Graveyard Shift Sister: L.C. Cruell

Talking to artists gets me inspired.

No matter the medium — books, film, paint, digital — speaking with these artists and hearing what keeps them doing what they do drives me forward.

One person whose drive always impresses is L.C. Cruell. (I can’t imagine how she gets it all done.) I’ve had the pleasure of working with Cruell on her 7 Magpies project, a horror film anthology written and directed by Black women, feating a slew of talented authors and directors. It’s still in progress, but I wanted to talk more with her about her ideas, her motivation, and her experience.

You can read the entire interview this amazing filmmaker on Graveyard Shift Sisters.

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While you’re at it, check out some of the trailers for her films:

31 the web series – www.youtube.com/31theseries

I Need You Trailer – https://vimeo.com/97681128.

Cemetery Tales Trailer – https://vimeo.com/158551687

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Season’s Readings Holiday Hop

In 2016, I’m thinking of writing another romance series, along with a paranormal mystery, and an urban fantasy tale. (Not sure how I’m going to do all of that, but hey…goals.) As such, I’m featuring on the blog today a romance bundle and giveaway from Mocha Memoirs Press.

Mocha Memoirs Press has a vision to provide an outlet for outstanding speculative and romance stories that often fall beneath the radar of traditional publishing houses. MMP seeks to provide quality stories that invigorate the reader’s literary palette like a good, strong coffee. Like great coffee houses, MMP offers a variety of flavors: romance, horror, sci-fi, steampunk, and more.

Support Mocha Memoirs Press and the reads of the season via Thunderclap.  And there’s a $20 Amazon gift card to be won in a Rafflecopter giveaway.

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Here’s a bit about MMP’s holiday romance bundle, Mistletoe Dreams by RaeLynn Blue, Laurel Cremant, and Drea Riley

There’s no time like the holidays for love—whether you are rekindling an old love, finding love in strange places or just expressing a love of the ages. Follow these tales of love, laughter and holiday spirit in Mistletoe Dreams…

Winter’s Guard by Laurel Cremant

Five years after a broken engagement, Vicky and James have met again. Forced to work together, Vicky hopes to show James that what they had wasn’t all broken. All she wants is time to prove that their hearts hadn’t lied five years ago—they may have fallen in love during a dark moment in their lives, but that doesn’t mean they don’t belong together.

A Trick of Frost by Drea Riley and RaeLynn Blue

Two days before Christmas with her ex-husband, Rick, harassing her parents, Jaycee Froste needs a gift to lift her spirits. She stops in at her favorite restaurant, and it brings more than a hot meal. Jaycee finds herself seated across from one of the most annoying and handsome men she’s ever met. She would even consider letting him taste her stew, if he hadn’t stolen her reservation. With the holidays upon her, Jaycee decides the thing she needs to lift her spirits is J.C., a man who offers her so much more than she ever could have hoped.

Naughty Klauses by Drea Riley

Jessica and Nic have always loved the holidays and this year they are most definitely going to be on the naughty list. When you’ve got eternity on your side, it’s nice to liven things up with a little spice. You’ll never look at Mr. and Mrs. Klaus the same way again…

NewSGBlog

So check out MMP for reads and even as a place to submit your stories. Don’t forget the Thunderclap and sign up for a Rafflecopter giveaway.

I mean…you could spend that $20 on books!

Authors, You Need This: A Press Kit

In promoting my latest book release, Spook Lights, I was asked by a blogger to send my press kit along with an advance reading copy (ARC) of the book. I said, “Of course.”

And then I panicked.

I didn’t have a press kit, sometimes called a media kit. I had a bio that I had written years ago, when I sent in my first few stories for publication, and re-written with each story submission. I’d polished it up a few times, but it was essentially the same bio.

So I went to work using the power of the Internet to find out what a press kit included. In my research into press kits, specifically ones for independent authors, I found I didn’t need anyone to write one for me, I could do it myself. But it would take a bit of work on the outset. Believe me, you don’t want to have to start this from scratch more than once.

No, I won't.  Well, maybe with the blackjack. But not with the hookers.
No, I won’t.
Well, maybe with the blackjack. But not with the hookers.

Maybe every other indie author out there has a press kit, but I didn’t. But I had one by the end of the day. Don’t wait until your work comes out to get your press kit together—do it before you start marketing your book because it can be an enormous amount of information to compile. Even for someone like me, who didn’t think I had anything to put in a press kit as Spook Lights is my first short story collection.

I also found it’s a great way to recap your work. I’d thought I wasn’t getting much done with my writing over the past year or so as I hadn’t completed my novel in the timeframe I’d set for myself. But in putting this press kit together, I found I’d been more active than I’d realized on social media: doing interviews, reviewing books, guesting on podcasts, and the like.

A basic press kit for a writer contains:

  • A one-pager on you as an author. This is your bio on steroids. Make it as interesting as you can, but remain professional. Also include the basics on the book you’re promoting: title, cover image, genre, page count, synopsis.
  • Press Release: One page on your release and what makes it special
  • Synopsis of and praise for your book: This is where to add those blurbs from readers on how your book impacted them.
  • Sample Q&A: This can be in the form of links to interviews you’ve done online or in a document you’ve created.

I’m certainly not an expert on press kits from the research I’ve done. But I want to stress the importance of having a press kit before you need one. Maybe you keep all of your interviews, guest posts, articles, book reviews, and other evidence of your work in one place, but I hadn’t until now. Read below for links to some of the sites I used to get my press kit ready.

http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2013/04/23/press-kit/

http://www.webdesignrelief.com/writers-digital-press-kit/

http://circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/what-on-earth-do-i-put-in-my-media-kit.html

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2011/03/book-marketing-your-online-press-kit/

https://robinmizell.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/how-to-assemble-an-author-press-kit-and-why/

Be sure to keep your press kit updated and have it ready to send to bloggers and editors–whoever contacts you for it. (There is a way to contact you on your site, right? Surprisingly, many websites and blogs don’t have one.)

Authors: Do you have a press kit for your work? What do you have in it?