Author Spotlight with David Fingerman

K.S.  Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself. 

D.F. I'm very excited to be here.  Thank you for having me.  For people who don't know me well, I seem to have that serial killer persona - he's very quiet and keeps to himself.  People who know me quite well seem to think I'm funny, got a very warped sense of humor, and a very recognizable laugh.  After spending nearly half of my life working for the court system, I walked away to write full time.    Financially, not the smartest move I ever made, but as far as doing what I love to do ~ I have absolutely no regrets.

K.S.  Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?

D.F. To be painfully honest, I'm an incredibly boring person.  I'm most comfortable sitting in my office and writing.  The writing stories I can think of even bore me.  One of my writing quirks is when I'm writing and have an idea for another book or story, I'll stop what I'm doing and start working on the new idea.  I've probably got about a dozen unfinished short stories and five unfinished novels.  To be fair, three of the five novels are only chapter one and I haven't worked on them for quite some time.  Two novels I'm jumping back and forth.  If I get blocked on one, I'll play with the other.  When I'm done with those I'll get to work on the other.

K.S.  When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?

D.F. I've enjoyed  reading and writing since I learned how.  With the exception of college years (those four years sucked the creativity out of me) and a couple of years after that, writing had always in in the back of my mind.  After having lost interest, I was sitting with some friends who were talking about a book I had never heard of.  They were shocked I hadn't read it and one friend threw me a copy.  It was "Shatterday" by Harlan Ellison.  That relit my interest in not only reading for pleasure again, but writing.

K.S.  What genre do you write?

D.F. I've got a book of short stories called "Edging Past Reality." Most of those are speculative fiction.  "Silent Kill" is a suspense/thriller.  My next book, "Spyder" (hopefully to be released this year) is more of an urban adventure. "Playing the Hand She's Dealt" the sequel to "Silent Kill" (and to be released in 2011) is more of a mystery, but still a lot of suspense.

K.S.  What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?

D.F. I have to go back to my Harlan Ellison answer.  Not only did his books reignite my love for reading and writing,  but his writing is extraordinary.  I might not agree with everything he says, but he always makes me think.  I can't think of a greater compliment to give a writer.

K.S.  What does your family think of your writing?

LOL.  Even though it's not what most of them would normally read, they've all been very supportive.

K.S.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?

D.F. When I first started writing "Silent Kill" the protagonist was going to be a rookie deputy sheriff.  Thus, Andrew was born.  I wanted to compliment him with a sister who was a Minneapolis cop ~ Louise.  She was originally going to be a minor character just giving occasional  advice and guidance.  The further I got into the book, the more Louise started to take over.  It soon became clear that she was supposed to be the main protagonist.  I went back to the beginning and did a lot of rewriting and adding chapters.

K.S.  What inspired you to write your novel?

D.F. It had to have been all those years in the courtroom.  I got to witness just about every type of human behavior.  I also wanted to tell a story about police officers (and deputy sheriffs) who work the street.  There are so many novels about detectives but very few about the people who do the grunt work.  I thought they deserved their fifteen minutes (although, the way some are portrayed, they might wish I hadn't).

K.S.  Can you tell us a little about your novel?

D.F. Louise Miller is a gay cop with a huge chip on her shoulder.  When one of her few friends on the force goes missing, Louise starts conducting her own search.  While she's combing the city, Elias is on a psychopathic tear.  All the clues seem to revolve around a certain rottweiler.   Here's a small snippet from chapter 1.

    The door swung open from the car behind and a skyscraper with mirrored sunglasses stepped out.  A bulletproof vest, worn outside the uniform, eclipsed the sun as the policeman approached the side window.
Leonard pressed the button and the driver’s window whirred down.  The August heat poured in, making him sweat almost instantly.
    “License and proof of insurance.”
    “Yes sir.” Dr. Hout unbuckled the seatbelt, reached into his back pocket and removed his wallet.  Fumbling through the credit cards he found his driver’s license and handed it to the officer.
    “Do you know why I pulled you over?” The huge policeman looked at the license. “Mr. Hout?” It didn’t sound like a question.
    “No sir.”
“A psychiatrist, huh?”
    Leonard frowned and then noticed the copy of Psychiatric Update lying on the passenger seat. “Yes sir.”
“You a doctor?”
Leonard heard a challenge in the policeman’s deep voice. “Yes sir.”
“I’ve seen a couple of shrinks in my day,” the officer said.
I’m sure you have.
“So you think that just because you’re a doctor, you don’t need to obey the traffic laws?”
Leonard shook his head vehemently “No sir.  Absolutely not.”
    The cop bent over, hands on his knees and stared through the open window.
“Do you think that just ‘cause you’re some head shrinker, that makes you better than everyone else?”
    Something didn’t feel right.  The cop’s words, his stance, his tone of voice . . .  A knot formed in the pit of Hout’s stomach.  A drop of sweat rolled down his cheek and he gripped the steering wheel tighter to keep his hands from shaking. 
    “No sir.  Not at all.” 
    “Do you know the speed limit, Doctor?” The officer spit a wad of tobacco.  It splattered on the hood of the Lexus.
“I thought it was thirty miles an hour,” Hout said.  He knew the speed limit well, and he knew that had been the speed he’d been driving.  He’d seen enough cars pulled over this week to know about the trap.  He had been careful.
    The officer straightened up.  “And do you know how fast you were going?”
    Hout wanted to look into the policeman’s face but the man’s stomach took up the window.  A swallow caught in the doctor’s throat.  He’d noticed it before, but it didn’t register.  Cops don’t wear their bulletproof vests on the outside of their uniforms.  Two small, circular dents had been punched into the vest.  My God!
“I honestly thought I was going thirty, Officer.”
    “I clocked you at thirty-one.  I’m going to have to give you a citation, sir.  Oh, excuse me . . . Doctor.”

K.S.  Where can we find your novel?

D.F. If you live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area (and even if you don't) "Silent Kill" can be found at most of the independent bookstores around here.  It can also by found at, B&, and for those of you with ereaders, it's also available on Kindle, and others.

K.S.  Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?

D.F. For all the news about me that's fit to print, my website is  Also, I'd be delighted if you'd friend me at Facebook and twitter (both of which can be found at my website).

K.S.  Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?

D.F. Write every day.  The more you writer the better a writer you become.
Join a writers group.  If there's not one around you, either start one or find one online.
Develop a thick skin.  Unless you're one of the very few elite, you're going to get rejected.  Don't take it personally ~ publishing is a business.

Well, this was fun!  Again, thank you for letting me take up space on your blog.

Could you or Would you be a Vampire?

Welcome to Vampire Week!
Day 4
In honor of Halloween I am paying tribute to my favorite creatures of the night, the Vampire!

Vampires have always intrigued me. There was just something about those mysterious creatures of the night.  Unlike werewolves who hunted in the full moon, ripping their victims to shreds (Ouch), or Zombies (Shudder… I hate zombies) who stalked you for your brains and ate the flesh away from your bones, vampires would lull you into a stupor, mesmerizing you with their gorgeous eyes. Sometimes, for the lucky ones, they made you, like them.

I think that last bit is the most interesting part. Becoming a vampire and being granted immortality would be pretty cool.  Never to have to worry about sickness and death. To live and experience the world as it changes and grows.

It’s an enticing idea, no?

Of course if they were real, and you did turn, it wouldn’t be all glitz and glamour. Reality is never as fun as fantasy. Sure you could have your immortal lover forever and see the world grow all around you. That’s all fine and good, but mixed in there would be a pretty harsh reality to deal with.  There is that one pesky thing about killing and drinking blood that might be a problem.

And there’s the rub.

Could you do it?

I don’t think I could. Well, let me add the caveat. I don’t think I could do it willingly.

It’s a theme I touch on in my new novel, Immortalis Carpe Noctem. My main character, Alyssa is turned without knowing all that it entails. It’s something she struggles with. Killing is not something a normal person considers; but, if it is what you have to do to survive, you have to find a way to cope. 

As a victim of a horrible mugging, Alyssa finds hunting down criminals as a way to deal with her need for blood. If she has to kill, then it will help stop bad people from harming others. It works for her, but not every vampire follows that method of thinking. Each vampire has to deal with killing and death in their own way. 

So the question remains, and I open up the floor to you readers: Would you willingly turn vampire, knowing it meant you had to kill for blood? How would you cope? Whom would you hunt?

Where Would a Vampire Want to Live?

Welcome to Vampire Week!
Day 3
In honor of Halloween I am paying tribute to my favorite creatures of the night, the Vampire!

If you were a vampire, where would you want to live? For me, it would be Vegas! Well, I actually do live in Vegas, but no, I’m no vamp ... or am I? LoL.

New York may be known as the City that Never Sleeps, but we local Las Vegans are the true nocturnal creatures.  With a 24 hour lifestyle even your average Joe can be found out an about at 3 in the morning, perhaps doing their shopping for the week or maybe just hitting a bar for a drink after work.

It’s well known that vampires are relegated to the night. You know that whole messy, burst into flames thing whenever sunlight is present. So what better a place than one filled with people up at all hours, right? And let’s not forget that the Strip would be considered something akin to a buffet line filled with a smorgasbord of all kinds of exotic cuisine. In the mood for Asian tonight, how about a little French, or maybe you prefer something a little south of the border? Just head on down to the strip for a bite. Ha!

It’s a place where a vampire can thrive as well as stay hidden. Remember, vampires are supposed to be fiction and fantasy. We humans aren’t supposed to know about them. What better way to hide than in plain sight, in a place where living at night is normal?

In my novel I have a clan of vampires living in a quiet suburban neighborhood in Vegas. They don’t hunt in their neighborhood, but they are able to live there without drawing any attention to themselves. This is where the 24 hour lifestyle really helps. As I said above, your average Joe, living in Vegas, could work the later shifts, as many locals here do. It’s so common there is no reason for nosy neighbors to question why you are never seen during the day.

I’m picturing the woman from Bewitched here. Anyone who has seen that classic TV show might remember her. The nosy neighbor always screaming “Abner, come look at the neighbors.”

You won’t find that happening here in Vegas. No one is going to question a neighbor who sleeps all day and only comes out at night. LoL.

So, yeah, if vampires did exist, they would definitely find a home in Sin City. There is plenty of exotic cuisine, a thriving night life, and a community who won’t question why you aren’t around during the day.

But that's just my opinion. You tell me, where else would a vampire want to live?

Vampire Movies

Welcome to Vampire Week!
Day 2
In honor of Halloween I am paying tribute to my favorite creatures of the night, the Vampire!

Today we are talking about... Popular Vampire related Movies:

Nosferatu (1922; starring Max Schreck) – unlicensed German adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel; featuring "Count Orlok", a thinly veiled allusion to Dracula.

Dracula (1931) – the first Universal Studios Dracula film, starring Bela Lugosi

Dracula (1958; aka Horror of Dracula) – the first Hammer Dracula film, starring Christopher Lee as the Count
The Brides of Dracula (1960)
Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)
Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968)
Taste the Blood of Dracula (1969)
Scars of Dracula (1970)
Dracula AD 1972 (1972)
The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)
Once Bitten (1985) It is a vampire-themed comedy about Mark Kendall (Carrey), an innocent and naive high school student who is seduced in a Hollywood club by a sultry blonde countess (Hutton) who, unknown to him, is really a centuries old vampire.

Fright Night (1985) Charley Brewster an avid fan of horror films sees new next-door neighbors moving in, carrying what appears to be a coffin.

Fright Night II (1989) sequel to Fright Night

The Lost Boys (1987) American horror film about two Arizonan brothers who move to California and end up fighting a gang of teenage vampires.

Lost Boys: The Tribe (2008) sequel to the successful 1987 vampire horror film.

Interview with the Vampire (1994) based on the 1976 novel Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice.

Queen of the Damned (2002) film adaptation of the third novel of Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles series

Embrace of the Vampire (1994) Charlotte Wells, a chaste "good girl", finds herself having dreams about sex. These dreams coincide with and seem to be connected to the arrival of a vampire.

Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995) is a 1995 comedy film directed by Mel Brooks. It is a parody of the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker, and of some of the films it inspired.

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
From Dusk till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money is a 1999 United States horror film and the sequel to From Dusk till Dawn.

Blade (1998)
Blade II
Blade: Trinity

John Carpenter's Vampires (1998)
Vampires : Los Muertos is a 2002 sequel to John Carpenter's Vampires starring Jon Bon Jovi in the role of the vampire hunter, instead of James Woods.

Dracula 2000 (2000) Count Dracula resurrected in the year 2000
The Forsaken (2001)

Underworld (2003)
Underworld: Evolution (2006)
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)

Ultraviolet (2006)
Van Helsing (2004) 
30 Days of Night (2007) - Based on the comic of the same name.
I Am Legend (2007) - Based on the novel of the same name.
Let the Right One In (2008) - An acclaimed Swedish romantic horror movie based on the novel of the same name.

Thirst (2009)
Blood: The Last Vampire (2009)

Twilight (2008) - Based on the novel of the same name.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) - Based on the novel New Moon.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010) - Based on the novel Eclipse.

Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant (2009)
Daybreakers (2010)
Vampires Suck (2010)

Spooktacular Book Blog Giveaway!!!

Don't miss out on this awesome giveaway. Just look at all of the blogs participating!! For a chance to win a copy of Immortalis Carpe Noctem, stop by Bitsy Bling's Book Review, It's prize pack #3

Vampire TV Shows (Updated through 2011)

Welcome to Vampire Week!

In honor of Halloween I am paying tribute to my favorite creatures of the night, the Vampire!

You may think they are just trendy now, but their popularity has been around for a very long time.  While I have to agree they’ve definitely picked up quite a lot of steam, thanks to three popular authors (Stephanie Meyers – Twilight, LJ Smith – Vampire Diaries, Charlaine Harris – Southern Vampire Mysteries/True Blood), they are not a new trend.

It’s been “in” to love those fearsome fanged creatures for many years. So, over the next few days I’ll be showing you how popular they have been in books, movies, and TV over the last 100 or so years.  (If I am missing any please let me know so I can add them to the list.)

Popular Vampire related TV shows:

Dark Shadows is a gothic soap opera that originally aired weekdays on the ABC television network, from June 27, 1966 to April 2, 1971.

Salem's Lot (1979) - Based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King.

Forever Knight is a 1992  Canadian television series

Kindred: The Embraced is a 1996 American science fiction television series

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a 1997 American television series

Ultraviolet is a 1998 British television serial

Angel is a 1999 American television series, a spin-off of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Vampire High is a Canadian TV series which originally aired from 2001 to 2002

Young Dracula was a British children's television series on CBBC, loosely based on the children's book by Michael Lawrence. Directed by Joss Agnew, the first series was broadcast in 2006, and the second series,
which started in late 2007, concluded in early 2008.

Salem's Lot is a 2004 American television mini-series

Blade: The Series is a 2006 American live-action television program based on the Marvel Comics character and film series

Blood Ties is a 2007 Canadian television series based on the Blood Books by Tanya Huff

Moonlight is a 2007 American paranormal romance television drama

Being Human is a British supernatural dramedy television series.

True Blood is a 2008 American television drama series

The Vampire Diaries is a 2009 American supernatural–fantasy horror television series

The Gates is a 2010 American supernatural  crime drama

 Being Human (North America) Is a 2011 Supernatural drama based on the British series of the same name.

Author Spotlight with Julie Wise

Name: Julie Wise
Title of book: Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease

Bio: Julie Wise is a professional life and relationship coach who works with people to take their dreams from wishing into reality. She knows from personal experience the challenge of starting over when your dream has fallen apart. Instead of giving up, she learned how to reinvent herself and discovered that there is always a bigger (and better) dream waiting to happen. In her new book, Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease, she offers a fresh, practical and hands-on approach to inspire readers to overcome their challenges and achieve their heartfelt desires.

KS - Tell us a little about yourself.

JW - I’m a professional life and relationship coach and my focus is on helping people identify what they want in their lives and then working with them to make it happen. I’ve spent my life reinventing myself, so the skills I’ve developed over the years are what I share with clients as well as with readers in my new book Dream BIGGER. To give you some examples, I graduated from university as a translator and have also worked as an ice dancing coach, a newspaper editor, an artist creating wall designs, and a consultant on community projects across Canada and even in Argentina. I’ve found that there are always new ways to repackage my skills, and unexpected opportunities waiting around the next corner.

KS -Any interesting writing quirks or stories to share with my readers?

JW - I’ve found that I can’t settle into writing before 10 a.m. I need to have a slow relaxed start to the morning and ease myself in gently. When I first sit down to write, I go to a file on my computer that’s called “writer’s journal”. It’s where I note down thoughts about where I want to go next in the story, any challenges I’m facing and how I might deal with them, and also just give myself little “pats on the back” to stay motivated. After that, I can get on with the business of writing.

KS - When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

JW - I’ve always wanted to write. As a child, I created books with my own stories and illustrations and very proudly printed my name on the cover. My father had a bookstore and I loved to spend time among the new books, running my fingers along the spine, and imagining that it was my name on the front.  He was also a marvelous storyteller, so I’m sure I inherited some of his word-weaving talent. Over the years, I’ve written poetry and short stories, even a novella and a fictional memoir, but I haven’t taken the step of publishing anything until now.

KS - What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career?

JW - My initial inspiration was definitely my father. I think it was his dream to be a writer, but he set it aside to support his family. He still managed to stay somewhat connected to his dream by owning a bookstore and writing a regular newspaper column as well as humorous poetry, but he never pursued the full dream.  My mother didn’t have the chance to pursue her dream either (of becoming an archeologist), so I think that spurred me on to reach for all my dreams. Interestingly, writing is the one dream that I resisted taking seriously until two years ago, and now that I’ve opened that door, there’s no turning back!

KS -What does your family think of your writing?

JW - My parents have been gone for a very long time now, but I know they would have been incredibly proud. I’m sure my father would have displayed my book in the front window of his store! My adult children are very proud of me, mentioning the book to all their friends through social media networks and doing what they can to promote me. It’s quite a feeling when you can impress your own children!

KS -What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?

JW - With Dream BIGGER, I think I was surprised at how easily it came together. The book virtually wrote itself. All I had to do was show up at my laptop every day and the ideas would unfold. When I finished writing the basic content, I realized that I needed something more, perhaps another section, but I wasn’t sure what to do. Suddenly I thought of interviewing some people I found inspiring because their dreams had expanded to have a community or global impact. I contacted them (I didn’t know any of them personally) and they all agreed right away.  A few weeks later the interviews and writing were done. I’d written the entire book in about three months.

KS -What inspired you to write your book?

JW - In my coaching practice (and in my own life), I’ve realized that most of us yearn for “something more”. Dream BIGGER meets that need by offering a hands-on guide to rekindle the dream you have for your life, create an action plan, and make your dream a reality. Sometimes life doesn’t go the way we planned and in those moments, it’s hard to have hope for the future. We just want to give up.  I believe that’s when it’s time to dream bigger because the dream we had for ourselves wasn’t big enough. The bigger dream invariably connects us to a larger community and has broader impact than what we would have expected when we started out. In the book I provide real life examples of people who have created new lives and directions for themselves.  I also offer simple and effective exercises to motivate and inspire readers get to where they want to be.

KS -Can you give us a snippet from your book?

JW - This is taken from the back cover.

Take a moment to remember daydreaming as a child. Recall the joy, freedom, and sense of possibility you felt. Imagine being able to experience that every day!
You can with Dream BIGGER, Julie Wise’s heartfelt and inspiring guide to realizing your deepest desires. Using her experience as a life and relationship coach, Wise provides personal anecdotes and numerous client examples to create a living, breathing roadmap for those seeking insight and wisdom on their daily path.
The workbook format deftly illustrates Wise’s motivational message, giving you the chance to work through past doubts, disappointments and fears using simple yet effective techniques. She shows you how to stay focused and achieve your dreams by creating a workable action plan. Divided into easy-to-read chapters, Wise offers inspiring stories from those successfully living their dreams and covers topics such as revealing the dream, befriending the gremlins, reawakening your potential, seeing the signs, and much, much more!
Your dream is within reach. Let Dream BIGGER show you how to make it a reality!

KS -Where can we find your book?

JW - Dream BIGGER is available online through ( and (

KS - Do you have a website or blog?

JW - My book blog is at
My coaching website is
And there’s currently an online contest where people can post videos of their dreams and win prizes to help them make their dreams happen.  It’s the Dream BIGGER Reinvention Challenge and it’s at

KS - Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?

JW - Write. Read. Write about what excites you, whether it’s in a blog, a journal, emails or newsletter. Read and notice how your favorite authors write. By writing you’ll develop your style, and by reading you’ll learn more about what captures a reader’s attention.

Winner Winner

Congratulations to GABixler  and Mariska!!

You've been selected as the winner of  Torquere Press title, 'Oilver's Good Night Kiss!

Thank you for participating in Erin O'Riordan's Author Spotlight
She will be contacting you shortly with details on your prize.

Write What You Know.

I think everyone has heard the quote “write what you know.” It’s probably one of the first things we as writers are taught. It makes sense too. You should be knowledgeable in the things that you are writing but that doesn’t mean you can’t write what you’re not completely familiar with.

I write about vampires. I’ve never been one so I cannot write them from experience. What I can do, though, is take things and experiences I do know and translate them to the characters I create.

For instance, when writing my vampire stories, I needed to describe bloodlust.  Vampires whether they are good or bad all have to deal with bloodlust, especially Alyssa from my Immortalis series.

What is bloodlust? Again, not being a vampire I have no real basis of comparison, but I do know a few other things that might come close.

I’ve struggled with quitting smoking for years (Finally quit 3 months ago…yay me!). Ok it’s not a hard-core addiction, but you have to work with what you’ve got right? Addiction is very easily comparable to bloodlust. A vampire needs blood to survive and I’m willing to bet, if they were real, missing a meal would be none too pleasant. For a smoker, that morning cigarette or that after dinner cigarette is something of a need too.
When quitting smoking and withdrawal sets in, you feel all sorts of terrible things. You become cranky, irritable, depressed, and short-tempered. You’re ready to snap on anyone who comes within ten feet of you. Then this little voice whispers in your head that having one little smoke will make it all better. Once you start thinking about having that cigarette, you can’t get it out of your head. You start searching for a long lost pack or start talking yourself into going out and buying “just one last pack.” It’s a vicious cycle that often leads to the addict returning to their addiction. Like I said, I’m no hard-core addict but you got to work with what you have. In my defense I should mention that quitting smoking has been compared to quitting heroin.

So, in taking the “write what you know” quote into consideration I likened bloodlust to that of a person who is addicted to the substance. I make the need for blood like an addiction and the lack of it something like the effects of withdrawal.

So, as you see, writing what you know doesn’t always have to mean literally, it just means take what you do know and make it work somewhere in your writing.

Author Spotlight with Erin O'Riordan & Contest too!

K.S.  Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself.

E.O. Thanks for having me here today, Katie. I’m an erotic romance writer. I write the Pagan Spirits series, which so far includes the novels Beltane and Midsummer Night. I’ve written numerous short stories and articles for online magazines like and My stories have also been featured in Playgirl and Hustler Fantasies.

On a personal note, I live in the Midwest U.S.A with my husband and a cat named James.

K.S.  Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?

E.O. I don’t think I have any writing quirks. I have a postcard of Ernest Hemingway hanging over my desktop computer. I got it from Hemingway’s house in Key West. Does that count as a quirk?

K.S.  When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?

E.O. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. My husband told me to write a novel in February 2006. He and I co-own a contracting business when I’m not writing, and he told me the business didn’t need me that week but that if I stayed home I had better finish the first draft of a novel in that time. I did; I banged out an 80-page first draft of what would become my book The Smell of Gas.

K.S.  What genre do you write?

E.O. I mainly write in erotic romance, but I’ve also written more mainstream fiction, and some nonfiction too. I contribute a writing article to each issue of Poetic Monthly Magazine.

K.S.  What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?

E.O. My all-time favorite author is Emily Dickinson, because of her sheer genius. It was my eleventh grade American Literature teacher, Tom Gerencher, who introduced me to Dickinson and deepened my appreciation and understanding of her poetry. If I had to pick a prose author, I would say Nathaniel Hawthorne.

K.S.  What does your family think of your writing?

E.O. Most of them are proud of me, though I think my explicit language still embarrasses my dad a little bit. My mom really enjoys going into Barnes and Noble, picking up The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica and seeing my name on the back.

K.S.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book/s?

E.O. There are so many different ways to celebrate each ritual on the NeoPagan calendar, but there are enough commonalities that if I describe something too different, readers will let me know I’m not being realistic.

K.S.  What inspires you?

E.O. In the past, I have been inspired by songs on the radio, the caterpillars that crossed my path on my morning walk, a sales clerk at Pier One, a kayak trip in Michigan…it could be anything.

K.S.  Where can we buy your novel?

E.O. You can buy them on,, (Beltane) and (Midsummer Night).

K.S.  Do you have a website, fan site, or blog that we can visit?

E.O. My home page is My book blog, Pagan Spirits, is at You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter.

K.S.  Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?

E.O. I always answer this question the same way, but it really is the best advice: be persistent. Never give up.


Erin will be giving away two copies of the Torquere Press title 'Oilver's Good Night Kiss!

We're going to have a little fun with this giveaway. To be eligible to win a copy you must do 2 things.

1 leave a witty comment or question for Erin. She will be stopping in periodically to answer your questions.  And she will determine from your questions, which were the best.

2 leave your email address with your comment or question.  (If we can't get a hold of you we cant give you the prize.)

Winners will be announced on Friday 10/22/10

Good luck!

Do your homework on self-publishing companies.

I know I know, you probably want me to shut up already.

Sorry, no, I won’t because that’s not my style. I don’t like this new Borders BookBrewer thing one bit. 

A reminder before I start... The information in this blog post is based on my own experience in e-publishing. My books are available on the left if you're interested. No one is paying me money to say nice things or mean things about any companies listed in this blog. I'm an Indie author like many of you out there and just want to share the knowledge I have gained while stumbling though this often complicated and scary market.  

I feel if at least one person reads this and makes an informed decision because of it, rather than just seeing the name “Borders” and throwing their money away, I’ll have done my good deed for the day. 

I saw this link via Publishers Weekly.

They are an excellent resource for publishing information and this was an excellent and informative article written by Mr. Calvin Reid on the new service Borders and BookBrewer are preparing to roll out this month.

I'm going to break down a few snippets from the article on this new self-publishing venture and give you my thoughts.

The agreement with BookBrewer moves Borders into the self-publishing space, but with a different spin than its competitors. Barnes & Noble's newly launched PubIt! for example, lets authors post an existing e-book to its site for free and splits royalties, while Borders is charging a fee to help authors create an e-book. While its difficult to see how Borders can compete with free e-book conversion, a spokesperson for Borders said the BookBrewer program offers more value and more self-publishing tools.

I love this!! Right off the bat, Calvin Reid,  has already pointed out the biggest red flag for Borders/BookBrewer.

Did you catch it as well?

They are putting a new "spin" on self-publishing, competing with players in the market who already offer you to publish for free.

The “spin” here is they will set up your files for you. The fine print is that “setup” cost $89 -$199.

The author of this article obviously agrees that this will make it difficult to see how Borders can compete considering there are some very popular other options out there on the market.

What’s the companies take on their “spin.”

“We are charging $89.99 because we provide the ISBN," the spokesperson said, "and we essentially do everything from giving the author the tools to load, format and package the books within the BookBrewer system to publishing it in major eBook stores for them.”

If you read my last two post, I already covered their inflated costs and fees. What I didn’t cover was the fact they “do everything” as is included in the quote above. Not really sure how much they actually “do.”

From what I understood, from reading various articles and the BookBrewer website, you paste in your manuscript and the software formats it for you into an EPUB format. Doesn’t really sound like there is much physical “doing of anything” involved on the companies part. According to the quote above, the author will still need to format it within the software.

Sounds to me like the author is still doing everything. So, how is this any different from an author using any other software programs to convert their file to EPUB, offered at low cost or for free online? I'll tell you the difference. You are paying for the privilege of using the BookBrewewr software.

I’m not seeing the mysterious value or the added assistance offered by the company to justify the high setup fees.

The spokesperson said that the service targets bloggers because, "bloggers are specifically mentioned because the service was created in such a way that it makes it easy for them to feed their content right from their site and arrange it into book chapters using the publishing tools."

Here is another question. Why are they targeting Bloggers? A blog is already essentially e-published for free.  If a person has a blog and post to it regularly, what is the point of them selling an ebook?

I’ve seen bloggers compile their work into print and sell it, but I’m not understanding the need or desire  for someone who essentially makes their content available for free: daily, weekly, or even monthly, to create an ebook at an initial cost of $89-$199 plus a 25% cut of each sale.

That kind of goes along with the old saying “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free.”

Finally, the part that gave me the biggest laugh of all… This little gem.

In addition, Borders claims the $199 package will offer more experienced self-publishers more flexibiiity to negotiate deals with retailers.

What retailers are they going to “negotiate” with? If it’s an ebook it will only be formatted for EPUB coming from their service, a format not suitable for print, so they would have to take that format and either reconvert it or target other ebook retailers, many of which offer free setup and assistance with file conversion anyway. See Part 1 of my post on Borders BookBrewer.  Things to make you go, Hmmmm.

Unlike the basic package, Borders does not automatically distribute the advanced BookBrewer package. The spokesperson explained, “We do not distribute with this package. If the authors chose to list on, they would negotiate royalties directly with us.

If I am to understand this correctly, if you pay the $199 for the advanced package, you get your EPUB file but do not get distributed to the other ebook retailers. You have to take your file and go "negotiate" with other ebook sellers. This is very interesting because I thought that was one of the selling features of the Borders BookBrewer venture. They were going to package and sell your work for you in Borders and other retail sites too.

So if you pay the big bucks all you really get is an EPUB file and a pat on the back to go on your merry way?

"There are no royalties associated with this [advanced] package," the spokesperson said. "You can sell via eBook retailers on your own or on your site if you are a blogger. So if you're a more serious publisher and think you will sell thousands of copies, paying a higher fee up front in exchange for making thousands more will make sense to you."

Let me translate that last bit for you into layman's terms... Thanks for your money, now go peddle your books elsewhere.


Please people, do your homework if you choose to self-publish. Find out everything you can about a company before investing any money in them to produce your books be they ebook or print.

Special thanks to Mr.

Borders BookBrewer - Things to make you go, Hmmmmm... PT 2

So, as you can see from my last post, there are some really good FREE choices on the market for getting your manuscript to virtual print.

A reminder... The information in this blog post is based on my own experience in e-publishing. My books are available on the left if you're interested. No one is paying me money to say nice things or mean things about any companies listed in this blog. I'm an Indie author like many of you out there and just want to share the knowledge I have gained while stumbling though this often complicated and scary market.  

Let’s go back now and take a look at Borders/Book Brewer’s  new service.
(Copied from Borders website)

“We give you the tools to edit content, add images and drag it into chapters; congratulations... you're an eBook author!”

This part sounds good. They’re going to give you tools to use that will convert your book. Always nice to have something right there to use without having to scour the internet.  Point for Borders & Book Brewers!

(Copied form Book Brewer website.)

Authors can add content by typing or copying and pasting it into an online form, or they can feed in their content from an existing Web site or blog. With the click of a button, they can arrange and edit content as they wish. The content is saved as an ePub file — the format most eBook stores require to sell a book.
Authors who choose the advanced package will receive a full version of their ePub file, which they will own and may share with friends, family or submit on their own to eBook stores. 

Hold on a second… The software to convert your book is proprietary. You paste in your document and it creates a file on their site and keeps it. If you want the Epub file back, you have to pay for it. By the way you have to pay for their advanced package $199.00 to get your file back.

Maybe I’ll hold onto that point.

Remember that little trick I mentioned before?
Smashwords allows you to download all of your formats for free. That means once converted, you will have fully functioning Epub and Mobi formats if you wanted to turn around and go to the other sites and load your books.

That’s just the quick and easy method to get an Epub file. Just Google  Epub creator and you will find tons of free or low-cost software options to convert your file for use in uploading to self-publishing sites.
Excellent resource here.

Ok, back on point…

(Copied form Book Brewer website.)
For just $89.99 and a small commission on each book, we'll send your eBook to Borders, Amazon & more, and we'll even assign a free ISBN if you don't have one!

Um… Hold on there. $89.99 to have your book listed on Borders and Amazon. May I ask why? It’s free to setup and list a book on Amazon already. It’s also free to list on Kobo which as I understand is Borders ereader of choice. What’s the fee for? The conversion software can’t be all that special. There are tons of free options out there to convert your work to Epub. I’m going to take another point away for that.

I don't like the sound of this already but maybe the fee covers some other costs, maybe marketing or editing (something nifty the other services don't do). Let's continue.

(Copied form Book Brewer website.)
 Under the basic package, BookBrewer will assign the book an ISBN (a $125 value), and will make it available to all major eBook stores at a price set by the writer.

So, they are offering free ISBN’s  as part of their basic package but does that mean the author is listed as the Publisher or that Borders is listed as the publisher. I feel like I am missing out on some information here.I also feel they are inflating their numbers.

Smashwords offers this as an option too. (From Smashwords)

For $9.95, Smashwords will issue you an ISBN that registers you, the author or publisher, as the Publisher in the ISBN record. Smashwords will be listed as a distributor.

Also, purchasing ISBN’s is not that expensive.

If you are planning to publish a few pieces of work a 10 pack of ISBN’s is only $275. (Ebooks don’t require any barcoding so there is no need to worry about additional charges).

Still talking about ISBN pricing here…

Under the basic package, BookBrewer will assign the book an ISBN (a $125 value), and will make it available to all major eBook stores at a price set by the writer.

Where did they come up with the $125 value?  They would buy them in bulk at huge discounts, but let’s just stick with the 10 pack number for a moment.  $275/10 =$27.5 per ISBN…  

I’ll take another point away for that.

Now, we still need to talk about Royalties. You want to get paid for your hard work right?

Just because you paid your $89.99-$199 fee to setup your books, that doesn’t mean the rest is all yours. No. They are still going to take royalties on each book you sell.(I'm still wondering what the setup fees cover)

(Copied form Book Brewer website.)
Royalties will be based on sales and will vary with each retailer.

Um, what? Can I get a real number here? Kindle offers 35-70%. Pubit (B&N) offers 40-65%. Now those numbers are for direct sales on their site.

 Smashwords is a little more confusing because they are working with various retailers. Here is what they say.

Smashwords pays the author, or the author's designated publisher, 85% of the net sales proceeds from the work. Estimated proceeds are clearly disclosed during the publish process in a pie chart, and are calculated as follows: (Sales price minus transaction fee) multiplied by .85 = proceeds to author/publisher. The royalty rate for affiliate sales is 70.5% net. For most retail distribution partners, Smashwords pays the author/publisher 85% or more of the net proceeds to Smashwords, which works out to 42% or more of the suggested list price you set for your book. These rates vary by retailer. Apple and Diesel are 60% of retail price.

It may be confusing but at least there are calculations in place that help you see what you should be getting. When setting up books on Smashwords, you get a nifty little pie chart with each retailer calculation right there, no guess work.

I looked a little further into Bookbrewers website and found this…

How does BookBrewer make money?
We charge a flat $89.99 setup fee that includes an ISBN (a $125 value in itself) and take a 25% commission from each sale. This is quite a deal compared to other services, which charge between $300 and $3,000 to do the same thing. You can also pay $199.99 flat fee to get the full .ePub file to do with as you wish.

So they not only take money up front (for those unjustified setup fees) then they snip off another %25 of each sale. It's getting pretty pricy to work with these people. 

Now, to a self-publisher, their 25% commission for each sale is about standard.  That equates to a %75 royalty which does sound in line with the rest of the publishing sites out there.

What I don't understand is where the came up with the $300-$3,000 setup figure from.The three very legit, and not to mention most popular self-publishing platforms for virtual media cost $0 to set up.

At this point I am not seeing the benefit for any self-published author to work with BookBrewer/Borders.
They aren’t offering anything new to the market yet they are charging outrageous setup fees on top of taking a per-book cut of your profits.

There is no "service" provided for the fees they are charging. I could understand if they offered to edit or market your book as part of the fee, but there is nothing like that listed. It's just cash in their hands before your book makes a single sale.

To me it seems like a Big Busines cash grab targeting indie and self-published authors who are not quite market savvy yet.

A word to the wise…

If you’re interested in ebook self-publishing, do your homework first before signing on with any service that wants to charge you up front.

Everything they offer can be had for free via Smashwords, including a fully formatted Epub file and large distribution catalog and ISBN.

Borders BookBrewer - Things to make you go, Hmmmmm... PT 1

This is going to be a long post but stick with me folks you might learn something.

Let me start off by saying the information in this blog post is based on my own experience in e-publishing. My books are available on the left if you're interested. No one is paying me money to say nice things or mean things about any companies listed in this blog. I'm an Indie author like many of you out there and just want to share the knowledge I have gained while stumbling though this often complicated and scary market.  

All over Twitter today I’ve seen a buzz about a new service being offered by Borders & Book Brewer.

(Copied from Borders website)

Want to publish an eBook? You don't need to be an expert in anything but your own life, words, and dreams. Let us do the rest.
Copy/paste from your manuscript or import from your blog. We give you the tools to edit content, add images and drag it into chapters; congratulations... you're an eBook author! For just $89.99 and a small commission on each book, we'll send your eBook to Borders, Amazon & more, and we'll even assign a free ISBN if you don't have one!

On the surface this looks great. Another Easy peasy way to get your ebooks into Borders, one of the “Big Guys” in the bookseller world. (Please note that this is not the only way to get your ebook listed in Borders)

Anything to spread out the distribution of your ebook is a good thing, as long as it is cost-effective and easy to use.

So, before I go into the specifics of this new service,  let’s take a quick look at the three big choices (already on the market) when considering to self-publish your ebooks.

Amazon, the largest of the e-retailers and home of the very popular Kindle, allows you to create a free account with their DTP service .

You can publish your ebook for free and depending on the price you set, you will receive 35-70% royalties.

This service does require a little know-how on formatting but there are a variety of free resources out there to help you do this. You may have heard me mention MobiPocket Creator before.

Barnes & Noble, home of the Nook, another “big guy” in the bookseller world. I’m listing them second here because of name recognition. We all know Barnes and Noble to be a huge player in the bookselling maket and their Nook ereader is quite popular. They just released their own self-publishing venture called PubIt.

Very similar to Amazon’s DTP service, PUBIT allows you to upload an already formatted Epub file.  This makes it available for sale on Barnes and Noble’s Nook ereader. According to their website, They have no initial setup fees and pay in royalties of 40-65% depending on the starting price of the book.

Again, just like with Kindle, a little know-how is needed to properly format a book for Epub but again there is a wealth of information out there.
Excellent resource here.

The third major player I want to talk about in self-publishing ebooks is  Smashwords.

Just like with Kindle and Nook, there are no setup fees to get your books into virtual print. There is however a very specific formatting guideline that you have to follow.

The major difference between this publisher and the last two is it formats your ebook and mkes it available to a wider audience via the multiple formats it creates:
Online Reading (HTML)
Online Reading (JavaScript)
Kindle (.mobi)
Epub (open industry format, good for Stanza reader, others)
PDF (good for highly formatted books, or for home printing)
RTF (readable on most word processors)   
LRF (for Sony Reader)
Palm Doc (PDB) (for Palm reading devices)
Plain Text (download) (flexible, but lacks much formatting)
Plain Text (view) (viewable as web page)

Because of their large distribution network an ISBN is required. Not all ebooks require them. Kindle for example has no real use for them when you publish with Kindle your book is assigned an AISN by Amazon.
So, when you publish with Smashwords you are given the option to use an ISBN that you own, use theirs for free (they are listed as publisher), or opt to pay for one at $9.95.

The cost for setting up your book is $0 and your book is made available to:
Barnes & Noble  -Nook   
Kobo  - Borders eBook store is powered by Kobo
Amazon  -Kindle   

A little trick for those of you looking for a quick and easy way to streamline things. Smashwords allows you to download all of your formats for free. That means once converted, you will have fully functioning Epub and Mobi formats if you wanted to turn around and go to the other sites and load your books. 

Now that I've shown you some very good options, lets take a look at Borders BookBrewer.
Click here for the next post.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion…

And you are going to have to deal with it.

If you’re writing anything that is going to be published, be it traditional or self, you’re going to have to deal with people and their opinions.

First things first.  Not everyone will like your story.

Deal with that now so it doesn’t come back to bite you in the ass later. You’re going to get some nasty reviews at times. And that’s okay. Some people are just going to be “Haters.” Let those roll off of your back. Don’t respond to them and don’t ever try to retaliate.

I guarantee you that for every “Hater” you get, there will be someone else raving about how good you are. Don’t dwell on it. Just move on.

Beyond the people who either love or hate your story, you will find those in the middle. The ones who like your story but feel they need to add their two cents in. Their comments usually follow along this line.

I liked it but….
“You could have done ____”
“I wanted to know more about ____”
“Next time you should ____”

Those reviews can often bother you more than the reviews from people who hated your book. Why? Because with “hater” reviews you can say to yourself, “Well they are entitled to hate it. It’s a free country.” Or something along those lines.

With the “I liked it but...” reviews, you’re left feeling you somehow failed. If you had given it just a little more, it might have been perfect.

The reader is publicly telling you why your book isn’t perfect. These readers, in a sense, make you feel that you should have come to them for advice first before your manuscript went to print (virtual or paper).

Your first thoughts are…  “They don’t know how long I spent writing the story. They have no clue how many times my work went through the revision process. They don’t know about my critiquing groups. They don’t know that my editor made cuts and suggestions.”

These are the reviews that sting a bit. And it is very tempting to fall into the mindset of…

“Opinions are like assholes. Everyone’s got one and they all stink.”

But don’t look at them as a bad thing. Sure these people are probably not writers, but they are readers and usually your target audience. Remember that!

Try to overlook the hurt you feel and focus on the good advice offered.

If they say the action was a little slow, look for ways to speed things up on the next go around.

If they say the love scenes were a little flat, pick up a few romance books for “research” and see what makes their scenes so good. Try and incorporate what you have learned in the next story you write.

Bottom line… don’t let reviews get you down.

You’re a writer, so write and always work to be better!

Author Spotlight with Dreamshield

The Sorcerer's Dream - This autobiographical  adventure is about a journalist  who meets the enigmatic sorcerer, Running Deer, and her initiation into the sorcerer's world and mastering conscious dreaming. This  book, that follows in the traditions of Carlos Castaneda and others, takes the reader through the magic realms of the unknown and gives a new approach to the traditional training of women sorcerers. It takes  place not in some fantasy world, but in a contemporary society, and addresses the things we face on a daily basis in our everyday lives.

K.S.  Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself. 

Hi Katie, thanks for having me on you blog.

Dreamshield - A little about myself: I am a mother, writer and publisher and I live in the Netherlands (Europe).
I studied social legal studies and the last ten years I’ve been a (freelance) journalist and publisher. Besides that I have a healing practice and give workshops about the Art of Dreaming.
Never a dull moment!

K.S.  Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?

Dreamshield - A writing quirk? I am consciously shaking my right leg. Nervous habit I suppose but it drives everyone grazy. 

K.S.  When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?

Dreamshield - That was about ten years ago. I  just started writing as a freelancer for magazines about my own experiences following spiritual new age workshops and courses. And because I felt more and more energetic doing the things I liked (writing and developing my spiritual ‘side’), I continued on this path.

K.S.  What genre do you write?

Dreamshield - My book is non-fiction. During the years that Running Deer, my dreaming teacher, taught me the art of mastering conscious dreaming I carefully recorded my personal experiences which has finally led to my first book The Sorcerer’s Dream.

K.S.  What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favourite author and why?

Dreamshield - Authors who inspired me are Castaneda and apprentices, Olga Kharitidi, Elizabeth Jenkins, Lynn Andrews, Paulo Coelho and many more. 
They inspire me because they were so open to sharing. I enjoy reading about their exotic adventures and how their perception on reality changed during the process. I want to know more about what they learned about healing and personal growth. 

K.S.  What does your family think of your writing?

Dreamshield - Ha, my family likes other genres! But they say they like my writing:)

K.S.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?

Dreamshield - That I want to continue writing day and night (impossible of course) and that it gave me so much energy.

K.S.  What inspired you to write your book?

Dreamshield - Meeting a shaman “man of Knowledge’ who taught me the art of mastering conscious dreaming and he suggested to share this knowledge. You can read how I met him in chapter one on my website:

K.S.  Can you tell us a little about your book?

Dreamshield – I’d love to! The Sorcerer’s Dream is about my initiation into the sorcerer's world and mastering conscious (lucid) dreaming. It follows in the tradition of Carlos Castaneda and gives a new approach to the traditional training of women sorcerers. It takes place not in some fantasy world, but in a contemporary society, and addresses the things we face on a daily basis in our everyday lives.

And one can learn and practice the Art of Dreaming (the skill of conscious dreaming or lucid dreaming) him/herself. Give it a try, it’s fun!

K.S.  Where can we find your book?

Dreamshield - You can find my book  on-line and it is available from my publisher’s website and you can also order it  on Amazon – and everywhere they sell books.

K.S.  Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?

Dreamshield - My website is and I also have a blog: you can visit.
I am happy to let you and your readers know  that there is a contest going on right now on my site, offering a chance to win a copy of the Sorcerer’s Dream. I invite you to type in 'Book Giveaway' in the question area and you will be entered in the drawing on Oct 30 (2010).
Good luck everyone!

K.S.  Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?

Dreamshield - I have three:)

Go for it!…Don’t forget to publish your work…and…don’t be shy.