A few month's ago, Nikki Leigh approached me about being part of Mirella's blog tour. I said, "Of course, I'd love to help her promote her book."
Blog tours are the new promotional tool that allows authors to travel across the internet, visiting other sites to expose people to their backlists, current releases and works-in-progress. Mirella joins me today to promote her historical romance, Bloodstone Castle, offered by Enspiren Press.
I'm going to ask a few questions of her so that we can get to know her a little better. Please feel free to leave your own questions in the comments section for Mirella to address.
Hi Mirella. I’m so happy to have you join me on my blog. Some people probably don’t realize how small the internet has made the world and how easy it is to connect with friends miles and miles away. FYI: Mirella and I have shared an historical critique group and then met again when we both contracted with Enspiren Press. I’m pleased to be part of her blog tour.
1. Mirella, can you share with my readers the essence of the story you’ve penned in Bloodstone Castle? I’m sure everyone would like to know the setting, year and a little about your characters, etc.
Hi Ginger, it’s a real pleasure to be here and work with you outside of our fabulous critique group.
Bloodstone Castle is a medieval romance with elements of suspense and adventure and mystery. It takes place in 10th century Italy. It’s a little on the dark side because I sprinkled the tale with a touch of evil, a dash of violence, and an intriguing mystery. It is the story about a young Countess named Morena who faces adversity when she must choose between two men who are both determined to marry her for different reasons. Duke Amoro of Genoa wants to marry her as a duty to fulfill his father’s dying wish to end the feud between their families and Duke Ernesto of Savona who wants to discover the ancient Roman treasure buried somewhere beneath her castle.
2. As an historical author myself, I find that writing in this genre requires a lot more research time than contemporary or suspense. How did you conduct your research for Bloodstone Castle, and what resources do you find most helpful. Internet? Library?
I have been researching the 10th century since 2004 in regards to a trilogy I am working on. I therefore placed the setting of Bloodstone Castle in the 10th century to make good use of my research. I love researching on the Internet, but I also regularly purchase books pertaining to this period. I’ve ordered books from Italy, Germany, England and Utah. If the book pertains to the 10th century or is specific to my novels, I will purchase it no matter the distance or the cost.
3. You mention you have daughters. How do they feel about your writing? Have they read your book, and do they support your efforts? How about hubby?
Both my daughters are in their twenties and they are very supportive of my writing. Due to the fact they are both in college, they have just begun reading my novel now that school is out for this term. So far, their feedback is very positive and they love the book. They are also selling copies of it to friends and acquaintances. The only thing that embarrasses them a little is when I’ve written a sex scene. “Oh, mom,” they say. I guess it’s a little too candid for them to know their mother writes such steamy scenes.
My husband is not a reader, and never will be. He just doesn’t enjoy it. But he supports me in my writing and does his best to make sure I have the time to write when I need it. He is the first to cheer me on and I know he’s been bragging about my book at work and to all of his friends. Now, if I can only get him away from hockey and football long enough to read a book. On the other hand, he might be saying the opposite about me – Now, if I can only get my wife away from that darn computer so she can go to a hockey game with me. Sigh, it works both ways.
4. I tried my hand at editing for a small press and it became an overwhelming job. I gave it up fairly fast and never looked back. How do you juggle helping to hone someone else’s work with completing your own?
Editing definitely does take away what precious little time we have to write. Editing, like writing, is a learning process. It took me a while, but I’ve managed to find a way to work it into my schedule. I edit at the end of the day and I never do more than a couple of chapters at one sitting otherwise you lose concentration and start missing things. I transfer the manuscript onto my PDA cell phone which has Word Mobile on it and edit in bed at night. When I’m done editing the 1 or 2 chapters, I read and soon fall asleep. I enjoy it because it is fun to work with another author and to share what I learn as an editor. It also has improved my own writing, so it’s been a win-win for me.
5. What is your ultimate goal as an author?
My ultimate goal as an author is to entertain my reader. To be able to give them a brief escape, or make them laugh or cry, is an honor which I take very seriously. I like writing about strong historical women who were role models in their time and whose stories should never be forgotten by women of our time.
6. Being published on a smaller scale sometimes creates a dilemma for me. I have problems admitting to how much my POD books cost compared to mass-market paperbacks. Do you find this a problem? What is the most challenging thing for you?
I love this question, so thank you for asking it.
My first novel, Heinrich the Fowler, is published by a Print on Demand publisher in the U.S. POD books cost more money because they are printed in small volume therefore making the price high. To make matters worse, I am Canadian and the same book in Canada costs several dollars more than the same book in the U.S. Canadian book stores do not want to my book because they have to price the book at nearly $30.00 – an outrageous cost for a trade paperback. It cannot compete with books of a similar size for half or less than half the cost. Therefore, I cannot promote it or increase sales. What I have found is that my book is being purchased from Amazon by scholars of the Ottonian Empire and it is being quoted in research papers from post secondary institutions.
What I’ve decided to do is to re-write the novel, add new scenes, delete some old scenes,and expand some others. I will change the focus of the novel to the heroine instead of the hero and when then submit the book again to a regular publisher with a fresh new title. And because it never sold in any book stores in Canada, it will be like publishing a brand new book. So I remain hopeful and dedicated to the book.
7. The internet is becoming more and more popular as an avenue for new authors to receive recognition. Promotion is key to success and sales. What particular things have you done to increase your visibility before embarking on this blog tour? What have you found useful? What has been a waste of time and effort, and perhaps money?
I have created a website at: http://www.mirellapatzer.com. I have also given Bloodstone Castle its own blog at: http://bloodstonecastle.blogspot.com. I have also created several blogs where I focus on things I am interested in like my Best of Italy blog at http://bestofitaly.blogspot.com. I’ve also created a blog for other authors to promote their work at http://authorcookies.blogspot.com. Each week I feature a new author and their favourite cookie recipe. It’s proven very popular and I have a waiting list.
I’ve joined several social networking sites. Some are for authors which is great for networking. But all authors are trying to promote their book, so the best sites are those that reach out to the reader instead of other authors. It is these sites where I’ve had the most fun and received the most interest.
8. Speaking of new authors… what advice can you give to someone just starting out in the writing arena?
Don’t think about it – write. Keep an open mind and be willing to learn. Immerse yourself in groups with other authors. Join a good critique group because only through critiquing and editing will your own skill improve. And as you progress and enjoy your success, always be willing to offer a helping hand to those aspiring to follow in your footsteps and also become authors. Always give back.
9.If there is one specific hurdle between you and achieving your goals, what would you say it is?
Currently, work/life balance continues to be an issue. While my daughter is in law school, I have full time care of my two year old grandson. He is my priority, so I try to write or work while he is napping or late at night. Things are rather hectic at this time with promoting Bloodstone Castle, so very little writing is getting done. But in a few months, I hope to return to writing.
10. I think I’ve grilled you fairly well, so take a moment and share anything you’d like with my blog readers that I failed to cover. I look forward to reading your book and hopefully sharing a little bit of “Enspiren Press” fame with you.
I am always humbled when I get to work with other accomplished authors like you and Anne Whitfield, Margaret Tanner, Leslie Dicken, and many more. I know I have long admired your work ethic and propensity for promotion. What I am most grateful for is the support that exists between us. I am held in awe by how much we share and how much we learn from each other.
Wow, Mirella! What a wonderful way to end an interview. You're an inspiration and I admire your determination. This is a tough business, as we're all learning, but I have no doubt you have what it takes to be a huge success. I wish you well, and I'm happy to have played a part in your tour. Best wishes,