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By nmurray, Dec 8 2019 06:35PM

Welcome to my blog Sarah and thank you for taking the time to talk about your new book and how you plan to market and promote 'Number Eight Crispy Chicken'.

1. What made you want to write a book?

My debut novel, Number Eight Crispy Chicken is a literary, satirical work which chronicles the misadventures of an immigration minister who winds up trapped in a foreign airport. I was inspired to write this strange tale after missing a flight and spending 24 hours trapped in an airport myself... with nothing but number eight crispy chicken burgers to eat!

Every meal was the same, and pretty soon, I felt as if I were trapped in some alternate reality, in which time kept repeating itself. I started writing out of frustration at the absurdity of my situation. But then I started thinking: what character could I put in this situation? Who could best learn from a setting like this? And that's when I hit upon the idea of an immigration minister who has made a career out of locking up asylum seekers finding himself trapped in a foreign airport.

Number Eight Crispy Chicken is intended to draw new people in to the discussion about immigration and the right to seek asylum through the use of humour and empathy.

2. Tell us about you and where you live.

I grew up in rural Australia, where, I liked to joke, our closest neighbours were cows! I moved to the city to study, and after a career as a linguist, left my job to travel the world with my husband. My research on language and culture, combined with my travels has inspired my writing on topics of cross-cultural misunderstandings, borders, and immigration.

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

Before Number Eight Crispy Chicken, I mainly wrote non-fiction works on intercultural communication, bilingualism, and online interaction.

At the moment, I'm working on a novel which will examine the fine line between advertising and propaganda, and how words and art are used to persuade and manipulate us all.

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

My sincere hope is for my books to inspire conversations about important issues - and as such, I'm doing my best to market them! I am using many of the ideas you suggest (http://www.nmurray.moonfruit.com/promotion-ideas/4553417645)

Readers can find out more about me and my books on my website (sarahneofield.com), where I also have a video book trailer and a blog where I write about publishing and creativity. Additionally, I have a Facebook page (facebook.com/sarahneofieldauthor) and am active on various social media (@sarahneofield on both Twitter and Instagram) and Goodreads. You can also join my mailing list at sarahneofield.com/newsletter for updates and giveaways.

As for how well these promotion methods work - I will have to wait and see! Number Eight Crispy Chicken will be released on 20 January, 2020!

5. Where can readers find your book for sale?

Number Eight Crispy Chicken is currently available for preorder on Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, and will be available for purchase on Amazon on the release date, 20 January 2020! Subscribe to my newsletter for a reminder.

Number Eight Crispy Chicken: A hilarious and powerful literary satire

The Immigration Minister has been detained...

Audience: mainstream adult

Publication date: 20 January 2020

Length: 232 pages (approx. 77,000 words)

Author bio: Sarah Neofield grew up in regional South Australia before living in Japan for a year. Always fascinated by language, she completed a PhD in applied linguistics in 2010. She has written extensively on the topics of intercultural communication, how we communicate online, and language learning.

At the age of 30, Sarah resigned from her position as a university lecturer to travel, and since has visited over 60 countries. She blogs about the connection between language, money, and social justice at enrichmentality.com, and about reading, writing, and creativity at sarahneofield.com

Social media: Instagram/Twitter: @sarahneofield

Book trailer and sample chapters: http://www.sarahneofield.com/books/

Media kit: https://www.sarahneofield.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/MediaKit_SarahNeofield_NumberEightCrispyChicken.pdf

Many thanks Sarah, I look forward to reading your new book and wish you all the best for the New Year

Merry Christmas by the way :)

Natasha x

By nmurray, Nov 21 2019 03:29PM

As we approach 2020, many authors will be looking back on their book creation and promotion journey with a mixture of delight and disappointment. It has to be said, that it is the best feeling in the world to write, complete and publish a book but the promotion of and the lack of sales, can leave authors reeling.

If you have, like myself, tried every method of promotion, trending book rescue plans and faced your fears and been to book signings and still have not achieved sales to cover your costs, then you are not alone. Nearly every writing group post I have read, shows me clearly the disillusionment authors suffer after publishing. More annoyingly, there are many people willing to point a finger at you and tell you that your efforts to advertise are not enough or will laugh at your naivety.

The path to promoting a book is constantly changing and so much time can be wasted researching the correct marketing method. The truth is, that not all authors are business minded and we have precious little time to write, let alone tackle the marketing side of things.

For those of you that are traditionally published with a proactive publisher that will contact their reviewers, get your book on the shelves of the big bookshops and arrange, interviews and signings for you, then you have a fighting chance of making sales. For those of us that use smaller publishers or self-publish, then it is up to us to get reviews and to promote our books to readers – no easy matter.

So who is reading and what books do they read?

Just over half of the UK population read a book last year. People are still reading and an increasing number of people are listening to audio books. Book reading is on the increase – hooray! According to Stephanywrites.com, this is how the market is divided in 2019. Many of us will be writing for a niche market so our struggle to succeed will be even more challenging. There is hope though!

After several years of experimenting with book promotion and living with a constant headache about it all, I have come to the conclusion that I must not let myself get too upset about having no or very few sales. I know my books are great, even if I say it myself, and what makes me happiest is writing and releasing my books to the world with the hope that the next book will be the one! Having tried nearly every sales tactic with no sales, I have a simple marketing plan for 2020 – this might work for you too.

My book promotion plan for 2020 for each book you publish

1. Your book’s description - Make sure your book’s description is no more than 250 words long and does not give the plot away. The first line of your description needs to be a ‘shout out’ line that will draw the reader into reading more about a book. For example my paranormal fantasy ‘Chanctonbury’ my shout out line is:

‘Would you like the Devil to grant you your dearest wish? If you could change the past or your future – would you? Six troubled souls meet at the Chanctonbury Ring and are forced to fight their demons!

"Absolutely Remarkable" Amy's Bookshelf Reviews


As you can see I have also included a quote from a reviewer. The reader should click on More… to find out about the book and if they get that far, should buy the book if the reviews are good.

2. Book Catagories - Make sure your books are placed in catagories that are not too general. For example. I write science fiction and my book 3004 is currently listed under First Contact, Colonisation and Metaphysical Science Fiction

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,636 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

#15 in First Contact Science Fiction eBooks

#7 in Colonisation Science Fiction eBooks

#13 in Metaphysical Science Fiction eBooks

If 3004 was just in the Science Fiction category , then my book would be lost. Another reason 3004 is doing so well, is because it is FREE. 3004 is one of my readers’ magnet. Around 2000 copies have been downloaded but nobody has left me a review or gone on to buy 3006 despite there being advertisements at the end of the book. I will have to have another look at my last page and make it easier for people to leave reviews.

3. A subscription list - Create or grow a subscription list of raving fans by offering readers a ‘magnet’ which could be a free book, an article about something that would interest a reader or a monthly newsletter. I use Mailchimp to store my subscriber’s email addresses and to send out my freebies. Mailchimp’s basic package is free and quite easy to use.

Find out more here https://mailchimp.com/why-mailchimp.

You can join my subscription list from my website www.nmurray.moonfruit.com but even with enticing magnets, I do find that readers are reluctant to sign up. I have around 300 subscribers and only a handful of them respond to my emails. I obviously need to find a better magnet to grow the list and find a way to keep my fans engaged. The larger the list, the more likely fans will actually buy and review your books. This is something I need to work on in 2020.

4. Amazon reviews – 50+ reviews is what you need to achieve before Amazon will organically expose your book to the viewing public. This is an essential requirement as then you can see if your book is worth promoting. Make sure you have a review request and Amazon link at the end of your book to ask your reader to leave you a review on Amazon.

You cannot ask friends and family to leave a review on Amazon as this is against their rules. You can offer your book for free to reviewers in exchange for an honest Amazon review. There are quite a few lists of reviewers online but you need to look at each one to make sure they review your genre and you need to write an individual email to them asking for a review.

It has to be said, for every 200 emails you send out to reviewers you will probably hear back from about 5 and it can take months to get a review! Exasperating I know!

I have been looking for a service that will find reviewers for you and came across BookSirens where the reviewers will leave an Amazon friendly review. There is a $10 admin fee and if anyone downloads your book $2 is charged. You have a 75% chance of getting a review. I plan to use BookSirens for my first Jack Solar Journal as I have no reviews for this book and am due to publish the next in the series in February. Children’s books are notoriously difficult to get reviews for. Check out this site for yourself https://booksirens.com/authors

I have just created a Facebook group ‘Book Review Genie’ to help authors to get reviews. Initially I was hoping that authors would list their review requests on the page and then pick an unknown author from the review requests left, review a book and leave a review on Amazon. Although this would have been an Amazon friendly way of getting reviews, this format did not sit well with some. I also had a few reviewers ask me if they could join the group so with this in mind, Book Review Genie is open to authors and reviewers. You are welcome to join the group, leave a review request and are under no obligation to review a book yourself. Find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2393225134340972/

5. If you are having trouble getting signings in bookshops, then go to book shows/fairs/festivals and sell and sign your books there. It is unlikely that you will cover your costs but there is no better feeling than actually signing and selling a book to a real person. The other benefit of going to a book show is that you meet other authors who are willing to share with you their book promotion journey. You can also organise your own book shows in your local area. If you want to know where you can find where all the book shows are being held, then Kevin Parker sends out a newsletter listing most of the Literary Festivals in the UK. You can sign up for this here: www.literaryfestivals.co.uk

I organise the UK Southern Book Show which is held on the South Coast each year - around 50 authors from across the UK come to the show, give talks, readings and of course sell and sign their books. The next show is on Saturday 4 July 2020 at the Stage by the Sea, Littlehampton, 9:00am-3pm.

I believe that on 4 July, the weather is likely to be warm and it being a Saturday in the summer, lots of coaches come down from London and stop at the end of Banjo Road, bringing large groups of people that will have to walk by the book show, on their way to the sea. The show will also appear in Littlehampton’s ‘What’s on Guide’ so local people will know of the show’s dates and will be visiting the sea as the weather will be glorious anyway. I of course go into a social media frenzy two months before the show and post daily on social media. I cannot guarantee how many people will attend but I think that more people will be interested in visiting an outdoor festival style event rather than going into a building. We shall see.

If you are interested in taking part then find out more and sign up here: http://tinyurl.com/vvjp6qc

6. Once you have your 50+ reviews then it is time to start paying for advertising if your book has an average of 3+ or more stars on Amazon. My plan is to pay for Sponsored Amazon ads, Bookbub ads and possibly Facebook ads.

I just love writing and reading, I find these literary pursuits therapeutic and satisfying. It is a chance to escape the real world, and join or shape a parallel universe. I have read that the best way to be a successful writer is to keep writing and keep publishing. That is my plan.

Eventually, I am sure that your dreams will come true :).

How is your book promotional journey shaping up? Please leave a comment and let everyone know how you are doing and if you found my article of interest.

Natasha :)

By nmurray, Oct 31 2019 10:42AM

Hi Martin, I am so glad that you can be with me today. Please let everyone know about your writing journey and about your wonderful books.

1. What made you want to write a book?

I think it's important to have one or several hobbies to focus on. I have always liked writing but in the past, I probably spent more time playing video games than I did writing. When I set out to write my first novel back in 2013 I had high hopes like I guess most authors do. Unfortunately, reality struck me and I did not have any success. Six years later I think that I have improved my writing alas no successes. I think this important for most writers to write because they enjoy it. Only a small percentage becomes successful, but I think the Internet has enabled us to at least get some writers for our works.

2. Tell us about you and where you live.

I am 34 years old and living in Sydney Australia. I am originally from Sweden and I moved here eight years ago. I work as a waiter and a sports referee. I also occasionally do some acting and background extras. I enjoy travelling, exercise, hiking and eating.

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

I have written James Locker (Psychological Thriller) The Divine Zetan Trilogy (Sci-fi) Divine Space Gods (Comedy) Sabina Saves the Future (YA action-adventure) and Matt's Amazing Week (Illustrated Children's Book)

I don't have any work in progress but I have a few book projects I'd like to work on.

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

My latest marketing effort was to buy my ISBN numbers (AUD 134 for ten numbers in Australia) and upload my books to Ingram Spark. I have registered my books with library suppliers and I intend to contact local libraries.

I have had a negative return on investment in my online marketing efforts. I'll pump in some money next time I release a book. I find that it is harder for me to promote my books on platforms like Amazon as they are not big in Australia, so I can't ask my friends to write me reviews.

5. Where can readers find your book for sale?

My books and audiobooks are available at most websites such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play and Apple Books. Ideally, I would like to ask people interested in my books to ask their local library to include them. Some of my books are available for free on most platforms if people want to check them out.

The Divine Dissimulation


Divine Space Gods 1 (Free everywhere except Amazon)


Sabina's Pursuit of the Holy Grail (Free everywhere except Amazon)


My author website is www.martinlundqvist.com if you want to know more.

Thank you for telling us about your experiences of being a writer. I think that many authors will identify with your struggle to get your books noticed. In the end it is the pleasure of writing and the dream of writing the next best seller that keeps us writing :).

Natasha :)

By nmurray, Oct 25 2019 10:21AM

Hi Victoria, I am really glad that you are able to join me today on my blog. Your book Orb and Arrow Book 1:Exploration sounds great. Please let everyone know about your writing journey.

1. What made you want to write a book?

Way back in 2000, my college age son was playing an MMORPG(massively multiplayer online role-playing game) called “Asheron’s Call.”

“Mom,” said my smart aleck, “if you stop watching over my shoulder I’ll let you play one of my toons!”

I was hooked and played the game for years after he stopped. I loved the genre and my book’s main character was born from it. Not that things follow the game concepts, most of it is purely my own, but oh, was it fun!

2. Tell us about you and where you live.

My husband and I have lived in Costa Rica for the last seven years. He still complains that I moved him from upstate New York (too much snow) to Georgia (it still got cold) to the tropics where he is forced to lie between two volcanoes. Hey, neither one is active. Yes, we get the occasional earthquake…..but then whose counting?

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

After we moved to the tropics, I began working for an English language news service writing an experiential column on the strangeness of tropical gardening for people from temperate climes. Thus my first book, a compilation of those columns, was published.

Then, and very suddenly, Orb and Arrow “bloomed” in my head – the first draft was written in twenty-four days! Since then, I have completed Book II: Honor, started Book III: Duty and worked on two books which are backstories of the two main characters, Brillar and Elden. At one point, while Book I was being set for publication, all five were in process at once.

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

Orb and Arrow is being marketed through Kindle. Since I live in Costa Rica, I have only been able to have two book signings, one here and one when I visited Texas with a friend. Now I’ve discovered bloggers and have sent out a number of review requests. As one of my characters might say, “May the Light bless all bloggers.” I also gave books away at the airport when we traveled and signed them on a cruise ship.

5. Where can readers find your book for sale?

Orb and Arrow, Book I: Exploration can be found on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. Honor will be available on Kindle as well. At present, it is out to my beta-readers. This book, although based on magic users and warriors, includes positive concepts of honor and duty (Book II is subtitled 'Honor') plus elements of sociology and psychology that may appeal to a more sophisticated reader.

Thank you for sharing your story with everyone. You can get your copy of Orb and Arrow by clicking on this link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Orb-Arrow-dazzling-adventure-Exploration-ebook/dp/B07S7S4B8Y

Please keep in contact and let me know how your writing journey is going.

Best wishes

Natasha :)

By nmurray, Oct 11 2019 10:44AM

I am please to welcome to my blog today author Kate Abley, Kate lives in North London, where I spent my childhood and is talking today about her writing journey.

Hi Kate please let everyone know about your writing life and your new book 'Changing the Subject'

1. . What made you want to write a book?

I couldn’t help it. I had always made an effort to make letters and emails arc and amuse but as I and my kids got older and I got more time, ideas for stories kept popping into my head. I found I had to write them down. Then, I had spent so much time on them, and friends and family were quite full of praise, I thought I would try and publish them. Why bother otherwise? 'Changing the Subject' is not my first story, but is the one I think is good enough for other people to enjoy.

And I can’t stop myself from writing humorously either. I have put my characters in some silly situations, but rest assured, the good ones prevail in a fairly dignified manner.

For 'Changing the Subject' I wanted to imagine someone completely different from me. I am what used to be called left-wing and when I was15 I watched my nation embark on the Thatcher revolution. I had been wondering why people had voted that way all this time, now I had the opportunity to properly read, listen and think about it.

I had also noticed that there was a fashion for movies and books about people who do not age. These stories were full of the problems faced by these, sorry but sometimes rather insipid, characters as their loved ones aged and died. There was no mention of showing one’s ID in a bar, not being taken seriously at work, ageism towards people of one’s true age, and of course the huge interest medical and pharmaceutical companies would take in such a person.

So, Sue Duggen, ne Jolly, was born. She, like a lot of people, doesn’t consider herself that political and over the week in which the book is set she really doesn’t have the time to think about that sort of thing, except where it affects her directly. She had only taken part in a Alzheimer’s drug trial because her best friend’s mum was going through that appalling disease and now her life has been turned upside down. Yes, she had been fighting the ten signs of aging, whatever they were, as she aged but now she looks Eighteen again and finds youth is not all it’s cracked up to be.

You might be wondering how that can be made funny. You could always read the excerpt available here and judge for yourself.

2. Tell us about you and where you live.

I was accidentally born and intentionally live in London, England, where, amongst other things I have been an awful front woman in a terrible psychobilly band, good dish-washer, bad shop assistant, officially outstanding Early Years teacher, adequate child consultant, nice charitable fund-giver, passable event organiser and failed political activist.

Last century, I wrote the useful non-fiction book, ‘Swings and Roundabouts: The Dangers of Outdoor Play Safety’ (1999), Sheffield Hallam Press.

Nowadays, I am a respectable and happily married woman with two almost grown-up children and does charity work. Our eldest has flown the coop so the three of us live in Clapton, Hackney, East London, which has changed a great deal over the last 20 odd years. I am from Notting Hill Gate originally and I have seen it before.

I suppose we will make the exodus to the countryside soon enough, our tiny and rather crappy little house is now worth a small fortune, I can write anywhere and my beloved is pining deeply for a proper shed.

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

I am new to this sort of thing and only started in mid-July, after two weeks of full on research about how to self-publish effectively. I have set up a website, Facebook page and Twitter and Instagram accounts as the internet said I should and blog and post on what I am learning as I go along. The need for reviews is drummed into me as vital apparently, and I would ask nicely that if you decide to read 'Changing the Subject', that you leave an honest review on Amazon. It’s something to do with algorithms and helps put my book higher up on an extremely long list somehow. To this same end, I spent most of my spare time in September trawling through the internet looking for book bloggers and approached nearly 200 of them.

Thus far, a dozen people have kindly agreed to read and possibly review 'Changing the Subject' and this is the third bit of writing I have done for other peoples’ blogs. I have ordered lots of copies too and bought a card reader, which was on offer in August and will be useful when I go my first Book Festival in November; kindly arranged by one of the bloggers I have been talking to. I will also ‘boost’, that is promote to strangers, a post on Amazon. It’s a start.

4. Where can readers find your book for sale?

At the moment it is only available on Amazon in e-book or print form here. They have the biggest and broadest distribution in the world and that makes them very attractive to a writer just starting out. I have, however, got my own ISBN numbers and barcodes so that I can publish by other routes if it doesn’t work out with Amazon. I am also registering to join Nielson’s list, the ISBN generator people. This will make it possible for bookshops and libraries to order the book, should anyone ask them.

Thank you Kate, thank you for sharing your book journey with everyone, I am sure that everyone will love your new book. Let me know how you are doing.

Natasha :)x

By nmurray, Oct 8 2019 11:08AM

My guest today isAlistair Cross. His debut novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller earning praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series.

Welcome Alistair to my blog.

1. What made you want to write a book?

Reading is what made me want to write. I’ve loved books since I was very young and by the time I was eight, I began writing my own stories. I’ve never stopped.

Reading opens up worlds of all kinds from adventure to romance to ghosts and fantasy. Early on, I fell in love with The Ghost that Goofed and many more children’s books. As an adult, I read in many genres but I still love scary tales most of all. Reading stirs my intellect and my emotions and I can honestly say that the only thing that satisfies me more is writing. I love creating worlds where my own characters can come to life and hopefully excite my readers as others’ books have excited me.

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

I have been writing in some capacity all my life and was first published in 2012. The following year, I met one of my literary heroes, horror author Tamara Thorne, and we began writing together. Our first book, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was so much fun that we’ve never looked back. Currently, we’re working on our sixth and seventh collaborative novels - both of which are coming along nicely.

Tamara and I also host Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, a weekly horror-themed podcast where we interview others in our field. We’ve met authors, actors, film directors, screenwriters, paranormal investigators, forensics experts, true crime authors, and more.

Additionally, I’m always hard at work on the next solo novel, and am currently nearing the end of book #3 in the Vampires of Crimson Cove series. Book #2, The Silver Dagger, came out earlier this year and I was so eager to find out what happens next that I jumped right back in. I’m hoping to be finished with the first draft by the end of this year.

3. Where can readers find your book for sale?

Everything you need to know about me (and more) can be found at my website, www.alistaircross.com

Thank you Alistair for talking to me today. I look forward to hearing about your writing journey in the future.

Natasha :)

By nmurray, Sep 23 2019 03:05PM

Hi David, thank you for being my guest today. Please let everyone know about your writing career and your new book 'The Thirteenth Day of Christmas.'

1. What made you want to write a book?

My interest in horror stories comes from a lifelong obsession with Halloween along with my background as a public high school English teacher for thirty years. One of the common memories my former students tell me they have of my class when I have run into them years later (at Walmart, or the grocery store, or even while lying flat on my back on a gurney wearing nothing but a hospital gown while waiting to slide into the CT scan machine to find out I had a blocked colon) is how I turned my classroom into a haunted house for their first day of our unit on Dante's Inferno. From the hallway they could see strobe lights flashing in the darkened classroom and hear recorded sounds of thunder and screaming. A robed dummy with a devil's mask stood in the corner illuminated by a red light. Some kids wouldn't even come in. It was great.

2. Tell us about you and where you live.

I live in the mountains of NC where we enjoy seeing black bears on a near daily basis for three-fourths of the year. We especially love a three-legged bear visitor that we call Eileen (pun intended) who gave birth to her first litter, two cubs, year before last. This past December, with mixed emotions I closed our family-owned ghost tour company called Dark Ride Tours. We transported our guests to various "haunted" sites around the Asheville area in a 1972 Cadillac hearse that had been modified so that six people could ride easily in the back. The hearse has a flatscreen TV that's mounted on half of a casket--yes, a real casket-- for showing videos that accompanied the stories and for streaming live shots from outside the hearse. We could also make ghosts appear in those live shots since my son, the driver of the hearse, is a tech wizard and had a laptop in the front seat to work the television. I told ghost stories from the local lore on those tours, but also made up some of my own, especially for our special holiday tour. Those Christmas ghost stories gave me the idea of creating a collection of Christmas-themed horror stories, which led to my first book, The Thirteenth Day of Christmas and Other Tales of Yuletide Horror. Most of the stories in my book, however, are much darker than the ones I told on the tour. I would not call them "kid-friendly" at all.

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

In addition to the Christmas-themed horror collection I've written several other horror stories that I'm still in the process of offering to various horror magazines.

I'm also in the very early stages of talking with some local artists about illustrating several of my stories for a horror comic book and for an adult picture book of very short horror stories called Page Turners.

I'm very excited about writing a collection of stories based on a classic ghost story book that was originally called An Illustrated to Ghosts and Mysterious Occurrences in the Old North State that was popular when I was a child in North Carolina. Years ago, a local journalist for the Charlotte Observer named Nancy Roberts collected ghost stories from all over the state, and her husband, Bruce, made photographs of those places. The book was incredibly successful and the couple went on to write over twenty ghost books in that vein. By today's standards, those stories and photos are very tame, not scary at all, but in the day it was hard to find that book in the library. It was always checked out! I've found since then that anyone over fifty years old will gush, "I LOVED that book!" when I mention the title. I plan to revisit those same sites, take photos, and re-write new stories loosely based on the original ideas, and have my son (the tech wiz, remember?) make much scarier images from those new photos than the original ones were. (Sorry Bruce.) I definitely consider my re-visiting those stories as original pieces, but an homage to the Roberts


Beyond that, well, for many years I've been storing ideas for a novel about Poe that I won't discuss further than to say just that much. My hope is that writing these other stories first will prime the pump to get the creative juices flowing freely for what I hope will be my big opus.

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

As I've just started I have yet to see if my methods work well or not, especially given the holiday theme of the book I just published. It's a stretch to get people to buy Christmas horror stories in July. I have worked to establish a presence on social media, some on Facebook and Instagram and more on Twitter, but honestly I have my doubts about the efficacy of doing so. Most Twitter users, even those in the writing community, seem preoccupied--often to the point of addiction it seems to me--with getting followers. After a point, I don't see the value in that as there are only a limited number of posted tweets a person will see at a sitting, so the odds for someone to see my specific tweet about my book are small. While Twitter might be useful in finding resources for marketing, I am exploring those, and in connecting with kindred writing souls (writers apparently love to write about their writing and all the troubles that come with it), I have more than a few reservations about the time it takes away from real writing. It just doesn't strike me as a good method for actually selling books.

For that reason, I have re-focused my energy on finding book reviewers and bloggers, especially those who review horror books and movies, and contacting them. Of course, the reviewers with the largest following are usually covered up in books to review, so this effort of finding new reviewers and checking back with the others will be a constant, ongoing process.

But then, in regard to using social media, what the heck do I know? I'm a 65-year-old infant in the writing community. Check back in a year or so and we'll see if I was right.

5. Where can readers find your book for sale?

The Thirteenth Day of Christmas and Other Tales of Yuletide Horror can be found on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Thirteenth-Day-Christmas-Yuletide-Horror-ebook/dp/B07TTDH7TT.

You can read the first story "Last Minute Shopping" in its entirety when you click Look Inside on that page. (You should definitely do that. You'll never look at your local mall the same way again.)

Those who'd like to follow me can find me as David Allen Voyles on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Thank you David, I am so glad you could join me on my blog today and I wish you all the best with your writing journey.

Natasha :)

By nmurray, Sep 21 2019 02:37PM

Hi Kathleen, thank you for joining me on my blog today :) Please let everyone know about your writing journey.

1. What made you want to write a book?

In the course of conversations over the years, I got a lot of questions about riding my horse westward from Washington, D.C., with my dog, an adventure I call The Grand Trek Over time, I saw that I got many of the same questions, and it became easier to write the relevant stories down and hand them out. Those turned into the basis for The Best That Can Happen: The Grand Trek. The title comes from a quote from Willa Cather: "The best that can happen is to fulfill the dreams of one's youth," which is completely appropriate! And my response: "Uh huh. Ever actually, like, try it?"

2. Tell us about you and where you live.

I was born into a Chicago family in which animals were not. I was obviously some kind of infant changeling, as I knew in second grade that I had found my life purpose when I first viewed a horse's mane from above. That turned into working on a farm in far northwestern Illinois for my senior year of high school, where the idea of a long-distance ride was hatched. After high school, I trained as a riding instructor in England and Germany, by which I worked my way through Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Shortly after my last semester, I struck out for California from the base of the Lincoln Memorial.

I returned to the D.C. area after seven months on the trail (we didn't exactly set any records!), and commenced a career starting in finance and culminating in computer center management, always with a horse or two in training and some riding students. After ten years of that, I stepped off the corporate ladder to return to my calling, and starting a horse training operation in the D.C. suburbs. That went well for another 13 years or so until the property was overcome by development. I then got into accounting, which is what I do these days, still in the suburbs of D.C. Not nearly as cold as Chicago!

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

Aside from The Best That Can Happen: The Grand Trek, I had translated a book about the history of Arabian horses for a Dutch publisher, and a how-to book about riding, The Seamless Seat, presenting mostly what I learned while training in Germany, which was not at all the way it is stereotypically thought of in America.

I am presently considering the best approach to the follow up to The Best That Can Happen: The Grand Trek. I think recounting the events of a horse trainer would have a wide appeal, so I have considered writing a murder mystery centered at the farm, or tracing the history of the property from pre-colonial days no doubt has some interesting stories.

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

I am just starting to market The Best That Can Happen: The Grand Trek. At present, I am looking for reviews, entering a few contests, exploring the intricate world of book marketing, and putting the finishing touches on my website. I'll try using a YouTube pre-roll ad in the next few weeks, and am concocting a promotional campaign for vendors at large equestrian events.

5. Where can readers find your book for sale?

My website, www.thegrandtrek.com, offers the print, ebook and audiobook versions of The Best That Can Happen: The Grand Trekas well as special editions, by which you can customize part of the front cover and the fly sheets. This came about from a friend of mine who wanted to give the book to her friends and family as a Christmas gift. It is great for that, as well as for club promotions, reunions, or customer appreciations.

Thanks Kathleen, great to hear about your writing life. I wish you well for the future

Natasha :)

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