Saturday 29 June 2013

History of the Canadian Flag

St. George's Cross
I am probably safe in assuming that 99.9% of Canadians know that our neighbour to the south celebrates its Independence Day on July 4th. But sadly most Americans are unaware that Canada also celebrates its national day in the same month-July 1st to be precise.

Like Americans, Canadians are proud of their flag. But the distinctive Maple Leaf Flag wasn't always our flag. Here's a brief history.

The first flag known to have flown in Canada was the St George's Cross carried by the explorer, John Cabot when he reached Newfoundland in 1497.

In 1534, Jacques Cartier planted a cross in Gaspé bearing the French royal coat of arms with the fleurs-de-lis. His ship flew a red flag with a white cross, the national flag of France at the time.

The Royal Union Flag has been used in Canada since the 1621 British settlement in Nova Scotia. Since the surrender of New France to the United Kingdom in the early 1760s, the Royal Union Flag, called the Union Jack, was used as the national flag, as in the United Kingdom, until the adoption of the current flag in 1965.

Union Jack

Shortly after Canadian Confederation in 1867, the need for distinctive Canadian flags emerged. The first Canadian flag was that then used as the Flag of the Governor General of Canada, a Royal Union Flag with a shield in the centre bearing the quartered arms of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick surrounded by a wreath of maple leaves. In 1870 the Red Ensign, with the addition of the Canadian composite shield in the fly, began to be used unofficially on land and sea and was known as the Canadian Red Ensign.
Canadian Red Ensign

As new provinces joined the Confederation, their arms were added to the shield. In 1892, the British admiralty approved the use of the Red Ensign for Canadian use at sea. The composite shield was replaced with the coat of arms of Canada upon its grant in 1921 and, in 1924, an Order in Council approved its use for Canadian government buildings abroad.

In 1925, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King (the PM on our $50 bill)  established a committee to design a flag to be used at home, but it was dissolved before the final report could be delivered. Despite the failure of the committee to solve the issue, public sentiment in the 1920s was in favour of fixing the flag problem for Canada.

During the Second World War, the Red Ensign was the national flag Canadian troops carried into battle. A joint committee of the Senate and House of Commons was appointed on November 8, 1945, to recommend a national flag to officially adopt. By May 9 the following year, 2,695 designs were submitted and the committee reported back with a recommendation "that the national flag of Canada should be the Canadian red ensign with a maple leaf in autumn golden colours in a bordered background of white". The Legislative Assembly of Quebec, however, had urged the committee to not include any of what it deemed as "foreign symbols", including the Royal Union Flag, and Mackenzie King, then still prime minister, declined to act on the report, leaving the order to fly the Canadian Red Ensign in place.
Suggested 1945 flag

By the 1960s, however, debate for an official Canadian flag intensified and became a subject of controversy, culminating in the Great Flag Debate of 1964. In 1963, the minority Liberal government of Lester B. Pearson gained power and decided to adopt an official Canadian flag through parliamentary debate. 
Lester B. Pearson

The principal political proponent of the change was Prime Minister Lester Pearson. (Yes, Toronto Airport is named in his honour).

He had been a significant broker during the Suez Crisis of 1956, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. During the crisis, Pearson was disturbed when the Egyptian government objected to Canadian peacekeeping forces on the grounds that the Canadian flag (the Red Ensign) contained the same symbol (the Royal Union Flag) also used as a flag by the United Kingdom, one of the belligerents.
Pearson's goal was for the Canadian flag to be distinctive and unmistakably Canadian. The main opponent to changing the flag was the leader of the opposition and former prime minister, John Diefenbaker, who eventually made the subject a personal crusade.

Pearson was leader of a minority government and risked losing power over the issue; however, he knew the Red Ensign with the Union Jack was unpopular in Quebec, a base of support for his Liberal Party, but the Red Ensign was strongly favoured by English Canada. On May 27, 1964, Pearson's minority government introduced a motion to parliament for adoption of his favourite design of a "sea to sea" (Canada's motto) flag with blue borders and three conjoined red maple leaves on a white field. This motion led to weeks of acrimonious debate in the House of Commons and the design came to be known as the "Pearson Pennant". 
"Pearson Pennant)

Diefenbaker demanded a referendum be held on the flag issue, but Pearson instead formed a 15-member multi-party parliamentary committee to select a new design.

Through a period of study with political manoeuvring, the committee chose the current design, which was created by George F.G. Stanley and inspired by the flag of the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario. The design was approved unanimously by the committee on October 29, 1964, and later passed by a majority vote in the House of Commons on December 15, 1964. The Senate added its approval two days later.

Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, proclaimed the new flag on January 28, 1965. It was inaugurated on February 15 of the same year at an official ceremony held on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in the presence of Governor General Major-General Georges P. Vanier, the Prime Minister, the members of the Cabinet, and Canadian parliamentarians. The Canadian Red Ensign was lowered at the stroke of noon, and the new Maple Leaf flag was raised. The crowd sang "O Canada" followed by "God Save the Queen". Maurice Bourget, Speaker of the Senate, said, "The flag is the symbol of the nation's unity, for it, beyond any doubt, represents all the citizens of Canada without distinction of race, language, belief, or opinion."

Happy Birthday to both our great nations!

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Wednesday 26 June 2013

Leanne Tyler Shares The Wealth

A hearty welcome today to Leanne Tyler. Tell us a little about yourself, Leanne.
I’m a single mother of a teenage son. I work full-time and write whenever I can find the time. I was first published in 2007 by The Wild Rose Press when my novella, Victory’s Gate won the American Rose category in the Through the Garden Gate contest. In 2009 Through the Garden Gate anthology was released and then in 2011 a novella It’s Always Been You and a novel Season of Love was released. My biggest year of publishing so far has been 2012. I saw four different stories published, a short story (A Country Kitchen Christmas), two novels (The Good Luck Charm and The Good Luck Spell), and a novella (Ava). Because of Rebecca and The Good Luck Potion along with the audio version of Ava have been released so far in 2013.

Sounds like you're a prolific writer for someone who writes when they can find the time! If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be, and why?
In 1997 I took a trip to Canada to visit a friend I made online and we stayed with her mom in St. Catherines before we traveled into Toronto. I really enjoyed the Niagara Valley in St. Catherines. It was so beautiful and I have always thought if I were to move outside of the U.S. I’d like to live there. Of course, I wouldn't have far to go to cross back into the U.S. because St. Catherines is right on the border.

That is a lovely area. I have two daughters who live not too far from St. Catherines. Have you had other careers before becoming a writer?
In college I studied communications and received my B.S. in Journalism: News Editorial. I worked at the college newspaper working my way from reporter, to beat editor, to Editor in Chief before I graduated. Thinking I wanted to go to graduate school and needing a way to pay for it, I took a job at my university as an administrative assistant because I could take up to two courses a semester and tuition would be waived. However, I wasn't sure what I wanted to study. Did I want to get my advanced degree in Public Relations or did I want to consider another field of study. So I worked, eventually got married and had my son. I decided graduate school really wasn't where I wanted to go, but I've continued to work at the university enjoying the environment and the department I work for.

Are you a full time writer or do you have a “day job”?
I still have my “day job”, but I am asked often by the professors I work with when I’m leaving them. I don’t see that happening just yet. I have a teenage son that will be in college in a few years. So I will stick around at least until he is finished with his education.

The security of a good job is a great thing. Do you have other talents?
I sing in my church choir as well as solo. I've been doing this since I was a teenager.

I envy people who can sing. How did you get started writing?
I was thirteen and I tried to write my first young adult love story. I had just started reading YA romances and modeled my story after those. I completed that story when I was in seventh grade and began another one when I started high school. I had friends who read my writing and even a few of the males in my class who knew I was writing would ask to read the stories as well. I finished four YAs by the time I graduated high school, but none have been published. It wasn't until I was in college that I took my first creative writing course. By then I had started several adult manuscripts but had never finished one of those because I kept writing and rewriting as I learned on my own from reading adult romances.

What genre do you write in and why?
I write both historical and contemporary romances. My historical romances have American settings and have been so far pre-civil war. My contemporary romances range from romantic comedies, to a high school reunion setting, to a Christmas Inspirational. My first love in reading is historical romances. If you look at my bookshelf at home that is what you will find, but I also like contemporary stories.

I know I write medieval romance because that's what I enjoy reading the most. How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?
I have 9 different published works from short story, novella, and full-length. Five are full length which are available in print as well as ebook. Two short stories which are available in ebook. Both have been published in an anthology but only one anthology is still available, the other is out of print. I also have two novellas with one being available as an audio book.
A favorite? Do you honestly think a mother would pick a favorite of her children? Each are very special to me and each are a creation from the heart. Some take longer to write while others flow like a rushing wind onto the page. Though if I had to pick a set of characters that I fell in love with it would be Alex and Sue from The Good Luck Potion.

Tell us about your current WIP.
I’m actually working on two sequels right now. Both for my Christmas Time-Travel Season of Love. I was heavily into writing one when the other story popped up and so I spent a few days getting the opening down on paper (prologue and first chapter) before going back to my current story.

I tend to be the same. I actually like writing more than one book at a time. What inspired your latest book?
Well I was working on the final galley’s for Season of Love when I thought too bad Tabitha and Nicholas can’t have a story. And in the next instance I thought, why can’t they? I admit it has taken me two years to get around to writing it, having started it and put it aside while I wrote Ava and then finished Because of Rebecca and then I wrote The Good Luck Series but sometimes I think a good historical needs to simmer a while before its really ready to be put down on paper.
As for the second sequel, I was crawling in bed one night when the idea popped into my head. I’m not even sure what I was thinking about when it came together, other than I was surprised and a little miffed that I’d get an idea that late at night. Thankfully I was able to get it down on paper the next day and I polished and tweaked it until I have a good opening to go back to when I’m ready to proceed with it.

It can be infuriating to get inspiration late at night and then it's gone from your mind in the morning! Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
Ideas come from anywhere. A picture. A song I hear. A name that comes to mind. A situation I may see or read about. Sometimes I’ll get a title for a story first. Or I’ll come up with a set of names.

How does your family feel about your writing career?
My son urges me to go back and write, though I think that is his way of keeping me out of his hair. My mom has become a reader now that she has retired and she is my biggest fan I think. I had to have special business cards printed up so she could pass them out to people she meets because she is always plugging my books now.

That's funny. I know my husband passes out more of my business cards than I do! How has your experience with self-publishing been?
I have had a good experience with self-publishing my romantic comedy series. I think I released the first book in the series at the right time because it flourished and I had readers anxious for the second book and wanting to know when the third book would be released. I do plan to do another series, but I’m not sure when that will be since I am working on a historical again.

What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish?
I feel it is good to have experience working with an editor at a publishing house, whether NY or a small press before becoming an Indie Author. This gives you a better understanding of the publishing industry. You gain experience in editing your own work by working with an editor. Being able to edit your work is very important.

What was the deciding factor in self-publishing your books? Did you decide on ebook or print only or both?
I went Indie with The Good Luck Series because the first book had been rejected by three houses. I had literally decided that book was never going to see the light of day. And there was no point in finishing the second book in the series. However, the success I had with it and am still having with it proves the editors who turned it down missed a great opportunity.

Isn't that often the case! Thanks, Leanne for being my guest today.
The Good Luck Series is available in print and ebook through Amazon and Createspace.

Social Media Links:
Twitter: @LeanneTyler
Goodreads and LinkedIn
The Good Luck Series:
The Good Luck Charm
The Good Luck Spell
The Good Luck Potion
Because of Rebecca
Ava: Love Letters 

Saturday 22 June 2013

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

It's an honor to have been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, especially since the nomination came from author Rose Anderson. Her blog, Calliope's Writing Tablet is always full of inspiring articles.
I am obliged as part of the award to share 7 things about myself. My list will pale in comparison to Rose's, which includes white water rafting, walking on fire, and being a Master Level Reiki practitioner!

  • I'm a cat lover. My mother will be turning over in her grave to hear that, but I've always had a place in my heart for cats. At one time I had four! I recently lost my most beloved cat, Topaz. I was in the midst of writing Haunted Knights and had added a black cat to the story. Topaz was a tortie, so I changed the book and renamed the cat Topaz. I even dedicated the book in her memory. It's hard to lose a pet you've had for 12 years.
  • I am an amateur genealogist, a hobby that has had a huge influence on my writing. When I could not trace my own ancestry back to the Norman Conquest (the impossible dream), I made up a family and have followed their lives and love stories in my books.
  • Before I retired (!) I was a teacher. I loved teaching, loved communicating ideas and concepts. I consider myself fortunate to have been born at a time when a good education was becoming available for all. It pains me when I encounter students who don't appreciate the opportunities schooling can give them.
  • I spend quite a bit of my time now in Panama. My husband and I built a condo building in Las Lajas, a small community that boasts the best undiscovered beach in Panama. Walking the beach with nothing to look at but the ocean, the sand, the palm trees, and the millions of tiny red crabs, has often unlocked blocks in my writing. I invariably return from the beach with a new idea for the next part of a book. I harbor a secret dream to have other authors join me here for some kind of retreat, taking inspiration from the sea.
  • I have spent most of my life in Canada, though I was born and educated in England. I suppose that's why I feel comfortable setting my books in the UK countries. I've never had the desire to write about Canada. Of course, I write medieval, though I have a contemporary novel set in Panama in the back of my mind.
  • I am terrified of water. I didn't learn to swim until I was 23, though anybody watching me would not call it swimming. I only "swim" in water where I know my feet can touch bottom!
  • I love wine. My basic criteria is that it be red.
Now, it's my turn to nominate blogs I have found inspirational.
Mimi Barbour's blog, Believe is a beautifully designed blog always worth a visit.
Jo-Ann Carson's blog Lovin' Danger and the Unexpected is my second choice.
Hope you'll check them out.
Now I'm off for a stroll along the beach.

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Happy Birthday BC Brown

It's not often that a guest author's birthday coincides with her blogpost, but today it does! Welcome BC Brown. Here is a brief "bio".
BC Brown was born with six fingers on each hand endowing her with powers, thus enabling her to fight crime. When a freak Cuisinart accident severed the additional digits and her powers, B.C. Was forced to fall back on her secondary talent – writing. Now she lives between the pages of a book – whether or not she has written it. Until she finds the surgeon to restore her fingers and powers, she has published three novels to date and been including in one short story anthology. She enjoys writing mystery, paranormal romance, science fiction, and fantasy but is always in the mood for a challenge to branch out. You can follow her crime fighting or writing at twitter, facebook, or google+.

Have you had other careers before becoming a writer?
I've done everything from being a “time to make the donut girl”, selling advertising, and dispatching for 911.

Do you have other talents? Or is there a talent you don't have that you wish you did?
I spend time with my local community theater but I've always wanted to be able to sing well. I come from a family of great singers (including a niece who could knock your socks off when she opens her mouth) but, being hearing aid-assisted deaf, I have trouble singing. I do love to do it though, and the folks at karaoke joints near and far can attest to the fact that, at least, I try.

Hmm! You might enjoy my latest book, Haunted Knights. the hero is deaf. How did you get started writing?
I wrote my first short story at age 8, called Bite Me. It was thirty pages long. My first novel attempt was called Swim or Die, and I penned it the summer of my 12th birthday.

Interesting! How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?
My first novel, Sister Light; Book One: Of Shadows, is epic fantasy and currently out of print. My paranormal romantic suspense novels are A Touch of Darkness and A Touch of Madness. Both are available and on sale now. I've been included in a transgressive fiction anthology called Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, and it is also on sale.
As to a favorite... every book I write is my absolute favorite and the best work I've ever done – right up until I finish the final edit. Then, while I'm still very proud of the work I've done and the story I've created, I'm on to my next project, trying to figure out how to make that the best work I've ever done.

Sounds like me! Tell us about your current WIP.
A multi-tasker, I have several projects in the works. Currently, juggled with my social life and theater life, I am working on an untitled general fiction about a woman rebuilding her life after an abandonment and bitter divorce; a spin-off novel to the A Touch series, also paranormal romantic suspense, untitled A Sight Unknown; the third book in the A Touch series, entitled A Touch of Chaos.
I have a transgressive short story coming up in Quixotic Love Stories under editor J. Travis Grundon (due out later this year), and am working on another transgressive short story for an anthology (yet untitled) due out 2014. And, finally, re-work of my first published fantasy novel, Sister Light, Book One: Of Shadows, is nearly completed. This will include all three of the original novels combined into one full-length book.

I must admit, I enjoy working on more than one project at a time. What inspired your latest book?
My latest published novel, A Touch of Madness, was the result (as was its predecessor) of a crazy dream. You know, where just about every story authors come up with originate! LOL My upcoming spin-off from the A Touch series, A Sight Unknown, is a dedication novel to my late cousin and inspired by my desire to speak her just one more time. And my untitled general fiction is loosely based on my own life after divorce.

Do you have a blog? How often do you blog? What topics do you find interest people?
I love and hate my blog. Of course I have one. I can't think of too many authors who don't. However the extent to which each of us engage readers on our blog varies. I have a give and take on mine. Sometimes I'm a prolific blogger, post article after article on a variety of topics. Other times I disappear off the face of the blogger map, not to be heard from in months. For me, it's a factor of time and inspiration.
As to the topics I think interest people... We're supposed to write topics interesting to other people? Gee, that would explain a few things. Hmm.
If you'd like to take a peek at my ramblings, my blog can be found at – Readers beware!

What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish?
Plan, organize, and budget. Also, pace yourself. By planning, I mean to take the time to sit down and consider where that great idea is going to end up. Do you know what steps you're going to take from first draft to editing, to cover design, to publication, to promotion?
Organization is also key. Get a planner, collect information on everything from publishers to editors to conventions before you finish writing the first draft. This means research but you'll find your life will go a lot smoother once you publish, begin promotions of that book, and start on your follow up book if you do this.
Budget. One of the key aspects to getting anywhere with you promotion. When you self publish, you are the key financier and the writer. You have to have essentials for that promotion – advertising, business cards, banners, fliers, print books on hand, etc. The budget should also include pre-publication expenses like editors and cover artists/services.
Lastly, pace yourself. It is easy to get swept up in the excitement of writing a good story and wanting to publish it. Even the most diligent and grounded author can get carried away. But often, like missing a step on the way down a staircase, you can wind up flat on your face and seriously boo-booed if you don't pace yourself and take each “writer” step one at a time.

Great advice. Can you list some Pros/Cons of self-publishing?
Pros – absolute control. You are the end-all, be-all of your book and its success. Cons – absolute control. You are the end-all, be-all of your book and its success.
This means that while you don't have to worry about fighting for every word and its importance in your novel, the cover will be exactly how you want it, and the advertising avenues you love will be exploited, you are ultimately responsible. Since you have all of that control, you also have all of that territory to become professional in quickly. And I don't know about you, but I'm a writer; I'm not really an editor, a cover designer, an advertising specialist, a formatter, a social networking marketer... And the list goes on.

How long have your books been out? How long between books if you have multiple sales—and if you have multiples did you see a bump in sales with subsequent publication?
The first novel, Sister Light, was published in 2007 under a publisher. The second novel, A Touch of Darkness, published in 2012. My short story came out in a collected anthology in 2011, and my third novel published in 2012.
Since A Touch of Darkness and A Touch of Madness are in the same series, I'll start there. I worried about two years between each book. It seemed a long time, and I was frightened of the potential drag in sales, the restlessness of readers. To my surprise, the first book sold reasonably well (and was only available in print to begin with) but did not stagger me. That was fine. I was breaking into a new market for me, paranormal romantic suspense, and had changed branding from B.B. Walter to BC Brown. The anthology, Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, surprised my readers, explored a different market from what they or I were used to, and bridged the gap until my second book in the series, A Touch of Madness, was released Spring 2012.
Man, oh man, did my sales skyrocket! It was “Pow! Straight to the moon, Alice.” Not only did my numbers jump for Book One and Book Two in the series, my sales also went up of the short story anthology I was in and my first novel (then still in print).

What advice can you offer to anyone deciding to self-publish?
You want to write – fantastic! You want to publish – wait.
I wholly support people writing stories and telling tales. But this job isn't for everyone. To be a published author, you have to walk a tightrope coated in grease over an open flame. It isn't enough to write; you have to write and edit well, learn humility but have ego, and become an instant expert in every field related to writing and publishing a book. It's daunting and exhausting.
If you find yourself lacking in any of these areas – wait. It doesn't mean you have to hold off publishing forever, just learn from my mistakes. Take the time to develop the skills you need to become successful because the learning curve is immense and you'll be struggling to play catch-up forever.
Besides, it never hurts to keep writing and build your back list while you learn. In fact a back list is a very beautiful thing.

Give us an elevator pitch for your book.
Psychics and serial killers. What color are the skeletons in your closet? Abigail St. Michael, former cop, knows.

Thanks for being my guest today. Sounds to me you always knew you wanted to be a writer.
Never been a doubt in my mind that I was and would be a writer.
My guest will give away ten free digital copies today to the first ten commenters. Follow the link to enter.

Again, Happy birthday.Where can readers find you?
Facebook -
Twitter – @BCBrownBooks
Google+ - BC Brown Books

Where can readers find your books? Print/Ebook?
Amazon -
Smashwords (A Touch of Darkness)
(A Touch of Madness)
Blog –

Sunday 16 June 2013

Finding Mr. Right! The Evolution of a Book Cover

When I took the plunge into self publishing and brought out my debut novel, Conquering Passion, I created my own cover. I have only rudimentary skills with Photoshop and therefore it was a basic design.

The book sold very well on Amazon, as did the subsequent books of the same series, The Montbryce Legacy. I came to realize the books needed professionally designed covers that would tie them together as a series. This came to fruition with the help of Kim Killion from Hot Damn Designs.

But, you know how something niggles at the back of your mind when you are with a fellow you just know is not Mr. Right? 
The warrior on the cover of Conquering Passion began to get on my nerves! He was too “bulky”, too “in your face” (though the same model works brilliantly on the cover of The Winds of The Heavens, designed by Kate Sterling). I love this cover so much I use it as my Titter background!

So I began a search for the right man, and I am delighted to tell you I have found the face that best represents my hero, Ram de Montbryce. Ram is important to the series. Conquering Passion is his love story, but he appears in many subsequent books. He is the rock of the family.

So without further ado, I give you the real Ram! Hope you love him as much as I do. I think we will be together for many happy years! Heartfelt thanks to my designer Steven Novak for bringing him to life. Let me know which one you like best. I'll gift a free digital copy to one lucky winner. Remember your email address, substituting at for @ and dot com for .com.

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Welcome Sharon Kleve

Good morning Anna,
Thank you for having me on your blog today.

Welcome. Great to have you here. Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in Washington and currently live on the Olympic Peninsula with my husband.
(Not too far from me on Vancouver Island)
I am a writer of paranormal and contemporary romance. I love romance. I love reading romance, living romance, and especially writing about romance. I get no greater feeling than watching my characters come alive in each other's arms. Most of all, I love giving my characters the happily ever after they deserve—with a few bumps and bruises along the way.
One of my favorite things to do is picking up a new book and sinking into the story, immersing myself in the emotions between the characters. I hope to inspire my readers the same way my favorite authors have inspired me.
When not writing, I can usually be found either curled up in my recliner with my cat and a good book, or in the kitchen baking sourdough bread or bagels.

Have you had other careers before becoming a writer?
Oh, I had a cosmetology license at one time, worked at a fish cannery, sold cosmetics, I waitressed, who hasn't, right? 

Quite a variety. Are you a full time writer or do you have a “day job”?
The last 18 years I've worked as a government contractor. But I started about 2 1/2 years ago at night, weekends and any free moment I had.

How much time do you spend promoting your books? What method of promotion works best for you?
Well, it all depends on if I have a new book coming out. I spend a couple hours a day with a new book and then it trickles down to a couple days of week. I always answer fan email and check Facebook, Twitter and my blog daily though.

Do you have critique partners? How did your critique group form?
I wasn't part of a critique group until recently. When I was invited to join an established group of best-selling authors I was thrilled, nervous and worried I couldn't contribute the quality they deserved. Now I realize how important this kind of group is to an author. You need support, constructive criticism and great food and wine..ha ha!

Was your road to publication difficult or a walk in the park?
Unless you're super human it's never a walk in the park to get published. I was fortunate to meet my Publisher at my first Romance Writers of America meeting. Jennifer Conner at Books To Go Now gave me support and encouragement throughout the editing and re-writing of my first story. In December of 2011 Books To Go Now published my first story and have subsequently published five more stories, three anthologies and my first print book will be available very soon.

Do you have a view in your writing space? What does your space look like?
At home, I have a huge bay window that opens and looks out into out front yard. I have multiple bird feeders scattered everywhere so I get a variety of birds and critters visiting. Sometimes it's distracting but for the most part it relaxing.

Sounds wonderful. You live in a beautiful part of the world. Tell us about your hero. Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.
The Corny Myers Series, Steve Spears is tough, sexy cop who loves Corny. He has a weakness for the spin cycle on the washing machine.

I am intrigued! Tell us about your heroine. Give us one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses.
She loves animals and will do anything to keep them safe, which brings me to her weakness. She'll do anything to keep them safe.

Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?
They should contact Books To Go Now. Their Mission is to Support our Authors. Promote their Works. Help them to Achieve Success.
Their staff works one-on-one with authors to help them to create wonderful works of fiction. Upon publication they use a successful multi-platform strategy to promote and market their work. They have helped many authors become International and Domestic Best-Sellers.
Books to Go Now offers professional editing, cover design, multiple book format file creation, and most important--publicity. Here is their link.

Sharon will give away a copy of The Corny Myers Series to one lucky commenter. Please be sure to leave your email address, substituting at for @ and dot com for .com.

Thank you for guesting with me, Sharon.

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Paty Jager Today's Guest

Welcome, Paty. Great to have you here. Have you had other careers before becoming a writer?
Wife, mother, clerk in a stationary store, freelance reporter, 4-H program assistant.
Are you a full time writer or do you have a “day job”?
I’m a full time writer with sort of a day job. We have 350 acres. Where we currently live, there is 70 acres in grass hay and we raise cattle. The other 280(where we want to move to) we have 60 acres of alfalfa hay growing. They are three hours apart. In the winter my chores consist of breaking ice on water troughs and feeding the cows and horses. In the spring irrigation starts up, summer in on the haying crew, fall we calve. So while it’s not a typical 8-5 job, I do have a “day” job besides my full time writing.

Definitely a demanding workload. Tell us about your current WIP.
This is three-fold. I have two ongoing series started. The first is the Isabella Mumphrey Adventures. Secrets of a Mayan Moon and Secrets of an Aztec Temple. These are action adventure romance books with Isabella Mumphrey, a genius doctor of anthropology who uses her wit and her “survival vest” to get her out of tough situations when she runs into drug trafficking, artifact thieves and drug lords while digging for the information she needs to write a thesis that will keep her funding for her project to link the North American natives with the Central American natives. Having a hot Latin DEA agent helping her not only helps her find her goals it also heats up her life.

The second series is the Shandra Higheagle mysteries. The first book is written and with my critique partners. This is a mystery series with a pottery artist who lives near a ski resort in remote Central Idaho. She is half Nez Perce Indian and was raised without knowing that half of her heritage except for one summer she spent with her paternal grandmother on the reservation. After her grandmother’s death, Shandra becomes involved in proving her friend didn't kill another gallery owner and while digging up information her grandmother comes to her in dreams sharing wisdom and visions that help her and handsome county detective solve the murder.

What I am currently writing is the first of a trilogy of historical western romances that are an offshoot of my popular Halsey Brothers Series. Jeremy Duncan is the younger brother of the heroine in the first Halsey book, Marshal in Petticoats. He went to Alaska seeking gold in 1893 and five years later is making his money with a pack train that takes gold seekers over White Pass. When a wealthy young woman offers him enough to money to finally fulfill his dream, he agrees to take her over the pass and ends up helping her search for her brother. The heir to the family business that needs to come home.

Wow! That's a diverse portfolio. How does your family feel about your writing career?
I've been fortunate that my husband learned early on that I’m not happy if I’m not writing and there were times when the kids were growing that I wouldn't get to write for days and he'd tell me to get to writing because I was getting grouchy. If momma’s not happy, ain’t no one happy. ;) My oldest daughter is my final proof reader and my other daughter has designed all my self-published covers and helps me with designing ads and promo material. My dad buys my books and leaves them in waiting rooms and hands them out to bank tellers. My younger brother and his family come to a lot of my book signings and support me in other ways.

Great to have such wonderful family support. How has your experience with self-publishing been?
Self-publishing was scary! I’m a person who, while I’m self-motivated, I like having someone giving me guidance. Luckily there are lots of awesome loops for self-published authors to join and learn the ups and downs and ins and outs of self-publishing.
I enjoy the ability to have control over the cover, the back cover blurb and the whole process of producing the book. When I first started getting my rights back from previously published books, I dipped my toes in the water and found I liked getting more for my books while keeping the prices low so readers could afford to purchase more than one in a month if they were on a budget.
The first six months of self-publishing I was making four times the money off of books that were priced way below the publishers price. I was excited. All last year my sales doubled every month. Then last October they started dwindling and have been ever since. I believe it is the glut of free books that has put sales at a low. But even having low sales, I’m making more than I did with my publisher.

I've heard that from writers before. What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish?
My advice to others who want to self-publish is if it’s your first book you shouldn't publish it until it has been through 5-6 other authors/writers and one editor. You want your first introduction to readers to be your best effort not just something you wrote in a month and slapped up thinking it’s the next best seller. There is more to writing a book than putting a story down. There is craft. Each genre has its own nuances, and there is grammar and POV(point of view). Is there a good plot, subplot, no saggy middle. There is so much that goes into a book to make it good, that you need to have more sets of eyes than your own read it and make sure it’s your best work.
Then you need to get connected to self-publishing loops and learn the ins and outs of the different venues where you can put your book up for sale and then you need to decide how you’re going to format for the different venues. Pay someone or do it yourself. And once you do get the book up, sit your fanny back down in the chair and write the next book. It takes a backlist of books to help pay the bills. One will not do it. And if it’s a book reader’s like they will want more.

I agree about the loops. I've benefited greatly from them. Do you have critique partners? How did your critique group form?
I have four critique partners. I met my first and longest CP when I entered a contest and she was a judge. She helped me understand what I was doing wrong and when I sent her an email thanking her, she asked if I wanted to critique with her and a budding friendship began. The next CP I edited while with a small press and when I left the press I asked if she wanted to be a CP and she agreed. The other two are writers I met at my RWA (Romance Writers of America) chapter meeting. The way it works is we don’t all critique each other. I send my books back and for with each of them and they send their work to me when they need something critiqued. We don’t all critique each other.

Interesting. How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?
I do tend to see people and think, oh that would make a great trait for a character or I like the looks of that person and they will end up in my book. Not exactly like them but I will take features and characteristics and put them on a made up character.

Give us an elevator pitch for your book.
The latest Isabella Mumphrey, Secrets of an Aztec Temple, it’s: Revenge isn’t always sweet.

Do you have a view in your writing space? What does your space look like?
Yes, I do have a view! When my husband and I designed and built this house I said I wanted a writing loft and that’s what I got. My desk faces out to the three huge picture windows that frame the Cascade Mountains. The Three Sisters, Black Butte, and Mt. Jefferson can be seen when there aren't any clouds rolling over them from the west.
I have two eight foot tall by four foot wide book cases that hold mostly research and reference books. And I have a glass case that houses a doll my fashion design daughter had to make for a college class. The clothing on the three foot high doll is an 1880’s bustle dress.

My mouth is watering! What do you have planned for the future?
The future consists of putting out more Isabella Mumphrey adventures, more in the Shandra Higheagle mystery series and a historical western now and then to keep my western readers happy. And while doing all this I hope we get moved to our Eastern Oregon property so I’m not running back and forth so much!

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Paty.
Anna thank you for having me here today!

About Paty
Award winning author Paty Jager ranches with her husband of thirty-four years raising hay, cattle, kids, and grand kids. Her first book was published in 2006 and since then she has published seventeen novels. She enjoys riding horses, playing with her grand kids, judging 4-H contests and fairs, and outdoor activities. To learn more about her books and her life you can visit her website.
You can learn more about Paty at her blog; her website; or on Facebook;!/paty.jager and twitter; @patyjag.

Secrets of a Mayan Moon blurb:

What happens when a brilliant anthropologist is lured to the jungle to be used as a human sacrifice?
Child prodigy and now Doctor of Anthropology, Isabella Mumphrey, is about to lose her job at the university. In the world of publish or perish, her mentor’s request for her assistance on a dig is just the opportunity she’s been seeking. If she can decipher an ancient stone table—and she can—she’ll keep her department. She heads to Guatemala, but drug trafficking bad guys, artifact thieves, and her infatuation for her handsome guide wreak havoc on her scholarly intentions.

DEA agent Tino Kosta, is out to avenge the deaths of his family. He’s deep undercover as a jaguar tracker and sometimes jungle guide, but the appearance of a beautiful, brainy anthropologist heats his Latin blood taking him on a dangerous detour that could leave them both casualties of the jungle.

Secrets of a Mayan Moon is available at Windtree Press, Kindle, Nook Kobo

Western Duets-Volume One
Western Duets is a novella with two historical western romance short stories.

Shanghaied Heart
Tossed together in the underbelly of a ship, strangers Finn Callaghan and Prudence Hawthorne must learn to trust one another in order to escape, but their freedom may be short lived once Finn discovers Prudence's brother wants her dead.

Last Stand for Love
U.S. Marshal Chas Brown agreed to be Sarah's proxy husband in order for her to keep her dead husband's ranch. Little did Chas know, he’d lose his heart in the process.

Available at: Windtree Press Kindle Nook

Saturday 1 June 2013

Agent Hunter

I recently subscribed to Agent Hunter, a website designed to help authors search for agents, agencies and publishers.
The appearance of the website is very attractive and the links are clear and easy to follow.

There are over 100 agents and agencies listed, and the search can be narrowed down, either by keywords, or size of agency, or preferences of agent, etc.
It is sortable and very practical.

There is a wealth of information on each agent, in fact sometimes I felt there was too much redundant information.

The site offers a handy list of FAQ’s about publishers to help determine if you need an agent or a publisher.

I am still plowing my way through the agents interested in my genre. Be aware this is a UK site and the agents and agencies listed are based in the UK. However the majority seem to accept overseas authors.

As a Canadian I was amused to see that when I narrowed down the publishers of romance, up popped Harlequin-a great Canadian company of course.

Annual subscription is 12 pounds sterling, but you can try before you buy. However, in the trial version almost all the pertinent information about agents is blurred out.