Featured Author Laurie E. Boris

Today’s featured author is the lovely Laurie E. Boris.

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Hi Laurie, how nice of you to join me on my blog today and that you are willing to shed some light on what drives you to write these great books, but for that I need to ask you some questions. Brace yourself, for here they come …

Can you give me your best Whoop? Unless you have another one which works better for you?

If I’m in public, I keep it clean. “Woo hoo!” Yeah. That’s generally me.

Okay, sounds like a winner that one, but does it work all the time, even those times when the muse has gone and done a runner on you? And when did you first start with it?

Anything that gets the blood moving. I think I started using it when my husband introduced me to NASCAR and football. (Not sports I ever would have sat down to watch on my own.) And about the muse? I don’t muse much about my muse. I’m a writer. I sit down and write. The times it flows and the times it doesn’t, I attribute more to my physical and emotional state. For instance, when I can do little more than stare at the same sentence, it’s generally because I’m tired or need to eat or get some exercise.

Right, sounds like you are on the right track there. Let’s do a few of the yada yada questions before we move on to the fun.

What is the title of the book you would like to talk about?

Don’t Tell Anyone.

Is that a joke Laurie? Are you trying to wiggle your way out of this?

No, I’m not kidding. That’s the title. Yes, you can tell people.

Okay. 🙂 In that case, I’ll show the cover too.

DontTellAnyoneCover_LBoris300px

 

AMAZON | B & N | Smashwords

Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

Yes and no. Actually, it was excruciating. The working title had been The C Word since I started the first draft, because among the older generations of my family, nobody said “cancer.” It was the C Word, or never mentioned. Jewish superstitions, I think. But when I prepped the manuscript for publishing, the title was in use on at least six cancer memoirs. [This is not one, by the way, although a character in the book has cancer.] So I immediately thought of Don’t Tell Anyone, because nearly all the characters in the book have a secret and at some point ask their confidantes not to tell. Idismissed it initially, brainstormed about 250 new titles, and came back to Don’t Tell Anyone because my writing group and my husband really liked it.

If you would have to change the genre, what would it be then?

Of this book, or in my writing in general? For this book, I toyed with making it a full-out, Coen brothers style dark comedy. But it didn’t work.

Just to confuse you we’ll take the alternative route now.

What don’t you like about writing, or whatever you need to do marketing wise?

I love writing. I love editing. Constructive criticism, bring it on. Marketing, not so much. I’m an introvert. We’d rather talk to one or two people at a time. I’m working on that.

Tell me, when your muse is visiting and you’re on a roll, what would seriously drive her/him away?

What drives the writing flow away for me is fatigue. Or if I’m doing something contrary to what my gut is telling me. That often means I’m off-track.

What does your muse look like?

The closest thing I’ve had to an actual muse is my late mother-in-law. She was one of my biggest fans. Sometimes she haunts my writing room and I can smell her perfume. I can almost hear her voice: “Finish that book already; I need something good to read.”

Do you ever speak to your characters and do you get along all the time?

I frequently speak with them. We usually get along. If there’s a disagreement, it’s usually because I’m trying to make them do something they wouldn’t really do, or because they’re not ready to spill their secrets yet. You can’t rush a recalcitrant character.

Can you name the food and drink that will surely get you started?

Coffee or tea. Holding a hot mug centers me and helps me drift into the writing.

Would you be able to come up with an excuse on why you haven’t written a whole day, and have me believe it too?

I don’t write every day. I mark my progress by the week. Some I write more, some I write less. My excuse? I was editing a client’s manuscript. Or there was a good episode of The Big Bang Theory on.

Hahaha, those are actually very good reasons to procrastinate.

But why would you ever want to live life behind a keyboard slaving over a manuscript?

Because I don’t really like doing anything else.

Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂

No problem, because I have no cats, dogs, or children. Although we have a lot of mice in our house, so one or more of the three would come in handy. I hear kids are really great at catching mice. Secrets? I always wanted to play second base for the New York Mets. Or be an umpire. I’m annoyed that I failed the height requirement to become a Radio City Hall Rockette. It took me five years to write my first novel (never published), and received 138 literary agent rejections, including one by an agent who also writes romance novels. In the book I make fun of romance novels. She was not amused.

Right, now let’s give out something about the writer. You know, some facts the fans would love to know.

Laurie Boris is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, and former graphic designer. She is the author of three novels:

JokeCoverSmall

DrawingBreathCover

and Don’t Tell Anyone, of which you’ve seen the cover above.

When not playing with the universe of imaginary people in her head, she enjoys baseball, cooking, reading, and helping aspiring novelists as a contributing writer and editor for IndiesUnlimited.com. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.

And finally we can we stalk, I mean follow, friend or find  Laurie on social media such as her websiteAmazon author pageFacebookTwitter, and Goodreads

Guest Blogger Day – Adele Symonds on Editing

Adele Symonds – Editor with a vision

I do not profess to be an expert at writing novels as I do not have one to my name. I do feel qualified as a reader to know whether a book has what it takes to hold an audiences interest, and keep them turning those pages.

A great plot with believable characters who can be identified with by the target audience. Or all key aspects of writing a winning novel, but no matter how good these are with poor editing the book will be more likely to fail.

This is when I decided to step in and offer editing services to indie authors who were trying to break into the market with some excellent books which just weren’t hitting the mark.

Don’t you give her that look, author! She is right you know?

my book

Editing is an area which many new authors cannot afford to pay and they will edit their books heart out. I do not believe it is possible for any author to edit their own work and catch every error as our brains are made in such a way that we read what we know should be there rather than what is.

I keep my editing prices as low as possible to facilitate the indie authors being able to pay for this valuable service and I am setting up a fund which will help those authors who are in even more difficult financial positions.

I work on an hourly basis with an individual contract made with each author, but provision is made within the contract for the author to donate to the fund if they wish to do so. This money will then in future be used to be an agreed number of my hours service for an author who cannot afford the full price for their whole book. My hope is that over time, as authors I have helped earn more money, I will be able to help more authors and so on and so forth.

My aim is to facilitate the work of indiependent authors to produce the best work they can.

Adele can be contacted for editorial services through mail 

I would like to thank Adele for sharing her thoughts on editing and funds. What do you do when your budget doesn’t allow for a professional editor?

Guest Blogger Day – Kristen Stone on How to Self-Publish

WHO SHOULD WE TRUST TO GET OUR BOOKS OUT THERE?

by Kristen Stone

 is it right

Bit of a long title but it makes the point of this post. Two years ago I had a book which I wanted to put out as an ebook but had no idea how to do it. Ebooks were new to me. A great idea, but an undiscovered country as far as I was concerned.

Then I heard about Smashwords. Wonderful. They would convert my book and put it out on lists that would be picked up on the sales catalogues of major bookstores. Great. My book and about half a million others.

Then I heard about Amazon KDP. They wanted exclusivity to join their Select scheme but it seemed to offer great promotion opportunities for my book and about half a million others.

Recently I have been following a debate about whether authors should use a specialist service which guarantees correct formatting and distribution to outlets that are not covered by Kindle or Smashwords or, more recently, draft2digital. The only drawback to this company is that the author has to pay up-front for the work before they release my book to compete with the half a million others.

I do strongly believe that a book should be at least proof read before release. No one spots their own mistakes unless they are very dedicated and careful. But as an Indie author with no ‘real’ job, personally I can’t afford to pay anyone to do anything. My feeling is that companies that charge ‘up-front’ fees have little or no incentive to make your book a success. They have had your money. Companies like Smashwords, Kindle and d2d only make money when you do. Admittedly they are taking the cut of half a million books while the authors might only be selling in tens or hundreds (I wish).

I think my main point is the vastness of the ebook industry now that anyone can put out a book. The reader will decide whether a book is formatted well enough to buy another. I have a total of five different readers at my finger tips and I have seen for myself that the same file will look different on each one.

No one can guarantee any book will be a success so with that in mind I will continue to work with d2d.

Catch me at http://www.kristen-stone-the-writer.com/index.html

What are your thoughts on this matter? Which venue has your preference or do you use them all? Share your experiences with us and help your fellow authors decide which company to run with.

Featured Author – Adele Symonds

Adele

Good morning Adele, I’m glad you could stop by. I know you’ve been extremely busy lately so I’m honoured you cleared time in your schedule to do this interview with me.

Let’s not waste precious time and kick off.

What do you like most about the writing process? Editing or writing?

I love editing other people’s work but hate editing my own. It is so much easier to see others mistakes than your own, just as it easier to give advice than receive it.

How right you are Adele. Lot’s of people don’t have a clue on how to receive and digest honest advice, but that’s a whole other discussion.

What do you write? Prose or Poetry?

I write a little of both but definitely more poetry. My poetry is a need, it is a release of emotions felt and situations experienced as they happen. This is not something I can write to demand very often. My prose as present only consists of 3 or 4 short stories but I have plans for a full series of novels.

That’s an impressive goal, one you must see through. 🙂

But are you a reader too?

I am an avid reader and always have been.

Is there a book you kept reading over and over again?

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens – I was given a presentation edition when I was 12 and it is one of my most treasured possessions.

You lucky woman! Keep that one safe and keep reading it, it is one of the great classics

Do you ever review books and what do you do when the book at hand is … Well let’s say it could use the hand of an editor. 

I review every book that I read but I very rarely accept books specifically for review anymore because I have turned my hand to editing now. I was reviewing so many badly edited books which had the potential to be 4 or 5 star rated that I wanted to do something to help these authors.

If I read a book which is so badly edited that I would have to give it a very poor review I contact the author and give them the opportunity to re-edit before I publish the review. If I find a book published by a big name publisher which still contains errors then I contact them telling them specifically which errors in the hope that I will get a response.

I edit at very reasonable and affordable prices so that authors with very little money can still afford the editing process which is so essential to making a good book, great.

Oh, that is a wonderful opportunity for lots of indies out there who need an editor but think they can’t afford one. Where can they contact you?

Editing requests can be made at adelesymonds.editor@gmail.com

Do you have a book published too?

I have one book published so far which is a collection of poems.

What is the title and did you have any difficulty coming up with a title?

The title is A Star is Born: 6 months in the life of a poet.

A Star is Born Cover

Available on Amazon UK and US

I had no trouble choosing this title as Adele means ‘little star’ and my life as a poet was just beginning, hence I was being born as a poet and a new life and a new start could begin for me.

You were indeed born a star and a poet! 

Is there anything you want to tell us in particular about the book?

The poems in this first book were written over a very difficult six month period in my life so the subject matter of the poems are not light and fluffy, they are quite dark and revealing of my feelings at the time. There are a couple of high points and every poem has a short commentary to explain its significance. The poems I write in the six month period following on from this will be published in October and hopefully there will be more high points and the readers will be able to follow my journey through my ups and downs by reading my poetry and sharing a little of my life.

What you are telling us here makes me want to read your work. I bet there’s more readers eager to get their hands on it.

Do you have a fixed writing routine or are you a ‘spur of the moment’ kind of author?

Poems are definitely spur of the moment.

Short stories are as and when I can fit them in.

Editing is a fixed schedule. Minimum of 3 hours per day depending on how much work I have. One morning hour. One afternoon hour. One evening hour. Monday’s and Tuesday’s off. This has to be a slightly flexible schedule as to which hours I do dependant on when my pain levels are at their best but it works for me.

Being sick and having to work isn’t easy, I’m glad you manage the way you do.

When you write is there any beverage or snack you have at hand?

No, I find it too distracting. I take a break once an hour for a cup of coffee.

Ah, the great coffee god who is worshipped by almost every author. 🙂

So you can’t give me a recipe?

No, coffee is coffee although I would love to have some real ground coffee.

Yes, that is the best thing, freshly ground coffee for your brew. Let me get us some.

And finally can you tell us something about yourself none has ever heard before?

I am a very open person, possibly too much so, therefore I am not sure there is anything that people don’t know about me apart from specifics which I am keeping for my memoir when I finally write it.

To wrap this up neatly let me tell the readers where they can find you online.

www.facebook.com/authoradelesymonds?fref=ts

Adele I’d like to thank you again for your time and honesty. I was very glad you were here and hope you’ll be back sometime soon. 

Featured Author – Linda Rae Blair

Linda Rae Blair joins me today to tell us a bit about herself and a lot about her books.

Welcome Linda, glad you’re here to shed some light on what we all want t know. Who are you and why? But first, let’s see you.

LINDA RAE BLAIR

You have a lovely smile and look like you enjoy life, I’m right, or not? What you have a real bio prepared for us? Great! Bring it on, we’re here because we want to know more about you.

Raleigh artist, Linda Rae Blair was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. She has used her knowledge gained during extensive travel throughout the United States and her passion for art, history, mysteries, and scenery to create compact novels with rich characters so real you’ll miss them when they’re gone and places you’ll swear you’ve been. She has lived in Seattle, WA, Monterey Bay, CA, Cincinnati, OH, and retired five years ago in the Raleigh, NC area.

Her love of history is well-earned. She is a direct descendant of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins of Mayflower fame. She is also descended from a strong line of Scots-Irish immigrants to America in the 1700s. She even had a great uncle who was robbed by the infamous outlaw Belle Starr. Her Scottish love story, “Elusive”, spans 200 years of Scottish history and intrigue via setting in 1700s Scotland and early 1900s Paris and Scotland.

Elusive

An avid reader who inhales novels by Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown and others in the romance/mystery genres, her imagination takes you to a variety of places and times all in the same story.

Her travels to the beautiful southwestern states inspired her more modern historic romance combined with mystery, “100 Years of Brotherly Love”.

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Her mystery series, The Preston Andrews Mysteries now has 12 published entries, beginning with “Hard Press’d” 

Hard Pressd

which now claims over 50,000 downloads and, most recently, the softcover print version of the series in compilation form.

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which now claims over 50,000 downloads and, most recently, the softcover print version of the series in compilation form. Ms. Blair has spent many happy hours in Virginia Beach during off-season, when the winds blow cold and hard and the salty air whips at the weather-protected palms. This is the locale chosen for her Preston Andrews series. Locals and visitors alike find many familiar frames of reference in this series.

Her homage to her love for Poirot is via her teeny tiny mystery, “The Board Game Murders”.

BoardGameMurders

Her newest series is aimed at a slightly younger and more female audience from that of The Preston Andrews series but begins in the backstory in “Pressing Reunion”.. The Samantha Hartley, PI series is lighter and features a very young and not terribly experienced private investigator just beginning her career—with a slight assist from the Director of the FBI.

One thing is for certain, she combines her passions into stories interesting to history buffs, travelers, and lovers of romance and mystery.

Miss Blair is also an artist. Until the writing bug hit her, she was certain she’d spend much of her retirement painting landscapes and seascapes. Once she started writing, her paint brushes have all but gone dry.

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Painting2

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Those are beautiful paintings and what you’ve revealed to us was very interesting. You, my dear Linda, have a heritage most people would envy you and a writing career I applaud.

Let’s get the interview going and find out about your writing and book. 

Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?

I keep on writing…if I’m on a roll, why quit? Keep going until the voices can no longer be heard! Sometimes that another 15 minutes; sometimes it’s another 5 hours.

Okay, sounds like you know how to party. But how do you work around those moments when the muse has gone and done a runner on you?

They wouldn’t dare! If they even think about it, I do some editing on what I’ve already done until those characters start screaming at me again.

Right, it looks like you have a winning formula there. Now, let’s first do a few of the yada yada questions before we move on to the fun. And by yada yada I do not mean boring, or in any other way stupid questions, but just the traditional ones. You know? The ones we secretly all want to know the answer to.

First, what is the title of the book you would like to talk about?

“100 Years of Brotherly Love” It’s a story of three men who took a blood oath of friendship at an early age, nearly killing one of their mothers when she found them all bleeding in her kitchen as her son proudly held up his daddy’s bowie knife. Boys!

It is the saga of how their familial ties began with a Pony Express rider 100 years earlier and takes you into their old ages—through murder, arson, beatings, blackmail and other assorted threats to life and limb. You meet the women they fall in love with and see the life they build into their 70s.

It’s available on Amazon (all international Amazon locations, also), Barnes & Noble, Sony, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, Google eBookstore and CreateSpace.

I’m very proud of it, and it has been my favorite ever since I first published it.

Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

Oh, my…this is quite a story. The original title was “Tiwa Valley Brothers in Blood”. I thought that was a reallllllly good title for a book about blood brothers from childhood growing into good, strong men in the American Southwest (New Mexico, specifically). I had a great cover, too! I thought it was beautiful.

Nothing happened. Now, I have a lot of fans from my mystery series, The Preston Andrews Mysteries, and I expected some kind of action on the new book. Nope, nothing!

So, I changed the name, thinking folks thought it was a “Western” which is isn’t, really. It just happens to take place in New Mexico. So I called it “100 Years of Brotherly Love,” but still nothing. I’m not talking just a few—I mean ZERO! I thought, okay, maybe it’s the cover—still looks western.

So, I got rid of the beautiful cover I loved so much and put the faces of three young boys on the cover. It got a few buys, and I do mean a FEW. Okay, I’ll try again. Now it has a very nondescript cover:

Voila! It’s selling. Whew! (Bullets of sweat breaking out on forehead here.)

Shoot! Linda, I wouldn’t have known what to do. You aren’t only a great writer, but inventive as well.

If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform to the market?

Well, I can honestly say that I have moved that puppy around so much I can’t tell you what genre it’s under right now! How’s that for being flexible?

Hahaha, you just have your own genre. Your books are under the Linda Rae Blair genre.

Right with that out of the way and to confuse you we’ll take the alternative route now.

What don’t you like about writing?

I lost my editors. I’m lost without them. They went to Florida and neither of them offered to let me hide away in a suitcase. So here I am stuck without one.

What writer wouldn’t be lost without a good editor they can trust? If you are still looking for a good one, I can suggest you hire mine.

Next question. What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?

I do a lot of social media. I have three writing Facebook pages: http://www.facebook.com/lindaraeblairauthorhttp://www.facebook.com/theprestonandrewsmysteries and http://www.facebook.com/mysteriesbyblair. I also Tweet as @lrbauthor and use Hootsuite to post frequent Twitter promos over weekends when something new comes out.

Also, I post in LinkedIn from time-to-time.

Tell me, when you’re on a roll, the muse is in the house and happily guiding your pen, what would seriously drive her/him away?

Health issues can make the voices fade. I recently went through a period where I spent most of my time doing author interviews for my website: http://lindaraeblairauthor.wordpress.com and for http://bookjunkiesjournal.com. Those I could work on as my health allowed without the creative flow being interrupted.

What does your muse look like and does he/she ever play tricks on you?

Muses (plural) are those voices in my writer’s brain. They pester my dreams, they invade my quiet and seriously distract me when driving. Ugh!

Do you ever speak to your characters and do you get along all the time?

No, I’ve sworn never to talk to them—someone might think I was nuts. Anyway, they’re way too busy talking to each other.

Would you be able to come up with a credible excuse why you haven’t written a whole day? Remember, I have to believe it!

Only my health or spending time with my grandchildren when they’re home on leave from the army. I do have SOME priorities.

And finally why would you ever want to live life behind a keyboard slaving over a manuscript?

Why not? I’m retired, I’m creative, I have voices in my head—short of taking pills, what should I do?

Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂

Well, drat. I can’t talk about my 17 pound cat, Potter As in H-A-I-R-Y, or my 14 pound dog, Lanc-a-lot, of my kid, grandkids or great grandkids—what the heck else is there? Hummmmm I adore gardening, but I can’t do it anymore. I used to paint (acrylics on canvas) but haven’t since I started writing. I love mysteries, read Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Janet Evanovich, Lisa Jackson and Patricia Cornwell until my eyes turn red. Other than that, I’m just a normal old lady writing about murder!

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review

(3 customer reviews)

4.7 out of 5 stars

(3)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful

5.0 out of 5 starsGrey Eyes and long black hairAugust 30, 2011

ByRobert Davidson

Format:Kindle Edition

Once I started, I couldnt put the book down. The writer takes a unique postion in the book itself by telling the story as a biographer of a seedy yet wealthy character living in New Mexico. She is able to take you places with minimalistic scenic discriptions that let the mind’s eye fill in the blanks with scenic vistas. Her dialogue is thoughtful as she tells a beutiful story of endurance for several generations. The writer continues to impress me with her ability to transport the reader to different places and times in the telling of the story. In the end, it fits together like a tight fitted jigsaw puzzle. I am looking forward to more books by this writer.

5.0 out of 5 starsA moving and cultural rich story.August 21, 2012

Bywistfulskimmie – Wistfulskimmies Book Reviews Blog

Format:Kindle Edition

This is the story of Trick, Chase and Blade. Bonded as blood brothers when they were five, this story traces important events in their lives. Told in three stories, from each of the brothers points of view, it gives a glimpse into the lives of a rancher, a half native american lawyer and a full native american veterinarian. The stories tell of heartbreak and triumph and of significant moments in their lives. It also gives a glimpse into the native american way of life and some of their customs.

This was a fantastic story. Told from each of the brothers points of view, the descriptions of their lives and loves was rich and vivid. From the heartbreak of Trick’s ranch problems, and the fallout after, to the joy of confirmed bachelor Chase finally finding his soulmate again and marrying her. It was a story that kept me coming back, as I just HAD to find out what was happening next in the brothers lives! The pace was just right and I was sad when it ended, as I knew there would be no more! I totally recommend this, it is a fantastic book, rich in culture and vivid in description and portrayal.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

4.0 out of 5 stars100 Years of Brotherly Love by Linda Rae BlairApril 6, 2012

ByKaren Doering

Format:Paperback

A young biographer has been offered the opportunity of a life time. She has been chosen to write the biography of a man whose wealth and reputation are the focus of media attacks and gossip magazines. Not sure why she has been chosen over more experience biographers with well-known reputations she takes the job. A job that will pull her deeper into the family than she has ever expected.

Arriving at the home of her new employer, notes and background information in hand, she is ready to cajole, probe and trick (if she has to) all his secrets from him. Deep in the ranch lands of Arizona she expects to find a hard boiled rancher, businessman and former politician. What she finds instead is a warm, complex man with a story of three generations of New Mexico ranchers. From his great-grandfather’s time with the Pony Express and first founding of the ranch and dynasty, to the current generation patriarch, he takes her through a sweeping history of Arizona and its founding families.

But this story is more a story of enduring friendships. Friendships that pass through three generations of men. Each bound to one another through ties of family, the land and male bonding. For 100 years these three families have worked, lived, played and suffered heartbreak and loss together. They have become more brothers than friends.

This is not a western. It’s not about cowboys or cowgirls. It is about family and what makes the ties that binds us together as people.

Well written with interesting characters and a story that is as compelling as it is complex “100 Years of Brotherly Love” will keep you turning the pages quickly. This is definitely a book that men will enjoy but women will like it too. The main protagonists throughout are mainly men. But the women that are part of the story are as strong and intelligent as the men.

I really liked this book and will be reading more from this author.