I didn’t always participate in online “loops” and “groups” but have since found several that I joined.  I find the return on that investment to be worth it.  Of course, I don’t spend all day long participating in discussions, but rather, I sign up for the daily digests and skim through for anything interesting and useful to me.  I also utilize my participation in such groups as a marketing tool.  It’s a good way for me to get the word out about my current releases, contests I’m running and other writing related news. 

Yes, some people may have 3rd grade level comments and like to start trouble, but I haven’t been affected by that.  Such comments have not been my experience in these groups.  On the contrary, I’ve found them very helpful. 

I have also started my own group ~ Authors and Readers of Romance ~ http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Authorsandreadersofromance and I like being the group moderator because I can remove someone from the group for not playing nicely. 

I think the key is to find the right group to belong to.  If you find a group of people who play nicely together and don’t start fights, then your experience in networking together can be great and well worth the time and effort you invest. 

At my yahoo group, we want to create an online community where authors and readers of romance novels can communicate and learn from each other.  I’d love for the readers to feel just as important as the authors ~ because without readers, authors would not have a job. 

My yahoo group is having a Romance Author Chat on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011 from 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm EST.  We’d love to see you there and we’d also love to have you participate in our yahoo group…so far no one’s been booted out!  ;-)

 
 
My fellow romance author, Anne Holly, recently posted her Writing Resolutions for 2011 and it inspired me to write my own.  You can check out her resolutions on her blog: http://anneholly.blogspot.com

I will not limit myself and put God in a box ~ His ways are not my ways.  He knows what He is doing and has a perfect plan for my life.

I resolve to write every day ~ at least one section or up to one chapter a day in my current WIP.

I determine that I will keep the fun in writing and not get discouraged with the enormous task of marketing my books.

I decide today that 2011 will be a great year, even if things don’t go according to my own plans.  I will trust in Divine Providence.

I doggedly plan to make every effort to succeed and share my work with others, hoping that my words can make a difference in their lives.

No matter how things turn out, I will keep on writing books because that is my passion and I am so thankful for the opportunities I have been given.  I want to do the best that I can with what I’ve been given and be a good steward of my talents.  God has a plan for your life, too ~ just trust in His Divine Providence to be your guiding light!
 
 
Book Review of Destiny’s Dream, by Delia Latham  

Title:  Destiny’s Dream (Book One: Solomon’s Gate Series)

Author:  Delia Latham

Publisher:  White Rose Publishing

Purchase Link:  http://www.whiterosepublishing.com/Destiny39S-Dream

Pre-Release Date:  Dec. 17, 2010 from www.whiterosepublishing.com

Official Release Date:  Jan 18, 2011 on www.amazon.com

 

From the moment I began reading Destiny’s Dream, Ms. Latham captivated me with her intriguing plot and engaging characters.  We meet Destiny May when she is at a low point in her life, with the passing of her mother.  She meets Clay for the first time when he shows up at the wrong funeral, her mother’s.  I love the chemistry between these two characters, even from that first edgy encounter.  Ms. Latham truly understands how to weave a story full of likable characters that you instantly become friends with. 

Through God’s leading, Destiny begins a Christian dating agency in her town and she has to deal with Clay’s initial negative reaction to her venture, as well as being threatened by an anonymous caller who does not approve of her line of work.  Ms. Latham’s attention to detail draws you into the small town of Castle Creek and you are swept up in intrigue, romance and God’s protective hand.  By the last page, I found myself wanting to read more about Destiny and Clay and was sad I finished the book.  You don’t want to miss Destiny’s Dream.  It’s a must read!

                                                        Rating ~ Excellent 

Delia Latham ~ Destiny’s Dream Excerpt:

The dim porch light revealed her smile.  “I had a wonderful evening, Gallagher.  Thank you.”

Clay’s eyes were fixed on her lips.  Could they possibly be as soft as they looked?  With a monumental effort, he managed to tear his gaze upward, only to find her green eyes every bit as magnetic.

He tugged gently on a loose tendril of hair.  “I’m glad, ma jolie dame. Maybe we can do it again?”

Lowering her gaze, she spoke so softly he almost missed it.  “I’ll look forward to it, monsieur.”

Just when Clay thought he couldn’t resist at least a brush of those inviting lips with his own, Destiny’s spontaneous humor—apparently never far from the surface—prevented him from losing control.  Her lips parted in an enchanting smile and she shrugged one shoulder.  “I’m afraid that’s all the French I know, and I only learned it tonight.”

Clay chuckled.  So now what?  Should he just say good night and go?  Should he kiss her?  Man, I can’t believe how much I want to kiss her.  Shake her hand?

He settled for pulling her into a gentle hug, making it possible to drop a feather-light kiss onto her hair.  I think I like you far too much, pretty lady.  Grinning in the dusky darkness, he decided it was all right to say the words aloud.  “Je crois que je vous aime bien trop, la jolie dame.”  Stepping back, he took the key from her unresisting fingers and opened the door.  With a final touch—the brush of a finger under her chin—he turned and walked away.

He almost reached his car door before she called out, just as he’d hoped she would. “Clay?”

He turned.

“What was it you said?”

He sent her a little grin he hoped was mysterious, raised a hand in farewell, then slid behind the wheel and drove away.  A fellow had a right to keep a thing or two to himself.
 
 
DELIA LATHAM is a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend.  While she considers each of these roles important ones, she treasures most of all her role as a child of the King and an heir to the throne.

A former newspaper staff writer, Delia promised herself a novel for years, while raising her four children, working at various jobs and writing the occasional article, poem, or song.  She fulfilled that promise when Vintage Romance Publishing released Goldeneyes  in 2008. A Christian historical romance with a touch of the divine, Goldeneyes  is set in the farm country of the author’s childhood, and therefore close to her heart.  In 2010, White Rose Publishing released Yesterday’s Promise  in electronic format.  A children’s book will be available in December 2010.

Delia grew up in Weedpatch, a tiny agricultural community near Bakersfield, in California’s San Joaquin Valley.  She and her husband Johnny recently transplanted from that area to Okmulgee County, Oklahoma.

Find out more at:

Website  
Blog
Facebook Reader Page 
Newsletter 

Destiny’s Dream, the first book in the Solomon’s Gate series, released Dec. 17 from White Rose Publishing:

Is a little respect too much to ask at a parent’s funeral?

Apparently it is for Destiny May.  Her mother’s “going away party” is crashed by an unfamiliar and totally irreverent guest.  Difficult to ignore, Clay Gallagher is built like a small mountain and far more vocal than is fitting for the occasion.  When it turns out the annoying stranger is not even at the right funeral, Destiny demands retribution in the form of an escape from the day’s dreary proceedings.

From the beginning, their relationship has some kinks – starting with Destiny’s determination to found a Christian dating service in their conservative town of Castle Creek.  A highly esteemed investment broker, Clay has little respect or patience for such a frivolous profession.  But when Destiny is threatened by an anonymous caller who deeply resents her and what she does for a living, Clay makes it his business to keep the saucy redhead out of harm’s way.

Trouble is, spending time in her company weakens his defenses … and Cupid’s arrows are known to fly straight to the heart.

Available from White Rose Publishing and Amazon.

Yesterday’s Promise, from White Rose Publishing:

A missing bridegroom.  A broken heart.  Life will never be the same for Hannah Johns.  With God’s help, she can make it on her own, but can she ever trust love again?

Brock is drawn to the beautiful lounge singer, but his shadowy past won’t set him free.

Can these two troubled hearts possibly find a future together?

Available from White Rose Publishing and Amazon

Goldeneyes, from Vinspire Publishing:

A man’s eyes are the windows to his soul … if he has one.

In the darkness of a Depression-era night, a man addicted to alcohol commits a heinous crime that impacts the lives of two entire families, and over two decades will pass before the horrible wrong begins to be made right.

Available at Vinspire Publishing and Amazon

Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?

I’ve often wondered if I was born with a pencil in my hand. J  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to write.  As a very small child, I remember making up songs and scribbling my little ideas onto paper.  After I won an essay contest in third grade, I knew I wanted to be a writer, and could rarely be found without a notebook and pen.  I wrote songs, poems, little stories—even became the editor of a little newspaper for the parochial school I attended.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

They are composites of real people, with a little imagination thrown in to make them even more interesting.  I like to people watch, and often take notes on the little idiosyncrasies and quirks I witness. Sometimes when I’m watching television, I’m busy jotting down quirky personality traits…funny expressions…unusual gestures and body language.  It helps when I need to create a memorable character.

What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books? 

I had lived in Bakersfield, California—three hours from Yosemite National Park—all my life, but had never been there.  A friend of mine had recently moved to Oakhurst, not much over an hour from the Park, when I decided to set Yesterday’s Promise there.  She insisted I come to her place and stay for a week.  Reta became my tour guide of Yosemite, and even turned over her sweet little office and computer to me for the duration of my visit.  And Yosemite itself…well, it definitely qualifies as interesting research!

Are you currently working on any new book projects?

I’m working on the third book in my Solomon’s Gate seriesGypsy’s Game. Book One, Destiny’s Dream, released December 17th.  Kylie’s Kiss will be the second novel, followed by Gypsy’s Game.  This series is based around a Christian dating agency called…yeah, you guessed it, Solomon’s Gate.

Who is your favorite contemporary author?  Are you currently reading any contemporary novels?

I have a sizeable basket of to-be-read books.  Since I write reviews for a couple of different publishing houses and several favorite author friends, books are never in short supply around my place. The biggest majority of them are inspirational fiction.  However, it might surprise some of my readers to know that my favorite novels ever are Stephen King’s The Stand and Robert R. McCammon’s Swan Song.  Whileneither of these books would in any way fit into the “inspirational” genre, both are absolutely unforgettable, epic novels of good vs. evil.

What’s your writing schedule like?  When do you find time to write?

I’m blessed to be able to dedicate myself to writing.  As an empty-nester, other than the occasional visits from my children and grandchildren—which I treasure--

I’m pretty much free to write all day every day if I choose to.  I don’t do that, but I do spend a good portion of each day doing something writing related.  Since August, I’ve finished Destiny’s Dream, written all of Kylie’s Kiss, and am over halfway through Gypsy’s Game. (These are all 60,000-word novels.)  I’ve also written four chapters on a Christmas romance that came up unexpectedly, and compiled a collection of stories as a special project for Kindness Inc. Obviously, I spend more time in my office than out of it…

Do you have any writing idiosyncrasies?

I tend to act out my characters’ gestures.  One might walk into my office at any given time and find me doing rather odd things while I sit at my desk.  How else is a writer supposed to know how to describe what it looks like when a heroine widens her eyes to the size of quarters while lifting the back of her hand to her forehead and dropping her chin to her chest?  I ask you!

What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you? ~ POV issues; using too much passive voice and not enough active voice; trouble creating active and engaging dialogue; using too many similar words in starting sentences; or something else?

Creating conflict.  I have to resist the urge to make things easy for my characters—the same way I always wanted to do for my kids. But children who never have to deal with problems themselves don’t develop into responsible adults.  In the same way, too little conflict in a story makes for dull characters and uninteresting reading.  The best writers advise deciding what would be the worst possible thing that could happen to your hero/heroine—and then making it happen.  I’m still working on that.  I also have to really watch myself or I’ll get stuck on a certain type of body language (like hiking the eyebrow) and way overuse it.

Delia, thank you for stopping by today; I enjoyed our conversation! 

                                                                 ~~~~~~

Tomorrow, you can get a special sneak peak at an excerpt from Delia’s new novel, Destiny’s Dream. 
 
 
Do you love to read romance novels?  Then we’re looking for you to join our yahoo group:  Authors and Readers of Romance. 

You can visit our group at this website:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Authorsandreadersofromance

We are a group of authors and readers who love romance novels. This is a group for authors to promote their novels, share contests they're hosting, post excerpts and network with other authors.

However, just as importantly, this is also a group for readers to connect with romance authors and ask questions, as well as learn about authors' upcoming releases etc.  We want to facilitate an online community group where readers can connect with authors.

Please note that we’d like to keep this group PG-13 rated.  We are accepting members in all genres of romance and want to find a happy medium of "PG-13 rated" content when posting.

Here is a listing of our suggested topics for this Yahoo Group to stimulate conversation during the week.

Sunday – Share something inspirational (authors and readers)

Monday – Authors post an interesting fact about themselves or answer readers’ questions

Tuesday – Authors post an excerpt from their books; readers talk about their favorite romance novels

Wednesday – Are you running a book contest? Post information about it.

Thursday – Authors give a summary of their latest release and share purchase links

Friday – TGIF ~ Post fun facts about your writing journey, give advice to aspiring writers or explain why you write and how you write your novels

Saturday – Anything (writing-related / romance genre) that you’d like to post…blatant promotion is allowed. :-)

 
 
Samantha Fury was born in Kentucky, the daughter of a coal miner & a loving homemaker.  She’s an only child so she spent many hours using her imagination to keep her busy.  She graduated from high school, married in 1986 and began what she calls her 'life on the road.'

Samantha and her husband spent over 18 years traveling over the road. This gave her lots of experience for the backgrounds of her Novels.  Her imagination takes her many places, and she hopes that her Novels can uplift, entertain, and be a blessing to her readers.

She writes Life Fiction, each story will have a bit of romance, but they will also have real life struggles, a little detective work, and humor when at all possible.  She has many stories to tell, and she hopes to be around writing for many years to come.

You can visit her website at:  http://www.samfury.webs.com

Her book is available on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Street-Justice-Charlies-Angel1/dp/1440485526/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1289267532&sr=8-1

Book Trailer link.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQwdfRaPiXM&feature=player_embedded  

Street Justice: Charlie's Angel    

When Charlie’s dad loses his job, fighting becomes an every day event.  Moving in with her sister only makes matters worse.  In a desperate attempt to find a safe haven, she ends up on the streets. Here she's introduced to a different kind of world; a place where crime lords and women of the night come out to play.

Charlie finds herself at the mercy of Rico DeLusa.  When she begins having feelings for one of Rico's employees, Angel Blackwell, she wonders if she's out of her element.  Is she being drawn into their world, instead of being a light in a dark place?

Blackmail, prostitution and drugs were never a part of her life, but they are now.  She finds herself in a fight between good and evil. She needs the strength to overcome, the wisdom to make the right choices, and the insight to follow what is right, instead of listening to her heart….

Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?               

I’ve always had stories going on in my head ever since I was 8 years old.   So I can say I have always wanted to write, it is a passion of mine.

What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?                 

The Street Justice Series came to me in part by a dream, that’s where a lot of my stories begin.  The rest just comes from the great imagination the good Lord gave me.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?                

My characters may have a trait here or there from someone I admire, but I try to not copy them; they are as original as I can get them.

What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books?    

I learned how to make wine, from start to finish.  I did a lot of research on the railroad, and found it all fascinating.  I actually called The Cactus Hotel in Texas and got minute details about its history.  Writing can be a great learning experience.

Where do you go to do your research?   

The Internet, the library, and Encarta.

How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story?  Is the process the same for every book you write?  How long does it take you to write a book?  

Most of the time I start with a dream, then usually move to an outline.  I tell the whole story in one line chapters, then go back and detail each chapter with about 6 to 20 words.  Then I begin writing.  The story sometimes follows the outline other times it doesn’t.   Some books I can write in a matter of months, others it could take longer.  The editing is the hard part.  The story usually comes faster than I can write it.

Are you currently working on any new book projects?    

I’m always working on something.  I now am editing Tidal Wave book two in the Street Justice Series and writing Reasonable Service, book 3.   I have a Sci-fi on hold, and about 10 others that need a good edit. 

Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a book?  Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published?     

My advice is to write and, write daily, push yourself to learn everything you can about the writing and publishing process.   The promoting part when you self publish is all on you.  I suggest having a good web site, be willing to give away books now and then to book stores, be ready to tell everyone you can about your book.  You are your best asset. 

How did you find your publisher?  What was your journey to publication like?   

I self-publish my books through create space; I’ve done well so far.  I’ve never contacted a publishing house, wrote a query letter, or any of that.   The normal publication route is slow and can take you years to even get noticed.  I chose to take a chance on self publishing, I have good editors and the talents the Good Lord gave me.  I’ve sold 78 books and counting.

Do you have any writing idiosyncrasies? 

I’m a facts nut.  I like the town my characters live in to be as real as possible, and I write too much.  I get so engrossed in my stories that I don’t do things I should: like laundry, and cook.

How have your friends and family received your career as an author?  Are they supportive?    

Yes, greatly so.  My aunt has been responsible for many of my sales, and my mother also helps every chance she gets.  My Aunt Carol, Willa and my mother are actually my editors, so they help me a great deal.

Thank you, Samantha, for stopping by today.  I enjoyed our conversation. 
 
 
I never thought I’d say this, but I can’t wait to get a Kindle or Nook.  I love books and enjoy reading and fought the wave of the future for a while in regard to the emergence of eBooks.  Now that my book is published as an eBook and I am starting to do some book reviews of other authors’ books (and I read the eBook copies), my perspective is changing.  I had to read the eBooks (for reviews I’ve done) on my laptop.  It would be nice to read it on a Kindle or other ereader device. 

Autography, LLC is a company located in St. Petersburg, FL “with a patent-pending method for inserting an autograph or other salutation into an eBook.”  For more information, visit their website:  http://www.autography.us.com.

The NY Times is now going to have an eBook Best Seller List ~ http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/11/books/11list.html

Having an eBook signed is a discussion point that has evolved with the popularity of eBooks.  Traditionally, authors would have book signings and meet with their reader base.  Now, with the advent of the eBook, are book signings obsolete?  Authors are now doing virtual book release parties through social networking sites.  Some authors are also doing virtual book signings, streaming online to various book store sites and / or online sites.  Would you rather have your picture taken with your favorite author, or get his or her autograph?  That is another debate that has come about.  Some authors are attending book “signings” for their readers who purchased their eBooks and readers are then getting photos taken with the authors. 

What are your thoughts on this issue?  Are you a fan of the eBook?  Do think that paper/hardback books will become obsolete? 
 
 
Stuart Aken, born in Hull, England, 1948, lived his early years in a converted railway wagon, perched on a cliff top.  An attractive young English teacher, Stella Kelsall, encouraged him to write, and, through her he had his first success, winning a prize for an essay at age 14.

By 19 he was regularly selling illustrated articles to photography magazines. Entering a national contest resulted in a radio play, Hitch-hiker, being broadcast on BBC Radio 4.  A lengthy spell of serious illness curtailed his writing for a few years. When he met his second wife, Stuart resumed his writing, penning short stories and winning some competition prizes.  He and Valerie have a teenage daughter, Kate, and currently live in a small market town. ME/CFS has caused him to reduce his employment to part time.

He's had several short stories published, some accessible on his website http://www.stuartaken.co.uk/about.php. His novel, Breaking Faith, was published under the auspices of the Arts Council sponsored website, www.YouWriteOn.com. He's currently writing short stories and working on a fantasy trilogy.

Website ~ http://www.stuartaken.co.uk/
Blog ~ 
http://stuartaken.blogspot.com/
Facebook ~ http://www.facebook.com/stuart.k.allison?v=wall&ref=profile  
Twitter ~ http://twitter.com/#!/stuartaken
Smashwords ~ https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/stuartaken
Goodreads ~ http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4234877.Stuart_Aken
LinkedIn ~ http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=78124450&trk=tab_pro

Breaking Faith

When naïve Faith falls for worldly Leighton, which of them will triumph?

This romantic thriller is set in the Yorkshire Dales during the 1976 heat wave.  Faith is innocent and unschooled but intelligent. Forced into contact with local glamour photographer, Leighton, and his bevy of models, she falls in love.  His misogynist assistant, Mervin, aggrieved at the changes she brings, threatens violence.  Her hypocritical father and estranged mother and sister cause further upheaval and Faith has to battle unfamiliar forces, as she emerges from isolation into a strange and dangerous world.  Will her spirit rise above the corrupting influences or will she succumb and be destroyed?  (Warning: the nature of this story, and it's theme of love versus sex, inevitably means there is some explicit sexual content.)

Paperback available from Amazon in UK

And from Amazon in USA

As an eBook from Smashwords

And from many retail outlets worldwide

A Sackful of Shorts

13 varied tales from a group of writers with talent in all genres.

My writing group recently decided to compile an anthology of short stories to represent the various talents of the authors. I was asked to edit the book and produce a cover. At the end of November, it was published as an eBook by Smashwords.

This selection of short stories represents the diversity of the medium, and of its talented contributors. There's something for everyone: dive into the sack and sample humour, sci-fi, romance and much more.

A Sackful of Shorts, suitable for all ebook platforms, can be bought here.

1. Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?

I grew up in a house with no television until I was 14, and exhausted the local library's children's section by age 11.  The dragon who presided over the books allowed me to take one at a time from the adult section, provided it passed her muster.  That she allowed me to take Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, as my first title, suggests she was unaware of the book's nature.  But I was hooked on reading.  The desire to write came later and I wrote a load of illustrated articles for the photographic press from my late teens.  It wasn't until I entered a play writing contest in the 1970s that I considered fiction, but I found in story telling a freedom and opportunity for imaginative living that thrilled me.  I have never lost that feeling of wonder that comes from making a story.

2. Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

I think all writers cobble together their characters from a mixture of those they have met and parts of themselves.  None of my fictional characters is a recognizable friend, or enemy, but they all contain bits and pieces of men and women I have known.  And all hold some element of myself; both the good and the bad characters.

3. How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story?  Is the process the same for every book you write?  How long does it take you to write a book? 

My ideas come from so many sources.  I have three Moleskine notebooks (the type used by Hemmingway), and I have one permanently by the bed, another in the sitting room and one which I carry wherever I go.  All three have dedicated pens with them, so I can jot down the bones of an idea at any time.  Once I have an idea, it goes, along with the date it emerged, into a file on the computer. And then I forget about it.

Later, apparently from nowhere, whilst sitting at the keyboard, I will develop the idea into a story.  For a short story, that's all the preparation there is.  I re-write afterwards.  But for a novel, I do an outline in my head, nothing written at this stage. I then create my characters and produce files for these, with pictures taken from various sources.  All my fiction is character driven, so the characters really come first.

For the fantasy, because I had to invent my own world, I drew a large map and placed all the geographical features, towns and routes on it.  Next, I wrote some myths and folklore as background before I developed the various political systems and the different religions of the groups involved in the story.  I have around 300 pages of this material, which I occasionally consult during the editing process.  But I write off the top of my head.

My first published novel, Breaking Faith, took about 18 months to write and edit. The first volume of the adult trilogy has taken longer, because of all the background writing and research.  But I can write a short story of 1,000 to 3,000 words in a day if I'm fired up.

4. Are you currently working on any new book projects?

I am working on the adult fantasy trilogy at present.  Volume one is written and has had its first few edits.  At 277,000 words, it's quite a task to edit and I have a final revision to do, which I will be starting almost as soon as I've finished this interview. With 52 named characters, an invented world with its own politics, religions, traditions and customs, it's quite an undertaking but one I thoroughly enjoy.

5. Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a book?  Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published?

With the advent of eBook publishing and the many self-publishing opportunities, it is too easy for new writers to imagine they have a product worthy of foisting on the unwary public.  For this reason, I advise any new writer to first ensure that they understand the rules of grammar and spelling.  Nothing is more calculated to irritate readers (and, in the process, give self-publishing a bad name) than careless presentation of the writing.  So, if you're going to publish for the reading public, I ask that you make sure you know what you're doing first.

Promotion is a challenging area for most authors.  The qualities required to produce imaginative fiction are almost the direct opposite of those needed for the hard-headed business of promotion.  But it is the case that all authors, whether self-published or treading the tradition route, have to be involved in promotion.  It is never too early to start the process of marketing and I would advise the setting up of a website or blog as soon as possible.  Participation in social networking communities like Twitter and Facebook, and contributions to the blogs of other writers and readers are also very helpful in developing a presence online.

6. What’s your writing schedule like?  When do you find time to write?

I have a part time job, to keep my family fed and clothed.  So, I am not able to write full time, unfortunately.  But I spend a good deal of my 'free' time writing or engaged in writing-related activity.  I do write something new, even if it's only a diary entry, every day.  When I'm in the creative phase I can happily sit and write 2 – 4,000 words at a sitting.

7. How have your friends and family received your career as an author?  Are they supportive?

My wife has always been very supportive and she acts as my first line editor. Although not a natural 'reader' she has an eagle eye for inconsistencies, spelling and grammatical errors and clumsy sentence construction.  I place everything in front of her now and she has proved an invaluable aid in honing my work to the highest quality.

I also belong to a very supportive writing group.  We meet about 18 miles from my home, once a week.  We read out selections of work in progress and receive back honest, constructive, tough and detailed criticism.  The group is composed almost entirely of published authors and we have a great breadth and depth of experience between us.  One member acts as a freelance writing coach for a well-respected consultancy, another has had numerous text books published and is a university professor, another worked as a translator for the UN.  So, we have some real expertise in the group.  Samples of their work can be found in the anthology referred to above – A Sackful of Shorts.

8. What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you? ~ POV issues; using too much passive voice and not enough active voice; trouble creating active and engaging dialogue; using too many similar words in starting sentences; or something else?

I love words and have a tendency to use too many.  This is where the membership of the writing group can be so helpful.  When I first started to attend, I used to come away after reading a piece to discover I could have reduced the 3,000 words offered down to 1,500 and improved it.  Now, conscious of the sort of remarks wordiness will engender, I prepare my work for this discerning audience and cut before I read. Even so, I often find I'm presented with suggestions to reduce the word count.  

Joanne, many thanks for this opportunity to share my thoughts and ideas with your readers.  I really appreciate your kindness in arranging this and have enjoyed the conversation.   

You’re welcome!  Enjoyed the conversation as well.  Thank you, Stuart for stopping by today. 
 
 
Today marks the 1 month anniversary of Mr. Shipley’s Governess being published as an eBook by Wild Horse Press.  It’s been an exciting, busy month.  I’ve had a few interviews posted online and I recently sent my book out to three different reviewers.  I can’t wait to read those reviews; hopefully, I’ll be smiling afterwards.  My book is still number 5 on the Best Selling Inspirational eBooks list, which is thrilling.  Thank you to everyone for the support and encouragement I’ve received. 

So now what?  Here comes the hard part.  I need to keep persevering and marketing my book, even though that does not come naturally for me.  What I’d really like to do is continue to write all day and finish more books.  However, even if I did that, I’d still have to market those too or I’ll never find a reader base or another publisher willing to give my work a chance. 

I’m trying to find the balance in my marketing efforts between promotions and finding the time to write; all the while, trying to keep the process fun for me.  On Mondays, I host author interviews on my blog, so stop on over and learn about the wide variety of interesting authors out there.  My next interview of an author is Monday, Dec. 13, with Stuart Aken ~ http://www.stuartaken.co.uk.

I also have an author spotlight that will be posted on http://www.ijustfinished.com on Tuesday, Dec. 14 and they will host a Q & A session with me on their yahoo group the following day.  I’m very excited about this. 

I am also hosting a contest (please see my contest page on this website for more details).  Three winners will be chosen on Dec. 18. 

What is the mark of true success?  For me, it is being happy with myself, knowing that I gave my all, even if I did not get the exact desired results that I wanted.  If I can wake up every day staying true to myself and what I believe, then I know I will make a difference in my little world.  True happiness and success can only come if I make a continual effort to accept change and realize that every moment of life is a blessing.   

Mr. Shipley's Governess
By:Joanne Troppello
Published By:Wild Horse Press
Published:Nov 09, 2010
ISBN #9781456350895
Word Count:71,400
Genre: Inspirational romance
Price: $5.99
Available in:Adobe Acrobat, Palm DOC/iSolo, Microsoft Reader, Rocket
Purchase Link:https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-mrshipleysgoverness-481158-149.html

Summary: Sophie Baird is looking for a way to escape the painful reality of her parents' deaths. Unable to live in their home any longer, she takes a job as a live-in tutor to Anastasia Shipley to remove herself from her painful memories and the feeling that God has abandoned her.

Anastasia has an illness that has prevented her from ever attending school and makes her father, Sebastian, over protective.

When Sophie first meets Sebastian, she cannot deny the intense attraction she feels toward him. When an unexpected romance begins between them, she starts to rebuild her relationship with God, with the help of a certain little girl.

 
 
Many times we needlessly frustrate ourselves because we expect things to happen so quickly when that’s not always the case.  The best things in life don’t always come easily and should be cherished.  It’s not about the destination.  It’s about the journey.  Where are you on this journey?  Are you preoccupied with the next destination or are you stopping to smell the roses along the way?

Whatever your goals are in life, be prepared for some hard work and discipline to get you to your destination.  If you’re not willing to put in any effort, then you won’t get to the level of success that you are looking for.  Take an Olympic athlete for example; they have a high level of training and work an unbelievable amount of hours every day for a chance to win a medal and be the best. 

Speaking from personal experience, I think that sometimes when the plans I plan out for my life don’t come to fruition as fast as I’d like them to, I get discouraged.  That’s understandable, right?  We all go through similar emotions, even if you are an eternal optimist, like I am.  I need to remember, one step at a time.  I can’t continue to take giant leaps forever.  There will be times when I’ll fall back to the single steps, one at a time. 

It’s all a matter of perspective, really.  Just keep focused on the end goal, but don’t try to get there too quickly.  Savor the moment of everyday living.  Are you a winner or a loser?  If things don’t go your way, do you give up and walk away from your dream?  Are you the type of person who will persevere and keep going, even if it takes years to reach success? 

One step at a time ~ one brick at a time ~ one stitch at a time ~ one ingredient at a time
 
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