “Too much Lehane!”


Besides writing, I practice medicine. I spent over two decades working as an emergency physician and family doctor in an urban hospital at a major teaching center. I now divide my time between writing and private practice. While I always guard patient confidentiality, those ER years infuse my novels with an insider’s take on the world of medicine.


The Darkness Drops has been described as a “taught, richly-plotted thriller.” How does it differ from your previous Earl Garnet and Richard Steele series for which you have also received very high praise, and without giving too much away, might you give us a taste of what’s in store for the reader?

The Darkness Drops takes the reader outside the hospital into the murky world of bio terror prevention and secret laboratories where doctors are already venturing well beyond the cutting edge of known science.

The story begins in the morgue at an isolated Siberian hospital during the last days of the Soviet Union two decades ago. A clandestine autopsy is underway, and a young physician, Anna Katasova, keeps watch for intruders while her husband, Yuri Raskin, does the cutting. We jump twenty years ahead to present times, and through the eyes of Terry Ryder, the President’s Chief Advisor On Bio terror Preparedness, experience the emergence of a mystery illness that sweeps the globe in a matter of days. His instincts—what he calls his Eureka circuits-- make an intuitive leap. “It’s an attack, stupid!” Health organizations from around the planet scramble to mount a coordinated effort that they hope will penetrate the secrets of this disease entity and determine its source, but traditional scientific method, even if it moves with the speed of light, won’t provide answers fast enough to stop this outbreak. Already attempts to treat ever-increasing numbers of victims have overwhelmed existing medical resources. The only timely solution rests in finding who is responsible, then making them reveal the causative agent and how to destroy it. But where to start? Terry’s desperate race to find answers reaches into the realm of rogue scientists, arms merchants, and events of his own past, including a former love affair with Anna Katasova, until he must question even his own innocence.

How did this story come to you?

My inspiration for The Darkness Drops arose from two separate conversations.

The initial one involved two physicians from Russia who had witnessed, and survived, the first and only known leak of anthrax from a bio weapons facility in the former USSR. Their account fascinated me, and set the back-story for Anna and Yuri.

The second developed from a restaurant dinner I attended with a group of doctors who were experts in bio terror preparedness. It soon became evident that they did exactly what a writer of thrillers must do--namely, put themselves inside the mind of a fiend, and dream. I don’t remember what we ate, but all the other diners within earshot began to talk in hushed tones and study us most warily. I came away wondering how any of us would sleep that night. Yet what fascinated me more than the plots they hatched were the people themselves, all of them veterans of drops into hot-zones and level-four virology lab work with the most deadly organisms on earth. How do you walk home and kiss your kids goodnight knowing that one slip-up in a protective protocol might expose them to hemorrhagic fevers or fatal toxins? Worse, after listening to some of the scenarios they cooked up involving bio engineered organisms, I began to wonder how I’d respond in ER if confronted by a mystery outbreak for which known treatments do not exist. Once started down that path, I had the beginnings of a story I couldn’t get out of my head, and Terry Ryder was born.

What compelled you to write The Darkness Drops?

I had to. Once the story began to present itself, Terry, Anna, and Yuri were so compelling I had no choice but to let them come alive. Part of the allure had to do with the opportunity to take these characters through the complexity and subtlety of transformation that can occur over the better part of a lifetime. As a writer, I found this challenge irresistible.

Who is your favorite character?

Many of the people involved in the development of emergency countermeasures to a biological attack are emergency physicians. Terry Ryder is one such man. What makes him exceptional is his ability to think visually and actually see disease patterns the way a master chess player can read a board twelve steps ahead of his opponent. This allows him to foretell possible risks way ahead of anyone else. In ER this ability is a gift that makes him a miracle worker. In the world of bio terror, it is a curse that summons up nightmares. The cost to his personal life and the women he’s loved is particularly heavy. Nevertheless, it also affords him an advantage over those who would weaponize microbes, an edge that is indispensable in a world where arms merchants peddle such means of mass murder to any group with a VISA card, and he remains a reluctantly ruthless warrior against such unthinkable horrors.

What was your favorite scene to write?

I loved creating a pivotal moment where Terry’s special imagination lets him, and readers, peer into the visually stunning works of our cells on a molecular level never before accessible. There I let my own very visual imagination rip.

How long did it take you to write the story?

I knew going in that it would be my most complex novel to date and would require more time than anything I’d attempted previously. It took me three years before I had a draft that was at all presentable, and then another year of editing, cutting and shading until it was finished in its final polished state.


When was it released?

June 2010 as an e-book exclusive in all formats at belgravehouse.com and fictionwise.com. It was released on Amazon Kindle in August of 2010, and will soon be available at the Apple store.

How is it available?

It is available in multiple formats for all electronic readers:

1. At Belgravehouse.com: PDF-MSReader-Mobipocket-ePub-Palm-HTML-Word-RTF-Rocket-Hiebook

2. At Amazon.com: Kindle

3. At Fictionwise.com: eReader [-er.PDB] 
ePub [.EPUB] 
Adobe [.PDF] 
Microsoft [.LIT] 
Palm Doc [.PDB] 
Rocket/REB1100 [.RB] 
Franklin [.FUB] 
Hiebook [.KML] 
Sony Reader [.LRF] 
Isilo [-is.PDB] 
Mobipocket [.PRC] 
Kindle [.MOBI] 
OEBFF Full VGA [.IMP] 
OEBFF Half VGA [.IMP]

4. And in the very near future, perhaps even by the time of this posting, the Apple Store for users of the iPad and iPhone.


Publishing experience- you are a best selling author with eight novels to your credit, and have been highly praised for your work by many reviewers and other well-known authors. Yet the Darkness Drops is an e-book exclusive. Tell us about this experience, and any words of wisdom you might have for writers.

I hesitate to offer any words of wisdom, as the publishing world is changing so fast, as is my relationship to it, through the advent of electronic books. In my case it is too soon to draw any worthwhile conclusions. However, a few weeks ago I was asked a similar question, and had a few thoughts that some writers found helpful.

Back when I wrote my first novel it was as difficult to find an agent as to get published. These days, what with the fall-off in sales of traditional publishing, the task is even harder. And with these new realities, as writers, published and unpublished, I think we are all struggling to make our stories available to readers. I think growth for the industry lies in e-books, and, with the emergence of reputable and discriminating e-book publishers who deal directly with authors, thereby bypassing the need for an agent, new writers and established writers alike have another route to follow. If a book does well, the agents, and traditional publishers will find you, though for an unknown writer that is still a thousand to one long shot. Still, even with limited exposure, this venue offers a chance to be read, and that, for some, may be preferable to not being read at all. Please note this is not the same thing as self-publishing, as it still necessitates winning a publisher’s approval, and involves a contract in which the publisher agrees to do the work of formatting the book, placing it with the various on-line distribution outlets at no up-front cost to the author and paying the author a royalty based on sales. However there are some drawbacks compared to conventional houses. For example we all need editors, and as far as I know, most e-book publishers don’t provide this service. That was the case at Belgrave House with The Darkness Drops, but I still work with my former editor at Ballantine, and we’d gotten the book into its best possible shape before I submitted it, so for me that was not a problem. Nor need it be with other writers. With all the cutbacks at the big houses, there are excellent experienced editors who now work freelance, and some authors may find that an option. E-book publishers also do not provide publicity in the way traditional publishers might. There again, I had a bit of an advantage having already published seven novels, so hopefully The Darkness Drops will attract existing fans as well as new readers. However, all writers, novices and pros alike, are turning to social networking as an efficient way to increase exposure. Social-networking mavens tell me that current research indicates more people trust online reviews and recommendations than they would commercial advertising. Of course I wouldn’t knock the power of TV adds on Larry King and CNN or radio adds on NPR, all of which I’ve been fortunate enough to benefit from in my early years with Ballantine, but that doesn’t happen today unless you are already a mega seller. Instead, even the big houses are directing their authors toward the potential to attract readers through blogging and Twitter as tools with an as-of-yet untested upside. Obvious advantages to e-book publishing include such factors as a far better royalty and a lower priced, more competitive product to generate higher sales. But what most lured me to this route for The Darkness Drops was that the process granted me the absolute freedom to write the book I wanted and liberated me from all deadlines but my own. I knew going in that The Darkness Drops would be my most ambitious work to date and was on a scale in terms of multiple characters and points of view that I had not yet attempted. It was definitely going to take longer to get it right than any of my other novels, and I was hungry for the challenge. I set to it with no one but myself keeping me at the keyboard. As a physician, I’m used to disciplining my time, and this story had its own urgency to be told. The resulting process was a wonderfully creative three years. Then came the far more efficient turnaround time from my handing in a completed manuscript to the release date, namely two weeks compared to the two years that I was told I’d be in the cue waiting for a paper copy to hit the stands through a traditional publisher. As one editor at a major house warned me, “It’s a buyer’s market. We can pick and choose the authors we wish to publish, and our list is set for the next twenty-four months.” But in the end, what’s most important to me as an author is to be read. If the initial e-book route succeeds, hopefully The Darkness Drops will also be released in paper, the form many readers still prefer. I would also predict that this will be a trend for most traditional houses, putting a book out first as an electronic edition, then following it up with the paper version if initial sales and responses indicate there is sufficient interest. This approach ought to help more struggling writers get in the door. So my final advice to other authors would be, keep your options open. An advantage with a publisher like Belgrade House is that they don’t lock an author in, and after six months all rights revert to the writer. In other words, after six months of sales, I’m free to invite any publishers interested in acquiring all digital and print rights for The Darkness Drops to make contact with me through my webpage. Though such generous terms may not be the norm elsewhere, and most of us would sign away our own mothers to get our first book in print, I strongly caution novice writers to check out any contract with a lawyer. Overall, one publisher likened the e-book phenomenon to that of pioneers setting out for the west back in wagon train times, loaded with their hopes and dreams, their futures uncertain. For myself the process is still an experiment and it remains to be seen how this all works out. I can say sales of The Darkness Drops are keeping abreast of the e-book versions of my previous books published through Ballantine and, in some cases, exceed them. That means the story is bopping around in the top 10% of rankings at Amazon, and for at least a few minutes from time to time, tests its top 1% tier. And though it’s early days, month over month the numbers are improving. At Amazon UK, it is doing about the same. I also note that sales for every one of my electronic books formerly published by Ballantine are beginning to grow year over year. This increase is probably a reflection of how the many new types of electronic readers are becoming ever more popular and creating a demand for fiction of all sorts. My conclusions? In the digital world, at this moment in time, the future looks modestly positive for new and former works. One thing is certain for all writers. Whether our stories thrive or fall into obscurity, be they in paper or e-book formats, it’s the readers who will decide.

Where we can we find you online?

Peterclementbooks.com This site links with all my books, where they can be found, my Twitter page, an e-mail contact where I welcome your comments plus offer replies, and much more. Please feel free to visit, and I hope you will enjoy my stories.


Thank you Peter for stopping by Page Readers and sharing your book with us!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Janice Clark author of "The Door In The Sky"

Janice Clark first appeared on Page Readers to talk about her book Mountains of the Moon. Today she joins us to discuss her latest book, The Door in the Sky.


First Janice, tell us a little about you.

I grew up in a house full of books; I was reading before I started kindergarten. I savored the sounds of words and their wonderful shades of meaning. When a teacher told me I was a poet, I gladly accepted that label. I’ve written, or attempted to write, most of my life. Of course, the necessity of earning a living led to many jobs, most of which involved numbers more than words. I did a lot of data processing, was a draftsman, and spent nearly thirty years detailing and estimating rebar (reinforcing steel). Now that I’m retired, I have more time to play with words, when I’m not baking cookies, playing with grandchildren, or chasing deer out of the garden.

What is your story about?

The Door in the Sky is the second book in my Hall of Doors fantasy series for children. Sammy returns up the moonbeam path, where she’s off on a roller-coaster dragon ride, then has to summon all her courage help Princess Selena open a spellbound treasure box. Solving Selena’s problem gives Sammy the key to dealing with her own situation.

How did this story come to you?

In book one (The Mountains of the Moon), Sammy followed her cat, Princess Buttermilk Biscuit, up a moonbeam to a magical world. In Princess Selena’s castle she encountered the hall of doors—magical portals that connect to many places. I was so delighted with artist JW Kalin’s painting for the cover of book one, that I had to send Sammy and Selena out that door in book two. So how do you get down from a door in the sky? By dragon, of course. The rest of the story just grew. I tend to start in the middle, then ask myself “how did we get to this point, and what happens next?”

What compelled you to write it?

Besides the magical adventure, this is a story about dealing with fear. I think we all have hidden fears, and sometimes the fear of being embarrassed or exposed to ridicule is worse than any fear of physical danger. There’s a lot of me in Sammy, and I wanted to share what I have learned. Courage isn’t absence of fear; it’s doing what has to be done in spite of fear. There are coping mechanisms that help, but sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and “do it scared.”

Who is your favorite character?

Sammy’s always my favorite, but I really liked Kalindra the dragon in this story. She doesn’t have much to say in the main story, but I gave her a bigger part in the “extra scene” which, like all the extra features, will be posted on my website.

What was your favorite scene to write?

That’s a difficult question. I think maybe the part with the spell-bound box, because there’s a bit of suspense there, plus I tried to make the box really scary.

How long did it take you to write the story?

I don’t keep track, and I’m usually working on several things at once. It was sort of simmering in the back of my mind as we went through the process of moving, buying a house, moving again, and all the complications that went with that. Actual writing time, including getting critiques and rewriting, was probably a few months.

When was it released?

Orchard House Press says the book was released in April 2010, a year after they initially planned to release it. However, they haven’t yet updated the pre-release information on Amazon or on their own website. I first received books in September 2010.

How is it available?

The book is in print. It’s an early reader chapter book, a transition between the picture book and regular chapter books. It has short, easy-to-read chapters, with a black and white illustration for each chapter.

Where can we find it online, or if print, where?

At the moment, it’s only available from me. The publisher tells me they’ll be doing Amazon updates soon, and their website is going offline for a couple of weeks for a major overhaul. I’ve put purchasing information on my website. I’ll probably donate a few copies to local schools and libraries, as I did with The Mountains of the Moon.

Tell us about your Publishing experience.

This series has not been a text-book experience. I sold the first book to Orchard House Press (then called Windstorm Creative) at a “pitch-it” session at a science fiction convention. Out of that came a contractual obligation to give them first chance at subsequent books in the series. So the four books I’ve completed so far have never been submitted anywhere else. I have made lots of submittals of other writing to various agents and publishers and continue to do so.

With OHP, like most small presses, suffering heavily in the economic downturn, it’s been difficult to get books in a timely fashion. I like my publishers and admire their vision, but I’m considering self-publishing (POD) for a picture book that JW Kalin and I just finished.

Where we can we find you online, include your website, facebook, twitter or anywhere else you reside online.

Website http://www.janiceclark.net/

Blog http://www.teawiththeblackdragon.blogspot.com/

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Teekawriter

I’m also on My Space and Live Journal, and probably several other places I’ve forgotten, but almost never go there. Too much social networking eats into writing time.

Any words of wisdom for our readers?

Read a lot, write a lot, and find a writers’ group where you can get unbiased feedback. Local face-to-face groups are great. Critters (www.critique.org) is a wonderful online workshop with lots of writing resources. They’ve mainly focused on fantasy, science fiction and horror, but they’re adding other genres now. I’ve learned a lot from dissecting other people’s writing to determine what worked and what didn’t. Don’t be afraid to have your own work critiqued. There are no bad critiques, even if you totally disagree with what’s said. It still tells you how one person reacted to your work, and that’s valuable information. Be tactful in critiquing others.

Research before you submit. Be sure to follow all the publisher’s guidelines. Then tell yourself it’s just practice. Rejections are part of the business. It’s not a personal thing. It just means they didn’t need this piece of writing at the moment, for a great many reasons that may have nothing to do with the quality of the work. Put on your clerk’s hat and send it out again.

Some fun/exciting things about being an author:

…Handing out bookmarks and talking to kids in restaurants and stores (with parent’s permission of course) and having people get excited because they met a “real author”

…Signing books at craft sales and other sales venues

…Getting to talk to kids (and sometimes adults) about writing and encouraging them to be creative

…Having someone tell you that something you wrote touched them personally.

Thank you Janice for stopping by Page Readers again!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Betty Auchard author of "The Home for the Friendless"

Author Betty Auchard discusses her latest book "The Home for the Friendless" on Page Readers.

What a fun interview.  At 80 years old, Betty Auchard talks of being an actress, "when she grows up."

Her first book "Dancing in my Nightgown" was written as her way of dealing with the loss of her husband Denny.  "The Home for the Friendless" is a collection of stories from her childhood, growing up during the depression with parents who had their own troubles.

While the title of the book may sound like it holds a scary story inside, really the book is full of funny, thoughtful and sometimes sad memories from Betty's life.

Visit Betty on the web at www.bettyauchard.com

Monday, November 1, 2010

Guest Blog by author Cheryl Snell on Boosting Creativity

Today my guest, author Cheryl Snell shares her insights on boosting creativity.  Thank you Cheryl for some great words of wisdom. I hope all my readers are able to learn a little something new!


Seven Ways to Boost Creativity

by Cheryl Snell


After the obvious—caffeine— I can offer a few personal techniques that keep me writing:

1.  Don’t vamp for time: there is no perfect clutch of hours in which to write. Establish a schedule and stick to it. "Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work," Flaubert told us. A corollary to this might be, “Don’t wait around for inspiration to strike. It’ll only hit you when you’re at your desk.”

2.  If I didn’t believe that writer’s block was a hoax, I’d break it by switching genres. When I was composing my novel Shiva’s Arms, I’d work on it until I stalled, then switch to Samsara, the poetry collection I was making at the same time. Similar themes (cultural identity, the meaning of home, metaphysical conflations of mortal and immortal) in both works made the overlap easy, and added a layered richness to each. And I never suffered whiplash.

3. Read widely and deeply. If you can take classes or workshops that are slightly over your head, do so. If not, when you read a novel, Flaubert’s Sentimental Education, for example, also read criticism on the same book. In this case, I’d choose Pierre Bourdieu’s Rules of Art.

4. Stay connected to your work. I carry a small notepad with me everywhere and let my mind wander to my work-in-progress while I’m doing other things. Joyce Carol Oates once said that housework helped her concentrate. Repetitive movement loosens thinking. Remember how your little nephew would spill all the family business the moment you put him on a swing? Resting my case…

5. Let your routines and rituals assist you. As soon as they stop helping, change them. Fickleness is its own reward! When I was younger I’d write after the house had been put to bed, when everything was quiet. I insisted I could think better surrounded by the dark. Now I do better with shorter writing stints throughout the day, the sunnier the better.

6. Utilize psychological distance. When you change your way of thinking about a character in concrete terms to abstract ones, new connections occur. You might develop empathy for an unlikeable character, and drive your story in a new direction, for instance. This happened to me with the mother-in-law, Amma, in Shiva’s Arms.

7. At the end of the day, leave yourself hanging. If I stop writing in mid-sentence, I’m encouraged to plunge in at that spot the following day. No checking e-mail or fiddling with the lamp. Just me and the words, wrestling again.

About Cheryl : Cheryl Snell's books include fiction and poetry. Published widely online and in print, she won the Lopside Press competition for Prisoner's Dilemma, and has had work included in the Best of the Net Anthology. A multiple Pushcart Prize nominee, Cheryl collaborates frequently with her sister, the artist Janet Snell.

Her work is available on Amazon, click here to learn more!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Jessica Riggles author of "Four Thousand Miles"

Author Jessica Riggles stopped by to answer questions about her latest book "Four Thousand Miles."

Welcome to Page Readers Jessica!  Start us off by telling us a little about you!


I was born and raised in the Mississippi River town of Dubuque, Iowa. I had a lower middle-class upbringing. Money was tight, but I was generally happy. I was active in the school choir and had lots of friends. I graduated high school a year early. I would have liked to have gone away for college, but I was young and not ready to leave home. So I went to college in Dubuque, graduating from Loras College with degrees in Literature and Creative Writing.

While in college, I obtained an insurance license and worked for a local Allstate agent. When I graduated from college, I didn’t have many options as far as employment with my major. I didn’t want to teach and by that point, I was married and unable to run off to the New York publishing world. So, I landed in insurance. I still dabble in it today, although only part-time to accommodate my writing schedule. I’m also in grad school working on an MBA. Not sure what I’m going to do with it yet, but I find business interesting. I guess you could say I am happiest when I am learning something new.

What is your story about?

My novel, Four Thousand Miles, combines my love of travel, my weakness for a good love story and my impulsive nature all into one story. The main character is Natalie Spencer, a married, career-minded woman in Milwaukee. When she loses both her career and her marriage in the space of one terrible morning, all she can think about is getting away, putting distance between herself and her problems. On impulse, she gets on a plane to London, England—a place she has never been to, knows no one and completely unprepared for. There, she meets a reclusive songwriter who invites her into his family. As Natalie recovers from her emotional trauma, she has to learn how to trust and love again.

How did this story come to you?

I was in England, staying at this 500 year old farm turned bed & breakfast in rural Kent. It was the most romantic and inspiring place I think I’ve ever been to. The impulsive side of me wanted to skip going home and stay there with the sheep forever, but I had a full life back in the States waiting for me. That got me thinking about how messed up my life would have to be to get me to spontaneously move to a foreign country. I had most of Natalie’s story sketched out in my head by the time I got home.

What compelled you to write it?

It was June 2009. I had just gotten laid off in the giant wave of corporate downsizing , which had swept the country and there just weren’t many job options out there for me. I was fortunate enough that I didn’t have to go back to work right away, so I thought I would take the opportunity of time to write. It wasn’t long before I decided to focus my energy in that direction full-time.

Who is your favorite character?

My favorite one was Elliot Ashby. He is the younger brother of my male lead, Gavin. He looks like Prince Harry, but plays in a punk band. Elliot only plays a small role in the book, but he’s funny and just adorable. I describe him as “Sid Vicious with a puppy-dog grin.” I have kicked around the idea of writing a novel with him in the lead.

What was your favorite scene to write?

I enjoyed writing the scenes in Ireland. It is there that Natalie begins to see Gavin as a man and not just as a friend.

How long did it take you to write the story?

About four months.

When was it released?
The release date was on October 7, 2010, but it might be a couple months yet before the larger ebook retailers such as Amazon and B&N will have it listed.

How is it available?
It is only available in ebook format at present. I’m hoping the sales will be strong enough that my publisher will take it to print.
Where can we find it?
The best place to buy it online is through my publisher, DCL Publications. The link is http://www.thedarkcastlelords.com/romance-ebooks-15.htm. You can also find it on AllRomance.com.

What has your publishing experience been like?

I had no idea what I was doing when I started trying to sell this book. I barely knew what a query letter was! I found there are a lot of resources online to assist new writers. A big one for me was Twitter. I use my twitter account as my professional social network. I connect with other writers, agents, editors, book bloggers and readers. The writing community is amazing in their desire to help each other. I could post a question and have five answers or links to websites in minutes.

After writing and polishing my query letter, I submitted it to about forty agents over the course of about two months. Not one bite! I wasn’t surprised though. The publishing industry was hit hard in this recession and as a result have been scaling back on the purchase of new authors.

In May 2010, I attended the Romantic Times Convention. It was there that I met Jean Watkins, head editor for DCL Publications. She liked my pitch and requested a partial manuscript. I sent her the first three chapters and she offered me a contract. It all happened very quickly.

For my next book, I hope to be able to secure an agent. DCL treated me great and helped me a lot through the process, but my next novel is Young Adult and they are not in the teen market.

Where we can we find you online?
I love to hear from readers! I am @Jesilea on twitter. There is also a Jesi Lea Ryan fan page in Facebook. Both are checked regularly. I also maintain a blog at http://diaryofabibliophile-jesilea.blogspot.com/. I review books, interview authors and occasionally post bits of my writing.

Do you have any upcoming publicity events that you'd like us to know about?

I am doing a blog tour. Here are a few of my scheduled stops:

November 4th – Interview at http://jamiedebree.com/index_Q328.php

November 8th – Review and Interview at http://chicklitplus.com/

November 9th – Interview at http://lisapietsch.com/be-my-guest/

November 10th – Interview at http://www.thebookvixen.com/

Be on the lookout, because some of these will also be hosting a giveaway!

Any words of wisdom you'd like to share with the readers?
It sounds trite, but don’t take it personal and don’t give up. Rejection is part of the business. It is not a reflection on you or your writing. Sometimes what you have just isn’t the right fit for the market. While submitting one novel, be working on your next work. It helps not to get too discouraged.

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