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Monday, May 23, 2016

Awash in Talent is Available for Preorder Now

The book at the top of every wish list 
Confirmation: The link we've all been waiting for has arrived! Awash in Talent is available for preorder here. Everyone who nominated it should have received a notification to download their free copy! I know I did!

Queen of the castle because I'm a published author!

If you didn't nominate it during its Kindle Scout campaign, now is your chance to get in on the Gilmore Girls-with-a-paranormal-twist action. Help it reach its potential and I will be grateful to you forever.

Even better, it already has a five-star review from someone I'm not related to.

The official release is June 7, and the softcover is coming right around then, too.

This great news means the blog tour has begun! Check back here for links to interviews, excerpts, and all kinds of Awash in Talent fun.

Monday, May 16, 2016

You May be Wondering...

While all those great interviews have been going on, you may have wondering what was going on with Awash in Talent. It's on its way! I've gone over the edits, which have helped clarify some of Emily's contorted thinking, and the manuscript is being formatted as you read.

Kindle Scout nominators will receive their free copies and Awash in Talent will be released as a preorder next week! And then the fun really starts rolling. I'll be sharing lots of interviews and guest posts and there will be a softcover giveaway involved.

Just so you don't think I've been lazy, I'd like to share my new website with you. With the help and artistry of Amygdala Design, finally has just about everything I ever wanted for it. It's been a lot of work, but the fun kind of work—a labor of love. I'm putting the finishing touches on as I find a spare moment here and there. Take a browse and please tell me if you think anything is missing.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Today at Unusual Historicals: My Characters' Moment in Space and Time

Me and my gal, Lambra
This month, Unusual Historicals is letting us historical fiction authors go crazy on our favorite topics: the "unusual" setting and time period of our stories! Mine is about the formative history taking place during Seven Noble Knights"My Characters Lived in... Tenth-Century Spain" has tons of information and pictures I've gathered over my many years of obsession with medieval Spain. Check it out!

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Branching Out as a Writer: An Interview with Armand Rosamilia

Fellow Kindle Press author Armand Rosamilia is stopping by today. For his Kindle Scout experience, he branched out from his usual writing routine.

Armand Rosamilia 
JK: What is Dirty Deeds about? Have you written many crime thrillers?

AR: Dirty Deeds is my first official foray into crime thriller fiction. It started out as a much darker idea... about a hit man who kills children. It luckily evolved into a story I wanted to make more mainstream and for more potential readers to enjoy, so it is still about a guy who is paid to kill children... but he doesn't actually do it. He saves them and gets them into better situations, although one of these supposed deaths from years ago comes back and his cover might be blown.

JK: What inspired these ideas?

AR: I think what inspired me is all of the horror fiction I read and write coupled with my wife watching Investigation Discovery every night. 

JK: Did you enjoy your Kindle Scout experience? How was it different from other publishing you’ve done?

AR: The 30 days my book was in the Kindle Scout program were nerve-wracking. It felt like forever and I hadn't been that nervous in years about a submission.

JK: I know what you mean. Mine was the longest February of my life!

AR: I'm glad I did it, though, because I learned quite a bit about marketing and engaging new readers. I felt like I'd become stagnant with the wonderful fan base I have. Complacent. With Kindle Scout and promoting a crime thriller, something I don't normally write and in a slightly different focus (no profanity, no over-the-top sex or violence) it helped me to reach new readers. I am so glad I tried because it has definitely taken me to the next level. Plus, all of my back-list has started to sell even better and I'd like to think a big chunk of that is because new readers loved Dirty Deeds and wanted to read more from me. 

JK: Podcasts seem to be the up-and-coming new platform for authors, and you have two. What topics do they cover? 

AR: I started out about four years ago on an AM station, which turned into a small FM station. Then I did internet radio. I got into podcasting because I saw it would be a definite plus for me as an author. I'd been on a few great podcasts and I saw it helped sales and getting my name out there. I started Arm Cast Podcast about two years ago and I'm coming up on my one hundredth episode soon. I interview other authors and it is very casual. Two writers having a chat about the business and the craft. I've had on musicians, filmmakers, actors and actresses as well, entertainment people. Each episode lasts about an hour and has two interviews. Every Friday you can hear it on Project iRadio

The second podcast I do now is Arm N Toof'sDead Time Podcast, co-hosted with author Mark Tufo. We run about an hour every Wednesday and interview one guest. We talk to quite a few film makers, actors, and actresses. We also run it very casual and leave the bloopers and screw-ups in. It is also on ProjectiRadio and I couldn't be more happy about the reach and the interaction with listeners. 

JK: We’ll be sure to tune in! Thank you for stopping by.

AR: Thanks for the interview!

Be sure to check out Dirty Deeds and find all the latest from Armand at his website:

Monday, May 2, 2016

Small Town Romance: An Interview with Kindle Press Author Rachelle Paige

Small town contemporary romance author Rachelle Paige is a fellow Kindle Scout winner. She’s visiting today from to share a little about her series and her writing.
Author Rachelle Paige 
JK: Tell us about your Kindle Press novel. Is it similar to any other novels you may have written or published?

RP: My Kindle Press novel, Tiny Island Summer, is the second in my contemporary romance series. Set in a beautiful small town on an island in Lake Superior, the True North series is all about finding home (and love). I won Kindle Scout with my second novel.

JK: How is your life different since winning Kindle Scout? 

RP: The biggest change is that winning Kindle Scout encouraged me to share my novels with friends and family. Their support has propelled me forward.

JK: What are you working on now? 

RP: I just finished the final two novels in my True North series, On the Rocks (to be released this month) and Across the Lake (to be released in June). After several months of editing, I am jumping back into writing the next novel in my new, sweet romance series, Golden Shores. The first novel, Tidal Patterns, is available now.

JK: Aside from writing, what are you really good at? 

RP: Planning. I know that answer sounds vague, but my specialty is thinking about a project from all angles and planning out everything so the project is flawless. This is notable especially for vacations and parties (my kids’ birthdays and our wedding the most notable). I love planning so much that for a brief while I was an assistant to a wedding planner. And I LOVED that job.

JK: Is there anything unusual about your writing methods? 

RP: The only thing unusual is the time. I’m a full-time mom to two active boys (the youngest is a toddler). I don’t get time to write until after they go to bed. As a morning person, this was really tough to get used to, but now I find I have a hard time working during the day (when I get the rare chance)

JK: Do you have a favorite quote?

RP: I love the Teddy Roosevelt quote “Get action.” I’m not one to sit around and wait for something to happen.

I recommend the readers of this blog take that quote to heart and “get action” by visiting Rachelle’s web site!

Monday, April 25, 2016

World Traveling and World Building: Interview with Fantasy Author R.J. Vickers

R.J. Vickers is a fantasy author, photographer, and traveler who says with a laugh that she enjoys juggling multiple projects at once. She’s currently hard at work on a New Zealand adventure travel guide, the second and third books in her YA fantasy Natural Order series, and an epic fantasy novel set in a new world she’s been developing for almost ten years now. She’s here today to talk about Beauty’s Songbook, which, like Awash in Talent, is being published by Kindle Press. 

Author R.J. Vickers 
JK: What is Beauty’s Songbook about? 

RJV: It’s a fairy tale with nods to Beauty and the Beast and Into the Woods. I’ve always been a huge fan of fairy tales, especially retellings in the mode of Ella Enchanted (Gail Carson Levine) and Goose Girl (Shannon Hale), so this was my chance to take a stab at the genre.

JK: Have you written many fantasy books?

RJV: Well, I’ve written seven fantasy novels in all, but only two (The Natural Order and Beauty’s Songbook) have been published. Three more of those are in various stages of revision, and the last two will never see the light of day! 

I love writing novels during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) every November, and I see most of these as experiments where I try something I wouldn’t ordinarily write in order to hone my craft. I’ve written a psychological thriller, a futuristic dystopian novel, a contemporary romance, and a pirate story within the confines of NaNoWriMo—and not a single one of them will ever be published.

JK: How do you draw readers into your fantasy world?

RJV: One of my favorite parts of writing is creating a world and bringing it to life.  I love weaving all sorts of sensory details into my writing, and adding those quirky details that really give a world character. For Beauty’s Songbook, I wrote a whole set of songs common in the region, and added a set of folk legends to give the world flavor. 

JK: What are your main inspirations?

RJV: As I mentioned, I’m a huge traveler, and I love taking bits of the world that inspire me and incorporating them into my stories. The setting of Beauty’s Songbook is modeled on Finland, where I happened to begin writing the story, and another recent novel is set in a landscape resembling the fiords of New Zealand. That particular idea came to me while hiking through those exact fiords, and upon returning to the same trail, I was so inspired I had to write the book.

JK: What nonfiction do you write?

RJV: I’m sure you’ll be surprised to know that most of my nonfiction relates to travel. My first nonfiction book was College Can Wait, a gap-year guidebook for reluctant students with a huge emphasis on travel. And, of course, I’m hard at work on the New Zealand travel guide. If that’s successful, I’ll follow it up with more travel guides to all of my favorite places.

JK: What is it like publishing Beauty’s Songbook with Kindle Press? 

RJV: When I originally submitted Beauty’s Songbook for the Kindle Scout nomination process, I didn’t actually expect to be selected. I was very curious, though. Kindle Scout is one of the newest entries to the publishing scene, a model that combines the best parts of self-publishing and traditional publishing. I’ve been blogging about the whole Kindle Scout publishing process here

You get complete control over your cover (though the quality control kicks in during the nomination process—you won’t get many votes with a bad cover), and Kindle Press does a very thorough edit of your book—for content and conventions—before publication. You get an advance, but you also get to keep a much larger percentage of your royalties than you would in a traditional publishing deal (50% compared to around 12%). You don’t get to decide on your book’s pricing, but Kindle Press will drop your price for promotions and submit your book to a number of promotion deals, circumventing the need for the author to pay for these. 

As traditional publishers have had a very hard time competing in the ebook market, due to bad pricing choices and a lack of marketing, models like Kindle Press are starting to look very desirable.

Anyway, Beauty’s Songbook just came out on April 19 (you can check it out here), so I have yet to see whether it performs better or worse than my three previous titles. But it’s been exciting to learn more about Kindle Scout and Kindle Press along the way! 

JK: Exciting is an apt word for this whirlwind process. Thanks so much for being here today, and best of luck with Beauty’s Songbook.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Today at Unusual Historicals: My Intellectual Hero, Alfonso X

Alfonso X. That's him on the left
in the blog banner, too. 
The theme at Unusual Historicals this month is "The Intellectuals." Maybe they don't make history as often, but without the brainiacs to write things down, there would be no history at all. 

My personal and intellectual hero is—no secret—Alfonso X, el Sabio. Read about just a few of his brilliant accomplishments here at Unusual Historicals. 

If you'd like some event specifics, I made two-part biographical summary here and here

Thanks for stopping by!