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Interview with The Girl with the Tree Tattoo

Interview with The Girl with the Tree Tattoo

Interview with The Girl with the Tree Tattoo
Tell us about your latest book.

Dance Diaries: Ballroom Budgeting is the second in my eBook series, Dance Diaries. After providing the inside scoop on what to expect as a ballroom dance student in Dance Diaries: Learning Ballroom Dance, it seemed natural to next provide how to afford to be a ballroom dance student! Ballroom is amazingly therapeutic, healing and eye-opening, but also can be very expensive. My goal with Ballroom Budgeting is to help others avoid having to quit ballroom because of that expense.

What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 

I have tried a number of different methods. My first stop was naturally my blog. I also spread the word on the related social media accounts, including using paid Facebook ads. I also contacted other websites for which I had written articles in the past to see if they would be interested in reviewing either of the books. Once I felt I had maxed out the exposure I could get through my own connections, I decided to try a book tour, which is what has brought me here to you!

What advice do you have for other writers?

Don’t force it. We all get writer’s block. I have found that my writing turns terrible very quickly when I try to force myself to write instead of taking steps to put myself in a place and mindset where the words can flow. I know it can be hard to just step away and take a break, especially when a deadline is looming, but sometimes a break is just what you need to clear your head and find the right words.

What's the best thing about being a writer?

Writing gives me a creative outlet while also acting as cheap therapy. I love finding just the right words put together in just the right order to convey a message. I love how changing a word or switching part of a sentence around can change the feeling of it.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

I keep my readers updated on my blog, The Girl with the Tree Tattoo (www.thegirlwiththetreetattoo.com) and associated Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. I share updates on my dancing, inspirational quotes and videos, and the latest battles with my inner demons. Whenever I venture into the darker corners of my mind to shine a light on my fears and doubts, I find courage in the thought that someone somewhere will read my words, be able to relate and feel a little less alone.

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?

It’s honest. I strive to be straight forward and upfront about all sides of learning ballroom dance, including the more uncomfortable subjects like the business behind ballroom and the awkward aspects of the relationship between a student and teacher. I’m told my writing style is easy to read and entertaining, so even the potentially boring subject of money management discussed in Ballroom Budgeting keeps the reader engaged.

Interview with The Girl with the Tree Tattoo
Who designed the cover?

For better or worse, I designed the covers of both Dance Diaries books myself! I received a lot of comments from friends and family about how they didn’t like the cover of the first one. It’s a picture of me with my teacher, and they didn’t like that the picture was a little blurry and my face was blocked by my teacher’s arm. Confession: I did that on purpose! I wanted the two people on the cover of Learning Ballroom Dance to be less distinctive, so they could be anyone! Hopefully, readers who don’t know me personally will see the cover and be able to see themselves as the woman or man about to dance.

How do you research your books?

I live them! Dance Diaries: Learning Ballroom Dance was born out of my realization that there were all of these little things that no one told me when I was first starting out as a ballroom student, and that resulted in a lot of confusion for me. I thought if I shared what I wish I had known, others would have a smoother introduction to ballroom and even more wonderful experiences. The second book, Dance Diaries: Ballroom Budgeting, is a compilation of all of my personal tips and tricks I used to save and pay for my dance lessons and competitions, while maintaining the rest of my life.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing verses traditional publishing?

When I’m excited about something, I have very little patience. I went the self-publishing route because I didn’t want to wait! Once they were ready, I wanted to get my books out to the world as quickly as possible! I also suspected finding a traditional publisher for “mini” eBooks like mine would be difficult, if not impossible. However, I do think the general world still sees traditionally published authors as more legitimate, so I am still considering that route when I produce a longer book for both print and digital formats. I have to admit, I also wouldn’t mind leaving all of the promotion and marketing work to someone else, since I would rather be writing or dancing!

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

My day job is as an editor for an environmental consulting firm, so most of my hours are spent in the office reading and editing technical reports. I have ballroom dance lessons or practice a few nights per week, and I try to get out social dancing once in awhile. When I’m at home and not writing, I’m playing with my two dogs or watching a movie marathon with my roommate.

Irrefutable Truths to Building Your Dream Business

Irrefutable Truths to Building Your Dream Business - excerpt from Flight Club, by Felena Hanson @FelenaHanson @iReadBookTours

Be Imperfect
As Voltaire famously wrote, “Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien”—the perfect is the enemy of the good. You will paralyze yourself if you insist that everything has to be perfect before your launch your business. That’s why I love the “Lean” business methodology—because it encourages you to test as you launch versus waiting to unveil your masterpiece.
Why, when we know that there's no such thing as perfect, do most of us spend an incredible amount of time and energy trying to be everything to everyone? Is it that we really admire perfection? No—the truth is that we are actually drawn to people who are real and down-to-earth. We love authenticity and we know that life is messy and imperfect. – Brene Brown
You’ll Never Have It All Figured Out
Similar to the last point, business is not a “set it up and press cruise control” kind of venture—things are going to go “off course.” At Hera Hub we try not to use the word “failure.” I personally like the phrase “learning moment” (coined by the founder of WD-40, Gary Ridge) or the ever-popular “pivoting.” Whatever you call it, you will always be learning and pivoting. That’s just part of business! Yes, you need to plan, but be aware that it’s going to shift.
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. – Thomas A. Edison
Business is hard. Yes, anything is possible, but you are going to have to be willing to stay the course (even if there are pivots along the way). There will be long hours and lots of frustration. Some days you’ll feel like someone has socked you in the stomach—or, as Gary Vaynerchuk says, “punched you in the face.” There will be many highs and many more lows. You must accept this and let your passion pull you through.
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “Press On!” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. – Calvin Coolidge
Irrefutable Truths to Building Your Dream Business - excerpt from Flight Club, by Felena Hanson @FelenaHanson @iReadBookTours
Set Boundaries
You need to understand that you are not your business. I see this often when someone is consulting or providing a service—they have a difficult time not feeling personally hurt when someone doesn’t accept a proposal or gives them a bad review. Men are much, much better at this. They compartmentalize things, while women mix everything up into one big plate of spaghetti! Do not—I repeat, do not—take things personally! Business is business. Get up, brush yourself off, and move on.
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours. – Wayne Dyer
Watch Out For “Shiny Object Syndrome”
In today’s world of constant bombardment, it’s easy to be pulled off track. Everyone will try to give you advice, whether you want it or not. This will be challenging for you if 1) don’t have a solid business plan and 2) you are not confident in your direction. Women are natural people pleasers. On top of that, they are often more sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others. I’ve seen one comment send an entrepreneur on a completely different course.
Keep focused on your core business, and don’t let the dozens of other ideas that come your way pull you too far off track. I recommend getting an idea journal or using a platform like Trello to note down all of those “great ideas” and “advice.” After you have a solid foundation for your business, then you can go back and explore some of these ideas.
Focusing is about saying no. – Steve Jobs
Imposter Syndrome
You will from time-to-time feel like a fraud. Note it, and get over it. Even some of the most successful women I’ve met tell me deep down that they are afraid of being “figured out.” Even Tina Fey once confessed that she sometimes screams inside her head, “I’m a fraud! They’re onto me!”
Dr. Valerie Young is a leading expert on the impostor syndrome, and author of award-winning book “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It”.  Boys are raised to bluff and exaggerate. Girls, on the other hand, learn early to distrust their opinions and stifle their voices. They discover they are judged by the highest physical, behavioral and intellectual standards. Perfection becomes the goal, and every flaw, mistake or criticism is internalized—slowly hollowing out self-confidence.
“I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’ “ – Maya Angelou
Work/Life Integration
I am often asked—how do you balance work and life? My answer is quite simple “I don’t”—my work is so much a part of my life that I couldn’t possibly consider it to be something separate; an individual entity completely segregated from my personal life. My work does not feel like work.
I’m so passionate about my business because of the amazing women I get to support on a daily basis, through our space and strong community. I love helping others find what really lights them up... what allows them also to have work/life integration.
That’s why I have an insatiable energy and don’t feel drained after working 12 hour days. I don’t mind having an inbox that is jam packed with requests, questions, and introductions because it is all a part of something so much bigger; something that I love, Hera Hub.
Make it a goal to thread your personal and professional life together. Incorporate things you enjoy into your business, so it feels like you’re passing the time doing something pleasant rather than a task to be checked off of your list. Try to infuse “focused fun” by pinpointing what you love: drawing, talking, laughing, interesting conversation, list making, etc. and weave it into your business and work.
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” - Confucius
Irrefutable Truths to Building Your Dream Business - excerpt from Flight Club, by Felena Hanson @FelenaHanson @iReadBookTours
Felena is a long-time entrepreneur and marketing maven. Her latest venture, Hera Hub, is a spa-inspired shared workspace and community for female entrepreneurs. This as-needed, flexible work and meeting space provides a productive environment for growing businesses. Hera Hub members have access to a professional space to meet with clients and to connect and collaborate with like-minded business owners, thus giving them the support they need to be prosperous. The company has three locations in San Diego, one in Washington DC, and continues to grow nationally via a licensing model. Her goal is to support over 20,000 women in the launch and growth of their business by 2020. Felena and Hera Hub have been featured in Inc Magazine, the BBC News, Forbes, and the New York Times. She is a published author and international speaker. Her book, “Flight Club – Rebel, Reinvent, and Thrive: How to Launch Your Dream Business” is available on Amazon.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram


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Book Showcase: A Black Sail by Rich Zahradnik

 Book Showcase: A Black Sail by Rich Zahradnik

Title: A Black Sail 

Author: Rich Zahradnik

Purchasing link: http://amzn.to/2cvHOfD

 Book Showcase: A Black Sail by Rich Zahradnik
About the book:
On the eve of the U.S. Bicentennial, newsman Coleridge Taylor is covering Operation Sail. New York Harbor is teeming with tall ships from all over the world. While enjoying the spectacle, Taylor is still a police reporter. He wants to cover real stories, not fluff, and gritty New York City still has plenty of those in July of 1976. One surfaces right in front of him when a housewife is fished out of the harbor wearing bricks of heroin, inferior stuff users have been rejecting for China White, peddled by the Chinatown gangs.
Convinced he’s stumbled upon a drug war between the Italian Mafia and a Chinese tong, Taylor is on fire once more. But as he blazes forward, flanked by his new girlfriend, ex-cop Samantha Callahan, his precious story grows ever more twisted and deadly. In his reckless search for the truth, he rattles New York’s major drug cartels. If he solves the mystery, he may end up like his victim—in a watery grave.
About the author:
 Book Showcase: A Black Sail by Rich Zahradnik
Rich Zahradnik is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Coleridge Taylor Mystery series (A Black SailDrop Dead PunkLast Words).
The second installment, Drop Dead Punk, won the gold medal for mystery/thriller ebook in the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs). It was also named a finalist in the mystery category of the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Last Words won the bronze medal for mystery/thriller ebook in the 2015 IPPYs and honorable mention for mystery in the 2015 Foreword Reviews IndieFab Book of the Year Awards.
"Taylor, who lives for the big story, makes an appealingly single-minded hero," Publishers Weekly wrote of Drop Dead Punk.
Zahradnik was a journalist for 30-plus years, working as a reporter and editor in all major news media, including online, newspaper, broadcast, magazine and wire services. He held editorial positions at CNN, Bloomberg News, Fox Business Network, AOL and The Hollywood Reporter.
In January 2012, he was one of 20 writers selected for the inaugural class of the Crime Fiction Academy, a first-of-its-kind program run by New York's Center for Fiction.
Zahradnik was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1960 and received his B.A. in journalism and political science from George Washington University. He lives with his wife Sheri and son Patrick in Pelham, New York, where writes fiction and teaches kids how to publish newspapers.

Catch Up with Rich on his WebsiteTwitter, or Facebook


 Book Showcase: A Black Sail by Rich Zahradnik

Book Review: My Hearts Desire by Andrea Kane

Book Review: My Hearts Desire by Andrea Kane

Title: My Hearts Desire 
Author: Andrea Kane

I got sent a free ecopy of this book as part of a virtual book tour organised by Hott Book Tours.

About the book:

Plunging from a well-bred lady to society’s most scandalous outcast, one woman faces danger and romance with a determination to live on her own terms
London’s high society assumes that Alexandria Cassell, a lady of impeccable lineage, is eager to wed the first suitable aristocrat who proposes. But Alexandria despises the shallow mindlessness of London society. Craving adventure, she steals down to the docks and stows away aboard a merchant ship bound for Canada. Drake Barrett loves the open seas. As captain of his own vessel, he can escape his life as a duke, where he would be doomed to the empty chatter of glittering ballrooms. But when he finds a delicate beauty aboard ship, he forgets everything but a man’s desires. From a fleeting island paradise to a country caught in the sudden crossfire of war, Drake and Alexandria give in to a passion that just might reveal their true passions . . . if a shocking act of treachery doesn’t separate them forever. 
My Heart's Desire is the first book of the Barrett Family series, which concludes with Samantha.
Watch the video for my full review:

Purchasing link: http://amzn.to/2cqC1UW

On Being Published

On Being Published, guest post by Bruce Robert Coffin

Someone recently asked what it felt like to have one of my stories published. I told them it felt great. Of course. What else would I have said? My answer was short and direct, although as I think back on that moment, not entirely truthful. The truth is beyond words.

As I struggled to achieve that lofty and allusive goal of publication, my author friends were a constant source of encouragement. Saying things like, “don’t worry it will happen,” and, “your writing is good, it’s just a matter of time.” But as the years passed I began to wonder. Do I really have what it takes to break through the barrier? The unpublished writer’s corner? I wondered…

In spite of the ever present specter of doubt, I worked hard on rewriting and re-editing my first novel, crafting new short stories and rewriting and re-editing those, again and again. I had trusted friends and relatives read my work and offer their opinions and advice. I continued to enter contests and submit my work to publishers and agents. And I continued to add to my collection of rejection e-mails.

On Being Published, guest post by Bruce Robert Coffin
If you’ve never received one, I can tell you first hand that notices of rejection from the publishing world are funny things. They look suspiciously like dear John letters. Designed to soften the blow, they say things like, “We thoroughly enjoyed your story,” or “your work shows real promise.” Well written and pleasant, but rejections just the same. As painful and heartbreaking as if they’d come from an ex to someone actually named John.

You can drive yourself crazy. I reacted differently each time I received a rejection. Sometimes I’d feel depressed. Other times I’d be angry. Upset that they’d failed to recognized the brilliance in my writing. I thought, what possible story could someone have penned that was better than the one I’d submitted? Jeesh. But then I’d take a step back. Eventually, reading the work of the writers they did publish. Wow, I’d think. That story really was better than mine. I’d love to write a story that good. Then I’d look at the rejection e-mail again. It wasn’t so bad after all. Maybe they really did like my story.

So, I climbed back into the saddle of my trusted stead (my IPad), vowing to continue my quest. To push on toward that Holy Grail of publication. Being able to hold my head up high as I walked among the published writers, knowing I belonged. That I was one of them. From that day forward whenever someone I’d just met asked what I did, and I answered that I was a writer, I could mean it. When they asked the enviable follow-up question, where can I find your work? No longer would I have to mumble, “oh, I’m not published yet,” before slithering away to some dark corner in search of alcohol or a high ledge. I’d be able to actually tell them! Maybe they’ll want a signed copy of my work? “Sure,” I’ll say. “Happy to do it. Who should I make this out to?”
The truth is, when I awoke on that memorable Tuesday morning and checked my email, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The word congratulations hung there on the screen. Surely this must be spam that made its way into my inbox. Who else begins an email with congratulations? Certainly not a publisher. Obviously, In my pre-coffee state I was hallucinating. The SPAM must have been right next to another rejection email and I’d jumbled the words together in my mind. I was sure that when I looked back the email would tell me that I’d won a free four day trip to the Caribbean, or maybe a surprise gift, all of which would only cost me three easy payments of $79.99.

I rubbed my eyes and looked again. Congratulations. It really was from a publisher. I jumped out of bed and did a short awkward version of the Snoopy dance. Thankfully, there were no witnesses. I went and found my wife in the next room. Wanting to appear nonchalant, I tried to calm myself. When I told her the news, she let out a squeal of delight. I think I may have let out a squeal myself. I was over the moon. Giddy with excitement. Insert any other tired cliché for thrilled that you can think of, here.

Time has passed. I’ve moved on from that short story to publication of my debut novel, Among the Shadows. Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to keep the faith. Keep working at it. Continue to hone your craft. Good writing, publishable writing, is like mastering a musical instrument. It's hard work. Blisters and failures are inevitable. But if you want it bad enough, it can happen for you, too.

Now, if you’ll pardon me, this debut novelist has a lawn to mow.

On Being Published, guest post by Bruce Robert Coffin
Bruce Robert Coffin is a former detective sergeant with more than twenty-seven years in law enforcement. At the time of his retirement, from the Portland, Maine police department, he supervised all homicide and violent crime investigations for Maine’s largest city. Following the terror attacks of September 11th, Bruce spent four years working counter-terrorism with the FBI, earning the Director’s Award, the highest honor a non-agent can receive.
He lives and writes in Maine.

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