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Orion Enterprises Publishing Competition

IT’S COMPETITION TIME!

Competition will run from the 20th October 2015, until the 20th January 2016.
Winner will be announced on the 20th February 2016
Entry fee $10 AU

Write an original short story, no longer than 30,000 words.
Your choice of topic and genre. *conditions apply*
Submissions to be in PDF format

Send your submission to:
orionenterprisespublishing@gmail.com

Subject line- short story competition
Message text – name of your short story, Author name, word count
Payment made to: paypal or direct deposit available for Australian citizens

( see bottom of page for details)

Winner will receive:
ebook and print formatting of their story
Cover design for their story
1 print version of their story,
(Soft cover 5 x 8 size)
6 months promotion on the Orion Enterprises Publishing website and Facebook
Winners certificate

2nd place will receive:
ebook formatting of their story
Cover design for their story
1 month promotion on the Orion Enterprises Publishing website
Runner up certificate

3rd place will receive:
Ebook formatting of their story
3rd place certificate.

*Terms and Conditions* please read carefully

1. Your short story must be an original unpublished work by you.
2. No fan fiction
3. Short story must be edited
4. No rape or beastiality
5. All submissions to be in PDF format. Times New Roman, 12 point, single line spacing
6. No communication will be entered into with contestants while competition is running
7. All winners final
8. All prizes final

Competition run by Orion Enterprises Publishing
www.orionenterprisespublishing.com

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An Interview with Ezio and Michelle De Angelis

 

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Welcome To Author Talk

Today, I have the wonderful privilege of interviewing Ezio and Michelle De Angelis.

Please tell us a little about yourself and your background? About you as a Writer

We are often called Australia’s number one husband and wife psychic team, which is nice. We live in Sydney but our work takes us around the country where we present psychic shows to audiences. It means a lot to us to be able to do this work full time because we both feel it’s very important to help people understand that there is life beyond this one. We both see private clients for one on one psychic and mediumistic consultations. For many years we ran a spiritual teaching centre called The Gathering, where people came to learn about spirit and unlock their psychic potential.

We met around eleven years ago and have been married now for eight years. Our interest in spirit and esoteric subjects brought us together. We originally met briefly at a Psychic Fair but in truth, we feel like we came to earth to reunite as husband and wife. Being spiritually minded, we have both had visions of past lives we have shared together. We enjoy each other’s company and are best friends. Working and writing together comes naturally and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

How lovely for you both. Time does fly, for I remember you before you were married. It must be wonderful to know you are both soul mates.

  1. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
    For the main part, we just like sharing spiritual insight, ideas and experiences in a no fuss, easy to understand and logical manner. Between us, we have published four books and would like to write and publish a few more before we are done.
  2. How long have you been writing?
    Since around the mid nineties. We first co-authored our book Postcards from the Other Side in 2012.
  3. Which writers inspire you?
    Illusions by Richard Bach is Ezio’s favourite. Michelle read far too many books to have a favourite!
  4. Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
    I think Johnny Depp would be a superb main character in Rainbows in the Dark…although he might be a bit old now lol. Our other books are non-fiction spiritual books so the characters are actually playing themselves!
  5. What is the easiest thing about writing?
    When you are in the flow of the book and the voice in your head is consistent throughout every page the writing comes easily. When you are in the flow, the writing does take on a life of its own…or in our case, the life of the spiritual inspiration that defines the feel, tempo and goals of the writing.
  6. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
    About three to six months…if we are dedicated to the task! Rainbows in the Dark was written in about four or five weeks but that was highly unusual. Ezio wrote a chapter a day long hand on the train to work and then typed it up at night.
  7. Do you ever get writer’s Block? If so, Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
    Not if the idea is right. But we have to be inspired by the project. Neither of us really write just for the sake of writing. We tend to write when we have something to say…or a pressed by a deadline from our editor at That’s Life Magazine.
  8. Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.
    I, Ezio don’t read a lot. Michelle reads anything a lot of fiction just for fun and has always been a big reader since she was a child. We don’t generally like reading books in the same genre as ours because we prefer to keep our voice unique and uninfluenced by other writers.
  9.  For your own reading, do you prefer e-books or traditional paper/hard back books?
    Both…but who doesn’t love paper books? As a published writer…we sell both kinds but our preference is to see our books on shelves in bookshops which is more and more difficult as many shopfronts have closed down over the last few years. There is a beautiful, elegant and romantic quality to paper books but electronic books are just so easy to obtain it’s obviously going to grab a bigger market share as time goes on and the world becomes more and more electronic.
  10. What & whose book/s are you reading at present?
    Ezio has just read a book called I can see clearly now by Margaret Marlow and Michelle has read three books during the few weeks it has taken to return this questionnaire but doesn’t even recall the titles as she reads so much.
  11. Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
    Postcards from the Other Side was professionally proof read and edited by our publishing house. Previous books we did ourselves because we self published them. Having said that, we have read many self published books that could really have used a professional editor so it’s worth investing in an editor. A good editor will help you define and more clearly state your case through your writing.
  12. Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
    Not really…although we let chapters sit for a few days after writing them before going back for the re-write. Most first draft writing needs revision to make its message better or clearer or simpler. the trick is to just get all your thoughts and ideas onto the page…that satisfies the creative urges…then go back a short while later and panel beat it into a more appealing shape.
  13. When did you decide to become a writer? What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
    For me, Ezio, it was after I read Illusions. But I didn’t think I could ever write anything that simple, elegant and brilliant so I didn’t really try until my mid thirties. I was 17 when I read Illusions. I always knew there was a book or two in me. Writing together was a real highlight for both of us. Two writers, one voice.
    For me, Michelle it was when the opportunity arose – when I was invited to write articles for magazines and then when we got our publishing deal for Postcards.
  14. Why do you write?
    For the love of putting ideas into writing…and the thought that someone else might find those thoughts of relevance to their lives. Also, to document and honour the people and spirits we work with. That’s really important to us. primarily we are mediums and share the Afterlife message through our everyday work. Writing is something we do as part of that.
  15. Do you write full-time or part-time? Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
    Both. Books are part time. Our weekly column in That’s Life Magazine is pretty full on. We write when we have time and that usually works for us.
  16. Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? How successful are you at achieving that goal?
    No. When we write…we just go for it head down and tail up!
  17. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? Do you use a special writing program, or just type away?
    Computer and just type away!
  18. Where do the your ideas come from?
    Spirit, our work, things we have learnt over the years. Apparently there is an ideas factory and we can tap into it…as can others. It’s got to be inspired for us. We don’t just write for the fun of it because we are too busy. At least three separate editors have described us as natural writers but we usually only write if we have something worthwhile to share. As mediums, inspiration comes mostly from real life experiences through our work.
  19. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
    If you are going to get a publisher to take you on, you need an outline and book proposal. They won’t even look at it otherwise. They take the view that if you can’t formulate your ideas well enough to create a logical proposal then you won’t be able to express it properly. Having said that, once you get to the stage of actual writing, stream of consciousness can be very valuable to get inspiration out of your head and heart and onto the page. When things are really flowing, all sorts of things jump into your head and it can be difficult to keep up with the ideas, examples and stories.
  20. How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
    Practice, Patience and Perseverance…oh…and rejections play their part too! Rejections if taken on board in the right way, can show you where you went wrong and help your own unique style evolve. It’s important to write with an authentic voice. What we mean by that is if you try and write like someone else, you will miss the magic of your own style. But in all honesty, most of us start out trying to sound like someone else, even if we don’t realise it. Its hard not to be influenced by others. But in time, your own style comes to the fore.
  21. What is the hardest thing about writing?
    Writing is generally pretty easy. Getting the project’s “voice” right is the key. Getting published and supported is more difficult that we ever imagined.
  22. What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
    Nothing really. Writing Postcards from the Other Side was actually a really smooth and easy project. We co-authored it and wrote as one person. Our process was that one of us would write a chapter and the other would fill it out, massage it into shape. Our publisher said that she couldn’t tell who wrote what…two authors…one voice. That’s what we strived for.
  23. How do you market your books? Why did you choose this route?
    That’s the difficult part. We initially started with a supportive publisher but she left the company a few months after we released our book. While she was there, they assigned a PR person and that was great in getting us some promotional exposure but mostly we sell and promote our books through our shows. Luckily we have our Mediumship Shows to help promote our books and we still have it displayed in bookshops.
  24. Would you or do you use a PR agency?
    It’s very costly and if you don’t also have the distribution network…it won’t work. So our answer is yes…and no. Yes if we have guaranteed distribution, no if we don’t.
  25. Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
    It’s difficult to discuss this without sounding negative and the answer is different depending on whether you are published by a reputable publisher with connections and distribution or just trying to make your own way and self publish. Let’s be honest here. The chances of being taken up and supported by a real book publishing company is very slim. It just doesn’t happen very often unless you have a major media platform. So be smart. If you are self publishing, don’t print thousands of copies because it’s very depressing seeing them stockpiled in your garage! Marketing is part of what and who you are. For us, we are mediums. We connect people to their loved ones in the spirit world and have carved out a very small niche in which we can sell our book through our shows, website, Facebook. Social media and on line is the best way these days but it’s not easy.
    When I, Ezio, published my first book, I just assumed I could run an ad and sell lots of copies. So, I ran an ad in one of the major new age magazines. The ad cost me around $500 and I sold four books which didn’t even nearly cover the cost of the ad.
  26. What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
    Our book is heavily displayed in everything we do, but we don’t actively market just the book.
  27. How do you relax?
    Time away from work and people, being outdoors, spending time with family.
  28. What is your favourite motivational phrase.
    Ezio: Here is a test to see if your mission on earth is finished. If you are alive, it isn’t.
    Michelle: You are infinite, keep it in perspective.
  29.  What is your favourite positive saying?
    Stay strong.
  30. What is your favourite book and why?
    Ezio: Illusions – Richard Bach. It talks of spiritual and physical possibilities, of only we can see the world as it truly is.
  31. What is your favourite quote?
    Ezio: What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly.
    Michelle: I never knew how narrow was your mind until I stepped so slightly from it’s one track and fell so far in your estimation.
  32. What is your favourite movie and why?
    Ezio: Remember the Titans. It’s about overcoming adversity, prejudice and finding the power in teamwork, respect, honour and working hard. It also has great sixties music and wonderful emotive acting.
    Michelle: The Mists of Avalon. It evokes a previous life and connections with my Guide.
  33. Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
    Doing pretty much the same as we are now. Working for spirit, living, loving and spending more time with those precious to us.
  34. What advice would you give to your younger self?
    Ezio: Be a bit more upfront about what I need in life.
    Michelle: Don’t take everything so seriously. Try and have some fun.
  35. Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
    Ezio: David Bowie – still living. I have had a lifelong fascination with his music, creativity and willingness to not rest on his laurels. He was the first person to show me that it was okay to be different, to change when change was needed.
    Michelle: Jennifer Saunders. She is so funny!
  36. If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
    Ezio: Illusions by Richard Bach. It’s just too good!
    Michelle: Margaret Mitchell. Her book Gone with the Wind is just beautiful.

Wow! Thank you both of you. I have learned more about you than I thought I knew. You are both inspirational.

Now we want to move on to learning more About Your Books

  1. What genre are your books?
    Spiritual
  2. What draws you to this genre?
    Our work as mediums.
    Ezio – I also have felt a lifelong compulsion to seek answers about life and death and the enduring nature of love and soul.
    Michelle – it is my area of knowledge and expertise.
  3. How much research do you do?
    Our lives and work are our research, so we do a lot of it!
  4. Have you written any other books in collaboration with other writers? If so, with whom?
    We co-authored Postcards from the Other Side.
  5.  Why did you do decide to collaborate and did that affect your sales?
    Because we work as a husband and wife team. As to affecting sales – we hope it did in a positive way.
  6. What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
    That’s easy. If a publisher takes you on, they usually have some distribution set up which is really difficult to procure on your own if you are self publishing. Distribution gets your book into more bookshops that you would ever be able to do yourself. That’s the main one. Creatively, they have people who can help edit, style and print the book which saves a lot of time and hassle for an author. Financially, you don’t have to outlay any money if a publisher takes you on…but you generally earn less per unit rate per book.
  7. What do you do to get book reviews? How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
    Our publisher organised these when our book came out but usually they were interviews where the interviewer had just skimmed over the pages to pick out certain questions rather than a full review Surprisingly, there was a really poor response from spiritual magazines who wanted a paid advertisement in order for them to publish a review. even then, a couple of them wanted us to send them a review!
  8. Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
    Not at this stage. Our book was published a couple of years back now so it’s not an ongoing thing anymore. There were radio, television and newspaper interviews and reviews we tend to rely on people talking about it on social media now.
  9. What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
    None really.
  10. What’s your views on social media for marketing? Which social network worked best for you?
    Facebook…works well when people speak up about your book. We try and encourage people to share if they liked it but you can’t always be at the public to do so.
  11. Any tips on what to do and what not to do?
    Many aspiring authors think a book will make then rich. Not many writers actually get rich from writing so don’t give up your day job. Our advice is to not get too hung up on selling but rather focus on the quality of your writing. For us it’s about building an active community around our work and hoping people will pick up our book and read it as part of that. It’s very satisfying when they do. And don’t be afraid to re-write and use a good editor!
  12. Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?
    Yes…we managed to appear on Sunrise and in the Good weekend Magazine but these kinds of media outlets don’t like straight out book reviews. They want a story. for example, our Sunrise appearance was more about our work and a family we helped with a plug about the book at the end of the interview and story. the Good weekend was about us a Psychic couple which mentioned our book. It all helped with initial sales.
  13. Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch?
    Our launch was really for friends and family. Its generally recognised that launches don’t work very well unless you are a big name. We did one because we wanted to celebrate the release of Postcards from the Other Side with people we cared about.
  14.  Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?
    Sunrise was great, as were some radio interviews.
  15. Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
    Not really
  16. What do you think of “trailers” for books?
    Great idea…we made one…but they can’t be too long…short, sweet and to the point. Ours can be viewed on our YouTube channel through our website www.eziodeangelis.com.au
  17. Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
    Yes and no. We have actually literally given away hundreds of copies. We usually give one away during our show as we talk about what it’s about. That often seems to encourage others to buy a copy. We did some give ways through That’s Life Magazine as part of the initial promotion but don’t really have any way of checking how that influenced sales.
  18. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
    We think this has been covered in previous answers but just stick with it if you are good at it and enjoy writing.
  19. Where do you see publishing going in the future?
    Downloadable for sure. Kindles, I pads…just too easy and inexpensive for publishers to resist. But we believe there will always be paper books because writers and readers want them.
  20. Thank you for your informative answers guys. I love your analogy about the panel beaters.

Now it is time to learn more About Your Current Book

  1. Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
    Its nonfiction. But our book is about life lessons learned from many of the spirits and clients we see. That’s special. learning from those who have lived and died…and come back to tell the tale!
  2. What are you working on at the minute?’
    Just our magazine columns. We have some new book ideas brewing but our publisher isn’t doing anymore new age and spiritual books. That’s the down side of closure of so many bookshops in recent years. No outlet for sales so the publishers pull back on their output too.
  3. Did you format your own book? In what formats is your book available?
    Yes for early books We used a professional typesetter and it’s in paperback only. No for Postcards from the Other Side. Its available in paperback and electronic formats.
  4. If formatted by someone else, how did you select them and what was your experience?
    We don’t recall but it wasn’t overly expensive.
  5. Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about. Who designed your book cover/s?
    Our publisher thought it best to have a picture of us on the cover smiling at the audience. They loved a particular photo of us and used it.
  6. Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
    Yes.
  7. How can readers discover more about you and you work?www.ezioandmichelledeangelis.com.au

Please list all of your published books here.

Book Title: Postcards from the Other Side – True Stories of the Afterlife
Genre: Spiritual
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
AuthorS:Ezio and Michelle De Angelis
Paperback / Hardback: Paperback
Distributor/Seller: United Book distribution via Allen and Unwin Book Cover by: Allen and Unwin

Website: www.eziodeangelis.com.au
Facebook:

Ezio: https://www.facebook.com/eziodeangelismedium Michelle: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Michelle-De-Angelis-Medium/165161113545156?fref=ts

Here is a Video from our YouTube Channel.

Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.

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An Interview with Lewis Harrison

 

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Welcome to Author Talk. Today I have the wonderful pleasure of interviewing Lewis Harrison of “Ask Lewis” fame.

  1.  What are your ambitions for your writing career?
    To make a difference in the lives of others through motivation, inspiration and information.
  2. How long have you been writing?
    49 years
  3. Which writers inspire you?
    Lao Tzu, Suzuki Roshi, Alan Watts
  4. Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
    Bruce Willis
  5. What is the easiest thing about writing?
    Writing
  6.  How long on average does it take you to write a book?
    30 days
  7. Do you ever get writer’s Block?
    No
  8. Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.
    Mostly Wikipedia and online research. I.B. Singer
  9. For your own reading, do you prefer e-books or traditional paper/hard back books?
    Traditional
  10. What & whose book/s are you reading at present?
    “Genius” about the physicist Richard Feynman By James Gleick
  11. Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
    Someone else
  12. Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
    Sometimes
  13. When did you decide to become a writer? What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
    I knew at 10 years old that that was what I wanted to be. My mother gave me a copy of “Writers Market” and that was it.
  14. Why do you write?
    I can’t help myself.
  15. Do you write full-time or part-time? Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
    I write 12 hours a day
  16. Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? How successful are you at achieving that goal?
    I work on 20 books at a time. ½ hour daily per book.
  17. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? Do you use a special writing program, or just type away?
    Computer
  18. Where do the your ideas come from?
    In dreams, epiphanies, debates with friends about ideas.
  19. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
    All flow in fiction. From an outline for non-fiction
  20. How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
    I have less faith in what people consider facts. And look for the contrarian view.
  21. What is the hardest thing about writing?
    For me…spelling and grammar
  22. What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? Always being drawn to think out of the box.
  23. How do you market your books? Why did you choose this route? Speaking and Social networking. Publishing is radically changing
  24. Would you or do you use a PR agency?
    I would
  25.  Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
    FB, Twitter, study how to market books through social networking
  26. What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
    I post what I write as blogs so there is not much division
  27. How do you relax?
    Writing, watch a movie each night, cook, argue about politics and economic with my wife
  28. What is your favourite motivational phrase.
    “If you live in the material world the dark side is your agent and gets a 25% cut of everything.” This gets me through challenges
  29. What is your favourite positive saying?
    All you need is love
  30.  What is your favourite book and why?
    The Tao te Ching by Lao Tzu. Pure mystic and practical wisdom
  31. What is your favourite movie and why?
    House of Games. It is all Game Theory and I love game theory
  32. Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
    Doing the same but wiser and richer
  33. What advice would you give to your younger self?
    Don’t change a thing.
  34. Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
    Buckminster Fuller. He understood what was really going on
  35. If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
    The Bible. Too many contradictions. Jesus got it right. The Apostle didn’t

Well, thank you About Your Books

  1. What genre are your books?
    Self Help, Personal Development, Human Potential, Alternative Medicine, Political Science, economics, World Affairs
  2. What draws you to this genre?
    My passion for ideas
  3.  How much research do you do?
    Large amounts
  4.  Have you written any other books in collaboration with other writers? If so, with whom?
    Yes. D. B Lawrence, Laura Jones
  5.  Why did you do decide to collaborate and did that affect your sales?
    One was my business partner, the other a student collaborator. No effect on sales
  6.  What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
    Unless I get a large advance I can do what a publisher can do unless they have a strong private list of buyers
  7. What do you do to get book reviews? How successful has your quest for reviews been so far? I have people post reviews on Amazon
  8. Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
    Yes. I give free copies to those who will review the book
  9. What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
    They matter
  10.  Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you? I often do free life coaching. Some of my students begin study groups in library book clubs and use my books
  11. What’s your views on social media for marketing? Which social network worked best for you?
    The absolute future is in social media. I use it extensively
  12. Any tips on what to do and what not to do?
    Face, Google plus, twitter, You Tube, Instagram
  13. Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?
    No but I would
  14. Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch? Yes. I also have my own show on an NPR affiliated station WIOX 91.3 FM. It streams at WIOXRadio.org 4-6 on Thursdays (EST)
  15. Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?
    Giving talks
  16. Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
    Giving away free copies to the wrong people
  17. What do you think of “trailers” for books?
    They are good
  18. Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s?
    I will create one
  19.  Do you think that giving books away free works and why? Sometimes
  20. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
    Read great writers and your own writing will naturally improve
  21. Where do you see publishing going in the future?
    On-line

Thank you Lewis. I have seen your inspiring posts on both Facebook and

Finally, we’d all like to hear mAbout Your Current Book

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
He is a Trickster who can see things going on physically that everyone seems to miss.

 What are you working on at the minute?
Filling out this questionnaire.

The Official Barter Book

There is Hope (About mental illness)

Extraordinary Days in an Ordinary Life: Biographical Short Stories

 Book of Power and Influence

Make Choices, Not Excuses: Tools, Techniques and Strategies for Solving Your Problem: Done

 Healing Depression Naturally  (an update)

 The Trickster Project: (Alternative Title – “The Noble Trickster Guru’s Guide to Creating a Functional Reality” Done

Connecting the Dots: Conspiracy Theories and 1984: Is Orwell’s Reality Here?

 Lewis Harrison’s Applied Game Theory: Systematic Strategies for Prospering in a Chaotic World

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: 200 Visionaries, Heroes and Game Changers

The Visionary Project: Tools, Tips and Strategies for Thinking Like a Visionary

That was Zen, This is Tao: Teachings,  Stories, and Koans refitted for the 21st Century

Understanding the Middle East- DONE

Living the Good Life: How to Live Like the 1% When You Are Part of the 99% DONE

The Problem Solvers (A novel about anonymous eccentrics who belong to a secret society of problems solvers). Game Theory

 The Tao te Ching: A Micro Analysis on the Writings of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu with additional

 Lucid Dreams: A Stream of Consciousness Novel 

Is this book part of a series? What are your thoughts on writing a book series.
Some are. I have a series of e-books called“Ask Lewis”

Did you format your own book? In what formats is your book available?
I use outside vendors

If formatted by someone else, how did you select them and what was your experience?
Fiverr. I try many grogs before i find my prince

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about. Who designed your book cover/s?
Fiverr

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Sometimes

How are you publishing this book and why?
Both

How can readers discover more about you and you work? www.asklewis.com, www.chihealer.com or just call me at 212-724-8782

Please list all of your published books here.

  • Massageworks – 1983 (Co-Authored with D. B. Lawrence (Putnam Books)
  • Helping Yourself with Natural Healing – 1987 (Prentice- Hall)
  • Making Fats and Oils Work for You -1990 (Avery Books)
  • 30-Day Body Purification – 1994 (Prentice-Hall)
  • The Complete Fats and Oils Book – 1996 (Avery Books)
  • Hands-on-Healing: Massage for Total Health the Shaman’s Way – 1998 (Kensington Books)
  • Master Your Metabolism – 2003 (Source Books)
  • Healing Depression Naturally – 2004 (Kensington Books)
  • Wealth Without Cash: Barter, Reciprocal Trade, and Alternative Economics – 2005 (Self Published Manual)
  • Live Like a Millionaire on $17,000 a Year – 2009 (Blooming Twig Books)
  • Harrison’s Massage Manual: A Book of Multicultural Approaches to Touch for Advanced Massage Practitioners and Mental Health Professionals – 2013 ((Self Published)
  • Spiritual, Not Religious: Sacred Tools for Modern Times (Self Published 2014)
  • Building Your Business in the New Digital Economy (Motivational Press 2014)
  • Gamification for Business (Motivational Press 2014)

Website: www.AskLewis.com
Blog:www.chihealer.com
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/realuguru/?ref=br_rs
https://www.facebook.com/askLewis
https://www.facebook.com/LewisHarrisonsNaturalHealingAcademy/?ref=br_rs
Twitter: Twitter@AskLewisH
Google: https://plus.google.com/100989044867743006979
Amazon Author Page:http://www.amazon.com/Lewis-Harrison/e/B001H6W6Y4/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1427990374&sr=8-2
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/lewisharrison1

Do you have a Video link you would like included in this published interview? Please paste it here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCY-dKQme7nZPDT2x-FMODsg

(* Any order you like and if I’ve missed anything, just type it in.)

The second photo is with 100 year old “professor” Irwin Cory one of the great comedians of the 20th century and a mentor of Lenny Bruce and George Carlin

The third photo is what is use for media

The fourth photo is with Spaulding Grey a pioneer in Perfromance Art

The forth photo is with the great Talmudic scholar – Rabbi Mintz

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An Interview with S M Spencer

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Welcome To Author Talk. Today I have the pleasure of interviewing author S. M. Spencer

Please tell us a little about yourself and your background
I’m originally from California, but now live in the outskirts of Melbourne with my husband, horses, cats and dogs.

I’ve always loved to write, and consider myself extremely fortunate to be in a position to dedicate the time needed to make it happen.

I’ve also always had a soft spot for all things paranormal. And while I certainly maintain a healthy scepticism about many aspects of the unknown, I also know there are lots of things that science can’t currently, and may never be able to, explain. 

Thank you S.M. You sound like my kind of person. Now let’s jump in and learn more About You as a Writer 

  1. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
    I enjoy reading many different genres and look forward to trying my hand at a variety of them.
  2. How long have you been writing?
    I’ve been writing off and on for many years, but have taken it much more seriously over the past five years.
  3. Which writers inspire you?
    There are many writers who have inspired me … Daphne du Maurier, Ray Bradbury, J R R Tolkien … the list goes on and on with examples from a wide variety of genres.
  4. Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
    I suspect if my trilogy were to be made into movies, the actors would be new actors. I would love to see the series picked up by a boutique Australian film company
  5. What is the easiest thing about writing?
    Letting my imagination run wild.
  6. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
    The first draft doesn’t take too long—perhaps three to six months—maybe less. But it is the editing and fine tuning that takes more time. Rereading the story to make sure every sentence says what it should and that all aspects of the story remain consistent throughout. Absent Shadows was my first serious book, and I’ve learned a great deal through the process so I suspect each new book will be a little bit easier.
  7. Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
    I don’t think I get writer’s block in the traditional sense of that expression. I sometimes lose interest in writing due to other things I’m interested in, but I don’t consider that writer’s block. When I’m in the mood to write, I write, and when I’m not I simply don’t beat myself up about it.
  8. Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.
    I go through various genre moods. I devoured Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia (didn’t everyone?) but also enjoy finding an author with a continuing series, like Patricia Cornwell, John Lescroart and Janet Evanovich. I particularly enjoy a good mystery/thriller with a romantic element. At this very moment I’m reading fellow indie authors, from both the Rave Reviews Book Club (RRBC) and indieBRAG Medallion website. 
  9. For your own reading, do you prefer e-books or traditional paper/hard back books?
    Now that I’ve gotten used to them, I really do prefer e-books. Paperbacks would be next for me. I think hard backs look great on the book shelf, but I read in bed a lot and find them too heavy.
  10. What & whose book/s are you reading at present?
    Right now I’m reading a book called Dear Maude by a fellow indie author named Denise Liebig. I’m trying to mostly support other indie authors, from both the Rave Reviews Book Club (RRBC), and indieBRAG. 
  11. Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
    I have friends read them and that helps a great deal, but then I edit and re-edit them myself.
  12. Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
    Definitely. Probably a bit longer than that in actual fact—the longer the better.
  13. When did you decide to become a writer? 
    I think the desire to be a writer started in my teens. I read a lot and would often get caught up in the characters, living their stories long after I’d finished the books. I had a great deal of respect for authors that could do that, and I wanted to be like them.
  14. Why do you write?
    Because I love doing it!
  15. Do you write full-time or part-time? Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
    I write when the mood strikes me—generally during the day, but sometimes I get inspiration at night and have to write for a time. There is certainly nothing structured or disciplined in the way I write.
  16. Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? How successful are you at achieving that goal?
    No—I might write five thousand one day, then nothing for the next two or three or whatever.
  17. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? Do you use a special writing program, or just type away?
    I write on my lap-top, but I also write on scraps of paper or a notebook if I just have a few ideas I want to jot down.
  18. Where do your ideas come from?
    For the Absent Shadows trilogy, I was working around the corner from Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Markets, up near the Flagstaff Gardens. Walking around at lunchtime, I started sensing that I was smack dab in the middle of the perfect setting for ghosts and vampires—and the story just developed from there. Of course, the late night ghost tour I’d done in the area, where I’d learned the history of the cemetery under the market’s carpark, really helped. And like many, I was caught up in the resurgence in popularity of vampires.
  19. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
    I do a bit of both—I have a general plot in mind, but am not afraid to let the characters take me in other directions either.
  20. How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
    I have found that the more I write, the more I notice the subtle things happening around me. Ever since I decided to take my writing more seriously, I’ve  seen possible scenes in everyday happenings—the lady at the post office, the girl behind the counter at the chemist, the couple walking down the street—I just view things from a different perspective now.
  21. What is the hardest thing about writing?
    Nothing. I don’t find it hard, because I enjoy it so much.
  22. What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? Waiting to hear back from the agents/publishers that I’d contacted.
  23. How do you market your books? Why did you choose this route? So far, it has been through word of mouth, Facebook, book blogs like yours, Sandy, and taking advantage of the promotions that Amazon offers.
  24. Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
    I’m just learning myself so I guess the only advice is to be open to new ideas.
  25. How do you relax?
    I think riding my horse is my favourite way to relax—that’s when I feel in touch with nature. And of course, reading a good book is always a great way to relax.
  26. What is your favourite motivational phrase?
    Every cloud has a silver lining.
  27. What is your favourite book and why?
    One of my favourites is Peter Straub’s Floating Dragon. That book was so scary—I remember thinking I could see things moving just on the edge of my peripheral vision. Scary stuff! But there are many, many more that I would call favourites.
  28. What is your favourite quote?
    That is something up with which they will not put.” Unfortunately, I can’t recall who said it (and Google isn’t helping me), but I doubt I’ll ever forget that sentence!
  29. What is your favourite movie and why?
    There are lots that I would call favourites, like Avatar, Lord of the Rings, and anything with Sandra Bullock in it—but if I had to pick one it might be Gladiator. A lot of the reason Gladiator is up there is the music—it is a wonderful story, but Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack and the beautiful tones of Lisa Gerrard, really made the movie special for me.
  30. Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
    Helping the aforementioned boutique Australian film company turn my books into movies. [Symbol]
  31. What advice would you give to your younger self?
    Trust your intuition.

Thank you S. M. I love your favourite quote. It rather sounds like a Churchill quote to me. he was a great lover of language as well as an author in his own right.

Now, to read About Your Books 

What genre are your books?
The Absent Shadows Trilogy is a paranormal romance. I call it YA because it has no overt sex or violence and the main character is only nineteen.

What draws you to this genre?
I grew up watching the eerie television shows of the 60’s: Dark Shadows, The Twilight Zone, The Invaders and Outer Limits being among those I remember best. What imaginations those writers had! So science fiction, fantasy and mystery stories have generally been my favourite. Throw in a romantic element, and you have the perfect story!

How much research do you do?
Enough to be sure anything purporting to be a fact is correct, but that’s the beauty of fiction—most of it comes from the imagination.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
The major advantage of self-publishing is being in complete control, and the only deadlines are those that are self-imposed. But the disadvantage is you don’t have a publishing house’s marketing teams and expertise to help you make a big splash. Some self-published books have made it to the big time, but I have no doubt that there are many really great self-published books that will never go far simply because the authors don’t have the time, experience or inclination to push them along.

What do you do to get book reviews? How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
I’m just getting started with this, so check back in twelve months and I’ll give you an answer.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
I’d rather have a bad review than no review, but of course all authors like the good ones!

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
I didn’t do any sort of pre-launch and that seems to be something that works for others. This is something I might consider next time I’m ready to launch a new book.

Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
Yes, to some extent. Word of mouth can be a big tool, and no better way to get this than to have lots of readers talking about your book.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Firstly, ignore the negative commentary about there being too many books out there. If you have a story to tell, and you believe in it, tell it. There will be people who will be glad you did. But having said that, before you submit it anywhere, make sure your book is the best you can make it. Read books or articles about self-editing.  When you think your story is as good as you can get it, set it aside, then sometime later re-read it and edit it again.

Where do you see publishing going in the future?
I think there is a fantastic future for well-written self-published books, particularly with the help of organisations such as indieBRAG (which, if you’re not familiar with it stands for indie, or independent author, Book Readers Appreciation Group and can be found at www.bragmedallion.com ). These organisations rate self-published books to help give readers confidence that the books they are buying are well written, and worth purchasing.

Thank you S. M. I really appreciate your detailed answers. I am looking forward to hearing something About Your Current Book 

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Lili is a typical nineteen year old girl who wants to make a difference with her life, but isn’t sure how she’s going to do it. When Lili is given a wonderful opportunity to visit her aunt in Australia, the land where her father was born, she discovers what she wants to do with her life. Sounds pretty simple, right? But then again, can anything to do with vampires and ghosts really be simple?

What are you working on at the minute?
Right now I’m in the midst of a rural romance

Is this book part of a series? What are your thoughts on writing a book series.
I’m hoping to make it a series, but given I haven’t finished the first book yet, I’m not entirely sure where the rest of the series will head. 

Did you format your own book? In what formats is your book available?
At this time, the Absent Shadows Trilogy is only available as Kindle books, on Amazon.  

How are you publishing this book and why?
I’m an indie author. I canvassed a number of agents and a couple of e-book publishers and got responses that varied from cold to lukewarm. The main message coming through was that the genre was very crowded, so I figured I was wasting my time trying to get a publisher to put their money into the series. But with encouragement from friends and family I decided to simply bite the bullet and do it myself.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Follow me on Facebook—and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you have any!

Please list all of your published books here.  
Book Title: Absent Shadows Trilogy:  Destiny—Book One, Sacrifice—Book Two  &  Deception—Book Three
Genre:  YA Paranormal Romance

Links:
Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/SMSpencer.writer
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/S-M-Spencer/e/B00PGE0G9U

Book Links: 

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com.au/Destiny-Absent-Shadows-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00O6WL9IA

http://www.amazon.com.au/Sacrifice-Absent-Shadows-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00Q2AVXUI

http://www.amazon.com.au/Deception-Absent-Shadows-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00QKRNJQ4

http://www.amazon.com/Destiny-Absent-Shadows-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00O6WL9IA

http://www.amazon.com/Sacrifice-Absent-Shadows-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00Q2AVXUI

http://www.amazon.com/Deception-Absent-Shadows-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00QKRNJQ4

IndieBrag  http://www.bragmedallion.com/medallion-honorees/2015-brag-medallion-books/destiny-absent-shadows-trilogy

 

Lastly, I would just like to thank you, Sandy, for this wonderful opportunity to share a little about me, and my books, with your readers.

 

 

 

You’re very welcome S.M. I look forward to following your books, and your Facebook Page. Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.

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An Interview with Tia Mitsis

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Welcome to Author Talk. Today I have the great pleasure in interviewing the wonderful Tia Mitsis.

Please start by telling us a little about yourself and your background as An Writer

  1. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
    I hope to continue writing both fiction and non-fiction, build up a following of readers and enjoy the craft of writing.
  2. How long have you been writing?
    I have been writing since I learned to write. I always remember coming up with little stories and writing them down. I would also ‘bind’ them into little books and sell them to my classmates! My first book was the first I wrote for publication – the others have just been for me.
  3. Which writers inspire you?
    I don’t think I can choose just one. I am inspired by writers who have the gift of building strong imagery in my mind, by writers who aren’t afraid to reveal their innermost thoughts, by writers who can make me understand previously difficult concepts. If I have to choose one, I would choose my childhood favourite who taught me about fairies, wishing chairs and English boarding schools – Enid Blyton.
  4. Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
    N/A as my book is non-fiction.
  5. What is the easiest thing about writing?
    Getting swept away in thoughts and ideas.
  6. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
    I have published one book so far and it took me approximately 4 months to write the first draft and then about 3 more months to do the recommended re-writes/restructure and new content.
  7. Do you ever get writer’s Block? If so, Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
    I don’t think it’s possible not to! I try not to get caught up in writer’s block and usually just leave it and come back to it with a fresh perspective. If I can skip ahead to something else, I do. This usually gets the creative juices flowing again.
  8. Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.
    I read more non-fiction than fiction currently. I love books by Bill Bryson about his travels. Enid Blyton of course remains a firm favourite. For a good dose of mystery and crime, I love Agatha Christie.
  9. For your own reading, do you prefer e-books or traditional paper/hard back books?
    I am old-fashioned, I prefer paperbacks. I like to feel the pages, flip through at my leisure and not be glued to a screen.
  10. What & whose book/s are you reading at present?
    I aim for my next book to be a travel book. I am reading Bill Bryson’s ‘Down Under’ to gain some ideas and am loving his injections of humour!
  11. Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
    No, I feel far too close to my work to be able to do that and for me, it’s important to have someone else read your work. What makes sense to you may well not make sense to someone else. I had my book edited twice – by different editors and also proofread, again by someone else. In this way, three people other than myself read my manuscript in full before publication.
  12. Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
    I let mine stew for much longer when I received the first edit back. I had some health issues going on and I just didn’t have the motivation to get stuck into rewrites at that stage. When I did go back to it though, it was with a fresh set of eyes through not having even looked at it for several months. Re-reading brought with it a new perspective, new ideas and a good grasp of the suggested structural changes.
  13. When did you decide to become a writer? What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
    I always wanted to be a writer. I think the moment I decided to write for publication was a long time coming. I’d been writing for myself for so long and in late 2013, I thought, it’s time to do this – for me but also for others.
  14. Why do you write?
    I write non-fiction to share my story, to share experiences, to let others know that they are not alone. I also write fiction to get away from reality, to experience the lives of my characters and although I control that world, I get lost in those characters too.
  15. Do you write full-time or part-time? Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
    In between working full time, volunteering one night a week and completing a professional writing degree, I write very part-time! I don’t have a structure, though obviously I try to get as much work as possible done on weekends which are the biggest stretch of time I have for writing.
  16. Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? How successful are you at achieving that goal?
    I don’t aim for a specific amount of words each day. I consider any amount, as long as it’s good quality writing a good outcome.
  17. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? Do you use a special writing program, or just type away?
    I write on my laptop. I use Word. I have tried Scrivener, but I think I need to play around with that one some more to get a good feel for it.
  18. Where do the your ideas come from?
    Real life situations, things I see and hear.
  19. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
    I outline an idea through to see where it might go but sometimes I start to write and just see where the idea takes me. It’s amazing how much can come from a single idea!
  20. How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
    I’ve evolved through doing the professional writing subjects, understanding more about the craft of writing. I have learned editing and proofreading also which I am happy to do for others but not for my own work. It’s too hard to see your own errors when you have written it. Your brain just skips over it! Although I have always written, that was for me and I could structure it any way I liked. For publication, I needed to focus on how to craft the writing towards an audience.
  21. What is the hardest thing about writing?
    I wish I had more time in my day to devote to writing. I hope to one day be able to take 6 months in a Greek village somewhere and focus on the writing. I can dream!
  22. What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
    It brought up previous frustrations – it can be an emotive subject. I also needed to find enough case studies to make it worthwhile and that was a frustrating task also.
  23. How do you market your books? Why did you choose this route?
    I am still learning this. So far I have been using social media, have approached a community radio station I was once affiliated with for an interview, have looked for bookstores which support independent authors and have created some promotional bookmarks/flyers to give out when the opportunity arises.
  24. Would you or do you use a PR agency
    No, I have not used or considered a PR agency.
  25. Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
    I have found word of mouth far more pervasive than social media actually, surprising in this age of social media reliance.
  26. What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
    I start to market my book before publication once I have something tangible to share – the cover for example. I have shared quotes from the book, I have shared the foreword and I have tried making a book trailer. Then once it’s published, marketing seems to be like a full time job!
  27. How do you relax?
    Writing fiction, listening to music, reading a book.
  28. What is your favourite book and why?
    I don’t have just one favourite, my reading interests are so varied.
  29. What is your favourite movie and why?
    Too many to name.
  30. Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
    Hopefully happy, healthy and still enjoying writing.
  31. What advice would you give to your younger self?
    Don’t worry what others think. It only matters what you think. Be confident and stand proud.
  32. Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
    I’d like to meet Albert Einstein and talk about his discoveries and thoughts about the future.
  33. If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
    I would have written the Harry Potter series just to see it become an empire!

About Your Books

  1. What genre are your books?
    Non-fiction
  2. What draws you to this genre?
    Sharing my own experiences
  3. How much research do you do?
    My book required quite a bit of research and analysis of data. If you want to present facts, the book has to be researched and as my name goes on the book – my real name – I needed to make sure what I presented was correct.
  4. Have you written any other books in collaboration with other writers? If so, with whom?
    No.
  5. What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
    The advantage of self-publishing is that you control each part of the book – the writing, the cover, the timing, the distribution etc. You also control getting the chance to publish in the first place. I made no enquiries whatsoever with traditional publishers because the biggest lesson I have learned in life is not to let others control your opportunities.
  6. What do you do to get book reviews? How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
    I haven’t got any other than one from a customer on Amazon. Five stars luckily! I have been looking at free review sites and have made a few enquiries.
  7. Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
    No, just looking online to see where reviewers can be found!
  8. What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
    A bad review should be a constructive review – one you can use and learn from. A good review is of course fabulous and will make you feel that your work is appreciated.
  9. Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you?
    Not yet.
  10. What’s your views on social media for marketing? Which social network worked best for you?
    So far best results are from like-minded individuals on LinkedIn and WordPress.
  11. Any tips on what to do and what not to do?
    Try not to become disappointed too quickly, particularly when friends don’t support your work as you expect. They are simply the wrong market.
  12. Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?
    I haven’t yet worked out all the elements of Goodreads but I did have a book launch just for family and friends.
  13. Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch?
    No but I have a possible radio interview coming up.
  14. Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?
    Not yet!
  15. Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
    I am still in the midst of putting my work out there and am very much in a learning phase.
  16. What do you think of “trailers” for books?
    It’s a good idea, I wish I had more technological skills to be able to make them. I did make a promo trailer once but it was just simple with still photos and a voice over.
  17. Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
    It depends on who you are giving it to. People who helped you with the book – absolutely. People who will review your book – definitely. Running a free giveaway is also good.
  18. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
    Don’t give up. Don’t say you don’t have time – make time.
  19. Where do you see publishing going in the future?
    I see the growth of the self-publishing industry – it seems to be growing. I hope to see paperbacks make a comeback, I’m just not a fan of reading digital books!

About Your Current Book

  1. Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
    My book is non-fiction but there are many protagonists in the book. All the graduates interviewed have their own story to share.
  2. What are you working on at the minute?
    I am working on marketing my book, ‘When Study Goes Wrong’, published on Amazon’s virtual shelves on 12 March 2015. I have also tentatively started work on a second book which is a travel book.
  3. What’s it about? (*if relevant)
    When Study Goes Wrong is a unique exploration of graduate outcomes for graduates unable to find work in their field of study. It’s filled with my own story, case studies, relevant research, tips and coping mechanisms as well as discussions about retraining, career changes and study areas.
  4. Is this book part of a series? What are your thoughts on writing a book series.
    It’s not part of a series but it could be. I am certain I could find more people to discuss their situation as graduates unable to find work in their field for a second volume.
  5. Did you format your own book? In what formats is your book available?
    No, I had downloaded Createspace’s template to use and while this was in book format, I wanted it to look more professional and I didn’t have the skills to make it look that way. I was pulling my hair out arguing with Word when I decided to just have CS format the book for me. Yes, it was expensive but it saved me hours of frustration. I certainly would not have been ready to publish my book when I did if I was still arguing with Word!  My book is available in paperback and I am currently in the process of having it converted to be available on Kindle.
  6. If formatted by someone else, how did you select them and what was your experience?
    I selected CS because I was publishing my book through them and thought who better to adhere by all their specifications than CS formatters themselves.My experience was quite good. I did have an issue with the first digital proof – it must not have been checked properly as there were paragraph spacing issues. Once fixed though, it was perfect and I am very happy with it.
  7. Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about. Who designed your book cover/s?
    My cover was originally drawn by my brother, who is very talented at drawing and art. I loved his drawing and was imagining using it for a bold black and white cover. I had tried doing the cover formatting myself but wasn’t having much luck – certainly not to create something that looked like it had been done by a professional. I then found Billington Media, I believe someone on AWR pointed me in her direction. Sarah did a great job giving me ideas about the cover and in the end I chose a different cover – bright and colourful and I used the drawing as an internal illustration. I love my cover, it looks fabulous.
  8. Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
    Of course, it’s the first thing a reader sees!
  9. How are you publishing this book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)
    I have published through CreateSpace. I chose that option because it gave me the freedom to control my work as well as the opportunity to have my work published in my own time.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?
They can follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, check out my blog on WordPress and of course my Amazon author profile.

Your published books here.
Book Title: When Study Goes Wrong
Genre: Non-fiction
ISBN: 1494862875
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Author: Tia Mitsis
Paperback / Hardback: Paperback
Distributor/Seller: Amazon
Book Cover by: Billington Media

Blog: http://whenstudygoeswrong.wordpress.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/tiamitsis
LinkedIn: http://au.linkedin.com/in/tiamitsis
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/tiamitsis
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13632055.Tia_Mitsis
Amazon listing: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1494862875

Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.

 

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An Interview with Cathie Whitmore

 

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Welcome to Author Talk,

Today I have the distinguished privilege of interviewing Cathie Whitmore of Atom Children’s Books (A Touch Of Magic). So without further ado, we will jump right into our interview today and find out more about you and your background.

To begin with Cathie, please tell us a Little about Yourself and Your Background

I believe my story is one of fate, as becoming a writer had never entered my head, let alone delving into the world of self publishing. I have to wonder where life would have taken me if I hadn’t been asked to write a children’s story for a friend to market at University in 2006. Back then I had no idea I even had the ability to write – now I can’t imagine not writing.

Fate intervened for a second time in 2007, placing an amazing graphic artist right there in front of me at our local library. A friendly chat, followed by coffee the next morning and we were on our way to bringing my words to life with wonderful illustrations.

My husband Phil and I started Atom (A Touch of Magic) Children’s Books back in 2009, when we published our first book. Placing Twinkle the Christmas Star in over 150 bookstores around the country, resulting in many book signings and school visits, gave me the satisfaction of knowing I had created something to be proud of.

They say ‘three times proves it,’ and in my case it’s true. I had many stories ready to illustrate, but one in particular was my favourite and in my mind it had to be book number three. My illustrator wasn’t keen on my choice as she hates spiders and as luck would have it, I just happened to run into a young mum working at our local bank who had bought a copy of my first book for her son. As it turns out, she had been on maternity leave for twelve months and right when I needed another illustrator, there she was. We have now published three children’s picture books, a chapter book for older children and my first novel in the women’s fiction genre.

My motto is “Imagination Lives in Books” along with my heart and my passion for writing.

  1. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
    As a self published author of four children’s books and my first novel for adults, my ambition is to one day publish all of my work. I have a second women’s fiction novel in the pipeline and another sixteen children’s stories written, but not yet illustrated.
  2. How long have you been writing?
    I won a poetry competition at school when I was eight, so I guess you could say my passion for writing started way back then.
  3. Which writers inspire you?
    I have loved Roald Dahl for as long as I can remember and E.B. White is also up there amongst my favourite children’s authors. As a reader, I enjoy the work of Olivia Goldsmith, Cecelia Ahearn, Jodi Picoult and many other writers of women’s fiction. However, I guess I would have to say I haven’t actually been inspired by any one of them in particular, as I never had any aspirations to become a writer. It just happened.
  4. Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
    My most recent book is a women’s fiction novel, and I can imagine someone like Emily VanCamp, from Revenge, playing the lead role. My main character, Celeste, is in some ways similar to Emily– a beautiful, yet manipulative and demanding women, who will go to any length to get what see wants. The only difference is, my story is very humorous at times, so Celeste does have another side to her personality.
  5. What is the easiest thing about writing?
    The easiest thing about writing for me is the ease at which it flows. I have been a typist for almost fifty years and I find my fingers just seem to take over the keyboard, and the ideas are transferred straight from my brain to the laptop, without me really thinking too much about it.
  6. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
    The initial draft of my first children’s story, titled Hammie Goes to School, which evolved into a 44 page hardcover picture book, took me approximately three hours. Then I decided to re-read Charlotte’s Web and that gave me a whole new insight into how much better a children’s story can be with the use of character dialogue. That technique probably took another week or so to perfect.
  7. Do you ever get writer’s Block? If so, Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
    I have never really experienced writer’s block to any great degree as what I am writing, just seems to come to me and I just keeping typing, never knowing where it is likely to end.
  8. Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.
    I love to read, but these days I spend more time writing than reading. My favourite authors are the ones I mentioned in Question #3. However, I often read women’s fiction written by authors I have never heard of. The style of writing is more important to me than the actual author.
  9. For your own reading, do you prefer e-books or traditional paper/hard back books?
    I was totally against eBooks for my children’s stories, as I felt they were so impersonal and took away the wonderful one-on-one experience of a parent or grandparent reading to a child. However, now a few years down the track I have had all my books created as eBooks, and I think as authors, we either have to go with the flow or miss the boat. The ironic thing is, I vowed I would never read on a tablet and had no desire to own one. Then I relented, buying an iPad for the specific purpose of being able to see my children’s eBooks on the internet. Now, three years later and I am hooked. The convenience of the iPad outweighs my old fashioned values and I am now an avid eBook reader.
  10. What & whose book/s are you reading at present?
    I have joined an Amazon group called Write-On where authors put their work out there for comment. There is some wonderful work on this site and at present I am following a couple of authors as we read and review for each other. I am also a member of Australian Writer’s Rock, where I came across ‘The Dandelion,’ one of the best books I have read in a long time, as it’s basically a therapy session in book form.
  11. Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
    I do all my own proofreading and editing as I can’t afford to pay someone else to do it. It’s a slow and tedious process, but I have learnt a lot about writing and consequently changed things in my manuscript as I went along. I’m not sure an editor could have done a better job than I have done myself, as I have often come across errors in books professionally edited. From what I have heard from other authors, proofreaders and editors are not always what they are cracked up to be.
  12. Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
    At the end of each chapter, I read through my work to check for errors. During that process, I often come across things I want to change. However, once the story is complete, I believe it’s important to reread the entire manuscript again. I made the mistake of rushing into an eBook with my first women’s fiction novel, as it reached quarter-final status in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Then twelve months down the track, after learning many more tricks of the trade, I have just finished revamping my novel to make it the best it can possibly be. My impulsive personality is a costly one as now I know I am capable of better, the original eBook is in the process of being replaced with the new you beaut version.
  13. When did you decide to become a writer? What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
    Growing up I had written a few short rhyming poems and messages on greeting cards etc, but the idea of writing a book never actually entered my head. Then in 2006, I was asked by the daughter of a friend, if I could write a children’s story for her to market as a university project. Retirement certainly allowed me the time and my curiosity gave me the inclination to have a go. When I sat down to write my first story titled Hammie Goes to School, I had no real idea of what the story would be about. The only thing I knew for sure was I would base my story around a piglet named Hammie as when I was a child, Hammie was my mother’s Irish uncle’s name. This story unleashed a passion in me I never knew existed as once I started I couldn’t stop. Over the following eight weeks, I wrote nine more stories in the series titled The Adventures of Hammie.
  14. Why do you write?
    I have always been one for having a part-time hobby, such as silk screen printing, ceramics, leadlight, beading…and the list goes on. Yet I have never stuck to anything for all that long, as I tend to get bored doing the same old thing. Writing my first story changed all that and now I can’t imagine my life without my writing. Taking on the voices of my characters through their dialogue, embroiled me in their lives in a way I never thought possible. Suddenly they became a huge part of my life, allowing me to not only think and feel for them, but become the master of their destiny. A strong attachment to my characters has always been a rewarding part of my writing, as each and every one takes on a personality of their own, etching themselves in my imagination forever.
  15. Do you write full-time or part-time? Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
    My day starts on my laptop first thing in the morning and I begrudgingly fit in the mundane household chores in between. I have no structure, just obsession, as once I have an idea in my head, it consumes me and I can’t rest until I have turned it into a sentence, a paragraph and often an entire chapter. I learnt to type at the age of fifteen and my speed certainly comes in handy now as I can punch a lot out in a relatively short period of time. As long as the ideas are flowing, I keep going, oblivious to anything else around me. Needless to say, my hubby is not always a happy chappy.
  16. Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? How successful are you at achieving that goal?
    I never set goals, as that way of writing is way too structured for me. I write when I can and stop when I have other more pressing things to do. However, I am never away from my manuscript for an extended period of time, as my head is always bursting with ideas I am compelled to put into words.
  17. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? Do you use a special writing program, or just type away?
    I write on my laptop in Microsoft Word, but I normally set my manuscript out in a print format, to keep track of the number of pages and also to see what it will look like as a printed book.
  18. Where do your ideas come from?
    Well that is the weird thing with me. An idea just pops into my head and I run with it. When I start to write, I begin with a basic idea of what the first chapter will be about, and then it just seems to evolve from there without me really steering it in any direction. I have no idea where the ideas come from…but they just do. When I decided to write my first women’s fiction novel, I set the story in 1998. Then when I got a few chapters into it, it occurred to me I would need to go back to the previous generation to give the story some background and more substance. Consequently, my original first chapter, ended up as chapter nineteen of thirty.
  19. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
    I normally start with a vague idea of the initial plot and the rest just seems to evolve as I go. At times when I read back over my work, I can’t really remember even writing certain parts of it. I think my writing process is an automatic one between my brain and my fingers on the laptop keyboard, as it’s not something I nut out beforehand.
  20. How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
    Other than winning a poetry competition at school at the age of eight, my creativity lay dormant for so many years, I had forgotten it ever existed. In fact I doubt I would ever have become a writer if I hadn’t been asked to write a children’s book for someone else. My reply to that request back in 2009 was “I’m not promising anything…I have no idea if I can do it, but I’ll give it a go.”
  21. What is the hardest thing about writing?
    As we are retired, my husband perceives my writing as a hobby that shouldn’t interfere with our day to day lives. Boy have I got news for him…and it’s all bad. When my head is filled with ideas, I’m desperate to put them into words and I resent the interruptions. Consequently, walking away from my laptop in the middle of something I’m trying to put into words before it escapes me, is the height of frustration. My head won’t be quiet while I go about my daily chores and I am forever drawn back to my laptop to add something else I have just thought of. For me, that is the hardest thing about writing.
  22. What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
    Having written twenty children’s stories, four of which I have self published, I decided to try my hand at writing for adults. Piece by Piece is my first adult novel and it took my imagination to another level, far removed from the childlike rhyming style I have become so accustomed to. The hardest thing for me was I worried that the adult content in my novel would shock my readers and my image as a children’s author and grandmother of eight would be shattered forever. I wrote those scenes as tastefully as I could, but I still felt I was stepping out of my comfort zone a little, and at the end of the day, my reputation as a children’s author may suffer for it.
  23. How do you market your books? Why did you choose this route?
    I have an online presence, with two websites – one for my children’s books and another for my adult novel. I also have two Facebook pages – a personal and a business one. My books are available in both print and electronic format on iTunes, Amazon, Kobo etc. Writing my stories is the easy part, but marketing has always posed a big problem for me. I sell face-to-face at markets, fairs, book signings etc, but I need to spread my wings much further than that. I honestly don’t know what the answer is when it comes to marketing. All I know is, I have a good product to sell but how I get it out there to the masses is something I struggle with every day.
  24. Would you or do you use a PR agency?
    My feelings on this are unless I have a huge amount of money to throw at it, I would be just throwing my money away. Therefore the answer for me is, under my present circumstances I wouldn’t use a PR agency, but if by chance I came into some money, it certainly would be food for thought.
  25. What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
    As yet I have not devoted a huge amount of time to marketing my books, as I really have no idea where to start, other than the market efforts I mentioned in Question 23. I have just paid for a course in Facebook marketing, which I can do at my own pace at home. I am hoping this will steer me in the right direction.
  26. How do you relax?
    I totally lose myself in my writing and find it the most relaxing thing I can do.
  27. What is your favourite motivational phrase.
    Imagination lives in books,” is one I came up with in 2012. I write different messages to readers when I sign my books, but I think this is my favourite one.
  28. What is your favourite positive saying?
    “Life’s too short to sell yourself short.”
  29. What is your favourite book and why?
    It is too difficult to narrow it down to just one book, so I have chosen one I read recently titled “The Opposite of Maybe” written by Maddie Dawson. I love her no- nonsense way of writing. The story is not bogged down with overly descriptive text and moves at a pace that keeps me interested. Maddie makes me feel as though she is talking to me. I formed a strong connection with her characters and when I finished the book, I was sad it was over, as it left me with that feel good feeling I often experience at the end of a good movie and I didn’t want it to end.
  30. What is your favourite quote?
    “Every picture tells a story.”
  31. What is your favourite movie and why?
    That is another multiple choice question for me as I have enjoyed many movies. Being a romantic, I would have to say, Pretty Woman stands out amongst them as one of my all time favourites. Emotion and humour all bundled in together, gets me every time.
  32. Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
    I have never really thought that far ahead in terms of my writing career. I would like to think by that stage of my life, I might have received the recognition I have been seeking for my work. However, writing is a pleasurable experience for me and something I can never imagine myself not doing. To be successful would be nice, but if it never happens I will just continue to write for the love of it.
  33. What advice would you give to your younger self?
    Life is not about having what we want…but more about wanting what we have. Contentment is the key to happiness and we all have to do whatever it takes to make it happen.
  34. Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
    I am going to go with the first person who popped into my head and that is John Lennon. As a writer, I could have said Beatrix Potter or Roald Dahl, but that would not be exactly truthful. As a twelve year old, back in 1964, John Lennon was my idol and as real to me as if I had known him personally. I was shattered when he died and even today at the age of 63, if it were possible, I would still jump at the chance to meet him.
  35. If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
    As a late bloomer when it comes to writing, knowing what I know today, I would have to say Fifty Shades of Grey would be high up there on my list of books with a difference. I am not saying I am in awe of the author or the calibre of her work, but she has managed to stumble upon overnight success due to the fact she was clever enough to come up with something different which appealed to millions of women around the world. There is no denying sex sells, but as an author, I would die of boredom writing it. I only made it through about 20 percent of the first fifty shades book, but I have to give E. L. James full marks for her ingenuity. The interesting thing is, I just had to go and look at the book cover to remind myself of the name of the author. What does that tell you?

Well, that is certainly a lot of information Cathie. I must say that I empathise with you regarding your writing and the need to get it down. It is rather addictive.

About Your Books

  1. What genre are your books?
    With the help of two very talented illustrators, I have self published three hard cover picture books for children 3-8 and a chapter book for children 7-11. So far I have only written one novel for adults, I would class it as women’s fiction and I have a second one under way.
  2. What draws you to this genre?
    As I have mentioned earlier, my introduction to writing was purely accidental and led me to write my first children’s story. My natural talent for rhyming played a big part in my love of writing for children and from 2006 until 2013 I finished around twenty manuscripts. Four of which I self published. Towards the end of 2013 I decided to try my hand at writing for adults and I guess now I have achieved that, I feel I have written enough children’s story to last me a lifetime, but my future as a writer of women’s fiction has only just been born.
  3. How much research do you do?
    I did a lot of research on children’s books after I wrote the initial draft of my first story. Reading E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, taught me to give the characters a voice rather than just narrating the story myself. I have since learnt this is ‘showing rather than telling,’ and I have stuck with that style of writing ever since. I also spent a lot of time looking at successful children’s books as far as cover design etc goes. My adult novel is purely a work of fiction and came straight from my head and my heart, so little research was needed for most of that one. However, one of my characters was involved in the Vietnam war, which was a bit of a challenge for me as even though I lived through that era, I knew little about post traumatic stress disorder and the affect it could have on a relationship. Being predominately a children’s author, I tend to bury my head in the sand when it comes to the harsh realities of life and I certainly had to do my homework to gather the information I needed to make my story believable.
  4. Have you written any other books in collaboration with other writers? If so, with whom?
    No.
  5. What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
    Self publishing taught me a lot as I did it from scratch without the aid of a middle man. From start to finish the process only involved myself and my illustrator, who did the layout for me. Self publishing is easy and I will continue to do it, as it’s cost effective and a guarantee of getting my work out there, particularly with eBooks. However, I often think it would be wonderful to be picked up by a mainstream publisher who could put me on the map. And to be honest, that is the only real advantage I can see in having a publisher as opposed to self publishing.
  6. What do you do to get book reviews? How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
    Joining author sites such as Goodreads, Book Country and Write-On etc. is a good way of getting book reviews, but when it comes to the sites that actually sell books, like Amazon and iTunes, I have not been at all successful in getting reviews for my work. It seems to me that if an author has a lot of computer savvy friends who read eBooks from these sites, they stand a good chance of getting reviews from them. However, whether those reviews can be relied upon as a truthful reflection of the author’s ability to write something worth reading is an unknown quantity. I am waiting in line for a review by April Wood, A Well Read Woman. I am still a long way down the‘coming reviews’ list, but fingers crossed when it happens, it will be a good one.
  7. Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
    If I could move my friends along into the twenty-first century and get them into reading eBooks, I might be in with a chance of getting reviews. However, I think a lot of women in my generation prefer to read printed books they buy from bookshops. Once the book is read, they are not likely to get onto an online bookshop to leave a comment on a book. Whereas with eBooks purchased through places like Amazon, they email to ask what you thought of the title, prompting the reader to leave a review. I think book reviews tend to narrow down the choices for a reader to a certain degree, as we can be easily swayed by those five star ratings and most of us will at least take the time to have a look. Samples are usually free to download, which makes the choice even easier.
  8. What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
    I think us authors have to be thick skinned and take whatever comes our way. I think any review, good or bad is worth having, as a particular book which might suit one person might not necessarily suit the next and the reviewer will no doubt point out the reasons why. We have to be open to criticism as we certainly cannot win them all.
  9. Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you?
    None that spring to mind, as mine are all fairly tragic.
  10. What’s your views on social media for marketing? Which social network worked best for you?
    I am keeping an open mind on that one until I complete the FaceBook Marketing Course I mentioned earlier. I watched an hour and a half Webinar and that was interesting enough for to want to sign up. However, the thought of putting the theories into practice is a daunting one, as I find a lot of it overwhelming. Maybe it will be easier than I anticipate, but as long as I keep procrastinating over it, I will never know the answer to that.
  11. Any tips on what to do and what not to do?
    Not at this stage, but that could change.
  12. Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?
    Possibly if I had a clue how to do something like that on the internet, I probably would have, but my knowledge of these things is limited. However, in 2009 when my first children’s book was released, I was invited by internationally acclaimed author Peter Watt, who just happens to live in my area, to join him in the launch of his eleventh book published by Pan MacMillan titled To Touch the Clouds. Thanks to Peter and his crowd of fans, that worked extremely well for me at the time.
  13. Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch?
    I had another book launch in 2012 for my third children’s title, which was sponsored by the local newspaper and they gave me plenty of exposure. I also did an interview on local radio. We opened the launch to the public and had 130 adults and children in attendance. I was overwhelmed by the support I received from the local community and touched by their wonderful comments on my work.
  14. Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?
    In 2009 with the release of my first title, I did around seventeen book signings, followed by another sixteen in 2010. These proved to be very successful, but the majority of them where with Angus and Robertson who had gone out of business by the time my third title was released in 2011.
  15. Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
    My biggest marketing mistake was spending $2,200 on a fifteen second TV ad that ran a few times a day for a month. The ad was appealing and covered a wide viewing area, but it was over before it begun. I think I would have been better off opting for half the amount of thirty second ads for the same price, as I never sold a single book. Very disappointing and something I would never do again in the future.
  16. What do you think of “trailers” for books?
    Personally, I think they are a waste of money. That statement is backed up by a couple of authors I know personally who have gone down that road and felt the trailer made no difference to sales. It might be a good idea in theory, but I have to wonder how many people actually get to see it? They might work if it was possible to pay the movie theatres to run them.
  17. Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
    I have only tried it with my eBooks on iTunes, as in reality I am only giving away a piece of cyber space. As I had a total of 760 downloads I perceived this as a successful way to market my books. My logic behind this was if the people who read my book for free told their friends about it, then that would start a chain reaction, and once the ball was rolling I would slowly creep the price back up. Wrong again – I raised the price to $0.99 which is way below the normal price, and haven’t had a single sale since. I was doing much better when the books were priced at $4.99 and I’m not sure what to make of that.
  18. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
    If you are happy to write for the love of writing, you are in for a wonderful creative experience. On the other hand, if you are pursuing it as a career and a way of making a lot of money, you could be sadly disappointed. It was once quoted to me by a very reliable source within the book industry, that only one in thirty thousand manuscripts gets picked up by a mainstream publisher. The odds are against us, but there is always an exception to the rule. Matthew Riley, started off as a self published author and his work certainly made a big impression on Pan MacMillan and they have been publishing his books ever since.
  19. Where do you see publishing going in the future?
    From where I sit as a self published author, I see lots of bricks and mortar book stores closing down. It remains to be seen, whether eBooks will continue to keep readers happy, or will they eventually go back to reading the old fashioned way? Somehow, I doubt there is much chance of the latter happening as the convenience of reading on the tablet, far outweighs lugging print books around when travelling. I never believed I could be converted in the first place, but now I cannot imagine myself going back.
  20. You have certainly had some memorable experiences Cathie. I am still out on the ebooks Vs paperbacks myself, though many people are now opting for Kindles.

So now, some news About Your Current Book

  1. Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
    My main character in my novel Piece by Piece is the bitch we all love to hate. Most of us have encountered this type of person in everyday life and consequently we can easily identify with her character. I thoroughly enjoyed writing Celeste’s dialogue and that of her Mother, Eleanor as they can be volatile at times, yet their one-on-one banter is often quite amusing. I have described them in the story as the master and apprentice of manipulation, which aptly describes their personalities.
  2. What are you working on at the minute?
    I am around ten thousand words into a second novel in the women’s fiction genre. This one is a completely different storyline to my first novel and will probably take me into unfamiliar territory, as at times it is far more serious and a lot less humorous.
  3. What’s it about? (*if relevant)
    It is a love story with an intriguing twist, but it is too early to comment on this one as yet. I had so much fun writing my first novel, I am not convinced this one appeals to me in the same way. I need my writing to be entertaining from my perspective and at the moment I am contemplating two totally different plots, so at this stage the story could go either way.
  4. Is this book part of a series? What are your thoughts on writing a book series.
    I have no plans to write a series in the women’s fiction genre. However, in 2006, after writing my first children’s story titled, Hammie Goes to School, I wrote ten consecutive rhyming stories in the series titled The Adventures of Hammie. Hammie Goes to School is currently available in hardcover and also an animated eBook. The other nine stories have never been illustrated, as I feel this is too big a project for a self published author to undertake.
  5. Did you format your own book? In what formats is your book available?
    I have self published all my books with the help of my illustrator who did the layout. The books are available in print and also eBook versions.
  6. If formatted by someone else, how did you select them and what was your experience?
    My eBooks were created by a company in India who were very professional and easy to work with.
  7. Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about. Who designed your book cover/s?
    I have self published four children’s books working with two illustrators – both illustrating two books each for me. They also did the covers, and as I had a pre-conceived idea of what I wanted, we worked closely together to achieve an outcome we were both happy with.
  8. Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
    As it is the first point of impact from a prospective buyer’s point of view, I think the cover design is very important. They say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, and that is true, but for me the cover is what will make me pick up a book in the first place. Many a good story has probably been hiding behind a less than appealing cover and maybe missed the chance of being a best seller.
  9. How are you publishing this book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)
    I will continue to self publish my work as there is no point in writing if I never see my words in print. Maybe one day a mainstream publisher will take me on, but in the meantime I am not holding my breath until it happens.
  10. How can readers discover more about you and you work?
    Through my two websites at www.atomchildrensbooks.com and www.atomadultsbooks.com

There are samples of my work on these sites and also free samples of my eBooks are available to download from iTunes, Amazon etc.

Here is my author link to iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/au/artist/cathie-whitmore/id585982035?mt=11

My Published books:

Book Title: Piece by Piece (only available in eBook format at this stage)
Genre: Women’s Fiction
ISBN: 978-0-9806617-8-1 (eBook)
Publisher: Atom Adults Books
Author: Cathie Whitmore
Paperback: (Will be available approximately July/August 2015)
Distributor/Seller: eBook available through iTunes, Amazon, Kobo https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/piece-by-piece/id900424872?ls=1&mt=11
Book Cover by: Clarence Valley Review

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Book Title: Twinkle the Christmas Star (available in hardcover and eBook format with author narration.)
Genre: Children’s picture book
ISBN: 9780 980 661705 (Print version) and 9780 980 661767 (eBook)
Publisher: Atom Children’s Books
Author: Cathie Whitmore
Illustrator: Cathy McCulloch Hardback:
eBook available through iTunes, Amazon, Kobo (iTunes version has author narration) https://itunes.apple.com/au/artist/cathie-whitmore/id585982035?mt=11
Distributor/Seller: Through my website at www.atomchildrensbooks.com or my distributor Dennis Jones and Associates.
Book Cover by: Cathy McCulloch

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Book Title: Hammie Goes to School (available in hardcover and animated eBook format with narration.)
Genre: Children’s picture book
ISBN: 9780 980 661712 (Print version) and 9780 980 661750 (eBook)
Publisher: Atom Children’s Books
Author: Cathie Whitmore
Illustrator: Cathy McCulloch Hardback eBook
Distributor/Seller: Through my website at www.atomchildrensbooks.com or my distributor Dennis Jones and Associates. eBook available through iTunes, Amazon, Kobo https://itunes.apple.com/au/artist/cathie-whitmore/id585982035?mt=11
Book Cover by: Cathy McCulloch

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Book Title: Hammie’s Song (available only in eBook format)
Genre: Children’s sing-along picture book
ISBN: 9780 980 661743 (eBook)
Publisher: Atom Children’s Books
Author: Song lyrics by Cathie Whitmore,
Illustrator: Cathy McCulloch
The song is performed by my nephew Liam Whan.
Distributor/Seller: Only available in eBook format through iTunes.
Book Cover by: Cathy McCulloch (adapted from the book Hammie Goes to School.)
Link to Hammie’s Song on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVvzNHv93HM

This is an overview of the story of Hammie Goes to School with song lyrics children can sing along to. Only available in eBook format from iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/au/artist/cathie-whitmore/id585982035?mt=11

The YouTube version is free to watch but cannot be downloaded. However, because the lyrics are not broken up over pages, I think this is a better format from the continuity of the song perspective.

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Book Title: Long Legs Daddy (available in hardcover and eBook format)
Genre: Children’s picture book
ISBN: 9780 980 661712 (Print version) and 9780 980 661736 (eBook)
Publisher: Atom Children’s Books
Author: Cathie Whitmore
Illustrator: Sarajane Hinton
Hardback:eBook available through iTunes, Amazon, Kobo (iTunes version has author narration.) https://itunes.apple.com/au/artist/cathie-whitmore/id585982035?mt=11 Distributor/Seller: Through my website at www.atomchildrensbooks.com or my distributor Dennis Jones and Associates.
Book Cover by: Sarajane Hinton

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Book Title: Pusshycat Tails (available in soft cover and eBook format)
Genre: Children’s chapter book
ISBN: 9780 980 661705 (Print version) and 9780 980 661774 (eBook)
Publisher: Atom Children’s Books
Author Cathie Whitmore
Illustrator: Sarajane Hinton Paperback
eBook available through iTunes, Amazon, Kobo https://itunes.apple.com/au/artist/cathie-whitmore/id585982035?mt=11
Distributor/Seller: Through my website and my distributor Dennis Jones and Associates
Book Cover by: Sarajane Hinton

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Website: atomchildrensbooks.com and atomadultsbooks.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cathie.whitmore https://www.facebook.com/atomchildrensbooks?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CathieWhitmore
Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/atomchildrensbo/
Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/author?id=Cathie+Whitmore Amazon
Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00B6KR7TK
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5397164.Cathie_Whitmore
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com.au/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=Cathie+Whitmore&rh=n%3A2490359051%2Ck%3ACathie+Whitmore
Author Link iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/au/artist/cathie-whitmore/id585982035?mt=11

This is the link to my TV ad which I put on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uIRIyBmyXk
Link to Hammie’s Song on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVvzNHv93HM

 

 

 

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An Interview with Andrew Jonathan Fine

 

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Welcome to Author Talk

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Andrew Jonathon Fine.

Please tell us a little about yourself and your background

My name is Andrew Jonathan Fine. I am 52 years old, and I am a stay at home father disabled with autism and other inherited conditions. I don’t really consider the autism all that disabling. I even skipped grade to start high school at twelve, finishing with a master’s degree in computer science by my early twenties. Unfortunately, my career had been greatly limited due to discrimination. When I lost my final job in 2005 I was never able to recover my career. I have a beautiful wife and a brilliant eleven year old girl who loves me regardless, and they are what give me purpose in life these days. I became an author mostly by accident. Desperate for a sense of purpose I had even hospitalized myself for depression a couple years ago and found myself required to reveal my life in painstaking detail on page after page of forms. This made me realize that were I to transfer this experience into fictional characters I could express my experiences without fear of putting my family on display. There’s a little bit of my life and experience in all four of the main characters I re-imagined from the Depression-Era story I read at age 11, a copy which lapsed into the public domain and therefore I could use.

Wow Andrew, that is quite a summary of your life before you started writing. I am so glad that you decided to put your experiences into a novel. There is a great deal more awareness these days of depression. I can’t wait to read the answers to this interview and find out more about you.

About You as a Writer

  1. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
    Just to be read, maybe to be popular. Money is not my primary focus. I simply want to leave a legacy for the live I have lived.
  2. How long have you been writing?
    Maybe about two years, but not full-time. This is a hobby for me.
  3. Which writers inspire you?
    C. S. Lewis, Piers Anthony, Catherine Asaro. But there are entire anime series not ascribable to any single author which also inspire me, and there are even cartoons such as My Little Pony and Adventure Time which are serious dramatic fantasy fiction.
  4. Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
    I’d rather see unknowns play my lead characters. That way, a new generation of actors could have their own chance. I’m writing serious and heart-wrenching coming-of-age and first-love stuff which would nauseate me to see the likes of Disney sanitize and bowdlerized into a made-for-TV drama or comedy. This would make a poor movie outside of an art house.
  5. What is the easiest thing about writing?
    Having the time.
  6. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
    I’ve so far taken about two or three years to write this one, about half time. My primary duty these days is being a full-time homemaker.
  7. Do you ever get writer’s Block? If so, Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
    To me writer’s block means not having enough ideas to get my character from one point to another, so what I do instead is starting writing a different section of the book. Sometimes a different idea from a future section of the plot will justify the past part of a plot I want to complete.
  8. What & whose book/s are you reading at present?
    People with whom I am trading free reviews. I can’t afford to buy books anymore.
  9. When did you decide to become a writer? What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
    That actually happened by accident. I was laid off by Honeywell Aerospace in 2005 and never was able to find a job since due to discrimination against my autism. Over a process of years I became slowly suicidal due to feelings of being useless. A couple of years ago I hospitalized myself for clinical depression. I was required to write reams of notes about my personal life in the course of therapy. When I was released I realized I had common themes in my notes which might make a good story in the right framework.
  10. Do you write full-time or part-time? Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
    Usually in the morning I take care of correspondence, in the afternoon I do my chores, in the evening I prepare dinner for my family, and at night when everyone else is asleep I try to write for a couple of hours before I turn in.
  11. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? Do you use a special writing program, or just type away?
    I like the LibreOffice suite as it can produce any output format needed by a publisher. For cover design I like using GIMP. Both are open source tools. It’s a lie that you need commercial ones to make good manuscripts or covers.
  12. What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
    Finding a way to find a credible manner in which to advance the plot. Sometimes you wind up painting yourself into a corner.
  13. How do you market your books? Why did you choose this route?
    I self-publish. I am 52 years old. I would be dead of old age by the time any brick-and-mortar publisher would accept my submissions. I also feel said people would discriminate against me for having autism. I’d rather trust the public to tell me why work sucks rather than keep getting rejected by editors who would give nothing but a standard form letter. I’ve been rejected by too many business owners when looking for software work to want to trust any of them any more for any other reason.
  14. Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
    Don’t look at me for advice. I don’t know the first thing. All I can do is advertise on Facebook and Twitter because those are free.
  15. How do you relax?
    My favorite way is to just spend some quality time with my wife.
  16. What is your favourite movie and why?
    It’s an anime known as ‘Yamato 2199.’ A predecessor of it back in the 70’s gave me the courage to stand up to my parents and create my own life for myself. My mother, knowing I had autism, felt I was better off staying a child by her side forever. The themes in these movies help me defy her.
  17. Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
    In 5 years I plan to be 57 years old.

Here is a video made of Alouette’s Song.


You have a great sense of humour Andrew, we’re moving right along to hear more About Your Books

  1. What genre are your books?
    I prefer to have them called “cross-genre speculative fiction”
  2. How much research do you do?
    Fairly thorough. Online sources and some friends in the right places.
  3. What do you do to get book reviews? How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
    Usually I either apply for them through review sites, or offer trades. Trades are actually more likely to happen. It’s slow, but sure.
  4. Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
    I usually have to be fairly persistent in finding review blogs. It’d say if you’re accepted by one out of every hundred you are doing good.
  5. What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
    My three through five stars are pretty fair. Occasionally I get the troll who just like to anonymously provide a one or two star with a gratuitous reason, just to ruin my potential for getting shown on amazon. I just can’t understand people like that.
  6. What’s your views on social media for marketing? Which social network worked best for you?
    It’s not really a matter of best more than like only. Facebook is the only way I can communicate with potential readers at no cost. Twitter is hit or miss.
  7. Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch?
    Local newspaper, a couple years ago, for my first author signing. The sheer novelty of a first release in a small town of less than 2000 people made my book sell out. Sweet. But the bad news is you can easily saturate your local market that way.
  8. Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
    I’m still learning and making plenty of mistakes daily 🙂
  9. Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
    My current strategy is to give books away to a known affinity group, other people with autism like my self, in the hopes they will tell their own circle of friends and generate some word of mouth. It’s a great way to get immediate feedback. Only time will tell if that actually generates more sales.
  10. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
    There’s no such thing as aspiring. There’s only perspiring (grin). You have to be crazy to write a book because there really is no profit in it for the average person. Tell the story you have your all-consuming passion to tell, then move on with your life and do something else with it.
  11. Where do you see publishing going in the future?
    Brick and mortar book-stores will be extinct in 20 years or less. As the cost of paper books increases to be priced out of reach to those who can’t find jobs that can sustain them and their families, the pages will be cut off their spines, scanned, and pirated by outraged anarchists. All novels will become free. No one will have the incentive to create quality text-books for schools, and you already see this happening from books being designed by committee to fit Common Core curriculum standards and religiously fundamentalist school boards. I pretty much see our future as being one where no one can earn a living of any kind being a writer. This will only accelerate the USA’s downward slide into economic neo-feudalism already being triggered by the off-shoring of high-paying professional jobs and the extinction of entire categories of high-paying occupations altogether.

Here is another video Andrew made of the background to Alouette’s Song.

Well Andrew, that certainly ended with a depth of feeling. I certainly hope you’re not right about all of that. For one thing, there is definitely an increase in people writing novels and being self published. Anyway, we will move on to read more About Your Current Book

  1. Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
  2. The ‘main character’ is actually a team. I partially follow the sentai formula where each member of the teenaged team is special in some way, such as faith, ingenuity, valor, or compassion.
  3. What are you working on at the minute? 31. What’s it about? (*if relevant)
    The sequel. It’s set a generation later. The new heroes are the teen sons and daughters of the older ones. The latter serve as mentors, teachers, and supporters for the new, who form the next sentai team.
  4. Is this book part of a series? What are your thoughts on writing a book series.
    I’m thinking that Alouette’s Song, and it’s sequel, Alouette’s Dream, will be dovetailed bookends. Dream answers a lot of questions which Song asks.
  5. Did you format your own book? In what formats is your book available?
    Kindle and paperback. I use Sigil to format the precursor EPUB for the Kindle. I use LibreOffice and GIMP to create the proofs for the paperback.
  6. Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about. Who designed your book cover/s?
    I created an abstract cover myself using Corel Draw and GIMP, of a logo, since I don’t know how to draw free-hand art. Nobody liked that cover because it didn’t tell enough about the story. A dear friend of mine drew a cover for a pivotal scene, and I used it for a while, but the trolls slammed that one as looking infantile. I now have a professional illustrator to donated a week of her time to create a truly creditable cover, and it contains all the important elements of the story.
  7. Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
    It seems people are incredibly fickle these days. What with the outrageous competition between self-published authors it seems that covers are now like resumes… if the resume can’t catch attention in under five seconds then forget it.
  8. How are you publishing this book and why?
    Print-on-Demand through Ingram Spark. I hope to have my book on bookstores someday, and that means I have to follow the rules the booksellers set.
  9. How can readers discover more about you and your work?
    Search Amazon and Barnes&Noble. I also have a Facebook novel page www.facebook.com/alouettesong

Please list all of your published books here. Book Title: Alouette’s Song Genre: Romantic Action/Adventure

ISBN: 9781942574125
(ISBN) B00V0YQPWC (ASIN)
Author: Andrew Jonathan Fine
Distributor/Seller: Ingram-Spark, Amazon

Website: http://wix.com/andrew-jonathan-fine
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alouettesong?fref=ts
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/eternalsquire
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/iamextremelyuse
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/ANDREW-FINE/e/B00JIBHFLO
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8123913.Andrew_Jonathan_Fine

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/alouettes-song-andrew-jonathan-fine/1119344642?ean=9781942574125

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Today is Book Day on Facebook

Yes, that’s right. I belong to and am administrator to the Facebook Group of Spirit Connections and today is book day once again. I have been writing all week on my WIP as well as here.

I have currently a few WIP (Works In Progress) and as i flitter and flutter from one to another I am reminded what it is to be a channel for Spirit. Much of my work is channeled through and i sit here at my humble little desk in my humble little office, often watching my fingers fly on the keyboard, or else watching the words appear on the screen while i seem to be a silent witness.

When I first began my arduous journey of “awakenings” I filled many books with my channelings. It is interesting to note, as i look at them every now and again and try to read them, that the writing differs all along the conversations. Sometimes the writing is all running without any breaks and is so small I almost need a magnifier to read it. Other writing is larger and louder, presumably to emphasise certain attitudes. All along, as i re-read these pages, i can hear the different voices in my head and know the name of each and every spirit who spoke.

Is it all channelled? Or did I hear voices in my head? Well, both questions are relevant and the answer to both is YES. Although I seem to be some tool, of recorder, like a court recorder who takes everything down on a fast dictaphone. i don’t have the luxury of a dictaphone, so I am writing or typing what ever it is that comes to me.

So all of this channelling is helping me with my various WIP. I am sometimes able to go from fantasy to history and back again. Then comes along another WIP which is more current and regarding my own personal journey from Beast Cancer. I am fortunate in that I have a long term memory. Like some people are long sighted and others are short. I am long remembered, not short. The longer I live, the more I remember.

Speaking of memories, I also have visited many of my past lives and am currently writing about these in one or two of my WIP. When will i finish these WIP? Who knows, though I continue to type away and write as though there is no tomorrow. I do know that I am planning on publishing Thymeline – book one this year, so I hope you will join me and read some of my posts regarding this book.

If you are currently writing a book, or can relate to anything I have mentioned above, please feel free to leave your comments below and share with the rest of us your little story.

Have a Blessed day everyone.

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