• John Broughton, author of The Purple Thread and Wyrd of the Wolf, Both Historical Thrillers, is my Guest Today.

    Hi John, thank you for joining me today. Please tell everyone about your writing journey.

    1. What made you want to write a book?

    I first wrote books for my two children in the 1980s when they were little because I read them a story every night and eventually we ran out of children’s books at home and in the public library. The local primary school children liked the stories too, so I sent them away and had six published. They are now out of print. I didn’t write again until I retired owing to pressure of work. Writers live with a formula: either you have money and no time to write or you have no money and the time to write! In retirement I’m writing about my first love – Anglo-Saxon history.

    2. Tell us about you and where you live.

    I have done many different jobs from the most to the least responsible. Among the former Head of History in a Manchester Grammar School, Director of a Trade Institute in Leamington Spa and Head of a Day Care Centre in Glossop among the latter, Flower Picker and part-time fisherman on the Scilly Isles, Relief Postman in Cleethorpes and Findus worker as a student. All this until I settled down to teach English for 28 years in Italy mainly at the University of Calabria. I live with my wife Maria in a hilltop village in the Crati valley called Torano Castello. Including three outlying wards the population is 5000. Our house is under the shadow of the domed church built in 1100. Calabria is in the toe of Italy facing Sicily, so the climate is mild but it can be very hot in July and August. There are two seas, the Ionian and the Tyrrhenian and two mountain chains and two mountain massifs.

    3. What have you written and what are you working on now?

    I have completed two novels set in the Anglo-Saxon period. The first, The Purple Thread, is set in the eighth century. A letter in Latin addressed to the Abbess of Wimborne Abbey attracted my attention because it asked for two freed men to be sent to Thuringia (modern-day Germany). It provoked a whole series of questions in my head and led me to discovering Saint Leoba, one of the most remarkable women of that and any other century. It was the Anglo-Saxons who converted the Germans to Christianity and this story follows the tribulations of the hero is torn from his family to serve the Church but he has to deal with licentious bishops, heretics, saints and sinners.

    The second novel is set about 50 years earlier in the seventh century, Wyrd of the Wolf. Wyrd is the Anglo-Saxon word for the weaving of fate. An interest in Caedwalla, the patron saint of (reformed) serial killers triggered this novel. He is reputed to have massacred the whole of the population of the Isle of Wight but was wounded doing so. The Isle was the last pagan stronghold in England. The wound would not heal. This intrigued me and I think I have found out why. You have to read the novel to find out! Caedwalla abdicated, went to Rome, had the Pope baptize him and died a week later. I’m working on my third novel now and have reached just past halfway. It’s the biggest challenge so far, because unlike the other two, it is not planned as a stand-alone novel but as a trilogy. Another difference is that it has an anti-hero as a protagonist. It’s difficult to capture the reader’s empathy for a baddie hero, but I have to succeed!

    4. How do you market your books and do your promotion methods work?

    This is a difficult question because an indie author always has difficulty marketing his work. In my case it was harder because nearly all my social network contacts are Italian and can’t even begin to read a novel in English and anyway, they probably have no natural interest in Anglo-Saxon history. I try to build up my Twitter and Facebook accounts. I have an FB page John Broughton – Historical Fiction Novelist and a blog, saxonquill.com. I was delighted when Endeavour Press agreed to take both novels and promote them. This allowed me to get on with my writing safe in the knowledge that someone was doing something! They were both released by Endeavour within a month of each other in the summer of 2017.

    5. Where can readers find your book for sale?

    That’s easy, just go to Amazon. You can find both e-book and paperback versions.

    Get your copy at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Purple-Thread-John-Broughton-ebook/dp/B074WBCN4J

    Thank you John, lovely to hear from you.

    Natasha

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  • Author, Apple Gidley's New Book Fireburn Is Due Out on 1st October 2017

    Apple Gidley, an Anglo-Australian author, whose life has been spent absorbing countries and cultures, considers herself a global nomad. She currently divides her time between Houston, Texas and St Croix, in the US Virgin Islands.

    Below are questions and answers taken from her press release

    Your first book Expat Life Slice By Slice (Summertime Publishing 2012) tells of your global

    life, your debut novel, Fireburn, is an historical novel set in the Danish West Indies. That’s

    quite a leap! How did you make it?

    A few years ago I was present at a Transfer Day Ceremony on St Croix, in the US Virgin Islands,

    and the speakers were talking about the upcoming 2017 centennial of the US purchase of the

    Danish West Indies. Mentioned also was Fireburn, sometimes known as The Great Trashing, an event that took place 30 years after Emancipation, and about which I knew nothing. My interest was piqued so away I went. And really, both books deal in some manner with expatriation.

    What came first for Fireburn, the people or the plot?

    They sort of meld together - I usually have one strong character and an idea of where I want to

    start - place and period for example - and a vague idea of the ending but am never quite sure

    how I’m going to get there. The characters do not always behave as I expect them too.

    September 2017

    Why did you choose historical fiction as your genre? And specifically the issues facing those

    who expatriate.

    Well, I love history and travel and different cultures, and they do say write what you know. The

    whole world has been on the move since time began - it’s fascinating. Expatriate women are

    often much maligned. The term seems to conjure up indolent women snapping their fingers at

    servants and intent on handing off their children to nannies, ayahs, or amahs. But on the whole

    those women are a strong and adaptable breed who hold the family together through the often

    tumultuous time of packing up their lives and transporting them around the world.

    History tells their stories, and I have had the privilege of knowing many such women, including

    my mother, who have managed multiple relocations with aplomb, leaving each posting having

    given back to the host country in some manner.

    You came to writing quite late in life, why?

    I dabbled for a long time, then a few years ago I was a keynote speaker at a Families in Global

    Transition conference and many people suggested I write my stories down. So I did, and Expat

    Life Slice By Slice was the result. Now I’m experiencing the joy and freedom of fiction.

    What advice do you have for other writers?

    Do it! You don’t need a special place, or time. You do though need four things: curiosity, good

    observational skills, self-discipline and a thick skin.

    Who are your favourite authors?

    I have pretty eclectic tastes - but depending on my mood these writers never fail to delight:

    Somerset Maugham, Pico Iyer, William Boyd, Tan Twan Eng, Edwidge Danticat, Joanna

    Trollope, and I’ve recently discovered Andre Alexis.

    What’s next?

    The characters in Fireburn have me hooked so I’m going to follow their stories which will take

    them up to the transfer from Denmark to the US. Hopefully it will be published in 2018. Then I’m

    jumping across the world and through a few decades for my next book. It is set in the jungles of

    Malaya during The Emergency of the 1950s and is a story I have been longing to write for years.

    About Fireburn

    The Danish-owned island of 1870s Saint Croix vibrates with

    passion and tension as Anna Clausen, a young Anglo-Danish

    woman, returns to her childhood home after her mother’s death. Her

    heart sinks at what she finds on arrival. Her father is ailing and

    desolate and her beloved plantation, Anna’s Fancy, that has been in

    the Clausen family for three generations, is in shambles.

    The unwelcome lust of one man and forbidden love for

    another makes Anna’s return to Saint Croix even more turbulent.

    Despite the decline in the sugar industry she is determined to retain

    Anna’s Fancy but must first win the trust of her field workers, of

    Sampson, the foreman and the grudging respect of Emiline, the

    cook and local weed woman.

    Fireburn tells the horrors of a little-known, bloody period of

    Caribbean history. Weathering personal heartache Anna survives the

    worker rebellion of 1878, 30 years after Emancipation, as she

    challenges the conventions of the day and faces hostility from the

    predominantly male landowners.

    Praise for Fireburn

    “Informed by impeccable research and infused with a deep curiosity and love for the beauty and

    complexity of the West Indies, Fireburn is at times shocking, at times deeply moving and always

    engaging. Historical fiction of the highest class.” Matthew Parker, The Sugar Barons

    Rich in description, Fireburn is a well-researched novel that shines a light on a historic period in

    St. Croix that has received little attention in literature until now.

    Gillian Royes, The Goat Woman of Largo Bay

    Fireburn is available in print and ebook on Amazon. Please go to https://www.amazon.com/Fireburn-Apple-Gidley/dp/0995284113 to get your copy.

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  • My Guest Today Is W. Nikola-Lisa Author of Dog Eared - A Year's Romp Through The Self Publishing World and How He Came to Write This Book

    How a Yearlong Office-Cleaning Project Ended in a Book

    I didn’t set out to write a book. I set out to clean my office. That was my 2016 New Year’s resolution, which, by the way, I never make. Ever. It all started because of the IRS (that’s right, blame it on the government). What does the IRS demand of every self-employed author? Inventory accountability, that’s what. Excuse me, but how many books do you have squirreled away in your attic? Once I embarked on Inventory Counting Day (dressed as a coal miner since I had to navigate a few crawl spaces in my attic), I got the brilliant idea to count—and clean—every single book on the bookshelves in my office. And how many books might that be? I don’t know, but I swear the house is sinking beneath my office because of the weight of them all.

    Of course the house isn’t sinking beneath my office (at least I don’t think so), but I do have a lot of books. So, as soon as I finished Inventory Counting Day, I started the onerous task of cleaning every bookshelf in my office. Let’s see: four 10½-foot walls of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves divided by four seasons of the year equals one wall per season) That’s manageable. It’s just going to take an entire year to complete the project. And it did, resulting in my latest piece of writing titled Dog Eared: A Year’s Romp Through the Self-Publishing World.

    That’s right, I didn’t just clean my office, I wrote a book about the process, and about being a writer. More specifically, how I’ve made the transition from traditional author to independent author/publisher. Wait, isn’t that just a fancy term for self-published author? No, it isn’t. You see, that’s what I discovered: I’ve actually gone through three distinct phases in my transmogrification as a writer: traditional author to self-published author to independent author/publisher. (If I were just a self-published author I wouldn’t be writing this guest blog post; I’d be off visiting the grandkids.) You can read all about in Dog Eared, along with a few other things, like: Why my high school girlfriend dumped me after she gave me a copy of Herman Hesse’s Narcissus and Goldmund? Why I have all the Writer’s Destiny Marks except one—contact with publishers? Why I played trivia with bikers in a Daytona Beach bar (while munching on a hamburger topped with hemp seeds)? And why I had to wrestle one of my shoes away from a pair of French poodles at a music festival in Aspen, Colorado?

    And that’s just the short list. There’s more (believe me). But now, so you see I have some credentials, let me tell you about myself: I, W. Nikola-Lisa (not my real name, but close), began life as a child but soon wormed my way into the teaching ranks. Yes, I was a teacher, an elementary school teacher for quite some time, and as a teacher I became interested in kids (good thing, too) and the books they read. Not only did I read many of the books my students were checking out of the library, but I also started to write and publish them as well, over two dozen books (27 to be exact), most of them for the primary and intermediate school-aged child.

    Let’s break this down a little more. I published my first book, Night Is Coming, in 1991 and had a good run over the next 17 years, averaging a book or more a year through traditional channels until 2008. What happened in 2008? The Great Market Crash, that’s what. As I talked with several editors about the future they told me that not only were they not only not buying manuscripts, but also they were slowing down production of everything in the pipeline. Yes, the Great Market Crash of 2008 was a disruptor. Ironically, at the same time the market crash was dragging the economy down, the do-it-yourself world of self-publishing was rising from its ashes. By 2010 the self-publishing world had in place all of the means a writer needed to produce, promote, distribute, and sell a book at an affordable cost worldwide (thanks to Amazon, the bane of the independent bookstore crowd).

    I jumped into this world with both feet, publishing my first book—Dragonfly: A Childhood Memoir—that year. I chose this particular piece for two reasons. First of all, I couldn’t stop thinking of growing up in Texas at the hands of a cruel stepfather. Secondly, I didn’t think the piece would sell. I saw it as a place-marker, a book project to entertain me while the market righted itself and I got back on track publishing with traditional publishing houses. But it didn’t work out that way because the market didn’t right itself overnight. So, the following year, I decided to publish another book on my own. I approached it the same way I approached my first self-published book: I looked in my files and asked a very simple question: What won’t sell? Again, I thought these little self-publishing projects were place-markers, minor distractions until the market turned around. Since I keep a lot of writing notebooks, I naturally turned to them for inspiration. What I landed upon was my travel journal, which contained a collection of humorous stories about my visits to schools, libraries, and bookstores.

    After I completed my second self-published book, Hey, Aren’t You the Janitor, I was hooked. There was no going back. And what did I learn? I learned that I like being in charge (my wife could have told you that). But being in charge meant that I had to think like an author AND like a publisher. And that’s exactly what Dog Eared: A Year’s Romp Through the Self-Publishing World is about: how I made the transition from traditional author to independent author/publisher. And, believe it or not, it’s all connected to my astrological chart. Say what? I was in graduate school (and between wives) when I went to have my astrological chart read (I only went to humor my girlfriend who knew the astrologer: during the day, he was the computer programmer at a local university; at night, he moonlighted reading Tarot Cards and astrological charts). After telling me this and that, all things that I already knew about myself—like, “You’ll have more than one child” (well, duh, I already had two)—he looked me in the eye and said. “When it comes to writing, you have every writer’s destiny mark except one.”

    “And that is?” I said, leaning forward in my seat.

    “Contact with publishers!”

    Contact with publishers! Talk about the kiss of death. I mean, a writer without publisher contacts might as well hole up in an insane asylum and scribble notes on paper napkins. I was distraught, mortified, crushed, but being young and ambitious I forged on and spent the next dozen or more years bouncing from one publisher to the next until I discovered the do-it-yourself world of self-publishing WHERE I WAS KING AND COULD DO WHATEVER I PLEASED (I mean, could make some judicious decisions about my writing career in order to further it in the direction of my choice). Oh, and by the way, if you’re looking for Dog Eared, it’s “live” on Amazon and elsewhere, but only for pre-order. The official release date is September 7, 2017. Don’t know why: just kind of picked it out of the hat. But then again it is the birthday of Peter Lawford, Buddy Holly, Garrison Keillor, and Ray DeMeo. Ray DeMeo? Yes, you know, Ray DeMeo, of the Gambino crime family. Oh, that Ray DeMeo. Uh, I thought everyone knew that.

    Title: Dog Eared

    Subtitle: A Year’s Romp Through the Self-Publishing World

    Written by W. Nikola-Lisa

    Published by Gyroscope Books, Chicago

    ISBN: 978-0-9972524-4-6 (paperback, $14.99)

    ISBN: 978-0-9972524-5-3 (e-book, $6.99)

    Categories: Autobiography/Memoir & Humor: Form - Essays

    Pub Date: June 15, 2017

    On Sale Date: September 7, 2017

    W. Nikola-Lisa

    AUTHOR STORYTELLER MUSICIAN

    FOLLOW: www.facebook.com/wnikolalisa

    CONNECT: nikolabooks@gmail.com

    EXPLORE: www.nikolabooks.com

    Thank you so much for your post it made me chuckle and I am sure that aspiring authors out there will find your author's journey encouraging.

    Natasha

    To order your book, please visit https://www.amazon.com/Dog-Eared-Years-Through-Self-Publishing-ebook/dp/B074P6Z2S

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  • Today An Interview with Indian Author Partho Bose and His Debut Novel Dreams Implant

    Welcome Partho to my blog:

    1. What made you want to write a book?

    Well the credit for this goes to my sister for this as she recognised my flair for writing from an early age and pushed me to write. It was not possible for a long time due to professional commitments but this year I finally picked up my pen and started writing. This story was in my mind for the past two years, which I finally penned in February.

    2. Tell us about you and where you live.

    I am an advertising professional for my whole career and still continuing. I stay in Delhi the capital of India

    3. What have you written and what are you working on now?

    I have written a thriller novel Dreams Implant. At present, I am working on another thriller though yet to think of the name for it.

    4. How do you market your books and do your promotion methods work?

    I am heavily present on social media and have my website. Also apart from this I take part in different social events and seminars where I interact with the audience. Apart from approaching publications for reviews and doing PR in publications. Yes these tools have been quite helpful. Below are the links of my digital presence:

    Amazon Link:

    https://www.amazon.in/Dreams-Implant-1-Partho-Bose-ebook/dp/B073ZCFLWX?_encoding=UTF8&portal-device-attributes=desktop&qid=1501762449&ref_=tmm_kin_title_0&sr=1-1

    Paperback

    http://www.amazon.in/dp/9386148676?_encoding=UTF8&m=AJ16152XW92ZO&ref_=v_sp_detail_page

    Goodreads Link:

    https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17020643.Partho_Bose

    Website: http://www.parthobose.com/

    Twitter: dreamsimplant

    Facebook:

    facebook.com/dreamsimplant

    5. Where can readers find your book for sale?

    They can find the books on Amazon, Kobo, Invictobooks.com, Shopclues, Flipkart and very soon on Barnes and Nobles

    Apart from this Indian readers can purchase it from all leading bookstores chains like Oxford, Sapna, Crossword, Om Bookstore and many more

    Thank you Partho for sharing.

    Natasha :)

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  • Today I Welcome Bestselling Author, Alistair Cross to My Blog

    1. What made you want to write?

    I’ve been writing all my life, and was first published in 2012. Later that year, I met horror author Tamara Thorne, whom I’ve been a fan of since the 90s and, without meaning to, we began brainstorming ideas and decided it would be fun to write a short story together. That story turned into a novel. And then another novel. In the meantime, I also continued writing books on my own.

    As for what originally made me want to write - writing is the only thing I’ve ever done that has allowed complete expression of my ideas and fully engaged me. Writing makes me happy.

    2. Tell us about yourself.

    I was born in a very ordinary small town in central Utah where there wasn’t much to do but dream up things that weren’t ordinary at all. As far back as I can remember, I never had any interest in the American Dream. I never thought about having children, buying a house, getting a good job, and retiring at the appropriate age. I just knew that wasn’t me and that I’d never be happy unless I was creating something artistic and meeting brilliant people who did amazing things.

    3. What have you written and what are you working on now?

    As a solo act, I’ve written The Crimson Corset, The Book of Strange Persuasions, The Angel Alejandro, and my upcoming paranormal murder/mystery, Sleep Savannah Sleep.

    With Tamara Thorne, I’ve co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting, The Ghosts of Ravencrest, Mother, and The Witches of Ravencrest, book two in the Ravencrest Saga.

    I’ve just begun my next solo novel, a thriller that takes place high in the snow-covered California mountains, and Tamara Thorne and I are working on Darling Girls, a continuation of our respective vampire novels, Candle Bay (Tamara Thorne) and The Crimson Corset (by me.)

    4. Tell us about your latest book, Sleep Savannah Sleep.

    Sleep Savannah Sleep takes place in Shadow Springs, California. Jason Crandall, recently widowed, has moved to town with hopes that it will be an opportunity for him and his two children to start over. No sooner does he begin meeting the quirky townspeople than Savannah Sturgess, a beautiful young socialite, goes missing. Despite his best efforts, Jason becomes entangled in the unsolved crime when he’s plagued by mysterious, terrifying visions and dreams that lead him (and the police) to Savannah’s murdered corpse. And when Jason falls under suspicion, he soon realizes the only way to clear his name is to find Savannah’s killer himself. But what he doesn’t know is that the truth is more terrifying than he - or anyone in Shadow Springs - could have ever imagined.

    5. How do you market your book(s) and do your promotion methods work?

    My philosophy is that writing is a lot more than simply writing. It’s a business, and like any business, it takes hard work, extra hours, self-discipline, and more hard work.

    As for marketing, it’s important to do events and raise awareness. I employ a publicist who helps me out in this way, and also, Tamara and I have a weekly horror-themed radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, where we interview authors and talk about writing. This helps get the word out about our work as well … but the single most important book marketing strategy, in my experience, is writing a damned good book that people want to read. And then another one, and another one after that.

    6. Where can readers find your book(s) for sale?

    Amazon carries all my titles, and my website, alistaircross.com, has all the necessary links.

    Thank you Alistair for letting us into your writing world :)

    Natasha

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County Times April 21st 2011

Follow My Marketing and Book Promotion Journey

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