Thursday, September 22, 2011

Blog: WHY I BECAME A WRITER With Kathryn Meyer Griffith

As this is her final posting on my blog, I would like to thank Kathryn for bringing her words of wisdom to the world (well, at least my little part of it) It has been an honor hosting you these past weeks. Now, without further ado, part 5 of Kathryn's amazing story. 

and other Stuff
By Kathryn Meyer Griffith
August 24, 2011

Truthfully, what started me off as an author was simply this: As a child, about eight or nine years old (the same time I began to draw pictures in pencil and years before I began to dream about being a singer with my younger brother Jim), I began reading books, science fiction, historical romances and scary books from the library. I had six brothers and sisters and though I had a loving mother and father, a loving family, there was very little money. I can’t say we were poverty poor, but we were poor at times. Sometimes our meals were scarce and we never had extra money for many toys or outside entertainment. I think in my whole young childhood my father only took us out to eat once. Try paying for seven kids and two adults. So we learned to entertain ourselves. Played outside. Climbed trees and hid in deep dirt gullies. Sang, howled really, outside at night on the swing set.
I loved to read. The library books were free and plentiful. I’d sit on my bed, especially during the long summer days and evenings (after chores were done, of course) and read one amazing book after another. If I was lucky, with a chocolate snack or cherry Kool-Aid nearby. Those books, those words on the page, took me away to other places, times and worlds. It was magical. I got lost in people-on-a-spaceship-going–to-some-faraway-planet science fiction books. There was this one horse book when I was a kid that knocked me out, made me cry, and laugh with joy at the end it was so real to me and so full of pathos because I loved horses so much. It was called Smoky. Loved that book. Sigh. I never forgot how those wonderful books made me feel…so free. So adventurous. So rich. Like I could be or do anything someday. And when I grew up I wanted to create that magic myself for others.  So…that’s why I began writing.  And when I get depressed over my writing at times, I remember that.
I remember vividly one day at school (I must have been about 10 or so) when a big box of Weekly Reader books were delivered and we each got to pick one to read. The smell of those new books in that box as I looked at them, the excitement and awe of the other kids over the books and the reverence for those authors, and I thought: Wouldn’t it be something if someday a box of these books were mine…written by me? Oh, to be an author. People respect an author. It was the beginning.
Then there’s also a second part to the question: Why do I keep writing after 39 years? Because I can’t not write. I can’t stop. The stories take over my heart and mind and demand to come out. It’s sort of like birthing a baby (I have one real son and two grandchildren myself). You carry them for a while, a short or long time span, and then once they’re born (published) they go on to be their own individual entities that sometimes continue to amuse and amaze you. Or disappoint you. Whatever.

This is what it’s like to be a published author.
It’s not like anything you would imagine. There’s excitement, the passion and feeling of being right with the world, as the story is being created and the words are tumbling out into the computer; there’s the exhaustion of writing hours and hours, the doubt that your words will mean anything to anyone and why am I doing this? that creeps in but that you have to chase away; there’s the pride in seeing the finished book, either e-book or print, and finally there’s the feeling of unexplainable happiness when someone says they read it and liked/loved it. The best response I love to hear is: I couldn’t put it down. The characters were all so real. I got carried away with it. Didn’t want to leave the world you’d created. Wow. That makes the sometimes low pay and grueling hard work all worthwhile. Because writing is hard work. The creating and promoting anyway. Hour and hour, day after day, year after year. It’s your life you’re using up. Precious time. You have to truly love it to give all that up…to strangers.

Sometimes people ask me: is it still fun?
Fun? A strange way to put it. Sometimes, rarely, it’s fun. Mostly it’s hard work and lots of solitary time alone. Writers live so much of their life in their make believe worlds they get lonely. Lonely for the real world, real breathing people and adventures. I know I do. But the writing won’t leave me alone until I write down the words, tell the tale. The easiest way I can put it is when I’m writing or dealing with my writing I feel like I’m doing what I was born to do. Yes, I believe a writer is born to write – like an artist is born to paint and draw; a musician to write or play music. As an artist myself I know I’m not really happy, or fulfilled feeling, unless I’m writing, drawing or singing. Creating. Though the singing and the artwork have gone more by the wayside as I’ve become older…writing mostly takes all my free time now.  Yes, writing does make me happy. Grin. Except the rare times someone hates one of my books…and that happens, too. I’ve finally learned that reading and loving a book or short story is subjective. Some people love my stories, get them, and others…don’t. And that’s okay. We’re all different people.  That’s a lesson a writer must learn. One person’s criticism is not a blanket criticism of all your work or even that one work, it’s just one person’s opinion.

Is it lucrative? That’s a loaded question and (though I don’t know why) most writers will not talk about how much they make or a book makes. Maybe (this is just my theory) it’s because most of us make so little it embarrasses us. There’s no way we could ever live on it. It’s icing on the cake. Trim on the woodwork. The mid-level writers anyway. The top (very rare) writers like Stephen King, Dean Koontz and many other writers 9especially some romance authors) make a very good living, but most writers don’t. Ever. Oh, in my heyday in the 1980’s and early 1990’s I made fairly good money with Leisure and Zebra paperbacks (and though at the time I didn’t think it was good, comparing it with now, well, it really was good) , because back then the distribution and print runs were so large. I got a smaller percent in royalties but there were more books out there selling for me. So far the e-books and PODs (Print on Demand) aren’t selling that well, but I get a much larger percentage.  I’m hoping in the next year by having all my old 10 novels out again (rereleased between June 2010 and July 2012) and 2 new books I’ll see a gradual increase in income. It’s an experiment, sort of.  Selling a small quantity each 3 months of 12 or more books might add up to a nice sum. Or so I’m hoping. I’m marketing (a whole new thing in the Internet world these days) a lot, seeking and getting great 4 and 5 star reviews, joining reader and writer loops, guest blogging, etc.  It’s never ending. Thing is I don’t know how much it all helps. Eventually, I figure, I’ll find out. I’m an optimist always.

Do I still enjoy writing? Sure. I love it. It’s like breathing, eating, dreaming. It’s become part of me. Second nature. It took me 39 years to say: I’m a writer. And really feel like I wasn’t being a pretentious so-and-so or outright lying. Took me all that time and 14 published books, 7 short stories (and more to come hopefully) for me to feel deserving of the title.  Even without the money telling stories is what makes me feel…complete. Happy. Hey, look at me I’m a storyteller! Ha, ha, now I just have to figure out a way to make it more profitable, as well. Working on that. As one successful writer recently said to me: Just get the books out there…nothing else matters. (Presumably good books, I’d add.)  The rest will come. Gosh, I sure hope he’s right. Cause I’m been working soooo hard.

Written by the author Kathryn Meyer Griffith this sultry August 24th day of 2011

A word about Kathryn Meyer Griffith...
Since childhood I’ve always been an artist and worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before I quit to write full time. I began writing novels at 21 and have had fourteen (nine romantic horror, one historical romance and two mysteries) previous novels published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books and Eternal Press.
I’ve been married to Russell for thirty-three years; have a son, James, and two grandchildren, Joshua and Caitlyn, and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois called Columbia, which is right across the JB Bridge from St. Louis, Mo. We have two quirky cats, Sasha and Cleo, and the four of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk singer in my youth with my brother Jim, writing has always been my greatest passion, my butterfly stage, and I’ll probably write stories until the day I die.
Novels and short stories from Kathryn Meyer Griffith:
Evil Stalks the Night (Leisure, 1984; Damnation Books, July 2012)
The Heart of the Rose (Leisure, 1985; Eternal Press Author’s Revised Edition out Nov.7, 2010)
Blood Forge (Leisure, 1989; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out February 2012)
Vampire Blood (Zebra, 1991; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out July 2011)
The Last Vampire (Zebra, 1992; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out October 2010)
Witches (Zebra, 1993; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out April 2011)
The Nameless One (short story in 1993 Zebra Anthology Dark Seductions;
  Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out February 2011)
The Calling (Zebra, 1994; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out October 2011)
Scraps of Paper (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2003)
All Things Slip Away (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2006)
Egyptian Heart (The Wild Rose Press, 2007; Author’s Revised Edition out again from Eternal Press in August 2011)
Winter’s Journey (The Wild Rose Press, 2008; Author’s Revised Edition out again from Eternal Press in September 2011)
The Ice Bridge (The Wild Rose Press, 2008; Author’s Revised Edition out again from Eternal Press in November 2011)
Don’t Look Back, Agnes novella and bonus short story: In This House (2008; ghostly romantic short story out again from Eternal Press in January 2012)
BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons (Out from Damnation Books June 2010)
The Woman in Crimson (Out from Damnation Books September 2010)

My Websites: (to see all my book trailers with original music by my singer/songwriter brother JS Meyer)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blog and Giveaway--The Affordable Art of Self Promotion: Mystery or Myth? With Guest Blogger Kerri Nelson

I’ve been in or associated with the publishing industry for about a decade now.  I originally started out as a Promotions Chat Coordinator for a very popular author promotions company.  I coordinated and moderated chats on a nightly basis.  It was so much fun to meet the authors, get industry insider information and watch those authors hawk their new releases to the masses.  But I was never really sure if folks were going out buying those books or just hoping to win a giveaway by appearing at the chat.
These days, it seems that blogging has replaced most chat situations.  It is much more convenient than having to be available at a specific time and being stuck at your computer for an hour or more.  Plus, with chats sometimes the screen is moving so fast that you feel overwhelmed to respond to everyone who bothers to show up.  I like blogging and a massive blog tour is something I’ve chosen as a main promotion tool for my latest release, Courting Demons.
Is it affordable?  Yes.  It can be absolutely FREE if you do it all yourself.  I’m attempting to do it that way this time around but I know plenty of folks who hire companies to set up the tours for them.  There are certainly pros and cons to both routes but the bottom line is that you should always seek out ways to save money while still getting the word out there.
Obviously, you can always find ways to spend money while promoting your book.  You’ll see the little cute items I’m giving away for today’s appearance are just two examples of the party favor swag that are popular giveaways.  I’ve also done business cards, bookmarks, and custom designed goodies (look for my own Momwitch Bread Bag clips as giveaways throughout my tour), and once upon a time I designed custom book trailers for myself and other authors.  Then there are professional promotions companies, paid advertising, websites and social media.  Some are free and some are quite costly.
In all my years of writing (and in the past 2+ years since being published), I’ve tried just about all of the above.
And so you ask…
What are you doing to promote yourself?
KN:  I’m searching for the most affordable methods of meeting new readers and capturing their attention without spending a ton of money.  I enjoy the blog tour route (try to find blogs that appear to readers as much as or more so than other authors).  I’m doing some minor giveaways (like those cute promo swag items) but I’m also doing a major giveaway (one Amazon Kindle at the end of my tour).  But other than that, I’m seeking out opportunities where I can find people that might be interested in my book.  I’m on the search for the great niche market!

How important do you believe it is to have your own blog/ website/ FaceBook page/ twitter?
KN:  I believe you absolutely MUST have a decent website.  A blog is very nice if you are committed to posting regularly and I dabble some in Twitter.  If you can manage to keep your number of followers considerably higher than the number of folks you follow—you might get in and out of there without it being a time drain.  As far as that “other” site you mention—I don’t go there.   I believe that if you have the chance to play games and goof off, you’ll find your productivity decrease as a result.  Sometimes it is just not worth it. 

In your opinion, what would be Taboo?
KN:  Too much social networking can work against your productivity (as mentioned above).  I think trying to promote on sites where your subject matter could be found controversial would be another.  Otherwise, I think trying to sabotage someone else’s book signing/appearance or using professional meetings or loops as a place to chat up your own stuff is no good.  There have to be some rules of decorum.  This is a business just like anything else.

In your opinion, what is a complete waste of time?
KN:  A complete waste of time to me are things like high cost print ads.  I like e-cover ads and sell them very cheaply ($5 or less a month) on my promotions blog (  But most of the other sites are charging double and triple digit amounts for a simple banner ad.  It blows my mind at the cost of advertising like this—plus print advertising boggles the brain waves as well.  Have you checked out some of those figures?  Anything that takes a lot of money from you off the top with no personal interaction between the reader and the author, is a waste of time and money, in my opinion.

Any words of encouragement for those just starting out?
KN:  Even before you sell your first book (or particularly if you’ve sold it but it hasn’t released yet), get that website going.  Sometimes the agents and editors like to see your web presence BEFORE they sign you.  Websites are the most affordable and highly effective way of reaching people in the market today.
I also believe that if you can find a good group blog with other established authors (preferably in your genre) that this could be a wealth of great cross promotion for a newbie author.  Ask around your chapters and see if anyone is looking for an eager new blogger.

Whatever you choose to do for promotion…it doesn’t have to be a mystery.  There are definitely folks out there willing to help provide you with every choice known to man and machine.  And, to answer the question…is affordable promotion a myth?  No way.  It is out there and I won’t stop until I’ve found it all.

©  Kerri Nelson 2011

Courting Demons

Paisley Barton was already having a bad day before she turned her husband into a rat.
First, she was fired by her boss and then came home to find hubby in the shower with a naked blonde chick. They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned but this break-up may just unleash hell on Earth when Paisley casts a spell of vengeance against her philandering husband.
After her spell casting inadvertently opens a portal between dimensions, Paisley finds her family home transformed into a nightly courtroom for settling disputes between demons of the underworld and she’s the judge! If that’s not enough, she’s got to deal with a charming, ancient demon named Camden who wants to be her personal bodyguard while trying to explain her husband’s sudden, mysterious disappearance to sexy police Detective Dalton Briggs.
But Paisley will show them all that an everyday working mom is better equipped than most to deal with the mystical mayhem…and with a tempting demon hottie and a flirtatious young detective vying for her affection, she soon learns that being single again isn’t so bad after all.
“When a wronged wife turns her cheating husband into a rat, you know you have to keep reading! Kerri Nelson offers up a lot of fun and wild magic in Courting Demons!” --Bestselling author Linda Wisdom, Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend

Author Bio:
Kerri Nelson discovered her love of writing at an early age and soon became a columnist for her local newspaper winning the Outstanding Young Journalist of the Year Award for her efforts.

After a fifteen year career in the legal field, Kerri fulfilled her lifelong dream of publication and is now an award winning multi-published author of nearly every genre under the sun (and moon) and also writes young adult fiction under the penname K.G. Summers. 

A true southern belle, she comes complete with a dashing southern gentleman and three adorable children for whom she often bakes many homemade treats. 

Kerri is an active member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America as well as numerous chapters including Futuristic Fantasy & Paranormal Writers and her Presidency of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.

Read more about Kerri’s books at her website:
Follow her on Twitter here:
Visit her industry blog here:

Buy Links (print and e-book versions available 9/15 wherever books are sold but here’s the publisher link—free gift available with purchase of print copy—while supplies last):

Giveaway for the day:
Leave a question or comment to be entered to win today’s prize: A Devil Duck + a Witch Broom Pen Combo Pack!

Then, enter to win my book tour Grand Prize Kindle by following me on tour and e-mailing me the answers to each question of the day at the end of tour.  The more questions you answer, the more entries you gain.
Question of the Day: 
Who sentences Paisley to a year of grievance judge duty?
Details on how to enter to win the GRAND PRIZE Kindle at the end of my “Dark Days of Demons Tour” located here:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blog: The Story of Witches with guest Kathryn Meyer Griffith

The Story of Witches
(Originally a 1993 Zebra paperback and
now a 2011 Revised Author’s Edition from Damnation Books)
By Kathryn Meyer Griffith

In 1991 I’d already been writing for about twenty years, on and off (though there was a long gap where I didn’t write because of a divorce, the finding of a full time job to support myself and my son, and a remarriage…life) when I contracted my fourth novel, my first of four to Zebra paperbacks, a romantic horror called Vampire Blood, about a family of vampires who ran a movie theater in a small town. I’d already had a fifth novel, The Last Vampire, completed and in with them when they asked me for another novel.
Got anything about witches, they asked. Witches are hot right now. Hmmm.
For many years I’d played around with an idea about a present day white witch who finds a diary of a long dead witch – either good or bad, I hadn’t decided – in her old house’s attic, or basement, or under a floorboard. The story would have been about the good witch reliving the other dead witch’s life through the diary. I’d always called that possible book Rachel’s Diary in my head.
So in 1991 or 1992 I began the witch book and it quickly metamorphosed into a story of a present day good witch, Amanda Givens,  who’s yanked into a perilous seventeenth century past by an evil witch, Rachel Coxe, to take her place…and die a horrible death as an accused witch. I had the idea then to actually send Amanda into the past to live (for a while) the other witch’s life. Of course, being a good witch, Amanda, changes the other witch’s unsavory reputation but still ends up in a prison waiting to die for Rachel’s earlier crimes. The story, simply put, would be how Amanda overcomes her trials and tribulations, finds her lost eternal love again in the past, and finds a way to return to the present alive. In the process, learning some important life lessons about accepting what life has dealt her and the value of sisters, friendships and the love of those around her. Or good versus evil and, in the end, good wins and is rewarded. I also threw in a few touches of humor in the form of three precocious witches’ familiars…a mind-reading and speaking cat called Amadeus, a mouse, Tituba, and a tiny bat, Gibbiewackett …all with feisty personalities and quirks of their own.
I was excited about the book as I was writing it and when it was done, pleased with it, but had no idea that over the years it’d become the jewel of my writing career and the book that my fans would love the best of all my books. I loved the cat face cover Zebra did for it (a rare occurrence as I’d learned the hard way that covers weren’t always what I’d envisioned and in the early days I had no choice but to accept whatever the publisher’s gave me…and some weren’t so hot, let me tell you!).
Witches came out in 1993 and did well. I noticed soon after as I went on to publish other books that I got the most response and admiration for it. Readers loved the three sisters, Amadeus and Amanda, Gibbiewackett and Tituba. In those days I was too busy working full time as a graphic artist, living my life and writing new books to notice. It went into a second printing in 2000 and after that, sadly, went out of print. But my fans never forgot it. I’d find comments on it and discussions on the Internet…even customer reviews raving about it years and years later. I tried talking Zebra into reissuing it but after Zebra and I parted ways there was no talking them into it.
Then in 2010 when Damnation Books contracted my 13th and 14th novels, the publisher, Kim Richards, asked about all (there was 7 at the time) my out-of-print Zebra and Leisure backlist novels and if I’d like to have them reissued as new paperbacks and, for the first time ever, in e-books. Sure, that’d be great! I told her. And, as they say, the rest is history. Between June 2010 and July 2012 all 7 of them (and now another 3 of my Wild Rose Press novels and two short stories from 2007) updated, rewritten and with stunning new covers will be out again. All in e-books for the first time.
Of course, that’s meant a heck of a lot of rewriting. A lot of work. Those early novels go back twenty-seven years and were first written in the days of snail mail and on an electric typewriter before the Internet, e-mails and Windows Track Changes (for editing). Oh, boy, did they need revising. As of today I can happily say they’re all rewritten now except the very first one, Evil Stalks the Night, 1984; yet even that one will be completed soon.
I’ve often been asked what I think of e-books and I have to say it feels strange, all these years later, to be so into them. I think it’s fantastic to be able to put thousands of books on one little lightweight hand-held contraption and sell them as inexpensively as we do. I started publishing e-books four years ago and have seen such great changes in even that short a time. I love the editing process now. With Track Changes it’s truly a collaborative effort between the editor and the writer and it’s taught me far more about the craft of writing than the old way of just sending off the manuscript, being asked to change certain things, but then never seeing any of those changes or the basic edits until the book was printed and in my hand. Now, no more pages added by an editor (That actually happened in Evil Stalks the Night. The editor, who I never met, added three pages of his own and I didn’t even know about it until I held the book in my hand. And the three pages didn’t make sense…ech!) that I never know about or see until the book comes out. Yeah.
With a chuckle I recall a writer’s convention I attended in 1990 – yes, that far back – and the main topic back then was…OMG the electronic books are coming! They’re going to make us authors obsolete! Print books are going to die a terrible lonely death…etc., etc. Lack and alas, what are we going to do? Ha, ha. It’s ironic that 21 years later I’m in love with e-books. They’re the future. And I think there’ll always be room for print books as well as electronic ones.
So Witches…Damnation Books is rereleasing it April 1, 2011. I’m thrilled. The cover is still of Amadeus, the cat, and Dawne Dominique did an amazing job on it. My editor, Alison O'Byrne, helped me make it a better book than eighteen years ago. Of all my novels, I’m most proud of it. It’s held up pretty well. I hope it finds many more readers and fans.
So that’s the story of Witches…the little book that wouldn’t die.

Thank you!   E-mail me at
Kathryn Meyer Griffith has been writing for nearly forty years and has published 14 novels and 7 short stories since 1984 with Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books and Eternal Press in the horror, romantic paranormal, suspense and murder mystery genres… and all 12 of her old books above (and two new ones) are being brought out again between June 2010 and July 2012 from DAMNATION BOOKS and ETERNAL PRESS again in print – and all in  e-books for the first time ever! Learn more about her at or or or and!/profile.php?id=1019954486 .

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Art of Self Promotion With Guest Blogger Jordan K Rose

It’s getting near that time when my book will be hitting the virtual E-Book shelves, and that being said, I started wondering what else I could do to promote myself to the world. I have a web site, book trailer on utube, I’ve started a facebook page just for my writing, I’ve been tweeting, I’ve had cards made up to hand out to anyone who looks my way, I’ve had buttons made, again to hand out to anyone who looks my way, and I have little keychains on order. I have a list of blog sites to guest at when it’s release time, and I’m already looking for conferences to head to where I can sit down and meet the public. But I have to wonder, is that enough?
I've asked Author Jordan K Rose to join me today to share her thoughts on the Art of Self Promotion. After trying her hand at many, many things- from crafting and art classes to cooking and sewing classes to running her own handbag business, Jordan finally figured out how to channel her creativity. With an active imagination and a little encouragement from her husband she sat down and began to write, each night clicking away at the keys with her black Labrador, Dino curled up under the desk. A few short years later she’s entered the publishing arena with no plans to ever turn back. Jordan’s a member of Rhode Island Romance Writers, as well as RWA National, and the New England (NEC), Connecticut, and Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal (FFnP) Chapters.
Thank you Jordan for stopping by. Now, what I want to know is,
What are you doing to promote yourself?
Jeanne, before I answer I’d like to thank you for hosting me on Romance in Flight. I’m thrilled to be here and appreciate the opportunity. You’re running a great blog and I’m delighted to be a part of it. Now, on to your questions.
My Marketing and Promo Plan is a work in progress. It continues to evolve as I learn more about what opportunities exist and as my release date comes closer. Currently I use Twitter as my primary tool. It’s short and sweet and super easy, all traits of a promo tool that meet my needs. I also use FaceBook, which I’ve learned to keep to a minimum. I have an author website,, and use the blog portion of it to share info about my writing and appearances. I have business cards as well. In terms of giveaways I’m trying to determine what will give me the best return on investment. As a fan I like pens best of all giveaways. Well, pens and chocolate. But pens provide a better marketing opportunity. Let’s face it. No one keeps the wrapper after they’ve eaten the chocolate. So the pen is clearly the better investment. J I have not ventured into the book trailer realm. I’m a little nervous about trying it. Technology is not my strong suit and becoming frustrated as I try to make a trailer will not help my mindset and keep me writing. The book trailer is in the “maybe some time in the future when I’m well-rested and feeling adventurous” column of my marketing plan!
I also have a website dedicated to a character in my current WIP, Eva blogs about anything of interest to her- movies, books, drinks, fashion. She doles out advice and tips for current vampires and wannabees. I use her site to help promote my name even though my first book, Perpetual Light, is not her story. An issue she has made her opinion quite clear on. She tweets and has a FaceBook page where she complains about the fact that her story is not yet published. She has close to 600 followers on Twitter so she’s also a good form of promotion.  
How important do you believe it is to have your own blog/ website/ FaceBook page/ twitter?
Very important. I don’t believe a writer needs to utilize all of them, but at least a couple and she needs to be active on the ones she picks. You have to find your comfort zone. Not everyone enjoys FaceBook so that may not be the best tool for one person. There is so much out there, and with so many opportunities to promote your work a writer should be able to find a tool that fits her style. I think a basic website is a must. I’ve heard agents and editors say that the first thing they do when they are considering a submission is google the author. Your name needs to come up somewhere in the search engines.  
I just took a second to google myself, which I haven’t done in quite a while. The first three entries were my own website. The next nine entries were still about me and not some other Jordan Rose. They were my profile pages from a number of other social media groups like Twitter, FaceBook, Paranormal Romance Guild, Shelfari, my publisher, Crescent Moon Press, and other blogs I’ve been on. Wow! I’m surprised and pleased to see my name is out there. This is a great example of why a writer needs to belong to some social media groups and have a website.
In your opinion, what would be Taboo?
I don’t know that I’d say anything that’s legal, morally and ethically acceptable is taboo. However, I would caution that you promote your name and work in appropriate venues so that you attract the type of readers who’ll want to read your books. A writer shouldn’t do anything that will discourage readers. For example, I write paranormal romance and the door is open when my heroes and heroines are intimate. However, I do not write erotic romance. I would not market my books as inspirational romances or erotica. It would upset or disappoint readers, who would in turn report their experience.
In your opinion, what is a complete waste of time?
My marketing efforts have not been in effect long enough to determine if anything I’m doing is a complete waste of time. I firmly believe that simply because something works for one writer does not mean it will work for another. Each person has to find a marketing tool and develop a plan that will work for her. In my own marketing planning two things are very important to me: time and money. How long is it taking me and how much is it costing me? The number one thing a writer needs to do is write. If you’re spending hours and hours everyday marketing, you are not writing. You can be a marketing guru, but if you don’t have anything written, what good is it? And, just because you saw something really cool at a conference, like chocolate bars with an author’s name and newest release on the label, does not mean it’s the best use of your money. Like I said, once I eat the candy, I don’t keep the wrapper.
The goal of my marketing plan is to gain exposure and make my name and books recognizable. But that needs to be done in the most efficient way both financially and time-wise.
Any words of encouragement for those just starting out?
Absolutely. Believe in yourself. Writing can be a fun and exciting job or hobby. It can also beat you down, if you let it. I’ve tried to learn something from every experience, whether it was a contest critique or a rejection from an agent or editor. Get a critique partner you trust and lean on her for support and encouragement. Enjoy the moments you can. Groan about the ones that distress. But then let them go. Get back to the computer and keep writing. It’s the only way to get published.
Jeanne, thanks again for having me. It’s been a real pleasure.
 The pleasure is all mine!
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Story of Vampire Blood by Kathryn Meyer Griffith

The Story of Vampire Blood
Author’s Revised Edition by Kathryn Meyer Griffith
A rerelease of my 1991 Zebra paperback romantic vampire novel

In 1990 or so I’d just got done releasing my first three paperback novels with Leisure Books, a romantic historical (The Heart of the Rose 1985) and two romantic horror books (Evil Stalks the Night, 1984 and Blood Forge, 1989), and because I wasn’t making much money on them, was looking, as most so-called restless young authors were doing, to move up in the publishing industry.
So I wrote snail mail letters to three established authors of the day – Dean Koontz, Stephen King and Peter Straub – asking for a little advice and a little help. What do I do next? I want to be one of the big dogs running in the big races. I want to make the big bucks. Be famous like you. (Ha, ha. I was so naïve in those days!) 
Well, Stephen King and Peter Straub never answered my letters but one rainy fall night I got a phone call from Gerda Koontz (Dean Koontz’s wife) and she said Dean had gotten my letter and wanted me to have a name of a brand new agent who I should call or write to and say I was recommended by him. If I thought it strange that Dean Koontz himself wasn’t actually talking to me I was told by Gerda that he was a shy man and had had a particularly hard couple of months because of family problems (I think it had something to do with his father in a nursing home or something, but can’t exactly recall now) and he’d asked her to call me. She often did that for him, as well as helping him with the business side of his writing career. He (through her…and I got the impression that he was actually nearby telling her what to say the whole time) said I had to have an agent (I didn’t have one) and then he gave me the name of an ambitious one, Lori Perkins, just starting out and his advice on what I should do to advance as a writer.
I do remember being incredibly touched that he, a famous busy novelist that I admired – I loved his Twilight Eyes – would take the time to talk to me, even through his wife. They were both so sweet and we talked for nearly an hour all about writing, books and everything.
I took their advice and contacted that agent and she agreed immediately to represent me on my fourth book, Vampire Blood, no doubt, because I said Dean Koontz had recommended her to me. Name dropper! But Vampire Blood was the reason I’d contacted those famous authors in the first place. I thought it was the best book I’d done so far and wanted it to go to (what I thought at the time) would be a better publisher than Leisure Books, which contracted and hog-tied their writers with a horrible ‘potboiler’ one-size-fits-all ten year contract with low advances and 4% royalties. Yes, I got a whole whopping 14 cents a book in those days, but, I must confess, they did print thousands of paperbacks each run and had a huge distribution area.  I thought I could do a lot better. Anyway, Lori Perkins wanted me to send her the book and she did like it and eventually sold it, and then three others zip-zip-zip right after, to Zebra Books (now known more as Kensington Publishing) at 6% royalties and double the advances I was used to getting. They slapped a sexy blond vampire with a low dress on the cover and a hazy theater behind her. Lovely colors. I thought it was an eye-catching cover. I was so happy. I thought I’d made it! Again, so naïve.
Vampire Blood. A little story about a family of vicious killing vampires who settle in a small Florida town called Summer Haven and end up buying and fixing up an old theater palace to run, and pluck their victims from, and a divorced, down-on-her-luck ex-novelist and her worn-out father, who along with friends, help thwart them.
Now to how and why I wrote it.
My husband and I lived in this small Illinois town, Cahokia, at the time and there was the neatest little hole-in-the-wall theater in a nearby shopping center we used to go to all the time…run by a family of a sweet man, Terry, and his wife, Ann, and sometimes their three children, two teenage boys and a girl named Irene.  Such a friendly, but odd couple. The run-down theater was their whole world it seemed. The kids helped take in the tickets, pop the popcorn and sell the candy snacks.
Now the minute Terry and Ann found out, in one of our earliest conversations, that I was a published novelist they were my greatest fans. Terry went right out and bought all three of my books and they all read them. Terry always thought they’d make great movies. Next time my husband and I went to the little theater Terry and Ann greeted us like old friends, so delighted to see us, and refused to take a dime from us for anything. We got in free whenever we went from then on. Now in those days my husband, my son, James, and I were pretty broke. I worked as a graphic designer at a big brokerage firm in downtown St. Louis (across the Poplar Bridge from our Illinois town) but my husband was in between jobs. We lived on a shoestring. Hard times. So I always was so tickled that we could get into the local movies for free. We went a lot, too, as we loved movies, especially science fiction and horror films.
One night I was watching Terry and Ann and their joy in running that little theater, with the kids bustling around doing their jobs, and I got the idea for Vampire Blood. Just like that! Use them and the theater as a backdrop for a vampire novel. Hey, wouldn’t it be neat, I off-handedly mentioned to Terry one night, if I wrote a book about a family of vampires that was trying to pass as a real human family, the man and woman wanting so badly to fit in and lead a normal life for a while, renovating and then running a theater together…but the kids are wild and, as kids always do, make trouble for them in the town…killing people? Terry loved the idea and I asked him if it’d be all right to use him and his family as a template for the vampires. He was thrilled to be part of anything to do with my books and said yes. So…I wrote this book about them (sort of), the theater (making it much grander than it was, of course), a small town terrorized by cruel, powerful vampires who can change into wolves at will….and a saddened lonely woman, her brother, and her ex-husband (who she still loves and ultimately ends up with again after he saves her life) who finds herself again, but loses a lot, as well, fighting these vampires. Vampires she doesn’t believe in at first.
I was very happy with the book when it was done and dedicated it to Terry and Ann when it came out in 1991. Terry and Ann were thrilled, too.
So Vampire Blood came out and did very well for me, second only to my Zebra 1993 Witches. As the years went by it went out of print and when, twenty years later, Kim Richards at Damnation Books contracted my 13th and 14th novels, BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons and The Woman in Crimson, she asked if I’d like to rerelease (with new covers and rewritten, of course) my 7 out-of-print Leisure and Zebra paperbacks – and I said a resounding yes!
So…here it is…Vampire Blood…twenty years later, alive again and better, I believe,  than the original because my writing then was done on an electric typewriter, with gobs of White-Out and carbon paper (I couldn’t afford copies), using snail mail; all of which didn’t lend itself to much rewriting. And in those days, editors told an author what to change and then the writer only saw the manuscript once to final proof it. Who knew what those sneaky editors were slipping in inbetween and before the final book was in an author’s greedy little hands. Hey, and I was working full time, raising a son, living a life and caring for my big extended family in one way or another, too. Busy, exciting, loving, happy and sad times.
For this new version, Damnation Book’s cover artist Dawné Dominique made me an astonishingly intriguing cover of a lovely vampire (Irene the youngest vampire who turns out to be the most brutal and ancient in the end)…but, thank goodness, without the low sexy top. And my DB editor, April Duncan, helped me make it a better novel.
A lot has happened to me and my family in these twenty years, as well. Both my parents, and my beloved maternal grandmother, the storyteller of her generation, have since passed away. Many people we used to know have. Old boyfriends, old friends and relatives. I miss them all! I no longer have that agent; she went on to bigger advances and bigger writers.  I lost my good job at the brokerage firm, bumped around in lesser jobs for years, always writing in my spare time, and now, at long last, write full time while my husband works way too hard in a machine shop to support us.
Rewriting the book brought back so many good memories…and tears over those no longer here. The theater closed sixteen years ago, the owner believing it’d served its purpose and used up its time. Terry and Ann, heartbroken, were never the same. They had other jobs, none they truly cared about.  Ann is still with us, but Terry died a few years ago, I heard from someone. We lost contact once they stopped running the theater and we moved from Cahokia to a nicer town miles away.
But I’ll never forget those early days and the stories that came with them. Days of high hopes and far distance future dreams…some of which have come true and some which haven’t. I’ve never made the big bucks, never gotten truly famous, but now, at long last and to my great delight, all twelve of my older books, from Leisure, Zebra, and The Wild Rose Press are being rewritten and reissued from Damnation Books and Eternal Press between June 2010 and July 2012. Better than ever after I’d rewritten them. I have plans to write more books and short stories, too, when they’re done. Most importantly, I’m living a good life with a husband I adore and brothers and sisters I love. Writing the stories I was born to write and happy I am. I have my memories. All in all, I’m a lucky, lucky woman.
So, all you writers out there…never give up and never stop writing!
Thank you!
Kathryn Meyer Griffith has been writing for nearly forty years and has published 14 novels and 7 short stories since 1984 with Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books and Eternal Press in the horror, romantic paranormal, suspense and murder mystery genres… and all 12 of her old books, see below, (and two new ones) are being brought out again between June 2010 and July 2012 from DAMNATION BOOKS and ETERNAL PRESS again in print – and all in  e-books for the first time ever! Learn more about her at or or or and!/profile.php?id=1019954486 .
Here’s a list of all my published novels and short stories:
Evil Stalks the Night (Leisure,1984; Damnation Books, July 2012)
The Heart of the Rose (Leisure,1985)
Blood Forge (Leisure,1989; Damnation Books, February 2012)
Vampire Blood (Zebra, 1991; Damnation Books, July 2011)
The Last Vampire (Zebra, 1992; Damnation Books, October 2010)
Witches (Zebra, 1993; Damnation Books, April 2011)
The Nameless One (short story in 1993 Zebra Anthology Dark Seductions;
  Damnation Books, February 2011)
The Calling (Zebra, 1994; Damnation Books, October 2011)
Scraps of Paper (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2003)
All Things Slip Away (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2006)
Egyptian Heart (The Wild Rose Press, 2007...out again from Eternal Press in
  August 2011)
Winter's Journey (The Wild Rose Press, 2008...out again from Eternal Press in
  September 2011)
The Ice Bridge (The Wild Rose Press, 2008...out again from Eternal Press in November 2011)
Don't Look Back short story (2008...out again from Eternal Press in 2011)
In This House (short story 2008...out again from Eternal Press in 2011)
BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons (2010)
The Woman in Crimson (2010) ***