Friday, September 26, 2008

Author Interview: Amir Makin, author of A WORTHY MUSLIM


Amir Makin found Al Islam on an unexpected yet fruitful journey to Africa. Having always been intrigued with issues of the oppressed masses, he quickly learned how this way of life directed all to defend and protect the indigent from tyranny while preserving the dignity of the dispossessed. Since that time, he has instilled in himself and advanced the type of analysis that leads to positive change throughout society. You can visit his website at www.unworthymuslim.com.

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

First allow me to thank you for having me as your guest. I initially accepted Al Islam on an unexpected yet fruitful journey to Africa. I was very impressed by the ability exhibited by the indigent and oppressed in preserving their dignity while resisting their current state of oppression. After studying these and other peoples of oppressed backgrounds, the application of the Qur’an made me realize that the way of life called Islam directed all to defend and protect the indigent from tyranny while equally preserving the dignity of the dispossessed. Since that time, I’ve instilled in myself and advanced the type of analysis that leads to positive change throughout society. I have since immersed myself in the area of study that points towards developing solutions for communities most disaffected.

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

Sure the book explains how oppressed communities can handle and overcome oppression by seriously examining the practice of true Islam. I analyze the difference between what is incorrectly perceived as Islam and the way of life called Al Islam while also detailing how different prophets implemented Quranic teachings when standing against injustice. I then take this Information and distinctly convey to the reader through comparison of real world situations of oppression that occur in today's climate with an amazingly refreshing emphasis on the disadvantaged and impoverished of American society from not only a socioeconomic standpoint, but a psychological and spiritual vantage as well.

What kind of research was involved in writing “A Worthy Muslim: Quranic Tools Needed to Overcome Oppression and Imperialism in Order to Institute Justice”?

When trying to convey facts on Sunni Muslims I always have to consult the Qur’an and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) which are called authentic hadeeth. Then I had to understand what historical event was happening when the specific verse of the Qur’an I cite were revealed so that its true message becomes clear to the reader. I also studied the history of racism in America, and the effects of colonialism in Africa.

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

I designed my own book cover. I knew I wanted to convey a visual connection with the sands of the desert whether they were in the Middle East or Iraq or Africa. I also wanted to convey the symbolism that the tools I detail in the book can increase the value of one’s humanity beyond imagination, hence the title that glows while busting out of the book. This sends a message that human development can reach such an optimal level that it shines like a beacon of light in the dark.

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

I went through several rejections before I found AIC Publications, LLC. Other publishers told me no one wanted to read about subjects such as facts on Sunni Muslims, internalized oppression and racism. They wanted me to focus on Middle East or Iraq or Africa, and terrorism situations. I would usually respond by stating these issues are addressed in the book and will continue to be in different places. Then they would usually state that they wanted complete control and would not help with marketing in addition to this! As a result it took 2 years for me to finish this book.

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 do not have an agent. I like to make myself pretty accessible to those who may have questions on the subject matter of racism, oppression or poverty and how understanding facts on Sunni Muslims address these and other issues. This is one of the reasons I started my blog which is http://aworthymuslimovercomes.blogspot.com

Do you plan subsequent books?

I plan to release 3 more titles in 2009 to address family issues, manhood training and development of leadership for one’s community and reducing the recidivism rate of former convicts.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I pretty much do my best writing at night, partly because that’s when everyone typically winds down. I’ve already taken care of everyone else’s interests for the day and the night is the time I use to take care of mine. Also, the feeling of getting it finished so I can go to bed before midnight helps place me in an extra state of urgency. I seem to get my best thoughts onto paper at these moments.

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

The first thing would be banner advertisements online. If you can get to a site where your audience regularly visits and post your book banner there for an indefinite amount of impressions, you’re exposing your book to literally millions on a daily basis.

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

Self promotion is the most important form of promotion, because if you believe in what you’ve produced then you automatically are the best one to convey its importance to others. I do all of my promotion online, so the first thing I did was to use mass email distribution lists, yahoo groups and Google Ad Words. Key word searched based ads were helpful too in generating interest. I’ve also conducted seminars about disseminating facts on Sunni Muslims with regards to overcoming racism and internalized oppression. By far the best form of promotion is when someone becomes so motivated by the book, that their word of mouth advertisements yield immense results.

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

Certainly, the book can be purchased on Amazon.com, and from my publisher at http://aicpublications.com/featuredbook.html Also because this is Ramadan (the month of fasting), I’m offering an opportunity for a book giveaway which will conclude at the end of Ramadan (projected date is October 2, 2008). This will require reader participation of which complete details can be found on my blog. Thanks again.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Looking for Halloween Guest Bloggers: Win a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate!

During the entire month of October, The Writer's Life will be celebrating Halloween in a big way. Throughout the month, we will be publishing true ghostie stories! You don't have to be published to submit your true paranormal experiences. Here are the guidelines:

  • Open to all writers - published or not.
  • Your url and bio will be included with your blog post to bring more traffic to your website or blog, so don't forget to add it to your blog post!
  • Word count - no longer than 800 words, please. The shorter, the better.
  • We reserve the right to edit, but please proof read before sending!
Oh yes, and there is a prize! The guest blogger with the most comments will win a $25 gift certificate from Amazon and will be announced on October 31!

Send in your true ghostie stories to thewriterslife(at)yahoo.com and please put "True Halloween Story - The Writer's Life" in your subject line.

Thank you and we look forward to your submission!



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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Mind/Body/Spirit Author Irene Watson


Irene Watson holds a Masters Degree in Psychology, with honors, from Regis University in Denver, CO. Her life has taken her on many paths, with breakthrough results and exemplar growth, to find her authentic and true self. She lives with her husband in Austin, Texas. You can visit her website at www.irenewatson.com.

About the Book:

Irene Watson's pretentious life could go no further until she faced her past. Her moving and inspiring memoir begins at the end, in a recovery center, where she has gone to understand a childhood fraught with abuse, guilt and uncertainty. Her powerful story is a testament that it’s never too late to change your life, never too late to heal.

You can purchase your copy of THE SITTING SWING at Amazon, the author’s website, and other fine retail outlets.

_____________________________________

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

My life has taken me on many paths, with breakthrough results and exemplar growth, to find my authentic and true self. I’ve designed and facilitated workshops and retreats throughout the United States and Canada. I hold a Masters Degree in Psychology, with honors, from Regis University in Denver, CO. My emphasis was spirituality and psychosynthesis. At present I live with my husband of 42 years on the banks of Barton Creek in Austin, Texas along with our Pomeranian, Tafton; a rescued cat, Patches; and a rescued cockatiel, Clement.

I started writing my book in 2004, and had the first edition published in 2005. It was my first attempt to publish and I used a subsidy press. Since then I learned so much – my goodness, did I learn! (Laughs) A traditional publisher picked up my book; it was revised and much was added to make it what it is now.

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

I had a story to tell, and I felt my story was going to help others heal from dysfunctional experiences in their childhood. I believe it’s never too late to find a way to re-write our scripts passed down for generations. By telling my story, I feel it gives hope to others.

What kind of research was involved in writing “The Sitting Swing: Finding Wisdom to Know the Difference”?

Since it was my own story much of it came from my own memory. The portions that depict the recovery center, my experience there, and the didactics came from the notes I took while there.

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

Not, much. I handed it over to the cover designer and she came up with the cover. I was fully satisfied and thrilled with her choice.

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

The first time around for this book was bumpy. I sent out 147 query letters and finally got a bite from a subsidy press. At that time I didn’t know the difference between traditional and subsidy press publishing. Although the subsidy press owner was supportive, I soon realized all the cons to it. The book was also badly edited by them and I didn’t realize that until after it was published. As soon as I found out of the editing issues I put a stop to selling.

However, even though it had major issues, the book won an Honorable Mention – Regional from IPPY, and I did get a review from Publishers Weekly.

About two years later I was offered publication by a traditional publisher. The original manuscript went through two major edits, and a number of minor ones. We added things like a readers guide, resources, bibliography, a subtitle, and of course an afterword. We changed the cover, the print style, etc.

The Sitting Swing: Finding Wisdom to Know the Difference took on a new life.

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

About 6 months with the traditional publisher. We didn’t bother making ARCs and galleys to send out because I had already received major reviews. Normally, it takes longer because of the importance of sending out the book for pre-pub reviews.

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 acted as my own agent because that’s what I do. I believe it is necessary to have one, but, that said, shopping for an agent is extremely important. The first question that needs to be asked of the agent is: Do you have a close relationship with publishers? This is very important. Agents come a dime a dozen and most send in queries to the publisher no different than an author would. Most traditional publishers only work with agents they’ve established a relationship with.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Maybe. Right now I don’t have anything in mind except I am an co-editor of one book “The Story that Must be Told: True Tales of Transformation” and I’m going to co-edit another that will include 30+ publishing secrets from experts in the field.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I’m an inspirational writer – it could be in the morning, night, or even in the middle of the night. I don’t have a set pattern of writing; I just write when I’m inspired.

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

Wow, that’s quite a question. I would probably create an infomercial.

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

It’s one of the most important and the most difficult things to do. Things I’ve done: Reader Views (www.readerviews.com) and Rebecca’s Reads (www.rebeccasreads) features; blog tour; my personal blog; Amazon book launch; news releases; direct media contact; direct target contact; and I’m still in the process of finding ways to promote my book. I’ve also sent a copy to various treatment centers, as well as other centers I feel would be a good target. I also had my own personal book launch party.

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

Never loose sight of the big picture, create the vision, and go for it!

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

My official website is www.irenewatson.com. There you can link to my blog. If the book is purchased through my site I will autograph it and pay the shipping. The Sitting Swing: Finding Wisdom to Know the Difference is also available through local and online sellers.




Thursday, September 18, 2008

HarperCollins to open community-based book forum


HarperCollins is getting ready to open up a community-based book forum where authors can create and manage their own pages, compile virtual bookshelves and write reviews to share with others. Anyone who lands on your page will be able to access a synopsis, similar titles and information on events. There will also be a chat forum.

BookArmy is a joint venture between HarperCollins and investment fun Fleming Media, which recently invested in mother and baby social network Gurgle.

Keep checking BookArmy.com for it's opening day!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Publisher The Story Plant Launches in Fall '08


Lou Aronica, former Publisher of Avon Books and Peter Miller, President of PMA Literary and Film Management, Inc. today announced the formation of a new independent publishing house named The Story Plant. The house, dedicated to commercial fiction and author development, will publish its first two books, American Quest by Sienna Skyy and Capitol Reflections by Jonathan Javitt, in the fall of 2008.

Created because Aronica and Miller saw an opportunity in the marketplace to develop writers over multiple books, The Story Plant will focus on long-term relationships with commercial novelists. “There are many good reasons why publishers take a one-book-at-a-time approach with new writers,” said Aronica, the company’s Publisher, “but I’m not entirely sure that’s the best approach for either the writer or the publisher. We’re being ultra-selective in the writers we choose, but when we choose them, we’re making a serious commitment to them.” That commitment includes close editorial work with the writers and marketing plans that ramp up months before publication and extend from one book to the next.

In addition to North American book publication rights, The Story Plant will have an active role in the exploitation of foreign, performance, and merchandising rights for all of its titles. Miller, the company’s Marketing and Rights Director, currently has multiple film projects in development, including a ten-part miniseries, Reclaiming History by Vincent Bugliosi for HBO with Tom Hanks’ production company Playtone, and the first live action film from Oscar-winning director Brad Bird, 1906 by James Dalessandro. “When we sign a Story Plant title,” said Miller, “we’re specifically looking at the book’s film and foreign potential. We think the books on this list are going to be successful on a number of platforms.” The Story Plant has retained Baror International, Inc. to sell foreign rights.

The Story Plant will be distributed by Perseus Distribution, a fact that thrills Aronica and Miller. “The energy and optimism there is contagious,” noted Aronica. “We are very excited to be working with such publishing veterans as Lou and Peter to launch a new publishing program,” said Sabrina McCarthy, VP of Client Services for Perseus Distribution, “and we’re looking forward to selling their new line of commercial fiction.”

The Story Plant list will launch with American Quest, a contemporary romantic fantasy, in hardcover in September. They will publish Capitol Reflections, a medical thriller, in trade paperback the following month.

Aronica spent twenty years at publishing houses, serving as Deputy Publisher at Bantam before becoming Publisher at Berkley and Avon. In recent years, he has focused on writing, authoring two pseudonymous novels and seven works of nonfiction. Miller has been managing writers in books and film for more than three decades, representing more than a dozen New York Times bestsellers and Executive Producing more than a dozen movies.

For more information contact: Lou Aronica at Lou.Aronica@TheStoryPlant.com or Peter Miller at Peter.Miller@TheStoryPlant.com

The uncertain end of the publishing industry?

In the News & Features section of the Sunday edition of the New York Times:

The book business as we know it will not be living happily ever after. With sales stagnating, CEO heads rolling, big-name authors playing musical chairs, and Amazon looming as the new boogeyman, publishing might have to look for its future outside the corporate world.


Click here to read the rest of story.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Author Promo: Memoir Author Angus Munro visits Zensanity!

Angus Munro, author of the memoir, A FULL HOUSE - BUT EMPTY, will be stopping off at Zensanity on Day Ten of his virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!

A grade-school dropout learns that beyond his basic limitations hard work and dedication can breed success. A true story.

You can find out more about this talented author and his new book at www.angusrmunro.com.

A FULL HOUSE - BUT EMPTY VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ‘08 will officially begin on September 2, 2008 and end on September 26, 2008. You can visit Angus’ tour stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in September to find out more about him and his 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 September 30!

Author Promo: Nonfiction Author Amir Makin visits The Book Connection!

Amir Makin, author of the nonfiction book, A WORTHY MUSLIM: QURANIC TOOLS NEEDED TO OVERCOME OPPRESSION AND IMPERIALISM IN ORDER TO INSTITUTE JUSTICE, will be stopping off at The Book Connection on Day 10 of his virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!

Amir Makin found Al Islam on an unexpected yet fruitful journey to Africa. Having always been intrigued with issues of the oppressed masses, he quickly learned how this way of life directed all to defend and protect the indigent from tyranny while preserving the dignity of the dispossessed.

You can find out more about him and his new book, A WORTHY MUSLIM, at www.unworthymuslim.com.

A WORTHY MUSLIM VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ‘08 will officially begin on September 2, 2008 and end on September 26, 2008. You can visit Amir.’s tour stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in September to find out more about him and his 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 September 30!

Author Promo: Historical Fiction Author C.W. Gortner v isits Dear Author & Book Bitch!

C.W. Gortner, author of the historical fiction novel, THE LAST QUEEN, will be stopping off at Dear Author and Book Bitch on Day Ten of his virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!

The Last Queen tells the legendary story of Juana la Loca, daughter of Isabel of Castile and sister of Catherine of Aragon - a queen who fought fiercely for her throne against unimaginable betrayal and became one of history’s darkest secrets.

You can find out more about C.W. by visiting his website at www.cwgortner.com.

THE LAST QUEEN VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ‘08 will officially begin on September 2, 2008 and end on September 26, 2008. You can visit C.W.’s tour stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in September to find out more about him and his 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 September 30!

Author Promo: Douglas Carlton Abrams visits Bookish Ruth and Book Excerpts from Bestselling Authors!

Douglas Carlton Abrams, author of the historical fiction novel, THE LOST DIARY OF DON JUAN, will be stopping off at Bookish Ruth and Book Excerpts from Bestselling Authors on Day 10 of his virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!

Douglas Carlton Abrams’ magical debut novel captures the heart of the Spanish Golden Age and the secret life of the world’s greatest lover - Don Juan - who came to embody the spirit of desire that would inflame the modern age.

You can find out more about Douglas by visiting his website at www.lostdiaryofdonjuan.com.

THE LOST DIARY OF DON JUAN VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ‘08 will officially begin on September 2, 2008 and end on September 26, 2008. You can visit Douglas’ tour stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in September to find out more about him and his 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 September 30!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

What's a Virtual Book Tour and What's in it for Me?

Great article by one of Pump Up Your Book Promotion's past clients, Phyllis Zimbler Miller, about her virtual book tour experience.

Read it here!

Have you self-published a novel?

If you have self-published a fictional novel, The Self-Publishing Experience blog would love for you to talk about it. Not only will you let the world know about your experiences in self-publishing your book, but they will also link to your website and Amazon page as well.

Easy to fill out form for your submission can be found here.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Interview with Romantic Suspense Author Maryann Miller

A diverse writer of columns, feature stores, short fiction, novels,screenplays and stage plays, Maryann Miller has won numerous awards including being a semi-finalist at the Sundance Institute for her screenplay, "A Question of Honor". More recently she placed in the top 15 percent of entries in the Chesterfield Screenwriting Fellowship with the adaptation of her mystery, "Open Season"

Publishing credits include work for regional and national newspapers and magazines: Lady's Circle, Woman's World, Marriage and Family Living, Plano Magazine, The Children's World, Byline, The Texas Catholic Newspaper. She has published nine non-fiction books for teens, including the award-winning Coping With Weapons and Violence : In Your School and on Your Streets released by The Rosen Publishing Group in New York. She
has a short story in the All About Muse anthology, The Holiday Mixer. Her novel, One Small Victory, was a hardback release from Five Star Publishing in June 2008, and Play it Again, Sam, is a July 2008 release from Uncial Press in e-book formats.

She is currently the Managing Editor and writer for an online community magazine, WinnsboroToday.com, and does book reviews for ForeWord Magazine and two online review sites, BloggerNews.net and Curled Up With a Good Book. She also does freelance editing. Other experience includes extensive work as a PR consultant, a script doctor, and a freelance
editor. She has been writing all her life and plans to die at her computer.

Until then, Miller stays active in a number of organizations including Sisters In Crime, The Trails Country Centre For The Arts in
Winnsboro, Texas, and was a founder of The Greater Dallas Writers' Association.

She makes her home in the beautiful Piney Woods of East Texas where she happily plays farmer. She has a horse, two goats, three cats, and two dogs. She shares these critters and five acres with her husband and an armadillo that visits frequently. You can visit her website at www.maryannwrites.com.

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

Thanks for the invite to be a guest here, Dorothy. Appreciate that very much. I have been writing all my life and won my first contest when I was twelve years old. I won honorable mention in the Scholastic Writing Awards contest and went to the magnificent Fisher Theatre in Detroit to get my award. I felt like a princess going to a castle. The experience of being there was as wonderful as winning a prize.

My first professional gig was as a weekly humor columnist for a suburban newspaper, and I became known as “The Erma Bombeck of Plano.” From there I went on to publish and work in a number of nonfiction areas. I also did some freelance PR work, as well as doing some script editing and doctoring.

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

One Small Victory is about a woman who infiltrates a drug ring and helps bring down a major distributor in her rural Texas town. It was inspired by a true story of a woman who did this in Michigan. She was a single mother with several children, had no background in law enforcement, and had just lost her oldest son in a car accident. When I read the news story about this incredible woman, I just knew I had to write about her.

What kind of research was involved in writing “One Small Victory”?

I had to do a tremendous amount of research about the various levels of law enforcement personnel involved in a drug task force in a rural setting, and that took about six months. I also had to learn about the drug business and how it operates. Luckily, I had contacts in law enforcement that could help me. I also learned about guns from my son, who worked in the armory for the Marines. For the sub plot, which deals with the grief issues, I didn’t do specific research, but I relied on my education, training and experience as a hospital chaplain. Grief isn’t the same for everyone, and it was so helpful to know that as I worked with the central characters and the aftermath of the death in the family.

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

I had a fair amount of input into the design of the cover. Initially, I filled out a lengthy description of characters, setting, etc, so the artist could have that to work from. I also sent the artist a detailed synopsis of the book. When the first draft of the cover was sent to me to give more input, the picture of the woman was of someone who looked much younger than my central character. That was changed, and we all agreed that the cover tuned out great.

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

It was relatively easy to get a nonfiction book published because of the years of journalism experience I have. Rosen Publishing bought my first nonfiction book on a proposal, and I went on to do nine more books with them. Getting fiction published, however, hasn’t been a smooth ride. I thought my first break into mass market fiction was going to happen about 12 years ago when I had a contract for Play It Again, Sam from Kensington. The book was to be part of a line they were doing “Second Change at Love.” Just shortly before I was to turn in my finished manuscript, the editor called me to say the line was closing. I had an agent at the time who did get me the rest of my advance, but he was not able to sell the book to another house, nor was he able to sell any of my other projects. It was always a matter of “this is really good, but it is not great.”

The fiction market in NY has been so tight for almost 20 years, it is harder and harder for a new author to get a book deal.

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

It took just about a year for the book to come out after the contract was signed.

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 do not currently have an agent, but I wouldn’t mind. J I think an agent can be beneficial, especially for situations like I had with Kensington, not to mention helping to get foreign sales and other ancillary sales.

Do you plan subsequent books?

I have a mystery series that I have worked on off and on for a number of years that I hope Five Star is going to buy. I am waiting to hear back from the acquisitions editor on that. The series features two women homicide detectives in Dallas, one white and one black. Back when my agent was marketing this, he referred to it as “Lethal Weapon in Dallas.” The first book is Open Season and all the titles will have “Season” as an identifier. I’m working on Stalking Season now.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I’m an all day writer. J Because of my day job as Managing Editor of WinnsboroToday.com, I start my day with updates for that. Then I do some business for myself, promoting, etc. In the later afternoon is when I may scrounge a couple of hours to work on the second book in the mystery series.

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

If money was no object, I think I’d hire a full-time publicist. Arranging events and publicizing them takes so much time that I would love to be able to pay someone else to do it.

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

Even though they are my least favorite thing to do, marketing and self-promotion are vital. I have had a couple of signing events and have a few more planned for the fall. Because Five Star books are sold heavily to the library market, I went to the Texas Library Association Convention in Dallas this spring. I handed out some ARCs of the book, as well as tons of promotional material. I had printed 600 samplers of the book with the cover art, synopsis, publishing information, sample chapters, and information about me. In addition, I have been contacting libraries across the country, some by e-mail and others by regular mail, encouraging them to order the book. Online, I have been connecting to social sites related to books and visiting tons of blogs in an effort to get to know more people and let them know about me and the book. And a few months ago I started writing for Bloggernews.net. I do reviews for them and have had a lot of exposure as a result.

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

I think success depends as much on tenacity as it does talent, so if you really want to be published, keep at it. Write, read, learn, and don’t resist a good critique. In my opinion a good book isn’t written, it’s rewritten.

Thank you for coming, Maryann. 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, Dorothy. It’s been a pleasure. My website is: http://www.maryannwrites.com My blogs are http://themanyfacesofgrief.blogspot.com/ and http://its-not-all-gravy.blogspot.com/ To check out my day job, folks can access it here: http://www.winnsborotoday.com

And my book can be purchased at Amazon.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

From Booking Through Thursday:

Today is the 7th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I know that not all of you who read are in the U.S., but still, it’s vital that none of us who are decent people forget the scope of disaster that a few, evil people can cause–anywhere in the world. It’s not about religion, it’s not about politics, it’s about the acknowledgment that humans should try to work together, not tear each other apart, even when they disagree.

So, feeling my way to a question here … Terrorists aren’t just movie villains any more. Do real-world catastrophes such as 9/11 (and the bombs in Madrid, and the ones in London, and the war in Darfur, and … really, all the human-driven, mass loss-of-life events) affect what you choose to read? Personally, I used to enjoy reading Tom Clancy, but haven’t been able to stomach his fight-terrorist kinds of books since.

And, does the reality of that kind of heartless, vicious attack–which happen on smaller scales ALL the time–change the way you feel about villains in the books you read? Are they scarier? Or more two-dimensional and cookie-cutter in the face of the things you see on the news?


What a deep subject for today!

I can't really say it influences my reading at all. I know when I watch movies that scare me, that does influence (I don't watch slasher movies anymore) so I don't know why I would think otherwise when reading a book because it's much the same.

I don't purposely buy terrorist books, but you have to admit the nonfiction ones will keep you turning pages especially if it's written by someone who has the skinny on the facts. I'm trying to remember a book I read a while back that had this theme in mind...now that one was good. Okay, I've got it here now. MARWAN by Aram Schefrin. I was glued to that book. We had him on tour a few months ago. If you ever want to read about the facts from the other side of the fence, that's the one to read. It is excellent.

BTW, prayers and hugs go to the victims of the families who perished seven years ago. If I had one wish to make, it would be for world peace everywhere. Maybe we'll get it sometime in the next lifetime. I highly doubt it, but it's a good wish not to waste anyway.

A New Look!

Please excuse our dust while we change over to a brand new interfacing with new interviews, new guest posts and book industry reports!

Thank you!

The Writer's Life

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Author Interview: Memoir Author Angus Munro, author of A FULL HOUSE - BUT EMPTY

Angus Munro has roots that run deep. His farming ancestors came from Scotland in 1830 and his relatives still reside on the same farmlands in Southern Ontario, Canada. His grandfather left Ontario and took his family to Saskatchewan in 1905 and became a prosperous wheat farmer. When Angus' father married, the grandfather leased other farmlands to get his son established. Angus' father lost the total proceeds of his first wheat crop in a wild poker game at the local grain elevator. The grandfather was none too happy and decided to relocate to Vancouver, B.C. The Depression deepened and sadly Angus' grandfather passed away - leaving his entire estate to his second son. Angus' father traveled to see his brother to seek financial assistance and received nothing. He returned to Vancouver unexpectedly one evening and found his wife in bed with someone else. Thus, his father became a single parent to three children - Laura 6, Angus 3, and Marjorie and infant. The following day, Angus became very ill with appendicitis and spent seven weeks in the Vancouver General Hospital. The author vividly covers his early childhood years and living with another family - similar circumstances, a father with five children, coping with the Depression and, thereafter, addressing their dual basic family needs. Angus' new memoir, A Full House - But Empty, is the gripping story of young Angus' life growing up in the Depression years based on the positive lessons he had learned from his father during their somewhat traumatic and hectic years together. If you would like to find out more about Angus and his new book, visit here.

Thank you for this interview, Angus. Can you tell us about yourself and how long you have been writing?

I was born in Vancouver, Canada during the Great Depression. Due to a chronic sinus condition, I moved to Southern California in my twenty-seventh year. After completing thirty-nine years in hospital administration, I retired in 2003. I was so actively involved with my career, when I faced retirement, I thought to myself, What’s next! A book pondered I?

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

When I retired, I found myself reminiscing about my life experiences and particularly, reviewing my somewhat hectic but interesting childhood. In the process, I fondly recalled my earlier childhood, particularly when my single parent, father of three young children decided to move with another single father of five children. The fathers were both from farming families, hardworking and shared similar marital situations. This move occurred when I was seven years old and we lived together for four years. I decided it could be a good read for my two great nephews who were in the same age span as I, during those happy years. When I completed that project, my great nephews’ father, Paul, read my (rough) draft and said that I was just getting started. He emphatically stated, “Keep going you have an interesting story to tell.”

What kind of research was involved in writing, A Full House – But Empty?

No resource was necessary – all from memory. Apart from my somewhat unusual childhood, I became a grade-school dropout at age fourteen, due to an unfortunate incident. At seventeen, I was tossing lumber ends off of a conveyor belt in a sawmill. My father was a great partygoer and poker player with both activities taking place in our home on a regular basis. On one occasion, a theological student who was attending the University of British Columbia arrived with a group of my father’s pub club cohorts. He and I became friends and he stopped by one quiet evening unexpectedly and gave me a Dutch uncle speech. He informed me to get off of my ass and get moving. He suggested that I take accounting and typing evening classes at a local high school to acquire some basic skills. He further suggested I seek a white-collar entrance position in which I could start climbing up the vocational ladder. His poignant words were well spoken and I did exactly what he suggested.

Solely based on that Dutch uncle speech, I successfully and methodically moved upward. I spent nine years in the petroleum industry in both Canada and the USA. At my last employer I was scheduled for a junior executive position in their home office. I decided to change careers and spent thirty-nine years in hospital administration in California and Alaska. As a healthcare director, I had staffing complements of fifty-five to seventy employees.

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

Upon completion of my autobiography, I quickly learned that as a non-celebrity, there was little or virtually no interest in terms of submissions to publishing companies, and/or literary agents. I believed my only course of action was self-publishing. I sent my final draft to iUniverse for review and publication. In addressing the cover, I simply sent three pictures of myself and they did the rest. In terms of the time involved, regarding their review and setup and publication, it overall, ran very smoothly at around 90 days in total.

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

When I received copies of my book, I quickly realized that the onus was on me to get promotional services moving. No one heard of Angus Munro or his book. I realized that book reviews were essential and I located Tracy Roberts of Write Field Services in Chester, Nova Scotia. She not only gave me an excellent review but also constructively assisted this novice to get things moving. Aside from working with Tracy, at her recommendation, she suggested I obtain another review from AllBooks Review. Their editor is Shirley Roe and she had my book reviewed by her associate, Emily-Jane Hills Orford. I received another excellent review and I am currently listed on the AllBooks Review site. Additionally, I have placed ads in several magazines in their MARKETPLACE section and I have had other reviews as well. I have also been working with Internet book promotional organizations and I am currently working with Dorothy Thompson of Pump Up Your Book Promotion. She has been wonderful and I am very hopeful of promising results from her program.

Do you plan subsequent books? Are you a morning or night writer?

At the moment, my full concentration has been on promoting my current book; however, I have been pondering over thoughts for my next one. In terms of writing, day or night makes no difference, it is just as the old adage conveys, mind over matter.

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

I would seek professional assistance from key persons in the various media such as the Internet, print media, TV and radio, whatever. Frankly, as it stands, I can only allocate a certain amount monthly for my book promotional services adventure. In the process, I have been working with some wonderful people and also very importantly learning step by step. Sometimes, it has been two steps back and one forward. However, it has been a joy and a great personal experience writing this book and being involved with some wonderful people. The pot at the end of this rainbow for me may be a feeling of accomplishment in writing my memoirs and the recognition from receiving such outstanding reviews. A great report card!

My book is available at Barnes and Noble, Borders, Chapters and Amazon. Com. (price $20.95)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Interview with Health Expert Oscar Naval, author of FULL BODY ORGASM

Oscar Naval’s path of awakening to the full body orgasm of life began during his engineering consulting career. He successfully consulted with high-tech computer clients from Apple Computer to Xilinx. Although he had career and financial success, he was over-weight, a workaholic and failed at a 10-year marriage. This was his wake-up call to discover what really is important in life.

He traveled the world from the land-lines in the British Isles to the Oracle at Delphi, from the red earth of Utah to the spiritual spots of Sedona, Arizona, and scuba diving the depths of oceans. He has worked remodeling vacations units, selling holiday activities, and as well as an Open Water PADI Scuba Diving Instructor in Hawaii. Over time and experiences, he grew to find more clarity, balance, and spirit.

Before moving to Australia, Oscar lived on the island of Maui and on the Big Island of Hawaii where he discovered the depth and richness of native Hawaiian spirituality. On the Kona coast on the island of Hawaii, he studied to be Hawaiian Lomilomi Massage therapist.

After arriving in Australia he found his spiritual family, close friendships, and a loving relationship. Oscar married his lovely wife Lisa in 2003 and their son, Mikey, was born in February 2005.

Oscar Naval holds a Diploma of Body-centred Psychotherapy from the Institute of Core Energetics, Australia. He is also a Hawaiian Lomi-lomi massage therapist.

You can visit him on the web at www.FBO-book.com.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Oscar. Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

FULL BODY ORGASM is about feeling unrestrained joy and pleasure in every aspect of life.

The full body orgasm or “FBO” for short is life force energy. The FBO is continuous joy and pleasure that opens the doors of peak experiences in all aspects of life. In other words, to fully experience the energy of an FBO is to experience joy and pleasure in everything you do in life. This energy is a function of the free flowing, ever expanding life force. In Eastern philosophies it is call Prana, Qi, Chi, and the Hawaiians called it Mana. The energy of sexuality and the pure essence of life itself are the same. This book is for those who are looking to increase their understanding of this energy in their physical body, thinking mind, and free spirit.

I wrote the book because, as a Body-centered Psychotherapist, many people over the years have asked, “How do I create loving, joyous, and pleasurable peak experiences every day, in every way in my life?”

You know how most people are just getting through life? They're just surviving in their career, business, financial life, well-being, and their relationships. They are accepting a life of mediocrity and not having what I call the “Full Body Life Experience” or what I coined the “FBO Life” for short. A graphic term, but perhaps the best way to communicate to those “Doubting Thomases” how extraordinary it is possible to feel each and every day.

The orgasm - physically, mentally, and spiritually - is as natural as the Earth revolving around the sun. It is a birth rite to have unrestrained joy and pleasure in everything you do. For most people the orgasm may be analogous to a sneeze - a pelvic sneeze, if you will. There is a slight build up and then, “Ah-choo!” It’s over – and so goes their life too.

I have a vision that “if everyone swept their own doorstep we would live in a cleaner, brighter world”. In other words, clean up your own personal act and there will be an end to war, famine, and strife. Closer to home there would be an end to domestic violence, suicides, and more love in the family. I wrote the book so people could benefit from a complete, balanced, and joyous FBO Life.

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

I had quite a bit of input into the book cover. I knew the color and the feeling of joy and pleasure in everything in life needed to be felt.

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

It has been a bumpy ride. In writing a Personal Growth book I felt it is necessary to “walk your talk”. The challenges in writing this book are the challenges everyone faces when they begin to look deeper into their own psyche. The outer workings and mechanics of writing this constantly reflect the inner conflicts and turmoil churning inside me.

I became the therapist because I wanted answers in my own life. I grew up 3 blocks from San Francisco General Hospital with the sound of sirens every night. It was the turbulent sixties in San Francisco and the hospital was running a full business. The local corner store owner was nicknamed by the SF television media as “Yosemite Sam” because he would legally shoot would-be robbers on a regular basis. He was considered a local hero. Gunfire was not unusual in the Mission District.

My next door neighbor was a few years older than I and was well respected among the neighborhood kids because he seemed the most confident, calm, and cool kid who’d play street football with all of us. When I was about 10 years old, he shot himself. At about the same time my brother became good friends with someone ended up in San Quentin prison on Death Row.

Ambulance and police sirens, gunfire, a hero who shot people, good people who killed themselves and a murderer as a family friend - I figured all this was normal.

However, perhaps in spite of these beginnings, or perhaps because of them, my whole life has been a quest for true happiness and joy.

So, yes, it has been a bumpy ride becoming a published Personal Growth author because I had to take responsibility and face my own personal growth. “Doctor heal thy self.”

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

I took about a year. I had several ideas as well as articles I’ve written over the years as a therapist.

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?

No I don’t have an agent. I do feel it is necessary to have help. But again, in walking my talk, I need to grow personally and when the time is right the necessary person or persons will be attracted to the FBO Life philosophy I am promoting.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes I do. This book is the cornerstone to a “FBO Life” series for love, relationships, creative energies, and personal development in several aspects of life.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Being a husband and father of a 3 year old son keeps me busy day and night. So I tend to write when I can but I notice I do best work early in the morning before my son wakes up.

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

To promote my book - I would probably be investing in a team of people who have the same passion in my FBO Life vision of the world.

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

As I state in my book, some things you know, some things you know you don’t know, and some things you don’t know that you don’t know. I have to admit I have been very naïve. The more I learn about books and book promotion I realize that is self-promotion and book promotion is very, very important both on and off line.

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

The only caveat to ‘Just Do It!’ is to do it with passion and fun.


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