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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Turning to Books

Please join me today as I guest blog for Book 'Em North Carolina! The theme is how reading and/or writing has influenced or changed my life. Read how I fell in love with reading and later how writing became a lifelong companion.

Leave me a comment and let me know how reading or writing has changed your life.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hide Your Face?

Last week I received more than a hundred responses on a blog I wrote about publishers going a bit too far on editorial changes. And it started me thinking about other advice I've received over the years that were a bit... questionable.

My first book was published in 1984. But when I made the leap from non-fiction to suspense/thrillers in 2002, I found it was a whole new game. In addition to the publisher's marketing rep (who was fantastic and taught me quite a bit about the book industry) I also hired a publicist to help me navigate the new world of book promotion.

The publisher of Kickback requested a picture of me, but my new publicist was adamantly opposed. She thought that once readers knew what I looked like, they would not want to purchase my books. This came as quite an eye-opener. She strongly suggested that I never provide a picture for the book (the cover or internally) and never allow my picture to be printed or posted - on the Internet or elsewhere.

As the left hand and the right hand continued battling it out with me in between, the publisher arranged a photo op. The instructions: black & white and I had to look suspenseful. This picture was the result.

Friends thought I looked 20 years older. Fans were ambivalent (though I got many comments about how different I looked in person), the publisher was thrilled. My publicist was furious and thought it was the end of my career because I'd shown my face.

As a dutiful author, I started my book tour and found that it could be quite challenging to continue hiding my face. After all, I needed it to see where I was going.

As more pictures were taken of me at events, I decided I liked this one much better. It was taken at Book 'Em New Hampshire in 2006.

What do you think? Does it help or hinder an author to show or hide their face? How do you think the author's appearance affects book sales?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Promotion Tips

Hi, everyone!

I hope you'll join me today at L. Diane Wolfe's Spunk on a Stick blogspot!

I met Diane several years ago and have been very impressed with her positive attitude, hard work, and talent. She writes books with a positive message for young adults as well as books on book promotion. I'm honored to be writing about my own proven methods for book promotion on her blogspot today.

Diane will also be joining me at Book 'Em North Carolina on February 25, 2012. I've asked her to lead the efforts into the schools in Robeson County, North Carolina, which involves Short Story Contests, published authors judging, and a whole host of activities. For more information, visit the Book 'Em North Carolina website.

See you on Diane's blogspot!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

We Want You to Make a Few Changes...

Please join me today for a very special post at Alex J. Cavanaugh's blogspot! I'm sharing something I never have before - what happened when my first suspense/thriller was accepted but only if I changed the main character, Sheila, to a lesbian! Please join me, leave some comments, and enjoy the blog!

Alex, thank you for inviting me!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Learning from Other Authors

I've always believed I could learn something from every person I meet, and that is certainly true about other authors. Below, in no particular order, are some of the things I've learned lately about writing and the publishing business.

Small Blocks of Time Add Up is something I learned from Elizabeth Spann Craig. With so many things on my plate, it's been a challenge to find the time to write, yet those deadlines don't carry any wiggle room. Elizabeth has taught me that spending a few minutes several times a day writing does add up, and it gives me a sense of accomplishment at the end of every day. I've used her methods to propel my writing forward when I didn't think I had any time to spare.

A Book Tour Doesn't Have to Involve Travel is something I learned from Alex Cavanaugh, who has managed to be Dancing Lemur Press' bestselling author through blog tours and social networking. With the cost of gasoline skyrocketing, blog tours have been added to my repertoire.

Shifting Your Focus can reignite your inner fire, something I learned from Pamela June Kimmell. Pam journeyed through a dark time in her life during cancer treatment, and her much anticipated sequel to The Mystery of David's Bridge was put on hold. She reignited her passion for writing by shifting gears, writing children's stories, and eventually coming full circle to working on her mystery books once again.

Finding Spunk is something I learned from L. Diane Wolfe, who taught me that sometimes Attitude is Everything. The past few years have not been easy ones in the publishing industry, yet Diane always has a plan, always has a smile, is always positive and encouraging, and always does it with spunk.

What have you learned from your friends?

p.m.terrell is the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of 12 published books. Find out more about her at http://www.pmterrell.com/.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What Do I Do With Him?

I'd like to welcome Bonnie Watson, creator of Wisdom Novels, to my blog this week. I first met Bonnie almost ten years ago, soon after my first suspense/thriller was released. Bonnie is multi-talented - an awesome artist as well as a fantastic fantasy novelist.


When I created Wisdom, I didn't have a clue what to do with him...

White hair, the ability to use magic, this sort of symbolic character that stood between the powers of Light and Dark - I didn’t even bother looking at the beginning of his life until after I’d filled two cabinets with written works as well as a 200 page novel. In the year 2001, I took the first three pages from the book and started another, this time focusing on the main character's childhood rather than his adult years. There were questions that needed answering, and this story was the perfect solution.

Why is the character albino? What limitations does he have involving magic, and where does it come from? Does the harsh childhood he receives shape him into the adult he grows to be? If he's not entirely human, what race is he and where is his kind now? How does a growing Darkness to the north affect the storyline?

I realized as a child, the character should have a simpler name than Wisdom. As the story evolved, Wisdom became a nickname obtained toward the end of the first book, but becomes a regular as evolvement with the issue of slavery threatens to damage his reputation. Thus Wisdom is used more frequently in his adult years, and welcomes a change of title as Prince of the Eastern Clan.

So, a story that originally started with no particular plot, becomes one that involves the first Dark Unicorn, the upset in the balance of Nature, and the fight for survival in a world where settlements have been around less than a century.

Did you start a book and then find you needed to complete the character in order to progress? What process do you go through to make a fully developed character?


About Bonnie...


“I've always enjoyed painting and writing. It started with animals and gradually worked its way to people. It's fascinating to watch a painting come to life from scratch to finish, or a piece of a story develop far beyond the normal complexity of snippets or poetry. Every painting has a story behind it. Every story has a picture to paint. So I'm just an endless beacon of stories for both worlds. The world of Art. The world of Storytelling. There's no living without either."

I've been writing for more than ten years, with Wisdom my first major novel in a concept of two trilogies. You can find my shorter works online through www.WisdomNovels.com as well as music and artwork. As a freelance artist, I've created various book covers for different authors, web design, posters and more. My goals for the future are to finish the Fantasy Trilogy, then move to Sci-fi and Children's.


Visit me online for sneak peaks at upcoming projects!


Wisdom, Book One of Blue Moon Rising Trilogy, by Bonnie Watson - www.WisdomNovels.com