I’m Entering the Harrowing World of Marketing…Advice Needed, Please!


Hello, all! As you might have read, I am now an indie published author of a lovely Latino Christian fiction novel entitled, Vivir el DreamI am excited to announce that I have sold over 100 books so far! And readers have expressed an overwhelmingly positive response. People are asking what’s next. And while a great part of me wants to work on that next project, there are still plenty of people who haven’t read this book yet and I must find a way to get to there. So, to quote Shakespeare, “Ay, there’s the rub…must give us pause…”

I have a few leads on what to do for marketing but I would love to hear from friends and other bloggers about what has worked best for you.

So, comment away!!!

A War of Deception: An Interview with Local Author P.A. Duncan


When retired U.N. spy Mai Fisher leaves a diplomatic reception on a cold, rainy night early in the new year of 2001, she dashes for the first cab she sees. The driver has a tattoo Mai has seen before on Serbian paramilitaries. Suspicious, she forces him to admit he was waiting for her–to deliver her to the Russian Mafiya.

After almost 40 years as a spy for the United Nations Intelligence Directorate, Alexei Bukharin is glad to be alive to enjoy time with his wife, Mai Fisher, and to finish raising his college-student granddaughter, Natalia. When Mai calls him out of bed to bring her dry clothes after she takes an information drop from a Serbian diplomat, he discovers she’s suffered something that can be death for a spy, retired or otherwise: Someone knows her true identity.

A raid on the Mafiya apartment where Mai was to be taken uncovers something more devastating. The thugs have a photograph of Natalia at her university. The investigation becomes two-pronged: Who burned Mai, and why is the Russian underworld interested in Natalia?

Their investigation uncovers a Russian mole in the FBI, one who has been selling America’s secrets to the Soviets and the Russian Federation for more than 20 years. When Alexei discovers the reason behind the interest in Natalia, he realizes a decision he made in 1974 has come back to haunt him.

Personal needs, professional standards, and a choice from the past collide in a war of deception.

Maggie - AWoD Kindle Cover
Hello there! I’m so glad you are joining me today to learn about your first full-length novel, A War of Deception. Tell me a little about the book.
A War of Deception is about a retired spy getting burned (i.e., her true identity revealed), and the investigation into that leads to two subplots that end up being related. The tag line is: “Past and present. Fathers and sons. Retribution and revenge.” That pretty much sums it up. It is based on a real event in 2001, the discovery of a Russian mole in the FBI who’d been selling secrets for almost three decades.
You have also written several novellas and short stories. Are the same characters in all of them or are they different?
The same two principle characters, U.N. spies Mai Fisher and Alexei Bukharin, show up in all of them (except for a collection of literary short stories titled Fences), and they’re joined by a large cast of supporting characters: analysts, enemy agents, friends, lovers, adversaries. It’s a lot of work to keep them straight.
Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
From recent history and current headlines. I’m a student of history and politics (domestic and international), and world events appeal to me. I’ve written a lot of fiction about the Balkan wars in the 1990s and the Troubles in Ireland. My characters start out as spies in the Cold War and have to make an adjustment after the fall of the Soviet Union, and I deal with that in my work as well. And, of course, this past presidential election is fodder for all sorts of fiction. I’m sure every thriller writer is salivating over what comes next. Indeed, I’ve written (and published) a short story (“Brave New World” in Spy Flash II) and a novelette (Who Watches the Watchmen? and its soon to be published sequel, Hidden Agendas) about the 2016 election.
Do you have to do a lot of research or is this subject area one you have extensive knowledge about already?
Well, I’m not a spy–or maybe I am. LOL. I have to research tradecraft in different eras extensively because I want the stories to be authentic. My history degree helps, but I still have to research technology, customs, clothing, etc., for the time period I’m writing in. In my case, a lot of it is a walk down memory lane, especially looking at 1980s and 1990s fashions. Did I really wear things like that?
If your book was made into a movie, who would you like to play your main characters?
I’m a big fan of Viggo Mortensen. A great actor and easy on the eyes. When I saw him in Eastern Promises, he became my model for Alexei Bukharin. Imagine Mortensen with hair like the scientist Michio Kaku, and you have Alexei. Mai Fisher has always been harder for me to “cast.” I’ve seen her in Angelina Jolie (Lara Croft movies and Salt) and Cote de Pablo (formerly of NCIS). Having recently seen Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot would be a great contender for Mai in the 1980s and 1990s. Other people have suggested a young Helen Mirren.
And in theat movie, would the Russian parts be dubbed with thick accents or subtitled? (Okay, this is just a personal bias of mine. I want Russian with subtitles! hahaha!)
Well, Alexei has a slight Russian accent, but there are long exchanges of dialogue in Russian, so subtitles would work. 🙂
So what’s next for you? Do you have more novellas or short stories coming out or more novels? Anything in the works?
I’m always working on short pieces. They are great diversions when I get blocked on a novel. I have a couple of straight literary fiction novels I’d like to pitch to agents, but the big announcement is starting in April of 2018, a four-book series (aka a tetralogy) will begin, based somewhat loosely on the siege at Waco and the Oklahoma City bombing, though both those events have been “moved” to other locales for decency’s sake. I’ll continue to do NaNoWriMo, so I’m pretty much set with a backlog of manuscripts.
So, you’ve pretty much had one of the coolest careers prior to being a writer of anyone I know. Can you tell us a bit about this?
I held a number of jobs in the Federal Aviation Administration for thirty years, including reporter, editor, aviation safety inspector, and finally Flight Standards chief of staff. I was your basic bureaucrat for most of it, but I got to do a lot of interesting things: accident investigation, task forces, special investigations, and so forth. It was a good career, and I still keep my eye on pilot and flight attendants when I’m on an airplane. LOL.
Tell us something interesting about yourself that people might not guess.
I’m certified in the Commonwealth of Virginia to perform weddings. I specialize in nondenominational or humanistic weddings. A lot of the couples I’ve married have been from mixed religious backgrounds but who want a ceremony that’s spiritual but doesn’t favor one religion over the other.
If you had to go undercover as a spy, what would be hardest for you and why?
The lying–to your family, to the people you’re trying to recruit. I’m a lousy liar myself, so I’d likely not be successful at it. The deception, particularly with a spouse or your family, is something I’d find hard to overcome.
Thank you, P.A. Duncan!!!
Get your copy of A War of Deception here: http://bit.ly/PADuncan

Maggie - Me

P. A. Duncan is a retired bureaucrat but one with an overactive imagination—at least that’s what everyone has told her since she first started making up stories in elementary school prompted by her weekly list of spelling words.

A commercial pilot and former FAA safety official, she lives and writes in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. A graduate of Madison College (now James Madison University), she has degrees in history and political science. Politics and history manage to work their way into her writing.

She is president of the Virginia Writers Club, one of the oldest writer organizations in the country.

Her fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. When not writing, reading, reviewing books, singing in a UU choir, watching the Yankees, or cheering on Dale Earnhardt, Jr., she delights in spoiling her grandchildren.

Connect with P.A. Duncan here:

Http://www.facebook.com/unspywriter (Facebook author page)

@unspywriter (Twitter)

@PADuncan1 (Instagram)

Hex Breaker: An Interview with Taryn Noelle Kloeden


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Forced to decide between her happiness and her pack’s safety, Rayna Myana chooses to protect those she loves. But when shattered promises and dark magic collide, no one is safe…

For six hundred years, Fenear, a land where humans can take wolf form, has warred with Maenor, its neighboring kingdom ruled by a ruthless dynasty. The possibility of peace emerges when the Maenoren Overlord, Rhael, enters negotiations with Fenearen leaders Bayne and Silver, but their niece, Rayna, is skeptical. Yet, when Rhael proposes to her to strengthen the alliance, she agrees for the sake of her country, despite her family’s objections and a blossoming romance with her best friend. Suspicion of treachery changes Rayna’s decision, but before she can annul the agreement, powerful forces subdue her with a sinister hex. Separated from her pack with Fenear and everyone she loves in danger, Rayna must escape and travel to a distant realm to break the hex. Only then can she save her best friend and her homeland.

Lines blur between heroism and recklessness, dreams and reality, even life and death, and Rayna risks losing herself along the way.

1. Thank you, Taryn, for allowing me to interview me today!!! I am so excited to read your first novel in final form. It was awesome when I read it in draft form so I can only imagine how spectacular it must be now. Tell us a little but about it.

Thank you for having me! I can’t wait for you to read Hex Breaker either, as it has really evolved since those early stages. As you might remember, this novel is the first in the Fenearen Chronicles trilogy. Hex Breaker is a YA fantasy about a young woman with the ability to transform into a wolf who finds herself at the center of peace negotiations between her nation and their long-time rival. When she discovers all is not as it seems, she must undertake an epic quest to save those she loves. At its core, I’d say it’s a story about love, family, and the lengths we go to save those closest to us.

2. How did you get the idea for the book? Have you always loved writing or is this a new thing for you?

The earliest kernels of this story come from games I used to play as a child. I loved to play outside and since my siblings and other neighborhood kids were older and had “grown out” of such things, I had to come up with ways to entertain myself. So, I created characters and stories. A few characters in this book including Rayna, Channon, and Gar got their start out there in the woods. I started writing these stories down when I was in middle and high school, eventually leading to the first draft of this novel. I kept writing throughout college, but mostly short stories and creative nonfiction. But when I graduated and eventually joined a writing club, I decided to become more serious about this novel. A few years later, here we are!

3. If your book was made into a movie, what actors would be in it?

Haha, yes, one day perhaps Hollywood will come a-knocking and I’m sure the casting director will be happy to know I have this Pinterest board filled with ideas. Certain characters I’ve always sort of envisioned as specific actors. For example, I have always seen Seperun as Idris Elba and Kellan as Ben Barnes. Other characters though, including Rayna and Bayne, I have a very specific mental image for, and I’ve never quite found an actor that matches. Maybe that means the actors destined to play them just haven’t been discovered yet 😉

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4. Have you always loved animals?

Yes, absolutely. I drove my parents bonkers I’m sure with all my requests for various pets and my tendency to find strays and wildlife in need of rescuing. I was obsessed with Animal Planet growing up and the first job I ever remember wanting to be was a veterinarian (ended up as an anthrozoologist, so pretty close). I was lucky to live in a rural area with lots of wildlife and have many pets (mostly cats) over the years, and for me that love for nonhumans never faded and has become an integral part of my writing and my career.

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5. You recently graduated. What did you study and what is your 9 to 5?

Yes I recently graduated with my M.S. in Anthrozoology, which is essentially the study of human-animal interaction. I specifically am interested in understanding and helping to address instances of human-wildlife conflict. This built upon my undergraduate study in psychology and biology. I will be starting a PhD program in the fall, this time under the label of environmental science but plan to continue my anthrozoological research. One day I hope to be a professor but have held several animal related jobs over the past few years. I’ve worked at wildlife rehab centers and an animal shelter, and now I have a really fun job as a dog swim instructor!

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6. If you could wake up as any animal, what would it be and why?

That’s a tough question. My first instinct would be to say some kind of bird, because birds are absolutely fantastic animals with better eye sight than us and the ability to fly of course, but I also have studied birds enough to know how strenuous their lives can be. I’m not sure I’m hardcore enough to hack it as a bird! My second instinct is to say a wolf or a fox, but they also lead very intense lives, and as someone who only eats plant-based food, I don’t think I’d transition into killing to eat well either. So if we’re being honest, I think I’d do best as some kind of large herbivore, if I had to make the change permanent. If, however, I could shift back and forth like a Fenearen, I think I would have my other form be a wolf or fox 🙂

7. What else are you working on right now? Will there be more Fenearen Chronicles coming soon? And will those also be submitted through “The Tamara Effect”?

Right now I just finished up my Master’s thesis (yay!) so am decompressing for a couple of weeks. After that, I’m going to be working on Twice Blessed, the second in the Fenearen Chronicles trilogy. I hope to publish that sometime next year, and indeed, if she’ll have me, I hope to work with the fabulous editor Tamara Shoemaker once more! The Tamara Effect turned my first book into something far more amazing than I could’ve hoped, and I can only imagine the wonders it will do for my second. Besides this series, I am working on some short fiction and a science fiction project, but those probably won’t see the light of day for quite a while as I focus on finishing this trilogy and starting my PhD.

Thanks so much! This was really fun, and I feel I learned stuff about animals in the process! So excited to read your book!

Here’s where you can find out more about Taryn and her books!

Amazon short link: goo.gl/6M9tjo

Website: www.tnkloeden.com

Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest handle: @tnkloeden

Facebook: www.facebook.com/tnkloeden

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16521805.Taryn_Noelle_Kloeden

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Ariel: My Interview with Sydney Scrogham


sydney Full Cover Final
Back cover copy:  Abuse survivor Ariel Harte doesn’t need anyone. Ever. But her companion animal is infected with a dark, magical force. Only an ancient purification ritual, the mind link, performed with another human can cure this infection.

Ariel must ask her ex-boyfriend, Ryan Tracey, for help.

But she’s racing time. She’s infected, too. All the walls will have to come down so Ariel can heal or she will lose herself to the darkness forever. 

Ariel: The First Guardian is a story of true love that wins over time, the power of second chances, and redemption from abuse. This is a prequel to Chase in the Guardians of Agalrae series but can be enjoyed as a standalone novel.

Preorder it now on Amazon 
Hello, Sydney! I’m so excited about your new book, Ariel, that’s coming out tomorrow, June 17th. I’ve got some fun questions for you. Here we go!
What inspired you to write this book?
In all honesty, it was a bad breakup. Writing for me is a spiritual process transforming painful circumstances into something life-giving that I can understand. That’s exactly what I did with Ariel’s story. I won’t confess what parts are based on real-life events, but this story does hit close to home. As I wrote Ariel’s story and she got her happy ending, I did, too.
 
What other books/movies can you compare your book to?
When it comes to the voice of this story, definitely James Patterson’s Maximum Ride books. And then I took some of the romance aspects from my favorite TV show Castle. This was also kind of my way of ironically striking back at Fifty Shades of Grey. There are a lot of ironic connections between the stories for me, but I’ll leave it up to the reader to figure out how. (Don’t worry, Ariel’s story doesn’t contain any graphic sexual scenes.)
 
Is this the first book you have published? If not, what are some of your other books out there?
This is the second book for me. The first was Chase, published in August 2015 with Koehler Books.
 
I hear you have mild to moderate obsession with horsies…when did this all begin?
Probably when I started writing. 🙂 Actually, it was before then. There’s a picture floating around my family of me as a baby sitting on the back of a gray horse. (Yes, someone is holding me up there.) I got my own horse when I was 12, and I’ve had a horse ever since. Snowdy is my second four-legged child. I met him working at my college’s equestrian center. He picked me as his person, and when the college was ready to retire him from his school horse career, he came home with me a few months after.
 
sydney with Snowdy
Explain the feeling you get when you are riding a horse.
It’s simultaneously peaceful and empowering. My mind silences to focus on a single thing-communicating well with my horse. A horse is always speaking to its rider if they have the ears to listen. When I reach that sweet spot where we’re understanding each other, I feel invincible.
 
What’s your favorite type of horse?
It’s never been about the “type” for me. It’s about the heart. That’s what drew me to Snowdy. He was a rather aggressive lesson horse, very unhappy with life, and I remember the days when people would refer to him with expletives I won’t repeat. That made me so angry. I could see something in Snowdy’s eyes from the beginning, even when he was angry. He was intelligent, always thinking, full of potential, but frustrated. All he needed was someone to believe in him. And in that moment, I saw myself in his eyes. That was it. I was sold. Long story short, I learned Snowdy is a Selle Francais (French Thoroughbred) with a fancy sire and siblings that have gone off to be big names in the show jumping ring. But that was never important to me in the beginning. It just so happens that he has incredible natural talent. He’s been with me for three years now, happy as can be, and though he isn’t mean anymore, he did keep his sass. 🙂 It’s amazing how sometimes all animals (and people) need sometimes is a little bit of love.
 
Finally, what song would play in the opening track of your book turned into a movie?
Funny you asked that. I asked Ariel the same thing when she was teaching me her backstory before I started writing. She told me that her opening song would be “Hero” by Nickelback. The rest of her playlist includes “Hero” by Skillet, “I Know” by Seventh Day Slumber, “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence, “Invincible” by Crossfade, and “Erase” by Building 429.
 
For more from Ariel’s initial interview with me, check it out: http://www.sswriter.com/lions-tigers-characters-oh-my-interview-101/ 
Thanks so much, Syndney! Can’t wait to read the book!
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SYDNEY SCROGHAM loves creating happy endings. She started writing when she was 12. Her first book, Chase, was published by Koehler Books in August 2015. When she’s not writing, she’s at the barn with Snowdy or catching up on reruns of the best TV show ever – Castle. She lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia with an adorable dachshund named Zoe. To learn more, visit her website at sswriter.com.