Friday, November 28, 2014

A Dog Trainer's Approach to Writing by T.W. Fendley, author of The Labyrinth of Time - Win Prizes!




Title: The Labyrinth of Time
Author: T.W. Fendley
Publisher: Silent Partner Publishing
Pages: 226
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Can Jade restore the Firestone’s powers before the First Men return to judge humanity? 

 Spending spring break in Peru with her grandmother isn’t sixteen-year-old Jade’s idea of fun. She’d much rather be with her friends at Lake of the Ozarks. Then she meets Felix, a museum director’s son. Jade discovers only she and Felix can telepathically access messages left on engraved stones in the age of dinosaurs. Following the ancient stones’ guidance, they enter the Labyrinth of Time and–with a shapeshifting dog’s help–seek a red crystal called the Firestone. But time is running out before the First Men return on the night of the second blue moon.   

For More Information




TW Fendley T.W. Fendley is an award-winning author of historical fantasy and science fiction for adults and young adults. She began writing fiction full-time in 2007 after working twenty-five years in journalism and corporate communications. In October 2011, L&L Dreamspell LLC published her debut historical fantasy novel for adults, Zero Time. She fell in love with ancient American cultures while researching story ideas at the 1997 Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. Since then, she’s trekked to archeological sites in the Yucatan, Peru and American Southwest. When she’s not writing, T.W. explores the boundaries of consciousness through remote viewing and shamanism. She currently lives near St. Louis with her artist husband and his pet fish. Her latest book is the young adult fantasy, The Labyrinth of Time. For More Information

A dog trainer’s approach to writing

When I was a kid, I saw a movie called “If A Man Answers,” where a newlywed (Sandra Dee) is encouraged to use a dog obedience manual to train her husband. Of course, I never tried it (wink wink), but maybe we should see how it might work for coaching writers.

Let’s try a few basic commands writers need to learn. Be sure to reward good performance with a tasty treat of your choice (think chocolate).

Sit! I’ve known writers who put signs above their computers reminding them to keep their derriere in the chair. You have to put in the time.

Stay! Persistence is key to being a successful writer, but don’t let perfectionism get you stuck on the first sentence or chapter. Keep moving forward! If you get rejections, learn from them and move on. Some authors already have the next agent/publisher selected and submit immediately if they get a rejection.

Heel! Like it or not, you have to follow certain guidelines for manuscript submission, genre requirements, and such. I imagine we all feel a bit hang-dog about that sometime, but you can find out the basics on author and former agent Nathan Branford’s site. It has an amazing list of FAQs (link located in the left sidebar under Publishing Essentials).

Speak! When you have your finished work in hand, you have to market it to agents, publishers and the world. A couple of great resources are www.querytracker.net and www.duotrope.com -- databases of agents and publishers that organize and track your queries.

Of course, dog training isn’t always about treats. Sometimes (the online manual says) you eliminate an unwanted behavior by replacing it with a new behavior that’s incompatible. For instance, a dog can’t jump on you when you walk through the door if you teach it to sit when you come in. When it comes to writing, you need look no further for an example than Write or Die (www.writeordie.com)–software that “aims to eliminate writer's block by providing consequences for procrastination.”

And, when all else fails, Beg! Of course, I don’t mean to trash social media with “buy my book promotions,” but sometimes you have to ask to get what you want. Join local writer organizations and find critique partners. You’ll find a wealth of knowledge available for the asking.

T.W. is giving away two $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins November 17 and ends on December 12.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, December 15.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

How Many Drafts Are Enough? by David S. Brody, author of The Oath of Nimrod



Title: The Oath of Nimrod
Author: David S. Brody
Publisher: Eyes That See
Pages: 283
Genre: Historical Suspense
Format: Paperback/Ebook

 A mysterious race of North American giants. An ancient Hebrew inscription in a Cherokee burial mound. A blood oath made by blindfolded Freemasons. Are these three historical oddities the reason the CIA is trying to brainwash historian Cameron Thorne and his fiancĂ©e Amanda Spencer-Gunn? The answer lies buried in the legends of the Knights Templar, within the rituals of the secretive Freemasons and, most significantly of all, inside the bowels of the Smithsonian Institution. The problem for Cam and Amanda? If they go rummaging around the Smithsonian, they may find themselves buried alongside the ancient giants.

For More Information

  • Oath of Nimrod is available at Amazon.
How Many Drafts are Enough?

Hemingway famously once said that he never finishes a novel, he only abandons them. At the other extreme I have heard of authors (Robert B. Parker is one) whose first draft is, but for the proofreading, the final version. So how many drafts are enough?

I think for a novel of any complexity, the author should plan on four or five drafts before moving to the final version. I think of writing as a bit like sculpting—we start with a lump of clay, give it rough shape, rework it with an eye toward scale and proportion, add the fine details, and then finally polish and buff it. The analogy is not exact, but each draft of the novel should likewise move toward a more polished version of itself.

So why can’t most authors, like Parker, simply pound out a final draft? I think the reason is that most writers don’t know exactly where their story is headed. Unlike a sculptor with a clear vision in his or her head, most fiction writers approach a story by creating three-dimensional characters and setting them loose under a set of challenging circumstances. These characters do amazing, startling, infuriating and brilliant things, most of which the author never sees coming. Our characters are like teenagers—we give them life, but we have no control over them beyond their early, formative years. Once the wild ride is over, the author needs to go back to the early chapters of the story and realign these sections with the ending. This process, in turn, can lead to a few more flashes of inspiration which change the later chapters. It is at this point where most authors share their manuscripts with trusted readers, who, with fresh eyes, suggest insightful and appropriate modifications.  It is only now, after four or five drafts, that the story truly comes together and is ready for polishing and buffing.

I enjoy the Spenser novels as much as anyone, but I think on this question Hemingway is more in the right. Every draft makes the story better, and even the most talented of writers should not expect to begin the polishing process before they have worked through a handful of drafts.

For More Information
David S. Brody is a Boston Globe bestselling fiction writer named Boston's "Best Local Author" by the Boston Phoenix newspaper. A graduate of Tufts University and Georgetown Law School, he is a former Director of the New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA) and is an avid researcher in the subject of pre-Columbian exploration of America. He has appeared as a guest expert on documentaries airing on History Channel, Travel Channel, PBS and Discovery Channel.
Contact David.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Four Noble Truths by J.D. Buxton Book Feature


Title: Four Noble Truths
Author: J.D. Buxton
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 397
Genre: Action/Adventure
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 Dragon is a handsome, passionate and deeply devoted young man with a hidden, horrible past that haunts him into his present life. After suffering unimaginable abuse in a child pornography ring in Taiwan and an addiction to Heroin, Dragon’s only light on a path of darkness is his love, Raven, who more than fulfills his physical and emotional needs. United by the organization that found and ultimately saved Dragon, he and Raven happily bask in the love of an adopted family of lost souls touched by similar pasts that includes their mentor Sensei, and Wax and Sarge, Dragon’s right-hand men. As they execute their missions to explore the underbelly of the world of human trafficking and the sex trade, and serve the purpose of the organization: to right the wrongs, they have no idea the path they are on will lead them to unlock the door to their freedom. In this compelling story about redemption, love and fate, a young man, his love and his devoted team embark on a dangerous journey to execute vigilante justice for one purpose; to seek out and eliminate the perpetrators of the very crimes from which they all suffered.

 J D Buxton was born and raised in Southern Ontario. After graduating from college, she pursued a career in sales and marketing and lived in Vancouver, British Columbia and Calgary, Alberta where she raised her family. She is married with three children and currently resides in Southern Ontario where she enjoys all things equine, country and western music and home cooking.

Up Close and Personal with Glenn Bassett, author of The Manager's Craft


Title: The Manager's Craft
Author: Glenn Bassett
Publisher: Organization Diagnostics
Pages: 216
Genre: Business
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 Almost any job or profession you can think of has a set of specific requirements for knowledge and skill that must be mastered. Managing and supervising the work of others is an exception. In part that is because the job of managing requires a range of social and technical skills that can vary widely depending on business circumstance. An infinite diversity of technologies, materials, markets and work skills can figure into the mix of the manager’s job. The manager may be asked to coordinate technically skilled team players, or, alternatively, may need to discipline the application of basic skills to achievement of production goals. Materials may be common or exotic. Customers may have influence over or little concern for product quality and design. Work skills may be common or rare. Technology may be critical or peripheral.

Some central managerial skills like accounting and finance can be trained. Mostly, they are dealt with as competences that are best left to specialists. Highly technical problems that demand specific training are, in general, treated as staff support jobs. The part of the job that always stays with the manager is that of working with and through other people to achieve cost-effective productivity using formal authority, personal influence, economic incentives and an understanding of organizing processes. As skill sets, these are very difficult to define. They blend and merge to become a personal suite of action strategies that are put to use as needed. Formal education and training can provide a summary focus, but only practice and experience can make them effective working tools. Much of managing and supervising is thus learned from experience on the job. The manager’s challenge is to find a mentor who can guide him/her past the most critical traps and blunders.

Much that passes for management training is, unfortunately, superficial or just wrong. Economic incentives are clearly basic but always insufficient. Application of authority is indispensable but can backfire or fail. Motivational programs can turn out to be all PR and noise. Workers may be satisfied and unproductive. Cost control measures can gut the core of product quality. Balancing it all can be a juggling act that daunts average intellectual and social skill. Managing and supervising skills can be learned on the job if failure is tolerated. Only limited trial and error can be accepted. The best available advice and mentoring is required for survival over the long course. The chapters of this book will provide the working manager with the knowledge necessary to accelerate learning and skill mastery. When put together in a coherent, working package through experience, that mastery rises to the professional level.

The author, Dr. Glenn Bassett, applies his unusual range of practical and professional experience to defining and clarifying the requisite skill and knowledge. From his background as a working personnel executive, professor of management, GE corporate staffer, social science researcher, consultant and business school dean he critically and synergistically sorts out the realities of sound management practice. He deals with issues of authority and discipline rationally and realistically, disposing summarily of nearly all standard motivational theory. He challenges commonly offered “principles” of management showing that many are misleading or illusory. He lays out the principles of worker productivity that a manager must grasp to control cost and quality. What emerges is a description of the Manager’s Craft that summarizes the knowledge and skill required of the working manager who must exercise control in the workplace, build commitment among colleagues, and sustain high quality, cost-effective productivity. This is an intellectually rigorous analysis applied to achievement of practical managerial results. This is The Manager’s Craft.

For More Information

  • The Manager's Craft is available at Amazon.
The thing about me is that I have never stopped learning and never will.
When I first get up in the morning, I feed the cat and bring my wife coffee.
The most important thing in my life is being socially productive and enjoying my family.
I love to travel to the Caribbean in the Winter.
In my spare time, I tend my vegetable garden and write my blog.
One thing I learned about life was it is critical to always be straight arrow, honest and dependable in all things.
The sole mission I am on this earth is to learn and teach.
One little known fact about me that might surprise you is I’m a baritone soloist and sing in my wife’s church choir.
My favorite time of day is afternoon quiet time.
I love to write about real issues that directly affect people’s lives.
The most difficult aspect about writing is being patient when ideas don’t come.
My most favorite aspect about writing is getting feedback from readers.
When I became a published author for the first time, I told everyone I knew about it and then started writing the next piece.
The inspiration behind my book comes from a lifetime of study and research on human relations issues.
The most asked question about my book is how long did I take to write it.  Actually, I don’t know and never keep track of time on the keyboard.

Dr. Glenn Bassett is Professor Emeritus of Management and former Dean of Business at the University of Bridgeport.  A graduate of Berkeley and Yale, as well as a former corporate staffer at General Electric, Dr. Bassett’s career has focused on applied Social Psychology.  WordPlay is the result of exended research into the science of psycholinguistics. He is the author of numerous articles and published books, including The Managers Craft.

  For More Information

Friday, November 14, 2014

One Month Week Day Hour Minute Second by Rebecca Marie


Title: One Month Week Day Hour Minute Second
Author: Rebecca Marie
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 113
Genre: Self Help/Personal Growth
Format: Ebook
 Purchase at AMAZON 

Abuse knows no boundaries. It doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, old or young. It can enter your life at any time and stay as long as you let it. In One Month Week Day Hour Minute Second, author Rebecca Marie discusses that the key is to release the secrets, talk about the abuse, and take the power away from the abusers. In this memoir, she shares her personal journey surviving sexual and physical abuse, describing how abusive patterns started at a young age, how negative self-esteem continued to grow, and how it ended in her falling in love with a psychopath. One Month Week Day Hour Minute Second narrates how Marie was victimized and lived in daily fear and despair, but discusses how she chose not to remain a victim and took power over her own life. Hoping to break the cycle of domestic abuse one victim at a time, Marie tells her emotional story to call attention to the problem of domestic violence. Her story shows there is hope for others.

   amazon 
Rebecca Marie enjoys being a mentor and her goal in sharing her story is to help others see there is hope.

Guest post by Randy Coates, author of More Precious Than Rubies


Title: More Precious Than Rubies
Author: Randy Coates
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 174
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Ebook
Purchase at AMAZON

 Paul Brager is twelve when his father tells the story of Iduna and her apples. Mr. Brager always tells stories before bed to entertain Paul’s little brother, Adrian—a ritual that has become even more important since their mother died. Iduna was a goddess who grew apples that made the gods younger and stronger, but one day she disappeared, along with her apples. Paul doesn’t think much of the myth; he has other things on his mind. Paul and his best friend, Chad Tremblay, are excited to start the school year as seventh graders at Dorian Heights Public School. Even when they hear about the new principal, Mr. Theisen, they aren’t worried about ending up in his office. When Paul finally meets the principal, however, he finds him to be strange, mysterious, and extremely fond of apples. That’s when things start going wrong. Theisen develops an uncomfortable interest in Paul, claiming he once knew Paul’s father. It becomes apparent to Paul and Chad that Theisen is after something, maybe some kind of treasure—and it involves the Brager family. Paul believes his family must be protected and that Theisen must be stopped. Still, he can’t get the story of Iduna’s apples out of his head; there seems to be an odd connection to the tale his father told. He and Chad want to know the answers, but learning them may put their lives in danger.

  amazon  
My Book Discovered...by my Students

Almost a year has passed since I self-published my children's fantasy novel.

When I finally had the hard copy in my hands,Idecided to give it to immediate members of my family and told them not to tell anyone else about it.

My intention was to establish myself with social media first: set up a website, for example. I wanted to see the true power of social media; to see if others I knew would recognize my book without being told by my family.

One advantage I have is being a teacher in a middle school where students are using social media not only at school but also inside and outside of their homes. I figured that one day, one student would stumble upon my creation. And students do not shut up about these things, as if they have just unveiled a crude secret about their teacher and want to be the first to clue in their friends.

So, with much interest, did I discover how my grade 8 students learned.

This past week, one of my more difficult students passed me in the hall and spluttered, "Hey Mr. Coates, I saw you on Google Images."

This, in itself, is not surprising. This boy does not care about me. Obviously, he wanted to "dig up some dirt" on someone. My name was probably one of the many he looked up and he happened to find the picture that is on the book's back cover.

"Yes," I grinned, "but do you know why it's there?"
This was probably the cleverest thing I could have said: I wanted to create some mystery, some suspense.

He, or perhaps others, pursued their investigation. Maybe because they were curious to see what crime I had committed, or what had made me famous. Perhaps they were wondering if I had been on Dancing  With the Stars.

It does not matter. The fact is their hard work led to their finding that I had written a children'sbook.

One student said, "You actually wrote a book?" in that dumbfounded way that students often sound when they don't believe their teachers have lives outside of school.

Uh, the power of the Internet.

Randy Coates graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor of arts degree and went on to acquire his teacher’s certificate at the University of Western Ontario. He is currently an elementary teacher in the Toronto District Board of Education.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Warrior of the Way by Nathan Chandler

Warrior of the Way Title: Warrior of the Way
Author: Nathan Chandler
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 376
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Ebook
 Purchase at AMAZON 

Civil war is a curse that touches everyone, including King Tashdar of the Mulamar. When he is ordered by a powerful and mysterious stranger to send warriors toward Kanai and Kadisha to slaughter everyone, Tashdar has no choice but to obey. As the Hebari emperor’s palace is invaded, only one man escapes—a captain of the guard to whom the emperor has entrusted the safety of his remaining two children. Moments later, the emperor’s legacy is erased from the face of the earth. More than forty years later, Pasha Nuvahli of the Sashramans tribe, greatest of the king’s warriors, is devastated when his wife is murdered and his son is kidnapped. Overcome with despair as war and a dangerous sorcerer threaten the southern tribes, Pasha soon finds himself in a crisis of faith as he ponders why Daiyu has allowed such sorrow to befall him. But after he learns of an ancient prophecy and his hidden connection to the last emperor of the south, Pasha is sent by King Juktan to seek an alliance with the five other Hebari tribes and lead them against an ancient enemy from the north. Suddenly, his life takes on a new meaning. In this compelling story, a worried king looks to his greatest warrior to unify the south with the hope the young soldier can save his people before all is lost forever.

   amazon

 Nathan Chandler received an associate’s degree in technical Spanish translation from Oklahoma State University–Oklahoma City and currently attends the University of Oklahoma, where he is majoring in international business with an emphasis in Chinese language. Nathan resides in Norman, Oklahoma, where he continues to write.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Behind the Taffeta Curtain by Verne Castress Book Feature


Title: Behind the Taffeta Curtain
Author: Verne Castress
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 102
Genre: Women's Fiction
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 Clair, a small-town girl attending Iowa State University in 1940, has her palm read for a laugh—and gets a surprisingly specific prediction about her career, marriage, and children. She laughs it off, with no idea of how accurate it will turn out to be. After a failed romance, she hastily marries a man named John, has two children, and very soon finds herself miserable. John is not only abusive and controlling, but also a compulsive gambler. In an effort to support their family, Clair finds work in a nearby department store, and her career in fashion begins. In the sixties and seventies, Clair works her way up through the industry, chipping away at the glass ceiling of a field with far fewer women executives than the ad firms of Madison Avenue at the time. As an executive buyer for numerous retail conglomerates, she travels the globe searching for innovative fashions and meets regularly with iconic designers such as Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Oscar de la Renta. Among the fashion elite living the high life, there are steamy affairs, drugs, and suicides, as tragic elements mark the lives of these women in fashion whose insecurity remains hidden beneath their stoicism. This novel tells the story of Clair’s journey through the fashion world, a single mother contending with the conniving wiles of men and women and facing obstacles in the devious, behind-the-scenes political struggle of those climbing to the top.

Verne Castress retired following a forty-five-year career as a fashion executive, for which she traveled the world in search of innovative fashions for the American market. The mother of two adult children, she currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

GIVEAWAY

Tom is giving away one $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway begins November 10 and ends November 21.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, November 24.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

The Darkest Side of Saturn by Tony Taylor Book Feature



THE Darkest Side of SaturnTitle: The Darkest Side of Saturn
Author: Tony Taylor
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 492
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Ebook
Purchase at AMAZON
It’s 1997 at a mountaintop observatory in Southern California where spacecraft navigator Harris Mitchel and astronomer Diana Muse-Jones discover a dangerous asteroid which may hit the earth within two decades. As the asteroid tumbles through space towards an uncertain impact, Harris and Diana fight bitterly over how to announce their discovery. When Harris goes public to a skeptical world—at the cost of his and Diana’s careers—he sends their already turbulent relationship into a blaze of conflicting passions. As his notoriety builds, a fanatical preacher and his unhinged followers stalk him while an obnoxious radio personality provides disruptive help. Harris becomes an unwilling Pied Piper for his own overzealous followers hungry for belief and eager for guidance into an uncertain and tumultuous future. In this science fiction drama the characters battle each other in contests of Damn your world view! against a background of hard science, religion, romance, metaphysical speculation, and the forces of nature versus human passions and dreams. Meanwhile an asteroid hurtles through the solar system and global salvation or disaster hangs in the balance. “A courageous and visionary work … an instant classic.” —BlueInk Reviews
amazon
Tony Taylor spent a long career navigating NASA spacecraft—including Voyager, Cassini, Mars Polar Lander, Galileo, and MESSENGER—to every planet in the solar system. He graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and earned an MS in physics from the University of Arizona. Tony and his wife, Jan, live in Sedona, Arizona.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Interview with Natsuya Uesugi, author of grydscaen


ABOUT GRYDSCAEN

Title: grydscaen
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Author: Natsuya Uesugi
Publisher: Xlibris
EBook: 288 pages
Release Date: July 21, 2011

 Follow the lives of the main characters as they come together in the backstory to grydscaen:retribution, the first volume of the grydscaen saga. Faid is tired of life on the run in the Echelons, trying to keep his psychic power in check, he founds the Packrats establishing a safe haven for psychics. As a hacker he uses his jack to support his neurocyne habit. Lino is recruited by the Psi Faction and is sent on a mission to kidnap Faid. Riuho, Lino’s half brother becomes a prisoner of the Elite military and they experiment on him, train him and subject him to mind control, then send him out on a mission. On his return, Riuho is set on escaping and recruits Faid who hacks into the Psi Faction systems. They escape and return to the Packrats leading up to the start of grydscaen:retribution.

Xlibris

Who or what is the inspiration behind the book?

Technology is the inspiration for the grydscaen series. When I was growing up my parents were computer programmers and they used to talk code, mainframes and systems at the dinner table. My love of technology and science comes from that. The grydscaen series is about hackers against the government and I am a systems analyst working in IT. I think all that code talk really had an influence on me.

Is this your first published book and if so, can you tell us your experiences in finding a publisher for it?

The novel grydscaen: beginnings was the second book in the grydscaen series that was published. To date there are 4 books published beginnings, retribution, war and utopia. There will be a fifth book called grydscaen: alliance published this year. All my books have the same publisher and I looked into various before I picked the publisher I ended up going with. There wasn’t much decision, the one I selected had a good reputation and had published some famous authors so I went with them. It has been a positive experience.

Where do you live and if I were coming to town, where would we go to talk books?

Not going to tell you where I live right now, that is a secret. But I will tell you it is in a city. I would take you to an indie book store where they have book readings. I can tell you that the author Ann Rice did a book signing there. Maybe that will narrow it down. I do like vampires but not the sparkling kind, those I can do without. I could take you to a goth club and we could talk about vampire books while we sip some absinthe and listen to gothic industrial music, maybe you might like that. Someone might try to suck your blood though so you will have to be careful.

When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax and have fun?

I like to watch anime and I meditate. When I am not doing that I like to go skydiving but that is not really a relaxing past time.

Do you make a living off your books or do you have another job?


I am a systems analyst and work in Information Technology as a geek coding systems and working with technology. I like to write in my free time and I spend ample time writing grydscaen novels, short stories and grydscaen comic books which I also illustrate myself.