Saturday, November 16, 2013

Giveaway and Interview with Judy Fox and Sarah Blausey

Interview with Judy Fox and Sarah Blausey
Author’s assistants to Victoria Danann
Sponsored by

Welcome to Books, Books, and More Books.  I am pleased to share this book with you.  Thank you for visiting and please come again.

You can find out more about them at

Confessions of an Author’s Assistant
Judy Fox and Sarah Blausey

Being an author’s assistant is a job like no other: Exciting, fulfilling, and, at times, crazy! We work for an Indie author, Victoria Danann, which adds another level of challenge to the mix. Without a big publisher behind us, we work on her behalf to get the word out about her amazing books. 

Here’s our first confession: Neither of us has worked as an author’s assistant before! We were both fans first, as well as being members of her street team. She mentioned one day that she was looking for a new assistant, and both of us replied. Being a smart woman, Victoria realized how amazing we both are. So, instead of choosing one, she hired us both! Now the three of us are blazing our own trail in the wild world of Indie publishing. 

Our most important functions are managing Victoria’s social media and the street team, which is a group of some of the most devoted Victoria fans around. The street team is one of our most important keys to getting the word out about the Black Swan serial saga. We also work with Bloggers and Facebookers to feature or promote Victoria’s books, keep track of her calendar, and organize events such as giveaways. There are a lot of moving parts that require a tremendous amount of organization and detail supervision. Through a semi-complicated structure of file sharing and online chat, the three of us are able to work as a team so that each of us always knows what the other is doing. 

Once people find out about and read Victoria’s first book, My Familiar Stranger, which is free everywhere, they usually join the rest of us in being fans of her work. We really love that her books are a mix of paranormal romance and fantasy, genres that we both really enjoy reading. It’s so fun working for someone you admire - Any task that helps her out is something we’re glad to do.

We’re commonly asked the following questions:

How’d you get the job?

Sarah:   I had been on her Street Team for about a month when the opportunity came up that she needed an assistant. I sent her an email about all the things I had done in the past, reasons why I would be a great assistant. I was SO nervous waiting for the response! But, as you can see, I am here! 

Judy:  One day, on the street team page, Victoria mentioned that she needed an assistant. I contacted her to offer to help her out in the meantime, but it turns out I was in the right place at the right time, and started working for her! The learning curve has been pretty steep – there is so much about the author world that is so very different from the experience of a reader. I love this job! I get to utilize every skill I’ve learned over the years and apply them in unique and creative ways.

Sarah: You're right, it is crazy different as far as how it measures up to any other job I have, but I would never trade it!

Judy:  I’m constantly amazed that I get to do what I do. I learn so much every day. I didn’t realize how bored I was before. Seriously.

How did you know that the street team idea would even work?

Judy: The idea of a street team isn’t really new. It started in the music industry with a literal street team handing out fliers about a new music group. The concept has evolved now into street teams for all kinds of things. Feedback I get from members of Victoria’s street team is that this is one of the most active groups for an author. Our team has regular blogs that they work with to help spread the word. Having a hangout on Facebook with a private page for our group has been really great for building our team identity.

Sarah:  Victoria had the Street Team before I became her assistant. I think it's a great idea for many different reasons. Her biggest fans get time to chat with her whenever they like, they know her better than her other readers do. They also get the opportunity to get her new books about 2 weeks before everyone else. This helps both them and Victoria as she gets feedback before the release date. It is also a great advertising tool as we have wonderful Street Team members that will help get the word out about anything!

What is the most rewarding aspect of being an author’s assistant?

Sarah:  This one is hard to explain. Being Victoria's assistant is a reward in itself. I get to talk to her daily, manage a fantastic Street Team, and meet some really incredible people. All the while knowing that I am helping a writing genius get the time to do what she does best!

Judy: The most rewarding thing about this job is that I get to help an author I truly admire. It just feels so good knowing that my work in the background enables her to have time to write her amazing books.

Sarah; She's right; I know Victoria is writing fantastic things and that makes me extremely happy!

Judy: I love it every time Sarah says, “She’s right,” when she’s talking about me! It happens a lot.

How many hours a week/day do you spend on this job?

Sarah:  A lot. But in no way can I complain. Most of the Street Team says they see me online, all the time, no matter what time it is. Well, I LOVE what I do. And a lot of my part of the job includes Facebook, so I'm on there for my stuff and book stuff all the time. Plus keeping track of what 50 people do takes up some time!!

Judy: It’s really impossible to calculate. I know I work the equivalent of office hours daily, and then check in again at night. I try to avoid working on the weekends, but when stuff is happening, I’m on whenever I need to be. This job for me is a blend of fan/ employee - it’s definitely more a labor of love….but it is nice to get paid!

Sarah:  Wait... You get paid??

Judy:  Oops.

So, what’s the dirt? Any scoops you can share?

Judy: Wow! Way to put us on the spot. Part of being an assistant is protecting the person you work for. My boss probably won’t fire me for saying that she put a photo of herself on Facebook once – she was swimming – I noticed no clothing in the picture, and asked her about if – to which she replied, “haha”. Yep. That’s the kind of crazy I’m lucky enough to work with every day. I love her.

Sarah: She's got a wicked crazy sense of humor....and she and I get one another's jokes, while Judy is often left scratching her head!

Judy: Hey! I get some of the jokes….sometimes.

Blazing a new trail in the world of Indy book publishing is exciting and fun. There is some seriously hard work involved, but it’s hard to really take note of that when we’re having such a good time! Being coworkers that truly enjoy and admire, not only our boss, but one another, makes every workday fun and entertaining. We both like meeting new people, learning new things, and we’re pretty good at sharing the load. We don’t know how Victoria got along without us!


Signed copy of Victoria's book covers. She illustrated these herself, and they are awesome!

This product or book may have been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Author of Three Sisters Guest Post

Author of  Three Sisters Guest Post
Sponsored by Virtual Book Tour

Welcome to Books, Books, and More Books.  I am pleased to share this book with you.  Thank you for visiting and please come again.

Mindy Books, Books & More Books: Thank you for visiting with us today.  What made you choose to write a satire on a subject many people consider sacred, such as nuns?
The purpose of a satire is to make fun of the things that people hold sacred, to challenge people’s beliefs and make them think twice about the world.  And, of course, what could be more sacred than nuns and religion?
In part, the desire to be sacrilegious came from my upbringing.  My dad was a preacher, and both my grandparents were preachers.  My parents met in college at a Bible school, and my dad had been a teenage evangelist.  Moreover, I had gotten religion in high school and attended a Southern Baptist church, but had drifted away from religion by the time I reached college and had become anti-religious.  Despite my grandmother’s desires, I had no intention of becoming a third-generation preacher.
The birth of The Three Sisters was serendipitous.  A friend of mine gave me a couple illustrations of nuns that she had found, and I got the idea of turning one of the photos into a wanted poster.  Nuns are supposed to be as straight as an arrow.  Their job is to make sure schoolchildren behave, not to misbehave themselves, so I thought my fellow college classmates would laugh at the idea of nuns gone wild, especially if they had been in Catholic School themselves (this was back in the 1970s when there actually were nuns teaching Catholic School).
My fellow classmates thought the Wanted poster, in which they were accused of assaulting a meter maid, was funny.  I had another photo, and followed up with a story about the three nuns kidnapping an elderly couple and demanding “three well-built men” in exchange for the elderly couple.  Students started asking me what was going to happen next, and thus the three sisters sacrilegious serial satire was born.
The bottom line is, if people hadn’t found my sacrilege funny, I never would have pursued it, but they did find it funny.  I started putting out a new episode every week and the serial gained a following.  This created the plot for The Three Sisters which I turned into a book after I graduated from college.
The Three Sisters didn’t and doesn’t just make fun of religion.  Too many sacrilegious books I have read that stick to religion get boring after a while since they repeat the same themes over and over again.  In order for sacrilege to be effective you need a good context for your book to avoid being a one-note wonder.
Classical satire, along the line of Candide, Gulliver’s Travels, Gargantua and Pantagruel and other books are aimed at society as a whole.  In their day, Voltaire, Swift and Rabelais wrote their satires because it was dangerous to attack the establishment directly.  Today, attacking the establishment is a national sport, though how effective it is in changing things is another matter.
Sacrilege is just a jumping off point for the novel.  As the book develops and the three sisters become entrapped in circumstances they have themselves created, the novel moves on to non-religious subjects.  The book attacks not only established religion, but government, the media, corporations, commercialism and everything in between.
Putting the novel in the form of a satire makes its wit even more effective.  Moreover, satire allows you to do things that would otherwise be impossible.  The events in the novel could never happen in the real world in a million years, but there is a certain logic to the flow of events, including the final plot twist, which makes it all credible to the reader.
Although the main goal of the book is to make the reader laugh, I hope the satire also makes people think about the world around them.  That is what Voltaire and Swift did, and I hope I have been able to follow in their footsteps.