If you’d like a chance to win one of three signed paperbacks of my 6/15 release, My Life as an Extra, here’s the Goodreads Giveaway information:
I’m excited about the upcoming release of my first contemporary, My Life as an Extra, a humorous women’s fiction novel in which Chicagoan Marla Goldberg learns to feel special despite a divorce, working as a movie extra, dipping her toes into the discouraging dating pool, being unappreciated in her day job and dealing with her successful siblings.
I had a wonderful time writing this and the sequel, My Life as a Star, and Marla made LOL many times. But preparing to release these books presented several challenges that my other books didn’t.
- Contemporary: When researching and writing my medievals, I pored over many sources, doing my best to provide historical accuracy. Yet I was happy when those sources said, “No one knows X or Y,” leaving me free to make certain things up to fit the story. And a “new” invention would stay new in the 1450s, but something trending on social media today, the hottest cell phone features or #1 pop star may seem out of date or be has-been within months when frozen on the pages of a book. Even writing about current locations within Chicago took extra care because things change rapidly (Sears vs. Willis Tower, anyone?)
- Not a romance: Amazon, reviewers, and advertising/promotion sites ask authors to classify their books, often literally by checking a box. MLE is not a romance, but could be mainstream with romantic elements or humorous women’s fiction, or, by some definitions, chick lit. It’s a challenge finding as many places that accept a slightly outside of the box category.
- Wanting to use many real celebrities, films and pop culture references: I’ve worked as an extra in more than 70 movies and TV shows filmed in Chicago, so my path has crossed those of many A-list, household-name celebrities. Consulting with attorneys and researching our litigious society, even when the author is legally within his/her rights and ultimately prevails, made me leery. Making cuts was painful. Not only that, I didn’t want to date the book with many actual movie titles. I also wanted to use a few song lyrics, but cut those because of the time and effort to track down and ask for permission from multiple rights holders, which may not be granted. To me, the downside of creating new films and changing stories means less instant recognition for readers and more of a challenge for me to convey the mood, tone, or whatever Marla wants to get across.
I’m awaiting my first reviews with bated breath…..
A buzz word in self-publishing right now is discoverability. You can have an amazing book in a popular genre, a stunning, stand-out cover, even some great reviews and/or a major contest win and some press/social media, but very few sales. So how do you make your book discoverable?
Why? As of this writing, there are more than 1.1 million novels in Kindle ebooks alone, and more than 90,000 new releases in the lat 30 days. There are dozens if not hundreds of ways to browse on Amazon alone. By subgenre, best sellers, daily deals, countdown deals and of course author and title, just to name a few. There are of course other sites, libraries and even stores.
Here are the top three ways that have helped me: [Read more…]
I’ve been blessed (or cursed) with curly hair. It’s easy to maintain in a curly style, if a bit frizzy or unruly on occasion. Yet there’ve been many times when I’ve felt the need to or been told to straighten it to be considered for on-camera work.
At one point, an agent would only accept me if I straightened my hair. When I used to do extra work (aka background), hairstylists on more than one major motion picture and a network TV show spent at least a half hour straightening my hair…after I’d already spent the hour or so and multiple products and processes it takes me to do it. [Read more…]
At this time of year, most of us look back before we move forward. I like to prepare for the new year by doing the following:
1) Asking questions, such as:
- What went well in my freelancing life?
- What do I have control over that I could improve?
- How do my revenues and time spent compare to previous years, and where is most of my revenue coming from?
- What changes occurred with my client base?
- How can I grow my business next year?
Hello! Thank you for stopping by my blog as you follow A Royal Christmas 12 Author Hop. I hope you’re enjoying your journey.
I’ve released four medievals and a medieval novella, and over the years have collected hundreds of books about 15th century England. My favorites (such as Private Life in the Fifteenth Century and the medieval craftsmen series offer fascinating details about castles, knights and and life during that time period, which I love learning about. Something else I love is when sources say, “No one knows what happened,” because I think it’s fun to combine actual history with imagination.
What do you love about historicals and why? [Read more…]
What makes us want what we want…what blend of genetics and environment makes some people love to play or watch sports and others subscribe to the opera, while others don’t understand the allure of either? There’s wanting…then there’s craving, defined by thefreedictionary.com as “A consuming desire, a yearning.”
Look how far many people go to get tickets to the World Series or Hamilton…. How much they’re willing to pay beyond the norm. I’d call that craving. Because, for the Cubs, it’s probably once in a lifetime? Because Hamilton is a truly great show supported by extensive hype (it seems every day a Facebook friend posts the now-requisite Hamilton selfie)?
I crave something not once in a lifetime, not on occasion, but almost every hour of every day. It’s legal, affordable, and almost everywhere I go: sweets. The craving is strong, demanding, making me fight it many times a day. Such as, but not limited to, whenever I:
- pass donut shops near me. Their neon signs shout, “Yummy!” (One nemesis is Stan’s pretzel-shaped donut )
- see candy in any checkout line or store, especially if it’s on sale
- am near a brownie, especially if combined with ice cream and bittersweet hot fudge
- eat ice cream or candy that I’ve bought. How do I stop at one serving (defined as a half-cup for most ice creams, a mere dollop)?
Lately, I’ve been avoiding making a few life and career decisions. One is whether or not to move. I’m leery of making the wrong choice and/or making a mistake…especially after spending significant time and effort. Yes, I know that no decision is a decision in itself. And that wrong choices/mistakes can often be corrected.
In case I do decide to move, I’ve embarked on a project: going through all of my stuff. I don’t consider my place cluttered, but do have hundreds of books and many closets. Being a writer, I love my research books and those on keeper shelf. Then there’s the to-be-read shelf. It hurts to donate any of them, but some must go. Being an actor, I never know what I might need to wear for an audition or a booking, so I have a wide variety of options. Yet surely some things can be added to the pile.
This morning I worked on my coat closet, organizing bins holding hats and gloves. I came across this pair of green leather gloves with gold and metal decoration. I don’t know where I got them or if they were a gift. I’ve never worn them, because they’re that nice, and enjoy admiring them from time to time. Keep? Try to sell them on e-Bay? (I’ve been looking up a few items and am surprised by the low prices. How does an individual make enough money to make it worth the time to take pictures, post and follow the sale, and pack and ship the item?) Or actually wear them? [Read more…]
I’m excited to announce that my novella My Enemy, My Love is now available as part of Kathryn LeVeque’s Kindle World, World of de Wolfe Pack!
Kathryn asked me to tell the story of her hero Sir William de Wolfe’s best friend Paris de Norville’s parents. Her book introducing Paris, The Wolfe, starts at the end of 1231 AD. So to make him the right age, my novella needed to be set around 1200 AD. I like to incorporate some real history, so I searched for events around that time. And chose King Philip II’s 1203-4 siege of Chateau Gaillard. [Read more…]