Friday, July 30, 2010

The Cutting Edge: New suspense thriller from Darcia Helle

Darcia Helle returns to announce the release of her new suspense title, The Cutting Edge.

Where did the idea for The Cutting Edge come from?

I was a hairstylist in a small town salon for about 15 years. A lot of crazy things happened there. The women I worked with and I were often equal parts psychologist and stylist. The things clients would tell us still amaze me! Working so closely with people - and their egos - could be difficult. And the small town atmosphere gave our clients the impression that they were allowed to pick apart our personal lives. I used to say that the craziness of our salon would make a great background for a novel. One day, Skye's character popped into my head and that salon was the perfect place for her.

How did you get into writing? Did you always want to become a writer?

I always wrote, though, for some reason, I didn’t think of writing as a career option. When I was young, I would create elaborate fantasy worlds in my head, though I never thought of turning them into books. I actually wanted to be a psychologist but, while in college, decided I couldn't handle the responsibility of coaching people on how to live their lives. I wound up going to cosmetology school and working in my mother’s hair salon. I would write short stories for my kids when they were young and lots of poetry. Then one day, I sat down with an idea in my head that wouldn’t go away and that idea turned into my first book. I haven't stopped since.

How do you approach the blank page?

I don’t think I’ve ever had an issue with a blank page. My problem is that I tend to have too many pages at once that belong to too many different stories. I call it writers’ A.D.D. I’m very character-driven and these characters will pop into my head with a story to tell. Staying focused on one character’s story long enough to complete the novel (without distraction from other novels-in-progress) is my biggest problem. And it’s one that I have yet to master.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I'm married to my pen pal! During the first Gulf War, Michael (my husband) was serving in Bosnia and Kuwait. I had a client who was running a pen pal program for military members. This was before the Internet had taken over. I was divorced and loved to write, so she brought me a few names. Michael and I wrote for almost 4 years. We met shortly after he got out of the military and were married 6 months

Please visit Darcia at Quiet Fury Books to learn more about The Cutting Edge and her other titles.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Create Visibility Before Getting Published: Build Your Platform by Karen Cioffi

Today we are joined by author and freelance writer, Karen Cioffi. She is a reviewer for and Muse Book Reviews, and co-moderator of a children’s critique group. Karen provides ghostwriting, editing, proofreading and critiques along with website and blogsite creation. She is our guest blogger today and shares her wisdom on the importance of building your platform.

Create Visibility Before Getting Published: Build Your Platform
By Karen Cioffi

The road to publication can be long and winding ... and filled with rejection. So, what do you do while you’re submitting your manuscript and waiting patiently? Okay, maybe not patiently, but waiting nonetheless.

That’s easy. And, it’s very important, create visibility. I don’t mean standing on the street corner singing at the top of your lungs, I mean creating an online presence that depicts who and what you are. In other words, you need to create your platform.

There are a number of writers who are reluctant to begin promoting themselves because they haven’t landed a publisher yet. Or, they’re still learning the craft. This mentality won’t cut it today. You need to begin that visibility.

First step in your platform journey is to create a blog using a blog site such as Blogger, or a website; either one is relatively simple to create, and can be free. Obviously, you will want to create your platform right from the beginning by posting to your blog with content that is in the genre you are writing.

Important Tip: Make the name of your site something that will grow with you, and your name should be part of the site name.

But wait a minute, let me backtrack. For those who aren’t sure what a platform is, it is a means to let readers know what your area of expertise is. Yes, I know, you might be shaking your head and thinking that you don’t have an area of expertise, but this is how you create it.

The next step in your journey is to create your platform and online visibility. Learn your craft and as you’re learning, write about what you learn. In other words, if your book is about cooking, blog about cooking—you will be creating your area of expertise.

Once you feel comfortable adding content to your blog, start writing articles and submitting them to article directories. Again, keep them focused on the area of expertise you are trying to create. You may not get paid for them, but they will establish an online presence. And, if your articles are beneficial or interesting to others, it will bring traffic to your site.

The publishing and marketing industry has changed. In today’s writing market publishing houses, big and small, expect you to:

1. Have and online presence (website or blog)
2. Have a platform
3. Have a following
4. Have the potential to increase that following
5. Have a marketing strategy
6. Be able to sell your book

Selling books is now a joint effort between the publishing house and the author. And, if you’re venturing into the self-publishing arena, promoting yourself is even more important. Don’t procrastinate. Start creating your online presence and platform today.

Karen Cioffi is an author and freelance writer. Stop by her site, Karen Cioffi (, and sign up for the FREE monthly newsletter, A Writer’s World. It offers writing and marketing articles, tips and links, book reviews, resources and much more. While there, you can also pick up a free e-book about writing and/or marketing.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Writer Janet Ann Collins

Janet Ann Collins is visiting us today from the beautiful Sierra foothills of Northern California. She is an award winning author of two fiction books, columnist for the Antique Auction Explorer, freelance writers, retired teacher and public speaker.

Please tell us about your books.

I have written two fiction books for children. The Peril of the Sinister Scientist is about a middle school boy who thinks he was cloned from the blood on the Shroud of Turin because a scientist who had worked on that experiment is stalking him. Secret Service Saint is a picture book about Nicholas, who discovers the fun of doing secret good deeds and eventually becomes known as Santa Claus.

What are you working on now?

I have a book for young readers and I’m working on several things, including a middle grade fantasy about a girl who can communicate with animals by thought language. I’m also spending lots of time learning how to do marketing and publicity for my published books and managing two blogs, and
Janet Ann Collins.

Can you describe a typical day in your writing life?
I reserve two days a week for writing and squeeze some in on other days if possible. After I check my e-mail I work on my current project for several hours. Often I’ll do the laundry the same day so when the dryer buzzes I can get up and move around for a few minutes, then get back to work. If I’m on a roll I may write more in the afternoon. Otherwise I use that time for plotting, planning, sending out submissions, and working on publicity for my books.

How do you define your writing?
My writing falls into many categories; adult, children, fiction and nonfiction, Christian and general market. My tagline, “Opening Eyes, Opening Hearts,” sums up what it all has in common.

You can learn more about Janet and her writing by visiting her online at .

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Chelle Korgis, Historical Writer and 30 Something Blogger

Chelle Korgis is a native from Kankakee, Illinois who now resides in the state of Missouri. Her interest in writing began at an early age and her first piece was printed in The Christian County News-Journal in 2002.

Her writing has been published Digi Tall-News Media, Ozark Senior Living, U.S. Legacies Magazine, and Friends and Neighbor. Her two books, Ozark and Nixa, were published by Arcadia Publishing.

Thank you for joining us today Chelle. Tell us more about your writing.

As mentioned above, I have 2 non-fiction books published. I have also written many poems including "Lonely Old Man" and "Ole Mother Nature" which won reader awards in 2002. Today, I am writing articles based on women in their 30s focusing on how the economy continues to influence their marriages. At some point, I hope to write a 30 Something column in magazines or newspapers.

Can you share article titles and publications your work has appeared in?

- September 11, 2002: A County Remembers - (Christian County News-Journal, 2002)
- Centenarian, Irene Murphy - (Ozark Senior Living, 2002)
- A Trip Back In Time - (Ozark Senior Living, 2002)
- Inquisitive Little Minds - (Christian County News-Journal, 2002)
- A Little Prayer - (Friends and Neighbors Magazine, 2002)
- Pumpkins are the reason for planting this season - (Christian County News-Journal, 2002)
- Are our rights being violated? - (Christian County News-Journal, 2002)

What or who encouraged you to start writing?

I was first inspired to write when I was a teenager and started reading the poems written by Emily Dickinson. I also enjoyed reading books by Dean Koontz.
When I was 30, I was impressed when I discovered that my father wrote poetry.

My idea to start writing about history evolved from time spent driving around our town with my former husband taking pictures of old scenery and buildings.

What topics inspire you?

Non-fiction history continues to pique my interest; however, after talking with many friends I've started writing about everyday women who are having troubles in their marriages. After ending my 10 year marriage from Hell, I’m now a single mother and have a lot to share on this topic.

Please visit Chelle online at for more information. You can order her books through her web site or through