Thursday, August 28, 2008

Would you like to give away a book on your blog?

I am looking for bloggers for a humungous book giveaway. The publisher of one of my clients has given me two boxes of books for book giveaways and I am looking for bloggers to participate in a month-long book giveaway starting September 1 for Hal W. Lanse, author of READ WELL, THINK WELL. This book is perfect for learning how to get your child to read and would be excellent for anyone with children. If you have a book blog and you'd be interested in this month-long giveaway, I have promo I can send you so all you have to do is cut and paste and pick a winner from whoever stops by and comments. Send me the name of the individual and their address and the book will be sent to them when the contest closes on Sept. 29. If you are interested, email me at thewriterslife(at)yahoo.com and put "Hal W. Lanse Book Giveaway" in the subject line. Please give me the name of your book blog and the link once you put the promo up and I will add you to the list of participants. Thank you!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR: Interview with Romantic Suspense Author Mary Burton

MARY BURTON’s southern family has always enjoyed tall tales and a good yarns. Early on, Mary realized that Story had tremendous power to inspire strong responses such fear, laughter, love and even sorrow. It didn’t matter if the tale was found in the pages of a book, spoken in hushed tones around a Girl Scout campfire, or spouted at an old fashioned southern family reunion. This appreciation of story motivated her to earn an English degree from Virginia’s Hollins University.

After decade of working in marketing and sales, Mary became convinced she could write and sell one of the many stories buzzing around her brain. Fingers crossed, she left the marketing profession and devoted all her spare time to writing a novel. Soon after, she sold her first manuscript to Harlequin Historicals. Since that initial sale, Mary had written twelve historical romances for Harlequin Historicals, four short romantic suspenses for Silhouette Romantic Suspense and a non-fiction book The Insider’s Guide to Direct Marketing. Her latest is her first single title romantic suspense for Zebra titled I’m Watching You.

In 2005, The Unexpected Wife was a finalist Romance Writers of America’s RITA contest and Wise Moves was 2006 nominee for the Romantic Times’ Critics Choice Award. I’m Watching You received critical acclaim from New York Times Best Selling author Carla Neggers who said, “Taut, compelling and emotional, I’m Watching You is romantic suspense at its most riveting. Mary Burton delivers a page-turner.”

Mary resides in Virginia where she enjoys yoga, cooking, hiking and the occasional triathlon.

You can visit her website at www.maryburton.com to find out more about this talented author and her book!

______________________________________________

About the Book:

A killer is on the loose. Lindsay O’Neil discovers the first victim in the yard at Sanctuary, the shelter for battered women that she runs in Richmond, Virginia. If that’s not bad enough, the detective who arrives on the scene is recovering alcoholic Zack Kier, her ex-husband. That brings his partner and her long-time friend, Jacob Warwick, into the picture as well.

It could have been a one time reunion, except for some reason Lindsay keeps being thrust into the middle of the investigation. That means Zack is way too involved in her life and he and Jacob are way too interested in her personal business. She also can’t get TV news reporter Kendall Shaw off of her trail, which is a problem because Lindsay has her own secrets—including that she’s providing shelter at her own home for Nicole Piper, a friend on the run from her abusive husband. As the killing continues it becomes shockingly clear that Lindsay is being stalked by an enraged murderer—and that she and those she loves are targets.

_____________________________________________

Thank you for this interview, Mary. Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about yourself?

I was born and raised in Virginia and I majored in English and History at Hollins University. Before I started writing full time I was the marketing director of an engineering firm.

My first book was a western and released by Harlequin Historicals in March 2000. Since then I’ve written twelve historical novels and novellas for Harlequin, four books for Silhouette Romantic Suspense, two single titles and a novella for Kensington. I’M WATCHING YOU came in December 2007 and the follow up, DEAD RINGER, will be out in November 2008. My novella appears in the Kensington anthology SILVER BELLS, due also in November 2008.

Tell us a bit about your latest book and what inspired you to write it?

My latest book is I’M WATCHING YOU. It’s a December 2007 Zebra Romantic Suspense. I’M WATCHING YOU started with the book’s heroine, Lindsay O’Neil. I’m not sure where she came from. But I found that as I was working on my other books, she keeping popping into my mind. She’s a strong woman who not only survived her mother’s murder, but also has gone on to be an advocate for abused women. However, the strength and control that had enabled Lindsay to survive up to this point is taking its toll on her. Her own marriage is failing and she’s working so hard she doesn’t take the time to care of herself. She a wonderful example of the saying: “What can make you great can also destroy you.”

Did your book require a lot of research?

It sure did. I knew I had to ratchet up the level of detail in the book. I attended the Henrico County Citizens Police Academy, which required weekly three-hour classes over a three-month period. The course not only included classroom instruction but time with a firing simulator and also on the firing range. I also did a ride along with a uniformed officer, read more research books than I can count, and attended Sisters in Crime’s Forensics University in St. Louis last year.

Do you get along with your muse? What do you do to placate her when she refuses to inspire you?

Generally, my muse and I get along. But if she is being coy, I head to the kitchen and bake. You can always tell how the muse and I are getting along based on the number of cupcakes on the counter. A couple of dozen likely means I’ve been in the kitchen for hours trying to work out sticky plot points.

Describe your working environment?

What should have been the living room in my house is my office. It’s complete with desk, bookshelves, fax, etc. It really is great. However since the arrival of my miniature dachshund puppies, (Bella and Buddy) this year I’ve had to be a little more flexible. They each only weighed about three pounds when I got them so much of the spring was spent working on the laptop in the den while they slept next to me on the couch.

Are you a disciplined writer?

You bet. You’ve got to be to get the book done. I write every day. And when I turn a book in, I’m generally working on the next book within a couple of days.

Do you write non-stop until you have a first draft, or do you edit as you go along?

I write the first draft straight through and don’t worry about anything other than getting the pages into the computer. I know I can always fix something if I’ve got it in the computer. After the first draft, it seems the real work starts. The second draft is about making sure major plot points are present and in the right place. Every draft after that focuses on smoothing and crafting the words. It generally takes me about seven or eight drafts to the book just right.

What is the best writing advice you’ve every received?

It was years ago. My first three manuscripts had yet to sell. I was getting discouraged and complaining to a writer friend of mine who’d sold her first book and had been nominated for more awards than I can remember. She said simply: If you quit you definitely won’t get published. Simple, obvious and very true. You’ve got to have a thick skin and a strong desire to write if you want to publish. Quitters don’t make it in this business.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR: Interview with Education Expert Hal Lanse

Hal W. Lanse, Ph.D., is a premiere teacher trainer in New York City, specializing in middle-grade and young-adult literacy. He is the winner of the 1997 Frank W. Dilley Award, Walden University's annual prize for outstanding doctoral dissertation. Dr. Lanse, a consultant with the UFT Teacher Center, trains teachers in current literacy research and shows them how to turn the research into daily classroom practice. He has also taught many parent workshops for the United Federation of Teachers. Lanse lives with his son, Kenny, in New York,NY. You can visit his website at www.readwellthinkwell.com.

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

I’m a longtime literacy instructor and teacher trainer. I suppose I’ve been writing since kindergarten. Then of course I had to write a masters thesis and doctoral dissertation. That was my fist taste of high-level writing. I published my first (long forgotten) children’s book in 2000. Now, my first
nonfiction book has been published. This one seems to be doing well. Then
publisher has just asked me to submit a proposal for another education book.


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

Read Well, Think Well is a book for parents who want to help their children
develop good reading skills. Over the years, I’ve given a lot of family
literacy workshops. Parents always ask for a good book where they can learn
more. Unfortunately, the books on the market were all bursting at the seams
with educational jargon. Finally, I decided to write a parent-friendly book
on my own.


What kind of research was involved in writing “Read Well, Think Well”?

I have a lot of research at my fingertips. I belong to several professional
organizations and I receive their literature. I read many books on education
and I’ve been fortunate enough to have been trained by a number of leading
literacy experts.


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

None. The publisher emailed the cover to me and I was instantly charmed.
It’s really eye-popping.


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

At first it was an uphill battle, because most publishers said: “Great
concept, great outline, great sample chapter, we won’t touch it.” Why?
Because I didn’t come armed with the all-important (drum roll) NATIONAL
PLATFORM. At the 11th hour Adams Media contacted my publisher. They had
faith in my mission to help support literacy across the country. And so,
Read Well, Think Well was born.


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

After I signed the contract, the editor gave me two months to write the
book. Nine months later it was published. The whole process took just under
a year. Thanks heavens I’m not an anaconda. They don’t eat while they’re
pregnant!


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

Irene Goodman is my agent. She’s fantastic. She believed in my book and
persisted until we found a publisher. I couldn’t have done it on my own.
Irene worked very closely with me on the proposal and it made all the
difference.


Do you plan subsequent books?

Adams Media has asked me to submit a proposal for a companion book. If all
goes well, Write Well, Think Well will be underway very soon.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I’m a give-me-a-deadline-and-put-some-pressure-on-me-and-I’ll-work-on-it-day-and-night-til-I-get-it-done-so-please-give-me-some-coffee writer.


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

A promotional tour with Barack Obama. Hitch you’re wagon to a star, they say.


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

Publishers offer little in the way of promotional support, especially with
newer writers. If you don’t self-promote, then your book will die a quick
and quiet death. I’ve used some of my advance to hire two publicists: one to
set up a radio tour and one to set up a blog tour. (It’s all tax deductible,
I hear.)


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

Believe in your vision and surround yourselves with others who believe in
you.


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

You can find me at: www.readwellthinkwell.com. You can buy my book from any of the online or brick-and-mortar booksellers. It’s on Amazon, B&N and all
the rest. If you happen to be in Brooklyn, NY on September 14th, you can buy
the book directly from me at the Brooklyn Book Festival.

Friday, August 22, 2008

VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR: Paul Kiritsis, author of HERMETICA

The son of Greek immigrants, Paul Kiritisis was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1979. He has completed degrees in both the behavioral sciences and professional writing and currently works for drug safety services in the inner city region. His keen interest in mythology and literature began in childhood and later sprung into a full-fledged investigation into folklore and poetics. Many of his poems have appeared in periodic anthologies. He is the author of the books Origin: Poems from the Crack of Dawn (2006) and Hermetica: Myths, Legends, Poems (2007), the latter having won a literary award very recently. The release of his next book, a memoir of his many travels through Greece, is tentatively scheduled for late 2008. He regards travel, reading and fitness as his greatest passions.

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

____________________________________________

About the Book:

Hermetica: Myths, Legends, Poems
(September, 2007) is a homeric journey into the night where the world of dreams and symbols has sculpted our mythological past.

Using the language of alchemy, astrology and magic this tome seeks to reconstruct the lost bonds between old myths contained in the oral folklore of Ancient Egypt; stories which once served as the backbone of a religion centred around Osirian ritual - the cosmic cycles of death, dismemberment and resurrection.

It also contains a sequel to the popular Middle Egyptian tale, The Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor; a visual and dramatic interpretation of the passion of Osiris; an astrological allegory of the war between the heavenly bodies and a hermetic saga between a white witch and her mirror. The accompanying collection of poetry is a homage to the alchemy of love.

_________________________________________

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

I was born in Melbourne, Australia to Greek migrants in 1979 and together with my younger brother who is five years my junior, was reared in a somewhat overprotective environment by my grandmother since both my parents worked full time. I quite freely admit I was spoilt from a young age as there was nothing my parents wouldn’t do to satisfy my young ego. If you’re remotely familiar with Greek culture and Greek migrants in particular, this type of red carpet treatment is quite common if not painstakingly regular. Greek parents exist for their children. ‘Everything we do we do for you,’ is something my ears have heard innumerable times over. In their eyes, their dreams are exalted when you succeed in becoming a valuable and successful citizen of society. (Many, if not most traditional Greek parents equate success with the faculties of law or medicine. None other will do.) Despite our differences over the years, and believe me there have been many, I couldn’t possibly fathom my life without them. They have definitely had a hand in shaping me as a person and in turn I have successfully managed to extirpate some of their backwardness and pave the way for their thinking outside of the square. (I’ve given myself a pat on the back for this on many occasions!) You might also say they are my backbone; my Djed Pillar, as the ancient Egyptians would have commended. For me, they are eternal symbols of stability and indestructibility.

As a preschooler, I had much difficulty communicating with my fellow peers and teachers because my knowledge of the English language was very limited. I only spoke Greek at home although in time this wrong was righted. By the time I reached second grade, I was competently bilingual. In 1988, my parents decided to move me from Keon Park Primary School in Reservoir to St Johns Greek Orthodox College in Preston, a school known by the Greeks of Australia for its strong cultural and religions ties to the motherland. It was a decision that was fuelled by the influence of my aunty – my dad’s sister – whose children had been attending the institution since preps. I completed my VCE (HSC) and graduated from St John’s in 1997, going on to complete degrees in Behavioral Science and Professional Writing at Latrobe University. I used to think that the biggest mistake of my young life was studying a field (psychology) in which I had no invested academic or emotional interest. That half the course was based on statistics, a subject that never failed to evoke endless yawns from a lecture room full of students, didn’t help either. In hindsight though, studying psychology was probably a necessary precursor in my voyage of discovery and it was many years before I rediscovered the sparks in which I had excelled at in high school; Classics and English literature. I am indefinitely a man of the arts rather than of the sciences. Since that time, I have written a poetry collection, a literary collection for which I have received awards, and have penned my first memoir and novel due out in the not too distant future. (I hope!) I have been writing for approximately five years now.

As a person, I am both easy-going and down-to-earth. There are no surprise packages here. What you see is what you get. (I’m not one who turns out to possess a dark secret, double life or works under false pretenses.) I am lively, fun-loving and even goofy and aloof at times. I adhere to a high standard of personal morals and ethics and expect the people I associate with to do the same. I respect and honor those who return the favour but above all, respect and honor themselves. I am empathetic and compassionate; something which I feel is evident in the line of work I choose to be involved with. (I work for Drug Safety Services in Collingwood and help injecting drug users get onto methadone/buprenorphine programs and access community services which are otherwise reserved for the mainstream community.) My interests are wide and varied, encompassing physical activities like thrill seeking, diving, playing sports, working out and biking that are balanced by my critical inquiry into world mythology, world religions (both east and west) including early Christianity, Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, Hinduism and Buddhism, history and archeology (both mainstream and alternative), English literature and ironically, Jungian psychology. I also love occult studies and have spent much money on acquiring books on magic and reincarnation. Just like the ancient Greeks, I wholeheartedly believe in concurrent training of both body and mind to achieve a state of balance and wellbeing. In the last five years or so, I have also succumbed to the seduction of travel, an interest which has fuelled a treasure trove of experience and has spurred me on to write about them creatively. I have penned many destinations around the world: America, Europe, and Africa, and have traveled extensively within Australia. I plan to travel to French Polynesia in November and Borneo early next year for what promises to be an awe-inspiring jungle adventure.

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

Hermetica: Myths, Legends, Poems (2007) is a literary collection comprised of both poetry and prose. The entire work hones in on the school of Neoplatonic thought and pagan ideas that are still prevalent in our society today; they just exist under modern guises. The poetry section is divided into seven subjects deemed essential learning by the ancients of late antiquity – alchemy; astrology; mythology; erotica; philosophy and music. The seven stories which follow are written in a style which is no longer employed today called verse drama. Plato, the father of Western thought, used this style to communicate many of his ideas concerning the politics, law and religion of his time. Some stories serve to explicate and extend Egyptian mythology while others are heavily steeped in hermetics and esoteric knowledge. I wrote this book as a testament for my love of world mythology (specifically Greek and Egyptian) and philosophy. I also wanted to honor an era which has long since passed but still echoes morals and life lessons that are as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago.

What kind of research was involved in writing Hermetica: Myths, Legends, Poems?

I did a lot of reading in the fields of occult philosophy and hermetics to write this book. Naturally, when you’re writing to extend popular myths and other lesser known fables you better know their form and content by heart, otherwise you risk unyielding criticism and attack. I also studied ancient and modern astrology, something which came in handy when I wrote the lead prose piece Creation Myth. I also had to study literary devices in order to write a sequel to the popular Middle Egyptian tale The Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor. That was a lot of fun!

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

Well I designed it myself. The entire astrological motif was my idea. I like being actively involved in all aspects of the book publishing process since it is a mild extension of the creative process. I’m the one who wrote the work, it’s reasonable to assume that I’d know which cover would best represent it in its entirety.

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

Considering that the book is self-published with iUniverse, I wouldn’t say it’s been that bumpy! They’re pretty good with deadlines and getting proofs and corrections to you with ample time to spare. All rights to the book belong to me so if I ever get hitched by a traditional publishing house I can withdraw it quite easily. The bad thing with self-publishing is that laziness is not an option. You need to get out there and make you and your book known to your target audience since most of the marketing work falls on your shoulders.

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

I signed the publishing contract in late April and the book was out by early September. I was very happy with that. They told me that it would take at most 120 days for the publishing package I choose and they were spot on with that prediction.

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

No I’ve never had an agent before seeing as I self-publish my work but I believe having one would come in handy. Agents are good at sussing out what is currently on high demand in the markets and putting in all the hard yards in marketing you book and following up with potential reviewers, interviewers and other expository media. It’s nice to just handball it all to them and concentrate on what you love to doing best which is writing!

Do you plan subsequent books?

Providing I am well and healthy, that is a definite yes. I am currently working on a non-fiction memoir/autobiography titled Shades of Aphrodite. It deals with my travels and experiences in Greece, a country which I regard my second home. I hope to have it out by the end of this year or the first half of next year at the latest. I am also working on a poetry collection titled Fifty Confessions which is my most expository work to date. It encapsulates some very dark, dark secrets that I have been unable to voice until now. That should be out by December of this year.

Are you a morning or a night writer?

I’m definitely a night writer. I love staying up till two or three am in the morning making music with the keys of my laptop. As a creature of the night, the darkness seems to bring out the best in me. Everything appears so much more mysterious and accentuated at night as well; urges, sensations and emotions.

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

Definitely the stream of media which is superior to all others and reaches most households; television. I would target commercials and ads at the times my target audience would most likely be watching (early morning or late evening) and watch the sales shoot up!

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

Self-promotion is very important. You have to get yourself out there at book fares and festivals, libraries, bookshops and schedule appearances at events which would generate sales for your book. This might often include making lists of potential buyers and going out of your way to initiate contact and send them press packs, posters, promotional banners and business cards to reel them in and seeing if they’ll take the bait. Persistence is important but not to the point of becoming a pain in the backside. I haven’t really promoted my book as much as I would have liked. I’ve been doing most of my promotion on the web seeing as I have a full-time job and find it hard to get out and about. I placed an ad with Parabola magazine for four consecutive issues and that seems to have worked wonders with my website visitations. They’ve shot up considerably. I’ve also done some online interviews and features with Readerviews.com and RebeccasReads.com which have helped with getting the ratings up!

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

Yes. Always look to better yourself. Write, keep writing and then write some more. Know what you’re writing, have a target audience and a publishing house in mind who you know publishes the sort of genre that interests you. Non-fiction and autobiography are much more likely to be published than genre fiction. Small publishing houses are more likely to accept rather than larger more traditional ones. Oh, and one other thing. Write well!

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

Yes, definitely. I can be found and contacted at www.paulkiritsis.com. There are links to buying both my books through my website. I have a wealth of material on my website for you to browse through, including a biography, analysis of the poems and books that I’ve written, upcoming works and sound files of me reciting some of my very favorite pieces. You can also purchase Hermetica: Myths, Legends, Poems through iUniverse direct or through Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

Thanks for having me!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR: Education Expert Hal W. Lanse, author of READ WELL, THINK WELL

Hal W. Lanse, Ph.D., is a premiere teacher trainer in New York City, specializing in middle-grade and young-adult literacy. He is the winner of the 1997 Frank W. Dilley Award, Walden University's annual prize for outstanding doctoral dissertation. Dr. Lanse, a consultant with the UFT Teacher Center, trains teachers in current literacy research and shows them how to turn the research into daily classroom practice. He has also taught many parent workshops for the United Federation of Teachers. Lanse lives with his son, Kenny, in New York,NY.

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

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

I’m a longtime literacy instructor and teacher trainer. I suppose I’ve been writing since kindergarten. Then of course I had to write a masters thesis and doctoral dissertation. That was my fist taste of high-level writing. I published my first (long forgotten) children’s book in 2000. Now, my first nonfiction book has been published. This one seems to be doing well. Then publisher has just asked me to submit a proposal for another education book.

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

Read Well, Think Well is a book for parents who want to help their children develop good reading skills. Over the years, I’ve given a lot of family literacy workshops. Parents always ask for a good book where they can learn more. Unfortunately, the books on the market were all bursting at the seams with educational jargon. Finally, I decided to write a parent-friendly book on my own.

What kind of research was involved in writing “Read Well, Think Well”?

I have a lot of research at my fingertips. I belong to several professional organizations and I receive their literature. I read many books on education and I’ve been fortunate enough to have been trained by a number of leading literacy experts.

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

None. The publisher emailed the cover to me and I was instantly charmed. It’s really eye-popping.

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

At first it was an uphill battle, because most publishers said: “Great concept, great outline, great sample chapter, we won’t touch it.” Why? Because I didn’t come armed with the all-important (drum roll) NATIONAL PLATFORM. At the 11th hour Adams Media contacted my publisher. They had faith in my mission to help support literacy across the country. And so, Read Well, Think Well was born.

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


After I signed the contract, the editor gave me two months to write the book. Nine months later it was published. The whole process took just under a year. Thanks heavens I’m not an anaconda. They don’t eat while they’re pregnant!

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


Irene Goodman is my agent. She’s fantastic. She believed in my book and persisted until we found a publisher. I couldn’t have done it on my own. Irene worked very closely with me on the proposal and it made all the difference.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Adams Media has asked me to submit a proposal for a companion book. If all goes well, Write Well, Think Well will be underway very soon.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I’m a give-me-a-deadline-and-put-some-pressure-on-me-and-I’ll-work-on-it-day-and-night-til-I-get-it-done-so-please-give-me-some-coffee writer.

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


A promotional tour with Barack Obama. Hitch you’re wagon to a star, they say.

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

Publishers offer little in the way of promotional support, especially with newer writers. If you don’t self-promote, then your book will die a quick and quiet death. I’ve used some of my advance to hire two publicists: one to set up a radio tour and one to set up a blog tour. (It’s all tax deductible, I hear.)

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

Believe in your vision and surround yourselves with others who believe in you.

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

You can find me at: www.readwellthinkwell.com. You can buy my book from any of the online or brick-and-mortar booksellers. It’s on Amazon, B&N and all the rest. If you happen to be in
Brooklyn, NY on September 14th, you can buy the book directly from me at the Brooklyn Book Festival.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: THE FACE OF DEATH by Cody MdFadyen

The Face of Death
Cody McFadyen
Bantam
Crime Thriller
ISBN-10: 0553804669
ISBN-13: 978-0553804669
464 pages

About the Book:

“I want to talk to Smoky Barrett or I’ll kill myself.”

The girl is sixteen, at the scene of a grisly triple homicide, and has a gun to her head. She claims “The Stranger” killed her adoptive family, that he’s been following her all her life, killing everyone she ever loved, and that no one believes her.

No one has. Until now.

Special Agent Smoky Barrett is head of the violent crimes unit in Los Angeles, the part of the FBI reserved for tracking down the worst of the worst. Her team has been handpicked from among the nation’s elite law enforcement specialists and they are as obsessed and relentless as the psychos they hunt; they’ll have to be to deal with this case.

For another vicious double homicide reveals a killer embarked on a dark crusade of trauma and death: an “artist” who’s molding sixteen-year-old Sarah into the perfect victim -- and the ultimate weapon. But Smoky Barrett has another, more personal reason for catching The Stranger -- an adopted daughter and a new life that are worth protecting at any cost.

This time Smoky is going to have to put it all on the line. Because The Stranger is all too real, all too close, and all too relentless. And when he finally shows his face, if she’s not ready to confront her worst fear, Smoky won’t have time to do anything but die.

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Reviews:

McFadyen's outstanding sequel to his debut, Shadow Man (2006), provides a chilling reminder: "However bad things may become, evil men only triumph in the most important ways when we let them." FBI Special Agent Smoky Barrett is barely back in fighting form six months after killing the man who murdered her family and best friend before she must deal with another threat. "The Stranger," a serial killer seeking revenge for a miscarriage of justice, has targeted 16-year-old Sarah Langstrom, who asks for Smoky's help after the Stranger kills Sarah's latest foster family. The Stranger's murder spree actually began on Sarah's sixth birthday with her biological parents and dog. Smoky's crackerjack L.A. Violent Crimes Unit whirls into action to catch a monster who inflicts pain on Sarah by systematically killing anyone she loves. Smoky's fierce first person narrative and Sarah's eerie diary excerpts, supplemented by a great cast, lift this scary thriller far above the usual serial-killer norm. (May)

Publishers Weekly, starred review

A scarred FBI agent faces her own past as well as a strange teen’s demons as she tracks a bloodthirsty serial killer. Smoky Barrett has her hands full. Not only is she grieving her own brutal rape and the murder of her husband and daughter, she’s raising silent Bonnie, the ten-year-old daughter of a friend who was also the killer’s victim. When her boss offers her a chance to leave the field and teach, she is tempted. She wants to give both Bonnie and herself a chance at recovery. But she’s still on the job when the call comes in. A teenage girl, covered in blood and holding a gun to her head, asks for Smoky. Smoky talks young Sarah into relinquishing the gun, and removes her from the home where her family has been slaughtered. But not before promising to read the girl’s diary, which details a mysterious man she calls “The Stranger.” Has there really been a stalker bringing tragedy to Sarah’s life? When other bodies start stacking up, Smoky has no choice but to continue with the case, despite the cost to her own recovery, her adopted daughter and her coterie of loyal friends. In this follow-up to Shadow Man (2006), the author never strays far from standard serial-killer formula. Smoky may no longer be beautiful, but she’s a classically spunky heroine, as well as an ace with a gun. Her elusive prey is a chilling monster who leaves messages (“THIS PLACE = JUSTICE”) in his victims’ blood and is smart enough to confuse the FBI’s profilers. All the expected thrills in a readable package.

Kirkus Reviews

McFadyen builds on the strengths of his debut novel, Shadow Man (2006), which introduced the scarred FBI agent Smoky Barrett, who is still recovering from the slaughter of her husband and daughter at the hands of a serial killer. Now she’s reached a turning point: she is ready to put away her family’s clothes and possessions, to come to terms with the fact that they’re gone. But her recovery is interrupted by a new case: a teenage girl who claims that her adopted family was murdered by a man who calls himself “The Stranger.” Smoky, who herself has a young adopted daughter (the only survivor from a more recent case), pushes herself to her emotional and physical limits to catch the killer and to protect her new family. McFadyen writes like a veteran, and Smoky proves that she’s a strong enough protagonist to support a series.

David Pitt, Booklist

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THE FACE OF DEATH VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on August 4 and end on August 29. You can visit Cody's tour stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in August to find out more about him and his book!

As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author with a recent release or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. The winner will be announced on our main blog at www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.wordpress.com on August 31!




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Friday, August 15, 2008

Two New Women's Magazine's to Submit Articles

This just came in from Writer's Market...

Bust Magazine pays up to $250 for nonfiction features relating to women and up to $100 for erotic fiction. This bimonthly magazine covers pop culture for young women and prefers writers submit a query with published clips. The editors say, "We are always looking for stories that are surprising and that 'bust' stereotypes about women."

Pregnancy magazine pays up to $1 per word for nonfiction pieces of 50-2,000 words. This monthly magazine covers products, health, relationships, fashion and beauty for pregnant women. The editors say, "Interested freelancers should first read Pregnancy's writer's guidelines (available online). When sending pitch ideas, be sure to follow those guidelines carefully."

WritersMarket.com lists more than 6,000 publishing opportunities, including over 2,000 magazines. Sign up or log in at http://www.writersmarket.com.

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: LEFT TO DIE by Lisa Jackson

Left to Die
Lisa Jackson
Zebra Books
ISBN-10: 1420102761
ISBN-13: 978-1420102765
484 pages

The first of her best selling romantic thrillers to be set in Montana, LEFT TO DIE takes readers to the magnificent Bitteroot Mountain Range, its beauty marred by the horror of the killings taking place there.


In nearby
Granite Falls, the sheriff’s department and the FBI are struggling to catch a break in their pursuit of a murderer they’re certain is a serial killer. Patience may be a virtue, but with no real evidence time becomes the enemy for Detectives Regan Pescoli and Selena Alvarez. Tempers frayed, anxiety high, they’re turning over every rock they can to find something, anything that will send them in a new direction. Then Jillian Rivers’ car plummets into a canyon, her front tires shot out and, as with the victims before her, she is nowhere to be found.


When Jillian comes to in the heart of mountains, she’s stranded in the cabin of her rescuer, Zane MacGregor. A winter storm rages around them. Injured, Jillian must rely on MacGregor, wants to trust him. But she knows a killer is running rampant in the area—one whose victims, tied naked to a tree, are left to die. MacGregor’s secrets and disappearances keep her on edge, afraid and lead to only question—is he her hero or her killer?

In LEFT TO DIE, Lisa Jackson creates a storm ravaged world and fills it with an array of characters and relationships involving colleagues, families, partners, spouses, exes and lovers, presenting a tale that frightens and intrigues as much as it entertains.

Editor's Note: Because we are having problems with our comment box showing up on the main page, please click here to leave a comment. Thank you!

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LEFT TO DIE VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on August 4 and end on August 29. You can visit Lisa's tour stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in August to find out more about her and her new book!

As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author with a recent release or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. The winner will be announced on our main blog at www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.wordpress.com on August 31!



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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Virtual Book Tour: Interview with Memoir Author Eliezer Sobel

Eliezer Sobel is the author of The 99th Monkey: A Spiritual Journalist's Misadventures with Gurus, Messiahs, Sex, Psychedelics, and Other Consciousness-Raising Adventures (Santa Monica Press, Feb. '08), Minyan: Ten Jewish Men in a World That is Heartbroken, which was the winner of the Peter Taylor Prize for the Novel, and Wild Heart Dancing. His short story, Mordecai’s Book, won New Millennium’s First Prize for Fiction, and his articles and stories have appeared in the Village Voice, Tikkun Magazine, Quest Magazine, Yoga Journal, New Age Journal, and numerous other publications. Sobel was the Editor-in-Chief of The New Sun magazine in the 70s and was Publisher and Editor of the Wild Heart Journal more recently. He has led intensive creativity workshops and retreats at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, the Open Center in New York City, the Lama Foundation in New Mexico, and Elat Chayyim Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Connecticut. Sobel lives in Richmond, Virginia with his wife, Shari Cordon, and three cats: Squarcialupi, Peanut and Plum.

About the Book:

The 99th Monkey is the story of one man’s utter failure to get enlightened, despite over 30 years of trying. Eliezer Sobel invites readers along on what is both a hilarious and astounding journey through the spiritual, New Age and Human Potential movements of the last 35 years, providing an insider’s view that is at once eye-opening, deeply moving, and completely entertaining.

From encounters with enlightened beings, saints and madmen, to ingesting a powerful shamantic brew in the forests of Brazil at all-night ceremonies; from 40-days alone on a mountaintop, to 60 hours in hotel ballrooms at crash courses in consciousness; from the ashrams and gurus of India to the rebbes in Jerusalem and a ten-day Zen retreat at Auschwitz, there were very few extremes to which Sobel did not go in his life-long quest for self-realization. ("Don't even ask about the 'Tush Push,' which was a partner exercise I did during a Human Sexuality Workshop. Or the very obese female therapist who sat on my head for twenty-five minutes at Esalen Institute so I could re-experience being smothered by my mother."

Although he claims to come out at the end feeling pretty much like the same guy as when he started, and while he suggests that bookstores create a new category for his book alongside the Self-Help section to be called "No Help Whatsoever," The 99th Monkey is actually a modern-day hero's journey that contains its own unique blend of wisdom and insight into what it really means to be a human being.

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

I learned to write in second grade, at age 7, so that would mean I’ve been writing for 49 years, but I didn’t really start writing seriously until the following year, when I published an op-ed piece in my brother’s mimeographed elementary school newsletter, in which I publicly accused him of stealing my socks.

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

“The 99th Monkey” is a humorous, spiritual memoir. I have lived a rather unusual, and by mainstream standards, outrageous life, and people were constantly telling me to write a book about my adventures, so I finally wrote The 99th Monkey to get them to stop bugging me all the time! It’s sort of a male version of Eat, Pray, Love, except I don’t eat much or fall in love. I do pray a bit, but in the end I utterly fail to get enlightened. The title refers to the 100th Monkey idea, which suggests that a “critical mass” of people—100, say—is required before a tipping point is reached for a paradigm shift to occur in a culture. If you don’t get the 99th person on board, though, you never reach your critical mass and it spoils things for the whole planet. So the book is essentially a history of my resistance to self-transformation, thus gumming up the works for everyone else.

What kind of research was involved in writing “The 99th Monkey”?

Fortunately none, apart from straining my brain to remember the details of my 30+ years of being a professional spiritual seeker. That’s the best part of writing autobiographical material—it’s very light on the research! Ironically, as I mention in the book, one publisher held on to the manuscript for over a year, telling me every few months or so that “We really like it, but we’re still not sure.” I finally couldn’t take it any longer and demanded a decision, and they turned it down, saying, “We decided that the central character’s story just doesn’t hang together.” The central character’s story? Uh, the central character would be me, this is a memoir. So now I have to live with the fact that my story doesn’t hang together. It’s not easy.

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

Quite a bit. Even though my publisher opted not to use the painting of a Jewish-Buddhist-Hindu-Christian-New Age monkey that I submitted for the cover, he included me every step of the way as ideas were tossed around and developed. And I loved what we finally agreed to use.

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

It has been erratic. I published a short story in a literary journal (Epoch) in the early 70s, at the age of 23 or so. My teacher at the New School in New York at the time was Sidney Offit, a well-known author as well as a former president of the Author’s Guild. Professor Offit was very enthusiastic about my work and said he would like to introduce me to an agent. After reading my next classroom submission, however, he decided I wasn’t quite ready, so that never happened. Thirty years later, I published my first novel, Minyan, which won the Peter Taylor Prize for the Novel, first among 400 entries. I sent it to Offit, who called me immediately, and was still very enthusiastic about my work!

In those years between, I published many, many non-fiction articles, and several non-fiction books. For the first one I received a flat fee of $1000 to quickly write an as-yet-nonexistent book that had already sold thousands of copies through ads in the National Enquirer. It’s a funny story you can read more about here: https://www.eliezersobel.com/goodluck.html

Then in the early 90s, my agent, Phil Pochoda, managed to get Simon & Schuster, Bantam, and St. Martin’s into a bidding war for my book, Wild Heart Dancing, and for an unknown author, I wound up receiving a great advance from S&S ($26k), and was promised all sorts of PR. Within weeks of signing the contract, however, the editor who had made the purchase left Simon & Schuster, and was soon followed by her assistant, and there was nobody left in the company who even knew me or the book, and it became just a contractual obligation for them to fulfill, with no support or PR whatsoever.

Phil Pochoda retired soon after, and for my novel Minyan, I was fortunate to secure the representation of Gunther Stuhlmann, a well-respected agent in the world of literary fiction, and he felt confident about placing my book. I was thrilled, naturally. And then Gunther died. Next I got Minyan into the hands of a big-time Hollywood agent, who called me after reading the first chapter and was very excited and enthusiastic, and mentioned the phrase “major motion picture.” She told me she would take the manuscript with her on vacation to Greece to finish reading it. In under two weeks I received a generic postcard—not even a picture on the front—on which she wrote tersely, “I cannot work with this material. I am discarding the manuscript here.” I imagined my characters floating in the Aegean sea, thrashing and flailing about.

So all in all, I would say it has been a bumpy ride.

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

About 18 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 have an agent now, (Alison Picard) who worked very hard to try to sell Minyan after Gunther died, but as it turned out, I wound up getting it published on my own through winning a literary contest. And Alison opted not to represent The 99th Monkey, thinking that memoirs are too hard a sell these days, so I placed that one myself as well. She is currently trying to sell Minyan as a paperback.

Do you plan subsequent books?

I’m slowly trying to write about my Mom, who has Alzheimer’s. It’s a difficult subject for me, and slow going. At first I thought, “This has already been done many times,” and then I realized, “Yes, but not about MY mother, and not by ME!” I’m also working on a sequel to Minyan, the ongoing saga of my fictional alter-ego, Norbert Wilner. When I read all of Kerouac’s work and discovered that most of it featured characters based on all his friends and himself, I decided that that would be my approach to fiction as well.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Are those the only choices? What about 2:25 pm? Actually, I am notoriously inconsistent. Early morning, late at night, mid-day, often not at all. I have never followed the advice to set aside a regular time each day for writing, or to consider it like a job that one goes to everyday no matter what. I only write when I have something to say, and that just doesn’t seem to be the case on a daily basis. That’s why I created a “Mostly Silent Blog”!

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

Well if money was really no object, I suppose I could offer $1,000,000 in cash, tax-free, to every new reader of the book. I think that would work.

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

I’ve learned the hard way that self-promotion is crucial. I watched my last two books slowly sink into oblivion as I waited around for the call from Oprah. I’m not letting that happen this time, so I have been very engaged with learning how to promote on the Internet, as well as setting up public appearances.

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

The most disturbing epiphany I’ve had about publishing is that while it very exciting to have a book accepted by a publisher and to see it in print, that excitement is usually good for about two weeks to a few months at best. People dream about getting published, not realizing that the real mountain to climb doesn’t even come into view until after you’ve published, and that is the mountain of actually getting the book known, and read, and sold. There are literally hundreds of thousands of new titles published in the U.S. every year. I get knots in my belly every time I walk into Barnes & Noble.

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

Well, first they can read the prologue online to see if it grabs them: http://www.the99thmonkey.com (That site will direct them to AMAZON if they choose to buy it, enabling me to earn approximately .000792% of each sale!)

For more about me and my other books and articles, see

http://www.eliezersobel.com

And there’s also my Mostly Silent Blog:

http://the99thmonkey.wordpress.com

Thanks!

Editor's Note: Because we are having problems with our comment box showing up on the main page, please click here to leave a comment. Thank you!

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THE 99TH MONKEY VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on August 4, 2008 and continue all month. You can visit Eliezer's tour stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in August!

As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author with a recent release or a $25 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they come available. Winner will be announced on August 31 at www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.wordpress.com!