An Interview and a Review: The Unicorn’s Daughter

From Pearldrops on the Page, Lena Winfrey Seder’s blog. Reprinted by permission.

Thrill of the Unicorn and Much More!

Today fellow author, blogger and friend Norma Beishir has graciously agreed to do an interview for us. I am excited to have her here.

LS: Hello, Norma. Thank you very much for stopping by.

NB: Lena, it is a pleasure to be here.

LS: I’m very excited, and there are so many questions that I would love to ask you. You are truly an amazing and prolific author!Could you please tell us how many novels you have published over the years of your writing career?

NB:Seventeen– so far. Fourteen through two conventional publishers: five with Berkley (Penguin Putnam) and nine with Silhouette (Harlequin). I have three self-published under my Beishir Books banner, two originals Chasing the Wind and Final Hours, and I just re-released The Unicorn’s Daughter, an ebook edition of A Time for Legends, which was originally published by Berkley in 1990. Over the next four months, I’ll be publishing ebook editions of the other four Berkley books, some with new titles and all with new cover art. In addition, I’ll be publishing the sequel to Chasing the Wind, entitled An Army of Angels later this year as well as two romantic comedies. Also coming out soon is Same Time, Tomorrow, a book I co-authored with fellow author William Kendall under our pseudonyms, Scarlett Martin and James Morgan.

LS: Wow, you have been very busy!What made you decide to leave traditional publishing houses and to move into self-publishing? Are you happier?

NB:It was a combination of factors. Burnout was the main issue. I was painted into a corner I couldn’t get out of. I started off with two very glitzy novels– Dance of the Gods and Angels at Midnight. I didn’t intend to make a career of writing Lifestyles of the Shallow and Superficial, but that’s where I ended up. Projects I really wanted to do were rejected by my publisher, and even my agent, because they weren’t “glamorous.” I knew I was in big trouble. I had nothing to give them that they would approve. Added to that was the stress of trying to live up to that image! Anyone who knows me knows I’m definitely NOT glamorous. I’m a jeans and T-shirts girl. I spend my days at home in shorts and bare feet. I’d die of exhaustion trying to keep up with the Kardashians! Added to that drama were personal crises. My father died unexpectedly after necessary surgery. My mother had a series of strokes and was left totally disabled. I sunk into a depression and didn’t write at all for some time. No one can do their best work when dealing with extreme stress, so I didn’t try. When I did start to write again, there was plenty of interest in Chasing the Wind; I worked with four different agents on that book, but we hit the same roadblock repeatedly. The publishers wanted the religious elements removed and the focus shifted strictly to the science. That would have changed the whole story! As it turned out, I was too Christian for the mainstream market and too mainstream for the Christian market! Finally, Collin and I talked it over and decided to self-publish it.

Am I happier? Definitely! I would never go back to conventional publishing now. I have complete creative control over my work, a very talented cover designer, Collin, and editor Martin Rus, who’s as good as any of the pros I worked with. I don’t have to go on the road to promote my books. I write what I want. No deadlines. No synopses to write, except for the Amazon product pages. I’m in Writer Heaven!

LS: Having creative control over your own work is definitely a plus! Of all of your novels, which one is your favorite and why?

NB:Like most writers, my favorite is the book I happen to be working on at the time. I’ll confess that I always thought The Unicorn’s Daughter (A Time for Legends) was my best work, and Publishers Weekly agreed with me. Surprisingly, I wrote that book in four months and it required less editing that any of the others. I spent ten years on Chasing the Wind and thought I’d spend the rest of my career with those characters. But recently, I’ve found myself leaning toward romantic comedy.

LS:If you could be one of your fictional characters, which one would you be and why?

NB:Oh, my…that’s a tough one! Every author puts a bit of themselves in all of their protagonists, whether they admit it or not. This would be a toss-up: Jaime from The Unicorn’s Daughter, Lynne from Chasing the Wind, or Robyn from An Army of Angels. Dan Brown has said Robert Langdon is not him, but who he’d like to be. I think that’s how we all write our protagonists. We give them the qualities we would like to have. Jaime is stubborn like me, but she does things I’m sure I would not have the guts to do. Lynne is a Biblical archaeologist; she not only does the work she loves, but also she seeks proof of her faith for the rest of the world. Robyn is fun; she’s bold, she has a great sense of humor, and she never gives up on the man she loves. She unlocks his soul in a very real way. What must it be like to be loved that way?

LS: These sound like three amazing women! I loved reading about Jaime and Lynne. I have yet to read about Robyn, and I’m looking forward to it. Out of all of your novels, which character is the most villainous? Please describe him or her.

NB:Hands down– Nicholas Dante from Chasing the Wind. I created him to be pure evil because that’s what he is– the devil incarnate. Satan’s number one demon. He’s been sent to make sure the prophecy is never fulfilled, and that the prophet never answers his calling.

LS: Yes, I recall he was indeed very wicked! Norma, if you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you visit and who would you take with you on the trip and why?

NB: You’re going to get me in trouble here, Lena! I’d love to travel around the world and take Collin and all of my friends along. Scotland, New Zealand, Australia, Egypt, Italy, Greece, France– they’re all on the list. But if I had to pick one place? The Holy Land. I’d like to be baptized (again) in the River Jordan. I’d like to walk in Jesus’ footsteps.

LS: Norma, I hope you get to live your dream. You have some amazing places on that list. I was fortunate enough to visit the pyramids in Egypt and to see Jerusalem. Beautiful places! Hope you take me on your trips. It could be tons of fun!

Norma, could you please tell us what drove you to become a writer?

NB: Easy one. I’m no good at anything else! Like many authors, I started very young. My mom wanted to be a writer. She used to tell me about it. And when I started to read books– Charlotte’s Web was the first book I ever fell in love with– I knew that was what I wanted to do. I was an introverted kid who was always more at home in my imagination than I was in the real world.

LS: I can understand. I feel writing is ‘in my blood.’ Could you please tell us what inspires you to write?

NB: I like to eat. Seriously… I have an overactive imagination. It needs a safe outlet. If I didn’t write fiction, God only knows what kind of trouble it would get me into!

LS:How do you get rid of writer’s block?

NB:Oh, boy… I watch movies, TV, I read… I feed the muse and he/she will respond. Writers have to be open to all sorts of experiences. You never know where inspiration will come from.

LS:Who are your favorite authors?

NB:Janet Evanovich, Sidney Sheldon, and new author Devon Cooper. Also there’s a new book coming soon by William Kendall that I was fortunate enough to be able to read an advance copy of. Among the classics are Charles Dickens and Homer (I loved The Iliad and The Odyssey).

LS: This is a great list of writers. Sheldon was an early and enjoyable read for me. And I’m also waiting for William Kendall to share his book with the world; I look forward to reading it soon. Please, could you name your top five favorite books?

NB:Anything by Evanovich. Sheldon’s Master of the Game. Cooper’s Bad Day. Kendall’s Heaven & Hell. That’s more than five, I know. I suck at math. As any published author knows, it’s hard to find time to read when you’re in the middle of a book– I’m in the middle of five at the moment. Maybe I should have been a juggler….

LS: I find myself also multi-reading several books at once. If only there were more time! If you weren’t an author, what other profession would you be doing and why?

NB:I’d probably be a veterinarian. I love animals and love caring for them– though I’d have a problem putting any of them down.

LS:What hobbies do you have?

NB:I collect stuffed animals. I have more than I can count! In spite of my determination to live a very simple life, that’s the one thing I haven’t been able to part with.

LS: I’m sure my daughter would enjoy your collection! Norma, have you ever thought of turning any of your novels into movies?

NB: I’ve done more than think about it! There was interest in Angels at Midnight when it was first published, but I have to admit that I was always ambivalent. I’d seen wonderful books butchered in the film adaptations. And now…well, we’ll see how it goes.

LS: I agree with you on this one. Occasionally a film will successfully represent a novel while many end up getting butchered. I think it depends upon the director and the screenwriter. It is possible, but rare to find one that is done very well.

Norma, please, could you share with us your current and future projects?

NB: Over the next four months, I’ll be publishing ebook editions of the other four Berkley books, some with new titles and all with new cover art. In addition, I’ll be publishing the sequel to Chasing the Wind, An Army of Angels, later this year as well as two romantic comedies, and coming soon will be Same Time, Tomorrow, a book I co-authored with fellow author William Kendall under our pseudonyms Scarlett Martin and James Morgan.

LS: I look forward to reading your new books! Norma, what advice would you give to new writers?

NB:Develop a thick hide! If you can’t take criticism, you don’t belong in this business.

Network! Read and comment on others’ blogs. Buy and review other authors’ books. If you’re not willing to give, don’t expect to get. Writers Karma is a bitch when it comes back to bite you in the backside.

Be patient. A book you write and publish in a week is going to read like you wrote and published it in a week. (I know from experience– I’ve never rushed on the writing, but I have tried to rush the publication. It never ends well.)

Be open to everything around you. Inspiration can and does come from the most unexpected places!

I’m always tempted to promote self-publishing, but in the end, everyone has to go with what’s best for them. I understand the need for validation, the prestige that comes with conventional publishing because I’ve had it. For me, the creative control was more important. Besides, at my age, with failing eyesight and my concentration in the crapper, I don’t think I could deal with deadlines!

LS: Norma, thank you for the great advice! It has been a pleasure having you stop by. Hope we can do it again soon!

NB: Thank you, Lena, for inviting me to your blog. This has been fun!

 

 

 

Review of The Unicorn’s Daughter

Norma Beishir’s The Unicorn’s Daughter (formerly published as A Time for Legends) has recently been re-released. This fast-paced thriller strikes forward at lightning speed. Beishir is a seasoned author and master storyteller who takes us on an adventure from the USA to Europe and the Middle East. The story spans the World War II era up to the Reagan era.

Beishir spins us a tale of espionage, sacrifice, and growth. James Lynde was the master spy; he was every intelligence agency’s dream. Known as the Unicorn, he was just as mystical at covering his tracks. His ultimate task was to find a cover that would allow him to get into Russia during the Cold War. He came up with a plan that led him to marry a Senator’s daughter and to head an international investment banking firm, which the former Senator had inherited, that allowed him to travel throughout the world. This simple cover became complex when his daughter Jaime was born. He had never really loved or trusted anyone throughout his life, but looking at his daughter, who greatly resembled him, changed his life. We follow this special relationship between father and daughter as we observe their love and devotion to each other. Her mother Fran became severely depressed and very distant precluding her death. Jaime suffers another blow when her father, supposedly on a business trip, suddenly disappears.

Over the years, Jamie is lied to about her father until she doesn’t know what to believe. She is told repeatedly that he is dead; however, her gut intuition leads her to believe he is still alive, and she is determined to uncover the truth, despite the passage of nineteen years.

Jaime has to deal with her personal pain as she is blocked from discovering anything about her father. Someone is serious in stopping her at any cost, and people around her end up dying. Jaime tries to trust again, but only ends up repeatedly hurt. She finally meets someone willing to help her, but can she trust him? And can she really discover the truth about her father? Is he still alive?

Beishir digs deep into the psychology of her characters, and she gives them a three dimensional quality. We understand their pain, confusion, fears and motivations. We take a train through both a physical and a psychological terrain in a world of intrigue and danger.

The Unicorn’s Daughter is an amazing journey that will leave you breathless, and at the end of the trip you will be completely satisfied. It is a powerfully vivid and memorable story.

 

http://pearldropsonthepage.blogspot.com/

http://www.amazon.com/The-Unicorns-Daughter-ebook/dp/B00860WC7U/ref=la_B002BMF4CO_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1340663889&sr=1-8

 

 


 

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Writers Without Borders (Or How Skype Broadened Our Horizons)

I belong to a writers group that meets monthly at my church. What makes my group unusual is that the attendees are in two different states…and two different countries. Cathy, Nicole and I–and sometimes Kyle–are physically at the church, while April in Florida and William and Beth in Canada attend via Skype.





It’s worked beautifully for the past several months. We read aloud from our works in progress. Nicole has a wonderful YA book in the works, keeping us wondering from month to month what the snarky stepfather character will do next. Cathy’s read from a couple of very different fiction projects. I’ve read from multiple projects and blogs. William reads from Heaven & Hell or his hilarious blogs. Or we do a joint reading from Same Time Tomorrow. (The pages we can read from, given that we meet at the church, is limited. It’s no Fifty Shades of Gray, but it doesn’t leave too much to the imagination. We’re looking for beta readers, so be forewarned!) Beth had been reading from her current novel prior to its publication, but Saturday we were treated to 50 Shades of Sparkles, which can be found at her Bent River Books blog. April reads her powerful poetry, and Kyle, when he’s with us, has a very imaginative fantasy in the works.


Mostly, we laugh. A lot. William doesn’t just read his material, he acts it out. And he’s very good at accents. Saturday, he read two pieces from opposite ends of the creative spectrum: a scene from his upcoming novel, A Cold Day in Hell, and a blog post featuring one of his most popular characters, RCMP Inspector Lars Ulrich (no, not Lars Ulrich from Metallica). The novel excerpt was so vividly written and so gruesome that he left us all speechless! Everyone just went silent. Speechless….





We’ve all received the benefit of each other’s comments and suggestions. Some of us have made some discoveries about ourselves as writers. Beth found that in spite of her love of paranormal romance, her real gift is in romantic comedy. After years of writing drama, I’ve found that, at this stage of my career (and my life) all I want to write is humor. William, well, he’s just confirmed what we knew all along–he’s such a versatile writer that he can do both drama and comedy with equal skill. In all my years in the business, he is the most talented first-time author I’ve ever encountered. He has such an eye for detail that I will  no longer put my own books out there without having him read them first!


Nicole is still young but also incredibly gifted. I have to say it–she reminds me a great deal of myself at her age in her absolute dedication to her goal. Storytelling is as necessary to her as things like food, water and air. 


Some of our characters have become as much a part of the group as we are: Lars the Mountie; Roger, the stepdad everyone loves to hate; the rowdy Cantwell brothers…they all attend the meetings as regularly as we do.





That’s why we laugh so much. In fact, one of the guys who happened to be in the church at the time of one of our meetings told us we were were laughing so loudly they could hear us down in the gym. “You’re having way too much fun up here!” he laughed.


We must be doing something right….



What’s Old is New Again: Angels at Midnight

Last month, we released The Unicorn’s Daughter as an ebook. It was originally published by Berkley as a paperback original titled A Time for Legends in 1990. Don’t ask mewhat that title means–Berkley’s marketing chimps were aiming for knockoffs of Sidney Sheldon titles, and that was the best they could come up with. (I was so embarrassed when people would ask me what it meant and I had no answer for them!)

So far, it’s done well…so later this month, we’ll be releasing another of my backlist titles for Kindle with another great cover designed by Collin. Yes, I am keeping the title Berkley gave it, Angels at Midnight (the working title was Alliance). I don’t know what this marketing chimps creation means, either, but at least I like it.

Angels revolves around a world fencing champion with Olympic ambitions and a successful artist whose lives are destroyed by the same man. Joined together by their need for revenge, they’re not above bending–make that breaking–the law. I hope you’ll check it out!

Coming in late July: Luck of the Draw…in August: Alexander’s Empire…and in September, Solitaire….

And the Next in Line is…

Angels at Midnight!


Collin just finished the cover for the ebook edition of the 1989 novel by the same title. The ebook will be available on Amazon in late June (or early July, depending upon how long it takes KDP to take it “live.”)



Angels is the story of Collin Deverell (yes, I named the character for my son!), heir to an oil baron and his art patron wife. Unlike his twin brother, Justin, Collin has no interest in the family business. He’s a world fencing champion who has Olympic gold ambitions. When their parents are killed while traveling in South America, Collin deals with his grief with world travel, women and high-stakes gambling. He finally comes home to find the family fortunes taken over by a syndicate and vows revenge. His need to take down those who have duped his brother gives him a focus he’s never had before.


Enter Ashley Gordon-Hollister, former daughter-in-law of the crime boss Collin is after. Ashley, too, wants to bring Hollister down. After the death of her husband, Hollister’s son, he and his wife took her son away from her. She’s a pawn in Collin’s scheme at first, but soon becomes his partner…and eventually, his lover. Together, they play a dangerous game and stay one step ahead of the insurance investigator determined to bring them down….


Though it wasn’t planned, there’s an odd bit of timing  involved with the ebook publication of The Unicorn’s Daughter last month and now with Angels at Midnight. The Unicorn’s Daughter begins during World War II. We released it just before Memorial Day. Angels at Midnight features a male protagonist who’s a fencing champion. Fencing is one of the sports of the Summer Olympics, which begins only a few weeks from now…..


Honestly, I didn’t plan it that way!







Beishir Books Welcomes Amanda McLain-Young

If it was legal to kill, would you? Welcome to Suriax, a city where killing is accepted as normal and laws mean everything. Kern must grapple with questions of morality, destiny and a queen who wants him dead. Throw in a pact with a god and you have an event that will change the people of Suriax forever.

 Suriax follows Kern, a member of an elite assassin and espionage organization known as the Flame Guard. This group is also known to worship Venerith, the Corruptor. They reside primarily in the city of Suriax, a place founded on the teachings of Venerith, a god of laws devoid of morality. He is also a god of fire. It is said that only the blue fire of Venerith is hot enough to burn through the sentimentality of laws that became distracted with notions of right and wrong. His laws were pure, true laws. As such, in Suriax it is perfectly legal to kill or rob another person . . . as long as you file the proper paperwork. Far from anarchistic, the city is quite orderly and the citizens believe in a strict observance of the law. So the question becomes, who would you kill?

I began writing Suriax as a favor to my husband. He was working on creating a world for a dnd (Dungeons and Dragons) campaign and asked for my help in working out some of the back story and mythology. I came up with a few short descriptions for the history of a couple of cities and an origin story for some important characters. When I began my National Novel Writing Month challenge last November, I decided to take my four page summary and turn it into a full blown story. It was my first attempt at writing fantasy, so my husband played a big role in the development of the story. Without him, Suriax would not exist.

 Ironically, Kern did not even make an appearance in that first summary I gave my husband, but when I began work on the book he made his appearance from page one. Kern had a story to tell, and I couldn’t refuse him. I had no idea he would become so important to the story and the world.

I was always drawn to the paranormal, sci-fi, and fantasy. I wrote school papers on time travel and Bigfoot, took physics and astronomy for fun, played dungeons and dragons, read comics, watch anime and frequently attend renaissance festivals. Yes, I’m a nerd.

I wrote my first book when I was twelve years old. It was a short science fiction story that helped me pass the time during summer vacation. I don’t remember too much of where the ideas came from, but it was the first time I ever finished any of my various artistic projects and helped me to know I was meant to write. My second book was very different. It was the first book of my Spirit of the Wolf series. I wrote Wolf of the Past after watching a movie at Halloween that gave me ideas for a story involving werewolves. I didn’t expect it to lead anywhere. Now, that book is the basis for my werewolf romance series.

I am currently working on book 3 in my Spirit of the Wolf werewolf romance series. It is titled Wolf of the Future. For that series I write as A.D. McLain. I am also working on book 2 in my History of Ondar fantasy series. As with Suriax, this is a joint project with my husband. I write as Amanda Young for my fantasy books.

 

Where you can find Suriax:

https://www.createspace.com/3884960

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/164307

How to Connect with A. D. McLain/Amanda Young

 

www.wotpast.com

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wotpast

blog: http://wotpast.wordpress.com

twitter: https://twitter.com/wotpast

goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6655305-a-d-mclain-young

Shelfari: http://www.shelfari.com/wotpast

Email: wotpast@yahoo.com

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/wotpast/

Linked in: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/amanda-mclain-young/19/b5/699

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/wotpast

Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/wotpast

Other Author Page: amazon.com/author/wotpast-amandayoung

 

–Amanda McLain-Young

Thank you, Amanda, for joining us!  I love your author photo, and that’s a stunning cover. I haven’t read it yet–but I intend to do so soon…and I hope it’s a huge success for you!

 

 

Beishir Books Welcomes Devon Cooper

Today I’m turning the blog over to a talented new author, Devon Cooper, who has just released the ebook edition of her first novel Bad Dayat Amazon. I’ve read this very humorous novel and can honestly give it a wholehearted recommendation. I hope that after you’ve read Devon’s post, you’ll head over to Amazon and buy a copy!

Take it away, Devon!


Thank you, Norma for allowing me to come into your blog and talk about my debut novel, 
Bad Day.

Everyone has bad days. And, if you’ve ever had a really bad, bad day, you’ll understand how the characters in the book feel.

Writing a story that takes place over only one day wasn’t easy. It didn’t start out that it was going to take place over one day, but as I continued to write, and add other characters and scenes, it just sort of wrote itself that way. From the beginning prologue, you can feel the stress and tension building.

I got the idea for the story by bringing in a lot of my own experiences into the novel. I mean, everyone has bad days. I used a lot of my own memories from the past as some of my characters’ past memories. I used these experiences readily throughout the story, of course, embellishing them to make them funny or sad, or loving. Since each individual has their own set of fears and experiences, I needed to show the reason for those fears and experiences, and why they felt the way they did.

A couple of years back, I’d started a story but it just wasn’t working out. I held onto the story, you know, just in case. I’m glad I did. The more I wrote Bad Day, the more stories I was able to work into it from this other unworkable piece. From that unfinished story, I was able to get three different memories for my characters.

The main characters are Angie and Frank, two individuals that otherwise would probably never even speak to each other. She is driven, working in a high rise building and vying for a spot on the Board of Directors. She’s about to make a presentation, but she has to get up to the top of the building first.

Frank is a construction worker working in the same high rise building with his boss, Sam. However, Frank has to get into the one thing that he fears the most. An elevator.

When Frank forgets his drill down in his truck, he has to go down to get it, and has to face his fears head on. Of course, it doesn’t help when Angie gets on the elevator. To make matters worse, the elevator, on its way back up, gets stuck, trapping the two of them.

When the fire alarm goes off, Sam doesn’t want to trust that the elevators are working, so he opts to take the stairs. But, with an old high school knee injury, his trip down the stairs is a daunting one. He has no way of knowing where Frank is, and since he left his cell phone in his truck, he cant even call his wife Joanne to let her know that hes okay.

When Joanne finds out that the high rise building has had a bomb threat called in to it, she freaks out with worry. Her life is Sam, and she has to find him. When the police check their list to see if he exited the building, his name isnt there.

Honestly, could their day get any worse?

I thoroughly enjoyed writing this book. And, with the help of some great people who beta read and edited it for me, I think I’ve put out a wonderful debut novel. Set in multiple first person point of view, its an easy read, one that I hope you all will enjoy.

Thanks again Norma for allowing me to come here and talk about Bad Day which is currently available at Amazon.

*****

Thanks for sharing the story of and behind Bad Day, Devon! I’ve read it and loved it….

 

 

Writers Karma: What Goes Around Really Does Come Around

Above all, writers need readers. But we also need each other. The support and camraderie shared by writers is invaluable…after all, no one understands the highs and lows of this crazy business more than other writers. Rejection? We’ve all been there. The frustration of finding an agent? Not many writers get signed with the first one they query. Getting published? The wait for a contract can be the worst experience we’ll ever have. Especially if that contract never comes. When I wrote and sold my first novel, I didn’t have that kind of support network. I didn’t even know there were any local writers groups, and we didn’t have the internet. It was my agent who taught me the importance of networking…and I’m so glad she did!





Now that we have a new option–self-publishing–there’s a whole new set of issues to deal with. There’s choosing how to publish and with whom…making the books available…marketing…social media…and now, more than ever, we need each other.





Most writers understand this. I’ve been fortunate to be part of a wonderful group of writers who support and encourage each other. Right now, one member of the inner circle is dealing with overwhelming family issues. The rest of the group has offered her understanding and whatever else she may need. Another is about to launch a new book and wants to do a blog tour. Several of us have offered our blogs to get him off to a good start. Collin has designed most of our covers. William does my editing and Beth’s. Mike knows more about promotion and marketing than any of us. Beth formats the books. We all buy and review each others’ books. Yesterday, I finally got around to getting a start on my Pinterest page. I started with book covers–my own and friends’ covers. So did Beth. 


But as in any other profession, there are divas–writers who are all about themselves. They don’t buy or review other authors books and try to claim we only give each other good reviews because we’re friends. After all, we couldn’t possibly be giving honest reviews if we didn’t give them five stars, right?





They don’t comment on others’ blogs, but they wonder why no one is commenting on theirs. They don’t buy others’ books but can’t understand why we aren’t lining up to buy theirs. When asked to use their blog for a blog tour, they expect to be paid–even if the blog in question doesn’t have enough traffic to warrant payment for its use.  (“But I have to charge you. You’d be taking up MY valuable time.” What an ego!)


Yesterday, I had an experience that was beyond stupid. I made a mistake with an idiotic Facebook quiz that resulted in a baby diva making a complete fool of herself rather than simply deleting the unwanted posting.  A non-issue became an issue. The baby diva was rude and unprofessional. “Please don’t post anything on my Facebook page that doesn’t directly pertain to ME. When people visit MY page, they have to see ME. Just ME! Why don’t you love ME????” 





I’m paraphrasing here, but this is the gist of it. Princess has to be the center of attention. Even if she has to stomp her feet and act like an idiot to get there.


I won’t say that no successful writer has ever been a diva. There are more than a few…but they became divas after achieving success, when people were (for the most part) willing to put up with their behavior. Diva behavior in someone before they’ve achieved success is usually the kiss of death for one’s career. What goes around really does come around…and when the author karma train derails, look out!



What goes around really does come around…good and bad!



A Once-in-a-Lifetime Event…and Venus Transits the Sun, Too!

Today, in certain parts of the world, we’ll be able to witness an an event of astronomical proportions–literally. Venus will pass between the Earth and the Sun. For a backyard astronomer like myself, this is like Christmas in June!


This photo is from the National Geographic’s website. Check them out for more photos and info on safely enjoying the transit. It won’t happen again until 2117!


(You have to look closely to see Venus–that little dot to the right. It’s not like a lunar eclipse, which almost blocks out the Sun.)



And I hope you’ll hop over and check out my Beishir Books site, where I’ve posted on the success of the release of the reboot of The Unicorn’s Daughter and the secondary characters who demanded–and got their own book, a comedy with the working title Sucker Punched!


Tune in tomorrow, when I’ll be discussing how to deal with divas….



The Care and Feeding of Pushy Characters

Over the past few months, I’ve been struggling with An Army of Angels. The story was off track. There was too much humor. I’ve always added healthy doses of humor to even my most serious work, but this was bordering on slapstick! I was so frustrated, I almost scrapped the book. I’m still having second thoughts about the series.

 

Years ago, while participating in a twenty-one-author booksigning at an area mall,  my friend and fellow author Donna Julian and I were asked this question by historical romance author Mary Martin: “You two are so funny–why do you write such serious books?”

At the time, Donna and I agreed that we were able to be funny because we “got out all of our grim shit” through our writing. But now, I find myself wanting to write more humorous novels. I’m a huge, huge fan of bestselling author Janet Evanovich, who does humor brilliantly in her Stephanie Plum novels. I get her books through Audible–but I’ve learned not to listen to them while eating (too many near-choking incidents).  And I love Devon Cooper’s wonderful Bad Day, Karla Telega’s Box of Rocks and others.

And there were instigators within my own camp.

The culprits behind my own creative ambivalence are the rambunctious Cantwell boys, five brothers who threatened to take over An Army of Angels. I’ve found myself wanting to write more and more about them, but it just wasn’t working for that novel. What to do?

I love my characters and I love the story I’ve been writing…but they just weren’t working together. Should I scrap the book and write a comedy? Should I move these characters into a funnier plot and put new characters in the work in progress? I had to make a decision. Finally, it came to me. I had already decided to start writing humor under my newly-minted “Robin Collins” pseudonym. I would reduce the brothers to brief appearances in An Army of Angels and give them their own book, a place in which they could be their naturally hilarious selves.

The perfect backdrop for these guys is the world of pro wrestling. I’ve been a fan since childhood, thanks to my dad. These five troublemakers could flourish there….

 

Worth the Effort…and the Meltdown!

Taking The Unicorn’s Daughter from a twenty-two-year-old mass market paperback to a contemporary e-book was at times (most times, if I’m to be honest here) a difficult process. But now, at the end of the novel’s first week on Amazon, I have to say it was definitely worth all the headaches, frustration and backtracking. The e-book is a success. As of this morning, the three-day free book promotion resulted in 9000 downloads in the US alone, and it’s been selling at a steady pace since the promo ended! Yay!

 

While the original Berkley edition with the nonsensical Sidney Sheldon ripoff title (A Time for Legends) remains near the low end of the Amazon heap with a current ranking of #3,681,865 , the new edition with its original title and a new cover that gives the reader some idea of what the book is about is doing great. As of this morning, it ranked #19 in Genre Fiction/Mystery & Thrillers/Spy Stories and Tales of Intrigue and #69 in Genre Fiction/Mystery & Thrillers/Suspense.

 

I told the powers that be at Berkley that marketing the book as women’s fiction with the usual hands-and-jewelry cover was a mistake–but marketing chimps tend to think they have all the answers, so….

Collin and I had originally intended to bring the five books I published with Berkley out as e-books on a weekly basis. After completing this first release, we saw that wouldn’t be possible, so we decided on one every two weeks…but now that we see how well this one is doing, we agreed that a book a month is the best way to go.

Angels at Midnight (no, I don’t really get that title, either, marketing chimps, but I like it anyway, so I will likely keep it). Collin is now working on the new cover. In the meantime, I may do another free book promo for Chasing the Wind and Final Hours. An Army of Angels is now rescheduled for sometime in the fall. In the meantime, William and I (as Scarlett and James)  are almost finished with Same Time Tomorrow, and I’ve got two romantic comedies in the works that will make their respective appearances this year as well….