Release Day!!!!!!

If you haven’t guessed I’m a little excited about the release of my latest comedic romance, Love Potion Me, Baby. Mainly because I LOVE this story.  But I can’t keep it all to myself. Gotta spread that love. Here’s a listing of places I’ll be visiting over the next few weeks. There’ll be interviews and posts, and even a letter of two from the characters. Hope you can stop by and see me on one of these dates!

Lots of <3–Amie

Release Day! March 28th Sarah Grimm

Meet Brice Van Sant

www.authorsarahgrimm.blogspot.com

April 4th AJ Nuest

Letter from Suzanne Rose

www.ajbooks.blogspot.com

 April 9th Kellie Kamryn

Interview

www.kelliekamyrn.blogspot.com

April 11th Claire Croxton

What’s In A Name?– guest post

www.clairecroxtonromanceauthor.wordpress.com

and Alana Lorens

Interview

http://alanalorens.com

April 18th Babette James

Interview

http://babettejames.com/posts/

April 25th Rebecca J Clark

Interview

http://shywriters.blogspot.com

April 27th Vonnie Davis

The Millionaire’s Club–Guest Post

www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com

May 2 Katherine Grey

Interview with Jancy Carmichael Van Sant

katherinegrey.blogspot.com

May 9 CoffeeTime Romance and More

Writing Comedy–Guest Post

http://coffeetimeromance.com/CoffeeThoughts/

May 16 Calisa Rhose

Odd facts about Love Potion Me, Baby–Guest Post

www.calisarhose.wordpress.com

Kat Jorgensen ~ On Characterization

Yesterday I was lucky enough to have Kat Jorgensen on my blog with an interview and review of her latest novel Your Eight O’Clock is Dead. Today I’m happy to welcome her back to share her thoughts on Developing Characters. So pay attention and take notes, this is gonna get good!

Get In Touch with Your Inner Characters

I’m one of those people who believe that everyone has at least one book in them.  Now I have more books and characters in my mind than I’ll probably ever use.  So how do we tap into our inner characters?

For “Your Eight O’Clock Is Dead” the main character, Becca Reynolds, presented herself to me almost totally formed.  Basically, she is a younger, thinner version of me with much better hair.  I have baby fine hair that I’ve struggled with all of my life, so it was a no-brainer to make my heroine have much thicker hair.  And be at her ideal weight.

But what about her characteristics?  They’re also drawn from me.  Things happen to me that don’t seem to happen to other people.  For years I’ve been entertaining my friends and family with my misadventures.  It was easy to translate those events into Becca’s life.  I keep a running list in a notebook of weird things that involve me – like getting locked in an airplane bathroom.  You can bet that whole episode will show up in a future book!  I can still tap into my claustrophobia just thinking about it.  I set Becca up to be claustrophobic right from the get-go.  By the time I get to book 4 where I use the airplane scene, readers will be very familiar with Becca’s fear of enclosed, tight spaces, and they’ll be feeling her panic right along with her.

Basically Becca is a lovable screw-up.  Her intentions are stellar.  The follow through is not always what she anticipated and how she reacts in any given situation makes for a lot of comedic opportunities.

Becca is inquisitive.  She loves life, and she loves a good mystery.  She’s also guilty of sticking her nose in where it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) belong.

Family and friends are important to her, just as they are to me.  So I peopled her world with a grandfather who gives her lectures because he cares for her and wants the best for her and a couple of hunky men (I only have one hunk in my life, and I’ve been married to him almost 25 years) – but hey, this is fiction.  Becca gets to flirt and fall for two good-looking guys.

In my non-writing life, I worked in mental health for many years.  The two doctors in the book are drawn from characteristics of many of the medical professionals I’ve encountered in my working life.  I’ve taken quirks and exaggerated them.

Character development is fun.  I always start with the characters. Who are they?  What are they like?  What are their strengths and their weaknesses?  How can I use them for plot problems?

Try it.  You may surprise yourself.

And a round of applause for Kat. For those of you who weren’t with us yesterday…

~*~*~*~About the Author ~*~*~*~

www.katjorgensen.com

A notorious daydreamer, Kat knew it was only a matter of time before she became a writer. She learned to read by age four and had her first library card before her fifth birthday. To this day, she can lose herself for hours among the books at her local library or neighborhood bookstore. Ebooks and online ordering have made it really easy for her to keep her To Be Read pile from ever going down. A native of Richmond, Virginia, Kat is married with children and has a cranky tuxedo cat named Ben.

 ~*~*~*~ About The Book ~*~*~*~

Becca Reynolds is having a bad day. Her grandfather’s lecture (#405: Eat a Healthy Diet or Die Not Trying) makes her late for her job at Daley and Palmer, the psychiatrists’ office where she works as the office manager–her title, not theirs. Then her sausage and egg breakfast biscuit creates an oil slick that takes out half her desk, along with that day’s patient files. But she knows the day has taken a really bad turn when she discovers the firm’s eight o’clock patient dead with Dr. Dick Daley’s letter opener opening the patient instead of the mail.With the fledgling firm in danger of an early demise, Becca appoints herself the unofficial investigator since the police seem to be looking in all the wrong places and doing a half-assed job of solving the crime. She begins a journey to find the killer, keep the practice afloat and with it, her job. In the course of her interfere–er, investigation–she finds a virtual cast of characters who could have done it, including the fancy side piece of the murder victim, his wife, his business partner, and even his psychiatrist.The case takes Becca from the sordid depths of the Russian mob, to the upscale West End of Richmond, Virginia (known locally as River City), and even to her own backyard. In the course of the story she finds herself in hot water, hot danger, and with dreams of hot men.

 ~*~*~* Buy the Book ~*~*~*~

Amazon
Barnes & Noble 
Smashwords

~*~*~*~ Kat’s Blog Tour ~*~*~*~

http://www.clpblogtours.com/2011/12/your-eight-oclock-is-dead-by-kat.html

Lots of <3– Amie

Your Eight O’Clock is Dead by Kat Jorgensen ~ A review & more

♥♥♥♥♥ You Gotta Read This Book ♥♥♥♥♥

Becca Reynolds is having a bad day. Her grandfather’s lecture (#405: Eat a Healthy Diet or Die Not Trying) makes her late for her job at Daley and Palmer, the psychiatrists’ office where she works as the office manager–her title, not theirs. Then her sausage and egg breakfast biscuit creates an oil slick that takes out half her desk, along with that day’s patient files. But she knows the day has taken a really bad turn when she discovers the firm’s eight o’clock patient dead with Dr. Dick Daley’s letter opener opening the patient instead of the mail.With the fledgling firm in danger of an early demise, Becca appoints herself the unofficial investigator since the police seem to be looking in all the wrong places and doing a half-assed job of solving the crime. She begins a journey to find the killer, keep the practice afloat and with it, her job. In the course of her interfere–er, investigation–she finds a virtual cast of characters who could have done it, including the fancy side piece of the murder victim, his wife, his business partner, and even his psychiatrist.The case takes Becca from the sordid depths of the Russian mob, to the upscale West End of Richmond, Virginia (known locally as River City), and even to her own backyard. In the course of the story she finds herself in hot water, hot danger, and with dreams of hot men.


~*~*~*~ The Review ~*~*~*~

I once had an agent tell me that murder wasn’t funny. Well, maybe not in and of itself, but I thought my book was stinkin’ hilarious. And so is Your Eight O’Clock is Dead by Kat Jorgensen. Becca is a hot mess. Her life has taken a turn for the inconvenient, newly divorced, on double secret probation at work,  and living with her grandfather. Things couldn’t get much worse. But they do as the eight appointment at the psychiatrist office where she works is found dead in the waiting room. Murdered. Becca can’t seem to let it go and let the police do their job. Soon she  finds herself in a crazy web of mob, murder, and the general mayhem that is her life.

I laughed out loud as Becca gathered clues, located suspects, and went on a manhunt–in more ways than one. Kat Jorgensen has a funny, upbeat voice that is both pleasing and easy to read. I loved Becca and her grandfather, and even his cantankerous cat.  As the warmer months approach, Your Eight O’Clock is Dead is a must read. Light-hearted and fun, it’s the perfect summer read–with a little murder thrown in for good measure.

~*~*~*~ About the Author ~*~*~*~

A notorious daydreamer, Kat knew it was only a matter of time before she became a writer. She learned to read by age four and had her first library card before her fifth birthday. To this day, she can lose herself for hours among the books at her local library or neighborhood bookstore. Ebooks and online ordering have made it really easy for her to keep her To Be Read pile from ever going down. A native of Richmond, Virginia, Kat is married with children and has a cranky tuxedo cat named Ben.

www.katjorgensen.com

~*~*~*~ Buy the Book! ~*~*~*~

Amazon
Barnes & Noble 
Smashwords

~*~*~*~ But Wait! There’s More ~*~*~*~

I got to sit down (cyber-ly speaking) and ask Kat a few questions about her writing. Here’s what she had to say:

Amie: Tell, us Kat, why did you choose your genre?

Kat: Humorous mystery is my chosen genre.

I wrote suspense for years.  Scary suspense.  After going through some real life scary issues, I decided to leave scary behind – both in real life and on the page.  Well, sometimes we don’t have a choice in life, but I do have a choice in my writing.

Mysteries have always intrigued me, and I’m a long-time mystery reader.  And while I still enjoy killing off characters, I’m much happier these days doing it with a comedic twist.

I have to say, I’ve had the best time with The River City Mystery Series, and I hope it comes across to the reader.

Amie: I can totally relate to that life is scary enough.  With Your Eight O’Clock is Dead the reader is definitely in for a smart, funny read. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that childhood dream affected your current career?

Kat: The three dreams I had as a child were writer, star and princess.  The last two didn’t work out (I can’t act, and I’ve never met a prince), so the logical choice was writing.

After spending a good chunk of my working life in corporate America and in the mental health field, I decided I needed to honor my writing abilities.  In 2001 I began writing novels with a serious goal of publication.

But the desire to write has always been a part of me.  It was just a matter of finding my way back to it.

Amie: Honor your writing–That’s a great way to put it. I hope you don’t mind if I borrow that. What do you do for fun?

Kat: I knit.  I’m a passionate knitter.  It relaxes me and brings me joy and peace.  It’s also a time when I let my busy mind take a break.  But I know on some level it’s still working.  Some of my best plotting happens while I’m knitting.  Reading and movies are also ways that I relax.

I’m trying to love exercise.  But so far it hasn’t happened.

Amie: I wish I could knit. I keep saying I’m going to learn to crochet, but so far it hasn’t happened. How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?

Kat: I used to work for psychologists and psychiatrists.  They were always referring to their patients by the hour of the appointment instead of the name for privacy purposes.  When I started writing the first book in the series, Your Eight O’Clock was the first thing that came to my mind.  And then it was all about what was that eight o’clock patient doing.  In my book, the client is dead.  So the title became Your Eight O’Clock is Dead.

I’m using the word Your as the start to every book in the series.  The next book is called Your Time is Up, something else I heard the doctors say.

I tend to go for simple whenever possible.

Amie: The Rule of KISS is always best and an art I have yet to master. Have you ever used contemporary events or stories “ripped from the headlines” in your work?

Kat: Not really.  My own imagination is very active.  However, I haven’t ruled out “ripped from the headlines” for future plots.  I have a file that I keep of interesting tidbits I overhear or things I read in the newspaper.  You never know when something will be the basis for a scene or even a springboard for a book.

Amie: Whew! Good to know I’m not the only one with a file box like that. How much of your work is real? How much is fantasy?

Kat: I make up all of the events and the characters.  My friends have been trying to guess who is who in the series, but the characters are all fictitious – well, except for Higgins the cat.  He is Ben, my unlovable tuxedo cat.

The granddad character is based on my dad.  My dear husband wanted to know which of the hunks in the story was him.  Ah, that would be a no.  He’s a hunk in his own right, but he’s not Ryder or Max.  They are totally made up from my active imagination.

Becca is based on me taken to the extreme.  Younger, thinner and with really great hair.  I’m also not as ditzy as she is, but things do happen to me that don’t happen to other people.  I have a file on those things, too.  And yes, most of them will show up in future books.

So far the situations are all fantasy.  The settings are real for the most part.  I live in Richmond, Virginia, where series is set and a lot of the places I have Becca visit are real places that I see every day.

Amie: I think there’s a little bit of Becca in all of us. And if there’s not, please don’t tell me. I’m Becca to the max! Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?

Kat: For me the challenging part is to not let real life intrude on my writing time.  The actual writing process isn’t difficult for me.

It might take me a little bit each time I sit down to get into the story.  But once I’m back in the plot, I’m totally immersed in the story and I lose all track of time and place.  I’m right there in the story with the characters.

Amie: Yep. It’s the writer’s life for me. What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Kat: Take writing classes and attend seminars and conferences.  Network with other writers.  Find either a critique group or a brainstorming group that you truly feel safe and comfortable with and share your ideas and your work with other writers.  Try for a level or two beyond where you are in your process.  If you work with people on your level, they will not help you progress as fast as you need.  In my opinion, you need to work with people at least two levels ahead of where you are.  You always need to challenge yourself and your abilities.  This is what professional athletes do.  Find a mentor.  Listen and learn.  And above all – write.

Join local and national writing groups.  Knowledge and information are power.

Amie: Great advice. Who is your favorite author and why? What books have most influenced your life?

Kat: This is hard.  I have so many favorites and different writers have influenced me at different times.  I’d have to say Margaret Mitchell and her Gone with the Wind was one of the early books that captured my attention.  I loved her characters and that book is still very vivid in my memory.  Scarlett and Melanie are great character studies, as are Ashley and Rhett.  Add in the supporting cast and it is a story peopled with interesting characters.

Janet Evanovich is another favorite author of mine.  Her early Stephanie Plum books still cause me to laugh out loud.

I’ve also enjoyed Agatha Christie’s books.  She was so good with plotting.  Her two detectives, Poirot and Miss Marple, were true to who they were and Christie did an amazing job with both the plot and the characters.

Amie: Great mentors, every one. What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

Kat: You need a dedicated writing space that is yours and yours alone.  You need a computer, of course.  Some writers like a computer for their writing without an internet connection.  I haven’t found that to be a problem for me.  I try to have a set time to write, and I don’t allow anything to distract me when I’m working.

I also have notebooks where I jot down information as it comes to me.  I am never without paper and pen.  You never know when an idea will come to you.

Speaking of pens, you need some fast pens.  I love a good fast pen.  One that writes effortlessly and glides across the page. My favorite is a gel pen.

Reference books.  I have a ton of reference books.  Books on writing, books on my particular interests.  Anything to stir my imagination.

I think if you have a passion in life besides writing, you should try to find a way to integrate it into your writing – even if it’s just in tiny bits of information sprinkled here and there.

The really great thing about writing is that there is no one right way to do it.  The choice is yours on what to write, how to write it and what tools to use.

Amie: Perfect advice for any writer. Thanks for coming by today and sharing your secrets and Your Eight O’Clock is Dead. Best of luck to you, Kat.

Wanna know more? Follow Kat’s blog tour.

  ~*~*~*~ Kat’s Blog Tour ~*~*~*~

http://www.clpblogtours.com/2011/12/your-eight-oclock-is-dead-by-kat.html

Thanks for coming by! Lots of <3–Amie

Favorable Conditions by Kathleen Kole ~ A Review

♥♥♥♥♥ Well Worth the Read ♥♥♥♥♥

Can you imagine being forty-five, your last child has moved on to college and the time is ripe for you to blaze a new trail into your future?  Pat Keegan can.  Well, except for the tiny detail that all her preconceived notions about how that future was going to shape up are completely out the window.

Pat was under the impression that once her child rearing years were complete she and her husband would walk hand in hand toward a rose colored future.  Fat chance.  Before their daughter had even been accepted by a College, he was blathering about needing space to rediscover himself and made quick strides to the nearest exit.

Suddenly, Pat is divorced, rattling around her large house and asking the empty rooms, “What now?”  She knows she has to carve out new dreams – after all, forty-five is a far cry from the end of the line – But how?

Join Pat as she jumps feet first back into the world outside her door, takes on a new business venture, is pursued by a much younger man and has to muddle her way through more emotions than she knew she had – all to finally attain her goal of rediscovering who she is and what she wants from the next phase of her life.

~*~*~*~*~ The Review ~*~*~*~*~

I can’t say I can totally relate to Pat Keegan. She’s forty-five, newly single, and now an empty-nester. I’m well on my way to the mid-forties, but I have 11-year-old. (Yes, we started late, and yes, we’re still married.) But there are parts of Pat that hit home for me in so many other ways. She’s lost a little bit of her confidence along the road of life. Not from anything major happening (though her life at the start of the book is in upheaval), but just life itself, bringing about changes. And she’s trying her best to tread water and figure out where she stands in this brave new world. But when her ex moves back in and Pat just allows it, I’m thinking, “what are you doing?” and then I realize, I’d do the same thing. But what I loved about Pat is that she pulls herself up by her boot straps and carries on. Favorable Conditions is a story about making your way in the world, even if you can’t see the path you should take. I laughed with Pat, cringed at times, and cried as well.

The only thing I wish was different about the book, is more of a sense of location. What the realtors say is correct–location, location, location! And why? It makes a difference in how we perceive the people in the stories. I’m reading and thinking, “their speech is stilted. Very formal. I don’t anyone who talks like this.” Not that what they were saying was wrong, just phrased differently than I’m used to. I read a little more and thought, “I would understand their speech patterns if they were English.” And then I read that the author is Canadian. Ahhhh…now that makes sense. Unfortunately the Yanks have an arrogance that tells them “every book written is set in America unless otherwise specified.” Sad, but true. And the rest of the story clicks in place for me.

Overall, Favorable Conditions is a great story about life and second chances and finding out who you are, since you lost yourself along the way. And I think we can all relate to that.

~*~*~*~*~ Author Bio ~*~*~*~*~

Born in Edmonton AB, Kathleen began storytelling in grade school.  She has many fond memories of passing summer afternoons, out on the swings in her backyard, creating tales that entertained her neighborhood friends.

When she finally decided to venture from her backyard, Kathleen pursued a career in storytelling.  She graduated from college with a Diploma in Radio and Television Arts and traveled the path of freelance writing for numerous local newspapers.
Many years later, too many to talk about without seeming rude and nosey, Kathleen has channeled her imagination to the pages of her novels.  She hopes that you enjoy her tales and encourages you to feel free to read her stories on the swing set in your own backyard.

Kathleen has traveled from Edmonton, to a new backyard with a lovely mountain view. She spends time there with her beloved husband, adored son and silly dog. They let her tell them stories and always laugh in all of the correct places. She’s lucky, and she knows it.

~*~*~*~*~ Connect with Kathleen ~*~*~*~*~

http://kathleenkole.com/ 
Facebook
Twitter

~*~*~*~*~ Buy the Book ~*~*~*~*~
Amazon 
Barnes and Noble
Smashwords

Everyone who leaves a comment on Kathleen’s tour page will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! If you purchase your copy of Favorable Conditions before March 26 and send your receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, you will get five bonus entries!

http://www.clpblogtours.com/2012/01/favorable-conditions-by-kathleen-kole.html

CLP Blog Tours

Hope you enjoyed today’s post and thanks for stopping in! Lots of <3–Amie

After Midnight by Sarah Grimm ~ A Review

♥♥♥♥♥ YOU GOTTA READ THIS BOOK ♥♥♥♥♥

Thirteen years—that’s how long Isabeau Montgomery has been living a lie. After an automobile accident took her mother’s life, Izzy hid herself away, surviving the only way she knew how. Now she is happy in her carefully reconstructed life. That is until he walks through the door of her bar…

Black Phoenix singer/front man Noah Clark came to Long Island City with a goal—one that doesn’t include an instant, electric attraction to the dark-haired beauty behind the bar. Coaxing her into his bed won’t be easy, but he can’t get her pale, haunted eyes nor her skill on the piano out of his head.

Can Noah help Isabeau overcome the past? Or will her need to protect her secret force her back into hiding and destroy their chance at happiness?

~*~*~*~*~*~ The Review ~*~*~*~*~

I have read several books with singers and piano players, even one with a karkoake bar. But I have never read a book where I could *hear* the music. Sarah Grimm does just that. She allows the reader to experience the music through the pages of her newest release, After Midnight. That itself is a great feat, but the sound she weaves through her words is only an accompaniment to the characters she has created. Noah Clark…mature rock star and caring soul, seeking a second chance at the one thing he loves–music. He’s going about his career differently in this “comeback” tour, and he’s not up for any unexpected bumps. And then he meets her, Isabeau Montgomery. Izzy is a now-grown child prodigy who abandoned music as a too painful part in her past. But once she meets Noah, the music she’s drowned out of her head for so many years demands to be heard once again.

There is a sensuality between Noah and Izzy that defies description. More mature than sexy, more beautiful than mere chemistry, it is a source of envy to all those around them. Noah understands Izzy on a base level. All the qualities she hates about herself, he admires. At Noah’s hands, she learns to see herself through his eyes, find her beauty though she never thought it existed. Who wouldn’t want a hero like Noah–rich, handsome, and able to see you (and love you) as you really are instead of how you think you should be? The perfect hero deserves the perfect soul mate, and Sarah provides. Izzy is smart, resourceful, and beautiful in her own way. She’s survived more than the average person, walked down paths most of us will never glimpse. And yet we feel her pain, we understand her hiding, and we admire her strength. Add them to the beautiful prose of music, a touch of suspense, and extremely lovable secondary characters, and you have one fabulous read. You have After Midnight.

After Midnight is available now from the Wild Rose Press

~*~*~*~*~About Sarah Grimm ~*~*~*~*~

As a young girl, Sarah Grimm always had a story to tell. At times they were funny, other times scary, but they always ended with a happily-ever-after.

Sarah spent years scribbling in notebooks, filling the pages with partial chapters and the margins with titles and story ideas. She told friends the characters spoke to her, and that she was compelled to get their stories on paper. Eventually, she sat down at a computer and wrote her first tale of dangerously sexy suspense. That book, Not Without Risk, is a 2011 Readers Favorite Award Winner.

Her second release and the first in her Midnight Heat Series,  After Midnight, recently garnered a Finalist position in the 2012 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence contest.

Sarah lives in West Michigan with her husband, two sons and three miniature schnauzers. Between mom’s taxi service, parts runs, and answering the phone for the family marine repair business, Sarah can be found curled in her favorite chair, crafting her next novel.

Sarah loves to hear from her readers. Feel free to contact her sarah@sarahgrimm.com

~*~*~*~*~ Excerpt ~*~*~*~*~

“I’m not the type of woman men fall for.”

“I’ve fallen for you.”

Heat flooded her system. She forced herself to breathe, to keep her eyes locked with his. “No you haven’t. You …”

He pushed off the mantel and stepped in her direction. “I—what?”

“Never mind.”

“Finish the sentence, Isabeau.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Then let me.” He closed the distance between them. “You were going to say I haven’t fallen for you, weren’t you? You actually believe him? That you’re nothing more to me than convenient?”

Her pulse throbbed thick and hard. Heat radiated off his body. The scent of him filled her head. She wanted, more than anything, to press herself against him and relive the pleasure of his mouth against hers. Instead, she lifted her chin.

“Maybe.”

He leaned in close. So close his breath brushed across her lips. “You believe him, but not me?”

“You are here only temporarily.”

“Yes.”

“And I am just down the street.”

“I suppose.”

She ran her tongue over her dry lips. “So the whole thing does seem rather—”

“Don’t say it.”

“—convenient.”

Something dangerous came and went in his eyes. “Now I’m getting angry.”

His hands skimmed down her sides, slipped under her shirt and settled on her lace-covered bottom. Her breath went uneven. Searing need swarmed her.

“You want something to believe, believe this.” He pulled her into the solid ridge of his erection. She lost her concentration. “There is nothing convenient about the way I feel about you.”

“I…no?”

“You think you’re not the type to draw a man’s attention, think again. I can’t stand in the same room as you without wanting to taste you. I can’t taste you without wanting to taste all of you.”

Oh, God. Her knees turned to jelly. A hot, wet pulse came to life between her legs.

“If you can’t see in yourself what it is that I see, feel what you do to me.” Taking hold of her wrist, he placed her hand in the center of his chest.

His heart was racing. She tipped her head back and looked into his eyes. Her bones began to liquefy.

“The way you’re looking at me,” she whispered.

“How am I looking at you?”

“Like I’m important.”

“You are.”

She swallowed hard, wanting to believe him. “Like I’m beautiful.”

His lips brushed across her temple and her eyes drifted shut. “I wish you could see yourself the way I see you. Then you would know how beautiful you are.”

Her eyes snapped open as he spun her in his arms. His hands settled on her shoulders, drawing her back against his chest. She gasped at their image reflected in the trio of mirrors that hung on her wall. When had this become a seduction?

~*~*~*~*~ Buy the Book  ~*~*~*~*~

Ebook or  Print

May you always have…Lots of <3–Amie

Chasing Rainbows by Kathleen Long ~ A review & more

♥♥♥♥♥ YOU GOTTA READ THIS BOOK  ♥♥♥♥♥

Bernadette Murphy likes her life. Really, she does. What’s wrong with carrying around an extra ten pounds from fertility treatments? Or having your dog kicked out of obedience school? Again?

What’s that saying about the devil you know? For Bernie, it’s the devil she never expected that changes everything.

Her father’s sudden death leaves a gaping void in her life and is one in a series of events that rock her world. Her husband leaves for another woman, and her best friend announces an unplanned pregnancy at the age of forty-one. Bernie’s behavior goes from acting out to out of hand, and she finds herself in trouble at home, out of work and banned from the mall after a confrontation at the cosmetic counter.

When her mother hands over her father’s book of cryptograms, Bernie realizes his encoded lessons in living might be exactly what she needs to survive. From dealing with her family’s grief to bonding with her best friend’s thirteen-year-old daughter, from dieting and dating to mindless almost-sex with the landscaper, Bernie discovers what her father always knew.

In life, you either choose to sing a rainbow, or you don’t.

For Bernie, the singing is about to begin.

~*~*~*~*~ Review ~*~*~*~*~

It’s not often that I come across a book like this. Where there is something that everyone can relate to–death and grieving, teenage angst, unexpected pregnancy, a romantic relationship that’s falling apart, and family troubles. Oh, and a misbehaved dog. Don’t forget the dog. But even more, Chasing Rainbows is unique because it’ll make you cry, then make you laugh before the tears are even dry on your cheeks.

Those of you who know me know that I HATE to cry. I avoid it at all cost, but I can tell you that with Bernie I cried for different reasons. I cried because I could relate to her, I could understand what she was going through. There is something so inherently loveable about her that I cried because I wanted to help her, but I didn’t know how. That, folks, is the mark of a good book, where you get sucked into the story deep enough to feel that the characters are your best friends, that somehow you’re a member of their circle. You grieve when they grieve, you want to deck the cosmetics girl after them and then spend the rest of your life eluding capture from mall security right along side. And that’s what Kathleen Long has given us in Chasing Rainbows.

And yet despite the wacky humor and intense pain of the characters, Chasing Rainbows rings true, truer than true. Characterization? Story ideas? Editing? I say, a little of all three mixed with the conversational voice of Kathleen Long. I have to admit that when I saw that Chasing Rainbows had 500 plus pages I was a little daunted. With my schedule that would mean a week-long commitment. And yet before I knew it, I had read the first 200 pages in one sitting and was sad when the book ended for me the very next day.

So my thanks goes out to Kathleen Long for a story that’s well-written, well-told, and well-worth the read! Kudos to you!!

~*~*~*~*~ About Kathleen Long ~*~*~*~*~

Author Bio:

A long time ago, in an elementary school far, far away, a very young Kathleen scribbled a story idea in her journal. Then she wrote another, and another. She added several poems, the lyrics to a song or two, a love letter to David Cassidy, and so on and so on. While her early writings never saw the light of day, many of her later works did. And while she did not marry David Cassidy, Kathleen did marry her own Prince Charming. Together, they are raising one drama queen and one obedience-challenged border collie mix in a kingdom divided between suburban Philadelphia and the Jersey shore.

Kathleen is the RITA® nominated, RIO Award and two-time Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence winning author of fourteen novels of contemporary romance, romantic suspense and women’s fiction. Her additional honors include National Readers Choice, Holt Medallion, and Booksellers Best award nominations.

She divides her time between plotting her next book, bribing her little one to pick up her toys, and begging the dog to heel. Life is good. Very, very good.


Connect with Kathleen! 

Web: www.kathleenlong.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kathleenlong
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/KLWords

Buy the Book!

Buy link for Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005VHT1ZM
Buy link for Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chasing-rainbows-kathleen-long/1106660600?ean=2940013295476&itm=1&usri=chasing%2brainbows

~*~*~*~* Giveaway *~*~*~*~

Everyone who leaves a comment below will be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card! If you purchase your copy of Chasing Rainbows before March 12 and send your receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, you will get five bonus entries!**

http://www.clpblogtours.com/2012/01/chasing-rainbows-by-kathleen-long.html

~*~*~*~*~ The Interview ~*~*~*~*~

Kathleen: Hi Amie! Thanks so much for your questions and for inviting me to visit and talk a bit about CHASING RAINBOWS.

Amie: Thanks so much for coming. You may have noticed that I’m a little obsessed with the art of self-publication. So tell me, when did you decide to take the self-pub plunge?

Kathleen: Deciding to self-publish was a big step for me. I’d published thirteen books the traditional way – two for Kensington Publishing and eleven for Harlequin. Because of that, my brain was fully wrapped around the way New York publishing worked. Then I hit a dry spell and saw three proposals make the rounds and remain unsold. All the while, CHASING RAINBOWS sat on my computer and waited.

CHASING RAINBOWS was my first women’s fiction, and as such, my agent hadn’t wanted to shop the project. At the time, she’d wanted me to focus on building my romantic suspense career, so I had. I began to see friends and acquaintances have decent success with self-publishing, and I began to think…and think…and think about putting RAINBOWS out into the world. Lori Devoti, who does an incredible job of formatting, had an opening in her schedule. She offered me a chance to send her CHASING RAINBOWS. I gave Bernie’s story one last edit and sent it off.

Within a matter of days, the book was live. I’m so glad I took the plunge.

Amie: Me too! Is your book available in print as well as in e-formats? How did you find the printer?

Kathleen: Yes, CHASING RAINBOWS is available in print in addition to the various e-formats. I decided to use CreateSpace because of the convenience and ease of managing their system. I loved being able to handle formatting, uploading and distribution choices through their dashboard. I’ve heard other authors complain about formatting difficulties, but once I decided on a trim size and paper type, I used the template they offer and literally cut and pasted my book into their layout. The process was a breeze!

The cover was a bit more difficult, and I have an advantage because I’ve done graphic design in the past. Even so, my spacing was off for the spine, but the CreateSpace review process caught my error and suggested a fix. I’d say, “piece of cake,” but I’d be lying. That part of the process was tedious, and my brain still hurts. In the end, I love how polished the finished print book looks, however.

Amie: Well worth the effort I’d say. Tell me about the artwork. Who did the cover?

Kathleen:I designed the cover for CHASING RAINBOWS last spring. I’d thought about self-publishing at that time, and I’d searched for royalty-free stock photos. I’d tried a variety of images. I’d designed sample covers, and I’d had my friends weigh in on a choice of designs. The cover for RAINBOWS sat on my computer, along with the manuscript, for months. When I made my overnight decision to go for it, the cover was basically ready. I made a few minor tweaks to the fonts, and I was done. The art is actually a combination of two royalty-free photos.

Amie: Fabulous job. The cover is very appropriate and eye-catching. Who did your edits and how many reads did you have before you said, “it’s time?”

Kathleen: CHASING RAINBOWS came to life over a period of three years – in between nine contracted books and the birth of our daughter. It’s safe to say I edited most of the book at least six or seven times, which is a lot for me. I tend to put a lot of time into the planning of a book. I find the writing comes quickly after that.

For RAINBOWS, much of the story is based on real life, so the writing process was quite emotional. I took my time, and I let the story sit between edits. I also am blessed with a group of friends who are incredible authors. During the course of writing the book, authors Sheila Raye, Janice Lynn, Tawny Weber and Beth Andrews each offered wonderful plotting and editing advice. During the past year, author Anna Sugden read and commented on the full book and made characterization suggestions that were incredible. I could not have finished, edited and polished this book without my amazing friends!

Amie: Tell me about successes and things you wish you’d done differently.

Kathleen: CHASING RAINBOWS met with incredible success a few months out of the gate. The book spent multiple weeks on the IndieReader bestseller list, the Wall Street Journal bestseller list and hit the USA TODAY bestseller list. The entire experience left me breathless and humbled.

But, unlike my other titles, I handled the marketing for RAINBOWS after the book’s release. Because of the ease of self-publishing and how quickly I was able to upload the book for sale, I published BEFORE I planned things like review submissions, book tours, and social media promo. I would not do that again. I’m planning ahead now for my new release this spring!

I do want to share one invaluable tip! Two of my friends who have successfully self-published, authors Lindsey Brookes and Mona Risk, pointed me in the direction of the Yahoo group, Indie Romance Ink. I can’t begin to tell you how much I’ve learned from the wonderful authors there. I’m still learning as I go, which is one of the exciting things about the ever-changing world of self-publishing.

Amie: Great advice. Thanks! Now, tell us about your book.

CHASING RAINBOWS is the story of Bernadette Murphy’s journey out of a life that’s stagnated into a life brimming with possibility.

Amie: Where did the story idea come from?

Kathleen: Much of CHASING RAINBOWS was inspired by true life. Bernie’s father dies in exactly the same way my father died. Like Bernie, my father’s death left me reeling, and the grief I felt made me realize I’d never fully dealt with the death of my infant daughter a few years earlier. In CHASING RAINBOWS, I took those two events in my life and twisted them into the fictional world of Bernadette Murphy. I piled on issues relating to family, friendship, self-esteem and career, and the story was born.

I’ve heard countless writers speak about the book of their heart, never fully understanding what they meant. I wrote contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Fun? Yes. Books of my heart? No.

Then I wrote CHASING RAINBOWS. Now, I understand.

Amie: What one thing do you want the reader to walk away with after reading this book?

Kathleen: The book often quotes Bernie’s fictional father. “If life, you either choose to sing a rainbow, or you don’t.” I hope readers will take away the realization that no matter what might be happening in your life at any given moment, it’s never too late to start singing.

Bernie and her story let me stretch my creativity to explore a mix of quirky humor and poignant moments. I love that Bernie is not perfect. As a matter of fact, she’s far from perfect. She makes mistakes. She thinks selfish thoughts. She fails. Yet, she reaches a point in her life at which she decides to get up and try again. She decides to move forward.

If you’ve faced loss, infertility, divorce, disappointment, I believe you’ll find something relatable about Bernie.

Amie: Are you going to try your hand at self-publishing again?

Kathleen: My answer to that question is a big, fat YES! I love the opportunity to bring stories to life that might not otherwise find a home. My next story, VANISHED, is a romantic thriller that made it to a few editorial board meetings in New York but was ultimately rejected. Now, I can let readers decide whether or not they enjoy the story.

These are amazing times for authors and readers, and I’m loving every moment.

Thank you, Amie, for letting me visit with you and your readers today!

Amie: Thanks for coming! Here are Kathleen’s links again–

www.kathleenlong.com

https://www.facebook.com/kathleenlong

https://twitter.com/#!/KLWords

Don’t forget to follow Kathleen Long on her blog tour:

And as always, thanks for stopping by!

Lots of <3–Amie

Heather Hummel ~ The Interview

As promised, I managed to wrangle Heather Hummel (You may remember Heather from yesterday’s review of Write From the Heart) into coming on my blog again today! I know, right? And she was even gracious enough to answer a few questions about her book and writing and stuff like that. So welcome her again–Heather Hummel.

Amie:  So, Heather, tell us, where did the story idea for Write From the Heart come from and how did it come about?

Heather: I hear from a lot of people that they want to “quit their day job” to become a writer. I chose to do it on my 40th birthday…walking away from my gig as a high school teacher. Samantha in Write from the Heart is a fictional character who shows readers just how powerful the use of words be they spoken or thoughts can be, and that changing our “mantras” from negative to positive can change our lives. In addition, because I’m an avid journal writer, I wanted to create a character who proactively changed her life through the use of journal writing, and making her a novelist who quit her day job as an office manager made her relatable to a lot of readers who wanted to do the same thing. Now, I’m not suggesting people do this! This is fiction, after all. But, I am a strong believer in the power of words and believe that how we use them has a great impact on the outcome of our lives.

Amie:  So true! One thing you want the reader to walk away with after reading this book?

Heather: The message delivered in Write from the Heart is focused on the power of thoughts. I have had readers be inspired to go out and buy their own “Positive Journal” like Samantha did…and that’s exactly the “walk away” I wanted…that they walk, run, drive, skateboard even, to the nearest store and buy a positive journal of their own.

Amie: It certainly worked for me. I got mine today! (no lie) Who did your edits and how many reads did you have before you said, “it’s time.”?

Heather: Each book was different. For my first book deal, Gracefully: Looking and Being Your Best at Any Age (McGraw-Hill, 2008), I worked closely with the editor at McGraw-Hill. That was a wonderful experience. We were on the same page, pun intended, about everything. For my first novel, Whispers from the Heart, that was run through a writing group. I gained a lot of feedback and edits from several vantage points and readers. When it came to Write from the Heart, I used and editor friend of mine.

I know “it’s time” when I let out a big sigh, sit back in my chair, pat my dogs’ heads, and feel a huge sense of relief!

Amie: Abso-lutely! How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?

Heather: The Journals from the Heart series was inspired by a publisher who coached me on creating series. For Whispers from the Heart, because it dealt with issues such as teen suicide and emotional abuse, I felt that these were subjects often “whispered” about behind closed doors, and alternatively, I wanted to bring them forth in this novel as sensitive subjects that needed to be explored. Write from the Heart was a natural title for Samantha’s journey as a budding novelist who counts on the power of the pen and journal writing to get through challenging times. The forthcoming Wisdom from the Heart, rounding out the series, introduces Jamie, who gains wisdom in her teens when she learns she’s adopted. It alternates between her being 14 and 40, a time when wisdom is on her side.

Amie: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Heather: I love answering this question because my answer is never what people expect to hear. I tend to follow the lead of George Martin, the Beatles producer, who discourages artists from entering the field of music. When asked why he would discourage aspiring musicians, he simply responds, “Because if you can be discouraged, you should be discouraged.” Those words say a lot. We all have obstacles to overcome, but only those who persevere will make it and what that means in terms of a threshold is different for each individual. So, I discourage them from being a writer…because if they can be, they should be. After that, it’s all research, instinct and great writing.

Amie: I know for me there’s no choice at all. I write because I *have* to. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Heather: I’ve never experienced writer’s block…mostly because I usually have one or two of my own books as works in progress, and a client or two as well. I don’t have time for writer’s block! And with a variety of projects to work on, I always have something to say and write. For me, cycling and photography are my muses, and they help contribute to the creative flow. I’ve had many ideas for books, chapters, and characters come to mind while I’m pedaling down the road. In fact, my book GO BIKE & Other Signs from the Universe is about all of the license plates that I’d see on my bike rides. Naturally, it was on a bike ride that I thought I needed to record them and put them into a book. Most of the best ideas come when you’re not facing the blank screen!

Amie: So true! What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

Heather: The perfect toolbox for every writer would have: passion, patience, persistence, and a dose of pride.

Thank you so much for having me as a guest!

And thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us. For those of you who missed yesterday’s post (go back and read it. I mean seriously! :) ) Here’s Heather’s Bio–

Heather Hummel is a “Photonovelist” who blends her love for photography with her award-winning career as an author. Her published works include:
Journals from the Heart Series:
Whispers from the Heart (2011)
Write from the Heart (2011)
Nonfiction
GO BIKE & Other Signs from the Universe (2011)
Gracefully: Looking and Being Your Best at Any Age (McGraw-Hill, 2008),
Essays:
Messages of Hope and Healing ( Sunpiper Media, 2006)
Blue Ridge Anthology (Cedar Creek, 2007) with David Baldacci and Rita Mae Brown
Awards:
2009 Mature Media Awards, Merit Award
2009 New York Book Festival, Honorable Mention

Heather’s books have appeared in newspapers such as: Publishers Weekly, USA Today and the Washington Post; and in magazines that include: Health, Body & Soul, First, and Spry Living, a combined circulation of nearly 15 million. A graduate with High Distinction from the University of Virginia, Heather holds a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree with concentrations in English and Secondary Education. She is currently earning a Ph.D. in Metaphysical Sciences.

Visit Heather’s website at http://www.heatherhummel.net/
Like Heather’s Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/heatherhummelfanpage
Follow Heather on Twitter @HeatherHummel
http://twitter.com/HeatherHummel

Thanks again for stopping by. Don’t forget to leave a comment on Heather’s Blog Tour page at Chicklit Plus to be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card. For details–

http://www.clpblogtours.com/2011/12/write-from-heart-by-heather-hummel.html

To catch Heather on other stops on her blog tour–

Lots of <3–Amie

Write From the Heart by Heather Hummel ~ A Review

♥♥♥♥♥ You Gotta Read This Book ♥♥♥♥♥

Journals are a woman’s best friend… When Samantha Sounder quits her office manager job the day after yet another boyfriend breaks up with her, the emotional havoc of these two events launches the beginning of her new life. Samantha dives into therapy with Ragnar Axel, a traditional therapist who explores her failed relationships and sends her on a wild goose chase through her old journals to rediscover herself. Despite the unsettling reactions of her best friend, Amanda, and Ragnar, Samantha decides to walk away from the corporate world and follow her dream as a novelist. She sets out to craft her first novel, Winter’s Truth. Hesitantly, she accepts the unexpected guidance from Craig, an unlikely man she meets at the coffee shop. Along her journey, Samantha picks up a new journal and titles it her “Positive Journal,” declaring to only write positive thoughts in it. Samantha’s life transforms from one of despair and loss to hope and faith as she navigates through new territory and explores the possibility of finding love over lattes.

~ The Review ~

Write from the Heart is the second book I’ve read by Heather Hummel, and I have to say it’s my favorite so far. (Yes, that means I hope I’m on Heather’s notification list when new stories come out. I want to read them all. *hint hint*) Samantha Sounders has been through yet another bad break up. This one life changing as she quits her day job and pursues her dream of writing. It’s every writer’s dream–walk out of what pays the bills and throw themselves headlong into what matters most–and Samantha is the position to do just that. I couldn’t help but cheer for Samantha as she makes her dreams a reality. But before she can do that she has to give up on love, and you know what that means–love finds her instead. But the most crucial of her life-changes is the shift from journaling all the negatives in her life and her therapy sessions with Ragnar Axel (yes, I love his name, too, Samantha), and instead she turns her focus to the positives. Samantha buys a new journal and vows to only journal positive thoughts that will further her dreams. And she learns what most of us are still trying to accomplish–what we think about and what we hope for is brought back to us by our attitudes.

Heather’s writing style is gentle and unassuming. The story is uplifting and fun and a great read for everyone but especially those who dream of something different in their lives. I thoroughly enjoyed every word, and I’m so looking forward to the next installment in her series.

Author Bio:
Heather Hummel is a “photonovelist” who blends her love for photography with her award-winning career as an author. Her published works include:

Journals from the Heart Series:
Whispers from the Heart (2011)
Write from the Heart (2011)
Nonfiction
GO BIKE & Other Signs from the Universe (2011)
Gracefully: Looking and Being Your Best at Any Age (McGraw-Hill, 2008),
Essays:
Messages of Hope and Healing ( Sunpiper Media, 2006)
Blue Ridge Anthology (Cedar Creek, 2007) with David Baldacci and Rita Mae Brown
Awards:
2009 Mature Media Awards, Merit Award
2009 New York Book Festival, Honorable Mention

Heather’s books have appeared in newspapers such as: Publishers Weekly, USA Today and the Washington Post; and in magazines that include: Health, Body & Soul, First, and Spry Living, a combined circulation of nearly 15 million. A graduate with High Distinction from the University of Virginia, Heather holds a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree with concentrations in English and Secondary Education. She is currently earning a Ph.D. in Metaphysical Sciences.

**Everyone who leaves a comment at the site below will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! If you purchase your copy of Write from the Heart before March 19 and send your receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, you will get five bonus entries!**

http://www.clpblogtours.com/2011/12/write-from-heart-by-heather-hummel.html

Stay tuned…an interview with Heather is coming soon…

And thanks for stopping by today! Lots of <3–Amie

Trish McCallan ~ Indy Author

Interview Time! I love Interview Time. And today my victim, er…guest is none other than Trish McCallan. You may remember Trish from yesterday’s review blog. Yes, I talked her into two days. How clever am I ! So grab a cup of coffee and pay attention, Trish is going to tell us all about her experience self-publishing her fabulous novel, Forged in Fire.

Amie:  Trish, I have to admire your bravery and dedication for your work and to self publish! I’m sure there are a lot of writers out there who are interested in self-publication but don’t know where to start. (namely, me!) I’d love to hear anything you’d like to share about your self-publication experience.  Like…When did you decide to take the self-pub plunge?

Trish:  I finished Forged in Fire in March of 2011 and started querying agents. By June I had the full out with four agents and the partial out with even more. And then a friend sent me a link to an essay about why an unpublished author should not hire an agent—the essay was by Kris Rusch, of the The Business Rusch.

The Business Rusch was a wakeup call for me. Kris Rusch covered everything that was happening in our industry, and for the first time I questioned whether selling to New York was the smart choice. I spent days reading through the essays Rusch had written on the industry, read through all the comments, followed links to other industry blogs and became convinced that selling to New York would be a death sentence to my career goals. If the traditional houses were already reeling, and we hadn’t even hit the tipping point yet, what would the climate be like in two-three years when my book debuted? (Assuming it sold quickly) Once the tipping point hit, and the majority of the book sales were digital, how would a debut author stand out? Print outlets were declining at an alarming rate, eventually everyone but the bestsellers would be selling mostly digitally through the huge online bookstores like Amazon and B&N. So how in the world would a new author find a reader base? I’m on a lot of readers’ loops, so I know there’s tremendous anger at the traditional houses for the prices they charge for eBooks. A lot of readers won’t even buy digital copies of debut authors’ books because of the price.   

At this point I started researching e-publishers and self-publishing. One of the things I did was track the books on Amazon’s bestselling romantic suspense list in the Kindle Store.  This list ranks the books by how well they are selling. And I made a startling discovery. The books that were selling the most copies and were at the very top of the bestsellers’ list, (the top twenty bestselling romantic suspense) were all self-published. They were either traditional authors’ backlists or unknown authors’ original titles. And they were mostly 2.99 or below. I started tracking traditional authors’ new releases. And discovered that while some of the bestselling authors in my genre might hit the top twenty with their new release, the book only lasted a couple of days at the top before it plummeted. Yet all those cheaper, self-published titles that had been there when the new release hit, were still there when it tanked. It was obvious that readers were buying on price in my genre, not name recognition. At that point I decided to self-publish. I could control the price if I published the book myself. I couldn’t control the price if I went with a traditional house or an e-publisher.

 Amie:  Wow! That’s some great information. Now, is your book available in print as well as in e-formats?

Trish:  No, as of now my book is only available digitally.

Amie:  Tell me about the art work. who did the cover? And how much of a hand did you have in determining the final look?

Trish:  The cover for Forged in Fire was created by Laura Morrigan. But I gave her a detailed description on what I was looking for. I’d studied the best selling romantic thrillers and I discovered all these books featured a sexy guy with a gun on the cover. I also sent Laura a couple of examples of the kind of covers I liked—which gave her a sense of the kind of cover I was looking for.

 Amie:  And now for the dreaded edits…who did your edits and how many reads did you have before you said, “it’s time.”?

Trish:  Jim Thomsen did the copy/line edits for me and Anne Victory did the proofing edits. After I finished the revision off these edits, I sent the book out to another 10 people, through five rounds, and they read for editing errors. The first two people on the first pass found about 66 errors, the second two on the second pass found 22, the third two on the third pass found 10, the fourth two on the fourth pass found 3. When the book came back free of errors on the fifth pass I published it.

Amie:  Now, please tell us about your book.

Trish:  This is Forged in Fire’s blurb:

Beth Brown doesn’t believe in premonitions until she dreams a sexy stranger is gunned down during the brutal hijacking of a commercial airliner. When events in her dream start coming true, she heads to the flight’s departure gate. To her shock, she recognizes the man she’d watched die the night before.

Lieutenant Commander Zane Winters comes from a bloodline of elite warriors with psychic abilities. When Zane and two of his platoon buddies arrive at Sea-Tac Airport, he has a vision of his teammates’ corpses. Then she arrives—a leggy blonde who sets off a different kind of alarm.

As Beth teams up with Zane, they discover the hijacking is the first step in a secret cartel’s deadly global agenda and that key personnel within the FBI are compromised. To survive the forces mobilizing against them, Beth will need to open herself to a psychic connection with the sexy SEAL who claims to be her soul mate.

Amie:  Where did the story idea come from/how did it come about?

Trish:  I actually dreamed the opening to Forged in Fire- then I had to wrap a plot around that opening scene.

Amie:  One thing you want the reader to walk away with after reading this book.

Trish:  I want the reader to stumble away exhausted, because they couldn’t put the book down and stayed up all night reading.  *bg

Amie:  Well, I can vouch for that or at least my big yawns and bleary eyes can! And the most dreaded question of all—are you going to try your hand at self-publishing again?

Trish:  Absolutely, self-publishing was the best decision I have ever made. It’s enabled me to quit my day job and write full time. I’m actually in the production process with a second book. The book, which is called Yesterday’s Child, is scheduled for publishing on the last day of March.

 I can’t wait! Okay, now it’s Trish’s turn. I’m going to turn the blog over to her and she’s going to tell us all of her secrets. Well, maybe not *all* of them. :) Take it away, Trish.

I am a huge proponent of self-publishing. Self-publishing my high octane romantic thriller, Forged in Fire, has completely changed my life. And I mean this in a literal sense. I published the book on September 7th, and by the end of December I had sold over 10,000 copies and earned enough in royalties to enable me to quit my day job and write full time. As of February 28th, 2012 I’ve sold over 20,000 copies of Forged.

Quitting my job to write full time was a dream come true, and a direct result of self-publishing Forged. So believe me when I say that I wholeheartedly believe a previously unpublished and unknown author can build a fan base and make a very good living through self-publishing their work. In fact, I firmly believe that a good book, in a “hot” genre, can make an author more money through self-publishing, than through traditional publishing.

But I am also a realist, and an observer, and I know that few books do as well as my Forged has done. That isn’t to say my success is an anomaly, because it honestly isn’t. There are dozens of previously unpublished and unknown authors who are doing as well, if not better than me. I’m selling peanuts compared to some of these authors.

But the thing is, there are even more books that just aren’t selling at all. For every book that sells well, there are hundreds that aren’t selling at all.

I’m not saying this to discourage anyone from self-publishing. If you want to make a living off your writing, I still believe you have a better shot at doing it by self-publishing your work, then by going with a traditional house. But I also believe that people need to be realistic about their goals—and realistically, making a living through self-publishing is still a long shot. Less of a long shot than trying to make it through a traditional publisher, but still a long shot.

The hard truth is that some books just won’t sell.

Part of this can be attributed to genre. Romantic suspense and romantic thrillers are big sellers in the Kindle store. (which is Forged in Fire’s subgenre) But there are other genres that just don’t sell as well.

Part of this can be attributed to how the book was produced. If the cover doesn’t grab the reader’s attention, the book will tank. If the blurb is unfocused, or has any spelling or editing errors, the book will tank. If the book’s sample chapter has formatting issues, or any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors, the book will tank.

Sometimes a book’s lack of success can be attributed to the author’s writing ability. The vast majority of writers are unable to judge their own work. They can’t tell that their work is sub-standard and not yet ready for publication. But readers can tell, and they won’t buy. Or sometimes they buy just so they can leave horrible, ugly reviews which would devastate any fledgling author.

But sometimes a good book, with strong writing, an interesting premise, a fantastic cover, a great blurb and compelling sample—a book that has been promoted up the ying-yang—still  doesn’t sell. There’s no rhyme or reason as to why. Some books just don’t sell, or at least they don’t sell well.

So while I encourage everyone to throw their hat in the self-publishing arena, I also urge everyone to take a step back and view this path with realistic expectations. Understand that for the typical self-publisher, success comes after years of toil and multiple books. Research the industry so you can maximize your chances of success. Invest in your career by having your work professionally produced. Understand that self-publishing is a constantly changing industry. It is much harder now, to make a big splash, than it was four months ago when I released my debut book.

Why? Because there are dozens of new authors entering the industry every month, because there are dozens of traditionally established authors releasing well-written, fully edited backlist titles, because publishers are realizing that they can’t compete unless they drop their prices, so they’re starting to drop their prices—but mostly because there is a huge glut of free books dominating the market and a lot of readers are browsing these free books instead of the paid ones these days.

None of this means you can’t make it, but it does mean it will be harder, maybe take longer—so walk this new path with your eyes wide open and realistic expectations in your mind.

I’d like to take the time to tell Trish thanks again for visiting and sharing such great information about her publishing experience. If you missed yesterday’s post, I urge you to go back and read my review of Forged in Fire. It’s a fabulous book and a definite steal for the price.

And remember Trish is on a blog tour that includes a giveaway. Here’s the link to enter and to find out Trish’s other stops on her tour.

http://www.clpblogtours.com/2012/01/forged-in-fire-by-trish-mccallan.html

Thanks, dear readers, for stopping by and tons of luck to you, Trish!!

Lots of <3–Amie

Forged In Fire by Trish McCallan ~ A Review

   ♥♥♥♥♥ YOU GOTTA READ THIS BOOK!  ♥♥♥♥♥

Beth Brown doesn’t believe in premonitions until she dreams a sexy stranger is gunned down during the brutal hijacking of a commercial airliner. When events in her dream start coming true, she heads to the flight’s departure gate. To her shock, she recognizes the man she’d watched die the night before.

Lieutenant Commander Zane Winters comes from a bloodline of elite warriors with psychic abilities. When Zane and two of his platoon buddies arrive at Sea-Tac Airport, he has a vision of his teammates’ corpses. Then she arrives—a leggy blonde who sets off a different kind of alarm.

As Beth teams up with Zane, they discover the hijacking is the first step in a secret cartel’s deadly global agenda and that key personnel within the FBI are compromised. To survive the forces mobilizing against them, Beth will need to open herself to a psychic connection with the sexy SEAL who claims to be her soul mate.

~*~*~*~*~* REVIEW *~*~*~*~*~

Wow. Wow! WOW! Can I say it one more time? WOW! Just finished Forged in Fire by Trish McCallan and I was not disappointed. What the cover promises, Trish delivers–A sexy alpha male hero, excitement, and more.  Forged in Fire is a hot, sexy, action-adventure romance with a hero that’s every girl’s dream–a man who believes that he’s met his soul mate in Beth Brown. Too bad he’s got a hijacking to stop. But business can’t keep Zane Winters  from his new objective–convincing Beth they belong together forever.  Aside from the hot as hell love scenes and emotional pull of the romance, what I love best is the fact that Trish manages to pull the reader into the story without boring them with too many facts about how government operations work. I want to get away and have a precarious adventure through the hero and heroine, but I don’t want to learn government infrastructure and protocol above and beyond. I know first hand this feat requires a depth of research like no other. Instead of feeding all the info to the reader, the author has to live the life, submerge themselves into the characters’ thoughts and minds. Then they have to include just the right amount of information without dumping a heap load of technical jargon that pulls the reader away from the true story. My hat’s off to Trish for beautifully executing such a difficult move.  Her characters’ voices ring true. There are no info-dumps and everyone is sympathetic (except for the villain, of course) and believable. Forged in Fire is a must read.  So add it to your TBR list, but make sure it’s next in line. You won’t be disappointed!

~*~*~*~*About TRISH *~*~*~*~

Trish McCallan has been writing for as long as she can remember.

In grade school she wrote children’s stories, illustrating them with crayons and binding the sheets together with pencil-punched holes and red yarn.  She used to sell these masterpieces at her lemonade stand for a nickel a book. Surprisingly, people actually bought them. Like, all of them. Every night she would have to write a new batch for her basket.

As she got older her interest changed to boys and horses. The focus of her literary masterpieces followed this shift. Her first full length novel was written in seventh grade and featured a girl, a horse and a boy. At the end of the book the teenage heroine rode off into the sunset . . . with the horse.

These days she sticks to romantic suspense with hot alpha heroes and roller-coaster plots. Since she is a fan of all things bizarre, paranormal elements always seem to find a way into her fiction. Her current release, Forged in Fire, was the result of a Black Dagger Brotherhood reading binge, a cold, a bottle of NyQuil and a vivid dream.

http://www.amazon.com/Forged-Fire-ebook/dp/B005LPUCB6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1319412497&sr=1-1

www.trishmccallan.com

**Everyone who leaves a comment on Trish’s page will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! If you purchase your copy of Forged in Fire before March 12 and send your receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, you will get five bonus entries! For more details and to enter click the link below.** 

http://www.clpblogtours.com/2012/01/forged-in-fire-by-trish-mccallan.html

And as always, thanks for stopping by. And come tomorrow, I’ve got Trish on again,  talking about her novel and her experience in self-publication.

Lot’s of <3–Amie