Friday, February 6, 2015

Pauline Baird Jones - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Pauline Baird Jones. She is the award-winning author of the The Lonesome Lawmen and the Project Enterprise series.

Author Genre: Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Thriller,Steampunk

Website: Pauline Baird Jones
Author's Blog: Life Happens. a Lot. - The Perils of Pauline
Twitter: @paulinebjones
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author Description:
Pauline Baird Jones had a tough time with reality from the get-go. After "schooling" from four (yes FOUR brothers) she knew that some people needed love and others needed shooting. She figured she could handle both.

Romantic suspense was the logical starting point, but there were more worlds to explore, more rules to break and minds to bend. She grabbed her pocket watch and time travel device and dove through the wormhole into the world of science fiction and Steampunk. Let's face it, she's been making up science her whole life. (Sorry science teacher!)

And while she loves mayhem, doing it legal, by doing fictional, is way better than getting strip searched or going to jail. So she goes "Godzilla" on her characters and then gives the good ones a happy ever after.

In her real life, Pauline loves her family, chocolate, bacon, Diet Dr. Pepper, TV, movies and taking it easy. Because Life Happens. A lot.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

First things first. Let’s start with what’s next. Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called Sucker Punch. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

I actually have two books scheduled to release this year: Dead Spaces and yes, Sucker Punch. Dead Spaces is the next installment in my Big Uneasy series (set in present day New Orleans) and Sucker Punch is next installment in Uneasy Future (set in future New Orleans). Did you notice how I linked the two series loosely together? I did that on purpose. That’s big for me, because I usually commit random acts of writing. This planning stuff is new and not unpleasant. I think I’ll try it again next year. Or sooner than that.

As for actual timelines, well, that’s pushing the whole planning thing a bit. Dead Spaces will probably release first and I’m looking at fall for Sucker Punch. For both books, the best teaser is that the Big Easy is often Uneasy. LOL I’m having a lot of fun with both (should I admit that when I rampage through my character’s lives?) and I hope that means readers will enjoy them, too.

You have a good following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How did you build your following in your niche? How much has it changed your book launch process?

It rather surprises me when I look at my Twitter following. I was an early adopter, but my following didn’t really start to grow until I read a post about funny Twitter bios at {grow}. I was so impressed with how creative people can be in those short bios, that I changed mine. So you could say that bacon and chocolate helped me grow my following. Of course, if people don’t like bacon or chocolate, they might not follow me, but you’d be surprised how far they can take you.

I haven’t really changed anything that I do since I started with Twitter. I always “soft” launch my books and try to grow sales (and get reviews) organically. I see Twitter as a place to find out about things in my industry, a place where I can share what I found out with others. Laugh a little, learn a little. I do tweet about my books, but I try not to be annoying about it. I NEVER DM people info about my books or other social media unless they ask.

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. A reader list is something I’m working hard on building. I’m a great believer in learning from others and getting/giving support to my peers. Apparently you CAN teach an old dog new tricks, cuz I’m still learning how to do things. One guy doing some interesting stuff in that area is Nick Stephenson. He was a guest on David Gaughran’s blog last week talking about this very thing. Nick Stephenson Interview

Many of you novels have been converted into audio books. What has been the impact on your regular sales? Has the audio books gained a new audience?

While audio listeners are sometimes a different type of “reader,” having the books in audio definitely helps push the digital books. Most of my books are Whispersynched, which means that if someone buys the digital book, they can get a hugely discounted audio book. So some audio listeners will buy the digital book to get the discounted price. And there are readers who like to go back and forth, reading when they can, listening when they are in their car, etc.

You have written several novellas. 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? Do you feel short reads are a product of our email and smart phone age?

I didn’t actually plan to write novellas. Like my other random acts of writing, they happened. It’s hard to assess how much they help. Some readers do like shorter works and some readers tell me they wish they were longer. Most of my short stories were either written by request for anthologies or written during highly stressful times in my life when all I could manage was short bursts of writing. My two collections of romance stories fall into the latter category. I was too stressed to even ramp up the suspense.

I like the idea of Author bundles. You are a part of a couple novel collections called Nebula Nights and Love on the Edge. What was the impact on your other sales? What was the main objective of bundling your works with other romance authors? How did you put something like that together?

The author bundles have been GREAT. From both of them, I’ve seen good follow-on sales of the other books in the series. I’ve also met and worked with some amazing authors and some of us are involved in other cross-promotional activities. A good example of that is the newly launched SFR Station. One of the authors in Nebula Nights set it up, after much discussion in the group about how to promote our niche genre better.

In the end, everything we do is about finding readers who like what we write. We are all readers first, so we spend a lot of time thinking about how to better serve our readers. A lot. LOL

Both bundles started with a general call on a list. We worked together in planning it, divvying out responsibilities and such and then cross promoting them. It helped that in both sets, there was at least one person who’d been in a set before and could advise on how to manage things.

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?

I will admit to being resistant to free for a long time. When you look at spending a year or more writing a novel, it is hard to give it away. But…from the readers point of view, why should they risk their money and time on an unknown-to-them author? So I had to think like a reader, not a writer, to do it. I tried it for a short time first and it was so successful I was sold on it as a marketing tool. I now have four books perma-free (three are the first parts of longer novels).

But I’m still happy on the days I sell more books than I give away. :-)

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 don’t do a lot of personal appearances. I say that and then I remember that I do go to SF conventions. You can usually find me at ApolloCon, ArmadilloCon, and a few other conventions in Texas. I’ll also be at the Romantic Times convention in Dallas in May. And I might be at the Houston ComicCon. And I will be at the Novelists, Inc conference in Florida this year. I think that’s my only out-of-state “appearance,” though I toy with the idea now and again.

But yeah, I’m a hermit. LOL

You have published a couple of your novels in parts. Can you tell us if they had an impact on the sales of your novels? How did rolling out the Steamrolled, Girl Gone Nova and The Key and in sections work out vs. the response to the complete novel?

Other than the boxed sets, breaking my novels into parts has been one of the best sales tools I’ve tried recently. I decided to do it for two reasons. First, making a first book in a series free is a great marketing tool. But…The Key is a very big novel. 142K long. I think I mentioned how hard it is to give away a novel? Well, it’s even harder when that novel is BIG. The Key naturally broke into four parts and I thought, well, why not? I could give the first part away for free and people can still buy the full novel if they’d rather. But for readers who like shorter reads, there are the parts.

It worked so well, I decided to break up my other two HUGE novels.

You wrote a non-fiction book with Jamie Engle in 2008 called Managing Your Book Writing Business (see in list below). I have to applaud you for the vision of how important that topic would be authors. Back then Microsoft and Adobe led the ebook industry. If you rewrote that book today, how much of it would change?

Yeah, it was a pretty radical idea back then that authors ran a business. Oh, there were authors who knew it, but many authors wanted to be artists, not business people. It is a painful transition, no question. I didn’t want to run a business. Would avoid it now if I could. LOL

What would change? Probably a lot about the publishing choices authors have would change, since self-publishing has exploded, but Jamie’s basic advice about managing a business is still relevant. There are some basics that never change.

Author's Book List
Core Punch - A Baker & Ban!drn Adventure: An Uneasy Future
A kiss may be all they have life expectancy for.

When an intergalactic cop exchange program serves up an alien partner for NONPD Detective Violet Baker, she can’t help wishing the handsome alien would be a little less Joe Friday about keeping the pleasure out of their business. Yeah, he’s kind of purple and she can’t pronounce his name to save her life, but he’s almost the only guy in the New Orleans New police department that she’s not related to.

Dzholh “Joe” Ban!drn has come a long way hunting the evil that has infiltrated Vi’s floating city. When he meets his charming partner, he discovers another reason to stamp out evil. If only he wasn’t keeping so many secrets from her…

When an epic hurricane heads their way, they are sent dirt side to New Orleans Old (NOO) on a rescue mission. But murder and sabotage strands them in the heart of the raging storm.

As they fight for their lives, Joe realizes that the evil he’s hunting is actually hunting them….

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
Dangerous Dance
A gothic romance novel set in Louisiana

His whole career, Remy Mistral has fought for reform in a state where corruption is an art form. Now is his chance to quit talking about reform and make his move to change things, but two things stand in his way.

One is a woman, the other a killer.

Dorothy Morgana Merlinn would like some answers but her parents are dead—her father by an assassin’s bullet—so she’ll have to settle for justice. She’ll do what it takes to get it, including making a deal with Remy Mistral, the man who humiliated her ten years ago.

But when she stirs up the Louisiana mud, she gets more than she bargained for, including a romance with the man she planned to put in the crosshairs to flush out a killer.

Greed, corruption and betrayal clutter the board in a complicated chess game with life, death and love on the line…

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Kicking Ashe - Project Enterprise Book 5
When you save Time’s tush—or its version of one—it ought to cut you a break, not kick your tush some where and some when. Though boo yah on providing a hot guy in leather to pull said tush out of the impact crater that Ashe so did not make despite the somewhat damning evidence to the contrary.

So, the sitrep:
• She's stuck on primitive planet
• Time Tracker suit down
• Lurch (her nanite) unable to connect to any tech (see primitive above)
• Surrounded by a bunch of buccaneer types who haven’t been around nubile young women cause it's against their law
• The one guy (Vidor Shan) she’d like to kiss on the mouth is off limits (time rule)
• Someone is gunning for Shan from somewhere in time
• And, oh yeah, some really strange meteorites are making landfall in some very strange ways.

Seems Time has a new hobby: kicking Ashe (and shame on It for doing it when she’s down).

Not that she plans to stay down. Or give up the guy.

Vidor Shan just wants to find his brother and get off this crazy planet. The one thing he does NOT need complicating things is a woman who is a) alien; b) a woman; and c) an alien woman.

It’s bad for her. It’s bad for him.

And then she explains to him what bad really is…

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
Steamrolled - Project Enterprise Book 4
With all of time at risk, it’s a bad time to fall in love…unless it’s the only time…

Robert Clementyne is going on a transmogrification machine hunt. He fears finding the machine will be as difficult as pronouncing the name. How can the steam-powered device perform as advertised, and how useful can any information be, coming from a steampunk themed bowling alley/museum? It’s pretty crazy, but he’s been there, done that, and thinks he can handle it.

And then he meets the proprietor/curator…Emily Babcock.

Emily grew up in crazy, still lives in it—hey, it’s her freaking zip code. So no worries when Robert and his team walk into her bowling alley. The first visitors ever to her museum.

But neither of them is prepared for what happens when they open the door to the past…and the future. With a side trip through Roswell…and a face-to-face meeting with an evil genius/wannabe—who is on his way to becoming evil overlord-of-everything…

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
Tangled in Time - Project Enterprise Book 3
Colonel Carey (from The Key and Girl Gone Nova) takes a test “flight” through the Garradian time-space portal, but an unexpected impact lands him somewhere and somewhen unintended. As he attempts to get to Area 51, he crosses paths with Miss Olivia Carstairs. With a mind as crisp and orderly as the stays of her corset, Olivia has a transmogrification machine powered by steam and lips he'd like to kiss like it was his job. Can he convince her to join forces with him before she shoots him with her derringer? Can they elude the villainous Professor Smith??

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
Girl Gone Nova - Project Enterprise Book 2
Helfron Giddioni—the Leader of the Gadi and half a galaxy—might be the guy most of the galaxy would like to shoot. So when he meets a woman who likes him, the fact that she is the most dangerous woman he’s ever met should cool his jets. Or at least slow them down.

When yet another war looms on the event horizon, he’s just a little too happy he and Doc have to work together to save the galaxy — in the past, the present and possibly the future.

Doc didn’t know she had an inner girl and Hel, well, he didn’t know a woman could be more than a means to a political end.

Neither of them thought they could ever fall in love. If they can do the impossible and then do it again, surely they can find a way to make an intergalactic relationship work…

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
Relatively Risky - The Big Uneasy Book 1
When an aspiring illustrator attracts the attention of a New Orleans mob family, and secrets long hidden are unearthed from the past, a handsome homicide detective may be her only chance of surviving the Big Easy.

The oldest of thirteen, Alex Baker does two things: he solves murders and avoids children. Until the day Nell Whitby foils a carjacking, knocks Alex off his feet and turns his life upside down.

When the shots start flying and every rock he turns over reveals another wise guy, Alex decides he needs to stick close to the quirky yet captivating children’s book author while he discovers who is behind a series of mob hits. But can he resist the urge to kiss the kid magnet now in the crosshairs?

A relative newcomer to New Orleans—with no family but her college friend—Nell spends her days in seeming obscurity, sketching tourists in the French Quarter and serving canap├ęs for her friend’s catering business. When a chance encounter makes Nell the target of a mob hit, the only silver lining is meeting the cute cop who is determined to protect her.

But when she finds herself at the head of a second line made up of goons and gangsters, and secrets start bubbling up out of her own past, Nell must figure out what she's made of so she can live long enough to kiss the cop again…

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
Out of Time - A Perilous Pauline Time Travel Romance
For adventure reporter, Melanie "Mel" Morton, World War II is part of the past until the day that former B-17 bomber pilot, Jack Hamilton walks out of history and into her kitchen.

What he tells her sends her on her craziest adventure yet—straight into the past to try and save her grandfather’s life.

All she has to do is travel through time, stick to the mission, outmaneuver a couple of armies in the middle of a war, oh, and not fall in love with the hotshot bomber pilot.

No problem…well, maybe a little…

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
The Key
When Sara Donovan joins Project Enterprise she finds out that what doesn’t kill her makes her stronger…

An Air Force pilot – the best of the best to be assigned to this mission – Sara isn’t afraid to travel far beyond the Milky Way on an assignment that takes her into a galaxy torn apart by a long and bitter warfare between the Dusan and the Gadi.

After she’s shot down and manages to land safely on an inhospitable planet, Sara encounters Kiernan Fyn – a seriously hot alien with a few secrets of his own – he’s a member of a resistance group called the Ojemba, lead by the mysterious and ruthless Kalian. Together they must avoid capture, but can they avoid their growing attraction to each other?

A mysterious, hidden city on the planet brings Sara closer to the answers she seeks – about her baffling abilities and her mother’s past. She has no idea she’s being pulled into the same danger her mother fled – the key to a secret left behind by a lost civilization, the Garradians.

The Dusan and the Gadi want the key. So do the Ojemba. They think Sara has it. They are willing to do anything to get it.

Sara will have to do anything to stop them…

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
Do Wah Diddy Die
Luci Seymour - sexy & free spirited - returns to steamy New Orleans in search of the father she's never met. She finds murder, mayhem, love and adventure when her timing puts her directly in the sights of an elderly hit couple and a con man's last scam.

Luci’s family rules:

1. Never fall in love.
2. Never marry.
3. Sanity is optional.
4. So is the truth

Luci’s lived by the rules until she finds out just how far from the truth her mother has strayed.

Now it’s time to break some rules.

She didn’t know how many secrets her family had tried to bury.
She didn’t count on someone trying to bury her.
And then there is that high maintenance homicide detective making her take a hard look at rule number one….

NOPD Detective Mickey Ross always has a plan. It’s how he rolls. It’s how he’d kept his life as easy as his city.

If his uncle hadn’t decided to get married. If he hadn’t met Luci….
He’s either going to fall in love with her. Or kill her.

Not a surprise someone else is gunning for her.
The rising body count? Not a big surprise either. This is New Orleans.
But those Seymour rules…

He’s always had a problem with rules…

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
The Spy Who Kissed Me
Her mama has been hoping a man would fall in Stan’s lap. But when a handsome spy dives through the sunroof of her car, Isabel “Stan” Stanley’s pretty sure this wasn't what momma had in mind.

A cute smile can help with—but not hide—the hail of bullets. And that name? Oh my that name.

CIA agent Kelvin Kapone-with-a-K has managed to survive and thrive in the big bad world, but the ‘burbs and the wannabe romance author could be his greatest challenge in getting out alive, not to mention heart whole…

It was the early 90’s and everyone was watching the first Gulf War on television. Everywhere you went armchair strategists were talking smart bombs and scud studs. Desert Storm camo started popping up in stores. Books and magazines about all the cool military tech appeared on stands. “I’m Proud to be an American” was a hit song. It was serious, very serious, but also a bit whacky because the War was on every channel. Maybe it was just me, but I kept thinking, “We are watching a war.” It wasn’t reality TV. It was real TV.

When the War didn’t have anything new, I watched reruns of Scarecrow and Mrs. King. The War and that show stirred my muse somehow and pretty soon I was also writing. And writing. And writing some more. Yeah, this book was 500 pages in its first draft. O.O

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
Missing You - The Lonesome Lawmen Book 3
A lonely lawman finds love again. If only she could remember her name…

Denver Homicide detective Luke Kirby believed he’d found love and lost it. On the anniversary of his wife’s death, all he wants is peace and quiet, so he heads up to the family cabin in the mountains near Long’s Peak. Instead he finds trouble. A beautiful and mysterious woman has taken refuge in his cabin as a storm moves in, but there is a bigger storm brewing.

She’s lost her memory, but she hasn’t lost the trouble that landed her there.

With no memory of her name, and memories that don’t seem to connect, “Goldie” needs to find out if she’s a good girl or bad—and do it fast…though looking at Luke makes her wonder if being bad couldn’t be good…

To untangle this mess, the brothers Kirby must join forces before Luke’s heart troubles are ended permanently.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
Byte Me - The Lonesome Lawmen Book 2
A lawmen meets his perfect match. Too bad he has to arrest her.

To revenge her sister’s death Phoebe Mentel will risky everything to bring down the powerfully connected killer hiding in plain sight. She has everything on her side but the law.

Deputy US Marshal Jake Kirby knows the law isn’t perfect, but it is what it is. And it’s his job to enforce it. A top tracker, he’s hot on the trail of a gang of cyber thieves with an unusual agenda who haven’t made a mistake.

Until now.

Following a faint trail—and his gut—Jake heads home to Colorado and the country and western bar managed by the sexy, mysterious Phoebe.

Instant attraction quickly complicates this high tech game with a killer willing to throw out the rules to get what he wants.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
The Last Enemy - The Lonesome Lawmen Book 1
Haunted by the death of her child and stalked by a killer, romance author Dani Gwynne wants to want to live long enough to testify. And then her protection detail is compromised. She’s on her own in the mile high city of Denver, trying to figure out who to trust.

And why she’s trying so hard to live…

Deputy US Marshal Matthew Kirby knows he’s the good guy. And this is simple. She trusts him and he stops a lethal hit man for good. End of story.

With the clock ticking down on a macabre game of hide and seek with hit man, the romance author must find her will to live and love again. And the Marshal must learn that nothing is simple in life, in death, and particularly in love.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
Managing Your Book Writing Business
Are you a writer? Have you published your work or are you seeking publication? Did you know that you are also a small business owner? This helpful handbook outlines basic and important information every author needs to know about the publishing industry and the “business” of writing. From developing a business plan to cultivating a professional reputation, award winning author Pauline Baird Jones and public relations expert and author Jamie Engle share their years of knowledge and experience. Don’t wait until it’s too late, then say “I wish I would have known…” Managing Your Book Writing Business includes helpful web links and guidelines to help you get started, and keep you from making simple but potentially costly mistakes. Save time and start out right—success comes sooner for authors who take the time to organize and plan a strategy!

Order the Book From: Amazon
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. Thanks so much for the spotlight! :-)

  2. Great interview. I think it's brilliant the way the author is tying her new mystery suspense and her new sci-fi series together with a New Orleans settign for both.I 'm looking forward to the new releases: Dead Spaces and Sucker Punch.But especially Sucker Punch because I love humorous sci-fiy Core Punch was fantastic so I can't wait for Sucker Punch, the next book in the Uneasy Future series.

  3. I haven't read a book by Pauline that I didn't enjoy and that I didn't end up adding to my favorites collection. Highly recommend Tangled in Time as a brief intro for anyone interested in her Project Enterprise series or SFR/steampunk in general and either Do Wah Diddy Die or Missing You for the suspense crowd.

    There are several of Pauline's short stories that I'd love to see individually published rather than only in a collection but I also want Pauline to focus on writing new stories.