Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Self Imposed Banishment

Hello. This is just a quick post to say... Yes, I know I'm supposed to blog today. However, with my impending self imposed deadline hovering in the horizon, I have banished myself from the blogoshere. How long you ask? As long as it takes. Hopefully I'll be back the first Wednesday of August for ISWG, but we'll see.

Photo credit
I hope you are all having a great summer and I'll see you when my banishment is over.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Author Interview: Bill Cokas

Author Interview: Bill Cokas

Please help me welcome to my blog today, author Bill Cokas. He is the author of two humorous suspense books. Thank you, Bill for coming by. 

 JS:     You published a book in March (Battle Axe) and one in April (Ring of Fire).  Congratulations! Can you tell us a little about both of them? 
BC:   I wrote them over a six-year period (and am now working on my third novel). Ring of Fire was agented for a couple years, but never found a home. Since then, publishing has blown wide open, so I figured, why not try it without an agent? Ring of Fire has its roots in my dual career of advertising and teaching college students. Battle Axe was inspired (but in no way reflects) my recent experience of being “found” by my birth mother (yes, I’m adopted). They’re both humorous suspense novels with quirky characters and an offbeat, sarcastic voice.
JS:   What are you working on now?  
BC:  A middle grade adventure novel tentatively titled “Opposite Day,” where an eighth-grader inadvertently stumbles into a parallel—well, perpendicular—universe that lies just beneath the Earth’s surface. Luckily, I’ve got a couple of beta readers in the house. Other (adult) humorous suspense novels are on deck after that.
JS:    What made you decide to write a novel? 
BC:  While I’m lucky enough to do something creative for a living (writing/advertising), I needed an outlet for a longer attention span than a 30-second commercial or a web banner headline. I’m much more comfortable with words, so I opted for novels vs. screenplays.
JS:     Where did you get the ideas for your books? 
BC:  From observation—my own life, those around me, and the locales I see when I travel. I see fiction as a means of “mental” travel, so my goal is to write stories that will literally transport a reader into another time and place—and ideally, mood. Pure escapism.
JS:     What made you decide to go with self-publishing?  
BC:  As I said, I had an agent for Ring of Fire, but the market was getting tougher and tougher, and while he had a few bites, he couldn’t place it. While I was writing Battle Axe, the publishing world went through such an upheaval, by the time the dust had settled, I was ready to take the plunge solo.
JS:     Did you send out query letters? 
BC:  Literally hundreds, and I kept every single one. Wanna see them?
JS:    Did you always want to be an author?
BC:   Indirectly—I always wanted to be a cartoonist, which involves writing dialogue. Once the dream of syndication fizzled, I was writing advertising professionally on a daily basis, and found I was enjoying the purity of words.
JS:     What do you like best about self-publishing? Least?
BC:  Most: the utter and complete control over everything. Least: the utter and complete responsibility for everything. I know it’s not a new complaint, but it’s really sad all the writing time I spend marketing and social networking.
JS:     How are writing comics different than novels? The same?  
BC:   Different: instead of sustaining an eight-second attention span, we’re talking about days or weeks. The same: it’s still about solid ideas, story arcs and well-rounded characters. And making sure every word is there for a reason.
JS:  What advise would you give to any aspiring authors? 
BC:  Well, I wrote my first two without much fanfare, but these days, you can let the world know you’re writing a book and literally build up a community (i.e. audience) before it’s every published. So I’d recommend having a website/Facebook page/blog, and putting your stuff out there for feedback/critique/fawning over as you go (that is, if you don't have some solid beta readers or a writers’ group to fall back on). Wattpad, Backspace and Absolute Write are great sources for this. This will get you comfortable with the networking and interaction that will be so critical and inseparable from your life as an indie author.

Random Questions

    Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla….with lots of toppings.

    Beach or mountains? Definitely beach, although in North Carolina, I’m lucky to be 2 hours from one and 4 hours from the other.

    Coffee or tea? Coffee in the morning. Sweet tea in the afternoon.

   Last book read? The Rising, Brian McGilloway (Irish crime author)

   Favorite author? Carl Hiaasen

    Most played song on your iPod?Everybody’s Talkin’,” Jimmy Buffett

   Favorite movie? Raising Arizona 

    Favorite food? Pizza

    Outliner or panster? Outliner to a fault.

  Hard copy or e-reader? Reading my first e-book as we speak.



 Books: Battle Axe: Kindle, Nook  Ring of Fire: Kindle, Amazon 

Hope you enjoyed this interview. Sound like something you want to put on your must read list? Do you know Bill?

Thanks for stopping by. If you are an author who has been published either traditionally or self and would like to be featured on my author interviews, please contact me at JessicaLSalyer(at)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

IWSG # 10- Dreams

Sorry, I'm a day late for my post for the Insecure Writer's support group. It's a group started by Alex J. Cavanaugh, so that writers can support each other and not feel so alone with all our writer's insecurities. If you'd like to learn more about this group or see the other blogs that are participating please go HERE.  

I hope you all had a great 4th of July. I'd like to say a special thank you to all of you who have made sacrifices for our freedom. Thank you is not nearly enough. I hope all your families are safe.

Last week I went to a concert. The Eli Young Band opened for who I went to see. During their concert, The lead singer started talking about dreams. The dreams that we have, whether it's to be a singer, baseball player, guitar player, or writer. No matter what your dreams are, you have to keep going after them. He wrote this song about following your dreams. If you watch the whole video the ending was very meaningful to me. I hope you like it. It spoke volumes to me.

Writing is my dream. That's why I started this blog. That's why I started my book. It's been my dream to write a novel. I've said before it doesn't matter if I ever get published, I'd love for that to happen, but that's not why I'm writing my book. As I'm getting closer and closer to getting done, I'm getting more and more euphoric. I can't wait to start to edit. I can't wait to start to query. Why? Because I'm living my dream.

Is this your dream? Can you relate to the song? How was your 4th?