BOOKS TO WATCH OUT FOR!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Romantic Comedy Author Katherine Center’s Everyone is Beautiful Virtual Book Tour ‘09

Join romantic comedy author Katherine Center as she tours the blogosphere in March ‘09 to promote her new book, Everyone is Beautiful (Ballantine Books).

Everyone is Beautiful is a hugely entertaining, poignant, and charming new novel about what happens after happily ever after: how a woman learns to fall in love with her husband–and her entire life–all over again.

“I love stories that find humor in day-to-day life,” Katherine says. “But it’s also kind of bittersweet, because my stories always wind up touching on how sadness and joy get tangled together. I love stories that make you laugh and break your heart a little at the same time.”

Katherine Center’s second novel, Everyone Is Beautiful, is featured in the March issue of Redbook. Kirkus Reviews likens it to the 1950s motherhood classic Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, and says, “Center’s breezy style invites the reader to commiserate, laughing all the way.” Booklist calls it “a superbly written novel filled with unique and resonant characters.” Katherine’s first novel, The Bright Side of Disaster, was featured in People Magazine, USA Today, Vanity Fair, the Houston Chronicle, and the Dallas Morning News, among others. BookPage named Katherine one of seven new writers to watch, and the paperback of Bright Side was a Breakout Title at Target. Katherine recently published an essay in Real Simple Family and has another forthcoming in Because I Love Her: 34 Women Writers on the Mother-Daughter Bond this April. She has just turned in her third novel, Get Lucky, and is starting on a fourth. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and two young children.

“I’m so thrilled to have Katherine on board,” says Dorothy Thompson, CEO/Founder of Pump Up Your Book Promotion. “Anyone who loves romantic comedy, women’s fiction and chick lit rolled into one will enjoy this book. I do hope everyone comes out and supports such a wonderful and talented lady!”

Katherine’s virtual book tour is brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion, an innovative public relations agency specializing in online book promotion. You can visit her personal tour page at http://virtualbooktoursforauthors.blogspot.com/2009/02/everyone-is-beautiful-virtual-book-tour.html to find out more about her tour in March ’09 or her website at www.katherinecenter.com.

If you would like to book a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion, you can visit our website at www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.com.

Katherine Center is available for interviews. Contact Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife(at)yahoo.com.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Story Behind You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence But You Can't Make Him Think


The Story Behind You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence But You Can't Make Him Think?
by Ray Comfort

I’m a Christian. I love God, and I also love atheists. I had dinner with 40 of them (at their request) early in 2008 and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I was also flown clear across the country by American Atheists, Inc., to be a platform speaker at their 2001 Annual Convention. I enjoyed that also. I have a blog called “Atheist Central” and it daily attracts a mass of atheists. I’m honored that they frequent my blog. But it riles me when militant atheists go out of their way to try and stop Bibles being given out in schools. It upsets me when atheists sue Rick Warren because he’s been asked to pray at the presidential inauguration. It makes me mad when they protest the presence of a nativity scene. It seems that their agenda isn’t to promote atheism (which is their God-given right), but it’s to undermine the rights of those who live in a country that gives us the freedom worship the God who gave us life and liberty. I believe that there are many atheists and potential atheists who are fence-sitters. They think that having a belief in God is a blind faith, when it’s not. There is a massive amount of credible evidence that proves that God exists. There’s creation. You can’t have a creation without a Creator. It is scientifically impossible. That should be enough for us, but there is much more. However, this will only been seen as evidence by those who have the ability to think. That’s why the book is called You Can Lead a Atheist to Evidence But You Can’t Make Him Think. And if God does exist, it leaves us without a fence to sit upon. I want to pull the plug on the rising tide of atheism. That’s why we have created a website called www.PullThePlugOnAtheism.com.

Ray Comfort is the author of more than 60 books, including, God Doesn’t Believe in Atheists, How to Know God Exists, Evolution: The Fairy Tale for Grownups, You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence, but You Can’t Make Him Think, and The Evidence Bible. He was a platform speaker at the 2001 27th convention of “American Atheists,” and in 2007, he appeared on ABC’s Nightline (with actor Kirk Cameron) debating “The Existence of God.” He also co-hosts an award-winning television program, and has a daily blog called “Atheist Central.” For more about Ray and his work, please visit www.livingwaters.com and Ray's blog at http://raycomfortfood.blogspot.com/

ABOUT THE BOOK:


“To be an atheist is to play Russian roulette with all the chambers loaded…"
“An atheist just can’t win. Of course, he feels and acts like a big player, until the trigger is pulled. The issue isn’t the existence of God. If he is wrong and there is a Creator, then he was wrong. He gambled and he lost. No big deal. The real gamble is that there’s no Hell. That’s what makes the player sweat, just a little. “What if…?” In this entertaining and enlightening new book, Pastor Ray Comfort, author of the million-selling The Atheist Test, “talks to the atheists” and reveals not just the weakness of their arguments but the solid foundation upon which the Christian stands. Few books take the time to address the atheist’s conscience. This book not only gives empirical evidence for the existence of God, it shows atheists that they desperately need His forgiveness. Using a lively Q&A format, featuring actual questions from atheists sent to Pastor Comfort’s blog at Atheist Central, You Can Lead An Atheist to Evidence, But You Can’t Make Him Think shows that God’s existence can be proven, and that anyone can do it!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What Some Writers Don't Realize by Doug Hewitt

What Some Writers Don’t Realize
By Doug Hewitt

My latest novel, The Dead Guy, was published recently. What a thrill to see it up for sale at the online bookstores!

But now comes the hard part. Promoting it. Authors don’t have to promote their books, but the sad truth is, unless you’re published by a major NY publisher with an advertising budget, your book isn’t going to make it into bookstores and the general public won’t even know it exists.

So, what do you do?

I’m approaching book promotion with three distinct strategies in mind. First, I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you a little about my book. The Dead Guy is a novel about an amateur detective.

Jack Thigpen works in Detroit, nicknamed The Motor City, the perfect place for a fraud investigator who specializes in car insurance scams. He is on a case he believes is a typical, low-level crime, but it quickly turns into a situation with ominous international consequences. Ironically, as he is targeted for death because of his investigation, Jack is diagnosed with a fatal disease that is untreatable, a disease that will end his life within months. And instead of killing Jack, the hit man shoots Jack's best friend. Struggling to come to terms with his impending death, Jack vows to track down his friend's killer.
Jack plunges into the world of corrupt car dealerships, chop shops, and fraudulent auto repair shops. He is soon swept into the darkness of Detroit's criminal underbelly to uncover the truth about power struggles within organized crime rings. Death is staring him in the face, but Jack doesn't back down. He pushes ahead, plowing through perilous roadblocks planted by his enemies, propelling himself toward the finish line and a teeth-gritting, heart-pounding conclusion.

There, that’s an example of my first strategy in book promotion. Talk and write about your book at every opportunity. Write on blogs. Comment at forums. Get a website with a picture of your cover and post reviews.

My second strategy is to go to conventions. I’m not sure how effective this will be, but it’ll be fun! My next convention will be Sleuthfest, held in Florida. At the convention, I’ll be setting out free postcards with the cover of The Dead Guy on it and information on the back about where to download the first chapter free.

My third strategy, which I just illustrated above, is to have a website from which interested readers can take a look at an excerpt. I like having the first chapter, because I believe Chapter 1 of The Dead Guy draws the readers in and won’t let them go. Be sure to post this website with all of your blog and forum posts.

I hope these strategies help authors sell their books. I sure hope they help sell The Dead Guy! Check out my blog (website below), where I post about my strategies and how effective they are over time.


Doug Hewitt was born and raised near Detroit, Michigan and now lives in North Carolina. Along the way, he did a four-year stint in the Marine Corps and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics. He has been writing short stories for over 20 years and has been getting them published for most of that time, with over 80 stories in print. His stories have appeared in anthologies such as The Dead Inn and 100 Wicked Little Witch Stories. He has appeared in the premier issue of Apex Digest and has seen his chapbook, Slipstream, published by Scrybe Press.

He turned his attention to longer works and had his first novel SPEAR published in 2002. The Midwest Book Review calls SPEAR “a thrilling and deftly crafted novel.” After being remarried in 2004, he and his wife, Robin, founded HewittsBooks.com. In addition to authoring a non-fiction parenting book, The Practical Guide To Weekend Parenting, Doug and Robin teamed up to write The Joyous Gift of Grandparenting.

Doug returned to his original passion, writing fiction, and wrote The Dead Guy, which St. Martins author Lynn Chandler-Willis calls a “high-octane, pedal-to-the-metal ride through the criminal underbelly of the automotive world.” You can visit Doug Hewitt and read a free PDF chapter of The Dead Guy at www.HewittsBooks.com.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Interview with Fantasy Author Bruce Skye on New Book Grayrider

A former technical writer, detail is important to Bruce Skye. His research for the Deathsong Chronicles included medieval armor and fortresses, as well as Celtic names and magic. "If you create a world, it must be consistent. And that's what I strive for Grayrider's world to be. I've built a database of material for each of the Deathsong Chronicles. Those databases aid me in keeping the world the same from book to book. "When I wrote Grayrider, I followed the advice of Stephen King. I did not write the book following any sort of outline. I have no more idea than my readers do when I write a novel what will happen in the midst of the story. It makes it more exciting for both the readers and myself." You can visit his website at www.bruceskye.com.

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

I’ve been everything from a PC technician to setting off professional fireworks on the 4th of July. I’ve been writing novels for about 5 or 6 years now, as well as being a published poet.

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

The novel revolved around a refugee king, Gabriel the Gray. His parents were murdered by those who invaded his land. He now fights for the realm south of his own, attempting to keep the Ansgar Empire from seizing that kingdom as well. All he has is a magical sword and an immense black warhorse to aid him in this struggle. But all is not what it seems. This is a story which has been within me since 1979. Several years ago I decided to finally put it on paper.

What kind of research was involved in writing Grayrider?

Medieval weaponry and battles as well as Celtic names, magic and legends were all researched.

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

I had quite a bit of input. The artists sent me a first cover which showed Grayrider wearing armor, which he doesn't. So I had to send back long descriptions of him and his horse before that was corrected.

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

To be quite honest, it's been quite a bumpy ride. I spent 4 years writing and having my work rejected by agents. It was only in the last year that I found an excellent agent who was able to sell my work to a publisher.

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

Approximately 14 weeks for the e-book version. It took less time to bring the book to print afterwards.

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. Her name is Georgina. She’s a senior agent works for the Writers Literary Agency. And yes, I think an agent is essential to getting a book successfully published.

Do you plan subsequent books?

There will be at least two more. The second book in the series I hope to publish later this year.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I’m definitely a morning writer.

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

More aggressive and extensive Internet as well as radio advertising.

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

Self promotion is essential to succeeding as an author. Publishers, for the most part, can be considered simply print shops. They won’t sell your work. Only you can. To do that, you must believe in what you’re doing and don’t be afraid in getting a few lumps in the process. You must sell yourself and your work if you are to succeed in this business.

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

Stay at it and keep writing. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, was amazed at the common assumption someone could sit down and bang out a bestseller or a great TV script without any practice. He maintained practice was just as essential for a writer as it was for an Olympic athlete. He was right. So keep writing and don’t give up!

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

They can find me at http://www.bruceskye.com. I also have a character blog being written by the hero of Grayrider at http://bruces1225.blogspot.com/. The book is available on both Amazon.com and the Barnes & Noble websites. Any bookstore can order it for you.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Podcasting a Radio Show by Kim Smith


Podcasting a Radio show
by Kim Smith
All Rights Reserved

I think sometimes molasses in January moves faster than I do at keeping up with the latest technology, hence why I am not up on the matter of PODCASTS. Apparently, it is not new technology and most everyone knows about it, so once again, I am behind.

But there are others out there as challenged at this stuff as I am, so this post is for you. You know who you are.

Podcasts, what are they?

According to Wikipedia:

A podcast is a series of audio or video digital media files which is distributed over the Internet by syndicated download, through Web feeds, to portable media players and personal computers. Though the same content may also be made available by direct download or streaming, a podcast is distinguished from most other digital media formats by its ability to be syndicated, subscribed to, and downloaded automatically when new content is added.

This is, to me, one of the greatest advances of our times. Think of it! Get all the information you want or need, at your fingertips, at your discretion, at your convenience! How wonderful is that?

Now to the real reason for my post--well, you knew this was coming, right? I have a radio show and I just found out that it can be podcasted! You will find my show here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/kims and depending on how quickly the iTunes peeps work, you may be able to get a podcasting of any and all that I can get up.

How to get content

Okay, so you are convinced that you want to be a podcasting genius, and you decide you want to begin your experience with my radio show, or another. Here’s the 411 on what to do from the Blog Talk Radio site.

1) Make sure you have downloaded iTunes to your computer. You can download the newest versions of iTunes here: http://www.itunes.com. Without this software installed, you cannot subscribe to any feeds using iTunes. Please note that all BlogTalkRadio podcasts are free of charge.

2) Visit the show profile page that you would like to subscribe to. At the top of every profile page is a show name. Next to the show name, you will find an orange RSS button and an iTunes button (please see the screenshot below). Clicking on the iTunes icon will open your iTunes software, and take you to your podcasts section on the iTunes store. You will find the show information for that particular show, along with a "Subscribe" button right at the top of your iTunes page. You will then click "Subscribe" to formally subscribe to the show. You will get a confirmation pop-up window to confirm that you really want to subscribe.

3) Click on the Podcasts link on the left of your iTunes window. You should now see the subscribed show in this list. If the arrow next to the show is pointed to the left, you can click that arrow so it points down and you will then see all of your subscribed podcasts for that show expand down the page for as many shows as they have available. That arrow allows for organization of all of your subscribed podcasts.

Yes, it is THAT easy. And as they say in radio, that is the news in a nutshell.

Kim Smith was born in Memphis Tennessee, the youngest of four children. After a short stint in a Northwest Mississippi junior college, during the era of John Grisham’s rise as a lawyer, she gave up educational pursuits to marry and begin family life. She has worked in many fields in her life, from fast food waitress to telephone sales. “I always got the seniors on the phone who were lonely and wanted someone to talk to. My boss couldn’t understand why in the world I spent so much time talking to them and not enough time selling. That was when I realized I love people and care deeply about their lives.” After the birth of her two children, she gave up working outside the home for the more important domestic duties of wife and mother. When her kids decided they wanted to pursue theater as an extracurricular activity, she gave up her free time to drive them to rehearsals, training classes, and plays. During those years, she found herself bored with nothing to do to while away the hours stuck in a car. She began thinking of stories to entertain herself and pass the time. Before long she started telling her husband about her stories and he assured her she could write a book if she really wanted to. She put the idea away once she landed a job as a network administrator for a small corporation, and together the Smith’s started their own video production company. Writing was a dream, hidden but not forgotten, and soon Kim began to talk again of trying her hand at it. She played with words, and wrote several poems, one of which was picked up for an anthology One day in the early nineties her husband came home with a desktop computer and sat her in front of it. “Now you have no more excuses,” he said, and she realized the truth in his words. Procrastination, now no longer an option, she took off on the pursuit of penning her first book. Though that book, a young adult fantasy, was lost due to unforeseen circumstances, she kept going, writing a historical romance, and another YA. When she decided to try out her hand at mystery writing, she discovered her true love and niche in the writing journey. She has since had four short stories, and her first mystery novel accepted for publication. Kim is a member of Sisters in Crime, and EPIC. She still lives in the Mid South region of the United States and is currently working on her second book in the mystery series. You can visit her website at www.mkimsmith.com.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Interview: Young Adult Romance Novelist Barry Eva, Author of Across the Pond

Born in Barnet, Hertfordshire, Barry Eva, also known as “Storyheart”, left his beloved England in 2000, moving to the USA to be with the woman he'd met and fallen in love with on the Internet.

Better known for his short romance stories on the net and in his book “Stories from the Heart." Barry is popular for narrating his stories on local TV or as a guest on other media stations,where his whit, oratory, and old-fashioned English charm make him a popular interviewee.

At present, Barry is living in Connecticut, with his wife and two children.

You can visit Storyheart’s website at http://www.across-t-pond.com.











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


I was born in Barnet, Hertfordshire, England, and in 2000 I left my beloved England and moved to the USA to be with, and then marry, a woman I had met on the internet. My real name is Barry, though I write under the name Storyheart. I am, up to now, better known for my short romance stories, both on the net and in my book “Stories from the Heart”.

I have been writing or rather telling stories from my late teens, including some songs and a couple of small plays for children. This developed about 15 years ago, into writing short romance stories on the net.

Across the Pond is my first novel, while written as a young adult fiction, it is being enjoyed by people of all ages.

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

Across the Pond is about 15 year old, English born, Fred Squire who finds himself packed off to friends in the U.S.A when his parents win a trip to Australia, and he is not happy. Then he meets Brittany.

Struggling with his feelings for Brit and the language, Fred is further confused when he meets Brit's flirtatious friend, Angel. Escaping from a confrontation with Steve Harris, the neighborhood bully, Brit tells Fred her dark secret about Harris, and Fred's world is turned upside down.

Life continues to throw Fred a curve ball when he catches a baseball worth a small fortune. Further run-ins with Harris, a crazy family BBQ, and a chase through a mall all add to Fred's American adventure. "Brit and her Brit", know that their young love will be followed by heartache when Fred has to return to England. But not before some final twists in the tale.

Across the Pond is an enjoyable 117 pages that goes from through all aspects of young love. With believable characters, exciting events, humor, first love, education and a little sport thrown in for good measure. Across the Pond is a book for all ages, from the young to the young at heart.
They say write about what you know, and after moving “across the pond” myself I know all about the issues and differences one runs into both with the language and ones day to day life between England and America. I wanted to write something for a younger audience both with humor, and with romance and came up with this story.

What kind of research was involved in writing Across the Pond?

Having made the move myself, I had come across many of the differences at first hand, and added the romance side. You could say that I have lived certain parts of the book.

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

I had an idea for the cover with the two flags and the baseball which I suggested to the publisher. They worked on my suggestions and sent me the design. A couple of small changes regarding colors and fonts and we had the finished article.

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

It has been a far from sooth ride, more like a rollercoaster of emotion. I spent over a year after the manuscript was ready, going to classes, lectures, meetings, seminars trying to get to the next step in the publishing chain. Receiving many “knock backs” along the way. Publishers will not look at you unless you have an agent. Agents will not take you unless you have a publisher. In the end I basically lost heart and stopped writing. In 2007 the only thing I wrote was my normal Christmas short romance story. This in 2008, I started writing again, at first a couple of song paradise to do at my karaoke show, another of my hobbies. Then I started pushing to get the book published, this time with a Print on Demand Company. Xlibris took the book on, and within a few months everything was sorted and the book published. That was in October, since that time, I have had nothing but great reviews and comments. These make all the effort worth while.

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

Xlibris took the book on, and within a few months everything was sorted and the book published. That was in October, since that time I have had nothing but great reviews and comments. It’s these feed backs that make all the effort worth while.

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 do not have an agent. If you go with one of the large publishers they will not even look at you unless you have an agent. However many agents will not look at you unless you have a publisher. I recently went to a talk where an author compared the money one makes writing for a large publisher, doing print of demand and publishing the book yourself. It really made me think, and for my next book I might well go for “publish yourself”.

Do you plan subsequent books?

I have been asked this same question by several readers, several of them noticing that there are two possible areas which could lead to a follow up book. I hope to research and start this next book during 2009.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I’m a “when I get the feeling” writer. I can not sit down and force myself to write, but have to wait until the idea or muse hits me. This is fine with my short stories that I can dash down in an hour. However for this novel I had to basically teach myself to write all over again. Committing myself to write so many chapters a month, with time for rewrites of the rewrites. In the end and after several false starts and with a lot of help from my SCBWI group I managed to get into the novel writing mode. However with a full time job and a young family it was not that easy to get things done. In some ways my short story writing helped in writing in small chunks and making sure there was a good hook at the end of each chapter.
If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

A contract with Disney to make it into the next “High School Musical” film.

I think it would make a great film, “High School Musical- Across the Pond”. In fact a reviewer even suggested that Disney should look at the book. I would rather it be enjoyed by many than be advertised in New York Times etc. And of course films sell books.
How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

My first book was a bit of a disaster very badly edited, and not a good experience at all. I learnt a lot though about self promotion. Of course I have my site, http://across-t-pond.com where the book details are, but I have jazzed that up a little with some cartoon type introductions from the actual book characters. Then of course not counting the normal search engine and web advertising, there have been radio shows, school visits, virtual book tours and of course programs The Writer’s Life. There is much out there you can use, for little or no money. One thing I always try and bring with anything I do, a part from the book, and the knowledge that I am able to bring about the country differences, is to make sure there is some humor as well. We always hear about the bad things in this world, and for many reading is an escape to another place. I just want them to be there with a smile on their face.

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

Never give up. Listen, learn and have faith in yourself.

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

Certainly, you can find out all about me and the book at
http://www.across-t-pond.com. The book is available at all the normal online stores, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders even Target. People might want to check the reviews at Amazon to see what people have already written about the book.

Thank you very much for having me as a guest on The Writer’s Life.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Young Adult Romance Author Barry Eva on The Kim Smith Show


When authors embark on the big bold adventure of promoting their books, there's no better place where an author can really explain what his or her books are all about than online radio talk shows, sometimes called podcasts.

Kim Smith is not only the author of the mystery novel, Avenging Angel: A Shannon Wallace Mystery, but she's also the enigmatic and highly professional talk show personality with her own podcast show at Blog Talk Radio. Kim also shares the same goal with another author by the name of Barry Eva, author of the young adult romance novel, Across the Pond. Both are on a virtual book tour the same month with Pump Up Your Book Promotion.

If you'd like to hear them talk about virtual book tours, character building, writing a book from the women's perspective, pen names, among other things, and how one person with the flu and the other recuperating from back surgery both believe that the show must go on, click on the banner below. Enjoy!

Asshattery at Amazon?

I just had to blog about this today. Michele over at A Reader's Respite had some really funny things to say about Amazon reviewers. Because it was things I never realized was going on, I thought they might open up your eyes to it, too. I know Amazon is like paradise to authors...they check their rankings daily, they brag about good reviews, they cry over bad reviews. It's like Amazon is their one and only world. Read what Michele had to say by clicking here!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Is the new Kindle 2 illegal?


Sales for the original Kindle were so high during last year's shopping season, the manufacturers of the new Kindle 2 which will begin shipping on Feb. 24 (at $359 a pop) learned their lesson and beefed up production for what they believed would be a great product and would sell just as fast. What they didn't realize is that even though this new Kindle is slimmer and has a few more features such as a five-way navigation element and faster wireless service for downloading books, one feature is against the law according to Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild.

"They don't have the right to read a book out loud," he says. "That's an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law."

Ouch. Yes, another new feature which has potential buyers chomping at the bit to have one is their text-reading feature which enables readers to not only download books, but listen to them, too.

Granted, the voice is computer generated and may become annoying after awhile, but just think how nice that would be. For once, we can listen to our favorite books while in the shower, on our treadmill, even while driving.

But all good things might come to an end if this isn't resolved.

The problem exists because of the simple fact that a retailer can't record a copy of a book on CD and sell it without paying a separate fee for this, something the manufacturers of the new Kindle 2 didn't obviously think of.

But Amazon refuses to budge.

What's your opinion? Is this copyright infringement?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Guest Blogger: Writing Young Adult Fiction by Barry Eva (aka Storyheart)

Born in Barnet, Hertfordshire, Barry Eva, also known as “Storyheart”, left his beloved England in 2000, moving to the USA to be with the woman he'd met and fallen in love with on the Internet.

Better known for his short romance stories on the net and in his book Stories from the Heart, Barry is popular for narrating his stories on local TV or as a guest on other media stations,where his wit, oratory, and old-fashioned English charm make him a popular interviewee.

At present, Barry is living in Connecticut, with his wife and two children.
You can visit Storyheart’s website at http://www.across-t-pond.com.

We welcome today Barry Eva (aka Storyheart) here at The Writer's Life with his guest post about writing young adult fiction!

Writing Young Adult Fiction
by Barry Eva (aka Storyheart)

When it came to writing my Young Adult Fiction novel “Across the Pond” one of the hardest parts was how to start, the second hardest was the end. The in between was not that easy either.

Up until this novel I had for many years just written short (about 5/10mins read) romance stories. For these I would churn an idea over in my mind, work out the twists in the tail (I love fooling the reader) and then when ready dash down the story in thirty minutes.

When it came to writing a novel, I basically had to teach myself how to write again. To build characters, flesh out the plot, develop the story. Luckily I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). This is really a must for any children’s/teen/young adult writer. My local group helped develop my style, critiqued my work and with their help and guidance the story progressed.

I developed the story, and started to write, the first three chapters took several months and many rewrites as I got into my rhythm and began to know and understand the characters. I find that I become the character and perhaps that is why people are saying the characters are believable.

As the story progressed so did the style of the writing, until I came up to the baseball chapter. Coming from England, we do not know much about baseball, which unlike American Football we just do not have on English television. I had seen a few films before coming across the pond, so has a vague idea of the game. Though if you go by “Naked Gun” films, you’ll think that baseball includes a lot of spitting. Mind you, thinking about what I’ve seen since I’ve been here, perhaps it does?

By the time I came to write the chapter in the book where Fred goes to the baseball game, I had seen enough baseball on TV to have an understanding of the game.

I now know a "sacrifice fly", isn't an insect that drinks from your beer, and then sits on the bar, waiting to be squashed

I know that "stepping up to the plate" does not mean that dinner is ready

I know that a "stolen base" isn't something that the police need to be got involved with.

I know that "Chipper Jones" is not a person from the local fish and chip shop, and a relieve pitcher, is not a place to get a drink when your thirsty.

I still though, don’t understand how you can have a “World Series” where only American and one token Canadian team compete.

One of the things that writers must work on and perhaps where my short stories helped me is how to keep the reader wanting more, the “hook” at the end of each chapter. If a person starts reading, make them want to turn the page, want to find out what happens next. Like the old movie serials, encourage them to want to know what happened next.

I have been lucky that many of the reviews I have so far received for my book “Across the Pond” includes comments such as “I started reading the book and could not put it down until they had finished it.”

So what tips can I pass on to writers from my experience with “Across the Pond”?

In the end, it’s your work be it fiction or non fiction, picture book or young adult fiction” so be proud of it. Several things can be done before it’s even printed.

Plan your book promotion, look around see what is available. Many companies offer help and PR work, but at a cost. These costs however vary greatly. I would highly recommend “pumpupyourbookpromotion.com” they have provided a great service for a very reasonable fee.

Join social or writing groups. Check the online groups there are plenty around. Listen and learn.

Create blogs. Blogs are the way forward, virtual book tours around the world without leaving your desk. Once created keep them updated join other like minded bloggers and build your social network

Read whatever you can about how to help spread the word about your book.

Most of all… Be proud of what you have created and enjoy the ride to success.

Storyheart
http://across-t-pond.com
Author of young adult fiction book “Across the Pond”

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Interview with Mystery Author Kim Smith

Kim Smith was born in Memphis Tennessee, the youngest of four children. After a short stint in a Northwest Mississippi junior college, during the era of John Grisham’s rise as a lawyer, she gave up educational pursuits to marry and begin family life.

She has worked in many fields in her life, from fast food waitress to telephone sales. “I always got the seniors on the phone who were lonely and wanted someone to talk to. My boss couldn’t understand why in the world I spent so much time talking to them and not enough time selling. That was when I realized I love people and care deeply about their lives.”

After the birth of her two children, she gave up working outside the home for the more important domestic duties of wife and mother. When her kids decided they wanted to pursue theater as an extracurricular activity, she gave up her free time to drive them to rehearsals, training classes, and plays. During those years, she found herself bored with nothing to do to while away the hours stuck in a car. She began thinking of stories to entertain herself and pass the time. Before long she started telling her husband about her stories and he assured her she could write a book if she really wanted to. She put the idea away once she landed a job as a network administrator for a small corporation, and together the Smith’s started their own video production company.

Writing was a dream, hidden but not forgotten, and soon Kim began to talk again of trying her hand at it. She played with words, and wrote several poems, one of which was picked up for an anthology

One day in the early nineties her husband came home with a desktop computer and sat her in front of it. “Now you have no more excuses,” he said, and she realized the truth in his words. Procrastination, now no longer an option, she took off on the pursuit of penning her first book. Though that book, a young adult fantasy, was lost due to unforeseen circumstances, she kept going, writing a historical romance, and another YA.

When she decided to try out her hand at mystery writing, she discovered her true love and niche in the writing journey. She has since had four short stories, and her first mystery novel accepted for publication.

Kim is a member of Sisters in Crime, and EPIC. She still lives in the Mid South region of the United States and is currently working on her second book in the mystery series.

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

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

I am a lifelong Memphian, married about 16 years and have two adult children. I have been writing all my life, but only seriously considering publishing for the last four.

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

I wrote Avenging Angel, a Shannon Wallace Mystery as an exercise to see if I would be any good at writing mystery. It was the first book I have ever penned that flowed from my fingertips as though I couldn’t get it out fast enough. I took that to be the sign that mystery was my forte.
What kind of research was involved in writing your book?

I had to know a little about police procedural and my local law enforcement team was more than happy to supply that. Most of my research was done online, and I got a lot of help from knowledgeable people who were happy to help. Whether it was a type of gun, or a woman’s fashion item, someone knew enough to help me out.

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

I worked very closely with the artist and she was tireless in her dedication to get the look I wanted. Together we created something that I am very happy with.

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

For me, it has been a long and winding road. The book was accepted in 2007, but things didn’t transpire in the manner in which I had hoped, so I pulled the book from that publisher and submitted it elsewhere. It was eventually picked up and published, so all’s well that ends well. I learned a lot of valuable lessons.

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

I signed the first contract for Avenging Angel in November 2007, and signed the second contract in October 2008. The book was released on December 18, 2008, so from the first time of submission through the ultimate publication it was just over a year.
If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

I have never had an agent, and have to say that for a small press or small publisher, it is not necessary to have one.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Oh yes! Shannon, Dwayne, and Sal will be back in book two, working title Buried Angel, and as many books as they tell me they want to be in. As long as readers keep requesting a new tale, I will write them.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I love both, really, but most days only have time to write at night. I do think I have better ideas in the morning, though.

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

Someone to read it aloud and create an audio book. I am a big lover of books on tape, and think it would be cool to hear my book being read.

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 one of the most important things an author can do for her work. I have been so busy promoting, sometimes I think it is more consuming than writing! I post on my blogs, my friend’s blogs, promotional blogs, social networking sites, listservs, and websites. I also participate in writer’s forums, and workshops.
Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

I am so glad you asked this! I want writers who want to be published to know that everyone has good days and bad days. Sometimes the writing will fly out of you and you will feel so satisfied you are about to burst! Then there will be days that are cold and hard and you won’t be able to force anything to come out. Just do not get upset at this. It is your natural rhythm as a writer. Your writing mind knows when to call a halt. Listen to it. Then when you are ready, when your mind is settled and your attention is really all there, you will go to it again.

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

Yes! I am at http://www.mkimsmith.com and you can purchase Avenging Angel, A Shannon Wallace Mystery at my publisher’s site, http://www.redrosepublishing.com and you can find my blog at http://writingspace.blogspot.com and I hope you will look up my radio show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/kims where I interview and chat with authors of all genres.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Writing for the Young Adult Market by Barry Eva

How to Write for the Young Adult Market
by Barry Eva (aka Storyheart)

So you’ve written or are writing a book, one of the first things that a publisher, promoter or even a web page will ask is “what genera” is it.

The definition of genera is…

“Biological classification ranking between family and species, consisting of structurally or phylogenetically related species or an isolated species exhibiting unusual differentiation (monotypic genus).”

In other words what is your target age group?

With some ages this is easy, picture books, books for the very young, but once you get to over 10, what is the target audience then.

Kids, teens, youth, whatever you want to call them are different these days to when you were that age. You see children as young as eight and nine having “boy/girl friends”
It is hard for a person to judge the age of those who the book might be best targeted at. After all one person Enid Blyton could be anothers Lady Chatterley.

It also depends on the country you are from or where the book is being read. For instance in the UK the two most popular newspapers in the UK have always a topless model on page three, in fact the term “page three girl” has been in common English language since the days of Samantha Fox. Can you imagine what would happen if an American paper had a topless model on one of their pages?

Also the language you use.

Anybody who has anything to do with schools will tell you, that bad language is emanating from younger and younger children.

When it came to my book Across the Pond, I started writing it aiming at 11/12 year olds, however as the romance developed the characters became a little older finished up at fifteen.

So what should I pigeon hole it as?

Well take a look at Amazon and the most popular tags. “Young Adult Fiction” is the one that sticks out above teen or teen romance.

Though I state that the book is “Young Adult Fiction” the great reviews and comments I have received are from 10 to 80 years old. So I have stated it is for the “young and young at heart” to try and get the various ages covered. Perhaps that should be listed as a new genera?

Even different people have different ideas when they read the book

One reviewer wrote,

“This book was written in a clean fashion so that even Christian parents should be able to feel safe with allowing their girls to read the story. It is one that I can feel comfortable recommending to any of my friends or their teens of any age.”

While another who really liked the book said:

“My only complaint about Across the Pond is the use of inappropriate language. By no means is the book filled with four-letter words; however, the few that are sprinkled in are unnecessary and, in my opinion, inappropriate. For that reason alone, I think the book is more suited to older teens and up”

For the life of me and I re-read the book last week while at JFK airport, I can’t think of what the “inappropriate language” might be.

So what do you do with your book?

Firstly if you are unsure as to what age group the class your book as, share it with a few people.

If you know a school teacher try them.
If you have contact with a person who you think might be the age group your book is aimed at, let them read a draft copy and see what they say.
Be flexible and listen to what people say.

Above all, what does it really matter what age group, as long as people enjoy the book that is all that really matters.

Born in Barnet, Hertfordshire, Barry Eva, also known as “Storyheart”, left his beloved England in 2000, moving to the USA to be with the woman he'd met and fallen in love with on the Internet. Better known for his short romance stories on the net and in his book Stories from the Heart, Barry is popular for narrating his stories on local TV or as a guest on other media stations,where his wit, oratory, and old-fashioned English charm make him a popular interviewee. At present, Barry is living in Connecticut, with his wife and two children. You can visit Storyheart’s website at http://www.across-t-pond.com.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Interview with Fantasy Author Bruce Skye

A former technical writer, detail is important to Bruce Skye. His research for the Deathsong Chronicles included medieval armor and fortresses, as well as Celtic names and magic. "If you create a world, it must be consistent. And that's what I strive for Grayrider's world to be. I've built a database of material for each of the Deathsong Chronicles. Those databases aid me in keeping the world the same from book to book.

"When I wrote Grayrider, I followed the advice of Stephen King. I did not write the book following any sort of outline. I have no more idea than my readers do when I write a novel what will happen in the midst of the story. It makes it more exciting for both the readers and myself."

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

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

I’ve been everything from a PC technician to setting off professional fireworks on the 4th of July. I’ve been writing novels for about 5 or 6 years now, as well as being a published poet.

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

The novel revolved around a refugee king, Gabriel the Gray. His parents were murdered by those who invaded his land. He now fights for the realm south of his own, attempting to keep the Ansgar Empire from seizing that kingdom as well. All he has is a magical sword and an immense black warhorse to aid him in this struggle. But all is not what it seems. This is a story which has been within me since 1979. Several years ago I decided to finally put it on paper.

What kind of research was involved in writing Grayrider?

Medieval weaponry and battles as well as Celtic names, magic and legends were all researched.

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

I had quite a bit of input. The artists sent me a first cover which showed Grayrider wearing armor, which he doesn't. So I had to send back long descriptions of him and his horse before that was corrected.

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

To be quite honest, it's been quite a bumpy ride. I spent 4 years writing and having my work rejected by agents. It was only in the last year that I found an excellent agent who was able to sell my work to a publisher.

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

Approximately 14 weeks for the e-book version. It took less time to bring the book to print afterwards.

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. Her name is Georgina. She’s a senior agent works for the Writers Literary Agency. And yes, I think an agent is essential to getting a book successfully published.

Do you plan subsequent books?

There will be at least two more. The second book in the series I hope to publish later this year.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I’m definitely a morning writer.

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

More aggressive and extensive Internet as well as radio advertising.

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

Self promotion is essential to succeeding as an author. Publishers, for the most part, can be considered simply print shops. They won’t sell your work. Only you can. To do that, you must believe in what you’re doing and don’t be afraid in getting a few lumps in the process. You must sell yourself and your work if you are to succeed in this business.

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

Stay at it and keep writing. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, was amazed at the common assumption someone could sit down and bang out a bestseller or a great TV script without any practice. He maintained practice was just as essential for a writer as it was for an Olympic athlete. He was right. So keep writing and don’t give up!

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

They can find me at http://www.bruceskye.com. I also have a character blog being written by the hero of Grayrider at http://bruces1225.blogspot.com/. The book is available on both Amazon.com and the Barnes & Noble websites. Any bookstore can order it for you.

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