Authors -Branding – Maximize Your Web Presence

The rules of publishing are changing at rapid fire speed. Marketing and promoting can turn into a full-time job. Authors are forced to sacrifice precious writing time in order to “get the book out there.”

You all know the drill. You’ve written a quality book. Readers have given you four and five-star reviews and yet you suffer from lackluster Amazon rankings or are continually running new promo’s to keep your book from dipping into the 300,000 – 500,000 rank and risk fading into obscurity.

In today’s industry the question is what can you do to stand out from the pack and have your book noticed?

Branding is important. Attracting readers interested in your genre is crucial. How would you like to have your book and or your name turn up in the top ten in Google searches when a prospective reader is looking for their next good read?

The answer is easier than you might think. Allow us to talk about YOUR titles by joining the internet’s largest engine marketing network of authors.

If you are interested in increasing the online exposure of your titles while getting
an instant discount of $20, contact me via this blog or e-mail

I will send you the link for more information and a coupon code for an instant $20 discount. Control your future as an author and take advantage of building your brand, whether it’s short-term for a new release or long-term to establish yourself in your genre.

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Murder in Lincoln Park!

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Deadly Consequences

The Sam Black series of suspense novels feature the detectives of the fictional major crimes unit working out of 18th Precinct… the Gold Coast…where the rich and fabulous live…and die.

Nothing good ever happens on Saturday nights. Not in a city the size of Chicago, and not for the detectives of the 18th Precinct. Detective Sam Black and partner Alec Winters respond to a chilling call. A dead body’s been discovered near the lagoon in Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the city’s largest tourist attractions. The Superintendent of police and Mayor are screaming for a quick resolution before the media creates a frenzy.

Sharp twists and unexpected turns force the detectives to put personal animosity aside when another girl goes missing. With the suspect pool quickly eroding, Sam follows a hunch that leads her to the killer’s lair and brings her face to face with a mad man determined to make her his next victim.

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The Next Big Thing: Till Death

Like my predecessor, I also confess to being very bad. I was tagged by the up and coming uber talented writer Mark Souza  author of the Futuristic Thriller Robyn’s Egg to make a post for The Next Big Thing, where authors answer questions about their next book underway. I was supposed to post on Wednesday. Things got hectic, and here it is Friday. Better late than never.

1. What is the working title of your book?

Till Death

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

That’s a tough one to answer. The idea has been rolling around in my mind for some time. Till Death is the first of a series, so it sets the stage for many stories to come. I enjoy continuing characters in books. When it comes to watching TV, I love ensemble casts that feed off each other. I suppose the idea for the book first sprang from wanting to create a strong female protagonist, different from the other female cops already out there. Sam is not your typical detective. She doesn’t drink too much, she isn’t commitment phobic, often leads with her instincts, and enjoyed a successful career as a psychologist until a family tragedy forced her to take stock of her life and make a career change. She’s tough, vulnerable, elegant, loyal, sexy, and regrettably human. I needed her to have strong, supporting characters unique enough to draw readers into their stories as well. Sam Black is the lead character, but the story belongs to Sam, her family and the detectives of the eighteenth precinct. Because this is the first book of a series, Till Death is a character driven story. It is definitely a psychological thriller with plenty of suspense, fast pacing, chilling twists, and mind numbing reveals, but it touches on the cores of human emotions, love, hate, vengeance, fear, loss, triumph, and defeat.

 3. What genre does your book fall under?

Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Mystery

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

This required a lot of thought, but I think I finally nailed it. I’ve pegged Kate Hudson as Detective Sam Black, Matt Bomer as her playboy cop partner Alec Winters, Julia Stiles as Nikki Fletcher, a cop with a disturbing past, George Clooney as wine guzzling, skirt chasing, Sam hating, Detective Jay Lombardo, John Stamos as chilling, cunning, charismatic FBI agent Greer Tyler, but that’s just a taste. For fun I put together a cast list featuring all my characters and short bio’s for them. Click the link below to take a peek.

 5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A grisly serial killer targets men on Chicago’s Gold Cost.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

So may choices! You forgot to add small presses. I have a little way to go before I decide. I still need to get the book into the hands of more beta readers and an editor. I’ll make the final decision within the next few weeks.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It’s taken around a  year for the first draft but during that time I was doing final edits for State of Panic and I took a break to write two novella’s. I’m 97% done with Till Death.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I wouldn’t compare. Every author tells a story in a unique way, and it’s impossible for me to compare Till Death with other novels. It’s not like Sue Grafton’s alphabet novels, I have an ensemble cast of characters, Sam Black isn’t  lone wolf. It’s not like Julie Garwood because she leans towards romance. There are male/female relationships in the book and some underlying romance, but just like in real life. romance doesn’t dominate the characters lives. I don’t want to completely cop out on the question though, so I asked a couple of beta readers whose work they think the book is similar to, and they compared it to novels written in a similar style by Tami Hoag, Erica Spindler and Sandra Brown and P.J. Parrish.

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I hope my answer doesn’t come across as corny, but the answer is my mom. My earliest memories are of prowling through bookstores with her. All her life she’s been a passionate reader, a trait she passed down to me. Her health hasn’t been good the last few years, she started me down this path, so I would love to give her the gift of a writing a book that makes her proud.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The characters lives, trauma’s, relationships, and the crimes they solve are intricately woven together so that what touches one of them, touches them all. Their stories are ongoing… In Till Death you’ll get grit, glitz, glamour, seduction, touches of BDSM gone bad, a sensational setting, and a story whose ending I dare you to figure out.

Tag, You’re It (Next Week’s “Next Big Thing” authors)

Hop on over to their blogs and see what they’re up to!

Heidi Sutherland  

Lori J. Gordon    (fellow author and friend I met as a result of sharing the same name).

Douglas Wickard  

Carol Ward  

Anshuman Das

Cynthia Meyers-Hanson


***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) ***

Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them, and link back to this page. It’s that simple.

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing

  1. What is the working title of your book?
  2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
  3. What genre does your book fall under?
  4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
  5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
  6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
  7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
  8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
  9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?
  10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
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Dream Cast of Till Death, A Psychological Thriller

If only wishes made dreams come true.

Sam Black enjoyed a successful career as a psychologist until a family tragedy forced her to take stock of her life and make a career change. She’s tough, vulnerable, elegant, loyal, sexy, and regrettably human.The first of a series,Till Death is a character driven psychological thriller with plenty of suspense, fast pacing, chilling twists, and mind numbing reveals, touching the cores of human emotion, love, hate, vengeance, fear, loss, triumph, and defeat.

Meet the characters…

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State of Panic Trailer

When the killing ends…the nightmare begins.

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Spotlight on Stephen Penner, Author of Scottish Rite and Mars Alpha Station

Thrillers, Chillers and Darn Good Books

Today’s spotlight is onStephenPenner, an author and artist fromSeattle. Stephen is a contributor to the DEADSHOESOCIETY short story anthology. In addition, he has just released a science fiction novel, MARS STATION ALPHA, and a paranormal mystery novel, SCOTTISH RITE. If you haven’t sampled his writing yet, this is your chance to get a sneak peek and discover a great new author.

Genres:  Science Fiction, Thrillers, Paranormal, Mysteries, Children’s

You have a continuing character in your novels. Give us a bit of background about him/her:

My science fiction novel, MARS STATION ALPHA, is not a series book. I love the characters, but the strength of the book lies in the immediacy of the crises they face. That book stands alone.

However, in my paranormal mysteries, SCOTTISH RITE and BLOOD RITE, there is a recurring protagonist, Maggie Devereaux. She is an American graduate student in languages, who travels toScotlandand discovers a lost book of ancient, but dark, magic. In SCOTTISH RITE, she has to unlock the magic to stop a serial killer. In BLOOD RITE, she uses it to save a kidnapped child. In the third book, DARK RITE, she’ll have to use it to save herself.

Sci Fi appeals to a wide variety of readers. What is your favorite part of writing science fiction?

I really like the fact that no matter the setting, it’s the human nature of the characters that carries the day. The challenge is to write something a little bit futuristic, a little bit speculative, but still keep the characters approachable. In MARS STATION ALPHA, the adventure takes place on Mars, but the characters are regular people in an extraordinary situation.

Tell us a little about your books:

MARS STATION ALPHA is a science fiction thriller.

SCOTTISH RITE and BLOOD RITE are paranormal mysteries.

“Lady Justice Wears Heels” (from THE DEADSHOESOCIETY) is a legal thriller.

I’ve also written (and illustrated!) a series of children’s books titled PROFESSOR BARRISTER’S DINOSUAR MYSTERIES.

Novel Excerpt:

Here’s the opening scene to MARS STATION ALPHA:

Stantonspied a glint of metal on the horizon of the otherwise barren planetscape.

“We have visual,” Commander Mtumbe announced as he steered the Antares through the poisonous atmosphere. “Mars Station Alpha.”

Mtumbe slid his hand across the control glass, lighting up everyone’s personal digital monitor with a magnified image of the space station, overlaid by a data stream from the ship’s scanners.

“I see no activity,” Petrov observed. “This means no one is alive perhaps?”

“Or it means simply that all shields are working, Aleksandr,” countered his fellow Russian, Oksana Rusakova, “and so we cannot see the activity inside.”

Mei-Zhu Lin,Stanton’s hand-picked tech expert, provided the answer.

“Diagnostics confirm that all shields are on full power,” she reported. “We will not see inside with scanners.”

Captain John Stanton sat silently in the co-pilot’s chair, his eyes fixed on the approaching space station. He had known they wouldn’t see anything with scanners. They were going to have to go inside. What he didn’t know was why—or what they would find.

“What happened to you in there,Ferguson?”Stantonwhispered to himself.

As the ship lurched into its steep descent toward the space station’s runway, Lieutenant Nils Dekker, the mission’s sole representative of the moribund European Space Agency, pointed out his starboard portal. “What the hell are those?”

“What are what?” asked Petrov.

Stantonfinally took his eyes off the station to turn around and see Petrov craning to look out Dekker’s side portal.

But before Dekker could answer the Russian, Lin pointed to an indicator light on the ship’s instrument panel and announced, “We have received a new communication from Earth.”

All eyes turned to Cassandra Gold. A last-minute addition, Gold wasn’t even an astronaut. On Earth, she was a Special Agent from the United States Department of State. On Mars—and on the ship—her title was ‘Communications Officer.’ By direct order of President Akira himself, she outranked evenStantonon all issues of communication with Earth.

Gold pressed a button on the arm of her chair and the message played for everyone. It was President Akira.

“Don’t screw this up. The whole planet is watching.”

That was it.

Typical, thoughtStanton. Akira had just been reelected on his reputation for plain talking—and his promise to get to the bottom of whatever had happened to the Mars colony.

“Shall we send a reply message?” asked Rusakova.

“No,”Stantonsaid simply. “We’d be in the station by the time the message reached Earth. Let’s wait till we have something to report.”

Then he turned and nodded to Gold. “If that meets with your approval, Agent?”

He still couldn’t quite bring himself to call her officer—any type of officer, even Communications Officer.

Gold returned the nod with a curt one of her own. “Approved.”

“We should tell him to stop bothering us,” joked Dekker, obviously trying to lighten the mood a bit. “We’re trying to land a spaceship.”

No one laughed.

“I’m the one trying to land this spaceship,” Mtumbe snapped. “So everyone just be quiet for a minute. I didn’t train to land this thing alone. There was supposed to be a ground crew talking me down.”

Stantonstared straight out the cockpit glass again. “The first crew did it without any help, Daniel.”

Mtumbe smiled tightly. “I didn’t say I couldn’t do it. I said I didn’t train for it. Now everybody shut up and hold on. We’re coming in and I’ve only got four hundred meters to bring this thing to a complete stop.”

What can your readers look forward to? Do you have an upcoming new release?

I expect to release two more novels in early 2012. The first is titled THE GODLING CLUB and tells the adventure of 15-year old Jeni Tanaka as she travels the world in search of her kidnapped mother, and trying to reclaim her lost-before-she-knew-she-had-it birthright as a “godling” to one of the ancient goddesses of creation.

Then, a bit later, I’ll be releasing a legal thriller titled AGGRAVATING FACTORS. It stars the same characters as in “Lady Justice Wears Heels”, the short story from the DEADSHOESOCIETY anthology. Prosecutor David Brunelle is tasked with convicting a heinous killer, but he has to overcome both legal obstacles and personal peril.

Where can readers learn more about you and your work?

The best place to read about my work (and see a few of my paintings!) is my website:

You purchase Stephen Penner’s books on Amazon, in both kindle and paperback format:






You can find out more about all these books, and Stephen, on his page:

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