Mercedes Fox ~ Author

My Writing Blog

Tag: NonFiction books (Page 1 of 3)

Meet Author Barbara Ann Mojica

Hello! Welcome back to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Barbara Ann Mojica

Barbara Ann Mojica is a historian and retired educator. She writes historical articles for the Columbia Insider under the banner “Passages.” Using the whimsical Little Miss HISTORY character, Barbara hopes to inspire children to learn about historical people and places. Little Miss HISTORY’S antics make reading nonfiction a fun-filled adventure for all ages.

Book Sample: Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT VERNON

Genre: Children’s Nonfiction

               Synopsis: Who was George Washington? Washington is best known as America’s first president, but he was also a military hero. If you asked George Washington what he really wanted to be, he would reply, “a farmer.” Seeking to revolutionize antiquated 18th century farming methods, Washington experimented with crop rotation, fertilizers, plowing and plants. The Mount Vernon Ladies Association began restoring his estate to its former glory in 1853. Today the buildings, grounds and The Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center reveal the real Father of the United States of America.

Excerpt: In the foyer of the Mansion House there is a large key enclosed in a glass case. It’s a gift from the Washington’s friend the Marquis De Lafayette. The French people used this key to storm the Bastille prison in 1789 to win their independence.

Why do you write? I write because I am on a mission to make learning about historic events and places  both fun and educational. In addition I hope to encourage children and their parents to get out to visit and experience these sites that are an integral part of history.

When did you decide to become a writer? Actually I’ve always been writing and researching. I have graduate and undergraduate degrees in history with a minor in English, so the writing process is familiar to me. After I retired from a long career in teaching and administration, I had the time to devote to my mission and decided to publish my efforts.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book? A book generally takes from four to six months to finish. I begin with the research process followed by an organization of my notes. Next comes a rough draft. I let the draft sit for a week or so before coming back to look again. That process is repeated many times until I am satisfied and ready to go for edit. Then my husband/illustrator takes the manuscript and roughs in ideas for drawing and layout. We corroborate page by page. Sometimes the design changes as the book progresses. When both of us are satisfied, the picture book is sent to print.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? I don’t have a set time of day for writing though I divide the day into writing, marketing, and scheduling promotional opportunities like book signings, school visits and book festivals. If I had to choose a time, I would say that I am basically a morning person.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? I think that I have learned how to write succinctly. Writing children’s books is a lot different from completing an academic thesis. It forces the writer to get to the point and express it clearly.

Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write? I always listen to music when creating a book, writing an article or reading a book to review. Music is soothing and second nature to me.

What have you written? I write historical articles centering on monthly themes for a local news magazine, The Columbia Insider. My Little Miss HISTORY Travels to… book series is ongoing. Seven books have been published so far. I also released a coloring book based on her adventures. Now I am about to publish a collection of three of Little Miss HISTORY’s New York City adventures in one volume. After that I have a journey to La Brea Tar Pits in the works.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you? I don’t outline but write a rough draft and refine it over and over again.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website? I cannot draw a lick! Fortunately, I am married to an illustrator who has been drawing since the age of five. His website is www.eugenus.com

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures? Nothing in particular; I use twitter, Facebook, google + and linked in to connect with fans and fellow authors. I also use email lists to keep in touch.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? It probably sounds trite because everyone says it, but it is so important to be persistent and optimistic. I know that is easier said than done, but it is my best advice.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special? My character is based on a younger version of me. I always loved to travel and hike in the mountains a few hours away from my home. My husband incorporated that, along with the rose colored sunglasses that I used to wear. The hiking boots that are two sizes too big are reminiscent of my father’s large feet and military boots. My outfit is similar to that of a park ranger. Little Miss HISTORY tries to be funny, upbeat, strong and resilient even though she sometimes finds herself in some pretty difficult situations. She is a geeky tomboy, who is also a strong female role model

Where do your ideas come from? I select historical faces and places that reflect the best and worst times in history. My choices strive to develop interest and appreciation for history. I firmly believe in HISTORY’S motto, “ If you don’t know your history, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”      

What is the hardest thing about writing? The hardest part of writing is letting go and sending a book to print. I agonize over the manuscript and illustrations right up to the time that the book is uploaded for printing.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? My latest book is a trilogy of HISTORY’S New York City adventures to The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Intrepid, Sea Air & Space Museum. While the book did not necessitate a lot of change to text, linking the parts together for a smooth transition with illustrations proved a more difficult challenge than I had expected.

If your book were made into a movie, whom would you cast? Of course Little Miss HISTORY would be the main character. I would cast her as a teenager, but offhand I can’t think of a contemporary actress for the part.

What one person from history would you like to meet and why? George Washington because he had such courage and tenacity. He also had the good sense to know that the world did not need another king.

Do you or have you sat down and read your book fresh off the presses as if it wasn’t yours? And if you did, what was it like? Yes, I try to visualize myself in the guise of a young reader. It is fun to critique in the eyes of a child again.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? The Wizard of Oz because it is magical and realistic at the same time.

What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer? Nothing is ever perfect. There is always room for improvement.

What are some of your favorite books and why? The Good Earth and To Kill a Mockingbird are two of my favorite classics. I enjoy Clive Cussler and John Grisham’s books. As far as children’s books are concerned, I love Amelia Bedelia books and classics like Charlotte’s Web.

What do you read with? (Kindle, Nook, iPad, iPhone, physical book) I still enjoy holding a paperback in my hands, but because I read and review so many books for my blog, I frequently use my Kindle Fire.

What do you think of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing? I think that self-publishing levels the playing field for authors. Traditional publishers usually have a set agenda and a limited repertoire of what can be published at a particular point in time. If a writer doesn’t fit that niche, he or she doesn’t have much chance to be selected. In today’s market, the author does most of the publicity whether traditionally published or not.

Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published? Five years ago, I would say yes. While some doors remain closed to self-published or small press authors, the public is beginning to realize the value of GOOD self-published works. Modern readers know what they want to read; they prefer to choose for themselves rather than be dictated to by a few large publishing houses

What do your readers mean to you? I consider my readers personal friends and love to chat with them at book festivals, historic sites, schools, museums or online.

Tell us something unique about you. Like Little Miss HISTORY I am an adventurous traveler. I traveled to Communist European countries when travel there first opened up to the West. My American tour bus got held up at Checkpoint Charlie at the Berlin wall for more than two hours. We passed the time by singing Yankee Doodle Dandy. That whole tour to Russia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary and East Germany was a truly memorable experience.

Many thanks Barbara for sharing! For more about Barbara, her work, and getting yourself a copy, follow the links below:

Website / Blog / Twitter / LinkedIn / Goodreads / Pinterest / Amazon / CreateSpace / BookTrailer / Forums / YouTube1 / YouTube2 / Google

Meet Author Vid Lamonte’ Buggs Jr

Hola, lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Vid Lamonte’ Buggs Jr

Vid Lamonte’ Buggs Jr. is a native of Hampton, Virginia whose main goal is to spread motivation, inspiration and love. His work serves to encourage others to look past their differences and focus on uniting to make the world a better place. He currently resides in Tampa, Florida serving his community as a youth sports coach, mentor and motivational speaker, as well as community activist. While we all face challenges in life, his philosophy is that perseverance, positivity and a heart full of love will enable us to rise above our struggles and become the instruments to spark constructive societal change.

Enjoy this sample:  “You Ain’t Hungry Until I’m Starving” (nonfiction/motivational/poetry/short-stories):

Simultaneously touching and gritty, “You Ain’t Hungry Until I’m Starving” promotes peace and equality by offering unique insight into some of the most complicated issues of our time. “The secret is – there really is no secret!” Growing up an African-American man with some Native American ancestry, Buggs has been gifted with a broad and unbiased view of race relations in America. Never one to shy away from the harsh realities of life, he instead chooses to redirect our human confusion and frustration toward finding amicable solutions that express the best of humanity. This book serves to fulfill our deepest inner cravings and provide much needed nutrition for the soul. Buggs’ poetic approach brings people together with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the glory of life itself.

Vid’s Viddles: Daily Vitamins for the Soul” – Newly released (Nonfiction/personal-growth/motivational):

With “Vid’s Viddles,” eclectic writer Vid Lamonte’ Buggs Jr. opens a new season of freedom, insight and joy. It’s a point of view with no filters that is at once profound, clarifying and moving. These collections of short motivational pieces offer words of wisdom about life, love, spirit, leadership, friendship, pain, fear, happiness and more. “Vid’s Viddles” serve to inspire personal growth through tough times, helping adults and teens stay vital and in love with life, savoring the beauty that each day brings.

Getting Out of the Dark: How to Have a Life Full of Success, Wealth, and Happiness” (nonfiction/personal growth/time management/business/finance/motivation):

Getting Out of the Dark gives sound advice on how to achieve true success, wealth and happiness. This book reveals one of the most essential elements that most books miss when speaking about obtaining success and wealth. This book’s advice and principles are worthy of reflection.

Why do you write? I write because it is my passion, my outlet, I write to inspire others and I write for those who do not have a voice.

When did you decide to become a writer? I started writing when I was in high school. I started writing as an outlet. People who read my earlier writings were moved by my words and they encouraged me to share my writings with the world. I became a serious writer when my college professors and close friends suggested I write a book.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book? I am a perfectionist, so the completion of a book can take me 2-5 years. As far as the actual writing process, I usually finish writing a book within a few months to a year.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? I write what I feel. A song, an event, or just my thoughts will cause me to sit down and write. I never force myself to write and I never pre-plan a book. My books are a collection of thoughts and pieces that just goes well together.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? I don’t structure my day around writing. I like to let my writings to come out naturally, unplanned and unforced. My special time to write is whenever I have something to write I just go into my own world and write.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? Funny, I haven’t thought of this. I have been told my writings are very creative and lyrical. I think I should leave this answer up to my readers.

Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write? I sometimes listen to music when I write. Sometimes the music puts me in the mood I need for a piece. I do my best to not listen to music when I write because I don’t want to subconsciously take ideas from any artists without their permission.

What have you written? I have written newly released “Vid’s Viddles: Daily Vitamins for the Soul”, the short ebook “Getting Out of the Dark: How to Have a Life Full of Success, Wealth, and Happiness”, which was at one time one of Smashwords most downloaded ebooks. My first book “You Ain’t Hungry Until I’m Starving” was a bestseller in its genre and won a few book awards.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you? I don’t work to an outline or plot when I am writing. I just write what I feel and see where it takes me, but that is because I write a piece at a time.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website?  “You Ain’t Hungry Until I’m Starving” was designed by my editor Marci Wise. “Getting Out of the Dark” was  designed by the publishing company that I own, 4-U-Nique Publishing (www.4-U-NiquePublishing.com). “Vid’s Viddles” and upcoming books “Vid’s Viddles (Volume II)” and “It’s Cold Out Here You Need a Coat” are designed by 4-U-Nique Publishing with the help of Stephen Denas (http://www.psiborgproductions.com).

Any advice for aspiring authors? Write with your heart. Never forget why you are writing. This will carry you through the tough times that all authors face. Also, do not take anything critics, publishers, or reviewers say about your work.

Where do your ideas come from? My ideas come from personal experiences, experiences of others who are close to me and events that are happening in the world.

What is the hardest thing about writing? The hardest thing about writing for me is deciding when I need to stop writing and put the pieces together for the book.

What is your favorite movie or TV show? I have no one favorite movie or TV show. The show I look at the most at the moment is Shark Tank.

Which writers inspire you?  James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King Jr. and Paulo Coelho are inspirations of mine.

What is the current book you are promoting?  “Vid’s Viddles”

What is your next project? My next project is “It’s Cold Out Here You Need A Coat.” This is schedule to be released in July of 2017

What one person from history would you like to meet and why? This is a tough one. There are so many people from the past who I would love to talk with. I would like to talk with Muhammad Ali (Rest In Peace). I would want to know how he dealt with everything he want threw during his stance against the Vietnam War. How he stayed confident and motivated through the ordeal. I would also want to pick his brain on how to become more of a humanitarian.

If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be? If I could do one thing to change the world, I would organize a big event for everyone in the world to talk. There would be no weapons. We would have music, food, and just talk about our difference. We would talk and listen to each other so we could understand one another. We wouldn’t get caught up in our differences, we would see our similarities. We would love one another like we were created to do.

Who is your favorite author and which of their books is your favorite? I have many favorite authors and favorite books. However, to save on time I will mention one of my favorites is Paulo Coelho and his book “The Alchemist” is one of my all time favorites.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? The Prophet by Khalil Gibran without a doubt. This book is filled with so much wisdom, it has inspired people all across the world, and it has outstood the test of time.

What book are you currently reading or just finished?

University of Success by Og Mandino

What do your readers mean to you? I cannot put in words what my readers mean to me. They inspire me to continue to write with passion and to give my best for them. I always say authors and publishers should work together because our whole purpose is to give the readers what they want; whether it’s to inspire them, take them into a fantasy, or giving them a chance to solve a mystery. Are writings are for them.

Is there a book you love you’d like to recommend to others?

There are a few books I would love to recommend to others.

Pain, Passion, & Purpose – Marci Wise

Still Beautiful: The Color of Beauty – Kevin Bates

75 Marketing Tips to Grow Your Business – Linda Coss

Secrets of a Millionaire Mind – T. Harv Eker

University of Success – Og Mandino

Tell us something unique about you.  I am a walking oxymoron, a true Gemini. As you can see I don’t have favorites because I have a diverse array of interests. I have to read several books at one time because it helps me focus. If I read several books at one time I will finish them within a few days or weeks. If I read a book at a time, I lose interest quickly and I mostly likely won’t get around to finishing the book for a few months or years.

Many thanks Vid! For more about Vid and his work, and to pick up a copy of your own, follow the links below:

Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Linkedin / Goodreads / Pinterest / Amazon / Smashwords / Instagram / YouTube / Google

Meet Author TC Michael

Hola lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with author TC Michael

TC Michael was born and raised in small town USA where he grew up with a large family. He’s always been an epic daydreamer with a wild imagination. He currently lives in northern Utah where he’s working on his next great novel and enjoying life. When he’s not writing, he’s hanging out with family, reading, or enjoying the outdoors. TC has wanted to be an author his whole life, but never thought it would happen. Now, he is working hard on making his dream come true.

 

Check out this sample:  Title: Short Story Pro Market 2017

Genre: Nonfiction (writing reference, publishing reference, guidebook, self-help)

Synopsis:  The true no-bull guide to selling and publishing short stories.

Skip the online researching and piles of books. This guide increases your chances of being accepted and gaining a contract instead of the dreaded rejection.

Short Story Pro Market 2017 is the best resource you’ll find to get your short stories and short form literature published. This completely new guide offers over 150 listings of professional paying publishers. Each listing includes the type of publisher, contact information, submission guidelines, pay rate, and other essential information and tips. The information inside contains EVERYTHING needed to submit your work properly and accurately.

Short Story Pro Market leaves out all of the unnecessary filler material. This allows for a clean, organized search without extra confusion and clutter. It simplifies your submission process so you can get directly to the point.

Short Story Pro Market also includes:

  • Genre categories such as science fiction, fantasy, horror, romance, crime, thriller, children’s, historic, nonfiction, literary fiction, travel, outdoors, and more.
    •U.S. publishers as well as English-speaking publishers outside the U.S.
    •Which rights the publisher requests.
    •A brief history of the short story.
    •Which publishers require a proposal letter, query letter, cover letter or none.
    •Which publishers also accept flash fiction, articles, poetry, pictures, reviews or long form literature.
    •Only publishers who offer the best pay rate in the industry.Get your foot in the publishing industry much quicker or jump start your freelance career by using Short Story Pro Market.

 

If you use a Pen Name why did you choose it?  I chose my pen name, TC Michael, for a few reasons. Mainly to keep my real name a secret because I’m an international spy with enemies everywhere. It’s a tedious business, but what can one do? Also, because I’ve always had other voices in my head.

No, really, in all honesty I want to keep my real name anonymous. I chose a pen name because my real name is long and it wouldn’t fit easily on a book cover, nor would it make the marketing any easier. Also, my personal opinions may differ from those of my readers, fans or social media followers, so I keep my opinions of touchy subjects only to my real name. I don’t want my pen name associated with certain topics that I may agree with but others don’t.

Why do you write?  Several reasons…

Primarily for the joy of it. The relaxing, solo act of sitting in the quiet (or with background music) and figuring out how to build new worlds and new people. I’ve always liked creating things and I’ve always had an over the top imagination. Also, I have so many idles that are successful authors, that I decided one day I would like to be like them. I want people to read my work and fall in love with it, to feel like they can make a connection – either with something in the literature or with other readers.

I love the joy and complexity of it all (minus the marketing!).

When did you decide to become a writer?  I’ve liked writing since I was young, but I didn’t decide to actually become a writer until after my first year in college. Some research led me to realize that people can actually make a living out of it.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book?  It varies by book. The first book took eight to nine months to write the first draft. The latest book took me about five months.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?  Typically, I write in the evening hours after five or six. On weekends, I try to write as much as I can, whenever I can. There is no set schedule.

Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write?  The majority of the time I prefer writing when it is as quiet as possible. I can think the best when it’s that way. I listen to music on rare occasions, but mostly when I’m brainstorming certain scenes and ideas for books and stories. Unfortunately for my writing, I do on occasion watch TV at the same time.

What have you written?  Several things that aren’t published and a few that are. The first thing I started writing was a book that crashed and burned half way through the planning stages. Then I wrote a zombie short story and a sequel as well as a beginner’s fitness guide – none of which are in publication anymore. After that I wrote my first published novel, Secret of the Last Born. I wrote half of a middle grade book after that before realizing there was a major plot hole and it’s been on hiatus ever since.

Within the last year, I’ve written three short stories and have two more ready to plan. My most recent project is a reference book for short form writers titled Short Story Pro Market 2017. I have a few novels that have been waiting to get plotted and planned and may finally see the light of day this year.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?  I would say I plot at least eighty percent of the time. The rest is either seat of your pants or a hybrid of outlining and free style. Plotting makes the writing process easier for me, but I have never written a “strict” plot that lists everything. I leave plenty of room for change and adjustment. However, I plan on adjusting the outline for some of the books I’ll be writing soon.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website?  ALWAYS someone else. The cover of Short Story Pro Market 2017 was designed by a Fiverr seller that goes by the name “galesackss”. Here’s the link to their Fiverr profile: https://www.fiverr.com/galesackss

Any advice for aspiring authors?  Oh boy, the list would be endless, a novel could be written specifically about this topic. There’s advice listed from just about every author out there, so I will keep to a few basics that I hope all authors will remember.

  1. Never, ever give up! Seriously, perseverance and patience go a long way in this field. So, always remember that this is something that will take time and hard work.
  2. You only get better by writing. So, write, then write, and write some more. Get as much writing in as possible and do it in as many ways as possible to stretch your thinking. By that I mean write short stories, novels, flash fiction, room descriptions, singe scenes, etc. You will overcome writers block if you do this.
  3. Avoid as many clichés as possible without jeopardizing your story.
  4. Force yourself to write by always making time in your schedule for it.
  5. Write like you speak. Seriously, if you write dialogue like you think it should sound instead of how it should actually sound, readers will notice.
  6. Read as much as possible and read widely.
  7. Try to only write down your best ideas, but if it’s a true gem, you shouldn’t forget it.
  8. Don’t let feedback and criticism affect you personally.
  9. Be merciless with your own write. Tear it apart, slaughter it to make it shine.
  10. Be confident and have faith in yourself and your writing.

What is the hardest thing about writing?  The hardest thing about writing is the writing itself. Seriously. Thinking is a breeze, brainstorming is easy, plotting and outlining are a bit harder, but writing that book is flat out tough. You may be excited to begin, but how do you start that first paragraph? Then you have to push yourself to continue in the middle when it gets even harder. But wait, you still have to figure out the perfect ending for all of that hard work.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?  The detailed research because it’s a book that was created solely for helping authors find publishers that pay the best rate. This required in-depth searches to verify publishers, information and to weed out scammers and low-paying publishers.

What is your favorite movie or TV show?  Too many movies to list, but my favorite TV show is Game of Thrones. Also, I like several modern sitcoms such as Big Bang Theory, New Girl, The Mick, and so on.

Which writers inspire you?  Ah, so many! Here’s a short rambling list: George R.R. Martin, Thomas Harris, Christopher Paolini, Clive Barker, Jane Yolen, Blake Crouch, Andrzej Sapkowski and about twenty others.

What is the current book you are promoting? Short Story Pro Market 2017

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser?  Those secrets are locked away for the time being…

Do you have any formal education in creative writing? If not are you planning to go to school?  I took honors English classes every year in high school. I took my first college English class in high school and I took several English and fiction literature classes in college. I have not completed a degree in creative writing, English, or any MFA programs.

I have thought about getting an MFA degree, but it is expensive and several pieces of research suggest that and MFA degree doesn’t actually make a big difference in the career of an author. However, I would like to take further creative writing classes.

What is your next project?  I have two short stories on submission right now. After Short Story Pro Market 2017 is released, I will be writing two additional short stories. Then, I have plans to begin writing at least one book, if not two.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why?  Ah shoot. This would be another very long list.

Jon Snow in a Song of Ice and Fire, because, well, he’s a badass and pretty relatable as far as that type of character can go.

Who inspires your writing?  Besides the authors I listed above, there are a few people in my personal life who inspire me. My close family (i.e. parents, siblings, wife), but also my grandfather who recently passed away. He had a huge impact on my life growing up and certain things in my latest writing have reflected that.

Do you have any fur babies to brag about? I sure do! As well as a “feather baby”. I have a Boston Terrier and a Teacup Chihuahua. My bird is a Sun Conure. They are all monsters but I love them like crazy.

Who is your favorite author and which of their books is your favorite?  My two favorite authors are George R.R. Martin and Thomas Harris, but I have several that fall close behind. Favorite books, hmm… The Harris book would either be Silence of the Lambs or Hannibal. For Martin that’s hard because I can’t remember what specifically happened in each book, but maybe the latest book, A Dance with Dragons.

What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?  Meet other writers and share information and experiences as well as friendship, because this is a solo job.

Do have a favorite car or truck model?  I love too many car makes and models to list them here. But truck wise, I have a 2015 Toyota Tacoma and I love it. I also like Dodge trucks, Chevy trucks, and the Nissan Titan (just not the newest model). I have a great fondness for classic trucks too.

Do you ever feel self-conscious when writing love/sex scenes?  No. Just remind yourself that it is a normal human characteristic and is required to continue the existence of our race. Practice will improve this too.

What are some of your favorite books and why?  A few of my favorite books:

The entire Song of Ice and Fire series, all of the Hannibal Lecter series (minus the prequel), the first two Fifty Shades of Grey books, the entire Pit Dragon Chronicles, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, and many more.

I love fantasy books and I love books that are full of action and adventure. I also like books that go against the norm on occasion, like the Fifty Shades of Grey series. The Alchemist is a good book because it teaches you about life’s lessons in a simple way without having over the top pros or a confusing storyline.

What do you think of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing?  I myself still strongly believe in traditional publishing and I still feel it is the best way to start a writing career and to continue a writing career. You get the most benefit out of traditional publishing and there’s little to no cost up front for you, the author. You get a large marketing budget, you get an advance that could get bigger with each new book as long as sales are strong, you get an editor and copyeditor for free, you have a marketing team, your book is put in Barnes and Noble, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Target, etc. From the get go of the release, your book is put in front of more readers. To me, there are too many benefits involved not to try your best to get your work traditionally published.

Self-publishing is completely viable, but it’s not nearly as easy as many think. Sure, it’s easy to get your book formatted properly and get it set up on Amazon or Createspace, but marketing it and making it visible are the difficult things. People read self-published books less than they read traditionally published books, so you really have to break your back trying to get your work out there. The primary bonus is that you get to be in charge of everything, editing, book cover, etc. But, and this is a big but – you have to boot the cost of everything too. There are success stories in self-publishing, and it can be done with enough hard work and a little bit of luck, but it is still very difficult.

Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published?  Yes, and I believe it’s one that won’t completely go away no matter how many people deny it. Go grab a self-published book and a traditionally published book and compare them. Most of the time you will see a quality difference in the two. The traditionally published book will probably be the better looking of the two. That’s not to say there aren’t good looking self-published books, because there are, but that number doesn’t compare to the number of quality traditionally published books.

I support self-publishing to an extent, but I prefer and trust traditionally published books more. However, I do occasionally purchase self-published books and will continue to do so.

What book are you currently reading or just finished?  I am currently reading Seize the Night by Dean Koontz.

Is there a book you love you’d like to recommend to others?  I would recommend all of the books I mentioned above. I would also recommend the Wayward Pines series and the Witcher Saga books.

Tell us something unique about you.  I love the outdoors and gardening. A few of my hobbies include flying drones, exercising and playing with my dogs. I survived H1N1 in 2009 after being hospitalized for two weeks and on home hospice for an additional five weeks. I grew up in a large family with six other siblings.

Is there anything else you would like to add?  I have a monthly newsletter where I share writing tips, health & fitness tips, what’s new with me, book recommendations, book reviews, and more. The regular signup link has been broken somehow, so if you would like to sign up, just visit my website and fill out the popup form.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?  I’m frequently on Facebook and Twitter, I review every book I read or listen to on Goodreads, and occasionally I post and share things on my blog and website. Of course, I have my Amazon author page as well.

There ya have it folks! For more about TC Michael and his work, follow the links below:

Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Linkedin / Goodreads / Amazon

Meet Author Stef Smulders

Halo me lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Stef Smulders

Stef Smulders was born in The Netherlands in 1960 and moved with husband Nico and their dog to Italy in 2008 to start bed-and-breakfast Villa I Due Padroni in the beautiful wine region Oltrepò Pavese south of Milan. In 2014 he published his first volume of short, anecdotical stories (in Dutch) about daily life among the Italians entitled “Italiaanse Toestanden”. It was well received by readers, leading to a second volume of humorous anecdotes. A third volume is to be published spring 2017.

Enjoy a short sample of Stef’s work: Living in Italy: the Real Deal – How to Survive the Good Life; a creative nonfiction boekomslagpaperbackfrontukcollection of witty short stories about the adventures of a Dutch expat in Italy

How long does it usually take you to complete a book?  I write about 1000 words a day so for a 200-300 pages (60.000 words) book I take two months and then about as much to correct and process proofreaders’ comments.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?  I had written about my adventures on a weblog since years and wanted to do something more permanent with the material as it seemed worth it.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?  No, I do not have specific times, I just start when I feel like it. Sometimes I prepare by reading a bit and thinking about what the contents of the next piece should be and then later on I write the piece in one go. It takes about an hour or hour and a half to produce a 1000 word piece.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?  I have become much more confident after I managed to finish my first book. I know now that I am able to do it.

Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write?  No, the less disturbance the better. Classical musicproostpadroni is okay though.

What have you written?  I have published two books in Dutch about my experiences as an expat in Italy and written a third, to be published next spring. Then I have also written a novel based on my youth, which is currently under review with a publisher.

What is the current book you are promoting?  The English translation of my first collection of anecdotal stories about my life as an expat in Italy.

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser?  When we bought our home nine months ago it was ready to move into. And now?
We are shipwrecked in the kitchen of the downstairs apartment. A single sheet of plastic between the hall and the sitting room is the only thing that protects us from the heavy dust of the building site. All day, we are assaulted by the sound of workmen shouting, drilling and hammering. A couple of hours ago the electricity cut out and it’s starting to get chilly in here. Every evening we escape upstairs via the dusty, grimy staircase, where we try to find solace by watching TV in our future living room. The living room is also separated by a sheet of plastic from the kitchen, the bedroom and the office. There are gaping holes in the walls in all of these three rooms, made weeks ago in preparation for the doors and a new window. Now they are serving as tunnels bringing in the draught and the cold. Exhausted and numbed from the endless turmoil surrounding us, we are staring out into space in silence. We are hardly aware of what’s on the screen. WHAT HAVE WE LET OURSELVES IN FOR?

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?  Probably the builder Torti, the grumpy old man, although in reality it wasn’t funny, from a distance he’s quite a character.

What is your next project? I have lots of ideas, maybe a book about the Crazy Canadian Camper Adventures we experienced during a decade of traveling through Canada. Or a satire based on Alice in Wonderland. Or … etc. 😉

Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published?  In the Netherlands yes, surely. It is very difficult to get img_0153publicity or reviews from more official journals, magazines, and websites. I noticed that this is much less a problem in the English speaking world.

Is there a book you love you’d like to recommend to others?  In my own genre I would recommend the books by Tim Parks and Beppe Severgnini, both very insightful and funny.

Many thanks! For more about Stef and his work, follow the links below:

Website / Facebook / Goodreads / Amazon / Smashwords / BookTrailer

Meet Author Lisa A. Baeringer

Halo my lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Lisa A. Baeringer

Be sure to check out Lisa’s book: Bet You Didn’t Think MS Could Look This Good  Genre:  Memoir/Non-Fiction

Lisa A. Baeringer is a Philadelphia, PA native and continues to reside there with her husband and sons.  She’s a featured author of Cedar Loft Publishing and a contributing author of the collaborative work: “Something On Our Minds: Vol. 2”  Lisa’s the creator of the popular Facebook writer’s group: “The Writers’ Plot”  She’s has had blog posts and articles featured on various website and in magazines.

What is the current book you are promoting?  “Bet You Didn’t Think MS Could Look This Good” is a riveting memoir.  It follows the raw and emotional journey leading up to and even after mye-book-finalhr Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis.  To keep it brutally honest it retains its original diary-like format.  Yet the sarcastic humor that’s peppered throughout this book is what gives it its unusual levity.

Give us an insight into your main character.  What does he/she do that is so special?  Well, with it being a memoir, the main character is me.  I used to wear my heart on my sleeve but considering that my house is dominated by testosterone I’ve become more reserved with my emotions.  I often cover them up with humor which also so happens to be my coping mechanism.  My journal was the one and only place I’d let my emotions and thoughts pour freely.  I’ve fallen down and gotten back up a lot in my life.  It’s made me tough, resilient, and adaptable.  The humor in this book will make you laugh but the emotional parts of it will make you cry.  I look to provide hope to anyone who’s battling something in their lives.

Do you or have you sat down and read your book fresh off the presses as if it wasn’t yours?  And if you did, what was it like?  I’m totally guilty of not reading my book when it was published.  After reading it over and over again to correct things that my editor suggested, I was sick of my own story.  I’m hoping the time will come when I can sit down and actually read it but I’m not there yet.  I also think since it covers a very traumatic time in my life it dredged up some painful memories that I’ve learned to compartmentalize over the years.  I don’t know if I’m ready to open that door yet.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book?  Well, with this book, it wasn’t written from scratch so to speak.  I never planned on having it published.  It was literally my private journal that I wrote in for a few years.  Then it took about 2-3 more years to compile it, polish it up a bit (I had to omit names and quite a few curse words), and go through the actual publishing process.  I guess in all it took like 5 years but felt like 10.  It’s a process, maybe more so for me.  I definitely procrastinate sometimes because I love the feeling you get when inspiration strikes; it’s like a drug to me.  So, when it’s not there I tend to lag.  But you do need to take your time and really put the painstaking effort in to develop a good story that’s well written, keeps the reader’s attention, and leaves an impression.

What’s the hardest thing about writing?  That would be writing when you don’t feel like writing and editing.  Definitely editing.  It’s so damn tedious.  Then there are the distractions like social media, TV, text messages, etc.  When a story comes to me I get the beginning and the end with just snippets of the middle.  It’s difficult to fill a story when you already know how it’s going to end.  You don’t want to rush through it but also you don’t want it to lag either.  I guess I listed more than one thing didn’t I?

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?  I write best late at night when I’m drunk with sleepiness.  That’s when the creative juices flow best for me.  The night definitely does belong to the poets and writers.

What do your fans mean to you?  They mean everything to me.  Without them I couldn’t be doing what I’m doing.  I love hearing their feedback even if it’s negative because it pushes me to try harder.  I’m very grounded even though I have this daydreamer like creativity.  My success, all writers’ success, only goes as far as the fans let it.  I appreciate and am humbled by each and every one of them.

Do you have any fur babies to brag about?  My house used to be a zoo a few years back but now I just have 3 cats and a dog.  Our black cat, Hunter (aka Monk), we had since a kitten and can be quite prissy.  He was basically raised by our dog, Hailey.  Hailey is lab-pit bull mix and is very lovey and was great with Monk and my boys when they were little.  She’s totally a momma dog but this also means she can be a tad overprotective.  She gets a little psycho with that but is extremely well-behaved.  Our grey and tiny little girl cat, Lunabelle (aka LuLu), is even more lovey than Hailey.  She also has this feisty and crazy spunk to her that only comes out at night, kind of like me.  Our big boy, Jinx (aka Pooh), is a momma’s boy.  He slept with me as a kitten by nuzzling himself right under my chin and I fed him kitten milk.  But he’s also super goofy and feisty.  He switches moods on a dime.  He doesn’t know how to meow or hiss.  His meows sound more like garbled roars and he spits when he hisses, kind of like that spitting dinosaur in Jurassic Park.  All of our pets are from shelters and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You mentioned you’re writing a new story.  How about a tease?  Well, I’m diving into the wonderful world of fiction where the possibilities are endless and you can take your story into any direction you’d like. facebook_1474473152682 It’s both terrifying and exciting.  I’m looking at it being completed as a full novel.  Right now, a little girl who’s orphaned near the end of the Great Potato Famine in Ireland is occupying my imagination.  She’s made herself quite at home in there.  While reading this story, you’ll see that some would say she experiences divine intercessions while others would say she’s emotionally disturbed and quite mad.  I want to weave some actual historical facts into it but I wouldn’t go as far to say it would classified as historical fiction.

Many thanks! For more about Lisa and her work, follow the links below:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon / LinkedIn

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