Friday, March 28, 2014

Carmen DeSousa - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Carmen DeSousa. She is the Author of the Southern Suspense Series.

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Romance, Paranormal

Website: Carmen DeSousa - ROMANCE. MYSTERY. SUSPENSE
Author's Blog: Romance.Mystery.Suspense. - Carmen DeSousa
Twitter: @Author_Carmen
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description:
A romantic-suspense writer, Carmen’s stories overflow with romance, mystery, suspense, paranormal sometimes, and of course, tragedy. After all, what would a great story be without a tragic event setting the stage? All of her novels are sensual, but not erotic, gripping but not graphic and will make you cry, laugh, love, and hope.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: Creatus Rogue. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

I have no downtime. The moment I finish one project, I’m off to the next in the Creatus Series. My Creatus Series has been popular, but readers have demanded to know more about the years leading up to Book One, so as always, I listen to my readers, as they are my 'real' boss. So, I've spent the last month writing a prequel to the series. It is with my beta readers, and if they say 'Go!', readers should expect to see it April 2014.

You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Did you use forums, newsletters and methods like that?

As I tell most people: one follow at a time. I love interacting with authors and readers, and it doesn’t matter if you have one follower or a million, I follow based on your profile and tweets. I’ve never used auto-follow programs, and I don’t follow everyone, but I’m not a snob either. Plain and simple, I read every single profile along with a few tweets of everyone who follows me, and if we share common interests—almost anything to do with reading or writing—I follow back. I do fall behind sometimes, though, so sometimes you might have to unfollow me and follow me again.

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?

Not yet… I still have one son at home, but when he moves off to college, I plan to start travelling with my husband so I can meet all my avid-reading friends around the world. So, I’ll start setting up arrangements next year.

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?

All of the above. I have one designer I pretty much use for all my projects: Viola Estrella. I tell her exactly what I’m thinking and she pulls the image right out of my head. I also run contests for suggestions and comments on future covers.

You have written several short stories. Can you tell us if they had an impact on the sales of your novels? Are shorty’s one of your styles of writing or are they created to give readers a sample of your work?

My first short story was a blog exercise. I wrote 500 words and then asked readers to give me suggestions, and then every week I’d add exactly 500 words to the story. IT WAS A HIT, and out of it, ‘The Pit Stop’ and ‘The Depot’ came about, but then something happened… As much as readers loved the stories, almost every one of them screamed for more. That is how ‘The Library’ came about. I didn’t intend to write a novel; I’d only planned to write one-hour stories, but I always listen to my readers. (see links to books in book list below)

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

I only belong to one private group, and it’s amazing. We are able to bounce ideas off each other, complain about stuff no one should complain about on social media, and work together to reach more readers. It is something I recommend every author have.

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’m a pantser when I write…and my life is pretty much the same way. I tend to run most things that way. It can be stressful at times, but it sure is fun!

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?

Giving your books away free is good and bad… Good because you meet tons of new readers whom, if they love you, will go on to your other books. As a new author, I feel I owe it to readers. Let’s face it…there are a lot of books out there. I want to prove to them that I’m worth their time. $3.99 is not a lot to pay for a book, but what we are really asking from a reader is that they invest six to ten hours of their life. That’s a lot of precious time! Based on minimum wage, the time they spend reading, they could be making close to a hundred dollars. So, I want to prove to them I’m worth their time. On the flipside, when you run a book free, readers often don’t stop to read the description. I can’t tell you how many poor reviews I have because my short story was ‘short’ or ‘a ghost story’, even though that’s the first words mentioned in the description. So, that part isn’t always fun. But the benefits outweigh the negatives, and I love to meet new friends, so I will continue to offer the first books in my series free.

How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market. What methods were the most successful?

Honestly, I don’t do book launches anymore. Instead...I reach out to any readers who’ve asked to be a part of my new books. I send about ten ARCs (advanced reading copies) to previous readers and then announce on all my social websites. Not all of them review, but they talk about it to their friends, and that’s all I ask.

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to other writers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?

Ahh…one of my number one questions! The easiest answer: I’m a workaholic, and I love books. I wake up at five a.m. and spend three hours of my day simply blogging and chatting on social networks. I then workout on an elliptical where I am able to read for an hour. After that, I drop my son off at school and then come home and write until I have to pick him up. I try to write two thousand words a day. At night, I edit for other authors, and then right before I go to bed, I read what I wrote for the day. So…I spend about fifteen hours in my book world.

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

NEVER!!! As I mentioned above, for my last two books, I have offered ten copies of my new releases to previous readers, but other than a few book bloggers who requested copies, I never ask anyone to review my books. I hope they do, as reviews mean the world to authors—especially happy ones—but no, other than adding a note at the back of my books that states… (I hope you enjoyed. If you did, please leave a review for other readers, so they’ll know if it’s a story that they too would like to invest their time) I just wait and see…

Author's Book List
Creatus Rogue - Creatus Series
Ancient myths, superheroes, vampires... Forget everything you've heard.

For four thousand years, creatus have concealed themselves from the humans who almost hunted them to extinction. Now, one rogue wants the world to know they exist.

Victoria doesn't want any of it; she just wants to live in peace without men--humans or creatus--messing with her head. When the rogue decides he wants her to join him, though, only one person is close enough to help her. Only problem, he's her prisoner, and if he escapes, she's supposed to kill him.

The Creatus Series is not your normal paranormal story... It's a realistic romantic mystery based on the myths you've heard your entire life. Prepare to believe…

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
The Library
When Mark Waters decided to be a detective, he didn't plan to investigate ghosts.

But as he sifts through evidence of a supposed suicide by train, he learns a murder that took place eighty years ago may directly affect his case.

Six months after the strange occurrences at The Depot, there’s another murder. This time, The Library holds secrets of several murders, and the dead won’t rest until the murderer checks out too.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
Creatus - Creatus Series
From the bestselling romantic-suspense author Carmen DeSousa comes a story that will change the way you think about the ancient myths and fairy tales you've heard about preternatural sentient beings. Prepare yourself to believe...

After years of searching for the mysterious stranger who saved her life, twenty-two-year-old Kristina is alone and desperate. Seeing no future in her worthless existence, she attempts to force her protector out of the shadows the only way she knows--killing herself.

Ignoring his family's disapproval, Derrick continues to safeguard the girl he rescued from a vicious attack years earlier. The one thing he can't protect her from, however, is herself. When Kristina jumps off a bridge, he must reveal himself, even if saving her means she will now be in danger from his kind.

To make things worse, a video revealing Derrick's supernatural ability when he saved Kristina is now in the possession of a government agency, and someone in his family will do anything to keep their existence a secret, even kill Kristina, the woman Derrick can no longer live without.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Split Decisions - Southern Suspense Series
Sometimes you want something so badly you are willing to abandon everything you've ever known--including yourself.

Eighteen years ago, Jaynee Monroe married the man of her dreams, became the mother of four, and fulfilled her career goals. About to turn forty, she senses something is missing from her idyllic life. While Googling her name in an attempt to find herself, she unearths something so impossible, she contemplates her own sanity. Seeking answers, she embarks on a journey to discover the truth, only to end up abducted by a deranged stranger who insists on calling her Caycee.

Caycee took the road less traveled. Rejecting a marriage proposal from the only decent man she ever knew, she ventures to California to become famous. Eighteen years later, success has left her alone and miserable. Attempting to locate her lost love on Facebook, she discovers his infatuation with her. Not only does his presumed-dead wife have Caycee's uncommon middle name, it appears he has photo-shopped her face over hers.

Never could Caycee and Jaynee have imagined decisions they made years earlier would threaten not only their lives but also their loved ones. Caycee must now reunite with the southern gent she dismissed eighteen years ago and convince him to accompany her to New York to locate his wife, the most important person in both their lives.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
The Depot
The next chapter of Detective Mark Water's life is now available in The Library. We hope you enjoy this twelve-thousand-word short story by bestselling romantic-suspense author Carmen DeSousa that has just enough mystery, paranormal, and even a little romance to round things out and then will want to read The Library. They say The Depot is haunted. But in all the years homicide detective Mark Waters has visited the ancient train station turned restaurant, he's never seen proof. Until now. As he investigates a supposed suicide by train, he learns secrets of a murder that took place eighty years ago may directly affect his case.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
When Noonday Ends - Southern Suspense Series
Passion, secrets, and murder! Welcome to Land of the Noonday Sun, also known as Nantahala, North Carolina.

When a new attorney accepts a pro-bono case of an abused woman suspected of attempted murder, he ends up with more than he bargained for. She's the ex-wife of one of the oldest and wealthiest families in Ashville, and her in-laws will stop at nothing to conceal family secrets--even murder.

Unable to ignore his attraction, he gets closer than he should. But when all evidence points to the woman he's falling in love with, he will risk everything--his reputation, disbarment, maybe even his life to uncover the truth.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
The Pit Stop
When what seems like a normal pit stop turns to more than just gas and food, a lost couple finds themselves searching for the truth of a twenty-year-old mystery that may cost them their life.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Entangled Dreams - Southern Suspense Series
When Alexandra was eight years old, she thought she was a princess in a fairytale, but she didn't know she was one tragedy away from reality.

Now twenty-two, disaster strikes again and she's determined to change her life. Unfortunately, one night of indiscretion propels Alexandra into a situation that will force her to make choices that will eventually endanger her life.

It'll all come down to two men, one decision, and a final encounter that will change their lives forever.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Land of the Noonday Sun - Southern Suspense Series
When two strangers have nothing left but their dreams, they must forge a relationship in Nantahala, North Carolina, a small town known as Land of the Noonday Sun.

Cassandra is the beautiful, yet analytical daughter of a wealthy attorney. Destined to follow in her father's footsteps, her life of privilege suddenly shatters, and she finds herself with no home, career, or money. A glimmer of hope arrives in a letter from the grave, promising a happier existence. Cassandra stands to inherit over half a million dollars if she can live in the sleepy little town of Nantahala for six months. Falling in love, however, was not part of the deal, and without warning, she finds herself fighting for two lives.

A man with a traumatic past is able to turn his life around and is happy with his chosen career as a whitewater guide. Everything changes, though, when fate hurls a woman into his path. His carefree life is in turmoil, and his former weaknesses threaten to overtake him. Will he be strong enough when tragedy strikes and is once again in danger of losing everything he loves?

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
She Belongs To Me - Southern Suspense Series
A passionate romantic-suspense of love, betrayal, and obsession, She Belongs to Me will have you falling in love and wondering if you can trust anyone right up to the last page.

After secrets and a mysterious background leave a wife's life hanging by a thread, a husband must look for answers in the only place he knows--the past.

When wealthy construction company owner and Charlotte detective, Jordan Monroe, meets Jaynee for the first time he is awestruck and determines to make her his wife. Jaynee, however, has a history she cannot easily overcome and is fearful to submit to love. Jordan succeeds in making her his wife, but five years into their marriage, he realizes she is keeping secrets. Before he can decipher her duplicity, he discovers her unconscious in their home from a gunshot wound only hours after giving her an ultimatum concerning their relationship.

With Jaynee's life hanging in the balance, the mystery of her past drives Jordan to investigate. But what appears to be an attempted suicide turns out to be something far darker. Is someone from her past stalking her? Or worse, is someone close to Jordan trying to kill them both? As Jordan edges closer to the truth, it may be deadlier than he could ever have imagined.

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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