Tuesday, December 2, 2014

C. J. Peterson - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author C. J. Peterson. She is the author of the The Holy Flame Trilogy.

Author Genre: Christian, Fiction

Website: C. J. Peterson Writes
Twitter: @authoress_cj
E-Mail: cjpetersonwrites@yahoo.com
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description:
I was raised in a Christian military home, but it was far from tranquil. Like many young people, I left home as soon as possible, and went my own way, thinking I knew better. To me anything was better than where I was. Unfortunately, some of the choices I made led me away from the Lord, and sometimes that path was a dangerous one.

God is faithful, even when His children are lost and wandering. When I needed Him most, the Lord was there for me. He led me out of that danger and into a new life...a life where I am loved and appreciated. He taught me what 'real love' is, and what it's supposed to look like through my family and wonderful husband.

Who knew that "Prince Charming" actually existed? I hoped and prayed he was out there, and I found him! He is a 24 year Navy veteran and the love of my life! With his encouragement, I rediscovered the creativity I thought I had lost a long time ago, and have begun to publish the books I have written through the years. The words in these books helped me through my struggles, and my prayer is they will help others.

The way in which I write my Christian Books, is unique to say the least. I am a realistic Christian. People are people, they stumble, they fall, they trip, but God continues to dust us off, and set us back on the path again, if we just learn to trust in Him.

The challenges faced in my past give me a perspective on the realities of living the Christian life that some people may never see. There are times we wander away from God...there are times when we draw closer to Him. In our arrogance we think we can make it on our own. However, the One who made this world, and who made you, has the answers, and thankfully, He forgives our impudence and petulance and loves us through it all. God is a God of love, mercy, grace, and guidance. He loves us and only wants the best for us.

Those who have read my books, describe them as encouraging, frustrating, and a wonderful read all at the same time. The same character that could have you crying one minute, will have you cheering the next! One of my editors, stated that 'she was so into the story, that she forgot to edit, and had to go back to do the editing'.

I pray you will enjoy my books as well!

While the stories are fiction, the journey is real.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Let’s start with what’s next. Do you have another book on the horizon? Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called Seasons of Change. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Actually, it was just released on Thanksgiving Day! The buy links for the paperback can be found below along with the description.

After the paperback release, the ebook comes out usually around a week or so later. For updates, feel free to keep an eye on my website under the ‘Latest Release’ section in the middle of the page or under the ‘Books’ tab: http://cjpetersonwrites.com/Books.html

You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?

Twitterville (as I call it) has been a tremendous outlet for me. Social media is not only a crucial way to get out the word of your work, but also allows the reader to get to know the author. When people have an understanding of who the author is, they have a bit more of a vested interest in their work. Word of mouth is a powerful tool. Whether it’s through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, or just a friend handing the book to another friend, it’s all done by relationships. Relationships are the key to any success.

I get emails, private messages on Facebook, or even in just reading the reviews (Yes, I do read them. How else would I learn?) and cherish each one. To me, they took the time to reach out and I value that. I was asked about my email, and it is listed on my webpage (email: cjpetersonwrites@yahoo.com). I would love to hear from you!

Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?

I do not maintain a reader list, because I don’t have one. ? To me, word of mouth is the best way to get the word out. Otherwise, my publisher and I got together for a giveaway of THE CALL TO DUTY on two occasions that helped out tremendously as well. To me, it’s not the money (goodness knows you don’t get all that much) it’s in getting out the messages that are within the pages. Before I sit down to write, I pray and ask God to guide my hands for the messages, as well as make sure the books get into the hands of those who need to read the words inside their pages.

Yes, I use social media. I also give books to local libraries. One thing I also do that is unique, is in my books, I give a portion of the proceeds to a charity.

For The Holy Flame Trilogy (THE CALL TO DUTY, OPERATION A.N.G.E.L., and ANGELS AMONG US), a portion goes to Airborne Angel Cadets of Texas (http://www.airborneangelcadets.com/). Airborne Angel Cadets send packages overseas to our military to make sure they are cared for and know they are not forgotten.

For the new Grace Restored Series (SEASONS OF CHANGE is the first in the series) a portion of the proceeds goes to Hope’s Door, Inc (http://www.hopesdoorinc.org/).
Hope’s Door offers intervention and prevention services to individuals and families affected by domestic violence and provide education programs that enhance the community's capacity to respond. It’s my way of giving back. They also cross-promote. I get their name out, and they notify a possible new audience about the books.

Do you do any 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?

I wish! I would love to, but I have not been approached with that opportunity as of yet. As of current, I rely on the above ? As far as my personal contacts, they are listed on my web page: http://cjpetersonwrites.com/

My other contact links are listed above.

You have great covers. 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 have not had the readers get involved in the cover, mainly because I have an awesome cover artist, Todd Engel! He does a phenomenal job every time. I give him a basic description of what the storyline is like, and he uses his creative mind and comes up with the covers. Traditionally, we agree on the first draft with a few tweaks. You can find him online at: http://www.toddengel-engelcreative.com/EngelCreative/Welcome.html or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Todd-Engel-Engel-Creative-Graphic-Design/390489460965362

Totally recommend him!

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

I don’t as of yet, but I do have one I’m going to try to go to after the holidays. I do have a massive list of authors that help in marketing when I have a promotion or launch a new book. Part of that reason is because I also do a monthly featured author interview, where I promote an author for the month, advertising all of their links and books, along with an actual interview. This is another way to cross-promote. You can find the interviews on: http://cjpetersonwrites.com/Featured_Author.html

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

I had the blessing of coming onto the author scene after the ebook had become popular. I am sure it has helped out tremendously, though. It allows me to get the books into the reader’s hands at a more affordable price. To me, as I said before, it’s not the money, it’s getting the inspirational messages into the reader’s hands.

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?

Oh wow! This has been an amazing avenue in getting the readers to even know who I am! Without the giveaway, I know for a fact that thousands of people wouldn’t even know who I was. I am grateful for the support of my fellow authors and friends on Twitter and Facebook who helped get the word out, along with my publisher (Booklocker.com) who had some people tweet it, along with putting out some ads regarding it.

Our main objective in doing the giveaway was to get the word out and interest in the trilogy and getting my name out there so people know about my work. Goal was accomplished beyond my wildest dreams! I am humbled by the amount of downloads, as well as the response in the reviews!

As far as obstacles, there were none. We worked within the guidelines set up by Amazon Kindle Select and followed those, knowing the timelines we set up. It was well-organized and implemented.

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?

Thank you! I’m afraid as far as my blog, that gets the least amount of attention from me. Along with the Featured Author page, that is changed out each month. When I post in my actual blog, they tend to be posts that mean something to me. I tend to post only if a thought strikes me, or a new release, or in the last two, it was poetry from my husband’s heart from his time in the military. My main passion in writing is in the books.

As far as time for social media and my blog, I actually schedule it. The remainder of time is spent on my real passion…writing. I also schedule time to volunteer with my husband as youth leaders at church. Scheduling comes first in foremost in getting everything accomplished. Between sporting events done by our youth, mentoring time, youth night, spending time with my husband and my family, along with our friends, and writing, it’s a full schedule, but a happy and blessed one!

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?

As far as reviews, some of the early ones are done by people I trust to give an honest review (and trust me, they don’t hold back.) I don’t have control over what they post, as a matter of fact, I tell them to be honest. I’m one of those people who do not like ‘yes’ men. I would rather know if something isn’t right. If I don’t know, I won’t know how to fix it. Ask my editor, I ask her to be brutal with her editing. I would rather she found it, than someone else find it after publishing.

There are times where I will run a promotion, for example on a web page that offers reviews in exchange for ebooks, but those tend to not work. There are also a couple of authors where we exchange reviews. For the most part, though, the reviews up are from actual readers who took precious time out of their day to post, and I have no idea who they are.

Those are the best!!

**Thank you so much for posting me on your blog and allowing me the opportunity to share a little about me. ?

Author's Book List
Season of Change - Grace Restored Series - Book One
Katie MacKenna experienced one storm after another in her life. When Leukemia stole her mother from her and her father, Katie was only seven-years-old, and her father didn’t know how to cope after such a catastrophic loss. His response was to shut down and become abusive. The overwhelming devastation which surrounded Katie throughout her journey in life forced her to shut down just to survive as well.

Trust is a difficult thing for many people, but for Katie it’s virtually impossible. Every life has Seasons of Change. Will those seasons open Katie to new opportunities or will they forever isolate her in survival mode? Will she be able to overcome the storms that have surrounded her to answer a call for help?

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4:
1 To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Booklocker
Angels Among Us - The Holy Flame Trilogy
This is the third book in The Holy Flame Trilogy, which follows the life-changing events that surround Casey Carter (a firefighter/paramedic from Engine Company Fifteen of Denver, Colorado) and an elite, special operations unit called A.N.G.E.L. (Available to Nurture God’s Eternal Love).

With help from a unique band of characters in the Outback, Casey Carter was able to work through her past. However, would it prepare her for what was to come? The battle is forming. Both sides are amassing their troops as allies align, but will there be enough remaining Angels for them to win? Without knowing the day nor the hour, will they be prepared?

What kind of battle would this be if the Angels of flesh and blood were battling against the unseen powers of darkness? This may be the deciding factor in Casey’s struggle for freedom, but will the remaining Angels survive or will it be their final battle?

Revelation 12:12
12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Operation A.N.G.E.L. - The Holy Flame Trilogy
This is the second book in a trilogy that follows firefighter/paramedic Casey Carter and a special ops unit known as Angels. As their worlds collide, Casey has to figure out how to live two lives at once, balancing her firefighter family with her military family.

Unbeknownst to her, things had gotten ‘hot’ around Casey.The Angels have stepped in to cover where Jack and Mac could no longer be, by providing safety and security for her on a twenty-four hour basis. But did she find something more than security within their ranks?

See how the Angels, with help from a unique band of characters, were able to heal not only Casey’s body, but also rescue her mind and soul. See how events completely turn Casey’s life upside-down once again. Did it end up being for good…or will these events finally do her in? Will the Angels be able to protect Casey from those hunting her?

I Peter 5:8:
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
The Call to Duty - The Holy Flame Trilogy
Courageous. Brave. Fearless. Valiant. These synonyms are often used to describe firefighters/paramedics, police officers, and military personnel. They face danger and lay their lives on the line when they leave for work. What are their struggles? Could that hinder their job proficiency? Who is taking care of those who are taking care of the citizens of this country?

Casey Carter is a 'newbie' to the firefighting family of Engine Company 15. Not only does she have to prove herself as a probationary firefighter, but she also has to battle misconceptions of females within her newly chosen profession. As situations begin to arise, can she count on the firefighter brotherhood to have her back? Will she be able to pass the tests placed before her, or are there aspects that she was not even aware existed?

Often in life there are two realms in play. There is the physical realm - what is right before you; the other is the spiritual realm - what is unseen. Each can directly affect you, whether you believe they exist or not. Can Casey keep them in balance when she is not exactly sure what she is fighting? Can a group of men help her see what cannot be readily seen, hear what cannot be readily heard, and be able to overcome what she never knew existed? Will they be able to show Casey her true Call To Duty?

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:
HBS Author's Spotlight
eBook Author’s Corner
Top Shelf Author Advice
Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for having me, James! I appreciate it! :D