Thursday, May 28, 2009

Grab free beach reads for this summer!

There are two great book giveaways going on today!













C.W. Gortner is giving away a copy of his latest historical fiction novel, The Last Queen! Stop by Cafe of Dreams, leave a comment, and April will pick a winner! Is that the most beautiful cover you've ever seen?

Therese Fowler is giving away a copy of her latest women's fiction novel, Reunion! Stop by Savvy Verse & Wit, leave a comment, and Serena will also pick a winner! Another beautiful cover from such talented authors!

Hurry, all you have to do is stop by and say hi, shoot the breeze, say hi to the authors, anything your heart desires. And, wait, there's more!

Every month Pump Up Your Book Promotion chooses someone who has commented to win a free virtual book tour if you're an author or a $50 gift certificate if you're not! What do you have to lose???

Stop by, leave your comments on the appropriate blogs, and good luck!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Interview with Therese Fowler, Author of Reunion

Therese Fowler has believed in the magic of a good story since she learned to read at the age of four. At age thirty, as a newly single parent, she put herself into college, earning a degree in sociology (and finding her real Mr. Right) before deciding to scratch her longtime fiction-writing itch. That led to an MFA in creative writing, and the composition of stories that explore the nature of our families, our culture, our mistakes, and our desires. The author of two novels, with a third scheduled for 2010, Therese lives in Wake Forest, NC, with her supportive husband and sons, and two largely indifferent cats. You can visit her website at www.theresfowler.com or her blog, www.theresefowler.blogspot.com.

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

I'm the author of two novels, to date: Souvenir, which was published in hardcover last year ('08) and in trade paperback this spring, and Reunion, which just came out in late March. I have two sons, two stepsons, and two cats—but only one husband.

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

Reunion is the story of a woman from very humble beginnings who, at nineteen, gave up a child for adoption and kept the entire matter a secret. When she later becomes a celebrated talk-show host, she undertakes a search for the child—but not necessarily so that they can meet; rather, to assuage her need to know what became of him.

She's also trying to reconnect with the person she is behind the facade she's built—which she hopes will open up possibilities for new personal connections as well. There are risks, though; if the past she's hidden for so long is discovered, it may jeopardize her career and her efforts toward fulfillment. Ultimately, Reunion is a story about redemption, self-actualization, and love.

For most of my life I've been fascinated by the concept of celebrity, and how it might feel to be the person inside the fishbowl. Coming from a lower-class background as I did, fame and fortune held great appeal--not so much for what it might give a me materially, but rather for the way it could remake me entirely. I wanted to be so much more than I was or could expect to become.

When I was in my thirties, I divorced and went back to school for a degree in sociology. I think it's the sociologist in me who continues to be intrigued with celebrity and with culture in general. So I tend to create characters who battle the forces of society as well as their own mistakes and shortcomings. What motivates us? What changes us?

At the base of all my stories is love, in all its forms. In my view, we need more stories about love's power to repair or remake us, when life is so challenging and happiness can be so difficult to find.

What kind of research was involved in writing Reunion?

I did a lot of setting-related research because most of the story takes place in Key West, FL. Part of that included a week-long trip to the island, which I admit wasn't terribly hard work. Other research involved digging into the three main characters' very different occupations: talk-show host, Hemingway scholar/English professor, and freelance photojournalist.

Julian, the photojournalist, has been to all kinds of war zones and disaster locales, and has scenes in Afghanistan and Iraq—places I have not been, and didn't intend to visit anytime soon. So that research was all done long-distance. Julian has a particular interest in birds, which required me to learn more about the kinds he sees. His father, Mitch, is the scholar—which meant I had to become a bit of one myself, re-reading Hemingway and brushing up on his bio.

I always try to make my characters interested or involved in things that interest me, in part so that I bring my own curiosity and enthusiasm for those things to the story.

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


I'm always consulted ahead of time, and then given a say about what's proposed—but ultimately the decision is my publisher's. I'm delighted with the covers they've crafted, Reunion's especially. It's such a beautiful, evocative image.

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

Is any author's publishing journey smooth sailing? Some people find their way into print more easily than others, but I think it's always a bit bumpy somewhere along the way. For me, I had about six years of squalls before finding sunnier weather. Since then—almost three years now—there's been a lot more sun than rain.

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

Reunion was the second book in the two-book contract I signed in late '06. My publisher wanted to position the first book, Souvenir, carefully, so they scheduled it for early '08, about sixteen months after the initial sale. Reunion was then set for a year later. Now I'm on a roughly book-a-year schedule.

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

I do have an agent, Wendy Sherman, who has been an excellent steward of my career so far. There is no question about the value of a good agent to any writer who hopes to make a career of writing. The business is complex and ever-changing, which alone is reason enough to pay someone to manage your affairs. More than that, though, is the expertise, contacts, and wisdom a really good agent brings to the equation. If I had to manage all the things my agent handles, there would be no time left for writing.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Absolutely! In fact, I'm just a few weeks away from turning in what will be my 2010 release, a novel currently titled Breakaway. It's the first book in my second two-book deal; by late summer I'll be starting work on what I call, brilliantly, book #4.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I'm a daytime writer who can also do evenings. Generally my schedule is to work during traditional work hours (I write full-time) and do my best to have a life in the off hours. When deadline is approaching, however, all bets are off!

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

A Therese Fowler Books television network hosted by my favorite celebrities? No, I'm kidding. I'd probably give away a lot more advance reader copies, because the biggest challenge for new authors is simply getting readers to know they exist and then to give them a try.

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

I have mixed feelings about self-promotion, mostly because I'm a self-conscious sort. But I believe it's necessary, and I think it's important to do as much as is both effective and tasteful (knowing, of course, that opinions about “tasteful” vary). I maintain a blog and website, I do a fair amount of cyber touring like this interview, and I try to accept all reasonable invitations to speak at events and to visit or chat with book groups.

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

There's always room for another good book, so sharpen your storytelling skills until they're irresistible and THEN go looking for publication.

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

Thank you so much for having me here! If readers would like to buy either of my books, please, buy NEW from a recognized retailer—either a local bookseller or an online store—both to support booksellers and because authors don't get a penny, nor any credit, for books sold secondhand. And if you want to see what's going on with me or want to get in touch, you can find me at www.theresefowler.com.

Editor's note: Therese is on a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion this month! Be sure to check out tomorrow's guest post at The Book Faery Reviews and an up close and personal interview at As the Pages Turn!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Virtual Book Tour: 10 Things People Don't Know About Women's Fiction Author Therese Fowler

We have a special guest today! Therese Fowler is the author of the women's fiction novel, Reunion, but wouldn't you like to know something about Therese that no one else knows? How about TEN things you never knew about women's fiction author Therese Fowler? And, on top of that, we've got a great interview coming tomorrow and just so you know, Therese is available to answer questions today and tomorrow, so if you would like to ask her anything about her book, the publishing industry, what's it like being published with Ballantine Books, anything!, now's your chance!

And now, it is my pleasure to bring you Therese Fowler, author of Reunion!




Ten Things You Didn't Know About Therese Fowler

1. As a girl, she dreamed of becoming an actress or model or singer. Fate had other ideas.
2. She is among the first girls ever to play Little League baseball.
3. In high school, she was a percussionist, and the first female to march on the school's snare drum line.
4. She nearly drowned three times, in different places and at different ages, before overcoming a well-earned fear of water and finally learning to swim.
5. She once enlisted in the USAF in hopes of being an Air Traffic Controller--but couldn't pass the vision test due to lousy depth perception.
6. At age 33, she graduated from North Carolina State University with a 4.0 GPA, Summa Cum Laude--but missed being designated Valedictorian due to being a single credit shy of the number required to have been earned there in order to qualify for valedictorian status. She learned this after the fact, of course.
7. She and her husband of ten years were single-parent neighbors when they met. He liked the way she took out her recyclables (and walked past his apartment's patio in the process). Recycling remains a strong element in their life together.
8. She was the only female born into her family over a nearly fifty-year span.
9. As a kid, she attended Baptist vacation Bible School, Presbyterian Sunday School, and was in a Jewish youth group (though not all at once). She now considers herself a Spiritual Agnostic.
10. She's willing to give reincarnation a try.

About the Book:

Following the acclaimed success of Souvenir, Therese Fowler’s captivating new novel will resonate with every woman who has wondered what if—as a heartfelt drama of buried secrets and daring passion unfolds.

Celebrity talk show host Blue Reynolds is the queen of daytime television—she is smart, funny, and as down-to-earth as her adoring fans. In the eyes of the world, she has it all. But no one knows about the secret she has harbored for the last twenty years—a secret that could destroy her image, her reputation, and her career. Twenty years ago, she gave birth to a son and put him up for adoption through illegal channels. And every day since, she’s been filled with regret. Now Blue has hired a private investigator to find her son, knowing full well the consequences.

A week in Key West to do her show on location brings Blue a much-needed change of pace—and an unexpected reunion with an old flame, Mitch Forrester. Helping him launch a television series may help her recapture the kind of genuine romance and affection long missing from her life. But it also means having to deal with Mitch’s disapproving son, Julian, who is only nine years younger than Blue. Emotionally battered from his years as a war photographer in the world’s most dangerous hotspots, Julian struggles to get close to his father while making his disdain for Blue crystal clear—which makes his desire for her all the more shocking.

As serendipity and scandal collide, Therese Fowler’s passionate, illuminating novel takes a dramatic turn deep into our own hearts, as the healing power of love—family love, romantic love, and self-love—transforms pain and regrets into promises and second chances.

Friday, May 22, 2009

So, You Want To Be An Author by Rie McGaha

So, You Want To Be An Author?
by Rie McGaha

My first question would be why? I know for myself it was the dream job. What could be better than sitting in front of computer and writing a few stories, getting published and then raking in the money?

We've all heard of the authors like Dan Brown who wrote The DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons and was immediately published and both novels became Hollywood blockbusters. The same happened with the Harry Potter books, and Nora Roberts' books have been made into television movies on Lifetime. James Patterson has been a top selling author for many years and several of his books have become movies. And of course, Stephen King is synonomous with horror books and movies. But for the majority of us, that kind of success is slow to come. Breaking into the big New York publishers is difficult at best. Though still difficult to become published with the smaller publishing houses, it is easier than the large ones.

Reading and writing goes hand-in-hand and I learned to read before I started kindergarten and devoured everything available all of my life. I began writing as soon as I learned to print and have written stories, poetry and song lyrics all of my life. Of course, after I had children my efforts went into being a mother and although I wrote stories for my children, the thought of being a published author was a faraway thought.

Before the advent of computers, email, and Google, manuscripts had to be typed and mailed to a publishing house and then the reply might be six months or longer in coming back. Now most publishers accept queries, synopsis', and manuscripts via email. We've all come a long way, baby!

When I was growing up computers were something only the government had and video games weren't even thought of. I was seventeen when Atari Pong came out, so I didn't grow up knowing what an IP address was, I'd never heard of a byte, and email and texting were foreign words. In today's world, children of six or seven know more about computers than I do!

Computers are everywhere now and even if you don't own one, and I know no one who doesn't, but in that event, libraries have public computers, and you can even access the Internet on your cell phone! But this does present a problem for authors, especially unknown and new authors. Publishing houses are inundated with manuscripts every day. I spoke with one publisher who said his company recieves as many as five thousand queries a month and over five hundred manuscripts each month. The company publishes less than one-percent of those they recieve.

That's a lot of competition! So how does an author become one of those lucky ones who recieves a contract and gets published? First, luck has nothing to do with it. Second, polish is the key word. I write great stories. Wow, you say, she's full of herself. No, I'm not. But I know my stories are great, I also know that I am the worst editor in the world, and when it comes to the technical side of writing, I suck, plain and simple. I am a story-teller and that's what I love to do, but when it comes to POV, dialogue tags, grammar and other technical challenges, I know I need help. Badly. I also can't write a query letter to save my life, and when it comes to talking about myself, promotion is a dirty word to me.

Fortunately, this is where the Internet becomes my friend. There are so many sites available that can help in these areas and many more. There are also people out there whose business is the business of writing and promotion. Hiring an independent editor can save your manuscript. Hiring a professional promotions company can get your name out there fast so people will recognize you when your book is finally published. But what if you can't afford to hire someone?

There are many groups available that anyone can join for free. There are critique groups, writing groups, how to groups, and promotion groups that are made up of other writers who are basically in the same boat. The great thing about these groups is that a lot of the writers have been in this business for years and have already gone through the pain of rejection with publishers. They have advice and insight that only comes from experience and are freely giving this sage wisdom to others simply because they understand where you are.

Nothing worth having comes without a price...that adage is so true of writing for publication. Know your audience, know your own story, and know your own limitations. No one knows everything and that is especially true with writing. You will never stop learning no matter how many books you have published. Even the Stephen King's of the world don't know everything, but they do have advice that can make your path to publication a lot easier to maneuver.

Rie McGaha...fantasy that keeps you up
www.riemcgaha.com

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Interview with Rie McGaha, Author of Blood Line

Rie McGaha was born and raised in northern California along the shores of Humboldt County where her grandmother often took her to search for seashells and watch the humpback whales migration. Though her father was a bit of a gypsy and moved his family all over, Rie always enjoyed the trips back to Eureka, California where many of her 12 children and 23 grandchildren still live.

As a dreamer of dreams and being born with a a gypsy soul, Rie has lived all over the United States. Settling in SE Oklahoma with husband, Nathan, she enjoys a quiet life in the Kiamichi Wilderness where she takes in abused and neglected animals, nurses them back to health and tries to find them new homes. The ones that don't find new homes remain with Rie and she currently has 18 dogs and 1 cat.

Between her husband, children, grandchildren and all of the animals, Rie tries to find a few moments to write. She is currently working on Ancient Blood, the sequel to Blood Line, and Caleb and Arion the second and third installments of the My Soul To Keep Trilogy. She also writes reviews for Romance Writers United.

For more information, visit Rie at www.riemcgaha.com or read her blog at http://riesreviews.blogspot.com/
www.youtube.com/NovelsByRie

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

I’ve been writing all of my life, or at least since I could hold a pencil and make the letter A! I used to write stories for my cousins and friends when I was young and I always enjoyed the writing assignments in school. As I got older and was married and had children, I wrote stories for my kids, but with 12 kids, the idea of writing for publication took a backseat. Five or six years ago, my daughter, Lisa, kept hounding me to write a romance novel and try to get published. She knew it was my secret dream, so with her behind me, I wrote my first book. It’s still not published! But it put the bug in me again and about a year ago, I met Jill Noble of Noble Romance Publishing and sent her another manuscript and for some reason, she liked it and published it! She has been in my corner ever since and I have learned so much from her, like all of the stuff you ever wanted to know about publishing but didn’t know who to ask!

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

Blood Line is a werewolf story, but these werewolves are different than any I’ve ever read about or seen in the movies. Joshua Caine is a truck driver who shares the job with his wife, Jessie. When they encounter a wild animal one night on a lonely country road, it attacks Josh and he is forced to kill it. Weeks later when the full moon rises, Josh experiences some changes. He’s faster, stronger, and his appetites are ravenous, as Jessie soon finds out. While she’s always enjoyed the physical aspect of their relationship, the changes in Josh are wearing her out! When Josh finds himself drawn to a gathering of werewolves high in the Rocky Mountains, he learns that he has killed an Alpha of a clan and now the rest of the pack is after him!

This book is actually taken from a dream my husband Nathan had one night. He is a truck driver and a huge sci-fi fan and strangely enough, this isn’t really one of his weirdest dreams! I laughed when he told me about the dream, but later on I thought it might be a good story if I worked on the plot a little bit. Then the voices in my head took over and I didn’t stop writing for more than a week!

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What kind of research was involved in writing Blood Line?

Most of the story didn’t require much research, but I did do some reading on legends of werewolves. I just love that kind of stuff anyway, so it wasn’t really like research at all.

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

The cover art is the work of Fiona Jayde and she is awesome. I can’t say enough about her work. NRP has a cover art request forms that the authors fill out and gives details, ideas, etc. about what the author would like to see as a book cover. That goes to Fiona and from there, she works her magic and comes up with the greatest covers, but the cover art is never finished until the author is satisfied. For the cover of Blood Line, she just seemed to know what it should look like and I was thrilled!

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

Becoming a published author is hard work. Writing the manuscript is just the first part. Until you’ve been edited, you don’t know what pain is! And that’s true with rejections as well. I have received so many rejections from agents and publishers for books that I love, and it’s disheartening. In fact, in the beginning, I took it personally and felt that I was being rejected as a person. That is not really the case and if an author is serious about becoming published, my advice is get a thick skin now! Publishing is like any other business, they are in the business of making money. There are also thousands of other authors out there trying to get published so not only is it a publishers market, it’s competitive and there are going to be more rejection letters sent out than there are acceptance letters. I got a rejection letter just last week for a work I have been trying to sell for years. It also happens to be one of my personal favorites, but I have learned how to take a rejection and chalk it up to a learning experience and start looking at my work again and seeing how it can be improved, one more time, for the next publisher I submit to.

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

Jill is pretty quick. I think the normal turn around time is only 3-6 months, or less, but it can take up to a year to see a work published depending on the publisher.

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

I do not have an agent, and at this point, I don’t feel one is necessary for me. Now, if at sometime in the future I get into print publishing with Doubleday or one of the big New York houses, then I would probably want an agent on my side.

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Do you plan subsequent books?

Blood Line does have a sequel that I am still working on, although I didn’t write it with that in mind. One of the characters, Ganda, who is half witch and half wolf, seemed to take on a life of her own and everyone loves her. She really has an awesome story to tell!

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Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Hmmm…I am a whenever the voices in my head start talking kind of writer! *laughing* That sounds strange, I know, but it’s true. If the voices in my head aren’t talking, I can’t write a word.

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

A really good promotions agent to do it for me!

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

Self-promotion is key to book sales. People have to know who you are and what you write if you want your books to sell. For some that’s an easy task. I know other authors who are all over the place, you can’t go to a website without seeing their names and book covers, and I wish I was one of them! For me, self-promotion is the hardest part of writing.

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

If you really want to become a published author, work on your craft. Learn as much as you can about writing and polishing a manuscript, but also learn about promotion and what’s available to you. This is a very competitive business and the only way to compete is to be as involved in every step as you can be. Also, don’t take yourself or your writing too seriously. Have fun with it, because if it’s not fun, you’re in the wrong business.

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

Thank you for having me, I appreciate the opportunity! My website is www.riemcgaha.com and my publisher’s site is www.nobleromance.com, I’m also on Twitter and Face Book so look me up!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Interview with HBF Teacher, Author of No Teachers Left Behind

HBF Teacher has been a public school Middle grades teacher for three years. Before that, HBF substitute taught for two years. HBF has also worked as a live-in nanny and an accounts payable representative.

Today when not nurturing young minds, HBF enjoys travel, photography, culinary arts, and the cinema. The Cohen Brothers and Tyler Perry are among her favorite artistic contributors.

You can find HBF Teacher online at http://www.noteachersleftbehind.info.

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Welcome to The Writer's Life, HBF (Hopeful But Frustrated) Teacher. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I’m a middle school teacher who is happily married with two children, two cats, and a dog. I have been writing since I was about six. I started writing when my class put on the play, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Because there were few parts, I didn’t get a role so I wrote my own version of the fairytale called Snow White and the Thirteen Dwarfs so everyone would have a part.

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

No Teachers Left Behind gives voice to the frustrations of a public education middle school staff. The teachers only want to make a difference, but they are prevented from doing their jobs by unsupportive administrators, offensive parents, and disruptive students. My own personal frustrations, as a teacher, led me to write this novel.

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What kind of research was involved in writing No Teachers Left Behind?

I didn’t have to step outside of my day job to write No Teachers Left Behind. As a teacher, I’m on the front line everyday. I deal with the parents, the students, and the administrators. My co-workers and I also share stories.

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

I pretty much created the cover myself, with the aid of a publishing program. The cover represents isolation, something many teachers feel.

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

The road to publication is always hard with the writing, editing, critiquing, more editing, more writing, cover design, marketing, etc., but once you get your book out there, there is no better feeling in the world, than having a hard copy of your baby in your hands.

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

Since I went to CreateSpace, a division of Amazon, it didn’t take long at all. You upload your book, design your cover, answer a few questions, and the first step is done. In a couple of days, your proof is ready for order. Once you view your proof, you can decide when your book is ready for sale or you can make changes. I made a copy of changes, after seeing my proof, and then “No Teachers Left Behind” was ready for sale. The whole process might have taken me two weeks.

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

I don’t have an agent, although I do think it would be great to have an agent. Agents can unlock doors for you and get your books in front of publishers. Of course, agents also want their cut so that would be the only drawback.

Do I think you need to have an agent to be successful? No, I don’t think you need an agent to be successful. I think you’ll have to work harder if you don’t an agent, but even writers with agents, have to work hard.

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Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes, I’m always thinking of the next book. Right now, there is a sequel to No Teachers Left Behind on the drawing board.

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Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I write both early in the morning and late at night. During the normal work day, I’m teaching, so my students get all my attention and then my other “regular hours” are spent with my family. Even though writing is my first love, it has to happen in my “down time”.

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

I would invest in more promotional materials to give out to prospective customers. People won’t buy your book if they don’t know about it.

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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 very important. Most books are sold either through word of mouth or word of type (as I call the Internet Conversations). Right now, I’m working on a blog tour with this great firm called “Pump Up Your Book Promotion”. The No Teachers Left Behind website is always promoting its namesake. I also engage in online social networking using FaceBook, MySpace, and Twitter. Offline, I promote my book through postcard distribution and social networking.

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

If being a published writer is your dream, then pursue it. Dreams can come true.

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

Readers can contact me at http://www.noteachersleftbehind.info. No Teachers Left Behind can also be purchased twenty four hours a day at Amazon.com

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Interview with Kandy Siahaya, Author of Making Light of Being Heavy

Kandy Siahaya was raised in a small town in Maine where she graduated from high school in 1984. She worked her way up from her first job as CSW to Manager of Kentucky Fried Chicken and ended up in Brunswick, Maine. When she decided to leave the fried chicken business at age 22, she packed up her little Chevy Chevette and moved to Fort Myers, Florida where she worked as a waitress and had a great time as a single girl in her 20's. Reality hit when she was 25 years old and went back to Maine and received her Associates Degree at Beal College and promptly moved back to Florida and started a career in medical transcription. In 1995 at age 29, she met her future husband and moved to North Miami Beach, Florida, and continued with transcription starting her own business.

In 2002, Kandy left North Miami Beach and moved back to Maine with her five year old son and eventually divorced in 2005. Kandy still does medical transcription but had an unexpected decline in work which left her with a lot of time on her hands. This is when she decided to write a book. this is something she had been thinking about for a few years but never had the time because she was always so busy with her business. It was meant to be a quick and funny read, something to brighten the outlook of many that really do not see the light through their own tunnel vision. It was also intended to be insightful for those that could never possibly relate to this specific subject. Kandy has succeeded in doing just that with Light of Being Heavy.

For more information please visit http://www.makinglightofbeingheavy.com.


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

I have a pretty busy career doing medical transcription and raising my son, Nickolai, who will be 12 soon. I have always thought about writing but never had the time to work on anything. When I had a decline in work back in 2005 I decided to just start writing Making Light of Being Heavy. I have a good friend who has battled with weight issues her whole life as well and we had talked about how it would be funny to put this point of view out there.

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

Making Light of Being Heavy is a comical look at being a fat in today's society, from my perspective. I wrote it hoping that some "weight" could be lifted off a subject that is criticized not only by society as a whole but by many individuals as well, fat and skinny. Again with the cliches but....Life is too short to be miserable and everybody could use a good laugh on a daily basis. With my book I describe certain instances that I could laugh off and offer my opinion on other fat-related topics all with a spin to hopefully get you laughing and thinking.

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What kind of research was involved in writing Making Light of Being Heavy?

Because Making Light of Being Heavy was primarily based on my personal observations and opinions, the little research I did do to corroborate what I was saying was minimal.

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

I created the design myself. I put the feather on the heavy end of the scale with the hippo on the light end to bring home the point again that the book is just what the title says - Making Light of Being Heavy.

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

It has been a long ride, not necessarily bumpy, but long. This is something I expected though because in researching the best way to get my book out there, I would read posts from agents, published authors and unpublished authors and they all pretty much say the same thing, do not give up.

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

I do not have an agent at this time. Not for lack of trying though. This is definitely a business one has to be persistent and consistent in your efforts it you want something to happen. I did a lot of research looking for agents and/or publishers, also on self-publishing, as well as the many ways to promote a book. It can be overwhelming at times but I will continue to persevere. I think I am on the fence whether I need an agent or not, probably yes but not entirely sure at this point. This virtual book tour is providing Making Light of Being Heavy with a platform which I will use to continue to promote my book even after the tour is done.

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Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes, I think I do. All my friends and family want a followup to Making Light of Being Heavy.....I have been tossing around topic ideas but still not quite sure :)

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Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Night, definitely. I have always been a night owl.

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

Does paying off promoters for a spot on Ellen Degeneres or Regis count? Just kidding :) That is a tough question. I am thinking I would get a very well-known expensive publicist to just run with it and hope that the old saying "there is no such thing as bad publicity" is really true.

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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 very important. If people cannot see that you can validate what you are talking about then promotion really is useless. Online I have been focusing on the book tour but offline I have been talking to everyone about my book and checking with local bookstores and publications to promote it with reviews and signings.

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

Perseverance is definitely the key. Many are going to say no, but it will eventually land on the desk of a person that says yes. Just always believe that :)

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

www.makinglightofbeingheavy.com

Thank you for the interview!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bestselling Author Therese Fowler on Introducing WRITERS Radio Show Tonight!

Therese Fowler, author of the women’s fiction novel, Reunion (Ballantine Books), will be stopping off at Introducing WRITERS Radio Show with Kim Smith at 8:30 p.m. eastern (adjust to your time zone) tonight!

About the Book:

Celebrity talk show host Blue Reynolds is the queen of daytime television—she is smart, funny, and as down-to-earth as her adoring fans. In the eyes of the world, she has it all. But no one knows about the secret she has harbored for the last twenty years—a secret that could destroy her image, her reputation, and her career. Twenty years ago, she gave birth to a son and put him up for adoption through illegal channels. And every day since, she’s been filled with regret. Now Blue has hired a private investigator to find her son, knowing full well the consequences.

You can visit Therese’s website at www.theresefowler.com.

The Devil Can Wait is finalist for bronze medal in the 2009 Independent Publishers Book Annual Award (IPPY)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Devil Can Wait (2008), published by BeWrite Books (UK), is one of three finalists selected to win the bronze medal in the 2009 Independent Publishers Book 13th Annual Award (IPPY).

Muncie, IN, May 18 -- From the Vatican to the jungles of South American, a cursed black pearl ring, the demonic prophecy it represents, and the men who pursue its powers find their unfortunate way onto Harper’s turf.

Author Marta Stephens, a new voice in crime mystery, has gained a steadily growing readership for her gritty, complex plots and likeable protagonist, Sam Harper. The Devil Can Wait, released in November 2008, was selected as one of seven finalists from among 120 entries in the 2009 IPPY mystery/suspense/thriller category.

The Devil Can Wait, written in the traditional detective mystery style, has drawn the attention of readers and critics alike with such comments as, “Stephens’s protagonist, Sam Harper, is a genuine, somewhat imperfect, thoroughly human personality ... it is this character that breathes vivid life into the pages of her books.”

“... She (Stephens) writes with a forensic authority that makes these pages bleed with real world angst. Detective Harper is a well-realized, no-nonsense cop, a streetwise guy who refuses to give up despite the odds. When the going gets rough, everyone else has given up, an easy option looms, and the race becomes overwhelming, Harper is just getting started. He is the original it ain't over guy.”
--Thomas Fortenberry for Midwest Book Reviews.

The Devil Can Wait by Marta Stephens, paperback, ISBN 978-1-905202-86-7, $15.99, is available online at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and numerous other online and traditional bookstores world wide. For more information, contact Marta Stephens, ma50step@yahoo.com or publisher Cait Myers at caitmyers@bewrite.net.

About the author:

Marta Stephens resides in Indiana with her husband and two children. The first novel in her Sam Harper Crime Mystery series, Silenced Cry (2007) received honorable mention at the 2008 New York Book Festival and ranked among the top ten in the 2007 Preditors & Editors Reader Poll. The Devil Can Wait ranked top ten in the 2008 Preditors & Editors Reader Poll. Stephens holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism/Public Relations from Ball State University (IN) where she is employed in human resources. She is a member of Sisters in Crime International, Sisters in Crime Speed City Indiana Chapter, and the Midwest Writer's Workshop. Stephens’s collective authors’ blog, Murder by 4, was selected by Writer’s Digest among the 2009 101 Best Websites for Authors. View additional reviews of her novels at www.martastephens-author.com.

CONTACT:

Marta Stephens
400 E. McCullough Blvd.
Muncie, IN 47303
(765) 748-8675 (cell)
ma50step@yahoo.com

Cait Myers, Publisher
BeWrite Books (UK)
caitmyers@bewrite.net

# # #

Friday, May 15, 2009

Interview with Elizabeth Walker, Author of The Tablet of My Heart

Elizabeth Walker is the author of the memoir, The Tablet of My Heart. You can visit her website at www.tabletofmyheart.net. To read an extended bio, click here!

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

About myself, I’m a mommy. That requires the bulk of my time, but please don’t mistake that as a complaint. I have four sons, the oldest is 13 – and they are by far the best people who have ever happened to me! I have spent a few years climbing out of holes (figuratively) and it has made me recognize strengths that I would never have realized otherwise. A few years ago I got it in my heart to encourage other people to start climbing out of holes, too! I decided that I would use my love of writing to accomplish that. I have been writing, honest to goodness, as long as I can remember. I write for the love of it.

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

I would love to. The Tablet of My Heart is a journal of loss, abuse and healing. It begins in the heart and mind of a six-year-old girl facing the reality of death as her father battles with a fatal illness. During the most devastating stage of his illness a friend of her uncles begins sexually molesting her. The molestation continues after her father passes. In the whirlwind of circumstance surrounding her and her family, her abuse is swept under a rug. She is bound emotionally by fear and heartache and she turns to a tablet that was given to her as a birthday gift. The tablet becomes her journal. In it she writes her hardships along with poetic entries that lead the reader through her fathers death, an extended battle with sexual abuse, and her mother’s refusal to acknowledge the abuse as she marries and has children with the perpetrator.

It is a story of ruin and then recovery, a journey from devastation to deliverance that is illustrated through poetic excerpts (and narration) from her journal that remind us … circumstance does not define us, it motivates us to change. I wrote it originally to demonstrate healing to my children during a time when our struggles were immense, but published it to inspire healing in many. A portion of the proceeds are committed to Childhelp USA for the treatment and prevention of child abuse.

What kind of research was involved in writing The Tablet of My Heart?

I only had to get in back in touch with my childhood memories and read a journal. The Tablet of My Heart is my own childhood journal.

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

A lot actually. I designed the cover art and the publishing company added the title and author. I really wanted the book to look like a used tattered cover, and it does. I was pleased.

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

I self-published (print on demand) so Publishing in itself was quite simple and exciting. The bumpy ride for me is getting my book noticed from behind the "self published" label. I have had some minor victories!!! I am steadily learning to concentrate on those rather than on the puny defeats :0) the first time that someone came to me and said that they too had a secret of abuse that they had harbored throughout childhood and into adulthood – but that my book stirred the desire to deal with the pain rather than pretending it isn’t there, I cried. I moved somebody with my story to the beginning of healing. Yes, the ride is a little bumpy but I am finding that the scenery makes up for it.

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

Because I self-published there was not an in-depth contract to sign. From the day I submitted my manuscript for publication to the day that I actually held the published book in my hand was about 8 weeks.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is?

If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one? I do not have an agent. I am in the process of writing my next book and I am definitely considering the need for an agent while deciding whether to publish traditionally or self publish as I did with The Tablet of My Heart. I suppose this will be a question better answered on my next time around.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Absolutely! My pen is full of ideas and my fingers are itching to dance with it!!

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I often find myself writing at night after I have put my kiddos down for bed. But (don’t tell) when it is slow at work (at my regular boring 40 hour a week job) I look super busy tap-tap-tapping away on my keyboard. If only they knew – I hope I didn’t just jinx myself :0)

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

Ummmmmm – someone else to promote it for me! :0) hee hee. Don’t get me wrong, I love being involved in discussions and events that surround the book when I am approached. It is just difficult for me to open conversations and to approach people about promoting the book. I guess it’s difficult because it makes me feel vane or something. I do it, but it’s weird. I never realized how much self-promotion would be involved.

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

It is incredibly important! As I said earlier, I never realized how much self-promotion would be involved. As uncomfortable as it can be to approach people, it is essential. People don’t get interested without information – and people who want information love to get it from the source (the author). I have been flattered repeatedly by people who are excited to meet the person behind the story. I contact news papers and radio stations trying to get people to review the book or interview me. I contact book stores and present them with all of the fine reasons why they should carry my book and I have even managed to book a couple of signings. Online I have a website and a blog. I have even done some mailings. When an Idea comes I do my best to entertain it :0) It’s all quite new to me.

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

So far my only experience with publishing is self publishing, which has been Gratifying in many ways. I would suggest that if you are considering self publishing your book, that unless you have knowledge of punctuation and talent for polishing a work until it shines, you have someone else edit it so that you have a professional manuscript to publish. Be willing to put a lot of hours into your book after it is published to make the public aware that it is out there. If you plan to publish traditionally – just like anything else in life, the more sweat and tears you put into something the more it shines when it comes to fruition. Don’t give up! I may not have dealt with rejection from publishers (yet) but I have most certainly dealt with rejection in getting my book out of the basement and in to an audience. A self-published label seems to make influential people and stores automatically question whether it was self published because it wasn’t good enough for traditional publication, and that makes them cautious to assume that it is good enough for an audience. If they don’t have the time to read it to find out, they feel safer with that assumption. Use rejection to fuel your motivation. Be willing to make adjustments but never loose focus and NEVER question whether you can accomplish your goal or not. YOU CAN, as long as you think you can. You can.

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

Absolutely! Visit me on my website www.Tabletofmyheart.net. Learn more about child abuse treatment and prevention, the purpose behind the book, upcoming author events and find my blog there too! You can purchase The Tablet of My Heart in Select Barnes and Noble stores (you can check if they have it in stock on line) or on Amazon.com, Borders.com, BN.com – all sorts of places on the web. There are also links to order the book on my website. Thank you so very, very much for having me!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Interview with Herbert Howard Jones, Author of Young Adult Fantasy THE PYEWIZ AND THE AMAZING MOBILE PHONE

Herbert Howard Jones was born in London in 1955, and went to Eccles Hall, a boarding school in Norfolk. He left after a couple of years and attended IIford County High School in Barkingside where he where he met Bram Tovey, now conductor of the Vancouver Symphony orchestra, and pianist Derek Smith who later played with the Johhny Dankworth ensemble. They inspired Jones to take up music, which he still practices today.

Jones attended Lisburn college in Ireland and then worked in a wide variety of occupations. These included in law, as a porter at the BBC, in jewellery manufacture, publishing, and commercial art. As a BBC porter he was required to hump equipment between studios and could be spotted riding shotgun around London in the old green BBC vans of that time. He was eventually sacked for lateness!

He then found a job in a Hatton Garden jewellery firm in London. As an apprentice jeweller he was required to assemble twenty-two 14 carat gold gate bracelets a day. In the two years he spent in the business he had personally made nearly 12000 bracelets, which was quite a feat, but was mind numbing work, and not something he wanted to do with the rest of his life. At this stage he didn’t know what avenue to go down next.

But the clue lay in his early life. As a young boy, he showed an early interest in the arts, particularly writing, musical composition and painting, and has pursued them as interests ever since. At this time he met the daughter of the captain of the Titanic, which sank in 1912, and consequently became obsessed with the myth which surrounded the subject. Jones remembers handling Titantic artifacts in the lady’s cottage country, and thinking that they made beautiful art ornaments! They inspired Jones to start creating collages using old bric-a brac, attaching small objects to canvas and applying paint to them.

In his teens, Jones lived with the family of author Julian Branston, whose mother was a close confidant of British comic Kenneth Williams. They introduced Jones to writer and poet John Pudney, famed as the author of wartime poem ‘For Johnny’. As busy as he was, Pudney would give kindly critiques of Jones’ earlier writings, urging Jones to say ‘more with less’. Jones described his writing efforts at this time as pretentious and undisciplined, and was frankly lucky, that ‘Pudney gave him the time of day,’

Jones found John Pudney fascinating as, among other things, he knew Pablo Picasso personally, having met him as a reporter during the war. To the aspiring and awe struck Jones, this was all glamorous grist for this artistic mill. At this time he became fascinated by celebrity, which was hardly surprising considering that his benefactors frequently had prominent people down to dinner, including the Bishop of Liverpool and others.

When Jones worked for a firm of ‘showbiz’ solicitors in London, he ran errands for screen star John Mills, and composer Tony Hatch, but felt that life as a London commuter just wasn’t for him, and so he ‘dropped’ out and went to live in Deptford. Jones justified this to himself by saying this was his ‘down and out in Paris and London period’.

Jones moved around South London and finally settled in some lodgings in Lewisham which were also being occupied by the now international artist David Mabb, presently Head of Masters at Goldsmith’s college, from whom he acquired wonderful discarded art pieces. Mabb’s charismatic and confident personality had an inspiring effect on Jones who began to look at art in a new light. In Jones’ eyes, David Mabb was ‘one of the solid group of British artists who are exponents of a new kind of socially responsible art, which is dynamic and very much at the cutting edge.’ In Jones’ view, Mabb’s art not only succeeds powerfully as a room decoration, but it invokes a strong visceral response in the viewer. If Jones was going to paint, he wanted his art to be as eloquent as Mabb’s! At the time of writing, Jones is still struggling to achieve this goal. Jones cites US artist Ron English, as his other influence.

Meeting well known people and those active in the arts and entertainment industries had the effect of shaping Jones’ view of the world, and he vowed that one day, he too would make a contribution. It was only in his fifties that
Jones has seriously sought publication. The Pyewiz and The Amazing Mobile Phone is his first book.

At the present time Jones is busily writing his second book and is painting. He hopes to have his first exhibition of art in London in the near future.

Jones’ most thrilling life moment: ‘being six feet away from Frank Sinatra when he came to the London Palladium!’

You can visit his website at www.science-fiction-fantasy.com.

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

I've been writing since the age of nine about forty years plus.

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

My YA book, The Pyewiz and The Amazing Mobile Phone, is about two brothers, twins, torn apart as toddlers by a secret kidnap, and then finally brought back together again when one of them discovers the truth. The Pyewiz is the pirate wizard behind the kidnap, and it is he who forces the conflict, and it is he who, in the final analysis, is brutally compromised, but you'll have to read the book to find out how. I wrote it as a kind of personal therapy, but I also wanted to try out a number of writing theories that I had picked up along the way. One theory, is that style is more important than story substance. However, having said that, I did try and make it a story worth reading.

What kind of research was involved in writing The Pyewiz and the Amazing mobile Phone?

I had to do some research on the nature of the 'extraordinary world' that my characters found themselves in. Most of the action takes place on Charon, one of Pluto's moons and so I looked up what I could on the subject.

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

I did design a book cover for the Pyewiz, but the publisher told me that my design was inadequate, so we went with a default design.

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

The ride has been bumpy. The smoothest aspects have been the things that have gone wrong!

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

It took four months from signed contract to release.

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

I don't have an agent now, but I did briefly have quite a prestigious firm represent me in the seventies. The Marc McCormack agency had a literary division run by a lady called Ms/Mrs Egri, and she took me on. I do feel it's necessary to have an agent because they can use their contacts to help you and massage your temples when things aren't going your way.

Do you plan subsequent books?

I do have some ideas lined up for future projects, including a 'thriller' I'm writing at the moment concerning an unusual archeological find!

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I write night and day. I think I even write in my sleep! I get paragraphs coming through when I'm brushing my teeth in the early morning.

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

I would obviously ask Dorothy Thompson to help me. But I would use all the media, particularly TV, which is known to boost the sales of anything! Apparently Guiness beer sales fell substantially when the company briefly stopped its tv campaign. And that's a well known European brand of beer that doesn't need to be advertised! I'd also do a Barak Obama and buy a lot of facebook promo space!

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

I've tried to promote my book on the net by building websites, have joined some social networking sites and have employed the services of Pumpupyourbookpromotion. Book production without promotion, is the surest way to obscurity as an author.

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

I think the key is to have a lot of product. It increases the odds of being taken up by someone. Don't just wait on your first magnum opus, start work on the next and the next. Also, here's a tip from a well known author. Once you've gone through your list of agents, go through them all over again. You'd be surprised how forgetful they can be. Also, the second time around, an assistant or somebody else may take a shine to your work. It's not always the same people in a firm who evaluate your 'first three chapters'. Also, multiple submissions to several publishers or agents at the same time, can start a bidding war in an author's favour!!

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

You can get it online from Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble or you can visit my site at www.science-fiction-fantasy.com for a link. Thank you!

Monday, May 11, 2009

10 Things People Don't Know about Young Adult Fantasy Novelist Herbert Howard Jones

We have a special guest today! Herbert Howard Jones is the author of the young adult novel, The Pyewiz and the Amazing Mobile Phone, but wouldn't you like to know something about Tim that no one else knows? How about TEN things you never knew about young adult fantasy novelist Herbert Howard Jones? And, on top of that, we've got a great interview coming tomorrow and just so you know, Howard is available to answer questions today and tomorrow, so if you would like to ask him anything about his book, his writing journey or young adult fantasy, now's your chance! And now, it is my pleasure to bring you Herbert Howard Jones, author of The Pyewiz and the Amazing Mobile Phone!

Ten things most people don't know about Herbert Howard Jones

1. He has had five miraculous esapes from near-death accidents!

2. He lives in a haunted building and has conversed with at least two 'dead' people!

3. He has written nearly sixty songs, and loads of poems, none of which have been published!

4. He was unofficially fostered as a child.

5. He unwittingly appeared as an unpaid extra in a Freddie Starr film, appearing in the same film frame as the man himself.

6. He has studied occultism for the last thirty years.

7. He used to live in Epping Forest (UK), in a tent while holding down an office job.

8. He used to practice on the piano in a London nunnery, practised upon by uk singer Gilbert O'Sullivan.

9. He hates 'healthy food' and the whole business of eating 'five pieces of fruit a day', preferring takeouts, oily curries and the like!

10. Never has sugar in his tea.

Stay tuned tomorrow for an exclusive interview with Herbert!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Interview with Chet Galaska, Author of Finding Faith in a Skeptical World

C. William "Chet" Galaska was born in 1951. He began his college career at Drew University in Madison, NJ and graduated from the University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration. In 1979 he co-founded a company that casts stainless steel for use in corrosive industrial applications that grew into a multi-million dollar enterprise and was its president for 24 years before changing careers and becoming a real estate investor.

His credentials are defined by what he is not. He isn't a theologian, pastor, Ph.D. or a philosopher but is a typical person who was an unbeliever, influenced by the same things as other skeptics, who became a Christian after several years of investigating the faith with an open mind.

He served as Chairman of the New England Chapter of the American Foundry Society, played rugby, earned a Private Pilot's License, is a Certified Scuba Diver, has skydived, is a roller coaster aficionado, likes traveling and enjoys having new experiences. He lives with his wife, Lisa, in Massachusetts. They have two grown sons, Jon and Drew.

You can visit Chet online at www.triadpress.us.

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

I’ve spent most of my life as a businessman who co-founded a company that produced high alloy castings for industrial applications. The operation melted stainless steel and poured it into molds to make the product. After 23 years as the president I sold my interest in the company to invest in real estate – and write. My wife, Lisa and I have been married for 33 years and have two grown sons.

I’ve always enjoyed writing, but it’s mainly been for business purposes. Running the company and raising a family is time consuming and I never considered writing a book until I had the time to do it. Finding Faith in a Skeptical World is my first book.

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

I was an atheist and felt I had good reasons for being one until I really looked into Christianity. I found that most of what I believed – which was basically gleaned from what we’re exposed to in our culture – was incorrect. As a result I became a Christian.

Finding Faith in a Skeptical World explains how problematic issues unexpectedly became reasons for faith rather than against it. The information came from lots of varied sources and took several years to put together. Because of the effort involved in finding answers, I realized that a book like Finding Faith would’ve been hugely helpful to me. Since none was available I wrote one to help others.

Coming to faith has made a positive difference in my life and I’d like to share it. This is my inspiration, along with a desire to make basic Christian concepts more user-friendly than they sometimes are.

What kind of research was involved in writing Finding Faith in a Skeptical World?

Many sources were used: independent reading, sermons, Bible study groups, and mentoring by knowledgeable Christians.

In a way, reading secular publications, TV, movies, and seeing other forms of entertainment also served as research. Once I understood the Christian side of things it was interesting to look at the often subtle ways the faith is misrepresented and see why skepticism is so prevalent. It helped me formulate some of the book’s content.

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

I created the publishing company, so I had a lot of input. I had the basic design in mind, found the right image online, and paid the licensing fee for it. A graphic designer then modified it to achieve the desired effect and did the rest of the design. We’ve gotten great feedback on it, so apparently people like it.

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

It’s been an adventure, for sure. I was lucky enough to speak to a successful author who was in my position years ago. He had no literary background or any other fame to trade on: just a good book. So he had 1,500 printed and started speaking to groups. Eventually through word of mouth the book wound up in the hands of an agent who asked if he could represent the author. The book was picked up by a major publisher and the author became very successful.

He suggested I do the same, rather than sending lots of unsolicited books to publishers and agents who just mail back rejection letters.

So I did, except that I actually set up a publishing company and am dealing with all aspects of building it. Right now I’m working on getting carried at Barnes and Noble nationally and setting up a fulfillment system to deal with it.

Do you plan subsequent books?

I’m continuing to write on a variety of Christian issues with each piece the equivalent of a chapter. Once I get enough of them I think they’ll make a good book.

Are you a morning writer or night writer?

My schedule is erratic and I sometimes find myself with time to write in the day, so I occasionally do. But I’m mainly a night writer and find that I can go on for hours lost in what I’m doing. It’s partly because there are very few interruptions to deal with in the evening, but it’s also because I’m wired that way.

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

Probably short, pre-recorded radio spots that would run in a multitude of markets repetitively.

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

As with any product, promotion is huge. I’ve been doing speaking engagements and book signings. In both cases I try to get the hosts publicize the event locally and invite the public. I’ve also been interviewed on the radio. I have a website, have been doing a blog tour and am developing a presence on Facebook.

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

Absolutely! The website is www.findingfaith.us and the book can be purchased through the website, at amazon.com or at barnesandnoble.com.

Friday, May 08, 2009

A Glimpse Into a Writer's Soul featuring Elizabeth Walker, Author of The Tablet of My Heart

Getting glimpses into authors' souls might be wonderfully entertaining for readers; but for the authors themselves, it's sometimes a difficult road they have traveled and I'm not talking the publishing road. I'm talking the life road.

What many readers do not realize is that it's that life road that molds the author and becomes the backbone of the writer's soul which makes him or her the writer he is today.

Elizabeth Walker is the author of a soul touching book called The Tablet of My Heart in which she is traveling all over the cyber world talking about her book on various blogs during her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion.

While her publishing road has been a rough one like many new authors, her life road hasn't been exactly easy, either. For his virtual book tour stop at The Writer's Life, I asked Elizabeth to open up her soul and tell us about something in her life that no one knows about. Elizabeth didn't disappoint, but she certainly pulled on those heart strings.

I'm proud to present a piece written by Elizabeth Walker about the heartaches the wife of a man off at war endures, always wondering if he will ever come back home again, only this war wasn't a war of the truest sense, but a war within himself as he faces an addiction that destroyed his family.

The Light in the Window
by Elizabeth Walker

I lit a candle once, years ago, with more purpose than I ever had – or ever will I suspect. I lit it tearfully and placed it on my windowsill to bring my husband home. I told him that I would light it every night that he wasn’t with us. I begged him to come home and I told him to try with all his might to remember the flame, to remember what it meant. I asked him to consider that flame while he was out in the dark night fighting a war that he had volunteered for. I lit it to give him strength to make it home, to be a light for him when he faced that dark hour and give him strength to hang on tight and make it back to our sons, and back to me. I spent many nights crying by the light of that candle, praying for his return. Some nights I would actually hold his clothes, smell them and cling to them as if the man that I loved so deeply was still inside of them. Most often I cried wondering if he would ever return to wear them again. I cried on them as though the shoulders of the man I married were right under the fabric in my hands, and could carry the weight of my heartache.

Many nights my eyes found refuge from the threat of tears in the image of our little boys, safe and warm and smiling in their beds. In my memory it seems like I floated over to them, kissing their little blond heads and wishing them sweet dreams – It must be my heart that makes the memory float, the way the memory of their serene faces makes my heart float.

But, it was different when my eyes weren’t on them anymore. Once I left their room, I found myself alone in the cold emptiness that filled the rest of the house – an old familiar emptiness that had threatened me in my childhood when my father passed away. Though I had conquered that emptiness once before, I questioned whether I had the strength to fight with it again.

My husband was away fighting a war. I could not help him no matter how desperately I wanted to. My pleas couldn’t bring him home no matter how genuine they were. The emptiness, fear and frustration were consuming me. The lonely nights came and went many, many times. I cringed at the danger that I knew that he was in and my heart sank from the fear of it. I often wondered, if he did return, would he would be whole, would he would be the same person. It wasn’t only the nights that were hard. My oldest son was six on the day I first watched his heart turn blue by the look on his face. It was heart wrenching to see how long sorrow framed his eyes before tears even began to trickle out of them. I know the look that a heart paints on a face when it is broken, my heart painted the face so many times. You might think that a six year old couldn’t possibly understand true heartache, but I am telling you – yes, they can. I watched my child’s heart break repeatedly right in front of me, as he persistently questioned why his father hadn’t come home, and I consistently found myself unable to explain.

Every day I tried to hide from my children what he was doing in his absence, in order to keep them safe from knowing that some monsters are real, and every day I wondered if I was doing the right thing. I didn’t know where he was. I didn’t know if he was dead or alive. When he was gone, every knock at the door held the possibility of heartache as I prepared myself to meet an officer at the turn of the handle, there to tell me that he would never come home again.

Sometimes in my tears I even thought at least then I would know. Other times I thought, If this battle doesn’t kill him – It will surely kill me. One night my little candle revealed the very truth that I was terrified to find. The way it happened was curious. My one-year-old was sitting on my lap. His silky blond hair felt like velvet on my cheek. He wiggled out of my arms to an upright position, facing the window behind the couch. We sat there together staring at the dancing flame. His eyes watched the flame in awe and curiosity. While he watched it dance in the window I watched it dance in his shiny eyes. His pudgy round cheeks tickled me. I stared at him thinking that there was nothing in this world that would keep me from protecting him and his brothers, from giving them every ounce of me in order to make them feel loved and secure. Those four boys were in every beat of my heart. As a child I often felt invisible and insignificant. I promised myself that I would not let that happen to my children. And that’s when it happened. He blew it out. He puckered his little pink lips and blew. My flame was reduced in a second, to smoke. He looked at me with innocent pride, clapping his hands, and smiled – and to my surprise, there it was…there was the flame – it was still burning right there in his young eyes. I had known for some time that my husband was not coming home, but in that moment I accepted it. My truth had been revealed in the single, silent moment that I realized; my children had to be the flame that fueled the hope inside of me. My heart was not reduced to smoke when the candle was. I saw in my son, in all of them, the strength and the will to fight this emptiness. I could make it! I knew I could, not because of me…because of them. My husband was not an American soldier. He was not a prominent citizen fighting a noble war for his country, though the war did threaten to claim his family as casualties. He was a cocaine addict. His battle lasted the final four of the ten years of our marriage, and was with a choice; cocaine or his family.

I held on to hope that my love could save him. I held on to hope that the fire in my heart could bring him home, but he didn’t come – until it was too late. The flame that my heart burned for him died in the light of the fact that – If I continued trying to save him from his addiction then his addiction would continue devouring every inch of my peace and happiness. If I let that happen then my children would not only lose their father but their mother as well. I wasn't willing to sacrificing them in order to keep it lit.

It’s amazing how much light one tiny candle, lit with so much purpose, shed on the truth – only after it went out.

Elizabeth Walker is the author of THE TABLET OF MY HEART. You can visit her website at www.thetabletofmyheart.net.