Today's Special Guest Author is
I am also hosting a She's Not There Book Discussion, so all of you interested readers will have the opportunity to interact with Marla Madison and ask her whatever you want about the book. If you've read She's Not There, please stop by and join in the fun. If you haven't read the book, you have plenty of time to pick it up and read it. The She's Not There Book Discussion will run until March 8th. I look forward to seeing you there!
The following is my February 23, 2012, 4 star review:
She's REALLY Not There!
There are so many reasons why I enjoyed SHE'S NOT THERE by MARLA MADISON. It is a suspense filled, believable tale of abused women disappearing. Lisa, a psychologist working with abused women in a women's center comes across a statistical anomaly that tells her abused women are coming up missing in higher and higher numbers. She becomes aware of this fact, just as one of her own patients goes missing without a trace.
Lisa takes this information to the police, but there is nothing that can be done. These are women that often times want to leave the situation they find themselves in and not be found. After all, an adult can legally leave and not tell anyone where they are going. This fact alone makes them a very easy target for a serial killer who has no fear of the police taking the woman's missing status seriously.
Lisa teams up with a wonderful cast of characters including a colorful retired cop, now PI, and two husbands of missing women, to gather evidence as proof the women are actually missing and take this information to the police to force them to start an investigation.
There are several twists toward the end of the book that I never saw coming and truly enjoyed. If you like a good suspense, pick up SHE'S NOT THERE by MARLA MADISON. You won't be disappointed.
Marla Madison, in her own words:
In this wonderful new age of the self-published author, everyone wants to know how to make eBook sales flourish. I’m sorry, but I don’t have one more formula to give you on how to make that happen. What I can tell you is that not all methods work consistently. I’ve tried many that got super results for others, but nothing for my suspense book, She’s Not There. There does not seem to be a guaranteed method for success, although many tout such promises in an effort to sell their own how-to books.
The best sales promotion in the world (or the costliest) won’t help one iota if your product is not excellent. By excellent, I am not speaking of genre, for like John Locke, I believe everyone’s stories have a potential following out there somewhere. The trick is finding that following. There are no shortcuts; building a following takes time and effort and no one way works for everyone.
Most importantly, you have to be ready when your book is noticed. Poor product marks the amateur. I’ve learned the hard way that sub-par editing, formatting, proofing and cover art turn off potential readers. In order to attract the audience waiting for your novel, you have to make that story one they will love reading.
Personally, I don’t have what it takes in the patience department to do my own proofing and formatting—I have learned that about myself. And believe me, there is no worse feeling than being excited about finally putting your eBook up on Amazon and opening it to discover it is fraught with formatting problems and typos. If you don’t have the money to pay a professional to do formatting and proofing for you, then find a method out there is easy to follow and spend whatever time and sweat it takes to turn your manuscript into a polished product.
Another question authors are asked is why they started writing. As an avid reader since I first learned to read, I was always shaping stories in my imagination.
My reading history progressed from fairy tales to romance, followed by espionage, occult, and finally suspense, which is about the only genre I read these days. I find that kind of book to be an exciting get-away from everyday life. To me it made sense to write what I love to read—suspense.
Some favorite authors are Brian Freeman, Jonathan Kellerman, Tami Hoag, Jeffrey Deaver, Tess Gerritsen, to name a few. While not claiming to have nearly her polish and talent, I’d have to say my writing style is most like Tami Hoag.
My writing history is not expansive. I wrote my first short story (a blazing romance) in a creased notebook when I was a young teenager. Over the years, most of my writing was in school or for my arbitration awards. When I retired from full-time work, I started planning a novel in my mind. It led me to a class for fiction writing. I submitted the first three chapters of my suspense novel as my project for the class. My feedback—don’t quit your day job!
After that rejection, my book project sat in a drawer until a few months later when I saw an ad for a writer’s critique group starting up in our area. For me, being in a critique group is what kept me motivated to write. The woman who started our group, Donna White-Glaser, author of The Enemy We Know, was the first one of us to ePublish and inspired the rest of us to take our writing in that direction. I believed I was an educated writer, but quickly found out I had a lot to learn. Nothing I’d done in my former careers prepared me for writing fiction. And going back to what I said earlier about product, believe me, turning out a professional product requires work. A group can help you polish your work by giving you constant feedback, a great timesaving device that helped me improve my writing quickly. I strongly recommend a critique group for a new writer.
You may be wondering what “popcorn and pounds” has to do with writing.
Many successful ePublished authors recommend blogging. If you’re a beginning author, following their blogs will give you a wealth of information. Authors like John Locke, Dean Wesley Smith, and Joe Konrath are three must-follows.
So I knew I had to start blogging. Finding something to blog about seemed like quite a task, especially when it seemed like every author in the world was blogging writing tips. So, instead of giving advice to writers (I thought, what do I know anyway, I’m still learning myself) I decided to blog on a subject that was personal and filled with subject fodder—dieting!
My first successful blog was a series titled, The Ten Pounds of Christmas. It was a weekly lament about the difficulties of maintaining my weight during the holiday season. Every year I gain weight; the process begins with Halloween candy and doesn’t end until I wake up ten pounds heavier on the second week of January. I added tips for my readers every week. The best outcome of the blog was what it did for me—it kept me on track this year and because of it, I only gained ½ a pound over the holidays.
Did the blog push my book to the top of the charts? I’m sorry to say I don’t think my blogging sold any books. What it did do was build a list of friends and followers, and that is what the new author has to do in order to build a social presence. This week I changed my strategy and added a blog on The Ten Things About Epublishing I Learned the Hard Way. (There were probably a lot more than ten!) So far, it’s been well received.
I think the thing to take with you from my experience, is if you ePublish like I did, it will unfortunately involve a lot of trial and error. It can be discouraging, for sure. One more reason to join a group—lots of support along the way!
Right now I’m working on my second suspense novel and hope to have it available as an eBook by summer.
Please visit me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on my blog at http://marlamadison.blogspot.com. I’d love to hear from you.
Don't forget to join us over at the She's Not There Book Discussion!