Monday, December 19, 2016

What Stops Me Writing by Peter Ford

Author Peter Ford

Much as I enjoy writing the Dave Slater Mystery Novels, I have many other ideas I would like to develop. One of those I would most like to take further is set in the sixties, and I have played around with this one over the last few months. Recently I sat down and created a rough, one page trailer for the book (which I believe could easily become a series) and wrote the first two or three chapters. I printed these out, and handed copies to my wife and a couple of friends, and asked the question; 'What do you think?'
I should point out these friends are in my own 60+ age group (but then most of my readers are) so, as a test, I also handed a copy of the trailer to my step-daughter who's obviously much younger. Her immediate reaction was 'I'll read it!' I have to admit this was a bit of a thrill for me, but the comment that I found most interesting was from one of my friends: 'this just wouldn't happen in the real world.'
It's an honest opinion, intended as constructive criticism, but is it a valid comment? I don't think it is, and here's why:

In my opinion there are two types of writing, there is fiction, and there is non-fiction (fiction based on fact is still fiction). Fiction is primarily intended to entertain (although it can inform, too) and non-fiction is primarily intended to inform (although it can also be very entertaining). You could argue this viewpoint is too simplistic, but the important thing to remember here is fiction has been created in the imagination of a writer. This isn't just my opinion. Here are two of many definitions I found online…

From the Oxford English Dictionary:
Fiction - Literature in the form of prose, especially novels, that describes imaginary events and people.
Novel - A fictitious prose narrative of book length, typically representing character and action with some degree of realism.

From Wikipedia:
Fiction is the classification for any story, or element of a story, derived from imagination and not based strictly on history or fact.
Fiction constitutes an act of creative invention, so that faithfulness to reality is not typically assumed; in other words, fiction is not expected to present only characters who are actual people or descriptions that are factually true.

I could have gathered a lot more of these definitions, but already you can see the common thread in the descriptive words: imaginary, some degree of realism, derived from imagination, an act of creative invention….

I've had the odd review of my books where it's been suggested my detectives don't follow correct procedure. 'They wouldn't be able to do this in the real world.' And, of course, these reviewers are quite right, my detectives wouldn't be able to do this in the real world, but I believe anyone leaving a review like this is missing the point. My detectives, don't live in the real world; they live in a world I created in my head, and in my world, they play by my rules, and sometimes, for the sake of the story, they follow my procedures. 

Let's face it, if every work of fiction had to stick to the facts, whole genres would be eradicated overnight. How would Harry Potter have got that letter about Hogwarts? (Nobody ever said, 'but in the real world owls don't deliver letters,' did they?) And what would become of Science Fiction, or Fantasy?

Now, I'm not for one minute suggesting a reader shouldn't be allowed an opinion, or that they shouldn't be allowed to express that opinion in a review. Bad reviews are a fact of life if you're going to write, and I've had my share (you soon learn you can't please all of the people all of the time!) But, next time you're reading a novel and you think, 'this wouldn't happen in the real world', just bear in mind, if you choose to read fiction you are choosing to enter a world created by the author, and that, by definition, doesn't have to be the real world.

P.F. Ford, Author.  “If you like your crime with a lighter touch, The Dave Slater Mystery Novel Series is a refreshing, entertaining mix of mystery and humour that never takes itself too seriously.”

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Joy of A First Book

Author Randal Eldon Greene

The joy of having a first book published is not like the joy of a first story appearing in print. With that first story, being published was joy and validation itself.

Then came the second, third, and fourth story. All in the same year. With each acceptance letter, surety in the ability to write fiction grew. Each publication was a joyful event, but they were not firsts and did not have quite the joy of that first published work.

A first book must be a lot like opening your first gallery, playing your first lead in a major theater production, or hearing the overture of your first opera being performed for an audience. Yet the joy of a first book is simply not as great as that first little story in that obscure (and now defunct) magazine.


Descriptions of Heaven by Randal Eldon Greene
Because it’s a release. Publishing the book was not easy. Sure, there was a rush of emotion when hearing that the publisher accepted the book. But that announcement opened up a box of work requiring both skills and time not needed before that acceptance letter. The novel-in-progress was set aside in order to work on this debut. A backlog of short story ideas accumulated. Looking back, the memories are not pleasant: emails and more emails, disagreements about the best uses of advance release copies, and those three weeks the manuscript was untouched because looking at the editor’s notes became unbearable. The whole process became unbearable.

Unbearable until it wasn’t. There was an emergence from the fog of being overwhelmed, followed by a new stride, a jog in the sunshine of action. Last minute edits. Running boldly past terrifying doubts. ARCs out in the mail. A desire to move—just move—on with the process.

Then the reviews started coming in. Finally, something positive. An okay review. A glowing review. A little award sticker saying IndieReader Approved. Interviews with bloggers and newspapers. Giveaways blasted across the infoscapes of the Web. This is what it was all about. Validation: all those spotlights illuminating the authorial ego.

But still, there’s more to do. A whole list of places to contact, more people and companies to send copies to. That’s okay. Doesn’t matter. This thing is a process. A published book didn’t just happen with the click of a button, a wave of a wand. Like any baby, it took time to grow. And it still needs nurturing, even after it’s gotten its driver’s license and hit the road.

The joy of a first book isn’t the joy of that first published story. The joy of a first book does not come from seeing the fiction in print. The joy comes from letting it go out into the world. Relief to see it gone. A desire to see it—someday—totally out of the mind, like that first story, finally retiring comfortably as another important entry in the oeuvre.

Find Randal Eldon Greene (author of Descriptions of Heaven) at

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

How Music Inspires Author Rowanna Green

Author Rowanna Green
by Rowanna Green

I don't function well (at all!) without music; I’m permanently plugged in to my iPod. This love of music has entered my writing. Many of my chapter headings are song titles, and one of the characters (Carrie, in “Wolf in Sheep's Clothing”) mentions some of the soundtracks to her life throughout the book. That was great fun to write, but now it's taken on a new dimension.

Journey have been my favourite band since the early eighties when I danced round the front room to “Escape,” drawn to the superb story-telling in every song. In 2008, I spent a week in hospital, recovering from an operation, so I wrote a Jukebox Musical (as you do!) based on twenty of Journey’s greatest hits. “Don’t Stop Believing” sat on the back burner for almost a decade, but now here it is.

The story of the musical is “Faithfully” tailored to the sentiment of each song, and the main characters are determined by the situations suggested by the lyrics. Finding a credible setting was challenging, but the diverse nature of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival adds a quirky element so often found in jukebox musicals like “We Will Rock You” and “Rock of Ages.” Veronica Richards, bestselling author of “The Heartless Fey,” was swept away by the fast-paced plot. ‘This world of music and relationships held surprises, as I thought the author was going one direction and then pivoted in the end to a much more satisfying conclusion than I expected.  All round, a delightful read.’

As Journey fans will know, relationships are at the core of their sensitive, emotional ballads, so it’s no surprise that this is a character-driven story exploring three contrasting relationships. Jean Grainger, bestselling author of “The Tour” says this. ‘The way the three stories entwine cleverly highlights the differences in attitudes between a couple meeting for the first time, another trying to patch up a dying marriage and a third who are tentatively rekindling an old passion.’

After reading Neil Daniels’ excellent biography, “Don’t Stop Believin’: The Untold Story Of Journey,” I contacted the music journalist for advice. He was incredibly helpful, and agreed to read a copy. I'm thrilled by his endorsement: ‘A nostalgia-filled AOR romp for seasoned rockers. Hugely enjoyable and highly entertaining.’ My biggest hope is that someone will like the idea enough to collaborate in bringing this to stages in the West End and on Broadway. I can dream, can't I?

For the first time, I entered NaNoWriMo, and the result is two more Jukebox Musicals based on the British rock band City Boy. “Young Men Gone West” will be released in December, and “The Day The Earth Caught Fire” is set for release in the new year. You can win a free copy of these by signing up to my musicals-newsletter.

Released in November, “Don’t Stop Believing” is available at a bargain $0.99 (£0.99 in the UK), but only for the next week – it will be back up to normal price very soon.

Rowanna can be reached on her Website and Facebook

Friday, December 9, 2016

Who is Julien Ayotte?

Author Julien Ayotte
            My entire career has been one where I wrote countless articles in the corporate, legal, and academic worlds.  As a result, when I retired in 2002, turning my attention to completing a novel I had begun writing in 1987 entered my mind.  I was encouraged by my oldest daughter, a former English major at Boston College, to finish what I had started.  So in 2012, Flower of Heaven was released as my debut novel.  The international thriller has gone on to receive four national book awards and hundreds of high ranking reviews on amazon and Barnes and Noble.  This success of my best-selling novel led to the release of the sequel, Dangerous Bloodlines, in 2014.  Also a multi-award winner and highly rated book on Amazon (4.8 out of 5.0), Dangerous Bloodlines is not your ordinary sequel as many readers found to be even better than the original Flower of Heaven.  The beat goes on.  Inspired by my first two novels, I focused my attention on a totally different suspense thriller, A Life Before, which was released in late April 2016.  In a very short time, A Life Before has received twenty-one reviews, nineteen of them five-star rated.  You can’t ask for more than that.  Add to these two monster reviews from US Review of Books and Apex Reviews, and you have the makings of an exceptional novel.
Flower of Heaven by Julien Ayotte
A Life Before by Julien Ayotte
So, I guess it’s time to take a break after three novels in just over three years.  Wrong!  I’m knee deep into my fourth novel as I write this in November 2016, having completed nine chapters already.  While the first three novels focused on an affair gone wrong and an indiscretion leading to international implications years after the affair, to a corrupt contractor implicated in a brutal murder and a young coed whose nightmares aid in solving a twenty year old cold case, this new book will be about the witness protection program and its susceptibility to deception inside the US Marshals office.
Dangerous Bloodlines by Julien Ayotte
            I like to write about incidents and occurrences that few think about.  Everything I write is in longhand first.  Changes are made as I type my handwritten chapters, one chapter at a time.  I do not have a book layout, plan, or prescribed ending defined for the book I am writing.  Each chapter comes into mind spontaneously, and I have no clue what the next chapter will bring.  It merely comes out on its own.  Some days I can’t write a single word.  Other days I write fifteen or twenty pages.  I like to take about nine months to complete a draft of a book, then spend two to three months to fine tune the manuscript, prepare and complete the front and back cover, and the synopsis for the back cover.

            I have not had success yet in securing a literary agent, something that would bring another dimension to my books, but I will continue this pursuit with each new novel ready for publication.  You would think that with three successful novels, this task would be easier, but it’s not.  In the words of one of my Amazon reviewers, “I can’t believe Julien Ayotte hasn’t yet been signed up by major publishers, TV and movie producers.  Apparently he is a star yet to be discovered.  I am happy to share this secret with all who love a great read and a great story.”

Follow Julien on Facebook, Twitter and check out his Website

Monday, December 5, 2016

When A Heroine Swoons Over Someone She Shouldn’t by Elaine Stock

Author Elaine Stock

Have you ever been in a situation, for better or worse, unable to go back but unsure of whether you can move forward?

All Isabelle, the heroine in Always With You, wants is to be loved without conditions. She’s eighteen, has healed from a health setback, and after losing her mom years ago and being raised by an emotionally distant father and grandmother, she wants her Prince Charming. In her mind, she doesn’t care what faith or race or background he is. She’s certain that when her heart tells her whom this destined man is, she’ll recognize him.

Love, in the very real body of an attractive young man, pays a needed visit just in time to call him a true hero! Tyler intervenes when a gang of punky teens has less than stellar plans for Isabelle. But, many eyes around her small Adirondack town, let alone her own dad, are suspicious of the community, The Faithful, where Tyler lives. She’s forewarned of possible dangers, but chooses to see only the Wonderful in Tyler, and that’s with a Capital W.

What causes a fairly intelligent woman to fall for a man that society sees as less desirable?

In Isabelle’s case:

  • Longing for close family and faith she lacked growing up, Isabelle doesn’t want to repeat that heartache for the rest of her life. In Tyler, she has a strong man who isn’t afraid to take a stand, believes in God, and is devoted to his siblings and community.
  • Tyler is orphaned, and has more responsibilities—both to family and community—than someone his age should have. Nor has he had the traditional opportunities (like college or career) that usually come along when connected from a more supportive family. Isabelle empathizes with Tyler and feels his anguish. She believes she can be the one to make a difference in his life.
  • She and Tyler are young. Together, they can enjoy the rest of their lives. They both want love, a real family bond, and faith in a God who wants them—all missing tickets from their childhood. Determined, and with headstrong tenacity, their minds and more importantly, their hearts, tell them that their union is meant to be.

Enter the unknown, aka tension or obstacles to their Happily Ever After. It’s not until Isabelle marries Tyler and is pregnant with their first child that she slowly comes to learn that Tyler and the community she now lives in have deceived her by making her think that they are kind and morally right folks.

But, Isabelle loves Tyler. Isn’t that all that counts? Yet, with a baby on the way, she must make the most important decision of her life, even if it’s the most heart-ripping one she’s ever faced.

Author Bio:
Elaine Stock is the author of Always With You, which released in January 2016 and has made the Kindle bestseller list. Her novels fuse family drama and psychological suspense. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and contributes to the international “Happy Sis Magazine.” In addition to Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads, she hangs out on her active blog, Everyone’s Story, dedicated to uplifting and encouraging all readers through the power of story and hope.


Website/blog: Everyone's Story
Author Mailing List/Newsletter:

Sunday, November 27, 2016

One In A Million (Book 1 of “The Millionth Trilogy”)

Author Tony Faggioli

The detective from LAPD’s Central Station was stunned. “Excuse me, Mr. Faggioli. You went where? Did you just say ‘Boyle Heights’? At what time of day? Ah. Lunch time? Okay. But, for the record? You still got lucky. Don’t do that again. Because I don’t want to be the guy that finds you.” It was funny. But, then again, it wasn’t.

I’d gone to Boyle Heights a few days earlier and actually come to this realization on my own. I was walking along the sidewalk next to Evergreen Park when it hit me that maybe this wasn’t the smartest thing in the world for a white boy to be doing. I only had two things going my way (besides daylight, evidently): my LAPD haircut and a very healthy respect for everyone there. You see, when I was little, I’d grown up in a neighborhood very much like this one. I knew the culture, knew a lot of the language and had a healthy respect for the fact that I was in gang territory.  I wasn’t there for kicks, though. I was there for that park, and for the key role that it plays in a scene from the final book of The Millionth Trilogy.

Three years. Three books. Three hundred thousand words. That’s what it took to tell the story of a man from a well-to-do neighborhood in Los Angeles, who throws his life to the wind in the name of lust, and an old detective from Boyle Heights, who’s given up on life in the name of love. Both men, in due time, will see the error of their ways. Both men will need women to help them do so.

Along the way, they are brought into an epic battle between good and evil, demons and angels, hell and hell on earth that will change them forever. I wanted to pull the veil between this world and the next aside for a moment and scare my readers with what was there. In the process? I scared myself too. When I was finally done I had a story that Kirkus Reviews now calls“Absorbing and frequently terrifying…” and a villain they call “a psychopathic torturer and serial killer in the tradition of Hannibal Lecter.” I hope you enjoy reading it. 

For the record? I recommend you do so with the lights on. Please also check out my webpage at to learn more about me and my books!

I can also be found on Facebook & Twitter.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

How a Berkeley Plantation Inspired Historical Romance Author Cheryl R. Lane

Author Cheryl R. Lance signing at the festival

I recently participated in the Virginia Thanksgiving Festival, held annually at Berkeley Plantation on the James River in Charles City, Virginia.  Berkeley Plantation was the inspiration for my fictional plantation, Wellington Cross, in my historical romance Wellington Cross series, so I was thrilled to be able to participate in this.  In the first book of the series, Wellington Cross, I wrote about the family attending this festival, which was called First Thanksgiving, so if anyone reads this book, they can attend this festival and feel like they’re living inside my book for a little while.  
Wellington Cross by Cheryl R. Lane
The festival commemorates and re-enacts the first English-speaking thanksgiving in the New World.  I sold and signed my books while enjoying the sights and sounds of the festival, including choral music, Chickahominy Indian dancers, watching children play in the corn maze, and eating Thanksgiving dinner in a cup. 

There are tours of the 1726 manor house during the festival, as well.  This wasn’t my first time attending the festival, but it was my first time as a vendor.  

My station was between two other women entrepreneurs, one who sold jewelry and dream-catchers, and another one who sold scarves and painted henna tattoos on people’s hands.  It was a beautiful day and I hope to participate in the festival again in the future.

Like Cheryl's Facebook page.
Follow her on Twitter
Check out her books on her Website
Wellington Grove by Cheryl R. Lane

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Unaccountably Hopeful by Hannah Holborn

Author Hannah Holborn
Some years ago I wrote a book’s worth of short stories during downtime on the night shift in a psychiatric group home. One of my clients—let’s call him Fred—was a non-verbal insomniac with a violent history. He spent those months pacing behind my chair. It was just the two of us awake in a dark building while the other inmates slept off their tough days of mental anguish. Fred found the light from my laptop as soothing as I found his pacing.
The Solitary Bee by Hannah Holborn
To my great joy and amazement, those stories were published as a book. One reviewer called my characters “unaccountably hopeful”. It’s a phrase I like and one that applies to the characters in the novels I’ve written since. If I learnt anything from my years serving the disadvantaged it is this—no matter how horrific our life circumstances, each of us carries the inextinguishable glow of hope. I believe empathy is simply the recognition of that light in each other.
If the suspense in my books keep you up at night eagerly turning pages, I am thrilled. If the gallows humor makes you laugh out loud, great. If my characters inspire empathy, I am humbled. It is either praise or criticism when my books are described as dark, but then, the darker the surroundings, the brighter the light appears.
All That Remains by Hannah Holborn
Strange Lineup by Hannah Holborn

Thursday, October 13, 2016


Author Shelby Londyn-Heath

 No one ever talks about the hazards of working. Yeah, I know, we live in a “work hard and get ahead culture.” There’s truth in the cliché of following one’s goals with determination and sweat to be successful. But what about the clerks at night working in convenience stores, the ones who are robbed at gunpoint while they struggle to earn their seven or eight dollars an hours? What about security guards who walk around dark, vacant parking lots at night, looking for intruders and wannabe thieves lurking outside shopping centers? What about the eight-hundred people working in America who are wounded or killed on their jobs every year?

You think this doesn’t happen? Let me inform you it does. Why?  There are many reasons why. . . jealous co-workers, anxious associates going through divorces, stress of financial melt-downs, addictions, and people working next to you who are psychologically unstable. There is rarely a warning, no sign of danger, and no manager cautioning and protecting you, because, you got it─most managers are untrained to do so.

The Twiligh Tsunami
My book THE TWILIGHT TSUNAMI pits a Child Protective Social Services worker against a system that disables him every day. Grey, the main character, investigates child abuse reports: children who have been beaten, sold, molested, and are at risk for suicide. His job is an important one and he helps many children escape abuse. But what does such a system do to the workers? How do they survive the constant assault of battered children and violent families? How do they deal with parents who lose their newborns because of drugs, how do they deal with the sight of children burned, children with broken bones and their baby teeth knocked out?

Photo by Graur Lonut
Grey holds it together for many years until a new worker comes in. She is meticulous and hard-working. But she is also think-skinned and paranoid. She envisions herself to be the savior of a system that is shredding the psyches of its workers. Many of the social workers are coping by imbibing prescription drugs and alcohol. They are exhausted, burned out, and yet they arrive at work every day armed for battle, another day to put themselves at risk of being harmed by irate and dangerous parents.

When she, the dagger queen, the savior, enters meetings in the Child Protective Services, tension fills the air and ugly dramas ensue. She finds ways to drag down everyone around her. After all, they are already weak from their work traumas and drugs. She, a great strategy designer, customizes plans to destroy other workers, to undermine and manipulate her way to the top, by creating their downfalls.

She almost gets there but something happens to her. Something unexpected. She makes a mistake and miscalculates a worker she thinks she has destroyed. He retreats, and then rises to meet her in a new way. She accidentally exposes her “Achilles heel.” One of them must be destroyed or transformed. What happens to the other as they wrestle the truth of who they are and what must endure?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

How a Picture Inspired a Historical Romance Novel

Author Cheryl R Lane

My latest book, Wellington Belle, is now available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon.  On the cover of this historical romance novel, I used an inn in Charlottesville, Virginia, that my husband and I stayed in this past spring.  It's called 200 South Street Inn.  It's a beautiful four-story house built in the 1800s with a nice wraparound porch with places to relax, inviting rooms, and in close proximity to the downtown historic “mall" in Charlottesville.  Every afternoon, they serve wine and cheese, and for breakfast each morning, they serve a wide variety of breads, cereals, fruit, and drinks.  We truly enjoyed our stay.  A big white dogwood was in bloom out front in one corner, and I took a picture of it with my phone's camera at an angle where I could see how the porch wraps around with the dogwood in the center.  This turned out really nice, and after some special effects, to enhance the colors, I realized I had a good book cover in progress.  

I contacted the inn to ask for permission to use my photo, and the manager enthusiastically said yes and that she would show the book off for me if I gave them a copy.  I was thrilled!  Having a big beautiful house like this on my book cover fit my story perfectly, as it is about a woman who moves into a boarding house.  

Therefore I was very pleased to be able to use it.  I took them a copy of this book this past weekend, and they were so excited to receive it.  They immediately put it on display.  So if you're looking for a great place to stay in the Charlottesville area, this inn is a charming place to stay, and look for my book when you check in.  Tell them I sent you.

You can follow me as Cheryl R. Lane on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, and YouTube, as well as on my website

Friday, October 7, 2016

Writing about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a Romance Novel

Author Sarah Robinson

My most recent release, NOT A HERO, is a story that’s been a long time coming. I originally started it years ago, even though it was only a few chapters, but then put it aside as other projects took priority. The characters have still been itching away in the back of my mind, begging for their story to be told, and when I finally saw a tiny, tiny break in my calendar, I decided to go for it! In three weeks, I finished writing the majority of the entire novel and spent the next month editing, then the next marketing and preparing it for release. To say I was swamped, would be an understatement! Now that NOT A HERO is live, it’s been such a relief seeing all that hard work pay off, and I’m already working excitedly on my next project! 

Not A Hero by Sarah Robinson
NOT A HERO is a story of a returning Marine from Afghanistan adjusting to civilian life with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. With a Master’s Degree in psychology and some personal experiences with the disorder, this was definitely an area close to my heart that I have always wanted to write about. I’m hopeful that I was able to tell Miles’s story accurately and kindly, as well as giving him a sweet romance with his father’s nurse. This story is steamy and sweet at the same time, and I think I added more sexy scenes than any of my previous novels!

My next release is only a short two months away, BECOMING A LEGEND is a bad boy mixed martial arts fighter romance that is part of the bestselling KAVANAGH LEGENDS series. I’m unbelievably excited about this series because these alpha male Irish brothers are hilarious, sexy, loyal, and definitely one of a kind. In fact, the next book in that series coming out in the spring is what I’m working on now!


From the bestselling author of the Kavanagh Legends MMA series, Sarah Robinson's Not A Hero is an emotional standalone military romance where love battles trauma, and there can only be one victor. 
Former Marine, Miles Kydd, is trying to readjust to civilian life after ending his career and returning to his small home town when he learned his father was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Once the town hero and star quarterback, Miles no longer feels like the man he was, or who he's expected to be--possibly because his demons have followed him home from Afghanistan.

Meeting Zoe Brooke, his father's live-in nurse, gives Miles the slightest glimmer of hope that he can still find happiness despite the dark secrets he holds inside. The chemistry between them is undeniable, and together they are explosive--in more ways than one.

A helper at her core, Zoe is more than willing to care for Miles's heart, but not at the expense of her own, and she's not afraid to tell him that. She knows what having a painful past is like, and she wants to help him with his, if he'll let her.

Things get complicated fast when Miles realizes burying his secrets isn't actually the same as healing from them and if he wants the girl, he's going to have to tell her the truth--the one thing he can't do.

This book is suggested for 18+ years of age, contains graphic content, sensitive subject matters, and sexually explicit material. 


Aside from being a Top 10 Barnes & Noble and Amazon Bestseller, Sarah Robinson is a native of the Washington, DC area and has both her Bachelors and Master’s Degrees in criminal psychology. She is newly married to a local police officer, Justin, who is just as much of an animal rescue enthusiast as she is. Together, they own a zoo of rescues including everything from mammals to reptiles to marsupials, as well as volunteering and fostering for multiple animal shelters.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Mosaic is our story.

Mosaic isn’t just a story about child abuse and its aftermath.
It is a story of our shared human experience.  Pain, sorrow, adversity, in whatever form they’ve affected us.  It is also, above all, a story of triumph, redemption, and healing.
Personally, writing this novel had been cathartic. It had crystallised for me just how far I’ve come.
I know pain. 
I know sadness. 
I know grief. 
Not that I knew them. I know them, present tense.
Mosaic by Angelin Sydney
When I was younger, there had been times when it felt as though I was born with pain as my twin. 
Somehow, as I matured I found courage along the way to keep going. I’ve learned to count my blessings and to overcome the adversities that have come my way.
I’d like to make it clear, however, that my life story did not include child rape which was one of the main themes of this book. What they included, however, were emotional abandonment, surviving breast cancer, divorce, the death of a child, bankruptcy, and post-traumatic stress.
All of my life experiences, both negatives and positives, have served to prepare me to write this story.
I didn’t simply want to touh the subject of child abuse from a law enforcement or an emotional perspective. I wanted to see both elements in my story.
The basis of this narrative is the fact that within every adult who had been subjected to abuse, in any form, there will always be a child crying. Not necessarily someone defeated, but crying, nevertheless.
I started on this journey focused on writing with sensitivity and care.
An early Amazon reviewer wrote in her review, “The underlying message of the story is one of hope and triumph – an obviously powerful one as well as a theme that has truly been done justice by the excellent writing style that is used to express and portray it. It is easy to incorporate these sort of themes into most books, but executing it in the manner that author Angelin Sydney is a whole other level, a much more difficult task.”
Judging from that, I have succeeded to a degree. My dream following the publication of this book remains to be that it be taken up by every school counsellor, every teacher, every student, every book club all over the world for the message it conveys.
I do not advocate revenge killing, a key element in this book. I hope readers would not focus on this. Rather that they would focus on its positive message. That is, you and I, we are not defined by what went wrong in our lives.  We are only defined by who we want to be.
The success of this book will not be measured by number of books sold, nor by the number of pages read on Kindle Unimited, nor by the number of downloads.  It will be measured by the number of lives it touches.
We are all characters in each other’s story. We are all part of a mosaic we call life. 

Follow Angeline on Facebook & Twitter

Saturday, October 1, 2016

A view of the American Middle Class

I began writing Trailer Dogs after one of the worst years of my entire married life. It was cathartic, in that it allowed me (uncensored) to express grief and disappointments in the only way I knew how – by satirizing myself and the calamities that had almost destroyed me.
   In 2013, the government shutdown sent our previously thriving business into a tailspin, taking years of hard work, and our life savings, along with it. Two of our three much-loved dogs died within a month of each other. My best friend, only in her mid-fifties, passed away after a long, painful illness. If that weren’t enough, my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer that October. His surgery was scheduled – wait for it - on Christmas Eve.
My reaction to the above events was less than heroic. I became a total psychological wreck. My normally over-the-top sense of humor vanished overnight. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t concentrate on anything except how miserable my life had become. My problems, my heartbreaks, my financial losses were front and center, and nobody else’s mattered.
   Then one day, while mindlessly scanning a dog rescue website, I happened upon “Sully.” Sully was a sorry looking little stray. He was emaciated, with a dull, patchy coat and an underbite that resulted in a permanent goofy half-grin. He’d been attacked and seriously injured by a larger dog. Two enormous ears stood up at the sides of his head, and a few scraggly hairs sprang from the top knot in between.
Trailer Dogs by Ellen Garrison
Long story short, we adopted Sully. Caring for him and rehabilitating him helped me to rehabilitate myself. I slowly regained my sense of humor, my interest in life, and most importantly, the ability to care about something other than myself. Instead of bemoaning past losses, I began to focus again on the future - a future that was going to be totally different than my husband and I had ever envisioned. It was a terrifying, yet strangely liberating prospect.

We were about to become Trailer Dogs.

   Trailer Dogs isn’t for everybody. If you’re a right-wing conservative or a religious fanatic, stop reading now. If you’re sensitive to swearing, you’re a politician, or if you’re Canadian, take to heart the following Advance Criticisms for the book:
   Where shall I start? It’s filled with reprehensibly foul language, vulgarity, racial slurs, sexism, ageism, blasphemy, bestiality, gluttony, body-shaming, perversions, violence, pornographic imagery. The list is endless. That said, I really enjoyed it. ---Governor Martin O’Malley
   Trailer Dogs contains off-colour jokes. Indeed, it is blasphemous. It is a veritable sewer, filled with marginally false information about Canadians. There were a few decent parts about corn holing, but not enough detail to sustain my interest. ---Canadian Senator Ted Cruz

   On the other hand, if you don’t mind profane venting about the current state of affairs in America, or if you sometimes usually much prefer the company of your dog or cat to humans, then pardner, Trailer Dogs is the fucking book for you! 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

How to Sell a Sequel

Author Peter Darley

First I’ll say – I am not a book marketing guru. However, through trial and error, I finallly figured it out. To sell a sequel, you need to have at least two books on offer. (Obviously.) Here’s how it’s done.
I’ve never earned a penny from my flagship novel – Hold On! – Season 1. . . by design. Hold On! was the marketing tool – for the series.

At the time I wrote Hold On!, the TV shows Prison Break and 24 were at their peak of popularity. I didn’t rip those shows off in Hold On! I simply borrowed ‘the tempo’. The vast majority of chapters (which I refer to as ‘episodes’) end on cliffhangers. This is the secret to creating a page-turner; a trick I also learned from Dan Brown. Readers tend to put a book down at the end of a chapter. It’s a writer’s mission to make sure they lose sleep. The readers must find out ‘what happens next’. That’s where cliffhangers come in.

You’re an unknown author. Create a series and end the first book on a killer cliffhanger – then give it away to the world. This part is agonizing, and you’re not going to get in with Bookbub.

But neither do you need them. If you can gather $1,000, you can hit #1 on Amazon’s free listings, which is better than Bookbub can do for you. I’m constantly updating my promo blog site list. Between each promotion, many of them disappear.

At #1 on the free listings (which validates your #1 bestseller status) – here’s the reality. Only 40% of those who downloaded it will even read it, but that’s 40% of around 60,000 downloaders. (24,000 actual readers.) A percentage of those 24,000 will be readers who will ONLY download free books, so they’re not the target either. Realistically, you’re looking at 3% of those 24,000 to buy your sequel. (720 at $2.99 a pop – $2,150.) You’ve more than doubled your investment.

But you need a sequel to pull this off, and this is the crucial trick. You need to have the sequel on sale before you give away Book One. At the end of Book One, put the link to the sequel at the end of the epilogue on the very same page.

This is a bane. When you write a book in Word, you have no idea what it’s going to look like on Kindle. You won’t know where the final sentence falls. You must upload your finalized manuscript to Kindle to see where on the page your final line falls. If it falls at the bottom of the page, you MUST add or remove text in order to leave room for ‘To be continued in . . .’ followed by the sequel’s ‘Buy’ link. If you add text, you take the final line of the story to the next page. If you remove text to make room, you might be compromising your vision.

If the link to your sequel appears on the page AFTER the epilogue, they’re not going to go looking. It has to be on the final page of the epilogue.
Everything about this is an ordeal. But it CAN be done.

Peter Darley (Author of the Hold On! Trilogy and Hold On! – Tomorrow.)

True Offence? Or Mind Control?

Author Peter Darley
What is it about a certain four letter word that gets people so hot under the collar? I’m sure most of us have had occasion to be in a room when grandma is sitting among us. A movie comes on the TV containing a scene of gratuitous violence. The antagonist is stabbing the victim to death, blood flying everywhere, bellowing something to the tune of “You fucking bastard!” Grandma gasps in horror and says, “Why do they have to use ‘that language’?” The gratuitous, homicidal violence isn’t even mentioned. A virtually meaningless combination of four letters – four alphabetical symbols that serve the purpose of expressing an exclamation mark – is the first cause of such horrified excitation.

But why is this? Out of scores of reviews for Hold On!, I have only been hit by this phenomenon twice (to date.) The use of profanity in it is, by no means, excessive, and is only used occasionally in dialogue for the purpose of contextual realism. If I’d had enraged characters or psychopathic killers bellowing ‘good gosh’, ‘golly’, ‘darn’, or ‘blinkey, blonkey, blimey’, I would’ve been laughed out of the writing game. It’s a no-win situation. Hold On! contains scenes of extreme homicidal violence, torture, and skull-crushing vengeance. I find it extraordinary how all of that goes unnoticed by certain people, in deference to the use of a mere word. Ironically, this very issue is directly addressed in chapter 33. It still doesn’t seem to be giving certain people a moment of thoughtful pause.

Hold On! by Peter Darley
It’s four letters. F.U.C.K. They contain no mystical properties whatsoever. They literally define the word ‘nothing’. If any of these people were to be asked why they felt so offended by it, the answer would, invariably be, “That’s how I was raised.” Unfortunately, that doesn’t constitute an opinion. There were many views my parents tried to drill into me, the ‘F’ word being a big one (as in – ‘we’ll cut you out of our will’ big.) However, if they couldn’t back those views up with any reasoning other than ‘because we said so’, I would simply disregard it with the contempt it deserved.

An opinion is a viewpoint at which one has arrived through personal experience, observation, and logical reasoning. Thinking what we are told to think is the very antithesis of that. All it shows is that critical thinking has, for that person, been minimal – at best! It is this very same shortcoming within the human condition that enables acts of terrorism.

Go! by Peter Darley
For my part, I am not going to compromise on this issue. I refuse to pander to the absurd, in order to gratify the bizarre sensibilities of those whose critical faculties have been so deeply impaired. I invite all to join me in a chorus of personal free expression, and it goes like this – “FUCK IT!” J