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Many thanks to Peggy Tibbets for providing this interesting guest post.  I hope you all enjoy!  Thanks, Peggy!

How does a book get noticed?

Natalie Collins and I often discuss marketing techniques and run promotion ideas by each other. Book reviews. Interviews. Booksignings. School visits. Advertising. Blog tours. You name it. What works? What doesn’t work? Okay, some days we agonize over book promotion.

“If there was some magic bullet, we’d all be doing it,” I always tell her.

When it comes to Natalie’s books there does seem to be a magic bullet that definitely has an impact on sales. Her books get noticed.

Ever since the reality show Sister Wives gained national attention, Natalie’s book Sister Wife has been selling remarkably well. It’s the most amazing thing. Sister Wife is a great story, solidly written by the master of behind-the-Mormon-veil mysteries. But the book has been around a few years.

We had seen this life-imitates-art thing with her book Wives and Sisters. Natalie signed the contract with St. Martin’s after Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped. Wives & Sisters, which was penned long before the famous abduction in Utah, just so happens to be about the disappearance of a young Mormon girl after an encounter with a stranger [cue Twilight Zone theme].

So you see, it was no great leap to make the connection between Sister Wives and Sister Wife. Natalie and I agreed it’s definitely the popularity of the TV show that has captured readers’ interest in Sister Wife – the book.

So what does it mean?

It means I need a TV tie-in forLetters to Juniper. That’s what it means!

One day I pitched Natalie these reality show concepts to tie in with my book:

%*$@ My Fundamentalist Extremist Gun-Dealing Dad Says
I Don’t Know I’ve Got a Secret
My Crib is Surrounded by Big Brother

She ROTFLMAO’d back.

Alas, those reality shows – however clever – do not exist. So my next option is to tie Letters to Juniper to a show that’s already on TV. I decided to build on Natalie’s theme and started with the obvious:

Brothers & Sisters – A show about a dysfunctional family with a lot of dirty secrets. That explains the Smith family in Letters to Juniper all right. Except the kids in my book are a little young to be so cutthroat – and they don’t drink.

Sons of Anarchy – The title is perfect! A tight-knit gun-dealing clan with dark secrets. Now that describes the Smith family to a T. But this show is about a biker club. No motorcycles in my book.

No Ordinary Family – Again, the title says it all. The Smith family is anything but ordinary. However this is a show about a family with super powers. No super powers in my book either.

Fringe – This is my favorite show! FBI agents investigate unexplainable phenomena and an alternate universe. Alas, as much as I’d like to tie in my book with this awesome show, it’s too much of a stretch. The closest I can come is the Smith family as a target of a Fringe Division investigation.

Gossip Girl – Another apt title. Gossip plays a big role in Sarah’s story. Problem is, she’s not a rich Manhattan teen.

The Secret Life of an American Teenager – Even though Sarah’s not quite a teen yet, she is definitely living a secret life. Same glitch as the above though, Sarah’s not a teen living life in the fast lane. She’s a tween living life in the slow lane.

Lie to Me – Adventures of Dr. Lie Detector? Don’t think so.

Smallville – Clark Kent’s boyhood? No way.

Justified – A western? Nope.

Fear not. There are dozens – maybe even hundreds – more TV shows. Like Dog the Bounty Hunter. What a great title – that has absolutely nothing to do with my book. But it’s okay. I am undaunted in my search. I know the secret. The magic bullet. There are summer replacement series, and a whole new fall line-up coming …

******************
Peggy Tibbetts
www.peggytibbetts.net

Available in ebook & paperback @ Amazon.com
LETTERS TO JUNIPER
“This is a book you will want to share with your children, your parents, and your friends.”
– Natalie R. Collins, author of “The Fourth World”, “Sister Wife”, and more

 

Don’t forget to visit Peggy’s author profile by clicking here

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Now that we’ve gotten to know Shalini Boland a little more via her author profile it’s time to read her guest post.  Many thanks, Shalini, for providing this guest post.

MY GLOB

“I have a glob!” my chic Parisian Great Aunty Joyce declares. “Would you like to see it?”

I must confess I’m not at all keen to see it. She’s ninety years old and I have a fairly weak stomach. But, there is no refusing Aunty Joyce. She leads me into her bedroom and I brace myself.

“I have met zis wonderful man,” she confides. “And he make me zis marvellous glob. You must see, you must see.”

My Aunty Joyce is what’s known as ‘a character’. She resides in a bohemian apartment on the Seine. She paints, she writes, she creates! Her home is a treasure trove of flamboyance and kitch. A leopard printed, Japanese-laquered, decoupage-encrusted jewel of a place. Her bedroom is no exception and my eyes are pulled every which way at the marvelosity of everything.

“Look, look.” She pats the chair and I squeeze in beside her. We sit at her dressing table, in front of a laptop and she shows me her glob.

“It is good, no?” she smiles. “I am fantastic, yes?”

“Yes, Aunty Joyce. You are fantastic.” I kiss her rouged cheek and she hugs me.

She is fantastic. She’s ninety years old, she looks incredible, her life has been tough and yet she has so much vibrancy and enthusiasm. She also writes a glob.

If she can write a glob, I reckon I can give it a go.

And if you haven’t already visited Shalini’s profile please do so by clicking here

 

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Everyone, I have a new author to introduce to mandythebookworm – Lorena Bathey. Please give her a big round of applause and enjoy her guest post. Once you’ve read this be sure to check out her author profile by clicking here where you can find out more about her and her book.

Welcome aboard, Lorena, and thanks for posting!!

I’m Lorena Bathey, an Indie Author. What is that exactly? I decided to eschew the traditional world of agent/publishing house and do everything myself. Sounds daunting, huh? Sometimes it can be if you don’t decide how being a success occurs.

I love to read, which is why I probably write. And like you I often wonder what my favorite authors are like in person. Do they have a funny laugh? Do they like chocolate? What kind of personality do they have and is it like their characters? So when Mandy allowed me to guest blog on her wonderful site she told me to do whatever I wanted and then showed me that any question was a good one. Because I liked her ideas, I decided to answer them…like an impromptu author’s interview.

I’d also like to put out to all of Mandy’s followers to send in your own questions and I’d be glad to answer them. I’m pretty forthright and I don’t shock easily so ask away.

* How you are going on holiday soon and where you will be going or if posting after your holiday where you went and what you did?

Well I am going on my first vacation in several years. And it just so happens that it is the first vacation for the love of my life and my kids all together. We are visiting my nation’s capital, Washington D.C. It is cherry blossom time and since my other love is photography I am thrilled to be able to take pictures when the flowers are blooming. Even more, I’m excited to have some time off after finishing my novel to relax, laugh, and see the sights like a tourist.

* Where your favourite place to holiday is?

This is an easy question…Italy! I love Italy. My first book, Happy Beginnings: How I Became My Own Fairy Godmother told of my travels to Italy after my separation from my husband. It was the perfect land to be alone and yet be around people. I walked, talked in Italian, and ate like a crazy person. Gelato every day..twice a day : ) My dream is to live there six months out of the year and learn to be fluent in Italian learning from the Italian people.

* What you like doing in your spare time?

I recently started getting serious about photography. My love gave me a new camera…the fancy kind…for Christmas and I have been enjoying capturing all different kinds of scenes. When I take pictures it’s a Zen moment where I focus (not my strong suit) and get lost in the moment. It’s very clearing for me and I think I’m pretty good. (Check out my images at http://www.facebook.com/lmbathey )

* Pets if you have any?

I don’t have any pets at the moment. But I know that one day I will own a dog named George. He will be a huge Newfoundland. It’s funny but I could see his face (and his big head lying on my lap when I write) but I didn’t know what type of dog he was. So I wrote big, dark dog and Newfoundland came up and I screamed, “Its George!”

* When you began to write and why?

Ohh…this is a bit longer of an answer. I have always written in journal format and even some poems but it wasn’t until my Mom passed away from cancer in 2001, my dad remarried within six months, and my husband left which left me facing my biggest fear – being alone. Other than my kids I had lost all the foundation and stability of my life. So I began to write about what I was seeing about me, who I was, what I didn’t like about getting stuck in roles, living for everyone else’s happiness and before I knew it I had eighteen chapters and a really great book telling about starting over. I called it Happy Beginnings: How I Became My Own Fairy Godmother and a career in self-help began.

I started speaking to women’s groups, giving conferences, doing one to one work with women who didn’t know that making yourself happy is something you need to do yourself and not wait for things to happen to you. During this time I got this person in my head and started writing it down and before I knew it I had written half a novel. But I set it aside for five years until one day I got another thought and finished the rest in nine months.

After that ideas or characters would hit me and I would see it like a movie played out in my mind so I had to write it down. Now I have nine novels percolating in my writing queue and every one of them I plan to write a screenplay for too.

* Where you see yourself in 10 years?

With many New York Times Bestsellers, most of my books made into movies that are produced by creatively authentic Hollywood people (is that possible?), living with the love of my life in our house called 100 Acre Woods and visiting Italy for months at a time. Surrounded by family, kids, grandbabies, and George with no regrets, some bumps and bruises, but a great big smile on my face!

* How you think electronic books have changed things?

It has and will continue to revolutionize the world of publishing. The old school type of publishing is not necessary to be successful as an author. And the cost factor for only having to upload a file rather than print books is huge. For the industry it allows a lot of really talented people to get a chance to show the world their work. But it also allows a lot of untalented and not detail oriented writers to also publish their work.

For now the concept of self-publishing is not completely accepted and when I say I’m an Indie author I still can get wrinkled up noses. But not as much. I will say that I will always have print copies of my book. I love books. The feel, smell, look of books is more than just something to read, it’s an experience…and not to sound trite…but an adventure.

But I believe that there are some pitfalls to electronic books. As I said before many individuals just want to publish and don’t take the time to make sure the quality is there. That is a big scar in the industry. But as you see more and more successful, I mean successful in the traditional publishing world, giving up contract and doing it themselves you know that this is something. The profits will come if you do the hard work. And I believe that the day of the agents and publishers making all the money while the talent does all the work are over.

* How you go about promoting your work?

Well, with this novel I have spent a lot of time getting familiar with the social networking world. I was already a huge Facebook fan but then I stretched it out to look more at the world of writing. There is so much available. But mostly I love to form relationships. To help each other out. So I did the legwork looking for Book Review Bloggers that had reviews, bios, and a feel I liked and contacted them. These heroes of the Indie Author world have no idea how you can make our day by being excited about our work. Mandy, has been phenomenal about that.

I had my own radio show, done talk shows on the West and East coast, been the speaker at conferences so I am not shy about talking about myself. It is a huge thing if you can sell yourself. And I never have trouble talking, ha! My first book I sold on airplanes, in stores, out to dinner. Because it’s my passion it’s easy to get me going on writing.

* Your favourite book when you were young and/or your favourite book now?

I read a lot when I was a kid because I was an only child so it was a great way to escape. But the one book that I believe made a huge impact on me was when I was about twelve years old. My Mom and I were going to visit England with my Aunt. Before we left my Aunt gave me the book, Katherine, by Anya Seaton. It’s the story of The Duke of Lancaster, John of Gaunt and his illicit love affair with Katherine Swynford. Their relationship and subsequent marriage made up the line of the Tudors, Stewarts and even the royal family now. It is historical fiction, which I still love, and so because it was based on fact those people came up during our trip.

I remember asking all the time, “Was John of Gaunt here?” and getting excited about seeing places I had just read about in the most romantic and wonderful of ways. I ended up reading every book by Anya Seaton and visiting the other places she wrote about later in life.

The funny thing is that until I was writing this article I never knew she was American. I just assumed she was British because she writes it with such truth.
(Anya Seaton, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anya_Seton)

*Something close to your heart?

Well this is a big question and my mind is racing to nail down one thing. I think the biggest thing that comes to mind is the needs that kids from the ages of 9 to 18 need. I believe that our future generations are lost a bit. With all the upheaval of divorce, societal pressure, and lack of interest these kids don’t get the opportunity to know who they are, what they need to become, and how to do it. When I was still doing my Fairy Godmother work I developed a program called “U Got the Power.”

This program was based on the three “R’s” of life…Respect, Reaction, Responsibility. These three words can create a whole new way to look at life, how you treat others, and what is in your hands to change.

I plan to go back some day and bring this to fruition. I would love to see this on an international level and the concept is not hard. Afterschool every week for an hour the kids come with questions that they put in a hat. Every class a question is drawn and discussed. This means no one has to be embarrassed by asking a question and chances are many kids have the same question. Then we would put the three “R’s” to the answer.

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Many thanks to Teresa for taking the time to do a guest post on my website. Read what Teresa has to say about how this whole experience started, the rejections that followed and the happy ending.

When Mandy asked me to do a guest blog I instantly became brain dead. I have done so much writing lately since publication of my book ‘The Eye of Erasmus’. Blogs promos etc. they seemed endless. The more I wrote the more work it generated. What to write about that is the question? Well, I’ve decided to let my fingers do the talking and writing for me. I successfully wrote three books that way so it’s stood the test of time so to speak.

I started writing in my teens, nothing special just odd bits here and there for the amusement of my younger brother.

My serious writing began a couple of years ago, whilst sitting in my garden one beautiful summer evening. I was sitting amongst the Shasta daisies which grow in abundance and I watched a spider spinning a web. It was so intricate and delicate it became almost sensuous. As the web grew I started to imagine the beginnings of a storyline. Faeries, time travel, etc. began buzzing around my brain. Grabbing a note book I couldn’t write quick enough so I resorted to my tape recorder. Having filled both sides of the tape I started another fresh tape as Erasmus materialised.

I wrote the three books within in a year and then started the endless trawl for a literary agent. I bought the Writers and Artists Year Book and began at ‘A’ working through to ‘Z’.

Like many others I have draws full of rejections. Finally that wonderful day came when a literary agent emailed me asking to represent me. Wahoo !! “Yes please.” He actively pushed it around the publishers for 6 months until that fatal day when he contacted me stating ‘I have faith in it but none of the publishers I’ve pursued do. So I can no longer represent you’.

Completely gutted I started again and somehow came across Richard Grayling of Struggling Authors. He picked me up dried my tears and gave me words of encouragement. I’m now one of the core members and we have become firm friends. It’s the most supportive web site I have ever come across. – A bit like warm fluffy slippers and a hot chocolate drink on a bitterly cold night.(http://strugglingauthors.co.uk )

I then came across another American web site who asked to represent me and then eventually wanted to publish me. I was jumping through hoops – UNTIL I did a bit of investigating and discovered they were being investigated by the Attorney Generals Office in America for fraud. (Note: I did not mention their name!)

Once again Richard and Struggling Author members dried my tears and set me on the road to recovery.

Was I downhearted? Bet your life I was but after feeling sorry for myself I started again. I have always had tremendous faith in my books.

Quite by chance I then came across Tim Roux of Night Publishing. I interviewed him on behalf of Struggling Authors and eventually joined his Night Reading site. I put a chapter of the Eye of Erasmus on there and to my utter surprise I was headhunted.

And the rest as they say is history.

The moral of the story ….? Believe in your work and never give up. Rejection is only one persons opinion. ….. Teresa Geering 04/08/10

Thank you once again, Teresa.

And please, don’t forget to check out Teresa’s author profile by clicking here

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A big thank you to Pamela Callow for providing this guest post, a great insight into how her book Damaged came to be.

Inspiration can appear in many forms. Sometimes it sneaks up on you and whispers, “boo” in your ear. That happened to me one afternoon while I was reading the newspaper. I came across an article in which an appalling and devious US criminal case was described. I knew in that instant I wanted to write a novel based on it.

However, I didn’t want to write a fictionalized account of the crime. Instead, I used this crime as a springboard for DAMAGED’s biomedical plot. I researched the case, studying various angles of the crime and extrapolated a number of facets – including the addition of Halifax’s first fictional serial killer – to create the debut novel of my thriller series.

The inspiration for my characters came about quite differently. There was no unexpected discovery of a thrilling case while sipping tea and reading the paper. No, the characters in DAMAGED were created layer by layer, year after year, from personality types and experiences I’d encountered during my professional career. First, while I trained in one of Halifax’s largest law firms. Next, when I worked as a strategy consultant for an international consulting firm. In both careers, I’d lived the politics, the struggles, and the ambitions of working in a blue-chip corporate environment.

And so does Kate Lange, the series lead of DAMAGED. But Kate is no silver-spooned, Ivy League, fast-tracking attorney. A survivor of a difficult past, she’s the owner of a fixer-upper Victorian home, and the recent adoptee of an orphaned husky. She’s in her thirties when she finally lands her dream job – and finds herself on the brink of professional and personal disaster.

Kate is searching for redemption, both past and present. As are most of the characters in DAMAGED. The title rings true: from the victim’s mother to the drug-dealing witness, all of the characters are damaged. They are all trying to find their way out of their personal no man’s lands. They are flawed, real people, who aren’t always nice and have made mistakes. And they have to deal with the impact a brutal murder will wreak on their lives.

But in Kate’s case, she also has to face her darkest fears. She has to face a serial killer. And when I put Kate in that situation, it was because every time I read about a killer in the newspaper, I found myself asking: how far would I go to stop a serial killer?

I may never know the answer, but in DAMAGED, Kate finds out.

Thank you once again, Pamela.

Don’t forget to check out Pamela’s author profile by clicking here

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Many thanks to Joanne Ellis for providing this guest post. Like Joanne, I have always loved to read and it started with Enid Blyton. Read on to find out more about Joanne.

How to introduce myself? What to write? Well the best place to start I guess would be to say I have always loved to read. As a child I fell in love with Enid Blyton and The Magic Faraway Tree which moved onto stories such as Deenie by Judy Blume and then sweet teen romances. The love affair continued and although my range of genre choice is diverse, romance is my first love. Authors such as Nora Roberts inspired me to write romance. My favourites in Paullina Simons (The Bronze Horseman series, Tully and The Girl in Times Square) and Nicholas Sparks inspire me to be better.

Reading has always stimulated my imagination and I have always had a huge one. Being an only child encouraged me to create characters and stories in my mind but I never felt confident to put pen to paper. So what gave me the courage to give it a go? Being a stay at home Mum I found although challenged with everyday life, I need an outlet. I sat one day, pad and pen in hand (yes my first book was hand written as notes, I have not done any this way since) and jotted down an idea and basic characters. Two weeks later the first draft of Spoilt was complete. With a surge of creativity, a floodgate opening of ideas, I wrote three more which follow on in quick succession. Three others completed novels, several short stories, three works in progress, dozens of notes for further stories, two years and a lot of polish on Spoilt, I am being published by Night Publishing.

How did I get to this point? I joined the Harper Collins hosted website authonomy, a peer review ranking system that sees the top five books each month selected for review by a HC editor and a nice gold star replacing the ranking. After eight months of meeting fantastic people, learning to review other’s work, receiving very helpful advice and tons of editing I received my gold star and my review. Overall I was pleased with the advice I was given and the encouraging comments from HC. I discovered I could perhaps write pretty well and I wasn’t wasting my time.

During this time, I joined Night Reading, the blog based website hosted by Night Publishing. After two months on the site Spoilt was selected for the monthly poll in April/May and much to my surprise I won. I was then offered a contract for Spoilt and I once again was shocked and stunned. Excitement soon followed and I still think I’m floating about happily in disbelief.

The editing process was a rewarding experience and I learnt a lot from Tim. So now I await the proof and then Spoilt will be ready to go to press. It is a dream come true (yes cliché I know but I am a romance writer after all) and I hope I can now give back to readers what my favourite authors have given me over the years.

Thank you once again, Joanne.

And please, don’t forget to check out Joanne’s author profile by clicking here

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