Thursday, October 23, 2014

Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing: Marva Dasef's Tips on Producing Audio Books, Giveaway

Hello and welcome to our series, Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing. Our "tipster" author today is multi-genre writer Marva Dasef.  She's giving away the winner's choice of one of her audible books. Take a peek at the books she has available at Audible .com 

Please leave a comment to be eligible for the drawing on Sunday at 9 p.m. 

Listen to an audio sample of Missing, Assumed Dead at the end of the page.

Marva, you have entered the audible book market big time. Audible books add another dimension to a book bringing the story alive to the listener. Thanks so much for sharing great tips on the process of producing an audio book.

The winner of the drawing can choose one of Marva's audio books.
Thanks, J.Q. I decided to ignore all of your excellent questions on the writing process, marketing and publishing books so I can talk a little about the process of producing an audio book.
Audio Rights
First, make sure you have the audio rights to your book. This seems a no-brainer, but when’s the last time you read your contract? If you’re an independent author, then you’ve obviously got your audio rights even if you’ve published your book through Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Smashwords, etc. (if an ebook) and anywhere you might have used if you have a print book as well. I use CreateSpace myself and it’s been functioning well for me for several years.
Production Companies
I searched around for audio production companies and saw several vanity press types.  No way.
I’ve been spoiled by Kindle (plus those other guys) and CreateSpace. I never pay a penny upfront. I do a lot of the work, then the distributor takes their cut when a copy sells.
Pondering all this took me to ACX. Ta da! Wouldn’t you know it. Amazon also has an audio book production company. Why am I not surprised?
I checked it out and found it’s kind of like a dating site. You, the author, auditions narrators/producers. Pretty easy to do. Check the rather huge number of producers and start paring it down. What’s your genre? Do you want a male or female narrator? What age sound do you want your narrator? Accent? And other potential criteria.

You should also check what terms the producer will accept. I selected split royalties since that costs me nothing up front (my favorite mode of operation).
Distribution of Audio Books
To split royalties, you’ll also need to give up a bit of autonomy, that is, you need to assign exclusive distribution to ACX. But that’s not so bad a deal. Your audio book will appear on Amazon (click to buy directs you to, on Audible, and on iTunes. That covers a huge bunch of the audio market.

After pondering the complexities of distribution contracts, you need to create a parking place for your audio book. ACX makes it easy by linking your audio book to your print or ebook Amazon page. Add a few other pieces of information, then upload (a Word file is fine) a couple of pages of your book for audition material. While you might have found the perfect voice, you really want to know how the narrator sounds doing your material.
Why is this? Well, once you’ve uploaded your book info, the people who want the job  are looking for good matches to what they offer.
My producer did just that. He courted me. Aw, gee, gosh. The dating game is afoot. I’m easy and my producer was good, so we paired up. The rest, as they say, is history. I now have five audio books released, plus one more on the way.
Here are the main points to consider:
  • What kind of contract can you live with? Pay a fixed rate per finished hour (that’s the other method) and you get to keep all the royalties OR split the royalties and both you and the producer take the risk and share the rewards.
  • Think hard about who your narrator is. I know you’ve got a voice in your mind when you write, even when writing in 3rd person, you’ll most likely have it close 3rd and want a voice to match your main character.
Now, read the rest of the articles on J.Q.’s featured posts on book marketing. That’s a topic I know nothing about.
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WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE A FREE AUDIO BOOK? Comment here to win your choice of any of Marva's audio books. Do you listen to audio books? Have you produced an audio book? Find all of her books at Audible .com

Find out more about Marva on the Marva Dasef blog and Marva's website.

Enjoy listening to a sample of Marva's romance/mystery e-book, Missing, Assumed Dead.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Bucket List Blog Hop, This Week, Giveaways

Looking forward to a great week. Kicking it off by joining in on the Bucket List Blog Hop.
Hop around cyberspace and have fun at the Bucket List Blog Hop, Today!!
What's a bucket list, you ask. It's a list of things that a person wants to see or do before they die or "kick the bucket". This Bucket List Blog Hop is co-hosted by Sherry Ellis at Mama Diaries and Susanne Drazic at Putting Words Down on Paper.  Thanks Sherry and Susanne for creating a fun hop!

Check out all the bloggers' bucket lists by clicking on their links below. 

This Thursday, October 23, multi-genre author Marva Dasef shares tips on producing audio books. Marva is my guest on the J.Q. Rose blog fall series, Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing. Come back every Thursday this fall for more tips on the writing process, publishing, and marketing. Leave a comment for the drawing of giveaways every week!

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Thanks for hopping over. Here's my bucket list. Do you share any of the same plans or wishes on your list?
***The Bucket List of J.Q. Rose***
1.  Visit the White House-I have been to D.C several times, but we never made it for the tour.
2.  Travel to Nova Scotia to experience the land and the people.
3.  Make a delicious pie crust. Married over 40 years and cannot make a decent pie crust, but thank goodness for Mrs. Pillsbury!
4.  Direct the Philharmonic Orchestra
5.  Be a guest on Oprah featuring my latest novel. But wait a minute, I don't think there is an Oprah Show anymore. sigh, missed that one!
6.  Spend at least one night on Mackinac Island, Michigan, in a suite in the Grand Hotel.
Enjoy more bucket lists by clicking on the links below.
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Ghosts and goblins are coming. 
Read Sunshine Boulevard for a fun, 
scary story just in time for Halloween.

Mysterious deaths upset
the Florida retirement community
interfering with their seasonal activities
and turning up more than dead bodies
Who or what is killing the seniors on Sunshine Boulevard?  Follow Jim and Gloria Hart, snowbirds who annually migrate to Florida for warm sunshine, fun, and games in snow-free winters. However this season, Jim Hart, a volunteer First Responder in his retirement community of Citrus Ridge, is drawn into the investigation of the mysterious deaths. 
Even in the midst of the unfortunate demise of the residents on Sunshine Boulevard, the Harts try to enjoy the winter with friends. They don't realize that their friends are getting together for their own kinds of affairs with each other. 
The neighbors are in a dither over the deaths, but perhaps more intrigued by the gossip about the affairs and why the naked lady was found lying in the geranium bed.

The e-book is available at 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing: Heather Fraser Brainerd Shares Her Light Bulb Moment, Giveaway

Hello and welcome to our series, Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing. Our "tipster" author today is Heather Fraser Brainerd.  She's giving away the winner's choice of one of her e-books: Deception Al Dente, The Sound of Sirens, Dream Shade, or Shadows of New York.  Please leave a comment to be eligible for the drawing on Sunday at 9 p.m.

Hello Heather. Thanks for participating in this series.       
Can you  share a “light bulb moment” about your writing experience?

My brother Dave and I were each working on our own writing projects a few years back. While discussing our work, we came to the sudden realization that we should write something together. I told Dave about a character I’d created: Josie Cates, an irreverent, funny, fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants kind of private investigator. The next day, Dave emailed me the opening of Deception Al Dente. I let my imagination loose on Josie’s world, and Dave did the same. We received our first publishing contract less than a year later. The book grew into a series. Dave, Josie, and I are still going strong.

I never expected to have a writing partner, but it’s what works for us. Sometimes you have to come at your writing from a totally unexpected direction in order to get results.
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Paranormal mystery
Back of the book:
Having left the dull life of workers’ comp insurance behind to strike it out as a private detective, things aren’t going well for Josie P. Cates. Her new career isn't as exciting - or lucrative - as she thought it would be. As her bank account dwindles, her first major client finally walks in the door. Chef Marco, a successful local restaurateur, hires Josie to find out who's skimming money from his business. It doesn't take long for Josie to discover that things at Bistro Italiano aren’t what they seem. Secrets seem to cling to Chef Marco like splattered marinara sauce. With the help of friends both old and new, Josie unravels a case that takes her from the bistro to the world of deadly dark magic. At least it keeps things from being too boring.

Amazon Buy link: 
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About Heather:

Heather Fraser Brainerd is a multi-published author and a renaissance woman. After earning a degree in Anthropology, she embarked on an incongruous career as a workers’ compensation insurance adjuster. She rapidly climbed the claims-handling ladder before surprising
her colleagues by leaving the high-powered world of lumbar strains and carpal tunnel syndrome to run a child care center. Thousands of dirty diapers and gallons of strained peas later, she decided that maybe the insurance industry wasn’t quite as bad as she remembered. Unfortunately, it was. Fortunately, a few years later, she met the most wonderful man in the world. Now a stay-home mom to three amazing boys, she is able, at long last, to focus on her writing. She works in a variety of genres, including paranormal mystery, Young Adult paranormal romance, and Middle Grade fantasy. Heather lives in New York with her family and their crazy pug/terrier.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fall Flavor, Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing Line-up, Heather Fraser Brainerd, Giveaway, This Week

Our mums are so beautiful this year and abundant.

Now this is the way to spend a crisp, fall evening--
a warm campfire for a wiener (hot dog) roast including bratwurst and grillers. Yum!
This fall I am hosting a bunch of talented romance and mystery authors who are sharing their tips on the writing process, publishing, and marketing. My guests and the dates they give up their tips are listed below. 

Join us every Thursday for the series, Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing.

2 Roseanne Dowell
9 Miss Mae
16 Heather Fraser Brainerd
23 Marva Dasef
30 Gail Roughton
6 Joselyn Vaughn
13 Melissa Maygrove
20 Conda Doughlas 
4 Marsha R West
11 J.Q. Rose
18 Helena Fairfax

This Week

Thursday, October 16--Paranormal mystery author, Heather Fraser Brainerd, shares her "Light bulb" moment with us and gives away a copy of her book. The lucky commenter chooses which one she/he wants.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing: Miss Mae, Dialogue, Settings, and Editing, Giveaways

Hello and welcome to our series, Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing. Our "tipster" author today is Miss Mae.  She is giving away of three downloads/ gift coupons of her mystery, It’s Elementary, My Dear Winifred. Enjoy an excerpt and please leave a comment to be eligible for the drawing on Sunday at 9 p.m.


Make it believable. I still have a hard time with this one, though, especially if I’ve included a set of characters from different regions of the globe. I’m wondering, ‘am I writing this right? Is this what they’d say?’ However, for my Victorian books set in London, I’ve had a wonderful critique partner who lives in England. She’s set me right on the many different accents. So I advise finding someone who lives where your character does, if that’s possible. 


I like to have my characters all in one area where I can control them. For instance, I mean, if I should place my story in France, then I’d need to describe the landscape, the sight, the smells of the area. To be realistic, I should have at least visited there so I could get everything correct. Well, I’ve not been there. So, to get beyond that hurdle, I’ll create something to where I don’t have to write that. I’ll set all my characters trapped in a snowstorm, a basement, a closet - anywhere! So that I’m able to “show” my readers the setting through my main character’s senses without actually having set my physical foot anywhere but outside my front door.

1.      EDITING: 

      Get another good pair of eyes. Eek, I still find errors even after three people have read the finished work. LOL

Miss Mae, what was your light bulb moment about your writing experience?  When I decided to self-publish. After having signed with three traditional publishers, then discovering that I was still expected to promote/market as hard as if I were self-published -- well, why not self-pub? I get a bigger pie piece of the royalties this way. 

Back of the book:
 Do bizarre and unusual mysteries only occur in imaginary tales? 
Amateur sleuth Winifred Merryweather, along with dashing newspaper hound Remington Hawthorne, find themselves in the throes of a real life mystery when they’re plunged in the bowels of a dark and ancient castle. Booby-traps abound with disappearing floors, hidden sliding panels, and spider-webbed shadowy corridors.
Danger threatens to steal Winifred’s very breath -- or is that the annoying allure of Remington’s flirtatious charms?

AMAZON BUY LINK: (print copy):  AMAZON

About Miss Mae
Miss Mae is all about romantic mysteries. Said the Spider to the Fly, When the Bough Breaks, Dove Island, It’s Elementary, My Dear Winifred and See No Evil, My Pretty Lady 
are award winning best sellers. Her latest, Catch Me If You Can, and the novellas, Miss Penelope’s Letters and Through a Glass Darkly, have already received top rated five-star reviews. Tantalizing trailers and more information are readily available at Miss Mae's website

Miss Mae also enjoys writing humor and non-fiction articles. Some of her publications can be found in The Front Porch Magazine, Good Old Days, and WritersWeekly.
Her alter ego, M.M.,  has her first children’s/humor book, Ahoy Gum DropIn this slightly cracked tale, readers are introduced to I.B. Nosey, the ‘official unofficial’ reporter. To learn more about cyberspace’s only Pukelitzer Award winning interviewer, visit ‘Feeling Nosey?’ 


Monday, October 6, 2014

Artprize 2014, This Week, Giveaways

How I wish I could capture in photos the most amazing works of art presented at Artprize this year in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  This international art competition is the biggest in the world with artists competing for $560,000 in prizes in various categories. Winners are determined by the public vote and a juried group of professionals. This experience is like no other and free to the public!  I am sharing some of the amazing entries we encountered out of the 1537 pieces entered. The competition is open to any artist 18 and older. Please take a peek at the photos for a taste of the 19 day festival held every fall in Grand Rapids. 

This installation is made up of living plants. A great reminder to just step away, enjoy the festival's unique works of art, and breathe.

The author framed by flowers

These little colored pencil drawn ladies made me chuckle.

Brilliant lighted art piece of blown glass.

A 23 foot long panel of galloping mustangs created from all kinds of wood.

The "Chihuly-inspired" hanging is actually made of plastic bottles, not blown glass, painted by elementary students and put together by the art teachers. I appreciated its beauty even more after learning about the creation of this masterpiece.

A whimsical family of turtles. Smile...

The title of this piece is "Wind."

Grand Rapids Petroglyph--Fish carved and painted in stones 
that line the banks of the Grand River.
This river runs through the downtown area of the city.

A horse made of junk. Lots of car parts. Art fashioned from trash.

This Week

Monday, October 6--All week at the Girls Succeed Blog, I read an excerpt from the chapter in Girls Succeed! about Angela Ruggiero, Olympic Gold Medalist in Women's Ice Hockey. Okay, I may be driving you crazy with these audio recordings and sharing them on my blogs.  It's a lot of fun to make the words on the page come alive by recording them for listeners. But please be honest, and let me know if it is annoying. Thanks.

Wednesday, October 8--Author Miss Mae celebrates the launch of her new audio book, Ahoy Gum Drop, October 7 and 8 on Facebook. The invitation to join this zany gang of characters and the link to the party are below. I'll be a guest from 2:00 pm-3:00 pm on October 8. The narrator Owen, will be there too. He does an amazing job with all the voices of Miss Mae's entertaining cast. Come on over for fun and prizes with the gang from Gum Drop Island.

Thursday, October 9--Miss Mae shares writing tips on dialogue, setting, and editing at the Romance and Mystery Authors On Writing Event. Giveaways too!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing: Roseanne Dowell on Characters and Editing, Giveaway

To listen to the welcome and introduction of the Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing series, 
click the red arrow at the top of the page.

Hello and welcome to the kick-off of the series, Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing. Our "tipster" author today is Roseanne Dowell. Roseanne is giving away an e-copy of her romance/mystery, All in the Family. Please leave a comment to be eligible for the drawing on Sunday at 9 p.m.

Roseanne, where do you get your ideas for stories?
1.      Where I get my ideas. That’s easy. Everywhere, from groceries stores, looking in people’s carts,  restaurants, overhearing people’s conversations, to making up stories of people sitting next to me in traffic. Even newspaper articles, classified ads, just everywhere around us.

     Thanks so much for sharing these helpful tips on characters and editing. 


I always make a character sheet for the main characters of the book. I like to know everything about them – the obvious, of course, age, hair and eye color, height, build, occupation, favorite color, do they like children, animals, where they live, where they grew up, do they have sisters, brothers. Their likes, dislikes, birth date, favorite sport, hobby, general physical description, what kind of clothes do they like to wear, what’s important to them, their dreams, goals, what do they fear, undesirable characteristics *yes even the hero/heroine should have undesirable traits, no one is perfect. 
I often make storyboards with pictures from magazines of my hero/heroine other important characters labeled with their names, even their houses or other important settings. It’s amazing how helpful that is. 


1. Editing. Wow that’s a topic in and of itself. One of the first and most important things to do before editing is to let your manuscript sit for at least a week. I usually let mine sit longer – a month or months. You need to get away from it for a while, forget about it. When you come back to it, it’ll be with fresh eyes.  One of the first things I look for is the word, ‘that’ . Most of them can be removed. And then is also over used. Type in She/he – see if you can change the sentence to avoid overuse. Many sentences can be changed with strong verbs and eliminating she/he to start a sentence. Watch verb tenses keep them consistent. And a pet peeve of mine is the improper use of me and I when combined with another name and and. There’s an easy way to see which one to use. Jordan and I went to the store, eliminate Jordan and – you’re left with I went to the store which is correct. You wouldn’t say me went to the store. Another example. Sarah went to the store with Jordan and me. If you eliminate Jordan and – you’re left with Sarah went to the store with me. That is correct, you wouldn’t say Sarah went to the store with I. 
2. Vary the length of your sentences. Sometimes shorter sentences are better. It’s fine to use a compound sentence occasionally, but if you use too many, or if your sentence is so long you run out of breath reading it aloud, much like this sentence, shorten it. Short choppy sentences add tension. Sometimes it’s good to have a string of short sentences. 
3. Be careful with ing words. If you begin a sentence with an ing word, the action has to be physically possible to carry through to the end of the sentence. Example – Getting into the car, I turned on the ignition. Impossible. You have to be in the car to turn it on.  Sobbing, I got into the car and turned the ignition. That works because you can sob the whole time you’re getting into the car. 

Roseanne's advice to writers--"WRITE! Write every day."

Ø    Back of the book: Taking over the police chief’s job in her hometown should have been easy for Callie Johnson. At least that's what she thought. After working in a big city, small town crime would be a breeze. What a surprise when she arrives to find her grandmother, the judge, accused of murder. As if that wasn't enough she’s attacked while walking to her car. Between criminal investigations, her nutty family’s antics and her Aunt Beatrice Lulu's matchmaking, Callie definitely has her work cut out for her. Will her grandmother be exonerated? Can Callie ward off her aunt’s unsuitable suitors? What other surprises were in store for her? More importantly, can she find the person who attacked her?

      Purchase Link and sample for All in the Family

About  Roseanne Dowell

Roseanne grew up reading first Nancy Drew mysteries and soon moved on to Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney. She’s a big fan of Agatha Christie and always loved writing even as a teen, often making up different endings to books she read and writing poems. 
While working as a school secretary, she took  a correspondence course, writing for children. It didn’t take long to realize that even though she had six children, it took someone special to write books for them. So, she tried her hand at nonfiction, but didn’t care for that either.  That’s when she moved on to romance novels. But they sat in the attic with her poems and journals.

In 2002 at a Book Club meeting, she confessed regret about not pursuing a career in writing. That’s all it took.  Her friends convinced her it wasn’t too late. After giving it some thought, she decided they were right and took another writing course. Within a few months, her first article was published in Good Old Days Magazine. Since then, she’s had articles published in several magazines. 

In 2006, Roseanne’s first book, Satin Sheets, was published and sold over 35,000 copies. Since then, she’s decided to go the way of the future – E-books.  She writes various types of romance – paranormal, contemporary, mystery and women’s fiction. Her heroines range from their early twenties to late seventies. Yes, seniors need love, too.  

Roseanne lives with her husband of fifty years, has six grown children, fourteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren. She spends her time between writing, quilting, and embroidering. She also enjoys blogging, tweeting, facebooking and posting on various writers’ groups. Her favorite time is being with her family.

Connect online with Roseanne at her Amazon Author Page.