Friday, June 8, 2012

Guest Post with Brenda M. Collins


Title: Witch In The Wind
Author: Brenda M. Collins
Publisher: Bandit Creek
Pages: 138
Buy Here:

Bandit Creek (Montana), has a new magical dimension, The Otherland. When murder strikes in Bandit Creek, and the victims aren’t who they seemed, powerful guardian warlock, Marcus Egan, is sent from The Otherland to investigate. What he doesn’t expect to find is Avalon Gwynn, the grieving daughter of the victims, who has no idea she’s an extraordinary, hereditary witch. And Avy’s pent up magical abilities have just been set free in the mortal world. Can Marcus catch a killer while making sure Avy doesn’t bring Crow Mountain crashing down on the town—destroying Bandit Creek for the second time?

Brenda: Thank you for inviting me to visit today. I’m so excited to share my recent experience with being published with you.

Witch in the Wind, a paranormal romance, is my debut in fiction and I will say, unequivocally, that none of my previous experience in publishing magazine articles prepared me for the wild ride this has been. But I’m lucky to share this experience with more than 30 fellow authors, as part of the Bandit Creek eBook Series. Their excitement is contagious and their support as I launch my writing career, invaluable. You’ll see what I mean if you catch up with our authors on Facebook.

At the June 2011 meeting of our local Calgary chapter of the Romance Writers of America, CaRWA, the late afternoon discussion turned to the hot topic of self-publishing. Only one of our members at the time had gone that route, but she was brimming with enthusiasm about the freedom and control self-publishing put in the hands of the author. She raved that it lets authors write what we want, when we want and with whomever we want. With arms flailing in the air—you have to know Tawny Stokes (aka Vivi Anna)— she looked at everyone present and said, “I could write a book with all of you.”

One thing led to another and before we knew it, her exuberance had ignited a maelstrom of creative energy unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Thirty-one authors agreed to write a connected book series together. We created the town of Bandit Creek Montana, which, like any small town, would be populated by a wide range of characters each with a unique story to tell. This would allow each author to write in their genre, ranging from horror, to romance, to YA all the way to erotica. The novellas could span the past, the present or even into the future. It would be up to us how and where our storylines intersected. Would you believe my hero, Marcus Egan, first shows up five months earlier in Shanna Gekko’s Skin Deep? How much fun is that!

Even with four authors who had been traditionally published and three with previous epublishing experience, we knew this was going to be a huge learning curve for the group. We needed a way to keep everyone on the same track so we set up a yahoo loop, developed a series bible to establish the reoccurring characters, and created detailed town maps so that buildings wouldn’t start floating around town between stories. As for costs, each of us would be responsible for paying our own way although we quickly discovered there were many intangible things we could share. Someone who knew how to format an eBook taught the others, those with an eagle eye for typos helped others with editing and proofing.

We all acted as beta readers for each other. With each new release, at a rate of two a month, everyone provides promotional support through Twitter and Facebook. We agreed to use the same cover designer to give the series a professional and uniform look but, again, our numbers made it possible to negotiate a favorable discount.

Since that June meeting, I started and finished my Bandit Creek novella, formatted it for eBooks, worked on my cover design, learned to use social media for promotion. This is my first guest blog! I’ll admit that there were days throughout this project that I thought, frankly, my head would explode and for sure, I’d never make my deadline. But with determination, hard work, and lots of support from my fellow Banditos, Witch in the Wind: A Bandit Creek Paranormal Romance was released on May 1, 2012 on AMAZON and SMASHWORDS, and continues to sell nicely.

This has been a crazy journey and we all thank Tawny for her impulsiveness, insanity, or whatever it was, that led her to round us up and launch the Bandit Creek Books project. This ‘experiment’ gave my fiction writing career the kick-start it desperately needed. I am now writing every single day.

I remind myself, this is my debut—my beginning—of what I hope will be a long and prolific fiction-writing career. The momentum has carried me already into another collaboration, this time with award winning author Roxy Buroughs, on a collection of short romantic stories coming out early this summer. I’m working on another witchy story about a newly minted private investigator who takes on a diamond laundering case. And, of course, in a sequel to Witch in the Wind, Marcus and Avy will have a role to play in resolving the situation with the Witches Council too.

I’ll keep everyone posted if they follow me on TWITTER @bcollinswriter.


Brenda Collins has wanted to write mystery fiction since she was twelve years old. At the age of twenty, she spoke to an editor in Toronto, who expressed an interest in her story; however, she soon realized it takes more than an idea to be an author.

She joined a number of writing groups to learn about ‘the craft’ and completed two mystery manuscripts. When the Bandit Creek opportunity arose, Brenda jumped on board immediately.

The story that emerged started with a murder, but it came to life with witches, warlocks, a “familiar” and a magical dimension called The Otherland.

Don’t miss Witch in the Wind, a paranormal romance with mystery elements, available May 1, 2012.

Find Brenda Here: Twitter

Kayla: Thank you Brenda for being our guest here at Reading On The Wild Side! Really enjoyed it, I hope you come back soon!



  1. Hi Brenda, Great post on your experience and I have to say I'm in the same boat - but is has been one he@@ of a ride!!!  My book doesn't come out until November so I have a little more time to learn everything! You did a great job!

  2. Brenda, you've done a great job of describing the incredible journey you've taken because of this project. I would love to know how many people have gone on to publish more books because of this endeavor.

    PS: I've read Witch in the Wind and thought it was a fabulous debut. I loved the mythology of your world and the tender relationship between your hero and heroine.

  3. Michelle BeattieJune 8, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Brenda,  great post and so glad it you got you writing each day!

  4. Hard to believe a year has passed since that awesome day of brainstorming. We were in Redwood Meadows, just down the road from Bragg Creek and the Powder Horn Saloon. I think I will always think of "Bragg Creek" as "Bandit Creek." And of course, the Powder Horn Saloon will never be the same!

  5. Hey Brenda, loved 'Witch in the Wind' and am very much looking forward to reading more about Marcus and Avy, glad to hear you're writing more in their world. Your description of the pandemonium that was that initial brain-storm explosion and the birth of the Bandit Creek project brought back a lot of fun memories from that day. And like Darasnow, I'm also curious to know how many other indie books have come about because of this fab experiment.

    For myself, my BC novella 'Shafted' released Feb 1 and because what I learned with it, starting in July I have 3 more slated this year, but I know a lot of the other authors in this project have already had several unrelated books come out. And how cool is that!

  6. Love that cover! Can hardly believe 'Witch in the Wind' is your fictional debut. A wonderful read.

  7. It's been a great experience and experiment. It has taught me so much.

  8. Brenda, I just finished reading Witch In The Wind last week and it was a wonderful story. I loved the Otherworld you created and am looking forward to reading more about Marcus and Avery and their interaction with the witches. Thanks for a terrific post!

  9. Great post!!  *arms flailing in excitement*

  10. I wasn't even at the meeting but got swept along on the ride.  Witch In the Wind is a great read and the first of many more to come.

  11. Nice post Brenda! I'm looking forward to reading Witch in the Wind! Love your site!