Tuesday, February 26, 2013

C.J. Lyons - HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on New York Times and USA Today Best Selling Author C.J. Lyons. She is the author of sixteen Mystery & Thrillers and Romance novels.

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Romance, Medical Suspense

Website: CJ Lyons Thrillers with Heart
Author's Blog: Thrillers with Heart
Twitter: @cjlyonswriter
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sixteen novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.

CJ has been called a "master within the genre" (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as "breathtakingly fast-paced" and "riveting" (Publishers Weekly) with "characters with beating hearts and three dimensions" (Newsday).

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Let’s start with what’s next. We have highlighted ‘Black Sheep’ (being released as we speak) below in which you introduce Special Agent Caitlyn Tierney to your readers.

What is after that? Are we going to read about Lucy Guardino again? Can you tell us the timeline for your next release and give us a little tease?

BLACK SHEEP is the second book with Caitlyn Tierney—she was a secondary character in BLIND FAITH. Her next book will be out in September, HOLLOW BONES.

Before that I hope to have the fourth Lucy Guardino book out, called AFTER SHOCK, and the third in the Shadow Ops series, EDGE OF SHADOWS.

I'll also have my YA Thriller debut out from Sourcebooks in November. So that's five books out this year and of course I'm hard at work already on more to come next year.

You have a good following on Twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? Do you see a carry over to your writing success? How much has it changed your book launch process?

I use Twitter for writers, mainly letting folks know when I read a good article on the industry or have a new post at NoRulesJustWRITE.com, my blog that shares everything I know about becoming a bestseller and selling a million books.

Facebook and my Thrillers with Heart newsletter are the two main ways I reach my readers. I don't do much, maybe pop into Facebook once or twice a week or if I find a fun tidbit to share and my newsletter is just once a month.

I love interacting with my fans but need to protect my writing time as well, so I don't do much social media. Although I did want a way for my readers to interact with each other, so I recently began a Thrillers with Heart Goodreads group where they can talk about anything: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/88726-cj-lyons-thrillers-with-heart-book-club.

Social media doesn't impact my writing or my book launches (other than a few extra posts with links once a book goes live). But I do absolutely credit my fans with a lot of my success. Without them I never would have hit #2 on the New York Times list and stayed there for over a month.

You book covers carry a theme and your Thrillers with Heart brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

I've tried to keep my name branding consistent throughout my cover design (although my NYC publishers haven't been consistent with it) and that's something I discuss with my cover artists. Then I usually give them an idea of the emotional impact I want a cover to have and they zero in on a visual way to evoke that emotion.

I'm a totally not visual thinker so it can be a challenge to find the right words to convey it, but I'm lucky to have worked with a group of incredibly talented artists who have the patience of saints!

So far my readers haven't gotten involved, but if we ever get stuck, they'll be the first ones I'll be turning to for help!

You belong to the RWA and other writer’s groups? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the self-publishing process?

No, none of the writers' organizations I belong to help with any of that. But I do credit RWA for getting me my first publishing contract after I was a finalist in their Golden Heart contest.

You have several great book trailers. (See links below.) Do you know how much impact they have had on your book’s success? Tell us about the process that you used to create your trailers?

They look very professional. Do you use the trailer in your character development? Are the pictures and background the way you see your characters and scenes?

I've had to had my arm twisted every time I did a trailer, lol! Again, that's because I'm a totally not visual person. They always come after the book is done, so have no impact on my writing.

I very much enjoyed working on the Lucy Guardino trailer for KILL ZONE, though, and it changed my mind about using trailers. Our approach was different than most book trailers in that we didn't use anything from the book, but rather used the video as a way to tell our audience a mini-story, share a glimpse into a typical day for Lucy. I love that because it gives both people who haven't read any of the Lucy books as well as Lucy's current fans a back stage pass into her world.

Here I am reading ‘Scutwork’ while I am eating dinner and writing a question about Time Management but I have to ask the question anyway. Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?

Totally play it by ear. As long as I have a deadline, I'm competitive enough that I'll always beat it, so that's all I need.

Has the advent of ebooks changed anything in your writing, your marketing and the relationship with your readers and fans?

Ebooks and the ability for authors to self-publish them has changed everything. I first began to self-publish ebooks the end of 2009 simply because my NYC publisher couldn't get my books out fast enough and my fans were clamoring for more. I realized that with ebooks I could keep them happy, get my name out to new readers, and even use the ebooks as giveaways and promotional tools.

Then, a year later, I was paying the bills with my ebooks and whatever NYC paid me was just gravy on top…quite a reversal! Now my NYC publishers represent about 15% of my overall business and the rest is comprised of my self-published ebooks and sub-right (audio, foreign, TV/film) sales.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

I had great success with giving away books back in 2011…it's not as much of an attention getting now that the market is so saturated. I still enjoy giving away a free read to new Thriller with Heart newsletter subscribers at CJLyons.net.

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to other writers. What is your primary goal?

I actually don't have a blog for readers, but I wanted to give something back to other writers since so many writers helped me to get where I am, so I began the NoRulesJustWRITE.com . site where I share everything I know and resources that have helped me along the way.

I see you have one of your novels in a foreign language. Do you plan to publish your other books in other languages? How is your audience abroad?

I have books in nine languages out there, even Chinese! But I did recently hire a translator to do a Spanish translation of the Shadow Ops series. It's too new for me to see if it's worth the money, so I'm withholding judgment for now.

My largest audience abroad are the Germans—they love their thrillers and can't get enough of them!

Explain to us how your Buy a Book, Make a Difference program works and how we can get involved?

After selling a million books I wanted to give something back. As a pediatric ER doctor, I know firsthand how frustrating it is for law enforcement agencies who don't have the budget to get good CSI training—there are literally areas of the world where you can get away with murder simply because of lack of training.

I created the Buy a Book, Make a Difference charity.

It's tied to sales rankings of my books, so if my readers push a book high in the rankings or onto a bestseller list, the charity gets more money. There's also a scholarship fund for forensic training—it's not in my name, but rather the name of one of my fellow Pediatric interns who was murdered.

In 2012 we raised $12,000 for charity and six CSI scholarships. Already in 2013 we've raised $3,000 and I just released funding for eleven CSI scholarships, so I'm really excited by the response!

Author's Book List
Black Sheep
Special Agent Caitlyn Tierney

It’s the one mystery Supervisory Special Agent Caitlyn Tierney has never solved: her father’s unexplained suicide after arresting his best friend for murder. It drove Caitlyn to become one of the FBI’s best agents—and often the most unorthodox.

Her latest case is no exception when the man she holds responsible for her father's death asks for help in finding his missing daughter. Caitlyn’s search brings her back to her North Carolina hometown, now vibrant with new money, old lies, and an unknown enemy who will do anything to keep Caitlyn from the learning the truth—and who will kill to keep it buried…

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Blind Faith
Sarah Durandt knows the killer is dead. She watched him die from a lethal injection in the execution chamber. But Sarah finds little comfort in knowing that the deranged psychopath who murdered her husband and son will never kill again. Since he never revealed the location of their bodies, she never found a sense of closure. So now, Sarah has decided to return to her home in the Adirondacks, to search for whatever remains of her loved ones. An unmarked grave. An article of clothing. Anything to make this terrible dream seem real. But what Sarah uncovers is far more unnerving—and much too horrifying—to even consider…

Maybe they executed the wrong man. Maybe the killer is still out there.

Maybe, for Sarah, the nightmare is just beginning.

Sarah has just witnessed the execution of the man who confessed to killing her husband and son, among others. She leaves with no closure as the killer has refused her repeated requests to reveal the site of her family's graves. Sarah returns home to her small town of Hopewell in the Adirondacks Mountains and vows to search until she finds Sam and Josh.

Her hunt leads her to a trail of lies and unearths a new killer. In a race to save everything she holds dear, Sarah is forced to place her faith in the man who betrayed her…her husband

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Kill Zone
Lucy Guardino FBI Thrillers, Book #3
Breaking News: KILL ZONE has been selected as one of Suspense Magazine's Best of 2012 Books!

WARNING: the Lucy Guardino FBI Thrillers are NOT for the faint of heart! They depict adult situations, realistic violence with consequences, and delve deep into the darkness of the human heart and mind.

Lucy's back! In a story ripped from the headlines, the violence is the worst she's ever seen, the stakes are higher than ever, and then...things get personal.

It's a vicious, horrific crime: the brutal killing of a teenaged girl. When Pittsburgh detectives call FBI Supervisory Special Agent Lucy Guardino to the scene, their focus is on who and why?

Was it the girl's Afghan father striving to regain his honor after she became too Westernized? Her Jewish boyfriend? Someone from Afghanistan settling an old grudge? Or one of the many drug cartels the father helped the DEA bring down seeking revenge?

Former Marine Sergeant Andre Stone has been home a month, but he has yet to leave the safe haven of his grandmother's house--other than to go to his appointments at the VA's burn clinic. Andre's disfiguring physical scars are the least of his worries. The emotional wounds of seeing his men massacred in a DEA raid gone horribly wrong have left him a walking dead man, numb to anything.

All he can think about is revenge. On Rashid Raziq, the man behind the raid. When Andre is offered a chance at vengeance, the only question left is: How far will he go to get it?

The answers seem clear when Pittsburgh becomes engulfed in flames as a violent narcoterrorist turns the city into a kill zone...But in the dark of night, surrounded by men intent on destroying the truth, Lucy and Andre both learn that secrets hide in shadows.
Book Trailer: Kill Zone
Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Borrowed Time
New York Times Bestseller CJ Lyons has been praised as a "master of the genre" (Pittsburgh Magazine) for her "breathtakingly fast-paced" (Publishers Weekly) romantic medical thrillers.

Pittsburgh Police Officer Kate O'Hern is on the trail of a killer targeting cops. Only problem, he's already killed her once...

Trauma surgeon Joshua Lightner saved Kate's life, only to have her awaken suffering from an unexpected side effect: visions of other people's deaths. As a doctor, he refuses to believe in "psychic mumbo-jumbo" but as a man, he can't deny his feelings for Kate.

When the killer targets them both, are they living on BORROWED TIME?
Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Lost in Shadows
Shadow Ops, Book #2
Following a group of covert operatives, men and women who risk their lives to protect our country--but are they ready to risk their hearts?

A West Virginia mountain, the middle of a blizzard, killers on his trail...no place for a city boy like Lucky Cavanaugh, an ATF explosives specialist. Out-manned, out-gunned and shot, he takes Forest Service Wildlife Biologist Vinnie Ryan hostage until he convinces her that he's one of the good guys.

Vinnie heals not only his injuries but also his broken heart. But when they uncover a terrorist plot, Lucky is forced to choose between duty and passion, risking the life of the woman he loves in order to save the lives of thousands.
Order the Book From: Amazon
Chasing Shadows
Shadow Ops Book #1
Following a group of covert operatives, men and women who risk their lives to protect our country--but are they ready to risk their hearts?

Going undercover, playing the part of a disgraced former Marine, is easy for Chase Westin--until a Christmas Eve mission takes him back to his hometown and face to face with his estranged brother.

When KC, an undercover FBI agent, flies into Chase's life with her Doc Martens, purple, punk-rock hair, and Hollywood-hype leather and chains, Chase realizes that falling in love is more dangerous than catching bullets.
Order the Book From: Amazon
Blood Stained
A Lucy Guardino FBI Thrillers, Book #2
Now Lucy's back and she's facing the fight of her life:

Just your average Pittsburgh soccer mom, baking brownies and carrying a loaded forty-caliber Glock...

Until recently Supervisory Special Agent Lucy Guardino was a shining star in the FBI's roster. But after killing a man and disobeying orders, Lucy's been sidelined, chained to her desk. When a mysterious letter arrives hinting that, thanks to Lucy, the wrong man was blamed for a string of serial rapes, kidnappings, and killings four years ago, Lucy jumps at the chance to re-open the case--despite orders to leave well enough alone.

Her unofficial investigation takes her back to the small town that thrust her into the spotlight four years ago when she saved the killer's last victims--before the killer took his own life and the life of one final victim, a mother who left a ten year old son and loving husband behind.

What Lucy doesn't know is that what happened four years ago was all a lie, fueled by sacrifice and betrayal, designed to shield the real killer.

With the lives of her family, a group of innocent children, and the future of one desperate boy at risk, Lucy races to stop an innocent from killing and a killer from butchering more innocents.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child has called CJ's work "Everything a great thriller should be--action packed, authentic, and intense."

"Not for the faint-hearted! Fast-paced, with characters you can feel for and like, Snakeskin is part crime fiction, part thriller with a strong female protagonist." ~MysteryThriller.tv

4 1/2 Stars: "Combine Dirty Harry with a loving wife and mother and you might end up with Lucy Guardino. You won't be able to put this one down." ~RT Book Reviews
Book Trailer: Blood Stained
Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Face to Face
Hart and Drake, Book #3
Now, see what happens when they lose it all...

Drake hunts a stalker with deadly intentions. Hart fights for justice for one special victim while also fending off her ex and his family as they try to destroy everything she holds dear.

Neither realizes the real danger lies with an old enemy whose fury has grown and will not be satisfied with anything less than Hart and Drake's blood.
Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
No Rules, Just Write!
I'm CJ Lyons. And I'm a writer....

If you also need a twelve-step program to stop writing, then you've come to the right place.

I don't like rules. I don't like people telling me what to do. I don't like complex formulas or graphs or charts that I have to consult because that's the "right way" to create a compelling story.

So I've taken everything I've learned about the essence of good storytelling and I've distilled it all into a few simple concepts. Things so easy that by the time you've finished this book and practiced using these techniques, you'll be able to not only craft a great story but also to complete your novel.

In fact, by the end, you'll be saying: Wow! This is so easy, it makes so much sense! I can use this every day I write...

No Rules, Just WRITE! Table of Contents:
* Lesson 1: Three Secrets
* Lesson 2: What is story?
* Teaching Point: Emotion as a Guide
* Lesson 3: Theme, the Intersection of Plot and Character
* TEACHING POINT: Theme in the Real World
* Lesson 4: Reversals and Pinch Points
* TEACHING POINT: Promise of the Premise
* Lesson 5:Ancient Secrets of Storytelling
* TEACHING POINT: Attitude Says it All
* Lesson 6:The Hero's Journey
* TEACHING POINT: Crucible Stories
* Lesson 7: Putting it all together
* TEACHING POINT:The Middle Road
* Lesson 8: Building 3-D Characters
* TEACHING POINT: Know your characters
* Lesson 10:Block Busting
* TEACHING POINT: Know your audience
There's also a companion workbook available on NoRulesJustWrite.com
Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords
Sleight of Hand
Hart and Drake, Book #2
Warning: the Hart and Drake thrillers contain explicit sex and scenes of graphic violence. For mature audiences only.

"There's an oath doctors take," Detective Mickey Drake said.
"Primum non nocere," the shrink supplied. "First do no harm."

Two months ago Dr. Cassandra Hart was forced to kill a man. The man who murdered her best friend, almost killed Drake and seriously wounded her. Now she's back at work in her Pittsburgh ER, but nothing seems the same.

When she fears that a young boy is being abused by his "perfect" mother, her friends and colleagues worry that she's returned to work too soon, imagining dangers that don't exist. Others accuse her of trying to cover up her own alleged mistakes in the boy's treatment by making a false report of abuse.

Drake's facing problems of his own, trying to cope with the aftermath of the night two months ago when his passion for Cassie led to a confrontation with a killer. He's on desk duty, reviewing cold cases, and delves into the homicide case that killed his father seven years ago. But after so long, what good can he do, a cop without a gun?

The stakes escalate when Cassie is almost killed and Drake finds evidence that the killer his father was tracking might be planning to strike again--this time targeting a young boy.

With the lives of two children at stake, how can they walk away?
Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Snake Skin
Lucy Guardino FBI Thrillers, Book #1
Just your average Pittsburgh soccer mom, baking brownies and carrying a loaded forty-caliber Glock...

Lucille Teresa Guardino. A woman of many identities. Lucille to her doting mother, Lulu to her devoted husband, Mom to her pre-teen daughter, Lucy to her friends, LT to her co-workers, and Supervisory Special Agent Guardino to the criminals she captures for the FBI's Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement squad.

A loving mom and wife, dutiful daughter, consummate professional, and kick-ass federal agent, Lucy is living the perfect life.

Until the day she comes up against a predator more vicious and cunning than any she's ever tackled before, one who forces Lucy to choose between the life of the young victim she is fighting to save and her own daughter's….and Lucy's dream life is shattered.
Book Trailer: Snake Skin
Order the Book From: Amazon
Nerves of Steel
Hart and Drake, Book #1
Dr. Cassandra Hart is fighting a war. And losing. A deadly drug epidemic, a killer stalking her hospital...meet the ER doctor who never gives up.

Cassie's Pittsburgh ER has been deluged by young patients who have overdosed on a new drug, FX. After Cassie discovers that the source of the FX on the streets is her own hospital, her best friend is killed, and Cassie's life is threatened. She is forced to place her trust in Detective Mickey Drake.

Drake's irascible charm eventually penetrates the barriers Cassie has built around herself, and their relationship progresses from professional to passionate. After Cassie discovers the truth behind the thefts, she and Drake must confront a killer. In the end, their only weapons are their new-found love and the courage it gives them.

Written by a pediatric ER physician, NERVES OF STEEL combines gritty realism with the adrenalin rush of the ER. New York Times Bestseller CJ Lyons uses her insider's knowledge of life behind the scenes to reveal the hidden truth of the medical world: No one is immune to danger.
Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the HBS Author's Spotlight plus the blog: eBook Author’s Corner.
Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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