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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Tony-Paul de Vissage Talks Reviews and New Book

This week we’re going to find out a little about author Tony-Paul de Vissage. Tony-Paul will be talking about reviews. He’ll also tell us a little about himself and his writing, and answer some fun questions. And I apologize for duplicating a couple of his answers. I think my computer has a mind of it's own and I missed the errors. They have been corrected.

A writer of French Huguenot extraction, one of Tony-Paul de Vissage's first movie memories is of being six years old, viewing the old Universal horror flick, Dracula's Daughter on television, and being scared sleepless—and he’s now paying back his very permissive parents by writing about the Undead.


Beverley: How important are reviews for your book?

Tony: I think reviews are fairly important because 1) they show someone’s read your book; 2) they encourage others to read your book (if the review is positive and we always hope it will be, don’t we?)
Beverley: How do you get reviews?
Tony: There are several forums on Google Plus where one can ask for a review. Likewise with Facebook.  I also watch for reviews others have posted  and will check out the reviewer’s page, and see if they’re currently accepting submissions and act accordingly.  Also, my publisher’s promotions manager submits to various review sites for their authors.
Beverley: Do you pay for reviews?
Tony: I think it's a no-no, like paying an agent upfront. I mean, if you pay for
something, everyone expects it’ll be given a good review, and theoretically the reviewer will feel obligated to write a good review.. If you pay for a review and it’s a bad one…that seems a waste of money.
It’s the same with swapping reviews. If someone gives you a good review, you feel as if you should give his book the same, even if it’s doggerel. That’s why I shy away from “review-swaps.’
Beverley: How many reviews does an author need? Why?
Tony: I suppose an author should get as many as he can.  Some book promoters demand 50 reviews before they’ll accept a book to publicize.  Amazon requires so many to make their “bestseller list.”  I think it depends on what kind of reviews you get.  In my opinion, it’s better to have one 5-star review than three 3-star ones.
Beverley: If you get a bad review, how do you handle it?
Tony: I read over it, see f it has valid points or is simply someone wielding a little power and doing some “author-bashing” and act upon it as far as trying to correct the bad points.  If it looks like a case of some  jerk simply being negative just to show he can and be mean, I simply consider the source and ignore it.
Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write?
Tony: I usually write horror, mostly about vampires. I’ve always liked the appeal of vampires. My Authors Bio explains the reason for that. I guess I was a weird little kid, watching late night horror shows, then having to sleep with a nightlight afterward. I’ve tried my  hand at writing a few M/M novels but I don’t know if I’ll write any more. I kind of ran out of subject matter there.
Beverley: What prompted you to write in the genre/s you do?
Tony: See above.  Seriously, I guess seeing “Dracula’s Daughter” and all the psychological twists and turns the screenwriter put into that story, back in an era when vampires were automatically inherently evil, made an impression on me.  I liked the implied danger as well as the angst the vampire went through.  The story made her more sympathetic than the usually “foul fiend” portrayal, which was unusual for the early 1940’s.
My forays into writing M/M was done on a dare by someone who teased me by saying she didn’t think I could write about anything but vampires.
Beverley: What genres do you enjoy reading?
Tony: I enjoyed the historical aspect of writing Absinthe, as well as my vampire series The Second Species. A great deal of historical research went into the series because it encompasses so much time.Beverley: I’d love to hear what you think of the present genres, how they’ve been affected by self-publishing and where you think they might be headed.
Tony: I’m afraid when it comes to self-publishing, I’m extremely negative…and here I’m going to put my foot in it again, I imagine…ruffled feathers and raised hackles and all that.  All these so-called “publishing” companies have convinced everyone they can write a novel simply by putting words to paper, no matter how ungrammatical or unimaginative it is.  Most people don’t realize how difficult it is to write correctly. One has to know how to spell, correct grammar, a good knowledge of various other forms and meanings of words, how to keep up the continuity, and a vast other number of things.  It isn’t simply a matter of being able to put letters together and make words out of them…and no, “snuck” is not a word. The proper form is “sneaked.”  I’m so tired of reading that.
While a few really great books may come out of self-publishing, I’m afraid the majority are simply going to be a glut on the market, pushing aside any change those good one ever see the light of day.
(Now I’m going to sit back and wait for the barrage of rebuttal from all the self-pubs in the audience.)
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Tony: Facetiously, since the moment I learned how to put those letters together and form words.  Seriously, since 1989.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Tony: I had some very good teachers.  My seventh grade teacher encouraged everyone in our class to write. We’d compose short stories, then read them aloud to the class.  She didn’t restrict the subjects, so there were many horror stories as well as westerns and animal stories.  In college, I had two very good instructors, Dr. Wilson Snipes and Dr. May McMillan. One taught Shakespeare and the other Romanticism and they gave me a great literary background full of imagination.
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Tony: Making myself take that step and submit a manuscript; accepting that it might be rejected, and if it was, to try somewhere else.  Getting people to take me seriously when I said I was going to be a writer.  No one believed I’d have the nerve to keep going until I got published.  My family has never read anything I’ve written. I guess they still don’t believe it.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Tony: Anything…a word, a phrase, the fact I didn’t like the ending of a movie or a TV show… I’ll decide to write my own version and make it end the way I want it to, or I’ll take a phrase I’ve heard and expound on it because it’s given me an idea.  I once wrote a novel based on a fragment of a dream.
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Tony: I don’t really know. There are days when I get up and simply don’t want to look at a computer keyboard. It’s simply a feeling of, “Oh no…not again.” I guess on those days, the little lady calling herself my muse has taken herself to a spa or something for a bit of R&R, because it generally lasts only a couple of days and then I’m ready to type again. Then again…it could only be incipient old age and the ennui accompanying it, creeping in. J
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
Tony: Breakfast? What’s that? J I know it’s supposed to be the most important meal of the day but I start writing first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee for companionship.  I usually eat foods that can be handled in one hand while I type with the other.  Only occasionally do I settle down to what could really be called breakfast, but when I do, it’s a Southern one…ham, scrambled eggs, cheese toast, and grits.  Cholesterol City, here I come!—and then some.
Beverley: What do you wear when you are writing?  
Tony: That a bit personal isn’t it?  (insert laugh here.)  I’m usually the jeans and sweatshirt type, so that’s what I wear.  I’ve an extensive wardrobe of both formal and informal tees and sweats for all occasions.
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Tony: My desk is next to a picture window so I get plenty of sunshine and can keep an eye on the weather while I write. I’m on the fourth floor so I have a grand view of a nice vacant lot with green grass and yellow dandelions.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Tony: Shrek’s friend Puss in Boots. He’s just so cool. I love that line where Fiona realizes Shrek’s been transformed into someone else and she says to Puss, “Shrek?” and he answers, “For you, I could be.”
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Tony: I haven’t the foggiest. I’ve sometimes fantasized about meeting various “celebrities” but I always ask myself, “What would I say to him/her?” I imagine they get tired of all that gushing and “Oh, I love your last film/TV series/book,” so I’d try to be cool and talk to them about something other than their chosen profession.  Actually, I’d probably be so tongue-tied I’d simply stand there like a dunce and not say a thing.
I did that with Gene Roddenberry once. Managed a “Hello,” and missed my Big Chance to say something profound.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Tony: I’d probably read a book, or if I could get my lazy self into gear, go to a nearby park and photograph the flowers.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Tony: For two years now, I’ve been struggling with a sequel to The Last Vampire Standing, which was published in 2012. So far, I have 2 chapters and 5 fragments.  Maybe in another two years, I’ll get it done. J Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was interrupted by a brainstorm and thought of a third novel to go along with the two I’ve written about Absinthe de Vaurien (Absinthe, Essence of Absinthe). I’m on Chapter 5 of that one now and it’s getting pretty eerie. It’s called Absinthe Eternal and it’ll be the last in the unplanned trilogy.

 
Blurb for Essence of Absinthe:
The noble family of Vaurien has secrets, and one Étienne Vaurien and his wife have suppressed for twenty years is about to be discovered. Taking his family from France to escape the murmur of revolution places Étienne’s son David in mortal danger.

A city may change but some things remain the same. Hatred and the desire for revenge are at the top of the list. David’s resemblance to Étienne’s deceased eldest son, Absinthe, is remarked upon by many but to one person it means more than a mere likeness of features.
Geneviéve, mistress to both Étienne and Absinthe, has pined twenty years for her younger lover. Now, she has a chance to get him back…and she isn’t going to let death stop her.

In a short time, David’s living body will house the spirit of a dead man who wants once again to live…and love.
Buy Links: 
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Essence-Absinthe-Tony-Paul-Vissage-ebook/dp/B06XKR2XD4/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/711208

You can find Tony at:
Twitter: @tpvissage
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tonypaul.devissage?fref=ts
Publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/index.php/our-authors/manufacturers/tony-paul-de-vissage
Amazon author’s page: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/profile

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Marketing for the Experienced Author


Moving on from our workshops, RWA had some interesting workshops. I attended one by Mark Dawson – Savvy Marketing for the Experienced Author I thought might be interesting.
15 tips to help find readers and sell more books
- Mailing Lists – build a list and use it
                       To build a list use the front and back matter; give away free book (novella)
                Facebook ads
                Amazon ads (on perma free
                Give a book so sign up

- Interact – take cold leads and turn into customers and readers. Turn customers into friends and friends into a fan base
           Automate conversation starters  #TFI Friday
           Ask for info and include in book – thank you’s      

- Facebook live videos – offer high organic reach; very shareable; turn it into an ad; post to page or group

-Lead Generation Ads – means subscribers can sign up with 1 click Facebook } Zapier}Mailchimp

-Website retargeting –use the FB pixelon  on your site

                            Audience will dynamically update – info in audience tab     

-Upselling – Selling additional contact...free book
                  Option to buy a box set (get sales and subscribers)

-Maximize Our Social Channels – use twitter
                  How many options are there to sign up on your favorite page

-Invite the links - Someone interacts with your add, invite them to like page
                          Facebook likes

-It’s all about video

The rest of his suggestions were expensive and way out of my budget – even videos.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

James Austin McCormick on Reviews


This week we’re going to find out a little about author James Austin McCormick. James will be talking about reviews. He’ll also tell us a little about himself and his writing, and answer some fun questions.
James Austin McCormick is a college lecturer from Manchester, England and in his free time enjoys writing speculative fiction, mostly science fiction, horror and a little sword and sorcery fantasy. He is also a particular fan of classic Gothic and Victorian horror tales and is currently in the process of writing updated versions of these with a science fiction spin.

His novels include the trilogy Dragon (Dragon, Dragon: Smuggler Tales, Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane), The Last Synn, a sword-and-sorcery story, a SciFi novel, Sunfall, and a horror novel, Balec. All are available from Class Act Books.

Beverley: How important are reviews for your book?
James: They’re very important, I’m sure most authors would say the same. They allow you to get to know what people think of your work. Reviews, especially those posted on Amazon, also help to attract more readers.
Beverley: How do you get reviews?
James: They’re very important, I’m sure most authors would say the same. They allow you to get to know what people think of your work. Reviews, especially those posted on Amazon, also help to attract more readers.
Beverley: Do you pay for reviews?
James: No, very recently someone contacted me on twitter saying they’d love to review one of my books (The Last Synn, a sword and sorcery fantasy) for their blog and asked me to email them. When I did they said they’d forgot to mention they charge $50 and said this was because their blog generated so much interest. I politely declined.
Beverley: How many reviews does an author need? Why?
James: I heard that once you get above thirty it raises your profile on Amazon. I’m not sure. I’ve only got one book, my first science fiction novel “Dragon” that has more than thirty reviews.
Beverley: If you get a bad review, how do you handle it?
James: It depends, sometimes I agree with what is said, especially when it gives me a fresh insight into my work (character, scene placing etc…) but sometimes I don’t. An example is my second book Dragon: Smuggler Tales. The reviewer knocked a star off for lack of story arc, giving me three stars, which to me was ridiculous as the book is actually a collection of short stories filling in some of the missing time of my first novel, Dragon. I was extremely irritated about this.
Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write?
James: I prefer to write science fiction and horror, and also a little fantasy. I like to mix the genres together and rarely stray outside of speculative fiction.
Beverley: What prompted you to write in the genre/s you do?
James: For me, writing is pure escapism, and the more I can create my own worlds and settings the better. I’d say escape from humdrum reality is what prompts me to write in the genres I do.
Beverley: What genres do you enjoy reading?
James: I like most genres, not just science fiction and horror. I’m always working my way through a long list of classics that continually gets added to. I love detective novels, spy novels and thrillers. I’ve recently started reading the Jack Reacher series, they’re addictive.
Beverley: I’d love to hear what you think of the present genres, how they’ve been affected by self-publishing and where you think they might be headed.
James: I think self-publishing has been great for a lot of aspiring writers, and has meant that editors are no longer the gatekeepers, a potential barrier between author and audience. Anyone can put their writing out there now. The problem is that along with a lot of excellent books, others of very poor quality also flood the electronic market. I’ve read quite a lot of self- published books and some have been of a very low standard indeed. When reviewing it’s very hard to come up with something constructive for works such as this.
Regarding the future of the science fiction genre, in my opinion it lies with diversification, with sub-genres. Sci-fi can incorporate any genre or idea so the possibilities are limitless. For example, the first Alien movie was a horror, the second was more of an action movie.
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
James: Roughly twenty years or so, but I can also recall doing some scribbling when I was in my mid-teens on an old-style typewriter.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
James: My two biggest influences were, and still are, Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft. I remember when I first read the Solomon Kane and Conan stories in my late teens and thought I would really like to try and write something similar.  
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
James: When I first started writing Dragon, I had the two main characters in mind, a neurotic, cowardly elf and a surly, ill-tempered barbarian. I planned to write a series of novella length stories following their adventures. Somehow though it just didn’t work, although I liked Sillow and Brok, the two protagonists, I just felt all the story concepts were too derivative and unoriginal. I only made progress when I had the idea to turn it into a science fiction with a fantasy flavor. The eponymous Dragon became the name of their spacecraft, rather than a fire breathing creature. The last book in the Dragon series, Dragon: The Prisoner of Valathia, is as much fantasy as it is science fiction. It’s the only work where I’ve mixed two genres together in equal measure.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
James: I’m always thinking about stories and character. Every time I read a book or watch a film it sparks new ideas and I find myself scribbling something down regarding possible stories. The irony is I spend more time thinking about writing than I do actually doing it.
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
James: My two daughters squabbling usually does that. I also find it hard to write when I have a lot going on at work. Too much stress causes my creativity to dry up.
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
James: Fruit and two cups of coffee.
Beverley: What do you wear when you are writing?  
James: I write little and often, sometimes in my lunch hour, sometimes in bed so it can be pyjamas or a shirt and pants. There’s no correlation between the two.
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
James: My kitchen table. This is especially true when I’m re-writing or editing.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
James: Bender from Futurama. Even though he’s essentially an amoral opportunist, he’s such a cool, uncomplicated character. He takes nothing seriously and always makes the most of an opportunity.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
James: I hope I can say two people, and that is Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Stan had a big hand in the scripts and camerawork and I’d love the opportunity to discuss these with him over a beer in a pub in Ulverston (Stan’s home town, only about ninety miles from where I live in fact)
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
James: Go hiking, I love getting into the countryside whenever I can. I’ve recently got interested in photography so I’d happily spend a day taking snaps of wildlife and nature.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
James: I’ve just finished polishing a young adult fantasy/supernatural novella very loosely based on one of the scary stories my dad used to tell me and my cousins when we were young. We all loved the stories but were always terrified and had trouble sleeping afterwards.

Blurb for Dragon: The Prisoner of Valathia:

A beautiful pirate queen, and a cowardly, chain-smoking elf, take on their first official mission together…investigate the hijack of a prototype military stealth craft and its connection to the mysterious owner of a small mining operation.
What begins as a simple undercover mission soon becomes something far more sinister as they find themselves caught up in one man’s obsession with ancient forces powerful enough to destroy them all.


Buy Links:                                                   
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Prisoner-James-Austin-McCormick-ebook/dp/B0721RR55Q/
Paperback edition available exclusively from www.classactbooks.com.

You can find James at:
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJamesAustinMcCormick/
Twitter https://twitter.com/jimbomcc69
Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9860555.James_Austin_McCormick
Amazon https://www.amazon.com/James-McCormick/e/B00F3F9SGY
Class Act Books http://www.classactbooks.com/index.php/our-authors/manufacturers/james-austin-mccormick

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Ethical Hacking


The last of our KOD speakers was Ed Wilson. He’s an ethical hacker and talked about what we can do to prevent hacking. According to Ed, hackers win every time.
90% of every Fortune 500 companies have been successfully hacked at least once. 32% have been hacked two or three times.

The hackers take data hostage. They ask for money, usually bitcoin and usually under $10,000. This is because most executives have authority up to $10,000. They don’t tell anyone because they are embarrassed, afraid they could lose their job. They maybe overworked. Apparently computer people work 80 – 100 hours per week.
There is encrypted date in hotel key cards.  If the key card is affected the people can’t get in or out of their rooms. This happened in Europe. The hotel paid, and a few weeks later it happened again.

Bulgaria, Russia and China are in to corporate espionage. They want to get into your computer and steal your cpu and processing power – bot.net – they use our computer space. If your computer is very slow, maybe it has been hacked. The hard drive light on the PC or laptop never blinks. If it’s always blinking there’s a problem and it may be hacked.
Turn on the computer without wifi. Click on update- reboot – do a full scan. You can check Ed’s website for more info. www.edwilson.com

Friday, August 18, 2017

Plot Writers Block


This month we have another fun topic for our group. Thanks Rhobin. When you are stumped on moving a plot line forward, what do you do to reinvigorate your imagination?
So many things flashed through my mind. If I’m into the story and writing a lot, the plot tends to pull me forward, but If I don’t know my characters well enough, or I’m trying to make them behave in a way that they don’t like, I can run into problems.

Knowing that when I’m stumped, I first I take a break, go for a walk or work in the garden. Then before I go to bed at night I think about where I’m stuck and ask for help. If I’m lucky, during the REM sleep and as I wake up I’ll get an answer. If not I go back and spend time with my characters, getting to know them better and how they act in certain situations. I back off, rewrite the last challenging scene and find once I let them act the way ‘they’ want I can usually move the story forward.   What do you do? 
Can’t wait to hear what others do.

Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
A.J. Maguire 
http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Anne de Gruchy
https://annedegruchy.co.uk/category/blog/
Skye Taylor
http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Victoria Chatham
http://www.victoriachatham.com
Marie Laval
http://marielaval.blogspot.co.uk/
Judith Copek
http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Dr. Bob Rich
http://wp.me/p3Xihq-137
Helena Fairfax
http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog
Fiona McGier
http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Heather Haven
http://heatherhavenstories.com/blog/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Rick McQuiston Talks About Reviews

This week we’re going to find out a little about author Rick McQuiston. Rick will be talking about reviews. He’ll also tell us a little about himself and his writing, and answer some fun questions.
Rick McQuiston is 49-year-old father of two who loves anything horror-related. He’s had nearly 400 publications so far, and written five novels, ten anthologies, one book of novellas, and edited an anthology of Michigan authors.
Rick is also a guest author each year at Memphis Junior High School. 
He’s currently working on his sixth novel. 

Beverley: How important are reviews for your book?
Rick: I feel that they foster an interest in potential readers that otherwise might pass the book by.
Beverley: How do you get reviews?
Rick: I don't actually seek out reviews.
Beverley: Do you pay for reviews?
Rick: Never.
Beverley: How many reviews does an author need? Why?
Rick: Only enough to glean some creative changes for their work. Although a little ego stroking never hurts.
Beverley: If you get a bad review, how do you handle it?
Rick: I take it with a grain of salt and try to extract improvements from it if I can. An objective viewpoint always helps.
Beverley: Anything else you’d like to add on the importance of reviews?
Rick: They are a good way to let readers know something about you, which will help them relate to your work.
Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write?
Rick: Mostly horror, but I also enjoy sci-fi and fantasy.
Beverley: What prompted you to write in the genre/s you do?
Rick: I saw "Jaws" as a kid and realized that I enjoy being scared (although from the safety of my couch).
Beverley: What genres do you enjoy reading?
Rick: Horror, of course.
Beverley: I’d love to hear what you think of the present genres, how they’ve been affected by self-publishing and where you think they might be headed.
Rick: I think all genres are enjoying popularity. Horror usually resides in the back recesses of people's choices, but quality writers such as King, Barker, and Little have brought it to the surface, rivaling others such as romance, mysteries, and westerns.
Self-publishing has been both good and bad. Good because it allows people without the means to display their work, and bad because it allows people without much talent to saturate the market. 
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Rick: Over twenty years now.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Rick: Lovecraft. Although long-winded, I can relate to his characters, settings, and of course, the monsters.
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Rick: The same as most writers: working full-time, cleaning the house, paying bills, etc. In short: finding the time.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Rick: A simple idea is the easiest to twist into something macabre. I found that is what gets my imagination rolling: taking something mundane and making it frightening.
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Rick: Bad music or a headache.
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
Rick: Typically, a bowl of whole-grain cereal, lots of fruits and veggies, orange juice, a protein drink, and a cup of hot green tea.
Beverley: What do you wear when you are writing?  
Rick: I like to be comfortable. Sweatpants and a T-shirt do the trick.
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Rick: Anywhere I can, although my favorite chair in my living room has helped to spawn its fair share of good ideas.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Rick: Probably Bugs Bunny because he always outsmarts his adversaries
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Rick: Lovecraft. He was a weird one but I'd love to hear the formulative process of his ideas.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Rick: Spend it in my basement. I have everything I need there: my books, computer, music studio, and endless DVDs.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Rick: Currently, I'm putting together research for my next novel, as well as the finishing touches on two anthologies.

Blurb for Eat the World:
In picturesque Mackinac a growing army of rats are beginning to seep into the community of tourists. They seemingly appear out of nowhere, and it is up to ordinary people to gather their courage and battle the hordes.

But there is something more frightening beneath the surface, something that was born from the accumulated depths of Earth's creatures, something that can threaten the entire world.
 

Buy Links:
Publisher’s website:  www.classactbooks.com

You can find Rick at:
Publisher's website: www.classactbooks.com
Author's website: http://many-midnights.webs.com/

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview.