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ANGELA BROWN AND GWEN GARDNER INTERVIEW AND GIVEAWAY OF NEVERLOVE AND GIVIN’ UP THE GHOST




Happy Halloween Everyone!

Today I’m excited to interview Angela Brown and Gwen Gardner, who have joined forces in publishing their books and have a blog together, Partners in ParanormYA. Angela’s been a follower since I started blogging and I’m just getting to know Gwen. This is the final stop in their blog tour.

Angela’s book NEVERLOVE and Gwen’s book GIVIN’ UP THE GHOST were released on October 8, 2012. Since they’re partnering for their book releases, I thought it’d be fun to interview them together. I was excited when they agreed. And what perfect books to spotlight on Halloween!

Here’s a blurb on NEVERLOVE from Goodreads

For seventeen-year-old Abigail, one rash decision leads to an unexpected chance for redemption. At V'Salicus Academy, a unique institute where she trains to become an agent of heaven, she struggles with the pain of her past, the changes of the present and accepts a loveless future until her path – and heart – crosses with Basil’s.

Basil's off-chance slip of the tongue binds him to a life of servitude to the Devourer, the master of hell. His existence has no upside until a chance meeting with Abigail brings new perspective.

Keeping the truth of their present lives from each other brings disaster when secrets are brought to light and the life of Abigail’s mentor is put on the line.

Can Abigail and Basil save her mentor and salvage their love amid the chaos? Or will they lose it all, destined forever to NEVERLOVE? 

Here’s a blurb on GIVIN’ UP THE GHOST from Goodreads:


Friend or Foe?




Murder victim Bart Bagley is not content to merely roll over in his 
grave. He wants his murderer caught and he wants teenage ghost whisperer, Indigo Eady, to help him.
It becomes obvious that Bart’s temper lead to more than one disagreement, but is it enough to want him dead? With nothing but a cold trail and a hot list of “friendly” suspects, Indigo and her friends race to find the killer before they become the next victims.

An Indigo Eady Paranormal Mystery

Indigo Eady is not clumsy. At least, that’s what she keeps telling everyone. Can she help that the overactive spirit community of Sabrina Shores causes her psychic abilities to short-circuit? It’s unfortunate that her cute new friend Badger is often on the receiving end of her mishaps. At times, she is positively hazardous to his health. Even so, sparks start to fly in more than one direction...

Hi Angela and Gwen. Thanks so much for joining us.

1.  Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became a writer.

Angela:
First, we’d like to thank you, Natalie, for having us here today.  I adore Literary Rambles and all you and Casey do for authors and readers.  As for me, not a whole lot to tell.  I started writing in elementary school and toyed with the idea of writing through my teen years.  Just didn’t think anyone would take me seriously.  I grabbed the pen by the top when my daughter (nicknamed Chipmunk) was born.  I wanted to be an example of going for your dreams, not just lip service.

Gwen:
I’m a bit of a late bloomer. I graduated college at 41 and started writing at 50. I wanted to write since college, but procrastinated, telling myself that someday I would. But when you’re 50, “someday” is staring you in the face in a big way. I quit my job, moved to the mountains and started to write. 

2.  Yay for late bloomers, Gwen. I'm one too. Share how you came up with the idea for your story.

Angela:
Honestly, Neverlove is the product of reader interest in my A to Z blogging challenge turned blog opera.  The trials of Abby and Basil were a daily drama during April 2012.  Enough readers mentioned wanting to know more about the characters so I said, “Well, why not?”  And here we are.  The blogging challenge theme was originally inspired by Adele’s song, “Set fire to the rain.”

Gwen:
I’ve always been fascinated with the paranormal, psychics and ghosts and all of that. So when I decided to write a book, I knew my main character would be a ghost whispering psychic. The only thing that really changed is that I changed it from middle grade to young adult. 

3.  I remember you doing that for the A to Z challenge last year, Angela. So awesome it turned into a book. Who is your favorite character in your story and why?

Angela:
That would be Abby.  There are so many tidbits of “me” interwoven into her and so much more that I wish I could be.  She’s damaged and learning to deal with that.  I can understand where she’s coming from.

Gwen:
I hate to choose a favorite, because I love them all! But if I had to choose, I’d have to say Indigo Eady is my favorite. I wrote my entire book in third person, but it didn’t have a hook and the characters just didn’t grab me - until I played with Indigo’s voice in first person. That’s when she came alive. So I changed the whole book to first person in Indigo’s voice, and got to know her really well. That’s why she’s my favorite - I know her better than the others. 

4.  For this one, I have separate questions for each of you. For Angela, I know you’re a single mom, have a demanding job, blog regularly and follow blogs, and set writing goals for yourself that you meet. I know because you post them regularly on your blog, (which I recommend you all follow). How do you juggle it all and stay productive?

For Gwen, I read on your website that you quit your successful corporate job and moved to the mountains to write. What made you decide this and how do you schedule your time to stay productive?

Angela:
It’s funny you ask.  I can think of two words:  God and Passion. Wrap that in copious amounts of Wild Cherry Pepsi, late nights to read, write and blog and early mornings to make sure the Chipmunk gets off to school with a happy belly and a smile.  There’s some sleep in there somewhere…I think lol!  The encouragement I’ve received from family and friends has also helped tremendously.

Gwen:
To elaborate on what I said above, 50 is rather a milestone in life. I had a high paying, steady job, but it isn’t what I wanted to do with my life. When you’re 50, life’s too short to not be doing what you want. So I threw it all in. It’s been tough financially, but I’m ever so much happier as a broke writer.

5.  I know what you mean about the sleep, Angela. And Gwen, I admire your bravery in following your dreams. It's a big step to quit a successful job like you did.

You both decided to self-publish your books and you have partnered up to do it. I think that’s a fabulous idea to join forces like you have. Share with us what went into your decision to self-publish and how you decided to do it together.

Angela:
I’d been considering self-publishing Neverlove from the moment I decided to make it a novel.  Everything started falling into place with Gwen.  One e-mail led to a great conversation then on to the fateful moment of me asking Gwen if she’d like to partner up to self-publish and promote our books together.  It’s been stupendous having a fantastic partner like Gwen along this journey.

Gwen:
What I write isn’t exactly a main stream genre. It’s what I call young adult light paranormal “cozy” mystery. I think that most people enjoy heavier, more in-your-face types of paranormal fiction. Long story short, I didn’t think a publisher would be interested in my brand. So I decided to (once again) take things into my own hands and self-publish. Angela and I became critique partners, and she was aware I wanted to self publish. So our partnership just sort of evolved from there. 

6.  Did you find any resources especially helpful as you learned all the nuts and bolts of self-publishing a book?

Angela:
Other bloggers have been the best!  Seriously.  I don’t think I could have done this without the great resources shared by other bloggers.  Rock on writing community!

Gwen:
Most of what I learned came from other bloggers. Blogging writers are so good about sharing their experiences. If something works for them, they share it. If something doesn’t work for them, they share that too.  There is an enormous amount of information circulating throughout the blogosphere. 

7.  Yes, the blogging community is very supportive of each other. And there are many self-published authors willing to share what they've learned from their own experiences self-publishing. What are you working on now?

Angela:
I’m at the beginning stages of the sequel to Neverlove. I also have a middle grade novel that’s been begging escape and I have a YA urban fantasy/dystopian that I’m sort of in limbo with because the vampire aspect has it sort of “questionable” as to audience appeal.

Gwen:
I’m working on the second book in my Indigo Eady Paranormal “Cozy” Mystery Series, called A Guilty Ghost Surprised.

Thanks Angela and Gwen for sharing all your advice. You can find Angela at Goodreads, Twitter, Amazon or my blog page Angela Brown in Pursuit of Publishness. And you can find Gwen at GoodReads, Amazon, and at her blog, Gwen Gardner, YA Author

Angela and Gwen are each generously offering an e-book of their books for a giveaway. 

To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on November 10th. I’ll announce the winner on November 12th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment. 


If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. International entries are welcome.

 Here's what's coming up:

On Monday I'll be interviewing a teen for my ASK THE EXPERT series and sharing THE SPINDLERS by Lauren Oliver with you and giving away two copies of it. I'm a huge fan of Lauren's and I was excited to get an ARC. The world building in her new book is amazing and it's a great story.

Next Wednesday I'll be participating in a blog tour for debut author Lea Nolan and giving away a copy of her new book CONJURE. The awesome Elana Johnson is organizing her blog tour and I was excited when she asked me to be part of it. Lea's book is about hidden pirate bounty and unleashing a Gullah curse and sounds fantastic.

Next Friday I'm hosting debut author Chris Howard and giving away a copy of his book ROOTLESS, a dystopian world about a world about trees. Does it sound like a unique dystopian story? 

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you Monday!




Tip Tuesday #148 AND GIVEAWAY OF EASTER ANN PETERS' OPERATION COOL

Tip Tuesday features writers' tips on craft, research, querying, blogging, marketing, inspiration, and more. If you'd like to send in a tip, please e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.

Natalie here today. I'm excited to share a tip by Jody Lamb, a fellow Michigan SCBWI member. Jody's also offering a copy of her new book, EASTER ANN PETERS' OPERATION COOL for a giveaway. Details are at the end of Jody's post.


3 reasons why you need a special writing/creating space

It’s one of the most commonly asked questions of authors: Where do you write/create art? What’s your writing space like? Our curiosity is fueled by hope to discover a magical spot where creativity flows and genius concepts arrive in a sparkly bow.

The answers are as varied as how-to-write-the-next-great-thing publishing agent and editor discussion panel. Cozy, cluttered basement offices, tattered tree houses, bustling coffee shops, in one’s pajamas, trains and even closets: I’ve heard of them all.

Some people cannot write anywhere but their staple spot. Others require constant variety.

Most of us creators are limited in the options for such creative space. You may feel tremendous urgency in hitting the word counts and other WIP milestones. We squeeze in extra 15 minutes of writing time whenever we can, often wherever we can.

I’ve discovered that when I’m under self or editor-imposed deadlines, I consider working in distraction-loaded places because it’ll save me commute time to get elsewhere.

However, if not for the creative space I found, I wouldn’t be celebrating the upcoming release of middle-grade novel, Easter Ann Peters’ Operation Cool.

I wrote most of four drafts of my debut novel, beside this lake in a public park. It’s my favorite to place to be.

My love of this place began in the summer of 2009. I was 26 years old and in the midst of a quarter-life crisis. My peers appeared to be settling into grownup life and letting dreams slip away with smiles pasted all over Facebook. I felt lost, longed for a sense of purpose and feared I was alone in my struggles with lack of satisfaction. I found little enjoyment in my job. I had accidentally moved up the corporate marketing and PR career ladder.

As a child, I found great joy in writing screenplays and short stories but I gave up creative writing in high school to use my skills in a practical career in journalism and media relations.

Could I find joy in creative writing as a grownup? This is the question I longed to answer when I enrolled in a creative writing course at my local community college. 

Every Tuesday and Thursday, I’d hurry from my office to arrive early for the 6 p.m. class. After the first week, I felt a sense of hope that I could claim the kind of fulfilling grownup life I’d hoped for as a child.

In the beginning, when I sat down to pen or key my homework assignments at home, at coffee shops or at a library, I froze. It felt, well, like homework. I was distracted by the usual stresses around me – the deadlines, the people, the carpet needing vacuuming.

So I went to the park.

Right away, when I unpacked my notebook and pen, I actually felt lighter, as crazy as that might sound. My work stresses and family drama weren’t with me there. Expectations and obligations. Worries and insecurities. They all slipped away.

There, if only for a minute or two, I’m a writer with a notebook full of blank pages and a pen full of ink.

It’s how I always thought grownup would feel.

Being there is good for my writerly soul, like eating ice cream, and I am so grateful for that free feeling.

Several times while I wrote and edited four whole drafts of the story, I wanted to skip the park. Sometimes, it seemed more convenient to go the local coffee shop. The weather was often a headache – sometimes it was ultra chilly, other times it was crazy hot.

But I was always glad I went.  

I hope you have a special place and if not yet, I hope you give it thought.

Here are three reasons you should find a special writing/creating space:
  1. You’re creating because you have talent! It’s a big deal and therefore, it deserves careful thought about where to put your skills to greatest use.
  2. Odds are that your best work comes when you’re somewhere you feel relaxed.
  3. You’re going to need something cool to describe when you’re asked the where-do-you-create questions. 
High five and write on!

****
Jody is a SCBWI Michigan member. Luckily, she’s pretty much the same person she was at twelve years old, even though she’s a grownup now. Jody loves books, writing, ugly dogs, peppermint ice cream, ear-to-ear smiles, insides-twisting laughter and her family. She is a passionate advocate for kids with alcoholic loved ones. Like Easter Ann, Jody lives in Michigan with furry friends. “Easter Ann Peters’ Operation Cool” is her first novel. She is currently writing a young adult novel and has plans for another middle-grade novel.

You can learn more about Jody and her debut middle-grade novel, “Easter Ann Peters’ Operation Cool,” on her website – www.JodyLamb.com. Jody hopes you’ll say hi and connect with her at Facebook.com/JodyLambAuthor and Twitter.com/jodymlamb. She loves meeting fellow story lovers!

Here's a blurb about Jody's book from Goodreads:
 
Twelve-year-old Easter Ann Peters has a plan to make seventh grade awesome: Operation Cool. She’s determined to erase years of being known as the quiet, straight-A student who can’t think of a decent comeback to a bully she calls Horse Girl. When the confident new girl, Wreni, becomes her long-needed best friend, Easter lets her personality shine. The coolest guy in school takes a sudden interest. But as tough times at school fade away, so does a happy life at home. Mom is drinking, and Easter works double-overtime to keep their secret in the tiny lakeside town.

Operation Cool derails. Fast.

Can Easter discover the solution in time? Or will seventh grade be her worst year yet?

Jody is offering a copy of EASTER ANN PETERS' OPERATION COOL for a giveaway.

To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on November 10th. I’ll announce the winner on November 12th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment. 

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. International entries are welcome.

Hope to see you tomorrow when I'm interviewing our follower Angela Brown about her debut book NEVERLOVE and Gwen Gardner about her debut book GIVIN' UP THE GHOST with book giveaways. They are both great paranormal books and Angela and Gwen have joined forces for their book releases. It's going to be a fun interview for Halloween.



CINDA WILLIAMS CHIMA INTERVIEW AND THE CRIMSON CROWN GIVEAWAY



Happy, Happy Monday! I've been excited to share today's interview with you for weeks. 

Before I get to it, I just want to say that I know November is probably going to be slower because of NaNo. And it's awesome for those of you participating. I hope you accomplish a lot. I'm not participating but am going to try to focus on writing and getting ready to query throughout November. I am planning a quieter blogging month because of NaNo. But I hope you'll check in because I'll be sharing some fantastic author interviews and book giveaways in November. My contests run for about ten days so you don't have to enter the first day. Just stop by when you're taking a break.

Now here's the winners of a few giveaways.

The winner of CREWEL is SOPHIA CHANG!    

And the winner of THE RAVEN BOYS is Cassandra (The Book and Movie Dimension blogger)

Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send you your books. 

Today I’m so thrilled to have Cinda Williams Chima here to share about THE CRIMSON CROWN, the last book in The Seven Realms series that was released October 23, 2012. Cinda’s books are always on the New York Times best seller list and she’s one of my favorite fantasy authors. I discovered her other series, The Heir Chronicles, a YA urban fantasy, at the library a number of years ago and have read all her books ever since. 

Then I got to meet Cinda at the Michigan Fall SCBWI weekend conference a few years ago. It was the total highlight of the conference meeting her and hearing her wonderful advice on plotting. I couldn’t write fast enough. 

The Seven Realms series is a fantastic fantasy series full of interesting magic, political intrigue, and a cast of characters that you come to love. It reminds me a lot of The Game of Thrones in its depth of characters and world building. 

Just preparing for Cinda's interview got me wanting to read the series over again. I'm reading it in audio version this time and loving it just as much. I walk as much as possible to read it. I'm over half way through the EXILED QUEEN, book 2 in the series. And I just got THE CRIMSON CROWN sent by Cinda's publisher so I can read it before I give it away.  I'm about 200 pages into it and it's fantastic. And Cinda does a great job weaving in bits of backstory so you could read it if you wanted without reading the first two books in the series.
Here’s a blurb about THE CRIMSON CROWN from Goodreads

A thousand years ago, two young lovers were betrayed--Alger Waterlow to his death, and Hanalea, Queen of the Fells, to a life without love.
Now, once again, the Queendom of the Fells seems likely to shatter apart. For young queen Raisa "ana'"Marianna, maintaining peace even within her own castle walls is nearly impossible; tension between wizards and Clan has reached a fevered pitch. With surrounding kingdoms seeking to prey on the Fells' inner turmoil, Raisa's best hope is to unite her people against a common enemy. But that enemy might be the person with whom she's falling in love.
Through a complicated web of lies and unholy alliances, former streetlord Han Alister has become a member of the Wizard Council of the Fells. Navigating the cut-throat world of blue blood politics has never been more dangerous, and Han seems to inspire hostility among Clan and wizards alike. His only ally is the queen, and despite the perils involved, Han finds it impossible to ignore his feelings for Raisa. Before long, Han finds himself in possession of a secret believed to be lost to history, a discovery powerful enough to unite the people of the Fells. But will the secret die with him before he can use it?
A simple, devastating truth concealed by a thousand-year-old lie at last comes to light in this stunning conclusion to the Seven Realms series.

Hi Cinda. Thanks so much for joining us. 

1.  Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became a writer. And I know you started out writing while also working as a college professor and then moved to writing full-time. How did that come about?

I began writing in third grade and I’ve never stopped. I began publishing work as a freelancer, writing essays and feature stories about parenting and health. For a while I had a freelance nutrition column in the Plain Dealer. (I’m a dietitian, and was a department head in a large hospital system.) But I realized I would never earn enough income as a freelancer to leave my day job. So I made a conscious decision to focus on novel-length fiction, though I knew the odds were against me there, too. I accepted a teaching job in the hopes that would free up more time for writing. Right after that, The Warrior Heir sold; and after that, The Wizard Heir and The Dragon Heir.
The Heir Chronicles did well, and so Hyperion offered me a three-book contract for the Seven Realms series. That’s when I quit my day job. 

2.  That's so awesome you could move to being a full-time writer. Many of us dream of that. For those who haven’t read any of the books in The Seven Realms series, tell us about the series.

While I was shopping The Warrior Heir, I began writing a high fantasy series for adults called The Star-Marked Warder. I’d read the first few books in George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series, and I loved what he did with character. No character was totally black or white—they were all heroes of their own stories.
I was 500,000 words in (!) when The Warrior Heir sold. I put the books aside and refocused on YA fiction. When I’d finished The Dragon Heir, I wanted to return to high fantasy, but still wanted to write for teens. So I took some of the characters I created for The Star-Marked Warder back to when they were teenagers. 

The central characters are Han Alister, a notorious streetgang leader, and Raisa ana’Marianna, the heir to the Gray Wolf Throne (it’s a queendom.) Though they live in the same city, they inhabit totally different worlds. The queendom is beset by squabbles between wizards, Valefolk, and the upland Clans. As Han says, “They can’t agree that water is wet and the sky is blue.”

The Seven Realms series is a kind of “redo” of a tragic romance between a wizard and a queen that nearly destroyed the world. I’m intrigued by how people are imprisoned by history.

3.  So glad you made this a YA series. And if The Seven Realms is a "redo", it's a very unique one. I’ve read that you didn’t outline this series. This is a four book huge high fantasy story filled with a long list of characters, more than one type of magic, and multiple settings that you share through the different books. (Guys if you go to Cinda’s website and check out her pages on this series, you’ll see what I mean.) How do you plot it all out and keep it straight? What tips do you have for the rest of us contemplating writing a series?

I’m not sure I’m a good example for anyone! I sold the series on the basis of a sixty-page sample. Those sixty pages ended up in the third book, The Gray Wolf Throne. I knew the characters very well, and I knew how it all ended, because The Seven Realms is a kind of prequel to The Star-Marked Warder

I would love to have an outline to work from. It would be a lot less like leaping from a cliff. Remember, once the first books in a series are in print, you can’t go back and revise them to match some new idea you’ve had in book four. 

Don’t ever let anyone tell you there’s only one right way to write a first draft. You have to figure out what works for you.
The Seven Realms series was intended to be a trilogy, but ended up as a quartet. That’s what happens when you don’t outline. 

4.  Sounds like it helped a lot to know the end. And you're right, book one does set some things in stone. One of the strengths of this story is the fantastic world building. From the wizards whose powers come from amulets, the clans who control the amulets, Hans’ magical powers and his family past, Raisa’s magical powers as queen, the connection between her and Amon, her friend, once he becomes Commander of the Gray Wolves, the magic alone is amazing. And I haven’t even mentioned the cool settings. Tell us about your world building process and what advice do you have on creating a rich, new world like you have?

I’m a build-as-you-go kind of person! When I began writing The Star-Marked Warder, I drew a map, and kept adding cities and features to it as my characters traveled around. For me, the magical element in fantasy is just one more source of conflict. I loved the notion that the Clans and Wizards hate each other, but they need each other, too. 

My magical systems are subtle. Gifted people are able to channel energy that catalyzes material change. So nobody is changing a lamp into a cat. I also suggest thinking very carefully about the rules of magic when writing the final draft. The gift of clairvoyance, for instance, makes it very difficult to get your characters into trouble. 

When I began writing The Seven Realms series, I’d already lived in that world for 500,000 words. I knew it very, very well. I think that intimate knowledge supports what’s on the page. So my advice is to live in the world you create. 

5.  Great advice. And I'd love living in the world you created.. I’ve loved Raisa and Han, watching their journeys alone and together in the series. It really added a lot to the story that you alternated between them as the POV characters. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them in THE CRIMSON CROWN. Which was the more challenging character for you to develop and why?

I’m going to cheat and say both of them. At the beginning, Raisa is self-willed, na├»ve, and a little spoiled. And readers would write to me and point that out. I’d be thinking—princess? Hello?
Some readers had a hard time with the fact that she’s fickle. Her goal is to kiss as many boys as possible before she gets married off to serve a political agenda. The Gray Wolf queens have a lusty past, notably her ancestor, Hanalea, whose love affair nearly destroyed the world. 

But Raisa has a good heart, and good instincts. She would be a better queen at sixteen than her mother at any age. It was fun following her character as she develops the street-smarts to survive in a ruthless court. 

Han is a bit of an archetypical character—the honorable thief. The bad boy. Archetypes happen because they work so well in story. Happily, the same attributes that allow him to thrive on the streets serve him well when he comes to court. Han’s language was a challenge. Over the four books, I had to transition him from a kind of street slang to language that would serve him at court. Much of his slang comes from 18th century thieves’ slang in Great Britain. 

6.  Tell us about your road to publication both in obtaining your agent—I’ve read you’ve had more than one—and your publisher.

I had one agent who didn’t work out. The red flags were there, but I ignored them, because I was so desperate to have an agent. A bad agent is worse than none at all. It took me four years to find the right agent. (More specifically, it took four years for me to advance as a writer to the point that an agent would have me.)

On my last agent hunt, I sent out 24 queries, had requests from two, and signed with one of them. You don’t have to know someone to get an agent. The very best thing you can do is write a fantastic book and a decent query letter. 

My first agent sold The Warrior Heir, the book I’d been shopping for four years. For me, finding an agent was the key to finding a publisher. Any writer of novel-length fiction should have an agent. 

7.  Great to know that if you persist like you did that you can get your book published if it's good, like yours are. THE WARRIOR HEIR was the first book of yours I read and then I was hooked on all your books. 

Your books are hugely popular, making the New York Times bestseller list. Your publisher didn’t even use ARCs for THE CRIMSON CROWN. What’s your advice on successful marketing as an author and what’s essential for a debut author marketing his or her first book?

Nobody knows how to successfully market a book, that’s the problem! Again, the most important thing to do is write a great book. If you have a choice between attracting 3000 followers on Twitter and honing your writing skills, focus on the writing. It will serve you best. 

For The Warrior Heir, there was no national author tour, etc. Who would’ve come? I was employed full time so there were limits to what I could do. My publisher sent review copies to librarians, bookstore owners, and reviewers. 

I think a website is key—or at least a point of contact on the web. But I don’t think you have to  set up a website before you find a publisher. Unless you can do it yourself, it’s expensive, and you have to keep paying for updates. Blogs can be a point of contact on the web, and there are blog and website templates out there that can make it easy.  Make sure that if somebody (editor, agent?) goes looking for you they can find you. Also, take a look at your online presence—is it professional? You want them to like what they find.
It helps to marry talent. My husband designed my website after The Warrior Heir sold, and still manages it. 

The Warrior Heir landed on the Indie Next list, which brought it to the attention of indie bookstore owners. I contacted local media, local libraries, did some library and school programs for free. Whenever I traveled for business or pleasure, I’d contact local bookstores and ask about doing an event, or simply stop in and sign stock. I was fortunate that the chains have carried all of my books. 

Covers are still huge, and my covers have been awesome! The author doesn’t have control over that, but I’ve always had input into my covers. The wise author is ready to answer that question when it comes. The cover makes a promise that the book keeps. 

I think bookmarks are great promotion tools. It’s a succinct, portable answer to “You’re a writer? What do you write?”
Word of mouth built the Heir series. The Warrior Heir sold well enough to get me a contract for a second book. The Wizard Heir got me a contract for The Dragon Heir. And The Dragon Heir landed on the New York Times list. That made a big change in what my publisher was able to do for me. 

8.  Wow! Such great advice here. And glad to know that you can be successful published author while working full-time, which is how I'd have to do it. What are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on a new Heir Chronicles novel, tentatively scheduled for fall, 2013. 

Thanks Cinda for sharing all your great advice. I can’t wait to read the next book in The Heir Chronicles too.

You can find Cinda at her website and on Facebook. She tweets @cindachima On the website, check out Help for Writers, where she answers FAQs about writing and the publishing business. 

Cinda's publisher has generously offered a copy of THE CRIMSON CROWN for a giveaway. 
To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on November 10th. I’ll announce the winner on November 12th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment. 


If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. International entries are welcome.

And don't forget to enter my other awesome giveaways listed at the top of the blog.

 Here's what's coming up:

On Wednesday, I'm interviewing our follower Angela Brown about her debut book NEVERLOVE and Gwen Gardner about her debut book GIVIN' UP THE GHOST with book giveaways. They are both great paranormal books and Angela and Gwen have joined forces for their book releases. It's going to be a fun interview for Halloween.

Next Monday I'll be interviewing a teen for my ASK THE EXPERT series and sharing THE SPINDLERS by Lauren Oliver with you and giving away two copies of it. I'm a huge fan of Lauren's and I was excited to get an ARC. The world building in her new book is amazing and it's a great story.

Next Wednesday I'll be participating in a blog tour for debut author Lea Nolan and giving away a copy of her new book CONJURE. The awesome Elana Johnson is organizing her blog tour and I was excited when she asked me to be part of it. Lea's book is about hidden pirate bounty and unleashing a Gullah curse and sounds fantastic.

Next Friday I'm hosting debut author Chris Howard and giving away a copy of his book ROOTLESS, a dystopian world about a world about trees. Does it sound like a unique dystopian story? 

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you Wednesday!