Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hobbies and Cents

We're pleased to feature Rho'Nesha Bontemps, creator of Hobbies and Cents. It's a blog dedicated to teaching readers to enjoy their hobbies while taking control of their finances. Along the way, readers learn how to date their mates, shop, travel, and more all on a budget.
When did you discover a passion for writing?
I discovered my passion for writing in the 7th grade after I read the Catcher in the Rye.  I don’t know what it is about that book but it made me fall in love reading and writing.  I started writing in a journal and just never stopped.
Hobbies and Cents is an intriguing name. How did it come about?
I was at work one day talking to a friend about my hobbies and it just hit me.  I chose hobbies because I’m passionate about the things that I like to do and I chose cents because I love enjoying my hobbies but I don’t want to spend a lot of money doing them.  Hence the name Hobbies and Cents.
How does your blog assist with your author platform?
I’m not an author just yet. Eventually I hope to publish an eBook sometime next year but I haven’t settled on a topic just yet.
How often do you post?
I post one to two times per week.  I want to post twice but I am focusing on quality versus quantity right now.  Eventually it will grow to 3 times per week if everything goes according to plan.
What type of posts do you find most satisfying?
All of my posts are my favorite so far because they are things that I’ve dealt with.  If I was forced to choose my favorite post I would be the post on my wedding. It mean a lot to me to have my dream wedding on a budget and to share how I was able to obtain it through careful planning.  I hope to share those tips and more with others through my writing.

What do you like about your blog?
I love that it will be so versatile. I talk about money, marriage, travel, and other lifestyle tips such as getting your house ready for the holidays (which will be featured this week). I love the fact that it gives me the freedom to write about all of my passions without restrictions.
What bugs you about it?
Everything that I have to learn.  It is time consuming but it will be worth it once my readers grow.
How do you target your specific audience?
Right now I advertise on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.  I just joined Tailwind to automatically schedule my Pinterest posts.  I saw a slight growth last week but I know it takes time to grow my subscribers.
Do you feel it’s important to capture emails or subscribers? If so, what's your preferred method?
I don’t have a large following yet so I don’t really know.  If I could pick now I would say subscribers because starting next week, I will be sending out weekly emails to my subscribers.
How do you engage comments or attempt to, which can be extremely challenging?
I hope to start ending my blog posts with questions to get my readers involved.
Any advice for a newbie blogger?
My advice would be tackle one thing at a time.  It takes time write, post, find pictures, etc. It can be overwhelming but if you set small goals and organize your time it will help you.
Anything else you’d like to share with our audience?
Yes, check me out on

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Featured Author Tiffany Shand

We're pleased to feature Tiffany Shand from Colchester, UK. Tiffany started writing novels in her teens. Now in her 20's, she has multiple titles on Amazon including the Excalibar Investigations Series. Her books are available as ebooks and paperbacks.
Tiffany, when did you discover a passion for writing?
Writing stories is one of the first things I remember doing. I always loved reading books and I think I just naturally started writing my own stories. My first stories were usually about my pets. Writing has always been an outlet for me during hard times in my life.
Pets make great characters. What did you have?
I had dogs, rabbits and hamsters growing up but mostly wrote about my border collie and my hamster. I usually wrote stories where my dog was the character's pet too or just stories where my dog was the main character.
How has your passion for writing turned into a career?
A few years ago, I was told I would never be able to work due to ongoing health problems. When I tried out for jobs no one was interested in me because I had disabilities and had to occasionally go to hospital. Suffering from chronic pain, fatigue and illness made it hard for me to do normal everyday things. But writing was something that always helped me cope with all of that. It took me away from the pain and after doing a creative writing course and getting good feedback from that, I decided I might as well have a go at publishing one of my novels. So you could say writing and publishing a book actually gave me the confidence to start pursuing a career and having a job for the first time. This helped me to go on to become a professional editor and copywriter.
Besides feeling better, has writing had other benefits to your health or benefits in general?
Ooh, that's a tough question! I think writing has made me a bit more confident and it opened up a lot more possibilities for me. Writing itself did come physically difficult for me over the past few years as my disability affects my hands and makes it very hard sometimes for me to type. So instead, now I have an adapted keyboard and a Dragon (voice recognition software) which types for me. After not being able to find a job and giving up my dream of studying law, I decided to pursue my other dream, which was to always be an author. I thought a publisher might be put off by health problems so being an Indie works great for me. I can control everything and do things in my own time without the pressure of having to answer to someone else. Don't get me wrong, it's been a steep learning curve but as I said writing enabled me to do so many things I never thought I'd be able to do.
You're also a blogger. How does that assist with your writing goals?
I think blogging really helped me to start establishing my author platform. When I first started blogging I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about outside of my fiction. Blogging really inspired me to want to help other authors and opened up the love of writing non-fiction writing – which is something I never thought I would do.
As a non-fiction author, I have to ask why not?
Writing non-fiction was something strange to me as I'd always written fiction before and it was something I never thought I'd be good at. When I first started doing a creative writing course, I tried writing articles but never really liked the style of them. The style of writing never appealed to me until I started learning how to be a copywriter and I really got into blogging. I do actually enjoy writing articles now too and I find non-fiction to be a nice change when I don't feel like writing fiction.
How often do you post?
Usually once or twice a week at
What type of posts do you find most satisfying?
I love writing how-to posts and things that would hopefully help and inspire other authors.
What do you like about your blog?
I like that it’s the main hub for my readers and a way for me to directly connect with them. I also like the fact that it gets me writing something, especially when I’m in the middle of revising my own books or editing books for my clients.
Do you feel it’s important to capture emails or subscribers? If so, what's your preferred method?
I’m fairly new to email marketing, but yes, I think it is important to capture email addresses. Having an email list is a great way to directly connect with your readers and share news with them, perhaps in more ways than a blog is as you can sense something directly to their inbox.
How do you engage comments or attempt to, which can be extremely challenging?
I usually ask questions at the end of a post then share the post on social media. Facebook groups can be a really good way of getting traffic and getting readers to engage in comments.
Any advice for a newbie blogger?
Choose a topic you love to write about and it can be more than one topic. If you’re an author don’t just write about yourself all the time or your books as that would quickly become boring to you and your readers.
Couldn't have said it better. What's next for you in publishing?
My second urban fantasy novel comes out the end of March and I’m currently working on the first book in a short novella a series. After that, I’m planning on writing my first non-fiction book on how to build your author platform.
I'll look forward to seeing it. What's the best link for readers to find your books?

I'd like to learn all about Dragon, but that sounds like another post. Thank you, Tiffany!