Thursday, October 30, 2008

Winner of J.R. Paine's DEAR GOD LET ME LOSE FAT AMEN Announced!

Congratulations to Crystal Adkins who has just won a FREE autographed copy of Dr. J.R. Paine's diet book, DEAR GOD LET ME LOSE FAT AMEN!

But, wait, we have runners up! All those who commented receives a free gift from Dr. J.R. Paine herself! The runners up are:
Buster James
May
Sofia
Morgan Mandel

Please will the runners up email me at thewriterslife(at)yahoo.com and put "Free gift from Dr. J.R. Paine" in the subject line so we can get your mailing address and send you your free gift?

Congratulations to all winners!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Win a copy of Dr. J.R. Paine's diet book, DEAR GOD LET ME LOSE FAT, AMEN

Today's the day!

Win a copy of Dr. J.R. Paine's new diet book, Dear God Let Me Lose Fat, Amen!

Dr. Paine has been on a two month long virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion and to celebrate, she's giving away a FREE copy to someone who leaves a comment on this blog post. If you would like a chance to win, leave your email address along with your comment so we can contact you if you're the winner.

The winner will be announced on this blog on October 30! What have you got to lose??? Pun intended!!!

If you would like to find out more about Dr. Paine and her wonderful new book, Dear God Let Me Lose Fat, Amen, visit her tour page here!

Good luck, everyone, and have a happy TGIF!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Interview with Diet Expert Dr. J.R. Paine


Dr. J. R. Paine, D.Sc., and Distinguished Professor Emeritus Dr. S. N. Gupta, Ph.D. are the founders of Health Super Spa Inc. Dr. Gupta’s achievements are profiled in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World and Who’s Who in Finance and Industry. Together and with Science Consultants Dr. Ranee K. Brylinski, Ph.D., and Dr. Jean Luc Brylinski, Ph.D., they have devoted over 145,000 hours to research and the development of the 21st Century solution for obesity.

The results of nearly a million hours of health related research are published every week in scientific journals, medical and health journals, world health organizations websites, governmental agency websites, the drug and food industry websites and many other sources. Health Super Spa Inc. has applied the results of this treasury of research along with the treasury of its own database to create a virtual team of over 100 virtual 24/7 Health Info-Experts, Info-Therapists, tutors, trainers, coaches and more to provide health benefits to 300 million Americans and to bring balance to the health hazards created by 30-second commercials for fatty, sugary, salty, processed and other harmful foods and fluids. NATURE DEMANDS BALANCE AT ALL TIMES.

Health Super Spa, Inc. has also invented the indispensable AutoSlim HOME HEALTH HUB. Hundreds of millions of moms, dads, teens, kids and grandparents can now derive the benefits easily available in 24/7 instant access to Knowledge-Nutrition for the brain at a nominal cost (usually the cost of 3-4 fast food lunches).

You can visit their blog at www.deargoddiet.wordpress.com.

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

The sole objective of “Dear God, Let Me Lose Fat, Amen” is to ensure that everyone who owns a human body is able to benefit from Nature’s enormous healing power through our never before available counter-attack fast delivery, fast facts nuggets of knowledge nutrition for the BRAIN served by an Auto Slim Hot Tips Team of forty 24/7/365 virtual Therapists, Personal Trainers, Tutors, Coaches, Nutrition Bodyguards and other health Experts.

Scientists, scholars, sages and saints have known the truth about the connection between Nature, physics and human life for millenniums. The vitally important scientific facts recited below are not a secret to scholars and scientists. We have taken a thousand years of knowledge and wisdom produced by great minds of history, condensed it into 150 fast delivery, fast facts nuggets of knowledge nutrition for the brain and put the best of it to work for 330 million Americans and billions around the world.

The “pot of Gold” AutoSlim Hot Tips team in the “Dear God, Let Me Lose Fat, Amen” book will bring relief to the pain of faux hunger pangs and persistent cravings that lay the foundation for the 9 clusters of debilitating diseases:

IT (internet technology) scientists estimate that by the year 2017, ONE BILLION people would have moved into the virtual world. You are among the very first to move in and to claim a place of your own in the amazing, exciting, wonderful new virtual world. “Dear God, Let Me Lose Fat, Amen” flies you to the wondrous, super affordable, nature guaranteed virtual world of health and Nature AutoSlim world right now where your own POT OF GOLD loaded with health and fitness awaits you.

We wrote this book because having reached the Zero Obesity Zone ourselves by using our Patent Pending 24/7 Auto Slim Hot Tips Team of Info-Therapists and Tutors and having sustained the compact body size for better than five years without starvation, food deprivation, risky diet pills, hormonal injections. liposuctions, surgical procedures, punishing physical workouts, pain, anger, and frustration, it is our duty to share our immense knowledge with our fellow man.

What kind of research was involved in writing “Dear God, Let Me Lose Fat, Amen”?

145,000 hours of unrelenting research with analysis of millions of hours of research work on health and weight issues conducted at major world universities, laboratories, clinics, hospitals, medical centers, government health agencies and world health organizations.

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

We designed it from A to Z.

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

It is all in a day’s work. Just keep on plowing the field so that it can grow the crop and nourish the people.

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

About 2 years.

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 agent, We are hands on people.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes indeed. Our book “Health Super Spa In a Book” should be available

Soon on www.amazon.com

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

We are 24/7 writers and researchers.

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

For us, time is in shorter supply than money. If we had the time, we would go on 4-5 different virtual author tours.

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 key to a book’s success. It is like breathing! No one else can breathe for you unless it is by artificial means as you lie in a coma!

It helps to have fresh air and similarly, in book promotion, it helps to have other people promoting your book along with you. The more, the better.

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

If you have knowledge to share, please don’t take it with you. Bequeath it to the people, your loved ones, friends, neighbors and your fellow humans in the form of a book. Many books become famous and appreciated decades and even centuries after their author had gone to heaven. Knowledge is the most precious gift we can leave behind, a far greater treasure than money.

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

To get your own copy of “Dear God, Let Me Lose Fat, Amen”, please log on to
www.amazon.com. This book is a pot of gold for those seeking good health and a fit body free from excess fat.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Interview with Cate Cavanagh, author of HER GODMOTHER

Cate Cavanagh is a published author, GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT, as well as a syndicated columnist in the spiritual and metaphysical genres. In addition she is a published print columnist in New York and was political commentator for WJFF radio in New York and podcast commentator for. Her work also appears in a number of new age publications including but not limited to Self Growth, Lightsource, E Spirit, Grannymoon, Witch's Voice and Pagazine. She also writes for Circle of Stars a New Age ezine and is an eclectic Witch.

You can visit her website at www.quantamspirituality.tripod.com or her blog at www.magicwithcate.blogspot.com.

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

I began dashing the pen fantastic when I was about nine years old. I won second place in a citywide essay contest which was a major feat since it was New York City and the competition numbered in the millions. I know I got hooked at that moment. Although my family was poor and I lived in a poor neighborhood, a neighboring district built a new junior high school which was very progressive and I and some of my friends were accepted into this school based on academic achievement. This school was great! It really emphasized creativity. At the time to have a school have so many extra programs in drama and writing was extremely rare. Courses such as these really sparked my creative streak. I won medals in drama and writing upon graduation which also helped me sustain a belief in myself as a writer. I distinctly remember that all through school and college while other students cringed at tests having essays or being all essays I would always be thrilled because there was no subject I could not write my way around!

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

I am very proud of my new book, Her Godmother. In this story Allie's father is an alcoholic. As a result her mother chooses to leave him and begin a new life with Allie upstate. As her mother is preparing for relocation she sends Allie to upstate New York to stay with her godmother, Brigid. My dad was an alcoholic and it has only been in very years that I have been comfortable with admitting that. The scars and codependent responsibility of keep "the secret" runs very deep which I have only begun to share. Her Godmother was written to address this illness and how it impacts on families and children. Although it is classified as a children's book, it is not "written down". I am very proud of the skill with which I wrote it. It is simple enough for children to understand and flowing enough for adults to enjoy as well, especially adults who, like me, are adult children of alcoholics.

Over my life time an emerging spirituality became my healer. My spiritual path was of non-traditional beliefs which led me to Wicca and Witchcraft. I jokingly call myself a born again Pagan. These beliefs are not evil but gentle in origin. They also opened my eyes to a world I never knew existed in which there is everyday magic around us all the time which can help heal our wounds. I wanted to demonstrate how allowing oneself to see the magic makes life an enchantment in which one can handle anything. Magic is around us and by opening ourselves to it we grow beyond whatever pain we are experiencing and into a wiser, guiltless way of moving forward.

What kind of research was involved in writing "Her Godmother"?

Of course I was very familiar with Alcoholics Antonymous principles which play a very important part in Allie's healing. As for the impact on Allie herself I drew on my own childhood experiences and emotional reactions to lend authenticity to the story.

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

I had quite a bit of input into the cover. My publisher was wonderful and understood fully the mystery I wanted to cover to elicit. The result is a marvelous cover we are both very proud of.

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

What has been bumpy for me is finding the time to write over the years. Life can be challenging and, as I often say, gets in the way of the stuff our dreams are made of and in my case I had to put off my writing endeavors many times and for years at a time. When I was finally able to dedicate myself more fully to writing I encountered the same frustrations we all encounter--constant rejection letters. I eventually got used to them and they stopped bothering me but it still did not change the fact that I felt I was going nowhere. Once again life got in the way so working on anything of length was not possible for quite a while. One day I remember reading an article on something political that really bothered me and I decided to write an article about the topic which was quite controversial. To my surprise, it got published. I then realized my old talent for writing essays was a way for me to possibly get back on track creatively. What surprised me even more was that every article I would send got published. This was how I eventually became a print columnist. This was extremely gratifying and since writing articles was like writing essays it was an easy way for me to hone my craft and build a portfolio. From there I got a gig as a political commentator on an NPR radio afiliate station and as a podcaster. Getting a book published however was a whole other animal. But, I was lucky in that my first book, Gifts Of The Spirit, got published only a couple of years after beginning to send queries. Unfortunately, the publisher that accepted it (PublishAmerica) turned out to be not so savory so after a couple of years I was able to make them release me from my contract. That being said, I was still able to state I was a published author which does carry respectability.

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

The turnaround for Her Godmother was wonderfully fast. That is the beauty of working with a professional vanity publisher. It was only about three 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 do not have an agent nor do I want one at this point in time. One has to check out every agent to avoid being scammed. For example, no agent worth his or her salt ever charges a reading fee. If you encounter an agent that wants one, that is a red flag! For another reason I am not one for reading fine print so to speak and am just not confident the "hidden" costs of representation might be more than what I would want to bargain for. When I become a J.K. Rowling, that will be another matter altogether becuase then the big guys will come to ME!

Do you plan subsequent books?

I have six books already in the works and they are different genres--poetry, creepy short stories, a re-release of Gifts Of The Spirit, a quantum metaphysics book and other novels in the formative stages.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

If I am going to blog or write articles I find I often do these early in the morning as they do not require a lot of time on my part. When writing fiction however, I like the night and when writing longer books, my muses jump start me at eleven o'clock at night until five thirty the next morning seven days a week until the first draft is done which is usually about three weeks. The odd thing is it is always the same pattern.

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

Television commercials! I truly believe this is the way to sell a product, like a book.

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

Self promotion is a must. Even if one were lucky enough to get a publicist, I feel their time is mainly vested in already existing money trains. Online I am constantly blogging, and writing articles which automatically cue my work and gets me high up on the google search. I send my queries and book cover by email to every books store in every state which will take fourteen lifetimes to be sure! LOL! With the help of Janet Elaine Smith's book, Promo Pak, I had a wonderful guideline to follow in getting myself up on free search engines all over the web! Theresa Chaze of Valkyrie Publishing produced my book trailer which is on youtube to great success. You can check her out on theresachaze.com and Janet at janetelainesmith.com

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

I stopped drooling over the big houses a long time ago. You feel inadequate when you are rejected for no reason other than someone who cannot write is overworked or because their titles are filled five years in advance. I firmly believe self publishing is respectable and for the new wave of writers who want full contol over their work is every aspect. The turnaround time from contract to publication is fast and so naturally you are in the royalty cycle a lot quicker. There are many best sellers that were originally self published. There are wonderful books out there self published by writers who know better than to fawn over the big houses....

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

My pleasure! My website is quantumspirituality.tripod.com and my blog can be found on somethingmagicalinourmists.blogspot.com

Her Godmother is available through fine bookstores, including Barnes and Noble, barnsandnoble.com,amazon.com and just about every other online bookstore or choice.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Interview with Historical Fiction Author J.L. Miles

J.L. (Jackie Lee) Miles, a resident of Georgia since 1975, hails from Wisconsin via South Dakota. She considers herself "a northern girl with a southern heart." Her paternal grandfather was christened Grant Lee by her great-grandmother in honor of the many fallen soldiers on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. Ms. Miles is a former D.I.A.L. Systems Engineer for Baker/Audio Telecom, one of the premier forerunners of voice mail. In addition to systems application, she provided voice tracks for several major companies, including Delta Airlines and Frito-Lay Corporation.

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

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

I’m a resident of Georgia for nearly thirty-five years, but was raised in Wisconsin. I consider myself “a northern girl with a southern heart”. My paternal grandfather was christened Grant Lee by my great-grandmother in honor of the many fallen soldiers on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line.

I’m a former D.I.A.L. Systems Engineer for Baker/Audio Telecom, one of the premier forerunners of voice mail. In addition to systems application, I provided voice tracks for several major companies, including Delta Airlines and Frito-Lay Corporation. As a former Miss Racine, Wisconsin, I made television, print and fashion appearances, and participated in various stage productions, including “Joan of Lorraine”, “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs” and “The Miracle Worker”.

Currently I live in a suburb of Atlanta with my husband Robert. I’ve been writing since the year 2000 when my youngest child graduated from college and left home. My debut novel, Roseflower Creek, was Cumberland House Publishing’s lead book when it debuted in hardcover. It’s also available in Trade paperback. Earl Hamner, creator of The Waltons called it, “A powerful, extraordinary novel.” N.Y. Times best-selling author William Diehl wrote: “The lyric prose will thrill you, the story is unforgettable, and the characters will stay with you forever.”

Cold Rock River, the journey of two young women born a century apart, debuted September 2006 in hardcover. N.Y. TIMES best-selling author DOROTHEA BENTON FRANK writes: Cold Rock River by J. L. Miles is a powerful story of family, love and loss that will keep you up into the wee hours. Absolutely wonderful! Beautifully told and straight from the heart of an exquisitely talented writer.” It’s now available in Trade Paperback.

My latest project is the Dwayne series, a three-book southern anthology featuring Francine Harper, who’s under felony assault charges for shooting at her husband Dwayne and his stripper/lover Carla from the Peel ‘n Squeal. Francine finds her strength and recovers her dignity after a trial and many errors. It’s a departure from my normal genre, but provided a nice respite. When I’m not writing, I tour with The Dixie Divas, four nationally published book-writing belles—with a passion for promotion—serving up helpings of down-home humor and warmth. Visit my website at www.j.l.miles.com. Write to me at Jackie@jlmiles.com

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

COLD ROCK RIVER is the journey of two young women born a century apart:

In 1963 rural Georgia, with the Vietnam War cranking up, pregnant seventeen-year-old Adie Jenkins discovers the diary of pregnant seventeen-year-old Tempe Jordan, a slave-girl, begun as the Civil War was winding down. Adie is haunted by the memory of her dead sister. Tempe is overcome with grief over the sale of her children sired by her master. What’s buried in the diary could destroy them both. As Cold Rock River rushes to its shocking ending the depth of the connection between these two women united by place and separated by race—and a century—is revealed.

The book was inspired by an incident in my own life. Like Adie’s sister Annie, my baby sister Vicki choked on a jellybean when she was twenty months old. It was the week following Easter and we three older girls had our little baskets squirreled away. Our mother insisted we weren’t to drag them around the house, but she was gone for the evening and our daddy let us roam about, baskets in hand, to our hearts’ content. I don’t recall that any of us actually gave Vicki a jelly bean. More likely she picked on up off the floor. I do remember I panicked when I saw her put one in her mouth, and I tried to grab her. She started giggling and running as fast as her little legs would allow. The next thing I knew, she was choking and her face was blue. She survived, but as I grew older I was very much aware of how our lives would have changed had she not. One evening, lying in bed, something made me think of it; how fifty years had passed and yet the memory of that night was still as raw as fresh-skinned knees. I closed my eyes, ready to drift off, when I “heard” the opening lone of what became Cold Rock River. I got up to write it down, so I wouldn’t forget a single word. I was still at it the next morning. I had forty, maybe fifty pages. I realized then that this young, beautiful, delightful creature, who I chose to call Adie, might have something to tell me worth hearing. And if I was quiet and listened closely, maybe her ghosts would help me purge mine.

What kind of research was involved in writing Cold Rock River?

Cold Rock River was a five year journey without a paycheck. Initially, it was to be the story of Adie Jenkins, seventeen and pregnant and unmarried during the early 1960’s. I know today if you’re in her condition, they throw you a shower. In those days they threw you out. I decided Adie would do some chicken farming to feed them when it became apparent Buck wasn’t going to be one she could count on. I went to the library to research Georgia chicken farming and stumbled onto the Slave Narratives. The complete collection— which contains more than two thousand first-person accounts—is housed at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. They were commissioned by President Roosevelt during the depression years, in order to record the journey of those freed slaves still alive. Writers ere sent across the nation to search for them. Their accounts are as fascinating as they are poignant. Over the years, there’s been a good deal of controversy as to their accuracy, based on the fact that some of the freed slaves were fearful or perhaps suspicious of the government—brings to mind “forty acres and a mule”—and hesitant to speak candidly regarding the treatment they may or may not have received at the hands of their sometimes still powerful former masters. The collective consensus is that somewhere amidst the vast amount of material lies the truth. After months of reading, reviewing, and re-examining all of the narratives I could locate, Tempe’s portion of Cold Rock River emerged. Her story, based on what I found, is remarkable. Everything that Tempe experiences was lifted from the lives of actual people who wore the chains and bore the scars of slavery. I won’t ever forget her; nor am I able to forget those I ‘met” through the narratives, who bravely shared their life stories so that Tempe could tell me hers.

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

Very little. These days if you’re not John Gresham, or Stephen King, etc., an author has little to say over the design of the cover. But, thankfully I absolutely love the cover to Cold Rock River.

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

There’s an amazing story behind my getting published. I went to this book conference and had taken a portion of my debut novel Roseflower Creek with me to be evaluated by one of the agents attending the conference. At the reception I literally bumped into Ron Pitkin, the president of Cumberland House Publishing. He was kind enough not to notice I spilled his drink and asked what I was working on. When I told him fiction, he promptly replied, “That’s a crap shoot.” Definitely not what I wanted to hear. I mean, I’d paid good money to come to this conference and he’s raining on my party, big time. “Well,” I said, “that’s too bad, because I have a dynamite opening line.” I was prepared to walk away, when he gently took hold of my elbow and said, “So what’s your opening line?”

“The morning I died, it rained.” Keep in mind this was long before The Lovely Bones.

“God! I want to see that book,” he said and asked me to send the entire manuscript. I did and he phoned a week later to tell me they were bringing it out in hardcover and bumping back their memoir piece on Dale Earnhardt who’d been tragically killed, to make Roseflower Creek the lead book in their fall catalogue. I was in the right place, at the right time, with the right project. I consider it a miracle.

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

It only took six months so it was a total whirlwind from signing the contract to seeing it on the bookstore shelves.

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?

Initially my agent was Sarah Piel with Arthur Pine Associates in New York. They are now known as Inkwell Management. Sadly my agent left the industry after birthing two babies back-to-back. I had to begin the difficult process of querying all over again. Happily I got the attention of Rachelle Gardner of WordServe Literary Agency. I’m blessed to have her! She’s outstanding and very encouraging.

Do you plan subsequent books?

I currently have a three-book southern anthology featuring Francine Harper, who’s under felony assault charges for shooting at her husband Dwayne and his stripper/lover Carla from the Peel ‘n Squeal. Francine finds her strength and regains her dignity via a trial and many errors. It’s a completely different genre than what I normally write but provided a nice respite. The first book in the series Divorcing Dwayne debuted April 2008. The second one will be released in April 2009 (Dear Dwayne) and the third one will debut April 2010 (Dating Dwayne). My current manuscript is being shopped by my agent. (The Heavenly Heart). I am almost finishing up the last few chapters on my seventh novel entitled All That’s True

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I normally write from eight a.m. to noon. If it’s going well I might continue for a few hours after lunch. So long as I get three to five pages a day completed that are worth something I’m happy.

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

Ads in the New Your Times and in all the other major magazines and periodicals.

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

Self-promotion is absolutely necessary to help get your books out there. Twice I’ve hired publicity firms to assist Cumberland House’s in-house publicity staff. At Cumberland they have approximately eighty books a year to promote so they can’t devote all their attention to just one book. Hiring publicity firms is expensive, but I feel so far it has helped. My debut novel went into a third printing. Cold Rock River just released in Trade Paperback, which reflected the third printing and sales for Divorcing Dwayne look encouraging. I’ve also hired Bostick Communications who were very successful in getting numerous on-line reviews and exposure, and I recently signed with Pump Up Your Book.com which I’m very excited about. In addition I tour with the Dixie Divas, four nationally published authors with a passion for promotion. When the Divas come to town we don’t just sell books we put on quite a show. We each have our own persona and dress in costume. We’ve made over a hundred appearances in the last two years alone. To schedule an appearance, contact nechespublicity@knology.net.

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

Read, read read! And write, write write! And remember those talented authors who you think were born to write, well maybe so, but let me assure you they weren’t born published. Also, always remembers there are only three simple steps to writing a good book:

  1. Put a tiger under a tree.
  2. Get you protagonist up that tree.
  3. Get your protagonist out of that tree.

Best to you in all your endeavors and bless your reading and writing hearts.

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

My website is www.jlmiles.com. My books are available at fine booksellers everywhere in addition to amazon.com, barnes&noble.com and booksamillion.com.

GOOD READING!!!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: EASY ENTERTAINING FOR BEGINNERS by Patricia Mendez

Easy Entertaining for Beginners
Patricia Mendez
176 pages
Maple Heights Press
0979956404
Purchase at Amazon

Readers don’t have to be gourmet chefs or nervous wrecks to host casual at-home entertaining. Beginners will have all of their questions answered, from what to serve to what to do. Included are 13 delicious complete menus with easy-to-follow recipes, full color photographs, ideas for music, activities and drinks. Checklists ease readers step-by-step through every phase of planning, preparation, and presentation. Readers will gain confidence and have a terrific time putting together successful celebrations.

Check back tomorrow for an exclusive interview with Patricia Mendez!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Interview with Historical Fiction Author Douglas Carlton Abrams

Douglas Carlton Abrams is a former editor at the University of California Press and HarperSanFrancisco. He is the co-author of a number of books on love, sexuality, and spirituality, including books written with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar, and Taoist Master Mantak Chia. He lives in Santa Cruz, California, with his wife and three children. In his life and work, he is interested in cultivating all aspects of our humanity —body, emotions, mind, and spirit. His goal in writing fiction is to create stories that not only entertain, but also attempt to question, enchant, and transform.

Doug’s desire in writing the book was not only to resurrect this greatest of historical lovers and to give voice to his true motives; he was also moved to write a book that would explore the tension between lust and love and that would confront the human question of how any man or woman can find lifelong satisfaction in one committed relationship. To find out more about the origins of The Lost Diary and the myth of Don Juan, and to learn about forthcoming novels, please visit www.LostDiaryofDonJuan.com or www.DouglasCarltonAbrams.com.

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

I am a New Yorker living in California, and I’ve been writing fiction since I was eleven years old. I grew up in a publishing family, so perhaps I was destined to write. I’ve also had the opportunity to work in publishing, so I experienced the Editor’s Life as well as the Writer’s Life.

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

The Lost Diary of Don Juan is an adventure love story and historical thriller that takes place in Golden Age Spain. It may seem strange, but I wrote a book about Don Juan to learn how to stay happily and passionately married to my wife. This is how it happened… One night I went to bed asking myself a question that I believe every married man or woman asks eventually: how could I stay happily and passionately married for the rest of my life?

The next morning I awoke as if I had been shaken. It was then that I first thought of Don Juan, the universal symbol of passion. I wondered, what if he had kept a diary? What secrets would it contain? What could we learn from him about the nature of passion, relationships, and romance? And ultimately, what might cause the world’s greatest seducer to forsake all women for one woman? I left my wife’s warm sleeping body, walked past our three sleeping children, and sat down at the dining room table. It was as if a voice was whispering the story in my ear.

What kind of research was involved in writing The Lost Diary of Don Juan?

Well, after the story wrote its way through me in a month, I knew that I had to turn the sketch I had into a fully fleshed out painting, so I began to research. I spent more than four years researching the novel and went to Sevilla several times. I had extraordinary guides who allowed me to walk through walls into the private lives of nobles and commoners. I also stole faces from the Prado Museum and worked with numerous scholars and experts to learn the intricacies of Spanish sword fighting and Spanish dancing. To research Don Juan’s childhood in a convent, I spent the night in an active convent—but neither the sisters nor I broke our vows! And I even lay on an actual rack from the Inquisition. Writing Don Juan’s story felt like a sacred trust, and I needed to do everything I could to get his story and the history of his time right.

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

Actually, having worked in publishing, I had a lot of ideas about the cover, and the publisher was very generous about letting me offer my opinions. The book was not simply a genre book of historical fiction, so it was challenging to get the cover right. It needed to be something that would appeal to women and men, and that would also convey that the book was both literary and commercial at the same time.

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

I don’t think there is anything like smooth sailing in publishing. Having worked in publishing, I knew that the winds of publishing are always challenging to navigate. I was incredibly fortunate to have my first novel published in thirty languages, but my desk is littered with stillborn novels, and one of my non-fiction books was dropped after being bought when the editor left. In short, publishing your first fiction is somewhat like sailing during hurricane season.

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

Actually, it was relatively quick between contract and publication. I had already done 30 drafts of the novel when I submitted it to the publisher, so it was “relatively” polished (the challenge of writing fiction is that it can always be refined to more closely approximate the richness of actual life). I had already been working on the book for over four years researching, writing, and rewriting it.

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 think it is absolutely essential to have an agent. Having worked in-house at publishers, I know how publishing houses treat agented and unagented authors quite differently. With the major trade publishers, it is practically impossible to navigate the world of publishing without an agent. I have an incredible agent—Heide Lange, who also happens to be Dan Brown’s agent, although I think its not bragging to say she was my agent first. She is brilliant, compassionate, and everything one could want in an agent. Honestly, one’s agent is in many ways the second closest person in your life (if you have a spouse), so it is essential to choose one carefully.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes, the publisher asked for a two-book contract, so as soon as The Lost Diary was done, I was off on the next. To my shock, another story was waiting to be told, which had nothing to do with Don Juan. It’s been a completely different writing process, which I’m looking forward to discussing with you soon. The book, also an adventure thriller, is about a love even more powerful than passionate love.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I’m a whenever-I-can-steal-the-time writer, which means I write in the morning and at night, whenever I’m not juggling my three children, my other work as a literary agent, or the responsibilities and joys of marriage. What has really been a lifesaver is going away periodically on long writing retreats. The challenge with novels is that you are working with a very large canvas, sort of like an enormous Delacroix hanging in the Louvre, so it is essential for me to step out of daily routines to immerse myself in the fictional world.

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

I would probably spend quite a lot of money on web advertising and web promotion, but I'd probably also take out full page ads in the The New York Times! Having grown up reading the NYT, it holds a special place in my heart. If you can make it there, you can...

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

I think it is essential to promote your work, since there are over 100,000 books published each year, and readers can fall in love with books they’ve never heard about. Of course, the challenge is how. I think that online promotion is probably the most effective means we have right now, and I’ve been turning to two great talents, Dorothy Thompson and M.J. Rose, to help guide me in this bewildering, brave, new world.

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

I would encourage writers to follow their passion and to allow their book to be a journey. For so long I started with an answer, now I start with a question. If the writing of the novel is a search to answer a question that they care about deeply, the work will engage and sustain them during the incredibly long march of writing and publication.

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

Please come visit www.LostDiaryofDonJuan.com or read a sample at www.DonJuanSample.com. Books are available at bookstores everywhere and online.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

How to Turn Your Book Into a Movie - Douglas Carlton Abrams Tells Us How!

Douglas Carlton Abrams, author of the historical fiction novel, THE LOST DIARY OF DON JUAN, will be stopping off today at Divine Caroline on Day 24 of his virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion to talk about how to turn your book into a movie!

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 Oct. 30, 2008. You can visit Douglas’ tour stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in October 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 October 30!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Introducing Lou Aronica and new publishing venture, The Story House

In 1995, Lou Aronica moved to Avon Books to spearhead a turnaround of that company as SVP and Publisher. He instituted significant changes to the company’s industry-leading romance program, which led to the largest growth period in the program’s history to that point.

Committing the company to a profitable path of publishing for dedicated readers, he launched a series of imprints focused on science fiction, literary fiction and nonfiction, mystery, pop culture, health, history and teen literature. Most of these imprints had bestsellers almost immediately.
In 1999, Aronica left Avon after the acquisition of the company by The News Corporation. The creative investment that he made in that house continues to pay significant dividends. In February 2001, a project he created based on the NBC soap opera “Passions” reached #4 on the New York Times bestseller list. At the same time, two writers he built publishing programs for, Dennis Lehane and Susan Elizabeth Phillips, hit the Times hardcover list for the first time while two other writers, J.A. Jance and Stephanie Laurens, hit the Times paperback list for the first time. Another romance writer he projected for stardom, Lisa Kleypas, hit the Times list in June 2001, and Bruce Feiler and Peter Robinson hit a short time later. More recently, Neil Gaiman, an Aronica acquisition, hit #1 on the New York Times fiction list.

In recent years, Aronica has been the President of The Fiction Studio, an editorial development company. Aronica is also a published novelist and nonfiction writer. His first novel, The Forever Year, was published in 2003 and his second, Flash and Dazzle, was published in 2007. His nonfiction books include A Million Thanks (written with Shauna Fleming), The Discipline Miracle (written with Dr. Linda Pearson), The Culture Code (written with Clotaire Rapaille), Riding the Blue Train (written with Bart Sayle and Surinder Kumar), The Secret Psychology of How We Fall in Love (written with Dr. Paul Dobransky), Miraculous Health (written with Dr. Rick Levy), The Power of Female Friendships (written with Dr. Paul Dobransky), and the upcoming book, The Element (written with Sir Ken Robinson).

In early 2008, Aronica announced the creation of The Story Plant, a book publishing company he founded with partner Peter Miller. The Story Plant, distributed by Perseus, will publish its first books in Fall 2008.

The Story Plant is open for submissions. You can visit their website at www.thestoryplant.com.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Interview with Satire/Humor Author James Earle McCracken

James Earle McCracken was born in 1960 in Takoma Park, Maryland. He received a B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania in 1982. After a brief but nonetheless tedious stint as a technical writer, McCracken moved to London in 1984 with the intention of becoming a writer of short stories and novels. He failed. Returning to the U.S. at the end of 1986, McCracken resumed real life. Twenty-two years later, he published his first novel - Rue de la Pompe: A Satiric Urban Fantasy. He is married to the former Mirella Abdel Sater, a prominent attorney and human rights activist from Beirut, Lebanon, and has a daughter, Jamie, who is a junior at Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Virginia.

You an visit his website at www.jamesearlemccracken.com.

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

I’m 48. I’m originally from the Washington, DC area. I’m married and have a 15-year old daughter. When I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1982, I thought I was going to be a writer. I moved to London in 1984 and wrote short stories until I ran out of money and returned to the U.S. in 1986. Twenty years later, I started writing again, and the result was my first novel, “Rue de la Pompe: A Satiric Urban Fantasy.”

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

Rue de la Pompe: A Satiric Urban Fantasy tells the story of Michael Whyte, a 30-year old American who has been living in Paris for a few months and working at an office where no one can tell him what he’s supposed to be doing. He spends way too much time alone, to the point where he has given names to the different participants in his interior dialogues: Mikey, Mr. Whyte, Smart Ass, Jackass, and Dumb Ass. Through what appear to be a series of coincidences, Michael finds himself crisscrossing Paris in search of the first French franc, a coin, he is told, that is either incredibly valuable, incredibly dangerous, or both.

I moved to Paris in September 2005 for a three-year work assignment. Every day, I walked along a stretch of rue de la Pompe, an actual street in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, on my way to the office. Here’s how I describe rue de la Pompe in my novel:

“…a mix of shops, stores and offices that included real estate brokers, travel agents, clothing outlets, a butcher next to a baker, but no candlestick maker, the ubiquitous Chinese restaurant, a tanning salon, an art gallery, antique dealers, and any number of other commercial establishments that had two things in common: they were almost never open when Michael went past them, and when they were open, no customers were present.”

I sketched out the basic plot of the book in my mind on my way to and from work. My need to write it grew out of my excitement about the possibilities of using this street, this neighborhood, and all of Paris as the setting.

What kind of research was involved in writing “Rue de la Pompe: A Satiric Urban Fantasy”?

Conducting the research was great fun and tremendously varied. I learned about a host of subjects including magic in Ancient Egypt, the 100-Years War, Geoffrey Chaucer, Benjamin Franklin, Zen masters, epistemology, game theory, French curse words, and the sex lives of elephants and rhinoceroses. Then there were the site visits throughout Paris. I would drag my wife all over the city to trace the paths that Michael would take in the book. We visited the Orsay Museum four or five times, the Chateau de Vincennes twice, and the Mint. We traveled the route across Paris that Michael takes when he is being chased by the Concierge from Hell, and we also did the decidedly more romantic fountain walk that Michael and Chione make when she teaches him about wishing. I called it “purposeful tourism.” It was a blast.

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

I had too much input and not enough tools. The publisher I used gives the author a great deal of freedom to design the cover. I slapped something together using Paint software and clip art. Perhaps I should have left their in-house staff do the work, but I’d rather live with my own shortcomings than curse someone else’s mistake.

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

More like a long, strange trip. The twenty-year hiatus from writing provided me with a certain perspective, buy it has not been a bumpy ride at all. I’ve enjoyed every moment.

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

I signed the contract on January 2, 2008, and the book was released on May 20.

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’ve never had an agent, and I believe an agent is absolutely necessary. I promise to let you know how to reconcile the third answer with the first and second as soon as I’ve figured it out.

Do you plan subsequent books?

“Rue de la Pompe” is the first of four novels that tell the story of Michael Whyte’s year in Paris. I’m currently working on the second.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I have more energy in the morning, and I produce more, but more is not always better. In the evenings, I’m focused and disciplined, and I find it a better time for rewriting. So, the answer is both.

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

I would hire to someone to plan and implement a marketing strategy. When the strategy failed, I would fire that person and buy enough copies of the book to be on every bestseller list.

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

When you self-publish, self-promotion is the whole game. My online efforts have been directed at getting reviews and material on the Amazon and Barnes and Noble web sites, issuing a press release, and developing my own web site. My offline efforts have been largely confined to wishful thinking.

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

Remove the phrase “I can’t” from your vocabulary. But feel free to make frequent use of “I won’t.”

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

My web site is www.jamesearlemccracken.com, and you can buy “Rue de la Pompe: A Satiric Urban Fantasy” at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.com.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Interview with Fantasy Author Sienna Skyy

Sienna Skyy comes from a long line of storytellers, and from the moment she learned to speak she began telling tales of her own, many of which were reflections of the beautiful city where she lived. She got her start by exploring lyricism in the form of song, and was inspired the combination of literary fantasy and rock music that was prevalent in her early years. (Nowadays they call it classic rock.) She believes that art and music and literature are different forms of the same wonderful thing. She also believes that knights exist today though they’ve stopped wearing shining armor, and that magic is waiting just beyond the surface of the things we see. Sienna Skyy lives in Gotham City, and is surrounded by animals, of both the human and non-human variety. She is currently working on the next novel, Otherworld Quest.

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

Thanks for having me! I’ve been writing stories since the moment I learned how to write, probably because I’d been telling stories since the moment I learned how to speak. Transferring those tales to paper was just a natural progression.

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

American Quest is a tale about love, evil, magic, and the fate of humanity. It centers around Bruce and Gloria, a young couple with uncommon depths of passion for life, the things they believe in, and each other. But they fall prey to a dark force—there are hordes of demon-like creatures called Maculs who look for ways to defile human virtues. If the Maculs achieve a certain degree of success, they gain power over humanity. Enervata is one such Macul. He abducts Gloria and lays a trap of seduction and temptation, trying to turn her to his side and lay down her love for Bruce and all that she cherishes. If Enervata succeeds, he enslaves the entire human race; but if he fails, he will kill Gloria. Bruce learns that his only hope is to find the Four Pillars of Humanity. He embarks on a quest to find the Pillars, fight Enervata, and save his true love.

What kind of research was involved in writing American Quest?

Oh, the research was so much fun! Interestingly enough, although I had a strong idea of what I was writing when I began, the research really took me to places I didn’t expect to go, and that stemmed from pure story detail coming to life. I found myself delving into anything from change theory to khoomei (an ancient form of Ukranian throat singing—strange and guttural so that it sounds like the song of mystical creatures) to food and wine. That last bit, the food and wine, was particularly fun because it involved a lot of time spent in the dining room. I cooked so much good food and poured so much good wine during those months—by the end I’d spoiled myself rotten. Tough research, you know, but I survived it. All in the name of art.

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

The original design was purely the artist’s interpretation of the book. I was tickled (and a bit relieved, as you never know how this sort of thing is going to play out) by what she came up with. The artist took my and other team members’ opinions into account during subsequent drafts, and I’m very pleased by the final product. I think the book is absolutely gorgeous on the shelf.

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

Actually I think it’s been smooth, if not slow. Publishing, as an industry, is a study in patience. No, things have not always panned out the way I’ve wanted them to. But I can honestly say that every time I’ve felt things haven’t gone my way, a greater opportunity than the one I’d lost has come along. More importantly, I feel that my writing craft has improved with each step. If I’d gotten a contract in those early days, I might have released a book I wouldn’t have been proud of as I learned the ropes. I’m still growing, but now I feel I can be confident about my work.

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

Including the editorial back-and-forth, about fifteen months. Oddly enough, that flew by.

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?

Yes, I do, although he’s more of a manager than an agent. I see an agent as someone who makes sales for you. A manager is someone who manages your career. I definitely feel it’s worthwhile to have excellent professional representation. Teams are always stronger than individuals. But it’s crucial to partner with someone who truly believes in you and shares your vision, and it’s crucial that as an author, you understand the leap of faith that person might be making in order to take you on. Mutual respect is so important. That dynamic alone, between author and agent, can have a tremendous impact on an author’s career.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Absolutely! There are four books in the American Quest series.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Morning, although perfect writing conditions are a luxury I can’t always expect, so I often write at night as well.

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

You know, there are a lot of areas where I’d invest my energy that have nothing to do with money. Brand new authors must build a relationship with readers, and that’s not something that happens overnight. Readers have to get used to the name and the style—they like having an idea of what they’re getting into when they pick up a book, because they’re willing to invest their time and energy in reading it in the hopes that they’ll have a great experience. So to that end, if perfect conditions were no object (and I hope you’re keeping up with my abstract digression here), I would publish one book right after another, each within four months of the previous work.

But if money were no object, I’d be investing in seeking radio and television air time. Nowadays I think that’s the farthest reach. The Internet’s great too, of course, but people are accustomed to maintaining short attentions spans online, and it’s not as conducive to the sort of linear engagement you get with radio or TV.

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

I think self-promotion is extremely important. Until every reader out there is familiar with your name and your writing style, it’s up to you to introduce them to your world. I think that’s pretty much common knowledge among writers these days. What may not be common knowledge, though, is that you can have a ball with it. The Information Age has brought us so many new and unique ways of presenting ourselves to the world, we have the freedom to pick and choose strategies that we actually enjoy. To me, online interviews like this one are lots of fun, and you feel like you’re a significant part of something wonderful. But there lots of other ways to get your name out there: audio, video, print, mobile; the only limitations are your time and imagination.

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

Yes. I would say the single most important quality a writer might possess is persistence. Persistence will help you grow in your craft, find professional representation, and it will help you land a publishing contract (assuming that’s your goal). The writer who can persistently and consistently pursue goals—be they related to craft or the business or both—is a writer destined for success.

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

Yes, and thanks again for having me! Please check out the American Quest web site at http://www.americanquestbook.com/ for short stories, multi-media experiences, and more information about the book. You can find the book itself on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, either online or at your local book store. Cheers!