Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Connie Flynn - HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Connie Flynn. She is the bestselling award-winning author of many Mystery, Fantasy, Paranormal and Romance novels and short stories.

Author Genre: Mystery, Fantasy and Romance

Website: Connie's Books
Author's Blog: Imagination Gone Wild
Blog: Bootcamp for Novelists Online
Twitter: @ConnieFlynn
E-Mail: connieflynn@yahoo.com
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description:
I have been writing fiction for so long I can barely remember when I didn't. Sometimes people ask where I get my ideas and I can't comment too much on 'ideas' either, since they come one at a time from different sources. What I do know and believe is true for all books --- it's a matter of putting them together, scene by scene, then going back, making sure to leave in all the good parts and take out all the boring parts (which is my writing motto).

That has seemed to work for me. I've made a half dozen or so bestseller list, won a PRISM award for my time-travel paranormal, and been a finalist in a number of other well known writing contest. Now, I'm jumping into the pool of previously traditionally published authors who are choosing to publish independently. I'm truly enjoying the freedom and control this gives an author that allows me to finally be releasing THE DRAGON HOUR in Kindle eBook format. This story is about a Scottish paradise lost in time and invaded by 21st century thugs and will be available for only 99c for the next six weeks.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

First things first. Congratulations on your new book: The Dragon Hour. (Highlighted below.) So 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?

First off, thanks for inviting me to be here, James. It's really exciting to have another book up on my Connie Flynn Amazon page, and you were right in assuming this isn't a rest stop for me. KNOW WHEN TO RUN, a romantic suspense, is tentatively scheduled for late May and will be released under my mystery pen name, K.C.Flynn. I've struggled with the 'teaser' because Know When is an amnesia stories and they are notoriously hard to define. But since you forced my hand — thank you very much — I came up with this, at least for the time being: She woke up one morning on a Mississippi riverboat with a huge headache and no idea of who she was. Nearly two years later he came after her, claiming she killed her own father. She says he's got the wrong woman. One of them is right . . .

Since you starting before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How much has it changed your book launch process?

Well, first of all it's a lot more work but also fun, so it can be quite distracting. Back in the days I traditionally published, the publisher did most everything for me. I just had to maintain my website and show up at book signings. Now that I'm indie published and mostly on Kindle at that, it's become essential that I stay present in the social media world. My books sales plunge when I take time off to, for instance, finish a book or compile and proof one for publication. Nowadays I'm essentially running a business and it's a one-man show. I do everything and social media has become another task as opposed to something I do to take a break. It's truly a boon for all authors because it lets us connect with real people. The only true drawback is that it steals so much time from our writing hours.

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

They are among the events I love the most — being there in person, out in public. My next scheduled appearance so far this year is at the July 20 meeting of the Tucson Sisters in Crime at the Viscount Suite Hotel, 4855 E. Broadway, Tucson, Arizona. In August I'll address another Sisters in Crime chapter at the Desert Sleuths annual Write Now! conference, August 16-17, in Scottsdale, Arizona. It's a great conference and I urge readers to attend.

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

I design and produce my own covers. Before I became an author, I was a graphic artist and while the tools have changed, design principles really haven't. Still, it's been a learning curve and I cherish your positive feedback since I'm still not totally secure about being on the right track. While I eventually plan to turn book compiling over to one of the wonderful services that do that work, I'm going to continue doing my own covers because the more expansive process of design is a nice counterpoint to the linear nature of both the writing process and the compiling process. In other words, it keeps me sane.

What kinds of writer support groups do you belong too? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

I'm a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and belong to two chapters. I also belong to the Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime. All my groups provide opportunities for marketing through conferences and book signing events and just plain word of mouth, but their biggest contribution to my ongoing support comes from having a network of people with common interests.

Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, family 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?

I've been working on a crisis management model ever since I decided to jump into indie publishing with both feet. There was simply so much to do and not enough time or money to go around. It will probably take another years before I'm caught up. I have three complete novels that needs revising, proofreading and compiling and four backlist novels to compile and convert into eBook format. The good news is that I see some breathing room coming up because I now at least know what absolutely must be done and what can be set aside.

Has the advent of ebooks changed anything in your writing, your marketing and the relationship with your readers and fans?

Absolutely. I am no longer marketing my books to traditional publishers because, for the moment anyway, there's simply more predictability and security in indie publishing than in the rocky world of 21st century publishing. My readers are delighted that my older books are finally available again and say they are looking forward to my new books.

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

The main reason any author sends out free eBooks is because it elevates their visibility inside the incredibly crowded field of online indie books. However, the big free book sweeps that I have been involved are just not as successful in achieving this end as they used to be. Free books will always be with us because they draw in new readers and they've been a strong part of early promotion for traditional publishers, too, so I don't see this trend going away. Personally, however, I am investigating different ways to handle my free promotions, but haven't yet nailed down the exact direction.

How do you manage your plots, characters and timelines to keep your stories going? Do you use any software to keep track of your books?

Oh, I manage pretty much by the seat of my pants. And that approach used to work when I had more time, but now I have to tightly schedule all my writing time and even then the demands of indie publishing tend to steal it away (oh, that devil social media :-). I haven't used software, but am considering Scrivener because it all does the eBook conversion and any tool that will do double duty for me is worth learning to master.

You publish under several names and genres. Does changing hats create any problems? Any tricks you can share with us? Which genre did you enjoy writing the most? Does moving from one to the other give you some breathing room?

Yeah, I know. Conventional wisdom these days says to use one name and write only in a single genre, but I get my ideas as I get my ideas. From the start of my writing career, I always included elements of mystery and paranormal and over the years have drifted more and more away from straight romance. But I can't say that I favor fantasy over mystery. And I do like the contrast of fantasy's imaginative nature vs. mystery's logical approach. I decided to split my two major genres because their readership can be quite different and put all romance and fantasy novels under Connie Flynn. K.C. Flynn will get credit for KNOW WHEN TO RUN and already does for the Derek Shriver mysteries, which started out — and currently still are — short stories. The first Shriver novel is the other title that will come out in 2013 and I expect to publish it in early fall. This is when I'll find out for sure if using a pen name was a mistake.

Explain how the Bootcamp for Novelists Online works and how writers can get involved? Does the Bootcamp include marketing and ebook creation?

Bootcamp for Novelists is essentially a writing school that presents in-person seminars and online courses. I taught face-to-face workshops for more than a decade before Linda Style and I put our heads together and set up an internet school. We ran it for more than four years, but eventually we found that the continual teaching was too time consuming. In 2012, we closed the school to devote more time to our writing. The Bootcamp Basic Training Manual is available through the Kindle Store and Linda offers course packets off the Bootcamp website.

Author's Book List
The Dragon Hour
A Scottish paradise lost in time is invaded by 21st century thugs. It was a robbery gone terribly wrong ending in Luke Slade carrying his wounded cousin through a window of light, sweeping them back in time. Just before the window closes, the killers chase in behind them, trapping them all in 1672.

Caryn McLaughlin rules Lochlorraine and deals daily with a terrible threat. When Luke appears she knows her worries will soon be over. She'd seen his face all her life, on a tapestry now hanging in her bed chambers. He is Luke the Dragon Slayer, none other, and his duty is clear. What a pity he doesn't see it that way.
Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
BOOTCAMP FOR NOVELISTS BASIC TRAINING MANUAL - What you need to know BEFORE you write your novel
Our Basic Training Manual is finally out and if you find our manual helpful you would do us a huge favor by posting a review that will help others decide if our manual will also be helpful to them. Thank you . . . Linda and Connie

Have you always wanted to write a novel, but don't know where to begin? Have you wondered why there isn't one simple, easy-to-read, down-to-earth explanation of the basics--what you need to know BEFORE you start writing?

Award-winning authors of over two dozen novels, Linda Style and Connie Flynn, co-founders of Bootcamp for Novelists Online, created the Bootcamp Basic Training Manual: What you need to know BEFORE you write your novel, specifically to give their writing students a down and dirty introduction to the language of publishing and the core elements necessary to create a cohesive story. Linda and Connie condensed all their Bootcamp Basic Training information and knowledge, from genre definitions to manuscript formatting--and everything in between--into one brief, reader-friendly manual. Learning what you need to know BEFORE you write your novel will save you time and energy as well as laying the foundation for a successful writing experience. It's never too late to learn the basics!
Order the Book From: Amazon
The Fire Opal
The sudden death of her mother prompts a beautiful young woman to return to the Cajun birthplace she'd abandoned as a teenager, and hoped never to see again. Back in the bayou, she renews her relationship with her former lover while trying to come to grips with her mysterious Creole heritage. But when la fantome noir--the dark spirit that haunts the bayou--appears in the swamps, she is called to battle, and must find the powerful Fire Opal--which is her only hope for survival. Together, she and her former lover must embark into uncharted swamp waters to recover the magical talisman...and perhaps rekindle their lost love.
Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Shadow of the Wolf
No one could know of a beauty's frightening secret, or that she has been swept into a life of terror by a force too powerful to resist. The handsome Tony White Hawk believes she is the one responsible for his wife's death. But circumstances beyond their control ignite a passion that both burns and heals. Now her life is in danger, as an enemy seeks to claim her soul, and only her new love can save her. Online promo (www.penguin.com). Ads in "Romantic Times".
Order the Book From: Amazon
Shadow on the Moon
I've had a love affair with werewolves ever since I saw Lon Chaney play the Wolfman way back in the last century. I was, oh, about minus 10 years old at the time, but that's another subject, which I was old enough to understand it. This poor man, through no fault of his own, was the victim of a terrible curse that once a month turned him into someone he didn't recognize. He hated what he was and could do nothing about it. On my side, he scared me senseless but also made me sympathetic and I used to hope beyond hope that someone would save him.

So, when publishers started actively seeking the darker paranormal, Lon and his breed, shapeshifters, came to mind, and Morgan Wilder came to life. All he needed was someone to save him. That person was Dana Gibbs, a wolf biologist who herself was practically raised by wolves. She alone understands him. Though she hasn't a clue about the dark world he inhabits, she finds the courage to enter it and help him escape forever.

I hope you enjoy their story and if in reading it you wonder if you'd heard that wolves have been introduced into the Arizona mountains, you would be right. This book was written just as that program was being launched.
Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
eBook Author’s Corner and HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

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