Tuesday, 25 December 2012

How a Simple Social Misfit Became the Most Fun Cop You’ll Ever Meet (And the Best!)


- Guest Post by Julie Smith 
Skip Langdon here, N.O.P.D. That’s N.O. as in New Awlins, dawlin’.  (If you fly Southwest, they’ll pronounce it N’awlins, which is just not right! That’s like saying “y’all” in the singular. Good rule of thumb: there are about half a dozen ways to properly pronounce the name of my city, but three syllables is the minimum correct number, and four is even acceptable, as in New Or-lee-uns. Yep. That’s a preppy way to say it, but it isn’t upper crust, which is New Oyuns. Swear to God. And I don’t mean “oh-yuns”. This is “oy-vey”-oy.)
Sorry–got carried away there. What I was going to say was, God, I used to hate this burg! Although my parents were interlopers, I went to the proper school, so I grew up with the New Oyuns crowd. And it was pretty embarrassing being the child of social climbers. I mean the kind of people who needed me to get invited to the right birthday parties. Which I didn’t, of course.
This was probably because I’m just not genetically Southern, and possibly not even genetically human.
Most humans are born with the ability to figure out what’s expected of them, as I understand it. Well, I just…wasn’t. Never did anything right, never fit in, never knew why. Unless you count the fact that the average Uptown girl has the build of a bird. (And the brain too, I’ve sometimes thought.) But I’m just not a bird-girl. I am exactly five-feet-twelve and do not discuss my weight.  So that could have had something to do with the fitting-in part.
All through grade school and high school—well, hell, even college–I was pretty sure I’d fallen out of a passing spaceship and landed in the Garden District. But I tried. I even bit the bullet and made my debut. Nothing worked, so I moved to San Francisco to see if anyone of my species lived there. And I got a great job, as a bike messenger. Then one day I saw a mugging in progress and I stopped it. Me! The incompetent kid who flunked out of Newcomb. (Didn’t mention that, did I? I transferred to Ole Miss and made it to graduation.) Anyhow, I stopped this mugging with my own oversized body and suddenly I thought, Hey, size matters! In a good way. I LOVED the feeling of kicking that perp’s sorry ass.
So I got the idea to become a cop. And when I ended up back in my hometown, suddenly everything looked different. I do fit in now. Sort of. I mean, I’m still not a bird, but I have a job to do and I get some actual respect from people I’m not related to. Cool! But those I amrelated to are another story. One of my favorite things about the job is how mad it made my family—Langdons just do not become cops.
But my top number one favorite thing is my landlord and gay best friend, Jimmy Dee Scoggin, who kept me supplied with pot until he adopted two kids and we both had to just say no. Although then this cute guy named Steve Steinman came to town…that’s up there too.
But anyway–how did I accomplish this miraculous turnaround? Well, one day, I witnessed a murder…and actually got assigned to the case because I come from the fancy “New Oyuns” crowd. See, the victim was the king of Mardi Gras–very high profile case–and the brass thought I might…get this: fit in.
So how’s that for a martial arts move? I mean, the very thing I was running from turned out to be…well, you get it. Stuff like that probably happens to you all the time. But then you’re probably human.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Mystery & Thriller / Police Procedurals
Rating – PG13
More details about the author & the book
 Connect with Julie Smith on Twitter & Facebook


Sunday, 23 December 2012

4.5 STAR Review & $50 Gift Card Giveaway: Bluff by Lenore Skomal

Original Title: Bluff
Author: Lenore Skomal
Publisher: Lenore Skomal Press
Release Date: October 1st 2012
Source: From "Novel Publicity"
Genre: Psychological Thriller



"To the medical world, I was a host body, surviving only to bring a new life into the world. And while I wanted to die more than anything in the world, I never wanted this. No, I never wanted to cease to exist. This was the worst death of all.”

Jude Black lives in that in-between, twilight place teetering on death but clinging to life in order to bring her baby into this world. Only she knows the circumstances surrounding her mysterious fall off the bluff that landed her in the hospital being kept alive by medical intervention. Only she knows who the father of her baby is. In this poignantly crafted literary novel, the mystery unfolds and the suspense builds as the consequences of Jude’s decisions threaten to reveal everyone's deceptions, even her own.

Bluff offers a sensitive look at essential questions such as the value of human life, the consciousness of those in a coma and the morality of terminating life support. At the core is the story of a tragically misunderstood woman who finds peace, acceptance, understanding and even love on her deathbed.

REVIEW

My first thought: I am going to recommend this to everyone, who can read emotional novels.
Second thought: Wait, I think I am going to cry. :(

The first reason I picked this up: BLURB.  Read the above blurb.  After reading that, I just can't pass this on.  And like so many other books I accepted for review, I am glad again for my decision.

There are some things we consider as good and bad.  But, that obviously differs from person to person.  When I read about each of the characters in this book, it only made me feel like an immature girl.  Reason?  Let me explain..

Jude, the protagonist of this novel, is always sad and prefers loneliness.  The novel starts with Jude falling off a bluff (a high steep bank (usually formed by river erosion)), heavily injured.  She is rushed to the hospital, due to some anonymous call to 911 about the 'incident'.  Then we meet Frances, Jude's best friend (actually, the only friend), who has been with Jude for nearly two decades.  Jude completely adores Frances, while Frances trusts and loves Jude unconditionally.  Then there is another bomb thrown at you -- Jude is pregnant.  In spite of Jude's battered condition, the baby is healthy and can be saved.  So, there starts the questions:
  • Did Jude commit a suicide?
  • Is this a murder?
  • Who is the father of the baby?
  • Will Jude survive enough to provide nutrition the child?
  • Will the baby survive?

With all these questions still running in your mind, there are many papal issues, whether Jude must be continued with the life support system, that you have to worry about.

And then there are other characters --

April:  Jude's sister.  Working as a secretary and mistress to her boss.  Jealous of her sister and loathing Frances, April's entry in Jude's life (or existence) after twenty years is another shocking change.

Mary Shannon:  Nurse and neighbor of Jude.  Although portrayed with many flaws at the beginning, she did show her brighter side in Jude's case.

Gay:  God, I don't even know whether I hate or like her.  I think I am leaning towards hate.  Well, she is Jude's mother, who made her life more miserable and now, dead.

Jude's unborn child's dad:  I just HATE YOU!

There are so many other minor characters, but coming back to 'feeling like an immature girl', you see why?  I learnt again that people have different sides.  Not all are good, but not all are bad.  There are motives behind everyone and I really appreciate the author for making me understand and agree to that fact.  I know this, but I still judge people on how they behave to 'me' - not with who they really are (because I never take the pain to know?  Yeah, maybe!)  This is what makes me feel immature.

As the story unravels secrets after secrets, it just kept me hooked.  Yeah, I was sad at most places, but the need to know more was so great, that I had to keep going on.

The author has written an amazing novel.  This is not your light read.  It needs some patience, more than that, an open mind.  But, I can assure you that you are in for a great read here.

This one is just going to hurt for some time.  But, that again is the success of this novel.

Really, I want to give this to 5 STARS!  But, this novel was something I never want to read if I want to move to some happy world and forget my real life.  For this reason, I give this 4.5 stars!

ACTUAL RATING: 4.5 STARS!

GIVEAWAY

Wanna win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of Bluff?
  1. Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a $50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official Bluff tour page.
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest! I've posted the contest form below, or you can enter on the tour page linked above.
About the author: Lenore Skomal wants you to eat her books. Her passionate desire is to touch your heart, inspire you, and luxuriate in the world of the written word. She is an award-winning author with the single goal of resonating with others. Winner of multiple awards for blogging, literature, biography and humor, her catalogue spans many genres. With 30 years of writing experience, 18 books published, a daily blog and weekly newspaper column, the consistent themes in her work are the big issues of the human experience and adding depth and voice to the intricacies involved in living a multi-dimensional existence. She has won many Society of Professional Journalist awards, the Whidbey Island Writer's Conference honorable mention for best fiction, Writer's Digest 73rd Annual Fiction Contest, New York Public Library's Best Books for Teens 2003, and most recently, the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Award for humor for “Burnt Toast.,” her first anthology of her award winning humor columns. From journalism, to literary fiction, to humor and biography, her writing is consistent, if not in genre, then in message. Connect with Lenore on her website, Facebook, GoodReads, or Twitter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 21 December 2012

Book Blast: Rise of the Retics (Rosehaven the Hidden City, #1)

Original Title: Rise of the Retics
Series: Rosehaven the Hidden City, #1
Author: T.J. Lantz
Release Date: December 7th 2012
Genre: Young-adult, Fantasy



For almost a thousand years humanity has been making a concerted effort to eradicate the world’s “retics”, an eclectic collection of non-human, intelligent species. Recently, those efforts have been strengthened and far more successful than ever, though the Council of Rosehaven, the “retics” hidden sanctuary city, cannot figure out why.

No one realizes the danger of this this more than Tyranna Wolfskin, a young girl ripped from her boring, everyday life in the middle of the night by a vicious group of “retic” hunters. Thrust into a struggle for her own survival, Tyranna must find a way to accept what she is and learn to understand a world she never knew existed.


*** This post is part of the tour for Orangeberry book tours. ***

To enter the giveaway of 

        • $50 Amazon.com gift card 
        • 5  copies of the ‘Rise of the Retics’



Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Guest Post: When I’m Queen of Publishing



Original Title: Tapped
Series: Pipe Woman Chronicles, #3
Author: Lynne Cantwell
Release Date: December 2012
Genre: Urban Fantasy



Ah, winter in South Dakota…

Naomi’s caught some kind of bug, and she hasn’t seen Joseph in weeks. But she lets Shannon drag her on vacation: a road trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to find Naomi’s father. There, they find more than they bargained for: a dream wolf, a mysterious walled compound that might or might not belong to Loki, and a lot of snow.

Shannon certainly knows how to show a friend a good time…



When I’m Queen of Publishing

- Guest Post by Lynne Cantwell 

The publishing industry has been undergoing a major upheaval during the past several years.  For decades, publishers had held all the power over authors. They had put publishing contracts on a pedestal and convinced writers that the only way to be taken seriously is to have one, while simultaneously cutting back on hiring unknown authors and offering contracts with lots of zeroes to celebrities who can’t write their way out of a paper bag.

When I’m queen, things will be different.

First, I will wrest the publishing houses out of the hands of their corporate overlords – you know, the ones who insist that editors do more with less so that their CEOs and stockholders can rake in profits.

Then I will require that editors get back to editing.  Instead of having them spend their time chasing celebrities, they will have to find and nuture real writing talent.  I’ll also hire a ton of copy editors, because spelling and grammar mistakes annoy me.  Publishers will still be allowed to send books overseas to be scanned into digital files, but I will enact a stringent quality control requirement that the resulting digital files match their source material exactly, before they’re released as e-books.

Speaking of e-books: They are, of course, the wave of the future.  When I’m queen, publishers will have to compete against Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords the old-fashioned way – by dropping their prices, instead of colluding to keep prices artificially high.

And there will be no more of this attitude from publishers that indie authors are no-talent hacks.  A lot of indies have gone indie over the past couple of years not because they can’t write, but because publishers have made it so difficult for a new author to break into the business.

In addition, as queen, I will not tolerate vanity publishers – those companies that prey on the hopes and dreams of writers by overcharging them for substandard editing and marketing services.  Vanity publishers will have to clean up their act, or I will put them out of business.

I fully expect that industry executives will moan and groan about my reforms, and call me a socialist and worse.  But it won’t matter, because I’ll be queen.  They won’t have any choice but to obey me.  And maybe, eventually, they will come to understand that I’ve restructured the industry for their own good.

Publishers can blame Amazon for allowing just anybody to publish a book – and they do.  But indie publishing has become a juggernaut precisely because of the failings in the traditional publishers’ current business model.  Smashwords and Amazon simply tapped into the frustration of would-be authors who couldn’t get the time of day from the Big Six.  The resulting indie groundswell has revealed the publishing industry’s shaky foundations, and so they’re running scared.

You think they’re scared now?  Ha!  Just wait until I’m queen.




Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Book Blast: God Loves You by Suzanne Anderson


What if when you most needed help, a blue bear appeared with a note from God?

One night, Miss Millie of Blossom, Ohio turns her face to the stars and asks God for help. The next day, a package arrives on her doorstep containing a blue teddy bear and a very special note. 

Over the course of a year, this remarkable blue bear travels across the country, showing up just when he’s needed most. 
 
During his journey, Chester Blue helps a young girl trying to impress her big sisters; saves a sailor caught in a terrible storm; reunites two constantly fighting brothers; helps a cowboy become a rodeo clown; and aids a father and daughter in bonding after divorce. 

If you ever needed a message from God, it’s here…


Buy now @ Amazon
Genre – Inspirational Fiction
Rating – G
Connect with Suzanne Anderson on Facebook & Twitter
About the author 
I was born in Fort Lauderdale, attended the University of Michigan on an athletic scholarship for swimming and then worked on Wall Street. I left the bright lights of the big city fifteen years ago and traveled the world. I now live in the mountains of Colorado, where I pursue my dream of writing novels.

What are the mistakes you see in beginner writers?


- Guest Post by Robin L Sanders
One of the beginning mistakes that we all make as writers is having the idea of writing a great story but not knowing how or where to start.  I would often have times of imagining an epic battle but haven’t a clue where to place the scene in the middle of my story.  Some people would prefer to write a story from beginning to the end, which is practical but not possible for many.  Other writers would start off by breaking their story into outlines so whenever they’re lost, they could figure out where to go next or start somewhere else then come back to the scene later.  There was one method I learned from a screenwriter about writing the scenario that you’re most passionate about and begin from there whether forward or backwards.  When I started I had this belief that if you didn’t start from the beginning then you’re not doing it right.  Truth is there is no actual rule of how to start writing a novel, you could just do it the way you feel the most comfortable.  It’s your work so do it the way you feel, do what you want to do, that’s what I learned.
Another big mistake that most writers often do is fail to develop a tough skin.  Writing is considered a literary expression in visual art; the writing industry is filled with critics that live by an established modern code.  Whenever they see something that is of the ordinary, they would either praise or insult the writer without any warning.  Some critics can be spiteful and would wake up every morning with their eyes set on any literature they disliked especially if it was a person. In other words develop the strength to accept criticism.  Constructive criticism is very important and can help sharpen and hone in on your writing skills as well as style.  Actual criticism whether good or bad could be harmful but knowing when and how to handle it could be a big step to becoming a fearless author.  Some writers developed the ability to use negative criticism as a source of fuel to produce more positive work while others are capable of weighing the differences of good and bad criticism.
Horribly written and edited work is a big mistake when publishing a book; placing commas, periods, and proper use of words into sentences without producing fragments are essential elements to having a good novel.  Even if you’ve written over a hundred thousand words in an epic novel it wouldn’t make any difference if you’ve spotted over thousands of errors.  Finding a professional editor can be hard and expensive especially if he’s a real good one.  Finding the right editor is also difficult and could take a long process if they’re real busy or accepting inbox mail from other clients.  I remember being rejected by professional editors from left to right over a years span and when I found one he wasn’t a real good one.  Later I had a friend who was a freelance English teacher who had taught English overseas and decided to edit my work with pay of course.
There can be many major set backs in the writing industry but the greatest mistake that could be ever made is to tell someone about your ideas without copyright protection.  Plagiarism is definitely a crime and is seen as literary suicide in the writing world but that doesn’t stop any money grubbing backstabber who can spot that as a business opportunity.  Working on a story while brainstorming new and creative ideas is definitely hard work.  The lands filled with characters that we created are apart of our lives, as we constantly have to live the roles of each and every one of them.  The stories that we create have an emotional connection with all of us and to have someone take that away from us is not a good feeling at all.  That is why it is very important on having your writing protected by any means as possible.  I’m not stating that it’s bad to exchange any ideas, instead keep the ideas that you want and give some of the ones you’re not interested on keeping to good use.
Buy Now @ Lulu
Genre – Young Adult / Fantasy
Rating – PG13
More details about the book
Connect with Robin L Sanders on Facebook & Twitter

Guest Post: Fast Food Vindication by Lisa Tillinger Johansen

Original Title: Fast Food Vindication
Author: Lisa Tillinger Johansen
Publisher: J Murray Press
Release Date: October 4th 2012
Genre: Non-fiction


For years, dozens of books, documentaries, and magazine articles have targeted the fast food industry as the cause for many of society’s ills, ranging from the obesity epidemic to the proliferation of dead-end jobs. Now, hospital dietitian Lisa Johansen makes the bold case that the fast food industry is actually a positive force in society. Johansen takes the reader from the industry’s scrappy, entrepreneurial beginnings to its emergence as a global business generating hundreds of billions of dollars annually. Far from a blight on society, the fast food industry has distinguished itself by providing a product that meets high standards of quality and safety, often healthier than meals served at home and in sit-down restaurants. The myth of the “McJob” is debunked by true-life cases of corporate titans who succeeded by virtue of the fast-food chains’ practice of promoting from within. And, relying on her years of counseling patients at one of the nation’s largest health networks, Johansen shows the reader just how easily fast food can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle. Lively and informative, FAST FOOD VINDICATION destroys the media myths and paints the true picture of an industry that touches the lives of millions.


A Reader or a Writer, Which Would I Rather Be?

- Guest Post by Lisa Tillinger Johansen, MS, RD

A reader or writer, which would I rather be? What a question that is! I love both so much and to choose one or the other is difficult. It’s the perfect conundrum.

As it turns out, I’ve been reading and writing for most of my life, since I was a little girl. Both have been huge interests of mine. Both provide very similar experiences for me. Escape, gratification, learning, joy, happiness, all things these two wonderful occupations have bestowed on me. One is my right hand, the other my left.

There’s nothing better than reading a good book. Back in the day, and even now, the weight of the book in my hands; the feel and smell of the pages as I turn them; immersing myself in the words and the story, entering a funny, or a scary or a puzzling world is such a pleasure. Getting the scoop on the life of an historical figure or a take on a current issue or event can be eye-opening. I love being introduced to engaging characters and getting caught in the thickening plot in the fictional world. The nonfiction genre provides a different feeling. They can anger us, comfort us, surprise us and empower us. Gaining knowledge, inspiring passion, the gratification of a story well told, how can it get any better than that? A life without reading would be a very bleak one indeed.

But for me, a life without writing would be an incomplete one. A lot of the feelings I get and the things that I want to achieve come through me putting pen to paper and fingers to keys. When I write, I escape into the world in which I’m creating. It’s an incredibly satisfying feeling. And while I’m primarily a nonfiction writer dealing with facts and figures, it’s still a creative process. It’s a very personal endeavor with a specific goal.

To spend so much time thinking about a book, researching it, bringing it to reality and doing what it takes to get it out to readers is a great deal of hard work and effort. It can be a long journey, but definitely a worthwhile one. Seeing that shiny new book of mine at the end of the process fills me with pride. Even better is that, in my case, my books help people. There’s nothing better than that.

So, back to the question that prompted this blog. A reader or writer, which would I rather be? It’s a tough choice for sure. While I could live without one, I don’t want to. And because these words and this particular piece are my own creations, do I have to choose? I say no. For as long as I’m able, I’ll continue to be the avid reader that I’ve always been. And I’ll still write. And then I’ll read what I wrote! It’s a win-win.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Interview: Hot & Forbidden by P.T. Macias

Original Title: Hot & Forbidden
Author: P.T. Macias
Publisher: Xlibris
Release Date: October 9th 2012
Genre: Romantic Thriller
Hot & Forbidden is heartbreaking, tantalizing and exciting. Nicolas De La Cruz and Daniella De La Cruz fall in love. Their love rocks their world flinging them into pain, despair, and ecstasy.


Nicolas is hot, sensitive, and captivating. Nick’s amor for Daniella is intense and passionate. Daniella De La Cruz is hot, sexy and sweet. Nick and Daniella recognize that they are alma gemelas (soul mates).

Nicolas De La Cruz leaves la familia to work in Washington. The close knit familia has no clue to the cause of the emotional rollercoaster that rocks Nicolas’ world. La familia is mystified and disturbed with his departure.
Daniella De La Cruz is expecting a bebe. She refuses to tell la familia who is the padre (father) of her bebe. Daniella dreams of the day she is reunited with her bebe’s father, her alma gemela.
Their love rocks their world. The forbidden is enticing and painful. Can they overcome the obstacles that threaten their amor? The familia’s secret is the key to unlock their love and set it free.

INTERVIEW WITH P.T. MACIAS

If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future? 
I would go to the future so I can see what happens.

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose? 
I would love to invite Jacquelyn Kennedy, Princess Diana, Oprah, Christina, and Elvis Presley.

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you? 
Ah, I can’t say, lol. :-)

What is one book everyone should read? 
Hot & Forbidden

If you were a superhero what would your name be? 
Fantastic Patricia

If you could have any superpower what would you choose? 
Magic

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? 
Pistachio

If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose? 
Princess Diana

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? 
Coffee, Scrabble eggs with ham, onion, and peppers, and tortillas.

Night owl, or early bird? 
I’m an early bird.

Pet Peeves? 
I hate it when people leave non-food items on my kitchen counter

Skittles or M&Ms? 
M&M

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. 
The bachelor battles the deadly Mexican cartel to protect his amor and family encountering romance, tantalizing ecstasy, and danger

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? 
I’m currently working on Hot & Spoiled. I’m in the process of copy editing and it’s always time consuming.


Sunday, 16 December 2012

Book Feature: Holidays for Kids by Charles Pascalar

Original Title: Holidays for Kids
Author: Charles Pascalar
Publisher: Trafford Publishing
Release Date: May 2nd 2012
Genre: Young-adult, Fantasy



Be the coolest parent in the neighborhood, maybe in the world. It's all in this book and so easy. Every child and adult looks forward to enjoying the next big holiday season with their friends and family. What if you could celebrate several of those holidays every month with your kids? Give them some fun days that no other children experience. Give them low or no cost holidays that build a stronger emotional connection with them. Make their friends, and yours, look at you with envy over celebrating things that no one ever thought about. In this book, you will learn the most important birthday for your child and cool new holidays like One Day Fun Day, May Day Play Day, Awesome August Adventure Day, January Journey, September Search, Pie Day, Slurpee Day, and over forty others. Plus, learn how to celebrate the more traditional holidays like Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and President's Day in fun new ways. Learn bedtime and good-morning songs, how to educate your kids on things even teachers don't know, and have your kids begging for more. This book took twelve years to develop all those cool things. It's now available exclusively for you.


Guest Post: What are the mistakes you see in beginner writers?

Original Title: An 8-track to 81 Chapters
Author: Robin L. Sanders
Publisher: Lulu
Release Date: November 7th 2012
Genre: Young-adult, Fantasy


Buy now @ Lulu

When a Social Studies teacher assigns a special project to six high school students, (Richard, Shelly, Nathan, Charles, Morgan and Britt) they receive a lesson that may indeed change lives of many worlds. As they work on the problems set before them they come to realize that the typical real world issues that each student had been dealing with doesn’t look all that bad. As the unlikely group of misfits explores the project, they discover strengths that they were completely unaware they had.

For seven whole days they stay in a mysterious book unlocking puzzles, fighting demon-possessed statues, creating bonds with a memorable cast of characters and fighting a villain who controls the powers of the heavens. Mr. Hutchenson, a professor of social studies at St. Cardinals, is a man who plays a large part within this story, but just as the kids have to discover that, so does the reader. These six kids work on finding that strength by not only fighting the enemy, but the enemy within.


What are the mistakes you see in beginner writers?

- Guest Post by Robin L Sanders

One of the beginning mistakes that we all make as writers is having the idea of writing a great story but not knowing how or where to start.  I would often have times of imagining an epic battle but haven’t a clue where to place the scene in the middle of my story.  Some people would prefer to write a story from beginning to the end, which is practical but not possible for many.  Other writers would start off by breaking their story into outlines so whenever they’re lost, they could figure out where to go next or start somewhere else then come back to the scene later.  There was one method I learned from a screenwriter about writing the scenario that you’re most passionate about and begin from there whether forward or backwards.  When I started I had this belief that if you didn’t start from the beginning then you’re not doing it right.  Truth is there is no actual rule of how to start writing a novel, you could just do it the way you feel the most comfortable.  It’s your work so do it the way you feel, do what you want to do, that’s what I learned.

Another big mistake that most writers often do is fail to develop a tough skin.  Writing is considered a literary expression in visual art; the writing industry is filled with critics that live by an established modern code.  Whenever they see something that is of the ordinary, they would either praise or insult the writer without any warning.  Some critics can be spiteful and would wake up every morning with their eyes set on any literature they disliked especially if it was a person. In other words develop the strength to accept criticism.  Constructive criticism is very important and can help sharpen and hone in on your writing skills as well as style.  Actual criticism whether good or bad could be harmful but knowing when and how to handle it could be a big step to becoming a fearless author.  Some writers developed the ability to use negative criticism as a source of fuel to produce more positive work while others are capable of weighing the differences of good and bad criticism.

Horribly written and edited work is a big mistake when publishing a book; placing commas, periods, and proper use of words into sentences without producing fragments are essential elements to having a good novel.  Even if you’ve written over a hundred thousand words in an epic novel it wouldn’t make any difference if you’ve spotted over thousands of errors.  Finding a professional editor can be hard and expensive especially if he’s a real good one.  Finding the right editor is also difficult and could take a long process if they’re real busy or accepting inbox mail from other clients.  I remember being rejected by professional editors from left to right over a years span and when I found one he wasn’t a real good one.  Later I had a friend who was a freelance English teacher who had taught English overseas and decided to edit my work with pay of course.

There can be many major set backs in the writing industry but the greatest mistake that could be ever made is to tell someone about your ideas without copyright protection.  Plagiarism is definitely a crime and is seen as literary suicide in the writing world but that doesn’t stop any money grubbing backstabber who can spot that as a business opportunity.  Working on a story while brainstorming new and creative ideas is definitely hard work.  The lands filled with characters that we created are apart of our lives, as we constantly have to live the roles of each and every one of them.  The stories that we create have an emotional connection with all of us and to have someone take that away from us is not a good feeling at all.  That is why it is very important on having your writing protected by any means as possible.  I’m not stating that it’s bad to exchange any ideas, instead keep the ideas that you want and give some of the ones you’re not interested on keeping to good use.


Saturday, 15 December 2012

Guest Post: Witch Way Bends (Bend-Bite-Shift Trilogy #1) by Olivia Hardin

Original Title: Witch Way Bends
Series: Bend-Bite-Shift Trilogy #1
Author: Olivia Hardin
Publisher: Createspace
Release Date: December 2nd 2011
Genre: Paranormal Romance


Devan Stowe is a woman on a quest. She has only one thing on her mind when she teams up with Kent Crosby and his associates—putting an end to her father’s child trafficking business. Her determination takes her on a journey to discover her true strength and… the one man she was destined to love. In his arms, she’ll learn the meaning of trust, honor, and courage. Old friends and new will come together to help Devan unlock an amazing gift that will free her from her past and open up a future full of magic, faeries and more things than she ever imagined possible.


If I could jump into a book…

- Guest Post by Olivia Hardin

If I could jump into a book, I’d live in a world of twenty known universes.   A world where a bit of magic… er complex mathematics, can open doorways between the planets and the galaxies.  A world where lesser villains may be forced to eat themselves while the “eater of souls” duels in riposte.

If I could jump into a book, I’d have journeys of adventure on a road less travelled.  I’d battle blood kites and horned ghosts and dragons, all with a tough gnome-like side-kick.  I’d have a little black box that could hold an almost infinite amount of provisions and I’d remind my fellow cohorts to be careful lest it get lost in the swamp.  I’d have a champion to lead the way with his “bump” of direction never failing.

If I could jump into a book I’d be a Princess with a strong and brave Hero at my side.  We’d jump a sword to seal a vow even as we search for a lost egg.  My Hero would fight for his Princess to the death if necessary and after all that, forgive her almost anything, even when she forces him to take her over his knee.  I’d have at my disposal an arsenal of wisdom to resolve any problem.  I’d be strong enough to use that wisdom even when my heart says no.

If I could jump into a book, I’d live in the world of Robert Heinlein’s creation.  I’d travel the Glory Road again and again, living the adventure, falling in love and roaming the twenty known universes.  And the best thing about living in that world, would be that I could “retell” the ending so that the glorious quest could continue with ever-changing, new roads to be traveled…


Guest Post: Secrets by Liz Schulte

Original Title: Secrets
Series: Guardian Trilogy #1
Author: Liz Schulte
Publisher: 4 Corners Press
Release Date: November 19th 2011
Genre: Young-adult, Fantasy


While Olivia Martin observed life through her camera, the abyss gazed back at her. She discovers mysterious men follow her around, people close to her are dying, and her dreams are no longer her own as she falls head over heels for a perfect stranger. A chance encounter leads to an obsession that could destroy everything she has ever known or loved. Olivia is about to find out there is a lot she doesn't know and sometimes what you don't know can kill you.


A World Without Books

-Guest Post by Liz Schulte

A world without books isn’t a road less traveled by, it is a barren wasteland of dashed dreams and lost inspiration—one where imagination is feared and whimsy is met with suspicion.
Cat In A Hat would be absurd and Green Eggs and Ham would be seen as nothing but bad. No one would say Goodnight Moon or know Where The Wild Things AreCharlotte’s Web would just be another spider in a barn and The Diary of a Wimpy Kid might go unread.
Harry Potter would never learn who is and still be living under the stairs. Voldemort would win and Captain Hook persuade Peter Pan.  The yellow brick road would stay empty and Dorothy would never meet the Wizard of Oz. The Hunger Games would go unwatched and no one would see Katniss Catching Fire or her Mockingjay pin.
Romeo would never meet Juliet and Pride and Prejudice would go unchecked.  Jane Eyremay never find her way to Thornfield Hall and Mrs. Rochester may kill them all. The Importance of Being Ernest would still be unknown and The Dubliners would be on their own.  A Hitchhiker would have no guide to the galaxy and the Lord of the Rings would still be Sauron.  The Thirteenth Tale would never be told and Atonement couldn’t be had.
Pet SemataryThe Shining, and It would never frighten a living soul and redemption wouldn’t be found at Shawshank.  Gone With The Wind wouldn’t turn curtains into couture and James Bond wouldn’t Die Another Day.  The Godfather wouldn’t make an offer that couldn’t be refused and Atticus Finch would never try the case of his life. The world would stay East of Eden and Fear and Loathing would spread far beyond Las Vegas.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Guest Post: Shadow on the Wall by Pavarti K. Tyler

Original Title: Shadow on the Wall
Series: The SandStorm Chronicles #1
Author: Pavarti K. Tyler
Publisher: Fighting Monkey Press
Published Date: May 1st 2012
Genre: Fantasy






Recai Osman: Muslim, philosopher, billionaire and Superhero?

Controversial and daring, Shadow on the Wall details the transformation of Recai Osman from complicated man to Superhero. Forced to witness the cruelty of the Morality Police in his home city of Elih, Turkey, Recai is called upon by the power of the desert to be the vehicle of change. Does he have the strength to answer Allah's call or will his dark past and self doubt stand in his way?

Pulling on his faith in Allah, the friendship of a Jewish father-figure and a deeply held belief that his people deserve better, Recai Osman must become The SandStorm.

In the tradition of books by Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie, Shadow on the Wall tackles issues of religion, gender, corruption and the basic human condition. Beautiful and challenging, this is not a book to miss.



How a Unitarian from Jersey writes about a Muslim Superhero 

-Guest Post by Pavarti K Tyler

Have you ever gotten that feeling in the back of your head that there's something not quite right about the way you think?  I've always daydreamed about things others have considered impossible or ridiculous.  I'm the loon who decided statistically charting various vampires' awesomeness was a good idea.

So when the suggestion was made that someone needed to write about a Middle Eastern superhero my imagination went into overdrive.  Of course we need a Middle Eastern superhero!  Others have tackled this topic to great success, like Dr. Naif of the99.org, what’s different here is that I am not from the Middle East.

I sat down and started writing and a character named Recai Osman appeared on the pages before me.  With green eyes and red beard, Recai stood in the middle of a windblown desert, daring me to take the challenge.

And cue the theme to Beyond Thunderdome.

A problem soon presented itself.  It's impossible to discuss the Middle East in any meaningful way without bringing religion into the conversation, and while I've studied Islam, I am not a Muslim.  I'm not Jewish either.  In fact, I'm about as far from the religious spectrum of the Middle East as you could get.  I'm a Unitarian Universalist.

UUism is based on the idea that we all have the right to our own path to Truth.  For some that Truth is God, for some it's not.  What connects us within the UU church is the belief that the search is valuable and that there is benefit to having a supportive and respectful community with whom to share that search. (You can read more about our principles here: Our Unitarian Universalist Principles)

For me, the importance of an individual’s expression of faith within a community is huge.  I believe in God.  Because of this, I often find myself listening to the fundamentalist rhetoric of all religions with a frustrated sigh.  Why does someone have to be wrong in order for another to be right?

It was with this in mind that I thought about Recai.  What makes a good man?  What makes a good Muslim?  And in a society in which religion is such a prominent part of day-to-day life, what would be the shape of evil?

Recai is a faithful man; he's erred and he's sinned, but his belief in Allah and in humanity is solid.  Underneath his layers of confusion and self-doubt is a good man.  His day-to-day life has been isolated from the city he lives in: Elih, Turkey (Google it for a good giggle). What would happen if a flawed man was forced to confront real evil, real sin?  Could he rise to the occasion?

Islam and Judaism run throughout Shadow on the Wall. Some of the phrases and cultural idioms may be unfamiliar to Western readers, but I hope that you will see a little of yourself in the characters. The issues they face are written at high stakes, but the questions posed are ones we must all answer.  Who am I?  What do I stand for?  Although Shadow on the Wall has supernatural elements, I like to think heroes exist in life, and I like to think that religion can fuel the good in people.  Perhaps we're all capable of great things.


GIVEAWAY

Just follow the rules in the below Rafflecopter widget to enter this awesome giveaway.

Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Guest Post: Burning Embers by Hannah Fielding

Original Title: Burning Embers
Author: Hannah Fielding
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Release: April 2012
Genre: Historical Romance


Coral Sinclair is a beautiful but naive twenty-five-year-old photographer who has just lost her father. She's leaving the life she's known and traveling to Kenya to take ownership of her inheritance--the plantation that was her childhood home--Mpingo. On the voyage from England, Coral meets an enigmatic stranger to whom she has a mystifying attraction. She sees him again days later on the beach near Mpingo, but Coral's childhood nanny tells her the man is not to be trusted. It is rumored that Rafe de Monfort, owner of a neighboring plantation and a nightclub, is a notorious womanizer having an affair with her stepmother, which may have contributed to her father's death. Circumstance confirms Coral's worst suspicions, but when Rafe's life is in danger she is driven to make peace. A tentative romance blossoms amidst a meddling ex-fianc, a jealous stepmother, a car accident, and the dangerous wilderness of Africa. Is Rafe just toying with a young woman's affections? Is the notorious womanizer only after Coral's inheritance? Or does Rafe's troubled past color his every move, making him more vulnerable than Coral could ever imagine? Set in 1970, this contemporary historical romance sends the seemingly doomed lovers down a destructive path wrought with greed, betrayal, revenge, passion, and love.

Writing to me is …

- Guest Post by Hannah Fielding 

… the realisation of a childhood dream. From a young age I adored stories, especially those with a romantic slant. At the knee of my governess, Zula, I listened to tales of exotic, faraway lands, beautiful princesses and handsome princes. At the age of seven we struck a deal: for each tale she told me, I would relate one of my own – and that day my passion for creating romantic stories was born. As I matured, I devoured romance books, and finally the idea formed in my mind that one day I could write my own. It’s an idea I carried with me over so many years, and now, when I write, I think fondly of the little girl I once was and am so glad that I have made her dreams come true.

… escapism. Reading, for me, has always been a means of escaping to scenes more colourful and vibrant and passionate than everyday reality. Writing takes me a step further, allowing me to create the world of my imaginings. I can start the day discussing business with my husband and planning the menu for dinner, and then an hour later be lost in a bygone era full of poignancy and atmosphere. In fact, the escapism is so tempting that my biggest problem as a writer is knowing when to stop writing. Some days, I could quite happily write into the night and lose all sense of the real world around me. It’s not uncommon, while writing, for me to become aware of my surroundings – my home office in Kent, or my garden in France – with a start and feel for a moment disorientated, so transported had I been to Africa or Italy or Spain.

… discovery. Before I write a book, I immerse myself in several months of research – visiting the country in which the book is set, watching films set there, listing to music and reading widely on history, folklore, culture and settings. Once, I even posed as a Spanish gypsy for an afternoon to immerse myself in the culture. I love this part of the writing process, because I learn so much and am then able to write from a place of grounded knowledge.

… an expression of self. When I finish writing a chapter and I read it back to myself, there is always a sense that my self, as author, is infused into the words. The writing is not just mine; I am the writing. My writing is a way to express myriad emotions and thoughts and observations.

… joy. Of course there are days when the muse is elusive; when a single sentence becomes a beast to be battled into submission. But overall, in writing there is such a sense of calm and fulfilment. To wake up each day and do what I love most, what I have always loved most, is such a joy.


Thursday, 13 December 2012

Guest Post & Grand Giveaway: Kingdom by Anderson O’Donnell

Original Title: Kingdom
Series: Tiber City #1
Author: Anderson O’Donnell
Publisher: Tiber City Press
Release Date: May 14th 2012
Genre: Science Fiction


In a secret laboratory hidden under the desert, a covert bioengineering project--codename "Exodus"--has discovered the gene responsible for the human soul.

Somewhere in the neon sprawl outside the nation's collapsing economic core, a group of renegade monks are on the verge of uncovering a secret that has eluded mankind for centuries.

In a glittering tower high above the urban decay, an ascendant U.S. Senator is found dead--an apparent, yet inexplicable, suicide.

And in the streets below, a young man races through an ultra modern metropolis on the verge of a violent revolution....closing in on the terrible truth behind Exodus--and one man's dark vision for the future of mankind.

Welcome to Tiber City.


It Take a Village: The Importance of Book Clubs to the Creative Process

- Guest Post by Anderson O’Donnell

I’ve got a dirty little secret to share: When I published KINGDOM, it wasn’t finished. Sure, there was a beginning, middle, and an end. The narrative made some semblance of sense; I did a half decent job following the classic hero arc. And yes, it was edited and had a sexy cover and some snazzy typeset, but even after it was released, it was still just words on the page. Something was still missing—something critical, that thing that would breathe live into the words I threw down on the page: Readers.

And I don’t mean customers who buy the book and let KINGDOM languish on their Kindles; I’m talking about readers—the people who devour books, dissecting them and freeing the characters from the author’s constraints and allowing the artistic process to continue. It’s never really done; but there is only so much the artist can do before the job becomes communal. To paraphrase Hillary, real art takes a village.

Why Readers

As the writer, the creator, I mold the characters, give them their personalities and their conflicts, and then I set the narrative in motion. But these characters, as well as the story itself, are never fully realized until the writer sets them free—until that moment, they are still too much a product of the author’s own psyche. In order to function as art that is capable of transcending, and therefore, transforming—the ultimate goal of any creative endeavor, including, of course, literary fiction, the author must relinquish control. This can be a painful process, but one that is ultimately necessary if a writer’s creation is to reach its full potential: the artist is ultimately limited by his or her own perspective. The best we can do as writers is start the process—and that’s no small feat. We apprehend the story, snatching it out of the ether and giving it form. But then we must step aside, and allow the community to take our creation and claim it as its own.

Salvation Through Book Clubs

Nowhere is this communal creative process more apparent than book clubs and reading groups. One of the most overlooked aspects of the digital publishing revolution is the ability of readers across the globe to engage in conversations about literature. Even traditional book clubs are flourishing, as members use various forums and social media to continue the conversations begun in living rooms. While individual readers can, of course, continue the creative process described above, it’s these communal readings and discussions that are capable—through discussion and passionate debate—pushing the writing process toward its completion, freeing the characters from my own limitations.

I’ve done what I can as the artist. And so now, it’s with great excitement that I turn KINGDOM over to the Book Club Bash—to passionate readers ready to continue the creative process, and finish the process I started in my basement, so many years ago.


GIVEAWAY

Just follow the rules in the below Rafflecopter widget to enter this awesome giveaway.

Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Guest Post & Grand Giveaway: Scorpio Rising by Monique Domovitch

Original Title: Scorpio Rising
Series: The Scorpio Series #1
Author: Monique Domovitch
Publisher: Lansen Publishing
Release Date: September 15th 2011
Genre: Romance


Set in New York and Paris amid the glamorous and competitive worlds of art and real estate, Scorpio Rising takes the reader from the late 1940s to the 1960s through the tumultuous lives of its heroes.


There is Alex Ivanov, the son of a Russian immigrant and part-time prostitute. He yearns to escape his sordid life and achieve fame and fortune. His dreams of becoming a world-class builder are met with countless obstacles, yet he perseveres in the hope of someday receiving the recognition he craves.

Half a world away, Brigitte Dartois is an abused teenager who runs into the arms of a benefactor with an agenda all his own. When she finds out that her boss has an ulterior motive, she flees again, determined to earn her living through her art. This career brings her fame, but also the unwanted attention of her early abuser.

Monique Domovitch’s debut novel, Scorpio Rising, is a compelling tale filled with finely etched characters and a superb understanding of the power of ambition. Scorpio Rising promises to resonate with all who once had a dream.


Inspiration

- Guest Post By Monique Domovitch

I dreamed of being a writer for years before I decided to take the plunge in my mid fifties. I quit my job and started my first novel, giving myself two years to figure out whether I actually succeed at it or not. Lucky for me, it all worked out.

The one thing that took me by surprise was that the process of writing is nothing like I had imagined it. I had never expected it to be some kind of mystical experience during which I would be possessed by a story demanding to be written. I only wish it were that easy. But I was shocked to find out that writer’s block is an almost daily occurrence—at least for me. After each scene, I find myself asking, what next? Every new one needs to be set—the place, the time, the characters involved and the emotions at play between them. I went through a long period where I would just plug away at the computer, determined to get work my way through, and getting nowhere. Then, one day, in frustration I gave up and went to wash the dishes, and ideas suddenly came surging forth on their own. That was when I figured out that the best thing to do when I get blocked is to walk away from the computer. I is when I get my best ideas—doing something mindless like washing the dishes or cleaning out the fridge. And then I hurry back to the computer.

Starting a new novel is somewhat different. Sometimes the inspiration for a story will come from something I read in a newspaper or saw on television—usually some kind of a difficult situation. I’ll find myself wondering how different people might react in such circumstances. And from that little germ of an idea, I start building a character and a story.

That is how I built my characters in my Scorpio series. I had read an article about the effects of abuse on a person’s life. Some, the article explained, turned their pain into ambition, and were unable to develop healthy love relationships, while others needed love so desperately that they often remained in relationships long after they should have left. That is how Alexander Ivanov, the male character, and Brigitte Dartois, the romantic interest in Scorpio Rising were born.

Since the publication of that series, I’ve had numerous requests for a third book, and the good news is that I am now working on another book, similar to Scorpio in style. In this one, my main characters are the perpetrators of a Ponzi Scheme and their victims. It will be full of drama, and as in the Scorpio books, full of unexpected twists and turns.

I would like to mention that I also have two new books coming out soon. Getting Skinny, a murder mystery being published by Carina Press, will be out on February 13th. The other, Looming Murder, published by Obsidian (under my pen name Carol Ann Martin) will be out in June. I’ve been told that they are laugh out loud funny, quite a departure for me. I hope my fans will enjoy them as much as my Scorpio series.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Monique Domovitch was born in Canada, where she led a number of successful careers, from top model during the 70s, to financial adviser with her own national television show. Now, in what she calls the best part of her life, she launches into yet another career, this time as a fiction writer. Now, with two novels under her belt, and a contract for three murder-mysteries with Obsidian, she seems once again, headed for success. http://www.moniquedomovitch.com

GIVEAWAY

Just follow the rules in the below Rafflecopter widget to enter this awesome giveaway.

Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Guest Post & Grand Giveaway: Bluff by Lenore Skomal

Original Title: Bluff
Author: Lenore Skomal
Publisher: Lenore Skomal Press
Release Date: October 1st 2012
Genre: Psychological Thriller


"To the medical world, I was a host body, surviving only to bring a new life into the world. And while I wanted to die more than anything in the world, I never wanted this. No, I never wanted to cease to exist. This was the worst death of all.”

Jude Black lives in that in-between, twilight place teetering on death but clinging to life in order to bring her baby into this world. Only she knows the circumstances surrounding her mysterious fall off the bluff that landed her in the hospital being kept alive by medical intervention. Only she knows who the father of her baby is. In this poignantly crafted literary novel, the mystery unfolds and the suspense builds as the consequences of Jude’s decisions threaten to reveal everyone's deceptions, even her own.

Bluff offers a sensitive look at essential questions such as the value of human life, the consciousness of those in a coma and the morality of terminating life support. At the core is the story of a tragically misunderstood woman who finds peace, acceptance, understanding and even love on her deathbed.


Research in the making of Bluff 

- Guest Post by Lenore Skomal

Like most novelists, I believe having a great story line is the best place to start but it certainly doesn’t make the novel complete. For BLUFF, a story about a 40-year old coma pregnant coma patient teetering on death, the plot needed to be vetted by medical professionals. I knew this going into the writing and thankfully my skills as a journalist came into play.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...