7 Minutes with an Author

WELCOME laura henning!

So glad you could pop in and share a little about yourself and your writing. 

1. What is the theme of the book you are working on?

My book is not yet out. The soon to be released book is a ya/ na romance set in a funeral parlour. Dead Keen explores first jobs, first boyfriends and first bodies. It explores the bonds of female friendship in adversity and the true meaning of someone having your back. 

My current WIP is about finding your inner strength. All my books have characters who are unapologetically themselves. 

2. What was/is one of the hardest things about writing one of your books/current manuscript?  (Did you or do you want to throw it into the fire like frodo?)

My first (soon to be released) book Dead Keen is set in a funeral parlour. At the beginning I thought, “this will be really funny.” I had no idea how many people I would have to kill. Finding ways for them to die and families to grieve for them was a challenge. There were a few very bad days at the office, like typing “house fire death, smoke or flame?” into Google. Do not look at the images. 

3. Because everyone always wants to know are you a Panster or Plotter?

 Both. Dead Keen was a planned piece. It’s my first full length work and I needed a security blanket. 

Lily, my new manuscript started with an image of  someone wearing red shoes in a hospital and grew from there. I do have a plan but only in my head and if she takes a turn somewhere else I’m just along for the ride. 

4. How important are reviews to you? Do you get upset when they aren’t favourable? (Like stalk the reviewer and wish they get infested with a thousand fleas.) 

I don’t have any reviews yet. My plan is very grass roots and I suspect good reviews will be crucial. Obviously you want people to like your work but once you publish, it has a life of it’s own. I don’t take criticism personally. I got used to it a uni. (We all need thick skin in this business.)

5. How do you market your books? (Stand at the top of a building and shout buy my book?) Any events you want the reader to know about e.g. Coming appearances or signing? 

I’m starting a new enterprise as a motivational speaker and I’m hoping this will also help with my writing. You never know when serendipity will give you a boost. (This sounds so exciting and yes good old serendipity might line things up nicely.)

But I won’t tell people to buy the book, who doesn’t want a sneak peak at the lives inside a funeral home? 

6. Social Media – Love it or hate it?  Where do you hang out the most?  Any tips to share? 

Love to hate it. I can’t instagram, my daggy camera style is not up to it. Also why would anyone want to see my breakfast? (Sorry, I’m guilty of this…I love food and I am a total foodie :D)

I’m on Facebook which is great because you can have conversations and my friends are all over the place. I have twitter but it is exclusively in an attempt to be featured on Huffington Post’s 20 Funniest Tweets from Women. (Oh I love funny tweets. Keep tweeting.)

7. What is your favourite motivational phrase or positive saying?  

I have “Just write a shitty 1st draft” above my computer screen. I’m not sure how motivational that is but it works on the slow days. My personal philosophy is “feel the fear and do it anyway”. This probably explains how I got into life modelling :) 

If you want to know more about Laura you can find her here;

 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Laura-Henning-350045135096833/?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laladancinggirl

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

7 Minutes with an Author

Welcome Lily Malone!

So glad you could pop in and share a little about yourself and your writing. 

1. What is the theme of the book you are working on?

The book I’m writing is Butterfly House Book 2 (for want of a more imaginative title). It is a romantic comedy with a mystery twist. It’s set in my local area of the south west of Western Australia and it involves also the stealing of the (now famous) Cowaramup Cows. The first Butterfly House was a lot of fun to write, but now I need to kick on and get Book 2 written!

2. What was/is one of the hardest things about writing one of your books/current manuscript?  (Did you or do you want to throw it into the fire like frodo?)

One of my books which is currently in submission process is not a romance, it’s women’s fiction. The hardest thing for me was to make sure it never sounded too much like ‘romance’, and also to actually end the darn thing. I have had so many endings to that particular book. I had a Happy Ending (too much like romance); and I now have a not so happy ending. I think I wrote the ending 4 times, different each time.

3. Because everyone always wants to know are you a Panster or Plotter?

Here’s a 1 word answer for you!

‘Pantster’ :)

4. How important are reviews to you? Do you get upset when they aren’t favourable? (Like stalk the reviewer and wish they get infested with a thousand fleas.) 

They are important and they can give great information. For instance, two of my books were initially self-published and are now with Escape Publishing. Seeing early reviews of the works (as self-published titles) has helped me correct and rework later versions of the book. It’s like getting a second chance in some respects. I’ve had some doozy 1-star reviews. The one that springs to mind says: “This book is F*%KED UP”. That doesn’t help much – I guess it just lets that particular reviewer feel important and have a vent I think. Reviews that give good feedback about characters and events in the book (without revealing plot) – those are the ones you want to pin-up on your wall. (Your real writing room wall, not a pinterest one… see question 7)

5. How do you market your books? (Stand at the top of a building and shout buy my book?) Any events you want the reader to know about e.g. Coming appearances or signing? 

Oh, I’m not the best person to answer this one. I don’t do much marketing. I use Facebook to let friends know when something new is coming out, or when it’s on a special offer or special price. I have a Facebook profile and a Facebook Page. I’m a member of Australian Rural Romance and I like that site and enjoy writing for it. I think the organiser of ARR does a wonderful job in keeping the theme and pulling all the rural romance releases together like she does. If something is on special I’ll let Twitter know, and I enjoy my blog writing. The thing that I’m not so into is organised Facebook parties, or blog hops. I don’t do many (um, I haven’t yet done ANY) facebook paid advertising. Personally, I’m not a fan of getting sponsored posts in my FB feeds or Twitter feeds, but other authors I know use them and use them a lot. 

I had a lot of fun last summer when my Fairway To Heaven book appeared in a print bind-up with Victoria Purman and Juliet Madison. I approached my local bookstore in Busselton and told them about the book, and I know I sold that shop out a few times over as friends bought the book. Our local book club reviewed Fairway To Heaven in the 3-book bind-up as their February book of the month, and that was fun. I took some shelfies in the bookstore, and my lovely friend Juanita Kees took a selfie with her hubby Gav, holding the book. A photograph a colleague snapped of me the day those print beauties arrived would have been one of my most popular Facebook posts in terms of likes and shares. So that was nice.

It’s a very special thing having a print book and I am stoked to say that it looks like later this year, I’ll be able to say I can do it again!! 

6. Social Media – Love it or hate it?  Where do you hang out the most?  Any tips to share? 

I love social media – it works for me but I don’t do everything. For example, I never remember to take a camera with me and I’m very mobile phone phobic… so you won’t find me on instagram. I’m also not one for designing things or making things pretty – you should see my hair and my wardrobe (hint, many pairs of tracksuit pants, jeans and t-shirts) so pinterest isn’t for me either. I can’t be bothered. On the other hand, I really enjoy my time on Facebook and Twitter, and I have come to enjoy Goodreads a lot to see what other people are reading and what they liked. I don’t like Goodreads so much when it comes to my own reviews sometimes. See question 4 :) 

7. What is your favourite motivational phrase or positive saying?  

What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger! (I swear, I should be an olympic weightlifter by now…)

If you want to know more about Lily you can find her here;

 

 

 

Take-off Complete!

Well it’s finally here!!  

It has been indeed a week for popping open a champagne bottle and drinking in celebration. 

The long quest to publication has ended and in its place a new one has now begun, the journey where we promote in order to sell our book baby. Not an easy task by any means. 

I can not say that I am not excited. It is a very thrilling time in one’s writing career, to accomplish your dream. 

I have also been blessed to have such wonderful friends in RWA – Romance Writer’s of Australia who have supported and listened to my whinging through my whole journey. 

On the 12th of April, 2016, I celebrated with my family and then again on the 15th with a few author friends. I did not have a big release party as I am also studying and had two assignments to hand in this week. Makes an interesting cocktail of words where academia is concerned…I can tell you that much. :D

So without further adO, I formally present TO YOU – PHANTASMA! 

Amazon: http://goo.gl/OvB8Bc

Barns and Noble: http://goo.gl/pZu7he

iBooks: https://goo.gl/oEsKPM

Big Smiles,

Efthalia

 

Goodreads Giveaway - Phantasma

Big hello readers, 

Some good news for those wanting to get a copy of Phantasma in their hands. A big giveaway is OPEN RIGHT NOW on Goodreads! For a chance to win, just click below or head on over to https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29156299-phantasma

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Phantasma by Efthalia

Phantasma

by Efthalia

Giveaway ends March 21, 2016.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

 

Enter Giveaway

 
Good luck!!

Smiles, Efthalia

The Writer's Journey - My Story - Part 2

There are a multitude of thoughts that run through an author’s head during the plotting, writing, editing, polishing, re-writing, and repeat over stage. Light the barbecue was and endless reel that ran in intricate and complex stream over and over in my mind. It consumed me in that, I became sick of my own story and it is terribly dangerous when you fall in that pit. Climbing out of this bottomless pit is harder than running a marathon. 

 I had fallen out of love with my story

After my ‘rejection’ moment.  I went back to the proverbial drawing board. A dear friend offered to work with me. I learnt a great deal from her but I had fallen out of love with my story. At the time I did not understand why I felt that way. My conscious mind was screaming that my muse had left the building and she wouldn’t be back anytime soon. I persevered and made changes and then made the decision to pitch my book at conference for the second time. I got two requests and followed through. Remember that was 2012. I have given up on waiting for a rejection. 

all the little lights in my brain went bling, bling, bling. Times square’s lights had nothing on what was going on inside my brain.  

In 2013 I decided that I would pitch at the US conference. Again two requests one from an Agent and from a Publisher. Waiting – nah – I am a veteran in ‘non response.’ The best thing that happened at the 2013 conference, that shone the stadium lights on everything, was a twenty five page critique with an awesome and amazing author, who read my drivel and gave me solid feedback. When she explained, all the little lights in my brain went bling, bling, bling. Times square’s lights had nothing on what was going on inside my brain.  

On the flight home from Atlanta to Australia I tore the manuscript to pieces. It was a love hate relationship.

From: http://i.giphy.com/rIIsuUflbjvX2.gif

In 2014 I asked another dear friend if she would edit me. “Yes,” she said. But that same year I decided that I needed to feed the academic beast that had reared its head and would not subside. So that process was thrown on the back burner as I struggled with pressure of full-time study. My book would have to wait for a little longer.  No harm in that right?

WRONG!

The guilt I felt for not progressing cut deeply into my muse and opened a gigantic fissure of doubt that I feared I would not ever return from. I bleed for a long time. I was annoyed mostly with myself for not giving it my 110%. Out of my anger I turned to the inner self for answers and that is when I remembered. I wrote this in 2010 about the writerly-self,

Writerly – Self-evaluation –  the reflection process and learning that happens whilst writing. 

Self-confidence –  belief that allows the writer to master challenges and obstacles in order to accomplish and execute what they ventured out to do.

Self-awareness – recognition of strengths and weaknesses within the writing.

Self-fulfilment – reaching and attaining the goal of a finished novel/work which brings happiness and satisfaction to the writer.

Self-enlightenment – the knowledge of the divine connection of the writing to the self.

Believably, these are all sides of self that a writer will consider and which will evoke a deeper thought in methodologies and approach in the expedition of writing. This depth fuses the understanding of the developing writerly-self.

Soul searching is a way of tapping into our inner strengths.  By understanding ourselves completely we begin to understand how we can bring our inner understanding to our writing thus be able to project our strength onto the blank page that can be the ever daunting stumbling block or thorn in our side.”

I understood why I was struggling at every twist and turn – I had been trying to sever myself completely from the writing. To detach my psyche from my body. To disjoin that which was me from the text. I had spent too much time listening to what and how I should be doing things rather than taking the path that was specifically tuned to me and to me only. This was my baby and it needed nurturing from me and me alone. 

Next week the final piece of this condensed journey –

What a fresh pair of eyes from an editor can do.   

Till then big smiles everyone, Efthalia

 

The Writer's Journey - My Story - Part 1

When I started out to write my first Paranormal/Fantasy/Romance novel, I was fresh out of having finished my Master of Arts in Writing degree. I thought that I could virtually rule the world. Put a sword in my hand and I could slay dragons, the likes that we read in medieval literature. In modern terms Ironman had nothing on me. How utterly bombastic and delusional I was. The universal truth slapped me upside the head sideways and in Greek style.

How utterly bombastic and delusional I was.

I knew nothing about the publishing industry, something that continues to baffle me and amaze me at the same time. But that new knowledge of knowing how little I knew, as Socrates would have said if he were around today, drove me to learn, to immerse myself in the art and craft of creative fiction. Something that non writers often think is an easy task. My evil side wishes I had a cricket bat for every time I am told that anyone can do it. 

That same year I got my first rejection

Back to me, so sword swinging I took the leap and went to my first Romance Writer’s Conference, the best thing I ever did, in 2011. The workshops were an eye opener and the speakers motivational and inspiring. Under the influence of my new found friends which I met in the cyber sphere of RWA’s chat room, I pitched my book. I got a request for the full manuscript. I came back from conference and sent my book. That same year I got my first rejection. I didn’t grovel or cry. I felt elated. Why? Because I got feedback and feedback is the most nurturing nourishment that a newbie author needs. To this day I am grateful for that feedback. It pointed out my strengths and weaknesses and I required that as much as I need chocolate and baklava. 

The lesson for me that year was that I had something to work with. Truth is you can not re-write, edit or fix something that isn’t written.  

next week – fixing your MS vs BBQ fuel. .

Warmest, Efthalia

Welcome to My New Blog and Website

Welcome everyone! Good to see you all here! Firstly some news. It’s been a long time in the making (since 2011) but I can firmly say that Phantasma – A Phi Athanatoi Novel is just around the corner from publication. It has been held up for some last minute edits that were a necessary evil. Just  because we choose to self-publish doesn’t mean we should deter from giving our work the time it needs. I truly hope I have done a good enough job for my first publication.  Phantasma by Efthalia

I’ve also decided to do a big market push and that takes time and planning because nobody really knows who I am. To me it was imperative to consider that as a self-published author I need to introduce myself to readers and industry based professionals.  

In the coming weeks  I’ll be sharing a little of my journey with you all(one will be posted right after this post). Yes the preverbal if I knew then what I know now and the common trials and tribulations of the writing process. Warning: Crazy rambling will occur. 

Now for the fun stuff, I will be running a MAMMOTH GIVEAWAY, which will be open internationally. So look out for it. 

To finish, I should have some concrete news for you all in the next few weeks, about Phantasma….watch this space.

Big smiles, Efthalia     

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