BOOKS TO WATCH OUT FOR!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

'The Staff of Rahgorra' Mark Oetjens on virtual book tour November '10

Join Mark Oetjens, author of the science fiction novel, The Staff of Rahgorra (Conquer Publishing), as he virtually tours the blogosphere November 1 – 26 ‘10 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

Mark grew up in suburban Chicago. As a child he was diagnosed with Dystonia, a debilitating neuromuscular disorder. Though there is no cure for Dystonia, surgeries and rehabilitation allowed him to walk with only a slight limp by the time he started high school. He received a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Anthropology, both from Northern Illinois University. As an adult a brain tumor, completely unrelated to his Dystonia, threatened to disable him a second time. Thanks to radiation therapy the tumor has disappeared. Mark currently lives in Phoenix, AZ.

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

If you love science fiction, you'll love The Staff of Rahgorra. The book starts out as the mysterious crime lord Thrull has aspirations beyond controlling the underworld in a single corner of the galaxy. Thrull wants to bring the galaxy under one rule and build a legitimate Galactic Empire. For years he has been training an army of his followers and building his own private Armada. But he knows he must also find the Staff of Rahgorra, a weapon of mythic power. To keep Thrull from finding the Staff the Galactic Security Bureau, peacekeepers of the galaxy, has pressed back into service a banished agent. Chameleon Del Rey was expelled from the GSB for avenging the death of a friend and for practicing the forbidden art of Jai Kin. Now he must train a young apprentice to use Jai Kin and find the Staff of Rahgorra before Thrull does in order to avoid a war that will stretch across the galaxy.

If you’d like to follow along with Mark as he tours the blogosphere in November, visit his official tour page at Pump Up Your Book. Lots of fun in store as you learn more about this gifted author as well as win prizes, too!


Join us for Mark Oetjens' The Staff of Rahgorra Virtual Book Tour ‘10!

Pump Up Your Book is an innovative public relations agency specializing in virtual book tours. You can visit our website at www.pumpupyourbook.com.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Writer's Life interviews Cheryl Bannerman author of Black Child to Black Woman


Cheryl D. Bannerman is CEO of a small, 14 year old, virtual training company based out of Central New Jersey. She works out of her home office and creates classroom training materials, e-Learning Flash modules, job aides and much more for corporate employees and their clients. She holds a Bachelors degree in Business Management and a Masters degree in Project Management. She is also the (divorced) single mother of a beautiful, twelve year old girl. In her spare time she loves to read murder mysteries, watch movies, try new restaurants and cuisines, shop with her daughter, and in the summer, walk the boardwalk and take in the sun on the beach.
http://www.bannermanbooks.com/




Welcome to The Writer's Life, Cheryl.


Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

A: Sure. I’ve been writing course training materials for over a decade, but this would be my first fictional book, but definitely not my last!


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

A: Black Child to Black Woman: A Journey of Tremendous Proportions is about the story of a girl name Tara Walker who is writing in her journal to her audience, which is the reader. She documents her experiences, her family life, her triumphs, as well as her interpretation of life and the world as she saw it.

I wrote the book because it had been a long time coming and I needed to get my story out.

What kind of research was involved in writing (Black Child to Black Woman)?

A: None really. I had been documenting stories from my own childhood and experiences from friends and family for over a decade so I had plenty of material to work with!

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

A: It was pretty bumpy for me since I had to research and talk to experts in the field to learn how to publish a book. Then it was expensive once I decided on self-publishing and who I wanted to publish with. After that, I found it difficult to transfer my vision over to them for the cover and other design items. Not sure if I would use them again.

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

A: Since I self-published it was a little different. I would say once I purchased the package it was a 3 ½ month process to get the first copy in my hands.

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?

A: I don’t have an agent, no. I do use PR firms with different skill sets to help me promote my book.

Do you plan subsequent books?

A: Yes, definitely. I feel I have a lot more experiences I could incorporate into other works of fiction. I’m looking at doing a suspense thriller for my next book.

Can you describe your most favorite place to write?

A: Not really, but I do enjoy the desk by the front window of my home, watching people go by and listening to their conversations and laughter.

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

A: A TV spot, similar to a movie trailer. Likes James Patterson does!

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

A: Self-promotion is very important. It’s up to you to get the word out or your book will just sit on the shelf and collect dust right? I use Facebook, family and friends, email blasts, a web site, the Virtual Tour, and word of mouth. I will be starting in-person book signing in November.

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

A: It seems so difficult and expensive. Like I said I found it daunting when I typed in Google how to publish a book and received a million results. I almost gave up right then and there. But luckily I found a few experts who guided me in the right direction, to the right documents, and I was able to find out about self-publishing. It’s the latest trend right now!

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

A: Write your story ‘around’ personal, and even emotional, experiences and memories (yours or someone else’s), and you can guarantee your reader will really feel it! Keep ‘em guessing all the time from chapter to chapter. Also, never say never! It can happen for you at any stage or age in your life.

Thank you for your interview, (Cheryl). I wish you much success!

A: Thank you so much!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Interview with DCS - Author of Synarchy Book Two: The Ascension

DCS is the author of Synarchy Book 1: The Awakening and Synarchy Book 2: The Ascension. When not writing you can listen to her radio show, In The Mind of DCS every Saturday evening at 7pm CST on the Paranormal Soup Network. Currently sucking up the creative energy of New Orleans, she is attending the American Institute of Holistic Theology to earn a PhD in Metaphysical Spirituality while being hard at work at the next book in the Synarchy Series, and an upcoming webisode series called The Fallen. Visit her website at www.themindofdcs.com to learn more.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, DCS. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing professionally and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Synarchy Book 2: The Ascension?

A: I’ve been writing professionally for three years now. Book 2 was the logical next step. I really leave my readers hanging in Book 1.

Q: I love your title…can you tell us why you chose it?

A: Synarchy means rule by secret government. To go more in depth, it was a term coined by a famous occultist who believed that ancient beings from the land of Shambalah had a hand in directing the affairs of governments on Earth. Considering the topic matter of Synarchy the name fit.

Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

A: People have always told me I had writing talent, even when I wasn’t taking myself seriously as a writer. Eventually I just decided to do it, and see where it would take me.

Q: Can you tell us the story behind your book cover? Did you choose it or did your publisher, SVT Publishing have full control? Were you happy with the decision or did you have something else in mind?

A: Well, luckily for me I’m the publisher so I retrained full creative control of my work, something that’s very important to me. I had the cover designed by an amazing artist friend of mine. I’ve got throw him out a plug, you can check out his work here: http://www.idyllwerx.com

Q: How have you approached marketing your book? Do you have someone doing it for you or have you had to do most of the marketing yourself?

A: I’ve done most of the marketing myself. Virtual Book Tours, Facebook Fan Pages, Twitter, blogging, reviews, internet radio interviews, things of that nature. It certainly keeps you busy.

Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

A: You could loosely compare it to the Da Vinci Code, but Synarchy really is something unto itself. I’ve had several reviewers comment that they’ve never read anything like Synarchy before, and that’s what I think makes it so special. One reviewer actually wrote that it’s “better than science fiction”. Which just made my day.

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

A: A little bit of a dark scene. Two of the books bad guys, Caesar and Kayla are talking about recent events and the Brotherhoods orders regarding the triplets.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A: Yes. I suffer from too many ideas syndrome. I’ve got plans for there to be six novels in the Synarchy Series but who knows, there could be more.

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

A: Thanks for having me! You can find me on the web by visiting, www.themindofdcs.com. To buy the Synarchy Novels visit Amazon, or BN.com.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

'The Sixth Surrender' Hana Samek Norton on virtual book tour November 2010

Join Hana Samek Norton, author of the historical fiction novel, The Sixth Surrender (Penguin/Plume) as she virtually tours the blogosphere in November ‘10 on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

Hana’s passion for the Middle Ages dates to a childhood exploring the ruins of castles and cloisters in the (now) Czech Republic. She also developed that “lurid taste in fiction,” by reading dog-eared novels full of the drama and melodrama of history. She graduated with an MA from the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada, and a Ph. D. (both in history, of course), from the University of New Mexico where she currently resides. She is married to an Englishman, teaches part-time, and works as a historical consultant.

Her latest book is The Sixth Surrender. It’s Anno Domini 1200. King Richard the Lionheart is dead. And in the final years of her own eventful life, queen-duchess Aliénor of Aquitaine launches a deadly dynastic chess game to safeguard the crowns of Normandy and England for John Plantagenet, her only surviving son.

To that end, Aliénor coerces into matrimony her two pawns: Juliana de Charnais, a plain and pious novice determined to regain her inheritance, and Guérin de Lasalle, a cynical and profligate captain of a band of Richard’s mercenaries, equally resolved to renounce his. But Aliénor wants their marriage to save Jonn’s patrimony from the plots of Philip, the king of France, and her own vassals, the traitorous lords of Lusignan, descendants of the legendary half-serpent Mélusine.

Preferring the company of his routiers, bawds, and barrel houses, Lasalle does not intend to be a husband to the shy young woman, nor to become entangled in John’s own matrimonial mire, but at the heart of Aliénor’s scheme is the mystery of his own past that could cost John his thrones—and Juliana her life.

You can find out more about her book at http://www.thesixthsurrender.com.

If you’d like to follow along with Hana as she tours the blogosphere in November, visit her official tour page at Pump Up Your Book. Lots of fun in store as you learn more about this gifted author as well as win prizes, too!


Join us for Hana Samek Norton's The Sixth Surrender Virtual Book Tour ‘10!

Pump Up Your Book is an innovative public relations agency specializing in virtual book tours. You can visit our website at www.pumpupyourbook.com.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Interview with Jon Katz, Author of 'Rose in a Storm'




Jon Katz has written nineteen books—seven novels and twelve works of nonfiction—including Soul of a Dog, Izzy & Lenore, Dog Days, A Good Dog, and The Dogs of Bedlam Farm. He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Rolling Stone, Wired, and the AKC Gazette. He has worked for CBS News, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Katz is also a photographer and the author of a children’s book, Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm. He lives on Bedlam Farm in upstate New York with the artist Maria Heinrich; his dogs, Rose, Izzy, Lenore, and Frieda; and his barn cats, Mother and Minnie. Rose in a Storm is his latest book. You can visit Jon Katz’s site at www.bedlamfarm.com.  

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Jon. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing professionally and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Rose In A Storm?

I am an author, a photographer, and a writer of children’s books. I write about dogs, other animals, and rural life.

I’ve been writing professionally for 23 years, and this is my nineteenth book. I wrote novels, mysteries, non-fiction books about media and popular culture. Then I got a crazy border collie and wrote A Dog Year, which became an HBO movie of the same name starring Jeff Bridges.

Rose In A Storm is my first novel in a decade, and the first triggered by life on my farm, Bedlam Farm, in upstate New York where I live with my wife, Maria Wulf, an artist, four dogs, two donkeys and two barn cats. The real Rose – to whom the book is dedicated – is a ferociously intelligent and determined farm manager. She runs the place while I shout various commands, usually too late.

The novel was inspired by Rose, a working dog and by my desire to write a book that captured the way dogs really think, rather than the way we want them to think. I’ve seen Rose grow, and I often wondered what the limits are to a working dogs’ instincts, training, genetics, and sense of responsibility.

I think dogs have emotional landscapes, and I talked to many behaviorists to shape this narrative, which is, very faithful to the mind of a working dog. The book is the natural outcome of my life on the farm, living with Rose through many dramas – storms, coyotes, wild pigs, rabid raccoons and skunks, charging rams and savvy goats.

Dogs are believed to think like autistic children, according to many behaviorists. They use images and instincts to act and react and getting into the mind of a border collie was the toughest creative challenge of my writing life.

Q: I love your title…can you tell us why you chose it?

My editor Jennifer Hershey chose it. Very simple, I think, captures the idea of a dog lost in a storm.

Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

You have to believe every book you write will be published, or it’s hard to survive the process. But editors and agents and marketers decide that, not me. I think everything I write should be published. How else could you write?

In this case, I wanted to explore the mind of a dog, and be faithful to the true nature of a dog. They don’t think like us, and they don’t have our language in their heads. We emotionalize and anthropomorphisize dogs so much. I think this one reflects the way dogs really think.



Q: Can you tell us the story behind your book cover? Did you choose it or did your publisher, Random House have full control? Were you happy with the decision or did you have something else in mind?

I love the cover, and was very happy with the decision to put my photo of my dog Rose on the cover. Random House does have full control, but they consulted me every step of the way. It’s a wonderful use of my photography, and it meshes the two disciplines – story-telling in images and narrative. I think the cover is quite lovely and perfectly captures the eerie feel of a farm in a big storm.

Q: How have you approached marketing your book? Do you have someone doing it for you or have you had to do most of the marketing yourself?

I use my blog, http://www.bedlamfarm.com/ which has about 300,000 visits a month. Very important tool for writers, and post to the blog several times a day, every day. I think it is critical to offer fresh content and it is so hard to get your message out with all the electronic and other clutter. I highly recommend blogs as a Godsend marketing tool for writers.

Besides, the idea of the writer holed up in his retreat is crumbling. Readers have expectations, they want and expect a dialogue with us. And I enjoy in engaging in one that is continuous – e-mail, texts, Facebook, blogs. Part of the great conversation, and it makes me a better writer with a keener sense of my readers.

I hear a lot of whining about the death of writing, reading and books, but that isn’t what I see. I think writing and reading is being liberated, even reborn.

Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

I think my portrayal of a dog is different than other dog books. This isn’t a Disney dog. She isn’t cute. She’s not Superdog.

The fictional Rose is a real dog. She doesn’t talk, or think in human terms. She isn’t emotionalized, and she is admirable but not heroic. She does the things a real working dog might do. I think I’ve faithfully captured what I call the emotional landscape of a dog that gets the chance to live the life of a dog – as working dogs do. Few dogs get to make decisions or learn how to think independently. But working dogs do, and the fictional Rose certainly does. But within the real limits of a dog. She is not a superhero, and I did not put a human narrative or emotional structure inside of her head.

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

Rose is sitting at the bottom of a hill, guarding her sheep as a pack of coyotes begin coming down the hill to pick off the starving, freezing ewes and lambs. Rose is alone on the farm, her farmer has been injured and helicoptered away. It is her responsibility, and she has to now make some decisions. The question is – can she make these kinds of decisions? This is my favorite part of the book.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

I’ve just finished a short story collection called “Dancing Dogs,” out next year from Random House. And I am finishing a book on grieving for animals: Going Home. Help when animals die. My first children’s book, Meet The Dogs of Bedlam Farm, will be published by Holt next Spring.

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

Thanks back. My website is http://www.bedlamfarm.com/  and Rose In A Storm is available everywhere books are sold online or in bookstores.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Interview with Lars Walker, Author of 'West Oversea"


Lars Walker grew up on a farm in southeastern Minnesota. He has worked as (among other things) a crab meat handler in Alaska, a radio announcer, an administrative assistant, and a librarian, and he does Norwegian translation. He is the author of several published fantasy novels, the latest of which is West Oversea, published by Nordskog Publications.

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

I’m fairly well known as one of the dullest men in North America. I decided to be a writer back in high school, because in books and TV shows, writers were always irresistible to women. (I hadn’t yet figured out that books and TV shows are written by writers.) I started the story that became my first novel around 1970, and eventually got (a different book) published in 1997. So my road to book publication only took a little more than 25 years.

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

I’ve been a Viking buff most of my life. I’ve read most everything I could find on the subject since I was ten or so. (Writing a book about it makes it tax-deductible). My latest book, West Oversea, tells of a Norwegian chieftain, Erling Skjalgsson (a real historical character, by the way) who gives up his property and power rather than do a shameful deed. With his friends and family, he sets sail west to visit Leif Eriksson (whom he probably actually knew) in Greenland. But bad weather and supernatural forces make the voyage a lot longer and more dangerous than they plan. They spend time in Iceland, and even visit a new land recently discovered by Leif.

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

Locations are always a challenge, when you write about places you’ve never visited. I’ve been to Norway several times, and spent a little time in Iceland. I’ve also been to L’Anse Aux Meadows, the Viking archaeological site in Newfoundland. But I had to rely on research for my Greenland scenes.

Deep water sailing is something else I had to research. I found some excellent books on the North Atlantic navigation, and managed to run down a fellow who’d done a sailing voyage to Norway. He vetted the manuscript for me in return for dinner (also deductible).

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?

I’ll have to refer you to my publisher for that.

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?

I’ve done some radio interviews, which are fun for a former DJ. I do lectures on the Vikings, on invitation, to groups in Minneapolis and points thereabout. I always bring books to sell.

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

I don’t have an agent at the present time. I had one for many years; he passed away not long ago. Having an agent is generally an advantage to an author. I do recommend it. If anybody knows an easy way to get one, let me know.

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

Nordskog was quite generous with print advertising, and we got some excellent web reviews. I also did the radio interviews I mentioned earlier.

Do you plan subsequent books?

I hope to chronicle the whole saga of Erling Skjalgsson’s remarkable life. And I have a few modern and near-future fantasies in the pipeline as well.

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

My author’s web site is http://www.larswalker.com/. I share a blog at http://www.brandywinebooks.net/, and I blog occasionally at http://www.stkarnick.com/ and http://merecomments.typepad.com/. West Oversea can be ordered from Amazon, or from my publisher at http://www.sendmethatbook.com/.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Interview with Daisy Jordan - Author of Love Means Zero



Daisy Jordan is an obsessive tennis fan and wrote Love Means Zero, in which Hilton gets a job as a photographer for a tennis magazine, so she could live out her dream-job fantasy through Hilton. But don’t worry if you’re not a tennis fan; Love Means Zero still has all the drama and suspense of Daisy’s previous books! Those books include Everything Happens for a Reason…, the Spin the Bottle series, and All That Sparkles Isn’t Real Sapphire. Before she published her first book, Daisy grew up in Indiana watching tennis all summer every summer on TV and having her own fair share of high school and college boy drama, much like her characters. She now lives in Denver and religiously fills out brackets for every Grand Slam with her brother Josh, while still managing to find time for boy drama.

Daisy can be found online at:
daisyjordan.com
http://www.facebook.com/AuthorDaisyJordan
http://twitter.com/DaisyJordan06
http://myspace.com/daisy_jordan


Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Daisy. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing professionally and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Love Means Zero?

A: I have been writing professionally for about six years. Love Means Zero has been a long time coming. It is a follow-up chronologically to my very first book, Everything Happens for a Reason…. After finishing Everything Happens for a Reason…, I went backwards chronologically and wrote about the characters when they were younger, in high school and the first couple years of college. Finally, after getting to know them and their life stories quite a bit better, I was ready for a book about life after college – Love Means Zero!

Q: I love your title…can you tell us why you chose it?

A: I love titles with double meanings! Love Means Zero is a very literal representation of the tennis world, which becomes a huge part of Hilton’s life in this book, because in tennis, a score of love means the player has zero points. But the meaning of the title goes beyond that – it is reflective of several relationships in the book. There are many instances in which love is not enough to hold characters’ relationships together, and finally the question is raised in Hilton’s mind of whether love means zero in real life too, not just in tennis.

Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?


A: It is a fun read with characters and emotions people will relate to, and it is different from any other book. While a light-hearted read on the surface, the characters and situations are more developed than in many other books. I believe this is because I have written several books about these characters, so the back story is deeper. Also, Love Means Zero looks inside the tennis world in a way no other book that I know of has done.

Q: Can you tell us the story behind your book cover? Did you choose it or did your publisher, Llumina Press, have full control? Were you happy with the decision or did you have something else in mind?

A: I love the cover! I sent Llumina’s cover artist a design I had created using Clip Art, and that basically became the cover, with a few small changes. The format represents the way a Game Set Match cover would look (Game Set Match is a tennis magazine in the book). There is the GSM in the upper left-hand corner, and the title, or headline, is big and bold across the bottom to catch people’s eyes. In a GSM cover, the picture would be brighter and meant to draw attention as well, but for the book cover, I wanted to keep the background image simple so the main focus would be on the title. I think it has a dramatic effect.

Q: How have you approached marketing your book? Do you have someone doing it for you or have you had to do most of the marketing yourself?

A: It has been a little (or a lot) of both! I have been doing an online book tour through Pump Up Your Book Promotions. They have arranged all my interviews, blog appearances, and reviews, which has been amazing. They send me assignments, and I answer the interview questions and write the guest blog posts. It keeps me really busy, but it’s a blast at the same time. It gives me a chance to talk about my books and characters in ways I’ve always wanted to, but never had the outlet to do so. Once my tour is over, I’ll be on my own for marketing, which will be difficult! But the book tour has given me a really good start, and I hope to keep the publicity going afterward.

Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

A: I think Love Means Zero could compare to a Lauren Weisberger book, because it’s about a normal girl who experiences a little taste of fame. In many of Lauren’s novels, like The Devil Wears Prada and Everyone Worth Knowing, the main character gets a job where she gets to rub shoulders with celebrities. Her books focus on romance as well as careers, much like Love Means Zero. The way I would say Love Means Zero is different is much like what I mentioned above – the characters are so well developed, because this isn’t the first book about them. They weren’t created solely for this novel; they have whole lives outside of it. Love Means Zero can absolutely be read without having read my other books, but I think that sense of the characters having a past before the start of the book is very palpable, regardless of whether one has read other books about them. Also as mentioned above, the look Love Means Zero provides into the world of professional tennis is unique.



Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

A: Hilton, Luke, Jill, and Todd are out at the Turtle, their favorite bar, to celebrate Hilton’s birthday. They run into Laney and Natalie, Hilton and Jill’s former roommates. Both Hilton and Jill still get along with Laney, but things ended awkwardly with Natalie. Hilton blows her off at the bar, and Luke defends Natalie, which causes a fight between Hilton and Luke. This scene seems somewhat inconsequential at the time, but it will play a major role later. This scene contains the foreshadowing for what later becomes one of the biggest turning points in the book.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A: Absolutely! I am working on the next book featuring Hilton right now. It will be called Living in a Postcard. I still have no idea how it’s going to end, so I can’t tell you if there will be others after it with Hilton as the main character, but she will definitely still appear in other books after that one, even if she is appearing as a minor character or her story is a side plot. Another book I definitely plan to write that has its basis in Love Means Zero is one about Kelsey and Arden and their life in New York. I’m really excited about that one!

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

A: You can find me on my website, Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace!
daisyjordan.com
http://www.facebook.com/AuthorDaisyJordan
http://twitter.com/DaisyJordan06
http://myspace.com/daisy_jordan

You can find my books on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and pretty much anywhere else books are sold! If it’s not in your local bookstore, the store can most likely order it for you! :) Thank you so much for the interview!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

10 Fun Things About Steff Deschenes

We have a special guest today! Steff Deschenes, author of The Ice Cream Theory, is here to tell us 10 things about herself you might never have known before. You can visit his website at www.steffdeschenes.com.

..................

10 Fun Things About Steff Deschenes

by Steff Deschenes


1. I have multiple tattoos, including the longitude and latitude of an apple orchard on my right inner forearm arm.


2. I asked to major in "Snowboarding" in college; they put me in Liberal Arts instead. A couple years later I asked to major in "Backpacking Europe"; again, the kept me in Liberal Arts. Very disappointing.


3. I tried out for the USBSF (United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federtion) Olympic team.


4. Some people like to look in other people's medicine cabinets; I like to look in people's refrigerators.


5. I made a demo CD of twelve original songs I wrote, played guitar, and sang to; only one copy remains, and it's hidden!


6. I've had loads of jobs, including being a sports writer, a baker, a canvasser, an au pair, an actress, a substitute teacher, a model, and I've worked in marketing departments for beer, gelato, eco-friendly jewelry, and technology companies.


7. My rabbit, Boone, was named after a character from the TV show LOST (side note: I would have rather watched them chase each other around the island for another four years then have the show end the way it did!).


8. I have a crippling fear of things like opening a bag of popcorn and having a kernel pop in my eye; clowns; passing out in the shower (I'm not nervous about the drowning part, it's the idea of someone finding me all naked like); and of losing my freckles.


9. I was mistakenly put in advanced algebra when I was in middle school. My teacher felt so bad for me that he'd give me extra points for doodling farm animals on my tests so that I wouldn't fail and have to retake it! That didn’t work in high school, though.


10. Immediately following the release of "The Ice Cream Theory" my sister and I went on an ice cream bender to promote the book. We went to, and ate ice cream at, ten (TEN!) ice cream stores in town. Would I do it again? Heck yeah! Maybe. You know, let me think about it. . . (You can see the videos here!)


If you thought this was funny, you need to pick up a copy of her book, The Ice Cream Theory!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Interview with Kathy Bell, author of "Regression"

Kathy Bell only found time to begin writing after she had accomplished many other goals in her life. A graduate of the University of Guelph, she puts her degree to work as a high school science teacher and a championship bulldog breeder. Her debut novel, Regression, hit the Amazon Science Fiction and Fantasy bestsellers list as a new release, peaking in the top twenty. The second instalment of the Infinion Series was released on 10/10/10, and the final novel will be launched on 11/11/11.

You can find Kathy online at http://infinionseries.com/, follow her on Twitter as @kathybellauthor, join her facebook fan page through http://facebook.com/theinfinionseries, read her blogs at http://kathybellauthor.wordpress.com/, or view her profile on Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2974246.Kathy_Bell.

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

A: I began writing my first novel while on maternity leave with my fourth child, three years ago. Prior to that, I had written articles and information pieces for business purposes, but never fiction. I am the type of person who is always doing something, and when the baby was fussy in the middle of the night I began pecking away at the keyboard rather than watching TV or simply surfing the Internet. Regression was my first attempt at a full length novel, and I am absolutely thrilled with the response from readers.

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

A: Regression is the story of a dedicated mother of six who finds herself reliving her teenage years in the eighties, although she has full memories of her previous life. She would be more than happy to recapture that life, but instead is pulled in a different direction by the actions of a group of people who have also come from the future. Together, the regressees strive to save the world from a disastrous event which threatens all of humanity, and Adya Jordan must play a key role.

My daughter Trinity is what one would call an 'old soul'; she seemed to be born knowing. Watching her develop, questions of fate, timing, and destiny toddled through my mind. Would she have been the same if first born? If born to me at a different time in my life? These thought experiments evolved into Regression, where I explore the concept of a main character who does not want to change anything about her life but is put in the position of having to give up her family to save the world.


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

A: Finding time! With four children, a championship bulldog breeding kennel, a farm, and a career as a high school teacher, making the opportunity to write was a challenge. I must thank my husband-my high school sweetheart-for his supportive efforts in that respect. Without his help, I could not have finished either novel. I enjoy keeping up-to-date on scientific discoveries and technologies, so doing the research was a pleasure rather than a chore.

Q: 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?

A: The website, http://infinionseries.com/ has a copy of the press release sent out with review copies of the novels. In this digital age, and with most of the sales numbers for Regression being in digital format, promotion has been focused on electronic avenues.

Q: 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?

A: As a teacher, I am quite comfortable taking on speaking roles and continue to seek new opportunities to promote my novels. I completed a radio interview with a local station, 98 The Beach, in 2009, and participated as a panelist in a conference for Science Fiction writers discussing the challenges facing Northern authors. Also in attendance were best-selling science fiction authors Robert J. Sawyer and Julie Czerneda so I felt very priveledged to be a part of Social Science on the Final Frontier. I was also active at The Word On The Street events in Kitchener, Ontario, in 2009 and 2010.

Q: 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?

A: I have not used an agent. I do think that for many authors, an agent can be an excellent resource for obtaining objective feedback about the manuscript, the publication process, and also for making connections. With my background in sales and marketing from running my own businesses, I was comfortable putting those skills to a new use, marketing my novels.

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

A: With Regression, there was not a leading promotional blitz, but rather a building of momentum which culminated in placement on the Amazon bestseller list in December. For Evolussion, a more concerted effort of advance reader releases, book give-a-ways, and promotional activity has led to a great response from readers immediately follwing the release of the story.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A: The sequel to Regression, Evolussion, was just released, and has already been well received by Kindle readers. The final instalment of the trilogy, Revolussion, will come out next year. I have enjoyed the entire process, and do plan on writing more stories across a variety of genres. If time permits!

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

A: Thank you for taking the time to chat with me. My books are available through major online and brick and mortar retailers, as well as in ebook format for Kindle, Nook, iPad, and others. Signed copies are also available through Amazon and Northernsanctum.com.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Interview with James D. Livingston, Author of Arsenic and Clam Chowder


James D. Livingston’s professional career was in physics, first at GE and later at MIT, and most of his writings in the 20th century were in physics, including one popular-science book (Driving Force: The Natural Magic of Magnets, Harvard, 1996). As he gradually moved into retirement in the 21st century, he began to broaden his writing topics into American history, a long-time interest of his. His latest book in this genre is Arsenic and Clam Chowder: Murder in Gilded Age New York. This and his earlier books are described on his Author’s Guild website, http://www.jamesdlivingston.net/.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Jim. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing professionally and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Arsenic and Clam Chowder: Murder in Gilded Age New York?

I’m a scientist, and have been writing science since the 1950s. However, my avocations included history and genealogy, and when doing Livingston genealogy over 30 years ago, I learned about Mary Alice Livingston, a black-sheep cousin who was tried for murdering her mother in 1890s New York. Black sheep are often more interesting than all those white ones, and I thought her story would make a great book. But I had no time to write about Mary Alice until recently, when I finally retired from science.

Q: I love your title…can you tell us why you chose it?

I think it’s memorable, reminiscent of the famous 1930s play and movie, Arsenic and Old Lace. And it describes the book very accurately, since it revolves about an alleged murder with arsenic-laced clam chowder. And almost everyone has eaten clam chowder.

Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

The story fascinated me, which is my most reliable test of what might fascinate others. I think readers will be entertained by the central story of the murder and trial, made more aware of related social and legal issues, and informed about fascinating people and events in Gilded Age New York.

Q: Can you tell us the story behind your book cover? Did you choose it or did your publisher, SUNY Press, have full control? Were you happy with the decision or did you have something else in mind?

The publisher asked for suggestions, and a poison bottle was one of my suggestions. The cover was their choice, but I was very pleased with it. They chose a collection of old poison bottles, which visually suggest the 19th century, the period of the story. And the cover is dark and mysterious, appropriate for a book about murder.

Q: How have you approached marketing your book? Do you have someone doing it for you or have you had to do most of the marketing yourself?

The publisher, a university publisher in financial difficulty (like most), is doing a little marketing, but I am doing most myself, with the help of Pump Up Your Book for web marketing.

Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

Arsenic and Clam Chowder is closest to The Devil’s Gentleman by Harold Schechter, which is also centered on a poison murder trial in 1890s New York. But the story and characters in Arsenic and Clam Chowder are unique. That makes the book very special, as does the song written for it, “Who Put the Arsenic in Mrs. Bliss’s Chowder?” It is on YouTube.

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

On page 5, Mary Alice orders clam chowder and lemon meringue pie from the restaurant of the Colonial Hotel, where she lives. She is alone in her room for a while, and the state would later allege that she then made some fatal additions to the hotel’s chowder. When her 10-year-old daughter Gracie later arrived at the apartment with a friend, Mary Alice asked the two girls to take the pie and the chowder to Gracie’s grandmother, who lived several blocks away. When they arrived, Gracie’s grandmother Evelina Bliss was very pleased to see the two little girls. She unwrapped the pie and put it on a plate, and poured the clam chowder from the pail into a pitcher in her kitchen. When the girls returned to the Colonial Hotel with the empty pail, Mary Alice said to Gracie, “I hope you didn’t eat any of it.” “No, Ma,” replied Gracie. But Gracie’s grandmother did, an act that she would very soon regret. (She dies, a few hours later, on page 6.)

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

My next book, Rising Force, is a return to my scientific roots and will be published by Harvard in 2011. It’s a popular-science treatment of magnetic levitation, an uplifting topic.

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

My Author’s Guild website, http://www.jamesdlivingston.net/, provides a link to buy the book at Amazon.com. Amazon offers both a discounted hardcover version ($13.57) and a even less expensive Kindle version ($9.99). Readers can of course also buy Arsenic and Clam Chowder through Barnes and Noble, Borders, or other booksellers.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Science fiction author Valmore Daniels on virtual book tour November '10

Join Valmore Daniels, author of the science fiction novel, Forbidden the Stars (Mummer Media) as he virtually tours the blogosphere November 1 – 26 ‘10 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

In true nomadic spirit, Valmore Daniels has lived on the coasts of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans, and dozens of points in between.

An insatiable thirst for new experiences has led him to work in several fields, including legal research, elderly care, oil & gas administration, web design, government service, human resources, and retail business management.

His enthusiasm for travel is only surpassed by his passion for telling tall tales.

Valmore’s latest book is Forbidden the Stars, a sci-fi novel set at the end of the 21st century.

Visit his website at www.ValmoreDaniels.com

Forbidden the Stars is hard core science fiction at its best. At the end of the 21st century, a catastrophic accident in the asteroid belt has left two surveyors dead, but the asteroid itself is completely missing, along with their young son, Alex Manez, who was accompanying them.

On the outer edge of the solar system, the first manned mission to Pluto, led by the youngest female astronaut in NASA history, has led to an historic discovery: there is a marker left there by an alien race for humankind to find. We are not alone!

While studying the alien marker, it begins to react and, four hours later, the missing asteroid appears in a Plutonian orbit, along with young Alex Manez, who has developed some alarming side-effects from his exposure to the kinetic element they call Kinemet.

From the depths of a criminal empire based on Luna, an expatriate seizes the opportunity to wrest control of outer space, and takes swift action.

The secret to faster-than-light speed is up for grabs, and the race for interstellar space is on!

If you’d like to follow along with Valmore as he tours the blogosphere in November, visit his official tour page at Pump Up Your Book. Lots of fun in store as you learn more about this gifted author as well as win prizes, too!

Join us for Valmore Daniels’ Forbidden the Stars Virtual Book Tour ‘10!

Pump Up Your Book is an innovative public relations agency specializing in virtual book tours. You can visit our website at www.pumpupyourbook.com.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Recipe for Writing a Great Horror Novel

We have a special guest today! Joel M. Andre, author of The Black Chronicles: Cry of the Fallen, is here to talk about writing horror novels(his specialty!). You can visit his website at www.joelmandre.com.

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Recipe for Writing a Great Horror Novel by Joel M. Andre

To begin this process, I’m going to be honest. I’m not Stephen King or Anne Rice. I’m not a Master of Horror, but I know what I like to read. That is the direction I am going with this post.

When I begin writing a Horror Novel, I take a look at the bigger picture. What do I want my readers to get from the book I write, and what will be expected from the tale? Those are important questions to help you determine the direction you will take your story. With this information in hand, you are ready to attack the story.

Always Know What Your Killer/Monster Will Be

It can be fun having your readers guess the identity of your killer, or fear about what exactly the monster you are unleashing really is. In fact, this can help to build a level of suspense in your book.

When you read some novels, you find that the “entity” changes way too much. In some cases it begins as a killer clown that turns out to be an alien spider. In Horror, this is your most important character, so deliver the character as brilliantly as possible. Oh, and for the record, I love It.

Suspense over Violence

Violence can increase the level of fear in a story. There is something eerie about watching a person being stabbed to death for instance. However, the new “Torture Porn” genre isn’t anything more than senseless gore. If you compare the film Saw to The Haunting (the black and white version, not the remake) you can see what I mean.

The Haunting never allowed for a murder to take place on screen. It took you just to the edge, and allowed your imagination to work on what happened. This was a movie that had you feel what was on screen, and never demanded you saw the violence. Saw on the other hand delivered graphic gore.

Readers want the pages to grip them, and leave them in suspense.

Description Is Vital

I’ve been hounded in the past for giving too much detail on scenery, but it is important. Your reader should be able to enter the image in your mind. The landscape and descriptions of people are vital to the story. Make people care about your characters, even the ones you are going to kill. People should feel some emotion at the point that a character dies.

Never Leave Too Much Open

In the Horror Genre, we want to leave a book open for the next one in a series. When your reader ends your book, they should feel like they got a complete story. In a series, you are able to continue the tale but each book should be like a separate installment.

If you look at, The Black Chronicles: Cry of the Fallen, you will get a full story, but the ending will lead the readers into the next book. There aren’t any loose ends that prevent the reader from getting the entire story, if they don’t want to read on. That is vital for any tale.

Finally, know where you need to end your book as well. Story content is more important than word count. While some people might freak if you’re a few hundred words shy of 60,000 – 80,000, don’t worry about it. It is better to get to the point, without boring the reader. We cut 8,000 words from the new book in an effort to make it flow smooth, and give the reader the best tale we could.

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Thursday, October 07, 2010

'The 19th Element' John L. Betcher on virtual book tour November & December '10

Join John L. Betcher, author of the suspense thriller, The 19th Element: A James Becker Thriller (Createspace), as he virtually tours the blogosphere November 1 – December 17‘10 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

John L. Betcher is a University of Minnesota Law School graduate and has practiced law for more than twenty-five years in the Mississippi River community of Red Wing, Minnesota. He possesses substantial first-hand knowledge of the Prairie River Nuclear Plant’s real world counterpart, as well as Red Wing’s airport and the flight rules around the nuke plant.

In addition to The 19th Element, he has published a second book in the “Beck” series entitled, The Missing Element, A James Becker Mystery. The second book is available everywhere.

The author has also been a long-time supporter and coach of youth volleyball in and around Red Wing and has authored three feature articles for Coaching Volleyball, the journal of the American Volleyball Coaches Association. His most recent article was the cover story for the April/May, 2009 Issue.

His book on volleyball coaching philosophies entitled The Little Black Book of Volleyball Coaching is available at www.johnbetcher.com and at amazon.com.

The 19th Element's premise promises to have you on the edge of your seat. Al Qaeda plans to attack Minnesota’s Prairie River Nuclear Power Plant as a means to return the down-trodden terrorist organization to international prominence.

In addition to their own devoted forces, the terrorists enlist some homegrown anarchists, and a Three Mile Island survivor with a pathological vendetta against the nuclear establishment, to assist in the assault.

James “Beck” Becker is a former elite U.S. government intelligence operative who has retired to his childhood hometown of Red Wing, Minnesota – just six miles down the Mississippi from the Prairie River nuclear facility.

Possessing wisdom born of experience, Beck suspects the terrorists’ intentions as soon as the body of a university professor turns up on the Mississippi shore – the clear victim of foul play.

He recognizes connections between seemingly unrelated incidents – the murdered agronomy professor, a missing lab assistant, an international cell call, a stolen fertilizer truck – but can’t piece it together in enough detail to convince government authorities that a larger threat exists. Only his American Indian friend, “Bull,” will help Beck defuse the threat.

So it’s Beck and Bull versus international terror.

If you’d like to follow along with John as he tours the blogosphere in November and December, visit his official tour page at Pump Up Your Book. Lots of fun in store as you learn more about this gifted author as well as win prizes, too!

Join us for John L. Betcher's The 19th Element Virtual Book Tour ‘10!

Pump Up Your Book is an innovative public relations agency specializing in virtual book tours. You can visit our website at www.pumpupyourbook.com.