Archive for the ‘write’ Category
In the biggest, most overt and most successful of these campaigns, a group of Michael Jackson fans used Facebook and Twitter to solicit negative reviews of a new biography of the singer. They bombarded Amazon with dozens of one-star takedowns, succeeded in getting several favorable notices erased and even took credit for Amazon’s briefly removing the book from sale.
“Books used to die by being ignored, but now they can be killed and perhaps unjustly killed,” said Trevor Pinch, a Cornell sociologist who has studied Amazon reviews. “In theory, a very good book could be killed by a group of people for malicious reasons.”
Because it’s so difficult to separate real from malicious or sock puppet reviews, Amazon and other sellers and book sites have so far refused to get involved. Streitfeld writes: . . . “Mr. Pinch, the Cornell researcher, said he got the sense that ‘Amazon is hoping that all these problems with positive and negative reviews will go away.’ He added: ‘But as more and more abuses come to light, the overall effect will be a slow undermining of the process. There are so many ways to game the systems.’”
Rabble Reads: A real plan to solve the review problem once and for all
With Rabble Reads, Amy Edelman, founder of IndieReader, will legitimize book reviews, solving these problems once and for all. Like Metacritic, the popular review site for films, Rabble Reads will aggregate reviews from trusted, verified sources for both indie and traditionally published books.
Here are six ways we all–authors and readers–benefit from Rabble Reads
Real Reviews–legit reviews are tough to come by these days. The practices of posting sock puppet praise and leaving drive-by muggings fueled by anger or envy have left readers skeptical of consumer reviews. Rabble will be a straight-shooting, no subsidy, no BS site providing real reviews we can trust.
Accountability–reviewer names and websites will be published and linked to reviews, so readers can see–and compare–trusted critiques of a book. Readers can follow favorite reviewers, giving them the opportunity to compare reviews posted over time as well as reviews for books across and within genres.
Bias (elimination)–Rabble will aggregate reviews from experienced and reliable reviewers–from trusted clubs, bloggers, and professional reviewers–eliminating both bias and the assumption of bias.
Bump (in sales)–Rabble will offer readers a searchable database. A Metacritic search by review score or genre turns up great films we might otherwise have overlooked; Rabble will do the same for books.
Legitimacy–on Rabble, indie books will stand side-by-side with their traditionally published counterparts, finally earning self-published books the legitimacy and respect they deserve. Readers may be surprised to discover how well indie books stack up against their traditionally published counterparts.
Easy–Rabble will give readers an easy way to find reviews they can trust. With one click, readers will find honest reviews of popular books as well us great new books by established and emerging authors.
By pledging as little as $1 you can help change the publishing industry!
But Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing proposition. If Rabble fails to reach 100% of its $10,000 goal by March 26–just a few days from now!–the project gets nothing and Rabble won’t get off the ground. For less than the price of a cup of coffee, you can change the publishing industry!
Time is running out. We have only a few more days to bring Rabble to life. Please pledge today–whatever you can afford, even $1–and please tweet, post and share as widely as possible! Thank you so very, very much for your help!
Happy Halloween everyone! Here’s a short story for you! I’d love some feedback!
The house glittered and glowed in the twilight. JoElle hugged herself, smiling in the waning light. On the front walk, outside the wrought iron fence that surrounded the property, she knew the house was impressive. Smugly, she knew that, once again, her Halloween party would be The One people talked about.
In their small town, the Peterson’s annual Halloween party was legendary. Babysitters were booked months in advance. Costumes were planned months ahead of time. Trick or treating ended earlier for the children of the attendees. Everyone wanted to be involved in the Halloween party hosted at the town’s sole haunted house.
The Peterson’s house isn’t really haunted. But years of abandoned vacancy fueled the imaginations of children and adults alike. Teenagers brave enough to explore the vacant house often fled with stories of specters and sprites, fueled by friends and adrenaline. Neighbors saw flickering lights in the empty house, but shook their heads and found other explanations that made better sense.
That all changed when the Peterson’s moved in and made the house their own. Once the house had been renovated in a way meant to capture the historic charm of the old Victorian, JoElle immediately began planning the first Halloween party. Both of the Peterson’s were tickled at the thought of hosting a Halloween party in a house once believed to be haunted.
JoElle hugged herself once more, then hurried up the front walk. Ever the conscientious hostess, she rapidly scanned the vast yard, looking for decorations not lit up perfectly or that had shifted in the strong breeze that sprung up earlier in the day.
At the bottom of the large porch, she turned to get a view of the yard from another vantage point. Satisfied, she turned. Lifting the long skirts of her sexy witch costume, she ran up the steps.
Absently patting a scarecrow seated right inside the front door, she slipped into the brightly lit house to make one more round before the guests arrived.
After a quick tour through the first floor, JoElle stopped in the entrance hall to study herself in the huge mirror. The perky witch’s hat sat atop her curls, not detracting from the corseted focus of her chest. In case the tight corset was to subtle, she reached into the bureau under the mirror and took out the shimmer powder to apply to her cleavage. Tonight was not a time to be shy.
Guests arrived in groups, laughing and prepared for fun. After all, the Peterson’s had never failed before.
The first hour flew by as JoElle greeted guests and prodded the catering staff to keep up. She laughed and flirted. Husbands couldn’t help it when their gazes were drawn to her chest. Wives didn’t worry because it was JoElle Peterson, who was harmless.
“Where’s Ted?” guest after guest asked.
JoElle wrinkled her adorable nose and sighed each and every time, “Can you believe he had to travel for business on Halloween? Apparently, corporate America doesn’t understand how important this holiday is to some of us!” Tinkling laughter trailed after her as she moved to the next group.
“It’s a shame Ted’s missing this great party!” more than one guest pined, quickly forgetting their absent host when something or someone else caught their attention.
JoElle made one last trip to the kitchen to check on the caterers. After giving last minute instructions and telling them what a great job they were doing, she left with a glass of champagne. After absently patting the scarecrow seated right outside the kitchen door, she took a long drink and moved into the sea of bodies filling her first floor to capacity.
Brad Martin reminded himself to smile. It wasn’t easy as person after person asked after his wife, Catherine. When he told them, they were quick to pat his arm and offer condolences for Catherine’s mother, making promises to get in touch with her when she returned. That’s when Brad told his closest friends he didn’t think she would be back.
There was more shoulder patting and more condolences, but no one was really surprised. The Martin’s marriage had been on the rocks for ages. But the Halloween party wasn’t time for sad news, so no one dwelled on Catherine’s defection.
Brad caught JoElle’s eye after a round of shoulder patting and lifted his glass in a silent toast. She nodded back and lifted her champagne flute.
“JoElle, you’ve out done yourself this year!” Ally Carlisle sidled up to her neighbor and shook her head. “How do you do it? You must start planning this party as soon as we all leave!”
“Sometimes it seems that way!” JoElle bumped shoulders with Ally. Pointing with a long, glittery fingernail across the room, she asked, “Did you notice what’s new this year?”
Ally’s eyes widened and she turned her back to the crowd. “I noticed that Catherine Martin isn’t here. Someone told me she’s probably gone for good. They just can’t make it work,” she sighed dramatically.
“I know, I heard that too. But I meant, what’s new with my decorations!”
The older, rounder woman elbowed her, “I’d like to have Brad decorating my house. My, he’s handsome. Do you think he’s into the geriatric thing?”
JoElle laughed, “He is handsome.”
“I guess your eyes are full of your handsome husband. So sad he can’t be here tonight.” The pout was out of place on a milk maid’s face.
“I know. He’s really sorry he’s missing this.” JoElle smiled, barely able to mask her frustration at not having her question answered. Trying again she asked if the year’s new decorations had been spotted.
Ally spun around once and then stopped, a broad grin covering her face, “The scarecrows, of course. His and hers! A matching pair! I checked them out and I have to tell you they are exquisite. Where did you get them?”
“You know I never reveal my sources!” JoElle teased before moving off to find a dance partner.
People ate. They drank. They checked out the multitude of Halloween-themed decorations that filled the house. Upstairs rooms were lit by candlelight and soft, haunting music was piped throughout the house. From candles that dripped blood to “finger” sandwiches, the Halloween-theme was evident.
Joelle was the perfect hostess, ensuring that her guests were well fed and that drinks were plentiful. She made her way around the room, time and time again. And even though it seemed like she was concentrating on the people present, she was keeping a close eye on the scarecrows which were the year’s central decorations.
She stopped breathing for a millisecond each time someone bent closer to study them. The curious poked and prodded, then laughed as they declared how life-like they were.
The grandfather clock in the foyer donged twelve o’clock, signaling the end of All Hallow’s Eve. Responsible party guests finished plates of food and took one last gulp of drinks. Murmurs about working the next day and getting kids off to school replaced the laughter and tinkling of glasses.
JoElle positioned herself next to the front door and said good bye to each guest.
“Ted will be so sorry he missed this!” she assured more than one departing guest. “Of course I’ll give him your best!”
When the last person was hugged and thanked, she closed the heavy front door and leaned against it. Wearily, she pulled the hat from her head and shook loose her curls. Bone tired from preparation and hostessing, she found the conclusion of another Halloween party bittersweet. Thoughts of a bubble bath and long soak gave her the energy to move away from the door.
A movement from the dining room made her gasp. Then she sighed, “Bob.”
“Nice party.” He swirled the ice cubes in his glass, mesmerized by the amber liquid within.
“Perfect party,” she corrected.
Leaning against the door jamb, he absently patted the head of the scarecrow, still focused on the contents of his glass. “They were missed.”
“They were,” she agreed, knowing that he referred to their absent spouses.
After he drained his glass and pushed himself away from the doorway, he squatted next to the scarecrow and studied it closely. Eyes and mouth had been drawn with crude stitches. Bright blush brought color to the waxen complexion. Straw hair had been tightly sewn on to the head.
“Do you think anyone knows?” He straightened, finally looking directly at her.
“I don’t think anyone has a clue.”
I can always count on Sandra Brown (BEWARE: this is an incredibly annoying website, so visit at your own risk. If you do visit, you will be held hostage to mute-less music and a flashing intro that cannot be stopped!) to deliver a fast and pleasant read. Low Pressure delivered as expected.
In Low Pressure…
Bellamy Price writes a novel that was supposed to be cathartic. She needs answers to her sister’s death. Eighteen years earlier, Susan was killed at the annual Memorial Day picnic. Solving her murder and identifying the murderer was impossible after a tornado ripped through the park decimating evidence and the community. While Bellamy is looking for answers, someone else has their own agenda–Bellamy’s death.
This is a nice, easy read. The characters are interesting, the story well-told. You won’t be disappointed when you read this!
No one can make me…feel bad about myself if I don’t let them. We’ve all heard the Eleanor Roosevelt quote before. But sometimes, I confess, I let them get to me. This week, particularly, I had one of those triggering moments.
What is a triggering moment? It’s the moment when something happening in the here and now throws you right back into the past. Usually the event is a negative one, which is why survivors of rape or abuse or other horrible past events try to avoid these triggers at all costs. The event may have happened eons ago, but the emotions and the reactions to the memory seem like they are happening in current life. That’s why articles about strong emotional topics often come with a “triggering event ahead” messages.
The memory this week came from left field. It happened while reading the article about the small town girl who is elected to the Homecoming Court as a prank by her fellow classmates.
In a flash, I was back in high school. Sitting in religion class, with the priest in the front of the classroom. I sit on the right hand side of the room and I can see the boys on the other side of the room snickering. I hear the dreaded words and know that they’re talking about nominating me for prom queen as a joke. Because I am fat. And loud. And obnoxious. Honestly, I don’t know if the last two reasons applied, but it was definitely for the first.
In my mind I see Father J. realizing something is going on, but not doing anything about it. After all, fat girls who are being picked on deserve it. I mean, I dared to be fat! Even as I write this, I feel that horror and sadness all over again. Of course, at the time I laughed it off and turned the other cheek.
But I didn’t go to prom. I never felt safe in high school. In a Catholic high school it was clear that my emotional needs weren’t a concern. Don’t get me wrong, this was the 1980s and people weren’t that concerned about mental health in teenagers.
Horror and sadness weren’t the only emotions I felt that day. There was also hope. Hope that after being in school together for so many years, that someone realized I was beautiful underneath it all. That I was worthy of a crown and a scepter and a sash. (I don’t know if the prom queen actually got those things, but in my day dreams she does.) I wanted some validation and some reassurance that the rest of my life wasn’t going to be full of taunts and teasing.
For me the triggering moment passed rather quickly. Because I am beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, I was a lot more beautiful when I was 18, golden haired and youthful. There was no “underneath it all.” Still, knowing what I know now, almost 30 years later, I can be swept to that sad place in an instant. I still wait for the taunts.
I know no one can make me feel bad about myself if I don’t let them, but sometimes I accidentally let them.
I will never look at any animal the same after reading Zoo by James Patterson and Micheal Ledwidge. I’m waiting for all the household pets and neighborhood wildlife to start changing…
Jackson Oz is a young biologist who dropped out of graduate school to start tracking strange animal attacks around the world. No one wants to hear his theories about the increases and even argue that they don’t exist. When a zoo keeper is attacked and killed by the lions in his care, Oz knows something is happening. When he travels to Africa to document animal attacks there, he barely escapes with his own life. His friend is dead at the hands of attacking lions, but Oz has video evidence of something seriously wrong with the behavior of the animals. Not only are they attacking humans; their normal hunting habits have radically changed.
Oz returns to the United States with a young woman he rescues from a certain attack and death at the hand of crocodiles. She is an ecologist whose entire research group was killed by African wildlife. Together they start spreading the word about the changes happening in the animal world. Still, no one wants to take them seriously until the entire human race is being threatened.
Once a solution is identified and safeguards are put into place, the animals begin returning to normal. But can man maintain the changes necessary? Or will the privileged among us insist on ignoring them?
Patterson and Ledwidge bring us a thought-provoking read during an election year and to a society commited to its creature comforts and conveniences. What if you had to change your way of life to save the human race? Could you? Would you?
Zoo has affected me much like Stephen King’s Pet Sematary did back in the day. I’m waiting…watching…
I found out about the Kelly Flynn books by Maggie Sefton on Ravelry. And I was sucked in by the promise of a cozy mystery with a knitting link.
The first book of the series is Knit One, Kill Two. You know I have to start at the beginning!
Washington, D.C., accountant Kelly Flynn…
returns to her Colorado home town to handle her recently murdered aunt’s estate. Her trip is meant to be temporary, just to wrap things up. But her aunt’s murder is bothering her and she doesn’t like the way the local police are handling it. It seems too convenient to blame the murder on a local vagrant. There’s $20,000 missing, a family heirloom disappeared, and a broken knitting needle. What does it all mean?
The local ladies take Kelly under their wing, finally getting her into knitting. Aunt Helen had tried many times over the years to teach Kelly, but she had always resisted the lure of the needles. But she feels at home in the knitting shop located in what was once Aunt Helen’s family home. She loves the bright colors and the soft, pet-able yarns. She also loves the camaraderie of her aunt’s circle of friends.
Family secrets are revealed. Another murder occurs. But Kelly perseveres and finds the guilty party. And knits her scarf…
I loved this book and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I’ve got book two all ready to download on my devices. The characters are likable. The sleuthing probable.
Let me know if you’re a fan of this series. Personally, I can’t wait to read more!
In the era Steampunk is usually written, which is the beginning of the Industrial Age, we literally thought anything was possible. We’d just seen the horse and buggy, which had been used in various stages for the past several millennia, replaced by a vehicle that worked with gears and a motor. We flew with power and control that a hot air balloon just can’t compete with. We conquered the Wild West. Women made their mark, started going to universities. We pushed railroad through unapproachable territories. The sky was the limit! The feeling of this era is intoxicating. I mean, just picture yourself in that time; watching your first movie, hearing your first radio show, going on your first airplane ride, driving a car for the first time.
I had the opportunity to talk to my grandmother when I was younger, and she was still alive, and she had all these stories. At the time, I poo-pooed what she said. I ignored the wonder in her eyes as she talked about all these things, but as I got older, I started thinking of the stories I would tell my great-great grandchildren. What had I seen? What had my generation done? Hers had won a world war. Her generation had shown the world that we were the strongest nation. Her generation dared to be different, paved paths that were previously thought to be impossible.
I think the thing that draws me the most to Steampunk is the sense of wonder. We literally thought at the beginning of the 20th century that we would have cities under the sea, that we could build cities in the air. We thought the common mode of transportation would be flying cars. We had such big dreams and huge hopes for the future.
That was the route we actually took, though. In Steampunk, we kinda follow that same path, but we veer left. We use resources that are easier on our environment, and toy with renewable energies. Instead of shooting bullets that run out, we shoot electro-static, which is, in theory, is easy to generate while it’s working.
That, I think, is the second biggest reason I love Steampunk. We have planes that flap their wings, airships that use steam. The weapons that were thought up in Steampunk works are just as interesting. Electro-static, electric-array, plasma-pistols. What you don’t typically see are expendable sources. You see vehicles that are just crazy (the spider in The Wild Wild West for instance) and can run forever, weapons that are insane and never run out of ammo.
During this time, we had some pretty ingenious inventors; Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, the Wright Brothers, Ida Henrietta Hyde, Andrew Alford, Henry Ford. Things were being invented on nearly a daily basis. The Band-Aid, the ballpoint pen, the radio, crayons, the light bulb, the zipper.
So when you think “Steampunk,” we’re talking about an age when anything was possible. You could be in a situation, and you need a widget in order to survive. It would be nothing to just whip up said widget using a nail, a spring, cayan powder, and a glass bottle. Presto! The widget was born!
With that, however, there are many failures, and that’s almost more fun than the things that worked. You’d find yourself in a gun fight, and your inventor hands you a pistol that doesn’t work! Remember when Grandpa would get up and smack the TV because it just stopped working? Can you even imagine smacking your TV now? Oh, no. No, no!
My Steampunk isn’t on planet earth, but the society that I wrote about in The Hands of Tarot is just breaching this age. We’re playing around with different inventions. We’re discovering what we could build, embarking on a new age. It’s a lot of fun! There are things that aren’t working so well, and a few that are. Steampunk is for the geek. It just is. If you’re a geek, a nerd, a dork, then Steampunk is for you! Take it. Own it. Geek is the new black!
The thing I love the most about Steampunk is that the heroes are scientists. That is freaking amazing!
About the Author:
SM Blooding lives in Colorado with her pet rock, Rockie, and Ms. Jack, who’s a real bird. She’s still learning to play the piano and guitar, which is going marginally better, and for those of you looking for an Arabic update, she has successfully learned one word, “Yalla, people yalla!”
She’s dated vampires, werewolves, sorcerers, weapons smugglers and US Government assassins. Yes. She has stories.
Her latest book is the YA steampunk, The Hands of Tarot.
Visit SM Blooding on the web at www.smblooding.com. Stop by SM Blooding’s blog at http://www.smblooding.com/blog/. Follow SM Blooding on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/SMBlooding. “Like” SM Blooding on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/smblooding. Check out SM Blooding at Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/101760130723468098926/posts. Follow SM Blooding at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5234671.S_M_Blooding. Friend SM Blooding at LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?locale=en_US&goback=%2Enpe_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1&report%2Esuccess=jgJxTlkGP726Ky-c5KwR61IrRQHo7WkbEMb_CbEDa703MvofkxsDCc06MMP3wv3vgcoytKSrRn0L_rsfDgJjp8-
Don’t forget to check out Colorado Paranormal Rescue: http://www.coloradoparanormalrescue.com/?q=content/about-us
About the Book:
She imprisoned and beat him.
And now she thinks he’s her trophy.
Synn El’Asim will do almost anything to prove her wrong. But he’s only proving her right.
Queen Nix awakened his Mark of power and inducted him into the House of Wands. She knew what she was doing. The son of the two most powerful Families standing against her is the ultimate prize. What she didn’t take into consideration was that maybe he was too strong for her.
The Families are weakened, and it’ll take a lot more than one young man with a powerful Mark to take on…The Hands of Tarot.
Watch the Book Trailer:
Book Trailer Link at YouTube:
Watch at YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gww98dMC1qk.
Teenagers sometimes seem like a different species. We know the clichés about being moody, sleeping in until the afternoon and doing crazy things like driving cars too fast. Other family members will often accuse the teenager of being lazy, they’ll get irritated by them and, often, be worried about them. But the latest scientific research suggests this probably isn’t their fault. Not only do they have a rush of hormones running round their bodies, their brains are still developing, and their minds simply don’t work the same as an adult’s mind.
Which is strange, because it is well known that the concept of the “teenager” is a modern construct, with even the word not being used until the twentieth century. Teenagers really came into their own after the Second World War and the end of national service when they took on jobs, started to earn a bit of money and had access to things like rock music and cars, which their parents had never had. They started to rebel against the old fuddy-duddy ways of the older generation, and these rebels were celebrated in 1950s Hollywood films like The Wild Bunch and Rebel Without A Cause.
This new breed of “teenager” may have been a shock to adults, but that period of a person’s life must have always existed, it’s just that it was hidden in the past. Only modern technology and education allowed them to express it.
We all know about the release of hormones a teenager experiences, leading to mood swings, falling-head-over-heels in love, then being devastated when the love affair breaks up, and so on. It also seems this hormone surge could be why teenagers have that annoying habit of being late and spending all weekend in bed. They need sleep. One of the reasons the body is pumping hormones around the bloodstream is to promote growth, and one thing that they need to grow is sleep. It may appear they’re being lazy or have no concept of time-keeping, but they actually need more sleep than adults (see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/body/articles/lifecycle/teenagers/sleep.shtml).
At the same time, new MRI scans of the teenage brain reveal how it is not as developed as the adult brain, which can explain much about teenage behaviour. The part of the brain which adults use to plan, anticipate and control emotions is the last thing to develop, which is why so many teenagers are bad at this sort of thing (see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-13425236). This can cause problems in things like planning revision for exams, or making the right choices to lead to a career. More seriously, it can lead to dire consequences when teenagers fail to foresee the result of their actions. For example, teenage boys who get into a fight often have no thoughts of what will happen to them if they seriously injure the other person. In times when so many teenagers are carrying knives — or even guns — this can be fatal, because the weapon is pulled and someone else has been killed before they’ve even realised what they’re doing.
But teenage years can also be the best time. That reckless behaviour of a teenager is part of exploring the world and it is something which will prepare them for adult life. Unlike the careful adult who knows, from experience, that certain courses of action might lead to trouble, the teenager has to find this out for themselves. During the course of taking some risks, they will learn lessons which will prepare them for the rest of their lives. Some of the most successful businessmen of modern times are risk takers — where would Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson be if they hadn’t taken risks? So not everything a teenager does is necessarily bad.
And that feeling of exploring the world is so exciting. Suddenly, there are things outside of home and school which are so much better than anything you’ve experienced before. For many teenagers, it’s rock music, or it might be sport, or it might be clubbing or going out with friends without being supervised.
But also, you feel very different to other people. Being a teenager can be really isolating. Your parents don’t understand you, your teachers don’t understand you and you have to find your own way in the world.
I tried to think my way back to that time when I was writing my novel, Mind Secrets. I was a generally well-behaved teenager, I was pretty good at school, liked reading and generally didn’t stay out late or cause my parents to worry. But I did feel different. It’s something I tapped into for my characters who have developed special powers and feel isolated from the rest of society. Because they can sense the thoughts and feelings of other people, they are shunned by adults who are afraid of them and what they can do. Tensions build as adults want to take away the teenagers’ powers and the teenagers want to be allowed to survive as they are.
Not as if I set out to write a metaphor for the modern world. I set out to write an adventure story about teenagers with special powers that both teenagers and adults would enjoy. It’s about the story of Michael who’s on the run trying to find out the truth about his past, not about the development of the brain. But, at the back of my mind, was the thought that teenagers are different in the real world and have all these feelings that they don’t know how to express. I know that I loved books like this at that age, so I wanted to write one as an adult, just to remind me what it was like at that magical time.
Chris Reynolds is a lover of adventure stories. Chris spent her time growing up avidly reading them, watching them on TV and writing them in her school exercise books. She was often frustrated that stories written by other people didn’t go the way she wanted them to, so she decided to write her own. In the interim, she has worked for the BBC and independent radio as a journalist, written for magazines and some published non-fiction books. Now her stories are available for all to read, following the release of her acclaimed debut novel Mind Secrets.
Chris lives among the Chiltern Hills, north of London.
Chris’s online home is: http://www.chrisreynolds-writer.co.uk
About the Book:
On the run and without his memories, Michael escapes from a man called Carter onto the unfamiliar streets of London. There, he meets a gang of teenagers with the power to sense the thoughts and feelings of others. They live in fear of ‘the cure’, a mysterious process which takes away their power and, some believe, destroys their personality. Suspecting the cure caused his memory loss, Michael goes undercover to investigate the truth behind the doctors of the cure clinic. What he discovers leads him to a conspiracy that runs to the heart of government and reveals the shocking reality of his own past.
Mind Secrets is a compelling thriller set in a contemporary world and will appeal to anyone who’s ever wondered what it’s like to have mind powers.
How does an author spend their day? Up at dawn, start the coffee brewing, then sit down to type page after page of the characters’ lives that are buzzing in their mind. They break to pop a frozen diet meal in the microwave, wolf it down, then back to the typing grind.
Not so. An author’s life can be solitary, but, it can also be filled with adventure, intrigue and unseen dangers. Not the, ‘Darn it, I just broke my nail on the keyboard.’ danger. I’m talking about the kind of danger that can get you shot, scared spitless or eaten. How can this be, you ask?
Research, deliberate or accidental, can be as docile as reading an article or as perilous as standing in a crack-house. The research for my recent novel, Dark Side of Valor, provided me with both types of experiences. Studying the Sudan, the jungles of the Congo, interviewing child advocates, even pulling from my experience of working in a homeless shelter as a nurse, seemed mundane compared to some of the crazier things I’ve done for the sake of a novel.
Research for the most harrowing scenes from the book came totally by accident. Some years ago, my husband and I were interested in buying rental properties. We’d venture into boarded houses with our real estate agent. The strong smell of rodents would stop me near the front door. On a good day I’d make it to the living room. I was more afraid of the rats then standing amid the litter of needles, syringes, broken crack pipes, piles of trash or looking through the splintered floor boards wondering if I were going to fall through. Going to house after house, the heroine, child advocate Lelia Freeman’s encounters became crystal clear. I thought, ‘This is what Lelia sees when she is going into the crack-houses to save her children.’ Through those experiences, I was able to infuse the emotions I felt, the things that I saw, the smells I smelled, into the story.
More perilous times lay in store for my husband and me on a research trip to a former rice plantation, turned bed and breakfast, in South Carolina. It was about 11:30 pm when we got near the location. We passed the entrance to the plantation several times before we saw the plank signage, turned onto the dirt path, then stopped underneath the sign to stare into a hole cut into the woods. When the inn keeper told us that the bed and breakfast sat about a mile and a half off of the road, I had no idea that it sat ‘off the road’ down a single dirt path, cut through very thick woods. Did I mention that there were no street lights, no moon light and that it was 11:30 pm? My husband said, “Uhhh, are you sure about this?” To be honest, I was ready to turn around to try to find a Holiday Inn, but in my mind I kept chanting, ‘bestseller’s list, bestseller’s list.’ Gritting my teeth, I said, “Let’s do it.” and we drove on.
About a half a mile down the road, I was about to ask my husband to turn around and find that Holiday Inn when he decided that it would be fun to turn off the headlights! Driving 35 to 40 miles per hour isn’t fast, but when it’s pitch black and you can’t see…it feels like warp-speed.
In stressful situations, I’m a fairly calm natured person and generally don’t cuss, but that night was not a ‘generally’ night. I was yelling at him to turn the lights on, he was saying how awesome it was driving in the dark and all of my previous thoughts of being a bestselling author went out the window.
We finally made it to our room, had a de-stressing sleep and started the next day by venturing all over the plantation. It sat on 500 acres, most of which used to be rice patties, river beds and swamps. Behind the plantation’s main house, there were acres of tall grass, paths and cut-outs in the tall grass. Each cut out had a trench furrowed in the ground that led down to the river. I thought about the amount of rain it took to hollow out the trenches and was fascinated. I knelt down to examine the river at the top of each trench, had a wonderful time being one with nature.
The following day we had the delight of meeting Captain Sandy, our tour guide. We told him about walking though the grass and the trenches. He told us, “Yep, those trenches are where the gators slither down into the river. They lie in the grass waiting for their dinner to come along, catch them in their snouts, then drag them down in the water. Hold them there till they drown.” Of course, we didn’t venture back into the tall grass for the rest of our stay.
So, on any given day, the life of an author isn’t boring. It can take you to the streets of the inner city to the perils of the vast outdoors. It all depends on a willing heart and the pursuit of the ultimate prize, a great story.
About Alicia Singleton
Born and raised in Philadelphia, the Howard University graduate embraced the written word at an early age. She credits this to her loving, older sister whom, while they were youngsters, made the author eat lotion on a regular basis. Realizing the need to sound-out the ingredients on the lotion label, Alicia stopped the lotion-eating practice, but continued to read the labels of the concoctions her sister brought for her to try. This early necessity to read flowered to a passion; hence, a writer was born.The award winning author resides in Maryland with her wonderful husband and son. Still an avid reader, label or otherwise, Alicia is hard at work completing her next suspense novel. Her latest book is the suspense novel, Dark Side of Valor. Visit Alicia’s website at www.aliciasingleton.com.
About Dark Side of Valor
Child advocate Lelia Freeman saves children for a living. As the director of ChildSafe Shelters, she ventures to abandoned squats and crackhouses to rescue teens from the hellish streets of Los Angeles. When she is summoned to Washington to serve on a committee that aids the children of a war-torn African nation, Lelia is kidnapped and becomes a political pawn in a sinister conspiracy. Oceans away from everything she knows, she must trust a mercenary to save her life, or die in the clutches of a psychopath.
Hunting, combat and staying alive are Elijah Dune’s specialties. Vengeance is his passion. Haunted by past demons, he’s travels to the Motherland to collect a debt. A debt that demands one payment. Death.
Caught in the crosshairs of a madman, Lelia and Elijah must survive the jungles of Zaire and the horrors of their pasts or be forever consumed by the DARK SIDE OF VALOR.
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1. I think I’m an extremist but not in the usual sense of the word. In 1997, I moved from the very hot and very overpopulated city of Phoenix, Arizona where I lived in a small house on a small city plot. I moved to the Pacific Northwest to a place with a population of around 8,500 year round that jumps up to about 12,000 during the summer months. Our house sits on 5 lush, inland acres of country situated on a small island off the coast of Washington State.
2. Because I moved to the country, I began collecting animals. I have 2 dogs, 12 cats and 14 birds. Plus, we treat the wildlife that live on the property as if they were pets–raccoons, deer, fox, crows, mallards, wood ducks, eagles… you name it! We encourage them to live among us.
3. I named our first “collection” of wild cats–the first litter–after food. Razberry Jammy, PNut Budda, Apricot Jelly and Marmalade.
4. I fashioned the cat, Delilah in SPIDER BRAINS after Miss PNut Budda. Delilah is Susie Speider’s pussy. (We must say “pussy” because, really, it’s only short for pussy cat, now, isn’t it?) PNut Budda acts, reacts and moves in such a wonderful cat-tish way that she ends up in many of my books. She also stars as Georgette Carlisle’s cat in The Bobby’s Diner Series.
5. Susie Speider in SPIDER BRAINS, is a huge fan of Morticia from the Addam’s Family.
6. Susie is actually super intelligent but she has ADD, attention-deficit disorder which makes her seem scatter-brained.
7. Susie’s late father hunted and Susie hated that aspect of her father.
8. Willa Speider, Susies mom, works at the headquarters for Costco in Poughkeepsie, NY which is close to where Susie and Willa live, in Ronkonkoma.
9. Susie has a great head for science and nature. Because of this fact, her next two years of science projects will be
a) incubating and hatching an egg for her junior year, and
b) building an ant farm for her senior year.
10. Susie Speider lives inside one of Susan Wingate’s favorite boots–the black ones with spotted fur.
About the Author:
Most recently, Susan Wingate’s novels, SPIDER BRAINS and DROWNING each reached Amazon Bestseller status in 2012. DROWNING won the 2011 Forward National Literature Award for Drama. She would love for you to read her books. You can find them all under the tab on this site labeled “Books”. SUSAN has written eleven novels, two short story collections, a few plays, one screenplay and tons of poems. Her latest 2011 novel DROWNING (contemporary women’s fiction), won 1st place in the 2011 Forward National Literature Award and also won a finalist award for the category of Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit in the 2011 International Book Awards. A vibrant public speaker, Susan offers inspiring, motivational talks about the craft of writing, publishing and marketing, and how to survive this extremely volatile (e-)Publishing industry. She presents these lectures for private groups and at writing conferences, libraries and bookstores around the country.
To get your copy of SPIDER BRAINS by Susan Wingate: http://www.amazon.com/Spider-Brains-Love-Story-ebook/dp/B007KDAS0C/ref=la_B003CMMERK_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1339336080&sr=1-6. To view all books by Susan Wingate: http://www.amazon.com/Susan-Wingate/e/B003CMMERK/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1. To learn more about Susan, go to her website. Visit Susan Wingate on Twitter. Like Susan Wingate on Facebook. Follow Susan Wingate on Pinterest.
About the Book:
If one were to bake the story SPIDER BRAINS into a cake, they should sprinkle in Charlotte’s Web, toss in one Jellicle Cat, then stir in a little Spiderman—but as a girl and not in that goofy latex outfit! A tale of hope, transformation, transition and inspiration.
After her father’s death last year and, now, in the throes of a gnarly teacher’s whim as she thinks ahead to college (or really just dreams of getting into college), a small black arachnid bites fifteen-year-old Susie Speider on the finger. The bite sends her nights into fantastical dreams about taking revenge on a teacher who, ultimately, holds her college aspirations in the palm of her cold calloused hand. But, after Susie figures out the dreams are real, she ups the ante by visiting the teacher regularly… as the spider! And, oh, by the way! Who is that boy spider munching on flies, hiding over there in the corner? A story of loss and forgiveness, tolerance and kindness, Susie Speider deals with the death of her father while Matt Ryder–the new neighbor boy–has just lost his mother. Ultimately, SPIDER BRAINS poses some important questions about how to treat Attention-Deficit-Disorder.