Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quick Kill By Thrillers Rock Twitter


Review and interview by Thrillers Rock Twitter

Quick Kill is a fast paced mystery/thriller by Patricia McCallum, which introduces readers to an endearing new protagonist, Sydney Granger. Sydney is a female detective, small in stature but more than compensates with tenacity and courage. Sydney and her hunky partner, Mike Stanza, are involved in a string of murders, all occurring in a span of a few days. Initially there seems to be no connection between the victims aside from the gruesome manner in which they died. Through some fine detective work, Sydney and Mike race to the final exciting, and unexpected, conclusion.

For a debut novel, McCallum has created a thriller that warrants considerable attention. Her characters are likeable and believable while her storyline remains within the realm of reality, not an easy task when trying to create a new twist on the serial killer genre. McCallum, a member of the IBC, is off to a fantastic start and a promising future with Sydney Ganger leading the way, solving a wide assortment of cases.

Quick Kill is presently #7 on the Amazon Police Procedural Bestsellers list and #1 on Hot New Releases - Women Sleuths!


Patricia agreed to answer some questions so we could get to know more about her:


1. Tell us a little about yourself. Quick Kill is set in Toronto. Are you from there?

Yes, I was born and raised in Toronto, then I left for 25 years to wander the earth. I have recently moved back from India and I'm attempting to 'settle down' once again! So far, so good. My next book might include some of the places I've lived in, so more of an international feel but keeping the main base in Toronto. Sydney loves Toronto.




2. While reading Quick Kill I was reminded of James Patterson works. Who are your influences when it comes to writing?

James Patterson, lol!! Thank-you, that is a awesome compliment for me! I also like Michael Connelly, Jonathan Kellerman and Tess Gerritsen.


3. Musically gifted children play an important part in your thriller. Has music been an influence in your life?
Actually no, that idea came out of thin air. Of course, like everyone, I enjoy music but I could never sing or play a musical instrument to save my life. Not even the recorder!


4. Sydney, the police detective/protagonist, uses yoga as a relaxation. Is this something you have tried?

I'm a yoga instructor. I practice Moksha hot yoga at the moment and teach chair yoga to enthusiastic older  ladies. :)


5. What is next for Patricia McCallum? Another thriller or a venture in another direction?

Sydney definitely has more adventures in the future but another thriller idea I've had for awhile is dying to burst out of me. We shall see...


Thanks Patricia and we look forward to your next venture. You can pick up a copy of Quick Kill here and find out more about Patricia on her blog, Facebook and Twitter.



Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Indie Insider - Emlyn Chand

Q: What is your writing process like?

A: I begin with a seed of an idea and work out from there. With Farsighted, I started with Alex and created the rest of the story and characters to fit around him. Using the runes as a structural framework for this novel created an outline for me too. I’m a numbers person as well as a word person. I love things to be organized just so. If you set a stack of papers in front of me; I’m going to fuss with them until they are lined up in a perfect stack. It’s just the way I am. Shaping each chapter around a rune gave the story order, which made me feel happy and comfortable. Whenever I got stuck and didn’t know what should happen next, I was able to learn more about that chapter’s rune and get the inspiration I needed to continue. The runes themselves tell a story, one that is successfully completed. I felt that boded well for Farsighted.

Q: What was it like writing from the viewpoint of a blind, teenage boy? Were there any parts of Alex's personality/life you found hard to come up with?

A: You know, it wasn’t as hard to write blind as I initially thought it would be. It didn’t take long to begin “seeing” Alex’s world the way he does. I wrote the entire story without knowing what anyone or anything looked like (except for Alex himself). When it came time to shoot the book trailer, the directors were asking me questions about the scenes and which props they should bring, and I really, really didn’t know what to tell them!

As I got to know Alex better and better, it became easier to tune into his way of seeing things. I read books about coping with blindness in a school setting and spent a great deal of time pondering how I might behave if I couldn’t see. In the story, Alex has always been blind; he’s always known the world to be a certain way. Not everyone understands that, and they have trouble talking about it with him. I gave Alex a tendency to overcompensate. He knows who he is and what he’s capable of, and he wants the world to know it too, so sometimes he overdoes things a bit.


Q: Your cast of characters has international flavor? What's behind that choice?

A: I don’t see why my characters all need to belong to the same culture or ethnicity. What fun is that? Culture shapes our characters in a big way, so by diversifying my cast, I was able to hit on more types of personalities and situations. Grandon is based on my hometown; it’s small and kind of boring. I couldn’t wait to escape and move on to bigger and better things. My home town was mostly Caucasian, but somehow I ended up with a very diverse set of friends even though they made up less than 1% of the student body. Fast forward a few years, and I end up marrying a man from India. He’s from New Delhi, like Simmi. I’ve always been fascinated by other cultures; I even decided to pursue my Master’s in Sociology for this very reason. I credit two early life influences for this attraction:  1) My adoration of A.C. Slater in Saved by the Bell, 2) Disney’s Aladdin being the best movie ever.


Q: What was the inspiration for Farsighted?

A: Everything started with a single image—my face in these tacky oversized sunglasses reflecting out at me from the car’s side mirror. I was daydreaming while my husband drove us across Michigan for my sister’s wedding. Something about my image really struck me in an almost horrific way. I felt the glasses made me look blind but found it so weird that there was still a clear image within them; it seemed so contradictory. At the time, my book club was reading The Odyssey, which features the blind Theban prophet, Tieresias. I started thinking about what it would be like to have non-visual visions of the future and began forming a modern Tieresias in my mind. Lo and behold, Alex Kosmitoras was born. I didn’t want him to be alone in his psychic subculture, so I found other characters with other powers to keep him company. Thank God for my poor fashion sense. :-)


Q: What would you like readers to take away from Farsighted? Is there a different message for adults than for teens?

A: First and foremost, I hope that readers will enjoy themselves. My primary goal is to tell an interesting story that people will find entertaining and be glad they read. Secondly, I’d like to infuse contemporary Young Adult fiction with a bit more diversity and teach readers about the beauty of other cultures and other ways of life. I also hope that Farsighted is a book that leads to introspection—what would I do if put in Alex’s place? Did Alex ever have a choice or was this path his destiny? What would it be like to see the world the way he sees the world?

I like to think of anything I write as being kind of like a Disney movie, in that the primary audience will be children, but there are extra tidbits for the adults too. Farsighted has been infused with a great deal of research about runes, classic mythology, and Eastern spirituality, but you don’t need to understand any of that to be entertained by the story.


Q. There have been articles written this year about YA being too dark for teens. What are your thoughts on this?

A: I definitely agree. I want to get back to the core of the YA genre, and I attempted to do that with Farsighted. I also think that paranormal has gotten a bit too out there. One thing I hear from readers quite a bit is that the paranormal seems normal in Farsighted. They don’t question the existence of the powers, and it doesn’t seem out there like some other books of the genre do. That was important to me. I wanted my story to be run by the characters, not the fantastic elements. This is a story about Alex, not about a blind psychic.


Q: What motivated you to structure the book around the runes?

A: Remember how I said my Master’s degree is in Sociology? It’s actually Quantitative Sociology. I’m a numbers person as well as a word person. I love things to be organized just so. If you set a stack of papers in front of me; I’m going to fuss with them until they are lined up in a perfect stack. It’s just the way I am. Shaping each chapter around a rune gave the story order, which made me feel happy and comfortable. Whenever I got stuck and didn’t know what should happen next, I was able to learn more about that chapter’s rune and get the inspiration I needed to continue. The runes themselves tell a story, one that is successfully completed. I felt that boded well for Farsighted.


Q:  What do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?

A:  I LOVE YA—I read it, write it, love it! My favorite author is JK Rowling. The more I read, the more I realize how brilliant she is as an author. If you remove the dialogue tags from Harry Potter, you still know which character is speaking, and Rowling managed to create an intricate beautiful world without allowing her character development to suffer, which is tremendously rare. I consider her literary God. Suzanne Collins, and JD Salinger are classic faves.

My all-time favorite book is A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, definitely. The novel has so many layers and entertains on so many levels. Also the characters in that novel seem more real than those from any other I’ve ever read. It’s just beautiful—that’s the only word for it.


Q: If you had to be stuck on an island for a year with three literary characters, who would they be?

A: First up, we’d obviously take Robinson Crusoe. He knows what he’s doing, and he can be the provider. I’ll also take Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games—if we get in any kind of danger, she’d be a great protector. Lastly, I’d take Ron Weasley. Ron and I can live the good life, while the other two make sure we all stay safe and well-fed. I know I would never get bored with Ron around—he’s just 24/7 entertainment.


Q: You’ve taken a risk by going with an unconventional ending. Without spoiling the story for your readers, can you tell us why you made this choice? Are you glad you did this? Do you feel it’s been successful? Why or why not?

A: Yeah, I ended with a cliffhanger, which goes against traditional publishing wisdom. But you know what? I. AM. INDIE! Being indie means taking risks and breaking the mold and, boy, am I excited to do it. The ending is kind of polarizing, people either love it or wish there was more there. The joining thread is almost everyone mentions looking forward to the next book in the series. Farsighted demands a companion, and people see that. I think it was a good decision since this is the first in the series and since I enjoy toeing the line of convention. It’s fun to shake things up.


Announcing the Farsighted  Social Media Whirlwind Tour!

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Farsighted eBook edition is just 99 cents this week.

What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes, including lots of Amazon gift cards (up to $100 in amount) and 5 autographed copies of the book. Be sure to enter before the end of the day on Friday, December 30th, so you don’t miss out.


To Win the Prizes

  1. Purchase your copy of Farsighted for just 99 cents on Amazon or Barnes & Noble
  2. Fill-out the form on Novel Publicity to enter for the prizes
  3. Visit today’s featured event; you may win an autographed copy of the book or a $50 gift card!
  4. BONUS:  If you leave a comment on this blog post, you have another chance at $100!
  5. DOUBLE BONUS:  If I receive more comments than any other blogger, *I* win $100.

...And I can win too!

Over 100 bloggers are participating in this gigantic event, and there are plenty of prizes for us too. The blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card as well. So when you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to say that I referred you, so I can get a point in the poll.


The Featured Events include:

Monday, a guest blog on Novel Publicity! Emlyn kicks off the tour on the Novel Publicity Free Advice blog by discussing her brightly burning passion for books in a guest post entitled “My journey through the pages and toward a life-long love of reading.”  One commenter will win an autographed copy of Farsighted. Don’t forget to enter for the other contest prizes while you’re over there!

Tuesday, Twitter sharing contest! A tweet is tiny, only 140 characters. But on Tuesday, it could win you $50. Send the following tweet across the twittersphere, and you just may win a $50 Amazon gift card. An autographed copy of Farsighted is also up for grabs. The winners will be announced Wednesday morning. Here’s the tweet:  Looking for a fun read to round out your holiday break? The paranormal YA hit Farsighted is just 99 cents! http://ow.ly/81Dt1 #whirlwind

Wednesday, Google+ sharing contest! Yup, there’s yet another awesome opportunity to win a $50 Amazon gift card, and this time it just takes a single click! Visit Google+ and share Emlyn Chand’s most recent post (you’ll see the Stay Farsighted book cover included with it). On Thursday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of Farsighted is also up for grabs. Two chances to win with just one click! How about that?

Thursday, Facebook sharing contest! Stop by Novel Publicity’s Facebook page and share their latest post (you’ll see the Farsighted book cover included with it). It’s ridiculously easy to win! On Friday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of Farsighted is also up for grabs.

Friday, special contest on the author’s site! Are you ready for some more fun? Take a picture of yourself with your copy of Farsighted either in paperback or on an eReading device, then post it to Emlyn Chand’s Facebook page or email a copy to author@emlynchand.com. You just way win one of three Amazon gift cards! A $100 prize will go to the photo with the most interesting setting (so put your holiday travel time to work for you). Another $50 will go the funniest photo, and one more prize of $50 will go the scariest photo—this is a paranormal YA book after all. An autographed copy of Farsighted will go to one randomly selected entrant. For more details about this contest, please visit www.emlynchand.com.


Remember, it’s all about the books!

About Farsighted: Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still “see” things others can’t.  When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider. Farsighted is the winner of the 2011 Dragonfly eBook Awards. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the Author:  Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she’s not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb. Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.





Friday, December 23, 2011

Free Kindle Ebooks Are A Wonderful And Magical Thing!


I am delighted to inform my friends and colleagues that my little murder mystery story is FREE today on Amazon. You can download it here! Yah!!

There is something wonderful about free Kindle books, even if you don't get to reading it for awhile, it's so much fun to click that magic download button and it's very comforting to know that you have lots of books stashed on your phone or computer just in case you get stuck in an elevator for three days.

So go ahead, go and download it now. You know you want to...

Merry Christmas!!

:)




Thursday, December 22, 2011

Indie Insider - Monique Domovitch


You’ve had varied careers, the first of which was modeling. Looking back, what did you learn from your careers?

From modeling, I learned that by pretending a person can become. I was the shyest, gawkiest girl, but walking the runway taught me to hold my head high and smile in spite of my fear, and with time, the confidence I tried to project became real. From my years as a financial planner, I learned that I, and only I, am responsible for my financial security. This is a lesson I tried to teach women during my four years as a television financial coach. And from becoming an author during the last third of my life, I’ve learned that it’s never too late to follow one’s dream. Like the old Nike commercial says, “just do it.”



You married again late in life. Is marriage easier the second time around?

Maybe not the second time, because I was divorced twice. But the third time is the charm. Mind you, I was on my own for twenty years before meeting my new husband. I came to a point where I decided I’d rather be alone than in an unsatisfying relationship. And I was very happy with my family, friends, career and dogs. My life was full. I believe that when a woman is happy by herself, she’s less likely to make a wrong choice.



Do you believe in love?

Totally and passionately. But, and this is a big but, I think that it can be very easy to mistake passion for love, and although they are not mutually exclusive, they are not always both present at the onset. I believe that love is friendship on fire. For that reason, unless one person really likes another— and I’m talking, ‘Like,’ with a capital L here— real love is not possible.



Who has provided you with the most inspiration for your writing?

It wasn’t so much a ‘who,’ as a ‘when,’ that really pushed me to follow my dream of becoming a writer. I was fifty-five years old, had just retired after a lifetime of being a career person while denying my real dream, writing. That’s when I decided that if I didn’t do it now, I never would. You know how people are supposed to ask themselves, ‘when facing death, what they would regret not doing?’ For me the answer was writing. Writing is what I had always wanted to do.



What are you working on at the moment?

I’m almost finished writing the first of a three-book mystery-series for Penguin, which I write under the pen-name, Carol Ann Martin. I’m having a great time developing the main character—a career woman suffering from a burnout, and who escapes from her life to a tiny community, only to stumble upon a murder. Next, I have a stand-alone book that is about half done. I want to go back and finish that one. And then, I have the rest of my astrological-sign series, the next in line being Taurus, set in the investment world. More greed, deception and betrayals. And then the second of my Penguin books, and then...Sometimes I think I’ll never have the time to write everything I want to write.



Do you have a writing schedule?

Yes, all day every day :-P Just kidding. I try to write eight full hours a day, or a minimum of one thousand words. But try as I might, I find that the first half of a novel just about writes itself. The words fly onto the page, but when I get to the fifty percent mark, the going slows to a crawl—especially in a murder mystery. I have to keep going back and forth making sure all the clues and details are there, but not so obvious they give everything away.



Where do you write?

I made myself a private space in my home and that’s where I go for privacy. But my best writing is often while I’m doing the dishes, or during long drives. That’s when my mind wanders and I dream up my next scenes, or come up with some snappy dialogue. I often stop and just down a few lines to remind myself for later.



What advice do you have for wannabe authors?

I don’t want to give anybody the same old advice about practicing your skill, getting an editor. My advice is, treat writing like a business, especially if you plan on self-publishing. Remember, your novel will be competing with millions of other novels out there. You have to come up with a plan to make yours stand out and get noticed. Of course the story and the style counts, but everything else counts too. Will you write for women? For young adults? For children? What publishing format should you choose? E-book? Soft cover? Hard cover? How much will it cost and how many copies must you sell to break even? How will you distribute your  novels? What can you do to make them stand out from the millions of others? A new author should research what the best-selling authors have done to become successful, and then create plans of their own.



What do you do when you're not writing?

People are always surprised to find out that I’m also a hobby beekeeper. I have one hive from which I harvested over forty pounds of honey last season. And I love to boast that my honey is absolutely wonderful. It has a floral quality, because of the area where we live. Victoria is the most floral city in North America.



If you had one wish, what would it be?

That one is easy. I wish for a long and healthy life, so I can keep writing for the next fifty years. Okay, fifty might be pushing it. Make it at least forty years.dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on">
Announcing the Scorpio Rising Social Media Whirlwind Tour!

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Scorpio Rising eBook edition has dropped to just 99 cents this week.

What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes, including 2 Kindle Fires, Amazon gift cards up to $100 in amount, 5 autographed copies of the book, and 5 autographed copies of its recently released sequel, The Sting of The Scorpio. Be sure to enter before the end of the day on Friday, December 23rd, so you don’t miss out.


To Win the Prizes:

  1. Purchase your copy of Scorpio Rising for just 99 cents on Amazon or Barnes & Noble
  2. Fill-out the form on Novel Publicity to enter for the prizes
  3. Visit today’s featured event; you may win an autographed copy of the book or a $50 gift card!
  4. BONUS:  If you leave a comment on this blog post, you have another chance at $100!

...And I can win too!

Over 100 bloggers are participating in this gigantic event, and there are plenty of prizes for us too. The blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card as well. So when you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to say that I referred you, so I can get a point in the poll.


The Featured Events include:

Monday, Blogaganza on Novel Publicity! We’re kicking-off on the Novel Publicity Free Advice blog. We’ll ask the writer 5 fun and random questions to get everyone talking. Leave a comment or question in response to the post, and you may win an autographed copy of Scorpio Rising or its sequel, The Sting of The Scorpio. Don’t forget to enter for the other contest prizes while you’re over there!

Tuesday, Twitter sharing contest! A tweet is tiny, only 140 characters. But on Tuesday, it could win you $50. Send the following tweet across the twittersphere, and you just may win a $50 Amazon gift card. Autographed copies of Scorpio Rising and its sequel, The Sting of The Scorpio, are also up for grabs. The winner will be announced Wednesday morning. Here’s the tweet:  Looking for a read that's full of love, drama, and betrayal? Scorpio Rising has been reduced to 99 cents! http://ow.ly/7zA2s #whirlwind

Wednesday, Google+ sharing contest! Yup, there’s yet another awesome opportunity to win a $50 Amazon gift card, and this time it just takes a single click! Visit Google+ and share Emlyn Chand’s most recent post (you’ll see the Scorpio Rising book cover included with it). On Thursday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. Autographed copies of Scorpio Rising and its sequel, The Sting of The Scorpio, are also up for grabs. Three chances to win! How about that?

Thursday, Facebook sharing contest! Stop by Novel Publicity’s Facebook page and share their latest post (you’ll see the Scorpio Rising book cover included with it). It’s ridiculously easy to win! On Friday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. Autographed copies of Scorpio Rising and its sequel, The Sting of The Scorpio, are also up for grabs.

Friday, special contest on the author’s site! Win a Kindle Fire! Two are up for grabs! Visit Monique’s website to leave a comment on any of her posts and sign-up for her author newsletter. One person will win for each method, so be sure to do both.


Remember, it’s all about the books!

About Scorpio Rising: Set in New York and Paris amid the glamorous and competitive worlds of art and real estate, Scorpio Rising takes the reader from the late 1940s to the 1960s through the tumultuous lives of its heroes. Alex Ivanov is the son of a Russian immigrant and part-time prostitute. He yearns to escape his sordid life and achieve fame and fortune. His dreams of becoming a world-class builder are met with countless obstacles, yet he perseveres in the hope of someday receiving the recognition he craves. Half a world away, Brigitte Dartois is an abused teenager who runs into the arms of a benefactor with an agenda all his own. When she finds out that her boss has an ulterior motive, she flees again, determined to earn her living through her art. This career brings her fame, but also the unwanted attention of her early abuser.  Monique Domovitch’s debut novel, Scorpio Rising, is a compelling tale filled with finely etched characters and a superb understanding of the power of ambition. Scorpio Rising promises to resonate with all who once had a dream. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About The Sting of The Scorpio:  In Scorpio Rising, Monique Domovitch presented a compelling tale filled with colorful characters and the manipulation of power, ambition, and greed. Now she gives us its spellbinding sequel, The Sting of the Scorpio, where Alexander Ivanov returns to New York with his new bride, Brigitte. The real estate industry is ripe with opportunity. Blessed with irresistible charm, ambition, and the single-minded obsession to succeed, Alex plots and manipulates his way to almost mystical success. Everything he touches turns to gold, but it’s never enough. When a hostile takeover bid leaves him struggling to save his beloved company, he suspects those closest to him of plotting his downfall. Brigitte, the beautiful redhead who abandoned her country and her career to become his wife, feels alone. In return, Alex has betrayed her time and again, each indiscretion cutting deeper into her soul. Brigitte’s son, David yearns to be an artist, but Alex’s plans leave no room for such frivolous goals. He grooms a reluctant David to become the heir apparent until a devastating tragedy attracts the attention of another young man. The Sting of the Scorpio is a rich tale of a man at the mercy of his own greed and a woman bound by her need for love.  Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the Author:  Monique Domovitch began writing at the age of fifty-five. Two years later, she has two self-published novels—her Scorpio Series—and a three-book deal with Penguin, for books she has written under the name of Carol Ann Martin. Never seen without her laptop, Monique and her husband travel the world and divide the rest of their time between their homes in British Columbia and California. Monique loves to hear from readers! Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.



Friday, December 16, 2011

Five Tips To Make Editing Less Painful

By Rebecca Bloomer

I was an English teacher before I took up writing. I was a really good English teacher; so good that not only did I get to teach overseas, but a university actually let me teach future teachers. You can imagine then, how much I love being edited. Not much at all, actually.

The first time I was properly edited, I fumed, I cried and I seethed for hours (I kid you not, hours). In bed after my first ever round of edits I harangued my poor husband. “If they don’t like my work, why did they buy the book? Did they just need and Aussie author in their stable? If they wanted an Aussie, why then, are they changing my spelling and my slang? I think they’re going to ruin my book. And she said I head-hop. Like that’s a bad thing. Nora Roberts head-hops continuously, I bet her editor doesn’t hassle her!”

My litany of complaints continued, until my forbearing man reached his limit. He sighed and said “Darling, you’ve written one book so far, how many do you think your editor has edited?”

Hmmm. This was a lesson for me, so I’m using it as a teachable moment for you:

If you’re signed with a publisher, it is entirely possible that your editor has seen more manuscripts than you’ve seen roast dinners. Writing is your specialty, editing is theirs, let them do their job. I promise it will make you look good (on so many levels).

Once you’re picked up by a publisher of any kind (traditional, Indie, or ebook) the book is no longer yours, it’s theirs. They paid good money for it and they’re unlikely to do anything that will make the book worse.
Money Talks. It’s unlikely that proven ‘sellers’ are edited as brutally as newbies. In my (humble) opinion, this is why it’s easy to see the quality of some bestsellers’ work drop. People are too afraid to tell them they need to change.

Have a wine before you go to bed, it makes you less likely to whine when you’re in bed.



Following those first demoralising experiences, I picked myself up and learned to really appreciate the work of my editors. I produced a further three romances and four YA novels. Each one was progressively easier and less traumatic than that first edit. As I’ve progressed, I’ve stumbled upon a few hints and tips that would have made that first experience a lot less painful.


Tip 1 - Love Thy Enemy

Editors are essential. Don’t hire your mother (or your son) to do the job for you. If you’re self-publishing, hire a professional. Look through the acknowledgements pages of books you’ve enjoyed or go to the governing body for editors in your state or country. There you will find great editors. When I say great, I don’t mean friendly or fun. Great editors are usually mean. They lay out the problems with your books and writing like they enjoy cutting out your heart (indeed, they probably do). By being your meanest reader, a great editor is protecting you from other, more public mean readers. Editors don’t post their criticisms on Amazon, or Smashwords; other critics will. Mean editors before publication are always better than honest critics after, so get yourself an editor.


Tip 2 - Get A Critique Partner

While it might seem like masochism for someone who hates editing to insert a preemptive editing step before the book goes to the publisher, it’s actually a form of self-preservation. Approach a writer who writes in your same genre. Ask them to read your manuscript and make comments. Offer to do the same for them in return (my crit-partner and I do this via email using track changes). Crit-partners can tell you things like which characters don’t ‘ring true‘, which words make them cringe, and whether anything jolts them out of the story. Crit-partners are partners not panderers. They won’t soft-soap you but they’ll tell you what they love as well as what they hate. That’s a good thing.


Tip 3 - Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

The placement of every single comma and whether or not to use a particular conjunction, is not your department. Publishers and publications all have their own style guide and they’ll work your manuscript over until it fits. As long as the meaning of the sentence or story isn’t affected, let it go. Writers are very good ‘big picture’ people, we know how the story should ‘feel’. By the time we’re done with the story, we’re reading what we think we see, rather than what is actually on the page. For this reason, I suggest not getting into protracted arguments with editors regarding tiny details. Free yourself from the minutiae. Better you should spend time making ready for the next story.



Tip 4 - Maintain A Spine

Editors know a lot, it’s true. Some ‘baby’ editors though, don’t realise they’re not the author. Editing should never change essentials like character, voice, tone, theme or plot (unless they spot a hole or inconsistency therein). They’re allowed to ask you to justify decisions you’ve made about these things and you’re allowed to defend said decisions. PLEASE NOTE: This Tip does not apply to magazine or newspaper articles. With those, as soon as you sign the contract, they can do whatever they want with your work and you need not approve of their changes, they don’t care.


Tip 5 - Say Thank You

A good editor will, without fail, make your book better. After eight books I’m still amazed by the way my editors take what I thought was a perfect manuscript, and make it better (I swear it’s some kind of voodoo they do do). No matter how hard they work your book into perfection, editors don’t usually get their name on the front cover. For this reason, you should be grateful and polite. You should also say ‘thank you’, be it in a letter of reference or in the acknowledgements section of your book, it will make a difference.

Now, I realise that with all this, I might sound like a bit of a sell out. I’m not. I’ve been edited as a freelancer, a romance writer, a YA writer and an academic. Because of this, I know the difference an editor can make and I wish, whenever I put down (unfinished) a good story full of editorial glitches, that everyone else did too.

If you’re one who’d like to know more, just let me know, I’d be glad to throw some more light on the subject.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Indie Insider - Terri Giuliano Long



Q:  Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

LEAH TYLER:  Leah is a strong young woman, beautiful, smart, a superstar in the community. As long as she lives up to their expectations, she’s accepted, even celebrated. As soon as she tries to take control of her own life, question the rules, spread her wings, she meets resistance. When she chooses her troublemaker boyfriend over a promising college soccer career, and heads down a path of drugs and self-destruction, she rips her once happy family apart.

JUSTINE TYLER:  Justine is twelve, in that awkward stage, not really a child anymore and not quite a teen. Justine is intelligent, faithful, and kind, and she sees the best in people, sometimes to her own detriment. Deeply religious, she sees God as Father and protector – a belief that will be challenged by her family’s turmoil. Her best friend is Dog, the family’s aging pet Labrador. Although only twelve, Justine is left to be the rock as the rest of her family plunges into depression.

ZOE AND WILL TYLER:  Zoe and Will are hardworking parents – too hardworking - who love and want the best for their children. Ambitious and strong, Will is willing do whatever it takes to help his children reach their full potential, even if it means alienating them in the process. He can’t sit back, watching his teenage daughter destroy her promising future. Zoe, a child therapist and motivational speaker, is a peacemaker who avoids confrontation, and thus easily falls into depression. Their divided approach to Leah’s rebellion drives a wedge into their marriage.

Rather than listen to their daughter, accept that she’s growing up, that her choices may differ from theirs, and guide her down the path that’s right for her, Zoe and Will try to take control. This is a classic problem between parents and teens. The minute we put our foot down, say no, they can’t do this or that, they tend to focus all their energy in that direction. Zoe and Will’s escalating attempts to control their daughter result in her pulling away. This is a difficult cycle to break.

JERRY JOHNSON:  Jerry Johnson, the police officer, is the only non-family member with a voice in the novel. Jerry’s work as a police officer brings him into frequent contact with the dissolving Tyler family. Though flawed like all the characters, he takes his responsibility for others to heart. He’s the connecting force in this novel.

TODD CORBETT:  Leah’s boyfriend, Todd, a former roadie in a rock band, is a modern day James Dean, a rebel without a cause. He’s been arrested for dealing drugs, so it’s easy to blame him for leading her astray; really, he’s a conduit. He makes her feel comfortable and safe and encourages her blossoming independence.

By the time Leah realizes that he wants to control her, too – albeit in a different way – it’s too late. If only she’d realized how deeply her family loves her, she might have avoided the dire consequences she suffers. That’s the central irony in the book – perhaps the irony in many relationships between parents and teens.


Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

Bob Sullivan, the owner of Sullivan Farms Ice Cream, and Dorothy Klein, the beautiful woman who designs the button bracelets Zoe buys for Leah and herself, are real people.

Every other character is completely imaginary. I did borrow gestures, habits, and physical characteristics from real people – the runaway arm belongs to my youngest daughter, KK; my husband is a darker physical stand-in for Will. Of course, borrowing sometimes results in unfortunate assumptions. I’m lucky – my family puts up with my thievery and ignores the conclusions readers draw.

Personality, motivation, and behavior of my characters I’m fully responsible for.


Q: Your book is set in Cortland, MA.  Can you tell us why you chose this city?

Geographically, the town of Cortland is modeled after the town of Harvard, MA. In the fall, we used to go there to pick apples. Harvard is stunningly beautiful – with the rolling hills, the stone walls, the orchards. Sometimes, Dave and I would drive there and just ride around. This family is in tremendous pain; they’re struggling. That these fierce struggles might take place in this bucolic setting felt surprising, and that tension felt important to the book.


Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

Judging from the stories I hear, the social and political climate in the imaginary town of Cortland reflects that in many middle- and upper-middle class towns across the U.S., and perhaps outside the U.S. I’ve talked with parents who’ve expressed frustrations similar to Zoe and Will’s. Culturally – not always or only by their parents - children feel pressure to live up to impossible expectations. When children step out of line, the parents and families often feel judged.

Community plays an important role in setting expectations and shaping and maintaining connections. The expectations, the constant demand to perform, can be overwhelming. In small towns, everyone knows everyone else, by sight if not by name. You can’t hide. If you or a family member is in trouble, everyone knows it. That claustrophobia and the constant feeling of condemnation, being watched, inform the inner lives of these characters and influence their behavior.


Q: Who are your favorite characters in the story? 

My characters are all imperfect - they behave badly and they’re sometimes, perhaps often, enormously irritating - but I love them all, for their strengths as well as their weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Justine is sweet and caring and kind, so she’s easy to love, but I also love Leah. Although Leah drives the parent in me crazy, her heart is in the right place. The same applies to Zoe and Will - they often make terrible choices; despite their failures, they act out of love.

In the novel, Jerry Johnson, the police officer, is the only non-family member with a voice. Though flawed like all the characters, he takes his responsibility for others to heart. I’ve always admired Gail Mullen Beaudoin, a police officer in Chelmsford, MA. Gail brings strength, dignity and grace to a very difficult job. I see police officers as the connecting force in communities. Every day they put their lives on the line. To me, they’re our real life heroes. As the connecting force in this novel and for this family, Jerry is my favorite.


Q: Do you have a favorite line or excerpt from your book?

In a chapter called “Sisters Redux,” Justine, the geeky, goody-two-shoes little sister, asks Leah for a cigarette. It’s almost painful to see her trying so hard to win her big sister’s acceptance and affection. At first, Leah scoffs; then it dawns on her that Justine is actually serious and her conscience takes over. Leah has made difficult choices and been ostracized for them; for Justine, that path would be wrong. In certain arenas, dorks have the advantage, she thinks.

As she’s about to say no, it occurs to Leah that Justine has a right to make her own choices. With this insight, for the first time since they were young kids, Leah sees Justine as her equal. Despite her reservations, she gives her sister the cigarette. In a sweet moment, later in the chapter, Leah teaches Justine to dance. This love between the sisters is, to me, heartbreaking and special.


Q: If In Leah’s Wake were to be turned into a movie, who would you love to see play what characters and why?

Will Tyler – Matt Damon. Mr. Damon exudes fatherly love and protectiveness and he’s also very intense. If his daughter were in trouble, I can picture him going into overdrive, like Will, and doing whatever it takes to pull her back.

Zoe Tyler – Sandra Bullock. I see her as loving, driven and ditzy, a less strident version of Leigh Anne Tuohy, the mom she played in The Blind Side.

Leah Tyler – For the role of Leah, I’d search for new talent. Caroline Wakefield, as played by Erika Christensen, in the film Traffic, reminded me of Leah, in her all-American beauty and stunning transformation from preppy to drug-addicted prostitute. Ms. Christensen is too old for this role, but she’d be the prototype.

Justine Tyler – Abigail Breslin. Like Justine, she’s sweet and dorky and cute. She’s also precocious and strong.

Jerry Johnson – Vince Vaughn. He’s not the guy who walks into a room and gets the girl, but he’s centered and responsible, the rock for the others to lean on.

Todd Corbett (Leah’s boyfriend) – Jordan Masek. Jordan plays the role of Todd in my trailer. Jordan is actually a sweet guy, in real life. But he knows how to channel his inner bad boy. I can’t imagine a more appropriately cast Todd.





Announcing the In Leah’s Wake Social Media Whirlwind Tour!


What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes, including Amazon gift cards of up to $500 in amount and 5 autographed copies of the book. Be sure to enter before the end of the day on Friday, December 16th, so you don’t miss out.

To Win the Prizes

  1. Purchase your copy of In Leah’s Wake for just 99 cents on Amazon or Barnes & Noble
  2. Fill-out the form on Novel Publicity to enter for the prizes
  3. Visit today’s featured event; you may win an autographed copy of the book or a $50 gift card!
  4. BONUS:  If you leave a comment on this blog post, you have another chance at $100!

...And I can win too!


Over 100 bloggers are participating in this gigantic event, and there are plenty of prizes for us too. The blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card as well. So when you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to say that I referred you, so I can get a point in the poll.

The Featured Events include:

Monday, Radio Interview with Novel Publicity! We’re kicking-off on the Novel Publicity Free Advice blog. We interviewed Terri on our radio show Sunday night and have embedded the full podcast and blogged about its highlights. Give it a listen and then leave a comment on the blog post. This is a great chance to get to know more about this inspiring and friendly author. One commenter will win an autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake. Don’t forget to enter for the other contest prizes while you’re over there!

Tuesday, Twitter sharing contest! A tweet is tiny, only 140 characters. But on Tuesday, it could win you $50. Send the following tweet across the twittersphere, and you just may win a $50 Amazon gift card. An autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake is also up for grabs. The winner will be announced Wednesday morning. Here’s the tweet:  In Leah's Wake has taken the publishing world by storm. Get the book for just 99 cents http://ow.ly/7ywpZ #whirlwind

Wednesday, Google+ sharing contest! Yup, there’s yet another awesome opportunity to win a $50 Amazon gift card, and this time it just takes a single click! Visit Google+ and share Emlyn Chand’s most recent post (you’ll see the In Leah’s Wake book cover included with it). On Thursday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake is also up for grabs. Three chances to win! How about that?

Thursday, Facebook sharing contest! Stop by Novel Publicity’s Facebook page and share their latest post (you’ll see the In Leah’s Wake book cover included with it). It’s ridiculously easy to win! On Friday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake is also up for grabs.

Friday, special contest on the author’s site! Win a $500 Amazon gift card, simply by leaving a comment on Terri’s most recent blog post. Yup, you read that correctly—$500! How easy is that? An autographed copy of In Leah’s Wake is also up for grabs.

Remember, it’s all about the books!


Terri Giuliano LongAbout In Leah’ Wake:  The Tyler family had the perfect life – until sixteen-year-old Leah decided she didn’t want to be perfect anymore. While her parents fight to save their daughter from destroying her brilliant future, Leah’s younger sister, Justine, must cope with the damage her out-of-control sibling leaves in her wake. What happens when love just isn’t enough?  Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the Author:  Terri Giuliano Long grew up in the company of stories both of her own making and as written by others. Books offer her a zest for life’s highs and comfort in its lows. She’s all-too-happy to share this love with others as a novelist and a writing teacher at Boston College. She was grateful and thrilled beyond words when her award-winning debut literary novel, In Leah’s Wake, hit the Barnes and Noble and Amazon bestseller lists in August. She owes a lot of wonderful people – big time! – for any success she’s enjoyed! Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Indie Insider - Chrystalla Thoma


Chrystalla: Hi and thank you for hosting me today! :) I bet I’m the first Cypriot (from Cyprus) you have on your blog, am I right? Greetings from the eastern Mediterranean!


How many words do you do write a day? Where do you do it?

I don’t have a fixed number of words. I’ve been known to churn out ten thousand words in a day because a story has been playing like a movie in my mind and I need to get it out – or ten if I’m stuck on a plot issue. I write in my living room on my trusted laptop, but I have at least two notebooks with me at all times in case inspiration strikes!


Do you think that people judge a book by it’s cover? Who makes yours?

Definitely. Packaging is important in all forms and for every product. If people judge other people by their appearance, why would it be any different for books? I know I do. It’s a major factor in deciding whether I want to check out a book or not. Of course, I won’t buy it unless the blurb intrigues me and a sample satisfies me, or unless I have a trusted recommendation.
For my indie published books, I make my own covers. It seems I have a good eye for such things and I’m getting the hang of Photoshop slowly... Way too slowly... lol!


What do you do when you get writers block?

I don’t believe in writer’s block. The only thing that can block you is not knowing where your story is going. Then you need to sit down and work it out on paper or in your mind. Another reason can be that you don’t know your characters well and you have no clue how they would react in a situation. At least that’s my take!


How much time do you spend on social media per day? What do you concentrate on?

I don’t spend a specific amount of time on any given social medium. As I work, I have several open and comment here and there. I specifically like Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter – also the Kindleboards.



Which narrative form and tense do you think is the most difficult and why?

Oh tough question! By narrative form do you mean the point of view? I can only speak for myself, and for me first person present tense is hard to get right. I just feel that if it’s first person it needs to be so darn deep and perfect somehow. Which is stupid because third person close narrative is just as hard if not more, so maybe it’s just myself making my own life hard! :D Present tense is hard because it stands out. You can make it work, but I prefer it in short stories where there is more room for experimentation with voice and style.


Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? What is your process?

I have many wonderful critique partners. They pull my stories apart, chapter by chapter, comment on characterization, plot, dialogue, word choices, punctuation, the works! I also have great beta readers who read the story as a whole and check both consistency and language. I owe them so much!


How important is it for an indie author to use a professional editor?

Personally, I don’t believe one needs a professional editor if one has good critique partners and beta readers. But it never hurts if you can afford one, especially if you know that they specialize in fiction and have experience.


How long does it take you to create a book from start to finish?

This really depends on the book. If I have the idea clearly in my head, the scenes more or less plotted, and have time on my hands (which depends on both work and family obligations) I can write a novel in a month, edit it in two, and proofread it – four months. But that’s an idea and improbable situation. A novel needs about a year normally – for me.


Please list three unique blogs or web sites for writers that you read on a regular basis.


The blog of author Marion Sipe – great posts on worldbuilding for fantasy!
http://marionsipe.blogspot.com/

The blog of author Krista D. Ball – great advice for writers! http://kristadball.com/

The website and blog of author Katie Salidas – great info about self publishing and paranormal fiction! http://www.katiesalidas.com/


Is there anything else you would like to share?

I am a reader and a writer. I love doing both and I hope to find readers who share my love for YA fiction, fantasy and sci-fi. Above all, we all need to do what we really like, and therefore I am thankful for having the chance to write and publish the genres I love.

If you like mystery and dystopian YA fiction, sci-fi and fantasy, troubled boys and strong girls, then I invite you to check out my novel REX RISING. Follow the adventures of Elei, Kalaes, Hera and Maera in a mad race against time.

You can find Rex Rising at the following distributors:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Smashwords

Watch the book trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-6Gxf8oQas

Visit my blog for more information on the world of Rex Rising and my other works:
http://chrystallathoma.wordpress.com

Thank you for having me here today.


Monday, December 12, 2011

The 12 Days of Christmas!!


The 12 Days of Christmas Indie Book Blowout is here!! 

Every day, different titles, different genres, will be featured on the site, making it easy for readers to hunt down the 99 cent ebooks they want then click over to Amazon to buy.

Books that normally sell for $2.99, $4.99, and more are on sale for 99¢ over the 12 Days of Christmas Blowout!

December 12 –24th marks the 12 Days of Christmas, this Indie Book Collective’s sales event. We’ve designed a special site with sections for specific genres. All books on the site will be on sale throughout the event for only 99¢!

Plus, every single day, we’ll draw two gift card winners from the Indie Book Blowout subscriber database. One for $10 and one for $15.

At this price, that’s 10-15 Free books for those winners! Are you a subscriber?

Over 200 talented indie authors have lowered the price of their eBook for this exciting event! This means you have 200 amazing titles to choose from!

Bestselling authors like Carolyn McCray, Ann Charles, Lacey Weatherford, Amber Scott and many more are reducing included titles to 99 cents for the holidays.

My debut novel Quick Kill is also 99 cents! Get it here...



Whatever your reading pleasure, we’ve got the book for you and every book lover on your list! Young adult. Paranormal. Thriller. Humor. All genres!

We are out to entice the pickiest reader. If great reads for bargain prices isn’t enough to woo you, we’re also giving away a brand new Kindle!

Entering is easy. Just sign up for the newsletter! Then, after you purchase your 12 Days of Christmas titles, come back to enter your Amazon confirmation code for 5 EXTRA entries into the Kindle drawing! 5 EXTRA giveaway entries for EVERY Blow-out Book you buy during the Labor Day holiday!!

That’s right. This means now. Today. Find your favorite author and watch their numbers soar.

Being Indie means having the power to create sales, events and to join forces with who YOU want. Another great example of indies powering their careers is at www.99-Cent-Network.com. The bargain reader’s ebook shopping network.

Specializing in hundreds of titles starting at just 99¢ EVERY SINGLE DAY!! Swing by and check them out!! From Indie Book Collective and the participating event authors, we wish you the happiest of holidays.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Indie Insider - Carolyn Chambers Clark


What is the best way to create tension? 

I think the best way to create tension is to have a character with conflicting emotions/goals or two characters with conflicting emotions/goals.


Do people judge a book by it’s cover?

Yes, a book cover is uber-important. You have a couple of seconds for someone browsing Amazon to decide. Who makes yours? I make my own book covers. I put up covers that attract me. I don't like dull and dark covers, so mine are always with bright colors and big letters. My husband ran a printing business for many years and advised me on these things. The covers of e-books are pretty small on Amazon, so you have to use a big enough and readable enough font to grab the reader's attention.


What are the best ways to ‘show’ and not ‘tell’?

Show means enveloping the character in the five senses, including smell, taste, vision, sound, and touch. The more that's done, the more the story comes alive. However, there has to be some telling else it's all action or emotion or thoughts. But, this has to be woven in, using dribs and drabs. Although, I notice that many bestselling authors use a lot of telling, especially in the beginning of their stories. I think this is to make the reader "fall in love" with the character.


How many books do you produce a year? Are you meeting your goal?

That's hard to say. When I'm also writing fiction for the academic market, fewer fiction books are produced, and my goals are reduced in the fiction arena.

How many words do you produce a day? Do you have a daily quota to fill?

No, I don't have a daily quota. Writing words isn't a problem for me. Getting the first sentence, paragraph, and page perfect is.


What is your greatest challenge as an author?

Patience. I have a brain that runs on several tracks at once and I'm always getting new ideas for books, both fiction and nonfiction. I have file folders full of book ideas, which I could never complete in a life time. It's hard for me to realize not everyone's brain works the way mine does.


Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? Briefly describe your process.

Have used a professional editor, but didn't find that as useful as experienced critique partners with high motivation to be helpful.


What is you favorite part of the whole process? (Besides receiving a check or 5 star review!)

Two favorite parts: getting the idea and starting to write a new book. That often flows and is no work at all.


What are three web sites or blogs that you can recommend? (related to writing etc.)

http://hollylisle.com/ (offers writing tips as well as a free newsletter for writers)
http://wordplay-kmweiland.blogspot.com/2010/01/why-word-count-goals-can-be-destructive.html (great info for writers)
http://www.thepassivevoice.com/ (sends out a daily tome for indie publishers/writers; terrific stuff! and he's a lawyer who likes to take apart book contracts)


Is there anything else you would like to share?

Yes, thanks for this opportunity to share my ideas and books.

For descriptions of these (and our other) books, sample chapters, and how to purchase,
go to http://www.freeandbargainebooks.blogspot.com and scroll down the red section until you click on BOOKSTORE.


Monday, December 5, 2011

The Earth Is Alive - The Gaia Wars

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of The Gaia Wars eBook edition has dropped to just 99 cents this week.

What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes, including a Kindle Fire, Amazon gift cards up to $100 in amount, 5 autographed copies of the book, and 5 autographed copies of its recently released sequel, Battle for Cascadia. Be sure to enter before the end of the day on Friday, December 9th, so you don’t miss out.

 

To Win the Prizes:

  1. Purchase your copy of The Gaia Wars for just 99 cents on Amazon or Barnes & Noble
  2. Fill-out the form on Novel Publicity to enter for the prizes
  3. Visit today’s featured event; you may win an autographed copy of the book or a $50 gift card!
  4. BONUS:  If you leave a comment on this blog post, you have another chance at $100!
 

...And I can win too!

Over 100 bloggers are participating in this gigantic event, and there are plenty of prizes for us too. The blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card as well. So when you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to say that I referred you, so I can get a point in the poll.

 

The Featured Events include:

Monday, Blogaganza on Novel Publicity! We’re kicking-off on the Novel Publicity Free Advice blog. We’ll ask the writer 5 fun and random questions to get everyone talking. Leave a comment or question in response to the post, and you may win an autographed copy of The Gaia Wars or its recently released sequel, Battle for Cascadia. Don’t forget to enter for the other contest prizes while you’re over there!

Tuesday, Twitter sharing contest! A tweet is tiny, only 140 characters. But on Tuesday, it could win you $50. Send the following tweet across the twittersphere, and you just may win a $50 Amazon gift card. Autographed copies of The Gaia Wars and its recently released sequel, Battle for Cascadia, are also up for grabs. The winner will be announced Wednesday morning. Here’s the tweet:  Looking for a YA read that's full of adventure &  intrigue? Check out The Gaia Wars. Reduced to just 99 cents http://ow.ly/7ywpZ #whirlwind

Wednesday, Google+ sharing contest! Yup, there’s yet another awesome opportunity to win a $50 Amazon gift card, and this time it just takes a single click! Visit Google+ and share Emlyn Chand’s most recent post (you’ll see The Gaia Wars book cover included with it). On Thursday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. Autographed copies of The Gaia Wars and its recently released sequel, Battle for Cascadia, are also up for grabs. Three chances to win! How about that?

Thursday, Facebook sharing contest! Stop by Novel Publicity’s Facebook page and share their latest post (you’ll see The Gaia Wars book cover included with it). It’s ridiculously easy to win! On Friday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. Autographed copies of The Gaia Wars and its recently released sequel, Battle for Cascadia, are also up for grabs.

Friday, special contest on the author’s site! Win a Kindle Fire or a $100 Amazon gift card, simply by leaving a comment on Kenneth’s most recent blog post. How easy is that? Autographed copies of The Gaia Wars and its recently released sequel, Battle for Cascadia, are also up for grabs.

 

Remember, it’s all about the books!

About The Gaia Wars: DEADLY SECRETS have been buried in the Cascade mountain wilderness for centuries. Hidden. Out of sight and out of mind. Until today… Warren Wilkes, age 13, doesn’t like what a greedy housing developer has done to his peaceful mountain community, so he vandalizes the developer’s property, flees into the wild, and stumbles upon an ancient human skeleton revealed by torrential rain. More than old bones have been exposed, however, and the curious artifact Warren finds makes him question his own identity, and his connection to an ancient terror. A terror destined to rise again and annihilate all that Warren loves. He must fight or see his whole world destroyed. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About Battle for Cascadia:  When Warren Wilkes, age 13, stumbles upon a mysterious relic deep in the Cascade Mountains, wonder reigns. Brimming with secrets and sentient energy, the relic leads Warren to a fantastic chamber, and to shocking revelations about his identity. Now wonder has turned to dread. A forgotten terror—a demon that knows Warren better than he knows himself—has risen again and is assembling an army; gathering power with a singularly evil goal in mind: to capture and enslave the wild spirit of the Earth itself. As war erupts and the planet slips into chaos, Warren embraces his destiny and finds help where he least expects it. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the Author:  Kenneth G. Bennett is the author of the Young Adult novels The Gaia Wars and Battle for Cascadia (the second book of The Gaia Wars), as well as the forthcoming Exodus 2018, a paranormal thriller set in the Puget Sound region of Washington State. A wilderness enthusiast who loves backpacking, skiing and kayaking, Ken enjoys novels that explore the relationship between humans and the wild. He lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and son. Visit him on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

 

Now please enjoy this guest post from the author...

 

HOW A NASA SCIENTIST’S THEORY INSPIRED A PARANORMAL THRILLER
 

THE GAIA WARS is fiction, but it was inspired—at least in part—by The Gaia Hypothesis. This hypothesis, proposed by NASA scientist James Lovelock, states that the Earth—the entire Earth—is a living thing. A vast, “super-organism.”

I read an article about Lovelock’s theory a few years back and thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever heard.  

The Earth is alive. Think about it. If Lovelock’s correct, the Earth isn’t simply a chunk of interstellar rock hosting a collection of random ecosystems; it’s a cohesive entity. An organism. A being. I daydreamed about this idea, mulled it over; wondered how it might be incorporated into a novel.  And in my imagination, I took the theory to the next level: What if the Earth is not simply alive, I asked, but also sentient?

I did some reading, and discovered that a lot of so-called primitive cultures believed this very thing. Understood it in their bones.  Our ancestors were in tune with the planet in ways that we’ve forgotten. They could feel her heartbeat. Interpret her rhythms. They created Earth Goddesses to worship and celebrate.

Gaia (pron. guy-uh) is one of the principal deities of the Greek Pantheon. Other cultures used other names: the Tibetan people called the deity ChomolungmaGoddess Mother of the World.  The Sumerians knew her as Ninhursaga.  To Mesoamerican peoples she was Tlazolteotl.

A fictitious Pacific Northwest culture called the Denelai is at the center of THE GAIA WARS.  As readers learn, the ancient Denelai people believed in the Earth goddess so profoundly that she would sometimes appear to them in human form.

At the start of the novel, troubled 13-year-old Warren Wilkes unearths a treasure deep in the Cascade Mountains while fleeing the law, learns about the Denelai and Gaia’s periodic visits, and finds that on one such occasion in 1550 AD, the tribe was attacked and the Earth Goddess wounded. The Indians were slaughtered and Gaia lost her memory and vanished into the wild.

As Warren soon discovers, Gaia is still alive and still trapped in human form. What’s more, the beast that attacked the Indian village 500 years earlier is on it’s way back with an army bred specifically to capture Gaia, unlock her secrets, and seize control of the planet. Warren must fight or see his whole world destroyed.

Readers seem to like the idea of a paranormal thriller with a thinking, feeling Earth at its heart. The feedback has been tremendous. Humbling. Yesterday (November 24, Thanksgiving Day) THE GAIA WARS rose to #17 on Amazon’s list of Top 100 Best Sellers in Children’s Action & Adventure.  The Second Book of The Gaia Wars, BATTLE FOR CASCADIA, (just released) is also doing well. A huge thank you to all the wonderful readers giving these books a try!