Friday, August 22, 2014

Guest Blogger: Sheila Lamb

Welcome Sheila Lamb to my blog today!

Please tell us about your latest book: Once A Goddess is the first in a trilogy about Brigid of Ireland. It focuses on Brigid and Túatha de Danann, the mythical original people of Ireland who possessed shape-shifting powers. The trilogy is based on the history and mythology of Brigid as Goddess, Druid, and Saint.

What can we expect from you in the future?
I hope to publish the next two in the trilogy, Fiery Arrow, and Church of the Oak. But first things first. I want to make sure Once A Goddess is the best it can be.

How do we find out about you and your books?
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @sheilarlamb and Facebook My website has links to all of my published works, including short stories and photographs.

Why did you decide to write Romance/Paranormal novels?
 Brigid's story definitely contains romance. She's forced into an arranged marriage in order to keep peace between two warring tribes. In doing so, she sacrifices her hopes for happiness with her true love. Once A Goddess also contains paranormal elements. Brigid and the rest of the Danann can shape-shift and communicate telepathically. This adds to some interesting plot twists as characters discover it's hard to keep secrets in this kind of world.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
Aside from being a goddess…?

When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms?
I've always wanted to write and have always journaled and wrote poems and stories. There was a lull during college when I majored in sociology instead of English (I think I wanted to save the world kind of thing) and I ended up teaching social studies for several years. It wasn't until a career change and moving to a new state, that I decided to take it seriously and began the Brigid trilogy. Since then, I've completed an MFA program and have published several short stories. I'm also working on a new historical fiction manuscript and I am back in the classroom but teaching English this time.

Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
Years. That said, I now have two ready to go, a third almost completed, and a fourth in progress. I do a lot of research since my novels are historical/mythological based. I also don't believe in rushing writing. I want my work to be the best it can possibly be. That requires setting it down, revising it with fresh eyes, asking for critiques from fellow writers and editors.

Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
I write creatively in the morning but my schedule changes based on the school year. During the summer and winter breaks, I begin writing in the morning and continue for several hours. Once school starts, I switch into editing and revision mode. I do some creative writing for a few minutes in the morning before work, and try to pick it up again at night, but usually I'm pretty wiped out at the end of the day.

What is your writing routine once you start a book?
I usually write a draft straight through, and get to what might be the end. Then I go back and add in scenes, confrontations, and details.

What about your family, do they know not to bother you when you are writing - or are there constant interruptions?
 Luckily, my partner is a writer and he also requires writing space. After dinner, we both retreat to our separate writing rooms. The interruptions we get are from our dog, our cat, or our chickens.

What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
Take a hike in the woods, read a book, now and then visit with friends.

What truly motivates you in general? In your writing?
I want to tell the story and can't stop until it's complete (a little obsessive, but I think that's true of many writers!)

Where do your ideas come from?
Usually from something that really (or mythically) happened. The saying, "truth is stranger than fiction," holds true. With Brigid, I read several Danann myth stories before realizing I could expand those myths into a novel.

Do you feel humor is important in __historical paranormal____ and why?
I think it depends on the writer, the story, and the characters. Humor can work well…though I have to say my characters are probably limited an occasional sarcastic jab rather than outright humor.

What are your thoughts on love scenes in romance novels, do you find them difficult to write?
 I do find them difficult to write. Part of me thinks that it's up to the reader to use their imaginations (or own experiences, whichever!) to the scene. Part of me also thinks, "my grandmother is going to read this."

What kind of research do you do?
I do a lot of historical research, either online, or visits to the library or in the case of my current historical work in progress, visits to the county clerks office. I used to work in the archives section of a library and loved reading primary source documents - letters, diaries, interviews - as well as old photos. For Brigid's story, I found terrific Irish resources online which told the old legends from CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts.

Would you like to write a different genre than you do now, or sub-genre?
I do write in different genres. Although most of what I write is fiction, I write the paranormal novels, as well as literary/contemporary short stories. I'm working on a straight historical fiction novel as well.

What does your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend think of your writing?
My boyfriend is very supportive. He is a writer too and is working on a novel, as well as short stories.

Do you ever ask him/her for advice?
 Yes, we often read through each other's finished work, and ask for feedback.

Please tell us about yourself (family, hobbies, education, etc.) - I have a large, extended family. My parents divorced and remarried - originally I was an only child. Now I have a mix of six brothers and sisters (half, steps, - I just say brothers and sisters). I've waited on more tables than I care to count, I've taught history, been a park ranger, a librarian, and now I'm an English teacher. All I ever really wanted to do was write.

Fill in the blank favorites - Dessert. City. Season. Type of hero. Type of heroine.
Anything involving chocolate (no chocolate = no dessert)
Although I grew up in the Washington DC suburbs, I'm a small town girl at heart.
Hero - Adraic, from Once A Goddess, of course. J I've always been a fan of Jamie from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. Others include Cuchulain from Morgan Llywelyn's book Red Branch
Heroine - Brigid, of course J Claire from the Outlander series. She's independent and not helpless. Jamie often helps her but she gets out of (and into) many of scrapes on her own. Also from Morgan Llywelyn Grania, the pirate queen Grace of Umhall.

What are some of your favorite things to do? Writing J I feel like there is never enough time for all the writing I want to do. I take a break with hiking in the mountains near my house or reading a new book.

Do you have a favorite author? Favorite book? I have so many favorite authors in different genres. As far as historical fiction, Diana Gabaldon and Morgan Llywelyn. My favorite contemporary writers include Sherman Alexie, Brady Udall, and Louise Erdrich.

Who are some of your other favorite authors to read? I  just finished Goldfinch by Donna Tartt which was a great read. As far as nonfiction, I like books such as Breaking Clean by Judy Blunt, The Meadow by James Galvin, and Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls. There's something life out west and facing the elements in all of those books that I enjoy.

What do you think of critique groups in general? I think they are necessary - if they are done right. All writers need feedback and another set of eyes on their work. Feedback should be given constructively. It's important to find a group who is working in a similar genre, with similar goals for their writing.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Hopefully somewhere doing a book signing for my best selling novels.

How long have you been writing - have you always wanted to be a writer? All my life - and yes. In high school, I wanted to write for soap operas. I was a huge fan of the unrequited love stories (especially Cruz and Eden on the old show Santa Barbara).

What book for you has been the easiest to write? The hardest? The most fun? The second book, Fiery Arrow, in the Brigid trilogy was the one I wrote first. Chunks of Once A Goddess were first in Fiery Arrow. I liked going back and forth between Brigid's and Patrick's point of view.

Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting? I think a strong main character sets the stage for the story, and helps move the story forward. If it weren't for Brigid…

What are the elements of a great romance for you? I like to see characters overcoming obstacles to be together and I also like when the hero and heroine are on fairly equal footing. I've read a few older romance novels (no names mentioned) where all the "heroine" does is cry and wait for the hero to show up. Ugh. Not to say Brigid doesn't have her sad moments after particularly tragic events (no spoilers) but I think any of us would be in that frame of mind for a while.

What is the hardest part of writing/the easiest for you? The hardest is balancing work and writing time. The easiest is having the idea or inspiration. The hard part is sitting down and writing the story, and write it well.

Have you experienced writer's block---> If so, how did you work through it? I try to have a few projects going at the same time. If I'm editing Once A Goddess, I might also be working on a new short story. I have a very rough first draft of the historical work in progress that I interchange with Fiery Arrow or Church of the Oak revisions.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer? Seeing your stories in print.
If you weren't writing, what would you be doing? I'm not sure, but I wouldn't be a very happy person without writing in my life.

Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers? Don't give up hope. Also have the patience to put a story down for awhile and look at it a few weeks or months later. Find a supportive critique group, either in person or online and be able to accept critiques. Then find the publisher that will be the right fit for the story!

Blurb for "Once Is A Goddess"
For the sake of peace, Brigid of the supernatural Túatha dé Danann enters into an arranged marriage with Bres, the next chieftain of the enemy Fomorian tribe, whose iron weapons and brute strength challenge Danann magic. Brigid is told to spy for her people, and to keep the source of their powers secret, dangerous tasks that complicate her desire of making the best of her forced union. 

Sacrificing her own hope for love, Brigid faces the Fomorians alone. She must confront her rival, Morrigan, who tries to manipulate the tribe against her. At the same time, Brigid suspects that Bres is breaking the truce for reasons she doesn't understand. When his tyranny threatens the very existence of the Danann, Brigid has no choice but to risk her life in order to save her people. 

Set in a time when myths were reality, Once A Goddess brings the legend of Ireland's magical Túatha dé Danann to life.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Guest Blogger: Jack Strandburg

Welcome Jack Strandburg to my blog today.

Please tell us about your latest book.
I am currently working on a mystery titled A Head in the Game. It was originally written in the 1990’s but I’m rewriting from scratch due to all I have learned from writing over the years and have come up with more interesting characters and plot points.

When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms?
I started writing when I was a teenager. My first book, Hustle Henry and the Cue-Ball Kid (Solstice Publishing) was originally written as nothing more than practice and fun. Over time as I continued writing I thought, why not take a shot at becoming a published author? Eventually I realized it was something I wanted all along.

What is your writing routine once you start a book?
I am continually working on approaches to minimize the time from idea to completion. Now my approach is to outline and attempt to answer all questions regarding character, background, timelines, and events contributing to the final version.

What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
I like to play golf, watch TV (although lately I look at movies and TV shows as fodder for story ideas), listen to music and exercise (walking and going to local gym).

Where do your ideas come from?
Other books, movies, TV shows, driving down the street and noticing a character or setting.

What kind of research do you do?
I used to over-research but have learned it is wiser to know what I need to research before embarking on that task.

Fill in the blank favorites - Dessert. City. Season. Type of hero.
Dessert – Ice cream
Season – Fall
Type of hero – Martial Artist with his/her own brand of justice

Who are some of your other favorite authors to read?
Harlan Coben, Robert B. Parker, Dean Koontz.

Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?
I need story (events and plot) because although characters and setting are integral, something must happen to have a story.

What is the hardest part of writing/the easiest for you?
Getting started is the hardest part. The easiest (and most fun) is the revision stage.

Have you experienced writer's block---> If so, how did you work through it?
I never had writer’s block and don’t acknowledge its existence – there is always something to write, even if it isn’t related to my current project.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
Reading through my own work and actually loving it.

Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
Keep writing – never quit – keep experimenting and follow your dream.

Blurb for Hustle Henry And The Cue Ball Kid
Clarence Flannery was luckier than most men his age to discover his life’s ambition, particularly in the unpredictable years just following the Civil War. Born with an unmatched skill to play pool, he left his home in Kansas when he turned twenty-six and traveled throughout the Southwestern United States to make his mark as a legendary pool hustler, with every intention of amassing a fortune in the process.
Clarence needed help for both support and protection, and recruited James Skinner as his partner, along with nine other highly-skilled pool players to assist him in his quest.
Wanting to be included in the same sentence as Attila the Hun and Alexander the Great, Clarence changed his name to Hustle Henry, Skinner became the Cue-Ball Kid, and the eleven men would go down in history as The Hole-in-the-Table-Bunch, known far and wide for hustling wannabe pool sharks out of their life savings.

All goes to plan and life has a rosy and profitable outlook, but Henry and his men want more than what pool halls and saloons offer, so they decide to challenge the more affluent clientele on a riverboat.

Initially, the venture proves profitable, but the millionaire tycoon and owner of the fleet of riverboats, takes exception, and intends to bring down the Bunch and thrust Henry and The Kid into a life of destitution.

Taking along the Kid’s girlfriend, Penelope Henderson, the Kid and Henry flee to South America – where there will be a final showdown…

Hustle Henry and the Cue-Ball Kid is a fiction work of Western humor with an interesting and amusing cast of characters.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Guest Blogger: Bernard Foong

Welcome Back Bernard Foong to my blog today.

Author’s Bio
Young alias Bernard Foong is, first and foremost, a sensitivist. He finds nuance in everything. To experience the world he inhabits is an adventure which is mystical, childlike and refreshing. He has a rare ability to create beauty in a unique fashion. His palettes have been material, paint, words and human experiences.
By Christine Maynard (screenwriter and novelist).

Bernard Foong (designer) – A brief history

Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. At the age of 8, he was assisting his aunt and cousin, learning the art of sewing and fabrics/colors matching. He attended an exclusive private boarding school in the United Kingdom before obtaining his Diploma in Fashion Design at the Harrow College of Art & Technology in London, England. He went on to complete his Master of Design at the Royal College of Art & Design, London, England. During his college years he won several international fashion awards and was already retailing bridal and evening dresses to several well known department stores in England. Liberty of London, Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols to name a few that carried his designs. His Royal College of Art graduation wedding/evening wear collection was sold to Liberty of London and displayed in their store windows for the entire month of June that year.
For four years, he worked for Liberty’s bridal department as their in-house designer until a trip to Hong Kong, while working on a freelance project for ‘Bird’s’(casual wear) company, he was recruited by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as their Fashion professor for the next 6 years. During his stay in Hong Kong, he freelanced for numerous fashion companies. From designing casual wear, swimwear, lingerie, and fur garments, men’s wear, bridal and evening fashions to accessories (bags, shoes, and head-wear). He also participated and organized numerous fashion shows, events, functions, and presentations in the Asia Pacific region.
Working for Keys Far East Hong Kong as chief lingerie designer - travelling extensively to the United States, he was soon recruited as an Associate Fashion Design/Illustration Professor to the University of Wisconsin, Madison and also lectured at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design for a couple of years.
Foong was then appointed as the Fashion Development Manager by an established department store – Parkson Grand (22 stores in Malaysia and one in Shanghai, China). Producing under the label, Natural Life by Bernard Foong, he designed casual-wear collections for the Parkson Grand’s flagship store in Kuala Lumpur. After a couple of years later, he was invited by the Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore to join their design school to establish a Fashion Design department. For two years, he assisted several founding members of the design school - working on the fashion department’s teaching curriculum.
The Fitzgerald Theatre Department, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Oahu, Hawaii awarded a full scholarship for Foong to complete his second Master of Art in Theatre Costuming. Now a resident on the Island of Maui, he has assisted many charity organizations in their fund raising events with his extravagant fashion and performance shows/presentations. In 2005, he and his partner, Mr. Walter Jay Bissett opened Fire Dragon Bistro Orient & Design Shop. He also designs costumes/fashions for numerous theatrical productions in Hawaii and abroad.
Appointed as chief lingerie designer for Cerie International Limited – Hong Kong, his lingerie designs can be found in major department stores in Canada and the United Kingdom.
He showcased the BERNARD FOONG R-T-W collections and BERNARD FOONG @ Modern Classic Ltd. (an established – Hong Kong bridal & evening wear company) collections in Hong Kong. His 2008 & 2009 bridal/evening/bridal lingerie fashion show, “Grace” & “Coming Up Roses” were premiered at Hong Kong Fashion Week in July 2007 and January 2008 respectively at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center, garnering positive interest in many Asian press reviews, including a China nationwide television broadcast of his latest collection. Aika (International Opera Singer) wore several Bernard Foong special occasion dresses at her Japan & European tour in September & October 2009.
Foong was the chief Creative Director for Official (Special Occasion fashion manufacturing company)Guangzhou, China producing –BERNARD FOONG Couture (specialty one-of-a-kind creations),White (RTW - Wedding/Special Occasion wear), Foxy Cute (Smart Casual/Cocktail wear), SexZ (decorative bustier) & Diva Bitch (sexual lingerie inner/outer-wear) collections.
Besides working on his regular haute couture, R-T-W and lingerie collections he is a visiting consultant/advisor for:
  • Pivot Point fashion college, Chengdu, China.
  • Hong Kong Design Institute (fashion department), Hong Kong, SAR.
  • Hong Kong Poly/U, Hong Kong (School of Apparel Design & Merchandising), SAR.
  • Hong Kong Fashion Designers Association, Hong Kong.
  • Singapore Temasek Polytechnic – School of Apparel Design & Merchandising (ADM), Singapore.
Bernard is also writing his autobiography, a seven book series of Mr. Foong’s young life:
A Harem Boy’s Saga: A Memoir by Young.
This provocative story spanning 4 decades and 3 continents is about a boy who was sent to a very exclusive English boarding school in the 1960s where he was initiated into a clandestine sexual society and then spirited away to serve in wealthy and elite Middle Eastern harems ."
A Harem Boy’s Saga series is published by Solstice Publishing and is available in print and E-books internationally.
Out of his busy schedule, Bernard is also working on a mini series of three contemporary paintings for the Rathe Galleries in Dallas, Houston and soon to open gallery in Austin, Texas. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Interview with Solstice Publishing and John Guzzardo

Welcome John Guzzardo today who is sharing his interview with Melissa Miller.

In place of Flash Fiction Friday, today’s blog entry will feature an interview with Melissa Miller, founder and owner of Solstice Publishing, one of the fastest growing independent publishing houses.
Hi Melissa, great to have you here! First, would you tell my readers a little bit about what prompted you to jump into the publishing business?
Thanks for having me here today John. The fast answer is my love of books. I’ve always enjoyed reading when I was a child and, as I grew older, I got interested in writing. One day I decided that I wanted to learn more about the behind the scenes part of the publishing world and I haven’t looked back since.
A little bit of background about Solstice:  I opened my publishing company in March 2008. In 2010 I teamed up with a marketing company who suggested that we change the name. So we changed our name to Solstice Publishing. Solstice has been growing strong for almost seven years now and we plan to have many, many more to come.
Many publishers have different divisions and banners they publish under by genre. Does Solstice have such a setup?
Yes we do. We have several actually. We accept almost all genres.
Solstice – Mystery, Fiction, Westerns
Summer Solstice – Romance, Young Adult, Suspense, Thriller
Solstice Shadows – Paranormal, Sci fi
Solstice At Night — Erotica
Let’s toss out a scenario: I’m a writer who just cooked up a short story but I’m not sure what I should do with it? Does Solstice accept shorts and, if so, what’s the minimum length?
Yes we do accept short stories. We don’t have a minimum length. We look for a well written story with an interesting plot.
What sort of preventative measures do you suggest for submitting writers to prevent piracy of their work by unscrupulous agents and publishers?
Like I said I’ve been doing this for almost 7 years now and I’ve never come across the issue of somebody’s work being stolen by an agent or publisher. I’m not saying it hasn’t happened. I’m just saying I have not heard of any cases. However if the author is worried about that they could have their work copyrighted before submitting it to anyone.
What would you say is the biggest difference between Solstice and a “legacy” publisher – Random House, for instance?
The biggest difference is that Solstice is primarily an e-publisher. We do print on demand for our print books but ebooks is our main focus. We put your book in print but they don’t go into stores. A bookstore can order them and stock them if they want and we have had authors get their books into local book stores in their town, but that is on a case by case basis. The majority of our print books can only be bought online.
Understanding that many literary success stories are often “right place, right time,” what can aspiring authors and writers do to level the playing field?
Marketing is the biggest thing. An author needs to brand their name. The more they get their name out there the better their success will be. Writing the book is the fun part. After the book is published is when the work starts. Social media is one of the most important assets to an author.
Who are some of Solstice’s rising stars?
There are too many to name. Some of our best sellers are: Lanny Poffo, Tell Cotton, Elle Marlow, Mysty McPartland.
What would you tell a young person in school who wants to pursue a dream of being published?
I would tell them to stay in school and work hard. Don’t expect everything to be handed to you. Being a published author is hard work. I don’t want to scare them off but a lot of people think that being an author is no big deal that you put a book up for sale and then you sit back and get the big check. That simply isn’t the way it really works. I would like to encourage a young person to pursue this dream and do it but just know going into it that they have to put the work into it. It can be an amazing thing to write your story and then see it published, but then they need to know that they also have to market and promote their book or they will be disappointed and not want to continue their dream.
Many Solstice authors are unofficial “foodies.” That being said, where’s your favorite place to get a good cup of coffee?
I know this will be viewed wrong by so many people LOL but I’m not a coffee drinker. Now Dr. Pepper, that is a different story. I have to have my Dr. Pepper.
Finally, if someone wants to become part of the Solstice family, either by landing a contract or working for you, what’s the first step?
If they would like to  submit their stories to us they can do that here:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Guest Blogger: Summer Solstice Publishing and Elle Marlow

Hey, everyone, welcome to today’s interview with Amazon bestselling author Elle Marlow and her publisher Summer Solstice Publishing. Her book, Josey’s Mountain, has sold over 2500 copies since its release in early July. We just have to know how she accomplished this amazing feat.
Elle, darling, talk to us. Tell us what your secret is, or give our readers a hint into how you manage to do so well.
Summer Solstice: Your Amazon bio is beautifully simple, yet it also speaks to the reader as your best friend. Tell us how you came up with the formula for this.
Elle: My answer may not make some people happy, but if I am going to be perfectly honest as so that I can somehow help another author, that’s what I’m going to do, come what may. 
 I believe my bio was inspired by the way that Sarah Palin also speaks and writes. It doesn’t matter if you agree with her politically, most will admit she has a way of coming across as a friendly neighbor.
 Most of us, when we sit around the kitchen table discussing matters at hand, do not use flowery descriptions or big words when speaking with family. So I made an effort to be sure that I could come across as real as possible while getting the information across.  I am not high paying author, I am a housewife in Arizona with a family, pets, and lucky enough to be married to a great man. I have all I need and feel blessed. I want the readers to know me, to know my books.  
 Will you find typo’s and grammar mistakes. Yep. Will you also get a great story? I hope so. 
Hmmm? I’m going to have to rethink how I write my bio. It’s definitely a way to bring the author closer to their reader.

Summer Solstice: Next, You’ve had a lot of success with your books during July. A lot of people are aching to know how you did that. You’ve indicated you use specific categories, but is there anything else special you did? Blog? Website? Did a happy dance in the middle of the street?
Elle: My first love in romance writing is Native Romance. I wrote One Hundred Horses and published that book in January. It went straight to the top. For a variety of reasons; first, I believe the cover caught the eye. I made sure the blurb and the first chapter was as filled with action and drama from the get go. Think of it as an audition. You have a reader’s attention for maybe two or three minutes. Do you really want to fill that once chance with back story or do you want to grab them by the shirt and get in their face and yell; “Pay Attention!” LOL  
  I try and write all my books where immediately the reader is put straight into the action. I think the formula works. And One Hundred Horses, The Shaman’s Song and Josey’s Mountain all sort of advertised for each other by the way that Amazon has designed their website and search authors works etc.   
 Cover, blurb, and first chapter have to rock, and action. Exactly what all authors should do.

Summer Solstice: You must have a devoted fan base. Can you tell everyone how you developed that?

Elle:  I don’t think I can as of yet, honestly claim that. I’m new. I’ve only been published since January. I think I am being discovered and I hope that a fan base is growing. That would be amazing. However, I do not think it’s in place yet. However, I am grateful and I try to make sure the reader knows my gratitude. With so many areas of entertainment out to grab a dollar, it is truly an honor that someone spent their hard earned money on one of my stories. They had many choices. Make sure as a writer, you know how much their trust in your work means to you.
What a great idea. We need to be as loyal to our fans as they are to us.

Summer Solstice: Elle, we know you have a promotion coming up soon, after you sell just a few more copies of Josey’s Mountain. Can you tell us about that please?
Elle: Yep, a FB event is being planned. I cordially invite all of Solstice authors to take part, hold their own give a ways within this event. It isn’t so much, “Hey let’s celebrate Josey’s success,” as much as let’s just celebrate our field. 
I have teamed up with Midnight Gypsy to make a Josey’s Fragrance as part of the event. I can’t wait to give these out.  
I’m still waiting on the supply, so I don’t have dates yet.
So, devoted readers, if you’re looking for more about Elle and her books, pay attention to Facebook. That event promises to be one that you’ll love. Elle, it was fabulous having you here.
Here are the places where you can find out more about Elle:

Monday, August 4, 2014

Learn More About Solstice Publishing

Welcome David Bryant who is sharing his interview with the CEO of Solstice Publishing, Melissa Miller. 

Since 2008 when she secured her own first book contract, Melissa Miller has become the head of one of the fastest growing mid-market publishers in the USA. This year (2014) she capped her achievements by  being announced an International Best Selling author and two of her books were optioned for film.

Now Melissa, as chief executive officer of Solstice Publishing based in Farmington, Missouri, is paving the way for other budding authors to bring their creations to e-readers and print. I have a personal reason to thank her. Solstice accepted my first book, Tread Carefully on the Sea, after I'd spent nearly a year trying to place it with a publisher.

I asked Melissa a few questions
1. How do you conclude that books are likely to sell? Is it pure instinct or do you have a formula?
There isn't a formula to know what will sell and what won't. We look for well written manuscripts with interesting plots.
2. Based on your experience in publishing, what's one thing you would advise today's budding authors?
One of the most important things new authors need to know is the importance of branding their name. The use of social media is going to be very helpful in their journey. The marketing and branding of their book is going to be a full time job. Writing the book is the fun part. After that the work begins.
3. Why do you think fiction is so powerful that almost everyone wants to read it - if not write it?
I think fiction is so powerful because it's not real. After a long day at work, or taking care of the kids, or cleaning the house, readers like to escape into new worlds. It's nice to get away from reality for a while.

4. What were your favorite childhood books and how did that affect your career?
As a child my favorites were Winnie The Pooh then as a teen I grew into loving Stephen King. Now as an adult I like a variety. I enjoy Stephanie Meyers, Cassandra Clare, Jeannette Oak, Nicholas Sparks and then of course all the great authors of Solstice Publishing.
Melissa's company
With over 200 authors covering every category of fiction and rapidly expanding into non-fiction, Solstice is quickly gaining a reputation for fast paced suspense thrillers, sizzling romance, action adventure, science fiction, and a spooky collection of horror and paranormal reads. Critically acclaimed authors have achieved top spots on best seller lists, had their stories adapted to screenplays, and won movie deals with top Hollywood studios.

Melissa Miller is an Amazon International Best Selling Author under a pen name. She writes paranormal/ romance and woman's fiction. She's a wife and the mother of two boys.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Pretty Little Liars: Hanna's Secret - #1 in Kindle Store > Kindle Worlds > Contemporary

  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,039 Paid in Kindle Store 

The town of Rosewood hasn’t been the same since one of their own went missing. When Alison DiLaurentis disappeared, the lives of many changed. Her best friends Aria Montgomery, Hanna Marin, Emily Fields, and Spencer Hastings were left with huge holes in their hearts. 

One year after Alison went missing, strange texts started coming to the girls. They were always signed “A”. The person sending them always knew their deepest darkest secrets. The texts would be threatening them to do what “A” wanted or else. 
In “Hanna’s Secret”, Hanna Marin is the latest victim of “A”. 

Will Hanna be able to protect herself and her friends or will “A” do more damage to her life? 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Guest Blogger: Bernard Foong

Synopsis: A Harem Boy Saga; A Memoir. Book 1 - INITIATION.

This provocative story is about a young man who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society. He was spirited to the Middle East, from his UK boarding school. He attended the Bahriji School (Oasis,) in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for serving in Harems for the wealthy and elite.

It is also a love story between the young man and his ‘Valet’ who served as his chaperone and mentor during the boy’s Harem service.

Author’s note:
I had a privileged and unique upbringing in Malaysia, where I was known as a "sissy boy." Following in my brothers' footsteps, I was sent to an exclusive boarding school in England. It is there that I was inducted into a clandestine organization, E.R.O.S. The Enlightened Royal Oracle Society. For four years, unbeknownst to my family, I was willingly and happily part of a Harem.

My story has been kept under wraps for close to 45 years. The correct moment has arrived for me to make known my unique education.

Goals I hope to achieve through
A Harem Boy Saga:
·                   Provide Tolerance to Sissy Boys by understanding parents/peers and the community.
Anderson Cooper 360 documentary on the devastating treatment of effeminate boys influence me to tell my story.

·                   Bullying can be Avoided through Big Brother/Big Sister volunteer programs in school or outside school system. Older students acting as mentors to younger students.

·                   Gay Adolescent Tolerance – parents/child/siblings relationship issues.
Support/mentorship program to all parties involved to foster understanding and acceptance of Gay kids.

·                   Provide an Alternative Educational System;
Understanding Big Brother/adolescent mentorship programs in schools, BB as protector to keep younger kids from being bullied.

·                   Human Relationship Building Program;
Between parents/teachers and young students on sexual topics/issues, especially when adolescent are just discovering their sexuality. They can be guided on a healthy and honest sexual journey instead of “don’t ask, don’t tell” hide it behind the closet policy.