Welcome and tell us a little about yourself. Thank you for inviting me, Liz. I’m happy to meet your readers. I bet we’ve enjoyed some of the same books. I’ve read my whole life; I can’t imagine a day without a novel of some sort in my hands. Movies are one of my passions, too, along with fast cars. We have a Corvette convertible–I love the wind in my hair–although a helmet when racing is smarter. While you read through this interview, you’ll probably notice the out of doors keeps me sane.
What are three things you cannot do without? My family. Mountains. Animals. I even like pigs, but not rats.
What is your opinion on the electronic book and ereader revolution? It’s the best thing that’s happened to publishing since papyrus and ink. IMHO, writers will eventually work on a level playing field. The stigma of self-publication will diminish and disappear. If a story is well written, it’ll sell. If it isn’t, it won’t. This won’t happen overnight. Like all major changes, it’ll take time and upheaval as opportunities open, shift and settle.
Personally, I like e-books and e-readers for the ease and economy of exploring outside my usual reading material. Those I love, I buy in traditional book form for my keeper shelf. I suspect this will eventually stop. I hate dusting. I have a small house. I move frequently and packing is a pain.
Address the ins and outs of an aspiring author seeking publication. It’s as hard as it is easy–keep writing, keep learning, keep submitting, keep faithful to your gut.
Talk about your publishing journey. My first contest experience was in the late 90’s. A fluke of circumstances, there were only four entries in my category, earned me Honorable Mention and infected me with the wanna-be-published bug. I completed four manuscripts in the next thirteen years between five moves; the deaths of my father and father-in-law three weeks apart; my husband’s back surgery and long recovery; marriages of both our kids; the births of grandchildren; and countless other distractions. I submitted three of those manuscripts to traditional publishers and allowed rejections to steal my steam. Like my humor, which is a half a bubble off plumb, my writing doesn’t fit the traditional mold. E-publishers accept the offbeat as long as it’s well written. Three 4 Star/Heart reviews from Sizzling Hot Book Reviews, The Romance Reviews, and The Romance Studio confirm what my editor and publisher saw in my writing. I’m blessed that some of my readers have been kind enough to tell me: “I couldn’t put it down.”
I’m gratified I persevered, mainly due to my critique partner’s pushing, prodding, encouraging. Caroline Clemmons rocks! Thank you, kind and wise lady. I’m forever in your debt.
Talk about online book promotions. What has worked for you? I should skip this question because I’m such a newbie at it–I’m trying everything. But, I do have a couple points I believe are important. Marketing is a long term effort. “Caught by a Clown” was released January 21st, so I don’t have sales feedback yet to measure against my fledgling attempts. However, a blend of social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), radio interviews, and sites such as Goodreads that reach readers outside our writing circles promotes name recognition which, I hope, will eventually equate to book sales. The most important aspects of all of that are courtesy and respect, the cornerstones of The Golden Rule. Be sure your frantic schedule of writing, marketing, and living don’t overshadow the fair treatment of others.
Writing tips: Utilize senses twice as often as you think you should and you’ll come closer to grounding your reader in the scene and helping them care about your character. Explore outside the usual, “popular” senses of sight and sound, which should be individualized whenever possible to reveal character. For example: An older sister might groan at her younger sister’s prize rose garden and shred a blossom because their mother ignored them as kids in favor of tending the precious flowers. The younger woman might breathe deeply of their rich aroma, her mother’s scent, and relish their petals, soft and smooth like her mother’s cheek.
Touch seems to be the forgotten sense. Its intimate connection to the point of view character gives it greater strength in capturing the reader.
Taste is more challenging to incorporate outside of meals or snacks, but its unique application can be powerful and worth the effort, unless it’s so unique it jars the reader out of the story. lol
How do you balance life and work? Not well. I prefer writing, even marketing to housecleaning, laundry, cooking (yuck) or errands. I usually end up squeezing in things I should have been doing when my writing hits a snag. Most of the time, those problems crop up due to brain drain or I’m too close to the scene. If I’m tired, I choose something outside to rejuvenate me. When I’m too close to the scene, I bustle about my chores until a fresh perspective frees the snag.
Talk about a specific book of yours. That would be “Caught by a Clown,” my first published novel. Available through The Wild Rose Press, www.thewildrosepress.com , the spicy romantic suspense involves a spontaneous freelance journalist on a mission of mercy who finds herself entangled with a methodical undercover FBI agent out to settle a score. As you might guess, these opposing personalities strike sparks from the moment they meet.
Here’s the blurb: Stacie Monroe’s spontaneity lands her in hot water again when her best friend’s little brother disappears and Stacie trails him to a nudist resort. To get inside the exclusive oasis and convince him to return home, she must blend in, a move tailor made to shock her oh-so-proper family and renew efforts to bring her in line.
That’s exactly what Special Agent David Graham intends to do when she interferes in his case. Yet, the soft-hearted temptress challenges his resolve, revealing the path to a love he thought impossible. Will that love survive when he betrays her in order to unravel the final twist in his case and convict a vicious killer?
Excerpt: Stacie tapped one sandal-clad foot on the floor while Agent I’d-Rather-Scare-You-Than-Confide-In-You ignored her. She glanced toward the bathroom, crossed her legs, and wished she hadn’t finished that last glass of wine.
“Aren’t you going to search that closet or open those two bottom drawers in the dresser?” she asked when he tucked his camera inside his pack.
A nasty suspicion raised its head. “Why not?”
“Don’t have a search warrant. That limits me to a visual inspection of what’s in plain sight.”
“I won’t tell,” she pushed, despite being certain of his response.
“There are laws.”
She groaned over the close match to a pronouncement she’d heard her whole life. There are rules.
Boring. Snoring. Gone. Think of something else.
Like how Agent By-The-Book caused this mess. If he’d mentioned being from the FBI when they met in the office none of this would have happened. He ignored her interest in Alan Walsh and her intelligence in favor of treating her as if she were a child in need of a lesson.
Nature threatened to float her teeth, but Stacie refused to ask for relief. She fidgeted on the hard chair and crossed her legs the other way. The backs of her thighs pulled where her skin had stuck to the wooden seat. That twinge of pain reminded her she ought to be thrilled Graham claimed a badge and not a rap sheet. Instead, she rattled the handcuffs that shackled her to the chair and worried how far he meant to carry her arrest.
BUY the paperback at TWRP http://bit.ly/i63Ds5 or Amazon http://amzn.to/hQQW9E
BUY the Ebook at TWRP http://bit.ly/ecClR8 or Amazon Kindle http://amzn.to/efcJPV or DigiBooks Café http://bit.ly/gmhJ3o
Find out how far David carries Stacie’s arrest and learn who’s “CAUGHT BY A CLOWN.”
You can also hook up with “Caught by a Clown” at my website www.sandracrowley.com , or my blog www.driven2danger.blogspot.com
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Absolutely. I hope my readers will hold their breath, laugh out loud, even sigh and maybe, by the end of the story, believe they, too, have the strength it takes to meet their challenges. If so, I’ve added a bit of value to the world, and that’s a good thing.
What writing books do you recommend and why? The first that springs to mind is Dwight V Swain’s “Techniques of a Selling Author.” Its broad coverage and excellent pointers serve as a thorough guide for new writers and a great review for established writers or ones wanting to address a particular problem.
Alicia Rasley’s book “The Power of Point of View” illustrates how to immerse a reader in the viewpoint of the character with the most at stake in a scene. “The Power of Point of View” is available through her website at www.sff.net/people/alicia . She also offers a wealth of articles for every level of writer.
If you have trouble with telling rather than showing, check out William Noble’s book, “Show, Don’t Tell.” He addresses openings, backstory, action, pacing and senses among other aspects. Every writer struggles with one or more of those at some point.
Donald Maass’ “The Fire in Fiction” uses excerpts from published works to illustrate his points on how to ratchet up the quality of a writer’s pages. He also offers exercises at the end of each chapter to strengthen and encourage all who seek to improve their writing.
A particular favorite of mine is Rebecca McClanahan’s “Word Painting: A Guide to Writing More Descriptively.” She delves into point of view, characters, and settings through our senses, which are often missing or shortchanged in stories I read.
Liz, thank you so much for letting me chat with your readers. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I have. Please stop by my website www.sandracrowley.com or my blog www.driven2danger.blogspot.com anytime. I can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org I wish all of you the very best in your endeavors.