WANA Wednesday: An Interview with Prudence MacLeod, plus ROW80 Update

We have a special treat for WANA Wednesday this week! Prudence MacLeod, author of romance, science fiction, and fantasy, agreed to stop by and let me pick her brain. Prudence is one prolific lady, and I wanted some insight into how she does it. Okay, enough from me – here’s Prudence!

JMP: Prudence, how long have you been writing? How many books did you write before publishing?

PM: Thanks for inviting me over for a coffee and chat, Jennette. How long? Off and on for close to fifty years, I guess. Seriously for about seventeen.

JMP: That’s a good while! And I thought I’d been at it a long time. Have you been published by a big publisher? Small press/epub? Independently? Please share your publishing experience.

PM: I had a few articles and short stories published in magazines long ago. As for novels, I acquired a box full of rejections and spent a fortune on postage before the internet changed the publishing world. As soon as the option became feasible, I began self-publishing.

JMP: I don’t blame you! Your books tend to cross genres, and I’ve found self publishing to be a perfect fit for that as well. Now that you’ve tasted the control and flexibility that comes with indie publishing, are you still pursuing a traditional publishing contract, or perhaps an agent?

PM: No, once I decided to go it alone I stopped trying to go traditional. If you’re doing self-pub right you don’t have much time left over for writing a synopsis or sending out query letters. You are spending your time on writing, editing, and social media.

JMP: Boy, isn’t that the truth! And that’s on top of creating, or contracting for cover art, formatting, editing, and more. What do you do (or have you done) for a day job? Has this informed or inspired your writing in any way?

PM: I’ve had a number of day jobs over the years, but I have to say the years I spent as a personal trainer give me the fondest memories. Those years, the people I worked with, and the things learned there are a big influence on my writing. A lot of my characters come from those days.

JMP: I’ll bet you met a lot of interesting people as a personal trainer! Most of us have trouble getting to the writing every now and then, if not every day. What keeps you from writing, and how do you handle it? How do you make time for writing?

PM: Finding the time can be an issue some days and I so admire you folks who manage jobs, children, and still find the time. Me? I just make the time. I learned this in powerlifting. When a lifter wants to enter a contest and lift three hundred pounds, she will set up a chart, probably twelve weeks. She starts with week twelve and marks it at 300. Week eleven is marked at 290, week ten at 280 etc. Each day she enters the gym she knows exactly what she has to do. I do the same now with writing. If I want a first draft of 72,000 words in twelve weeks, then week eleven calls for 66,000, week ten is 60,000 etc.

As you can see I’m constantly setting goals for myself. If I don’t I’ll just drift and get nothing done at all.

JMP: That’s so true, Prudence! I know for me, that’s what NaNoWriMo does – it forces us to set goals and divide up that 50,000 word mountain into chunks we can mark off each day. But wow, you have a lot of books out there now! Tell me, what inspired your latest?

PM: Okay, this was fun, actually. Needing a good kick to get my head back into my writing, I dropped what I was working on and contacted one of my most avid fans. I asked her point blank, “What would you love to see in my next book?” She was pretty clear on what she liked so I set out to write a romance with her in mind as the reader. I sent her a small teaser and she loved it. I’m just getting started on it, but I hope to get it ready in time for Christmas.

JMP: And now for the $64,000 question – CDN or US$, either is fine. 🙂 What are some things you did to build your readership? What’s worked? What didn’t?

PM: Well, pushing in social media doesn’t work, running contests and doing giveaways haven’t worked for me, and offering sales and free books hasn’t worked either. What has worked is personal contact. Any reader who reaches out to me via e-mail or through a comment on my blog gets a personal response; not a come on to buy more books, but a response just to them. This can be a bit time consuming some days, but I will keep it up as long as I am able. I love the one on one with the readers.

JMP: Amen to that! Getting email from readers is the best! What are some things your readers have told you they particularly love about your books?

PM: Most of all it is Hope. I try to offer hope in all my book; they always have an upbeat ending. Folks also tell me they find my books informative; they learn things about all sorts of different people and lifestyles.

JMP: Having read and enjoyed some of your books, I couldn’t agree more! What’s up next for you – and where can readers find more about you and your work?

PM: Oh, gosh, I truly wish I knew. I’m hoping to find more ways to get in touch with the readers in more personal ways. I’m just not good at running big promotions; I’m more comfortable chatting over a coffee.

Here’s where you can find me, folks.




Jennette, thanks for the coffee and the chat. Let’s do it again soon.

JMP: You bet, Prudence! It’s been fun – thanks again for stopping by!

Quick ROW80 Update: So far so good for NaNoWriMo! I’ve logged another 5,000 words since our last check in, bringing my total to about 36,000. I’m off of work today through Sunday, so I’m hoping to stay on schedule for that. I say stay on track, rather than get ahead, because I’m hosting Thanksgiving! My family’s great – everyone chips in as far as food goes, and it’s always a good time, so it’s ALL good! Hope you’re doing well if you’re participating in ROW80 and/or NaNoWriMo, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

What is WANA? It stands for We Are Not Alone, a guide to blogging, social media and networking for authors by Kristen Lamb. It’s writers helping writers, whether or not we’ve taken the course, and proving that we really are not alone!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

WANA Wednesday: Lots of News to Share!

I’m trying something new today. So many of my author friends have new releases. I want to share this exciting news with my blog readers!

What is WANA? It stands for We Are Not Alone, a guide to blogging, social media and networking for authors by Kristen Lamb. Many of my author friends have taken the  WANA class, either with me, or another offering, and I met them online at one of the many WANA hangouts. I have a lot of IRL (In Real Life) author friends, too – and they are also not alone.

So here’s what some of my friends have been up to lately. Who knows, you may find your next book to read here – there’s a bunch of good ones!

My IRL friend and fantastic beta reader Michele Stegman released her short story, “A Pirate’s Tale,” last month. This is a different kind of romance, as it’s told from a third character’s point of view. Normally, this would be tough to pull off, but it totally works here, as it adds to the mystery and suspense of “what will happen?” Also, this story has a special place in my heart – I got to read it before the release, and I designed the cover! 🙂 If you’re looking for something fun and quick to read, I highly recommend this one. More info at A Pirate’s Tale | Michele Stegman.

My IRL friend Maria McKenzie recently released her new novel, Escape: Book One of the Unchained Trilogy. The Unchained Trilogy is an explosive three book series of love, deceit, emotional destruction and in the end, forgiveness. In Escape (Book One) Daniel and Lori love each other, yet to live as one in 1856, they must escape from the unyielding society that imprisons them.

I loved Maria’s first book, The Governor’s Sons. This story of a slave and the white man she loves promises to be every bit as good. It’s on my Kindle app, and I can’t wait to read it! More info at Maria McKenzie: Release Date of Escape, August 21.

Myndi Shafer celebrated the release of Shrilugh, a YA fantasy and her debut, a couple weeks ago. Shrilugh is the story of a recent high-school graduate wrongly accused of trying to murder her step-sister, who flees her vengeful stepfather with an otherworldly stranger through a mystical Door. It’s already getting some great reviews, and sounds like a great read! Ebooks are available at Smashwords, Amazon and iTunes, and it’s also available in trade paperback. More info at TODAY’S THE DAY! « Myndi Shafer.

Fabio Bueno also has a debut release in YA Fantasy. In Wicked Sense, witches inhabit our world, organized in covens and hiding behind a shroud of secrecy—the Veil. Skye’s London coven sends her to Seattle’s Greenwood High to find the Singularity, an unusually gifted witch who may break the Veil and trigger a dangerous new era of witch-hunting. More info at WICKED SENSE – Book Release! – Fabio Bueno, Author.

Louise Behiel celebrates the release of her second novel, Family Lies. I’ve read her first, Family Ties, and really enjoyed it, so I’m definitely looking forward to this one! Family Lies promises plenty of suspense, surprises, and family dynamics as the characters learn of secrets that make them question everything they value. More info at My Latest Release, Family Lies is the Featured Book Today | Louise Behiel.

Prudence MacLeod has been busy too. Last month, she released Hunter, an action-adventure story featuring aliens, psychic attacks, and a bit of romance. (Sounds like my kind of book! :D) She’s offering Hunter and another of her books, Moira, for free through the end of September. Even better, let her know you’ve downloaded one, and she’ll enter your name for a drawing at the end of the month for a $25 gift certificate from Purple Raven Boutique on Etsy, or $25 in editing services from Powder River Editing. More info at Valkyrie Rising, Prudence MacLeod’s Blog.: Free books and Bling!.

Fellow WANA author Angela Orlowski-Peart celebrated the release of her well-nurtured baby – her debut Young Adult paranormal/fantasy novel, Forged by Greed. It’s the story of two Seattle 16-year-old Shape Shifters, Jatred and Jasmira, who are torn between following their hearts and protecting the order of the world. The path of the star-crossed lovers leads only to destruction. More info at Forged by Greed published! | Angela Orlowski-Peart.

And just this weekend, my IRL author friend Tonya Kappes has a new release in her Magical Cures Series. A Charming Cure is the second in the series and full of June Heal and all her fun. Tonya’s blog is well worth a read for authors – she’s also the author of The Tricked-Out Toolbox and has all kinds of great promotional tips for writers. She shares all the details of how she prepared for the release of A Charming Cure on her blog at Author Tonya Kappes: A CHARMING CURE RELEASE DAY!

Did I miss anyone? If you’re a WANA friend or an author I’ve connected with, and you have exciting news to share, let me know! I’ll be glad to give you a shoutout in the next installment of WANA Wednesday.

All of the books linked above offer free samples, so check them out! And whether or not you’re an author, what do you think? See something that sounds good here? I’d love to hear from you, so please drop a comment below!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

Gotta Read ‘Em: Historical Fiction and Science Fiction

I’ve read some excellent books lately, many that are worth sharing. Looking for something to read? Here are a couple of sure winners!

If you like historical fiction with a good bit of romance, then you should definitely check out The Governor’s Sons by Maria McKenzie.

The story starts in 1936 with Ash Kroth, a young law student in a nameless Southern state whose ultimate ambition is the governor’s mansion. He’s smart, white, comes from a well-connected and moneyed family, and is driven to succeed. The only thing he didn’t count on was falling in love with one of the family’s maids – who happened to be black. As the romance develops, so does Ash’s character, as he learns what’s really important, and what isn’t important at all. Then the story takes a somewhat unexpected turn… and picks up in 1964.

Ash is now a popular, segregationist governor with three teen children who all present their own challenges. His son Gavin is getting mixed up with the wrong people – racists willing to resort to violence to achieve their ends. To add to the volatile mix of human conflict, Harland Hall, a well-known, black civil rights leader, is coming to town. As this crucible heats up, we see the effects of lies past and present while the characters all try to cope with the fallout.

Although billed as historical romance on Amazon, I would consider this historical fiction or a coming of age story, because the romance is only the first half of the book. One thing I admired about the book was that the characters used historically-accurate dialogue, rather than terminology that would be politically correct today. Despite the offensiveness of these terms, this added realism to the book and enhanced the reader’s sense of being there. While gripping and emotional, the relationship doesn’t resolve in a way that romance readers typically expect. The book’s description is a clue to this, as the second half takes place almost 30 years after the first half. Thus, I wasn’t too surprised about the romance, and still found the story and its ending satisfying.

The Governor’s Sons is available as an ebook and in print from Amazon.



Moving in a completely different direction, “The First Key” by Prudence MacLeod is science fiction with a good dose of magic, in the tradition of Star Wars and that universe’s Jedi knights. It’s a short story of roughly 10,000 words, and includes a second, unrelated short as a bonus.

In “The First Key,” Branah is a young warrior mage apprentice who thinks he knows it all – until he’s sent off with a new master, the enigmatic Jen-jen. Recognized as one of his society’s most powerful mages with controversial methods and philosophies, Jen-jen disappeared many years before, and appeared at the former mage-leader’s death to whisk Branah away.

They wind up on a backward planet with a controlling, misogynistic culture, and when Jen-jen unwittingly breaks one of its highest laws, all hell breaks loose, and Branah must pick up the pieces while figuring out where he fits in as both a mage and a warrior.

Jen-jen and Branah are delightful characters, and even in a short story, it was fun to watch their master-pupil relationship develop as Branah discovers that not only doesn’t he know it all, he in fact knows very little. The world is a technologically-advanced one with space travel and also magic, much like the Jedi in Star Wars, and this story will definitely appeal to readers who enjoy that world. I’m glad to see this appears to be the first of a new series, because I’m looking forward to more!

“The First Key” is available on Amazon and Smashwords as an ebook.

Have you read any good books lately? Please share! I’m always up for a good read. 🙂