Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Melissa Storm - An Author Interview at the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Award-winning Author Melissa Storm. She is the author of The First Street Church Romances, the Cupid's Bow series, and The Pearl Makers. Melissa writes Contemporary, Spirituality, and Romance novels and novellas.

Author: Melissa Storm

Author Genre: Contemporary, Spirituality, Romance

Website: Melissa Storm
Author's Blog: Melissa Storm
Twitter: @MelStormAuthor
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Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Amazon Author Profile



Author Description:
Melissa Storm is a mother first, and everything else second. She used to write under a pseudonym, but finally had the confidence to come out as herself to the world. Her fiction is highly personal and often based on true stories. Writing is Melissa's way of showing her daughter just how beautiful life can be, when you pay attention to the everyday wonders that surround us.

Melissa loves books so much, she married fellow author Falcon Storm. Between the two of them, there are always plenty of imaginative, awe-inspiring stories to share. Melissa and Falcon also run the business Novel Publicity together, where she works as publisher, marketer, editor, and all-around business mogul. When she's not reading, writing, or child-rearing, Melissa spends time relaxing at home in the company of her three dogs and five parrots. She never misses an episode of The Bachelor or her nightly lavender-infused soak in the tub. Ahh, the simple luxuries that make life worth living.


SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: Love’s Promise. What do you have on the drawing board next? Rumor has it that you have two new books coming soon: Love’s Prophet and Love's Vow. Can you tell us their timeline for release and give us a little tease?

Thank you so much! I have at least 15 books planned for the First Street Church Romances and probably many, many more after that! The publication dates for Love’s Prophet and Love’s Vow were pushed back a little, because the series has been picked up by Kindle Press, who will republish the existing books and publish the next books in the series too. You can expect both Prophet and Vow this summer though—with Love’s Trial and Love’s Gift to follow before the end of the year!

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?

Relationships are very important—and, yes, most of mine are online! I fell in love with social media fast and furious. A week after starting a blog, I had a business. That was in early 2011. Now in 2017, I have three successful author businesses (Novel Publicity, LitRing, The Author Site) and so many great friends to boot. Readers I first met online have become real-life friends, the godparents to my daughter, soul sisters, and more. I also make a full time living as a social media marketer and web designer. I talk to so many people each day, that this lonely profession isn’t lonely at all. Social media has always been a natural fit for me and my calling, every bit as much as putting words to the page has been. To me, it’s hard to separate social media activity and career success.

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 love doing Facebook Live videos and usually do at least one per week for my author followers. I do them less often for my readers, but I offer real slices of my life. I’ve broadcast with a facial mask on, while eating a sprinkled donut, and tons of other embarrassing stuff. I do get out and about in the real world and also serve on the board for the Ann Arbor Book Festival, which is the big local literary event. I’m starting to get involved with the cultural festival in my new town as well. My husband is an author too, so we do the events together and bring our parrots—two Solomon Island Eclectus named Link and Lucy. They are always a huge hit! I also do classes and lectures for writers on marketing, self-publishing, and career success.

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?

My cover designer is a friend of mine from high school, Mallory Rock. We became close in AP US History class and now we both work in the creative world together. She does all my covers and just knows how to read me and my needs. I’m very blessed to have her! Most times, she’ll design the covers for me before I even start writing the book (sometimes years in advance) and then I’ll write scenes and character descriptions to fit! She really inspires me—as good friends and great art so often do

You have several great book trailers. (See links below.) They look very professional. Do you know how much impact they have had on your book’s success? Tell us about the process that you used to create your trailers? Do you use the trailer in your character development? Are the pictures and background the way you see your characters and scenes?

I do my own book trailers, actually, so thank you very much! I did my first trailer for Love’s Prayer and now do them for each new First Street Church book. I generally start with a title, then get a cover, then do the trailer, then the back cover copy. Then I can start writing… after I create an intense 5,000-word outline. I use them to get me in the right emotional spot (especially with the music choices) and to picture the characters and their lives. It gives me a day to really focus on them and think about their lives and has become a crucial part of the creative process. I get compliments on them all the time, display them prominently on my website, use them in my newsletter, on social in ads—and they definitely make a difference for sales!

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

My audiobooks haven’t really taken off just yet, but Love’s Prayer recently released as a digital and CD audio book through a contract with Christian Audio. They have huge reach and the exact audience I’d love to see pick up my books, so I’m very excited for the potential. I also love hearing my books come to life, though I am happy to sign the development process over to Christian Audio and let them do the heavy lifting so I can focus on writing new stories instead!

I like the idea of Author bundles. You are a part of a collection called Spring into Romance. 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?

Oh, no pressure, right?! I love Kelly! I first met her, because she defended me on social media against a random bully who was stating the facts in my 1950s Korean War romance were incorrect (when in fact they weren’t and she hadn’t even read the book!). Kelly stood up for me and immediately gained my respect and admiration. I joined her sprinting group online and started reading one of her books and realized how similar our styles were. I had wanted to try coauthoring for a while and found she had the right voice and personality to be a great match with me. We’ve written 2 books together so far and are planning at least 2 more. One of the things I love most about coauthoring is the friendship that’s bloomed. That’s why I insisted we dedicate our first book to each other ;-)

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 like the novella format. Since I’ve written so many kids books under my pen name Emlyn Chand, it’s easy for me to tell a complete story in a short format, and it obviously doesn’t take as much time to write and publish a shorter book. When I first started writing as Melissa Storm (my real name) in 2015, I intentionally focused on novellas, shorts, and serials to explore my new brand and to get a large body of work to readers quickly. I wanted to try everything on and see what fit and then use what I learned to develop my break out series. That’s exactly what I did, and as I first started writing my First Street Church Romances last summer, I knew that it would be the series. I’m very excited to see it grow with the Amazon publishing deal and its forthcoming Kindle World (www.FirstStreet.church).

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and helping other writers gain exposure. 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?

LOL, why, thank you! I write blogs when I have something to say and don’t worry about keeping a specific schedule. I actually produce a mini version of my blog right in my newsletter every single week. I want readers to know me, the person behind the books. I want them to see my flaws and shortcomings and to also see that I am living my best life, that I struggle but get back up and keep going. I want to inspire even more than I hope to entertain.

You have published many of your books in other languages. How is your audience abroad? Does marketing online help in this situation

This is a nut I’m still trying to crack. I love my translators, but it’s really hard marketing in a language you don’t speak! I actually have a meeting with my German translation team later this week to try to come up with a more cohesive plan to sell some books together



Author's Book List
Love's Prophet - The First Street Church Romances Book 3
Could his little girl be the messenger of God's love?

Before death carried her away, Rebecca James asked her seven-year-old daughter, Molly Sue, to help her grieving father find happiness again. Now, nearly a year later, armed with her mother’s memory and a determination to find her father’s smile again, this little girl will move big mountains to make sure her plan goes off without a hitch.

When cancer claimed his beloved wife far too soon, Liam James stopped living and started settling. But thanks to the still small light left in his world, his life is about to expand in ways he can't fathom. Could his young daughter really be the answer to the prayer he hadn’t dared to speak? And will the happy-go-lucky Sunday school teacher Molly Sue hand-picks to be her new mommy agree to work through their pain in order to bring about new joy for all of them?


Book Trailer: Love's Prophet

Order the Book From:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store
iTunes Store


Love's Promise - The First Street Church Romances Book 2
She's waiting for her prince to come … but was he right beside her all the time?

Kristina Rose Maher wants to know why fairytales never happen for fat girls. Certain that diner cook Jeff, handsome and fit, will never want her as more than a friend, she stuffs down her attraction to him. But when she finds herself facing a life-altering weight loss surgery, she discovers she's willing to do whatever it takes to embrace life—and love—to the fullest.

Jeffrey Berkley can't bear the thought of losing the friend he’s only just beginning to realize matters so much to him… no matter what size she is. But he is also terrified that helping her reach for her dreams will also mean finally reaching for his own—and letting down his family’s legacy in the process.

Both Kristina Rose and Jeffrey must learn to love themselves before they can find a way to make a promise to each other. Will they finally be able to lay their heavy burdens at the Lord's feet, and trust him to bring the happily-ever-after they both crave?


Book Trailer: Love's Promise

Order the Book From:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store
iTunes Store


Love's Prayer - The First Street Church Romances Book 1
Summer Smith is at a crossroads in life. Fresh out of college with no idea what comes next, she agrees to take over her aunt’s flower shop for the season. She arrives in the small, close-knit community of Sweet Grove, Texas, hoping to find some answers.

Ben Davis has lived in the shadow of his family’s mistakes for years. Forced to give up everything he ever wanted for himself, he begins to consider taking his own life in a final effort to end all the pain. A desperate plea sent to the God he isn’t even sure he believes in is soon answered by a series of miracles that bring Summer and Ben crashing into each other.

Love’s Prayer offers a dramatic story about two people who must find a way to believe in each other and in themselves in order to finally find the place where they belong. This novel of finding faith, hope, and—ultimately—love in the darkest of times is sure to tug at your heartstrings and leave you craving more from the First Street Church Romances!


Book Trailer: Love's Prayer

Order the Book From:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store
iTunes Store
Audible


Angels in Our Lives - The Pearl Makers Book 1
The animals in our lives are often just angels in disguise.

Six-year-old Emily needs a miracle if she’s ever to walk again. Luckily, her protector angel refuses to leave her side. In fact, she comes to Emily as a golden retriever puppy named Lulu, so that she may stay close by as the little girl struggles through recovery.

Emily and Lulu quickly become inseparable, accomplishing together what everyone believed impossible. As the years pass, Emily grows into a strong young woman while Lulu simply grows old.

Will Emily lose her angel?

This special tale of friendship is sure to bring comfort and peace to anyone who has ever mourned the loss of a beloved pet.


Order the Book From:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store
iTunes Store


A Wedding Miracle - Four Weddings and a Fiasco - Kindle Worlds Novella
She’s a rabbi. He’s a minister. Can they overcome their differences to find Heaven on Earth?

Rabbi Heidi Gold is overjoyed when her best friend Ari asks her to officiate her wedding. Heidi’s mother, of course, is overjoyed at all the successful young single Jewish men she’s bound to meet at the reception. But at just twenty-five years old, Heidi isn’t looking to settle down… that is, until she looks across the dance floor and sees heaven personified in a handsome stranger.

Pastor Sam White loves counseling newly engaged couples even though being married to God has always been enough for him, personally. That’s why he can’t understand his irresistible draw toward Heidi. Although she is beautiful, faithful, and kind, is clearly all wrong for him. Still… what could once dance hurt?

They’ve never met before, so why does it feel like their hearts have known each other all along? Will Heidi and Sam find a way to overcome their differences and experience the full beauty of God’s love on Earth? Find out in A Wedding Miracle, inspired by Lucy Kevin’s Four Weddings & A Fiasco Kindle World!


Order the Book From:
Amazon


A Cowboy Kind of Love - Game For Love - Kindle Worlds Novella
He’s run away from everything that ever meant anything–but will he run away from her?

Rhett “the Jet” Alexander, the hottest new recruit for the San Antonio Bombers, has made a career of running—usually while holding a football. So, of course, when his long-term girlfriend saddles him with an ultimatum, he chooses to run away from both their relationship and his home state of California to pursue a new life in Texas. So why is it that when he meets the shy beauty Cassie, the only thing he wants to do is run straight into her arms and hold on to her forever?

Cassie Brown loves her simple life as a cowgirl on the outskirts of San Antonio. The Saddleback Ranch has been in her family for several generations, but now is in danger of closing down due to dwindling profits. She refuses to let her great-grandfather’s legacy dry up without doing everything in her power to save it. The last thing she needs is a distraction, especially a pretty boy running back who can barely commit to dinner plans, let alone a woman.

While Rhett and Cassie are as opposite as they come, they can’t deny the sparks that fly between them. Will he finally stop running long enough to offer his heart, and can she afford to risk hers? Find out in this sweet Western romance inspired by Bella Andre’s Game for Love.


Order the Book From:
Amazon


Texas and Tiaras - The Book Cellar Mysteries 2
Nobody in Herald Springs can believe that their small town served as the scene for a major criminal showdown. With the events of the annual gala behind them, they just want to get back to their normal lives, but the members of the local “drink and gossip club” know the drama is far from over.

Brooke’s got a stalker, Annabeth has a criminal mastermind bent on her destruction, and even Vi is being taken for a ride by someone she thought was her friend. If only they could turn to each other for help, things might not be so bad—but with the women at odds with one another and only Jesse in good graces with the rest of the group, that isn’t likely to happen any time soon.

Their world is going to hell in a hand basket, so why not throw a party to brighten everyone’s mood? With Ligia’s help, Brooke arranges a charity beauty pageant the town won’t soon forget, especially when the bad guys show up and attempt to finish what they started earlier that year…


Order the Book From:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store


Walker Texas Wife - The Book Cellar Mysteries 1
Their lives are perfect… if only from the outside.

At first glance, the residents of Herald Springs lead charmed lives. But behind the dazzling smiles and inside the large brick homes, they all have their secrets. Most are harmless, but then again Annabeth King never did quite fit in.

This newest neighbor is harboring a special secret of her own, one that could prove deadly. Will the members of the “drink and gossip” club figure out what Annabeth’s working so hard to hide before disaster comes knocking?

With Storm’s signature bitter-sweetness and Hodge’s thrilling intensity, Walker Texas Wife offers a fast-paced, addictive romp that fans of Desperate Housewives and Pretty Little Liars will find themselves falling hard and fast for. This debut in the new Book Cellar Mystery series will leave you wondering: just how well do we know our neighbors after all?


Order the Book From:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store
iTunes Store


She Will Be Loved - Cupid's Bow Book 6
A single mother fighting for her dreams, a talented doctor who's given up on his … can they find their way back to love, together?

Luke Ward was New York City’s best and brightest young physician until a freak accident changed everything. Now the staff doctor at a large retirement village in Abilene, he plans to live out the rest of his days hiding from the pain he’s traveled so far to escape.

When the father of her unborn child walked out, Mandy Rockwell swore off men for good. Still, she refuses to give up her baby, or her dream of opening her own bakery. Which leaves little room in her life for anything else, especially not another high risk relationship.

Both have everything to lose, but somehow Luke and Mandy can’t ignore the spark that ignites between them. Will they find the courage to make a future together, and what will happen when their pasts come calling once again?


Order the Book From:
Amazon
Audible


You Belong with Me - Cupid's Bow Book 5
Would you let your dog choose your boyfriend?

Maybe Charlie Rockwell should have thought a little harder before adopting the large, out-of-control rescue dog she saw featured on the local news—but, then again, her life has always been best with no waiting, no attachments, nobody to hold her back.

Will Porter lives a life of order and routine, so, of course, he's miffed when a savage Rottweiler picks a fight with his golden retriever at the dog park. His anger quickly vanishes when he looks into the tearful eyes of the dog's owner—eyes that look strikingly similar to his ex's. Even though he'd like nothing more than to run in the other direction, he's unable to ignore the beautiful stranger's request for help in taming her new dog.

Can Will get past her resemblance to his ex and finally learn to love—and trust—again? And can Charlie find the fun in a simpler existence? Who knows, maybe opposites really do attract.


Order the Book From:
Amazon
Audible


You Make Me Feel So Young - Cupid's Bow Book 4
Because first loves last forever.

When Deborah Rockwell’s first love resurfaces just as she’s getting ready to enjoy retirement, she is torn between staying true to her late husband’s memory and trying to find new happiness with the one who got away. These days, she can barely remember that cheerful girl she was when James Morgan declared his undying love more than fifty years ago, and she’s fearful he’ll be disappointed in the woman she’s become.

James has always wondered what could have been with Deborah and is sure they’ve met again by design, not by coincidence. When Deborah agrees to give him a second chance, he goes about recreating the perfect night they shared so many years ago.

Can these two former sweethearts put their pasts behind them and move into the future together—or are they destined for even more heartbreak?


Order the Book From:
Amazon


I'll Never Stop Loving You - Cupid's Bow Book 3
Her picture saved his life. Now he’ll risk everything to find her.

When James Morgan left for Korea, his heart belonged to another woman. But all that changed when he found the picture of a beautiful, exotic woman one of his troop mates left behind.

The tattered photo gives him the resolve he needs to make it home alive, but once he gets there, he has no idea how to go about finding the mysterious woman who unknowingly saved his life.

Gloria Flores is distraught when her brother dies fighting a war she never supported in the first place. Still, it falls to her to pick up the shattered pieces left in the wake of his untimely death. In order to heal, her family must relocate once again, but Gloria is tired of being the protector. She’s hurting too, and something seems to be tying her to the small Texas home town. But what?

Will James find the woman he so desperately seeks, and will he be exactly the person she needs too?


Order the Book From:
Amazon
Audible


My Heart Belongs to Only You - Cupid's Bow Book 2
Can two broken hearts heal one another?

Every day Rip Rockwell fights the guilt—the guilt that he survived the war when his best friend did not—and the shell shock. Both of which refuse to let him return to a normal civilian life. When he meets a beautiful young woman in his new neighborhood, he fights his feelings for her too. After all, he doesn't deserve to be happy when it's his fault his best friend died.

Deborah Walker gave her heart to a man who disappeared in war-torn Korea. While she wants to keep her promise to wait for him, she also has no idea whether he survived the battle that rendered him MIA. When a handsome veteran moves in next door, she denies her growing attraction to him, especially since his very presence reminds her of the man she's already lost.

Can Rip and Deborah find a way to heal together, or are they destined for an endless series of heartbreaks?


Order the Book From:
Amazon
Audible


When I Fall in Love - Cupid's Bow Book 1
Is it ever too late to give love a second chance?

James Morgan never really believed in love. That is, until he laid eyes on Deborah Walker at the local soda fountain. He surprises himself by inviting her out for an impromptu night on the town, and she shocks him even more by agreeing. As the night progresses, the two share their past histories and secret dreams, and James realizes that she is the perfect woman for him. The only problem is that he ships off to Korea the next morning. Fulfilling his duty is non-negotiable to James, even if fighting for his country will ultimately break both of their hearts.

Deborah promises to wait for him, but two years is a long time to put her life on hold, especially for a man she only knew for one day. When Rip Rockwell returns from the war and James does not, Rip proposes marriage to Deborah. She agrees and they build a beautiful life together until his death fifty years later. Through it all, though, she can never quite forget her first love. She retires to Abilene, expecting to live out the rest of her days in peace. So imagine her surprise when James Morgan moves in next door…


Order the Book From:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store
iTunes Store


A Texas Kind of Love - The Remingtons - Kindle Worlds Novella
Can a city girl and country boy find love under the Texas stars?

Louise Stark left her small Texas home town during high school and vowed never to look back. Unfortunately, she has no choice when she is called in to settle the estate of a great aunt she hardly knew. With her best friend Siena Remington in tow, she reluctantly takes a trip across the country and back into her past—planning to return to her fast-paced Manhattan life as quickly as possible.

Brady Williams leads a life filled with adventure, danger, and fame as the star bronco rider in a traveling rodeo. Proud of his reputation as the sexiest bad boy in Texas, he knows he can have any woman he wants. So why can’t he get his mind off straight-laced Louise, the girl he shared his first kiss with back in elementary school? And, more importantly, how can he convince her to stay in Jefferson long enough to give him a chance?

Louise and Brady are about to find out that no amount of distance can stand in the way of two hearts that fit perfectly together. So saddle up and get ready to fall in love with this sweet Western romance inspired by Melissa Foster’s Remington series.


Order the Book From:
Amazon


A Colorful Life - Drawn in Broken Crayon
A handsome stranger.
A whirlwind trip to India.
Al life forever changed.

For Daly English, life is a series of one disappointment after another. Rather than dealing with the fall-out, she locks herself in her studio and works tirelessly toward completing her art school portfolio. Unfortunately, fate isn't done with Daly quite yet.

Time and time again, a handsome stranger refuses to be ignored, forcing her to come to grips with the loss she's been harboring for years and to trust herself to love again. Their whirlwind romance transports her from the drab Midwest straight to the bold and colorful capital city of India where a slew of quirky characters cast a stark contrast to her world at home. Will Daly continue to fade into the background of her own life, or will her journey transform her into exactly who she needs to be?


Order the Book From:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
KOBO Store
iTunes Store


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

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the great interview, James!

    ReplyDelete