Buy Cough Syrup And Your Favorite P.O.D. Book At The Same Time

September 20, 2012

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.  ~Sylvia Plath

 

Good Morning Muse Trackers!

 

I have just run across an amazing bit of news. I sincerely hope it isn’t the case of the whole world already knows this and I’m getting clued in at the last minute, but here goes. In the not so very distant future, you may be able to print your e-books at CVS and other convenient locations. I think this has the potential to change the whole game. At the very least, it will bring in a whole segment of the population that simply won’t convert to e- formats. (I’m very excited by this, can you tell?)

 

A company, On Demand Books, has created a machine that will be able to print self published books and also the more than seven million backlist and public domain titles in its catalog. The Espresso Book Machine (I love what they call it.) will be able to print a book out in minutes and it can contain pictures as well. I see all sorts of possibilities for the future. Will it be much longer before we can include short films? My books take place in exotic locales, what about a photo journey?

Here’s an example of an Espresso machine in Alexandria, Egypt!

 

On Demand has partnered with Kodak to add print-on-demand technology to Kodak Picture Kiosks which are not only located throughout the United States, but are found all over the world! They have also formed a partnership with ReaderLink, which distributes books to grocery stores, drugstores, mass market and club stores as well, to make even more titles available through Kodak Picture Kiosks. As it stands, there are 105,000 kiosks globally. Book releases will begin this year in the U.S. and will expand on the international front in 2013. While the Espresso Book Machines are already in about 70 bookstores and libraries globally, Kodak will be able to expand their footprint immensely.

Think of the possibilities!

“We envision an integrated solution that can substantially redefine the publishing industry and bring exciting new solutions to customers,” said On Demand CEO Dane Neller in the release.

I also found on the Espresso Machine’s web site that they are excited to help authors connect their works with others. The books will have full color covers and black and white interiors making it indistinguishable from books produced by traditional publishers. If an author chooses to use this system, they retain all rights and the author also has the responsibility of setting their own price point. They have many different programs to assist writers such as EspressNet and The Shelves program which are detailed on their site http://ondemandbooks.com/self_publishing.php  EBM will also go beyond simple printing as they offer full publishing packages including editorial, design, layout etc.- whatever you might need.


Link Of The Week

September 11, 2012

Let’s say you’ve finished your book, edited the dickens out of it, put it up for sale, and now want to list it for free.

OK…now what?

How do you make the most of your free book? How do you get the word out there that it’s even available? Well, wonder no more! A friend of mine sent this link to me and I HAD to share it with you. I think you will find it to be a wealth of information!

http://pimpyourbooks.blogspot.com/2012/05/benefits-of-kdp-select-free-days.html


Could Marketing Crash The Book Market?

September 6, 2012

The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction.  By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say.  ~Mark Twain

 

Marketing. (AAGGHHHH!!!!!! …as she runs screaming out of the room.)

As authors we have to continually keep our eyes on that ball. Besides providing great content between the covers of a book, we now have to be masters of the business world as well. Sheesh- sometimes it feels overwhelming.

 

I have an interesting question that I will ask in just a minute.

 

There’s no getting around the business side of writing. There just isn’t. Let’s say you’ve published your book, you’ve blogged, you’ve Face Booked, you’ve had a book launch, you’ve done all the things you know how to do and your sales are still moving along at a sluggish pace. Many authors will offer their books for free on Amazon and other sites. While doing that, you can also contact sites such as www.indiebookslist.com, www.pixelofink.com, www.freebooksy.com, www.bargainbookhunter.com, www.flurriesofwords.blogspot.com, www.freebookdude.com, and www.snickslist.com. These types of sites will be happy to email or tweet your book to their followers which can run into the thousands. There are tons of sites out there to help you, too many to list them all here. I’ve heard of one author who offered is book on Amazon’s KDP Select, ran it through as many of these sites as he could (with no other promotion) and he ended up with over 4000 free downloads. This sounds pretty terrific!

 

Another interesting idea is to use something called Wattpad. I had never heard of it, but it could be a great place to start building a readership, get feedback, and build excitement for your next bit of work. It’s like a giant high school literary magazine where people can put up their work and there are tons of readers there. This site is most often accessed by smart phones where short stories, novels, poetry, and fan fiction are read voraciously. Many writers reveal their stories chapter by chapter so the readers anticipate new developments and can often be found asking the writer for plot shifts or new characters! If you think this is just another site among the millions out there, think again. Wattpad gets 9 million unique visitors a month! I think that qualifies as a good site to build a readership.

 

So here’s my question. With this fairly proven method of offering your work for free as a marketing tool, are we training a whole generation to expect free books?

 

What does that mean for a writer? Dale Brown, who is a very successful author, just offered his books for $1.99. That’s not free, but it is pretty cheap. My husband bought ten books at once. While that’s a win win for both my husband and Dale Brown, Peter will now think twice before spending a chunk of change on a new book. If he waits long enough it will go on sale or be offered for free.

 


Do You Want To Make Money? Help Yourself!

April 12, 2012

 

Write your first draft with your heart.  Re-write with your head.  ~From the movie Finding Forrester

 

 

Do I want to write as a business?

 

This is a question that has plagued my brain for quite awhile. I’m so very lucky because I don’t depend on writing for a viable source of income and that’s a luxury. I recognize that. While I struggle with wondering whether I want to put a passion to work, I’ve learned some very important things that an author should understand if they want to make a go in this industry.

 

The first thing to ask yourself is if you know your genre. I know a lot of you are shaking your head and telling me to start with something a bit more advanced. I’d like to, but too many authors haven’t studied their genre well enough and make basic mistakes that turn off readers. Have you read books written in the same vein as yours? Do they sell well? What aspects of one book make it a better seller than another? Are there things that readers come to expect and love in that genre? Is it in your book? I know we all want to write about the things we love, but let’s face it, if your book is about something that has a very narrowed window of interest, you might have a tough time making it into a viable seller.

 

I started this journey wanting to write a category romantic suspense, but my characters wouldn’t let me keep the story within the confines of a category book. (At the time, I didn’t even know it was called “category” and that it had all those rules attached to it!) I seem to write bigger suspense/thriller types of stories and with the encouragement of many people who read my pages, I started to swing towards all out non-romantic suspense. There was a problem. I didn’t read that type of book.

 

After jumping in and raiding my husband’s book collection, I discovered two things. Those books were awesome and I didn’t want to write one. I liked the stories, but I always found myself wanting more romance infused into the book. I finally came upon writers like Brenda Novak, Roxanne St. Claire, and Allison Brennan who wrote big suspense with a romantic thread running through the stories. I’m also happy to say that they sell quite nicely. Know yourself. Know your market. Do your homework.

 

Not all of you will agree with my next assertion. You need to spend money to make money. Spend some money on a professional editor and for a professional design of your book cover. Begin with your critique partners, have some beta readers give you feedback and then send your work to an editor. It will cost money, but it should be money well spent if you get a reputable editor. Don’t ever, ever, ever rely on just yourself to edit your work. I can almost guarantee that you will not have a polished product.

 

If you want your book to be placed next to a professionally published book and the reader not be able to distinguish any difference between the quality of the two, then find a cover designer. Unless you have a degree in marketing and are a computer genius, you will be able to spot a homemade cover a mile away. I believe this is almost more important in the virtual world of selling than in the real world. All you have to capture their attention right off the bat is that tiny picture showing up on their screen. Spend the money- make it professional. I know an author who put her book up for sale with a cover she put together for little to no money. It wasn’t bad, it was actually quite attractive until you compared it to others professionally done in her genre. Despite that, sales were fair and then she hired a designer and re-published the book with its new cover. Sales soared and she started receiving fan mail. Does a cover make that much difference? YES!!!!!

 

Once there’s a refined, sleek looking product the author needs to publish it. You have two choices at this point. You can hire a company that will do the work for you or you can educate yourself and do it. Most of my friends are doing this part themselves and saving money. If you don’t think this is for you, there are many companies willing to take your money. Some are quite reasonable and others will charge you a huge amount. It’s just like anything else. Do your homework and research the options. I’m of a mind that if you can figure it out, then give it a try.

 

This is the beginning of the business part. Are you still with me? Are you scared? Are you excited? The next two weeks will be spent talking about marketing, looking at actual authors’ numbers, and can you truy make a living doing this?

 

** Spoiler Alert** Yes, you can! It takes research, trial and error, and a whole lotta chutzpa. 


Marketing- Don’t Let Your Head Explode!

April 5, 2012

Easy reading is damn hard writing.  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

Help!

I’m choking on the amount of material out there about our industry, all the different ways to market our work, and the changing face of the market itself. After spending many hours trolling the internet, I hope to give you bite size portions to think about and for you to not get overwhelmed by the avalanche of, sometimes very conflicting, information.

The number one item repeated time and again was that it doesn’t matter what route you take to being a published author, you must become savvy to marketing techniques to boost sales. The days of a publishing house taking over and making you a best seller are gone. The houses expect you to have an online presence and that you are willing to put much effort into promoting yourself. Brick and mortar publishing models will have you in stores for a finite amount of time and then you are done. E publishers will promote you on their website, offer you a chance to blog  to the readers who frequent their site, but after a certain amount of time, you are done. If you want to continue to have your books sell, then you MUST have some kind of strategy. Right, wrong, or indifferent this is today’s reality and every author needs to get on board for long term survival.

A good friend of mine, author Suzan Harden, directed me to http://victorinewrites.blogspot.com/2011/03/sales-growth-over-time in order for me to see several indie authors post their numbers of sales over a period of time. I strongly suggest you hop over there to study the numbers yourselves, but here are my general impressions of the data.

– Most authors start off with small numbers, but with time grew. This makes sense because growing is due to word of mouth which is now done in an IT sort of way.

-Sales generally increased around the holidays which led to continued higher sales for many of the authors.

– Based on their anecdotal information, sales spiked consistently with each new release. Some chose to publish short stories, some novellas, some full length novels. It didn’t seem to matter- new material equaled new sales.

-Authors also had spikes when they changed their covers or tweaked the descriptions of their books. I found this very telling because it confirms my belief that unless you are a cover artist/marketing guru, you should spend some money and hire a professional designer for your cover. We are a society of instant gratification and if the picture on the front doesn’t grab us within the first 5 to 10 seconds, you’ve lost a potential buyer.

– As a whole, those authors that had more than one item for sale had better sales. (Although there were exceptions to this.)

Every author should consider establishing a Facebook personal page, a Facebook fan page, a Twitter account, a You Tube account and a blog. Even as I write this, I need to warn you not to take on all of these things at one time and not every single one will be right for every person. The next couple of weeks, I will give you a breakdown of each of these, mistakes that many authors make, and more data from published authors that I’m collecting. This is such a huge topic with many layers, but I believe we must explore and commit to being an active part in the business side of  creativity.

 


The Power Of Knowledge- Turn It Into Money

March 29, 2012

Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret.- Matthew Arnold

 

Do you want to make money?

I’m not sure, but I would guess every person reading this article will answer with a resounding YES! I know I do. I also know that it’s not enough to simply write a good book. This brave new world we’ve entered with the advent of self publishing and e-readers has changed our industry forever. We are now responsible for the business as well as the creative side of making books. (This is true no matter which avenue you take to publishing.) Most sectors of business change over the course of years, we’ve seen huge upheavals in the course of a few months.

Because of the shifting landscape, it is our responsibility to stay current with market research and business strategies for our careers. This takes a bit of time and effort, but doesn’t have to be overwhelming. A writer can educate themselves by reading blogs, like Muse Tracks, and researching the internet. I decided to take my own advice and have been studying trends and tricks of selling books.

This is me doing the research!

We know e-book consumers are increasing their buying power, both in print and e formats. More people are buying more books online to the detriment of the traditional brick and mortar book stores. Obviously, the ease and number of e-readers on the market has influenced this trend immensely, but a sky rocketing segment of this is found in-app purchasing. According to the Book Industry Study Group- www.bisg.com   which publishes Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading shows that more than half of e-book readers increased their use of using apps to buy books and more than one third of them increased their buying at sites like Amazon. A huge percentage of them said that they’ve significantly decreased their spending at book stores.

Their findings show that dedicated e-readers are still the most used platform for reading books, but even that has changed over the last few months. Take a look at these numbers:

-17% said they are now using tablets, which is up from 13%.

-Smartphones used as readers has gone from 5.3 to 9.2%

– Dedicated e-readers has dropped from 71.6% to 60.9%. Even so, sales for the Kindle jumped 175% between Black Friday and Christmas of this past year.

So how do these numbers translate into dollars and cents? The book trade as a whole has grown and profited over the last year, but the e-book trade has led the way jumping from 73.2 to 128.8 million dollars. That’s a 76% increase in just one year!

This is huge!

So what do you do with this information? E buying, whether print or e-book, is still fueled by the traditional method of “word of mouth”. We all want to read a good book so we listen to our friends. The trick is to take that time honored method and apply it to our digital age. “Word of mouth” now has the ability to extend far beyond a writer’s immediate little world. It’s called social media.

Indie/self published authors have blazed a path of marketing through this outlet pushing their sales to new heights. I was very interested to learn that traditional publishing houses are taking note of this grassroots effort and are using it as well. An anthology will soon be released through a major publishing house and they have each of their authors creating street teams to help market the book. Each author sends out a request to their friends asking them to sign up for a specific week to Facebook, Twitter, blog etc. about the upcoming book. It has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of people, if not more. (Interesting twist that traditional publishing is taking a cue from the lowly writers who have made their own path.)

Let me be clear- I am not a business type person. I have trouble keeping my check book balanced, however I am NOT stupid. If I want to steer my writing career, I have to have the knowledge. Knowledge is power, knowledge translates into making money and as we’ve already decided, we all want to do that!


Unicorns, Profanity, and Sexist Pirates – The Bright Side of a Bad Review

September 21, 2011

Song of the Day: Cold by Crossfade

It was bound to happen sooner or later. It was only a matter of time.

Last week, I found that I had been pirated. I’m wondering if this means I’ve made the big time now that bootlegs of Blood And Treasure are  available? So, I Googled my name. That’s when I saw it.

My first unfavorable review. ACK!

Don’t get me wrong, I knew I’d have to face the inevitable. I’m not so disillusioned to think someone wouldn’t come along and burst my shiny bubble floating around my castle in the sky and scare off my herd of magical unicorns. Even the greats like King, Roberts, and Patterson get dissed. The nerve. Fact is, as this novel made its round in the contest circuit, judges either loved it or hated it. Rarely was there an in-between. It goes without saying the same would likely hold true with reviewers.

The voices in my head warned me not to click the link. But did I listen? Hell no. I had to know how Blood And Treasure fared, especially since this was a pretty well-known review site and I hadn’t sought out their service in the first place. (The review site will remain anonymous to protect the innocent.)

So what did the critic say?

The reviewer chose not to finish reading the book. Ouch! Someone call a medic. I’ve just been hit.

Okay, okay. So, it just wasn’t her cup of rum. Got it.

She went on to say that sexist comments caused her jaw to drop and left her

Stacey & I wondering WTF. You didn't know we look like celebrities, did you?

thinking WTF. I was having my own WTF moment reading this. Then she pulled an excerpt from the book to prove her point. It’s an internal thought by the pirate hero, Captain Zane Fox.

“Possessive, helpless, maniacal, devious, selfish, any one of these words could describe a woman. They could be tender in your embrace or calculating in your bed. And never to be trusted. […] And yet, Lianna was different.”

It dawned on me, albeit slowly, that she just did something for me. She quoted my book. Cool! Still, I was bummed. Maybe I’d take up drinking heavily. Oh wait…

Moving on. Upon closer inspection of her review, I realized it wasn’t so bad. She didn’t say the story sucked wind or that a second-grader has better grammar. In fact, it seemed she had nothing else to say about the book at all. Just that I’m sexist.

Jack Sparrow - Is he politically incorrect? Do you care if he is?

I do take exception to the name calling. Or rather, Captain Fox does. I did mention he is a pirate, right? A pirate! WTF? Whoever heard of a politically correct pirate? Aside from that, let’s not forget the time period. Newsflash. Unjust as it was, women were historically viewed as either manipulative creatures looking to trap a man in her snare, a vessel to brood children, or tarts to shag. Gasp! Did I just say that? Perceptions of women didn’t fully change until recent decades. (Here, give me a hand down from this soap box, will ya.)

All in all, I don’t think my first bad review was all that bad. She is certainly entitled to her opinion, and I completely respect her appraisal. I raise another cup of rum to her and thank her for the exposure.

Do you have a bad review you’d like to share? How about a WTF contest comment? I’d love to hear from you.


“Don’t Let The Bastards Get You Down”

September 15, 2011

No author dislikes to be edited as much as he dislikes not to be published.  ~Russell Lynes

By: Stacey Purcell

I’m sure a lot of you have read about author Kiana Davenport’s trouble with a large traditional publishing house. In case you haven’t, I’ll do a short re-cap. This author signed a deal for a book that she wrote which was due to come out in 2012.

So far, so good.

Ms. Davenport has won numerous awards, been previously published and by all rights is a wonderful writer. She is also a fashion model who lived the high life and spent most all of her money. She submitted and was accepted by Riverhead, an imprint of Penguin books. The terms for her new contract were less than what she used to command, but she needed the money that the advance would pay.

Just prior to this arrangement, she came across Joe Konrath’s blog about self-publishing and turned to him for help. With a bit of guidance, she sold a collection of short stories and was successful! She then published a second collection and  the proverbial poop hit the fan!

 “The editor shouted at me repeatedly on the phone.  I was accused of breaching my contract (which I did not) but worse, of ‘blatantly betraying them with Amazon,’ their biggest and most intimidating competitor.  I was not trustworthy.  I was sleeping with the enemy.”

Kiana Davenport immediately hired a lawyer. (Good for her!) He pointed out that the first collection was published before she signed the contract, so they turned their attention to the second collection and demanded that she take it off line, erase all mention on the internet about her short stories and that she submit in writing that she would not publish any of her back log items while her current book was with them. (That would represent a good two or more years of her life.)

Can you say straight jacket?

She refused. (Yay!) They terminated their contract and demanded her advance back. They are also holding her novel hostage until she sends them the money. That’s the whole sordid affair in a nutshell.

My first response to reading about her plight was disbelief. I simply couldn’t believe that an established business under the banner of an even bigger company would resort to classic bully tactics fronted by their legal department. After spending several hours researching articles posted by several amazing bloggers (lawyers included), I can say I was wrong. Do they not realize writers have blogs? Stories like this WILL get out and spread like wild fire.

Authors are urged to remember they are “professionals” in most every writing group out there. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it ad nauseum to always be on my best behavior, remember this is a profession, dress appropriately etc. etc. etc. So I ask the question, “How professional was it that the editor screamed at her over the phone? How professional was it that they called her agent offering treats so she would move forward in the right spirit?” I would also answer the questions by saying that they seem to be on shaky legal ground.

I haven’t seen the contract, I can only interpret the actions by both parties. If the publisher thought they had an iron clad legal stand, there wouldn’t be such an emotional outburst on the editor’s part, and they wouldn’t have tried to offer incentives for her to agree to their terms.

“The vice president and publisher of that house called my agent, offering extra little sweetmeats if I would just capitulate and ‘adopt the right spirit going forward.’  This somewhat sinister and semi-benevolent attempt at mind-control fascinated me.”

I think someone at Riverhead omitted the clause about what they would allow her to publish or not publish during the tenure of their agreement. I also think that if all of the above is true, then they are in breach of contract. By terminating the contract and demanding the advance back, on baseless grounds, they are now in the wrong. I believe they are bluffing by demanding the advance back and I’ll bet that her lawyer is telling her much the same thing. **Remember, I’m not a lawyer and am only expressing my thoughts.**

This whole story makes me sad. Not every publisher is a bad guy, some actually support the idea that the author is out there drumming up business and making their presence known on line. It seems to me that it’s a win-win situation and a model that would help traditional publishers stay afloat in this tumultuous time. Scenarios, like this, hurt everyone and I hope that the coming days as the landscape dramatically changes in our business, we will see calmer, more rational behavior from all.


Welcome Saranna DeWylde and THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF MOUNT OLYMPUS

September 5, 2011

Hello All,

I’m super excited to have this writer here today. I was lucky enough to find and befriend Saranna DeWylde during the Next Best Celler contest at Textnovel, and I’m extremely lucky we’ve stayed pals since. I could list her qualities (one of which happens to be a ridiculously fast and super efficient crit partner who puts me to SHAME) but I’ll let you get to know her through her writing, which is what drew me to her in the first place.

Saranna recently released her uber sexy THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF MOUNT OLYMPUS and she’ll be giving away one PDF copy to one lucky comment EVERY TEN COMMENTS! Sweet!

I loved this book in its earliest draft and now – awesome.

Love the cover!

Welcome Saranna!

Let’s start out easy! What do you write and is there one genre you wish you could write but don’t?

I write paranormal romance, urban fantasy, contemporary and erotica. I also write a bit of true crime. I used to be a horror author but after my employment as a corrections officer, it sort of changed what I wanted out of my career and what I wanted to put out into the world. I’ve even got a romantic suspense that’s been poking at me to give it some attention.

The second part of the question is harder to answer. I don’t really write in genre, (contrary to labels I slapped on myself in the previous paragraph. *laughs*) I write the story that wants to be told. The one living in my head. So, if I have a hard-boiled cop story in my head, that’s what I write. If I have a historical in my head, I’ll write it. I think anyone can do the same as long as you’re true to the characters and the story that needs/wants to be told.

Um, the correction’s officer part is true and Saranna just sold her memoir about that time in her life. WOOT! Okay, back on subject. Are you a plotter or pantser?

Mostly a pantser. I usually have a general idea of what I want to happen, major plot points in my head when I start. I don’t write it down though, or make a story arc or an *shudders* outline. I do, every so often, write down some GMC statements where I can see them. Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. Just to remind myself what drives my characters and that really helps me keep them in character so I don’t have to go back and delete 20K of material because it’s not working.

Can you tell us what made you decide to self-publish Housewives?

It was a tough decision, but everyone who read it as far as agents and editors were concerned told me they thought it was too snarky. But my critique partner and other beta readers loved it. More importantly, *I* loved it. I believe in it. There is so much more to it than the snark and it’s using the gods as they were meant to be used. As an allegory for ourselves and what I like best about romance–in that it shows us redemption and happily ever afters are possible for all of us.

Further, publishing is changing so fast now. It’s shifting with new technology, new ways to get stories to readers and new ways to connect with each other. Platforms, markets, and even product are all in a spin. I wanted to dip my toe in the water and check it out. So far, it’s been great. I got exactly what I wanted for this book as far as character, content, even my cover is exactly what I imagined.

Regardless of whether I’m with a traditional publisher, an epublisher, and indie publisher or publishing myself building a backlist is important.

I had requests for something after I did some promo for my Kensington books that won’t be out until 2012.

So, you add all of that together in a big blender and get the self-publish smoothie.

Smoothies, yum. Okay, even a publishing smoothie is yummy considering so many of my fav authors are putting out titles on their own. So is there one pro and one con you’ve found from your experience self-pubbing?

They’re the same thing. Being responsible for everything myself. It was cool because like I mentioned earlier, I got to produce this product exactly to my specifications and my visions.

But wow, the pressure. There were some things I had trouble with and luckily I have awesome friends who were right there to jump in the fire with me and help me out.

Any advice for those considering the self-pub path?

I’ve only done it with one book so far, but I’ve learned that people do expect more from a self-pub book because of the stigma of being self-pubbed. It’s not as bad as it used to be, there are a lot of good books out there self-pubbed. But don’t let it get to you. Accept it and prove them wrong. Put out the best product you can. Engage an editor, take time with your cover and remember a book isn’t just your creative expression, it’s a product. If you want people to buy it, you have to treat it like a product and you are the brand.

Okay, now some fun stuff:

Who’s your favorite character in Housewives and why?

Thanatos. He’s so modern, kind of cyberpunk. He’s like Death living in The Matrix. He’s one of the most powerful gods, but he wears it so casually. He accepts what he is, a little dark and brooding, (I mean, come on. He’s Death.) but he still has a sense of humor, he’s witty. Hades was the one I thought I’d fall for, but I ended up being stuck on him just a little bit.

Where did the idea for HOUSEWIVES come from?

I was talking shop in chat with a few friends of mine and we were talking about cool titles. I threw that one out there and one of my friends demanded I log off and write it. So I did.

HA! I know that friend. She’s a slave driver. Thank goodness! Tell us a secret about Housewives. Were there any deleted scenes you’d put in the extras category if this were a dvd?

There were not any deleted scenes. Usually, there is something I delete but the words flew hot and fast with this one. I would just sit down in the morning and crank out sometimes three chapters a day and it was surprisingly very clean. Although, I had trouble with Demeter’s chapters. I didn’t like her much and living in her head was hard for me until she learns her lesson.

As I’m a card carrying metal head, it may surprise those of you who know me that this book had its own CD. Lady Gaga’s Fame Monster. Each couple has a song. I don’t write to music anymore, I used to, but I weaned myself away from it. Although, I could hear these songs in my head when I wrote them.

Hera/Hades-Dancing in the Dark

Demeter/Eros- Bad Romance

Nyx/Apollo-Alejandro

Abstinence/Zeus-Monster

Persephone/Thanatos-Teeth

And if this were a DVD, I’d have an interactive section where you could dress them up like live-action Barbie dolls.

This is always hard, but can you tell us a secret about you?

I, the all powerful Amazon Goddess of Doom, am afraid of cows. I hate them. The neighbor’s bull broke through the electric fence to chase me a 1/2 mile UP-friggin-HILL home. And ever since then, the cows across the street watch me with their big soulful eyes, but inside, I know they’re laughing.

Or they could just be looking for my mini Amazons. They like to feed them Hershey’s kisses. (When my youngest was smaller, she thought if she gave them Hershey’s, she’d get chocolate milk so she’d sneak over and give them some.)

LOL! COWS?!? Hey I can’t say much since I freeze up like Medusa glared at me whenever a spider makes an appearance. Thanks for being a good sport.

Here’s an excerpt of HOUSEWIVES:

NYX

     “Thanatos!” she cried when she saw her oldest son lounging on her temple steps.

     “Hey, Ma.” He stood and endured her hug.

     “I thought you were working all week. Wasn’t there a natural disaster in South America?”

     “Wouldn’t you know it, it’s so cool. Red Cross showed up and the volunteers saved a bunch of people.”

     Nyx hadn’t seen him in what felt like a century. In fact, she almost started counting on her fingers to see if it had been that long. “I suppose you’re hungry. Fig cakes with cream cheese frosting?”

     Thanatos patted his flat stomach. “You know me so well.”

     “Why are you outside? You could have gone in, you know.” Nyx pushed the door open.

     “I didn’t want to startle you. Might fall and break a hip and I’d feel bad.” He shrugged.

     “You little shit,” she laughed. He was always teasing her about her age. She was a Titan after all and older than all of the gods. She was one of the last of the old guard; one Zeus was sure wouldn’t try to overthrow his power. He was mistaken about that one, only she didn’t want the power herself. She wanted him to stop treating Hera like crap. Or divorce her. That at least, would be honest.

     He smirked back at her. Of her two sons, Thanatos was most like her. She loved her children the same, but she had a special kinship with Thanatos.

     “So uh, what’s the deal with Persephone and Hades?” he asked as he followed her inside.

     Tartarus on cracker! What was with that girl that these dark types were so stuck on her? Was it because she was blond? Nyx just didn’t get it. Not that she had anything against the girl, but it wasn’t like she was as pretty as Hera. Or as smart as Athena.

     “You have been out of the gossip loop for awhile, yeah? They broke up, so to speak.”

     “He let her go? Dumbass.” Thanatos shook his head.

     “What would you have him do? Sacrifice the world for her?”

     “Well, yeah,” Thanatos answered as if that were the only reasonable response.

     Nyx couldn’t argue with that, but she tried anyway. “Hades released her from the curse too. He didn’t want her to be unhappy.”

     At that, her son was silent for a moment. “So how hard do you think Demeter would smite me if I asked Persephone out?”

     “She better not smite you, or I’ll kick her ass up over her shoulders. She has winter, but I’ll drench the world in eternal night if she tries.” Nyx was thoughtful for a moment. “Unless of course you were unreasonably handsy or demanding. Or acted like Zeus. Or—,”

     “I get the picture, Ma. By the way, you look great.”

     “You’re just saying that because my hair looks like yours now.” She scowled.

    “Moonlight and stardust. No one can resist.” He smirked as if it was just his trial to bear, being that attractive.

   “Nice deflection. I mean what I said. If you want Persephone, do what you will, but don’t be a dick. Got it?”

     “Yeah, Ma. Don’t be a dick. Got it,” he recited dutifully.

     “So I have to ask. What’s with you dark and tortured types and this girl?”

     “I dunno. She’s hot. It’s not like I want to marry her or anything. It would just be a date. Maybe a kiss.” He considered for a moment. “Maybe something else.”

     “That girl is a virgin, Thanatos.” Yes, he was her son and she loved him dearly, but he was one-hundred percent male—thinking with his parts. She had to struggle not to sigh.

     “She’s probably got a family of bats living in there after all this time. Don’t you think it would be okay if she—,”

            “You know, we so don’t need to have this conversation.” She threw her hands up in defeat. Nyx loved that her boys talked to her, confided in her, but there were some things a mother just didn’t need to know.

Thanks so much for coming by hon. Okay everyone, Saranna’s an open book so if you have questions, ask away. And make sure you leave a comment to get a chance at a free copy!
And here’s where you can find THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF MOUNT OLYMPUS:
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For Crying Out Loud- Get It Right!

September 1, 2011

The wastebasket is a writer’s best friend.  ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

By: Stacey Purcell

Do you want to hear a semi depressing number? I read that less than 1% of the books that are published by the Big Six are by debut authors. Excuse me while I sit down for a second. That is a fairly harsh number, to say the least.

Fortunately for those of us still working on getting the first book out of the door, we have options. The publishing landscape is not as desolate as it seemed when I came across that tidbit of information. As you have undoubtedly heard by now, our industry is changing fast. What does that mean?

It means that we have options…if we don’t blow it.

E-publishing has brought us several more publishing houses that are looking for quality work. Companies like Carina, Wild Rose and Ellora’s Cave are offering representation to thousands of authors and paying a higher percentage to the writer. We also have the ability to skip agents and publishers altogether.

Here’s where we start to have some trouble.

The other day, I was chatting with Jenn about writing contests. She noted that there seems to be a drop in the number of entrants across the board. I’m sure the economy is partially to blame, but she also pointed out another factor that is driving the numbers down. As more writers self-pub, they are entering less contests. Whoa! Stop everything! It should be just the opposite..

One of the biggest draws in a writing contest is the final judge for each genre. If you’re a finalist, then your pages are read by agents and editors. Obviously, if you are doing your own work, then you don’t need them. So why enter? In my opinion, if you are publishing your own book, then you should be entered in multiple contests. It’s a terrific way to get your pages edited and help you polish those words. Can you edit your own work? Of course you can, I just wouldn’t advise it.

Listen up people, if you are going to publish DIY, then please don’t settle for editing it yourself. Enter contests, find critique partners, hire professional editors, and just get it right! We have this amazing opportunity to take control of our artistic future and the public is receptive. There are many success stories, but there are many failures as well. I’m afraid that if they are continually disappointed with mediocre, sloppy books, they will stop giving new authors a try.

Even at $2.99.

Even at $1.99.

Heck, even at .99.

When an author puts out a crappy piece of work full of typos, poor spelling and awkward sentences, they sink themselves. They also make it more difficult for me to grab that customer back to being willing to try an unknown writer. That makes me mad. Many of my friends have beat me in putting their stories up for sale first and I watched how hard they worked. Countless hours were spent writing and re-writing until it was their best possible product. They used the feedback from contests to hone their writing style and add more texture to the stories. It didn’t stop there. They had critique partners and beta readers marking up their manuscripts. It wasn’t always fun, but they knew it was necessary. Feedback is essential to any really good author.

This is a competitive industry. Be smart when you make decisions about your career. There are many things we can’t control in life, but the quality of our work isn’t one of them.

This one is just because I thought it was funny!