Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

ARCs available!

Interested in some great summer reading? WiDo Publishing has a few advance review copies of print books soon to be or just barely published. These are also available as ebook ARCs if you prefer.

Let me know in the comments which ones you'd like and your email address. There is no obligation, only the hope that you will enjoy the book and post a review on its Amazon and/or Goodreads site.

With All My Love, Misty: Memoir of a Broken Heart by Misty DiLello Covington

He comes from a dysfunctional home where the brothers were involved with violence and drug use. She comes from a supportive, loving family environment. Both are Mormons. Both served missions for their church.

She works in a drug rehab facility as a counselor. He comes to the facility on a court-ordered drug rehab program. It is where they meet: Dino DiLello, the charismatic and natural leader, too often on the wrong side of the law and Misty Squire, the pretty blonde social worker eighteen years his junior, who has a firm commitment to doing what’s right.

Dino and Misty are drawn together in a powerful love that surprises them both. They marry and face a bright and hopeful future. Dino has left his lawless past behind him. Or has he? The night that changes everything brings up troubling questions.

As Misty comes to terms with her worst fears, she must also decide at what cost to pursue the truth behind that night. And somehow she must learn to live with a grief that seems to break her heart beyond all healing.

Altercation by Tamara Hart Heiner (YA suspense thriller)

In this sequel to Heiner’s debut novel, Perilous, the FBI promises Jacinta Rivera and her friends that they are safe. Jaci wants desperately to believe them but weeks of hiding from their kidnapper, alias "The Hand", have left her wary. Hidden from the public eye in an FBI safe house, Jaci must reconcile both her father's mysterious disappearance and the murder of her best friend.

A betrayal lands Jaci back in the grasp of The Hand, shattering her ability to trust, and leaving her to wonder if she will ever piece together her broken life.

Blood Forest by Jonathan Taylor (Suspense thriller)

“This forest has a pulse.
It beats in my chest.
I can see it in the eyes of the beasts.
Together, we move to this rhythm.
It calls to us. It calls for blood.”

Two Americans, Samantha and Brandon, are conducting an aerial survey of central Africa, when they are shot down by hostile militia in a dense region of the Congo. Completely lost and with soldiers after them, they are desperate to find civilization. But something is not right with the forest.

The animals behave suspiciously -- aggressively -- and some unknown presence shadows the couple's progress, entering their dreams and toying with their very thoughts. They soon discover that they aren’t the only ones trapped here. Another party is risking the dangers of the jungle, seeking a rare flower with vast medical potential.

They must all work together to survive.  But the Blood Forest keeps them all trapped, with a secret that is more complex and sinister than any of them realize.

The Voice of Thunder by Mirka M.G. Breen (Middle-grade historical fiction)

West Jerusalem, early June 1967, the eve of war. Ten-year-old Mira Levi and her best friend Gili Moser share an awful secret. They have discovered a new radio station called The Voice of Thunder from Cairo. Broadcasting in accented Hebrew, it threatens the demise of their country, their city, and their families. As the menace beats the drums of war, on June 5th the danger becomes all too real.

Mira finds her own voice as she struggles to drown the distant terror of The Voice of Thunder. In these first two weeks of June, not only are Mira and Gili's lives changed forever, but history will never be the same.

The Sholes Key by Clarissa Draper (Suspense mystery)

All across London, single mothers are vanishing. Margaret Hill, mother of two, walked out of her house two months before, never seen again. A month later, Carrie-Anne Morgans takes her two-year-old son for a walk in the park and disappears, leaving him alone in his stroller. Lorna McCauley leaves her London flat in the early hours of the morning to buy medicine for her sick child and does not return.

Newly promoted Detective Inspector Theophilus Blackwell is assigned the case of Lorna McCauley, which on the outside seems to be a simple case of mid-life crisis and child abandonment. Elsewhere in London, MI5 analyst, Sophia Evans, is working undercover to catch an animal rights group responsible for targeted bombings. As Sophia's case (and her personal life) fall to pieces, she receives a strange envelope in the mail. It contains a picture of Lorna McCauley's lifeless face along with a daunting code.

Now the police and MI5 are forced to work together to stop the murders, and Sophia must find her way into the terrifying mind of a serial killer.

Dizzy with choices? These are all fabulous books, and print ARCs are the best!! (available only while quantities last) For the latest information about these titles, along with their author blog links, see the WiDo website and Facebook page.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

When Publishing Becomes a Choice

Nathan Bransford has posted twice this week about the ongoing battle between traditional vs. self-publishing, to get across this message: It's not a battle, people! It's simply a business/career decision!

I was nodding my head in vigorous agreement with every word of his post, especially the following quote:

"There is no "us" vs. "them." Traditional vs. self-publishing is a false dichotomy. It's an illusion created by people who either have let their frustrations get the best of them or are trying to sell you something."

And then I just happened to read this post at the blog of traditionally-published novelist and playwright, Catherine Czerkawska, who recently made the decision to self-publish. I think her blog perfectly outlines what Bransford is saying about it being a business decision, not an either/or conflict.

Catherine writes: "The age bit is important only in that it has made me focus on the horribly swift passage of time. Publishing involves a lot of waiting, even when you have an agent. Here's how it goes. (and then she gives a very good summary/outline of a typical time-line of the agented author which everyone considering their own publishing choice should read) You can see how age becomes an issue, can't you? Well, it did for me, last year. I found myself with several completed and almost completed novels. People were telling me they wanted to read them. People I respected (editors included) were telling me they were good. But there was no deal on the horizon and it struck me that even if there was, the wait would be a long one."

These are wonderful times for writers, where we now have numerous choices before us. If you want to go with a publishing company, there's the agent route to the big publisher or the small press traditional publisher or the ebook only publisher. If you want to self-publish, there's the companies that will help get your work out for a fee or the set up your own company and hire it out to freelancers or the do it all yourself.

When does publishing become a choice? It is when you have a really good, completed manuscript and you must now decide how to publish it and get it into the hands of readers. What a very nice dilemma!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Google/Blogger Profiles

You better be careful what you click, or your Blogger profile will go away and instead become your Google + profile. I ran into this all the time on the A to Z Challenge. I'd click on a blogger's name, which should take me direct to their Blogger blog or profile, but instead I ended up at their Google + account. What the--?  I had to search all over the place to find their blog link, G + would tell me I must add them to my circle to see anything, and by then I was out of there.

Every now and then I check out my old, defunct blog From the Shadows to the Page to make sure it hasn't been infected by spammers. Last time I was there, Blogger almost got me sucked into switching my profile over. I know how tricky they can be. I didn't do it. It's a bad idea.

I've always had this sneaking suspicion that Google, who owns the massively successful Blogger, would somehow try to morph it into their not very successful venture, Google +. I suspect this profile bait and switch is just the beginning of the end of our beloved Blogger.

Next it'll be transporting our Blogger accounts into our Google + accounts to make them one. Want to write a new post, it ends up on G +. Bye bye Blogger. The capacity is there. We could all be blogging on G + if we wanted. I think that's what Google wants. Not what I want. I don't care for Google + at all. I set up my profile, occasionally put up something there and then ignore it for the next 5 weeks.

Anyway, this is me being paranoid, or it's me predicting the very near future. Whatever, we'll see. Just so you know-- I can also interpret dreams.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

FABRIC by Jessica Bell

Today I'm celebrating the
release of Jessica Bell's new poetry collection, Fabric ... Wait! Please don't close the tab at
the the mention of poetry! Trust me, just read a little note from the author herself before
deciding to disappear ...

Jessica says:

My poetry will not baffle you with phrasing that scholars award for academic genius and that can only be understood by those who wrote it. My poetry is for the everyday reader. In fact, it is even for those who don’t like to read poetry at all. Because it is real, stark and simple.

The poems in Fabric are no different. They explore specific moments in different people’s lives that are significant to whom they have become, the choices they’ve made. It’s about how they perceive the world around them, and how each and every one of their thoughts and actions contributes to the fabric of society. Perhaps you will even learn something new about yourself.

So, even if you do not usually read poetry, I urge you to give this one a go. Not because I want sales (though, they are fun!), but because I want more people to understand that not all poetry is scary and complex. Not all poetry is going to take you back to high school English, and not all poetry is going make you feel “stupid”.

You can still say to people that you don’t read poetry … I really don’t mind. Because if you read Fabric, you’re not reading poetry, you’re reading about people. And that’s what reading is about, yes? Living the lives of others?
Are you still here? I hope so!
Please support the life of poetry today by spreading the news about Fabric. Hey, perhaps you might even like to purchase a copy for yourself? The e-book is only $1.99 and the paperback $5.50.

Here are the links:
Amazon UK

Let's keep poetry alive! Because not all poetry
is "dead" boring ...
About Jessica Bell:

If Jessica Bell could choose only one creative mentor, she’d give the role to Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyrics. And not because she currently lives in Greece, either. The Australian-native author, poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist has her roots firmly planted in music, and admits inspiration often stems from lyrics she’s written.

She is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and co-hosts the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek Isle of Ithaca, with Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest.
For more information about Jessica Bell, please visit:
String Bridge (a novel)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

When Stopping the Blog Won't Hurt the Book Sales

A dear friend I've never met but have come to love through social media is leaving her blog for personal reasons. She's not alone in this. Others have made similar announcements. Writers often start blogging as a way to promote their books, and then find that it takes more time than they have to give.

My friend started hers after her book was accepted for publication. It worked for her.

 In the Mirror: A Memoir of Shattered Secrets by Ann Carbine Best has been out a year and still selling well, consistently showing up on Amazon bestseller lists, especially "Memoirs and Biographies" and "Marriage." Ann's social media efforts got her book off to a good start. Now it sells well regardless of her online marketing efforts.  At this point, stopping her blog probably won't affect sales of her memoir.

There's no question that a strong social media presence can help jump start one's book with online sales. Is it enough to sustain best-selling status? I don't think so. Eventually, the book has to find an audience outside one's blog followers. Once it does, the writer can focus more on getting the next one written and less on promotion.

Ann is at this enviable position with her memoir. Although I'll miss my online association with her, I'm glad that her book is at a place where it doesn't need a blog to sell.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Reflections on the A to Z Challenge

I really loved being a part of the Hosting Team for the A to Z Challenge. It was an honor to be included, and it taught me a lot about the power of teamwork in action.

I had planned to visit all the blogs signed up but only made it about halfway so far. I found some really amazing blogs this month who will go on my regular blog visiting routine. And of course I need to sort through the commenters on my own posts this month and visit them.

I love blogging but no one can deny it's time-consuming if you do it right-- which to me means to return visits, interact with others and build relationships.

Now after the hectic pace of April, I have the rest of the year to do so. See you in Blogland!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Making and Selling of Books

It's tough to break the 30-day habit of posting about the Making and Selling of Books. It's a great topic, and I always have plenty to say.

I'll get personal. The novel I've been working on is now done and gone to the copy editor, which means soon I'll be able to announce a cover and a release day.  Very exciting!

Today, a writing day, I prepare to begin a new draft. Very nervewracking! I write my first drafts in longhand. I have the paper ready, the pens, the time blocked out to start. A new beginning!

And it seems rather appropriate that the day I begin a new novel that Farm Girl, my first book, is being offered free on the Kindle today through Sunday.
Go here to get it!

If you have a Kindle and don't have Farm Girl: