Barbara Lunow: Author of Whistle for a Possum and Two Other Books


Barbara Lunow, Author

Lunow Family Barbara & Wolfgang (Dan) Lunow, back left to right David, Lorraine, Marie, Matthew, and Jonathan

“Barbara Lunow: Author of Whistle for a Possum and Two Other Books” Interview by Joan Y. Edwards

Thank you for allowing me to interview you, Barbara. It’s exciting you started out self-publishing but have recently been published by two traditional publishers. I am very happy for you and proud of you.

You are welcome, Joan. I’m glad to be a guest on your blog.

My readers are looking forward to hearing more about you. Let’s get going!

1. Where were you born? 

Fort Dodge, Iowa

2. Did you have a favorite place to read a book as a child? 

Besides a cozy chair in our living room, I liked to climb up in the plum tree and read. When allowed, I liked to read in bed.

3. What’s your favorite book that you’ve ever read? Why?

I can’t name just one. As a child, a favorite was Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink.

In my adult life one that impressed me very much was a biography of two missionary ladies, “The Gobi Desert” by Mildred Cable with Francesca French

4. Why did you decide to write?

I’ve always liked to write, more than talk. I’ve kept journals and written letters.

5. Why do you write?

  • I write for myself. It’s releasing and relaxing. It helps me focus and remember.
  • I write when I have a story to tell and want to share mission experiences.
  • I write to challenge children and young people to learn about our world, the people of the world. It is a way to honor the people that we worked with for so long

6. What are three tips for writers?

  • Write it all down to start with, then revise, edit and revise again, as many times as you have to. There will come a time when you feel it is enough, then quit and have someone else look at it for you.
  • Join a writer’s group for encouragement and balance. They are wonderful sounding boards to listen to your work and make suggestions. It’s good to hear what others are writing as well.
  • Receive good criticism, blow away the bad. Don’t be discouraged by criticism.

7. How do you entice readers to read to the very last page of your book?

  • Keep up the pace of the book.
  • Don’t drag it out.
  • Have good resolution to your story, even if there is more to come or a sequel

8. You have three books out. Tell us about them please.

I have ONE self-published book with Thomas Max Publishing, “Are We There Yet?” an auto-bio of our first years in Papua, Indonesia as missionary translators.

Book number TWO was an author’s choice chapbook of free-verse poetry, “Star Drops and Spider Hairs”, published by MainStreet Rag. I went to a SC Writers Conference and had some of my poetry critiqued by author, Anne Kaylor. She recommended my poetry as a chapbook to Main Street Rag. I did not have to go through process of query letters, etc.

Book THREE, “Whistle for a Possum (and other Papuan tales),” a children’s book of cultural stories, exercises about the Sougb people of Papua, Indonesia was published by Dancing With Bear Publishing.

9. Lee Clevenger with Thomas Max Publishing, the man who self-published your first book, was instrumental in finding a publisher for “Whistle for a Possum,” the culture one. Tell us that story please.

When I was ready with “Whistle for a Possum,” I asked my editor Lee Clevenger of Thomas Max self-publishing for ideas on who might be interested in publishing it. I thought it would be a good book for elementary school market. He said he would ask around. Shortly after that, Lee was at a writer’s conference and in talking with an editor from Dancing with Bear mentioned my book. They are a Christian Publisher, and Marie McGaha contacted me, asked for the manuscript and consequently published it.

10. Please tell us the top three reasons you chose Thomas Max Publishing to publish your book for you.

  • A friend of mine had published with Thomas Max and had a good experience working with them
  • There are no initial fees to publish, they ask that you commit to buying at least 250 books, they help edit and do layout work for you
  • I felt welcomed and they were more than helpful in the process of getting to publishing, even when I didn’t know what I was doing. I never felt intimidated.

11. Did you pay for editing services before you submitted to Thomas Max Publishing?

No, my commitment was to buy at least 250 books from them

12. How long did it take from the time you signed your contract until you received the final copies of your book?

I think it was about 2 months. I had my book professionally edited before I submitted. They worked with me on a few editing problems, but I understand they will help with more details if necessary.

13. Did Thomas Max design your cover? 

I had my own picture and general idea of what I wanted, background color too. Lee worked with me on the font-type size, etc. I set up the back cover, reviews, etc., also my author’s picture.

14. Did Thomas Max Publishing format your book for paperback, hardback, and eBook sales?

It was formatted for all three –hardcover, paperback and eBook. They most often publish paperback and ebook, due to the expense of hardcover.

15. Did you pay separate for ISBNs or were these included in a special package?

Thomas Max Publishing did the ISBN registration, etc. at no cost to me.

16. How does Thomas Max Publishing market your book?

Thomas Max listed my book with Ingram and put it online; the rest is up to me.

17. How are you marketing your book?

I printed business cards, single and foldable, for my books with contact info on them. I put one in each book, send them in letters, and give them as a handout.

  • People can order signed copies of all books from me personally via my email address: blunow@comporium.net.
  • Notified an extensive list of missionary friends and supporters via email and letter in the pre-order stages and also after they were available.
  • Word-of-mouth orders still come through my email
  • Speaking and reading in churches, women’s groups and conferences
  • Facebook – most recently I put the information on Facebook

18. Here are links to purchase Barbara’s books:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon Are We There Yet?
Barnes & Noble Are We There Yet?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Main Street Rag Star Drops and Spider Hairs (PayPal)


Amazon Whistle for a Possum
Barnes & Noble Whistle for a Possum

Contact Barbara:

Contact her for Speaking/Reading or to buy autographed copies of any of her books: blunow@comporium.net or phone (803) 396-0986 
Facebook: Barbara K Lunow

Barbara Lunow, Author

Bio 

Barbara Lunow was born and raised in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and comes from a family of six children. Her love of books and words started early with her mother reading all the children’s classics at bedtime. As a child she enjoyed any writing assignment given to her, and she served on her high school paper as a feature writer. One of her school themes was later published in her churches national magazine.

Beyond high school, Barbara received a three-year degree in nursing, took a summer course in linguistics, and she attended Bible College in preparation for her life’s work as a missionary. She married Wolfgang (Dan) Lunow in 1960 and they have 5 children.

In 1968, Barbara and Dan began their ministry in Papua, Indonesia, serving as linguist-translators in a primitive tribe of 13,000. They ministered together there for over 35 years. Barbara practiced nursing in village bush clinics, with the only means to contact a doctor via 2-way radio. She translated and set up a three-year Sunday School program. She was the official word-processor, computer-person for the Sougb New and Old Testaments, plus the other translated booklets in the Sougb language.

Barbara’s greatest joy was the Widow’s Bible Class which she started and taught for over 20 years. The widows were at the bottom of the ladder in the Sougb culture. Through the class they were recognized as having value, especially in prayer for their people. She feels she learned more from them, than they learned from her. They encouraged her and dearly loved her kids.

She kept a journal of all their missionary years, and wrote monthly reports and stories to family and supporters at home. When her children went to boarding schools and later to college in the USA, she faithfully wrote to them every week. Barbara served as field editor for her mission and had numerous articles published in their mission magazine.

Since completing translation work, Barbara has finally had time to do her own writing. Her first book, about their beginning years in Papua, titled “Are We There Yet?” was published in 2014. A chapbook of poetry, “Star Drops and Spider Hairs” came out in January 2016. And her children’s book, “Whistle for a Possum (and Other Papuan Tales)” was published in October 2016.

She continues to write and is currently working on a fictionalized story of a young Papuan girl who wants to break away from cultural norms and go to school, instead of getting married.

Thank you, Barbara for sharing your writing journey with us.

Please feel free to ask Barbara questions or share an experience in the comment area. Click comment below and scroll down to the bottom.

COMMENT

Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

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Joy Smith, Author – Tell Me a Story, I’ll Bake You a Cake


Joy Smith

“Joy Smith, Author – Tell Me a Story, I’ll Bake You a Cake” Interview by Joan Y. Edwards

Thank you for allowing me to interview you, Joy. It’s exciting that in October, 2016 you published “Tell Me a Story, I’ll Bake You a Cake.”

Joan, you are welcome.

My readers are looking forward to learning more about you and the self-publishing path you chose, so let’s get started.

1. Where were you born?
Richmond, Virginia

2. Did you have a favorite place to read a book as a child? Where and why?
Under the covers at night reading with a flashlight.  It was after my bedtime and my parents wouldn’t know I was still awake.

3. What’s your favorite book that you’ve ever read? Why?

Horton Hatches The Egg, by Dr. Seuss.  It was my first book.  I kept renewing it at the library so many times that my parents finally bought it for me.  I met Dr. Seuss at a book signing in New York in 1986.  I took my beat up, crayon marked Horton book with me and when he signed it he smiled and said,  “Do you know this is a first edition?”  Now I have a SIGNED first edition.  It’s one of my most prized possessions.

4. Why did you decide to write your cook book? How did you decide to tell a story with each recipe?

I wrote a cooking column, “Cooking With Joy,” for the Fort Mill Times for ten years.  My readers urged me to put these columns in a book, which I did.

5. Why do you write? 

I started writing as a kid and I’ve never outgrown it.  I just enjoy it.

6. What is your advice for writers?

Write about what you know.

Tell Me a Story, I’ll Bake You a Cake by Joy Smith

7. Why did you choose AuthorHouse to publish your book?

After speaking to several publishers I chose AuthorHouse because they were better suited to meet my needs.  I wanted a hardback book with glossy pages and color pictures in it.  Some didn’t give me this option.

8. Did you pay for editing services before you submitted your book to AuthorHouse? 

I hired Beth Crosby to edit it for me before I submitted it to them.

9. Who designed your cover?

Kim Hajas, a friend and well-known graphic designer designed the cover of my book.  Her company Hajas Design is in Fort Mill, SC.

10. In which formats is your book available?

It is available in paperback, hardback, and eBook.

11. Did you pay separately for ISBNs or were these included in a your package?

The ISBNs were included in the package by AuthorHouse.

12. Does AuthorHouse offer a book return agreement with book stores? Or do book stores take your books on consignment?

AuthorHouse has a book return agreement with book sellers.

13. How does AuthorHouse market your book?

They created a website for me, provided a variety of marketing tools such as business cards, postcards, bookmarks, and sent a detailed step-by-step guide to help me join social media.

14. How are you marketing your book?

I am marketing my book by:

  • Press releases, book signings, media coverage in newspapers and magazines
  • Facebook
  • Group emails to high school class, college class, clubs I belong to, and a long list of friends.
  • Contacting book stores, gourmet kitchen stores, and gift stores.
  • Being a guest speaker at several venues in the Charlotte area
  • Word of mouth

15. Did you get to choose the retail price for your book?

No.

16. Is the cost of the book to you as the author low enough that you can make a profit from your sales?

Yes.

Joy Smith lives in Fort Mill, South Carolina, with her husband and a quirky cat. She loves cooking, entertaining, traveling, playing tennis and bridge, riding horses, gardening when it’s not too hot (which is almost never in South Carolina), and enjoying good wine. Her sense of adventure has taken her to Antarctica on a National Geographic expedition, skydiving, climbing mountains, and searching for the perfect roller coaster.

Joy participated as a sous-chef on the Food Network show “Ready . . . Set . . . Cook”; was a guest chef on the NBC show Charlotte Today; taught a class, “From the Garden to the Table”; and wrote a popular cooking column, “Cooking With Joy,” for ten years. Readers have enjoyed her stories and recipes featured in several magazines and newspapers. Her stories will entertain you as you read Tell Me a Story, I’ll Bake You a Cake.

Buy a copy of her book:

AuthorHouse
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Visit Joy Smith’s website: http://www.cookingwithjoysmith.com

Meet Joy at Book Signing: Park Road Books, Charlotte, NC on Saturday, April 29th, from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM.

Joy, I know my readers enjoyed learning about you. Thank you again for sharing your publishing path with us.

Thank you for reading. Feel free to ask Joy a question or let her know your favorite recipe in the comment area.

COMMENT

Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

***************************************************

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Interview: Stephanie Barko, Literary Publicist


Web-Stephanie_Barko-4708

Stephanie Barko, Literary Publicist

“Interview: Stephanie Barko, Literary Publicist” by Joan Y. Edwards

Thank you for being a guest on my blog today, Stephanie. Your life, your tips, your book publicist services, and your DIY Book Platform app will inspire authors and help them decide the best way to publicize their books.

You’re welcome. It’s my pleasure to be here and to share book publicity ideas with authors.

Let’s begin.

  • Where were you born?

    In Houston, and I have the lungs to prove it. (Houston has the worst air quality in the US.)

  • What qualities of your parents do you admire the most?

    My dad lost his dad when he was three and had to commit his mom to a mental institution when he was 10, so he was effectively an orphan raised by his brothers. He was the only one of five brothers to go to college, which he did on a football scholarship. My mom was a swimmer who went to Olympic trials and missed getting in by one-tenth of a second. Her shoebox full of medals blows my mind. The year I was born, my parents started a business that is still going today–sales, service and rental of industrial equipment.  My people are a little OCD, but we’re driven to achieve. Failure is not an option.

  • If you go to an amusement park, which ride do you head to first?

  Tilt-a-Whirl        

  • Which ride do you avoid at all costs?

Roller coaster or anything that sends my neck into the chiropractor.

  • How did you do in English in high school?

Splendidly, despite being a slow reader.

  • What were three books you loved when you were a child?

The Cat in the Hat, The Velveteen Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland

  • What are three of your favorite books to read today?

Anything by Anne Lamott

  • Where is your favorite place to visit? Why?

Alaska because it’s the way the planet would look without us around to mess it up, although it started melting after my last visit.

  • Who or what has been the most help and inspiration to you in your life?

My middle school English teacher whose motto was “Take initiative!” which dovetailed with the entrepreneurial spirit in my household. And my mom’s best friend, who is 96 this year, a naturalized American from Versailles.

  • From my meeting you and seeing you at the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation Inc (OWFI) conference in May, 2016, it seems that you enjoy being with people. You are very friendly and outgoing. This is a great quality. Do you require a lot of alone time? How do you get it when your job as a publicist may require a lot of interacting with others?

On Myers-Briggs I am 50/50 introvert/extrovert, so as much as I put out, I spend putting back in. I am a mole in a hole on my laptop, just like a writer, until I go to a conference.

  • How do you keep yourself physically fit?

These days I walk or go to PT.

  • Do you set dates to meet your goals? Do you celebrate when you reach them?

I set goals every year, either in November or January and then I revisit them in June to see where I am. I usually nail the physical goals (I’m a minor health nut), and have mixed results in the other categories. Celebration for me usually involves a gluten-free menu on a white tablecloth with an adult beverage.

  • Who do you go to when you’re feeling low and about to give up?

I learned a long time ago that my pen and my friends are my family, so I either hit my journal or the phone.

Stephane Barko's logo

  • When did you decide to become a literary publicist? Why?

I began this career in 2006 after an editor noticed me marketing other writers in our writing circle. Before that I marketed semiconductors, so it only took me a short while between careers to figure out that once a marketer, always a marketer. During 2005, I was simply changing products.

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Stephanie Barko, Literary Publicist

  • What has been your most exhilarating moment as a publicist?

Presenting in front of my peers in Denver at 2014 Author U Extravaganza. I never worked so hard on slides in my life!

  • What kind of research is necessary to develop a publicity plan for a client?

With ten years of experience, it’s the most fun thing I do, but I’m not going to give that away.

  • What are 3 tips you can give writers/authors?

1. It’s never too early to create your platform. 2. Agents look for craft first, so get it right and get it edited. 3. Know your audience and already have them identified before you query your manuscript.

  • What are three things that an author needs online?

1. Website 2. Blog 3. Social Suite

  • Wow! What a great number of clients you have with big publishers and small publishers and self-published authors! What three qualities helped you be a successful publicist?

To do the work I do, you have to be organized and persistent. I hear “no” as one step closer to the “yes” I’m going for. And you’ve got to be able to ask for what you want. I’m always amazed how long it takes women to articulate what they want. If you can ask for what you want, you’ll find that you get it about 75% of the time. Men just take what they want–they don’t even ask.

  • On February 9, 2016, Brian Jud stated in Inside Publishing Marketing & Publicity that successful book publishers market their books using an assorted mix of promotional media. The four parts to an assorted communication mix are publicity, advertising, sales promotion and personal selling. What are the essential ingredients of a good publicity campaign? Does it include advertising and sales promotion, as well as publicity? Do you do personal selling? Or is that for the author to do?

Some authors are good at hand selling. I promote. I never sell anything. I don’t believe in advertising novels, but I think advertising is okay for some nonfiction. A good PR campaign is specific to the subgenre and the author’s background. I don’t find it to be formulaic.

  • What are three books you would highly recommend to authors to help them learn how to market and sell their books successfully?

You can’t go wrong with John Kremer. If you write YA, I recommend Cynthia Leitich Smith’s website. I think it’s critically important for all authors to understand the impact Google has on us, so anything you can learn about their algorithm changes, about SEO, optimization and integration is important. I watch that more than I watch what Amazon is up to.

sb Logo high res

  • How do you recommend writers go about finding a good publicist for their book?

You want one who routinely handles your subgenre, has no law suits against her or black marks on Preditors & Editors, and someone who has the connections you’re wanting to make. The level of vetting I recommend is somewhere between how you would investigate a surgeon vs. a housekeeper—you want to see both skill and integrity.

  • When is the best time to hire a publicist?

4-6 months PRIOR TO release date. Most authors approach me too late.

  • Could you give me a ballpark figure for the cost of having a publicist?

A full campaign runs $5K – $20K, depending on whether there’s media training, social media maintenance, or advertising rates rolled into the contract. Most of my contracts run $5K-$8K for 3-4 months of specific deliverables.

DIY Book Platform 300 x 300

  • What is DIY Book Platform?

DIY Book Platform is an app I created for authors of genres I don’t take and for authors who can’t afford a publicist. Purchase a 45-day pass to use it. Download it from www.diybookplatform.com.

  • It’s interesting that publicists have different genres they work with, similar to how agents choose different genres to represent. How did you decide that non-fiction adult books was your preference?

I like reality. I read nonfiction. Historical fiction is the other genre I take, and to me, that’s just reality redone as entertainment.

  • Do you do book reviews for nonfiction books?

Sometimes I will rate books on GoodReads that I read in my Austin book group.

  • What qualities does a nonfiction book need for you to consider representing its author as a publicist?

It needs to be well edited, well designed, with a goal of being published in more than one format.

  • How do you plan events for your authors?

I give advice on which events are worth their time.

  • How should authors/publishers contact you to ask if you’d represent them as a publicist?

Via email, stephanie (at) stephaniebarko (dot) com.

  • What is your website? Blog?

stephaniebarko.com, www.stephaniebarko.com/blog, and www.diybookplatform.com,

  • How can others connect with you on social media?

Facebook: Facebook.com/stephaniebarko
Twitter: twitter.com/steffercat
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/stephaniebarko
GooglePlus: google.com/+StephanieBarko
Pinterest: pinterest.com/StephanieBarko
YouTube: youtube.com/c/StephanieBarko

Links for DIY Platform (Stephanie Barko’s App for authors who can’t afford a publicist or who write in the genres she doesn’t serve)
Download DIY Platform app: www.diybookplatform.com
Facebook Page facebook.com/diybookplatform
Twitter: twitter.com/diybookplatform
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/diy-book-platform
GooglePlus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/s/DIY%20Book%20Platform
Pinterest: pinterest.com/StephanieBarko/diy-book-platform
YouTube: youtube.com/channel/UC1Uup1EgXemIeqU3W10rcMQ

Biography
Stephanie Barko’s award-winning clients include traditional publishers and their authors, small presses, and independently published writers. She promotes nonfiction & historical fiction exclusively, including how-to, history, career, business, biography, self-help, and memoir.  Debut authors and spiritual nonfiction are especially welcome.

Ms. Barko was invited into the publishing industry after many years in high tech marketing. She has presented on book marketing & publicity at Historical Novel Society North American Conference, Oklahoma Writers FederationDFW Writers, and Women Writing the West. Her articles and book reviews have been published in Western American LiteratureRoundup MagazineSouthern Writers MagazineSan Francisco Book Review, and the Texas Book Marketing Directory. She has been quoted in Writer’s Digest and was selected to Mentor at 2017 SXSW Interactive.

She was a Finalist in More Magazine’s Reinvention Story Competition, nominated by her peers as Book Publicist of the Year, and voted Preditors & Editors Best Book Promotion Service.  Stephanie has served as a Recommended Associate at Author U, an Industry Expert at Author Learning Center, and an Instructor for the Writers’ League of Texas. This year her agency was voted Best Resource in the Small Business Book Awards.

Development was completed in 2015 on DIY Book Platform, a web-based app that Stephanie conceived to serve authors who could not afford a publicist.

In 2014, Stephanie was profiled by both Environmental Defense Fund and National Audubon Society for her commitment to the earth. Since 2005, she has moderated a nonfiction book group that has hosted such nationally known authors as journaling expert Janet Conner (Writing Down Your Soul), genocide survivor and professional athlete Gilbert Tuhabony(This Voice In My Heart), and Paul Woodruff (Reverence), a TV guest of Bill Moyers.  Stephanie has degrees in Business & Sociology and is based in Austin.

Thank you again for being a guest on my blog today, Stephanie. You are a very talented, helpful, and energetic lady.

Thank you for reading my interview with Stephanie Barko. I hope you’ll leave her a little note. Feel free to ask a question. To comment, click below and scroll down to the very bottom.

COMMENT

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright  © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

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Interview with Becoming Hero’s Author, Jen Finelli


Becoming Hero by Jen Fenelli

Becoming Hero by Jen Fenelli

“Interview with Becoming Hero’s Author, Jen Finelli” (Giveaway details below)

Today, I am delighted to interview Jen Finelli, author of soon to be released Becoming Hero

Hi, Jen. So good to have you as our honored guest today. I know our readers are going to enjoy learning about you. You are clever and fun. I’ve rolled out the red carpet for you.

Thank you, Joan for having me here. Let’s get going.

  1. Where were you born?
    Washington, DC!
  1. Where was your favorite place to live as a child? Why?
    Germany was wonderful, but my heart’s in Paraguay. You know how some folks have that Grandma’s house out in the country or something they went to over the summer? My “summer” place was Paraguay…the verdant home to thousands of undiscovered bird species, the largest waterfall in the world, and people who will offer you tea and next thing you know is that you’re part of their family. That’s where I’m going to live when I grow up: I’m spending the next ten years saving up money to build a clinic in the jungle there.
  1. Did you have a favorite place to read a book as a child? Where and why?
    What’s comfier than a bed, am I right?
  1. Where is your favorite place to read now? Why?
    Ha, I don’t grow up. That’s why on Twitter they call me Petr3Pan! I’m still in the same place.
  1. How do you keep yourself physically fit?
    I cry a lot, and that doesn’t seem to be working. It’s great, I stay the same size all the time! I’m big enough for my husband to write words on and hide them in the folds. In all seriousness, there are some awesome apps people should check out if they want to get fit. I’m trying to do this 100 push-ups app, and learn Bellydancing. Zombies Run looks awesome. I used to be a black belt who ran three miles every morning, taught martial arts classes, AND swam competitively, so I do like exercise. It just doesn’t like me.
  1. If you go to an amusement park, which ride do you go to first? Which ride do you ignore at all costs?
    Not a huge fan of spinning things. Love the Apollo’s Chariot at Bush Gardens, Williamsburg, Va. I want to fly, so anything that makes me feel like I’m flying is a go.
  2. What is your favorite genre? Why?
    Sci-Fi! Because it’s the best one! You can say anything about the future, the past, the now, and you can explore the edges of human innovation and maybe even influence some real scientists. Nothing’s better than that!
  1. What’s your favorite book that you’ve ever read? Why?
    Either Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie or The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis. The Space Trilogy is a great example of anthropological philosophy, and he spends a lot of time thinking about what cultures might be like on other planets in a very mystical, beautiful way. Much more lit than his Narnia trilogy.
  1. Where is your favorite place to visit? Why?
    Wherever my husband is.
  1. When did you decide to become a writer?
    Six year old me: grubby, shower-less little kid who exclusively spoke in words she’d read in the dictionary. Hated writing, but I wrote an essay about a salmon that included the sentence “she swam far far far far far far far far far far far far” and it won an award, so my fate was sealed. I might still hate writing, who knows.

But the fact is I’m good at written storytelling, and as my writing career began to build (despite my attempts to do other things like medicine) I realized I was born for this. I quit a pharmacy tech position and began writing full-time. I—no joke—heard God telling me it’s my calling to write.

*Ding ding ding crazy!* I know you’re all thinking it, so it’s okay, I’ll go ahead and say it. But you know, I’m a multiple published Codex member now with over a hundred pieces over my belt, so I don’t think I’m one of these people who says God told them to write and then sends you the scary manifesto they wrote in blood on toilet paper.

I’m more like one of those people who says God told them to write and sends you a frikkin’ awesome zombie story in a popular anthology. (I’m saving my bloody toilet paper manifesto for when Vermin Supreme becomes president = P)

  1. Who or what has inspired you the most to write?
    I have no idea! When I was nine I loved something by Lynne Reid Banks so much I decided to write my own magical world about an Easter Egg. I always wanted to be the next C.S. Lewis. If I can learn to be the best me, that would be a good start.
  1. What has been the most exhilarating moment as a writer?
    When I stopped thinking I knew how to write, and started taking advice. That’s when my career took off. I threw away a 500,000 word novel, people.
  1. What are your top ten tips for writers to help them in writing a best seller?
  • Don’t be lazy.
  • Be patient.
  • Realize your work isn’t perfect, that’s not a personal flaw, and you can take steps to get better. You don’t have to kill all your Darlings, but you do have to kill your ego.

These three things will help you deal with rejection and improve your writing more than anything else will. You also need to avoid the use of “was,” use strong words instead of adverbs, stop being pretentious and writerly (stop saying utilize instead of use), and read both Grammar Girl and Strunk and White. (I need to do those things, too) Ten tips is more than I’m qualified to give in one post, but I do have a place on my site where I drop writing tips I’ve learned from others. I believe you’ll think it’s worth checking out.

  1. How did you find the illustrator for your comic book?
    That’s a bit of a secret, since we have a big reveal coming up, but suffice it to say: online! People who are looking for artists should follow them on Twitter, go to ComicCons, hang out on DeviantArt, and generally try to think like artists.

Paying money helps, which is why I ran this awesome campaign to pay my artist AND give my fans cool inexpensive pre-orders! At the $1 level peeps get a $17 audiobook!

  1. What are three things that you do to entice readers to read to the very last page of your book?
    Pray. Eat. Love. Or something like that. No, for real! Prayer helps get my mind focused, I need to eat or I can’t write, and if you don’t love your readers they can feel it. That’s something Dale Carnegie said once.

On a more practical note, keep secrets (but don’t lie to your readers, they hate that)—every character should have one secret trait you never tell your readers, and one secret that affects the book in some way. Cock Chekhov’s gun: let readers see the rifle lying in the room before it becomes important. Just kind of mention it, and then later when it’s important they’re like OH SNAP I REMEMBER THAT THERE WAS A GUN IN THE ROOM!

And finally, have an outline that flows.

  1. As I understand it, when you were writing a cartoon, you had one of your characters rebel against the situations you put him in? How do you feel about this?
    Well it’s not actually me that Skye’s shooting—he’s inside a comic book INSIDE the novel, so his author lives in the novel, and I’m his author’s author. Like his grand-author. Thankfully, he doesn’t know I exist.

In all seriousness, writing something this meta can mess with your head a little bit. I’m writing about tropes I think comic authors should stop using, and about how ridiculous it gets when major franchises get dragged on and on and on…and I’m employing the same tropes I’m talking about because otherwise it’s tell not show. So like…if Skye were real somewhere…am I a huge jerk, or am I doing this because I’m trying to make a hero out of him? Would he hate me, or thank me for bringing him to become the person he’s meant to be?

I try to write all my characters, even the bad guys, as if I love them very much. I want to see them shine, so each one needs to have his moment, and each one needs a deep reason for why he does what he does. But who knows…Skye might still find me worthy of a bullet in the brain.

  1. This question is for Skye, the main character in your new book, Becoming Hero.
    Hello, Skye from Becoming Hero. Why are you so upset?
Becoming Hero by Jen Fenelli

Becoming Hero by Jen Finelli

Skye speaking:

“To quote Batman: how many girlfriends died in your hands?

You know what’s really sad about it? They’re fading in my head, ’til they’re almost not people anymore—just plot points, meant to drive me on, and I can feel that drive, that spiked wheel turning in my rib cage and churning all the meat in there like a blender, I feel how it’s supposed to warp me and turn me in to a dark and cool mysterious brooding guy with a past, and I don’t want it, I don’t, that’s not who I am.

Before you know it, well, here I am. Dark and brooding guy with a past. I even use guns now. I’ve got nothing but Natasha’s name on my lips and her ring around my neck, because her personality, her well-rounded human self disappeared every time she stepped into a panel and became “the girlfriend.” Because I’m the main character, everyone exists around me. Which means everyone around me has to suffer, but I can never, never die.

This is what the SAT calls egomania. This is what the author in the comic is doing to me.

You know it’s the worst thing ever when you know what’s happening to you, and you can’t stop it?

If there were one person in your life who was responsible for all the suffering of everyone you loved—your parents, your best friend, that special person who makes you blush like a dummy—would you take it lying down?

Or would you take them out?”

For more information about me, Skye from Jen Finelli’s new book, Becoming Hero, check out the website: http://becominghero.ninja

Thanks for taking the time to answer my question, Skye.

GIVEAWAY

 

Jen Fenelli, Author of Becoming Hero

Jen Fenelli, Author of Becoming Hero

Jen Finelli’s Short Bio

If you’re looking for sentient cockroaches, angry superheroes, zombies or fairies, offensive gods, and anything else just plain different, Jen Finelli probably writes what you want. She’s a world-traveling sci-fi writer with a knack for making people feel things. (Rage, mostly, but that’s a feeling, right?) So far she’s gotten locked in a German nunnery, fired by a secret news organization, lost in an underground tunnel network, and wind-whipped in a tropical monsoon while riding a motorcycle, so she thinks she’s doing something right. Her comic book character wants to kill his author in Becoming Hero, coming in 2017.

Jen invites you to go here to get a $17 audiobook for $1, watch a silly movie (cool video with Jen telling about her book), and get an early Valentine’s Day gift for you loved one!

Jen’s websites:

byjenfinelli.com (I live here)

petrepan.blogspot.com (Free nightmares and ponies here)

http://becominghero.ninja (I make comics here)

mysweetaffair.com (I wrote a movie!)

Connect with Jen Finelli on Social Media: 

Facebook: http://facebook.com/becomingherocomic
Twitter: twitter.com/petr3pan
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/118054993565539554359
Pinterest: pinterest.com/petr3pan
Instagram: instagram.com/becominghero
Stumbleupon: stumbleupon.com/petrepan (please like/stumble my things!)

Thank you, Jen for a fun interview. I wish you the best of luck with your launch of Becoming Hero.

Pre-order now!

Thank you for reading my blog. I am very blessed to see you here.

Winner of the Giveaway Contest. I appreciate the three people who were kind enough to leave a comment on this blog post between January 19th and midnight, January 28, 2017.

  1. Linda Andersen
  2. Kathleen Burkinshaw
  3. Cat Michaels

I had random.org choose the winner. The lucky winner of Jen Finelli’s short story, Minnie: The Curse of Sentience is Linda Andersen. Congratulations, Linda. I hope you enjoy it. I’ll send it to you by email.

To leave a comment please click below and scroll down to the bottom:

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Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

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Pat Rullo’s Interview of Joan Y. Edwards on Speak Up Talk Radio


Pat Rullo

Pat Rullo, Speak Up Talk Radio

Oh my goodness. Pat Rullo emailed and asked me if she could interview me for Speak Up Talk Radio! I am very honored that she singled me out to ask for an interview. She’s taking care of her mother, so my book, Joan’s Elder Care Guide, was of special interest to her. I hope you’ll listen. Please listen to it and tell me what you think in the comment area for this post.

Here’s a link to Pat’s interview with me on Speak Up Radio: http://www.speakuptalkradio.com/joan-edwards/

As Heard On SUTRN

I hope you enjoy it. Pat asked me very good questions. She fell in love with my book, Flip Flap Floodle, too. After talking with Pat, I feel like I’ve found a new friend.

In case you’d like to have Pat Rullo interview you, here’s information to help you.

Each person who has an interview gives a donation which to fund the Sewport pillowcase project. They send handmade one-of-a-kind pillowcases to veteran shelters, women and children’s domestic abuse homes and animal shelters with each participant name as the donor. I think this is a great project. That’s one of the reasons I decided to do the interview.

If you would like Pat Rullo to interview you to highlight your product, service, talent, book or simply have something to say – Speak Up Talk radio will feature you on the Network for a full 52 weeks for $1.00 per week. You can also air your interview on iTunes, Stitcher (available in over 4 million cars) as well as on mobile apps iOS, Android, Nook, and Kindle Fire. Extra promotions on iHeart Radio available, too. What are you waiting for? SPEAK UP! Enjoy one of those few opportunities you have to talk about yourself to a very interested audience! contact pr@speakuptalkradio.com

COMMENT

Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards

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Sarah Maury Swan’s “An Interview of the Amazing Joan Y. Edwards”


Joan Y. Edwards AE9Z7443
Sarah Maury Swan, Author of “Terror’s Identity,” honored me and I bow humbly because she did a blog interview of me. She said I was very encouraging. I’m glad because I do like to encourage people to Never Give Up. She even tackled this with a new computer and included pictures, too. Hurray for Sarah and her new computer. I hope you’ll drop by and read it and share your thoughts and similar experiences with us on her blog. Thanks.

Sarah has followed my blog for a long time and was one of the first people to join the Pub Subbers Yahoo group. Thanks again, Sarah.

COMMENT

Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards

*********************************************************

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1. Never Give Up image
2. 20 Affirmations for Writers
3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators

Interview and Top Ten Social Media Tips with Holly Jahangiri


Holly Johangiri profile-backyard-instagram2-100315sm

Holly Jahangiri, Author and Social Media Guru

“Interview and Top Ten Social Media Tips with Holly Jahangiri” by Joan Y. Edwards

Today I am very excited to share Holly Jahangiri’s Top Ten Social Media Tips. I met her at the Oklahoma Writers  Federation Incorporated conference in May, 2016 where I celebrated the release of Joan’s Elder Care Guide. She is also a published author with 4RV Publishing. She presented a workshop on Social Media. I was amazed at her clever ways of using Social Media and asked if she would be a guest on my blog.

Thank you, Holly for being a guest on my blog. My readers are going to be amazed!

You’re welcome, Joan. It’s wonderful to be here. I’m ready for your questions. Let’s get started.

By the way, Holly is giving away an autographed copy of A New Leaf for Lyle for one lucky person. GIVEAWAY CONTEST Details on how to win at the end.

About Holly Jahangiri

  1. Where were you born?

I was born across the street from the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. You see? I come by my “lead foot” naturally!

  1. Where was your favorite place to live as a child? Why?

Silver Lake, Ohio. It was the town my mom grew up in, and she knew it was a great place to raise a child. Many of her friends had stayed or moved back, and had children my age. We lived right around the corner – or two back yards and a couple of hedges – away from the elementary school. There was a little lake with a tiny island where we could swim in summer and ice skate in winter. There were no fences; good manners were the only fences we needed as we played in the neighbors’ yards, careful not to trample their flower beds or break their hedges or peer into their windows. Only one or two older people in the whole neighborhood were the “Get off my lawn!” types. The rest looked out for us and called our parents if we got into trouble or did something they considered dangerous.

  1. Where is your favorite place to live now? Why?

Right now, I call Houston, Texas, home. And it’s a very good place to live and work and raise a family. It’s cosmopolitan and diverse, with top-notch schools and universities, parks, theaters, a symphony, a ballet, an opera house – and it’s very near the Johnson Space Center and Galveston Beach. The most surprising thing to people who visit Houston for the first time is that it isn’t dry, brown, and full of tumbleweeds. Houston is in the tropics – we have seven-story-tall pine trees next to magnolias and palm trees and hibiscus. It’s hot, but it’s also quite humid. You may have heard we had some flooding, a while back? I now understand what my grandmother meant when she’d say things like, “See you next year, God willin’ an’ the creek don’t rise.”

  1. Did you ever want to hide when you were a child?

From what? Seriously, my favorite game was “Hide and Seek.” I was a master at it. My favorite places were the closets under the stairs, the top of my grandparents’ “Climbing Tree” (who ever thinks to look UP during a game of “Hide and Seek”?), and the third attic in my grandparents’ house. You got to it through a walk-in closet. Along one wall of the closet, there was a bookshelf, and behind that, a hidden door. Enter the door, then turn around – to the left of that door, there was another door. Their house was just made for hiding!

  1. What are your 3 favorite places to read a book?

In a tree. On a window seat. In bed. But really, a book transports me to so many places – by the time I’m immersed in reading one, I can imagine that I am anywhere I want to be.

  1. What is your favorite ride at an amusement park? Why?

The roller-coaster! Why? Like life, it has its ups and downs. There’s the delicious anticipation – that sense of adventure mixed with excitement and dread in almost equal measure – that moment as the car crests the first incline, when you think to yourself, “Oh, dear God, what have I done?” followed by that sense of joyful flying as it races downhill and turns sideways or rises for a loop-de-loop. It’s over too fast, but you can always do it again!

  1. What ride do you avoid at all costs?

The Viking Ship. Nothing is more guaranteed to make me toss my cookies than The Viking Ship or its variations, especially if it’s a hot day. I used to love rides like The Octopus, but there came a point where that was more nausea- and headache-inducing than it was fun. When I was a kid, I loved all rides – the wilder, the better. I may have been the only child disappointed in Disney World, because it was more “theme” than ride. Cedar Point rules! I haven’t been there since I was a tween, but I can still remember being turned loose with the all-you-can-ride wristband, a watch, and a list of times and places to “check in” with the grown-ups. Those were the days!

  1. What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened to you?

Gosh, I don’t remember – so many funny things have happened to me, but no big one stands out!

  1. How did you do in English in high school?

Wonderfully well! English was my favorite class – an easy A.

  1. When and why did you decide to become an author?

I think it was in 5th or 6th grade. We were learning to write essays. I got mine back – I think the grade was an A, but what I remember was all the comments in red pen up the margins. Reactions to something I wrote, plus suggestions for improvement.And that started my love of the red pen. Others see it as criticism; I see it as, “Oh! Someone really read what I wrote and thought about it!” It was the start of a conversation. I wrote more essays – unassigned, and looking back, probably dreaded by the teacher. But she read them all, and she filled them all with red ink and thoughtful suggestions for improvement. Mrs. T. created a monster.

  1. What got you interested in social media?

Boredom and curiosity. Isn’t that something all writers have in common? We all write to entertain ourselves, eventually, when we run out of books we want to read. But I’ve never written “just for me.” It was that conversation – started with my English teacher, back in middle school – that had me hooked on writing. Writing is a meeting of the minds, but blogging and social media makes it a two-way street. I’m more comfortable communicating through my writing than I am in speaking – though I did enjoy speaking at the 2016 OWFI Conference! Social media gives me a chance to read what others are thinking and to have those two-way exchanges of ideas that so hooked me on writing in the first place.

  1. Do you do “work for hire?”

I don’t. I have a full-time job and too little time for my own writing, these days, as it is! But thanks!

Holly’s Top Ten Tips for Social Media

  1. Always be aware that the Internet is forever. What you say now will still be there – to haunt you or to do you proud – in twenty years. Assume that nothing you post is truly private; it could be shared by the original recipient or it could be one server admin’s “oops!” away from being public.
  2. Claim your social media space before someone else does, and tell your story better than anyone else can. Make sure that you are the online authority on you. If you have a blog, cross-link it to and from all your social media profiles.
  3. If it’s not fun, and it’s not absolutely necessary, don’t do it. I think this applies to more than social media, doesn’t it? We tend to do well what we enjoy doing. When we try to do things we think are a chore, others can tell we’re just “phoning it in.” What’s the point? Someone says, “You have to have a Facebook Page!” and your first reaction is “Why?” then ask. Make them convince you of its value and worth to you. Set a limit for how much time you spend on social media – don’t let it keep you from living, work, and your own writing.
  4. If you try out a social media site and decide it’s not for you, close your account. Don’t leave abandoned sites all over the Internet. Someone’s likely to find them, some day, and conclude that you died five years ago when you stopped updating them.
  5. People generally prefer sincerity over whatever façade we think we have to show the world. This, of course, assumes that you are not a malicious, hateful troll.
  6. If there are two ways to interpret how something is said, assume the other person meant it the nicer way. Not everyone is a masterful communicator. Some people aren’t very good at recognizing sarcasm in writing. Sometimes, people are dealing with difficult things offline, and they take out their own hurt and frustration on the nameless, faceless “Internet.” Respond with compassion, and you may make a friend instead of an enemy.
  7. If someone harasses you, stalks you, threatens or cyberbullies you – don’t engage. You’ll often hear the advice, “Don’t feed the trolls.” We all have a little troll inside us, just itching to come out and play, some days. But there are a few – blessedly, very few – real trolls, and they can be quite malicious. Keep a careful record of it (use screenshots, document times and dates), and call the police. The motive is almost always to unsettle, intimidate, and upset you emotionally. Why give anyone that satisfaction?
  8. Record your username and password for each site in a safe place (offline, preferably in a password-protected OneNote file on your PC, or in a hardcopy notebook). Use different passwords for each site. For any accounts that link to banking, domain ownership, or that have the ability to request password resets, use very strong passwords and dual-authentication. If you write these things down, lock up the notebook or encode the information in a way that only you can read it. It’s a pain, when you forget your own password, but it makes it much harder for thieves to access your important accounts or for scam artists and identity thieves to impersonate you. Phrases like this are easier for you to remember, and are also quite “strong” passwords: I<3turnips+COFFEE!
  9. Look at your own profile the way others see it. Log out of the social media site completely, then visit your link. If you were a stranger to you, what would your first impression be?
  10. Don’t be afraid to jump in and try new things. Experiment. Have fun. The world will not explode if you press the wrong key, I promise.

 

Social Media Tips

for Those with Published Books!

  • Blog. Your blog should be the hub of all your social media activities. Link from your blog, outward, to all your active social media profiles. Link inward, from all your active social media profiles, to your blog.
  • Follow the 90/10 rule: 90% of what you post should be for others – entertaining, informative, fun, and engaging. 10-20% can be “shamelessly self-promotional.” After all, people appreciate your making it easy for them to find and buy your books, once you’ve given them a reason to be interested. But 100 tweets of your book cover with the words “buy my book!” won’t accomplish anything good! See #9, above – look at your own profiles, all of them, the way a stranger would.
  • Read this post for more: http://jahangiri.us/2013/author-blog-holodeck-for-the-authors-brain/

 

Social Media Tips

for Those Hoping to Get a Book Contract!

Your blog and your social media profiles serve two important purposes:

  • They are an online portfolio – a sample of your writing.
  • They serve as “social proof” and give a publisher an idea of whether you will be an active and engaging participant in any marketing activities for your books.

Keeping that in mind, you want to carefully proofread your posts and build a solid network of followers – not 10,000 followers for just $14.97, but real people. Readers, librarians, indie bookstore owners, friends, fellow authors, experts in the field you’re writing about (if you’re writing non-fiction), and interesting people who are actively engaging with other interesting people in social media. That takes a bit of time and effort, so it’s never too early to start. I’d suggest building the blog and the social media profiles first – make sure there’s some interesting content there that makes clear who you are and why anyone might want to follow you – then start finding followers.

 

Vanity Surfing – Google Alerts and TalkWalker Alerts

You should search for your own name – and all its variants – periodically, to see what the first three to five pages of search results contain. Most people never really look past the first three pages of results, but you want to be sure those three are a good reflection of you and what you’re all about. It’s also a good idea to set up alerts on Google and on Talkwalker – think of this as the lazy man’s way of vanity surfing.

First, go to www.google.com/alerts.

In the box where it says “Create an alert about” type your name in quotation marks. You can also type something like this:

“ann smith” OR “anne smith” OR “anne w. smith” OR “anne wilson smith” OR “annie the cat whisperer” – listing all common permutations of your name and pseudonyms.

Click Show options.

Choose how often you want to receive alerts; from which sources (hold CTRL while clicking to select multiple sources, or choose Automatic for all); language; region; all or “only the best”; and enter the email address to send them to.

Click Create Alert.

Next, go to http://www.talkwalker.com/alerts. Fill in the blanks as described above (they are essentially the same as Google Alerts). Preview and Create Alert.

The results are similar, but there are some differences between the two and it may be worth monitoring both. Create alerts for your book titles, as well.

Social media should be fun. It can also be an excellent marketing tool for writers. If you follow my tips, you can avoid headaches, heartaches, and undue stress. You’ll find more tips on my blog: It’s All a Matter of Perspective. I also wrote a number of posts specifically on social media strategy for writers. Come on over and don’t be shy – I love comments!

For more, read: http://jahangiri.us/2013/category/no-niche/social-media/social-strategy-for-writers/

 

Biography

Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; and A New Leaf for Lyle. She draws inspiration from her family, from her own childhood adventures (some of which only happened in her overactive imagination), and from readers both young and young at heart. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, J.J., whose love and encouragement make writing books twice the fun.

More about Holly: http://jahangiri.us/2013/holly-jahangiri/

Where to Connect with her online: http://jahangiri.us/2013/holly-jahangiri/where-to-find-me/

Buy Trockle: https://www.amazon.com/Trockle-Holly-Jahangiri/dp/0979751322/ref

Buy A Puppy, Not a Guppy: https://www.amazon.com/Puppy-Not-Guppy-Holly-Jahangiri/dp/0984070850/ref

 

Buy A New Leaf for Lyle: https://www.amazon.com/New-Leaf-Lyle-Holly-Jahangiri-ebook/dp/B00K1TW6DY/ref

Where to buy her books

  1. Amazon Smile where a portion of sales goes to charity: http://jahangiri.us/amazon
  2. Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Holly-Jahangiri/e/B002BMEYUC/

Thank you for sharing your tips about social media and about your life, Holly. 

If you’d like to ask Holly a question or leave a message for her, please click comment below and scroll to the bottom of the page.

GIVEAWAY CONTEST: Everyone who leaves a comment between now and midnight on Monday, August 15, 2016 will have his/her name put in a hat. Random.org will choose the winner. I will announce the winner in a new post that day.

COMMENT

Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards

*********************************************************

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


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1. Never Give Up image
2. 20 Affirmations for Writers
3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators

 

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