Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Authors in the Spotlight 6/20

In today's Authors in the Spotlight, we have authors Brandyn Blaze and Lynne Cockrum-Murphy!


Name: Brandyn Blaze

How long have you been published? I published my first book on March 22, 2016, so just over a year. It’s been an incredible ride so far!

What's the worst part about being published? The uncertainty. Every time you put something out there you’re opening yourself up and accepting the risk of criticism. I think it’s important to keep in mind that not everything can be a big hit and that there is no such thing as a book that absolutely everyone will love. You just have to do what you do, do it with pride, and focus on the people who are on board with your vision.

What's the best part about being published? The uncertainty! The other side of that risk is that it could resonate with enough people to make you a success. It’s exciting! Just knowing you bit the bullet and followed through with your dream brings a sense of accomplishment and gives you the motivation to keep going.

Are you self published or did you go through a publishing company? After years of research and contemplation, I chose to self-publish. I love that I have complete control over what I put out. From the writing itself to the cover design to marketing, I get to call all the shots. I can also work at my own pace, versus trying to meet a deadline imposed by someone else. There’s also the matter of keeping more of the royalties for myself, which is definitely a plus! Of course, there are also some downsides. I think one of the worst is that you have to work twice as hard to prove yourself. There’s still some stigma attached to being an indie writer, this idea that self-published authors aren’t “real” writers. I think this mostly comes from the perceived ease of the self-publishing process. People don’t see the hours of work that go into creating a book or the hours you spend promoting it after publication. There seems to be an idea that it’s all fun and games, and that if it’s fun it must not be legitimate work, which I think even traditionally published authors face as well.

What is the name of your book(s)? I have released three books from my “Instruments of Life” series so far. The first is “Broken Strings”, followed by “Lo-Fidelity”, and “Snared”. The series centers around record producer Maggie Hawke, whose brother is the bass player for the world’s biggest rock band. Set in the 1980s, we get a look into the music scene as we watch Maggie come to terms with the seedy side of fame and find her own voice amidst the chaos. When you strip all that away, it’s really a story about finding love in the unlikeliest of places.

Was it/were they an easy write for you? The first one was fairly easy for me. I had been working on it since high school, so when I finally decided to take it seriously it was mostly a matter of revisions and editing. The draft I had for the second one was a little more sparse, so it was a bit more time consuming. The third book has taken the most work so far.

What's the hardest part about writing a book? Editing is the hardest part, hands down. There are times when you have a scene that you absolutely love, and it just doesn’t fit well with the story. Cutting those scenes out is rough! I’ve had to write out entire characters and subplots, and it’s a little emotional!

What's the easiest part about writing a book? Those moments when you’re just blindly putting words on the page. Once you’re in the zone and just allowing the scene to unfold, it’s as easy as breathing. At that point you’re just gathering the raw materials to create your masterpiece with. This is my favorite part. There’s a sense of urgency during that stage and you’re not wasting time overthinking your choice of words or focusing on the tiny details, you’re just sketching it out. Sometimes you’ll keep a good chunk of what you create in that time, sometimes you’ll process it into something greater, and sometimes you just have to let it go.

Where can interested readers purchase their copy of your book(s)? All of my books are available in paperbacks or as eBooks through Amazon, and as eBooks only through Barnes and Noble and the Apple iStore. You can find links to my books at each of these stores through the “books” tab on my website. Kindle users can also get the first two books as one download here.

Do you have any future projects in the works? I have so many projects ahead of me! I’ve recently started to work on the fourth installment of this series, with the hopes of having it completed this winter. There will be at least three more in the “Instruments of Life” series, and then I have a few new projects outlined, including a couple non-fiction books.

Do you have any social media sites that you would like to share with my readers? Of course! You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and you can always check out my website
Name: Lynne Cockrum-Murphy
How long have you been published? And what are the names of your books?
My first book, Stronger at the Broken Places: Growing Up in Chaos and the Journey from Suffering to Self- Actualization was published in 2010. That was publication of my dissertation by a German academic publisher. 
In 2015, my second book, Living Hope - Steps to Leaving Suffering Behind came out. Then in January 2017, my third book Unfolding the Mystery of Self – We Are Never Alone launched.
What is the worst part about being published? – is there a worst part? No, I don’t think so. I take it back, the cost of publishing and then publicity requires huge chunks of money.
What is the best part about being published? The best part of being published is the slow dawning of “I am a writer”. After teaching in public schools and a university, after counseling in a drug treatment center, I transformed into a writer with a deep desire to write.
I published both Living Hope and Unfolding the Mystery of Self with Sojourn Publishing in Sedona, AZ.
What are the highs, if any? Seeing your book in print, seeing the cover while holding it in your own hand is a powerful high because it includes your dreams, sweat and tears. 
What are the lows, if any? The lows come when you see how much effort and putting yourself out there it takes to sell copies. They don’t sell themselves. We do launch parties; we use social media and learn to talk with strangers to promote our books. It is all very worth it, while challenging to us new to the field.
Were they an easy write for you? My books were easy to write when I got into the zone. Working with writing coach Tom Bird and using his method brought my second and third books out on onto paper surprisingly fast. I still use his technique as I write my next two books.
What are the lows, if any? I think the challenge comes in in editing such as: knowing how to improve it without damaging it, without deleting good stuff or without keeping the boring stuff and top of all that being willing to keep at it month after month until it is done. Finding editors, both content and style that are good at your genre, yet affordable and that enhance your book is a formidable task.
What’s the hardest part about writing a book? Another challenge to a writer is dedicating time each day to writing when everything from doctor appointments to a lack of self-confidence to a job all demand time. Plus, I find building my platform and presence in social media takes me into the land of distraction, fun and wasted time. 
What’s the easiest part about writing a book? What makes it easy to get the book out is the love of the book itself, that unending longing to write it, to tell the story. That drives me. It is as if the book demands time and attention until it is complete.
Where can interested readers purchase their copy of your books? My three books are available at Amazon and at my website
Do you have any future project in the works? An online workshop series based on Unfolding the Mystery of Self launches on my website July 2017. My next two books reveal my first dive into fiction. I love the story (historical fiction) and the characters and am nervous to see if others will love it too. Tentative release dates book 1 March and book 2 September 2018.
Do you have any social media sites that you would like to share with my readers? Friend me on Facebook, connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Google+.

Join me on Thursday as I bring you authors Rayvon Wright and Opal Dunlap!


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