New Interview With the Fantastic Traci Sanders!

I am thrilled to have with us again, the lovely and talented Traci Sanders. Traci Sanders is a multi-genre, multi-award-winning author of ten published titles, with contributions to three anthologies. An avid blogger and supporter of Indie authors, she writes parenting, children’s, romance, and nonfiction guides.

Her ultimate goal is to provide great stories and quality content for dedicated readers, whether through her own writing or editing works by other authors.

Today, we’ll be talking about her newest novels which aids the author in the editing process. But! Are also encouraging and helpful to the aspiring author.

Traci, we’re so glad you’re here again. There’s a lot of questions I’d like to ask you, so let’s get started!

1. There is so much to know and learn about editing. How long did it take you to write these novels regarding editing?
This entire book series is based on a year-long blog segment where I offered tips on all aspects of the writing and publishing industry. So, you could say it took me a year to conduct the research and write these books. 😊

2. How important is it for writers to get that editor?
Professional editing is a crucial aspect of producing a high quality book. I would even say it’s more important than formatting or cover design, in some cases. Many readers judge a book by its cover, but some just want what’s inside.

3. What are some mistakes editors make?
It’s important to realize that NO editor is perfect. They all miss things, usually small things like an extra space, or a common word like “quite” being mistaken for “quiet”. That’s one of my faux pas, anyway. As humans, we are fallible and we miss common things that we’re used to hearing all the time. Our brains don’t always register the difference when we’re reading or editing. That’s why it’s crucial that you, as the author, read over your editor’s comments carefully, and be proactive. Try to catch anything he or she misses. You both have the same goal in mind: to produce the best story possible. As long as you learn something, you’re always becoming better at your craft.

4. What awards have you won?
My romance novella Unsevered won Best Second Chance Romance from Bottles and Books Readers’ Favorite Awards and Bronze from eLit Awards. My debut novella When Darkness Breaks won Best Romance Novella from Bottles and Book Readers’ Favorite Awards. They were both nominated for other awards, but didn’t place. I haven’t taken the time to enter any of my other titles in competitions.

5. Tell us if you can, how can an author identify a true writing contest among the false, on the internet?
First, it’s important to know that writing contests and award contests cost money. There is always a fee.
In my opinion, the ones that are quality are those such as Readers’ Favorite and local awards’ programs and contests, especially the ones that offer true feedback on your stories, not just prizes.

6. Okay, since you are an author and an editor, I’ve always wondered, do you edit in your mind while reading a book?
Oh my gosh, yes! And it’s a blessing and a curse. Every book I read, I want to send the author a note to let them know what tiny errors I found in their books, not to insult them or make them feel bad, but because I would want to know about my errors. I want my work to be as close to perfect as possible. Most authors appreciate that I do this. Now that I’ve learned all the editing tricks that I’ve acquired so far, I find it extremely difficult to take off my editor hat and simply enjoy a story. Like I said, a blessing and a curse.

7. Is it a desire to see writers succeed and improve in their craft?
I’ve been a people pleaser, and an advocate for the underdog, for my entire life. So, yes, I’m always willing to help others succeed, even to the detriment of my own success. It’s just the way I was raised. It brings me great joy to help others.

8. In your opinion, what percentage of writers can actually edit their own work?
Most writers can PRE-edit their work, and should, but every author is usually too close to his or her own work to edit objectively. An extra set of “trained” eyes always makes a difference. I even hire professional editors for my books.

9. As an editor, what do you typically notice a writer has problems with? i.e. Spelling, tense, dialogue, sentence structure…
The biggest two issues I see involve tense change and sentence structure. Spelling and grammar issues are easy to fix, and most experienced writers have learned the basic grammar rules. But, things like hanging modifiers and overwriting are not as easy to recognize for some.

10. How many novels do you typically edit within a month?
I just started editing full-time this year, but I’d say I can get at least three edits done per month.

11. Will we be seeing another editing book collection in the future?
Probably not. I covered a plethora of topics in this series, that go above and beyond what most will find on their own, without searching a multitude of sources, which is quite time consuming. Unless the grammar rules change dramatically, this is THE go-to set that every author can use to improve his or her writing dramatically.

12. What education have you had to aid in your editing?
I’m self-taught, but I’ve trained under some extremely talented editors, who’ve shown me the ropes. Plus, I’ve always had a firm grasp on grammar and a love of word play, so this feels like a natural progression in my career.

13. If someone has a desire to edit, what sort of tips can you relay to them?
Read, read, read. Books, blog posts, and tutorial guides. Learn the mechanics of writing, then practice them. Do reworks of your own writing. Pay attention to pauses in writing and structure of dialogue.

14. In your book, “Beyond the Book”, what are a few marketing details readers can expect to learn?
Oh my goodness. There aren’t a few. It’s over 300 pages of out-of-the-box ideas for marketing your books, networking with other authors to build your brand, and tips on producing high quality books. It’s truly a great resource. Even I refer back to my tips!

15. “Before You Publish” is a wonderful tool-since I’ve read about half of it- I see it’s a great aid for those who are aspiring authors. What are a few tips readers may learn in this helpful book?
This is more of a “let me look this up” type of reference book, rather than a “read cover to cover” title. I incorporate a ton of grammar topics – common spelling errors and word-usage errors, and even creative-writing tips. Basically, this book covers all aspects of the writing portion of publishing.

16. In “Living the Write Life”, what are a few tips authors can learn from this book?
Even though this is my shortest book, I’m probably most proud of this one because it’s a guide for life as an author. It includes answers and suggestions for things like: how to be inspired to write, 7 stretches for writers, and how to respond to the dreaded question – “How much do you make with your books?”

17. I love to play a fun game on my blog so readers and fellow authors can learn more about you, and what sorts of things you enjoy and love. So, let’s begin! Writing or editing??
Writing is more fun, for sure. But, editing makes me feel more accomplished.

18. Coffee or espresso?
Coffee

19. Reading in the morning, afternoon or evening?
Evening

20. Playing with your kids, or taking a nap?-no we won’t hold it against you if you pick a nap! HA!
I don’t take naps.

21. Beta reading or editing?
Editing

22. Writing or marketing?
Writing

23. Lake or the ocean?
Ocean

24. Swimming or sun bathing?
Sun bathing

25. Thunderstorms or snow storm?
Thunderstorms

26. Spring or summer?
Spring. I hate sweating.

27. Texting or talking on the phone?
Texting, unless I have a good bit of time to spare. I do love hearing people’s voices.

28. What’s your favorite color?
Purple

29. What is your favorite comfort food?
Strawberry short cake, which isn’t easy to find around here, so if I want it, I have to make it. My mama used to make me one every year on my birthday.

30. Chocolate or white chocolate?
Chocolate

31. How many kids do you have?

Three – 19, 17, and 11

32. Tell your readers one of the funniest things your kids have done?
Wasn’t funny at the time, but, my boys painted my entire house with chocolate syrup while I was working at home one day. They were two and four … and hungry, apparently. This story actually turned into a children’s book for me.

33. I’m excited to hear of your blog tour and we wish you only the best. Give us the details of where you will be heading so readers may join you and snatch one or ALL of these books?
You can always check my blog http://www.awordwithtraci.com. I’ll be announcing each stop there each day.

34. Where can we find a list of all of your novels, including these three “new” releases-which I’m dying to own in paperback?
My Amazon page:
https://www.amazon.com/Traci-M.-Sanders/e/B00BA9VUUY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1490804598&sr=8-1

35. Is there anything you’d love to relay to your readers, before we say goodbye?
My ultimate advice would be DON’T SETTLE FOR STATUS QUO. Sure, you can produce a so-so book and maybe get a few 3-4-star reviews, OR, you can take the time learn the rules of grammar and mechanics, and produce an outstanding story that readers won’t be able to forget.

Even though I wrote short romance novellas, and some of the reviews from my readers mentioned that fact, NONE of them really said they felt cheated, because I offered a compelling story. You won’t be remembered for your book’s page count, but you will be remembered for the emotions you brought about for that reader who “needed” that book at that very moment, even if this person didn’t know it.

This has been a fun and one of the most helpful interviews I’ve had. I’m so thankful you stopped by Traci! I and everyone else congratulate you on these new releases and I’m so grateful you’ve written them. I’ll be purchasing all in paperback!

Guys, this has been another AMAZING interview with a wonderful and talented author. Stay tuned for more interviews and give this blog a follow to stay connected.

Author Tools

There are many things to watch out for, when improving our writing craft. Some things I watch out for are: keeping the same tense throughout, spelling, punctuation, not overusing a certain word, making sure my characters have a unique voice, protagonist issues, antagonist, learning new words….
Seems unending, doesn’t it? Na! The more you read, the more you know! The more you speak with other authors, you soon realize we are all on a specific journey. No writer is ever alike. Don’t ever strive to be like someone else. God gave you a specific talent. Use it!
On that note, here is a terrific post aiding us in expanding our vocabulary. I personally adore when I receive word charts. Word to use other than look. Words to use other than like. Here is a terrific one to help you out. Happy writing and reading! Have a wonderful day in the Lord.

Word Power: Words To Use Instead of Good (ABILITIES)

If you’d like to be interviewed, and you write relatively clean novels, give me a shout at Spokenamos@aol.com

New Author Spotlight with Sharon K Connell!

I’m so thrilled to have an author we’ve had grace our presence before. She’s super duper talented, and one of the kindest people I have met. I’m talking about Author Sharon K. Connell.  Sharon thanks for joining us today!  I’m so glad you’ve agreed to chat again so let’s get going!

Sharon

 

 

What drives you to continue writing?

There seems to be a never quenchable thirst to tell a story. I don’t know how to explain it any other way. Once I started, I couldn’t stop.

                                                                                                                     

Tell us your series genre?

I don’t write series. All of my books stand alone as stories, although they may have characters in them that have appeared in one or two of my other novels.

 

Tell us about your new book and how it’s available. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, paperback or hardcovers)

My newest novel is His Perfect Love. Available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

 

This is one of the most stunning covers I’ve seen. I’m so impressed you painted it! Tell us how long have you been a painter?

The painting on my cover is not actually my painting. My book cover was done by Miriam Rue, the daughter of missionaries to the Ukraine. Her parents and I attended The Pensacola Bible Institute together. Miriam took the picture that I sent her and created the beautiful book cover you see on His Perfect Love. However, I am also an artist and created a painting using her finished book cover as the subject.

 

How long did it take you to complete this painting?

The painting I started took a few months to create. I believe Miriam worked on my book cover for about the same length of time.

 

What inspiration did you hold onto while painting this cover?

As I said, my painting is not actually the cover for the book, but what I did was think long and hard about the story I wrote and tried to decide what inspirational message within the story would be best represented by the cover of the book.

 

How important is it to read books when you want to be an author?

The instruction you receive from other authors, whether it is in their style of writing or the words they use or don’t use, is all gleaned from reading other author’s works. Sometimes you will read a book and think to yourself, I would have written it this way, or I wouldn’t have said that. Other times you read a story and think to yourself, that’s exactly the right way to say that, or I wish I had written that. All the books you read by other authors can help you develop your own style of writing and teach you what to do or not to do.

 

What book genre do you enjoy reading the most?

My reading preference is Historical novels set in what is now the United Kingdom but originally different countries.

 

What genre will you absolutely refuse to read and why?

I don’t read horror or paranormal. Sorry. I know that’s what you write, Aimee, but that’s not my interest. I also do not read anything other than what we call “clean reads.” SciFi is another genre that I’m really not interested in.

 

Share with your readers, what’s the best way to handle a less than outstanding book review?

Everyone has their own idea of what a good read is, and we are all different in our likes and dislikes. Some people love J.R.R. Tolkien. I’m one of those people. While others don’t care for his writing at all. It’s all a matter of perspective. One cannot take a bad review to heart, no matter how much it may hurt when you first read it. The best way to get over that hurt is to look at what was said, and decide if there is anything you can learn from that.

 

What message do you want to send through your book?

My books are all about God’s love and mercy. The message I want people to walk away with is that God is in control. He will allow things into your life to either teach you a lesson, something you have yet to learn, or to help you grow as a Christian.

 

What age range of readers is for your new novel?

I’d say that my novel is for anyone who is old enough to read an entire novel all the way up to senior citizen. Because my works are clean reads, they are suitable for anyone. A young person will not find anything in the stories that they wouldn’t hear on the daily news. They would more likely hear something offensive there, whereas the only offensive thing they would read in my stories would be the unlawful act of a stalker, and even those actions are not explicit, only hinted, such as attacking a woman with a knife, or looking at her in an uncomfortable way.

 

What encouragement can you give to the aspiring author?

The best encouragement I can give is to read all you can about writing, take classes (there are many free classes online today), and get started writing. Read what other authors have written. Learn what you do and don’t like. And most of all, if you know you are called to write, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

 

Have you ever had writers block? If so, how did you handle it? What are some tips to others who may experience a terrible case of writers block?

I think I have the opposite of Writers’ Block. As I mentioned before, once I decided to write, I couldn’t stop. I may a few moments when I don’t know what is coming next in a scene, but it doesn’t last long, so I can’t call it a block. I know. I’m an oddity. All I can tell others is that if you do get writer’s block, walk away from the manuscript. Take some time off. Read a book. Go online and enjoy someone’s writing prompt (especially on my group forum LOL). Whatever you do, don’t get frustrated. That would only make it worse. Go shopping. Take a trip. But always keep a notepad handy for when the ideas start up again. You’re a writer. Eventually, you’ll start writing again.

 

What characteristics do you relate to with your main character Patricia and why?

With Patricia, I believe the only characteristic I would relate to is her being of Celtic decent and the fact that she has doubts, fears, and desires love. But then, we all do.

 

What are some of the challenges that face Patricia?

I’m not going to go into much of that because I don’t want to give a spoiler. I will say that one of the biggest challenges Patricia faces in the story is fear and doubt.

 

What gave you the idea to write this new novel “His Perfect Love?”

When I first wrote about this character, it was in my first book, A Very Present Help. She wasn’t a nice person in that story. She shows up again in Paths of Righteousness in a situation with the hero, and still isn’t very nice. When I wrote my third book, There Abideth Hope, Patricia wasn’t in it at all, but I kept thinking about this poor girl. I decided that she had to have a story all her own.

 

I see there are three men pursuing Patricia. Be honest lol. Which one did you crush on and why?

Not telling. No spoilers. It would give it away. Hee hee hee

 

In publishing your novel, which part do you absolutely love?

Holding the finished product in my hands.

 

Tell your readers yet again, how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write? Example, music on or quiet etc.

You may not believe this, but I can write in almost any atmosphere. I have my own office, which is wonderful. I often play music, and I have a window at my side where I can watch the birds coming to my little birdbath (they often sit at the window and look in at me), and look out at the varying skies of Texas. But, I can also writing in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, sitting in the car waiting for someone, stretched out on the loveseat in the living room. At the kitchen table while I’m cooking, on the screened in back porch while Sheila (the dog) is checking out the yard and chasing squirrels. I’m flexible as a writer.

 

What is one special goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing?

COFFEE!

 

What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel? IF it’s too personal just make a generalized statement if you can. 

The worst thing was lack of funds. I thought that was going to stop me for good. Then a fellow author I had been confiding in told me about CreateSpace and that I could self-publish. It made a world of difference.

 

When you need some extra encouragement when going through your manuscript, who do you turn to?

I do a lot of praying. I also talk to friends who I’ve found are all so supportive.

 

How do you market your book? If it’s a marketing service, please give the name.

I do my own marketing online. There will be some opportunities to have book signings coming up, thanks to my local American Christian Fiction Writers group, Writers on the Storm, but mostly marketing is a job of making posts about my writing in every possible outlet I can find where readers are likely to show an interest.

 

What is the worst thing someone has said to your regarding your work? How did you respond or overcome the criticism?

The worst thing was when I first started out writing and joined a writers’ group where the members had no idea how to critique someone else’s writing. Most of the comments were negative, and probably well-deserved since I had no idea what I was doing. My background was good as far as grammar and language, but I needed to learn a lot about story structure. All they knew how to do was tell me what they didn’t like. Only on a rare occasion was a comment made which was constructive criticism. Being a Christian for so many years helped in this area, as I’ve run into many people who criticism my faith. You just step back, evaluate what was said, and if there’s any truth in it, you fix it. If it’s not true, you let it roll off of you like water off a duck (I know, cliché…but it’s true and it fits).

 

Who do you trust to read your finished books before publication? 

No one read the entire book from beginning to end when I’ve done the last tweak except for my editor. Before I send it to my editor, I have already send one chapter at a time to my critique partners in the Scribes Loop of ACFW. After that I go through the entire story myself. This process isn’t for everyone. Many writers I know have Alpha and Beta readers who read the story first, but I do it this way.

What are some of your hobbies when you’re not writing?   

When I’m not writing, I’m painting, gardening, bird watching, moon-gazing, and reading (of course).

 

Tell your readers what your favorite food and color is. Let them in to just who the wonderful Sharon is.

Don’t know about that “wonderful” part, I’m just like everyone else. But, my favorite food is ice cream. I can’t resist it. And, I have three favorite colors: white, emerald green, and royal purple.

 

Tell us your favorite novel?

Lord of the Rings, with The Hobbit a close second.

 

What is your favorite classic movie?

McLintock with John Wayne. Or if you mean older, I guess it would be White Christmas.

 

I know you have pizza Fridays. What’s your favorite kind of pizza? What drink do you always have to go along with it?

My favorite is Spinach with Marinara Sauce instead of Alfredo. I also have Coke, sometimes Vanilla, sometimes Cherry.

 

Now a fun game I’ll ask what your preference. Let your readers know what you love.  

Crime or mystery novel? Mystery

Singing Christmas carols or watching someone sing Christmas carols? Singing them.

Lighting New Year’s fireworks or watching it outside?

 

Neither. I don’t like fireworks except on the 4th of July and then I like watching.

 

A kindle or a paperback? Paperback only.

I want a real book, although I do appreciate my Kindle readers.

 

Paperback or hardcover? Hardcover

Favorite pie during the holidays? Pecan

Pie or cake? Pie

Holiday flavored creamers or regular creamers? I like both.

Espresso or regular coffee? Both

Name some of the delicious things you like to eat during New Year’s Eve and day? My own fruit cake, made using my grandmother’s recipe for raison cake.  And DARK CHOCOLATE covered cherries.

Are there any mistakes you have made during the publishing process? How did you learn from them? Yes, publishing the first three books before I really knew how to write.

When in doubt, who do you trust to help you out? My writer friends, if you’re referring to doubt about my writing.

What is one thing you’d like to address to your faithful readers? I appreciate every one of you, and hope that I will always write stories that you will love to read.

Do you have a mailing list? Give us the address to sign up!

If you go to my website, http://sharonkconnell.com/ you will see a signup box for my monthly newsletter. If you need to get in touch with me for something, you can always reach me at any of the links below.

When is the release of your next novel? Name genre or if it’s part of a series. If your book is part of a series tell the readers about the others that are out for sale.

I have no deadline to meet for my next new novel and I’ll be working on my first three novels before I start that one. I do not write series, mainly because I don’t enjoy series myself. I like all my stories to stand alone so no one has the fear of reading one of my books and feeling like they should have read the one before it. My genre is Christian Romance Suspense with a bit of mystery. My first three novels are on Amazon, but I would prefer that my readers wait until I have rewritten them before they read them, so they can enjoy the stories the way they should have been written. I will be keeping everyone up to date on my progress in my newsletters.

 

Where can we find your author page of your work to follow you and purchase your awesome books?

Following are my links:

Website: http://sharonkconnell.com/

 

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharonkconnell

 

Author’s book page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/averypresenthelpbook1

 

Group Forum on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/writersandauthorsforum/

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SharonKConnell

 

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/sharonkconnell

 

Blogging on WordPress: https://sharonkconnell.wordpress.com/

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/SharonKConnell

 

Blogging on Niume: https://niume.com/pages/profile/?userID=52569

 

His Perfect Love on Amazon http://amzn.to/2iCMALI

 

And my book video:

His Perfect Love – New novel by Sharon K. Connell https://youtu.be/e3tRr6mLzZk

perfect-love

Thanks so much, Sharon for your inspiration and your time and this wonderful new novel!  It’s sitting on my writing desk and going to be devoured soon. Ya’ all need to get online and grab one of her novels!

 

Join us next time for our all new Author Spotlight!

Welcome To the Spotlight Author Mary Woldering!

MWphoto-jpg

Welcome one and all! I’ve been sick so we’re late but we can’t pass this interview up! It’s with the talented Mary Woldering. This is going to be fun so let’s get started!

What made you want to be a writer? I always wanted to be one.

Tell us your book’s genre? Historical/Visionary Fantasy

Tell us about your book and how it’s available. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, paperback etc.) Amazon print and e-book

How important is it to read books when you want to be an author? Fairly important. However, it DOES cut into writing time.

How did you come up with this fantastic idea? I had a lot of dreams and meditations on the Ancient world with friends, A story emerged bit by bit later.

Which character do you identify with most in your novel? Ariennu of Tyre – my darker, wilder side

“Did the Bible have anything to do with your idea for this novel? Not specifically. Many legends and customs of the ancient Middle East that are mentioned in the Bible show up.

Is there a message you’d like to send through your book? If you journey from being man to god, you don’t lose human nature. There are still emotions or all kinds as long as we live. That’s just one of many, though.

Which part of the publishing process do you detest most? MARKETING

Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc. Generally quiet.

What is one goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing? Coffee in the morning

What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel? IF it’s too personal just make a generalized statement if you can. A regular job. I had to retire.

When you need some extra encouragement who do you turn to? My writer’s group

How do you market your book? I have no real plan. I talk about it on Facebook & Twitter and my website. I go to live sales events. I don’t have a marketing budget.

Has readers every contacted you? If so, tell us the best thing they’ve said to you. They love my books and can’t wait for the next one to come out. I’m a bit late this year and they are coming after me.

Who do you trust to read your finished books before publication? My writer’s group & my son

Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc. I’ve never had an official signing that featured only me. I’ve sold signed books at fairs and gone to meetings with my spouse… sold signed copies there.

What do you enjoy when you’re not writing? Being with my spouse & talking with my family.

Tell your readers what your favorite food and color is. Let them in to just who Mary is. I love the colors of sunrise, sunset , night and rainbows… almost all colors

Tell us your favorite novel? There are many I like. I don’t really have a favorite.

Now a fun game I’ll ask what your preference. Let your readers know what you love.
A live drama or the opera? Live drama
Chips or crackers? Tortilla chips
Hamburger or chicken sandwich? Chicken
Fries or onion rings? Fries
Milk shake or smoothie? Milk Shake
Thunderstorms or star gazing?? Thunderstorms
Kindle or paperback novels? Kindle

Are there any mistakes you made with your first book? Also my covers are great, but don’t promote the books well. I’m constantly improving. They still get 5 stars though.

What kind of advice can you give to other either aspiring authors? Publish earlier, don’t think your book isn’t good enough. Your readers will let you know.

When in doubt, who do you trust to help you out? Writer’s group and my son or daughter.

When is the release of your next novel? Name genre or if it’s part of a series. If your book is part of a series tell the readers about the others that are out for sale. Book 3 of the Children of Stone Series –

Opener of the Sky. Scheduled for the Fall.

Where can we find your author page of your work to follow you and purchase your awesome book?
http://www.amazon.com/Mary-R.-Woldering/e/B00OND7QMU/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
And http://www.maryrwoldering.com
1 CstoneVICfront

This has been great! Thanks Mary! I hope all of you run to grab her awesome novels!
Join us next week. You’ll never know who will be in the spotlight so follow this blog!

This Week’s Author Spotlight We Have Seven Steps!

Author Photo

Welcome and we’re back with an all new author’s spotlight with the lovely Seven Steps! Seven thanks for coming and joining us this week! I’m excited at some of the topics we’re tackling so let’s get started!

What made you want to be a writer? I was an avid reader growing up. I remember my father and I hanging out in bookstores for hours. It was a natural progression for me to become a writer and to tell the stories that I didn’t see written growing up.

Tell us your book’s genre? I write Science Fiction Romance.

Tell us about your book and how it’s available. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, paperback etc.) The Slave Planet is set in an Earth colony stationed on the planet Venus. Over time, women have taken over the government and enslaved all men. The main character is a woman named Nadira who has fallen in love with her slave, Kiln. When she is elected to the High Council, she becomes caught up in a crooked politician’s murderous scheme. The collateral is her slave, Kiln. The story follows Nadira in her quest to get Kiln back by any means necessary.

How important is it to read books when you want to be an author? Reading books when you’re an author is like studying biology before you become a doctor. It is indispensable. You must read if you write. There is no way around it.

I personally love how you add characters that are a black woman and a white man. How did you decide to write a book about an inter-racial couple? I am an African American woman, and I have always been attracted to other races. I think that my preference just comes out in my writing. It is also important to me to make sure that my books are as diverse as possible. I want to write in a way that anyone can relate and everyone feels included.

Which character do you identify with most in your novel? Definitely Nadira. I am a hopeless romantic and I go against the grain, just like her. I’m also stubborn, head strong, and have a nervous tick where I rub my stomach. Hmmm… maybe Nadira is more like me then I thought.

Is there a message you’d like to send through your book? Love conquers all.

What made you want to add a very difficult issue such as slavery in your novel? I thought that it would be a unique perspective on the slavery issue. Having white males be slaves to black women is a trope that I have never seen before, and I love the uniqueness of it.

Which part of the publishing process do you detest most? Marketing. I’d rather spend time writing more books then constantly trying to promote myself. I’m an introvert, so putting myself out there is hard for me.

Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc. I need it to be quiet with no interruptions. My favorite writing times are in my car during my lunch break, and while my husband plays video games. He normally plays with a headset on, so I can sit in the recliner and really get stuff done. I usually listen to whales singing or animal sounds. I know, it’s weird.

What is one goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing? A wrist rest.

What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel? IF it’s too personal just make a generalized statement if you can. My own self-doubt. Its one thing to read what you wrote and say that is good. It’s another thing to put yourself out there for the world to judge. But, I ripped the Band-Aid off and I’m glad I did.

When you need some extra encouragement, who do you turn to? I have great friends on Facebook who give me the extra push that I need when I need it.

How do you market your book? I like to use different book related blogs and websites.

Has readers every contacted you? If so, tell us what they said. I have had good feedback from readers who’ve told me that they enjoyed my book and that they are looking for the next one. It’s really flattering and humbling when anyone says that they have read anything that I’ve written.

Who do you trust to read your finished books before publication? My beta readers and my editor.

Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc. I have never had a book signing but I hope to have one in the future.

What do you enjoy when you’re not writing? I love hanging out with my family. We are really big movie buffs, and we especially love Disney movies. I also am a bit of a wine connoisseur. Well, not a connoisseur. Maybe a wine connoisseur in training. Who am I kidding? I just like to drink wine!

Tell your readers what your favorite food and color is. Let them in to just who Seven Steps is. Baked Macaroni and Cheese and the color blue.

Tell us your favorite novel? The Air He Breathes by Brittinay Cherry.

Now a fun game I’ll ask what your preference. Let your readers know what you love.

A walk in the park or a stroll around town? A stroll around town. I’d love to take in the sights.

Ice cream or frozen yogurt? Ice Cream.

Cool whip or real whip cream? Is there a difference?

Sci-fi novels or romance novels? Oohh, can I have both? No? Ok, romance.

Orange juice or milk? Orange juice all the way.

Cold cereal or hot cereal?? Hot cereal, particularly oatmeal.

Kindle or paperback novels? Nothing beats a good paperback.

Are there any mistakes you made with your first book? I wish I had gotten a better editor / proofreader.

What kind of advice can you give to other either aspiring authors? Write every day. Read every day.

When in doubt, who do you trust to help you out? My family.

When is the release of your next novel? Name genre or if it’s part of a series. If your book is part of a series tell the readers about the others that are out for sale. My next novel is a clean contemporary rock star romance, titled THE LAST ROCK KING. It is a stand-alone.

Where can we find your author page of your work to follow you and purchase your awesome book? On my website, http://www.sevenstepsauthor.com

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I don’t know about all of you but my reading list is growing lol. Thank you Seven Steps! I look forward to interviewing you again when your next novel is released.
Everyone, follow along for next week’s author’s spotlight. Who will it be??? What genre?

In the Author’s Spotlight Is the Wonderful Author Iris Chacon!

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Please welcome the wonderful and humorous author Iris Chacon! So pleased you are here for our author’s spotlight. You’re not invisible here so let’s get crackin’!

Q. What made you want to be a writer?
A. I don’t remember deciding to be a writer; I’d wager few of us make a conscious decision to do so. Instead, we write because the ideas our brains generate are clambering to get out, and we can’t rest until we get it down on paper – or screen, as the case may be. It’s like lying awake at night with your brain running 120 miles per hour, repeating your to-do list for tomorrow, until you just get up and write the list down. Writers just happen to have a million to-do lists, some of them a hundred thousand words long!
Q. Tell us your book’s genre?
A. FINDING MIRANDA is definitely romantic and comedic, but there’s also a mystery at its center, and a little bit of action and suspense. “Clean romantic comedy” is the best description — although I’m not sure serious literary types consider that a genre. I hate to label it simply “Romance,” because many readers (perhaps unconsciously) expect naked bodies and heaving bosoms. Until the “Romance” genre is more clearly defined, I hesitate to use that term without modifiers.
Q. Tell us about your book and how it’s available. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, paperback etc.)
A. This is the story of a shy librarian who is invisible to virtually everyone — except, strangely, a blind radio host and a pair of hired killers. One of the trailers [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N_2gqjyqr4] reveals that the favorite character of most readers is Dave the Dog. I’ll say no more about that, to avoid spoilers.
FINDING MIRANDA is a fast, happy read, often finished in one sitting. You can get it in paperback (from Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble [BN.com]) or in any of the popular ebook formats (from Amazon.com, BN.com, Smashwords.com, Kobo.com, and about a dozen other ebook sellers).
Q. How important is it to read books when you want to be an author?
A. It is essential to read – and not only books. Read everything that comes your way, including the articles in the old magazines in the dentist’s waiting room. You will always learn something that adds to your skill and likability as a writer.
I doubt if many of us would buy a car that was designed and built by someone who had never ridden in a car. Before that inventor designs and builds my car, I want to know he or she has personal experience with a lot of cars.
Q. How did you decide to write a book about a mousy librarian?
A. I love librarians. I know many of them personally and was one myself for a couple of years. Librarians just don’t get enough heroic roles in modern fiction, don’t you agree? Why wasn’t Clark Kent a librarian, for example? If he’s so “mild-mannered” when disguised, wouldn’t a librarian make more sense than a reporter? How many “mild-mannered” reporters do you know? They’re piranhas! And, believe me, to a reporter, that’s a compliment. No, a librarian would have been perfect in that role, but they just don’t have the PR machine that other potential heroes and heroines have. I figured the librarian’s time had come!
Q. Do you relate in any way to the librarian Miranda?
A. I remember people joking about being “invisible” when they reached a certain age, but I didn’t relate to the syndrome until my own epiphany. I well remember that moment when the realization struck: people stopped seeing me. Teenage boys stopped seeing me when I passed age 30. Single men stopped evaluating me when I got married. When I exceeded a certain body mass, nobody looked at me any more except personal trainers hoping to make a sale. I couldn’t make eye contact with strangers any more because they looked past me, over me, or through me instead of at me. I’m still waiting for Congress to approve billions of tax dollars to study the invisibility phenomenon. But, since Congresspersons tend to be wealthy and famous, they may never experience invisibility.
Q. Is there a message you’d like to send through your book?
A. I want readers to experience simple joy, a range of cathartic emotions, and the conscious or unconscious realization that people are not what they appear to be.
We judge everyone the moment we encounter them, based on what we see or hear on the most superficial level. We dislike someone because they have a nose just like Bernie Gumfeld, who bullied us in middle school. We assume someone is ignorant because of their “hillbilly” accent, when they’re actually a Ph.D. in particle physics who happened to grow up in the mountains of Tennessee.
Librarians are sometimes heroic. Blind people are absolutely capable. Rich people are not always generous, and poor people often are. #BreakStereotypes is a popular tag among Wattpad writers, and so is #BreakCliches. I hope to advance that philosophy.
Q. Which part of the publishing process do you detest most?
A. Proofreading the 20th draft. No matter how beloved the story initially was, the honeymoon is over after a while.
Q. Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc.
A. I once read that if one is a true writer, one can sit down in the middle of a busy street and write. I try to remember that when I’m trying to use noise or commotion as an excuse not to write. In a perfect world, I love a quiet spot and a view of nature. I’ve written in every imaginable atmosphere, however, including on a bus or train commuting to and from work in the city. Right now, for example, my teenager – three feet away from me – is watching Spongebob Squarepants at top volume while burping loudly and playing electronic games on her tablet. When a writer is focused on the work, few things can really hinder them. (Hint to writers: Stop making excuses. Just do it.)
Q. What is one goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing?
A. I need something to sip on when I stop to ruminate or think through a problem. It can be tepid coffee, watery formerly-iced tea, water, even diet soda when I can sneak it past my health-conscious husband. I think the cup or glass just gives me something to do with my hands when I stop typing to cogitate.
Q. What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel? IF it’s too personal just make a generalized statement if you can.
A. I have read, or heard, that most people experience the “imposter syndrome” at some point in life. That’s the time when you just know, deep in your secret heart, that you’re not who you hope you are, and that you’ll be discovered, exposed, and publicly humiliated as an imposter at any moment. Everyone who has ever written anything – whether a poem, a song, a love note, a story, a movie, or a novel – has at some point thought, “Who am I kidding? I can’t write! And if they read what I’ve just written, everyone will know it!” I have to fall back on the statement a fledgling writer posted on a writers’ bulletin board years ago. Paraphrased, she said, “Whether or not people buy my work, read my work, or like my work, I write. I’m a writer because I write.”
Q. When you need some extra encouragement to whom do you turn?
I get encouragement from my family members and one or two very close friends. I am encouraged by much of what I read, as well. (There’s yet another good reason for writers to read.)
Q. How do you market your book?
I’m no expert on marketing, but I try to be diligent in applying every technique I learn (so long as it doesn’t swamp the budget boat). I read everything I see on how others are marketing, and I attempt as many of their methods as I can. Mark Coker at Smashwords gives many good lessons to indie authors, and I read whatever he writes. I have met some authors on Twitter who gave me pointers to improve my presence on social media. Based on advice I have read or received, I have done many things, including:
published multiple titles and in multiple formats;
book giveaways on Goodreads, and free books on Smashwords;
Countdown sales on Amazon;
presence on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and several online author discussion groups, such as ChristianWriters.org, Goodreads, even Paperback Attack (know that one?).
I’ve given away discount coupons for my books (Smashwords has an easy system for that);
consulted professional cover artists and employed their services in creating marketable covers (I’m even having one cover redesigned at this very moment, following advice from several reviewers);
joined authors’ groups such as Florida Writers Association and Writers4Kids (Lady Lake, FL), which has led to participation in book signing event at a local Barnes & Noble store;
joined the Wattpad writers/readers website (one of Mark Coker’s suggestions), where I have met wonderful writers and readers and been able to give and receive valuable and encouraging feedback.
printed up colorful bookmarks and notecards illustrated by my book covers and containing contact and purchasing information.
Q. Have readers ever contacted you? If so, tell us what they said.
A. One advantage of Wattpad membership has been that writers and readers are constantly exchanging comments and questions about the writers’ stories. I have also received thank-you notes in connection with book giveaways. Mostly, readers tell me they laughed at something in the book, and that makes me very happy. Several have told me the reading experience was so joyful that they will reread the book in the future when they need to brighten a dark time in their lives.
Q. Whom do you trust to read your finished books before publication?
A. I definitely wouldn’t trust anyone who tends toward brutal honesty! I’m hard enough on myself! I need kindness and encouragement, not criticism. Too many people believe they haven’t given a thorough review of the book if they haven’t found something (no matter how small) to condemn. Nihilism and negativity are the hallmarks of what many people consider to be “serious literature” or “culture.” This is why light comedies don’t win Academy Awards, romance novels don’t win Pulitzers or Nobel Prizes. I don’t write for literary critics, and I don’t listen to them.
Q. Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc.
A. It was hilarious. The bookstore didn’t really have enough space; some of the writers had to bring in their own folding tables from their cars, and even then there were three or four authors at each table, politely jockeying for space to display their books. Also, it was a three-day holiday weekend, and apparently everyone who might have been shopping had gone to the beach instead. There were a dozen writers for every one potential reader who attended! And, while I remembered my notecards and books, I forgot to bring table decor or food. A good friend scattered hard candies across my table, thank goodness. Also, I didn’t have one of those fantastic easels with the three-foot-high portrait poster advertising the author’s presence. But that wasn’t the worst part. I’m a Christian author, specializing in “clean fun,” and I was wedged into the center of a table of three authors. The one on my left wrote horror novels, and each of the book covers spread across that section of table was more lurid and gruesome than the last. The one on my right had only one book displayed, and only one name for himself — which he said was his “soul’s name.” He specialized in seminars and private sessions wherein he taught people how to “go to the other side” without experiencing actual physical death. He was dressed fit to kill, if you’ll pardon the expression, in a sleek, gray suit without lapels (very Euro-chic), and had brought his own photographer to chronicle the event.
I’m truly looking forward to future book signings, because I’ve been through the crucible now and feel certain any future experiences will shine in comparison.
Q. What do you enjoy when you’re not writing?
A. Music, photography, movies, and hiking.
Q. Tell your readers what your favorite food and color is. I know this may seem silly but allow your readers to know more about you.
A. Readers, if you’ve kept reading this far, you deserve every bit of information you can get. Pizza. Sky blue.
Q. Tell us your favorite novel?
A. I hate to answer this because it changes so frequently. I can say that the novel I have loved the longest and re-read the greatest number of times is Jane Eyre. I have to admit it’s not long on comedy, though.
Now a fun game: I’ll ask what your preference. Let your readers know what you enjoy.
Q. Library or the movies?
A. I’d like to see more movies about librarians.
Q. Valentine’s day or Easter?
A. Easter for the music, Valentine’s for the chocolate.
Q. Walk on the beach or a walk in the park?
A. Have lived in Florida all my life, but the beach is still nice. Parks are nice, too, except they’re often in cities, and I’m not huge on concrete jungles. The best place to walk is on the slick rock in places like Arches National Park.
Q. Mexican food or Italian food?
A. If I’m cooking, Italian. If I’m eating out, Mexican.
Q. Classical music or Jazz music?
A. Classical if it’s Baroque; jazz if it’s Dixieland.
Q. The smell of leather book bindings or the smell of a new car?
A. True confession: I have virtually no sense of smell. I have to remind myself to incorporate aromas into my sensory descriptions when writing.
Q. Coffee or Espresso?
A. Coffee (with lots of milk, preferable chocolate). No espresso. I’m already a Type A and definitely do not need any additional caffeine!
Q. Chips or crackers?
A. Chips, if there’s dip; crackers, if there’s peanut butter.
Q. Are there any mistakes you made with your first book?
A. Pretty sure I made them all. If anybody knows of a mistake I might not have made, please let me know. But every mistake you find and fix is a good learning experience.
Q. What kind of advice can you give to other either aspiring authors?
A. It doesn’t sound profound, but it is: Do not quit. Even when you’re not writing with your hands, you can be writing in your head. And if you’re going to quit, your head will quit first. Then your heart. And finally, your hands. Don’t let it go past step one. Keep writing even when you don’t feel inspired. Ten percent inspiration, ninety percent perspiration, remember?
Q. When in doubt, whom do you trust to help you out?
A. Christian writers and friends, who’ll remind me that I’m not the one in control of my ultimate success. “I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for calamity; to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Q. When is the release of your next novel? Name genre or if it’s part of a series. If your book is part of a series tell the readers about the others that are out for sale.
A. I hope to finish a new book this year, but long trips have cut into my writing time. I expect it may be February or March of 2017 before my sixth novel is released. It is humorous, of course, with a sally into the paranormal realm. The working title is Raising the Surburban Werewolf. I am also considering a sequel to FINDING MIRANDA, and readers have asked for sequels of other titles as well.
Q. Where can we find your author page of your work to follow you and purchase your awesome book?
A. The paperbacks of FINDING MIRANDA and my other four novels are available on my Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Iris-Chacon/e/B00U4AYUZ2.
My author website is: http://www.authoririschacon.wordpress.com

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I’m so glad to have had you stop by Iris. And I don’t know about you guys but my reading list is growing with books such as this!

This has been author’s spotlight. Please follow for next week’s fun interview! Feel free to post questions for Iris. She has lots of wisdom and advice to pass on.

This Week We Have the Wonderful Author/Illustrator Victoria Woten!

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I’m so blessed this week we have author/illustrator Victoria Woten with us for our author interview!

Victoria, or Aunty as I call her lol, I’m so glad I finally am able to interview you. You have published your first children’s book and I’ve got so many fun and exciting questions for you, so let’s get started!

What made you want to be a writer?

I never thought about it at first. Sometimes I would journal or write little songs or snippets for personal use. I wrote a little piece on housekeeping and baking and another on some Bible verses, all unpublished. Then I decided to give it a try.

What genre’s do you write or delve into?

Currently for children but, possibly adults.

Tell us about your children’s book and how it’s available. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, paperback etc.)
Mrs. Wonderland is the main character. She comes down from Heaven to help children, spreading love and happiness, and making dreams come true. She loves children. She’s a bit like a fairy godmother, nanny, angel all rolled in one. I also add my own recipe in every book. The first recipe is Mrs. Wonderland’s Chocolate Fudge Delights.

My book is available at Amazon Kindle and paperback, bookstores, and online retailers.

How important is it to read books when you want to be an author and then become an author?

Reading is so good for you! Of course it’s educational. Reading opens your mind and unlocks the keys to creativity and imagination.

What made you want to write stories for kids?

I enjoyed making up stories to tell my granddaughter when she was young.

What message do you want to send to the children who read your book?

I want to show good character traits. I wish to inspire children to love one another, always have hope, believe in themselves and build confidence, to show kindness, sharing, friendship, and beauty within. I also want to show them God’s love without telling them so that anyone may read it.

How long did it take you to illustrate your book?

6-9 months working daily in my spare time.

Where did the inspiration for Mrs. Wonderland, the actual character, come from?

Through prayer and meditation she came to me one day. Her lovely world opened up in my imagination and from there I could see her in many examples and stories. Later I told a bedtime story to my granddaughter then wrote it down. I kept it and pondered for a long time until I decided to try writing a book. This is the first of the series.

Which part of the publishing process do you detest most?

The publishing process is exciting but very stressful, meeting the time table and everything coming together how you would like.

Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc.

Quiet at home or driving.

Do you need special treats or goodies to help you write?

A cup of tea or coffee is nice

What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel?

Fear of rejection. When you write and illustrate, it feels very personal coming from your heart.

When you need some extra encouragement who do you turn to?

Family, God, friends.

How do you market your book?

Online through Amazon and a Face Book Page, plus word of mouth.

Who do you trust to read your finished books before publication?

Family and friends

Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc.

Very small, mostly just family.

What sorts of things do you enjoy when Victoria isn’t writing?

My favorite hobby is porcelain doll making. I enjoy making up characters and stories and design their costumes. I also like baking and spending time with family, friends, and God/Bible study.

Tell your readers what your favorite food and color is. I know this may seem silly but allow your readers to know more about you.

Chocolate and I like a rainbow of colors

What was your favorite children’s book growing up?

My favorite book was a fairy tale book my mom use to read to us.

Now a fun game I’ll ask what your preference. Let your readers know what you enjoy.

Peanut M & M’s or Plain M & M’s?

Both

Christmas or Thanksgiving?

Christmas

Spring, Summer, or Winter?

Winter and spring

Spaghettios or Raviolis?

Raviolis

Romance movie or Disney movie?

Disney

Zoo or a Theme Park?

Disneyland

Morning, Afternoon or Night?

Morning and night

Kool-aid or Gatoraide?

neither

Coke or Pepsi?

neither

Is there any mistakes you made with your first book?

I made plenty of mistakes. My book was too long and a bit boring especially for younger children. My illustrations were all hand drawn but I should of used digital help to make them more professional looking.

What kind of advice can you give to other either aspiring authors or published authors?

Never give up. Always have hope. Follow your heart and your dreams. If you want to do something then keep persevering even if you don’t think you are good at it. It’s very hard to accomplish good things in life and, you will probably fail a few times but, the end results will be worth the fight to get there and the rewards so great!

When in doubt, who helps you out?

Family

When is the release of your next novel? Name genre or if it’s part of a series. If your book is part of a series tell the readers about the others that are out for sale.

I am working on a second book in the Mrs. Wonderland series which I hope to finish for Christmas.

Where can we find your author page of your work to follow you and purchase your awesome book?

http://www.amazon.com/Victoria-Woten/e/B016PNCLQ6/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

https://www.facebook.com/victoria.woten.mrswonderland/

Mrs. Wonderland Cover (Updated Drawing-ol)
Thanks so much for joining us this week, Victoria I mean Aunty lol. Everyone, you must grab a copy of Mrs. Wonderland. If you have children that love dolls, you can see the unique drawings of where her inspiration derives. They will positively love this little character. And I don’t know about you, but I’m eager to see the next installment of Mrs. Wonderland in December. But you don’t have to wait for the first one! Grab it now and follow Victoria Woten to get updates on her upcoming children’s books. We wish her blessings.

Everyone, so glad you joined us as well this week. Please follow this blog for next week’s author interview! You never know who will surprise us!