Writing Update I

Still working on the time travel novel and having fun, but need to wrap things up because I will be starting on the multi-cultural novella. Haven’t figured out what the story should be about yet, but I need a plan real soon. I’ll also be working on a summer vacation themed short story for another anthology. Life will continue on and hopefully I’ll also find the time to finish Cyber Bride, which I’m contemplating turning into women’s fiction instead of strictly romance, playing with this thought.

For the time being I have two mock-ups for the time travel novel and would love to know which one you like best.

The first one:

Time Travel Cover

 

The second one:

Time Travel Cover II

I’m dying with anticipation to know what you think. So, please leave a comment with your vote. The cover with the most votes will become the cover for the romance.

With the holidays upon us, Thanksgiving in two weeks followed by the Christmas season, my favorite, time will be short. I can’t seem to keep my focus.

One of my all time favorite novels I keep putting in the back burner, but need to finish working on the edits with my editor and get it ready to solicit agents. I would like to try to have this one published the traditional way. It might still get rejected because it has dragons in the young adult, fantasy/sci-fi book. It also tackles some real political problems in the hopes of bringing awareness to the young adult population. The book is titled Dragons in the Resistance, but I’m starting to think it might need a different title, not sure yet.

As time goes by, I realize that my plate will always be overflowing and I’ll be playing catch up all the time. Sometimes I wonder if other writers feel the same.

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Where Do We Go from Here

election bannerOnce again our Electoral College has managed to vote into the presidency a person who did not receive the popular vote.

Demonstrations have been breaking out through out the US including here in Virginia, a state that is clearly Clinton. It amazes me how the topography of this state has changed through the years from a devout conservative, republican state to a democratic one. Do we really have the right to rebel against our own constitution, created to uphold freedom of speech, religion, and human right? Granted people are not perfect, but is the constitution the best it can be? Do we have the right to make changes? Should the popular vote elect our presidents? Should we amend the Constitution to eliminate the Electoral College?

us-map 2016 electionsThe presidential race was close, closer than most even believed it could be. The biggest problem with a two-party system is choice–only two are presented. How many people did not go to the polls and vote because they believe their vote will do nothing? If one million people think this, if two million people do not vote, if three million decide to stay home those votes have been lost. How many thought this way? Every voter that stayed home and did not cast a vote for Clinton helped Trump win.

Government is a mandatory class for 12th graders. I had to take government, all my daughters had to take government. My youngest, in 12th grade, is taking government this year. All those graduating from high school should have a general understanding of how our government works and should understand that the more densely populated sections of the country are the deciding vote. Hence, if you are not living in one of these areas it is most crucial you go vote to offset the votes cast in those areas.

Like many, I believe we need to eliminate the Electoral College and simply go by the popular vote, which is most representative of the people. What do you think?

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Flooding

flood-of-booksThe great opportunities born through self publishing have flooded online stores with a melange of books from excellent to poor. Everyone in the world wants to publish a book whether talented or not the important thing is the book is published.

Where does that leave the dedicated author trying to seriously write and publish good quality books, stories that have meaning, well written, funny or tear jerking?

I’ve wondered, especially since funds are scares for marketing since ads for a book can run as high to $700.00.

Some authors swear the more books you publish the more sales you have, yet with no ads who is going to know the book is out there? To reach a greater audience, many authors have joined forces, publishing box sets. Some box sets make it big but will not guarantee sales for each individual book in the set.

What other strategies can an unknown author use to get noticed?leather-bound-books

Joining box sets can help. Finding and placing free ads might help, not very sure since I haven’t tried this avenue yet. Asking other authors what they do to increase their sales doesn’t always work, some keep a tight lid on their strategy to success. Most struggle trying to understand how to better market their book.

Believe it or not reviews help authors a great deal and word of mouth. If you liked a book spread the word and recommend it to a friend and make sure you leave a review. Reviews are important on Amazon for the purpose of ranking, the higher the rank the more visible the book becomes for people searching.

Leave a review and spread the word. Help your favorite author become more visible.

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How Time Stops

As I’ve been concentrating on the historical time travel novel a few things have jumped to mind to distract me. I figured if I write them down, dealing with them, these thoughts might subside and go away, letting me concentrate on my novel.

italian-friendsI spent six years of my formative year growing up in Italy. Many of the ideals and cultural behaviors of the time have stayed with me and have influenced the way I’ve gone about my life.

As I was growing up in the States, the idea of dating always bothered me. I never dated and it wasn’t until college that I actually became interested in relationships with guys, but dating was out of the question because that is what I was exposed to during my formative years.

Married to a Lebanese I’ve noticed the same within the Lebanese community in Dearborn, Michigan. All those that came from Lebanon kept their antiquated culture that is all behaviors and beliefs of when they were still in Lebanon. Years have gone by, they have teenage children and still bask in the cultural habits of the past.woman-with-hijab

When I visited Lebanon, I experienced a very different culture, a more modern culture…

Is this an affliction of all immigrants as they try to keep their culture alive? In doing so, the culture they remember doesn’t move forward with the time and in many instances creates a gap between them and their children who are growing up in a more liberal American culture.

Immigrants are like a dying language, latin for example, it doesn’t change and grow with the times. English, a live language, changes and acquires idioms and slang of the modern generation. Words change in meaning like gay, once meaning happy now meaning homosexual. Will immigrants forever stagnate in their culture of the past?

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Going Home

The meaning of going home has changed drastically through the years.

Stepping through the door the aroma of fresh-baked bread filled my nostril the hot air from the ovens spread warmth all around. In the kitchen, my grandmother, Nonni, still kneaded dough for more bread. Several hot loaves cooled on a rack while six baked in the three ovens. Yes we had three ovens and still not enough.

Her smile melted my heart. “Do you want to help?”

red-black-book-bagI threw my book bag on the floor peeled off my coat and ran for the sink to wash my hands. Yes, red and black since red has always been my favorite color.

The squishy dough stuck to my fingers and hands. Nonni sprinkled flour on the wooden board and placing some in my hands told me, “Rub your hands together.”

Sweet and quiet she looked out for everyone in the family.

Walking in the house after a long day at work opened the door to new adventures with my girls.

“Mommy is home.” They’d all run to hug me and pull me into the play room. As they pulled me in the play room, I’d kick my heels off, leaving them in the entrance. No time to change, time to play witches and princesses. Sometimes we’d build little villages with waffle blocks.

Today I go home, change into my exercise clothes and rush to the gym for some cardio and weight lifting while I wait for my youngest to finish working at the daycare of the gym.

family-portraitGoing home has presented so many different experiences. What is it like when you go home? Who greets you and is happy to see you? Nothing is more precious than family and God has blessed me with a great husband, four wonderful daughters and a wonderful son.

My family is growing, presenting two boy-friends. Boris, a sweet young man, is Amelia’s sweetheart. Johnathan is my youngest’s boy-friend, a very thoughtful young man. Always remember, a family that plays together stays together (with lots of work).

So many memorable memories crowd my mind, and I have used many in my various books. Truth be told, writing about events experienced establishes better credibility. As I wind down, bringing the historical time travel romance to and end I will immerse myself in the Multi-cultural romance and a short story depicting summer vacation, memories will serve me well.

Keep busy and never stop using your imagination.

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A Chat with Victoria Heagy

Round Table Chat

Good morning and welcome to another Round Table Chat. It’s getting a bit cooler here in Richmond and the leaves are starting to change color. My backyard is a beautiful canvas filled with bright colors–lots of reds and yellow. My burning bushes have started to flame a tasteful deep red. The breeze is pleasant and the geese honk as they begin their journey south.

Today I have the pleasure to introduce to you a children’s author, Viki Heagy.

Welcome to the Round Table Chat, I’m looking forward to getting to know you and your book.

Viki – Hello, Annamaria. Thank you for having me. It is a pleasure being here.

Annamaria – I’m glad you were able to join me. For this special occasion I’ve baked blueberry scones and croissants filled with nutella. Can I offer you one of each?

Viki – Mmmm…yes. I love blueberries. Did you grow these yourself?

Annamaria – Unfortunately I did not, I don’t really have a green thumb. What can I offer you to drink?

Viki – Tea would be nice.

Annamaria – Do you prefer black tea or herbal tea?

Viki – Black tea is fine. Are you going to join me?

Annamaria – Indeed. I can never resist scones or nutella for that matter. I think I’m going to make a cappuccino. Would you like to try one?

Viki – It sounds good, but I am a tea lover. By the way, I love your china.

Annamaria – It belonged to my great grandmother. Whenever I use it I remember the stories my grandmother used to tell me about her. Come let’s get comfortable in the living room but the fire. I hope you’re comfortable.

Viki – Yes, thank you. It is so cozy in here. You are blessed to have stories of your grandmother. I didn’t know mine. I think that is one reason that I wanted to write stories for my granddaughters.

Annamaria – Can you tell us a little about the stories you write?

Viki – Faith and family is very important to me. I wanted to write stories that will make a difference in the lives of children. My granddaughters were starting  school and had a lot of concerns – Will the other kids like me? What if I miss you? Do you think I will fit in? What will I say to them? I thought a fun way to address these issues would be to create characters that  were fun and lovable. My granddaughters could relate to Izzie and her friends.

Annamaria – can you describe Izzie and one of her friends?

Viki – Izzie is a shy little inchworm that moves to a different part of the forest to live with her grandmother. She doesn’t know anyone and is afraid of starting a new school.  Barney Beetle is one of her new classmates and he talks without thinking. Sometimes he blurts out things that hurt other’s feelings.

Annamaria – How did Izzie meet Barney Beetle if she is shy?

Viki– Miss Millie Millipede, the teacher introduced Izzie to the class and of the course of the day, Izzie interacts with Barney and the others.

Annamaria – How many friends does Izzie make the first day of school?

Viki -There is Barney, Flora Firefly (who is a little bit of diva), Lucy Ladybug, and the spider twins – Sam and Stan who can be very mischievous.  

Annamaria – That’s a good number of friends. Is Izzie happy now that she’s made new friends?

Viki – Yes, at the end of the day, Izzie is happy. There are a few times during the day when things don’t go so well. Izzie has a special talent that she can share with her new friends. This makes her feel better about herself and the move.

Annamaria – How many Izzie books have you written?

Viki – I have four others. This first book can also be used to introduce children to the subject of bullying. Which is so important in today’s world.

Annamaria – Do you tackle a different problem with each book?

Viki – Yes. In the second book, Izzie shares her special talent with Barney to build a clubhouse. Teamwork is the theme of this book.

Annamaria – Are you a self published author or a traditionally published author?

Viki – I am working with Motivation Champs Publishing. This is their first children’s book. It isn’t a strictly traditional published book. It is a little bit of both. They are helping me and are a fantastic group of people to work with.

Annamaria – Do you do a lot of your own marketing?

Viki – Well, I’m trying to. The book only came out last week. I post on facebook and my website. I attended a book signing for local authors at the library last Saturday and have several more lined up. Motivation Champs is helping me with some of the marketing. Did I mention how great they are? 😉

Annamaria – I’m glad things are working out so well with you and Motivation Champs. Would you share a few pictures of these wonderful characters with my readers?

Viki – Sure. I know they will love the colorful images of Izzie and her friends.  

Annamaria – For each character  you’ll share can you give a small description of the character?

Viki – Yes.  

izzy-copyIzzie is shy and self conscious, but she is very good at math.

Barney can be a little rough around the edges, but you can’t help loving him.

Flora is a drama queen. It is all about her. She doesn’t realize she acts this way.


classmates-copyLucy is very nice to everyone and is everyone’s friend.

Sam and Stan are typical boys and being twins, they like to play tricks on the others.

Annamaria – The characters sound adorable… I want to meet them. I’m sure many  children are going to love these character that are also going to help them as they start their young lives.

How did you come up with the character of Izzie?

Viki – I decided on Izzie the Inchworm because I wanted a small unassuming character that would grow with the story and books. She is cute, very likable and has strengths she doesn’t realize. An inchworm seemed to fit the idea of the main character, especially once the other characters started popping into my head.

Annamaria – Who’s your favorite character and why?

Viki – I love them all. It is really a toss up. Other than Izze, I would have to say Barney. He is a lovable goof. He speaks before thinking. He really doesn’t mean any harm.  

Annamaria – The books were written for your granddaughters. How many do you have and what are their ages and names?

Viki – Lily is 6 and in first grade. Bristol is 5 and in kindergarten.  

Annamaria – It must be fun to spoil them and and send them home. Do you do a lot of reading with them?

Viki – It is most definitely fun spoiling them! Lily lives close by and we read together a lot. Her favorite books are about Raggedy Ann. Bristol lives in Florida. We read when we are together and I send her books quite often, then we talk about them.

Annamaria – In my opinion, nothing is better than reading books to grow a healthy imagination in children. I also believe that reading helps them develop different thinking skills that help them think outside the box.

Viki, I’m so glad we had this time together to get know your characters and a little about your books. I do hope you’ll come visit again for another chat.

Viki – Thank you Annamaria. I enjoyed this time with you…and your delicious scones. I would be happy to come back again sometime.

Book Blurb:

izzie-coverIzzie’s First Day of School tells of a shy, little inchworm’s first day at a new school. She is very talented in math….what better subject for an inchworm? Her grandmother tries to reassure and calm her, but Izzie has her doubts and is afraid of the other students and fitting in. The day begins with a rough start. At the end of the day Izzie has new friends and believes in herself.

Autor Bio:


Viki Heagy Viki Doyle Heagy is from western Pennsylvania. Faith and family are her top priorities. She hopes the characters in her books inspire and motivate children as well as provide a spring board for parents and teachers to discuss issues facing children today. Currently she is employed at the Community College of Beaver County where she holds a fulltime position in enrollment services. Viki is also an alumnus having received associate degrees in Humanities and Business Administration. Several of her reflections have been posted on catholic365.com  

Where to find Viki:

website:  http://vikiheagybooks.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ vikiheagybooks/?ref=aymt_ homepage_panel

Pinterest: Viki Heagy

Instagram: missvikih

Catholic365.com articles:  http://www.catholic365.com/ article/5232/faith-of-our- fathers.html

http://www.catholic365.com/ article/4466/prayer-journal. html

http://www.catholic365.com/ article/1293/one-holy- catholic-and-apostolic-church. html 

http://www.catholic365.com/ article/1092/honor-mary-with- a-garden.html

 

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Rescued by a Gambler

The unbelievable story of Natasha. Yes, a bit unbelievable but when a crazy and stupid husband gambles with the wrong people, organized crime, nothing good can come out of it. Or can it?

A romance is a love story to escape into. Sometimes the creative situations makes the story more appealing, it does for me. How do you feel?

Here is the blurb for the novella:

Natalia’s world changes forever when her husband gambles and loses everything…including her. Things go from bad to worse when Brad, the winner, moves in to collect his winnings: the house, the cars and maybe even Natalia.

Unknown to Natalia, Brad has sworn an oath to protect her, but he can’t stop his growing feelings and even the signed contract is no shield for his heart. But, the longer he stays, through flares of attraction and fading trust, his only hope of fulfilling his agreement and walking away seems an unreachable goal. Saving Natalia’s heart and helping her to love again might be an impossible rescue.

Does the blurb want to make you want to read the book? If not, can you please leave a message letting me know why?

I’m always looking to improve and this would also be of great help.

Here is the cover of the book, still a work in progress.

Rescued by a Gambler

 

Working on formatting the manuscript so I can publish it before the Christmas season.

If you are interested in reviewing leave me a message.

Anything is possible with the imagination.

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Christmas Pets and Kisses 2

CPK2 Box Set 3D Cropped

Now available at Amazon for only $0.99.

Title and blurb for each of the 12 novellas.

Warm your hearts this holiday season with twelve all-new sweet romances from best-selling authors. If you enjoyed Christmas Pets and Kisses you’ll love following some old friends and meeting some new ones. This delightful collection of pets, from paws and hooves to wings and fins, deliver another round of Christmas magic and true love.

It’s Always SomethingNikki Lynn Barrett– One celebrity couple. One first Christmas together. Two new additions to the McGinnis family in the form of a rabbit and a former German Shepherd service dog. What else could happen this year? It’s Always Something…

The Oblivious Girl’s HandbookDelSheree Gladden– Being oblivious to all the signs that your life is about to fall apart doesn’t stop it from happening to Sara Taylor. Alone except for the Siamese cat her boyfriend left behind to teach her a lesson, Sara has no clue how to survive on her own. She knows her friend Monroe would gladly step in, but pride forces her to either sink or swim as Christmas approaches, even when sinking seems the most likely outcome.

Her Christmas ChanceRachelle Ayala– A woman with cerebral palsy and her tomcat disagree about the attractive ex-con next door. Will a dose of Christmas magic reach through his dark secrets?

Sold!J.L. Campbell– Christmas looks dismal this year for Feechi Anoduro, until she meets Carsten Raimes, who brings not only good luck, but the chance for her seven year old to keep Max, his beloved Yorkshire terrier.

Unexpected Gift 2 (Dani’s Story)- Chantel Rhondeau– Life has taught housekeeper Dani Johnson to be cynical and untrusting. The local veterinarian and a very special cat work hard to soften her heart this Christmas. However, the untimely revelation of his secrets might cause Dani to run from love forever.

Home for the HolidaysMichele Shriver– Her personal and professional life at a crossroads New York lawyer Melanie Holister returns home to small town Iowa for the Holidays, where she crosses paths with her high school crush, Kaeden McGrath. Can Kaeden and his bulldog Spike help Melanie find happiness in the hometown she once couldn’t wait to leave?

Merry Mountain ChristmasP.C. Zick– Fran is adjusting after her husband’s death when her first love comes back to town upsetting her family. But a dog named Chester provides her with an inspiration. Rescue dogs and a new love come together in the Smoky Mountains for one sweet Christmas celebration.

Paper LoveAubrey Wynne– Ian has pulled out all the stops to gain Joy’s trust. When a stray carrier pigeon appears on his deck, the bird and an origami obsession save the day.

KindledJade Kerrion– When a dog darts across the road, premier danseur Nicolas Dragov, sends his motorcycle spinning to avoid killing it. Injured, he is sent home to recuperate over Christmas, but his massage therapist is his former dance partner and the woman who broke his heart.

A Christmas SnowstarNancy Radke– Two neighboring ranchers struggle to save a new-born foal from wolves in a blizzard, while becoming reacquainted after years of separation.

Melanie’s Christmas GiftSharon Coady– After a whirlwind wedding Kyle and Anne feel like they have it all as they settle in as a new family with her grandfather and his young daughter. But when Kyle announces they are expecting a new baby his child’s stubborn actions could rock their cradle and ruin their future. Can the family cat help create a Christmas miracle?

A Miracle for HappinessAnnamaria Bazzi– Brian Kemps abandoned all hope of love after his wife died. Amelia Pappas left the cemetery and swore that burying two husbands was enough and she’d never put her heart at risk again. With Christmas around the corner, can a little Bolognese bring them together?

 

sweet-romance-for-blog

A Miracle for Happiness is a companion to An Impossible Rescue. Julia Kemps and Michael are the heroes of An Impossible Rescue while Julia’s father, Brian Kemps and Amelia Pappas, are the heroes of A Miracle for Happiness. Two tender stories about relationships and how dogs can play a major role in bringing people together.

An Impossible Rescue is available at Amazon for $0.99.

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Harmony in the Vineyard

Romancing the Wine

Romancing the Wine

Harmony in the Vineyard is available for pre-order on Amazon

Romancing the Whine

It is part of Romancing the Wine box set, which is also available on Amazon

Growing up in Sicily, Italy taught me to appreciate a good wine during meals. Yes, I was allowed to drink wine since the age of two where a few drops of red wine were watered down with half a glass of water. It was still wine. By the time I turned ten I could actually drink wine straight, not only in the home but at public restaurants.

I still remember a clear summer’s day in early September, the family gathered at my uncle’s farm for a wonderful dinner. Please note that dinner in Italy is eaten between the hours of 12:00pm and 2:00pm.

My grandmother came out of the house, carrying a tray full of sausage and lamb chops one of my aunts followed close behind with another tray filled with vegetable. The table, twenty-foot long, already filled with breads, cheeses and fruits sat in front of the house. We the children ran around playing freeze tag and screaming.

The fresh air smelled of fresh fruits, ripe vegetable. and freshly baked bread still fuming hot from the oven. The breeze played with the paper napkins, tumbling them across the table.

“Grab them before they fly away,” one aunt yelled out as she rushed for the table.

As I remember the three to four hour meal, followed by coffee and talk until dusk, it makes me want to go back and relive those days as an adult to enjoy the discussions and the banter of a large family who spent a great deal of time sharing life.

Remembering my childhood has made me join another box set: multicultural romance. I haven’t started yet, but I know I want to put a lot of my Italian culture in it. Married to a Lebanese and having visited Lebanon and spent time with his family, very similar to mine, makes for an interesting mix and story. The box set will be coming out in 2017, so keep an eye out for it. Time flies.

 

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Another Rant

OMG!

Romancing the WhineAnother box set for $0.99.

Wow!

This one has nine novellas by nine different authors. What a bargain!

It is unfortunate readers don’t understand the many hours of hard work that go into making a box set happen. Let alone all the time and money each author invests in their individual book.

Each author must pay a cover designer for a professional book cover for their own book plus the 3D and 2D covers for the box set itself. What about the expense of an editor and proofreader? They too cost a great deal of money. Let’s also consider the hours the author spends in creating their masterpiece. Now, let’s not forget all the money that must go into marketing the set. That’s not all, the set is turned over to a publisher who formats the novellas into one e-Book, making sure each author is awarded his/her share of the sales but the publisher takes 20% of the profits.

CPK2 Box Set 3D CroppedWe’re talking big time money.

Yet, I’ve heard so many readers complain about the price of books. Some have had the nerve to ask why we as authors don’t make them available for free. Are you willing to work at your job for free?

Time.

Another important factor to consider. Each author spends a great deal of time to create the novella, but then the authors all come together to work on the set. The lead coordinates all aspects of the different tasks needed to bring the set to fulfillment. The marketing person deals with all paid ads and must come up with a scheme that will bring forth as many sales as possible. The ads must be strategically chosen and dates carefully picked so readers will see the set at the right time. As I’ve found out, it is a very difficult thing to accomplish considering many of them like Bargain Booksy, Kindle Nation Daily, Booksends, etc. have their ups and downs so getting good sales for the ads is always a hit of miss endeavor.

Next time you pick up a book think of all the hard work and money that went into publishing it. Most of all think of all the love that went into creating the story.

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