Wednesday, April 25, 2007

If You Like Dragons, You'll Love Sandy Lender's CHOICES MEANT FOR GODS

I have a special guest today. I love this woman. Seriously. She's in my writing group and has the best sense of humor I've ever seen. However, Choices Meant for Gods gives Sandy a chance to branch out and has to be one of the best fantasy books that have come out since Harry Potter.

Sandy began writing stories as soon as she learned to string words together on the page. It was apparent that a career in journalism was her calling, and she found herself proofreading, editing, and (finally) writing for trade publications after she graduated from Truman State University in Missouri. Now she writes in Southwest Florida where her love of sea turtles and all things related to the Gulf waters keeps her imagination growing.

Her fantasy novel, Choices Meant for Gods, can be found at Amazon and through her publisher at Archebooks.
You can visit her blog at www.todaythedragonwins.blogspot.com.

TWL: Sandy, welcome to The Writer's Life! Tell me, when did your passion for writing begin?

Sandy: In the womb.

TWL: Can you tell us what your typical 'writing' day is like?

Sandy: You've probably heard this one before, but I don't believe there is a typical writing day. It can be so haphazard...but if my muse Nigel is around, the day will probably involve him shackling me to the desk in my writing den and leaving me there for literally hours on end. I've been known to type until I suddenly realize the sun has gone down and I can't actually see the keyboard I'm typing on.

TWL: Do you write full time?

Sandy: My day job involves magazine production, which involves a variety of writing tasks, so, technically, I write during the day. Then I write both marketing and fiction pieces in the evenings and on the weekends, so I would say I'm a fulltime writer.

TWL: Can you tell us a little bit about your book?

Sandy: Choices Meant for Gods is the story of a young lady who's been on the run from madman all her life. When she finally chooses to stand and fight, she discovers she's wrapped in centuries of prophecy that demand she protect the very gods of her society.In other words, Amanda Chariss was important, despite being this orphan and outcast...but no one was paying attention. It wasn't until she stood up for herself and faced her fears that she realized who she was.It's an important message underneath the plotlines of a high epic fantasy novel written in the style of J.R.R. Tolkien or Terry Goodkind. If you're familiar with those authors or J.K. Rowling, you'll have a good idea of what I've created here. You can also see the reviews at http://www.amazon.com/ and http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ to get an idea.

TWL: Who published your book and how has your experience with them been?

Sandy: Bob Gelinas of ArcheBooks Publishing, Las Vegas, is my publisher, and he has been a fantastic person to work with. He has good, solid guidance and valuable knowledge of the publishing industry. You can visit an author and reader forum he established at www.archebooks.com.

TWL: Can you tell us the inspiration behind your book?

I would have to say that my various obsessions inspired the Choices Meant for Gods trilogy. I find something that I truly enjoy and just fixate on it. I love the Old English language and Old English history so there are elements of Anglo-Saxon literature and influence in the novel(s). I enjoy (to the point of madness) the band Duran Duran, so there is imagery from some of their songs in the novel(s). I adore the Bronte family, so there are hints of their heroes and themes in the novel(s). Etc. You can see the obsessions that influence any author's life in his or her work, and that is true in Choices Meant for Gods.

TWL: Can you tell us ways you are promoting your book? Have they been successful?

Sandy: Quite a lot of my marketing efforts have focused on the internet. Because brick-and-mortar stores face their unique challenges, many books sell over the internet. Because new authors must fight to be seen in a physical location, my book stands a better chance of gaining an audience and building a fan base through electronic word-of-mouth. Because more than 400 titles are released every day, getting mine onto a shelf in a book store will be next to impossible, so I made the conscious decision to go after the web-savvy audience that orders its books online.Now, I will have book signings in "real-life" locations, but a blog tour is on the horizon. Nigel Taiman and I manage five blogs specifically to promote Choices Meant for Gods and Sandy Lender. I network through online groups. I host other authors at The Dragon (http://www.todaythedragonwins.blogspot.com/). Henry Bakerson hosts other characters at his blog (http://friendsofdragons.wordpress.com/), which Nigel and I help him with. It's been a tiring routine, but a successful one so far. I've seen a consistent good ranking on Amazon and positive results with my publisher.

TWL: Do you have a mentor?

Sandy: My great grandmother, to whom Choices Meant for Gods is dedicated, is my mentor, but I don't think she ever knew it...

TWL: What future projects do you have in the works?

Sandy: The internet doesn't have that much room...Obviously, the sequel to Choices Meant for Gods (Choices Made by Gods, Book II of the Choices trilogy) is next in line. It's finished and in the editing process. The third book is almost finished. Then I have a prequel in the works. I also have a set of short stories that all take place in the fantasy world I created for the Choices trilogy.I have a vampire series under way.I have a paranormal romance already completed.I have the online serial novel (vampire/comedy/romance/thriller) under way.And there's this military-like fuse fiction novel bouncing around my brain with a couple of characters who won't let me get a good night's sleep...

TWL: Can you give aspiring authors words of advice towards getting published?

Sandy: First of all, please don't give up. If getting published is a dream you believe in, then I encourage you, right here and now, to pursue it. Pray often, but don't give up. Don't bother with query letters to agents, but polish your communication skills toward being a consummate professional when you have your face-to-face meeting with an agent at a literary event some day. Take your polished novel treatment and synopsis with you and knock her socks off. You know your book/story better than anyone else, so when it's time to sit down across the lunch table from an agent to pitch your novel, you're going to exude confidence and knowledge. Believe it and you'll be able to do it. (Trust me on that one.)
TWL: What’s one thing about your life that you think is important, but nobody asks?
Sandy: Jesus isn't going to let me fall without helping me get back up on my feet. That promise keeps me going...My mentor taught me that.

TWL: Thank you for the interview, Sandy, and happy sales to you! If you are an author and you would like an interview, click here for more details.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

School shooting tale a best seller since March

According the the Chicago Tribune today, Jodi Picoult's new book, Nineteen Minutes, couldn't have had better timing...
"In an eerie coincidence, the subject of Picoult's latest book, "Nineteen Minutes" (Atria Books), is similar to the ghastly events the unfolded one week ago at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va. "Nineteen Minutes" was published March 6, jumping immediately to the top spot on The New York Times best seller list, where it has remained. The book was published in Great Britain last Thursday, three days after Cho Seung Hui murdered 32 people and then killed himself."


Read rest of article here.



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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Prayers for the Families of the Student/Faculty Body of VA Tech

My sympathies goes to the family and student/faculty body of VA Tech and hope that they can heal after the horrid massacre that happened yesterday at VA Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. Peace, prayers and white light goes to them.

Follow this link to learn more.






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Monday, April 02, 2007

ONCE A BRAT Virtual Book Tour '07

We're so honored to be Marilyn Celeste Morris' first stop on her virtual book tour for her book, Once a Brat! We've had Marilyn as a guest before, but this time we're part of her virtual book tour which is run by the Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours.

Marilyn's book is special to me because I'm an army brat, too, and that is what her book is all about - her life history as a military brat after WWII and before the Cold War.

If you'd like to see her book trailer, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHZE1Y_d7wI.

If you'd like to find out more about Marilyn's book, she has a fantastic blog at www.onceabrat.blogspot.com.

The Writer's Life: Welcome, Marilyn! Can you let our readers know more about your book and what it's all about?

Marilyn: I describe it as part travelogue, part therapy session, which tells about my worldwide travels with my army officer father from my birth in 1938 until his (our!) retirement in 1958.

The Writer's Life: I just love the book. As you know, I was an army brat myself and I can so relate to the experiences you went through. I didn't travel to far-off places like you did, but I can so relate to never really calling any one place home for very long. Tell me, what inspired you to write this book in the first place?

Marilyn: I attended a convention at DFW Airport in 1999, where I met the Director of the American Overseas Schools Historical Society, a facility being built in Wichita KS to preserve our unique heritage, and he noted, quite correctly, that I was one of the “pioneers” of overseas dependents and I should write about my experiences for the museum archives for future historians and researchers. When he received the manuscript and read it, he said, “This needs to be published.” And it was.

The Writer's Life: That just gave me goosebumps! They say everyone has a story in them, but your story is unique in that this was a time period that a lot of people weren't even born yet. You're a walking history book! Tell me, what were the conditions like in the war-torn countries you and your family lived after WWII and what countries were they? Were you ever scared of being bombed?

Marilyn: Korea was very primitive when we first arrived to find no running water, no central heat, no fresh vegetables, etc. But we had a commissary on compound, and a school, so we did the best we could. When I arrived in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1948, I saw rubble still lying in the streets and some people foraging in trashcans. I was never afraid of being bombed, as I knew the US Army would take care of us, and they proved it by practice evacuation drills. In Korea, we were just a few miles from the 38th Parallel, which was Russian territory. In Austria, we could look out our back window across the Danube and see the Russian sentries on the other side. The Russians were the ones to fear during those days after WWII.

The Writer's Life: I bet there are things you saw that you will never forget and, as a child, I imagine it could have been very frightening. Your childhood was very different from the kids growing up today. Were there certain games you remember playing?

Marilyn: Games that involved imagination – and I wrote stories for my own entertainment. When we could get up enough for a team, we played softball in our front yards, or in the compound square. Radio was a constant companion.

The Writer's Life: How about schooling? Were you provided with education and how did that fare out?

Marilyn: We always had a school. I am amazed to this day at the fortitude it took for teachers to volunteer to go overseas and teach us “brats” but they knew they were going to have a unique travel experience, too. Our schools were based on University of Maryland standards, I believe, and it was a demanding curriculum in all grades. Whenever I returned to the States, I was way ahead of the other kids in my grade level.

The Writer's Life: Have you contacted anyone who is a military brat yourself, and can you tell us more about the organization, Overseas Brats?

Marilyn: I have reunited with several “kids” who were in Austria at the same time I was there at Overseas Brats functions. The Military Brats Registry, run by Marc Curtis, provides a place to search for former classmates, too. For the 1999 Homecoming of Overseas Brats, I found a former classmate from Linz, Austria, 8th grade, now living in Longview TX, who came to stay with me as we attended the 3 day event. It is such a thrill for military brats to find each other, since we had always assumed we would never see each other again. Thanks to the Internet and people like Marc Curtis and Joe Condrill (Military Brats Registry and Overseas Brats, respectively). Overseas Brats sponsors reunions and gatherings all over the US; the one in 1999 was among the best –attended with some 3,000 military brats reuniting.

The Writer's Life: I thank you for coming to The Writer’s Life Blog, Marilyn! Will you have upcoming releases that we should know about?

Marilyn: My mainstream romance, The Women of Camp Sobingo, is in the hands of Mardi Gras Publishing right now, and I am eager to see it come out in both ebook and print. I have 5 or 6 other works in progress, all of the novels.
And thank you for having me on your blog, Dorothy.

The Writer's Life: You are so welcome! It's been a pleasure and please come back and visit anytime!
Please check out Marilyn's book blog at www.onceabrat.blogspot.com!


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