A Birthday Party!

This isn’t my typical post. You aren’t going to find my usual snarkiness and sarcasm. What you will find that this is a touching moment for me that I think many writer’s will understand.

Today is the first birthday of my Publisher, Second Wind Publishing. I know, it’s probably not a big deal to you, but it’s a huge thing for me because I have been part of this company since the day the idea was tossed around. It’s been an incredible, life changing  journey and I am forever grateful to Mike for making it all happen.

~CC

Browse around a little, get an idea for who we are and what we’ve done. Stop by and say hi.

 

www.secondwindpublishing.com

Ten Lessons I Learned (The Hard Way): A Publisher’s Reflections on the First Year

What Second Wind Book Do You Wish to Read? You Might Get Your Wish!

Introducing the authors of Second Wind!

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Addictive

On April Fool’s day of this year, I quit smoking. I found the date to be very fitting since I was a smoking fool for over 21 years. Yes, I was barely out of the womb when I started. I was young and stupid. Those were the good ol’ days.

So I traded my nicotine addiction for a new vice.

I’m now addicted to Cheerios.

I’ve tried to quit smoking four times in the last two years. I gained forty pounds trying to quit. This time, I grab cheerios when I get a craving.

I love Cheerios. Do you realize how many kinds of Cheerios there are? Apple cinnamon, strawberry yogurt burst, multi-grain, honey nut… the list goes on and on. http://www.cheerios.com/ourcereals/ourcereals_home.aspx

The worst part of my new addiction is holding the cheerio while I light it on fire and inhale.


WhoHub Interview with Claire Collins

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Interview with:

Claire Collins [clairecollins][clairecollins] Claire Collins


WRITING

What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
My love of reading and writing began before I started elementary school. It’s always been a part of me. As an adult, I put that love aside for several years while I started my family. When the children got old enough, I once again turned some of my attention to writing.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
I don’t have a favorite genre to read or write. I read anything and everything. So far, I have written mostly romantic suspense novels because that’s been the mood I’ve been in lately. I also have ideas for straight suspense and a twist on the romance.
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I don’t have much of a process. Whenever I can find some quiet free time, I tend to sit down, open a manuscript and start typing. The story evolves as I write. When I’m unable to sit and write, the details of the story are working their way through my mind while I’m driving, cleaning, shopping, or working.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
I don’t think reading inspires me to write. My brain is overactive and doesn’t seem to need a lot of stimulus to come up with an idea.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
Beginning, middle, and end. Strong plot and subplots. Likeable characters and realistic situations. The reader has to be involved in the story and they need to care about what happens and they should feel fulfilled at the conclusion.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
I’ve written in both. I don’t have a preference. It depends on what the story calls for.
What well known writers do you admire most?
Do they have to be well known? I admire anyone who has had the will and determination to create a quality novel-length manuscript whether they are famous or not.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
Characters come in all shapes and sizes. They have every personality trait imaginable. Wow, so do real people. Just like real people, my characters have an entire life even though I may only tell the reader about a small piece of that life. They are born, have siblings and parents. They are creatures of their environment. They aren’t perfect and they don’t pretend to be. They are the same as normal people the reader knows. Mine start as a glimmer of a person and then they tell me their life story.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
Actually, I am horrible at telling stories in person. I talk too fast and blurt out too many clues or I skip too much. Writing it all out is so much better because I can edit myself before anyone else knows the story!
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
I write for myself. It feels good. It’s also a nice boost when readers come back and tell me they loved my books. There’s no other feeling in the world like that.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
Writing is absolutely a form of personal therapy. Parts of my personal life are dispersed throughout the pages of my novels.
Does reader feed-back help you?
Of course! When someone reads the book and tells me they enjoyed it or if they ask what I have coming out next, I get a thrill.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
I have participated in the past and my first novel “Fate and Destiny” was chosen as an editor’s pick and made it to the top 25 semi-finals. I have also received excellent feedback from other contests.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
I have at least 4 people who always read my drafts as I write. They tell me what works, what doesn’t and always help me over the humps when I get stuck. These people are as valuable as the final readers.
Do you believe you have already found “your voice” or is that something one is always searching for?
I think my voice changes with every book. Each book is unique and my voice changes with the characters and plot.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
My life is too hectic and busy to impose schedules on myself. I fit writing in whenever I can.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
My work area changes with my mood. Sometimes I’m sitting at my desktop pc and other times I’m roaming around with my laptop.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
It’s all on the computer. I have a reader who prints everything off. With my first book, I printed it and marked it up with a red pen. With the second book, it was easier to edit on the computer.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
I blog at https://clairecollins.wordpress.com/ and the authors from our publisher blog at http://secondwindpub.wordpress.com/. We are also on Facebook, myspace, Gather. etc.
What has been your experience with publishers?
I submitted a ton of queries and hunted for publishers before I was picked up by a small publisher called Second Wind Publishing. www.secondwindpublishing.com

My experience with my publisher has been fantastic. The people are great and I’ve watched the company grow. It’s an incredible journey.

What are you working on now?
My next novel is called “Seeds of September”

In 1956, Tommy Benson left the plains of Kansas for a new start in California. Little did he know when he started driving down Route 66 that his childhood friend Lainey had stowed away in his truck. Seeds of September relates the story of Tommy and Lainey’s life together through fifty years of joys and sorrows and an everlasting love.

What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
Take them out, dust them off, and read them. If you still love them, find someone else to read it. Submit it to contests and see what kind of feedback you get from an impartial audience.
If you don’t love them, either rewrite them or use them to inspire you to work on something new. Just don’t give up.

 

© Claire Collins
Web address for this interview: http://www.whohub.com/clairecollins

Featured Author

I am the featured author at  Second Wind this week! That’s pretty cool. It means that they put my face up there and the cover of my book, Images of Betrayal. There’s also a little about the book, and a little about me. And as a bonus, the entire first chapter is posted! There’s even another nice little surprise, a sneak preview of my next book, Seeds of September.

 

First, go to here, (But make sure you come back to wordpress): Second Wind Publishing Featured Author 

 

See? That’s cool, huh? You can look around a little. I’d really like that. You can buy Images of Betrayal as a book or an ebook. You can pick it up on Amazon for the kindle too. My other book, Fate and Destiny is out there in those formats too. And if you want it for the Iphone, or palm reader, or in a ton of other formats, you can buy the books from Smashwords.

 

Okay, there’s more. Come talk to me. I hosted a discussion on facebook, too. You don’t have to discuss my topic if you don’t want to. I’d be tickled pink if you would just come say “hi”!

And while you’re on Facebook, I’d love to be your friend, so click on my name and add me and leave some graffiti on my wall. Claire Collins

 

I have a couple of blogs too. One is for all of the Second Wind Publishing Family, and the other is All Mine.

How about videos? Here’s the trailer for Images of Betrayal.  

 

I think that’s most of it. Thanks for coming to visit and my little tour of the Internet and Images of Betrayal. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Claire


Characters With a Life All Their Own

An idea for a new book smacked me in the forehead last week. It was painful, but I took aspirin, put aside the book I’ve been working on for the past several months, and let the new story pour out into a word document. Three pages into it, I had another realization smack me in the head. I donned my husbands football helmet to protect my brain and reread the beginning I had just written. It was true. I hated the lead female character in the book. She came across as a princess type. She was pretty, and she knew it. She dated brainless eye candy and realized they weren’t nearly as perfect as she was. Yep, I couldn’t stand her and she wouldn’t shut up. “Write my story,” she kept yelling in my ear as she stomped her size seven shoe. “Write my story. I’m perfect. My life needs to be perfect. Keep going.” I frowned, looking out past the face guard of the helmet at the computer screen. “Shut up. You’re too perfect. Your problems are in your own perfect little head. You need real problems if you want a place in my book.” Then I read over the parts about her best friend, a normal mother of two with motherly hips and a determined smile. She wasn’t anywhere near perfect, and she didn’t claim to be. Thankfully, the helmet deflected the brain impact this time around. Despite the cries of outrage from Miss Perfect, I backspaced clear to the point where their personalities really started to emerge. My perfect character became more realistic, more flawed, and her best friend became more wise, more single, and less motherly. I quickly added another five pages full of words building their lives and rounding them out into likable, believable people. Miss Perfect’s voice in my head became less demanding as I wrote. She became freindlier, more caring. By the time I finished the first chapter, she was my new best friend, and her best friend was a strong counterpart, her strengths and weaknesses merging well with Miss NowNotSoPerfect. “Thanks for not listening,” she whispered, scuffing the toe of her size nine on the floor. I clicked the save button and smiled, but I keep the helmet handy, just in case. Claire Collins is the author of Fate and Destiny and Images of Betrayal. http://www.secondwindpublishing.com


The Big Picture

I want to share a little of what it’s like to be a part of Second Wind Publishing. We are so much more than a group of authors who share the same publisher. We are a collective bargaining team. We make decisions together and discuss options in our own private group. We read over each other’s work and share ideas on covers, plots, storylines. We each blog here and have input on our website. We swap marketing ideas and cross link to our personal websites. We share stories about our children, our jobs, our hopes, and disappointments. Second Wind isn’t a faceless corporation where the shareholders are raking in the dough and paying out overinflated royalties. We are small, friendly, and working for ourselves as well as each other.

Since we are the “little guys”, it’s up to us to promote ourselves and support each other. If you have a moment, go check the website to see what’s new. You may discover your next favorite author!

www.secondwindpublishing.com

 

 

 

Claire Collins is the author of Images of Betrayal and Fate and Destiny

www.secondwindpublishing.com


Are Book Sales on the Decline?

I have a real job. Yes, believe it or not, I don’t just sit around all day living the lives of my imaginary people. Shocking, I know. Yes, I have an actual job where I leave home every morning to go work for someone else and I come home at the same time every night. I fight rush hour and have more than one boss. Do I want to write instead? Absolutely. I’d gladly trade my eight to five job for ten hours of sitting at my computer clicking away at the latest story. The problem, of course, is that I have bills to pay. Oh yes, and children. Lots and lots of children. They like to eat… and argue. So even if I didn’t have to feed them, the chances of me sitting at my computer and clicking away at keys for ten hours is simply never going to happen until they all move away.

 

I know there are lots of other people out there who have the same desire to get lost in a good novel whether they are writing it or reading it. No matter which end of the spectrum you are, I thought I would share the Association of America Publishers sales reports for the month of December. You can read the whole article here: http://www.publishers.org/Dec08stats.htm

 

Oh, did I mention that in my real job, I’m an accountant? I have this ‘thing’ for numbers…

 

Check out the increase in ebook sales compared to the changes in the other categories. So what does this really mean?

For Immediate Release

Contact: Tina Jordan
212/255-0200 ext. 263
tjordan@publishers.org

AAP Reports Publishing Sales for Month of December

February 12, 2009, New York, NY: Book sales tracked by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) for the month of December increased by 9.7 percent at $1.5 billion but were down by 2.4 percent for the year.

The Adult Hardcover category was down by 10.3 percent in December with sales of $113.3 million; year-to-date sales were down by 13.0 percent.

Adult Paperback sales increased 12.5 percent for the month ($132.8 million) and increased by 3.6 percent for the year.

The Adult Mass Market category was down 8.3 percent for December with sales totaling $73.7 million; sales were also down by 3.0 percent year-to-date.

The Children’s/YA Hardcover category jumped up 124.6 percent for the month with sales of $115.1 million, although sales for year-to-date were down by 12.4 percent.

The Children’s/YA Paperback category was also up by 37.0 percent in December with sales totaling $54.4 million; sales increased by 6.4 percent for the year.

Audio Book sales posted a decrease of 11.7 percent in December with sales totaling $10.5 million; sales for the whole year were down by 21.0 percent.

E-books sales jumped up by 119.9 percent for the month ($6.5 million), reflecting an increase of 68.4 percent for the year.

Religious Books saw an increase of 3.5 percent for the month with sales totaling $49.3 million; sales were down by 7.6 percent for the year.

Sales of University Press Hardcover books were up 5.4 percent in December with sales of $7.1 million; sales decreased by 7.9 percent for the year. University Press Paperback sales posted a decrease of 3.8 percent for the month with sales totaling $9.7 million; sales were down 8.2 percent for the year.Sales in the Professional and Scholarly category were up by 11.4 percent in December ($110.3 million) and decreased by 0.5 percent for the year.

Higher Education publishing sales posted an increase of 5.6 percent for the month ($814.7 million) and increased 2.7 percent for the year.Finally, the net El-Hi (elementary/high school) basal and supplemental K-12 category posted a decrease of 14.4 percent in December with sales of $127.2 million; the category was down by 4.4 percent for the year.

The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP’smore than300 members include most of the major commercial publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses and scholarly societies—small and large. AAP members publish hardcover and paperback books in every field, educational materials for the elementary, secondary, postsecondary, and professional markets, scholarly journals, computer software, and electronic products and services. The protection of intellectual property rights in all media, the defense of the freedom to read and the freedom to publish at home and abroad, and the promotion of reading and literacy are among the Association’s highest priorities.

NOTE: All sales figures cited in this release are domestic net sales

 

Claire Collins is the author of Images of Betrayal and Fate and Destiny

www.secondwindpublishing.com