Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Does Your Hero Have to Be Likeable?

Not necessarily. Your hero needs to be somebody you can sympathize and identify with. Making her flawed and realistic will win your readers. When I read a book, I often ask myself what I would do if I am faced with a similar situation. Would I follow her decision or would I do the opposite of what she did?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Celebration of Blogging

I only started blogging three months ago and I'm truly blessed to have been awarded The Versatile Blogger Award by wonderful author, Cindy Keen Reynders who writes interesting articles on her blog, Thank you so much, Cindy.

The rules of receiving The Versatile Blogger Award is that you thank the person who gave it to you and share seven facts about yourself, then pass the award to fifteen other bloggers if you can.

1. I love traveling, watching movies and curling up with a good book.
2. I love chocolate. :-)
3. I love dogs and sometimes believe that dogs are nicer than humans. ;-)
4. I believe in helping others and offering kindness.
5. I love all kinds of challenges and continue to push myself to the top.
6. I'm proactive and not reactive.
7. I never procrastinate and believe in doing things today.
8. I don't waste my time sweating the small stuff.
9. I believe that love is the most powerful gift God has given us.
10. I always try to be positive.

I am passing the Versatile Blogger Award to the following bloggers:

1. Richard Scott of Uphill Writing who talks about the craft of writing. Rik has entertained me with his quotes and Word of the Day.

2. Andrea Buginski of Andi's Realm invites a diverse group of authors to guest on her blog and each time I look for a new book to read, I can rely on her blog to check out new authors.

3. Stacy Eaton of Stacy Eaton Author is very creative when it comes to interviewing authors. She also writes articles from the character's point of view which is a perfect way to get acquainted with her characters.

4. Rob Guthrie of  Rob on Writing not only writes about the craft of writing, but he believes in giving back to others. He has a campaign called Read a Book and Make a Difference.

5. Mary Ellen Quigley of Mary Ellen's Musings offers good tips on how to be a better writer which I have found to be very helpful.

6. Christine Cunningham of Mungoi Sis Christine who has proven to be very helpful and supportive to writes. Christine invites authors to do a guest post on her blog.

7. Elizabeth West of E.A.West Writing offers valuable information on marketing and promoting your books.

8. Bonnie Trachtenberg provides interesting articles about promoting, writing and relationships.

9. Kaira Rouda  offers helpful tips for women, writers and anything under the sun.

10. Emerald Barnes  features a diverse group of authors on her blog. She also discusses about the craft of writing.

11. Karen Baney offers valuable tips about promoting and marketing your books. She also talks about the craft of writing.

12. Shilpa Mudiganti of Dreams Galore offers a variety of information on her blog about the craft of writing. She also does book reviews, and author interviews.

13.  Shirley Wine offers essential information every writer needs to know about editing and how to be a better writer.

14. Sarah of Workaday Reads is one of the book reviewers I trust. Her blog offers detailed reviews about the latest books, giveaways, and exciting events. Sarah is always up to date with the latest books and she knows how to connect with authors and readers.

15. Lindsay Jones of Just Another Book Addict is also one of my favorite reviewers. Her site is so colorful and this lady is very dynamic when it comes to conducting book reviews. She loves reading and her reviews are very genuine and heartfelt.

Thanks again to Cindy for my award.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Have Every Reason to Be Grateful

When I started writing my novels, I didn’t know what to expect. I often asked myself, will my readers like my stories? Will I get to sell my books? Will people take me seriously? I released two books this year—Love Letters and Chocolicious, and I must say that this has been a blessed year for me. Both my books made it to the top100 Amazon Kindle best-seller list and are both being adapted into film. I spend a lot of time writing on the computer and promoting my work, but I’ve come to realize that my success has a lot to do with the people who have helped me along the way. I’ve decided to express my gratitude to everyone that has helped me accomplish my dream. Without you, none of this would have happened.

Family – I am so grateful to my family for supporting me with my work even if I spend a lot of time with my imaginary friends. They are my number one fans and are very understanding when it comes to my writing.

Editors – Every author needs an editor and working with one is like a marriage, you need to be compatible. I have been truly blessed to have worked with the finest editors who have deeply devoted themselves in my novels. I am thankful on how emotionally connected they are with my work and I can honestly say that they have brought out the best in my writing.

Publisher – I appreciate my publisher for believing in me and my work. Without her, my novels wouldn’t have seen the light of day. She made my dream come true and she’s always looking at our best interest.

Online Bookstores - Thanks to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords for displaying my books. We all need avenues to sell our books and with all the bookstores closing, online is the way to go.

Producer/Director- I am deeply grateful to my director/producer for bringing my characters to life. Never in my wildest dreams did I envision to see my story in the big screen, but because of her I will.

Readers- Readers to authors is like butter is to bread. Without them, where will your books be? Majority of my readers have thanked me for writing meaningful stories that they can relate to and I now have a loyal list of followers. I’m so thrilled to receive a positive response and glad to know that my books have resonated with them.

Bloggers/Book Reviewers – In this online world that we live in, bloggers and book reviewers are what boost every author’s confidence. It takes a lot of time and energy to read a book and post an honest review. I value their opinion and have learned a lot about my books and myself after reading their reviews. I have developed a good relationship with them and I’m thankful that more readers have heard about my books because of their network.

Writer’s Club- Joining a writers club is the best decision one can make in your writing career. I’m so blessed to be a member of such a supportive group of dynamic writers. Being a part of the club has connected me with a lot of people in the industry. It’s not only great exposure for my books, but about giving back and helping fellow writers.

Writing Buddies- Every writer needs a writing buddy. I’m so blessed to have a number of them whom I can share my triumphs and challenges with. We help one another promote our books and share tips. I wouldn’t know what I would do without them.

Friends- I’m so blessed to have friends who have cheered for me and supported me in my career. I have a lot of friends who don’t really read books, but have bought my books and attended my events to show their support and for that I’m grateful/

Media- I’m so thankful to the TV producers, news reporters and magazine writers who have featured me and my books. Authors need all the exposure they can get and media is a powerful tool to get the word out.

Social Media-Facebook, Twitter and GoodReads have allowed me to reach out and connect with a lot of people. Leveraging my books on these sites has brought in sales. I have also met a lot of people who are now my friends.

All of you have played an instrumental role in my writing career and for that, I am forever grateful.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Up Close and Personal with Melissa Foster

Today, I have Melissa Foster who will be sharing her experience about writing, publishing and her love  of helping others. I met Melissa only four months ago, but I feel like I've known her for a long time. We are alike in many ways and share the same passion of writing and helping others. I believe Melissa was my sister in another life and I'm so honored to have her as my friend.

Most writers think that there work is done after they've completed writing the book. However, you, on the other hand are a classic example of an Authorpreneur. Tell us how a mother of six has achieved such success of being a multiple-award winning, best-selling author.

Wow, thanks, Geraldine. That makes me sound so important (blushing). I don't think of myself as being that successful, but I think of myself as having learned a lot that I can share with others. My mind is always whirling with new ideas and creative ways to reach the public. Time management is critical. I'm a major scheduler. I schedule my days down to the last second--inclusive of making kids' lunches for school. Thankfully, I also have a very supportive husband who is happy to help with dinners and household chores, which helps alleviate the stress of trying to do it all 100% of the  time. My goal has never been about selling books or becoming a bestselling author, although I am thankful to be here. I strive to produce books that satisfy readers, and to gain their interest in my stories. I also believe that if readers put trust in my books, I should also give back to them. I try to offer fun events, free books, and above all else, I make myself available. I communicate openly and honestly with any reader who reaches out to me. Overall, I think I'm very lucky, or maybe karma is on my side, lol.

You have a very powerful, positive energy and do you believe that this has helped you fulfill your dreams? What are the core values you live by?

I think my positivity does help, but I've never known any other way of life. I grew up with the most wonderful mother, and she taught me very valuable skills--the most important being that we have a choice in life--we can choose to be happy or we can choose not to be miserable. It's easy to see the negative side of life, but it's much more fun to see the positive, even if it takes a little more looking. I never wallow in the "what if I can'ts" or "Oh, no, something terrible happened." I spin everything in my life in a positive light. We all have energy that we exude, positive and negative. I don't entertain negative feelings for very long. If I'm upset about something, I find the positive in it, fix it if it needs fixing, deal with it if it needs dealing with, then get over it. There's no benefit to harboring ill will toward others, so I don't do that, either. I believe the universe gives back what we provide to others, and my core values are to give more than I receive, and to share my knowledge of the tiny little piece of the world as I know it. I think my positivity and spirit shines through because it's genuine. I live my life in a give-back way, and I think that keeps everything in my life in balance. I pull the thread of positivity until it is a rope that I can hang on to and toss out to others in need. 

When somebody reads a Melissa Foster book, what should they expect? Tell us about the uniqueness of each book.

This question really made me think, Geraldine. My books are not simple happily-ever-after books. They are written in such a way that I hope the reader will become a bit introspective and think about how they might handle things if they were in the same situation as my main characters. For example, MEGAN'S WAY was a very personal story that stemmed from a situation with my own mother twenty years ago. Megan, a single mother, finds out that her cancer has returned and she must decide if she will get treatments to prolong her life or let herself die quickly--sparing her 14 year old daughter prolong emotional torture. That's a very difficult decision for anyone, and to read it in such intimate dialogue can really bring it home. I tried to show all sides of her considerations and how they would impact Megan, her daughter, and her friends. I try to that in all of my books. In CHASING AMANDA, Molly Tanner is faced with the dilemma of continuing her search to find a missing child and jeopardizing her family and friendships, or leaving the search to others, though she is the only one with the visions of where the little girl is.

The cruxt of my books are not easy topics, but they all provide hope. Readers can expect to be entertained, to bond with characters, to laugh and to cry. What they can't expect is a light, easy read, because I do pull at the heartstrings and turn in unexpected directions. I have to admit, COME BACK TO ME held its own challenge. I knew what ending readers would want, and I also knew what had to be written. I wrestled over the ending, which I will not reveal, but putting Beau into the hot seat was the right thing to do. Life is not easy. It's full of choices and ramifications. It's those uncomfortable circumstances and decisions, wrapped in hope that readers will find in my books. 

You have managed to connect with your readers, do you have any advice to aspiring authors about the most productive way to reach out to your audience?

Connecting with readers and building relationships is the most fun part of being an author! First and foremost, build relationships with the people in your life, from readers to authors, to the people next door. Friendships are food for your soul. Cross promoting, collaborating with others in your field, social media, and above all else, giving more than you receive, that's what I would advise. I'm going to share all of my thoughts on the WoMen's Literary Cafe, so aspiring authors, and seasoned authors, can find me there and learn all that I have learned. There's too much to put in one interview, and I receive hundreds of emails each week from people reaching out to ask for help, which I'm happy to provide, but I think I have to do it in groups, or I'll have no time for family, writing, or friends.

What I like about is that you always think outside the box and rise above the limits. You have truly inspired a lot of people with your ingenuity and kindness. Just recently, you opened a site called, Women's Literary Cafe which I understand is your way of giving back. Can you share more about it's concept and how it can benefit everyone involved in the writing community.

It took me three years to figure out how to make a mark in the literary world. I know how hard it is to try and figure out the ropes of getting a book out there into the hands of readers, and I wish someone had shared their paths with me three years ago--but it's hard to find people who are willing to take the time to help you find your way, and I've decided that I would never be too busy to help others. I've founded The WoMen's Literary Cafe, which is an all-inclusive literary community for readers, authors, reviewers, bloggers, and other author services providers. We will have many fun and creative events for readers where they'll have many opportunities to receive free books, have personal conversations with authors, and become part of a close network of friends and associates working together to become the go-to-place for new books. My goal is to give back to the readers in the world--it's easy to take, it takes energy to give, and I have loads of energy.

The idea for WLC first came about with several friends, and the idea was to simply answer one question per day from aspiring authors and readers. As I was forming the ideas to bring the WLC to the public, I quickly realized how many authors were floundering after writing their book. I realized that I could help others learn to collaborate and market their books, connect for blog tours and reviews. I have years of marketing experience, and I owned an HR consulting firm for years, so for me, marketing is second nature. For most authors, it's as foreign as drinking whiskey instead of hot tea. Knowing that others are struggling doesn't sit well with me when I have the ability to help them. That's why the WLC is being developed. The WoMen's Literary Cafe is a community where all literary types can convene under one easily navigable umbrella and learn to cross promote, work together to gain followers, and grow their platforms, while developing meaningful relationships with readers and other literary types. 

You are an ideal advocate for women's rights and issues. What issues do you feel should be foremost addressed in this era and given the choice, how would you handle this?

Thank you. I am an advocate for all, but I do put a lot of effort into the emotional and physical wellbeing of women, acceptance of mankind, and the ability to stand up for one's self; recognizing your value--separate from what you do for a living or who you're associated with. Women are expected to do it all, parenting, working, keeping households running smoothly (a full-time job in and of itself). We don't take enough time for ourselves, and that can lead to all sorts of health and emotional issues. The Women's Nest is built on the premise of women helping women, and I would love to see more communities focusing on that instead of on monetizing their abilities.

I also have a really difficult time with the reality of prejudice that goes on in today's world--not specifically about women, but about acceptance of others for who they are, not judging others by what they believe in or their lifestyles. Given how technologically advanced we are as a society, I would hope that we could be just as smart in the social aspects of the world, and work harder at accepting others without judgment.

Another issue I would love for people to consider, is ego. If people tossed their egos aside for a bit, and worked in a fashion of focusing on others first--can you imagine how much peace there would be in the world if we all reached out to help others rather than ourselves?

I'm rambling (sorry). You asked about issues - Women's health, acceptance, and kindness. How would I handle them? I'd provide less costly health screening for women, make classes on acceptance mandatory at all levels of education, and as for ego--well, there's not much I can offer there. Teach others the value of giving back, perhaps?

You have been blessed with outstanding achievements and I know there's more to come. Any projects that are not related to writing that's close to your heart that you wish to pursue.

Wow, that's very open ended. You used a key word, "wish". Building the WoMen's Lit Cafe, and making The Women's Nest the best that it can be, writing, and helping authors, along with my family, take up more hours in the day then I currently have.

Melissa and the WoMen's Literary Cafe are helping Indie authors Andy Holloman and Karen Baney launch their newest releases. Join them and 18 other authors December 13-15,

You can learn more about Melissa and her work at the following sites:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Why Did I Open My Own Publishing Company?

Today, I have Melissa Miller on my blog. Melissa is the dynamic woman behind Solstice Publishing. As many of you know, Solstice Publishing is one of the fastest growing publishers of today. I am happy and proud to be one of their authors. Melissa is here to share her reasons for opening her own publishing company, which I feel is the best decision she made for herself, her family and for all of us. 

Why I opened Solstice Publishing is a great question. I am married and the mother of two wonderful boys (11 and 7) that I chose to be a stay at home mother with. Both of my boys have severe asthma and I never quite felt comfortable leaving them with anyone. On top of that I knew it would be difficult to go to all of their doctor appointments and didn’t want to put any boss in the position of always working around my schedule. I loved the idea of staying home with them, so it was win win situation for me. It didn’t take too much arm twisting for me to come to that decision.

As the years went by and the boys got to that age—you know the one. J Where they sit and watch cartoons all day, and if Mom says anything, you get one of those glares that says you better be quiet and stop interrupting my show. J I was left wondering do I sit and watch cartoons all day, or find something to occupy my time with? You can only do so many dishes and laundry before you go crazy.

That’s when I decided to do something I had always dreamed about. I started writing my first book and little did I know it wasn’t as easy as you would think. I sat down and went to typing and my story filled the computer in no time. I was on cloud nine. Then I get up the nerve to send in the submission but soon received my rude awakening. J I didn’t have the first clue about writing a book. I told myself, “Wow there is more to this than I thought. Now what? Do I quit or do I take the editors suggestion?” Well, I took the suggestions and put some time in working on my book. I researched and learned  more about the craft of writing.  After completing my novel, I sent it in to a few places. Of course we all hate those rejection letters. I got my first contract with a somewhat bigger publisher, then I wrote a couple of short stories and contracted them with two smaller publishers.

When it was time for my boys to start school, I knew I had a decision to make. Am I happy with being an author which I love doing, or do I want to do more? That’s when I decided I wanted to do more where I can help other authors bring their dreams to life.

Not everyone can be an author, and the hardest part of my job is sending the rejection letters, but it’s something that needs to be done. At Solstice, we pride ourselves at putting out great quality books. Every submission is read with a fine tooth comb by our editor-in-chief, Nik Morton. He only accepts the best work possible.

At Solstice, we are like one big happy family. We all help promote one another other. Our authors do guest blogs on each other’s sites, and share about what they did over the weekend. When something exciting happens in their life, they can’t wait to post about it on our writer’s group. Being a Solstice author is something to be proud of. We are a big family, full of the most honest, caring, and helpful people you could ever ask for and I’m proud to be called their publisher.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Planner or Pantser? Which One are You?

Stacy Eaton was very kind enough to visit my blog today.  Stacy has written two books which is a part of  My Blood Runs Blue Series.

My Blood Runs Blue.jpgBlue Blood for Life.jpg

Thank you so much Geraldine for allowing me to visit your website today!! I am excited to be stopping by and sharing with your readers about how I write.

Planner or Pantser? Which One are You?

People have asked if I plan out my writing or if I write as it comes.  While I plan out everything in my life, I keep lists and I have calendars; when it comes to writing… I wing it.

I don’t sit down and do outlines.  I don’t plot out characters and keep a lot of notes.  I let the action flow through my mind and the words follow.  When I wrote My Blood Runs Blue, the idea came out of nowhere and I had never written a book before. I sat down – I typed and the story just came.  About half way through I started wondering how the story was going to end.  Over a weekend while I was working the ideas played through my mind and the ending was settled.  I sat down that following Monday morning and wrote out the last few chapters.  Then I went back and filled in the missing parts to make it all run smoothly.

With Blue Blood for Life, I did basically the same thing.  I knew what I wanted to achieve in the book, the basic plot line, but I didn’t make notes or write out outlines.  I just sat and wrote.  This time I knew where the ending was going from the beginning of my writing and I wrote the book in sequence. 

The next book to be published is not from the My Blood Runs Blue series, it’s a dramatic fiction novel about domestic violence called, “Whether I’ll Live or Die”.  I actually wrote the prologue and the first two chapters and then wrote the last chapter.  I actually came up with the whole concept of the book in about 30 minutes.  I was taking my daughter someplace and we were in the car, both of us lost in our thoughts and the music and this plotline came to me.

After I had dropped her off, I went home and typed up the three chapters.  Then I started working on the others.  I am now about two-thirds of the way through and hoping to have this book out in April.
I don’t know why I write this way, I just know that doing it this way works for me.  I have many friends that have to sit down and plan.  They have to plot out the twists, and make lists of the characters.  I guess I am blessed that I can keep it all straight in my head for the time being.  I am sure that as I get older and more characters enter my mind that I will need to do more plotting and make more notes to keep them all straight. 
No matter which way an author writes, know that the time and attention they put into the plot line and the characters is a lot of time and a lot of energy.  To build our characters so that you can like them or hate them and sometimes totally relate to them is a hard but fulfilling thing to do. 

About my series:
My Blood Runs Blue&Blue Blood for Life are the first two books in the series.  Take a trip in to the land of Fawn Hollow Township where the vampires and the police work side by side to deal with life’s little situations.  Read and feel the story through the minds of multiple characters as I bring several of them to life from chapter to chapter.  Learn about the half-breeds and the reason why Julian and Alexander believe Calista really exists 30 years later.  Hold on tight while you are taken on a constant roller coaster ride with twists and turns you never imagined.   I challenge you to enter the world and see if you can figure out what will happen before it does.

Stacy works in Law Enforcement full time and uses her experience to make the stories more believable; weaving bits of crime solving knowledge into her stories of fiction to make them more lifelike. She writes using a unique style that keeps you in the minds of all the important characters. Switching back and forth from mind to mind to keep the readers aware of what each character is feeling and why they do the things they do.
Stacy is the wife of a police officer and mother of two.  Her son is proudly serving in the United States Navy while her daughter attends school in Pennsylvania with her parents.

She has a great love for photography and normally has it with her or as far away as her car when she is out and about.  Her favorite things to photograph are things from nature, landscapes and animals.You can learn more about Stacy and her work by visiting the following sites:

Visit my Blog:

Available at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Outskirts Press, Inc.

Thank you again Geraldine for allowing me to visit! I hope to hear from your readers!

How Do You Create Effective Dialogue?

Dialogue defines your characters. You get to learn a lot about your characters by the way they speak, act and move. If you combine your dialogue with action, it keeps the readers glued to your novel. Observe how people talk and act. Do they move their hands when they speak? Do they raise their eyebrows? Are they stiff or emphatic? Do they speak with an accent?  You can keep your characters distinct by their dialogue and it’s important to keep them consistent with their characters.

Monday, November 14, 2011

What Genre Do You Write?

Writing is about finding yourself. You don’t write because of the trend. You write what you know and what you care about. I started writing poetry and essays but never realized I could write a whole book. I then ventured into children’s books, but felt that there was something missing and I knew I had a higher calling. Being a hopeless romantic who was drawn to women’s issues was close to my heart. Writing novels involving love and women came natural to me, which is why I chose to write Romance and Women’s fiction. What is your favorite genre? 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Why Writers Should Join a Writer's Club

·         You can network with other writers
·         You can sell your books
·         You learn from speakers
·         You can meet an agent
·         You can turn your talent into cash
·         You can teach people what you know.
I’m a member of the California Writers Club and the support I receive from the club is phenomenal. I’ve not only sold a lot of books through the club, but I’ve been asked to do events and workshops. I also got to meet influential people that have featured me on TV and major newspapers. I also get to network with other authors and speakers who have played a big role in my writing. Aside from this perks, I offer my services by being a mentor in the Publishing Pathway Committee and also serve as Treasurer at our Fremont Area Writers branch. Joining a club opens doors to opportunities and also allows you to help other writers.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Should Writers Network?

Yes, yes, and yes. I’m a born extrovert so spending time alone writing is not enough for me. I’m so amazed at the friends I’ve made from the start of my career as a writer. This wouldn’t have happened if I just sat all day writing novels. I love meeting people, sharing stories and being able to help one another and I can say that my writing career has become more colorful because of the relationships I’ve built. After publishing my second novel, Chocolicious, I had already established a following from readers, reviewers, bloggers and authors who have become my friends and followers. Connecting with friends and knowing that you can count on them has boosted my energy to keep going as an author. Networking is about being able to help one another and share ideas. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

What Do Writers Need to Know When Pitching to an Agent?

Have you heard of the elevator pitch? You’re only given thirty seconds to pitch your novel to an agent and you can either make it or break it. If you can’t describe what your book is about in one sentence, then how will you present the book? Try reading the back jacket of your favorite authors to get ideas on how to pitch your novel. Three key things to remember are hook, goal and theme.

Here's a sample of my elevator pitch for my novel, Chocolicious:

A week after Blair Nightingale's husband, Larry, dies, she learns she's about to lose everything she owns due to a foolish mistake Larry made. In an instant, Blair's life is transformed from rich, Silicon Valley trophy wife to poor, widowed single mom. Her only goal now is to provide for her daughter. As Blair begins to pick up the pieces, George--Larry's best friend and the man she truly resents--seems to always be around. When Blair is overwhelmed by all the challenges she faces, she seeks comfort in baking rich, filled, three-layered chocolate cupcakes that her grandmother once taught her, and soon Blair's life is changed forever.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What's The Best Way for a Writer to Connect With an Agent?

The best way for a writer to connect with an agent is by attending a Writers Conference. There is so much valuable information you can learn in this events. Meeting an agent face to face gives you a chance to pitch your novel, and the agent is most likely to remember you if you’ve made an impact on her. You have to show your best work and give it your best shot.