Monday, August 5, 2013

HBS Author’s Spotlight – Class of July 2013

This month we have a group of interesting writers with worlds of knowledge and expertise.

Be sure to check out what they have coming next for their readers. I try to pick authors who are interesting studies and ask them unique questions for our Q/A section.

Check out our new feature to the HBS Author's Spotlight, The Showcase. I have included those authors in this class. Thanks to the following outstanding authors for a great month.

Here is a summary of our July 2013 crew.

JoAnn Smith Ainsworth

Author Genre: Historical Romance and Paranormal Suspense

Author's Blog: JoAnn Smith Ainsworth's Blog - Red Room
Website: JoAnn Smith Ainsworth

What NEXT: book two of the Operation Delphi series entitled EXPECT DECEPTION.

Social media: It’s a great tool to spread the word about my novels. Although it takes too much time and energy for me to be active on all social media sites…

Personal appearances: A year or so ago, I switched my marketing from in-store to online.

Covers: the realm of the publisher. We authors get a form where we can state our preferences and attach graphics to suggest the look of the heroine and hero

Support groups: California Writers Club, Berkeley Branch and the San Francisco Area Romance Writers of America.

Giveaways: I give them away for gift baskets and raffles in the community.

Author's Book List
Matilda's Song
Out of the Dark

For the rest of the story...View JoAnn Smith Ainsworth - HBS Author's Spotlight

Frederick Lee Brooke

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Literature & Fiction

Website: Frederick Lee Brooke
Twitter: @frederickbrooke
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

New novel: Collateral Damage.

My social media friendships have been a Godsend. The biggest benefit is the friendship and support you feel from like-minded people, authors and readers.

Paid Ads: you can write a really good book, but it’s extremely unlikely anyone will find out about it if you don’t get active on social media, with paid advertising, with blogging, and so on.

Support groups: IAN, Chicago Writer’s Association and BestsellingReads.

Time management: I’ve learned that the only way to do all the things I want to do is to say no. Saying no is an art and a science. Writing is a priority.

Amazon KDP select program: The theory is that you will rise in the rankings for a few days, build awareness of your books, and perhaps connect with some new readers who otherwise wouldn’t have discovered you. I’m not convinced this really helps anybody.

Book tours: I did one last summer for Zombie Candy, and it generated a lot of positive feeling for the book. Meaning a fair number of reviews and generous exposure on people’s blogs.

Author's Book List
Collateral Damage
Zombie Candy
Doing Max Vinyl

For the rest of the story...View Frederick Lee Brooke - HBS Author's Spotlight

Kathleen Brooks

Author Genre: Romance, Romantic Suspense, Mystery & Thrillers

Author's Blog: Kathleen Brooks
Website: Kathleen Brooks
Twitter: @BluegrassBrooks
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Coming NEXT: working on Cy Davies' book right now. It'll be out by October of 2013.

Social media: I think it's very important to have a social media relationship with your readers. It's a great way to keep them up to date on where you are with your books, any sales… get to know our readers.

Book Covers: I have a very hands-on approach with my covers. I use Covers By Cali. Calista Taylor and I work together to make each cover.

eBooks: it has allowed me to reach more people. I can put more books out and I also feel that ebooks combined with social media gives readers and authors a closer connection.

Free Books: I decided to put my first book in my Bluegrass Series, Bluegrass State of Mind, for free. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Dog Rescue program: I do work with Friends and Vets Helping Pets. They can be found online at

Author's Book List
Relentless Pursuit
Acquiring Trouble
Secret Santa
Rising Storm
Bluegrass Undercover
Bluegrass State of Mind
Risky Shot
Dead Heat

For the rest of the story...View Kathleen Brooks - HBS Author's Spotlight

Francine Thomas Howard

Author Genre: Historical Fiction

Author's Blog: Meet Francine Thomas Howard
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next book: I am working on a five-book series covering three-hundred years and two continents. The saga follows the adventures of three sisters of noble heritage kidnapped in 1706 from Timbuktu…

Social media: I've had wonderful friends who played a major part in launching my first novel, Page from a Tennessee Journal into the social stratosphere. I owe a great deal to GoodReads, and to a number of blogs that mentioned my novel.

Support groups: I consider myself most fortunate to have discovered the Jack-London founded, Berkeley Branch of the California Writers' Club.

eBooks: I still love the feel of a hardcover in my hands, but I must admit the Kindle is running a close race for my affections. My ebook sales vastly outnumber my other imprints

Experiences with Amazon Encore: Fabulous! I've already expressed my good fortune at having discovered the California Writers' Club-Berkeley Branch.

Author's Book List
Paris Noire
The Sisterhood Hyphen
Page from a Tennessee Journal

For the rest of the story...View Francine Thomas Howard - HBS Author's Spotlight

Ian Kingsley

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Religion & Spirituality

Author's Blog: Ian Kingsley - Author Blog
Twitter: @authorkingsley

NEW NOVEL: Flying a Kite

Social media: I was actually late to social media. I now love Twitter... and my Twitter followers. I am amazed at how many there are now.

Book signings: I am happy to do some signings that are not too distant from where I live on the south coast of England

Book trailers: I do my own book trailers... and that's quite tricky. I don't know how much impact they have. I just know that it seems a great way to get a message across to a potential reader without them having to plough through many words.

Reader’s circle: I am pleased to work on an email basis with any reading group, which is why I include some notes to help on my website. It's a good way to get feedback. I will correspond via email with groups who select my books and like to receive their collated response.

Author's Book List
Flying a Kite
Reality Check: Science Meets Religion

For the rest of the story...View Ian Kingsley - HBS Author's Spotlight

Kathleen Kirkwood

Author Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction, Paranormal

Author's Blog: Kathleen Kirkwood
Website: Kathleen Kirkwood Historicals

New release: The Captive Heart

You started before the social media buzz: I've had to relearn everything! And that's been quite a climb. I still don't have a FB fan page but do have a webpage and blog and am bumbling my way around Goodreads.

Book signings: Lately, I've kept my speaking engagements fairly local. You can usually find me on a panel at the Tucson Festival of Books on the U of A campus in March

Book cover: I'm very fortunate to have a techie-type husband who recently retired, plus the programs and where-with-all to dabble create the covers. My art and art history background are also of help to draw on

Writer support groups: I'm a member of Romance Writers of America and a couple of their chapters - Saguaro Romance Writers and Washington (D.C.) Romance Writers. Plus, I belong to Novelists, Inc. (NINC)

eBooks: I love the advent of ebooks and the ease with which to publish a book and to connect. Of course, the challenge becomes not letting the computer and the Internet overwhelm your life so you can never get away from it.

Author's Book List
The Defiant Heart
His Fair Lady
A Slip In Time
Shades Of The Past
The Valiant Heart

For the rest of the story...View Kathleen Kirkwood - HBS Author's Spotlight

Christine London

Author Genre: Spicy Romance

Website: Christine London's Spicy Romance
Twitter: @ChristineLondon
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

What's Next: This is the year of the short story for me: 55 Portobello Road Series exclusive to Amazon.

Social media: Different platforms for different folks — my twitter followers are a great bunch that appreciate the quotes and comments I leave. No notice of direct influence on sales.

Speaking and personal appearances: I have moderated many author panels and taught a 'Wanderlust' class at Romantic Times Convention in Chicago featuring how-to's of incorporating travel into settings.

Book cover creation: Some of my covers were created by the small press in house talent through a fairly in depth give and take hands on process. Yes- a good amount of input allowed from the author. Readers too, always have my ear

Writer support groups: Romance Writers of America… [I] have evolved into using one-on-one 'partners' in the process. I am blessed to have a beta reader or two as well as the amazing author colleague, Ms Viviane Brentanos, as critique partner. They are invaluable!

Giveaways: I have been reticent to give away the months and months of effort that go into the making of a quality novel though I have experimented with giving away one of my short stories.

Author's Book List
Caught Being Good
When We Were Amazing
Reluctant Companions
Shadows Steal the Light
Hog Wild
Soul In His Eyes
Sunninghill Snow
Before You Say Goodbye

For the rest of the story...View Christine London - HBS Author's Spotlight

Cali MacKay

Author Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author's Blog: Google +
Website: Romance Writer Cali MacKay
Twitter: @calimackay
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

New Book: The Pirate and the Feisty Maid plus early August: One Sweet Summer.

Social media: I do feel that social media has been important to keep the momentum of a book going, though I find it quite easy to let it eat into my writing time. Trying to find a balance is the key.

On-line advertising: I have done some paid advertising via Bookbub and Book Gorilla, and have found them to be great experiences, though I do feel that the boost in rankings is temporary. It can be hard to keep book rankings up, especially long term.

Book covers: When designing my covers, I try to capture the feel of the stories and the series. Often times, the cover is dictated by the stock photos that are available

Free books: I honestly feel that giving away a book for free, especially the first in a series has been instrumental in getting all my books into the hands of readers. By offering a book for free, there's no risk to the reader…

Author's Book List
One Sweet Summer
The Pirate and the Feisty Maid
The Pirate and the Feisty Maid
A Highland Heist
A Highland Home
The Highlander's Hope
For One Last Kiss

For the rest of the story...View Cali MacKay - HBS Author's Spotlight

Paul D. Marks

Author Genre: Mysteries, Satire, Noir, Detective, Crime

Author's Blog: Cafe Noir
Website: Paul D. Marks
Twitter: @PaulDMarks
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Coming Next: Broken Windows

Social media: I think it's more important than ever for a writer to have a good social media presence. Even if one has a major publisher…

Personal appearances: I think it's good to get out and meet people face to face, even with all the social media today.

Paid ads: I have done this and, as with most things, it's a mixed bag. Some web ads have really paid off, while others were a complete bust. So it's sort of a trial and error thing.

Writer support groups: Murder, We Wrote, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America and the Private Eye Writers of America.

Giveaways: I think the key in doing this is to build up a readership, have people want to see your next book. I think the freebies might help get the word out and hopefully generate paid sales, at least that's the theory.

Author's Book List
White Heat
51-50 - a Noir Short Story
Free Fall - A Noir Short Story
Born Under A Bad Sign - A Noir Story

For the rest of the story...View Paul D. Marks - HBS Author's Spotlight

Robert Renteria

Author Genre: Reality Novels and Comics

Website: From the Barrio to the Board Room
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

What’s next: developing a super hero comic book named "El Barrio"

Social media relationships: Social media is essential if you are looking for a global reach. We have received lots of attention from the media…

Several great videos: The video's have typically been taken live and in real time. We have had photographers and video coverage shooting at various events.

Giveasways: I have given away over 20,000 books personally (100,000 plus in circulation) to underfunded schools and social service agencies. My goal has been, is and will continue to be to put the Barrio books into the hands of as many kids as possible!

Sponsor a Classroom project: We offer a FREE school based and faith based curricula to all schools, social services, jails, youth detention centers, churches and all youth based organizations.

Author's Book List
Little Barrio
From the Barrio to the Board Room
Mi Barrio

For the rest of the story...View Robert Renteria - HBS Author's Spotlight

Sharon Saracino

Author Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Contemporary

Author's Blog: Sharon Saracino
Website: Sharon Saracino
Twitter: @SharonSaracino
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Congratulations on your novel: DEATH BENEFITS. Great reviews.

Social media: I think social media is a must for any author. Not only is it a platform for promotion, but it opens the door to networking and learning from other authors, as well as providing a means for fans to express their opinion.

Personal appearances: I’ll be doing some book clubs in the near future and will also be appearing at Hallowread in Ellicott City, MD in October.

Book covers: With Death Benefits, I provided the art department at Whiskey Creek Press with some basic facts. The cover artist then came up with a draft cover and we worked together to finalize the design.

Support groups: I currently belong to Pennwriters, Romance Writers of America and its Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter, as well as Maryland Romance Writers. I would say they absolutely help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process in that each organization is comprised of writers in many different stages of their careers…

Author's Book List
Death Benefits
Life After Death
Undiscovered Angel

For the rest of the story...View Sharon Saracino - HBS Author's Spotlight

A.D. Trosper

Author Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy

Author's Blog: A.D. Trosper
Website: A.D. Trosper
Twitter: @adtrosper
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next on the horizon: The second book in my Dragon's Call series, Tears of War, will release on August 20th 2013.

Book covers: I've taken a very hands-on approach with the covers for the Dragon's Call series, although I can't take complete credit. My designers at Blue Harvest Creative play the major role in the design of both my book covers and my book interiors.

Book trailers: I haven't noticed the trailer impacted sales at all and when readers were polled, 95% of them had either never seen a book trailer or never bothered to look at them when they came across them and still preferred to use the blurb, cover and first few pages to when making book buying decision.

Giveaways: I have done a few contest style giveaways. I haven't noticed those giving a boost in sales, which is fine, my goal was merely to put my book in front of reader’s eyes.

Author's Book List
The Legend of Christmas Magic
Embers at Galdrilene

For the rest of the story...View A.D. Trosper - HBS Author's Spotlight

Corina Vacco

Author Genre: Young Adult

Website: Corina Vacco
Twitter: @CorinaVacco
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Congratulations on your new novel: MY CHEMICAL MOUNTAIN.

Personal appearances: In mid-August, I’ll be at a pizza party and multi-author chat hosted by Copperfield’s Book Store in Petaluma. At the end of August, I’ll be speaking on environmental contamination and young adult literature at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts.

YouTube interview: from the book launch party for MY CHEMICAL MOUNTAIN at Books Inc. in San Francisco this past June. In the video, I’m speaking in public about my book for the very first time and I’m so nervous! But the more I talked, the easier the words came to me, and I had a great audience

Writer support groups: Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI),Berkeley Writers Circle, Left Coast Writers (LCW) and the Red Room Community.

Giveaways: The only experience I have with book giveaways was when I was one of a handful of authors invited to the Northern California Independent Booksellers Spring Gathering in San Francisco this past April. My publisher sent a box of books—we didn’t have any finished books yet, just galleys…I ran out of galleys in about twenty minutes…

Author's Book List
My Chemical Mountain

For the rest of the story...View Corina Vacco - HBS Author's Spotlight

Susan Vreeland

Author Genre: Literary Historical Fiction

Website: Books by Susan Vreeland
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

What's next: LISETTE'S LIST is scheduled for an August or September 2014 release.

Social media: I have found who my avid fans are. Through Fiction Writers Coop, a Facebook-based entity, I have networked with other fiction writers more than I ever did before.

Personal appearances: My next event is in Laguna Niguel, CA, September 21, Soroptimist International. Contact Linda Friedman,

Author's Book List
What Love Sees
Girl in Hyacinth Blue
Clara and Mr. Tiffany: A Novel
Luncheon of the Boating Party
Life Studies: Stories
The Forest Lover
The Passion of Artemisia: A Novel

For the rest of the story...View Susan Vreeland - HBS Author's Spotlight

David Niall Wilson

Author Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Fiction

Author's Blog: Google +
Website: David Niall Wilson
Twitter: @David_N_Wilson
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Congratulations on your new novel: Nevermore.

Social media: I find that Social Media is a very frustrating marketing environment. The potential of Social Media is huge, but it requires building a following along the lines of those celebrities can boast of.

Paid Ads: As a publisher and author I have to keep up with all the options, so yes, we've tried a variety of paid options. Some of them have paid off, and others have not. Some used to pay off, and don't any longer – at least not in balance with their cost.

Book covers: I do not, in general, ask my readers for input on covers. One reason is that they never agree … and the other is that, for me anyway, finally having control over this aspect of my work is important to me.

Writer support groups: Horror Writer's Association… I'm off-and-on a member of SFWA. I'm a member of the ITW (International Thriller Writers) and a member of APA (Audiobook Publisher's Association) but I am not overly active in any of them... that's largely a factor of just not having the time.

Giveaways: I think it's a practice that's time has come and gone, except in rare situations. When Amazon separated the "free" list from the "paid" list, it was the beginning of the end.

Audio Books: I love audiobooks. That said, auidobooks are not a marketing aid. In fact, it's harder to get listeners for a new audiobook by an unknown author than it is to get readers for your print or eBook, because the market is smaller, and because it takes longer to listen to an audiobook – it's a bigger commitment.

Author's Book List
Hallowed Ground
Ancient Eyes
Darkness Falling
The Orffyreus Wheel
On the Third Day
Defining Moments
Heart of a Dragon

For the rest of the story...View David Niall Wilson - HBS Author's Spotlight

HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

Arleen Alleman

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Author's Blog: Arleen Alleman
Website: Author Arleen Alleman
Twitter: @aallemanwrites
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

New Book: 'Alternate Currents' out by August.

Book Signings: I love the book signings onboard cruise ships ...regular schedule of book signings at Barnes and Noble Book Stores and these have proven to be extremely helpful in marketing the books.

Marketing: … advice to self-published authors: “It is slow going at first to get recognition and readers. Word of mouth is so important along with reviews posted…”.

Author's Book List
Alternate Currents
Current Assets
Currents of Vengeance
Currents Deep and Deadly

For the rest of the story...View Arleen Alleman - HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

Lisa Kessler

Author Genre: Romance, Short Stories, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Website: Lisa Kessler
Twitter: @LdyDisney
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

New Book: Night Demon. This book picks up about 3 weeks after Night Walker ends and Calisto & Kate from Night Walker and Kane & Rita from Night Thief are all back for Night Demon!

Social media: I love social media and I've made some super friends in the publishing business as well as amazing readers through internet connections on twitter and facebook.

Book trailers: I made the trailers for Across the Veil and for Night Walker. I had fun with the process and I think they definitely help with making readers aware of your books. My Night Thief trailer has gotten lots of attention…

Support groups: RWA or Romance Writers of America is a super organization. They offer lots of classes for newer writers, as well as watch out for the interests of published authors.

Ebooks: I sell many more eBooks than print books and my 4 new release this year are all coming out in Digital first format. It seems to be a plus for everyone.

Giveaways: When Night Thief came out I ran a special and put Across the Veil up for free. It screamed up the Amazon bestseller charts into the top 100 kindle free books and in a few days I gave away over 7,000 copies

Book tours: Book bloggers are amazing people and nothing spreads the word about your new release like a blog tour! I've done one for every new release.

Short flash fiction classes: I teach flash fiction classes online and in person and the magic of them is in sharing the stories. I can give writer's feedback and with a shorter story it's easier for them to pinpoint their story arc and determine where they could twist the conflict just a notch to make the story so much better.

Author's Book List
Night Demon
Night Thief
Night Walker
Forgotten Treasures: 25 Short Fiction Tales
Across the Veil

For the rest of the story...View Lisa Kessler - HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

Joseph Lallo

Author Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy - Epic

Website: The Book of Deacon Series
Twitter: @jrlallo
E-Mail: jrlallo (at) bookofdeacon (dot) com
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next book: Lain Origin, which is the working title, seems to be following the standard release timeline for my fantasy novels. That is to say, it is taking far longer than I'd anticipated.

Social media: The relationships have been crucial. I can attribute a lot of my early success to being picked up on a few discount book blogs.

Giveaways: Digitally, giving away books has been possibly the most important thing I've done to get my book career rolling. I typically write in series form, so giving away the first book in the series and hopefully capturing the attention of the readers enough to inspire them to pick up the rest has been my business model for years.

Author's Book List
The Rise of the Red Shadow
The Battle of Verril
The Book of Deacon
Unstable Prototypes
Bypass Gemini
The Great Convergence
Interviews with Indie Authors

For the rest of the story...View Joseph Lallo - HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

Authors Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
They also sponsor: eBook Author’s Corner and HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

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