Thursday, November 29, 2012

Giveaway and guest post with Walter Rhein author of The Bone Sword

Walter Rhein Discusses Small Vs. Big Publishers

I'd like to thank the Indie Book Blog for inviting me to write a guest post. For those of you haven't heard of me, I'm the author of several books including the humorous travel/skiing memoir “Beyond Birkie Fever” and a fantasy adventure titled “The Bone Sword.” Both of these novels are with Rhemalda Publishing, a small traditional publisher out of Seattle.

I've been reflecting upon my publisher a bit lately. Rhemalda is a new publisher that is approaching the business with a dynamic philosophy. Not only are they actively seeking to place our books internationally, they're also releasing audiobooks of our novels. This requires a tremendous investment and I'm excited at the steps Rhemalda is taking. In fact, both of these efforts are actions you might not get with one of the larger publishers.

Writing, however, is a funny business, and sometimes even the most industrious newcomers don't receive the clout they deserve. I'm currently a featured author in the Chippewa Valley Book Festival and I'm making the most of the opportunity even though it's been clear I'm not the “prized” speaker. For example, I was given a chance to present my novel last Monday and I was assigned the smallest venue and was not provided the projector I had requested for my presentation despite repeated email assurances that I would be. It can be a little sobering to be required to trash your prepared presentation and just do something off the cuff, but fortunately I have enough public speaking experience so I can handle such things.

Sitting around at a festival lunch yesterday, I met an author published with Penguin which is admittedly the big leagues. However, despite the lesser status of my publisher there we were both as featured writers in the same festival.

Honestly, when I started getting serious about writing, it never even occurred to me to submit my work to Penguin or any of the other big publishers. The situation I was looking for was a small, up and coming publisher that wanted to develop along with its writers. I was not interested in going to the house that some other famous name built, I wanted to be one of the foundation members of a new house. In the end, it's all about the craft, and if you're sincere in perfecting your craft, people will discover you eventually.

I think the most important thing to accept as a new writer is the simple fact that people in a position to help you simply aren't going to do it. Understanding that helps put you in the right mental state to seize opportunities and take control of your own career. For example, I've already taken advantage of my participation in the Chippewa Valley Book Festival to secure a couple radio interviews and get a few more speaking engagements.

To this day, I still make more money from advertising on my blog StreetsOfLima.com than I do from my novels, but little by little the gap is shrinking. My publisher is small, but expanding, and I love that I'm able to ease into this writer lifestyle rather than have the whole thing thrown at me at once. I'm sure there will come a day when both my name and the name of my publisher command enough attention to keep me busy twenty-four hours a day, but for now I'm very content with the quiet murmur.

After all, I got into this business to practice my craft, and I can't do that if too many people are shouting at me.

Deserter on the Run Malik emerges from the swamps of Plaiden seeking only shelter, food, and the time necessary to take the chill from his bones. But after a barroom brawl lands him in trouble with the local authorities, he flees to the mountains with two orphaned children who have the power to heal.

Pursued by the vicious Father Ivory and his Nightshades, Malik and his charges become the center of a grassroots movement that quickly blossoms into a full-fledged revolution. Their problems are compounded when news of their exploits draws the attention of Malik’s former Captain, a swordsman of legendary prowess who will not stop until Malik and his followers are dead.

As the final battle approaches, Malik must face both his inner demons and his former master in a duel that will determine the fate of the free people of Miscony.

Now comes the fun part, Walter has agreed to provide two paperback copies of his book The Bone Sword to two lucky readers.  You must live in the continental US to enter.  Good luck everyone!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Giveaway Blog Hop brought to you by JKS Communicatons

As part of the Holiday Giveaway Blog Hop the Indie Book Blog will be giving away a prize package of 5 books to one lucky winner.  Here are the books you can win:

This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, A Dog’s Purpose touches on the universal quest for an answer to life's most basic question: Why are we here?

Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey’s search for his new life’s meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8-year-old Ethan. During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog. But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey’s journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders—will he ever find his purpose?

Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny, A Dog's Purpose is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog's many lives, but also a dog's-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man's best friend. This moving and beautifully crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.

Website: http://www.brucecameron.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/w.bruce.cameron

Cottonwood Summer '45, the latest novel in the Cottonwood series, continues the tradition of delivering an entertaining, richly-detailed reminiscence of home front America during the summer of 1945, as well as details of the closing events of World War II. The last days of the war have a profound effect on America, as witnessed by the citizens of Riverton, Michigan, and Nashville, Tennessee, the settings of this fast-paced story in which Jase and his best friend Danny, the heroes of the Cottonwood novels, are plagued by yet another passel of bad guys.

When the story opens, Danny has disappeared, along with a desperate German POW bent on making his way back to the Fatherland. With Danny as his hostage, he too falls victim to the wit and valor of the villain-vanquishing team from Riverton.

On their train trip to Nashville, our heroes are robbed but quickly identify the crook. Next, by capturing a nasty Nazi POW, they are awarded the Key to the City by Nashville’s mayor. This action opens the doors to the exciting sights and sounds of Nashville in 1945.

You’ll weep as Danny causes the accidental death of a dear friend. And you’ll marvel at how the duo deals with their first experience with racial segregation. And you’ll laugh aloud at the antics of Danny as his clairvoyance and intelligence bewilder pompous politicians and unfortunate criminals alike.

Gary Slaughter’s previous novels – Cottonwood Spring, Cottonwood Winter: A Christmas Story, Cottonwood Fall, and Cottonwood Summer – were named finalist in six prestigious book awards for fiction writing in the categories of adult fiction and young-adult fiction. Based on early reviews, Cottonwood Summer '45 is his best work ever. Readers are in for a special treat!

website: www.garyslaughter.com

“For the very real people in David Ebenbach’s vivid and emotional stories,” says author Jesse Lee Kercheval, “becoming a parent—as Judith, the single mother in four of the stories, says—is going ‘into the wilderness.’” The collection Into the Wilderness explores the theme of parenthood from many angles: an eager-to-connect divorced father takes his kids to a Jewishthemed baseball game; a lesbian couple tries to decide whether their toddler son needs a man in his life; one young couple debates the idea of parenthood while another struggles with infertility; a reserved father uses an all-you-can-eat buffet to comfort his heartbroken son. But the backbone of the collection is Judith, who we follow through her challenging first weeks of motherhood, culminating in an intense and redemptive baby-naming ceremony. Says author Joan Leegant, “Ebenbach takes us deep into the heart of the messy confusion and terror and unfathomable love that make up that shaky state we call parenthood. These stories are fearless, honest and true.”

Website: http://davidebenbach.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/david.ebenbach
Twitter: @DavidEbenbach

Meet Almigal, a spunky little girl with a BIG personality who’s determined to hear “every single sound in the whole entire universe!”

That includes... her friend Isabella’s baby brother’s funny giggle, the robins singing outside her bedroom window, the soft Swan Song Madam plays during ballet class, and especially her friend Chloe’s teeny-tiny voice.

But most of all, Almigal wants to hear her Mommy and Daddy whisper, “We love you, Almigal!” when they tuck her into bed at night.

Almigal’s spirit and her cotton-candy pink cochlear implants will have everyone shouting, “Let’s hear it for Almigal!”

5% of sales supports children with hearing loss

Website: http://www.almigal.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lets-Hear-it-for-Almigal/319794034773186
Twitter: @WendyKupfer

On the brink of her 40th birthday, Katie Olmstead is in no mood to celebrate. Still tending bar to support a stalled art career, she continues to struggle with her temperamental teenage son, C.J., who wants less to do with her every day. When Katie gets word that C.J.’s estranged father has died and willed C.J. his Harley-Davidson, the gift quickly becomes a wedge driving C.J. and Katie even further apart.

With the past parked in the driveway of their New England home, C.J.’s increasing outbursts and Katie’s self-sabotage resurrect memories of Katie’s own troubled childhood, one plagued by a mentally ill mother and a neglectful father. As Katie’s notion of motherhood is tested, her artistic ambitions dwindle and she begins to feel like an imposter amongst her seemingly refined neighbors.

Suddenly faced with a bullying, overachieving sister she hasn’t spoken to in years, an on-again, off-again boyfriend she just can’t love, and a drinking habit that’s spiraling out of control, Katie finds support in an unlikely place—her eccentric and ailing great uncle, Walter. From his room on the third floor, Walter watches over them, encouraging both Katie and C.J. to do the work they fear in order to redeem their family.

A beautifully written family drama, Call Me When You Land offers an astutely observed portrait of a broken family striving toward repair. Out of the his protagonist’s despair, debut novelist Schiavone extracts humor, compassion, courage, and offers insight into the deeply human determination to survive.

website: http://www.michaelschiavone.com/

Winner of the contest will receive one copy of each of these books from JKS.  Open only to residents of the continental US.  Good luck everyone!!



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Monday, November 26, 2012

Review of Ticket to Hollywood by Gary Reilly

In Ticket to Hollywood, the second of 11 comic novels about Denver cab driver Brendan Murphy, a.k.a “Murph,” a young woman on the way to a showing of The Great Gatsby leaves her purse behind in Murph’s Rocky Mountain Taxi Cab #127—and then goes missing. Murph finds himself confronted by police and loses his job. He becomes entangled with filmmakers and makes his way to Los Angeles in search of the lost woman and in desperate need to restore his reputation and regain normalcy, which in Murph’s case means doing as little as possible. Ticket to Hollywood follows the June, 2012 debut of The Asphalt Warrior. The first volume of Murph’s adventures rose to #3 on The Denver Post best-seller list.

4 stars

Ticket to Hollywood tells the story of a Denver cabdriver who dreams of being a writer.  Murph has been been writing a long time and trying to find the perfect existence where he has to do as little as possible.  Driving a cab seems to be his perfect job, he only works a few days a week, very little physical effort, and it gets him enough money to get by.  When he violates his rule about not getting involved in his fares lives he finds himself under suspicion for murder then dealing with a young lady's desire to be a Hollywood actress.  

This book was a fairly quick and enjoyable read.  Murph is an every man character who is easy to relate to and has a bit of an amusing wit to him.  His total lack of ability to stick to his policy of not getting involved with his fares causes him endless frustration but ensures that the book has plenty of entertaining scenarios to keep the reader going.  

From what I understand the author was able to write eleven books featuring the cab driving escapades of Murph before his untimely death.  This book was good enough for me to want to look into the rest of the series as it becomes available.  As of right now the only other book published is The Asphalt Warrior.

Ticket to Hollywood should be available on Amazon December 3.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ian Kezsbom talks about editing independent books

EDITING THE INDEPENDENT BOOK
by Ian Kezsbom
There has been a lot of talk, especially with the recent Department of Justice lawsuit against traditional publishing houses, about the lack of quality books that will appear were we to move entirely to an independent/self-publishing model. Indeed, in my limited research of the independent book world, there are a vast number of books that are almost unreadable – either because of poor storytelling, poor copy-editing, or both. It’s a shame, but it’s to be expected when a creative industry that once had restraints on who could publish has had those restraints demolished. As a film and television editor by day, I’ve seen this in my industry as well. At one time the ability to picture edit required heavy machinery that the public didn’t have access to. Then, as technology changed, it required computer systems that were too expensive for most people. But today, most computers ship with some sort of digital non-linear editor – and suddenly everyone believes they can edit a film. However, picture editing is an art first and foremost – and just having the technological tools does not make one a picture editor. Years of practice, hard-work, and developing one’s talent does; the film and television industry realizes this, which is why those picture editors who have worked hard on their craft continue to work, even in the face of more “competition.” Writing is the same. Anyone can publish a book for little or no cost with nothing more than a word processor. And, sadly, many people have without first studying and learning the craft. So, I agree, in a solely independent world, that the number of poorly-edited and poorly-written books will continue to increase – and likely drastically. However, and this is the important part, I don’t believe the number of well-edited and well-written books will decrease. At the very least it will remain the same as before the independent publishing revolution, and the hope is it will increase. Why? Because those writers who have spent the time working on their craft will spend the same amount of time professionally polishing their books. And eventually those books will rise to the top. “Journeys of Wonder” (www.journeysofwonder.com) came about because I was looking for a new outlet for my and my fellow writer’s short stories, while I continued to pursue traditional contracts for my novels. My goal, then, in creating “Journeys of Wonder” was two-fold: 1) to create an entertaining and professionally written and edited anthology of short stories and 2) to do it for as little cost as possible. To do this, I put together a team of people with varied skills. With my background in computer science, I handled the eBook formatting. In addition, my ten years of work in picture editing certainly helped with story and content editing. My wife, Deborah Pasachoff, formerly a proof reader for Houghton Mifflin, who has copy edited non-fiction books for years, stepped in as our copy-editor. We also hired, for a small sum, the talented artist Matt Filer (flyler.deviantart.com) to do our cover. Finally, and most importantly, we used the authors themselves as editors. Lisa Gail Green (paranormalpointofview.blogspot.com), Leslie S. Rose (lesliesullirose.blogspot.com), as well as Sarah Lynn (www.sarahlynnbooks.com - who didn’t have a story in the first volume) all stepped in to work as editors for each other’s work. What we did was institute a series of editing phases. All the people involved had some degree of editing knowledge from years of working on their writing, critiquing others, and/or from being published traditionally.  The five of us would take each story and work in these three phases: 1) We did a pass where we discussed what was working and what wasn’t on a large scale level. Once the author revised and the story was in a place we liked (this often took multiple passes), we moved on to stage 2. 2) With the stories themselves in good shape, we focused on specific line editing and sentence structure. Here again, some stories went through multiple passes until we felt they flowed well and were enjoyable to read. 3) Finally,once the stories were “locked” they headed to copy-editing and proof-reading. As before, the stories all went through multiple passes until we felt they looked as professional as possible. Did this method work? I think so. By having multiple editors working on a story, each editor was able to find and solve issues another editor might have missed. In addition, by taking the time to do multiple passes we were able to truly examine the stories and make them as strong as possible. If this sounds like it wasn’t a quick process, it wasn’t. “Journeys of Wonder, Volume 1” is an 88-page anthology. It took about four months to produce. That’s right, four months for just 88 pages. 90% of that time focused on the editing (with most of the other 10% spent learning about the formatting for different kindle devices/applications), and I believe it shows. Everyone who worked on the book is incredibly proud of the finished product. And by working in this fashion we were able to produce the book for under $100 (this figure does not include marketing). What does this mean to other independent authors? It’s absolutely possible to make a professionally edited book, but it takes a serious commitment of time and effort from the author. However, regardless of whether the future of publishing stays with the traditional model or moves to an independent model (and I believe there is a place for both) there will always be authors who care about their work. And, because of that, there will always be professionally-made content no matter what the future holds.
Check out the book collections that Ian has helped organize:  Journeys of Wonder Volume 1 and Volume 2.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Review of There Were Dinosaurs Everywhere by Howard Temperley

The phenomenon of the dinosaur is one that continues to fascinate people of all ages. A fun-filled history of the many species of dinosaurs, their eras, and interesting facts about them, this book is not only informative, but funny and captivating as well. Featuring amusing and attractive illustrations, this unique edition discusses a variety of topics, from the Velociraptor and Pterodactylus to the Jurassic Era and dinosaur extinction.



5 stars

There Were Dinosaurs Everywhere is a great book to read to your kids.  My daughter is two years old and I had to hide this book from her so she wouldn't rip the pages out while trying to enjoy it.  We had a lot of fun reading about the different eras of dinosaurs and the fun creatures that were contained within these pages.  The illustrations are another high point in this book . They were bright and cartoony which made them a lot of fun for my daughter to look at.  I can't recommend this book enough for kids who love dinosaurs and parents who love to read to their children.  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Free book: A Game Before the Darkness by Joe Ollinger

Today you can pick up a free copy of A Game Before the Darkness by Joe Ollinger on Amazon. Be sure to take advantage of the special offer and pick up a good book to read after you indulge on you Thanksgiving feast (get the book even if you aren't doing the Thanksgiving thing who doesn't love free books).

Topin Pyndr is a prodigy at the Game -- a test of skill, concentration, and mental clarity that has been revered by his society since the beginning of its history. But sentiment is changing, and a new political movement and its charismatic leader threaten to end the Game.

Convinced that it has some unknown meaning, Topin sets out to find the truth, only to discover that the Game is much more important than he could have suspected: it holds the only means of preventing humanity's extinction.

As Topin is hunted by the society he is trying to save, he faces a journey to the farthest reaches of his world, and into the secret depths of its history.

A Game Before the Darkness is a science fiction adventure suitable for adult and young adult readers.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giveaway of A Rendezvous to Die For

Exciting action on the Rez! A brand new sleuth sorts out clues from an 1830s world! All photographer Cassandra Cassidy wanted to do was settle into the peaceful Minnesota countryside and lick her New York-inflicted emotional wounds. But a photo gig she couldn't pass up has her up to her f-stops trying to get to the bottom of a gruesome hatchet job that left her nemesis dead and left her near the top of the suspect list. Smoking out the real killer will lead the mystery world's new reluctant sleuth deep into the colorful re-enactor culture and into dangerous political intrigue at the Indian reservation. See what develops as Cassandra uses her non-existent detecting skills - and short list of acquaintances - to track down the real killer before she becomes more valuable to him dead or alive.


Print copies only available to people in the continental US, ebook prizes available internationally.  Thanks for entering and good luck everyone!
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Monday, November 19, 2012

Giveaway and guest post by Philip Sharp author of Not in the Wind, Earthquake, or Fire

 In 2006 I deployed for the second time for combat operations to the nation of Iraq. During that time I kept a journal of many of those events that we were going through. The area our unit operated in was known as the "Triangle of Death", a hot bed of activity and sanctuary for the insurgency. The Iraqis called it, "The Graveyard of the Americans". During this deployment 21 soldiers from Task Force Polar Bear (4-31 Infantry, Fort Drum, NY) were killed, 3 were captured, and far more were wounded. Just before our year was up we were told that our tour was being extended. By the time we got home we were but a shell of our former selves. It is in these conditions that I recorded those events, reflected on the reality of life, and vented over the circumstances.

This book took longer to write than I had anticipated though. When I first began I relied primarily on my memory and the memory of some others to piece together all the events. I began to consult my journal that I kept from that time and continued to do so more frequently each time. It finally dawned on me. Why not just put the journal in the book? I mean, I was practically doing it anyway. At first, I was excited because half of the book was written for me already. What I did not anticipate was the effect my journal would have on me. Reading through it again and typing the words was like reliving the whole deployment all over again. I would hit moments were I did not want to continue. Months would go by and I would have to force myself to pick up where I left off and carry on the writing. It took me 3 drawn out years to complete a book that was half written to begin with. Through it all, though, it has been a painful therapy for me.

What will you find in Not in the Wind, Earthquake, or Fire? You will see the daily life of combat soldiers and the conditions they worked under. Readers will see triumphs and victories, sorrows and defeats, and an in-depth look at holding on to hope when none is easily given. There is also a sincere examination of the human costs and a look at the lives of soldiers once they return back home. This is an honest first-hand account about the war, its psychological impacts, and what the cost really was.

Not in the Wind, Earthquake, or Fire is not only a book about the Iraq War; it is also a testimony of a soldier's walk with God during those times. Many spiritual lessons are carefully recounted that I learned while deployed there. I put my heart and tears into writing this book. I want to break the hearts and summon the tears of all who read it. Any reader that is interested in cutting through the glossed over and hyped up images of Iraq and seeing a soldier's walk with God unfold in an unforgiving atmosphere will want this book.

About the Author:

Philip Sharp has served for 20 years in the US Army Infantry during which he graduated from Ranger School, completed 22 parachute jumps, and served as a Drill Sergeant. He has worked in a variety of locations to include South Korea and the jungles of Panama. He deployed to Iraq three separate times from 2003 until 2010. He has published articles and war game simulations in Strategy & Tactics magazine and currently is a contributing columnist for Modern War magazine. Philip is retired from active duty service and now lives in West Virginia with his wife Heather and four children were they are creating an all-natural farm and serving in church ministries.


Not in the Wind, Earthquake, or Fire
6” x 9” Trade Paperback
260 Pages
Suggested Retail $14.95
Published: July 24, 2012
Iraq War/Religion & Spirituality
ISBN: 1470159988
ISBN-13: 978-1470159986


Not in the Wind, Earthquake, or Fire is available on Amazon.com and other online retailers in print, as a Kindle download, and the B&N Nook and other e-book readers. Book stores and vendors can also order through the worldwide distribution of Ingram Book Company (www.ingrambook.com, 1-800-937-8200).

For more on Not in the Wind, Earthquake, or Fire visit the following sites:

www.windearthquakefire.com
http://www.facebook.com/windearthquakefire
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13632526-not-in-the-wind-earthquake-or-fire

Now for the giveaway, Philip is willing to share 3 personalized signed copies to a lucky three people today.  Only available to those in the Continental US.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Guest post by Andrew Critchell author of The Dark Rider

If you had asked me when I was little if I wanted to spend a large chunk of my life sitting at a desk and staring into a computer screen all day, doing a tedious job which I have fundamentally no interest in, then I probably would have laughed in your face. However, this is what I have found myself doing now for sixteen years, bar two failed escape attempts!

So how did this happen? What makes someone do something they basically hate day-in, day-out? And what is the cost?

These are the questions plaguing Nicola, one of the main characters in my novel ‘The Dark Rider,' because at the start of the story she is in the same boat as me, yet at 23, she has years on her side (I’m now 38). Nicola works in banking, but has a passion for the natural environment and wants to help stop its destruction. However something is stopping her, so she continues to submit to the false god and stay in ‘a job that slowly kills you’ to quote Radiohead... Nicola is lucky as she does escape. But not in a way she could ever have foreseen, for it is rather fantastical (of course!). To reveal more would give too much away....!

So, that is part of the inspiration behind the story, revealing those fears and then meeting someone who tells you to go get your dreams, to reach for the stars because you only have one life and why waste it, why act as it you have endless tomorrows? Part of me hopes this will plant a seed in your mind so that you realise your ambitions (if you have not already!), same as I will never give up aiming for mine.

There is another theme too. I mentioned Nicola’s desire to fight for the natural environment and, although the battles in my story are mythical, there is a real war being waged now by real people. One of these is Greenpeace’s campaign right now to save the Arctic. I encourage anyone to take a look at http://savethearctic.com/

Check out the blurb for Andrew's book and pick up your copy on Amazon.

THE DARK RIDER – Book One of the Fading Light contemporary fantasy series.

Many years ago a secret was shared between a woman and a young boy, for she believed he was the one. Now that she is dying the time has come. The secret must be revealed, and the boy awakened to realise a prophecy that has lain unfulfilled for nearly two millennia.

On holiday in Cornwall, a young woman is plagued by visions of a warrior on horseback. As the rider steps from her dreams and into reality, two worlds collide and the nightmare begins. Pursued by sinister agents she finds herself in a race against time, yet it Is unclear who are friends and who is the enemy.

As evil closes in from all sides they must choose well, for the fate of both worlds hangs in the balance. Failure will cost much more than just their lives.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Guest post with RA Mathis author of Ghosts of Babylon

Something happened in June of 2005 that changed my life and my writing forever. It may sound crazy, it may even be crazy, but it’s true.

It was just after sunrise at Forward Operating Base Bernstein near Tuz, Iraq. My team and I had been at the helm of the battalion operations center all night and were preparing to hand it over to the day crew. It’d been a tough few weeks. IEDs were almost a daily occurrence, car bombs were on the rise, and Death was a constant.

One of our team (we’ll call him Sergeant Gray) was a veteran of the first gulf war of 1991. He witnessed the aftermath of the atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein’s troops against the Kuwaitis. He also saw the carnage inflicted upon the Iraqi army by allied forces. The man has seen enough death for several lifetimes.

As the causalities mounted in our area of operations, a few of our men began to notice something had changed. Following each fatal event, they felt what could only be described as a ‘presence.’ It was as if something moved among them, watching them, but couldn’t be seen.

Gray said he’d felt it before. He told us it was the angel of death.

I felt it too on that morning in June. But I felt it before anything happened. There was no reason for it. The morning was calm. I looked to Gray. He felt it, too. About twenty minutes later, the largest car bomb of our combat tour exploded in the middle of Tuz, killing several Iraqis. We heard the explosion and saw the smoke plume from over ten miles away.

It was as if Death went to harvest those poor Iraqi souls and passed by us along the way.

We encountered it several other occasions during our time in Iraq. It came to be just another part of war we wanted to forget but couldn’t.

This and other experiences have impacted me and my writing deeply. In writing Ghostsof Babylon, my goal was to present as honest and accurate a picture of the Iraq War as possible.

As such, all the places, equipment, and tactics are real. Most of the scenes in the book are also based on actual events—factual dots connected by fictional lines. I realized early on that painting a faithful picture of Iraq also meant including the supernatural nature of the region. The place is permeated with it, from ancient tales of Aladdin’s lamp to the dark sheiks of Najaf who still call upon the djinn to do their bidding. This mysticism is a part of life in Iraq, always present yet unseen. It always has been. This story really couldn’t be told without it. To my knowledge, this is the first work to address this aspect of the Iraq War.

What did we experience that day in 2005? Was it precognition, the angel of death, the djinn, or paranoia? I still don’t know. But when I reflect on these events, one quote always comes to mind.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Shakespeare sums it up better than I ever could.

Have you ever had an encounter with the unexplained? If so, I’d like to hear about it.

Set against a backdrop of escalating terror, Ghosts of Babylon is a fast-paced military thriller that features an intense, gritty, and powerful cast of characters. In a desperate attempt to salvage both his career and a wrecked personal life, archaeologist Stuart Knight volunteers to serve in Iraq as a translator, but his real objective is to get his hands on Babylon’s ancient treasures. Once on the ground, he meets Captain Allen, a battalion intelligence officer determined to catch Al-Khayal, the insurgent who blew off his leg and annihilated his entire crew with an IED.

Entangled in the grisly web of Allen’s private war, Knight’s quest for redemption turns into a struggle to survive with deadly enemies on both sides of the fence. Stuart soon finds himself staring into the face of terror, his own mortality, and an evil as old as Babylon itself.

Written by R.A. Mathis, a veteran armored cavalry officer, this unique novel exposes the pain, horror, and exhilaration of the Iraq War—harsh realities that can only be revealed by one who was there. Spiked with elements of the supernatural, it peers into the abyss and reveals how unchecked obsession can damage those around us and ultimately lead to our destruction. Will Knight heed a final warning, lest he, too, loses his soul to the ghosts of Babylon? Nobody believes in Hell—until they get there.


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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Interview with Jarrah Loh author of the Cageside Chronicles


An interview with author Jarrah Loh


How did you get into writing about Mixed Martial Arts?

I have been training in martial arts since I was a kid. Like many my age, I go hooked from The Karate Kid, Rocky and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Anyway, years later when I was about 25 I decided to quit my job and go back to school to become a professional writer.

I needed to work as an intern to complete a unit at University, and back then I was doing a lot of music journalism, so I figured I would do something for one of the music magazines. But simply by coincidence, I saw an advertisement for an editor at Australia’s longest running and most popular martial arts magazine. I didn’t apply for the job, but sent them a quick email asking if I could intern. I didn’t even know if I would do it, but they sent me an email back the same day (a Friday) and told me they needed someone to come in first thing Monday because several people were away on vacation etc.

So I went in Monday and worked my butt off for weeks. I did anything they asked. I wrote thousands and thousand of words for free. Then about a week after I’d finished my internship I got a call telling me that one of the editors was leaving. They offered me the job, and that was it. A year later we started an MMA mag in association with FIGHT! in the US, that became my own, and it went from strength to strength.

And how did you go from magazine writing and editing into books?

MMA and UFC really took off around the same time my magazine came out and there was a lot of buzz. I had thought about writing a guide type book about MMA and I had made a lot of contacts in the industry during my time as an editor. Then one day a guy from HarperCollins contacted me, asking if I’d ever thought about writing a non-fiction MMA book, because they were possibly thinking about publishing one. I got straight back to them and gave them a sample treatment with a complete chapter outline and my image sources and everything. They couldn’t believe I got back to them with all of this information so quickly, and were very impressed. After lots of convincing with the publisher, we got the green light and I wrote my book Ultimate: The Complete Guide to UFC & Mixed Martial Arts.

What was your experience like working with a major publisher?

It had its positive and negative points. Positively, they gave me a nice advance and they printed a book that I thought was fantastic when I unwrapped it. It was full color, glossy and had a matte cover. It was perfect. But a lot of things weren't all that great. It was fantastic how much control I had over the book, but I could tell I was just another number. I didn’t hold it against the publishers and editors, because I know what it is like working for a publisher myself, but you knew they just had to get the job done to move on to the next. They were great, but like any big publisher, they forgot about me after about two months after the book was released, even thought it did really well.

So, following that, I take it you decided to independently publish your novels?

Somebody actually offered to publish my new MMA fiction novel series Cageside Chronicles, but at the last minute, inspired by Joe Konrath’s writings, I chose not to sign the contract and publish it myself. It suddenly seemed so obvious how much money publishers take from writers, who do all the work. Especially now, where writers are expected to do most of their own marketing as well.

Anyway, I saw a gap in the market and couldn’t believe no one had written any good fiction books set around MMA. There had been a few films that were successful, so I went ahead creating my own MMA world and began with my first release Fighting the Storm.

Tell us about Fighting the Storm.

Well, it is about a Mexican teenager named Tommy, who is a bit of an underdog. He’s beat up most days and is the quiet type. His father was American, and a boxer, but has since passed, and although Tommy knows nothing about fighting, his father’s past begins to emerge and suddenly Tommy is thrust into the fighting world. He eventually crosses the border illegally across the desert and makes his way to Las Vegas. But this novel isn’t simply about fighting. It’s about fighting one’s own demons, and as the series goes on we find more and more and about Tommy and his father’s past, and the plot gets thicker and thicker. You never know who the real ‘bad guy’ might turn out to be.

Do you have more novels planned?

Yes! There are already three books in the Cageside Chronicles series out and more to come very soon!

Thanks for your time, Jarrah.

Thank you! You can find out more about Cagesiude Chronicles and myself at www.jarrahloh.com or go over to Amazon and get reading!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Storm Dragon's Heart by David Hayden review

Turesobei dreamed of adventure and a chance to prove himself.
Wizards should be careful what they wish for.

Destined to become his clan's next high wizard, Turesobei struggles to live up to the expectations. And now he's had enough of people treating him like he's a child. So when his treasure-hunting father arrives with important news to discuss only with the current high wizard, Turesobei spies on their meeting and accidentally foils an assassination attempt. As a reward his father invites him on an expedition to find an artifact known as the Storm Dragon's Heart.

But when disaster strikes, their quest becomes a race for survival.

Aided by a sassy ninja cat-girl and a mysterious diary that transforms into a winged familiar, Turesobei battles deadly cultists, vengeful spirits, and a mad wizard from a rival clan who's determined to use the artifact to destroy Turesobei's homeland.

The Storm Dragon's Heart will thrill readers with enchanting characters, exotic landscapes, mystical beasts, forbidden love, and fast-paced adventure. 


4 stars

The Storm Dragon's Heart tells the story of Turesobei, a young man who is being forced into a life he isn't sure about.  With his family and his level of talent he is destined to be the next high wizard for his clan, but the constant studying of the magic as well as all of his other obligations are making him question his fate.

The story is a pretty good one, especially for young adults, with a lot of action and some very good characters.  Sobei could be a spoiled whiny brat from living his life of privilege, but that is not the case at all.  He is a good person at heart and is quick to treat others as his equal even the people that other clans use practically as slaves.  The part that really appealed to me was how he interacts with the ninja assassin.

This is a solid fantasy offering for the YA to adult crowd.  Sobei has some very interesting developments occur within his life and I for one and very curious to see what else is in store for him in the future.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Way of the Black Beast by Stuart Jaffe review

In a world destroyed by the abuse of magic, one woman fights all odds to survive and find the answers behind her mysterious past.

Despite the challenges -- crazed magicians, guitar-playing assassins, mutated beasts -- she pushes on with a single-mindedness that may destroy all she holds dear.




3.5 stars

The Way of the Black Beast by Stuart Jaffe tells the story of Malja.  In a world that is suffering a complete collapse after "The Devastation" there is danger everywhere.  Magic exists, but seems to take the users sanity a tiny bit with every spell cast.  Malja has no magic and has very little use for it.  After being raised by two brother wizards who saw her as only a tool and threw her away to survive on her own when she proved a disappointment to them.  She is found by "Uncle" Gregory who raises her like his own child, teaching her morals that Jarik and Callib weren't interested in.  When the brother magicians send assassins to kill Gregory Malja beings her quest to kill them.  Along the way she meets Tommy, a young man enslaved on a ship, who is also a budding magician.

The opening of the book drew me in instantly.  Malja fighting with Viper (super cool weapon) and an example of how magic works had me very intrigued by the world.  The story keeps a pretty decent rate of action with Malja being very comfortable solving her problems with her weapon.  She is not just a psychotic killer as she has period of inner reflection coming to terms with what she does and what she is.  There are several characters that end up joining the quest, not all of them getting along very well.  The conflict adds a little humor and is used to explain some of the aspects of the world without using an info dump.

There was a point in the book where I started to lose a little interest, I didn't become bored by any means, just lost some of the intensity that was established at the beginning.  There were still points throughout the rest of the book that reestablished that level of interest, but one thing I really would have liked to know is the story behind Viper.  The blade is referred to by name for the entire book and is an extremely unique weapon, but no mention is made of how Malja acquired it.  I imagine that the story will be revealed in a further book of the Malja Chronicles, but that is just a guess.  This book had a solid ending then started a what could be the story line for the next book in the series.  This is a series that I will keep looking at to see where Stuart will take Malja next for certain.  Overall score 3.5 stars.

This book can be purchased on Amazon, Smashwords, and for more into check out Stuart's website.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Review of Starlight by Arshad Ahsanuddin

The Triangle

Anchorpoint City, 2082. Half a year after the death of his lover Takeshi, Rory remains devastated, deflecting Nick's attempts to draw him out. Lorcan takes it upon himself to coax Rory back to life. Then an innocent gesture of affection explodes into a sensational scandal, forcing them to make choices they would otherwise never have considered. Will their friendship survive the pressure of Nightwalker politics, or will their relationship be just another casualty of war?

The Spacers

In memory of his love for Tobias, Rafael became Antonio's closest friend and ally, supporting his protégé's advancement in the Spacer Guild despite Nick's deep disapproval. Captain of the Jumpvessel Singularity, Antonio has spent his entire adult life navigating the void between the stars, blissfully avoiding any part of the fate for him in the war between the White Wind and the Red. Mentor and student are reunited when Antonio returns home on the one hundredth anniversary of his father's death, intending to stay only long enough to pay his respects to a man he never had a chance to know and the family he left behind. But in a world where immortality is commonplace, death is not always what it seems, and destiny is not so easily cast aside.

The Spy

Razheel has served the Court of Shadows with honor for over a century as the Night's Herald, never openly taking sides in the divide between Nightwalker and Daywalker alliances. Now, after thirty thousand years of conflict, something new walks the Earth, which may be the greatest weapon yet in the battle between the races. As Antonio's fate becomes clear, she steps seamlessly into the role of revolutionary, and her carefully planned insurrection will set the Nightwalker race on the path to final victory, or to total extinction.


4 stars

This review will contain some spoilers if you are unfamiliar with the series.

Starlight is the fourth book in the Pact Arcanum series by Arshad Ahsanuddin.  Since this series deals with a lot of immortal characters mixed in with humans and Sentinels with normal lifespans  by this point in the series there are some new characters that are becoming featured as the original characters age and die off.

This series is still going strong and keeping me entertained.  I know that it is almost ready to be wrapped up and this is one series that I'm sure to miss.  Honestly this series is fantastic for anyone who enjoys urban fantasy or modern paranormal.  Honestly I'm not sure I can heap any praise on this book that hasn't already been said in my review for the other book in this series.  Arshad has gotten a fan for life in me and I'm excited to see where he goes with his writing when he completes this series.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Guest post by K.P. Kollenborn author of Eyes Behind Belligerence

How to Acquire Book Reviews for Indie Authors

Book reviews are as critical as a heart transplant. Without the pulsation you might as well be deceased. For traditional publishers, acquiring book reviews mean mailing out hundreds of books to newspaper reviewers, and hope that a certain percentage will take the time to review, and then hope the reviews are a good one. For indie authors the process may be more time consuming, but by far and large it opens up the restrictions and narrow-mindedness big publishers tend to hold onto. What I refer to as the restrictions and narrow-mindedness are missed opportunities by reaching out to bloggers and other non-professional reviewers who use Amazon, Barnes & Noble, GoodReads, Smashwords, Ning, and the like to post their reviews.

Online book reviewers are becoming more viral; more substantiated than the conventional sources because their posts will always be out there as long as the reviewer stays open for business. Plus, with the voting systems, if feels more democratic and less tyrannical than that of the one bad review!

Method of Reviews

In essence, there are four methods of reviews you can acquire: buying them, growing them organically, swapping them, and just simply asking for them. One method doesn’t necessarily enhance your status more than the other, although juggling the three certainly can help establish it.

1.) BUYING REVIEWS

There is much debate about whether to purchase reviews or not. On the one side of the debate questions the morality of things. If reviews are bought, does that make them legitimate? There are places where you can buy positive reviews only, (although I still have yet to find those places); however, in my experiences, the reviews I bought were fair because some reviewers revealed their complaints and did not rate my book as high. So to question the legitimacy of bought reviews will depend on the legitimacy of the business itself. Many will state that they will not guarantee positive reviews, for instance, and how long have they been in business will determine if they are legit. There are “fly-by-night” reviewers who at some point will be banned and have their reviews revoked once found out.

The other side of the debate supports buying reviews because it facilitates your reputation and can provide exposure. Some of these places will have diverse outlets such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads. And that’s really the goal all writers wish to achieve: popularity. I started reaching out to bloggers before having at least 8 reviews and only received one reply. After establishing at least 8 reviews, with some bought, (including Kirkus Reveiws,) in order to acquire credibility, then bloggers started agreeing to review my book for free. That may not be true for everyone experiences, but it was for me.

Now then, how much do these paid reviews cost? The costs vary and you could verily easily spend anywhere from $50 per review to over $400 per review, depending on the reviews status and outlet margin.

You can check out a list of reviewers on my blog here; just under blog tours. Some are free and some you have to pay: http://richlycoloredmask.blogspot.com/p/self-publishing-info.html

2.) ORGANIC REVIEWS

You can reach out to bloggers and other book reviewers on Amazon and GoodReads for free. Some will ask for pay, but they generally do not because they are readers who have enthusiasm for reading. They are not professional critics, but are intelligent and thoughtful folks who take the time in their busy lives to share their passions.

The Business Side of Soliciting for Reviews

At one point in my life, I was a real estate agent- briefly- and got out just after the housing market crash. One of the things I learned, which is true in any business, is what’s called “the number’s game.” You reach out to 50 people, and out of the 50 you’ll get about 10 people who express interest in your abilities but will only get about 1 or 2 who’ll actually commit and sign a contract. On the business side of hunting down reviews, you reach out 50 book reviewers, and out of 50 you’ll get about 10 who express interest in reviewing your work, but will actually get a few who’ll actually commit and write a review. Just be psychologically prepared for this, and have realistic expectations.

Don’t forget to look and see if they keep a blog roll. If so, then you connect to more bloggers! Keep that ball rolling, baby!

Etiquettes

Since they do not get paid, they are often swamped with requests, and therefore may take anywhere from 1-4 months to finally getting around reading and posting a review. Be polite, and take the time to see if they will be a good fit for your book(s). If they agree to review your book and you hadn’t heard from them in over 3 to 4 months, then send a polite follow-up. DO NOT harass them with frequent emails! This will begin to look like spamming and you will most likely turn them off, and therefore, they will turn off your emails.

You can check out a list of bloggers on my blog here; just under book reviewers: http://richlycoloredmask.blogspot.com/p/self-publishing-info.html

3.) SWAPPING REVIEWS

Have you ever been to a swap meet? It’s a gathering at which enthusiasts or collectors trade or exchange items of common interest. The same thing can apply when swapping reviews for authors. This method serves two purposes: helping you collect more book reviews while helping others achieve the same goal. You can do so with online author communities as well as helping other writer friends within your own community. This method is a bit more reliable than asking your family and social friends to provide feedback because area of interests are often different, and you most likely will attain a more comprehensive review regarding plot and character development.

You can check out a list of indie author communities on my blog here; at the very top of the page under resources, and just under blogger book reviewers at the bottom: http://richlycoloredmask.blogspot.com/p/self-publishing-info.html

*If you would like to swap reviews with me, my interests are for historical fiction, (no romance historical fiction, please,) literary fiction, memoirs, and even non-fiction. I am on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and GoodReads. I accept ebooks in mobi, epub & PDF forms. I am on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and GoodReads. Contact me here: http://kpkollenborn.com/contact.htm.

4.) ASKING FOR REVIEWS

Don’t confuse “asking” for “begging,” because this approach should be suggestive, not forceful, and should not give off the “desperate” vibes. In the beginning, you could, of course, ask friends and family, but realistically, don’t expect it because their tastes will differ from yours, and therefore you want reviewers who share similar interests. There are online forums where you can request for book reviews such as Goodreads groups, Ning readers groups, Facebook groups and book reviewers fanpages. Another way to “softly” ask for reviews is by attaching this type of statement at the beginning of your book:

Insert the title of your novel was written, designed, produced and published by its author. Because independent publishers and writers should be held to the same high standards as the mainstream publishing industry, I encourage you to post an honest and objective review of this book in the online bookstore of your choice. Such dialogue only serves the cause of good writers and good readers.

Fake Reviews: The illegitimate critics

What exactly are fake reviews? Fake reviews are anonymous identities that open up phony accounts in order to praise or criticize online books. On the positive side of the spectrum they can either be authors praising themselves, or they are bought reviews from illegitimate businesses. (And I do want to place emphasis on illegitimate businesses because there are legitimate ones that do provide a fair trade. Just do your homework and ask other veteran writers for advice.) On the negative side, they can be either other authors criticizing their opponents, or other people who just simply have malice intent to leave a 1 star review to bring down your review status.

So, revisiting the debate about paid reviews you end up asking yourself: “Do paid reviews in fact represent fake reviews? Or at least on Amazon?” The three services I used, Kirkus Reveiws, Bookplex and Self Publish Review, I found to be fair. They use other bloggers and authors to represent their businesses’ reviews. Although the reviews mostly did come in a positive light, but I did not get that perfect 5 star rating, plus the reviewers did mention what they didn’t like or had certain issues with some of the content. All I can stress upon when making that investment is to use common sense, do your research, and ask other seasoned authors for advice.

To read more about “fake reviews,” check out these articles:

Forbes: “Fake Reviews: Amazon’s Rotten Core”
http://www.forbes.com/sites/suwcharmananderson/2012/08/28/fake-reviews-amazons-rotten-core/

The Telegraph: “Fake Book Reviews are Rife on Internet Authors”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/9518531/RJ-Ellory-fake-book-reviews-are-rife-on-internet-authors-warn.html

Business Insider: “This Man Made $28,000 a Month Writing Fake Book Reviews”
http://www.businessinsider.com/this-guy-made-28000-a-month-writing-fake-book-reviews-online-2012-8

Conclusion

Pace yourself when researching and soliciting for book reviews. Don’t try to cram everything into one session. Space out days of the month to research for bloggers or swap book reviews. Also put yourself on a budget. You really don’t need to spend your mortgage in order to acquire book reviews. There are always other avenues. And remember, as exhausting and frustrating as this process may sound, it still beats getting rejected by agents and/ or publishers who won’t take on your project. At least you’re out there!

If you enjoyed what you have read, you can find me on these other social sites:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kollenborn
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KPKollenborn
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=46096972&trk=tab_pro
GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5386352.K_P_Kollenborn
Blog #2: http://kpkollenborn.blogspot.com/
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/kpkollenborn/

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Guest post with Tom Watson author of The Luck of Han'anga

The Same Thing, Only Different:
Some Thoughts on an Incomplete Revolution

I’ve heard the rise of independent publishing called a revolution more times than I can count. It’s highly touted as such, especially by indie authors for whom – and I am one of these – the doors to the traditional publishers seemed shut forever. A strong reaction to seeing your work in print – at last! – is perfectly understandable. Some of us have battled the “gatekeepers” for years, or even decades. To be handed the opportunity to get the job done without the need to acquire an agent, or be lucky enough to have a manuscript land on just the right desk on just the right day, is not to be treated lightly. And it isn’t. It has been embraced with a will by a legion of struggling writers with the greatest of excitement and enthusiasm. Small wonder the cry “Vive la révolution!” is heard.

But is it really a revolution?

Revolutions, by their nature, sweep old ways of doing things aside, and replace these with something new. But for all that digital self-publishing and print-on-demand seem revolutionary to indie authors, I don’t believe that’s quite what we have going on here. Something major has remained the same, something with a stubborn resistance to the most ardent revolutionary fervor. Almost as soon as people began to avail themselves of PubIt, Kindle Direct Press, and aggregators such as Smashwords, they also discovered (or rediscovered) the single greatest challenge any author can ever face. It’s a hurdle you must overcome whether or not you publish independently, so it doesn’t matter if you were successful with the gatekeepers or did an end run around them. And it’s a task that makes the challenge of writing, editing, and producing a book on your own pale by comparison.

You need to find your audience. You need to get your book out where it can be discovered by readers, and in a way that draws attention to your work. As every author, indie or otherwise, very soon learns, that’s not at all easy. The digital age has conjured up no shortage of options for both book promotion and book discovery, to be sure. But which ones work? Which tricks are actually worth the time spent? Which of them actually sell books? No one seems to know for sure. Depending on how you interpret the averages, they all work, or none of them do. Ask if “idea X” sells books and as many people will shout “No!” as sing its praises. The tricks that do seem to work for the majority of indie authors fade in effectiveness over time, perhaps due to the sheer number of authors trying to run that particular play. In the end, it seems most of us in the indie world have ended up no better off than the average traditionally published midlist author, for whom marketing support by the publisher has become a rare and rarified thing.

If you want an audience, you need to take on the tasks of marketing and promotion for yourself and make it happen. Simply putting the book out there won’t get it done. You need to work the social media, run promotional contests, attend genre gatherings and do public readings, and keep your eyes and mind open for any other possible means of making people notice your books. This takes a lot of time, and that’s time that most of us would rather spend writing. Nothing for it. It must be done, and even then, the process yields results at speeds that can best be described as glacial. For some, frustration and disillusionment with the self-publishing “revolution” soon sets in. Sales are flat and it seems nothing can be done to change that. People getting started can’t seem to get the ball rolling. Authors who had something on the ball are watching sales drop no matter what they do. The revolutionary expectations raised by the ability to go around the industry gatekeepers seem to remain, for many indie authors, out of reach.

Vive la révolution?

The idea that we are part of a publishing revolution seems to have encouraged some overly optimistic expectations, and now that the first great wave of indie authors is rushing along, excitement is giving way to a certain amount of anxiety. Weren’t things supposed to be different, now? Surely this should be easier to do, with the traditional publishers out of the way! But the truth of the matter is that digital self-publishing and POD haven't made it any easier to succeed as an author. They've made it easier to put your work out there, and after that it’s the same old same old. Virtual shelves or the corner of a brick-and-mortar store, if people don’t find your book they can’t read it. A lot of good writers, more every day, are getting their chance to put their work out there, but after publication only sheer persistence, coupled with the production of other, high-quality books, gives you any chance of success at all. That’s how it’s always been. There’s gold in them thar hills, to be sure, but you’d better sharpen your shovel and be prepared to dig deep! You need to go into this business with high hopes, but no expectations.

A revolution? Not really, or at least, not completely. The old ways have not entirely been swept away, but that’s no reason for panic or despair. Think of modern self-publishing with its digital speed and efficiency as an opportunity, not a revolution. Anyone who does the work of writing and editing a book, anyone willing to put ego on hold and really listen to beta readers or freelance editors, and who can then stomach the daily grind of finding ways to promote a book, now has the opportunity to be published and achieve some measure of success. For some of us this will lead to great things. For most of us it won’t. That, also, is the way it used to be. Any given author today is no more, or less, likely to succeed than in pre-ebook days. You are, however, more likely to be published at all. The only clear path to failure is to be so intimidated by the challenge ahead that you just don’t try.

Vive la possibilité!

For hundreds of years the Commonwealth has expanded into space, seeking another intelligent species to no avail. Then they found the Leyra'an, a species so much like Humanity it defied belief. But before this mystery can be resolved, there is a darker matter to be dealt with. For someone else found the Leyra'an first, and started a war.




Take a look at Tom's book The Luck of Han'anga on Amazon.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Giveaway and guest post with David Beers author of Dead Religion

To say that I’ve been a horrible writer for most of my life would be a fairly accurate representation, I believe.

Also, you should definitely buy my book, Dead Religion. You’ll love it.

I believe that most writers are born with some kind of genetic defect which makes us toil away in front of an illuminated screen and keyboard. I certainly was, but I missed out on the gene that would make me an Ernest Hemingway from birth. Seems unfair, right?

So, at the age of nineteen I found myself in front of a Dell computer (wishing it was a Mac, because that’s all I needed to make it big), hammering out scary stories. I couldn’t pull myself away, even on Friday nights when the rest of my crew were slamming shots of Tequila and I was losing my eye site staring at the computer screen.

The problem? I was putting out words that should probably have been printed on toilet paper.

Yet here I am, seven long years later and telling you that Dead Religion is going to scare your socks off and make your hair stand on end—the audacity of this guy, right?

It took me a long time to learn how to write, although I’ve always loved the craft. From my experience and research, there are primarily two types of writers. Those that vomit onto the page and then meticulously edit, and those that agonizingly choose each word before it comes out onto the paper. I am of the first group, sans the editing. My first novel was a 140,000 word behemoth—how many drafts did I feel were necessary before this thing was ready for the masses? A mere two. Thank God I had some decent friends who told me it wasn’t even ready for them to read it, let alone publication.

I shelved it and wrote another novel. How many drafts before that one was ready to make me a millionaire? A grand three.

Once again, enter: friends, exit: David’s ego. Same thing: Man, the story is good, but this writing…I mean, are you trying to be James Patterson? You’re better than this.

That might be the worst compliment a person can ever receive.

So I began Dead Religion, knowing with complete certainty that I was about to write the third worst novel ever. Something magical happened though, and after six years of writing nearly every day, I began to learn how to do it. I began studying other authors: Joe Hill, Dean Koontz, Kurt Vonnegut, Cormac McCarthy. I understood what I had to do if I was going to do this right: SLOW DOWN.

The process I developed involves me only moving on from a chapter once five drafts of that chapter have been completed: 1) I write the chapter, 2) I rewrite each word in the chapter by hand, 3) I enter the chapter back in, making edits as necessary, 4) I print the chapter and make edits on hard copy, 5) I read the chapter aloud. Writing all that out shows me how absolutely ridiculous that process must look to anyone else, but it allowed me to put out something I’m extremely proud of—something people are telling me actually gives them nightmares and that they read in one complete sitting.

I’m always curious to hear how other authors spend their time crafting their stories, if you want to share, I’d love to hear it.

A psychological thriller unlike anything you've ever read.

A hotel explodes in Mexico City, killing thousands.

All evidence points to one American citizen, Alex Valdez.

The FBI wants him, or at the least, to understand what happened in Mexico before the government down there can.

Agent James Allison travels to Mexico to find Valdez, or find out about him. What he can't know, what the FBI doesn't understand, is Valdez's past.

Alex Valdez's parents gave him a blood-rite to unleash an ancient Aztec 'God'--this rite led a small boy to a haunted man. One that doesn't know whether this 'God' exists, and if It does, is It a demon? A man that cannot tell reality from dreams with a wife who has seen her husband commit atrocities to his own body.

Dead Religion follows both Alex Valdez in the last days before the hotel's collapse and James Allison as he searches for the truth behind the fall. Valdez believes he knows how to stop the Demon, and James only understands he wants to make it home alive to see his brother.

In a world where miracles and Gods have been pushed to a past age, Dead Religion walks the fine line between insanity and reality, in which Agent Allison must uncover the facts of the terrific loss of life in Mexico City before the same torments find their way into his own life.



Print edition open only to people in the US, ebook prize available internationally.  Prizes provided by the author.  Good luck to everyone.  Please be sure to fill out the right form for either print or ebook prizes.
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Friday, November 2, 2012

Giveaway of Dream Robbers by RC Scott

Greedy thieves have stolen the children's dreams! And not just any dreams, mind you, but the Dreams of whom they are to become. With this loss children everywhere are becoming cross and more misbehaved by the day. They are driving their parents mad.

Only the rarest of Elves can do anything about it. These small, scarcely seen Nature Elves in their remote Gypsy Village are hidden from the rest of the world. But the greedy Dream Robbers found them before committing the foul deed. Tricking and enspelling the adult Elves, the thieves sent them off to seek a false magic.

Left alone in their Village, it's up to twelve, brave, Elf children to undertake a long and hazardous journey and try to get their Dreams back. They must hurry though. The seeds within every child on Earth, the seeds these special Dreams nourish, are hardening. And, alas, hardened seeds can never sprout.

If these young Elves stick together, they may have a chance, for they are not ordinary children. Within them, Nature's awesome powers bud: Thunder, Lightning, Rain, Snow and Fire.

Now here is your chance to win one of three Amazon gifted copies on Dream Robbers generously provided by the author for this giveaway.


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