Friday, November 30, 2012

WORLD OF SHELL AND BONE, cover reveal!

I'm so happy to be involved in spreading the word about WORLD OF SHELL AND BONE, a new novel by my friend ADRIANA RYAN. Today help me shoutout a huge "BRAVO" for World of Shell and Bone bookcover!

World of Shell and Bone
By Adriana Ryan
Coming December 7th, 2012
Cover by: James Helps (http://humblenations.com/)

In a world ravaged by a nuclear holocaust, Vika Cannon knows there are no guarantees: no guarantees of safety, no guarantees that your neighbor is not actually a spy for the government, and no guarantees you’ll be allowed to emigrate to a new life in Asia.

New Amana is dying. Food and water are scarce, and people suffering from radiation-caused mutations—the Nukeheads—are the new class of homeless. 

Vika has just one purpose: to produce healthy progeny using a Husband assigned by the Match Clinic. Unhealthy children are carted away to Asylums to be experimented on, just as Vika’s little sister Ceres was, eight years ago. Parents incapable of producing healthy progeny are put to death in gas chambers.

When she’s assigned a Husband shortly after her twentieth birthday, Vika expects him to be complacent and obedient. But Shale Underwood has a secret. He is a member of the Radicals, the terrorist group intent on overthrowing the government. And Shale has information about Ceres.

As she learns more about the Rads’s plan, Vika finds herself drawn to Shale in ways she’d never imagined. When freedom calls in the way of a healthy pregnancy, will she betray her government and risk death for Shale and Ceres? 

Bio: Adriana Ryan lives and writes in Charleston, SC. She is currently at work on a dystopian and an urban fantasy series. A huge fan of spooky stuff and shoes, she enjoys alternately hitting up the outlet malls and historic graveyards.

Contact her using the form at the top right of this website or emailadriana@adrianaryan.com.

Adriana Ryan is a member of the Romance Writer’s Association (RWA).

Contact: Adriana@adrianaryan.com

http://adrianaryan.com

www.facebook.com/authoradrianaryan

www.twitter.com/adrianaryansc

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

book review - THE SPACE BETWEEN by Alex Sokoloff

How can you prevent the future? Would you dare? 
 
Sixteen-year old Anna Sullivan is having terrible dreams of a massacre at her high school. Anna's father is a mentally unstable veteran, her mother disappeared when Anna was five, and Anna might have been able to chalk the dreams up to a reflection of her crazy waking life—except that Tyler Marsh, the most popular guy at the school and Anna's secret crush, is having the exact same dreams. 

Despite the gulf between them in social status, Anna and Tyler connect, first in the dream and then in reality. As the dreams reveal more, with clues from the school social structure, quantum physics, probability, and Anna's own past, Anna becomes convinced that they are being shown the future so they can prevent the shooting... 

If they can survive the shooter—and the dream. 

Based on the Thriller Award-winning short story, "The Edge of Seventeen."


Honestly, doesn't the synopsis above sound fascinating? I read that and thought Wow, now that's worth checking out!  

Alexandra Sokoloff writes about one of society's most compelling issues: school shootings. I'll admit I was hesitant to read the book, but because I love her writing so much, I decided to take a sneak peek and leave it at that.

I ended up reading the first chapter and immediately ordering the eBook. The prose were that powerful and the story was that compelling.

Do you remember the most popular guy in school? If you were like me, you watched him from a distance, right? You may even have gone through those 5 years without ever having shared a word or even a glance between you. 

Anna is in love with Tyler, the most popular guy in school, from a distance. One day she realized they're both having the same dreams. That's incredible, but guess what? They can talk to each other through their minds. Anna, the girl who has no one, connects with Tyler in a way that is at once profound, disturbing, and gratifying to anyone who has experienced the heartache of being considered invisible.

Anna is an incredible young woman with a bright mind, a sad past, a hopeless existence, and a huge hole in her heart left by the abandonment of her mother. The mother in me wanted to embrace her and make that pain go away. As I read, I saw that it was even worse than her having no friends. Her father suffers from PTSD and is capable of doing who knew what. But that isn't the worst of it. Anna discovers that she and Tyler are having the same nightmare. There's going to be a school massacre... unless she and Tyler can stop the shooter.

This is a story about what if...

What if you knew something very very bad was about to happen and you could prevent it from happening, but not without a huge cost.


I believe that when you read a good story that disturbs you, brings back memories you never expected, makes you feel different for having read it, I think that book is worth mentioning. THE SPACE BETWEEN is that book. It came alive for me very quickly. I love being so engrossed in a character's life that I hate the thought of saying goodbye. THE SPACE BETWEEN made me remember clearly what it meant to be young, in love, and desperate for a hopeful future.

Here's a glimpse:

At the foot of the staircase, on the landing below, Tyler Marsh stands looking up at her, as real as she is, even now heart-stoppingly beautiful, perfect profile and long, dark silky hair falling into his eyes. The alarms pulse around them, vibrating through her body.

Tyler?

She takes a shaky step toward him.

Run,” he says, without opening his mouth. 

I enjoyed this novel very much and highly recommend it. THE SPACE BETWEEN is a story about a brave and courageous young woman who epitomizes what it means to take a chance and make a difference. 


*  *  *  * 
Meanwhile, winter has arrived at Cluculz Lake:
 




Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Huntress Moon: book review



In addition to thanking you for stopping by, wish I could offer you a cup of java and some home made gluten free oatmeal-raisin cookies. Wonder if it'll ever come to that, when I can beam you over to my place and we can have a lovely real-time visit. Of course, that means I'd have to change out of my jammies... brush my hair... clean a path to the dining room table. Ah, scratch the beaming over idea.



Anyhoo, (sounds like a cross between a Canuck and an owl, eh) thought I'd do something different today. (Ha, like that's unusual)  I don't write a lot of book reviews, because, well I'm terrible at them. Every once in awhile, though, I read a terrific book and think "Wow, I have to share this!"

I have my favourite writers: Keith Pyeatt, I'd write a review of one of his psychological horrors any day. Christopher Hoare's regency romance novels and S/F are excellent. Vicki  Lee Smith's historical epic novels; except, I have to wait for her publish something first. I'm working on her. Meg Webster's S/F Fantasy. Jan Holloway's suspense, Martha Engber, literary, Judy Avila...
.

If you've followed my blog long enough, you know I'm a huge fan of award-winning dark suspense author, screenwriter, and workshop teacher Alexandra Sokoloff. I've been following her blog for a few years, (she shares her screenwriting tricks for authors) and last year I took her Three-Act Structure online course, which was absolutely fabulous. (Can't you tell I'm Canadian? What other nationality uses so many "awesome, terrific, absolutely and my all-time favourite: kewl! Also, the not to be forgotten: EH)

Told you I get long-winded, or as my dear old dad used to say, "Josephina, the laughing hyena" with verbal diarrhea.

With no further ado: HUNTRESS MOON. 


Here's what the online synopsis says:

FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke is closing in on a bust of a major criminal organization when he witnesses his undercover agent killed right in front of him on a busy street, an accident Roarke can't believe is coincidental. His suspicions put him on the trail of a mysterious young woman who appears to have been present at the scene of a years-long string of "accidents" and murders, and who may well be that most rare of all killers: a female serial.

Roarke's hunt for her takes him across three states... while in a small coastal town a young father and his five-year old son, both wounded from a recent divorce, encounter a lost and compelling young woman on the beach, and strike up an unlikely friendship without knowing how deadly she may be.

As Roarke uncovers the shocking truth of her background, he realizes she is on a mission of her own, and must race to capture her before more blood is shed.


Now for the part where I try to explain why I loved this book so much. Since the synopsis does such a good job of describing the plot, I thought I'd skip that part and explain three reasons why I enjoyed HUNTRESS MOON so much.

One -- great writing.
Two -- appealing characters.
Three -- believable and riveting storyline.

HUNTRESS MOON is a lesson in voice, in creating characters that immediately tug at your heart and leave you with a suddenly and inexplicable urge to know everything about them. Roarke is definitely kewl and endearing, but the antagonist, Alex's female serial killer is a haunting portrayal of a woman coping with the most horrendous history any person could possibly deal with. Not many of us would have survived. 

Alex doesn't focus on the horrendous though, but instead shows through story the long-term effects of violence against women and children, a subject that she feels very strongly about and uses as the theme to many of her books. Her antagonist is broken, yes, but she's also intelligent, focused, clever, determined, and an equal to any man. In fact, she's the victor because every bad man she comes up against underestimates her. Think: Nikita, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Point of No Return, and the new series ARROW.

As a reader I was enthralled by the complexities of Alex's characters. As a writer, I loved her descriptions, her character's monologues, the setting, and the way she used set pieces to enhance my experience as a reader. I read the book through once, then read it again to study her techniques.

If your genre is suspense, you're going to love this book. Even if you don't read suspense thrillers, but you're excited about improving your skills as a storyteller, I can't recommend HUNTRESS MOON enough.

Alexandra Sokoloff majored in theater. She excels in her ability to create characters and story in a way that is so gratifying and even amazing because of the simplicity and beauty of her style. I, for one, love it when I can lose myself in a good story that is both credible and extraordinary.

I just learned recently that Alex is working on the sequel to HUNTRESS MOON titled BLUE MOON, and my first thought was: YAY!!!



In case my sense of humour was a bit too profound and you really do believe the above dining room is mine, here's my real workstation:

 
Okay, it's not always this tidy, but check out the view!

Friday, November 16, 2012

I MISS YOU BLOGFEST

It's an honour to participate in the OH, HOW I MISS YOU BLOGFEST hosted by loving father Andrew Leon, the oh-so romantic Matthew MacNish, and our very own Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh. It's a honour because it gives me the opportunity to introduce you to two special bloggers. One isn't blogging any longer, (he won't soon be forgotten) and the other is a very special fellow Canadian who is a privilege to know and who have brightened many a gray day here in blogland.

The rules for I MISS YOU are simple. I'm to list one to three blogger buddies who I really miss because they've stopped blogging, and one who I would really miss if they stopped blogging. Actually, that applies to everyone on my blogroll, but rules are rules so I've chosen one of each who has made my life better for having met them. In blogland, that is. Okay, I did meet Carol for real, but I'll get to that in a moment. Oh, and I picked only two to keep this short. My nickname isn't Josephina the laughing hyhena with verbal diarrhea--for nothing.

When you're finished here, you can visit our blog hopping hosts at:

http://strangepegs.blogspot.com/ - Andrew
http://theqqqe.blogspot.com/ - Matthew
http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/ - Alex

*  *  *  *

I met Grandpa through Klahanie's (Gary Pennick), who I met through UK Children's author Carole Anne Carr. I'm sure most of you know about Gary's quick wit and humongous heart, eh? If not, do pay him a visit. Gary's not on my list because I assumed everyone already knows him. He lives in jolly ole England, pens a wonderful tribute to "a man challenging his inner critic," is one brick short of a full load, has a few roos loose in the top paddock, and has a wisdom as rare as hen's teeth.Yup, he's a right dandy young feller. (Carole should be on my list too, but I'm working at keeping this short. Next time)

Grandpa's LIFE ON THE FARM was a wonderful blog about "Tales from the tropical rainforest, at the foot of the Malaysian main mountain range..." He aired his last post May 2, 2010, and every day since, I've been hoping he'll come back.

Grandpa took an early retirement to retreat to The Farm where he had fun growing fruit trees, playing with his grandson Irfan, and enjoying a quiet, tranquil life in the jungle. He could hear the river flowing and the birds singing, and he shared those things with his readers. I hope he's still there, whispering to his many tropical plants. Every single time I stopped in for a visit, I was soon lost in the wonderment of his world. His words were like resting pods where I could sit for a bit and forget all my troubles.


*  *  *  *
  
To illustrate the kind of a sweetheart Carol from CAREANN'S MUSINGS is, when she heard I'd be in Penticton in the summer of 2011 for the launch of my second novel, she had her dear husband Bob drive her down from their vacation in Salmon Arms so we could spend the afternoon visiting at my BFF's home in Kelowna. We'd been blogger buddies for several years, but hadn't met in person. Honestly, from the moment I lay eyes on her it felt as if we'd been friends forever.

I found Carol through the Federation of BC Writer's webpage during one of my many rite of procrastinations. Carol, wife of retired minister Bob, is a mother, grandmother, a free-lance writer, poet, and fiction writer. She's also quite a photographer. Carol is funny, adorable, wise, and generous. I'm actually a little nervous because I borrowed her profile pic without her consent. But I wanted this to be a surprise, so really--how could I ask?

Joylene: "Carol, can I borrow you profile pic?"
Carol: "Sure, why?"
Joylene: "No reason. I just, uh, well, I, ah...."
Carol: "Okay, spit it out."
Joylene: "Huh? Oh--thanks for the pic! Gotta go--I hear my cat calling me."

I think it'd be a earthquakie day in the Fraser Valley before I'd pull the wool over Carol's eyes.

I'd surely miss Carol's posts if she ever decided to stop blogging. She takes the most spectacular photos and always manages to making an association between nature and writing. It's truly remarkable how she does that. For instance:

“Three rules of work:
out of clutter find simplicity;
from discord find harmony;
in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

Albert Einstein

Carol once wrote that the above is true in nature and in work, and then illustrated how.

*  *  *  *



To conclude today's tour, here's a photo I snapped yesterday of a dear friend, someone I'd miss watching if she ever stopped kayaking on Cluculz Lake. In our neck of the woods, all you have to say is "Singing Lady on Lake" and everyone knows you mean Carmelita.




If you'd like to read some more I MISS YOU blogs, and I hope you do, click here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

IWSG: YOUR MOVING STORY


Wow, how time fly's. It's the first Wednesday of the month, and you know what that means! IWSG! 

Started by our brave and fearless Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, this is our time to share, encourage, cry, scream, and well, get some stuff off our chests. It's also time for some Ninja vibes. We share our ups and downs, but most importantly lend an ear. And frankly, I only need the one anyway. 

In case you missed the link to Alex's name, here it is again: http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.ca/p/the-insecure-writers-support-group.html

Click on the link above and you can visit the rest of the Ninjas posts.

* * * * 

Today I want to share an awesome book with you. If you get a chance to read Tell To Win, by Peter Guber, I hope you do. I've been skimming it mostly for now until I have more time for an in-depth read. But already it's helping.


In short, Mr. Guber is one of Hollywood's elite. Among other things, he's the Chairman & CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, and has produced Rain Man, The Colour Purple, Missing, to name a few.

Despite his many hats, he decided to write a book on telling purposeful stories. If you follow his techniques, he believes you can land the job, get a promotion, move others to action, and on and on. You can learn more about that at his webpage here.


I'd like to narrow the topic and concentrate on how I took his 5 techniques and incorporated it into a winning book reading.

Back in September, I wrote a post about social anxiety disorder, the fear of public speaking and how it affected me physically for up to 24 hours prior to book readings. Since then I've been in search of ways to fight my fear. That's not to say that my audience isn't gracious, or that they even noticed my distress; I'd learned to hide it well. But Peter's Guber's book has given me the tools to experience a fun-filled evening of book reading & sharing.


When I read his 5 points for telling purposefully stories, I understood immediately that I could take those points and enhance my book reading experience.

Here are his 5 techniques:

• Motivation - Get into the state of an authentic state of mind.
• Audience - Hit them in the groin and the wallet. Move them.
• Goal - Build a relationship with your audience so they own your story. (Make it their story)
• Interactive - Pitch & catch. (Give them the only opportunity to participate.
• Content - Write a purposeful story that moves you so you can move your audience. (reader)


Although he's using the term audience as in anyone you happen to talk to, I turned it around to include those sitting in the audience at my book readings. I'd already written a compelling story about a character who moved me. Now I want to share my journey from struggling writer to published author with my audience so it becomes their story too. I've actually done that in an early post called Accepting The Journey pt.3

Most importantly, I had to present my protagonist in a way that my audience could either see themselves in her place or feel themselves loving her.

Because you see, even if many of you are still unpublished, know that it's a necessary step to publication. It's the chicken and the egg. You take all these experiences authors are willing to share, and you make that your story on the road to publication.

Write a purposeful story that will hit your reader in the groin and the wallet. Build a relationship with your reader through your prose so that they believe your story could be their story. They can live it through the pages. Give them a credible story that they believe will change them for the good, leave them feeling better for having read it. And finally give them an experience they'll not soon forget.




Monday, November 5, 2012

ASK PZM: Nov 2012 Holiday Promos

Q: Could you talk about opportunities to tie book promotions to holidays? 




I am a big fan of holiday-themed book promotions for both fiction and nonfiction books.

Here’s a fiction example of my own:


I have formed a triad with two other former military spouses; the three of us have each written a novel about the military.  We reason that, if a reader likes one of our books, the reader would probably like to know about and read the other two books.
And our holiday promotion idea is for U.S. Veterans Day, November 11.  We are all offering the Kindle format of our novel for FREE that day via Amazon’s KDP Select program to honor our veterans. 

(See more info at http://www.phylliszimblermiller.com/triad-us-military-war-novels/ )


Now let’s brainstorm:


Valentine’s Day is a good place to start.  What kinds of books – fiction or nonfiction – could take advantage of a promotion based around this day?


Obviously a romance novel could utilize Valentine’s Day for a contest, a drawing, or a free KDP Select day.  
What about nonfiction, though?  Do you have a nonfiction book about heart health?  That could definitely fit into a Valentine’s Day theme promotion.



Perhaps you have written a mystery novel featuring fly fishing or a nonfiction book about fly fishing.  Does your state have a fishing season with an official starting date?  Perhaps you could do local or state-wide promotions around that starting date.

 

Remember that this utilization of holiday promotions does NOT have to be the publication year for your book.  You can continue to do holiday promotions year after year either for the same holiday or different ones. 


Q: What do you think about subtitles for fiction and nonfiction books?


I am particularly in favor of subtitles for nonfiction books in order to provide more information for prospective readers.  Recently, though, I have been considering how a subtitle can be important for a fiction book.


In 2008 I gave my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT the subtitle of A SHARON GOLD NOVEL only because I wanted to differentiate the novel from the Mrs. Lieutenant instructional pamphlet sold on Amazon.  (I have my original copy of this pamphlet bought when my husband entered active army duty in the spring of 1970.)


I did not give subtitles to my Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS and my spy story CIA FALL GUY.  And now I think this was an omission on my part for two reasons:



 1.      Amazon’s search engines appear to work similarly to other search engines such as Google.  Therefore the use of keywords in a subtitle could help prospective readers find the book on Amazon.
 2.     Keywords in a subtitle could clue prospective readers into what kind of story these novels are.  If prospective readers are looking for a specific type of story, they will know they have found it.


I am now working on the first mystery in a proposed series.  (Full disclaimer: I wrote mystery novels many years ago, and two different agents could not sell these to a traditional publisher.  I have decided to update these novels and publish them as Kindle ebooks.)

I am using a subtitle for this mystery novel.  The book is CAST THE FIRST STONE: A REBECCA STONE MYSTERY.  In this way I will both promote the protagonist of the novel and the keyword “mystery.”

For nonfiction, I definitely believe in subtitles.  My newest nonfiction ebook is TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK IN THE AGE OF AMAZON: 3 TOP TIPS BOOKS IN 1 (see on Amazon at http://amzn.to/RXnpfY).
 

While Amazon allows long titles and long subtitles, it is important to consider the value of each word you include.  Be careful NOT to “keyword stuff” your titles and subtitles.


Note:  Although Blogger in the past few months has not allowed me to respond to comments on this blog, do leave below in the comments section your opinion on subtitles.  I will read all these comments.


Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks. Her newest nonfiction is the book marketing ebook TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK IN THE AGE OFAMAZON and a new fiction ebook of hers is the spy story CIA FALLGUY.


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








Friday, November 2, 2012

Cluculz Lake in October

Today I'd like to share some October photos and a link. In light of what's going on on the east coast, in no certain terms, I will NOT complain about our weather, or the fact I'm cold. I have a roof over my head, wood in the stove, the internet! But I do live in a beautiful place; and today feels like a good day to share my gratitude.








Now, because you are most undoubtedly a writer, here's a very important link that you owe it to yourself to check out.

 http://jakonrath.blogspot.ca/2012/01/value-of-publicity.html


If you're not a regularly follower of Joe Konrath, you should be. And if you read his post and you're wondering what's the point of networking on the WWW, remind yourself that writing is a lonely profession. Our Blogsphere is about offering support and encouragement. I've been saying this for a long time: writers write books, they don't buy them. Few of us can afford to buy every book from every author we meet online. Readers buy books.

Read what Joe has to say. He knows what he's talking about.


Peace and contentment to you all.
--
joylene