Posted in A Stone's Throw, Books


teaser2fireI want to thank those of you who have already purchased A STONE’S THROW. For those who haven’t, I’m holding a special Goodreads giveaway starting tomorrow, February 1st. If you participate, you have a chance to win two free autographed copies. For more details, follow me on Goodreads



I’m currently preparing the sequel for submission and hope to have it published in late spring/early summer. I will continue to update everyone through this blog and my Facebook and Twitter pages.

teaser3agathaBuy links for A STONE’S THROW:

Amazon U.S.:

Amazon Australia:

Amazon Canada:

Amazon U.K.:

Barnes and Noble:


Also available on iTunes and Ingram

Thank you all for your continued support.

Posted in Authors, Books, Feature Friday

Feature Friday January 29 – Jennifer Loring – Firebird


#FeatureFriday with @limitlessbooks @JenniferTLoring

F1 - Copy★★ #Available – #OneClick ★★

Firebird by Jennifer Loring

Publisher: Limitless Publishing


F2 - CopyStephanie Hartwell is a journalist chasing the story of her career…

When superstar hockey player and notorious bad boy Aleksandr Volynsky is traded to the Seattle Earthquakes in a blockbuster deal, Stephanie demands the opportunity to prove herself by scoring an exclusive interview with a man with no love for the media…the same man she once thought, as a naïve teenager, she’d someday marry.

An Olympian and Stanley Cup Champion, Aleksandr has achieved every goal he’s ever set…

Now expected to carry a failing team on his shoulders, Aleksandr’s troubles deepen when he encounters Stephanie after a season-opening loss. His lifestyle of drinking and random hookups has been a futile attempt to forget the beautiful tomboy who stole his heart nine years ago. And worse, fame and fortune have made it impossible for him to trust anyone—especially Stephanie, who is engaged to another man.

Romance rekindles, but tragedy reveals Aleksandr’s dark side…

Being with Aleksandr in the first place jeopardizes Stephanie’s journalistic integrity and threatens her career, and when he spirals out of control, it reawakens fears from her own history, making her unable to commit to a future with him.

When Aleksandr discovers the truth behind his self-destructive behavior, will his newfound self-awareness be enough to convince Stephanie to give him one last chance…

Or will his revelation drive her away for good?

F3 - Copy★✩★ PURCHASE ★✩★

Kindle Unlimited:




Jennifer Loring’s short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, webzines, and anthologies. DarkFuse published her novella Conduits in 2014, and her debut novel, Those of My Kind, was published by Omnium Gatherum in May 2015. Jenn is a member of the International Thriller Writers and the Horror Writers Association and holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives in Philadelphia, PA, with her husband, a turtle, and two basset hounds.








Posted in Authors, Books, Feature Friday

Feature Friday January 29 – Jennifer Labelle – Broken Survivor


BS1“She’s broken…

He’s determined to help her put the pieces back together…”


by Jennifer Labelle

If you’re subscribed to KINDLE UNLIMITED, you can even read it for free!




– !! SYNOPSIS !! –

Holly Hewitt is a survivor… 

After witnessing her mother’s murder, Holly was returned to her abusive father. Resorting to drugs and alcohol, she ends up landing herself in foster care, where she is separated from her sister and utterly alone.

Zander Harrison is the light to her darkness… 

Zander is young, athletic, and carefree, with the support of a loving family. But when Holly is placed in foster care with his brother’s in-laws, she turns his world upside down.

He’s driven to protect her, and to show her the past has made her strong, life is worth living, and love is worth fighting for. If only he can convince her to trust him and stop resisting their mutual attraction.

BS3But sometimes even love isn’t enough to heal a shattered soul. 

And all the hard work in the world can’t save… 

A broken survivor.

Goodreads ➜

Amazon US: Kindle ➜

Amazon US: Paperback ➜


Jennifer Labelle resides in Canada with her husband and three beautiful children. After her third child she became a stay at home mom. In her busy household Jennifer likes to spend her down time engrossed in the stories that she creates. She is an active reader of romance, mystery and anything paranormal. With an education in Addictions work she’s decided to take a less stressful approach in life and hopes that you enjoy, as she shares some of her imagination and artistic inspiration with all of you.









Posted in Author Spotlight, Authors, Books, New Releases

Author Spotlight Taylor Brooke

authorspotlightWelcome to the Limitless Library Lounge where I interview fellow authors from Limitless Publishing. Today, I am chatting with  Taylor Brooke from Bend, Oregon.

limitless bio photo2


Thanks for joining me, Taylor.  Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable.
I understand you have a novel that is just being released by Limitless today. Can you give me some details about it?

omen op knives artowkr

I signed my contract with Limitless for the Isolation Series, an urban scifi trilogy, in early October of 2015. The first book in the trilogy, Omen Operation, is my first published title. It is being released today, January 26, 2016.

How exciting. Can you tell us a little bit more about your books?

Right now I’m focused on my science fiction trilogy and I’m currently writing the sequel to Omen Operation. I like to dabble in a bit of everything and other than ECHO Campaign, the second installment in The Isolation Series, I’m also fleshing out a contemporary fantasy novel that I plan to have ready for publication in 2017.

Would you describe your goals as a writer to us. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

omen op official 2Being 24 years old and having your first book published is a big deal. I keep telling myself that it’s okay to take a break and catch my breath, but at the same time I find myself falling over my own ideas. I’m constantly day dreaming about my next project, my next mile-marker, and I’m always looking for ways to better my writing. The next goal I have is to complete ECHO Campaign, hopefully achieve a USA Today Bestseller title and then continue working toward a contract with Harper Collins or Penguin. I’m looking forward to my 2016 reading goal — 100 books in a year — and I’m also taking my time and learning the ropes when it comes to communication between author and author, as well as author and fan. I’m driven to put out the best books I possibly can and I hope that drive is what continues to grow my success.

Sounds like you are very goal-oriented. That’s great.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

I don’t want to settle into a genre just yet. I’m writing Urban Scifi, but my purpose in writing The Isolation Series was to give people characters they could relate to. I wanted young women to see other young women fighting for their freedom, and not losing a sense of themselves as they did so. I want young men to see my young male characters and learn something from them, resonate with them, and feel for them. I wanted to raise the bar for myself and for other writers my age, to be inclusive, self-aware, and practical in their writing. Heternormativity is something I’ve extinguished in my writing and something that I’ll stray from for as long as I’m a writer. Cultural diversity and representation in all categories is important and I’m not going to back away from it. I’d say my type of reader is the adventurous type, someone who wants to see their passions and causes reflected in the characters they read about.

Nice. I’m having some issues right now with trying to pin myself down to the “right” genre, but maybe you have a better idea that the genre is not as important as the characterizations and what you want readers to get from your writing.

Do you have any advice to other authors or those still trying to get published?

Don’t give up. Keep writing. Stay focused. Learn from your mistakes. Find a supportive but critical writing group who you trust to point our your weaknesses and help you build them into strengths. It takes time, it’s a pain in the ass, and sometimes it’s heart breaking, but being a published author is my dream come true. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I would’ve given up, and the only reason I didn’t is because of my huge support system — my family, my brother, and my beta readers. Two days before I heard back from Limitless I was down on myself, ready to scrap Omen Operation and start on a new concept all together. I’d received an abundance of rejections, so many that I kept a folder of them in my e-mail to look back on if I ever made it. But I didn’t give up, and after those two days I signed a contract for a trilogy, and a month later I was offered another contract (which I politely declined since I’d already found representation) and now I look back on that folder titled ‘rejections’ and I smile.

Very good points, Taylor. I just gave a publishing talk at my library, and the number one tip I gave the group was to be persistent and keep writing. I am also starting a writer’s club at the library in response to patron requests. You are also absolutely right about support from family and fellow authors, and I’ve found suggestions from beta readers extremely important, as well.

What do you like to do in your spare time besides writing?

I’m a traveler. My brother and I take off at least once a year to another country and immerse ourselves in unfamiliar culture for a few weeks. In 2015 we were in Thailand, climbing mountainside trails to ancient temples and eating an unhealthy amount of Pad Thai. In 2016 we’re going to Star Wars convention in London, and hopefully we’ll be adventuring in Peru in 2017 on a wildlife campaign. Besides being a budget backpacker, I’m a fantasy and scifi enthusiast. I frequent yearly comic conventions, collect books, trinkets, and nonsense, and devote my time to learning about other artists and authors.

Wow! Sounds amazing, and a great way to get book ideas.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

I think my toughest challenge is not being too hard on myself. I’m constantly texting my brother asking him for advice (he’s my beta reader and first draft editor) but usually I’m searching for guidance and strength instead of quick fixes. He’s the first person to tell me to chill out, and the last to tell me to give up. I can’t really pin-point what I like most about being an author. It’s been my dream since I was a little girl. I remember a year or two ago driving in my car, the music was on, I was day dreaming about receiving an offer on one of my books, and I was crying. It seemed so distant back then, something I’d never really reach, but here I am. A published author. I guess that’s the best part, being able to say “I did it” and knowing that I made my own dreams come true.

I think writing is a dream that most authors have from childhood. I know it was one of mine. Achieving a dream, like we have, is an awesome feeling but, like anything worth achieving, it takes hard work, effort, and a lot of time to accomplish.

Can you please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. so readers can connect with you.

Amazon Buy Link:

Tumblr: lion–

Twitter: @Taysalion

Instagram: @Taysalion

I’m also active on Goodreads and Facebook under my pen name of Taylor Brooke

Thanks for visiting the Limitless Library Lounge on your release day, Taylor, and I wish you all the best with OMEN OPERATION and your future books. It’s been a pleasure to chat with you.





Posted in Author Spotlight, Authors, Books, New Releases

Author Spotlight Marianne Rice

authorspotlightWelcome to the Limitless Library Lounge where I interview fellow authors from Limitless Publishing. Today, I am chatting with  Marianne Rice from Maine.



Thanks for joining me, Marianne.  Please have a seat and make yourself comfortable.
I understand you have a novel that is just being released by Limitless today. Can you give me some details about it?


I signed my contract with Limitless in October of 2015 and will have my first release on January 26, 2016. It is the first book in my Wilde Sisters series, SWEET ON YOU. My other contemporary romance series, The McKay-Tucker Men, was published through Liquid Silver books in the winter-spring of 2015. I write contemporary romances set in small New England towns. So far all of my books are part of a series, however each book is a stand alone.

Congratulations on your new release. Would you describe your goals as a writer to us. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

I’ve been writing off and on for the past nine years, since my son was a newborn and my daughters were two and four. I never had plans to publish. While I always thought it would be a nice perk, it was never my goal. I write as an outlet, an escape. The publishing part is the icing on the cake. To keep myself from getting too overwhelmed, I make my writing goals quite simple. I’ve been writing one book a year and have a large backlist, and when I signed with LSB in 2014 I got motivated to write faster. I wrote three books in 2015 but know I can’t keep up that pace (and my sanity) so writing one book a year is my goal. If I write more it’s just an added bonus. Because I’m OCD about goals deadlines, I don’t make them if I know I will have to sacrifice my family time because I have an obsession with meeting goals.

I understand those issues. My daughter is 11, but I also find it hard to make the time to write, work full-time at the library, and spend time with my family. I get up early and write or edit for an hour each morning before my husband and daughter get up and I have to get ready for work. I hope to publish a book a year, as well. I just finished the sequel to A STONE’S THROW that was published in November and am currently editing it before I submit it. With luck, the second book should be out this summer. I wish I had a backlist. I wrote many novels years ago, but they aren’t on computer, so it would be a lot of work to revive them. Although the Cobble Cove books can be considered standalones, it helps to read them in order. I had started a different book before A STONE’S THROW and hope to finish that one eventually.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

Stay with me almost slipped from his tongue. What the hell- Had he used up all his testosterone on Sex Olympics or had he passed it all on to Rayne- The complete role reversal had him more confused than sugar free frosEvery single one of my books deals with a real-life issue. Something the everyday person experiences. I’ve covered issues of rape, unplanned pregnancy, type 1 diabetes, alcoholism, death, neglect, adoption etc. While these sound like heavy subjects, my books are light, carefree, and at times, funny. I don’t make light of these situations but try to show how, even when the chips are down, happily ever after can still happen.

Great topics that have wide appeal. Your approach sounds quite interesting.

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

Don’t stop writing. When you’ve finished your first book, step away from it and start the next. Take some time before going back to edit and revise. Keep writing and learning. Join author groups, whether they be online or in your area.

That’s great advice. I stopped writing after my self-published novel, CLOUDY RAINBOW.  I’m very sorry i did that, but I’m making every effort to keep writing now. I’m also starting a writer’s group at my library that I feel will be helpful to myself as well as others. It’s great to have feedback from other authors in person as well as online, as you mentioned.

What hobbies and interests do you have besides writing?

I bake and decorate cakes on the side, but with my 9 year old son’s recent diagnosis of celiac disease (this will make its way into a future book for sure), I may need to stop. Or only do gluten free cakes since we can’t have flour near our son, not even in the air. I love to bake and experiment with healthy alternatives so you’ll often find me in the kitchen concocting something yummy—and usually chocolate based. On the flip side of this, I love finding creative workouts. I’m a huge fan of the mud runs and obstacle races and have completed the mother of all obstacle races, the twelve-mile Tough Mudder, designed by British Special Forces, twice. I’ve worked this into a book as well.

Two of my children have type 1 diabetes (which does NOT run in our families) so I spend a lot of time researching and being active in various diabetes groups.

On a happier note, my children are very active in sports and I’m that loud mom in the stands who cheers and yells out positive reinforcement. We’re currently in basketball season; the Little Guy is on a team, Sports Girl is on two teams; Teenage Princess is a cheerleader. In the spring it will be baseball, lacrosse and tumbling and in the fall it’s soccer, field hockey and football cheering. My interests are guided by my kiddos.

Sorry to hear about your son’s recently diagnosed illness and your diabetic children. I had a cat who was diabetic, and I had to give him insulin shots daily for seven years. It was difficult and costly. I don’t know if your children need shots, but I’m sure it’s a challenge dealing with their issues. I’ve always found researching subjects close to me help me make my fictional books more realistic, and I’m sure your treatment of these subjects may be useful to others facing similar situations.

As far as sports, my family is not very athletic. I’ve started an exercise walking routine and video tapes indoors when the weather doesn’t permit exercising outdoors. I find it really helps me destress, concentrate more on my writing, and also helps with my dieting and weight loss (60 pounds off since last year).

In addition to your baking, I know you run a Facebook page devoted to baking and books called Read, Eat, Drink where members share recipes and reading recommendations. It’s a great idea.

Thanks for mentioning that, Debbie. We currently have 110 members and would be happy to welcome new members.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

I love everything about being an author: crafting ideas, writing stories, reading for research, connecting with readers and other authors, doing workshops, author signings, marketing…I love it all. There isn’t anything I don’t like but my toughest challenge is definitely balancing between the day job, my children and my writing. And then balancing marketing, writing and editing.

I feel the same. Finding time to do it all is difficult. Before you publish, you don’t realize all the work involved. It’s not just writing.

Can you please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. so readers can connect with you.

  2. com/author/mariannerice

Thanks for the lovely chat in Limitless Library Lounge today, Marianne, and I wish you the best with your your new release and those that follow.




Posted in A Stone's Throw, Authors, Limitless Publishing

Spreading the Word

debbiehicksvilleFollowing on the heels of my author talk at the Hicksville Public Library on Friday, January 22nd, winter snowstorm Jonas hit Long Island.

2016-01-24 14.22.02While my husband, daughter, and I were snowbound, after catching up on some housework, putting away the remainder of the Christmas items, and organizing my closet, I spent some time editing the sequel to my novel, A STONE’S THROW (November 2015 Limitless Publishing) and planning my calendar for 2016. I’ve also begun listing my upcoming events on an Eventbrite calendar I’ve added to this blog.

Although my calendar of events is a work-in-progress, it’s beginning to fill up. Here is my schedule of appearances so far through Summer 2016:

2016calendarTuesday, April 12th 7 pm-8pm Author Talk and Book Signing at Barnes and Noble, Carle Place, NY

Saturday, June 4th MASE (Mystic Author Signing Event) Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket CT

Tuesday, June 21st 7 pm-8pm Author and Publishing Talk at Farmingdale Public Library

Saturday, August 6th Indies in NY 2016 Author Signing, The Westin New York at Times Square

I hope some of you can attend these events. If you would like me to speak at your library or any author events, please contact me to schedule an appearance. Also, if anyone wants to purchase a copy of A STONE’S THROW for me to sign at any of my signing events, please let me know ahead so I can reserve a copy for you.






Posted in Authors, Books, Cats, Cozies, Cozy Chat, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery, Cozy Series

Cozy Chat with Ali Brandon (Diane A.S. Stuckart)

cozycatpicAlthough I consider myself a romantic suspense author and fan, I also used to be an avid reader of cozy mysteries especially those featuring cats. For those of you who also share that interest, I will be featuring Cozy Chats with cozy mystery authors on this blog. If you are an author who writes a cozy series and would like to participate in a future Cozy Chat, please contact me.

di pink pink headshotToday, I have the pleasure of speaking with Diane A.S. Stuckart (pen name Ali Brandon) about her Black Cat Bookshop mystery series.

Hi, Diane. Thanks for joining us on Cozy Chat. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.
plot boiler largeCan you tell us a little bit about your Black Cat Bookshop mystery series? What gave you the idea for it and what is your latest book in it?

PLOT BOILER, my November 2015 release, is Number 5 in the series which features Hamlet the Cat and his human, Darla Pettistone. Here’s the series in a nutshell: Texas transplant Darla Pettistone inherited a Brooklyn brownstone from her late great-aunt, complete with a quirky independent bookstore known as Pettistone’s Fine Books. What Darla didn’t expect was that she’d also be the new caretaker of Hamlet, a big black cat with a cat-itude to match. But Darla soon finds that she and the ornery feline make a purr-fectly paw-some sleuthing team. As for the original idea, the premise of Hamlet came from my first editor, but the bookstore and all the other characters are mine. We wanted to give readers a return to the neighborhood bookstore, which unfortunately is an endangered species these days.

I know excactly what you mean. Your series sounds great. I’m a sucker for anything mysterious with cats and books in it, so I definitely have to add some of these books to my TBR pile. In my own novels, that some consider cozy mysteries but I think of as romantic suspense, I always try to feature at least one cat. In A STONE’S THROW, my November release and the first of my Cobble Cove novels, I have Sneaky the library cat as one of the characters. He’s Siamese like my own Oliver. I also have a dog in the book, Fido. Both pets play important yet minor roles.

Do you have any advice to other authors about writing cozies or writing in general?

In my opinion, a successful cozy series must have good “bones”—a likable protagonist, a series “hook”, and a cast of characters that readers come to know and see as friends. While the mystery portion of the book (including its solving) is obviously a vital element, in my opinion what matters most is the interaction among the characters and how the murder affects them.

That’s a good point. I agree that cozy mysteries are character-driven. I feel my books are very much like that, as well. My main character, Alicia, is a librarian who moves to the small town of Cobble Cove and meets newspaper publisher, John, and the town’s other quirky residents. I feel the murders and other crimes that take place as the book progresses and those I hope will follow are interesting, but, as you said, it’s the characters’ interactions that feed the plot and that I believe will appeal to readers.

What are you currently working on?

After the release of Plot Boiler, I’m taking a break for the time being, but I am playing with an idea for another historical mystery series set during the Renaissance. And I still have a couple of my vintage historical romances that I intend to republish on Kindle. Hopefully we will be seeing more Hamlet mysteries to come.

Sounds good. Do you write any other genres than cozies? You mentioned historical mysteries.

Yes. I started out writing historical romance under the names Alexa Smart and Anna Gerard. After that, I contributed short fiction to several anthologies with themes ranging from mystery to fantasy. My first foray into the mystery genre was writing the (unfortunately short-lived) Leonardo da Vinci mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. And from there I started writing the Black Cat Bookshop mysteries.

Very interesting. My first published work besides the cat articles I still write was  a short mystery for Cat Crimes Through Time back when the Cat Crimes anthologies by Martin Greenberg and Ed Gorman were popular. I wrote “Stitches in Time” about Betsy Ross’ cat which I guess you would consider a historical mystery. I was so excited to have my story featured with some already famous cat mystery authors such as Carole Nelson Douglas, who I’m still in contact with today and hope to feature on a future cozy chat.

Can you tell me how you got started in writing?

I was a journalism major in college, but before that I was on the high school newspaper and was always at the top of the class when it came to writing papers for English class. I figured I had a knack for putting words to paper and decided to give book writing a try once I left school.

Wow, Diane, we have a lot in common. I was an English major in college and Features Editor on the college newspaper, The Pioneer, at C.W. Post. I think journalism training is a great way to gain experience in writing.

What are your hobbies besides writing?

I’m a founding member of the Gold Coast Paranormal Society, a volunteer organization of “ghost hunters” here in South Florida. I also collect Tarot and Lenormand card decks, and I enjoy doing “crafty” things. And, of course, I love to read.

We have even more similarities. I used to enjoy astrology and occult arts including Tarot when I was younger. I don’t dabble much in it anymore, but I always found it fun. I also used to crochet, but I don’t have much time for hobbies besides reading and writing today since I work full-time as a librarian and have a daughter now.

Is there anything else you’d like readers of this blog to know about you and/or your books?

Rescue cats (and dogs!) make the greatest pets, a subject I try to mention in all the Hamlet books. Keep on reading, and consider adopting!

Great advice. Do you have any links you’d like to share with our readers?

Thank you so much for joining us on Cozy Chat today, and good luck with your future books.


Posted in Authors, Books, Feature Friday

Feature Friday January 22 – Carolyn LaRoche – Undercover in Six Inch Stilettos



StilBannerThe Secret Lives Series

✦✦UNDERCOVER in Six Inch Stilettos✦✦


Limitless Publishing

5accefac-95df-40ff-b565-0f1d407a3a13✦✦ SYNOPSIS ✦✦

Every woman has secrets, and Cyndi Mills is no exception…


Cyndi has a beautiful daughter, and her husband Jason is totally hot for her, but something is missing. As a cop, Jason is extremely vigilant about safety and security, and Cyndi longs for some time to herself, so she takes a Friday night job.

Jason thinks she’s cleaning offices, when she’s actually dancing in a red bustier and six-inch stilettos at a club called Sugar Shakers, something only her three best friends, also police wives, know.

When club employees start disappearing, the truth comes out…

A young runaway, Jade, and a military widow, Lola, vanish, and Lola’s body is later found in the ocean. Cyndi begins investigating—with some help from her friends—but when anonymous threats put her daughter in jeopardy, she has no choice but to confess her lie to Jason, rocking their previously solid marriage.

Jason is furious, but Cyndi has to ask for even more if she hopes to solve the mystery…

Cyndi convinces Jason to sign her up as a confidential informant, and she officially goes undercover at the club, while Jason struggles to control his jealousy. As the evidence mounts and the danger becomes all too real, Jason fights to keep Cyndi safe.

But no amount of security can protect someone when lies are more common

than the truth and no one is who they appear to be.

stilAvilble✦✦ PURCHASE NOW✦✦




carolynlaroche✦✦ ✦✦ CAROLYN LAROCHE ✦✦ ✦✦

Carolyn LaRoche grew up in snow country but fled the cold and ice several years ago. She now lives near the beach with her husband, their two boys, two finicky cats and one old dog. When she is not at the baseball field cheering on big hits and home runs, she is busy teaching science to unwilling teenagers.


Limitless Publishing:








Posted in A Stone's Throw, Authors, Uncategorized

Public Speaking Tips for Nervous Authors (and other speakers)

publicspeakingI make my debut author talk this Friday, January 22nd, at the library where I work as a librarian. Since I was scheduled to speak, I’ve been a nervous wreck. I realize most authors and first-time speakers experience this fear. Here are some tips I discovered for easing my discomfort and that will hopefully result in a less anxious presentation.

Knowing that it’s best to talk naturally and interact with an audience, I didn’t write an entire speech. Instead, I prepared an outline with flexible discussion points and some simple questions I could ask for feedback from the audience. Since I’ll be talking about the publishing process and then reading excerpts from my book, A STONE’S THROW, after I thank the person introducing me and the people attending for coming to hear me speak, I plan to ask who is there to learn more about publishing. This question can be answered by raising a hand. I will then follow it up by asking who is interested in hearing about my book. Finally, I will attempt to find out if anyone is there for another reason. With these type of questions, I get to feel the audience out and also see where to focus my talk.

When preparing the outline for my presentation, I’ve arranged to display slides to correspond to each point of my talk. I was lucky to have the library’s computer technician’s help in setting up some of my book teaser graphics and Tips for Publishing notecard into Powerpoint slides. The library also recently invested in a wireless microphone, so speakers could walk around the room and not be tied to the podium. This will make it easier to interact with the audience.

2015-11-26 16.08.21My outline is flexible and can be adjusted as I talk. I plan to leave room after each part of the talk for audience questions. Beforehand, I will arrange a table with handouts, a display of my books, and raffle tickets where those attending may enter their names to win an autographed copy of A STONE’S THROW. I will choose a winner at the end of the presentation. I’m also asking those who enter the raffle to include their email addresses if they’d like to be kept up-to-date on my upcoming books and appearance schedule.

Since I’ve put a lot of preparation and thought into how I will present my talk and the way the room will be set up, this will alleviate some of my fears. Another way that I am trying to reduce the stress and jitters of speaking before a group, a fear that I’ve learned is quite common for everyone, is by taking the advice of those who speak regularly. I’m taking an online Gale Courses public speaking course called MASTERING PUBLIC SPEAKING. I will have only taken a few lessons before my talk, but the instructor’s advice has been helpful so far. In addition, I’ve found several books at my library on the topic including the classic Dale Carnegie books on public speaking.

I have to admit that I won’t be totally relaxed on Friday, but they say that’s normal. Nervousness can be channeled into a productive presentation as long as it doesn’t freeze you up and cause stage fright. Nervous energy can actually help your address.  Below are a few tips I’ve picked up in my class, from my readings, and suggestions from others familiar with talking in front of an audience:

  1. There’s nothing wrong in saying it’s your first time speaking. People will understand and sympathize with you if you let them know. Also, don’t be afraid of making a mistake or missing one of the points in your talk because most people will not notice it except you.
  2. As you speak, it’s best to maintain eye contact with one person instead of looking out over the entire group. You can select one person from the left, center, and right side of the audience and direct your talk to each of these people individually as you move through your presentation.
  3. To make your talk more entertaining, you might inject humor into some of the material or your interaction with the audience, but only do this if it comes naturally.
  4. Don’t rush your talk. Speaking fast can cause stuttering and incoherence. It’s best to speak at a moderate pace. Slow down if you find yourself talking too fast.
  5. Do a dry run of your talk in the place you will be speaking as close to the date as possible. It’s very important to be familiar with the acoustics and physical set up of the room. It will also make you more comfortable knowing the layout of the space.

If anyone has any additional speaking tips, please comment on them. Fingers crossed I will break a leg at my first author talk. If anyone is local and would like to come support me, I will be speaking at the Hicksville Public Library at 1 pm on Friday, January 22nd.