Saturday, March 20, 2010

Social networking on blogs

Penny, Sansevieri, author of Red Hot Internet Publicity, stops by again with advice about social networking on blogs:

We all know that it’s great to hop on social networks like Facebook, Squidoo and Twitter, right? But have you ever considered that a blog is a social network, too? You bet it is, but I’m talking specifically about the comment section within each blog. We all know that it’s great to pitch bloggers for your book or product, right? But there’s more to it. Really, it’s about online networking or cyber-schmoozing. Before you even target a blog for your pitch, you should get to know them first. Here’s how.

First, you’ll want to get to know the blogs in your market. To do this you’ll want to follow them and communicate with them via the comment section on their blogs. You can find these blogs through blog search engines like Google Blog Search and Once you find the blogs that are top in your market (I suggest going after the top 5-10 to start with) then you’ll want to see what they post on and comment on their blog posts. What does this do? Well, it’ll help give you a voice on your top blogs and give the bloggers a chance to get to know you. Here are some tips for commenting intelligently on blogs:

· Be interesting and thought-provoking. Save the “wow, great blog” comments for when you are really looking to not impress someone.

· Watch, then comment. I recommending following the blog for a few weeks before jumping in. You want to get a sense of the tone of the blogger and how he or she responds to comments.

· Try commenting on at least five blogs a week, this way you’re not spending all of your free time doing this and still you’re able to get a voice out there in the blog-o-sphere.

· Offer additional insight to the blog post, perhaps you’ve had a different experience than what the blogger cited. If so, politely and intelligently tell them your viewpoint and invite other ideas.

· Be entertaining, engaging, and helpful. Always. Don’t push your book, yes you can mention it - but don’t push it, that’s a big no-no.

· Try to build a rapport with the blogger by being consistent, that’s why you don’t want to follow too many bloggers. You’ll be too fragmented this way.

· Be inspiring, readers love inspiration. Don’t just gush for the sake of gushing.

Commenting on blogs posts is a sort of social networking, even better in fact because blog posts and their associated comments are searchable. Keep in mind that you’ll want to always list your URL when you log in (and most blogs require that you do log in and leave your online “footprint”).

Once you have spent sufficient time online you’ll start to get to know the bloggers that are a significant “voice” in your industry. This type of networking will help when you go back to pitch them your story, book or product. Remember that bloggers, like any other on or offline media, want the scoop. So give them what they want. Here are a few tips for pitching bloggers once you’ve networked with them:

· Know what they like: don’t pitch them a book review if they don’t review books. Just because you have become commenter-extraordinaire doesn’t mean that they’ll bend the rules for you. Well, they might, but better to let them suggest it.

· If the blogger does review books and/or products check out their submission guidelines before sending them a pitch.

· If you’re sending them a story idea be sure and tell them if you’ve pitched this idea to anyone else. If they have an exclusive, tell them and give them a (reasonable) deadline for responding if you’re going to shop this around.

· Present the unexpected: it’s OK to take chances, it really is as long as you stay on topic. Pitch the blogger, you never know what could happen.

· Make it easy: if you’re pitching them a story don’t just pitch them and expect them to do all the work. Make it easy on them by offering to co-interview (when appropriate) or offering them experts you think might work well for the piece.

The key is that as you’re getting known online, the Internet is one big networking party. Just because you can hide behind your monitor doesn’t mean that you’re invisible. Remember that everything is your resume and everything leaves a footprint. The best thing you can do is get out and cyber-schmooze, the worst thing you can do is be unprepared. Do your homework and remember, online networking (when done effectively) can benefit you enormously both in your online footprint as well as the connections you’ll make. Don’t worry about spending hours on this, it’s really about quality not quantity. Get out there and social network on blogs. You’ll be glad you did.
Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. She is the author of five books, including Book to Bestseller which has been called the "road map to publishing success." AME is the first marketing and publicity firm to use Internet promotion to its full impact through The Virtual Author Tour™, which strategically works with social networking sites, blogs, Twitter, ezines, video sites, and relevant sites to push an authors message into the virtual community and connect with sites related to the book's topic, positioning the author in his or her market. In the past 15 months their creative marketing strategies have helped land 10 books on the New York Times Bestseller list. To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at

Thanks, Penny.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Joylene Butler's Dead Witness

Dead Witness is the story of Valerie McCormick, witness to a double murder in Seattle. Valerie has her life torn asunder when the FBI kidnap her and fake her death. The killer believes she’s dead until her brother suspects she isn’t and begins his own investigation. This alerts the mafia and puts Valerie’s children at risk.

Today’s guest is author, Joylene Butler. Welcome to the blog, Joylene. Tell us a little about yourself.
I began my first novel Dead Witness in 1984 and self-published it fourteen years later, in 2008. In 2009, I sold my second book Broken But Not Dead to Theytus Publishers. They’re releasing it in 2011. Today, my husband and I are retired and living on a quiet lake in central B.C., Canada, just 700 km north of the Vancouver, site of the 2010 Olympics.

When can I come to visit?
Seriously, when did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?
My mum gave me my first diary when I was eight. I can’t remember not writing. I read Marilyn French’s Bleeding Heart when I was a teen and never recovered. Besides French and Margaret Laurence, my favourite authors are Katzenbach, Grisham, James Lee Burke, and Sanders. It made sense that I would write suspense thrillers; however, recently I’ve had the beginnings of a children’s book running through my head.

Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?
It wasn’t until I finished my third book that I realized the parent/child theme was repeating itself. I don’t feel authorized to teach my readers anything, but I hope they understand that we all struggle with the complexities of our relationships. I think that struggle is part of the human experience.

How do you determine that all-important first sentence?
I read and studied the first line from every novel I could get my hands on when I first started. As I determined which ones moved me and why, I learned to apply those principles to my own work.
Dead Witness opens with Valerie McCormick stepping out into glaring sunshine and shields her eyes. This act symbolizes the beginning of her eyes opening to what her life is really about. To date none of my readers have remarked on the significance of that moment, but they don’t need to. The subtle change in Valerie begins there.

How do you develop characters?
I know many writers swear by character sketches, but that hasn’t worked for me. In the same way that I wouldn’t drill someone I barely know, the more I write, the more I get to know my characters. As the story progresses, I watch how they react. Sometimes, I have to stop because my biases influence the action and my characters. Eventually, their true nature shows through.
What attracted me to Valerie’s story is that she starts off a kind and soft-spoken woman, and despite all the horrible things that happened to her, remains that way in the end. The only difference being she finally understands just how strong and capable she was.

How do you determine voice in your writing?
By experimentation. When I started Dead Witness, my POV was all over the place. With the help of outstanding critiques, I learned to develop a deep POV, whether it is first or third. As corny as it sounds, I learned quickly that I had to jump inside Valerie’s skin and show the scene from her perspective, what she saw, smelled, tasted, heard and felt. It was that process that helped me understand who she was and what she wanted.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?
To move the story forward in the first draft, I include deep POV, a goal, conflict, and disaster in each chapter. Then I open the next chapter with a new decision, a new goal, conflict, etc.. The most important thing for me is to get the story down. I see too many writers get so caught up in apply technique that they keep going over the same scenes again and again. I think it’s vital to get the story down so you have something to work with.
After the first few drafts, I break the story down into 3-acts. If the manuscript is 300 pages long, I know the first act ends within the first 75 pages, the second at 150 pages, and the third the last 50 pages or less. The final climax speeds up the action.
If the structure is complicated, and that seems to happen with each new book, I apply the index-card method and break down each scene, making certain there’s a climax at the end of each act until the final exciting conclusion. But, again, for me, the secret is in the rewrites.

How do you promote yourself online and off?
I blog, network, visit and comment on as many writing-related blogs as I can. I love to showcase new authors and open up my blog to guest spots by inspiring writers. It’s all about making my presence felt online and making friends with other like-minded bloggers/authors.
To promote Dead Witness, I do book signings, readings, radio readings, interviews, posters, bookmarks, and continue writing new books. As each new book is released, my goal is to inspire readers to read my other books if they haven’t already.

Where do you write? What do you have around you?
I’m a fulltime caregiver for my 93-year-old mother-in-law, so I’ve moved my Mac to a small table in my dining room, part of an open-concept design. My computer sits in front of a large window overlooking Cluculz Lake. I often upload pictures of Cluculz Lake on my blog because it’s so incredibly beautiful. The strange part is once I’m completely immerged in writing, I forget where I am. Usually an eagle or loon flies past, captures my attention, and I’m reminded of how fortunate I am to live here.
But honestly, I could write in a bathroom stall at the Toronto Airport if I had to. As long as I had my computer with me.

After hours of intense writing, how do you unwind?
I’m laughing because in the old days I would practice T’chi, watch television, play computer games, or visit with friends. Today I’m in bed and asleep before nine.

What are your current projects?
My first book Always Father’s Child was shelved – for good reason. I’m currently working with my editor in preparing Broken But Not Dead for its release next year. I’m also editing its sequel Omatiwak: Woman Who Cries. My newest WIP is Dead Wrong, my 6th book. And I’m still polishing Kiss of the Assassin when I can. When I need a diversion, I work on my first children’s book, Spirit Eagle in my head.

How incredibly busy you are!
Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
Thanks for the interview, Susan. If anyone would like to know more, they’re welcome to check out my webpage -
Otherwise, I can be found every day at, blogging and chatting with other writers.

It has been a pleasure to have you over, Joylene.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Eileen Thornton's Trojan Project

Eileen Thornton has been writing short stories and articles for magazines since 2001. Two of her stories have appeared in anthologies. Her debut novel, The Trojan Project, an action thriller, was published in May 2008.
She is a member of several writing organisations, including The Society of Authors. She also has a Website where a selection of her published work is displayed

Eileen, welcome.When did the writing bug bite?
I started writing in 2001 when I began a correspondence course with The Writers Bureau. My first feature was published in June of that same year. Several more of my features were published before I turned to writing short stories.

What goals did you want to accomplish?
When I became a published writer of both features and short stories, I felt I had reached my goal. Truthfully, I never believed that I would actually see my name in the by line in a national magazine. Therefore, you
can imagine my delight when it kept happening at regular intervals. This was it; I had done what I had set out to do. But then, at various writers meetings, I began talking to some ‘wannabe novelists’, who made me realise that I wanted to be a novelist, too. However, I was soon to find out that this goal was going to be more difficult to achieve. Writing The Trojan Project wasn’t easy, but it was nothing compared to the difficulty of finding a publisher. Here in the UK most of the large publishers will only accept submissions presented by an agent. On the other hand, some agents don’t want to know unless you have had a novel published previously. It’s a catch 22 situation. It was only through sheer perseverance that I finally found a publisher to take me on.

Tell us about your latest book.
My novel, The Trojan Project, is an action/thriller. The story begins on a remote farm in the Cheviot Hills in North East England. A young mother is concerned when her husband, Pete doesn’t come home that evening.
While looking down the lane for his truck, she witnesses a bright green light in the sky, followed by a cloud. The next morning, when Pete still hasn’t returned she goes out to find him and makes a terrifying discovery.
Reporting this to the local police station, she finds it difficult to make the officers believe her until a quick-witted young constable sees something to make him reconsider. Thus begins a race to stay alive.
When I wrote The Trojan Project, it was meant to be a stand-alone novel.
However, I have had several people asking me to write a sequel, so you never know. ☺

How do you develop characters and the story?
I try to put myself in the character’s situation and I write what I see and feel at that time. As for the story itself, I didn’t have a plot, notes or have any real idea where I was going. I simply made the whole thing up as I went along. Incidentally, I do the same thing when writing short stories.

Who is the most likeable character?
I think it would have to be Andy, the young police constable. Bright and alert, he joined the force to catch criminals. However, when he passed out of college, he was disappointed at being stationed in the quiet market town of Wooler, under the watchful eye of Sergeant Gilmore. How could he know that his life was suddenly going to be turned upside down? Yet when it is, he rises to the occasion and proves his worth.

Best review for the novel?
I have had several good reviews for The Trojan Project. However, I think one of the best is from Brian L Porter, author of A Study in Red: The Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper. Award Winner of The Predators &Editors Best Thriller Novel of 2008:

"Terrifyingly Real - An Edge of the Seat Thriller from Start to Finish! The Trojan Project is, without a doubt, one of the finest thrillers by a debut novelist I have read in a very long time. This book had me hooked
from page one and the storyline was so terrifyingly plausible that it sent shivers down my spine. Eileen Thornton weaves an ingenious plot and the characters are all too recognisable as normal, everyday people caught up in a horrendously frightening situation, where no one is what they seem and no one knows who to trust. The villains of the piece are all the more villainous because of what, rather then who they are, and I found myself cheering for the heroes of the book as they slowly unravelled the mystery behind the ghastly Trojan Project. The truly chilling part of this tale is that the scenario the author has skillfully created just might happen one day, and as a result, I found my heart beating a little faster at times as the chilling reality of that fact made itself so clearly evident. The bookreminded me very much of the works of one of my own literary
favourites, Robert Goddard and that is probably the highest compliment I can pay to this author. The Trojan Project is without a doubt a beautifully crafted and chillingly superb read and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone with a love for the thriller genre. Bravo, EileenThornton!"

Wow! Outstanding review, and I'm looking forward to asking Brian a few questions later on.
What are your current projects?
I have started a sequel to The Trojan Project. However, I have also begun writing a novel in a different genre. This one is more light and frothy and is to be called “”. I am also working on a couple
of short stories, as I don’t want to be forgotten in the short story market.

Where to buy?
The Trojan Project can be found on both and
It can also be ordered from most bookshops in the UK

ISBN-13: 978-1905609093

ISBN-10: 1905609094

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I am posting an excerpt from Just North Of Luck. I hope you enjoy it.

My tummy howled as I grabbed rocks and roots and worked my way to the top. I pulled out binoculars and

crouched to peer under brush and trees, spotting the copper Hummer a little farther away than I anticipated,

but at least it was in sight. Finally.

I eased myself down, working out a plan a few degrees at a time. Once I was near a small patch of

flat ground I spotted it again and ran, tripping a few yards away, right into the anal glands of a skunk.

The damn striped fur bag threw its tail in reverse and soaked me with a pungent discharge. My eyes

stung and my nostrils caved in while my mouth twisted and contorted, followed by the rest of

my body.

I pulled my Ruger to shoot the little shit but couldn*t see well enough to take aim. I couldn*t wipe off since

my clothes were saturated with revolting spew. Fumbling for keys, I unlocked the Hummer and

grabbed the emergency blanket, wiping my eyes and face first. Stink dripped from my hair.

I mopped.

I peeled off all my clothes and wrapped nakedness in the blanket, careful to toss my guns and gear in the

back as far from me as possible, leaving the sturdy camo clothing and blue lace panties beside the road.

Just North of Luck is the second novel in the Logan Hunter Mystery series. Learn more about this book and the others:

And may the luck of the Irish be with you!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bobby Nash shares diversity in writing

Bobby Nash writes prose (Evil Ways, Fantastix, Lance Star: Sky Ranger, Domino Lady, Sentinels: Alternate Visions, Full Throttle Space Tales: Space Sirens, Green Hornet & Kato, Secret Agent X, A Fistful of Legends, Earthstrike Agenda) and comics (Life In The Faster Lane, Fuzzy Bunnies From Hell, Demonslayer, Yin Yang, Bloody Olde Englund, Operation Silver Moon).

Bobby, thanks for dropping by. Share your writing background with us.

As a teenager I started writing comic book stories that I could draw because I wanted to be a comic book artist. Then my artist friends started asking me to write stories for them to draw. I quickly realized I was better at the writing and focused on that and eventually sold my first story.
Then one day I said, "I want to write a novel." So I did. It was terrible, but I finished it. That was a science fiction novel. Then, taking what I learned from writing that first one, I wrote novel #2, which was eventually published. That novel is Evil Ways, a suspense thriller. I seem to do the thrillers well so I’m focused on that genre.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

I write to entertain. Sometimes messages make their way into my stories, but they do so naturally as the story unfolds. I’ve never consciously set down to write a story just to push a message or agenda.

Tell us about your latest book. Series or stand-alone?

As I type this interview (October 2009), Lance Star: Sky Ranger Vol. 2 was released. Lance Star: Sky Ranger is a pulp anthology series based on pulp aviator characters of old. Vol. 1 featured four Lance Star stories. Vol. 2 features one Lance Star story and four stories with other popular aviator characters. I wrote one story for each volume. Lance Star: Sky Ranger is produced by Airship 27 Productions and published by Cornerstone Books.

How do you develop characters? Setting?

I try to get to know my characters. If the characters feel real to me then they will feel real to the reader. In that regard I strive to make my characters three-dimensional. I know their likes and dislikes, hobbies, mannerisms, etc. Sometimes to do this I will "cast" the character so they have a voice I can hear.

An example: in my novel, Evil Ways, I cast brothers Harold and Franklin Palmer with the personalities of myself, and my brother, respectively. This helped me when writing them together because they talked to each other like brothers.

Do you have a specific writing style? Preferred POV?

To this point I’ve written with an omniscient narrator because I like to follow the various characters as they go in separate directions in the story. I have been wanting to try the single character POV and will probably do that on a project.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Growing up in the southern part of the United States, I write with sensibilities common to my area. I’m certain that speech patterns and mannerisms reflect this. For Evil Ways, I set the novel in a fictional town that was based mostly on the town where I live, but with a few locales not actually in my town that I wanted. As a child I was in the boy Scouts and loved to hike and camp so those things feed into my stories, for example.

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve even had.

Excerpts from Pulp Fiction Reviews review of Evil Ways:

One of the real joys of being a reviewer is the opportunity to discover new talent as it comes upon the literary scene. Such is the case with this particular thriller. It is the first novel by a talented young man that shows a great deal of promise for a truly amazing future.
Nash’s style is extremely polished for a beginner and he a comfortable storytelling pace that allows the reader to know the characters inside out. Whereas he also knows how to create knuckle-biting suspense that I found very effective.
Nash provides several clues and plays fair throughout leading them, and the reader, on an emotionally taut chase that escalated into a pulse-racing finale. The climax is a page-turning revelation and confrontation that had me completely captivated to the last word.

Excerpt from Ecto Magazine’s Evil Ways review:

For being his first novel, Evil Ways is definitely a good start. While the characters maybe a little stiff at first, it doesn’t take long for you to get caught in the books action and suspense. Bobby Nash proves that he is just as kick ass as a novelist as he is a comic book writer, so if you’re already a fan of his work Evil Ways will not disappoint

What are your current projects?

As I write novels, comic books, and short stories, I always have several projects going at one time. Currently, I am working on a novel. It is a thriller titled Blood Shot. As I type this I am roughly 50,000 words into it. The Evil Ways sequel, Evil Intent, is also in the works and I’ll focus on it after Blood Shot.

Short stories in production or awaiting publication include "A Fistful of Legends" (western), "Ravenwood: Stepson of Mystery" (pulp), "Secret Agent X" (pulp), "Weird Tales From The Zero Hour" (horror), and more "Lance Star: Sky Ranger" (pulp).

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

I have an extensive web presence. You can find information on my projects and appearances at any of the following. (for the latest news)


Bobby, I'm wishing you continued success.