Monday, December 16, 2013

My husband, who has been involved in the computer industry for years, maintains that a computer is only as accurate as the person inputting the information. But I don't think it's that simple, at least not with all the different kinds of software we're exposed to and expected to master. The software developer's ability to convey instructions, step-by-step instructions, to help users of all levels of experience is also a key element. To further complicate things is vocabulary specific to each entity, new words created for the computer age.

Enter the writer. Me. Someone who just wants to finish that novel I've been working on for five years, and send off that picture book manuscript and redo that screenplay gathering dust in the manuscript box. Instead, I find myself splitting precious writing time with all these other entities I'm supposed to master; twitter, facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and this blog. With all the "how to's" rattling around in my brain, it stands to reason that something will come out on the short end of the stick. It seems my last blog did just that.

On December 10th, I posted a blog about mystery writer Ann Eisenstein, and offered a Contest to WIN an autograph copy of her new, hot off the press, middle-grade novel, Fallen Prey. The only problem is or was, my COMMENT LINK was not working.  So I'm extending the CONTEST DEADLINE to Friday, December 20th.

PLEASE try again. Here are two ways to enter:

1. Go to: and click on "An Intriguing Glimpse of Mystery Writer: Ann Eisenstein." Under the article you'll see the word COMMENT in Green. The word is a link that will allow you to share your feelings, ask a question or make a comment.


2. Scroll to the bottom of this post and add you comment and click on the green word, COMMENT. It will link you to the comment box.

Winner will be notified by email.


I love hearing from you. Please leave a COMMENT. Click on the GREEN word COMMENT at the end of this post. 

The little envelope will take you to an email screen. 

An Intriguing Glimpse of MG Mystery Writer Ann Eisenstein

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Start with a psychologist; add in a sincere interest in the worth and dignity of all human beings; give her work experience that spans elementary schools, college teaching, practice in psychiatric treatment facilities and the Department of Juvenile Justice; sprinkle in memberships in the FBI InfraGard and the FBI Citizen's Academy; and what do you get? A fabulous background, rich in trauma and drama, one perfect for developing characters and weaving stories filled with mystery and intrigue. Such are the impressive credentials of middle grade mystery writer, Ann Eisenstein.
Ann's debut novel, Hiding Carly, introduced Sean Gray, an eleven-year old Junior Special Agent who just happened to be a member of the FBI Junior Special Agent Program--yes, there really is such an organization. In the story, Special Junior Agent Sean is faced with solving two mysteries; one is the death of his father--the FBI has closed the case calling it a suicide, but Sean knows otherwise; and two, the puzzling connection between his father's death and Carly, a new girl in his class.  
Book two of the three part Sean Gray Junior Detective Mystery series, entered the market in November. 
In this new MG novel, Fallen Prey, Sean comes face to face with a mystery involving a very real threat to the youth of today--the dangers of internet predators. 
Ann  says, "My love of mystery and children and the issues that affect them led me to write the Sean Gray, Junior Special Agent Mystery series."
When asked about her connection with the FBI she jokingly added, "I was always afraid I would be wanted by the FBI...just didn't know it would be for good. Seriously, though, my own childhood drama (and trauma) gave me a heart for helping kids. The FBI came later. I have always been interested in crime and law."
I couldn't resist the urge to ask a few more questions. Here are her interesting and insightful responses:
1. What role or influence does growing up the only girl in a family of boys play in the stories you write or the characters you develop?
 That is a great question – certainly one I have never been asked. I think I see the play and behavior of boys more clearly, perhaps because I was the baby and my brothers were so close in age. As children, we were isolated on a farm and I spent a lot of time watching them and wishing that I had the kind of relationship that they had. They were best friends and always together. In the barn. Playing football. Riding their bikes, then their motorcycles. Sharing stories, secrets. I vacillated between being jealous of them and their brotherhood and envious of their special kinship. So that might have played a part in my development of Sean as the hero and protagonist of the Sean Gray Junior Special Agent series.
2. Share one negative life-experience that influenced your writing in positive ways.
Wow…just one? First of all, many of the events of my own childhood have influenced my life’s choice as a child advocate – as a teacher, a psychologist, and an author. I draw upon those experiences – broken family, bullying, and abuse - to help young readers develop skills and strategies that they can use throughout their lives.
3. Profile that one special person you hope your writing reaches.
Of course, I want many people – young and old – to find something in my writing that speaks to them. But I especially want that young person who feels alone in whatever situation that they find themselves. Bullying. Drugs. Hopelessness. Friendless. Afraid. Rejected, disenfranchised, marginalized. Problems in school, the family, the community. Our young people are more bombarded by an overwhelming array of social issues than at any other time in history. I want to help them navigate the waters as they deal with and reconcile those situations and work toward becoming responsible citizens.
 4. If you could thank one person for influencing your path to authorship, who would that be?
 Easy answer: My mom. She believed that I could do anything. (And sometimes, everything!)
 5. How does the reality of being a published author differ from what you thought it would be? 
 The reality of being a published author today is so much different than it was many years ago. Unless you are a megastar, i.e., Rowling or Grisham, or Collins, the act of writing “The End” is just the beginning of the real work! Authors today are responsible for so much of their own marketing and promotion. One has to be a master juggler of social media, blogging and web design, speaking, traveling – either by train, plane, car or internet waves, publicity and press, reviews and interviews, school visits, special events, etc. And then there is always the next book to write.
Thank you, Ann for taking the time to share with us. 
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I hope you enjoyed meeting Ann Eisenstein as much as I've enjoyed sharing her with you. Her books are shinning examples of the blend of her family background, her work experience and her desire to help children. I look forward to book three in the Sean Gray Special Agent series and the many other books Ann decides to pen.  
It's Christmas time. Hiding Carly and Fallen Prey would make GREAT GIFTS for that book reading mystery loving child in your family. Books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million
For more information about Ann Eisenstein, her presentations and workshops and the Sean Gray Junior Detective series contact:                              
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CONTEST: Leave a comment by December 15 and I'll enter your name to WIN an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Fallen Prey(Scroll down to the end of this article to enter!)
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I LOVE hearing from you. Please leave a comment but remember: Only children 14 and older are allowed to comment (COPPA Law).

Marketing via Social Media: Challenging or a Snap?

Friday, December 6, 2013

They said it would be simple; that millions of folks use the site 24/7. "Put your book up online and sales will soar", I'd been advised. But you'd better have your head on straight before you jump in because nothing is that simple.

If you're like me, this whole social media thing has you befuddled. Oh, I have a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linked'n and Google + and have taken webinars on all of them, but I've yet to figure out which media is working for me, or rather, which one best fits my style and warrants my time.

Although I've been traditionally published multiple times, I've also self-published, most recently via Amazon's Create Space. A children's picture book paperback is on the market with an accompanying CD and an Ebook via Kindle. With Kindle comes the opportunity to give your book away for FREE for a short period of time. My consultants say, "Do it. When you give books away you'll create sales down the road." But will it work for my book? One writer friend reported that 10,000 Kindle copies of her Middle Grade novel were downloaded for FREE with little to no results.

Tomorrow, Saturday, December 7th and Sunday December 8th are my FREE Kindle download days for my children's picture book, Arlie the Alligator. We'll see what happens. My fingers and toes are crossed. I'm hopeful that the give-away will generate sales and help to give a shout out about the book and CD to others.

Which social media platform is working for you? What do you like about it?
How did you decide?
How do you divide your time between the various platforms, your writing career and life in general?

I would appreciate any tips you can offer.

Thanks for coming to my blog.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

If you're like me, this whole social media thing has you befuddled. What to do? How to do? When to do? Oh, I could read all about it, but I'm such a "show me" person that I need more. Like a child waiting to cross the street, I need someone to hold my hand and show me the way.

Enter, FREE Webinars!

This past weekend alone I've spent several hours going over notes and taking FREE Webinars to help me sort it all out. Using A Facebook Profile to Build Platform by Lisa Hall-Wilson, was extremely helpful. Lisa taught the difference between a Profile and a Page and how important the Profile page is for marketing books and growing an audience. And here I was skimping on my Profile information thinking I shouldn't get too personal. How to Use Pinterest for Marketing, given by Melanie Duncan, stressed connecting Pinterest to Facebook to reach a wider audience. Marcy Kennedy presented, A Crash Course to Using Google+ to Build Your Author Platform. All three shared valuable tips to improve what I've been doing or not doing or should be doing with the social media I've signed onto.

All of these FREE Webinars came with handouts and a call to take more in-depth classes from the presenters. Still, the amount of information shared for FREE can set you and hopefully me, on the right course of action.

I've also paid for a private session from social media guru, Joanne Edwards. Her hour also came with an amazing amount of handouts. She did an excellent job personalizing her tutoring to my needs. Joanne, as well as every presenter I've heard, all stress the importance of finding the type of social media that calls to you. Find the one or ones that you think you can manage. Don't try to do it all, at least not at first.

Before I decide which social media avenue works best for me, I have to go back and fix the things I've done wrong with each of them. Then maybe, I can decide which one or ones -- Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+ -- get my total attention.

I am extremely grateful that those in the know are willing to share their knowledge in online webinars.

How have you tackled the whole social media thing? What tips do you have for learning? What courses or webinars were helpful to you?


Sunday, December 1, 2013

I know, I'm a little late but better late than never, right? 

Tomorrow is CYPER MONDAY when online stores will be offering all kinds of deals for holiday shoppers. If the online stores can do it, why not us? 

I challenge ALL AUTHORS, those able to sell their own books, to jump on the CYBER MONDAY bandwagon and offer a deal on their books. 

Here's my SPECIAL: 

MONDAY ONLY: Internet DEAL! (Buy Direct from Author) 

Buy the Arlie the Alligator story book ($12.95 + $3/ship) 

Get the CD ($9.95) FREE! 

Comes with Autograph. 

Order via email - 

Subject: Cyber Monday 

Include: Name/Address/Autograph Instructions
(CHECKS ONLY!) Instructions sent upon receipt of 

Book/CD will be shipped upon receipt of payment.
Tell your friends! 

Join me for this fun day! 

OR, if it's just too soon or too late, let's all band together to offer our own CYBER BOOK SALE DAY! 

Let me know what you think? 

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About Me

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Hi! I’m Sandra Warren, a writer with very eclectic writing tastes. I’ve been fortunate to have publications in multiple genres including children’s, gifted education, parenting, how to, poetry, journal, educational activity guides and biography as well as audio and video production. I'm a city gal recently transplanted to the mountains of NC where glorious mountain vistas inspire latest renderings.

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