Tiffany King is the author of The Saving Angels Series, Wishing For Someday Soon, Forever Changed, Unlikely Allies, and Miss Me Not. Writer by day and book fanatic the rest of the time, she is now pursuing her life-long dream of weaving tales for others to enjoy.

Time to chat with Tiffany!

What is your latest book?

My latest book is a YA novel called Miss Me Not. It’s a YA coming of age/romance type of story, but with an edgy, hard-hitting undertone. I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone this time to write about more serious social issues. The idea of writing about teen suicide made me extremely nervous, but the response from readers has been wonderful.

What else have you written?

I wrote a YA Paranormal Romance Series called The Saving Angels Series: Meant to Be (book 1), Forgotten Souls (book 2), The Ascended (book 3). I have also written three other YA Contemporary Romance novels: Wishing For Someday Soon, Forever Changed, and Unlikely Allies. All are available in ebook and print.

What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?

If you are the type of reader that refuses to try a book because it is self-published, more power to you. That is your choice and there is not much I can say to change your mind. That being said, you are missing out on some wonderfully imaginative stories by truly talented authors. Even before I started writing, I loved reading. I still do, and I wish I had more time to do it, but whether or not the book is traditionally published or self-published makes no difference to me. If it’s good, it’s good, regardless of how it is distributed. Obviously, most of the reading public feels the same way judging by the sales rankings. Plus, look at the number of indie authors being signed by traditional publishers. All that has happened over the past few years is that authors have more opportunities to make their work available to the reading public who will then decide if it is good or not.

Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it?

I always have the story mapped out in my head before I start writing, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t necessarily change by the time I reach the ending. I usually just let the story take me where it wants to go.

Do you have any advice for first-time authors?

First, start by writing what you enjoy reading yourself, not just because you feel it will sell. Not to say that you can’t eventually step out of your comfort zone, but you have to establish your voice first. Second, always continue to believe in yourself. Remember that reading is subjective. For every person that hates your work, there is another that loves it.

Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?

Social media is invaluable to an author. There is simply no better way to get your name and your work out there. It can be grueling because it takes countless hours to maintain, but I have met so many wonderful friends in the past few years through social media.

Do you allow others to read your work in progress, or do you keep it a secret until you’ve finished your first draft? Can you elaborate?

Usually, only my daughter reads my work in progress because she is in the target age group for my books; however, I have several trusted individuals who read pre-edited versions of the completed draft, and then even more individuals who read the work when all the edits are complete. The book definitely goes through many sets of eyes before being released to the public.

Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?

I will never cease to be amazed by the positive feedback I receive from readers. I was especially nervous with Miss Me Not, considering the subject matter, but the response has been overwhelming. I get contacted everyday by people who thank me for writing about teen suicide because it has helped them relate to their own lives. Just knowing that they not only appreciated the work, but that they trust me enough to share their personal feelings is truly humbling.

Do you dread writing a synopsis for your novel as much as most writers do? Do you think writing a synopsis is inherently evil? Why?

That’s funny. I haven’t met an author yet who enjoys writing a synopsis. You have this piece of work that you spent countless hours of blood, sweat and tears to finish, and now you have to sum up the entire story in a few paragraphs. Try pulling out your own hair in handfuls. Sometimes it can feel the same way.

Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?

Both. I try to write mostly during the day, but I have been known to jump out of bed at 2:00 am if an idea suddenly pops in my head. Thankfully, I always have chocolate around when I need it.

What’s your favorite comfort food? Least favorite food?

Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. My least favorite food is onions. I hate them on anything and everything.

Care to brag about your family?

I have a wonderful and supportive husband of 18 years and two teenagers. I say supportive because working as an author requires a great deal of time, but fortunately, my family is so understanding, and they are always willing to help me in any way they can.

What might we be surprised to know about you?

I’m shyer in person than you might think. If you follow me on any social media channels it may be hard to believe that, but it’s true. There was even a time when I was terribly afraid of public speaking, but I have since overcome that phobia as well. Of course, once I get to know you, I can talk your ear off.

If you could add a room onto your current home, what would you put in it?

I have a pretty sizable collection of books that are in my office, but I would love to build my own library in my house. I would line the walls with shelves, all filled with first editions of all my favorite books. I would cover the floor with a nice plush carpet and have a comfortable chase lounge that would sit in front of a fireplace. Oh, it would be heaven.

What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?

1. Be nice
2. Be tolerant
3. Love one another


Book Love (Blog)





Eden Baylee writes literary erotica and infuses erotic elements into many of her stories. Incorporating some of her favorite things such as travel, culture, and a deep curiosity for what turns people on, her brand of writing is both sensual and sexual.

Her latest release is a book of erotic flash fiction and poetry called HOT FLASH.

SPRING INTO SUMMER is her second collection of erotic novellas and the companion piece to her first book, FALL INTO WINTER.

Time to chat with Eden!

What is your latest book?

My latest book is Hot Flash. It’s a book of erotic short stories and poems, with two non-erotic pieces as well.

What else have you written?

I have two other books of literary erotica called Fall into Winter and Spring into Summer. Each is an anthology comprised of four novellas. Though the two books are companion pieces, the stories are distinct and cover varying levels of eroticism.

Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?

As an indie author who writes full time, social media is a necessity in promoting myself. I’m on numerous networks because it’s important to be as connected as possible.

Having said that, striking a balance between my work and social life is essential. There are only so many hours in a day, and it’s easy to be swayed toward “chatting” on Facebook or Twitter as opposed to writing.

My favorite part of social media is meeting incredible writers, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some in person.

My least favorite part is dealing with social media ‘newbies.’ These are people who only use the medium to sell their products and treat others as if they are their own PR firm. Rudeness and the hard sell do not work in real life, and they don’t work in the virtual life either.

Having our work out there to be judged by strangers is often daunting for writers. Do you have any tips on handling a negative review?

I have no fear of reviews because readers are as diverse as writers. Tastes differ.

As an author, it’s important to grow a thick skin. Don’t let negative reviews affect you emotionally. If you think there is merit to what the reviewer says, i.e.: holes in the plot, bad grammar, etc., do something about it to improve on the next book. If you don’t think there’s merit to the bad review, move on. There’s no point dwelling on it.

Writers are not perfect, and there’s always room to improve. Bad reviews should never stop you from writing. Don’t take it personally.

We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?

I place a lot of importance on the design because there’s another old saying, “You only get one chance to make a good first impression.” I’m a visual person, and my initial response to a book is usually from the cover.

If the cover is poorly done, then I infer the content inside might be poorly written. This isn’t necessarily true, of course, but it’s important to have a professional appearance. It entices readers to look inside. In a less competitive market, this would not be an issue, but we all know our books are competing with millions of other books out there.

A great cover design is one way to help your book rise above the crowd.

How would you define your style of writing?

I don’t like formulaic writing. Mine is filled with original storylines, strong narratives and written in an easy style. Though my books fall in the erotica/romance genre right now, I write in many genres, including thriller, suspense, and poetry.

I don’t like to be bound by style or genre.

A lot of authors are frustrated by readers who don’t understand how important reviews are. What would you say to a reader who doesn’t think his or her review matters?

I’d explain patiently that it does matter, but I would never get frustrated with a reader for not writing a review. They may not feel comfortable with writing reviews for various reasons.

Ultimately, readers (who are not authors) read for pleasure. They support authors by buying their books and spreading the word if they liked what they read. It’s not their job to “promote” the author, and writing reviews is certainly not part of a reader’s mandate.

As authors, it’s good to encourage reviews but never to coerce them from readers.

Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?

I live in Toronto, Canada now. I’d love to live in New York City if I could afford to.

London, England is also a favorite.

What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?

Loyalty and an adventurous spirit. Though my friends may not do everything I want to do, they are always open-minded to me doing it—especially if I make a fool of myself, and they can say “I told you so!”

What makes you angry?

People who are rude, mean, insincere, intolerant, uncaring.

What music soothes your soul?

I love old blues and jazz – Nina Simone, Van Morrison, John Lee Hooker. I’m also a fan of virtuoso guitar and listen to Jeff Beck and Pink Floyd a lot.

Many thanks for inviting me to your chateau, Lisette. It was a pleasure to be here,



about me



Twitter – @edenbaylee






Dan McNeil was born in Toronto, but raised in Ottawa.  He is an author and a video editor, spending 24 years at CHRO TV (now CTV 2) in Ottawa and the last 4 years as a freelancer at Canada Post in the video department.  His first book, The Judas Apocalypse was published in 2008. It was only natural that his love of writing and music would lead him to pen his latest, Can’t Buy Me Love, a lighthearted romp about a heist during the Beatles’ first visit to the United States in 1964. 

Time to chat with Dan!

What is your latest book?

It’s called Can’t Buy Me Love. It’s the story of Sonny Carter, an aging bank robber just recently released from prison in 1964 after a 25-year stretch for bank robbery. Hard-nosed and unrepentant, Sonny is determined to finish what he started back in ’39: knocking over New York City’s prestigious Hudson National Bank and Trust Company. It won’t be easy because banks are a whole lot tougher than they used to be, and the members of his old gang are just about ready for the retirement home. Adding insult to injury is the fact that the man responsible for Sonny’s jail stretch is now the president of the Hudson. This time, however, Sonny has a plan that just might prove to be foolproof, thanks to two unlikely sources: a sexy bank employee with secrets and a shady past, and the four unsuspecting mop tops from Liverpool about to make their historic American debut on the Ed Sullivan Show. It’s my second novel and published by Pulse.

What else have you written?

My first novel, The Judas Apocalypse was published in 2008 by I Publish Press. It’s about Dr. Gerhard Denninger, a German archeologist who is approached by infamous Grail seeker Otto Rahn at the outset of the Second World War. Rahn tells him a fantastic story of the Knights Templar, a church scandal and the lost treasure of the Cathars. When Rahn disappears, Denninger finds himself in possession of a long-buried manuscript that is the key to finding the famous treasure. During his hunt for the treasure, Denninger is captured by a group of American soldiers separated from their company just after the D-Day landings. Denninger, with the help of his unwelcome accomplices, continues his quest for the secret of the Cathar treasure. As you can tell, I love historical settings.

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

Happens all the time. For instance, in this book, I have a character named Genevieve, who is the assistant to the executive producer of the Ed Sullivan show. I initially envisioned her as a cute and shy French Canadian. As the story moved forward, I found myself toughening her up somewhat as she becomes more frustrated with her boss. That toughened up personality begins to shine through, usually couched in rough Quebecois invective. I’m sure this happens with every writer, but I find that characters tend to take on a life of their own. Very often it seems that instead of creating situations for them, I feel like I’m following them around, chronicling what they’re doing.

Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?

I think so, because you have to know where you’re going. It’s a journey, right? You can take as many detours as you want, but ultimately you need to know your destination. You need to know where your characters are going to end up so you can get them there safe and sound (not sure where these travel analogies are coming from). As far as titles go, I never know what it’ll be until I’m finished (sometimes even months later). I went through 4 or 5 titles before I settled on Can’t Buy Me Love.

Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?

As I finish each chapter, I’ll read it over and see how it flows. There may be some issues with word or phrase repetition but I’ll wait until I’ve actually finished the book before I do any major editing. If anything drags, no matter how much I might like it, it’s gone. Once that’s done, I have a copy editor (fellow author and good friend Selena Robins) do the real red pencil stuff. Having a great copy editor is key. Selena did an excellent job with CBML and I believe that it’s because of her whipping the book into shape that enabled me to get my deal.

Do you allow others to read your work in progress, or do you keep it a secret until you’ve finished your first draft? Can you elaborate?

I have a very good friend of mine (Ziyada Callender) who read every chapter as I wrote them. She really enjoyed my first book so when I mentioned I was thinking of writing a second one, she was exceptionally enthusiastic. At that time I wasn’t sure I wanted to even write another book, especially so soon after the first one but it was that enthusiasm that spurred me on to finish it. Her passion and affection for the story and in particular the characters told me that I was on the right track. I also had other friends of mine (who tend to be brutally honest and not afraid to say how terrible things are) read the manuscript as well.  Their positive reaction was terrific reinforcement.

Do you write anything besides novels? Care to share?

I like to write music. My cousin, Steve Casey and I used to write pop songs together. We wrote and recorded two CDs of original songs – no hits unfortunately, but we did manage to win a number of songwriting contests here in Canada and in the US. We were once picked by Canadian Musician magazine as one of Canada’s best unsigned acts and we also won the Nashville Songwriters Association’s 2002 songwriting competition. That was pretty cool.

Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?

I certainly never thought that I was born to write. I’ve always had ideas for books, but writing seemed to be something other people did. It wasn’t until about ten years ago that I decided I’d give it a try. When I had finished my first book, I printed it out and put it on my shelf. There, I did it – I wrote a book. I had no intention of trying to get it published. I just wanted to see if I could do it, to satisfy myself really. It wasn’t until a friend of mine insisted that I try to get it published. In retrospect, it was a good thing he did. If I hadn’t had that first one published I probably wouldn’t have written this one.

Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?

Definitely an early bird. I find that I work better first thing in the morning. I got into the habit of getting up an hour earlier than my usual time when I started writing because it was quiet and easier to get things done. The only “must haves” I need are an absence of phone calls and a cup of coffee.

How would you define your style of writing?

I’m not sure how I’d define it. I’d say it’s pretty straightforward and uncluttered, I guess.  I always try to follow Elmore Leonard’s 10 rules of writing, especially number 10 – “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.” I never want to be boring – and I hope I’m not.

Trains, planes, automobiles, or boats?

I’m not a traveler at all. Don’t like airports and I really abhor long drives. If I have to travel, I’d pick a train. There’s something about the sound of the wheels that I find relaxing – it always makes “Rhapsody in Blue” pop into my head.

What’s your favorite comfort food? Least favorite food?

Favorite food – hickory smoked ribs with a tangy BBQ sauce. I could eat ‘em every night. My least favorite food is the turnip. It is the most loathsome and repulsive thing I’ve ever had. If I think about them for anything longer than 20 seconds, I’ll throw up (just writing about them is enough to make me queasy).

What makes you angry?

Terrible drivers – It seems like no one knows how to merge or use their turn signals in this city. It’s inexcusable, really. The crap factor is right off the scale. I think if I ever struck it rich I wouldn’t buy an expensive car. I’d just take cabs everywhere or hire a limo so I wouldn’t have to put up with the truly appalling driving here.

What music soothes your soul?

Obviously I’m a Beatles fan. I’m also a huge Neil Finn/Crowded House fan too, probably because Crowded House is a very Beatlesque band. I also believe Neil Finn is the best pop songwriter living today. I’m a prog rock nut as well – Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd, Supertramp – when I was younger I learned to play keyboards by putting on their records and playing along with them. I like to say Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies from Supertramp taught me how to play piano.  My vinyl version of “Crime of the Century” is virtually unplayable now. I think I wore out the grooves.

What’s your favorite film of all times? Favorite book?

My all time favorite film is American Graffiti. I remember going to see it back in ’73 with my family because the movie I wanted to see, The Sting, was sold out. I was pretty ticked off because of that so when my dad decided to take us to American Graffiti instead, I was determined to hate it. As it turned out, it was brilliant. I wound up seeing it about five or six times on that initial run. I’ve watched it dozens of times since then. It’s still great. The Godfather, Casablanca, and Stalag 17 are close behind it. Favorite book? Catcher in the Rye. Cliché? Probably, but I don’t care – I love it.


Author Homepage


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PROMOTIONAL TIPS FOR AUTHORS: Reaching Out to Readers, by Jaidis Shaw

I’m extremely honored to have author and publicist Jaidis Shaw to present the first guest blog at Lisette’s Writers’ Chateau. Jaidis is not only multi-talented at all that she does, but she is one of the nicest, most professional, and most competent professionals that I have dealt with in the writing world.

You can read Jaidis’ complete bio at the end of her blog and enter to win a one-week book tour from Jaidis, which can be claimed any time from February to July, 2013. And now:


by Jaidis Shaw

      You’ve poured sweat, grumbled in frustration, shed the tears, and ended with one heck of an awesome happy dance. I am, of course, talking about the moments leading up to seeing your hard work turned into a novel that is now published and available for the world to see. For debut authors, that one moment when you see your book cover on Amazon is forever seared into your brain. You are able to float on your euphoric high for days, sometimes even weeks. All of your friends and family have shown their support by purchasing a copy of your book. Then the inevitable happens. Your sales start declining, you haven’t seen a new review in days (no matter how often you refresh the page), your breathing becomes labored, and you’re positive that your heart is showing signs of cardiac arrest. A wave of self-doubt crashes over you and all of the positive comments you’ve received so far are overshadowed by the looming question: Why isn’t my book selling?

If you’re an author and are still trying to navigate the depths of the self-publishing world, you may be struggling with how to promote your book. Where do I start? Do I have to have an agent? Should I have tried finding a publisher to pick up my novel rather than self-publish? It is only natural to doubt our decisions, especially when we are feeling lost and confused. If you did go the self-publishing route, or even if you just want to do your part to promote your work, I’m here to tell you that promoting your book isn’t as daunting as it may appear. Maybe all you need is a little nudge in the right direction.

Most of the tips today say that the ultimate goal for authors is to sell books. Well I do agree that is a good goal to have, I disagree with it being the “ultimate” goal. The reason being is that I believe the most important goal for authors is to have people reading their books. After all, if nobody is reading your book, it isn’t going to keep selling. So what is a good place to start? For the sake of time, let us assume that you have already started making your mark on social media platforms by doing things like creating a Facebook Fan Page, joining Twitter, and having a blog or website. So, before the launch and release parties, before the book tours, it is important to reach out to bloggers and book reviewers.  I’ve put together a list of tips and topics that I believe are important to remember while reaching out to potential reviewers … and just remember … you want them to be “Reading” your book.

      Reviewers: If you are just now stepping into the book world, you may not be aware of how numerous book reviewers are these days. But with a simple search on sites like Goodreads, BookBlogs, or even Google, you will have a list of reviewers at your fingertips. If you happen to know a member of the reviewer community, another option is to reach out to them. Nine times out of ten, they will know of other bloggers that are open to receiving review requests. Several lists have been compiled of book blogs that serve as a wonderful starting point for gathering potential reviewers.

      Email: It is important to have an email that is set up properly. This should probably go without saying but it is one of the main issues that I see repeatedly. I feature between three to five authors a week on my blog and I can’t tell you how frustrating it is when I’m trying to find the author’s materials and have a hard time locating them because their email starts with something random like Bestselling_Author_1 or CrazyWriter4Books. Not only does having an email like that make more work for the blogger/reviewer but is less likely to be remembered. It is best to pick something straightforward and easy to memorize; more specifically your name. For example, my email is Anyone who is looking to email me, feature me, etc simply has to begin typing my name and there it is.

Another issue I see authors guilty of is loading their email signatures down with tons of links and images. It is best to keep all graphics out of your signature. The main reason I think this is important is because the graphics tend to show up as attachments; I know that most times they do for me in Yahoo. When I am searching through for an interview for example, I am looking for the paperclip icon that indicates that email has an attachment and it wastes time having to go through the ones that only have graphics in the signature. Simply having your name, email, blog/website URL, and link to your Amazon Author Page is more than sufficient.

      Ask: If you are still a little hesitant on emailing a potential reviewer, or just want to test the waters first, simply ask if anyone would like to provide an honest review of your book. Send out a tweet, post a status update on Facebook, or even write a blog post about it. It really is as easy as saying “Would anyone be interested in receiving a free eBook copy of my book in exchange for an honest review?”  You will almost always have a few takers and people that will share your post to help spread the word.

      Details: You may be wondering what details to include in your initial email to reviewers. There are two parts to this one. The first part is to attach a media kit. These are a simple way to organize and keep track of all your important details. You can use a template for these so once you have the information gathered; all you have to do is attach it to your email request. Some details that should always appear in your media kit are the following: author photo and bio, book cover and synopsis, a short PG-13 excerpt (300 – 500 words), and links to where you and the book can be found (Amazon Author Page, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads).

The second part is what to include in the body of the email. After your personal opening and initial request, it is nice to provide them with the book’s details including synopsis, genre, total word count, publication date, publisher, giveaway details (discussed later) and any content warnings or age restrictions that the book may contain. You do not need to include your author bio and links (unless you want to) since they appear in the media kit. Your email should focus on the book and not you as an author because the reviewer isn’t judging you as a person, but your book.

Do not include the book you want reviewed! You may think that this helps the process move along faster when in actuality it halts the process and results in you sending out books that will likely never be read. Most unsolicited books may be downloaded for future use but if they didn’t agree to review it, you’ll be lucky to hear back from them. In fact, most blogs have a policy on unsolicited books that are received, a subject I’ll be covering in the next tip.

      Instructions: For the love of books, please follow the instructions for each individual blogger! Each reviewer has their own way of doing things: specific genres they like, what information they include in their reviews/posts, formats accepted for review, etc. With so many requests being received, they will almost always give priority to those who follow the instructions and you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity because you didn’t take time to find out what they want/like.

      No Bulk Requests: I know that it may be tedious to email reviewers individually but it is a necessity. If you want a reviewer to take time out of their schedule to give your book an honest review, the least you can do it take an extra minute to personalize an email to them. Don’t open your email with a simple “Hey,” “Dear To Whom It May Concern,” or with the blog’s title. Show the blogger some courtesy and that you are reaching out to them as an individual. Don’t know their name? Simply visit the blog in question and look on the “About” page. Most have a name that they go by and if they do, use that. If absolutely no name can be found, then you may have to address them by their blog title (but only as a last resort).

      Giveaways: Everyone loves a great giveaway! Featured author posts or reviews posted on blogs almost always receive more traffic when there is a giveaway involved. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant: a copy of your book, swag, or electronic Amazon Gift Card for example. Simply let the reviewer/blogger know in your initial request that you are willing to offer a giveaway to their readers if they’d like. Other than bringing in more traffic, another great thing giveaways help with is bringing you new followers. Most of the time entries for the giveaway will be tasks like following you on Twitter or liking you on Facebook. If you’re offering a copy of your book, it will potentially translate into another review, which is always a good thing – whether it is good or bad.

So there you have it, my “Reading” tips to promoting your book. I hope they will help eliminate some of the confusion when it comes to getting your book into the hands of readers. I am currently in the process of making a series of Vlogs that will expand on the topics above and give some insight to other aspects of marketing your book. You may find yourself wondering why I am willing to share tips when I offer my promotional services through Juniper Grove Book Solutions. The answer is simple. I believe that all authors should have a basic idea of what to do to help them if they want to take matters into their own hands. Everyone doesn’t have the resources to hire help to have the work done for them. Or maybe you just don’t want to trust your novel in the hands of someone other than yourself. Whatever the case may be, you shouldn’t feel like there are no options available for you because with enough work and dedication, you can get your book out there to be enjoyed by readers.

If you have any questions, I am always available and happy to help so please feel free to send a note my way.

Jaidis Shaw currently resides in a small town located in South Carolina with her husband and a beautiful daughter. With a passion for reading, Jaidis can always be found surrounded by books and dreaming of new stories. She enjoys challenging herself by writing in different genres and currently has several projects in the works.

When not reading or writing, Jaidis maintains her blog Juniper Grove and helps promote her fellow authors. In addition to her free promotion services, she uses her experience in publicity to offer freelance author services through Juniper Grove Book Solutions.

Jaidis released her debut novel Destiny Awaits in April 2011. In addition to her novel, she currently has two short stories published with Wicked East Press. You can read her latest story ‘Blind Justice’ in the Wicked Bag of Suspense Tales anthology – now available on Kindle!


Amazon Author Page






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TO WIN A ONE-WEEK BOOK TOUR FROM JAIDIS (to be claimed any time from February to July 2013), please leave a comment below. If you would just like to leave a comment (always appreciated) and don’t want to enter to win, just put #notentering at the end of your post! GOOD LUCK TO ALL! A winner will be selected on January 1, 2013.


The mom and son author duo, C.A. Kunz, thoroughly enjoys writing about things that go bump in the night and futuristic action-packed romances while drinking massive amounts of English breakfast tea and Starbucks coffee.

Time to chat with C.A. Kunz!

What is your latest book?

Carol and Adam: The Modified, a young adult Dystopian novel.

Is your recent book part of a series?

Carol and Adam: Yes, it is book one of The Biotics Trilogy

If you were to advertise your book on a bumper sticker, what would it say?

Carol and Adam: What would YOU sacrifice?

What else have you written?

Carol and Adam: We’ve written the first two books in our middle grade/young adult paranormal series, The Childe. Our first book, The Childe, was published in March 2011 and the sequel, Dark Days, was published February 2012.

What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?

Carol and Adam: That we’re not hard workers! Our first novel took us nine months to write. Then we had it edited, paid an experienced graphic designer to do our cover, and finally a year after we started, we published it. We do all the leg work and marketing to get our books out to the public. Though it’s hard work, we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, and get a certain sense of satisfaction that our books are totally ours from cover to cover.

Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it?

Carol and Adam: Yes, and since there are two of us that write the book, we not only have to know how the book will end, but we also need to have a concrete outline that we work from. If we didn’t, we’d probably end up with two completely different novels that don’t mesh. The title? Yes, because the title of the book tends to encompass the description of our book in our opinion.

Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?

Carol and Adam: Our first book, The Childe, was a learning experience with many, many hours of editing throughout the whole novel. I have an office with a couch and a recliner and Adam and I have spent up to eleven hours a day editing while reading the story out loud. From what we learned from our first book, our second and third books were much easier.

Do you have any advice for first-time authors?

Carol and Adam: Don’t give up! Not everyone is going to like, or even love your book, and there are some really mean-spirited people who will try to tear you down. Ignore them. We know it’s hard, but you just have to do it. Look for people who will support you, but will also give you constructive criticism.

Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?

Carol and Adam: Carol mainly attends the social media since Adam works full-time. She’s met some AWESOME people online, and when we go to events and book fairs we meet them in person and have an amazing time. It’s definitely time-consuming and hours fly by while online, but the rewards are well worth it!

Do you allow others to read your work in progress, or do you keep it a secret until you’ve finished your first draft?

Carol and Adam: We wait until our first draft is completely finished, then we give it to five or six people who read all different genres.  Can you elaborate? After their constructive criticism, we edit some more and when we feel like we have reached a point where it’s time for a professional editor to handle it!

Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?

Carol: I live in Florida but ideally I would love to live in England. My mum is English and my dad is American. I spent 15 years of my young life in England and I miss it.

Adam: I currently live in Orlando, Florida, but if I had to move to another place it would have to be New Zealand because it’s so darn beautiful there.

Trains, planes, automobiles, or boats?

Carol:  I love the first three, but I’m not a fan of boats. The Titanic movie is a horror movie for me. My worst fear is to be out in the middle of the ocean with no hope in sight.

Adam: I’d have to say trains…mainly due to my love of Harry Potter.

What’s your favorite comfort food? Least favorite food?

Carol: Bread, any kind of bread is my comfort food.  Mushrooms! Not into eating fungus.

Adam: Chips and queso are definitely my favorite comfort foods, and I have to agree with my mom and say that mushrooms are absolutely my least favorite.

What’s the coolest surprise you’ve ever had?

Carol: Finding out I was pregnant with Adam! He’s the best stomach flu I ever had!

Adam: Getting a four-star review for our first novel, The Childe, in the magazine RT Book Reviews.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

Carol: Healthy Children.

Adam: A loving family.

What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?

Carol: Honesty and kindness. I strongly dislike catty and mean people. I would never intentionally hurt others feelings and I want to be with people who feel the same way.

Adam: I’d have to say honesty, loyalty, and positivity.




When not reading, he is writing. When not writing, he is reading. Author Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick lives with his lovely wife and their two boys in Southwest Colorado.
A novelist with five published works—only four of his books are available as e-books.

Being a fierce supporter of independent and self-publishing, Joel straddles the fence quite well in the industry. He is the current Senior Acquisitions Editor for JournalStone Publishing, and is the first contact for authors wishing to be published in the traditional modes.

Time to chat with Joel!

What is your latest book?

When America Slew Her King. It is an alternative history, so plausible that readers might wonder what parts I really made up. The only bit of fiction in it, is that none of it happened. I rewound reality and played it differently from one instant of madness.

Is your recent book part of a series?


What else have you written?

Four other books…but, I can’t remember what they were.

What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?

That one of us, somewhere, is earning huge money on pure trash. Only traditional publishing can pull that off. Indies are ordinary people, writing exciting books between the mundane episodes of daily life.

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

On every page. I don’t script my characters. They lead me and I only listen and type.

One character, in my fourth book, did something so unexpectedly that it took me several minutes to write the sentence. I just sat in silence trying to find the words. I’m still shocked at that scene every time I read it.

What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?

I love the sounds in my head. It’s a madness that is so comforting. I get to hallucinate and write it all down. You would think that would lead me to write naughty shower scenes into every book…but, I’m too old for that nonsense.

What I like the very least, is the continuous toil and drudge after the book is written. That is the real work. But, I’m too old for that nonsense, too.

Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?

I know which direction to go, but endings have changed. My first novel did that to me—demanded a different ending than I wanted. It’s a horrible, boring book now and I love it.

Only my third book ended according to plan. That was tougher than I expected…getting all the plot to work properly. There might be three extra chapters in Breathing into Stone, because the conclusion had to be supported properly.

I always know the title of the book before the second page is written. Titles never change.

Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?

I don’t edit. Music fans have to deal with Bob Dylan’s voice; readers have to deal with my writing. Traditional publishing has edited all the life out of books for a generation. That’s why they are suffering. An editor would make me sound a pompous shit, and I can do that on my own.

Do you have any advice for first-time authors?

Shut up and write the book. When you are done, get to work and learn something.

Look at it this way—no one ever learned to swim without getting in the water. Until you have finished the book, you haven’t done a thing. Forget every expert. They are not writing your book. Forget the readers…half of them will hate it anyway and you can’t write for them. Write for yourself.  Just get it done.

Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?

I had no clue at first, but had three complete books in my hands before starting to even think of publishing them. Every book was queried out to agents over two hundred times. That led to some very interesting conversations with people in the know, and I learned what a mess that industry has become. Social media got my attention only because there were thousands of writers out there just like me. I went online to converse and learn—and stayed. I’m savvy, but I’m also lazy and loathe self-promotion.

The best thing that happened for me was discovering That is hands-down the finest author-centered forum on the web. There is some extraordinary talent collected there. Of all the members, I’m really the only boorish jerk.

What do you like best about the books you read? What do you like least?

That question should pull a trailer behind, just for the answer.  I do not choose what to read now. That is both the best, and the worst thing about reading. In eighteen months, I’ve read 300 different authors.  JournalStone Publishing, in San Francisco, employs me as their Senior Acquisitions Editor. That means every book submission comes to my Outlook inbox.

I read Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult…with smatterings of Paranormal and Mystery. Sometimes it overloads my senses. Only so many zombies a week will fit into my brain.

When I do chose…I turn to books like yours. Crooked Moon, or Squalor, New Mexico. I can read you when I’m tired of reading.

One thing is fact: I only read Indie books now and love them.

How much research was involved in writing your book? How did you go about it?

Tons of research for Harmony’s Passing. I pulled up two monitors on my PC and had star charts, orbital calculators and human anatomy websites opened the whole time. The internet teaches me as I write.

There was only a smattering of research for books two and three, just to get the story elements right. Shared, my fourth novel, actually went interviewing. Nearly a hundred people answered my questions about their spiritual beliefs. From their experiences, I built my characters. That book has earned some strong reaction, and plays with issues of faith and character. I did not play nice.

When America Slew Her King took about four hours research for every hour of writing. There isn’t a single fictional character in the book. Even the sailing ships were real. You can Google your way through the whole thing. I even include an enigmatic white horse in the story, and you won’t believe who owned it, or why it has its own place in our history.

Is there a question I haven’t asked you that you would like to answer? If so, what is it?

Do I really write in my bathrobe?  Yes. (but, not right this moment. J)

Do you allow others to read your work in progress, or do you keep it a secret until you’ve finished your first draft? Can you elaborate?

Only with my fifth novel did I let anyone know about the project. About a dozen people read the first half of that manuscript. Normally, I don’t share until I’ve formatted a book for publication. When America Slew Her King was different. To me, the idea of Ben Franklin as a murderer was something delicate and not easily written. Early reaction was crucial to convincing me to complete the project. It is a book that readers might hate in the first page. The whole story is complete in the first one hundred eleven words. The rest of the novel is reaction to those first paragraphs. Four of my beta readers sent back the draft, refusing to read it. They have never said why.

I also had to share it, because the whole thing is an experiment. WASHK only exists in hardbound. It will never be available to the public in eBook or paperback. Early reactions to the story helped me decide that it can survive as a hardbound-only book.

Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?

A few reviewers have bothered to explain how they would have written my stories. I always find that amusing, and pointless. Caraliza confuses readers. About two-thirds of them have disliked the modern half of the story, preferring the lyrical, historical language of the early 1900s that I employ in the early chapters. Some readers believe it was an accident—that I couldn’t have planned the two time periods to sound different from one another.

There is a general consensus of my works, finally. Readers are telling me that I write beautifully, stupidly.

Do you write anything besides novels? Care to share?

I’ve played with a couple of short stories. One is really almost flash-fiction. My problem is only that I never get brief ideas…

Someday, I shall write a play (because of you), and I shall write a book that my wife won’t write. It will be based on one of her nightmares, and she does not want to go there to put the words on a page.

My two short stories can be found here, and here.

Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?

I was born to talk. Writing shuts me up.

My first book was only a reaction to a devastating, personal situation. I turned all my despair into that text, and survived the event. (…the book AND the personal disaster.)

I truly should have begun writing twenty years ago. I’d have eighty books in print.

Do you dread writing a synopsis for your novel as much as most writers do? Do you think writing a synopsis is inherently evil? Why?

I love writing blurbs. Other people have used blurbs I wrote for their books. That is not difficult at all. But then, I love writing reviews. Those are easy, too.

Now, after saying that, I must offer this as a professional reader for a publishing company. A synopsis is not the text on the back cover of the book; a common misconception. The text on the back cover of the book is a marketing invention of the last hundred years. Authors don’t write them—a committee from marketing writes them. When a book blurb is poorly written, it is the publisher’s fault.

A synopsis is not for public consumption. They exist only for promotion to agents or publishers.  If your synopsis is poorly written, YOU have fallen flat on your text. It is not the book’s fault… it is not the editor’s fault…it is not the character’s fault.

When an author get the synopsis wrong….it would have been better they had left it off entirely. (Extend that bit of advice to prologues as well. If they are not perfect—rip them out of the text.)

Too many authors write a synopsis as though they were the voice-over guy for Hollywood summer movies…

If you were to write a non-fiction book, what might it be about?

The history of a life-long slave. I discovered him while writing When America Slew Her King.

Do you have any advice to a new author if they asked you whether to pursue the traditional route to publishing or to start out as an independent writer?

Settle for being an author first. Complete a book without a plan to get it into print. Expectations are only a prison, and your book might die while you try to decide how it should exist later.

Don’t try too hard. Let your writing come naturally. Readers can instantly spot a writer who is trying to create by the rules.

Write first. Send it out to everyone for reaction. Publish it yourself. Publishers only want to know if you can earn them money. Prove to them you can, by pocketing all of it yourself first.

Here is something else to consider. No publisher will have your book on the shelves in less than about nine months. (Longer, if they are already booked up with other projects.) Why waste all that time?

What have you done to market your novel and what did you find the most effective? The least effective?

My books sell when I leave them alone. I’m boring. My books are not.

Oh, Okay… I own six websites. I have three Twitter accounts, two Facebook pages. I’m on a dozen social sites and Pinterest. I’ve run ads on Facebook (fair response), Google Books (no response). All of my books are in one small town library, and those folks love them.

I don’t have a clue how to sell books, except by handing someone the actual printed copy. THAT sells books. One of my books is in a bookstore in The Netherlands.

Do you feel your latest book is your personal favorite or one of your previous novels?

I am proud of my latest book. It might be my finest work yet. But, I love a few of my characters, dearly. Anoria, from Breathing into Stone, is so real to me I can hear her voice.

Having our work out there to be judged by strangers is often daunting for writers. Do you have any tips on handling a negative review?

Ignore them. No author ever printed has been free of negative reviews. Nowadays, they say more about the reviewer than they do about the book. Amazon seems to attract all the snotty twelve-year old book trolls. If you are too sensitive for bad reviews, find a less dangerous hobby than writing—like alligator wrestling.

Many authors do giveaways; have you found them a successful way to promote your book?

For every ebook sold, I’ve given away 100. I infrequently give away prints books, because I’ve never had the budget to keep a large stock. Giveaways work, though. Do it, or you will never be read.

Have you been involved with the Kindle Direct Program? If yes, do you believe it’s worthwhile?

No. I’ve not heard from anyone who was satisfied with their results. Also, I think Amazon should have its nuts smashed for demanding that authors remove their books from other retailers while enrolled in the KDP. While we are at it, let’s remind folks that Amazon is only a store. They are not a publishing company. They sell pet supplies and garden tools online for crapsake. We treat them like they are leading publishing, when they are only a retail monster without any brains. Amazon is to publishing what combs are to hair color.

Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?

Let’s see… I sleep four hours each night. While the house is asleep, I read. I’ve not written anything in half a year. But, I adore coffee and candy. I also love to sit for hours with headphones on, writing. The music has to be instrumental. I cannot block vocals out of my concentration, and I can’t read or write while someone is singing or speaking.

Oddly, I can do both during a Godzilla movie.

We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?

Very good question. I love good book covers. Two of mine are beautiful, and I didn’t make the images, but hired them both. However, my last novel has no cover art, except for online promotion. It is a plain, blue linen cover, with only the title on the spine. One hundred years ago, books didn’t need splashy, printed covers. I wish they didn’t now.

Every day brings forth new changes and shifts in the world of publishing. Any predictions about the future?

Small-press publishers will remake the industry. A couple of the Big Six will do a phenomenal amount of corporate expansion, buying up small presses to try and stave off their own death. Big Traditional Publishing has doomed itself to mediocrity and irrelevance. Ebooks will continue to expand, but never overtake printed books.

Book agents…are toast. Their livelihood and usefulness has dried up.

How would you define your style of writing?

I am the elephant in the rowboat. Get in with me, and you won’t have much say in the results.

A lot of authors are frustrated by readers who don’t understand how important reviews are? What would you say to a reader who doesn’t think his or her review matters?

At best, a review is a get well card to an author with a broken heart. But, reviews are half trash. Say you like the book, or disliked the book, and then stop saying anything.

Would you like to write a short poem for us?

You were—once— here;

you couldn’t be.

You—now—are memory;

you shouldn’t be.

Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?

Well, I’m in Durango, Colorado. We chose to be here for our kids, and because this is a beautiful, stress-free place to live. (if you can tolerate the 50% of the population with opposite political views from yours. They are such nitwits.)

Trains, planes, automobiles, or boats?

Tall sailing ships. I was born four hundred years too late. But, we have a Narrow Gage Steam Train in Durango, and I adore that thing.

What’s your favorite comfort food? Least favorite food?
I love to eat. ANYTHING. I don’t give a hoot about nutrition. When you stop eating…you die.

If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
Gather proof that a few famous people are not worth their public adoration.

What’s the coolest surprise you’ve ever had?

My two sons. I had cancer once, and those boys were not supposed to be here.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

The woman who married me.

Have you ever played a practical joke on a friend? Ever had one played on you?

Yes. I had a manager once who was a mean practical joker. We had his wife call him to say his garage was on fire one day and he nearly drove all the way home before realizing he didn’t have a garage.

I’ve always been the butt of little gags, cause I blush bright crimson when embarrassed.

What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?

Honesty, and common sense.

Care to brag about your family?

They haven’t put me away yet. That makes them wonderful.

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

I wish I could play a musical instrument. It hurts me that I was born without any skill in that area. Don’t suggest that I try. I have.

What was your favorite year of school? Why?

Hated school. Every year of it. My sixth grade teacher was a fine fellow, and made that year less hell than the others were.

What might we be surprised to know about you?

That I seem to be able to put out street lamps by driving past them.

What makes you angry?

Dirty socks on the floor.

What music soothes your soul?

Traditional Oriental music, Chinese or Japanese. Tibetan Throat Singing is something very special. If the tune is a thousand years old, and played on the same instruments, I’ll probably love it.
Sure do love Bossa Nova too, though.

If you could add a room onto your current home, what would you put in it?

Books. And a shower.

What’s your favorite film of all times? Favorite book?

Crap! I have to say Fearless Vampire Killers. But, Fiddler on the Roof comes in at a very close second.

My favorite book is Aztec, by Gary Jennings.

Have you ever walked out of a movie? If so, what was it?

Fantastic Voyage. For some reason, that film creeped me out.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Dirty socks on the floor. Again.

What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?

1. Listen more than we speak.
2. Expect less from everyone.
3. Look in the mirror more often, to see what a true hypocrite looks like.




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