Sunday, January 31, 2010

Winners of Pump Up Your Book's January Authors on Virtual Book Tour

Congratulations to the following readers who responded to our January authors on virtual book tour giveaways! Every month Pump Up Your Book gives away copies of our clients' books just so that we can spread the word of all of our wonderful and talented authors.

The winners of our January books are:

Denyse wins a free copy of Dolen Perkins-Valdez's historical novel, Wench
Sarita wins a free copy of Barbora Knobova's relationship book, Tales for Delicious Girls
Stacie at Simply Stacie wins a free electronic copy of Kim Smith's cozy mystery, Buried Angel
Mary Emma Allen wins a free copy of Dr. Jonny Bowden's health book, The Most Effective Ways to Live Longer
Libby at Libby's Library News wins a free copy of Charles Franklin Emery's A Man and His Maniac: The Bunkie Story
Wendi Barker wins a free electronic copy of Jackie Griffey's The Devil in Merrivale

Congratulations to all who participated!

Sign up for our feed to make sure you don't miss out on what February has to offer!

Embracing Your Freedom’s Susie Larson is still marching to her own personal freedom

About two years ago, Susie Larson had an idea for a book that directly connects our personal freedom to the freedoms of authors. As an author and speaker, she travels around the country speaking at women’s conferences and retreats. In her travels, she has found that though American women are literally free, most are not totally free. In fact, Susie feels she is still marching towards her own personal freedom as a lot of women and authors are doing themselves.

Susie says freedom is something for which we must contend and that all of us have been beaten up and bruised by life. “We’ve all had experiences that have affected us in a negative way,” she tells us, “and most times, without realizing it, we allow those painful experiences to stunt our growth, confirm our fears, and minimize the impact we could make in this world. We tend to make rules around our insecurities. We make excuses for why we don’t venture out into the unknown places God has for us. But to truly be free is to believe that Jesus can redeem every shred of our painful pasts. If we really want to be free, we have to walk by His side and face the lies we picked up when life let us down. As we experience new freedom and courage, we will grow in our conviction to see others know this same liberty. Most often, our world-changing call is directly connected to one of our painful life experiences.”

Embracing Your Freedom, Susie's latest book, calls women to tenacious courage and gritty faith that we might live free and content for the freedoms of others.

On another note, we asked her how she was promoting her new book so that it will help other authors learn through experience. She says, “Writing a book is a significant endeavor, but some books simply take more out of us than other books do. Embracing Your Freedom was one such project for me. Though each of my books involved certain challenges, none of them stretched me, drained me, or cost me as much as this one did. But that’s okay. The opposition I faced while writing this book only confirmed to me the importance of its message.

“Since the release of the book, I’ve done a number of radio interviews, speaking engagements, blog interviews, and book giveaways. I will travel to ICRS this summer for a book signing and more media interviews. I’ve highlighted the book in my weekly devotional blog and my quarterly E-zine. Friends have promoted the book on Twitter and I recently joined the rest of the Tweeters out there!

“In about a month, my next book Growing Grateful Kids hits the bookstores. This book releases right when my busy spring speaking schedule kicks in. Already, there is a lot of buzz around this book and we are excited about it! Our efforts to market this book will include speaking engagements, radio interviews, blog interviews, online promotion, and book giveaways. We will do a number of book signings and will most likely plan a book release party to celebrate the release of Growing Grateful Kids.

“Marketing books is like raising children. Certain principles apply across the board, and yet each one is so different, so unique, it requires special attention and special direction to ensure the best possible outcome.”

If you would like to find out more about Susie Larson and her new book Embracing Your Freedom, visit her website at www.susielarson.com. Susie will be on virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book in January and February 2010. If you would like to visit her official tour page, click here!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez l Q&A + Blog Tour + Giveaway

Dolen Perkins-Valdez's fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review, PMS: PoemMemoirStory, and elsewhere. She is a former University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellow and graduate of Harvard. Wench is her first novel. Born and raised in Memphis, she currently divides her time between Seattle and Washington, DC. You can visit her website at www.dolenperkinsvaldez.com or her blog at www.dolen.blogspot.com and visit her at http://twitter.com/dolen.

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

Dolen: I was born and raised in Memphis, TN. I have been writing seriously for about twelve years. I have published fiction in The Kenyon Review and elsewhere.

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

Dolen: In 1851, a lawyer named Elias P. Drake purchased a plot of land near Xenia, Ohio with the intent to establish a summer vacation resort where the country's elite could relax and enjoy the mineral springs in the area. At the time, it was believed that natural water could cure illnesses and bring about good health. What made this resort unusual, however, was that it became a popular vacation destination for southern slaveholders and their enslaved mistresses. Ultimately, these flagrantly open relationship offended the northern abolitionists who also frequented the resort. After four years, the resort closed.

This part of the story has been confirmed by historians. I took this forgotten historical note and sketched in a fictional account of what it would have been like to be an enslaved woman traveling to this free state each summer. Why wouldn't the women try to escape? What kinds of emotional attachments did they have with these men? Initially, I believed that it was entirely possible that they actually loved the men. Ultimately, I discovered that it was much more complicated than that. Wench tells the story of these four slave women--Lizzie, Reenie, Sweet, and Mawu--as they make very difficult decisions that will enable them to survive in an era when black women had very few choices.

I wrote this story because I felt this historical footnote was too fascinating to pass up. I have always been an author motivated by questions. I was very curious about these women.


What kind of research was involved in writing Wench?

Dolen:Most of my research had to do with the period. I wanted to make certain that I got the dress right, for example. I spent a lot of time researching slave kitchens and southern plantation layouts. As a writer new to historical fiction, I quickly figured out that I had a lot to learn if I wanted to convince savvy readers. As for the actual resort, I did do a fair amout of research, but it had more to do with the details of the place. What would the men have hunted? What kinds of flowers grew there? I sketched the area where the resort existed so that I would know the proximity of the ravine to the springs, for example. By the way, I am very thankful to the librarians who helped me. I acknowledge them in my book. I love librarians.


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

Dolen: I cut my teeth by submitting my fiction to literary journals, so I know a lot about publishing bumps. At one time, I taped rejection slips to my wall. I thought it would inspire me. On the contrary, I grew more and more depressed! That was a bad idea. After that, I went to the other extreme. I ripped them to shreds once I received them! I can look back on those days and laugh now. I understand that rejection is part of this business. As for Wench, I was fortunate enough to sell it to the first publisher my agent sent the manuscript to. It sold within days. The backstory to that, however, is that I wrote three manuscripts that were never picked up by agents and so never saw the light of day. I call those my "apprentice" novels.

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

Dolen: I signed the contract in January 2008 and the book is scheduled for release in January 2010. When I first signed my contract, I thought my book would be out within months! I had no idea what the book publishing process was like. I have learned a lot.


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?

Dolen: Yes, I have a fabulous agent. Her name is Stephanie Cabot and she is with the Gernert Company.


Do you plan subsequent books?

Dolen: Yes, I do. I am working on a second novel.


Can you describe your most favorite place to write?

Dolen: I love to write in the library. I especially like main reading rooms with high ceilings, long tables and reading lamps. I am not a fan of coffee shops although I will use one in a crunch. I am the mother of a toddler, and I am quickly learning how to write whenever and wherever.


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

Dolen: Wench is scheduled for release on January 5, so I would buy a billboard in New York's Times Square for New Year's Eve. Do you think that would work?


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

Dolen: These days, self-promotion is everything. I have a Twitter account and a Facebook fan page. I am asking my friends to host book parties for me. I wish I knew the magical formula, though.


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

Dolen: I did not ever think about giving up because I was blindly naïve. In a way, a writer has to be blindly naïve. Don't you think? I believe many new writers give up because the demands of their day jobs overwhelm them. It is very difficult to earn a living while writing late at night or early in the morning. It is especially difficult to do it if you have children. Furthermore, it is nearly impossible to land an agent!


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

Dolen: Hang in there. Keep the faith. Continue writing and honing your craft. Attend writer's conferences to meet other writers.

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

Dolen: Thank you for having me. It's been a pleasure.

We're having a giveaway! Leave a comment or a question for Dolen between now and January 22 and you could be the winner of an autographed copy of Dolen's new book, Wench! Or simply write "I love Wench!" in the comment section!

Only those leaving email addresses with their comment or question qualifies.

The winner will be announced on Jan. 25.

Good luck!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tales for Delicious Girls by Barbora Knobova l Q&A + Blog Tour + Giveaway

Joining us today is Barbora Knobova, author of the relationship book Tales for Delicious Girls. We interviewed Barbora about her book in November, now I’d like to ask her a few relationship questions and, as an added bonus, Barbora will be giving away an autographed copy of her book to one lucky person who leaves either a relationship comment or question or writes “I love Tales for Delicious Girls” in the comment section below. Details follow her interview.

Thank you so much for this interview, Barbora, and welcome back to The Writer’s Life!

Thank you very much. It's great to be here again!


My first question of the day is how would you describe a ‘delicious girl’?

Actually, the word "Delicious" is an acronym: Daring, Enchanting, Loving, Inspiring, Captivating, Intriguing, Outgoing, Unique, Sophisticated. A Delicious Girl is a woman who loves herself and puts her own happiness and well-being first. A woman who knows how to cater to her own needs in order to be able to love, accept love and be there for others.


Other than yourself, can you name a few ‘delicious girls’ you have met in the past and what makes them ‘delicious’?

All of my friends and my mum. Strong, empowered women who make this world a better place to be just by being themselves.


Can a guy be ‘delicious’?

Definitely. Many women think that there are no good men left in today's world but the truth is there are many delicious guys out there. Every man who is able to love a woman truly, without competing with her and without boosting his ego by making her feel miserable, is a delicious guy.


Do you think guys are intimidated by delicious girls or, in fact, that’s what kind of dream girl they are really after?

I think it really depends. Many men are intimidated by "delicious girls" and many men find them challenging. Many of them are attracted to delicious girls but their ego is too fragile and they're not able to live with their delicious girl once they find her. But let's face it - a delicious girl usually knows what's good for her and looks for a balanced, loving and caring delicious man :)


On to a relationship question, why do you believe women choose deadbeats – is it perhaps because love knows no boundaries or is it an inner quest that the female is not aware of to save this person and if this last answer is correct, why do women do this?

Yes, unfortunately there are many women who consciously or subconsciously choose deadbeats, losers or abusive types (and of course there are men who choose such women too). It's not healthy and usually there is a pattern hidden behind this type of relationship behavior. A childhood pattern, a trauma, lack of self-esteem, fear, and so on. It's very self-destructive but the good news is that it can be dealt with.

Tales for Delicious Girls encourages women to be their own best friend, something I truly believe is vital to the well-being of anyone, but how to do teach someone to respect and appreciate themselves when they don’t know the first step to take?

It can be very difficult but I usually recommend starting with the following exercise: Write down all the negative beliefs and affirmations that you keep repeating to yourself. Then turn them around and make them positive. (For example: I'm stupid and impossible - I'm smart and empowered. I never meet my soulmate - I'm a true guy magnet). Take the new positive affirmations and create your personal mantra. Keep it in your journal and read it aloud at least three times a day - in the morning before you get up, at lunch time and before you go to sleep in the evening. It is a very powerful tool that you can use to change your attitude to yourself. It usually takes 21-30 days to reprogram your brain and start believing and feeling your new affirmations.


What are your views about women and men living together before they marry or instead of marriage ?

It is very individual. I know people who would never live with their partner and have children without being married, and I know couples who love each other and their children very much and have a very happy family without being married. If a relationship is based on a solid foundation, marriage is not indispensable. On the other hand, getting married won't save any relationship and won't change a relationship that doesn't work. And marriage won't prevent your partner from leaving you. It really depends on what you want, prefer and believe in. The most important thing is the quality of the relationship, not marriage as an institution. Marriage is simply something you and your partner either choose or not.


Do you think men are scared of women who are intellectually smart?

Not all guys are scared of smart women, and I believe that most guys are not. Men who are scared of intelligent, educated women usually have low self-esteem or follow a subconscious pattern or are influenced by the way they were brought up. If you are a woman and attract such guys, you need to work on yourself to find out why you attract them if you want to change your dating experience.


If someone were to walk up to you and ask how do they find Mr. Right, what would you say to them?

First, work on yourself and your self-love. If you don't love yourself, why should anyone else love you? If you don't enjoy your own company, why should a man enjoy being with you? The relationship that we have with ourselves becomes reflected in our relationships with men. Decide what you really want. And I don't mean a fancy wedding with a man with blue eyes :) Think about what you want your partner to be like, how you would like to spend time with him, what you would like to share with him, etc. Write it down and make your list as detailed as possible. Review it from time to time - we change, our lives change and our ideas of a perfect partner change too. If your type hasn't changed since high school, it's time for you to find a new type.


Is there a secret to keeping a relationship long term? Not saying there are no problems, but they seem to just work it out and continue to love one another as the years pass. What do you believe that secret is?

I believe two things are crucial. One, it's important to have something in common. A hobby that you share. A new activity that you take up together. Play golf, learn a new language, share books. Even if it was just one thing, you will always have something to talk about, and that's very important in a long-term relationship. Two, keep your passion alive, work on your sexual chemistry. If you don't know how, hire a coach or attend a course together (Loveology University offers some great courses and resources for couples and individuals).


Thank you so much for this interview, Barbora! We look forward to hearing more of your relationship advice. Is there a website where we can find out more about you and your book, Tales for Delicious Girls?

Thank you very much! My website is http://www.barbora-knobova.com. In a couple of days I'm also launching Delicious Path, a personal development website for women: http:///www.DeliciousPath.com.


We're having a giveaway! Leave a comment or a question for Barbora between now and January 22 and you could be the winner of an autographed copy of her new book, Tales for Delicious Girls! Or simply write "I love Tales for Delicious Women!" in the comment section!

Only those leaving email addresses with their comment or question qualifies.

The winner will be announced on Jan. 25.

Good luck!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Buried Angel by Kim Smith l Q&A + Blog Tour + Giveaway

Our guest today is the lovely Kim Smith, author of the cozy mystery novel, Buried Angel.

Kim is the hostess for the popular radio show, Introducing WRITERS! Radio show on Blog Talk Radio. She is also the author of the zany, Shannon Wallace mystery series available now from Red Rose Publishing. You can visit Kim’s website at www.mkimsmith.com.

Kim is her today to answer a few of my questions and if you want to leave her a question or a comment in the comment box below, she'll be more than happy to answer your questions, too! She is also going to give away an electronic copy of her book, Buried Angel! See details after the interview and please, leave your email address along with your comment or question so we can let you know if you won!





Q. Thank you for this interview, Kim. Can we begin by having you tell us why you chose to write cozy mysteries?

I don’t think I chose them. I think they chose me! I actually had written several stories, one a fantasy, and another a historical romance and found myself a little burned out on such intense writing. I settled down to do something more fun and less stressful (haha) and away we went. Shannon and Dwayne were the outcome and boy did they have fun with me!
Q. Who was your favorite character in Buried Angel and why?

I just love Shannon. She will always be forever my favorite character. She is like a nutty professor. She cannot do things that she knows is wrong. Especially when it is to help out her friends.


Q. Who was your least favorite character?


I didn’t enjoy writing the bad guys. I guess I have never met anyone like them face-to-face and so it was a real foreign affair to write them.


Q. Can you tell us about the setting and why you chose it?

I write about a small town, which is a sort of mixture of two towns close to me. Writing the setting is like breathing for me. I live here! Writing about being in the cemetery was not quite as easy. I have spent far too much time there in my life and so the unease of being in that place for Shannon and Dwayne is just my inner thought-work coming to the surface.


Q. What was the hardest part to write?

Getting started. Seriously, if I could make myself sit down when I need to be writing, and just do the work, I would be a very prolific author.


Q. What was the inspiration behind the story?

It’s funny. A hearse. Yes, I did. I wrote this story after following a hearse. Sigh.


Q. Thank you for this interview, Kim. We wish you much success!

Thank you for having me on the site. I love visiting with readers and writers and look forward to getting to know them better!

We're having a giveaway! Leave a comment or a question for Kim Smith between now and January 22 and you could be the winner of an electronic copy of her cozy mystery, Buried Angel! Or simply write "I love Buried Angel!" in the comment section!

Only those leaving email addresses with their comment or question qualifies.

The winner will be announced on Jan. 25.

Good luck!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The New York Journal of Books seeking reviewers

The New York Journal of Books is a new venture seeking to add reviewers. We aim to become the premier source – bar none – for professional, highly respected book reviews, with a large panel of credentialed reviewers critiquing more books than any existing book review. We are steadily adding qualified reviewers and will continue to do this on an ongoing basis. PLEASE REPLY ONLY BY EMAIL TO: nyjb@live.com.

There is currently no purely online review whose reviewers are as credentialed as the long-respected premier print review publications. In light of the shift from print to online content, there is an opportunity to establish a purely online book review positioned to capture the ongoing growth of the online audience. Moreover, by assembling a broad panel of highly-credentialed reviewers the Journal is positioning to offer far more comprehensive coverage of new books than any other book review. While it will be critical to review major new titles as they are released, the Journal aims to review more books in niche or non-mainstream genres than are infrequently covered by the current major review publications. The NYJB aims to also review more books written by first-time authors and books published by smaller independent houses that are frequently spurned by the major reviews. This is both a new enterprise and a “labor of love.”

If you are an author, this is an opportunity to publish reviews in your own genre, thereby promoting your own name and book(s). We also seek individuals with specific expertise, whether published authors or not, whose writing/reviewing meets professional standard to review non-fiction books on the topics in which they have extensive expertise. Non-authors must be highly credentialed in their field of expertise, have a sharp critical eye, and compelling and professional writing skills. Reviewers’ names will appear at the end of the review with reference to their most recent work if an author. For others your byline and presence as a reviewer is an opportunity to augment your credentials as an expert.

By design, we have not sought publicity or high ranking among search engines. The current website is running as a beta. We are in the early stages of building out a permanent, unique, state-of-the-art website with extraordinary functionality to be filled with compelling content and an unparalleled online experience for readers selecting books. Upon completion of the website and once we gain a critical mass of reviews we will fully launch, promoting the Journal both on- and off-line. In the meantime, in the beta site does publish reviews of books that have been reviewed both extensively and minimally – if at all. Additionally, we provide links to our honest and balanced reviews to publishing contacts should they wish to use quotes and a reviewers name for promotional purposes. Like any beta, ours also provides us with important insight for the design of the permanent site. We anticipate that our permanent site will enable visitors to easily navigate to a webpage highlighting all reviews by a favorite reviewer. Here we will be able to include a link to a reviewer/author’s website.

We prefer to review books ahead of publication or very close to release. We work with publishers to provide our reviewers with a complementary advance reader’s copy of a book or a set of bound galleys, delivered to your address. There is no limit on the length of reviews, but we would anticipate as an on-line book review that 3-5 paragraphs of about 400-1000 words at minimum will be sufficient. At times reviewers will be asked to review books they have not selected. However, reviewers are encouraged to decline reading any book that they prefer not to read. Reviewers all set their own pace for submitting reviews. In short it is a priority that each reviewer on our panel is enjoying themselves, not burdened and rushing to meet a deadline.

We do not anticipate any material profit until we establish credibility and are able to commercialize. Only then will the Journal be in a position to compensate reviewers. We believe that most writers are underpaid for their work. It is our sincere hope and plan that the success of the New York Journal of Books will provide a source of supplementary income for all reviewers. We have decided not to offer reviews for a fee. Initially, we were eager to occasionally do just this in order to compensate our reviewers for at least some of their work. However, it quickly became clear that even if reviewers were unaware they would be compensated for a critique of a particular book until after the review was posted, paid reviews would undermine the credibility of the Journal. We do post links to purchase both the book reviewed and a reviewers own books alongside each review to at least support sales of our reviewers labors of love.

Please email nyjb@live.com if interested.

Please include as much specific background detail information that establishes your credentials as a reviewer in one or more genres/categories, including your publisher and/or names of publications containing your writing, and of course, any experience reviewing books. We are pleased to review samples of your work delivered as an email attachment or via a link. (Please indicate if you are a “self-published” author.) Please also indicate the genres/topics you are most interested in reviewing – listed sequentially according to your preference, if any. It will also be useful to know how frequently you would anticipate submitting reviews. (We favor quality over quantity. Everyone produces quality work at a different pace.) Resumes are helpful, particularly for authors whose other endeavors relate to their genre, as is a sample review if you have one on hand. If not, we provide format guidelines upon request, and thereafter accept a review of a most recently read book in a reviewer’s genre. (We are not formulaic. Our guidelines are primarily about formatting.) We will respond to all who apply to become reviewers for this venture.

We are always grateful for any suggestions as to content, site features, etc. from reviewers and others. We have a clear vision for the Journal. We also strongly believe that tapping the ideas of a collective and diverse group who each look at the world at least a bit differently is immensely valuable.

Ted Sturtz, Editor-in Chief, the New York Journal of Books
nyjb@live.com
www.nyjournalofbooks.com
Lisa Rojany Buccieri
Publisher
NYJB.copyedit@roadrunner.com

Friday, January 15, 2010

Book Giveaway: The Devil in Merrivale by Cozy Mystery Author Jackie Griffey

We’ve got a free book giveaway going on at Pump Up Your Book today only!

Jackie Griffey, author of the cozy mystery novel, The Devil in Merrivale, will be giving away a free electronic copy of her book from now until 11 p.m. tonight.

When she’s not reading one, Jackie Griffey is more than likely working on a cozy mystery or a romance-suspense novel. She and her family live in Arkansas and she loves to meet and hear from readers and fellow writers. Her web is www.jackiegriffey.com and her blog, Breaktime With Jackie is jjgbreaktimewithjackie.blogspot.com.

About The Devil in Merrivale


Murder isn’t the usual order of business in the little town of Merrivale, Tennessee, so the brutal stabbing death of popular high school student Denise Davis sends a shock through the community. Sheriff Cas Larkin is determined to find the killer, and the last thing he needs is distractions like the increasing reports of missing cattle and other livestock.

But as he digs deeper, Cas uncovers another mystery–a strange “club” the members are afraid to talk about, and for good reason. One of the recruits is brutally beaten when he refuses to take the club’s activities seriously. He also refuses to talk about those activities–until they turn turn deadly.

There’s something dark and sinister going on in Merrivale, and if Cas can’t figure out what it is and put a stop to it, there’ll be the devil to pay.

To win your free copy, click here for details!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Most Effective Ways to Live Longer by Dr. Jonny Bowden l Q&A + Blog Tour + Giveaway

Our guest today is Dr. Jonny Bowden, author of the health and anti-aging book, The Most Effective Ways to Live Longer.

Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, a board-certified nutrition specialist with a master’s degree in psychology, is a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition, and health. A popular speaker and a former personal trainer with six national certifications in exercise, he was the acclaimed “Weight Loss Coach” on iVillage for twelve years, and is now a regular contributor to AOL, a columnist for Better Nutrition and Clean Eating magazines and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Men’s Health. He’s also the nutritionist for the popular website, www.eatdrinkordie.com, where his entertaining videos on food and nutrition can be seen daily.

His books have been acclaimed by a virtual who’s who in the field of nutritional medicine, garnering endorsements by Christiane Northrup, MD, Mehmet Oz, MD, Barry Sears, PhD. (who calls him “one of the best”), Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD (who calls him “the personal health coach I would want in my corner no matter what”), and many others. His book, Living Low Carb: Controlled Carbohydrate Eating for Long-Term Weight Loss has more than 100,000 copies in print. He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising Truth About What to Eat as well as The Healthiest Meals on Earth and The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth and The 150 Most Effective Ways to Boost Your Energy.

He has been featured in The New York Times, The New York Post, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune, Time, GQ, Cosmopolitan, Oxygen, Remedy, Family Circle, Self, Fitness, Allure, Essence, Men’s Health, Pilates Style, Prevention, Woman’s World, In Style, Fitness, Natural Health and Shape and has appeared on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC and CBS as an expert on nutrition, weight loss, and health..

Dr. Bowden is a member of the American Society for Nutrition and the American College of Nutrition and is adjunct faculty for Clayton College of Natural Health. He lives in the Topanga Canyon area of Southern California with his three dogs, Woodstock, Emily and Lucy.

His DVD “The Truth About Weight Loss” as well as his popular motivational CDs, programs and free newsletter can be found at www.jonnybowden.com.

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

I’ve been writing since second grade. I had trouble behaving myself in class so they took me out of the class and gave me special writing projects. It turned out I was much better at writing than I was at behaving!

And I’ve been writing professionally (if by that you mean getting paid actual money for it!) since about 1995.

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

This book is about what you really need to know to take care of your body so that you last a good 10 decades. It’s everything I’ve learned about aging and self-care and nutrition and exercise and emotional intelligence.


What kind of research was involved in writing “The Most Effective Ways to Live Longer”?

At this point I have my own system. I read everything, subscribe to a million journals and newsletters, go to conferences and am a Zen master of Google. And I have the nation’s top health professionals on my speed dial, and I’m blessed that they actually take my calls!


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

I was lucky. I had been writing professionally for magazines and internet sites, and I was a columnist for i-Village where I wrote the “Weight Loss Coach” column for five years. Out of the i-Village connection I was able to get an agent and sell my very first book. From then on it’s been pretty easy.


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

It’s always the same. I usually take about 6 months from start to finish.


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?

If you’re going the traditional route of publishing with a major publisher, you absolutely, absolutely, absolutely have to have an agent. There are no ifs ands or buts. You can bypass an agent if you want to self-publish, but that’s a whole different story. I have a fantastic agent who’s been with me for the last seven books: Coleen O’Shea of the Allen O’Shea Literary Agency in Connecticut.

Do you plan subsequent books?

We’re currently working on a recipe book follow-up to “The Most Effective Ways to Live Longer”- kind of like the ultimate Longevity Cookbook.


Can you describe your most favorite place to write?

I write in my office which is a converted attic above my house. I commute by climbing a spiral staircase. I tell the dogs “come on! We’re going to work!” and they get all excited and run up the stairs and there we are.


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

The absolute best publicist money could buy. Be prepared to spend a LOT.


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

In the past we’ve gone the traditional route- TV shows, radio interviews, tons of magazine quotes, that kind of thing. And I have a nice mailing list and a pretty decent following, and I send a newsletter every week, so my work stays in front of a lot of people. This time we’re going in a different direction with a more focused internet campaign—like this blog tour.


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

Sorry to say it’s hard to be a writer. Virtually everyone I meet tells me “I should write a book!” but they often don’t realize that it’s not enough to have an interesting story, you also have to make that story interesting and universal for other people. And that takes skill and hard work. It’s about 10% inspiration and 100% perspiration.


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

Keep writing. The history books are filled with people who got scaty thousand rejection slips but just kept on doing it until they finally hit. For those who have to write no obstacle is too great. Look at JK Rawlings… the odds against her were overwhelming, but she kept at it.


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

Thank you!


We're having a giveaway! Leave a comment or a question for Dr. Bowden between now and January 22 and you could be the winner of an autographed copy of his new book, The Most Effective Ways to Live Longer! Or simply write "I love The Most Effective Ways to Live Longer!" in the comment section!

Only those leaving email addresses with their comment or question qualifies.

The winner will be announced on Jan. 25.

Good luck!

Book Spotlight: Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin



Few works of literature are as universally beloved as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Now, in this spellbinding historical novel, we meet the young girl whose bright spirit sent her on an unforgettable trip down the rabbit hole–and the grown woman whose story is no less enthralling.



But oh my dear, I am tired of being Alice in Wonderland. Does it sound ungrateful?

Alice Liddell Hargreaves’s life has been a richly woven tapestry: As a young woman, wife, mother, and widow, she’s experienced intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. But as she nears her eighty-first birthday, she knows that, to the world around her, she is and will always be only “Alice.” Her life was permanently dog-eared at one fateful moment in her tenth year–the golden summer day she urged a grown-up friend to write down one of his fanciful stories.

That story, a wild tale of rabbits, queens, and a precocious young child, becomes a sensation the world over. Its author, a shy, stuttering Oxford professor, does more than immortalize Alice–he changes her life forever. But even he cannot stop time, as much as he might like to. And as Alice’s childhood slips away, a peacetime of glittering balls and royal romances gives way to the urgent tide of war.

For Alice, the stakes could not be higher, for she is the mother of three grown sons, soldiers all. Yet even as she stands to lose everything she treasures, one part of her will always be the determined, undaunted Alice of the story, who discovered that life beyond the rabbit hole was an astonishing journey.

A love story and a literary mystery, Alice I Have Been brilliantly blends fact and fiction to capture the passionate spirit of a woman who was truly worthy of her fictional alter ego, in a world as captivating as the Wonderland only she could inspire.

PRAISE FOR ALICE I HAVE BEEN!

“Alice I Have Been is a smoky, magical mirror into the life of the real Alice. It’s a spellbinding look at another Wonderland: Victorian England. Melanie Benjamin blends the known with the unknown in a seamless tale of love, loss and myth. It’s storytelling at its finest. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!” –Sarah Addison Allen, NY Times Bestselling Author

BOOK EXCERPT:

Chapter One

Oxford, 1859

Off with their–legs. That was the curious notion I had as a child.

That certain people–queens, generally–lost their heads was understood to be a historical fact.

But in my world, legs were missing with alarming regularity as well. The men in their long academic robes, the women in their voluminous skirts; everyone skimming, floating, like puffs of cotton in the air–that is the first, and most vivid, memory of my childhood.

I knew, of course, that children possessed legs; yet the legs seemed to disappear as their owners grew up, and if I never questioned the logic of this it must be because, even then, I understood that Oxford was a kingdom unto itself. It was different from, and superior to, the rest of the globe (which of course meant Britain, for those were the years when the sun never set on Victoria’s empire), complete with its own rules, language, and even time; all the clocks in Oxford were set five minutes ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.

Naturally, it follows that if Oxford was its own kingdom, then I was its princess–one of three, to be precise–because my mother was, as everyone knew, its queen.
Remarkable for a woman who bore ten children–one would have assumed she was perpetually in a state of bearing a child, or waiting for a child, or getting over a child–Mamma made certain that the Deanery was the social center of Christ Church, which was of course the social center of Oxford. No one dared give a party or a bazaar or a dance without her approval. At times she even graciously made room for other queens; Victoria herself once stayed with us, although not even her plump, imperious personage intimidated Mamma.

Papa was merely the Dean of Christ Church, responsible for the education and religious upbringing of hundreds of gentlemen, including the sons of that same queen. Even when I was so young that the only place I could look was up, for I was all too well acquainted with the ground, I knew that he was quite important.

Instructors would bow to him, scholars would pale in his presence, princes deferred to him; entire halls full of young men would rise upon his entrance, as well as his departure. While at home he could scarcely make himself heard; he was entirely eclipsed by Mamma, and entirely happy to be so. There was even a silly rhyme that made the rounds of Christ Church in those days–

I am the Dean, and this is Mrs. Liddell She plays the first, and I the second fiddle

This did not reach my ears, however, until much later. For as the daughter of the Dean and Mrs. Liddell, I was sheltered, at least for a time, from most of the gossip that was the chief occupation of some of the finest scholarly minds of the age.

Privileged was how I would describe my early years, if only because I was told that they were such. I knew no life before Oxford, although Papa was, even then, a rising academic; domestic chaplain to Prince Albert, headmaster of the Westminster School in London. I was baptized in the Abbey, the fourth child, second daughter.

Ina was not baptized in the Abbey. I may have reminded her of this with some regularity. While we still lived in London, an older brother, Arthur, died of scarlet fever. Papa had difficulty speaking of him later; his kind face, with the aristocratic nose and decided chin (which I, unfortunately, inherited) would grow quizzical, his brow furrowing, as if he–such a learned man–could not understand the simplest, most frequently asked question of all:

Why?

I don’t recall that Mamma ever spoke of it one way or another.

Although surely that can’t be true.

When I was scarcely four–in 1856–we arrived in Oxford, upon Papa’s appointment as Dean of Christ Church. By then the family included Harry, the eldest; followed by Lorina, myself, and Edith–the three princesses. Ina was three years older than I, Edith two years younger. All of us–along with servants, fine china, heirloom silver, imported linens, and all the other necessities of a distinguished household–moved into the Deanery, which Papa had arranged to be enlarged and remodeled to accommodate our growing family. Even so, it was never quite large enough for Mamma’s ambitions.

It was in this world, this Oxford, that my first memories were made. It was a peculiar world for a little girl, in many ways; there were few children my age, as all the students and dons at the time were supposed to be celibate. Only the deans, the senior members of the college, were allowed to marry, and most of them were of an age where children weren’t possible. Papa was rather the exception to the rule, and I believe that he was proud of the fact.

Perhaps that was why there were so many of us.

Each night, after I was snug in bed, Old Tom, the bell in the imposing tower that was the centerpiece of Christ Church, tolled one hundred and one times (signifying the original number of students at the college); even as I struggled to remain awake for the first chime, I rarely made it all the way through to the end.

Our home, the Deanery, was opposite the tower, our front entrance part of the pale stone fortress of buildings bordering the flat green Quad; we also had a private entrance opening up to the back garden. Quite literally, we lived among the students; I remember walking with Ina and Edith–three little maids all in a row, always dressed exactly alike, crisp white frocks in summer, rich velvets in winter–in the Quad with our governess, Miss Prickett, as young men removed their caps and bowed low, exaggeratedly, at our approach.

Excerpted from Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin Copyright © 2010 by Melanie Benjamin. Excerpted by permission of Delacorte Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Melanie Benjamin lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two sons, where she is working on her next historical novel. Visit her website at www.melaniebenjamin.com.

Follow Melanie's book tour every weekday in January by checking http://virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/






Monday, January 11, 2010

A Man and His Maniac: The Bunkie Story by Charles Franklin Emery III - Q&A + Blog Tour + Giveaway

Charles Franklin Emery III was born in Los Angeles, California in 1956. He joined the US Navy Submarine force in 1977 and spent the following six years on Fast Attack and Fleet Ballistic Missile submarines as a Sonar Technician and Sonar Supervisor. He forged a career in commercial Nuclear Power and is now a Consulting Engineer to various electric utilities. He is an avid fisherman and hunter, enjoys working on his 1964 Plymouth Savoy and collecting colonial American coins. Drag Racing is also a passion and his 1964 Plymouth Savoy Nostalgia Super Stocker provides the needed outlet. He now resides with a Boston Terrier horde and his wife Sherry in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. Charles owns and operates his own publishing imprint, Bunkiedog Press. The website address for Bunkiedog Press is http://www.bunkiedog.com. Bunkiedog Press has published Dad, Dog and Fish & A Man and His Maniac: The Bunkie Story and A Man and His Maniac: The Bunkie Story - Second Edition. He is currently working on the memoirs Moondoggie and the Boston Terrier Horde, Gearhead and Bubblehead.


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

Charles: I'm a Consulting Engineer to the nuclear utility industry with an emphasis in Relaying and Controls. I'm 53 years old and sometimes I feel like I'm 18 or 118. I've been writing for the past few years now that I have the time. Very little, but some time.


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

Charles: I wrote A Man and His Maniac: The Bunkie Story - Second Edition to commemorate the best canine friend I've ever had, Bunkie, a yellow Labrador Retriever. I had him for 14+ years and shared many a laugh and tear with Bunkie. The book is my way of sharing him with others and is a small tribute so that he will be around long after I'm gone. He got me through some tough times and I owed him this. I also did the same for my Dad in my book Dad, Dog & Fish. Both Dad and Bunkie deserve remembrance.



What kind of research was involved in writing your book?


Charles: These are memoirs, so I look at pictures to spur the old brain and write from the mind and heart.


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

Charles: Once I started my imprint, Bunkiedog Press, it's been smooth. I'm my own critic along with my wife Sherry and the Boston Terrier Horde. Sherry critiques and the dogs listen. The dogs like it, it must be good.


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

Charles: Not applicable in this case, as I publish through my own imprint and retain all rights as well as the headaches.


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?


Charles: No, I have never had an agent. At this point in my life I don't see me ever using one but never say never.


Do you plan subsequent books?

Charles: Yep. Moondoggie and the Boston Terrier Horde, Gearhead and Bubblehead are current projects due in 2010 sometime


Can you describe your most favorite place to write?

Charles: I write in my garage, quiet out there, aside from the Boston Terrier Horde making unannounced and rather raucous appearances.


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

Charles: I'd buy the internet and have Chuck TV running on all web addresses


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

Charles: I'm a private person and find talking about myself and books to be difficult. It's very important to self-promote, but alas, I'm a slacker in that department by choice. I do feel that A Man and His Maniac: The Bunkie Story - Second Edition is worthy of promotion, so I''m sucking it up and doing what does not come natural to me.


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


Charles: The Query rejections and the lack of available publishing space through traditional publishers. I never gave up and just bypassed the whole deal by establishing Bunkiedog Press.


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

Charles: Keep trying and think outside the box. Keep a good sense of humor and realize that they may be able to kill you but they can't eat you. Persevere.


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

Charles: Thank You


We're having a giveaway! Leave a comment or a question for Charles between now and January 22 and you could be the winner of an autographed copy of Charles' new book, A Man and His Maniac: The Bunkie Story! Or simply write "I love Bunkie!" in the comment section!

Only those leaving email addresses with their comment or question qualifies.

The winner will be announced on Jan. 25.

Good luck!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Book Excerpt: A Man and His Maniac: The Bunkie Story by Charles Franklin Emery III

A Man and His Maniac: The Bunkie Story (second edition)
by Charles Franklin Emery III

Book Excerpt:

"The man gazes at the Boston Terrier puppy in the crook of his arm. The puppy is lying on his back and stares adoringly into the man's eyes. The man has seen that look before and once again, falls in lov
e with a pup. He knows that loving look is a con and loves the pup all the more for it. Wishful thinking perhaps, but the man feels that his departed Lab is looking back at him from those deep brown eyes. The eyes are a window into the soul and the man likes what he sees within. He looks at the lady who has brought the puppy to him and nods acceptance. Transaction complete, the man places the pup on a camouflage jacket in the cab of his truck that lies next to him; that jacket has a history and scent from the man's beloved Lab. The puppy is instantly comforted and settles into slumber cuddled up next to the man. For the first time in a long time the man's soul is at rest."

I’ve always had a love for dogs.

When I was a kid I would always pester my Dad for a dog. Dad loved dogs too. In fact, Pop loved all animals.

We also loved to hunt, Dad and me. My Dad taught me to respect all life and to never take another life lightly. That meant that you eat what you kill, fish or fowl or furry critter, with the exception of killing varmints that were damaging your other animals or property.

I learned early on that my pets had a shorter life expectancy than me. I don’t care who you are, that’s a tough truth to deal with as a youngster and even as an adult.

It doesn’t matter how much you love your critter, that will not make them live any longer than what they are supposed to live. That’s a tough reality.

I describe the realization that you will have to deal with the death of your loved pet as a Sweet Pain. The sweetness comes from the unconditional love that you receive from your critter and the love that you deal back to your buddy. We all know where the pain comes from.

But you know what? It’s worth it.

All you have to know is that it’s not your fault that your buddy passes on; they were going to go anyway. You also have to know that when your buddy is/was with you that they lived a privileged life; that you loved them and made their existence on this world a good one. You can be proud of that and happy that you were able to make your friend happy when he/she was with you.

That is a GOOD thing. It is a SWEET PAIN.

I know that it hurts to put your friend out of his misery when the time comes. You must know that it is an act of love; nothing else. Do not second-guess yourself as to whether you did it too soon; in your heart you must know that it was the right time. You know that it was time, so do not beat yourself up over the inevitable. You had the courage to do what was right; never denigrate yourself over doing the humane thing for your loved ones, whether human or critter.

You love; therefore you hurt. The greater the love; the greater the hurt. What better testament can there be?

I may be naïve, but I also believe that if there is a final reward after this life we live, and I do, that our critter buddies will be there to greet and guide us into that life. In my heart I feel this.

I guess my message to you is this: don’t let the fear of loss keep you from taking another critter buddy into your home, arms and bed. It is a sweet pain that gives more than it takes.

My Dad taught me this and I believe it. You should too.

About the Author:

Charles Franklin Emery III was born in Los Angeles, California in 1956. He joined the US Navy Submarine force in 1977 and spent the following six years on Fast Attack and Fleet Ballistic Missile submarines as a Sonar Technician and Sonar Supervisor. He forged a career in commercial Nuclear Power and is now a Consulting Engineer to various electric utilities. He is an avid fisherman and hunter, enjoys working on his 1964 Plymouth Savoy and collecting colonial American coins. Drag Racing is also a passion
and his 1964 Plymouth Savoy Nostalgia Super Stocker provides the needed outlet. He now resides with a Boston Terrier horde and his wife Sherry in Port Saint Lucie, Florida.

Charles’s early influences are Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes mysteries). Sprinkle in a liberal dose of Sports Afield, Popular Hot Rodding and Saltwater Fisherman magazines and that about wraps it up.

Charles always had an interest in dogs, as his father and he were avid hunters and nature lovers. Charles spent a large amount of his youth hunting and fishing the Coachella Valley in the Southern California desert. There he chased quail, dove and rabbits and fished the Salton Sea for Corvina, Sargo and Croakers.

Charles developed a love for muscle cars. He grew up in the Los Angeles suburbs in Bellflower surrounded by the raucous exhaust tones of the high horsepower years that defined the muscle car era. He is passionate about Mopars and thus his present ownership and obsession with his 1964 Plymouth Savoy.

Charles is also a mentor to various nuclear industry entities and enjoys teaching the next generation electrical power theory and relay testing techniques and regimen.

Charles owns and operates his own publishing imprint, Bunkiedog Press. The website address for Bunkiedog Press is http://www.bunkiedog.com.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Debut author Dolen Perkins-Valdez sells historical fiction novel on first try

Don’t you just wonder how some people do it? After years and years of rejections, those of us who refuse to give up are still out there pushing our manuscripts under editors’ noses in the hopes they’ll just give us one chance. Just one chance, that's all we ask.

Oh, we’ll make it up to them…we’ll sell our books like there’s no tomorrow. We’ll make these publishing houses so rich they’ll be thankful we sent our manuscripts their way and they’ll come begging for more on bended knee.

But it all falls on deaf ears for quite a few of us. And then…there are the fortunate few who write a book and not only an agent accepts it but a big publishing house does, too.

Is it luck or pure talent?

In the case of historical fiction author Dolen Perkins-Valdez, talent definitely ranks right up there. Her book, Wench, has just been released by HarperCollins and is definitely a work of sheer talent.

Dolen has been writing seriously for about thirteen years. She finished her MFA in Creative Writing in ’98 and her thesis she had to write was actually picked up by an agent and went to auction. Unfortunately, the thesis did not sell, but it made her realize one day it could happen to her in a big way.

She went back to school studying for her Ph.D., when she found out she rather liked scholarly research. She accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at the Ralph Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA and continued her research on race riots at the turn of the century. Afterwards, she landed a tenure-track job teaching African American Literature. Throughout those years, however, she continued to write fiction – short stories and two novels that never saw the light of day.

“I found that my scholarship and my fiction writing fed two different parts of my soul,” Dolen says. “I felt I needed both.”

In 2004, she took a chance and went after a Creative Writing professorial job. She had a rough draft of a novel manuscript and a couple of short stories. She got the job, and immediately began to refocus her energies on her Creative Writing.

“Being in the Creative Writing workshop with a phenomenally talented group of students was very invigorating for me,” she says. “As I read short stories and fiction, I was no longer peering through a scholarly lens. I studied character, voice, point-of-view, dialogue, and other fictional techniques. By that time, I was married with a child and a fifty-minute work commute. All of these demands forced me to organize my time wisely. Oddly enough, I write more when I have to fight for the time. For four years, I wrote and re-wrote the novel that would become Wench.”

In the spring of 2007, Dolen found an agent. She submitted the entire manuscript to her, and she accepted it.

“I did not believe it was done,” she says, “and I asked her to give me time to continue polishing. She was patient, but she called me every couple of months to inquire about my progress. That periodic call was good motivation. Each time, I gave her a date when I thought it would be ready, and then once the date arrived, I extended it. Finally, in December of that year, I sent her the newest draft of the manuscript. I felt that it was finished, but I was eager to hear her opinion. Within a couple of weeks, she called me and said she thought it was ready. We began with a publishing house that we both liked and respected: Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins. The head of this imprint, Dawn Davis, had edited and published Edward P. Jones' The Known World. We decided to give her an exclusive. Within days, she wrote us back and said she was interested. We never submitted the manuscript anywhere else.

”Dawn Davis has been a phenomenal editor. Not only do I feel fortunate to have worked with her, but I also feel fortunate to know her. She is an inspiration to me. WENCH will be published in January 2010, almost two years after I sold it.”

To find out more about this phenomenal author, visit her website at www.dolenperkinsvaldez.com or visit her official virtual book tour page here to find out where she will be appearing online throughout the month of January 2010.

Interview with Non-fiction Author Greg E. Middleton



Greg Middleton’s work is highly respected in his local area of Altadena, CA. He is a member of the Sheriffs Clergy Council an organized group dedicated to developing relationships between the clergy, community, police departments and at risk youths. This group helps Middleton see first hand the needs of not only at risk youths, but dysfunctional families. The mentoring availed through this outreach provide great opportunities to bring healing to families. He sees the need to multiply this effort throughout the nation. Middleton is also an Advanced Toastmaster Speaker and Certified Seminar Leader.

Middleton knows first hand the effects of dysfunctional living. He had a prestigious career in the music industry that spanned several decades composing music, playing as a band member and coordinator for some of the greatest entertainers in the industry. He worked with legends such as The Temptations, Rick James, Tina Marie, Johnny Nash and Marlene Shaw. This glamorous life had devastating effects on his family life and overall morality. Watching the decadence and abuses of those in the industry also fortified his need to keep others from harms way.

Middleton left the industry having accomplished his personal goals and dreams, but realizing the total emptiness of it all. This drove him to a decade of internal reflection and spiritual pursuit. In the end he found his inner being, which lead him to something genuine. Finding his spiritual core was the key to finding his authentic self and exposing him to what God really created him to be. That life journey is reflected in Real Men. Dealing with the issues men are facing is his passion. God has shown him how to combine all his life’s experience and wisdom to help countless others. Through his ability to entertain, be a faithful husband, his wisdom as a father and grandfather, overcoming prostate cancer and his faith have well equipped him to mentor young men into becoming Real Men.


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

Answer: I currently live in Southern California with my wife Cynthia of over 25 years. I have been an entrepreneur for most of my adult life. For many years I was a professional musician working for many recording legends of our times such as the Temptations, Nina Simone, Jackie Wilson, Eddie Harris, Rick James, Tina Marie, Marlena Shaw, Stanley Turntine and many more.

I have been writing for just over 10 years now starting back in the fall of 1999. It all started because I wanted to find out more about my inner being. I wanted to know what my essence was. In Search of the Soul was my first book. Since then I have completed several dozen manuscripts and published six books through a variety of methods. Writing consumes my life. It is my passion. I love it more than anything with the exception of perhaps reading a great spiritual book that challenges me to think.

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

Answer: My current book that is being promoted is called, Real Men, What’s Happening with our Males? I was inspired to write this book because I see something seriously missing in how most males are inadequately trained to fill the numerous shoes that they are expected to fill. No one really teaches us how to become great fathers, how to communicate properly with our female mates, how to become effective leaders of our families, how to be more reliable and dependable so others can always rely upon you, and how to accept commitment to just one mate. Since most of us are not officially taught such things we screw them up until finally life experiences set in and we finally get it. I think there should be a better way for males to learn our roles. That is why I wrote the book and started an all-male organization dedicated to helping men to become better men. This book, Real Men, goes along with our seminar concept, Real Men Seminars - www.realmenseminars.com
Our goal is to gather men and talk about our common issues and discover solutions from sharing our life experiences with each other.

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

Answer: Because of my personal experiences in being a man and the things I personally experienced through many trials and error, I did not have a problem in writing the book. The problem I identify in the book is fairly obvious but not enough educated or talented people are addressing the problem to the degree that it is reaching the masses. We need high profile people to come forth and express the need for more training of young males so they properly learn what is expected of them in real life. Unfortunately the role models and images they latch on to are not representative of what most common people experience. Since they latch on to the people in the limelight while their life is not reflective of that, they end up in “nowhere land.” The biggest challenge is in convincing people that we have a serious problem and then having the resources and a big enough megaphone to get the message out to the public.

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


Answer: I have a professional press kit with Linda Leon that can be made available to you. Her contact information should be in your file. Linda Leon can be reached at info@mvpmedia1.com

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

Answer: I have been doing live radio interviews through a PR firm that is booking my radio interviews. I speak regularly at men’s group meetings through our Real Men Seminar business. I have done several local TV Programs dealing with my books and my business of dealing with male issues. I am a public speaker and seminar leader. My main seminar events are in process of being booked starting in the spring of 2010 and forward. This schedule will be posted on our official website: www.realmenseminars.com I am booked to do several small events with men’s groups locally dealing specifically with male issues.

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

Answer: I do not have an official agent at this time but I do feel that it is absolutely necessary to have an agent that knows the business. I haven’t had a literary agent up to this date.

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

Answer: Through self-publishing, subsidy publishing and print on demand there are a number of package that you may purchase. I have not opted to use these packages up to date.

Currently Linda Leon is working with me in dealing with PR issues coordinating my affairs. She has assigned several sub-agents to handle various aspects of promoting my books. I will need to invest more in this capacity. This is the part of the business that new writers suffer the most, how to promote yourself and your book.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Answer: Currently I have several dozen finished manuscripts that are yet to be published. I have several writing projects that are in progress. The simple to your question is, a big fat YES, multiple times.

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

Answer: There are two primary ways to locate my works and me. My writer’s website is: www.gregemiddleton.com
I also have a business website that deals with the affairs of my men’s group and gatherings: www.realmenseminars.com I also have a blog section on my real men site.

My current books are at: www.lulu.com I have two books there that are available to order online. Real Men, What’s Happening with our Males? and The Seeker, A Layman’s Path to Spiritual Enlightenment. In addition I have two books with Lightning Source: Food for the Soul and Living Christianity. Their website is:
www.lightningsource.com My other books can be found through my writer’s website as mentioned: www.gregemiddleton.com

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Announcing Thriller Author Vincent Zandri's Moonlight Falls Virtual Book Tour February & March 2010


Join Vincent Zandri, author of the thriller novel, Moonlight Falls (R.J. Buckley Publishing), as he virtually tours the blogosphere in February and March on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!


About Vincent Zandri


Vincent Zandri is an award-winning novelist, essayist and freelance photojournalist. His novel As Catch Can (Delacorte) was touted in two pre-publication articles by Publishers Weekly and was called "Brilliant" upon its publication by The New York Post. The Boston Herald attributed it as “The most arresting first crime novel to break into print this season.” Other novels include Godchild (Bantam/Dell) and Permanence (NPI). Translated into several languages including Japanese and the Dutch, Zandri’s novels have also been sought out by numerous major movie producers, including Heyday Productions and DreamWorks. Moonlight Falls is his fourth novel. He is the author of the blogs, Dangerous Dispatches and Embedded in Africa for RT ( Russia Today TV) which have been syndicated and translated in several different languages throughout the world. He also writes for other global publications, including Culture 11, Globalia, Globalspec and more. Zandri’s nonfiction has appeared in New York Newsday, Hudson Valley Magazine, Game and Fish Magazine and others, while his essays and short fiction have been featured in many journals including Fugue, Maryland Review and Orange Coast Magazine. He holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College and is a 2010 International Thrillerl. Writer’s Awards panel judge. Zandri currently divides his time between New York and Europe. He is the drummer for the Albany-based punk band to Blisterz. You can visit his website at www.vincentzandri.com or his blog at www.vincentzandri.blogspot.com.


About Moonlight Falls


Moonlight Falls is the Albany, New York-based paranoid tale (in the Hitchcock tradition) of former APD Detective turned Private Investigator/Massage Therapist, Richard “Dick” Moonlight, who believes he might be responsible for the brutal slaying by knife of his illicit lover, the beautiful Scarlet Montana. The situation is made all the worse since Scarlet is the wife of Moonlight’s boss, Chief of Detectives Jake Montana.

Why does Moonlight believe he might be responsible?

He’s got a small fragment of a .22 hollow point round buried inside his brain, lodge directly up against his cerebral cortex. The result of a botched suicide attempt four years prior to the novel’s start, an operation to remove the bullt frag would be too dangerous.

But the bullet causes Moonlight lots of problems, the least of which are the occasional memory loss and his rational ability to tell right from wrong. The bullet frag also might shift at any moment, making coma and/or sudden death, a very real possibility.

Still, Moonlight has been trying to get his life together as of late.

But when Scarlet begs him to make the trip over to her house late one rainy Sunday night to issue one of his "massages," he makes a big mistake by sleeping with her. Later, having passed out in her bed, he will be rudely awakened by a garage door opening and Jake's unexpected and very drunken homecoming. Making his impromptu escape out a top floor window, Moonlight will seek the safety of his home.

Two hours later however, he will receive another unexpected visit from Jake Montana. This time the big Captain has sobering news to report. He's discovered his wife's mutilated body in her own bed. She's been murdered and now he needs the P.I. to investigate it in association with Albany 's "overtaxed" Special Independent Unit before I.A. pokes their nose into the affair. Moonlight takes a big step back. Is it possible he made a second trip to the Montana home-sweet-home and just has no recollection of it? Once there, did he perform a heinous crime on his part-time lover? Or is this some kind of set up by his former boss? Is it really Jake who is responsible for Scarlet's death? Does he wish for Moonlight to cover up his involvement, seal the case before Internal Affairs starts poking their nose into the situation?

There’s another problem too.

Covering Moonlight’s palms and the pads of his fingers are numerous scratches and cuts. Are these defensive wounds? Wounds he received when Scarlet put up a struggle? Or are they offensive wounds? Wounds he couldn’t avoid when making his attack on Scarlet with a blade? The answer is not so simple since Moonlight has no idea where he acquired the wounds.

Having no choice but to take on the mission (if only to cover his own ass), Moonlight can only hope the answers to his many questions point to his former boss and not himself.

Read the Excerpt!


Albany, New York
140 miles northeast of New York City
I’m escorted into a four-walled basement room by two suited
agents—one tall, slim and bearded, the other shorter, stockier, cleanshaven.
The space we occupy contains a one-way mirror which I know
from experience hides a tripod-mounted video camera, a sound man and
several FBI agents, the identities of whom are concealed. There's no
furniture in the room, other than a long metal table and four metal
chairs. No wallpaper, no soft lamp light, no piped-in music. Just harsh
white overhead light, concrete and a funny worm smell.
As I enter the room for the first time, the tall agent tells me to
take a seat at the table.
“We appreciate your cooperation,” the stocky agent jumps in.
Out of the corner of my eye, I catch my reflection in the mirror.
I’m of medium height. Not tall, not short. Not too badly put
together for having reached the big four-zero thanks to the cross-training
routine I put myself on not long after my hospital release. Nowadays, my
head is shaved. There’s a small button-sized scar behind my right earlobe
in the place where the fragment of .22 caliber hollow-point penetrated
the skull. I wear a black leather jacket over black jeans and lace-up
combat boots left over from my military service during the first Gulf
War. My eyeglasses are rectangular and retrofitted from a pair of cheap
sunglasses I picked up at a Penn Station kiosk. They make my stubblecovered
face seem slightly wider than it really is. So people have told me.
Having been led to my chair, I am then asked to focus my gaze
directly onto the mirror so that the video man or woman stationed on
the opposite side of the glass can adjust the shooting angle and focus.
“Please say something,” requests Stocky Agent while removing
his suit jacket, setting it over the back of an empty chair.
“There once was a cop from Nantucket ,” I say to break the ice.
But no one laughs.
“You get that?” the taller agent barks out to no one in particular.
“Okay to go,” comes a tinny, hidden speaker voice. “You gonna
finish that poem, Mr. Moonlight?”
“Knock it off,” Stocky Agent orders. Then turns back to me.
“Before we get started, can we get you a coffee? A cappuccino? You can
get one right out of the new machine upstairs.”
“Mind if I burn one?”
Tall Bearded Agent purses his lips, cocks his head in the
direction of a plastic No Smoking placard to the wall.
Stocky Agent makes a sour face, shakes his head, rolls up the
sleeves on his thick arms. He reaches across the heavy wood table, grabs
an ashtray, and clunks it down in front of me as if it were a bedpan.
“The rule doesn’t apply down here,” he says. Then, in this deep
affected voice, he adds, “Let’s get started, Mr. Moonlight. You already
know the routine. For now we just want to get to the bottom of the who,
what, wheres and hows of this train wreck.”
“You forgot the why,” I say, firing up a Marlboro Light. “You
need to know the why to establish an entire familiarity with any given
case.”
Stocky Agent does a double take, smiles. Like he knows I’m
fucking with him.
“Don’t be a dick, Dick,” he says.
I guess it’s important not to take life too seriously. He laughs. I
laugh. We all laugh. Ice officially broken. I exhale some smoke, sit back
in my chair.
They’re right, of course. I know the drill. I know it’s the truth
they’re after. The truth and almost nothing but the truth. But what they
also want is my perspective—my take on the entire Scarlet Montana
affair, from soup to peanuts. They want me to leave nothing out. I’ll start
with my on-again/off-again love affair with my boss’s wife. Maybe from
there I’ll move on to the dead bodies, my cut-up hands, the Saratoga
Springs Russians, the Psychic Fair, the heroin, the illegal organ harvesting
operation, the exhumations, the attempts on my life, the lies, deceptions
and fuck-overs galore.
As a former fulltime Albany detective, I know that nobody sees
the same thing through the same set of eyeballs. What’s important to one
person might appear insignificant or useless to another. What those
federal agents want right now inside the basement interview room is my
most reliable version of the truth—an accurate, objective truth that
separates fact from fantasy.
Theoretically speaking.
“Ask away,” I say, just as the buzzing starts up in the core of my
head.
“Just start at the beginning,” Stocky Agent requests. “We have
all night.”
Sitting up straight, I feel my right arm beginning to go numb on
me. So numb I drop the lit cigarette onto the table. The inside of my
head chimes like a belfry. Stocky Agent is staring at me from across the
table with these wide bug eyes like my skull and brains are about to pull a
JFK all over him.
But then, just as soon as it all starts, the chiming and the
paralysis subsides.
With a trembling hand, I manage to pick up the partially smoked
cigarette, exhale a very resigned, now smokeless breath and stamp the
cancer stick out.
“Everything you wanna know,” I whisper. “You want me to tell
you everything.”
“Everything you remember,” Tall Agent smiles. “If that’s at all
possible.”
Stocky Agent pulls a stick of gum from a pack in his pants
pocket, carefully unwraps the tin foil and folds the gum before stuffing it
into his mouth.
Juicy Fruit. I can smell it from all the way across the table.
By all indicators, it’s going to be a long night.
“I think I’ll take that cappuccino after all,” I say.
For the first time since entering the interview room, I feel the
muscles in my face constricting. I know without looking that my
expression has turned into something miles away from shiny happy. I’m
dead serious.


Read what critics are saying about Moonlight Falls!


"Tough, hard-boiled noir delivered with the kind of fast-paced taut action that represents the best of the genre, Vince Zandri's Moonlight Falls gives us the kind of protagonist series are built on. "Get your protagonist up a tree and throw rocks at him" is advice given to novelists from Day One: Zandri's character Richard Moonlight isn't up a tree; he's up a Sequoia and those aren't rocks being thrown at him—they're boulders shot out of a cannon. It's become a cliche to say "I couldn't put it down," but in this case, it applies. Not knowing if his next minute might be his last to draw breath—with a bullet fragment lodged in his brain, the artery wrapped around it prohibiting its removal—the tension builds to a fever-pitch as Moonlight is surrounded by enemies all determined to deal one of two outcomes for him—either his death or his arrest for the murder of his lover, and the journey to prove his innocence and the surprise ending will absolutely enthrall readers. Don't begin reading this at night the day before you have to work unless you have a forgiving boss who won't mind if you show up bleary-eyed from staying up all night to read it."

--Les Edgerton, author of Monday's Meal and the writing text, Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Them Go.

Vincent Zandri's MOONLIGHT FALLS VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ‘10 will officially begin on February 1st and end on March 26th. Please contact Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife@yahoo.com if you are interested in hosting and/or reviewing his book during his virtual book tour. Thank you!