Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pump Up Your Book January '10 Authors on Virtual Book Tour

Pump Up January

Pump Up Your Book is proud to announce the January '10 Authors on Virtual Book Tour!

January '10 Authors on Virtual Book Tour include:

Michael Anthony, author of the war memoir, Mass Casualties
Melanie Benjamin, author of the historical fiction, Alice I Have Been
Dr. Jonny Bowden, author of thehealth and anti-aging book, The Most Effective Ways to Live Longer
Gina Browning, author of the children's book, Moonbeam Dreams
Linda Dahl, author of the literary fiction, Gringa in a Strange Land
Charles Franklin Emery III, author of the pet memoir, A Man and His Maniac: The Bunkie Story
Jackie Griffey, author of the cozy mystery, The Devil in Merrivale
Barbora Knobova, author of the relationship nonfiction, Tales for Delicious Girls
Susie Larson, author of the inspirational/motivational/devotional nonfiction, Embracing Your Freedom
Alan Markovitz, author of the memoir, Topless Prophet
Greg Middleton, author of the social issues nonfiction, Real Men: What's Happening with our Males?
Dolen Perkins-Valdez, author of the historical fiction, Wench
Dot Ryan, author of the historical fiction, Corrigans' Pool
Jay Slosar, author of the financial self-help, The Culture of Excess
Kim Smith, author of the cozy mystery, Buried Angel
Kay Marshall Strom, author of the nonfiction baby boomer book, The Second-Half Adventure
John Tippets, author of the historical, Hearts of Courage
Pamela Samuels Young, author of the legal thriller, Buying Time

Click here to see their official tour pages to find out where you can pick up your copy of their wonderful books!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bestselling Author Hope Edelman "The Possibility of Everything" to give away book today

Bestselling author Hope Edelman, author of The Possibility of Everything, will be at Pump Up Your Book on Monday, December 14, taking your questions and comments. Leave a question or a comment, along with your email address (very important), in the comment section anytime between now and 11 p.m and you could win a free copy of her book!

The Possibility of Everything Trailer
The winner will be announced on Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Find out all about writing bestselling novels from one of the most talented authors!

Click here to enter now!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Book Excerpt: Evolution of a Sad Woman by Gale Laure

The Saturday Night Murder -1996

Kizzy lies nude on her bed as she listens to the music. Briefly, her mind reviews the upsetting visitors of this day. She has tried her best to phone him. He never answered. Quickly, she erases the thoughts from her mind. She tries to relax her twitching body. The music is soft, soothing, the kind that would make you want to sleep. Yet, she cannot unwind enough to sleep. She is significantly nervous. The least small sound makes her jump.

Outside, she hears the clicking of light hot humid rain, not the soothing kind that cools the earth, as it beats upon the window glass. An occasional crack of lightning typical for a summer in Houston, Texas, startles her, jolting her nerves even more.

The pills will take effect at any time. She looks slowly around the room. As she takes the last sip of wine from the glass and rolls it around inside her mouth, she savors the taste, in retrospect to her first glass of wine . . . .

All these years later, she loves the pungent taste. She collects the clock from the floor and places it on the bedside table. The clock says ten forty-five p.m. While sighing, Kizzy welcomes the feeling of rest as it overwhelms her body. Filled with lightheadedness, nausea and weakness, she knows the pills are the reason for these feelings. Maybe she should not have taken so many. Yet she knows she needs the pills. She wants to fall sound asleep. She lies in the bed, barely able to see the ceiling from the dim lamplight beside her bed. Briefly, she observes the empty wine glass sitting on the bedside table, tasting the wine as she runs her tongue around the inside cheeks of her mouth. How she loves the pungent taste of wine.

When she lies on her back, tears run from her eyes, down to her ears and into the back of her hair. Yet she is not crying. She will not sob. Therefore, from where are these tears coming? Her nose is stuffy from the increased mucous caused by the tears. She tries to breathe through her nose, which is not possible. Gently, she parts her full lips to breathe and sucks in the air. She is not sad because she is finally in control.

Kizzy jumps as the CD player in the living room clicks off indicating the music is over. Only the sound of the rain pervades the air. As she looks around the room again, she listens to hear the silence. She is waiting for the pills to take effect, hoping they will establish unconsciousness. The pills are taking forever. Maybe the hot bubble bath will help. In the bathroom, she has the tub drawn and ready. Barely, she can sniff the vanilla candle as it perfumes the bathroom, the wonderful soothing smell overflowing into the bedroom through the open bathroom door. Briefly, the smell reminds her of a bowl of vanilla ice cream. She tries to take a deep breath of the scent, but cannot.

Suddenly, she hears the rattle of a doorknob turning, coming from the living room. Someone has entered her apartment through the locked door. As she musters the energy she has left, she stands beside the bed with terror filling her very being. Her legs are shaking. As she staggers and sways, she stiffens her legs, standing still. Her vision is becoming blurry. With overwhelming weakness, her paramount instinct is to call for help. Except for the intruder, she knows she is in the apartment alone. She wants to scream and talk this intruder out of doing this. Maybe she could stop this from happening. She tries, but she does not have the strength to call out. Her body is limp from the pills. Trepidation pervades her rapidly beating heart. Her heart flutters, making her even more lightheaded and dizzy. She tries to walk, to run, to move—something! She is frozen and cannot move. The telephone is in the living room. Kizzy has always meant to have an extension phone installed in the bedroom. Whom would she call? Why is she thinking about this now? She cannot run to the phone in the living room. The intruder is in the living room. The pills have made her too weak. Besides, she knows the intruder will stop her before she can get to the telephone. She knows this intruder has come to kill her. She tries to speak, hoping to plead to stop this, but cannot utter a word. She looks toward the open bedroom door, her heart throbbing with the anticipation of the intruder’s entrance.

She can barely see him as he enters. She is afraid, really deep down afraid. Death has not seemed frightening, earlier, but now the actuality of death is terrifying to her. She tries to speak and cannot. She cannot form the words on her lips or in her throat. Clenched tightly shut, she cannot separate her teeth. The pills have left her defenseless. He towers over her. Kizzy’s green, emerald eyes stare upward, deeply, into his large, dark eyes. His eyes are cold, vacant. For a moment there is another sound. Kizzy moves her eyes focusing to look slightly around him. Behind him stands a woman. With her blurred vision, Kizzy cannot identify her. She does not seem familiar. Kizzy looks back in his eyes, trying to communicate with him through her eyes. He does not try to understand. Horror fills her eyes. He stares stolidly, looming over her, looking down in her eyes. She wants to run, but she knows she has nowhere to

While he grabs her with one mighty arm, clenching her arm tightly beneath his large, gloved hand, he leans close to her, whispering, “I’m sorry.” In his large dark eyes, she can see the dread. With a deep grunt, he plunges the knife, with all his mighty force, deeply into her upper abdomen. Desperately, Kizzy’s shaking hand clutches onto his gloved hand. Beneath their two hands, the knife pushes deeply into her flesh. She can feel the blade against her rib bone. By pushing toward him on his hand with her hand, she tries to inhibit the knife from plunging deeper. However, she is too weak to fight, and he is too strong for her to overcome. Beneath her hand, she can feel the handle of the knife under his hand. The pain is sharp, tearing, burning. Too late to stop death, a painful frown covers her face. She whimpers softly, but she cannot cry out or even speak. With tightly clenched teeth, she breathes rapidly from the desolation,
sucking the air through her parted lips. Electricity from her silent suffering permeates the air, charging it with her pain. Looking deeper in her eyes, he twists the knife inside her, tearing and ripping her insides. The sharp pain travels straight through into her back. The misery intensifies, spreading throughout her back from her neck to her buttocks. At first, she leans against him, using him to support her as she stands beside the bed. Her legs feel weaker. He stands against her strongly, not objecting, supporting her weight. Then, she collapses back upon the bed, lying on her back. She can barely see him in the dim lamplight. He stands over her holding the knife in his hand. Kizzy’s blood exudes from the knife onto the floor. Kizzy can feel the blood draining from her body. She can feel herself lying in her own blood. Through her stuffed nose, she can smell the strange freshness of her own blood. She feels colder.

Her eyes can barely see the ceiling above her bed through her truly blurred sight. She can feel the tears once again run from her eyes onto her cheeks and into her hair. Her breathing is shallow and rapid, as she fights to keep the breath inside her. She feels tired, weaker and weaker. She cannot move at all. He continues to stand over her, staring down at her. It becomes even harder to breathe, soon impossible. Gasping desperately for air as though to cheat death, she holds on to the last moment of life. She does not want to die. Kizzy wants to live. Her life starts flashing before her eyes. Memories flood across her mind like the fast flicker of a movie projector. Briefly, she clears her mind of the memories. She clinches the sheets between her fingers and palms. Wetness from her own blood causes the sheets to stick to her hands. Opening her eyes widely, she tries to clear her blurred vision, grasping at the last sight of
him—the last sight of her life. The killer does not move. He stares down at her, silently and shows limited remorse or emotion. Holding the knife in his gloved hand, it still drips with blood. He watches the increasing redness of the sheets and the wideness of her green eyes. Kizzy takes her last breath, a deep breath. With her green eyes wide open and her teeth still tightly clenched, she dies. Kizzy goes toward the light.

He lays the knife on the sheet beside her statuesque nude body. He grabs her body by the legs and pulls it off the bed onto the floor, face down. He stands over Kizzy, pausing briefly and admits that even in death, she is beautiful. Yes, she is so genuinely tantalizing. Enjoyably, he sucks in a deep breath of Kizzy’s fresh blood. He looks down at her drained body. He has forgotten about the woman standing quietly behind him. After opening the small pouch around his neck, he places the bloody knife inside.

From the pouch,
he pulls out a large meat cleaver.

--Excerpt from Evolution of a Sad Woman by Gale Laure. You can visit the author's website at www.evolutionofasadwoman.com or purchase her book at Amazon.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Interview with Historical Fiction Author Dot Ryan

Dot Ryan, author of the historical novel, Corrigans’ Pool, makes her home in Corpus Christi, Texas. Dot is busy writing her second and third works of historical fiction, one of which is the upcoming sequel to Corrigans’ Pool. To learn more about Dot, and to read Part One of the sequel, visit her website at www.dotryanbooks.com.

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

Dot: Thank you! I’m pleased to be here. I was born and raised in rural South Texas. I live in the beautiful coastal city of Corpus Christi with my husband Sam and in close vicinity to our sons and daughters and grandchildren.
I’ve been writing all my life. In the beginning, I wrote purely for the pleasure of it, sharing my stories with close friends and family long before I was confident enough to pursue publication.

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

Dot: Yes, I’d love to. Corrigans’ Pool is a Civil War era novel that takes place in and around Savannah, Georgia. If you don’t mind, I’ve taken parts of the following description from the recent ForeWord Clarion Review of Corrigans’ Pool, which gave the book five stars out five:
The eldest of two daughters, Ella Corrigan rises to the challenge when a family tragedy results in an incapacitated mother and a father consumed by guilt. Despite the pressures of essentially running the family plantation on her own, she bears the burden of responsibility stoically, with kindness, efficiency, and little resentment for her lot in life.

Somewhat resigned to the possibility of never marrying, Ella is stunned by her reaction when she meets the dashing, if seemingly ill-suited, Gentry Garland. She repeatedly resists the attraction at first, resulting in moments both touching and amusing, until she finally accepts the love between them. From there, it doesn’t take long for Ella to begin envisioning a different, more enriching future—at least until the Civil War lands on their doorstep and Gentry strangely disappears without a word.

Devastated, Ella makes the fateful decision to marry neighboring plantation owner Victor Faircloth. Victor’s increasingly contemptuous violence toward those who serve his household sickens Ella, and a gripping mystery begins to unfold involving his rapidly disappearing slaves and the beautiful pool, called Corrigans’ Pool, on Ella’s family property. As the Civil War rages on, Ella finds herself fighting a war of her own to save her home, her loved ones, and the innocent victims of her husband’s brutality.

Villains and heroes are exposed in their true light, loves are lost and found, and the strength of human spirit ultimately prevails.

I suppose I wrote Corrigans’ Pool because of my life-long love of history and novels that teach as well as entertain. I learned at an early age that my Irish paternal great-great grandparents came to Texas from Pennsylvania in 1819 and to America much earlier. Stories passed down from generation to generation about the hazards they and others faced piqued my interest in American history even before I was old enough to read and write. I have always been drawn to books with strong characters struggling to survive. I grew up knowing that someday I would write such novels. Corrigans’ Pool’s characters popped into my head years before I wrote the story.

What kind of research was involved in writing your book?

Dot: My early sources were old newspapers and encyclopedias, used mostly to substantiate facts and dates and to set my time line. In that Corrigans’ Pool takes place almost entirely in and around Savannah, Georgia and does not cover the entire Civil War, I found Derek Smith’s Civil War Savannah to be a superb source of information about the city and its citizens. I contacted Mr. Smith and told him what a tremendous help his book was to me in writing Corrigans’ Pool, and I was thrilled when he took the time to reply, wishing me the best of luck.

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

Dot: Early on, when I was trying to write Corrigans’ Pool, the ride was rather bumpy. I had married right out of high school, but was determined to continue my studies at home because I still dreamed of being a writer someday. I wrote bits and pieces of Corrigans’ Pool in the 60s’ and 70s’, then put the disjointed manuscript away for months and years at a time while I struggled with the realization that I needed to know more about the art of creative writing. I had the imagination one needs to write novels, but the two years of college business courses that I completed a few years after marriage did nothing to advance my narrow writing skills. College was not an option—I had three children to care for and was holding down a forty-hour a week job.

After pondering awhile, I realized that I indeed had one option—my own initiative. I began a campaign of self-study, hours in libraries, reading and re-reading dozens of books on writing, subscribing to every writer’s magazine I came across, enrolling in every late evening writer’s course available within reasonable driving distance from my rural home.

People experience euphoria for all kinds of reasons—mine came each time I learned something new in my studies—anything that gave me another tool to make me a better writer. I finished Corrigans’ Pool in 1982 … then lost every page of it in a fire a few months later.

After an interval of anger and self-pity, I started Corrigans’ Pool all over again. Six years later, with time off to run a business that my new husband and I had bought, Corrigans’ Pool had arisen from the ashes of the old—better, I believe, than the first.

Unfortunately, the new manuscript was a hefty tome of 1,012 pages. More work was ahead in that it had to be shortened by more than half. After finishing the extensive rewrite, I queried well over a dozen New York agents. Only one requested to see the manuscript. Three months later, she suggested I rewrite Corrigans’ Pool in a way that enhanced the romance issue. I thought long and hard about it, deciding against turning my story into something I had not intended. Although there is romance in the book, it is subtle, and is not the single aspect of Corrigans’ Pool that makes the story appealing throughout.

With faith that I had written a creditable novel, I decided to self-publish. I was fully aware of the stigma against self-published books and their writers. Despite all the talk to the contrary, I do not believe that those in the publishing world, who are truly interested in good books, actually go out of their way to punish writers who have enough faith in their creative abilities to self-publish their first novels … or their second or their third. Judging from reader’s reviews of Corrigans’ Pool, I made the right decision.

As a self-published author, I have all the say so over how long my book stays on the market. I was not thinking of the profit margin, I simply did not want to spend years trying to get my book published at a time when the economy had taken a downturn and traditional publishers were sticking mostly to known authors or celebrities. This is not to say I will not submit future manuscripts to traditional publishers, but it is nice to know that I have an alternative—even if I have to self-promote every book I write. I am praying that Corrigans’ Pool will establish me as a serious writer.

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

Dot: From contract to release it took a little over a year. In that the book was self-published, the length of time could have been much shorter, but in addition to falling between the cracks a few times immediately after the publishing company relocated to another area, I was a stickler for editing and made changes as we went along, all of which slowed down the process. In the self-publishing world, it is exclusively up to the writer to groom their book, exactly the way a good agent or traditional publisher would expect, before sending it to the printer. Self-published writers who fail to do this needn’t look forward to any sort of recognition other than the old raspberry.

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?

Dot: No, I don’t have an agent nor have I ever. I hear conflicting notions about the necessity of an agent. I can understand why a writer would want one if she is dead set on getting a traditional publisher. These days, few traditional publishers will look at manuscripts that are not represented by agents.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Dot: Many! I’m currently working on the sequel to Corrigans’ Pool. You can read Part One on my website, but it would be nice if you read Corrigans’ Pool first. I have bits and pieces of three additional novels, two of which take place in the South during World War II. I’m also working on a story about the Texas dance hall business during the dying throes of the Urban Cowboy days. Whew! I’ve got a lot to do, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love writing! One of my daughters recently reminded me that I hadn’t had a vacation in ages. I told her that I’m on vacation every time I sit down at my computer to write.

Can you describe your most favorite place to write?

Dot: Mostly, I stay tucked away in my cramped little office. Occasionally, I write in the back yard. Confession: Some days, I don’t bother to get out of my pajamas before I begin writing—I’m all for comfort while exercising the brain.

My favorite place to write is the beach when it isn’t too windy and the seagulls leave me alone.

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

Dot: A spacious RV and an experienced chauffeur who can read maps! Prior to setting out, I would arrange publicity stops all across the scenic USA. What a great combination of work and sight-seeing that would be!

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

Dot: Self-promotion is the key to success. There is no doubt that in order to sell, to be seen and noticed, you must promote and market your book. Through my publisher, I have paid for quite a few promotion deals; it remains to be seen which will be effective. A self-published author has to be willing to spend a little money, but all the money in the world won’t transform a bad book into a marketable one. I am hoping that my recently purchased Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tour will get Corrigans’ Pool noticed in all the right places. After that, I’m confident that Corrigans’ Pool can stand on its own merit.

Additionally, I have a website, and am on other popular sites:

Website:http//www.dotryanbooks.com; Wordpress Blog; Twitted; Facebook; Shelfari; Goodreads and Myspace. I am trying to make time for these sites, but will soon choose three or four on which to concentrate. Currently, I am working on ways to increase flow to my website.

As far as offline promotion, I notified everyone I know, sent e-mails, and donated books to an area library. I am still working on other promotions. Just as I was about to begin a state-wide tour this past summer, a family member’s sudden illness required that I not leave town. The illness turned out to be long term. I am hoping to reschedule my tour visits in early spring. If successful, I will consider visiting other states, and will contact radio and TV station. For now, I am planning appointments with brick and mortar stores in my area, including large food chains and gift shops, and will see what it takes to get my book on display. Bookstores like to hear that your book is returnable if it doesn’t move off the shelf, and Corrigans’ Pool is returnable to the publisher—a service that I paid for, but which I feel is well worth the price. I am also having posters, flyers, and bookmarks made, which will come in handy on my trips.

I am discovering that word of mouth testimonials from readers is an excellent way to get one’s work noticed, and Corrigans’ Pool reviews have been outstanding.

What’s the most common reason you believe new writers give up their dream of becoming published and did you almost give up?

Dot: In my opinion, the most common reason could easily be a lack of encouragement from those closest to them. The most important thing a new writer can have is the heart-felt support and understanding of family, even if buoyed by only one lone member; without it, dreams become unrealistic in one’s own mind, and so easy to push aside.

Also, machine gun rejection slips can drop a writer to his knees. Most writers are sensitive creatures, but early on they must develop a tough hide if they are to survive disappointments that might otherwise end their dreams of being published. Being a woman, I am opposed to tough hides on females, inner or outer; therefore, I pretend I have a long, beautiful, rawhide cape and when the need arises I toss it around my shoulders and wrap my creative sensitivities in it. I carry my cape everywhere I go, and it works great.

The tragedy of seeing my years of work reduced to a pile of ashes in the fire I mentioned earlier almost ended my ever wanting to write again. Maybe it was the insatiable writer inside me that overcame my heartbreak and anger. Or maybe it was my rawhide cape. Whichever, I started all over again and I haven’t stopped since.

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

Dot: Follow your heart, and when you’ve finished writing your manuscript, have it professionally evaluated and edited before you do another thing. If you are a serious writer, you’ve probably heard this advice before, but when you think your manuscript is in tip-top shape, set it aside for a couple of weeks and then go over it again—you will be stunned by the errors that both you and your editor missed! Only when it is finally as perfect as you can get it, will you be ready to submit to agents or publishers, or go the self-published route.

First and foremost, don’t let anyone or anything—and this certainly includes the machine gun rejection slips—take away your dream to be published. Be ready for obstacles and know that you can overcome them if only you do not give up. And, whatever else you do, get yourself an attractive rawhide cape and wear it proudly!
Thank you for your interview, Dot. I wish you much success!

Dot: Thank you for inviting me. I’ve enjoyed answering your questions.

If you would like to pick up a copy of Dot Ryan's Corrigans' Pool, click here!

Interview with Children's Author Bernadine Feagins

Bernadine Feagins is a new author who is looking forward to many years of writing children’s books. She has always loved children and worked many years in early childhood development. During those times she witnessed the joy children felt, as she would demonstratively read books. In addition she is a very active mom who loves to nurture not only her children, but those of family and community. She is an avid reader to those she loves and has cared for. Which she notices reading to a child shows them love?

She developed storytelling skills through the numerous books she read to children. This gave her an inspiration to tell her own story. Hakim and Terrance Shadow Mystery is the result. Bernadine is available for interviews, book signings or public reading.

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

Answer: I am a mother of two beautiful children. I have worked in early childhood development for over ten years. I was inspired to write Hakim and Terrance Shadow Mystery for my son and nephew. Who love and are fascinated by dogs.

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

Answer: Hakim and Terrance Shadow Mystery is a very unique story in that it involves an interracial friendship. The best friends are in search of Hakim's missing dog. They go on an adventure to find the dog and learn valuable lessons. The book depicts friendship, hope, devotion to a dog and the emotions of one young girl when she finds out that "finders" does not always mean "keepers." It is a delightful book and very well illustrated. I wrote this book to send a message to my son and nephew: anything is possible if you Work HARD, STUDY HARD AND NEVER GIVE UP!

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

Answer: I had no big challenges to face. I guess I was blessed in this area.

Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it? Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?

Answer: Yes I have a press kit it’s online and it includes my bio, links to buy my book. I would gladly provide you with a link at end of this interview.

Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV? What are your upcoming plans for doing so?

Answer: Yes, I have spoken to a group of people about my book. No I haven’t done any TV or radio appearances. My upcoming plans are to get my book advertised on radio.

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?

Answer: No I don’t have an agent, I never had one. I don’t feel it is necessary to have one at this time.

Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?

Answer: No my publishing company didn’t prepare a media blitz, before the book came out but. Thank you for the idea.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Answer: Yes, please be on the look out for the subsequent next year.

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

Answer: Yes! They can go to my website to buy my book. With one click at http://www.mvpmedia1.com/feaginsworld or Amazon.com.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Book Excerpt: Corrigans' Pool by Dot Ryan

THE DOWNTOWN REVELRY CARRIED all the way across town, even as far as Beatrice Corrigan’s house on the corner of Bull and Taylor streets, as Timon tapped at her door.“Good mornin’ to you Reverend, suh. Come right in.” The elderly Joseph ushered Timon to a chair pushed up against the foyer
wall and indicated that the preacher should be seated. “Miz Bea
sayed you was to make youself to home. She be back directly. Her friend, Miss Tessie, been feeling poorly, and old Bootsie cook up a fine kettle of root potion for Miz Bea to take over to her. Miz Bea sayed you gonna be mighty happy with the funds she done collect for to build the new rectory over at the church.”

“I suspect I will, Joseph. Miz Corrigan is the Lord’s handmaiden,
a saint to the needy of Savannah and to the needs of his church.”

“Yes, suh. The preacher from over at the Baptist church done
sayed the same thing just yesterday. She done give them folks over at the orphans’ home a fine donation too.”

“God bless her generous soul.”

“Yes, suh. He sure do that,” Joseph said, excusing himself as he shuffled back to the open front door. “Jube!” he called out in a loud voice. “Saddle up a hoss. There be a letter on the front table in here to be took to Miss Ella. Mista Gen’te say when he drop it off he be mighty pleased iffen it got took to Miss Ella real fast.”

Without Joseph’s remarks, Timon would not have given a second glance at the table next to his chair, but now his eyes dropped to the envelope with “Miss Ella Corrigan” scrawled in a strong, bold hand. The low, husky drawl suddenly awakened in Timon’s memory was like a dose of quinine clinging to the back of his tongue: “Ah! Reverend Pledger … Come right in. Miss Corrigan has something to tell you.”

“When you leave out, Jube,” Joseph continued, still shouting instructions through the door, “ride up Bull Street and tell Miz Bea where you is going. She most likely comin’ home in the buggy by
now since she be expecting the Reverend.” Then he closed the door and disappeared down the hall without another word to Timon, leaving an awkward silence behind him.

Ten minutes later, Jube padded into the foyer. He dragged his slouch hat from his head and nodded respectfully to Timon before looking at the table. Then he immediately moved away to gaze at another table across the room.

After nodding a return greeting to Jube, the reverend turned his attention to the open Bible in his lap, moving his shaky fingers slowly down each line of text. His lips were moving as he silently mouthed the words he appeared to be reading. Then he lifted his head slightly and, from the corner of his eye, he watched Jube scratch his head as he scanned both tables again and the floor around them. He trotted away and returned shortly with Joseph.

“Lawd, help me,” the old servant said after looking left and right. “Miz Bea been saying how I gettin’ mighty forgetful lately. She sayed when the Lawd come to take old Joseph’s soul to glory, I gonna forget where I done been hiding it from the devil!”

After searching the parlor and dining room, then the foyer again, Joseph went back into the parlor to start the search cycle over, motioning Jube to follow. Neither servant was paying any attention to Timon, who yanked out his handkerchief and began mopping at the glistening sweat beads that had popped up on his forehead.

“You better find that letter, Joseph,” Jube cautioned the old man as he helped him look. “Miz Bea gonna be mighty mad when she find out you done lost that letter.”

“I gonna find it,” Joseph said, frowning as he studied the room again from top to bottom.

“What you gonna do iffen you don’t find it? Miz Bea get mighty mad when things get lost ’round the place.”

“Miz Bea ain’t gonna find out. You hear me, boy?”

“If you sayed so, Joseph.”

“That right, boy. That what I sayed.”

After several more minutes of searching, the two servants shuffled in silence down the center hall toward the back of the house, their shoulders a bit more slumped than usual. When they
were out of sight, emotion rolled over Timon like a muddy tide. He had not planned on taking the letter, and once he had taken it, he had not planned on reading it. That he had done both left him trembling with remorse, so reviled by the deed that he felt the boiled crawdads he’d had for lunch burning his throat. And all he could think about was getting away from there as quickly as possible.

Astraddle old Blackie, he found himself jogging along at a pace that the animal apparently thought too fast, for Blackie swung his knobby head around and, with a rolling eye, examined his rider. Timon rode east on Gordon Street before turning left onto Abercorn, putting a two-block span between himself and Bull Street and a chance meeting with Beatrice Corrigan. He had no idea where he was going. His church and adjacent home were in the opposite direction, and he only knew that, of all places, he could not go there. His father’s ministry was there, the ministry with which he had falsely mantled himself!

The reins in his hands went as slack as his spirits. Without any indication whatsoever from Timon on which way to go, Blackie crossed Broughton, Congress, and Bryan streets one by one, then plodded across the wide expanse of Bay Street, doing a good job of dodging, waiting, then threading through the dense traffic that filled every thoroughfare.

“Fort Sumter’s gonna be free of Yanks afore the days out!” a voice in the milling throng yelled out to someone in the crowd.

“We’re givin’ ’em hell!”

But Timon paid them no attention. His mind was on another kind of hell—the one he had just created for himself. How had it happened? How had he let it happen? He was not a man of God
his his father had been. He only masqueraded as such. If that had been his father in Miss Bea’s foyer, he would have known Satan was about to pay him a call, and he would have fought him with all his might, rising victorious from the dust and the splinters of battle. The first Reverend Timon Pledger had proven time and time again that he was above temptation’s endless sweep, beyond Beelzebub’s consumptive grasp.

But his unworthy son had not even put up a fight when old Lucifer sneaked up on him, blindsided him, and then worked his evil on him. Timon slumped even lower in the saddle. He had often
wondered why he had never witnessed adoration shining in the eyes of his little congregation the way it had shone in the eyes of his father’s large flock. He now knew why. In his bumble-headed
orations, they must have sensed his unworthiness, his inability to reach out and touch their souls. They just didn’t understand the source of his weakness, the secret desire constantly festering in his mind that had him dreaming of Ella Corrigan and writing poetry when he should have been preparing his sermons.

Oh, deathless love, arduous and wrenching, will reside in sinful grief with a jealous love … fanatical and festering, to reveal the soul of a thief! Hapless … helpless … hopeless love that …

He was no minister of God. He was an imposter. And that shameful revelation had come to him in a flash as he snatched up the letter, his fingers trembling as he fumbled at the wax seal until
the envelope tore and he read the words. Then came the sin of sins. He had thrust the letter and its damaged envelope between the pages of God’s holy words! He had used God’s precious book to hide his cravenness. And he could not put the letter back, nor pretend to do a favor by delivering it to its owner, for he had ripped it in half before secreting it away in his Bible. Timon shuddered. “And many false prophets shall arise and shall fool many.”

Blackie’s ears perked up, and even though he had just plodded across Bay Street, he shifted around and faced the busy avenue again when a blaring brass band marched by and headed uptown. Behind the band advanced two hundred or more of Savannah’s quick-stepping Confederate volunteers. A rousing cheer echoed up and down the street. When Blackie stopped, Timon did not notice. His arm was pressed tightly over the Bible, which dug like a spike
into his armpit beneath his long coat, his thoughts on what he had done rather than what was transpiring around him.

After the parade of men and musicians had passed, Blackie stretched his neck around to look at Timon again. Then, as if finally realizing he could do as he pleased, he stepped buoyantly back
into the street to jog along behind the marchers, his scraggy tail swinging with the exuberance of a colt’s. Timon’s vacant gaze held to the sandy thoroughfare. If he believed what he preached—and he did, for the most part—then God would forgive him. But, as further proof of his unworthiness, it was not God’s judgment that concerned him. He tightened his arm, and the spike beneath his armpit jabbed harder.

The parade filed onto Johnson Square, where a large crowd encircled a high, wooden podium. A brisk breeze from the Atlantic carried salty sea smells in from the east, which blended with the
pungent odors of wood smoke, simmering food, and hay-covered stables, not an unpleasant bouquet on this cool April afternoon. Snapping in the wind were dozens of secession flags emblazoned with slogans supporting the newly formed Confederate States of America. A banner with a lone red star on a white background, like the one that Savannah’s volunteer militia had hoisted over Fort Pulaski to represent Georgia just last month, waved high over the Nathaniel Greene monument. Another such flag had been defiantly unfurled on the United States Customs House on Bay Street in February, replacing the Stars and Stripes that had been there in one form or another since the American Revolution.

The squares and every downtown avenue teemed with excitement. Milling crowds of men and boys surrounded orators who stoked enthusiasm for war with shouts of “Yankee tyranny!” and “God bless the Confederacy!” Georgia’s exodus from the Union had brought hundreds of state troops into Savannah. The downtown streets were studded with armed men on foot or horseback or steering an assortment of horse- or mule-drawn vehicles. Savannah’s residents
peppered the sidewalks and lined the walls of the buildings, talking, yelling, and laughing.

As Blackie plodded among them, the band struck up “Dixie,” and soon a chorus of masculine voices rose like heavy smoke from the streets, drifting across the city in undulating waves of loudness, nearly drowning out the band. The sounds, the smells, and the tumultuousness of his own thoughts suddenly fractured Timon’s mind like powerful breakers crashing the pilings of a rickety pier. He jerked up the reins and headed Blackie for home, threading his way through the crowd, stopping at times to let someone squeeze by. In one such moment, a small boy yelled, “Yah!” as Blackie’s long, grayish teeth took a big nip out of the cardboard placard the boy dangled on a pole close to Blackie’s nose, nearly jerking the pole from the boy’s hands. Blackie chomped contentedly until his pilfered morsel was gone.

Then the worst thing that could happen at that moment did. He saw Ella Corrigan, accompanied by her father and sister, in a buggy slowly coming down the street toward him. Adam Corrigan was in the driver’s seat, his big thoroughbred tied at the back of the buggy. Timon pulled left on the reins again and nudged Blackie sideways, attempting to lose himself in the multitude. Despite his efforts, he was sure the Corrigans would see him and he would have to face them. Slowly drawing his hat from his head as their buggy neared, he waited for the inevitable.

But it did not happen. The vehicle rolled past, and Timon was relieved to see that Ella Corrigan, lovely though masked in a strange pallor, stared straight ahead. Her sister, Honor, gazed elsewhere. Adam Corrigan, frowning intently, concentrated entirely on maneuvering the buggy through the crowd.

One tiny face in the rear of the Corrigans’ vehicle, however, looked Timon’s way with a grin of recognition. Timon raised his hand hesitantly and waved back at the Negro child, remembering
how the boy had attempted to help him onto Blackie’s back that dismal night at Greenpoole. He watched until the buggy disappeared among the throng of horses and vehicles, his mind once again reeling with remorse.

The spike pressing into Timon’s armpit also stabbed at his heart: “We shall marry as soon as I return, my darling,” the letter said. “The knowledge that you love me as I love you will sustain me until I once again look into your beautiful eyes and hold you to my heart. If I am foolish to confess that I could bear no more separation from you than that, then foolish I am. It is foolish that I will always be for you, my love. You are my destiny and I, yours.” There was more in
Gentry Garland’s writing, but Timon forced his mind elsewhere, his guilt nearly unbearable.

Suddenly, Timon remembered something the inebriated Adam Corrigan had said to him that calamitous night when they had fallen from Corrigan’s horse onto the road. “You know, Reverend,” Adam had said, “a man’s life can be changed in a wink by anyone who wishes to change it. He may set his goals, nourish his dreams, do that which he is wont to do, but ultimately, it’s what someone else may do that determines his destiny … his happiness.”

But Gentry Garland will come back! Timon assured himself.

He will marry Ella, and all will be fine. Their destiny would not be determined by his insane moment of jealously in Miz Bea’s parlor. Yes, they would marry, and Timon would have harmed no one but himself with that terrible deed. He shuddered, taking only marginal comfort in the knowledge that old Joseph and Jube would not be brave enough to confess their assumed carelessness to their mistress.

In the stable behind Christ Episcopal Church, Timon waved Jo-Jo aside and unsaddled Blackie himself. Then, after forking up a batch of fresh hay, he went into the tack room, emerged a few minutes later with a small bucketful of paper-flecked oats, and poured the contents into the trough. Blackie immediately abandoned the hay for the pile of oats. Timon watched until his horse had eaten the last morsel of his unusual meal, after which the reverend dropped onto a nearby bale of hay and slumped forward, his head in his hands.

--Book Excerpt from Corrigans' Pool by Dot Ryan. Visit the author's website at www.dotryanbooks.com or pick up a copy of her book at Amazon by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Interview with Gale Laure, author of Evolution of a Sad Woman

Gale Laure, a native Texan, is the international selling author of Evolution of a Sad Woman, a mystery, suspense, thriller and romance novel. She resides in a small suburban town in the Houston area with her husband and family. Laure’s hobbies include genealogical research, movies, creating stories for the children around her, involvement in her church and people watching. She is busy at work editing her second novel, The Bunkhouse, and writing. As mysterious as her novel, Laure writes under a pseudonym. Adamant about maintaining her privacy and the privacy of her family, she keeps her identity a mystery! For more information about Gale Laure or her novel, Evolution of a Sad Woman, visit http://www.galelaure.com or her blog http://www.evolutionofasadwoman.com . You can also find Gale Laure at http://www.twitter.com/wwwgalelaure.com , http://www.facebook.com/Author.GaleLaure , http://www.myspace.com/galelaure-author , http://www.goodreads.com/galelaureauthor , http://www.authorsden.com/galelaure .

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

Gale: I am an international selling author living in the Houston area of Texas. I write under a pseudonym to protect my privacy and the privacy of my family. My strategy for life is that a person can do anything they set their mind to do. Evolution of a Sad Woman is my debut novel.

It took me about six months to write Evolution of a Sad Woman. During that time my well-meaning husband decided to surprise me and upgrade my computer while I was out of town. Needless to say, the entire system crashed. The only backup I had of my book on a CD was corrupt. After a mourning period, I began writing my novel again. This time it took me about three months. The second time I wrote Evolution of a Sad Woman, it was better than ever!

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

Gale: My debut novel, Evolution of a Sad Woman, is a mystery, suspense, thriller and romance novel.

It is about five men – strangers – who are brought together by their love of the same beautiful, unforgettable woman, Kizzy. When she is brutally murdered, they join forces to solve the mystery of the murder. Police detective Evan Picard, attorney William Newton, former pro-football player turned used car salesman Tom Hastings, Catholic priest Father C.D. Casmiersky and former male model turned cabdriver Jimmy Smithson find stress as personalities collide. Little do they know, but there will be more than just the murder mystery to solve. They are taken down a dark, dangerous road of cruelty and crime.

I wrote Evolution of a Sad Woman because it popped into my head. Once I decided to be an author, I had no idea what to write about. So I prayed. The next morning when I awoke, Evolution of a Sad Woman, was there – inside my head. The entire story poured from my fingers into the computer. I did not have to think or consider or even imagine. The characters were around me as I wrote. It was the easiest thing I have ever done.

After my well-meaning husband destroyed my book, once again I sat down, and it poured forth.

What kind of research was involved in writing Evolution of a Sad Woman?

Gale: I read three books and one article. They covered subjects from the Mafia to Catholicism. Most of my research was done with people. I interviewed two attorneys, two police officers (one of which is now a judge) and a staff member at a Catholic church who was very knowledgeable about Catholicism.

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

Gale: Bumpy ride? You have no idea.

I sent out many manuscripts to many publishers. I received letters saying mainly that my novel was not the trend at that time. One editor believed in my novel and tried her best. But she was only one editor on a panel of many. Again it was denied because of the trend at the time.

Then disasters began hitting my life. I had many trials and family problems of illness that included myself with pneumonia, my husband with cancer twice and the ongoing illnesses of my two elderly parents. During these trials my book was put on hold. I received several more letters from publishers that I laid aside unopened. My very sick husband opened some. But we acted on nothing.

When things slowed down a little he remembered one of the letters that had arrived from my current publisher when he saw one of their advertisements in a magazine. He brought it to my attention. The rest is history.

I became a published author in late October, 2007. After my book was published, my home was destroyed when a tornado met a huge pine tree. The huge pine tree lost the battle and ended up on top of my home. Most everything was destroyed. We escaped in the middle of the night during the eye of the hurricane with our very lives. This slowed down my promotion of my mystery, suspense, thriller and romance book.

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

Gale: It took about four months. There was one rewrite in the mix.
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?

Gale: I do have an agent. I chose an attorney who is a copyright/patent lawyer for my agent. I wanted someone who could read a contract and help me protect my rights as well as shop my book around. I am most pleased with this gentleman. I trust him completely.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Gale: Yes. I do. I am currently editing my second novel, The Bunkhouse, a historical, mystery, suspense, thriller and romance with a science-fiction twist. I wrote it for my husband who is a sci-fi fan. The characters from Evolution of a Sad Woman make a brief cameo in The Bunkhouse. There is a clue to the second Evolution of a Sad Woman sequel.

I am writing the first sequel to Evolution of a Sad Woman entitled Alana – Evolution of a Woman. It is a mystery, suspense, thriller and romance book. It has a very complicated plot. There is a serial killer, a stalker, a kidnaper – and yes Kizzy is back! Need I say more?

I am researching my fourth book, Time in Vieux Carre, a historical, mystery, suspense and romance novel set in New Orleans, Louisiana, one of my favorite cities.

My fifth book will be the second and final sequel to Evolution of a Sad Woman. I prefer not to give the title away, just yet.

Can you describe your most favorite place to write?

Gale: My favorite place to write is in my home – alone. There must be no one else in the house. I must see my characters. I must envision the story. I write in my office usually. Although since hurricane Ike I am forced to write in my living room, sitting in my wing back lounge chair with my laptop balanced on my lap. I have been unable to find the perfect furniture for my office. I am very particular about the desk and chair that I use.

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

Gale: I would implement a huge marketing campaign that would include several things.

Television commercials, billboard commercials, movie theatre commercials, magazine commercials, radio commercials about Evolution of a Sad Woman would be everywhere!

I would attend all the trade shows and conventions. They are wonderful. I would also go on an extended brick and mortar book tour internationally. I have readers all over the world that I would like to meet.

During the Christmas season I would go on another virtual blog book tour.
How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

Gale: Self-promotion is key to success in the writing business.

I have done brick and mortar book signings. I have done book signings at trade shows. I have been on radio. Newspapers have interviewed me. And now – I am on a virtual blog book tour.

I have been currently working with the Mystery Advertising Agency, an Internet advertising company. This agency helps me obtain free book advertising and marketing courtesy of the search engines using search engine optimization.

This company has many other unique strategies for marketing and sales via the Internet.

I hand out business cards to people I meet. I also sent out postcards to booksellers everywhere when my book first was released.

First, an author must sell himself or herself. My father who was in the sales game for over fifty years always taught me that people buy from people. If they do not like and trust you, they will not buy what you are selling. Thus, I am on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Authorsden, MySpace, YouTube, Podomatic and Shoutlife. I want readers to get to know me.

I have made videos of me reading my novel, which are on YouTube. Book trailers of Evolution of a Sad Woman are also on YouTube.

I have been a busy lady.
What’s the most common reason you believe new writers give up their dream of becoming published and did you almost give up?

Gale: Authors give up when they feel their work is not wanted. Publishers are in control. Letters from these publishers can destroy an author’s dream. I hope authors will remember that editors are only people with an opinion. You have to find the right editor that believes in your work. It is a hard road to travel. Know that editors have to go with successful trends in writing at the time. They have superiors to answer to. Their decisions must be right. There is no room for error. Keep searching until you find the right editor and the right publisher. If you do not believe in your work, no one will!

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

Gale: Persevere. Do not give up! If you truly believe in your work and your dream, follow it. If you do not believe in your work, no one will.

Thank you for your interview, Gale. I wish you much success!

Gale: Thank you for this wonderful interview. It was very nice to be here.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Single at Christmas: The Best Holiday of Your Life

I have a holiday surprise for everyone! Barbora Knobova, author of Tales for Delicious Girls, is here to get everyone in the holiday spirit. What's it like to be single at Christmas? Barbora gives us tips on how even single people can have the best holiday of their lives!

Single at Christmas: The Best Holiday of Your Life

by Barbora Knobova

At Christmas a couple of years ago, I found myself in a faraway country, shortly after a bad break-up, unable to go see my family. But what seemed like a complete disaster turned out to be one of the best Christmas Holidays of my life.

Maybe you are in a similar situation this year. You are single and surrounded by happy couples. You are far from your dear ones and cannot spend the Holiday with your family. You are lonely and sad, and you feel like skipping Christmas altogether. But why should you do that? You've always loved Christmas, right? So don't let the circumstances ruin it for you and make this Christmas the best Holiday you've ever had.

1. Don't let people make you believe that Christmas is only for couples and families.

Christmas is for everyone. When someone looks at you with sorrow and says: "I'm so sorry you're alone at Christmas, it must be very sad," just smile and say: "Actually, being alone at Christmas is wonderful because you can really absorb the spirit of the Holiday without stress and shopping frenzy. You should try it too."

2. Celebrate Christmas the way you want.

If you love traditional Christmas, buy the biggest Christmas tree, the fanciest decorations, fill your house with lights, sing carols, bake tons of Christmas cookies (you can always give them to a homeless shelter and make someone's Christmas just a little bit nicer). If you have always hated traditional Christmas and the way your family, your husband or boyfriend made you spend it, why don't you celebrate it your way this year? It is your Holiday after all. You can explore Christmas food and traditions of other countries and cultures and really experiment with various ways of spending Christmas to make it unique and truly yours.

3. Buy yourself presents. Lots of them.

No unwanted, awkward presents this year. Why couldn't you have a pile of lovely presents under the tree and in the stockings? Buy everything you like, everything you wish for, and yes, splurge. Have your gifts professionally wrapped in the mall - this way you won't know what's hiding in the packages and you'll be excited to open your presents on Christmas morning.

Christmas is a wonderful holiday and it belongs to all of us, not only to married people or big families. Make Christmas your own holiday, celebrate it and spend it the way you have always wanted to. In a few years, when memories of long-gone Christmas Holidays have faded, this will be the Christmas you will always remember. In a good way.

Barbora Knobova is a writer, relationship coach and expert in Delicious Life. A world traveler, she is one of those rare world citizens who live everywhere and nowhere. Barbora is a firm believer in female friendship, loyalty and bonding. She writes hilarious, sharp-witted, caustically apt, ironic, moving, true books for strong, independent, smart, fearless women. Barbora has also written several self-improvement books and teaches women about the importance of self-love in relationships and life in general. Barbora speaks eight languages and has found her home away from home in New York, London and Milan. She is always on the move, accompanied by her beagle Brinkley, the nasty dog from Tales for Delicious Girls. You can visit her website at www.barboraknobova.com.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Interview with Ingrid King, author of Buckley's Story

Ingrid King is a former veterinary hospital manager turned writer. She writes and publishes the online magazine News for You and Your Pet, covering topics ranging from conscious living to holistic and alternative health. She shares her experiences with consciously creating a joyful, happy and healthy life for pets and people on her popular blog, The Conscious Cat. Ingrid lives in Northern Virginia with her tortoiseshell cat Amber. Visit www.ingridking.com.

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

Ingrid: I haven’t been writing professionally all that long, but I’ve been writing in some shape or form all my life. I started writing professionally when I launched my online magazine News for You and Your Pet about three years ago. Initially, the purpose of the magazine was to help market my Reiki business, Healing Hands (I offer Reiki treatments for pets and for people). In the process of writing and producing the newsletter, I found that I thoroughly enjoyed writing for publication and sharing information about living a happy, healthy life for pets and people. Earlier this year, I started my blog The Conscious Cat as yet another outlet for my writing. I also published several book reviews in NOVA Dog Magazine over the past couple of years. My first book, Buckley’s Story – Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher, was published this September.

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

Ingrid: Buckley’s Story is a story about the important role animals play in our lives by teaching us universal lessons about opening the heart and living a joyful life. It’s also my story of what it’s like to live with a cat with a terminal illness - in Buckley’s case, that was heart disease - and all that comes with it: making treatment decisions, maintaining a positive attitude in the face of a poor prognosis, and ultimately, having to make end of life decisions for her. The book also offers advice on how to cope with the devastating grief that can come with losing a beloved pet. Ultimately, the book is a celebration of the connection between animals and humans, a connection that transcends the physical dimension.

I’ve always believed that animals are amazing teachers, and I’ve been fortunate to have a number of these animals in my life, most of them, cats. But none changed my life as much as Buckley did in the three short years she was with me. Maybe it was a case of “when the student is ready, the teacher appears” – and in my case, the teacher came in a seven pound feline body! When I reflected back on the many wonderful ways in which she changed my life, I realized that most of the lessons she taught me were universal spiritual lessons, and I wanted to share the lessons and her story with the world.

What kind of research was involved in writing Buckley’s Story?

Ingrid: Since the book is interspersed with information on cat health in general and heart disease in particular, I spent quite a bit of time researching those topics. Even though I worked in the veterinary profession for almost twelve years and have a thorough understanding of the field, I wanted to be sure that I used the most recent information. Veterinary medicine, just like human medicine, is an ever changing discipline and information can get outdated very quickly.

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

Ingrid: I choose to self-publish, and I couldn’t be happier with my choice, so it was pretty smooth sailing for me.

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

Ingrid: I choose my publisher in February of this year after several months of researching various self-publishing options. I submitted the final manuscript in May, and the book came out the end of September.

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?

Ingrid: Since I choose to self-publish, I did not pursue getting an agent at that time.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Ingrid: Absolutely. I have several ideas that I’m working on.

Can you describe your most favorite place to write?

Ingrid: My office. About three years ago, I purchased my dream desk, and earlier this year, I purchased my dream desk chair. I love everything about my office – the look, the energy, I’m surrounded by things I love, and one of Amber’s favorite sleeping places is the window perch next to my desk.

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

Ingrid: Can you pay to get on Oprah? Seriously, if money was no object, I would purchase radio, television and print advertising.

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

Ingrid: I think self-promotion is extremely important, especially for an independently published author, although I’m hearing from many traditionally published authors that the major publishing houses don’t put all that much marketing money behind their authors anymore, either. I’ve utilized social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to create buzz for the book and build a following of potential readers. I’ve found these sites to be very effective, and I also really enjoy them, I think it’s a fun way to promote. I’ve also found blogging to be a great promotional tool, both in terms of getting word about the book and by building relationships with other bloggers. And I love to blog!

What’s the most common reason you believe new writers give up their dream of becoming published and did you almost give up?

Ingrid: I think it’s hard to stay positive when so much of what you hear about the publishing industry and getting published is full of gloom and doom - how hard it is to get published, how you can’t make money being a writer, how there’s so much competition. You have to have a pretty strong belief in yourself and your writing to counteract that. I believe that if you are passionate about your writing, you will succeed.

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

Ingrid: Keep writing, and don’t give you on your dream. Surround yourself with people who support your dream and who cheer you on. Get rid of the naysayers. Believe in yourself.

Thank you for your interview, Ingrid. I wish you much success!

Ingrid: Thank you for this opportunity – I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Humorist Pat Snyder "The Dog Ate My Planner" giving away book tomorrow!

Humorist Pat Snyder, author of The Dog Ate My Planner, will be at Pump Up Your Book on Friday, December 4, taking your questions and comments. Leave a question or a comment, along with your email address (very important), in the comment section anytime between now and 8 p.m. tomorrow night and you could win a free copy of her book!

The winner will be selected at the end of tomorrow night and announced on Monday, Dec. 7.

Find out all about writing humor from one of the most talented humorists!

Click here to enter now!

Book Spotlight: Hearts of Courage by John M. Tippets

On January 5, 1943, an airplane with six onboard goes missing in remote Southeast Alaska with the pilot’s only radio message of “one engine has conked out, expect trouble.” The winter weather is extreme, searchers find no signs of the Lockheed-Electra aircraft, and all are presumed lost. One of those passengers was Joseph Tippets, age 29, of Anchorage, Alaska, an employee of the Civil Aeronautics Administration, and the first branch president of the small Latter-day Saint Anchorage congregation. Joseph’s wife, Alta, with her two-year-old son in Anchorage does not give up hope and is a source of strength and encouragement to others. On February 3, the crew of a small coast guard vessel on a routine patrol in Boca de Quadra was stunned to discover two starved and freezing survivors of the missing plane. One of those was Joseph Tippets.

Hearts of Courage is the story of Joseph Tippets’ experiences over those twenty-nine days and his subsequent efforts to help rescue the two injured passengers still stranded in their wilderness camp. Told largely in Joseph’s own words, this is a story of courage, determination, faith, and prayers answered. It is an aviation history story, a survival story, and a love story.

“We all remember the almost incredulous joy and amazement we experienced on February 3 upon hearing that two survivors had been found, including our good friend and coworker, Joseph H. Tippets. After a month of privation and suffering, the fact that even four of the six on board the ill-fated plane survived the long, miserable month almost taxes our imagination, and proves indeed that faith and hope and courage and endurance have tangible rewards.

“The age of miracles is not past!”

Marshall C. Hoppin, Alaska Regional Manager
Civil Aeronautics Administration
Mukluk Telegraph, March 1943


In testing out the boat again, and after making a few more repairs, we became somewhat bold. We were on a point of land jutting out into the bay, which had a narrow outlet to the sea. We felt if we could make our way out to the open water, we would have a chance to get to Annette Island or find some inhabited place where we could get help.

On Saturday (day 25), we started out. We knew our chances were slim, but desperation and concern for our two comrades back in camp forced us to make a try. We sat in the bottom of the boat, actually sitting in the icy cold water. The boat leaked almost as fast as we could bail. We bailed with one hand and paddled wearily with the other for about an hour. There was only one inch of space on the side of the boat above the water. After a couple hundred yards, we had to run the boat to shore and tip it over to empty it, and then start again.

We should not have undertaken that trip. Before we left, I had a clear feeling that we should not go. It was more than a feeling, it was a warning. But we set out and, as a result, we were headed for disaster.

After we’d been rowing about two hours, a violent storm began to develop. The sky turned black and the waves got higher and higher, heavy swells forcing us to bail even faster to keep afloat. Nearly full of water, the boat capsized and we were dumped into the bay, chilling to the bone in the bitterly cold water. Cakes of ice were floating all around us. We lost our overcoats, cooking utensils, everything but the clothing we had on and our rifle.

Our clothing dragged us down and the waves tossed us around. Just for a moment, I lost all faith and was angry with the Lord. Why, I thought, have you let me go through so much, for so long, only to drown here today? But, almost as I completed that thought, with my head barely above water, I found my feet touching the bottom. Pushing off and trying to swim, we kept together and made it the short distance to the shore. But we found only rocky cliffs. The waves were dashing us against the slippery rocks and then drawing us back into the water. We could not find a hold. Our hands were so cold we could not hold on when we did get a chance. It took us more than a half hour to finally grasp a ledge and pull ourselves fully out of the water.

Fortunately, we had kept our matches in a bouillon cube tin sealed with adhesive tape and they were dry. We made a small fire and tried to warm our feet. It was like trying to thaw out a piece of ice. We then set out to try and return to our camp, encouraging each other as we went. We did find the remains of our boat washed up on the shore, beaten against the rocks and smashed. Miraculously, under the seat, I found a still preserved bundle with my scriptures and other personal papers.

We were able to shorten our return hike by a mile or more as ice at the north end of Weasel Cove was thick enough to hold our weight. We crossed there, and then worked our way back to our campsite near the point. It had been twelve hours since we had left. As we drew near the shelter, we saw a coast guard cutter circling the bay. Wildly, we ran toward shore, yelling, stumbling, and falling in desperation to get them to see us. But the boat went up the channel and right past Weasel Point before disappearing into the fog beyond.

John Tippets was born in Anchorage, Alaska in 1941. In 1947, the family moved to the Washington, D.C. area where John graduated from Northwestern High School (Hyattsville, MD) in 1959. He attended Brigham Young University, then served two years (1960-62) as a Mormon missionary in Eastern Canada.

John earned his B.A. and M.B.A degrees from the University of California at Los Angeles. While still in college, he started a career in aviation, checking bags for United Airlines, then working summer jobs with the FAA in Alaska and with the CAB in Washington, D.C. In 1966, he joined American Airlines as a part-timer in air freight and, subsequently, worked forty-two years associated with AMR in a variety of management and executive roles. For the final seventeen years prior to his retirement in 2008, he was the President & CEO of the American Airlines Federal Credit Union.

Publishing "Hearts of Courage" in 2008, John now does PowerPoint presentations of the story for interested groups, book signings, and other events. You can visit John Tippets' website at www.JohnTippets.com.

To see where John's tour stops next, please visit http://virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/ every weekday between December 1st and December 16th.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Holiday Memories: The Many Essences of Christmas Past by J.W. Nicklaus

Today begins a month long extravaganza at As the Pages Turn with guest posts about holiday memories from authors all over the world. Today Jeff Nicklaus, author of The Light, The Dark & Ember Between, kicks off our first day with a lovely story, The Many Essences of Christmas. Click on title below and you'll be taken right to the story.

The Many Essences of Christmas Past by J.W. Nicklaus

"A small boy sits in a living room, awash in the low-tech fidelity of late 1960’s television. The CBS Special Presentation intro plays as his five-year-old eyes soak up what will become in his world, and many others, one of many Christmas season classics. Warm pajamas and blinking lights upon the tree don’t prevent the night from ending, but rather allow all the senses to coalesce into the makings of a wistful childhood memory...."

Read the rest by clicking on link above!

**Special Note**

J.W. is giving away a copy of his book today at Pump Up Your Book! Click here for details.

J.W. Nicklaus is the author of The Light, The Dark & Ember Between. Visit his website at www.avomnia.com.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pump Up Your Book's 12 Days of Christmas '09 Virtual Book Tour Video

We at Pump Up Your Book are proud to announce the following authors on virtual book tour in December '09:
Michael Anthony, author of the Iraq war memoir, Mass Casualties
Malana Ashlie, author of the travel autibiography, Gringo in Paradise
David Berner, author of the self-help memoir, Accidental Lessons
James Burns, author of the financial self-help nonfiction, The 3 Secret Pillars of Wealth
Joy Dekok, author of the contemporary women's novel, Rain Dance
James Diehl, author of the historical nonfiction, World War II Heroes of Southern Delaware
Hope Edelman, author of the personal memoir, The Possibility of Everything
Michael Estepa, author of the young adult crime fiction, Purged by Darkness
Bernadine Feagins, author of the children's book, Hakim and Terrance Shadow Mystery
Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, author of the tween and teen fiction book, The Truth: I'm a Girl, I'm Smart and I Know Everything
Joan Hochstetler, author of the historical novel, Wind of the Spirit
Ingrid King, author of the personal memoir, Buckley's Story
Jacqueline Klosek, author of the legal human rights book, War on Privacy
Barbara Knobova, author of the relationship book, Tales for Delicious Girls
Gale Laure, author of the mystery suspense novel, Evolution of a Sad Woman
Stephen Masse, author of the suspense fiction novel, A Jolly Good Fellow
Beverly Stowe McClure, author of the tween/teen contemporary novel, Just Breeze
J.W. Nicklaus, author of the book of short stories, The Light, The Dark & Ember Between
Maryann Paige, author of the horror novel, Cemetery Gates
Dixie Phillips, author of the children's picture book, One Noble Journey
Dot Ryan, author of the historical fiction, Corrigans' Pool
Victoria Simcox, author of the children's fantasy book, The Magic Warble
Pat Snyder, author of the humor book, The Dog Ate My Planner
Larry Sweitzer, author of the young adult fiction book, The Ghost, The Eggheads and Babe Ruth's Piano
John Tippets, author of the historical nonfiction, Hearts of Courage
Cindy Vallar, author of the historical romance, The Scottish Thistle
Bill Walker, author of the romance novel, A Note from an Old Acquaintance
Sophia White, author of the inspirational Christian book, Jesus is for Everybody

Visit all the authors' tour pages at www.pumpupyourbook.com or www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in December to see where they'll be touring!