Posted in Authors, blog challenge

#LifeBooksWriting Blog Challenge: A Day in My Life

blogchallengegraphicupdatedThis week’s blog challenge is about A Day in My Life. Sophia Valentine of Lifestyle and Literature created this challenge (see graphic for topics and dates if you have a blog and would like to participate. If you’re a reader, I’m sure you’ll enjoy learning about some of the great participating authors).

My day usually begins at 5 a.m. when I wake up, feed my cats, and make coffee for my husband in that order. Then I check my computer for emails, Facebook messages, and my handy Google calendar, so I know what else is on the agenda for that day. I spend the next hour writing and eating breakfast which is usually a high fiber cereal with bananas or blueberries and coffee with skim milk. At 6 a.m., after my husband is out of the shower, I wake up my 6th-grade daughter who takes an hour dressing and using the bathroom. While she is getting ready, I put one of my Leslie Sansone walk-at-home DVD’s into my computer and exercise for a half hour. I then make breakfast for my daughter who, like my husband, grabs something quick because they are both running late all the time.

hicksvillelibraryWhen everyone is gone, I shower and dress for work. I like to get there at 8:30 even though I start at 9. I work at my local library as a librarian. The best part of my job is ordering the new fiction and mystery books, but it’s also the hardest because I want to read them all and don’t have the time. I also enjoy helping people find new books and authors. I’ve been writing and editing the library’s monthly staff picks newsletter for the last three years.

2016-05-09 20.39.46I work at the library from 9 to 5 four days a week and from 1 to 9 once a week. I also work two Saturdays a month. When I work a Saturday, I usually get a Friday off. On my days off and on weekends, I try to catch up on household chores and social media/writing. But if my daughter is home, too, I try to spend time with her. She’s at the age where she’d rather be with her friends than her mother, so I usually take her out somewhere with a friend. Last weekend, we went to Old Westbury Gardens, a place she particularly likes, as she’s into nature. However, it was so hot that both she and her friend wanted to leave before we were there long. A week ago, my daughter unexpectedly asked me to read a book with her. We used to read together all the time when she was younger but, as she started getting more homework and I became involved in writing, there was less time for us to do so. The book she chose, The Bad Unicorn, is one of those pre-teen dramatic works with a mysterious ancient codex and a seventh-grade hero. I had to admit I found some of the parts funny, and she laughed through a lot of it, too. Despite its crazy plot, the book was written on a level that would help increase a middle-schooler’s vocabulary, and I was glad it was something we could share.

maseThis weekend, I’m headed to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut for MASE (Mystic Author Signing Event) where I’ll be meeting authors and readers and signing both of my books, A Stone’s Throw and Cloudy Rainbow. My husband is coming along, so we’ll also try to fit in some much-needed together time. Most of the time we’re both too busy with our jobs and daughter. The single exception is the one night a week, usually on a weekend I’m not working, that we watch a movie or TV show together on Netflix while our daughter plays virtual games on her computer with her friends.

There’s not much more to know about my days except that I try to fit in reading and some time with my cats.2016-02-24 10.18.29

 

 

 

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Posted in A Stone's Throw, Authors, blog challenge, Books, Characters, Cloudy Rainbow

#LifeBooksWriting Blog Challenge: How I Create Characters

blogchallengegraphicupdatedThis week’s blog challenge is called character inspiration. Sophia Valentine of Lifestyle and Literature created this challenge (see graphic for topics and dates if you have a blog and would like to participate. If you’re a reader, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the posts from the great participating authors).

interviewblogpostThe characters I feature in my books are fictionalized composites of people I know or have known. The main character usually shares some of my personality or background. For instance, in “A Stone’s Throw,” Alicia Fairmont is a librarian like I am. Although my husband is still alive, thank God, Alicia is a widow. Her marriage was quite different from mine, as her husband kept his past secret. When she searches for his family that she has never met, she ends up meeting and falling in love with John McKinney, the publisher of a small town newspaper. John’s character is mostly imaginary. His occupation and interest in journalism and novel writing is another aspect of my personal experience. I worked as Features editor on my college newspaper and also edited and published my library school newsletter before writing articles, short stories and novels.

What's the Secret Ingredient in the McKinney's PB&J Recipe-John’s father, 80-year old Mac, is another central character in my book. He is a librarian and previous library director at the Cobble Cove Library in upstate New York. One memorable characteristic of Mac is his love of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When I worked part-time in the special collections department of my college library, I worked with an older gentleman who ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day. I gave Mac this similar quirk and also his propensity for creative quotes. The tagline of the book, which comes from one of Mac’s sayings is, “Things happen for a reason.”

Sheila, the current library director and a close friend of Mac and John is not based on anyone I’ve worked for. She’s a complex character who is difficult to know initially. As the story unfolds, we learn her hard exterior was built after the tragic loss of her young husband to a brain aneurysm that left her to raise her daughter alone.

There are many other characters in the book including Alicia’s best friend, Abigail Nostran, known as Gilly, who worked with her part-time as a clerk at their library on Long Island. Gilly has three sons and is a very down-to-earth person who likes to wear sweatshirts and casual clothing. She loves to bake and, despite a messy divorce, is a positive person who enjoys talking about the opposite sex. I based Gilly on several women I’ve known throughout my life. I also had a friend at my library who worked as a clerk.

Dora, the innkeeper, who Alicia first meets when coming to Cobble Cove, shares some similarities with Gilly. She has never married and, during the course of the book, develops a love interest in someone. An older woman who runs a bed and breakfast in a small town, she’s a bit wary about new guests. As she gets to know Alicia, she becomes friendlier. Her interests also include baking as well as gardening and making the inn’s bath soaps and lotions.

teaser6teaser5dogTwo other characters that play important roles in my book, although they aren’t human, are the library Siamese cat, Sneaky, and Mac and John’s golden retriever, Fido. The cat is based on my own Siamese cat, Oliver, who is older than Sneaky. The dog is also based on some dogs I grew up with and those I’ve read about in books.

For more information about my characters, you can read  “Interview with My Characters” and/or  “Celebrating Christmas with My Characters” both on this blog.

The sequel to “A Stone’s Throw” will feature several new characters. Without giving the story away, some will be college-age and others children. I base the kids on my own daughter when she was the age of the characters. One young girl who plays a big role in the book, Angelina,  suffers from leukemia. Her character is based on my niece who underwent a bone marrow transplant ten years ago at the age of 12 and is now completely recovered with a baby daughter.

The new book that I am currently writing with totally different characters, features themes of alcoholism. mental illness, and infertility. The main character, Sarah Lloyd, is a children’s book illustrator this time instead of a librarian. She is having problems conceiving which causes stress on her marriage. I have a familiarity with this topic because it took me many years and some fertility treatments to conceive my daughter. Sarah’s mother, Jennifer Brewster, is the alcoholic in the book. While my experience with this topic is limited, I used my knowledge of alcoholic characters I’ve read about and seen portrayed on television. Without revealing the plot or other characters because the book is only in a draft stage, I will say my characters are different from those of “A Stone’s Throw” and my first self-published novel, “Cloudy Rainbow,” although there are some similarities.

I believe most authors put some of themselves in their main characters as well as other aspects of their personalities in non-leading characters. I’ve also found that, once you name a character and begin to feature that person in your book, they start taking on characteristics and motivations that often surprise you.

In case the descriptions of my characters have interested you, you might consider joining my mailing list for updates on my books and monthly contests for prizes at https://debbiedelouise.wordpress.com (just complete the pop-up newsletter form and confirm through the email you are sent). The next newsletter will be out on June 1st where I’ll be announcing the June contest and awarding the May prize.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Authors, blog challenge, Books

#LifeBooksWriting Blog Challenge: 6 Marketing Tips

blogchallengegraphicupdatedThis week’s blog challenge is about marketing tips. Sophia Valentine of Lifestyle and Literature created this challenge (see graphic for topics and dates if you have a blog and would like to participate. If you’re a reader, I’m sure you’ll enjoy learning about some of the great participating authors).

I don’t have many book marketing tips I can recommend and hope to learn something from others taking this challenge, but here are six things I’ve done that seemed to help my sales of  “A Stone’s Throw,”so far:

  1. thanksreadersarticleI spoke to the editor of my local paper about my book before it first came out, and she interviewed me and published an article the week of its release.
  2. Since I’m a librarian, I sent a press release to the Nassau County Library Association, and they featured me and my book in their monthly newsletter. This can work for anyone who is a member of any association or group that publishes a newsletter which features member news.
  3. I contacted book blogs for reviews and interviews. See my Media page for those that featured me.
  4. I organized a Thanksreader’s Facebook party around the time of my release. Since my book came out around Thanksgiving, I used a theme of a virtual feast at which each author taking over brought a “dish” as well as giveaways. The dishes often included recipes and yummy photos.
  5. I signed up for a release blitz with Book Enthusiast Promotions.
  6. I created teasers using Canva.com with scenes from my book, as well as review quotes that I used on Facebook posts and Twitter tweets.1stonesthrowcatcatcherteasaerIn addition to these marketing tips, there are some things I tried that weren’t productive for me but that doesn’t mean they won’t be productive for you. These included posting in FB groups, taking out Facebook ads, and holding Goodreads and Facebook giveaways. While these didn’t result in much sales for me, I may not have promoted them properly. You might have totally different results. The main thing is to try many avenues to reach your target market — both online and through personal appearances, signings, etc. It’s a tough market, but if your books  are good, you don’t give up, and you keep writing, you will be noticed, build a fan base, and eventually earn some profit from your hard work.
Posted in A Stone's Throw, Books

A Stone’s Throw Cover Reveal

StonesThrow_coverfinalTo celebrate the unveiling of the cover of “A Stone’s Throw,” I am hosting a Facebook event today, Wednesday, October 28th, here. All are welcome to attend. There will be a door prize, contests, and some additional surprises. There will be one more opportunity for someone to earn a virtual ticket in my Cover Reveal Contest that has been going on every Wednesday in October on my Facebook Author Page. The final question will be posted at my Facebook event. The winner will be entered in the drawing for a grand prize along with the three previous winners from the contest. All ticket holders will win a prize with the grand prize going to the person picked from the entries at the end of the event. Winners of all prizes during the event will be posted either at the end of the event or the day after. I will also try to contact each person individually.

I hope you can participate in my Cover Reveal event. “A Stone’s Throw” will be released in November, and I will also be hosting a larger event to celebrate. Information will be announced on this blog and on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for your interest.

Here is an interview I also participated in for Lifestyle & Literature.