Virtual Book Tour – Beverly Mahone, author of Don’t Ask and I Won’t Have to Lie

January 31st, 2011 by Teresa

I would like to introduce you to a online friend of mine, Beverly Mahone. I have known Beverly for about 4 years (one of these days we will meet in person). I have enjoyed her witty, no nonsense, no hold barred approach to life and with her latest book, Don’t Ask and I Won’t Have to Lie is no exception. She shares with the reader those things we (as men and women) tend to lie about to make ourselves feel better instead of just accepting they way things really are in life.

She offers stories from other people about their truth about lying and Beverly even reveals a HUGE lie she told that almost cost her life!
I had the pleasure of putting together a virtual book tour for Beverly and her book, Don’t Ask and I Won’t Have to Lie and here is her journey:

More about Beverly:
Beverly Mahone is a veteran journalist, author, radio talk show host and motivational speaker who primarily talks about issues affecting middle-aged women.

Beverly was born and raised in Ohio and graduated from Ohio University with a degree in journalism.  Her career has taken her to West Virginia, Boston, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

She was the recipient of a Boston’s Best Award for a public affairs show she produced and hosted and was part of the Emmy-winning news team that exposed the dirty dealings of a local sherrif.

After spending more than 25 years in the radio and television news business, Beverly decided to use her expertise to create BAMedia—as a media trainer, she works with individuals on how create their own voice through the media. 

She also hosts her own radio show called The Boomer Beat every Thursday from 1pm – 2pm on WCOM Radio in Carrboro, NC.

Online Book Promotion Resources Week 4 Wrap Up

January 28th, 2011 by Teresa

Each week we travel from different destinations on the web to provide writers and authors with resources to help with online book promotion. The topics cover blogging, marketing, social media, writing, website management, copywriting, editing…just to name a few.

I hope you enjoy this week’s online book promotion wrap up of resources–

Successful Blog shares a guest post by Rohail Muzafar on the Top 5 Facebook Apps for Business Users. And this includes writers and authors. One of the ones on the list I like is NetworkedBlogs. This app is a news reader application has the capability to get feeds from your blog, it lets you do stuff like adding a blog to your Facebook, read other peoples’ blogs and comment.

Publishers Weekly revealed on their blog highlighting thoughts from some publishing CEO’s Digital Book World 2011 event. There were 5 publishing CEO’s on the panel at the event and the general sense from them was the future of publishing is looking up but would be different.
One of the panelists, Jane Friedman, CEO of Open Road Integrated Media and former CEO of HarperCollins, said the industry is “vitale and vibrant,” adding that at no point in her career as she seen such change and that things will never go back to the way they were. “It’s the end of the beginning”of the digital transition, Friedman said.

A new blog I found this week, Publishing Perspectives touched on the topic of Are Publishers Underestimating the Desirability of Print? Blogger Edward questions if the prediction of the popularity of the ebook will indeed the reading platform of choice in a few years (by 2014). As women are the key buyers of most books, he questions if women will be drawn to purchase devices such as Kindle, Nook and others at the rate some suggest.

The 101 Bloggers to Watch in 2011 was released this week on WE Magazine for Women blog and I am honored to be among such wonderful bloggers as Yvonne DiVita, Maria Mar, Lily Iatridis, and Melanie Jongsma. I hope you will check out this incredible list of women.

Laura Spencer of Writing Thoughts offers a post on whether you should rely on guest posting?. She offers positives to the decision such as offering guest posts could expand your audience and it could bring a fresh voice to your blog. The negatives are you may not receive a well written blog post and you may not receive a guest post that was promised. So in the end, you have to decide if guest posting on your blog is for you or not.

I hope you have enjoyed Week 4 Wrap up of online book promotion resources. Please share your thoughts, comments and ideas.

Editing Techniques from an Insider

January 27th, 2011 by Teresa

Guest post by Wendy VanHatten, owner of VanHatten Writing Services

Editing Techniques from an Insider

Editors all have their own style, process or technique when they edit a client’s manuscript or written works. Yet their goals are similar…the best result possible for the client.

Sounds simple, right? In theory…yes. But take a moment and think of all the different types of writings. There are business brochures, novels of every genre, website copy, author bios, travel articles, how to eBooks…the list goes on forever it seems.

Editors play an important part in all types of writing. Have you ever picked up one travel brochure and immediately wanted to go there? Then you look at the next brochure for the same destination and it just didn’t entice you to book your trip?
Let’s say you look at shelf full of self-help books in the local bookstore. After picking up several of them and reading their back covers, you only open one. Why? Or maybe you are looking on line for a new florist. One site reads like a dull left-over rose bud and the next one makes you picture a smile-producing response to your delivered bouquet.

What does this mean for you as a business owner, a writer or an author? You need to find an editor who will work for you, with you and understand your writing style. And how do you do that?

First of all, ask some questions. Has this editor ever worked with your particular type of writing? If you own a business and need your brochures, business cards, promotional pieces and web copy to reflect you and your business…make sure the editor has worked with these types of materials. If that editor has only edited American History novels or engineering text books, perhaps you need to keep looking.

For my clients, I begin with a questionnaire. As a start, it gives me an idea of my client’s needs, how they come across when talking about their project or work, what they want to gain from their writing and who their ideal client is. Asking these and additional questions allows me to tailor my questionnaire to my client and their type of writing.

Why do I do this? This process allows me to understand the client’s voice which in turn produces a product that reflects the client. Do all editors do this? I don’t know. What I do know is that this has worked for me for years. My clients come away with a brochure that fits them and their business, a best-selling novel, an author bio that fits their book cover or web copy that draws in more readers.

What do I charge for this? Nothing extra, it’s included. It’s that valuable to me.

Next time you have a written piece that needs some editing, take time to pick the right editor for you.

More about Wendy VanHatten:
Wendy VanHatten left the corporate world to become a professional freelance writer and editor, assisting authors with their manuscripts. Wendy understands what it takes to get from the blank page to the finished product, as she is a published author of several books. Being an international travel writer, she knows the joy of discovering her articles in a world-wide market. Wendy offers a strong writing and editing background, including speaking engagements and workshops to her clients.

Her writing website, VanHatten Writing Services, details her writing services. At www.virtual-author-assistant.com she works with a professional team to provide complete services for authors. Several times a week you can find travel tips and destination pieces on her blog, Travels and Escapes. She also blogs for The Reporter in Vacaville, CA. Wendy has taught courses at the college level regarding health care administration, career writing, effective communication, success for women, and goal setting.

Author Spotlight Interview: Kathryn Weiland, author of Behold the Dawn

January 24th, 2011 by Teresa

In my “travels” online I came across a great website for writers, Wordplay by blogger Kathryn Weiland and while I took a look around (she has some great stuff on there), I noticed she is also an author. So I requested a bit of her time for a quick interview to share some of her writing tips and journey with social media.

Here is my conversation with Kathryn (aka K.M. Weiland):

Kathryn Weiland

1. When did you begin your writing?
I was eleven or twelve I think. I’ve always made up stories, but I didn’t start writing them down until my siblings and I decided to form a family newspaper. They lost interest pretty quickly, but I was hooked! Eventually, I moved on to edit and publish Horse Tails, a small newsletter for youth, which I continued throughout high school. I wrote hundreds of short stories during that time. Progressing to novels was a natural expansion

2. How long did it take you to write your book(s)?
From the beginning outline sketches to publication is generally a journey of almost six years for each book. On average, I spend a year outlining and researching, a year writing the first draft, a year editing and receiving critiques from my fabulous crit partners—and then I throw it into the back of the closet while I move on to the next story. For whatever reason, I never seem to be able to see a story clearly until I’ve set it aside long enough to write another one. Then, I return to the first story with a clear eye for its problems and start rewriting. I don’t like rushing the writing process. A story needs time to grow and mature—and so does the author.

3. Some writers have a preferred writing schedule. Do you?
Definitely. I’m a bit of a schedule nut, actually. I set aside two hours every day for my writing, usually between four and six in the afternoon. I start out with thirty minutes of “warm-ups,” which allow me to ease my mind away from the busyness of the day and into a creative place. I start out with a quick prayer, asking God to bless and direct my work, then scribble an entry in my writing journal, noting my thoughts about my current scene and planning what needs to be written that day. I read a short article about the craft, go over research and character notes, and read over what I wrote the day before. Then I choose a soundtrack to listen to and start writing.

4. What tips would you offer beginning writers to help them?
Write every day. If you don’t make your writing a priority, no one else will. It can be difficult not to feel guilty about spending time writing, when you could be spending it doing something more “productive” (like vacuuming the house). But don’t allow yourself to use guilt as an excuse. If your writing is important to you, don’t let anything stand in its way. Set aside a specific amount of time every day (whether it’s twenty minutes or five hours) and make sure you’re at your desk at that time, no matter what.

5. Are there some books on writing you recommend that helped you?
My latest favorite is John Truby’s fabulous The Anatomy of Story. He does an amazing job explaining the components that make stories work, without reducing the process to a dot-to-dot puzzle. I’m also very fond of Nancy Kress’s Beginnings, Middles & Ends and Elizabeth George’s Write Away. I have a complete list of my favorite writing books on my website.

6. Please share with us more about your latest book, Behold the Dawn.

Behold the Dawn is a medieval epic, set against the backdrop of the Third Crusade, at the end of the 12th century. It tells the story of Marcus Annan, a renowned competitor in the brutal tourneys—the huge mock battles that remained wildly popular despite being banned by more than one pope. Annan, haunted by the secrets of his past, is confronted by a mysterious monk who demands Annan help him seek vengeance for a wrong committed sixteen years earlier. Against his will, Annan is drawn into the conflict, and he journeys to the Crusade in the Holy Land, where he rescues the widow of an old friend and attempts to deliver her to safety in Constantinople. But he soon discovers that the past he’s been running from is finally catching up, and if he hopes to survive, he has no chance but to face it.

7. Why did you choose to write this book?
I happened to pick up a children’s picture book about William Marshall, the “greatest knight who ever lived.” He was a second-born son who had to make his fortune by competing in the tourneys. Despite being repeatedly banned by the popes, tourneys remained popular until high mortality rates forced the sport to evolve into the more familiar (and much safer) jousting tournaments. After a long career as one of the most renowned tourneyers of the age, Marshall finally hung up his spurs and headed for the Holy Land to seek absolution. I’ve always been drawn to the Middle Ages, and I was instantly intrigued by these gladiatorial battles and their juxtaposition with the Crusades. From there, my imagination just took off!

8. Who is your book geared towards?
Adults who enjoy historical adventures and who feel that any story is better with a sword in it!

9. Do you incorporate blogging into the marketing for your writing and/or your book?
I began blogging because all the experts talked about the necessity of an online presence. Writing, obviously, was what interested me, so I started sharing things I had already learned and was (and am) still learning during my writing journey. Helping other authors better their craft has become one of the biggest blessings in my life.

10. How long have you been blogging?
A little over three years.

11. What subjects do you cover with your blog?
Wordplay focuses on the basics of the craft and perfecting the tools at a writer’s disposal, as well as digressions on the writing life in general and the nature and importance of art.

12. Why do you blog?
To connect with readers, writers—and because I just plain enjoy it.

13. Please share one (or more) blogging tip you have to share with others?
Consistency is key, I think. Come up with a topic you’re passionate about and post on a regularly basis, at least once a week. Interact widely with the blogging community, and go out of your way to be kind to others. Also, I highly recommend studying the awesome sites ProBlogger and Copyblogger for tips on taking your blog to the next level.

14. Do you incorporate social media (twitter, facebook, linkedin) for your writing and/or book?
Only in the sense that social sites allow me to connect with readers. I’m active on Twitter and Facebook, and I encourage readers to follow and friend me on both sites.

15. When it comes to social media— do you prefer one platform over the others?( facebook, twitter or linked in) Why?
Twitter’s definitely my favorite. I love the informality, the ease of use, and the wide world of people available with whom to converse.

16. What is one social media tip you have to share with others?
Put the emphasis on others, rather than yourself. If all of your social interaction is me, me, me (I have a new blog post, I have a new book, etc.), friends and followers are eventually going to grow weary and look elsewhere for interaction. Pay attention to people, ask questions, and make friends. I can’t count the number of meaningful relationships I’ve been privileged to development thanks to social media.

17. What else do you have planned going into 2011?

I’m a few chapters away from finishing the first draft of my historical work-in-progress The Deepest Breath. After I finish initial edits on that and send it off to my beta readers, I plan to start work in earnest on my first non-fiction book Outlining Your Novel: Plan Your Way to Success. Also, I’ll be continuing edits on my fantasy Dreamers in preparation for its publication date in 2012.

18. Where can people purchase your books?

You can purchase my books from my website, or via Amazon.

19. How can others contact you?

You can email me directly using the contact page on my website, or get in touch with me via my social accounts with Facebook and Twitter.

Writing Quote: Are you standing in your own way as an author or writer?

January 21st, 2011 by Teresa

No one can make you feel inferior with out your consent – Eleanor Roosevelt

It happens to us all. You can be feeling like you are on the path with your writing one minute and then BOOM! you feel like you have nothing to write the next. Where in the world does this come from?

You and I have this distinct ability to be our on worst critic. Sometimes it can serve you well. But most of the time this critic just makes you feel inferior and not good enough.

For me, the beginning of the year I really felt that I was ready but then when the tasks came upon me I hadn’t left room for the unexpected. I guess how could I right, when I didn’t know it was coming. However, I jammed my scheduled so full that I didn’t allow for any “breathing” room so I was left feeling, well, inferior.
But like the quote above states, no one make me feel this way. I mean it wasn’t like I wasn’t accomplishing tons of tasks I needed to do but I just was not able to do all of them. Well, who in the heck can anyway.
Also, it was my doing that I didn’t create some “breathing” room however, even still the world didn’t implode or my house didn’t disappear. I just needed to slow down and take things one step at a time. And you know what, once I shut the door on my inner critic, I was able to sit down and enjoy my writing again and found time to write an article and working on my upcoming books.

Now having a detailed schedule, setting appointments and managing your time is good practice however, there are times when things just go WONKY and that does not mean you are inferior. It just means things didn’t come to be the way you thought they were.

But this doesn’t have to open up the doors to your inner critic coming out and having a party at your expense. You just tell your inner critic you are not having a conversation about what you are not able to get done and then concentrate one at a time to those things you can get done.

Just remember what Eleanor says, “Noone can make you feel inferior without your consent.” So next time you are feeling lack luster about your writing, just remember you are allowing your inner critic to take over. Give yourself a break and get back to writing when your mindset is ready again.