Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Author Spotlight - Linda Mims

I am so excited to help you get to know this debut author.  Meet Linda Mims, a retired educator turned author.  That alone is reason for me to adore her. :-) Her novel will be the reason that you love her.  So, without further delay, here is a little information about Linda.

Linda Mims started creating tales in her head as a child. At age 12, she knew she was onto something when she sold a story to her grandmother for a quarter, but it was her dad’s more practical advice, to get a good education and find a real job, that she followed.
After retiring from her “real job” as an educator, Linda began her writing career as an indie author. The tale of The Neon Houses was born out of a careless comment that people had lost interest in reading. The joke was that decades from now we’d need to hold reading nights in neighborhood parks for citizens who wouldn’t be able to read.
Linda rolled that idea around in her head until it turned into a whole society of have-nots. Once the idea got rolling, she worked nonstop until she’d finished the first draft. Writing is now her real job!
LindaMims resides in a small suburban town 30 miles outside of Chicago, IL where she likes to cook, garden, and blog, sometimes simultaneously. She is married to her long-time love, has two grown daughters and one bossy, bichon-pom, Alexis.

I have downloaded The Neon Houses and can't wait to read it to review it for you all, but in the meantime, check out this review from another incredible author:

By Mary Schmidt on January 26, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition

By the middle of chapter one, I knew this book was different from mainstream futuristic novels. Mims’ wove a true unique read with an interesting plot and characters. I didn’t expect a chilling murder at the beginning, but this novel demands action and is quite gripping. A future Chicago and Gang Territory, those with money, and those who live in the ghetto – drug/crime lords, growing up on the street, and more makes this book believable, as I can visually see this entire novel in my brain. A book that garners this kind of a reaction from me garners five stars, especially when it is well-written. Mim’s characters spring to life in a futuristic socioeconomic environment and gave me pause to wonder just what Earth will be like in the late 2000’s. Well done Ms. Mims.

This book should be moved to the top of your list of TBRs. The cover alone is phenomenal! Here is the synopsis of the book:

Dr. Noel Kennedy hears screams inside her head, but the screams aren’t hers. While preparing for her annual end-of-summer barbecue, Noel hears her young friend—twenty-year-old Zarah Fisher—screaming for her life. However Zarah is miles away!
Noel knows the exact moment Zarah takes her last breath because Noel has a secret! It’s a secret that not even her husband Richard knows.
As the Deputy Chief of Schools of Gang Territory, Noel has perfected her life. She is a solid, middle-class citizen from New Chicago, Incorporated. New Chicago and Gang Territory have become vastly different societies since the early Urban Wars. Now, year 2087 finds New Chicago’s military-trained police determined to enforce laws that keep “gang people” out.
Harlem Pierce, a New Chicago police detective, has been warned to stay away from this case and he urges Noel to let it go. But a new killing involves Noel’s younger cousin and her boyfriend and links Noel to it in a startling way.
Who can Noel draw on? Must she turn to Warren Simpson—the menacing, treacherous boss of Gang Territory? Or … could he be the killer?
Check out this awesome book trailer for more information: https://youtu.be/_JrglVENUOs

While you are at it, follow her on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/boom_lyn

The tour is sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Author Spotlight - Jan Sikes

Author Spotlight - Jan Sikes

Happy Valentine's Day! I can't think of a better way of spreading love on this day than by sharing my love of reading and writing with you.  So, for this Valentine's Day, I am sharing with you a fellow author who has written several different books.  She is a member of Rave Writers - International Society of Authors (RWISA).  Join me in welcoming this amazing author of several novels and learn more about her in my interview with her.

      How long have you been writing?   The first thing I remember writing was a gospel song around         the age of eight or nine.

How many books have you authored?  5  

Please give us up to 3 titles? Flowers and Stone, The Convict and the Rose, Home At Last

Do you have a writing schedule?  I wish! I have such a busy life that too often my writing goes to the back burner. But…once I am moved and settled in my new place, I intend to change that and work on my story in some form or fashion every day. Wish me luck!

You’re a member of RAVE WRITERS –INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS (RWISA)Why do you think you were accepted into this exclusive group?  I’m an award-winning author and while  I’m proud of this recognition, I see tons of room for improvement in my writing. And, I think that is why I was accepted into RWISA – not because I have won awards for my writing, but because I hunger to continue to grow and learn the craft.

Modesty aside, what separates your writing from the millions of other writers in the world? We are all unique. And because of that, we each have a unique voice – way of expressing our thoughts with words. That is the one factor that separates any of us. I can’t tell a story like you and you wouldn’t be able to tell the story the way I do. I love this because it is what makes everything about the crazy world of writing so exciting, fresh and new!

If you could spend a day picking the brain of one author, who would that be? Taylor Caldwell Why? She wrote a historical novel in 1972 that totally changed the way I view world leaders, wars and the way decisions are made that affect countries. I would love to hear why she wrote this book, how she did her research and what it led her to discover.

Are you a die-hard INDIE writer who loves having complete control of your work, or, if you were offered a publishing contract today, would you sign on the dotted line? Although I love the freedom of being an Indie author, I would jump at a chance to sign a legitimate publishing contract. My sister is a traditionally published author (signed to a major publisher) and when I see all they do for her as far as marketing, I am envious. It would be nice to get paid, instead of having to pay for everything myself.

As an author, where do you see yourself in 5 years?  I know beyond any doubt, I’ll still be writing, but I also see myself getting more established as a teacher. I love presenting workshops to all levels of writers from children to adult. I learn so much that way.

What is the ONE tool that has been the most beneficial tool in the marketing of your books? Hands down, for me, public appearances. I sell more books by doing speaking engagements or through book signings. I love the one-on-one interaction with  potential readers.

Name one writer that you know of, member or non-member of RRBC, who you feel should be added to the RWISA Roster of elite members?  Mae Clair (in fact I am shocked to find that she isn’t already a member) Why? Her writing is superb, but as a person, she is one of the most supportive, encouraging and engaging RRBC members I’ve gotten to know.

What is the one piece of advice that you could share that would be most valuable for those aspiring to not only be writers, but those aspiring to be great writers? Never EVER think you’ve learned all there is to know about writing. It is an ongoing process and we should never stop learning!

Do you believe that writers who churn out several books a year are really putting out quality work?   It depends. I would say that answer could only be given on a book-by-book basis. I know some writers who put out three or four books per year and they are all amazing stories. On the other hand, I know some who are more interested in adding another title to their name than telling a great story or making sure it’s the best it can be.

If you had promised your fans a book by a certain date only to find that your book wasn’t the best it could be, would you go ahead and publish your book just to meet that self-imposed deadline and deliver as promised, or, would you disappoint your fans and shelve the book until it was absolutely ready? I would have to shelve the book.   No matter your reason, please explain why? To publish a book that wasn’t ready would only hurt me, not help. I would lose those reader fans quickly. Let me add, though, that I’d stay in contact with the readers and let them know the status of the book.

In your opinion, what makes a book “a great book?”  A character driven story that you can’t put down and that lingers with you long after you’ve read “The End.”

If you received a review of your book which stated that there were editing & proofing “issues,” what’s the first thing you would do?  First, I would contact the person who claimed there were editing and proofing issues to thank them for taking time to tell me and then I’d ask for specifics. And the second? If there were truly typos, errors or any other mistakes, I’d immediately pull the book down off the market, and go to work on the manuscript. 

Here is a little advice from Jan herself:

Don’t Fall in a Rut
We all have our own unique style of communicating, but as authors, do we let ourselves fall into a rut of using the same words over and over throughout our stories? I’d like to challenge all authors, new and old, to examine your wordage. Do you use “very, just, such, things or was/is/are/am” too often?
There are many reference books at our fingertips, and of course, a standard is the trusty Thesaurus. Isn’t it a wonderful handy tool to have right on your computer desktop? If you find a certain word or phrase that you get stuck using, do a search through the document and let your imagination and creativity explode by creating different and more descriptive ways of saying the same thing only better.
It is a constant goal to improve the quality, not quantity, of my writing. A well-written story that flows and draws the reader in is like stumbling upon a gold mine of emotion.  

Check out Jan Sike's latest book, which is currently FREE!

Home At Last by [Sikes, Jan]

Want to know more about her? Visit her here:

TWITTER HANDLE:  @rijanjks

Thank you for supporting our RWISA (RAVE WRITERS-INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS) Members!  Please follow and support the entire tour by visiting 4WillsPub.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Authors Helping Authors

When I was growing up, I always thought of my favorite authors as hermits, people who hid away in a dark room with a single lamp illuminating the masterpiece that they were creating.  It was an image of romanticism, mysticism, and loneliness.  And though I am sure there are many authors who are introverted and prefer their solace, many of us are actually quite social creatures.  When we write, we need our solitude, but otherwise we tend to enjoy being among the living and breathing.

When I first started writing with the intent to complete a full novel, I felt alone in the process.  Sure, I had my family and a few friends supporting me, but I was mostly alone.  Finishing the novel enhanced my loneliness in the writer's world because I could not seem to find a publisher for my novel.  My first two novels went unpublished because of the amount of rejection I received.

So, when I wrote my third novel, I decided that I would self-publish. At first, the journey was scary and very lonely.  I had to teach myself the process and was lucky to come across a few resources that helped me.  And soon, I had a published novel.  And then...nothing happened.  I had some sales, mostly from my family and friends, but I was stuck.

Marketing is not my friend. I have always had difficulty seeking attention from others.  I am the wallflower in the crowd, and I am okay with that.  The problem is that you cannot be a wallflower in self-publishing...unless you plant yourself in a garden.  And I did!

I came across the Rave Reviews Book Club somehow.  I truly don't remember the moment, but I believe the Universe put this club on my path because she knew that I desperately needed a community of authors and readers.  RRBC, as the members lovingly call it, is for all readers and writers. It's a book club, but it's SO much more.  We have become a family, and family supports one another.

One of the many things that I love about RRBC is that the members will purchase my book, read it, and write a very honest review.  I also purchase and read other authors' books and then write very honest reviews (you can see my reviews here).  Many of the books are free at times or are on sale for $0.99.  I have read some incredible stories that I never would have been exposed to had it not been for this club.  I have also received some great feedback about my own writing which only further enhances my craft.

Another amazing trait of this club is the vast amount of support that is given.  And this is where I found my garden.  I have a hard time promoting myself, but I LOVE to promote other authors.  I share what I read with my followers and I promote novels from other authors because book lovers deserve to know about the wonderful books that are out there. In turn, the other members promote my books to their members, helping me to reach other readers who may not usually have come across my novels.  It's a win-win for everyone!

Social media is a godsend for this sort of thing, and Twitter is my main venue. I have a pinned promotion at the top, which allows other authors to retweet that promo to their followers.  When I want to promote an author, the first thing I do is see if they also have a pinned tweet.  I don't always have a lot of time to search through their feed to learn more about their works, so having that pinned tweet at the top makes a huge difference.

Some authors change their pinned tweet often, which allows me to easily share a new view on their works with my followers. I am guilty of leaving my pinned tweet for too long and definitely need to work on updating it more often.  Still, a pinned tweet is so beneficial to those who want to help promote your works.  So, if you are an author and don't have a pinned tweet, you may want to consider creating one.  It could be as simple as a list of author links or a picture of your books with a link to your web site.

Since joining RRBC, my list of followers has grown like wildflowers, and purchases and reviews keep coming.  I have met the most amazing people and have added a few more names to my list of favorite authors.  I know now that I will never be that writer who is stuck in a dark room writing by the glimmer of a lamp.  I am an author who is basking in the sunlight surrounded by a garden of wonder.