Friday, February 28, 2014

HBS Author’s Spotlight – Class of February 2014

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 the Showcase feature of the HBS Author's Spotlight. I have included those authors in this class. Thanks to the following outstanding authors for a great month.

Here is a summary of our February 2014 crew.

Alison Bruce

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Crime

Website: Alison Bruce
Twitter: @Alison_Bruce
Google+: Check Out Google+

Two books on the horizon - Cambridge Cry and The Silence.

Social media: I started using Twitter a couple of years ago and until then I'd mostly used Facebook. I use them both and I think they are both effective in different ways. It can be easy to become overwhelmed with social media so I think it is important to use it well but not to become addicted.

Audio books: I have had emails from several readers who are only able to enjoy books through audio versions and I've been delighted that the books have been available to them. I would say to other authors that any opportunity to make your work accessible to a wider market is a good thing.

Free books: I am wary of widespread free book offers - running on a special promotion at 99c, or in the UK 99p, gives the reader access to book at very low cost and I think there's something important attaching value to work.

Book management: I don't use software but perhaps I'm reaching the point when I should. I constantly juggle between the three elements of plot, character and timeline, adjusting one affects another and so I begin with a loose plan and keep tweaking until it becomes tighter and tighter.

Cambridge marketing: The DC Goodhew books initially had the biggest audience from locals and ex-locals - readers who were attracted because it was a location they knew, but, more recently the readership has grown into an audience of crime fans.

Author's Book List
The Calling
The Siren
Cambridge Blue
Hazardous Unions
Deadly Legacy
Under a Texas Star

For the rest of the story...View Alison Bruce - HBS Author's Spotlight

Eliza Green

Author Genre: Science Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

Author's Blog: Eliza Green - Writing Tips
Website: Eliza Green Books
Twitter: @elizagreenbooks
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next: I’m currently working on the third book in the trilogy. It’s being heavily edited at the moment, so it’s still in draft form and without a title.

Social media: I’ve met some lovely people through Twitter and Facebook and I use social media as another way for me to connect with readers. It’s important to define how you’re going to approach tweeting and posting on social media.

Book trailer: Research says that people don’t watch book trailers. I don’t look at book trailers myself but I wanted to do something fun for my newsletter subscribers. I gave them a sneak preview of it first…

Support groups: The main one I belong to is Alliance of Independent Authors, or ALLi for short. There are so many business minded authors and industry professionals in the group. I learn so much from them. I’m mostly interested in marketing techniques that others have tried but I haven’t.

Living in Ireland: Would you believe my biggest market is in the US? I thought when I released Becoming Human (Book 1) whose two main characters are from Scotland and Ireland (and being Irish), it would resonate most with UK audiences. But I’m selling the most copies in the US, and that’s across all platforms, not just Amazon

Free books: I had minimal success in giving my first book away for free through KDP select, and had more success with paid promotions like Book Bub when I offered the book for 99c.

Blog: My goal for the blog is to inform other writers about things that have worked/not worked for me. When I started out, I spent a lot of time trying out things. It was a great education, but I also wasted a lot of time.

Reviews: I am proactive in seeking professional reviews. I also ask for them on Goodreads. At the back of my books, I ask customers to consider leaving a review if they liked the story. Between the reviewers and customers, I get a reasonable amount.

Author's Book List
Becoming Human
Altered Reality

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

B. B. Griffith

Author Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Mystery

Author's Blog: Griffith Publishing Denver
Website: Digital HQ of authors B. B. Griffith & Becca Higgins
Twitter: @GriffithPublish
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next: I've just finished the rough draft of the first book in a new thriller/suspense series set in the American Southwest on a Navajo Indian reservation where people are disappearing and things aren't quite what they seem. I plan to have this book released by mid-year.

Social media is important for authors, but it's not as important as I think many authors would have you believe. Twitter in particular I think serves to make well known authors better known, but isn't very effective for new authors, and follower numbers can be deceiving.

Covers: The cover development process has been long and painstaking for me, precisely because I think I was too hands on to start with. I've swapped out and redone several of my covers because it's been a learning process. They were always professionally done, but in the beginning I just did what I wanted to see, not what was expected of my genre.

Book bundles: Readers love series. They want to follow characters for a while and really get invested in them. Plus, having a series of books allows you more marketing options. You can discount early books in the series or set up tiered pricing, and you can make the first book permanently free if you want. The key is to get your book in the hands of readers, and series allow that to happen in a lot of different ways.

Support group: I use the Writer's Cafe at Kindleboards as a sounding board for almost all of my marketing decisions. There are some real pros there, people who have sold hundreds of thousands of books, and they all are really accessible and friendly

Free books: Giving away books is the best way to build an audience. I've given away tens of thousands of copies of Blue Fall, the first in my series. Initially it was through Amazon Select, but now I have set Blue Fall permanently free across all of the major platforms and I think it's been well worth it.

Book launch: After I finish my first draft I revise and edit it once myself, then I send it to my editor. I'll then revise again with the editor's changes in mind and send this second draft out to my beta readers. Finally, I'll incorporate their changes and send the final product to my digitizers and formatters.

Reviews: I know that some authors think professional reviews are a waste of time but I think that they helped my book Blue Fall to get picked up by the big promo sites like Pixel of Ink and ENT when I queried them early on and they featured me even though I didn't have many reviews at the time.

Author's Book List
Black Spring
Grey Winter
Blue Fall

For the rest of the story...View B. B. Griffith - HBS Author's Spotlight

Richard C Hale

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Horror

Website: Author Richard C Hale
Twitter: @Richard_C_Hale
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next: the next Jaxon Jennings’ thriller, FATHER FIGURE, is slated for a February 25, 2014 release and it’s one hell of a ride.

Social media and my blog are the main ways I keep in touch with folks and though I’ve learned a lot about abusing it over that last two years, it still remains a favorite of mine and you can find me on FaceBook quite a bit.

Great covers: They are the first things the readers see and if they don’t catch the eye, they might just move on to another story that does. As far as my creation process, I have a little experience with Photoshop and a good eye, and the first few covers I’ve done on my own.

Short stories: I love the short story. It’s a fun and challenging art form and if done well, can have a big impact for the small amount of words that go into them. As far as impacting sales, I don’t believe they’ve made much of a difference.

Free books: Free isn’t what it used to be. I still believe in it and have had success with it driving folks to my other books and stories, but I may be changing my opinion again in the near future. I use it currently like the short stories. To give readers a chance to get to know me with little risk (only time) and cost.

Reviews: I mainly rely on my reading audience, but it has been suggested to me recently to offer ARC copies for evaluation purposes as the Big 5 in publishing and many others over the years seem to allow this type of practice.

Author's Book List
Father Figure
Cache 72
Near Sighted
Frozen Past
The Camera
Flash Mob
Near Death

For the rest of the story...View Richard C Hale - HBS Author's Spotlight

Steven Konkoly

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

Website: Steven Konkoly - Thriller Fiction
Twitter: @stevenkonkoly
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next: Event Horizon, the second book in The Perseid Collapse Series. It’s available now for preorder on Amazon, and will be released on March 20, 2014.

Social media: My Twitter following can be a little deceptive. While I do engage with readers on Twitter, most of the impact there comes from retweets by other authors or followers interested in my genres of writing (Post-apocalyptic and political/espionage thrillers).

Personal appearances: I have to admit that this is one part of the writer’s world in which I am conspicuously absent. Prior to quitting my day job in September of 2013, my time was divided between day job, family and writing, which left little time for anything else. The prospect of giving up weekend time or evenings to sign books didn’t appeal to me.

Great covers: Jeroen ten Berge is a gifted artist. I truly wish I could say that I had a direct hand in creating these amazing covers, but I don’t. I send Jeroen an early draft, sometimes just half of the book, and he starts to conceptualize the cover.

Support group: I belong to a local writing group that meets once a month. This group provides craft advice, which I eventually apply to all of my manuscripts. Unfortunately, I write too fast to take the advice and directly apply it to most of the passages we review as a group.

Free books: I have easily given away more than a 100,000 copies of my books, all of which have been the first books in my series. I’ve used a few different strategies to give the books away. Currently, I schedule a free book promotion with a service like BookBub and coordinate this with KDP Select free days.

Book launch: I approach my book launches a little differently now. Having built a solid readership, I rely heavily on their support in the beginning. The momentum gained by these initial purchases continues as Amazon’s algorithms and recommendations kick in, exposing my books to readers with similar interests.

Book management: Since my plots are complex, the characters are numerous and the timelines within each book are painfully synchronized and critical to the story arc… [I]refer everyone to a more comprehensive blog post called “The Process.” Here it is in case you want to jump into the details.

Reviews: I definitely rely on my reading audience to supply them… with a decent size following, I rack up reviews fairly quickly and don’t feel any need to seek reviews from review sites or services.

Different genres: Changing hats takes some adjustment. There are many similarities between the genres and key themes that I transfer through all of my stories. My writing is gritty, regardless, so I don’t feel the need to tone down the violence (when it surfaces) in one genre over the next.

Author's Book List
Event Horizon
Black Flagged Vektor
Black Flagged Apex
Black Flagged Redux
The Jakarta Pandemic
The Perseid Collapse
Black Flagged

For the rest of the story...View Steven Konkoly - HBS Author's Spotlight

Christopher Meeks

Author Genre: Literature & Fiction, Short Stories

Author's Blog: Christopher Meeks, Author
Website: Christopher Meeks, Author
Twitter: @MeeksChris
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next: I have two things coming up. The first is a novel, A Death in Vegas. The president of a beneficial-bug company (bugs instead of pesticides for organic gardening) finds his life changes drastically one morning at a Las Vegas Convention. The book will be out in May.

While that’s going on, I’m working on a third collection of short stories.

Social media is not a magic marketing bullet. It’s not as if you tweet a lot and post things on Facebook, you’re suddenly on the cover of People magazine. People who use social media tend to like it.

Personal appearances: I have done readings in and around Minneapolis, where I grew up, and in and around Los Angeles, where I live. We had a publication party at a wonderful bookstore that specializes in crime novels called Book ‘Em Mysteries in South Pasadena. It’s the city where the book takes place.

Covers: I’m glad you mentioned the covers because we go through so much with each one. I say “we” because nothing in the publishing process is just me except the writing, yet I also work with an editor. While I can be an editor of other people’s books, I need another editor’s objectivity on my own.

Free books: This is a perfect example of how publishing can change quickly. Once print-on-demand technology was made affordable, and once eBook publishing was made fairly easy, do-it-yourselfers and small publishers like White Whisker could participate more easily. Sometimes it feels, though, that there are more writers than readers. There are plenty of writers now who rush too quickly into publishing…

Blog: My blog is meant to be helpful. When I became a small publisher, so much of what I did was by trial and error. I like to give back if I can, especially if it means more great books are created. Because I teach college, I tend to take an instructor’s approach. There’s also the feeling that if I can do this, so can you.

Self-pub: My mantra is let other experts help you. You can hire editors, proofreaders, publicists, blog tour operators, book designers, and assistants to help you with press releases or some of the more tedious chores such as mailings.

Working with possible future authors: I encourage them to use social media and be an active part in promotion. New authors often rush into publishing too quickly. People mistakenly assume that if you create a book, readers will come.

Author's Book List
Blood Drama
Love at Absolute Zero
Who Lives?: A Play
The Brightest Moon of the Century
Months and Seasons
The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea

For the rest of the story...View Christopher Meeks - HBS Author's Spotlight

Jim Moore

Author Genre: Mystery and Political drama

Website: Jim Moore Books

Next: I do have another book in the works -- The Camel Conspiracy and I am looking at a release date mid-year, July or August 2014.

Interviews: I finished an interview and photo shoot last week with a local Boise magazine, The Greenbelt that John Williams at Inkwater Press arranged. I was surprised when the article’s writer Jamie Dillon told me after 30 minutes she already had 2000 words for a 500 word article. The back story for The Six Trillion Dollar Man is interesting and Jamie is a great interviewer.

Book trailer: The book trailer gets readers’ attention and was produced by the creative team at Inkwater Press with John Williams’ direction. We have not received any hard numbers about the book trailer’s impact but the comments I have received are very positive.

Support groups: I am a member of the Idaho Writer’s Guild and receive incredible support from them. Through monthly member meetings, workshops, writer assistance resources and educational materials, my writing skills have improved to a much better level.

eBooks: Ebooks gives writing, publishing and promoting new and exciting options never available before. Just as there are readers who will only read from a printed page, there are those who will only read from a screen. Being able to acquire a book with literally a keystroke or two and a few clicks it a very powerful “purchasing” tool for readers.

Free books: Giving away any product including books for free is risky unless the person getting the “freebie” is committed to use (or in this case read) the product.

Book launch: Since The Six Trillion Dollar Man is my first book, I worked closely with my editor Mary McColl to develop a “must have” list for a publisher and we decided the best publisher needs to be seasoned, full serviced, affordable, professional and committed… I selected Inkwater Press.

Reviews: The Inkwater Press team recommended Kirkus Review and it was published in early February. I consider a professional, recognized international review very high on the required list for a first time author…

Author's Book List
The Six Trillion Dollar Man

For the rest of the story...View Jim Moore - HBS Author's Spotlight

Chantel Rhondeau

Author Genre: Romance, Mystery & Thrillers

Author's Blog: Chantel Rhondeau - Past Writing/Self-publishing Tips
Website: Chantel Rhondeau - Romantic Suspense
Twitter: @ChantelRhondeau
E-Mail: ChantelRhondeau(at)gmail(dot)com
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next: Love & Redemption will be out in late April 2014. It is the second book in my Agents in Love series (though Crime & Passion could be considered a prequel it is a stand-alone book).

Social media: Most of my followers on twitter are other authors who have followed me, though I do have fun interacting with them. Where I really love to talk with fans is Facebook. Although Facebook makes it harder and harder to interact, it is fun for me to speak with my readers and also get their opinions/help as I'm writing.

Support groups: Critique Circle ( was absolutely integral to my development as a writer. They are a free on-line critiquing service where writers can submit stories and get critiques while also critiquing others.

Free books: Free is tricky. I don't think I would ever offer my more recent books for free. As a new author, my goal was to get my book in the hands of more readers. Free worked very well to get me out there…

Book launch: I'm still fine-tuning this process with each release. I generally start with asking bloggers I know for help in spreading the word when my book is available. This last time, I put a book free at the same time to boost my visibility, which did seem to help but will only work once with any given title.

Reviews: Reviews are tough. I have some fantastic beta readers who usually leave reviews and help kick start my ratings, but it gets iffy after that. I sent out tons of emails requesting reviews when I first started out, but that is a lot of work for very little yield.

Domestic Violence Awareness: There are so many things you can do to help. Something as simple as support for a friend if you think they may be in this situation. There are more people affected than you could believe, and some people are afraid to speak out against their abuser, for fear of not being believed.

Author's Book List
Love & Deception
Crime & Passion
Always & Forever

For the rest of the story...View Chantel Rhondeau - HBS Author's Spotlight

George Wier

Author Genre: Mystery

Website: George Wier
Twitter: @BillTravisWrite
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Next: 1889: JOURNEY TO THE MOON, the first in a series we're calling The Far Journey Chronicles. And then it is: 1899: Journey to Mars.

Social media: I do have an excellent twitter following, and they are extremely interesting and invaluable people. First of all, they trumpet your work like crazy when they love it, and it's apparent to me that these folks are into my writing. Second, I do my best to return the flow, trumpeting their work the best I can. My following is really mostly friends

Covers: At first I did the book covers myself. Those original covers have stood successfully in front of my content for the last two years. I have recently, however, procured the services of one of the best book cover graphic artists in the business.

Audio book: I'll say there's been an impact. The Last Call is my first audiobook. It's just now out there and is gaining some serious recognition. The numbers (sales) are jumping up in leaps and bounds. There is one untapped market out there that I decided to focus on.

Short stories: I wouldn't say the shorts have impacted my sales terribly. I'd say it works the opposite direction. A reader of my series is more likely to purchase a short story story simply because they trust me.

The Bill Travis Omnibus series: The main goal was in reaching those folks that had price tag as a consideration. Hey, it's an investment to buy all of the books in a mystery series. Even at $2.99, buying eight of the things is a minimum of about $24 bucks. By bundling them, I give fiscally-conscious buyers the chance to read my books as well.

eBooks: ...has changed my writing. I write much better. I write faster. I'm conscious—very sharply so—of my readers and their needs and wants. And what they want is MORE. I'm doing my best to give it to them. They are patient, to a point. But it's best to oblige them whenever you can. You do that only through production.

Book launch: I don't know that I really have a process to get a new book out there. I've established enough of a following that all I have to do is throw it out there. Oh, of course there's a little tweeting to be done, a little facebooking, all the pertinent social medi

Website section called Videos provides useful information to other writers and a must listen. My goal in doing the writing videos was to reach out to those few out there that needed to hear what I had to say. I was once struggling. Struggling to heard, to be found, to be appreciated.

Author's Book List
Caddo Cold
Slow Falling
Death On The Pedernales
The Devil To Pay
Longnecks & Twisted Hearts
Capitol Offense
The Last Call

For the rest of the story...View George Wier - HBS Author's Spotlight

HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

Connie Flynn
Featured Book: Know When to Run

Author Genre: Mystery, Fantasy and Romance

Author's Blog: Imagination Gone Wild
Website: Connie's Books
Twitter: @ConnieFlynn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author Description:
I have been writing fiction for so long I can barely remember when I didn't. Sometimes people ask where I get my ideas and I can't comment too much on 'ideas' either, since they come one at a time from different sources. What I do know and believe is true for all books --- it's a matter of putting them together, scene by scene, then going back, making sure to leave in all the good parts and take out all the boring parts (which is my writing motto).

That has seemed to work for me. I've made a half dozen or so bestseller list, won a PRISM award for my time-travel paranormal, and been a finalist in a number of other well known writing contest. Now, I'm jumping into the pool of previously traditionally published authors who are choosing to publish independently. I'm truly enjoying the freedom and control this gives an author that allows me to finally be releasing THE DRAGON HOUR in Kindle eBook format. This story is about a Scottish paradise lost in time and invaded by 21st century thugs and will be available for only 99c for the next six weeks.

Author's Book List
Know When to Run
The Dragon Hour
The Fire Opal
Shadow of the Wolf
Shadow on the Moon

For the rest of the story...View Connie Flynn - HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

J.A. Jance
Featured Book: Moving Target

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

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

Author Description:
J.A. Jance is the top 10 New York Times bestselling author of the Joanna Brady series; the J. P. Beaumont series; four interrelated thrillers featuring the Walker family; and eight books featuring Ali Reynolds.

As a second-grader in Mrs. Spangler’s Greenway School class, I was introduced to Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz series. I read the first one and was hooked and knew, from that moment on, that I wanted to be a writer.

The third child in a large family, I was four years younger than my next older sister and four years older than the next younger sibling. Being both too young and too old left me alone in a crowd and helped turn me into an introspective reader and a top student. When I graduated from Bisbee High School in 1962, I received an academic scholarship that made me the first person in my family to attend a four year college. I graduated in 1966 with a degree in English and Secondary Education. In 1970 I received my M. Ed. In Library Science. I taught high school English at Tucson’s Pueblo High School for two years and was a K-12 librarian at Indian Oasis School District in Sells, Arizona for five years.

My ambitions to become a writer were frustrated in college and later, first because the professor who taught creative writing at the University of Arizona in those days thought girls "ought to be teachers or nurses" rather than writers. After he refused me admission to the program, I did the next best thing: I married a man who was allowed in the program that was closed to me. My first husband imitated Faulkner and Hemingway primarily by drinking too much and writing too little. Despite the fact that he was allowed in the creative writing program, he never had anything published either prior to or after his death from chronic alcoholism at age forty-two. That didn’t keep him from telling me, however, that there would be only one writer in our family, and he was it.

My husband made that statement in 1968 after I had received a favorable letter from an editor in New York who was interested in publishing a children’s story I had written. Because I was a newly wed wife who was interested in staying married, I put my writing ambitions on hold. Other than writing poetry in the dark of night when my husband was asleep (see After the Fire), I did nothing more about writing fiction until eleven years later when I was a single, divorced mother with two children and no child support as well as a full time job selling life insurance. My first three books were written between four a.m. and seven a.m.. At seven, I would wake my children and send them off to school. After that, I would get myself ready to go sell life insurance.

I started writing in the middle of March of 1982. The first book I wrote, a slightly fictionalized version of a series of murders that happened in Tucson in 1970, was never published. For one thing, it was twelve hundred pages long. Since I was never allowed in the creative writing classes, no one had ever told me there were some things I needed to leave out. For another, the editors who turned it down said that the parts that were real were totally unbelievable, and the parts that were fiction were fine. My agent finally sat me down and told me that she thought I was a better writer of fiction than I was of non-fiction. Why, she suggested, didn’t I try my hand at a novel?

The result of that conversation was the first Detective Beaumont book, Until Proven Guilty. Since 1985 when that was published, there have been 21 more Beau books. My work also includes 14 Joanna Brady books set in southeastern Arizona where I grew up, and seven Ali Reynolds books, set in Sedona, AZ. In addition there are four thrillers, starting with Hour of the Hunter and Kiss of the Bees, that reflect what I learned during the years when I was teaching on the Tohono O’Odham reservation west of Tucson, Arizona.

The week before Until Proven Guilty was published, I did a poetry reading of After the Fire at a widowed retreat sponsored by a group called WICS (Widowed Information Consultation Services) of King County. By June of 1985, it was five years after my divorce in 1980 and two years after my former husband’s death. I went to the retreat feeling as though I hadn’t quite had my ticket punched and didn’t deserve to be there. After all, the other people there were all still married when their spouses died. I was divorced. At the retreat I met a man whose wife had died of breast cancer two years to the day and within a matter of minutes of the time my husband died. We struck up a conversation based on that coincidence. Six months later, to the dismay of our five children, we told the kids they weren’t the Brady Bunch, but they'd do, and we got married. We now have four new in-laws as well as six grandchildren.

When my second husband and I first married, he supported all of us–his kids and mine as well as the two of us. It was a long time before my income from writing was anything more than fun money–the Improbable Cause trip to Walt Disney World; the Minor in Possession memorial powder room; the Payment in Kind memorial hot tub. Eventually, however, the worm turned. My husband was able to retire at age 54 and took up golf and oil painting.

One of the wonderful things about being a writer is that everything–even the bad stuff–is usable. The eighteen years I spent while married to an alcoholic have helped shape the experience and character of Detective J. P. Beaumont. My experiences as a single parent have gone into the background for Joanna Brady–including her first tentative steps toward a new life after the devastation of losing her husband in Desert Heat. And then there’s the evil creative writing professor in Hour of the Hunter and Kiss of the Bees, but that’s another story.

Another wonderful part of being a writer is hearing from fans. I learned on the reservation that the ancient, sacred charge of the storyteller is to beguile the time. I’m thrilled when I hear that someone has used my books to get through some particularly difficult illness either as a patient or as they sit on the sidelines while someone they love is terribly ill. It gratifies me to know that by immersing themselves in my stories, people are able to set their own lives aside and live and walk in someone else’s shoes. It tells me I’m doing a good job at the best job in the world.

Author's Book List
Moving Target
After the Fire
Second Watch
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
A More Perfect Union
Minor in Possession
Improbable Cause
Dismissed with Prejudice
Justice Denied

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

Susanne Lakin
Featured Book: Say What? The Fiction Writer’s Handy Guide to Grammar, Punctuation, and Word Usage

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Author's Blog: C. S. Lakin - a novel life
Website: C. S. Lakin - a novel life
Twitter: @CSLakin
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author Description:
C. S. Lakin is a novelist and professional copyeditor who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, dog, and three cats. The first four books in her seven-book fantasy series, The Gates of Heaven, have been released: The Wolf of Tebron, The Map across Time, The Land of Darkness, and The Unraveling of Wentwater (July 2012), allegorical fairy tales drawing from classic tales we all read in our childhood.

Lakin's relational drama/mystery, Someone to Blame, won the 2009 Zondervan First Novel award, released October 2010. She just completed writing her eleventh novel, a modern-day take on the biblical story of Jacob called Intended for Harm and her twelfth: The Crystal Scepter (book five in The Gates of Heaven series). Also available on eBook are two mystery/psychological dramas: Innocent Little Crimes (top 100 in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest) and Conundrum. Don't miss Time Sniffers: a wild young adult sci-fi romance that will entangle you in time!

Lakin has two websites for writers: with deep writing instruction and posts on industry trends. Her site features her critique services.

Author's Book List
Say What? The Fiction Writer's Handy Guide to Grammar, Punctuation, and Word Usage
The Crystal Scepter
Innocent Little Crimes
The Unraveling of Wentwater
A Thin Film Of Lies
Intended for Harm
The Land of Darkness
Time Sniffers (Shadow World)
The Map Across Time
Someone to Blame: A Novel
The Wolf of Tebron (Book1) in The Gates of Heaven Series

For the rest of the story...View Susanne Lakin - HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

Mohana Rajakumar
Featured Book: Love Comes Later

Author Genre: Essays & non-fiction projects with young adults

Author's Blog: YouTube Channel - Mohana Rajakumar
Website: Mohadoha
Twitter: @moha_doha
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author Description:
Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a South Asian American who has lived in Qatar since 2005. Moving to the Arabian Desert was fortuitous in many ways since this is where she met her husband, had a baby, and made the transition from writing as a hobby to a full time passion. She has since published seven e-books including a mom-ior for first time mothers, Mommy But Still Me, a guide for aspiring writers, So You Want to Sell a Million Copies, a short story collection, Coloured and Other Stories, and a novel about women’s friendships, Saving Peace.

Her recent books have focused on various aspects of life in Qatar. From Dunes to Dior, named as a Best Indie book in 2013, is a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf. Love Comes Later was the winner of the Best Indie Book Award for Romance in 2013 and is a literary romance set in Qatar and London. The Dohmestics is an inside look into compound life, the day to day dynamics between housemaids and their employers.

After she joined the e-book revolution, Mohana dreams in plotlines. Learn more about her work on her website at or follow her latest on Twitter: @moha_doha.

Author's Book List
Love Comes Later
The Dohmestics
From Dunes to Dior
Saving Peace
Hip Hop Dance
Mommy but Still Me
So You Want to Sell a Million Copies?
Coloured and Other Stories
Qatari Voices

For the rest of the story...View Mohana Rajakumar - HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

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Featured Set: Shoot To Thrill

Available at Amazon: Shoot To Thrill


Author Genre: Crime Thrillers

Website: J. Carson Black Site
Author's Blog: Adventures in the Writing Trade
Twitter: @jcarsonblack
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author Description:
Hailed by bestselling author T. Jefferson Parker as "a strong new voice in American crime fiction," J. Carson Black has written fourteen novels. Her thriller, The Shop, reached #1 on the Kindle Bestseller list, and her crime thriller series featuring homicide detective Laura Cardinal became a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. Although Black earned a master's degree in operatic voice, she was inspired to write a horror novel after reading The Shining. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.


Author Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers

Website: Michael Wallace - author of the bestselling Righteous series
E-Mail: m.wallace23(at)yahoo(dot)com.
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads

Author Description:
Sign up to Michael's New Release Mailing List here: (Simply cut-and-paste that address into your browser) and receive a free copy of the Righteous novella "Trial by Fury." Your email will never be shared and you will only be contacted when a new book is out.

I've trekked across the Sahara on a camel, ridden an elephant through a tiger preserve in Southeast Asia, eaten fried guinea pig, and been licked on the head by a skunk. In a previous stage of life I programmed nuclear war simulations, smuggled refugees out of a war zone, and milked cobras for their venom. I speak Spanish and French and grew up in a religious community in the desert.


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

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

Author Description:
Carol Davis Luce’s first ‘night’ novel, NIGHT STALKER, was also her first sale.

“A dandy read,” wrote author Tony Hillerman. It went into three printings and became the flagship for the sub-genre “Woman in Jeopardy” at Kensington Publishers–strong heroines pitted against evil opponents.

She is the author of six suspense novels, NIGHT STALKER, NIGHT HUNTER, NIGHT PREY, NIGHT PASSAGE, NIGHT GAME and NIGHT WIDOW. And one Coming-of-Age Novel, AWAKENING: Secrets of a Brown Eyed Girl.

Short story collections: BROKEN JUSTICE and FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE. Carol Davis Luce lives in Sparks, Nevada with her husband, Bob, and their psycho cat.


Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Website: M.A. Comley
Twitter: @Melcom1
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description:
Independent writers have known for some time that the publishing world is changing. No longer do writers have to await the whim of an agent and then a publisher before their cherished work sees the light of day.

This is a double edged sword, of course. It means that a lot of drivel is out there on Kindle and self-published. But it also means that complete gems have come to the attention of readers who would never have had the chance to read the author concerned. Some of these authors have attracted the attention of agents who, attracted by the author’s sales figures, have decided to jump in and offer a contract before someone else does.One of these authors is Mel Comley, a Brit living in rural France. Ms Comley gave up her job in retail a decade ago and, in the wake of a traumatic divorce, moved with her mother to a country they had never even previously visited.

After renovating a few houses, she decided on a different path. Ms Comley took a creative writing course, following her life’s dream, and began to write.

Months turned into years and she, at first, saw little success. Rejection followed rejection.

But if there is something to be said about Ms Comley, it is her solid work ethic and her determination never to give up. “It’s tough when you’re first starting out. You have no idea if you’re any good. I started off writing romances and I had a good response from Mills and Boon for one, but then I decided to change tack to thrillers.”

She uploaded her new crime novel, Impeding Justice, to the wannabe writer site, Authonomy and waged a fierce campaign, spending all day, every day, in front of her computer to get her novel to the top of the chart and under the gaze of a Harper Collins.

Authonomy is a networking site as much as a talent site and Mel worked hard to see that her story of a British female cop chasing down murder, kidnap and human trafficking was as recognised as it should have been.

Featured Set: Here We Go Again

Available at Amazon: Here We Go Again

Title: Shadows of Love

Author Genre: Romance, Nonfiction

Website: Leigh Michaels -- Author, Teacher, Editor
Twitter: @leighmichaels
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author Description:
Leigh Michaels is the author of more than 100 books, including Regency-period historical romance novels, contemporary romance novels, non-fiction books on writing, and local history books. Her romances have been published in 25 languages and in more than 125 countries around the world, and more than 35 million copies have been sold. Six of her books have been finalists in the Romance Writers of America RITA contest, and she has been honored with Reviewer's Choice awards by Romantic Times magazine. The Iowa Library Association presented her the Johnson Brigham award in 2003 for substantial and sustained literary contributions to American culture.

Her non-fiction books include On Writing Romance, which has been called the definitive guide to writing romance novels, and Creating Romantic Characters. She teaches romance writing online at Gotham Writers Workshop. She is also the coauthor with her husband, Michael W. Lemberger, of a book about the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904, and of many local history books.

She wrote her first romance novel when she was a teenager and burned it, then wrote and burned five more complete manuscripts -- sending more than a quarter of a million words up in smoke -- before submitting to a publisher. Her first submission was accepted and published by the first editor to read it.


Author Genre: Mystery, Crime, Humor And Comedy

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

Author Description:
Our author picture is a shot of us with the real Sparkle and the real Abbey. Don't you love the stare down? Our real names are Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter. We write the Pampered Pets mystery series together. We're also friends and neighbors so you'll often find us writing at ML's dining room table or at our local Starbucks.

We chose to use Sparkle Abbey as our pen name on this series because we liked the idea of combining the names of our two rescue pets - Sparkle (ML's cat) and Abbey (Anita's dog).

We live in the Midwest, but if we could write anywhere, you would find us on the beach with our laptops and depending on the time of day either an iced tea or a margarita.

We have had so much fun writing this series and we hope you enjoy Caro and Mel's adventures!

Title: Shenanigans in the Shadows

Author Genre: Romantic Comedies and Women's Fiction

Website: Kari Lee Townsend - Kari Lee Harmon
Author's Blog: Heres the Scoop….
Twitter: @karileeharmon
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author Description:
National Bestselling Author, Agatha, RT Reviewers Choice & Golden Duck Award Nominee. Kari Lee Harmon lives in central New York with her very understanding husband, her three busy boys, and her oh-so-dramatic daughter. A former teacher with a masters in English education and a background in freelance editing, she is a long-time lover of reading and writing. She writes romantic comedies and women's fiction, but is best known as the author of the Fortune Teller Mystery series (under the name Kari Lee Townsend), as well as the author of children's fiction about tween superheroes. These days, you'll find her at home happily writing her next novel and still trying to find out whodunit.


Author Genre: Travel, Mystery

Author's Blog: Tuscan Traveler
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author Description:
Five years used to be Ann Reavis' attention span for any career. She's been a lawyer, a nurse, a presidential appointee in a federal agency, a tour guide and a freelance writer. She's lived in New Mexico, Texas, California (San Francisco Bay Area), Michigan and Washington, DC.

But fifteen years ago Ann fell in love with Italy and has been traveling to and from Florence every since. She shares her thoughts on Florence, Tuscany, and all things Italian in a travel and food blog - In 2014, she will follow Italian Food Rules with Italian Life Rules.

Now Ann has set her sights on France and French Food Rules. Watch out Paris, Provence and the Loire Valley!


Author Genre: Romance, Suspense, Historical Fiction

Website: Barbara Witek - Romance from the Heart
Author's Blog: Barbara Witek
Twitter: @BarbaraWitek
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author Description:
I live in upstate New York with my very own alpha-male and a loveable labrador who thinks he's the fourth child! Proud mom of an Army ROTC cadet, a soon to be college freshman and a teenage daughter who's involved in everything, there's never a dull moment in our busy household.

I'm a firm believer in love at first sight, second chances and creating your own destiny. Isn't that what romance is all about? Being a hopeless romantic helps me write my touching, emotional and heartfelt romances.

I also write Gossip Girl fan-fiction under the name Kyra Steele. You can find Kyra through Amazon's Kindle Worlds.

When I'm not writing, I enjoy a good glass of wine and getting lost in a book. I also love cross-country skiing and ice-skating (although I admit to not having done either in years!) hiking, anything crafty, and competitive family game nights (scrabble of course)!

I live in upstate New York with my very own alpha-male and a loveable labrador who thinks he's the fourth child! Proud mom of an Army ROTC cadet, a soon to be college freshman and a teenage daughter who's involved in everything, there's never a dull moment in our busy household.

I'm a firm believer in love at first sight, second chances and creating your own destiny. Isn't that what romance is all about? Being a hopeless romantic helps me write my touching, emotional and heartfelt romances.

I also write Gossip Girl fan-fiction under the name Kyra Steele. You can find Kyra through Amazon's Kindle Worlds.

When I'm not writing, I enjoy a good glass of wine and getting lost in a book. I also love cross-country skiing and ice-skating (although I admit to not having done either in years!) hiking, anything crafty, and competitive family game nights (scrabble of course)!


Author Genre: Romance, Mystery & Thrillers, Suspense

Website: Anita Clenney
Twitter: @anitaclenney
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author Description:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Anita Clenney grew up an avid reader, devouring Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books before moving on to mysteries and romance. After working as a secretary, a Realtor, teacher's assistant, booking agent for Aztec Fire Dancers, and a brief stint in a pickle factory (picture Lucy and Ethel--lasted half a day)...she realized she'd missed the fork in the road that led to her destiny. Now she spends her days writing mysteries and paranormal romantic suspense about powerful relics, secret warriors, ancient evil and destined love. Anita lives in suburban Virginia, outside Washington DC, with her husband and two kids. You can learn more about her writing at Also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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