How to Create Downloadable Links to Give Away Books from your Newsletter Sign Up by @JoRobinson176

With Jo taking time away from blogging, I thought I would share one of her earlier articles that some of you most likely missed. I know this is one I’ll be using a lot as my debut novel release date approaches.~Ronovan


Most Indie authors at some point on their journeys will set up a newsletter to send to their readers. This is a great way to connect in a personal way, announce events, giveaways, or new books. You can sign up with Mailchimp for free, and it’s very user friendly. Sending out a newsletter is like having your own mini magazine. You can share anything you like. I write in multiple genres, so mine is easy to come up with content. Even if you only write in one particular genre you can still share your opinions, information you find interesting, as well as personal things about yourself and your interests. And of course – your books. A great way to get readers to subscribe is to offer them a freebie. As an author that’s easy – give them a book. You can either write a short story specifically to give away on your newsletter, or you can give them one of your novels or the first in a series.

Bearing in mind that PDF books make work for pirates easy, be very sure that you’re comfortable with your choice of freebie. For me personally, the first book in my Shadow People series is already widely pirated, so that’s the one available for free download when anyone signs up for my newsletter. If it’s going to be tossed around for free, then I prefer to be the one doing the tossing. It’s not difficult to set up. Here’s how you do it.

First have your completed manuscript ready. Add your completed cover in high definition by using the Insert > Picture function on Word on the first page. Then make sure that you’re easy to find by adding hyperlinks which are clickable from PDF to your other books, website, or any other place that you’d like readers to find you.

1 - Hyperlinks in PDF

Save As a PDF file. Then head off to your WordPress site, and click Add New from the Media section on your dashboard.

1 - Media

Select your PDF file, and wait for it to load completely. Then hit the edit button and copy the URL address. You can use this address anywhere you like to make your book available for free download.

1 - Select
1 - Upload
1 - Copy Url

Next zoom on over to Mailchimp and add it to your subscription confirmation thank you email. Just type the text that you want to appear above the link – Click Here To Download, for example, then click on the link icon at the top of the page and paste in your book URL. This is what it will look like.

1 - Final Look

Have fun building your newsletter, and don’t forget to add an invitation to subscribe on your blog and website.

Jo Robinson

Jo Robinson Author“Jo Robinson is the resident Indie Author Guru of LWI. Visit her Amazon Author Page for numerous books she’s put out into the world through her  own sweat and tears. (And we hope not much blood involved.)  Click HERE for he blog, and HERE to follow her on TWITTER.”~Ronovan Hester


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© Copyright-All rights reserved by LitWorldInterviews.com 2015

The Donor by @StevieTurner6. Excerpt and a 5 Star #Review.

Stevie Turner The Donor book cover.Stevie Turner’s new women’s fiction novel ‘The Donor’ was recently published on December 14th, and has a sibling rivalry / rockstar theme. Stevie usually writes about peculiar subjects that are not often covered by mainstream authors, and adds in a touch of humour here and there.  To find out more about Stevie, please visit her website and check out her ‘About Me’ page by clicking on the link below:

http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk/about-me

Synopsis of The Donor:

When you know you have met the love of your life, the last thing you expect is for your sister to lure him away.  Clare Ronson is faced with this scenario when her sister Isabel marries singer and guitarist Ross Tyler.  To compound Clare’s jealousy and bitterness, Ross hits the big time and becomes a wealthy tax exile, relocating to France with his family.  Clare cannot bring herself to speak to Isabel or Ross for the next 30 years. However, when tragedy occurs in 2002 causing Ross to arrive back in England at Clare’s doorstep, Clare must try to put the past behind her for her sister’s sake.

http://bookShow.me/B016MJ9W0Q

Goodreads review by LaDonna

LaDonna rated it 5 of 5 stars

Shelves: arr, blog, backstage-books, rockstar-romance

The author provided me an ARC of this book for a honest review and to see if I felt it fit the criteria for “rockstar romance” for a blog I run dedicated to that genre. I felt it did, though it isn’t your typical rockstar romance. This book will take you on an emotional rollercoaster, and admittedly most of those emotions will be of the darker kind.

Once upon a time, Clare is very close to her older sister Izzy, and adores/idolized her in that way that only little sisters can. As a very naïve youThe author provided me an ARC of this book for a honest review and to see if I felt it fit the criteria for “rockstar romance” for a blog I run dedicated to that genre. I felt it did, though it isn’t your typical rockstar romance. This book will take you on an emotional rollercoaster, and admittedly most of those emotions will be of the darker kind.

Once upon a time, Clare is very close to her older sister Izzy, and adores/idolized her in that way that only little sisters can. As a very naïve young woman in 1970, Clare goes to a big rock festival. This American reader could really only tie it to the endless stories of Woodstock I have heard, being just slightly younger than that generation, but I realize festivals of the like were going on across the pond as well. Anyway, that is the picture I have in my mind of the festival she attended, and at the end of several days, Clare has lost her friends and is dirty, exhausted, hungry and broke. An Adonis of a man steps in and offers her an apple, and companionship back home. He is quite fond of the waif, and calls upon her to date whilst he is determined to make it in his band. He puts up with the obvious dislike of her father, and her virginal antics. She has quickly fallen in love with him, and he is quite smitten with her as well, until one night her sister decides to join them for one of his gigs.

To Ross’ credit, he never had any intention of hurting Clare, but when he met Izzy, the stars aligned and he knew he had met his soulmate. Likewise, Izzy had never meant to upset her sister, but who can deny true love. No one expected Clare to be as hurt as she was, or to hold a grudge for so long.

Life goes on as it is apt to do; tragedies, joys, and all the other little moments that make up a life pass by. Ross’ band hits the big time very quickly, as well as Izzy’s first pregnancy and their marriage. Clare refuses to have anything to do with any of it, hanging on to hatred for her sister for having the life she was sure was destined to be hers. Clare does go on to marry a perfectly suitable man, has 2 children with him, and by all accounts a pretty nice life with him. She tells him early on that she has an irreparable rift with her sister, but never tells him the reason why.

Izzy has always tried to keep tabs on her sister but Clare simply has not allowed it, even turning away when they once ran into one another and Izzy tried to introduce her to her niece. 30 years go by, and tragedy forces Izzy to contact Clare. Clare’s husband reads the note and encourages Clare to acknowledge Izzy’s plea, but Clare tears up the letter and ignores it. Not until Ross arrives at her door does she consider listening and doing what her sister needs. Here is where the story really came together for me. The senselessness of hate and holding on to a grudge, not to mention basically a teenage dream, for all those years, to finally realized how quickly life passes us by and how many precious moments simply cannot ever be replaced. There are so many unexpected twists and turns after Ross arrives, and so much depth to the amount of lives touched by this rift that seems so silly in retrospect. This story touched me on so many levels, and I hope that you will give it a chance to soak into your heart and mind as well.

Very highly recommended for anyone that realizes life doesn’t always hand us a happily ever after, at least not in the way we think it should.

EXCERPT FROM ‘THE DONOR’ BY STEVIE TURNER

COPYRIGHT STEVIE TURNER 2015

CHAPTER 1 – 1970

CLARE

            Life as I know it is definitely starting to be a bit of a drag, due to the fact that I’ve been awake now for 3 days and nights on Desolation Hill.  I am finished, kaput. Thank God it’s the last day, that’s all I can say.

            I yawn for the umpteenth time and watch in a kind of stupor as the fences are torn down. Ruth jumps up excitedly and decides that she wants to try and get nearer the stage.  I watch her treading unconcerned over zombie-like bodies lying comatose and frying in the heat of the late August afternoon, and try to summon up enough strength to follow her.  But by then, hungrier and more tired than I have ever been, I am faced with the certainty that all I really want to do is to go home. Bands have started to merge one into the other, but I know I’ll have to face a ribbing from Ruth if I set off without first having tried to get nearer the stage if only to feast one weary eye on the hunk of masculinity that is Paul Rogers while there is still some good daylight left.

            I force my body to move, performing a quick recce around what has transformed in three days from arable farmland into a nuclear fallout zone contained in some kind of human landfill site. I cannot see Ruth, but I stumble on regardless. Somewhere out there my friend has become lost in a sea of 500,000 faces; just another flower-bedecked hippie indistinguishable from the masses.

            Far away on the horizon I can see a speck holding a microphone stand up above his head; Paul Rogers is holding the crowd in the palm of his hand, and I am missing it.  Behind him on the low stage, long hair flying in the sultry air, Paul Kossoff, six string shredder extraordinaire, is ripping into the solo for ‘All Right Now.’

            I cannot make my legs walk another step.  I yawn.  Infuriatingly I still seem to be on Desolation Hill as far as I can make out. Sighing with fatigue, I slump down on the grass where I stand, close my eyes, and listen to the hubbub around me.  My long hair feels like a heavy blanket on my back; I desperately want something to eat, I need a bath, and I ache for my mum to be fussing around me like she does when I am sick.

             “Hey babe, have some of this.”

          I am startled by a voice very close to my ear. I open my eyes again and look to my left to see what only can be described as a bronzed, blond Adonis, with long fair curls stretching down over his shoulders.  He is stripped to the waist apart from a small rucksack on his back, and wears frayed pale-blue Levi shorts and a pair of well-worn ‘Jesus creeper’ sandals.  He squats down beside me and holds out a lighted spliff.

            “It’ll take away the pain.”

            I consider myself to be in extremis, soon to be engulfed in the Grim Reaper’s arms.  There is no way out except death.  I take a huge drag and retch as the sweet fumes of cannabis grab the back of my throat.

            “Thanks.” I cough. “I think.”

            “Woh!” Adonis laughs into the sun. “Easy!  You’re not used to it, I can tell.”

            “Is it that obvious?”  I want my head to stop spinning. “I’ve come to the end of my rope. A spliff won’t do any harm now.”  I take another drag.

            “I think I’ll take it back actually.”  Adonis prises the joint from my fingers. “Are you hungry?”

            “Starving.”  I nod, with eyes trying to close. “All I’ve got left is my hovercraft ticket back to Southsea.”

          “And you can’t eat that.”  Adonis attacks the spliff with expertise, puffing out a cloud of aromatic smoke. “I’ll see what I’ve got left in my rucksack.”

            Keeping the spliff between the index and middle finger of his left hand, with one poetic swoop of his right shoulder he dislodges the rucksack’s straps, opens it up and looks inside, bringing out a slightly dented but still crisp-looking Golden Delicious apple and handing it to me.

               “My mum’s always on at me to eat more roughage.”

              Laughing, I feast my eyes on the apple, which in my famished state seems to have taken on the proportions of a gargantuan banquet.

             “If you’re sure.”  I cannot help but take it. “I’ve eaten nothing since yesterday.  Somebody stole what was left of my food. It’s too far to walk to try and buy some, and anyway, I’ve no money left.”

              “It’s every man for himself, here.”  Adonis nods. “What’s your name?”

            “Clare.”  I bite into pure nectar. “Clare Ronson.  How about you?”

          “Hi Clare, I’m Ross Tyler.”  Adonis holds out his hand. “I hitchhiked from Ryde on Friday with a mate from college, who was last seen yesterday trying to find somewhere private to take a crap.”

             Juice from the apple runs down my chin and I wipe it away with my left hand, shake Ross’s hand with the other, and smile up at him.

              “You’re a lifesaver, Ross. I came here with a friend as well, but maybe she met up with your mate.  I haven’t seen her for a few hours now.”

             “Looks like it’s us two against the world then.”  Ross slings the rucksack back over his shoulder. “I’m on my way up the hill; going to hitchhike back to Ryde and get a chance on the hovercraft before this lot set off. Coming?”

             I’ve had enough. My knight in Jesus creepers has materialised and is standing right in front of me. Not one for wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, and fortified by the sweet fruit, I nod and get to my feet.

             “Yes; I want to go home.”

           Paul Rogers is giving it all he’s got.  Taking one last look at the stage and wondering if we would ever see the like of it again, I grab my saviour’s outstretched hand and we begin to thread our way between the bodies and mounds of detritus, back up Desolation Hill and over Afton Down, eventually descending onto the Military Road.  Crowds of young people have the same idea, and we all saunter along amiably in the late afternoon heat, in no rush to get off the Island, and unaware that we are part of history in the making.  In front of us are two girls holding hands; one is naked except for a pair of pink knickers, and the other is bare from the waist down.

            “Looks like those two have fared worse than you.”  Ross smirks.

        I am stoned on cannabis fumes, lack of sleep, hunger, and a definite animal attraction for my new-found friend.  It matters to me not one jot that female flesh usually kept under wraps is now exposed to the stares of all and sundry.  Presently the girls slope off and join many other festival-goers, washing off the dirt from Desolation Hill in the choppy waters of Freshwater Bay. I smile at Ross as we trudge along Military Road, copying him and raising my thumb some time later as crowds begin to thin out and the odd car can be seen driving past us on the way to maybe Brook Green or further on into Niton or Newport.

         “Who in their right mind is going to give us a lift?”  I panic while wondering just how much further I can walk. “Look at the state of us. How many miles is it to Ryde from here? Can’t we wait for a bus?”

         “About twenty.”  Comes the cheerful reply. “I’m skint, the same as you.  It’s hitching or Shanks’s pony.”

         My affable, blond Adonis is prepared to traipse into the night to reach his destination.  It’s all I can do to keep up with his long, loping strides. The buzz from the apple wears off around Compton Bay, and I want to cry.

         “Cheer up, babe.”

        Ross winks and puts his arm around me.  The effect is galvanising and instantly spurs me on.  I gaze up into his pale blue eyes, and his nearness causes a pleasant throbbing sensation in my groin. I have never seen such beauty in a man before.  I am certain I haven’t seen him at Uni.

        “Which University are you at?”  I find myself looking down in the direction of his groin as we walk.

      “Not Uni; Portsmouth Art College.”  Ross holds his fist up and jerks his thumb at passing cars. “How about you?”

        “The Uni; not far from there though.  Reading English; I want to be a teacher.  Do you think you’ll be a famous painter then?”

         “Don’t know.”  Ross shrugs and fondles the hair at the back of my neck. “But I’m having a ball finding out.”

***       

        It’s not until we walk past Compton Bay and head towards Brook Green that a van stops next to us.  Ross is still pointing his thumb in the vague direction of Newport, but I have long ago given up, and am just concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other. I hear Ross speak to the driver who is on his way to Bembridge, and to my great delight he beckons us into the cab and agrees to drop us off along the seafront at Ryde.  The van has three seats at the front.  I let Ross go in first, who chats amiably to the driver most of the way I think.  Me, I put my head on Ross’s shoulder and am asleep before the van has even pulled away.

Stevie Turner The Donor book cover.


© Copyright-All rights reserved by litworldinterviews.com 2015

Stevie Turner interviews @RonovanWrites

I am pleased to feature an interview with Ronovan Writes, who has kindly invited me here to submit articles for LitWorldInterviews.  I am a self-published author, who enjoys interviewing other authors and people connected with writing.

Ronovan

As well as being an author with a debut novel Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling, coming out in February 2016, Ronovan also provides invaluable resources for Indie authors here on  LitWorldInterviews.com

I also admire Ronovan because, like me,  he is trying to turn a health issue into something positive.

1.  You tell me that you were born of migrant fruit pickers.  How old were you before your parents settled in one place?  Where do you call home now?

As best as I can tell, it was about the time of Kindergarten. I recall taking naps on those floor nap mats each day and swinging in swings to dangerous heights, at least they were high in my mind. Today people would see that as neglect by playground attendants. I somehow survived until recent years somewhat unscathed.

Now I live in a University town near Atlanta, GA.

2.  What did you learn from such a diverse group of students at the ‘Alternative School’ when you taught them History?

All people are the same if given a chance. A number of students were there because the court system forced them to be there. Some teachers treated them as though they couldn’t be trusted. I told the entire class from the beginning that I didn’t care what they did before coming in the door, as long as they treated me good, I didn’t have a problem with them. It worked out fine. I never had a problem with any of them.

3.  You say you were too honest to sell life insurance.  What was so bad about the job that you stopped doing it?

There were a number of reasons. Even though I was a top seller I was having to work hard and doing it the honest way, which there is no problem with that. The problem came when my health started taking over. I didn’t know it at the time but I had for a number of years been showing signs of Fibromyalgia and multiple herniated discs throughout my spine, including my neck. The pain of driving hundreds of miles a day, during the worst economy we’ve had in decades, combined with seeing how so many previous agents had cheated some of these people, finally became too much.

4.  Do you still teach, or are you a full-time writer now?

I’m a full-time writer now. Two years ago I fell in my home from a migraine. I became dizzy and as I fell my head hit three to four times before I hit the floor. There have been problems from that since. I don’t look at it with regret, I am taking the time I have and probably shouldn’t have and turning it into something positive.

5.  You are fortunate in being able to write about any subject.  What is your debut novel about?  How long did it take you to write it?

Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling is a Historical Adventure based around 1706.  The main character is Gabriel Wallace, a Captain in the Royal Navy who is court-martialed on charges brought mostly out of scorn by the friends of a dead Admiral. Wallace discovers other goings on about the Admiral and his friends and sets out to correct the wrongs against himself and others by taking his previous ship and crew and becoming a pirate of sorts. I say of sorts because his actions are more a war against the ships belonging to a list of men.

Amber Wake

Wallace is a character that is very important in the future lives of two of the main characters in the Ivory Shepard Pirate Tales series by PS Bartlett.

The story is written more about the character of a person than so much about what people might think of as the chauvinistic swashbuckler adventure, sex romp. That’s not my style. The main character has some historical bases in real people, and actions you see are believable. And Wallace is not a woman chaser. He has a mission and he has the men who have volunteered to stick with him to make sure are taken care of.

I probably wrote the initial draft and then second draft in maybe six weeks or less. I have a lot of time and when I’m worked up about a project I tend to become a bit obsessed. Then PS Bartlett took over and put her touches to it, mostly in giving it the language fitting her series. Language such as pirate speak and the like, as well as certain verbiage I am prone not to use but may be likely in certain settings. Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling isn’t the usual pirate adventure with profanity flying left and right, though. The main characters are educated and accustomed to speaking in certain circles and use certain words when situations bring them forth. She also used her experience through the writing of several books to make certain things flow well. We then would go back and forth with the drafts from that point to catch what each other missed. It’s amazing what eyes miss in the middle of things.

Here’s a link to the first chapter of Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling on Ronovan’s new author site: http://ronovanhester.com/2015/12/28/my-debut-novel-amber-wakes-gabriel-falling-it-all-begins-here-chapter-one/

6.  Do you prefer to write novels, short stories, or blogs?

I prefer to write novels. Researching to develop a world and characters is something I enjoy a great deal. Writing short stories on various blogs helped me discover the voice and even certain genre I like or for which I have an affinity.

7.  What is the most difficult genre for you to write in?

I’m not a horror writer. I can do it, and have, but it’s not my thing. Nor is anything that involves the harming of women or children.

8.  Which genre do you prefer to read?  Who is your favourite author?

It’s difficult to narrow it down to one. I’ve found I don’t enjoy fantasy and science fiction as much as I once did. Contemporary Literature and also Historical Fiction based from the 1950s back to perhaps the late 1800s are things I like at the moment. I enjoy the style of Clive Cussler for his research and detail, John Gardner for his realism and historical writing in the Secret Generations and Herbie Kruger books, and recently a new author named Claire Fullerton has me hooked on Contemporary Literature with her Dancing to an Irish Reel.

9.  You founded Lit  World Interviews https://litworldinterviews.com/ to help promote authors and provide advice about writing and publishing etc.  Do you prefer to interview authors of your own choosing, or are you happy to interview any author who contacts the site?

There is a bit of selection process. For those who have something prepared I’m happy to publish it. For interviews I conduct myself I prefer to read the book of the author first and then conduct an interview, if I like the book. I don’t like every book I read and I don’t publish a review of those without permission of the author first. In fact, I include on the submission form a question about reviews that would be below a 3. I have no desire to hurt a career with my opinion. Opinions can be subject to so many influences. One may be having a bad week and the book, normally a great read, ends up being a low score. If the review is good, then I normally suggest an interview.

10.  Have you ever sought out any alternative therapies for your fibromyalgia?

I haven’t sought any as of yet, although I do look at my nutrition to see what different foods do to the body. I was diagnosed with Fibro two years ago, so right now my doctor is attempting to get things in hand so I can perhaps do other things that will help.

11.  How did you ‘lose part of your world in a mind-jarring way’ in 2013?

In the aforementioned fall in my home, I ended up with a Grade 3 Concussion. That’s the type of concussion you hear about quarterbacks in NFL Football in the USA suffering from, and soldiers who are too close to explosions. As a result of the concussion I ended up with retrograde amnesia. Pretty much any person I knew prior to the fall, other than my son, I lost memory of. I had to learn to write again; I would even switch hands in the middle of a sentence and write just as well with either. I was writing because I lost the ability to speak for over a month.

The amnesia is still there but I am able to find my way to anywhere I need to go, although I don’t drive any longer. But I’m better than a GPS if it’s someplace I’ve already been. I also have the learned, education things, other than math. My math skills all but disappeared.

12.  How do you cope with not being able to sleep properly?  Are you permanently tired?

Yes, I’m pretty much always tired. What I do is get myself involved in whatever I am doing and ignore the tired factor. That is unless it’s the Chronic Fatigue thing kicking in. But everything combined makes writing not bad, although the memory thing can be a problem at times. It’s a pain to write ten chapters and one morning wake up and not remember any of it. Then I have to read it all over again, and my notes, and try to pick up from there. Normally it’s if I sleep too long that I have the memory issue, too long meaning more than four hours at a time. And if it’s a deep sleep, even four hours could be too much.

13.  Like you, I also like to sit in the shade and listen to the birds.  We have a robin that comes into our garden every day and sits on the same branch.  Do you ever think about whether the souls of deceased loved ones can be reincarnated, possibly returning to us in animal or bird form?

No. I’m not a believer of reincarnation. I don’t make fun of others who do though. Everyone has a right to believe as they wish, as long as it doesn’t encroach on or harm others. When I sit and enjoy nature, I think of the beauty of it all and how so many people fly past and miss it. I try to teach my son to enjoy those one of a kind moments like a sunrise that has those pinks and orange colors that will never be like any other sunrise.

14.  You are a true Southern Gentleman.  Health willing, I would like to visit New Orleans in 2017 for the Mardi Gras.  Have you any advice for me if I do go there?

Go with someone, go everywhere with that someone, and don’t get into a state in which you lose your head about you. You’ll have a great time as long as you do the buddy system and stay to the main areas during the night events.

15.  You state that you love to learn about other places and their customs.  If money and time were no object, where in the world would you like to visit?

I’ve come to enjoy the idea of visiting the Orient lately. I have a book idea and it would be nice to go through all the countries, visit the ancient locations, experience the food, and hear how the people speak.

16.  How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve in the South?

There are the usual fireworks shows around, and staying up till midnight. There’s no alcohol in the house, so it’s sparkling grape juice at most. Sometimes with the way the weather is here, there might be a barbeque/cookout. As I’m writing this, it’s in the 70s, and it’s almost New Year’s Eve. There are also moments we are all wondering if the tornado will bypass us this time or go right through out town.

17.  What is your favourite piece of music?

Anything from Sgt. Pepper by the Beatles is a hit with me. I enjoy them so much I even taught a lesson about the Paul is Dead idea.

18.  What do you think the world will be like for future generations?

Things won’t change as much as people think. We have past theories of the future to look at and realize how slow things do change. It’s becoming scarier though. There is too much political correctness and not enough people doing things to fix the world right now for the world’s own good. And I believe the world is losing its sense of humor where a joke can’t be told without offending someone.

19.  Can you tap dance or do the cha-cha?

Nooooo. Well I don’t think so. I can get my groove on to amuse my son. Being a teen in the 80s you don’t have any shame when it comes to dancing, and you realize everything is dancing.

20.  Which three possessions would you rush to save in a fire?

Other than human lives: 1) My Laptop with all my work on it, 2) My Captain America #100, and 3) The Archaeological Study Bible my youth group gave me as a gift when I handed the reins over to the new Youth Pastor I helped select.

Thank you Ronovan, for agreeing to answer my 20 questions.  Below you can find links to Ronovan’s new author site and other social media.  If any authors or publishers reading this would also like to be interviewed, please contact me on my website http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk with some information about yourself, just as Ronovan did.

——————————————————————————————————
Brand New Author Site: http://ronovanhester.com/
Blog: https://ronovanwrites.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RonovanWrites
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ronovan-Writes-630347477034132/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/20596002-ronovan-hester
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RonovanWrites

#Interview with H. Schussman of El Tiburon. @RonovanWrites

Today I’m interviewing H. Schussman, author of El Tiburon, an action/thriller due to release on Dec. 31, 2015 and available for pre-order NOW! I’m not wasting time with my words, let’s get to hers.

The first thing I would like to do is ask, why the CIA and an action thriller?

Gee, that’s a hard question. I don’t know why I picked the CIA. It was a toss-up between them and the FBI. I’m glad I chose them though because the CIA has so many covert sub-groups. As for being an action thriller… well, that’s just how Sean and Sport are. Never a dull moment with those two. (I do have a book on the back burner, which is more of a family generational saga, so I have other genres.) I seem to be attracted to the intense fast-paced genre. I write like I’m creating a movie script.

In my review of El Tiburon, I talk about your creation of legitimate El Tiburon by H. Schussmanwomen roles, was there a conscious effort to make certain these woman remained women and not men with women’s names?

It wasn’t a conscious effort, no. Until you pointed it out, I hadn’t realized I was unique that way. I was raised in a police family. When I was in my teens I wanted to be a California Highway Patrolman like my father. I still remember my father telling me that men and women are heroes in different ways, but equally heroic. I guess I let my heroines be women, because they are.

You do hands on research. What does your husband think of a woman that knows how to handle guns and goes into crazy parts of the world?

As I answer this, my husband is at the shooting range. He asked me if H. Schussman, AuthorI wanted go, but I need to stay focused on this book release. I learned to shoot when I was five, and have always enjoyed researching firearms. I will go down to the range, and get brochures and handle guns to make sure I have a good feel for them. As for the traveling, he’s the ring-leader there. You’d be amazed at the crazy places he’s dragged me to. Both times we went to Guatemala, we stayed with local families in their homes for a month each time. We wandered the streets aimlessly looking for wine bars and new friends.

I’ve read that you and Sport McGee would be great buddies, what life experiences of your adulthood are found in Sport’s creation?

I suppose the fact that I work in a hospital as a physical therapist would put me in contact with the ‘Dr. McGees’ of the world. Maybe that’s why I de-glamorize her… make her more human.

I’m not quite as feisty as she is, but I’m not exactly a softy either. Like her, I like to work out and stay fit. As I stated earlier, I was a bit of a rough and tumble teen. My brother and I would physically fight fairly often while growing up, which endowed me with quick reflexes and a mean kidney punch. Her fight scenes are not far from my personal experiences.

On the intellectual level, I guess my mother and my mother-in-law both influenced my view of womanhood. They were both very intelligent and interested in politics and business. All in all, I think Sport would be fun to hang around with. I love her compassion and humor.

From what I can tell, you’re a seat-of-pants writer. You have a basic idea of what you want but the characters take over at some point. Can you give an example of a corner the characters wrote you into that you escaped?

Too many to count! I’m the ultimate scene critic. I can’t tell you how many times I just threw up my hands and said, “Come on you guys! Just kill the dude!” So then, I have to back up and justify why they H. Schussman, Authordidn’t kill off so-and-so while they had the chance. Or I just kill ‘em off myself and make Sport and Sean figure out what to do from there.

Who would you say is the one most influential person from your childhood that has an impact on your writing today? In that question, I mean as in your character development and interest, not so much writing style.

From my childhood, I’d have to say my father, Leo Schussman. He was my hero, but he’s really not any of my characters, oddly enough. I think he had a keen eye for crime. My Mom impacted my insight into character. She was incredibly creative and constantly made up stories. We called her, “Little Miss Adjective.” She would ask us to make up a story about some stranger at a diner to keep us entertained.

I mentioned in my review about the relationships in El Tiburon, are those aspects you were hoping for or side effects of the story itself?

They were natural side effects and often surprised me.

You mention the Guajeros* in El Tiburon, and in fact, they are a central part of it, are there things you are doing now, or ways you know of for people to help them? Also, tell our readers a little about them.

We have a church family in Guatemala City. I choose not to tell you who they are, as it could place them in danger with their government. The people group living inside the Guatemala City garbage dump are called Guajeros, or nicknamed the Cockroaches. Most third world countries have their ‘Guajeros’. This dump has over 11,000 people living there, inside the dump. 6,000 of those are children. At one point many years ago, a magazine article was written about them and their horrible living conditions. The humanitarian groups decried the situation, and the Guatemalan Government shut down all visitation from churches and relief organizations. They also built a wall between the garbage-homes and the garbage, so they could say the people didn’t live in the dump. Now outsiders need permission and an escort to go there.

The ways to help them are limited because of government suppression. One organization helping the Guajeros is http://www.safepassage.org/, A website describing the scenery is http://www.vice.com/read/the-basurero-is-burning-life-at-the-gates-of-hell-in-guatemala-city.

In this book, I allow them to come forth as strong characters, not pathetic wimps. I wanted to let the characteristics of ethics, honesty, and anger come forth in a real way. My desire isn’t to change them, but to allow ourselves to be changed by them.

Counterpart by H. SchussmanHow did you go from e-author to Vinspire Publishing author?

Smashwords is a great platform for getting your name out there. I made the decision to let my first novel, Counterpart (Sean and Sport’s debut), be a financial wash. I felt that having my book read was more important for a long-term career in writing. For that reason, I made it free for several years. I’ve had over 700 downloads, and 42 reviews at Barnes & Noble. I used that success to sell El Tiburon. I shopped around for a publishing company and loved Vinspire’s slogan; ‘Your Travel Guide To Adventure’. I researched the company and felt they would be a good match. I put a few of my reviews with my query and they accepted me. They are using my book to launch a new genre—Ethnic Romance.

I read where you used Operation eBook Drop** for promotion; can you tell us about how that worked for you with book promotion and audience reach?

Operation eBook Drop was proposed by Smashwords to its authors. I liked it because it helped our active duty military. They get books for free from any author who signs up for it. At that time, my book was a couple of bucks. I think it helped with sales. My books have a pretty strong military angle. There is no way for me to know who buys my book, but my blog ( dashingboldadventure.blogspot.com ) had a huge increase in foreign country page views. To this day, it will occasionally have more views outside of the US than inside. I have a strong readership in Russia and the Middle East.

You’ve written two books with these characters, the first being Counterpart, what are you working on now?

Pirates! Sean and Sport take a lesser role to Craig and a new character, Dan. Pirates is about modern day pirating starting off the west coast of Costa Rica and traveling to Italy. Right now, they are misbehaving and I can’t figure out what they’re doing. I may have to take over and rein them in for a tighter read. It looks as though this one is going to be my first non-conspiracy theory book… just good old-fashioned organized crime. But who knows?


One of the things I found surprising about El Tiburon was the story was different to me than what the book cover gave me the impression of. I ended up with a well paced thriller, squarely focused on the mission and not a man-saves-woman-and-then-sex or that chauvinistic vein of thriller.~Ronovan


Ms. Schussman is asking everyone possible to pre-order the book before the release date of December 31. All those orders will show up for that date and help make her book do great on the best seller’s list. (That’s what we all wish readers would do. It’s nice to have the best seller label to attach to a book.)


Connect with H. Schussman:

http://hschussman.blogspot.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6430632.H_Schussman



*https://youtu.be/O6SPy9qV1M4

**According to Smashwords, Operation eBook Drop has ended, although you may find articles out there which say to the contrary and do similar things.



About the Reviewer

Ronovan Hester is an author, with his debut historical adventure novel Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling due out in Valentine’s Day of 2016. He shares his life  through his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world led to the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.com.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

@RonovanWrites

© Copyright-All rights reserved by LitWorldInterviews.com 2015

#BookReview. Graveyards of the Banks 1. I did it for the money by @NylaNox

REVIEWS FOR LITERARY WORLD REVIEWS

Graveyards of the Banks by Nyla Nox
Graveyards of the Banks by Nyla Nox

Title:   Graveyards of the Banks – I did it for the money: Seven Seasons of Midnights at the Most Successful Bank in the Universe
Author:   Nyla Nox
ASIN:  B00U7HRVNK
Published:  March 2015
Pages:  176
Genre:  
Business and Money/Banks and Banking. Contemporary Fiction/ Women’s Fiction

Description:

One woman’s toxic workplace hell.
Nyla Nox stumbles into a world of corporate bullying and shame at the world’s most successful institution. You won’t believe what goes on there…
The graphics center of the Most Successful Bank in the Universe (a real bank, but not its real name!), where Nyla ends up, is a graveyard of broken dreams where artists, psychologists, historians, philosophers and even teachers end up ‘doing it for the money’ while the bankers, who treat them like scum, are being brutally groomed to become the leaders of tomorrow.
What do you really know about life inside the Big Banks?
Did you know that, right now as you read this, a hidden tribe of jobless humanities graduates is working deep inside those secret and powerful institutions? Do you have any idea how toxic these workplaces are? And how badly most of the workers in the banks (who are not bankers themselves) are treated? Do you know why they are treated like this?
‘Graveyards of the Banks’ tells the truth about life in the Banks, about life as a single woman in London, about saying farewell to broken dreams and surviving (just!) a hair raising sequence of corporate attacks on your dignity, your self-esteem and even on your physical health, night after night, just to make rent.
Life is never dull at the Most Successful Bank in the Universe. The night shift is a battle field of bullies and bitches, emotions go wild at 4AM, and Nyla has to fight for survival every single minute.
Do you realize that the corporate bullying and shaming is not an accident? Nyla stumbles into that world, the Bank’s playground and training ground for Survival of the Fittest. The top bankers talk about it as their ‘killing ground’.
Nyla Nox was interviewed about her life in the Banks by the London Guardian and has written about her book and her experience in many well known international magazines. Her story seems to be an inconvenient truth, too extreme to believe. But her truth has been confirmed, again and again, by the Big Banks themselves, through their own announcements.
Read for yourself how the toxic banking system rots our hearts and minds, and our society. And as Nyla’s story shows, you don’t need to be a banker to be directly affected.
Whoever you are, the Banks are deciding your life for you.

“..Quite a few interviewees have described investment banks as abusive environments. But they seem to consider this an outcome, not an act of design. Nyla Nox thinks it’s deliberate. [Her story] struck me as perhaps extreme, but reading her experiences perhaps she did see the beast in the eye.”
Joris Luyendijk, The Guardian.
“ Wow. This was an amazing, moving book. … You know how a show like The Office perfectly captured everyone you work with in an office setting? This book does that with the financial world, while at the same time making you feel like you’re walking through this financial hell with Dante.”
Aaron Hoos, Financial Fiction Reviews
“… Graveyards of the Banks is somewhat reminiscent of Kafka’s ‘The Castle’ The Castle, in its descriptions of labyrinthine hierarchy and bureaucracy. … reminiscent in some ways of fascism, a brand of fascism without swastikas and SS uniforms. Nyla Nox also compares bank work conditions to Mordor, the land of evil in Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’.”
‘Dear Kitty’ social justice blog.

My review:

I am reviewing this book as part of the Lit World Interviews review team and was offered a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Nyla, the protagonist of this novel-cum-memoir (the author is also called Nyla and in the description of the book she explains the narration is born of her personal experience working for a bank, which although it remains nameless, it’s ‘the Most Successful Bank in the Universe’) works for the department preparing the publications that seemingly are the only visible output the bank produces. These always show predictions of growth for their clients, although as she discovers, such predictions are based on no real data. It’s a con but it must look good.

We only know the basics about the protagonist, who is an anthropology graduate and after years of trying to make a living out of her vocation is close to destitution (in fact at the beginning of the novel, when she’s going to undertake the selection test to get the job that will occupy the rest of the book, she only has £3 in her pocket). We know she lives in a bedsit, but nothing about her personal life, family or relationships. She talks about her love of studying, books, Philosophy, and the first person narration puts the reader inside her head, and we suffer with her the claustrophobia, the harassment, the bullying, and the minor joys (very minimal) she experiences. It does not make for easy reading, let me tell you.

Nyla is very insightful, both about the world and society around her (and she offers great anthropological, sociological and political insights, including how this bank’s behaviour towards his employees is only different in style rather to historical fascist regimes, even if they prefer to see it as social Darwinism) and about herself. She observes others, she tries to study ways of surviving (she’s doing it for the money, she keeps telling herself, to try and get to ‘a better place’), and she knows she is no better than others. Her comments about becoming the witch bitch reminded me of an article I read years back by Barbara Creed about Alien and what she called ‘the monstrous feminine’. Oh yes, she can be scary, but she’s strong.

There are lighter moments, like her songs dedicated to the sweets machine (and although she doesn’t name them, we know them) but these get swallowed up by the soul-destroying routine of working at the bank.

The bank (and the author’s descriptions of the place and the situation brought to my mind not only Kafka and Orwell but also the movie Brazil) is next door to an old graveyard where the protagonist spends some of her waiting time and this London graveyard is the perfect backdrop to the action and a mirror image of the institution, only the graveyard doesn’t pretend to be something it isn’t (and seems more welcoming). Like the air conditioning system, filled with nobody knows what, and a nest of corruption and sickness, the whole empire seems to be a bomb ticking. Like Nyla, who fantasises about being sacked, but worries about how she’d manage, we want to see the place collapse but don’t want Nyla to go under. The ending of this first book in the series is a cliffhanger for what might come when Monsters Arise.

This is a fascinating book, a very subjective experience for the reader, but not a novel with a plot full of action. We get to know the inside of the character’s mind but not her life. I don’t think it’s a book for everybody but it’s a scary look into a world some might have suspected existed, but not quite like this. If you want to know more about investment banking from a totally unique perspective, and you dare, go for it.

 

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: 4/5
Made Me Think: 5/5
Overall enjoyment: 4.5/5
Readability: 4/5
Recommended: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
 

Buy it at:  
Format & Pricing:
Kindle: $3.05

I thought I’d share some ‘pearls’ from the book:

‘After all, the Bank was supposed to know things nobody else did and could penetrate the darkness of economic confusion as well as predict the future. I have no idea how much our clients knew about our processing methods but in reality they were part of a ‘one size fits all’ production line.’

‘After all my time at the Bank, reading so many of their Books, I am at a complete loss to understand why the clients kept coming back, and kept paying our exorbitant fees for a service (‘copy and mutilate’) that was insultingly incompetent and had been discredited time after time. The only explanation I can come up with is that they must have been true believers in the natural leadership of high finance, and as such impervious to experience. ‘

‘After all, we were not one of those inept public service bureaucracies where the staff got sick leave and pensions.’

Olga Núñez Miret

@OlgaNM7

http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

http://www.OlgaNM.com

 

Why Use Kindle Matchbook?

There are a couple of reasons why you might want to offer your eBook with its paperback version at a steeply discounted price, or even free using Kindle Matchbook. People love a bargain, so it stands to reason that they’re really going to like the freebie best of all, but for instance – when buying a paper book as a gift they then can get the eBook for themselves at a steep discount – bonus. If someone is spending ten bucks for a paper book, an extra ninety nine cents shouldn’t be hard to spend. You get the full seventy percent royalty on the small sale which isn’t a huge pile to be true, but most importantly it also gives your rankings a boost. Also noteworthy, giving a free full colour eBook with a black and white paper self help book can do wonders to boost your CreateSpace sales.

Putting high quality colour images in your Kindle book is easy and only costs you a small amount of your royalty whenever someone buys and downloads it. Putting colour images in your paper book for CreateSpace is a whole different deal though, and you should always use the calculator there to find out what the minimum cost to produce it will be first before hitting any save button. Consider if colour images justify the high end cost to your readers.

It makes no difference how many images in your paper book are colour – the cost to print will be the same whether there is one or a hundred colour pictures in it. My non-fiction book is only a hundred and six pages long and if it were to be printed with colour images it would cost over twenty dollars. For a simple how to book such as mine is, I doubt that many people would be willing to fork out that kind of money. Unless you want to publish a special full colour children’s book, a fabulous coffee table tome or recipe book, or anything that really is all about the pictures, you might want to stick to black and white, but sweeten the pot by offering a full colour Kindle version using Amazon’s Matchbook feature.

There are still people out there who adamantly refuse to buy anything other than paper books, but the majority of us enjoy the convenience of eBooks. With Matchbook you can offer the digital version of your book either discounted at two ninety nine or less (textbooks nine ninety nine or less), or give it away free to anyone who purchases the paperback. Not only does your reader get to have the convenience of being able to look at a physical book on their desk while they’re using it to learn to do something – possibly on their computer in which case it can be a pain flipping between the how to book on Kindle for PC and whatever it is that you’re trying to learn – but they can also access any links that you’ve put in the eBook as well as getting to eyeball the colour images.

You will see whether or not a book is enrolled beneath the blurb on its landing page.

Matchbook

To enroll your own book, go to your bookshelf and select it in the Book Actions tab.

Matchbook Enroll

#BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO OF “WILL O’ THE WISP,” BY AUTHOR @VIRGILANTE

Will O' the Wisp

  • Title:  Will O’ the Wisp
  • Author: C. S. Boyack
  • File Size: 3536 KB
  • Print Length: 259 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN:
  •  Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Publication Date: March 13, 2015
  • Sold by Amazon, Inc.
  •  Language: English
  • ASIN: B00UPH6BNS
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Genres: YA Fiction, Paranormal, Mystery, and Suspense

*The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review which follows*

Have you Seen a Will O’ the Wisp?

Eerie green phosphorescent lights have been seen hovering over Bergamot Holler in Virginia since the beginning of time. What are these lights and why are they there? Speculation is that the lights are just swamp gasses floating harmlessly in the stillness of an autumn evening, even though their appearance has foretold many stories about fairies, ghosts, and witches.

That is until Patty Hall, a not-so-average 15-year-old, witnesses the Will O’ the Wisp first hand in the mid-1970’s during a routine hike in the woods near her house while star gazing one night. Patty witnesses one of the mysterious orbs as it forces its way inside the body of an unsuspecting male college student. Terrified, she flees back to the safety of her home, afraid to share what she has seen for fear her mother will have her committed.

The next day, when Patty’s Uncle turns up dead, the college student is arrested for his murder. Accompanied by her Mother and Step-Father at the jail, Patty sees the murderer who appears to be sick as he spews up copious amounts of liquid from his lungs. The boy has murder in his eyes as he lunges for Patty through the bars of his jail cell yelling, “You’re next!” (Pg. 37).

The Mystery Deepens

In preparation for her Uncle’s funeral Patty helps her mother clean out his house. It is during this process that Patty finds extensive research on the Will O’ the Wisp her uncle had been working on for years. Horrified by what she finds Patty realizes that her family has been targeted for generations by the Will O’ the Wisp.

On top of all this, Patty has her own disabilities to contend with. She is not popular in high school and must wear leg braces to correct a congenital deformity. Tensions with her mother are at an all-time high, and her two best friends are growing away from her. For Patty, life has taken a chilling turn.

With every ounce of courage, she can summon, Patty embarks on a supernatural journey to find the answers she needs to save her own life, and those of her friends, and family.

Recommendation:

Scary reads

I was gripped with tension as I read “The Will O’ the Wisp,” staying up late into the night because I could not put the book down. The next day, I found myself wondering about all the possibilities that Patty had before her in trying to solve the mystery that was stalking and killing her family members. You could say, I was hooked by the story and the characters, even though the book was targeted for a young adult genre.

S. Boyack realistically spins this coming of age tale of a 15-year-old girl with the chilling supernatural happenings in a small town in Virginia, all the while, blending historical elements that draw you further into the mystery. Boyack is clever, though. He reveals the story writing almost as if he were the young girl himself seeing through her eyes. Patty becomes a character who is totally loveable and believable, teenage angst and all.

My hope was to read this story during Halloween. That did not happen, although I was pleasantly surprised at how the story did not need a holiday to reinforce the enigmatic vibes of the story line. This was one of the best young adult novels I have read. If you are looking for something unusual to read bury your head into “The Will O’ the Wisp.” If you dare!

My Rating:

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 4
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 4
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 4.5 out of 5 stars

CS Boyack

 

 

 

 

 

About C. S. Boyack

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Make certain to connect with C. S. Boyack through his Twitter @virgilante

And his blog at: “Entertaining Stories,” coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

Book Review by: @ColleenChesebro of silverthreading.com

Colleen 10.2015

10 #Books for #Christmas from my #Reviews.

Looking for a last minute present for Christmas?

Want a great book?

Need a gift to put you into that FREE Shipping range?

Here are my suggestions from my reviews this year. Click the links for the reviews. Or click the book image to go to Amazon.

10 Book Ideas for Christmas

Dancing to an Irish Reel by Claire FullertonLiterary Fiction, Ireland, Contemporary

#Book Review of Dancing to an Irish Reel by @cfullerton3

“You might at times want to hit Liam over the head with something, like his accordion, but then, he is a man, it’s love, and he’s young, so what else would you expect? And that is one thing that makes this book real and allows the reader to connect with it. No one is perfect in the book. “

The Judas Apocalypse by Dan McNeilHistorical Fiction, Adventure, Archaeology, WWII

The Judas Apocalypse by @DanMcNeil888 “At times his encounters are humorous, deadly, and explosive.”

“He’s been referred to as the new Dan on the block of historical fiction conspiracy theories. I don’t agree. Dan McNeil handles his subject with a better hand than Brown ever has. Yeah, sure, you want to knock him across the room at times but who doesn’t want to read something that gets them on an emotional level at times? If you want a fluff read, skip this review. McNeil isn’t about fluff.”

Sex and Samosas book cover by Author Jasmine AzizMarriage, Relationships, Humor, Self Discovery

#Book Review by @RonovanWrites of Sex & Samosas by Author @JasmineAziz

“Nothing is perfect. Sex isn’t perfect like a scripted movie. Things happen, and man, I am still dying over the what I call ‘on fire’ part of the book.”

Jesus vs. Santa: Christmas Misunderstood by Jason E. RoyleChristian, Inspiration, and Parenting.

Jesus vs. Santa: Christmas Misunderstood by @JERoyle #Book Review by @RonovanWrites

“You’ll learn where the answer to how we handle the issue of Santa with our kids begins. A great deal of what you find in Jesus vs. Santa you can use in everyday life with not only your children, but yourself as well.”jason royle

Judas: Hero Misunderstood by @JERoyle

“The style he chose to use is contemporary in the use of language and symbolism in order for anyone today to relate and connect to the story. Unlike many other takes that are similar to what Royle has done you don’t get a preachy style. At the very end, after the story is all done and over with, you receive a look at passages from the Bible to show you what may or may not bring credence to what Royle has written.”

alesha escobarFantasy, Vampires, WWII, Magic, Wizards, Adult

#Book #Review of The Tower’s Alchemist The Gray Tower Trilogy Book 1 by Alesha Escobar @The_GrayTower

“Isabella George is not your typical spy. For one she’s a female spy in WWII sneaking in to German occupied France. Yes, there were female spies but not the norm in literature of this type. And for another thing, she’s a wizard. Her mission in this first book of the Gray Tower  Trilogy is to find and bring home the wizard creating a chemical weapon for the Nazis. But would it be a book worth a Trilogy if it were that simple?”

Levant Mirage by Oliver F. ChaseAction, Adventure, Terroists

Levant Mirage by @OliverFChase “It’s so possible, it’s scary.” #Book Review

“Levant Mirage takes snapshots from the headlines of the past few years to build a character and combines it with frighteningly realistic possibilities to give a story you pray never happens.”

Close Up on Murder by Linda TownsdinMystery, Suspense

Close Up on Murder by Linda Townsdin @ltownsdin. A #BookReview.

“Levant Mirage takes snapshots from the headlines of the past few years to build a character and combines it with frighteningly realistic possibilities to give a story you pray never happens.”

ali isaac jane doughertyIrish Mythology, Folklore, Short Story Collection

#BookWorm @RonovanWrites Review Grá mo Chroí Love Stories from Irish Myth @aliisaac_ & @MJDougherty33

“The stories are of love and tragedy and more. I felt while reading the stories I was reading not about people in a book, or about love between two people and what befalls them but the love of a people for their homeland and their culture and the tragedies they faced throughout the ages. Yes, it hit me where it hurt, or it felt. Got me in the heart. “

A Haiku Perspective by Annette Rochelle AbenPoetry, Haiku

New Book! A Haiku Perspective by Annette Rochelle Aben @YouAreTheExpert

“Welcome to my haiku perspective on life. It is easy to enjoy this book because haiku flows, which means it can be experienced effortlessly. Perhaps reading this book will open up some creative energy within you and if so, you will share your haiku as well. Those who live to express themselves with words, craft a world using the alphabet, are giving life to imagination and thought.”

© Copyright-All rights reserved by litworldinterviews.com 2015

#BookReview ‘Numero Zero’ by Umberto Eco. Satire, conspiracy, politics, media… although not sure it’s a novel.

Numero Zero by Umberto Eco. Kindle Cover
Numero Zero by Umberto Eco. Kindle Cover

Title:   Numero Zero
Author:   Umberto Eco
ISBN:   0544635086

ISBN13:  978-0544635081
Published:  3rd November 2015
Pages:  208
Genre:  
Satire, Thriller and Suspense/Conspiracy/Politics

Numero Zero by Umberto Eco. Satire, conspiracy, politics, media… although not sure it’s a novel.

Thanks to Net Galley and to Vintage Digital for offering me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve read some of the reviews by a number of readers who have followed Eco’s literary career. All seem to agree that this book cannot compare to some of the other novels he’s written, although some like it nonetheless, whilst others are disparaging of it.

For me, Umberto Eco is a writer who’s always been on my bucket list but never quite made it (or perhaps I read The Name of the Rose translated to Spanish many years back, but as I don’t remember it, I’ll assume I didn’t). When I saw this opportunity I decided not to miss it.

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but Numero Zero is quite different from anything I had imagined.

The beginning of the book is very intriguing, and it presents a writer/translator (Colonna) who swiftly explains his current situation. He is convinced that somebody has entered his house and he is in fear for his life.

Following this introduction to the main character, Colonna goes back to describe how he got there. The background to his current situation is what forms most of the novel, and we only return to the original point very late in the book (when there are only a few pages left).

Colonna describes himself as a loser and he has accepted a very strange job: to record the memoirs of a man who is setting up a newspaper, Domani. Only the newspaper will never get published, and the whole project is a way of manipulating contacts, allies and enemies by a third interested party.

There are descriptions of the reporters, a motley crew, fairly quirky, but none particularly talented or known. The ones we get to know more about are Bragaddocio, who’s always investigating some conspiracy or other (eventually coming to the conclusion that it is all part of a single huge conspiracy, involving Mussolini, the Vatican, the CIA, European governments…), and the only woman, Maia, who has a very special personality, but seems the only one with some sense of ethics and morals. By a strange process of osmosis, Colonna and Maia end up in a relationship, the one bright and hopeful spot of the whole novel, however weird the coupling seems.

Rather than well-developed characters and situations, Numero Zero seems an exercise in exposing current society (although the story is set in 1992), the press, media, politics… and their lack of substance. Also the lack of interest in serious stories by the population at large, and our collective poor memory.  As a satire I enjoyed it enormously, and although most of the characters experience no change (we don’t get too attached to them either, as they seem to be mostly just two-dimensional beings representing a single point of view), I thought Maia becomes more realistic, cynical and enlightened by the end of the book. And I found Colonna’s final reflection about Italy hilarious. (No offence to Italy. I think all the countries are going the same way if not there already. I’m Spanish and I definitely had to nod).

I agree with many of the comments, which note that the disquisitions and tirades of Bragaddocio are relentless, but they reflect a paranoid character (and perhaps, although he accuses Maia of being autistic, there is more than a bit of obsessiveness in his personality); the comments about the newspaper, how to write articles, and the press I found illuminating (yes, and funny), and overall I enjoyed the book, although as I said, it’s not my idea of a novel.

So I find myself in a similar situation to when I reviewed Satin Island. I enjoyed it (not as much as Satin Island, but it made me laugh more than once), but it is a novel that’s perhaps not a novel, with not very well developed characters, and an anecdote at its heart rather than a plot. There you are. You decide if you want to read it or not. Ah, and it’s short.

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: 3.5/5
Made Me Think: 5/5
Overall enjoyment: 4/5
Readability: 3.5/5
Recommended: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

Numero Zero Hardback Cover (I like this one!)
Numero Zero Hardback Cover (I like this one!)

 

Buy it at:  
Format & Pricing:
Paperback:  $ 14.95 http://www.amazon.com/Numero-Zero-Umberto-Eco/dp/0544811836/

Hardback: $19.14 http://www.amazon.com/Numero-Zero-Umberto-Eco/dp/0544635086/

Kindle: $15.13 http://www.amazon.com/Numero-Zero-Umberto-Eco-ebook/dp/B0110ONP24/

Audio:  $ 17.72 http://www.amazon.com/Numero-Zero/dp/B016QTSTCY/

  Thanks for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, and CLICK if you fancy it!

Olga Núñez Miret

@OlgaNM7

http://OlgaNM.wordpress.com

http://www.OlgaNM.com

Jesus vs. Santa: Christmas Misunderstood by @JERoyle #Book Review by @RonovanWrites

In Jesus vs. Santa: Christmas Misunderstood, Jason Royle tackles THE big question of Christmas; Is Santa evil? Okay, maybe he doesn’t quite put it that way, but you know a lot of Christians have issues with Santa.

After reading, enjoying, and reviewing Judas: Hero Misunderstood (click HERE for the review of that one), and then bringing Jason onboard LWI as our Christian and Inspirational book reviewer, there was no doubt I was going to read this new one.

One thing about both Jason and I, we are Christians. We are by choice, living it Christians. That means even though Jason works here, he gets an honest review from me. He expects one as well. If his book was so bad I couldn’t finish it, I would do like I do with other books like that, I send an email explaining things instead of putting it out there to the world my opinion that it was bad. The fact there is a review here should give you an idea if I liked the book or not.

In Jesus vs. Santa: Christmas Misunderstood, Royle takes you through the history of Christmas, from the real Jesus vs. Santa: Christmas Misunderstood by Jason E. RoyleSaint Nicholas to the daddy of Thor, in a brief and painless way. (I was a History teacher, so I know about painful history lessons.) You’ll learn where the answer to how we handle the issue of Santa with our kids begins. A great deal of what you find in Jesus vs. Santa you can use in everyday life with not only your children, but yourself as well.

As a minister and a father, Jason has to balance the question we all face as parents each Christmas with even more pressure than the rest of us. You might think he’s going to go full force in one direction on this subject, but read. If the answer is as clear as that, why would I read it and review it? If the answer is as simple as No More Santa, I would not waste my novel writing time reading the book and then even more of that time writing a review.

As an ordained Deacon, former Youth Minister, and Sunday School Director, I feel the pains Jason goes through in a family moment he shares. My son is 11 now, and the question of Santa is a big thing at the moment. He’s not asking, but you can see how realization is setting in. Fortunately, I’ve done some of the things Jason mentions in his book, so my hope is things transition well.

If you are about to enter the Santa zone with your kids, are in the middle of it, or coming to the end of it, read this book to find out how to handle things in a way that keeps your kids on the right path of Jesus not only at Christmas, but year around.

5 out of 5 Stars

Bet it at Amazon by clicking HERE NOW for Kindle/Paperback for $2.99/$5.99.

ABOUT JASON E. ROYLE

Judas Hero Misunderstood“Writing, for Jason, is a way to express the ongoing story of theology. With every book or article, he hopes readers get a sense of the complexity of God and the necessity of faith. Captivated by the spiritual component of life, Jason loves to read everything from the Greek classics to the Sunday comics. While serving as pastor of a congregation near Memphis, TN, Jason wrote a weekly column in a local newspaper called Sermon in a Nutshell and has had devotions published in The Secret Place, among others.”

Jason E. Royle toon editionClick the image to follow the latest from Jason on Twitter!



About the Reviewer

Ronovan Hester is an author, with his debut historical adventure novel Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling due out in Valentine’s Day of 2016. He shares his life as an amnesiac and Chronic Pain sufferer through his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge, a  Weekly Fiction Prompt Challenge, and the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.com.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

@RonovanWrites

© Copyright-All rights reserved by LitWorldInterviews.com 2015

El Tiburon by H. Schussman #Book #Review by @RonovanWrites

I received a preview copy of this book from the author for an honest review. Here it is.

CIA Agent Sean McGee is normally a laid-back guy. Even on a mission, he takes things in stride and does his job. His latest mission is to set up cameras in the compound of a drug lord in Guatemala. It sounds simple. Then El Jefe, the drug lord of all drug lords in Guatemala, decides to kidnap Sean’s wife, Sport, to use against him. Sean changes his plans.

Read that paragraph and you miss the real story of El Tiburon.

  • Thriller-YES
  • CIA Agents-YES
  • Covert Marines-YES
  • Drug Lords and Double Agents-Check Check

El Tiburon by H. SchussmanOne thing you also get is the inclusion of fleshed out roles for women as integral parts of the story, the mission, and more, not a plot device for the macho man to rescue.

Why do I make a point about women?

In many books, the writer throws a woman into a role that the reader can tell was written for a male, and the name was changed for some reason. The writer doesn’t do anything to make the character a woman except for that name change. Schussman goes through the process of creating parts and roles for each woman involved. Believe me; women are essential to the success or failure of McGee’s mission. (Writers, it’s not that difficult to write women. Even I can do it. If I can, anyone can.)

A thriller needs to have three qualities to make me happy.

Relationships

With any book I enjoy, it must have relationships. In a thriller, the action serves as the setting to relationships, and that is what H. Schussman does with El Tiburon.

This book isn’t about taking down a drug lord, it’s not even about taking down the king of the drug business of the Americas, El Tiburon, The Shark himself. This book is about not messing with family, friends, and loved ones.

Not only is their Sean’s wife Sport being put in danger, but his partner Gary develops feelings for a change. Dr. Janet McGee, Sport, ends up caring for a people group that no one else seems to bother with, ignores, or doesn’t even know exists.

Realism/Research

Two of my favorite authors are John Gardner and Clive Cussler: the first for his realistic handling of the spy genre of James Bond, Herbie Kruger, and Secret Generations, and the second for his research and attention to details. With El Tiburon all three of those aspects come together.

Learning

Schussman also does the third thing I enjoy in a book; she teaches or reveals something that I didn’t know about before in a culture or society. She’s definitely done her homework for this novel. There were certain parts I went to the search engines and did my own searching. She hadn’t made things up.

Recommendation

Given time I’ll read this book again. As I started to read I had a difficult time getting into the book. The prologue and the first few paragraphs of the first chapter are only a couple of pages long, so when you begin reading, keep reading. But once past those couple of pages and reading where the main characters begin I started enjoying things in a big way. The prologue does give some information that’s useful and maybe gives a sense of immediacy to the book, and the beginning of the first chapter lets you know about one of the characters involved.

RATING

Character Believability: 3.5
Flow and Pace: 4.5
Reader Engagement: 4
Reader Enrichment: 4.5
Reader Enjoyment: 4
Overall Rate: 4.1

Author: H. SchussmanEl Tiburon by H. Schussman
Title: El Tiburon
File Size: 618 KB
Print Length: 315 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Vinspire Publishing (Dec. 31, 2015)
Publication Date: December 31, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B018ZVID8Q
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
Format: Kindle
Price:  PRE ORDER $3.99
Lending: Enabled

ABOUT H. SCHUSSMAN

I am a writer living in Northern California. My husband and I travel about 8 weeks a year, and during that time I try to hunt down an internet cafe to tell my story. Usually twice a week . . . depends on where I am. I also am a physical therapist specializing in brain disorders and brain injuries . . . challenging! Anyway, I like to write, so if you like to read (and comment if you like) this is the blog for you. Check out my new espionage, full size novel titled ‘Counterpart’ available at http://www.smashwords.com. My newest novel, El Tiburon is now being published with Vinspire Publishing. It should be available next year sometime.



About the Reviewer

Ronovan Hester is an author, with his debut historical adventure novel Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling due out in Valentine’s Day of 2016. He shares his life as an amnesiac and Chronic Pain sufferer through his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge, a  Weekly Fiction Prompt Challenge, and the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.com.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

@RonovanWrites

© Copyright-All rights reserved by LitWorldInterviews.com 2015

Have a Cookie

I’m the very opposite of a techno wizard. In fact I’m just like most other scribblers out there in that at various steps along my Indie publishing way I have to take large chunks of time away from my writing to learn something computer, online, or software related. Lately it’s occurred to me that there’s a new bit of knowledge that needs to be added to the modern author’s toolbox. Whether traditionally published or Indie we all get to advertise our own work these days. We spend lots of time on the internet researching, promoting, and interacting with other people, including other authors on various platforms. We zoom off and buy things online. All sorts of things from foods to crockery, clothing and books. All this zooming leaves a trail on your computer which you can access by viewing your History in your browser, and really shouldn’t be anyone’s business but your own. That’s all good – but then there are the cookies.

A cookie really shouldn’t be anything to worry about, other than the fact that it’s something on your computer that you didn’t specifically put there yourself. They’re tiny little text files that are placed on your computer’s hard drive by some websites for the purpose of storing information to be picked up again later by the server that put them there. When you use a website that uses cookies it will pop down a cookie with an identity number specific to you. There’s more to this technically, but for our purposes all we need to know is that these things exist in our systems. Mainly they’re innocuous and intended to store information about you that will be helpful in future in that they can know your preferences, and also to tell if you have visited their site before. They can’t look at other cookies or anything else on your computer itself, or do anything other than mainly lurk there until you return to the server that placed them there.

So, a cookie will help a server know how many times you visit and your preferences and location. Harmless enough. Except when it’s not.

Most sites have good privacy policies in place, but it is possible for a site to track pages you read as well as what you buy and click on. This is easy to recognise when you’re looking at a particular product on a site new to you and an advert for the same or a similar product pops up there from an online company that you’ve previously bought something else from. This happens all the time, and it’s not logical to think of it as a happy coincidence. Probably if you want the product you’ll head over to the company that you already have an account with and buy it there – cookies job done!  You’re being quietly tracked.

It is possible, even though questionably ethical, for cookies to be loaded on to your computer that can possibly see what you enter into search engines and follow you to multiple sites, all while you unknowingly zoom around doing your authorly business. All these bits of information lifted up to the web server at various times means that this particular server knows pretty much exactly where you’ve been online, and when too. Possibly as writers any site collecting our information could end up confused and think that we’re serial killers, perverts, and weird conspiracy theorists to boot considering the things we search for, and that doesn’t bother me at all. Still, our online movements should only be shared at our own discretion, so if this is important to you, then you might want to regularly toss your cookies.

When you join certain sites you agree to them using cookies – that’s part of their terms of service. You don’t agree to never cleaning up your computer though. That’s something that you should do, particularly before and after you enter any site that you believe is following you around rather than simply leaving a cookie to recognise you with next time. It’s a simple process for those of you who aren’t already doing it, and good for your computer’s health in general too to have a clear out now and then. Firstly download and install the free version of CCleaner. They also have paid versions, but for the purposes of general and cookie clearing the free software is great. They let you know when there are updates for you to download too.

Once your CCleaner is installed, firstly close everything on your computer, and open it. Before running it, carefully go through the list of things to be erased on the left and make sure that anything you don’t want to lose is not checked, like saved passwords and so on. Don’t select anything at all from the Advanced selection unless you know exactly what you’re doing, and if you don’t know what anything is anywhere else leave it unchecked. If you’ve never done this before definitely leave something unchecked rather than delete something important. The main thing is to get rid of those cookies. Click on Run Cleaner and they’ll all be gone.  No more cookies, and any site you enter from there it will be with no history of your movements.

* Click on images to enlarge

CCleaner

CCleaner2

You can also use this for registry cleaning, which is very helpful for getting rid of the bits and pieces left behind after uninstalling a programme for instance, but I won’t go into all that here except to say that don’t check anything there either if you don’t know exactly what it is.

Apart from the cookies, if you aren’t cleaning your system regularly quite a lot of space could be taken up on your hardrive by unnecessary things after a long period of time, so this is useful in more ways than one. Now you have it installed, always do a clean before you enter a site that you believe is following your personal moves around cyberspace, and also directly after leaving it – just in case you forget to clean before next time. Safe online travelling fellow scribblers.

Thom Tate Spear Garden @ThomasATate #BookLaunch

How would you like a chance at a signed copy of the first FULL-LENGTH  Blake MacKay Spy Thriller by Thom Tate?

“A coup is brewing inside the last dictatorship in Europe. Belarusian Prime Minister, Oleg Shorets is devising the ultimate assassination, using a devastating new weapon to fake a terrorist attack and kill Spear Garden by Thom Tatethe Belarusian President, Vladimir Solonovich. With plans to blame it on Al Qaeda, the more collateral damage, the better. Thousands will die.

Meanwhile, when the CIA discovers that weapons used to kill two U.S. border guards are from a former Cuban general turned gun dealer, Hector Vasquez, they decide to send their most lethal weapon, covert operative Blake MacKay to take him out.

Blake uses his charms on the general’s daughter, Adriana, to get close to complete his mission. After being discovered, he makes a daring escape with more questions than answers. Blake uncovers a deeper plot involving an Al Qaeda weapons dealer, a corrupt European prime minister, and a traitor inside his own organization.

After a disastrous raid on an Al Qaeda safe house, Blake finds the key to start unraveling the mystery. It forces him back to Cuba where only one person can help him decipher what he’s discovered; the daughter of the man he recently murdered.

Take a ride with Blake from Cuba, to Afghanistan, Belarus and Eastern Europe in this non-stop action thriller.”

Click HERE to visit Thom Tate’s Facebook Page-Covert World by Thom Tate for all the updates, contests, and surprises that may be associated with this and other book releases.

The BIG announcement is:

Spear Garden is being released Friday, December 18 on Amazon.  And the first 15 who purchase the book and write a review on Amazon, get a FREE copy, signed and sent to them. That way you have the signed copy, and can give the other copy to a friend and share the work of Thom Tate.

AND

If you visit his facebook page you get a discount code from his update dated 12/17/15 that’s  good through the end of the year for 15% off!!!

Visit his facebook page to get all the details HERE.

#Seebooks (@seebookindie, @seebookUK) #Bookpromo you can touch and give away! And #giveaway

Hi all:

I wasn’t sure about sharing this post that I had already shared in my blog, here, but after discussing it with Ronovan, I decided to go ahead. I hope you find it useful, and if you have any queries, please, feel free to leave a comment here or contact me directly. My contact details are at the bottom of the post.

Here is my original post:

Hi all:

Some of you might remember that a few months back I brought you something I had come across in Twitter, called Seebooks (click here for a reminder of the post). I told you at the time that I had been exchanging information with Rosa Sala, the CEO, and I hoped to meet her in person in Barcelona.

Well, we met in September, and since I’ve been trying to give them a hand to bring the product to the UK (and hopefully many other places).

There are working on other products (including museum guides, audios…) and continuously renovating. And happy to hear new ideas.

Let me explain a bit more….

Seebooks look like a postcard and have the book cover at the front, at the back similar information to the back of the book (blurb, author picture if you like, and information about the author) and inside a code and QR for the book to be downloaded in a variety of formats. You can of course sign it or add a personal dedication to it. And, you can add bonus content (another story about the same characters, a video, a bit of audio, deleted chapters, PDFs with extra information… anything). You can send them to reviewers, readers, gift them as part of giveaways and take them with you to book launches or signings (and that way you can offer a less expensive alternative to your paperbacks). (Of course if you know bookshops or gift shops that might be willing to sell them there, they don’t take up a lot of space so… I’m wondering about card shops too.)

Here is a video (I just like the guy!):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Fm6rwJ-0KU

And they’ve just in introduced ‘Seebookmarks’ a bookmark that has the cover of the book at the front and a snippet of information about it (the author logo if you want, too), and at the back the QR and code that allows for the 33% of the book to be downloaded. When the readers get to the end of the sample, they get the links to buy it in all the shops where they’re available. You can use them like you’d use a personal card, with the advantage that it contains a gift and can hook the reader! I have talked to the local library where I live and they’re happy to have them there and to send them to the other branches. In Spain Seebook have a deal with the libraries in Barcelona and they‘re distributing Seebookmarks there (and exploring other places too).

Here is a presentation with a bit more detail about Seebookmarks:

http://bit.ly/1QCzGrG

Seebook have a virtual shop, and they collect information (about downloads: who, times, where, etc.), produce very detailed reports that they will send to you, and are happy to e-mail people who have already downloaded your books for future campaigns.

After chatting to them and working with them, they produced some Seebooks for me. Let me show them to you:

grupo-seebook-indie-Olgaing

And Seebookmarks:

marcapaginas-ing

As I was saying they are keen on seeing what authors in other places think about it, and have ask me to investigate (they call me their UK representative, but that’s only a big name). What it means is that if you’re interested in the product (check their website here) I can chat to you about it, send you samples, and offer you discounts.

You can leave you comments here, or contact me via e-mail:

 

olga@seebook.eu

or

mmxrynz@hotmail.com

And readers, I’m giving away five of my own Seebooks (and I’ll throw bookmarks in too) to five of you, in advance to the official publication of the single volume version of my YA series (due the 15th of December). Just contact me! (I’ll need addresses!)

Thanks so much to Rosa and Seebook for the Seebooks and for this opportunity, thanks to you all for reading, and you know, you can like, share, comment and CLICK!

#BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO OF “BEYOND THE COLORED LINE, STELLA – BOOK 2,” BY AUTHOR @HOUSEOFPOETRY

Stella: Beyond the Colored Line by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

  • Title:  Beyond the Colored Line – Stella, Book 2
  • Author: Yecheilyah Ysrayl
  • File Size: 443 KB
  • Print Length: 64 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN:
  •  Publisher: Lulu.com
  • Publication Date: July 27, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  •  Language: English
  • ASIN: B013PQCKK8
  • Formats: Kindle, Stella – book 1: Kindle
  • Genres: Women’s Fiction, Literature, Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

*The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review which follows*

Introducing – Stella May

In 1916, Stella May is born as the great-granddaughter of a former slave, also named Stella May. The original Stella May changed her family’s surname to May upon gaining her freedom. Stella is born of mixed ancestry which for all appearances gives her light skin, blond hair, and hazel eyes.

An amazing beauty, Stella is teased by her black classmates because they don’t believe she is black enough. She looks white and even sounds white. In comparison, her white classmates ridicule her since she is too poor to fit in with proper white society. Stella May is caught in the proverbial catch 22. She is too light to be black and too poor to be white.

Stella May’s mother, Judith was born of mixed ancestry also, which gave her the same light skin, hair, and eyes. Judith always thought of herself as a black woman when she married Stella’s father who was also black. By 1928, Stella’s father ran off in fear of being lynched for being married to a white woman. In those days, society made it clear that the races should not co-mingle.

Who is Sidney McNair?

However, even without her father around, Stella was raised with a family of aunts (from her mother’s side) who took an active part in her life. Eventually, because of the difficulties with Stella fitting in at school, her mother sent her to a private school. Stella’s uncles on her father’s side said, “…They were breaking the law – that a Negro had no business in a white school.” Aunt Sara felt different, because, after all, she said, “Stella is half white.”

By the time the Great Depression eases, Stella and her family move to segregated Chicago, where life is not much better. Aunt Sara, a school teacher, struggles to wait for the school district to pay her. Sara has made the step into white society by dating an affluent doctor and encourages Stella to do the same.  After a discussion with Aunt Sara, Stella decides to pass for white. Sidney McNair is born and enters a white society where she had the freedom to go where she chooses and to buy whatever she likes. Stella has crossed the colored line.

Many years later, Sidney is forced to come to grips with the decisions she made long ago. How those decisions affect her life, and the lives of her children and grandchildren, take the reader on a roller-coaster ride into the world of race and ethnicity in America today.

Recommendation:

Since I had not read the first book in the Stella series, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to pick up the threads of Stella’s story. Although the characters are fictional, I was drawn to them (especially Stella) because I have granddaughters of mixed ancestry and I wanted to understand the challenges they face as young women each day.

Maybe, because I felt such a personal connection, Stella’s story touched me even more deeply than I thought it would. I had no idea how difficult life was for Stella and her family, all because of the color of their skin. This was an emotional read for me.

Even more revealing, is how relevant Stella’s story is in America today. I wonder how many people, faced with the same dilemma’s that Stella dealt with, would be able to reconcile their feelings about their own ethnicity.

So, I asked my granddaughters who have black, white, and Thai ancestry. Both girls are beautiful and exotic. They have dark hair, and skin, while one granddaughter has brown eyes, the other has hazel eyes. You know what they told me? They said they were American! Somehow, I knew Stella would have approved.

Beyond the Colored Line is a story about an American family dealing with the issues of race and color in a time when those issues were considered to be conditions characterized with hardship and suffering. Stella’s story helped me to discover connections with my own family I never had before. You see, even in my own family, nothing is ever just black and white.

My Rating:

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 4
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5
Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Author, Yecheilyah Ysrayl:

Born in 1987 on the south side of Chicago, Yecheilyah Ysrayl (“EC”) is an author and Spoken Word Artist.

Yecheilyah started writing short stories and poetry at the age of twelve. She attended Harper High School (International Language Career Academy) Robert Morris College (Computer Basics / Administration), Chicago State University (Professional and Technical Writing), and Everest College (Medical Assistance / Phlebotomy).

As an artist, Yecheilyah Ysrayl is an incorporation of spiritual critique, honesty and an authentic analysis of African American identity. She seeks to create work that promotes healthy research and investigation into the cultural identity, laws, customs and traditions of the African American for self-revolution and advancement. Furthermore, “EC” seeks to advance the promotion of truth and identity by way of Spoken Word.

“EC” currently lives in Shreveport, LA with her husband where she writes full time.

To watch a trailer for the book click the link below.

Make certain to connect with Yecheilyah through her Twitter @ahouseofpoetry

And Facebook at Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Book Review by: @ColleenChesebro of silverthreading.com

Colleen 10.2015

A Dream for Love by Lisa Belcastro @VineyardRomance #BookReview by @JERoyle

I want to begin by saying, I need to stop passing these great books on to Jason and read them myself! I believe this so much so I went and bought the author’s award winning Christmas novella as soon as I read this review.Ronovan

To be honest, I am typically not a Christian romance reader. But A Dream for Love by Lisa Belcastro took me by surprise. This is my first book by Belcastro and I enjoyed her wholesome approach. To some extent, at first, the story seemed like it was going to be highly predictable, but it wasn’t; it had just the right amount of “I wonder what is going to happen next” in the air to keep me guessing and A Dream For Love by Lisa Belcastroreading. An attractive story-line, foreshadowing, subtle humor, and good grammatical flow are several of the qualities which kept my attention.

Even though it is a story of relationships and romance, I still found myself taking out my pencil and underlining several thought provoking statements here and there. In chapter ten, for example, I underlined the quote “God doesn’t leave us in one place.” 

In short, if you are in the mood for an emotional love story with a Godly message, then this book is for you. Fate will bring your dreams to life in A Dream for Love.


Get the book  by clicking the book title or click HERE for her Amazon Author Page for all her selections. Including her award winning creations. Visit http://lisabelcastro.com/ and follow Lisa on Twitter



ABOUT LISA BELCASTRO

Lisa BelcastroLisa Belcastro lives with her family on Martha’s Vineyard, the ideal setting for her novels with the ocean, sandy beaches, rolling hills, and ancient cliffs. Lisa has published A Shenandoah Christmas by Lisa Belcastrofive books to date, with her  Christmas novella, A Christmas: A Novella (Winds of Change) released November 17, 2015 has already won the SELAH Award for Best Novella. Lisa’s debut novel, Shenandoah Nights, Shenandoah Nights by Lisa Belcastrowon the Christian Small Publishers Association’s Romance Book of the Year in 2014, and also won the RWA New England Chapter’s Reader’s Choice Award in 2014.

She loves time with her family and friends, running, gardening, outdoor activities, cooking, chocolate, reading, traveling, a healthy dose of adventure, and her cat, Ben, who keeps her company while she creates fictional lives for the numerous characters living inside her head.

Lisa runs as an ambassador for TEAM 413 (www.team413.org), and has completed a marathon (26.2 miles) in all fifty states.



Writing, for Jason Royle, is a way to express the ongoing story of theology. With every book or article, he hopes readers get a sense of the complexity of God and the necessity of faith. Captivated by the spiritual component of life, Jason loves to read everything from the Greek classics to the Sunday comics.  Amazon Author Page.

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How to Make a PDF Cover for Your CreateSpace Book

When you’re ready to have your book printed with CreateSpace and you’re planning on tackling the cover on your own it can seem rather daunting. It certainly terrified me to begin with and I only very recently updated my covers from the originals I made using the CreateSpace online cover creator. There’s nothing wrong with using that though. It depends on you entirely. Today I’ll show you how to make a PDF cover using their downloadable template. Once you’ve finished the interior of your book and have the final page count, go to the CreateSpace Template Generator and fill in all the required fields.

  • Click on screenshots to enlarge.

Build Template

Click on Build Template and it will download a zipped file containing two templates. One PDF and one PNG. Drag the PNG across to the folder that you’ve allocated for all the elements of your cover design.

BookCover6x9_BW_330.pngTemplate

For some reason these templates come with a lot of white space around them – I suggest cropping it away to avoid straining your eyeballs overly. Another odd thing I’ve noticed with the templates is that the page counts written on them are generally rounded off. You can fiddle around with the generator until you get the exact count, although I just used the one I got. They know what they’re up to I’m sure.

You’re going to need to open this template with design software. You could use whatever you have such as Photoshop or Gimp – anything with layers. I’ll stick with my favourite for this sort of thing, my good old workhorse, the free Paint.NET. I’ve mentioned Paint.NET lots of times before so I won’t go into the whole thing again – just the steps you’ll need to take for this. If you don’t have any design software yet, go ahead and download this. As well as being free they have loads of plugins and tutorials on their site for you to get up to speed with it.

PaintnetBefore you load the template up – using File > Open on Paint.NET, double check that none of the elements of your cover are sized wider or higher than the template supplied. The original is 5700 x 3900 which becomes smaller after cropping. Also make sure that all images have a quality of 300dpi. You can check this in Paint.NET too by clicking on the Image tab and having a look at what comes up when you select Resize from the box there.The pink outer line (that I believe is referred to as the red line even though it’s all pink to me) is split by a dotted black line. Everything that you place below it is safe. Nothing must be placed above it that you’re going to mind losing in the trim process. Make sure that no typography creeps into any part of the pink as well as anything key to your design. Even though a portion of it may be trimmed away, it must still be filled to the very edge of all the pink. The black dotted lines running through the pink on the spine are your fold lines so make sure that your spine lettering or artwork is kept well away from them.

You can add elements in any order that you want. I just find it easier working from right to left. Click on the Layer tab in Paint.NET and select Import From File, browse for your cover and load it up.

Using the little tabs in the corners, stretch it out to fit or move it around by clicking on the image and moving it to where you want it. The easiest way that I’ve found is to get it lined up exactly in the top right hand corner and then stretching it out to fit.

1

 

At any point in this process you can toggle between layers, but I purposely made this cover without doing so for anyone who finds the thought of fiddling with layers too much for now. The nicest and easiest trick to use is to change the opacity so that you can still see your cover, but you can also see through it to the template below. To make the layer you’re working on see-through click on the properties box in the bottom right hand corner of your screen and change it. Normal 100% opacity is set at 255, so try 100 to 150 to see the template too. Don’t forget to change it back to 255 when you’re done or you’re going to end up with the template being an actual part of your cover design.

Opacity

Next is the spine. Create yours facing the usual way, but rotate it to upright before loading it up.

Spine

This way it will remain straight and all you have to do is stretch it out to the fold lines. Double check that there are no gaps left in between.   Each time you use Import From File to add another element you are creating a new layer, so whatever you do there will have no effect on the layers below.

Fold Line

Finally add your back cover, making sure that there is nothing important in the barcode area or it will just get covered up, and Save As JPG. Open the JPG in your photo viewer and if you’re happy with it Print it as a PDF file. This will be what you’ll load up to CreateSpace. Job done.

PDF

If this seems like something you’re not ready to do, then definitely use the CreateSpace online cover creator. You should still load up your own cover design and back though rather than use theirs so as to not see your cover on other books all over the place. It’s easy to use and the only drawback I found with it was not having a greater selection of colours for the spines of books. Either way you decide to go, you can still end up with a fabulous cover for your book.

Online Cover Creator

Review:A Rake’s Reward By Meredith Bond

A Rake’s Reward

Merry Men Quartet Book Two

By: Meredith Bond

Published by Anessa Books

Published October 2, 2015

Genre: Historical, Regency, and Romance

 

Back Copy:

A treasure lost…

American Sara Whately came to England with a single goal: recover a long-lost family treasure. Her father had long ago renounced his title and abandoned his country, but desperate financial straits call for desperate measures. Gaining access won’t be easy. The jewels are hidden on an estate Sara’s grandfather lost long go in an unlucky turn of the cards. And then there’s the vexing, villainous, valiant Viscount Reath… 

A jewel of a woman…

Sinclair Stratton, Lord Reath has always gotten everything he wants—money, privilege, and women. But after ten years in India, he’s returned to England, ready to make amends for his youthful follies. He plans to return his ill-gotten estate to its rightful owner but the man is impossible to find. And despite still being one of the most sought after rake’s in town, the bold American beauty he keeps encountering seems to be immune to his charms and dashing good looks.

While Sara has promised to not just search for her grandfather’s jewels, but make an attempt at fitting into society, it might just be that Viscount Reath is the treasure she actually needs.

 

Review:

Meredith Bond has created a meeting of strength, sass, sweetness, and smarts that somehow combine into a female lead that captures the reader almost immediately. When paired with an aristocratic male lead that is the epitome of reformed, stubborn, and chivalrous and friends that are well rounded and fun, readers can’t help but enjoy the play between characters.

While the story is easy to read and sweet, I found that the feel of the story was just perfect when combined with the plotline. Sarah reminds me of my own friends and the Viscount…I wish I had one of him! Honestly, when I started reading this book I was afraid it would be another book in which the romance took center stage while rest of the promised story took a back seat. However, that was not the case at all! I got a full plotline with sweet bits of caring thrown in like adding marshmallows to hot chocolate to round out the flavor.

While I did enjoy this book immensely, there were a few things that brought the rating down for me. First, there are several areas in which words began to feel a little repetitive. When the same words are repeated too closely to each other, reader eyes tend to skip lines unintentionally and I noticed myself doing that at least seven times. The words are great words but repetition becomes boring for the brain.

Secondly, there are a very few typos and phrase repeats (i.e. he did he did not…) that caused my reading to stutter momentarily.

Lastly, the final three chapters seemed a little rushed to me. The story suddenly moved more quickly, rolled up nicely, and suddenly came to a halt with a pretty little bow wrapped around it. I do love the way the book ended; however, I felt that a few extra pages might have added to my overall enjoyment of the ending.

Ratings:

Character Believability: 4

Flow and Pace: 4

Reader Engagement: 4

Reader Enrichment: 3

Reader Enjoyment: 4.5

Overall Rating: (3.9) 4 out of 5 Stars

If you enjoy sassy characters, snappy actions, and great dialogue along with your romance novel, I highly suggest that you check this book out!

*I received this book in return for an honest review. All opinions stated here are my own.*

To learn more about Meredith Bond, connect with her on social media, or purchase her books, please go to:

Website: http://www.meredithbond.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/meredithbondauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/merrybond

Google: https://plus.google.com/+MeredithBond/posts

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/merrybond

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/autho/show/847484.Meredith_Bond

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Meredith-Bond/e/B001KI1SNE/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1 

 

#InterviewsInTranslation ‘Sunrise in Southeast Asia’ by Carmen Grau (@CarmenGrauG ) A traveller and writer Down Under.

Hi all:

As you know I try to bring you writers who mainly publish in Spanish and whose works have been translated to English to help you discover their wonderful offerings. Today, I have the pleasure of bringing you Carmen Grau, a writer from Barcelona (like me) who after travelling widely (and she keeps travelling) now lives in Australia. Therefore the interview title is a bit of a misnomer as she has written it in English, but I thought you’d find it fascinating. And it’s  a topic fairly different to the fiction I usually bring you. If you have children you’ll find her take on children’s education pretty interesting too.

And here, without further ado, I introduce you to Carmen.

Author Carmen Grau
Author Carmen Grau

Biography

Carmen Grau was born and grew up in Barcelona, Spain. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Barcelona and a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Providence College, R.I. She writes in English, Spanish, and Catalan. She has traveled extensively and lived in different countries like the USA, Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia. In the year 2000 she set out on an unplanned journey around several Southeast Asian countries, and a year later she wrote “Amanecer en el Sudeste Asiático” (Sunrise in Southeast Asia), the number one ebook in all travel categories on Amazon Spain in 2012 and 2013. In 2004, she wrote the novel “Trabajo temporal”. In 2013, she published a second travelogue, “Hacia tierra austral”, which tells her journey on board some of the most legendary trains in the world, from Barcelona, Spain to Perth, Australia. The novel “Nunca dejes de bailar” is her most recent work, published in February 2015. She writes regularly in her blogs: elblogdecarmengrau.blogspot.com, in Spanish, and raisingchildreninfreedom.blogspot.com, in English. Apart from writing and traveling, Carmen has many other passions like cooking, walking, and reading; most of all, spending time with her two unschooled sons, Dave and Alex. She is a child advocate and a firm believer in the right of children to self-education. When not traveling, Carmen and her two sons live in Dunsborough, a small town in the South West of Australia.

When and where did you start writing?

I started writing when I was little. I remember writing my first book when I was eight. I don’t know what happened to it, but I still keep the journals I started when I was ten or eleven. I never stopped, but I did burn some of the later journals so that my siblings would stop wanting to read everything I wrote. I find this very ironic now because they are not interested in reading my books. I don’t mind and we still get along great.

Sunrise in Southeast Asia by Carmen Grau
Sunrise in Southeast Asia by Carmen Grau. Trans. Brendan Riley

Tell us about your experience as an independent writer

I published my first book Amanecer en el Sudeste Asiático (now available in English as Sunrise in Southeast Asia) on Amazon in 2012. I wrote it in 2001, right after my seven-month journey around Southeast Asia. I tried to get it published in Spain with no success. In the meantime, I kept travelling and living life. I also got distracted with marriage and kids. One day it dawned on me that the book had been sitting in a drawer for ten years. I only gave it to read to friends who knew about it and asked for it. One day a writer contacted me. She had heard about my book through a common friend and wanted to read it. She liked it and encouraged me to do something about it. So I decided to try again to get it published in the traditional way. I sent it to over thirty literary agents in Spain. Four of them replied and one said they loved it and would be happy to represent me. However, they did not manage to find me a publisher and blamed it on the current economic crisis in Spain. It was then, at the end of 2011, when I decided to self-publish my book using my small second-hand book business name, Dunsborough Books. The book finally came out in April 2012 and started selling on Amazon straight away. Soon it became number one in all travelling categories on Amazon and has remained at the top since its publication. After that, I was encouraged to keep self-publishing and, of course, writing, which I had never stopped doing. Since then, I have been contacted by traditional publishers who are interested in my work, and I might consider trying this other way, but for the moment I am happy as an independent author and publisher.

Do you have a particular moment about your experience as a writer that you remember with particular affection?

I can’t think of one precise moment. I have lots of anecdotes regarding my readers which I cherish. Once a reader found one of my books on a bench. He picked it up, read it, loved it, and wrote to me to let me know all this. Another time, my sister went to Thailand for a month and she met a couple who started telling her about this great book they had just read. It was my book!

Do you have a favourite genre (as a reader and as a writer)

As a reader, I don’t have a favourite genre, but there are genres I wouldn’t read even if they paid me. I read a lot of non-fiction. I love travel books, but also psychology and science books. And I love reading fiction too, mainly literary fiction. As an author, I aspire to write good quality contemporary fiction and also non-fiction about the things that interest me, like education and travelling.

What made you decide to translate your book? And how did you go about it?

The Spanish version of my first book was so successful that I thought I should try to have it translated into English. Besides, all my English speaking friends asked me for it. At the time, I didn’t think I would have the patience or skill to translate it myself, so I looked for a professional translator. Someone recommended me one that turned out to be quite unprofessional. I saw that straight away, so nothing was lost. Then I did some research myself, through Linkedin. I found a translator that seemed very talented and professional and started working with him. It was a great experience and I will be recommending him to a lot of people.

Any advice for other writers?

Have your book read, proofread and revised by as many people as you can, prior to publication. You’ll be surprised at how disparaging your friends’ opinions will be. In the end, though, you decide what changes to make. Write for yourself, you’re the first one who has to like it. If you like it, many other people will like it too, because you’re not that unique. That’s what I do, anyway.

Links to follow Carmen and read more about her book:

Book in paperback (and you can also get the e-version matched for price if you get the paperback)

https://www.createspace.com/5706521

E-book

mybook.to/SunriseinSoutheastAsia

Carmen’s page in Amazon:

amazon.com/author/carmen-grau

A post by Brendan Riley, the translator, about the book.

https://brendanriley2015.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/sunrise-in-southeast-asia/

Thanks so much to Carmen for telling us about her book and her writing, thanks to all of you for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment and CLICK!

Deadlines and Goal Setting

The very thought of setting deadlines for your work is anathema to some writers.  They believe that having a fixed time to complete a story will knobble their creativity and result in them churning out awful hogwash.  I don’t agree – personally I think that there’s joy to be found in a little bit of discipline.  Possibly if you set unrealistic deadlines you will indeed find yourself knobbled and not produce your best work, but reasonable time set for a project can inspire you to work at it every day rather than watching soaps because you have all the time in the world after all.  Truthfully, we don’t have all the time in the world, and if we want to leave a legacy of stories, we need to get them written down.  Goal setting helps us do this.

Deadlines can be terrifying things when life gets in the way in the form of illness, or some other kind of stress inducing thing that seems hell-bent on preventing you from accomplishing your goal.  I believe that the universe has been, and continues to be, rather lavish with me personally with the terrifying and stress inducing things by the way, and I’ve missed many of my personally applied deadlines.  That doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop setting them though.  Living life without goals doesn’t seem very exciting, and just like any other worthwhile pursuit, I think that working towards a goal, which is just a personal deadline after all, is great for any writing or other project.  Consider Parkinson’s Law.

Parkinson's Law

When there’s no sense of urgency it’s human nature to let projects take much longer than they should.  Rather set yourself the right amount of time.  Having projects waiting to be finished is generally stressful to some degree to most of us, and the longer any particular project languishes the worse we tend to feel about ourselves for not getting cracking on it.  Fiddling with one particular book for months or years on end might be pleasurable for some, but for many anything that takes so long to do has a very good chance of being abandoned altogether because of our feelings of failure.  Setting deadlines for yourself will help you dive right in and write, rather than angst over single sentences for days and days.  Now is the perfect time to get started on setting real date goals for your writing if you aren’t already doing that.

With 2016 poking its face up on the horizon, why not grab a pen and notepad and list your writing goals for next year?  Be realistic – if you’re sure that you can finish X book by June and Y book by November, set your deadlines for July and December to give yourself a little leeway.  You know the speed of writing that you’re comfortable with, so you can choose whether or not you want to challenge yourself with a little bit of extra zoom required.  You can break those annual goals down into chunks with what you hope to achieve monthly, weekly, or even daily.  The scariest thing about completing any project with a deadline is actually starting it, but once you do start it and accomplish that first day’s goal, the easier it gets.  It’s pretty much guaranteed that you won’t make all of your deadlines, but that’s alright as long as you try to.  Don’t ever be harsh on yourself if you don’t get there, rather relish the fact that you did your best.  Don’t give ever up because of a missed deadline – rather set a new one.  So dust off that book that’s been lurking unfinished for way too long, and write a date on it.  A deadline.  Then don’t worry about failing to complete it, rather have at it joyfully in the knowledge that it’s not the guarantee of literary accolades that means success, but the actual doing – the writing.  Finishing your scribbles is absolutely success.