Next steps

Conceptual Image - Stairway to change/freedom/creativity etc.Well the good news is that I’ve been busy writing.  However, now comes the time to edit and clean up and really start to polish the story to get it ready for publishing.

The funny thing is that even with all the work and love that has been poured into my story so far, the big work (at least in my opinion) is still yet to come…  Promotions and Marketing.

This is the part that really stumps me.  I don’t know why, but it’s like my brain has an aversion to it.  Maybe it’s because I don’t understand internet marketing and I know that for me, I need to understand the whys and the hows before I can show any remote interest in a subject–any subject.

Alas, this is something I cannot avoid.  As a “selfie” publisher, I don’t have a big publishing house to do my marketing.  This is something I need to learn to embrace and make my own.  I cannot be afraid of it.  It’ll remain an “unknown” until I get over this hesitation or perhaps fear that I have to tackle it head on.

I can’t do worse.  At this point, there’s only up, up, and up.  I was chatting with some other author friends today and they mentioned having a system in place.  I think that is sound advice and I have to find something that works for me and my schedule.  I may not be able to climb up the success ladder as fast as I’d like and I don’t need to run up the darn thing, I just need to ensure steady progress.

I need to forget about giant leaps and bounds and concentrate on baby steps.  I will reach my goal, one small step at a time.

If I don’t post for awhile, this is what I’ll be working on:

  • Set aside focused time to study Marketing and Promotions
  • Review the materials I’ve gathered on how to promote and market and hopefully find a process that works for me
  • Apply the lessons
  • See if the process/lessons worked
  • Re-work the process if needed

I’ll be back with an update :)  Wish me luck!

 

Keep on writing…

Yellow Autumn Leaves On TreesWhen I first started this blog, my goal was to share all that I’m learning in the journey I’ve undertaken as a new author.

It’s been full of ups and downs.  Mostly downs because when you feel like you are nothing but a little seedling that has yet to crack open, it is hard to imagine what that one day will feel like when your trunk has finally grown solid and strong and has soared to heights that was only imagined.

There are many “grown trees” in the forest, which sometimes feels like a jungle.  But, it’s just a matter of finding those trees, planting yourself near them, and hopefully with their help, the seedling will also grow into a strong, abundant, thriving, tree.

I think by now, you know that my analogy relates to my experience so far.  But this is what it feels like to be surrounded by authors who make it look so easy and effortless.  They make the process look like magic.  They write a book, publish, and bam they’re making lots of green!    My experience has not been like that.  Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been a bad experience at all, in fact it has been eye opening and I hope to one day reach the skies with my branches too like so many successful authors who have paved the way, but for now I’m still trying to figure this out.  But I believe that the sky is limitless and there’s plenty of room at the top.  I’ll get there too :)

Here’s what I want to share with you if you are thinking about going into self-publishing:

  1. Write, write, and write some more.  This is your product.  Make sure it is top quality.  There are lots of bad material out there and you don’t want to get pooled with that group.
  2. This is not an easy business.  There is lots to learn.  Be patient and be flexible.  Mistakes will be made, but the important thing is to find the lesson within the mistake.
  3. Make sure that you learn as much as you can about INTERNET MARKETING.  Because whether you like it or not, if you are a self-published author you are also an internet marketer.  (This has been my biggest stumbling block.)
  4. Learn about e-PUBLISHING and what it takes to publish your work on the very many platforms that are now available to authors.
  5. Find groups and forums that will help support your journey.  There is wealth of knowledge out there and I’ve found that the author community is very giving and helpful.  Check Twitter and Facebook for these groups.
  6. Invest wisely.  Seek out resources.  You won’t be able to do everything yourself.  Eventually you will need assistance and there are lots of freelancers out there who are more than capable of delivering to you what you need.  Figure out where you want to invest your time and money.

Alrighty then!  Till the next time :)

 

 

 

 

Author Interview–Fleur Gaskin

Books, Blogs, and Bits

is proud to present,

the fabulous  FLEUR GASKIN!

05

BB & B:  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Fleur:  I’m from New Zealand but I haven’t lived there for the past twelve years. I’ve been living in Asia mainly– with a year in Europe and six months in New York.

I traveled a lot because I was an international model. These days I live in Shanghai with fiancé and my two cats. I tutor English for an income but most of my time is spent working on my novels. I do yoga for exercise and I really miss living near the ocean.

BB & B:  What inspired you to write your book?

Fleur:  When I first began to write Arabelle’s Shadows I wanted to expose the world of modeling for what it really is, not how it’s portrayed in the media. Modeling is not as glamorous as it may appear and when I was modeling I often felt that the fashion industry was taking advantage of young girls who didn’t know how to stand up for themselves.

Then I started writing the novel and it formed into something else. Modeling in Arabelle’s Shadows is now mainly just the setting. The story is more about depression and Arabelle struggling to learn how to love herself. In the end I was inspired to try and show that no matter how bad things are, if you just keep going, keep trying, eventually things will get better.

BB & B:  What was the hardest thing about writing this book?  Can you explain why?

Fleur:  The hardest thing about writing Arabelle’s Shadows was talking about the depression. If you have been depressed before and have dealt with your issues then the best way to stay healthy is to not dwell on your past any more. It is a terrible idea to replay in your mind your worst thoughts over and over again. Bringing up the memories of my darkest moments and then attempting to turn them into words was really tough. I had to work hard to make sure my depression did not return. But, as with many tasks that are extremely difficult, in the end it was all worthwhile. Writing Arabelle’s Shadows was very therapeutic and now that it’s done I feel like I have left my past behind and am now a whole new person. ArabelleShadows

BB & B:  If there is one lesson, one message, or any one thing you can share with your readers, what would that be?

Fleur:  Love yourself. Accept yourself the way that you are. If you don’t like something about yourself, change it or forget about it. It’s very difficult to find love and happiness if you don’t already love yourself. That’s what Arabelle needed to learn. That happiness doesn’t come from wealth, beauty or dress size. That another person cannot solve all your problems for you. Happiness comes from within.

BB & B:  What do you love best about being an author?

Fleur:  My new favorite thing about being an author is being quoted. Often when people write reviews they quote something from the book and I’m always amazed at the sentences they find. I read the quote, think that it’s really quite lovely and then I realize I wrote it! It’s all very surreal.

BB & B:  What can fans expect from you in the future?

Fleur:  I am working on a novel at the moment about being good. I’m hoping it will be more lighthearted than Arabelle’s Shadows. I have no idea just yet which genre it will fall into. I do know that it won’t be based on my life which will make it a lot easier to write!

BB & B:  Do you have any tips for new writers?

Fleur:  Your first draft probably won’t be very good and that’s okay. Just get something down on paper and then develop your storytelling skills from there. When I wrote Arabelle’s Shadows I had to rewrite it over and over again. And every time I thought it was done, someone would come up with another thing that needed changing. I learned not to take criticism as an insult to my writing skills, but rather as helpful guide to improving my book. Because I kept going and going even when things were all going wrong I ended up with a piece of writing I am really proud of.

If you’d like to find out more about Arabelle’s Shadows, here’s a little summary to whet your appetite:

ArabelleShadowsEverything in Arabelle’s life is coming together. She has confidence, great friends, she’s even dating Naak, a wealthy Thai socialite. But there are too many models in Bangkok. Arabelle’s broke, she can’t find an agent in New York, and Naak isn’t as wonderful as he first appears. Slowly the Shadows creep back into Arabelle’s mind, bringing with them thoughts of hopelessness and despair. The vile Shadows know something Arabelle’s refusing to remember and, if she’s not careful, they’ll use it to destroy her. Based on a true story, Arabelle’s Shadows takes us on a journey through the struggles of growing up, not quite making it as an international model, and attempting to overcome a crushing depression.

You can purchase Arabelle’s Shadows at the following retailer:

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Itunes

Be sure to follow Fleur, by visiting her at:

http://www.fightingtheshadows.com

http://www.facebook.com/ArabellesShadows

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17282501-arabelle-s-shadows

 

Writer’s Block

MC900441376[1] Aaargh!  I have hit a wall and I am now dealing with a bad case of writer’s block.  I’m not really sure what happened.  I was on a great roll.  My story was coming out, it was making sense, the characters were lookin’ good, then BAM!  Nothing.  I’m at a dead stop.  I suppose I should be trying all sorts of clever things to try and wake up my characters.  You know, so that they start talking to me again… but alas, I’m finding that I don’t even have the energy to do that.

Perhaps, it’s the Universe’s way to get my focus back on the real world?  To give my brain a short break?  I hope so…  Because for as much as I want to write, the creative flow is not coming.  The creative fount is temporarily tapped out.  My head is as empty as that thought bubble in the corner.  LOL!

What do you do to unblock your writer’s block?

Still writing

A few posts ago, I informed you that I’ve started working on a fiction story.  I’m  still working on that story and having a great time doing it, but I am finding that it is a different experience from writing non-fiction.

From what I’ve learned so far, writing non-fiction was a very linear process.  I had my concept, I outlined, wrote, cleaned-up, edited, published and I was done… Well, not completely done, this list should actually conclude with marketing and promoting, but I have done very little of that.  You notice, I didn’t write “marketed and promoted?”  That’s because when you are self-published it seems that marketing and promoting need to be a constant and consistent effort in order to assure that your work is getting noticed.

Yes, there are those success stories who have achieved best-seller status without much effort in “advertising,” but that seems to be a rarity and perhaps one of those events where the cosmic powers have to be in just the perfect alignment in order for the book gods to bestow graces upon thy work.  Anyways :), it is possible, but realistically speaking, effort towards marketing and promoting seem to be a must.

At this point… I want to focus my efforts on writing.  I don’t have a lot of time to do everything that I need to do to fulfill the other responsibilities I have.  The writing, the books, that’s the product right?  The way I see it is like this… consumers want variety.  I only have one book.  I don’t have much of a product line.  My theory is that when I increase my inventory, I’ll have much more of an offering–theeeen I’ll do more marketing and promoting.

MP900255382[1]In all honesty, I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing, but I’m following what feels best for me right now.  One day I know I’ll have more moments like the woman in the picture, where I’ll be peacefully sitting on a rock, (but I’d prefer a beach), watching the sunset as I contemplate my next great novel. In the meantime, it’s back to juggling my day job, being a wife and mom, and pursuing my dreams as an author.

Happy writing and best wishes to you.

 

I was interviewed!

firework displayI am really excited!  I was interviewed by the awesome Jessica Kong!

You might remember Jessica as one of our featured authors here on Books, Blogs, and Bits!  If you have not yet visited her site, go check it out.  You can find Jessica at www.seaanan.com

While you’re there, take a peek at yours truly’s interview :)

http://seaanan.com/2013/02/18/welcome-to-limelight-mignon-v-supnet/

Writing…

Pad of Paper & PenVery recently I decided to take a stab at writing Fiction.  This is a leap for me.  Although, I’ve written short-stories back in the days of high school and college, I have not re-visited this style of writing in a looooong time.

My first published work, er I should say my only published work (so far) is Non-Fiction.  Spirit 101 came from my heart–it’s what I’ve been going through for the last several years.  By releasing this book, I essentially publicly admitted to some very personal difficulties I went through.  This was scary, but at the time and in the process of writing the book, the words came out relatively easy.

What I am learning now with writing fiction is that I have to put myself in a different head space.  The words don’t always just flow out.  I have to somehow coax it out and boy does it get frustrating.

I have to find that inner voice that holds the story I want to document.  But it is not the same inner voice that I talk about in Spirit 101.  Oh no, this is a different voice altogether–it is the voice of the characters!  Who would have thought that hearing voices in your head could be normal, and fun?!

My great friend Nancy Brooks is a fantastic fiction author and she often tells me, “just write.  Don’t worry so much.”  So… I’m taking her advise and I’m writing, writing, writing, whether I feel it or not.  The thing I’m finding out is that writing is a lot like any other activity we do.  The more we do, the better we get, the easier it becomes.

From a newbie’s perspective, here’s what I’m learning about fiction writing–so far:

  • Writing fiction is totally FUN
  • Your characters will have other ideas about how the story should progress
  • You have to be flexible and go with the flow when the flow is going
  • Writing fiction is totally FUN
  • As the author, you can create anything and anything is possible
  • You can have a lot of “muahahahaha” moments
  • Writing fiction is totally FUN
  • Get used to the voices in your head
  • You may get a little impatient with the “real world” at times, because you want to get back to creating… your world–the world of your characters

That’s it for now.  I’m back to my other world :)

 

 

Author Interview–Tracy Heath

Tracy Heath PicBooks, Blogs, and Bits proudly presents:

Bestselling Author, Country Humorist Writer

Tracy Heath

If you love to laugh, you’ll love this author!

Tracy’s Bio:   Bestselling author Tracy Heath is a country humorist writer, having grown up in the Eastern Oregon desert among dogs, cows, and tumbleweeds.  She has now published the first two books of her Country Misadventures series and is known for her comical tales of country incidents and family mishaps.  Tracy currently resides in the medium-sized city of Kennewick, Washington, with her husband.  Living with them are their rambunctious son and scruffy hunting dog.

BB&B:  What inspires you to create a story? 

Tracy:  My family does on so many different levels. My parents exposed me to quality literature as a child, and I’ve always wanted to write. Now as I have a family of my own, I want to share my childhood stories with my husband and son.  Also, I get so much pleasure myself when I’m writing. Even though it can make me feel completely frazzled, I love the process.

BB&B:  How do you decide on the setting of your story?

Tracy:  Selecting a setting was easy for me since both of my current books are based off of my own childhood in Eastern Oregon. The deep-hued sunsets, the ever-stretching wasteland, the rolling tumbleweeds are what I know best.

BB&B:  To what extent do your characters remind you of yourself or someone you know?

Tracy:  Most of my characters are based off of real people—my parents, my brothers, and myself. But as I wrote each story, even people so closely related to me took on personalities vastly different than their real-life characteristics. And then there are people such as Cynthia and Tom in the story A Redneck Romance that are composites of various individuals I knew way back in the day.

BB&B:  Can you tell us about one of your characters and what it is A Redneck Romance Coverabout that character that you like best?  Which book has this character?

Tracy:  Cynthia Clark is a black-haired, black-eyed young woman who gets caught in the crossfire between her blustery, protective pa and the backwoods neighbors next door. She’s at a turning-point of discovering that she can think for herself, and she has to decide whether to follow her own desires or to respect her pa’s commands. This country love story unfolds in the book A Redneck Romance.

 BB&B:  What do you love best about being an author?

Tracy:  There’s something so fulfilling about slaving over a document for countless hours, putting every lick of mental energy into a book, and then seeing that treasured piece of work get into the hands of strangers who never knew you even existed until they stumbled across a comical little book of country tales. And it’s comments like “I laughed until I cried” that keep me going.

BB&B:  What can fans expect from you in the future?

Tracy:  I will be adding a third book to the Country Misadventures series. The first two books are collections of short stories as will be the third. From there I plan on branching out into longer works of fiction still in the same humorous country genre. For me, it’s not worth writing unless there’s humor.

BB&B:  Do you have any tips for new writers?

Tracy:  Just start writing. That’s what I did—just for the fun of it. And now, in less than a year, I have two books published. With the opportunity of self-publishing available these days, there is no reason to not write if you so desire!

Get linked up with other writers. I’m involved in a community that has greatly increased my confidence and knowledge of how to get it done. Feel free to contact me for help on getting started!

BB&B:  Where can fans purchase your books?

Tracy:  Both titles are available at Amazon.com

BB&B:  Where can fans find you?

Tracy Heath Website

Tracy’s Facebook Page

Follow Tracy on Twitter

Author Interview–Jessica Kong

 Jessica KongBooks, Blogs, & Bits proudly presents:

JESSICA KONG

Author of Fiction, Fantasy Novels

 

Jessica’s Bio:  Jessica A. Kong lives in Somerset, New Jersey with her loving husband of twenty-one years and teenage triplets. She is an avid reader of fantasy, futuristic, and paranormals. When she is not reading she enjoys arts and craft, puzzles, crocheting, and playing video games.

 BB&B:  What inspires you to create a story?

Jessica:  I get my ideas from movies, books, and current events that blend at night and give me crazy dreams.  I keep notes on the more interesting dreams.

BB&B:  How do you decide on the setting of your story? 

Jessica:  I chose the setting for the first book I wrote.  All the books that came afterwards were decided by the characters and where their journeys take them.

BB&B:  To what extent do your characters remind you of yourself or someone you know?

Jessica:  Without mentioning any names, my characters do share traits with people in my life, and some traits I wish to find in people.

BB&B:   Can you tell us about one of your characters and what it is about that character that you like best? 

Jessica:  John McCall.  He is a tough as nails warrior with a kind heart.  He tries to hide it, but at times, it shows either in his eyes or in his actions. 

BB&B:  Which book has this character? 

Jessica:  I introduce John in A Lost Kitten.  A Lost Kitten

BB&B:  What do you love best about being an author?

Jessica:  What I love best is writing about the family I love, the Ruling Clan, and hearing that my readers are sharing my love.

BB&B:  What can fans expect from you in the future? 

Jessica:  I am currently editing the next installment in the Sea-anan Saga and the first installment to the Oceanan Saga.

BB&B:  Do you have any tips for new writers?

Jessica:  First of all, you can’t please everyone.  You will grow bald if you try.  The best thing to do is to write the story from your heart, polish it the best you can, and then let it go.  Some will like it and some will not.  It is just a fact of life you cannot change.  Secondly, whether you are an indie author or published with a publishing house, marketing your book is time consuming and tedious at times, but a necessity.  Always be kind and courteous to your followers.  And enjoy the journey.

Check out and learn more about the world of Jessica’s creation at:

Follow Jessica and become an even bigger fan by going to these sites:

Find Jessica’s Books at these sites:

Barnes & Noble

Amazon.com

 

Author Interview–Nancy Brooks

NancyBooks, Blogs, and Bits proudly presents:

 

NANCY BROOKS

Author of fantasy, fiction, action/adventure novels.

Books by Nancy Brooks:

The Isle of Cipit

The Legendseeker

Bestia

In a Drink

The Caretaker

BB&B:  Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
Nancy:  I was born and raised in San Francisco to immigrant parents; my father was French-Canadian with ancestry in the British Isles, and my mother is from El Salvador, of Lebanese descent. I grew up within the Salvadoran culture, where I fell in love with stories from the ‘old country’, stories of dwarves, goblins, devils and witches. I wanted to share the Salvadoran tales I had heard, but as I began writing my novels I realized there were so many other cultures out there with similar stories and legends. My quest is to bring these legends back into the mainstream by fusing them with modern-day action-adventure.

B&B:  What inspires you to create a story?
Nancy:  A face. A moment. A song. Anything and everything can spark a storyline. I’ve even written a short story based upon a scent. When I was younger I’d ask my friends to give me a list of words, and I would write a story for them. Now I ask for a culture or a legend.

BB&B:  How do you decide on the setting of your story?
Nancy:  I travel a lot, especially to historical sites with my children. The Caretaker was inspired during a trip into Nevada. Seeing the desert and the abandoned mines awakened my imagination, and I could picture my main character living out his existence on a remote piece of land. I wrote The Legendseeker after a trip into Utah. I use San Francisco in my stories as well. I like writing about remote islands and rainforests , because you never know what’s been lying dormant.

BB&B:  To what extent do your characters remind you of yourself or someone you know?
Nancy:  It may sound silly, but I write my characters the way they want to be written. I can plan how I want their personalities to be, but it never turns out that way. I also try to write them the way I’d love to be: adventurous, brave, and loving. I have written characters based on people I know. I like adding the little ‘inside joke’ now and then, like a friend’s favorite expression.

BB&B:  Can you tell us about one of your characters and what it is about that character that you like best?  Which book has this character?
Nancy:  William Hohnney. LOL I love Bill. He first appears in The Legendseeker as part of a monster-hunting group called Walquer Enterprises. Bill’s life is all about fun and excitement, the thrill of the hunt, finding elusive creatures like Bigfoot, and drinking his five-country limit on beer (Corona, Asahi, Heinekin, etc) He seemingly has no cares in the world, except he’s secretly building a nest egg for his toddler son. I like that he’s persistent yet charming, and though things start to unravel for him, he’s quick to reconsider his situation and ends up doing the right thing. You can count on Bill in the face of danger, and he’ll never leave your side as long as you need him.

BB&B:  What do you love best about being an author?
Nancy:  I love having my own world. I love the fact that I can leave all of my stress and troubles behind, and just slip through the buttressed roots of a kapok tree in the Amazon. I can hunt for creatures among the hoodoos in Utah, or fight Coyote along the side of a road in the middle of Nevada. I love hearing the voices as my characters engage in dialogue, and I like the way one little idea can turn into a whole journey.

I especially love it when readers talk about my characters as if they were real. I LOVE that.

BB&B:  What can fans expect from you in the future?
Nancy:  They can expect to see more legends coming to life, more cultures being mentioned, more countries being explored. I’m currently editing a story that starts off in the Yucatan Peninsula and ends up on an island in the Philippines.

BB&B:  Do you have any tips for new writers?
Nancy:  Write. Just write.

If you are interested in finding out more about Nancy Brooks and her world, follow these links:

http://Legendseeker.com

https://twitter.com/Sonsofmil

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Legendseekercom