#ASI: Ellen Chauvet

Hi Ellen, thank you for agreeing to this interview.

 Discuss your newest book. My newest book is also my first book and is titled “When Darkness Falls”, The First Vampire Redemption Story. It is the first in a series of at least 3 books. It tells the story of Lexie, a vampire executioner who doesn’t know she is one. When her best friend is murdered by vampires, she is thrown into a five-hundred-year-old secret and meets her Amant de Sange or Blood Mate, Etienne Benoit. She chooses to step into her legacy as a ‘Chosen One’ and begins her journey into a dark and dangerous world. Lexie and Etienne fall in love and when he betrays her she vows revenge. Read it recently, loved it!

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 Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I’ve always been an avid reader and thought that ‘someday’ I would write a book. I’ve loved all of the Anne Rice novels and when a friend introduced me to Buffy, The Vampire Slayer I became intrigued by the idea of ‘good’ and ‘bad vampires’. I started reading as many vampire books as I could get my hands on including Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton, Kelley Armstrong, Christopher Pike and Stephanie Meyer. They were my research, and when my work commitments changed, I decided it was time to write. I wrote the first draft in 9 months, took a year off when my husband became terminally ill, and then pursued the dream when he died. I found a great writing coach and the next 4 years were spent in rewrites, editing, and polishing. A great publisher found me and we published the book in March of 2016 on Amazon’s Create Space and Kindle. I’m sorry for your loss.

What are your current projects? My current project is writing the second book in the series.

What books have most influenced your life most? When I was a teenager I read a lot of Hemingway and loved his style of writing, so definitely Hemingway. Probably most of all though would be Anne Rice.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? I have two main characters.

Lexie is a Southern Belle from Atlanta, Georgia and was brought up in a strict Southern Baptist household. She’s rebelled against the suppression of her Mother and lives in Paris working as a translator for the United Nations. She’s attractive, sassy, a bit promiscuous and wonders if this is all there is to life.

Etienne is a 500-year-old vampire who was turned against his will and has created an organization to fight against ‘dark’ vampires. He’s sophisticated, handsome, ruthless when he needs to be and resigned about ever finding his Amant de Sang (Blood Mate). He falls hard for Lexie and when he is forced to turn to the ‘dark’ side, vows he will find a way back to her.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?  The message is that there is good and evil in all of us and it’s ok. It’s part of being alive (or undead as the case may be). Every day we have a choice between good and evil.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? I’d like to see Olivier Martinez play Etienne and Jessica Chastain play Lexie.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? I had the time and the dream.

Do you write full-time or part-time? I’m lucky enough to be able to write full-time. I don’t write every day full-time, but when the story or the characters are demanding my attention, I’m disciplined and write 3 to 5 hours every day.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? The rewrites. Then I realized they are the key to honing my craft and producing something that people want to read.

What is the easiest thing about writing?  Creating the story.

 What book are you reading now? I’m reading “Find Me When The Sun Goes Down by Lisa Olsen.

What is one random thing about you? I love horses and music

What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? Tablet and computer

 What does your writing process look like? My writing coach trained me to do a lot of what she calls “laying on my bed writing”. In other words, really thinking about where I want to go in a particular paragraph or chapter and making sure my characters are always in character. Also doing the required research – I’ve learned to love research. When I’m on a roll, I’m always in my office by 9am anxious to discover what my characters have been up to overnight.

 Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? No

How important are names to you in your books?  Names are very important as they have meaning.

 Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? I’m still in the marketing process and so far so good.

What is your favorite book and why? I gave this a lot of thought and I don’t really have a favorite book. I have favorite authors.

 Do you have any advice for other writers?

  1. Never give up – just keep writing.
  2. Don’t listen to the little voice in your head saying you can’t or you’re not good enough or no one wants to read what you want to write about.
  3. Don’t edit your work as you go – get that first draft done and then edit.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? See friends, listen to music, watch TV, travel – in many ways I’m never not writing. I’m always thinking about writing even when I’m not sitting at my computer.

From where do you gain your inspiration? Everywhere – but particularly other authors who write about vampires.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? I don’t have an opinion about that – I’m traditionally published and I love my publisher.

How do you market your books? Facebook, Twitter, word of mouth, author interviews, pod casts

Would you or do you use a PR agency? I would and I don’t.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? Authors need to also be entrepreneurs. Writing is not only creative it’s a business and I think many authors are not business people. I’m lucky in that regard as I was a business woman first and then became an author. Create a marketing plan and stick to it and keep talking about your book – to anyone who will listen.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?

Right now a lot. The book is newly published and it takes time to build an author platform and develop one’s readership. I’m willing to put in the time and energy to get my book known.

What do you do to get book reviews? How successful has your quest for reviews been so far? My publisher has been extremely helpful in that regard. She discovered a tool we’ve been using and it’s been extremely productive. We’re still working on attaining reviews and know that it takes time and energy on both our parts.

Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? Not really.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you? No

Which social network worked best for you? At present Facebook seems to be working well. And I’m also creating a presence on Twitter.

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?

 

I did a press release for the Horror Writer’s Association – not sure how successful or productive that was. I did a book launch here in Vancouver and it was extremely successful. Sold out of books I had on hand and could have sold more. Launch was promoted through Facebook.

 

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? I’d like to meet Bram Stoker. Fascinating mind.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

 

Sit down and write – don’t critique – just write.

Everything I said above

 

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

 

I have a blog – ellenchauvet.wordpress.com

Website – ellenchauvet.com

Find me on Facebook

#BookReview: When Darkness Falls by Ellen Chauvet

Amazing! Honestly, I have fallen a bit out of love with vampires, but this book has brought the love back. Poor Lexie has a week from hell, from losing two best friends and the love of her life, and now she is prepared to kill and gain a sense of normalness to her life. There is a hint of Buffy in the heroine, but the author manages to eclipse the show and surpass it with ease.

#ASI: JD Carabella

Hi JD, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? I’m 40-something, married with one child. I’ve been with my husband for 25 years and we live in the mountains of Maryland. I have 2 dogs, 2 cats and a large aquarium of fish. I’m a nerd and a geek. I love fantasy, sci-fi, comics, tabletop roleplaying and video games. As well as also being a computer programmer and IT Project manager in my day job. I’ve been addicted to books for as long as I remember. I’ve forgotten more books than many people have read. Welcome!

Discuss your newest book. Nocturnal Voyeur started as an idea of how to combine Lovecraft and Traditional Paranormal Romance. Which really should be enough of a warning for folks. The FMC, Fiona, has the power to control the Dream realm, but doesn’t know it. By controlling her, various evil supernatural creatures would be able to use her power. Mack, a Native American Bear Shifter, has traditionally controlled access to the Dream in Chicago, so he has an interest in her as well. But his desire for her isn’t to control her, his goes much further, as he feels they are fated to be together. Because Fiona’s powers were awakened in her sexually by a shadowy otherworldly being, her abilities start out with her being able to see into people’s sexual fantasies and are tied to her own sexual desire. Mack helps her learn how to control the very fabric of dreams, but in the end she has to learn to master it to save Mack’s life. Sounds very good.

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Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I’ve always wanted to write, but was afraid to. Some people have inspirational stories of how their teacher mentored them, unfortunately I have the opposite. I was not a good student in school due to boredom. The one class I was excited about in High School was Creative Writing. I’d lived in the Science Fiction and Fantasy section of the library since I was 8. I already had Foundation and Dune under my belt by middle school. I wrote this wonderful story (at least to me) for my first assignment. After the teacher looked at it, she questioned me about words I’d used. As a reader, you know you end up with a rather large vocabulary. She didn’t think I knew the meaning of several of the words and accused me of plagiarism. After I defined all the words for her, I gave her the bird and walked out of class, never to return.

I realize this is somewhat of  the opposite of what you asked, but for me the struggle was overcoming that fear of rejection. When I finally got old enough to decide I’d rather do what I’ve always dreamed of doing instead of being afraid, I finally just started to write. Good for you! I hate when teachers put a student down instead of lifting them up.

What are your current projects? I have two currently. Both are being written as novels and not short stories, so that changes the format a lot for me. Lets me take more time developing characters and plot, and actually less sex.

Dorothy Surrenders is a companion story to Arrested by Passion and Nocturnal Voyeur. In the two previous books we encounter Dorothy. She was Kathleen’s old friend in Arrested and Fiona witnesses something horrible happening to Dorothy in Voyeur. Surrenders starts out nearly a decade before the other two stories and ends at the same time as AP and NV. That arc is set mostly in the 1930s. Dorothy’s story is going to be very dark, she suffers a great tragedy and becomes nearly a slave through part of it. But in the end it is a love story and Dorothy will be rescued.

I’m also working on an untitled Contemporary Urban Fantasy. Though the mythology between the worlds will remain the same. It’s the same universe, just further in time than the 1930s stories. There will still be a love story, the Paranormal plot will be the primary plot. The main character will be a monster hunter named Ash. His partner and eventual love interest will be a supernatural creature he rescues, who turns out to be a Fallen Angel.

What books have influenced your life most? I love old Sci-Fi and read so much of that in my formative years, it’s always stuck with me. Stranger in a Strange Land, More Than Human, Dune, and I Robot influenced me on an almost existential level. They explored the human condition above and outside the human. But my love for supernatural came from the Anita Blake and Sookie Stackhouse series. I started reading those back in the early 2000s.

What inspired you to write your first book?  The 1930s era stories are actually inspired by a roleplaying game, a movie called To Cast a Deadly Spell and Agent Carter. My favorite era, cool.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? I have lots of MCs, though the one that is nearest to my heart is Kathleen from Arrested by Passion. She’s a willworker ie; a mage in the 1930s. She’s also a reporter and uses a pseudonym to hide her sex from her readers. Her struggle to succeed in a man’s world and her conflict over accepting her sexual desires vs her strong independent nature resonates with me quite a bit. I like that she’s so strong on her own, but yet so submissive in bed. I dislike the stereotype that a woman is weak if she’s submissive.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? You can be weak and still strong and vice versa. That no one is perfectly good, everyone has flaws. Also, that sometimes, evil is just evil, it has no excuse.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?  Katheryn Winnick as Fiona from Nocturnal Voyeur, she plays Lagertha on Vikings.

When did you decide to become a writer? I have always wanted to, but was afraid of rejection letters. Self-publishing is why I decided to take the chance.

Why do you write? Because I have all these ideas bubbling out all the time. My problem isn’t coming up with ideas, it’s having enough time to write them down.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?  Try not to laugh. A Cracked article. I was just so intimidated by the idea of trying to get published and if I could find an audience or not. I started out writing my stories as erotic shorts. They were easy – I like smut – and low-risk in that I didn’t spend months writing to find out that no one liked it. The article pointed out how easy it was to use Amazon to self-publish and the basics of writing erotic short stories. I did not make a ton of money with my shorts and the immediate feedback I got was that I should be writing full-length stories out of them.

Do you write full-time or part-time? Definitely part-time.

What is the hardest thing about writing? Getting the time to do it, plus staying consistent across books. I cross over a lot, and have character sheets and short descriptions so I can quickly remember their eye color etc.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? Deciding how gross I want to go. I find I tend to go very graphic because that’s how I see it in my head and I want the reader to be able to see it and feel it.

What is the easiest thing about writing? The world building and mythology and ideas.

What book are you reading now? Oh, The Girl with All the Gifts. That story has been such a kick in the gut – wow. Totally new twist on the zombie story. I love Mike Carey.

What is one random thing about you? I love villains. My favorite is Maleficent, followed closely by Loki. Some villians you can’t help but love.

What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? I jot notes down on pen & paper or notepad on my phone when I have an idea on the go. But for writing it’s my computer and Scrivener.

What does your writing process look like? Lots of brainstorming with my husband or my friends. Then long drives with music or soaking in the bath to think about character voice. Then I jot out outline cards in Scrivener, which match up to chapters. From then it’s more seat of the pants and what the characters what to do. Once I have a chapter written, I run it through some online tools to catch anything obvious. Then I have several editing partners review it, my husband included. Once it’s complete, I have some Beta readers take a go at it.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? I think the bath is the weirdest. I’ll float there and listen to some instrumental music (can’t have vocals, they’re distracting) and run through dialogue and character reactions in my head or a loud.

How important are names to you in your books? I try to make them accurate to the time and culture of the character. I also try to avoid any other major books character name, though I don’t always do that.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? I like to surprise people, sometimes that has led to misunderstanding about a plot or that a character seems too mysterious because I didn’t want to give something away. In Nocturnal Voyeur I wanted people to keep guessing about Mack – what are his real motives? My favorite though is Milady’s Command. It’s a short erotic story, but it’s a bit tongue in cheek, and that was missed by at least one reviewer. The whole 1980s Harlequin Romance vibe was deliberate and about half way through you figure out why. Better read it to find out!

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? Oh. Well, I picked a really conflicting genre to start with. Paranormal, historical, erotic romance turned out to be a harder sell than I thought. Not just any historical, but 1930s. I love the era, but most people who love the era don’t mix it with paranormal. The fact that Agent Carter is tucked into the mid-season break of Agents of Shield should have been a big hint for me that the audience for that era just isn’t as big. Most historical romances are set earlier than that. I have a whole rack of reviews that start with, “I don’t normally read X, but …”  Most of them liked it once they read it, but it’s been a struggle to get them to pick them up. I should have started with straight contemporary PNR/UF, then once I had readers who loved what I wrote, I could get a bit more experimental.

What is your favorite motivational phrase? The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be done. Strangely, this is from my endodontist who hits me with the shot as soon as I sit in the chair so I don’t just keep dreading it.

What is your favorite book and why? Snowcrash. I love the concept, the new cyberpunk, the banter and vision. So many neat things in this book, so many new ideas. Strong female character too, and the ultimate Alpha – he has a freaking nuke in the sidecar of his motorcycle. 🙂

Do you have any advice for other writers? Write what you love, it won’t be as much of a chore then.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I roleplay, read, play video games, watch movies – I’m an action movie addict, especially Asian ones –  drink beer and margaritas, cook, garden and try to get my son to do his homework.

From where do you gain your inspiration? Everywhere. Books, movies, mythology, roleplaying games, songs. The other day I was trusting Google maps to get me somewhere and I thought, “We just trust this thing to take us to where we want to go – what if it was evil?” I’m going to fit that in somewhere.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? I hate the idea of rejection letters and being forced into a box. Having someone else do my marketing and editing would be nice – but by all accounts, the big publishers don’t spend much money on your marketing, so you still need to maintain your own social platform.

How do you market your books? I’m still boiling this down to find the most efficient way. I’ll tell you, Twitter is useless for marketing. Facebook blogs and the like might get some clicks. But the absolute best is via Newsletters. Not just your own, but big names with 10k+ subscribers in your genre. Don’t bother with the ones that aren’t targeted to your genre.

Why did you choose this route? Because I could do it myself. I’m the kind of person who buys a book on tiling and tiles their own bathroom. Literally did this. Same with painting, electrical wiring, computer building etc.

Would you or do you use a PR agency? Considering it. Because it comes down to time. I could build the network and take the time to post everywhere, but that means I’m not writing. Writing is the one thing that no one else can do for me. But I need that PR person or agency to not be a dick. No slamming other authors or being pushy – I hate hard sells. Plus I only spend as much on advertising as I made on books 3 months ago – ie; what I get from Amazon in that month I’ll spend on ads.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? If it’s ok if I name drop – Love, Lust and Lipstick Stains and Shameless Book Club have cost effective newsletters for steamy romance books at less than $20. I Love Vampire Novels and Romance Devoured newsletters are in the $50-70 range. The holy grail is Bookbub, but you’re talking $500 and up there, and they are very choosey. But I’d definitely stick with email newsletters, unless you’re ready to tackle Facebook ads. For a grassroots effort, if you are patient with Goodreads, it’s a great place to find reviews and beta readers.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? Too much. But I try to not use writing time, but to use other moments. Like the Doctor’s office or waiting on hold on a phone call or while I’m cooking.

What do you do to get book reviews? I have a detailed spreadsheet of blogs that do erotic romance reviews and I use Goodreads and my newsletter. I’ve gotten some nice organic reviews as well though Goodreads recommendations and Facebook takeovers.

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far? It’s still about 50% of the ones I’ve sent copies of the books to. Which is about average.

Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? Find groups appropriate to your book – ie; the BDSM group on Goodreads is great and has a fantastic review program. So does the Fifty Shades Support Group. Your newsletter subscribers are obviously a great resource, they already liked you enough to subscribe!

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? Ah. Other than trying to not let them keep me up at night, I try to look at them critically. Is there something to learn there? Or maybe that person just didn’t know what they were about to read. A lot of my current reviewers seem to have overlooked some of the book description or maybe I was too subtle in the description. “Amorphous shadowy lover” may have been too vague for some people.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you? Amusing, no. Painful, yes. I had a Thunderclap go out with half of the links to a typo on the cover (facepalm). No one noticed it though.

What’s your views on social media for marketing? People don’t click off of Twitter. They might for Facebook for a sale or freebie. Free or cheap Facebook takeovers are good and can net you some totally new readers, but don’t just spam them with ‘this is my book, buy it’. Hell, never spam anyone with ‘this is my book, buy it’ no one likes that. Engage on a personal level, be interesting, make friends.

Which social network worked best for you? I like Facebook, but I’m about to make some serious changes to how I do my newsletter. Lots of unique and interactive content will be exclusively available there.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do? Pick a popular niche, develop it, then get experimental and play with tropes. Get the readers comfortable with you before you try to get them to try a chocolate covered banana dipped in red chili.

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work? I contact a bunch of Book bloggers that I’ve already established a relationship with and asked them to post, plus used all the free newsletter options. I need to re-look at this I think.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? Kurt Vonnegut – I’d love to sit with him and drink beer for hours and just talk.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human. They were writing really new concepts back then, no one else had ever written anything like it before. How neat that must have been. Now it feels like there is nothing new under the sun, and we’re just struggling to come up with some new twist.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Start writing, find a peer review group to look over each other’s writing. You’ll learn so much by critiquing other writer’s work. Can’t find one, start one.

How can readers discover more about you and you work? I’m all over the social media spectrum. My website is under development, but until then:

 

Mailing Listbit.ly/1oETKyy – I’ll be doing plot, name and other contests to include content from my subscribers in my books, as well as Beta and ARCs and freebies.

Amazon Author Pageamzn.to/1Qnf7NX – Currently I’m all in on Amazon, so all my books can be found here.

Goodreads Pagebit.ly/1T45NSY – I’m pretty active on Goodreads and accept all friend requests.

Pinterestbit.ly/24Doa4P – Pinterest is where I’d recommend after the Newsletter. I have a board specifically for pictures that have inspired me for a story or character.

Twitter – NSFW 18+: bit.ly/1Q8JZzj – I talk a little about writing on Twitter, including when I’m writing, but also like to share naughty or semi-naughty pictures.

Tumblr – NSFW 18+: bit.ly/1QAgVGt – My Tumblr has lots of dirty stuff.

Blogbit.ly/1QtYHRz – My Blog has all book announcements and some general ramblings. But these cross post to Facebook and Goodreads.

#ASI: Brianna West

Hi Brianna, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? Well, my name is Brianna, obviously, and I am a mother of three young kids. I’ve always written, mostly fanfiction—back when that was still cool—and decided one day that I could do it better, or at least that’s what I tell myself anyway.

 

Discuss your newest book.

Coming April 29th Dawning is the third book in my Promiscus Guardians Series, and the fourth book I’m self-publishing. I write paranormal/fantasy romance; however, my books have a lot of other elements—humor, action, suspense, and badass heroines. Not to forget the incredible hunks that surround them.

 

This book series follows Izzy, who was like everyone else, until the day she eavesdropped on two major hotties in her little town and found out she was a hot commodity in the supernatural world. The Promiscus Guardians (mixed supernatural breed protectors) vow to protect her from the Dark that seeks to use her. Lucas, the vampire-angel team leader, is charged with her protection. Suffice to say, the stoic, uptight British hunk is hard to work under (or over).

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Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Mostly, I think it came from my love for reading romances. I enjoy writing as much as I enjoy reading it. Because, who wouldn’t want to fantasize with some supernatural hunk? Drool-worthy abs? Hard as rock pectorals? Brooding conscience and hard to win over hunks? Yeah, that’s pretty much why I write them.

 

What are your current projects?

I’m fixing to release Dawning with a great event on Facebook; there will be a huge giveaway starting the 24th, and I am also planning to start writing the next book in my Guardians In Love Series, which is the spin-off series that follows the secondary characters in the Promiscus Guardians Series. Mark your calendars!

 

What books have most influenced your life most?

Pride and Prejudice has been a major love of mine. I don’t know what it is about that time period—because there’s no sex at all lol—but I’ve always been in love with the simple opposites attract scenario.

 

What inspired you to write your first book?

I had a tragedy happen personally, and I used to as motivation to write this story; take control of my life. And mostly because I have always dreamed of someone else reading my work.

 

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Izzy is very sassy and sarcastic. She’s been independent most of her life, with only her best friend Nattie to turn to. When the story begins, Izzy had lost her job at the local library which had closed down. But, Izzy is a very strong-minded character. She’s optimistic and always knows how to make light of things. Even when someone tells you that you’re a supernatural creature and now part of the Dark versus Light battle ensuing all through the world.

 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Be strong. Push through. Never give up. Always love. We tend to crumble when times get tough, but there is always good in the bad; we just need to look for it.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

Because there are so many great actresses, I’ve never really decided who’d be right. I thought Zoey Deschanel would be a good match. She’d need to be a bit more sarcastic to fit Izzy, but I think she could do it for sure.

When did you decide to become a writer?

Back in October. I’ve always written, but that’s when I decided to make it happen.

Why do you write?

All day, every day. I write fast, so I often push out a book in a few weeks, or a month. My kids and schooling have slowed me some recently, but not much.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

Don’t know, actually. I just did it. Did it because I wanted to.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

I guess you could say it’s been full-time since I started since I do all the work and marketing.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Editing lol. I love rereading the stories, but worrying about missing a mistake drives this overachiever crazy.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

That one was a breeze. I guess it just comes naturally.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

The writing part. It literally flows out of me. I’ve never had writer’s block with this story.

 

What book are you reading now?

An ARC I got from a fellow author. But that’s a secret 😉 A little mystery is good!

 

What is one random thing about you?

I’m a pervert. Oh wait, that’s not random.

 

What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer?

Computer only.

 

What does your writing process look like?

I write whenever I feel the pull, which is all the time.

 

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

Thankfully, I seem to be normal, at least in that area.

 

How important are names to you in your books?

I want all my names to be unique and characteristic of their nationality.

 

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Not much really. Maybe where to put the damn commas. Commas, tricky little things.

 

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future

Be careful what you decide to pay for. It may not mean much, or even make a difference to be worthwhile

 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Write for yourself. Write how you’d want to read it.

 

What is your favorite book and why?

I mentioned it earlier, but I am a big Pride and Prejudice buff. I love that book because the language is so poetic and really resonates with you. I guess I need to check it out.

 

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just write. Don’t worry about the details. I don’t even think it’s worth it to outline your story, but get something put onto paper and never hold back.

 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I am a Netflix whore…so I’ll watch movies and shows whenever I can. I also love to secretly, not-so-secretly play otome romance games on my tablet…shhh, don’t tell anyone. My lips are sealed.

 

From where do you gain your inspiration?

There’s no real place, but sometimes other romance books give me inspiration.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

I’ll just say that I haven’t regretted self-publishing. It’s hard work to market yourself, but it’s also worthwhile when you know that you did it all yourself. I make my covers and teasers, do my own takeovers, discuss things with everyone I speak to, and I make it all happen.

How do you market your books?

Twitter, facebook. I do events and takeovers. Spotlight on blogs and interact with fans.

Why did you choose this route?

So I could maintain all my creativity.

Would you or do you use a PR agency?

Not at the moment. I may, but right now, I’m happy where I’m at.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

Do what you can, but know that your social media presence is where you sell your books, so make sure that is reflected in your tenacity.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?

The in between hours. I tend to do it throughout the day.

What do you do to get book reviews?

I’ve been contacting blogs, but mostly, I just hope those that read the books review. I’m not at the point of begging yet.

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?

Fairly okay. It’s not great, but I’m working on it.

Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?

Not really. I’m still trying to find it.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

They are all precious to me. Whether or not it’s good or bad, I take it as someone feeling the need to tell me what they thought. I see only an opportunity for growth from them. If it’s meant to be hurtful, I can shrug it off. You have to have a thick skin in this business.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you?

As an author, we tend to navigate towards other authors. I was in a spotlight with someone…and my perverse nature came out. So during the interview, she couldn’t stop laughing. LOL nice

What’s your views on social media for marketing?

I think it’s helpful since it reaches so many. I genuinely believe that’s the only way authors sell books.

Which social network worked best for you?

Currently, Facebook and Twitter.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do?

Don’t pay for services that you don’t know are reputable. There’s a lot of scammers out there. Try to do as many events, as many features on blogs, as many interviews as you can.

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?

I’ve just started with the Facebook events. I’ll be doing them for each new release and to celebrate my fans. I’ll be doing another event when my facebook reaches 1000 likes…which should be fun.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

Alan Rickman. I loved him so much. His acting would have been in my movies. Do I know where? No. Do I care? No. He was just an amazing actor. Agreed, his work is amazing. RIP Alan Rickman.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

None. I love what I write, and wouldn’t want to write anything else.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just do it. Don’t hesitate. Don’t make excuses. Go for it and conquer that book inside you.

 

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Brianna-West/e/B016APSN6Q

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorbriannawest

Blog: briannawest.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bwest0426

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/briannawest

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bTxG9z

#NanoWriMo and a #CoverReveal for two

Camp NanoWriMo is coming up and I am preparing…as much as I can. I have decided to work on “An Author’s Romance” AKA “The Right Time to Write History.” So I went to the campsite and put in my information, but I am unable to post my cover because it is bigger than a megabyte. 😦 And I love this cover!

I recently went to Fiverr and had two cover drawn up as I have never had a professional create one for me and honestly I was drawing a blank on the cover design myself. So I picked two of my works in progress and sent them to a designer and she came back with these.

VampirePaintKindle.jpg

TPaV- An artist with minor psychic abilities, is used to being beaten and manipulated by men. After a night out with friends, she thinks she has found the one, but he is just lonely after ditching his psychotic twin sister, for a murder free life. She comes to her senses, a little to late and leaves him to find herself.

AuthorsRomanceKindle

AAR- After a night of drinking, an Author submits a short story to a writing competition. Winning a trip for two, she packs up her sister and heads to Scotland the home of the ancestors. Once on family property the two take a tumble through time to 1501 and land in the middle of a feud. Meets a Laird, escapes death and finds a family she never thought she could have.

#Book Blurb: #Innocence

Alexa-Jordyn is bored with her small town life, and decides to spice it up a bit. Spending her senior year in a foreign country she meets a boy and falls in love. Before her 18th birthday her world starts to spiral beyond her imagination. She learns that people are not always what they seem to be and by the end, she may not be who she thought she really was. Only on Amazon

image

#NaNoWriMo Has Ended!

The month of writing hell is done! No I did not complete my novel, but powered through 28,455 words and believe that to be a pretty respectable number…Ok it’s lousy, but I’m proud of getting that much done in one month. It could of been a lot worse. I have a lot more to do on the book, I’m going to put it on the back burner for awhile. I’m burnt out on #TPAV (To Paint a Vampire) for right now, and if I hear the word vampire again for at least it will be way too soon.

To Paint A Vampire

Until then I’m going to work on my other projects. So many to choose from. Saving Santa, is a holiday romance that came to mind.

FS2

There is also the third installment to my Legend Series, Shattered, but that involves the “v-word” so I don’t think so.

LoaOG bk 3

Plus the elusive historical novel, The Price of War.

The Price of War

Then the three that I don’t have mock covers for: Haunted House (WT) obviously a ghost story, Dream Walker about a dream jumper, and The Right Place to Write Time (WT) time-traveling story I started recently.

Revealed, Book 2 Legend Series Chapter 1 Teaser

Secrets Revealed
True to his word Julian took me back to Uncle Kevin’s house the next day and dropped Olive off at a hotel. Leaving me alone to unfurl her plan of getting me out of the house; it was simple yet intricate, get me out of their house and hope it shakes them off our trail.
I explained how I wanted I wanted to get out on my own, now that I was engaged. I just wanted to live on my own and get a sense of single living before I got married. They understood, but still wanted me to check in every once in a while, and keep working at the pub.
I told them I would keep in touch with them, but that Julian wants to take care of me. He wants me to focus my attention on my schoolwork instead of working. “I won’t be living with him, he just wants to pay my bills so I don’t have to work.”
They were not too happy about that, and tried to argue that I wouldn’t actually be making it on my own if he was paying my way. I told them that I understood that, but it was the only way he would let me move out on my own, we made a sort of compromise and this was it.
It took a little more persuading but they buckled. Still promising to check in with them, I went upstairs and packed my things. I then called for a cab and joined Olivia at a hotel across town. The next few days were just about Olivia teaching me about the world of Legends and settling into the two-room hotel suite.
On the third of January we enrolled Olive into school. Lunch was the first time I was able to get her together with David and Alistair, to make the proper introductions. “I know I told you that Olivia was Julian’s sister, but she is actually my best friend from back home.”
Alistair was first to ask questions, “Why did you lie? When did you start dating our teacher? How long have you known he is a vampire?”
“What?!? You didn’t tell Kevin did you? I thought you guys cleared him after the other day.” I was shocked they had figured it out, I honestly thought we were safe.
“We haven’t told Kevin, because until now it was just our suspensions.” I could hear the anger creeping into his voice.
I told him how I first met Julian on the plane, and how he brought me back my hoodie. I explained that I’d had only known he was a vampire for a few days, and then I dropped the bombshell, “in the past week I have not only learned that my fiancé is a vampire, but that I am…a Banshee. I can’t pronounce the Irish word for it.”
Neither said anything for a while just let it sink in. Olivia was the first to talk, “I told you they wouldn’t understand. Aren’t you glad I got you out of the hunter’s house?”
“We are OK with a Bean Sidhe, and a Morrigan. You don’t actually harm humans, though I cannot say the same for Kevin. He is a true Legend hunter.” David interjected.
“Who said anything about a Morrigan?” Olivia shrewdly watched David for any sudden movements.
“It’s possible that you are not a Morrigan, but they tend to gravitate towards banshees and really work well together because of…the type of work they do.” Alistair told us.
“OK now that we all know the truth are we cool or are we in danger? Is Julian in danger from you and Kevin?” I gingerly asked.

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Innocence, Book 1 Legend Series Chapter 1 Teaser

Goodbye Dreyerswood, Hello Dublin
“Mom! Have you seen my earrings?” I asked frantically searching my almost empty jewelry box. I was searching for the pair my parents got me for Christmas, they were white gold Celtic knots in the shape of a triquetra. I wanted to wear them on my two flights to Ireland, but could not find them anywhere.
Mom came into the room and watched as I went from my desk that held my jewelry box, then to my dresser where I liked to mindlessly leave things from time to time. “Which earrings and where did you last see them?”
“The Celtic knots, and I last wore them to my clarinet recital at the end of last school year. I haven’t worn them since then.” I said throwing my black sweater into my open carry-on bag and turning back to the dresser top.
“Did you check the bathroom soap dish? I think I might have seen them in there when I double checked for your rosary yesterday.” She said leaning against the doorframe and crossing her arms.
“Was my rosary in there? I thought I sent that on ahead with my big suitcase.” I said as I rushed past her thinking if I did not send my rosary I may have missed the earrings as well and do not want to fly without them. Not only were they my favorite pair, but they were sort of a good luck charm. Every time I wore them I would have the greatest day, so I save them for special occasions. I view taking my first flight overseas, let alone anywhere, as a special occasion.
She hollered after me, “I made sure the rosary made it in the suitcase, if you forget something we can always send it later.” I could hear the smile in her voice, I’m going to miss that voice waking me up every day or calling me to dinner, I thought, as I walked into the bathroom and over to the sink.
There in the pink seashell soap dish were my earrings and my class ring that I had totally forgot about. “Got them, Mom!” I hollered back to her. Carefully I picked them up and put them in my pocket for tomorrow, and put my ring in its rightful place: my left hand ring finger, then headed back to my room to make sure I have not forgot anything else.
I walked into my room and the first thing I see is clothes scattered everywhere! Mom had taken everything out of my suitcase and was re-folding and packing it…again. “Mom, that is like the fifth time you have repacked my suitcase.”
“I know Hon, but every time I fix it, you add more stuff to it and it needs fixed again.” She said folding my favorite pink hoodie but just as she placed it in the suitcase, I snagged it back out and put it on.
“No. I’m wearing this on the plane, I want to be comfortable.” I pouted, she keeps trying to talk me out of wearing it because it is old and worn but that is what I love about it. If I am going to be on two long flights and meet a family I have not met before, I am going to do it comfortably!

Pick up at my amazon page