Thursday, March 29, 2012

Book Spotlight: Special Delivery by Kathi Macias


In book two of the “Freedom” series, readers find Mara fighting against her attraction to Bible college student Jonathan Flannery, even while wrestling with risking her own precarious safety to become involved in the rescue of another girl who is pregnant and desperately wants to escape her captors and save her own life, as well as her child’s.

Halfway around the world in a brothel in Thailand, a young girl named Lawan is rescued with the promise of being reunited with her little sister who was adopted by an interracial couple in the States, friends of Jonathan’s family.

Meanwhile, Jefe—Mara’s uncle, who held her as a sex slave in his brothel in San Diego for years—seeks revenge for Mara’s testimony that put him behind bars for life. Will his underworld connections be successful in kidnapping and killing the girl who believes she has finally won her freedom?
Read an excerpt!


Prologue

It was good to be back in San Diego, though Mara made it a point to avoid going anywhere near the area where she’d once lived as a modern-day slave. The memories were too ugly, and she did everything possible to block them out. When the topic came up—which it did all too often these days, as the general public became more aware of its prevalence—Mara immediately changed the subject or walked away. It was an evil best left for others to combat.
The early summer sun shone warm on her dark hair, cut short now in a modern style that complimented her dainty features and accentuated her large hazel eyes. Her good looks and trim figure often drew whistles and comments, but she ignored them all. Having a man in her life didn’t even rate at the bottom of her priority list.
Mara closed her eyes and let the mild breeze toss her hair and caress her skin. There was nothing she liked better than coming to the beach and finding a deserted spot to sit and listen to the waves rush in and break on the packed, wet sand. It was nearly impossible to find such a private place on the weekends, but this was mid-morning on Monday, and the place wouldn’t start filling up until closer to lunchtime. By then she’d be at work.
She smiled at the thought of her new job. She was a waitress now, making enough in wages and tips to rent a room and meet her basic needs. Though she’d taken advantage of UI benefits, specifically designed to help people from other countries who had been victims of crime while in the United States, it had still taken her nearly two years to get all the necessary paperwork cleared so she could not only come to the States legally but do so as a U.S. citizen. But she’d been persistent, determined to leave her homeland of Mexico, with all its violence and corruption and poverty, behind. Even with all that had happened to her here in Southern California during her youth, she knew that America held more promise for her than the country of her birth. And besides, what did she have to hold her there? It was her parents who had sold her into slavery, and her own uncle, her tio, who had stolen her innocence, held her captive, and served as her pimp until at last he was captured and sent to prison. So far as she was concerned, her family was dead to her. She had no desire ever to see any of them again.
Mara opened her eyes and watched a tanned, bathing-suit clad couple stroll along the sand in front of her, the waves lapping at their bare feet. Arms wrapped around one another’s waist, they seemed oblivious to anything or anyone else, talking and laughing together as if they were the only human beings on earth. The thought skittered through Mara’s mind that she might have a relationship like that one day, but just as quickly she excised it from her realm of possibility. At barely twenty years old, she’d already had enough of the male population to last her for several lifetimes.
Affirming that thought with a quick nod of her head, she grabbed the towel she’d been sitting on and stood to her feet. She didn’t have a car yet, but it was only a ten-minute walk to the seafood café where she was now employed.
Gainfully and respectably employed, she reminded herself. Tio used to tell me I’d never be anything but a prostitute, and that he’d kill me before he’d let me leave. But look at me now—free as a bird while he rots in prison. Maybe there really is a God after all….

Read the reviews!

Kathi Macias draws us into the world of sex trafficking, showing how it sometimes, believe it or not, is right under our noses—in our own communities. She sheds a bright spotlight on the emotional and spiritual effects of not only the victims but those called by God to help victims and be a source of deliverance to them. A timely book.
~C. S. Lakin, author of Someone to Blame

In Special Delivery, Kathi Macias explores the troubling realities of human trafficking in a powerful and emotional new novel that puts a face on the women and children involved in this all-too-real world.
~Lisa Harris, author of Blood Covenant, a Christy Award Finalist


Special Delivery by Kathi Macias handles a tough subject with compassion and an intriguing story that sweeps you from the United States to Thailand. The three-dimensional characters make you care what happens to them in this hard to put down book.
~Margaret Daley, ACFW President and author of Saving Hope


Special Delivery continues Kathi Macias' important and captivating series dealing with human trafficking and sexual slavery in which she highlights the reality and inhumanity of a very real world issue. As a survivor of long-term childhood sexual abuse, I have a small sense of what these "slaves" suffer and I applaud Kathi for her willingness to tackle this topic, enlighten readers with truth, and offer the hope of our Rescuer and Healer, Jesus Christ. Thank you, Kathi!
~Ginny L. Yttrup, Author of Words and Lost and Found


Kathi Macias really cares about the victims of sex trafficking. If you didn’t know that before, you will after reading Special Delivery. Interwoven stories from Thailand to Mexico to the USA show the horrific plight of girls caught up in this vicious web. Their combined story is sure to move your heart.
~Kay Marshall Strom, Award-winning author of 40 books, including two fiction series: Grace in Africa and Blessings in India



Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored more than 30 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association). Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al. You can find Kathi at www.kathimacias.com or www.boldfiction.com.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Humorous Fiction Author Kenny Scudero on Virtual Book Tour 2012

Join Kenny Scudero as he tours the blogosphere April 2 - 20 2012 on a virtual book tour to promote his new humorous fiction book, Comfortably Awkward.

Comfortably Awkward is Kenny Scudero’s debut self-published novel. He is a twenty-two year old author from New York City who looks forward to a bright future in writing. Kenny recently graduated from St. John’s University where he majored in Sport Management. At St. John’s, Kenny was Sports Editor for the University newspaper. After graduating from St. John’s, Kenny had trouble finding a job and wrote “Comfortably Awkward” based off that frustration. He is currently working on his second novel.



Comfortably Awkward centers around Albert Ferenzo whose life is a series of ironic events that may or may not have a reason behind them. While struggling to find a niche for himself, Albert blames the corporate world for hindering his dream of making money and living a prosperous life. After playing the good guy his entire life, Albert decides that the only way to get ahead in the world is to be the bad guy. Albert questions his own fate as he drives himself to insanity in an effort to find happiness. The destinies of Albert and everyone around him intertwine as he finally realizes what life is all about or at least, he thinks he does in this revolt against normality.

"I'm so excited to have Kenny on tour with us in April," says Dorothy Thompson of Pump Up Your Book, an innovative public relations agency specializing in online book promotion and social media marketing for authors. "He's been such a pleasure to work with and we're both excited for the tour to start. He'll be appearing on blogs around the county answering questions, writing guest posts and will be appearing in two AuthorVids which will give you a more personal look at this talented author as well as a spot on Barry Eva's talk show, A Book and a Chat. He's also offering book giveaways and it'll be a wonderful experience for him as well as for his readers."

You can visit Kenny’s official tour page at http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2012/03/11/pump-up-your-book-presents-comfortably-awkward-virtual-book-publicity-tour-april-2012.

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, March 20, 2012

Interview with Contemprary Romance Author K.T. Wells

We welcome today K.T. Wells, author of the contemporary romance novel, Nobody’s Angel (Boroughs Publishing Group).

K. T. has been telling stories since before she could read. She used to narrate books for her baby brother, concocting a plotline from the pictures. Not much has changed. One of her husband’s favorite pastimes is to listen to her tales after asking her to tell the story of people they observe in restaurants, airports or the subway.

Fascinated by the human condition, K. T.’s writing captures the emotions that drive the engines of our hearts. She is captivated by the rituals of love and believes everyone is entitled to a happily ever after.

You can visit her at http://ktwells.wordpress.com.

Nobody's Angel



About Nobody’s Angel


Jake and Angie’s twentieth high school reunion sets the perfect stage for their lifelong friends to reunite the former sweethearts. Major roadblock – they have to trick Angie into coming home after twenty years. An elaborate ruse ensues at the same time they work on browbeating Jake into attending.

Maneuvering through emotional minefields rates a 10 for difficulty level, particularly when Angie lives the maxim: Time does not heal all wounds. And Jake? Check the Wiki pic next to Pride comes before the fall. Yep, that’s him tripping all over himself year after year.

But the firm conviction that these two were meant to be together propels a cast of quirky, determined friends into action. When tragedy derails the best laid plans, will Jake and Angie’s love rise to the occasion?

Interview with K.T. Wells


Q: Thank you so much for this interview, K.T. Can you tell us where you are from?


New York City.


Q: How did you come up with the title?

The heroine’s name is Angelique and one of the main characters has called her Angel all her life. Given the heartbreak she’s suffered and the torch she’s carrying, Nobody’s Angel seemed fitting.


Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

I wanted to communicate Romance and tenderness in a beautiful setting. Using warm colors and a beautiful pattern, the designer, Delle Jacobs, brought this vision to life.


Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

Get ready to laugh and cry. The story delivers the full range of emotions through an ensemble cast of characters that are both quirky and familiar at the same time.


Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?
Never, ever, ever give up on love.


Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

There were a few actually, but the Thanksgiving Day chapter stands out, as it was the culmination of chapters of build up with a lot of moving parts. Bringing everything together with so many strong characters in one room was both a challenge and a laugh riot.


Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

I couldn’t get these people out of my head – they wouldn’t shut up – they demanded their book.


Q: Now, some fun questions - What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

None, really, I’d love to maintain this mysterious allure I’ve got going on … but, okay, if I could, I’d eat a bag of potato chips a day.


Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Australia/New Zealand to see the natural beauty I’ve glimpsed in photographs, books and movies. Also, having friends from down-under, I know I’d find my travels filled with warm, friendly people.


Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

Night owl.


Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

I’m it.


Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

Absolutely.


Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?

To have a fully functional, good for a lifetime, magic wand.


Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

Thank you for inviting me and for letting me spend some time with your readers. I appreciate the opportunity and since I enjoy making new friends, please feel free to visit my website, leave a comment, tweet or friend me on Facebook. Cheers – KT.

Book Spotlight: BLOOD: The New Red by David S. Grant


Blood: The New Red begins at an after party where Mickey, and ex-adult movie star turned supermodel, is aligning himself with one of the top Designers of Seventh Avenue. While trying to land a job on the runway Mickey is thrown into the center of a scene where sex is often the motivation, the wine is served by year, and cocaine is back in full force. Juanita, Mickey’s girlfriend is having difficulties staying sober, fully clothed, and off of her famous boyfriend.

Mickey goes to work for Fashion icon Paul Johnson, one of the two top Designers in NYC. The other is Sandy Johnson, another Designer who will stop at nothing including murder to guarantee victory. A runway exhibition has been scheduled for the two to compete in and find out who truly is the best Johnson. Mickey will be Paul’s top model, and Sandy has found a homeless person nicknamed Kung Fu Master to show his line.

In addition to getting his new line in place, Paul Johnson is also buying chain saws, the louder the better, to put the special in this special event.

Did you know that you can’t be sentenced to prison if actively seeking help at a mental facility? Paul Johnson knows this.

Somewhere between the girls, counting Vicodin pills, and show preparation Mickey has grown a conscience and no longer likes what he sees. He believes (and his psychiatrist agrees) that he has the power to change what’s happening around him.

Days before the show Kung Fu Master turns up dead and there is an attempt on Mickey’s life. After a brief period of unconsciousness Mickey is back, is told that Juanita and brother Cheeks are now also dead and that he must continue with the show. After all, what would Steven Tyler do?
The night of the show is laced with celebrities and models on the runway as well as one particular popular day-time talk show host that may or may not be murdered on the runway.

In the end only one Johnson will walk away, although this is temporary as Mickey has the last word.

Right before he pops his last Vicodin.

Read an excerpt!

Always look like a rock star. This is the number one secret on how to be famous. I’m wearing chains, lots of chains. Eye shadow, lots of eye shadow. I wouldn’t say my pants are tight, but then again, my balls might disagree with you at the moment.

I’m standing on the second level of the Grand Hotel, overlooking the bar area. My manager tells me this is where I need to be standing. In five minutes I will move across the room and stand next to a long mirror where one of the Hiltons will walk by and notice my reflection. A photographer will be close by and be sure to get the picture. This mirror has been placed here for this sole purpose. My manager tells me not to stare at the mirror. If you asked me to list my weaknesses, this may be my number one fault.

DJ Shingles, the newest (which means hottest) DJ, is playing on a middle level between the first and second floors. There is barely enough room for him let alone the overflowing ashtray and oversized stocking cap. Rumor has it this is his last show, despite this being his first. There is talk that he is moving into production and will be working with a major player in the hip hop industry, depending on who is hot at the time. DJ Shingles is wearing an Armani black button-down shirt with the sleeves ripped off. Very last year, but this is more a statement than a miscalculation on his part. Last season is the new season.

My manager signals for me to make my way across toward the mirror. A reporter from GQ is following me and asking me questions about who I’m going to sign with and whether or not my past will affect my future. I get her number, tell her I’ll call her later, and then blow her off as I approach the mirror. Always leak your press, never tell. This is secret number three on how to be famous.

Four widescreen televisions are fastened to the wall behind the bar. All are showing TMZ. An orange haired girl wearing a Betsey Johnson dress sees me staring at the television sets. She walks over and whispers in my ear, “It’s the new CNN.”

A waiter carrying a tray of wine from 1980 is walking by. Every 15 minutes another waiter, another tray, another year will walk by. Welcome to the world of fashion parties. Ten percent content, ninety percent presentation.

A man who goes by the name Dontay hands me a coffee cup that is full of scotch. My manager tells me to sip it and not cheers anyone. Any buzz that insinuates I’ve been in rehab and have put my porn career in the past is good press and can only help my modeling career. As scheduled, I’m approached by someone with the last name Hilton.

The Hilton is wearing a blouse that is considered the color Ocean, the new blue, but since Aquamarine blue was in fact the new blue for last season and last season is in this season, no one should be caught dead in Ocean. Unless of course she is being ironic. If so, she will have to mention this to at least three people during the course of the evening.

“Mickey, you’re back! I mean, uh…” Hilton looks at the coffee cup. “Welcome back!” She tips her coffee cup to me.

I glance around at the guest list, wondering who has the most juice at the party, but am distracted by the waiter walking through with wines from 1990.
“Good year for cabernets,” Hilton says, then grabs her blouse. “Last season is the new season, huh? Fuck that.” She laughs and looks fidgety as lights pop around us. At one point Hilton puts her arm around me and kisses me on the cheek. FLASH. Mission accomplished.

“I miss you, Mickey. We should get together sometime, you know, have a cup of coffee, fuck, or something.”

Sure, I tell her and then she leaves because she has a rule about spending over forty hours a week on the Lower East Side and this season many Fashion Week parties have been in LES, the new SoHo.

According to my manager, I need to make my way to a reserved table next to the bar where Paul Johnson is sitting. My manager also says to ignore the temptation of champagne. I have a job to do tonight.

When I approach, Paul gets up from his table and gives me a hug. “Welcome back, Mick. We’ve missed you.” I tell Paul great show and congratulations on the new line, then look at the table and see they are all drinking 1986 chardonnay and there’s a small mountain of cocaine in the center of the table. Paul looks at my cup and asks me if I need another coffee and I tell him I’m okay and then he proceeds to introduce me to the guests at his table, which include Lindsay Lohan, Jay Z, John Stamos, and four models I’ve never met but have bumped into during my previous job. One is a brunette with piercing blue eyes that I may have even shot a scene with but am not positive since I never saw much of her face. I pull out a pack of Camel non-filtered cigarettes and light one up. Paul asks me to join them. My manager agrees, so I grab a seat. The brunette tells me I look familiar, John Stamos says the same, and I grab a random razor from the ashtray and cut a line for myself.

Paul follows my lead, does a line and then lifts his head. There are still remnants of powder on his nose, but judging from his smile, he doesn’t care. “Mickey, I want you to be my feature model, and I want to use you for my next project. What do you say?”

No one has ever turned down an offer from Paul Johnson, one of the top two designers in New York City. I consider saying no, just to make history, but my manager doesn’t agree with this decision, so I put some cocaine on the razor blade and turn toward the brunette. On cue she lowers her dress, revealing her left nipple. I dump the coke onto the top of her left breast, move in, and snort it. She giggles and then says, “Now I remember you.”

I excuse myself from the table because my manager has me scheduled to bump into Sandy Johnson near the men’s restroom in three minutes. On my way to my spot, Dontay walks past and hands me a full coffee cup and slips me the number of John Stamos, “Just in case,” he says.

Sandy exits the bathroom with his fly unzipped, hand in hand with Stan, his boy toy for the night, laughing and then flagging down a waiter holding a sign: 2002. My manager has strategically placed me between Sandy and the waiter so Sandy notices me and walks over. “Mickey! My God, you look fabulous!” Sandy gives me half-hug and cups my buttocks, then mentions that he has heard a lot of rumors involving me and the porn industry. I just laugh and tell him there’s nothing wrong with franchising my body.

“Amen to that.” Sandy turns to Stan and tells him to fetch him a glass of 2002 because he needs to talk business. Sandy surveys the scene and leans in to me. “Fabulous, isn’t it?” I nod and then Sandy says, “Just murderous!”
Sandy moves next to me and puts his arm around my shoulder. “Did you see my show today?” It was great and congratulations I tell him but am cut off as he tries to say something, pauses, then finally says, “So I see you were talking with Paul.”

I take a drink of Johnnie Walker and then say, “Yeah, actually he just offered me a job.”

Sandy grabs his heart. “Oh, the betrayal! I think I’m going to faint.” Stan appears out of nowhere with a chair for Sandy to sit down in and hands him a glass of wine. Sandy takes a drink and agrees that it is indeed 2002 and this seems to settle him. “Mickey, baby, we go way back. Your first runway, I believe. Honey, you need to come work for me, not that…” Sandy flickers over toward Paul, “beast!”

My manager tells me that I need to step outside because Juanita, my girl, can’t get inside because she refuses to wear shoes and has just put out a joint on the bouncer’s arm.

I tell Sandy thank you, and he says he’ll be in touch. I lean into his ear and let him know his pants are unzipped and he says, “I know, it’s the new sign.”

I finish my cup of scotch and walk outside where Juanita is not only not wearing shoes but is also not wearing any pants, only a light purple Versace thong. The bouncer notices me and tells me that he doesn’t have a problem with the thong, but there’s a policy regarding the shoes. I let him know I understand and then buy a gram of cocaine off of him. I put Juanita in my limo and give her the gram to keep her busy. “I need to go inside and finish some business. I’ll be right back,” I tell her but she doesn’t hear a word, already ripping open the gram and cutting three lines. “Thanks baby!” I hear her yell as I shut the door.

Back inside, my manager wants me to be on the right side of the bar because the glow from the light accentuates my features best. I look over and see Paul Johnson telling a story that I’m guessing involves a Hollywood movie star, too much champagne, and no panties while he decides which two models he is going to take home tonight. On the other side, Sandy Johnson is whispering into the ear of Stan and undoubtedly outing many of the stars here tonight. Presently, in between sips of three-hundred-dollar glasses of wine, they are pointing at Andy Garcia and nodding.

Paul Johnson versus Sandy Johnson, the two top designers in the city, fighting for the top spot. Fashion Designer of the Year. Earlier today Paul introduced a new line of furs despite the protest of PETA outside their tents at Bryant Park. At the end of the show Paul had all of his models come out onto the stage wearing nothing but fur and had a man with a wiry mustache throw goat blood all over all of them as Paul screamed, “It’s the new red!”

Meanwhile, across the park, Sandy Johnson displayed his new men’s line on the runway by having his male models hold the garments as they strutted naked and hard. Rumor has it there was no “fluffer” required. Sandy Johnson can be hands-on when required.

Both shows received standing ovations. The debate over which show was better continues. Paul versus Sandy, good versus evil, although in this case it is not clear who is playing which role. There was talk at one point that for Paul’s next line, Eternal, a model would be executed on the runway.
As I light a Camel, my manager notifies me that Paul is approaching. “Mickey, be in my office first thing tomorrow.” When Paul says tomorrow, he means 8AM tomorrow.

Too quick for even my manager to notice, Sandy comes up and asks me if I’m seeing anyone and I mention Juanita, which leads to a disappointed face and he tells me to stop by in the morning to discuss working for him. When Sandy says tomorrow morning, he means never.

My manager is noncommittal but pleased. We have accomplished our goal for the night. I glance over at Paul Johnson, then over at Sandy Johnson, the two kings, bitter rivals and not related. Simply known around the city as The Johnsons.

Walking out of the Grand, I look over at my limo. The window is rolled down and Juanita appears to have passed out. I walk over to my driver and tell him to take her home. As I turn back toward the club there is a TMZ camera in my face. “Mickey! Mickey! Who are you going with?” I light a Camel, remove my aviators, and look into the camera. “I’m going with Johnson! You can use that!” FLASH.

I reach into my pocket and grab the number of the GQ reporter and call her. We agree to meet at Lucky Sevens at Rivington and Stanton.

After we talk, she sends me a text message that reads: CAN’T WAIT TO GET MY LIPS AROUND YOU.

I go back to the doorway of the Grand (where I can hear “Mama Said Knock You Out” over the speakers), score another gram, stop off in the bathroom for a line, and then catch a cab to Lucky Sevens. In the cab the song “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis is playing. I cut a line and offer it up to the cab driver, who can’t snort it fast enough. I do a line and sit back, smiling.

Act like you’ve lived this moment a hundred times over. This is the forty-third secret on how to be famous.

David S. Grant is the author of ten books including Corporate Porn, Bleach|Blackout, Hollywood Ending, and Rock Stars. His latest novel, Blood: The New Red, is now available. David lives and writes his weekly rock, travel, and NBA columns from New York City. For more information go to http://www.davidsgrant.com Twitter: @david_s_grant

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hot Pink Equals Red Hot: Rozsa Gaston on Why Book Covers are so Important

I am a cover freak. I can pick out a poorly made cover faster than I can admit I'm a cover freak. Your cover is what sells your book despite what everyone thinks. I was looking at a cover yesterday that was outstanding and...I bought the book at Amazon (after reading the synopsis of course) but it was that cover that led me to find out what the book was about. So, yes, covers sell.

We have a wonderful guest post today from Rozsa Gaston, author of
Paris Adieu, Dogsitters, Budapest Romance, Lyric, Running from Love and the soon to be released Paris Adieu sequel, Black is Not a Color Unless Worn By a Blonde. Rozsa studied European intellectual history at Yale, and then received her master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia. In between Rozsa worked as a singer/pianist all over the world. She currently lives in Connecticut with her family. You can visit Rozsa’s website at www.parisadieu.com for more information on her and her book.

I welcome Rozsa as she tells us why she thinks covers are so important. Be sure to check out her latest book, Paris Adieu!

_________________________________

Hot Pink Equals Red Hot: Rozsa Gaston on Why Book Covers are So Important

Book covers either draw you in or they don't. Above all, they should have mystique. Less is more. It's the readers' imagination that's going to fill in the blanks, but give them a point of departure, something to visually chew on.

Case in point: my latest book Paris Adieu. An image of the book's main character, Ava Fodor, dominates the cover. This image immediately provoked a strong response from both women and men. The women's responses were largely negative. The men's responses were all positive. Bingo. I knew we'd struck pay dirt judging by the reaction from both sexes.

The women largely said "she looks a bit fat," "I don't really like her." That pleased me, because my main character is a bit chubby, but above all, she's appealing. The reason women don't really like her is because men do.

I'm sure there are plenty of women who'd like to find out what magic Ava possesses, because how dare she be a bit chubby and hugely appealing all at the same time? Isn't that what most of us would like to be too?

The men largely said, "Who's the girl?" In fact, they all said, "Who's the girl?," which told me our cover was a red hot hit.

Or rather, a hot pink one. The Paris Adieu cover combines hot pink with shades of grey. It perfectly captures the journey Ava makes from black and white, Puritan-inflected New England, where she grew up, to Paris' shades of grey, accented with Ava's hot pink readiness to embrace life. Adventure, anyone?

Another cover refinement lies embedded in the letters forming the book title, Paris Adieu. The "A" in "Paris" is shaped into the Eiffel Tower. The "I" in "Adieu" forms the Empire State Building. Ingenious, no? The title's first word tells the reader where the story takes place – Paris. The title's second word "adieu" tells the reader that that mysterious woman on the cover is going to leave Paris for New York, most probably. However, there's only one way to find out what happens to her before she bids adieu to Paris turn the page and start reading.

Hats off to Rob Mohan for his wonderful cover design for Paris Adieu by Rozsa Gaston. Available on amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and smashwords.com.

Interview with Barbara Lampert, author of 'Charlie: A Love Story'


Barbara Lampert is a Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in relationships. She’s been in private practice in Brentwood, California for over twenty years. She considers her work a calling and loves what she does. She has a doctorate in medical sociology and two master’s degrees – one in psychology and one in sociology. Barbara has adored dogs her whole life. They’re her passion! She notes that for a lot of people, their dogs are their best friends. She loves helping people know that’s ok – that a soul-satisfying relationship may be found with any being and needs to be treasured. Besides her love of dogs, Barbara is an avid gardener and finds herself gardening in much of her spare time. She sees her garden as a work of art. She loves being in nature – the miracle of growth, the ever-changing landscape, its beauty. Today Barbara lives happily in Malibu, California with her husband David (married twenty-eight years!) and their six-year-old Golden Retriever, Harry. Barbara hopes that Charlie: A Love Story will be a tribute not only to a magnificent dog but to all dogs everywhere. You can visit her website at www.charliealovestory.com.

ABOUT CHARLIE: A LOVE STORY

Charlie: A Love Story tells of the beautiful love between Charlie, a Golden Retriever, and the author, Barbara Lampert. It takes place in Malibu, California. When Charlie turned eleven years old and started having some health problems, a journal Barbara was keeping about her garden quickly became mostly about Charlie. Charlie: A Love Story is an intimate look at an incredible connection between a canine and a human. And as a psychotherapist who specializes in relationships, Barbara brings that sensibility and understanding to Charlie’s story as well. Charlie was Barbara’s loyal confidante and best friend. He was indomitable, had a zest for life and an uncanny emotional intelligence. Charlie: A Love Story is about devotion, joy, loss, and renewal, about never giving up or giving in. But mostly it’s about an extraordinary dog and an extraordinary relationship.

Q. Welcome to The Writer’s Life, Barbara. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Charlie: A Love Story?

As far as writing a book, this is my first one. But in one form or another I’ve been writing most of my life, primarily either journaling or writing papers for school. Lots of papers for school, because I’ve obtained a number of advanced degrees.

Charlie: A Love Story actually came out of a gardening journal I was keeping. When Charlie was eleven years old, he began having some health problems. At the time, I was keeping a gardening journal while I was landscaping our property in Malibu on almost an acre of land. Very quickly that journal became mostly about Charlie, for a number of reasons. Mostly, I was struck by his Buddha-like attitude in dealing with his health issues. He’d bravely and with a very light attitude face one health issue after another. Also, he and I had always been extremely close, and it helped me so much to write about him and his very courageous way of facing his life’s challenges. He seemed to bounce out of each challenge joyfully, with a renewed zest for life.

Q. How did you choose your title and was it your first choice?

Ah, the title search! My title is my second choice, but you know what, I now like it better than my first choice, Charlie and Me. In 2005 when John Grogan’s Marley and Me came out, I of course had to find another title. At first I was really disappointed. I remember walking into Barnes and Noble in the fall of 2005 and seeing rows and rows of Grogan’s book and just thinking “now what?”

Before I settled on Charlie: A Love Story, I came up with a long list of possibilities. I let them roll around in my head, I asked various people their opinions, I spoke with the publisher, and I gathered lots of information about the title selection process and reasons people liked one title or another. So the title I finally chose came after much deliberation. Eventually though, I started thinking that Charlie: A Love Story fits my book so much better, because first and foremost it’s a book about Charlie, and secondarily it’s also about our beautiful relationship. So I’m really happy with the title 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?

A little before and right after my publication date of January 27th, 2012, I felt as if a whistle blew, the gate flew open, and I was in a race. I kept hearing how important the first few months are when promoting a book. And it’s been nonstop since then. I think I have publicized my book far more than my publisher has, which I’ve heard and believe is usually the case. The publisher sent out lots of pitch letters and books for review, which helped the book get known and which garnered some wonderful endorsements, a radio interview, and some notices in newspapers.

For my part, I printed 1,000 five-by-seven-inch postcards and started handing them out to everyone I could. I took them to shops in my hometown of Malibu and also in nearby Montecito, where some of Charlie’s story takes place. Most shopkeepers were so gracious about keeping these postcards on display. The postcards are also prominently on display in my psychotherapy office and of course will be there for quite a while. I’ve spoken with three book store owners about book signings and so far have had one fabulous book signing at Tecolote Book Shop in Montecito. I have promises from the other two book stores for signings in the next month or so.

I’m now in the middle of a blog tour, which I think will be help with internet visibility and further spreading the word. Due to my efforts, my book is now being carried in three book stores including a Barnes & Noble in the Westlake/Thousand Oaks area not far from my home. My book is also being carried by our local newsstand. I feel very lucky about the reception my book has received from so many people and places. The very positive feedback makes it easier and easier to promote it. I love my book and hope to get as many people to read it as possible. Besides being a great dog story because Charlie was a great dog, I think it will be extremely helpful to people and their pets. The wonderful feedback I’ve gotten has already shown this to be true. Which makes me so happy.

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

This is a fun thing to do! I opened to page 13. Yes, and there is the story of Charlie when he was six years old and rescuing a bird the size of a thimble. He only wanted to point it out to me, didn’t try to get it or move it, just tried to let me know that it needed help. I still remember that day. I can still see Charlie standing over that tiny bird and wagging his tail and not moving until he got me to come over there. “What a kind, gentle soul…”

Q. Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes, and I can’t believe I’m saying that already! I’m thinking about a gardening book but who knows, maybe another dog book. There are no words to describe how much I love dogs, so I could write about them endlessly. Maybe I will.

Q. What is the one thing you learned about your book AFTER it was published?

About the book itself, I learned how much I really liked the way it turned out! Publishing it was lots of work—the details, the back and forth with the publisher about various things, the waiting and waiting and waiting. At times I thought my head was going to explode.

Also, after it was published, even though I thought it was a really well-made book starting with the editing of it, I am so happy about the wonderful comments I’m getting from so many people. What a wonderful reward after all that work.

Q. What is your most favorite time of the day or night to write?

I love writing in the early morning. It’s quiet, nothing has happened yet to stimulate my mind. But interestingly enough, most of Charlie’s story was written in the afternoons or evenings, after the day or when something was happening or when I got to work after being with Charlie and in the garden in the morning.

Q. What is usually better – the book or the movie?

The book is usually better than the movie, because the book is usually a more fully developed story, and so often the movie just misses capturing the story in the book. Once exception to that is a movie I saw recently, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” I think the movie was quite good – not as good as the book, but quite close. Also, the book generally is read before the movie is seen, and it’s difficult to override a first impression. Also and by necessity, the movie can’t include all the detail that’s in a book.

Q. You’re about to write your next book. What did you learn from your previous book to help you write your next book?

Without hesitation, I can say I learned that the writing of the book is the most enjoyable part, the part that should be savored because the next part, publishing, is almost always quite tedious.

On a very practical level, I’ve learned a lot about grammar, punctuation and writing in general. I think this will help me tremendously the next time. However, there is no way that anyone is going to convince me to use semicolons, unless absolutely necessary. I have trouble seeing semicolons in a work of art.

Q. Finally, what’s your best tip you can give to writers who want to be published?

Same old refrain: You have to want being published badly enough to endure all that it takes to be published. There’s a lot of hard work involved, but there’s a wonderful reward at the end of it. I’ve found that all that work was worth it. Though there were times when I just wanted to throw my hands up in the air. Have some good support around you, have a cheering section, whatever it takes to achieve your goal. It’s not just about being published, it’s about touching other people’s lives with your words. And that’s a wonderful feeling!

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

You’re very welcome! I liked answering these questions and I hope my answers help. And I wish anyone who wants to publish lots of success. Please know that after you have published your book, you will be happy that you were able to endure the publishing process and that you did not let its difficulties stop you. And that, after you publish your book, you will need to promote it – you are its best promoter. People want to meet you, talk with you, and tell you how they feel about your book. That’s a wonderful part too! So enjoy it!


Monday, March 12, 2012

Law Attorney/Author Chris Shella gives tips for creating a six figure law practice

Author Chris Shella is a graduate of Morehouse College and the University of Texas Law School and started his legal career in Long Island, New York at the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office. He is admitted to the practice of law in New York, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and North Carolina. Shella is also admitted to the federal court in the Eastern District of North Carolina, the Middle District of North Carolina, U.S. District of Columbia, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, the Eastern District of New York, and the Southern District of New York.He is also admitted to the Bar Of The United States Supreme Court. He and his cases have been covered on Court TV, CNN, and in the New York Times, and other media outlets across the globe. He has represented everyone from lawyers to major drug traffickers to a serial killer in Baltimore. His two most famous case are the Vegan Baby Case and his defense of the Duke Lacrosse Case accuser for the alleged murder of her boyfriend.

Chris now resides in Durham, North Carolina, with his wife and son.

His latest book is the legal nonfiction, Grinding It Out: How to Create a Six-Figure Law Practice.

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

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About Grinding It Out: How to Create a Six-Figure Law Practice

Learn everything you need to know about starting your own law practice. Chris Shella discusses the good and the bad of running a successful law practice The secret to making sure you get paid is revealed with specific steps designed to guide you through the A, B, C’s of a Six-Figure-Law-Practice.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Chris. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, “Grinding It out: How To Create A Six Figure Law Practice”?

Chris: I had read a New York Times article about law graduates coming out with 200k in debt but since they couldn’t find law jobs they were working minimum wage jobs. I just want them to believe in themselves and step out and do what they have been trained to do.

Q: How did you choose your title and was it your first choice?

Well the title comes from the hard work I do to succeed everyday. The title was my only choice and I had it before I even wrote the book.

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?

Well unlike a lot of folks, I am my own publisher and I have hired a publicist, done a book signing tour, a virtual tour and lectures a various law schools.

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

Page 92 is where I just opened the book to see. There I am advising lawyers that when they open their practices, make sure they get paid before they handle a case. That there is no shame in being paid in a hallway if It insures that you can pay your bills.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

I have written a legal fiction urban thriller “ Reasonable Facsimile” and Im working on the sequel to that book “ Just Shut Up and Pour My Liquor.”

Q: What is the one thing you learned about your book AFTER it was published?

That after it was professionally formatted it was half the size as anticipated.

Q: What is your most favorite time of the day or night to write?

Late afternoon, when Im finished with court and decompressing before I go home. That’s when words just flow out of me.

Q: What is usually better – the book or the movie?

The book is always better. That way I can picture the characters as I would like to see them not as Hollywood portrays them.

Q: You’re about to write your next book. What did you learn from your previous book to help you write your next book?

Let the book write itself. Let it flow naturally don’t force it. It will finish itself.

Q: Finally, what’s your best tip you can give to writers who want to be published?

Get off your butt and write. Stop looking for books to give you the secret formula to become an author and become one.

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

Please check out my fiction novel “Reasonable Facsimile” as well on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles. Oh yeah… Hook ‘em Horns!!!!

Win copy of Equity of Evil + $25 at Goodreads Q&A with Rudy Mazzochi

I have a very talented author appearing today in a Q&A at Goodreads today. Stop by, leave a comment and you are eligible to win a free e-copy of his medical thriller novel, Equity of Evil. Not only that, Pump Up Your Book is throwing in a $25 cash bonus prize to the same lucky winner. Have a book to read and cash to spend by tomorrow morning!

All you have to do is leave a comment at the Q&A chat page at Goodreads by midnight tonight.

One lucky person will be notified tomorrow if they are the winner.

This is an international contest. You must have a paypal account to accept your monetary winnings.

Good luck!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Interview with 'The Couples' Richard Alan + Book Giveaway!

Richard Alan lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with his wife, Carolynn. They are the proud parents of three wonderful adult sons.He is a Vietnam combat and 101st Airborne Division veteran.

After an education in mathematics, a 17 year career in manufacturing engineering and a 22 year career in software engineering, he has started a career as an author. Richard writes novels about people trying to find their life-partner, soul-mate, the person they are meant to be with for life. His first two books, Meant to Be and The Couples, are available on his website and most online retailers.

Richard’s other interests range from mathematical analysis and photography to anything with an engine. His current projects include writing the third (Finding Each Other) and fourth novels in the “Meant to Be” series, and discovering the properties of functions of p-adic numbers. Having completed a potting bench for his lifepartner, Carolynn, he is busy driving her to watch salmon runs, visit National Parks, and anywhere that provides an opportunity to view her avian friends.

His latest books in the Meant to Be Series are Meant to Be and The Couples.

You can visit Richard Alan’s website, VILLAGE DRUMMER FICTION at www.villagedrummerfiction.com.

About the Book:

Acclaimed author of Meant to Be, Richard Alan, once again enchants us with characters that we really want to know. You will laugh, cry, and love with them as you seek the answers to the relationship questions posed by this talented author.

Will a tough techy lady be able to find love with a man who is still mourning his deceased fiancée?

Will an intellectually snobbish genius learn that there is more to the truck mechanic than meets the eye?

Can a nerd and a party girl find happiness together?

Can a teenage boy musician get past his unrequited love to learn to love a ranch girl instead?

Will a troubled rape victim be able to have a normal relationship with a man?

The Couples is about people who may belong together and how the world around them helps them, or sometimes defeats them in their search for a life partner. It follows the lives of couples,their friends, and their support systems,as they explore their relationships.

The Couples is Richard Alan’s second novel in the “Meant to Be” series. It continues to explore relationships, love, and life.

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

I wrote occasional short stories when my children were young, in which they were the heroes. I did not keep those stories as my boys got older. My current career as an author started when I was asked to write an article for a blog (http://memoirsfromnam.blogspot.com/) about my experiences in Vietnam. I submitted the article and it was published. The blog owner asked how long I had been writing. I replied that I was not a writer. She said that I should be. I started writing novels fifteen months ago. While working on Meant to Be, I realized I had so many ideas for future characters and storylines, the book would never be finished. That is when I decided to create a series. The Couples continues the theme of people striving to find the person they are meant to spend their lives with.

Q: How did you choose your title and was it your first choice?

As soon as I started writing it, I knew what the title would be. The book follows many individuals as their lives change and they become couples. The Couples seemed like the logical title. It was my first and only choice.

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 am self-published so all of the publicity has fallen on me and my wife. She is in charge of marketing my books. The first thing we did was arrange some book signing events; one at a local bookstore, one at a writer’s organization, and one at a charity auction and sale. We used e-mail and Facebook to advertise and provided a poster to the book store. They also had their own advertising. With the help of my wife, I created and maintain a Facebook fan page. I learned to Twitter and am growing my Twitter network. I write a blog, and belong to numerous groups of authors who help each other. In addition to doing this virtual book tour, I am participating in the Fourth Writers Platform-Building Campaign.

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

Oh, I love this part. Sean wants to leave his father’s accounting firm and be an author. He is inspired by a potential new girlfriend to complete a short story that he had started years earlier. The story begins with an attractive, well-dressed woman arriving by stagecoach to an old western town. Upon alighting from the coach, she “borrows” a cowboy’s gun to shoot the hat off a man’s head. The man was in the process of beating his wife. The new arrival strongly suggests he not put his hands on the woman again. The town mayor and sheriff come upon the scene and are shocked to discover that the female sharpshooter is the town’s new school teacher.

The story continues on the next few pages. You will have to read the book to find out more.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

Definitely. I have published two books, Meant to Be and The Couples, written a third, Finding Each Other (which is in editing now) and am currently writing my fourth novel. I hope to be able to write many more books.

Q: What is the one thing you learned about your book AFTER it was published?

It was pure joy learning how intrigued my readers were in the characters I had created. I had no idea how gratifying it would be to have people ask me when the next book is coming out because they want to know more about the people in the series. I’ve had readers tell me that the characters have become part of their families.

Q: What is your most favorite time of the day or night to write?

Anytime is a good time to write. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with a fully formed story in my head and spend the next several hours writing it down. Other times, I will be doing something completely unrelated to my writing and a new character or plotline will fill my imagination. I then have to stop what I’m doing, open my laptop, and start writing.

Q: What is usually better – the book or the movie?

Ninety minute novels are called screenplays. In my opinion, there is very little similarity, other than they both tell a story.

Q: You’re about to write your next book. What did you learn from your previous book to help you write your next book?

I’ve learned that writing a book primarily involves winding up my imagination and letting it go. I no longer worry if I have another story or book in my head. My worry is that I don’t have enough time to write down all the stories that are in there.

Q: Finally, what’s your best tip you can give to writers who want to be published?

Start creating buzz about your book even before you finish writing it. Create a webpage, an author page on Facebook, and a Twitter account, at minimum. Read blogs about writing. Spread the word about what you are writing. The author community is friendly and wonderfully generous with their advice. Remember to repay them by also being helpful to them and others. It’s not all about selling your novel. Even as a new writer you will have learnings and ah-hah moments to share. Help expand other authors’ networks by retweeting, sharing, and recommending their sites. They will do the same for you if you give and not just take. Good luck and have fun.

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

If writing isn’t fun, don’t do it.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk with you.

~ ~ GIVEAWAY ~ ~

Here are the details:

  • Richard Alan is giving away one paperback copy of his book, The Couples.
  • The giveaway starts Monday, March 12, and ends on Friday, March 23.
  • This giveaway is only available for U.S. and Canada (sorry international!).
  • The winner will be announced on March 24.
  • If you are chosen the winner, you have 48 hours to let us know by emailing Dorothy at thewriterslife(at)gmail.com.
  • Leave a comment for 5 points.
  • Follow Richard on Twitterfor 5 extra points.
  • Like Pump Up Your Book at Facebook here for 5 extra points.
  • Tweet this giveaway for 5 extra points:

Thank you for entering and good luck!





Friday, March 09, 2012

Interview with Jill Limber, author of historical romance 'Montana Morning'

A multi-published author and former RWA President, Jill Limber’s latest books are Montana Morning, A Heart That Dares and The Right Track. As a child, some of Jill’s tales got her in trouble, but now she gets paid for them. Residing in San Diego with her husband and a trio of dogs and one very ancient cat, Jill’s favorite pastime is to gather friends and family for good food, conversation and plenty of laughter.

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

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About Montana Morning

In the Montana Territory town of Dennison, the law allows a woman to save a man from hanging if she agrees to marry him. Battered and nearly unconscious with a noose around his neck, Katherine Holman decides Wes Merrick is perfect husband material. Under the terms of her father’s will, due to a youthful indiscretion, she must be married to inherit. She expects her ‘husband’ to leave as soon as the deed is in her name. She wasn’t prepared for the fact that the man she has chosen turns out to be an honorable sort who decides to stick around and hold up his end of the bargain.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Jill. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Montana Morning?

I’ve been a writer for over twenty years. I have always loved reading historical romance, and so the genre had great appeal for me. Montana Morning is a story of a marriage of convenience, with a bit of a twist. I think this type of story is best told in a historical setting.

How did you choose your title and was it your first choice?

My first choice of titles when I start a book is always a working title to name a file, and it usually is the heroine’s first name. Somewhere along the line a suitable title usually presents itself. There is a scene in the book actually brought up the title, Montana Morning.

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’m doing a blog tour and using social media. I’m just about to start a class on using social media to publicize Montana Morning. It is a whole new world for me, and I look forward to gaining some expertise.

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

Wes and Katherine are driving into town for the first time since she claimed him off the gallows and married him. He was only semi-conscious at the time, and he doesn’t remember what happened, only what she’s told him. He draws the horses to a stop on a rise above the town and sees the scaffold where he was nearly hung and realizes how much courage she had to do what she did, and how much he owes her.

Do you plan subsequent books?

I am nearing the end of my next book, also a historical romance, entitled The Ungovernable Governess.

What is the one thing you learned about your book AFTER it was published?

How hard it was to sell the next one!

What is your most favorite time of the day or night to write?

I’m definitely a morning person. I pretty much run out of ‘creative steam’ by noontime, so I’m an early riser. I do my fiction writing first, then in the afternoon I work on publicity and the business of writing.

What is usually better – the book or the movie?

The book. The imagination you use while reading is always better than the presentation on the screen. With a book you feel like you are right in the story with the characters, with a movie you are simply a watcher.

You’re about to write your next book. What did you learn from your previous book to help you write your next book?

To write faster, and do a rough draft start to finish before tweaking the plot. I have found too much fiddling with the story until the full book is written messes with the pacing of the book. I find that I get to know the characters as I go along, and generally the first few chapters need to be changed by the time I go in for a rewrite, so it is a waste of time to polish the beginning when it will most probably change or not even be used.

Finally, what’s your best tip you can give to writers who want to be published?

When an idea hits you, play with it. Let it simmer until it takes on some form and substance. Then sit yourself down and get the book written. Then rewrite, several times, until you have the best story you can craft. Then polish it until it shines. You have to put your heart and soul into it.

Thank you for your interview, Jill. Do you have any final words?

Lots of people say they want to write, or that they have ideas for books. The hard part is setting yourself down and committing to finish the book. It takes a great deal of discipline and drive to write an entire manuscript and I admire anyone who can do it.