RRBC SPOTLIGHT Blog Tour – Jump, Jive and Wail

Today, I welcome Kathryn Biel to Archer’s Aim as part of her SPOTLIGHT Blog Tour with Rave Reviews Book Club of which she and I are members. Take it away, Kathryn!

The prospect of being an Indie author can seem daunting. And it is. But not really. When I first published Good Intentions, I had that moment of feeling like I was standing naked in front of a crowd. That was me—my words—out there. I thought writing a book was the hard part of indie publishing. I had no idea. My book was not properly edited. I thought it was, until I started finding typo after typo. My cover was, for lack of a better term, horrendous. With the help of time, research, a good editor (thanks Karen!), and some very supportive people on social media, I’ve learned tremendous amounts over these past two years. I would be nowhere without the support of other writers and bloggers that I’ve met along the way. I had to learn to ask questions, no matter how silly. I had to learn that I had to spend money on this process. The first priority is on editing, and the second is on cover design.

I love being an indie author. Unless some huge deal (with lots and lots of zeros) comes along, I can’t see that changing. Even though it’s a lot of work, I’ve surrounded myself with a good team (of my choosing). I love that I have control over my titles, pricing, covers, and promotional materials. I love that I can reach my readers without waiting on the whims of people who may or may not like my book depending on the day they look at it. And I love that I have the freedom to keep writing.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00070]I’d like to share an excerpt from my new novel, Jump, Jive, and Wail.

I’ve been told I have an anger problem. Yeah, so what. You would too if you were living my life. Once destined for greatness—for gold—now my life is crap. Complete and utter crap. So, yeah, I’m angry. Angry all the flippin’ time. I also have a swearing problem. I’m working on that.

The focus of my anger at this moment is two-fold: the TSA and my brace. My stupid brace. Always that. If it weren’t for the brace, I’d only be mildly annoyed at the TSA right now. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d still be annoyed. What kind of idiot puts a bomb in his underwear or shoe? Why’d he have to go and spoil it for the rest of us? That kind of imbecile deserves to have his frank and beans blown off. Okay, so my anger here is actually three-fold and includes the eejits who attach bombs to their privates to blow up planes.

Struggling to manage my overstuffed carry-on while holding my bulky winter coat, boots, and the brace, I finally manage to get through the security gates. Careful not to let my right toes drag on the ground, I step aside, drop my load, and set about donning it—that damn brace. Kirby. That’s its name. Or at least what I call it. Because having to wear a brace sucks more than an expensive vacuum cleaner. Shoving the bags off to the side and not wanting to sit down on the airport floor, I bend forward at the waist and precariously balance on my left leg while I lift my right one into the air. I’m out of the habit of squatting these days, since the plastic of my constant companion doesn’t let my ankle bend that way. Sliding Kirby beneath my dropped foot, I quickly get my limp, numb, useless right leg safely encased in its flesh-colored plastic tomb. It reminds me of a coffin because my foot just lays there for all to see—dead. One nylon Velcro strap across the ankle, another around the calf and I’m good to slide my useless appendage into my Ugg. Yes, I know; it is like the worst possible choice in shoes, other than flip-flops, which I’ll never be able to wear again. But I rationalize, like I do with so many other things, that my bad foot is fully supported in the brace, so the supportiveness of the shoe itself doesn’t matter. (I do completely ignore the fact that I have another leg and foot that is working, for the most part.) My physical therapist doesn’t buy my rationale but whatever. Let her walk—or limp—a mile in my shoes and see how she likes it.

I am getting lightheaded from being bent over, and I’m sure my ass in the air isn’t the most flattering view, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. I’m sure the underwear bomber felt the same way, but I mean, who would ever think that that was a good idea?

The real reason I like the Uggs is that they hide the ugliness that is Kirby. I look pretty normal wearing them. They’re totally flat, which I need anyway, and they’re in fashion. Don’t know what I’ll do when they become passé but, like so many other things in my life right now, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

So here I am, keister in the air, just getting ready to lift my left foot up. Balancing on my right leg is always a bit dodgy so I have to mentally psych myself up for it. The brace gives me some stability, but it is still not a skill in which I excel. The last thing I want to do is fall down in the middle of a busy airport. I open up the mouth of the boot and as quickly as I can, slide my left foot in. When I put my foot down, my weight shifts back slightly and my rear end bumps into something.

Not something, someone.

A man, to be precise. A man’s crotch to be even more precise.

IMG_1439 (2)Author Bio: Telling stories of resilient women, Kathryn Biel hails from upstate New York and is a spouse and mother of two wonderful and energetic kids. In between being Chief Home Officer and Director of Child Development of the Biel household, she works as a school-based physical therapist. She attended Boston University and received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from The Sage Colleges. After years of writing countless letters of medical necessity for wheelchairs, finding increasingly creative ways to encourage the government and insurance companies to fund her clients’ needs, and writing entertaining annual Christmas letters, she decided to take a shot at writing the kind of novel that she likes to read. Her musings and rants can be found on her personal blog, Biel Blather. She is the author of Good Intentions (2013), Hold Her Down (2014), I’m Still Here (2014), Jump, Jive, and Wail (2015), and the short story, Fly Robin Fly (Part of Cupid on the Loose!: A Valentine’s Anthology of Short Stories, 2015).

JUMP, JIVE, AND WAIL Links: Amazon B&N Kobo iTunes

Kathryn’s Social Media Links: Twitter Facebook Website Pinterest

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Fantasy Authors Unplugged: Gregory S. Close

This is continuing feature on Archer’s Aim – Fantasy Authors Unplugged. I hope to frequently share an interview with a fantasy author. If you have authors to suggest and/or questions you’d like to see answered then leave a comment or send me an email. If you are a fantasy author and would like an interview please let me know and we’ll plan one that fits your schedule. Today’s featured author is: Gregory S. Close.

PHS: What’s the name and storyline of your latest book?

InSiegeOfDaylightCoverGSC: My debut novel is In Siege of Daylight, book one in a planned four part series, The Compendium of Light, Dark & Shadow.  It’s a classic epic fantasy in many respects.  There are multiple POV characters, some familiar archetypes, action, politics, just a dash or romantic interest, great powers meddling in mortal affairs and an ancient evil preparing to conquer the world.

The story picks up from a different point than most epics, however.  Instead of introducing our heroes and sending them on a quest to prevent the Big Bad from obtaining The McGuffin and/or throw said McGuffin in a volcano or whatever, the Big Bad already has it, is already using it, and is in fact several years into the Evil Master Plan and ready to start conquering the crap out of everybody.

Basically, it’s a similar concept to: Sauron already has the Ring of Power…  Now what?

 So, the good guys are screwed, basically, and have to make the best of it.

PHS: How did you start writing fantasy?

GSC:  There were a few factors.  My Dad sat my brother and me on his lap and read The Lord of the Rings to us, complete with smoke rings and theatrical voices.  It was even cooler than it sounds.  For my Mom’s part, she took us to Narnia.   I was lucky to have parents who read to me, and especially lucky that they read the good stuff.

Then there was that fateful day in ’77 when I saw Star Wars.  It was a life-changing moment.  At this point, it was clear to me that science fiction and fantasy were my genre of choice, and I started reading voraciously.  I could only manage to get to the theater to see Star Wars about 13 times that year, but there was little limit on the number of books I could get my hands on.

Last, but certainly not least, was the advent of Dungeons & Dragons.  My brother had started playing it with friends in Middle School and soon enough it filtered down to me.  I played a lot of Dungeons & Dragons.  A lot.  I wasn’t off with Tom Hanks in the sewers, but my brother and I were absolutely obsessed with it, and the character development, world building and role-playing were instrumental in how I began to craft stories.

PHS: What are you working on next?

GSC:  I’m at work on the sequel to In Siege of Daylight, which is called The End of Dreams.  That’s the more long term project.  In the immediate future, I’m preparing a Kickstarter to crowdfund the publication of a new science fiction/fantasy novel, Greyspace.  This story is set in a future where spaceships, AI, battle armor and nano-tech co-exist in an uneasy symbiosis with demons and sorcery, the latter of which happen to be the only solution to FTL travel, among other things.

PHS: Any writing tips on what to do and what not to do?

DarkBeyondDoorCoverGSC:  Sure, that’s easy.  What to do: WRITE.  What not do do: PROCRASTINATE.  Writing takes a lot of work, and a lot of time, so take advantage of the time you have and make time when you don’t think you have it.  Stay up an hour later.  Get up an hour earlier.  Unless you are both independently wealthy and single, you’ll have to share your time with family and work and other bits of life, so don’t take your moments for granted.

PHS: What is your favorite book and why?

GSC:  I don’t really have a favorite book; I have lots of favorite books.  I’ll pick one of them that may not get as much attention as it deserves and that is The Many Colored Land by Julian May (and the entire Plicocene Exile series).  It has fantasy, aliens/faeries, psionics, time-travel, and a very diverse and engaging cast of characters.  It’s really one of the most original epics I’ve ever read.

PHS: What would you do differently in regard to writing/publishing your book?

GSC: It’s hard to look back, because there’s always something else I can edit/improve about the writing, so I try to look forward as much as I can and just learn from my mistakes (and try not to make them again).  If I could have split the story of In Siege of Daylight into two smaller books, each with its own perfectly good climax/resolution, I would do that.  It would certainly have made marketing easier and allowed for more financial opportunity.  However, doing that would change things in the story as a whole, and maybe not for the better.

Greyspace is sort of an answer to that question.  It’s intentionally much shorter, faster paced, and told from a single POV.

PHS: Is there any special inspiration behind your book?

GSC:  The title of the series, The Compendium of Light, Dark & Shadow, is a hint at the overall philosophical underpinning of the narrative.  I can’t really explain in detail without spoilers, but suffice it to say that I explore the concept of what is good versus evil, versus whatever it is in-between, and how those play against each other, especially when things do not go as planned. Although In Siege of Daylight touches on this, the second book will really begin to twist and defy expectations a bit.  I hope!


AuthorPhotoGregory S. Close has lived on both coasts of the United States (and that wholesome corn-fed part in-between) as well as Dundalk, Ireland and the tiny islands of the Kwajalein Atoll.

Greg loves travelling and sampling the native cultures, foods, customs, and beers of the world. Greg is married to a rocket scientist and lives in California with his two daughters, a cat, and one and a half dogs.

Thanks again to Gregory for appearing in “Fantasy Authors Unplugged” and tolerating the torturous question. As always, please take a look at this author’s books and give him some support. If you’re a fantasy author and would like to be interviewed for “Fantasy Authors Unplugged” just contact me via email or one of my social media channels and we’ll set one up.

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Starting An Author Platform Pt. 5: Building Your Website

This is ongoing series for newer writers interested in developing their writing brand. The previous three posts included a general overview, branding through domain registration and branding through email.

storefrontBuilding a website is very important for any business including authors. A website is essentially a store-front through which the public can have a gander at your work. But there are a number of ways to approach a website. You can go as fancy as you want if you have a larger budget. You can go low cost and grow the look of the website over time.

For many people, actually building a website might well be intimidating. A robust design with all the bells and whistles can be a very technical undertaking. Thankfully, most hosting services provide tools to help you create your website. Whether you spend for the hosting or use a free service it can be rather easy to make a simple site.

But how much should you spend? I suggest going low-cost to start and growing as you go. That way you have a small investment if your enterprise does’t work out. If your writing gives you enough income then consider paying for hosting and improvements to the site. You don’t want to put down money up-front for a three year contract only to abandon the site. Use your budget wisely.

BlueprintsIn planning a website, consider adding these elements to your design:

1. A landing page: this is a page that presents your current work and allows readers the chance to buy immediately. I intend to add this feature as I approach my own book launch.

2. A bio/contacts page that tells a bit about yourself and links to connect with you in a variety of ways.

3. Consider having a blog but only if you have time to keep working on it.

4. If you intend to offer free content then have a page where this is available to interested readers. This is another page that I’m adding in the near future.

5. A page for your publications with links to everything you have for sale on all sales channels

6. Add widgets and menus for additional ways to interact with your site and connect with you.

7, A page that lists your works in progress.

These are just the beginning and there will be several tools and scripts you’ll want to make use of as you grow. But a beginning is a beginning – I’m still working on my website to bring it to the point where I’m comfortable with the design. This depends on my budget but it is a goal for the year to make improvements.

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyPlease share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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