Monday, November 12, 2012

Melissa Foster - HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on award-winning Author Melissa Foster. She is the author of three International bestselling novels and the founder of the World Literary Café, Fostering Success and the social and support network for women, the Women’s Nest.

Author Genre: Literature & Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers

Website: Melissa Foster
Author's Blog: Melissa Foster Blog
Blog: The Womens Nest
Twitter: @Melissa_Foster
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest


Author Description: Award-winning, bestselling author Melissa Foster is a touchstone for the indie publishing community and a tireless advocate for women. She is the founder of the World Literary Café, Fostering Success, and The Women’s Nest , as well as a Community Builder for the Alliance of Independent Authors . Melissa writes emotionally-driven contemporary fiction and suspense with passionate characters that remain with the reader long after they’ve read the last words. Melissa is a friend, mentor, brownie connoisseur, and book fiend.

Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children, she's written for Calgary's Child Magazine and Women Business Owners Magazine, and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family. Melissa's interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping women see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

The word is out that you have two novels coming soon, TRACES OF KARA and WHERE PETALS FALL. When can we expect to be able to get our hands on a copy? Give us a teaser on the plot of each of them?

Coming SOON is the word. Here is a sneak preview to whet your appetite.

TRACES OF KARA

Kara Knight can't wait to leave her hometown for the promise of nursing school and a fresh start on her future--leaving behind an over protective mother, a broken heart and painful memories. However, twenty-five miles away, the brother she doesn't know is determined to be reunited with the sister he cannot forget.

Kara is abducted and thrown into her obsessive captor's delusional world. As the past she thought she knew unravels around her, Kara struggles to make sense of the memories that come creeping back, threatening her sanity and her safety. Meanwhile, Kara's mother races against time to save the daughter she fears she will lose when a long-held secret is revealed. The hours tick away as Roland plays out his plan--to take Kara with him into death at the exact moment of their birth, never to be separated again.

TRACES OF KARA is an action packed, pulse pounding psychological thriller/suspense novel that features a determined killer who slowly loses his grip on reality as his carefully detailed plan starts to fall apart and a heroine determined to move forward with her life who now must reconcile everything she believed to be true about her family with the reality of their tragic past.

WHERE PETALS FALL

On the surface Junie Olson’s life looks idyllic, from her handsome husband and beautiful daughter to her successful business, the bakery she always dreamed of opening. But in the past few months her world has slowly unraveled. Her precocious child is withdrawing, showing unexplainable signs of emotional regression, a condition that frays the bonds of Junie’s once impenetrable marriage. When her father dies suddenly of a heart attack, Junie packs up her daughter and goes home to help her mother. Her homecoming stirs up memories of the nightmare she thought she had put behind her, the disappearance of her childhood friend, Ellen. Haunted by recurring memories of what happened on that fateful day, Junie must gather the courage to revisit her past and untangle the secrets surrounding her missing friend, and the trauma that has caused her little girl to climb back into herself. As the pieces come together on the event that shook her small town, and at the risk of losing everyone she loves, Junie will question everything she thought she could rely on and everyone she thought she knew.

WHERE PETALS FALL is a gripping and emotional novel with an undercurrent of suspense, featuring a determined mother whose world slowly comes apart around her. Where Petals Fall will appeal to fans of Lisa Scottoline's Save Me or Jodi Picoult's Salem Falls, who love an emotional and gripping read. They will root for Junie as they follow her transition into an indomitable heroine who must reconcile what she discovers about her husband and family’s tragic past, and find a way to put the pieces of her family back together and carry on.

Social media appears to be a major part of your marketing with over 29K Twitter followers and an excess of 125K tweets. What is your goal in the on-line communications? How do you weed though all the noise? Do you use software to manage the through-put? How does social media fit into your marketing plan?

For me, social media has been a blessing. I'm a naturally gabby person, and I love to share what I've learned in publishing. Social media allows me to connect with readers across the world, and it's a great avenue for sharing writing related information with writers everywhere. But for me, social media has a more powerful impact on a more important aspect of what I like to share, which is inspiration for seeing the positive side of life, gentle reminds to care about others, and share your joy. To me, success doesn't bring happiness as well as helping others does, and social media has been a gift to me in that way.

As for weeding out the noise, I'm kind of a Twitter addict. You'll notice that I respond to each and every person who tweets to me, unless for some reason I don't see the tweet, which certainly happens, though not often. I don't pay any attention to those who tweet nastiness or drop the "f" bomb, in fact, I block them pretty quickly. There's not much room for negativity in my life. I prefer to surround myself with positive energy. But, there is a lot of valuable information being tweeted by many, and I learn something valuable on a daily basis.

As for my overall marketing plan, I don't think in terms of the typical marketer looking for sales. My life is about building relationships, and for that purpose, social media plays a big role into my life.

I am a firm believer that helping other authors succeed is a pay forward venture. You are involved with several high-profile writing groups. To pick one, how does an author get involved with the World Literary Café? What are the goals of the Café? Tell us about the Best Indie Book Festival?

I'm so happy to hear that you're a pay-it-forward believer! All of my endeavors are pay-it-forward driven. Readers, writers, bloggers, reviewers, and anyone interested in the literary field can join the World Literary Cafe (WLC).

Our goal is to unite the literary community, bring new-to-you authors to readers, and help author promote their work, while teaching them how to take control of their own success.

The educational arm of WLC is Fostering Success.. At Fostering Success, we offer affordable, effective, easy to understand courses for writers to learn everything from self-publishing and social media to branding, platform building, and book marketing.

WLC is run by a host of volunteers who keep the WLC running smoothly, help to educate authors, and bring our programs to life. Kudos goes out to
Stacy Eaton (plus her blog),
Amy Manemann (plus her blog),
Wendy L Young,
T.M. Souders (plus her blog),
Christine Cunningham,
G.E. Johnson,
Natasha Brown, (plus her blog - and the Chronicles),
Rachelle Ayala (plus her blog - and another),
Emerald Barnes,
Bonnie Trachtenberg,
and Rhea Baugham.

I am very impressed with the group Indie Chicks which you are apart. It is an extraordinary group of ladies. I have had several authors already in the Author’s Spotlight. I had to include the group’s book in the list below. (Proceeds donated to a charitable organization that fights breast cancer.) How did you get involved with the group? What are the major benefits you personally have received working with the members?

I was blessed to be invited into the group by Cheryl Shireman, who coordinated the entire effort. These ladies are friends, mentors to many, and fabulous writers.

Time management appears to be one of your challenges with a large family, a great blog, your writing and marketing effort (Twitter included). How do you schedule your time to meet all the goals you must have? How does the family deal with you time constraints? How much traditional marketing do you do?

I am a panzer when it comes to things like outlining, but as far as my time management goes, I'm a total scheduler. I schedule everything from phone calls to picking up my children from school. I wrote an article on this topic that your readers might enjoy Time Management.
Each day I have a To-Do list that is prioritized to the nth degree. The list is reevaluated as the day demands, and like Nike says, I 'just do it'.

I have an incredibly supportive family who takes pride and joy in my efforts. They cheer me on and are more than happy to have dinner a bit later some nights, or do their own thing while I'm on a Skype meeting with a book club. I know how rare it is to be supported with something like writing, which many people deem a 'habit' (don't even get me started on that one…), and I'm truly blessed with supportive friends and family.

I'm not certain what you mean by 'traditional marketing', but marketing is a part of my day, every day. The way I see it, everywhere you go is a new chance to meet people, and the more you meet people and build relationships, the greater chance that you have that they'll eventually pick up your books.

My research shows you are a tireless advocate for women. How rewarding was it to put your feelings on paper with Megan's Way, battle of a single mother with cancer and how it affects her and the people around her? What is the background for this award-winning story? Where there people around you that shaped the characters?

MEGAN'S WAY is a very personal story that stemmed from a real-life issue with my mother. Megan's voice was so strong that I had to put down CHASING AMANDA, which I was writing at the time, to write MEGAN'S WAY.Some of the characters were definitely shaped around people that I know, though not all of them, and the ones that were are not direct images of their models. I think that as a writer, we take bits and pieces of those we know and see, and we weave them into new people--our characters.

You are a creative talent being a painter and a writer among others attributes. Moving between the two creative processes, writing and painting, is there a change of pace? Do you do one to get away from the other? Is there a high that you have to get off of?

I actually don't paint much anymore. I loved painting, but there's only so much time in the day, and I feel more connected with writing. That being said, there is definitely a change in pace. I found painting to be more relaxing, and writing, depending on the genre I'm writing at the time, sweeps me into the minds of the characters, who at times are killers, sleuths, distressed parents, or terrified children--and that's not relaxing at all, lol. The pace of writing is much faster. They offer two completely different types of enjoyment.

You have great trailers for all three books. What software did you use to create the trailers? The music sets the tone for each one. Can you tell us where you got the music and the pictures? You were able to combine still-pictures with video. Were the trailers self-created projects or did you outsource the production? (Give credit here.)

I love to make book trailers. What a joy it is to put faces to the characters. I generally buy stock photos off of different image sites like Shutterstock, I download music from free music sites, and I use Movie Maker or Animoto (they also offer music) to create the videos. I did mix still pictures with videos, which is quite easy using the above referenced tools. Thanks so much for your time.


Author's Book List
Chasing Amanda
Nine years ago, Molly Tanner witnessed a young girl's abduction in the busy city of Philadelphia, shifting her occasional clairvoyance into overdrive. Two days later, the girl's body was found, and Molly's life fell apart. Consumed by guilt for not acting upon her visions, and on the brink of losing her family, Molly escaped the torturous reminders in the city, fleeing to the safety of the close-knit rural community of Boyds, Maryland.

Molly's life is back on track, her son has begun college, and she and her husband have finally rekindled their relationship. Their fresh start is shattered when a seven-year-old girl disappears from a local park near Molly's home. Unable to turn her back on another child and troubled by memories of the past, Molly sets out to find her, jeopardizing the marriage she'd fought so hard to hold together. While unearthing clues and struggling to decipher her visions, Molly discovers another side of Boyds, where the residents--and the land itself--hold potentially lethal secrets, and exposes another side of her husband, one that threatens to tear them apart.
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Book Trailer: Chasing Amanda
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Amazon Buy Page -- Barnes and Noble Buy Page
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Come Back To Me
PLEASE NOTE: This book does not have your typical happily ever after ending. This is not a romance. It's romantic suspense or contemporary fiction and written as such.

Tess Johnson has it all: her handsome photographer husband Beau, a thriving business, and a newly discovered pregnancy. When Beau accepts an overseas photography assignment, Tess decides to wait to reveal her secret--only she's never given the chance. Beau's helicopter crashes in the desert.

Tess struggles with the news of Beau's death and tries to put her life back together. Alone and dealing with a pregnancy that only reminds her of what she has lost, Tess is adrift in a world of failed plans and fallen expectations. When a new client appears offering more than just a new project, Tess must confront the circumstances of her life head on.

Meanwhile, two Iraqi women who are fleeing honor killings find Beau barely alive in the middle of the desert, his body ravaged by the crash. Suha, a doctor, and Samira, a widow and mother of three young children, nurse him back to health in a makeshift tent. Beau bonds with the women and children, and together, with the help of an underground organization, they continue their dangerous escape.

What happens next is a test of loyalties, strength, and love.
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Book Trailer: Come Back To Me
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Amazon Buy Page -- Barnes and Noble Buy Page
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Megan's Way
What would you give up for the people you love?

When Megan Taylor, a single mother and artist, receives the shocking news that her cancer has returned, she'll be faced with the most difficult decision she's ever had to make. She'll endure an emotional journey, questioning her own moral and ethical values, and the decisions she'd made long ago. The love she has for her daughter, Olivia, and her closest friends, will be stretched and frayed.

Meanwhile, fourteen-year-old Olivia's world is falling apart right before her eyes, and there's nothing she can do about it. She finds herself acting in ways she cannot even begin to understand. When her internal struggles turn to dangerous behavior, her life will hang in the balance.

Megan's closest friends are caught in a tangled web of deceit. Each must figure out how, and if, they can expose their secrets, or forever be haunted by their pasts.

"[Foster] drew me into this amazing tale easily, with masterful yet not overly complex language that flows beautifully into a story one will remember always...Though clearly creatures of fiction, the characters in Megan's Way are wonderfully three-dimensional, brought vividly to life by Foster's careful details, from their unique back stories to the idiosyncrasies that make each person believable and real. To put it succinctly, Foster knows her stuff.

Whether conveying Megan's soulful struggle over continuing her treatment, or delving into the fears of a teenager forced to deal with situations beyond her tender years, Foster does so skillfully and poignantly." --Barnestable Patriot
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Book Trailer: Megan's Way
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Amazon Buy Page -- Barnes and Noble Buy Page -- Smashwords Buy Page
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Indie Chicks: 25 Independent Women 25 Personal Stories
This exciting anthology contains stories from twenty-five women from different parts of the world. Their ages differ, as do their backgrounds and locations, but one thing they all have in common is a spirit of independence and a determination to not only succeed, but prevail. Whether their struggles are to maintain balance between motherhood and career, escape from an abusive relationship, or to step out in faith and pursue a dream, all of these women have forged their own path. As women, one of our most powerful "gifts" is the ability to encourage one another.

This book is an effort to encourage women across the world. These twenty-five women share stories that will make you laugh, inspire you, and maybe even make you cry. Their hope is that these stories will inspire YOUR independent spirit and allow you to live the life you were meant to live.

All proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to a charitable organization that fights breast cancer.
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Amazon Buy Page -- Barnes and Noble Buy Page
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Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the HBS Author's Spotlight plus the blog: eBook Author's Corner

12 comments:

  1. wow, this was such a great interview. I can not wait to read your upcoming two books Melissa! They sound so intriguing! How awesome that HBS gave you this spotlight. Thanks for all you do to help others- especially authors , thanks for your support! Wishing you the best always! Congrats again on your upcoming two books Traces of Kara and where Petals Fall!

    Syl Stein

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    1. Hi Sylvia! Thank you so much! I'm so glad that you enjoyed the interview and stopped by to read and comment. xox

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    2. Dear Melissa,

      Your most welcome, and this was so well deserved! thanks for all you do xoxoxo!

      Syl Stein

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  2. Thanks Sylvia. The blog is intended to highlight authors who are interesting and like, Melissa, give back to their fellow authors. More important Melissa gives back to people. Just belonging to the Indie Chicks qualified her right up front.

    Other authors that are interviewed bring something unique to readers. Check out the list of authors that have been included in the Spotlight at http://bit.ly/SABakv and take a look at what they bring to the table.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your feature with me, James. I really enjoyed answering your questions and am honored to have been chosen.

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    2. thanks James, I will make sure to check the list of authors that have been included and thanks for this interview on Melissa Foster !

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  3. What a great interview! And Melissa is so kind and helpful to her fellow authors. I can't believe how lucky I was to meet her on the internet.

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    1. Hi Sheila! The internet has brought so many wonderful people together! I'm so lucky to have met YOU! xoox

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  4. Thank you for the shoutout, lovely lady! I love working with you! :)

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  5. Thanks mellisa . I salute your work. Keep your voluntary work.

    fostering children

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  6. I second that. She does so much for the kids and also indie authors.

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