Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fiona Ingram: Authors Supporting Authors Blog Tour #7

Title: THE SECRET OF THE SACRED SCARAB

Author: Fiona Ingram

Publisher: iUniverse, #1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 300, Bloomington, Indiana, 47403, USA www.iuniverse.com

ISBN: 978-0-595-45716-8                      

Publication date: 1 December 2008

Genre: Juvenile Fiction, adventure, 262 pages (includes map and graphics).
Age group: 10-14

Nominations:

    * The Secret of the Sacred Scarab was a Finalist in the Children’s/Juvenile Fiction category of the 2009 USA Next Generation Indie Book Awards
    * Finalist in the Children’s Fiction section of the USA National Best Books 2009 Awards.
    * It was also a Winner in the Preteen category of the 2009 Readers’ Favorites 2009 Awards.
    * The book has just been nominated Number 2 in the Top 10 Favourite Books of 2009 for Kids, Tweens and Teens in The Children’s & Teens Book Connection.
    * It has also won a Silver medal in the Teen Fiction category of the 2010 Nautilus Book Awards, pending final voting for the Gold medal award .

 Description: A thrilling adventure for two young boys, whose fun trip to Egypt turns into a dangerously exciting quest to uncover an ancient and mysterious secret.

Book Synopsis: A 5000-year-old mystery comes to life when a scruffy peddler gives two young South African tourists, Adam and Justin Sinclair, an old Egyptian scarab on their very first day in Egypt. Only when the evil Dr. Faisal Khalid shows a particular interest in the cousins and their scarab, do the boys realise they are in terrible danger. Dr. Khalid wants the relic at all costs. Justin and Adam embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, taking them down the Nile and across the harsh desert in their search for the legendary tomb of the Scarab King, an ancient Egyptian ruler. They are plunged into a whirlpool of hazardous and mysterious events when Dr. Khalid kidnaps them. They survive terrifying dangers in a hostile environment (such as a giant cobra, as well as sinking sand), pursued by enemies in their quest to solve the secret of the sacred scarab. They must translate the hieroglyphic clues on the underside of the scarab, as well as rescue the missing archaeologist James Kinnaird, and their friend, the Egyptologist Ebrahim Faza, before time runs out. They must also learn more about the ancient Seven Stones of Power and the mysterious Shemsu-Hor. With just their wits, courage, and each other, the boys manage to survive … only to find that the end of one journey is the beginning of another!

An Accidental Author with Fiona Ingram

I once read somewhere that everyone has a book in them somewhere, maybe hidden deep inside, and it takes an event, a person, a life-changing experience, perhaps even a dream, or a trip to unlock that story. Mine was one of those serendipitous occasions. I have always been a raconteur. From age ten I entertained my three younger brothers and the four children next door (aka “the next-doors”) with tales of derring-do involving copious amounts of blood and gore, and ghoulish creatures of the night such as vampires (not the Twilight kind, more the Nosferatu type), werewolves, and zombies. My heroes were (not surprisingly) children around our age, and they had been abandoned by life (no parents or other interfering adults to spoil the plot) in a ghastly haunted mansion called Gruesome Gables. From these auspicious beginnings it seemed inevitable that I would eventually drift into writing. I went from a planned career in the theater (with lots of degrees to prove it) to journalism by a process vaguely akin to the continental drift. So, how did I go from there to being a children’s author?

Serendipity struck a few years ago. Maybe it was a doubly lethal blow because Fate and the Universe also made sure I didn’t wriggle out of this one. My mother wanted to “see the pyramids before I die” and although I was totally disbelieving of her imminent demise, I was emotionally bullied into accompanying her and my two young nephews to the land of the pyramids—Egypt. For those of you who are anxious, rest assured my mother is still very much alive and planning a trip to Alaska. No, Serendipity and its cohorts did not strike during the trip to Egypt although I felt strangely compelled to collect souvenirs, tickets to monuments, photos, nick-nacks, etc, more so than my usual magpie travelling habits. It was only when I arrived back home that I thought a short story for my nephews would be a charming and unusual souvenir. I began writing by hand—after all, it was only a short story. I was soon forced to abandon the writing pad for the computer as the story grew and grew like Topsy.

About halfway through the book, I began to create a back-story and a mythology that also took on a life of its own. Soon I had ten ancient Egyptian builder gods, a land that was destroyed in a night and a day by fire, and a set of legendary books that promised death and destruction if they fell into the wrong hands.… And you’re thinking I made this up? No, I had just uncovered a plethora of fascinating and eminently readable myths and legends that fueled the flames of inspiration that raged. Raged is perhaps an understatement. I became consumed by my book and then found a further set of stories jumping about in my brain. Soon the idea for The Chronicles of the Stone was born and now I seem to be on a rollercoaster that is propelling me inevitably toward an ultimate goal—a book series. I am just about to finish the second book, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur.

So, when you have a dream, an experience, or go on a trip and feel compelled to write it down … don’t hesitate! It could be your destiny beckoning.

ABOUT FIONA INGRAM

“My story-telling career began at age ten!”

Fiona Ingram’s earliest story-telling talents came to the fore when, from the age of ten, she entertained her three younger brothers and their friends with serialised tales of children undertaking dangerous and exciting exploits, which they survived through courage and ingenuity. Haunted houses, vampires, and skeletons leaping out of coffins were hot favourites in the cast of characters.

Although Fiona Ingram has been a journalist for the last fifteen years, writing a children’s book—The Secret of the Sacred Scarab—was an unexpected step, inspired by a recent trip to Egypt. The tale of the sacred scarab began life as a little anecdotal tale for her 2 nephews (then 10 and 12), who had accompanied her on the Egyptian trip. This short story grew into a children’s book, the first in the adventure series Chronicles of the Stone. The author is already immersed in the next book in the series—The Search for the Stone of Excalibur—a huge treat for young King Arthur fans. Although Fiona Ingram does not have children of her own, she has an adopted teenage foster child, from an underprivileged background who is just discovering the joys of reading for pleasure.


Naturally, Fiona is a voracious reader and has been from early childhood. Her interests include literature, art, theatre, collecting antiques, animals, music, and films. She loves travel and has been fortunate to have lived in Europe (while studying) and America (for work). She has travelled widely and fulfilled many of her travel goals.

After winning the Emma Smith Scholarship to finance her university studies, Fiona Ingram graduated from the University of Natal, Durban with a double first in her B.A. (French & Drama). She won a Human Sciences Research Council Bursary, which enabled her to do her Honours in Drama at Natal. Fiona then went to the University of the Witwatersrand to do her Masters in French-African literature (the impact of colonial language and culture upon the development of African theatre and literary forms), a subject which has interested her greatly. Fiona applied for and won the Emma Smith Overseas Scholarship for further study.  She studied drama at The Drama Studio in London and mime at L’Ecole Jacques le Coq in Paris. Upon her return to South Africa, Fiona immersed herself in teaching drama at community centres, and became involved in producing community and grassroots theatre with local playwrights and performers in Natal for several years. A move to Johannesburg took her in a new direction—that of journalism. She has written freelance for the last fifteen years.

www.secretofthesacredscarab.com
www.chroniclesofthestone.com

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Az Publishing Author Feature #4: The Lamplighter Collection

Author Interview with Todd VanHooser:
When did you first realize you wanted to write?
Wanting to write and learning to write came at two separate times for me.  Even as a kid I was a story-teller.  Mostly this came in the form of Star Wars or G.I Joe action figures, and the occasional ghost story told to my younger brother’s group of friends.  As I got older, those stories evolved into a written form, and by high school I realized I had some talent for writing.  It was raw, ugly talent, however, and I didn’t quite grasp this until I took higher level creative writing courses in college.  In college I began to appreciate the craft of writing, and not just the storytelling aspect of it.  Good writing has depth and invites the reader to be an active participant.  Once I got a handle on this, I really began to enjoy the prospect of sharing stories that readers would remember.

What would you say is your most interesting writing habit?
I keep a small cube-shaped book by my desk.  It’s cleverly titled “The Writer’s Block,” and flipping through it, you’ll find all kinds of odd ideas or suggestions to keep you, as the writer, fresh.  Some of these include “Write naked,” or “Write an argument between two characters that begins in bed,” or “Start at the end.”  Sometimes a little writing exercise is a great way to jumpstart the creative engine, so I’ll occasionally do a page on some random subject just to work out the kinks and get my brain in that writing mode.  For the record, I’ve not taken the “write naked” advice, but I’m sure it works for someone out there.  I read an interview with Stephen King where he mentioned that occasionally he’ll crank up some angry rock music on the stereo while he writes.  He finds it inspiring, and I completely agree that music can be a huge motivating force.   I haven’t tried King’s influences, but I can say that one of my short stories came about thanks to a line from a Pearl Jam song, and another, more recent work, was written with “All Along the Watchtower” playing in the background.  One other trick that I use is that after something is on the page, I will always go back and read it out loud.  Dialogue, in particular, needs to be spoken.  Our ear picks up certain aspects that our eye will miss on the written page.  It’s a rule for me that everything must pass the “out loud reading test” before it goes to the next level.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing your book(s)?
I love getting deep into a story and feeling it begin to take on a life of its own.  I think that when an author has a hold of a good story it feels more like a labor of discovery rather than creation.  In other words, the story is already there, waiting to be found.  It’s like a literary scavenger hunt with bits of plot, scraps of character, and clue-like symbols left behind in strategic locations of the mind that eventually lead to the finish line. Don’t get me wrong—any effective writing is the fruit of structured plot and meticulous attention to detail.  But sometimes, while in the “belly of the beast,” the story seems to come alive and guides you, the author, in a certain direction.  Those are the stories that want to be told.  That’s a great feeling when you can sit back and settle in for the ride.

What do you think makes a compelling story?
There are a number of important ingredients that go into making a compelling story.  Conflict is essential—everything hinges on this.  Relatable characters forge connections to readers.  If you take a character that your audience loves and create tension, suspense, or conflict, readers will respond. Timeliness or timelessness can also be an important factor.  A timely story is tethered to what is happening or what is popular in society right now.  A timeless story is always relevant, and will always be compelling to any audience.  The author needs to know what they’re writing.
If all that fails, drop a body through the roof.  I had a creative writing teacher that actually suggested this.

Where did you get the idea for The Lamplighter Collection?
I’m from Missouri, and the stories found in this collection were inspired by local legends and ghost stories from the southwest.  I love looking at small town life and the real-life characters that are produced there.  Sometimes these actual people seem to have a story just begging to be told. I created a setting based on a small town in Missouri, then added in the ghost story element.  I thought it would be interesting to have this small town nestled in middle-America that had landed on the Travel Channel thanks to its creepy local legends.

What is the hardest part of writing?
Writing is a juggling act for me.  I have the passion, but the most difficult part is finding the time.  I juggle a teaching career which has its own demands, so carving out that time to write, or making the most of that time I do have is a struggle.



ISBN # 978-1-936037-52-0 Print $10.95
978-1-936037-53-7 Ebook $4.95
EXCERPT FROM THE LAMPLIGHTER COLLECTION:
They used a crowbar to break into the inn. The door gave way with more of a sigh than a crack as the wood separated from its frame and swung inward. The smell emanating from within was thick and old: musty like a sealed tomb catching fresh air for the first time in ages. They stood in a clump on the back porch, Johnnie in the lead with thecrowbar drooping down to the ground.

“You’ve managed an impressive string of crimes for the day,” Ryan Compley said from the back of the group.

Johnnie turned around, lifting the crowbar up and resting it over his shoulder. He looked strangely barbaric in the clutch of falling dark. “Who the hell ungagged him?”

“I did,” Sean said, refusing to sound sheepish despite the crowbar and the knowledge of the .45 tucked somewhere out of sight. “You might be able to drag him into your horror story, but he should at least be given a voice.”

The rag that had been stuffed into his mouth was lying on the ground, flaps of duct tape curled on each side like the legs of a dead insect. Compley still stood with his bound wrists hanging down in front of him like a prisoner being led to the gallows. Unlike those doomed men whose eyes could not see the awaiting noose, Compley stared wide-eyed up at the structure and could not veil the utter fear living now within him

Johnnie pushed beyond Avalon and Brad, glaring at Sean. “This isn’t your story, sport.” He extended the crowbar and poked him in the chest with its end. “So don’t go making—”

It happened so fast that neither Brad nor Avalon fully grasped what had occurred until it was over. Sean’s hand shot forward, taking the crowbar and twisting it out of Johnnie’s grip in a sudden and violent motion. Reversing the thrust of the crowbar unbalanced Johnnie and sent him down onto the hard wooden porch with a thud.

If you could have one wish, what would it be? 
A clone.  No, make that a dozen clones. I’ve got a lot of stuff to write, so I could keep those guys busy.
Seriously, though, I just wish that my writing could get the attention and appreciation I feel that it deserves.  Put my books in the hands of a reader and let the writing stand its ground.

What are you working on next?
I always have more than one project going at a time.  Right now I’m focused on the next two releases of my fantasy series, The Laughing Moon Chronicles.  In addition to this, I have designed and written a tabletop role-playing game based on the series.  It’s hands down the most creative project I’ve ever worked on, and I’m extremely excited to introduce it to the public in the near future!  I'm hoping to have samples from the book available on www.toddvanhooser.com very soon so fans will have something to look forward to.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Authors Supporting Authors Blog Tour #6 James C. Wallace II

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma

Amazon.com link
http://www.amazon.com/Magician-Oz-James-C-Wallace/dp/0578023539/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246224375&sr=8-1

Royal Magician of Oz Trilogy



Volume 1: Magician of Oz:

Life in Indiana was quite the adventure for young Jamie Diggs and his parents.
After a tumultuous move from Kansas, Jamie explores the covered bridges, forests and cemeteries of rural Indiana where he discovers the ways of the Hoosiers.

When his parents bring up an old humpback trunk from their basement, Jamie discovers his magical heritage lurking inside.

Jamie learns the ways of magic from a local magic club, meets Tree-In-The-Road, gathers Morel mushrooms for his mother's legendary potato soup and discovers his great grandfather, the original Wizard of Oz's sentry stone.

He soon finds himself transported to the Land of Oz where he must face the wrath of the Fighting Trees who have grown bitter after their defeat at the hands of the Tin Woodman so long ago.

In this compelling tale of fantasy and adventure in the Land of Oz, the young magician discovers new friends along the way, conquers his fears and battles the oncoming wave of trees and mushrooms alongside Dorothy and Toto.

Volume 2: Shadow Demon of Oz
(due out in May 2010)

It was in the early month of Spring when the old humpback trunk of O.Z. Diggs, the original Wizard of Oz was opened by his great grandson, Jamie Diggs, revealing a magical heritage lurking within.
Following in the footsteps of his great grandfather, a young boy named Jamie pursued the ways of magic and soon found himself transported to the magical Land of Oz where, alongside Dorothy, he faced his greatest fears and the fearsome Army of Trees in defense of the Tin Woodman.
Now the young magician is called to return to the Land of Oz to take his place as the new Royal Magician of Princess Ozma; Ruler and Sovereign of Oz.
And for his first Royal Command, Princess Ozma sends her Royal Magician and his best friend Buddy off to battle the Evil Shadow Demon and save the Hyups of Mount Munch.

Bio:

James C. Wallace II, originally a native of West Virginia, currently lives in Terre Haute, Indiana with his wife Amanda. They have been married more than 26 years, with a herd of 5 children and 12 grandchildren. His background covers nearly 26 years in children's education, including experience working for the world's largest children's museum; The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, where he was the Planetarium Educator for SpaceQuest Planetarium. In addition to children's books about Oz, he is recognized by NASA as a leading developer of web-based educational games, educational exhibit design, curriculum development and implementation. In addition, he is involved in the DiscoverHover program, which is an educational program developing and utilizing hovercraft in a unique and fun way. He now serves as the Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma, Sovereign Ruler of Oz and endeavors to fulfill her royal command to tell the tale of her newest Royal Magician to the children of the Great Outside.

Why I Write!
By James C. Wallace II


I do not write inside the box
I do not write about a fox
I do not write of things gone by
I do not write of what or why
I do not write and yet I see
That by my words what is will be

I do not write to keep me sane
I do not write of window panes
I do not write despite the need
I do not write to fulfill greed
I do not write for I can tell
That when I do seems all is well

I do not write when times are bad
I do not write when times are sad
I do not write when times are tough
I do not write when life is rough
I do not write and yet it seems
That all around the vision gleams

I do not write of empty thoughts
I do not write of pale dreadnoughts
I do not write else lame I’ll be
I do not write, perhaps you’ll see
I do not write like Dr. Seuss
And yet it looks and feels chartreuse

I do not write of Dorothy’s plight
I do not write of wicked nights
I do not write to free the mind
I do not write of souls unkind
I do not write the visions of Oz
And yet I do… But why… Because!

Thank you James for visiting with us today.
Visitors are asked to make comments or ask questions about James and his work.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Authors Supporting Authors Blog Tour #5- Lily Oak


We are talking today with LILY OAK, author of "Hope Moon", her brand new book published by Hedge Witchery Books.
  • Paperback: 36 pages
  • Publisher: lulu.com (28 Jan 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 1445272393
  • ISBN-13: 978-1445272399




PATTI'S SHORT INTERVIEW WITH LILY OAK:

How did you get this book done so fast?
Basically it was all down to the contributors: Isabelle A Newbill, Julie Carty, Kaolin Fire, Lidia Tremblay, Rob Bond. All the people at Pagan Magic, Lakefront Pagan Voice, Static Movement and Rainbow Tarot. Aslo the fact I'd just set-up Hedge Witchery Books meant i could get it on sale quickly.
Why did you feel the need to attach this book to the cause in Haiti?
The book was written specifically to raise money for Haiti. The terrible events there would not be resolved by the time the news headlines died down having the book out would remind people to do what they could for a longer time.

What will you be working on next?
My first full length fiction project... although still in very early stanges. Am also always working on articles, shorter peices and poetry.


Hope Moon contains a wide range of things from a wide range of people. It includes a lesson in basic moon magic, contributed by Dawn Gribble and taken from Pagan-Magic.com's witchcraft e-course. Some brilliant artices on how the moon effects us all in different way by, Lidia Tremblay, Scarlet Page and Laura Goodfellow. It also has it's fair share of creative writing. There are two beautifully haunting short stories by Chris Bartholomew and Kaolin Fire. All of these components are punctuated with poetry by Julie Carty, Isabelle Newbill, Laura Goodfellow and Rob Bond (who's stunning painting adourns the cover).

Lily Oak
www.hedge-witchery.com
http://hedge-witchery.blogspot.com/
http://hedge-witcherybooks.blogspot.com/

Hope Moon Embedded Preview (Lulu.com)



To add some extra fun to the procedings I'm giving away a prize pack of a copy of 'Hope Moon', an Oracle Stone Reading done by myself and some other small goodies. And, there are loads of easy ways to get entries into the draw, you will get 1 entry for each of the following...

Commenting on on of the guest blogs/interviews I do or this post (1 entry per each blog/interview)

Tweeting about this competition or any of the blogs/interviews (1 entry per each blog/interview tweeted about, remember to put @LilyOak somewhere in tweet)

Follow this blog, my personal blog and follow me on twitter (1 entry per each follow)
please make sure I have someway of contacting you either via email or twitter

Hope Moon Blog Button


Hope Moon Amazon.co.uk widget

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Az Publishing Author Feature #3: S.P.E.E.D.

S.P.E.E.D.-The Only Weight Loss Book Worth Reading
Jeff Thiboutot MS, CN, CPT
Matt Schoeneberger M.S./C.E.S. www.SPEEDweightlossbook.com

L.E.A.N. - Personal Training & Wt Loss Center
952 E. Baseline Rd. Mesa, AZ 85204
www.getLEANstayLEAN.com



Scientists have been studying weight loss for decades and while diet and exercise are important, you are setting yourself up for failure by using them exclusively. Scientists have identified other important variables that affect our weight, and now you'll be able to master them and achieve your ideal body with S.P.E.E.D.


Sleep  -  Psychology  -  Exercise  -  Environment  -  Diet

Sleep
Did you know that how well you sleep has a huge impact on whether or not you'll be successful on a weight loss program? Sleep governs hormones which affect our mood, appetite and other important functions. S.P.E.E.D. will show you how important sleep is and what simple rules will help you become successful.


 
Jeff Thiboutot has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 14 years. He has undergraduate degrees in nutrition and behavioral sciences and a Master of Science degree in exercise science and health promotion. He is also a certified nutritionist, a certified personal trainer and a licensed massage therapist. He is a co-owner of L.E.A.N. Wellness Center in Mesa, AZ and the content and methods manager for Pops Health, a corporate wellness company.

Matt Schoeneberger has been involved in the fitness industry for over 5 years. He has a Master of Science degree in exercise science and health promotion. He is also a NASM certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist. He has worked with a variety of clientele including athletes, injury post-rehabilitation patients, and clients looking to improve their health and fitness. He has helped many people lose weight. He is also a co-owner of L.E.A.N. Wellness Center in Mesa, AZ.


S.P.E.E.D. - The Only Weight Loss Book Worth Reading! is the product of Jeff and Matt's many years of experience in the weight loss industry coupled with their drive to provide science-based advice.

Reason Productions, LLC is a company dedicated to the education and empowerment of the public.  We try to promote reason and critical thinking, and we assure the products we produce are evidence-based.

Matt Schoeneberger and Jeff Thiboutot

S.P.E.E.D. is our best selling book on Amazon and has received rave reviews from its readers.
Here are some excerpts of some of these reviews:

Science-Based Weight Loss Strategies That Just Plain Work!, September 25, 2009
By Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Man "Jimmy Moore"

Get your motor running, head out on the highway, looking for adventure, and whatever comes my way! I feel the need, the need for S.P.E.E.D.! It's not everyday you have the opportunity to get wild and enthusiastic about something like weight loss, but this book from nutrition and fitness experts Jeff Thiboutot and Matt Schoeneberger does just that. Unlike so many other diet books that are out there, this one takes into account a myriad of reasons why weight can go up and down including the biological, psychological and social issues involved. It's a short book by design and these guys have really done their homework.

Excellent summary of the real science behind weight loss, October 30, 2009
By T. Naughton

If you're a fan of Good Calories, Bad Calories but have a hard time convincing your loved ones to wade through the heavy-duty science to get the message, this is a good book to give them instead -- or give it to yourself, if you don't like wrapping your head around words like "lipoprotein lipase" and "esterification." You can read SPEED in an afternoon and get a quick, scientifically-sound education about what works and what doesn't when it comes to health and weight loss.

As someone who's read a ton of books and scientific literature about health nutrition, I tend to worry when I see Bachelor Science in Nurtition after an author's name: here comes the brain-dead parroting about the evils of saturated fat and all that. But I'm pleased to say Jeff Thiboutot and Matt Schoeneberger, who between them hold several degrees in fields like nutrition, psychology and exercise science, have actually done their research. Pretty much everything they state in the book is followed by a string of citations from scientific journals -- so if you do enjoy jumping head-first into the science, you can look it up.

On target nutrition book, February 16, 2010
By Dr. Richard D. Feinman

A small gem of a book ... It is surprisingly authoritative, accurate and high on practical application. ....There is the obligate chapter Common Weight Loss Myths and the list is as good as any. It is, however, the overall reliance on real evidence  that makes this book a real winner.

Very practical and well researched book about weight loss, January 5, 2010
By W. Ralph Pew

Don't be fooled by the title, this is not the ONLY weight loss book worth reading but it is the best, most concise, and well researched practical guide to weight loss available.

SUPPORTED BY THE SCIENCE!, February 5, 2010
By L. Cagnassola "Laurie Cagnassola"

The authors understand that the obstacles to weight loss are not simply calories. After reading this book you'll have a clearer understanding of what may be getting in the way of your weight loss along with a variety of solutions for your lifestyle. You'll learn about many common weight loss myths that many people have come to believe as truths. . . . Act now - get this book.  



TO READ THESE REVIEWS IN THEIR ENTIRETY AND THE REST OF THE REVIEWS NOT LISTED HERE GO TO AMAZON AT:  http://amzn.to/9noHJ5


PERSONAL RECOMMENDATION by Patti Hultstrand, Publisher/CEO; Az Publishing Services, LLC:

One of my greatest pleasures since becoming a print publisher in 2009, has been when readers come up to me and tell me how much they enjoyed Jeff and Matt's weight loss book and they were surprised at how much great information they got out of this compact, yet useful book. Besides being proud to promote this terrific book, Jeff and Matt are a joy to work with because of their professionalism and commitment to excellence in business, and their deep conviction to help people with their weight loss issues. These guys "really" care about giving you, the reader, the most accurate information so you can make informed decisions on your potential weight loss goals.

For anyone who needs to lose some weight or just want to understand their bodies more, should also read what Matt and Jeff have to say on their website and it's special reports.  http://www.speedweightlossbook.com/specialreports

SPECIAL WINNERS WILL BE CHOSEN from those leaving comments or questions about this book or its authors. We will be giving away a FREE pdf eBook for anyone who has not read the book yet and a FREE t-shirt to one lucky participant of this virtual blog tour.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Authors Supporting Authors Blog Tour #4- Jo Davis

How did you come up with this story?

Of all the questions that I face on the Domestic Seduction Book Tour (more on this later), this one seems to be the most common. Readers are interested in how myself and the other author on tour with me, Omegia Keeys, come up with the story woven within those bound pages. I’ve glossed over an explanation before today, because I never took the time to really figure out where the stories come from. Before I launch into an attempt to answer the question, let me tell you a little bit about my book.

Domestics  is about a woman, Sarah, who suffers great loss after her  marriage, wrought with domestic violence, ends. She tries to move on, but the memories and her inability to act against her husband’s tyranny, never end. In fact, she learns that other women and children suffer the same type of violence that she did. Sarah finds herself compelled to help, but in an unconventional way. She becomes an assassin for hire, reachable only through a phone number anywhere a woman in need can be found. Sarah stalks her prey, the violent men, under cover of a housekeeping business. She comes in and cleans house, freeing the affected families of the domestic abuse.

Where did this story come from?
First, I must say that this book is neither a memoir, nor is it nonfiction. Domestics  is purely fiction. No, I’ve never been a relationship where domestic violence was involved. The story actually came from an image of a woman sitting in a pristine home, waiting for her family to come home. As a fan of thrillers, mysteries and horror, I knew that the woman’s family would not come home. The question I had to answer was, “Why?”

That’s a loaded question for a writer, along with “What if?” and “How?” It seems that other writers begin that way. I recently read Stephen King’s The Dome. The entire thousand plus page novel can be traced to an image of children torturing ants with a magnifying glass and the question “What if?” My Domestic Seduction Tour colleague Omegia Keeys’ book Passionate Playmates can be traced to the image of a woman in some sort of club, dancing seductively for a customer. Imagine this woman alongside the question “Why?” If you will look closely at the novel on your bedside table, you can determine the image that started the novel and that question which filled in the blanks.

Writing is about building a story, something that is impossible to do without visualization and simple curiosity. Asking questions of the images in our heads is how writers fill the pages within the book’s cover. My current work in progress in tentatively titled Carrying On. It begins with an image of a woman tied and gagged, her three children wrapped in tape and three puzzled hoods standing in the middle of the room. The rest of the novel answers the same question used to create Domestics —“Why?” Don’t worry, Carrying On uses mystery and comedy to tell the complicated tale.

The Domestic Seduction Tour features Jo Davis and Omegia Keeys, authors of Domestics (Davis) and Seduction.com (Keeys). The authors have joined forces on a 12 month tour that begin in January and will end in December, covering major and minor cities throughout the U.S.

http://passionatewriterpublishing.webs.com/domestics.htm
www.bylinesbyjo.com


Next is a review by BK Walker Books, accompanied by another blurb from me. That will post on April 21. On April 26, I will be on Blog Talk Radio with BK Walker.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Az Publishing Author Feature #2

Cher-Rhonda Woodard-Lynk
Author of "Adverse Intentions" published in 2009
and new book coming soon, "Vanessa's Revenge"


We will be giving a FREE PDF eBook of Vanessa's Revenge to one reader who comments or asks a question for Cher-Rhonda before the end of the day, Thursday, the 15th.

Author Interview -



When did you first realize you wanted to write?

It started in elementary school.  I had a teacher named Ms. Young, in the afternoons after lunch she would read books to us.  Some of the books she read were books by Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary that dealt with children’s situations. I remember she was very vocal and she would change her voice to match the characters in the book.  Because she was so animated I could imagine myself being in the book.  After school I would go home and try to write my own stories about fictional characters.  I won't tell you their names because they were silly but I remember clear as day all four of the characters I wrote about. I never kept the stories because my mom did not like for us to keep a lot of paper around.  So they would end up throwing it all away. Ever since then I took an interest in writing.

How long does it take you to write each book – on average?

On average it takes me about six months to a year to write a book depending on what I have going on.  I'm always involved in other projects besides writing and working full time.

What would you say is your interesting writing habit?

I tend to think of a scenario while I'm sleeping.  If I do dream of something I will get up in the middle of the night and write in down.  I always make sure I kept writing materials around.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing your book(s)?

The surprising thing I have learned in writing books is that there is so much freedom to do whatever you want with the characters in the book.  I love how I can write a scene and come back the next day and change it.  The readers would be none the wiser.


How do you plan to promote your work?
I have started seeking ventures that will expand my target market.  I have my previous books advertised on different websites, local radio stations, my website, and the best form of communication, word of mouth. I also have flyers to send to event planners and organizations that host book events around the country. 

What do you think makes a compelling story?
I think that a compelling story is one that the readers can connect to, a story that the readers can bond in relation to the characters in the book.

Does a person need to start with Book 1 in this series or can they read Book 2 or 3 first without missing anything?
Vanessa is mentioned very briefly in book one.  In book two her situation is explained in preparation for book three.  If someone read book three first, they would not be left in the dark because I did quite a few flashbacks from the first two books.


If you could have one wish, what would it be?

 I would love to become a successful full time writer.

What are you working on next?

My next book is a book called Writer's block.  It's about a writer who decides to go out and do wild things to overcome her writer's block, but ends up in a twisted murder investigation.
____________________________________


Excerpt from Vanessa's Revenge:

Angelique stood and stared at the grey headstone that read her best friend's name.  She had everything; a husband, fame, children, a big house, money, and cars, everything that a girl could want.  But yet, she felt empty.   

“Tremel, I miss you so much,” she spoke between sobs.

“My life still seems so complicated. Although Eric is gone for good, I still feel as if something bad is going to happen.  You know how I always complain about those butterflies in my stomach?  Well, they’re back and maybe it’s because of everything that’s going on I feel like I can’t get a hold on my life.  It’s always something happening to me.     I need you here with me, I can’t handle all of this by myself, girl.  God, why was it her time to go?  God, why?” she said, then sitting on the freshly cut grass over the grave.   

“Tremel, Vince is a wonderful man and he will take care of Veronica.   He was discharged from the military so he could look after her and his brother.   You know the military was his life, but I can definitely see that family is much more important to him.   I’m so glad that Vince stayed here and didn’t go back to his hometown.   Tremel, he’s been with Veronica every day and he sure misses you.   I decided to take a break from Steady Beat since Vortex is back on. My brother is doing great and Lewis is happy.   He’s still worried about Reggie, or Lance, or whatever his name is now.   I just hope now that he’s back in the picture he won’t cause any problems.   Girl, I finally got time to relax since Jerid has been on the road with the guys.   But, I’ve been helping Vince look after Veronica and my kids love her like she’s one of them.   I just wish you were here to see her.   Tremel, I wrote a song for you, but I was saving it until your birthday.   I planned to have Lewis release my new album on your birthday because I dedicated it to you.   I wanted to surprise you.  You’re not here physically, but I know you hear me,” she said as she unfolded the tattered paper.   She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and began to sing…

“You were there all the time
Through the good and bad
Nothing could separate us
Not man or time
Although we share some ups and downs
Life has carried us through the years
Through laughs, secrets, and days of tears
'Cause you’re my friend the one who’s there for me
The one who’s help to make my life complete
You’re my friend my very best friend …”

Tears began to wail in her eyes and she couldn’t get the rest of the words of the song to come out.  The pain was taking over and the lump in her throat became harder.   

Angelique laid her head in the grass as if she was listening to Tremel’s heart.   This was the only time she cried after Tremel’s death.   Her thoughts reflected back to the times that they shared together from high school until the time she had seen her friend when she first picked her up at the airport.  Time seemed to move in slow motion as she looked at her watch and realized she had fallen asleep in the grass for about an hour.  Her cell phone was ringing off the hook with calls from Jerid and Lewis.   Angelique slowly rose from the grass and looked back at her friend’s grave.  Although her heart ached, she felt relieved.  She knew that her friend would want her to go on with her life as if she was still alive.  Angelique walked to her car with thoughts of coping without her friend forever.   

Vanessa walked slowly toward Tremel's grave, carefully staying out of Angelique’s sight.   She did not want Angelique to know that she was listening to her conversation.  Vanessa still had hate in her heart for Angelique, but because Tremel was a dear friend to her, she suppressed her hate toward her.   Vanessa looked at Tremel’s headstone and apologized to her.   Although Angelique was a dear friend to her, she decided to go on with her plan of revenge.   Vanessa felt as if Angelique had gotten away with too much for too long.   Now, it was time for the tables to be turned on Angelique, and destroying her career and her marriage was the best way to get back at her.     Vanessa slowly placed the roses she had in her hand neatly on Tremel’s grave.   She stared blankly at the grave as thoughts were running wildly through her head.   Vanessa slowly turned away from the grave as she  vowed never to visit it again.   

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Virtual Blog Tour #3 - Margaret West

Margaret West
Author of  "Heart of a Warrior"


Excerpt 4
Yuma’s eyed widened in disbelief. This little hellcat needed a good
smacked backside. If she were his wife….he stopped the thought instantly.
When he took a wife she would be Navajo and give him the respect due to his
status. You need a good slap on that belligerent backside of yours,” he
replied.

“Well, you can try it. If you think you’re tough enough,” Belinda
goaded.

Niyol stepped between the warring pair. Speaking in Navajo, she
placed a restraining hand on Yuma’s arm. “Brother, you won’t win with
this battle. Ayiana is more than a match for your bad temper.”

“Ayiana?” he repeated in confusion. “Who gave her a Navajo name?
No one’s asked my permission, there’s been no naming ceremony. She’s
not earned the right…”

“In my eyes she’s more than earned the right,” Niyol snapped.

“Imagine what could’ve happened to your niece without her sacrifice.”

“Anyway, you call her Little Tornado,” Aponi argued.

Yuma sighed, aware he was greatly outnumbered by the women of
this house. The nickname he had used for Belinda had been a passing
comment, made up on the spur of the moment. Not carefully thought
out, and of Navajo origin. He saw the condemning look in his Kai’s eyes.
She had warned him Belinda was trouble. Now she was in his mother’s
house and dressed up as one of them. She must be furious.

“What I say and do is none of your concern, Aponi. Remember that.
I’ll leave you to this fiery one and wish you luck.” Ignoring Belinda
completely, Yuma opened the front door. As he walked through he felt a
pair of angry hazel eyes burning into his back. Belinda was angrier than
a hungry bear. Maybe now she would stop trying to fit in with them and

NEXT TOUR STOPS FOR MARGARET:
www.hedge-witchery.com
April 13th - Tomorrow

Cate Masters
April 19th

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Author Interview for Maybe God has a Better Idea

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: With Robb

> When did you first realize you wanted to write?

I never really considered myself a writer. I was a professional
children's magician/ entertainer for many years and used to write the
scripts for the shows I presented. I also did a children's literature
writing course along the way but never really intended to publish anything.
Writing Maybe God Has a Better Idea was different. I felt led or even
compelled to write the book. I felt a need to write down the lessons I had
learned while in sobriety with the hope that maybe others could benefit from
what I had experienced.

>
> How long did it take you to write your book?

I started writing the essays in the summer of 2007 and most were written
over the next year or so. It wasn't until early 2010 though that the time
seemed write to go ahead and publish them.


>
> What would you say is your most interesting writing habit?

I don't know if I have any interesting writing habits! If I get an idea
about an article/ essay or feel inspired about something I usually just sit
down quietly at the keyboard and wait to see what I am supposed to write.
Usually what I am supposed to write just flows out without any thought on my
part.


>
> What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your
> book?

I learned that I could do it! And I learned a lot about myself while
writing it. The stories/ essays are all of a personal nature so I learned
more about ME while doing it - my strengths, weaknesses and who I really am.
It has been an interesting journey!

>
> How do you plan to promote your work?

Book signings, whatever! The book will depend on readers who find
something of use in the book passing it on to others . By its nature people
will have to find themselves attracted to the book and then tell others
about it.

>
> What do you think makes a compelling story?

True to life characters dealing with their own troubles and weaknesses
and yet coming out on top!

>
> Tell us, Why do you think God has a Better Idea?

Because He does! In AA and other 12-step groups we are told to let go
and let God. Let God work in and through us. Most of us have our own ideas
of what we would like to do or how we think things should be happening
around us. We tend to think (being the ego-minded people that we are) that
our ideas are the best. My experience has been that when I do fully let go
of my own ideas, desires, expectations, fears and worries and really let God
work in and through me that His ideas are so much better! Much greater
things happen than I could ever do on my own.

Writing this book wasn't really my own idea. I felt led to write it.
Then through a series of "coincidences" at the right time I was led to the
right people at Be Uplifted Publishing and AZ Publishing Services to help
make this dream a reality. I really could not have done it myself! God has
had the best ideas on how to make this happen!


>
> If you could have one wish, what would it be?

World peace! Just kidding (although that would be the best wish!) My
"wish" is to be able to go full-time as a writer and speaker; writing such
books and hopefully inspiring and helping others to succeed as much as I
can.

>
> What are you working on next?

Many of the essays for a second book of Inspirational Insights have
already been written. I expect that there will be at least several books in
this series.

READ FURTHER ON THE NEXT BLOG POST ABOUT THE BOOK ITSELF AND EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Feature Author #1 - Robb F.

 
Az Publishing Author Feature

Title:  Maybe God has a Better Idea
Author:  Robb F.
ISBN #:  978-1-936037-28-5 


For sale at http://www.azpublishingservices.com/BookStore.php





About the book:
Maybe God Has a Better idea was written by a recovering alcoholic with nearly 14 years of sobriety behind him.    As one reader said: “An inspiring journal of the transformation that can happen when we let God do what God does … let acceptance replace control, let anger give way to calmness, let fear turn into faith and resentment into responsibility.  Robb does a great job of going both for the big concepts and for the nuts-and-bolts tools that we can use to apply them.”
Although a Better Idea often refers to the 12-steps programs of AA and other groups, the writings are relevant and timely to anyone seeking a better understanding of one’s relationship with God.


Here are some excerpts from the book:

MAYBE GOD HAS A BETTER IDEA

The Ego-Mind is struggling - trying to hang on.  No “letting go and letting God” for the ego-mind!  No way!  It struggles.  It fights!  It won’t let go!  Until we go quieter and more and more into the silence and gradually let it go.

We are told to “Let go and let God.”
Let go of our own desires, goals, expectations and ambitions.
Let go of our fears.
But, oh how, what I call the “ego-mind” hangs onto these things and doesn’t want to let go!
I keep trying to hang onto my goals, ambitions and desires.
But then I had a thought - maybe God has a better idea!  Maybe His goals and dreams are so much better than mine!  (They probably are!)  If I can let go of what I think are my own great ideas of fame and wealth and other lofty ambitions, maybe God has something much, much better in mind.
The only way through and out then is to “Let go and let God” do His work - and try to keep out of the way!

ONE DAY AT A TIME

            We hear it all the time: Just take it “one day at a time.”
Sometimes doing something one day at a time can be nerve racking.
            To one not accustomed to trust, especially trusting in God and the Universe, a day can seem like an eternity!
            We must separate ourselves - a spiritual being - from the demands of the Body and the Mind we have created.
            The Mind can come up with the most nonsense about why we can’t succeed; why we are no good and don’t deserve the best; all of that crap!
            We need to rise above it.  Get quiet.  Relax.  Meditate.  Go for that silence that lies within.  Learn how to quiet the Mind and seek the silence of God. 
            It takes time. It takes practice.  But each time it gets easier and easier.
            When our Mind gets over-active, learn to relax and go for the silence.  Only then can we really succeed.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Authors Supporting Authors Blog Tour #2- Marian L. Thomas


How to "Publish" Yourself
By: Marian L. Thomas
Bestselling Author of Color Me Jazzmyne


For the last couple of months, perhaps years —you have stared at a monitor, pecked  away at a keyboard and searched the depths of your imagination for something real, fresh and captivating that will show the world who you are from a written page.  Finally, you have put your last period at the end of a sentence and sat back with a smile of disbelief. Did you just finish writing your first book? Will it be a bestseller?  Yes, and Maybe.

Okay, why did I say maybe? When you decided to begin your journey to authorship, you also decided to publish yourself. To put "you" out there to all who haven't never heard of "you" before. It's a scary thought, but such a reality that stares you in the face and asks "are you ready?" A valid question.
So just how do you go about getting not just your book published but you for that matter? Before I answer that, remember this fact: that one can have an amazing book, an amazing cover, and the best story there is out there, but if you fail to publish yourself who will know it?
Here is the mistake I made....yes it's very true which is why I am sharing this with you. No sense in you making the same mistakes. I started publishing myself after my book was out. Can you say big mistake! I had done the research on getting published versus publishing myself. Weighed the options and made decisions on just about everything except how to market the book. If you think that your publisher is going to market your book for you, think again! It's up to you my friend.
It is highly recommended that you begin this process before your book hits the online venues and brick and mortars. Actually, studies have shown that you should begin to market yourself at least three months prior. How?
Here are a few steps to consider that might help you accomplish the task of publishing yourself.
Step 1- Do research on developing a marketing plan, a game plan on how you are going to get your name out there. It's amazing what the “www” world can do for you. Use it.
Step 2-Get on social media sites and begin making connections. Who knows better how to market yourself than other authors that have done it? Ask questions, take notes and continue with step 1.
Step 3-Get a blog going and use the research information you found in step 1 as your posts. Select different topics each week. If they came from another blog-make sure you link back to them. Not only do you help other fellow bloggers who might return the favor for the link back to them as the publishing source, but it helps to get your name out there in the writing community as a great resource. People like freebies, advice and places they can go to get questions answered. Become an expert on some topic that is worth them coming to your blog about.
Step 4-Begin chatting with those in the PR business. They know how to market authors, it's what they do! If you find one that you really like, consider bringing them on your journey to authorship. Speaking of freebies....
You can get a free eBook titled "How to Be Your Own Publicist" on April 13, 2010. It was contributed by EDC-Creations as a bonus gift for "The Color Me Jazzmyne 15 hr Amazing Grab Bag" blast event. Everyone who purchases just (1) copy of my book will receive 10 amazing bonus gifts-Free. This wonderful eBook is just one of them and let me tell you, it is a must read! Yes, there is an Amazing Grab Bag of prizes that will be given away too!
I am currently on a virtual blog tour, so thanks for stopping by today. I hope this article was resourceful for you. Please stop by and visit my “Author Interview”- with host Lillian Brummet of Conscious Discussions.
I thank AZPublishing Services for inviting me to be their guest.
About the Author:
Marian is originally from the Windy City, Chicago but currently resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband and they spoiled but playful dog, Winston. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Communication, graduating Magna Cum Laude. Since the debut of her book, she has been featured in CrossRoadsNews-a Metro Atlanta paper, Black Perl Magazine, The Chris Treece Show and the Atlanta Skirt Magazine-as one of Atlanta’s 9 to 5 Women of Business in the Media Industry.

Book Party for Lamplighter Collection


The Lamplighter Collection by Todd VanHooser

Thursday April 1st brought over a hundred students, readers, and fans to Todd VanHooser's book release party held at Desert Edge High School.  Attendees enjoyed live music and food with the opportunity to meet the author and mingle with members of the Laughing Moon team, which supports Todd's fantasy series and tabletop game. 

 

 

Excerpts from Todd's new novel, The Lamplighter Collection, were read aloud to the audience throughout the evening by Todd, publisher Don Jacques, and even one of Todd's students from Desert Edge, much to the enjoyment of the packed house.  Many of the stories included in the collection have been used in the classroom for several years, making the high school a perfect venue for the release party. Seeing such an overwhelming response, it is clear that our state's high school students do not lack the capabilities to get involved in reading, they have merely been waiting for the inspiration and motivation to do so.