Friday, October 31, 2014

Interview with Zack Zaibak, author of The Hidden Truth Behind Beautiful Smiles

Title: The Hidden Truth Behind Beautiful Smiles
Author: Zack Zaibak
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 152
Genre: Medical/Dentristry
Format: Ebook
 Purchase at AMAZON

 We are often judged by how we look, and the first thing people notice is a smile. In The Hidden Truth Behind Beautiful Smiles, author Dr. Zack Zaibak tells how modern cosmetic dentistry can transform ordinary smiles into stunning gorgeous ones. Dr. Zaibak, honored by the Consumers Research Council of America for the last five years as one of America’s top dentists, discusses important issues relating to dental health and improving your teeth, your smile, and your self-esteem. Dr. Zaibak has been featured on national and local media outlets including ABC, WGN Superstation, Fox and Univision, and has served as an expert commentator for the Chicago Sun-Times. He is also a provider of cosmetic dental care to winners of beauty pageants. People with bright, beautiful, and healthy looking smiles are seen as more attractive, competent, and happier. In fact, a dazzling, radiant smile can make all the difference in romance – as well as career success. In only two visits, you can gain a sparkling white, perfectly shaped, celebrity smile as modern innovations make your dental visit a satisfying, comfortable, and even enjoyable experience. Dr. Zack Zaibak’s all-inclusive book unveils the hidden truth about today’s state of the art choices in cosmetic dentistry for creating smile makeovers and gorgeous Hollywood Smiles, including Lumineers porcelain veneers, Invisalign metal-free braces, teeth whitening, bonding, implants, crowns, bridges, Snap-On Smiles and gum lifts. The health of your teeth and mouth affect the well-being of your entire body. The Hidden Truth Behind Beautiful Smiles reveals the secrets to enhancing your teeth to produce an exquisite, engaging smile that will positively transform your self-image and your life.

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

My book explores how our appearance affects us and our success in the world, be that in the world of career, in romance, with friends - everything. As a culture, we spend much time and money on finding the right clothes, latest hairstyles, flattering makeup, and best exercise so we appear attractive. Yet many miss perhaps the most vital aspect in all - our smile. That's usually the first thing people pay  attention to upon meeting someone. We make all kinds of judgments about someone based on how appealing their smile appears. But many people think there's little they can do about their smile, which is massively untrue. Today, we've had amazing technological advances in how to improve almost anyone's smile and more easily than ever before. This book reveals all the various treatments available today, with the "hidden truth" behind them - the pluses (and even occasional minuses) to each approach - in clear understandable language. The book also provides numerous full-color pictures, including before and after pictures of my real patients to show what is truly possible today.

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

The biggest challenges were being able to explain sometimes complicated ideas and details in a way that understandable to a reader. While I'm highly practiced and I would say skilled when explaining a procedure and its benefits to a patient in my office, they also have the opportunity to ask questions about anything that's not entirely clear. With a book, that's not possible, so I worked very carefully to be sure I was conveying things fully, yet in a way that was very user-friendly, interesting, and not overly technical. I believe I was successful with this, plus I use an abundance of full color pictures to illustrate my points, including many before and after pictures of patients that are pretty stunning and frankly inspiring.

When and why did you begin writing?

This is my first book. I wrote it knowing I had so much valuable knowledge to share about how readers can improve the healthy of their teeth (as well as their overall health, since the health of the teeth (as well as their overall health, since the health of the teeth and mouth can greatly influence our general health in surprising and significant ways) well as how they can improve the beauty of their smiles that will have far-reaching positive effects on their lives and success. Plus, I would often have new patients come in who had been misinformed by their dentists, so I felt it was important for people to get correct and leading edge information on modern cosmetic dentistry and the amazing transformations possible.

What is your greatest strength as an author?

Being able to explain sometimes complicated ideas and details in a way that's understandable to a reader. Fortunately, I am highly practiced and I have become very skilled over many years at explaining procedures and their impressive benefits to patients in my office. So in this book I worked carefully to be sure I was conveying things fully in a way that was very user-friendly and not too technical. I believe I was successful with this, plus I use an abundance of full color photographs in the book to illustrate my points, including many before and after pictures of patients that are pretty stunning and inspiring.

Did writing this book teach you anything?

I really learned the art of clarifying many technical ideas in a way that's easily comprehensible to a reader. When I'm explaining a procedure and its benefits to a patient, they always have the opportunity to ask questions. With a book, that's not possible, so I constantly strove to make sure things were written clearly and engagingly.

 Zack Zaibak, MS, DDS, is a licensed general dentist in the state of Illinois and one of the top practitioners of advanced cosmetic dentistry in that state. Honored by the Consumer Research Council of America as one of America’s Top Dentists, Zaibak has the latest advanced training and certification in Lumineers, Invisalign, and laser surgery.

Guest post by Cindy Lynn Speer, author of 'Wishes and Sorrows'

Since my new short story collection, Wishes and Sorrows, is a little different from my usual fare, I thought I would talk about short story writing.

I keep talking about how, since these stories are over a large chunk of my life, that in a way it’s a great bit of closet biography.  If you read deep enough, you can see what I valued back in college versus what I value now.  You can see the change in my voice.  I should be careful because I make it almost sound like some of my stories are weaker, but it’s not that at all.  They are merely different.
One example, for me, is “The Jester’s Heart.”  I started it years ago, probably somewhere between “The Train” and “Every Word I Speak.”   I finished it, but I never took it through the polishing drafts.  I found it, and I could tell that it needed work because back then, being of a more literary mind set (four years of being an English Major will do that to you) that I did not mind being dark and obscure.
Me, now, I want to expand, show more beauty of the scene, be more descriptive, at least as long as the constrains of the medium will allow.  So I expanded.  I explained more in the text.  I gave my readers more.
So what I have learned about writing short stories from all of this?
1.       Trust your narrator.  Follow what they say, write it all down and see where they take you.
2.      Polish.  Make sure that everything in the story points to the main reason of the story.  You need to stay tight, no matter how alluring a conversation between two characters is, or how awesome a scene.  You can get away with some of this in a longer work…it can be important developemental stuff…but in a short story, everything should flow and be part of getting to the main event.
3.      Short stories are liberating.  In a novel you need to create a lot of little paths to expand the story and make it meaningful.  Like in the short stories, it has to make sense that it is there, but there is so much more that you need to accomplish.  Short stories, the reader does not expect as much exposition.  They are there to just experience that aspect of the story.
I love short stories because they allow me to explore fairy tales in a quiet, focused way.  I guess that is why I love short stories, period.  I can tell this one story, this one aspect, I can capture something and move on.

Cindy Lynn Speer is the author of several novels, including The Chocolatier’s Wife and the short story collection Wishes and Sorrows.  She loves mixing fantasy, mystery and romance and playing with the old stories.  When not writing she can be found reading, teaching people historical fencing, and costuming.

Purchase from Dragonwell and Amazon 
About Wishes and Sorrows:
“Richly ambitious” — Publishers Weekly
For every wish there is a sorrow…
Wishes are born from sorrows, blessings are sometimes curses, and even fairy godmothers cannot always get what they want. In this original collection, Cindy Lynn Speer, the author of “The Chocolatier’s Wife”, brings to life creatures of myths and tales, mixing them into a vibrant tapestry of stories, happy and sad, magical and real, each lovingly crafted and sure to touch the reader’s soul.
Step into the world where magic is real, and every mundane bit of reality is as magical as a true fairy tale.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Be the Hero You Are by Steve Fujita, author of Toe Up to 10K

Steven Fujita was born in Los Angeles and raised in Torrance, California. He attended college in Washington, D.C., and currently lives in Long Beach, California.

Listen to Steven Fujita's interview on the Book Club with John Austin, which aired November 2, 2010, about his novella, Sword of the Undead, a re-telling of Bram Stoker's vampire novel, Dracula. 

His other book, $10 a Day Towards $1,000,000, is available on Kindle. This book promotes the idea of using time and savings to build wealth. His new book, Toe Up to 10K, was released in September 2014. This book chronicles his recovery from spinal cord injury he sustained in 2012. Visit his website at:

Be the Hero You Are

Many times, people who have recovered from or have adapted to disabilities are referred to as heroic, or inspirational.  Some disabled people mind this perception.  Personally, I don’t.  If the price of being an inspiration to others is being praise, then I don’t mind.

However, I am not being inspirational on purpose and I do think the praise is misplaced.  I nearly died, I could have suffered major brain damage.  I did neither, and I didn’t proactively do anything to prevent either.  It was probably a combination of the nature of the disease/injury, my body’s health when I was afflicted, and the actions of the hospital staff: doctors, nurses, technicians, etc.  It might be an inspiring story, but I did nothing inspirational.

But once I survived, I had to deal with the consequences of spinal cord injury. I couldn’t breathe on my own; I couldn’t go to the bathroom on my own; I couldn’t swallow properly; I couldn’t walk.  If I couldn’t recover from these, I’d have to adapt.

For the most part, I did recover. Whatever adaptations I currently use, is minimal to what could have been. Again, some of this is just the body recovering on its own, regardless of anything proactive I’ve done.  However, I believe a lot of the recovery I had was due to the effort I put into recovering.  Some people might say it was a heroic effort.

But here’s the thing.  I didn’t recover for the sake of others.  I recovered for myself.  With all the support I received from family friends, co-workers, and hospital staff, I didn’t want to let them down, but ultimately, I wanted to recover for myself.

I wouldn’t want to go through what I’ve been through the last two years.  But, if I can inspire one person who gets diagnosed with spinal cord injury, and help him/her recover or adapt by sharing my experience, then my injury has not been in vain.

When you overcome an obstacle whatever it is, others may label you a hero.  That’s okay.   Just be the hero you are, not the one people want you to be.

Toe Up to 10K 1Title: Toe Up to 10K
Author: Steven Fujita
Publisher: BookBaby
Pages: 168
Genre: Self-Help
Format: Ebook

 In June 2012, Steven Fujita went to the emergency room, and was diagnosed with meningitis. After four days of improvement, he was scheduled to be discharged when his condition worsened dramatically. His blood pressure, body temperature and sodium levels all became dangerously low. He started to lose consciousness. He was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit. He had suffered spinal cord damage at the T4 level. Upon regaining full consciousness, Fujita could not speak, eat, breathe independently, control bodily functions, nor move his legs. “Once we understand what we have to go through, become resolved to see it through, and know we will survive, we feel our ordeal is not so bad,” Fujita writes. In this book, he takes the reader on a journey of recovery from a spinal cord injury. It is not only a journey of determination and hard work, but of positive attitude, of drawing inspiration, of gratitude towards those around him: his family, his friends, co-workers, and medical professionals.

Purchase Your Copy At:

You Must Reach For the Sky Before You Can Touch It by Robert Chomany

Bawbs cover Title: Bawb's Raven Feathers
Author: Robert Chomany
Publisher: Invermere Press
Genre: Inspirational
Format: Paperback/Ebook

 BawB's Raven Feathers is pure and simple. It kickstarts moments of self-reflection and inner peace, drawing on nostalgia while pushing the reader to live in the present and dream of tomorrow. Alternating brief chapters of prose with perfectly rhythmic, adult rhymes, this book holds appeal for the masses.

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You must reach for the sky. . .
. . . before you can touch it.

I was chatting the other day with a friend of mine and he said something that caught my attention, he said my readers want to know more about me, they want to know who BawB is. So I walked away from that conversation wondering who I am, really, and all I could come up with was that I’m a nobody that took some time to share his spiritual beliefs and inspiration with the world, and then I remembered my favorite saying that I have chosen to make my “Mantra” everybody that is a somebody started out as a nobody.

That’s right, I am a nobody today, I am one with the world, a being that is akin to all other beings, I breathe, I smile, therefore I am. But, now I am different than all the other wonderful nobody’s in the world because I have done something that might make me a somebody one day. I am a published author, by no means am I “like” the great published authors of the world, but I followed my dreams and I chose to try my best at something I was comfortable doing.

The more I think about it, the more I recognize all the somebody’s out there, all of my friends, all of their friends and all of their children’s friends, they are all somebody’s as yet unrecognized. How many lifetimes have we ambled our paths, wondering who we are, has anybody ever asked you about you? Have you ever had the pleasure of introducing yourself as the best you that the world has ever seen? Well, try it one day, believe in yourself that much and see how it feels to be a somebody. Take a moment in the next day or two to answer this question; who am I? And see who you come up with. What do you do? What would you like to do? What makes you happy and have you enjoyed it recently?

As for me, well let me introduce myself again, but this time as a somebody that nobody recognizes … Yet! I am BoB aka BawB, I am a writer, I have spent most of this lifetime seeking the easiest path I could find to happiness. I found it, it was right under my feet for the entire time, I just had to believe I was happy being me. I believe in life, and I feel like I am a better person inside because I share the wonders of living, I have no worries when it comes to sharing a smile and I have a million left because I AM happy being me.

Look up today and see the sky, then reach with all your might
Every cloud is a dream of yours, make it real and hold on tight.



Robert (BawB) Chomany is the author of the BawB’s Raven Feathers series, pure and simple inspirational books. He was born in Calgary, Alberta, with a clear view of the mountains to the west. These mountains eventually drew Bob in, and he spent many years living in the company of nature, exploring his spiritual side.   Bob pursues his many interests with passion. You are just as likely to find him twisting a wrench or riding his motorcycle, as you are to find him holding a pen, writing.   Bob still lives in Calgary, where he finds happiness by simply living with a smile and sharing his words of wisdom with others. Learn more about Robert at his website,

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Interview with Lana Cooper: 'Be your own best editor'

Lana Cooper was born and raised in Scranton, PA and currently resides in Philadelphia. A graduate of Temple University, she doesn't usually talk about herself in the first person, but makes an exception when writing an author bio. Cooper has written extensively on a variety of pop culture topics and has been a critic for such sites as PopMatters and Ghouls On Film. She's also written news stories for EDGE Media, a leading nationwide network devoted to LGBT news and issues. Cooper enjoys spending time with her family, reading comic books, books with lots of words and no pictures, and avoiding eye-contact with strangers on public transportation. "Bad Taste In Men" is her first full-length novel.
Her latest book is the humorous nonfiction, Bad Taste in Men.
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About the Book:

Have you ever felt like even Mother Theresa has got more game than you? 

If you have, you'd be in the same boat as geeky, awkward metalhead Nova Porter.

Bad Taste In Men follows Nova from her prepubescent years through young adulthood and her attempts at getting dudes to dig her. 

Juggling self-esteem issues, small town outsider status, and questionable taste in guys, Nova is looking for love in all the wrong places - like the food court at the mall. Nova's circle of friends and her strange(ly) endearing family more than make up for what her love life lacks. 

Along the way, Nova alternately plays the roles of hero and villain, mastermind and stooge; picking up far more valuable life lessons than numbers for her little black book.
One part chick lit for tomboys and one part Freaks and Geeks for kids who came of age in the mid-'90s, Bad Taste In Men is loaded (like a freight train) with pop cultural references and crude humor. 

From getting laughed at by your crush to being stood up (twice!) by a guy with one eye, Bad Taste In Men showcases the humor and humiliation that accompanies the search for love (or at least "like") as a small-town teenage outcast, managing to wring heart-warming sweetness from angsty adolescent memories - and jokes about barf and poop.

For More Information

  • Bad Taste in Men is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

The idea behind Bad Taste In Men wasn't too much of a stretch. Several of the main character's exploits mirrored my own. Not all of them. A lot of the story is fiction, but there were some instances where I drew upon my own experiences to drive the plot forward. Like Nova (the main character), I grew up in a small town and was a bit of an outcast, a smart ass, and perpetually banished to the dark recesses of the Friend Zone. I think a lot of people can relate.

As an adult now removed from all of those not-so-fun adolescent feelings, I find the humor in these scenarios. (Like getting stood up twice by a guy with one eye. That's actually one of the parts of the novel that is almost 100% true.) Truthfully, I found the humor in getting turned down a lot when I was younger, too.

I was inspired to write the book so that some girl or guy out there reads it and realizes that they're not alone and that you really can learn to laugh at yourself and some of the crazy things that happen during your teen years. It may seem like a drag at the time, but you'll get through it and  -- 99.9% of the time -- emerge a better, stronger person for it.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Writing any book is harder than you think! Every writer loves their characters and takes a lot of care in choosing the right words to put in their mouths. And sometimes, you as a writer, can get carried away and it becomes word diarrhea all over the page. I'm guilty of this. My first draft of Bad Taste In Men was 145,000 words -- which is fine if you're Stephen King or George R.R. Martin, or someone who has a proven track record of telling great stories and those stories are profitable to their publishers. But, if you're a first-time writer without any clout, 145,000 words is seen as more of a risk than an epic saga. More isn't always better.

It wasn't until I started shopping my book around to agents that I learned that a first-time novelist should shoot for 100,000 words, tops. So, I had a lot of chopping to do! I took two passes at editing the book myself and finally got it to just under 100,000 words. Taking the time to meticulously edit it made the story so much tighter and better. I also learned a lot about my own shortcomings as a writer in the process and worked to correct them.

The best advice I can give to writers is to be your own best editor. Take a 3-6 month break from your book after you finish writing it before you start whacking away at it. That way, you're not so emotionally attached to what's been freshly written. That time away from your novel gives you a chance to step back and view your story more objectively. As a result, you get a little more ruthless with your red pen. Trust me. Your book (and your readers!) will thank you for it when you're through editing!

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I self-published through Create Space.  

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Yes and no. Going into the process, I knew it would take some time to not only write the book, edit it, then try to shop it around to an agent. I knew rejection was part of the equation. Self-publishing was a really rewarding process, but I what I didn't realize was that the process didn't end the second my book was printed. Marketing your book and trying to get the word out about what you've written is probably the hardest part.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I'm currently working on a new book that combines two of my favorite things: horror and humor. It's a collection of short, supernatural-themed stories with elements of humor woven throughout. The stories can be read as stand-alone tales, but if you read the entire book, you learn how the characters from one story are connected to others in a different story.

I've always loved comic books and the way their broader "universes" are structured. You may have a favorite superhero, but he or she is part of a much bigger, more complex picture. That's what I'm attempting to do with my next book: create characters firmly rooted in the real world who come up against supernatural forces. One of the best weapons against the darkness is laughter, so humor is definitely a big component of these stories. Some dry humor, some belly laughs, some crude gross-out humor. Different characters respond to different situations in their own ways. Think about it. Sometimes, when you're watching a horror movie, your knee-jerk reaction is to make fun of what makes you a little uncomfortable.

The fun part of writing this and (hopefully) for readers, will be to see how one character is connected to another in a totally different story. But you can still pick up the book, take it in the bathroom with you to read one story while you're doing your business, and enjoy a self-contained short story without having to dive deeper into the whole book in one sitting.

The book is maybe 1-2 more years away from being ready. I'm still writing it. It may be easier to edit this one since it's not my first rodeo and it's comprised of a string of short stories. However, the stories are intertwined and I want to make sure it's juuuuusttt right before it's published.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

Facebook. It's the ultimate melting pot! I love being able to stay in touch with friends from around the country, see what's going on in their lives, and reading a everything from news stories to poop jokes, band updates, and spoiler alerts for some of my favorite TV shows.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

That none of us ever really leave high school. That holds true in a good way and a bad way, too. A lot of those emotions you feel very strongly when you're getting your first taste of unrequited love don't change very much when you get older. For better or worse, you carry the identity and emotional baggage of your teen years with you into adulthood. It really shapes who you are and is a big part of – and sometimes a stumbling block – on the road to learning to like yourself as a person. I'd like people to find the humor in the situations that normally make you want to cry. Finding the humor in the hurt can be the best way to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and look forward to the next adventure that comes your way.

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

Thank YOU for interviewing me! I hope anyone who reads my book enjoys it. If you like to laugh, have a hankering for '90s nostalgia, and dig quirky protagonists, Bad Taste In Men should be right up your alley. If you like it, drop me a line! I'd love to know what you liked about it. And if you don't like the book, I'd love to hear from you, too!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Interview with Ed Grizzle, author of It's Your Decision

Title: It's Your Decision
Author: Ed Grizzle
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 128
Genre: Family Relationships/Parenting
Format: Ebook
 Purchase at AMAZON

 Children are gifts from God, but parenting those children can often be a difficult task. In It’s Your Decision, author Ed Grizzle shows how parenting can be successful when it’s carried out according to God’s plan. Using his life’s experiences as a guide, Grizzle explores the importance of making the right decisions in life—from choosing the right lifestyle and the right mate and to raising children according to what God has planned for you.

It’s Your Decision discusses
 • planning for children;
 • knowing what children need;
 • being aware of the important years in a child’s life;
 • understanding that children will test parents;
 • valuing the role of grandparents;
 • dealing with abused children;
 • communicating openly and honestly;
 • clarifying family roles.

 Grizzle presents a guide to strengthening lives and making your family life more enjoyable. He shows how this is possible when you accept Jesus Christ into your life; he will show you the way in the difficult times.


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

My book is about my life from childhood to present. It was written to help people make changes it their life.

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

I would have to say editing it. I did horrible in English in school. Also, believing that I was actually writing a book.

Do you plan subsequent books?

I have one that I am presently writing that is dealing with the addictions people face today.

When and why did you begin writing?

Four weeks prior to my wife passing. She sat me down at the dining room table and convinced me that I need to write this book.

What is your greatest strength as an author?

I would have to say, the desire to share my life with others who do or may have had a bad life.

Did writing this book teach you anything?

Yes.  I was smarter than I thought I was, which made my life more livable.

Ed Grizzle started a ministry called It’s Your Decision that helps addicts, prostitutes, and others who face difficult circumstances. He and his late wife, Mary, raised two children. Grizzle currently lives in Illinois

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Interview with Erna Mueller: 'Self-publishing was the only way out of this maze'

I was born in Austria and my family immigrated to the U.S. I loved living here as a child and considered the U.S. my home. My family returned to Austria and of course I had to tag along. I missed the friendly faces and the cultivation of the free spirit which America symbolizes. In Austria I completed my education but always wanted to return, so here I am.
I traveled the world and lived in many exciting cities such as Paris, Munich and London. I currently work as an accountant for a large pizza company in Seattle by day and passionately pursue a career as a writer in my spare time.
My new book, "K-9 Cop", is adapted from my multi-national award winning screenplay.  The book has won several awards including first place in the 2009 National Good Read Competition sponsored by
Please visit my web site at  for more reviews and other info.
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About the Book:

No one thought as highly of Lieutenant Spencer Watley as he did himself. This selfish cop met 14 year-old Justin Andrews during an important stakeout. Determined to nab a group of cyber killers, he wasn’t going to let anything get in his way, especially a smart mouthed teenager like Justin.

After Spencer bids him good riddance, he is killed by the hackers and stands before the gates of heaven. But - what’s this? After a life of putting dangerous criminals behind bars, he’s locked out?

He yells at the angel blocking his entrance, only to find out he needs to go through the J.R.P. program before he can enter. That’s the Jerk Redemption program, otherwise known as sensitivity training boot camp, which to his horror consists of non-stop Oprah and Dr. Phil reruns. Or he can go back to earth and help Justin’s dysfunctional family. Spencer opts for the lesser of two evils, to help Justin.

But the Angel pulls a fast one on Spencer. He can only go back to earth in the body of his K9-Partner. Spencer refuses, but like it or not, Spencer becomes a dog.  He falls back to earth and is slowly morphed into a dog that closely resembles a mop.

And if being a dog wasn’t bad enough, Spencer also swallowed an important microchip his killers need to hack into PC’s and steal millions. Now the criminals are hot on his trail for the only existing microchip that’s logged in his belly.

Justin and Spencer butt heads constantly; both are stubborn and willful, neither one wanting to give an inch. Spencer needs to find out what the killers are up to, so he swallows his pride and forms a bond with the boy. Spencer relays to Justin his past and together with the help of Justin’s girlfriend, Shahla; they discover the hacker’s plans. Spencer has broken down Justin’s reserve and he finally learns the meaning of unselfish love.

But it’s too late, the hackers have captured them.

Can Spencer maul the shins (and other choice areas) of his kidnappers and stop them from their evil plan?

Can a selfish man find a heart?

You bet.  He just has to become a dog first.

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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I thought a Young Adult book would be a great idea to write for a first time novelist. I always loved family orientated books and movies and was searching for a story that depicts the human condition with all its splendor and frailties. What better way than through a surly cop who has to go back to earth in the body of his K-9 partner? The cop needs to help a troubled teenager and his dysfunctional family in order to be redeemed

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

It’s hard but rest assured help is on the horizon. The internet is filled with writer’s help websites and an assortment of books and software to kick-start the imagination. I have tried a few and found them very helpful, although it’s ultimately up to you to fill the page.  After your idea, the empty page is the worst hurdle to overcome but once the words fill the void it’s easier to rewrite. In fact, writing is mostly rewriting. I am not the most organized being in the universe, so I sing praises of the keyboard with back buttons and delete functions.  Writing is just rewriting - there you have it. How did writers years ago work without MS Word?  I bet Hemingway would have killed for the cut and paste function.

 Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Once the novel was completed I sent out numerous query letters to agents and publishing houses and no one wanted to read a chapter of a first time novelist. I can start a bonfire with the rejection letters I received. And get ready to hear from Literary Agencies that their roster is full and can’t accept any new authors, and the majority of publishers do not accept any unsolicited manuscripts. For me, self-publishing was the only way out of this maze. Then I heard if you have a self-published book with somewhat decent sales, publishing houses are more apt to take you seriously. No company wants to gamble with their capital anymore; they want you to do the marketing for them.  Your start-up costs for Self-Publishing can be as frugal or pricy as your credit card limit will allow. So if you have the “I don’t have a contract blues,” SELF-PUBLISH!

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I’m working on a sequel to K-9 cop.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

I type in “how to market your e-book” and surf. Marketing is science onto itself and is more frustrating than writing a book. You have control over your book but not so in marketing. There’s a lot to learn so pour yourself a cup of coffee and blog. 

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

I love the story of redemption and second chances. And I love to make people laugh.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

I just wanted to stress the importance of imagination. Albert Einstein hit the nail on the head when he said “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” 

Wow, that gives me goose bumps and makes my knees wobble.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Murders at Astaire Castle Book Blitz Giveaway

We're happy to be hosting Lauren Carr and her THE MURDERS AT ASTAIRE CASTLE Book Blitz today!

Title: Married One Night
Author: Amber Leigh Williams
Publisher: Harlequin Superromance
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback/Kindle
Purchase at AMAZON
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Title: The Murders at Astaire Castle
Author: Lauren Carr
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Pages: 286
Genre: Mystery
Format: Paperback/Kindle
Purchase at AMAZON

Mac Faraday Meets the Wolf Man!

Never tell Mac Faraday not to do something.

In The Murders at Astaire Castle, Spencer’s police chief, David O’Callaghan, learns this lesson the hard way when he orders Mac Faraday to stay away from the south end of Spencer’s mountaintop—even though he owns the property. It doesn’t take long for Mac to find out what lies on the other side of the stone wall and locked gate, on which hangs a sign warning visitors to Keep Out!

Topping the list of the ten most haunted places in America, Astaire Castle is associated with two suicides, three mysterious disappearances, and four murders since it was built almost a century ago—and Mac Faraday owns it!
In spite of David’s warning, Mac can’t resist unlocking the gate to see the castle that supposedly hasn’t seen a living soul since his late mother had ordered it closed up after the double homicide and disappearance of Damian Wagner, a world-famous master of horror novels.
“Halloween has always been a fun time,” best-selling author Lauren Carr explains in a note at the beginning of her fifth Mac Faraday mystery. “It’s the time to break out and be someone else. As a child, I would pretend to be one of the Bobbsey Twins searching for clues to lead me to a secret treasure. If I was lucky, it was made up of chocolate. As a teenager, I was Nancy Drew. Always, when October rolled around, I craved mysteries with something extra added—something beyond the normal—something supernatural. As an author, I couldn’t resist taking this one Mac Faraday Mystery on a scary Halloween adventure.”
In this latest installment of Carr’s hit series, what starts out as a quick tour of a dusty old castle turns into another Mac Faraday adventure when Astaire Castle becomes the scene of even more murders. Mac is going to need to put all of his investigative talents to work to sort out this case that involves the strangest characters he has run into yet—including a wolf man. No, we’re not talking about Gnarly.

Book Excerpt:


November 2002 – Astaire Castle, top of Spencer Mountain, Deep Creek Lake, Maryland

Shivering, Rafaela turned up the fan for the heater in her old Plymouth. The weather channel was calling for snow. With an eye on the storm clouds heading straight for Spencer Mountain, she picked up the speed a notch. Her car bumped along the worn road cut through the trees and rock to take her to Astaire Castle.

The notion of being trapped at the castle by a winter storm made her curse the day she had accepted the job as housekeeper at the Astaire estate. The young illegal immigrant thought her prayers had been answered by landing the job at the luxurious estate. Not only was it prestigious to work in a castle, but lucrative since Damian Wagner was paying almost twice her normal hourly wage.
What a gem to put on my housekeeping resume! To be hire by only one of the world’s most famous authors of horror books—even more famous than Robin Spencer—to clean an honest-to-goodness castle. So what if the Astaire Castle has a reputation of being haunted? I’ll be making a bundle for cleaning five days a week in the daylight. Besides, I don’t believe in no ghosts.
Rafaela regretted her decision the first time she walked into Astaire Castle.
At first, she dismissed her cleaning supplies moving from where she had left them as forgetfulness.  Then there was the time she kept hearing someone whispering her name. She had looked around, but never saw anyone. Same with doors closing or opening or footsteps coming up behind her, and the old-time music and party noises in empty rooms when no one was there—she tried to tell herself that it was all her imagination.
None of that was anything compared to the Wolf Man who she had seen in the dining room mirror while she was cleaning it.
She had heard all about the Wolf Man who lived in the woods surrounding Astaire Castle. The woman with two teenagers who lived in the apartment next to hers was quick to tell her about him. Rafaela had dismissed it all as ghost stories made up by her neighbor’s kids to scare her—until she had seen him with her own two eyes.
That day she ran out of the castle. She returned only after Genevieve, Damian Wagner’s daughter, had promised that her father finish his book and be moving out of the castle by the end of the year—at which time he would pay her a handsome bonus that would give her enough money to visit her family in Brazil for Christmas.
Rafaela caught her breath when her Plymouth entered through the gate at the end of the road to pull into the front courtyard and fountain.
The fountain was off. Damian Wagner had never bothered to turn it on. He wouldn’t notice if it was. He spent his time banging away on his computer in the study on the top floor. He wouldn’t eat if it weren’t for his daughter bringing food to him.
Then there was the editor—Mr. Jansen.
He reminded Rafaela of a bird with his bony frame, high cheekbones over a pointy chin, and thick eyeglasses with his blinking eyes magnified behind them. He sounded like a squawking bird with his high-pitched voice no matter what his mood or what he was saying. Ready to pounce in anticipation of any need from Damian Wagner, he was always lurking nearby.
Damian’s daughter, Genevieve, was as charming as beautiful. She often asked Rafaela about her family in Brazil and about her life in Deep Creek Lake.  For the new immigrant to America, Rafaela felt as if she was making a friend who would give her good references for more housekeeping jobs in the resort town of Spencer—more millionaire estates to clean—estates that weren’t haunted.
Rafaela pulled her car around the circular drive and parked at the bottom of the steep steps that led to the front door. When she got out of her car, the wind howled and whipped her long dark hair around her head. The wind actually seemed to want to rip her thin coat off her body. Grabbing her box of cleaning supplies, she squared her shoulders, and sucked up her nerve to go inside.
Need to make this quick. They don’t have enough money to make me stay here during that storm.
The wind yanked the heavy wooden door from her grasp to slam it against the side of the house.
“Stupid door!” Rafaela set the box inside the foyer and went outside to grab the door and pull it shut. “Mr. Wagner! Mr. Jansen! Genevieve! It’s me, Rafaela! Hope I’m not disturbing you.” She picked up the box and made her way through the foyer.
“Raf-aela …”
She stopped. With wide eyes, she peered up the staircase to the second floor balcony. “Is that you, Mr. Wagner?” She paused to listen. “Genevieve?”
“Get out. Now.”
Has to be my imagination. She reassured herself. “There’s no such thing as ghosts. There’s no such thing as ghosts,” she muttered over and over to herself while hurrying to the back of the castle.
“I don’t suppose you had any trick-or-treaters last night, did you?” she called out to ease her nerves with the sound of her own voice. “Not up here I suppose.”
She waited for an answer. She heard footsteps on the floor up above.
The smell of burnt meat came to her nose. It smelled like steak that had been left on the grill for too long.
They must have grilled steaks last night.
“Lots of little children stopped by my apartment.” Feeling braver as she rattled on, Rafaela set the box of cleaning supplies on the kitchen table and gathered together her duster and furniture polish.
Best to start in the living room. The antiques, wood, and silver takes the longest.
Admiring the decades-old priceless china encased in the china closet, she went through the dining room. With her cleaning lady’s eye, she gauged what needed to be addressed on this visit that she may have missed before. She stopped when the blotch of red on the doorframe through the kitchen caught her eye.
What’s that? Catsup?
It wasn’t until she spotted a spot on the floor that she first considered that it wasn’t a condiment, but something much more sinister.  She spotted another. Bigger this time … and another.
There was a red pool in front of the kitchen door that opened out onto the back patio and deck that projected out over the rocks to provide a massive view of the valley down below. All of the drops and splatters and pools led to the common source—the fire pit outside.
She saw the flames and smoke wafting in the wind whipping around her where she stood in the open doorway. She stared at the blackened objects in the pit. What at first appeared to be a burnt log projecting out of the flames took shape.
The hand and fingers reached out to her.
The index finger was pointing at her.
Through the rapid beating of her heart, Rafaela could hear the footsteps behind her coming closer.
“Get out!”
His image was reflected in the glass pane of the door. The wild hair. The crazed eyes.
It’s the Wolf Man!

Watch the Trailer!

About the Author:

Lauren Carr is the best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Twelve to Murder is the seventh installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.

In addition to her series set on Deep Creek Lake, Lauren Carr has also written the Lovers in Crime Mysteries, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates, who were introduced in Shades of Murder, the third book in the Mac Faraday Mysteries. They also make an appearance in The Lady Who Cried Murder.

Lauren launched the Lovers in Crime (first introduced in Shades of Murder) mystery series in September 2012 with Dead on Ice.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
For More Information

Lauren is giving away one paperback copy, two ebook copies and three audiobooks of THE MURDERS AT ASTAIRE CASTLE!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Six winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway begins October 6 and ends October 31.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, November 3.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!


  a Rafflecopter giveaway