Saturday, December 15, 2007

Katy's Cookbook by Colin Harvey

Tell us the book title and your author name.
Katy’s Cookbook by Colin Harvey

What inspired the book?
Several things; my wife Kate (her full name is Katy, hence the title) has been collecting recipes for years, playing with them to suit to taste (we like spicy food, for example), some –like the trifle- have been passed down from grandparents or even great-grandparents; I’ve tried to read her writing, and often joked that I need to type them up to be able to read them; then my publisher asked for a recipe, and I realized we had enough for a book. Put all of those things together and voila! Katy’s Cookbook!

What makes this book special to you?
Because Kate is very shy and retiring, and would never dream of pushing herself forward. If books are an author’s shot at immortality, then this is our equivalent of the Taj Mahal in India . I hope that in years to come people will know of Kate through this, if through nothing else.

What makes this a book that other people MUST read and WHY?
It’s for people like me who don’t consider that they can cook, but who find out that, erm, actually, they can, if they just have a set of instructions to follow.
What people NEED to read this book and WHY?
I’m concerned at the number of people who can’t cook, or can’t be bothered, when some things take only a few minutes. I’m worried at the number of people who are overweight, but don’t know how to go about changing their diet.
For example, did you know that a portion of spinach a week can defer the onset of Age-Related Macular Degeneration? (It’s a form of blindness that comes with old age) I hate spinach. But bury it in food that masks its taste, and I’m fine with it.
Food should be fun, not punishment. So we’ve put recipes that are mostly as healthy as we can make them without being boring, but which are also as quick as we can make them, because like most people, we don’t want to spend a lot of time hunched over a cooker.
But there are some which are about taking your time, or even marinading overnight. It’s all about variety.
NON FICTION - Why are you the BEST person to write this book? What in your background or in your research makes you qualified to do justice to this topic?
(Laughs) Well, I had the recipes, so no one else could have…
…but seriously, that’s the whole point. I’m just an ordinary man who likes his food, and can read a set of instructions. I’m hoping that we’ll inspire other people to try these recipes, and then they’ll create some others – who knows, maybe we can get cooking back into people’s lives?

NON FICTION - If a potential reader thinks that your book wouldn't interest them, what would you say to convince them to buy? I'm thinking something better than "Its the greatest book ever." Give me something more specific :)
Do you like food? Are you concerned about your health? Do you want to know what goes into your food? Do you like a challenge – such as cooking a meal? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes,’ then buy the book and try some of the recipes!

NON FICTION - Why does the topic of your book interest you? Why would it interest potential readers? Give us a hook to reel in new readers.
Because I’m a gannet -- I can eat for England . But I also like to be able to see my feet, and to not hear my doctor take a sharp intake of breath when they check my blood pressure. I’m sure that I’m not the only person who wants to ‘eat their cake and have it.’ Oh look, there’s another common saying that involves food….

NON FICTION Is there a way to tie your book topic to current events? If so, tell us about how you could do that. I have a blog to feature information and examples about tying books into current events that might be a good place for you to promote your book.
I think that obesity and potentially declining life-spans are about the most current events that you can have. We’re sitting on a demographic time-bomb, and I don’t know about in the US , but in the UK the politicians are proposing raising the age of retirement on one hand, while people will have lower life expectancy on the other. This current crop of retirees may be living the Last Golden Age, whereby they have long lives after retirement. Instead we could be looking at working into the grave. I don’t know about you, but if cutting salt and fat in my diet means I hang around a few more years on this planet, then the salt and fat go into the rubbish bin!
This book won’t change that – but if enough people start to think about what they’re doing, maybe we can tackle our quality of life. It’s not consciously a health book – but that’s the whole point; everything we eat should be geared toward not pumping fat into our arteries and creating cancers in our bodies. It should be the norm, not something that’s unusual. That’s not a swipe at other cookbooks, by the way, but at the instant food lobby at the drive-thru.

If there's anything else you would like to share, this is the time and place.
I’ve suddenly realized that I sound like a zealot! Seriously, food should be fun too. And it makes a wonderful Christmas present, if you’re still looking for that unusual something, for that special someone…. J
Thank you for visiting with me and in closing, give us your website address and a link to order your book.
No, thank you for having me here, and to everyone who’s read this far. Have a wonderful Christmas and a great – and healthy – 2008!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Silk Palace by Colin Harvey


Tell us the book title and your author name.
The Silk Palace by Colin Harvey

What inspired the book?
At the risk of sounding mercenary, it was a call for submissions from a then editor at Tor, who subsequently left, but by then the damage was done. She was looking for work in a specific sub-genre; I’d never read any of the works that inspired the call, but I had just finished Lightning Days and was looking for the next project. But as with Lightning Days, my subconscious took over and we ended up somewhere completely different!

What makes this book special to you?
Well, in an odd sort of way, we’re like a father and daughter who are just getting reconciled. I got so far into the book and stopped enjoying writing. Agatha Christie had the same problem with The Mystery of the Blue Train, but she and it were never reconciled, whereas my ugly duckling and I seem to have forgiven each other.

What makes this a book that other people MUST read and WHY?
Um, I’m a Brit, and to be honest language like that makes me cringe. Sorry.
It’s got perhaps the most other-worldly setting in sword-and-sorcery in many years. And I wanted a heroine who wasn’t strong or brave, at least until she was backed into a corner.

What people NEED to read this book and WHY?
People who are interested in epic fantasy that has a brain should read it, and people who say that epic fantasy doesn’t have a brain should read it!

What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own creativity?
Going to new places; doing new things; reading. Keep reading outside your own peer group, and do something new every day.

What has been the biggest stumbling block in your writing? Can you share some tips to help others get past similar problems?
My biggest problem was a catastrophic loss of confidence after attending a writing workshop. For the best of intentions the pro there demolished me, and I realized that I had nothing to say – and believed that for over twenty years. But everyone has a voice – they just have to find it.

What do you think motivates people to become authors? What motivated you to get into this unusual industry?
I found at age nine that I could write stories. For a kid who wasn’t sporty, and wasn’t musical, and had serious confidence issues, it was like finding a vocation. I’ve never wanted to do anything else, even during my two-decade block – that was what made it so painful.

Tell me about the most unusual things you have done to promote any books?
I’ve dispensed soup to promote my cookbook, and stood on a chair at a convention huckstering a book, but I think I’ve been fortunate – I haven’t had to do too many odd things.

FICTION - If there is a setting, tell us how you decided on that setting and what you did to create a complete and vivid setting for your readers?
I’ve written about this elsewhere, but I wanted a completely different world so that anything went. I mapped out the landscape and climatology and all kinds of stuff on the back of envelopes.

FICTION - What inspires you about the hero or heroine in your book? What makes them memorable for the reader? What motivates the hero and/or heroine? You can include information about both if you want.
Well, to really raise the bar, I not only decided to write a heroine (rather than a hero), but had her unexpectedly fall in love with another woman. But that love is central to the plot; together with her fear of heights, it’s what stops the heroine fleeing.
I wanted to avoid a lot of the fantasy conventions, so she relies on brains. She’s not easy to be around, she’s awkward, socially naïve, but in some ways that’s quite inspiring. I find flawed heroes / heroines far more interesting than unalloyed good / bad people.

FICTION - Is there a villain or something that causes friction in your story? Tell us about what or who it is and how that contributes to the story. Any details about conflict and friction is good information to know.
I have so much conflict its unreal! The prince lusts after the heroine, so his fiancée, one of the three princesses hates the heroine, but the heroine is there at the King’s request, so the princess has to lump it; a second princess believes the heroine guilty of blasphemy; there are plotters planning, two empires massing their ranks on the borders, and a killer wandering around bumping people off!

Thank you for visiting with me and in closing, give us your website address and a link to order your book.
It’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you.
Novels from Swimming Kangaroo Books:
Lightning Days -- SF, Finalist for the USA Book News Awards
The Silk Palace -- "compelling" Library Journal
"Intrigues, betrayals, murders, love affairs, transformations, and
revelations," Bruce Boston, author of The Guardener's Tale

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Blog Tours - What Would You Like to Know

I'm doing a tele-seminar next week about blog tours and I would love input from you all.

There are many things to discuss about blog tours and I worked out some initial questions to get people thinking - they are:

Discover Ways to Promote Your Book on a Virtual Blog Tour to Gain Greater Visibility and Sales

  • What are the benefits of doing a blog tour?
  • Should you promote your book in a blog tour?
  • Should fiction and non fiction books be promoted differently in a blog tour?
  • Should you organize your own blog tour?
  • Why hire a publicist to organize your tour?
  • If you hire a publicist, will you still need to work on the tour?
  • Can you use a blog tour to promote anything besides books?
  • Is there a new option in book blog tours?

But, now I need to create a couple of handouts and I'd love your input. Is there any specific info about blog tours that any of you think would be most helpful? Some folks here have done tours, some have hosted touring authors and I bet some of you have thought about doing a tour. So, since many of the people here are authors, I figured it would be a great place to pose the question. What information would you suggest I offer in handouts? Thank you all for your thoughts. There will be plenty of blog tour info coming very soon .

Nikki Leigh

PS - The answer to the last question is - most definitely. Stay tuned for much more information about that option - SOON. Or, contact me to be added to the mailing list - nikki_leigh22939@yahoo.com with Mailing List in the subject line.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Is by Scott Langston


Tell us the book title and your author name.

My name is Scott Langston and the title of the book is "is". Originally, I had intended to book to be called 'The Domino Effect' - one of the themes in the novel is how the actions of one character can have unforeseen impact on another character - like falling dominoes. I even commissioned a Magritte-style cover page with this image. However, the novel became something a little different as it went through several edits, and 'is' summed up better the overall message of the novel.

What inspired the book?

I started writing this book when I was twenty years old. Many of the themes were beyond my grasp, and it wasn't until I 'refound' the novel fifteen years after starting it that I had something approaching the maturity to do the book justice. If I had to pin it down to a precise moment, the novel was born after watching the film 'Four weddings and a funeral', specifically the funeral scene. I found it very moving, and imagined having to write such a eulogy myself.

What makes this book special to you?

It has certainly been a labour of love! As I said, I have physically lost the book on two occasions - the first time requiring a re-write almost entirely from pencil notes in an old scrap book. From first putting pen to paper to finally seeing the book in print took twenty years. That's a long time. The book has been a part of my life, and my continual tinkering with it represented my desire to be a writer.

What makes this a book that other people MUST read and WHY?

I think the book has a lot to say about the fundamentals of how life is. It's spiritual, without being overtly religious. It raises many questions and, I hope, answers a few too. It's about perspective - another way of looking at life and death and God. If these questions do not interest you, then you probably shouldn't bother reading the book!

What people NEED to read this book and WHY?

Nobody needs to read this book. Nobody needs to do anything. That's one of the ventral messages of the book. There is no requirement - life just 'is'.

What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own creativity?

Writing is a muscle like ay other. It needs exercising and flexing, otherwise it wastes away. I keep a blog, as well as trying to have more than one project ongoing at a time. When one dries up, I can try my hand at something completely different. That's how 'Benny and Binny' was born - a children's story I wrote with an illustrator friend. You can find it, along with ordering details, on my website - www.scottlangston.org. Right now, I'm working on a novel set between Vietnam and France, dealing with roots and belonging. It's the biggest project I've tackled so far. I'm also tinkering with a novel for teenagers about philosophy, tentatively called, 'Henry Porter and the Stone Philosopher'.

What has been the biggest stumbling block in your writing? Can you share some tips to help others get past similar problems?

I took a year off work to write full time at the same time as we had our baby daughter. I was under the impression that I could care for her and write at the same time. IN short, children have been the biggest stumbling block for my writing. I need time and space to write, and kids don't allow for much of either. That said, my life is considerably richer for having become a dad, and that can only come out in my writing eventually!

I guess another hurdle has been the management of distractions. When I turn on the computer, it's all too easy to spend hours fiddling with stuff I've already written, updating my website, or simply surfing, rather than actually writing. I now have a dedicated laptop for writing which doesn't have internet access.

What do you think motivates people to become authors? What motivated you to get into this unusual industry?

I believe|I write because I have to. If you simply want to write, then my advice would be: don't bother. Find something else to do and save yourself a whole lot of trouble. Writing is a lonely and often demoralising business - except when the connection comes through and then it's without equal. So, it wasn't really a choice - I have to write.

Tell me about the most unusual things you have done to promote any books?

Book promotion is my weakness. I have done the rounds of local bookshops where 'Is' was set, and a few copies have been sold that way. I've run book signings. I haven't really done anything inspiring in the field of self-promotion. I know I ought to.

FICTION - If there is a setting, tell us how you decided on that setting and what you did to create a complete and vivid setting for your readers?

I grew up in Cornwall. It never crossed my mind to set my first novel anywhere else. It's a truly magical and inspiring locale - even now as I write this |I can smell the sea air and hear the seagulls - though I'm 3000 miles away.

FICTION - What inspires you about the hero or heroine in your book? What makes them memorable for the reader? What motivates the hero and/or heroine? You can include information about both if you want.

I'm not sure Martin inspires me. He's a protagonist, rather than a hero in the true sense of the word. Insomuch as everyone's first novel is biographical, I guess Martin is in some respects me. His getting to grips with life and his enlightenment are ideals I would reach for.

FICTION - Is there a villain or something that causes friction in your story? Tell us about what or who it is and how that contributes to the story. Any details about conflict and friction is good information to know.

The conflict rests between expectations and risks, between safety and leaps of faith, between believing and knowing. Martin takes risks, when society would have him do otherwise. He trusts to himself, when society would have him do otherwise. He is prepared to love, not just another, but himself. This is perhaps one of the most difficult yet rewarding things we can achieve in life.

Website: www.scottlangston.org

Order from the author: http://www.scottlangston.org/is.html

Order Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Scott-Langston/dp/1897312202/



Sunday, November 25, 2007

Finding Funboy


Tell us the book title and your author name. The novel is called “Finding Funboy,” and the author -- that’s me -- is Matt Golec.

What inspired the book?

Staying in touch with old friends became harder after I went away to college. We all made new friends, did new things and took a few giant steps toward adulthood. When I’d come home after several months and look up the old gang, connecting could be tricky because while I’d changed and they’d changed, the people we remembered in our heads hadn’t. It usually took a few steps for us to catch up with the new people we were all in the process of becoming.

People change. Even if you stay in the same place forever, you can’t help growing up and into new relationships with your friends and environment. “Finding Funboy” is about the main character’s search for an old friend, and the dawning realization of how these kinds of changes have been happening right under his nose.

What makes this book special to you?

“Finding Funboy” is my first novel, and I peppered its pages with the sights, sounds and character traits I’d known growing up. The story isn’t about me or anyone in specific, but I wanted it to capture the feel of what it’s like to be a young man kicking around my hometown of Portland, Maine.

What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own creativity?I take a lot of notes when I’m kicking a story around in my head. That way, when I sit down at my computer to actually bash the thing out, I’ve got a lot of dots for me to connect. It’s a great way to keep working if that creativity fails to spark on a particular day.

What has been the biggest stumbling block in your writing? Can you share some tips to help others get past similar problems?

Simply finding the time to write is difficult. There are so many distractions -- family, friends, house projects, my Netflix queue -- and writing is long, hard, solitary work. For me, setting a schedule is critical. I try to write early in the day so I won’t put it off until it’s too late in the day to do anything but curl up in bed.

What do you think motivates people to become authors? What motivated you to get into this unusual industry?

Although I don’t have any data to back me up, I’d bet most authors are also lifetime readers. The literary heroes of my adolescence -- Kurt Vonnegut, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Heller, the good folks at Marvel Comics -- were certainly who motivated and inspired me.

Tell me about the most unusual things you have done to promote any books?

I think for many authors, promoting oneself at all is unusual. But without some sort of promotion, these stories that we’ve worked so hard on will never get read. We write to communicate, not just to put words on paper; without a reader, we might as well be talking to ourselves.

Tell us how you decided on your book’s setting and what you did to create a complete and vivid setting for your readers?

I set most “Finding Funboy,” in Portland, Maine, the town where I grew up. Like friends you have from childhood, I believe the place where you grow up has an emotional hold on you that runs pretty deep. I hoped that emotional connection I have with Portland would translate into a rich setting for “Finding Funboy.”

Also, it’s a great old coastal city with cobblestone streets, heavy brick architecture and mysterious fog smelling of the sea that rolls in at night.

What inspires you about the hero in your book? What makes them memorable for the reader?

What I really enjoyed about the main character/hero in “Finding Funboy” was his growth. The choices he makes and the actions he takes -- some for the better, some for the worse -- help form the core of his maturing self. I hope readers will feel privileged to be included in this process.

Is there a villain or something that causes friction in your story? Tell us about what or who it is and how that contributes to the story.

The real source of friction in “Finding Funboy” is the main character’s attempts to locate his childhood friend crashing into his deepening infatuation with that friend’s girlfriend. How he resolves this conflict, and how he comes out the other side a sadder if wiser person, forms the heart of the book.

If there's anything else you would like to share, this is the time and place.

The book is funny! I probably try for more laughs than I get, but despite a serious theme, “Finding Funboy” promises a fun, snappy read.

For more about “Finding Funboy,” or to read the opening chapter, visit www.mattgolec.com.

To purchase “Finding Funboy,” visit www.booksforabuck.com/mystery/mys_07/finding_funboy.html or www.amazon.com/Finding-Funboy-Matt-Golec/dp/1602150575/


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Its My Crisis and I'll Cry If I Need To - Yocheved Golani




Tell us the book title and your author name. The book has rather long name that I use three different ways. 1: It's MY Crisis! And I'll Cry if I Need To for general communication, 2: It's MY Crisis! for rapid communication (that way, shoppers can remember the basic title when they want to order it in a store or online) and 3: the official title of It's MY Crisis! And I'll Cry if I Need To: A Life Book for Helping You to Dry Your Tears and to Cope with a Medical Challenge.

My name is Yocheved Golani. The "ch" has the same guttural sound as in "Bach." I'm a woman and I try to clue in my clients and readers by using soft, feminine colors at my websites and in my book cover. A pen nib with the medical symbol for "female" on my Writing Services site, www.ygolani.com is another tipoff that I'm female.

What inspired the book? My survival of emergency life-saving brain surgery. Friends and loved ones wanted me to explain how I survived the crisis without having a breakdown.

What makes this book special to you? That my crisis serves a higher purpose. By making lemonade of the lemon that was brain surgery, I can help people with my appreciation for their anguish over a medical crisis and their need for "how to get well" information.

What makes this a book that other people MUST read and WHY? I explain in simple, sometimes funny language, how to cope with the challenges of medical crises. From adjusting your perspective to how to pack for the hospital stay and how to keep your medical and insurance records in order, my book covers the topic. The Resources section in the back of my book informs readers how to find the help they need all around the world: free clinical trials, free or price-reduced medication and medical appliances, medical and mental health therapists, suggested reading materials for adults and children, medical clowns, and much more.

What people NEED to read this book and WHY? ANYBODY facing a medical crisis, including medical and mental health professionals trying to help patients and clients let alone the loved ones of the sick person and that ill person.

What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own creativity? Hmmm... I do many types of writing: feature stories, Op-Eds, speeches, site content, advertising content, media releases and press releases (different in that media releases are geared for broadcast and digital media, press releases for print publications ) and more. I find inspiration by looking out the window. I have some miniature toy cartoon characters, some thought-provoking newspaper cartoons and some inspirational thoughts on my desk that make me think outside the box.

What has been the biggest stumbling block in your writing? Can you share some tips to help others get past similar problems? Not knowing how to proceed has been a real stumbling block. Before I wrote my first genuine press release, I had to do some research about press release preparation. Before I wrote my first novel I focused on whatever I'd learned as an English major. I also read books and magazines about novel writing. Before I began writing It's MY Crisis! I'd been aware that the "How to Do Anything" and "Anything for Dummies" books only offer titles dealing with specific medical or psychiatric diagnoses. Amazon.com does not list any books as broad-based and inclusive as mine. It's MY Crisis! is a neatly packaged survival tool that can be shared with loved ones, packed in a suitcase and shown to health care professionals. I wrote what the book market and some readers needed. Study up on your subject. You can use and reject what you learn as desired.

What do you think motivates people to become authors? What motivated you to get into this unusual industry? Oy. Only an optimist or a masochist would become an author. There are exceptions to the rule, of course. I write because I'm good at it. People have been paying me to write for them for a long time. I'm not good at many other career paths. Some people make excellent plumbers or architects. I'm wired to be a writer.

Tell me about the most unusual things you have done to promote any books? I haven't done anything unusual. Yet. Now you've made me think about the alternative!

NON FICTION - Why are you the BEST person to write this book? What in your background or in your research makes you qualified to do justice to this topic? What an excellent question! My book is written from the heart as much as it's written from my mind. Not only did I experience a life-or-death medical crisis, I've worked in the medical industry. Insight from both sides of the hospital bill influences It's MY Crisis! And I'll Cry if I Need To. I sympathize with anyone going through a medical emergency or situation.

NON FICTION - If a potential reader thinks that your book wouldn't interest them, what would you say to convince them to buy? I'm thinking something better than "Its the greatest book ever." Give me something more specific :) I'd suggest that they read two pages (that'll give them a chance to be drawn into the text) or scan the book untiil they find something that grabs their attention.

NON FICTION - Why does the topic of your book interest you? Why would it interest potential readers? Give us a hook to reel in new readers. Have you, a friend or a loved one received a nightmarish medical diagnosis? Calm down with It's MY Crisis! And I'll Cry if I Need To: A Life Book that Helps You to Dry Your Tears and to Cope with a Medical Challenge.

NON FICTION Is there a way to tie your book topic to current events? If so, tell us about how you could do that. I have a blog to feature information and examples about tying books into current events that might be a good place for you to promote your book. People in Peru are suffering from medical complications they've blamed on a meteor. Governments and everybody around the world are scared of biological weapons of mass destruction. Robin Williams of ABC television is experiencing breast cancer. Montel Williams has Multiple Sclerosis. Michael J. Fox has Parkinson's Disease. College students suffer all kinds of stuff after being exposed to germs in limited spaces. The news media are full of reports about epidemics and preventative techniques. Even the kid down the block can tell you who's not feeling so good these days and feeling stressed out about it. People in all kinds of occupations and social situations suffer medical problems. The Internet is full of helpful information and so is the library. Even the brochure rack in your doctor's office offers information about something or other. But bringing it all together in order to cope with a medical crisis is a whole other story! My book reduces your stress by showing you how to take things in logical order and how to cope with a medical situation. No way did I write the only book you'll ever need for coping with medical crises. But I did write a book that helps you to calm down, to think clearly and to show you what to do about many medical problems. Think of the book's complete title: It's MY Crisis! And I'll Cry if I Need To: A Life Book for Helping You to Dry Your Tears and to Cope with a Medical Challenge
Wow, can it make a great stocking stuffer!

If there's anything else you would like to share, this is the time and place. It's MY Crisis! And I'll Cry if I Need To is a book to share with someone you love or feel compassion for. Family and friends, even colleagues at work can share it with each other. Medical and mental health therapists can use it with patients and clients. Gyms can sell it to patrons, Retiree organizations can provide it to members. Chartiable organizations and pharmacies can give it out to people who need it. No matter the person, no matter their medical crisis,It's MY Crisis! And I'll Cry if I Need To is a book for helping you to cope in a forthright, pro-active manner. It fits the Self-help genre, the Spiritual genre, the Medical genre, even a Gifts Section genre. Recipients will be glad to get It's MY Crisis! And I'll Cry if I Need To.

Humorous passages and thoughtful witticisms from famous personalities in It's MY Crisis! provide comic relief, enabling relaxed readers to benefit from the workbook's eye opening, life-saving content. Nancy Rosenfeld, author of Just as Much as Woman: Your Personal Guide to Hystterectomy and Beyond, and Unfinished Journey: Two People, Two Worlds, From Tyranny to Freedom. has said that It's MY Crisis! is "compelling, inspiring, and merits publication." Medical and mental health professionals, clergy of different faiths, even a Fortune 500 motivational speaker praise it on the book cover and inside! Buy it for someone you love. Including yourself.

--
Yocheved Golani
Self Help Coach
Make the Changes You Need in Your Life.
http://itsmycrisisandillcryifineedto.blogspot.com/

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Three Feet Under - Journal of a Midlife Crisis


Tell us the book title and your author name.

Three Feet Under: Journal of a Midlife Crisis

Christee Gabour Atwood

What inspired the book?

A desire to laugh at myself and see if anybody else laughed along. And the fact that I had a rent payment due.

This book has also been therapy for me. I don’t like it when I see people upset by midlife experiences, when I see the lack of appreciation of elastic waistbands, and also when I see airbrushed supermodels creating unrealistic ideals of what beauty is. Writing this book has helped me put those thoughts on paper and see that I’m not the only who thinks that way.

What makes this book special to you?
This book is special because it made me realize that it’s okay to be myself and to write what I enjoy reading. I discovered that if I write something that appeals to me, at least I have an audience of one. I can build from there.

What makes this a book that other people MUST read and WHY? People must read this or I’ll come to their houses and talk to them. Yes, be afraid. Be very afraid.

It’s also a great book for airplane trips and trips to the bathroom. Not as a toilet paper replacement, but as short format reading for the attention-challenged like myself. I get bored and trail off when…

It’s also a chance to laugh if you recognize yourself in any of these episodes. And isn’t that what makes life fun?

If laughter is the best medicine, this book replaces at least one dose of fluoxetine. (If you recognize that drug, welcome to my club. You need this book.)

What people NEED to read this book and WHY?
Everyone in the world needs to read this book. Is that too obvious?

Okay, almost everybody in the world needs to read this book. Infants can wait a few years before they pick it up. People need to read this book to help them understand friends who are going through midlife crisis, to prepare themselves for surviving it, or just to laugh at midlifers. Either way, they’ll get a laugh. Or they’ll decide they never want to sit next to me on a plane. Either one is a valuable lesson.

What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own creativity?
You know what’s funny? I get creative when I get angry. I found that writing is my therapy. I remember coming home from a job interview and banging on my typewriter (yes, this was a while back) and complaining about the guy with seven strands of hair draped across his head who seemed more interested in doodling on his desk blotter than in my brilliant answers to questions. So I wrote and wrote and little by little the anger started getting really funny. I took the interview to the furthest extreme by describing the fellow as a superhero who only interviewed people in between saving the world from fast food drive-thru workers. From this experience, my humor column was born.

We decide our responses to situations. Anything that makes us mad can also make us laugh. We just have to flip it and take it to the extreme.

What has been the biggest stumbling block in your writing? Can you share some tips to help others get past similar problems?
The biggest stumbling block in my writing is the attachment of my rear end to a chair. I found that the answer for me was to start with short format materials. With the attention span of an over-caffeinated gnat, it really helped to be able to sit down and write a humor column that was complete at the end of the sitting. It was those humor columns that eventually became the basis for this book.

Also, try writing the worst book you can. This really helps relieve the pressure we put on ourselves when writing. Geez, even Pavarotti had to clear his throat before he sang. Plan to write a lot of phlegm before some good words sneak onto the page.

What do you think motivates people to become authors? What motivated you to get into this unusual industry?
People become authors because they like to be abused by editors, agents, and critics. Because they feel that performance appraisals by one boss are not enough. Instead they want their work appraised by everyone, including that crotchety woman who said that no one has written a good book since Gone With The Wind. In other words, we write because we’re insane.

I became a writer because I love the thrill of creating a world and living in it while writing the story. I get depressed when the story is finished because I don’t want to leave. It’s like the darkness in the theatre when a good movie fades to black. It’s nice because you were there, but you still want more.

It’s also therapy and is a heck of a lot cheaper than a psychiatrist.

Tell me about the most unusual things you have done to promote any books?
Last year, for National Novel Writing Month, I put on a chicken suit and sat in the window of a Waldenbooks for a month, writing a novel called, “Danger, Deceit, and a Demon … named Myron”. I got some incredible press – in fact, you can even see the article on CBS News webpage at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/12/08/print/main2241177.shtml

I was on the national radio show, The Satellite Sisters, and other various radio shows, television shows, and possibly even made it into a junior high school newspaper, but that might have just been a rumor.

I’ve emceed a Menopause Fashion Show for a hospital. Lots of elastic in that one. I’ve done talks for anyone who would stand still – and that includes turning around in elevators and saying, “I suppose you wonder why I called this meeting.”

I’ve offered myself as a fill-in guest for any radio or TV show within driving radius on a very short turnaround time. I’ve gotten calls with “We’re taping in 30 minutes. Can you talk about something?” and I’ve done it.

After the chicken suit episode, I got a reputation and ended up hosting the Harry Potter Release Party at a mall in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Now, they’ve called me back to be Mrs. Claus and read my children’s Christmas poem to kids who’ve eaten too much candy.

I’m working on a promotion idea right now to do a “mall tour” because I can create events with malls and I can shop at the same time. Sounds like heaven to me.

I created a Girls Night Out group that met at a local bookstore and discussed our midlife adventures. We later moved to bars and liked it much better… although we tended to forget what we had talked about.

And the list goes on and on…

Why are you the BEST person to write this book? What in your background or in your research makes you qualified to do justice to this topic?
I’m living this book. I’m not the only person who could write this book. That’s what makes it special. This is a book any person can and should write about their experiences. It’s sharing these experiences that makes this time of life fun instead of frenzied, happy instead of harried, bonding instead of brooding, and other assorted alliterations…

I hope other people will read this and say, “I could do that” and turn around and write their stories. The more of this that we share, the more we’ll all realize that we’re crazy … but at least, we’re in the same boat.

If a potential reader thinks that your book wouldn't interest them, what would you say to convince them to buy? I'm thinking something better than "It’s the greatest book ever." Give me something more specific :)
Every once in a while we need to realize that there are others like us. There are other people who pretend they’re on the cell phone in the car so people in the neighboring cars won’t realize that they’re talking to themselves. Others who read the comics instead of the business section of the paper. Others who think that, if God had intended us to stay one waist size, he wouldn’t have invented elastic waistbands. This book shares those moments. It’s a great gift to remind ourselves that we’re not alone.

Also, it’s not just a book for midlifers. It helps others understand midlifers.

Why does the topic of your book interest you? Why would it interest potential readers? Give us a hook to reel in new readers.

This quiz will tell you if this book is for you:

Do you use your exercise bike as a coat rack?
Do you want to know how to look cool while searching for your car in the mall parking lot?
Do you believe people on the show Survivor could never last through 39 days in your workplace?
Do you believe that cheesecake and Prozac share many of the same healing qualities?
Do you use the phrase, “I remember when none of that was here”?
Do you list your hair color as “Number 168”?
Do you believe that the birthday of Thomas Hancock, the inventor of elastic, should be a national holiday?
If you even grinned at any of those, you need to read this book…


Is there a way to tie your book topic to current events? If so, tell us about how you could do that. I have a blog to feature information and examples about tying books into current events that might be a good place for you to promote your book.
November is National Novel Writing Month, where thousands of people worldwide will try to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. Everyone has a book in them. They just need permission to give it a shot. This is the month to do it.

I’m a Municipal Liaison in Louisiana, which means that I help writers in the state coordinate events and communication during the month.

I’ll also be writing my sequel to Three Feet Under, entitled In Celebration of Elastic Waistbands, during this month. Like I mentioned before, last year I got national attention when I wrote my novel in the window of a bookstore while wearing a chicken suit. This year I’ll be wearing elastic waistbands. Much more comfortable than a chicken suit…

If there's anything else you would like to share, this is the time and place.
I believe that one of the greatest gifts we can share is laughter. And, as an added bonus, it burns calories.

My theme for life is “If I laugh at myself first, then the rest of the world is laughing with me, not at me.”

Thank you for visiting with me and in closing, give us your website address and a link to order your book.

Thank you! This has been a lot of fun and it’s kept me from hitting the refrigerator for a few minutes. That’s a good thing, because there’s just so much elastic in the world…

Website: Christee.biz

Blog that’s just getting started: http://elasticwaistbands.blogspot.com/

You can order Three Feet Under: Journal of a Midlife Crisis at Amazon.com or any online bookstore as well as getting at your local bookstore. If they don’t have it, please ask them to order it!

You can also check out my new business and training books, Succession Planning Basics, Presentation Skills Training, and Manager Skills Training at Amazon.com.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

In Detail with Leeanne Marie Stephenson


Tell us the book title and your author name.
A PRESCRIPTION FOR LOVE
BY LEEANNE MARIE STEPHENSON

What inspired the book?
my life took a dramatic turn as I was diagnosed with kidney failure
due to my diabetes. The prognosis was less than promising. As my
physical condition deteriorated, I was forced to give up my career as a
nurse. Fatigue and weakness encompassed my entire world as I underwent
dialysis treatments. Desperate and determined to still be part of this
wonderful profession, I started writing a romance novel based on the
experiences I had encountered as a nurse. When the days that lie ahead
of me seemed impossible to face, I did not allow my tears to compromise
my strength. Instead of giving up, during the darkest time in my life,
I drew on the love that surrounded me from my wonderful husband and
family to write this loving story. When I wrote, I was released from my
physical problems and taken back into the world of nursing, which I
loved so much. Romantic stories can always release us from the problems of
real life. They send us into a fantasy world where our
imaginations can soar. I strove to take my readers and myself into
that world. Thus was born my book, “A PRESCRIPTION FOR LOVE”.

What makes this book special to you?
This book is so very special because it represents the strong love I
had surrounding me, and what I could accomplish because of it, during
the lowest point in my life.

What makes this a book that other people MUST read and WHY?
It is a truly wonderful romantic journey, where you will wish that
the Hero was definitely the man in your life! You are drawn into the
drama of the medical world with breath taking life and death scenarios, a
world of wealth and prestige, and underhanded schemes that lend the
many twists and turns to this hard to put down read. You will wish it
would never end!
It also is a book that demonstrates what can be achieved when life
seems overwhelmingly hopelss.

What people NEED to read this book and WHY?
Lovers of romance novels, people wanting to know what true love is
and how it is demonstrated between 2 people. People facing the
challenges of great adversity in their lives will hopefully be inspired to read
this book, to see how I achieved my dream while living without any hope
in my life.

What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own
creativity?
My creativiety for this book came from the great love affair I have
with my usband. Also, I wanted to still of the medical world so I
wrote about that. I think you can be very creative if you use a lot of
your own personal experiences in your writing.

What has been the biggest stumbling block in your writing? Can you
share some tips to help others get past similar problems?
The hardest thing about writing when you are sick, is the fatigue and
weakness that you experience. You just have to have an unfathomable
resolve to forge ahead and accomplish what you set out to achieve!

What do you think motivates people to become authors? What motivated
you to get into this unusual industry?
I became an author, because the writing allowed me to escape into my
imagination and go to a place where the world was wondrful! It allowed
me to escape the horrible world and circumstances I was in. I wrote
about a place in life that I loved which was being a Nurse.

Tell me about the most unusual things you have done to promote any
books?
I persistently sent many media packages and e-mails to a TV show
until they relented and had me on their show.

FICTION - If there is a setting, tell us how you decided on that
setting and what you did to create a complete and vivid setting for your
readers?
My setting is where I worked my own career as a nurse so it is
very personal to me and easy to describe throughout the book.

FICTION - What inspires you about the hero or heroine in your book?
What makes them memorable for the reader? What motivates the hero and/or
heroine? You can include information about both if you want.
Weel, the heroine is a Nurse as I was, so alot of her characteristics
magnify mypersonality. The hero is every woman's dream, truly aloving
caring man.

FICTION - Is there a villain or something that causes friction in your
story? Tell us about what or who it is and how that contributes to the
story. Any details about conflict and friction is good information to
know.

There are several villains in the story, all with the same goal of
keeping the hero and heroine apart! Each has their own selfish reasons
for their phoniness and manipu;ations of the chracters. It lends many
twists and turns to the plot with their underhanded schemes!

If there's anything else you would like to share, this is the time and
place. After a year on dialysis, I was told I could have a kidney
transplant. My wonderful brother stepped forward and gave me the gift of
life. From that moment on, my whole world changed for the better and I
eagerly embraced this second chance at life. When I felt well enough,
I set about getting my romance story published, so I could be an
inspirational example of what can be accomplished when life seems
overwhelmingly

Thank you for visiting with me and in closing, give us your website
address and a link to order your book.

http://www.lmstephenson.com

http://www.amazon.com/Prescription-Love-Leeanne-Marie-Stephenson/dp/1424165075/sr=8-12/qid=1172424584/ref=sr_1_12/104-7067955-3361511?ie=UTF8&s=books

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sleep Before Evening by Magdalena Ball


Tell us the book title and your author name.

Sleep Before Evening by Magdalena Ball

What inspired the book?

The book was originally inspired some years ago when I first read Walter Pater’s The Renaissance and wanted to write about the whole idea of the way creative art, and an almost forced stance of seeing the beauty that surrounds us, gives life meaning. But the more immediate inspiration came from my children, and the big life change that moving into motherhood created in me. I wanted to write about motherhood and the whole idea of the mother child relationship. There are plenty of examples of bad parenting in this book, but overall, I think that there’s a kind of growth that occurs in all of the characters as they move towards self-actualisation.

What makes this book special to you?

Like any first novel, the book was created in a kind of secret – in moments snatched from all those other activities that we have a mandate for, and for me, I almost think of this as something I’ve been moving towards for several decades. It contains so much blood – so much struggle to say something more than what I was capable of saying in day to day prose/conversations. I feel like I’ve actually created a kind of language for myself and broken through an aphasia I’d been struggling with.

What makes this a book that other people MUST read and WHY?


Well of course no one must read it – it’s just another novel in a world full of novels after all. But let me say this. From everything that everyone who reads it has told me to date, the novel is a nice mixture between deep and literary, and accessible and fast paced. So if you’re looking for some easy to read entertainment, you’ll find it my book. If you’re looking for a serious novel with transcendence and a significant theme that touches on a range of things like how we create meaning in our lives, the nature of families, truth, beauty and art, then you’ll find it in my book. It is often intense, but I think for most readers, will be a powerful, positive read.


What people NEED to read this book and WHY?


Because the wonderful reviewer Cathy Biribauer of Rose and Thorn (http://roseandthornreviews.blogspot.com/2007/08/sleep-before-evening-by-magdalena-ball.html) said this: “Magdalena Ball demonstrates her mastery of the musicality of language and many scenes are imbued with striking imagery…As the drama coils tighter and tighter, it is this quality of writing that keeps the reader utterly glued. As Marianne struggles with her demons and we almost hold our breath as she nears her eighteenth birthday, Magdalena Ball's Sleep Before Evening shows us that in order to find yourself, you sometimes have to lose yourself first.”


What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own creativity?


My creativity is sparked by my wonderful (and often challenging) family who never let me rest on my laurels or take anything for granted. I mean that in the most positive sense. I’m also constantly being inspired creatively by the amazing books I’m lucky to get my greedy little hands on. Other people’s words inspire me always, in whatever context I hear them. So do other people’s art, music, endeavours. My tips for others is to a) always keep that childlike sense of wonder at the world – sometimes you have to take a forced stance, but after a while it comes naturally. Also, to listen. There are stories everywhere you look and everyone has one.


What has been the biggest stumbling block in your writing? Can you share some tips to help others get past similar problems?

Time always. There’s never enough. There never will be enough. You have to find ways. Don’t let that four letter word stop you. You never will have more time than you do right now. Just get on with it – a tiny bit at a time always moving forward (while looking back).

What do you think motivates people to become authors? What motivated you to get into this unusual industry?

My publisher calls it ‘hopeville’. It surely can’t be money unless you’re under an illusion! I think it’s simply that you’re the kind of person who takes great pleasure in using words to define your world. I’m a word girl. I have to work with words, either reading or writing. If I were more musical or had more of an eye for imagery, I might find another medium. I think everyone needs some form of artistic release though. To decide to have it as a vocation takes a fair amount of stubborn tenacity along with the love of words.

Tell me about the most unusual things you have done to promote any books?


I haven’t done anything too unusual, but I did make a big pot of “quark soup” once to promote my poetry book Quark Soup. Of course it wasn’t made with those theoretical particles which were present in the early days of the universe, but rather that lovely, low fat cheese you get all over Germany. It made me feel like a kind of Earth witch, stirring my caldron and feeding my readers both literally and metaphorically.


FICTION - If there is a setting, tell us how you decided on that setting and what you did to create a complete and vivid setting for your readers?

The setting is more or less real in my novel. I lived in Long Beach, Long Island in 1982, and since I was a similar age to my protagonist when I was there, it seemed right to have the setting/time and place align with that – it just made it easier for me to get these things right. I was able to map the real with the fictional to create a setting (and situations) that people tell me have a high degree of verisimilitude. But of course there were many mistakes in my first draft. To make it complete and vivid, I did a few things – one of which was to get a great reader who lived there to point out what was incorrect. Another was to create a big town map, using real, and home-made elements so that I was able to trace the roads my character walked on, working out the timings and other things. It wasn’t always easy though, especially since much of the information had to be accurate for the 80s rather than today. I live in fear of someone telling me that I’ve got some detail of the Subway ride wrong or missed a critical street. But I think that most readers will find it fairly realistic and complete.

FICTION - What inspires you about the hero or heroine in your book? What makes them memorable for the reader? What motivates the hero and/or heroine? You can include information about both if you want.

The heroine, Marianne, is a self-contained character and I like the way she moves in and out of control, and the way she has to traverse the line between allowing herself to be creative and feel great passion, without losing control of her body and life. It’s a struggle she has to overcome. Sleep is definitely character oriented fiction, and the whole story grows out of the heroine, who manages to create her own mayhem out of almost nothing and then falls to the worst possible low. Then, again, with nothing but her own instinct and desires, she pulls herself back up. I like the mother daughter dynamics and I think that it’s one of the key things that drives the action forward. I think many people will recognise my heroine – she’s like every teenager, suddenly questioning who she is and why she has always done the things she’s done. Her home life is both wonderful and horrible, and similarly the world she enters. But always, the motivation for all the characters in this book who grow is a kind of self-actualisation.

FICTION - Is there a villain or something that causes friction in your story? Tell us about what or who it is and how that contributes to the story. Any details about conflict and friction is good information to know.

The sexy harmonica player Miles is the villain. He whispers in my heroine’s ear and provides her with the tools of self-destruction, but in some way, he also opens a door that remains open. Most of the conflict occurs within the heroine, but the good looking musician is always there, tempting her with the wrong music.

Thanks Nikki! The book can be found at Amazon and Barnes and Nobles. For more information and to view the book trailer and reviews, visit:

http://www.compulsivereader.com/html/images/SleepBeforeEvening.htm

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sleep-Before-Evening-Magdalena-Ball/dp/1904492967/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/105-9326603-7885261?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1190238636&sr=8-1

BN: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9781904492962&itm=3

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Enthralled by Nadia Aidan


Tell us the book title and your author name.Enthralled by Nadia Aidan

What inspired the book?
My mother is who inspired me to write. She is the reason why I finally committed to pursuing my passion of writing and she is who drives me and inspires me to dedicate all I have to following this dream.

What makes this book special to you?
As my debut novel, Enthralled holds a special place in my heart because it represents the culmination of several years of dreaming, wishing and just plain old hard work.

What makes this a book that other people MUST read and WHY?
It's an escapist dream! Set in a fantasy world Enthralled takes you into another realm and introduces you to characters that you only dream of! It is a perfect erotic romance because it has all of the critical elements, dominant men, feisty women and a lot of sensuality! I mean A LOT!

What people NEED to read this book and WHY?
Anyone who just wants to indulge their senses for one night. I know one of my favorite things to do over the weekend is pour a glass of wine, curl up with a good book and just enter into another world. I wanted to give my readers this. Enthralled is a fantasy novel that was written for those who enjoy suspended reality and a high dose of eroticism.

What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own creativity?
I have no set formula. Sometimes watching a certain film sparks it. Other times I just feel in the mood to write. However when I am having writer's block I try to read some of my favorite books OR I read new works from my favorite authors. Reading a good book ultimately inspires me and gets those creative juices flowing again.

What has been the biggest stumbling block in your writing? Can you share some tips to help others get past similar problems?
The biggest stumbling block I run across is not always writer's block because the thoughts are there but the WILL to write isn't. I try to prevent myself from getting stuck in that type of rut by setting a 10,000 words per week writing goal. As a writer you can set whatever writing goal you want but 10,000 per week works for me. The great thing about setting a weekly goal and not a daily goal (which is what I used to do) is that somedays I may not write at all whereas others I may write all day. I used to set a daily goal of 1,500 words per day but I hated it because I would force myself to write on the days I didn't want to and then later end up having to scrap all of it or revise a lot of it. The weekly goal has worked for me and it keeps me from hating to sit down at the computer.

What do you think motivates people to become authors? What motivated you to get into this unusual industry?
I am a member of several author and critique groups and there seem to be two common themes that motivate indviduals to become authors. The first is a genuine love for writing and reading works in the genre that they write in AND the second is a belief that whatever was out there before they started writing could be done better! It is funny because many of my mentors started writing because they became frustrated with a lackof this or too much of that. The same is true of me. I wanted to see more interracial and multicultural erotic romance novels so I figured if that is what I wanted then I needed to write it myself!

Tell me about the most unusual things you have done to promote any books?
Here is where I am pretty boring. I don't think anything that I have done has been unusual at all! Although, I will say that I have stepped out of my comfort zone quite a bit. I haven't been in a chat room for over fifteen years and I certainly haven't posted a blog in close to two but promoting my book has driven me to rely upon a lot of media tools that I normally don't use.

FICTION - If there is a setting, tell us how you decided on that setting and what you did to create a complete and vivid setting for your readers? Without giving too much away I will say this. Enthralled is a work of fantasy but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE ancient history. From the Egyptians to the Babylonians, Greeks and Romans--I LOVE IT! So don't be surprised if you recognize several planets and character names that have meaning in ancient cultures.

FICTION - What inspires you about the hero or heroine in your book? What makes them memorable for the reader? What motivates the hero and/or heroine? You can include information about both if you want.
I love my heroine! She is strong and corageous, yet at the same time there is a vulnerability about her. Mainly she is motivated by a desire to be a good ruler. To do what is right. Many people say that as a writer you should stay away from developing characters that are loosely based upon your own personality, which I will say in this case I did! However, I would like to think that a few of my own personality traits ended up in Candace which of course endears her to me. When you read Enthralled I think you will find that you can't help but cheer for Candace. She has so much to deal with and yet she remains poised through everything. She compromises but not at the expense of who she is. I love that about her and I hope the readers do too!

As far as Ares well who wouldn't love a sexy, dominant, man of honor! He is indeed the classic fantasy hero--strong, confident, domineering, and honorable. However beyond the standard cliche, he is passionate about his family, his friends and the woman that he loves. I find that in many erotic romance novels, there is a lack of character development around the people and relationships that have shaped the hero and heroine. I wanted to write a novel that was built around several central figures, while at the same time not detracting from Candace and Ares' story. I guess you will have to read Enthralled to see what I mean by this and why it works!

FICTION - Is there a villain or something that causes friction in your story? Tell us about what or who it is and how that contributes to the story. Any details about conflict and friction is good information to know.There is a villain but she doesn't cause the conflict--at least not between the main characters. I know! I am talking in circles! The main source of friction comes from the main characters themselves. Instead of battling a person, they must battle their culture, their ideals, their perceptions of each other. Mainly Candace and Ares must decide whether or not they truly care more about being right, about maintaining time held traditions then they do about opening their hearts to the possibility of finding love. These are two very stubborn, strong willed people. It is hard for them both to let go, to open themselves up and be vulnerable. It is easier for them to wear their past traditions as a shield so that they don't have to deal with the hard stuff.

If there's anything else you would like to share, this is the time and place.
I just want to say how thrilled and excited I am by the release of Enthralled. This has truly been a labor of love and I am happy to see that my dream has finally come true. I enjoyed interweaving many people and places into this erotic fantasy world and I hope others will love reading it as much as I loved writing it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dark Lullaby by Mayra Calvani


Tell us the book title and your author name.

Dark Lullaby, by Mayra Calvani

What inspired the book?

This particular novel was inspired by my fascination with moral dilemmas and by Turkish folklore. I lived several years in Turkey, so this was a big influence. Listening to stories about the mysterious—and scary—beings called cin (jihnn) was an unusual experience for me and I always knew I would eventually write something about them in a future book.

What makes this book special to you?

The aspect of this book which makes it more special to me is that the protagonist was inspired by my brother (of course for plot purposes I pushed it to the extremes!). It is also my first novel which has a male protagonist; this made the writing both more interesting and challenging.

What makes this a book that other people MUST read and WHY?

Dark Lullaby is a bizarre tale about a young astrophysicist who is lured into the Turkish countryside by a strange and beautiful girl—of course, the girl ends up not being what she first appears to be. Ultimately, he is faced with a moral dilemma: Does the end justify the means? People who must read this book are people who enjoy strange paranormal fiction set in exotic locales, and who also get a kick out of philosophy and controversial moral issues.

What people NEED to read this book and WHY?

Interesting question. Who would need to read this book? People who are idealists and believe ideals cannot collapse. Why? To see that ideals can indeed collapse.

What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own creativity?

Walking alone, haunting violin music, a good book or movie, a conversation, a person’s face, free writing, keeping a journal.

I would recommend people to get a copy of The Right to Write and The Artist’s Way, both by creativity guru Julia Cameron. Also to write at a café once a week, either alone or with a group of writers.

What has been the biggest stumbling block in your writing? Can you share some tips to help others get past similar problems?

Definitely lack of discipline. I try my best to write everyday, but the truth is my style is to binge. Not writing everyday can lead to many problems—insecurity, self loathing, stagnation. It used to be very hard for me to actually start that first chapter—it still is, but now I trust my voice more, I’m kinder to my inner self and less critical. Of course—this inner critic, that awful voice that whispers in your ear that you’re no good, gets worse when you don’t write everyday. So both are connected, both feed on each other. The trick is to keep writing, to do it every day, even if just a few sentences. Studying the works I mentioned before (Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write and The Artist’s way) were a tremendous help, as well as joining a creativity workshop. Journal writing can be very useful to keep you writing and to clean your mind of all the useless and negative clutter that gets in the way of your creativity.

What do you think motivates people to become authors? What motivated you to get into this unusual industry?

In my case, it was not a conscious decision. I simply loved writing since I was a child. Writing was something I was particularly good at and it got me attention, so I kept at it. Later on, as I grew older, it became a natural way to get rid of all the voices in my head, a way to bring to life my imaginary world filled with mystery and adventure. Also, I’ve always been attracted by the image of the antisocial, ‘intellectual’ author—pounding on an old typewriter and smoking at a messy desk—not that this is my style! It is, after all, a great job—you’re your own boss, have your own hours, etc.

Tell me about the most unusual things you have done to promote any books?

So far nothing unusual, I’m afraid. I’m quite traditional when it comes to promoting—author interviews, reviews, article distribution, having a website, blog and newsletter, etc.

FICTION - If there is a setting, tell us how you decided on that setting and what you did to create a complete and vivid setting for your readers?

Although at the beginning of the novel the characters are in Baltimore, most of the story takes place in the Turkish countryside; in Rize, to be exact, which is a small, tea-planting city on the north eastern coast of the country. I spent hours doing research on the internet and studied many photos that made me create the right atmosphere for the place. The stories I had heard about the cin were from people who originally came from that area, so choosing that particular setting came natural. I wanted to put the protagonist in an exotic setting, in a place where he would feel like an outsider, thus being in a disadvantageous, weaker position.

FICTION - What inspires you about the hero or heroine in your book? What makes them memorable for the reader? What motivates the hero and/or heroine? You can include information about both if you want.

There’s no heroine in this novel. The story revolves around the hero and the anti-heroine, though the hero, Gabriel Diaz, is the center of the whole thing. I love that the hero is an astrophysicist because I love science, especially astronomy and cosmology. It was fun doing research to make sure I was getting the facts correctly. As I said earlier, the hero was inspired by my brother. He’s an astrophysicist, so he was there to answer my questions as well, which was convenient. I combined my love for science with my love for philosophy and made him a philosophy aficionado as well. All throughout the book Gabriel is motivated by an idealist sense of justice and by doing the ‘right’ thing.

FICTION - Is there a villain or something that causes friction in your story? Tell us about what or who it is and how that contributes to the story. Any details about conflict and friction is good information to know.

The anti-heroine or villainess in Dark Lullaby is a young and beautiful Turkish girl named Kamilah. When Gabriel meets her at the tavern on that first night, she claims to be a biology major. Of course, once in Turkey her true nature emerges to the surface and she ends up being something very different from what she presented herself to be. She is the catalyst that brings Gabriel to face his demons; she the reason that propels him to the extreme, because Kamilah isn’t just a threat to him, but to his twin sister as well, who is very vulnerable right now expecting a baby. In all modesty, I think Kamilah’s true nature will take many readers by surprise.

Thank you for visiting with me and in closing, give us your website address and a link to order your book.

Thanks so much for having me as your guest, Nikki!

My website is www.MayraCalvani.com and the book is available from Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Lullaby-Mayra-Calvani/dp/1593749074/ref=sr_1_4/103-8834202-9064634?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1189507282&sr=1-4) and from the publisher (http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=571&zenid=c790ed40a08746e18c58f83270ea4091).

Thursday, October 18, 2007

In Detail with Nicola Beaumont


Tell us the book title and your author name.

The Resurrection of Lady Somerset by Nicola Beaumont

What inspired the book?

After reading regencies, and then researching the period, I fell in love with the romance of the era and had to pen something to match.

What makes this book special to you?

The most special thing about this book is that it is my first regency. When I began, I wasn’t sure if I was getting the right tone and feel, and so I entered the manuscript in a contest. The story placed and got rave comments from the judges, so I endeavored to finish the book…and it found publication.

What makes this a book that other people MUST read and WHY?


I think the most intriguing thing about this book is there is a twist at the end. So far, no one who has read it, has seen it coming, so I think that’s a compelling reason why people “must” read it.

What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own creativity?

A mixture of life and idealism spark my creativity. Usually, I see a situation in real life—either in my own experience or through someone else—and I imagine the ideal outcome, and the desire to write about it fosters a story idea.

As far as tips for others to find their muse…just write. Any idea that comes to mind, even if it ends up being kindling for the winter fire, write it. The cohesive plot and the skill to yield an interesting story will come.

What has been the biggest stumbling block in your writing? Can you share some tips to help others get past similar problems?


Time. It’s very easy to become too busy to write. If one is serious about writing as a career, it’s important to incorporate a regular writing regimen, whether it be a set amount of time or a set amount of pages per day or per week. Stick to the schedule.

What do you think motivates people to become authors? What motivated you to get into this unusual industry?

Writing is something writers must do. There is no option but to create. The motivation is initially innate. For some, there may be some external motivations that follow—maybe the idea of fame and fortune (which doesn’t happen for most authors)—but deep down, the motivation is being able to see tangibly what was once only an imaginary tale.

My own motivation was, and is, solely to tell the tale. I write for the same reason I read—to “see” a happily-ever-after unfold where flawed people overcome their flaws and find true happiness.

Tell me about the most unusual things you have done to promote any books?

I’m a pretty staid person. I’m not sure I’ve done anything unusual…except maybe go on a virtual book tour! :0)

FICTION - If there is a setting, tell us how you decided on that setting and what you did to create a complete and vivid setting for your readers?


A lot of time is spent at Somerset Manor. It’s a large estate in which the heroine has lived as a veritable hermit almost her entire life—with the “world” thinking she was actually dead. I chose that setting because it was a challenge to have the hero keep the heroine a secret while there are people coming and going.

In order to create vividity I use as many sensory descriptions as possible. A reader must experience the setting in the same way the character does—sights, smells, noises, etc., all have to come alive.

FICTION - What inspires you about the hero or heroine in your book? What makes them memorable for the reader? What motivates the hero and/or heroine? You can include information about both if you want.


Readers will like Lark and Jonathon for the same reasons I do. Lark is both vulnerable, yet strong. She has lived with a quiet security that was almost like a prison, yet to risk moving out into the world means she may lose not only that security, but her dignity as well.

Jonathon has had to deal with rumours and innuendo which made his life difficult, yet rather than succumbing to the pressure, he has always risen to the occasion and fought the good fight. Now, with his betrothal to Lark, he has to face all his worst fears about being accepted by gently Society.

Thank you for visiting with me and in closing, give us your website address and a link to order your book.

Thanks for this great opportunity to share. I invite people to visit my website at www.inicola.net To order a copy of The Resurrection of Lady Somerset, visit Amazon.com or at The Wild Rose Press http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&produc