Hail to the Queen of the Cozy Mystery!

August 1st, 2013 → 9:49 pm @

Sharon Love Cook is a breath of fresh air for cozy mysteries! Where others can be sloppy and leave gaps in their reasoning, Cook ties up the loose ends and is not guilty of leaving you wondering.

Why would a “big city type” reporter end up in a small hamlet? It’s simple, it’s on the shore north of Boston, it’s humbly lovely and her infirm father is in a home there. Enough said.

The big city reporter mentality clashes with the small town “society editor” mentality of the paper’s management. So there’s friction. Rose McNichols wants to be a hard core reporter – when the locals are really more interested in Bertha’s mac and cheese recipe than they are in corruption lurking in their one-man government. Who’s right – the hard news reporter or the gentle society editor pandering to her subscribers? You decide. But you get why these conflicts arise. And you care!

Cook also brilliantly juxtaposes a flawless murder victim with a pleasantly flawed but frustrated reporter. Is the murder victim, though dead, still superior to the overreaching reporter? Thought provoking.

Cook’s use of humor is a delight. Because the household hints columnist wants to cut back – the society editor assigns the column to the hard news reporter who has no interest or knowledge in the subject and suggests she “have fun with it.” Cook’s protagonist glibly comments that she is – but readers have yet to notice. That subtle wit is peppered throughout the mystery and never disappoints!

A cozy mystery that is well written, holds together and provides sophisticated humor is such a welcome relief from the sloppy, slap dash examples that are clearly not thought through. Thanks Sharon – we want to read more about Granite Cove.

 

 

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Alzheimer’s Association in my spare time or Meet the Stars!

June 20th, 2013 → 7:50 pm @

In addition to writing cozy mysteries, I spend a lot of time on activities relating to my board position with Alzheimer’s of the Midlands. Last week I had the rare opportunity to attend a small cocktail event sponsored by the association. They were welcoming Erich Hover and Brett Cullen, two Hollywood actors who will be in an upcoming movie about Alzheimer’s being filmed in Omaha late this summer.

Selfless Stars

Selfless Stars

Hover is an Omaha native who went to Hollywood to pursue an acting career. He has appeared in films such as Moneyball. While pursuing his career Hover learned that his Dad, still living in Omaha, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Once he realized the need for both research funding and public awareness, Erich jumped at the idea of creating a film that could provide both.

His experience in the film industry enabled Hover to solicit a script telling the tale of his Dad’s journey and recruit well known actors for the project.

Actor/Filmmaker

Actor/Filmmaker

Cullen, who was featured in recent film 42 and appears in the weekly program Person of Interest has great enthusiasm for the project, in part because he is currently the primary caregiver of a Mother with dementia, and he is intrigued by the difficulty of the role. He will be playing Erich’s Dad, the Alzheimer’s patient.

It is the hope that this film will significantly help raise public awareness; in addition a percentage of the proceeds will go directly to Alzheimer’s research.

The Alzheimer’s of the Midlands, with their new Executive Director, Viv Ewing and her staff, joined the actors and researcher Dr. Bonasera in celebrating the beginning of a much needed project in the history of finding a cure.

CullenIt is only recently that the legislature and a small segment of the public have begun to realize the massive toll that Alzheimer’s will take on the medical community as the Baby Boomers continue to age.

 

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When Is Your Editor The Biggest Pain in the Butt?

May 22nd, 2013 → 7:24 pm @

My first book was edited by five people. Not everyone has that luxury. I think it’s a luxury because you get to see your work through different eyes – and you get to make the final call by reviewing the options and choosing the ones that make the most sense for your plot and characters.

!

I can honestly say that all five of my editors contributed something meaningful to the final published work. Some of the editing was tedious, but I found the overall process invigorating and frequently enjoyable. It was extremely helpful to have them point out areas that warranted a second look. I would review the section in question to determine whether or not it would pass muster with a broader audience; in some cases a reference was too obscure or a joke too lame. I’m not sure I would have caught those weaknesses on my own.

My second book is not going as smoothly. So far I’ve had three editors, and they all seem to get caught up in their own lack of knowledge of my genre. They’re not contributing anything meaningful. It’s frustrating and it feels as though this book will never get out. I write comedic murder mysteries. They’re so hung up on making comments like “why would that character tell her so much when she’s not even a real detective?” Oh for god sake – get over it! Have you never read Agatha’s Christie’s famous Miss Marple? Did you never watch Jessica Fletcher solve every mystery on Murder, She Wrote?

Even under the best of circumstances editors can get under your skin. But a good editor is worth their weight in gold. Aside from the outlay of cash, the biggest potential risk to self-publishing is not making the effort to get good editors reviewing your work. I was convinced my manuscript was perfect on the first day it was submitted – it became so much better over the 18 month editing and proofing process.

Even though in hindsight I am so grateful for the editors of that first book, they still managed to frustrate the hell out of me. I think I shortened and lengthened the same sentences three or four times, and I know I moved commas out, over and back into the same places. Some of their comments were stupid and dated – but I knew enough to ignore those – albeit not without angst and bugging my publisher for permission. I think I was high maintenance!

As I look back on the experience of my first book – I would not trade the value my editors brought to the project even if I never had to move a comma. And even though my second book has not yet met with a successful editing experience, I still cannot emphasize the importance of good editors – now I just have to find some!

Donovan heads Bozell Books, a division of Bozell designed to help authors and budding authors from inception through promotion of their published work. She has authored a novel entitled: Is It Still Murder Even If She Was a Bitch? www.rldonovan.com, and the second in her Donna Leigh Mysteries series : I Didn’t Kill Her But That May Have Been Short Sighted,  is currently being published.

 

 

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Jennifer Priester, author of the Mortal Witch series interviews Robin Donovan

May 13th, 2013 → 6:15 pm @

Interview with Robin Donovan
Posted on May 10, 2013 by animalsandmagic

What is your name, your books name, genre, age level, and what is it about?

I am the author of the Donna Leigh Mystery series, my name is Robin Leemann Donovan. The first book in this cozy mystery series is entitled Is It Still Murder Even If She Was a Bitch?

Book display

Although Donna Leigh, the protagonist of this comedic murder mystery is a menopausal business woman, I have been told that the book has been enjoyed by men and women of a wide age range. However, I would imagine that my primary target audience would be Women 45 – 64.

Menopausal and sardonic Donna Leigh owns an Omaha ad agency. Sleuthing keeps Donna’s toxic relationship with her murdered former colleague from landing her on the suspect list. Donna and her colorful colleagues hunt unrelentingly for clues, leaving a trail of unintentional destruction in their wake, even after Donna is threatened.

Tell us a little about your books characters.

Donna Leigh is my protagonist, a menopausal ad-agency owner/amateur sleuth. Babs & Peg are her two menopausal cohorts. When the three get together – something always happens.

The murder victim, Claire, a former colleague who was a self-satisfied bitch with a less than perfectly ethical approach to business.

Clovis Cordoba Seville is the former colleague who takes the world record in narcissism. Her mental process is fascinating as she manages to ensure that everything revolves around her – she projects her worst flaws onto Donna.

Other folks around the agency include: Donna’s business partners Liv and Donny, her good friend Kyle and various and sundry other staffers.

Last but not least are Donna’s husband Jon and their three rescue bulldogs. They are her comfort and her solace after some very difficult days.

Do you have a favorite among your characters?

Clovis is my favorite. She was added in as a joke, but she became almost the alter ego of Donna. Clovis is everything that Donna hates, she’s a person who puts herself above all else – and only works to ensure that she remains center stage. We all have those moments periodically – and Clovis is quick to point out any and every minor ego related infraction of Donna’s. She also projects a great deal of her own narcissistic insanity on Donna – and we’ve all met those people – what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

Why did you write your book? Did anything specific inspire it?

I have been in the advertising business for over 30 years and I have met some incredible characters. The book was a chance to explore some of the more outrageous of those personalities and combine them with two of my favorite things: comedy and murder mysteries.

Want to Write a Book?

Want to Write a Book?

During the editing process, a few of my editors were concerned that some of my characters were too outrageous and not believable – my editors hailed from academia. Rest assured there has never been a person in the advertising industry who has not absolutely believed these are credible characters.

Now tell us a little about yourself.

I started out as a high school English teacher and felt very old very fast. After three years of teaching I got a job in an advertising agency and have never felt old since.

Most of my career was in the Northeast, but when an offer came to head the media department in the founding office of Bozell, I jumped at the chance and moved to Omaha. Living in Omaha has been an incredible experience. It has changed me from the fast paced, overly aggressive northeasterner that I was and given me a chance to stop and smell the roses – although some would tell you I’m kidding myself on that count!

Twelve years ago I was given the chance to be part of a group that bought the Bozell brand from IPG. It has been an amazing experience – never easy, but rewarding in so many ways.

Our active role in social media started me blogging and once I started writing there was no stopping me. I write for our company blog: Insights, I write a blog on menopause called Menologues, which is republished on Vibrant Nation and Alltop. A few years ago, we got a publisher as a client and I realized that all the pieces of the puzzle were in place and it was time to write my book.

When I’m not at work or writing, I spend time with my rescue bulldogs, ski, dance and I’m an avid reader. I also attend food and wine tastings fairly regularly.

Do you do a lot of reading? And what are a few of your favorite books and authors?

I love to read murder mysteries, both serious and humorous. In general, I love a well written book that reveals a secret. My favorite author is Dickens, but I love Jane Austen.

On the lighter side, I have the utmost respect for JK Rowling and Janet Evanovich. They both serve an important purpose – when my good friend lost her Mom, I sent her the first six Evanovich books – now she’s hooked.

Where can your books be purchased?

Direct book purchase page on my publisher’s website: http://writelife.pinnaclecart.com/humor/is-it-still-murder-even-if-she-was-a-bitch/

Through my author’s website: www.rldonovan.com

The book can also be purchased at the 13th Street Mystery Bookstore – A Stitch in Crime, the Bookworm, Nebraska at the Market and Urban Abbey.

The book can also be purchased on:

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Still-Murder-Even-She-Bitch/dp/1608080382/ref=la_B009G5AKCS_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367857451&sr=1-1

AmazonKindle

http://www.amazon.com/Still-Murder-Even-Bitch-ebook/dp/B009B1AVZ8/ref=la_B009G5AKCS_1_1_title_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1367857572&sr=1-1

Barnes and Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/is-it-still-murder-even-if-she-was-a-bitch-?store=allproducts&keyword=is+it+still+murder+even+if+she+was+a+bitch%3F+

Books a Million

http://www.booksamillion.com/search?id=5678577054418&query=is+it+still+murder+even+if+she+was+a+bitch%3F&where=Books&search.x=49&search.y=10&search=Search

Donna Leigh Mysteries

Donna Leigh Mysteries

Indie Bound

http://www.indiebound.org/hybrid?filter0=is+it+still+murder+even+if+she+was+a+bitch%3F&x=31&y=7

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About animalsandmagic
I am an author and reader of fiction and nonfiction books about animals, the relationships between humans and animals, magic and other supernatural things. My first published book series is called Mortal Realm Witch and is for ages 8-adult. My blog mostly focuses on the topics of animals, magic, reading books, writing books, and sometimes other things as well. I post new blogs every two weeks so be sure to check back then if you like my blog but are not following it. You can also learn when I post a new blog by following me on Facebook and/or Twitter. You can visit my website, www.mortalrealmwitch.com, for the links.
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about.me

Jennifer Priester
Author, Publisher, Book Layout Designer, Artist, Reader, & Animal Lover
I write fiction and nonfiction books about animals, the relationships between humans and animals, magic, the supernatural, and superheroes. The genre’s I write in include one or more of the following: Fantasy, Short Stories, Children’s Fiction, Nonfiction, Sci-fi, Sci-fi/fantasy, Supernatural, Comic Books, Graphic Novels, and Adventure. I also do my own book cover art and any inside photos or drawings. I layout my own books, both print and eBook, as well as other peoples and publish my books under my own publishing company, A & M Moonlight Creations, which can also publish other peoples work as well as my own.
Besides writing and drawing, I love to read books, ride horses, watch TV/movies, play video games, spend time outside, and spend a lot of time with animals.
I really love animals and have and have owned many, most of which have been rescues. Currently I have a Chihuahua called Taco, two Mini Rex rabbits called Chibi and Kojikaki, and a ten year old Goldfish called Pumpkin. In the past I have owned a Toy Poodle called CeJaye, a Dutch rabbit called Friendly, a Dutch Mix called Oreo who was my first ever rescue pet and ever since adopting her I have become adoption only when it comes to getting new pets. In the past I also lived with a Parakeet called Peekablue, an African Cichlid fish called Trouble, a speckled fish called Speckle, a speckled fish called Sea Star, a Goldfish called Sunny, a Goldfish called Silver, a Dalmatian fish called Perdita, and many other fish as well.
Besides pets I have many anipals; animals that I don’t own but am friends with. One of these animals is my favorite horse at the barn I ride at, an Appendix Quarterhorse called Levi.
At some time in their lives, almost every pet and favorite anipal has inspired a either a nonfiction book, a character or characters in fiction stories, or both. The ones that have inspired fiction characters have their own special dedication page on my website.
I have found that animals are my biggest source of inpiration as a writer.

Recent Posts
Interview with Robin Donovan
New Blog Posts and Schedule Begin this Friday night!
Author Interviews Coming Very Soon! (And other news too)

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Interview with Jennifer Priester author of the Mortal Realm series for Children

May 2nd, 2013 → 2:18 pm @

Jennifer Priester is the author of The Mortal Realm Witch series for ages 1 – 8. The series currently consists of eleven books. Jennifer is both an author and an artist, so many of the illustrations in her book are her original works. She also owns the publishing company A&M Creations and is a huge animal lover as well as a big supporter of rescue pets. 

Mortal Witch Book Cover

Mortal Witch Book Cover

 I recently had a chance to ask Jennifer some questions about her work

Q.  What is a Mortal Realm witch? How are mortal realm witches different from other witches? What do they contribute to the world?

A mortal realm witch is exactly as it sounds, a witch that lives in the Mortal Realm. The only difference between a Mortal Realm witch and a witch living in the Other Realm is that those in the Mortal Realm often get along better with mortals. Throughout history witches and mortals have often been enemies. Mortal Realm witches, having been living with mortals yet still being witches, are often, but not always

the ones trying to keep peace between witches and mortals. One other fun fact about Mortal Realm witches is that if you are a warlock living in the Mortal Realm, you are also considered to be a Mortal Realm witch. Witch is technical term for both witches and warlocks.

Q.  Are you a Mortal Realm witch? If so, how long have you known that you are, or did you choose to be one?

I take on the countenance of a Mortal Realm witch only when I write. I chose to become a Mortal Realm Witch for the first time the summer after my sixth grade year.

Q.   Can anyone be a mortal realm witch?

If you are a witch and live in this Realm, the Mortal Realm, then you are one. If a witch from the Mortal Realm moves to the Other Realm then they are no longer considered to be Mortal Realm witches.  If you are a mortal and are given your magical powers from a witch, then for as long as you live in the Mortal Realm, you become a Mortal Realm Witch. Otherwise it is not possible, but just because you can’t become a Mortal Realm Witch any other way, you can be a Mortal Realm magic user. Details on this can be found throughout the Mortal Realm Witch series.

Q. What is an anipal?

An anipal is basically any animal I am friends with. The term anipals fits, although is never used in any of my books. This is just a term I used on my website. Anipals do include pets. I usually define an anipal as animals I don’t live with but am friends with. The anipals page on my website is basically a tribute page to the animals that have inspired books and characters in different stories. Each anipal on the page has a photo and a short description of who they are as well as what books and characters they have inspired.

Q. Do all mortal realm witches have a close connection to animals? Would you call them animal communicators – or can they only communicate with their inner circle of animals/anipals?

While the term anipal is never used in the book, witches do have them, and all witches, Mortal Realm or Other Realm, have very close connections to animals. In a way they are animal communicators because they can talk to any animal. Usually with Mortal Realm animals, they need to put a spell on the animal to give it the ability to talk because most witches can’t understand animal speak any easier than mortals without the use of magic. Although some witches, such as my main series witch, DWW, is a protector witch. Protector witches have the ability to turn into a specific animal naturally, without the use of any magic. When in this form, which for DWW is a wolf, these witches can’t be detected by witch hunters. Because of this, protector witches have the job of protecting the same type of animal that they can turn into. Because DWW can change into a wolf naturally, not only can she become one, but she can understand them whether she is in her wolf form or not. While witches like DWW have a lot of anipals, their closest ones are their familiars. A familiar is a talking animal that teaches a witch or warlock how to use magic. These animals are live in teachers and most of the time, witches and their familiars are best friends. DWW and her familiar; a Golden Retriever called Trillman are actually no exception to this although in the first book it may not seem this way. More about familiars will be able to be learned throughout the Mortal Realm Witch series, especially in the first series companion.

Q.  What prompted you to begin a book series about mortal realm witches?

I actually had no plans on writing a series. After the first story in Book One: Mortal Meets Magic, I thought I was done. Somehow throughout that next school year, my thoughts kept wandering back to that story and I began imagining myself as DWW and wondering what it would be like to have witchcraft of my own. As I imagined these things I wrote them, and DWW’s next stories got written based on my daydreams. The story behind the series is actually a little too long to add here, so anyone interested can learn the story on my blog here:  http://animalsandmagic.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/unfinished-projects-do-we-ever-return-or-how-the-mortal-realm-witch-series-came-to-be/

There have been a few minor changes and additions to the series since, but it was completely up to date at the time I posted.

Q.  Are all of the books in this series largely focused on animals?

I would say yes, a lot of them are focused on animals, whether they’re familiars, Other Realm creatures, pets, wolves, my witches in wolf form, or whatever, there are a lot of animals in the series, many of which have large roles throughout. Some of the animals with the biggest roles in the series are: Trillman (Golden Retriever), Max (Labrador Retriever), Brad (Black Panther/Black Cat from Book Three), The Fire Pack (Asantra’s wolf pack in books four, companion 2, and book five), Screetche (Asantra’s familiar, a Double X Bird), Star (Jack Russell Terrier), and others as well. Probably the least animal focused book in the series, is Trillman’s Story, a free to read story here: http://www.mortalrealmwitch.com/extras/freetoreadstories.html The reason I consider it to be the least animal focused is because, although it is about Trillman, the story takes place back when Trillman was a human warlock living in the Mortal Realm. It is the story of how he became a familiar.

Q.  If your series on mortal realm witches could convey one or two key messages – what would they be?

I don’t really know, I suppose there are some, but this isn’t something I think about when I am writing and I am not even good at seeing these things in other people’s work. I guess you would have to read the series and see what you could come up with. Now, if you were to ask my characters they would each tell you something different. Such as, my characters were recently interviewed. Some of which were asked to give advice to the readers. One character, my villain Sampson advised them not to tell anyone their plans if their goal is to take over the Realms. I think he would consider this to be an important series message. Asantra might tell you that she believes an important message in the series would be that the little things matter, as she learned the hard way. So, I think the messages in the series will vary greatly based on the reader. And since I mentioned it the interview schedule for my characters can be found here if anyone is interested: http://www.mortalrealmwitch.com/whatsnew.html

Q.  What is the hardest thing about writing this series of books?

The hardest part has been developing the characters’ personalities. Because I rarely know who my characters are until I have written everything out, my characters actually develop throughout the course of the series rather than in the first book they appear. So, if you read about a character that is in more than one book of mine, companions and some not series books included (Some characters such as the superheroes, Black Cat, Chihuahua, The Star Power Puppy, and Wonder Wolf in the second companion, or the young animal psychics in Book Three, are actually characters from different books that aren’t part of the Mortal Realm Witch series.). To really know who my characters are you would have to read them all as more about them is revealed over time. In some cases, such as DWW or Sampson, they are younger in Book One so they are still developing who they are. To some people the characters come across as underdeveloped, which would be the case if there were just one book, but because it is a series, I had the chance to learn who they are without restricting them to being anyone specific at the start.

Q.  How has the public received the Mortal Realm witches series? Is this the response you hoped for? If not, what would you like to see?

Overall the public has liked book one, however a lot of people haven’t understood its purpose. Most of the people who have given negative feedback have only read the first three stories, so their feedback is based on an initial impression of my characters, and if they were to continue beyond that point they would experience a critical turning point in which DWW hits her stride. This is where more action begins to come into the story. Some of the people have said the book is boring because there isn’t enough action, but a few of these same people have also claimed to like the book which is a bit confusing. Most people have either liked or loved it and are anxiously awaiting the next one. One of my reviews also says the characters are underdeveloped, but I have only heard this once. I would really like it if more people could understand what I am doing with my series, but they would have to make the commitment to read all the books in order to do this. I would also like to see more of the people who have really liked the book reviewing it. I did hope people would like it, but I guess I expected it to have a better response based on the feedback I got from my original beta readers and book reviewers, who I know gave their honest responses prior to the books publishing, but strangely it’s the ones that really like my book that I have no idea why they like it. More of these types of reviews would be great. Obviously the ones that really like it aren’t missing the main goal of book one, which really is about learning about magic, as the title suggests. In Book One the reader is learning everything DWW learned. I almost feel like, for some people, I should have put a warning on the book saying: Warning! You will learn about magic! Maybe this would have alerted people that Book One does have more details, but if they don’t know them, it may make the next books a little harder to understand.

Q.  How has writing this series changed your life?

I don’t know, I actually wonder if the writing changed my life or was writing the series my life? After all, I have been writing adventures for these characters since the summer after sixth grade, which was several years ago.

Q.  What have you learned through the writing and promoting of this series that surprised you?

What surprised me most was learning where I could promote and sell books and where I couldn’t. After writing my book I had expected bookstores and my local library to be the biggest help. I was wrong. The local independent bookstore had no interest in helping, not even if I supplied the book. The chain one; Barnes and Noble, was more helpful. Although my publisher, who is me, I own the publishing company A & M Moonlight Creations, would have to pay for a spot in the store and they couldn’t let me do book signings or anything. They did offer some sales advice, the first suggestion was that it wouldn’t make any sense for me to buy a spot in the store while people have no idea who I am because the book wouldn’t be likely to sell even there, and having only one book at the time just made that worse.

My local library, although highly supportive of my book manager’s book (according to her.), almost seemed to have no interest in mine. They said I could donate a copy and if it circulated then they might buy more. Even if I did donate, I would still have the same problem Barnes and Noble told me about. It wouldn’t be very likely to circulate yet. So, while I did mean to get it to them at some point, my local library still doesn’t have a copy of my book.

The first helpful place for promoting my book was my local Key Bank. Mine, and others, have allowed me to put up a sign with take away cards about my books, and my closest one has even allowed me to keep my sign up even while other companies are using the table. Although I have only sold a few books, and don’t know what the buyers saw about my book and where they saw it, I don’t know if this way of promoting is doing anything, but it is free so why not?

The next helpful place was at the Tack Shop of the local barn I ride at. I never asked her to put my book in her shop, instead she asked me if she could have some copies. This is now the only physical store where my book is available, but she has gotten lucky and sold a copy and so far everyone at the barn who has read the book has liked it so word is slowly spreading around there.

Schools have been helpful on and off. A few of them have bought books for the school library and some of my teachers and other people I know have bought my book. My guidance counselor at the one school borrowed a copy because he had an idea to promote it. I never heard back from him and he still has the book so, I’m not sure what’s up with that. So, far only one school, my first grade school, has been my main source of negative feedback. I’m not sure why the people at that school aren’t liking it, while my other schools are, but so far, from the feedback I have heard, everyone has liked it. They just haven’t finished the book because it is too detailed and had no plot line. Which is true, my book doesn’t have a deep plot line like other books, rather the plot focuses on DWW’s struggles to learn responsibility, and is the turning point. Unfortunately, the story of Wolf Magic, is where everyone stops so they never read to the best part.

The most successful place, for finding people who are highly supportive of my book, is actually a library. As surprised as I was that my own library took so little interest, the next library over was very interested. I have been going to this library for a long time so some of them knew about the book while I was working on it. Maybe this is why they were as interested as they were. Anyway, from the moment we first told them about the book being out they actually directly asked if I would donate a copy to them. The same day, the friends of the library system set things up so that I could sell my books during their book sales at each of the 4 library’s. I have only gotten to do 2 of the 4 so far, but at each one I have had my own table or section of table right near the checkout for the books. And two of the friends who are there almost every day of the sale have read and really liked my book so whenever they see someone buying books that they think might be interested in mine, they mention it to them. They have sold some books for me, and this has become my main way to sell books. I also help during the sales a lot so that I am helping the library and not just selling my books.

Perhaps one of my biggest surprises when selling my book, was how many people were attracted to and bought my book because there is a Golden Retriever on the cover. I know this is something I do a lot, I see something on the cover and take an interest in the book, but I guess I didn’t expect Trillman to be the selling point over any other character featured on the cover.

Q.  What else should we know about this body of work you have created?

Book One’s stories are meant to be read individually. Although connected, there is no huge plot as I mentioned earlier. Each story is told from a different characters’ point of view. Throughout the series the books and stories in them can be read in any sequence, but are still best when read in sequential order. It is highly possible, however, that Book One works better as a backstory than as the first book in the series. There is also a main theme that emerges throughout the series.

We had a holistic vet for my first dog, CeJaye. He went to her originally because he was allergic to some of the meds his vet wanted to put him on. My current dog, Taco will probably be seeing her soon, he is getting older now and developing some of the same problems. I have never met the holistic vet, but based on what I heard about CeJaye’s reaction to her I think Taco would also like her. CeJaye was never known for liking strangers, or me on many occasions, but he liked this vet.

Jennifer Priester is both the author and an avid reader of fiction and nonfiction books about animals, the relationships between humans and animals, magic and the supernatural. She has written over 200 stories, all of which will eventually be published. Her first published work is the book series, Mortal Realm Witch for ages 8-adult. Besides reading and writing Jennifer likes to draw, she does all the drawings for her books with some help from a friend.

Jennifer has animals of my own, most of which are rescues; she also loves to spend time with other people’s pets. She spends a lot of time on social network sites and is constantly updating Facebook and Twitter. She has a Facebook author page under the name of Jennifer Priester, and one under the name of her publishing company A & M Moonlight Creations. She also has an author blog on wordpress.com under the name of animalsandmagic. Jennifer’s books are available at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble online, but you can go to Barnes and Noble physical stores to get the book shipped to you or the store for free. Her books are currently only available in print format. The Mortal Realm Witch series has its own website: www.mortalrealmwitch.com.

The Mortal Realm Witch Series Books (Series and Companion books in release order and order they fit best in. eBooks are not defined in this way yet.)

Book One: Mortal Realm Witch: Learning About Magic

Book Two: Mortal Realm Witch: The Magic Continues

MRW C1 (Mortal Realm Witch Companion 1): Tales of Familiars: The First Mortal Realm Witch Series Companion

Book Three: Mortal Realm Witch: Realms Unite?

Book Four: The Adventures of DWW2

MRW C2: Tales of Young Asantra: The Second Mortal Realm Witch Series Companion

Book Five: Mortal Realm Witch 5 (title not defined yet)

MRW C3: Tales of Other Realm Creatures: The Third Mortal Realm Witch Series Companion

The Mortal Realm Witch Guide to Other Realm Creatures

eBook 1: Allura’s First Magical Discovery

eBook 2: Trillman’s Tales

eBook 3: Ally & DWW

Website comic book style video: Mortal Realm Witch Presents: Ally & Air Raid in: Book Light

My Other Books:

Short Story Collections (named):

Heroes United: A Collection of Superhero Stories. (This book features mostly stories about animal superhero’s, although there are some human ones as well. This one has several stories inspired by my favorite anipals. For some reason my favorites often become superheroes.)

Short Story Collections (unnamed)

A collection of animal adventure stories. (Some of my favorite stories that I have ever written are in this collection.)

A collection of cat and horse stories. (In this one is a horse character called; Nightmare who’s personality is made up of three horses I knew and one of the only stories where the anipals are not mentioned on my website. One reason is that I don’t have photos of them, and the other is that they don’t exactly fit the term of anipal.)

A collection of dog stories. (One of the stories inspired by my Chihuahua, Taco, is in this one.)

A collection of random animal stories. (this includes stories about animals such as: a ferret, a kangaroo, an ostrich, a wolf pack, a dog and a cat, a hybrid animal, and others.)

A collection of magical and supernatural stories. (This one also might include some sci-fi)

A collection of Christmas stories.

More books made up of connecting short stories:

The Dogs That Saved the World

Back to the Wild (stories of different animals being returned to the wild after having lived in captivity.)

The Young Animal Psychics

“Good Luck” Animal Shelter (a book of different animal rescue stories where every animal has a secret.)

My comic book/graphic novel:

Spider and Jackal (A story inspired by the relationship between my two dogs, back when I had two of them. Some stories in this one actually happened, some are variations of things they did, and others are pure fiction, but all were inspired by my crazy dogs. My rabbits also got a place in this book.)

My nonfiction books:

My Pets and Their Lives (Every pet I have ever owned and their full life stories. I have been keeping it up to date so that it will be as current as possible once published.)

Animals in the Shelters (A book inspired by the first rescue pet I ever owned, the mixed breed bunny, Oreo. This book is about animal cruelty and animal rescue. The goal is to not just inform but help rescue animals get adopted. Besides facts I have included in it many real life success stories about rescue pets, a few failed adoptions with the stories behind them and reasons it didn’t work out, as well as shelter stories from when I worked at the shelter. Once this book is published, I will be giving part of the profits to animal rescue.)

Just Dreaming: The Dreams I Had and the Stories They Became (This one besides talking about the origin of several of my published, or what will be published books at the time this one is out, also will include some stories that will be exclusive to this book. In this book will be the dreams as they originally happened, what the dreams meant, then for the exclusives, the full story as I wrote it.)

My Collaboration Story:

The Battle of Ebulon.

The Battle of Ebulon is a collaboration story I have been working on with other authors, in which is serving as a free promotion for the authors of the book. Each author chose characters from their books to join in this battle. Each author’s section will be able to be read as an individual short story, but is a full length novel. Characters from across the Mortal Realm Witch series and Heroes United will be in my part of the book. The Battle of Ebulon will be free on Smash words. My part takes place after the final book in the Mortal Realm Witch main series (Book Five) and after Heroes United, but it was designed so that anyone can read it before reading any of my books, as that was the point of the collaboration.

My next series:

Animal World.

Animal World is a couple of book series will be fictional stories featuring true facts about animals. The aim of this series is to educate readers about animals and their lives in a fun and entertaining way. In total the Animal World series will feature over 250 animals in 41 books. The series will be split into three parts: Animal World, Animal World Super Editions, and a split off series: Animal World: Endangered.

The first Animal World series will have 22 regular books, and 5 super editions.

The split off series: Animal World: Endangered, will have 14 books and will focus exclusively on endangered species.

At the end of each book will also be a nonfiction section featuring some facts about each of the animals in the book as well as a nonfiction introduction in the beginning to introduce the biome, or common thing each animal has in the book. For example, the one book in the Animal World series will be about animals that live in the Alpine, so in the beginning, a nonfiction intro to the Alpine environments with information such as the locations they are found in and the animals that live in them, will be presented before the stories that are in the book. Then in the ending nonfiction section I will go into more detail about the animals in the stories which will feature both facts I used in the story, as well as some other facts that I find interesting about the animals.

If there is anything else you want to know, based on this email or my answers to the interview questions, let me know.

 

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Council Bluffs Public Library Author’s Fair

April 16th, 2013 → 2:57 pm @

Thanks to all the folks at the beautiful new Council Bluffs library for the Author’s Fair on Saturday! I felt very honored to have such a prominent table right in front of the entrance doors! It was a great chance to meet the folks in The Bluffs and get to know them a bit.

Council Bluffs Public Library

Council Bluffs Public Library

I was excited to learn that they may have another Author’s Fair in November for the Christmas shopping crowd!

I met a professional book reviewer and some very talented authors! And the library staff took very good care of all of us!

 

Author's Fair location

Author’s Fair location

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Great Fun on Whatever Mathers Podcast

April 8th, 2013 → 8:15 pm @

Enormous thanks to Amy Mathers of the Whatever Mathers podcast – I had a great time being on the panel! I’ll come back anytime! Check out the podcast:

http://whatevermathers.libsyn.com/episode-12-this-would-be-really-funny-if-it-were-a-sitcom-but-it-s-my-life-1

 

A great panel

A great panel

Sharing ideas

Sharing ideas

And having fun

And having fun

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Back Porch Writer interview on Blog Post Radio with Kori Miller

March 12th, 2013 → 3:56 pm @

Check out this morning’s interview with Kori Miller on Back Porch Writer on Blog Post Radio:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/backporchwriter/2013/03/12/writing-a-mystery-with-robin-donovan

A huge thanks to Kori for her awesome interview!

 

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Another Great Author Fare Thanks To The Omaha Public Library!

February 20th, 2013 → 7:38 pm @

Last Saturday’s Author Fare at the Omaha Public Library was the best author networking event I’ve been to yet! I met authors, folks connected to libraries, a lovely woman with a radio show she’s willing to use to help promote authors, a student who is blogging about authors who use social media and a whole host of other very interesting folks, some of whom promise to be very beneficial to an author’s career.

Author Fare

Author Fare

As much as I enjoyed last year, when the library premiered the Author Fare event, it could not compare to the beneficial networking of this past Saturday.

I appreciate all of the folks at the library for pulling this event together! A special shout out to my WriteLife publisher Cindy Grady, for being instrumental in making this event happen and in supporting her authors so well!

I look forward to next year’s Author’s Fare – but I’m hopeful that the success of this event will inspire the library to host more author related events before then!

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FAQs on Authoring a Book: Getting Started – Part 2 Continued

January 28th, 2013 → 9:55 pm @

We’ve already addressed three of the four basic categories that new authors tend to fall into:  the I have an idea I’d like to share with the world group, typically consisting of business advice – an idea, the I have a story to tell group, often about overcoming adversity, and/or self-help advice and the I want to write a book and give my business, or personal brand, a boost folks. We’ve given these author-types some advice on the best way to get things started.

Let the creative juices flow!

Let the creative juices flow!

That leaves our fourth and final category, consisting of the I love to write and I’m pretty good so I should probably write a book folks. For them the subject of the book is often secondary to their desire or even need to express themselves in writing.

At the risk of seeming immodest, that’s where I place myself. As an English major and a former English teacher, I have always wanted to write a book and I’ve never been shy about sharing that fact. When I finally got around to actually writing a manuscript there were those who asked “why did you wait so long?” And the answer is simple. I envisioned pouring my heart into my life’s work and spending the next decade receiving one rejection after another from heartless publishers who would ignore and overlook my brilliance, thus shredding my very soul.

Getting to know a publisher gave me the courage to take a shot. Once I’d made the decision to finally write the damn thing – I hadn’t a clue of what to write. A chat with this publisher helped to get me focused.

“What do you love?” he asked.

“I love comedy.”

“Then write your comedy and show it to me,” he suggested.

That was it. Next challenge – decide what funny things to write about. As a lifelong aficionado of murder mysteries – both serious and comedic – the old adage “write what you know” seemed applicable.

Once my genre was set I sat down to write. The first three chapters virtually wrote themselves. I packaged these up and sent them to my “publisher acquaintance” to await his verdict.

A few weeks later confirmation arrived. My chapters were of enough interest to warrant finishing the book. It was a bittersweet moment that juxtaposed the thrill of having a publisher’s interest and the terror of being clueless as to how to write a whole book.

For me, the next step was to continue writing while simultaneously creating a writing process. There are some who would say my journey appears to have been backwards. But it’s what worked for me.

Here are a few pointers for those of you raring to go:

  1. The writing is so much fun! If it’s not, maybe you have the wrong topic (obviously if you’re writing about a somber subject it won’t be a laugh riot – but it should “feel good”).
  2. You need some kind of a process. Everyone asked me if I had an outline – I never did. I found that the writing just took its own twists and turns. What I did need, however, was a process to determine:
    1. How long before I start to write the ending: I decided to split the book into quarters – and not start writing the ending until the fourth quarter – that was an enormous help.
    2. How many pages does it need to be:  I did some checking on several books in the genre – and they were books that I enjoyed so I knew that the length did not prove to be an obstacle in the enjoyment of the work.
    3. How to determine how many instances of physical comedy should be included: Again, research other authors in the genre – try to focus on books you thought worked well and see how many individual times they used physical comedy.
    4. How to remember details so I could tie up loose ends: I kept a notebook with notes on every chapter. I chronicled when every character was introduced and when every plot turn occurred – it’s impossible to remember every detail – notes are a godsend. I also took notes on every character’s name – you’d be surprised how you can forget a character’s last name – or how you spelled their name.
    5. In my case, folks always ask me if I knew who the murderer was in the beginning. The answer is “no.” At times I thought I knew, but as things progress I changed my mind – several times. Letting the prose take you where it does is known as creativity – don’t try to jam your creativity into a pre-determined outline!
    6. Let the editors do their work! If you are self-published, make it your business to find some great editors and ask them to be ruthless. If you publish traditionally or collaboratively your publisher will take care of that for you. Remember, a suggested change by an editor is not a failure of your manuscript – if you let the creative juices flow there are bound to be mistakes or awkward areas. A great editor will honestly improve the quality of your end product – we don’t always see the flaws in our own creation – nor do friends and relatives!
    7. If all else fails, just write and see where it takes you! You can always turn it into a book later. The whole key to your success is to let yourself go! After that, process and editing (not to mention proofing) will clean things up and make you ready for “prime time!

Donovan heads Bozell Books, a division of Bozell designed to help authors and budding authors from inception through promotion of their published work. She has authored a novel entitled: Is It Still Murder Even If She Was a Bitch? www.rldonovan.com, and the second in her Donna Leigh Mysteries series is currently being published. Her next installment of FAQs on Authoring a Book will address the prospective author with confidence in their ability to write and how it impacts their process of “Getting Started.”

 

 

 

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