In my ever expanding quest to share the stories of wonderful indie authors with my readers, I was delighted to find a triad of indie writer friends who were willing to grace us with their presence and their wisdom. They are all doing very well on Amazon. I think this is a great opportunity to share a different point of view on my blog, as I've gone on record as not promoting Amazon Select. These ladies are all using Amazon Select successfully, so I'm delighted to show my readers another side of the Amazon experience.
[Editor's Note: The story is told through the POV of Bonnie Bartel Latino with input from Phyllis Zimbler Miller and Kathleen Rodgers.]
I first became aware of Phyllis Zimbler Miller while viewing sample chapters of the semifinalists in Amazon's 2008 Breakthrough Novel Award contest. Phyllis' title "Mrs. Lieutenant" captured my attention because of my personal experience as a military wife.
A review of "Mrs. Lieutenant" also caught my attention. I believe the "review" said Phyllis' story didn't ring true. That ridiculous comment ignited my sense of justice. I politely rebutted the review while making my point.
Phyllis thanked me via an Amazon comment. We didn't cross online paths again until several years later when I saw her on Twitter. We remembered each other and were soon tweet and re-tweet buddies. I quickly realized that Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a multi-talented and strategic online marketer. My respect for her grew even more.
About the same time, summer of 2009, a group of retired fighter pilots were discussing military writers they knew who had written books about their world. One mentioned Kathleen Rodgers' novel "The Final Salute."
The other pilot mentioned the novel I co-authored, "Your Gift to Me," still in manuscript back then. The men put Kathleen, whom I call Kathy, and me in touch. Our friendship was instantaneous.
That fall Kathy went to the conference of the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA). At their annual book awards dinner, my flash-fiction "The Rush of Butterflies" won the 2009 People's Choice Gold Medal. I wasn't at the conference, but Kathy was and called to tell me. Even better and bigger news — Kathy's "The Final Salute" won a Silver Medal!
Two years later Kathy called from the annual conference to tell me my narrative non-fiction "Christmas Whistles: A Swiss Duet" had won the MWSA Gold Medal in the 2011 William E. Mayer Award for Literary or Artistic Excellence competition.
However, there were many long and hilarious phone calls in between and after those two calls.
My growing relationship with Phyllis is much newer. While we've never talked on the phone, we exchange a gazillion emails per week. Her energy and enthusiasm are boundless. She thinks outside of that 'ole clichéd "box" better and more often than anyone I've ever known, with the possible exception of my brilliant co-author, Bob Vale, who obviously is not a military wife.
I'm grateful to have Kathy and Phyllis as friends, writing sounding boards, and co-marketers. Some of the readers of their books have read "Your Gift to Me," often providing astute Amazon reviews.
Kathy says she first heard of "Mrs. Lieutenant" in 2008 via the MWSA Facebook group, but didn't get to know the author until Phyllis invited her in 2009 to be interviewed on a BlogTalkRadio show Phyllis co-hosted.
Although "Mrs. Lieutenant," "The Final Salute" and "Your Gift to Me" are radically different, they are all experience-based novels that provide deep and accurate glimpses of what life was/is like for military wives in the eras in which each is set.
As Kathy said recently, "We're three authors pulling together to promote, but we also enjoy strong bonds of friendship. These kinds of relationships do not come along every day, especially with writers."
P.S. None of us has ever met in person.
Deleyna: You all write military fiction. I read your books and was delighted to find the theme of strength in the friendships of women that is the theme behind my book. I've noticed that you are all listed in the same Amazon lists and that you bump each other for the top slots occasionally. How has this affected your friendship?
Bonnie: We're no more competitive than that other famous triad of "Sisterhood" fame—Dana, Marie and Lara. Perhaps one of the benefits of maturity is wisdom. In many ways, Phyllis Zimbler Miller and Kathy Rodgers are my two best friends. We understand the complexities of being writers in ways our non-writing friends don't begin to comprehend. We've never met, which seems impossible for us to believe. (I have also never met my co-author Bob Vale, but that's a whole 'nother story.)
Deleyna: Thank you Bonnie. I look forward to introducing my readers to you three and your books over the next few days. In the meantime, here is a sneak peak: