Thursday, April 21, 2011

Interview with Cindy Huefner Cromer - Part Two

More about eTreasure Publishing’s newest author, Cindy Huefner Cromer.

Could you tell us a little about your debut novel, Desperate Measures?
The easiest way to do this is to share with you the blub submitted with the novel.

The secret is out AGAIN…! This time lives are in jeopardy.

What should have been the perfect vacation soon became a nightmare. Caitlin Martel made a stop before meeting her family at Miami International Airport. A cryptic message waited for her. She dismissed the threat and assumed it was directed toward the brilliant scientist that she recently hired. Caitlin has no idea that a forgotten secret was about to explode and put her life in jeopardy.

When Caitlin and her family arrive on the Caribbean Island of St. Kitts, they find their dream home vandalized. In the kitchen, another message has been left, in blood, leaving no doubt that Caitlin personally is the target.

In a flashback, Caitlin recalls the secret that her father, Jack Spencer, revealed to her sixteen years ago. He didn’t tell her everything. Will Jack be able to confront the truth and reconstruct the past in time to save his daughter?

Caitlin’s husband Scott, FBI Assistant Director, also believes the threats are related to Caitlin’s professional life. Once Caitlin points out the significance of what was left in their home, Scott unofficially brings his top FBI agent, Tomas Medina, to St. Kitts.

When Tomas arrives, his status is quickly upgraded and the investigation becomes official. The third threat creates a direct link to multi-billionaire Lukas Bucklin.

The suspense escalates through twists, turns, and family secrets yet to be revealed. A powerful climax unveils an unlikely alliance between two deadly and dangerous enemies.

What was the hardest step in the journey, from first word to publication?
I’m so glad you asked this question. I will summarize the emotional roller coaster: Writing the book was easy. The query process was pain-full, one rejection after another. The contract offer was unbelievable and exhilarating. The editing process was excruciating, but once done an overwhelming sense of pride, accomplishment. I extend my gratitude to all of those who helped me in this endeavor. Okay, sounds corny but the truth. In a nut shell, the hardest part is getting the contract, especially for a new author. Seeing those magic words, contract offer in writing, is unbelievable. When I first received the offer, I thought they surely had my manuscript mixed up with someone else’s.

What are you working on now that your first novel is scheduled for publication?
I’m currently putting the finishing touches and edits to my second book, DESPERATE DECEPTIONS. It could be considered a sequel, but I’ve written it as a stand-alone, and the reader won’t be lost if they haven’t read DESPERATE MEASURES. Of course, my goal is to propel the sales of my first book, and make the reader want to read both. I have a third and fourth book in rough draft format, and they are completely different from the first two. They are mysteries, but totally different characters and plots. Once I finish those two, I’d like to get back to a few of the characters I created in DESPERATE MEASURES, especially Tomas. I created him as a minor role to provide a bit of comic relief to the reader, but he took on a life of his own, and I want to create his own story line. Barry Solerno also needs to be the main focus of a book. I have no idea where I came up with him, but he became my favorite character.

Who has influenced you most in your writing?
Oh, that’s a loaded question, there are so many. James Patterson of course is a master. His diverse books and plots show his creativity. John J. Nance is another; I couldn’t put Pandora’s Clock down, and what a bio he has! To be honest though, I would have to give credit to Lisa Gardner. She has a knack of keeping the reader guessing, with endings you never see coming.

Cindy, thank you again, for a wonderful interview. Good luck in your writing journey!

Read the first half of this interview.

Interview with Cindy Huefner Cromer - Part One

I'd like to present to you Cindy Huefner Cromer, one of eTreasures Publishing’s newest authors. Basking in her excitement of her first published novel, she’s taken a moment from the celebration to share time with us.

Bio: Cindy Huefner Cromer, formally a New Jersey resident, now resides in Stuart, Florida, with her husband, son, and daughter. Cindy works as a laboratory scientist and executive, authoring numerous laboratory procedures and research documents. Driven by a passion for suspense and mystery novels, she dreamed of becoming a writer. Her dream turns into reality with the release of her debut suspense novel, Desperate Measures, in May 2011.

When did you start writing?
I’m sure this isn’t the answer you’re looking for, but my first publication was as co-author of a Bitter Intensity Study when I worked as a research chemist in the citrus industry.

Pertaining to creative writing, I’ll have to take you back to my teenage years. When I was in eighth grade, I wrote a descriptive essay. On my way to basketball practice one day, I saw my father come out of the Principal’s office. I immediately became nervous and thought I had gotten into trouble, for what I had no idea. My father informed me that my essay was written so well, that I’d been placed in the honors English and Literature classes. You may ask if this bit of my history has anything to do with where I am today. The answer is yes and no. At the time, I had plans of grandeur and envisioned myself as a bestselling author, but also wanted to be a professional woman’s basketball player. Hey, I was a teenager and had big dreams. Back to the point, I focused on my favorite subject in school, science, and earned my degree in chemistry in college. Through the many technical papers, contracts, and invaluable experience in my career, I’ve come full circle, realized my dream, and have begun my writing career.

Could you share with us a little about your first attempts at writing?
Ever since I was little, I’ve been an avid reader. I always said one day I’d write a book, if I ever had the time. My family teased me mercilessly about reading and encouraged me to write a book, since I had read so many. While reading a book, I won’t mention the author or title, I counted four characters with the same name. I slammed the book down and decided to do what I’d claimed. I gave it a shot, started typing away, and created Caitlin, the protagonist. I gave her a career utilizing my scientific and executive background. Since my favorite genre is mystery and suspense, I thought about a story I’d like to read. It didn’t take long for a plot and ending to formulate. I chose the main location as St. Kitts because my family and I do travel there frequently and the island is beautiful. It was really fun creating the characters. Once I got going, the second book started to form. When I finished DESPERATE MEASURES, I hoped for publication, but wasn’t sure. But, by writing the first book I’d achieved my dream. I continued on with the second book.

Have you ever experience the dreaded Writer’s Block? If so, what are your processes of overcoming it?
Great question! Yes, writer’s block does exist. I found a few tricks to get past the frustrating points when words and creativity just won’t come. First, I re-read the last three scenes I’ve written to build my confidence and boost my self-esteem, convince myself I can do it. When that doesn’t work, I read. At this juncture, I deliberately choose books I wouldn’t typically or a book that I’ve read before but didn’t enjoy. Sounds a little strange, but this method works well for me. For one thing, at this point, I’m not enjoying the material, and it motivates me to get going, knowing that I can create a much better book. Also, I can never predict when inspiration will hit. Writing is 24/7, I can’t just say, “oops quitting time”, there’s no such thing for a writer.

What one piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Be prepared for rejection, sometimes it’s brutal. If you believe in your work, don’t give up. Be persistent, if you were rejected by an agent or publisher before, don’t be shy and try again. Grow thick skin and don’t be offended, embrace each criticism and rejection as an opportunity to edit and polish your work.

Most importantly, ALWAYS carry a notepad when a computer is not readily available. As I said above, you never know when inspiration will hit.

One time, my family and I were on a cruise, and the perfect scene came to me. I had nothing to write on except a bunch of receipts. So, there I was, jotting down note after note on these little pieces of paper, and the sea winds whipping all around. I wished I’d had a notepad that day.
It’s taken some time, but my family has gotten used to me going into writer mode. I drop everything to get the words written down, before the thoughts get lost.

Cindy, thank you so much for sharing with us.

To shorten this lengthy interview, it has been divided into two sections.

Continue reading interview.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Re-submitting your short stories

Last year, I did a post on submitting your short story. But I didn’t touch upon the fact that after all the hard work of following the guidelines, you’ll still receive rejections. Any writer who has tested the waters knows the bit on rejections. Eventually, you’ll be able to wallpaper your house with them.

Earlier in the year, I posted on rejection. Having your work rejected is part of being a writer. Become accustom to it and grow from it.

So, your story has been rejected, now what? Send it back out. It’s important to keep your short stories in the loop. In most cases, there’s nothing wrong with your story. It just didn’t fit the editor’s needs or wants.

How many times do you send your story out before giving up? If you’re sure there’s nothing wrong with the story itself, don’t give up. If you feel there may be an issue, have a few writers critique it for you. See what other writers think, do some editing, and send it back out. Don’t do this with every rejection though. There’s always room for improvement, but you don’t want to spend all your time working with the same story.

My story, Friends Forever, went through five markets before being picked up, with no revisions between markets. Sometimes it’s just a matter of finding the right editor for your work.

I’ve submitted my short story, The Sacrifice, eight times. I’ve received form rejections and personal rejections. Each personal rejection has given different reasons, but a common reason is lack of conflict. The story may need to be revisited, but I’m convinced I haven’t hit the right market. The conflict is low, but it is there. The Sacrifice is a fairy tale about a young girl’s journey to save her sister. From my market search, fairy tales are a hard sale, but I’ll continue trying to find a home for my story.

How many times do you need to be rejected before you revisit your story? What’s the highest number of rejections you’ve had before finding the right market for your story?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Flash Fiction Blogfest 2011

Cherie Reich of Surrounded by Books is holding her first Flash Fiction Blogfest on May 6. Come join in the fun and/or support your fellow writers. It's sure to be a blast. Refreshments, live music, and prizes. Okay, no drinks or singers, but there are Prizes. Visit the site for more information on how to enter and what you can win.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

eTreasures Publishing

eTreasures Publishing once focused on romance novels, but times are changing. The company now offers a wide variety of fiction. A few of their more well-known authors are Pepper O’Neal, Lea Schizas, and Jamieson Wolf.

eTreasures Publishing is open to taking on new writers. If you have a manuscript ready to go, visit their submissions page for guidelines. Become a part of the eTreasures Publishing family.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Make Writing a Habit

If you have a writing habit, you’ve got a great foundation as a writer.

If you struggle to find the time to write, keep putting it off, or can’t seem to write when planned, you need a writing habit.

Forming a habit, at least a good one, isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes time and persistence to create a new habit. But as anyone with a bad habit knows, once you have the habit it’s hard to break it.

How long does it take to form a habit? Some say a week, 21 days, 28 days. Go with 30 days. By the end of a month, the habit should be fixed.

How do you create a habit?

• Focus – Do not try to create more than one habit at once. Focus will keep you on track and moving forward.

• A trigger – Every habit has a trigger. A smoker smokes when they wake up, after meals, during times of stress. Find a trigger to set off you habit.

• Same time every day – To form a habit, this is very important. If you are lenient with this, you may find it easier to skip a day or two. You ran out of time. This is more important. Excuses are made. But if you have a certain time set up, writing will be the Focus, and the Trigger will set it off.

• Start small – Begin with thirty minutes a day. This can be increased over the thirty days, but start out small. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself.

• No exceptions – Don’t make excuses to skip one day here, two days there. If you do skip two days in a role, start over. If the house blows up, sure skip a day, but get right back on it the next.

• A log – After each day’s writing, note the amount of words you cranked out. (This is optional, as some will see this as a second goal, but it seems to me to be part of the goal and can provide motivation as you see the numbers rise.

• Don’t edit – Writing is the habit you are shooting for. Focus on the writing. (Some writers edit as they go. If this is the case, you are the exception to the rule.) If you are a new writer, Focus on the writing. You can create the habit of editing next month.

What counts as writing? Anything can, but you will have to decide what’s important. I write every day, blog posts, emails, various articles, but procrastinate when it comes to my novel or short stories. So, the habit I have to create is fiction writing. Determine your goals. If you want to write a novel, your Focus should be on the novel. For thirty minutes a day, for thirty days, write your novel. By the end of the month, you’ll have a short novella, or the bulk of a novel written, depending on your writing speed.

And remember, with practice, you will be writing more on day thirty than you did on day one. In thirty days, you will be an active writer.

Let’s go form a writing habit. Good luck!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Adding a Contact Form on Blogger

Sometimes your readers want to contact you outside of your blog. Your email address may not be enough. A quick solution is to add a contact form to your contact page. With Google forms, this can be easy and quick to do.

• Go to

• Click Create new and pick template from the drop down menu. (If you’d like to create your own, choose form from the drop down menu.

• Search for contact form and choose a suitable template, click use this template. Make appropriate changes to the title and summary.

• Click on More Actions and choose embedded from the drop down menu. This supplies you with the information you need to put the form onto your blog. Copy this information. Leave the edit page open, you will need to come back.

• Now go to your blog. Create a new page. Insert coding into page, along whatever else you’d like on the page. Publish. If you’d like to change the size of the form, simply look for: height=”680″ and width=”450″ in the code and change the numbers to the size you wish.

• You need to know when someone comments. On the Google page, go to “see responses”, and click on spreadsheet from the menu. Click on “Share”, and then set up notifications. Set rules as required.

You're all set for your readers to make a personal connection with you.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Getting Organized and Staying Organized

Do you have papers tossed about on your desk? Do you find yourself searching for that one piece of information needed to move your story forward? Has your research papers disappeared? Do you spend time organizing when you could be writing? Does your procrastinator turn up in the middle of a story and start reorganizing your mess?

Some ideas to get you organized and keep you organized as you grow as a writer.

Story idea folder: a home for all those scraps of papers or napkin scribbles.

Blog folder: a home for a list of your articles and any ideas for new articles.

Story folder: a home for your story in progress and all notes pertaining to the story. Depending on the story, this folder could get big and can be divided into multiple folders: character, plot, setting, etc.

Submission Binder/graph: for you short story writers. Keep clear records of where your stories have been and where they are at. If you keep hard copies of your stories, create a binder to keep them in along with your rejections.

Writing Log: keep track of how long you spend creating a story. It will be helpful when you get that contract and a publisher inquires on how long it will take you to write your next book. (Hey, we have to have dreams, right?)

Now, stay organized. Once you get a system set up, stick to it. Depending on your situation, you may not be able to keep all said folders close by, so make a date to sort your mess into its proper location. Don’t wait a month! This will cause more aggravation than it’s worth. Your best bet would be at the end of each day/writing session.

Note: all suggestions are computer adaptable, but some of us still like paper.

How do you stay organized?

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