Thursday, December 22, 2016

Must Read: 47 Mind Hacks for Writers by Karen Dimmick & Steve Dimmick

I downloaded this book yesterday. It was on the "because you read" section Amazon sends us when we get on the Kindle homescreen. I looked at it for about two seconds, and said, "OK." So, I opened it up, and couldn't put it down.

I think many authors, if not all, face some sort of self-doubt. I know mine stems from fear. Although, it is not the fear of failure in a generalized way. I tend to be afraid I can't support our family after my hub's stroke. Because of this, I often remind myself, I must not fear.

In fact, since the stroke on January 01, 2016 I have been repeating one of my favorite lines from Dune. "Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me."(Dune) Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't.

Thanks to 47 Mind Hacks for Writers, I now have even more ways to confront my writing issues. 47 Mind Hacks for Writers, helps writers get past the point of fear, self-doubt, and any other issue they may face. I really can't tell the Dimmicks thank you enough for writing this book. I read it via Kind Unlimited, but I will be buying it. I really wish there was a print copy, (I didn't find one on Amazon) because it's one of those books you want to hold in your hand, underline and keep on your desk. Maybe in the future?

At any rate, if you suffer from any thing that holds you back from writing this book is for you. No matter how big or small, I would read this book. I plan to put several ideas she has into practice; including, the "make writing a game" suggestion. I won't spoil it for you -- read it. You won't be disappointed!

-- Arwen


About 47 Mind Hacks for Writers by Karen Dimmick & Steve Dimmick


"Has writer's block or procrastination stopped you writing?
Is your inner critic sabotaging your success and making you think your writing is dreadful and no one would ever read it?

Imagine, no more procrastinating. No more interruptions. No more feeling you're not good enough to be the writer you long to be. No more conflicts with family. No more writer's block.

Awareness + Solution = Mind Hack
Rather than "feel good inspiration", 47 Mind Hacks for Writers takes you through the simple steps you need to shift your mindset so you can write on your terms.

We asked over 100 writers what their biggest obstacles were around writing. This book gives you a mind hack for each one.

DISCOVER 47 Mind Hacks that Will Make You a More Productive Writer
The book will help you:

  • Put an end to writer's block… forever
  • Uncover the real reason you're procrastinating and start writing today
  • Discover a fun way to get your family to help you reach your writing goals
  • Stop feeling like you're not good enough
  • Shut down the overly-critical self-talk that holds you back


Karen & Steve Dimmick have been using belief change techniques, coaching and Neuro-Linguistics since 2004, and have been helping authors since 2007.

"Essential reading for writers ready to go pro." – Tom Morkes, CEO of Insurgent Publishing

You know what life hacking is, now it's time to hack your mind, get out of your own way and be the writer you know you can be.

DOWNLOAD 47 Mind Hacks for Writers, today, and get back in control of your writing life!" (Amazon)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Author Interview with Richard Paolinelli

(C) Richard Paolinelli
I have found a new favorite author for sure. I hope you enjoy getting to know Mr. Paolinelli as much as I have. He is an accomplished writer, and has written books in several genres. I was excited to see that he's also written two Sherlock Holmes stories. I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. I spent much of my youth reading Sherlock Holmes, and I have passed that love on to my children. I hope you find a book or two that you just have to read written by Richard Paolinelli!

-Arwen




If you could, would you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I started out as a freelance writer and photographer in West Texas in the mid-1980s, was the lead writer for the first two issues of the Elite Comics series, Seadragon, and then went to work as a sportswriter in 1991. Two decades later I retired from newspapers and decided to restart my fiction writing and I’ve been pretty busy since then.


How long have you been writing? 

Since 1984.


So, what have you written? 

Two novelettes (The Invited and Legacy of Death), two historical sports non-fiction books (From The Fields and Perfection’s Arbiter), a science fiction novel (Maelstrom), two Sherlock Holmes pastiches (Beyond Watson and Holmes Away From Home) and the first two books of the four-book Jack Del Rio series (Reservations and Betrayals).


Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book(s)?

There is a trailer for Maelstrom that can be viewed here:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyQVLGaa7_Q








Where can we find your books?

Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.


What genre are your books?

Science fiction, mystery-thriller and sports non-fiction.


Is there something about this genre that draws you to it?

I grew up reading a lot of sci-fi and mysteries and I really enjoy creating them myself. With my background in sports I also enjoy researching stories related to sports from the past.


Do you have a favorite book that you've written?

From The Fields. It deals with the history of high school football played in my hometown of Turlock, California. It also touches on some of the city’s history. I learned a lot about my hometown while researching the book and I really enjoyed relating what I had learned to others through the book.


If you could cast anyone to play the characters in your most recent book, who would they be?

I would cast Luke Evans in the role of Jack Del Rio in both Reservations and Betrayals. I think Luke matches the Del Rio I see in my head when I write the character and I think he could pull it off.


Why do you write?

I love creating new characters and new worlds for them to interact with. Hearing from readers how they were touched by the character or the story is the best payoff for all of the hard work.


Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?

I’m really not sure to be honest. Two years ago if you asked me if I’d ever be writing original Sherlock Holmes stories I would have laughed at you. But now I have stories in two different Holmes Anthologies that were released this year.

I’m trying not to spend too much time worrying about where I’ll be that I fail to enjoy the journey getting there.


Where do your ideas come from?

A lot of different places. I just finished a book that got its start while listening to a song on the radio. Most start with me asking a basic question: What if? Then it goes from there.

Maelstrom started that way. I was thinking what if a man created a way to prevent an asteroid from striking the planet but when it turns on the device everything goes south?


Some authors use outlines, some just fly by the seat of their pants. How do you write?

Outlines. Some are more detailed than others. From The Fields was very detailed because I was writing about 95 years of history and wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything. My fiction stories have a basic outline and I kind of wing it from there.


How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I don’t really keep track but I know it varies a lot. I know that From The Fields took two years from start (research) to finish (published). Both Reservations and Betrayals took about two months to write.


Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

Not really. I have so many other things going on that I am flexible on when I write. The only rule I have is that I make sure I devote at least 2-3 hours a day to either writing or promoting.


Do you design your own book covers?

So far, yes, I have done all of my covers. But I am hoping to have the covers done by someone else from now on.


Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?


Yes. An interesting cover will draw the interest of the reader enough to get them to pick up the book and check it out.


How do you market your books?

Social media, book reviewers, radio appearances and sites like this one.


Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

No matter what marketing plan you decide on, you have to do some kind of marketing every day. You cannot just write it, publish it and sit back and wait for the first royalty check. A successful author is the one who puts in more work on the book AFTER it is released than he/she did while writing it.


Do you have any advice on how to get book reviews?

There are plenty of book bloggers and review sites – many that will review your book for nothing more than a free e-book copy – that are easy to find online. If you go to my reviews page on my website you can find several book reviewers that you can reach out to.


What are your thoughts on good vs. bad reviews?

Both are useful to you if you have an open mind. Everyone loves the 5-star and 4-star reviews. But the lowly 1 & 2 stars can provide you with some useful information that you can apply to your next book.

Not everyone is going to like or love your book, even the big-name authors get negative reviews. The thing is to not dwell overmuch on the bad reviews and never – ever – respond to one. You only come out looking bad when you try it.

The thing I try to keep in mind is this: You are never as great as your best review and never as bad as your worst review.


Who are your favorite authors?

Jack McDevitt, David McCullough, Edgar Allan Poe & H.G. Wells


If you could have been an author for any book, who would it be and what book?

The Mummy by Anne Rice.


What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

If this is what you want to do, if you cannot envision any other path for yourself, then never stop writing. No matter what happens.


Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

I think the only thing we haven’t touched on is my favorite pizza – peperoni & black olive by the way – but I do want to thank you for interviewing me.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: www.richardpaolinelli.com

Blog: www.goodreads.com/author/show/8096549.Richard_Paolinelli/blog

Facebook: www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013966861775

Twitter (and Gab): @ScribesShade

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/Richard-Paolinelli/e/B00759HSD6

Smashwords: www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TuscanyBay

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/8096549.Richard_Paolinelli

RESERVATIONS by Richard Paolinelli

It's not science fiction or fantasy, but if you like thrillers, you are going to love RESERVATIONS. I really enjoyed it. There was a lot of depth to the characters, and an underlying story that makes you want to read the next adventure of Jack Del Rio.

To me, Jack Del Rio is a Bond type, or a character you might see as an investigator on Criminal Minds. While I am not as well versed as an officer in the ins and outs of detective work, I am an alumni of the Citizens Police Academy and have had some training in police and detective work. I thought his characters were believable, and I enjoyed seeing them in action.

I am definitely giving this book five stars!

-Arwen

About RESERVATIONS by Richard Paolinelli


Who – or what – is killing members of the Navajo tribe?

RESERVATIONS, a mystery/thriller, is set near Gallup, New Mexico, where the Navajo, Hopi and Zuni reservations lie adjacent. Three tribal leaders have been murdered - murdered in a fashion that suggests the deeds were carried out by COYOTE, a legendary supernatural evil trickster feared by many Native Americans. 

The tribal president contacts an old friend in the FBI for assistance in solving the crimes and preventing more murders. Star agent, Jack Del Rio, is dispatched to New Mexico where he finds a situation tangled in political intrigue. Jack must work his way through those issues on his way to solving the mystery. Sparks fly as Navajo police officer Lucy Chee is assigned to assist him in his quest. 

Question is can Del Rio and Chee solve the mystery and find the killer before he strikes again? If not, who is next? (Amazon)



Friday, December 16, 2016

Anatomy of A Premise Line by Jeff Lyons

Can I just say WOW! This is an awesome book. It doesn't matter if you've been writing for years, or are a newbie. It is a definite must read. It isn't currently available on Kindle Unlimited, but if you go by Jeff's website, Jeff Lyons Books, you can get a sneak peek at his work. I look forward to reading more from  Mr. Lyons.

--Arwen

Book Blurb Anatomy of A Premise Line:

"If a story is going to fail, it will do so first at the premise level. Anatomy of a Premise Line: How to Master Premise and Story Development for Writing Success is the only book of its kind to identify a seven-step development process that can be repeated and applied to any story idea. This process will save you time, money, and potentially months of wasted writing. So whether you are trying to write a feature screenplay, develop a television pilot, or just trying to figure out your next story move as a writer, this book gives you the tools you need to know which ideas are worth pursuing. In addition to the 7-step premise development tool, Anatomy of a Premise Line also presents a premise and idea testing methodology that can be used to test any developed premise line. Customized exercises and worksheets are included to facilitate knowledge transfer, so that by the end of the book, you will have a fully developed premise line, log line, tagline, and a completed premise-testing checklist.


Here is some of what you will learn inside:



  • Ways to determine whether or not your story is a good fit for print or screen
  • Case studies and hands-on worksheets to help you learn by participating in the process
  • Tips on how to effectively work through writer’s block
  • A companion website (www.focalpress.com/cw/lyons) with additional worksheets, videos, and interactive tools to help you learn the basics of perfecting a killer premise line"

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Protocols of Uma (The Journeyers' Tale Book 1) by John Brage


I just finished The Protocols of Uma. It was an interesting book, and in some ways reminded me of Stargate. It was a well-thought out book, and had good characters. The book is sitting on Amazon with a rating of 4.5. I only gave it a three, but if I could break it down further, it would be a high three. I see a three as about an average rating. There were a few things that threw me out of the story, but they are easily fixed, and not necessarily something that would bother anyone else.

For Example: 

I've been trained to use active verbs, and this may be the issue I had. I would much rather read something like, "Miranda saw," or maybe more detail, like, "The light from the train temporarily impaired Miranda's vision," than "Miranda could see." Could is not necessary. But, that is just my training. Like I said, it might not bother anyone else.

Still, over-all I would say if you are a hard-core science fiction fan, or enjoy science fiction mingled with a historical feel, you would like this book. If so, pick up a copy for sure!

-Arwen Chandler

About The Protocols of Uma 

The Umae teeter on the brink of extinction. Their blood rivals, the Hek, have mysteriously made huge leaps forward in technology and are now poised to exterminate them. Their godlike protectors, the Journeyers, have not been heard from for centuries.
Just as their society is poised to collapse, the Journeycraft Starshine returns to them from deep space. Prohibited from using advanced technology by an ancient set of laws known as The Protocols, the Starshine’s terminally ill Command Agent must lead a ragtag group of exiles on an overwater quest to investigate a clue to the Umaes’ ultimate salvation. But the Hek stalk them at every turn, and a would be dictator plots his own ascension to power.
Can the Journeyers restore the faith the Umae once had in them? Can the key to the Umaes’ survival be found in time? And what is the Starshine’s Command Agent willing to sacrifice in order to have the only thing he ever truly wanted?

13 Best Places to Find Public Domain Stock Footage for Book Trailers

I love using Videezy for stock footage, but I've found a few other sites that also offer public domain footage. Remember to always double check to make sure the footage is really in the public domain before you use it. I've made several book ads and trailers in the last month, and I love to make them. Make sure to check out the ones I've made below.



Public Domain Footage:


Videezy: https://www.videezy.com
Pond5: https://www.pond5.com
American Memory: https://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html
NASA: https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html
Hubble Telescope: http://www.spacetelescope.org/videos/
National Park Service: https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/news/index.htm
The Public Domain Review:
http://publicdomainreview.org/collections/prelinger-archive-35mm-stock-footage/






More Public Domain Footage


Archive.Org: https://archive.org/details/opensource_movies
Prelinger Archive: https://archive.org/details/prelinger
Uncensored Interview: http://www.uncensoredinterview.com/
Flicker: https://www.flickr.com/search/?q=&l=commderiv&ss=0&ct=0&mt=videos&w=all&adv=1
Beachfront BRoll: http://www.beachfrontbroll.com/
Free Stock Footage Archive: http://freestockfootagearchive.com/



Monday, December 12, 2016

Author Interview with Jeff Lyons


I am so excited to present an interview with the author and screenwriter Jeff Lyons. He has been gracious enough to allow an interview, and I hope you enjoy it. I really enjoyed gettting to read about him, and I look forward to reading his books! I hope you do, too. So, spend a few minutes today and get to know Mr. Jeff Lyons!

--Arwen



Q: If you could, would you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

A: I am a traditionally published and a self-published author.  I have more than 25 years of experience working in the film/TV and publishing industries as a screenwriter, story consultant, and developmental editor. I work in nonfiction and scifi/fantasy, but also cross other genres. Unlike a lot of so-called writing gurus, I actually write fiction and work as a working screenwriter. I’ve worked with literally thousands of novelists and screenwriters over the years helping them learn effective and solid story development techniques. I don’t want this to sound like a resume or job interview, so let me also share that I’m a dog freak (but I own a cat—go figure), and have a bizarre sense of humor that tends to offend most people. But, I have good personal hygiene, no outstanding parking tickets (that’s more of an issue than you might imagine), and drink way too much coffee.

Q:  How long have you been writing?

A:  Since I was a teenager, but I didn’t get serious until I was in my thirties, that’s when I started working in the movie business. The entertainment industry was where I really cut my teeth as a writer, but I grew up in the 1960s and like G.R.R. Martin grew up with the comic book, monster magazine, and scifi magazines. It wasn’t until the late 1980s that I realized writing and storytelling were not the same thing, and then had to learn the craft of story structure structure and story development. I’ve been a story development addict ever since. Most people are good writers, but most writers are very weak when it comes to story.  (hint: that’s why I wrote my first book—Anatomy of a Premise Line).

Q:  So, what have you written?

A: A lot.  Publishing-wise I’ve published one book with Focal Press (Anatomy of a Premise Line) and have a second book coming out with them in late 2017 (Rapid Story Development: How to Use the Enneagram-Story Connection to Become a Master Storyteller). I am also now pursuing my own self-publishing career and have two novellas out (13 Minutes and Jack Be Dead:Revelation).  I’m also writing more short fiction and an historical novel (The Abbess) set in the Middle Ages. Im all over the map with genres, but I think writers have to be these days. The most successful authors (IMO) cross genres and mix it up. I’ve also written a bunch of screenplays for film and TV and still have movie project making the rounds “around town.” I’m still an active screenwriter and work in the entertainment industry.


Q: Where can we find your books?

A: The usual suspects: Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Nobel… all the major e-book retailers.  Some Barnes & Nobel stores have my Anatomy of a Premise Line in stock.

Q:What genre are your books?

A:  Nonfiction, but all my fiction is scifi/horror right now.

Q: Is there something about this genre that draws you to it?

A: I’m sure I love scifi and horror because of my childhood. I grew up reading Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clark, etc. Reading was my escape from a pretty horrific family life and I lived in my head most of my childhood and adolescence. If it wasn’t for these writers and all the monster magazines I don’t know that I’d still be on the planet.  Not to be overly dramatic about it.

Q: Do you have a favorite book that you've written?

A:  Lots of writers hate answering this question. They say it’s like asking a parent which kid they like best, and no parent can do that.  I say bunk. Parents have favorites—don’t kid yourself. So do authors. Right now, my favorite is Anatomy of a Premise Line because it is helping so many people learn the basic craft of story development. It really is a good book. My other books know this about me, and I have them in therapy, so it should all work out.

Q: If you could cast anyone to play the characters in your most recent book, who would they be?

A: I leave that to the producers and casting agents.  I’m terrible at casting.

Q: Why do you write?

A:  Because I’m too old to be short stop for the Yankees.

Q:  Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?

A:  I see it taking me to a self-sustained career as a fiction writer.  Screenwriting is great, but there is no real future in it—for anyone. I know that sounds like Debbie-Downer, but it’s the truth.  Screenwriting is a dead end for 99.9% of writers. The action is in  self-publishing. I tell all my screenwriter friends they need to be writing novels and turning the scripts into books. The world has changed and you can make a living as a writer for the first time in the history of publishing. The tools are there, the technology is there, the platforms are there, the third-party business services are there… it’s all there for any author who wants to build a life as a working writer. It’s hard, and it’s now a very crowded environment, but so what. Slow and steady is what will win this race. That’s what I’m trying to build now, my own platform, presence, and readership with e-books, novels, and short stories. There are no more gatekeepers and you don’t have to ask anyone for permission anymore. “All” you have to do is learn how it all works and build your platform. You have to do both, though, traditional and self-publishing. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. But, the self-publishing can sustain you and maybe even make you rich.  It really all depends on you.

Q: Where do the your ideas come from?

A:  The same place the great director Billy Wilder got his ideas:  I put an empty milk bottle out on the stoop at night and in the morning there is a story idea sticking out of it.

Q: Some authors use outlines, some just fly by the seat of their pants. How do you write?

A:  This is a very complex question, because it pushes a lot of my buttons. Bottom line is I do what I teach:  develop a premise line,  develop a log line, develop a short synopsis, develop a long synopsis and then NEVER start actual pages until I have these things well developed and feel the story has legs. This is what I teach in my book and it works.  Period.  For those who fly by the seat of their pants… good luck with that. For 99.9% of writers this is the worst thing they can do because they don’t know how to fly by the seat of their pants.  Some can, but that’s because they have a natural talent for story, so they have a safety net to keep them from breaking their necks. Most people buy into the biggest myth of writing, which is “the story will write itself.” This is a lie. Stories don’t write themselves—NEVER. Writers write stories, not the other way around. It feels like they write themselves, but it only feels that way, that’s not what’s happening. I told you this pushes my buttons. I could go on for pages—indeed, chapters—but I’ll shut up. I practice what I preach, and it works well for me.

Q:  How long on average does it take you to write a book?

A:  Short fiction takes around a month or so.  Jack Be Dead took about three months.  13 Minutes took about a month.  Anatomy of a Premise Line took me about eight months and then two months for rewrites. I don’t think novel should take someone years and years (though  it’s not bad or wrong if it does). I think if you write on a regular basis and have your story figured out BEFORE you start writing then you can do a novel a year on average, no problem. But, that’s me and that and fifty cents will get me a dial tone.

Q: Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

A:  HA!  Well, no.  I write all the time, everywhere I go. I don’t always write stuff down, but I’m always writing in my head. My day is totally unstructured. I tell people all the time “Don’t do what I do.” I’m distracted all day lone: Facebook, Twitter, Stage32.com, blog sites, etc. I’m online all day and all night and I have to work that way.  I can’t just focus a time-of-day for writing.  I have to be distracted with noise (music) and technology.  Believe it or not, I’m productive.  So, don’t do what I do.  Be warned.

Q: Do you design your own book covers?

A:  No.  My publisher does my traditional books and a woman I use in Canada (www.virtuallypossibledesigns.com) does my self-published covers.  She’s amazing and affordable.

Q:  Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

A:  CRITICAL.  My covers sell my books. You must have a professional cover, front and back. This separates the professionals from the amateurs.

Q: How do you market your books?

A:  Ugh.  Badly. I’m doing what everyone does: Facebook, Twitter, all the social media, email auto-responder campaigns, local bookstores, signings, conferences, yada yada.  It’s impossible to get noticed these days because everyone is publishing books. Five years ago, not so much, but now it’s overwhelming. What I’ve discovered is that social media (for me anyway) is pretty useless attracting new readers. It’s main use is for holding on to existing readers and interacting with them.

Q: Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

A:  Hire a third-party service company to do it. It will cost you money, but you can’t do everything. We need to be writing, not marketing our books.  We have to get product out there. Let marketing people do the selling.  But…you have to be able to afford that and you have to know enough about marketing online to manage them.  So, you have to learn the basics, but let others do the work.  My 2 cents.

Q: Do you have any advice on how to get book reviews?

A:  That’s part of the marketing effort now. Reviews help you find readers.  Hire someone to find book bloggers and review sites.  It really is just part of marketing now.

Q: What are your thoughts on good vs. bad reviews?

A:  You want good ones and you don’t want bad ones.  What else is there to say?  I don’t give a rat’s you-no-what about reviews.  Never read them.  Most people don’t really say anything of substance, all you’re going for are the stars. That’s all anyone ever really looks for anyway.  Good books get lots of stars, so don’t write sucky books.

Q: If you could have been an author for any book, who would it be and what book?

A: George R.R. Martin. Song of Fire and Ice series.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: Learn story structure and story development. Writing and storytelling are two different things and have nothing to do with one another. You don’t need to be anywhere near a word processor or pen and paper to tell a story. Stories can be danced, mimed, spoken, painted, etc. Stories need storytellers, not writers. So learn how to tell a story. That means story structure and story development. This is all craft driven by talent, not the other way around.  Development is the craft piece. Writing has its own craft, but that’s not the same craft as storytelling. The next piece of advice is self-publish. Learn the ropes, learn the business of publishing, become an authorprenure. You can make a living writing, and you don’t have to ask anyone’s permission anymore. Just be sure you write good books. That means good stories, but also professional presentations: clean editing, great covers, professional interior design—your books need to be as good as anything put out by traditional publishers—and they can be now.  It’s doable.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

A:  Chocolate or vanilla?  I still don’t know the answer to that one.



How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website:  www.jefflyonsbooks.com
Blog:  www.jefflyonsbooks.com/blog
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jlyons12
Twitter: @storygeeks
Lnkedin:
Pinterest:
Amazon Author Page: Jeff Lyons
Goodreads: Jeff Lyons
Stage32.com:  https://www.stage32.com/profile/132255

Jeff Lyons
email: jeff@storygeeks.com
web: www.jefflyonsbooks.com
web: www.jackbedead.com

Author:  Anatomy of a Premise Line  (Available Now)
Media Inquiries:   Contact

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Author Interview with Science Fiction Author Mike Miracle

I want to thank Mike Miracle for consenting to an author interview. I really enjoyed reading through this, and getting to know more about him. If his personality is any indication to how his upcoming book is going to be, it's going to be stellar!

--Arwen


If you could, would you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Originally from the east coast, Mike and his family now reside on a farm in the Midwest. Mike was able to use his programming skills to start his own small business from home, where every day is casual Friday. Mike has always searched for ways to express creativity and imagination. Through music, art and now the printed word. Mike’s childhood love of science fiction has never been stronger. There are plenty of crime dramas in the office library, but science fiction still dominates.

How long have you been writing?
I have been writing for a long time. This will be the first time I’ve written a book to publish.

So, what have you written?
The exact category is yet to be determined. It’s Sci Fi, with maybe action/drama/thriller in the blender too.

One character lies in wait to seek revenge for his wife’s accidental death. The Sci Fi part is an alternate version of the afterlife called The Next. Where the newly arrived clients find out that they have a choice of what happens to them. They can move on, go back to their previous life or let chance decide.

Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?




Where can we find your books?
When this group of random hobos I’ve contracted to edit/distribute the book have completed their work, I’m told that it will be available at all usual places. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes.

What genre are your books?
Sci Fi. The book’s central theme is an alternate version of the afterlife. There is also drama, action. Some of it may be up to the interpretation of the reader. But I know it’s important to narrow down your genre.

Is there something about this genre that draws you to it?
As a writer, you can create your own world. You aren’t limited to the things in this world.

Do you have a favorite book that you've written?
Well I’ve only written 1, it’s the winner so far. After I put the finishing touches on book 2??? It’s like asking a parent which child is their favorite.

Why do you write?
It satisfies two things. It’s an outlet for creativity and storytelling. I’m writing for the joy of doing it right now. Being able to self-publish has opened that world to everyone willing to put in the work. No longer do you have to beg publishing houses to look at your work.

Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
Maybe a regional book fair? Selling stuff out of the back of a van? That van of course will be down by the river.

Where do the your ideas come from?
Would it be wrong to say the voices inside my head? That’s probably a common answer. I think it’s usually a memory of something that triggers a future story.

Some authors use outlines, some just fly by the seat of their pants. How do you write?
A combination of the two. You must have an idea of the beginning and the middle. The ending can be fluid. I’ve found it better to not set a word or page count. Just see where the story goes. Don’t stretch it out just for the sake of making the book longer. Stories often go off in the weeds that way and the reader loses interest or it’s too difficult to follow.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Around a year. It was longer with the first book. I was working two jobs and going to grad school.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
Like most wannabe authors I have a full-time job and a family to spend time with. So my writing time is limited to the evenings or weekends mostly…

Do you design your own book covers?
No. The publisher that I contracted to do the editing/distribution will also design a few covers for me to choose from. Judging by the editing, I’m expecting to see lots of crayon and yarn used. Maybe some popsicle sticks? I’ve gotten recommendations from other authors and offers from artist that I’ll explore for book number 2.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
That’s what I’ve been told. Lots of competition to catch the reader’s eye. Every book has magnificent artwork to catch the eye. Makes me wonder if a simple black and white cover would stand out?

How do you market your books?
I’ve read many times that the best way to sell your first book is to write book 2. I’ll be trying that plus all the other exposure I can get. Author interviews (thank you).

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
No, but if anyone has any advice for me, please share it.

Do you have any advice on how to get book reviews?
Keep asking. It’s probably like selling door to door vacuum cleaners. Lots of rejection, but you will still find plenty of people to buy a vacuum. Don’t get discouraged, keep asking.

What are your thoughts on good vs. bad reviews?
I haven’t gotten any reviews just yet. The advice I’ve seen is don’t get too emotionally invested either way.

Who are your favorite authors?
Jim Butcher, Michael Connelly, John Sandford, Lisa Gardner, Dean Koontz, Joe Nesbo, Lee Child. I could probably keep going, but I’ll stop at Stephen King.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Keep writing. Don’t get suckered into one of those self-publishing packages. Ask other authors who they used for editing, cover design…

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website:  https://mikemiraclebooks.com/
Blog: https://mikemiraclebooks.com/blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mikemiracleauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/_mikemiracle
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/58117512-mike-miracle
Amazon Author Page:  Won’t let me create it until the book is finished.
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mikemiracleauthor/

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Quickest and Easiest Way to Improve Your Writing: Tip One

How many times have you heard don't tell, show.  I've been reading a book that's pretty good. The story is great, the characters are likable, but it has one major flaw. The characters are never doing anything or feeling anything.

What? You say. How can a character not do anything or feel anything?  Well, the character is always almost doing something or seeing something but they are never quite putting it into action. So, I thought maybe it'd be a good idea to help those of us who are struggling with this. (And, we all do from time to time.)

Just Do It!

Just like every rule in English that you've ever learned, there are times these rules don't apply. But, in general always put them into practice.

There is a line from Star Wars that I like to apply to my life and my writing. This simple rule strengthens any piece of literature.

Do. Or do not. There is no try.


From Star Wars.com, "Yoda’s most memorable quote, bar none, and one of the greatest in all of Star Wars. This is another line from the X-wing sequence on Dagobah, and are the last instructions the Jedi Master gives Luke before he attempts to raise his fighter from the swamp. Within the scene, it was a lightning bolt of dialogue, another great nugget of undeniable wisdom that teaches Luke to have a more serious mind. Yoda had consistently tried to teach Luke to focus on the present, and essentially, to grow up. In this moment, with these words, he makes it clear. Outside of the film, the line has become a modern slogan — a reminder to commit oneself to something completely, win or lose."

You may be wondering why I went off into a quote from Star Wars, but believe me it is crucial to writing. 

For Example:

You might write:

Lucy could feel the sun on her shoulders. 

(It's okay. But, there is that awful word could in there, and really this is telling not showing. Let's make it stronger, and more exciting.)

Simple Fix: The mid-day sun beat across Lucy's shoulders.


or

Better Fix: Lucy wiped the sweat from her brow and pulled up her shawl, covering her exposed skin from the scorching sun.  

Which do you prefer? If you chose the last one, notice how many more words it took to write. The original sentence was eight words. The last, 20 words. Just think what showing does to your word count! 

Another quick example of showing not telling: 


You might write:

Figaro could see the flea on his back. (It's an okay sentence, but again that awful word could. It's rather telling, isn't it? )

Now, let's fix it.

Simple fix: Figaro saw the flea on his back. (Still telling not showing.)

Better fix: Figaro nipped and pulled at the fur on his back as he attacked the flea he'd been chasing. (Better -- and again, look what it's done for your word count! It also puts us in the scene. Frankly, the first sentence is BORING.)

So, I hope this quick and easy tip helps you, as much as it helped me to learn. I wish you success in all your writing endeavors! For more writing tips, check out Remove Your Shackles & Write

Write on!
--Arwen

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Book Review Eomix Galaxy Books: Illusion by Christa Yelich-Koth

About Illusion:

"One strength is the depth of the abilities you’ve created for Daith. Everything in your book is SO well thought out … I can just feel the anticipation!” —From Jessica Therrien, Barnes & Noble best-selling author of the Children of the Gods series.


Daith's father is dead. His death caused a rip in the galaxy's peace. The remains of his army are fighting to restore it.

But Daith knows nothing of this. Her memories have been stolen. She has been kidnapped. All she knows is she has unparalleled abilities that could help end the devastation. Except without her past, how can she know if she's on the right side?

Time is running out and Daith must choose: to search for who she was or use her gifts to restore order. (Amazon)



I really enjoyed Illusion. The story was compelling, and it kept drawing me back for more. I felt like the beginning was a little slow, but not so slow that it was off putting. In fact, it was probably necessary to build Daith's character.

Christa created compelling characters and I really enjoyed getting to know Daith and Dru. I am hopeful Dru will somehow resurface later. I feel like with Daith all things are possible. :)  I also hope to see more of Dr. Ludd in the future.

One of my favorite parts of the book was when Christa dove into Jacin Jaxx past. I really want to read more of his story. In fact, a prequel about him would be really cool!

If you like hardcore science-fiction, you will love this book. I look forward to reading the sequel as soon as I can get a chance.

Great job, Christa!!!

--Arwen

Monday, December 5, 2016

My Dream Cast of Actors for The Collision of Fire and Ice


Recently, I was asked if I could cast anyone to play the characters in my most recent book, who would they be? Well. I already had an idea about one of my characters, but I really had to think about who would be perfect for the rest.

I must admit, I am very excited about my choices. Now, when I dream about or read my book, I will imagine the characters just as I have cast them.

Enjoy!





My list of actors for The Collision of  Fire and Ice.



Karn Elohite: Chris Pratt
Karn Elohite is the leader of the Brehon war band, and a member of the Elohite clan. Karn is brave, and willing to lead, but would rather lead from the shadows when it comes to his clan. Unfortunately, Karn doesn't always get to choose his destiny. There is much in store for him that he'd never imagined, and it takes great heartache for him to find his true calling. Karn is also a follower of the goddess Lorna. He is destined to be her champion, and a dragon rider. He is tall, sexy and dangerous.

I think Chris Pratt would make an excellent Karn. I love his character in Gaurdians of the Galaxy and in Jurrasic World. He seems to really embrace the characters he plays, and I know he would be a great star on screen for my book. So, in my dream world, Chris Pratt is the wielder of the blue flame.




Iaian Elohite: Chris Hemsworth 

Iaian Elohite is Karn's cousin, and brother-in-arms. They grew up together and are fiercely devoted to each other. They can read each other's thoughts in a glance. 

Iaian has a strong personality. He's a kidder, and the life of the party. He is a fighter and lover. The ladies are always glad to see him. Iaian has never been one to settle down. He enjoys being a bachelor, and he will follow Karn anywhere when adventure calls. Iaian is sexy, blue-eyed with long blond hair.

When I first thought about my book and Chris Hemsworth, I wanted to cast him as Karn. But, the more I wrote the more I realized he would definately be a great Iaian. I love his work as Thor, and really enjoyed him in The Huntsman: Winter's War


Lilia Maekel: Bryce Dallas Howard

Lilia Maekel is the daughter of Anwell Maekel, and princess of the Maekel clan. She is well-educated, but hasn't traveled. All her learning has come from books in the Selindale library. She is trained in sword play and hand to hand combat. Lilia is courageous and willing to take charge, despite what anyone around her thinks. Lilia is passionate and caring. She follows her heart, but doesn't allow it to make her decisions.

I have been a fan of Bryce Dallas Howard ever since I saw her in The Village. She is an amazing actress, and I believe very castable as a beautiful and dangerous princess. She also makes a perfect love interest for Chris Pratt's character, Karn.


Annielie Maekel: Emily Blunt

Annielie Maekel is Lilia's best friend and lady-in-waiting. She understands Lilia, and many times acts as Lilia's conscience. Annilie is devoted to Tiernan Maekel, her cousin and fiance. She has been brought up to believe that following duty is paramount. Annielie often puts her desires behind everyone elses. She is also trained in combat.

Emily Blunt would make a fantastic Annielie. I first got to know her work through The Devil Wears Prada. I have since seen her in several films, and love how she makes each character she plays so real. I can see her as Annielie, a stong and beautiful woman.




Tiernan Maekel: Eddie Redmayne

Tiernan Maekel is the rightful heir to Anwell Maekel. He is the brother to Lilia, and a commander in the Maekel army. He is honest, kind and wants what's best for his clan. He is also Annielie's fiance. He is a strong character, and Lilia has always relied on him for protection and knowledge.

I chose Eddie Redmayne as Tiernan, because I am such a huge fan. I've seen him perform as a monk in The Black Death. I've seen him as an artistocrat in Les Miserables, and most recently as Newt in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. He is just amazing, and I would love for him to be Tiernan.





Fridtjof Maekel: Tom Hiddleston

Fridtjof Maekel is one of the major antogonists in The Collision of Fire and Ice. He is a plague on the land of Arcadia. He is blood thirsty and dreams of ruling the entire world. Fridtjof is the cousin of Anwel Maekel, and Tiernan's uncle. He has claimed the Maekel throne as his own, and plans to eliminate anyone who stands in his way.

Tom Hiddleston is just amazing. I love everything I've seen him in -- Thor, Crimson Peak. He makes bad look good, and I really want Fridtjof to be someone you love to hate. (Kind of like Neegan on The Walking Dead.) I think he could portray Fridtjof in a way that would do him justice and even add greater dimension to his character. 




Magnus Maekel: Benedict Cumberbatch

Magnus Maekel is the Maekel mage. He is Fridtjof Maekel's right-hand man, and a powerful magician. He is arguably the most powerful wielder of the flame in all of Arcadia. He is a devoted servant to Elanvanin, and he is merciless. He has a large pet wolf, named Sconwin. He is an important character, and I think even more so than Fridtjof. 

I can see Benedict Cumberbatch as Magnus. Benedict is great as Sherlock, and even better as Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness. He is an imposing figure and I think he would add an important element to Magnus' character. Benedict is also able to portray a character that you love to hate. He would just be perfect!

Well, I hope you enjoy the people I've chosen to play some of my favorite characters in my book, The Collision of Fire and Ice. If you haven't read it, make sure to download your copy from Amazon.

--Arwen   

Author Interview with Christa Yelich-Koth Science Fiction Author


Today Christa Yelich-Koth author of Eomix Galaxy Books and Hollow has been gracious enough to do an author interview.

Hi Christa, first of all, thank you.

Thank you for having me here!

If you could, would you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I grew up in the Midwest of the U.S. where I attended a Spanish Immersion school until high school. In high school I majored in vocal music (classical and opera) and continue on to college, where I earned my B.S. in Biology.

I started writing in high school, but didn’t think of it as a possible career until 2001. From there, I attended workshops, conferences, and writing groups to hone my skills. I co-founded Green Eyed-Unicorn Comics in 2012, but left because I wanted to help publish novels as well as comics.

In 2015 I co-founded Buzz & Roar Publishing where I am head of submissions and a free-lance editor. We focus on science fiction, fantasy, and mystery.

So, what have you written?
My published works include graphic novel, HOLLOW (2012), comic book series HOLLOW’S PRISM (2013-2016), and Amazon bestselling novels ILLUSION and IDENTITY, part of the Eomix Galaxy Books collection. (2015-2016). My next novel, COILED VENGEANCE, will be released in 2017. I am currently finishing up a YA fantasy novel, THE JADE CASTLE, the first in the Land of Iyah series.

Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s?
I have trailers for HOLLOW, HOLLOW’S PRISM issue #1, and ILLUSION/IDENTITY (since they are a complete 2-book set.)

Hollow


HOLLOW’S PRISM #1 Aftermath:


ILLUSION/IDENTITY:


Where can we find your books?
All book links can be found through my website: www.ChristaYelichKoth.com

My novels are available worldwide on Amazon (keyword EOMIX) or from Buzz & Roar Publishing. Click:here.

My comics are available through Green Eyed-Unicorn comics. Click:here.

What genre are your books?
My novels/comics are science fantasy, which means they take place in a non-Earth galaxy, but are centered more on plot and characters instead of focused on technology.

Is there something about this genre that draws you to it?
I love that there are no limits, no boundaries. Anything can be created as long as it’s established in the story’s universe.

Do you have a favorite book that you've written?
Oooh, that’s a tough one. I absolutely love the ILLUSION/IDENTITY story for its depth and psychological complexity. Weaving the story lines together was really fun. So to read, that would be my favorite. But for my favorite book to write? I’d choose my Detective novel, SPIDER’S TRUTH (not yet slated for release). That book, though intricate as well, flowed very quickly and I really enjoyed writing the characters.

If you could cast anyone to play the characters in your most recent book, who would they be?
I’ve actually just started thinking about this lately, after my books became bestsellers. I don’t know who the entire cast would be, but I know I’d love for the main character, Daith Tocc, to be played by Kristen Kreuk. And I’d love for the antagonist, Commander Trey Xiven, to be played by David Tennant.

Why do you write?
I write because I absolutely love telling stories. And I love reading them. So if I can bring as much joy to someone with my words as I get from reading other author’s works, then that’s the best feeling in the world. And I write because I have to know the ending. :)

Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
I plan for it to be my career, split between being an author and running Buzz & Roar Publishing.

Where do your ideas come from?
Usually I get a glimpse of a scene, like a woman who wakes up in a windowless room with no memories (scene that prompted me to write ILLUSION) or a terrified teenager who DOESN’T want to be an assassin (this one prompted me to write my YA scifi novel, title pending.)

Some authors use outlines, some just fly by the seat of their pants. How do you write?
I am DEFINITELY a fly by the seat of my pants writer. When I don’t know what’s going to happen next, it motivates me to write more, so I’m pulled in by the story along the way, just as if I was reading it.

I’ve tried to outline, but for me, it becomes boring because it feels like I’m just filling in the blanks between one moment and another instead of relishing the journey and discovering what that next moment will be.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Depends on the book, but I can safely say the actual writing wouldn’t take me more than 6 months.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I don’t’. Usually I write in the morning, but it’s not a set schedule. And I don’t make myself write every day. If I do, it ends up feeling like a chore instead of something I love.

Do you design your own book covers?
I do have input on the designs, but I have graphic artists do the actual illustration.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Definitely. Cheap, awkward, unreadable, and confusing covers can deter someone. There are SO many books available. The cover is a writer’s first chance to lure in a reader. In a quick flash, the reader has already made a decision.

How do you market your books?
I use several different venues from social media to reviews to word of mouth.
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Connect with other authors, find bloggers who review books, use social media, but mostly if your book is on sale.


What are your thoughts on good vs. bad reviews?
All reviews are worth something. The tough part is separating the personal feelings from the professional ones. When you receive a bad review (and everyone will at some point) look through it and see what the person’s opinion is and what the truth is about your book. Not what you MEANT for your book to be, but how they perceived it as a reader. If the reader isn’t getting it, if there are grammar mistakes, if multiple reviewers are saying the same thing, then fix your mistakes. If someone says “this wasn’t my type of book” and so gave it 2-stars, that has NOTHING to do with you.

Also, never contact a reviewer who gave you a bad review. They are entitled to their opinion. If you think it’s a fake or inappropriate, report it to the site’s admin to see if they will remove it.

Who are your favorite authors?
Stephen King, Orson Scott Card, Edgar Allan Poe, Kat Ross, Anne Rice, Anne McCaffrey, Phillip Pullman. And though he only writes TV/movies, Joss Whedon.

If you could have been an author for any book, who would it be and what book?
I think one of the reasons I like the books I do is because I like the author’s voice in how they wrote the book.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
3 things:
1) Show your unpublished work to others, whether it be other writers or people you know. This is the absolute hardest thing to do, but if you want to be published and have your book be great, you need to get readers to read it first. They will see things you don’t because you are the author and know everything about the story.
2) Attend workshops or writing conferences. This is 2-fold. Not only to polish and hone your work, but to meet other writers! This can be daunting, especially if you aren’t very social, but it can be isolating work to write. Meeting other writers shows you aren’t alone, that you can learn more, and that you can teach some, too.
3) Patience. Writing is a long road. Yes, there are exceptions to every rule, but if you want a quality product that will get you fans, interest, and the ability to write more books, you have to have patience and put in the work. This is a job, not a hobby. And you will have to work a long time without getting paid anything. It can be frustrating, lonely, and tedious at times. But it is an amazing feeling when someone tells you “I loved your book!” If that statement is worth it for you, then everything else is, too.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Just this: Many writers have gone through or are going through what you are. Reach out and ask if you can chat with them about your book or ask them questions. I’m a good example. I love helping other writers when I can. Feel free to email me or tweet with questions about writing, editing, or publishing.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Easiest way is to type in my name, Christa Yelich-Koth, into your search bar. Everything about me and my works will pop up, as I’m the only person in the world with that name. :)

Website/blog: www.christayelichkoth.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christa.yelichkoth
Twitter: @cyelkoth
Lnkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christa-yelich-koth-89768b77
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Christa-Yelich-Koth/e/B01524S2BM
Book Links: http://www.buzzandroarpublishing.com/our-books.html
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6569925.Christa_Yelich_Koth

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Don't Miss Out: Find Out Why the Doctor in the Tardis is Overjoyed

What has the Doctor so excited? 

Is it Rose walking into view?

Is it an amazing adventure in medieval England?

Did he find himself an upgraded sonic screwdriver?


No, it's even better! The Doctor has found the Outer Worlds, and yes, he has gotten to know Gwyndalaria Casteliano. Will she be his next traveling companion?




No, she'd never leave Adrik's side. But, just like the Doctor seems to always find himself an amazing adventure, Gwyn and Adrik are headed out on the adventure of a lifetime.

Now, is your chance to learn first-hand why the doctor is so excited. For a very short time The Louvre Still Stands is available for free download from Amazon.

Don't have a Kindle? No problem! Download the Kindle app for your phone or computer.

The Louvre Still Stands is available for free download December 2 -December 3rd!