Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Break out the Bubbly and the Dark Chocolate: Celebrating Marilyn Baron's eBook Short Story A CHOIR OF ANGELS

Please join me in welcoming my sister blogger and writing friend, Marilyn Baron, as we celebrate the release of her eBook Short Story A CHOIR OF ANGELS. I first met Marilyn a little over a year ago at Georgia Romance Writer's author critique. She is a gracious, lovely person. I'm honored to celebrate her publishing story. *Pop* *Sizzle* and pouring a glass of bubbly right now.

Welcome to the Veranda, Marilyn. I'm so pleased to have you!! How did you end up becoming a writer?

I’ve wanted to become a writer since I started reading the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’ve been writing since I was in fourth grade. My first book was called “East West Island,” which featured my classmates as the characters. My teacher read installments every day in class and all the kids loved being mentioned in the book. I wrote, directed and cast a play in my neighborhood to raise money for the JFK Library when I was 13. From there, I wrote all the school assembly programs, was editor of my junior high school newspaper, feature editor of my high school newspaper, majored in Journalism (Public Relations sequence) and Creative Writing in college, and have enjoyed a challenging career in corporate public relations, which involves writing and editing. I also edit The Galley, Georgia Romance Writers’ online chapter newsletter. Although I’ve been writing in some form all my life, I’ve always wanted to write fiction.

I loved the Little House on the Prairie books! What is your favorite genre to write? 

Humorous women’s fiction and romantic suspense, so it was a departure for me to have my first story published by TWB Press, a Science Fiction, Supernatural, Horror, Thriller publisher of novels and short stories.

Wow, you really did jump to a new genre. Are you a plotter or do you follow the muse? 

I definitely “follow the muse.” I wish I could be a disciplined plotter. Typically, I get an inspiration for the title first and after coming up with the names of the main characters and fleshing them out, I just start writing. As a Public Relations consultant, I create advertising and marketing campaigns, and come up with concepts for brochures, magazines, annual reports and Web sites, so titles and themes are an important part of what I do. I apply that knowledge to my fiction writing.

How do you relax after a writing day? 

I read or veg out (and ultimately fall asleep) on the couch in front of the television.

I tend to fall asleep on the couch in front of the television as well! What do you read? What are your favorite genres? Who are your favorite authors? 

I read everything from literary fiction and thrillers to romantic suspense. I just finished Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken. I’m currently reading Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants. On my to-be-read pile: Suzanne Brockmann’s Breaking the Rules and Vince Flynn’s American Assassin. Among my favorite writers are Robert Wilson, Daniel Silva, Jayne Ann Krentz and Nora Roberts. Some treasures I have discovered and passed on to other book lovers are Little Bee by Chris Cleave; Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese; and The Book Thief, by Australian YA author Markus Zusak. There are just too many good books out there to mention.

We have very similar reading tastes. I love so many of the authors you listed. And yes, there are so many good books out there. Many of them are waiting for me to pick them up and turn the page. Speaking of turning the pages, what is your current writing project? 

It’s a romantic suspense called Sixth Sense. The story opens when a psychic predicts the death of the young son of America’s heartthrob in a plane crash and her warning goes unheeded by a ‘by-the-book’ Atlanta police detective. She and the detective are dispatched to help catch a serial killer in Sydney, Australia. When she returns to Atlanta, she enlists the detective’s help when her parents are killed in an auto accident and she learns she is adopted. The search for her adoptive parents leads the pair to Cassadaga, a spiritualist community in Central Florida, where she finds her birth mother, a strong psychic and spiritual healer, and her birth father, a lecherous trance medium who rules the community with an iron fist. Something is rotten in Cassadaga and the trail leads back to her parents’ killer. Since I was born without a sense of smell, I have an overdeveloped sixth sense, so working on this project has been very interesting for me.

Oh, this book sounds so intriguing. Could you tell us about your new release, “A Choir of Angels?”

Think Here Comes the Bride. There Goes the MOB (Mother of the Bride). This humorous, supernatural e-short story is timely because wedding season is just around the corner. If you like to cry at weddings and you like to laugh, I hope you’ll love “A Choir of Angels,” a heartwarming tale of a family’s tragedy and a wedding promise unfulfilled. How far will a mother go to sing at her daughter’s wedding? Nothing, not even a little thing like death, is going to cheat Rhonda Paver out of celebrating the happiest day of her daughter’s life. Even if she has to cross over to the other side to do it.

“A Choir of Angels,” is now available from TWB Press at www.twbpress.com/achoirofangels.html in PDF eBook format or you can find a Kindle, Nook or OmniLit link at the TWB Press site. You can also search Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, or Omnilit.com by name and title or Smashwords at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/51916.

Excellent! Great cover, too! Can't wait to get my copy. Where do you get your ideas for your stories? 

Inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere. I’ll hear a name that I like and know I want to use it in a story. A title will just come to me and I know that’s the one. For example, I got the idea for Sixth Sense sitting next to a psychic on an airplane flight to Sydney. I eavesdrop at every opportunity – at dinner, at the hair salon, on an airplane, anywhere. You never know when a snippet of information could become the basis for another story.

I love eavesdropping. Nothing is sacred in a writer's world LOL. How long were you trying to get published before you got the “call?” 

Almost eight years.

How did you celebrate the new book contract? 

My daughter, her boyfriend and my daughter’s friend came to my door and surprised me with a balloon, a congratulations card and a bottle of my favorite wine, Moscato d’Asti. My daughter and her friend had collaborated on a book and I helped them in that process, so their recognition was of particular significance to me.

Sounds like fun! What was the most important thing you remember after the story was published?

My father, who was always very supportive of my writing, passed away last year before I got published. When the story was first released, my mother printed it out and left it in his favorite spot in the kitchen. For a moment she had forgotten he was no longer there when she left it out for him to “read.” She said he would have been proud of me. That was heart-wrenching.

*Wiping eyes* That is a beautiful story, Marilyn. Was the “call” an actual phone conversation or an email or a snail mail? 

As you might imagine in today’s digital world, it was actually the “e-mail.” My publisher had been reviewing my story and we’d been going back and forth with edits and comments I had to address in rewrites via e-mail. He said, “If you nail this story, I’m going to send you a publishing contract.” When he sent the contract he wrote, “I want to thank you for the effort you’ve put into this story. In the end, it shows. You’ve done a great job. Now I believe you have a winner and I want to publish it so others can enjoy it.”

Do you have an agent? 

No, but I am actively looking for one.

What advice would you give aspiring writers? 

The same advice my writing friends give me, which is consistent with the advice I’ve receive from the established authors I’ve interviewed. Don’t give up. When I met Janet Evanovich at a book signing event, she had similar advice for aspiring authors: “Never give up,” and “move on to the next book.” Bestselling Georgia author Steve Berry, reiterates, “Don’t ever give up. Somebody’s name is going to be on the cover of a book. It might as well be yours.” Bestselling novelist Daniel Silva said, “Write something and finish what you write. Just write the book. Any book can be fixed.” Suzanne Brockmann said, “Write the best book you can.” There is still so much more I want to accomplish but you can’t succeed unless you put your work out there.

I love the advice to MOVE ON TO THE NEXT BOOK. That is the best way to avoid getting bogged down in the waiting for publication game. What encouragement can you give writers who face rejection?

I have read so many articles about well-known authors who were rejected time after time until they were published. James Patterson was rejected about 85 times. Dan Brown was repeatedly rejected until his work finally found a home. And of course, there’s the amazing success story of J. K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame. Steve Berry, who had five manuscripts rejected a total of 85 times over 12 years before he published his first novel, advises, “There’s no such thing as handling rejection, but you can learn from it. Just stay with it. Just keep going forward. Keep writing. There’s only one way to learn how to write and that’s to write.”

The advice to keep writing and the only way to learn how to write is to write rings very true for me. What is the most difficult part about writing for you? 

The sagging middle. I can come up with a gangbusters first three chapters and I always know my ending in advance. It’s the middle that causes the most problems.

Ah, for me it is the same. No matter how much I plot it out, the middle goes flat. What is the most surprising thing you discovered after you received the call? 

Apart from the time it takes to proofread galleys and approve cover art before publication and prepare your bio and a story blurb and solicit reviews for your author page on the publisher’s Web site, I was surprised at how time consuming it is to publicize your book. This includes Facebook, blogs, e-mail blasts and other ways to get the word out. If you don’t do it, it won’t go anywhere. As my publisher tell his authors, “Sales don’t just fly out of the woodwork... you have to get your names out there and promote yourselves.” To that end, I’ve joined venues like Goodreads. My blogging sisters at Petit Fours and Hot Tamales www.petitfoursandhottamales.com have been very supportive as are the members of Georgia Romance Writers. I’ve also started blogging for the Roswell Patch as part of their Local Voices program http://roswell.patch.com/search?keywords=marilyn+baron; and even though I said I would draw the line at Twitter, I am now Tweeting. You can follow me at Marilyn Baron@MarilynBaron. I’m excited to be part of the digital publishing revolution and hope to take advantage of the many opportunities that presents.

Yes, the marketing of the books is a huge part of building success in the publishing business. I'm so honored that you are on Digging Out of Distraction to share your story with us. Thanks for coming by and sipping champagne with me!!

Here Comes The Bride. There goes the MOB (Mother of the Bride)
Wedding season is just around the corner. If you like to cry at weddings and you like to laugh, you’ll love “A Choir of Angels,” a heartwarming tale of a family’s tragedy and a wedding promise unfulfilled. How far will a mother go to sing at her daughter’s wedding? Nothing, not even a little thing like death, is going to cheat Rhonda Paver out of celebrating the happiest day of her daughter’s life. Even if she has to cross over to the other side to do it.
A CHOIR OF ANGELS, my humorous supernatural e-short story, is now available from TWB Press atwww.twbpress.com/achoirofangels.html in PDF eBook format or find a Kindle, Nook or OmniLit link at the TWB Press site. You can also search Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, or Omnilit.com by name and title or Smashwords athttp://www.smashwords.com/books/view/51916.
For reviews on Amazon:
Marilyn blogs at Petit Fours and Hot Tamales www.petitfoursandhottamales.com and The Roswell Patch http://roswell.patch.com/blog_posts/ode-to-a-laundry-room

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great interview, Christine. Congrats on your first publication, Marilyn. I don't have a Kindle or Nook, is there a way to get "Choir of Angels"?
Sia

Leanne109 said...

Great interview and get an agent!!! Wanna read more books by you :D

Desiree Holt said...

Hi Marilyn! I'm so glad I "met" you at Beyond her Book. Great, great blog and I see we have similar reading tastes. The story blurb intrigued me so as soon as I post this comment my fingers are walking the Internet to buy it.

Anonymous said...

Sia,

Thanks for commenting. If you don't have a Kindle or a Nook you can go to the TWB Press site at www.twbpress.com/achoirofangels.htmland download a PDF eBook file.

Marilyn

Anonymous said...

Leanne,

Thanks for that wonderful comment. Hello, any agents listening out there? I do have a number of manuscripts and am working on another book. And, by the way, thank you again for your wonderful 5-star review of "A Choir of Angels," yesterday in the Friends From "Beyond Her Book Party," and on your personal blog, Books Read 'N' Makeup Done.

Marilyn Baron

Anonymous said...

Desiree,

Yes, the friends we've made at "Friends from Beyond Her Book Party," are amazing. I feel like we've known each other forever and most of us have never even met in person. It is such a wonderful place for authors and readers. I hope you enjoy A Choir of Angels and I appreciate you getting it. Thanks again, see you back on Facebook at the "Friends" site.

Marilyn Baron

Dianna Love said...

You're a good example of someone who is determined to build a career in this business, Marilyn. Wonderful interview and so glad you're busy with a new short story! You have a fun writing voice I hope grabs the right agent for you.

Anonymous said...

Dianna,

Thanks for taking the time to visit the blog. Actually, the new project is a full-length book, like most everything I've written to date. "A Choir of Angels" is my first short story. I really enjoyed writing it. Writing short stories is one way to achieve closure, which is hard to accomplish in life. I try to inject humor into everything I write. Thanks again for all your help and advice.

Marilyn Baron

Nicki Salcedo said...

Marilyn is a fabulous writer. I'm so lucky to know her. I can't wait for the world to get a chance to read the rest of her stuff. (There's this great WWII story she has hiding in her desk!)

Anonymous said...

Nicki,

Thank you. You're a great writer, too. Do you think that's because we're critique partners? Yes, I am thinking of dusting off that WW II story, which is set in Bermuda, one of my favorite places to visit. And I love reading anything about WW II, so I am definitely going to give that one another look. Thanks so much for your comments.

Marilyn Baron

Christine said...

I am enjoying all the fun, Marilyn. You're WWII book sounds amazing. I love that time period in history. Maybe I'll get to see it in print one day :-)

Anonymous said...

Christine,

It's a spy novel and a romance. I think the time might be right to revise it.

Marilyn Baron

Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

I'd say you did a fabulous job on your first short story.

Congrats, Marilyn!

Anonymous said...

Hello all. I’m Terry Wright, from TWB Press, the publisher of Marilyn’s short story, “A Choir of Angels.” I want you to know she was a pleasure to work with during the editing process, a true professional in her craft. Her marketing efforts are a credit to her determination and dedication. Her story is a TWB Press best seller in the US, even outselling my books and short stories. I too will pop a cork in her honor.

For those of you who don’t have a Kindle or Nook reader, but have accounts with Amazon and Barnes&Noble, you can still enjoy their ebooks by downloading the FREE apps for your PC or Mac. And, as always, you can download PDF ebooks from www.twbpress.com. Have a great day, everyone.

Terry Wright

Anonymous said...

Carol,

Thank you for saying that.
Marilyn

Debby Giusti said...

Christine, thanks for interviewing Marilyn. She's a doll!!!

Marilyn, congrats on your story!!! Whoo-hoo!!! Love the cover and love your writing.

Thanks, too, for all you do for Georgia Romance Writers! You're one special lady, and I feel so blessed to know you.

Hugs and continued success!

Anonymous said...

Terry,

Thanks for visiting the blog and for your comments. I have said this to you before and I will say it here that the working relationship between us was everything I always imagined it would be between a writer and editor. I have thoroughly enjoyed the entire process and the introduction to the world of electronic publishing.

Marilyn

Christine said...

Hi Debbie: I was so honored to have Marilyn join me on the Veranda to celebrate her debut short story. I have a feeling that with her excellent ideas and hard work she'll be on here celebrating her first novel length story, too! She is a delight to know.

Anonymous said...

Debby,

Thank you for commenting and I appreciate all the nice things you said. You have been an inspiration to me. You have been very generous in offering guidance in my writing journey.

Marilyn

Tamara LeBlanc said...

Marilyn,
Like Debbie said, you're a doll. I totally agree!
When you mentioned Little House I got all misty. I loved those books and loved the show even more. I still watch reruns to this day. Gotta love Laura Ingles.
Your interview was great, and I'm so glad to learn even more about you...I've been hearing alot about Moscato wine lately. Gotta try it:)
I'm so happy for you and your book release. I purchased it the other day and it's in my to be read list on my IPad. Sooo looking forward to it!
Congrats and hugs!!!
Have a wonderful evening!
Tamara

Anonymous said...

Tamara,

Thank you for those nice comments and congratulations on your recent book release. I hope you like the story. Yes, you do have to try Moscato. It's a very sweet wine, and it's delicious.

Marilyn

Katherine Bone said...

Another great interview, Christine! ;)

Marilyn, congratulations on your success! I love how you get your ideas and especially thank you for providing quotes that are sure to inspire me and everyone else for years to come.

Wishing you the best in your career!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Katherine for your good wishes. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

Marilyn

Linsey Lanier said...

Fabulous interview. I learned a lot about Marilyn I didn't know, even though I've been blogging with her for years.

“A Choir of Angels” is perfect for wedding season. I loved it. “Sixth Sense” sounds like another winner.

LOVE the Steve Berry quote: "There’s no such thing as handling rejection, but you can learn from it." Amen!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Linsey. It's amazing how many writers experienced rejection initially but they refused to give up.

Marilyn

Tami Brothers said...

This is an awesome story, Marilyn! You did a great job and I honestly can't wait to read more.

Keep at it girl!

Tami

Anna Doll said...

Great interview! Marilyn I'm glad you're finally out there and promoting your writing! Best of luck in snagging that agent!

Anna

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Tami and thanks to all the Petit Fours and Hot Tamales.

Marilyn

Anonymous said...

Anna,

Thank you. It's so nice to hear from you.

Marilyn

Anju Gattani said...

Hi,
What a great interview and Congratulations, Marilyn on success after success. You said it, "Don't give up." I believe it! Hope your book is a smashing success and will start the Tweeting thing too - when I get to grips with it!
Anju

Anonymous said...

Anju,
Thank you for visiting and commenting. I'm glad you liked the interview.I'm actually enjoying Twitter,although I don't Tweet much yet.
Marilyn