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Author Interview - Di Worrall @DiWorrall

Image of Di Worrall

Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?

They are always supportive. But writing and publishing is a mystery to most, so they tend to be awestruck by the whole process

Do you plan to publish more books?

Absolutely.  I have moved into a publishing model instead of an author model nowadays. A number of books are in the pipeline. The next title in the current series will be the Accountability Workbook – a companion guide to my current best seller on Accountability Leadership.

What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full time…

I am a management consultant and executive coach. I work with CEOs and senior executives to design and direct programs of strategy development, enterprise transformation and change.  It’s true that many writers find it difficult to sustain a full time writing career. That’s why I am shifting my business model from writing to publishing.

What other jobs have you had in your life?

Management Consultant, Human Resources Director, Theme Park Owner, Native Animal Rehabilitator

If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?

How to make a $1million on eBay in the first year J

Di Worrall

Accountability Leadership Saves Tech Company

In 2005, HCL Technologies was in trouble.

The Delhi-based IT firm was losing market share, as competitors grew by 50% annually.

By 2009, HCL’s president, Vineet Nayar had turned the company around, nearly tripling annual revenues and doubling market capitalisation despite the recession.

Nayar accomplished all this through a top-down culture of accountability, beginning with the leadership qualities of himself—the CEO—and other senior managers.

The Rules Of Accountability Have Changed

Great business leaders understand that acceptance of greater personal accountability and responsibility leads organisations back on the path to success.

But with the evolving nature of 21st century business, the practical steps that go into creating a high performance culture of accountability have become more muddled than ever.

Many organisations have seen temporary improvements, implementing traditional systems of accountability in an attempt to drive high performance in the workplace—only to quickly revert back to their old ways, or worse.

Accountability Leadership Will Teach You:

  • What it really takes to lead a high performance culture of accountability
  • Why so many of today’s employees avoid personal accountability and responsibility like the plague, and how to reverse that trend
  • How to sustain great performance through inspiring feedback, feed-forward and follow-through
  • What an accountability plan is, how to create one, and why it’s considered the “secret weapon” behind successful business transformation

Filled with real world case studies and straightforward, easy to digest research, Accountability Leadership offers practical solutions that are direct, engaging, fast, cost-effective, proven, and easy to implement…

Immediate, Concrete Solutions You’ll Take Away From This Book Include:

  • How to transform the “dark side” of accountability into a positive force for change
  • Why carrots and sticks no longer work—and what they’ve been replaced with
  • How to create compelling consequences that inspire people to perform at their best, and achieve the ultra productive workstate known as “flow”
  • Crack the code of high accountability conversations, turning confrontation into a productive and positive opportunity

Accountability Leadership Also Sheds Light On Topics Like…

  • How negativity bias covertly sabotages your feedback loop with your employees
  • The optimal ratio for positive to negative comments in feedback
  • The right amount of autonomy to give employees—without overdoing it
  • What lack of recognition is really doing to your workforce (hint: it’s staggering)
  • The surprising biochemical effect of praise, and why it cannot fail

Plus, You’ll Also Receive A Special Bonus

Reader’s can claim an exclusive 20-minute podcast interview with top-rated thought leader Marshall Goldsmith, sharing his powerful experiences and groundbreaking ideas on coaching for accountability leadership—absolutely free.

A Personal Message From The Author

Accountability is arguably the number-one issue that makes or breaks leadership performance today. Yet most of us were never taught this critical skill—not by our parents, teachers or business leaders.

The good news is, accountability can be coached.

The ideas in this book draw from extensive research and 25 years experience working with executives to improve performance through high accountability.

These ideas work.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Business, Leadership, Workplace Behaviour, Human Resources, Executive Coaching

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with Di Worrall on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.diworrall.com.au/

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Fenella Miller's Thoughts On Why #Book Covers Are So Important @FenellaWriter #Historical #Fiction

Why Book Covers Are so Important
It could be said that a book cover is no longer as important as it used to be because more than 50% of book sales are electronic and the reader doesn't actually have a book in their hands. I still buy hardback books to put on my bookshelves and consider them part of the interior design of my room. A bad cover will not only upset the author, it will substantially reduce sales.
Traditionally published writers are lucky if they have much input into their cover design. Publishers have a team of designers and marketers will come up with an idea which is then shown to the author. Even if they didn't like the cover, I know of cases where this has still been used as the marketers say it will produce more sales.
The saying, "you can't tell a book by its cover" is somewhat misleading. I'm sure that anyone faced with a row of designs without the lettering could still pick out the genre. A chick-lit book is likely to be a pastel shade with easily recognised cartoon like figures skipping across the cover. A thriller is often dark with a silhouette of some sort; an empty road is often used. A historical cover should have the figures dressed appropriately so the era will be immediately obvious, although this is often not the case.
Faced with a book with a semi naked, muscle-bound man, and a woman with a revealing brightly coloured dress, one would naturally assume it was a "bodice ripper". (I dislike that term but I think it explains what I mean.) I wouldn't even consider buying it as this is not the sort of book I like to read. If the content is in fact a tame, non-explicit Regency romance, then the buyer will feel cheated and the author thoroughly annoyed.
Initially the criticism of indie published books was that the covers were amateur. I have first experience of this problem because when I started putting up my long backlist on Amazon I did my own covers. I bought the photographs and then added the lettering – they were not dreadful –but they were quite obviously not professional. I decided to employ a wonderful designer, Jane Dixon-Smith, and had all my book covers redesigned and overnight my sales doubled. These are e-books – and this proves that a professionally designed cover is just as important for nonphysical books as it is for paper books.
To return to that saying, "you can't tell a book by its cover", I would say that a book with an amateur and unprofessional cover is often the same inside. Whatever format the book is produced in the cover is the first thing a potential reader sees – therefore having a good cover is essential.

World War II brings divided loyalties and tough decisions in this page turning drama from Fenella Miller.
Hannah Austen-Bagshaw’s privileged background can’t stop her falling in love with working-class pilot, Jack, but Hannah has a secret. Torn between her duty and her humanity, she is sheltering a young German pilot knowing she risks being arrested as a traitor. Hannah’s worst fears are realised when Jack finds out what she has done and their love begins to unravel.
Will her betrayal be too much for Jack to forgive?
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Historical fiction
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Fenella J. Miller on Facebook & Twitter

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Indiestructible: Inspiring Stories from the Publishing Jungle by Jessica Bell, Melissa Foster, Susan Kaye Quinn, Leigh Talbert Moore, Anne R. Allen, Cindy M. Hogan, Dawn Ius, Michelle Davidson Argyle, Roz Morris @MsBessieBell


Need motivation and inspiration to self-publish, or sign that contract with an interested small press? Have you done all the research you can, but still feel ambivalent about the idea? “Indiestructible: Inspiring Stories from the Publishing Jungle” brings you the experiences of 29 indie authors—their passions, their insights, their successes—to help you make the leap into indie publishing.

This is not a how-to guide. This is the best of the indie tradition of experienced authors paying forward what they’ve learned, giving you information to help you on your journey. The personal essays in this book will leave you itching to get your work into the hands of readers and experience, first-hand, all the rewards indie publishing has to offer.

100% of proceeds from “Indiestructible” purchases will be donated to BUILDON.org

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre –  Non-fiction

Rating – G

More details about the author

Connect with Jessica Bell on FacebookTwitter

Blog http://thealliterativeallomorph.blogspot.com/

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Author Interview - April Bostic

What is your favorite food?
What’s your favorite place in the entire world?
My bedroom
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
Because my parents were supportive with my writing, they never discouraged me from doing it or told me I wasn’t good at it.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I started reading Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings fanfiction years ago, and I admired how the writers would tell stories almost if not better than the original author. I started writing fanfiction first, until I realized it was more fun to create my own characters and worlds. Then I started writing original fiction, and I’ve been doing it ever since.
When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing six years ago. First with fanfiction, but that was a brief period. Then I started writing original fiction because it was more fun.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing professionally for five years.
When did you first know you could be a writer?
In elementary school, I knew that I had a good way of articulating my thoughts, and I had a vivid imagination.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
Adult Romance

Paige Donovan is an ambitious college graduate who aspires to reach the top of the corporate ladder. She’s climbing fast when she’s given the promotion of a lifetime at a prestigious fashion magazine in New York City. Her bright future comes to an unexpected halt after news of her father’s death. She inherits his old cabin in the Colorado Rockies, and just when she thinks her luck couldn’t get any worse, she has a car accident in the mountains and awakens in the small, remote community of Black River.
Soon, she’s engulfed in the mystical world of Varulv–wolves descended from 13th century Scandinavia and blessed by Norse gods with the ability to appear human. Paige is desperate to return home, but she never expects to fall for her rescuer, Riley Gray, a charming young werewolf from England who offers her an alternate future with his pack.
Now, she must choose between the career she’s always wanted and the love she’s always dreamed.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Paranormal Romance
Rating – Adult
More details about the author
Connect with April Bostic on Goodreads

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#Author Chat with Rik Stone @Stone_Rik #Thriller #Crime #Suspense

Image of Rik Stone
Have you always enjoyed writing?
No I used to write specifications when I was in IT and wasn't very happy with it at all. I've been writing fiction for around 10 years and have loved it from day one
What motivates you to write?
The desire to create the perfect novel. I know, no such thing, but you have to have a dream.
What writing are you most proud of?
My debut novel, birth of an assassin http://www.amazon.com/Birth-of-an-Assassin- ebook/dp/B00DIFVC3S/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1380132945&sr=1-1&keywords=rik+stone
What genre of books do you adore?
I love a good thriller, but I was also once addicted to both Terry Pratchet and Tolkien.
What do you hope your obituary will say about you?
He's been telling us for the last 90 years he wasn't well, looks like he was right.
Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you live now?
I grew up in the slums of north east England and now live in a nice area in south-east England. And you’re right about influence, what I write is akin to my own experiences, albeit they are grossly exaggerated.
How did you develop your writing?
I guess you learn the most from the mistakes you make along the way, which means I must be pretty good by now.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Real life, but mostly good old imagination.
What marketing works for you?
Blog tours, I hope.
Do you plan to publish more books?
Birth of an Assassin is the first in a series. Book 2&3 are written, but both require one more redraft.

Birth of an Assassin
Set against the backdrop of Soviet, post-war Russia, Birth of an Assassin follows the transformation of Jez Kornfeld from wide-eyed recruit to avenging outlaw. Amidst a murky underworld of flesh-trafficking, prostitution and institutionalized corruption, the elite Jewish soldier is thrown into a world where nothing is what it seems, nobody can be trusted, and everything can be violently torn from him.
Buy Now @ Amazon, B&N, Kobo & Waterstones
Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter

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Onio by Linell Jeppsen @nelj8

Onio revised (2)

In this modern world of science and high technology, in secret places deep under the ground and in the forest primeval, legends still walk the earth and what we think of as myth and fairy tale are all too real.

Driving home late one night, Melody Carver, bereft and grieving after the death of her mother, sees a strange creature standing on the lonely road. This being will change her world-view forever, and open her eyes to a reality beyond her imagination.

Melody’s chance encounter on that dark and snowy road will mark the beginning of a journey of discovery and wonder that will bring two worlds together in hope and despair.

Can one person bridge the gap between the ancient and the modern, the mundane and the magical?

An urban fantasy filled with adventure, romance, war, heartbreak and triumph!

ONIO! Unlike anything, you have ever read before!

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Fantasy/Romance

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Linell Jeppsen on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://neljeppsen.weebly.com/

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#AmReading #SciFi #Excerpt from Brandon Overall's SUPERHUMAN NATURE

Carl began to tell the story of his life after he discovered his powers.  He first started experiencing strange occurrences during the summer of 1982.  What he described was similar to what Neil had experienced in the first couple days that his ability manifested itself.  He talked about objects falling over as he was reaching for them, things being thrown about his room after waking up from a nightmare, and breaking things when he was angry.  He was 22 at the time, and still living with his parents.  They convinced him to see a psychiatrist.
Finally, during a therapy session, Carl got fed up with being told it was all in his head and sent all the books on the bookshelf flying across the room.  The psychiatrist was terrified, and refused to see him anymore afterwards.  One day, a few weeks after he stopped seeing his psychiatrist, men in suits came to his door and ‘persuaded’ Carl to come with them.  They said they were just going to ask him a few questions.
Carl spent the next two years as their prisoner.  They tried to test the limits of his power, and also tried to help him control it.  They would hook him up to machines and try to monitor his brain activity to locate the source of his power.  Their goal was ultimately to turn him into a weapon.  Carl’s abilities weren’t quite like Neil’s.  He never gained full control over it.  It happened on its own whenever he got emotional.
They tried repeatedly to ‘help’ Carl gain control over his abilities, but it was no use.  Finally, they decided to take a different approach.  They tortured him until he was filled with so much hatred that he was constantly in an elevated emotional state.
They had professional interrogators slice every sensitive part of his skin open with a knife.  They squeezed every pressure point on his body that caused him unimaginable agony.  They used every trick in the book to make him hurt in ways that wouldn’t leave any lasting injuries or broken bones.
This continued for months.  Whenever he was able to demonstrate his ability, they just increased the level of pain.  It worked, but not like they planned.
They pushed him too far one day.
Finally, he had enough.  His rage manifested into an unbelievable surge of energy.  Carl killed everyone in the testing facility, over two dozen people, and leveled the building in one violent outburst.
The facility was housed in the basement of an abandoned middle school.  Residents in a nearby neighborhood heard what sounded like an explosion, and the police came to investigate.  They found Carl surrounded in a heap of rubble, still screaming at the top of his lungs for the pain to stop.
Carl was brought to the hospital, but he slipped into a state of psychosis.  He was unresponsive for over a year.  He responded to basic stimuli like food and water, but didn’t speak a word the entire time.  He abruptly snapped back into reality one night.
The nurses at the psychiatric hospital heard him screaming during the dead of night, the same way he did when he was found after the incident.  It took a few minutes for him to calm down once he realized that he was no longer in the testing facility.
He was released a few weeks after he regained his sanity.  The medical staff determined that there was nothing wrong with him, mentally.  Carl said that his abilities had never manifested again ever since he woke up at the hospital.  Whatever it was in his mind that had spontaneously turned on in 1982 had turned itself off three years later.
From that point on, Carl had spent his life trying to find other people like him.  He created support groups for psychics, wrote articles in newspapers and magazines, and searched any records he could find for information, but he never found anyone in all of his years of searching.  Everyone he had ever spoken to was unable to demonstrate their ‘abilities’ in front of him.  Some tried to trick him by performing illusions, but Carl saw through those.
He created his blog in 2005 to try to expand his search.  It turned into a community full of attention seekers and scam artists, all too stubborn to admit that they were all lying to each other.  Carl said he received dozens of emails a day from people trying to find some way to turn their hoaxed abilities into fame or fortune.  When he read Neil’s email, it didn’t give off the impression of a liar.  Something about Neil’s letter convinced Carl that he was a man genuinely seeking to understand what was happening to him.  That was the only reason he agreed to meet him in person.
Neil stood silent for several minutes after Carl finished his story.  Everything he described sounded so real.  He was either an incredible liar, or he was telling the truth.  Neil could see in his eyes that he had no intentions of doing any kind of harm to Neil.  He was there to listen to his story, and do anything he could to help him if possible.
Superhuman Nature is Brandon Overall's first novel. It was written and published during his first deployment to Afghanistan as a 2nd Lieutenant in late 2013.
Neil Hitchens was a senior ROTC Cadet in college. He was just weeks away from graduating and becoming an Officer in the United States Army, until a strange dream set off a chain of events that would twist his life into something he could have never prepared for.
In the days following his dream, several strange happenings occurred that he began to suspect were the result of his own actions. Before long, he discovered that he had the ability to control the world around him with his mind.
What started out as an unpredictable ability quickly evolved into an extraordinary power that had the capacity to change the world. It didn't take long for the government to find out what Neil could do.
They knew having such limitless potential on the side of the US Military could give them limitless political influence, and they would stop at nothing to get Neil to do their bidding. They would find out what happens when you back a dangerous animal into a corner.
Neil spent his whole life believing he would amount to greatness, but he never expected how greatness could corrupt even the most innocent of minds.
Buy @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Science Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Brandon Overall on Facebook

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Leah Rhyne's Thoughts on Why #Zombies Make Terrible Bad Guys @leah_beth #Horror #SciFi

Psst. Hey you! You, over there! C’mere!
I’m about to let you in on a little secret. It’s something I’ve been pondering for a while – a theory, if you will. One without proof, without quantifiable evidence. But I think it’s a sound one.
It’s this….and this is hard for a zombie fiction writer to say…but I think it’s true….
Zombies? You know, those lumbering, brain-sucking, undead creatures? They make the worst bad guys ever!
Here’s the thing. A good bad guy (antagonist, if we’re being intellectuals right now) is layered. Complex. A good bad guy – a really, truly well-written bad guy – is complex. He may not know he’s a bad guy, in fact. He (or she…I’m an equal opportunity writer, after all) may think he’s trying to do good. But his methods are often bad. Sketchy. Brutal, even.
A well-written bad guy makes you wonder…what would I do if placed in a similar situation. Or he makes you wonder if you’d be duped by him.
Whenever I think of bad guys, I picture Hannibal Lecter (and yes, I do picture Anthony Hopkins playing him because really, how can you separate the two??). I picture him in the prison room with the plexi-glass wall. I picture him trying to “help” Starling solve the Buffalo Bill crimes, all while trying to set himself free.
He’s the interesting bad guy in The Silence of the Lambs. Not Buffalo Bill. Lecter is cold and calculating, and a sociopath. He’s complicated. He’s tricky. He’s terrifying, because he can hide his bad guy tendencies, and if you met him on the street, you’d have no idea he’s really a cold-blooded killer. Right?
A zombie…is none of those things.
A zombie can’t think. He can’t feel. He can’t plan or trick or hide.
He’s just a feeding machine.
That’s why the best parts of zombie literature/film involve the interactions between the survivors. The people. The choices they have to make in order to see one more sunrise, one more sunset.
That’s what I tried to focus on as I wrote the three books in my Undead America trilogy. The people. In Undead America, the zombies, while always a threat, take a back seat to the threat of the survivors themselves.
Think about it. When you’re pushed to the limits of civilization’s collapse, and you’re facing starvation and the fear of death every single day…what would you do to survive? What choices would you make?
Would you run? Would you hide?
Would you kill other people, in order to avoid dying yourself?
These are the questions that interest me. These are the questions I tried to answer with these stories.
In Undead America, there are zombies, sure. But the true danger, the real threat to civilization as we know it, comes from the people who survive.
So. What would you do, if you lived in Undead America?
Millions died when the zombie plague swept the country. For the survivors, the journey has just begun. Jenna, Sam, and Lola are still alive. Jenna avoids human contact, traveling East Coast backroads with her boyfriend, a dog named Chicken, and a Louisville Slugger. Sam escapes to the mountains, where he's conscripted into a zombie-slaying militia sent on nightly raids to kill the undead...and innocent civilians. Lola's imprisoned in the "safety" of a zombie-free New Orleans hotel, but life grows more dangerous when her brother gets bitten by a zombie. 
Jenna arrives in the French Quarter, lured by the false promises of New Orleans' drunken leader. There, she's ripped away from her boyfriend, drugged, and dumped in a death camp after refusing Franklin's sexual advances. Jenna and Lola's lives collide there, where the dead live and the dying are victims of gruesome medical experiments. Escape isn't easy: release the genetically-enhanced zombies from the lab to create a diversion, slip away, and don't get eaten. When Sam arrives, will he join the right side of the battle?
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – NA-Horror, Sci-fi
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Leah Rhyne on Facebook & Twitter

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Author Interview – Michael J. Bowler @BradleyWallaceM

Image of Michael J. Bowler

Are you a city slicker or a country lover?

I grew up in cities and have lived in them my whole life so I guess I’m addicted to the “convenience factor” of having everything close by. But I love being out in the country and I love reading books set in the country or on farms or small, out of the way places. So I guess at heart, I am and should have been a country boy. Ha!

How do you feel about self-publishing?

My first two books were self-published through two different companies. I enjoyed the experience, but also found it difficult because I don’t really have anyone who will read and edit my stuff for errors or typos or just continuity problems, and thus mistakes found their way into the final products. Also, the marketing was all on me because there was no company that would benefit financially from marketing it themselves.

In addition, there is always some expense involved in self-publishing, but if you can promote yourself and get sufficient traction for your book, all the royalties go to you so that’s the biggest plus. If Harmony Ink passes on the sequels to Children of the Knight, for better or for worse I’ll be back in the self-pub biz! Oh, well . . .

Do you know your neighbors?

Actually I do, at least the long-termers. Oddly enough, I had just moved into my first house and had been living there for maybe two-three months when we had a huge earthquake out here that killed power, damaged water lines, damaged most of the houses on my cul de sac and otherwise wreaked major havoc for us all.

That was my first real introduction to my neighbors since we all needed to pull together to assist each other with whatever our needs might be. I recommend getting to know your neighbors, but I don’t recommend having a big earthquake to facilitate that knowledge. Ha!

What is your favorite quality about yourself?

I’d say it’s my ability to be understanding of everyone and by extension accepting of everyone. That’s why I was successful as a teacher because I didn’t expect the kids to be anything other than who they were.

Same with the incarcerated kids. I accept them, don’t judge them, just listen and do my best to understand where they came from and how they’ve gotten to this point in their lives. If people are disrespectful then we have a problem because that’s a behavioral choice, but I find with most people, kids included, if I’m respectful of them, they are of me.

What’s your least favorite quality about yourself?

I’m woefully unorganized and don’t multi-task well, except when it comes to reading books. Ha! I can be reading two or three books at a time in different venues or situations (i.e. listening to one in the car, reading one at the gym, reading another at home before bed.) But my house is always unorganized and when I’m writing I tend to let other things slide too much. Very bad boy, I know. LOL

Children of the Knight

According to legend, King Arthur is supposed to return when Britain needs him most. So why does a man claiming to be the once and future king suddenly appear in Los Angeles?

This charismatic young Arthur creates a new Camelot within the City of Angels to lead a crusade of unwanted kids against an adult society that discards and ignores them. Under his banner of equality, every needy child is welcome, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, or gang affiliation.

With the help of his amazing First Knight, homeless fourteen-year-old Lance, Arthur transforms this ragtag band of rejected children and teens into a well-trained army-the Children of the Knight. Through his intervention, they win the hearts and minds of the populace at large, and gain a truer understanding of themselves and their worth to society. But seeking more rights for kids pits Arthur and the children squarely against the rich, the influential, and the self-satisfied politicians who want nothing more than to maintain the status quo.

Can right truly overcome might? Arthur’s hopeful young knights are about to find out, and the City of Angels will never be the same.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Edgy Young Adult

Rating – PG13

More details about the author and the book

Connect with  Michael J. Bowler on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://michaeljbowler.com/

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Lauren Linwood & Her First #Book Sale @LaurenLinwood #Historical #Romance

How I Made My First Sale
As a writer, I love getting my ideas down on paper. I love seeing an original story take shape, from that vague glimmer in the far reaches of my mind to finishing up a manuscript. I enjoy finding just the right names for my characters, creating their back story and talents, finding their traits and quirks, molding and shaping them until they are full-blown, believable people. I enjoy coming up with a plot—throwing in all kinds of internal and external conflict, researching elements that will add verisimilitude, finding just the right setting that will enhance the plot. Since I’m a romance writer, I also strive to tell a beautiful love story and allow my hero and heroine to overcome numerous obstacles because they are meant to be together and have their own happily ever after.
But I wanted more than myself and my critique partners to read my stories. I wanted to take the next step up the food chain and become a published author. That meant selling a manuscript.
It’s harder than it sounds. Editors and agents receive so many manuscripts. It seems as if everyone and their third cousin’s mother think they can write a great novel. Querying is the usual route, but I believed that a face-to-face meeting would help me get my foot in the door and allow my story to leap off the page for an editor.
So what did I do? I got myself to a conference.
I attended the October 2012 Lone Star Conference in Houston, sponsored by a local RWA chapter. Three editors were in attendance, and they spoke on a panel at the beginning of the conference. All agreed that if they were interested in a manuscript pitched to them, they would ask for anywhere between 3-5 chapters. I had appointments scheduled with two of these editors and had two different books that I thought would appeal to each of them, based upon reading about them and their publishing houses.
Think about it—ten minutes to sell my manuscript—and me.
I met with the first one, taming my nerves as best I could, and pitched the story in as interesting and unique a way as possible. The best advice going in is to limit your pitch to about seven minutes, so the editor has time to ask questions and you can expound or clarify.
And that editor asked for . . . wait for it . . . the entire manuscript! Not 3 chapters. Not 5 chapters. Not 100 pages. But the whole freaking thing!
It only got better. The second editor responded the exact same way and asked for the full manuscript. I floated like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon back to the ballroom, rejoining the conference and the guest speaker, trying my best to take advantage of this terrific author and his writing advice (which my conference fee had paid for). I left around 5 PM and hightailed it back to Dallas and by the next day, I’d sent emailed complete manuscripts off to each editor.
And two weeks after our meeting, the founder of Soul Mate Publishing, Debby Gilbert, offered me a contract for Music For My Soul, a medieval historical romance set in England. It came out in May 2013 and was followed in October by Outlaw Muse, a western historical romance. Debby has also bought two more western historicals for 2014, A Game of Chance and A Change of Plans. I hope she will consider even more purchases from me. She’s provided me with a fabulous cover artist, Ramona Lockwood of Covers by Ramona, and we’ve had a blast collaborating on tender, sensual covers that show the very essence of my novels.
Yes, it took several years of hard work—writing and rewriting, meeting with my critique partners, attending workshops and conferences, reading articles—but I’m proud to say I’ve joined the ranks of those who are published authors. And I will never forget meeting Debby in person, making that personal connection as I shared my characters and their story with her. It’s such an accomplishment to break away from the pack and realize my dream of being a published author.
Lily Frontiere returns from a costly European trip to find her mother has accumulated large gambling debts. Things grow worse as her mother’s health deteriorates and she can no longer run Lucky Lil’s, the most famous whorehouse in San Francisco. Though Lilian shielded her only child from house life by sending her away to boarding school, Lily takes over and poses as Madam Lil. Her intelligence and astonishing resemblance to her mother help, but she’s entering a world she knows little about. Lily tries to extract the house from impending financial ruin until a handsome stranger turns up with the deed to Lucky Lil’s in hand.
Gambler Jed Stone journeys to California to track down Simon Morgan, the man responsible for his best friend’s death. Arrested for robbery and murder upon arrival, he is shocked to see his face on a wanted poster. Jed escapes before his hanging, unaware that the man guilty of those crimes is the twin brother he never knew existed. In a case of mistaken identity, Jed acquires Lucky Lil’s in a rigged card game his twin is meant to win.
Jed asks Madam Lil to stay on as he learns the business. Lily clashes with the new owner over ways to make the establishment profitable, yet she is attracted to the charming risk taker at the same time. Jed is fooled by Lily’s charade until he stumbles upon the real Madam Lil and learns the truth behind Lily’s deception. His admiration for Lily blossoms into love.
But Simon Morgan seeks both Lily’s hand and ownership of Lucky Lil’s—and he will go to any means to possess both. Will Jed foil his nemesis while bringing his outlaw brother to justice?
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Genre - Western Historical Romance
Rating – PG
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