Author Archives: Maria Riegger

About Maria Riegger

Corporate attorney by day, fiction author by night. I'm an all-around libertarian troublemaker.

Author Spotlight: Silent Song by Jaci Wheeler

Greetings! Fellow author Jaci Wheeler is releasing Silent Song next month. Please take a few moments to read her incredible story below. I always say, write what you are passionate about (even if it’s painful), and readers will be drawn to that.

December 11, 2017

Silent Song coming to life by Jaci Wheeler

Many authors I know pull from events or people from their own lives for inspiration or storyline. Ive never been that way personally. Im an extremely private person by nature, so its very unusual for me to use any of myself in my books. That is actually my favorite thing about writing, Im able to fully create worlds and people out of thin air. It allows you to become whoever you want for the moment. I usually create a main character who is nothing like me because it allows me to be and do all the things Ive always wanted to.

Ive had a very eventful life. Those who know me well always ask why Ive never drawn from my real life for a novel, since my life is pretty much a lifetime movie. The idea of writing anything close to home has always been completely horrifying for me. (Super private remember?)

I have a pretty unique situation where I lost my hearing at eighteen years old. (You can read more about it in my letter to the reader in Silent Song.) Deafness is one of those subjects that most people think they understandbut actually dont. There is so much more to deafness than not being able to hear. There are levels (decibels) of sound that is so intricate that it is much more than just you can hear or not.

A few years ago I read a book that had a deaf main character. The book was amazing, but there were so many things that werent accurate. It wasnt glaringly obvious unless you were deaf, but it really bothered me. I had brought up the issue to a good author friend of mine and Ill never forget what she said to me.

The only way to fix this problem Jaci, is to set it straight. That means you are going to have to write the story of a deaf person from their perspective. Show people not only your world, but help them understand the deaf world. Who else will?

I instantly shut her down. Theres no way Im writing anything close my life. A few months went by and then I had to explain a few things about deafness to people that they just never knew. Like just because you speak English doesnt mean deaf people can write in English without struggle. Almost every hearing person I talked to didnt know that American Sign Language is NOT english. It has its own structure and rules like any other language. ASL is my second language, but its the main one I use at home with my husband. Its hard for my brain to switch back and forth between ASL and English. Because of this I tend to change tenses when I write, which is very frowned upon in writing. Im pretty sure Ive driven every editor Ive ever had to drink over this little fact.

After having to explain this to several people over a very short amount of time I finally came to terms with the fact that I was going to have to write a story with a deaf character.

I decided to go home and just see if I even had a story in me. I dont outline, ever. I just start writing. I usually write the end first, then the beginning and fill in the middle. (Yeah Im weird.) So I went home and just started writing to see if I even had a story in meand I couldnt stop. I wrote through he night, and all weekend long. By the time I took a break I had almost written half of the book. This is the only book I didnt have to re-write or revise. It was trapped deep down and apparently ready to be freed. I cried more while writing this story than I have probably ever cried in my life. But it was also the most cathartic thing Ive ever done.

This story isnt my own, but the feelings are completely mine. The pain, fears and passion is all mine even though the story belongs to Barrett alone.

Silent Song by Jaci Wheeler is available on Amazon today.

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Author Update: Thunderstruck, writing endeavors, and a cover reveal!

November 22, 2017 –

Deeply saddened by AC/DC’s Malcolm Young’s death this week, I continued finishing the first draft of Thunderstruck, a contemporary romance/political novel. And yes, the title is taken from AC/DC’s rock anthem, one of my all-time favorites.

I’ll start rewrites on Thunderstruck ASAP, and hope to get it published in early 2018.

This month I also entered the Writer’s Digest Short Story Contest. Results won’t be announced until February. At that time, I’ll share my short story 🙂

I’m also excited to announce that Miscalculated Risks was selected to be included in Indie Book Connect‘s subscription box in October 2018! That’s a fantastic promotion opportunity 🙂 If you are interested in joining Indie Book Connect’s subscription service, where you receive indie books on a monthly basis, click here.

I’ve started hosting spotlights of fellow authors, as part of BooksGoSocial’s cross-promotional activities. If you’re an author, I strongly encourage you to join the BooksGoSocial Facebook group, where you will find tons of great author resources.

And lastly (for now), I’m taking a quick break from fiction to work on a special project. If you have a Scorpio child who is dear to you, and have ever wondered what makes them tick, and how to connect with them and create a positive relationship, then this book may be of interest:

That’s all for now! As always, thank you for your support,

Maria

 

Author Spotlight: Peter Mulraney

 

November 20, 2017

Here’s a guest post by Peter Mulraney, author of the Stella Bruno Investigates crime series.

Stella Bruno Investigates is a series of quick reads – books designed to be read in one sitting. Each book in the series only takes around an hour and a half to two hours to read. So, there’s no waiting for days to find out who did it.

The series is set in and around Adelaide, South Australia, and centres on criminal investigations led by Detective Sergeant Stella Bruno. I have the inside information on Adelaide – it’s my home town.

Stella is assisted by Detective Constable Brian Rhodes, who’s approaching retirement, harassed by Detective Inspector Frank Williams, and distracted by Shaun Porter from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In addition to all the crime, the stories also follow Stella’s developing relationship with Shaun and provide insights into her life as a single mother with a fourteen-year old son. You’ll also discover some of the benefits she enjoys by being part of an extended Italian family.

If you’ve never been to Australia, these stories will give you a little taste of life ‘down under’ where you can experience the North Wind as hot and blustery and winters without snow and ice.

A Deadly Game of Hangman, Book 4 in the series, tells the story of Stella’s investigation into the murder of a young man whose body is found hanging from a tree in Adelaide’s famous Park Lands, which ring the city centre. The killer tried to disguise the murder as a suicide but there are some things about a hanging that you just can’t hide from a forensic pathologist, like Dr Steve Wright.

The case gets a little more interesting when the body of a friend of the first victim is found hanging from a tree in Morialta Park, in the foothills on the eastern edge of the Adelaide metropolitan area, and the similarities strongly suggest to Stella that she is dealing with a serial killer.

And, just to keep you up until you’ve finished, I’ve built in a little bit of suspense towards the end.

The other titles in the series published to date are:

The Identity Thief.

A Gun of Many Parts.

Bones in the Forest.

A Deadly Game of Hangman is available from Amazon.

Social media links:

My website: https://petermulraney.org

Universal link to book on Amazon: http://getbook.at/stellabruno4

Author Spotlight: Haylie Hanson

Today I’m hosting author Haylie Hanson, who is launching a new book!

Forests of Mist” Launch

Hello, readers! I’d like to apologize in advance if this blog is incoherent. I’m bone-tired from being up all hours of the night feeding Girl Spawn, who coincidentally came early on launch week. Two October babies for me, what a lucky gal I am!

The biggest news I have (writing-wise, I happen to think Girl Spawn joining the world is pretty big news) is that Calliope Jones and The Forests of Mist launched on Amazon on October 21st!* I’m so excited for you guys to be able to download it and read it. I hope you love it. I know I do, but I’m biased. So please, download it, read it, review it! Beta feedback was this book is better than the first, and I tend to agree.

And with that, I’m off, since Girl Spawn forgot I just fed her, like, 15 minutes ago. My literary baby is far less demanding. And doesn’t keep me up all night. Well, I can’t promise my literary baby won’t keep you up all night until you finish it. In fact, I wish you many sleepless nights as you dive into Callie’s exciting new adventure!

You can find Forests of Mist here.

-Haylie Hanson

My eBooks are Free for the Rest of July!

July 14, 2017 – Alexandria, VA

Happy Bastille Day! Oh, and my eBooks are free on Kindle and Nook for the rest of July! If you read one or both, I would very much appreciate honest reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

Here you go:

For Kindle:

Miscalculated Risks

Acceptable Misconduct

For Nook:

Miscalculated Risks

Acceptable Misconduct

As always, thank you for your support 🙂

Maria

Putting Yourself Out There: Social Media Tools for Authors

social-media

July 7, 2017 – Alexandria, VA

New independent authors are frequently overwhelmed by all the options for marketing their books. I certainly was, and still am. Here’s a list of the big-ticket items, i.e. the social media that I consider worthwhile for promotion purposes. This list is by no means all-inclusive.

Here’s one big caveat: to promote yourself as a new author, it’s not enough merely to set up these sites. You should connect and interact with other readers and authors. Once you set up your social media accounts, spend a few minutes a day checking the accounts and interacting with people. Likes, shares, and retweets go a long way. Remember, it’s not about pushing your books on people. It’s about building relationships. The results build on each other and, in time, you will see increased downloads, reviews, and sales. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

You should have:

Facebook Author page – This should be separate from your personal Facebook page. On Facebook you can connect with other authors, and with groups such as BooksGoSocial , where you can find a ton of free writing/promotion resources.

Follow/make yourself known to other authors. First, authors are readers too! Second, getting to know other authors often leads to cross-promotional work, and that’s a great way to get your name out there.

Twitter account – Maintaining a Twitter account and tweeting at least once a day helps you connect with other authors and readers. You can also discover e-book subscription services, e.g. E-reader news, sweetfreebooks, etc., which can help you reach more readers.

Tweet about sales, book releases, and other promotional activities. I love Twitter’s list function, where I can organize followers into authors, publishers, ebook service providers, etc. Many authors cross-promote via Twitter by retweeting your promotional tweets. This is free advertising!

Goodreads Author page – Once you set up a Goodreads reader account, you can set up an author account. Being on Goodreads is a must for authors. While having an author page on Facebook is worthwhile, Goodreads is a specific platform/ community for READERS. Not everyone on Facebook reads, but everyone on Goodreads does, and most publish reviews regularly.

On Goodreads you can join groups of all sizes, and there is a topic for everyone. Do you like sci-fi, chick lit, or horror? There’s a group for that. I recommend participating in smaller to medium-size groups, so your participation is noticed and you don’t get lost in the shuffle (smaller groups are also less overwhelming).

Participate as a reader first. Be involved in group reads. Sign up to lead a group read if you have time. Some groups do group reads for books written by group members. Make sure you follow the group rules on this!

Don’t be pushy or insincere. Each Goodreads group has its own rules about authors marketing their books, so read the group rules and follow them! Most of all, get to know people, interact, comment, and be helpful where you can. I’ve met tons of really cool people on Goodreads. Remember, it’s about building relationships.

Your Goodreads activity is posted on your feed, so your friends and followers see what you’re reading, your new blog posts, etc. Again, free advertising!

The Goodreads giveaway is a great marketing tool. You announce a giveaway for a print book (not ebook). My advice is to do more than one giveaway for each book. When readers put your book on their To-read lists, and you subsequently announce a giveaway for that book, those that have added your book automatically get a notice about the giveaway. Again, it’s free advertising!

Your Blog – First, make sure your blog is linked to your social media accounts, so that when you publish a blog post, it is automatically posted on your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Goodreads accounts. Second, make your blog about more than just your books. Post helpful articles, interesting articles, humorous stories, whatever you like. Write what you are passionate about and people will be drawn to that.

Sci-fi author Rob Kroese‘s blog is terrific because, in addition to promoting his books, he also provides great advice to authors about the writing process and publishing. He has a post on writing what you are passionate about here.

Author and speaker Kristen Lamb also has a wonderful blog where she prolifically posts helpful articles for authors. Many “experts” charge for advice that these bloggers give you for free.

Someone asked me recently, how do people know about your blog? Great question! You must interact/participate on social media. Post your blog address on your other social media accounts so that readers know how to get there. If you write an article on another website, list your bio with your contact information, social media addresses, and blog address. Once you have this system set up, it takes only a few minutes a day to maintain.

Amazon Author page – Readers can follow your Amazon Author page, and will be alerted when you publish a new book. You can also set it up so that your blog posts are automatically posted to your Amazon Author Page.

Remember not to get too caught up in your social media time. Nothing is better promotion than publishing another book, so spend most of your time writing and publishing your stuff!

Authors, do you have anything to add? Please let me know!

 

 

I don’t have time to write! Yes, you do.

Old vintage typewriter

July 7, 2017 – Alexandria, VA

People are always asking me, how do you find time to write, with a full-time job? My answer: It’s like anything. If it brings you joy, and you want it badly enough, you will do it. It also helps that I hate cleaning my house (I contract out for that :)).

If you are dedicated to achieving your writing goals, here are some tips that have helped me:

Set a realistic daily or weekly word goal, i.e. 500 or 1,000 words a day, and do your best to stick to it.

One option is to write for 10 minutes a day. Abandon the idealistic notion that everything you write must be perfect as soon as you set the words down. Most of the time, it will not be. Just write. For many, it is easier to edit what you have already written than to write fresh words. Get the words down, and you can go back and edit later.

A friend of mine wrote a book called How to Write a Book in Five Days. She presents an easy structure in which you can achieve this goal. This strategy is geared toward writing what she calls “dime store fiction,” i.e. romance, thrillers, etc. This strategy will not work if your intention is to write the next Grapes of Wrath. At the end of the five days, you end up with a 50,000 word manuscript. Yes, you will write 10,000 words a day, and you will not pay attention to grammar and structure. You will fix those things after you have completed your draft.

I occasionally do a variation of this strategy, depending on my schedule. If I have several evenings free, I will set a goal of, i.e. 1,000 or 2,000 words an evening, and at the end of 5 evenings I have 5,000 to 10,000 words, no small accomplishment.

Sprinting is an effective method that was introduced to me by Kristen Lamb. Set a timer for, e.g. 30 minutes, and write/edit/etc. Afterward, report to others what you have accomplished, i.e. wrote 500 words, edited 5 pages, etc. Kristen hosts a social media site for authors, WANATribe , where many of us do writing sprints together.

Carry a notepad, smart phone or other device to take notes whenever inspiration strikes you, so you don’t lose your creative flow. Then make time to add your notes to your manuscript.

I’ve given you a few different methods for getting your writing done. Yes, writing is a lot of work, especially if you’re doing it on top of your full-time job and family obligations. Yes, you will forego social gatherings, etc. Yes, you will spend a lot of time indoors instead of enjoying the sun outside. Whatever you choose to do in life is up to you. So ask yourself, how badly do you want to achieve your writing goals?

Authors, how do you write? Do you use writing sprints? Do you write a little every day or do you devote blocks of days to writing? Let me know in the comments!