Character Interview with Lisbeth Harrington from Towering Pines Volume One: Room 509

Towering Pines Volume One: Room 509 is the first novel in the Towering Pines series. This young adult paranormal mystery follows the adventures of Liam Rider and Lisbeth Harrington, two teen heroes with their own special abilities. Lisbeth Harrington is unlike any fifteen year-old you’ve ever met. What is written below is a partial transcript from her interrogation after the police arrive on the scene at Admiral Farragut Military Academy on Halloween Eve.
Lisbeth: I have nothing to say.Detective Roger Mordan: Little missy, you are running out of chances here. Someone destroyed the roof of the building. Someone beat Liam Rider and Sean Taggert to a bloody pulp and you know who that is.Detective Elaine Benedict: Lisbeth, we aren’t your enemy. We just want to know what happened. Who did this?  We want to stop them from doing it again.Lisbeth: Not my enemy? This good cop, bad cop thing is so eitghties… which one of you is Eddie Murphy?

Detective Mordan: What is in that bag that we found at the scene? That somekind of drugs? You dealing, little girl? And that stick? Is that some kind of weapon? Was this all a drug deal gone bad?

Detective Benedict: Lisbeth, we know you had something to do with what happened. We know you were there when the explosion occurred. What we don’t know is who else was there. There had to be someone else there, Miss Harrington.

Lisbeth: I have nothing to say that is of any use to you. The ghosts did it.
Detective Mordan: Ghosts?  Is that supposed to be funny?  You’re a little smart-ass… why don’t you tell us and let us decide. We are detectives in case you didn’t know.

Detective Benedict: Tell us about your relationship to Liam Rider.

Lisbeth: He is my man, we have sex. A lot of sex. In fact, we were doing it so hard that it caused the explosion. Taggert? He was a peeping Tom. He liked that sort of thing; you know how those boys are.  Is that what you were looking for?

Detective Mordan: Miss Harrington, you are trying my patience. Answer the question or you’ll spend the night in jail.

Lisbeth: Yea, not likely.

Detective Mordan: What’s that supposed to mean girl?

Lisbeth: What it means, copper, is that you can’t keep me without a charge.  And my relationship with Liam is none of your business but he had nothing to do with any of it.

Detective Benedict: Roger, can I have a minute alone with Lisbeth?

Detectice Mordan leaves the room
Detective Benedict: Lisbeth, it’s just you and me now. I know about your parents leaving you when you were little. I know about your aunt sending you to military school where you’ve don’t quite well. You need to give us what you know on this. We can charge you with obstruction of justice and keep you here. Do you know what that will do to your chances of going to college? I don’t want to do that but you aren’t leaving me with much choice.

Lisbeth: You don’t know anything about my parents or me. They didn’t leave me! Go ahead put me in jail it doesn’t matter anyway. I was tied up and kidnapped and I escaped, I can do it again.

Detective Benedict: Kidnapped? By who? The guy who did this?  Tell me Lisbeth, let me help you.

Lisbeth: Yes… I mean no… Look, you seem nice but what do you want me to tell you? That Liam and I are lovers? We aren’t. The bag? It’s candy; if you taste it you’ll see that it’s just flavored sugar. Or did you think I was some kind of witch and that was my magic powder or something ridiculous like that? And the next thing you’ll believe is that Liam is some kind of special spirit that can see dead people.  Good luck with all that.

Detective Benedict: Candy you say?

Lisbeth: Yes, candy. And the stick as big Roger put it? It’s my magic wand if that’s what makes you happy. Seriously, I arrived late to the party. I found Liam and Taggert hurt so I called for help. So if I can have my wand back I’ll find my black cat and fly home on my

broom if that’s okay with you.

Detective Benedict: That’s your story?

Lisbeth: That’s my story.

Bruce A. Sarte
Author, Sands of Time, Towering Pines, The Star of Christmas
Check Out My New Release — Philadelphia Story: A Lance Carter Detective Novel

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3 Facebook Groups to Consider If You’re New to Indie Writing

I mentioned before that forums are important for learning from others who have gone before you about pretty much anything related to writing. I particularly enjoy Absolute Writers forum where I visit as a fly on the wall, but one place you do not hear a lot about is Facebook.

Facebook’s groups more than the forums have been my deliverance. I find them easy to navigate and great for getting answers for simple or complicated questions, provided you find the right groups. As with forums you take part in the conversation. The best think is FB prompts you when someone responds to your comments and posts.

A word of caution about FB groups: Not all groups are equal, and most are really a waste of time. There are three types of FB writers’ groups I’ve encountered more often than not.

  1. The graveyard: These groups are functionally dead. No one posts, not even the owner of the group. It may have a lot members, but not much is going on. I joined several of these because I loved what the group was about, but it ended up being a waste of my time
  2. The spam lot: As the name suggests, the groups is just a series of links to authors’ books, like a without the sort function. So I suppose you could post about your book here if you want, and someone might stumble across it. However if you’re looking for help and insight, you won’t get it here.
  3. The I’m-so-great group: This is similar to the spam lot, but instead writers post random comments, thoughts and articles. The writers here have no interest in engaging with anyone. I assume they’re trying to get their names out by showing us, the readers, why they’re so smart. Again, feel free to post if you have something to say, but don’t expect much.

But, Bisi, I thought this was a blog about why FB groups are great, you ask.

Well, actually, it’s a blog entry about three FB writers’ groups I think are pretty good and are wonderful communities for self-published and indie-published writers.

Book Junkies

If I had to describe this group, I’d say they mean business. They have more than 1000 members, which gives you a large pool of writers to talk to. Of course, not everyone is active, but this group is the most active writers’ group on FB; that, I know.

Conversations are great and challenging, and writers are honest. What I really like about it is people really respond, and the responses are quite well thought out. A few times I’ve been overwhelmed with answers to my questions and sometimes they ignore me. I also find there’s always some question I can comment on the page. Even if it’s to say, I don’t know.

Normally, I try to post my more serious questions and leave my idea of writing butterfly werewolves’ stories to the paranormal romance guild.

Paranormal Romance Guild

The fine women (and men) in this group are like my sisters. Even if you’re not a paranormal romance writer, it’s a great place to meet and hang out with writers who are serious about self-publishing or independent publishing. I learned about blog hops a week ago from a woman I chatted with in the group.

I go to the girls when I need insight on editors, book designs, the layout of my FB page and blog. They’re a friendly bunch, and most of the time I do get answers to questions, even if it’s just an “I don’t know”.

The group has fewer than 200 members, so you start seeing the same people around and that helps when you need to ask someone a quick question. This is romance site, so no under 18s.

Historical Romance Fiction

Again, not really gonna be much help if you don’t write historical romance, but if you are new to writing, there are lots of people here dying to give advice. You also get to encounter a lot of readers too.

The level of conversation is not as high as the first two groups, but it’s miles ahead of most FB writers’ groups I’ve joined. I call this group and the other two writer resource groups the best because by just taking part you’re equipping yourself.

Please check them out for a week and let me know what you think.

If you’ve heard of any more great FB writers’ groups please, give me a shout, I’ll add them to the blog.

5 Things I’ve Learnt as an Independent Writer

By the way I’m running giveaways here and here.

I’m in the process of readying my first novel for publication. (Click here for details.) As I work, there are a few things I’ve picked up as on this journey I’d like to share. They were instrumental in getting me this far.

1. Assess your options and consider the independent electronic publishers

Going it alone is not for the faint-hearted but don’t think because you opted out from the big six publishers, you have
to do it alone. There are tons of small publishers (independent publishers) who can offer you great royalties and some support.

You still have to do a lot of your own promotion, but they sort out things like book design, editing, formatting and online distribution. A few will even set up online events for you too. So if you don’t know where to start, try those.

I didn’t realise these guys existed until six months ago, and while ultimately, I decided not to use them, I definitely recommend checking a few out before you go it alone.

2. Gather allies and avoid haters

Surround yourself with people who think you can succeed. Yes, this might sound like you’re deluding yourself with a crowd of yes women, but you’re a writer, you’re supposed to delude yourself. Never underestimate the power of your cheerleading section.

Okay, you might think I’m suggesting that you just surround yourself with people who tell you your writing is awesome, but that’s not what I’m saying (see next point).

As a writer who has chosen to go with an indie publisher or alone, you will face a lot of judgement from some writers, some reviewers, the literary media and readers. As we know, many people consider indie publishing akin to literary moonshine. I’m advising you stay away from people who are going to put you down because they don’t believe in your choices.

Do not stick around in forums where people attack you and don’t friend people on Facebook if they’re only going to put you down for self-publishing. Why punish yourself? Where do you find the time? Shouldn’t you be writing? Listen, not everyone will agree with you, I mean, wear white after Labor Day and not everyone likes it, so tell them to deal with it.

Instead, find people who will build you up and help you on your journey. When you find them, hold on to them.

3. Get as much feedback as you can on your writing

I’m not talking about the mechanics of your writing (for example, spelling, syntax and consistency. Please invest as much as you can in getting your work edited, proofread and beta read.) I mean getting input about the plot. I’m a talker. I love talking people through the ins and outs of my stories. I find this helps me develop my plot significantly.

Some writers know they should get a reasonable amount of feedback on your actual writing and story. The challenge is finding people to give you the feedback. I accept not everyone I talk to likes it when I do that. I’ve burnt out three of my sisters and one brother (but I’ve got three more siblings to go).

4. Ask questions; join forums and groups

I never understood the power of forums and online groups until I became a writer. I used to think,what can a bunch of unpublished writers know? Well, they know a lot. If you’re not using forums of any kind, stop what you’re doing, open another tab on your browser and Google “writers’ groups” (or let me Google that for you,  lol).

Are you back?

There’s almost no question you have that someone on a forum can’t answer. Find a few and stick with them. You’ll be surprised at the valuable nuggets you can pick up. For instance, I only found out what a blog hop was a week ago from a woman I met in a Facebook group.

5. Above all write

This is the same for all writers except you don’t have an editor chasing you with a deadline. So, you have to chase yourself. Write in the morning, evening and night. Dump the boy/girl messing with your head and get your book done!

5 Reasons I Went Indie Rather Than Trade (Traditional) Publishing

In honour of 4th of July, I thought I would talk about why I became an independent author and I’m running giveaways here and here.

“So Bisi, why did you did you go Indie (I hear you say)”

When people learn I’m writing a novel, most want to know whether I’ve found a publisher as is common with a lot of writers. My answer to this is an honest no, and most of my friends seem okay with it. Then I met Suky, a friend of a friend, who’s a fiction editor.

Suky convinced me to look for an agent and go the traditional route because no self-respecting publisher would touch me if I was self-published. And why would I self-publish? It’s not as if I’m writing a book on polygamy. She sat down and took me to school on how much better it is for me to publish through a publishing company.

So I followed her advice, and I ended up second-guessing myself and being utterly miserable with the experience even before I sent out my first query. Eventually, I stopped writing altogether and started taking guitar lessons. Then, a few months later, I remembered I never wanted to go the traditional publishing road, and that was a big part of my motivation to write seriously in the first place. I asked myself why I wanted to self-publish in the first place.

This is what my inner voice said to me:

1. The freedom

The bottom line is I get to write what I want and as much as I want. Not everyone will like it; some will hate it. Don’t get me wrong; the path of freedom isn’t easy, but at least I’ll enjoy the walk. I also write a lot, so I can get a three-book series out in a year if I want to.

2. It’s a life lesson

Maybe one day I’ll decide never to write again. At least, though, some people will read my book. Even if only three people do, that’s still three people I don’t know who have a piece of me in their heads for the rest of their lives. How awesome is that?

Life’s about learning, and in this journey I’m discovering myself. I couldn’t do that sitting at home just waiting for some publisher to pick me. That’s how I see it.

3. I can always try to get a publisher later

In the future I can still try to sell a new series to a publisher if I want to. I don’t see how the experience of going it alone is a disadvantage. I can promote my book better because I now have a major in Paranormal Romance with a minor in getting stuff sold from the University of Self-Publishing.

4. I love writing

Honestly, if I didn’t need to sleep, I would write all the time. I don’t enjoy writing queries and printing reams of paper to send to my agents all around the world. I understand that’s required on the traditional route, and I respect those who do it. Given the choice, though, I’d rather get my book written, then write another and another. The time I don’t spend writing, I’m happy getting out to the market and meeting people like you guys and girls. It’s just who I am.

5. This works for me

At the end of the day, win or lose, I’m happy I did it my way.

So, I put away my guitar and took out my laptop and wrote a 90,000-word novel. I no longer talk to Suky about my writing, but we do go out for coffee now and then.

* Disclaimer: I accept many people prefer the term self-published, so I mean no offense, but I like freelance novelist. See this giveaway  for more on this subject.

Interview with YA Author Michael Drakich, Author of The Brotherhood of Piaxa

Today, I’m interviewing author Michael Drakich. I heard about his book through my involvement with the paranormal romance guild.  Quite a few authors in the group suggested I read his work and when I made a call out for contributors to my blog, he one of the first to volunteer (but not the first).

Tell me about yourself?

I’m Michael Drakich. I write speculative fiction – science fiction and fantasy. I’ve written The Brotherhood of Piaxia, and Grave Is the Day and Vows Above.

Can you describe the time when you first realised that writing was something you absolutely had to do?

It was about six and a half years ago. I had bought a fantasy novel that was part of a series of high repute. In fact, it even had a television series made after the books. After reading it from cover to cover I thought, “What a load of crap! I can do better than this.” On Monday, February 20, 2006, at 5:23:53 p.m. I sat down and began writing. I haven’t looked back since.

  How long have you been published?

My first published novel, Grave Is the Day, was released on April 15, 2011, and was published with Knight Romance Publishing (KRP).
What made you decide to publish with a small publisher and then eventually self-publish?

The decision to accept an offer from KRP was one of getting my feet wet. The countless rejections from literary agents had me changing my plans and searching out a small publisher. I appreciate what KRP did for me, and it also provided me additional education as to the industry, things it would have taken much longer to learn on my own. Since then, I have decided to go the self-publishing route, and my newest release, The Brotherhood of Piaxia, is just that. The ebook world is changing the industry daily.

 What advice can you give self-published authors or those with small publishers?

The number one answer is passion. Without it a writer’s work will not improve,…[and the writer won’t] be willing to accept criticisms and setbacks as learning curves.

What are you working on now?

 I have a couple of WIPs underway. One is a thriller entitled Lest the Dew Rust Them. Another is science fiction entitled The Infinite Within. Right now, I am focusing on my most recent release, The Brotherhood of Piaxia. I released it on March 15, 2012. It is an epic fantasy.

 Here is the short synopsis:

 Years have passed since the overthrow of the monarchy by the Brotherhood of Warlocks, and they rule Piaxia in peaceful accord. But now forces are at work to disrupt this accord from outside the Brotherhood as well as within! Follow Tarlok, Savan and Tessia as their paths intertwine with the Brotherhood in pursuit and the powerful merchants’ guild manipulating the populace for their own ends.

Where can we find out more about you?

I have a blog I maintain on my page at Goodreads For my novels, they can be found at AmazonBarnes & Noble and Smashwords.

Right now, The book is on sale at Smashwords for 50% off

$10 Giveaway – INDIEpendence Day

Prize: $10 gift certificate. ( certificates are available at the exchange rate.)

How to Enter:

Answer the following 2 questions:

  1. In your opinion what should writers, who pay for the publishing and promotion of their work, call themselves; 

a.  Self-published author/writer[L2]
b.  Independent author/writer
c.  Freelance author/writer
d.  Free spirit
e.  I don’t care, just write the damn book!
f.  Crazy people
g.  None of the above

2.  Why do think that?

Leave a comment stating your answers along with a valid email address.

Bisi will select the best comment and announce the winner on the blog by 7 July.

The giveaway closes 6 July noon GMT (London time) or 1 a.m. EDT (U.S. Eastern Daylight Time/New York)

Please read the contest terms and conditions here

In case you don’t know we have another competition here

Winner: Carrie, congratulations!