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[Newsletter] New Projects, Appearances, Oh My!

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” _ Stephen King

I wanted to give everyone who reads the blog a bit of an update and offer some places you can go to learn a bit more about what’s going on and what you can look forward to from FyreSyde.


A Shoutout to My Readers! I love you all!!!!

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It has blown me away just how many people walked up to shake my hand and struck up a conversation, asked questions and inquired about what it meant to finish a book and get it published. It has been a humbling experience! I love my readers so much!!! All of you!!!

 


Some Places of Interest:

To just offer up a few things that have been going on. For the past two months, I have done multiple interviews, a Radio Show appearance and multiple signings all across the greater Denton/Dallas/Fort Worth area.

If you’d like to meet me in person, I welcome you to check out the appearances page! I update it regularly as best I can with where I’m going to be and when! I would love to meet you!

A few interviews have been posted as well if you would like to read them and offer feedback! These include guest posts on other blogs as well that I would recommend you to follow and read!

If you would like to guest post, get an interview of your own, want a book review or are curious about the services offered here, I highly recommend checking out these pages.

I also welcome you to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and my new authorpage.com page for updates and short stories!


Some Things to Look Forward To:

Okay! So here it is, the section letting you know just what to expect in the next year! Follow us here or any of our social media for information regarding these new opportunities!

  1. Compilation Opportunities: As many of you know, FyreSyde’s main focus is not on our own goals, books, etc. We want to be about you: the readers and the authors. Something Blaise has wanted to do and will be doing her best to put into effect is to open up theme-based compilations to authors of all kinds. For now, they will be in the form of posts either here or on a blogspot. At this time, there is no intention of making a printed version. Only an online magazine. If this changes, there will be an announcement. Please keep in mind, as of now, Blaise is the only one who will run it. She will personally be screening each piece submitted. As this is the case, there will most likely be a maximum number of accepted submissions. More info will be provided the closer it gets. If you want to keep up with this project, follow or subscribe via email!
  2. Editing Services: As of now, all that is offered here on FyreSyde as far as paid services is the 60-minute marketing consultation. In 2019, Blaise plans on opening up editing opportunities as well.
  3. Cover Reveals: FyreSyde will officially open cover reveal opportunities for authors or artists who want to get their covers seen for a very low price.
  4. Fundraisers/ Charity events/ Runs: FyreSyde will begin reaching out to its communities as well. This will come in the form of sponsorships, charity events and fundraisers. The first is the Halloween Charity Event happening in October!

So many fun things coming down the pike! For those who want to know, this Dean-is-in-Music-Ministry-nowDecember will mark FyreSyde’s first birthday!! 


New Projects and Bane of Tenebris

You guys have been so amazing with Luna’s release. It really is heartwarming to learn so many of you have received it so well and offered some truly wonderful feedback.

This being said, I have an announcement to make about a new, secret project I’ve put into the works. It will precede Bane of Tenebris as I have been experiencing some burn-out on the second book. As this is a highly anticipated release, I will be taking the utmost of care to make the book as good as it can be.

The secret project is a psychological thriller I hope to have released by the end of this year. If this isn’t doable for any reason, I will be updating you, the readers.

The second installment of the Wolfgods, Bane of Tenebris has been given a tentative release date for June of 2019. Beta readers are encouraged to contact me via facebook to be invited to the beta reading group.


The Return of Marketing101 and Regular Posting Schedules

For those of you keeping up with me on social media, you probably know I’ve been taking it easy this summer in an attempt to rest my brain. This is all true!

I will be returning August 5, 2018 with regular posting and more Marketing101 posts for you all to enjoy and hopefully glean some information from!

Until then, please check out some of the amazing books posted here to support fellow authors! See you all again soon!!! Keep going and stay productive!!!

“There is no royal, flower-strewn path to success. And if there is, I have not found it. For if I have accomplished anything in life, it is because I have been willing to work hard.” ~ C.J. Walker

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[Book Blitz] Blessing of Luna by Blaise Ramsay

Blessing of Luna
Blaise Ramsay
(Wolf gods #1)
Publication date: April 20th 2018
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Lonely. That’s how it felt when Damien Pierce returned to Big Timber, Montana. It had been his childhood home until the day he was hit by a speeding car only to learn he wasn’t badly hurt. The experience landed him the label of the town freakshow.

Following the death of his foster mom, Damien soon disconnected from the world around him. That was at least, until he met her. She looked human but something about made her appear otherworldly to him. He knew he shouldn’t but he wanted her. He would do anything to get to know her. To have her.

Jillian Styles was immortal. Cursed by a dark god never to find rest. A shifter capable of taking the form of a beautiful wolf. She had searched for her lover’s reincarnated soul for centuries only to find he was nowhere to be found. When she meets Damien, her world is turned upside down. She falls in love with him instantly and begins to pursue him.

However, Damien soon learns the darker part of Jill’s world. He finds himself on the hit list of the same vampire Lord responsible for killing Jill’s lover and reigniting the flames of an old war. His daughter desires Damien and vows to have him at any cost.

With the help of Alexander Kain, the mysterious wolf shifting soldier, Damien will learn what he thought he knew was only tip of the paranormal iceberg. He soon finds himself in the eyes of a vindictive and rage-filled dark god.

If you like hot lycanthrope guys, overly possessive vampire chicks, vindictive gods, strong female leads and some hot sex scenes, this book is for you.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

EXCERPT:

Realization hit Damien as to who he was staring down. The same dark god that had challenged him stood in Lilith’s form. Damien’s heart inside his chest burned as he thought about Kain and all he’d done for him. Jill. Dad…Rob…Gabriel…Holt…Chelsea.

“Looks like it’s just you and me, Damien. You can surrender and die in peace or you can fight and die anyway. Your choice.”

Save him. Luna’s voice inside of Damien’s mind drew his attention. Save him. I beg of you. Please.

Damien’s body became surrounded with a radiant light so bright it forced Lilith step back. Her wing covered her face. He braced himself on his front legs, roaring at the monster in front of him responsible for taking so much.

The light became so intense not even the lycans could stare at it.

When it finally faded, Damien stood in his true lycan form. His white fur blew in the wind like mist at the tip of his stiffened ears to the end of his tail. The dark markings of his wolf form only seen on the tips of his ears, feet and tail. The fur on the back of his neck was thicker, almost resembling a mane.

“By the gods, he looks like…” Lune stood in awe.

“Tenebris.” Gabriel’s finished, his voice nothing but a whisper.

Stoker used the opportunity to sneak off, nursing the wound on his arm inflicted by Gabriel when he shifted into his full lycan form.

The vampires hissed at the light rising from the east, trying to flee towards the waning night. They had fallen right into Damien’s plan and were intercepted. Howls and snarls joined dying screams as the vampires were overwhelmed.

“What trickery is this?!” Lilith’s fangs spat as she tried to speak.

Damien ignored her, seeing the fear in her eyes as he made his way over to Kain on the ground.

The alpha was so weak he couldn’t retain his shifted form.

“Kain.” Damien’s voice was a comfortable echo. Warm and reassuring. “Alex. Can you hear me?”

Kain opened his eyes, slightly jumping. “Tenebris?”

Damien shook his head. “No. It’s me.”

“Damien. How?”

Damien took Kain’s jacket he was always wearing around his waist and covered his friend with it. “Stay here. Don’t move and don’t die.”

He stood back up and went to face Lilith. The lycans in his way stepped aside, their heads bowed. “This ends here, Lilith. You won’t hurt anyone else.”

Author Bio:

FyreSyde Publishing owner and founder Blaise Ramsay worked over fifteen years in the graphic design industry, with some experience in indie gaming. Recently she shifted her attention to the world of literature with her debut paranormal romance series, Wolf gods. The debut title, Blessing of Luna is set to release in 2018. She currently lives in North Texas with her two children, her husband and pets. A UTD graduate with a Bachelor’s in History with an intention on teaching, Blaise decided that the world of teaching just wasn’t for her. A stay at home mother of two, business owner and self-publisher, Blaise loves to meet new people and encourage others to follow their dreams through weekly posts to her instagram, twitter, facebook and blog.

Feel free to contact Blaise for an author interview, guest blog opportunities and book reviews. Visit our affiliates’ page for a chance to see how you can get a hold on some of the books we have reviewed.

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[Book Blitz] Blessing of Luna by Blaise Ramsay

 

 

New Adult Paranormal Romance
Date Published:  4/20/2018
Publisher: FyreSyde Publishing
 
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Lonely. That’s how it felt when Damien Pierce returned to Big Timber, Montana. It had been his childhood home until the day he was hit by a speeding car only to learn he wasn’t badly hurt. The experience landed him the label of the town freakshow.
Following the death of his foster mom, Damien soon disconnected from the world around him. That was at least, until he met her. She looked human but something about made her appear otherworldly to him. He knew he shouldn’t but he wanted her. He would do anything to get to know her. To have her.
Jillian Styles was immortal. Cursed by a dark god never to find rest. A shifter capable of taking the form of a beautiful wolf. She had searched for her lover’s reincarnated soul for centuries only to find he was nowhere to be found. When she meets Damien, her world is turned upside down. She falls in love with him instantly and begins to pursue him.
However, Damien soon learns the darker part of Jill’s world. He finds himself on the hit list of the same vampire Lord responsible for killing Jill’s lover and reigniting the flames of an old war. His daughter desires Damien and vows to have him at any cost.
With the help of Alexander Kain, the mysterious wolf shifting soldier, Damien will learn what he thought he knew was only tip of the paranormal iceberg. He soon finds himself in the eyes of a vindictive and rage-filled dark god.
If you like hot lycanthrope guys, overly possessive vampire chicks, vindictive gods, strong female leads and some hot sex scenes, this book is for you.
 
Excerpt
Realization hit Damien as to who he was staring down. The same dark god that had challenged him stood in Lilith’s form. Damien’s heart inside his chest burned as he thought about Kain and all he’d done for him. Jill. Dad…Rob…Gabriel…Holt…Chelsea.
“Looks like it’s just you and me, Damien. You can surrender and die in peace or you can fight and die anyway. Your choice.”
Save him. Luna’s voice inside of Damien’s mind drew his attention. Save him. I beg of you. Please.
Damien’s body became surrounded with a radiant light so bright it forced Lilith step back. Her wing covered her face. He braced himself on his front legs, roaring at the monster in front of him responsible for taking so much.
The light became so intense not even the lycans could stare at it.
When it finally faded, Damien stood in his true lycan form. His white fur blew in the wind like mist at the tip of his stiffened ears to the end of his tail. The dark markings of his wolf form only seen on the tips of his ears, feet and tail. The fur on the back of his neck was thicker, almost resembling a mane.
“By the gods, he looks like…” Lune stood in awe.
“Tenebris.” Gabriel finished, his voice nothing but a whisper.
Stoker used the opportunity to sneak off, nursing the wound on his arm inflicted by Gabriel when he shifted into his full lycan form.
The vampires hissed at the light rising from the east, trying to flee towards the waning night. They had fallen right into Damien’s plan and were intercepted. Howls and snarls joined dying screams as the vampires were overwhelmed.
“What trickery is this?!” Lilith’s fangs spat as she tried to speak.
Damien ignored her, seeing the fear in her eyes as he made his way over to Kain on the ground.
The alpha was so weak he couldn’t retain his shifted form.
“Kain.” Damien’s voice was a comfortable echo. Warm and reassuring. “Alex. Can you hear me?”
Kain opened his eyes, slightly jumping. “Tenebris?”
Damien shook his head. “No. It’s me.”
“Damien. How?”
Damien took Kain’s jacket he was always wearing around his waist and covered his friend with it. “Stay here. Don’t move and don’t die.”
He stood back up and went to face Lilith. The lycans in his way stepped aside, their heads bowed. “This ends here, Lilith. You won’t hurt anyone else.”
About the Author

FyreSyde Publishing owner and founder Blaise Ramsay started out her creative career in the conceptual art and design industry. For fifteen years she spent her time crafting characters and world for others. Recently she shifted her attention to the world of literature where she writes mostly paranormal romance. Her debut title, Blessing of Luna is the first of four books in the Wolfgods series. A portion of the proceeds of her book sales go to help charities. When Blaise isn’t busy working with sexy wolf boys, she can be found reviewing books for fellow authors, working for a few tour companies, holding interviews and offering guest posts. A professional book blogger, mom, wife and full blood Texan, Blaise loves nothing more than helping others, meeting new people and coaching folks in Scrivener. If you would like to get in touch with Blaise, the best way to contact her would be via email at bramsayauthor@gmail.com. She loves to hear from people and get questions from her readers.
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[Book Marketing 101] Know Your Target Audience!

“Marketing is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world you are one.” – Robert Rose

Let’s say you just finished writing, editing, and getting beta readers to read your latest, greatest book. You’ve made it the best you can be and are ready to release it to the world.

Wait? Where are the readers you hope to find? How are they going to see your book in a vast world of social media, book promotion and saturated Amazon pages?

If you’re asking these questions, you probably hadn’t taken the time to locate what authors and publishers call the “Target Audience.”

Light it up (1)What is a target audience?

Defined, a target audience is the readership you hope to market your book to. For example, for authors of paranormal romance with a focus on wolf shifters, you’re probably hoping to catch the attention of people who are fans of the shifter sub-genre. Taking it further, what age range are you going for? Are you hoping to catch male or female readers or both?

How can you find them?

  1. Go to your local bookstore. Look around at the different sections of the fantasy, young adult, romance, etc. What are they looking at? When in doubt, talk to them. You don’t have to bash them over the head with the fact you have a book. Just strike up a conversation to find out what books they’ve read recently or recommend. If they seem interested, then, author drop. Offer an Advanced Reader’s Copy. Many love a good free book in exchange for a friendly conversation.
  2. Utilize Amazon’s search bar. Type in some keywords you may think relate (and some that don’t) to your book. What are the shoppers in the kindle and book categories looking at? Take down some lists of some popular titles and utilize the “Customers Also Bought” section. Keep notes of the authors and the book titles.
  3. Use GoodReads. Goodreads has this nice little feature called book lists. Many readers have their TBR (to be read) lists named by genre. For example, for Biker romance lovers, you might find lists titled MC Romance or Biker Romance.
  4. Find your tribe. What this means is google some of the forums, facebook groups, book clubs, etc who have a focus on your genre. Offer ARCs in exchange for reviews and see what they have to say.
  5. Use Demographics. This focuses on where they are located, how old their are, financial standing, etc. Yes this is important. You can use Twitter and Facebook to find such information. Who are your main fans?
  6. Check out Market Trends. This goes along with using Amazon’s search bar. Try to use helpful tools like Google Trends to see what readers are doing. Knowing this can narrow down where you should go and who is looking for your book.
  7. Utilize Google Adwords. Adwords is a powerful tool. It can show you some of the top searched words in Google’s search engine.
  8. Ask a bookseller. While you’re in the bookstore looking for some potential prospects, why not get insight from the store on what is selling? Often they’ll share some of the titles that are flying off the shelves. This can help you greatly because you’re getting an insider’s look at the market.
  9. Offer up some surveys. Get some short answers involving popular subjects and genres. Readers often don’t mind answering these because they get curious as to what it is you’re looking for.
  10. When In Doubt; Consult a Mentor. Talk to other authors who have written your genre and age range. Authors love to help new and upcoming authors get over the plateau because too often, they remember being there. We all started out not knowing a thing. Finding coaches may help alleviate some stress.

Some helpful tools:Light it up

  • KDP Rocket – This is a helpful little tool endorsed by Jeff Goins and the Kindlepreneur. It helps to take away the trouble of hours of keyword typing and research. For a one time price of 97$, this is a powerful tool. Hurry because it looks like it might go to a subscription basis.
  • Kristen Martin’s course, Valiance – Kristen walks you through her own journey as a self-publisher. A five-time Amazon best seller, Kristin clearly has things under control as far as finding and marketing to her target audience. She also offers a neat little pdf on how to write a first draft in two months just for subscribing!
  • Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn has some helpful information that walks you through the self-publishing process and a free eBook to help. She is one of the leading experts on indie and self-publishing. Her writing podcast, The Creative Penn offers different interviews and helpful information as well.
  • Jane Friedman is one of my favorites and another successful self-publisher. Her blog at janefriedman.com is loaded with helpful information.

Remember, you are never alone in this journey! Writing and blogging can be lonely but there are people who are willing to offer their expertise. If you have an experience that you found helped you find your audience, please leave us a comment! We would love to hear from you!

If the content here today helped you and you would like to see some more, why not follow via email, bloglovin or right here on wordpress!

Before you go….

Interested in writing for us? Want a book review? Would like to guest post or want to offer your own insight? Feel free to contact us! We are always looking for authors who want to share their experiences!

Contact: website: https://fyresydepublishing.com/ | email bramsayauthor@gmail.com | For guest posts, interviews, booking for events, etc contact fyresydepublising@gmail.com

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How “The Greatest Showman” Can Help an Indie Author!

Okay, so most of the time I like to book geek out in these blogs but after seeing “The Greatest Showman” featuring Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron, I just had to blog about it.

Guys, it has been such a long time since I was so in love with a movie, I actually shared the title. However, this particular movie was as beautiful as a book to me. It was all about dreams and what trials you have to face in order to become what you desire to become.


 

thegreatestshowman

What Authors Can Learn from the movie

The way the movie starts shows the true genius of the screenwriter. It begins with a wild scene featuring the final dream PT Barnum had for himself. Of course, the 20th Century took some creative liberties but instead of subtracting from the power of the scene, it actually enhances it. The CG of the animals brings out the characters who interact with the graphics flawlessly. I would recommend this movie to anyone who dares to dream!

It begins with a dream… Something burning inside

Moving on, the movie begins with a dream that does not seem obtainable. Phineas T. Barnum is the son of a tailor in love with a higher class girl named Charity whom he makes laugh. The two quickly strike a childhood romance which blossoms into their adulthood. Barnum is an innovative genius stuck behind a dead end desk job he gets fired from.

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P. T. Barnum:
They can say, they can say it all sounds crazy
They can say, they can say I’ve lost my mind
I don’t care, I don’t care, so call me crazy
We can live in a world that we design

Doubts Can sink in…What Can you do for your readers?

He begins to doubt his dreams until the inciting incident when he decides to buy a wax museum. His two young daughters, after finding he is struggling to gain attention, tell their dad he needed something alive to draw people in.

“You need something alive. Something sensational.” — Carline Barnum

Guys, this is crucial! As an indie author, I have learned the value of thinking about the readers over myself. It has to be about the book first, then it has to be about them.

hughjackmangreatestshowman
“I see a soldier, no, a general riding across the stage with a sword and a gun, and… and… and the most beautiful uniform ever made. People will come from all over the world, and when they see him, they won’t laugh. (Charles opens the door) They’ll salute.” 

There will be dry spells…Find Your Team!

Back to the movie, so seeing he is struggling in sales, what does Barnum do? Does he give up? NO! He gets real people often overlooked by the common crowd and brings them into his museum at the time. First though, he has to go out and find the attractions! He does his “hoof work”.  What happens, he gets his team together! Then people begin coming in and he starts seeing results!

This is a perfect strategy! Realize you may not see sales right off the bat. There are dry spells but keep working! Your book is NOT going to sell itself! You have to work! Find your team! Market with fliers! Give books to libraries and build bonds and networks!

TheGreatestShowman (1)
Lettie Lutz:
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me

There Will Be Haters…What can you do in the face of bad reviews/press?

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“Hyperbole isn’t the worst crime. Men suffer more from imagining too little than too much.” — P.T. Barnum

In the movie, Barnum had his fair share of haters and doubters in his dream. The newspaper mocked him. The critic called him a fraud, a poser, a humbug. What did he do? Did he give up? Absolutely not!!!  He made a golden crown with the words “Prince of Humbug” on his top hat. We, as authors have to face it. We are going to see a horrible, maybe even hateful review. It can be crushing! Again, be like Barnum! Contact them and laugh it off in a respectful way or ignore them. P.T. did and look at his legacy! We still enjoy his marvelous show all over the world!

Charity Barnum:
“However big, however small. Let me be part of it all. Share your dreams with me.”

Do NOT Forget Why You did it in the first place!

A powerful point I found in the movie that really resonated was the part when the character of Barnum in the movie forgot why he chose to what he did in the first place. He sunk into providing what the common audience wanted instead of what he loved to do. Authors tend to do this too. They forget why they chose to write in the first place. They choose to get “blinded by the late” as P.T says in the movie instead of doing what they love and remembering why they love it.

It isn’t easy….but it’s worth it!

The praise for this movie can go on and on but the truth is there. It is all about dreams and what it takes to reach them. Guys, being an indie author is not easy. Never will you see those words here. It is a ton of work but in the end, if you keep going even through the desert, you will see results. Just remember why you published in the first place. Why you decided to pick up this passion in the first place. Then you will have your greatest show and have everything you ever want and need!

 

“The noblest art is that of making others happy” — P.T Barnum

 “No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.” — P.T Barnum

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[Author Interview] Mark Engels, Author of Always Gray in Winter

 

9781945247194By: Mark J. Engels

Genre: Paranormal Sci-Fi Thriller

Age category: Adult

Release Date: 8/10/17 (trade paperback); 10/1/17 (ebook)

 Blurb:

A distant daughter. A peculiar device. A family lineage full of secrets. When werecat Pawlina Katczynski finally resurfaces, her location previously unknown to anyone close to her, the reunion is short of welcomed. Instead, she finds herself thrust tooth and nail—tooth and claw—into a feud between opposing werecat clans as her family and their enemies reignite a battle that has raged for years. Always Gray in Winter invites the reader to join the feud and see if blood is truly thicker than water…


The Interview:

1) How did you get the idea for your book?

I’ve been a fan of anime, manga and anthropomorphics for over thirty years.  My muse came to me one night at work, imploring I write her story. When I ignored her, she “charmed” me with fangs and claws.  And told me her name was Pawly.

2) As a small press author, can you describe your experience through the process?

I’d been on the publication trail for some while before I got a couple small press offers, so I had some idea of what to expect.  Every small press is different, and each is at a particular stage in their development. My publisher had been around a couple years before I signed on, though at the time they were in the middle of an expansion and eager to sign new authors.  We negotiated a number of terms in the contract, which I had come to understand by talking to other authors, agents and editors I’d met during the query contests and Twitter “pitch parties.” And what I’d learned helped establish just exactly what my publisher and I came to understand we could expect from one another.

3) When you wrote your book, did you know you wanted to get it published or was it something you started as a hobby?

After having been an anime, manga and anthropomorphics fan for so long, I wanted to give back to the fandoms I’d come to love, through which I had found such joy and made so many dear friends.  Wanted to create content after consuming it for decades. Because I thought my characters and concept were kewl and labored under the delusion others would too.  I was determined to take their story to a wide audience, which was the main reason I queried agents and, later, submitted to small presses.

4) What was your general writing process?

I’m an electrical engineer in my day job, specializing in the design, construction and commissioning railroad and rail transit signal and communications systems all over the United States.  An iterative design process is second nature to me, starting with the abstract and working toward the specific. So I can’t not be a plotter, really.  I laid out a series outline in prose form detailing three generations of my werecat protagonist Pawly’s family, from the height of the Cold War to the present day.  Then I figured out a starting and an end point for the first book, which takes place in media res.  Drafting came next.  A year or so later I was ready to begin my edits.  I’d both joined a real-life writer’s group by then and picked up a copy of Browne & King’s Self Editing for Fiction Writers.  Boy howdy, did both of those underscore just how much editing I needed!  About another year’s worth, in fact.

5) How many hours a day do you devote to writing? If you have a day job, how do you find the balance to write?

“Balance” is not found, as if one is out in the woods looking for berries or mushrooms.  Balance is struck, it is made, it is hard fought. And it is always a compromise. Along the lines of “this isn’t he arrangement everyone likes most, this is the arrangement everyone dislikes least” more of then not.

I’m very fortunate that I enjoy my day job for its intrinsic value (I play with trains and electronics all day, yay!) and make a decent living for my family doing it.  I do work full time, though, and during business hours the job needs must be my priority. I’m also a father and husband. Every night after my son goes to bed, I devote two or three hours to “writing”, but I don’t use such a narrow view as “words on a page.”  Research is writing, mentally picking away at the Gordian knot my plotlines have bunched themselves together into is writing, dispositioning critique partner feedback is writing, reading other’s books is writing, platform building is writing, etc. Many activities don’t get words down on a page but are part and parcel of my writing process nonetheless.  To help make sure the words I do get down are the right ones, and that those words have a fighting chance of reaching their audience.

6) When did you decide you wanted to become an author? Who were some of your inspirations?

I really didn’t set out to be an author, or a writer for that matter.  It just sort of happened. Being an anime and manga fan at the dawning of the Internet age, I came upon newsgroups, bulletin boards and mailing lists where I could meet and get to know fans of one particular franchise or another.  On a couple of occasions after a dramatic shift in a story or after its conclusion, I felt that the creators had left “money on the table”, leaving characters undeveloped, plot threads twisting in the wind or entire stories gone untold.  So I set about to fill in the spaces between with fanfiction. Including several novella- and novel-length stories.

My books aren’t all that different.  I came to know an artist featuring anthro characters whose work I adored, who wanted to release a web comic featuring them but wasn’t sure how to begin.  He was struggling with his antagonist’s motivations especially. We began a dialogue about same with an outline I’d prepared and expanded into a complete story arc.  After sitting down at a convention together over coffee, he told me “this sounds like a great story, but it’s not my story” and that was that.

Or so I thought.  I was fully prepared to put the experience behind me and go on with life, but my muse had other ideas.  She came to me and started shredding away at my consciousness, insisting I tell her story. And that of her family.  Turns out my muse she be a werecat. One who looks strikingly like my story’s protagonist, in fact. Pawly makes a convincing argument with fangs and claws.

7) How long did it take you to write your book?

A year to draft, a year to edit, a year to query/submit. Nearly another year before release during which time I built out my web site and social media presence.

8) When you wrote the book, were you trying to make it a stand-alone story or are there any sequels planned?

After I finished my series outline, I sent it around to some friends and fellow writers in the anime fanfiction communities to get their feedback.  All of them thought the premise outstanding and unique, and all exhorted me to not to try to cram the story into one book. So after spending a fair bit of time re-organizing my outline, I’ve determined I have enough plot points to cover at least three books.  Or four should I decide to dive deep into Pawly’s family history.

9) As you know this is blog is mostly geared towards authors trying to get their platforms built, market their books, focus on personal promotion, etc. What are some of the best ways you would advise our readers to market their books? To get themselves out there and get on podcasts, guest posts, etc.

“Best ways?”  Uhm, I’m not all that sure I know, truthfully.  Because marketing is every bit as much subjective as editing and critique.  What worked for them/there/then (that is to say, for me or for any other author) may not be useful nor effective for you/here/now.  If one desires to write a book in a specific genre, while reading deep in the genre, pay attention to what successful authors in that genre have done and are doing to build their platforms.  All of it is worth considering, even if some of it might not work well for you.  Or for your book.  You’ll be prepared to make an informed decision yea or nay.

That said, I believe successful marketing strongly correlates to an author’s willingness to build relationships.  Especially online ones, where so many of us find and reach our audiences. There is a lot of awful out there on social media, but there are also pockets of like-minded creatives eager to make new friends.  “Getting yourself out there” is salient advice, though I would qualify “early and often.” Writing is frequently a solitary exercise, and I’d suggest one run silent and run deep while one is developing their first draft to avoid distractions.  Though it’s high time to seek out other creatives once the story has something of a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Start working on a query letter right then; there are all kinds of query contests online to help with that.  The friends I made there (and on the Twitter “pitch parties” once the manuscript was complete) today number among my most valued critique partners.  And my most ardent supporters.

The same folks ought to come in real handy as you’re going through editing your own book prior to submission or publication.  They can also help make suggestions as to agents or editors that may really enjoy your book, or help refer you to their trusted resources if you decide to self-pub.  Because having done so, getting on the podcasts and guest posts was fairly simple. I just had to ask my friends who asked their friends.  Voila!  They were glad to have me.

10) As a writer, we all know we are bound to deal with harsh book reviews from people who just don’t like our work. How do you go about dealing with “bad press”? For good reviews, do you tend to reach out to the reviewer and thank them?

I make it a point to reach out to reviewers who take time to share what they liked about my book, what maybe didn’t work for them, how my book made them feel–good or ill.  Though never as a comment to the review itself; those are written by readers for readers.  Author responses to such are seen by many as rude, seen as an intrusion into a private conversation between readers.  To the extent possible, I use the reviewer’s handle to track down an email address or social media link where I can reach out and thank them.  Because I find even disparaging remarks often provide unique opportunities to consider what most to improve in my future work.

“Bad press?”  I leave it lie and recommend every author do likewise.  Nothing I say will change their minds about my book, and it’s not my place to try.  I’ll only wear myself out in doing so. Besides, a reader’s opinion is just that. One person’s opinion, to which they’re entitled.  And I’m entitled to respond with but a shrug and move on.

When bad press does come, I endeavor to remind myself of a couple key principles: first, that the book I had in my heart to write may decidedly not be the book any one person had in their hearts to read and, second, that that is okay.

11) Your first book is a mystery/ thriller, is there a reason you chose this genre?

Just happened to be the book I had in my heart to write, of course!  The sort of book I had in my heart to read but couldn’t find.  It was only after I’d written the book that I began to bill it as a “paranormal sci-fi thriller”, because I had to assign it a genre for query contest and Twitter pitch parties.  Up until that point, I was complete clueless to genre conventions and subtleties (and, frankly, I’m still figuring them out.) All I knew was that my story was my story, though I set about to understand them by necessity when I began to pitch my book.  Contemplate just what sort of audience I would endeavor to reach out to. And how best to engage them.

12) What are your views on writer’s block? Do you believe in it? If you do, do you have ways to cope with it that you would be willing to share?

Yes, writer’s block is a thing.  A thing I fear, actually, which is in part why I do so much work up front plotting.  If I know the story has a defined beginning, a middle and an end, then I can just plow through the places where the story drags and sags.  Because I can always edit later! Pantsers suggest that doing such layouts stifles creativity, to which I can only say “to each their own.”  This is what I do and why I do it, and it seems to work for me. Your mileage may vary.

What does seize me up from time to time happens after I’ve gotten feedback from my critique partners.  They’ll point out what works for them and what doesn’t, and I’m always grateful when they do. When several of them point out one particular thing that didn’t work, that suggests strongly there’s something there I need to fix.  But it’s always a struggle–I gave it my best!  A bitter pill to swallow that one’s best isn’t good enough.

Or, as I’ve come to understand, it’s not good enough yet.  I’ve found that if I put away the feedback for a period of time, like a couple weeks or sometimes even a month or two, then when I come back to it I can more better see what the issue is.  Often with such clarity arrives the answer unbidden to the problem that had me stymied.

13) What time of day do you find is your “creative time for writing”?

Evenings.  After my grade-school age son goes to bed and before I crash.  To those who write early in the morning, God bless yer pea-pickin’ hearts.  That just doesn’t work for me. I find I need a full day of doing unrelated stuff to get my brain “spun up” fast enough so I can write.

14) Do you have some advice for the new authors that may be reading this post right now?

The book that you have in your heart to write may not be the book any one person has in their hearts to read.  And that’s okay. You’re okay.  Your story is okay, though always be willing to take into consideration points-of-view that might be hard to hear.  Because often those help you figure out how to tell your story even better.

What’s worked for them/there/then may or may not be practical, feasible nor helpful for you/here/now.  Don’t let anyone tell you your way is wrong.  Your way is your way, every bit as valid as you are.  Consider other people’s successes and failures as you soldier on, keeping Bruce Lee’s timeless advice close to your heart:

“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”

Reach out.  Put yourself out there.  I know it’s a daunting prospect to introverted types, but I believe doing so will pay dividends for people like it has for me.  Query contests, pitch parties and forums like Absolute Write’s “water cooler” forums are great ways to learn things and make friends.  I did just that and now have a cadre of resources I can depend upon to help me write, edit and promote my stories.

15) Last but not least, what are your future plans now that you have published your first novel?

“I’M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!”

*eyes royalty statement*

Well then, maybe not.  Back to working on my next werecat book…


You can find Always Gray in Winter on Goodreads 

You can purchase Always Gray in Winter on Amazon 

Read an excerpt!


About the Author 

Boyhood interests in trains and electronics fostered my career as an electrical engineer, 120c9a380f5682af4516508841a3af37designing and commissioning signal and communications systems for railroads and rail transit agencies across the United States. Authoring rail industry trade magazines articles led me to write novel-length fiction, inspired by my beloved anime, manga and anthropomorphic fandoms. Growing up in Michigan never far from the Great Lakes, my wife, son and I live in Wisconsin with a dog who naps beside me as I write.

I am a member of Allied Authors of Wisconsin, one of the state’s oldest writing collectives, and the Furry Writer’s Guild, dedicated to supporting, informing, elevating, and promoting quality anthropomorphic fiction and its creators.

 

Find and contact Mark Engels here:

Twitter / Facebook / DeviantARt / linkedIn / Website

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10 Rules For Success — Jay Colby

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I have always been infatuated with successful people. I constantly read about their processes, habits, philosophies, behaviors, and what influenced their success. Not only do I find it motivating, but by understanding how and why successful people do what they do it helps me to strive for success. As I have researched over the past […]

via 10 Rules For Success — Jay Colby