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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

I've been feeling rather special this week...

First, I had a pretty good review from Samantha Ropey at Chick Lit + and then I was interviewed in Prue Batten's Big Red Chair. Wow. I'll be wearing dark shades and dodging paps soon! Well, maybe not, but still feeling special all the same.






Part of Samantha Ropey's review had this to say: I had a lot of fun reading A Proper Charlie by Louise Wise. It almost reminds me of Prince William/Kate Middleton, with the backgrounds being so different yet they are obviously in love. Charlie is so likeable, sometimes a little dense, especially when it comes to her boyfriend/ex-boyfriend, Andy. There is one hilarious sex scene in the book with Charlie and Andy that absolutely had me cracking up!


Read the rest here


You can find Chick Lit +, and all other reviews, competitions and lots more at:  http://chicklitplus.com/





The interview was conducted by fantasy writer Prue Batten; she allowed me to sit in her comfy red chair and got down and personal with me. Sounds rude. Asked me lots of personal questions. It was quite therapeutic! 


You can find the interview here. While you're there, why not check out the rest of her Mesmered's Blog? Did I say she writes awesome fantasy...

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Life on the rough side of New Zealand - Marita Hansen


Marita A. Hansen


Author of Behind the Hood


Life on the rough side of New Zealand.
In this South Auckland neighbourhood where gang culture, drink, drugs, sex and violence is already a way of life, a vicious attack on a teenage girl sparks a ripple effect of revenge and fury. Live the carnage through multiple viewpoints as the tale unfolds to a bloody climax.

Warning: NOT for the fainthearted.



Marita A. Hansen was born in New Zealand, where Behind the Hood is based. Marita loves to write, compose compicturistic art, coach youth football, and referee the occasional match.  

What age group is you book geared towards?
Adults.

Into which genre would you say your book falls?

General Fiction.
Tell us a little about your book?
BEHIND THE HOOD is the first book in a series following the lives of a group of people living in a rough New Zealand neighbourhood. 
Each chapter is titled according to which character is followed.  Here is part of an Amazon review:
INTENSE! I could probably leave my review at this one word and that would say it all. What a nerve wracking read. At first I thought there were going to be too many point of view characters for me to get involved emotionally, but they all tied back to each other perfectly. I had no problem keeping track of who was who and how they related back to each of the other characters. By the last three-quarters of the book I had the phones turned off and the Do Not Disturb sign hung on the door. I had to know what was going to happen and I didn’t want any interruptions. Marita Hansen did not disappoint. I can’t wait to read the sequel.

(Middle of the review cut due to spoilers)

This novel is brutal in its honesty, giving a true-to-life picture of gang life and the destruction that goes along with it. If you’re at all squeamish, this is probably not the book for you. Lives are destroyed, whole families destroyed, in a matter of seconds because of selfish desires. I’ll read just about anything I can get my hands on and it had me cringing in a few places-—praying in others. I got attached to these characters in the short time it took me to read it and it hurt me when they got hurt. At the same time I’m being repulsed by what’s taking place, I’m also getting pulled in. It takes real talent to pull off a story like this. I can’t wait to read the next one by Marita Hansen. This story may take place in New Zealand, but the same story could be told in any gang territory in the States. Definitely earned the five stars I’m going to give Behind the Hood.


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

How scary do you find the publishing process?





Where’s Your Towel?
By Amber Scott

I’m sure you’ve been there before. First day at school. First date. First...

Posting my first blog article. EEK!
Replying to a fan letter hoping I say just the right-write?-thing. Nerve-rack-ing.
Preparing to promote another new release. (Fierce Dawn, Soul Search) le Gulp. It never fails, when I’m facing a new edge in my comfort zone, I feel like I’ve just stepped out of the shower.

In public. And can’t find my towel.

Yep. Buck naked and sopping wet.

An old Adam Sandler skit comes to mind. “Noooo! They’re all going to laugh at you!” a paranoid mom screams at her children (read as: in my head).

Three Kindle bestsellers, eight published books, eleven successful manuscripts, two screenplays, umpteen articles and podcasts later, how can fear still wriggle its way in? I don’t know.

Okay, okay. So, I do know why. It’s how our brains work. I’ve read enough neuroscience books that I should know this is simply a normal function and part of life. Doesn’t help! Fear will never go away. But, luckily, thanks to a little magic, I’ve learned how to face it.


Here’s how:

Laughter.
“Everybody farts!” said my 3 year old angel to her Uncle Matt after she let a toot loose on his lap.

“Grow a pair!” the accidental great advice my career coach and laugh partner, Ann Charles, once emailed me. (It was supposed to be a link for a hilarious YouTube video. I thought it must be her way of motivating for the latest roadblock.)

Belief. 
Aunt Tammy’s magic dryer. My son is hooked on balloons and when we couldn’t take his onto the plane, my husband went to the local chain restaurant location and put an identical version in our dryer then gave my sister all the credit, saying she sent it to him.
“Big red balloon!” are three magic words that open any closed security gate. I dare you to try it!

Support.
The HOT Club is the misnomer for Amber Scott fans and our secret group on Facebook. The first members of the Amber Scott Books HOT Club absolutely rock. Not only do they wear their flaming heart emblem with pride, but they post things like “Don’t hate me because I’m hot!” They show up when I write articles, they shout out my events on Twitter and high-five me on Facebook.

Love.
With each new release, each new book ‘baby’, I fall in love. Right now, I’m crazy for Elijah Stokes, the winged seeker from Fierce Dawn. I’m swept into this world where human blood is a drug and vampires are the immortals addicted to it. I’m fascinated by human changelings like Sadie Graves, evolving from human into immortal. *sigh* (Don’t worry, Ashlon Sinclair still makes me swoon in Irish Moon and he isn’t the least bit jealous.)

My family has learned to share me with my imagination, with characters so real they make me laugh out loud and cry. My children ask me if I’ve finished my chapter. My husband really means it when he asks how my writing went.

All these things and more, combined, remind me that while I might feel naked and wet in public from time to time, in fact, I’m wearing an oversized, plush towel that fans, friends and family will always be ready to hand me.

To celebrate my next brave adventure, Fierce Dawn, I’d LOVE to give some eBooks away.

Please tell me one thing that helps you face your fears and be sure to include your email address. - Amber

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Today's Topic: Publishing Democratization and Its Inherent Challenges


Greetings and felicitations, Wise Words followers! (I've always wanted to try that line to start a blog posting. Coupling it with the name of this blog makes me sound rather sage!) I'm Jaz Primo, author of the Sunset Vampire Series, and I'm very happy to be here today on Wise Words. This is a wonderful blog that not only presents information on new authors and their works, but neatly presents a series of topics geared to help mentor and advise burgeoning authors.

Speaking of burgeoning authors, it seems that in the past few years a revolution has occurred in the publishing industry. With relative ease and minimal technical skills, independent authors are able to bring their novels to the marketplace without either the aid of a major publishing house or expensive turnkey self-publishing services. I like to think of this time as the era of the democratization of publishing. There has been a veritable explosion of novels being brought directly to consumers with the aid of retailers (or rather, what I like to call "e-tailers") ranging from Amazon to Barnes & Noble to Apple to Waterstone's. The only problem is that consumers are plagued with a seemingly overwhelming sea of literary selections, of which many are of substandard composition and quality. It's almost as if bookstores have become a sort of yard sale where someone might just be getting "pot luck" with regard to their next novel selection. That's why this blog and others dedicated to reviewing novels are so very important.

All that being said, there's yet another challenge to the democratization of publishing: finding unique stories that honor their respective genre. When major publishers controlled the vast majority of novel distributions to bookstore retailers, the stream of novels for a particular genre were relatively controlled and paced. Please don't mistake me; I'm certainly not advocating a return to the limited supplies of stories from those days. I'm merely pointing out that it was much easier to narrow one's selections of stories. There were only so many vampire novels available, whereas today, there are hundreds of varieties of vampire novels. Of course, as an avid fan of vampires, I'm only too happy about this development. But many people are limited by vampires, and they want to know that the novels they select to read are of the best quality and content. Again, that's why blogs such as Wise Words are so very important to readers.

Despite this wonderful world of democratized publication, as an author, it's important to ensure that fresh ideas and stories are being offered to readers. In the case of the Sunset Vampire Series, I have striven to bring a fresh twist to the paranormal vampire subgenre. My debut novel, Sunrise at Sunset, took the tired and traditional character development structures of most previous vampire novels and turned the pretexts on their heads. Gone is the mysterious, tall, dark and handsome stranger (the vampire) who is magnetically smitten with the shy, timid, awkward female love interest (the human) and who must be protected from all possible threats and challenges, lest her fragile body and tender sensibilities be bruised. In Sunrise at Sunset, the vampire is a strong, self-confident, capable female vampire (initially Amber, later assuming the name Katrina) who isn't immediately smitten with the human male (Caleb) she encounters. In fact, Caleb is a young boy who accidently happens upon our wounded vampire heroine, ultimately interceding on her behalf. It's not until years later that the two are reunited and the potential for romantic sparks occur.

Sunrise at Sunset is unlike most any vampire novel that you may have read. The series is my homage to the strength and capability of women, as well as the potential for female heroines to capably support their male counterparts. Most readers find the change refreshing, though a small percentage of readers are outright offended that I would dare to place a female in the role of power and influence formerly reserved for men. Rather than be offended by the small percentage of scathing reviews, I wear them as a badge of honor that I have presented exciting and fresh ideas to a population of readers who seem somewhat starved for something new and different. Please understand, as an author in today's fluid publishing environment, I believe that it's a writer's responsibility to quench readers' thirsts with fresh material. One thing is certain: it will set you aside from your peers and competition, which any publicist will tell you is a good thing!

With that in mind, here's the teaser for Sunrise at Sunset:
-----------
When is a bloodthirsty predator the best protection against a psychotic killer?
When the predator is both a vampire...and the woman you love.

“We vampires are focused and tend to shape our own realities.”
My name is Katrina Rawlings, and I am a vampire. I declare that with neither pride nor ego. I am simply nature’s most dangerous predator. On occasion, it’s a very valuable quality. It helped me protect Caleb Taylor one day when he was very young. But that single, traumatic day is behind him now; wiped from his memory, or so I hope.

Caleb has finally matured into a rather striking young man, and believe me, I like what I see. I’ll readily admit that there are issues for us to confront and overcome, though a sense of mutual commitment isn’t one of them. I’m feeling hopeful for our future together, in fact. But an adversary from my past has returned to haunt me, and she’s trying to get back at me through Caleb. That was her first...and last...mistake. I’ll protect my Caleb at all costs, and I’ll make her regret the day she was born.

So, I suppose that I’m not just a vampire. I’m about to become someone’s worst nightmare!
-----------
My sincere thanks to Louise Wise for the opportunity to appear on Wise Words today. It's been a real treat, and I hope that you've enjoyed today's posting. I also hope that you'll consider giving my Sunset Vampire Series a try!
Peace -- Jaz

Jaz Primo is an author, history aficionado, pun-master, and all-around fan of things vampire and urban fantasy. Fuelled by an active imagination, cold Coca-Cola and chocolate, Jaz brings a new voice with a fresh approach to today's array of paranormal and urban fantasy literature. When not pouring over a keyboard or Kindle, Jaz can be found tending a veggie garden or casting a variety of colourful lures into bodies of water as he urges the bass to bite, often using his best fish puns. Jaz lives in central Oklahoma with his wife and a talkative, long-lived cat.


Sunrise at Sunset is available in both trade paperback and multiple eBook formats at most major retailers, including Amazon, Apple iBookstore, and Barnes & Noble. You can find Jaz at the following locations:

Website:   http://www.jazprimo.com/
Blog:   http://primovampires.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/o43dPj
Twitter:   @jazprimo


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Six reasons an agent/publisher will stop reading your submission.


1. Dull openings - Novels that open with the weather or description don’t inspire an imagination. Also, be aware that scene building can be equally dull. Build your world in between action, and throughout your novel; you DON'T need to get it all in in the first chapter.

2. Trying to be clever - Novels that use humungous words and long cryptic paragraphs makes the writer appear arrogant, and nobody likes arrogance.

3. Too Much Info - Trying to describe something as you see it is hard. Better to describe a little, and let your readers’ imagination do the rest otherwise your MS is going to be tossed to one side in favour of another because it's OVER WRITTEN.

4. Clichés - "Her hair was jet black.” “She looked as white as a ghost!” Yes, the meaning is there, but it doesn’t stand out. Clichés dulls writing, so think of your own descriptions.

5. POV - Whose story is it? If point of view is all mixed up, it’s difficult to form a connection with the main character.

6. Unlikely narrative - Don’t make your characters talk the reader through something. If your character is injured he wouldn’t be talking about the pain, but living it out in agony.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Chick Lit Books to be Won!!


Chick Lit Giveaway!!!

FIVE (5) very lucky chick lit lovers (winners)will EACH receive ONE copy of an amazing chick lit book, “Beatrice Munson”. Yay!!!
Wait, there is more! I am also giving away my copy of “Seattle Girl” (another awesome chick lit) to one of the five lucky winners as a bonus prize! Sounds fantastic??? J
If you are a chick lit lover (like I am!) then hurry up and enter now!
To Enter this Giveaway,

Friday, 5 August 2011

Bookshelf Search Results - BookRabbit

BookRabbit Logo
Just found this little site. Not sure what it's all about yet, and it looks pretty new. It's obviously a place where writers and readers can mingle, and it's British! Come on over and have a peek - besides I need a friend.
Bookshelf Search Results - Boo

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

All Write - Fiction Advice: Confidence in Fiction Writing

All Write - Fiction Advice: Confidence in Fiction Writing

Confidence in Fiction Writing

There will come a point when every writer’s confidence slips, or they hit a barrier (usually physiological) and in turn, it affects their writing and they find themselves trapped by self-doubt. Usually this is a short lived blip and writers pick themselves up and get back to writing, but on a more serious note, some writers cannot return to writing at all because their confidence has been shattered. So what makes a writer lose confidence?
  • Negative feedback on a writing piece
  • Rejection
  • Family and friends
  • Ourselves
Firstly, you may have given your work to a peer, teacher, or fellow writer for feedback on your manuscript or story, but sometimes the comments are not very constructive. Critiques, for instance, are designed to find flaws with your writing and help you improve to become a better writer. Good critiques should be constructive and helpful, however when they are overly negative without the support to correct the errors in your writing, this can severely knock your confidence.
For the complete article head over to All Write - Fiction Advice: http://bit.ly/pl5pIG

Monday, 1 August 2011

Ever think that mainstream publishing isn't for you?


Hi! I’m Kathy Cecala, author of The Raven Girl. I’m a newly self-published author, but not a new author: Years ago, I had an adult novel published by a huge publisher, and the experience was not as wonderful as I hoped it would be. I’m not ungrateful for the experience, but unfortunately, because that book did not sell very well, I was not able to get any other books accepted for publication afterwards. (Of course, my big-time publisher did little to publicize it, but that’s an old story, isn’t it?)  Every time I queried an agent, or editor, about a new book, the question would always come up: What were the sales numbers on that first book? Why didn’t it sell? It was all very discouraging, and I feared my career as a novelist was over just shortly after it had begun.

When I started The Raven Girl--originally as part of a much, much larger book, spanning a number of centuries in Irish history--I found myself dreading the marketing process. But I continued writing it with some feeble hope that it might one day get into print, despite the odds against me. My first marketing attempts were as dismal as I feared: Agents I contacted praised the writing, but, oh, there was that first book failure…Others thought the subject matter was too arcane, even for young history students. “Historical novels about the Tudor Era and US civil war do well,” one told me. “Anything else, forget it!” Discouraged, I stuck the manuscript away, and forgot about it for awhile…though every so often, I’d hear an Irish tune or see a picture of Ireland’s rocky west coast, and I’d feel a wave of sorrow and regret, for the novel I’d written that would never be published.

Then, earlier this year, I read a newspaper article about Kindle Books and e-publishing, and it was my moment of epiphany. My Irish novel was meant to be self-published! I pulled it out (never destroy anything!), decided to cut it down into a series of books, starting with my tale of the 15th century and the Galway scholar Aedan. Two months later, The Raven Girl made its debut on Amazon.com. I also had a print version published with the help of CreateSpace, and was quite pleased with the results.

Yes, sales have been slow--I did not sell a single book in the month of June!--but they are beginning to pick up. And I’ve since gotten some great reviews, which reinforce my gut feeling that the book was worth publishing.

I’m hoping to see the stigma once attached to self-publishing continue to fade, and would urge mainstream publications, such as the NYTimes Book Review, to consider reviewing and publicizing more self-published books. I am convinced this is the future of literature, and I think all those readers out there voraciously devouring  Kindle and Nook books are showing us the way.


Kathy Cecala