Wednesday, October 31, 2012

#BookChat The Priest by Monica La Porta

Mauricio is a slave. Like any man born on Ginecea, he is but a number for the pure breed women who rule over him with cruel hands. Imprisoned inside the Temple since birth, Mauricio has never been outside, never felt the warmth of the sun on his skin. He lives a life devoid of hopes and desires. Then one day, he hears Rosie sing. He risks everything for one look at her and his life is changed, forever. An impossible friendship blossoms into affection deemed sinful and perverted in a society where the only rightful union is between women. Love is born where only hate has roots and leads Mauricio to uncover a truth that could destroy Ginecea.

From the author
I am an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy, consequently my stories tend to have elements from both genres with a spin on the what-if theme. A few years ago, I read an article explaining how, in a near future, medical science would make possible for women to procreate other women without male contribution. My imagination ran wild with possible scenarios about the kind of society that would come out from such environment and a dystopian world came alive. My Ginecean Chronicles are set on an alternate version of Earth, Ginecea, where women rule over enslaved men and love between opposite genders is seen as a perversion. Since I like character-oriented stories where the heroes and the heroines grow through hardship and impossible choices, I made Mauricio and Rosie fall in love with each other and pay the consequences.

Reader's reactions
“Their story is one of triumph of the one thing no one can take away from us, love. Despite the stark setting, the emotions are palpable. You feel for these two wonderful characters. You will be overwhelmed by outrage at times, you will laugh at the levity that's a testament to the spirit of these people, and you will shed tears born of different emotional extremes.” J.R.

Her vivid tale of love in a time of oppression is a compelling story for both its fascinating reversal of dominance between men and women and its two wonderfully drawn main characters.” G.H.

Original and beautifully written. Vivid descriptions but not heavy handed. Great world building. I felt completely immersed in the believable and highly unorthodox society of Rosie and Mauricio. Some of the scenes are incredibly poignant and heart rendering. One of my favourites was when Mauricio is put in a room with a window, and sees sunlight for the first time in his life.” V.E.

Behind the scenes
In 2010, while I was writing Pax in the Land of Women, two characters, Rosie and Mauricio, came to life. I fell in love with them and thought their story deserved to be told, but Pax was already on its way to completion, and there wasn’t any space left in it for them. November came along and with it Nanowrimo, the one month extravaganza where authors pledge to the insanity of writing until they drop. It was perfect timing and I immediately jumped at the opportunity to write 50,000 words around the slave and the President’s daughter.  During those thirty days, my husband and I settled on a nice routine, where he played Red Dead Redemption and I sat by him on the couch and wrote The Priest. To this day, I can’t read a word from The Priest without humming the songs from RDR’s soundtrack.

The Priest is available on

You can find out more about Monica La Porta on her Amazon Author Page

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

#NewRelease Anti-Bullying Cannon Balls for Girls by Barbara Moore

Book Title:  Cannon Balls for Girls
Genre:  Children’s book (appropriate for all ages elementary through
middle school)

Author:  Barbara Moore
Book  Description:
Is your child a victim of bullying? Is your child being a bully to others?

This children's book can assist girls in dealing with the effects of
bullying. It is written in a unique way from which both victims and
bullies can relate to and benefit. ‘Cannon Balls for Girls’ emphasizes
the ‘Golden Rule’.

The book helps girls deal with not only the trauma of victimization,
but can potentially help bullies rethink their actions. This book
helps open up discussions on the subject between girls, their parents,
grandparents and counselors.

Bullying in today's world is not like it was years ago. Today’s kids
have access to so many electronic devices that it can be difficult to
escape bullying and almost impossible to deal with. Bullying often
causes physical illness and serious anxiety. The results on children
can be catastrophic.

If your child has talked to you about being bullied there is a good
chance that it’s already become an unbearable issue. Please listen
closely to what she is saying. The author’s daughter was the victim of
bullying in school. Initially, what sounded like casual girl arguments
proved to be so much worse.

It is the author’s goal that ‘Cannon Balls for Girls’ will help girls
deal with the traumatic and sensitive issue of being bullied and
cyber-bullied. This book will help them develop stronger and healthier
mindsets about this issue as they enter middle school and even high

The consequences of bullying can range from diminished self-esteem to
physical injury. If you feel your child is having difficulty with this
issue, please talk with her. Help is available through school
counselors or check online for local resources. We hope the girls you
know and love will benefit from this book.
Why did you write this book?

I am happy to announce the release of my new book, Cannon Balls for Girls.
The plot references my daughter's horrible bullying experience, which
occurred in elementary school at the age of nine years old.  The
result of this was serious anxiety.  At one point it led us to the
emergency room.

 After many talks that seemed to do little for her ongoing trauma, I
wrote this book to help her cope.  Her bullying experience diminished
after she read it, and she no longer suffered from the emotional
devastation she had been feeling during the incidents.

During the time I was doing illustrations, I showed a friend of mine
the storyline.  Her young daughter was standing beside her at the
time.  A couple of days later, she relayed a story of her own to me.

Her daughter had come to her that night about bullying issues of her
own that she had been having in class.  Before that night, my friend
had not been aware her daughter had been experiencing any issues in
school.  Her daughter told her that she talked to her because she had
heard her reading 'Cannon Balls for Girls'.

I knew at that point that I needed to work toward getting this book
out to parents and schools.  It is my hope that ‘Cannon Balls for
Girls’ will positively impact other young girls who are victims of
bullies as well as preventing bully mentality from developing before
girls reach high school.

They boy’s version is in edits and will be released soon.

Twitter : @cannonballsfor

Monday, October 29, 2012

#BookChat For Animal Lovers by Kim Cano


For Animal Lovers is a heartwarming book for kids ages 9-12. Although mainly a short story collection for children, it also appeals to adult readers who are young at heart. Prepare to be transported into the world of each animal, as they tell their tale in their own words.

Best of all, 10% of the sale price is donated to the ASPCA® to help homeless pets!

“Becoming Sacred” – Charlie is a cow who lives on a farm, but plans to escape and move to India, fulfilling a promise he made to his late father.

“Pascal’s Magic” – A classic cat story. Pascal is an adopted shelter cat who has been through a lot. Now with new owners, he finds he needs to work his special brand of magic to save his family.

“Abduction at Sea” – Alice is a special-needs swordfish who's obsessed with aliens. In order to be an independent gladiator of the sea, Alice has to learn to confront some of the greatest dangers the ocean has to offer.

From the Author: 
I wrote the first short story-- "Becoming Sacred"-- to enter into a Writer's Digest competition. Time passed, and I noticed ebooks and the kindle becoming popular. So I thought of putting a few animal-related stories together to sell on Amazon. I figured since I was unemployed at the time, I could learn to market my ebook while writing my first novel. I also hoped to raise money for homeless pets too. 10% of sales are donated to the ASPCA.

Reader's Reactions: 
Most readers have really liked the book. In reviews, I hear similar comments, such as "heartwarming and creative" and "thought-provoking." Overall, I think the phrase I hear the most is that they think of animals a bit differently after they finish the book. I even had one man admit that he cried like a baby after reading the cow story. Although I don't want to make people cry, I was happy to hear of his reaction. I really want readers to think of animals as having their own personality, with dreams and goals and plans. Who are we to say they don't? 

Behind the Scenes:
Something funny happened when this book came out. I started having friends/family members tell me they were reading the stories to their kids. I was dumbfounded. I don't have children, and I just wrote them for me. I figured I'd market them to adults. When I switched my Amazon categories to children's, it became a best seller in that genre and is ranked in the top 100 most of the time. Now the joke at family gatherings is "Hey Cano--You've never even changed a diaper in your life and you wrote a children's book!" My response is a smirk, followed by "And you thought I was just a crazy cat lady."

For Animal Lovers is available at

You can find out more about Kim at her Amazon Author Page

and her blog.

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

#AuthorInterview Sheila Deeth a writing mathematician

Hi Sheila, it is so nice to meet you. So, you’re a mathematician and you write fiction. What’s the connection?
I guess being mathematical means I like symbols; fiction’s full of recurring ideas and deeper meanings, so that could be a connection. Mathematics makes sense too (seriously, it does!) and there’s a kind of logic to fiction where everything you put into the story has to belong. And when you finish there’s that sense of completeness and rightness at the end of a novel, like writing QED (quod erat demonstrandum) on the final line of a mathematical proof. There’s the same kind of satisfaction in math and writing too; working a math puzzle’s kind of like working with the pieces of a story, watching things come together and realizing they have to be that way. The biggest difference though is, when you’re finished, the math is either right or wrong, but the writing just is.

That's true, although abstract math sounds like a lot of world building to me. Are there any particular mathematical allusions in your new novel, Divide by Zero?
The title’s mathematical of course. At a basic level, dividing by zero gives you infinity, but really the answer’s undefined, kind of like answers in real life. Look at it the right way and dividing by zero won’t change anything—3x/x for example always looks like 3 as x gets closer to zero. But looked at differently it turns the whole world on its head—1/x is hugely negative when x is just less than zero, and suddenly hugely positive when x gets just a little bigger. That’s probably too much information… Anyway, Divide by Zero’s about a community united by family and friendship, divided by an unexpected tragedy and reunited by a small boy’s wisdom.

Well, there is countable infinity and uncountable, but zero is always the same. Your blurb says the subdivision raises the child and the child raises the subdivision. Is that always how you saw the story working out?
No. To begin with I was just writing short stories about a group of characters. I wasn’t really planning a novel. Then something happened in one of the stories and it really startled me. I wanted to know more and I started arguing the the point with my characters as I walked around the green. Eventually it reached that QED stage and all came together. Then I had characters and plot and the novel grew out of it.

Interesting. There’s an autistic girl in the story as well as the wise little boy. Do you have any experience with autism?
I have a couple of nephews with diagnoses on the autistic spectrum. They’re both wonderful guys. One is doing his masters in psychology at the moment—he’s a great public speaker and his first book came out last year (Raising Martians—from crash-landing to leaving home—highly recommended!). His brother’s more seriously affected, but I’ve always been very fond of them both and I’ve always had this urge to imagine how they see the world.

Is there a connection between autism and mathematics?
The researchers certainly suggest there might be. Part of the attraction of mathematics is you really can define and understand the rules, but it’s so much harder to do that in life. It’s particularly hard for people with Asperger’s syndrome (a form of autism) to recognize the rules of social interactions.

How did you get from being a mathematician to being a writer?
I studied mathematics at college—I think the possibility of being unequivocally right kind of appealed to my teenaged brain. Then I worked with computers. And then I had kids. But I’ve told stories since before I learned to write (possibly since before I learned to talk—Mum says I was constantly “babbling” as a baby). When I lost my most recent job I decided to take my childhood dream more seriously and try to get published. Maybe having a family helped me realize I’d never be unequivocally right anyway.

But you must be really good at totaling shopping lists?
Not at all. I’m hopeless at it. I’m a mathematician that can’t add up and a writer that can’t spell. I can’t tell left from right either. But, like I said, it’s the symbolism I like in mathematics and in fiction—that feeling of searching for deeper meaning, underlying structure and all that.

Is there anything you want readers to know about Divide by Zero?
Well, it’s about community; it’s about looking at things and people differently; it’s about love and forgiveness and hope… I could give you the blurb and the places to buy the book I suppose. And I want people to see the cover ‘cause I think the artist (Peter Joseph Swanson) did a brilliant job.

Anything else you’d like to say?
Thank you for inviting me to your blog. And thank you to readers for spending their precious time looking at our interview.

Good News: Divide by Zero is FREE today on!

Book blurb:
It takes a subdivision to raise a child, and a wealth of threads to weave a tapestry, until one breaks.
Troy, the garage mechanic’s son, loves Lydia, the rich man’s daughter. Amethyst has a remarkable cat and Andrea a curious accent. Old Abigail knows more than anyone else but doesn’t speak. And in Paradise Park a middle-aged man keeps watch while autistic Amelia keeps getting lost.
Pastor Bill, at the church of Paradise, tries to mend people. Peter mends cars. But when that fraying thread gives way it might take a child to raise the subdivision—or to mend it.

Author Bio:
Sheila Deeth grew up in the UK and has a Bachelors and Masters in mathematics from Cambridge University, England. Now living in the States near Portland Oregon, she enjoys reading, writing, drawing, telling stories and meeting her neighbors' dogs on the green. Sheila can be found on her website
Find her books at her book page
Or connect with her on:

Divide by Zero is available from: ebook, paperback ebook, paperback  

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

#AuthorInterview Cindy Roesel Viewer Discretion Advised

Hi Rachelle!  I am so excited to be here with you and your bloggers!  We are going to have so much fun!  VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED is a yummy mocha light frappucchino which is a perfect fun read for fall, so let’s get to it.

With that kind of yummy description, let's get to it. So tell us, what inspires your writing?
When asked what inspires my writing I’d say it comes down to the fact I consider myself a storyteller first.  I’ve been telling stories since I was a little girl.  As I got older, I became fascinated with the news and what was going on in everyone else’s lives.  That’s how I indirectly got into the television news business and why I’m still interested in eavesdropping on other people’s conversations and writing down snippets of gossip and pulling headlines out of the newspaper.  I’m basically a very nosey person. J I’ll pretty much ask anybody anything, in a nice way, of course.  I mean what’s the worst thing they can say?  “It’s none of your business.”  That’s fine and trust me I’ve had plenty of people say that and worse to me throughout my career.  But I must have done something right.  I won an Emmy award working in the television news business.

Ha, ha, I love how nosiness and eavesdropping contribute to being a newshound. Congratulations on your Emmy award. What is your favorite thing about being an author?
There are so many wonderful aspects about being an author.  The greatest part is getting to meet new people.  VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED is my debut novel and I’m humbled by the fact that it has been published.  It is the little baby that I worked on and put all my time and effort into for years and amazingly it came together.   I carry around the first proof copy of VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED and never let it out of my sight.

Ah... must be like a baby for you. What is the toughest part of being an author?
It’s an honor to write.   But if I had to say there is a difficult part, it’s getting me to sit in the chair and focus on writing.  I love it once I’m in the chair and it’s hard to get me out once I’m in, but sometimes it’s nearly impossible for me to focus on one thing.  For instance, take this questionnaire.  I had to start working on it in advance or I may not have ever finished it.  I had several to do, including essays, along with my regular projects.  I’m not complaining, because that’s what we writers do, we write, but this writer, me, has a short attention span.  There’s Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, ChickLitCentral, my blog, writing reviews and oh yeah, writing my next project!   So, sometimes doing the very thing I love is a challenge.

You and me both. My attention span jumps around like a squirrel in a nut farm. If you could not be author, what would you do/be?
If I could be anything other than an author is an interesting question.  The only other career I have had is in the broadcast industry, although I did take off several years during college to pursue a singing career in New York City.  I guess if I wasn’t working on my writing career, I’d take another shot at becoming a Broadway Star!   Actually, that sounds like a better storyline for a future novel, then reality at this stage of my life, don’t you think?  I certainly do.  I think I’m going to stick to making up stories, but thanks for asking.

You can be a Broadway star in your imagination. Sounds good to me. What would the story of your life be entitled?
I Get Knocked Down and I get Up Again
Or    I Will Survive (complete with Gloria Gaynor soundtrack)
Neither one of these will be written for MANY years, thank you very much!

I do remember Gloria Gaynor. Glad to know you're a survivor and you never quit. What is your favorite book of all time?
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
I will always remember being introduced to this brilliant author and piece of literature in 9th grade English class.  Each student read a few paragraphs followed by the next.  Some of my classmates wanted to sink and disappear into their desks, but not me, I wanted to read the entire book aloud, until my teacher interrupted and said, “Cindy, let someone else read.”  It was wonderful.  I can still visualize the class room, the old tattered novels and the smell of chalk.  I just loved experiencing Miss Havisham, Pip, Estella and all the characters coming to life.

I used to read all those thick classics when I was in high school. Loved them. Which character from your book is you most like?
If I had to pick any character in my novel that I’m like, I’d have to say I’m most similar to the main character, Charley.  We are alike, but at the same time, very different.  We are both loyal to our boss, we back our staff and enjoy plain M&Ms, but she does some things that I wouldn’t dream of doing, including risk a very important relationship.  I’m very upset by how dismissive she is of her love interest, but you’ll have to read VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED to find out how that gets resolved.

Okay, sounds good to me. It is on my "want-to-read" list. What is your favorite season?
My favorite season of the year is spring.  My birthday is April 20th and I just love the whole idea of rebirth.  I love how the flowers, trees and the overall landscape come out of hibernation.  I enjoy how we start cleaning out our closets and begin freshening up our homes.  I also love tulips and daffodils.  It’s an exciting time of renewal.  I must say, I am enjoying the arrival of fall here in Miami.  The chill is a welcomed change.

Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
This happened when VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED was first published and I will never forget it.  I was in a bookstore when they sold my first copy.  You might say I even helped sell it.  A woman was looking at the new fiction and I picked up my novel and said, “Why not try this book by a new local writer, in fact she’s here?”  And I turned it to the back where my photo was.  “I’ll even sign it for you.”  I smiled, chuckled and walked away.  A few minutes later, she came over to me with her family and a copy of my book saying she wanted to purchase it and that she also wanted to take a photograph with me.  I was so excited.  I signed the book and put the photo on my Facebook page.   That was a wonderful experience that will stay with me forever.

No kidding! That must have been the coolest thing. Are you working on something new?
I’m working on several something news.  I’ve been asked repeatedly if and when the sequel is coming out and I believe VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED does have the potential for one.  I’ve been working out ideas on story boards and every day here in Miami I’m blessed with enough craziness, so I don’t even have to make anything up.  But maybe Charley, Lefton and Oz need to be left alone.   I’d like to ask you a favor.  Would your bloggers read VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED and leave a message on your blog or my website, and tell us what they think about a possible sequel?  That would be so awesome.

Okay, sounds like a great plan. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
To follow up on what I was saying, we authors love to hear from our readers.  Like when I said I’d love to hear from you, that your opinions would affect whether or not there’s a sequel, I’m not kidding.  All authors rely on our readers.  You guys are very important to us.  Any and all email you send to us is taken very seriously and we love to receive it.  Writing is a very private experience.  Going on book and blog tours and social media is the only time we connect with you, our readers, so it’s very important.  Feel free to contact me any time about any subject.

Rachelle, I want to thank you and your bloggers for inviting me on your blog.  VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED is my first novel and I know you get a lot of first time authors asking you to promote their books.  I’m incredibly grateful you took time to showcase mine!  It’s really a lot of fun! I hope you and your bloggers get a chance to check out VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED.  Happy Fall!  There are lots of celebrations coming up!
Viewer Discretion Advised is available from

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Triberr Overload! #promotip

I posted several months ago about Triberr, a service that allows a group of people to read and share blog posts through Twitter. When I first started using Triberr, oh, not so long ago, I started my own tribe, Indie Authors and filled it with people I knew from blogging and critiquing. Since my tribemates oftentimes knew each other from other venues, we had a small and intimate, well, tribal feel. We'd visit and comment on posts as well as forwarded to our Twitter streams.

I always had an open door policy and kept my tribe healthy by encouraging reciprocation. Some members lost interest and left. Others who did not want to spam their Twitter followers also left. Back then it cost "bones" to invite a member who was already in Triberr. They called it inbreeding. Even though chiefs had to purchase bones, it was a good system because people would think before inviting someone to their tribe. Tribes were also capped at thirty members.

Triberr Explosion
In September, the bone system was discontinued. Suddenly you can invite people without cost. A Prime membership was created where chiefs could have tribes with up to 150 members. Predictably, an invitation explosion ensued. People I didn't know were inviting me. I was inviting others I didn't know. A new feature called "Follower" status was introduced. This allowed people to lurk outside of the tribe, share the posts, and ask to gain membership.

Is this a good thing? If I look at stats I could be thrilled. I went from:
to this:

But along the way, I lost my sense of community. My stream became clogged with new faces and new people. I diligently checked out their blogs and shared their posts. I dialed my share schedule to the maximum allowed (3 posts an hour). Do the math! 3 posts an hour = 72 posts a day maximum. I now have 269 tribemates. Some of them post multiple times a day. Everytime I log on, my stream is full and I'm always behind.

Some of my tribemates have time sensitive posts, a giveaway or free event. This could get lost in the queue and not sent until days into the future. With the pile of unsent but approved posts, Triberr's database became overloaded. They started aging out posts, dumping packets into the bit bucket. I started missing my initial tribemates' posts only to find them gone by the time I got to it.

The intimate small tribe had grown into a communal hive. I no longer had time to visit and comment, just click, approve, click, approve. And what happened to my twitter feed?,, ... ad nauseum.

The million dollar question - Did you blog hits improve?
No! Even with the increased tribemates, increased sharing and 24 by 7 posts, my blog pageviews did not increase like they did when I first joined Triberr. My Alexa rating is still in the 360,000 range, and I did not see an increase in average pageviews.

Why is that? Simple. My tribemates were also on overload. They could not keep up with the multitude, the flood, the deluge of posts. Their queues were backed up and posts were dropped after five days. And now that Triberr has instituted a daily 100 post limit (still > 72/daily potential), even more of my blog posts will submerge into the ocean of timed-out posts.

What to do?
I'm taking back my tribal roots. Triberr has always had a "Filter" feature. I had always set it to "Show All Tribes." Because I am now limited to 100 posts a day, I will start with the posts from my two personal tribes: "Indie Authors" and "Writer's Karma." I will get in as many posts as I can of my other tribes and pay attention to the reciprocality statistic. Those who have shared more will be shared first. Then the folks I'm even with. If this doesn't work, I will drop out of tribes until I get my tribemate number down to where it is manageable.
So that's my Triberr story. What about you? Do you like the new changes? The supertribes? Are you a paying Prime member? What do you think of the impersonal automatic sharing feature? And is all of this defeated when you can only share 72 posts a day?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

G.M. Frazier - WINNER of Kindle Book Review's Literary Fiction Award #AuthorInterview

Gary, a big congratulations to you on winning the Kindle Book Review Best of Literary Fiction Award.

How do you feel about A Death on the Wolf now that you've won?

It's a great honor to win this award, especially given the number of books my novel was up against and the quality of the works that were in the top five finalist category.  As I was writing A Death on the Wolf, I felt like I was producing something special.   That feeling was confirmed when I sent the final draft to my proofreader and she said she was having a hard time proofing because she would get so engrossed in the story.  Winning KBR's "Best Indie Book of 2012" for literary fiction has validated all the positive reviews readers have posted on Amazon, and I could not be more pleased.

Yes, it feels good to be validated on a job well done. Looking back, what was the biggest challenge you faced while writing this book?
Setting aside the necessary time.  Once I have a novel outlined in my head, the story itself tends to unfold for me quickly as I'm writing.  It's nothing for me to sit at the computer for 14 hours straight and write when I'm really "in the story."  Fortunately, I was able to allow myself that sort of latitude in writing A Death on the Wolf last year, which enabled me to complete the novel, including revisions and editing, in three months.

Wow! That is fantastic. I'm sure you were in your zone, so to speak. What other coming of age books are comparable to A Death on the Wolf?

I think my novel compares favorably to John Knowles' A Separate Peace, Tom Coyne's A Gentleman's Game, Francine Prose's Goldengrove, and (oddly enough) Charles Portis' True Grit and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.

Good company to keep. What are you working on next?
I'm about half way finished with a short novel called The Taking of Trevor Ward.  It's about a private investigator who winds up in the middle of the kidnapping of a child, first as the suspected kidnapper, but ultimately as the person who uncovers the plot behind the kidnapping that leads all the way to Washington, D.C.

Whoa! Sounds like seriously thrilling stuff. You wrote A Death on the Wolf in three months, but in general, how long does it take for you to write a book? Give us an idea of your typical timeline.
How long it takes me to complete a book is totally dependent on the time constraints of family and my law practice.  I try to write some everyday, but I'm not always able to do that. The writing of A Death on the Wolf went rather quickly.  I wrote the first sentence on July 21, 2011 at 9:50 P.M.  On October 23, 2011 at 2:19 P.M. I wrote the last sentence.  I do a lot of rewriting, but I don’t complete the entire manuscript and then start the rewrites.  I do it by chapter.  Each chapter went through at least three or four extensive revisions, so when I finally got to the end of the epilogue the manuscript was ready for the proofreader.  As for editing, I have worked as an editor for a publishing company and I do freelance editing.  I’m fortunate in that I can edit my own work and that takes place when I’m revising and rewriting.  This is an aspect of the craft of writing that I share with Anne Rice and John Updike (who gave me a lot of good advice and was an inspiration for me when I started writing.)  What I can’t do, however, is proofread my own work.  I have to pay someone to do that.

Sounds like a very efficient method. Thanks for sharing. So, what inspired you to start writing? Was there an event or a person?
From my time as the entertainment reporter for my junior high newspaper right through high school and into college, I've always been told I had a knack for writing.  In my first job while in college I spent a great deal of time writing technical procedural manuals.  I published my first journal article when I was a senior in college.  By the time I decided to try my hand at fiction in the early 90s, I had several non-fiction publications.  Shortly after reading Pat Conroy's The Prince of Tides I got the idea for a story and sat down and started writing it.  I was living just outside of Boston at the time, working for a family who knew John Updike.  They introduced me to him and he gave me a lot of invaluable advice and encouragement which helped me to stick with fiction writing over the years since then.

What a wonderful story--meeting John Updike. More writing questions, please bear with me since I'm a writer and curious to learn from an award winning author. Do you work on one project at a time or multiple? What helps you to focus?
Generally, I work on one project at a time.  But I have had new ideas pop into my head and found myself stopping one story to start another.  Listening to music or songs that, for whatever reason, resonate with me for a given scene, theme, or character in my story help me to focus and further develop that scene, theme, or character as I'm writing.  For example, I listened to One Republic's song "Secrets" over and over when I was writing about the character of Frankie in A Death on the Wolf.  For the character of Mary Alice, it was Plaint White T's "Rhythm of Love."

I love music. Wish I could include a playlist with every book. Okay, last one, promise. Any advice for writers who are beginning this journey?
The advice I used to give my authors when I worked as an editor for a publishing company was this: To write good fiction, you have to read good fiction.  Good writers are invariably good readers.

Yes, that's right. And reading good fiction can rub off on you. Thanks Gary for joining us here and giving some really wonderful insights. And congratulations again winning the Kindle Book Review Literary Fiction Award!

 is available from Amazon.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

#AuthorInterview Tom Abrahams, Author of Sedition

Tom, Thanks for joining us.  Very interesting cover. So how did you come up with the idea for SEDITION?

Believe it or not, I have to thank my wife's love of Showtime's The Tudors.  Really.  She loved it and, I have to admit (with the risk of losing my dude card) that I liked it too.  As we watched it, we wondered how historically accurate it was.  So we Googled the House of Tudor and started researching royal lineage.  As we did, I came across the reference to something called the Cato Street Conspiracy.  I was fascinated by the little known political drama and thought it could make a great book.  So I took the basic premise, modernized it, and set it in Washington D.C.

So then, which wife of Henry VIII was your favorite?

Politically it had to be Anne Boleyn.  Without her (and her ambitious family), the western world (and religion for that matter) would be very different.  It's not that I liked HER.  But as far as which one was the most politically influential, it was her..heads above everyone else.

Yes, a strong woman. I like that. Why write a political thriller?

Because I wanted to write about bloodsuckers, but the vampire genre is kinda played.  No really, I love politics.  I think it's inherently thrilling and suspense-filled.  And everyone can relate to politics.  Whether its in school, at work, in little league, or in a neighborhood, politics plays a part.  I've seen firsthand that it's no different at the local school board or on Capitol Hill.  We all want what is best for us and our families, even if it sometimes comes a the expense of others.

Ha, ha, tax money suckers, that's what they are. What do you do when you're not concocting a violent plot to blow up people and take over the executive branch?

I'm a husband and dad.  I love spending time with my family and brainwashing my kids to love politics as much as my wife and I do.  Both of them have already asked to go to a national political convention.  And one of them asked if they could fly with me the next time I travel with a presidential candidate.  As for my real job, I'm a television reporter.  I know...the me-dee-uh...sigh...
But it's all I've ever done professionally.  I've worked in a handful of cities, but I've been in Houston now for 13 years and love it.  It's afforded me the opportunity to travel all over the world, talk with people who I would otherwise never meet, and to have a front row seat to history.

Sounds exciting! Anything else?

Yes.  Please check out the website for the book,  It has a lot of supplemental information that makes reading the book more enjoyable.  There are links to news accounts of events mentioned in the book.  There are also documents to download and print out and pieces of artwork to view.   And thanks, Rachelle, for the opportunity to talk about SEDITION.

Thank you, Tom, for visiting with us. Readers can find Sedition at

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

#BookChat INFECTED: Click Your Poison #1 by James Schannep

Synopsis: 3 Unique Storylines. Over 50 Possible Endings. Just one question... Will YOU Survive the Zombie Apocalypse?

Everyone has their plan; what they’d do to survive if and when the zombie apocalypse happens. Now you can see how you’d hold up against the legions of undead—without needing to call the CDC because crazed bath salts users are trying to eat your face off. Like the gamebooks popular in the 1980s-90s (Choose Your Own Adventure, Give Yourself Goosebumps, etc), this is a series where you choose how to progress through the book. Unlike any others, this is the first series designed specifically for adults. And as an ebook, you simply click your choice and the story flows forward for you. No flipping pages.

Here’s how it works: You, Dear Reader, are the main character of this story. Live, die, and rise again based solely on the merit of your own choices. Each link represents a choice, and there’s no going back, so choose wisely.

From the Author:
INFECTED started off as a screenplay back in 2008, but didn't attract studio attention because I hadn't re-invented the zombie wheel. It was good, I was told, but it needed to either be based on existing intellectual property or be a zombie musical rom-com. Not wanting to compromise my work, I shelved the project. Cut to four years later, and an off-hand conversation with a friend, "Why are there no choose-your-own-adventure type series for adults?" and I'm now setting out to create the first gamebook series for an adult audience with Click Your Poison books. Really, I thought it would be a fun experience for readers, and for me as well, trying to stake a claim in this new Wild West of publishing.

Reader's Reactions:

"INFECTED is quite simply a welcome evolution to an old format that just begs to be enjoyed. The zombie apocalypse is an instantly identifiable and enjoyable setting to many, especially us gamers who have spent hours in conversations with friends about the topic. With the internet being leveraged to share stories, the e-reader bringing even more accesability, and the more mature theme; James Schannep has truly managed to bring choose your own adventure into this generation. The future looks bright for this subset genre of books and I can't wait to read more from this promising author, in this format or any other." -Daniel Flatt,

"Chuck Klosterman meets George A Romero... Witty pop-culture savvy writing makes this a highly enjoyable read and since it has multiple plot-lines it's easily re-readable. If you like 'The Walking Dead,' 'Dawn of the Dead,' or 'Shaun of the Dead,' then INFECTED is definitely the kind of book you're looking for." -Amazon reviewer

"It was a super fun read and it made it all the better that it had quality writing. None of the choices were kitschy and the zombie theme totally worked! It was a great time, I'd recommend it to anyone. It has a fun social aspect too because you can compare ways you died with your friends. I know some people who even turned it into a drinking game!" -Amazon reviewer

"Infected. Is. So. Good." -A girl just like you.

"Holy $#*% this is awesome!" -A guy more or less like you.

Behind the scenes:
I hadn't set out to make a social experience, but it's sure turned out that way. Just for fun, I created a set of reader's book club questions, and rules for a drinking game--for the high-brow and low-brow alike (details on the author site). Turns out, people are really thrilled to discuss their path to survival (or many paths to demise) with their friends. I'm not too sure about book clubs, but I've gotten a major positive reaction from the game setting. Just this weekend, a dozen of us dressed up like zombies and flash-mobbed the night life at our local downtown. I'm not sure how much we spread the word about the book, but it sure was a hell of a lot of fun. With any luck, soon the whole world will be getting INFECTED!

Author Bio:
James Schannep is an American novelist and screenwriter who has received numerous awards and placements for his work. His first screenplay was optioned in 2011 and the Click Your Poison series was launched September, 2012 with the flagship book INFECTED. A United States Air Force Academy graduate with a degree in English, Schannep left the service honorably to write full time. He has personally stopped three zombie uprisings without raising national attention.

You can buy INFECTED from:
Barnes and Noble

Twitter: @jamesschannep

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

#AuthorInterview Judy Ann Davis, Author of Red Fox Woman

            Hi Judy, welcome to Rachelle's Window. It's nice to chat with you today. Your first novel is out to rave reviews. What makes Red Fox Woman, your first novel, special to you as a story?

Red Fox Woman is simply a feel-good western, mystery, and romance that was tumbling around in my head for years. It’s the tale of Pennsylvania redware potter, Julia Gast, who escapes to the Colorado Territory only to find the ranch she purchased from her deceased uncle is also owned by the adopted sister of a family of four brothers. Julia makes ring flasks that were used to carry water in the mid-1800s. The characters in the novel are vivid, colorful and humorous. I love humor, and the bantering of the brothers helps propel the story forward. It was selected as a finalist in the USA Book News Best Book and USA Book News International Book Awards.

            Congratulations! Sounds like built-in conflict and a chance for love (what with four brothers to choose from). You are not new to writing. How did you get hooked on a writing career?

I fell in love with the ability to express myself in written form from as early as second grade with a teacher who had the class collectively journal on the blackboard every morning. I had a mother who encouraged me to read. Once I saw how words string themselves into thoughts, I was hooked. I studied journalism in college, wrote all types of nonfiction, but was enamored with fiction because the writer is allowed to dream up his own characters, settings, dialogue and plot. 

            Isn't fiction magical? I understand you started writing short stories first and have won several awards. What makes short story writing a special genre for you?

I love the short story genre the best. I personally enjoy taking a glimpse into someone else’s life or traveling to a place I’ve never been. A short story has a definite beginning, middle and end which can be revealed in a short amount of time. It lets a reader simply escape the present moment and be entertained.

            And in our busy lives today, oftentimes we want it short and sweet. What compels you to write? 

I think most writers will agree that writing, in some small way, allows us to make order of a chaotic world. We are very observant of our surroundings and other people. Writers are curious individuals and we are most happy when we are creating. We are dreamers. We love to use our imagination. We don’t like our minds to be idle or bored.

            So true, and sometimes we want to right wrongs, solve a mystery, and create happy endings. What are you working on now?

I just finished a contemporary romance, Key to Love. I’m currently working on a sequel to Red Fox Woman, and doing publicity for Red Fox Woman and Three Merry Mysteries. Ideas for short stories are always running wildly through my overstuffed, sometimes chaotic mind.

            Sounds like you're really busy! What advice would you give to a beginning writer? 

Forget about perfection when you do your first draft. Strive to get the main gist of the story down first. Forge through the sticky, troublesome spots, or even troublesome dialogue. If the story is flowing, keep it flowing. You can go back and write elaborate or witty dialogue later, but you should never stop a story that’s running away in your head. Lastly, rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite, as many times as you need to get the story, dialogue and sentence structure right.  And despite the hard work, challenges, and confusion that goes along with writing, don’t forget to have fun.

            Great advice! I'm so glad you stopped by. Readers can find out more about Judy at her  Amazon Author Page

Red Fox Woman is also available from Amazon.

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