Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Guest Blogger: Author Margay Leah Justice

Please welcome this week's guest author blogger, Margay Leah Justice. Make her feel at home by leaving questions and comments. I wouldn't mind some either. :)

1) What are your best promotion tips for other writers? What works best for you?

Word of Mouth/internet marketing. The internet is probably the best method of promotion at the disposal of writers today because word travels faster over the Internet than in any other form of media, in my opinion.

2) Where do you get your ideas for your stories?

Sometimes, my story ideas come in my dreams, as the one for Nora's Soul did. Sometimes they start as random ideas where a turn of phrase catches my attention and I think, "What a great title for a book" - and of course, I have to flesh out the story to match the title. Sometimes, they come from events that have happened in my life or from the news. Story ideas are everywhere.

3) How much time do you spend writing versus promoting?

These days, I'm spending more time promoting than writing, but I usually spend at least five hours a day writing - on a good day.

4) Who is your favorite romantic hero and heroine (movies or books) and why?

Darcy and Elizabeth, the Keira Knightley version for the movie. There is just something so magical about that pairing. I like that she never backs down or apologizes for who she is or what she believes in and won't allow anyone to force her to follow conventions. And I love that he learns to accept her for those very traits and chooses her over society's expectations. Plus, they are just riveting when they are together.

5) What do you do to help other writers?

I pass on whatever information I can to them. When I discover great marketing ideas or tips or discover what works well for me, I pass on the information to my writing buddies so they can use it, too. I'm also open to offering guest spots on my blog and/or interviewing authors. I believe in the pay it forward philosophy.

6) What is your best advice for pre-published and newly published writers?

Network. The internet is your friend - use it. Promote yourself, make your name known. you'll be glad you did.

7) What do you like to do to de-stress? (other than writing) I come from a very creative family, so I knit, crochet, sew. And read. Courtesy of Margay, some helpful hints for writers.

After the Sale

By Margay Leah Justice

When authors first sit down to write, the furthest thing from their mind is how, several months or perhaps years down the line, they are going to sell that writing. In fact, if an author, in those early stages, even considers the idea of selling, he or she is more likely to be thinking about how they are going to sell that writing to a publisher, not the public. So it can come as quite a shock when, after the sale is made, said author discovers that he or she is now in the position of having to sell their writing to another audience – the reader.

Enter the Internet. In this age of digital everything, the Internet is the author’s best friend. If one is to go by the theory that word of mouth is a powerful sales tool, then what better way is there to employ word of mouth than the means by which most Americans connect these days? To pass on the word, you need to go where the people are and familiarize yourself with their modes of communication. Create a presence for yourself on social networking sites such as Gather, Myspace and Facebook, or create your own on Ning. Establish a blog on such sites as Blogger or Wordpress. Or, if that is too intimidating, why not tweet? You can follow or be followed on Twitter and the best part is, each message is only 140 characters long. Not only is that manageable, it’s fun.

The most important thing you can do for yourself as an author is to make your presence known on the Internet. Follow the blogs of other authors, comment on them, ask to do a guest post on their blogs. Find reviewer sites and offer your book for review. Hold a contest and offer your book as a prize. The possibilities are endless. So go out there and sell yourself. You are your own best advertisement.

Here is an excerpt from my debut novel, Nora’s Soul, available soon from Second Wind Publishing, LLC. Hope you enjoy it, Margay Leah Justice.

“I don’t want there to be any misconceptions or hurt feelings between us, Nora.”

The sound of his harsh voice snapped her attention back to him. “Misconceptions?” she repeated, confused. “About what?”

“About what you and my sister expect is going to happen here.”

“I don’t – “ Her protest died on her lips when he placed a fingertip over them, silencing her. She nearly choked on a shallow breath at the fireball of sensation that roared down to the pit of her stomach at that minute touch. Thankfully, he withdrew the finger before she could do anything really damaging to her pride – like suck it into her mouth – but the fiery sensation lingered in her stomach, quietly banking a fire of old sensations into full life.

“I don’t need a social secretary,” he said, seemingly unaware of her reaction to him. “If I did need a secretary, I’d find one through a headhunter, not my sister.”

“Okay.”

“And I certainly wouldn’t take one whose background is in social services.”

“Well, then, it’s a good thing I’m not here to be your secretary.”

“Good. Now that we’ve got that established, let’s move on.”

“Please do.”

Kyle ignored that last comment as he launched into his speech. As he spoke, he made a leisurely circle about Nora, pausing to lean toward her in punctuation of each sentence.

“I’m not looking for a wife or a new mother for my children – “

“I’m not – “

“ – so if that’s the little scheme you’ve got going with my sister, you can just forget about it now.”

“I don’t have any ‘little scheme’ going with Joelle - or anyone else, for that matter!”

“Glad to hear it,” Kyle said, his tone belying his words. “Let’s move on, shall we?”

“Oh, please do.”

“I live alone. I like that.”

His breath skimmed her right ear as he leaned in close to her, front to front. She tried not to shudder at the pleasurable sensation it sent shimmering down her neck and into her stomach, where it joined the fire still banked there. She feared that she failed miserably. She almost didn’t hear his next words in the aftermath of the sensations he aroused in her.

“I throw my clothes on the floor when I undress.” He slipped around her right shoulder, but circled close to it – too close. “I leave the toilet seat up. I squeeze toothpaste from the middle. I sleep in the nude.” He leaned over her shoulder. His lips pressed to her ear, his breath searing a path down the left side of her neck now that, oddly enough, brought chills to her spine. “I like that.”

As the chills rippled through her, Nora swayed, slightly off-balance. Kyle righted her equilibrium with a quick, painless jab of his knees to the backs of hers. Then he pulled back, abruptly, completed his circle as he drilled home his point. “I don’t want anyone picking up my clothes. I don’t want anyone putting down the toilet seat or telling me where to squeeze my toothpaste.” He paused to quirk his lips in what could almost pass for a smile at the suggestive statement. “And I don’t want anyone buying me silk pajamas. I don’t want to be reformed.” He leaned his face so close to Nora’s then that his features filled her entire realm of vision. “Got that?”

Well, of all the arrogant, insufferable – ! Nora was trembling with rage by the conclusion of Kyle’s little speech. Just who the hell did he think he was, anyway, making demands like that?

“That’s what I missed about you all these years, Kyle,” she said with hard-won calm. “That charming personality.”

Kyle smiled then, but it was just a flexing of the muscles; there was no warmth to it. He leaned nearer to Nora, the tip of his nose in a position to touch hers should either of them make the slightest movement. It was an oddly intimate pose; a slight twist to the left, or a slight twist to the right, and their lips would be touching, even if no other parts of their bodies were. But the heat of his body – emanating from his skin in a wonderfully male scent that reminded her of warm summer days at the beach – did touch her; like a brand, searing another impression of him on her heart. The urge to melt into him wasn’t as hard as the urge to pull away; it took all of her strength to resist it. Oh, no, she wouldn’t give him that.

“Oh, I can be very charming.” He dropped the smile. “Or not.” Withdrawing, he stared down his nose at her, pointed a finger toward her collarbone. “Your choice. Just remember this – I don’t want to be seduced.”

“Oh, I don’t think there’s any chance of that,” Nora said, her voice so thick with sarcasm she nearly choked on it. She thought she detected a flicker of something – admiration, perhaps – in his eyes when she stated, “I’m here to take care of your children’s needs, not yours.” But whatever she thought she saw in his eyes was gone before she could name it. Must be my imagination, she decided.

“See that you remember that.”

“Oh, I will.”

They faced off for an eternal moment, two battle-scarred warriors at an emotional impasse. Each waiting for the other to flinch first. When that didn’t happen, they simultaneously relaxed their stances, as if by some silent agreement.

Kyle took a wary step backward. His eyes never left her face. “Good. Then there’s nothing left to discuss. Is there?”

“Just one thing,” she said when he would’ve turned away. She ignored the annoyed look he cast over his shoulder as he paused on his flight up the stairs. She started down the hall toward the sounds of merriment emanating from the kitchen, but paused when she came abreast of Kyle on the stairs. “I take my responsibilities very seriously.” She hesitated, for effect, then drove the statement home with, “All of them.” And then she was gone, leaving Kyle to stare after her in wonder.

Coming Soon from Second Wind Publishing, LLC

http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/

You can find me at http://margayleahjustice.com, http://www.facebook.com/home.php, myspace.com/margay1122, http://margay1122.gather.com/, and I also Twitter at http://twitter.com/Margay.

Thanks Margay! What a great guest you've been and what an awesome excerpt. Many happy sales. Please come again.

7 comments:

Margay said...

Thank you, Ashley, for having me as a guest on your blog! And for the words of enthusiasm and encouragement.
Margay

KellyMarstad said...

Excellent excerpt full of tension. Nicely done. :)

Scobberlotcher said...

Great perspective on what it's like to launch out there into the brave new world of internet marketing. And congrats on the release of your new book! So exciting.

Karen Harrington

Margay said...

Kelly, thank you, I'm so glad you liked it!
Margay

Margay said...

Karen, thank you for stopping by and sharing this with me! It certainly has been quite exciting.
Margay

Morgan Mandel said...

We are salespeople, aren't we? Never thought it would come to that when I got my first book published, but I learned fast that what you say is true.

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com
http://www.morganmandel.com

Margay said...

Morgan, I think that is the most important thing for any aspiring author to keep in mind. In order to get people interested in what you write, you must learn how to sell yourself and your writing. Hm, that sounds like a good topic for my next blog article. Must go write it now...Thanks for stopping by!

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