Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on Melodie Campbell & Cynthia St-Pierre

Billed as Canada’s “Queen of Comedy” by the Toronto Sun (Jan. 5, 2014), Melodie Campbell achieved a personal best when Library Digest compared her to Janet Evanovich.

Melodie got her start writing comedy. In 1999, she opened the Canadian Humor Conference. She has over 200 publications, including 100 comedy credits, 40 short stories and 6 novels. She has won 9 awards for fiction, including the 2014 Derringer Award.

In addition to writing, Melodie has been a bank manager, hospital director, college instructor, association executive, and possibly the worst runway model ever. She lives in Oakville Ontario, where she is lamentably addicted to fast cars.

Melodie is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.

www.melodiecampbell.com

Melodie’s co-writer, Cynthia St-Pierre wrote promotional, packaging and communications materials; penned articles for business periodicals; and a chapter of How to Successfully Do Business in Canada. Currently a member of Crime Writers of Canada, she has one award for fiction and has been a writing contest judge. Best of all for a mystery writer, Cynthia has received a York Regional Police Citizens Awareness Program certificate, presented and signed by Julian Fantino, former Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police.

In addition, Cynthia grows vegetables in her backyard, makes recipes with tofu, and speaks English-accented French with husband Yves. Visit Cynthia’s blog (in the voice of character Becki Green) at www.vegetariandetective.blogspot.com

Welcome to Book Marketing Buzz.  Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book?

The DEADLY DOZEN Book Bundle contains 12 complete mystery/thriller novels by award-winning and international bestselling authors: Cheryl Kaye Tardif, Catherine Astolfo, Alison Bruce, Melodie Campbell/Cynthia St-Pierre, Gloria Ferris, Donna Galanti, Kat Flannery, Jesse Giles Christiansen, Rosemary McCracken, Susan J. McLeod, C. S. Lakin and Linda Merlino.

  1. THE BRIDGEMAN by Catherine Astolfo
  2. DEADLY LEGACY by Alison Bruce
  3. A PURSE TO DIE FOR by Melodie Campbell & Cynthia St-Pierre
  4. CHEAT THE HANGMAN by Gloria Ferris
  5. A HUMAN ELEMENT by Donna Galanti
  6. LAKOTA HONOR by Kat Flannery
  7. PELICAN BAY by Jesse Giles Christiansen
  8. SAFE HARBOR by Rosemary McCracken
  9. SOUL AND SHADOW by Susan J. McLeod
  10. INNOCENT LITTLE CRIMES by C. S. Lakin
  11. ROOM OF TEARS by Linda Merlino
  12. DIVINE INTERVENTION by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

With an individual list price total of more than $45.00 and over 640 reviews collectively on Amazon.com, the DEADLY DOZEN Book Bundle is a value-packed, rollercoaster thrill ride that takes you from amateur sleuth to detective to paranormal to ancient mysteries set in intriguing worlds and so much more.

Wow! Quite a bundle! Melodie Campbell and Cynthia St-Pierre chatting here. We’re good friends and co-authors of the included A PURSE TO DIE FOR—Top 100 Smashwords and Amazon Mystery bestseller—featuring a fashionista who investigates murder after the reading of a shocking will.

What is the first thing you did to promote your book once your publisher accepted your manuscript?

Cynthia:

We gave A PURSE TO DIE FOR away for free! What a crazy concept! Hmm…now that I think about it, we’re practically doing the same thing again with this bundle—digital list price $7.99 divided among our publisher, 12 books, then split again between Mel and me. But the entire point of writing is to reach and entertain readers, am I right?

Melodie:

Cynthia has mentioned what we did when our book first became available. Here’s what I did when we received the contract and before the book was published: I already had a website and blog operating, so I started doing some social media promotion to readers who had bought my first book.

After that, what happened?

Cynthia:

A PURSE TO DIE FOR was downloaded more times than we could have hoped for and many readers generously chose to leave reviews. My favourite review quote is “If Agatha Christie wore Armani and Louboutins”.

Melodie:

Cynthia hit it on the head. The big advantage of the free period was the increase in number of reviews. We have 63 now! And potential readers can read these to get a good idea of what others thought about our book. Sort of like getting ‘testimonials.’

What did your publisher do to promote your book?

Cynthia:

Imajin Books produced an amazing trailer for A PURSE TO DIE FOR. http://ow.ly/eRnVR

Melodie:

They paid for some advertisement in social media markets, and they tweeted about the book (and still do regularly.) They also hold twice-yearly sales and advertise those sales.

What’s your opinion on blogging?  Do you see that it is helping sell your book or is it not making much difference in terms of sales?  If you blog, do you blog often?

Cynthia:

I enjoy blogging—I started blogging August 2010, almost two years before we had a mystery to promote. I try to post twice a month. It’s difficult to say whether Vegetarian Detective is helping sell A PURSE TO DIE FOR and/or DEADLY DOZEN, but there have been over 34,000 pageviews of my colourful veggie recipes!

Melodie:

Blogging definitely helps. My personal blog is a comedy blog and has almost 40,000 hits (in 3 years) and I know many of those people have bought my books. But I find guest blogging is quite successful, particularly as you can reach a new market that may not be aware of your book. I’ve done over 120 guest blogs in the past 4 years.

I understand using the social networks to promote your books is also an effective marketing tool.  What social networks do you use and do you find any of them effective?

Cynthia:

I network on Twitter, Google+. Effective? Well…DEADLY DOZEN: 12 Mystery/Thriller Novels by Bestselling Imajin Books Authors made #4 in Mystery Anthologies on Amazon.ca (Canada) while still on pre-order! That’s the result of all of us authors blogging and tweeting and Google+ing.

Melodie:

I use primarily Facebook and Twitter, but I’m also on Linked In and Pinterest.  Facebook works almost as a newsletter would to my readers. Twitter is where I often attract new readers, who then follow me on Facebook.

Besides blogging and using the social networks to promote your books, what other ways are you promoting your book?

Cynthia:

Bloody Words! I’m not cursing, Bloody Words is a Canadian mystery reader/writer conference. Sadly, in June 2014 Melodie and I attended the last Bloody Words to be produced. I was a panelist and Melodie was Master of Ceremonies! By the way, things have come full circle for Melodie and me and the Bloody Words conference. You see, it’s at Bloody Words 2006 that Mel and I first met.

Melodie:

Yes, Bloody Words will always be dear to my heart, Cindy!

I’ve been a presenter at another conference, When Words Collide in Calgary, for two years running. This has brought us some new readers, as I present using examples from A PURSE TO DIE FOR. I teach Crafting a Novel at Sheridan College, and have for years. Some of my students become readers, and they pass the word along. As well, I do lots of in-person bookstore and library readings.

If you had to pick just one book marketing tool that you’ve used to promote your book, which would you say has been the most effective?

Cynthia:

I’d say giving A PURSE TO DIE FOR away for free was most effective. It put us on the mystery map. And now we’re proud to be part of the DEADLY DOZEN! Have you read us yet?

Melodie:

I agree with Cynthia. Next up, I’d say Twitter. It surprised me, but people really do buy books after viewing links on Twitter. When people retweet on Twitter, they expose your book to a whole new audience. So we make a point to retweet other author tweets when we see that they’ve been generous in retweeting ours.

Links

Cynthia:

vegetariandetective.blogspot.com

www.fashionationwithmystery.com (our joint author site)

www.twitter.com/stpierrecynthia

Melodie:

www.melodiecampbell.com

www.twitter.com/MelodieCampbell

https://www.facebook.com/melodie.campbell.52

https://www.facebook.com/MelodieCampbellAuthor

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Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on David Lundgren

David Lundgren was born in “a pokey town in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia)” and spent the first 18 years of his life there. He grew up in an environment “that seemed to combine the best elements of both an American and English heritage with a hybrid African lifestyle.” Lundgren is also a musician, which gave him the creative spark to create the Melforger series. He spends his time in San Francisco “teaching, enjoying frequent – and often frustrating – games of tennis, trying to learn the blues on piano, attacking Sudoku puzzles with relish, and attempting to make some headway with the ever-increasing pile of books that is waiting patiently at my bedside, developing its own gravity.”

His latest book is the fantasy/science fiction, Rhapsody.

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Welcome to Book Marketing Buzz.  Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book?

Rhapsody is the final book in The Melforger Chronicles trilogy. It follows Raf, a sixteen year old boy, who is trying to get to grips with his rare ‘talent’ which lets him use music in bizarre and powerful ways (this is fantasy after all!). He has just discovered what is behind the decay that has been destroying the enormous forest he lives in (their villages are hundreds of yards up on natural platforms – so collapses are no small threat). It turns out that the cause it the ruler’s cousin, Pavor, the same person who he only recently managed to escape from and who is now attempting to take over the city of Miern. Raf and his companions have no idea how they’re going to deal with the sinister and disgusting man – he has a corrosive darkness to him that is powerful in its own right – but no sooner have they set out through the desert when they’re entangled in dangerous plots that flare up around them. Raf knows that it’s up to him, the melforger, to deal with the madman, but he and his companions find themselves flung along dangerous paths, and with no time to spare, the story races toward an intense – and unexpected – climax.

What is the first thing you did to promote your book once your publisher accepted your manuscript?

I visited local (and international) schools delivering creative writing workshops and talking about the writing process – and obviously discussing the book, too. In order to rise to the top of the millions of books on offer out there, I really wanted to try to get in touch with teens on a personal level, chat to them about writing, inspire them to be more proactive in writing, and, in the process, present my story and my personality as a buy-in so they have more reason to read The Melforger Chronicles.
(p.s. – I did not go through a traditional publisher; I chose instead to hire an editor, publicist and designer to work on the book with me)

After that, what happened?

Well, the trilogy has had some fantastic reviews! One school even ran a competition of sorts on writing reviews (the winners are on the website). Not only that, but I was flattered to have my book chosen as a class reader in a prestigious private school.

What’s your opinion on blogging?  Do you see that it is helping sell your book or is it not making much difference in terms of sales?  If you blog, do you blog often?

I think that blogging is probably one of the more important channels to utilize in marketing – particularly if you’re looking to pull in a teen audience. Social media is the way forward without a doubt. Now that Rhapsody is finished, I plan to work on that part of it a little more. Younger generations – many of whom are enthusiastic readers – have grown up with blogging; it’s a natural, convenient medium for them – and one that pulls together huge crowds of potential readers into online communities. I don’t see that doing anything but expanding – rapidly – in the future.

I understand using the social networks to promote your books is also an effective marketing tool.  What social networks do you use and do you find any of them effective?

Building an avid audience online is, in my opinion, going to be a keystone to success as an author. I’ve used Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter extensively, and have my own website (www.melforger.com). Facebook is a useful tool to give people exposure to your work and the convenient ability to efficiently ‘spread the word’ which is so crucial. Not only that, but most teens congregate in various communities online, and if you manage to win over a few readers in that group, they can work as evangelists for you and spread the word into circles you simply don’t have access to.

Besides blogging and using the social networks to promote your books, what other ways are you promoting your book?

I’m trying to think outside the box, really. Social media, visiting local schools, radio interviews – they’re all parts of the book’s marketing. The trick is, with almost overwhelming competition, you need to find ways to stand out. I’ve had competitions in which T-shirts with the Melforger logo on them were prizes (great free marketing if they wear it!) and offered a few free book giveaways. It’s trying to find ways to build momentum and encourage fans to actively recruit new readers for you – by word of mouth.

Another vital aspect to marketing is soliciting reviews. Amazon is king (whether we like it or not) and algorithms and psychology result in books that are reviewed (and reviewed well) bobbing to the top. It’s largely just a statistics game. Reviews are one of the sole ways to get your books exposure on Amazon, and I’ve been putting a lot of effort into finding new ways to encourage people to write reviews (honest ones, obviously!).

If you had to pick just one book marketing tool that you’ve used to promote your book, which would you say has been the most effective?

For me, it would have to be a tie between using Facebook (and the interweaved social circles it gives you access to) and visiting schools to speak to teens directly. Selling yourself, your story, your personality as well as the book has proved to be a great way forward – and besides, I love talking to the students about creative writing and trying to get them interested in writing themselves! I don’t think there will be any silver bullet of marketing in the future; it’s almost inevitably going to be a mixture, a strong presence in a few different channels, putting a lot of effort into your online presence and giving people a reason to want to follow you and talk about you. And, somewhere in between all that vigorous work, finding time to write more!

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Interview with Ed Grizzle, author of It’s Your Decision


Title: It’s Your Decision

Author: Ed Grizzle

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 128

Genre: Family Relationships/Parenting

Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

Children are gifts from God, but parenting those children can often be a difficult task. In It’s Your Decision, author Ed Grizzle shows how parenting can be successful when it’s carried out according to God’s plan.

Using his life’s experiences as a guide, Grizzle explores the importance of making the right decisions in life—from choosing the right lifestyle and the right mate and to raising children according to what God has planned for you.



It’s Your Decision discusses

• planning for children;

• knowing what children need;

• being aware of the important years in a child’s life;

• understanding that children will test parents;

• valuing the role of grandparents;

• dealing with abused children;

• communicating openly and honestly;

• clarifying family roles.

Grizzle presents a guide to strengthening lives and making your family life more enjoyable. He shows how this is possible when you accept Jesus Christ into your life; he will show you the way in the difficult times.

amazon

What was the hardest part about writing your book?
Since I was not good in English in school, it took more work to make sure it was properly and grammatically correct.

Do you have a favorite excerpt from the book? If so, can you share it?
Sharing my life story with the reader. I wanted to let the reader know that no matter how bad things in their life were, a relationship with Jesus Christ can make all the difference in the world.
What do you hope readers will take away after reading the book?
That no matter how bad things may be in their lives. a relationship with Jesus Christ can and will make life so much better.
Who or what is the inspiration for the book?
Jesus Christ and my wife Mary. Mary convinced me that I need to write the book.
Have you had a mentor? If so, can you talk about them a little?
As I say in the book, I have had 5 true mentors down thru the years that helped me through my problems. The most important was my wife Mary.
I have heard it said in order to be a good writer, you have to be a reader as well? Do you find this to be true? And if you are a reader, do you have a favorite genre and/or author?
My personal opinion is this is not true.  I never was and still don’t spend time reading.  I feel that I became a good writer even though I was not a good reader of my desire to share my life with the reader.

Ed Grizzle started a ministry called It’s Your Decision that helps addicts, prostitutes, and others who face difficult circumstances. He and his late wife, Mary, raised two children. Grizzle currently lives in Illinois
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Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on Margay Leah Justice

Descended from the same bloodline that spawned the likes of James Russell, Amy and Robert Lowell, Margay Leah Justice was fated to be a writer herself from a young age. But even before she knew that there was a name for what she was doing, she knew one thing: She had a deep and unconditional love for the written word. A love that would challenge her in times of need, abandon her in times of distress, and rediscover her in times of hope. Through her writing, Margay has learned to cope with every curve ball life has thrown her, including the challenges of single parenting, the harsh realities of living in a shelter, coping with the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, and the roller coaster ride of dealing with a child who suffers from bipolar disorder. But along the way she has rediscovered the amazing power of words.

Margay currently lives in Massachusetts with her two daughters, two cats, and a myriad of characters who vie for her attention and demand that their own stories be told. In her spare time, she is an avid knitter, knitting her way through a stash of yarn that almost rivals her tbr pile!

Her latest book is the romantic suspense/women’s fiction, The Scent of Humanity.

For More Information

Welcome to Book Marketing Buzz.  Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book?

Sure thing! The book is about Silvie Childs, a woman who’s old nightmare resurfaces to haunt her when her young niece is nearly kidnapped. When Silvie was about her niece’s age, she was almost kidnapped herself and she never quite got over it. So when it happens to her niece, she decides to do something about it. This brings an old friend back into her life, who just so happens to be the detective working her niece’s case, Nick Fahey. Nick and Silvie have history and it works its way into the present in many interesting ways.

What is the first thing you did to promote your book once your publisher accepted your manuscript?

Posted about it on my blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

After that, what happened?

Well, I sold two copies the first day it was published!

What’s your opinion on blogging?  Do you see that it is helping sell your book or is it not making much difference in terms of sales?  If you blog, do you blog often?

I think blogging has become an essential part of the writer’s life. I use it as a way to get my name out there, but also to help other authors like me to get their work out there. I love to help out other authors.

I understand using the social networks to promote your books is also an effective marketing tool.  What social networks do you use and do you find any of them effective?

Twitter and Facebook are the main ones, right now, and it’s hard to say yet. I think every little bit helps.

Besides blogging and using the social networks to promote your books, what other ways are you promoting your book?

By submitting my book as a prize in contests.

If you had to pick just one book marketing tool that you’ve used to promote your book, which would you say has been the most effective?

Oh, that’s a tough one! Probably guest blogging.

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Warriors at the Helm by Juan Carlos Marcos Book Feature

Warriors at the Helm
Title:
Warriors at the Helm

Author: Juan Carlos Marcos

Publisher: Elie Press

Pages: 174

Genre: Business

Format: Hardcopy/Ebook

In Warriors At The Helm: A Leader’s Guide To Success in Business, Juan Carlos Marcos shares his almost four decades of experience regarding people dynamics in the corporate World. Whether you’re just getting started in business, or you are a thirty-year warrior, nothing is as valuable to your growth, and in preparing you for success, as learning through trial and error. However, modern-day corporate America can be very unforgiving or impatient through your learning process. This book represents the next best thing to being there, which is learning from others’ experience. Juan provides the reader with a practical tool that offers valuable insights into the distinctive and real differences between effective leaders (those that people eagerly follow) and those who lack the self-awareness to understand that they may be barriers to progress versus a catalyst. To further add texture to his insights, Juan elicits and shares thoughts from veteran executives who share personal experiences and perspectives derived from years of trench warfare. In Warriors At The Helm you will learn about the traits that make Leaders and Individual Contributors successful in business and how to manage the Dumb Asses and Egomaniacs (AKA Barbarians) that roam the corporate landscape. The book will provide you with the awareness and knowledge of the life “on the inside” that will help you emulate and demonstrate the behaviors that will keep your career on a positive and productive track.

Purchase Your Copy At:

Juan Carlos Marcos was born in Cuba and immigrated to the United States in 1962. He spent almost four decades in leadership roles in human resources in the corporate world, including experience in multiple industries. Among the companies he worked at included Saint Mary’s Hospital Medical Center, in Madison Wisconsin, Graber Industries Inc., Boston Market and McDonald’s Corporation. Now retired and working as a consultant, he took the time to fulfill his dream of writing his first book. Juan holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in business from the University of Wisconsin. Juan lives in Evergreen, Colorado, with his wife Randi.

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Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on Gary Mancuso

TLPoE Cover

Gary Mancuso has seen how fast the world’s biological and cultural diversity is being obliterated by rapid globalization. In 2005, He saw the earth reaching a major turning point, when the last remnants of primal humanity and nature would soon be gone. So, in a life-changing gamble, he set off on a six-year journey to see the earth’s remaining wildernesses.

This intensely personal account of Gary’s journey includes feasting with New Guinea’s former cannibals, hunting with Pygmies in the Congo Basin, and attending a Madagascan highland death ritual with an exhumed corpse as the guest of honor.

Gary paid a price for his journey: lost his wife to divorce, half his net worth to financial malfeasance, and a dear friend to suicide. He fell sick several times, got electrocuted, and struggled with the inevitable disorientation borne of long rootlessness. But he overcame each hurdle and even found romance in some unlikely places. By dumb luck, some smart luck, and an instinct for improvisation, he pressed on and somehow staggered home.

The Last Places on Earth: Journeys in Our Disappearing World is a timely and powerful reminder that the wonderment and mystery that we humans naively assumed would always be there is dying fast.

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Thank you for your time in answering our questions  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to write a book?
This is my memoir of a six-year journey I recently completed into many of the last great wildernesses and intact traditional cultures on earth. Many people I met along the way, especially after I was three years or more into the journey, encouraged me to write a book about the experience. Near the end of my long journey, so many people I knew—passing acquaintances, friends, and family members—became more and more insistent. I had to do it, they said. I had to write a memoir of my journey. So, on my last serious trip of the entire epic, which was to the Antarctic, I decided to write my story.
Is this your first book?
Yes.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?
I did most of the work creating my book before working with a small, local publisher. I have a business development background, and specifically had once overseen the creation of a software based payments automation service. So, I just get things done. My understanding was that to follow a more “traditional” route to getting a publisher would likely require getting an agent, which could take a long time and a lot of work. So, when writing the book, I hired my own top editor to work and coach me through the process, did the same with top designers for the book cover and interior layout of the book. At that point, with a book that was basic print ready (and the eBook versions—Kindle and Nook– were done) it was much more attractive to small publishers like the one I went with.
What lessons do you feel you learned about the publishing industry?
Everyone that I dealt with indicated that the traditional publishing houses were mostly slow and technologically behind. Apparently, lots of things are still done by hand, and processes and procedures haven’t changed much over the past two decades. I can’t personally verify this, since I bypassed it.  However, after all the time it took to write my book, I didn’t want to spend two more years of my life trying to first get an agent, then wait for that agent to eventually sell my manuscript to a big publisher, only to then wait more for the slow process of finally having a published book.
I also wanted to keep control of all the rights to my book, including its design, appearance and all content. By bringing my book to a high quality and polished print-ready level before seeking a publisher, I was able to keep all rights and control over my book.
If you had the chance to change something regarding how you got published, what would you change?
Nothing. I like what I did.
Did you credit any person or organization with helping you get published?
Since most of my effort was self-directed, there isn’t really anybody to credit. I learned important things along my book journey from many different people—and from resources on the internet.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Work with a really good editor. Unless you want to just put out a book for the heck of it, that most likely no one will buy but some of your friends and family members, you need a first-rate book written in a high quality manner that really grabs the reader. Then, your real work has just begun.
Books don’t sell themselves, and unless you’re famous, notorious, or have some type of sensational or salacious story, no one will buy your book unless you relentlessly promote and sell it. There’s tons of materials out there for would be authors to learn how to do this. Determine first what it means to be “successful” as an author—i.e. your goals in your book journey. Most non-fiction books are a means to an end for an author, such as reputational development as an authority in a given area, to promote a certain viewpoint and so on. After you’ve identified your goals, do what successful authors who share similar goals have done, as well as implement strategies that fit your own situation and personality.
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Shining the Book Promotion Spotlight on Lauren Carr

Lauren Carr is the best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. A Wedding and a Killing is the eighth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.

In addition to her series set on Deep Creek Lake, Lauren Carr has also written the Lovers in Crime Mysteries, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates, who were introduced in Shades of Murder, the third book in the Mac Faraday Mysteries. They also make an appearance in The Lady Who Cried Murder. Dead on Ice (A Lovers in Crime Mystery) was released September 2012. The second installment, Real Murder was released to rave reviews in June 2014.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

For More Information

  • Visit Lauren Carr’s website.
  • Connect with Holly on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Visit Lauren’s blog.
  • Is your group looking for a speaker for your next event?  Click here.
  • Contact Lauren.

Welcome to Book Marketing Buzz.  Can we begin by having you tell us a little about your book?

In A WEDDING AND A KILLING, things go horribly wrong when Mac and his lady love, Archie Monday, decide to elope to the little church where his ancestors had all married—along the tranquil shore of Deep Creek Lake. Before they can say, “I do,” the sanctuary erupts into chaos when Gnarly finds a dead body in the church office.

As they dive into the investigation, Mac and his team discover more questions than answers. What kind of person walks into a church and shoots a man for no apparent reason? Who would want to kill the quiet, mild-mannered church volunteer? How do you solve the murder of a man who has no enemies in the world?

And then, there is the all-important question, how long do Mac Faraday and his lady love have to wait to get married?

What is the first thing you did to promote your book once your publisher accepted your manuscript?

I publish my own books through my publishing company Acorn Book Services. So, once I decide that this book is ready to start the publication process, then I start working with the cover designer. That is Todd Aune, of Projetoonline.com. Your cover is the eyes to your book’s soul. Tremendous covers can sell books, and bad covers can kill a book. Todd is a wonderful talent. He does all of the covers for my mysteries.

Once we have a cover, I will reveal it on my website and social network and give an approximate release date.

After that, what happened?

I will start talking up my next book with the previous book. Since I have been writing series with continuing characters, I will put a synopsis at the end of the previous book of what is coming. So, when readers finish my book, they will be waiting for the next book.

This puts me under the gun. I am usually on tour while my upcoming book is in editing and I get the cover. So, during my tour for the previous book, I will slip in little comments at the end of blogs about the next book. Comments to the blogger like, “See you in December when THREE DAYS TO FOREVER is released.”

What’s your opinion on blogging?  Do you see that it is helping sell your book or is it not making much difference in terms of sales?  If you blog, do you blog often?

Blogging is essential to authors who want to sell their books, especially if the author is independently published. Even if they aren’t, they need to get out there and blogging is the best way to do it. Basically, it is free advertising and you don’t have to pay for gas and travel, or even get dressed.

I do have a blog called Literary Wealth. I promote other authors on this blog. I am better with guest blogging because that gets me out there to appear on other blogs where I can meet new readers.

The thing about blogging is that you need to do it regularly. Now, I don’t regularly post to my own blog, but I am always on the lookout for blogs where I can make guest appearances. Also, I do a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Books with every book.

The key to a successful book tour: Promoting every single appearance through social media.

I understand using the social networks to promote your books is also an effective marketing tool.  What social networks do you use and do you find any of them effective?

There are so many out there and each one is different in how to use it and how effective it is. I use Twitter, Facebook, GooglePlus, and LinkedIn. There are a ton of others, but I don’t use them regularly.

Social networks are very useful, if you know how to use them and you use them regularly. Twitter is one of my most major tools. But, I’ll be honest, it has a big learning curve and I was pushed into it by another author. I now spend approximately three hours a day on Twitter. Most of that time is spent promoting other authors, who in return promote me.

That is the key to social networking. If you give to other authors by helping them, they will give back by helping you.

Besides blogging and using the social networks to promote your books, what other ways are you promoting your book?

Speaking engagements. I rarely do book signing events. Usually when I appear at a book fair or book signing event, it is for a good cause and I don’t go expecting to make any money. However, I do speaking engagements and workshops where I will speak about writing and/or publishing.

If you had to pick just one book marketing tool that you’ve used to promote your book, which would you say has been the most effective?

I can’t pick just one.

One that is extremely essential for authors who want to succeed is a website! I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but you will not believe how many new authors I work with who cringe, and even run and hide, at the idea of a website. Your readers need a central place to go find you and your books. My first two websites were free websites. It wasn’t until my fourth book that I invested in a paid site. Most of them are very user friendly.

The others are a combination of two things: Virtual Book Tours and Twitter. I have done several tours. Pump Up Your Book Tours with Dorothy Thompson is the best out there. But, when you go on a tour, don’t just sit there and read your appears, send them to your social networks and forget about them. Promote, promote, and promote that appearance via Twitter. I’m still promoting blog appearances from my tour last March!

Something to remember: Once it’s on the Internet, it is there forever! So promote it. Your guest blog posts and interviews and book spotlights will always find new readers even months or years after you’ve written them—if you tell them about it.

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Interview with Ralph Sanborn, author of China Red

ABOUT CHINA RED

Title: China Red
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Author: Ralph Sanborn
Publisher: iUniverse
EBook: 292 pages
Release Date: April 8, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-47598-293-0

Heroin, called “China Red” on the street, is being smuggled into the United States. Zhou Jing—who fancies himself a fifteenth-century Chinese warlord, is using Muslim Uighers in western China to produce the heroin. In exchange, Zhou arms, trains, and provides security from the Chinese government for the Uighers. Caleb Frost is a professional assassin in a deep cover, black operations team that specializes in wet work. His team includes two ex-Navy SEALs and a Greek beauty and former New York City escort. Funded by the US government, the team operates autonomously in total secrecy. China hires Caleb’s team to destroy, with prejudice, the smuggling operation in the US. Zhou’s partner is a brilliant, psychopathic killer—a Harvard Business School graduate named Wrath. He founded the Visigoths MC, a hard riding, vicious motorcycle gang which protects, delivers, and collects payment for the heroin shipments. When matters become personal and Caleb’s sister Rebecca is kidnapped, the team’s task gets messier. It becomes more than an “assassination engagement” for Caleb—it becomes a bloodthirsty vendetta. “This tornado of a thriller drags the reader into a world of guns, bombs, swords and death and won’t let go.” -Rob Swigart, Author of The Delphi Agenda “China Red plunges the reader into a world of evil intrigue and high adventure. You won’t be able to put it down.” -Antoinette May, author of The Sacred Well, Pilate’s Wife, and Haunted Houses of California

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

For the first of your questions I unfortunately have a very dry answer. Maintaining Point of View. POV, the three letters I hate in writing. Not that I don’t use POV, it’s just that I like the freedom of being in whoever’s mind I feel offers me the greatest opportunities at a moment in a chapter, a paragraph, a sentence to move the story. Then the POV-Nazis, the editors (generally I really appreciate them), jump on me. So that’s it. I like to be free.
Do you have a favorite excerpt from the book? If so, can you share it?

The scent of pine needles mixed with the sour fragrance of spilled wine filled Caleb Frost’s left nostril. The right nostril seemed to be clogged. The back of his head throbbed like Ginger Baker’s drums in Cream’s Toad. A dull, persistent ache echoed throughout his skull, ricocheting like a 22 caliber bullet without the power to exit.
There was enough dim light for Frost to make out the irregular surface of a slate floor. A few pine needles clung to his eyebrows like stalactites from a cavern’s ceiling. He blew to clear them way. The screaming pain from a split lip soared an octave or two joining the chorus of other pains reporting from his extremities.
Like a journalist organizing a first paragraph, Frost’s mind tried to sequence the Who What, When, Where, Why, and How leading up to the present. The answers to his questions floated just beyond his grasp. A tentative movement of his head sent a shaft of lightning through his eyeballs. No fast head motions he told himself. He closed his eyes to rest them. The last images etched onto the back of his eyeballs were of bottles and racks and casks. He slipped into a state somewhat approaching sleep.
His memory slowly gathered enough hints to put him back on the ground of the piney woods. He recalled James Fenimore Cooper’s “a twig snapped”. How did high school English Lit enter the picture he wondered?  That querulous memory was suddenly replaced by another recollection of a blow to the back of his skull and a swan dive into a black pool of needles and the scent of pine. And now he found himself still smelling the ground, but lying on slate.
His shoulder signaled shrilly from beneath his body. He rolled from his side to his stomach, arching on his forehead and knees to ease his position on the hard floor. The pressure on his forehead opened the Paris doctor’s fine stitching in his eyebrow. Blood seeped out of the open wound joining the droplet pattern on the slate floor started by other facial contusions. His feet were bound and his hands were tied behind his back. The ropes were tightly tied. He felt nothing in his hands. They were numb. Hunks of useless appendage. His fingers might as well have been on vacation. They did not respond to his call to action
A flash of light seared his eyes as a door was flung open. The beat of boots on the floor reverberated in his head. He shut his eyes and pretended he was still out. Large hands grabbed his elbows and hauled him up. Relaxing his body as loosely as possible, Frost opened his eyes a very narrow crack. In the dim light, he could make out denim-covered knees. Then a leather vests came into view. A 1%-er patch scrolled down past his slitted eyelids as he was hoisted semi-erect. A biker. Then a huge hand grabbed his whole face and bent his head backwards with a violent twisting motion. He found himself staring into a pair of black marbles. They were surrounded by wrinkled, bluish, red-veined skin. The wind-burned face of the biker was wreathed in short, black hair and a beard. The nose appeared to have been broken in two different directions multiple times. Black hairs bristled from nostrils.
“Wake up, asshole,” the biker’s rasping voice commanded. Bad breath accompanied the command. And the bad breath was accompanied by a backhand thrash across the left side of his face. He shook his head to fight off the pain bounding around inside his head like a jack rabbit trying to outrun a coyote. Christ, he thought, if I ever get out of here, I’m coming right back to deliver some righteous damage to this guy.
At the moment, all he could offer in the way of conversation was a murmured “Uh huh?” He was flung onto a chair. Then hands lifted his arms high behind him and over the back of the chair. By now, Frost’s eye had cleared enough to pan the room through squinting eyes. There were rows of racks filled with bottles of wine. The rows ended at a white-washed wall. A stairway led up to what must have been a ground level delivery door. He was seated in a chair in the middle of a wine cellar in a space that had been cleared of a wooden table now lying on its side against a wall.
“Now fuck-head. Let’s find out what you were doing spying on us.” This statement of the meeting’s objectives was followed by another “wake up and pay attention” slap across Frost’s face.”Talk or we’ll avoid this whole mess by stuffing you into one of the casks and let you age for a year or so. Clear? Answer me, asshole! What were you doing and why?”
What do you hope readers will take away after reading the book?
Not the killing, although a little delicious chill might be normal and for my genre a good thing. What I really hope is that a character will stick with them. I’ve had readers ask if Wrath will be back, despite the fact he went off a three hundred foot high cliff on a motorcycle onto rocks and the ocean below, I never say that he dies. They want to know if the homeless Brown Man, the witness to the kidnapping of Caleb’s sister, Rebecca, will be back.
Someone spoke fondly of the gang member, Creek. I wonder about that person.
Who or what is the inspiration for the book?
Two issues came up. One was how would someone react to the fact that their parents were brutally murdered by an assassin. How would he seek retribution?
And in doing so, how would he change and react?
The smuggling of heroin into the United States led to think about China White, the street name for some heroin, and that evolved into the Chinese wanna-be warlord, Zhou Jing who wrapped his heroin in red plastic—China Red! A street name.
Those two concepts plus what I read about the persecution of the Uighers, a Muslim ethnic group which arrived in western China one thousand years ago. The Chinese are trying to suppress them and oust them today. It is in the news today, although I got onto it three years ago when nobody in the US was aware of what was happening to the Uighers.
My publisher asked if the book would anger anyone. I told him, no, only China.
Have you had a mentor? If so, can you talk about them a little?
I have had seven or eight mentors, plus a couple of readers who have contributed. Any writer who does not have a Writing Group to critique his WIP is definitely missing the boat. A friend, currently working on her fourteenth book, told me that she still attends a writing group and couldn’t do it without them.
It would have been impossible for me to accomplish what I did without the backing, the shepherding really, of my group. They are all published authors; they have been there and back. Their knowledge of writing was a huge education. They all were writing in different genres, but mainly fiction.
One writes historical fiction. Another writes short stories and science fiction. A third wrote a book about the evolution of mankind as seen through the growth of cities plus several mysteries and think pieces, and a couple are writing fictionalized memoirs. Four are or were associated with universities. One is a psychologist. Another is an editor.
We meet every other week for six hours listening to and giving critiques. Then we go out to dinner for another couple of hours and the conversation and enthusiasm never stops.
Aside from my family, they are the most important people in my life.
I have heard it said in order to be a good writer, you have to be a reader as well? Do you find this to be true? And if you are a reader, do you have a favorite genre and/or author?
I have approximately three hundred books in my library at home. Just about all of them are in the thriller-mystery-crime genre. It is what I read . . . when I’m not writing. I try very hard to avoid even seeming to copy anything from the authors I read. My murders and my assassins are unique.
James Crumley, George Pelecanos, Walter Mosley, and Ian Rankin have influenced my voice I think. There is rhythm in their writing and I try to have a pace to my words and sentences. Crumley in particular had attitude. I try for it.

ABOUT RALPH SANBORN

Ralph Sanborn was raised in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, and earned a degree in psychology from St. Lawrence University. He has lived in several different countries and worked in a variety of manufacturing and software enterprise marketing capacities. He currently lives in Northern California with his wife, Susan, and their two dogs.

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Interview with Natsuya Uesugi, author of grydscaen

ABOUT GRYDSCAEN

grydscaenTitle: grydscaen

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Author: Natsuya Uesugi

Publisher: Xlibris

EBook: 288 pages

Release Date: July 21, 2011

Follow the lives of the main characters as they come together in the backstory to grydscaen:retribution, the first volume of the grydscaen saga. Faid is tired of life on the run in the Echelons, trying to keep his psychic power in check, he founds the Packrats establishing a safe haven for psychics. As a hacker he uses his jack to support his neurocyne habit. Lino is recruited by the Psi Faction and is sent on a mission to kidnap Faid. Riuho, Lino’s half brother becomes a prisoner of the Elite military and they experiment on him, train him and subject him to mind control, then send him out on a mission. On his return, Riuho is set on escaping and recruits Faid who hacks into the Psi Faction systems. They escape and return to the Packrats leading up to the start of grydscaen:retribution.

Xlibris

Question1: What was the hardest part about writing your book?

The grydscaen series is an epic. The hardest part of writing is keeping the entire grydscaen world together which includes warring factions, governments, nation states, political parties and corporations. The world is vast and the affiliations are deep. That took a little bit of doing to keep it together. Also grydscaen: beginnings was not the first book written or released in the grydscaen saga. I went back and wrote beginnings after I had written a few books. The characters grew with the story and I had to bring them “back home” to write beginnings because technically it is the very start of the series.
Question2: Do you have a favorite excerpt from the book? If so, can you share it?
From Chapter 9 of grydscaen: beginnings
Faid stood in the center of the street, he sent a psi shock wave down the street after the target. The target evaded the blast and it slammed into another building and blew up the wall. The target psychic vanished. Another person materialized and ran up on Faid and held him in place. Faid tried to shove him off but the guy was anchoring him there, he couldn’t teleport. The initial target appeared in front of Faid. They were ganging up on him, he was outnumbered. A third person appeared. These were the three Faid was after. He didn’t know how he was going to get out of this. The initial target walked up to Faid and looked him directly in the eyes and sent *Die!*
It was a block command. Faid felt his body respond. He started to feel a pain in his head. He had to stop the command from taking hold of him. He bore down with all his strength and closed his eyes and blew the area. He vaporized the targets and the buildings surrounding him for a half mile radius. When he opened his eyes, his attackers were gone, the block command was no longer in control of him and there were dead bodies in the street. A bloodied arm fell out of the air and dropped in front of him. He backed up from it.
“What did I do….” Faid trailed off and just stared out into the devastation.
Question3: What do you hope readers will take away after reading the book?
I hope readers will take a look at themselves and look at where they stand and what their belief systems are. Take an inventory and see that the world is not black and white there are many perspectives on things. Just like in grydscaen the Packrat hackers can be cyber terrorists or freedom fighters it all depends on your perspective.
Question4: Who or what is the inspiration for the book?
This book is inspired by technology. I am a systems analyst and I work with computers and technology every day. I think the advances in technology have inspired me. When I originally came up with the grydscaen idea I was in the 9th grade and my parents were computer programmers talking about code, mainframes and technology at the dinner table. This inspired me then and it still inspires me now what we can do with technology. The tech in the books comes from my life of IT.
Question5: Have you had a mentor? If so, can you talk about them a little?
I don’t really have a mentor. When I was a junior in college there was a priest/monk who inspired me to write my college essays and I got into the Ivy League school I ended up graduating from.  I think he was the closest thing to a mentor that I could have, he taught me to read books from authors like C. S. Lewis which is both theology and fantasy, science at the same time. I think this had some influence. I wanted to be a priest for the longest time and I think the Prophet religion that the psychics follow in the grydscaen books was ultimately inspired by this monk. Then there was also my piano teacher. I studied piano for a long time and loved playing music, the bands I write about in grydscaen, Athens and Painbox and Pilot26 are all coming from my love of music and the music teachers that inspired me to be creative and strive for perfection in my music which also carries through in my writing.
Question6: I have heard it said in order to be a good writer, you have to be a reader as well? Do you find this to be true? And if you are a reader, do you have a favorite genre and/or author?
Yes I have heard that. I read different things including manga, graphic novels and comic books as well as novels. I mostly try to read science fiction. I used to read a lot of fantasy when I was in high school. I tend to want to read things that make me think.
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Interview with authors Catherine Hemmerling and Joan Avery


Title:
Tempting Her Reluctant Viscount
Author: Catherine Hemmerling
Publisher: Entangled Scandalous
Pages: 225
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Ebook

A pretend courtship…a real scandal

London 1814

Hope Stuckeley has lusted after the handsome and charismatic Michael Ashmore, the Viscount Lichfield, for ages—never mind that she’s never actually spoken to him. When the two join forces to investigate a London stock market scandal, pretending he is courting her gives her the chance to prove she’s more than the bookworm he takes her for.

After years of service as a soldier and newly titled as a viscount, actual marriage and settling down are the last things on confirmed bachelor Michael’s mind. But when their investigation puts the delectable Hope in danger, discovering the truth about the scandal could jeopardize the future he didn’t know he wanted.

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Thank you for your time in answering our questions  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to write a book?

I guess I have always had stories bouncing around in my head. Every now and then I would try to write them down as books, but I either never finished them or they became short stories. Then the idea foe Lady Lancaster hit me and I couldn’t shake it. So, I started writing. It turned into a full-fledged, honest-to-goodness book! I was floored, excited, and eager to write another one. The rest, as they say, is history … and romance … and mystery!

Is this your first book?

This is the third book in my series (my first and only series thus far), but I wrote it and the others to be read as stand-alones, in case someone hasn’t read the others.

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?

It was surprisingly fast. I expected the journey to take years, but I lucked out on finding a fantastic agent pretty early on. She really did the hard part by finding a great publisher. Having been a technical writer for most of my career, I found the editing portion of the process relatively easy. I have a great editor and we work well together. Lots of give and take until the final book comes out.

What lessons do you feel you learned about the publishing industry?

It’s not for the over-sensitive. An editor’s job is to help you get your book to the best, most SELLABLE, place it can be. That means edits, cuts, re-writes. As much as your book can feel like your baby, you need to be willing to make changes to it for the greater good.

If you had the chance to change something regarding how you got published, what would you change?

Not a thing. I only wish I had done it sooner.

Did you credit any person or organization with helping you get published?

My agent, Kathy Green. She is and always will be the best agent in the world, in my opinion.

What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

Don’t give up. Finish your book(s). Buy the current Guide to Literary Agents. And have fun!

Catherine Hemmerling has spent most of her career as a technical writer in the software industry, but in the last few years has realized her dream of becoming a novelist. Every day she pinches herself to make sure her new life is real. Living with her family in the hills of southern California, Ms. Hemmerling spends her days devising plot twists, agonizing over titles, and making a lot of new imaginary friends; and loves it.

Her latest book is the historical romance, Tempting the Reluctant Viscount.

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Title: Love’s Justice
Author: Joan Avery
Publisher: Entangled Scandalous
Pages: 215
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Ebook

He holds her fate in his hands…

London, 1879

American heiress, Victoria Wentworth has spent her life blithely ignoring her father’s wishes…until he enters her into an unwanted marriage contract with a despicable man. She has two choices: marry the bounder or fight the archaic English laws in court. Her only hope is Hugh Worth, the Earl Montgomery and Lord Chancellor of the Exchequer: her judge and jury. Society paints him as stern and subdued, yet fair. Society didn’t warn her that beneath his somber façade beats a passionate heart and soul.

Hugh finds himself irresistibly, inexplicably, drawn to the spirited American, despite himself and his better judgment. As the inconvenient heiress takes on the fight against the very foundation of his life and career, another battle wages in his once cold heart. Everything about her is inappropriate, illogical, and unexpected. Yet, she is a woman he could admire. A woman of intelligence and beliefs that challenge the existing world.

But she is forbidden.

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Thank you for your time in answering our questions Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to write a book?

Many years ago, I left a very satisfying career as a writer/producer of radio/television commercials for a major advertising agency to stay home with my children full time.  I soon found I needed a creative outlet.  Between changing diapers and feeding hungry little mouths I started my first book.

Is this your first book?

No.  I’ve written both for traditional publishers and epubs.

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?

I began my journey so long ago that traditional publishing was the only way to go.  With the changing industry I now have self-published my older titles in eBook format and am comfortable with ePublishing in general.

What lessons do you feel you learned about the publishing industry?

Like so many other arenas the publishing industry feels safest when they publish clones of previous successes.  Unfortunately, this means trying to introduce something new or different is very difficult.

If you had the chance to change something regarding how you got published, what would you change?

I don’t think I’d change anything.  It’s been a fascinating journey.

Did you credit any person or organization with helping you get published?

I must say that, when I was starting out, I found the RWA (Romance Writers of America) was very helpful in learning the practicalities of publishing.

What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

If your first book doesn’t sell put it aside and begin another.  Too many people try to re-work their first attempt and end up getting stuck in a cycle of re-writes from which they never escape.  If the first book didn’t sell try to be objective about criticism you’ve received and incorporate those changes in your next attempt.

Joan Avery was an award-winning writer/producer at a major national advertising agency for over fifteen years before she retired to raise a family and write. Joan has been blessed with a daughter, two sons and two stepsons. She and her husband now have five grandchildren. Although she has lived in the Detroit area her entire life she has traveled extensively for both work and leisure. She and her husband, an attorney, have visited many fascinating parts of the world. Joan feels her travels enrich her writing. THE WORTH BROTHERS TRILOGY takes place in three of her favorite places.

Her latest book is the historical romance, Love’s Justice

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Don’t miss out on great books from Entangled Publishing – Check out their Steals and Deals!

Catherine and Joan are giving away a $25 and $20 Amazon/B&N Gift Card!

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  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

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