Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Autographed copies of the book are available through PayPal at www.sylviadickeysmith.com and will soon be available at Amazon.com
In the Sidra Smart series, she starts making pickles in the last book. I’ve made the pickles, Sidra Smart’s Sassy Pickles, and sold them at book events. The recipe is included in the cookbook, which makes a perfect Christmas gift. Hope you’ll get your autographed copy!
Friday, December 4, 2009
is a blog unrelated to my writing life. It is intended to be more of inspiration and sharing lessons learned along my life of wilderness wanderings.
The new blog, Sylvia Dickey Smith Books, www.sylviadickeysmithbooks.wordpress.com relates to my books, my writing, how-to, a peek into my writing life, and an occasional short story.
Hope you will drop by and leave a comment that you've been there. I'd love for you to subscribe to both. (And if you will leave me your blog address, I promise to subscribe to yours.)
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I was interviewed this morning at 7:35 PST today by KZSB AM 1290 in Santa Barbara, California, on Baron Ron Herron's radio. We talked about Lost Witness, the second Niki Alexander mystery following Less Dead. The program airs in Santa Barbara , Goleta , Carpinteria, Ventura , Thousand Oaks and Los Angeles County . In addition, the show is rebroadcast on KNRY AM 1240 in Monterey , Salinas , Santa Cruz and Pebble Beach ; KNWZ-II AM 1270 in Palm Desert, Palm Springs , Indio and Rancho Mirage. The program is delayed broadcast in Australia on 99.7 FM in Queensland and to another 30+ radio stations via ComRadSat. Have no idea when the delayed broadcasts air.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Want to sample some short mystery stories from a variety of talented authors? Check out this new anthology from L&L Dreamspell.
There's a total of eleven stories by nine different authors:
Jo Hiestand – Cross Purposes,
Chelle Martin – Grounds For Divorce and Brew’s Clues,
BV Lawson – Hear No Evil and FM Is For Murder,
Caitlyn Hunter – The Secret Life of Alice Smitty,
NH Lehr – Final Breath,
Claire Applewhite – Moonlight Becomes You So,
Lyn McConchie – Reunion,
Jacqueline Seewald – Swim In The Sunshine,
C.K. Charles – First Person Singular
Visit this web page to find out more: http://www.lldreamspell.com/PMS.htm
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Kristianna discovers the magic of Scotland when she comes face to face with the man of her dreams – four hundred years in the past…
Art-history major Kristianna Campbell gets more education than she bargains for when she visits Scotland with her college class. On a shopping excursion she picks up an unusual souvenir—an antique pocket watch once owned by Iain MacGregor.
The enchanted watch pulls her back through time where she lands smack in the middle of Iain MacGregor's territory—in the year 1603, during the proscription against the MacGregors.
Unsure of where she is or how she got there, Kris is stunned when she sees Iain and realizes he’s not exactly a stranger to her. She’s dreamed of him for weeks. And her attraction to him is stronger in the flesh than in her dreams. Realizing the danger in revealing her real surname of Campbell, Kristianna tells him her last name is Armstrong.
The situation is tense as Iain battles enemies on all sides, thanks to King James VI and the decree that the name of MacGregor be outlawed, and the Earl of Argyll, Archibald Campbell’s desire to see the MacGregors decimated. Iain has neither the time nor the inclination to deal with the strange lass who mysteriously landed in his territory.
But Kristianna affects him in ways no other woman has. To desire her is acceptable, but when she begins to reach the heart he thought long dead, he knows he will never be the same.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
A mother and daughter’s mutual hatred draws an evil force into their home – disembodied, troubled souls waging a battle that unleashes an unstoppable power, hell bent on destroying everyone who gets in its way…
Misery haunted Victoria Kayen, trapped in a dark, depressing world with her wheelchair-bound mother, Edith. She dutifully delivered medications, served meals, and cleaned up after the weekly visits from her mother’s crony friends. Victoria’s only escape was found in the pages of cheap romance novels.
The confining house that stifled her life evolved and took on a life of its own with strange creaks and crying noises. Then the shadowy figure of a man appeared, watching from every dark corner. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the rat population in the area exploded and they constantly scratched at the walls, trying to get in.
Victoria made a bold decision one evening – to venture out to a bar and experience life as a normal woman. That’s where she came face to face with her destiny, the shadowy figure that had stalked her, this time appearing in the form of a corporeal man possessed by two souls. One, a pious Reverend preaching hellfire and damnation on the street corner by day, the other, a passionate individual named Clay who enjoyed the pleasures of the earth by night.
Her clandestine relationship with Clay fueled the dueling souls’ war, and also spawned the Reverend’s worst nightmare – an unspeakable evil – a thing both determined to destroy and impossible to fight…
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I've been interviewed so many times lately, I don't know which end is up, but it occurred to me (Duh!) that I needed to save copies of this stuff so that I can tweak it and move along. So, I've spent much of the day doing just that. Now I have a reserve of questions (and answers) from which to draw. Maybe now I can relax a little. I've been on TV enough to be comfortable and know not to look at the camera. If I do that, I lose my cool so I focus only on the interviewer and maybe a stray fly on the lamp beside me.
I'm packing now for a TV appearance in Wilmington, NC and trying to decide what to wear. Even though it'll be in the 80s, I'm thinking people usually look better with their arms covered, so I think I'll take a long-sleeve suit for TV and then change into a short-sleeved one for the book signing later in the day. My arms! Geez, I need to spray on some tan, that's for sure. And I have hair on my arms. Do people notice that? I mean, it's not long enough for a curling iron, but just a little which I suppose is normal?
Nervous? No. Okay, maybe a teensy bit.
We're discussing Hell Swamp, the new release, set near Wilmington, and they are going to show the video trailer for "a tease". I hope I get some attention from readers and if someone from the film studio comes by, why, I'll soak my panties!
A Vietnam vet turned P.I. ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time – at the Jewel Arms apartments in St. Louis, as he matches wits with a ruthless killer.
Elvin Suggs already knew how to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Decades earlier, spending time as a Green Beret during The Siege of Khe Sanh taught him about the wrong side of 1968.
Now with his life in a shambles after his wife demands a divorce—brokenhearted and broke but determined to salvage his pride and his dreams—Elvin turns to the only person he can count on, Dimond Redding, his best friend’s widow.
A fellow ’Nam vet and new tenant at the Jewel Arms apartment building in St. Louis, Missouri, Dimond is ready to move out before Elvin even arrives when a random murder occurs right outside her front door.
She can’t break her lease, but with a ruthless killer on the loose and corpses suddenly turning up everywhere, she wonders if she’ll be the next victim. Homicide Detective Rick Valentino doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere fast on the case, so experienced Private Investigator Elvin lends a hand, working to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
The odd assortment of tenants and strange goings-on at the Jewel Arms provide more questions than answers, including connections with Elvin’s past. When another car with Tennessee plates shows up at the apartment building is it a coincidence, or is someone following him?
As Elvin inches closer to the truth he has to remind himself that he knows all about the wrong places and times. Only this time he's got nothing to lose—he’s on the wrong side of Memphis.
Monday, April 27, 2009
And I tell you book promotion does not have to be demeaning or boring or make you wish you could crawl through the floor when no one comes to your table for an autograph, or the manager walks by and looks at the huge stack of books still on the table in front of you.
There is another, better way to promote your book(s) and have fun doing it.
I just spent four days in my hometown launching DEAD WRECKONING, my third book in the Sidra Smart mystery series, set in the same small town. I had tons of fun and sold 150 books at those four events. Seventy-four of the books were sold in one day. For those who don't know, the mystery series is set in a small town with a population of 20,000. I was born, reared and went to school there, but left soon after. So it is hometown daughter returns.
An author friend heard about my success and emailed, asking what I had done that made this sales event so successful. She and I talked about how trying to sell your books can sometimes leave an author feeling demeaned, perhaps even make you fall on your knees and beg someone to purchase your books. As a result of her question, I jotted down some of the things I’ve learned about book promotion and book signings.
Never—ever schedule a book signing in a location where you might feel unworthy if no one buys your book. If, by perchance, you find yourself in such a situation, turn the event into fun. If you're not having fun selling your book, go back to the drawing board and create a new way to make it fun!! You have nothing to lose. If you feel demeaned, folks aren’t likely to approach you anyway.
Enamored, with a series set in their hometown, folks in Orange, Texas have fallen in love with reading a novel that features locations and sites they recognize and know where it is. Very important, at least it is to the folks in Orange. They seek me out to do events in their places of business and pay for advertising of the event. Also, as appropriate, I may well throw in the name of a local business in my novel, which helps create that sense of place that helps a reader connect to the setting.
I love the history of the area and include elements of that in each book for that reason, and I find folks here love that about my books, too.
We offer something for the customer, such as wine, cheese, I made alligator cut-out cookies and sandwiches for those in the antique store. (Make it AN EVENT.)
I have made friends with a couple of local newspaper reporters and they have been SO VERY helpful in letting folks know when I am in town. Three different papers ran articles and photos of me and the events this week. I don't know how many folks came up and said, "Oh yes, this is the book I read about in the paper."
My sister knows everyone in town!! I take her and keep her busy handling the cash box, taking money, etc. People are drawn to her like flies--often they come over to chat with her and then she tells them about my WONDERFUL book!
I have found that bookstore events aren't as successful, and often that's where you feel like it is demeaning. I'm moving away from those type of events unless it is an independent bookstore and they are big enough and supportive enough to offer help. For instance, I live in Georgetown, TX another small town. A local, well known woman reviews my books and gets them in the local paper and I have signings at the small indie store on the Square. Again, I usually take a couple bottles of wine and a plate of cheese!
This time, in my third book, my protag starts making pickles--so heck I made up a bunch of jars, and one of those journalist friends offered to make up a label for me which led some folks over to my table to see the pickles. Some bought books and pickles, some bought just pickles, and one man bought a jar of pickles because he loved the label!! (and because she has been so very helpful, I added a tribute to her in the front of the book this time. Thrilled her to death, and it sure felt good to me, to be able to thank her publicly.)
Selling books is all about having fun--and NOT making it a chore. Choose the locations with care. (I have indeed chosen badly on some and sold NO books!) Have fun, dress in costume, offer something back to the customer. For instance, for folks who bought the complete set of three in the series, I gave them a bottle of the pickles. You'd be surprised at how folks respond to this.
I provided paper bags for the books and pickles, bags where I had printed out either label with my book cover, or for the pickles, and put them on the bags. Adds an extra touch. Wrapped the pickles in colorful tissue paper.
In other words, make your book signings a festive occasion! You can do that in private business, whereas you can't in chain bookstores.
Let your imagination go wild thinking up things to do at such an event that will be fun for all. I am speaking at a Friends of the Library in April. I will dress in costume (pirate, for this latest book), and give a couple of door prizes. One is a ceramic coaster with the cover of my third book on it. (ordered from Cafe Press). The other is a tee-shirt.
Promoting your books is an ongoing process that you build with each book. It was difficult at first, when I only had one book, but now that my third has come out I am seeing much more excitement about the series. Folks all love my protagonist and are always giving me new plot ideas! Take those and run with them.
If you have any questions about any of this, feel free to email me. And since I went on and on so much I think I'll post this on the dreamteam site, in case it can be of help to others.
Thanks for asking--it made me stop and think too, "What did I do that worked?"
Hugs and great sales!
Sylvia Dickey Smith
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Finally I would start the outline, draw of graph of plot points and beats, write characters studies, motives and goals for my main characters, especially for the villain. Then I could continue, and track my progress with chapter outlines - after I write them. By then, I found I needed to change the first 50 pages and rethink that first rush of inspiration.
This time I made the decision to plot first, write later. Sounds logical, doesn't it? But I know many writers who don't outline, just go where the story takes them. I've done that in the past and would end up writing 30 or more drafts until I figured it all out. A couple of times I got so stuck and confused, I never finished the manuscript. So maybe I'm an outline-type writer. Maybe because I'm a Virgo.
And since I made that decision, my thoughts have never strayed far from my plot. Questions, some answers, arguments, maybe a different direction have consumed my thoughts - during the day when I'm driving, working, eating. Even my dreams get the backlash. I write down my thoughts when I can and the seeds of these ideas spring forth more ideas. Scratch one, add two. The more I work at it, the more sense it starts to make and I can see a novel developing.
I'm not finished plotting yet, far from it. But I'm hoping that when I am, the story in its full incarnation will spill onto the page effortlessly. Yeah, that'll happen. Well, maybe it will. I'll let you know.
Meanwhile, what are your thoughts about outlining first?
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I very much like the cover art for my novel THE INFERNO COLLECTION. You get a sense of the eerie which is appropriate for this particular novel. As for my latest novel, THE DROWNING POOL, I found the cover art eye-catching. However, my one daughter-in-law who is quite artistic was critical of it. Since the reviews of the novel have been very good, I'm hoping for many readers regardless.
What do you think constitutes good cover art? For example, if the novel is a romance, are you drawn by a man and woman embracing (the so-called clinch)? Or do you prefer something less explicit? If it's a mystery, should there be something menacing? What is the best cover art for a literary novel? Opinions welcome!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
L&L Dreamspell is fast approaching our second anniversary of publishing - in April we'll be "2" and we've already grown into a team of 100 authors.
Our anthologies have helped us grow, and they're filling up fast. We also added in two new anthologies, open for submissions - Romance and Thriller.
We're excited to be moving full speed ahead with an average of three new releases each month - wow! And our line of non-fiction writer's guides and handbooks is also expanding.
For a look at what's new you can see all the latest releases and "coming soon" titles on our newsletter web pages - start here: www.lldreamspell.com/Newsletter.htm then click on Winter 2008/2009 for the most recent page.
Stay tuned for new authors appearing soon on this group blog!