The Zen of Group Blogging

The publishing world is crumbling, and as bricks and mortar fly in every direction, writers duck and cover, intent on living long enough to tell another tale. But is that enough?

How can we thrive in this chaos?

Slick solutions offered by marketing experts chase me around the Internet like a hungry pack of wolves. Despite the fact  the digital revolution is changing the world of books by the nano-second and no one really knows what works, self-proclaimed experts  tell me they have the golden secret to success and will share it if I pay them a wad of money. For an appetizer, they tell me I need to do this to my tweets and that to my Facebook posts. They tell me I need a solid, social media platform with a newsletter and above all I must sell myself, not my books. Yada . . . Yada . . . Yada. The sermons sound the same.

Featured Image -- 6643I listen. I learn. But I want more.

I want the simple pleasure of sharing my stories with readers. I want the Zen of writing.

So do I have an answer? No, but I do have hope.

My hope is that together writers can be heard. That’s why I started The Sisters of Suspense blog last summer. Twenty  Romantic Suspense writers contribute to the blog and we post almost every day. Our styles and themes vary as do the books we write, giving us a wider audience than any one of us has on our own. Our diverse backgrounds bring all kinds of knowledge to our group and our unified commitment to our project gives us strength. Many of us continue to have our individual blogs, but the group blog gives us wider exposure.The added bonus is the friendships that grow between us. Writing is a tough gig, but when you have good friends beside you, the journey is easier, more fun and more fulfilling. We enjoy each other’s successes.

Snippets of Suspense LRG
Click on the cover for a description

The creativity and synchronicity within a group of writers is magical.  And it isn’t limited to the blog. We created a free sampler of some of our books, Snippets of Suspense, and held two fantastically successful Facebook parties. We’ve all gained new friends and fans and found some great books to read. We learn from each other.

The downside? There isn’t one.

I’m no expert on anything, trust me on that, but I am trying to find my writing zen and this group is helping. I highly recommend gathering like-minded creative people around you.

The zen of group blogging helps me get closer to the zen of writing. 


A Zen Koan – Your Own Treasure House

Daiju visited the master Baso in China. Baso asked; “What do you seek?”

“Enlightenment,” replied Daiju.

“You have your own treasure house. Why do you search outside? Baso asked.

Diaju inquired: “Where is my treasure house?”

Baso answered: “What you are asking is your treasure house.”

Daijus was enlightened! Ever after he urged his friends: “Open your own treasure house and use those treasures.” (from The Collection of Stone and Sand, Shaseki-shu)


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What is you favorite survival tactic for these crazy times? As always, I love to hear your thoughts.


BTW – In May at The Creative Ink Festival in Vancouver four of us will be giving a workshop, How to Get Attention Without Getting Naked. We’ll be talking about what we’ve learned from doing a group blog. We would love to see you there.


 

Cover-Jo-AnnCarson-CoverDanger-covert14
Click on the cover for a description.

Sign up for my newsletter to learn about my books and I will send you a free e-copy of my first book, Covert Danger, the story of a single woman with a double life.

 


Photos from Shutterstock

The Sisters of Suspense are Having a Party Today

Schedule:

I have three games planned:

  1. Spy lines
  2. Ancient Egyptian Trivia #2
  3. Dead Man’s Secret

I will be giving away $5.00 Amazon Gift Cards and books to the winners.

12:00 Cait Jarrod
12:20 Claire Gem
12:40 Mia Kay
01:00 Marsha R. West
01:20 Pat Amsden
01:40 Stephanie Taylor
02:00 Reggi Allder
02:20 Michelle Somers
02:40 EST Jo-Ann Carson (i.e., 11:40 PST)
03:00 Veronica Forand
03:20 Jacquie Biggar
03:40 Jacqui Nelson
04:00 Kathryn Jane
04:20 Anna Markland
04:40 Sylvie Grayson
05:00 Melissa Keir
05:20 Sarah Andre
05:40 Vicki Batman
06:00 Jerrie Alexander
06:20 Marian Lanouette

3 Steps to Create an #Anthology and not go Crazy #RSSOS

 

  1. Work with great writers.
  2. Choose a good theme.
  3. Talk a lot.

Blend the above ingredients until the magic happens.

Well… something like that. My list makes putting together an anthology sound easy, and it’s not. But it is worthwhile.

A couple months ago four of us decided to form a group of like-minded suspense writers to write a blog and cross-promote one another. Four grew to eighteen over night, the blog is extremely successful with a loyal and growing following and now we have our first anthology, Snippets of Suspense Anthology, #1. We’re planning a launch part on December 10th, but I’ll tell you more about that another time.

Back to the “How” of it all. Ten of our writers wanted to be in the book and as it turned out ten was a perfect number. Each writer sent me the first five thousand words of the book they wanted to promote, a bio with a picture of themselves, a cover picture and a the back blurb for the book. I formatted each writer’s work in a separate part using Pressbooks.

The theme? That was easy for us, because we were connected by the theme of suspense. So our anthology is all about suspense. Mind you, we have wild west suspense, small town suspense, international spy suspense… and the list goes on. The idea of the book is to give readers a chance to sample new stories and introduce them to writers they may not have met.

And we talk a lot. It amazes me how much talking is required to create a book, but all the chatter has been rewarding in many ways. We’ve gotten to know each other better and we have an awesome product.


 

Check it out: Free on Kobo and B and N

Ninety-nine cents and soon to be Free on Kindle


 

 

Cover Reveal – Snippets of Suspense Anthology, #1 #RSSOS #Suspense

Launching Next Week!!!

Snippets of Suspense LRG

Shaken and Stirred…

Spine-tingling suspense with a steamy side of romance, written by ten award winning authors. The Sisters of Suspense Anthology, #1 is a collection of snippets from their favorite Romantic Suspense stories. Chilling and thrilling. It’s guaranteed to spark your interest, stir your senses, set your imagination on overdrive and introduce you to new authors you’re going to love.

Snippets are written by: Veronica Forand, Melissa Keir, Jo-Ann Carson, Jacquie Biggar, Marian Lanouette, Jacqui Nelson, Pat Amsden, Marsha R. West, Kathryn Jane and McKenna Sinclair

Award Winning Suspense


For the last couple of weeks I’ve been collecting snippets (i.e., the beginning chapters of novels) from my Sisters, and formatting them. If all goes well <fingers crossed> the anthology will be available next week. I’ll let you know as soon as it goes “free.”

 

A Sweet Cozy with a Distinct Italian and Foodie Flavor #RSSOS #Romantic Suspense

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After a record-breaking storm ravaged the west coast, the whole world seemed different. Nature’s wrath had ended leaving a soulful sense of peace. That’s all to say, it was a perfect day for reading. I spent my Sunday delving into Joanne Guiduiccio’s latest book, A Season for Killing Blondes. What a treat!

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It’s a warm, sweet cozy with a distinct Italian and foodie flavor. Vivid characters  immediately make you not only like them, but feel like you’ve known them all your life. The writing is tight and well paced. Guidoccio’s gentle humor laces every page.

“When I agreed to import the pastries, I had no idea I would be subsidizing the failing Italian economy and helping Silvio Berlusconi stay in power for a few weeks longer.”

The book made me hungry. Good Italian food is always on the table,”…amaretto cookies, stuffed figs, biscotti… capicola, mortadella, prosciutto, provalone…” Need I say more?

And then there’s the suspense. As the body count rises, the list of suspects grows and terror festers. It has to be someone she knows. But who?

If you like books by Cleo Coyle and Diane Mott Davidson, you’ll love Joanne Guidoccio’s, A Season for Killing Blondes.

My Favorite Line:

“Even with a dead body in the Dumpster, thousands of euros of pastries wasting away, and policemen swarming about, my mother and aunt could still indulge in their favorite hobby – trying to find me another husband.”

I’m heading over to Amazon and Goodreads to upload this review and give the book 5 stars. You can click the cover at the top for the Amazon buy link.

Do you like cozies?

Starting a Second Blog or How to go Crazy in Less than a Week

 

infinite monkey theorem wiki

infinite monkey theorem wikiNeglecting this blog has left me with an uncomfortable feeling,

…like a woman who’s cheats on her man,

… or like a mother who substitutes cake for carrots in her child’s lunch.

I’ve been bad and I feel I owe you, my regular audience who I love dearly, an explanation.

How it Started

Less than a week ago I read an article in the RWR (ie., the Romance Writers of America magazine) about the importance of cross-promotion in the crumbling and evolving publishing world. None of the ideas were new to me, but for some reason they struck my noggin harder than usual and I decided to start a group blog. My plan was simple. I’d gather a few people who write suspense and we’d create a destination blog, a newsletter, and … The list went on.

I mentioned it to four friends and boom, we gathered fifteen like-minded writers in a couple of days.

The group is amazing. I’ve never worked with such energetic, creative and talented people. Everyone  jumped in and volunteered to do whatever they could to move our project further. In less than a week we have developed an exceptional, collective blog, Sisters of Suspense , SoS for short, and are on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. A couple posts have been put up, an enormous giveaway is being collected and a newsletter is being developed. Like I said: amazing.

Who are my Sisters? sisters twitter

Alphabetically:

Pat Amsden, Sister of Romance and Mystery

Sarah Andre, Sister of Riveting Suspense

Vicki Batman, Sister of Sassy Writing

Jacqui Biggar, Sister of Romantic Suspense with Attitude

Sam Bradley, Sister of medical Romantic Suspense

Jo-Ann Carson, Sister of Smart ‘n Sexy Suspense

Veronica Forand, Sister of Heart Stopping Suspense

Joanne Guidoccio, Sister of Reinvention

Jeannie Hall, Sister of Dark, Angsty Suspense

Kathryn Jane, Sister

Melissa Keir, Sister of Small Town Suspense

Marian Lanouette, Sister

Jacqui Nelson, Sister of Wild West Suspense

S.A. Taylor, Sister

Marsha R West, Sister of Second Chances

 

What’s the Crazy Part?

I hardly slept.

I love the SoS blog format. It’s got really cool features. Working on it is like driving a Cadillac instead of a rusty old scooter, but some of those shiny additions aren’t easy to set up and it has taken me timeIMG_20140222_201928 to figure them out. But it’s up and running. And she’s beautiful.

The same week I was working through theses cyber-kinks, I  struggled with formatting issues for the print version of my novella Lovin’ Danger which launches in two weeks, made final tweaks on the ebook version and tried to live a normal life.

Yeah, it wasn’t normal.

But ooooh, it was fun. The only thing more exciting than starting a new venture that you know, you just know in your bones is the-right-thing-at-the-right-time, is doing it with a group of friends. It’s been a rush.

What About This Blog?

I’m back. I’ll be blogging here as usual in my random but regular way. My focus will continue to be about me and my life as a writer, publisher and entrepreneur. Occasionally I will reblog posts from the other blog.