Category: Author Highlights

Author Highlight: Rebecca Rivard-Build a World That Readers Don’t Want to Leave

Author Highlight: Rebecca Rivard-Build a World That Readers Don’t Want to Leave

Paranormal and Fantasy Romance: Build a World That Readers Don’t Want to Leave

Hello, I’m Rebecca Rivard. First, I want to thank Natasha Lane for inviting me on her blog today! As a paranormal romance author, I create worlds with magical creatures like shifters, fae and vampires. I have books in two series—my own Fada Shapeshifter series and Michelle Fox’s Vampire Blood Courtesans series. When I started my Fada Shapeshifter series, I wanted my books to stand out in the crowded world of paranormal/fantasy romance. So, I set out to create a world that’s a little different—but that seems alive, real. To my delight, I succeeded, since readers often say they don’t want to leave my world. How do you build a fantasy world/paranormal world that readers want to visit again and again? Here are some tips.

1) Study your favorite fantasy/paranormal world(s).

Setting: Is the series set in the real world with magical elements such as Harry Potter (paranormal) or an imaginary world such as Faerie or Middle Earth (fantasy)? What is the geography and the socio-political system?

Magic: Note the rules for magic—and yes, your magic must have its own, consistent rules.

Origin story: A good fantasy world has its own origin story, one that affects the characters’ beliefs and actions. For example, the origin story may be celebrated with its own holiday.

I could go on, but for a thorough list of world building questions, check out this post by Patricia C. Wrede on the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America website:

2)Give it a twist. Is everyone else writing fantasy worlds based on medieval times? Then create a fantasy world set in a different time; for example, 1920s steampunk, as my friend L. Penelope did in her Earthsinger Chronicles (coming in 2018 from St. Martin’s Press).

Are all the paranormal romance authors writing about wolf and cat shifters? Then write about dolphin and shark shifters, as I do in the first few novels of my Fada series.

Do most authors draw on Celtic mythology? Then draw on the rich mythological traditions of Greece, China or West Africa.

3)Don’t drown the reader in details. Details make your magical world come alive—but too many, and the story gets lost in the descriptions of how the world works. Strike a balance. Not sure how? Again, note how your favorite authors handle it.

4)Above all, the reader must believe in your world. You can make up your own rules—the sky’s the limit for fantasy—but within the world, the rules must be consistent. For example, if your werewolves only shift during the full moon, you can’t have them suddenly being able to shift at another time of the month.

Bonus tip: Keep a bible for your world. If you don’t have a series bible, start one. Now. You won’t be sorry. Mine lists characters’ names, descriptions, magical Gifts, relationships, etc. I also include photos of the character if available.

My series bible also includes powers and other information specific to that particular type of being. For example, my sun fae are glittery, fun-loving fae who take energy from the sun, while my night fae are vampire-like creatures who feed on dark emotions like anger or jealousy.

Some authors use a spreadsheet. Some authors assign colors to each book or type of character. I use tables in MS Word. Just choose a system that makes sense to you and that you can easily update.

My series bible is broken into different files for shifter clans, fae clans and humans. Add it all together and it’s approaching 80K words. That may sound like a lot, but most of it is descriptions or notes copied from the novels themselves. Having it organized into a series bible makes it much easier to search for the information.

Author Bio:

USA TODAY bestselling author Rebecca Rivard read way too many romances as a teenager, little realizing she was actually preparing for a career. She now spends her days with dark shifters, sexy fae and alpha vampires—which has to be the best job ever.

Rebecca’s books have twice been awarded the prestigious Crowned Review from InD’Tale Magazine, and her novel Tempting the Dryad (#3, Fada Shapeshifters) is a 2017 RONE Finalist. Her Vampire Blood Courtesans Romance, Ensnared, was a Night Owl Reviews Top Pick (5 stars). Her latest release is Saving Jace (#4, Fada Shapeshifters) which will be out on Sept. 25.


Amazon Author Page:


Author Highlights: Terry Maggert- Taming the Social Media Monster

Author Highlights: Terry Maggert- Taming the Social Media Monster

The Social Media Monster & You: A Primer

Hi. It’s me, Terry. This verges into bragging, but I do have some things that I’m intensely interested in, and I think that foments ability. I write three-dimensional female characters. I use humor to frame stressful events as a tool to invest my readers, and I am vehemently against the predatory practices of the publishing industry. I’m an author coach and a history professor who is enthusiastic about pie, waffles, giraffes, coffee, and nefarious villains. I also run, because punitive experiences make for good fiction but today I’m going to discuss the social media monster and you.


1.Don’t spam. Ever. If you have the urge to spam endless Facebook groups, twitter, or anywhere else, don’t. The numbers game works against you, and you’ll create a backlash. This should naturally bring you to ask, “Well, then how do I”—stop right there. Let’s go to point number two.

2. Build Your Email List. Immediately. If you have a time machine, go back, strangle Joseph Stalin, and then start building your list. Your list is implicit permission between you and the people who know and like your work. It’s your core, your tribe, your peoples. This is how you become a part of a community in which your books—and you—are the engine that drives the fun. And it should be fun. Not spammy. Naturally, you ask, “How do I”—go to point three.

3. How To Build Email Lists. First, get an app or program that lets you manage your email so it isn’t illegal (gmail isn’t legal). I use Mailerlite, but other people use Mailchimp—I find them to be too expensive. Build a template email that looks professional—header, graphic, your brand name, etc—and then test it by sending it to yourself and a few accounts you can check.
Then, begin building the list in three ways.

When I coach young authors (or first timers) I always say that they should get involved in giveaways with other more established authors. Ask in your online groups or at events. At signing events, have a signup sheet for your mailing list. Offer something free, like your first book. Send one or two emails per month. One out of three of my emails is about books, mainly because I hate spam and love food. You can guess what the other two emails are about (hint: rhymes with waffles). When you send your first emails, people will unsubscribe. Relax, it’s not personal. I can tell you that the more people you meet (who sign up in person), the more ‘sticky’ list members you will have. These people are your friends. Don’t forget that, and reward them with fun stuff (deleted scenes, swag, etc).

4. Be Positive or Be Silent. Hate the president, government, puppies, left-handed people? Fine, but if you make that your voice on twitter, you’re screwed. Half the population will hate you, half will say they love you and not buy your books, and a small percentage will actually go after you to the point of raiding your reviews and trashing you online. If you choose to be political because that’s your calling life, then you aren’t making writing—and your career—first.

5. Use the 90/10 Ratio. Ten percent of your social media posts should be about books! The rest should be about you, your passions, food, cats, travel, other books you’re reading (cannot stress this enough), movies you see, and events you will attend.

It’s a big world. Your books are only a small part of it. Show everyone who you are and what you love, and your books will make more sense as you build your readership.

Author Bio:
Left-handed. Father of an apparent nudist. Husband to a half-Norwegian. Herder of cats and dogs. Lover of pie. I write books. I’ve had an unhealthy fascination with dragons since the age of– well, for a while. Native Floridian. Current Tennessean. Location subject to change based on insurrection, upheaval, or availability of coffee. Ten books and counting, with no end in sight. You’ve been warned.


Author Highlights: Rachel Rawlings-How to Talk About Your Books

Author Highlights: Rachel Rawlings-How to Talk About Your Books

The Extroverted-Introvert:
Taking Your Brand On the Road. How to Talk About Your Books & Brand With Readers & Peers When the Last Thing You Want to Do Is Talk About Yourself!

My name is Rachel Rawlings, author of urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, and founder of HallowRead Book Festival. Over the last four and a half years, I’ve had the privilege to work with some of the brightest authors in our industry. Some are more outgoing than others. As an author, I have a unique perspective into the psyche of an extroverted-introvert because I am one. Once I get to know you, the extrovert comes out, but how does an introvert get to know other people? Ahh, therein lies the problem. Let’s delve a little deeper and help ease those meet and greet fears with a few helpful tips.

1)Do Introduce Yourself to Your Tablemate or Neighbor.
Some of the best relationships start with a simple “Hello, my name is…”

2)Don’t Stack Your Books High Enough to Shield You From The Oncoming Horde of Hungry Readers.
A friendly smile is the best lure to hook a new reader.

3)Don’t Get Distracted With Social Media.
Uncomfortable silences or awkward social situations make it easy to reach for the comfort of social media, grabbing our phones and swiping away at the small screen of familiar yet isolated interaction.

4)Do Have A Bowl of Candy.
No greater ice-breaker out there at an author’s table than a bowl of sweet confection! Chocolate, caramel, sweet tart? It doesn’t matter. People can’t help themselves and many a book have been sold over a bowl over Hershey’s Kisses.

5)Don’t Be Afraid.
Easier said than done, right? Trust me, I feel your pain. When I first began taking my brand on the road, I hated talking about myself. Still do, in fact. But, with each one it gets a little easier and I have made long lasting friendships and connections that are far too invaluable in our industry to stay comfortably hidden in my corner.

6)Do Use Your Brand Or Pen Name As A Persona.
Sometimes, when we are most uncomfortable putting ourselves out there, our pen names or author persona offers us an opportunity to pretend we’re the confident kick-ass heroine we write about. Your books are your brand and your brand is your books – no one is going to sell them like you are.

7)Do Have An Elevator Pitch.
At any event or the moment someone discovers you’re an author, they’ll ask you what your books are about. This was something I learned at an event I attended earlier this year for Indie Author Day. That’s right, I’m still learning too. I didn’t really think I had a pitch and even today I feel myself freeze up when someone asks me what my books are about.

My brain seizes, leaving me with little more than a response of “it has words in it”. When we began talking about ad copy, someone shouted out “Hey, you do have an elevator pitch!” And then it hit me, this was the answer I should have been giving! Short and to the point that represented my brand and my books. After all, they’re asking you to plug your work to market yourself. They want to know!

8)Do Attend The Other Panels And Workshops Whenever Possible At A Festival Or Convention.
You never know who you’ll meet in the crowd and being in the audience can often make it easier to connect with readers or other authors without feeling the heat of the spotlight.

9)Don’t Listen to The Little Voice Talking You Out of Things.
Okay, if the little voice is talking you out of a bank robbery, you should probably listen. But, if your little voice is anything like my little voice it’s probably talking you out of attending a convention or talking about who you are and what you do for fear someone will think you’re a hack. Guess what? They won’t.

Our community is filled with an amazing group of individuals writing their own story, quelled with the same fears you and I have. We’re all introverts by nature. It’s probably why we write. But, put us all in one place together and it’s a lot easier to be extroverted. You’re among your people. Enjoy it.

Author Bio:
Rachel Rawlings was born and raised in the Baltimore Metropolitan area. Her family, originally from Rhode Island, spent summers in New England sparking her fascination with Salem, MA. She has been writing fictional stories and poems since middle school, but it wasn’t until 2009 that she found the inspiration to create her heroine Maurin Kincaide and complete her first full length novel, The Morrigna.

When she isn’t writing paranormal romance, psychic romance suspense or about her psychic detective, Rachel can often be found with her nose buried in a good book. An avid reader of Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Horror and Steampunk herself, Rachel founded HallowRead- a non-profit interactive convention for both authors and fans of those genres which raises funds for literacy and the literary arts. More information on HallowRead, its schedule of events and participating authors can be found at and She still lives in Maryland with her husband and three children. 

Twiiter: @rachelsbooks
Instagram: @rachelsbooks