Monday, October 29, 2012

MONSTROUS MONDAY


timbrannan.blogspot.ca

In honour of Tim Brannan's MONSTROUS MONDAY I want to introduce you to a monster the likes you may never meet again. If you're squeamish, now would be a good time to run.


Wesley, a mentally challenged young man has the gift of healing. He also sees the colour green deep inside bad people, alerting him to the evil within. He learns quickly that he and only he can make the green go away. But sometimes in order to do that, he must kill. With each kill, he becomes stronger, but so does his mortal enemy, a young woman who is gathering kills faster than Wesley is healing. In the end, they will battle each other for the ultimate power. Yes, Dark Knowledge is about good and evil.

As a writer, I love well-written novels, with prose I can drool over, and a story I can't put down, a protagonist I believe, and a bad guy that scares the heck out of me. DARK KNOWLEDGE is all of that and more. I was hooked from the beginning because the hero is challenged, but with each healing, little by little, knowledge is revealed to him, until he is attuned to sacrificing even his life to save the world.

What was most frightening about DARK KNOWLEDGE is that this evil controls the mind and leaves the victim without a chance of survival.

If you're looking for a book you can sink your teeth into, for a hero you can cheer for out loud, for a story so credible it makes your teeth chatter, I can't recommend DARK KNOWLEDGE enough. Riveting, on-the-edge-of-your-seat frightening, DARK KNOWLEDGE is the story of something evil this way comes.

I discovered Keith Pyeatt's work in the mid-90s. I knew I'd found a gold mine after first reading MIND SHADOW. Then it was ABOVE HALDIS NOTCH, followed by STRUCK. I can't wait for Pyeatt's next book!






DARK KNOWLEDGE

by 


I have to admit, the monster in Keith Pyeatt's DARK KNOWLEDGE scared me big time. I was so engrossed in the story, I ended up reading the novel in less than 2 days. I couldn't put it down. But--I had to sleep with a nightlight!

Here's Amazon's synopsis:

With knowledge comes a dark destiny...

A whole new world beckons inside the mind of mentally challenged Welsey Henson, a world that offers him a gift he can’t resist: knowledge. He carries these bits of knowledge back to the physical world, unaware of the dark instincts that come with them. The knowledge builds Wesley's intellect, giving him abilities he’s never had before—to know the world around him, to heal...but these new instincts thrust him into an evil contest he can't understand, much less win, against opponents who are trained to kill. The more Wesley understands, the harder it becomes to tell good from evil, and the more difficult his choices become. What must he sacrifice to save the world from his dark knowledge...his life, or his soul?

Product Details

File Size: 926 KB
Print Length: 257 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Etopia Press (August 18, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B005I55IV8
Text-to-Speech: Enabled 

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #386,071 Paid in Kindle Store

"Pyeatt has created an intense tale of horror that is one of the most gripping reads I've read this year...I highly recommend diving into Dark Knowledge if you're looking for an entertaining read that is as dark as it is brilliant." - Fictitious Musings Review.

"I would recommend this to all who love horror and fantasy but also to those who enjoy a thought provoking look at good and evil. Dark Knowledge is guaranteed to satisfy." - Bitten by Books

http://keithpyeatt.com/dk.html

PARTICIPANTS:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

THE NEXT BIG THING

We [authors] all dream about our novels being the next big thing. It's only natural to hope our efforts produce something fabulous. So, when Adriana Ryan asked me to participate in THE NEXT BIG THING blog hop, I said "Of course. I'm there!" 

I'm an author, I want the world to know about my books. Besides, it gives me an opportunity to tag five other writers to participate. What's extra special is they're like me, they write suspense novels. We're a small group, at least it feels that way, so any chance I have to help them promote their work is the highlight of my day. 

Okay, so here's what you do. Answer ten questions about one of your works, either a book or WIP, doesn't matter. Today I'm sharing my next book which is now in the hands of my publisher, the sequel to "Broken But Not Dead". The photo to the left, curtesy of Law & Order, is Canadian actor Adam Beach, who I believe would be a perfect Danny Killian, my protagonist. Such a cutie. I picked the photo because Danny's intense and a little sad. 

TEN QUESTIONS:

1. What is the working title of your book?

Omatiwak: Woman Who Cries. 


2. Where did the idea come from from the book?

After I finished Broken But Not Dead, one of the characters, Sally Warner, wouldn't leave me alone. Strange as this sounds, it felt as if she were stalking me. Days, weeks, months, she hounded me, saying stuff like, "You're not going to leave me like this, are you? You can't. I have a story to tell!"


Sally Warner [Kathy Bates]
I won't spoil it by saying anything else. Except, after seven months of her constant nattering, I sat down and started writing her story. How worse could her life get? Well, let's see. What if on a cold fall morning, she finds her husband, retired Minister of National Defense, dead on their kitchen floor. He's been shot by an unknown assailant. The police are worried she's the next victim. 

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Psychological thriller. In case you don't know what that is, and have always wondered, a psychological thriller generally leans more toward the unstable emotional states of their characters.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Oops, already answered that question. Adam Beach would be RCMP Corporate Danny Killian. Kathy Bates would play Sally Warner, the wife of Leland Warner, murder victim. Sally's confidente, the gracious and wise Brendell Kisepisim Meshango, protagonist of BROKEN BUT NOT DEAD, would be played by Tina Keeper. 


Tina Keeper

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Can the developing friendship between a cop and a suspect ruin both their lives? 

I'm going to give this more thought, but for now this pretty well covers it. Okay--Okay, I'm hoping one of my editors comes up with the synopsis. I hate writing these things. Tried to get Alex Sokoloff to write it, but she kept giving it back to me. Shish. 

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

Good question because I've done both, and I choose a publisher, for so many reasons. A topic for another day. 

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Prior to buying my Mac I had so many computer crashes that I'm no longer sure. But if I had to guess, I'd say 5 months. That does not include the seven drafts. Or the 10 revisions I did with the help of my line editor, copy editor, and final draft editor.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Stephen King's "Dolores Claiborne" because while Kathy Bates' character is sympathetic, she's making things worse by keeping secrets. Another Stephen King thriller, "Secret Window."

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Two things, my Metis heritage and my concern that there aren't enough books about 50-something women. Particularly strong native women. 

10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

The story takes place in small-town Canada where there has always been an underlying tension between Aboriginal peoples and the white establishment. During the time it took to write Omatiwak, by the way, that's Cree for Woman Crying, a task force was investigating the disappearance and murders of dozen of women on the Highway of Tears. It's an ongoing theme throughout the book that haunts my protagonist, RCMP Corporal Danny Killian

Now comes the part where I get to introduce you to 5 talented suspense writers. 

Honey Rose

Michelle Wallace

Jeremy Bates 

Heather Haven

Joanne Elder


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

DID I NOTICE YOUR BOOK?

I'm doing something a little different today and I need your help. I'm participating in DID I NOTICE YOUR BOOK BLOGFEST. I'm about to reveal a book I noticed, and the author has no idea that I'm doing this. Please shout out until the the author finds their book. The author will then need to comment on Ciara Knight's blog and reveal how they found out their book was a DID I NOTICE YOUR BOOK BLOGFEST choice. Don't forget to stop by Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog.

Once again, the author has no idea their book has been noticed.

The Book I Noticed is:

  

Embrace the Whirlwind by Laurel-Rain Snow explores how a restless young woman learns to overcome her dysfunctional family, face her personal demons and find the happiness she so richly deserves. 

 

How does one person connect to another in a meaningful and satisfying way? Can a tortured past and tangled family history impede prospects for finding happiness in the future? The author explores the multidimensional character of Amber Cushing, a young woman whose conflicted relationship with her mother propels her into a whirlwind of bad choices. Her growing addiction to love pushes her out of control and thwarts any chance at happiness. But when she begins to explore her own feelings and understand the reasons behind her actions, Amber starts to forgive herself and to forge a brave new future. 

 

 

 

*  *  *  *  


What's exciting and a total fluke is I know this author. I spotted the cover and was instantly intrigued. I'd like to apologize to Laurel for not having read it yet. That will soon change. 

Everyone, thanks for shouting out. It'll be fun to see how long it takes Laurel to discover what we're doing. Have you read this novel? Does the cover grab your attention? If so, please share.

 


 

Friday, October 12, 2012

This Is Me Introducing Him

I did a Google search on Grief and was shocked to see just how many blogs there are. Everything from grieving for a spouse, parent, child, sibling, friend and pet. I read quite a few to see whether it could be done tastefully without eliciting pity. As a writer I'm fearful of my limitations. Can I blog about our son without losing sight of what I'm attempting to do, and that is to simply introduce him?

It's hard. As I read more and more of these blogs, I realize the ones that moved me deepest were simple, honest posts about their experiences dealing with grief. But I don't want to do that. This isn't about me. I want to share who Jackie was so he can live forever. Even in the midst of strangers.

It's not important that he died in a car crash on October 12, 1991, exactly 21 years ago today. But it's where I start because it's where Jackie's story ends. I can't tell you how he faced 30 because he never faced 24. I can't describe how he reacted when his son had his first haircut, attended his first day of school, passed his driver's exam, or moved into his own place. Jackie missed all that.

I can tell you he preferred to be called Jack. I guess Jackie sounded too young. I can tell you he had this giggle that even strangers noticed. The sound came from deep down inside and was authentic and joyful. When he laughed, his eyes would almost close to make room for that wide grin. Everyone around him, even those who didn't know why he was laughing, would join in.

Jack liked watching people, but didn't like being the center of attention. His favourite song was Stairway to Heaven. His favourite singer was Bruce Springsteen. His favourite athlete, Hulk Hogan. He stood tall, 5'10. He loved sports, skiing, soccer, hockey, and skating. He loved landscaping, baking, WWW on Saturday mornings. His favourite colour was red. He was tough, gentle, shy, adventurous, and fierce. I don't know that he was afraid of anything, except maybe the dark.


Family meant everything to Jack. Especially his brothers. Yes, he liked to bug them; actually he loved to bug them. When he and his twin Jody got into a fight, he'd generally hold on tight and while Jody struggled, he'd laugh. Jody would grunt and groan, try to break free, and end up angrier, which only fueled Jack's giggles. Rather frustrating when you're on the tail end of that.

I was forever nagging him about getting his hair cut because he'd have to tilt his head back and look out from beneath thick brown bangs to see. Beautiful hair, but it hid those eyes. I don't have a lot of photographs on him on my computer because he passed before that was the norm. So much has changed since 1991.

One time he and Jody had a terrible fight, and I couldn't break it up. I tried. I grabbed Jack, and Jody took the opportunity to pounce on his, so I had to let go. I yelled until my voice was raw that they shouldn't fight, they were brothers, they loved each other. Then I went to my room and wept. When I came out, they were sitting on the couch watching the hockey game. I smear, you could not have slipped a dime between them, they were sitting that close.


Once a month I'd tell my husband we were going for supper because quite frankly I didn't want to cook. We'd end up at the Chinese restaurant down the road with the smorgasbord; our five sons could eat until the cows came home. Before we left, I'd turn to Jack and reiterate strongly that he was not to bug his little brothers because his dad would get upset and we'd end up going home. He'd furrow his brows, look offended, and ask why I was talking to him because he wasn't the one who bugged. Then he'd sneer at one of the younger ones. (I'm not allowed to name names)

We'd no sooner sit down, the waitress would take our order, Jack would sneak a few funny faces at [brother], who'd immediately start whining. Another warning would be given, to no avail. "He's making faces at me!" little brother would cry two maybe three times, and voila--we'd be back in the van on the way home.

One time I drove into the driveway, the truck's brakes died, and I took out part of the balcony. Jack took it upon himself to replace the boards before his dad got home from work. Later that weekend, he painted the new boards to match.

Another time he had his "black" Z28 parked in the back yard because he was forever working on it. I decided to spray the closet doors white, and took them outside to avoid a mess. I was at least 60 feet from the car, if not more. Who knew a breeze could carry white paint that far. The look on Jack's face when he saw what I'd done. I felt terrible and apologized profusely. He was quiet for a moment, leaned over to inspect the hood, then straightened up...  and giggled. Later, one of his brothers remarked on how surprised he was that Jack didn't kill me; he loved that car. I mentioned that his big brother was bigger than that, and besides, the car looked quite unique ... now.

It feels like yesterday that Jack would come in the door, ask his brothers how their day had been, then listen as they told him. They might argue that he was often tough on them, but he had patience too. When [brother] was old enough to attend the same parties, he would act stupid and expect Jack to fend off any repercussions; which Jack did. He was overheard telling one guy, "Look, he's mouthy and probably deserves it, but nobody beats on my brother but me."

There is so much more I could say: how proud he was when his son was born, and how his face lit up every time he'd look down at him. Given the chance, Jack would have been a good father, kind, gentle, compassionate. But for whatever reasons, it wasn't meant to be; his son was nine months old when he passed.

Jack said he heard his name on the wind. A few days later, he was gone.


Twenty-one years and I'm no closer to understanding why his life was cut short. I do, however, feel very grateful for having had him in my life. He was a wonderful human being, who left me a better person for having loved him. Despite everything, particularly the feeling that this post doesn't do what I set out to do, this is me introducing someone I know you would have liked very much.
--
joylene

Friday, October 5, 2012

ASK PZM: Oct 2012 reviews

My guest , marketing expert Phyllis Zimbler Miller has been answering marketing questions on my blog under the heading ASK PZM (5th day of every month) since January 2010. Thanks, Phyllis! If you have a question you need answered, please submit it before the 30th of each month and I'll make sure she gets it in time. If you'd like to read all Phyllis' Q&A's, type ASK PZM in the search window on the right just below the eBook cover of Dead Witness. 

 *   *   *

Q: Could you discuss the importance of reviews as well as what to do about negative reviews?

Let’s start with the importance of reviews.



Are they important? Heck, yes!

But, as I have discovered 4 ½ years after the publication of my first novel, MRS. LIEUTENANT, all reviews are not created equal.

Today, October 2012, I would recommend that an author selling her books on Amazon (and if you aren’t on Amazon, are you even a serious author?) focus on getting reviews on Amazon for her book.

Why is getting reviews on Amazon so important compared to other review sites?

For the last few months I have been tracking the rankings of my books on Amazon. And while the Amazon search algorithms (complex mathematical formulas) are secret, I can say with confidence that both the number of reviews and the number of purchases of your book affect your book’s ranking on Amazon.

What does this mean in actual terms?


In general, the more good reviews and the more purchases a book has, the better ranking Amazon gives that book. And the better the ranking, the more often Amazon apparently recommends that book to prospective buyers in a specific category.


Now the most reviews does not mean you get the best ranking. The Amazon categories in which your books are placed have a lot to do with the ranking.


Okay, the above explanation may have confused authors, including myself.

Let’s take an example:

The thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS that I wrote with my husband is NOT my best reviewed book on Amazon. (MRS. LIEUTENANT has approximately twice as many reviews and a higher average.) But MOLLIE SANDERS sells more ebooks.

I believe this is because MOLLIE SANDERS fits into a much more specific category – sea adventures – than does a “general” novel like MRS. LIEUTENANT. (I talk about Amazon book categories in my ebook TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON AND FACEBOOK.)

By checking my KDP reports frequently (kdp.amazon.com), I see the correlation between an ebook purchase and the book’s improved ranking. And by checking for new reviews on the ebook’s Amazon sales page, I see the correlation between another review and the book’s improved ranking.


(Improved rankings are temporary. I have noticed that, if a book goes without new purchases, the ranking worsens. Also note that improved rankings are actually smaller numbers – 20,000 is better than 200,000.)

Attached is a screenshot of MOLLIE SANDERS ranking taken at 9:18 a.m. Pacific on October 4th. As this ranking could change in the next moment, it is only here for illustrative purposes. (To find this ranking for your own book, scroll down your book’s Amazon sales page until you get to the bottom of PRODUCT DETAILS.)



Now the goal of a book author is to sell her books, right? Amazon reviews help you sell books in a very specific way, and this is why I am currently focusing on Amazon reviews.

How to get reviews:

First, do NOT pay for reviews. When I started out 4 ½ years ago and knew no one, I admit I paid for a couple of reviews from companies advertising this service.

And 4 ½ years ago that was okay. Now it is NOT okay. Amazon really, really frowns on paid reviews in most cases.

Caution: Although I give people free copies of my books for review purposes, Amazon “rewards” reviews from people who have purchased the book on Amazon. This is the “Amazon Verified Purchase” you see next to some reviews, and I strongly suspect this also figures into the search algorithms.

Second, you can ask for reviews. You can ask via Facebook, Twitter, wherever you have connections online. And please do NOT ask for a five-star review. Ask people to write a review if they like the book.


(Many reviewers who read a book that they do not like do not write a negative review. They write no review – and sometimes contact the author privately with suggestions.)

Asking for reviews includes looking for books on Amazon similar to yours and checking out the people who reviewed these books. Click on the names of the reviewers who interest you. Often their Amazon public profile will include contact information if they are open to reviewing other books. Then you can contact them with a politely worded request to review your book.

What to do if you get a negative review:


Nothing.

That’s right – nothing.


While Amazon allows comments on reviews, you do NOT want to comment on a negative review as you may only be opening a very nasty can of worms.

If there is useful information in the negative review, do keep it in mind. But if it is simply someone being mean, ignore it. Other people reading the review can probably also figure out that the reviewer is just being mean.

Now if the language in the negative review is so offensive that you would be embarrassed for people to read this review, you can report it to Amazon. I did this once for an Amazon U.K. review of MOLLIE SANDERS because the review was so offensive I didn’t want other people to read it and be upset. And, yes, Amazon removed the review, although this outcome is not assured.

Although I strongly encourage you NOT to respond to negative reviews on Amazon, you can respond to positive reviews when appropriate, including people you do not know and whose Amazon username you may not even recognize. (The COMMENT button is located next to each review.) In conclusion, yes, reviews are important, and if you believe in your books, it is worth spending your time to seek out reviewers who post on Amazon.



Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks. A new nonfiction ebook of hers is TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON AND FACEBOOK and her newest fiction ebook is the thriller CIA FALL GUY.
Click here to visit her Amazon author page at amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller
She also has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October Peace

It's the first Wednesday of October and yes--that means it's time for Alex J. Cavanaugh's INSECURE WRITER'S SUPPORT GROUP.



We're all about sharing and supporting each other. Click on the link above to join.



For a long time, October have felt both beautiful and heart-rending. For many years, I've tried to shake the doom and gloom associated with this month. I lost a child and a parent in October. Self-perseverance dictates I learn to experience all the wonders of the season without letting this gigantic ache in my heart consume me. I thought I was succeeding, but the advancement of years seems to have weakened my resolve.

Time for change. 

At this precise moment, I acknowledge that the recurring sorrow of October is part of my journey through life. I don't need pity, I don't need cookies, I just need to let October be as it was meant to be: A symbol of what I've loved and lost. 

Someone once said that to write well means to have experienced much. I hope you'll join me in expressing gratitude for all the joy and pain associated with being a writer. One does not have to be at peace to write. Nor does one have to be happy to be at peace. 
--
joylene