Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cheryl Shireman - HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Cheryl Shireman. She is the author of the 'Life is But a Dream' series and the 'Cooper Moon' series among many novels. She also writes children's books. She is the founder of the'Indie Chicks' writing group.

Author Genre: Fiction Novels, Non-Fiction and Children's Books

Website: Cheryl Shireman
Author's Blog: Cooper Moon - The Series
Blog: Indie Chicks Café
Twitter: @cherylshireman
E-Mail: Contact Form on her Site
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description: Cheryl Shireman lives in the Midwest on a beautiful lake with her husband, Bruce. She has three adult children and one adorable granddaughter. She writes full-time, often in her pajamas.
She is the author of several novels including:
Life is But a Dream: On the Lake
Life is But a Dream: In the Mountains
Broken Resolutions
Cooper Moon: The Calling

She is also the author of the much-loved non-fiction book, You Don't Need a Prince: A Letter to My Daughter

In addition, Cheryl created the Curious Toddler Series of children books after finding it difficult to find books to engage her then 3 year old granddaughter. The first book of the series, Let's Learn About…Dogs! Was such a hit with her granddaughter that Cheryl went on to create several books in the series. Like all of her other books, the books in the Curious Toddler series are available as ebooks and as paperbacks.

In 2011, Cheryl gathered a group of women writers together to create the first Indie Chick Anthology. Since then, more bestselling women writers have joined the group and together they continue to create anthologies based on various themes. Cheryl and the other "Indie Chicks" can be found blogging about topics they are passionate about at

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Let’s start with what’s next. Do you have another book on the horizon? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease.

I am currently in the middle of the Cooper Moon series. The first two books (Cooper Moon: The Calling and Cooper Moon: The Temptation) were published earlier this year. The final two books in the series will be published in 2013. Of all the novels I’ve written, I think this series is my favorite. I love the characters!

The story centers on a gorgeous womanizer named Cooper Moon. Cooper is trying to change his ways, but as readers have learned, that is not always so easy. Set in a small town in Michigan, the series is full of twists and turns and many readers have contacted me to tell me these books kept them reading until the wee hours of the morning. One reader told me, “These characters are so real I can almost smell them.”

You have a good social media following. How important are those relationships that you’ve formed to your writing success? How much has it changed your book launch process?

The best thing about social media is that my readers can easily find me. Most of the messages I get from readers are via Facebook. Another great thing about social media is the connections I have made with other writers. Those connections are priceless. Writing, by nature, is a very solitary process.

It is great to be able to jump online any time and chat with someone after spending ten hours writing.

Do you do book signing, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when is your next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

I haven’t yet. Honestly, the idea of doing a book signing sounds like torture to me. I’m a pretty private person. I have toyed with the idea of doing a writing class locally. I would enjoy helping other writers to make their writing dreams come true. I think that would be fun.

I can be found online on my website,
and on twitter and facebook under my name.

You have great covers. How does your cover design process work? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

Recently, I started working with the amazing cover designer, Paul Beeley of Create Imaginations. We have created new covers for both of my Life is But a Dream novels, and Paul is doing all of the covers for the Cooper Moon series. He lives in London and I live in the United States, so we do all of our work through email and facebook messaging. I email him with a few ideas and then he works his magic. We go back and forth with ideas and images until the final result emerges. It is a very creative process and I love working with Paul.

Have you create a book trailer for any of your books to promote your books online? Do you know how much impact they have had on your books success?

I think a trailer, if well done, can be a great tool to sell a novel, but I just have not had the time to work with anyone to create one. It is on my very long list of things to do.

Personally, I think the best “promotion tool” for a novel is word of mouth. When a reader tells their friends about your novel, it is the ultimate compliment. I appreciate my readers so much. They make my dreams come true.

Congratulations on starting the Indie Chicks. I am very impressed with the group. We have had several of the authors in the Spotlight. They are an extraordinary group of ladies. I had to include the group’s book in the list below.

How did you come up with the idea for the group? What are the major benefits you personally have received working with the members?

I love the Indie Chicks. You are right. This is such an extraordinary group of writers. When I first came up with the idea of the Indie Chicks, I discarded the idea immediately. It seemed like such a huge idea - fraught with so many logistical problems. But the idea kept returning.

And, eventually, I could no longer ignore the idea. I came up with a list of my “dream team” of women writers and started contacting them. I asked them if they’d like to be part of a group of women writers who worked together to support and encourage one another, not only in writing but sometimes in life. Almost all of the women I contacted replied with a heart.

Yes! We have a website where we all blog ( IndieChicksCafé.com), and we have published several anthologies. All proceeds from the anthologies go to various charitable organizations.

With your busy schedule, how do you have time to keep up with your followers? Between your book writing, blogging, marketing and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?

There is never enough time. The last two years have been a whirlwind of writing and publishing. Unfortunately, I became very accustomed to working 80+ hour weeks. I’ve been very productive, but my health suffered as a result. Lately, I’ve been trying to be a little more balanced. I still work at least 60 hours a week, and that does not count the two days a week that I watch my granddaughter - the highlight of my week!

When I am writing, I am even more focused. I write at least twelve hours a day and find it difficult to stop for anything - like eating or showers! I have such a hard time with balance.

When I write, I ignore everything else. Then, eventually I emerge from the writing cave months later, work on covers, write some blogs, connect on social media, catch up with my friends. Rinse and repeat.

I noticed you just completed the 2012 Holiday Blog Hop! Can you explain to us how that works? Have you ever done a book tour? Is the blog hop similar to a book tour?

This particular hop was created by Cheryl Bradshaw. Over sixty writers did contests and giveaways on their blogs. Additionally, there is a central page where you can find links to all of the writer’s blogs. Readers “hop” around from blog to blog and enter contests. Prizes in this hop included lots of books and two Kindle Fires.

Note: Cheryl Bradshaw has been in the HBS Author's Spotlight before.

You are published in several different genres including your Indie Chicks Anthologies. How do you manage your plots, characters and timelines to keep your stories going? Do you use any software to keep track of the details?

I have tried varies things over the years, but the tool that I have found to work best is an Excel spreadsheet. This has come in especially useful for the Cooper Moon series which has fourteen major characters. I am currently working with an eight page spreadsheet, each page dedicated to certain aspect of the novel. Keeping track of all of these characters and the subplots would be impossible without the spreadsheet.

Following along the same lines, does changing hats create any problems or does it give you a change of pace? Any tricks you can share with us? Which genre did you enjoy writing the most?

I primarily write fiction and books for children. I started writing books for children after the birth of my granddaughter. I published eight “Let’s Learn About” books for toddlers that deal with various topics - Cats, Dogs, Birds, Things to Drive, Farm Animals, Jungle Animals, Wild Animals, and Horses.

I also just published a children’s book entitled I Love You When. There is a version for girls and a version for boys. The illustrations were created by Charlotte Ellis and they are adorable! I love writing the books for children because I get immediate satisfaction when my three-year-old granddaughter reads them. That is always so much fun.

My favorite genre, though, is fiction (contemporary fiction or literary fiction). I love getting lost in the world of a novel.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in other types of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

Since Select has made it possible to give away books for free on Amazon, there have been a lot of writers who have offered their books to readers for free. It can be a good way to attract short-term attention to your novel, but I am not sure what long-term effect giving away free copies will have on sales. I think it is too soon to tell right now.

I just did a giveaway of the first book in the Cooper Moon series - Cooper Moon: The Calling. Almost 1500 readers grabbed a free copy. If those readers love the book and continue on to the next book in the series, that would be wonderful. Any way you look at it, a lot of readers were exposed to the series, and that is always a good thing. Like any promotional effort, going free can have mixed results. Earlier in the year I did a free run for another book and over 5000 people downloaded that book. There are two ways to look at that - I just "lost" the price of 5000 sales, or I gained 5000 readers. I prefer the latter!

Author's Book List
Cooper Moon: The Temptation
Welcome back to the small town of Timber Lake, Michigan. The streets may be relatively quiet, but a lot is going on behind closed doors! Most of it revolves around the most attractive man in town, Cooper Moon. Once a womanizer and a liar, Cooper is trying to change his ways. Unfortunately, that’s not so easy. One of his ex-girlfriends is determined to seduce him, he is about to receive a blackmail note from another ex-girlfriend, and his wife is tired of his cheating ways.

Cooper isn’t the only one in town with his hands full.

Jake the cop has fifty-two thousand dollars hidden in his bowling ball bag. His wife is desperate to get pregnant and his very ill mother has just moved in with them.

TJ Barnes just won a million dollars, but still can’t get the attention of the woman of his dreams.

Beaulah Potts has been a real estate agent for years and still has not made a sale. Her husband, pastor of the largest church in Timber Lake, has his own secrets, even from Beaulah.

Pete, the local bar owner, made the mistake of letting a married friend spend the night in his apartment. Now, she won’t move out and he doesn’t know how to get rid of her.

Trouble is brewing, faith is wavering, and love is being tested. Full of unexpected twists and turns, Cooper Moon: The Temptation is sure to keep you turning pages!

Cooper Moon: The Temptation is the second book in the Cooper Moon series. For more information on the series, go to
Amazon Buy Page -- Barnes and Noble Buy Page -- Smashwords Buy Page
Cooper Moon: The Calling
This is the story of Cooper Moon, a handsome womanizer who has found God under some unusual circumstances. Cooper is the last person one might expect to experience such a conversion, and no one is more skeptical of this sudden turn of events than Cooper’s wife, Sally.

Cooper has not only found God, he has also decided to build a church. He faces a few obstacles. He has never read the Bible, he has no money, and he has a well-deserved reputation as a slacker. Throw in a couple of scheming women who aren’t ready to give up sleeping with Cooper, a jealous husband with a grudge, and things begin to get complicated. Filled with a cast of characters you are sure to love (and hate!), Cooper Moon: The Calling is a story of love, faith, determination, dreams, sin, lust, hope, revenge, and despair – just like real life.

The novel is the first of the four-book Cooper Moon series.
Amazon Buy Page -- Barnes and Noble Buy Page
Let's Learn About...Farm Animals!
A Curious Toddler Book (Volume 8
A child is never more curious than when he or she is a toddler. Every day is a new adventure and an opportunity to learn and explore. Toddlers and preschoolers are like little sponges ready to soak up the world before them. Nurture that sense of wonder and curiosity by giving them age-appropriate material that not only entertains, but also educates your child about real-world subjects.

The Curious Toddler series was created to stimulate and engage children from ages 2 to 5 by focusing on subjects of interest to young children. These books are fun to read with your toddler and are sure to stimulate conversation between adult and child. Let's Learn About…Farm Animals! Is Volume 8 of the Curious Toddler series. Full of beautiful color photos of various types of farm animals in assorted activities, this book is sure to become one of your child's favorite books. Available as an ebook or as a paperback!
Amazon Buy Page -- Barnes and Noble Buy Page
Life Is But A Dream: In The Mountains
Book 2 in the Grace Adams Series
Grace Adams has a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, as readers discovered in the bestselling first book of this series - Life is But a Dream: On the Lake. Thought-provoking, often funny, and sometimes frightening, that beloved novel was so popular that the readers demanded a sequel.

Now, in the second book of the “Grace Adams Series,” Grace has moved to the mountains. Her daughter, Laney, is in her first year of college, and Grace has reunited with her ex-husband, Matt. All seems well until the woman next door goes missing. Soon, Grace is not only a suspect, but she also fears for the safety of her own daughter who seems to be enamored with the missing woman’s hunky husband. Join Grace as she rekindles the fire with Matt, hikes the Rocky Mountains with Laney, and begins a new business venture with her neighbor Susie - all while keeping an eye on the man next door
Amazon Buy Page -- Barnes and Noble Buy Page
Broken Resolutions
From the author who created Life is But a Dream: On The Lake, comes the much anticipated second novel – Broken Resolutions! Six long-time friends gather for their annual New Year’s Eve party. They are meeting at Craig and Hannah’s spectacular home in the country. Hannah is a best-selling romance novelist. Craig is her adoring husband. All seems perfect. Except nothing is.

No one knows that Craig left Hannah several months ago and is living across town with another woman. Tonight, Craig and Hannah will play the part one more time. Because tomorrow will be soon enough for broken dreams and reality. Tonight, they just have to get through the party. But they didn’t plan on the snowstorm. A snowstorm that will keep them all snowed in together for the next three days. Which is plenty of time for secrets to be discovered, for illusions to be shattered, and for resolutions to be broken. So, dab a little perfume behind your ear, put your party dress on, and slip into your favorite heels. You’re invited to the party!
Amazon Buy Page -- Barnes and Noble Buy Page
Life is But a Dream: On the Lake
Grace Adams Series
Imagine going alone to a secluded lake cabin to redefine your life. In this stunning debut novel by writer Cheryl Shireman, the main character, Grace Adams, is a woman who faces an uncertain future. Despite the fact that she built her life around them, her daughter and husband have created lives that no longer include her.

Thought provoking, sometimes frightening, and often funny, Life Is But a Dream is the powerful story of a woman redefining herself and taking control of her life as she struggles to understand her present circumstances. It is the story of the power of love, the devastating consequences of depression, and the strength of the human spirit.

Ready to get lost in the pages of a novel? Life is But a Dream will capture your attention from the first word to the last. Be swept away today!

And be sure to check out the sequel: Life Is But A Dream: In the Mountains.

Amazon Buy Page -- Barnes and Noble Buy Page
What's Your Story? Icebreaker Questions for Small Groups
You do not know a person until you know their story. We each have a story and it is filled with both factual details and personal details. I believe the amount we are willing to reveal to another is in direct proportion to the amount they are able to love us. You cannot love what you do not know.

When a group of people get together, one of the quickest and easiest ways to get to know one another is through the use of questions that prompt us to tell our story. That is the purpose of this book. The material is divided into three sections. Getting to Know You is a series of factual questions that will allow you to know someone at a surface level. Getting to Know What You Think questions are a bit deeper and allow you to begin to know a person’s experiences as well as their thoughts on various subjects. Getting to Know What You Feel are a series of questions that often require a bit more of thought before answering. New groups might want to start near the front of the book with questions that are easier to answer. You may ask the questions in a variety of ways:
• Ask everyone in the group the same question
• Have group members open to a random page and answer the first question they see
• Have group members open to a random page and ask another group member the first question they see You may also use the book in a variety of circumstances:
• As an icebreaker for new groups
• A fun break for groups that have been together a long time
• As a “get to know you” session whenever a new person is added to the group
• The first few minutes of every group meeting Fun to use for any small group!
Amazon Buy Page -- Barnes and Noble Buy Page
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.

Afterword by Beth Elisa Harris
Compiled by Cheryl Shireman
Formatting by Heather Marie Adkins
Cover by Christine DeMaio-Rice
Stories included: Foreword by Karen McQuestion
Knight in Shining Armor by Shea MacLeod
Latchkey Kid by Heather Marie Adkins
Write or Die by Danielle Blanchard
The Phoenix and The Darkness by Lizzy Ford
Never Too Late by Linda Welch
Stepping Into the Light by Donna Fasano
One Fictionista’s Literary Bliss by Katherine Owen
I Burned My Bra For This? by Cheryl Shireman
Mrs. So Got It Wrong Agent by Prue Battten
Holes by Suzanne Tyrpak
Turning Medieval by Sarah Woodbury
A Kinky Adventure in Anglophilia by Anne R. Allen
Writing From a Flour Sack by Dani Amore
Just Me and James Dean by Cheryl Bradshaw
How a Big Yellow Truck Changed My Life by Christine DeMaio-Rice
From 200 Rejections to Amazon Top 200! by Sibel Hodge
Have You Ever Lost a Hat? by Barbara Silkstone
French Fancies! by Mel Comley
Life’s Little Gifts by Melissa Foster
Never Give Up On Your Dream by Christine Kersey
Self-taught Late Bloomer by Carol Davis Luce
Moving to The Middle East by Julia Crane
Paper, Pen, and Chocolate by Talia Jager
The Magic Within and The Little Book That Could by Michelle Muto
Write Out of Grief by Melissa Smith
Afterword by Beth Elisa Harris

This special paperback edition also includes What Is Your Life Whispering To You? The Story Behind the Indie Chicks Anthology. Be sure to also check out the ebook version that also includes a sneak peak into the novels of these 25 women writers. Stop by our Facebook page!
Amazon Buy Page -- Barnes and Noble Buy Page
You Don't Need a Prince
A Letter to My Daughter
Timeless advice on love for women of all ages! As women, so many of us buy into the myth that we need a prince to live happily ever after - or at least our version of a prince. In reality, like the Good Witch tells Dorothy, YOU always had the power. You don't need a prince to be happy. The power to be happy lies within. Now, instead of a fairytale, let a true story inspire you (or your daughter or a friend!).

This book began as an email from a mother to a daughter in college at Indiana University. The daughter was going through a tough time in her relationship. She had mixed emotions about ending her current relationship because she simply did not want to hurt him. To make matters worse, she had just met another man. A man she was head over heels in love with. Amid this turmoil, her mother sent an email with words of advice about love and relationships. About the myth that every girls needs a prince. The daughter loved the email so much that she began forwarding it to her friends. And so the chain began, women reaching out to women. And now that email has been turned into a book (and ebook) for you to share with the women in your life. Thousands of women already have!

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My daughter and I are honored and delighted that so many other women have gained hope and inspiration from this book that started as a simple gift of love. May this little book help you to find your happily ever after! "ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND MOVING BOOKS I'VE EVER READ. This is for anybody who has, or will have, a daughter.

If Caroline Ingalls had ever had a computer, she would have written emails like this to Carrie, Mary, and Laura. It's a book that will remain forever on my Kindle, and when my daughter is old enough to understand it then it will be compulsory reading for her. But even if you've not got a daughter, this book is a must-read. It's about relationships. It applies to everybody. It is short and powerful. Download it today and you'll read it in all of thirty minutes. But the sentiments will stay with you forever." Mark Williams, co-author (under Saffina Desforges) of the best-selling UK crime thriller Sugar and Spice and the Rose Red series.
Amazon Buy Page -- Barnes and Noble Buy Page
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. Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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