Friday, May 30, 2008

June is 'Book Reviewing' Month at Blogcritics Magazine!

To promote the release of The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, co-author Mayra Calvani will be interviewing 15+ reviewers and review editors during the month of June. Learn all about the business of book reviewing and what’s in the mind of some of the most popular reviewers on the internet today. Some of the guests will include: Alex Moore from ForeWord Magazine, James Cox from Midwest Book Review, Irene Watson from Reader Views, Andrea Sisco from Armchair Interviews, Magdalena Ball from The Compulsive Reader, Sharyn McGinty from In The Library Reviews, Lea Schizas from Muse Book Reviews, Linda Baldwin from Road to Romance, Hilary Williamson from Book Loons, Judy Clark from Mostly Fiction, and many others!

To see the complete lineup, visit: The Slippery Book Review Blog.

Between June 1st and June 30th, stop by Blogcritics and leave a comment under the reviewer interviews for a chance to win a Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tour ,OR, as an alternative to a non-author winner, a $50 B&N gift certificate!

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: JANEOLOGY by Karen Harrington


Janeology
by Karen Harrington
Suspense/Mainstream/Women's Fiction
Kunati Books

Tom Nelson is struggling after the death of his son at the hands of his wife Jane. While Jane sits in a Texas mental hospital for her part in the crime, prosecutors turn their focus to Tom. They believe Tom should have known Jane was on the cusp of a breakdown and protected his children from her illness. As a result, he is charged with “failure to protect.” Enter attorney, Dave Frontella, who employs a radical defense strategy – one that lays the blame at the feet of Jane’s nature and nurture. To gather evidence about Jane’s forbears, Frontella hires a woman with the power of retrocognition – the ability to use a person’s belongings to re-create their past. An unforgettable journey through the troubled minds and souls of Jane's ancestors, spanning decades and continents, this debut novel deftly illustrates the ways nature and nurture weave the fabric of one woman's life, and renders a portrait of one man left in its tragic wake.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Interview with Historical Fiction Author Andrew Jalbert

Award winning freelancer Andrew Jalbert has been a professional archaeologist and scuba instructor for over 15 years. During that time, he has worked throughout the Great Lakes, the Caribbean, Central America, Southern Africa, the Florida Keys, and Hawaii. His work focuses on tropical subjects–both above and below the water–and he is a regular contributor to scuba diving, natural history, fitness, and travel magazines. Andrew currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin. You can visit his website at www.jalbertproductions.com.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Andrew. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I should start by saying that I’ve always been a bit smitten by the tropics. As far back as I can remember I wanted to write and be near the ocean. I should expand on that a bit: I wanted to be near, in, or beneath the ocean’s surface. By the time I was in my early thirties, I had a decade of working on dive boats, jumping around the Caribbean and writing for scuba and travel magazines under my belt. Those years were priceless, not only in terms of the environments and cultures I was lucky enough to experience, but for the opportunity to write about them. My writing teeth were cut on sailboats, beaches, and port town taverns and for that I consider myself fortunate.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

It goes without saying that when I decided to cross over into publishing fiction, the stories would take place someplace tropical. West Across the Board is set in one of my favorite locations: The Florida Keys. I fell in love with the island chain years ago, not only for its stunning scenery, collage of cultures, and pristine waters, but for its fascinating history. Closer to Cuba than the U.S. mainland, Key West was more accessible by boat than car until the mid 1930s. It was during the 1930s that I chose to set my novel. This gave me a great opportunity to research an era in the southern keys that I’ve always been interested in and an excuse to spend more time on Key West.

West Across the Board begins in 1999 with 86 year old Lázaro driving from Boston to the Florida Keys to see his dying friend Dominic before time runs out. As he drives, he remembers not only his younger years in Key West, but his reasons for fleeing his island home and his friend over half a century before. Lázaro, a gifted Cuban mariner and fisherman in his youth first met Dominic at Sloppy Joe’s Saloon in 1934. The two young men bond instantly over a game of chess played in the smoky tavern. The games continue and after every one, each man’s win is scratched into the back of the board. As the game tally grows, so does their friendship. The games are a constant during an era that saw devastating hurricanes, shipwrecks, and even war.

Prior to his journey back to the keys, Lázaro retrieves the old chessboard and makes a startling discovery. The number of scratches, first marked in the saloon over sixty years before and uncounted until now, has the two men evenly tied. As he drives towards the keys, Lázaro is forced to confront a past he has struggled to forget while anticipating the reunion with his old friend and what could be their final game.

Much like the tropics, the game of chess is endearing to me. Not because I’m any good at it, but because (much like my characters) I still play chess with my childhood friend–a tradition that has continued for nearly 30 years. Across the board from each other, we have enjoyed and talked about happy times and supported each other while weathering loss.

What kind of research was involved in writing “West Across the Board”? It was very important to me that I animate my story’s characters against as accurate a backdrop as possible. Consequently, I did quite a bit of historical research about the Florida Keys and–lucky me–spent as much time in the island chain as possible while writing it. I found this necessary to be true to many of the scenes I was creating. Nearly every setting in the book is based on an actual location and/or historical event.


How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?


I do a lot of photography and graphic design so I had a pretty good idea how I wanted the cover to look. I began working on it with the intentions of submitting the concept to the publishers as a guide. By the time I submitted it however, I’d refined it to such a point that the publisher used it.


Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?


I think the task of finding a publisher can be as daunting as writing a manuscript, perhaps even more so. Chances are, most authors write a book because…well…they’re writers. But being a writer doesn’t make you a marketer. Writing a book and marketing a book to a publisher are two very different animals. In my case, I made countless mistakes during the marketing process, however I learned something from each of them and I feel confident that when I pitch my next novel, I will be more prepared.


In hindsight, writing and trying to publish my first book was a great test of my tenacity. As a freelance writer, I’d already been exposed to rejection letters and managed to push through them to become a regular contributor to several magazines. But when I decided to write and pitch a novel, I wasn’t prepared for the quantity of rejections. There was a period of several months in which I seemed to get at least one “dear author” rejection letter every day. And using the word “letter” is being generous. Often, the rejections would be a Xeroxed, quarter sheet of paper (mailed back to me with the postage I provided) with a few sentences saying they weren’t interested.


After enough rejections, I was faced with an unsettling question: Was my novel any good? I, like so many other writers, had put so much time, energy and thought into it that an answer of “no” was utterly deflating. I may have had a bit of an advantage when faced with this question because I’d published quite a few magazine articles before, but there are only so many rejections you can face before the question is asked. My answer–and ultimately “how I overcame the blows”–was to go with a small POD publisher and see what the readers and reviewers thought before deciding.


Now, a year later, I’m glad I made that decision. Reviews from magazines, newspapers and book reviewers have been very good and the feedback from readers has been touching. I am already well into my second novel and had I given up on the first one, I never would have started.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

It’s a bit different with a POD publisher, but as I recall from the time I decided to go that route until I held the book in my hands was about four months.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

Because I published with a POD I seem to be approaching this a bit backwards. I wanted to give the book a year after its publication to get reviews and feedback before seeking representation. That time has just passed and I will be looking for an agent in the next month or so. I think most authors should have an agent if they hope to have much success with their project.

Do you plan subsequent books?

I am well into my second book right now and hopefully will be finished in early 2009.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I am actually a bit of both…early morning and late night. It’s during the middle of the day that I am the least productive. I’ve tried to write in the afternoon countless times–always with the same disappointing results! If I have time in the afternoon I tend to do research or outlining.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

There are some publicists out there with pretty impressive track records. If money was no object, I would hire a full time publicist for an extended period of time.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?


I do think it’s very important and a lot can be gained for a minimal expense.
Initially, I did what most authors probably do: I sent emails to everyone I’d ever met asking them to read it. While that sounds like a fairly unambitious first step, it was a good start. Most of them bought it, read it, recommended it to their friends and so on. Within a couple of months, I was going to book clubs that had chosen my novel to read. During this time, I was also contacting book reviewers, magazines, radio and newspapers to review he book which also turned out to be a great marketing strategy.


With an eye on online sales, I also set up pages in popular networking sites such as MySpace and sites that catered to book readers and authors. This too proved successful. By networking with other authors, reviewers and people who had an interest in my novel’s setting (the book takes place in the Florida Keys) I was able to get the word out and ultimately sell more books.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

The first thing I would say to aspiring authors is to get others involved. Self-critiquing your work is possible to a certain degree, but in the end, you’ll be best served by working with editors, coaches, and even critique groups. Find someone who will give you honest feedback (and I’m not talking about your friends or your mom!) If you don’t already have an editor (which most first-time authors don’t) you should plan on getting one. There are countless services out there, some better than others. Also, consider a writing coach. With so much time looking at your own work, things are often missed that an outside party will catch. I tried to be as open as possible to their suggestions and in almost every case, they were right on target. Having others involved also makes the process less lonely. It can be un-nerving having someone read your work at first, but if you plan on writing a book for the masses, you’ll have to get used to it.

Finally, I would say that you’ll need patience, endurance, and realistic expectations. Statistics show that only a small fraction of submitted books ever make it to publication. Have a backup plan. If you’ve gone through all the right steps (including having the manuscript professionally critiqued and edited) and you can’t find a mainstream publisher, there are smaller presses and other routes you can take to get the book in print. Keep at it and let the readers and reviewers decide.

Thank you for coming, Andrew! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

Thank you for having me! Readers interested in learning more about the book (including a complete synopsis, reviews & book club questions) as well as some of my other work in the tropics can visit my site: www.jalbertproductions.com. If you stop by, be sure to drop me a note and say hello…I’d love to hear from you!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Interview with Fantasy Romance Author R. Leigh


Author R. Leigh is a mystery to local neighbors, appearing enigmatic and ageless, and wearing an ever present red crystal pendant. Some have guessed this author's secret other worldly origin, speculating that the tales of Asharra might somehow be true. Outskirts Press does not confirm this and will not comment on rumors that the manuscript for this novel appeared in their offices out of nowhere. We urge you to read this book and decide for yourself. You can visit R. Leigh's website at www.thewindsofasharra.com.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, R. Leigh. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I've been writing for several years, with my first novel, a science fiction effort (now out of print) called 3 Passports to Paradise, published about ten years ago. For the past ten years, however, I have been in a self-imposed "writer's pause", choosing to focus on exploring various aspects of life and traveling, amassing experiences and philosophies which would ultimately find their way into my recently released current effort.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

My current novel is called The Winds of Asharra and is 600+ pages of fantasy, adventure and romance. In short, it is a crossover work, appealing to fans of multiple genres. In addition to being a great adventure story, set in an alien world, and having quite a bit of sensuality, it also explores the complex mystical culture and philosophy of the Asharrans in great detail.
What kind of research was involved in writing “The Winds of Asharra”?

I spent several years studying a variety of diverse cultures ,religions and societies. The creation of Asharran culture, so rich and complete including language, rituals and worldview, was the result. This mystical world of the purple sky, under twin suns, is the backdrop for an exploration of what it means to change one’s way of looking at oneself and the universe.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

The cover design was a joint effort between my publisher and myself. Given the unique situation in this fantasy book that there is no clothing on Asharra, it was a challenge to depict as a cover. The ethereal multi-colored clouds and sky on the cover instead evokes the otherworldly mysticism that plays such a large role in the the adventure and the romance.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

Publishing the Winds of Asharra was an interesting endeavor since it straddles so many genres, appealing to fantasy fans, romance novel afficienados, and even those interested in a New Age philosophy wrapped inside of a 600 page "epic fable". Finding a publisher who could appreciate that and understand what we were attempting to do was a challenge.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

We don't have a literary agent for the Winds of Asharra so we can't comment further on this. We'd be open to the possibility of working with an agent who shared our vision, certainly.

Do you plan subsequent books?

There are plenty of tales of Asharran style fantasy, adventure and romance waiting to be transcribed for Earthly audiences. Although the Winds of Asharra has just been recently released, we've already received a significant amount of feedback, inquiring when the next volume of the saga would come out.
Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

If the Asharran experience is any indicator, the time of day didn''t really matter (since the hours flew by at the keyboard, causing me to totally lose track of time).
If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

With unlimited resources, we'd launch a multi-media blitz, on radio, print and TV promoting the book, much as most authors would, I suppose.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

We've already sampled several different venues of self promotion including exposure on blogs, newsletters, chats, direct advertising, book trailers and of course virtual book tours like this one, geared primarily toward sites which focus on the spotlighting the backstory for a wide variety of books.

In July we will launch our major push for the Winds of Asharra, with some high profile exposure on sites specific to our target genres (Romance, Fantasy and New Age), and a corresponding, different kind of virtual book tour, intended to compliment that focus. A major industry romance site will also be featuring us throughout that month. All that we've done thus far is really just an introduction compared to what we have planned for July.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Many authors loudly proclaim that their latest book is for everyone. We would like to add a caveat to that. While WOA is indeed designed for fantasy fans, romance fans and even New Age philosophy fans, it is definitely NOT for everyone. It’s not often you hear an author admit that. While we are very proud of the adventure and the humor we injected into the 600 page opus, (centering on the journey of Victor and Ionera, two earth teenagers, who arrive on this world of the purple sky) we must make one point clear. Since Asharra is a very natural and sensual place, The Winds of Asharra is definitely not for a pre-teen audience. We certainly hope that any Hogworts graduate of the Harry Potter books will explore the world of Asharra, but they must be of legal age. The excitement in WOA comes not only from the adventures but also from the sizzle between some of the characters. The joy of creating a crossover product is that it can include a much wider audience than just a single genre. However, we feel it is our responsibility to also point out the proverbial flip side, when an audience segment (in this case pre-teens) should be excluded. While we're hoping that many readers will be "carried along" by the Winds of Asharra, we want to make certain that it finds the appropriate audience.

Thank you for coming, R. Leigh! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

The Winds of Asharra is available from a variety of online retailers including Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and others. Those interested in the world under the purple sky can also reach us directly at www.thewindsofasharra.com for more information.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cute Book Launch Video

Thanks to Bookninja for posting this...this is hilarious!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Pump Up Your Book Promotion Social Network: Virtual Book Tours Q&A and Author Day

Cheryl Malandrinos of Pump Up Your Book Promotion has started a discussion at the Pump Up Your Book Promotion Social Network for those interested in learning more about virtual book tours. As we have been in the business for a year now, we've become experienced experts in the field. If you would like to ask us a question about anything regarding virtual book tours, visit the link and we'll be more than happy to address those questions.

The Pump Up Your Book Promotion Social Network was opened to allow authors to promote their books without cost. Sign up and brag, brag, brag. There's a sub-group in the left hand side that allows excerpts and another one that allows reviews and everyone is invited to submit. All you have to do is sign up and post.

If you are interested in our special section called Author Day which includes an entire day of promotion in a question and answer format, we do have to charge for this but you'll get your own page with book cover, buying information, author bio, book blurb and promotion for the event prior to the date you will appear. We use the same format of promotion we use for all our authors on tour, so you get more than your money's worth. We are booked for June, but do have openings in July. The cost is $25. If you are interested, email me at thewriterslife(at)yahoo.com and I'll send you the application for it.

Our list of authors scheduled for Author Day in June include:

June 2 - Karen White, author of the fiction novel, THE MEMORY OF WATER
June 4 - James Burns, author of the financial book on how to get rich, THE 3 SECRET PILLARS OF WEALTH
June 9 - Victoria Wells, author of the multicultural romance, A SPECIAL SUMMER
June 11 - Traci E. Hall, author of the paranormal romance, LOVE'S MAGIC
June 13 - to be announced
June 16 - Steven Baldwin & Karen Holgate, authors of the non-fiction book about the American school system, FROM CRAYONS TO CONDOMS: THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT AMERICA'S PUBLIC SCHOOLS
June 18 - Grace Reddick, author of the children's book, ASHLEY'S UNFORGETTABLE SUMMER
June 20 - Candis C. Coffee, author of the literary fiction novel, MARIPOSA
June 23 - Phyllis Zimbler Miller, author of the woman's fiction novel, MRS: LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL
June 25 - Linda Merlino, author of the literary fiction, BELLY OF THE WHALE
June 27 - Peter Bowerman, author of the book on self-publishing, THE WELL-FED SELF PUBLISHER: HOW TO TURN ONE BOOK INTO A FULL TIME LIVING

All authors are giving away free books!

If you are one of our past clients and would like a stop at Author Day, your fee is waived, but you must book early as we only have a limited amount of stops.

Thank you!

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: WEST ACROSS THE BOARD by Andrew Jalbert


West Across The Board
by Andrew Jalbert
iUniverse

What are the elements of friendship that last a lifetime-the mysterious connection that can outlast great distances and more than half a century of separation to bring friends back together? For Lázaro, a salty Cuban mariner and Dominic, a brilliant Chicago engineer, the answers can be found in the game of chess.

From the time of their meeting and first chess match on Key West in the 1930s, each man's win is scratched into the back of the board. As the game tally grows, so does their friendship. Now, both men are in their twilight years, but it's Dominic's life, weathered by cancer, which is reaching its conclusion. Lázaro, who fled from his island home and his friend years ago, learns that Dominic is rapidly dying and sets off on the long journey from Boston to Florida to see his old friend. Prior to leaving, Lázaro retrieves the old chessboard and makes a startling discovery. The number of scratches, first marked over sixty years before and uncounted until
now, has the two men evenly tied.

As he drives towards Dominic and the keys, Lázaro is forced to confront a past he has
struggled to forget while anticipating the reunion with his old friend and what could be their final game.

BUY THE BOOK



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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: THE WINDS OF ASHARRA by R. Leigh


The Winds of Asharra
by R. Leigh
Outskirts Press

Fantasy and Adventure under a Purple Sky! After Victor and Zoe, two 18 year old American college students, suddenly find themselves transported to Asharra, a surreal and highly sensual world, they must grapple with their inner visions of who they are and where they really belong. When Ionera, a troubled Asharran girl with a mystical secret enters Victor's life, his priorities turn upside down and new challenges present themselves. In a land where evolved felines, intelligent telepathic trees, musical dragons and hidden wisdom flourishes, Victor, Zoe and Ionera seek answers to riddles as old as the stars. Will their discoveries guide them or will they be carried along by the Winds of Asharra? Join them on a journey of self discovery in a world where adventure, love, sex and home all have new meanings.

The Winds of Asharra is a blend of imaginative fantasy, high adventure and sizzling sensual romance, set in the mythic land of our half-forgotten dreams. Filled with a group of richly diverse characters and speaking to everyone's hidden longings, the story will quicken your pulse and carry you to a world of new possibilities.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Interview with Literary Fiction Novelist David S. Grant

David S. Grant is the author of Emotionless Souls. David’s first published book, Corporate Porn, was written in 2005 and published by Silverthought Press in 2006. David’s influences include Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Pahlahniuk, and Hunter S. Thompson.

David's rock and drug fueled novels Bleach and Blackout is now available as a double novel through Offense Mechanisms, an imprint of Silverthought Press. Also available, the novella, The Last Breakfast through Brown Paper Publishing.

David lives and works in New York City.

You can visit his website at www.davidgrant.com.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, David. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I started writing novels about six years ago. My first novel, Corporate Porn, was published in 2005 through Silverthought Press. I currently live and work in New York City.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

Emotionless Souls is a collection of twenty short stories. I started writing these stories as a way to “take a break” during writing novels. These quickly turned into favorites of many literary journals and online writing arenas so I added a few more and packaged them as a whole.

What kind of research was involved in writing “Emotionless Souls”?

Not much, more note taking. As a writer you pay attention to your surroundings, notice the absurd, or think of how a perfectly normal situation could turn into the absurd. I spend a lot of time in corporate environments. For many of my stories this is a backdrop for the shock and horror of my characters. The mundane every day office activities layered with drugs, pranks, and even a stripper here and there.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

My publisher, Brown Paper Publishing, designed a few covers and I was able to give my input…we agreed on the cover used.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

For my first novel it was difficult. A lot of rejection coupled with agents/publishers not interested in new writers, attempting to force people to read my work. I say force, but persuasion may be a better word. Submitting short stories and being persistent with promoting my full length works.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

Approximately 5 months.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

I did not have an agent for this book. I have had agents in the past; however, all of my published books (4 at this point) have not come through an agent. I believe it’s necessary to have an agent to get into the larger publishing houses.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes, Bleach|Blackout, my rock fueled double novel is now available through Offense Mechanism, an imprint of Silverthought Press. In addition I have a couple finished manuscripts and am working on the prequel to B|B titled Bliss.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Night

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

I would have Paris Hilton tattooed with my book covers.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

Self promotion is extremely important. Online I promote through my website and community sites. I am also currently on my virtual tour via “Pump up Your Books”. Offline I trek around to local bookstores and work with them to carry my books.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Keep writing and be persistent. It’s difficult for everyone just starting out.

BUY THE BOOK

If you would like to leave David a comment, click here.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Historical Fiction Author Andrew Jalbert Joins Us on Author Day Today

Join us on Friday, May 16, 2008 between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. when historical fiction author Andrew Jalbert visits us at the Author Day section of our social network at Pump Up Your Book Promotion! Leave a question and Andrew will answer them all on Friday, plus give away a free book to one lucky person who participates!

About Andrew:

Award winning freelancer Andrew Jalbert has been a professional archaeologist and scuba instructor for over 15 years. During that time, he has worked throughout the Great Lakes, the Caribbean, Central America, Southern Africa, the Florida Keys, and Hawaii. His work focuses on tropical subjects–both above and below the water–and he is a regular contributor to scuba diving, natural history, fitness, and travel magazines. Andrew currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

You can visit his website at www.jalbertproductions.com.

About the Book:

What are the elements of friendship that last a lifetime-the mysterious connection that can outlast great distances and more than half a century of separation to bring friends back together? For Lázaro, a salty Cuban mariner and Dominic, a brilliant Chicago engineer, the answers can be found in the game of chess.

From the time of their meeting and first chess match on Key West in the 1930s, each man's win is scratched into the back of the board. As the game tally grows, so does their friendship. Now, both men are in their twilight years, but it's Dominic's life, weathered by cancer, which is reaching its conclusion. Lázaro, who fled from his island home and his friend years ago, learns that Dominic is rapidly dying and sets off on the long journey from Boston to Florida to see his old friend. Prior to leaving, Lázaro retrieves the old chessboard and makes a startling discovery. The number of scratches, first marked over sixty years before and uncounted until now, has the two men evenly tied.

As he drives towards Dominic and the keys, Lázaro is forced to confront a past he has struggled to forget while anticipating the reunion with his old friend and what could be their final game.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Interview with Historical Fiction Author Andrew Feder

On a sunny spring morning, when the birds were chirping and singing, Andrew Feder was born in Hollywood, California, looking like a cross between a Nordic and Asian baby. His father would later sarcastically say that he was adopted from Korea just after the war (like he was a war baby).

He grew up in a typical dysfunctional Jewish family in San Fernando Valley, a suburb of Los Angeles.

He later studied at San Diego State University.

He then went for one year to the University of Haifa in Israel where he lived on a kibbutz and met his ex-wife (he has three children from this marriage). He completed his studies at UC Davis in Viticulture and Enology.

Having lived several lives in one, during the eighties he lived in Israel first for a short period in a settlement on the West Bank and later on a Moshav near Haifa for six years as a grape farmer. There in Israel, he studied Kabbalah (jewish Mystics) under guidance of the renowned holy man known as "The Mo'ah." During his religious studies, he was quite pious as an orthodox observant Jew.

After returning to the United States, for the next ten years, he was a contractor and owner of a construction company. Shortly after his return he continued his studies of Kabbalah and metaphysics under the guidance of renowned psychic, mystic and healer, Janeau St. Clair and her husband, Elliot Atlas.

In the nineties, he drove a cab and a limo during hiatus while working as an Assistant Director in the film industry.

At the end of the nineties, he moved to Las Vegas from Los Angeles which, for one year, he was (and hates to admit it) a "damn" telemarketer selling long distance, and for the past eight years he's been a graphic artist.

During his college years, he wrote several editorials and short stories. Much later, during the so-called mid-life crisis, he evolved in his development to include writing both novels and poems along with subsequent screenplays.

He is also the host of the radio show "When Pigs Fly" on BBSradio.com.

He is the author of the novel, "When the Angels Have Risen" which you can check out at his site at www.andrewfeder.com. He is also the author of the novel, "The Heretic," which you can check out at his site at www.andrewthehertic.com.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Andrew. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I grew up in your typical (whatever typical is) dysfunctional Jewish family in California and studied at San Diego State University. I then traveled to Israel where I attended university where I got married to my ex-wife. I have three children from this marriage. In the eighties, I owned a grape farm in Israel, and studied Kabbalah there under a holy man known as the “Moah.” I continued my studies of the Kabbalah in the United States, studying under renowned psychic, mystic and healer, Janeau Saint Clair and her husband mystic Elliot Atlas. I owned and ran a major construction company in the late eighties to early nineties. In the mid-nineties I was an assistant director in the film industry and drove a limo and cab during hiatus. I moved in 1999 to Las Vegas worked as a telemarketer selling long distance while studying art. I have been, and currently, work as a graphic artist. I am the author of two novels, “When Angels Have Risen” and his new novel, “The Heretic.” I am a blogger on www.Andrew.MyUFO.com. I am also a host of the show “When Pigs Fly” on BBSradio.com.

I have been writing since my college days, but back the it was mainly short stories and op-eds. Later I evolved my writing into poems and subsequent screenplays. During the so-called mid life crisis my writings suddenly journeyed into novels.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

Let’s see… If you got a minute or two…

“The Heretic” is both a thrilling mystery adventure and a powerful cultural commentary, because though my fictional war hero Aias’ religious and sexual practices would be typical today, in ancient Greece, where polytheism and homosexuality were the prominent cultural mores, he was considered an outright heretic. This thought-provoking novel whisks readers back in time with an intriguing story of war and romance, but it actually begins set in a futuristic America.

“The Heretic” is the sequel to my first novel, “When Angels Have Risen” starring post-modern American Senator Jerry Fletcher. Following some bizarre dreams and an unsettling experience at a Los Angeles museum, Fletcher decides to see a psychic and go under a regression to tap into his past lives. Aias’ story is told through Fletcher’s regression, when he experiences his past life as the Greek war hero.

Aias was Alexander the Great’s mentor and friend, and a key ingredient to his famous military successes. Thanks to Aias’ formidable battle tactics, his enemies nicknamed him The Decapitator. After Alexander’s army enters Egypt, Aias falls in love with an Egyptian high priestess, who shares many of his counter-culture viewpoints and opens his eyes to the secret truth behind the Egyptian sciences and discoveries.

Filled with incredible historical details about one of the most illustrious military campaigns in history, sizzling romance and mystical themes, “The Heretic” is a provocative novel sure to spice up the day of any historical fiction fan.

First having been personally regressed I wanted to create a story connecting past lives. I also have been intrigued with history since my youth. I chose the Alexander the Great period, because Alexander fascinated me with his military and political strategies which were so far ahead of his time.

Because it is the Heretic who challenges us with our own belief system no matter what place, culture or time he/she might be found. The Heretic allows us the opportunity to grow and progress. Aias is that individual. He went against the grain of his countrymen both religiously and culturally, and by his very actions and demeanor he challenged the belief systems of his day. So I also wanted the readers to become their own Heretic by questioning things that are told to them whether by their parents, clerics and/or authorities. Never taking things for granted and as Thomas Paine had said, “Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.”

What kind of research was involved in writing The Heretic?

From books to historical papers to ancient literary and from the internet to old fashion book grind I discovered and understood from the detailed battle scenes to cultural aspects to the mentality of their times but it was well worth. My research took over a year. But discovering Alexander’s real personality was the hardest. There was a multitude of material on his campaigns but very little of him as an individual. But after researching and reading, I discovered his true personality and attributes. Alexander related everything in a religious context and was inspired by Homer’s “Illiad.” After much research the dots connected on their own. Placing Aias then was the easy part of writing “The Heretic.” Everything seemed to fit like a perfect puzzle.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

Since I am also a graphic artist, I completely designed the cover of my books. So it was all me.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

The ride was so damn that my ass was hurting for five years and it was a five roller coaster ride. But all in all it was well worth it.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

About five months.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes, I have several books to be coming out in the future.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I am definitely nocturnal thus a night writer.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

Easy – I would turn “The Heretic” into a major motion picture – A MOVIE! See you at the Oscars…

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

Once you book is in print that’s when the work really starts. And you must persistently and consistently publicize your book never giving up. From blogs, blog ads, radio interviews, reviews, signing events and casually meeting people wherever you are… There are endless ways to promote but some will be better than others but that’s an individual result. Again never give up…

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Did I mention? NEVER EVER GIVE UP!

If you would like to leave Andrew a message or ask him a question about his book, click here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Interview with Nonfiction Author Emilio Corsetti

Emilio Corsetti III is a professional pilot and author. His work has appeared in both regional and national publications including the Chicago Tribune, Multimedia Producer, and Professional Pilot magazine. This is his first book. He and his wife Lynn reside in Lake St. Louis, Missouri.

You can visit his website at http://www.emiliocorsetti.com/.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Emilio. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I don’t have the typical background of most writers. I had never read a book for enjoyment until I was twenty-three. I was among the many people who looked upon reading as a chore that was to be avoided at all costs. It wasn’t until my wife, who is an avid reader, gave me the book The Shining by Steven King to read. I read it and liked it. So I decided to go to the bookstore and see if I could find something that would interest me. The book I picked out was 2001 A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke. It was the first time I had ever been transported to another place and time by a story. From that moment on I became an avid reader. Over the years my tastes have drifted towards nonfiction narratives, though I still enjoy reading fiction now and then. I didn’t try writing something myself until I was thirty. When I decided to start my own publishing company to publish 35 Miles From Shore, I named the company Odyssey Publishing. Odyssey was also the name of the command module on Apollo 13, another story that has played an important role in my life.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

I am a fan of nonfiction narratives. I love stories of ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances. The story of a commercial airliner ditching in the Caribbean Sea under the most horrendous conditions drew me in like a magnet. When I discovered the details of the individuals involved, I knew it was a story I wanted to tell. I also am uniquely qualified to tell the story. I have been a professional pilot for over thirty-five years. I also have several thousand hours in an aircraft similar to the one that ditched.

What kind of research was involved in writing “35 Miles from Shore”?

The process of writing this book involved gathering facts and details from numerous sources and then piecing it altogether to make a readable story. This involved interviews with the participants, both personally and by phone and e-mail; going over the transcripts from the public hearings; reviewing countless documents that a few of the crewmembers had kept from the investigation; and a review of whatever written material I could find such as newspaper articles. There were also a number of NTSB reports. Additionally, I had to contact the Coast Guard, Navy, and Marines for deck logs and other related documents. It was a time consuming and labor intensive process. I recorded 95% of all the interviews for accuracy.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

I supplied the cover image, which I found online. I also supplied the cockpit image, which the designer cleverly used to simulate it being under water. I actually favored a cover that showed the tail of a plane as it was sinking, but I was overruled by my distributor.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

The fact that I decided to publish the book myself pretty much answers that question.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

This question doesn’t apply in my situation, but I can say that it was nine months from the time I signed with my distributor.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

I had two agents represent the book at different stages in the development process. Nonfiction books such as this are most always sold on the basis of a proposal. But the chances of an unknown/unproven writer being successful with just a proposal is zero to none. I did, however, attract the attention of a New York agent. He suggested that I write the first 75 pages and then he would submit both the proposal and those first 75 pages. So I did just that. Problem was that it was too early in the process. I hadn’t fully developed the story. I hadn’t interviewed enough people. The end result was a weak first 75 pages. The proposal was quickly shot down by every major publisher and I was dropped by the agent, whom I never spoke to or communicated with directly during the entire six months or so that he represented me.

I still felt that I had a good story. So I decided to finish the book and try my luck with a finished manuscript. I submitted the proposal to a few publishers and received an offer from a European publisher. But I felt they were asking for too much and offering too little. They basically wanted me to give them all rights to the book – hard cover, soft cover, world, foreign translation, electronic media – all for 1,500 pounds, which was worth about $2,800 at the time. They were unwilling to negotiate, so I turned down the offer.

Shortly after this I found another agent. Within two weeks he had an editor at a major publisher interested in the manuscript. Four months later the book was turned down by the editorial board. No reason was given. The agent dropped me. I wasted another two years submitting the manuscript to over a dozen publishers. During this time I wrote a screenplay adaptation of the book. I signed with the very first agency that I sent the screenplay to. Around that time the book was accepted into the small press program at IPG. I decided that the only way the book would get published was if I did it myself. I have not regretted that decision.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Getting this book published has been such a frustrating experience that I would have to think very hard before I would tackle another book. It would have to be a heck of a story and one that hadn’t been told before. I have written another screenplay, which I’m excited about.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I do most of my writing late at night when there are no interruptions.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

I would buy an ad in USA Today and probably pay for radio ads in major cities. People can’t get excited about your book if they’ve never heard of it.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

The whole idea of promotion is to get the title out in front of as many people as possible. In my mind, there is no better promotion than a review. Reviews are how I learn about the books that I choose to read. Most of my efforts to this point have been in trying to garner reviews.

Part of getting the word out in a book is to leave a digital footprint on the web. I am doing this through two web sites and a blog. I am also doing a virtual book tour.

Offline I am setting up book signings in various cities with the hope of getting additional coverage in print, radio, and TV.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Times and perceptions are changing. The internet has made it possible for anyone to publish and market a book. We’ve all heard the terms independent filmmaker and independent music label. The term independently published is already here. Haven’t heard of it before? You have now.

Thank you for coming, Emilio! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

www.EmilioCorsetti.com

www.35milesfromshore.com

http://everythingnonfiction.typepad.com

If you would like to leave a comment for Emilio, click here.


Friday, May 09, 2008

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: LETTER OF LOVE FROM CHINA by Bonnie B. Cuzzolino


Letter of Love from China
by Bonnie B. Cuzzolino
Plum Blossom Books

The story is based on a Chinese birth mom in China who writes her daughter a letter explaining her love for her.She explains her reasons for daughter's relinguishment which are due to poverty and the rule to keep families in China small due to overcrowding. Birth mom describes the beauty of scenic China and the Holidays of Chinese Moon Festival and Chinese New Year in the hopes her daughter will forever have a connection to her birth land of China.She prays for, meaning hoping for but not certain of, her daughter's adoption by a loving family from a foreign land.Birth Mom ends by using the moon as a mirror to envision each other's faces in times of thinking of one another.She promises that birth family will always remember her.

If you would like to leave a comment for Bonnie, click here.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Interview with Business Writing Expert Adina Rishe Gewirtz

For 15 years, Adina Gewirtz has been helping struggling writers get organized. Trained as a journalist, and with a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland at College Park, she spent her early career freelancing, and then created The Writer's Roadmap based on techniques pioneered by two-time Pulitzer prize winner Jon Franklin. Those techniques were designed to help professional writers structure and execute a well-crafted piece of writing. By translating them into tools even non-professionals could use, Ms. Gewirtz quickly discovered the vast need for such a system by those struggling to write for work or school

By the mid 1990s, she was teaching writing seminars for accounting giant Arthur Andersen LLP. After 2001, she returned to her own writing and again worked with high school and college students. Her recent book, How To Say It: Business Writing That Works (Prentice Hall, 2007), is available at Amazon.com or area bookstores. Another book, The Student Writer's Roadmap, is in the works for struggling writers in college and high school.

You can visit her website at www.writersroadmap.com.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Adina. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a kid, and writing professionally since college, where I trained as a journalist.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

When I began freelancing, I quickly discovered that when people find out you’re a writer, they ask for advice about writing. Almost everybody has to write, and many people struggle with it. I began teaching a system I adapted from a brilliant professor of mine. It’s an outlining system that shapes a piece of writing so that the reader can accept and understand it best. And that turned into my book.

What kind of research was involved in writing How to Say It: Business Writing That Works?

Well, the research began fifteen years earlier, when I began teaching. I had to learn how people learn about writing best, and experience taught me that. By the time I got around to writing the book, there was very little research to do, except for some historical research for some of the funny examples I use in the book.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

None. They showed it to me, but my job was the inside, not the outside, of the book.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

I’d say any author has their share of rejections. When you’re going through it, it seems long. When it’s over, it seems like it went pretty quickly.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

One year.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

I did have an agent. I don’t have one at the moment.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Definitely. I have one for student writers that’s looking for a home right now.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Morning. I like to write when I’ve got the most energy, and that’s in the daylight!

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

Maybe a full-time publicist. That’s a major job!

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

I think self-promotion is essential, because in today’s market, the author needs to represent his or her work. I’ve been concentrating on on-line publicity, and writing coaching, as well as my blog, www.thewritersroadmap.blogspot.com.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Be persistent, and treat selling your work like a business. Most first-time authors don’t realize that the work doesn’t end when the book is finished.

Thank you for coming, Adina! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

Readers can find me at www.writersroadmap.com or at my blog, www.thewritersroadmap.blogspot.com, where they can also ask me writing questions. My book is available in all major bookstores and on Amazon, or through my website.

If you would like to leave a comment for Adina, click here.


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