Month: July 2016

An interview with the Reader #2

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Jayne Williams Andrews

Favorite Read: 

Stephen King’s The Stand.  Published in the 70’s this post-apocalyptic novel introduced me to the genre.  So many of the books, movies and television series today are newer versions asking the age old question, “Will good triumph over evil in the end?”  I rarely read a novel twice but this one has been read and reread. 

What role did books play in your early life? 

My sister was an avid reader and read to me from birth.  We would walk to our local library with a bag paper bag in hand and return home with a bag full of books.  She introduced me to Narnia, Neverland, and Castle Rock.  Books became a part of me and a way to escape from the emotional upheaval that was part of my childhood.

Do you happen to have an author crush?

My newest author crush is on Patrick Rothfuss author of The Kingkiller Chronicle series.  I finished the first book, The Name of the Wind, and have begun the second, The Wise Man’s Fear.  This series is filling the void left by Harry Potter.

Do you think writing courses and writer’s workshops are worth the investment for aspiring authors?

Definitely, aspiring authors need nurturing just as any other artist does.  The more knowledge one acquires the better they will be at what they do.  Authors can learn from their peers things that they cannot learn anywhere else.

Do you think that networking with other readers is also important?

Yes, after I read a book I am bursting.  I need to talk about it with someone who understands.  Why do you think people are always recommending or lending books to other people?  Because they want to share the experience.

How important is a book’s cover to overall marketing of a book?

Very, even when purchasing a book online I look at the cover.  The cover gives you an indication of the world you are entering when you choose the book.  I have looked over many books because the cover was not appealing only to discover later that it is a wonderful book.

What do you think every writer should know about character development?

Make your characters believable.  They must have emotions and personal connections to be real. A reader wants to get to know the characters and feel what they are feeling.  You should emerge from the pages white knuckled or sobbing at times.

If you had a chance to address a room full of authors, what would you want them to know? 

That I appreciate them.  They have made my life so full.  Thanks are not enough.

Why do you read? 

I read because I love reading.  I love reading because if takes me away from everyday life but it also connects me to everyday life.

About Jayne

 Jayne Andrews is the Outreach Services Coordinator for the Augusta Outreach Center of Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Services or GLASS.  Jayne received a BA in history with a minor in education from Augusta University and then taught middle grades social studies and language arts in the Richmond County School System.  She received her Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina and worked at the Columbia County Library before accepting the position at the Augusta Center.

Twitter: TalkingBooksAug

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‘Stranger Things’ Has Not Been Renewed For A Second Season, But Don’t Panic Yet — Real Stories – UPROXX

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Netflix Okay, let’s take care of the bad news first: Netflix’s latest original series phenomenon Stranger Things hasn’t been renewed for a second season just yet. There have been rumors, but we can’t confirm the existence just yet. But don’t panic. The series, which debuted earlier this month and serves as a wonderful throwback to…

via ‘Stranger Things’ Has Not Been Renewed For A Second Season, But Don’t Panic Yet — Real Stories – UPROXX

5 Questions with Author Dariel Raye

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Favorite Read:

I need to cheat a little and choose two more.“The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas, “Parable of the Sower” by Octavia Butler, and “My Soul to Keep” by Tananarive Due

What role did books play in your early life?

I was a child who looked forward to bedtime stories and couldn’t wait to learn to read. Once I learned, I always had a book with me. If nothing else was handy, I would read the encyclopedia or dictionary. It was that bad! I started reading and reciting stories when I was 3, learned everyone else’s parts in school plays, kept a story journal, and the list goes on. Books were always my escape, a way of visiting other places. 

Who was the first person to recognize that you had writing talent?

My 3rd grade teacher, Mr. Grube. The next most notable one was my 8th grade science teacher, Mrs. Paula Justice. Funny. I remember their names as clear as day, and that was a long time ago! You never forget that kind of support and encouragement.

What tactics have you found to be most effective against writer’s block?

I still keep a story journal filled with dreams, images, blurbs, even specific lines and problems that inspire me. I consider social, health, and personal problems and think “what if?” We often determine value based on laws of economics – supply and demand, scarcity vs. abundance. When there’s more than we need, the entity or object is devalued. When supply is limited, it has the potential of becoming pricess. I build my worlds based on that principle. Since social, health, and personal problems are abundant, I never run out of material. I know. Long answer, but it works for me.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about writing for the African-American market?

Stereotypes. Too many people, including some African Americans, expect all of us to like the same things – the same storylines and character constructs.

About the Author

I’m an animal lover, avid reader who fell in love with books and started reciting stories at three years old, award-winning musician and author, algebra and statistics tutor, and counseling psychologist.

Presently, I’m focused on writing two series: Dark Sentinels (sentinel wolf shifters), and Orlosian Warriors (Nephilim with vampire-like traits).


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Understanding Literary Conflict

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Keywords: #writing
I started reading a new book last night and shut it down after chapter 3. It was too…too…too! There was too much conflict.  Too much sex.  Too much drama. All by Chapter 3. I did not see hardly any of the elements of storytelling present. It is okay to break the rules, but you must understand and know the rules first.
After reading those three chapters, I felt like I had been on a blind date with a handsy man. I truly felt somewhat mentally molested. I had to go and watch a few videos of puppies playing with a ball to wash my brain.
Chapter 1: A menage between her friend and her friend’s husband- she felt conflicted because she didn’t want the husband in on the action.
Chapter 2: She was making out with some dude in a church. A church? I don’t know why either.  The author didn’t tell me why this was important.
Chapter 3: I don’t know what the hell was happening there….

Conflict is critical to a story but the story shouldn’t just be about a character acting like a child and creating conflicting scenes.  Here are some guidelines for using conflict.
Use it sparingly…evidently, it is addictive.
 Just as a reminder, there are four types of literary conflict.
Happy Writing.

Growing Your Readership

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I am often asked what is the best way to grow your readership? First, you have to grow your brand, you grow your brand through readers. To me, the most cost efficient and best way to do both is Instafreebie and Bookfunnel. Choosing between the two can sometimes come down to your budget and end goals. 

You get what you pay for applies here.

I was recently speaking with an author who asked me how to grow her readership. I told her I use Instafreebie.

She in turn informed me about Bookfunnel, which is only $20 a year, versus $20 a month like Instafreebie.

Several things came to mind after I shared the info, however, there are a couple of important things to note here.

1. Don’t ask for advice then tell the advice giver what you are doing, especially if it is not working well for you.

2. Bookfunnel is great if you are simply trying to get people to read your book for free.

3. Instafreebie is better if you are trying to grow your email list.

4. Instafreebie, pay the $20 a month for a few months, go back to a free plan, then back to $20 a month when you have some releases.

5. Bookfunnel does not feed into Mailchimp. You can collect no data other than number of downloads.

6. If you have an email base, you market to your email list versus posting “buy my book” everyday on your FB wall.

7. Free books are great when you have a back catalog of your early works or you are on Book 5 of the series and you wish to give book 1 away.

Last but not least,

8. Have a plan. Understand that the why is equally important as the how.

To ensure that I am giving you accurate, unbiased and both sides to the coins, I asked a fellow author how she uses BookFunnel.

“It doesn’t have to feed directly, you don’t send them the Bookfunnel link. You put the Bookfunnel link into the confirmation email for Mailchimp.”

There are other options out there as well. For example, NYTimes Best Selling Indie Author CJ Lyons has her free book registration on her main page. She uses  

Check it out here for a free book from CJ Lyons.


I hope this helps.

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Free Printable – Bakery Bliss

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Source: Free Printable – Bakery Bliss

5 Questions with Author Madeline Martin

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 What role did books play in your early life?

They were my best friends. My father was military, so we moved around a lot. While it was an amazing childhood that afforded me some incredible worldwide travel I wouldn’t

Madeline Martin Highland Romance Author

otherwise have, it could get kind of lonely always being the new girl. Throw in some serious dental issues in high school and an unfortunate pair of mid-90’s massive glasses – well…let’s just say I wasn’t exactly popular. LOL

But books were always there. I could always find someone in a story who I could relate to, whose dreams and sorrows could be so easily tied in with mine, who knew what it was like to be me. And when I needed them to, books took me away somewhere else and gave me a reprieve from having to think about being in a new place where I had to remake friends again.

My oldest daughter has become an avid reader (like the kind who runs into walls because there’s a book in her face) and watching the love unfold through her eyes is so magical. 

Does the writing get easier with each book? Or does it get more difficult because you’re also growing as an author with each work?

It gets easier for me. First of all, I’m getting better and better at adjusting my time and517+cFwzdHL._UY250_ finding what writing methods work for me (writing sprints, all the way).

I think after so many books written, a certain level of confidence follows. This is a fickle thing, mind you, which can easily collapse in a fit of self-doubt and castigation at a moment’s notice. I think all authors go through this. (FYI – leaving a positive review for a book you enjoyed is one of the best ways to tell someone you liked their book – and helps them through these bad days).

I think with historical romance, the research also becomes easier and the knowledge base if greater, requiring less research.

How can an aspiring author get better at writing?

51hlFETSTSL._UY250_First of all, everyone can always get better at writing. No one is perfect (or there wouldn’t be editors).

The most important thing is to never stop learning. Be passionate in your endeavor to learn your craft. Take classes (Margie Lawson is one of my personal favorite instructors and has classes available online), attend conferences and local writer meetings through RWA, network with other authors and don’t be afraid to reach out to them if you have questions.

And be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day and nor was a solid book written. I think for me, it took about five years to really learn what I felt to be the core foundation of writing, but everyone has their own path and the length they’ve walked it.

Just know – all the time and effort will pay off. 

Do you think that networking with other writers and authors is also important?

It absolutely is. When I was new to writing, I had a lot of authors really take me under their wing. They explained all the things I had no idea about (POV what???), later when I was in the process of working on my first edits with my publisher, they were great for answering questions Google couldn’t really point me to. And when my first book came out (and really all the subsequent ones as well), the level of support and sharing my book release information with their readers has been amazing.

Later on, fellow authors are great for doing cross promotion with. I think the most important part though is the camaraderie. Someone who knows what it’s like to have people in their heads, who knows how soul-sucking awful it is to get a rejection, how glorious a feeling writing ‘The End’ truly can be, and how releasing a book is both euphoric and chaotic all at once.

Networking gives you the most incredible friends who just get it.

What do you think every writer should know about character development?

Absolutely – and I say this as a plot-driven writer. I’ve worked 51XuzmH7S4L._UY250_hard to strengthen my character development side and am grateful for all the instructors who helped get character development through my skull. LOL

The reason we read books is because of the characters we latch onto and love. If that character starts off without a flaw, the book isn’t interesting. If the character doesn’t grow, the book is unsatisfying.

Characters are the part of the book that curl around our hearts and bring a sense of connectivity that is so vitally important.

About the Author

Madeline Martin lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her two daughters (AKA Oldest Minion and Youngest Minion). All shenanigans are detailed regularly on Twitter and on Facebook.

Her hobbies include rock climbing, running, doing crazy races (like Mud Runs and Color Runs) and just about anything exciting she can do without getting nauseous. She’s also a history fan after having lived in Europe for over a decade, and enjoys traveling overseas whenever she can. Her favorite place to visit thus far: Scotland.

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