Congrats to all the #SIBA winners!


I just want to take a moment to congratulate all of the Summer Indie Book Award winners. You all put up an amazing fight, and despite all of the drama that surrounded the Awards, it was a good time for most of us authors.

Thank you to everyone who rallied together to make the first ever Summer Indie Book Awards so amazing.It was extremely competitive and so many people showed us indie authors support.

Thank you to everyone who voted for Sapphire’s Destiny during the awards to. You guys showed me some serious love and I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer number of people who have already fallen in love with The Realms Series as much as I have.

For those of you patiently waiting for the next books to come out, don’t worry, I will be putting you out of your misery soon. I don’t have an exact date yet for Blood Stone or Chasing Fire. I was planning a Halloween release for Chasing Fire but my day job has been demanding more and more of my time lately so I’m trying to work writing into my 6 day work week. I can say it will be finished by Christmas though!

If you haven’t done so, head over to my book club, S.L. Perryman Book Club on Facebook, for an exclusive sneak peak into Chasing Fire. As Nubby and Jeremy search for the newly awakened Gifted they find themselves chasing a murderer! As well as exclusive sneak peaks at Blood Stone, the second book in Sapphires’ journey. There are so many big reveals in this book that I want to get it right before I release it. I think you guys will be shocked!

Anyway, back to my cave I go to submerge myself into the magical world of The Realms. Next time I resurface I will be announcing the official release dates! (I hope:/)

 

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Summer Indie Book Awards


Today I was contacted by Metamorph Publishing who informed me that my novel, Sapphire’s Destiny, had been nominated for the 2016 Indie Book Awards.

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For me, as a new author, this is a huge step in the right direction. Not many awards are handed out to self published authors, so even making it onto the list is a huge success.

This of course, doesn’t mean that I will place in my category but I have an equal chance as any other nominated author including the better known ones (like Alanea Adler’s Bewitched and Bewildered series which I happen to love).

According to Metamorph Publishing’s site, this is the first year of the awards and there are already over 1,800 nominees across 26 different categories- and there is still 3 weeks left of nominations before voting begins on September 1st.

They are shooting for 3 winners in each category. Each winner will recieve a certificate and some sort of prize as well as bragging rights. With the help of donors like me and you they will be able to achieve this goal. Right now they are accepting everything from money, gift cards, and book marks to signed copies of books and other swag. You can learn more about donating on their website and if you have any questions about what they will and won’t take just shoot them a message through their contact page or on facebook and they will get back to you asap.

They are also accepting nominations up until August 31st, so if you have any favorite indie authors you would like to see on the list, shoot on over to their website and nominate them.

Don’t forget to vote anytime between September 1st-11th for your favorite indie author/novels. (Hint, Hint)

 

The Dirt On Free Book Requests and How To Respond To Them


One of the most common questions I come across is how to respond to a readers query for a free book.

Why do authors get them and how are we supposed to respond?

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There are usually two main reasons for these requests; they want to read the book and review it or they are down on their luck and can’t afford to buy a copy themselves.

The Read And Review Request

As an author the first reason is extremely enticing. We all want reviews. That’s how we get our names and our books out their to new readers. New readers look for those reviews to confirm that our books are worth purchasing. But is it worth giving away your livelihood in exchange for a review that may never be posted?

Some authors say yes, it absolutely is and I somewhat agree. If the reader requesting a copy is from a popular review blog, website, or company then send away. Send them a signed copy by all means. But if the reader who requests a copy doesn’t even have a goodreads profile don’t expect a thank you much less a review.

The Hardship (.a.k.a. sob story) Request

Let’s face it, everybody goes through difficult times in their life and we, as humans, are programed to empathise with others in tough times. It’s engraved into our very Souls from the moment we are born. You see someone crying in the corner and your heart breaks for them because you know they’re in pain. You cry when your favorite character gets their heart broken. Someone tells you their family member died and you say “I’m sorry for your loss” and try to finally a way to ease their pain.

It’s only natural to want to help someone out when they are in need and if a copy of your book can help them through this difficult time then you’ll have done your part. But you can’t help everyone, especially if your struggling to get by yourself.

We all know the cold hard truth about what we do. Being an author isn’t exactly living a life of luxury. Granted, their are a select few  who have gotten lucky and struck gold with their stories. Unfortunately, the vast majority of us have to keep our day jobs because our royalties don’t exactly pay the bills.

If you can afford to do so, giving away a few copies of your book a year is fine. It actually helps your reputation as an author because people talk. But it could also invite others to see you as an easy target and the requests for free books will start pouring in.

So what should you do if you get a request for a free copy of your book?

Ignore Them-

This is one of the most common answers I hear. It’s a viable option but not one I agree with and here’s why.

These people are your readers. They look up to you, idolize you because you are a published author. If you see your favorite actor or singer in public what do you do? You want to take your picture with them, shake their hand, get their autograph, or just plain old interaction! That’s what you want and that’s what your readers want. The more you interact with them the happier they are.

If they are your true fans they will be thrilled that you answered them at all, even if you send them a polite rejection letter.

If you ignore them they may loose faith in you and look elsewhere for that interaction!

Offer to send a copy to their local liabrary-

This is actually a very good idea…if you have a paperback verson. Donating copies of your books is an excellent way to reach alot of readers and help the liabrary out in a small way.

The only problem that you might encounter is that the liabrary won’t add your book to its shelf. Libraries have limited space and if your book isn’t in demand by the locals then the liabrary will remove it from the shelves to make room for books that the community does want.

I suggest donating to your local libraries anyway. Sometimes they will make a special exception for local authors and keep your book on display to show support.

Offering a book for free in exchange for an email sign up-

This is by far one of the best options and alot of authors are utilizing this method without realizing how significant it is.

A mailing list is a lifeline for most authors. It’s the best way for us to contact our true fans when we release a new book which leads to sales. It’s also a great way to weed out requesters who are just looking for a free book with no strings attached.

It takes 2.2 seconds to sign up for your email list. If they aren’t willing spend 2 seconds agreeing to receive occasional emails from you then they most likely aren’t willing to take the time to leave a review. They probably won’t be willing to actually spend money on any of your other books either.

Setting up an email list with Mailchimp is free up to 2000 subscribers and super simple as long as you have a landing page which you can also get for free with wordpress.com. Having one might keep some of the less devoted readers from requesting free books.

Adding a notice to your site and social media-

If you have a website or a social media account it’s easy to add a notice that you don’t offer free books in exchange for reviews unless they sign up for your email list or get them from amazon when you offer them for free. You can post it in the header, footer, on your FAQ page, or Contact page. You could add it to your Bio on facebook, pin it in a post, or a pinned tweet.

The polite rejection letter-

I use a simple and polite rejection letter asking them to sign up to my email list where I already offer a free book for signing up. I also explain that they will receive an email when I offer my other books for free or at a discounted price through Amazon. Here is what the letter looks like.

 

Dear [reader],

Thank you for taking the time to contact me. I always love hearing from fans and avid readers. (If aplicable add “I’m sorry to hear that your [insert reason for hardship here])

I regret to inform you that I do not give copies of [name of book] out for free via email. I do however offer [name of free book] to subscribers of my email list which you can sign up for here [insert link to your subscription form] and receive a notice when [name of Book requested] is on sale or offered free on Amazon. 

Wishing you well,

[IInsert your signature]

 

Please share this with other authors who could benefit from it.

How do you deal with free book requests? Leave your answer in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe and follow my blog for more great tips.

What’s New on SLPerryman.com and What’s to Come


Over the last week I have been working on this site adding new content.

If you look in the menu section you will see a few new additions to the site. My goal is to continue adding new content to the site over the next month or so.

So what’s New?

Aspiring Authors– I was an aspiring author not too long ago. I understand the confusion and unbelievable amount of information you have to learn when first starting out. I created this page to compile all of the information and resources I have found useful into one easily accessible place for anybody who aspires to someday become a published author.

Downloads– This page is a sub-page for aspiring authors. Here you will find handy printables to help you on your journey to publication. You will find everything from fill-in-the-blank Outline Sheets for your next project to help make your ideas flow smoothly, to checklists, and even printable Book Promotion Site Lists. I will continue adding new printables to the page as time goes on so check back regularly or sign up to my email list to be notified when there are updates made.

Winners Circle– This page is dedicated to my giveaways and the winners of the giveaways. Each time I host a giveaway I will post an announcement on the welcome page, blog, as well as in the Winners Circle. If I have multiple giveaways going at the same time they will all be listed in the Winners Circle together.

Store- You will notice that the store tab has moved but is still live so if you want to make purchases you still can.*

*More things to come.

What’s to come?

Realms Merchandise-Very soon you will be able to purchase The Realms Series apparel. I am working on getting some Realms Creature Plushies made as well as some surprises. More on that at a later date.

Free Book when you sign up to my mailing list offer– Very soon I will be offering a Free eBook when you subscribe to my mailing list. If you are already subscribed you will automatically receive the free book when it goes live.

Print and Audio book availability– In the next few months Sapphire’s Destiny will be available to purchase in audio book and paperback formats through the Store. Keep your eye out for the announcement.

Book Promotion Newsletter– Soon you will be able to sign up to receive special emails with Free or Discounted Book Deals. These emails will be sent out once DAILY with new deals every day. Current Newsletter Subscribers keep and eye on your mailbox for the Launch Announcement.

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below.

Bad Reviews Suck! How to deal with Negative Nancy’s.


Dear Aspiring Authors, This post is for you.

You see, when you are first starting out writing you are struck with this idea which you think is amazeballs!

You spend hundreds of hours thinking about this idea and hundreds more creating this imaginary world and it’s characters. Then, after slaving away for months or even years, you release this beast unto the world expecting it to be nothing  less than a New York Times Best Seller.

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You’ve edited your manuscript to perfection and you’ve enlisted dozens of beta readers and reviewers who have all raved about your story.  You spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on a beautiful cover, amazing blurb, and done a ton of research before you set your masterpiece free. 

The book goes live and you ride the waves of ecstasy as the sales and Amazon Ranking climb. You may throw a release party or you may invest in promotions; either way you’re looking at a decent first paycheck. You’re thinking “Wow, if this continues I’ll be able to quit my day job and take up writing full time within the month!”

And then your first review comes in.

You’re shocked because it’s not a raving 5 star review like all of those beta readers and reviewers said your book was. You become angry as you read this person’s scathing words about your baby. You gasp in shock as this person you don’t know tears your baby to shreds and throws away the pieces. They point out every flaw that was missed, every plot hole that slipped through the cracks, and then go on to insult your writing ability.

“How dare they!”

Then you become angry for a whole different reason. You send a nasty emails to your editor, betas, and reviewers berating them for missing things. You consider removing your book from sale, throwing the hard copy in the grill, and lighting it on fire. Finally, you consider giving up writing all together.

Right now your probably thinking “Wow, talk about melodramatic!”

The sad thing is, this has actually happened before. There have been author who completely gave up on their dream because of a couple bad reviews.

I’m here to tell you that you need bad reviews!

That’s right, I said it! You need bad reviews. Lift your jaw off the floor and listen up.

Bad reviews are essential to your career. A good, bad review will point out all of the flaws in your writing and tell you what the readers want more of. These types of reviews are critical to making your stories everything that the readers want.

You may have written the story for yourself but let’s be honest, the readers are the ones that are going to pay your bills. You need to give them what they want or you will be writing your next novel from a cardboard box under a bridge somewhere.

Every great book has at least one bad review!

Don’t believe me? Go onto amazon and look up the Harry Potter books. Rowling sold millions of copies or the book and millions more copies of the movies. Yet each one of the books in the series has multiple bad reviews.

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Harry potter and the Sorcerers Stone: 12, 061 reviews, 176 of them 1 star!
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Harry Potter and  the Order of the Phoenix: 7,783 reviews, 180 of them 1 star!

Fifty Shades Series? Same! Yet those were turned into movies too.

 

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50 Shades of Grey: 66,325 reviews, 10,158 of them 1 star!

Just because you get a bad review doesn’t mean that the book is bad, it just means that it wasn’t right for that reader.

My very first review was a 3 star and said the book was boring! (see image below) I took it in stride though and decided to use the criticism constructively and write a post for my writers group  on Facebook Authors Alley : Where Authors Come to Network.

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Sapphire’s Destiny Actual review. Though it got a 3 star review right away, my book went on to get multiple 5 star reviews after!

“So I got my first official amazon review today and I’m really happy with it 🙂 It was a 3 star review (before you ask why I would be happy with a 3 star review let me explain).

First, it’s a legitimate unbiased review of my book from someone I don’t know. Second 3 stars tells me that 1) the book was good enough to finish but 2) could use improvements. For my very first book, to me that is an excellent sign. It means that I’m doing well but have room to grow.

Next, they said the book didn’t have enough action and when there was action, it was short lived. This tells me that readers want more action and that they want the action scenes to be longer (totally doable I might add).

Then they said that a lot of things were left unexplained and that they will be reading the next book to see if they get explained. This tells me that the hook worked, that I need to answer some questions in book 2 (already planned to), and that I’ve pretty much already sold a book before it’s out.

I love these types of reviews, they tell you so much in so little words that help you become a better writer and make your writing more enticing.”

See what I did there?

I read the review, picked out the critical feedback, and turned it into information I can use for future books!

 

You can avoid getting bad reviews by targeting the specific audience your book would do well with. This is called Niche Targeting. Of course investing in a great editor, proofreader, and getting strangers to beta read your manuscript helps a lot but sometimes that’s not enough.

My advice to you?

Read each review but ignore the ones that are just trolling. If the review doesn’t contain anything useful then ignore it. The reviewer may have just been having a bad day or is just a negative person. If you are getting lots of 1 star reviews then step back and really take a good look at your book.

Use the bad reviews as a writers guide.

Take note of each of the issues that are pointed out and fix your manuscript. You can republish it with the new changes, unfortunately you won’t be able to remove those bad reviews unless you take the original down and republish the book as a second edition.

All in all, just enjoy the process! You can’t please everyone! If you are happy with the book then ignore the haters and write the next book. Maybe your first book wasn’t for everyone but maybe your next one will be!

What is the worst review you’ve gotten? Do you have any advice for new authors about dealing with bad reviews?

Post your responses in the comments below!

 

Author Interview: S.L. Perryman


Today’s Author Interview is S.L. Perryman; Author of The Realms Series: Sapphire’s Destiny.me 1

Names and dates of published novels?

Sapphire’s Destiny was published April 24th, 2016 though i do have another series which i ghostwrote for another author in 2015.

What genre/subgenres do you write in?

I write Fantasy novels focusing heavily on magical realism in an urban setting but I tend to mix mythology into my novels.

How long have you been writing?

I started writing in middle school, finishing my very first book called Blast To The Past which will never be seen by anyone…ever, but I didn’t really get into writing until three years ago when I became a stay at home mom.

What made you want to be a writer/ Have you always wanted to write?

Boredom, honestly. when you go from working a full time job to nothing what-so-ever you will find ways to fill the time. In my case I had a daydream that i couldn’t shake and finally decided to grab a pen and paper to write it out hoping that I would find a little releif but instead I found my new obsession.

Who is your favorite author?

I have so many; J.k. Rowling, Scott Westerfeld, C.M. Owens, Chamilla Chafer, Hailey Edwards, and so many more. There is no telling how many other authors I will end up adding to this list. I read a lot, so if an authors writing catches my attention and draws me in, then they will most likely end up becoming one of my favorites.

What was the first piece of fiction that you fell in love with?

The first book I can remember reading over and over again was the Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld. It’s a dystopian series and it really got my imagination working overtime. I instantly fell in love with Tally-the main character, her friends, and all of the unusual technology in the book.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

I love creating worlds that don’t exist, getting to know my characters, and seeing where the story ends up because it never ends like you imagined when you first start writing. I love being surprised by my own imagination and the things it comes up with.

How long did it take to write your first/last novel?sapphire--HD-Book-Cover

The very first novel I wrote was for another author and it was a short story, it took me about a month to finish from start to finish and 3 months to finish the whole series.

As for my books, Sapphire’s Destiny took me 3 years to write; but I was also working on the other novels in the series at the same time, though only the first one is fully finished now.

What are three words that you would choose to describe your writing style?

Descriptive, magical, and adventurous.

Are your characters inspired by real life people, or do you make them up 100%?

Some of my characters have traits of people i know though they aren’t completely the same. They might have the same hair or attitude but that’s about as far as their similarities go. Others are completely made up.

What sort of mood or feelings did you hope to convey to your readers with your latest work?

I want them to embrace the mystery and get lost in the adventure.

Tell us about the main character of your most recent novel.

Sapphire Archer is a single mom with a shadowed past who just wants to take care of her son and is willing to do anything to keep him safe. When a mysterious package shows up on her doorstep, she it thrust into a mysterious magical world and entrusted with a dangerous task.

Along her journey she encounters mythical creatures, visits magical places, and finds out where she really belongs.

 How do you go about building an antagonist?

I don’t build any of the characters really, they tend to build themselves. But I do believe that a good antagonist is one who can hide in plain sight without being suspected of anything.

Can you describe for us your writing process?

I write late at night. I find that it’s the only time that I can concentrate without interruption and my imagination works the best during the night hours. That my be because I’m so tired that I start dreaming with my eyes open but the scenes seem to flow better.

What kinds of activities do you enjoy besides writing?

I love puzzles, fishing, hunting mushrooms, growing plants, and learning.

Do you ever need to escape from writing? What do you do to get away?

Yes, if I ever need to escape I binge watch Netflix, read a good book, or do anything that is relaxing.

What is the hardest part for you as an author? Easiest?

The hardest part for me is getting the words from my head onto the paper and trying to make it understandable to everyone else. The easiest part is imagining the story line. I can clearly see the characters, where they are, the conversations they have, and the creatures they interact with; it’s just getting all that stuff onto paper that proves to be a problem.

Any author pet peeves?

Judging a book based off of bad reviews. J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien have some pretty bad reviews but the stories were some of the most successful fantasy novels ever. Also someone leaving a horrible review on someone’s book and saying that they haven’t read the book yet, to me that’s just pointless.

Any authors that you feel directly inspired you, your works, or your style?

I love the worlds that J.R.R. Tolkien created and hope to some day be as good as he. But I also love C.M. Owens writing style and how relatable and loving her characters are.

Would you say that you were good at English in high shcool? If not, what were you good at?

I loved high school English and graduated on the A Honor Role. It wasn’t until college that I started to dislike the subject.

Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, what are some ways that you overcome it?

I think everyone comes down with a case of writer’s block at least once in their life. Believe it or not, I wash dishes or clean the house when it happens to me.  It gives me time to think the story through and find ways to correct whatever is killing the flow of thoughts.

Any current projects that we can look forward to?

I’m currently working on book 2 in The Realms Series: Blood stone as well as book 1 in the prequel series The Realms Before the Fall: Reign of the Archer, which is Sapphire’s grandmother Alice Archer’s story.

What are your long-term goals as a writer?

I want to finish The Realms Series and The Realms Before the Fall series. Then i want to start working on my dystopian series W. Vs. Z’s as well as a couple of stand alone novels.

Are you planning any spin-off novels?

Yes, The Realms Before the Fall will be a 6 book series. Each book will highlight different characters form The Realms Series, where they came from, and what they were doing up to the point the Sapphire’s Destiny starts.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t worry so much about where you a headed just enjoy the ride.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Join writing groups (there are tons of Facebook), get as much advice as you can from experienced authors, do your research, and never give up. It will all come together eventually, just don’t rush the story or you will regret it.

Don’t dwell on bad reviews. Use the negative reviews to strengthen your writing and make it better.

How can your readers find out more about you and your books?

You can join my Book Club on Facebook where I hang out with everybody, host giveaways, parties with guest authors, sneak peeks at upcoming books, and so much more: www.facebook.com/groups/s.l.perrymanfantasyauthor

Like my author page: www.facebook.com/AuthorSLPerryman

Follow me on Twitter: @sl_perryman

follow my Amazon Author Page for my latest book releases: http://www.amazon.com/S.-L.-Perryman/e/B01DTZHWTO

Check out my website where I blog book reviews, author interviews, and talk about my life and thing I’m doing :www.slperryman.com

C.J. Ethington – Author Interview


Today’s Author interview is C.J. Ethington; Mastermind behind Cinnamon and Salt.

c.J. Ethington
Names and dates of published novels?

Cinnamon and Salt (March 2015)

Oil and Vinegar (September 2015)
What genre and/or sub-genres do you write in?

I write a little bit of everything. The Sentinels series, which is already out, is young adult urban fantasy. However, in the past few months, I have finished writing and editing a middle grade fiction fantasy, and have started first round edits on a contemporary romance. I like a good challenge.
How long have you been writing?

Since I could hold a crayon. No, really.
What made you want to be a writer and have you always wanted to write?

Always. Well, at least as far as I can remember. My sister started my interest in writing. When I was four years old, I overheard her working on a creative writing assignment with my mom. Her story was unlike anything my young little ears had ever heard. I had to know it ended. She never finished it, but I did. A million times over in a million different ways. She still doesn’t believe me when I tell her, but she was my inspiration.
Who is your favorite author?cinnamon and salt

Man, well, that depends on the day. I have too many to narrow it down. First, I love the classics: Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, Charlotte Bronte. On a more modern side: Holly Black, Rachel Vincent, Cassandra Clare, to name a few.
What was the first piece of fiction that you fell in love with?

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I probably read that book ten times just in elementary school.
What do you enjoy most about writing?

Watching my characters take on a life of their own. As frustrating as it is sometimes, it’s exhilarating to watch them defy me at every turn.
How long did it take to write your first/last novel?

It took me a lot less time to write it than to publish, that’s for sure. Cinnamon and Salt was originally written in 2008. That’s eight years ago! It sat on my personal computer where only I could read it until last year. Originally, I was really nervous about publishing that story in particular because there were so many stories that were similar being released. In the end, I decided that I wanted to share it with the world anyway. The (aforementioned children’s) novel that I just finished took me a month. It’s easy to get something done quickly when you have a cute little 9-year-old setting deadlines for you.
What are three words that you would choose to describe your writing style?

Informal, direct, and humorous.
Are your characters inspired by real life people, or do you make them up 100%?

Honestly, I don’t think any character is 100% made up. Whether they show similar characteristics to the clerk at the grocery store who twitches one eye whenever he sees me, or the woman walking her dog who sings at the top of her lungs, every character has a trait I’ve picked up from the real world. I do have some characters who were inspired by family and friends, though. The most fun I’ve ever had was when I called one of my friends and said, “By the way, let me know when you come into the story.” I’m evil like that.
What sort of mood or feelings did you hope to convey to your readers with your latest work?

Obviously, I want my readers to feel attached to my characters, because I am. I want them to feel what my characters feel. So, basically, I want them to feel every single mood and feeling, except maybe a stabby feeling. We can do without that.
Tell us about the main character of your most recent novel.oil and vinegar

Let’s talk about Nicky from Cinnamon and Salt. She’s a 17-year-old introvert, cynic, and skeptic. While her friends are out partying, she’d rather be home watching the latest episode of Supernatural. While they’re drinking, she’s happy sipping a cup of coffee. In fact, she only puts up with the crowds because her best friend, and unrequited love interest, asks her to. Her world has always been black and white. However, when she meets Asher, she realizes that there is a whole spectrum of color she never knew existed.
How do you go about building an antagonist?

I figure out the one thing the antagonist could want that would go against the hero then try to put myself in their shoes for a moment. All it takes is a spark and they usually build themselves. Although, there have been some stories I’ve written where not even I know who the antagonist is until they reveal themselves. It’s odd when that happens.
Can you describe for us your writing process?

Character development, setting, write, plot a little, edit, delete, write, plot, delete, edit, start over. Just kidding. Sort of. Let’s put it this way: by the time I start writing, I have the setting and character figured out. Everything else is created around them. Seldom do I actually plot.
What kinds of activities do you enjoy besides writing?

I love to read, hang out with my kids, try new things, and I crochet. That’s still so weird for me to say. It’s a newer hobby that I don’t think I suck too bad at.
Do you ever need to escape from writing? What do you do to get away?

Not from writing. I need an escape to write. Writing keeps me sane.
What is the hardest part for you as an author? Easiest?

The hardest part is marketing. I am a diehard reader, which means I have an easier time talking to you about what you’re reading than tell you about what I’m writing/publishing. The easiest part is writing. I am a selfish writer. I write what I want to read. That way, I never run out of books.
Any author pet peeves?

I plead the fifth.
Any authors that you feel directly inspired you, your works, or your style?

Of course. I always feel an insatiable desire to write when I read a Rachel Vincent novel. Also, Lisa McMann. I love how easily she bends the rules of writing to her will. There are more; I just can’t think of them right now.
Would you say that you were good at English in high shcool? If not, what were you good at?

I remember being good at English in high school. It was the class I enjoyed most at least. During the rest of my classes, I was writing a book that starred all of my friends.
Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, what are some ways that you overcome it?

I have, yes. Many times. That’s when I take out a pen and notepad and write out a scene where I’m playing a game with whatever character I’m writing about at the time. That usually breaks down the wall. On a side note: Nicky sucks at Checkers while Kaleb always beats me at Poker. I think they cheat.
Any current projects that we can look forward to?

I have a lot of projects in the works right now. Currently, I am working on Blood and Water (The Sentinels #3), two contemporary romances, a middle grade fantasy, an illustrated children’s book, and multiple other projects that are in my queue.
What are your long-term goals as a writer?

To be better today than I was yesterday.
Are you planning any spin-off novels?

I have two, but most of my stories connect in some way. Kaleb from The Sentinel series has his own spin-off/prequel that’s in editing right now. Also, I have a tour journal written by Nicky’s favorite band that should be out later this year.
What advice would you give to your younger self?

“Believe it or not, you can have a job you don’t hate. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.”
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t take constructive criticism personally. It’s normal for some feedback to hurt, but that’s what’s going to make you a better writer.
Any other interesting things that you would like your readers to know?

You are beautiful, each and every one of you.
How can your readers find out more about you and your books?
http://www.facebook.com/cjethington
http://twitter.com/ceejamejay
http://www.cjethington.com
http://cjethington.blogspot.com/
http://www.amazon.com/CJ-Ethington/e/B00V2N7RY6
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13688391.C_J_Ethington
https://www.instagram.com/c.j.ethington/

Raye Wagner – Author Interview


Today’s Author interview is  Raye Wagner.raye wagner
Names and dates of published novels?
Curse of the Sphinx– August 2015
Demigods and Monsters– April 25 2016
Narcos- Revolution Anthology, June 2016
What genre/subgenres do you write in?
YA urban fantasy/mythology
How long have you been writing?
I started writing June 2010
What made you want to be a writer and have you always wanted to write?
When I was 16 I wrote a goal that I wanted to write/publish a book. But the only fiction I wrote was for college classes (you can take that several ways, and I mean most of them). However, many years later, an idea about a girl cursed by Apollo dropped into my head. I thought it had the makings of a great story, and I called my sister, who majored in Creative Writing, to try and convince her to write it. She told me to write the first 10 pages and send them to her. I’ve been writing ever since.
Who is your favorite author?
I have too many to choose. Hmm. I will forever love Leon Uris. I went into nursing because of one of his characters. I love David Eddings who was the author my brother and I followed as young adults. And now I have a list a mile long.
What was the first piece of fiction that you fell in love with?
The Belgariad by David Eddings.
What do you enjoy most about writing?curse of the sphinx
The opportunity to share my imagination with others.
How long did it take to write your first/last novel?
My first novel took 5 years to complete. The second took about a year.
What are three words that you would choose to describe your writing style?
compulsive, neurotic, anxious (that revealed a lot more about me than I thought)
Are your characters inspired by real life people, or do you make them up 100%?
Some of my characters come to me fleshed out completely. Others have traits from people I actually know, but none of them are actually based on/inspired by people. Although, I am going to have a contest where the winner will get to be or help create a character in book 3.
What sort of mood or feelings did you hope to convey to your readers with your latest work?
Narcos is a political realism piece (11k words) that is meant to inspire readers to take personal responsibility for who and what they are. It is a weightier piece of work than the Sphinx series, but even there I feel strongly that each of us has the power to determine the outcome of our lives. My stories are meant to inspire and empower the reader to take control of their destiny.
Tell us about the main character of your most recent novel.
Hope Nicholas is a monster. Cursed by Apollo, she has the ancient Sphinx’s blood in her veins, and is bound to the same destiny. Hope is sheltered and naïve, but also stubborn and willful. She’s been raised to be self-sufficient on things like cooking, cleaning, and self-defense. However, running from demigods and Skia (think shadow demons from the Underworld) has given her woefully inadequate social skills.
How do you go about building an antagonist?Demigods and Monsters cover 1
I believe antagonists are the protagonists in their own mind. I don’t believe everyone is either good or evil, but both reside in all of us. Those that make poor/bad decisions still are “nice” people. Working with convicted felons taught me this. The antagonists in my stories are moving with intention they believe is best for them, although usually selfishly motivated. I think the defining characteristic of an antagonist is their selfishly motivated actions actually cause harm to someone else. That’s what makes them “bad”.
Can you describe for us your writing process?
I have 3 children (11, 9, and 18 months). I write when I can. Sometimes I get time during the day, other times, it’s late at night. Sometimes, my husband covers for me on a weekend. I’ve discovered it is all about prioritization.
What kinds of activities do you enjoy besides writing?
I love to read. I love to bake. If I don’t exercise I’m a grouch. I love the beach. And I love getting to see family. I have seven siblings, and getting us all together is such a treat.
Do you ever need to escape from writing?
When I was writing Narcos, I would need to take an emotional break and do something cheerful. It is a dark story. What do you do to get away? My favorite getaways have included beach trips, trips to the mountains, and even a day locked away from reality.
What is the hardest part for you as an author?
Not being able to get it all done. I want to be able to do it all. There aren’t enough hours in the day to write, catch up on social media, schedule giveaways, answer emails, help with homework, fold laundry, and make dinner. Not to mention soccer practice, piano lessons, and a quick workout. Easiest? I do love to write.
Any authors that you feel directly inspired you, your works, or your style?
When I finished my first MS I thought I would go the traditional publication route. Then I met A.G. Henley and fangirled at her at Utopia. Shortly thereafter I read Runes by Ednah Walters. Both of these authors put out books that met the same standards I expected from the traditionally published marketplace. I’ve since become friends with both of them, and they’ve been so supportive and great mentors as I’ve travelled down the indie path.
Would you say that you were good at english in highshcool? If not, what were you good at?
I graduated with a 3.7 GPA. I got straight As in English in high school, and even in college. But I excel in analytical thinking. I’m a nurse practitioner by education and profession.
Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, what are some ways that you overcome it?
Write. Even when the words sound stilted and stiff, write. Eventually, they will start to flow again.
Any current projects that we can look forward to?
I’m working on book 3 in the Sphinx series, Myths of Immortality, that will be released the end of 2016. Book 4, Deities and Destiny will come out in 2017. There will be a spin off book or two for at least one character. There is also a prequel novel I’m working on. I’m also writing a screenplay for a friend of mine. I have a few more ideas for after that, too.
What are your long-term goals as a writer?
To continue to write. I’d like to put out 1-2 novels a year.
Are you planning any spin-off novels?
Yep.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
There is no such thing as a destination in this life. It is one long journey. Enjoy the journey. Remember what is important. Let go of the things that aren’t. Do your best work. Be true to yourself.
 What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write. Keep writing.
Any other interesting things that you would like your readers to know?
Everyone has challenges. Everyone. Even that girl or guy that looks like they have everything going for them. Sure they’re gorgeous, rich, athletic and smart, or whatever. They might have Crohn’s disease, or their sibling died from cancer, or their father is out of work and they barely have enough to eat. So, two things I think are important. Don’t be surprised when your challenges come. They come for everyone. And you’ll get through them, and be stronger because of them.  Also, don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Just stop it. Instead be you. Decide how you want to be, and if it’s realistic be that. Almost everything good comes from hard work. Don’t be a victim. You are in charge of you. Don’t relinquish that control for anything or anyone. Be the best version of you possible today, and then do a little better tomorrow.
How can your readers find out more about you and your books? 

Kindle Unlimited- How it works and why you should finish the books you start.


So I don’t know how may of you guys have a Kindle Unlimited membership, but for thoseKU-retail-lp_KindleCards._CB292599245_ of you who do, Sapphire’s Destiny is free on Kindle Unlimited.

For those of you who don’t have a membership, I highly recommend it if you read a lot of books like I do. At $9.99 per month, it’s not that expensive and you can borrow quite a few books at the same time. As an added bonus, you can try Kindle Unlimited Free for 30 days. That way you can make sure you like it before you pay anything!

If you don’t know how Kindle Unlimited works for us authors, let me explain. When you borrow a book, the author gets paid for each page that you read. Right now I think it’s about half a cent per page, so if you don’t finish the whole book the author only gets paid for the pages you read and not the ones after you stop.

So let’s say you borrow a book that has 300 pages but stop reading it after 150 pages. The author would make roughly $0.75. If you finished the whole book, the author would get roughly $1.50.

You can say thank you to all authors, whether you liked the book or not, by skipping all the way through the book. It doesn’t cost you anything extra for finishing any of the books you borrow and the authors will be paid for their hard work.

If you didn’t like the book, you can always skip to the end and leave an honest review explaining what was wrong with it. We authors are notified of every review and most of us read them all. We use your reviews and critiques to make our writing better.

In conclusion, Kindle Unlimited is deffinately worth the money. Remember to show authors some appreciation by finishing the books you borrow in KU and leaving an honest review.

If you don’t have the Kindle App for your smart phone, tablet, or other smart device (android, iphone, or other device) you can get the Free Kindle App Here.

Sapphire’s Destiny Reaches #55 in Amazon’s Magical Realism Hot New Releases!


So today I decided to check the ranking of my book Sapphire’s Destinysapphire--HD-Book-Cover. With only a few Pre-Orders in the two weeks it has been live, I wasn’t expecting what I found. To my surprise the book has actually done well enough to not only be ranked, but it is also considered a Hot New Release in my categorey Magical Realism.

I am super excited about that, I wasn’t expecting to make any lists let alone the Top 100 Hot New Releases  in MAgical Realism on Amazon.  I will keep you all updated on how it is doing over the next few weeks and where it ends up after the official release on May 1st.

Thank you all for your support, I definitely couldn’t have done it without all of you amazing people.