Monday, September 30, 2013

HBS Author’s Spotlight – Class of September 2013

This month we have a group of interesting writers with worlds of knowledge and expertise. The author interviews are a MUST read.

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 September 2013 crew.

Sparkle Abbey

Author Genre: Mystery, Crime, Humor And Comedy

Author's Blog: Sparkle Abbey
Website: Sparkle Abbey - pampered pet mysteries
Twitter: @sparkleabbey
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next up is “Fifty Shades of Greyhound.”

Social Media: The great thing about Twitter and other social media is…well, the social part of it. It has allowed us to connect with readers in a way that wouldn’t have been possible a few short years ago.

Personal appearances: We love to pair book signings or appearances with raising awareness about animal rescue, so we often work with a rescue group.

Book trailer: Our publisher created a book trailer for the launch of the Pampered Pets series. You can see it here:

Support groups: We belong to Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America.

Free books: The best thing that comes out of that type of a promotion is that new readers find us and we’re thrilled by that result.

Author's Book List
Kitty Kitty Bang Bang
Get Fluffy
Desperate Housedogs

For the rest of the story...View Sparkle Abbey - HBS Author's Spotlight

Kathy Bennett

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers - Women Sleuths

Author's Blog: Kathy Bennett
Website: Kathy Bennett
Twitter: @kathywriteslapd
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next book: A DEADLY JUSTICE, released September 13th, 2013. It is the second book of the Detective Maddie Divine suspense series.

Book signings: I love to meet with readers and do so every chance I get. I've had a lot of speaking engagements this year in the Southern California area, everything from speaking at libraries, writers groups, and civic organizations, to chatting to a local car club.

Book cover: I think the book cover, the title and the story are so important. Each element must work together, but they must be able to stand-alone as well.

Book trailer: I'm not sure of the impact the trailer has had on sales, but it was one of my favorite parts of promoting A DOZEN DEADLY ROSES. Click here for YouTube presentation.

Support groups: the roots of becoming a writer began at the Orange County Chapter of the Romance Writer's of America (RWA) plus the Los Angeles Chapter (LARA) and Murder/Suspense Chapter known as Kiss of Death (KOD). I also belong to Sisters in Crime Los Angeles.

Author's Book List
A Deadly Justice
A Deadly Blessing
A Dozen Deadly Roses

For the rest of the story...View Kathy Bennett - HBS Author's Spotlight

Diane Capri

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Author's Blog: Diane Capri - Behind the Book
Website: Diane Capri - Licensed to Thrill
Twitter: @DianeCapri
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

New release: Get Back Jack. This is the second novel in the Hunt for Jack Reacher series (After "Don't Know Jack"). We pick up with FBI Special Agents Kim Otto and Carlos Gaspar a few days after their last outing.

Social media: I enjoy social media. It gives me a chance to connect to readers and writers and other friends.

Audio books: Many readers love audio books because they're so portable these days. You can put them on your iPod or your phone or almost any device and take them to the gym or out to do chores or on long commutes.

Support groups: I love connecting with writers and I'm involved with quite a few groups. They're there for encouragement, advice, and guidance, and I reciprocate.

Ebooks: The biggest change for me and the most exciting one is how widely available ebooks are. My books are now downloaded all over the world.

Free books: I've only had one significant experience with giving away free books on a mass scale. A few months ago, Wattpad featured my book Due Justice … The number of reader reviews on the book skyrocketed.

Reviews: we do seek professional reviews and we're grateful to get them. We've also been blessed with readers who are excited to share their opinions of my books by posting reviews, which potential readers especially like.

Author's Book List
Jack In A Box
Fatal Enemy
Fatal Distraction
Jack and Kill
Raw Justice
Wasted Justice
Secret Justice
Twisted Justice
Due Justice
Don't Know Jack
Mistaken Justice
Licensed to Thrill

For the rest of the story...View Diane Capri - HBS Author's Spotlight

Caroline Fardig

Author Genre: Mystery, Romance, Chick Lit

Author's Blog: Caroline Fardig
Website: Caroline Fardig
Twitter: @carolinefardig
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Congratulations on your book: IT'S JUST A LITTLE CRUSH.

Social media: I think social media plays a critical role in marketing books.

Interviews: I will be the guest of a couple of book clubs in my area this month

Covers: The cover was completely my baby. I came up with the idea and (badly) sketched it out, then had a friend take the photo. I photoshopped it myself and put it together. I even made the newspaper prop that the model is holding!

Support groups: Midwest Writers Guild, Facebook’s Chick Lit Goddesses, SJ Publicity family

Free books: I think giveaways are a good way to get your book noticed. I did a Goodreads giveaway a while back and had a positive response …

Reviews: My publicist and I have been seeking professional reviews, which have been extremely positive so far. I also do review exchanges with other indie authors …

Author's Book List
It's Just a Little Crush

For the rest of the story...View Caroline Fardig - HBS Author's Spotlight

Ashley Fontainne

Author Genre: Literature & Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers

Website: Ashley Fontainne
Twitter: @ashleyfontainne
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next book: The Lie -- is scheduled for release in October of 2013. Currently, it is in the final editing stages.

Social media is the lifeblood of Indie authors. Every post, tweet, share, mention, etc., helps get our names noticed.

Book trailers: I can take credit for those! … I use Animoto to create them and absolutely love the entire process.

Time management: Well, the name of my blog says it all: Ramblings of a Mad Southern Woman! My life has been insane ever since April of 2011 (when Accountable to None was published).

Reviews: I have submitted my books to the bigger blog review sites and reviewers in the past. Some have answered back and reviewed, others have not.

Author's Book List
Number Seventy-Five
Zero Balance
Adjusting Journal Entries
Accountable to None

For the rest of the story...View Ashley Fontainne - HBS Author's Spotlight

Kenneth N. Green

Author Genre: Non-fiction

Website: The Official Ken Green Website

You have a great video about your book: My videos were created either by live T.V., or my wife would video my presentations.

Regarding E-books, most of my sales (90%) are hard copies.

Reviews, believe it or not, are all unsolicited.

Mutual friend: George Latka was significant to the boxing world because he is the only person who is in the boxing Hall-of-Fame as both a boxer and as a referee.

Author's Book List
I’m From Division Street

For the rest of the story...View Kenneth N. Green - HBS Author's Spotlight

R.S. Guthrie

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Literature & Fiction, Nonfiction

Author's Blog: Google +
Website: R.S. Guthrie - Rob on Writing
Twitter: @rsguthrie
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next book: It’s “Honor Land”, the third book in the James Pruett Mystery/Thriller series…

Social media buzz: I believe this about social media … : in the beginning, it is nearly everything. What talented authors forget is that their BRAND is their NAME. People (readers and writers) need to “meet” them and, eventually, remember that name.

Book covers: I have created all the covers excepting the James Pruett Mysteries. And those change very little (color, background behind the Wind River mountains).

Book trailers: The trailers I’ve done myself, always after the book is complete. THEN I find pics, scenes, etc. that help tell the story in a videography media. I always pick a song that really reinforces the theme.

Support groups: For beginning writers workshops are essential. You have to learn how to have your manuscript torn to pieces and get up, wipe away the tears (or hide the body), and do your rewrites.

Time: Unfortunately, there needs to be nine of me (I’m still waiting on cloning). My wife helps a lot and I have a great friend who excels at the (let’s call it) less glamorous aspects of being an author (marketing, answering tweets, FB comments, etc.).

Free books: Use a pay-to-announce site like BookBub. The “free-listing sites” are find, but over time I noticed ZERO impact on anything (sales, reviews, etc.). When I ran a “free” ad (meaning my book was free), the ad cost $180 or something, I’ve since had over 100,000 downloads and my reviews have nearly tripled on Amazon.

Blog: The funny thing is, the blog is my outlet when “life” has my muse hiding out deep inside me, unwilling to be creative at all.

Reviews: I rarely solicit review (never pay). Reviews are important but I think the Amazon system is VERY broken. Doesn’t matter. The books need reviews; it’s one of the first thing anyone (including me) notices, right next to the book. Amazon also uses the number of reviews in their algorithms on whether they are going to “help” promote your books.

Author's Book List
INK: Eight Rules To A Better Book
Money Land
Blood Land
Black Beast

For the rest of the story...View R.S. Guthrie - HBS Author's Spotlight

Tracy Hewitt Meyer

Author Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Author's Blog: Write in Style
Website: Tracy Hewitt Meyer
Twitter: @tracyhmeyer
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

New book: A Life, Forward is the sequel to A Life, Redefined. It picks up where the first novel ends.

Social media is essential. It has become pivotal in building relationships with readers, authors, and bloggers/reviewers. What I love, though, is that social media can help a writer connect with readers on a personal level.

Book signing: I’ve done one major book signing and it was so much fun! I plan to do more after A Life, Forward is published and I can sign for both books in the Rowan Slone Series.

Writer support groups: Romance Writers of America has several smaller chapters, specific to genre and region. I belong to the Washington (DC) Romance Writers chapter as well as the Young Adult (online) chapter …

Free books: I haven’t listed A Life, Redefined as free on Amazon and I don’t plan to. I understand it can give a boost to a writer’s ranking, but I haven’t traveled down that road. I have done several Goodreads give-aways

Reviews: Professional reviews help launch the book into a wider audience. My reading audience is always reliable when it comes to reviews.

Author's Book List
A Life, Redefined
Wren's Fantasy
Trust of the Heart

For the rest of the story...View Tracy Hewitt Meyer - HBS Author's Spotlight

Melissa Eskue Ousley

Author Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Website: Melissa Eskue Ousley
Twitter: @MEskueOusley
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

New book: Sign of the Throne plus "The Rabbit and the Raven” comes out spring 2014, and “The Sower Comes” will be released fall 2014.

Social media: As a writer, networking on Goodreads has been extremely important, and I’m finding that my experiences there are enhanced by social media like Twitter. I’ve enjoyed meeting readers, bloggers, and other authors …

Book signings: On my web site,, I’ll be posting events:
I have a signing coming up in October in Portland, Oregon, but we’re still finalizing details on the location and time.

Book cover creation: One nice thing about working with a smaller press is that designing the cover is a collaborative process. I made an initial sketch, and discussed it with the publisher. Since we are working on a trilogy, we wanted to use similar design elements for all three books.

Book trailer: I’m really happy with how the trailer turned out. I made ink and watercolor sketches, photographed them, and then enhanced the dream-like feel of the artwork using Snapseed. Then I used iMovie to create the trailer

Support groups: Goodreads has been a great resource for me in connecting with other writers.

Plots: I’m definitely more of a “pantser” and less of a plotter, but as I listen to my characters and learn more about them, I keep a lot of notes. I have a journal for this, but sometimes said notes are scribbled on whatever is on hand—

Reviews: I sent out pre-releases to professional reviewers and bloggers, as well as to readers who were interested in reading for review. Goodreads is a great place for connecting with reviewers.

Author's Book List
Sign of the Throne

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

L.J. Sellers

Author Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense- Police Procedurals

Author's Blog: L.J. Sellers
Website: L.J. Sellers - Author of provocative mysteries & thrillers
Twitter: @LJSellers
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next book: "The Trigger" features Agent Jamie Dallas, who I introduced in Crimes of Memory (Jackson #8) coming out October 15. The Trigger releases January 1, and I hope it will be the first book in a new series

Social media: I built my readership mostly by networking on social media and attending reader conferences. Amazon’s algorithm played a part too, but I started with one book and a blog (Write First, Clean Later) in late 2007. Readers are people, and I’ve met them one at a time—online, in bookstores, at conferences, and in grocery stores.

Interviews and events: I do interviews with just about anyone who asks, and I participate in two local book-selling events where I meet readers and sign books. I also attend at least two mystery-reader conventions a year and make myself as available to readers as I can. See her calendar:

Covers: ’ve worked directly on my covers, both as an indie author and as a Thomas & Mercer author. I like to think the bold single-image designs support my brand tag—author of provocative mysteries & thrillers.

Audio books: I just received author copies of a several more books that are now in audio. I honestly have no idea how well they sell. What I do like is making my stories available to as many readers in as many formats as possible.

Writer support groups: I’m a member of many groups: Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the International Association of Crime Writers. I join mostly to connect with other authors and to stay involved in the crime fiction community.

eBooks: Ebooks changed everything! Until I put my books on Kindle, my readership was growing at a snail’s pace, and I spent more money promoting than I earned. Once readers could buy digital versions of my Jackson stories at a reasonable price, they were willing to try them.

Free books: I’ve been giving away books from the beginning, even when all I had on the market was a single paperback. I sent boxes of paperbacks to give away at conference and I did “buy one get one free” at book-selling events.

Blog: My blogging goals have changed over the years. I started it just to establish an online presence and connect with potential readers. Many of my first followers were other writers, and I shared what I knew and learned about writing, editing, and marketing. Now with my group blog, Crime Fiction Collective, my goal is to be interesting to readers. With my personal blog on my website, my goal is to keep my readers informed about what’s going on with me personally.

Reviews: In the past, I’ve sent hundreds of emails to bloggers and reviewers asking if they’d like to consider my novels. With every new book, I send out print and ebook review copies to a core list of about 30 reviewers who have read and praised my work.

Author's Book List
The Baby Thief
The Lethal Effect
The Gauntlet Assassin
Rules of Crime
Liars, Cheaters, & Thieves
Passions of the Dead
Thrilled to Death
The Sex Club
Dying for Justice
Secrets to Die For

For the rest of the story...View L.J. Sellers - HBS Author's Spotlight

Maggie Shayne

Author Genre: Thriller, Paranormal, Romance

Author's Blog: Maggie's Bliss Blog
Website: Maggie Shayne
Twitter: @MaggieShayne
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Congratulations on your book: Sleep With The Lights On. WAKE TO DARKNESS is the second installment in my Brown and De Luca series of thrillers, and it will be released Thanksgiving week.

Social media buzz: Social media has changed everything for me, as has the rise of the ebook phenomenon. I love the way I can interact with my readers now, on a daily basis. And I love using backlist books whose right have reverted to me, to help promote my front list titles.

Covers: For my backlist books, books that I've regained rights to and am now self-publishing, the cover art is done by my daughter, Jessica Lewis at The Author's Lifesaver

Book trailers: It's impossible to measure the impact of the book trailers. I make my book trailers myself using iMovie on my Mac. I buy stock video clips and background music, or have musical friends who sometimes let me use their songs, which is just the best thing ever. I enjoy making videos almost as much as I enjoy writing novels.

Writer support groups: I belong to RWA, but aside from the annual convention (which I love) … The group is essential to an aspiring romance writer. Helps you learn the craft and make the connections to break into the biz.

Time: I always do what's going to make me feel best. It's a lifestyle choice. I don't believe in nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic. I believe in writing when the passion takes me over …

eBooks: It's given me more control over my career than I've ever had in twenty years as a published author. I am now learning to become a marketer, a promoter, a publisher, an editor, a copy-writer. I set my own prices, (on the books I've self-published, not the front list) and change them whenever I want. It's absolutely amazing.

Author's Book List
Gingerbread Man
Blood of the Sorceress
Daughter of the Spellcaster
The Fairy's Wish
Mark of the Witch
Forgotten Vows
Miranda's Viking

For the rest of the story...View Maggie Shayne - HBS Author's Spotlight

HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

Kelly Abell

Author Genre: Romance, Mystery & Thrillers

Author's Blog: Writing Tips for Writers
Website: Kelly Abell Books
Twitter: @kellyabellbooks
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Helping other authors - I began sharing writing tips on my website after I published my first book. I am a firm believer in paying it forward, if I can offer tips and tricks.

Social media: There are so many sites where authors and readers can connect and converse. I've found Twitter is a great way to build a reader audience.

New book - Currently working on the second book - working under the title Blazing Phantom and Destiny

Marketing prep - I had about a three week lead time before the publisher put out press releases.

Author's Book List
The Lost Jewels of Hera
Haunted Destiny
Blood Harvest Moon
Captured in Lies
Blackheart Point
Sealed In Lies

For the rest of the story...View Kelly Abell - HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

Melody Anne

Author Genre: Romance, Young Adult

Website: Melody Anne
Twitter: @authmelodyanne
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

What is next?: Right now I am working on Seduced. Doing edits and polishing it off for a September 2nd release.

Social media: I think Social media has made my career. I have fans that have been with me from the very first book, and they are so special to me. I love, love, love talking to my fans.

Book cover: I have a spectacular cover artist. She will ask me a general idea of what I want and then send me samples. Sometimes, I love the very first cover, sometimes, it takes us ten times, but I am very hands on with it.

Book trailers - I found myself singing along with one of them.: my cover artist makes them, and yes, it is from what we see the book as. I love the sultry music she finds and the images. She times it perfectly too. Such as in Submit, there is a growl right as Rafe’s picture appears.

Support groups: I’ve also met some incredible authors online… About 30 powerful, wonderful women and we will email back and forth and answer questions and be there for each other. I finally got to meet these women in person at RWA and it was like we’d been friends for life.

Free books: Giving the first book away in each series was the smartest marketing move I ever did.

Publish in another language: I am more excited about that than anything else right now! It’s so great to reach a new market.

Author's Book List
Unexpected Treasure
Midnight Storm
The Tycoon's Secret
The Billionaire's Final Stand
Runaway Heiress

For the rest of the story...View Melody Anne - HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

Ruth Cardello

Author Genre: Romance - Contemporary

Author's Blog: Bestselling Author Ruth Cardello Presents…
Website: Ruth Cardello
Twitter: @RuthieCardello
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next Book: Rise of the Billionaire is expected to be released in April, 2013.

Social Media: I strongly believe that proper use of social media can help an author’s career… it’s about building a community with readers and other authors.

Support Groups: I belong to several writers’ groups and they each have a different purpose. I belong to my local romance chapter to learn about craft and connect with local romance authors.

Author's Book List
Gentling the Cowboy
Rise of the Billionaire
Saving the Sheikh
Bedding the Billionaire
Maid for the Billionaire: Ruth Cardello
For Love or Legacy

For the rest of the story...View Ruth Cardello - HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

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
No Way Out
Hard Target
Inmate 1577
False Accusations
The Hunted
The 7th Victim

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

J.A. Jance

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Author's Blog: J.A. Jance - NYT Bestselling Author
Website: J.A. Jance
Twitter: @JAJance
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next Book: Second Watch, Beaumont # 21, is due to be published September 10.

Second Watch is the first time I've been asked to write an e-novella in advance of the publication of the next book. Ring in the Dead went on sale in July. The novella was written after I wrote Second Watch…

Book signing: Second Watch will be my 47th book and the book of poetry that comes out that same day, After the Fire, makes it 48. Over the past 30 years, I've done at least thirty book signings per book. Do the math--that's a lot of signings. Why do I do them? My first ICD book rep, Holly Turner, told me at the very beginning that every personal contact accounts for at least ten sales.

Book trailer: I did tape something in New York for Deadly Stakes when that came out earlier this year. I don't know if Youtube book readings will catch on. I have done a couple of Skype interviews, but the jury is still out on those as well.

Support groups: I belong to MWA and to Sisters in Crime

eBooks: I think ebooks has made it far easier for new readers to go back to the beginning and read through an entire set of books in order.

Sugarloaf Café: I started writing about Ali Reynolds, and as soon as I did, there were her folks running the Sugarloaf. People think I based that restaurant on another Sedona institution, the Coffee Pot, but it turns out I never visited that restaurant until long after I started writing my books.

Author's Book List
Second Watch
After the Fire
Judgment Call
Deadly Stakes: A Novel
Left for Dead
Birds of Prey
Paradise Lost
Exit Wounds
Edge of Evil
Breach of Duty
Betrayal of Trust
Payment in Kind
Fatal Error: A Novel
Minor in Possession
Improbable Cause
Dismissed with Prejudice
A More Perfect Union

For the rest of the story...View J.A. Jance - HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

Jade Kerrion

Author Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy

Website: Jade Kerrion
Twitter: @JadeKerrion
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Social Media: ...presence is necessary. Quantifying the value of social media is much harder. The value is often indirect, and is frequently based on building online relationships as opposed to just blasting out marketing messages.

Time Management: I don’t sleep. Actually, I’ve found that a systematic process helps.

Giveaway: I’ve had one Kindle Select promotion to date, and it was for my award-winning debut novel, PERFECTION UNLEASHED. The promotion was a success.

Book Tours: I utilized a blog tour company once, but mostly, I manage the book tour myself.

Author's Book List
When the Silence Ends
Perfect Weapon
Perfect Betrayal
Perfection Unleashed
Perfection Challenged

For the rest of the story...View Jade Kerrion - HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

Katherine Logan

Author Genre: Romance, Mystery & Thrillers - Time Travel

Author's Blog: Katherine Lowry Logan's Notes from Tabor Lane
Website: Katherine Lowry Logan
Twitter: @KathyLLogan
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

New Book: THE LAST MACKLENNA in the spring.

I got Great Reviews with THE LAST MACKLENNA but I will still self-publish.

Social Media: I’ve discovered that sales are directly related to the number of followers. As one goes up, so does the other.

Support Groups: I’m a member of RWA, Kentucky Romance Writers, and Kentucky Independent Writers.

Author's Book List
The Ruby Brooch

For the rest of the story...View Katherine Logan - HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

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