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Deviltry Afoot banner

We have a great guest today!  Carol Pritt, author of the paranormal, Deviltry Afoot, is here to answer a few questions about her book and her writing life.  Carol Pritt lives in the northeast Ohio. She has a large family and enjoys reading, writing, spending time her family and pet. She has a Associate Degree in Pre-Professional Journalism and a Associates Degree in Liberal Arts from Lorain County Community College. Deviltry Afoot is her first book. You can visit Carol Pritt’s website at deviltryafoot.com

About the Book:

Deviltry AfootA mother’s love is a powerful force of nature.

Tina’s daughter is savagely murdered.  Tina comes to know the police won’t be able to solve the crime because the answers are to be found in the supernatural realm and sets out determined to find answers herself.

Donald chose evil when he was a living being. Brought back to spirit he continues spreading terror.

As Tina explores, others come to know that something outside the norm is at work in Pendale.

Will the power of love bring light overcoming the spreading darkness?

Will Becky be able to rest in peace?

 

Interview:

Would you call yourself a born writer? 

I was born with the love of writing.

What was your inspiration for Deviltry Afoot? 

It was a interest in the paranormal and “true ghost” stories.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing? 

Good verses evil and does love overcome all.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

It took me about a year.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day. 

I first do a lot of writing in longhand, not all of it but a pretty thorough outline..  Then spend two hours keying it in at the computer.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book? 

Avoiding clichés , example the woman walking down the dark alley with her high heels clicking.

What do you love most about being an author? 

Putting my imagination to paper.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? 

Small press.

What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?  

The process was great, the staff most helpful.  I am glad I chose POD.

Where can we find you on the web? 

deviltryafoot.com

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Traveling for Love banner

Becky DueBecky Due is the new voice of women’s fiction. She has the courage, honesty and writing style for today’s busy women, and she does not cringe away from hard issues. She will leave you feeling strong, self-confident, independent, and in control of your life.

Her books have won, and been finalists in, several independent competitions including the 2011 National Indie Excellence Awards, 2010 Indie Excellence Awards and the 2009 IPPY Awards.

Her novels are not the same story with different characters; she has the ability to cross genres from light-hearted romance to heart-racing suspense to keep her readers entertained and inspired.

Becky has been a guest on national TV and radio programs, and the subject of numerous newspaper and national magazine articles for empowering women with her books. She has served as a guest speaker at Women’s Resource Centers, Shelters, Colleges and High Schools throughout the United States. Becky has had extensive training at Victim Services, worked the 24-Hour Sexual Assault Crisis-Line and was a Victim’s Advocate where she offered one-on-one assistance and support to rape victims. In 2007, she started Women Going Forward, the first national women’s telephone support group, which ran for almost two years. After receiving much recognition for her books, Becky’s focus turned back to her writing and empowering women with her novels.

Her latest book is the women’s fiction, Traveling for Love: Searching for Self, Hoping for Love.

Visit her website at www.BeckyDue.com.

Connect & Socialize with Becky:

TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

Traveling for Love lgWould you call yourself a born writer?

Yes. Writing is my life. I didn’t realize that writing was such an important part of me until my late twenties, although there were signs along the way. I wish I had listened to my teachers (and my gut) when I was younger. I remember, in seventh grade, thinking, “Maybe I should be a writer.” I’m not sure why I waited so long, maybe I needed to accumulate some life experiences… and I have. J

What was your inspiration for Traveling for Love: Searching for Self, Hoping for Love?

I hate to admit this, but I wasn’t feeling good about myself in my own marriage so I created Amanda and I went on the journey with her. I wanted to write a romance, something uplifting, but romance novels seem so far from reality.I needed her, as a forty year old, to go through what many of us go through in our twenties. She needed some heartache before discovering who she was and what she really wanted.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

I love all topics of women’s issues. I think most women are such nurturing givers that we often forget to take care of ourselves and give back to ourselves. All of my novels cover issues of empowerment, and encourage women to make themselves a priority.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

Well, because I’m not a multi-tasker, once I know the basics of my storyline and I’m ready to write it, I write. I do nothing else. But like all of my books, Traveling for Love took years of experiences. I loved writing this story, it was a fun and crazy rollercoaster. Fortunately, through the process I learned a lot about myself, my choices and my marriage.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I was disciplined while writing Traveling for Love, but I have to say, I’m struggling a little with the novel I’m working on now. I took a year off from writing because I was going through some life changes and I’m trying to get back into the swing of things. But typically, on a good writing day, I wake up around four or five in the morning, make coffee and start writing before I have my first sip. I lose all sense of time until around ten o’clock at night when I’m exhausted and force myself to go to bed. On my uninspired days, like what I’m currently going through, I find distractions—I can’t write today; I have to cut back the shrubs, clean the basement or buy a bike—seriously, the excuses I come up with are ridiculous. I do think off days are good for me, and during those days I’m writing in my mind, taking notes, talking into my phone recorder and putting my ring on my other finger to remember some important point I need to make in the story. I’m convinced that I can’t have good writing days if I don’t have a few unproductive writing days.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Amanda, the main character, changed a few times—I changed her age and some of her choices. I wanted her to struggle with love, career and her truth, as so many of us do.In the beginning of the story, which is the ending of her marriage, Amanda doesn’t know who she is or what she wants and it takes her some time, a couple different men and some life experiences to figure that out.

What do you love most about being an author?

I love everything about being an author, even the torturous parts. I love creating stories and I especially love when people read and enjoy my stories. There is nothing better in the world. Though I have many friends, I’m kind of a loner, somewhat introverted. To me finding my passion and becoming an author was all about finding the place where I fit in. Being an author allows me to honor my introspective personality.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

It seems I did everything backward. I started by looking for an agent and going the traditional route with my first novel, The Gentlemen’s Club. I had 8 interested agents but they alltold me to have the manuscript professionally edited. I couldn’t afford a professional editor so my book sat on a shelf until I was in a better financial position. A couple years had passed and I didn’t want to start over again, looking for an agent, so I began working with an editor, started my own publishing company, and published several books. Traveling for Love is the first book published by another company. Because of the changing times in publishing, this has been a wonderful move for me. Luckily, I maintain all the rights and can control the price point of the ebooks, which I happily made available for only 99¢. I’ve also published all of my novels on audio; I love to listen to novels while I’m stuck in traffic. Although I have moved toward the eproducts,loving the quick ease of receiving a book I want to read within seconds, my books are available in paperback. I still love to hold a book in my hands. I’ve never been happier with the business side of writing because I’m able to focus on my favorite part—writing.

Where can we find you on the web?

I’m on Twitter and Facebook, I have a website with great information and I also blog empowering, inspiring postsa couple times a week. Oh, and if you join my Facebook page you’ll automatically receive my blog posts and you’re automatically entered to win free books in our monthly giveaway.

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ImageKim Antieau has written many novels, short stories, poems, and essays. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, both in print and online, including The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Asimov’s SF, The Clinton Street Quarterly, The Journal of Mythic Arts, EarthFirst!, Alternet, Sage Woman, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. She was the founder, editor, and publisher of Daughters of Nyx: A Magazine of Goddess Stories, Mythmaking, and Fairy Tales. Her work has twice been short-listed for the Tiptree Award, and has appeared in many Best of the Year anthologies. Critics have admired her “literary fearlessness” and her vivid language and imagination. She has had nine novels published. Her first novel, The Jigsaw Woman, is a modern classic of feminist literature. Kim lives in thePacific Northwest with her husband, writer Mario Milosevic.

Her latest book is Her Frozen Wild.

Learn more about Kim and her writing at www.kimantieau.com.

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About Her Frozen Wild

Scientists in the Altai inSiberiauncover the 2,500 year old frozen mummy of a tattooed priestess or shaman. This mummy has the same mtDNA (mitochondrialDNA) as American archaeologist Ursula Smith whose mother disappeared inSiberia30 years earlier. Ursula travels from theU.S.toSiberiato unravel the mystery of the “lady” and meets Sergei Ivanovich Polyakov, a Russian doctor who graciously invites her into his home. After they become lovers, she discovers he has the same tattoos on his body as the tattooed lady. He tells a disbelieving Ursula that they have met before and she is destined to save the ancient People, considered as devils by some and shape-changing gods by others. A shaman takes Ursula to one of the sacred timeless caves where Ursula’s mother supposedly disappeared. When Ursula allows the shaman to tattoo her, she is thrown back in time where she must unlock the mystery of the People and their link to her past in order to save them and Sergei—even if it costs her her life.

Interview

Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about yourself?

I live in a small town inWashingtonStatein the beautiful Columbia River Gorge with my husband, writer Mario Milosevic. I grew up inMichigan, and Mario and I met atMichiganStateUniversitywhen we both attended a six-week writing workshop there one summer. We’ve lived out West for nearly thirty years and consider it our home now. We like to get out into the woods as much as we can and hike. Once a year we go toArizonaon a writing retreat. That helps us survive all the rain!

When did you decide you wanted to become an author?

I’ve been a writer for almost as long as I can remember. When I was in first grade, I won an art prize for something I had drawn. I got a lot of praise for that. It was very exciting for a six-year-old, but I remember thinking that I probably couldn’t make a living as an artist so I should become a writer instead. To this day I have no idea where a six-year-old would come up with something like that! And I now know from experience that making a living as a writer isn’t any easier than it is for an artist.

ImageDo you have another job besides writing?

Yes, I’m also a librarian. I was a branch manager, which meant I ran a public library. Now I’m a selector. This means I get to buy books for a living. For a long time I selected all the adult fiction for our library district. Now I select all the young adult books and graphic novels, for all ages.

Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?

I was book crazy. I read everything and anything. We had lots of history books in the house, and I gobbled those up. We also got mail order books where there’d be two books in one. They were so cool because you’d read one and flip it over and there’d be another cover and another book. I loved the classics: Jungle Book, Wizard of Oz, Swiss Family Robinson, Gulliver’s Travels, Little Women. I read Charles Dickens, Alexander Dumas, Jules Verne. I also read any horse book I could find. I loved anything that was strange and wonderful, but I didn’t really discover science fiction until I was in college. I’m not sure why. Maybe my library segregated the science fiction so I never saw it. In any case, I was eclectic in my tastes. I read pretty much anything my parents brought into the house or anything I could get from the library. I liked adventure stories. I loved the Black Stallion series and the Narnia series.

Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.

I read a National Geographic magazine article about the discovery of a mummy in Siberia. They called her the “ice maiden.” She was tattooed, and she was buried with a conical hat and other items that made archaeologists believe she was a priestess or shaman. As soon as I read the article, I knew I would have to write about her. That’s when Her Frozen Wild was born. In my book, archaeologists uncover a frozen tattooed female mummy in the Altai inSiberia, too. But when they take a DNA sample and put it in the worldwide DNA database, they discover her DNA matches almost perfectly with Ursula Smith’s DNA, aPortland archaeologist who is peripherally involved in the project. Nobody can explain how this could have happened since Ursula is inPortland and has never been toSiberia, and the mummy has been encased in ice for 2,500 years. Despite being terrified of flying, Ursula travels toSiberia to unravel the mystery of the “lady.” She meets Sergei Ivanovich Polyakov, a Russian doctor who invites her into his home. After they become lovers, she discovers Sergei has the same tattoos on his body as the tattooed lady. He tells a disbelieving Ursula that they have met before and she is destined to save the ancient People, considered as devils by some and shape-changing gods by others. Ursula can’t imagine she is destined for anything, but she goes with Sergei and a shaman to one of the sacred timeless caves where her mother supposedly vanished thirty years earlier. When Ursula allows the shaman to tattoo her, she is thrown back in time where she has to unlock the mystery of the People and their link to her past in order to save them and Sergei.

Did your book require a lot of research?

Yes! I probably did more research for this novel than I ever have. I generally enjoy research. I’m a librarian and a writer, so research comes naturally to me. But I had to learn a lot about a lot of topics for Her Frozen Wild. Archaeology is an avocation of mine, but I’m not an archaeologist. I hung out with an archaeologist for a while and interviewed her. Of course I learned everything I could about the Siberian ice mummies, and I kept in touch with an archaeologist who had traveled to the Altai and researched the mummies. I learned as much as I could about the Scythians, who lived in that part of the world. Some scholars have theorized that the Scythians were the source of the stories of the Amazons. I learned all about bear mythology, too. In fact, my husband and I spent some time with a modern-day Siberian shaman and became part of the Bear Clan. I also learned everything I could about cave art, tattooing, shape-shifting legends, alchemy, and Russian flora and fauna.

They say authors have immensely fragile egos… How would you handle negative criticism or a negative review?

Some of the best advice I ever got about writing was from writer Algis Budrys. He said we should ignore reviews. “You’re never as bad as they say,” he said, “and you’re never as good as they say.” I do try to ignore reviews. Fortunately, most professional reviewers have been kind to my work. It does hurt when you find something that seems harsh and cruel from a reader on some website. I try to remember that it’s just one person’s opinion.

When writing, what themes do you feel passionate about?

I seem to write a lot about finding home. I didn’t realize this for years. Writers are often oblivious to their own themes! Then I discovered that I had ended three of my novels with the word “home.” I tried to figure out what that meant, but I’m still not! I have been trying to find a place to call home all of my adult life, a place where I feel valued, where people live in harmony and kindness with one another and the environment. I do know most of my books are about how we as humans live together on this Earth.

Do you have any unusual writing quirks?

I can’t start writing a novel until I have a title. I don’t like this particular quirk! I usually come up with a title fairly quickly, but there have been times when I just couldn’t get one I liked. If I can’t get a title, I can’t start the book. This is very frustrating. I am trying to get over this little quirk.

What is your opinion about critique groups? What words of advice would you offer a novice writer who is joining one? Do you think the wrong critique group can ‘crush’ a fledgling writer?

I’m afraid I’m wary of critique groups. I was fortunate enough to go to college where I took many writing classes. This was a great foundation because I learned a lot about technique. Teachers were able to tell me what was working and what wasn’t necessarily working. The downside to that was that my writing teachers didn’t like or understand anything genre. Once I wrote a science fiction story, and my writing professor wrote in the margins that he didn’t know what to say about it. “If you must write this sort of thing, I suppose it’s all right,” he wrote. I was astonished! So I do think it’s good to have people read what you’re writing, especially when you’re first starting out. But writing groups can be harmful. As writers, we need to develop our own voices. We can’t develop Joan Didion’s voice or Stephen King’s voice; we need our own. I’m not sure you can develop your own voice when a whole chorus of people are telling you what they think you’re doing wrong. People in these groups often start writing for the group in a way that will get approval. The work coming from a particular critique groups starts sounding alike. I have been a part of some writing groups that were helpful. These were the ones where we met as peers not to critique one another but to share our work, if we wanted, and to talk about our process and how we were doing living the writing life.

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Over the years, authors who wanted to promote their books directly to the public had one main option; you had to physically travel across the country conducting book signings and readings in various bookstores and praying that people would show up. This meant spending money on flights, hotels, transportation and meals. This traditional type of book tour is expensive and very few publishing companies are willing to pay for them. But now, authors have a new method of ‘touring the world’―the virtual book tour.

Virtual book tours (also known as virtual author tours, guest blogging, blog tours, or VBTs are a simple concept. The author “tours” various blogs and sites that pertain to a theme in the book or to writing in general. This way, you can potentially reach thousands of avid readers each tour day from the privacy of your office or home. The goal of marketing your book is to expose it to as many people as possible in an exciting, cost-effective and entertaining way. Guest blogging can achieve that goal. Most blogs are archived, so your post becomes permanent and often viral, spreading from site to site. That is leverage. You are in essence leveraging your internet presence and duplicating yourself with every VBT stop. Your blog tour is working for you even while you sleep. Try doing that at a bookstore signing!

Virtual author tours really took off in the past year or two. They began with a handful of authors posting to other blogs in order to promote their works online. They announced those dates just as they would a bona fide book signing. This kind of author tour is now becoming all the rage. Some bookstores are no longer allowing authors to do book signings. Limited space and time constraints are the common reasons. Plus, it just isn’t time efficient and monetarily feasible for most authors to do the physical cross-country bookstore tour. Well, unless you are one of the super authors that get paid the big bucks, like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. And since I am neither, I decided to hold my first blog tour this past August―for the entire month―to promote my latest novel Whale Song.

Virtual book tour services and book marketing experts are popping up all over the internet. Authors can now outsource the organization of a VBT. I suggest that you thoroughly check out these companies and ask yourself if the price is worth it. Some services cost thousands of dollars, while some cost less but only post your content to duplicate sites―ones they have set up themselves. The latter is not an advantage to you. You need to have wide coverage and exposure to various sites and audiences. Go where your readers are. Planning a VBT is time-consuming, but not that difficult. You may find it more worthwhile to take the time to plan your own blog tour, since you’ll have more control over who hosts you this way. Or you may decide that hiring someone to coordinate the tour is best. Do what’s right for you. I chose to do my own because I wanted to have flexibility in what each site posted and I enjoyed the contact with my hosts.

How to organize a virtual book tour:
• Start planning at least 1 month before you want to begin, and never before your book is available for sale. I suggest you allow 1 month when planning a 2 week tour and 6 weeks for a 1 month tour. It takes time to get the hosts lined up and on board and you don’t want to shortchange yourself.
• Read everything you can find on virtual book tours. There are numerous articles online and many books that give great advice. Check out Steve Weber’s Plug Your Book! for VBT advice and more, and John Kremer’s 1001 Ways to Market You Books for numerous marketing tips.
• Determine the length of your book tour―1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month.
• How many hosts will you need? 1 a day is best. If you have a radio interview, you could have it scheduled on a day when you have a text post appearing on another blog.
• Make a list of keywords and phrases that relate to your book.
• Search for these terms on Google and look for any sites that show up on the first page. Sites on the first Google page are the ones that your potential audience will find more easily. Make a note of these sites or save them in your Favorites under a folder marked ‘VBT contacts’.
• Search Technorati as well, although personally I found this method more time-consuming and confusing. Look for sites that have a high Authority and high number of Fans. Keep in mind that Authority means that people have voted for this blog, but that it doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best site for you.
• Use Alexa to get traffic results. Some sites or blogs may not rank well on Google or Technorati but may still be a viable host for your VBT.
• Look at the amount of reader participation. Do people leave comments? Is the topic of the site ‘perfect’ for your book? Often lesser known sites and ones without a Google PageRank are little goldmines. You may find that the host will go out of his or her way to advertise you and your VBT. Don’t ignore sites by friends or fellow authors either. One day these sites could score an 8 or 9 on Google.
• Install and use Google PageRank. This is a simple tool that allows you to view the Google Rank of sites and blogs, which is Google’s interpretation of how important the site is based on the authority of inbound links that lead to the site. Go through your list and check their Google PageRank. List them in order of importance and contact the highest ranking ones first. In the beginning, contact about 25% more hosts than you actually need. Not all will say yes.
• Write an email that you’ll send individually to each potential host. Let them know what you’re doing and what you can supply. I always like to point out the benefits to hosts―more traffic, new visitors, fresh and interesting content, prizes, and a link on my website. What’s in it for them? That’s what they want to know. Make sure you ‘hook’ your host, just like you would with a query letter to a publisher.
• Internet radio and promotional sites that charge small fees also make wonderful hosts. ArtistFirst Radio Network and Passionate Internet Voices Radio are online radio networks that interview authors in exchange for a donation or small fee. For an a la carte or membership fee, Author Island is another excellent site for authors holding a virtual book tour. You can post a book trailer and excerpt, plus advertise your contests and tour.
• Confirm hosts’ dates, topics and ask them to post the night before. This way you are not waiting all morning for them to post your content. Let them know you’ll send them the information 3-5 days before their date. If you send it too early they may lose, misfile or delete it. What will you submit? Each blog or site will usually feature one or a combination of the following: a book cover, a summary or synopsis, an interview, book review, an article that fits the site’s theme, a short story, an excerpt, a contest, an audio-cast or a book trailer video.
• Advertise your VBT via online and media press releases. It is a great investment, since it’s no good doing a virtual book tour if no one knows about it. One leading press release distribution service that I use almost exclusively is 24-7PressRelease.com, where you can pay from $10.00 to $299.00, depending on your distribution requirements. However, I can attest to the fact that a $45.00 release is the minimum you’ll want and its effectiveness is worth it. Other online services include PRWeb and WebWire, and don’t forget to send releases to the free services too, like ClickPress.com and FreePress.com. Press releases can be extremely beneficial if written correctly and distributed extensively to the right audience, and this means submitting them to your local media (newspapers, TV, radio) as well.
• Publicize your virtual book tour and other events on BookTour.com, a free site that connects authors to readers by listing author events and making it easy for readers to set up reminders and track their favorite authors.
• Promote your VBT on all your websites and blogs on an events page. Put up a schedule with your hosts’ home page URL. I found it more exciting to post a weekly schedule the day before the week began. It prevented people from going to host sites too early and kept them coming back to my website to see where I’d be going next. I promoted the ‘mystery’, which worked to my advantage since I’m a suspense author. This also gave me 1 extra blog post each week, and therefore new content.
The day before each virtual stop:
• Send out a reminder to your host and ask them to post that night. Make sure they have book cover jpgs, your photo and anything else they might need.
The morning of each stop:
• Confirm that your host has posted your content. Check the site. Copy the full URL that leads directly to your post. The home page will change and you want your links to always lead to the exact page that the host has created just for your content.
• Change the home page URL on your schedule to the exact page link. This is how you really leverage yourself. Now when someone stumbles across your schedule and clicks on the link, they’ll be directed to your post, not your host’s ever-changing home page.
• Write an introduction about the day’s stop and post it everywhere. Copy the first paragraph or two of the interview or article and use that for your intro. Post intros to all websites and blogs that you have access to. Don’t forget to post to your Amazon blog, MySpace blog and MySpace bulletin. The latter goes out to all your MySpace friends. Make sure you have some!
Follow-up:
• Check your host site frequently throughout the day for comments and answer any questions directly on your host site. Do this every other day afterward for about a week. Offer to write a possible follow-up article, depending on what you posted originally.
• Assess the success of your virtual book tour. Set up TitleZ and/or Charteous to monitor your book’s Amazon sales rank throughout the VBT. You should see some lower ranks (lower is better!) during your blog tour, particularly if you have a contest or incentive that inspires more sales of your book. Be creative and have fun!
Authors are now starting to comprehend the full potential that blog tours have to offer and how they benefit everyone involved. You could sign books at a bookstore for three hours plus driving time and reach a few hundred people yet sell only to a few dozen, or you could organize a VBT and promote to millions of people worldwide. Virtual book tours take time, patience and research, but as I have discovered, they are definitely worthwhile. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So why not start today? You have the entire world at your fingertips!

~*~

If you found this article helpful, please consider picking up a copy of Cheryl’s newest novel Whale Song through Amazon.

©2007 Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Cheryl Kaye Tardif is the author of The River, Divine Intervention and the Amazon bestseller Whale Song. Among her peers, she is known for her perseverance and tireless dedication in book promotion. In August 2007, she was the first Kunati Books author to hold a virtual book tour with 35 stops. In September 2007, Cheryl will be speaking about book marketing strategies at the 8th Annual “Express Yourself…”™ Authors’ Conference in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Over the years, she has appeared on television and radio, and in newspapers and magazines across Canada and the US.

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