Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Q & A with author Michele Hart


Thanks for being here today, Michelle.

A Thank you, Shy Writers, for having me. Hi, shy readers out there!

Would you please share a short bio about yourself?

A I spent my childhood on a lone piece of property with no one around, babysat by a TV and a set of World Book Encyclopedia. Star Trek and Batman were the best parts of my day. Along the way, I studied a lot of myth, my first love in fantasy fiction. Then I met a young man who convinced me I could be creative. He put a pen in my hand. Well, not a pen, a keyboard. It was the best gift to give to another person, creativity.

Q Do you consider yourself a shy and/or introverted person?

A Oh, yes. I can talk myself into not going everywhere.

In what ways has being shy or introverted hindered your writing career?

A It’s not easy for me to get out and sell. An author really must learn how to promote herself. There’s no substitute for it. If she hid behind a keyboard to stay lone and protected, it’s a rough revelation to learn she must sell her books one at a time. The days of authors “just writing” are over, if they ever existed.

In what ways has being shy or introverted helped your writing career?

A I’ve developed the good discipline it takes to stay at the computer until the story is told.

Q What’s the hardest part of this business for you?

A Everything that isn’t about writing. :-) Although it’s great to reach the readers.

Tell me about a time that you had to step outside your comfort zone either in your writing career or in your personal life?

A Checking the mail is out of my comfort zone. But I recently joined an action group to help people with foreclosures, and we’ve planted a city garden.

Q What’s one tip you could share with shy and introverted people that’s helped you?

A Do what I do. Pack a gun wherever you go, and if things go wrong, you can shoot your way out of there! I’m just kidding, of course. Or am I…?

Q Would you please share a short blurb of your book and where my readers can buy it?

A Here’s the blurb for my latest angels & demons/Sci-Fi Romance, Gangbusters:

Daniel Tierney and his fellow I-Marshals take down the organizations producing the most dangerous substance in the Alliance. But reporter Faith Vedder turns up at the worst times, including Danny’s near-assassination. He’s had enough of her interference and requires her source of information.

Faith won’t tell him anything that compromises her Pulitzer-worthy story, not even under the magic of hot attraction. She doesn’t know she’s surrounded by fallen angels at war. Danny’s not finished making demands. She doesn’t understand until a giant, snorting, winged monster slobbers down her back, threatening to flay her.

The gangbusters can’t delay in their mission to shut down gangs until Danny learns the new criminal kingpin of their world is a man who once held Faith’s heart. In the guise of a gangland executioner named Heretic, Danny will destroy him. Even if it destroys Faith.

Angels are watching. Demons are plotting. Faith is the key.

***

Gangbusters can be found here:  http://www.BookStrand.com/gangbusters

Read hot, peril-packed excerpts, watch a woe-filled book trailer here: 


Q Where can my readers find you on the web?

A Find me at http://www.ILoveShape-Shifters.com/. Come over to my place in space. Watch a few book trailers under the stars, read a steamy, action-filled excerpt or two. Check out the reviews. I have worlds of adventure awaiting you.

Twitter: @MicheleHart

Facebook: MicheleHartBooks

LinkedIn: MicheleHart

Thank you, Rebecca and Shy Writers! I wish you love and adventure in 2012!

Thanks for coming on today, Michele.
Many sales to you!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Q&A with romance author Jami Gray

Q Thanks for being here today, Jami. Would you please share a short bio about yourself?

Let me see if I can expand beyond the ‘I was born, grew up, and here I am’ status. I hit the world on an Air force base on the southeast coast and within twelve months had moved to the Northwest, where I remained until age six. Then it was southward bound to drier climes. I bounced around the Southwest until age twelve when I became the fifth eldest in a very, very large family (think double digits for kid amount). After graduating high school, I did the college thing for so long friends and family thought I’d be a professional student. I’ll admit there were days when I thought the same thing. In my late twenties I married by best bud from high school after we reconnected. We tried living back in the Northwest but it was way too damp so we ended back down in the desert where we now live with our two boys and a lab who doubles as a mini-pony. Yes, I do have a job that pays the bills on top of writing, but lucky for me, it’s a position that allows me to telecommute.

Q Do you consider yourself a shy and/or introverted person?
I do, but some friends disagree. Here’s the thing, I am much more comfortable staying at home or in the background and watching others. I find it intriguing to people watch, but once I’m comfortable around a group, I’ll start to peek out of my corner or from around my very social hubby.


Q In what ways has being shy or introverted hindered your writing career?
For me it was finding a critique group and putting myself or my writing out there. It was one thing to submit works if I could mail it in and no one would ever know who I was, but it was a whole other bag of worms if I had to physically sit there and listen to a critique. I always, always over think things and receiving a critique was like running razors over my soul. It took me years of trial and error to find my current critique group, The 7 Evil Dwarves. What worked for me was keeping my critique group small with like minded individuals. If they could get my twisted sense of humor, then it was less likely I would end up being carted off in a straight jacket. In the six years we’ve been together, they are a huge reason I was finally published. If I hadn’t had their constant threats…I mean encouragement…I don’t think I would have had the guts to keep submitting my writing to editors and publishers. Even now when I attend conferences and do those editor/agent pitches you would think I was going in to be skinned alive and my critique partner is pretty much dragging my shaking, nervous wreck in behind her.


Q In what ways has being shy or introverted helped your writing career?
This is probably easier to answer than any other question. I live so much in my head that transferring those worlds spinning around in there to paper is the easy part. For me, the fact that I tend to sit back and watch the world around me, allows me to create detailed characters and worlds for my stories. Delving into what motivates my characters and causes them to react they way they do in various situations makes them more “real”, which in turn draw readers deeper into a story. Life and people are naturally complex, and that complexity should be reflected in your writing.

Q What’s the hardest part of this business for you?
Pitching in person. Doesn’t matter if it’s an editor, agent or my next door neighbor, trying to creatively explain my books verbally is hard. My work around is to write out various pitches or blurbs so I’m not caught flatfooted when I’m asked, “So, what’s your book about?”. Even though I’ve spent years doing theater, I still stutter when I’m not prepared. Maybe it’s being introverted, or maybe it’s being OCD, but either way I find myself doing mental rehearsals of what to say in case I’m faced with this situation.

Q Tell me about a time that you had to step outside your comfort zone, either in your writing career or in your personal life?
I was attending a writer’s conference a couple years ago with my critique partner and I had two pitch sessions. One with a big name New York editor and one with a large e-pub house editor. I spent days before hand writing up various pitches, word for word. Then I would torment myself with the “what-if” scenarios…what if they ask this question? I wanted to be prepared and not sound like an airhead. I have the unfortunate tendency to sound spacey when I’m nervous. It didn’t help that little voices in the back of my head were going on about how these very important people had heard it all and what if your idea was trite, or that I would appear to be a very obvious newbie writer. It took a great deal to block out that annoying little twit. I had to offer it lots of chocolate to get it to shut-up.

The pitch session with the New York editor was not good. Nerves had my words spilling out at a hundred miles per hour, my hands shook so bad I had to hide them under the table, and we just didn’t connect. I had a few minutes in between pitch sessions and as I went over to my second session, I was almost in tears. I pulled up my big girl panties, took a deep breath and sat down making sure my smile was in place. This time I would treat the pitch as if I was talking to someone in my critique group. Boy did it help. I made a real connection to the second editor as we talked. Strangely enough we ended up discussing a possible story idea I had been tossing around for few minutes and then I was able to get some great answers to questions I hadn’t realized I had about the whole publishing industry overall. It was lovely as I realized that even the editors and publishers can be just as nervous as the writers sitting across from them.

Q What’s one tip you could share with shy and introverted people that’s helped you?
Wow, that’s a tough one. Shy writers tend not to want to put their writing out there because it’s such a piece of them, but remember your readers don’t know you, but they get to share in your stories. How are they going to enjoy the worlds and characters you create if you don’t set it out there? When it’s been too hard for me to do on my own, I wrap my shaky, cold fingers in a death grip on my critique partners’ hands and hold on. They’re there to stand beside me regardless of how the reader winds blow. They haven’t steered me wrong yet, so I think I’ll keep holding on, because I’ve learned it’s okay to lean on my friends as they push from behind!

Q Would you please share a short blurb of your book and where my readers can buy it?
I’d love to! Shadow’s Edge is the first book in the Kyn Kronicles and can be bought e-format or trade paperback at Black Opal Books (www.BlackOpalBooks.com ). It’s also available at Amazon, ARe, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble.


It takes a monster to hunt one, and for Raine McCord, forged in the maelstrom of magic and science, she’s the one for the job. In a world where the supernatural live in a shadowy existence with the mundane, a series of disappearances and deaths threatens the secrecy of her kind and indicates someone knows the monsters are alive and kicking. Partnering up with the sexy and tantalizing Gavin Durand proves to be a challenge as dangerous as the prey she hunts.


When the trail points back to the foundation which warped Raine’s magic as a child, her torturous past raises its ugly head. Gavin and Raine sift through a maze of lies, murder and betrayal to discover not only each other, but the emerging threat to them and the entire magical community.


Q Where can my readers find you on the web?
You can hunt me down at:


Website: http://jamigray.com/


Blogs: http://7evildwarves.wordpress.com/ or http://jamigray.wordpress.com/


Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jamigray.author


Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/JamiGrayAuthor




Thanks for being here today, Jami!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Don't Leave Me

Guest blogger: Katherine Grey

I’ve always been shy around large groups of people.  Put me in a crowd where I don’t know anyone or just one or two people and I immediately become part of the wallpaper.

I’ve always wanted to overcome my shyness but would chicken out at the last minute when invited to group events or in the case of writing conferences, no matter how much I wanted to go, I wouldn’t register out of fear of not knowing anyone and being placed at a table full of strangers that I’d have to make small talk with. 

Then I met a fellow writer at a local writer’s group.  Jane was a wonderful writer, easy to talk to, and made me feel comfortable within minutes of meeting her.  A couple of years after we met, she talked me into attending New Jersey’s Put Your Heart In A Book conference.   I agreed to go if she promised me one thing – not to leave me alone during the conference.  She promised and I registered for the conference, booked the hotel room we’d share, and made travel arrangements.  For the first time, I was going to attend a writer’s conference and I couldn’t wait.

Finally, it was time to go to the conference.  During our trip to NJ, Jane must have picked up on my nervousness.  She touched me on the shoulder and said, “I haven’t forgotten my promise.  You’ll be okay.”  Her words calmed me a bit, but I still felt like bats were playing ping pong in my stomach. 
The evening we arrived, there was a meet and greet gathering for all of the conference attendees.  We walked into the hotel ballroom and Jane began talking to everyone and anyone she came in contact with from the other attendees to the hotel staff.  She seemed so comfortable with them; it was almost like she’d known them for years.  Meanwhile, I hovered at her shoulder like a shadow, barely managing to utter a word. 

An hour later, she pulled me aside and said, “I have to go to the lady’s room.  I’ll be right back.”  I instantly responded with, “I’ll go with you.”  She looked me in the eye and said, “No, you mingle.” I opened my mouth to protest when she cut me off with, “I haven’t forgotten my promise.  You’ll be okay.”  I nodded but really wanted to throw my arms around her legs like a toddler and cry, “Don’t leave me.”  She gave me a smile and headed toward the door without a second glance.

Not wanting her to come back and still find me standing in the corner, I gravitated toward the dessert table.  It was loaded with different types of chocolate confections.  One thing I did know was that chocolate always made me feel better.  As I stood at the table, deciding which dessert to try, a woman walked up and stood beside me.  “I hate these things,” she muttered.  “You hate chocolate?” I asked, the thought unfathomable to me.  She laughed, “God, no.  I hate these ‘get to know you’ things.  I never know what to say to a complete stranger.”  I smiled, probably my first real smile of the night. “Me too.” We chatted for a few minutes before we were approached by a young woman who looked pale.  Sweat beaded her upper lip.  “Hi,” she said before we could utter a word. “I promised my critique partner I’d introduce myself to two people tonight. My name’s Amy.” Her words came out in jumbled rush.  She pressed a hand to her stomach. “Oh, just saying that makes me feel like I’m going to pass out.”

My new friend scooped up a plate of chocolate truffles and handed it to me, took Amy by the arm, and said, “Chocolate will help.” She led the way to a small unoccupied table where we all sat down and ate the truffles.  

A short time later, I glanced at my watch and realized a half hour had passed and Jane hadn’t come back from the restroom.  I looked around the ballroom and found her chatting with a group of women.  She gave me a thumbs up sign, but didn’t come join me.  I was a little angry. She promised she wouldn’t leave me alone.  It was the only reason I agreed to attend the conference.

I held onto my smile and prepared myself to endure the rest of the evening until I could politely leave and hide out in my hotel room.  The funny thing was that the remainder of the evening wasn’t something to endure.  I started feeling more comfortable, my nervousness melting away.  I had fun.  I met Amy’s critique partner and two of her friends.  I met Carrie’s (the first woman to join me at the dessert table) roommate and found out most of us planned on attending the same seminars.

The rest of the conference passed in a blur of seminars, meals, and meeting more new people with Jane always at my side.  Not wanting to make either of us feel uncomfortable I hadn’t mentioned how upset I’d been that first night that she’d left me to my own devices, thinking I would bring it up on our way home. 

The funny thing was that as I sat there during our trip home, trying to figure out how to broach the subject without sounding accusatory, and ok, I didn’t want to sound like a spoiled brat either, I realized Jane had never really left me alone during the meet and greet gathering.  She may have not been by my side but she was there in the room and if I needed her, I could have gone and joined her even if it was only to be her shadow.  Instead, she’d given me space to meet new people while having the safety net of her presence in the room.

Unfortunately, our local RWA chapter disbanded a couple of years later.  Though we tried to stay in contact, I lost touch with Jane not long after that.  I never told her but I’m immensely grateful to her for talking me into attending that first conference.  I’m still shy around large groups of people, but I know I can hold my own in a crowd.  I’d still rather have a friend beside me though.


You can learn more about Katherine on her blog and her Facebook page. 

Katherine Grey's newest release, Impetuous,
is available now.


Blurb:
Mateo de Montayas, an impoverished Spanish count, comes to England to recover a stolen family heirloom and to satisfy his hunger for revenge against the man who destroyed his family. Arriving in London, he learns his hated enemy died three years before but has left behind a daughter. What better way to retrieve the heirloom and exact revenge than to use her to his advantage?
Teresa Darlington will do anything to keep scandal away from her frail mother and prove her father wasn't a thief, even risk her reputation in a race to find the missing heirloom before the Count does. But she didn't count on falling in love with the man determined to ruin her family. Can she find the heirloom before he does and protect her family, or will her heart lead her in a different direction?