Meet the author Monday: Claude Bouchard

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A couple of months ago, Bestselling Reads’ fearless leader, Scott Bury, asked the group’s members to answer a few questions. Some did, may didn’t and Scott has recently moved into “veiled threat” mode with the procrastinators. Such a tactic usually would not impress me but Scott does live a mere two hour drive from my home so, here we go!

How many books have you written?

I’ve written fifteen books to date with my sixteenth currently in the works.

Please explain the various series and standalone books.

Twelve, plus my current WIP, make up my Vigilante Series, all crime thrillers. Nasty in Nice, which I wrote in 2015 as part of Russell Blake’s JET Kindle World, could be also be considered an instalment of my series since my Vigilante characters appear side by side with Blake’s JET characters. Asylum, a psychological thriller, is a standalone and Something’s Cooking is a collection of comedic faux-erotica short stories, each accompanied by a corresponding recipe.

Please explain the various series and standalone books.

Twelve, plus my current WIP, make up my Vigilante Series, all crime thrillers. Nasty in Nice, which I wrote in 2015 as part of Russell Blake’s JET Kindle World, could be also be considered part of my series since my Vigilante characters appear side by side with Blake’s JET characters. Asylum, a psychological thriller, is a standalone and Something’s Cooking is a collection of comedic faux-erotica short stories, each accompanied by a corresponding recipe.

How have the main characters developed or changed over the course of the series?

For one, they’ve gotten older. For whatever reason, I’ve always dated my books and kept up with the years over time so my characters have aged along with all of us. Their thinking has also changed along the way as they’ve adapted to various situations. Without going into detail, Vigilante, the series opener, dealt with a serial killer involved in pure vigilantism. However, as of book 2, The Consultant, a clandestine government group was introduced, thus formalizing (or legalizing) unconventional methods of dealing with crime. It’s been interesting and fun to have these government assassins intermingling and developing professional relationships and friendships with homicide cops.

How has your style changed over that same period?

My basic voice and style have remained relatively intact. I’ve always been fairly concise with little use for fluffy fillers to increase word count and that hasn’t changed. My writing flows more nicely and is less choppy today than it was in my first books several years back.

Has the way you write, or your process, evolved? 

I’ve rarely used outlines, at least not in the sense of mapping out an entire storyline before getting into actually writing it. I will sometimes quickly outline the next handful of scenes as ideas come to mind, in order to respect the timeline of events and, more so, to avoid forgetting those ideas. What has certainly helped over time is the Internet, making required research much easier and efficient than when I wrote Vigilante in 1995. As for character creation, if something needs to be done and I have nobody to do it, I create someone. Travel has allowed meeting people from all over and has certainly facilitated building realistic worlds. In fact, some of my books were set in places I’ve visited, including Paris, Vietnam and the Caribbean.

Is there a particular time or place you like for writing?

Afternoons are when I do most of my writing, though that can vary on occasion. Unless I’m traveling, I write in our study with my trusty desktop and dual monitors. The one exception was The First Sixteen, a prequel novella and the ninth in my series, which I initially wrote in Pages on my iPad.

Where do your ideas for plots originate?

The weird place inside my head which is fed by daily events stemming from all over the world.

Connect with Claude Bouchard

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Monday Musings: Am I Writing My Own Fan Fiction?

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by Kathleen Valentine

Now that The Legend is out in the world I decided to get to work on the third story in my Halcyon Beach Chronicles which will be called Ghost of a Dancer by Moonlight. I’ve been batting this one around for awhile. However the other day I was presented an opportunity that piqued my curiosity. I was invited to submit a short story to an anthology. The guidelines were that it should be an original story featuring a strong female lead character and that she should be a character from one of my series.

Vivienne2I have three series at the moment—Beacon Hill Chronicles (Crazy Old Lady stories), Halcyon Beach Chronicles, and the Marienstadt stories. I am contemplating a fourth one, probably called Pitts Crossing Stories, which would be sequels to The Monday Night Needlework and Murder Guild but that’s a ways off. Of all these stories probably my strongest female character is Viv Lang in the Beacon Hill ones. Despite a vulnerable core, Viv is a force to be reckoned with. She is an accomplished martial artist who is also pretty darn good at old-fashioned American street fighting. In past stories Viv has knocked a gigantic, 300 lb. monk on his back, punched a serial abuser of women right in the nose, and won the heart of a Boston Southie cop by wrestling with him until she let him pin her. She’s a piece of work, my Viv. I love her.

The more I contemplated writing a short story about Viv, the more I realized I was sort of writing my own fan fiction. This would be a much shorter work than the four books in the series and it will also be less intense. In the past Viv has battled killers, ghosts, and mysterious strangers but for this one I wanted something lighter. I wanted to make this fun.

Fan fiction has been around for a very long time. I remember back in the 80s I was working for a real estate agency in Houston, Texas, and met a very unusual young woman who ran the print shop. In between producing fliers and brochures for agents, she wrote, illustrated, and printed Star Trek fan fiction graphic novels. She was very mysterious about them at first and I assured her that I would not tell our supervisor on her (he already knew and was amused by it.) But eventually she let me see one and they were not what I expected—it was fan fiction erotica and, boy, was it erotic!

The popularity of fan fiction has also spawned Kindle Worlds which Julie Gilbert wrote about in a previous blog post. Toby Neal’s Lei Crime Series has inspired a number of fans to write fiction based on it. There are a lot of Kindle Worlds series. I keep meaning to look into them but can never find time with all my other projects.

So now I am working on this new challenge—writing a short story featuring my feisty Viv. I’m enjoying it so far and it is making me want to do more of this. I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for reading.

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Friday Focus: Fighting for You by Sydney Landon

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9780451468956_large_Fighting_For_YouWhen she opened her mouth to protest, he raised his hand to silence her. “For years I have lived a life that you can’t even imagine. I have done and seen things that would shock you, disgust you, and scare the hell out of you. Don’t even bother to doubt me, because even I run from the things in my head. So I can’t make any promises to you, Ellie, because more than likely I’d end up breaking them. I’m not going to be the man you settle down with or the man who gives you a family, but, honey, I can be the man who makes your skin burn, your toes curl, and who makes you lose your inhibitions and scream. That I can promise you.”Naturally, the first plate she reached for slid out of her hands like a Frisbee and flew across the kitchen to land at Declan’s feet. She then compounded the disaster by racing forward to clean it up at the same time that he bent down. She saw stars as their heads crashed together and she promptly fell backwards on her butt from the impact.
“Whoa, Ellie, are you alright?” Declan laughed.
With a groan, she covered her face and hoped that she would simply disappear. “Oh, Calgon, take me away!”
She heard Declan chuckle above her before his hands gently pried hers from her face. “You’re a little dangerous, aren’t you? I’m all for a woman falling at my feet, but how about leaving the china out of the equation next time, sweetheart. Where is your broom?” She pointed him to the closet in the corner. He pulled her to her feet and patted her butt. “I hope everything is okay back there after your fall?” Speechless, she could only nod her head as he walked to the closet for the broom. He made short work of the cleanup and she set her small dining room table without further incident.
“So…Um, I’m kind of surprised to see you,” she began.
“Are you really, Ellie? Usually when I lick a woman’s tongue, they aren’t surprised to see me. Some might even look forward to it.”
Ella’s fork clattered to her plate as she stared at him. He continued to eat as if they always had conversations like this. “But…I just didn’t…”
He swallowed a bite and turned to her. “You want to be involved with me?”
“Involved?” Surely, he didn’t actually mean what it sounded like he meant and she wasn’t about to make a fool of herself yet again by assuming.
Declan took his time wiping his mouth with a napkin before answering. “My idea of what that means will probably be a little different from yours, Ellie, but I think you get the idea. I like you, I want you, and I think you feel the same. I’ve tried to step back even though I knew how you felt about me because you are just too good for someone like me.”
When she opened her mouth to protest, he raised his hand to silence her. “For years I have lived a life that you can’t even imagine. I have done and seen things that would shock you, disgust you, and scare the hell out of you. Don’t even bother to doubt me, because even I run from the things in my head. So I can’t make any promises to you, Ellie, because more than likely I’d end up breaking them. I’m not going to be the man you settle down with or the man who gives you a family, but, honey, I can be the man who makes your skin burn, your toes curl, and who makes you lose your inhibitions and scream. That I can promise you.”

By Sydney Landon

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From 25 to 25,000- How I Became a Bestselling Author – by Charity Parkerson

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Charity Parkerson, bestselling author of Paul (Undefeated Series) and The Danger With Sinners (Sinners Series)

Charity Parkerson

A recent Facebook status of mine had people requesting this post, so here it is. I’m always paranoid that if I say, “Wow, I’m really doing a good job,” then it will all fall apart. However, this is one time that I’m going to speak up and bask in my success for a moment before running back into the shadows. To cut out on some backstory here is the status that brought on this blog post: “In 2011, I had barely 25 downloads of my books for the entire year and I never dreamed that I would be able to make it as an author. At the end of 2012, I had well-over 25,000 downloads. See what difference a year can make if you dare to dream? Don’t give up.”

Afterwards, several people asked if I would do a post telling the story of how I did it. Here’s the thing, I don’t know. I’ve worked non-stop this past year and tried so many things that I don’t know what worked. I know a few things that didn’t. I do, however, still have some advice and tips that I will share.

1.) This is the most important, keep writing! Regardless if your other title(s) are selling or not, keep churning the books out. The more titles you have available the more likely you are to be seen.

2.) Don’t rule out traditional publishing. I’m a hybrid. I’ve been trad, and indie, then trad again. Nobody said that you have to be one or the other.

3.) Go to where the readers are. Goodreads and Librarything are good places to start. Goodreads has several groups that are author friendly, and if you join groups within you genre, they usually have many promotional opportunities for authors as long as you are willing to follow the rules. If you have a paperback, then take advantage of their giveaway section by offering 1 autographed copy every 2 weeks until you see your book(s) on several to-read shelves. I like Librarything because they will allow you to do an ebook giveaway using Smashwords coupons, which leads me to my next piece of advice…

4.) Don’t be afraid of doing free days. I know that many people feel as if free days are a terrible thing where they are giving their work away to people who will never read their book, well maybe that’s true, but how will anyone ever know who you are? If you don’t have anyone backing you and promoting you then you will have to MAKE people see you. Maybe you’ve written the best book ever written, but it will be the best book no one has ever read if they’ve never heard of it.

5.) Reviews are important, we need them, and we want them, but they are not the end of the world. If you get a bad review, please act professionally. You will never see J.K. Rowling attacking a book reviewer over a bad review and you shouldn’t either. I know that it hurts to see a piece of your soul getting slammed, and you do need a support system or place you can go to cry, but you have to remember that to the reader you are a faceless name. It is the same as hating a movie. When you tell all your friends how much a movie sucked, you never think of the screenwriter, and there was one. I promise you that there will come a day when it won’t cut to the bone any longer when you see a 1 star. If you’re looking for reviews, here is a place to start: http://www.theindieview.com/indie-reviewers/ This is a list of reviewers who are willing to review Indie books.

6.) I’m a storyteller not an editor. I’ll be the first one to admit that, of course you can tell that for yourself by this blog post.  Don’t publish a book that has not been professionally edited. I know your cousin teaches 6th grade English but a proofreader is not enough. Trust me…I know. I made this mistake and I’ll never make it again. I want this to be my full-time job for the rest of my life so that means that I need to be a professional. A professional would never put out an unedited piece, which once again leads me to my next piece of advice…

7.) You have to spend money to make money. That doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of money but you will have to shell out some occasionally. Edits is the big one but there are people out there charging as little as .80 cents a page. Your book cover is another big one as it’s the first thing people see about you, so you want a good one, but you can also find those fairly cheap (or if you have any graphic ability you can do that yourself). Advertising is important, but you can do much of that with your only investment being your time. There are some low priced promo opportunities out there. Here’s a few things that I have used:

http://www.goddessfish.com/

http://indiebookpromo.com/

http://orangeberrybooktours.com/

http://kindlefinds.com

http://www.authormarketingclub.com/

Please look around these sites and see what they can offer you that is within your budget, some things are expensive, but some things are free.

Cover image for The Danger With Sinners (Sinners Series) by bestselling author Charity Parkerson

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7.) Be a joiner!!! This is a very important one. Join everything that you can, even if you don’t see any future potential in it because you never know what will catch fire next. Get in on Facebook groups, Twitter, Pintrest, Webring, Linkedin, Librarything, Goodreads, Triberr, and anything that gives you an outlet for free advertisement. I have a podcast, and if you get the opportunity to be on one of those then accept, because they are what’s “in” right now. In case you think that those things don’t work, I was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald as an expert on Independent publishing and that happened due to social media.

8.) There is power in positive thinking. Sometimes we see other people doing well and think, “Their book is not even that good!” That is one of those bad moments that we all have, and it doesn’t make you bad person unless you stay there and allow it to destroy you. If you see someone else succeeding it’s okay to have that moment of envy then ask yourself, “What are they doing that I could be doing?” Most likely, they are working their ass off on promotions and you’re just not seeing it. Very few people are making it on dumb luck alone.

Remember we are all stronger together and you took the hardest step when you hit that publish button. I know that there are a TON of people out there who are more successful than I’ll ever be, and there will always be people who won’t accept me because a few of my books are erotic, but that’s okay with me. I hope that everyone who reads this post takes it in the helpful light that it was intended. I don’t know everything and I may never be a big-name but I refuse to stop dreaming. Write like nobody is reading because they might not, but it’s not for them, it’s for you.

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Charity Parkerson was born in Tennessee, where she still lives with her husband and two sons.  She is the author of several books including twelve Amazon bestsellers. You can like her at http://www.facebook.com/authorCharityParkerson. Be sure to visit her at http://www.charityparkerson.com  and you can read her blog at http://charity-thesinners.blogspot.com

Her “Sinners series” was voted one of the top ten best books by an Indie author in 2011- Paranormal Romance Reads

Her book “The Danger with Sinners” was named “Best Book of 2012” by Paranormal Reads Reviews

She was named as one of the top three Indie authors of 2012- EbookBuilders

She is a member of The Paranormal Romance Guild, is a Goodreads moderator, a member of Coffee Time Romance, and co-host of The Melissa Craig and Charity Parkerson show.

She won author of the week in August of 2011, and is a four-time winner of The Mistress of the Darkpath.

You can follow her on Twitter (this is not a misprint!): @https://twitter.com/CharityParkerso

Additional Links:

Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Smashwords  Punk & Sissy Publications

 

Stop by tomorrow and meet Martha Bourke, author of the YA hit series including Jaguar Sun and Jaguar Moon. Martha offers up a delectable Mayan recipe used by a character in one of the Jaguar books.

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