Thursday, April 30, 2015

Guest post: "The Challenges of Building a Book," by Susie Kinslow Adams, author of 'My Mother My Child'

Mother said I was born with a head full of chatter and a pen in my hand. From an early age I scribbled notes on whatever paper was available.  I was secretary in most clubs and church groups, on the newspaper staff in high school, and wrote community news articles for our local paper.
            When friends and family needed help writing facts and feelings in letters, I was there. At work or church, I was the girl with the pen creating newsletters or sending out appeals for help or encouraging notes.
            While I did keep my pen busy, I never intended to write a book. For me, smaller projects worked better. I never thought my attention span could meet the requirements of a book; I mean, there's a lot of words in a book!
            No, writing a book was not on my bucket list for sure!
            My beautiful, red-haired mother was very outspoken and never one to mince words.  I recall many other remarks she made; some quite hurtful at the time although I never doubted her love for me.  A dinner cook and baker in a large, crowded restaurant, she worked long, hard hours. Weekends our family traveled miles to care for her parents. When finished there, we drove another thirty miles on rough dusty roads in the Missouri hills to do what we could for my father's parents.
           
Miraculously, Mother still found time to teach me cooking and sewing. The two of us lived for those rare days when we could tour some nearby flower gardens or visit a craft fair or music show. As I grew older, I learned which subjects I could discuss with her without getting put down or embarrassed, and our outings became more fun than ever.
            I loved her so much. I marveled at her patience with my grandparents and her wisdom in caring for them. I knew I could never do that for her. The mere thought of me becoming Mother's caregiver someday absolutely froze me in my tracks. I could never do it to suit her. I wouldn't even try.
            No, caring for my mother as she aged was not something I would be doing. No, not at all!
            Circumstances quickly change in a family; I suddenly found myself by Mother's hospital bed, staining the sheets with my tears. What began as a joyous time in our lives turned tragic when she suddenly became ill. At her bedside, I begged God to let her live and I promised to take care of her the rest of her life.
            He was gracious to us; Mother recovered slowly and came to live with us for eight wonderful years. Changes in her health made many of those days challenging at best; I felt helpless at times and so alone. Yet, I had faith and strength and patience that could only have come from above.
            From those experiences I wrote My Mother My Child; a very personal journey as Mother's caregiver.  Early in her care I knew God was telling me to write a book. While I clearly didn't know how that would happen, I was confident as I began journaling my experiences and my feelings.
            When the time came to work on the book, I made a list of chapters I wanted. I would have one chapter to introduce the characters of the book and the circumstances leading up to the caregiving of my mother. I would also need chapters on my experiences with hired caregivers and hospitals, and the changes in Mother's condition through the years.
            I finally settled on eight chapters. I titled them and began to move paragraphs into the proper place. I was sure there was no need for more than eight chapters to keep the reader interested and informed. 
            I quickly learned that forming a book is not like building a building. A building of wood and stone must have a well-defined plan and cannot deviate from that plan. A book has a mind of its own - a voice. My book had more it wanted to give to its audience than simply eight chapters. It must include dealing with the death of a loved one and the importance of preparing for the future.  Another important chapter was needed on relationships; how caring for Mother affected the relationships in our family.
            I would encourage any writer to allow time for your manuscript to speak to you. We often hear fiction writers discussing what their characters taught them as they wrote. The same is true in non-fiction writing. If we but take time to listen, our writings can speak volumes.  The chapters that have meant the most to my readers have often been those added after I thought I had finished the project.

            Give it a try. Your readers will be glad you did.
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Title: My Mother My Child
Genre: Non Fiction Self Help
Author: Susie Kinslow Adams
Publisher: Write By The Sea Press
Purchase on Amazon
About the Book
My Mother My Child is an easy-to-read heartfelt story of caregiving filled with practical helps and resources for every family. Thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter are suitable for individual or group study.
About the Author
susie2
Susie Kinslow Adams is a wife, mother, and grandmother whose earliest memories are of caring for grandparents and offering hugs and hope to shy or struggling classmates. Her work alongside her husband in ministry has provided years of experience with groups and individuals from children to senior adults. Susie is a gifted author, writer, speaker and storyteller. She and her husband have a country home in the Ozarks and enjoy the wonders of nature.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Interview with Neil Hanson, author of 'Pilgrim Wheels: Reflections of a Cyclist Crossing America'


Award-winning author and cycling enthusiast, Neil Hanson, announces the release of Pilgrim Wheels: Reflections of a Cyclist Crossing America (ISBN 978-0982639122), a travel memoir about the first half of his 2011 journey by bicycle across the United States. Hanson is the recipient of three 2010 EVVY Awards, including 1st Place – Inspirational, 2nd Place – Non-fiction, and 3rd Place –Spirituality, from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association for his first nonfiction book, Peace at the Edge of Uncertainty (ISBN 978-0982639108). Pilgrim Wheels has received a Runner Up designation in the General Non-Fiction category at the 2015 Great Southwest Book Festival and an Honorable Mention in the same category at the 2015 Los Angeles Book Festival.

In May, 2011, Neil Hanson announced to friends at a wedding reception in Colorado that after he left the dinner, he’d be climbing into a rental car, driving the car to Monterey in California, and riding his bicycle back through Colorado and then east 3,500 miles across the United States. His original intention was to make the trip as a kind of bucket list dream, a just-for-fun, once-in-a-lifetime escape for adventure and fun. What he discovered instead as he made his way across the U.S., is that this was not just a simple journey; he discovered himself as he pedaled across the remote and winding roads that traverse our magnificent country.

Pilgrim Wheels reveals an inspirational story of journey, discovery, and place, told from the saddle of a bicycle as one man pushes and pulls on the pedals, rolling down the highways of America. Hanson’s bicycle ride becomes a canvas for his incredible journey, a pilgrimage of wonder as he explores the people along the path, the obstacles he faces, the pain he endures, and the boundless joy he achieves as he completes the first half of his travels in the humid farmland east of Medicine Lodge, Kansas. A beautifully written and reflective memoir, Pilgrim Wheels provides a glimpse into the sweetness of physical achievement, the inspired awe that comes from the sheer beauty of our country’s majestic back roads, and the warmth and love shared by the people who welcome Hanson into their lives along the way. 

Pilgrim Wheels: Reflections of a Cyclist Crossing America 
by Neil Hanson 
ISBN 978-0982639122 
High Prairie Press, March 2015 
$14.95         
www.neilhanson.com 
www.amazon.com 
www.barnesandnoble.com
                           

1. What was the original inspiration for your bicycle trip across America?

I wanted to take a bike ride. A long bike ride. Hundreds of miles, just me and my bike. Why? No particular reason, it just sounded like a neat thing to add to the checklist of “fun and exciting things I’ve tried.” The idea became an adventure. An adventure to plan for and to move toward. A box to check off. Eventually, I was clipping into my pedals in Monterey, California, pointing south along the coast on a beautiful summer day, discovering America and me.

The trip didn’t take shape to be a journey of discovery. I wasn’t trying to heal from a lost job, or a failed relationship, or trying to discover myself. I just wanted to ride my bike a long ways, with a really open mind, to see how I did riding 100 miles a day, day after day.

But then things evolved a bit, and I began to discover more about me, about my journey, about the people I met. About America. It didn’t start off as any sort of pilgrimage or deep journey, but rather as a bike ride. But it morphed into this journey that discovered me, and a pilgrimage I didn’t really expect.

2. How far did you travel on this journey and did you deviate at all from the route you’d originally planned?

Total distance was just over 3300 miles, just under 125,000 vertical feet of climbing. My average rolling speed was 14.2 MPH, the lowest temperature I rode through was 35F, and the highest temperature I rode through was 119.

My route did evolve as I rode, sometimes due to road closure, and sometimes just because I felt like trying something different. This book takes me up to Medicine Lodge, Kansas, which is almost exactly halfway, though Kansas is probably where I deviated from my route more than anywhere else.

3. What surprised you as you began your journey across the country?

The first surprise was how easy the routine and the travel came to me. I joke a lot about how it was just riding a bike—climbing into the saddle and peddling—but that really is a great description. By the time I got to my second or third night out, I had just fallen into this nomadic routine that worked really well for me.

That little surprise also speaks to the nature of the adventure that this story represents. Too often, we think of adventure as some wild and wooly ride down some class 5 rapids in a raging river. While there were a few “wild and raging” moments I found along this road, the vast majority of what I classify as the adventure of this journey came from the steady nomadic rhythm that became my daily life, quietly pedaling through something completely unknown, discovering an interesting new person around the next bend in the road.

4. Are there any moments that stand out as being especially meaningful or emotionally transcendent as you travelled?

Beginning in the lush forests of Big Sur, climbing over the coastal range, then spending a couple of days drawn further and further toward the Mojave, really set me up for the depth and meaning I found out on my own in the deserts. Standing on the side of a deserted highway in the Mojave, not long after sunrise, feeling the power and vastness of the desert around me, swallowed in the silence, was one of those moments I write about in the book. Another was the afternoon ride through the heart of the Sonoran, mesmerized by the sensual dance of distant dust devils in the wind, fascinated by the cars disappearing into the shimmering heat of the asphalt in front of me as oncoming cars would appear out of that amorphous mirage.

5. If someone were to propose a trip like yours, what advice would you give him or her?

First, take the time to decide what it is you’re looking for in a ride. I really like the general route I took, although in hindsight, I probably would make some small changes. What I love about my route is that I was able to find some really fine roads to ride on, I saw a wide variety of landscape, and I feel like I really experienced the heart of American culture.

Second, I can’t stress fitness enough. Be sure you’re fit to complete whatever distance you’re setting out to ride. I’ve read several accounts of cross-country trips where a good percentage of the joy was lost until the rider slowly became fit enough to do the ride.

Third, I’d recommend thinking hard about the “style” or riding you want to do. Do you want to be fully loaded and self-sufficient or minimalist? One of the things I noticed in the accounts I read of other cross country trips was that sometimes folks didn’t think this through a lot. It’s easy to overlook, and my “pack” dwindled considerably as I rode, learning more as I went about what minimalism really meant. Too often folks burden themselves with lots of gear, mostly because that’s their “vision” of touring on a bicycle. Many of them then end up spending a fair number of nights in motels anyway, and eating at diners.

6. How has this journey changed your impression of our country? Do you feel the same about America as you did before you decided to bicycle across the mainland?

I grew up in Kansas, a product of Midwestern kindness. So I pretty much expect most people to be kind and generous. Even with that as a starting point, I was continually humbled and heartened at the generosity, kindness, and true concern that I encountered from people across America. Sure there were some rude drivers, along with a few other exceptions, but generally I was overwhelmed by the goodness and camaraderie people shared with me. From the young woman I met at the airport in Monterey to the old rancher who pulled over and gave Dave and me ice cold water on a 100+ degree day in Kansas, the goodness in people warmed my heart.

7. Are you working on a sequel to Pilgrim Wheels? If so, what can you tell us about it?

Pilgrim Wheels takes the reader up to Medicine Lodge in western Kansas, and the next book will take the reader from Medicine Lodge out to Annapolis on the east coast. From the time I left the Big Sur coastline in California, all the way across the western half of the country, I was nearly always riding in some form of “The West.” The landscape varied from semi-arid to deep desert, the air was always dry, the views and landscape big and sweeping.

But Medicine Lodge is where that changed. I swept down into Medicine Lodge out of the big Medicine Hills, with vast views across landscape that is iconic American West, and emerged riding east into increasing humidity and rich farmland. From that point all the way to Annapolis, the journey took me through various forms of the “Old America,” one made up of lush farmland, deep woods, humid air, wide rivers, and more history.

 


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Getting Published Part 1: What surprises debut authors the most about the publishing industry?



Getting published.  The thought of it makes a writer’s mind go into a state of euphoria with dollar signs dancing in all directions. When I first became published, I had no idea what was in store.  I went with an e-publisher and my journey didn’t turn out quite the way I expected.  I could count total sales on one hand.  But, times were different back then.  It’s much easier to get published today than it’s ever been thanks to the self-publishing boom, but it’s not without its trials and tribulations. You grow and learn and that’s what it’s all about.  You make mistakes.  You learn the ropes.  You succeed. 

We asked writers who went on to become published authors what was it about the process that surprised them more than anything else?  Their answers might surprise you or even help you prepare yourself for the long road ahead if you are trying to make your writing dreams come true.  Here’s what they had to say.

 * * * * *
“What surprised me the most? That it happened. My first book endured a lot of rejections because of the subject matter. There aren’t too many lines you can’t cross when it comes to art and publishing, but apparently, I found one.”

 * * * * *

“I think the biggest surprise was having a publisher say yes. There were a lot of rejected query letters before I contacted Scribe, and I was very close to self-publishing when they stepped in. I never really got dispirited, but I began to think that established agents and publishers had no interest in a debut novelist, so I had to read that final acceptance e-mail a few times before it sunk in.”

 * * * * *

“I was surprised at how much of the editing they (the publisher) handled themselves. I expected several rounds of line edits, I got only two and some very good suggestions from their editor.”

 * * * * *

“The length of time between submitting the manuscript and distribution was excruciatingly long. I hoped the process would be more streamlined but working with a publisher is very involved and time consuming.”

 * * * * *

“When you write a book, you have this fantasy that you simply send it off to a publisher, and that it’s printed and sent out to bookstores and money and fame result. Of course, I’m exaggerating. But only slightly. We all, I think, have a little of that illusion in our minds as we’re sweating away at a manuscript. In fact, the real work starts once you’ve written your book. Then you have to sell it. And once it’s published, you have to promote it. It’s rewarding work but it’s challenging. And it is a surprising amount of work.”

 * * * * *

“Writing a book is exhilarating. Sales and marketing is frustrating, because it’s so difficult for an Indie author to get their books in front of their audience. Mainstream books stores don’t exactly welcome Indie authors, and if you do get in, you’re essentially paying them to carry your book. That leaves on-line marketing and social media and blogging and—well you get it. As exhausting as being an Indie author sounds, you can do it too.”

 * * * * *

“Luckily, I knew a great deal about publishing and marketing before putting up my first novel. I guess what surprised me the most was how welcoming the market was for my book. Reviewers, whether the writer is self-published or traditional, want to review good books. Readers want interesting characters and stories—and read without checking to see if the book comes from one of the Big Five. Many bookstores, especially my favorite, the small and unfranchised, are very supportive.”

 * * * * *

“Learning how the book industry works and discovering all that independently published talent out there was a wonderful surprise for me. I learned that through the process of publishing this book myself. Some of the Indie books I have read are among the best I have read in recent years.”

 * * * * *

“Yes, the amount of work that goes on around the book that has nothing to do with actually writing e.g. endless time and effort in promoting, selling and social media. I knew little about FB, Twitter, Good Reads, Amazon Author Pages, etc. Thanks to the magnificent Marketing Director at my publisher I can now say that I am very well versed… for example I have more than 1600 FB fans and friends!”

 * * * * *

“What surprised me is how my book became viral! It was really fast and in a week I had a million readers.”

 * * * * *

“I have written forever.  It surprised me when my first academic book and articles on eighteenth-century German literature were published, because no one wanted my fiction.  I have heard it said that an academic knows who her audience is—small as it may be—but it is more complicated when you write fiction.  When I discovered self-publishing after retirement, I was on my way.”

 * * * * *

“You would think that coming up with a story worthy of writing a book would be the hardest part. For me that is where I found the most joy, the creative side, letting the story sweep you up and take you for an unexpected ride. It wasn’t till I had finished the book and started to edit it that I realized the real work was in the details. Without a publisher all of the fine tuning is up to you and hopefully you are lucky enough to have a group of friends that are willing to roll up their own sleeves and help you trudge through it. 

 * * * * *
 
The things that you have to worry can quickly become overwhelming,there are so many choices that you have to make from cover to font style that can make you go prematurely grey. It’s enough to make any sane person want to give up and just throw in the towel. This is the point that it’s once again important to pick yourself up and keep going. The finishing stages right before publishing are a lot like the last hill climb at the end of a marathon, you have two choices. You can give up because you are tired and worn down, or you can remind yourself that all the hard work you have put in till this point will just be thrown away if you don’t will yourself up that final hill.”

 * * * * *

“Short answer? Everything. I had been writing for ten years, with three completed unsold novels and numerous false dawns. To just have a real agent, who sold my book to a real publisher who gave me real money for it was astonishing. Then it sold so well. The absolute high point for me were the wonderful reviewers and readers who acted as cheerleaders for my work. There is nastiness aimed at reviewers by some authors and vice versa. Sadly, that tends to get all the publicity. What doesn’t get the publicity are the lovely people who read novels, who love them and then tell the world with hugely enthusiastic reviews. That was my experience and it was the biggest compliment my writing could ever get. I owe so very, very much to every single one of them.”

 * * * * *

“Getting your book out there is hard, hard work.  When you are a first time, self-published author, there is no such thing as an overnight success.”

 * * * * *

The last comment sums it up.  Getting your book published is hard work, but it’s all part of the publishing game.  What was it that surprised you when you first became published? 


Dorothy is founder of Pump Up Your Book, an innovative public relations agency specializing in online book publicity and social media promotion for authors. Visit us at www.pumpupyourbook.com





Tips for Writing Thrillers from Chris Karlsen, Author of 'Silk'

Every author has their own rules when it comes to thrillers no matter what period of place they are set. Here are a few I keep in mind.

**Make sure your protagonist and antagonist are worthy of each other in intellect and cleverness—think Professor Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes, or Auric Goldfinger and James Bond.

**Don't rely on a convenient shortcut to get a character out of danger—no suddenly unlocked doors where there hadn't been or would be, no miraculous self defense maneuvers/martial arts abilities not shown or mentioned until the characters life is at stake. No handy nail files discovered on the floor to unpick cuffs etc.

**Avoid two-dimensional villains, the antagonist should be as evolved and complex in his or her own way as the protagonist. They may not share as much page time as the protagonist but they need to be more than just "pure evil." They need some kind of motivation for their actions.

**Let the main characters surprise the reader. The villain can do an unexpected act of kindness and the hero/heroine can lie or do something out of character. Whatever it is that the hero/heroine does should have some negative or dangerous effect on them as a character or on the plot.

**Show the hero/heroine's thought process as they move to capture the villain(s).

**Lure the reader into thinking one thing and then flip it on its head.

**Make the reader wait—don't give them everything up front, make them figure stuff out.

/////////////////////////////////

Title: Silk                  
Genre: Thriller
Author: Chris Karlsen
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Purchase on Amazon

SUMMARY

London-Fall, 1888

The city is in a panic as Jack the Ripper continues his murderous spree. While the Whitechapel police struggle to find him, Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone and his partner are working feverishly to find their own serial killer. The British Museum's beautiful gardens have become a killing ground for young women strangled as they stroll through.

Their investigation has them brushing up against Viscount Everhard, a powerful member of the House of Lords, and a friend to Queen Victoria. When the circumstantial evidence points to him as a suspect, Rudyard must deal with the political blowback, and knows if they are going to go after the viscount, they'd better be right and have proof.

As the body count grows and the public clamor for the detectives to do more, inter-department rivalries complicate the already difficult case.

AUTHOR BIO


Chris is a Chicago native. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was in her late teens where she later studied at UCLA. She graduated with a Business Degree. Her father was a history professor and her mother a voracious reader. She grew up with a love of history and books.

Her parents were also passionate about traveling and passed their passion onto Chris. Once bitten with the travel bug, Chris spent most of her adult life visiting the places she'd read about and that fascinated her. She's had the good fortune to travel Europe extensively, the Near East, and North Africa, in addition to most of the United States.

After college, Chris spent the next twenty-five years in law enforcement with two agencies. Harboring a strong desire to write since her teens, upon retiring from police work, Chris decided to pursue her writing career. She currently writes three different series. Her historical romance series is called, Knights in Time. Her romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters, and he latest book, Silk, is book one in her mystery/suspense series, The Bloodstone series.

She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and five wild and crazy rescue dogs.




Sunday, April 26, 2015

FREE Children's Picture Book for Review: Angels, Angels, Everywhere by Michelle Beber

Title: Angels, Angels, Everywhere
Author: Michelle Beber
Publisher: Balboa Press (Hay House)
Pages: 30
Genre: Juvenile Fiction/Children’s Picture Book
Format: Paperback/Kindle/Nook

Angels, Angels, Everywhere is a non-denominational, multiracial book written in delightful rhythm and rhyme and accompanied by charming illustrations.  The themes of constant support and unconditional love are designed to help children deal with everyday experiences in life.
By developing children’s faith in knowing that they are not alone and building their trust that they are consistently watched over, cared for, and loved, children will become empowered to deal with life’s challenges.  The book also lets children know that angels are there in good times as well, sharing in their joy.

If you have a blog or Facebook page and like to review books, this delightful children's picture book is available for free in exchange for a review during the author's blog tour June 1 - August 28.  We only ask that you also add your review to Amazon.

Visit the sign up page here for more information. A representative will get back in touch with you within 48 hours.  This offer is available for a limited time.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Interview with Mike Phillips, author of Dawn of Ages

Dawn of Ages Book Banner


5144907Title: Dawn of Ages
Author: Mike Phillips
Genre: Science Fiction/Post Apocalyptic
Publisher: Eternal Press
Pages: 291 
Purchase at AMAZON

 It’s the end of the world, but a new beginning for humanity. The war has lasted for generations. In this technological age, no longer must humans risk their lives in combat. Fierce robots operated by remote control make up the bulk of the militaries. Satellites in the atmosphere render the heavens a frenzy of violent confrontation. However, the war has little effect on everyday life. The bloodshed is minimal, the disruption to commerce even less. It is a comfortable war. Most of the populace believe they have nothing to fear. Little they know their world is about to come to an end.

amazon2

 How long have you been writing?

I never wanted to be a writer. I went to college, got a great job when I graduated, and was bored out of my skull. I didn’t have any money when going to school, so I was used to working forty hours a week and taking a full time schedule. When I got my “real job” I had more down-time than I ever had in my life. Stories just started developing in my mind and I thought it would be fun to write them down. That was twenty years ago. Now I can’t stop. If I don’t write, the stories work their way into my head anyway. The only way I can get the stories to leave me alone is to write them down. Don’t get me wrong. I love writing, but it was never anything I set out to do.

Who or what influenced your writing over the years?

My reading habits are diverse, almost quirky. Short stories, poetry, novels, I read it all. I have an interest in science and engineering, so I read a lot of non-fiction articles as well. When I’m reading fiction, I gravitate toward stories of the supernatural. Some of the new authors you find in online anthologies are really pushing the boundaries of the genre and are worth checking out. I also like historical fiction. My most guilty pleasure is the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell. WB Yates, Margaret Atwood, Walter Mosley, Neil Gaiman, Dean Koontz, James Lee Burke, and Jim Butcher are some of my favorite writers. When I’m taking a break from writing, I like to read old favorites like Watership Down or Anansi Boys.


How did you come up with the title of the book?

Titles, names, and first lines are the most difficult parts of writing for me. In Dawn of Ages, the lead character, Boyne Caro, always went by “young boy” or YB in my notes. As the story matured on the page, he became a young man but the name Boyne stuck. There is a mountain and a few cities in Northern Michigan with the name Boyne in them, and that’s where the spelling comes from. Caro, his last name, is a city in the “Thumb” area of Michigan. That name has to do with witchcraft but also has some historical reference to Mars, the god of war, and is related in a way to the plot of book which I will not explain here as I don’t want to give too much away. Coming up with a title was a real struggle. I had a dozen or so working titles as the book was being written. The editor and I went through no fewer tries before finally settling on Dawn of Ages, which I like and is descriptive on the books plot. Bored yet? I didn’t realize I had so much to say about this. The first line came rather quickly. It introduces us to this world where drone combat and political oppression are commonplace. Boyne Caro is on duty, bored out of his mind and is playing with the controls of his command vehicle when he makes an accidental discovery that changes his life. Even with all the editing and work that goes into a final manuscript, I still like it just as it was originally put down. …There was something wrong with the sky.

Are there any current books that have grasped your interest?

The last book I read was The Paper Magician. Loved it! Great fantasy, great plot, and great writing. I’m about twenty pages into the Witching Savanna series. At first I wasn’t sure it would be my thing, but now I’m hooked.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

For me, the writing, the creativity, is a joy. I like nothing more than to end a long day by sitting in front of my computer and telling stories. Often I compare it to the impulse painters or other artists feel during the process of creation. The hard part for me, no offense, is the promotions. As a published author, it’s part of the deal. After a publisher invests so much into editing and advertising and whatnot, they are owed some help in sales. Interviews are hard for me to manage. I find myself not all that interesting and am often nonplussed that people would bother to read an interview about me. Sooooo, thanks for reading my interview.

Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you. Be creative, you can talk about your first job, something that inspires you, anything fun that might grab the readers attention.

I love animals. I grew up with dogs and cats and all the different farm animals you can imagine. I even had a pet duck that used to follow me around. Her name was Peeper and I rescued her from a weasel the night of her birth –or should I say hatching? My wife is allergic to fur, so I can’t have a dog or a cat or any of the usual suspects. I do have a pet rat. Her name is Sassy and she is my second rat. Once you get past the tail and the black plague thing, rats are great pets. They are very affectionate. They are intelligent and trainable too. I often think of Sassy as a very small dog. When I have a party, I bring Sassy out for everyone to meet. Am I cool, or what?

Thanks again for having me as your guest. I hope you check out Dawn of Ages and my other book, Reign of the Nightmare Prince and The World Below. I’m on the web at mikephillipsfantasy.com. Thanks again and take care, MP

ABOUT MIKE PHILLIPS

Mike PhillipsMike Phillips is author of The World Below and Reign of the Nightmare Prince. His short stories have appeared in ParAbnormal Digest, Cemetery Moon, Sinister Tales, Beyond Centauri, the World of Myth, Mystic Signals and many others. Online, his work has appeared in Lorelei Signal, Kzine, Bewildering Stories, Midnight Times, and Fringe. He is best known for his Crow Witch and Patrick Donegal series. Please visit Mike at mikephillipsfantasy.com.

WATCH THE TRAILER!

Interview with Scott R. Lord, author of 'The Logic Bomb'



Scott R. Lord has been a highly successful criminal and civil trial lawyer for 35 years and is active in the practice of law with the law firm of Cohen & Lord, a P.C., located in the Century City area of Los Angeles. Scott is a devoted student of Italian language and literature. He is the father and step-father of six children and lives with his wife and children in Santa Monica, California.

His latest book is the thriller, The Logic Bomb.

For More Information
About the Book:

Fiction collides with fact with frightening prescience in Scott Lord’s ripped-from-the-headlines techno-thriller, THE LOGIC BOMB.

In his exciting debut as a novelist, Lord, a practicing lawyer, mixes shady financial deals, organized crime, and the real-life threat of cyber warfare into an unlikely but always entertaining blend of high
drama and comedy.

Scott Turow, author of the bestselling legal thriller PRESUMED INNOCENT, hails Lord as “a terrific writer. Read THE LOGIC BOMB.”

Kirkus Reviews praises THE LOGIC BOMB as “rife with tense scenes dominated by gleefully unpredictable characters.”

Lord’s hero, Tom Tresh, is a Los Angeles lawyer living on an aging sailboat while struggling to support his seven-year-old son and an ex-wife. When a friend offers him a “huge payday” if he helps with a shady deal to sell a complex but seemingly harmless computer program to a Hong Kong company, Tresh finds himself in a firestorm of intrigue, because the program is actually a powerful cyber weapon, capable of infiltrating and destroying computer systems.

Lord cites former National Security Advisor Richard A. Clarke’s 2010 book, “Cyber War,” as one of the chief inspirations for writing THE LOGIC BOMB. Lord explains that a logic bomb is a type of cyber weapon, a "virtual explosive," that can infiltrate various systems and wreck them.

So-called “logic bombs” actually exist, says Lord, and, according to the best authorities, are already planted in U.S. software programs that run our financial, transportation, utility and – scariest of all – defense systems.

(Clarke’s book) “describes in great detail the types of cyber attacks which we are all becoming familiar with,” Lord explains. “I decided that one of the cyber weapons he describes, a logic bomb, would be an excellent `MacGuffin’ for my story. Now cyberwar is filling the news. Little did I know!”

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

A:  I’ve been writing creatively since I was ten:  fiction, poetry, a play, even an opera libretto.  Once I retired from the full-time law practice of law, I knew I wanted to write a novel that shared some of the stories and insights I had learned during my years as an attorney. 

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

A:   Thank you, I do, too.  The Logic Bomb fulfills what, for me, are the requirements of a good title:  It sounds good, it excites curiosity and it means something in relation to the subject matter of the book.

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


A:  I believe that a good novel should entertain the reader.  Reading it should be a pleasure, not a duty. A good novel may also teach you a little something, too.  The books I find myself returning again and again are books that entertain me and that have characters I want to spend time with.  I think that The Logic Bomb is both entertaining and deals with a subject – cyber crime and cyber war – that is very relevant today.

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:  Since I am self-published, I have done most of the publicity myself.  I will say that my publisher, Friesen Press, spent hours with me developing a marketing strategy and plan and also helped me create my website.

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

A:  In general, I think that The Logic Bomb fits nicely on the shelf with books by Robert Parker, Scott Turow, Michael Connelly and John Grisham.

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

A:  Tom Tresh is, literally, twenty feet under water at the bottom of the harbor.  He was thrown there by two thugs sent to punish him for his part in the theft of the cyber weapon – the logic bomb – that is the subject of the novel. 

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A:  Absolutely.  I have completed a new manuscript and am deep in the editing process.  I have begun work on a follow-up to The Logic Bomb and hope to have it completed by the end of the year.
  
Q: Thank you for your interview, Scott.  Do you have any final words?

A:  Thank you so much for the opportunity to talk a little about my book.  For those who might like more information, please visit my website, www.scottrichardlord.com.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Getting It Right Book Blast Event!


The Writer's Life is happy to be hosting A.M. Arthur and her GETTING IT RIGHT Book Blast today!


About the Book:

Title: Getting It Right (Book one of the Restoration series)
Author: A.M. Arthur
Publisher: Carina Press (Harlequin)
Pages: 249
Genre: Contemporary Romance / M/M
Format: Kindle/Nook

For a dramatic male/male read, look no further than Getting It Right by A.M. Arthur. This contemporary romance is full of heart-wrenching moments guaranteed to draw you in and leave you wanting more. 

Detective Nathan Wolf might just be a junior detective, but he tackles every case with the passion that he lacks in his personal life. A series of failed relationships with women has left him still single at thirty-four--because he's too scared to admit to his longtime crush on his best friend James.

Dr. James Taggert likes to keep his profession as a psychiatrist separate from his party-animal persona. Known around the gay clubs as Tag, he’s the guy who screws them, leaves them, and never looks back. But James’s drinking is getting heavier, and when bad memories from the past resurface, he’s close to becoming the worst version of himself.

After a drunken blackout ends in a hot and heavy make-out session with his very straight best friend, James has no memory of the steamy affair. But Nathan isn't sorry for the kisses that James can't remember. Nathan finally musters the courage to tell James how he really feels, but a life-altering event might force them apart before they can ever be together.

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Book Excerpt:

He smoked his way through two more cigarettes before Nathan’s beat-up Ram pickup pulled alongside the curb. For a city cop, he was still adorably country. Nathan leaned across the console to shove open the passenger side door, and James gratefully slid inside. The simple, familiar presence of Nathan nearby made James’s nerves unfurl a little bit more. Nathan was the one thing in James’s life that had always made sense. Had always been easy.

Weariness settled into his bones, turning his drunken daze into extreme fatigue. He wanted to pass out and soon.

Nathan shoved a bottle of water at him, then eased the truck back into the street. He cracked both of the front windows, probably because James reeked of smoke. Nathan had never been shy about telling him how gross his habit was. Nathan was also smart enough not to engage in conversation until they were shuffling up the short sidewalk to Nathan’s half of a two-story duplex. Nathan slung an arm around James’s waist, and the heat of the other man’s body so close felt amazing. Real. Not like the fake closeness of dancing with strangers in a crowded bar.

He finally got a good look at his friend as Nathan crossed the narrow living room to the kitchen in the rear. Flannel pajama pants and a spring coat. James had woken him up.

Yeah, I’m a douche bag.

“You hungry?” Nathan shouted from the kitchen.

“No.” In the familiar, somewhat cluttered warmth of Nathan’s home, he had a safe place to wallow in the shame still burning in his gut.

Nathan’s place was the definition of a straight bachelor’s pad—which worked since Nathan was a straight bachelor. Dark leather furniture right out of a magazine’s page, decorated exactly the same because he couldn’t be bothered. A monster, sixty-inch flat screen mounted on the wall over an entertainment console boasted two gaming systems, alongside a Blu-ray player and hundreds of movies. Only a handful of photos hung on the wall, mostly of his rather large extended family that lived in southern Delaware.

James paused to stare at a familiar photo of himself with Nathan, taken right after Nathan had graduated from the police academy. They were both grinning, arms slung around each other’s shoulder. Nathan so handsome in his uniform, James in a gray suit that hadn’t been stylish in a decade. Because that’s how long it had been. Nathan had made detective last year, so he didn’t wear his uniform anymore. James sort of missed it.

Nathan came back into the living room sans coat, a white wifebeater showing off his muscled arms and flat stomach. He was one-eighth Nanticoke Indian on his mother’s side, which gave his skin a lovely golden hue. His short hair was shiny black, and was always soft on the rare occasion James had a reason to touch it. His dark brown eyes often seemed to be smiling at him, even when things were serious, like right now.

He was carrying a bamboo tray loaded down with two shot glasses, a bottle of Kentucky bourbon and a bag of barbecue potato chips. He settled the tray on his magazine-covered coffee table, then poured them each a shot.

James sank onto the couch next to Nathan and accepted the glass. After a silent toast, he threw it back. The harsh, smoky liquid burned its way into his stomach.
Nathan refilled both glasses. “Does your mom know?”

About the Author:

No stranger to the writing world, A.M. Arthur has been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long. She credits an early fascination with male friendships and "bromance" (and "The Young Riders") with her later discovery of and subsequent affair with m/m romance stories. When not writing, she can be found in her kitchen, pretending she's an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.

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