Susan

Apr 232014
 

Just a tee-hee  moment.

As I’m working on the new look for West of Mars, I’m doing some surfing and checking out  my own books at the various retailers. I was in the Kobo store when I noticed that Trevor’s Song is listed as both fiction and non-fiction, at least in terms of in-store rankings (and that it’s ranked higher in non-fiction).

It’s a flattering thing, really, that people think Trevor Wolff is a real character. After all, as a writer, that’s my aim: to create characters who live and breathe.

Somehow, though, I never meant it to be taken quite like this.

 

Apr 212014
 

Ask and my readers come through! Of course, as always, there are openings… the calendar isn’t full quite yet, so if you’ve got a new release, stop on in for your chance in the spotlight.

Today, we’ve got Haley Whitehall, who’s written a historical romance set in one of my favorite time periods (yes, I’m serious and no, I don’t know why): the Civil War.

Soldier-in-Her-Lap-Cover

You’d think that’d make a song hard to pick, right? Well… wrong! Check it:

 

I’d like to thank Susan for letting me step into the spotlight. I’ve never done a one-question interview before and I feared it would be a difficult question. Thankfully it wasn’t! I think of my new historical romance release Soldier in Her Lap as the Civil War era version of Cinderella. The first song I thought of was one connected to Cinderella: A Twist in Time – I Still Believe – by Hayden Panettiere from Cinderella 3.

 

The steamy romance in Soldier in Her Lap is far from Disney rated, but Sophia Carpenter’s hard life, strong-will, and rose-colored glasses make the book Disney worthy. After her mother dies Sophia is left running the Georgia dirt farm by herself while her papa drowns himself in a whiskey bottle. Her papa chased off all the men who tried to call on her sentencing her to a lonely life of chores. Most of the men in town enlisted in the army once the War Between the States broke out making it nearly impossible for Sophia find a husband. Then one night Lucas comes to her rescue.

 

Sophia’s papa tries to keep her and the handsome Confederate soldier apart. However, Lucas has promised to take Sophia away from her life of drudgery and she believes in their destiny together. Through many trials Sophia does not give up on love.

 

While Lucas may not be the Prince Charming she expected, he is determined on earning her heart and the courageous suit of armor she imagined he wore.

 

Sounds super, huh? I totally want to read this!

 

Here’s the back cover copy:

 Trapped by her alcoholic, abusive father, Sophia Carpenter longs to escape her life of drudgery on her father’s dirt farm in Clark Springs, Georgia. Making matters worse, her father’s scared off every man who tried to call on her. She longs for freedom, but with the Civil War raging, even fewer men are available to fulfill her dreams—unless a soldier landed in her lap.

 

Conscripted into a war he never wanted to fight, Lucas Grady is tired of battle and refuses to lay his life down for a lost cause. After a musket ball tears through his leg, he deserts from the ambulance wagon rather than risk a field surgeon’s saw. He barely makes it to Sophia’s farm before collapsing.

 

The wounded soldier’s arrival seems like a dream come true, but first she must save him from his injuries—and her father. As forbidden attraction blooms between them, they will have to struggle to survive. Can their love overcome so many obstacles or will they become another casualty of the War Between the States?

 

Buy Soldier in Her Lap

Decadent Publishing

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

Smashwords

ARe

 

Haley loves to connect with readers. You can find her here:

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Website

Blog

Amazon Author Page

 

Apr 172014
 

One in an occasional series

I am one of those editors who likes to support my clients even if what they need help with is beyond the range of editing. Because of this, I’ve now started such services as offering help writing book descriptions, a While You Write service where you cough up cash and I’m available seven days a week for brainstorming plot wrinkles and other problems, and more. I’ve even brought some e-book formatters into the fold, but more about that another day.

The Book Description and While You Write services are available only to my editing clients.

One other thing I like to do is talk about your options for publication. A number of you like to explore your options, and that’s great. I’m totally supportive of that. And… a lot of you have found small presses who’ve been interested in publishing your books. Sometimes, that makes me sad because it means you’re moving on to a new editor (and when that editor’s not as good as me, well, double sad!) — but that sadness is also tempered with excitement for you. I want only the best for my clients.

But sometimes, you find yourself someone who is well intentioned but … maybe isn’t ready for a writer of my clients’ caliber (do I think highly of you guys, or what?). And you ask me about this publisher.

I came across one of these small presses the other day. When I find them, I crawl all over their website, looking for certain criteria:
1. Is the site well written? Seems like a silly thing to look for, but if a publisher’s website is riddled with grammar errors, what will your book look like? (and yes, I do wish I had the cojones to send them a letter, offering my non-fiction department’s services!)

2. What can you offer my author that s/he can’t do by him/herself? The latest was a publisher who said they were working on a relationship that would get them into brick-and-mortar stores. Sounds great, but … they weren’t there yet. What could they offer my client NOW?

3. What do they publish, and how does your book fit into their list? One publisher I came across had both erotic lit and a book about Jesus on their front page. I’d be surprised if people aren’t offended by that one!

There’s a reason niche publishers do well, folks: they break into one market and do it well.

4. What’s the background of the principals involved? Even if it’s not a publishing background, I’m sorry, but someone with an MFA in painting and a partner with a PhD in history just doesn’t make me confident that you know how to run a business — even though I’ve learned that running a business isn’t rocket science. But I want to see that you’ve got a clue what you’re doing before I’ll express confidence in your business.

(Before you ask about my lack of business background, I spent 2013 enrolled in a year-long business class and worked with a fabulous mentor. Like I said, running a business isn’t rocket science.)

5. How excited by your book is this publisher? I thought this was a no-brainer, but when a client forwarded a mail that said, “I skimmed your book and think it’d be a good fit…” I realized that the siren’s song of “it’d be a good fit” drowned out the red flag. This acquiring editor SKIMMED the book? The book he’s worked on for years and years? Sweat, blood, tears, marriage, friends, and an editor are all in that book and this acquiring editor admitted to SKIMMING it?

To paraphrase uber agent Janet Reid: You want someone behind your book who’s as passionate as you are.

Yes, we all want to have a publisher’s name behind us (okay, not all of us anymore!) but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let desire overrule your natural caution. I’ve seen too many small presses go under, heard too many stories about authors who have to go to court to have their rights reversed, seen what happens when expectations are crushed.

Don’t be that author.

But do be the author who is smart enough to reach out to people who can look past the emotional high of the offer and help you weigh your options with a clear mind. This is your business. It’s not rocket science, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be smart in the choices you make.

Apr 162014
 

Yes, boys and girls, after being full for months on end, right now, there’s no one in the queue for the Featured New Book Spotlight. Why not? I see books being published every day. I see free promotion right here at West of Mars. And I see the e-mails I get from readers, telling me they’ve bought a book they’ve seen in the spotlight and I was right: it’s worth a read.

Tell your friends. Take advantage yourself. Remember, it’s free if you’re willing to take the next open date (and only $5 to reserve the date you want).

Why are you still holding out? Flood my inbox today!

Apr 142014
 

People sometimes ask me what’s the purpose of a writer’s group in today’s world. Why not connect online and be done with it all?

Because there’s magic when you can connect in person and realize the person you’ve gotten to know online is so much more interesting in person.

Blood and Iron cover

Such it is with my buddy Jon Sprunk, who is a true writer pro and a super dude. And he’s got a new book out, as well. Which means he’s taking a turn in the spotlight.

Jon, what song makes you think of your book?

Answer: “Revelations” by Iron Maiden. I’m a child of the 80′s metal wave. This song in particular evokes the majesty and mystery that I tried to put into every line of my new epic fantasy, “Blood and Iron.” But, of course, I’m not writing just for the metal crowd. This new series is about the clash between rival cultures, the friction between social strata, and the real price of liberty. You won’t elves or unicorns within its pages, but you will find magic, the kind of elemental sorcery that can destroy as well as create. I hope you’ll give it a try.

 

Wait. He said IRON MAIDEN??? Duuuuuuude. I told you he was cool, didn’t I?

Now, after all that, you totally need to know what Blood and Iron is about.

This action-heavy EPIC FANTASY SERIES OPENER is like a sword-and-sorcery Spartacus set in a richly-imagined world.

It starts with a shipwreck following a magical storm at sea. Horace, a soldier from the west, had joined the Great Crusade against the heathens of Akeshia after the deaths of his wife and son from plague. When he washes ashore, he finds himself at the mercy of the very people he was sent to kill, who speak a language and have a culture and customs he doesn’t even begin to understand.

Not long after, Horace is pressed into service as a house slave. But this doesn’t last. The Akeshians discover that Horace was a latent sorcerer, and he is catapulted from the chains of a slave to the halls of power in the queen’s court. Together with Jirom, an ex-mercenary and gladiator, and Alyra, a spy in the court, he will seek a path to free himself and the empire’s caste of slaves from a system where every man and woman must pay the price of blood or iron. Before the end, Horace will have paid dearly in both.

 

Jon’s gotten some good reviews on this already, especially about his world-building, and especially from some of the industry’s big names in reviews. How can you ignore that??? You can’t, I know, so here are some buy links:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Books-A-Million
Indie Bound

Get to know Jon. You’ll be glad you did.

Jon’s website
Jon’s facebook fan page
Jon’s twitter