Tag Archives: Indie Author
Lia Fairchild’s debut novel, IN SEARCH OF LUCY, has been a break-out bestseller. It caught the eye of the Amazon editors and is now part of the Amazon Encore imprint. Well done, Lia! Today she is sharing her new novella HINT OF MURDER series–THE WRITER, THE DOCTOR, and THE BOUNCER.
QUICKIE CONTEST: Want to ask Lia about her sudden rise as an Indie Author? Make a comment or ask a question to be eligible for a FREE ebook from Lia.
Excerpt from A Hint of Murder: The Writer
Alicia Fairfield didn’t plan on being famous. Now a bestselling author with millions of fans, Alicia also has the attention of a killer. Someone has been recreating the murders from her books and the suspects are piling up; her mentally ill son, a disgruntled associate, and possibly even her loyal literary agent. The pressure of public recognition along with the guilt over these senseless killings could be enough to drive Alicia over the edge. Can she hold it together long enough to uncover a killer? (Story length 9,000 words)
Since the first body was discovered, she’d had nothing but heartache, worry and guilt. Alicia Fairfield prayed it was a coincidence; that the murdered young woman had nothing to do with the story she had created. A story that was played out on the big screen just last week. Perhaps making Vegas Vendetta, her tenth bestseller, into a movie had been a mistake. The Las Vegas Showgirl was fatally stabbed the night of the premiere. Alicia and her agent Edward spoke to the police the next day before Alicia returned to her million-dollar home snuggly perched in the rolling hills of Marin County.
Alicia clutched the bottle tightly, closed the medicine cabinet and stared at herself in the mirror. A pair of icy blue eyes gazed back at her as she smoothed down her straight blonde hair. At forty five, she was just beginning to show the signs of aging. For a moment, the stranger in the reflection hypnotized her but she tore herself away from the image and left for the kitchen. She passed through her dining room, decorated to perfection, and her hallway adorned with gorgeous paintings, some of them her own creations. When she reached the sink, she filled a glass with water and took it along with the pill bottle to the other side of the counter. Then she set them down next to her laptop and took a seat at the end barstool.
Alicia glanced down at the morning paper, and reread the headline. “Copy Cat Killer Strikes Again.” The article detailed the killing of the showgirl and linked it to the recent murder of a nurse found dead behind a free clinic in Novato. A source told the paper that a page from A.J. Field’s novel From the Shadows had been left with the nurse’s body. The pen name was Alicia’s attempt to have a private life and keep her family—mainly her mentally ill son—away from public scrutiny.
Alicia set the paper down and turned to her laptop. Mesmerized by the blinking cursor, she contemplated what she would write. For the first time, these would be her words. It was possible two lives had been taken because of the words she’d written in her novels. Should these be the last words anyone would ever read from A.J. Field?
Lia Fairchild is a native Californian who loves reading, writing, movies, and anything else related to the arts. For more about Lia and her books visit http://www.liafairchild.com and http://www.ahintofmurder.blogspot.com or follow her on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/#!/liafairchild”
And here’s the rest of the story–Part 2 of our interview with Theresa Ragan (T.R. Ragan), author of the Lizzy Gardner series and more.
Dana Taylor: I love these tales of people who are “overnight successes”! Theresa, there are a lot of Indie authors uploading a lot of manuscripts, but few are having your level of success. What would you say is making your stories stand out? Also—why did the agents and editors miss a 6 time Golden Heart finalist?
TR: It is strange…writing for nearly two decades and feeling like an overnight success. Why did agents and editors miss a 6 time Golden Heart finalist? Good question! Ha! Long ago, I had heard that once an author finalled in the Golden Heart, the chances of selling were better than ever. Six finals in the GH and still nothing. I had signed with two agents, but ultimately both agents had a favorite book that they tried to sell, which meant that two or three of my books were submitted to about 20 or 30 editors. That meant that 20 or 30 people had decided my future writing career. If I were to give advice to an author looking for an agent, I would say don’t sign with an agent unless he/she loves ALL of your work, or at least most of it.
Looking back, I blame myself since I don’t think I was pro-active enough. Instead of leaving it up to my agent to make a sale, I should have found a way to make sure ALL of my books were being submitted around NY. Regarding your first question about why my books are standing out…when I wasn’t selling I would sometimes ask “why me?” And now that I am selling, I sometimes ask “why me?” I really have no idea why my books are selling well, but if I had to guess, I would say that it really is about luck and timing. Thrillers are hot right now. I hit the right genre at the right time. And maybe, just maybe, I finalled in the Golden Heart six times for a reason. I always believed that finalling in the Golden Heart meant that my stories had a certain “appeal.”
DT: Seeing how capricious “success” seems to be in the book business, it does feel like there are perhaps Greek Gods simply playing with authors as their little pawns. At any rate, I think your increasingly popularity has to be a sign that READERS LIKE YOUR BOOKS! They read one and continue on with the series.
Will you give us a mini-tour through your books and some of your favorite characters?
TR: As I mentioned earlier, when I sat down to write my first book years ago, it was a medieval time travel romance. My plan was to write medieval time travels forever! I worked so long and so hard on Return of the Rose that I practically have the book memorized. I love every character and I think this book will always be my favorite. I especially adore the hero, Derek Vanguard, Lord of Braddock Hall. He is misunderstood. He’s one hundred percent alpha male, gruff around the edges, but most importantly, he’s a genuinely nice guy.
A Knight in Central Park is the second book and the second medieval time travel I wrote. The hero, Joe, is based on a thought I had one day when I wondered what my husband, Joe, would do if he found himself miraculously transported to another time–a time without toothpaste, hot showers and soap. My husband would not handle it well and neither does the hero in my book.
I wrote Taming Mad Max and Having My Baby (coming soon) out of desperation to sell to NY since time travels weren’t selling, or at least that’s what I was told. I love reading and writing romantic comedies and I plan to write many more.
The next book I wrote was Finding Kate Huntley, a romantic suspense. I really like Kate, the heroine. She’s feisty and she doesn’t take any crap from anyone. After my agent shopped it around and the book didn’t sell, I read about Lisa Gardner’s transition from writing romance to thrillers. I was fascinated by her two-year journey. I spent the next few months dissecting popular thrillers. I read every article Lisa Gardner wrote on plotting thrillers. By this time, I was a tiny bit annoyed about not selling and I decided that I was going to write a thriller and kill off my characters along with my frustrations. It was working, too, but then I began to research real-life serial killers and I started having nightmares. I couldn’t cook dinner without visualizing all of the horrible things that my killer could do with the knives in the drawer.
Abducted was the first book I had ever written that I couldn’t wait to read the minute I wrote The End. I feel connected to every character in my Lizzy Gardner series. They are all resilient characters who have lived through horrible events, but who are also determined to not allow their demons to get the best of them.
Okay, that’s the end of my “mini” tour, Dana. Aren’t you glad you didn’t ask for the full blown tour? As you can see, I tend to ramble on and on. I can’t thank you enough for inviting me to talk with you. If anyone has any questions at all, ask away!
DT: Theresa signed a contract with Thomas & Mercer at Amazon at the end of March for her Lizzy Gardner series. All of her books are enjoying steady sales. You can visit Theresa at her website http://www.theresaragan.com/. Be sure and ask a question or make a comment here to be eligible for a FREE copy of one of her books.
Coming soon to BLB–Marsha Canham and Anne R. Allen. As always, we remind you to support your favorite authors by writing customer reviews.
Dana Taylor: Hey Babes! You’re in for a treat. You may have noticed a gal by the last name of RAGAN bouncing all over the romance bestseller lists at Amazon. The tagline on her website reads “3 genres, 2 names, 1 author.” Writing as both T.R. Ragan and Theresa Ragan, this author is hitting her stride. Here are the ASTOUNDING numbers–as of March 31, 2012 she has sold 255,655 books as an Indie Author. That doesn’t include the over 185,000 free downloads. Is it any surprise that she just snagged her first publishing contract with her Lizzy Gardner series with Amazon’s Thomas and Mercer Imprint? I’m very happy she’s agreed to stop by BLB and let us get to know her.
DT: Welcome to BLB, Theresa. I’ve been watching your star rising for the past several months. Can you give us a little background about yourself and your road as an author?
Personal Info: I’ve been happily married for twenty-five years. In fact, it just keeps getting better and better. I love spending time with my four kids. I have been playing the piano since I was 8 years old. I love to travel and I have been spoiled by my sister who has taken me on many faraway adventures.
Author Info: Nearly twenty years ago, I read A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux, and the minute I finished that book I knew I wanted to write my own time travel romance. I was pregnant with my fourth and last child, home on leave of absence from work, and I was tired of watching Young and the Restless.( I can still hear the theme song after all these years.) Five years later, my youngest was entering Kindergarten when I finished Return of the Rose. When daycare costs became more than my paycheck, I had to quit my job as a legal secretary. With four kids at home, I had to write early in the morning, late at night, and in the car while waiting for the kids to get out of school.
It was 1997 or 98 when a friend of mine told me that there was a group of writers called the Romance Writers of America. I didn’t have a computer at the time, but I went to the library, found a phone number and joined RWA. I still remember how exciting it was to talk on the phone with Patti Berg about joining the Sacramento Chapter of RWA. It was so wonderful to meet other like-minded people who had crazy scenes, characters, and dialogue running through their head. I learned more in that first year of being an RWA member than in the five years I had been writing. I learned all about point of view and dialogue tags. Seven national conferences, two agents, too many contests to count, 6 finals in the Golden Heart competition, hundreds of workshops and creative writing classes later, my youngest was entering college! Where did the time go?
I had written more than ten 400-page novels, I had worked with agents and editors, but I still had not made a sale to New York. I was writing every day. I was doing everything right, but my time was up. It was time for me to get a real job that paid real money. While reading through the Want Ads and looking for a job, I had an epiphany. Well, really my epiphany came in the form of Cate Rowan talking/blogging about self-publishing. Why not self-publish my two time travel romances? I read Return of the Rose for the millionth time and I knew it was time to give my books a chance. I had absolutely nothing to lose. Within weeks, I had sold hundreds of books, and within months, I had sold thousands. I was blown away. I still am.
TOMORROW–The Indie road and a mini-tour through Theresa’s books.
Special thanks to C.J. Archer for guesting on BLB. Congratulations to Sarah (drpharmgirl) and Jan Carol for winning a free copy of SURRENDER, C.J.’s latest release!
From Dana Taylor– C.J. Archer is turning into an “over night success” with break out book sales and a much-coveted contract offer from Amazon’s new romance imprint, Montlake Publishing. Though we live continents apart (she’s from Down Under), I’ve come to her admire C.J.’s elegant manner and highly enjoyable tales. She’s just celebrated her first anniversary as an official Indie Author. Book Luvin’ Babes is happy to present C.J. Archer–
Anniversaries are a time for celebration and reflection but I let my 1-year anniversary of indie-publishing slip by without a single tweet or post. It seemed fitting because that’s exactly how I began this venture on January 28th 2011: quietly.
I dipped my toe into indie -publishing cautiously, afraid that it might tarnish me as a writer. I’d spent 15 years building up a professional reputation by winning and finaling in contests, attending conferences, and honing my craft. I thought I’d be throwing all of that hard work away if I self-published, so I chose a different name and became C.J. Archer. I even changed the titles of my contest winning books so no-one would be able to link the real manuscripts or the real me to the indie-pubbed ones. That way I could keep submitting to agents and editors and none of them could track my sales results and use them against me if they were low, which I expected them to be.
Why did I do it if I was so ashamed of it? Well, I knew the publishing landscape was changing. Everywhere you went on the internet, you couldn’t escape the discussions. I decided I had nothing to lose. I was ready. My writing was solid. After 15 years, 1 agent and 22 completed manuscripts (yes, that’s 22 book-length manuscripts and another 6 or so unfinished) I decided it was time to take back control. I was tired of the glacial speed of publishing and the lack of editorial interest in historical romances set outside Regency England, and I thought I might as well try to earn some money. As I saw it, it was either self-publish or give up, and the thought of wasting those 15 years pushed me over the edge. Besides, I really loved some of those manuscripts.
Fast forward a few months and I had 6 releases under my belt. I received some good reviews (and some bad ones) but more importantly, I was selling books. Not huge numbers like some folks, but a good number. Then the numbers began to wane. I knew I had to do something drastic to see them rise again. Fast forward another few months, August to be exact, and I set one of my books, A Secret Life free. It was downloaded thousands of times. The sequel, A Secret Desire, subsequently sold thousands of copies. Suddenly I was making serious money not only on Amazon but Apple and Barnes & Noble where before I’d made nothing.
Then it got even better.
An editor from Amazon’s romance imprint, Montlake Publishing, contacted me. She loved those 2 books and wanted to re-publish them as Montlake titles. Really? My books? I was totally surprised. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of contracts, edits, cover copy, front covers and emails. The 2 books will be re-released with new titles – Her Secret Desire and Scandal’s Mistress respectively – on April 24th in both print and ebook.
So what’s in store for the next year? I have no idea. If you’d asked me a year ago if I thought I would have a 2-book contract with a publishing company that most authors are clamoring to sign with, I’d have responded with a classic Aussie line: “You’re dreaming”. What I do know is that aside from the two re-released books, I have plans for a third book in that series. I’m also halfway through a Victorian-era trilogy which features a ghost and the young woman who can see him, and I have lots of ideas for more Elizabethan historical romances. I’m also releasing a Regency historical romance, Surrender, very soon. To find out when it’s available and take advantage of the discount I’ll be offering upon its release, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be added to my New Releases list.
If I’ve learned one thing this year it’s to say yes to opportunities, be nice but be yourself, and don’t worry about what other people think of your choices. Oh, and starting out quietly isn’t always a bad thing.
Thank you, C.J. for being our first guest at Book Luvin’ Babes. Hey, Babes–be sure to ask C.J. a question in the comments to be entered in the contest to win a copy of SURRENDER. And don’t forget to “like” the BLB Facebook page to keep up with the site!