Book Review – Skye’s Lure

Skye's Lure: A Contemporary Fantasy Romance Mermaid eBookSkye’s Lure: A Contemporary Fantasy Romance Mermaid eBook by Angel Leya

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Skye’s Lure by Angel Leya is a bedtime story that will delight young readers. In this modern mermaid tale, two misfits, one human and one mermaid, both unhappy with their lot, get a chance to view life through the other’s eyes.

The only problem I had with the story was the kidnapping. Saying that he kidnapped her because he loved her is unacceptable and is not the kind of love I would want my children to expect. However, there is a happy ending, and I’m all for that.

I was given a free copy of Skye’s Lure in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

My Top Ten Tweets for #writers

My Top Ten Tweets

Top Ten Tweets


I love to write, but with writing comes marketing, the bane of my existence. I began gathering tips about writing and marketing from various blogs for easier reference. One day I thought why not share? So here we go. Follow me on Twitter @roxannesmolen for more tips.

How to be ruthless on yourself in the early drafts of writing.  #writers #indieauthors

5 Reasons to Hire a Professional Book Editor  #writers #indieauthors

Hiring An Editor | Should You Spend The Money?  #writers #writerslife

17 Changes Indie Authors Can Expect in 2017  #writers #indieauthors

How to Prepare for Your Book Launch  #writers #indieauthors

7 Ways to Make a Young Reader’s Hair Stand Up  Writers need to create tension and pace. #writetip

How Authors Can Find Their Ideal Reading Audience  #writers #indieauthors

Rescue yourself from perfectionism and procrastination.  #writers #indieauthors

Good dialogue intrigues, informs, moves a story along.  #writers #writingadvice

How to Find Exactly the Right Story Hook-Make sure your premise is in your opening chapter.


Countdown Deals – Decadent December

To celebrate the Countdown Deal for Decadent December going on right now at Amazon, I thought I would reblog the interview I did with author Betty Jane Housey.

Decadent December

Decadent December is about Kelsey Garrison, a young woman with uncanny abilities. She can see ghosts, and an annoying voice resides in her head. For years she’s denied her powers and kept them secret, but the voice in her head always comes through. The most important things in the world to Kelsey are family and friends, of which she is closest to two—her roommate and her brother. Her brother’s ex-girlfriend, pregnant by another man, decides she wants Kelsey’s brother back. Over her dead body, Kelsey thinks. But when the girlfriend is found dead and her brother is charged with the crime, Kelsey stokes her unusual insights and puts her own life on the line to prove him innocent.

Decadent December is on sale this week at Amazon. This is a Countdown Deal, which means the clock is ticking. Get your copy now before the price goes back up.

And now, without further ado, here is the replay of my interview.

Today I am interviewing Betty Jane Housey, who writes the Kelsey Garrison series of mystery books. Ms. Housey, you tend to have many characters in your books. How do you name them all?

I have various methods of finding names for my characters. For the heroine of my book, I heard the name Kelsey and liked it. As far as I know it is not a common name, so I used it. I picked a last name that sounded generic.  Garrison. I did the same for her lover. Jeff Richards. Jeff is more common, but I wasn’t concerned with that for some unknown reason. Her brother’s name is Steve. Her best girlfriend is named Martha Sonia Hathaway. She is called Marty.

Sometimes I pick names that I think reflect the character’s background. For instance in my first book, I had a character named Millie who was murdered. Her mother came from West Virginia so I named her Hattie. Sometimes I make up names. I have a character called Unker, one called Sus and another named Alverna. I also research names. I needed Apache names for a young woman I called Nitika, which means Angel of Stone, and Govind, her brother. Govind means Lion among Men. I picked the names for their meaning, which I’ve incorporated into the book.

Sometimes I pick names for, I think, their comedic value. I had a brother and sister who I called Terrance and Tilly Tuttle, until someone in my group recalled a woman who got a lot Decadent Decemberof news coverage named Tilly Tuttle. I renamed her Tessa, which I didn’t like as much. But what is one to do? I have a woman named Chasity, because she isn’t chaste. A detective named Nasey, who is often called Nosey. I have one chief of police named Evenfield because I wanted to portray his even temperament. A woman called Waistland because I wanted to get across the point that her garden (and her life) was a wasteland.

Sometimes luck is my benefactor. I had two characters from a magic land who needed names, a man and a woman. I went to Walmart and saw a girl whose nametag read Rochely, spelled with one L. I added another, so the spelling would be different. Rochelly. The next time I was in the store, the woman who waited on me had a tag with the name Fedeline. I dropped the E and named my male character Fedelin. Sometimes to get even I name a character after someone who has injured someone I love, and so Lavoris was added as a not-so-nice character from West Virginia. It leaves me with a feeling of victory. At least I’ve gotten justice for my loved one in some way.

These are just some of the ways I name my characters. Each of my books is fun and, as I have many characters in each one, I enjoy finding names for them.

Your books are definitely fun. How about your settings? Do you choose something familiar and easy or do you research specific places?

Hmm. I used to live in Wisconsin. I now live in Coral Springs, Florida. But Coral Springs is a small town. So, I make my people come from nearby Fort Lauderdale which is much larger. I don’t know the streets in Fort Lauderdale enough to mention them (I try to fudge a little on the exact time it takes me to get from one place to another) but I try to use actual locations and incidents wherever possible. I used to go to a restaurant named Gibby’s. It is no longer there, but it bordered the New River. In my latest book, I had my people buy a home on the New River. In one book I used the Fashion Mall, a three story mall where my heroine runs into one of my antagonists. She looks down from the food court and sees her. Personally, I loved that mall. It was bright and sunny. But alas it no longer exists. I think it was too close to the Broward Mall.

I researched working horse ranches. A lot of the action in one book takes place on the ranches. I make up locations. Two of the characters in one book live on the Intracoastal. I’m familiar enough with that area to make it work. In one series of books my heroine had Chihuahuas. I’ve had two. So it’s fun to incorporate some of their antics into the books.

The other day my husband and I were in Tradewinds Park walking on the boardwalk. It used to go all the way around the park until Hurricane Wilma took it down. It’s been rebuilt, but now it stops mid walk. I thought what a great place for a scene. So in my latest book, ABSURD APRIL, I’ve used that as a scene where Kelsey gets trapped with her young daughter. If you want to find out how they escape, buy the book, ABSURD APRIL.

I’ve used the Wisconsin winters in my books. Winter seems easier to write about. When I lived there, we’d walk to this pizza place that was perhaps a mile away. I remember my daughter screaming when snow would get in her boots. Her father would have to carry her then. I remember wearing frozen mittens. All the winters happened when I was young and impressionable.

I know the climate of Florida so I often use that. But I need to write more scenes in my books about the heat of Florida. About the mosquitoes.  About sweating so much your shirt is soaked and wiping sweat from your forehead. About Florida storms and rain. About the delight of swimming in cool water. About how refreshing a cool drink is. Yes, I need to include those things. The senses: touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste.

You always have interesting titles for your books. Do you go for shock value? Memorability?

Let me see. I work hard on titles. In my latest series, I decided to use months. Decadent December, Jaunty January, Frivolous February, Maddening March, Absurd April. For my Howling Nunnext book in the series, I’m wondering if I can use a previous book I’ve written and call it Memories of May. I’ll have to reread the book and do some serious thinking. I think that book was written in third person and the series is in first. But I liked that book, really liked it.

Sometimes I’ve used titles that have double meanings, like WHATEVER HAPPENED TO SPRING, and DYING FOR SUMMER. I also titled one book, BLACK BAY. Whenever you use black in a title I think it imparts a dark connotation. For one of my books, a fellow workshop writer suggested the title, THE HOWLING NUN. Titles are important.

They certainly are. Last question: How do you ward off Writer’s Block?

Writers Block? What is that? I don’t think I’ve ever had a serious case of writer’s block.

Of course, many of the words I write are utter nonsense. But at least I’m getting something down on paper. I work at my own pace. I’ve never had a publisher after me to write another book in the series in say six months. I might have writer’s block if I was under that kind of pressure.

I used to write in third person with multiple characters and if I discovered I had no more for this character to say I switched to another for a while. In third person, you have to make sure you bring the plot together and tie up all the loose ends. My current series is in first person which is much easier to plot. You stay in one person’s head in first person and only follow what that person sees and hears. I’ve worked on this latest series for a while and have turned the books out with what I would say is considerable speed.

I do some of my best thinking in the swimming pool. As I swim every day, that helps a lot. I’ve written whole chapters in my mind. Including dialogue. My characters are constantly on my mind. I try to shut my mind down at bedtime so I can get some sleep.

My husband gets angry at me. He says when I’m on my computer he talks to me and has to say the same thing at least three times before it gets through. I don’t think that is so, but it could be. It seems to me the only time people want to talk to me is when I’m on the computer and deep into a chapter. I might write a whole chapter in one sitting. Or, I might just write a paragraph before going grocery shopping. I won’t forget what I’m writing. It’s burned in my mind.

Usually, I write the last chapter of the book when I’m only perhaps a fourth of the way through. But for my current book, ABSURD APRIL, I’m having problems deciding on the last chapter. That’s because I’m having problems deciding how angry my heroine is at her husband. Should they make up or not? I’ll figure it out. I always do.

Ms. Housey, thank you for the enjoyable interview. It was a pleasure to speak with you.

DECADENT DECEMBER, book one of the Kelsey Garrison Series, can be found on Amazon. I enjoyed the wacky characters and recommend the book.

 You can reach Betty Jane Housey at her website.

 She is also on Facebook.

Countdown Deals – Zelda the Welder

Zelda the Welder, written by Zelda Becht, is going on sale this week at Amazon. I thought it might be fun to reblog the interview I did with her previously.

Zelda the Welder

Zelda the Welder takes us to the winter of 1943. The United States, deep into World War II, relies upon women to help build warships. Thinking this is more essential than typing legal briefs, twenty-year-old Zelda gets a job release to become an electric arc welder at Kearny Federal Shipyard. One day, she and car-pool buddy, Janice, are assigned to work on the top deck of a destroyer escort. But Janice doesn’t show up on the DE or for the ride home. Something is terribly wrong. Zelda vows to find her missing friend, despite their leering foreman and the obstacles he puts in her way.

Zelda the Welder is a Countdown Deal, which means the clock is ticking. Get your copy now before the price goes up.

And now, without further ado, here is my interview of Zelda Becht.

Today I am interviewing Zelda Becht, author of the recently published, Zelda the Welder, a story about the girls who welded boats during World War II. The book is semi-autobiographical in that Ms. Becht really was a welder in Kearny, NJ, in 1943. But the similarities to her life story stop there—Zelda the Welder is a cozy mystery.

Which brings me to my first question: What is a cozy mystery?

A cozy mystery is a mystery book that doesn’t have a lot of blood, sex, or violence. You can put up your feet and read—knowing you will be entertained, not scared half to death.

How do you name the characters in your books? Do you just pick a name that you like or do you make up the name to make it stand out? Do you Google the name to check its meaning? Do you research the name to be sure it is historically fitting?

My first book, INMATE OF THE ROOM, took place in England. I used the names of people I knew. Like Nellie or Nell, my protagonist. My English aunt’s name, Nell Gordon, had the Inmateright ring to it. And so, though Nell is an American character, she had an English background. For me, it fit. For the character, Diana Musgrave, I searched my mind for a thoroughly English sounding name. I also have an English cousin named Diana. I ran with what was real to me. David is the name of one of my uncles in England. And so I named my hero, David Taggart, for an English character I liked. I used English names for a story placed in England. Names have to fit the character and the place you write about. The names I chose are names used by the English. I could have called Nell, say, Marie, or called David, Jose, but it wouldn’t ring right for English characters in England.

In ZELDA THE WELDER, it was easy to give the protagonist a name. The story was about me. I was the welder. I wrote about what I knew: welding. I gave up a job as a secretary to weld Destroyer Escorts at a Federal shipyard. At a time when women were desperately needed, when our men were in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, women did whatever we could to help. I had three car buddies, a driver, and other people in the yard. I changed their names but kept their characters. All other names that had a significant place in the story, I chose to fit the part. Sometimes I looked up names to fit a scene. That was for the Zelda book.

In my children’s books, I picked names young people would remember easily, only four letters, ROSE AND RITA, the little marmosets. I thought they fit, coming from the Amazon rain forest as they did.

In DEADLY DEEDS I picked the names of people I knew. For me, it’s fun to fit a person with someone of similar character. And some folks like to have their name used.

Let’s move on to the settings of your books. Exactly how do you choose a setting? Do you choose a place that is familiar and easy? Do you research specific places to make them accurate and plausible? Or do you simply make them up?

The setting for my first book, INMATE OF THE ROOM, had to be in England. Elizabeth the first was an English queen. The story is about three people who find things about her in an old English castle. The setting needed to be realistic. They say, “Write about what you know.” That means, if you want to write about something, find out all about it before you write the tale. And that is where the Internet comes in mighty handy. Everything is there. I found out about the castle, the streets and roads in England and Scotland, the Queen, and anything else I needed to set the scenes. I was born there, visited there, and still, one cannot know everything about a place. So I researched. It is a must to know what you write about for it to fly.

My setting in ZELDA THE WELDER was 1943, New Jersey. The time was World War II. Zelda the WelderThings were very different then. Times, people, homes, appliances were all different. I had to fit that time slot. The setting in ZELDA is true time and place. I did weld at Federal Shipyard in Kearny, New Jersey. However, that was seventy years ago. I knew Queens Boulevard, and the bridges, and Maspeth, etc., but I looked everything up to be absolutely sure I hadn’t forgotten something. So, I chose settings that fit the story. And the story must fit the setting. When fictionalizing a scene, I wrote what I knew it should be, but again, I looked it up. You can find everything you need on the Internet.

For ROSE AND RITA, I had to be careful. There are only so many places little marmoset monkeys can be found. The Amazon Rain Forest is one. And Miami is Miami, where they find themselves, so I described that. And an animal zoo is an animal zoo, but it has to be right. So, the setting has to fit the story, and the story has to fit the setting. The rest is up to your imagination.

For DEADLY DEEDS, I set my book in the Catskill Mountains which are in New York. The main character, a veterinarian, worked in an animal hospital. I had to learn what animal doctors do, think, and feel.

So, my advice on settings is look it up. When they say, “Write what you know,” it means, “If you don’t know and want to write about it, find out.”

Good advice. How do you title your books? Do you go for shock value? Memorability? Do you research similar titles before choosing? Do you title your book first or write under a working title?

That is important. What will make someone pick up the book in the first place? The title. In my first book, INMATE OF THE ROOM wasn’t my first choice of title. I wanted, The Find. The story is about my three main characters finding something that was unknown for 400 years. But perhaps it needed more. A fellow writer suggested a sentence I had written in the book. Yes, it was a find, but about a character hidden in a castle room. Hence, INMATE OF THE ROOM, and below it The Find. I liked them both and kept them both. Now you must buy it.

It was easy to name my book, ZELDA THE WELDER, after me, a welder. The story is about when I welded Destroyer Escorts during WWII. Sometimes something pops out of the book that suggests the title. But sometimes you will write the whole book before you know what to name it.

For DEADLY DEEDS, I hoped the title would interest people who liked a mystery. A title should suggest what the story is about. It should grab their interest. It should make them pick up the book and open it. A proper title will do that.

That’s certainly true. Now for my final question: How do you ward of writer’s block?

Okay, you are deep into writing your book, something distracts you, and when you get back, you’ve lost your train of thought. Or, you have a deadline, and that is enough to make your brain go dead.

Writer’s block is something else. Mostly, if you are rolling with the story, and you haven’t stopped to do something to take your thoughts away, you won’t get writer’s block. If you are into your story, it will be on your mind always. But should you become unable to carry the story further, you should read it over again and again until something clicks. You might want to discuss it with a friend. Share thoughts.

That is, if you already know what you want to write about. If you just decide to write something with no idea where you are going, you are in trouble. Then you may have to throw out all those precious words we love and begin again.

So, how to ward off writer’s block? Plan your story ahead. Before you sit down or write a word, know what you want to write about. Some people write an outline to lead them along the path of the story. That way, they can relate back when they need to.

But not all writers use an outline. For them, it is easier to just put down the story as it comes to them. A well-known author who writes about a detective out West writes off the cuff. Others like to have music playing in the background. Soothes them, brings out their thoughts. Just don’t write when you are tired. When you wake up and re-read it, you will wonder why you wrote that mess.

It is up to the person to know what makes him or her think best. Take a swim in the pool or a long walk and think about your story. Some people like to read a book to get the juices flowing. One famous author will never read a book when he is writing one. It distracts him from his story. Different strokes for different folk.

If you find yourself blocked, put your project aside and write about something else. But never, never, stop writing. Next time may be a best seller.

Now, write that book. I want to read it.

Thank you, Ms. Becht, for such a thought-provoking interview.

You can buy books by Zelda Becht at Amazon. I recommend Zelda the Welder. It was fascinating.

You can reach her at her website.

She is also on Facebook.

Countdown Deals – Lessons in Space

Both Lessons in Space and It Could Be are going on sale at Amazon today, so I thought it would be fun to reblog my interview of author Molly Tabachnikov to celebrate.

Lessons 1 (2015_08_05 22_05_00 UTC)

In Lessons in Space, you meet Mylla Lessons. She is used to living and teaching in the cerasteel sphere that is 26th century Earth. But she can’t get used to the ever stricter rules handed down by the Artificial Intelligences that dominate Worldgov and every aspect of life on Earth. Then she discovers anomalies in their behavior. She is determined to find the truth in spite of warnings from Jorey, her former Supervisor and long-time sexing partner. Ignoring the hints of danger, she seeks the help of Brudell Turing, the great cyberneticist, and his assistant, Shan Carpenter. Used to a culture that encourages casual sex and doesn’t allow exclusive relationships, Shan stirs feelings she never had before and doesn’t understand. And now the AIs have singled her out as a troublemaker…

Ms. Tabachnikov is offering a Countdown Deal on Lessons in Space this week, so buy your copy now before the price goes back up.

She is also offering a Countdown Deal on It Could Be, her collection of short stories.

It Could Be 1 (2015_08_05 22_05_00 UTC)


And now, without further ado, here is the replay of my interview.

Today I am interviewing Molly Tabachnikov, a science fiction writer whose work delves into current issues of gay marriages and educational hamstringing. And that is the job of good science fiction, wouldn’t you say? To create a futuristic tale that engages yet echoes current societal problems?

I couldn’t agree more.

As one science fiction writer to another, how do you choose names for your characters? Do you make them up so they will stand out? Do they need to be alien? Do you choose names for their meanings in Baby Name books?

Choosing characters’ names is never easy for me. As a writer of science fiction, I have to invent names that are different enough from current ones so that they seem to be either futuristic or alien. However, they also have to be accessible to my readers. I therefore grab names, either of friends, enemies or just those that appear in the news, and give them a twist. Checking Baby Name books is a useful tool.

Whispers in the NightMy first novel was set in contemporary New York, though, so I didn’t have that difficulty. The name of the main character, Fox Monroe, was not one I chose. The story came from a writing workshop I attended in which the facilitator asked us to pick two slips of paper, one from each of two bowls. One slip had characters’ names, the other titles. We had to create stories based on that name and title. I selected the slip with Fox Monroe as the character, and the one with Whispers in the Night as the title. As soon as I read the name, I envisioned Fox, his red hair and golden eyes. His story unfolded from there.

In the novel I’m writing now, Lessons in Space, my main character is very different. Mylla is a teacher in the 26th century. Her name simply appeared in my head (perhaps a variation of my own first name). Other characters, like Jorey, Shan, or Vesta, were slight twists on contemporary names. But the characters on the planet Haven, which is closer in appearance and lifestyle to our own time, had to have names that are in use today. What people are called, whether in fiction or in real life, has to reflect when and where they live.

Interesting. I never thought of choosing names by using slips of paper in a bowl. Tell me about your settings. How do you choose those? Do you base your settings on real places? Do you research your settings to be sure they are scientifically plausible? Or do you simply make them up?

Most of my stories, whether short fiction or novel length, start as a vision that pops into my mind and won’t go away. That was the case with the short story, The Way It Should Be, in my collection of the same name. I saw the image of a woman in a futuristic pressure suit (very different from the ones we have today, sleeker and far more flexible) standing on a red planet. The story told itself.

That’s not to say that I don’t “research” my settings, although it’s not the kind of study we think of. Most of my imagined places are the result of almost sixty years of reading and watching sci-fi. But to make those places seem realistic does take true research. When building a world, as I do in Lessons in Space, I had to investigate the classification of stars and the kind of light we think they emit. This influences the colors of the sky and the vegetation, as well as how large the “sun” of that world looks to its inhabitants. Gravity is another factor¾how it affects the human body and psyche.

Isaac Asimov once said in an interview that to make an alien world seem real, the writer has to imagine the details. How does it smell? What does the air feel like? How does gravity affect the way a person walks? All of this has to be thought through and set down in an outline.

That’s what makes writing science fiction so exciting. You’ve written several stories. How do you choose that all-important title? Do you choose a title first and stick with it or do you write under a working title?

The title is supposed to be the first “grab” that entices a reader. I know that when I choose something to read for pleasure, that’s what hooks me. I’ve spent countless hours in bookstores or on the net perusing titles, like a kid in the bakery choosing exactly the right treat.

Nevertheless, I’ve never spent a lot of time working on my own. As I mentioned, the title of my first novel, WHISPERS IN THE NIGHT, was mandated in a workshop. I rather liked it, as it gives the correct air of mystery that suits a story of a telepath. Most of the time, the title of a story or novel suggests itself to me as I write it. In my short story collection,
IT COULD BE, most of the titles came to me that way, like Not of Woman Born or The Memory Machine.

Sometimes, though, the title evolves. The story Almost Paradise was originally What I Did on My Summer Vacation, and the short story Lessons started as Back to School. My current novel was first named Hey, Teach (in memory of my years of teaching in New York City) before it became Lessons in Space. In this case, I was hesitant to rename the work. The protagonist’s name is Mylla Lessons and she is, as I mentioned before, a teacher. I was afraid that Lessons in Space would be seen as too cutesy. The members of my writing group (Florida) assured me that it wouldn’t be, and so the new name stuck. I’m glad it did.

Now for my final question: What do you do about Writer’s Block?

Wow! Writer’s Block. We’ve all experienced it, the frustration, trying to pull the words out of your head or out of thin air and nothing seems to be right. I don’t think we can prevent it from happening. But there are ways I’ve found to cope with it.

Sometimes I just keep on writing. Usually, though, the stuff that appears on the computer screen under those circumstances is crap and has to be deleted. On occasion, it offers some usable material, even if I have to rework it later.

There are times when a short break is useful. Going for a walk helps, or, my old standby, raiding the refrigerator (amazing how it can “feed” the creative process, but it has to be done in moderation). I always know that a story isn’t going well when the number of visits to the kitchen, and my waistline, increases.

Where I write is important. I like to write outside if the weather permits. When I’m in Florida, I set myself up on my patio (if it’s not too hot). I put my computer on the glass-topped table, make sure there are enough cushions on the folding chair to keep my backside comfortable, and make myself something to eat. I try to keep it healthy: a large tray of fresh veggies with a low-calorie dip.

In Massachusetts, my favorite venue is Matt Reilly’s Pub on Lake Pontoosuc. It’s a charming place, with a deck looking out over the hills and the oval lake which is often dotted with boats. There, also, my computer is in front of me and a snack next to it. Unfortunately, the snacks at Reilly’s tend to the bar food variety, heavy on grease, light on nutrition.

In both places, I find it useful to have a glass of Tanqueray gin on the rocks with a slice of lime near to hand. It lubricates the creative centers and relaxes the superego, giving the words an easy path from my brain to the screen. At which point I make sure my spell check app is enabled.

But that’s just me.

I think quite a few writers could relate to that. Thank you, Ms. Tabachnikov, for a fun and informative interview.

You can buy WHISPERS IN THE NIGHT at Amazon. If you are interested in telepathy at all, you should read her book. I loved it.

You can learn more about Molly Tabachnikov at her website.

She is also on Facebook.

Rejection is NOT Failure

Roxanne's Space

I was cleaning out a filing cabinet in the hope of getting it to actually close again, and I came across a folder with over 1000 rejection letters. I could tell from the dates which project I was working on at the time. Email wasn’t prominent yet. These were from the day when you actually constructed a personable letter, sent it snail mail, and received a poorly printed form letter in return.

Why had I kept them? Were they badges of my failure? No, not at all. I’d heard once that it took 100 no’s to get a yes. I kept them so I could count them to see how much closer I was getting to my goal. Each rejection was one step closer to yes.

But keeping a sun-will-come-out-tomorrow attitude isn’t easy. Sometimes each rejection feels like a stab at the heart. I put so much energy into my…

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Marketing Equals Visibility

Throughout the month of May, I participated in the Book Marketing Challenge, a program offered by Build a Business with Your Book by D’vorah Lansky. I learned about the Challenge through a newsletter I get from Book Buzzr. I faced the Challenge with high hopes and a fresh notebook, intending to fill my pages with a month’s worth of tips and ideas for marketing my novel. I even talked several of my writer friends to attend with me.

One week into the Challenge, I realized it was heavily weighted toward non-fiction books. Pertain to meIt talked about setting up webinars and turning your book’s index into a teaching course. My writer friends dropped out. I persevered. I figured if I could learn just one useable thing about marketing and expanding my writer platform, it would be worth it.

I learned more than one thing. I learned a notebook full. All it took was a change of perspective. Instead of soaking up information as it washed over me, I actively dissected it and tried to find ways to apply it to my world. The Challenge turned out to be a much larger challenge than I anticipated—but it taught me ways to market my fiction by writing non-fiction.

That’s not as crazy as it sounds. Marketing equals visibility. You want to make your name as visible as possible.  Your name. Not your book. That’s a difficult concept for us introverted novelists. So how do we do that? Social Media? Yes. The dreaded blog posts? Naturally. But here’s a way I never considered before. Kindle books.

Thanks to Amazon KDP, making an ebook is easier than ever. It gives you step-by-step instructions on how to upload your content, give it a cover, and publish it. Once done, you are part of the fastest growing community around.

It’s no secret that non-fiction sells better than fiction. Everyone wants to know how to do something. How do you apply that concept to marketing fiction? The answer is in your book. Do you write historical romance? I bet you did a lot of research to get the setting right. You could get a whole series of books out of that. Focus on one aspect at a time. Shoot for about 4000 words. And don’t forget to add links to your fiction book.

Does one of your characters love gardening? You could write a book on gardening tips. Is Power of Kittensyour character an animal lover? Write about the joys of housebreaking your puppy. Or the cute antics of your kitten. With pictures! Who could resist that? And all the while you will be making your name visible.

I’m writing a book series about The Amazing Wolf Boy. My protagonist is a sixteen-year-old boy who loves to eat. (Well, what sixteen-year-old boy doesn’t?) I plan to write a humorous cookbook from my protagonist’s point of view. That should introduce him to some new readers.

The Amazing Wolf Boy is the story of a nerd who becomes a werewolf and finds he has superpowers. My target audience is young adult, specifically girls between the ages of thirteen and seventeen. But it seems I’m reaching a much broader audience. Most of my reviews are from parents who remember what it was like to have a teenaged boy in the house. In fact, I’ve received many emails from young men who are astounded by how well I captured a boy’s voice. I find that humbling and thrilling at the same time. The third book in the series, Wolfsbane Brew, will be available in July.

Marketing equals visibility. That’s my new mantra. It’s only one tip I gleaned from the Book Marketing Challenge. But the biggest thing I learned was this: Don’t be so quick to think something doesn’t pertain to you. Just change your perspective.

Kaitlyn’s Korner

Read a Book



Subject- Roxanne Smolen

Job- Author

Date- 5/18/14

Hi! I’m Kaitlyn, aspiring journalist and writer extraordinaire. Today I am interviewing Roxanne Smolen, author of twelve books. So let’s get to it.


Ms. Smolen, what emotions do you feel when you are writing?

When I write, I become part of my character.  I feel what they feel. If I can’t get into my character’s head, I feel frustrated.


What was your first book? Where did you get your inspiration?

Mindbender was my first book. I got my inspiration from watching television—the TV show Babylon 5.


Is there a message in your book(s) that you want your readers to recognize, or was it used strictly for entertainment?

My basic message is to believe in yourself and never give up.  The message in the book I just finished writing is some secrets are too dangerous to keep.


Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

JK Rowling. She inspires me because not only is she a good writer but she breaks all the rules. She stuck to her guns and wrote big books with big words even when she was told kids wouldn’t read that stuff. She also gave a lot of her money away to charity. She’s such a wonderful role model and person.


Do you have any advice/suggestions for people who wish to become authors?

READ AS MUCH AS YOU CAN! You can’t be a good writer unless you’re a good reader.


Many people picture writing as a form of art. What is your opinion?

Yes, because it’s creative. The basis of any art is creativity.


Do you have a specific writing style?

It took me a while to realize that I like to write in a humorous style. Not total death and doom. I think if I wrote a zombie apocalypse book, I would find a way to make it humorous.


Are any of your characters based on real life people?

Yes, in the book series I’m writing now, the character ‘Brittany’ is based on my granddaughter Nicole. The character started out as a vegetarian but soon changed things up and started to eat meat.


Do you have any strange writing habits? (Like standing on your head, or writing in the shower)?

I pace and talk to myself. I become all of my characters and have an argument. If anybody saw me, they would put me in a looney bin!


Is there a certain type of scene that is harder to write than others?

Action or fighting scenes. You have to have your timing just right so the reader doesn’t get bored but can still picture everything clearly.


—————————-Off topic but fun questions——————————


You have the ability to spend the day with 5 famous people. Who are they?

JK Rowland, Stephen King, Lemony Snicket, Nathan Fillion, and Alexander Skarsgard.


You have the ability to travel anywhere you want for a week for free. Where would you go? What would you want to see first?

England to see Kings Cross Station.


There is a zombie apocalypse. Who would you want the zombies to eat first?

Barack Obama. I hate to be political, but that’s my opinion.


Would you rather have fingers for toes or toes for fingers?

I think fingers for toes. Then I can play in the trees.


If you were a kind of food, what would you be?

I would be mashed potatoes.


Coke or Pepsi?



Favorite type of cereal?



If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

Brown. It’s my favorite color.


What is your biggest pet peeve?

I hate the way female news broadcasters and female meteorologists dress on TV. They are supposed to be professionals! They dress like they’re going on a date to a bar instead of going to work! Not all of them do that, but some do. Be yourself!


Ketchup or mustard?



Well, that’s all the time we have for today. Thank you for the interview, Ms. Smolen.


Thank you, Kaitlyn, and good luck in your writing career.


Great! You can read more about Ms. Smolen’s books on her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +. This is Kaitlyn signing off!


AuThursday -Roxanne Smolen

The Clog Blog

Please welcome Roxanne Smolen to The Clog Blog, Wecome Roxanne!

Hi, Tina. Thank you for inviting me to your blog.

How long have you been writing?
Like most writers, I’ve been writing since before I could spell correctly. I didn’t take it seriously, however, until later in life. I’d been losing my eyesight for a few years and, as a result, lost my job in 2000. I decided that was the perfect opportunity to follow my secret desire to write a book. I’ve since written a dozen novels and hope to write dozens more.

What books have most influenced your life?
The Harry Potter series. I loved the story, of course—but what really struck me was how many rules it broke. Rowling used big words. She wrote big books. She stood firm against the naysayers—and in the end, her payoff was huge. Quite the eye-opener.

What is your writing process?…

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