Friday, October 30, 2015

Imajin that...

Can you imagine being an an author and a publisher?

I've been the beneficiary of writing support from many people over the years, as I've noted in the past few blogs.

I don't know if all authors are generous with their time and wisdom and skills or if I've just been insanely lucky to have met the ones who are.

Author & Publisher, Cheryl Kaye Tardif
Cheryl Kaye Tardif is no exception. This international best-selling Canadian author leapt beyond the bounds of coaching and cross-promoting and rallying authors across the nation and...became a publisher.

Her company, Imajin Books, has offered many an author their first traditional publishing contract, setting eager novice feet on the pathway to writing success.

Although Imajin Books didn't publish my debut novel, they did publish three of the young adult thriller books in my BackTracker series: THE TRAZ (ebook), THE TRAZ School Edition, and FATAL ERROR.

Why would a successful author like Cheryl want to invest in such a risky venture as establishing a publishing house?

Welcome to Magic of the Muses, Cheryl. Tell us...

Briefly describe Imajin Books and what makes it unique.
Imajin Books is a small hybrid publishing company based in West Kelowna, BC, Canada. We publish affordable, quality fiction and select non-fiction by talented international authors. A "green" company that does not order large, wasteful print runs, we combine traditional methods with innovative new technologies, with a major focus on ebooks. Our paperbacks are printed as needed.

We consider our authors as a kind of "team." We offer a private Yahoo Group where our authors can discuss anything Imajin Books related and share their experiences. I am proud of how our authors go out of their way to help each other and learn from each other. All of this is what makes us unique.

What does Imajin Books offer readers?
We offer readers an enjoyable reading experience at an affordable price. We don't believe in overpricing our ebooks. With Imajin Books you'll never see an ebook priced more than its paperback.

Has Imajin Books evolved as you initially envisioned? Where do you dream it will be in five years?
Imajin Books has grown more than I expected in the past four years. I never expected to have a separate imprint for novellas (Imajin Qwickies) or an imprint for children's titles (Ogopogo Books - launching in 2016). In five years I expect we'll see more of our authors' titles in bookstores, maybe a new imprint or two, more distribution, and possibly a more permanent venture into foreign translations.

How can authors become a partner in Imajin Books’ success?
I believe that everyone at Imajin Books succeeds each time one of us succeeds because this brings an opportunity for learning. I encourage our authors to learn from each other, share tips and experiences, and invite each other to events--because we can all learn from each other. We've even had non-Imajin authors tell us they've learned something at one of our online events. We encourage book lovers worldwide to share Imajin Books news via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. because the more we succeed, the more awesome books we'll be able to provide readers.

Behind every great organization there is a driving force. You, Cheryl Tardif, are the name and face behind Imajin Books. Tell us about what motivated you to create Imajin Books.
Thank you, Eileen. I am truly honored by that statement. Imajin Books was originally formed in 2003 to cover my own self-published works. By 2008 I had seen some success with my books, and many of my author friends began asking me if I'd consider publishing them so they could learn my marketing strategies and have the "umbrella" of a trade publisher. At first I said no. But after two years I started to consider the idea, and the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. After the first year of publications, I knew that hybrid publishing was something I was meant to do. It fills a need, and as long as that's there, I'm here, helping other writers' dreams come true. I can't tell you how fulfilling that is. And challenging, in a good way! ;-) (Eileen's note: Oh, oh! I've seen that winkie emoticon before. Could it be that Cheryl's referring to me as being challenging? No, of course not...on the other hand...)

In addition to running Imajin Books, you are an author. Of which personal accomplishment in your literary career are you most proud? (Aside from the creation of your publishing company.)
It's difficult to pick one moment as my journey into publishing has had so many amazing moments that have filled me with pride--or complete shock. Perhaps I am most proud that CHILDREN OF THE FOG made it to #4 on's Top 100 overall Best Sellers list out of about 2.8 million books at the time. Perhaps I'm most proud of the moment Trident Media Group contacted me because they wanted to sign me. Perhaps I am just most proud of all my authors who took a chance on a small publishing company run by an author whom many claimed had ruined her career because she chose to indie publish...

What personal literary achievement/s are you striving to reach within the next five years?
I would love to see a major book deal next year. I am waiting! I do foresee more translation and audio book deals. And dream of all dreams--I hope that 2016 connects me with the person who will help me make a huge dream come true--I want the BIG SCREEN, baby!! For over 10 years my books have attracted movie producers, directors and actors. I can envision at least a half dozen that would make awesome movies or TV series.

Please offer authors and aspiring authors some sage advice.
If you are writing because it's your innermost passion and nothing else makes you feel so complete, then never, ever give up! Write for yourself. Write because you have to write. Learn the business of publishing and promoting--even before you're published. As a writer, you must skillfully dodge the doubters and haters out there. Those are the people who will tell you why you can't make it as an author. Don't listen. Some will say you shouldn't self-publish. (Usually it's because they themselves are too afraid to take risks.) Take the risk. And don't take advice from someone who doesn't know what they're talking about.

I know you’re itching to mention something I’ve neglected to ask about. Tell us what that is.
We recently launched an exciting new imprint--Imajin Qwickies. (Yes, we're having a LOT of fun with that name!) Qwickies are 20,000-30,000 word novellas in our most popular genres. Next year we'll be adding more titles to our Qwickie lineup.

And finally, Imajin Books will be launching a brand new website within the next month or two. We will also be announcing a new kids' imprint in 2016.

Connect with Imajin Books online at:

Cheryl Kaye Tardif author link/s:
Cheryl Kaye Tardif Amazon Author page

Imajin that...has been brought to you by:

CHILDREN OF THE FOG ~Cheryl Kaye Tardif


"A chilling and tense journey into every parent's deepest fear."

"A nightmarish thriller with a ghostly twist, CHILDREN OF THE FOG will keep you awake...and turning pages!"

"Reminiscent of The Lovely Bones, Cheryl Kaye Tardif weaves a tale of terror that will have you rushing to check on your children as they sleep."

"Ripe with engaging twists and turns reminiscent of the work of James Patterson...Children of the Fog possesses you..."

Eileen Schuh, Author

Schrödinger's Cat

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Leeland Artra: Pitching Flinch-free Fantasy

Promoting 'clean' Speculative Fiction


Leeland Artra is dedicated to the Fantasy SciFi genre, and not just through his writing. He selflessly promotes almost one hundred authors and their books on the Fantasy SciFi Network that he founded.

I am counted among that number with my novels SCHRÖDINGER'S CAT and DISPASSIONATE LIES.

What makes a man decide to take on such a massive project? Let's ask him.
Leeland Artra, author
Welcome to Magic of the Muses, Leeland.

Briefly describe Fantasy SciFi Network and what makes it unique. 
The Fantasy and Science-Fiction Network is unique in that we hold our authors to one very specific requirement. That requirement is that every article, blog post, Tweet, Facebook post, and published works under the pen named used to join the FSFNet does not exceed a PG13 rating.

We have over ninety authors with one to dozens of published works in the genres of fantasy, science-fiction and all the subclasses therein. And they all maintain the FSFNet brand. We allow members to promote other works which might exceed the PG13 rating but we have a two click rule. That means that posts or links cannot go directly to a risky item. There has to be a layer of separation that clearly shows were the next step leads. 

What does the Fantasy SciFi Network offer readers? 
We are working to produce unique articles on our genres. Behind the scenes we support and help our member authors. But, for the front of house operations we are all about enjoying the genres. We are working to find some steady reviewers who will read, review, and rate books for us as we build up a flinch-free library of selections for anyone to come and browse through.

Has Fantasy SciFi Network evolved as you initially envisioned? Where do you dream it will be in five years?
It is evolving, there is more back of house support happening for the member authors, and we are considering limiting membership only to authors who have published works in our genres. Naturally we'd like to see the reader base expand and it has been a challenge to get the word out without have to post pictures of scantly clad models or constant references to questionable subjects.

How can authors become a partner in Fantasy SciFi Network’s success?
Any author who write in our genres and who doesn't use a lot of swearing, sex, or other items listed on our about page can join, it's semi-free. There are membership requirements but those are mostly fun items we all do anyway.

Behind every great organization there is a driving force. You, Leeland Atra, are one of those behind Fantasy SciFi Network. Tell us about what motivated you to create Fantasy SciFi Network.
When I started publishing my books I went looking for someplace to call home. I wanted to promote other authors like myself. Every place I found where authors help each other were usually open to all genres and therefore overrun with romance, thriller, horror, and other genre writers who's audience were not interested in a flinch free fantasy novel, and my readers didn't like that I occasionally recommended romance authors.

The few science fiction places I found had some great people, but were flooded with near and actual porn stuff. So I didn't feel good about re-posting any of that material. Not being able to find the authors I was looking for, or a place to connect with readers in my branding, I decided to make it.

In addition to running Fantasy SciFi Network, you are an author. Aside from the creation of your author group, of which personal accomplishment in your literary career  are you most proud?
I'm really proud of my Golden Threads Trilogy. The level of detail and years of work they took are both more than expected. At times I thought about just tossing it in as a good try. But, I powered through and am very pleased with the results. Right now I am super stoked by the Endless Horizons Sagas I'm writing in the pulp serial tradition. The latest works in progress are a direct result of all the work I put into the Golden Threads Trilogy.

What personal literary achievement/s are you striving to reach within the next five years?
I've set a goal of producing an episode (aka a novella) a week for the Endless Horizons Sagas (EHS). 

EHS is broken down into seasons of fifteen episodes. The fifteen episodes pull together to make a complete novel (aka there is a bigger story when you put them end to end that emerges). I've gotten the first season done on schedule and I am working on the second season now. The plan is to produce five full seasons for EHS and then take that style and start putting out a follow up series to Golden Threads.

Please offer authors and aspiring authors some sage advice.
The best thing I can recommend is write what you love, and to have the discipline to be sure you have a complete set done and ready to publish before you publish the first one. Consistent release schedules for sets is critical. So if it is a trilogy, make sure you have it all done and then release each book ninety days apart. If it is an ongoing series release in waves, again with a ninety day period between books. Or if your writing pulps or shorts, get at least a few months leads done before you actually publish the first one. Release cadence means a lot to readers, sales, and your sanity.

I know you’re itching to mention something I’ve neglected to ask about. Tell us what that is.
Podcast of audio book for Endless Horizons Sagas has just launched. Along with the weekly EPUB release I'll be simultaneously releasing the audio book for that season via the podcast channel. There will be premium content for my patrons. You can watch my Patreon page for details 

Finally, I'm trying to kick off a different kind of podcast called Epic Geeking Out with Authors. It is about digging into one of their novels (within FSFNet standards) and discussing the hidden details. Spoilers are a given. Check this out at

Fantasy SciFi Network’s link/s:

Author link/s:

"Pitching flinch-free fantasy" is brought to you by

THREAD SKEIN (Golden Threads Trilogy, Book 3)"A perfect ending to Golden Threads (hope there is more)."

"Great Read"

"...skillfully written"

"...most definitely full of surprise and unexpected turns"

"This is a great end to this trilogy."

Friday, October 16, 2015

Gritty...and successful

Young adult fiction writer, Beth Fehlbaum, is as gritty and determined as her young protagonists. Life hasn't been easy for this Texas author but she spares no effort in making it easier for others.

Beth is as as giving as they make them when it comes to the teens for whom she writes books and the YA authors with which she collaborates.

Beth Fehlbaum, founder of UncommonYA, teacher, wife, mother and author of Big Fat Disaster and The Patience Trilogy.

Welcome, Beth, to Magic of the Muses.

Briefly describe UncommonYA and what makes it unique.
Beth Fehlbaum
UncommonYA is a grassroots group author website. There is no cost to authors to participate, with the exception of “sweat equity,” and by that I mean members must contribute blog posts, share links to posts, and tweet/retweet the daily blog post link.

UncommonYA is multi-faceted:
·       It is a marketing support group for authors of traditionally-published edgy teen fiction who come together and support one another’s efforts
·       It is a resource for aspiring authors of YA fiction to learn from experienced authors, many who teach writing craft
·       It provides content to teachers, librarians, and teen fans of YA fiction.

We blog Monday through Friday, 52 weeks a year. 

What does your group offer readers?
We offer the latest news about members and their novels, interviews with agents and editors, writing tips for authors of all ages, and special events such as contests.

Has UncommonYA evolved as you initially envisioned? Where do you dream it will be in five years?
I envisioned the site as being a place for fans of YA fiction to be able to learn more about their favorite authors and interact with them. One thing I really like about it is that in one place, readers can find book synopses, author biographies, daily blog posts, and I am especially proud that readers can find teaching guides, links to videos, and more, on one site. 

In five years, I hope to have predictably high daily traffic—right now our visitor count is variable. I would also like to see us expand our topics beyond primarily writing instruction and include more of authors’ personal viewpoints on current events and how those events relate to their novels.

How can authors become a partner in UncommonYA’s success?
Authors interested in joining us need to commit to blogging at least once a month if not more; they need to be active on social media and support everyone else’s work by sharing links, providing blog content, etc

In addition, they must be traditionally published. We set the parameter of being traditionally published because, while we acknowledge that there are quality books that are self-published, we prefer to have a gate-keeper of sorts. That gate-keeper is a book having made its way into a traditional publishing house and going through the intensive editing, revision, and professional layout that is standard in traditional publishing.  

In addition to running UncommonYA, you are an author. Of which personal accomplishment in your literary career (book or otherwise), are you most proud? (Aside from the creation of your author group.) 

I love my most recent novel, Big Fat Disaster, but my “heart” books are the three I wrote while in recovery from childhood sexual abuse. They are currently called The Patience Trilogy, but the name is likely to change when my new publisher releases them beginning early 2017.

The first book, Courage in Patience (1st edition 2008, Kunati Books), and the second book, Hope in Patience (1st edition 2010, WestSide Books) are out of print and the rights are reverted to me. The third in the Trilogy, Truth in Patience, has never seen the light of day. The publishers of Courage and Hope went out of business within a year, respectively, of the books’ publications.

I am most proud of The Patience books because they are the story of a teen girl’s recovery from childhood sexual abuse, and the books follow her journey from being broken into pieces to becoming whole. I was in therapy for six years, and, while the books are fiction, there are elements of the stories that I drew on my own life to write.

I cannot begin to express how joyful and peaceful I am that these three books have found a new home.

What’s really serendipitous about this development is that as this is happening, it seems that I am at last finding resolution with my mother, from whom I have been estranged since 2004 when I entered counseling. While the endings in the book and my life are not tied up with a neat little happy ending, they both have a HOPEFUL ending, and that’s more important to me than anything else.

HOPE does not necessarily mean that everyone ends up together, either. It means that hope has won over fear.

What personal literary achievement/s are you striving to reach within the next five years?
I would like to see The Patience books (again- considering a name change for them…) widely available; I will continue to write novels for teens that deal with issues traditionally left in the shadows, and I will continue to live my life authentically, even when it’s not easy.

Please offer authors and aspiring authors some sage advice.
Speak your truth.

UncommonYA’s link/s:

Your author link/s:

Other contact/purchasing links you’d like to share:
 Big Fat Disaster, Courage in Patience, Hope in Patience: Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound

Gritty and successful has been brought to you by

Big Fat Disaster ~Beth Fehlbaum
 ", Raw, Real, and Incredible"

 "An emotional journey"

 "A realistic binge with a message of hope"

 "I loved this book!"

"Couldn't put it down"