Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer Beach Reading Giveaway!

summer beach reading giveaway



Heading to the beach with nothing to read? Now you can head out in style with a book from one (or more!) of your favorite authors!

Pump Up Your Book Promotion is hosting our very first Summer Beach Reading Giveaway. Four great authors with 4 chances to win!

All you have to do is head on out to one of the blogs listed below and follow directions to win. It's that easy!


As the Pages Turn is giving away a copy of Dorothea Hover-Kramer's Second Chance at Your Dream!

This is the first book to apply the breakthrough insights of Energy Psychology to healthy aging. Energy Psychology is an exciting new healing method that changes the vibrational patterns in the energy fields to produce rapid emotional healing and a sense of well-being. With the help of the over fifty exercises for rebalancing yourself offered in this book, you can face the challenges and opportunities of later life to create a time of energy, abundance and joy. You can visit Dorothea online at www.secondchancedream.com.

Click here to enter!

5stars

Fiction Scribe is giving away a copy of DCS' Synarchy!

Thirteen bloodlines, The Brotherhood, fanatically loyal to their gods, the Anunnaki, have controlled the planet since his-story was written. In 1925 Stefano Vasco Terenzio, head of the Terenzio crime family makes a deal with the Anunnaki to solidify his control over the American Mafia. Clever and manipulative, Stefano’s true goal was to put his family in a position so one day they would be able to turn on their masters. Two generations later, the shockwave he ignited was still being felt. Now, as the world inches closer to 2012, time is running out. The only thing in the Brotherhoods way is Terenzio, a family now divided as a truly epic battle begins that will determine whether mankind continues existing in a world of lies, or shatters the chains that have held it prisoner since his-story was written. Shocking yet hopeful, Synarchy slowly unravels the tightly laced reality we have created for ourselves. Blending the metaphysical with conspiracy, fact with fiction, debut author DCS has opened up a world that will force you to rethink everything you believe about your own. The knowledge within provokes the question; do you really want to know? You can visit DCS on the web at www.synarchynovel.com.

Click here to enter!

5stars

The Book Stacks is giving away a copy of Dr. Ronald J. Frederick's Living Like You Mean It!

So many of us long to feel more alive, connected, and secure in our lives, particularly now, in these challenging and difficult times. Why is it so hard? Part of the problem, says Dr. Ronald J. Frederick, has to do with a fear of our feelings—a feelings‐phobia—and the consequences of expressing our feelings to others. It’s this fear that keeps us stuck, detached from the wisdom inside us and distanced from the people around us. And yet positive emotional experiences can actually “rewire” our brain and free us up to experience ourselves and our lives more fully. LIVING LIKE YOU MEAN IT: Use the Wisdom and Power of Your Emotions to Get the Life You Really Want by Ronald J. Frederick, shows how we can overcome our feelings phobia in order to enjoy more satisfying lives.

Click here to enter!

5stars

Zensanity is giving away a copy of Richard Aaron's Gauntlet!

Six hundre d six ty tons of Semtex is detonated in a massive explosion in Libya – the last of a deadly st ockpile. The operation seems to have gone smoothly, but within minutes of the explosion, CIA agent Richard Lawrence discovers that one shipment of the explosive was hijacked en route to the destruction point. Days later, a glory-seeking “Emir” broadcasts to the world that he is planning a massive terrorist strike against a major U.S. landmark. And he gives a timeline of one month. You can visit Richard online at www.richardaaron.com.

Click here to enter!

Four great authors, four chances to win! Hurry before contests end!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Interview with Renee Hand, Author of The Crypto-Capers in The Case of the Missing Sock

Siblings Max and Mia Holmes, along with their good friend Morris and their flamboyant Granny Holmes, are known as The Crypto-Capers, a group of detectives who unravel crimes by solving cryptograms that criminals leave behind.

This is the premise of a charming new children's mystery, The Crypto-Capers in The Case of the Missing Sock, by Renee Hand. We interviewed Renee to find out more about her work and her life as a published author.

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

First, I would like to say, thank you so much for having me. It is a pleasure to be here. I have been writing for over twenty years. I have four books to my credit—two romance novels and two books for my children’s detective series. I am an award winning author and have won two awards, one Best Book Award and one National Literary Award for best romance. I am married and have two children.

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

Book one of The Crypto-Capers Series, The Case of The Missing Sock, leads the Crypto-Capers to Florida where they are hired by a man named Mr. Delacomb. In this story siblings Max and Mia Holmes, along with their good friend Morris, and their flamboyant Granny Holmes, are known as The Crypto-Capers. They are a group of detectives who unravel crimes by solving cryptograms that criminals leave behind. Mia is an expert puzzle solver. Max is great at deduction and reasoning. Morris is a computer genius, while Granny...well Granny is the muscle of the group. Don't let her size or age fool you....she is quite handy. The mystery leads the team to different locations. Clues flourish throughout the mystery. Suspects by the handful seem to pop up at every turn, but who really committed the crime? The reader must help the detectives solve the case by solving the cryptograms and puzzles.

I wrote this series because I wanted children to be involved with what they were reading. This series is fun and entertaining, always keeping the reader’s attention. Not only does the series challenge the avid reader, but also keeps the reluctant reader’s attention. As soon as the reader picks up the book, they have instantly joined the team as a detective. The reader will be asked to look up different things and to participate in the story on different occasions. My goal was to have kids remember what they were reading because they are learning information with value, yet having fun at the same time.
What kind of research was involved in writing The Crypto-Capers: The Case of the Missing Sock?

I have done different kinds of research for each book in the series. For The Case of the Missing Sock, I have been to Florida many times. The places that I talk about in my story are actual places. The story is fictional of course, but the locations are real. My readers can visit the places I talk about in my stories and see what I have seen, which is pretty cool. I have changed the names of a few places, but the rest are as they are talked about. Now, if I can’t physically go to one of my stories locations, then I do a lot of research, via internet or books, and learn as much as I can about a place. As I am doing my research, I come up with all sorts of ideas and—VOILA—I have an awesome story.

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

I was actually pretty fortunate to be able to work with my artist on the book cover and the other drawings pertaining to the book. We have spent quite a bit of time together talking over what my vision is for the books in the series and where I am going with it. However, my artist is great with taking my ideas, while incorporating her own, and creating something wonderful and memorable.
Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

My journey to getting published was in-between bumpy and smooth. It took some time, but my patience paid off. I never gave up along the way. I have been fortunate to be picked up by a great publisher who believes in my abilities and strengths, and that means a lot to me.

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

It took around six months.

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

No, I do not have an agent, and in truth, you really don’t need one. There is definitely a benefit to having a good agent who cares about you and your work, but really, you can do it all yourself. When dealing with a publisher, you are really selling yourself. The publisher must not only believe in your work, but in you and your abilities to promote and sell it. You can convince a publisher of that the same as an agent can. Remember that no one can sell your book better than you. You wrote it!

Do you plan subsequent books?

The Crypto-Capers is a series. Book 1 is The Case of the Missing Sock. Book 2 is out and is titled, The Case of Red Rock Canyon. Book 3 will be out in the fall with two coming out every year.
Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Both! All depends on the day and mood.

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

That’s a good question. Probably buying ad space in a nationwide newspaper or magazine where I knew millions of people could see it.
How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

Self promotion is huge! My book will not sell itself. I am not famous or a celebrity where my name is well known, so I have to do my share of promotion to sell it. Offline, I do book signings, presentations, libraries and workshops. I have also created some of my own opportunities. Online, I have a website, a blog, I advertise, and of course, joined up with the Pump Up Your Book Promotion Tour.

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

The biggest words of wisdom that I can say are—no matter if you get rejected by a publisher or an agent, or if you feel like you will never get published, be determined and keep trying. Never give up on a dream. However, also be realistic. Not everyone gets a huge dollar deal with a big publishing house. Keep in mind that sometimes you must start small before you go big. If that means going with a smaller publisher then that might be exactly what you need to get out there, especially if it’s your first book. Getting your foot in the door somewhere helps build your reputation as well as readership. Having a product to sell is better than having nothing in your hand other than an unpublished manuscript with tears on it. The one thing I have learned is that you have to get your book out into the world so people can see your talents and what you can do. Be strong and keep trying!

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

My books are available at various bookstores, as well as online at Amazon, www.amazon.com and Barnes and Nobles, www.bn.com. Please check out my website at www.reneeahand.com and e-mail me or visit my blog. Thank you again for having me.
The two books in the series available now are:
The Case of the Missing Sock ISBN# 978-0-87839-304-6
The Case of Red Rock Canyon ISBN# 978-0-87839-309-1

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Interview with Wendy Wax, Author of The Accidental Bestseller


“The names have been changed to protect the innocent,” jokes novelist Wendy Wax about her new book The Accidental Bestseller. “It’s not a roman a clef, but I admit that parts of it are somewhat autobiographical. A few people may think they recognize themselves, but the real life experiences at its core are actually compilations of my own and other authors’ agonies, ecstasies and observations.”

The novel centers on a writer who, with her editor gone and her sales in a slump, discovers how merciless the business of book publishing can be. With the help of three writer friends, whose own successes range from modest sales to international renown, she faces daunting personal and professional setbacks as she struggles to pursue her dream. Wendy notes “I’ve intensified the difficulties, thrown in an empty nest, a cheating husband and taken a whole boatload of liberties, but I still see the story as a realistic look at the challenges confronting many published authors.”

In The Accidental Bestseller, Wendy explores the depth of women’s friendships and the emotional bonds that tie people to their families, their friends and their work. The writing itself proved somewhat cathartic for Wendy, mostly because, like her protagonist, she at one time contended with the emotions and stress involved with switching publishers. She also ended up sharing other attributes with her character. Each lives in the Atlanta area, has written numerous novels, maintains strong friendships with other women novelists, is married, has two children, and enjoys spending time in the mountains of northern Georgia.

A native of St. Petersburg, Florida, Wendy has come a long way since her days at Sunshine Elementary School. As a child she read voraciously, was a regular at her local library, and became fast friends with Nancy Drew and Anne of Green Gables. Her love affairs with language and storytelling paid off beginning with her first shift at the campus radio station while studying journalism at the University of Georgia.

After returning to her home state and graduating from the University of South Florida she worked for the Tampa PBS affiliate, WEDU-TV, behind and in front of the camera. Her resume includes on air work, voiceovers and production of a variety of commercial projects and several feature films. She may be best known in the Tampa Bay area as the host of Desperate & Dateless, a radio matchmaking program that aired on WDAE radio, and nationally as host of The Home Front, a magazine format show that aired on PBS affiliates across the country.

The mother of a toddler and an infant when she decided to change careers, she admits it was not the best timing in terms of productivity. “I’m still not certain why I felt so compelled to write my first novel at that particular time,” she says, “but that first book took forever.” Since then she’s written six more books, including Single in Suburbia and THE ACCIDENTAL BESTSELLER. Her work has been sold to publishers in ten countries and to the Rhapsody Book Club. Her novel, Hostile Makeover, was excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine.

Wendy lives with her husband John and her baseball-crazy teenage sons in the Atlanta suburbs where she spends most of her non-writing time on baseball fields or driving to them. She continues to devour books and is busy producing Accidental Radio, a new feature on her web site.

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


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


I was a journalism/broadcast major in college and after graduating I worked in radio, television and film both in front of and behind the camera. I worked for the Tampa PBS affiliate, on a number of feature films, and as a voice over and on camera talent for commercial and corporate projects. The most memorable of these was my stint as the host of a live radio call in show on WDAE Radio called, Desperate & Dateless.


In 1994 while at home with a newborn and a two-year-old, I was looking for a creative outlet and decided to try my hand at writing fiction. Looking back, I wonder that being a full time mother, which is the hardest job I’ve ever had, and the fact that I knew nothing about writing fiction, didn’t deter me. It did, however, slow me down.


It took me three years to complete that first novel, find an agent, and sell it. (This seemed like an eternity at the time; it was only after being in publishing for a while that I discovered how slowly things can move!) Love Talk, which drew on my experiences as host of Desperate & Dateless, came out in 1997. Each book after that also took years. It wasn’t until my youngest started school full time, that I became more productive.


In the intervening years, I’ve been published by Kensington, Bantam (7 Days and 7 Nights, Leave It to Cleavage (my favorite title of all time!), Hostile Makeover, Single in Suburbia) and now, Berkley. The Accidental Bestseller is my seventh novel.


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


The Accidental Bestseller is about four writers who meet at a writers’ conference, support each other through the joy and pain of getting—and staying—published, and ten years later end up taking on the publishing industry to save one of their own.


Mallory St. James is a workaholic whose novels support her and her husband’s lavish lifestyle. Tanya Mason juggles two jobs, two kids and a difficult mother. Faye Truett is the wife of a famous televangelist and the author of bestselling inspirational romances; no one would ever guess her explosive secret. Kendall Aims’s once promising career is on the skids—and so is her marriage. Her sales have fallen and her new editor can barely feign interest in her work.


I had wanted to write about a group of writers, especially a critique group, for some time. No one understands what you’re going through like someone else who’s on the same path. Your family and non-writing friends may know and love you, but they don’t necessarily relate to the unique highs and lows that are a part of writing a novel and staying afloat in the publishing business.

The Accidental Bestseller is about that bond between writer friends. It’s also as true a look at what it is to be a working writer in today’s publishing industry as it was possible for me to write without straying into nonfiction. (Which is something Mallory, Faye, Tanya, and Kendall have a slight problem with!)


What kind of research was involved in writing The Accidental Bestseller?


Gathering information that will help make the characters and their lives feel real is always an interesting exercise. Generally, the more characters the more varied the research.


In The Accidental Bestseller all four main characters are writers, which I have some experience with. But there’s also an editorial assistant, an editor and a sales director within the fictional Scarsdale Publishing that needed to feel real. I was a little dismayed to discover that after a decade in the business I actually knew very little about the inner workings of a publishing house. Fortunately, my agent was once on the editorial side and was not only very helpful, but gave me some real insider things that I was able to use. Some of what I learned I had long suspected (this was not the reassuring stuff!) and in my acknowledgments I thank my agent for sharing her editorial experiences and inside knowledge—‘even though I now know all kinds of things that I kinda wish I didn’t.’


One of the main characters writes inspirational romance and is married to a famous televangelist, so I did a good bit of reading about megachurches and television ministries. I also talked to several friends who write inspirational romance, one of whom is a minister’s wife.


I also spent time in a really cool breakfast place called Skyway Jack’s in St. Petersburg and read about their legendary speed cooker, which inspired the fictional Downhome Diner where one of the character’s works as a waitress.


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


The publisher typically asks for the author’s thoughts and I know some authors who provide pictures of certain design elements they like. I’m not very visually knowledgeable, so I have a hard time expressing these things up front, but I do have very visceral reactions to what I see.

The cover for The Accidental Bestseller, which I think is fabulous, was a huge and wonderful surprise to me. All my input was centered on the fact that the book was about writers and set in the publishing industry. I had no idea how that might be captured effectively. Fortunately, the art department had a clearer vision and focused on the end product—a great beach read! All I had to do was say, ‘I love it!’


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


Getting published was not the most difficult part of my personal journey. Although it took about three years to actually write a first book, find an agent, and then see the book sold, that was far less difficult than some of what came later. Every once in a while someone appears on the scene and rockets to the top of the bestseller lists, but the vast majority of writers spend years honing their craft, writing book after book, sometimes moving from agent to agent and publisher to publisher building a career and trying to reach the widest possible audience in the best possible way.


Not everyone wants to hear it, but although making that first sale seems like an end goal—the final destination--it’s really only the beginning step on a very long and sometimes uphill road.


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


I actually wrote this book before my agent put it out for sale, but that sale took place over a year ago.


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


My agent is Stephanie Rostan of the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. While I understand it may still be possible to sell category without representation, I think an agent—a good agent—is necessary to sell single title or mainstream to a major publisher. Certainly an agent is necessary to make sure the work is shown to editors who are actually buying what you write and to insure that you’re work is read in a timely fashion. An agent is also crucial to negotiating and interfacing with the publishing house once an offer is made.


Do you plan subsequent books?


Yes, I just finished revisions on my next novel for Berkley. It’s called Magnolia Wednesdays and is due out next March.


Are you a morning writer or a night writer?


I’m definitely the sharpest and most creative in the morning, preferably first thing. I try to save clean up and critiquing and business-oriented work for late afternoon and evening.


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


Hmmmm…I’m kind of enjoying blogging and visiting different sites. What I really wish is that promotion weren’t as important as it seems to be and that everyone would just fall madly in love with my work and buy everything I ever write! (I know, I know, but it’s a lovely fantasy don’t you think?)


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


I have been hearing pros and cons about self promotion since I joined my first writer’s group. As I said above, I wish it weren’t necessary. I’d much rather put that additional time and energy into writing. The thing is, you don’t always know what produces results and what doesn’t—when I worked in broadcasting years ago that was true of most advertising. You want to do all you can to help your work reach an audience, but it is difficult to sift through the possibilities and know what’s worthwhile.


The virtual tour of blog and reader sites seems like a great way to reach out to people online. I’ve also created something I call Accidental Radio, which is airing on my Website at www.authorwendywax.com It’s short, interesting audio recordings of bestselling authors sharing the accidental moments that changed their lives. Ann Brashares, Stephanie Laurens, Linda Lael Miller, Matthew Pearl, Emilie Richards, James Grippando and Wendy Corsi Staub are among the authors who participated.


Offline I’m doing a number of talks and signings and I really enjoy talking to book clubs.


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


Just keep in mind that getting and staying published is not a sprint; it’s a marathon.

In The Accidental Bestseller, I used writing quotes that I found meaningful to begin each chapter. One of them answers your question far more eloquently than I could. It’s by James Baldwin who said, “Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck—but most of all, endurance.”


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


Thank you! I’d love for readers to stop by my Website at www.authorwendywax.com for more information about The Accidental Bestseller and to ‘tune in’ to Accidental Radio. The Accidental Bestseller is available at bookstores everywhere and from any online bookseller. I hope you’ll pick up a copy and then email me via my Website to let me know what you think!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Talking Self-Publishing: Interview with self-published author Crystal Storm


Writing under the penname, DCS, Synarchy Book 1: The Awakening is her first novel. The creative muse sings the loudest right now in New Orleans, where she is hard at work on the second and third books in the Synarchy Series. A self taught student, her research has taken her into the realms of quantum physics, metaphysics, past life regression, the 2012 phenomena, government conspiracy theories and everything in between.


We interviewed Crystal to find out more about the self-publishing process in her experience.


Thank you for this interview, Crystal. You self-published your latest book, The Awakening. Would you please tell us why you chose the self-publishing route?


Crystal: It boiled down to a few things, but the biggest one is that I liked the freedom of doing it my way, and I wanted to retain complete control of my work. I’m lucky that while I’m very creative, I’ve also got a good business sense so I knew I could handle it.


Take us through the process. You have an idea, you write the book, then you decide self-publishing is the route you want to take. How did this happen for you?


Crystal: I got my hands on everything I possibly could to teach myself what needed to be done, not just about publishing, but marketing and promotion too. Dan Poynters’ Self Publishing guide was a huge help. I started my own publishing company so I could sell the title directly if I wanted too. I got my own ISBN number. I entered the Amazon Novel Breakthrough contest really just to get a CreatSpace account so my title was available on Amazon. I found an editor for the manuscript. I learned about typesetting, and even I found a program that lets you design the book cover yourself. And I made a few mistakes along the way but, it’s all a learning process and I have no regrets about taking this route.


Do you think that having your book self-published makes any difference to the media? How do you get over the "self-published" stigma?


Crystal: I think it does make a difference to traditional media outlets, but the great thing about being a writer now is that there are so many nontraditional outlets you can utilize to break that stigma. Sure, you’ve got to prove yourself, but I think that’s true whether Random House published your book or not. If the book isn’t good it doesn’t matter how you published it. So, the only way to really get over that hump is to write an awesome novel.


Authors who go the traditional route have an edge over self-published authors in regards to distribution. How did you handle that as a self-published author?


Crystal: I got on Amazon, which was a really simple process. I’ve got an application sitting on my desk to get on BN.com too, hopefully I’ll pop up there soon as well. I don’t have a traditional distributor just yet, but I’m not terribly concerned. I want to see my sales take a little boost before I start really hammering away at local book stores, and libraries, and once I’m ready to move into that phase, I’ll start looking. I don’t anticipate having too much trouble finding a distributor, as I said before the beauty about being a writer now is all the options you have.


Do you have any advice you’d like to share with other self-published authors?


Crystal: Take your time. I know after you’ve finished a novel it’s easy to be seduced by how quickly you can hold an actual finished book in your hands, but we’re kind of the underdogs so the pressure is really on to be taken as seriously as traditional publishers. It’s not an impossible hurdle to cross though. Write a great novel, do your research, and armed with that knowledge, go for it.


Thank you for this interview, Crystal. Can you tell us how we can find out more about you and your new self-published book, The Awakening?


Crystal: Thank you so much for giving me the chance to do this interview! You can get Synarchy Book 1: The Awakening on Amazon. I’m also running a special off my website for autographed copies from now until the summer solstice. You can learn more about that at www.synarchynovel.com. I blog and podcast too, you can find links to both on the books website as well.

SECOND CHANCE AT YOUR DREAM BOOK GIVEAWAY & REVIEW

I've got a book review by moi and a book giveaway by author Dorothea Hover-Kramer up today at As the Pages Turn! Here are the details:

BOOK GIVEAWAY!

We’re offering a book giveaway! If you would like to win a copy of Dorothea Hover-Kramer’s A Second Chance to Your Dreams, here are the details:

Dorothea says, “No one should wait until a terminal diagnosis to start living more fully. Make a list now of the things you want to do, the people you want to see, the actions you can contribute to make the world around you better.”

Give us ONE thing on your own list of things you want to do, people you want to see, the actions you want to contribute to make the world around you better and leave it in the comment section. Be sure to include your email address or your entry will be void. Contests ends on August 1, 2009 and the winner will be hand selected by Dorothea herself. Your entry should not run over one or two sentences, so please be brief. Good luck!


Hop over and tell us what's on your list and you could win a free copy! You are welcome to comment here but leave your "one thing" at As the Pages Turn, please, so you will get an entry into the contest! Have fun and good luck!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Interview with Norm Applegate, Author of Blood Bar

Norman Applegate is an author and consultant, with a growing body of work to his credit. Born in Glasgow Scotland, growing up in Toronto Canada and now residing in Sarasota Florida with his wife Cheryl, Norm Applegate works and travels for an international consulting company, then occasionally scares the “heck” out of his family with his thoughts and writings.

Norm’s writing began while traveling through New Zealand and Australia as a Hypno-therapist with colorful letters to his family of his tales as a hypnotist and the unexplained.

His early years in Toronto were filled with aspirations of the late 60’s Yorkville hippie music scene, and as a drummer in numerous bands led to a short lived career playing the bars and clubs in the Toronto area. The band Photograph, signed to a recording studio, made some noise on the coast to coast CBC radio show, the Entertainers, and after the legal issues strangled them into submission, they went their separate ways. The life of drugs, sex and rock and roll were over, sad but true.

After a few years of travel, he had the bug, and entered the world of management consulting to become a road warrior, and is now a 2 million miler with Delta. Away from home and with the desire to write a novel it began. His first book, Into the Basement, is a raw, dark thriller.

His second novel of the Kim Bennett series, Into the Spell, explores a copy cat Son of Sam killer and hypnosis...sometimes evil is all in your head!

Early 2008, Norm introduced a short story called Jumpers, in the horror anthology From the Shadows. He has developed the screenplay for his novel Into the Basement, with Nicholas Grabowsky and director J. L. Botelho of Triad Pictures, and in 2009 published his third novel in the Kim Bennett series, Blood Bar. As Kim Bennett would say, “Don’t be stupid, vampires aren’t real.”

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

Norm: Kind of answered above...

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

Norm: Blood Bar, is a vampire story, here’s the synopsis:
Vampires don’t exist...yet, on the brownstone back alley side streets of New York, a vampire dies. Desperate, his lover turns to Kim Bennett, author Norm Applegate’s quintessential heroine whose passion for S&M led to celebrity status as a hell-and-back murder mystery sleuth who’s been there, done that, and then some. This time, Kim finds herself caught between a secret vampire society’s attempts to locate The Black Testament (a sacred document written by Jack the Ripper), the modern-day vampire hunters bent on their destruction, and a white knuckled journey of self-discovery that catapults her into the bowels of hell and the arms of the ultimate vampire.......courtesy of The Haven, New York’s ultimate Blood Bar.

Blood Bar is my third in the Kim Bennett series and has evolved to the place where we find Kim in the vampire world. The introduction of vampires began in my second novel Into the Spell, I liked the direction, found it fun to write and went with it.

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

Norm: I wanted a vampire novel, that I could align with historical information such as the Brooklyn Bridge, and Jack the Ripper, and weave this information into an adventure story. Which meant, getting very familiar with google. The information that’s out there about Jack the Ripper, the murders, and the actual police reports was perfect. One report states, at the murder scenes there was no blood. Isn’t that perfect for suggesting the victims blood was taken by a vampire. So my challenge was to support a fictional story chock full of what can best be described as the truth.

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

Norm: No press kit.

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

Norm: I had a great time a few weeks on the blog talk radio show Francy and Friends, co hosted with Chef Matty from Hell’s Kitchen and film director J.L. Botelho. Funny thing about the show, you tend to talk about everything but the book, it’s an absolute riot, had a great time. Matty is now a friend, he has purchased my novels, and I’ll be going on the show again a couple of 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?

Norm: No I don’t have an agent, however I think it’s the next level for me and to get to a main street publisher it’s probably required. So to your readers, I’m looking...

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

Norm: We have blasted the synopsis on Myspace, Facebook, Goodreads, The Authors Society, and pile of other web sites, it has stirred some good responses.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Norm: Yeah I’m writing a sequel to Blood Bar, haven’t named it yet. Takes place in Paris, vampires doing what they do best, and Kim Bennett keeping up the good fight. Some of the characters from Blood Bar will grace us with an appearance. I wonder if other writers feel this. I wrote a vampire hunter into Blood Bar named Cheyenne, indian, big guy, liked him a lot, but I killed him off? Kind of wish I hadn’t done that. Maybe I’ll bring him back in ghost story.

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

My web site is www.normanapplegate.com here is lots of stuff to check out and a huge list of horror links. As for my books, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and my publisher Black Bed Sheet Books, www.downwarden.com/blackbedsheet.htm. I’m all over the place, myspace, Facebook, Goodreads, just send me an email.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Win a Copy of Irene Watson's The Sitting Swing!


Irene Watson, as part of her virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion, is giving away a FREE copy of her newest book, The Sitting Swing! You heard it right, folks. Absolutely free! Ahhh...but there's a catch. You must be first to tell us where she was born. And no high tailing it down to the court house! Whoever is able to guess where Irene Watson was born wins a free copy of her wonderful new memoir, The Sitting Swing. Leave your answer in the comment section below. Contest ends at midnight on August 1 and good luck!

About Irene:

Irene Watson, author of award winning The Sitting Swing, was born and raised in a tiny hamlet of Reno in the northern area of the province of Alberta in Canada. It was a farming community, mostly settled by immigrants from Russia, Ukraine and Poland during the early 1900s.

Two books that had the deepest impact were C
hange me into Zeus’s Daughter by Barbara Robinette Moss, and, Lost and Found by Babette Hughes. Reading both books inspired Irene to write about her own life’s journey, from growing up in a semi-abusive home to finally accepting that experience as a path to a spiritual understanding of life. She now shares her story in The Sitting Swing.

Irene is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.

Irene received her Bachelor of Liberal Studies, Summa Cum Laude, in Psychology from Saint Edward's University in Austin and her Master of Arts, with honors, in Liberal Studies: Psychology, from Regis University in Denver.

Today, Irene lives beside Barton Creek in Austin, Texas with her husband Robert of 43 years, and their Pomeranian, Tafton; their calico cat from a rescue shelter, Patches; and their rescued cockatiels, Clement and Elgin.

You can visit her website at www.irenewatson.com or her blog at www.irenewatson.typepad.com/irenes_weblog.


About The Sitting Swing:

The Sitting Swing shows us how guilt, fear and ignorance are borne by our children. Two distinct parts of the book look at an abusive child rearing and the process of recovery that takes place years later. On many levels this is a classic story showing us that change, growth,
forgiveness and recovery are possible. It is also a heart warming healing story and a testament to the strength and courage of the human spirit. In the end it gives hope and freedom to those that accept the past and move forward by rewriting life scripts that have been passed down for
generations.




10 Things Most People Don't Know About Irene Watson & Free Giveaways!

Ten Things Most People Don't Know About Irene Watson

  1. She quit school after one week in 12th grade because she was told by her parents she was stupid, education wasn’t important and she didn’t need education to be a housewife. Irene returned to school, got her GED, obtained her undergraduate degree Suma Cum Laude and completed her Master’s Degree in Psychology with honors.
  2. Purchased her first business, a flower shop, at age 23. She expanded the business by establishing a shop in a neighboring town and had 4 sub-agents selling flowers. She sold it after 5 years when she decided to be a stay-at-home Mom.
  3. Was the first female President of the Chamber of Commerce in Peace River, Alberta, Canada. She also was on the executive of the Northern Development Board in the province of Alberta.
  4. She is happily married for 42 years to the same man, resulting in two children, a daughter-in-law and 3 grandchildren. (Two of the grandchildren are adopted. They are siblings of her grandson.)
  5. Taught business practices classes at Austin Community College, Austin, Texas to massage therapy students for two years. She also facilitated workshops to staff for CEUs and adult learning classes.
  6. Despises being approached by multi-level marketers. Enough said, otherwise it will be a soapbox spiel.
  7. Has permanent eyebrows, eyeliner and lip liner. Irene claims it’s one of the best things she did for herself after turning 50. Just think – no more messy lines because she can’t see without glasses. And, no more smudging!
  8. Won trophies and prizes in five-pin bowling – not because she was good but because she was always given handicap points. Won trophies and prizes in curling – not because she was good but because the rest of the team was super good.
  9. Is co-writing a book, “Rewriting Life Scripts: Transformational Recovery for Families,” to be published in the fall of 2009.
  10. Has cellulite.
Who is Irene Watson?

Irene Watson, author of award winning The Sitting Swing, was born and raised in a tiny hamlet of Reno in the northern area of the province of Alberta in Canada. It was a farming community, mostly settled by immigrants from Russia, Ukraine and Poland during the early 1900s.

Two books that had the deepest impact were Change me into Zeus’s Daughter by Barbara Robinette Moss, and, Lost and Found by Babette Hughes. Reading both books inspired Irene to write about her own life’s journey, from growing up in a semi-abusive home to finally accepting that experience as a path to a spiritual understanding of life. She now shares her story in The Sitting Swing.

Irene is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.

Irene received her Bachelor of Liberal Studies, Summa Cum Laude, in Psychology from Saint Edward's University in Austin and her Master of Arts, with honors, in Liberal Studies: Psychology, from Regis University in Denver.

Today, Irene lives beside Barton Creek in Austin, Texas with her husband Robert of 43 years, and their Pomeranian, Tafton; their calico cat from a rescue shelter, Patches; and their rescued cockatiels, Clement and Elgin.

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

ATTENTION!

Comment on any of Irene Watson's tour stops and you could win:
2 copies of “Authors Access: 30 Success Secrets for Authors and Publishers” (to author or aspiring author)
2 autographed copies of “The Sitting Swing: Finding Wisdom to Know the Difference”
1 package of 3 fiction books
1 package of 3 nonfiction books
3 copies of “Journey from Head to Heart“ by Nancy Oelklaus from Loving Healing Press
3 copies of “Gifts from the Child Within, 2nd Ed” by Barbara Sinor from Loving Healing Press
1 autographed copy of “Saffron Dreams” from Shaila Abdulla
1 website/blog evaluation
1 Swarovski crystal bracelet from Belle Paris
1 hand made bracelet
Everyone that signs up on my mailing list on www.irenewatson.com will receive an ebook: A Story That Must Be Told: True Tales of Transformation

To visit Irene's other tour stops, visit www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Interview with Gail Graham, Author of Sea Changes

Gail Graham’s previous novel, Crossfire, won the Buxtehude Bulle, a prestigious German literary award. Crossfire has been translated into German, French, Danish, Finnish and Swedish. Three of Gail’s other books were NY Times Book of the Year recommendations. Gail lived in Australia for 32 years, where she owned and operated a community newspaper and published several other books, including A Cool Wind Blowing (a biography of Mao Zedong) Staying Alive and A Long Season in Hell. She returned to the United States in 2002, and now lives in Tucson, Arizona.

_________________________

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


When I was in kindergarten, I remember carrying paper and pencil around in one of my grandfather’s cigar boxes and telling everyone, I’m writing a book. So I guess I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I sold my first story when I was 16. I’ve written six other books, all published by mainstream publishers in America and in Australia, where I lived for 32 years. My novel Crossfire was translated into French, German, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish and won the Buxtehude Bulle, an important German literary award. Three of my books were New York Times Book of the Year Recommendations. I returned to the United States in 2002 and now I live in Tucson, Arizona and spend weekends in Mexico whenever I can. I began writing Sea Changes while I was still living in Australia, but finished it here in Tucson.


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


Sea Changes tells the story of a widow, Sarah Andrews. She’s alone, she’s grieving. And then suddenly, something extraordinary happens to her, something impossible. At first she thinks she’s dreaming, or hallucinating, or even going mad. But because she’s determined to come to terms with this thing that has happened, Sarah finds herself living in two worlds. Of course, only one of these worlds can possibly be the real world. But which one?


I wrote Sea Changes some years after my own husband died because of an awful accident. Suddenly, I was a widow. Nothing prepares you for this. The grief was terrible, but grief wasn’t the worst of it. When the pain began to abate, I realized that I no longer existed. The person I had been was gone. Being a writer, this intrigued me. I became aware of the fact that much of our identity depends upon how we are seen by others. Now that I was a widow, nobody could see me because in our society, we don’t see widows. They are invisible. And being invisible is terrible. It’s like being a living ghost.


This doesn’t happen to men. When a man loses his wife, friends bring casseroles, consolation and invitations. And of course, single women flock from miles around. There are usually no financial problems, and nobody urges him to sell his home because it’s too much for him. But when a woman loses her husband, mutual friends vanish. Nobody wants her at a dinner party. Nobody brings casseroles. There are often financial pressures. Her children urge her to sell the family home. And if she does meet a single man, he’s either 20 years older than she is, or looking for a younger woman. There’s no place for her to fit in. As far as other people are concerned, she has ceased to exist.


So widows are forced to reinvent themselves. And that’s what Sea Changes is about – a woman who reinvents herself in a new world where anything is possible.


What kind of research was involved in writing Sea Changes?


None, really. It just leapt out of my subconscious.


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


Quite a lot, which was very satisfying. Jade Phoenix Publishing hired 1106 Design to do both the cover and the interior design, and I was able to work very closely with them throughout the entire process. I’d never had that experience before, and I found it very exciting.


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


When I published my first book in 1965, the publishing world was very different from what it is today. In the good old days I never had any trouble getting my books published, even after I moved to Australia. I’ve been published by Dial Press and Pantheon and in Australia, by Angus & Robertson and Pan MacMillan. But when I returned to the United States in 2002, it was a whole new scene. All the editors and publishers seemed to have been replaced by marketers and accountants. So, where Sea Changes is concerned – it was a very bumpy ride at first, until I decided to turn my back on the mainstream publishing conglomerates and opt for a small, independent publishing firm.


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


Eight months. But the manuscript had already been thoroughly edited by Renni Brown of The Editorial Department, so that was one large and time-consuming task that didn’t need to be done. One of the advantages of small, independent publishers is that there is a lot more flexibility because they aren’t dealing with huge hierarchies and overheads.


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


Yes, I was represented by an agent. However, she was pitching Sea Changes as the economy was collapsing in October and November of last year, so she didn’t have much luck and in the end she was happy to let me go off on my own because – like me – she loved Sea Changes and wanted to see it reach its readers.


Do you plan subsequent books?


Yes, I’m currently working on two projects. One is a novel set in Tang China at the end of the seventh century. It’s about a woman who goes through life disguised as her brother. The other is non-fiction, a book about what’s right with America and how wonderful it is to be back in the United States after 32 years in Australia. It’s based on my experiences driving cross-country from Los Angeles to Miami Beach with my dog Bao in 2002.


Are you a morning writer or a night writer?


Very much a morning writer. When my children were babies and I was supporting us with my writing, I’d get up at 5 AM and have almost a whole day’s work down by 8 AM, when the babies woke up. I still get up at sunrise most days.


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


The first thing I would do -- and in fact, did -– was to hire a publicist who has extensive experience publicizing literary fiction. People think they can do publicity themselves, and sometimes they can. But literary fiction like Sea Changes appeals to a very special audience (one editor referred to it as “an untargetable audience”) and you need the kind of publicist who can reach that audience. If people don’t know your book is out there, they won’t read it. Authors must be willing to invest in themselves. A good publicity campaign costs less than a new car, or a cruise. And in today’s market and economic climate, it’s absolutely vital.


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


Self-promotion is absolutely vital. Writing has become a business, and deploring that situation doesn’t change it. Authors have to get out there and tell people about their book. This goes against the grain for many authors. It did for me, too. So my husband sent me off to Toastmistress International, and that’s how I learned how to speak to groups. And you know, now I absolutely love it!


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


Find a small, independent publisher or start your own little publishing company. I’ve met so many authors who opted for a mainstream publisher and were delighted with their $10,000 advance – but then their book wasn’t promoted, it didn’t “make its advance” and unsold copies ended up being sent back to the warehouse and pulped. This isn’t why you write a book! It’s certainly not why I wrote Sea Changes.


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


Sea Changes is available through Amazon and at good bookstores. My website is www.gailgraham.net And dog-lovers will enjoy visiting www.drivingchairmanbao.blogspot.com