Saturday, April 26, 2008

Some Additional Links for Readers and Writers

"I must confess that I've never trusted the Web. I've always seen it as a coward's tool. Where does it live? How do you hold it personally responsible? Can you put a distributed network of fiber-optic cable "on notice"? And is it male or female? In other words, can I challenge it to a fight?" ~Stephen Colbert

For all my fellow readers and writers out there, I thought I'd share some websites I've come across recently that might be of interest. Let me know if you've visited/used any of these, or if there are others you'd add.

All Romance Ebooks - This is a great website where readers can sate their romance appetites. And for writers, the two women who run the site are absolutely lovely; I met them at the NYC Book Festival event last winter. They're always running ads in Romantic Times and offering reasonable prices to authors who'd like to participate.

BookTour - Every author who has a book in print should be listed here. This site enables you not only to post your works and your bio, along with any appearances, but to search areas where you might give readings or signings as well. And it's free!

MeetUp - This is a brand new site to me, but it looks like a place to search for different kinds of special-interest clubs. Great way to find groups to approach for book readings, I'd think.

PrintRunner - I don't know anything about this site other than Maryann Mcfadden recommended them at the conference I attended last weekend. But their price for bookmarks looks pretty good, so if anyone else has used them, I'd love to hear feedback.

Reader's Circle - For readers, you can search local areas to see if there are already book discussion clubs in place - or you can start one! For writers, you can do the same kind of search, to find possible book clubs to approach for readings.

Reader Views - Again, a new one to me, but it looks as though they have a pretty comprehensive offering for authors, including different "review" packages. I'm not sure how I feel about paying someone to read and review my book, but there's a free option I plan to look into.

Reading Group Guides - I just contacted them for promo information; they claim they can give authors access to their newsletter which goes to their 6000+ book clubs, among other things. I'll keep you posted as I find out more.

Rebecca's Reads - Ditto what I said about Reader Views, above.

Writers and Readers of Distinctive Fiction - Great place for readers to discover new romance authors and books, and writers to have their work reviewed. They say they'll review all romance except erotica and gay/BDSM, within 3-8 weeks. That's a pretty good turn-around.

Good luck - and again, let me know if you know of other sites that writers or readers would find useful, OK?

Friday, April 25, 2008


Happy Friday, everyone! Welcome to my Feast...

Name something you would categorize as weird.

You know those little hairless dogs with snaggle teeth and a sprout of hair on top of their heads? They're weird. Lovable, perhaps, since I once knew someone who owned one, but still weird.

What color was the last piece of food you ate?

Red: a yummy apple.

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy being alone?

Oh, I've always loved my alone-time. 10, definitely.

Main Course
Fill in the blank: I will _________ vote for ___________ in _______.

I will always vote for chocolate in a bakery full of dessert options. (Hah - what did you think I was going to say?)

Describe your sleeping habits.

Hmm...well, I try to get at least 7 hours a night, I usually sleep on my right side or my back, and I only wake up if and when my cats are screwing around in some dark corner of the room (which, in fact, happened last night: they'd cornered a mouse at 4 am.)

Have a great day!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Never Before

"Everyone has a story." ~Neil LaBute

Hey everyone, I'm on my way to catch a plane back home to the chilly Northeast (never enough time in the sun, but that's OK).

But I have a short story published over at The Long and the Short of It today. (As of right now, it has the wrong title and author attached to it, but scroll down to the bottom, and you'll see my author bio - it's mine, really, it is).

It's titled "Never Before" - so enjoy the read, and if you'd like, pop back here when you're finished reading and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Pam Thibodeaux

Welcome to another version of Writers' Wednesday! (Yes, even from the warm shores of Florida, I'm featuring authors). Today, enjoy finding out all about inspirational romance author Pam Thibodeaux!

Hi, Pam, and thanks for being here today! Can you tell us a little about your background?

I am a housewife, mother, grandmother and full-time Insurance Sales Producer. A native of Louisiana, I am also the Co-Founder, President and Treasurer of Bayou Writers’ Group in Lake Charles.

When did you first begin writing? Was there an event or moment in your life that triggered your desire to write?

I began writing over 25 yrs. Ago after reading one-too-many disappointing romances. I figured that I could do better. A mite arrogant as it turns out because though writing may be fairly easy, writing well isn’t necessarily so.

I think we all make that discovery at some point! Tell us about your latest writing project or published title.

My latest published novel is The Inheritance, (which is available in Ebook and Print) but I also have a couple of short stories (Rosettes) either available or coming soon –all from The Wild Rose Press’ White Rose (Inspirational) line. I also have 3 out of my 5-part ‘Tempered’ series available from ComStar Media—also in Ebook and Print!

What terrific success so far! So, how do you go about developing your characters?

Well, Allie, I am a SOTP (seat of the pants) writer so I don’t’ always know much about my characters before I start writing, but we get to know each other pretty well in the process.

What advice would you give to new writers just starting out?

If you want to make money, write for the market—research, study extensively and write what sells. For any other reason, write from your heart and trust God to open doors for the publication of your works.

Important question, now: What do you find most difficult about writing? What do you find most exciting or rewarding?

For me the most difficult part about writing is editing. I love creating that first draft! That is when I just let it all flow. However, we all know that not many first drafts are perfect….therefore the editing/cleanup (ie; work) is a necessary evil in having a publishable book.

How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?

Since I work full-time outside of the home, I write mostly in the mornings, evening and on weekends. However sometimes I just let it all go and spend time with family—especially my husband and granddaughter. I’d spend equal time with my grandson if he lived closer.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book(s)?

That you can write the book of your heart and in due season, it will get published.

When you write do you use the computer or compose by hand, oral dictation, or some other method?

Computer –though occasionally I’ll print something and continue by hand if I’m going to be somewhere that a computer is not available.

Thanks for a great interview, Pam. Anything else you’d like to mention to readers?

First, I’d like to thank God for my success then, I’d like to thank all of my friends, family and fans for their continued support of my career. You ALL are the wind beneath my wings! I’d also like to encourage new writers to NEVER GIVE UP! Writing is a gift and a talent….don’t bury your talent or hide your gift.

Thank You, Allie for taking the time to create such wonderful and informative interview questions and for offering this opportunity to writers to share their lives with others!

You're very welcome...readers, make sure to visit Pam's website today and peruse her selection of books - and have a great day!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

There Are Characters Everywhere

"I learned to write by listening to people talk. I still feel that the best of my writing comes from having heard rather than having read." Gayl Jones

Greetings from sunny Florida!

I'm not a big fan of flying, but there's nothing like getting on a plane in chilly temps and then getting off 3 hours later to palm trees and sunshine.

Actually, I realized yesterday that there's another advantage to flying: sitting in the airport and people-watching. I can find fodder for characters in my next 5 books, if I sit there long enough. From the elderly couple in matching wheelchairs speaking a foreign language I don't recognize, to the family with a beautifully made up wife who's chasing 3 young boys around the terminal while her husband talks nonstop on his cell phone, to the teenage-looking mother trying to comfort her's all there.

Malls are good places for people-watching, too - especially if you're writing Young Adult or have a teenager anywhere in your book.

And of course, schools are built-in petri dishes full of character ideas, from kids all the way up to the adults. I'm lucky on that front; I'm faced with new ideas every day.

Now I'm off to give beach yoga a try...don't be surprised if I work it into a scene somewhere down the road!

What about the other writers out there? Where do you people-watch? Or do your character ideas come from other places?

Monday, April 21, 2008

And One More Thing...

"There is no such thing as a worthless conversation, provided you know what to listen for." ~James Nathan Miller

Follow up to yesterday's follow up...

I made the fatal error of not bringing along any promotional material to the conference, though I honestly didn't think or realize there would be an opportunity to distribute anything (thus the fatal error...there's always an opportunity).

I sat at a table for lunch with 4 other women, and the conversation turned to pen names. When I piped up that I used one, they said, "You're published? How wonderful." And I had nothing at all to give them, with my name or website or anything. I told them One Night in Boston was available for pre-order on Amazon, but that was it.

Well, sometime in the 24 hours that followed, I found I'd sold another copy of my book. Coincidence? Maybe. But I'd like to think one of those women went home, looked it up, and liked what she saw.


And now for the most exciting news of the day: hubby and I are flying to sunny Florida for a 4-day vacation! We're visiting parents/inlaws and soaking up a little warmth during our spring break from school.

But never fear: my parents have high-speed connection, so I'll still be blogging. See you tomorrow!

P.S. - Read yesterday's comments, if you didn't before. The author whose marketing presentation I attended, and reported on, stopped by to visit!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Follow Up on Yesterday's Conference

OK, a report from yesterday's conference:

First, it was held at a local college, about an hour from my house - a beautiful setting, with delicious food, and only $40/person for the whole day. Plust it was so nice to be around other authors...and many of them, when they found I was published, congratulated me. For all of that, I'd do it again even if the workshops weren't great, which they were...

1. Reading by Anthony Swofford, author of Jarhead and Exit A: I hadn't read either of his books, but it didn't matter. He read from his latest WIP, which I thought was really cool, that he didn't choose an already-published book. He stopped a couple of times to talk about process, and what I found most interesting was the word count he sets for himself each day: 500-1000 words. That's it. He writes for 2-3 hours a day, for 6 weeks or so, and then takes a couple weeks off. After a couple of years, he has a complete novel of 350 pages or so. I thought it was great that he doesn't rush the process. He was down to earth, quite humble, and a great writer, besides. He also emphasized the importance of making sure the reader is asking "What next" on every page.

2. Workshop on Teaching War through Literature: For the English teacher in me, it was a great workshop with a dynamic teacher. Made me want to take a college class again.

3. Promoting and Marketing your Book: Even though I knew a lot of what was discussed in this one, I still picked up a few things. The presenter was author Maryann McFadden, who self-published her women's fiction novel The Richest Season, sold over 30,000 copies, and went on to find herself an agent who sold the book at auction to Hyperion. Truly a success story, and a rare one at that. She was in real estate before, so she's good at talking to people and finding ways to make a sale. Her biggest tips were that, especially for the self-published or small press author, Independent Bookstores and Local Book Clubs are your best friend. They're both looking for local authors to meet and read. She even suggested that if you aren't published, you should still contact a book club and tell them you're looking for feedback, and you'll use their criticism and/or reviews for marketing to an agent or editor. Finally, she said definitely call rather than email these bookstores. They're much more likely to respond to a personal call than the dozens of emails they receive on a daily basis. She's started up a website as well, for authors: I have no idea if it will turn out to be anything worthwhile, but you can always check it out.

Interesting note: She had one thing that many new authors don't have, which she admitted, and that's money: she gave herself an advance on her credit card when she first self-published and called it a "grant" for her writing career. She wouldn't specify how much, but she likened herself to another author who did the same thing, to the tune of $25,000. I don't know about you, but I don't have that kind of money. Still, the ideas of reaching out to local groups are good ones, and I'll definitely put them to the test in the next couple of months, when my two books release.

We'll see what happens!