Saturday, July 28, 2012

New Hampshire's Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis resides in the green/white/brown—depending on the season—state of New Hampshire where she spends most of her time at the computer either editing or writing. When she’s finally released upon society to autograph her latest book, do a talk, or research the next in the Angie Deacon series—heaven help the people she meets. Shutting her up becomes tantamount to stopping a volcano!

Welcome to the blog, Cindy. I've battened down the hatches. LOL.

How has your environment affected your writing? I live in southwestern New Hampshire. I am passionate about variety, both in my life and in my novel settings. The lakes, mountains, valleys, four-season communities and small towns—provide tremendous variety for my settings..

How many books have you written? I think between fiction and non-fiction, I have 30 published.

WOW! Talk about prolific!

Give a short synop of your most recently published book. In COLD AS ICE, Claudia Goodwin thought arranged marriages went out with the Dark Ages. But when her father announces her betrothal to the head of VanBuren Foods, she heads back to Colorado College in a daze. It’s 1954 after all, people don’t arrange marriages any more. Yes, some people do. People like Paul Michael Goodwin who’s sacrificed life ,love, and family for his almighty frozen food business.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book? They say ‘write what you know’ so I assume there’s a lot of me in the characters. Probably, in some cases, it’s not hidden very well. I think more of me is visual/obvious in Paige Carmichael, the character in FINAL MASQUERADE. In her attempts to escape a murderous fiancĂ© she assumes many personas. I had to draw on much of what I know.

Do your characters take on a life of their own? They definitely do. And I have to say that, after all these years, they’re finally becoming real for my husband too. He used to roll his eyes if I mentioned a character by name, as a real person but the other day we were driving through the north country in NH and he said, “You should bring Angie camping here.” (Angie is the main character in my mystery series).  

Which is your favorite? My favorite character is Lindsay Reade from A PAGE FROM THE PAST because she has so much humor inside her. I love her view of life and her voice. Here are the opening sentences of the book: Our van sailed over the embankment in a shower of gravel, dead leaves, and shrill screams. My life didn’t flash before my eyes. I didn’t get a pinhole glimpse into “another world.” I didn’t see angels circling overhead.

Is it available in print, ebook, and Kindle formats?  All my fiction is available in all formats.

What challenges did you face while writing this book? COLD AS ICE has a very long history, more than 8 years. It began as a murder mystery. I sent it to my agent who said “no-no, this isn’t good,” so I put it back in the drawer for four years. Took it out a few times in the following two years but couldn’t figure out what made it bad. Till one day, a year later, I was looking at it and realized the story 1-wasn’t supposed to be a mystery, 2-had the wrong main character and 3-in changing to the right main character, the story needed to begin fifty years earlier. Consequently this story is very precious to me. The first reviews have been awesome.

Where do you store ideas for later use: in your head, in a notebook, or on a spreadsheet? In the computer in a file named "Story Ideas". Grin.

Can you tell us your writing goals/projects for 2012 or beyond? I’d like to write another book in the Angie Deacon mystery series. The "Sotry Ideas"file is getting full. Grin. I’d like to write three or four more in my short story erotica series—they’re kind of fun to do. Smile. Other than that, I’m not sure. My editing business is taking more and more time.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events? From me personally, or my newsletter. I admit to being notoriously bad at anything online. Takes me so long to navigate I get discouraged and quit.

Well, you certainly have more time for writing then. Thanks for the interview and I wish you well.
Folks, here's a link to COLD AS ICE:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dee Ernst

My guest today is Dee Ernst. Welcome, Dee.

Where do you live, and how has your environment affected your writing?

I live in Northern New Jersey, which gives me access and knowledge of NYC and the Jersey shore.  Both of my current books take place in NJ, as does my Work-In-Progress.  By having familiar settings, I have less to worry about as far as the where and how of my my characters.  It’s tough enough to think about dialog, action, what they’re wearing, how they’re thinking – if I had to think about how the street looks or what the weather might be like in October, it might be too much!

How many books have you written?

The first book I wrote, called (how funny is this) Shades of Gray, never made it past countless rejections.  I have self-pubbed two novels, Better Off Without Him, in 2010, and A Different Kind of Forever in April of this year.  I’m about a third of my way through the next project.

Give a short synop of your most recently published book.

A Different Kind of Forever is a romance between a forty-something divorced mother of three and a 27 year old rock star.  It’s not just a cougar-type romance.  These two people have to work a lot of things out, including a returning old boyfriend.  It’s got some spice to it, and I’d like to think some humor as well, but I wanted it to be realistic too.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

In Better Off Without Him, as all my friends read it, they told me over and over again that the main character, Mona, sounded just like me.  My life is much different than hers.  I’m a struggling – not successful- author, and am happily married, but we think and react much the same.  My protagonist in A Different Kind of Forever is not me at all.  She’s much more practical and independent.  Smarter too. But we both love roses, have daughters, and dance by ourselves while cleaning the house.

Is it available in print, ebook, and Kindle formats?

Both my books are available in print and as eBooks.  Right now, I’m with a program at Amazon where the eBooks are exclusive with them, but that will be changing in September, and the eBook versions should be available for Nook. Sony, and at the iTunes store. The print versions are available at Amazon and B&N.

I’m also working to get Better Off Without Him out as an audiobook.  A wonderful voice-over artist named Gillian Vance is working on it now, and I hope that will be available mid-August.

What do you think is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about writing so far? What advice can you give other writers?

Writing, as hard as it is, is still much easier than selling.  Finding readers is hours and hours of work. I’ve been very lucky to have a few great promo opportunities on Amazon, and I’ve actually started getting an audience.  But Better Off Without Him was first published in October of 2010, and it was only this past spring that it really took off.  That meant a year and a half spent trying – and often failing – to find readers through reviews, blogs mentions and give-aways.

For other writers?  Do your homework.  If you’re going to self-publish, hang out with other self-pubbers and ask questions.  Figure out a marketing plan before you publish.  Get professional editing and cover art.  Have realistic expectations, because there’s a lot of disappointment built into being a writer.

Where do you store ideas for later use: in your head, in a notebook, or on a spreadsheet?

I have lots of paragraphs/scenes/conversations/chapterson my computer.  I have a hard time remembering what I had for breakfast these days, so if something strikes me, I try to write it out as soon as possible.  Some stuff has been here for a couple of years.  Some projects are over a hundred pages long, still sitting there unfinished.  Some of it I know I’ll never use in its original form, but may be a springboard for something else.  I’m not the kind of person who has hundreds of book ideas a week.  It takes me a while to fully form a book in my head.

We all know how important promoting our work has become. How do you get the word out both off and online?

Finding reviewers is first and foremost for me.  I spend a LOT of time looking for suitable blog sites, then I look to that blogger’s Blogroll and go to those sites,,,it’s hours on the computer. Many reviewers aren’t taking any new books, some take your copy and never write the review, most just ignore the original request because they’re so overwhelmed.  I try to do guest blogs and interviews whenever I can.  I’ve done blog tours and give-aways on Goodreads.  I’ve given away over 50,000 free copies of Better Off Without Him on Amazon as a promo.  The best thing about those Amazon freebies is that they resulted in lots of reviews and readers who emailed me about how much they liked the book.

Getting readers to write reviews is tough.
I have also donated paperback copies of both my books to local libraries.  One reader emailed me about how much she loved my book, but was sorry she couldn’t lend it to her sister because it was an eBook, so I sent her a paperback.  I don’t mind losing a sale if I can get a reader who may tell a friend or two.  With a zero promotion budget, my readers are all I’ve got.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

I’m getting my own website in the next few months – I actually own  It’s kind of exciting.  But I do have a blog where you can check in to see what’s going on – I only post there about once a month, so it’s not too hard to keep up with.  

Dee, the best of success to you!