• Author Mary Waibel Talks About Her Experiences with Self Publishing and Publishing with a Small Press

    Do you guys know Mary Waibel?  She was my very first Editor’s Note interview way back in January, and I wanted to have her back to talk a bit about her new project.  Mary has worked (and is still working) with a couple of small houses, but has also decided to take the big leap into self-publishing. Today she’s here to tell us what fueled that decision and what she’s learned along the way. Thank you, Mary!

    Becky, thanks so much for letting me drop by today to talk about my experience with small publishing houses and self-publishing.

    In the past year I’ve released three books with a small publishing house (MuseItUp Publishing) and have another one releasing this year from another small press (BookFish Books**). So, why would I want to publish a book on my own? Well, there are several reasons, but I’ll just focus on two.

    Cover by CK Volnek
    Cover by Marion Sipe
    Cover by CK Volnek

    -I’m a control-freak by nature, so being in total control of my project from start to finish suits me. I have all say in the cover, in the edits, in the layout, and the price.

    -I like to learn new things, and boy was there a lot to learn in this endeavor!

    Looking at my first reason, one might think I was unhappy with my small publishing houses, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve enjoyed working with both houses. I had a say in my cover art, and worked with amazing editors. I can ask for my book to be on sale, or have changes in prices made. The only things I really had no say in was release dates and the layout, as that was all handled in house. In the end, I would definitely work again with either of these houses on books in the future.

    These small presses helped me make connections and learn things I never knew before entering the publishing world. I met cover artists, worked with a variety of editors, and connected with many other authors with wide ranges of experience. All these things gave me the confidence to step out on my own.

    Cover by Anita Carroll (

    That’s not to say the task wasn’t a bit terrifying. I knew nothing about HTML coding, or how to take my manuscript and make it into an .epub or .mobi or any other format for e-readers to use. I read and re-read Susan Kaye Quinn’s section on Formatting the Hard Way (from Indie Author Survival Guide) so many times. I searched the web for more information on HTML coding. I looked at books on my tablet and my Kindle to see what I liked about their layout, and what I didn’t like. Being a bit of a hands-on learner, I took a draft version and played with formatting it, getting frustrated when it wouldn’t look like I wanted. So I researched more.

    In the end, once I had my final copy back from my amazing editor Judy Roth (, along with my cover from Charlotte Volnek ( I had learned enough to code my book to look how I wanted it -once I remembered to take out the spaces in the file names! And it felt great to know I’d done the hard work myself.

    **Disclosure: I am an editor with BookFish Books

    Cover by CK Volnek

    The Mystery Prince, a novella

    Buy Link:

    Book Blurb:

    Tristan enjoys being in the shadows as Prince Rand’s bodyguard. Similar in looks, the two often exchanged places in their youth, but he never expected the king to order him to impersonate the heir to the throne in order to win the hand of a princess.

    Princess Zoe needs to find a husband. After a year of searching with no success, her father insists on hosting a masquerade ball for the eligible princes of the nine kingdoms. Not one prince piques her interest, until she meets the mysterious stranger who won’t tell her his name. When Tristan meets Zoe he finds the girl of his dreams. The only problem? She’s a princess and he’s impersonating a prince―a crime punishable by imprisonment and floggings. Unable to tell Zoe his real name, he gives her a special navigation device. One that leads to the owner’s true love. Will this magic device lead Zoe to Tristan, or will her true love forever remain a mystery prince?

    Author Photo- Mary WaibelAuthor Bio:

    Mary lives with her husband, son and two cats. When she isn’t twisting fairytales, she enjoys reading, playing games, watching hockey, and camping. Her Princess of Valendria series (Quest of the Hart, Charmed Memories, Different Kind of Knight) are available from MuseItUp Publishing and other major retailers. Her novella, The Mystery Prince, is available at Amazon. Her Faery Marked (book 1 in the Faery Series) will be available from BookFishBooks this summer.

    You can find Mary Waibel at:


    BY THE WAY, did you enter to win an ARC of THE STORYSPINNER?  Enter here!

  • Thank You Tweeps! How about you win THE STORYSPINNER?

    YOU GUYS!!!  I have more than 1,000 Twitter followers!  Thanks to everyone who followed and especially to those who retweeted!  I know I’ve said this before, but the writing and reading community is a beautiful thing.

    As promised, I will giveaway one of my cherished ARCs (I only have five, so when I say ‘cherished,’ I mean it!)  And I guess I can personalize it too, right? If the winner wants (Do people want me to sign my book?  I mean, I think it’s super cool when authors write me a little note in their books, but maybe I’m weird.  Also, it’s me signing my book.  I should go practice my handwriting, huh? AnGalley-y-way…)

    SO!  Since you’re already a twitter follower, all you have to do is enter your handle in the little box below and voila! You’re entered.  If you wanted to like my Facebook page, you’re totally welcome to (and it will get you another entry), but you’re not obligated.  (I have friends who don’t do Twitter and I hate leaving them out.)

    I’ll throw in some of the postcards and bookmarks the lovely Kristin Rae designed for THE STORYSPINNER.  She did a really fantastic job!! You can see them up close here!

    bookmark-2inx8in-h-frontAnd one more  thing: If you wondered how I got my agent and my book deal, you can check out my interview for Writer Odyssey Wednesday.

    That’s it…except I feel like I should say thank you one more time!  So THANK YOU!! This day has been so totally awesome.

    (I’ll stop talking now. I promise.)

    a Rafflecopter giveaway







    *open to US and Canada addresses only. Sorry. 🙁
  • Interview with author Steve Kozeniewski

    Two years ago, I hosted a contest for critiques on this little blog.  The top two finalists were Jess Lawson and Steve Kozeniewski (for those of you who have followed for awhile his alias was Redleg). And, they both have book deals! 

    Jess and Steve’s novels couldn’t have been more different — a light-hearted middle grade versus an adult zombie-mystery — but both authors have incredible, memorable voices.  Steve’s book BRAINEATER JONES pubbed this month and would be a great Halloween read for anyone with a taste for dark mysteries, great narrators, and flesh. *snickers*  That was a zombie joke. The synopsis for Steve’s book is after the interview.

    Me: Your book is very unlike other zombie books, primarily because your undead main character still thinks.  How did you get inside Braineater Jones’ head?  (I will refrain from the obvious missing flesh jokes here).
    Steve: Awww, I wanted to say with a hacksaw.  🙂  Umm, the real answer, I guess, is that Braineater Jones is me but on crack.  I actually wrote the first draft of this book during National Novel Writing Month in 2009.  It was my first time participating in NaNo, and having no idea what went into it, I determined that I would write in first person and not shy away from stream-of-consciousness nonsense-talk, since it really burns up the wordcount.  Just before I started BRAINEATER JONES I had completed a manuscript which I had written in a deliberately detached, unemotional style, almost like a non-fiction piece.  So, I was sick of writing like that and vowed that JONES would feature the purplest prose this side of the 19th century.  It was that mish-mash of time constraints, deliberate gibberish-writing, and an over-the-top premise that gave unbirth to Jones and his unique style.  Oh, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that my content editor, Michelle Rever, also sent me back with a ’30s slang dictionary to make sure it was as slangtastic as possible. 

    Me:  Your story has a great mystery to it.  Are you an avid mystery reader?  Who are your favorite mystery writers and how did reading other books help you cement the plot of your own?
    Steve:  Hoo, boy, I was all ready to drop the dime on myself and say I’ve never read a mystery in my life when I remembered that’s not true AT ALL.  When I was a kid I DEVOURED Sherlock Holmes.  My parents still talk about how clever I was [eyeroll] because I used to walk around wearing two baseball caps pointing in opposite directions to approximate a deerstalker.  So I guess I learned from the best.  This past year I just finally read THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE and THE MALTESE FALCON, so, sadly, I am woefully illiterate on noir.  All of my impressions of noir that I used for BRAINEATER JONES mostly came from cultural osmosis – cartoons and that sort of thing.  Which probably explains why it’s so over the top.  🙂  Oh, and Justified.  That show is crazy good.  And Veronica Mars, I guess.  So…TV? 
    Me: Shut up. You watch Veronica Mars?
    Steve:  Not sure how to gauge the sarcasm level on that question, but if you’re asking whether I cry every time I hear “Crimson and Clover” because Veronica never showed up to the boat, then yes, yes I do.

    Me:  Do you have other stories in the work?  
    Steve:  Yup.  I just signed a contract with Severed Press for my magnum opus, THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO, which I consider to be the BROTHERS KARAMAZOV of horror.  So look for that soon.  I already mentioned the very stilted novel I was worked on just before JONES, which is kind of a political satire/dystopian apocalypse story that I’ve never been able to settle on a good title for.  I’m shopping that around now.  I have three manuscripts that are in the can, waiting to be author-edited and beta-read.  One is a thing about clones, one is a roman à clef about my time in the army, and one is the sidequel to GHOUL.  And my work-in-progress right now is pioneering a new genre of space operas starring ballerinas.  I call it “balletpunk.”  (100% true.)  So I guess you could say I’m either a Rennaissance Man or I really need to buckle down and get my [expletive deleted] straight.
    Me: I love it when interviewees radio-edit themselves. *winks* Thanks for being my first victim, Steve!! I’m so excited BRAINEATER JONES has found a publishing home!
    About the book:

    Braineater Jones wakes up face down in a swimming pool with no memory of his former life, how he died, or why he’s now a zombie. With a smart-aleck severed head as a partner, Jones descends into the undead ghetto to solve his own murder.

    But Jones’s investigation is complicated by his crippling addiction to human flesh. Like all walking corpses, he discovers that only a stiff drink can soothe his cravings. Unfortunately, finding liquor during Prohibition is costly and dangerous. From his Mason jar, the cantankerous Old Man rules the only speakeasy in the city that caters to the postmortem crowd.

    As the booze, blood, and clues coagulate, Jones gets closer to discovering the identity of his killer and the secrets behind the city’s stranglehold on liquid spirits. Death couldn’t stop him, but if the liquor dries up, the entire city will be plunged into an orgy of cannibalism.

    Cracking this case is a tall order. Braineater Jones won’t get out alive, but if he plays his cards right, he might manage to salvage the last scraps of his humanity

    About the author:
    Stephen Kozeniewski lives with his wife of 9 years and cat of 22 pounds in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie. He was born to the soothing strains of “Boogie With Stu” even though The Who are far superior to Zep, for reasons that he doesn’t even really want to get into right now.

    During his time as a Field Artillery officer, he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star. The depiction of addiction in his fiction is strongly informed by the three years he spent working at a substance abuse clinic, an experience which also ensures that he employs strict moderation when enjoying the occasional highball of Old Crow.

    He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor’s degree is in German.