What Do Rainy Days, Blog Exploration, Marketing and Writing Have in Common?

rain 2Despite my FB page wishing the forecast is not predicting T-storms for the next week…I do love rainy days – Such as sleeping outside on the deck, listening to the sound of the rain, is relaxing and quiets the mind.  It, also, forces me to catch up on writing, blogging and a little exploring on sites for marketing which I thought I would share.

Are you seeking?

-improve your writing

– freelance work

-writing tips

-break into the publishing world

-find your voice again

-know the 2 most important words in blogging

-internet marketing

-how Twitter makes you a better writer

-increase blog traffic

Well…my exploration found a few sites worth checking out, no matter how old, including many articles at your fingertips:

How to Increase Website Traffic by Corey Franco

8 Incredible Simple Ways to Get More People to Read Your Content by Pamela Wilson

The Art of Writing Great Twitter Headlines by Brian Clark

The Top 10 Blogs for Writers by Brian Clark

Enjoy your rainy day!

Kay

 

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Happy 4th of July!

Thank you

Today is dedicated to the men and women in all branches of the military…who are serving, have served and have given their lives to protect our country…and to their families…

We thank you!

Kay

Calisa Rhose – Part 2 – Uncovers Mondays, Author Advocate and Provides Insight as a Blogger with 21,843 Visitors

HOME_w6568_300Hi, Calisa.  Welcome Back! 

Thanks for asking me back, Kay! I’m excited to be here.

You wear many hats as author, editor and blogger. Which hat did you put on first?  Reader, author, editor or blogger?

That’s a long answer. Like most writers I read a lot growing up, though I began writing stories at about fourteen or so before home computers. I hand wrote everything for years and still do sometimes for the intimacy of the craft. Then I got my first computer but it took me a few years to get brave enough to feel comfortable writing on it. I surfed the web, played on it, if you will, made family blogs that I abandoned shortly after creating. It wasn’t until 2005 that I seriously decided to try writing to publish. During that same period of time I created my first version of Pen of the Dreamer. But I started writing my first submitted book shortly before that.

Your blog has amazing visitor traffic of 21,843 visitors and have won many blog awards…Congratulations!  Obviously, you are such a giving person, talented author and strong advocate for authors, bringing many visitors, but for those who are newbies or veteran bloggers and would love some inside advice, would you be willing to share your experience as a blogger in ways to increase traffic?

Thank you for the kind words, Kay. I absolutely LOVE my blog, which I’ve dubbed the Ranch, being a horse girl and growing up on one. I put a lot of time, probably too much, into the Ranch to make it appealing to visitors and every time I get an email notice that someone new is following it, I get a funny feeling inside. LOL I love helping writers promote and get their name out there because I didn’t have anyone to help me and it took six years for me to get to this point.

How do bloggers increase traffic? Heck if I know! LOL That’s a blog post in itself. J

One thing I can say is–DON’T wait to start a blog a month before your first book is due to release! That, in my opinion, is the biggest mistake writers/bloggers make.

Huge no-no. HUGE.

Why? Because even though you have a book on Amazon, you are still a virtual nobody. No one knows your name–or pen name if you use one. So what, you have a blog. Nobody cares. They look for names they are even the slightest bit familiar with. I began blogging about everything and anything five years before I wrote or sold Home, my novella, to Wild Rose Press. My name was already out there and I had a decent blog following. Unfortunately, I was in the process of rebuilding my blog/website on WordPress so it still took another year to build a new following–even though I had followers, not all followed me to my new cyber home.

What to blog about it the most asked question I’ve heard and I guess it takes posting interesting topics first of all, writing about more than writing. I wrote one blog about a favorite memory–watching NASCAR with my now passed dad. I associated that post to the NASCAR series Harlequin put out, so my name might click in their head when they hear NASCAR these days.

An editor once said that they want to read about an author in more ways than their writing. I add a little something of my personal life to posts now and then.

Host other authors who already have a large following.

The key is to get traffic to your blog and hopefully they will return. Oh–and REPLY TO COMMENTS! As often as possible, let visitors know they aren’t reading a dummy page no one will ever look at.

You have so many helpful pages from free reads, work in progress, links for authors and the series of ‘Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll’ shown on your TOTSD Book Stampede Page…

How did the series develop?  How can a reader get their hands on the series?

Author Alicia Dean asked for Oklahoma writers in our RWA chapter to contribute to this series idea she had. We did and after tossing details around we came up with a Scrimshaw doll that would be featured in every book in some way–from mere mention to main character– and we all set out to write. Home was the first to sell and release, but it is not the first book in the series, that would be Pirate’s Proposal by Diana Layne. That’s one thing I love about it, each book is a stand-alone. You can go to our website to get the whole series titles and links to buy list under the Books and Authors tab. http://talesofthescrimshawdoll.wordpress.com/

Can you tell readers and authors more about Wednesday Wrap Up: Attn: Publishers, Agents and Editors?

I thought it might be helpful if writers could interact with the higher echelon of the publishing industry. All my writing life I felt editors, agents and especially publishers were untouchable beings who could make or break a writer with the flick of a red pen. They terrified me, but I need them! Now that I’m an editor and published writer I know this is not the case, but unpublished writers may not. Those higher ups are people just like you and me. So, being in a position these days to reach out to those behind the scenes, I ask them to let me interview them, or just post something that allows readers to participate with them. 

You have made Uncover Monday to post so many beautiful book covers and fantastic book trailers for your fellow authors, to which we truly appreciate…how did this come about?

LOL I got sick and had too much time on my mind! Truly. Last November I got a bad case of the flu and couldn’t do much of anything for a couple of days and my mind went to work overtime. What did you ask me earlier? Oh yes- how to get more traffic to my blog. Well this was my hope of the answer to that.

While under the influence of NyQuill and fever…and desperation, I put the call out on ALL my groups, loops and social avenues for book covers. I made up the call page on my website and it was done. A day later I cried over all the emails pouring in as I tried to make sense of some sort of system. LOL

I never looked back though. In fact, I added to it by including book/author banners and videos a week later. These two, however, aren’t doing as well and if writers don’t send them in, I’ll have to stop promoting banners and videos. I’ve even considered highjacking the awesome ones I’ve seen around the Net, but hesitate to post them without author/owner permission.

So if you write romance and want to promote with me details can be found here: http://calisarhose.com/ranch-guests/un-cover-monday-cover-banner-video-reveal/ I only ask you to please follow the explicit directions to the letter–and tell everyone you know. Word of mouth is critical to any promotion, no matter how great the idea.

What is your favorite hat to wear?

 The writer, definitely. That’s the only reason I wear any of the other hats. J

What would your readers and followers be interested to know about you?

Nothing. I’m positively boring! Aside from the OCD and shyness. LOL But they’re welcome to ask questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Calisa, it has been an exciting interview!  Thank you so much.  I look forward to the next hat you wear as editor 🙂HOME_w6568_300

 

Calisa Rhose – Horse Lover, Author Advocate, Author and Editor

mesonnyNOESHA2011

I would like to welcome Calisa Rhose to Hipwaders vs Heels…Not only is Calisa a horse lover, an editor and a huge advocate in posting book covers and book trailers for authors on her blog, but she is an author with a new March 4, 2013 release, ‘Risk Factors‘ with Lyrical Press.  I must warn you…once you start reading this book…make sure you have time to finish it in one read… 

Congratulations, Calisa, on your release of ‘Risk Factors’, a contemporary romance! 

Thank you, Kay! I’m very excited about this story. It’s been through the publishing mill before my dear editor read it and loved it.

Vivian Dane, a veterinarian, and Connor McKay, a medi-flight emt, meet right away in a life threatening situation.  What drew your muse to place Vivian and Connor in their career paths? 

 Well, it was supposed to be a medical (for Mills & Boon) so at least one, but preferably both, characters needed a profession in medicine- a path I personally know nothing about. I do, however, know a little something about veterinary medicine. Growing up my sister and I pretty much taught ourselves as much as we could about animal medicine and asked our vets what we didn’t know of the basics. At sixteen I cured my first dog of parvovirus and prior to that we both had treated minor ailments of many animals over the years since we were kids. It seemed natural to let Viv take that role on in RF. I had help from vet friends too. As far as Connor goes- he chose his career and left me to struggle to figure out what it was he did and how. I found a wonderful contact who was more than willing to help me with the technical stuff, having been a medflight nurse for twenty years. She asked me not to give her any credit but she was a source I value for the success in writing this book.

There is a particular scene where Vivian’s hand is placed over a wound and her reaction to human blood makes getting through this a challenge for her.  As writers, we tend to place a little bit of ourselves into our heroes and heroines.  In this particular scene, is this something you can relate to? 

 Not really. I mean, I wanted to be a nurse growing up, but as for her situation- absolutely no connection. I needed her to be in a tough spot to show Connor her vulnerability and I thought it would be fun since she’s a veterinarian if she was squeamish around human blood. Add depth, a puzzle piece to her persona. Hopefully it worked.

What are Vivian’s and Connor’s greatest challenges of their hearts? 

Boy- you ask the tough ones. I’ll do my best to answer without spoilers. LOL

Viv has always been under her daddy’s thumb, but sort of ignored by her parents. It’s her greatest desire to have a family and not worry about what her parents think of her. That’s hard for her, but when she meets Connor hard doesn’t matter.

Connor has been abandoned by almost every woman he’s ever loved so trust is not something he’s able to do, no matter how much he finds himself drawn to Viv. He fights it every step of the way, too.

What does it take to win Vivian and Connor’s heart, to get through the black moments, the barriers of their hearts?

 Well, as with any couple, they have to learn to lean on one another in the hard times and to give part of themselves they normally wouldn’t. It’s the journey that makes them stronger and able to realize they can make it if they stick together.

Did Vivian and Connor fight your muse when she began taking her spin on their creation?

 Not at all. She sat back and let them take the reins, so to speak. They told their story the way they wanted it to be told.

How do you get your creative juices flowing when ‘writer’s block’, as some call it, pop up?  Do you and Sonny Delight, your Quarter Horse, take off for awhile and run with the deer or take an off-beaten trail to let your mind and spirit flow? 

 I wish! I live on three acres, wooded, so not much riding room. But we will be going out to other places this summer. I do like to pamper him while I think though. Brushing a horse is wonderful therapy.

I’d like to stray for a moment for those of us who are horse lovers, how many hands is Sonny Delight? 

 My Sonny Boy is a little over 15 hands, and for those not horse-knowledgeable, that’s pretty tall. One hand is approximately 4½” inches so @67.5 inches at his shoulders, or between 5½ and 6 feet. I’m 5’ so just getting on him is a days’ exercise! LOL

Is Sonny Delight ridden for pleasure only or does he barrel race?  We would love to hear more!

My daughter bought Sonny for me when I first moved back to Oklahoma in 2007. I taught my eight-year-old granddaughter to ride on him when she was only two. If you ask her today, she’ll tell you Sonny is her horse- but she lets me ride him. LOL My niece used him to teach young girls to ride and they took him to the big horse show, NOESHA, where he placed all over (depending on the rider’s ability) from second to fifth place in various categories. In his younger days, before I got him, he took quite a few first place ribbons at western pleasure, English and other categories at the same big show. He’s been used for ranching I was told, English riding and western pleasure.

He’s almost 21 years old now and we only ride for pleasure these days, but we’ve had our fun riding barrels and play days. We’ve taken a decent time on ‘poles’, ‘flags’ and other ‘horsey’ games as well. 

As you can probably tell, I could go on all day about my sweet boy. LOL

mesonnyNOESHA2011-bsonnyabbiNOESHA2011

I am drooling over these pictures, Calisa!  Thank you for sharing them…I read you write vintage historical and contemporary.  What is the difference, for those unsure of genres and sub-genres, between historical and vintage historical? 

 I don’t actually write vintage, though that’s what Home, my first book, a novella and part of a series called Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll published by The Wild Rose Press (you can find all of these books by various Oklahoma authors here: http://talesofthescrimshawdoll.wordpress.com), is. That was unplanned, but I’m a character-driven writer so when they said they lived in 1967 Vietnam era- who was I to argue? I’ve always been intrigued by that time anyway, so was more than happy to write in the time. So that is my one and only vintage book. I didn’t know the difference between vintage and historical until I wrote Home. I learned historical is any time before 1900(?)and vintage is between then and the not-so-present present, about 1999 or so, I think. I think of vintage as a modern historical.

What is your favorite genre to write? 

My favorite is definitely contemporary, cowboys, first responders, firemen…but I also dabble in paranormal and that’s a lot of fun. 

I was very interested to read you are branching out to include your Cherokee heritage in a wolf shifter series based on legends.  Having found out my maternal side of the family has Cherokee in our bloodlines, I love reading about legends in general.  How did you come up with the series and how much research did you find yourself immersed within the Cherokee legends?  

Hoo boy- Lots! I was sitting around one night and this green-eyed man began talking to me and told me his name was Logan Gray, as in gray wolf. It went from there and was coming together as one book about a band of Cherokee Indians who were cursed long ago. I began looking up curses first, then talked to my brother and he gave me some other legends to explore about flying creatures who steal hearts of the sick and dying without being visible to any but the medicine man. That was the only being they feared in their sigili form because if he saw them they would die. If anyone else recognized them for what they truly were while in their human form they would die within seven days.

To top it off, while I was researching these beings of Cherokee lore PC Cast came out with her vampire YA series House of Night in which she incorporates a totally different version of sigilis. I was floored we both came up with these things around the same time–though she published first. Not that my series is anything like hers, but it was interesting. And her series is fantastic! I’ve almost read them all finally.

The research became overwhelming at times. I discovered early on that I wouldn’t be able to use everything I read! LOL

But it was one book and then a critique partner suggested I make it a series when one of the secondary characters continued trying to take over. I gave in and gave Logan’s younger brother Jon his own story. There are three brothers and a few bandmates who want their stories told now, and I’m still trying to figure out how to split one book into many. See, originally my single heroine had various gifts that must now be shared with several heroines to make the series work. It’s a challenge.

If it’s ok, I’ll share the blurb for ‘Risk Factors’.

Most definitely, Calisa!

Risk Factors400x600

Tagline: Love, like life, is not without risk.

Blurb:

Veterinarian Vivian Dane has purchased her uncle’s practice in the tiny town of Wales, Missouri, where most residents still doubt her ability to treat their pets. But Viv is used to being considered less-worthy than her predecessors. After all, her parents are world-renowned wildlife vets, and most everyone is unimpressed she’s chosen to not follow directly in their footsteps.

Now Connor, a patient’s owner, is hot for Viv, but clearly doesn’t think she’s dating material because he has a daughter…who he believes no woman is good enough for. Being a perfect dad is EMT paramedic Connor’s life focus. He can’t seem to stay away from sexy Doctor Viv, but attraction is as far as he’ll ever let it go. His mother abandoned him, leaving him to be raised in the foster system, and then his wife abandoned both him and their daughter. He absolutely will not risk bringing another woman into his little girl’s life and having her feel the hurt of being left…again. Forfeiting is easier than attempting and failing. So why does Viv feel compelled to prove she’s a sure bet for Connor and his daughter? Can Connor trust Viv–and himself–enough to play the possibilities?

Amazon- http://is.gd/OOGR4t  

B&N- http://is.gd/PfGvg9

iTunes- http://is.gd/J2aelz

Also, Risk Factors is on Authorgraph! Get your copy signed. http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/CalisaRhose

Author Bio:

Calisa Rhose is an Okie, born and bred, through and through, and proud of it. While growing up, when she wasn’t on the back of a horse, she could be found with pen and paper in hand. Her writing career began with poetry in her younger days. Then she discovered Rock-n-Roll and cute musicians. Poetry turned into stories of romance and dreams. These days she lives with the same man who convinced her to take a romantic journey with him almost 30 years ago. After raising three strong daughters she spends her days loving their granddaughters, hoping for a boy someday, and writing. When she’s not writing, you can find Calisa putting on her editor hat and working to help other published and aspiring writers.

She is working on more projects with her favored contemporary cowboys, first responders  and firemen, as well as, the occasional ‘other’ heroes- and their sexy female counterparts, those sassy, stubborn heroines.

Find Calisa at her website/blog http://calisarhose.com

Twitter@CalisaRhose, Facebook/Calisa Rhose, Goodreads, Pinterest and Amazon

Thank you so much for having me over today, Kay! It’s been fun and I look forward to chatting with your guests. I’d like to ask readers what is your favorite genre to read? Why?

It has been a delight to spend time with you, Calisa.  Thank you for being such an advocate for authors in posting book covers and book trailers.  It is very appreciated!  I look forward to our next interview 🙂

 Kay

Covered Wagon Women – The True Heroes of the West

Tonight, please welcome Becky Lower as my guest blogger.  Becky will be sharing more on the true heroes of the west and on love…
Becky LowerCover
When I began to write Basil’s story, I asked myself what type of woman would be able to go toe to toe with him. After all, Basil had a track record already. That’s what series writing is all about. The secondary characters from one story become the leads in another book. And what works as a foil in one book becomes a character flaw that needs to be dealt with in another. Basil played a secondary role in The Reluctant Debutante, where he was adamantly opposed to the marriage of Ginger and Joseph. Even though Joseph was his good friend, he was also part Indian, and therefore unsuitable as a partner to his sister.
 
After reading The Reluctant Debutante, I had a reviewer write me privately to tell me she hoped I wrote about Basil soon because he needed a strong woman to straighten out his uptight ass. How could I resist? So the debate of who that woman would be began. I thought about St. Louis in 1856 and the types of women who were in town. Then, I remembered a series of books I had read years ago, the private journals and diaries of the women who crossed the country as part of the wagon trains.  Once again, luck was on my side, as most of the wagon trains left from either St. Louis or St. Joseph, MO. Any of these women would be strong enough to take on Basil. Hence the birth of Temperance, a young woman who was migrating with her family to Oregon, but had to lay over in St. Louis for the winter. And whose name is an oxymoron.
 
If you get a chance to read some of these journals, I encourage you to do so. There were, at last count, eleven editions, but some have been compiled into the “Best Of” series, which I would recommend. Some of them are bleak, not recording much except the number of graves they passed by each day. That in itself is very telling of the kind of journey these hardy pioneers were embarking on. It just doesn’t make for very good reading. But there are some entries that are absolutely riveting. These women had true mettle. They delivered babies while in the back of a rolling wagon; they cooked meals over an open fire each morning and evening; they took care of children and livestock with equal aplomb; they were terrorized by Indians, they survived vicious storms; they endured outbreaks of smallpox and cholera that ripped through the wagons. And most of them made it to an unknown land, where they set up housekeeping, carved out farms alongside their husbands, created schools and churches and civilized the wild west. We are all in their debt.
 
Blurb for Banking On Temperance—Book Three in the Cotillion Ball Series
 
Basil Fitzpatrick was born into a life of privilege. In 1856, at 23 years of age, he is the owner of the St. Louis branch of the family banking business. He has his pick of the ladies and life by the horns. Temperance Jones and her family are far from privileged. Her father is a circuit-riding preacher from Pennsylvania. But the rumblings of a war between the North and the South force the preacher to move his family to Oregon rather than to take up arms against his fellow man. However, hardship and sickness have slowed their pace, and they are forced to spend the winter in St. Louis, waiting for the next wagon trains to leave in the spring.
 
Basil is drawn to the large family the moment they roll into town, partly because they remind him of his own big family in New York. But also because of the eldest daughter, Temperance. She is a tiny, no-nonsense spitfire who is bent on fulfilling her father’s wish to get the family safely to Oregon. Basil is only interested in finding a mistress, not a wife. He knows if he allows Temperance into his heart, he is accepting the obligation of her entire family and their quest to settle in Oregon. He wants Temperance like he has wanted no other, but the burden of her family may be too much for him. And he can’t have one without the other.
 
Becky
 
Thank you, Becky, for a lovely look at the true heroes of the west!  I bet your hero, Basil, must be thanking your private reviewer in bringing him the love of his life 🙂
 
Kay
 
 

Triangle Variety Radio

 I am excited to be interviewed, along with many other wonderful authors, by our wonderful hostess, Elaine Raco Chase, at Authors Corner www.trianglevarietyradio.com tonight (May 9th)…Interviews start at 8 PM EDT…My interview will run 8:20 – 8:40 pm EDT and we will be discussing my romantic suspense, ‘Sweet Revenge’ and my recently published paranormal romance, ‘Full Circle’.

Following my interview, the first 5 people to post a comment and email me with their email address at hipwadersvsheels@yahoo.com will receive a free Kindle copy of my newly released ‘Full Circle’.  Those who post after the first five postings tonight will be put in a drawing for a free Kindle copy of ‘Full Circle’.

Hope you enjoy more interviews tonight by these fabulous mystery authors: Anne R. Allen, Mike Meyer, Vicki Williams, Eleanor Cawood Jones Author…Elaine will be serving Gatsby’s favorite drink – mint juleps at 8 PM EDT tonight and an Encore on Saturday 🙂

Thank you, Elaine!!

Kay

‘Love is Worth Fighting For’

Tara Mills Tara Mills is a ‘lifelong wordaholic, contemporary romance writer, pampered wife, and proud mom’.  If you like fun and flirty, saucy and sexy, exciting thrills and suspense, or simply a good chuckle, sit for a moment while you enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.  I promise, she will sweep you away with her heroes and heroines, not to mention, she is a sweetheart of a lady…
 
Congratulations on your 3 releases, Tara, on ‘In Love and War’, ‘Friends and Lovers’ and ‘Accidents Make the Heart Grow Fonder’ – Each is a wonderful happily-ever-after! 
 
Thank you! It’s so nice to visit with you today.  
 
When your muse takes you into different territories from suspense to fun and flirty, does she throw you for a loop? And how do you handle your muse at those times?
 
My muse is a well-rounded chick. There’s nothing she likes more than shaking things up. Stories are like recipes to her. It’s like she’s standing over a pot, wooden spoon in hand, tasting and tinkering, reaching for this and that to get the right balance and blend in whatever we’re creating. She just never gives me the recipe in advance, so I sometimes find myself racing around, digging for things in cabinets, the fridge, and pantry when she barks out what she wants next. She’s crazy about surprises and loves to keep me on my toes. 
  
I recently read on your pages, ‘Love really is worth fighting for, but picking your battles isn’t so easy…especially when lives are at stake.’  I love the way it reads, Tara 🙂  How do you, or your muse, choose your battles, black moments? 
 
I love that line, too!  As far as choosing the battles goes, the story and the subject matter generally dictate the trials and black moments the characters will face.  I like my stories to have substance, even my ridiculous slapstick comedy, Accidents Make the Heart Grow Fonder, as entertaining as it is, still touches on some important themes.  I have to admit that I’m crazy about research. The bibliography for In Love and War is over four pages long — for a romance!  But I wanted it to ring true. Yes, there’s tenderness, humor, and steamy love scenes, but Dylan’s working in an unstable war zone. It was only natural that he should find himself in real danger. That’s a pretty tense and exciting part of the book. Friends and Lovers is another story that offsets the warm and wonderful love story with another relationship that’s gone horribly bad and how, when these two very different relationships intersect, all hell breaks loose.  Yet, even then, I managed to infuse the pages with lighter moments.  I think it’s great that so many people have absolutely loved Dylan’s golden retriever, Max, in In Love and War.  He’s the comic relief.      
 
Would you say falling in love is just as much a battle of the heart and mind when it comes to the heroes and heroes who have been hurt in the past? 
 
Absolutely. I think people guard their hearts and mask their feelings far more than they do their own bodies. It’s as if they can take the pain of a broken arm, but a broken heart? That would be excruciating.  Stories like this resonate with everyone because we’ve all been afraid of being hurt. Opening yourself up to another person is both brave and terrifying. No one enjoys feeling vulnerable.  Love is a leap, a gamble, and ultimately, a force to be reckoned with.      
 
How do you pick and choose each battle and the resolutions to creating the perfect happily-ever-after to make it special for each hero and heroine? 
 
I love to leave my couples on a high note and make the ending very personal for them.  Naturally they need to resolve, or at least come to terms with the issue(s) between them, but even I don’t see everything until I’m writing it.  Sometimes, not even then. I actually changed a great deal of, In Love and War, during edits and added some emotionally moving things at the end that really touched my heart.  It was perfectly fine as originally submitted, but I was on a roll and kept on going.  I’m so glad I did. I really love it now. 
 
Some writers choose to focus publishing with one particular source and others branch out to more than one.  I see you write for different publishers…If I may ask, as one writer to another, and for those working to break in out there, what are the benefits to writing for more than one publisher?
 
I chose to submit to several publishers because it’s never a good idea to put all of your eggs in one basket. Not only did I want to compare how various publishers work and what kinds of support they offer their authors, but we’ve all heard of publishers who’ve closed their doors. I didn’t want to find all of my books affected by something like that, so I split them up.    
 
What 5 tools or marketing strategies would you suggest to focus on once breaking into the publishing industry?
 
Put up a webpage! That’s very important. So is blogging, even occasionally. Create an author presence on the web and make connections with readers and other writers. Join things, network, leave comments and write guest blogs or do interviews. All of these things will start showing up on searches of your name and titles. People will eventually find you. It just takes a little time. Patience isn’t just a virtue in writing, it’s a must. Annoying, but true. 
 
Any chance we can have a taste of the next happily-ever-after coming our way? 
 
Sure!  My next release, coming from Beachwalk Press June 17th, is called Grading on Curves. Here’s the blurb.
 
One-on-one instruction never felt so right—or so wrong.There’s nothing unusual about Mia Page’s attraction to the young science teacher at the middle school. After all, she’s not the only one who finds him enticing. But when he pulls her son aside to ask for her phone number, she knows she’s in serious trouble. Since her divorce four years earlier, she’s been out of circulation, choosing to focus on parenting instead, and she’s not entirely sure she can handle an entanglement with the sexy Mr. Walden.There are also other reasons why getting involved with Curt would be a bad idea. He’s two years shy of thirty, and she’s on the downside of that unmentionable number. He’s adamant about never having kids, and she has a son. Even the guy’s romantic gifts are suspect. Energy saving light bulbs? He has to be kidding.On the other hand, he’s fun, sweet, and smart. He stimulates her intellectually, emotionally, and Lord help her, physically, opening her eyes to life outside her comfortable world. Yet their differences quietly gnaw at Mia even while she succumbs to their undeniable chemistry.As their romance deepens, so do Mia’s fears that Curt will eventually hurt her. On edge, all it takes is an innocent comment to provoke her into drawing first blood. Mia recklessly wounds Curt, learning only too late that this blade cuts both ways. Frantic to make amends, she fears it might be too late to admit the feelings she’s tried so hard to suppress.

 
Here’s an excerpt.
 
     Casey was almost to the Explorer, but Mia barely noticed. Her entire focus was centered on the sexy teacher instead.
     She could feel the beads of perspiration popping out all over her at the way his lightweight shirt caught the breeze, billowing out of the back of his sexy-assed pants. Was that linen? It couldn’t be. It draped like rayon but without the wrinkles. Whatever it was, he wasn’t exactly dressed to roam school hallways or stand with his back to a class while he wrote on a chalkboard. She envied and pitied the poor adolescent girls who had to look at that supremely scrumptious derriere every day then suffer each night in a private torture all their own.
     No, this guy belonged on a beach, seated at an umbrella shaded table with his long masculine fingers curled around a glass of wine.
     Okay, putting Curt on a beach was probably a mistake. In a flash she had him bounding out of the surf in low slung swim trunks as water ran down his sun-kissed body. She moaned softly at the damp line of glittering hair bisecting his chest. It tapered away across his solid abs then picked up again at his navel as a solid arrow plunging inside his waistband. Mia’s fingers twitched as she did a virtual walkthrough, quite willing to follow that trail wherever it led. Exploration was highly underrated these days.
     “Mom! Are you coming?”
     Casey’s call jolted her back to reality. Well, one thing she could say for certain, this fantasy was galaxies better than the usual gloom and doom.
Hurrying to the SUV, Mia climbed in and drew her seatbelt across her lap. “Did I hear Mr. Walden say he teaches science?” Silence followed her question. Looking up, she caught Casey giving her a strange look. “What?”
“Don’t even think about asking me to pass him a note at school,” he said flatly.
     Mia broke into a startled laugh. “Are you kidding?”
     The boy shook his head slowly. “I know that look, Mom. I’ve seen it a hundred times this year, and I’m not doing it. Don’t even ask.”
 
Thanks Kay. This has been fun!
 
You are welcome.  Thank you for sweeping me away.  I always have fun with you, Tara! 
Friends and LoversIn Love and WarAccidentes Make the Heart Grow Fonder
 

The Wicked Ways of a Muse

Sheba has wicked tricks to get what she wants…

The Wicked Ways of a Muse

Muse

All Aboard!

51ccKFtszVL._AA160_[1]Serena Clarke’s charming writing creates a thirst for more stories of her interesting travels and those she meets along the way…  

About Serena Clarke

Serena grew up in a family of itchy-footed readers and dreamers – not concentrating, reading the atlas and Narnia books, and planning to escape somewhere magical as soon as she could. When she was 16, she went from New Zealand to live in Sweden for a year. It was the beginning of many travels and adventures – and quite a few disasters! She didn’t know it at the time, but eventually she’d be grateful for all the downs as well as the ups. As writers say in the face of adversity: “I can use that.” She’s now living back in New Zealand, where she writes stories reflecting her determined belief in magic, possibility and second chances – and happy endings!

Serena, it is a pleasure to have you here.  Congratulations on your February release of ‘All Over the Place’, a Crimson Romance!  Your fiction writing is sweet, smart and sassy.  What draws you to this genre?

It’s exactly what I like to read – and when I sit down to write, that’s what turns up! I like a story with plenty of interesting characters, snappy dialogue, and a wry kind of sensibility. I’m not a fan of dark stories – a book can still make you really think, even if it’s light in tone. Give me a sense of magic and possibility – and definitely a happy ending!

I read you have lived in 39 houses and traveled extensively…Can you describe some of the places you loved and not so loved during these times?

I loved hiking in summer snow in Swedish Lapland – despite the million-gazillion mosquitos! Riding a camel up the sand dunes as the sun rose in the Moroccan Sahara. Peering through the fence outside the White House, trying to imagine what momentous decisions were being made inside. Meeting my latest rock star crush before a gig at an underground club in London. And every single thing about Paris! Obviously there’s been a lot I didn’t love – but it’s all good material…

 What do you miss the most?

Most of all, I miss the people! There are lots of amazing places to visit, but it’s people who make them really special. I have a trip planned to England and Sweden later this year, and I’m looking forward to catching up with lots of friends. I do miss being close enough to travel to other countries, and being able to experience other cultures. But New Zealand is an incredibly beautiful, peaceful place to live, and I feel really lucky to call it home.

You are very lucky to have your own happily-ever-after and hero in your life. In your book, ‘All Over the Place,’ there is a ‘family in disarray, a determined Swede, a crazed Australian and a childhood friend’. What was your inspiration in creating these marvelous characters?

You know, everyone you meet has a little something about them that’s tempting to borrow for a character! Just a snippet here, a sprinkle there… For a writer, every experience counts as ‘research’ in a way, and inspiration is everywhere. (If you meet a writer at a dinner party, just back away slowly!) I’ve been lucky to have met all kinds of people – some charming, some challenging – from all over the world, and it makes life so interesting! I enjoyed creating the same feeling in All Over the Place

Each writer has a reason why they wrote a particular story such as children in slavery or women’s rights, good versus evil.  What did your muse-heart want to bring out with these fabulous characters?

I’m really interested in the idea of what home means, especially in these international times – that it’s not just about where, but also about who. We all have so many more options these days, which in some ways makes it harder to know where or who we should be – or be with! I wanted to throw everything wide open for Livi, give her some challenges, and see where her heart took her.

When is your next book out?  Are you able to give us a sneak peek inside?

The next one is a work in progress – that I’m enjoying very much! It’s set between England and California, and involves matchmaking, loss and acceptance, secrets and sandcastles, people power in a hyper-connected world, true love, and the trials and joys of sisterhood. It feels a bit dangerous to say too much though. Anne Tyler summed it up: “The secret of writing is to pretend to yourself that no one will see it, ever, an illusion which is shattered by talking about it.” Well said, as always!

Thanks for having me on Hipwaders vs Heels Kay – it was a lot of fun!

 You are very welcome, Serena.  I had an amazing time!

About All Over the Place – contemporary romantic fiction with a chick lit feel.

Livi Callaway has fled back to London after a reality TV disaster in New Zealand. Safely anonymous in the big city, she’s determined to stay under the radar from now on. But her attempts to build a new life are complicated by unexpected visitors from her old one, and new dangers and temptations lie in wait.

 Late one night, she meets a mysteriously sexy American on the Underground – and the events that follow take her from Pooh Bear to the golden lights of Paris, via a trail of rock stars dead and alive. A family in disarray, a determined Swede, a crazed Australian and a childhood friend (who might yet be more than that) have her all over the place as she tries to discover the American’s secret – while keeping her own.

With help – and occasional hindrance – from her friends, what she eventually finds is something unexpected…sometimes, running away can lead you to exactly what you didn’t know you needed.

All Over the Place is available at all major e-book retailers, including:

www.amazon.com/Over-Place-Crimson-Romance-ebook/dp/B00B2B0X9E/

www.amazon.co.uk/Over-Place-Crimson-Romance-ebook/dp/B00B2B0X9E/

itunes.apple.com/us/book/all-over-the-place/id594641901

www.barnesandnoble.com/w/all-over-the-place-serena-clarke/1114286511

Find Serena here – she’d love to hear from you!

http://www.serenaclarke.com

https://www.facebook.com/SerenaClarkeAuthor

https://twitter.com/Serena_Clarke

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893136.Serena_Clarke

The Wings of a Child

Wings : wings feather on blue background The moment our children come into this world, we count our blessings, guide them, hoping they will be safe forever, knowing one day, they will strike out on their own. 

To experience life’s dreams and milestones. 

To spread their wings and fly. 

Wings : wings feather on blue background Yet, some children are not given the chance.  Many hands reach out to protect a child, but when certain adult individuals in a position of power can help the child, who is bullied, present barriers by extending themself as little as possible in the investigation or not holding individuals accountable for their bullying – that individual becomes just as guilty as the person inflicting the pain and should be held accountable.

It takes one person, then another, and another, to stand strong against obstacles in adding safety nets to protect a child’s right to be free from mental, physical, ethnic, financial and spiritual bullying.

Wings : wings feather on blue background Hearts go out to these and other children whose wings never received the opportunity to fly…Every child deserves to be remembered everyday and I would like to take a moment in remembering, my intent is not to exclude a name, hoping you will add more children to this list…

Bailey O’Neill, Megan Meier, Alexis Pilkington, Ryan Halligan, Phoebe Prince, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover,Sladjana Vidovic, Eric Mohat, Meredith Rezak, Justin Rezak, Matthew Rezak, Jennifer Eyring, Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Asher Brown, Billy Lucas, Nicholas Kelo Jr., Hope Witsell, Hailey Petee, Rachel Ehmke,