• My guest today is Leah Moyes author of Berlin Butterfly, the first of three books.

    Leah is from Arizona, but experienced many parts of the world in thanks to a career in the airlines, now most of her time, aside from writing is spent as a high school teacher, soccer coach, mom and discovering ancient cultures through her Archaeological Studies. Her favorite subjects to read and write are historical fiction novels or time travel.

    Welcome Leah to my blog. I really like the cover of Berlin Butterfly and I am intrigued to find out more about your books.

    "Thanks for the opportunity to talk about my book.

    Berlin Butterfly is a Historical Fiction trilogy surrounding the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall. Book one (Ensnare) was published in Sept of 2017, Book 2 (Deception) will be released next week and book 3 will launch on the 30th Anniversary of the wall coming down November 9th 2019.

    This story started from a dream I had. The scene was so intense that when I woke up, it took me a few days to place where this occurred. This specific scene is actually a critical part of book 2.

    I have always loved Historical Fiction and not only been to the places my main character, lived, worked and experienced, I was given access to the Berlin wall memorial records and intertwine real victims of the wall into the story, It has become a part of me.

    Although I had interest from agents and publishers when promoting this book, the main reason I chose to self-publish was that I would have complete control over its content. The Cold War is a very dark time in our history and despite this, I wanted to make sure that my story and subsequent romance remained within the bounds I set. Marketing can be difficult but like most Indie authors, I use social media to my advantage, book reviews of course and I attend book fairs as well.

    Thanks again. Leah Moyes"

    Lovely to hear from you Leah :)x

    If you would like to read Leah's excellent reviews or buy Leah's book then click here

    Amazon

    https://www.amazon.com/Berlin-Butterfly-Ensnare-Book-ebook-dp-B07JX54BY6

    Goodreads link

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36352524-berlin-butterfly?ac=1&from_search=true

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  • A warm welcome on a windy day in England to sci-fi author of Apex Five, Sarah Katz. Find out more about Sarah’s writing and book marketing journey here

    Many authors are probably sat at their desks now wondering what is the best way to promote their books. My guest today is Sarah Katz – welcome! Please tell everyone about yourself and how you promote your books.

    I am a cyber security analyst by trade and an author by passion. After growing up in the technology hub of Silicon Valley and working in online safety at companies such as Facebook, I drew upon themes such as the sociological impact of computer advancement to craft my debut science fiction novel, “Apex Five”.

    Although book promotion remains a continuous process, the following steps have proven invaluable toward gaining new readers:

    1) Social Media Promotion

    Facebook: Create an author page. You may also additionally create a page dedicated to your book, though take care not to bombard followers with updates or invites from both. The author page can act as a platform for information about your book (keep readers engaged with more quotes and personal genre-related questions rather than endless promos) as well as occasional tidbits about you as an author.

    A sample engaging question might be: “How many authors here have recently finished a first novel?” OR “How do readers feel about slow-burn romance?”

    To avoid pestering followers while still keeping discussions going, keep posts to every other day. Remember, folks are typically looking to engage in discussion and talk about themselves first and foremost rather than receive updates with links on how to spend money on a product.

    Twitter: #Hashtags. These will help to focus your tweets and keep your head above water among the masses of other posts on similar topics. Suggested book/genre-related hashtags would be: #indiebook(s) #IndieBooksBeSeen #IndieBookPromos #indieauthor, #IARTG, #Monday(any other week/end day) Motivation, #FridayReads, #Readers, #Writers, #writerslife, #WritersLifeChat, #Kindle, #ReadersFavorite, #amwriting, #amwritingscifi, #amwritingfantasy, #amwritingromance, #scifi, #SciFiFri, #scifisat, #SciFiSunday, #scifibook, #Authors, #fantasy, #horror, #romance…to name just a few. Whenever possible, always make use of trending hashtags (visible on the left-hand side of Twitter homepage).

    Other than hashtags, it’s always helpful to throw in a visual such as an image of your book cover or a relevant GIF. As always, keep the links to only once a week so as not to bombard followers with purchase requests. Finally, follow other folks tweeting about these topics and retweet all posts you find interesting! Hashtags work really well with Facebook too!

    LinkedIn: Might seem bizarre, but it’s a surprisingly good platform for getting your work out there to the masses, especially once you reach 500+ connections. I would suggest keeping book-related posts to once a month and focus on photos with your book cover (preferably you and your book cover/you holding the book) as well as pictures of you at conventions tabling for your book. This gives a professional flair and shows viewers that you take your role as an author professionally.

    2) Book Awards

    Apply for any and all book awards you can. Being a winner or even a finalist can get you publicity and a hashtag to post alongside your book’s title when promoting on Facebook and Twitter. Many annual contests will match your genre. An example list would be: https://thewritelife.com/writing-contests/

    3) Physical Promotion

    Book Readings: Try to find and attend all book readings in your local region. These include local writers’ groups, library readings and conventions, such as Worldcon or Comicon. Fans love to see authors promoting their work live, complete with a visually enthralling poster, table and physical book copies. Remember to always prepare a mailing list so prospective readers can sign up to receive book announcements from you. Finally, business cards with book title, cover image, purchase platform (Amazon, etc), and social media information are essential.

    4) Become an Influencer or Contact Influencers

    Some authors already have a blog or YouTube channel and following prior to releasing their first book. While this helps raise the chances of faster promotion, it’s never too late to start your own blog using Wordpress, Weebly, Wix or other free/low cost platforms. That said, if blogging isn’t your cup of tea, there are literally pages of established bloggers who might jump at the chance to promote your work! Check out this list of free book bloggers and peruse their preferred genres to see if there might be a match. Remember – always tailor every query email/message to each individual blogger, so that they don’t feel like just one amidst a giant query blast. If possible, follow bloggers on Twitter and like their Facebook pages prior to contacting them – that way, they feel special and are more likely to respond to your query!

    Thanks Sarah for some great tips, I can see that you are getting some excellent reviews for Apex Five on Amazon.

    If you would like to buy Sarah’s book, then please visit https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KRR9QWF/

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  • Michelle Wright is my guest today and talks about the writing of Audrey's Magic Nine, a children's series illustrated by Courtney Huddleston

    Hi Michelle, welcome to my blog, please let everyone know about your wonderful books.

    What made you want to write a book?

    Well, there are a couple of answers to this question.

    I have always loved books and telling stories, and I have spent my career involved in the various facets of the written word. I’ve had some hoity-toity jobs, but now, I am at a point in my life in which I realize that I’ve always just wanted to create fiction. Besides, I am an introvert, and I often say weird things and laugh at inappropriate moments, so I feel most comfortable expressing myself in writing. But I do not like speaking about projects that are in the works.

    As for Audrey’s Magic Nine, a very dear project to me, Penny-Farthing Productions hired me to collaborate with Creator/Artist Courtney Huddleston to tell a story about a girl and her magic puppets. I very much fell in love with the main character, Audrey, as well as the beautiful art and the work of the entire creative team—Huddleston, Francesco Gerbino, and Tracy Bailey. The tale grew to three books to contain Audrey’s many adventures and her delightful personality. It was sheer pleasure to write a character instilled with the traits I most admire in the people I adore.

    Do you have favorite moments from Audrey’s Magic Nine?

    In Book 1, Audrey attends a terrifying puppet show. My intent was for the characters to inhabit an awkward, strange, and claustrophobic environment to explore their various reactions. The scene was great fun to write, and it presented an unexpected moment for the main character to form a genuine emotional connection without over-the-top sentimentality. It was even greater fun seeing how Courtney drew the sequence with so much humor.

    Tell us about you.

    Conventional biographies can be quite dry, so if readers would like that kind of information, they can look me up on Goodreads or Amazon. Here, I would prefer to provide information that you will not find elsewhere.

    I was a feral child and ran the cotton fields of my family’s West Texas farm in a Wonder Woman costume and a pair of cowboy boots. I was accompanied on these adventures by three large farm dogs, and thus, the general community belief that I was raised by dogs evolved. It still exists.

    I dislike only three foods—onion, crab, and mayonnaise. I try very hard not to judge mayonnaise lovers, but when a person smears so much mayonnaise on a sandwich that it oozes out the sides, I have a difficult time not viewing the situation as an ethical paradox.

    My favorite food is cake.

    I once accidentally head-butted former American first lady Barbara Bush at a restaurant in Houston. She reacted with the dignity for which she was famous, as well as, a little smirk that clearly said, “I don’t need Secret Service to deal with you.”

    Among my many regrets in life is the fact that I was never a fire baton twirler.

    How do you market your books?

    Penny-Farthing Productions seeks reviews, attends local shows, and makes classroom visits.

    Where can readers find your book(s) for sale?

    Readers can purchase Audrey’s Magic Nine at Amazon:

    https://www.amazon.com/Audreys-Magic-Nine-Pencil-Fuzzy/dp/0984214356

    https://www.amazon.com/Audreys-Magic-Nine-Pencil-Dream/dp/0999170929

    Thanks for joining me today.

    Natasha :)

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  • Welcome back Robin Crumby! - Find out more about The Hurst Chronicles here

    Hi Robin, I am so glad that you are able to join me again on my blog. Please let everyone know about youre exciting post-apocalptic series.

    How did the idea for your book begin?

    Hurst Castle was the inspiration for the book. It's a beautiful setting, opposite the Needles Rocks and the Isle of Wight, reachable by boat or along a mile of shingle beach. Originally built by King Henry VIII, it's been updated and modernized over the course of the last five hundred years.

    What was the most important thing that you wanted to say in your book?

    However bleak circumstances may appear, good will prevail and hope springs eternal!

    Did you include any life experiences in your book?

    I spent much of my childhood exploring the various harbours, creeks, and islands around the Solent. It's an area with so many stories, shipwrecks, and history, it makes a fascinating backdrop to the story. People often ask me where all the characters in the book came from and whether they are based on real people. There’s a little piece of me and the people I know in each of them, that’s all I’m saying...you know who you are.

    What was the most rewarding thing about writing the book?

    Having people read my stories and hearing their feedback makes it all worthwhile (good and bad). Writing for me is a collaborative and iterative process. Reader comments and reviews help iron out any wrinkles and make the story and characters stronger for the next reader.

    How did the characters come to you?

    I’m an avid people watcher, read a lot and consume a lot of movies and TV series, so immerse myself in other stories in search of inspiration. The cast of Hurst is quite large and keeping them all in your head is quite a challenge. I tend to have a (movie celebrity) photo of each one together with a summary page so that I can maintain consistency and keep them distinctive.

    Were the personalities of your characters informed by the plot, or instead was the plot informed by their personalities?

    I like the slow-reveal approach to character development. To some extent, the flu pandemic has pressed reset on the world. Between disease and disorder, families have been torn apart, communities shattered, memories so painful, characters have chosen to start again and reinvent themselves. Who can really be trusted in this new world, when all points of reference have been stripped away?

    Did you do any research when you were writing this book?

    Hurst has five hundred years of history which I needed to familiarise myself with plus the subjects of pandemic viruses, bioweapons research and flu vaccines are quite technical so required a lot of background reading.

    What were your biggest learning experiences writing this book? Writing the story is just the beginning. Publishing the finished version takes a lot of work.

    What would you do differently if you could do it again with regards to writing this book?

    Give up other projects to focus on writing full time.

    If they made a movie from your book who would you choose to play the main characters?

    Tom Hardy for Zed, Natalie Dormer for Riley, Kirsten Dunst for Terra, Jack - I've never quite figured out, suggestions welcome.

    What are you working on next?

    I have a few short stories I’m releasing soon, an audiobook version of book one due out imminently and book four in the series due out in 2019.

    Why do you write?

    Making up stories is great fun. I have a lot of creative energy and this is a good way to channel that.

    Do you keep an idea’s book or record of things that you would like to write about at some period in time?

    Yes, whenever I see interesting articles about the Spanish Flu, outbreaks, vaccines, anti-vaxxers, bioweapons research, or Porton Down/CDC/WHO, I save the articles to a book ideas folder.

    Do you know the end when you start writing a book?

    When I first started I was a self-proclaimed 'pantser', meaning I worked with only a loose plan and structure and did a lot of discovery writing before figuring out where the story was going next. This can make for more work and more rewrites, so for the latest book in the series, I did a lot more planning and knew more (not all) about the denouement of the story and all the various character arcs.

    How do you go about editing process?

    I undertake several versions and rewrites before I am ready to show third-parties. I have a freelance editor and proofreader I’ve worked with on the series. I also have an advance reader team who do an amazing job of suggesting ideas, flagging any errors or inconsistencies and generally supporting me through to publication. I’m also married to a former Editor/Publisher, so that helps.

    What techniques do you use for writing?

    I try and write every day but that doesn't always happen with other work commitments.

    Do you have any tips for self-publishing for other authors?

    It takes 10,000 hours to be really good at anything. Practice makes perfect. I’ve found Mark Dawson’s Self-Publishing Formula an invaluable resource for all aspects of publishing and marketing. The SPF author community are also very supportive and collaborative.

    What is your occupation and how does it influence your writing?

    I ran a business to business publishing business for 20 years so have done copywriting, editing, proofreading before so tend to write quite clean first time. Writing fiction beats business writing any day of the week.

    Do you have any philosophies that you live by?

    Reciprocation, personal responsibility, and ‘be kind to others’. Generally, always try and do the right thing, but if you can't, don't get caught.

    What is your favourite quote?

    “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Winston S. Churchill

    Thank you Robin, so much for sharing. There are three books in The Chronicle Series and they are available from Amazon

    Book Series: The Hurst Chronicles

    Book One: Hurst – https://amzn.to/2LW7yjq

    Book Two: Sentinel - https://amzn.to/2QtJdF8

    Book Three: Wildfire - https://amzn.to/2CH4CYH

    Robin Crumby is the author of The Hurst Chronicles, a post-apocalyptic series set on the south coast of England in the aftermath of a flu pandemic. Robin spent much of his childhood messing about in boats, exploring the many waterways, ports and military forts of the Isle of Wight, where The Hurst Chronicles is set. Since reading John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids as a child, Robin became fascinated by end of the world dystopian literature and was inspired to start writing by Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven. Why? Because post-apocalyptic fiction fires the imagination like nothing else. Pondering what comes next, who would survive, what would life look like? Much of the best fiction in this popular genre focuses on brain-eating zombies or events unfolding in the USA so Robin determined to write a story set in the UK. His Eureka moment came wandering the shingle beach at Milford-on-sea, inspired by the beauty and rich history of the Solent. Where better to survive the end of the world than a medieval castle surrounded by water?

    Your Twitter Account: @hurstchronicles

    Your Facebook Account: https://www.facebook.com/hurstchronicles

    Your Website: http://www.hurstchronicles.com/

    Your Goodreads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15179227.Robin_Crumby

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  • Author Michael Ford Jr. a retired Assistant Chief Louisville Division of Fire is my guest today

    Mr. Ford served as a professional firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician for 23 years, in the one and only Bluegrass state of Kentucky. He has recently completed and published his first book entitled: 24 “What Can Happen In A Day.” This inspiring book will take its readers on an introspective journey as they learn the lessons and relive the experiences within through the lenses of the author. This book is about people; about family, love, heartache, triumph, determination and so much more!

    Welcome Michael to my blog, please let everyone know about your life and writing journey.

    1. What made you want to write a book?

    As a firefighter for 23 years, and like most firefighters, I was thrust into the lives of thousands of complete strangers during the best and mostly the worst moments of their lives. Yes, I was called there to assist and help, but inadvertently I found myself also being a spectator and student of life. I discovered truths and insights in the tragedy and triumphs of others that helped me navigate my own life and propel me to personal success. I realized that the truths and insights that I learned were universal, and would challenge others to grow and excel. So I wrote the book to share these truths and insights to my community.

    2. Tell us about you and where you live.

    I was raised in a financially poor home and family in Louisville, KY, but a home and family that was rich in love and character. As number two of five siblings I was taught early to share and serve. My mom and dad were both very giving people and served their community often and in various ways. So I believe that culture of serving really impacted my life. I have found myself living a life of community service: besides my 23 years of community service as a firefighter, my wife and I founded a youth program called Children Against Negativity (CAN) that has for over 20 years educated nearly 2000 students; for over 10 years we have provided management and financial support for 3 elementary & middle schoolsin Kenya East Africa; we founded Master Builders Academy a local Professional Development & Entrepreneurialorganization.

    3. What have you written and what are you working on now?

    The next project that I am working on is a book about the adventures of parenting.

    4. Where can readers find your book for sale?

    24 “What Can Happen In A Day.” is for sale on my website at https://michaelfordjr.com as well as the following websites Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, iBooks, Books-A-Million

    Thank you Michael :)

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