Monday, August 22, 2011

From Idea to Publication by Stephen Langford

White Sleeper: From Idea to Publication

by Stephen Langford

The journey of writing White Sleeper was filled with twists and turns but it was the publishing of the book that seemed even more taxing. When David and I finished the book it was around September 2008. The Presidential election was in full swing and so was the economic meltdown. We had submitted the book to some publishing houses and were not getting a response. It wasn’t even a matter of being rejected, we weren’t being read. We were told that the publishers had been thrown into chaos and nothing seemed to be moving forward. The level of frustration grew as time went on and finally we decided to self publish. A publisher was chosen but the earthquakes within the publishing industry were still vibrating. We had had our cover design and final editing completed. By December of 2010 we were ready to go to press but the publisher was having trouble finding a printer. They chose a date for printing and changed it several times. We suspected they were having financial problems and grew to the point that we selected our own printer. The production of the book began and publisher said that we shouldn’t proceed this way. We did anyway. Production of the book began in March and we were delighted with the final product from Bang Printing. We hadn’t planned on learning every aspect of the publishing business but, ultimately, we had to learn the ins and outs. A release date was set and the books were shipped to the distributor. We chose not to send them the publisher’s warehouse for fear they would go under.

The one bright spot was the PR woman who seemed diligent in sending out books to bloggers. We would get a report every Friday from her. So the books were shipped and the book was finally released. We celebrated by doing two back to back book signings in Los Angeles. Then one Friday arrived and I couldn’t get a hold of our PR woman. We called for about a week to all the numbers at the publishing house and never got a human voice. We quickly acted and hired Charlie Barrett as our PR person and all was fine on our end. But what happened to the publisher? Two weeks had gone by. I tweeted our old PR person and finally got an email from her. The publisher had gone bankrupt! They cited that the eBook revolution had done them in. It was a rocky relationship that in hindsight was probably driven by their financial pressures. At this point it didn’t stop the White Sleeper. It was out and sitting in a warehouse unrelated to the publisher which was my writing partner, David wise idea. We had initially wanted a high end publisher that could do what the big houses do. But in the end we did it ourselves. I think in some ways there’s a greater sense of accomplishment. I think in a greater sense it’s a harbinger of the future for authors. I think that authors will be more empowered by groundbreaking book delivery technology. I think David and I have become more sophisticated in this process and so will many other writers. I think the one man band author/publisher is going is driving the future rather than the traditional route.

STEPHEN LANGFORD is the veteran writer producer of over one hundred and fifty hours of primetime television writing. His credits include Family Matters and Malcolm and Eddie. He later became a screenwriter writing the motion picture Lovewrecked. His latest produced film is “The Nanny Express” which is running on the Hallmark Channel.

Langford grew up in the Boston area and later attended Emerson College where he received a Bachelor of Science in Film. After college, Langford began working in the motion picture field working for such film directors as Sidney Lumet and Joel Schumacher. Currently Langford lives in Tarzana with his wife Sandy and their two children Allyson and Erica. He is also the proud owner of a Jack Russell terrier named Betty and Chihuahua named Tovah.

More information on White Sleeper can be found on the book’s website at

Interview with K.L. Brady, author of THE BUM MAGNET

K.L. Brady

K. L. Brady is a D.C. native but spent a number of her formative years in the Ohio Valley. She’s an alumnus of the University of the District of Columbia and University of Maryland University College, earning a B.A. in Economics and M.B.A., respectively. She works as an analyst for a major government contracting firm and is an active real estate agent with Exit Realty by day—and writes by night (often into the wee hours of the morning). She lives just outside of D.C. in Cheltenham, Maryland, with her son and lives to eat chocolate, shop, read, and write.

Her upcoming adult novel, THE BUM MAGNET, will be published by Simon & Schuster's Pocket Books in March 2011. THE BUM MAGNET was the winner of the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards for Multicultural Fiction, as well as the Third Place Grand Prize Winner for Best Fiction of 2010. Moreover, the African Americans on the Move Book Club recently named her their 2011 Female Author of the Year. You can visit K.L. Brady’s website at

Become friends with Karla at Twitter at and Facebook at

About The Bum Magnet

The Bum Magnet
Charisse Tyson’s got it all going on . . .

She’s a savvy, successful real-estate agent with a quick wit, a low tolerance for BS, a gorgeous size-14 body, and a thirst for top shelf vodka. Despite her dream house, luxury car, and appetite for life’s best—like fine dining and hot men—she seems to have her own special talent for attracting players. Why do all of her ex-lovers belong in the Losers Hall of Fame?

There was Lamar, the hazel-eyed Adonis who sowed more wild oats than Quaker. . . Sean, an expert at juggling relationships . . . Marcus, whose lips wandered as often as his eyes . . . and others, too. But just as Rissey swears off sex and vows to dump her emotional baggage, she meets house-hunting client Dwayne Gibson. There’s no way she can resist his seductive smile and rock-hard body. . . . Will Dwayne turn out to be the biggest bum of them all? Or will this time be different?

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Karla. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, The Bum Magnet?

I’ve been a closet writer since I was maybe seven or eight years old, always keeping my thoughts to my journals. I never had any thought of becoming a published author until the summer of 2008 when I was nearing the big four-oh and had one of those, what am I going to do with the rest of my life panic attacks. After a heavy dose of Oprah’s “Live Your Best Life” series, I decided that I would fulfill my dream of writing a book. Four months later, the first draft of The Bum Magnet was complete. I haven’t looked back since…and I hear more voices than I can write to. That either means I have a long career ahead of me or I need heavy medication—or maybe both.

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

The Bum Magnet is about the tenth title I came up with. I settled on it because it was short, memorable, and conveyed the content as well as the humor of the novel. It was one-stop shopping.

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

So many intelligent, successful single women, regardless of color or ethnicity, repeatedly get involved in dead-end relationships and people on the outside looking in usually can’t understand why. How is that you could have your life together on the professional side, but not the personal side? Part of that answer is that we use different skills to succeed in business as opposed to our relationships, which are emotionally driven. The Bum Magnet puts magnifying glass on the poor relationship decisions and personal crises that might lead a woman to make the same mistakes over and over again in realistic but hilarious way. The character is one most people (women) can relate to, and her journey is one that will both entertain and enlighten.

Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author. What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

I don’t believe it’s a secret within the publishing world that most mid-list authors bear most of the responsibility for their promotion. My publisher has sponsored book giveaways on blogs, promotes my book on all of my imprint’s and the main publisher’s web and social networking sites, allows authors to host a blog on it’s website, and allow authors to make promotional videos for free at their studio. As for me, I’m doing everything else. I maintain a publishing and relationship blog, write articles on relationships which have been featured on Simon & Schuster’s Tips on Life and Love website, as well as Yahoo! Shine, and BlogHer, engage in the range of social networking (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc.), maintain my own website, create promotional videos on you tube, participate in book signings at book fairs and bookstores when possible, participate in blog tours, and anything else I can do to get my name out there. It’s hard work, very hard work. But I’m loving every minute while it lasts.

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

Readers have compared The Bum Magnet to Bridget Jones’Diary and Waiting to Exhale which are enormous compliments. Others have said it’s a Tyler Perry movie in a book because of the humor and the spiritual element. What makes The Bum Magnet special and different is that it integrates the spiritual, humor, drama, and entertainment elements which enable it to appeal to a wide multicultural audience (primarily women) who can appreciate Tyler Perry, Terry McMillian, and Helen Fielding in one book. How many other books can claim that? I haven’t ready any that I can recall. This tells me even though the main character is African American, people view it as a human story, not black or white. I couldn’t ask for more.

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

The main character Charisse uses her journals to reflect on her past relationships in an attempt to discover how she became a bum magnet. On this page, she recalls her college boyfriend Lamar, who had been a player from the moment they met but she dated him anyway. In this scene, after experiencing major doubts about his fidelity, she breaks into his voice mail and listens to his messages with alarming but hilarious results.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes, indeed. I have multiple series planned. Four of them in fact. The first series deals with relationships and include the sequel to The Bum Magnet, Got a Right to Be Wrong, which will be published in 2012. The second is a series of young adult romantic comedies based on Jane Austen and featuring African American teen characters. The first book, Worst Impressions, is a YA urban retelling of Pride and Prejudice. The third is a young adult series called Soul of the Band featuring a troubled African American teenager whose mother suffers from mental illness. So she’s shipped to live with an aunt in small-town Ohio where she becomes the first African American member of an all white marching band. And the last series is based on a female FBI Agent J.J. McCall, who has a secret superpower (of sorts)—she’s a human lie detector. This “power” makes her one of the best spy recruiters and helps her to solve the most complex counterintelligence cases the Bureau’s ever seen.

Q: Thank you for your interview, Karla. Do you have any final words?

If you would like more information on me or my works in progress, please visit my website at or on Facebook at

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pump Up Your Book December 2011 Virtual Book Publicity Holiday Tour Special

Pump Up Your Book is happy to announce a very cost-saving special for December to help you promote your book during the holidays. Because we want to give back to the community and we know how everyone is strapped buying presents and getting ready for the holidays, we are offering a 2 week special only applicable during the month of December. If you are an author with a new release or a book that was published years ago and you want to give it new life, click here to find out how you can get a terrific deal for your next book campaign!Link

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Interview with Malcolm Dylan Petteway, author of 'Homecoming'

Malcolm Dylan Petteway is a senior military analyst, a retired military officer and a twenty-year veteran of the United States Air Force. He flew B-52’s as an Electronic Warfare Officer and has 3,000 flight hours and 300 combat hours. In his distinguished career, Malcolm has used his knowledge in the art of war, military weapons and combat defenses in planning over 400 combat sorties. Besides his Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters and numerous other awards, Malcolm is the recipient of the U.S. Air Force Air Medal and the U.S. Air Force Air Achievement Medal for his actions during Operation Enduring Freedom. Malcolm Petteway is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and California State University.

His latest book is Homecoming – Osguards: Guardians of the Universe (Book 1).

You can visit Malcolm at

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Malcolm. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Homecoming, Osguards: Guardians of the Universe?

I began writing in earnest in 2000. However, my journey that led to writing began when I was young. As a teenager, I was fascinated by science fiction stories on T.V. in the movies and in books. I was so fascinated by science fiction; I made up my own stories about two sisters running away from a war on their planet only to find themselves in the antebellum south. Their descendants are then plucked from Earth and given the reigns to a universal peacekeeping organization…like a U.N of space. I would play these stories in my head on long car rides during family trips down south or when I was alone during the day and had nothing to do. To me at the time, this was just daydreaming; a way to pass the time. When I was in high school, I enrolled in creative writing classes. There I took my favorite science fiction characters and used them to spawn a couple of my projects. Boy, did I get razzed by the other students, but the teacher commended me for well thought out and very creative characters. During my time at the U.S. Air Force Academy, on those long lonely nights, wondering what the hell did I get myself into, those characters and those scenes lulled me to sleep and gave me encouragement to put up with the rigors of the coming day. This continued well into my adult life. These characters and the action sequence, I placed them in, began to invade my dreams at night, where I no longer controlled the outcome. Now they were telling me the story. They were old friends, and I welcomed them as part of a peaceful night’s rest. One day, in 2000, I had a setback in my Air Force career. At which time, I received some sound advice. Do something to keep your mind busy. So I decided to write down the stories that plagued me. Every day for three months, after work, I would lock myself in the office and type away at the keyboard. Until one day I emerged from the dark pit of imagination and dropped on the kitchen table a 450 page manuscript. I felt a sense of accomplishment.

Q: I love your title. Can you tell us why you chose it?

I wanted to capture the essence of each book with one word. Homecoming deals with the first time all the characters are home on Earth since taking on the mantle of Osguard. Therefore, Homecoming suited it.

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

Homecoming is about an American family, descendant from a technologically advanced world, charged with defending the universe. The plot merges history, social, science and speculative fiction in a contemporary setting. Homecoming has it all. Seldom has Science Fiction detailed African Americans as the heroes, leaders and stewards of a space odyssey, framed in American history and peppered with intrigue, adventure and technical wizardry—until now

Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author. What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

Like most writers, I started out seeking a traditional publisher. I completed the first draft of Homecoming in 2001 and sought traditional publishers. The process was slow and arduous. The feedback I received from agents and publishers, when I received feedback, was to change my main characters, change their background and then they may reconsider. That’s when I realized traditional publishing companies have settled into a rut. They can be rigid and inflexible and not visionary enough to recognize new voices…different voices, cutting down the ivory pillars holding up the old institutional thought. Homecoming was a unique, imaginative story, with a creative position and a fantastic plot. I believed my voice to be new and exciting. Therefore, I chose the Indie publishing route. However, my book came out in September 2001, and we all know what happened on 9/11. The effort and drive I needed to sustain an Indie published book was diverted onto another cause. I was active duty, flying the B-52 and I had to concentrate on that. I published three books through Iuniverse between 2001 and 2004 while I was in the military. After retiring from the military, I looked to begin my writing career in earnest. A work associate, Mr. James Barnes read the books and we talked about starting my own publishing company. I named it Rage Books. Jim and I saw Rage Books as a publisher of trade paperback books for the new and struggling writer with a unique story. With the aid of family and friends, I launched Rage Books with my first Osguard book, Homecoming in September of 2009. Since then, I’ve printed second editions of the second and third books, Revelations and Armageddon, and released the fourth book in the series Revenge. With these novels as the launch pad, my goal is to grow Rage Books and eventually contend with traditional publishers of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Therefore, I am in charge and ultimately responsible for all the marketing for my books. It paid off. Homecoming just received Honorable Mention from the 2011 Hollywood Book Festival and a 5 star rating from Midwest Book Review.

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

Homecoming is a military science fiction book; written in the same fashion as Star Trek, Star Wars and Star Gate books. It is the first book in a series of four novels. It tells the adventures of Michael David Genesis and his family, the Earth-born Osguards. They are leaders of a United Nations type organization in space, called the Universal Science, Security and Trade Association of Planets – USSTAP (pronounced ewes-tap). The Osguards administer diplomatic, economic and military tools of power to keep the peace throughout 60 galaxies of the known universe. Their adversary is a race of humans called Kulusks, who want to destroy the Osguards and take over USSTAP. Homecoming is set in the near-present day and people of Earth are unaware of USSTAP or the Kulusks’ existence. In Homecoming, Earth has become an unwitting pawn in the Kulusk Empire's thirst for revenge against USSTAP. Maxum Ritchen, the leader of the Kulusk Empire, has set into motion the destruction of USSTAP and with it the destruction of Earth. Michael and his family must prepare USSTAP, for the first time, to go on the offensive and wage an all out universal war. If he is successful, many people will die, and if he is not, Earth will be destroyed.

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

It is the great space battle scene between the Kulusks and the Osguards. Two fleets are lighting space up with multiple energy weapons and missile fire. The Osguards are outnumbered and losing the momentum. Suddenly, during the heat of battle the Osguards discover the Kulusks’ main weapons are ineffective on them while they are in stealth mode. Unfortunately, while they are in stealth mode, the Osguards cannot fire their weapons. Quickly, Michael devises an ad hoc strategy to delivery weapons fire while maintaining stealth mode.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

Besides the three remaining books in the Osguards series, Revelation, Armageddon and Revenge, I have a few projects in the making. Presently, I’m working on a different type of book. Working title is called Forever Changed. It is about two Department of Homeland Security agents who think they are chasing terrorists, but are actually chasing aliens. Another project I will probably begin writing will delve more into fantasy. I plan to do something with an angel, genie/gen, wizard/witch and ghost. I’m still playing around with the setup, but I feel positive about the concept. The third project I will work is about a military sniper, who comes home to his sister’s funeral. His sister was murdered and he uses his advanced training, weaponry and skills to hunt down the killers. Now, I still have to pay honor to the Osguards, and start another series. I just haven’t settled on the setup yet.

Q: Thank you for your interview, Malcolm. Do you have any final words?

Although, I believe anyone who loves to read action, adventure and thriller books would love Homecoming, I think I have two main types of audiences that will find my books worth their time, intriguing and most of all exciting to read. First I have the loyal science fiction fan. They will find Osguards is fresh, innovative and exciting with a new voice. My books capture the reader’s imagination, and challenge the industry. There is a quiet revolution taking place in the reading world. There is a new generation of readers, touched by advanced technology. Today, technological hunger, personal experience and raw attraction are what define this audience. They will buy my books because they are avid readers who can relate to the characters using advanced technology as they push through electrifying adventures. These characters are normal people pushed into extraordinary circumstances. My second fan base consist of disciplined people, mainly military oriented. Between my time in the Air Force Academy, twenty years as an Air Force Officer and my time now as a military analyst, I dare say I know a little something about the military and how to speak to the military. Osguards is a contemporary blend of Science Fiction, Technical Thriller, and American History wrapped in Professional Military Science. My military experience, coupled with my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Masters Degree in International Relations, gives me credence to reach an untapped audience of Military Science Fiction fans and enhances my ability to compose exciting stories filled with scientific essence and political intrigue encircled in military conflict.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Interview with Bonnie Trachtenberg, author of "Wedlocked"

Bonnie Trachtenberg worked as Senior Writer and Copy Chief at Book-of-the-Month Club and has written seven children’s book adaptations. She’s also written for three newspapers, and has penned countless magazine articles.Wedlocked is her first novel. She lives on Long Island with her husband, stepchildren, and cats.

Please visit her blogs at:

and on Twitter at

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

A: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here. I’m the author of Wedlocked: A Novel which was released in June 2011. I was formerly senior writer and copy chief at Book-of-the-Month Club. I’ve been writing most of my life, but I was first published in a national magazine back in 1990 (Ms.
Fitness). Since then I’ve written everything from feature articles to children’s book adaptations, video scripts to an advice column, and much more.

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

A: Wedlocked is the humorous and engaging tale of Rebecca Ross, a thirty-six-year old aspiring actress who lets years of disappointment and heartache catapult her into a disastrous marriage and onto a honeymoon from hell. I wrote the book because I lived it. Wedlocked was inspired by my first, brief calamitous marriage. Turning this tough time in my life into a romantic comedy was very therapeutic for me.

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

A: When you write a novel that’s based on true events, you tend to want to stick to things the way they really happened, but that doesn’t always make for the best story. The process of tweaking, amplifying or cutting scenes because of this can be difficult since you are so emotionally tied to the actual history. It was also important for me to wait a few years after the event before writing so I could be a little more objective.

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: I’m bringing on a publicist next month to help me with that. However, I have a good deal of information about me and my book on my website:

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: I’ve been a guest on WGBB Long Island radio twice, recently appeared on Blog Talk Radio, and will be appearing on a cable TV show called “Is the World Serious?” in September. I will also be having a book signing at the Bryant Library in Roslyn, NY on Sept. 14 at 7:30pm. Another big book signing is in the works as are many other media appearances.

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 had a wonderful agent named Victoria Skurnick who works at Levine Greenberg Literary Agency, but although I received lots of great feedback, she couldn’t sell my book. I decided to self-publish instead of waiting to see if my second novel would make inroads. According to Victoria, selling first fiction to the big publishing companies is almost impossible these days. They are afraid to bank on unknown authors. Thank goodness writers have other options open to them now!

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: My husband has become my business manager and he set up a Virtual Book Tour with Pump Up Your Book, as well as a social marketing blitz with help from a social marketing publicist. In September, a traditional book publicist will be coming on board, too. Aside from all this, I’m working night and day to make sure word gets out about the book.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A: Absolutely. My second novel, also a romantic comedy, is in the editing phase and I plan to write many more. I will also be releasing a humor gift book this fall called The Fine Art of Delusional Thinking. I think the mood in the country calls for a healthy dose of laughter.

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

A: Of course. My website is The book’s website is You can buy Wedlocked at,, and (see links on my website). If you are on Long Island, you can also stop in to Book Revue in Huntington or Blue Door Books in Cedarhurst for a copy.

Interview with Lynne McTaggart, author of "The Bond"

Lynne McTaggart is an award-winning journalist and author of six books, including her late
st, The Bond, and the worldwide bestsellers The Intention Experiment and The Field, which have been translated into 25 languages.

Lynne is also the architect of the Intention Experiments, the largest mind-over-matter experiments in history, and co-founder and editorial director of What Doctors Don’t Tell You ( McTaggart, her book The Intention Experiment and the web-based experiment itself have been prominently featured in Dan Brown’s latest book The Lost Symbol, and in the recently released moving documentary, I Am. Lynne, who lives in London with her British husband and their two daughters, speaks before many diverse audiences around the world.

Visit Lynne at her latest website:, at her main website:, at the site for her Intention Experiments, or at What Doctors
Don’t Tell You, which concerns conventional and alternative medicine:

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

A: I’ve been publishing articles and books for 38 years. I began my career as a journalist and investigative reporter.

When researching my second magazine article I stumbled onto a major international baby selling ring after posing as an unwed mother and then a prospective adoptive parent. The story resulted in a major indictment of the parties involved, and I was called to Congress to testify about these kinds of questionable adoption practices. The article also won a prize. I then expanded the work, exposed a number of other lawyers involved in these kinds of questionable set-ups and expanded my research into book, called The Baby Brokers.

After moving to the UK, I began writing about modern medicine for my popular newsletter What Doctors Don’t Tell you. In the course of this work I came across a number of scientific studies of spiritual healing. I realized that if it is true that a person can use his thoughts to get someone else better, then this undermines everything that we believe about how our universe works. A search for explanations led me to research cutting edge physics and interview many frontier scientists. This all led to my book The Field, which argues that everything in the universe is part of a vast quantum field and offers an explanation of much that remains unexplainable in our current scientific paradigm. I continued to explore our new scientific story and its implications in The Intention Experiment – which concerns the power of thought – and now The Bond, which examines whether we were made to be competitive and, if not, how nature has designed us to flourish only when we share, care and are fair.

I continue to be fascinated by the new paradigm emerging in science and how it is providing us with a new story to live by.

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

A: For centuries, Western culture has taught us to think of ourselves as individuals. Competition, assumed to be the most fundamental of human urges, forms the basis of our society, our economy, and most of our relationships.

But in my view we are living a lie. All the crises we face today, including the financial recession, have occurred precisely because the lives we’ve chosen to lead are based on competition and are not consistent with our truest nature as givers and sharers.

I pulled together a vast array of cutting edge scientific discovery, which demonstrates that we are in constant relationship with everything and everyone.

All living things succeed and prosper only when they see themselves as part of a greater whole and fully embrace the space between us. The relationship itself. The Bond.

In addition to providing a new narrative for our lives, I wanted to provide the first roadmap of how to live according to this new scientific story – a prescription for living based on cooperation and partnership.

Through many inspiring stories, I explain how to retrain ourselves to see the world from a more holistic perspective, to enjoy more cooperative relationships – even across the deepest divides – to enjoy more united social groups, and to discover a new and authentic purpose.

I hope to offer a message that is inspiring and empowering: by simple changes of perspective and action locally, each of us can become a major game changer, both to both transform our culture and to move out of crisis, individually and collectively.

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

A: The biggest challenge in my books, which offer a bridge between science and spirit, is pulling together a vast amount of scientific evidence and blending it into a readable narrative. I prefer narrative non-fiction – to tell stories – and to ‘sneak in’ the scientific data. That often presents structural challenges.

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: My press kits are my web sites: or and

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: I’ve been on hundreds of radio shows in the past few months and have spoken before dozens of audiences in the last few months as I the US, the UK and Europe, speaking about my book The Bond. I have plans to appear in September and October in Colorado, New York, Toronto, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Charleston, SC., plus many parts of the UK, the Netherlands and Germany. In 2012, I’ll be in many other countries, too.

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: Russell Galen of Scovil Galen Ghosh. I’ve always had an agent since I began writing books in 1975. I wouldn’t be without one. A good agent is your constant gardener, handling countless issues that arise in the course of selling, writing and publishing books, and Russ has been mine for 25 years.

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: My publisher hired a PR agent to plan a full mind-body-spirit radio and print tour, plus I hired someone to help with a physical tour of a number of cities. We also hired a blog tour host, which is happening at the moment.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A: This is my sixth book, but I have many more planned. However, my books require so much research and narrative work that I usually need a rest between them. Before I tackle a new book, I will be designing a number of programs for people to ‘live’ what I discuss in The Bond, including ways to create Bond ‘pods’ – which are supportive and close neighborhoods to help communities out of crisis.

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

A: Please visit my site: and download my free copy of The Fairness Principles. My books are available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and all booksellers.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Interview with Sherree Funk, Author of 'Peter: Rock Star from Galilee"

Well-grounded in biblical Christianity, Sherree G. Funk is passionate about sharing her love and knowledge of God’s Word with the next generation. She has earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and holds a Certificate in Christian Studies from Asbury Theological Seminary. Sherree leads small groups of teens at Ingomar UMC in Pittsburgh, PA. Her teen Bible studies are available at

Join a facebook group to study Peter this fall at

Sherree blogs on her website and also at

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Sherree. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing professionally and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Peter: Rock Star from Galilee?

About four years ago a small group of young teens asked me to lead them in Bible study, but I had trouble finding a study guide for them. As an adult I have loved the study guides by Beth Moore, so I wondered if a similar style, a bit shorter, with more fun questions might work.

After praying about it, I felt the Lord leading me to focus on a character and then draw out the issues that character faced, many of which are the same things students face today. I show how these characters made mistakes, but learned from them, and eventually trusted God for some big things. I like to integrate both Old and New Testament passages because the entire Bible is there to teach us how to live. My first studies were Lydia of Philippi: Believer in the Lord, Joshua: Strong and Courageous, and Ruth and Boaz: Woman of Excellence, Man of Honor.

Each 8-week study has a personal study component and ideas for small group discussion and activities. Teens want to learn how a Bible study can really be applied in their world. So active participation in outreach and service events is encouraged in my studies.

I have always admired the character of Peter. His natural enthusiasm and leadership qualities placed him front and center in many gospel stories. Either he was stepping out of the boat when everyone else was quaking in fear or he was putting his foot in his mouth, later regretting his words. Because there is so much material about Peter in the Bible, we can see his faith development quite clearly and learn so much from him.

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

I wanted a title that would grab the attention of my teen audience. Peter may not have played an electric guitar, but he had a larger-than-life rock star personality. When Jesus changed his name from Simon to Peter, it was because of his rock-solid statement of faith. (Peter is Greek for rock.) And though he tried hard to be the best disciple, Peter learned that only when he let go of his pride and received the Holy Spirit could he become the star disciple God intended him to be. Peter. Rock. Star. Disciple.

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

It’s not enough to just tell students the Bible is something they should read someday. If we really believe the Bible can help us live the life God wants for us, turning us toward the living Savior, then we should help kids get into it. Most of us need some guidance in our study, something to help us put the Bible in perspective for our own lives, and that is what my book can do for young people.
Peter: Rock Star from Galilee has a unique Bible study feature. Contemporary Christian songs and traditional hymns are listed at the start of each chapter. I’ve chosen songs whose lyrics emphasize the themes and issues encountered in the study. It is my hope that by linking the music to the study, teens will retain the truth in their hearts forever.

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

I love the cover Winepress came up with. The title is a bit of a play on words, so I wanted something to evoke both solid rock and the bright spotlights of a rock star performance. They succeeded with the rocky background texture, the big letters, and the upward-shining searchlight feel.

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?

Marketing is almost a full time job. I have a great book trailer on my website, facebook updates, advertisements, bulk mail postcards, book signings at local bookstores, press releases, and ICRS daily newspapers. Although Winepress has name recognition in the Christian retail industry, I have to do most of the marketing myself. And there is always something new to try.

Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?
For one thing, this is a personal guidebook, not just a lesson planner. For a great set of Sunday School Bible lessons, go to Youth Specialties’ Creative Bible Lessons series. And it is not a watered-down adult study. There are youth versions of Blackaby’s Experiencing God or Ortberg’s The Me I Want to Be or other popular studies. I have seen studies that link to popular movies. The music connection in this book is unique, I believe. This book is written directly to a young teen audience and encourages hands on Bible study and service to others.
Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?
OK, on page 81, Jesus’s Final Farewell, students are led to Matthew 28:6-20, also called The Great Commission. The questions help unpack the passage, piece by piece. Readers are asked, “Do you think Peter was humbled by the scope of this assignment? How might it impact you?” Then they are challenged to find practical ways to take the Great Commission seriously, with several suggestions to spur imagination.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

I do. My next character study will be on Hannah. She was the mother of Samuel in the Old Testament. Childless for many years, Hannah was tormented by bullying. She used self-control and poured out her anguish to the Lord. Her faithfulness and kindness are remarkable – a great role model for young people.

Q: Thank you for your interview, Sherree. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book? is my website, and all the studies are available there. You can also buy from,,,,, and some local bookstores. In fact, I would love it if you would request your local Christian store to carry it!

In September I will be leading an on-line study on facebook. Join the Peter Rock Star from Galilee Bible Study group at

Read my blogs at  and at

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Book for Review: Supernatural Thriller 'Devil's Hand' by M.E. Patterson

New Book for Review: Contemporary Fantasy/Supernatural Thriller ‘Devil’s Hand’ by M.E. Patterson

Devil's Hand

M.E. Patterson will be touring in October and November 2011 with his contemporary fantasy/supernatural thriller, Devil’s Hand.

Trent Hawkins survived a 30,000-foot fall from a jetliner and became an overnight sensation — the Luckiest Man Alive. For years, his strange and unnatural luck made him the king of the Las Vegas poker scene.

After years on the blacklist, despised by every high roller, he finds himself returning, with his wife, Susan, to his former stomping ground, only to be caught between a serial kidnapper, vengeful angels, poker-playing demons, and a magic-wielding thirteen year-old girl who stands unwittingly at the center of a fallen angel’s plot to end all of mankind in an unholy blizzard. As Las Vegas grinds to a halt, Trent is forced to make terrible sacrifices and must ultimately choose his role in the coming War, or watch our world fall to ruin beneath a blanket of shadow and ice.

316 pages

You can visit his website at

If you are a book blogger and would like to review Devil’s Hand, email Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife(at) Deadline for inquiries end October 25 or until the tour is filled. Thank you!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Writer's Life with Dark Fantasy Author Benjamin Kane Ethridge

Benjamin Kane Ethridge is the Bram Stoker Award winning author of the novel BLACK & ORANGE. His official web presence is and you can FaceBook him here, and Tweet him here,!/bkethridge

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

A: Absolutely. I dwell in Southern California, in a city called Rancho Cucamonga (yes, I know), with my patient wife and not-so-patient two-year old daughter. Presently, writing is a part-time job for me, but has been a full-time craze since childhood. My day job is in environmental regulation, something that’s extremely rewarding to me. I love the Earth and hope to always have some part in protecting it.

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

A: Black & Orange is about a gateway that opens every Halloween to a hostile land of sacrificial magic and chaos. Since the beginning of civilization the Church of Midnight has attempted to permanently open the gateway with the ideal sacrifice. This year that sacrifice has come. And only two can protect it.

Martin and Teresa are the nomads, battle-hardened people who lack identity and are forever road-bound on a mission to guard the sacrifice. But matters have become more complicated this year. Teresa has quickly lost ground battling cancer, while Martin has spiraled into a panic over being left alone. His mind may no longer be on the fight when it matters most... because ever on their heels is the insidious Chaplain Cloth.

This was an incredibly fun book to write. I suppose I had many different reasons for writing it. It started off as a short story that had grown too complex. Thinking about its length and potential to go on longer, I decided to write a novel.

I didn’t want to write a conventional Halloween tale. You know, one that is set in a remote, smallish-town, something spooky is amiss and must be resolved by a pair of conflicted local sheriffs. Stephen King already struck that chord long ago and delivered just about as well as any writer could ever imagine.

No, I didn’t seek to tread that ground again. I wanted to redefine Halloween without abandoning all of the tropes that make the holiday terrifying. For instance, there are killer Jack O’ Lanterns in Black & Orange, but many readers have envisioned them more as demonically charged gourds than typical pumpkin manifestations.

What kind of research was involved in writing Black & Orange?

A: Due to the fantastic nature of the novel, I can’t say I needed to research any subject in particular. I did ruminate on all the Halloween novels and movies I’d consumed in the past and consciously tried to isolate repeating themes to avoid.

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

A: Oh, so many folks out there would hate me if I said it was smooth sailing! I don’t know anybody who hasn’t had the turbulent ride up to the first sale. I started submitting short stories when I was nineteen-- then stopped the following year. I got lazy, got in my twenties, just got really sidetracked for all the wrong reasons. I continued to write though. I started and stopped four novels.

Time was quickly passing by. At twenty-eight years of age, I remember sitting on the couch, deep in a discussion with my wife, tears touching my eyes. “I’m not happy,” I told her, “not because of you—because of me. Writing. It might not make sense and it might not make us money, but it’s what I really want. And right now, I’m not doing anything about it.”

Fortunately for me, my wife understood. I started submitting to magazines again and had a series of short stories published, and then I sold a novel, which went on to win the Bram Stoker Award. I’m so glad I had that conversation with my wife!

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

A: A little more than a year and a half.

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: Several agents have solicited me at this point. One passed and the other went MIA. I understand that this isn’t unique. Securing an agent is difficult. I desire representation because, aside from the obvious contract negotiation stage, it helps an author in the submission process. I am a chronically bad submitter. Love writing. Hate selling. I would prefer to have someone do the selling for me, if possible. Plus, there are big houses who only take agented submissions.

Do you plan subsequent books?

A: I have written three novels since my first, which includes a stand-alone sequel to Black & Orange. I’m finishing up the editing on my second novel Dungeon Brain right now and will begin querying publishers soon.

Can you describe your most favorite place to write?

A: Anywhere silent suits me.

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

A: A building-sized advertisement in Times Square would be nice.

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 one-hundred percent necessary if you want your book to reach people. I’ve encountered some brilliant writers who somehow believe their books will find an audience just based on quality alone. That’s a colossal mistake. Word of mouth can work, but it’s a fluke most times. And do you really want to be one of those authors discovered one hundred years after your death? Call me outlandish, but I’d like massive feedback before then. So, go do signings wherever you can, toss off the timidity and do readings at genre conventions, do blog tours, and if you have money to advertise, by all means. You have to plant as many seeds as possible because not all of them are going to break soil and thrive. These days, many writers cannot depend on their publisher for enough exposure to succeed. That’s how it is.

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’s a struggle. You’re fighting a strong current, your wrists and ankles tied to cement blocks. With waves crashing over your every attempt, it’s easier to drown than to untie each complicated knot. If you get the ropes untied, you’re free to swim, right? Well yeah, in a tempest.

It’s natural to get discouraged when you write a story you believe fits a magazine perfectly, and they reject it in less time it took to seal the envelope it came in. The unfortunate news is that being published doesn’t rid you of disappointments—it might actually amplify it in some circumstances: bad reviews, poor sales, etc.

When shadows stretch over the process, I have thought of throwing in the towel, but I don’t indulge the idea very long. Writing is not always a career, but it is always a lifestyle. A writer has an abnormal mind. For the most part, we don’t want to experience life; we want to recreate life. This is inescapable. If you can give the life up, then you have to confess you belong to another species.

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

A: Have that same moment of truth I had. Do you want this life? Is this who you are? A writer? We can all write stories, but do you have an irrepressible obsession to share them with the world? If you know for certain, the rest is easy. Start fighting those waves and untying the ropes holding you down. It may take a very long time before you’re swimming gentle waters, but others have succeeded. You undoubtedly can too.

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

A: And thank you! It’s been a pleasure.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Interview with Lilian Duval, author of 'You Never Know'

Lilian Duval has been fascinated with lottery winners for years, and they’re the inspiration for her intriguing novel You Never Know, which explores how an ordinary man copes with terrible luck, and later, amazing luck, when he wins the Mega-Millions lottery. Her story collection, Random Acts of Kindness, will be published in 2012.

Lilian and her husband are both survivors of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. They live in a small house in New Jersey overlooking a large county park. She’s an amateur classical guitarist and enjoys attending concerts, plays, and movies in New York City.

You can visit her website at or follow her at Twitter at!/lilianduval and Facebook at

Thank you for this interview, Lilian. Can you tell us what your latest book, You Never Know: Tales of Tobias, an Accidental Lottery Winner, is all about?
Tobias Hillyer had a promising future until a car accident claimed the lives of his parents. Abandoning his dreams, he dropped out of college to take care of his orphaned, brain-damaged younger brother. Now in his late thirties, Tobias struggles to provide for his family, working dead-end jobs that fall far short of the academic career he had imagined.

Then he wins the New Jersey Mega-Millions! His financial worries eliminated, Tobias anticipates nothing but smooth sailing ahead for himself and the people he loves. But he soon finds that his amazing stroke of luck may threaten everything he holds dear.

Over peaks and valleys, this uplifting journey challenges everything we think we know about luck, life, and what we value most.

Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?
The main character, Tobias Hillyer, is tested with a tragic car accident that claims the lives of his parents and leaves his younger brother, Simeon, brain-damaged. This turn of events alters his life, but he perseveres despite the harsh reality.

After Tobias becomes an instant multi-millionaire, his troubles are far from over. Instead, a whole new set of problems confront him: family secrets, a strained marriage, broken friendships, and even a kidnapping. He must learn to readjust to his enormous stroke of luck, and quickly.

Carmela Liston: During regular hospital visits in support of Simeon’s recovery, Tobias befriends Carmela, an outstanding psychiatric nurse who is deeply devoted to Simeon’s case. Observing her tenderness and love for his ill-fated brother, Tobias falls in love with her, and eventually the two marry and start a family of their own.

Martin Scanlon: Tobias has a supportive yet competitive relationship with his best friend, Martin. A good-spirited man, Tobias endures surges of insecurity when he feels the need to outperform Martin, his old college roommate, who was able to finish school and pursue the ambitions they once shared.

Simeon Hillyer: The true gravitational center of the book is found in the complex, tragic, and ultimately triumphant figure of Simeon, who gradually emerges from the shadowland of his head injury and reclaims his artistic legacy. Simeon surfaces as the unexpected hero by realizing his own happiness and success. As he departs the nest to embark on his life journey, Simeon leaves behind a gift that brings his family full circle and finally grants Tobias inner peace.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
Both. The four main characters in this novel are all completely original. But if the author is hiding inside a character, it’s most likely Tobias; events that took place when I was his age at the beginning of the book changed my life forever.

One fleeting character in the book is based on a real person, an acquaintance from a few years ago who was always boasting about not owning a television. This trait was so irksome that I incorporated it into an annoying customer in my fictional bookstore, the Book Trove.

Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?
Yes, absolutely. I plotted the main action of You Never Know before writing the first chapter. The elements were Tobias’s back story, his lottery win, and life as a newly wealthy man.

Most of the side plots came into being as I developed the characters and wrote each chapter.

Your book is set in Woodrock, New Jersey. Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?
This fictional suburban town is an amalgam of the actual New Jersey towns of Ridgewood and Glen Rock, with some creative frills added. Like many other writers, I enjoy the irony afforded by fiction set in the suburbs: these towns seem to be safe places where the characters can feel at home; and yet, dangers lurk in every corner, and even within the characters themselves.

Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?
Very much so. In the beginning, the town of Woodrock is a trap. Tobias had returned home for a visit from college, only to end up living there for many years following the accident that killed his parents and injured his brother. A Woodrock bookstore, the Book Trove, offered Tobias his first job, and was his only means of support for many years. Tobias’s wife is a nurse in a Woodrock hospital, and his children are born there. Woodrock is the place where Simeon begins recovering from his injury. Woodrock’s proximity to New York City during the terrorist attacks of 2001 underscores its vulnerability.

Open the book to page 69. What is happening?
In the presence of their closest friends, Martin and Valerie, Carmela has just presented Tobias with a surprise: five tickets to the U.S. Open tennis competition in Flushing Meadows, Queens. An ardent amateur tennis player, Tobias is elated. It’s the first time since the traumatic accident that he overcomes his gloom: “He got up and pulled her out of her chair, hugging her and swaying with her. She had never before seen a smile of pure joy on his face.”

Can you give us one of your best excerpts?
[In the following excerpt, the newly wealthy family is returning home from a 6-star resort in Hawaii:]

Tobias, disliking contrived magic, cannot wait to leave a paradise that he did not earn, populated by tourists who don’t mingle, served by members of a working class trained to treat visitors like deities. He’s not sure about the math, but he guesses that the total cost of goods and services for one day in this resort would be enough to pay for a hundred new schools in some impoverished country. He keeps this cliché to himself, gives generous tips to their butler and chef, and gratefully escorts his family to the airport.

They fly home in business class to dirty old New York, where the people are rude, the streets are crowded, the weather is atrocious, and magic arises of its own accord, from ordinary people doing small, unexpected things.

Thank you so much for this interview, Lilian. We wish you much success!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Interview with Dr. Jeri Fink, Author of Trees Cry for Rain

Dr. Jeri Fink is an author, Family Therapist, and journalist, with over 19 books and hundreds of articles to her name. She writes adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction, and has appeared on television, radio, book events, seminars, workshops, and the internet. Dr. Fink’s work has been praised by community leaders, educators, reviewers, and critics around the country.

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

I was eight years old, It was long past bedtime and the room was completely dark. I balanced a flashlight over my notebook, because I was supposed to be asleep. The pages were filled with my stories - people I knew and didn't know, tales I made up in my head, and characters that wandered freely in my imagination. Suddenly, I paused. The words came unbidden.

I was put on this planet to write.

I've done many things since that moment. But one thing has never changed. I'm here to write.

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

Trees Cry For Rain began with a story. I read about a group of people in New Mexico who followed odd customs in their Catholic community - such as lighting candles on Friday night and refusing to eat pork. Local historians discovered that they were the descendants of Secret Jews who had fled the Spanish Inquisition. They were all practicing Christians, but unknowingly remained connected to their past. I wondered what it must have been like to live with these secrets? How do powerful memories survive time, hidden for five hundred years? Something inside me stirred, as if it was a part of my history, too. The questions had to be answered.

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

It took four years to write and research my book. I assembled a large library on the subject; and traveled in the United States Spain, Portugal and Israel. I met many people and discovered that five hundred years meant little in human consciousness. My biggest challenge was language - I don't speak Spanish, Portuguese or Hebrew. Consequently, I had to rely on translations and sources written in English. That was very frustrating!

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?

I haven't spoken to groups about Trees Cry For Rain. However, it's my 19th book, and I have appeared many times in public venues, including radio, TV, conferences, workshops, seminars, and book events. When my virtual book tour is complete, I will appear live in various places, including New York City, Long Island and Southern Florida.

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?

I have had many agents over the years - and none of them ever sold a book for me! For example, Trees Cry For Rain was sold to my publisher (Dailey Swan) after I met him at BEA (Book Expo America) in New York. My first Trees book signing took place, pre-publication, at BEA!

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?

The world of books and readers has changed dramatically. Our "media blitz" begins with my virtual book tour and continues with both online and live appearances. That's a job in itself!

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

I finished my next novel, a psychological thriller, during the two years it took for Trees Cry For Rain to be published. I'm now working on the next book - another historical novel. I never stop writing.

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

Trees Cry For Rain can be purchased at most online bookstores, including,, and It's also available through independent bookstores online or at brick-and-mortar stores (you may have to order it, depending on the store).

I'm all over the web! Please visit me - I love to talk to readers and hear their comments. You can find me on my website, Face book, Author's den, YouTube, etc. Or email me at

The URLs are below.

I have a special page where readers take photographs of themselves, family, friends, or scenes with my book, and send them to be posted on my website. Check it out at:

It's a lot of fun! We have shots from the Galapagos Islands to California and New York! Please join me there. Send your photos to I would love to see you.