Q&A with self-publishing sensation Cathy Bramley — plus a giveaway!

Conditional LoveJust a few days ago, Cathy Bramley’s debut novel, Conditional Love, hit number one on Amazon UK’s Romantic Relationships chart. Talk about perfect timing! 

Cathy has one of those fantastic self-publishing stories that gives other authors hope to keep going. Though oceans apart, we share a phenomenal cover designer, blog tour organizer, and protagonists who begin on the meek side but grow in confidence as they come into their own.  

I am so thrilled to have her here today.  After the interview, leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Conditional Love!

Cathy Bramley Author of Conditional LoveAfter spending many years in public relations, you decided to self-publish your first novel in October 2013. Can you talk a bit about how that decision came about?

I had been to lots to conferences where the general consensus was that debut authors have about as much chance of getting an agent as they have winning the lottery. I decided that I would save myself the heartache of rejections and go it alone!

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Conditional Love is about a woman in her thirties who gets dumped by her boyfriend (on Valentine’s Day—yuck!), then receives a mysterious inheritance under the condition that she meet her long estranged father. What else can you tell us about that story?

I had great fun writing this book. Although the main character, Sophie is a bit weak-willed to begin with, I think she’s great fun and big-hearted and she grows in confidence as the story progresses. The theme is love in all its guises. We find love in the most unexpected of places and sometimes love comes with conditions attached. Continue reading

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Emerging from Chaos: Relishing the Post-Draft Cleanup

Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Maybe I’m just weird, but there’s something euphoric about the post-draft cleanup period … when the manuscript reaches its (temporary) end and the keyboard-punching squalor in which I’ve been living finally goes away.

Out go the late-night fro-yo bowls, the drained mugs with solidified coffee residue at the bottom, the piles of notecards, the “reference” books, the illegible pencil notes, and the reams of print-outs bloody from my Bic round stic pen. Oh, and the random sweaters I kept taking on and off. And the receipts I meant to file away. And the inboxes that look like George Costanza’s wallet. And the to-do list for my non-writing life that’s been completely on hold for months. Continue reading

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What if the gods still dwelled among us? A Q&A with Effrosyni Moschoudi

Necklace of the Goddess AthenaToday, I am pleased to welcome Effrosyni Moschoudi, author of The Necklace of Goddess Athena. Last month, her debut urban fantasy reached Amazon’s number one spot in the mythology category, and was number two in fairy tales. It also received a perfect five-star rating from The Fantasy & Sci-Fi Network, where it was described as “A Rare Gem.”

After her interview whets your appetite, head over to Amazon (US or UK) tomorrow and Friday to download a free copy! Limited time only!

Effrosyni Moschoudi1. You published your first book, The Necklace of Goddess Athena, in January. What can you tell us about that story?

The Necklace of Goddess Athena is a fantasy adventure of Greek myths and time travel that is suitable for all ages. It is about two time travellers from antiquity (a brother and sister) who are sent to modern-day Athens by their mysterious father without knowing his purpose. They team up with two orphaned siblings in this new world and soon realize there is a reason that they stumbled upon them. Together, they wind up tracing their family history, trying to reunite with their parents and in the process, find themselves entangled in an ancient rivalry between two Olympian Gods.

Continue reading

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Weekend Reminder

Bestseller Giveaway

Stephanie Evanovich, author of Big Girl Panties and The Sweet Spot, is giving away two paperback copies of her bestselling novel through Tuesday. All you have to do is leave a comment. Plus, she’s a great interview, so it’s a win-win!

Link: http://bit.ly/1iJ4NNG

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Fun for Friday: Fairy tale cocktails

While I still can’t partake for another few months (sigh), I simply HAD to share this fantastic post from Fairy Tale News.

Inspired by Disney heroes, heroines, and villains, Washington-based Cocktails by Cody has been creating a line of “Fairy Tale Cocktails” that, I think, look absolutely AMAZING. Instead of a handsome prince, I’ll probably be dreaming of the Evil Step Mother tonight. Chocolate vodka, chocolate liqueur, and pomegranate juice. ::Flutter::

Click on the link above for the full article and links to Cocktails by Cody’s Facebook page.

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Interview and Giveaway with Stephanie Evanovich!

Big Girl PantiesPraised by Time Magazine, Publisher’s Weekly, People, Booklist, and … well … need I go on (?) … Stephanie Evanovich took the publishing world by storm last summer with her debut novel, Big Girl Panties. I am elated to welcome her today as she opens up about her writing process, her famous aunt Janet, and her upcoming release, The Sweet Spot.  

After the interview, leave a comment for a chance to win one of two paperback copies of Big Girl Panties!

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Stephanie EvanovichBig Girl Panties is about a 32-year-old widow who tries to get her life back on track with the help of a handsome personal trainer—and winds up changing both of them in many ways. What else can you tell us about that story?

Of course, I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but Big Girl Panties is basically a story about first impressions and second chances.  And by second chances, I mean the chances we take on ourselves, to break away from our own preconceived notions and all the wonderful things that can happen when we do.  Both the heroine and the hero go through that transition, only from different perspectives and with different stakes.

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What do think people will love most about the book? What do you think makes it unique?

Hopefully, readers will be able to relate to the comedy that comes along with the characters fumbling through self-discovery.  Miscommunications, outside influences, all the foibles that accompany Holly and Logan busting out of their respective comfort zones.  What makes it unique?  I want to believe the voice of the storyteller.  I think it’s what makes all books unique. Continue reading

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InD’tale Magazine helps me explore the dirty side of fairy tales

The following article was published in the wonderful (and free!) InD’tale Magazine, “serving self and small published with a romantic flair.” To read more and sign up for a digital subscription (Did I mention it’s free?), visit www.indtale.com.

Screen shot 2014-04-07 at 7.34.23 PMWhen you think of “clean reads,” do you immediately picture a handsome knight rescuing a gorgeous damsel, placing her gracefully atop his snowy white steed, and trotting off to their standing-room-only wedding by the sea? Do you think of fairy tales in which good conquers all, true love never dies, and beauty (even if disguised at first) is the ultimate sign of virtue?

If so, you might be in for a rude awakening (though not nearly as rude as the first Sleeping Beauty’s, as you’ll soon find out). That’s because many of the wholesome, Disneyfied fairy tales we know and love are actually hiding much darker pasts—pasts filled with sex, violence, and terrifyingly inventive ways to kill people. Put it this way: if your kids read the original tales before bedtime, you’ll be calming their screams until morning!

I stumbled upon these grisly origins while doing research for Desperately Ever After, which takes our most beloved fairy tale characters and imagines what happened to them when the wedding bells stopped ringing. From Hans Christian Andersen to the Brothers Grimm, consider these the skeletons buried deep in the back of Walt Disney’s closet.

Fair warning: you may experience loss of innocence. Continue reading

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Sale! Get your beach read now!

In honor of spring…

and in the hopes that it sticks around…

Desperately Ever After is just $2.99 through the weekend!!

(That’s less than a grande latte at Starbucks!)

Click here for details

Summary & reviews:

Have you ever wondered how Cinderella would feel 10 years down the road, when her iconic ball gown no longer fit and she had four kids, a billion royal duties, and a husband who was never ever around?

Or what about Beauty? Once his curse broke, how long would it take for “Beast” to go right back to his old, wolfish ways?

Sprinkling women’s fiction with elements of fantasy, Desperately Ever After combines “Sex and the City,” “Desperate Housewives,” and the Brothers Grimm. At its core, the debut novel is about a group of ordinary women coming to terms with how their lives have turned out. They just happen to live in castles. Continue reading

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My tribute to a publishing heroine: Hazel Gaynor, author of THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME

The Girl Who Came HomeAbout six months ago, when I was trying to figure out this whole publishing thing, I connected with a brilliant and wonderful author by the name of Hazel Gaynor. To an aspiring author, she was a beacon of hope and kindness in a world of locked doors.

By that time, her self-published e-book, The Girl Who Came Home, had sold nearly 100,000 copies and gone on to secure a re-publishing deal (plus an additional title) from William Morrow.

To me, she was living proof that an author with a good book and a dedicated work ethic would eventually find success. There may only be one Promised Land, but there are countless ways to get there.

Hazel GaynorWhen I reached out to her for advice with Desperately Ever After last fall, she could have easily glossed over my questions or sent me an indifferent, “Just keep at it!” But she didn’t. She took the time to answer all of my questions in-depth; she asked about my life and told me about hers; she put me in touch the brilliant Andrew Brown of Design for Writers; she introduced me to Catherine Ryan Howard‘s invaluable guidebook, Self-Printed; she offered to be my second-ever author interview on Skipping Midnight (after the also wonderful Heather Webb); and she has continued to support me in this brand new life that I’m determined to make work.

Hazel was the first of many writers I’ve since met who’ve completely disproved the notion that this industry is filled with cutthroat, uber-competitive people who are only out for themselves.

This past Tuesday, William Morrow released the “new and improved” edition of The Girl Who Came Home. Below are the Amazon summary and link. I just purchased my paperback copy (the original is on my Kindle), and hope you’ll consider doing the same.  Continue reading

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Author Interview: Holly Martin, author of The Guestbook

The GuestbookAfter working first for a bank and then as a teacher, Bedfordshire author Holly Martin found her  calling when a group of role-playing educators visited her school to bring Tudor England to life. Now, in her words, she spends her non-writing time driving around the country “in my little white van, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next.” 

It must be excellent practice for the imagination, which she needs for her other career as an author. So far, she’s published the first installment of a paranormal young adult series, as well as a women’s fiction treat that weaves a story of laughter, loss, and love in a very unique way — through the pages of seaside inn’s guestbook.

Holly Martin1. I absolutely love the premise of The Guestbook, which centers around a young widow who runs a guest house (filled with loads of interesting characters), and comes face to face with an old flame while still dealing with the loss of her husband. What can you tell us about that story?

The story of The Guestbook is told solely through the messages left in a holiday cottage guestbook. Annie, the landlady of Willow Cottage, is the main character and it is her story that is told through the messages she leaves for her guests and their interactions with her. I wanted to have a story unravel through just the messages, to have one main story running through it, but also the guests that come to stay have their own story to tell and I love that we get a glimpse into their lives too.

2. What do think people will love most about the book? What do you love about it?

That it’s something different and unique. It’s still a love story, with humour and great characters but it’s told in a completely different way and hopefully people will embrace that. Continue reading

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