Archive for the ‘Book Interviews’ Category

How Has Your Week Been?

October 11, 2014

Oakland University Campus
Oakland University Campus, Rochester Michigan

Last week was certainly an interesting one for me.

On Saturday, October 4, 2014, I attended the Rochester Writers’ Conference at Oakland University. Well-organized as always, the break-out sessions offered something for everyone.

Discussions ranged from establishing theme, to writing poetry, to using social media, querying agents … and a great many other things related to the craft of writing. The organizer, local travel writer Michael Wylie, does a terrific job of putting it all together.

I was surprised to learn I’d taken second place in the micro-fiction contest (a complete story in under 500 words) from last year’s conference. I was surprised a second time to discover I’d also won a prize in their flash fiction contest (a story in 100 words).

Both are extremely difficult exercises (try it sometime … here’s a challenge: write a complete story in exactly 100 words; no more, no less, and you must include the words onyx, circuitry and fermenting). When you try it you’ll know why winning felt pretty good. It’s hard to do.

Of course, I also had to read each winning selection to the entire conference audience, which can be a little unnerving if you’re not used to doing it. Fortunately, at my age, stage fright is not a problem. You have more trouble keeping me off the stage.

This year’s keynote speaker, Lev Raphael, was worth waiting to hear. The author of twenty-four books in genres from mystery to memoir, he teaches creative writing at Michigan State University, and his speech was both engaging and inspiring.

I’m already looking forward to attending the conferences Mike is organizing for 2015.

More Surprises
Then on Monday I returned to my orthopedic surgeon for a follow-up on the rotator cuff surgery I had in July. I’m making progress with my therapy, but it still hurts to move my arm and my range of motion hasn’t completely returned.

Doc reminded me that three of the four ligaments in my shoulder had to be repaired … one of the worst repairs he’s had to do (and shoulders are all he does). He warned me I probably have six more months of rehab to go.

Joy. Like I said before, it’s not exactly the way I wanted to enter the record books.

independence television logo100
On Wednesday, things were beginning to look up again when I was interviewed about my books by Independence Television, one of the small public television producers in this area.

Even though I’d been exposed to television production occasionally during my professional career, it was still both interesting and fun to be in front of the cameras for a change.

tv interview3 tv interview4
What things look like on-screen … and what it really looks like in the studio

While their broadcast reach is relatively small, I’ll be able to post an online link to the interview as soon as it’s available. It’s part of the “earned media” I’ve talked about here before … trying to generate word-of-mouth publicity.

I’ll be sure to let you know if the exposure does the kind of things I’m hoping for (I probably won’t be able to help myself).

Publishers Weekly
On Thursday, Publishers Weekly declined to review my latest book, ONE WAY STREET, but that’s OK. As their email pointed out:

“Our review process is highly competitive – both for self-published and traditionally published authors. We review a relatively small percentage of the books submitted … If your book is chosen, know that it truly stood out.”

They’re already looking at my novel, REICHOLD STREET. Based on their comment today, I take that as a very good thing … and I hope you’ll pardon me for tooting my own horn.

Friday the day was sunny and cool … a nice fall day. Therapy on my shoulder in the afternoon, and dinner with good friends in the evening. A pleasant end to the week.

I’m writing again and, as always … I hope you are, too.

Keep reading … keep writing … have fun.


You can find my books as eBooks or paperback on Amazon, or at Barnes & Noble. You’re also invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or like my Book of Face page. You can also follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.


Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.


Are In-Person Events Worth the Time and Effort?

February 14, 2014


Social Meetings or Social Media?
I’ve had this particular blog since 2006, but it was originally to talk about my camera-collecting and photography. I was content with a few photography friends and family as followers.

At the suggestion of my son, Jeff (an accomplished architectural photographer), I began my adventure using social media to talk about the world of indie publishing and to promote my books. I also created a writer’s page on the Book of Face, and started making those ultra-short speeches on The Twitter.

It all sounded like a good idea at the time, for two reasons:
   1.) I didn’t know any better, and;
   2.) It fit in my promotion budget, which was exactly zero.

Instead of pursuing any speaking engagements or book signings, I spent my time focused on social media. Book sales went nowhere.

When my first book, REICHOLD STREET, was published, I mentioned it to a small group at a monthly writer’s group meeting I attend. Those monthly meetings were, for a long time, the only in-person interaction I had with any potential readers (and it was mostly the same people at each meeting).

Not much word-of-mouth going on.

The Power of Earned Media
It got me thinking that maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to ignore the old-fashioned “dog-and-pony show” authors have used for years to build an audience. It’s called “earned media,” and I’ve mentioned it before, so I won’t bore you with it again.

All you need to remember is it’s not something you actually pay for, because it’s essentially word-of-mouth. But that’s the beauty of it. It’s only real expense is your time.

To gather earned media all you need to do is get off your duff and talk to people. In other words, do something that gets you noticed, even if its only a little at a time, because you need others to create the buzz for you.

Of course, you could always choose to gather immediate name recognition for yourself by running naked through the nearest mall, holding up a sign with your name on it, shouting “Look at me, I’m an author!” and then post the resulting video … along with the shots of you getting arrested … on YouTube.

But I’m not going to speculate on how many books you might sell if you actually did it.

With In-Person Appearances, It’s All About Quality
I had a discussion about earned media (although we didn’t call it that) with self-published historical fiction author Eddie Price.

Eddie (below left, with Kentucky Governor Steven Beshear and Keith Steele, President of Acclaim Press) spoke at the Readers Favorite Awards Ceremony last November, and I was impressed by how hard he worked to build his audience.

eddie price

Ed’s book “Widders Landing” (the 2013 Readers Favorite Gold Medal winner for historical fiction), begins in the years just prior to the War of 1812. Eddie said he would often show up at libraries, schools and other events dressed in period costume.

He also joined historic battle re-enactment groups, where he found a built-in audience for his genre of fiction. He knows there’s something special about meeting an author in person, hearing him speak and getting a book signed. A connection is formed that puts a human face on the book that makes it memorable and there’s a good chance people you meet will become fans, buy your book (and your future books) and tell their friends about the experience.

Eddie’s sales figures are pretty good, and he mentioned he’s visited just about every county in his home state of Kentucky. The real kicker is, on top of it all, he’s having fun.

Continue reading the rest of this post>

Indie Author Interview – M.S. Fowle

December 18, 2013

Today marks a first for my blog. I’m not posting about my own books, or any of the ins-and-outs of indie publishing. Instead, I’m interviewing another indie author who was recently kind enough to tell all her own blog followers about my novel, REICHOLD STREET.

I think this is a wonderful opportunity to return the favor. So let me introduce M.S. Fowle, known to her friends as Mel, who has already written five books of fantasy.

MS Fowle
M.S. Fowle, Indie Author

Welcome to “Painting With Light,” Mel.
It’s such a pleasure, Ron! Thank you so much for having me! If there’s one thing I love about being an author, it’s meeting all these amazing people.

Even though we all have our own projects we’re working so hard on, we always find the time to help one another. Whether it’s offering advice in a short article on our blogs or hosting an author interview, it’s really a wonderful community of genuine people from various walks of life, all sharing a love of words.

We’d all like to know – where do your ideas come from?
For me, it’s usually some really strange dream I had. It’s probably only one little scene out of the whole story, but then that snowballs into this enormous thing. I’ve always had really weird dreams.

ms fowle books

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?
I always start with a basic outline, but I hardly ever write that out to the end of the story. Once I start really writing it, then I just see where it takes me.

When do you do most of your writing?
At this point, it’s whenever I can. But usually, it’s at night, after everyone else is asleep. I used to be such a night owl, but not so much these days.

Who (or what) inspires your writing?
People-watching is a great way to inspire characters and their back story. Or a minor character from a book I’ve read or a film I’ve watched. Then, I mold and shape them into what I want, adding or taking things away here and there. But it always seems to be the second my head hits my pillow at night when my brain starts to really work.

Do you have any funny or peculiar writing habits?
I’m not sure you’d call them “funny or peculiar” but I always start my stories in my notebook, usually as vague bits and pieces of the story lurking in my head. Then, I don’t do anything with it for a while, sometimes for months.

I sort of let it “ferment” in there, working out various details. And when I end up with writer’s block once I start the full-on writing process, I work on digital art inspired by my story. That usually motivates me.

What’s your favorite quote?
A quote that puts a smile on my face would be from Mark Twain: “Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.”

But as far as inspiration and strength go, I believe Maya Angelou put it best: “I got my own back.” It’s a beautiful thing to have the love and support of others, but it can’t be the only thing holding us up. We need to be accountable for ourselves. Depending solely on others will only lead to our own downfall. I need to be able to stand on my own two feet.

If you could change something about yourself, what do you think it would it be?
Personality wise, I wish I could turn off my brain. I over-think the most mundane things, stuff no one can change at this point. I could turn-in for the night completely exhausted and still spend hours awake in bed just thinking. But in terms of writing, I wish I had flawless editing skills so I could save myself a lot of hassle.

What do you like to read in your free time?
In the off chance I actually get free time to read, I love just about any science fiction or fantasy. I love being swept away to some other world, either futuristic or magical or both.

It’s the ultimate escape for me. But even with that kind of favoritism, my favorite book of all time is “The Color Purple.” I can’t even count how many times I’ve read it and it still makes me ball my eyes out every single time.

What are your plans for future projects?
I have an urban fantasy series that I’m right in love with. I want nothing more than for that to be successful. I think it means so much to me because I based the main character on my lovely niece. I’m still debating whether to try and get it traditionally published or take the indie route, but I’ll need an editor either way. I just want readers to love it as much as I do.

What do you find to be the hardest thing about writing?
That’s easy – finishing my story! I don’t know what it is, but I feel like I’ve slammed face-first into a brick wall when it comes to bringing my books to an end.

Maybe I don’t want to say goodbye. Or maybe I’m just so worried about doing it “right” that I over-think it and get stuck. I can’t even count how many unfinished books I have still waiting for me to figure everything out.

OK – So what’s the easiest thing?
The opposite of the hardest thing, actually: starting my story. I love writing out that first chapter to get things rolling.

I know you design your own covers, and will do that for others. How do they contact you?
There are plenty of ways to find me! They can go directly through the website Melchelle Designs where they’ll find a contact form on almost every page.


Or they can email us at to talk about their needs. We’ve got plenty of premade covers to choose from, and I occasionally do custom artwork as well. One of the greatest compliments I get from authors is how easy I am to work with. I think it helps that I’m an author too, so I know what it’s like from their end of things.

And I love creating visual art just as much as we all love to write. That’s key – loving what you do.

Do you think the book cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Absolutely! And still, I wish it didn’t. There are plenty of amazing books out there that are ignored or take longer to get off the ground just because their cover art is “boring” or “hard to look at.”

That was one of the reasons why I started making and selling book covers. Every author deserves to have the right artwork to complement their hard work. They put their heart and soul into writing their stories – it’s only right that their book look its best when they send it out into the great, big world.

“First Night” by M.S. Fowle

Reviews for your book “The First Night” have been very positive. Most readers absolutely loved it, but I noticed one reader panned it. What’s your reaction to negative reviews?
I think my initial reaction is the same as anyone else’s: dread. But every author needs to remember that every book has bad reviews, even the best-sellers and classics.

The main thing is to make it a learning experience. Maybe that negative review points out some faults you could actually fix. Or maybe the reviewer is just trolling and trying to get a rise out of you. Don’t let it! Learn what you can from it and move on. Negativity just comes with the territory, no matter what profession you’re in.

Mel, thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to take part in this interview!
Thank you so much for having me, Ron!

Good luck and have a Happy Holiday!



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