Monday, November 24, 2014

Interview with Cali Mackay

I'm pleased today to have Cali Mackay here on the blog. Cali and I go way back to when we were both starting out. We were in a crit group together on AgentQueryConnect. She had a huge influence on me as I developed my writing skills. I hope I had a little on her, because now she is a NY Times and USA Today Best Selling Author!

Cali Mackay writes contemporary romance and has several best selling series including Billionaire's Temptation, Highland Heart, and Mermaid Isle, as well as various singles. The Pirate and the Feisty Maid trilogy is one of my favorites.


Max: Hi, Cali. It says in your bio that you design book covers for other authors. Do you do your own covers as well?

Cali: I'm actually no longer doing covers for other authors. lol. Though yes, I do my own. : ) My writing schedule—a new 55K word novel every 2-3 months—got to be too crazy to also deal with making covers, so now I only do covers for a few friends and for myself.

Max: A novel every 2-3 months is quite a workload! And your covers rock, by the way. With that kind of output how do you find time to promote your work? And what is your favorite type of promotion?

Cali: Thanks!! As for promotions, I've actually hired out the services of an amazing woman who places my books with various Facebook pages, books paid advertisements on mailing list promotions, and helps run my Facebook street team. I've found that some of the mailing list promotions are the most effective, though they vary greatly in the size of their mailing list and the amount of sales they result in.

Max: I know you are on Facebook, Twitter, and other networks, but as an author which is your favorite social network?

Cali: I find that most of my readers are on Facebook. Though Facebook doesn't feel terribly organic to me, it's where I need to be.

Max: Which of your characters are your favorite to write?
Cali: I like writing my male main characters, and have the most fun writing the men in my Billionaire's Temptation Series. They're steamy hot alphas who know what they want and go for it, but they also have an unexpected sweet side to them, which is paired with a fierce protectiveness and dedication to the woman they love.
Max: The 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon has made risque romance more mainstream. Have you noticed your readers wanting more explicit sex scenes mixed in with the romance?
Cali: Definitely!! I always try to warn my readers that my writing is quite steamy, and they all say "the steamier the better".
Max: What themes are your favorite to explore?
Cali: I honestly don't have one, since I like to keep things fresh by exploring a variety of themes, however, I've thoroughly enjoyed writing alpha males, since they tend to speak their mind and do what they want, which often times gets them into hot water with the women they love.
Max: I noticed you also tell your readers in the book description, along with the mature content warning, that there is a Happily Ever After ending for the couple. Traditionally romance lit has required a HEA ending, but a lot of modern erotic romance lit doesn't always end that way. Is a HEA ending important to you and your readers?
Cali: I think that with the rising popularity of serials, the story often continues from one book to the next, so though a Happily Ever After is required for a romance, you may not get to that HEA for many more volumes. I've included that description so that the readers know that my story will give them a HEA, but there might be smaller plot elements that continue to the next book in the series. I think it's good to make sure readers know what to expect from a story, so they're not disappointed if they're expecting something different.
Max: Well you have certainly found what pleases your readers. If you could go back and give yourself advice, back when you were first starting out, what would it be?
Cali: When I first started writing, I think I was still writing solely for myself, rather than for my readers, where as now I definitely still write what I love, but I try to make sure it'll be something that readers will also love. So if I could go back, I wish I had figured that out earlier. It seems like a simple thing, but I think it's often times overlooked in the name of art.
Max: That is so true. We always need to keep the reader in mind. It's the difference between talking to someone and just rambling on to yourself—which I've been known to do.
Thanks a lot, Cali. It's been great chatting with you!
If you'd like to know more about Cali MacKay check out her Author Page on Amazon. You can also visit her website Or you can pick up the first book in her Billionaire's Temptation series. It's FREE on Amazon. But be warned, it only takes one taste to be addicted to Cali Mackay!
So who is your favorite author? Give me some suggestions in the comments section and perhaps I will post an interview or review one of their books. It's okay to suggest yourself ;)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Books Define Who We Are #Reader4Life

Why #Reade4Life?

Books change lives. That's why I became an author, book reviewer, and publisher. Before all that I was a reader, a voracious reader. Books have defined my life, and even today books continue to define me. Our experiences mold who we are and books are ultimately chosen experiences. You could say the same about movies, TV shows, or music and art, but literature draws us in more than any of those experiences, sometimes even more than real life!

Books require us to be engaged and involved, not content as a passive observer. Authors pour their souls into their work, but readers bring that passion to life. In a very special way readers and authors are partners in literature and every reader experiences a work of literature differently, thus creating an intimate and individual perspective that in turn touches each of us in unique ways. And so we are sculpted by the authors we read and what we personally bring to their work.

The Reader for Life program uses the power of literature to touch lives turned upside down by illness.

Life is change. At any great crossroad in our lives we make choices and therefore have the potential to alter direction and change from who we were before into who we are becoming. Those moments can be a joyous event such as a graduation or marriage or they can be tragic. But it is what we make of those experiences that defines who we are becoming.

Literature inspires us at those times, offering us ideas and options we may not have contemplated before—experiences we may never have otherwise.

But it is not that authors are all-wise and intentionally inspirational, it is what the reader adds to the story that changes them. In his book Illusions, Richard Bach's reluctant messiah says, “The wise man can learn the secrets of the universe from a gum wrapper.” It is what we pour of ourselves into literature that touches us most deeply.

When cancer strikes, lives are ripped from their moors. Everything changes.

It can seem as if our bodies have turned against us and the simplest of tasks become insurmountable obstacles. Our mortality is shoved into our consciousness, too often at a very young age. Few of us have the life experiences we need to process what is happening. Cancer is the ultimate game changer. But again, life is change. And each obstacle is potential for growth.

Literacy is the key to unlocking our potential no matter what life throws at us.

Reading—light fiction or dense scholarly studies—provides us with new ways of thinking, reacting, and growing in the face of difficult circumstances. And literacy isn't limited to being a reader. Writing—pouring who we are onto the blank page—can open up ideas and ways of thinking that hide deep within us. And sharing our thoughts and perceptions with others through reading groups and writing circles expand those possibilities for growth even further.

That's why #Reader4Life is important.

The Underground Press is providing possibilities to cancer patients by offering free books, writing resources, and organizing reading groups. At a time when life is upside down a book can be an anchor when we need stability or a ladder to new heights. At a time when life is upside down a journal can be a way to organize the thoughts and feelings we are unable to express even to ourselves.

I am proud to be a part of that work. 


Books For Blume #Reader4Life #UPLIteracy


the underground press: Books For Blume #Reader4Life #UPLIteracy: The Underground Press “Reader for Life” program is providing books to children at Blume PediatricHematology & Oncology . You can help! ...