Hidden Inspiration

“Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination.”
~ Willy Wonka – Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

One of the most frequent questions I am asked as an author is what inspired me to write The Rite of Wands. I have always found that question interesting because when you think about it, inspiration is different for everyone. It may be a memory, a character from a book, song lyrics, a political speech, a TV series, or even an actor’s performance. Pure imagination is in all of us—we only need to discover it, and sometimes storytelling helps.

template-4-12172901503297868-large.pngInspiration can come to us in any shape or form; you never know what or who may inspire you. That was the case for me in 2014 when I got the opportunity to attend Wizard World Chicago and meet English actor Matt Smith, who is known for playing the Eleventh Doctor on Doctor Who, and most recently Prince Philip on Netflix’s The Crown. I had originally gone there because I really wanted to meet a Doctor, and honestly felt it was going to be one in a lifetime, never thought it would be possible to meet him again being in America. If only I had known then that I was about to discover the main piece of inspiration in order to finish my book!

A few months later, I was sitting at my desk in my writing office, trying to compose something, but nothing would come to me. I was staring at a blank page for what seemed like eternity. I was close to tears. Not because I was sad, but because I was so frustrated with myself! I thought I had what was called a dead book, and my dream of becoming an author was coming to an end. I wasn’t a writer like I thought. In that moment of desperation, I literally shouted at my computer, “WHO are you? Show yourself!” And then inspiration hit.

I envisioned out of a dark alley in Glendalow, Matt Smith, dressed in medieval warlock attire, carrying an ebony wooden wand in his hand that contained a bloodstone crystal at the shaft. There was also a scar on his face from some type of chemical accident.

I felt like I was having my own “regeneration.” I was being fed all the information I had been missing all at once. I could now hear the character, see the character, and I got a huge grasp on this character’s dominant personality, especially after the first thing I could hear this character say to me was, “My name is Mierta, and that is NOT how it happened.”

In that moment, I gained my confidence back, realizing my dream of becoming a writer could still happen. If you’re a struggling writer, don’t give up! Keep at it. Find what inspires you. You never know what or who that may be!

Announcing Fall 2017 YASH Teams!

For all of you who love finding new reads, I have just the thing for you. The YA Scavenger Hunt is coming. If you’ve never heard of it, the hunt runs twice a year in the spring and in the fall. During the hunt we showcase new and upcoming YA releases, give out tons of prizes, and release special bonus material. Sound interesting?

This spring we will have one hundred forty authors split into seven teams of twenty. Each team is assigned a color. The blog hop begins Oct 3rd and runs through Sunday, Oct 8th. It’s easy to play. All you have to do is either start on my blog or head directly over to the YASH website. There you’ll find a list of all the authors participating as well as an answer sheet you can print off to gather the info you’re hunting for and to keep track of any bonus contests you may have entered.

Are you ready to see all the books featured this season? Here they are!

Gold-Team-Fall-2017

Green-Team-YASH-Fall-2017

pink-fall-2017

Red-Team-YASH-Fall-2017

YASH-Blue-Fall-2017

Purple-Team-fall-2017

Orange-Team-YASH-Fall-2017

Which books look the most interesting to you?

This was originally posted on the YASH website.

The Benefits of Newsletters

Newsletters are a bit of a newer concept to me. Most of the authors I know do have some type of mailing list for their readers to keep up with them, but, if you’re a newer author like me, how do you get people to subscribe in the first place? I am going to share some tips I recently learned.

When Charlene Kowalski, marketing director, asked during a panel to a room filled with authors, bloggers and readers during Once Upon A Book convention this past weekend in Frankenmuth, MI, it was interesting hearing the various responds from those present.

What tips really stuck out:

  • Making your newsletter personal. Readers want to know more about you, and your life. They want you to feel like you are a friend versus just another author. They want different content than just hearing “buy my book”!
  • Offer a free book or short story exclusive to your newsletter subscribers.
  • Having giveaways exclusive to your newsletter doesn’t keep readers! This, I honestly found really surprising. Most authors said they found people were more likely to unsubscribe when their newsletter contained a giveaway.
  • Sales really CAN increase. I’ve heard more than once in the indie community that authors find newsletters are time consuming, tedious and a waste of time. However, one author said their sales increased by 44% simply because she had a newsletter.
  • Send your newsletter out quarterly, that way you will always have fresh content. If you send out your newsletter more frequently, it can lead not only unsubscribes, but people may report your content as spam/abuse.

 

Author Interview: Cristina Grau #Tuesdaybookblog

Today I’m fortunate to present Cristina Grau author of “Fulfil your Dreams”.

Hi, Cristina, thanks for agreeing to this interview!

Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?

B1MvLhWKjyS._SY200_I was born (many years ago) and raised in Montevideo, Uruguay. However, I have also lived in the US, France, The Nederlands, and England.

Question 2) What do you think makes a good story?

A story is good when it grabs you when it makes you feel something. It doesn’t matter the genre, what is important is that you don’t want to put the book down because you want to know what will happens next.

Question 3) What inspired you to write your first book?

I have been a nomad since 2008, and many people are amazed at my kind of life. I always get many questions about why I live like this, or what made me do it, or the most common one, how can I afford it. So, I decided to write a book explaining why and how I can do it.

I wrote it hoping that I can inspire somebody to live their dreams, as I am living mine. And I am proud to say, that I have been the inspiration for some people. Some have taken small steps, some have leaped into their dreams. Either way, I am happy to have been of service.

Question 4) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

It varies. Right now, I am house sitting in The Alps in France, so I have plenty of time to write. However, this past winter I was traveling through South East Asia and I did not write at all during the six months I was there because I was too busy gallivanting. As you can see, I don’t have a schedule, but when I get into writing mode, I don’t stop. Sometimes I even forget to eat.

Question 5) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I don’t think I have one. I write whenever the inspiration comes. However, I like solitude, even that I have been known to write in a busy place, but it doesn’t happen too often. One of the reasons I like to house sit in the middle of nowhere it’s that I have no temptation to go here and there, affording me the opportunity to write. Sometimes when I do help X or work away, I don’t have the chance to write as much as I want to, especially if there are many volunteers. It all comes down to discipline, and I never been known for having much of it.

Question 6) Give us the title and genre of your latest book.

416H8lyDwkL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_“Fulfill your Dreams” is an inspirational book, and the steps needed to live your life to the fullest.

Coming soon “Backpacking my Style,” is a budget book, with a lot of history, mythology, and religion. No politics, even that in some countries it was very hard not to write about politics.

I am also sharing my experiences, and many photos of the gorgeous places I have visited.

Question 7) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

That I actually did it. Once again, it all comes down to discipline and writing requires a lot of discipline. I love writing, but I don’t like editing.

Question 😎 Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

From “Backpacking my Style”

Greece
Ελλάδα

Greece is situated in the south of the Balkan Peninsula on the Aegean and Ionian Seas. And it is comprised of over 1400 islands.

It’s often called the birthplace of Western civilization, and as you have read in previous chapters, many of these countries are known as the cradle of Western Civilization. They all want the credit.

Nevertheless, Greece was one of the most influential nations of the time. To this day, we still emulate the philosophy and politics of Greece. Democracy was born in Athens, Greece. As was philosophy, political science, literature, historiography, and mathematical principles.

Comedies and tragedies were also born in Greece. As were the Olympic Games and this year is an Olympic year being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

And don’t let us forget the food. Italy has the reputation, but most of the food’s root is Greek, Italy just puts tomato sauce on them.

Same with Mythology, the stories are almost the same, just different names and locals.
Taking about Mythology:

“Athena and Poseidon agreed that whoever gave the city the best gift would become guardian over the city. Though Poseidon thrust his trident into the rock, a spring burst forth giving the gift of water. Athena touched the ground with her spear, and an olive tree grew. The gift of an olive tree was deemed by the other gods to be more valuable.”
Even to this day, Greece is one of the leading olives producers. Some of the trees still producing olives are from the 13th century. Amazing.

Greek is one of the oldest languages in the world as it has been spoken for more than 3,000 years.

Greece has been under the ruling of many empires and countries.

Greece was under the Ottoman Empire until 1829 when finally achieve independence.
In 1940, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini attacked it but was defeated by Greece, just to fall under Nazi Germany until 1944, when with the help of Britain, they defeated the Nazi forces.

However, Greece did not gain freedom until 1973 when it declared itself a republic.
It also had wars with Turkey, the Crusaders, Russia, and many more neighboring countries. It also participated in WWI and WWII.

The most famous Greek war was the Trojan War circa 1200 BC. And we all know the story of Helen de Troy.

Just in case, here it goes…

Question 9) What can we expect from you in the future?

After I had written “Fulfill your Dreams” many people asked me how can I say that I don’t have much money, or that you don’t need that much money to travel the world. So, I keep track of all my expenses for a year, and I wrote: “Backpacking my style.”
In this book, I wrote about the history, the customs, and everything I did in all the places I have been. And of course, all the expenses I had, so everybody can see how much I spend in each place and the total for the year.

The English version is finished, and it will be published soon. Now I am translating it to Spanish.

Question 10) What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

When I make some money, I will let you know.

Question 11) How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

http://www.amazon.com/Fulfill-Your-Dreams-Cristina-Grau/dp/1518856683

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N74LJZB/
Blog: https://gradmaswanderlust.blogspot.com
Blog: https://laabuelitaviajera.blogspot.com
Blog: https://asmallgangofauthors.blogspot.com/

If you want to laugh, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoVmvxOlcp8 to see me dancing with a camel.

Doha, Qatar
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George Town, Penang, Malaysia

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Hội An, Vietnam

19904791_1978542125496684_1553342788_n (1)

How To Gain Exposure Through Book Awards

Bewitched Book With Magic Glows In The DarknessOne of the ways you can help your book get more exposure is through book award contests. These contests help get your materials out to people who may have never known about you or your book, and can ultimately lead to a frenzy of media exposure.

 

It gives your book a new sense of creditability. For example, it may perk a reader’s interest, who otherwise would have skipped over your book due to you being an unknown, enough to give your book a try.

This can lead to more sales and even bestseller status. And, if you end up one of the winners, it can also lead towards finding agents, publishers, movie/television offers, as well as help convince book sellers to carry your book in their store(s).

What To Watch Out For:

Before applying, make sure to do your research. While it may seem like entering multiple contests is a great idea, you want to make sure these are:

  1. Not one where everyone automatically earns a badge/prize because they entered.
  2. Has a high cost to enter.
  3. Is reputable and real.

For example, my first book award contest, which shall be nameless, was a contest where the winner was supposed to be announced at a conference.

To this day, I still don’t know who won. There were no badges, no announcements of runner ups, nor any congratulations mentioned on any of this site’s social media platforms. It was as if this contest never existed. (Maybe it really didn’t).

What Are Some Good Contests To Enter:

According to Scott Lorenz, President of the PR and marketing firm, Westwind Communications, some of the top book awards contests in 2017 for indie authors include:

  • The National Book Critics Circle Awards
  • Indies Choice Book Awards
  • The National Indie Excellence Book Awards
  • IndieFab Awards