Monday, July 30, 2012


Book Reviewing
by - Devyn Dawson

I have a confession to make... I don't like to write book reviews.  I know that is being a hypocrite, but I don't claim to be a book reviewer.  The only book reviews that I will write are for fellow Indie authors.  As far as traditional books, they tend to have many reviews and I don't feel that mine is needed (any book that has 500+ reviews has plenty.)  I know, that is horrible but true.  Another confession, I won't write a bad review.  Something about me has the ability to put down a book if I don't like it.  It confuses me when a review is left on a book about how much a person hated the book and wanted to hurt the author.  Why?  Why read the entire thing if you dislike it so much?  I like vanilla ice-cream and you like cookie dough, I don't want to hurt you because you and I don't agree.  As far as Indie books, I write a review when I'm finished - especially if it is someone that I communicate with.  Just because I don't like to do it, I will do it for my friends.  Honestly, I have so many books on my Nook TBR list that it will be a while before I read them all.  That doesn't mean I won't review them, it means when I get a chance to read it, I'll review it.

What do I do when I write a review?  I take note of the positive aspect of the book.  If the book made me laugh, I mention the humor.  If I stay up a little later to find out what happens next, I write about the anticipation.  If the book makes me hate a character or love one, I write about how fun the characters are.  When reviewing, it is my opinion that there is always something nice to say. I never write a synopsis of the book, the author already has (a lot of reviewers do too, I have no idea why). I'm not trying to blow smoke up anyone's nickers but this is a business and I don't dog businesses. I know how important reviews are to Indies, and I assure you, if I read it I'll rate it.

Yes, some books aren't great and need work, but you don't have to be hurtful.  Writer's are human, and words are important to us.  Because you've given yourself a title as a 'book reviewer' doesn't mean you have to rip a book to pieces.  Lately, it feels like high school with reviewers.  The video clips and author bashing isn't necessary.  It's like the mean girls from school, the ones that terrorized the quiet kids or the popular girls that hated on the nerdy people.  We are all in this for the same reason, we love books.  Authors, bloggers, reviewers.... common thread - books.

Play nice, drink your Kool-Aid, and share your cookie.

Stop illegal downloading of e-books.  Please do not accept illegal book files.  

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Interview with Inara Scott


Hey all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day:
Inara Scott
Hello Inara and welcome to The Writers Voice!

Do you ever get writers block? How do you suggest aspiring authors overcome their own bouts of writers block?

I hate to say this, but I don't actually believe writer's block exists! I think writer's block is what happens when we are too scared to put words on the page because we think they aren't good enough, or they are trite, or over done, or boring, or don't further the plot, or whatever million fears we concoct in our heads. When I find myself stuck, or frozen at the keyboard, I simply remind myself that it's okay to put garbage on the page. The first thing you write is never the best thing. That's the process. It's messy and ugly and a lot of what you write will end up in the trash. But if you don't give yourself permission to write the trash, you'll never get to the good stuff.

What do you feel is your biggest writerly fault and how do you deal with it?

I'm terribly impatient! Even though I know I should slow down and let things sit and marinate, I find myself rushing through drafts and shooting things off to critique partners, agent, etc., before they're ready. I've got to force myself to give my writing a little time and space before it sees the light of day. :)

What is your favorite point of view to write from? Do you have any particular reason?

I really enjoy writing in the first person. I tend to get a little distant from my characters when I'm in third person. In first, I feel like I can simply eject the contents of my head into the page. Very satisfying.

Worldbuilding is such an important part of writing. What is your world building process like for you?

I spend a lot of time walking and thinking. I can't do this stuff while I'm in front of the computer. I need to be free to ramble mentally, while my body is moving.

What's your writing routine? Do you write in the mornings, nights, daily, or when the mood strikes you?

I'm an early bird. I've always written best early in the morning.

What is your biggest pet peeve in writing?

My biggest pet peeve is when people criticize books with happy endings because they "aren't realistic." I believe that there's a whole lot of joy in life, and that people really do fall in love and live happily ever after. I have no problem writing that into a book.

To all our readers out there, thank you for following The Writers Voice and happy reading!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Interview with Karen Amanda Hooper


Hey all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day:
Karen Amanda Hooper
Hello Karen and welcome to The Writers Voice!

What would you like for readers to take away from your novel/novels?

Mostly I want readers to enjoy a escape from reality. Tangled Tides is full of magical characters who have adventures in extraordinary places: underwater, on an enchanted secret island, etc. Many people read for a break from their daily grind and I hope I’ve developed a fantastical world that readers will want to visit and characters who they’ll enjoy spending time with. However, in my story there’s an underlying message of love--in many forms. Love of self, family, friends, soul mates, even love of knowledge and life in general. I’m a big believer in loving with everything you’ve got, and that belief shines through in many of my characters.

Do you feel that aspiring writers should start out by writing what they know?

Maybe not necessarily what they know, but definitely write something they’re passionate about. I think readers can really tell when an author’s heart is in their writing. I’m no expert on merfolk but I’ve loved them since I was a little kid. I used to swim around the pool in our backyard (Mermaid Lagoon) with my legs stuck together and I’d pretend I was either a Sea Wee (little mermaid dolls I had), one of the mermaids from Peter Pan, or Madison from the movie Splash. We had a small waterfall in our pool and I declared that the secret gateway between Earth and the mermaid world. Those kinds of childhood experiences and lifelong love for mermaids played a big part in creating elements of Tangled Tides.

How do the novels you write differ from the novels you enjoy reading?

Not much. I’m a sucker for all things magical and paranormal. Mix in a great love story and I’m hooked. All of the stories I’ve written have those some basic themes in common—and they probably always will.

If you could choose any part of the world to live in for just one year, where would you go and why?

Oooh, tough call. I’d like to live in and explore many different places. I guess first on my wish list would be Australia/New Zealand. They are the same part of the world, so can I choose both? Maybe 6 months in each? So much beauty, fascinating wildlife, cool cultural customs, etc. Plus, they have those awesome Aussie and Kiwi accents. Indonesia, England and Hawaii are close runner-ups tough.

What are your biggest concerns about people around the world currently?

All of the violence and war. I don’t watch the news because it depresses me. I’d rather read and write great books with happy endings.

Thanks so much for inviting me to be featured on The Writers Voice. This was tons of fun and I look forward to getting to know more about other authors!
Tangled Tides on Goodreads:

Thank you again for joining us! It was a pleasure having you here! To all our readers out there, thank you for following The Writers Voice and happy reading!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Interview with Victoria Simcox

Tell us something about your books that we wouldn’t know just by reading the blurb.
My books, The Magic Warble and The Black Shard have messages of hope, perseverance, faith and love.

What’s your favorite non-essential item on your desk?

… A mug full of good coffee and sometimes candy.  I have a sweet tooth.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing a novel?  

Juggling a family, daily chores, and work, makes it sometimes hard to find the time to write.

What's a typical day like for you?

Writing, home schooling, writing, driving kids all over creation, working, writing, cooking, writing.

Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time?

Read, work out at the YMCA, watch movies, hike, and watch my kids' band play at gigs.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned when creating your book?

 I do better at coming up with the story by not thinking it too much about it, other than when I'm writing. I feel like I have inspiration from my creator, helping me write, and giving me ideas that come to me as I'm writing.

Visit Victoria's personal blog @

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Interview with Sally Morgan of the Grey Wolves Series

Hi everyone, it's Quinn. I have the pleasure of sitting down with Sally Morgan, one of the three best friends from the Grey Wolves Series. Sally has agreed to let me pick her brain a bit since her other two best friends seem to put their two cents out often, I'm sort of making her put hers out there. *Sally laughs and waves off my comment*

Me: So Sally, thank you so much for taking time to tell us a little about yourself and where you fit in this incredible journey that has become you all's lives.

Sally *brushes her hair away from her face and glances over to the other side of the room where Costin, yes ladies I said Costin, sits grinning at her revealing that swoon worthy dimple, then she looks back at me* "Well I'm just now really beginning to see where I fit in. You know at the beginning I thought I was just along for the ride. Jacque had Fane and then Jen and Dec got together. I just figured maybe I was along for moral support or something.

Me: And what about now? How do you fit in now?

Sally: As you know we have recently discovered that I am a gypsy decendant and apparently have been chosen by the Great Luna to be the gypsy healer for the Romanian pack. So I guess that's where I fit. *Just then we hear a low growl from Costin's direction. Sally's turns her head to look at him and I do as well. I'm a little concerned to see that his eyes are glowing and the incredible smile that was there only moments before has turned into a glare. Sally turns back to me with a nervous smile* And there might be another place that I fit but it's not a definite thing. *Another growl from Costin*

Me: How do you feel about the revelation from Perizada about the healers mating with the Canis lupis? Do you think maybe you have found yours?

Sally: *chuckles* Come on Quinn, now you are just putting me between a rock and a hard place. I am no doubt shocked by what she has told me. It's not like I can forget about it either,with Jen prancing about constantly singing love songs and replacing other words with my name or the um, *shifts uncomfortably in her seat* the name of the um, other person. *Her eyes nervously shift to Costin again, who is now standing and making it very obvious that he is not happy with Sally's words*

Me: *I clear my throat trying to ease the tension in the room* Well, can you tell us what has been going on since the big battle?

Sally: *visibly relaxes at the change in direction of the conversation* Right now it just feels like we are in one of those hurry up and wait situations. Jen and Jacque have been planning my 18th birthday party and Decebel has been getting the Serbian pack in order. Rachel and I are constantly working with Peri trying to learn more about the history of the healers and now Peri thinks that our magic as healers has evolved. *Suddenly Costin is by Sally's side* 
Costin: Man would you look at the time? *Gives me the famous grin* we really have to be going. Don't we Sally?

Sally: *looks at me apologetically* Yes, I guess we do. Quinn thank you so much for having me.

Me: It was my pleasure. *We both stand and Sally quickly gives me a hug. I watch them turn to go and can't help but be a little nosy as I see Costin wrap and arm around Sally's waist. Sally stops and looks up at Costin her eyes are narrowed. Yes I'm being bad and totally eavesdropping on their moment. 

Sally: "I didn't reveal anything I don't understand why you are getting bent out of shape.
Costin: "You weren't suppose to bring up anything about you and Rachel. Vasile made that very clear. And I think I remember making it clear that I'm your mate. You sat there I told her you don't know if you have a mate.
*I notice Costin's words are coming out in a growl*
*Sally places her hand on his chest* "I didn't say you weren't my mate Costin. But there haven't been any signs. I just need you to chill on the whole mate thing Okay?"
*I continue to shamelessly watch as Costin leans forward and gently place one hand gently on Sally's neck. His mouth is at her ear and I can see his lips moving but unfortunately can't hear a word. I can not even imagine what he must have said because Sally turned every possible shade of red there is and quite possibly may have created some new ones. Costin pulls back and looks very pleased with himself. He takes her and pulls her along whistling as he does.*

Well ladies and gentleman that was definitely interesting. Hopefully I will get to interview some of the other members of the Packs. Thanks for joining us!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Interview with Jessica Spotswood

 Hey all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day:
Jessica Spotswood
Hello Jessica and welcome to The Writers Voice!

Are there any other art forms that inspire you when you are writing? Do you listen to music, look at art pieces for ideas or watch dance and gymnastics?

Absolutely! I can’t listen to music while I’m writing, but I love going for long, brainstorming walks with my iPod. The right music can really help me get into the proper mood. I listened to Snow Patrol, Florence + the Machine, and Mumford & Sons while writing and editing BORN WICKED.

What is your biggest and hardest to ignore distraction? How do you cope with it?

That would be a tie between a) my cat, Monkey, and b) the internet. Monkey is a champion cuddler and I’m a champion napper; it’s a bad combination where my productivity is concerned. I try not to let him jump up on the loveseat in the office where I write, or I’m lost. The internet is trickier. I use the program Freedom to disable it for set periods (usually an hour at a time) so that when I get stuck, I stay with the story instead of automatically checking Twitter or my email.

Is there one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you before you started writing?

It’s trite, and I’m not sure I would have listened, but writing really is rewriting. Not just word-smithing, editing for word choice and flow, but actually tearing your manuscript apart, deleting or merging characters, killing darlings, adding new scenes or whole chapters. I think beginning writers – myself included – concentrate on that “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic” kind of editing. I didn’t really learn how to edit ruthlessly until I was working with my genius editor.

Do you write in or out of sequence? What part of your novel comes first? What comes last?

I usually write in sequence. Occasionally, I jump ahead within the chapter. I tend to write dialogue first and then flesh out the scene by adding more physical description of the characters and setting to provide a more lush historical feel.

How do you choose your main character? What about perspective? Do you tend to write in third or choose the character telling the story based off of part of your plot?

I think of myself as a character-based writer. Characters come to my mind first, and I build the plot around them. For BORN WICKED, I knew that the most important thing in Cate’s world was keeping her promise to her mother to look after her sisters – so the plot had to put her in positions where her loyalties were tested and that promise threatened. BORN WICKED is written in first-present from Cate’s point of view.

When you are reading, what make a character compelling to you? Is it the same aspects that make a character you are writing compelling?

Both as a reader and a writer, I like characters to be flawed or broken and make mistakes – especially if those mistakes have dire consequences. It makes the plot feel more organic. (And “good” faults like being shy or humble or clumsy don’t really count, either!)

To all our readers out there, thank you for following The Writers Voice and happy reading!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Interview with Heather McCorkle


Hey all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day:
Heather McCorkle
Hello Heather and welcome to The Writers Voice!

Do you ever get writers block? How do you suggest aspiring authors overcome their own bouts of writers block? 

Ah to be a writer who doesn't get it! Wouldn't that be wonderful? I do have a few ways to get rid of it though that never fail me. Brainstorming with a friend who knows the story well almost always works for me. When that doesn't work taking a shower usually does. I used to think that was odd until I heard more and more authors say it works for them too!

What do you feel is your biggest writerly fault and how do you deal with it?

That would have to be telling emotions instead of showing them. I go through my manuscript with a highlighter and highlight ever instance where I did this and then fix it so you'll rarely see it in the finished novel unless myself and my editor missed it!

What is your favorite point of view to write from? Do you have any particular reason?

I love to write close third person, which is third person but on a very personal level where the reader is in the character's head at times. I think I love third person so much because it's what I grew up reading.

Worldbuilding is such an important part of writing. What is your world building process like for you?

Very intensive! It's important to me that every detail is covered from culture and traditions to society structures. I do a ton of research and outline everything about my world in a notebook.

What's your writing routine? Do you write in the mornings, nights, daily, or when the mood strikes you?

I don't have a set time expect in the car on the way to work (don't worry, I car pool!). I carry a notebook and pencil and write whenever and wherever I can, even on my breaks at work if I can squeeze it in. Daily goals help keep me on track.

What is your biggest pet peeve in writing?

That I don't have more time to do it! There is so much more to writing than just writing. With research, outlining, character development, social networking, and a day job, it can be tough. But I love it and it's worth all the struggle. :)

To all our readers out there, thank you for following The Writers Voice and happy reading!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Happily or Not So Happily Ever After?

I'm a sucker for a happy ending. I like to see the protagonist get together with Mr. or Ms. Right (whether or not that person was the supposed love interest throughout the rest of the book) and find things work out just the way they're supposed to. But that doesn't mean that everything has to be perfect.

I like when the character has to give something up in order to come full circle. Like something they thought was vitally important at the beginning of the book turns out to not be as important to the person they become at the end.

But this has me thinking about books where there isn't really a happily ever after. Maybe just a happy for now, or better than it was 300 pages ago. Or even no happy ending for anyone. It can be hard to pull off and takes a lot of skill to write that end of ending and still leave the reader satisfied with the story.

What do you think about happy versus unhappy endings? Do you have a favorite book that doesn't have a happily ever after at the end?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Top 10 Lessons Learned at UtopYACon 2012

Last weekend, I was sitting among a wonderful group of authors, bloggers and PR representatives at the first annual UtopYACon. The conference, held in Nashville, TN at the Scarritt Bennett Center, honored female writers of YA paranormal and fantasy. I attended as an author panelist and ridiculous fan-girl. 

Just as awesome as the panels were the off-site dinner outings with some of the friendliest, most boisterous authors I've ever met. It was worth the trip for those experiences alone! I thought it might be helpful to share some of the things I took away from the conference with those of you who were unable to attend.

Here's my Top 10 list:

1.  When it comes to POV, don't be afraid to experiment. Focus on how the story is playing out in your head before you start writing. If you're thinking of it in the first person, write it that way. You won't know what works best until you try!

2.  All authors go through the same struggles...the self-doubt, the exhaustion, the rapture of finishing a book. Whether they're traditionally published or indie, whether they've sold thousands of books or are still waiting to publish their first one, authors have more in common than you'd ever believe.

3.  A custom playlist offers a creative marketing avenue. With Apple offering the ability to embed songs into iBooks, many authors are finding songs that tie closely into important scenes and then including them in the books. Just be careful of copyright laws when doing this!

4.  Paranormal fiction is here to stay. There will be cycles of what forms of paranormal and fantasy fiction are the most popular, but there will always be an interest in this genre.

5.  Myra McEntire can command a room. The author of Hourglass and Timepiece gave the keynote speech and included a short video of 40 authors holding up handmade signs reading, "You Can Do It" while "The Fighter" by Gym Class Heroes played in the background. Talk about inspired!

6.  Readers believe that there's still a place for the "damsel in distress." The key is that the damsel can't be completely helpless. She needs to do some rescuing of her own.

7.  One of the best things an author can do to promote their work is to promote the work of others. It's a "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours," kind of thing. People don't want to see someone constantly promoting their own work. Get out there and start supporting your author friends. What goes around, comes around!

8.  I can go total fan-girl but still manage to speak coherently. I sat next to Myra McEntire on a panel about "A Day in the Life of a YA Author." The entire time, I just wanted to listen to her talk. Somehow, I managed to put together some intelligent-sounding feedback. (I think).

9.  Book trailers are definitely worth having (if you do them well). Make sure they're no longer than 60-80 seconds long, use appropriate, compelling music and images, limit the text to avoid giving too much away, and be sure to provide images of the book cover (complete with your name and where to buy it).

10. I'll definitely be going back next year.

This was an amazing experience, y'all. Don't miss out on next year's conference, which is already scheduled for June 28-30th, 2013. Tickets are only $30 if you're among the first to get them--and they're worth every penny! You can buy them here if you're ready to join me. I hope to see you there!

What tips do you have for writers? Please share!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Interview with Morrigan Michele

Hey all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day:
Morrigan Michele
Hello Morrigan and welcome to The Writers Voice!

Have you ever gotten an idea for a book or part of one of your novels from something or somewhere unexpected? 

- Yes I have, all the time! A great example would be whenever I'm talking to my sister (the co-author Misty Carmony) and we get on the subject of something that's happening with someone else (we know) we figure out a way to make that a part of our books.

Did you always know you would write a novel? Why did you finally decide to write one and when?

 - No, because I started out writing poetry as a child. My sister and I decided in 2009 that since we had read, and critiqued so many books that we might as well write one of our own, and thus, the Blood and Magick series was born.

What are five things that are must haves when you are writing? 

- A clean house is a must!, music to help me get "in the mood", aroma therapy (oils, candles etc) to make the room smell good. Pepsi, I can't live without Pepsi, and Ice! I eat icecubes all day long (it drives my husband nuts)

Is there one book that has had an impact on not only your writing, but on you personally? 

- Yes absolutly! The Sweeps Series by Cate Tiernan. The reason is because it's well written, there's a-lot of books, but they're relativly short which makes it easier for young readers to finish reading each book in it's entirety.

What is the hardest emotion for you to convey? 

- Pain, both physically, and emotionally Tell us something most people don’t know about you! - I'm extremely sensitive. I get my feelings hurt easily, but don't show it.

Which came first for you--the characters, the idea for the setting, or the plot? 

- The plot came to us first. Then we discussed the setting and then the characters just took on a life of their own. I don't really write the books, the characters do it for me!

To all our readers out there, thank you for following The Writers Voice and happy reading!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Interview with Jen Nadol


Hey all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day:
Jen Nadol
Hello Jen and welcome to The Writers Voice!

Who do you feel is your most relatable character to readers?

I have to go with the protagonist of the series, Cassie, because so much of the stories center on her. You get to know her deeply and a lot of readers have told me they found themselves really thinking about her dilemma as their own…what would they do? Plus, she’s very real in that she’s flawed. Sometimes she makes decisions you know she’ll regret later and sometimes she learns from those mistakes, but not always. Just like all of us.

Are the traits of anyone close to you apparent in your characters?

I definitely “borrow” from people I’ve known – things my history teacher used to do in class, the name/ethnicity of a grade school friend for one of the characters in The Vision – but my characters aren’t modeled after anyone specific. At most they’re composites of real people with a very heavy dose of fabrication.

Who do you feel is your most unique character?

Probably Mr. Ludwig, the Japanese mortician in The Vision. I haven’t seen a lot of those in YA lit.

What are your favorite song lyrics?

Alan Jackson’s Remember When is amazing. Makes me cry almost every time (I never play it…I don’t like to cry). But there are little bits from lots of other songs that strike me whenever I hear them for how uniquely descriptive they are, like “I drank so hard the bottle ached” from Beth Hart’s LA Song or “the marks on your dress had been neatly repressed” in The Offspring’s Kristy, Are You Doing Okay? (the double-entendre of “repressed” is so perfect). They’re the kind of “just right” phrases it feels so great to write and I really admire them in songs.

Do you have a playlist for each of your novels? If not, can you think of a few relevant songs?

Hmmm. This is kind of a tough one. I don’t have playlists and as much as I like music, I really don’t connect it to my writing, but I’m going to go back to Remember When for The Mark since it’s about all the vivid times – good and bad – that make up a life and part of what I think about with that book is how important it is to make the most of the time we have. And, for The Vision, I’m going to go with Don’t Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult. But you’ll have to read the book for the “why” ;)

If you could have any extraordinary gift or super power what would it be and why?

I don’t think I’d want anything that would change life dramatically. Some of the stuff that’s hard or that you have to figure out on your own, has rewards that you’d lose or diminish by taking an easy way out. So, I’m going to go with the ability to snap my fingers and have stuff in my house go back to where it’s supposed to be. I have three little boys and feel like I’m constantly picking up and putting things away!

To all our readers out there, thank you for following The Writers Voice and happy reading!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Blog Tours

I almost missed blogging today...oops!

How do you market your book?  I've used blog tours for two of my books.  Many people ask me what a 'blog tour' is.  Most of you already know about blog tours, and some don't, so I'll tell you all about it.  I've paid for my blog tours but you can do it all by yourself, if you have the time.  Time is my enemy.  You can spend as little as $25.00 for a release day blast or $100.00 (or more) for a 30 day blog tour.

The company that you pay will contact reviewers and ask if they'd be interested in your book.  You provide the PDF or whatever way they want the book sent to them (free of course).  They usually request a few weeks to read the book (they're reviewers so they have a lot of books to read).  Some of the bloggers don't want to read your book so they ask for interviews or excerpt of your book.  If you use a company, they do all of the dirty work... so opening day happens.  Every blogger that is on your tour will tweet about your book - ALL DAY and will post that your tour is starting.  That is pretty awesome when so many are tweeting.  As an incentive to get the bloggers, you need to offer something to be given away.  My tour is using one rafflecopter for everyone.  I'm giving away a $50.00 gift card to Amazon and 2 signed copies of my book.  People that want to enter the contest have to jump through some hoops...Like you on Facebook...follow the bloggers blog...tweet about you.  It is pretty awesome.  By the time you're done, you have new followers and more people have heard your name.  It generates sales too!  Who doesn't want more sales?  If you want to do all of the work, you can contact bloggers that are on tours and read their "review request" requirements.  Good Luck!  Happy Reading!!!

I've used two blog tour places, so I only have experiences with them.  One is Bewitching Blog Tours  and the one I'm currently using is Promotional Blog Tours  (tell them I sent you, please)

Blog by Devyn Dawson

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Trailers- Marketing genius or embarrassingly bad?

Okay, so there’s a debate raging about this topic and two very firm camps of opinion. On the one hand, we have people who love book trailers and think they’re the best marketing tool ever. And on the other hand, there are equally as many people who hate them and think they’re essentially embarrassing for the author in question, and they do more harm than good.

I guess there are merits to both arguments. I, personally, have always loved book trailers. I think they’re an ingenious idea, and they really do help market a book. I have to say, my absolute favorite book trailer has got to the one for Holly Black’s Black Heart. It blew me away. The motion graphics look slick, and the music works incredibly well. The only problem is, I’m willing to bet that trailer cost Holly about $5k to make. This is an educated guess, given what I was quoted by various companies that I queried when I was in the market for my own trailer.

A 30 second trailer, with all the bells and whistles, cool music, magic and sparkle, will set you back around that mark. Unless I was grossly over quoted, of course, in which case good on you, Holly, for getting it done cheaper!

I was horrified when I started doing some research for my own trailer. Even the lower end companies were quoting $1250, and they were pumping out the questionable clips that give fuel to the people entrenched in the ‘I Hate Book Trailers, They’re Crap’ camp. And if I was going to have a book trailer, I wanted it to be awesome! I wanted it to make people want to buy my book, not cringe and hide their eyes.

So I decided drastic measures were called for. I realized that in order to get a semi-decent trailer, which didn’t look entirely like it had been cut and pasted together by a five-year-old monkey, sans opposable thumbs, I was going to have to learn to do it myself. This wasn’t exactly a foreign concept to me, given that I’d done the exact same thing when I decided to self-publish, but this was a lot harder to accomplish. I had no idea how to cut a video and make it look like I wasn’t a five-year-old monkey, sans opposable thumbs. I hope I, at least, accomplished that. Take a look!

Sufficed to say, it was a steep learning curve. But once I got the hang of it, IT WAS SERIOUS FUN. And addictive, too. Now I want to make videos out of everything. I don’t want to do regular interviews anymore; I want to do video interviews. It saves on typing time at the end of the day, and I get to play with my new hobby.

I released my first book, Sovereign Hope, ten days ago, and I’m already making the trailer for the sequel, because it’s that much fun. I would wholeheartedly encourage everyone out there releasing books off their own back to invest some of their precious time into making a trailer for their work. But learn how to make it look and sound good first! And if you don’t have the time or the inclination, then come see me! I’ll happily make people trailers for their work, and I’d never charge the earth because it’s important to support other indie authors!

What’s everyone else's favorite book trailer?

Monday, July 9, 2012

An Interview With Victoria Simcox


Who reads your manuscripts before you submit them? …

A few close friends and my daughter. I trust and admire their opinions.

Do you have a day job? Do you hope that writing will be your full time career in the future?

I teach elementary school art during the week and I also home-school my youngest son. Even if writing was my full time career, I think I could still handle these other two tasks, which I love doing.

What are you working on now?

The third book in The Magic Warble series.

What’s your favorite way to procrastinate?

I can push the easy button on this question—youtube and facebook, lol.

Where do you do your best writing? Do you like to have certain surroundings?

At my computer, in my bedroom. It's where I always write, unless I'm on the road. I know … I'm a creature of habit.

If you could live in one book for a day, what would it be?

 …Love this question! Hogwarts School in Harry Potter.

Check out Victoria's personal blog:  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Interview with Shelly Crane


Hey all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day:
Shelly Crane
Hello Shelly and welcome to The Writers Voice!

What would you like for readers to take away from your novel/novels?

That life is hard, and not fair, but we should try to be the best people we can and when you love, love with all you've got.

What part of your first novel did you find hardest to write?

Whew! Um, well Collide was my first book, so probably the scene after they get married ;)

Was there ever a moment when you wouldn’t trade what you do as an author for the world? What was that moment for you?

Of course! I feel like that daily. I'm am so blessed and have really have a fantastic time since I started all this. I think the moment when I knew there was no going back for me, was the very first email I got from a fan that said how much they enjoyed Significance and for me to please hurry with the next book because they were so eager to find out what happened. That was pretty awesome.

What makes you feel like you’re reading or have read a truly amazing book?

When I love the characters, love the way they react with each other, and I know that without a shadow of a doubt that the story will end with a happy ending. It may not have been the ending I was thinking, but happy nonetheless.

Is there one book that has had an impact on not only your writing, but on you personally?

Well, I can't really think of one book that has affected me as a writer. There was one book I read recently that I literally just can't stop thinking about. Callum & Harper by Fisher Amelie. It's not even a paranormal book, which is mostly what I read, so it's very strange that this story struck me as much as it has. This book makes me want to write something that impacts me and other people this way.

Tell us something most people don’t know about you!

That I love to watch old musicals. My grandmother was a librarian and we used to watch these at her house in the summer. Carousel, Brigadoon, Oklahoma, Singing in the Rain, 7 Brides for 7 Brothers, Music Man. LOVE them!

Here are my social medias :)!/AuthShellyCrane

To all our readers out there, thank you for following The Writers Voice and happy reading!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Interview with C. Lee McKenzie

Hey all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day:
C. Lee McKenzie
Hello C. and welcome to The Writers Voice!

Is there an amount of time you set aside to write each day or a word count goal? How do you measure if your day was a successful writing day?

I'm not an "organized" writer in any sense of the word. Some days I write nothing, but others I'll fill up pages. I've stopped worrying about goals and word counts and just let whatever happens be enough. I have days when what I write might as well be a grocery list. Then along comes all of this prose that I love. It's an amazing process and, as I see it, my job is to appreciate the good and the bad that is part of that process.

In the future when you look back on your writing and re-read your first novel what do you hope your reaction will be?

My biggest hope is that I'll discover it wasn't bad, but that I've moved on as a writer. I'd hate to return to a old piece and find that I haven't improved over time.

Have you already had a moment like this?

Oh, yes. I have this thirty pound manuscript that would best serve as a fire starter, but I hate to part with it. It reminds me that I knew nothing and that I now know something, just not enough. I'll never know enough about writing, and when I think I do, it will be time to go back to grocery lists and leave real writing to real authors.

What is your editing style? Do you write and re-write to perfection, do you tend to have a well thought out and clear first draft or read aloud when you edit?

I'm definitely a re-writer. I usually write one day and re-write the next after I've let my WIP rest over night. When I start a project, I write a one or two sentence summary of what my book is about--my elevator pitch. I put that at the top of each page in my header. As I write, I often tweak this sentence or two if my story takes a turn I hadn't included in the original idea. I don't read aloud until I'm satisfied with what's on the page. Reading aloud is usually my last go through before I send anything to my readers. I do catch a lot when I take that final edit step, and I'd recommend everyone hear her prose out loud.

What did it feel like to finish your first novel?

I was relieved to write The End, and I was very anxious. After all, I'd written a whole book with a beginning, a middle and an end; the real test was about to come. Would anyone find what I'd created worthwhile? Would this be a book I'd add to that thirty pound clunky manuscript in my closet? I remember that as a scary time.

How often do you read novels for joy or learning?

Oh yes. I read a lot. In fact, if I don't have a book started I feel incomplete. Some of my favorite writing is non-fiction. I'm fascinated by the way something that really happened can be told in an exciting, yet factual manner. I also love historical fiction. It's a great way to absorb a period or an event and enjoy learning about the past. Right now I'm in a library book club and I'm so excited about the books the group is selecting. So far this summer we've read Cutting for Stone, The Madonnas of Leningrad, Lark and Termite, The Tiger's Wife and now Provenance. Quite a variety.

Do you read multiple books at a time or limit yourself to just one?

I drive my family crazy because I usually have three or four books going at the same time. Each of them stick to one book at a time. I'm moody (also something that drives the people I live with a bit batty), so I often need to switch books to match how I'm feeling on a particular day.

Do you read while writing or steer clear until you are in between novels? Many authors fear undue influence , do you have these fears or certain authors you would love to be able to write in the same style as?

I read a lot when I'm writing, but I don't read YA very much. I know that sounds weird since that's what I write, but I deliberately avoid most of it. First, I don't write fantasy and that's a hot item and plentiful. I don't write dystrophia--also hot and plentiful. I don't want to be influenced by the realistic YA that's out there because I want to do it my way. I don't mean to imply that I don't like what's out. I do. And I read some, especially if a friend wrote it and I want to support them. As to writers whose style I like--I enjoy S. E. Hinton's style. I also really like Bryerson who keeps me ROFL, but I don't aspire to write in their styles. I have my way of writing and I can't do it any other way.

These have been some of the more interesting questions I've answered for a blog interview. Thanks for making this so enjoyable.

Awww thank you <3 and thank you for stopping by and participating in The Writers Voice! To all our readers out there, thank you for following The Writers Voice and happy reading!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

We Must Never Forget

We Must Never Forget

How many will go missing, or die,
What will it take for us to see,
Those of power are corrupted and lie,
While we smile so graciously.

The world we live in is changing,
The price of freedom no longer a concern,
As all around us are re-arranging
We are forgetting what we should have learned.

Our great Country once divided,
Brother against brother, dying for the wrong reason.
And so we finally became united,
Realizing that change will come, just like each season.

We stood together proud American's,
While the world around us fell,
We cheered on our soldiers, clapped our hands,
Patted their backs as we sent them into hell.

It's one thing to fight for our freedom,
But something so different when that freedom is taken,
Like sheep the people let them lead'em,
Now that freedom lost is of our own making.

What would those before us say?
The great men who signed us into existence,
Would they tell us we've been lead astray,
By a governments deceitful insistence.

Would they point out the ugly facts,
Remind us that we were not meant to be confined,
Could they see the corruption in the acts,
Of those we've let this new nation be defined.

Would these great men call out to us,
Remember, you have rights, you have rights,
But we handed them over in blind trust.
With a smile on our faces, we let them turn out the lights

These great men who wrote in detail so specific,
They made it clear in black and white,
A Government with too much power is horrific
They take and take what is ours by right.

We must never forget, those who came before,
We stomp and spit on their legacies,
They wanted us to prosper and have so much more,
If we forget, that freedom becomes memories

We must never forget where we came from. We must never forget our rights. We must never forget that we the people put those in power, and we the people can take them out.

Happy 4th Have fun, but don't forget who made it so!

~Quinn Loftis

Sunday, July 1, 2012

One Year

Today is a big day for me. Exactly one year ago, on July 1, 2011, I officially released my first ebook, The Boyfriend Thief. That means that today I've been self-publishing for one year!

A little bit of backstory about my journey into publishing: I first decided I wanted to be a writer when I was about 10 or 11. That's when I figured out that people actually wrote the books I liked to read as their jobs and that they weren't magical beings from another planet, they were just ordinary people who loved to write. I loved to write. I had been writing stories since I was eight. So that's what I decided I wanted to do. I was probably one of the few thirteen-year-olds with a subscription to Writer's Digest magazine. I saved up my allowance and joined Writer's Digest Book Club in order to get books on writing. I highlighted and reread those books over and over, absorbing ideas about story construction, plot and character development, and revision methods. I figured out what worked for me and what didn't.

And I wrote. And wrote and wrote. I sent out short stories and then novels during my college years and early years of my marriage. I got rejected. Probably hundreds of times. A lot of form letters, a lot no responses, but also a few handwritten notes every now and then with tips or encouragement. Getting rejected sucked. But after a good round of moping, I'd go back and either send the story out again or figure out why it wasn't working.

I have this huge fantasy trilogy I spent four or five years on. I sent it out to every agent I could find that represented fantasy. All of them rejected it. In early 2005, I decided to give up publishing and just write for myself. I wrote a book that was just for fun and wasn't a fantasy or literary novel, which were what I was writing back then. I fell in love with that book. I decided to try publishing one last time. I revised and then sent it out to agents. I got some interest, but then rejections again. Eleven months after I first sent it out, I finally got an offer of representation.

Then I revised again. It went out to editors. It got rejected. I revised again. It went out to some more editors. Finally, it went to auction and sold in a two book deal. The first book was Something to Blog About, the second book would become Troy High (which had only just been written as a messy, confusing first draft during that year's NaNoWriMo and no one else had yet seen).

Getting a publishing contract is still one of my proudest achievements. I loved working with my editor. I loved getting an inside look at the process of publishing a book--the multiple rounds of revisions, the copyediting, the first pass pages, the cover design. I loved going to conferences and booksignings, even the ones where I sat there alone for an hour and no one bought my book. I wouldn't trade any of it!

But I wrote contemporary in a time when paranormal was taking off. Troy High still did fairly well, but not a bestseller by any means. It was picked up by Scholastic for their book fairs. My agent sold audio rights to both of my traditionally published books. Something to Blog About sold to an Italian publisher.

But then my "option book" (a clause written into some book contracts allowing the publisher first consideration of your next book) was rejected. It happens. Probably more often than you think. I went back out on submission to other editors with Surfacing. It had some interest, but was rejected because of the publishers already having a mermaid book. That also happens. A lot of books get rejected because they don't fit into the market, the market is already saturated with similar stories, or a myriad of other reasons.

I was getting antsy. I was getting a lot of emails from readers who had bought Troy High at their school book fair and I didn't want to lose out on the exposure and momentum that opportunity gave me. I wanted other books out there that my readers could find. So with my agent's blessing, I self-published The Boyfriend Thief in ebook format.

Honestly, I didn't expect it to do as well as it has. It's a story very close to my heart because I had worked on it for years and had really gotten to know the characters. It's a story where I really tried to delve into the complications of relationships--family, friendly, and romantic. I put so much into it and worked so hard on it that I hated the thought of it sitting on my flash drive not being read. So I put it out there.

In the past year, it's sold about 15,000 copies across all ebook formats (Amazon, B&amp;N, iTunes, Kobo, Sony, Smashwords). It has outsold Something to Blog About, which has been out for over four years. Within a few months of self-publishing The Boyfriend Thief, we started getting interest from foreign publishers, and so far has sold to publishers in the Czech Republic, Germany, and China.

That's my self-published success story. Not all work out that well. Surfacing lags way behind, having sold only a couple hundred copies since November. It happens. I learned from traditional publishing that you can't know what to expect. Getting a publishing contract is not a guarantee of success. Having one self-published success doesn't guarantee that everything else will do the same. Also, the month can change at any time. In December, sales slowed to almost a complete stop. I thought it was going to be my worst month ever, with only a handful of sales. Then Christmas Day hit, and suddenly I sold over a thousand ebooks within two days.

The thing I've learned over this past year and the years before it: the market is hard, whether you're self-publishing or traditional publishing. You put yourself out there either way. It takes talent, but it's also takes determination and belief in yourself, no matter which path you take. Whether you decide to pursue traditional publishing or self-publishing, do your homework beforehand. Read stories from both sides of the fence. Apply ideas from the other side to the path you're taking. Read about writing. Study books you like and books you don't like. Figure out why they work or don't work. When you put your work out there, whether it's directly in ebook format or else to an agent or editor, make sure it is the best possible work you can create at this point in your career.

This past year has been a lot of fun. Thank you to everyone who has read one of my ebooks or helped to spread the word. I write to reach readers and I love every second of it, whether its through my print books or my ebooks. If you're a writer trying to get published, think hard about which way you want your career to go and do what works best for you. Maybe, like me, it will be combination of both. There is no wrong way, there are only different options that lead to the same end.