Saturday, December 29, 2012

Interview with Author Cami Checketts





Cami is a part-time author, part-time exercise consultant, part-time housekeeper, full-time wife, and overtime mother of four adorable boys. Sleep and relaxation are fond memories. She's never been happier.

Deirdra:  What makes you passionate about writing?
Cami: Writing makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something which doesn’t happen often with four cute boys bent on blowing things up.

Deirdra: When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Cami: I was 28. My second son had just been born and I was suffering from postpartum depressing and taking a lot of naps. My mom came to visit, pulled me out of bed and told me to, “Write a book.” I walked down to my office and started writing. Haven’t had time for a nap since!

Deirdra: What do you do to relax and unwind?
Cami: Go outside with my boys. Walks and bike rides are my absolute favorite. If I’m with my family we have a great time (away from the devices that make Mom nuts) and if I’m alone I brainstorm.

Deirdra:  Where do your ideas come from?  How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?
Cami: I have nightmares quite regularly. If one sticks with me and I can’t get the images out of my head I write it down. Almost every one of my novels begins with one of my nightmares or the nightmare takes place somewhere in the book.
I know the idea is good enough to write about if I can tell someone else about it without them staring at me like I’m a complete idiot. I’m not very good with verbal description, I’d much rather write about it.


Deirdra:  Can you tell us a little about your book, Dying to Run
Cami: Dying to Run is the short sequel to Dead Running. My editor gave me the idea of having more, “Cassie and Jesse adventures,” and I really liked it. It was fun to write Cassidy again as she is hilarious to me.
Cassidy Christensen wants to run.
Captured by the traffickers who killed her mother, Cassidy’s only hope is Dr. Tattoo, a man she loves but nobody trusts. When she finally gets a chance to run, someone else she cares about is taken. Running might be her only chance at survival, but Cassidy won’t allow another family member to be killed in her place. 
This must-read sequel to Dead Running will have you laughing, biting your nails, and hoping for more.

Deirdra: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
Cami: My mom. She thinks I’m amazing, which I definitely am not, but it’s very motivating to have someone who believes in you without any doubt. She hands out my cards to everyone she meets and is so proud. I hope everyone has someone like my mom in their life.

Deirdra:  What’s your secret to making the character’s in your books come to life?
Cami: Are you trying to tell me my characters aren’t real people? I honestly fall so in love with my characters that I’m sure I’m going to run into one of them at the grocery store someday. The biggest trick is bringing that person alive for the reader which I try to do with sparse, correct details and realistic dialogue.

Deirdra:  Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?
Cami: The only other hobby I have, besides loving my boys, is exercise. I know it’s weird but running and strength training are such a release for me.
The only other talent I have is, hmm, thought about that one for a while and I don’t really have any other talents besides writing, unless you count the ability to consume large quantities of chocolate. Oh, wait, I can bake some pretty tasty chocolate chip cookies. Does that count?
Deirdra:  What are you working on now?
Cami: Blog This. It’s a terrifying romantic suspense. I honestly can’t work on it if my husband is out of town because I scare myself. One night I wrote without him there. I had to carry all four of my boys into my bedroom, push the cedar chest in front of the bedroom door and I fell asleep with my phone in my hand. How do you explain that to your kids in the morning? Here’s the blurb:
Natasha Senecot’s anti-violence blog acquires millions of hits. She unveils a disturbing conspiracy and threats abound. A bullet can’t stop her blog posts, but someone has discovered her weakness.
Natasha is torn between her solid ex-husband, a charming detective, and an irrational attraction towards the man assigned to kill her. Can any choice protect her family?

Deirdra:  What is the best thing about being an author?
Cami: Meeting people. Whether it be the new friends telling me stories in my head or the new friends I meet at a book signing or speaking engagement. I love people and I love hearing (and sometimes sharing) their stories.

Deirdra:  How do you come up with your character’s names?
Cami: I always know my hero and heroine’s names from the first nightmare experience I have with them but the secondary characters are much, much harder. I used our neighbor’s name once because I was struggling so hard with a last name. This probably would’ve turned out fine except it was the antagonist’s last name. I didn’t get any cookies for Christmas that year.

Deirdra:  What is the best complement you could receive from a reader?
Cami: Readers are so great. I absolutely love the emails, messages on Facebook, and sweet reviews they post on Amazon or Goodreads. Just knowing they enjoyed the book motivates me to keep writing and improving my writing.


Deirdra: Where can readers go to find your books and order them?
Cami:

Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?
Cami: Thank you, Deirdra! And thanks to those who read the interview. I know you’re all busy and it means a lot that you would share your time with us.





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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Interview with Author Betsy Brannon Green


Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
When I was very young. I was about three when realized that I could tell a very good story. (Translation, I was a great liar.) I loved to watch my ‘audience’ and see the horror or wonder or amusement on their faces as I spun a tale. My mother said sometimes I would tell her a story and even though she knew it wasn’t true, I told it so well with so many details, she was almost convinced. And then I learned how to write!!! And I found out that lies written on paper were called ‘fiction’ and I knew that was for me. I wrote my first chapter book in the fourth grade. It was about World War II and Nazi Germany. I’m sure it was terrible but my mother said I had talent and I believed her! In high school I wrote novels in spiral notebooks and passed them to my friends during class changes as I would finish each chapter. As a young mother I wrote short stories about my mother, who died at age 43. Then I discovered LDS fiction and it was a perfect fit.


Deirdra:  What makes you passionate about writing?
It’s something that cannot be understood by someone who doesn’t have a vivid imagination (believe me I’ve tried explaining it to my husband and children). But ideas come to be constantly. I used to worry that I would run out of ideas. Now I realize I will run out of LIFE first! The creation process is overwhelming and exhausting and sadly never as satisfying as I think it will be. I usually ‘settle’ to some extent on every book as I run out of time and have to turn it in and focus on the next one – which now seems to have all the promise – but will eventually be ‘settled’ on later. But I guess it is the dream, the lure of the perfectly written book, the beautifully crafted characters, then intricate plot, the intensely emotional scenes, that drives me, passionately, to develop a new idea.

Deirdra: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
My pathway was unusually easy. I never seriously considered writing as a ‘career’. It is more of a hobby, a passion, something I dreamed about when I had a few free seconds. I wrote the occasional short story – usually a Christmas memory for my brothers and sisters who were all younger than me and therefore had less vivid memories of our mother. Then my grandmother died in Salt Lake and I went there for the funeral. While in the old ZCMI mall I visited the Deseret Book store and saw, for the first time, LDS fiction. My aunt told me that if I could channel the passion I was able to generate in the stories I wrote about my mother into another type of writing – I might have a chance of being published. I was very flattered by her comments but didn’t really think it was possible for a woman with eight children, who lived in Alabama, to be published in the LDS market. But some changes took place in my life. I transferred from a very busy high school office to a tiny, separate kindergarten campus of an elementary school. I had a lot of spare time on my hands – and a computer at my disposal. I told the principal I had extra time and asked for something to do. She said it would be more trouble to transport work to me than it was worth. She suggested that I read a book. I looked at the computer and thought, I might write one. So I did. It took me about eight months to write my first book. I submitted it to all the LDS publishers I could identify. My plan was to wait until I found out if anyone had an interest in the book before I tried another one. But it was summer and I had a little extra time so I started my second book. I finished it just as school started back and mailed it off the Tuesday after Labor Day in 2000. I received my first rejection letter on the first book the next week – followed by a couple more. Then I got the call from Valerie Holladay at Covenant saying they were interested in my second book. I replayed that message on my answering machine many times… I have always been thankful that I sent off the second book before I got the rejections on the first one because I might have given up. Hearts in Hiding was published in 2001. I re-wrote the first book (twice) and it was finally published as my third book – Until Proven Guilty.


Deirdra: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
I still get discouraged often. Time is so limited in my life and I never feel like I can adequately concentrate on anything. So I regret that I can’t spend more time marketing my book or blogging or journaling or writing the next book. The most difficult time for me is the beginning of a new book. I start my detailed outline and it’s easy to get bogged down in the details (that I’m not sure of yet) and then I find excuses not to write. It’s so hard at that stage. I know what I have written isn’t very good and I want so badly to go back and ‘fix’ everything. But I know I have to press on and get to the end. I try to make myself detour around problems in the plot and go on. But sometimes, if the problem is critical enough – you can’t go on until you solve it and then I find myself coming up with even more excuses not to write. I love it when the ideas and words are coming so fast I can barely type them. And that does happen sometimes. But in my experience more often than not writing is hard work. When you’re discouraged you just press on through. Because the truth is you’ll never get a book published if you don’t finish it. So keep writing, even if you hate it and think it’s terrible. Once you get to the end then you can go back and fix everything. And that stage of writing is MUCH more fun to me. But you can’t fix what you don’t have. So keep writing. Don’t let discouragement stop you.


Deirdra: What books have most influenced your life?
 I have loved to read since I learned how. In high school I checked out a book every morning from the school library and checked it back in the next day – so I could get another one. The only two books that took me two days to read – Dr. Zhivago and Gone with the Wind. I read in every spare moment – even at stop lights. So I would say first that books in general influenced my life. More than any writing class I’ve taken reading helped me to learn about character development (from books that did it well and from those that didn’t) and pacing and plot and sentence structure. I learned without even realizing I was learning. I love words, but I don’t like wordiness. Characterization is crucial because if I don’t care about the people in a book – I don’t care what happens to them – so the best plot is wasted. And I love to be tricked – so a plot full of things that are not what they seem appeals to me. So here are SOME of the many books that influenced me strongly –

To Kill a Mockingbird – Characterization, painting a picture the reader could see and feel. Emotional involvement with the characters – it makes me laugh and cry and when it was over I didn’t want to leave.
Agatha Christie books (all of them) Plot twists. Her characterization was usually a little vague, but the plots were amazing.
The Old Man and the Sea – I read it in high school and all the symbolism went right over my head. I told a friend “I could have written this entire book in two pages and made it a lot more exciting.” Honestly – I still feel the same way.


Deirdra: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
I have not been faithful in all things, but surely in multiplying and replenishing the earth I have done my share. When our kids were little they didn’t cost much. We handed down clothes and I made cheap meals and we never went on vacation. But as our kids grew and college and missions loomed I became concerned. My husband is more faithful and he assured me that the Lord would provide a way for us to do what we needed to for our children. But I needed to know HOW! We were both already working, him for UPS and me for the school. I didn’t see how we could generate any additional income. Then I thought about my writing and what my aunt had said. Then I took it to the Lord. I told Him I was willing to work hard but knew I would need His blessing to make it happen. Over the next few months I transferred to the new school, was given permission by my new principal to write in my spare time, and was blessed with supportive co-workers who gave me a wealth of ideas. Since then we have sent three sons on missions and sent seven of our eight children to college (two have graduated, four are still working on degrees, one is currently serving a mission, and our youngest is a sophomore in high school). I have met so many incredible people through my writing that I would never have come in contact with any other way.


Deirdra:  What is your writing schedule like?
I try to write some every day except Sunday, but I live my life in constant crisis-state, putting out the biggest fires as they become life-threatening. So if a deadline is close I write much more and if one of my daughters just had a baby or its Christmas – I might not write at all for a few days. But I’ve learned that the longer you stay away from a work in progress – the harder it is to go back. It’s like losing your place, you’re not sure where you are or where you were headed. It’s best to stay involved in a manuscript daily until it’s finished.


Deirdra: What do you do to relax and unwind?
I am never completely relaxed even when I am asleep. That is a drawback to an active imagination. I almost cannot turn it off completely.


Deirdra:  Where do your ideas come from?  How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it? Everywhere – a random comment, a strange looking person I pass in Wal-Mart, a story my grandmother tells me, a child standing alone at a bus stop in the rain. Anything can spark a story. Now, knowing whether it’s good enough to write a book about is another thing. Usually I think about it for awhile and see how I can develop it before I actually put it to paper (or in the computer). Then even if I don’t want to develop it then, it’s waiting for me later and sometimes little ideas become subplots in books.


Deirdra:  Can you tell us a little about your book, (name of book here)
My new book is called Pivot Point and it is my first attempt at a non-LDS, self-published book. I love publishing with Covenant and will continue to publish LDS books with them for as long as they want my books! But I wanted to try something a little different. Self-publishing has many negatives, but it also allows some versatility and control over when a book will be published that you don’t have when working with a publisher who has schedules and hundreds of other projects besides yours. So I self-published this book through Amazon.

The basic concept is that we all have regrets. And even more than regrets, we have curiosity about how different aspects of our lives might have turned out if we’d made a different choice somewhere along the way. Sometimes the choices are small and the affect of a different choice would be minor. Other choices could have a major affect. A friend told me that whenever she was mad at her husband she would day dream about how things would be now if she had married an old boyfriend instead. I thought about how dangerous that was. And how intriguing. What if the technology existed so that you could go back, just through dreams, and make a different choice at certain ‘pivot points’ in your life? How would that affect your ‘real’ life? Would it make you feel better about the past? Or worse? I decided to explore the concept through a two book series. My main character is Megan Collins, a successful Atlanta pediatrician. She is happily married and gives service to the community. She has a good life. But she is haunted by a decision from her past and when she meets a Nobel-Prize winning scientist who has developed a dream therapy she is eventually convinced to try it. She goes back, through a dream, to the day when her eighteen year old boyfriend asked her to marry him so they could provide a home for the baby they had created by mistake. In her dream she accepts his proposal and has the baby. But then she wakes up. Meghan finds it increasingly difficult to concentrate on her real life and becomes a dream addict, living for the next dream session.


Deirdra: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
If I needed absolute quiet I would never have completed a sentence. I dream of a little cabin in the woods where I could go for a few weeks and work around the clock to finish a book. But the reality is I write amid the chaos of my life. I write in the car, I write in the doctor’s office, I write during my lunch break at school, I write on the couch while my husband watches football games or the Mentalist (we count this as spending time together),  and if I could figure out a way to write in my sleep, I would. Then at least it would be quiet. Who knows, maybe I need the noise.


Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?

Keep writing. There is a therapeutic side to writing that will benefit you if you never get a book published. As the mother of eight children – most of whom did not listen to much of what I said let alone mind me – I found being an author so empowering. My characters did EXACTLY what I told them to do. The lived or died according to my will. They even married who I wanted them to. It was wonderful. Expressing yourself through the written word, the feeling of accomplishment when a book is finished – these things have value. And if you are not accepted by a publisher, self-publish through Amazon. There is no cost to you and you never know what might happen!


Deirdra: Where can readers go to find your books and order them?
All my books are available on my website www.betsybrannongreen.net. My LDS books are available in Seagull and Deseret Book stores and most other LDS bookstores. My self-published book, Pivot Point, is available on my website and at Amazon.com (in paperback and Kindle versions).


Thank you so much. It’s a real honor to get your insights.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Inter view with Paul Anthony Shortt


Author Bio:
A child at heart who turned to writing and roleplaying games when there simply weren’t enough action figures to play out the stories he wanted, Paul Anthony Shortt has been writing all his life.
Growing up surrounded by music, film and theatre gave him a deep love of all forms of storytelling, each teaching him something new he could use. When not playing with the people in his head, he enjoys cooking and regular meet-ups with his gaming group.
He lives in Ireland with his wife Jen and their dogs, Pepper and Jasper. Their first child, Conor William Henry Shortt, was born on July 11th, 2011. He passed away three days later, but brought love and joy into their lives and those of their friends. Jen is pregnant again and is expecting twins.






Deirdra:  Where do your ideas come from?  How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?

Paul: Anywhere I can find them, to be honest. I spent my teenage years constantly imagining different stories to tell, so now it sort of comes naturally. I'll watch a movie or listen to a piece of music, and something small will latch onto me. The look on a character's face. A particular chord or verse in a song. It'll give me the idea for a single scene. I usually note down the idea as soon as I get it, so that later I can think more about it and see if there's a story to be told about that scene, how the characters got there and what they want to achieve, as well as what's standing in their way. I spend a long time thinking about these story ideas, mulling them over and thinking up various characters and events. If I can come away with a story that gets my heart racing and leaves me excited to find out what happens next, I know it's worth a shot.

Deirdra:  Can you tell us a little about your book, Locked Within?

Paul: Of course! Locked Within is the first of a trilogy set in New York. It's the end result of years of imagining daydreaming, and re-imagining, just like I described above. It's set in a world much like our own, except one where supernatural creatures live side by side with us. The human mind tries to ignore them, even though we are prey to many. The hero, Nathan Shepherd, is a reborn. He remembers past lives. Though at the start of the book he's just an office clerk with a boring job and a relationship he's trying desperately to save, over the course of the story he delves into the hidden supernatural world, discovering the key to solving a series of murders which have taken place over the last 160 years. His obsession threatens his job, his relationship, his loved ones, even his life, as the supernatural masters of New York resist his efforts to meddle in their affairs.

Deirdra:  How many beta readers review your manuscript before you send it to your editor?

Paul: I have two critique partners who read my work as I finish each chapter. Theirs is the most important feedback I get because it's very conversational and I thrive in that kind of creative environment. I love brainstorming ideas with my crit partners. After my first draft is done I have about six beta readers who look over the manuscript for about a month while I take a break. Then I go through their notes and apply any changes or corrections I feel are appropriate before I send it on to my submissions editor.

Deirdra:  What do you hope readers will get from your books? 

Paul: Joy, first and foremost. I believe joy can change the world, and entertainment, whether it's music, theatre, movies or books, is the greatest source of joy. Stories take us to new places, let us believe in something better than the hard, grim world the media likes to throw at us. If we can take that joy and strive to bring it into the lives of others, we can bring out world closer to that ideal. If my books make even one person a little bit happier, then I'm glad.

Deirdra:  What authors do you admire, and why?

Paul: Jim Butcher has been a very strong inspiration. I started reading The Dresden Files a few years before I started work on Locked Within in ernest, and it was through those books that I really learned what Urban Fantasy was all about. Aside from writing amazing books, Jim's attitude to writing just blows me away. He's quoted as saying that the only difference between a wannabe author and a published author is that the published author never gave up.

Aside from Jim Butcher, my primary literary role model is Talli Roland. She's gone from the release of her first novel just a couple of years ago to racking up an amazing 80,000 sales in ebooks alone, as of a count she revealed earlier this year. That's an incredible achievement. She's one of the nicest and most down to earth people I've met online, too. She knows her stuff when it comes to writing, branding, and promotion, and she's more than happy to share what she knows.

Finally there's Hannah Moskowitz. Not only does she have the dubious honour of being the only author to almost make me drop a book from sheer emotional shock, but when I was her age I didn't have half the maturity and skill to be a professional author, and there she is living her dream. That rocks.

Deirdra:  Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?

Paul: I can cook! Seriously I love cooking. I find it so relaxing to take my time preparing a nice meal. Makes my wife very happy, I can tell you.

I also play tabletop roleplaying games and my wife and I host regular game nights at our house.

Deirdra:  What are your goals as an author for the next three years?

Paul: I wish I could say I was just happy to have my first book out and willing to see what happens from here. But the truth is I can never sit still when it comes to writing. I've finished the first draft of the sequel to Locked Within, tentatively titled Forgotten Cause, and I'm hopeful that we'll get the editing on that finished in time for a 2013 release. As soon as that's in progress though, I'll be starting work on the final part of the trilogy, Memory War. After that I'll start working on something new. Ultimately my goal is that in three years' time I'll have enough books out that are selling well that I can give up my day job and write full time.




Deirdra:  Where is your favorite place to write?

Paul: At my computer in our front room. We use our front room as our library, music room and games room, so the shelves are full of books, CDs and board games. I have an incredbly comfortable office chair I got in Ikea and I work away there whenever I can, with my music playing. I'm going to be heartbroken if I ever have to replace that chair, because Ikea have discontinued it!

Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?

Paul: Never take advice from only one source. There's a lot of information out there and so many ways to achieve your dream. Forget the debate over traditional or self-publishing. Don't worry about small publishing houses vs the Big 6. Find the path that feels right for you, and make sure you get as much information as you can. The industry is changing. It's an exciting time to be an author, so keep your wits about you and never, ever give up.

Deirdra: Where can readers go to find your books and order them?

It's available now from Amazon, both for Kindle and in print edition. You can also order directly from my publisher, WiDo Publishing, or your local bookstore.





Book Summary:

Now a creature emerges from the city’s past to kill again, with no-one to hear the screams of its victims. The lost and the weak, crushed under the heels of the city’s supernatural masters, have given up hope.

But one man finds himself drawn to these deaths. Plagued by dreams of past lives, his obsession may cost him friends, loved ones, even his life. To stop this monster, he must unlock the strength he once had. He must remember the warrior he was, to become the hero he was born to be.

His name is Nathan Shepherd, and he remembers.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Mouth of the Dragon by Ronda Hinrichsen

Another Amazing book by Ronda Hinrichsen that I had the honor of illustrating.




The Mouth of the Dragon, the third book in my Heroes of the Highest Order Series is now available as an ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. Still working on the print version. Here's a quick blurb and the cover: Tadeusz Pankiewicz, a real-life hero, helps Dan and Page rescue two children from the Nazis in World War II Poland. 



 Check out Ronda's website at http://rondahinrichsen.com

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Interveiw with Author James Hutchings

When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I think I've wanted to do something creative since I was a teenager. But I've tried several different things, such as music and filmmaking, before I finally settled on writing. To be honest, if it turned out that I was actually better at, say, painting than writing, I think I'd be happy to change. So in a sense I still haven't decided I want to be an author.


Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?

I get discouraged a lot. Usually it's when people don't like something I've written as much as I do, or when I run out of ideas halfway through a story. One thing I do is make a point of writing every day, even when I don't feel like it. This helps get through temporary slumps. I think if you wait for inspiration to strike it never will. Often I start with the attitude that "I'm really tired and I can't think of anything. I'll just write a token amount so I can say I did something today," and actually end up having a good idea and getting a lot done.

I usually have several things that I'm working on at the same time. This helps with running out of ideas, because I can leave what I'm working on and do something else instead. The danger with this is that starting something can be more fun than finishing it, and so you run the risk of having lots of half-written pieces that you never finish.


Can you tell us a little about your book, 'The Case of the Syphilitic Sister'.

It's a detective / superhero story set in a two-fisted version of the 1930s.


What kinds of inspiration do you use during your story creation periods?

Some ideas just pop into my head, without me knowing where the idea comes from. An example of that is a recent poem I wrote, called 'Angel Square', about a square where angels take the place of pigeons. Other ideas come from experiences in my life. For example a while ago I found three injured birds in the space of a few weeks. I took all of them to the local vet. As I was carrying one of them, I thought that the woman at reception might wonder where I was finding all these injured birds, and that was the inspiration for my story 'Lost, Feral or Stray'.

I've written a lot about cats, based on having been a cat owner. But I'm a lot more cynical about them than some cat-lovers. One reviewer said he couldn't work out whether I loved cats or hated them.


Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?

My other main hobby is coding online games. I spent several years writing an online game called Age of Fable (www.ageoffable.net). I don't have any plans to do more on it, but it's still online, and you can play it for free. I've also done a few smaller projects. For example I did an online version of the computer game Oregon Trail.


What are you working on now?

The main thing I'm working on right now is a poem set in the old West, called 'Confession of a Bounty Hunter'.

I've been encouraged to write a novel set in the fantasy city of Telelee, which is the setting of a few of the stories in 'The New Death and others'. I have a lot of background for this world, because I blog every few days (http://www.apolitical.info/teleleli) and a lot of it is details of the setting.


What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?

Nowadays anyone can self-publish. If you can make a Word document, you can have an ebook on Smashwords or Amazon. However that means that if your work is no good, no one's going to stop you. I'd recommend that people get onto Critique Circle (www.critiquecircle.com) and/or Scribophile (www.scribophile.com), put their work up, and listen to what people tell you. Don't 'defend' your work against people's 'attacks'. They aren't attacks, they're helping you. I've found that the people who defend their work have a strong tendency to have the worst writing, I suppose because they're not making the changes they need to make.

If you don't know how to use Photoshop or a similar program, I'd recomment hiring someone else to make a cover for you. This can be relatively cheap - less than $100 depending on what you want. Smashwords has some information on people who do this.

My next point doesn't matter if you're going to self-publish, but it is important if you want to be published by a regular publisher, or if you want to submit stories to magazines. Most places won't publish work that's already been published. And most places count putting a story on the internet as publishing it. In my opinion that's silly, but that's what they do. Scribophile and Critique Circle are exceptions, because google doesn't index them and you can't see any stories without logging on. However there are writing group websites out there where, if you put a story on the site, that counts as the story being published. That seems like a really terrible way to set things up, but they're out there.

There are two schools of thought on promoting your work after you publish. Some people say that you should spend a lot of time contacting blogs, posting on forums, running your own blog and so on. Other people say that you're better off putting the energy into writing more so you can have more books out. I honestly don't know which one is right.

There are a lot of sharks out there, who make their money from authors and not from readers. They will make all sorts of promises about how they're going to promote you and help you, but these are lies. Authors do not pay publishers, ever, and if they're asking you to pay then it's a scam. Of course if you're self-publishing you might end up paying someone to design a cover for you, or you might pay for internet advertising, but those are different things. You might also pay a printer to print your books if you want to get physical books rather than ebooks - but in this age of the kindle and print-on-demand I don't know why you'd want to. Preditors and Editors (www.pred-ed.com) is a good website to look at, and you can get good advice at the forums of Critique Circle. The best-known reputable and free self-publishing venues are Amazon Kindle Direct, Smashwords.com, and for physical books Lulu.com.

Finally, I'd suggest learning to touch-type if you can't already. You're going to be doing a lot of typing, and every hour you spend getting faster at typing will save you ten in the long run.


Where can readers go to find your books and order them?

You can find Chapter One of 'The Case of the Syphilitic Sister' for free reading at http://www.jukepopserials.com/home/read/13. I intend to put up new chapters every month.

'The New Death and others' is available for 99c as an ebook in a few places:

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005Q8Q8DY

Smashwords:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/92126

Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-new-death-and-others-james-hutchings/1106579897

DriveThruFiction:

http://www.drivethrufiction.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=4616