Friday, May 31, 2013

HBS Author’s Spotlight – Class of May 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 May 2013 crew.

Chrissy Anderson
Author Genre: Chick Lit, Romance, Humor And Comedy

Author's Blog: Chrissy Anderson
Twitter: @AskChrissy
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next Novel: Final installment of The List Trilogy: The Hope List

Social Media: So important. So important that I wish I’d globbed onto them a lot sooner.

Covers: I did them! I wanted each cover to give you a glimpse inside of Chrissy’s head.

Book trailer: I love that damn thing! I don’t necessarily think the trailer has a significant impact on the books success…

Free Books: As a virtual unknown, giveaways are essential.

Author's Book List
The Unexpected List
The Life List

For the rest of the story...View Chrissy Anderson - HBS Author's Spotlight

Sandy Appleyard
Author Genre: Romantic Suspense

Website: Sandy Appleyard - Author of Memoirs, Humour and Fiction
Twitter: @sandyappleyard
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next novel: The Wife of a Lesser Man

Social media:If it weren’t for Twitter, I wouldn’t have connected with my writing coach, editor, beta readers and a whole slew of others…

Covers: I wanted to pull out all the stops, so I hired a wonderful cover designer Kit Foster Designs…

Book Trailer: This was my first time using a book trailer, and I’m proud to say I created it myself. The blog post I did following its release outlined how I did it.

Free Books: I do book giveaways all the time via draws on my Facebook page, Goodreads and KDP Select free promotion days.

Self-publishing: I’ve outsourced editing and book cover design (and now blog tours). Everything else has been my doing. I’m sure you’ve heard this before: it’s very challenging.

Author's Book List
Blessed and Betrayed
I'll Never Wear a Backless Dress
The Message in Dad's Bottle
The Wife of a Lesser Man

For the rest of the story...View Sandy Appleyard - HBS Author's Spotlight

Annamaria Bazzi
Author Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Author's Blog: annamaria's writing corner
Twitter: @AMBazzi
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next UP: I’m concentrating on the White Swan series…

Social media: The relationships I’m building are important because these individuals are very supportive and helpful…

Covers: As an art lover and painter, I’m a hands-on when it comes to the design of my covers.

Free Books: free giveaway through Smashwords...a great deal of down loads, but once the price went back to normal I saw no more sales.

Blog: Having worked in the information systems world for twenty years, I felt compelled to design my own website

Author's Book List
The New Girl in Town (White Swans)
The White Swans - A Regency Era
Revelation of Abaddon
A Simple Matter of Justice

For the rest of the story...View Annamaria Bazzi - HBS Author's Spotlight

Cate Beauman
Author Genre: Romance, Mystery & Thrillers

Author's Blog: Cate Beauman
Website: Cate Beauman
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

New Release: Forever Alexa, the fourth novel in the Bodyguards of L.A. County series.

Social media relationships are VITAL in this industry. If you aren’t connecting with your readers you aren’t selling books.

Plot management: I’m an obsessive list maker and old-fashioned kind of girl when it comes to plots, character sketches, and timelines.

Self-publisher: I’m very lucky to have found a great team of professionals who contribute to my success. For the most part I am able to simply focus on writing…

Author's Book List
Forever Alexa
Hailey's Truth
Falling For Sarah
Morgan's Hunter

For the rest of the story...View Cate Beauman - HBS Author's Spotlight

Ellen Mansoor Collier
Author Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction, New Adult

Website: Decodame
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author's Book List
Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play

For the rest of the story...View Ellen Mansoor Collier - HBS Author's Spotlight

Sharon C. Cooper
Author Genre: Romance, Romantic suspense

Author's Blog: Sharon C. Cooper - Just Thinking
Website: Sharon Cunningham Cooper
Twitter: @Sharon_Cooper1
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook


I do think my social media relationships have helped, but I think what really helps is for me to keep writing and putting books out.

My recent personal appearance was at an all day workshop (April 20th) hosted by Georgia Romance Writers.

I definitely have a hands on approach for my book covers…

Writer support groups: Page-a-Day Writers group in San Diego.

Free books: I love doing giveaways and so far the ones I’ve done have been successful. My main goal in doing them is to reward my current readers and to get more exposure.

Plots: I’m a plotter, so all of my books are outline and I create character sketches for the characters (detailed ones for main characters). I have a spreadsheet…

Short stories: Interesting enough, my first short story was written because I first wanted to see if I could write a short story.

Author's Book List
Rendezvous with Danger
Secret Rendezvous
Blue Roses
Something New

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

Karin Cox
Author Genre: Literature & Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry

Author's Blog: Karincox's Blog
Website: Meet Author Karin Cox
Twitter: @Authorandeditor
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

What's next: Creche is the sequel to Cruxim and is much more high fantasy…

Social media is as much about interacting and socialising as book-selling, and if wasn't that I have to carve out writing time, I'd hang out there a lot more.

Book trailer: I created what I call a "book teaser." It's not a trailer because it is really a series of promotional stills I made for the book, set to music.

Support groups: Indie Writers Unite facebook group is an incredible place to seek answers to indie questions.

ebooks changed anything: Totally, and so has self-publishing. When you're on the other side of the desk, in trade publishing, you're always set apart from your audience.

Free Books: I believe that there is certain audience you'll probably never reach with paid books, so giving your books away for free isn't really harming your brand or devaluing your work…

Author's Book List
Cruxim: You Are Never Alone
Pancakes on Sunday
Cage Life
Ms. Adventures in Travel
Hey, Little Sister

For the rest of the story...View Karin Cox - HBS Author's Spotlight

Christoph Fischer
Author Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction

Website: Christoph Fischer Books
Twitter: @CFFBooks
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

WIP: is currently loosely titled “The Farm in Heimkirchen” do in late 2013

Social media: Twitter has huge potential but it is time consuming. It is easy to connect with the wrong type of people… I found my Goodreads and Facebook activities much more helpful…

Support groups: Hay House Publishing Workshop on self-publishing…Wanda’s Amazing Amazon Reviewers on Facebook… and more.

eBooks: without e-books I would not have gotten this far in publishing. My books are labours of love for me…

Plots: I read and research the background extensively before I write the first page but I continue with my research all the way during the process.

UK experience: Comments and other communication with bloggers, readers and reviewers are taxing on my sleep pattern. I have to catch these people before they go to bed…

Author's Book List
The Luck of the Weissensteiners

For the rest of the story...View Christoph Fischer - HBS Author's Spotlight

Dave Folsom
Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Author's Blog: Dave Folsom - All About This and That
Website: Dave Folsom's Books
Twitter: @davefolsombooks
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Marketing: I try to have my books on as many sites as possible, along with my own websites. I do extensive social media play simply because I think it’s necessary to build a platform and get your name our as much as you can.

Support group: I’m a big fan of IAN for support. They give me access to the efforts of fellow writers and help with marketing.

Author's Book List
Big Sky Dead
Sonoran Justice
Finding Jennifer
The Dynameos Conspiracy
Scaling Tall Timber
The Zeitgeist Project
Running With Moose and Other Stories

For the rest of the story...View Dave Folsom - HBS Author's Spotlight

Melissa Foster
Author Genre: Literature & Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers

Author's Blog: Melissa Foster Blog
Website: Melissa Foster
Twitter: @Melissa_Foster
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Social Media: I love to share what I've learned in publishing. It allows me to connect with readers across the world.

World Literary Cafe (WLC) founder: Readers, writers, bloggers, reviewers, and anyone interested in the literary field can join. Our goal is to unite the literary community, bring authors to readers and help authors promote their work.

Indie Chicks: These ladies are friends, mentors to many, and fabulous writers.

Time management: I schedule everything from phone calls to picking up my children from school.

Book Trailers: What a joy it is to put faces to the characters.

Author's Book List
Have No Shame
Traces of Kara
Megan's Way
Chasing Amanda
Come Back To Me

For the rest of the story...View Melissa Foster - HBS Author's Spotlight

Helen Hanson
Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Suspense, Technology

Website: Helen Hanson
Twitter: @HelenHanson
E-Mail: WriteMe [at] HelenHanson [dot] com
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

What's next: OCEAN OF FEAR will launch in June.

3 LIES hit the Kindle Top 100 because of my online presence. But, I’m more comfortable with live humans than I am on social media.

Great covers: The visual arts are a mystery to me. I can make something look nice, but I can’t make it special.

Time management: I’m a list freak. If it isn’t on the list, it won’t happen.

Free Books: Promotions are a great way to get readers to notice. I reserve my straight giveaways for readers through my newsletter.

Blog: Readers are my focus. They’re the only reason my work hit the Top 100 on Kindle. I love hearing from people who’ve read my work. It’s a total kick

Self-publisher: I’m somewhere on the control freak spectrum. My mother said my first words were: I can do it myself.

Author's Book List
Dark Pool
3 Lies

For the rest of the story...View Helen Hanson - HBS Author's Spotlight

Brent Hartinger
Author Genre: Young Adult, Gay & Lesbian, Suspense

Website: Welcome to Brent's Brain - Home of Writer Brent Hartinger
Twitter: @brenthartinger
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next: ...right now it depends on how well The Elephant of Surprise does (so far, so good!), and probably also how well the Geography Club movie is received.

Writing Before social media buzz: Now I'm back to writing fiction full-time, and things have changed soooo much in the world of publishing! When it comes to social media, I'm playing catch-up a bit. But yes, it's completely transformed everything.

A Movie Trailer: My first book, Geography Club, about a secret gay alliance at a conservative high school, was released in 2003. The rights were optioned right away for the movies, but it took ten years for the movie to actually get made…

Before ebooks: To republish my older titles, and also to publish The Elephant of Surprise, I created my own publishing company. I publish both ebook and hard-copy editions of my books, but I've been shocked by how many more ebooks I sell.

Free books: I have done both "free" and very-low-price ebook giveaways. The time I did "free," it moved about 25,000 copies, but honestly, it didn't do anything for sales.

Short Stories: Unfortunately, there's no real market for short stories these days, and the medium of the novel is so very, very different from the short story anyway. If I were starting over today, I might just dive into writing a novel, since that's the end goal anyway.

Author's Book List
The Elephant of Surprise
The Order of the Poison Oak
Project Sweet Life
Grand & Humble
The Last Chance Texaco
Geography Club
Shadow Walkers

For the rest of the story...View Brent Hartinger - HBS Author's Spotlight

Matthew Iden
Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Science Fiction & Fantasy,non-fiction

Website: Matthew Iden
Twitter: @CrimeRighter
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

What's next: Book four of the Marty Singer series

Once you're past issues of the writing craft, there's nothing more important to a writer's career than taking advantage of social media

Book Signing: September 13-15 - Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity conference

Great Covers: I'm doubly flattered because I do the covers myself. My background in web design…

Free Books: Giving books away is, so far, the single most effective way of getting the word out about my books.

Several genres: My first reading love was epic fantasy…

Living environment: Alexandria, VA. one of the most exciting places in the world, with its own dark history and not-so-safe present, interesting burgs (like Alexandria), and unexpected surprises (like the DC waterfront).

Author's Book List
A Reason to Live
One Right Thing
Finding Emma
Telling Your Tale
one bad twelve

For the rest of the story...View Matthew Iden - HBS Author's Spotlight

Alan Jacobson
Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Author's Blog: Alan Jacobson
Website: Alan Jacobson
Twitter: @JacobsonAlan
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next novel: No Way Out, the fifth thriller in the FBI Profiler Karen Vail series, is due out on 9/17/13.

Personal appearances: My publisher [advice] ...focus on contact with my fans [by making] appearances at conferences and on social media.

eBooks has not changed me as a writer. However, it certainly has changed the way marketing is approached and how I relate to my readers.

Free giveaway: I gained a number of readers who had never read one of my novels before—which is exactly what you want…

Writer’s Toolkit:I was getting so much of the “How do I "… questions, I realized the best thing to do was to post all this information on my website and have it serve as a resource for aspiring writers.

Advice: Talk to people and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Author's Book List
Hard Target
Inmate 1577
False Accusations
The Hunted
The 7th Victim

For the rest of the story...View Alan Jacobson - HBS Author's Spotlight

David Lawlor
Author Genre: Historical Fiction

Website: historywithatwist
Twitter: @LawlorDavid
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

New release: The Golden Grave

Twitter: They are very important in that they are the only real means I use to tell people about my books.

Writer support groups: I used Critique Circle when I want to test the waters…

I think self-publishing is great, provided it’s treated seriously and done professionally.

Plot management: I’ve started using Scrivner for the book I am currently writin

Author's Book List
The Golden Grave

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

Carol Davis Luce
Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Romance, Literature & Fiction

Website: CAROL DAVIS LUCE–NightWriter
Twitter: @CarolDavisLuce
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Coming next: It’s back to a ‘Night’ novel. The seventh in the ‘Night’ standalone series Release date is sometime late summer or early fall.

Success from social media: I’m really not sure how much, if any, impact it has had on my so-called success. [Before social media] the readers found my novels, and through word of mouth, made them bestsellers. I attribute my success to the readers. Especially the readers who keep coming back for more.

Covers: My book covers are designed by IndieDesignz. I usually give Dafeenah a basic story description and she takes it from there.

Indie Chicks: They are great gals individually and as a group. I attribute some of my earlier success to the Indie Chicks and the three anthologies I have had the honor of participating in. The main thing I get out of this association is the camaraderie and support.

Has ebooks changed anything? Absolutely! I’m my own boss. My books are my own products. I love being in control, from cover design to book pricing.

Free books: It can be useful for the first in a series, and for new authors breaking into the market. I’ve had better success with the .99 cent book promotions where, after the sale, I gift books to those that entered the Rafflecoper contest on my blog.

Change in genre: I took a detour from the ‘Night’ series to write my coming-of-age novel, AWAKENING: Secrets of a Brown Eyed Girl. This book is loosely based on my own quirky and challenging childhood.

Author's Book List
50 First Chapters
Night Widow
Night Passage
Night Game
Night Prey
Night Stalker

For the rest of the story...View Carol Davis Luce - HBS Author's Spotlight

James Moushon
Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Author's Blog: eBook Author’s Corner
Website: James Moushon - Mystery Writer
Twitter: @jimhbs
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Writing career: I always wanted to write but my professional career got in the way. How I get to do both: design computer systems and write. I write blogs to help authors and I write novels to express myself. (Jonathon Stone Mystery Novels)

Author's Book List
Game of Fire
Black Mountain Secrets
Call Off The Dogs

For the rest of the story...View James Moushon - HBS Author's Spotlight

Michael O'Gara
Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Historical Fiction

Author's Blog: Michael O'Gara - Books that Entertain
Website: Michael O'Gara Author
Twitter: @ogarabooks
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next in 2013: “The Caring Sheriff” - “Generational Sin” - “Sinister Intent” - and a romance novel.

Social media: I didn’t start publishing until about two years ago so social media has always been a part of my book launch process and I’m still working at finding the optimal blend. One positive of the process is that I’ve been able to interact with people from all over the world…

Covers: It’s all hands-on. For better or worse I have to take full responsibility for the covers. I have designed them all with some help from my wife

Free books: I don’t give my work away to the public because I believe it has value. If you follow the shared experiences of authors it seems to me the practice of mass giveaways is relatively fruitless.

Marketing process: I’ll start the process weeks before the release. The process is: broadcast the upcoming release, post it on all my sites, twitter about it, do interviews, advertise, and run contests.

Author's Book List
The Persistent Sheriff
Ambassador Death
The Deliberate Sheriff
Crossing Cassandra
The Happenstance Marshal
The Mentor Sheriff
Sword, Cross and Crown
The Windfall Sheriff
The Mogul Sheriff

For the rest of the story...View Michael O'Gara - HBS Author's Spotlight

Gary Ponzo
Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Author's Blog: Strong Scenes
Twitter: @AuthorPonzo
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next: First I'm finishing a stand-alone thriller about a clairvoyant girl who hears invisible aliens plotting to destroy the planet.

Social media: While I believe social media is important these day, I'm unconvinced it really sells books. I rarely go to Facebook or Twitter just to promote my work. I'm there for name recognition and to create relationships with my readers

Personal appearances: I've done quite a few online radio interviews and plenty of blog interviews. I keep in touch with my readers through my Facebook page and Twitter: Author Ponzo.

Covers: I don't really have the readers involved initially, but I do show them the finished product ahead of anyone else to judge their enthusiasm.

Book trailers: I created a trailer for the first book a couple of years ago and I'm not sure how much it's done for the success of the book. I made the trailer myself with Sony Moviemaker.

Free books: I did a free promo through Amazon's KDP program and for 3 days in March A Touch of Deceit was the #1 free book on Amazon. After the promo was over it moved the book into the top 100 bestseller list. I was very pleased with the results.

Short stories first: I began writing short stories because I figured I'd get all my mistake out of the way in the short form. If I wrote a lousy short story I only wasted a week or two of my time. If I wrote a lousy novel, well, I've wasted a year or more

Blog: I began the blog by offering a forum for beginning writers to showcase their work. I offered a writing contest each month where a writer could submit their first scene for others to vote on.

Author's Book List
A Touch of Malice
A Touch of Deceit
A Touch of Greed
A Touch of Revenge

For the rest of the story...View Gary Ponzo - HBS Author's Spotlight

Billie Thomas
Author Genre: Mystery, Humor And Comedy, Chick Lit

Website: Chloe gets a Clue
Twitter: @ChloeGetsAClue
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Coming next: Murder in a Two-Seater is the second in the Chloe Carstairs Mysteries series…

Twitter: I love Twitter, not just because it helps me move the needle in terms of book sales, but also because I love to connect with readers and other writers.

Covers: I’m a creative director at an ad agency so I’m very involved in the creative process through my job. It was hard for me to give up control of my cover…

Support groups: Independent Author Network (IAN) - Author’s Social Media Group (ASMSG) and am a co-founder of Indie-Visible…

Free books: I did a GoodReads giveaway, which was awesome. It got a lot of attention for my book and I got a lot of positive feedback from the winners in the form of reviews on my Amazon page and GoodReads page.

Book tours: I recently finished a blog tour with Cozy Mystery Reviews and can’t recommend them highly enough. Bella McGuire has a genuine love of cozies and does a great job helping to promote them. I had such a great experience I signed up to be a tour host. And yes, I saw a boost in sales.

Blog: I want to help promote mysteries, indie authors and my own series with my blog. In that order.

IndieVisible: We’re a powerhouse collective of indie writers who use joint resources and collaborative social media to deliver quality books to the masses. For readers, our site,, is a destination for news about wonderful books of all genres and thoughtful interviews with writers.

Author's Book List
Murder on the First Day of Christmas

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

Brae Wyckoff
Author Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Christian

Author's Blog: The Orb of Truth
Website: Brae Wyckoff - AUTHOR of The Horn King Series-
Twitter: @BraeWyckof
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Coming next: The Dragon God… sequel to The Orb of Truth.

Social media: Social media endeavors are a must for any author, but I find that building relationships with fans and readers is the best format on these sites.

Personal appearances: I have many things going on each given week. Signings, interviews, speaking engagements are sprinkled throughout the year.

Book Trailer: I had my trailer professionally done. It is hard to measure one tactic over another in this industry but everything goes hand in hand.

Support groups: I belong to a prestigious writers group in Rancho Bernardo.

Time management: I try to write each day, but marketing takes a bit of time to manage so that can detract from writing consistently.

Free books: My PR Manager has done contests for book giveaways, I have given books to reviewers, I also do some giveaways on Goodreads. I have not done an ebook giveaway on Amazon and I am not so sure it is effective.

Book tours: I just finished a month long blog tour which proved effective. I was blogged and interviewed each day for the month of April.

Plots: I use excel to keep track of character dynamics. I am pretty well versed with my characters so I don’t look at it too often. I also outline my books before writing them as this keeps things in check and keeps my eye on the end game.

Blog Talk Radio Show- Broadcast Muse started early this year. I launched it with the intention of helping other authors market their material and to interview some amazing people I have been blessed to meet in my life.

Author's Book List
The Orb of Truth

For the rest of the story...View Brae Wyckoff - HBS Author's Spotlight

P. C. Zick
Author Genre: Literature & Fiction

Author's Blog: Living Lightly
Website: P. C. Zick
Twitter: @PCZick
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next novel: Safe Harbor

I think social media works best when you have a support group to shout out for you (and vice a versa).

Personal appearances: I don’t do any of those things anymore. I’ve done it, and it took a great deal from me. Selling a book one handshake at a time is hard work with very little reward

Writer support groups: World Literary Café and Indie Authors Promo

I’ve learned to relax more in my blogs rather than writing them as I would a journalistic article.

Free books: That was very successful for Live from the Road. After the free days, there’s usually a spike in sales.

Self-publisher: I wish I could hire a marketing person. I feel as if I don’t know what I’m doing. I have learned that paying for services, such as a blog tour and tweet shout outs, haven’t worked for me.

Author's Book List
Trails in the Sand
Tortoise Stew
Live from the Road

For the rest of the story...View P. C. Zick - HBS Author's Spotlight

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