Amazon Book Reviews; Authors need them to succeed

Amazon Book Reviews I learned something incredibly important today; reviews on Amazon (and other book provider websites) are necessary to increase the success of an author. This applies to all auth…

Source: Amazon Book Reviews; Authors need them to succeed


Writer’s Wednesday: Author of Catch the Moon, Mary, Wendy Waters

This was a superb interview! Thank you Amanda Blount for asking all the right questions!

Grits, Hugs, and Sweet Tea

Wendy Waters - Personal Pic 2

This week, as promised, Writer’s Wednesday explores the careers and writing paths of two different Australian author’s. 

Wendy Waters, author of Catch the Moon, Mary, is not only a writer, she is also an award winning composer, lyricist, and librettist. Her latest work wonderfully combines both her love of music and writing.

AB:  Thank you Ms. Waters for allowing us to interview you for this week’s segment of Writer’s Wednesday.I see that you have a vast musical background and you’ve spent time volunteering with musically gifted children. Did these experiences have an influence on your story? What other life experiences have led to the stories you write and/or enjoy reading?

WW:  Thank you for acknowledging the music! Music is probably my religion and certainly my drug of choice. That a good bottle of red! Whenever I’ve needed calm and reassurance, a song or piece of music has had the…

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Writer’s Wednesday Preview – Catch The Moon, Mary by Wendy Waters

Grits, Hugs, and Sweet Tea

A two-for-one Wednesday! The second author we will present today is Wendy Waters. Ms. Waters is the creative writer behind Catch The Moon, Mary.

Catch the moon, Mary

This tale of abuse, love, lost dreams, and redemption, will have the reader questioning the very values they hold so dear. Many people say they love others enough to kill for them, but is that really love or obsession?

Be ready for the roller coaster of emotions as you become invested in Mary’s future.

“Award winning author, singer and lyricist, Wendy Waters writes prose that soars with breath-taking beauty.

A magical story about a gifted, vulnerable girl who is both saved and damned by an angel who falls in love with her music and claims it in a devilish pact. With Mary in his thrall, he ruthlessly kills all those who threaten his grand plan to bring Mary to Carnegie Hall where her talent will be…

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Writer’s Wednesday – We’re Headed Down Under!

Lovely Amanda Blount interviews Aussie authors Assaph Mehr and Wendy Waters!

Grits, Hugs, and Sweet Tea

This Wednesday, April 20th, I have the honor of interviewing two published authors from Australia.

Assaph Mehr, author of Murder In Absentia and Wendy Waters, author of Catch the Moon, Mary. Both authors have graciously offered their valuable time and experience answering a few questions about their path to creative writing and ultimately publishing their stories.

Each journey in writing is as different as the sands on the beach, yet many new writers never start because they fear their personal stories aren’t as perfect as the famous writers they know by heart. They fear they aren’t good enough, they aren’t interesting enough, they aren’t smart enough, rich enough, and so on. These fears paralyze their creative minds and they never publish one word. All the stories are locked away forever, never allowing anyone to see these new worlds and adventures.

My goal is not only to introduce wonderful authors to new fans, but I also…

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Writer’s Wednesday: Author of Sin Eater, Jessica West

Grits, Hugs, and Sweet Tea

Jessica West 2 Jessica West, Independent Author & Freelance Editor

Today we feature Jessica West. Mrs. West has graciously allowed us to interview her for today’s segment, Writer’s Wednesday. She’s talented, witty, and has provided a wealth of information for new authors.

AB: Thank you Mrs. West for allowing us to interview you for this week’s segment of Writer’s Wednesday.

JW:  Thanks for featuring me at your blog today. I’m happy to offer my perspective to people who are considering a career in self-publishing. I’m just getting started myself, so still very much in the learning phase. But I’ll share what I’ve learned so far

AB:    Which book or written work has proved to be most successful?

JW:     So far, my most successful work has been Sin Eater, an Urban (Paranormal) Fantasy serial I co-wrote with author P.K. Tyler. Marketing Sin Eater was my first real experience with advertising sites. Previously, I’d…

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Featured Friday | Meet Lynn Michell


unnamedToday we feature author and publisher, Lynn Michell. Check out our interview with her to learn about her latest novel and her indie press for women:

Fem: What is it like running a press? Are there any challenges?

Lynn Michell: I laughed at this first question, especially the “Any challenges?” I set up Linen Press with no experience of publishing, and I run it myself with help from one freelance colleague and two superb interns. It’s not a job, it’s a way of life. If it wasn’t, it would go under because the book trade is a tough place right now with competition from the Big Five conglomerates who put out their crowd pleasers in tens of thousands and with Amazon’s price slashing. What I do is right up the other end of the scale  – working with new and innovative authors and publishing their writing in…

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Home Grown Song Spotlight

Every two weeks the Home Grown Spotlight will shine the followspot on one of the Aussie originals available for purchase on the Home Grown website. Featuring fun interviews with writers and performers to give everyone some backstage insight into what it takes to create new Australian musical-theatre.

This week we’re talking with . . .

Song: A Thousand Tales

Composer: Shanon Whitelock

Where to find it:

Question Time with Shanon Whitelock

Scheherazade sure had a lot of tales! What are the challenges and benefits of writing a piece based on a pre-existing story?

Certainly a challenge is finding a new and different angle on an old story, but what has attracted Wendy Waters and I to this project are the characters involved in the original folklore. And whilst we’re basing The Last Tale on Scheherazade, her stories and the people around her, we’ve set the show 10 ten years later; Scheherazade has become a beloved, larger-than-life political figure (sort of like Princess Diana) and the King is powerful, but hated. It’s created a fascinating dynamic to play with.

As a composer, writing for the lush soundscape we know of the Middle East has been my favourite part. I’ve been “toying” with all of these ethnic rhythm beds and locational instruments; creating a sound that is somewhere in between traditional Arabian music, the Arabia that Hollywood created through the epic film scores of the 20th century and contemporary musical theatre.

Tell us about working with your collaborator, Wendy Waters! What does your show look like and what is your spin on your source material?

Every collaboration is different. Usually I write music and lyrics and the other person creates the book and dialogue, but Wendy just has this way with words – as though she’s creating a poetic work of art. And it’s perfect for the project! Especially when Scheherazade is singing. You can imagine that a character with such a creative mind would have a fairly specific (and eloquent) voice. 

Setting the show later than the original story has given us a lot of license. The song “A Thousand Tales”, which is sung by Scheherazade, is from the perspective of a brilliant woman who has imagined a thousand adventures as she’s told each story, but never lived one – never fallen in love – never left the palace. As the lyric suggests, it’s like a bird in a cage watching the world and singing about it, but never flying through the air and experiencing it.

What is your favourite piece of advice that you have been given about writing?

I’ve received two pieces of advice that I take with me into every project. Firstly, Lynn Ahrens (of Ahrens & Flaherty) told me in a workshop to “tell the story that you can tell.” She meant that as writers we can’t just tell ANY story, we have to find the stories we understand and can realise and portray, that way we’re still using our own voice and the finished project will have “heart”. And secondly, Stephen Schwartz once said about lyric writing to “be as specific as you can, because it’s the songs that define the characters – when the song starts, I think, ‘oh NOW I’m going to learn about this person.’” I’ve found both of those rules have served me well and certainly changed the way I write. 

Find the sheet music to A Thousand Tales at, along with many more Australian songs from some of the country’s top writers. See you in two weeks!Shanon Whitelock

Wolves & Sheep

Another brilliant post from Chris Nicholas.

The Renegade Press

wolf mist

‘The price of being a sheep is boredom. The price of being a wolf is loneliness. Choose one or the other with great care.’
– Hugh Macleod

If you were forced to make a choice between living a life of boredom, or one of loneliness, what would your decision be? Would you choose a stifled existence of mundanity in which you are forced to conform to the whims and needs of the masses? Or would you be comfortable in a life of isolation? Could you find comfort in the knowledge that you will forever be without inspiration, surrounded only by the mediocre and the monotonous? Or would prefer a life of seclusion and segregation?

The truth is that you wouldn’t wish to be afflicted by either. If I pushed you into a corner and forced you to make a choice, you would probably shove me back and call me insane…

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I miss London. That’s the simple truth. From the minute I caught sight of that big white horse carved into the hillside somewhere in south England thirty minutes before the plane landed at Gatwick I knew I had come home. Or at least to the land that resonates best with my writer’s soul. Customs was smooth. I was chauffeured to Chelsea Cloisters by my friend Nigel Lewis and bent his ear the entire way with an inexhaustible stream of chatter and then the owner of Chelsea Cloisters wanted my autograph and damn it I felt famous! Or at least very welcome indeed. Gordon Anderson and Jamie made the Cellar Door launch an evening to remember. My friends Jonathan Moore, Anthony Cable and Gerry Taylor-Wood read excerpts from my book and I made a rushed speech thanking everyone from God to the local baker. I recall the night now in a kind of pink shimmer. Met up with my friend Monika Lidke for lunch the next day in a little cafe opposite Drury Lane Theatre and as we were eating I compiled a fantasy wish-list in my mind…one day my musicals Alexander, Goddesses and The Last Tale will play Drury Lane. On Thursday night we had the second launch at Questors where I met the beautiful Amanda Redman and sipped chardonnay with her and Lucy Aly-Parker and my aunt Anne Meecham until midnight. Almost missed the last train back to Kensington. But who cares? I could have waltzed home. Friday night Jonathan Moore took me to Tate Modern and we had a glass of wine in view of Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Then on Saturday I went alone to Hyde Park and watched a bevy of cheeky squirrels who would only let me photograph them in exchange for nuts. Home again to Australia all too soon and the boring old grind of life in pastels shades. I am told Catch the Moon, Mary is selling well. Good. May it sell enough to pay my way back to London! DSC00142