Aicha Zoubair

Jessica Bell

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Alinka Rutkowska's Thoughts on Write a Book You Don’t Care About #AmWriting #PubTip #SelfPub

The key to traditional publishing success? Write a book you don’t care about! How? HOW is that possible, you ask? To do that you need to take the pressure off. The best way to do that is to self-publish first. I have my Maya & Filippo children’s books series and these titles are my darlings. I love and cherish them. I organize book tours for them, I get them into libraries, visitors’ centers and cruise ships. I market them daily. Why do I all that? Because I self-published them. I have full control and full responsibility. I believe in them greatly and I know that they deserve the best of treatments. So that’s what I give them.

On a totally different note, I just subscribed to a writers’ group and just started doing something I never have in my writing life - exchanging manuscript critiques. Of course the first manuscript I submitted was another of my Maya & Filippo episodes and the reactions were something like: this looks great BUT a picture book should only be 500 words long and it should be either fiction or non-fiction and not the two blended together and other similar remarks. These were followed by BUT I guess you can throw my comments away, they’re just one woman’s opinion. Obviously your books are successful and you are an accomplished author. Hell yeah!

But I wanted to play. And these writers can’t seem to play with my current beloved work. So I did something fresh. Actually I don’t think I did it, I just seemed to be the outlet of this story wanting to get to the world. One early morning I got up with the need to put on paper this idea I had. It’s a story about tomatoes. This is another thing. Many of the stories people write are about vegetables, animals or the weather. And I’m like “what the ***?” But since this is what’s trending, I can do it too.

So I wrote this story about tomatoes - these vegetables (or are they considered fruits?) have a very rich internal life. The story is solid, the idea is fresh, other writers’ comments are very promising. I am submitting it to an agent who I know likes stories about fruits and vegetables. And I don’t care. I really don’t. I’m doing this just for fun. Like a game. I see these authors on Facebook, crying over their rejections. Oh, come on! Move on and make your dreams come true. If they won’t open the door, knock it down with your foot, or get in through the window.

Self-publish that book you are so in love with. This will so take the pressure off. And in the meantime submit your new manuscripts to agents as a published author. This way you will broaden your horizons, gain self-confidence, grow as a writer and business person and make your dreams come true :)


Alinka Rutkowska has created a tale that will appeal to children, which teaches about choices, and encourages communication and sharing. Rating: 5.0 stars from Readers’ Favorite Reviews.

Embark on a one-of-a-kind, unprecedented, breathtaking adventure with Maya and Filippo as they travel around the globe on board the “Fun Princess” — a cruise ship full of surprises. Discover their fascinating ports of call, find out what the local customs and traditions are, join the kids in activities at sea, and explore the remarkable world they create through the power of their positive outlook.

This time the kids spend a day on board the Fun Princess. They become junior chefs at sea and learn how to bake a cake. Maya and Filippo discover how trying out different recipes gets them closer to creating the perfect dessert. They also discover the power of sharing.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Children's Picture Book
Rating – G
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Lichgates: Book One of the Grimoire Saga by @TheSMBoyce #AmReading #Fantasy #Fiction

The king returned to his throne and bellowed his next words so that they reverberated off the walls of the cavernous hall.
“Stand and accept what you were born to be, my son.”
“Like I said, it’s not a choice.”
Carden reached toward him and clenched his hand into a fist. Braeden’s stomach tightened, as if his father had reached into his gut and squeezed. He curled over himself, stifling the agonizing yell in his throat.
The king twisted his hand and opened his palm, where sparks snapped and fizzled. Braeden’s muscles tore at the movement. Popping noises surged along his biceps and neck. His veins chilled and slowed. He unconsciously stood at a twitch of Carden’s finger. Braeden’s grip on his form was slipping. Smoke escaped his pores. Organs shifted. He screamed in pain until a heavy weight fell on his chest and closed his throat.
“Screams are for the weak,” Carden said.
The weight eased off Braeden’s lungs, letting him sink back to the floor as the internal tearing and popping stopped. The staggering numbness returned. His cuffs twisted as he moved, and searing fire coursed through his veins. Tremors pulsed through him.
Carden scowled from his chair, and the green lizard from earlier peered from the shadows beside the throne. Its outline blurred for a moment, but returned to normal so quickly that Braeden questioned what he’d seen.
It flickered again, more prominently this time.
Dark lines melted around its face. It grew taller, its skin stretching and pouring into the space around it. In a matter of seconds, the lizard filled the massive hall as it transformed into a dragon.
Braeden’s mouth went dry.
The dragon reared its head above the stunned hall and roared. The creature’s tail landed squarely on Carden’s chest, sending him flying into a support column by the main entry. The pillar crumbled on top of the king, burying him, and the dome it supported shattered. The dragon thrashed its wings against the walls by the thrones. Chunks of black marble pummeled downward, cracking the polished floor. Glass rained down on the cloaked subjects. A stampede began for the door.
A new, shriller roar echoed through the great hall, shooting chills through Braeden’s body. A red dragon with a long black stripe down its spine stood over Kara, baring its thick teeth. One dragon was bad enough, but two would be unstoppable. He tried to stand, to run, to possibly escape and at minimum find cover, but one of the spikes shifted and lodged into his bone. The pain buckled his knees.
Another patch in the ceiling crumbled. Pebbles and thick shards of painted glass showered to the floor. What yakona remained fled. Braeden grit his teeth, forced himself to his feet, and staggered to the edge of the hall.
Two thick claws engulfed him, pulling him into the air and pressing the spikes deeper into his hands with a single, deft motion. He cried out as the throbbing agony pulsed through his arms. Shimmering green scales blotted out the sky. The red dragon appeared in the air beside them, Kara tucked away in its claws.
The familiar weight of his father’s control returned on Braeden’s chest. Hatred coursed through his mind like a fever. He turned to the floor. Carden lay trapped beneath the rubble, a shredded look of fury consuming his gray face, and Braeden lost himself to the final ounces of his father’s remaining energy.
Kill the dragon, he was told. Rip it apart. Return.
He writhed, consumed by his father’s commands, but the green dragon clutched him tighter until the pain of the poisoned cuffs outweighed even his father’s will. He dangled in the dragon’s claws and watched the Stele recede from sight.

“The writing is flawless. The kingdoms and surrounding landscapes breathtaking. The Grimoire is a piece of imaginative genius that bedazzles from the moment Kara falls into the land of Ourea. – Nikki Jefford, author of the Spellbound Trilogy
Spring 2013 Rankings
#6 Kindle Store | #1 Science Fiction & Fantasy | #1 Epic Fantasy | #1 Sword & Sorcery | #1 Teens
Now an international Amazon bestseller. Fans of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and Eragon will enjoy this contemporary remix of the classic epic fantasy genre.
Kara Magari is about to discover a beautiful world full of terrifying things: Ourea.
Kara, a college student still reeling from her mother’s recent death, has no idea the hidden world of Ourea even exists until a freak storm traps her in a sunken library. With nothing to do, she opens an ancient book of magic called the Grimoire and unwittingly becomes its master, which means Kara now wields the cursed book’s untamed power. Discovered by Ourea’s royalty, she becomes an unwilling pawn in a generations-old conflict – a war intensified by her arrival. In this world of chilling creatures and betrayal, Kara shouldn’t trust anyone… but she’s being hunted and can’t survive on her own. She drops her guard when Braeden, a native soldier with a dark secret, vows to keep her safe. And though she doesn’t know it, her growing attraction to him may just be her undoing.
For twelve years, Braeden Drakonin has lived a lie. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. Though he begins to care for this human girl, there is something he wants more. He wants the Grimoire.
Welcome to Ourea, where only the cunning survive.
Novels in the Grimoire Saga:
Lichgates (#1)
Treason (#2)
Heritage (#3) – Available Fall 2013
Illusion (#4) – Available Fall 2014
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Fantasy
Rating – PG13
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 Connect with SM Boyce on Facebook & Twitter & Pinterest

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Quick #Author Chat with Diane Mulligan @Mulligan_writes #ChickLit #Women #AmReading

Image of Diane Vanaskie Mulligan

What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out?
I’m a huge fan of Scrivener, which is a word processor just for writers. It has amazing tools for outlining, keeping track of research, keeping track of drafts, note taking. Basically everything a writer could want. I was skeptical when someone recommended it, but I am a complete devotee now. 

What contributes to making a writer successful?
I think that depends on how you define success. A lot of writers define success in terms of sales figures, but for most of us, if that’s the marker, we will be disappointed. I consider myself a successful writer for having completed two novels that readers have reacted to positively, but even that is a limited mark of success because it’s external. Most days, my motivation to write is internal, my motivation to publish is internal, and I don’t think a lot about success. I just think of the work. 

Do you have any advice for writers?
Figure out who your audience is. Good writing is clearly focused, and it’s not plot or character that creates focus, it’s audience. Who is your ideal writer? How will he or she react to your work? 

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
During a free giveaway of my first novel, it appeared next to LITTLE WOMEN on Amazon’s list of top YA novels. That was one of the coolest things ever! Any day I’m on the same shelf as Louisa May Alcott, I’m living the dream. 

When you wish to end your career, stop writing, and look back on your life, what thoughts would you like to have?
I want to look back and say with confidence that I didn’t hold anything back, that I never let fear censor me, that I never let doubt stop me in my tracks. If I can say that, I will have succeeded as a writer. 

The Latecomers Fan Club

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Genre – Women’s Literature
Rating – PG-13
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Connect with Diane V. Mulligan on Facebook & Twitter

Friday, April 25, 2014

Meet & Greet #YA #Mystery Author Ben Woodard @benswoodard

Image of Ben Woodard

Have you always enjoyed writing?
No. I spent much of my career in engineering and marketing where I was writing manuals and ad copy. No fun at all, but necessary. I never thought I would write willingly, but fiction is different—it’s fun.

What writing are you most proud of? 
My first book, The Boy Who Flew With Eagles. Even though it is a novelette, it was my first real book. I had written and published short stories, but this was the first story that I used an editor and an illustrator. And it has chapters! I was stunned and amazed that I could write and publish a book. It hasn’t sold many copies, but it’s my favorite.

What are you most proud of in your personal life?
I’m proud that I have been able to try so many different endeavors in my lifetime and halfway succeed at them. Writing is my latest and I started it when I was sixty-five. Now five years later, I’m beginning to see a bit of success in book sales. If selling a large number of books is considered being successful as an author, I have a long way to go, but I’m proud of the fact that I’m able to write, edit, design, and publish books. Sometimes, I hold up a book and I’m stunned to see that the author is me.

What books did you love growing up?
The Count Of Monte Cristo  What boy wouldn’t love the adventure and revenge of the Count.
Sea Gold by John Blaine. My favorite of the Rick Brant Science Adventure Series. I loved the interaction between the two boys—one a budding scientist and the other an ex-marine tough guy. These books have greatly influenced my writing.
And all the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift books.

Who is your favorite author?
Since I’m a children’s book writer, I’ll choose fellow kid’s authors and it’s tough choice. For picture books, it’s Nancy Kelly Allen, author of Barreling Over Niagara. Middle Grade is Marcia Thornton Jones, author of Rat Fink. And YA is Melina Marchetta, author of Jellicoe Road.

Explosions, sabotage, caves, deadly warnings and a dangerous red-haired man.
Imagine The Hardy Boys meet Tom Sawyer. Add a layer of teen angst and excitement plus a mysterious group trying to stop a new dam while stirring up racial tensions.
That’s STEPS INTO DARKNESS, the next book in the Shakertown Adventure Series by Ben Woodard.
Fourteen-year-old Tom Wallace again makes plans to escape the small town in the 1923 Kentucky countryside. The town that won’t let him forget his past, when a horrific event changes his mind. He teams with his cousin Will and young FBI agent Rick Sweeney to try to solve a perplexing mystery. Attempts on the boys’ lives and a bewildering list of suspects keep them on edge and confused. An old man gives them a clue that leads to a false accusation and embarrassment until they discover the real villain, and then wish they hadn’t.
STEPS INTO DARKNESS is a fun, page-turning thriller with a hint of romance that delivers adventure and mystery while exploring the fears of a teen living with a frightful memory.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - YA/Mystery
Rating – PG - 13
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Quick #Author Chat with Yves Fey @YvesFey #AmReading #HistFic #Mystery

Image of Yves Fey

What do you do for marketing?
I have a trailer I did myself and am very proud of I designed a beautiful website, and try to blog fairly regularly.  I do Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads—most of the things you’re supposed to do.  And BearCat did some traditional publisher’s promo.  I’ve done guest blog giveaways of my book, and am just finishing one on Goodreads.  I do think that the promotion market, like the book market itself, is overwhelmed.  It’s very difficult to become visible.  But you still have to make an effort or you really look unprofessional.  But how much of an effort is up to the individual author. 

For somewhat more unique ideas, I’ve got several perfumes finished and will be do ongoing giveaway from my website during this blog tour.  And in addition to the trailer, I did lovely poem videos with my main French translator, Jon McKenney.  They’re in French and English with wonderful art of the period, and I did some with other public domain translations of the French, with music instead of Jon’s voice. 

Have you always enjoyed writing?
Writing can be very painful.  I’ve had lucky times when it flowed, when I was lost in the world and that was joyous.  I enjoy plotting and thinking about my books.  The first draft is usually agony.  I love rewriting, just making it better and better. 

Do you have any upcoming appearances that you would like to share with us?
Nothing upcoming, but this last summer I did several appearances on a panel called From Brush Strokes to Key Strokes: Novels about Art and Artists. There were four of us, all writing about artists and architects.  Mary Burns, who wrote about Sargent in Portraits of an Artist, queried the local chapter of the Historical Novel Society, if any one else was writing about artists.  It was pure chance that we were all writing about artists from roughly the same era, all of worked or studied in Paris.  Michael Llewellyn wrote Creole Son, about the time Degas spent in New Orleans, and Ciji Ware wrote about the famous California architect, Julia Morgan, the first woman to graduate from the architectural school of the École des Beaux Arts.  Her book is A Race to Splendor, set in San Francisco after the earthquake.  What was really fun was that my fictional character could reference all of them, one way or another.  Theo paints more like Degas than anyone else, though her father wants her to do portraits like Sargent, and she actually meets Julia Morgan in a scene in Floats the Dark Shadow.  Small bits, but it helped unify the panel even more.  Mary is working on a YouTube version, with our pictures and enough text to give the watcher an idea of the talk. 

Do you find the time to read?
Nowhere near as much as I’d like to. 

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
Eudora Welty said that every book teaches you how to write that book.  Of course you learn with each book, but each new one is terrifying as well as exciting.  In Shadow, I learned my characters, who’ll be with me for the series.  I learned about controlling backstory, or continued to learn, since I really like backstory, and flashbacks, that a lot of modern readers are impatient with, and have to avoid over-indugence.  My romances often had mystery elements, so I’d worked with planting clues.  Ending a series mystery was different, and was difficult. 


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Historical Mystery

Rating – R

More details about the author and the book

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Quick #Author Chat with Christoph Paul @ChristophPaul_ #Humor #AmReading #Politics

Image of Christoph Paul

Where do you get support from? Do you have friends in the industry?
This one guy on Twitter with a really offensive AVI tells me nice things about my books here and there.

How much sleep do you need to be your best?
I will say this, it is rough if I got less than 5 hours to write well.

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
I’d be happy to like “Modern Family”. Influencing culture and getting paid for it.

It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
I am a believer that a great marketer always wins in the climate we are in so I try to do what is best even though I think marketing is BS. I am learning as I go. I am a fan of guerilla marketing.

Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?
“Great White House” is very simple. A Sharknado on The White House. If you don’t think that is awesome I feel bad for you….why not that write that if you get the idea?

Great White House NEW COVER

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Genre – Fiction, Humor
Rating – PG-13
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Connect with Christoph Paul on Facebook & Twitter

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Quick #Author Chat with Elliot Mason @ArthurRay44 #Dystopian #Romance #AmReading

Image of Elliot C. Mason

When and why did you begin writing? I was about 16, just because it was what I wanted to do at the time.

When did you first know you could be a writer? When I started writing and never stopped.

What inspires you to write and why? Life, because it is the most perplexing thing I know.

What made you want to be a writer? Why would I want to be anything else?

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? Ignoring the endless distractions and concentrating.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Travel, Political, Dystopia, Romance
Rating – PG15
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Connect with Elliot C. Mason on Facebook & Twitter

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Journalist & Author, Eva Fejos on Writing & "Bangkok Transit" @FejosEva #Women #Writing

Q: What do you fear the most? 
A: Losing the people I love.
Q: What makes you the happiest? 
A: Luckily, many things: a tasty meal, a walk along the Danube shore with my dog, coffee with friends, reading (or writing) a good book, conversations with my partner in the evenings, watching films together, a good run, a café latte…
Q: What is your greatest weakness? 
A: There was a time when I was unable to say no. This was a great mistake, because I took on more tasks than I would have been able handle. I’m still learning the art of ‘saying no.’ In addition to this, one of my greatest weaknesses is cleaning house. I gave up experimenting with that, and so we just ask someone to come in and do it for us. I guess I’m not too great at cooking either. Sometimes we just end up having toast with mozzarella and salad for dinner…
Q: How about your strengths? 
A: I think one of my greatest strengths is my imagination, and my communication is pretty good too. I like talking to people. I view things as a journalist would, but I always see the person behind every situation. My strengths also include punctuality and reliability.
Q: Which of your works are you the most proud of? 
A: All of them. Or rather, always the one I happen to be working on at the moment. I have received awards as a journalist. I wrote a series of articles exploring the anomalies of human egg donations in Hungary for which I received the Outstanding Journalism Award, and not incidentally, managed to prompt a statutory amendment, which I am very proud of. I am also proud of my large fan base of readers who support me through everything, the nearly 25,000 members of my Facebook community who stood by my side even through hard times and who don’t just simply click ‘like,’ but are there to talk any time. And of course I am proud of all my thirteen published novels, most of all, perhaps, of my recent book, Vacation in Naples, because this is the first book published by my very own publishing house. The decisions were up to me, from start to finish, and this was a really awesome challenge.
Q: How do you try and develop your writing? 
A: I think the two things that play an important role in a novelist’s development are: reading as much as you can and writing as much as you can. Now that I have my own publishing house and it’s me who makes the choice of which foreign novels to print, I read 5-8 English language novel-manuscripts per week, in addition to reading Hungarian books. This helps me develop as a novelist as well, since a good novel can serve as incredible inspiration to a writer. The more contemporary novels I read, the braver I become as a writer. I discover innovative solutions and dare to use different tones. So reading is fundamental if someone wants to be a writer. And naturally, you have to write, regularly, in several genres. For me, writing is entertainment, just as reading is, but with writing, I am very conscious of applying myself daily, or at least regularly.
Q: Who are your favorite writers? 
A: Among others, I love: Murakami Haruki, Anna Gavalda, Nick Hornby, Jonathan Tropper, Marian Keyes, and Matthew Norman. My favorite Hungarian writers are Magda Szabó and István Fekete.
Q: So far, you’ve had thirteen novels published. Where do you get your ideas from? 
A: As a journalist, and of course as a person, I have come across several unusual situations, but strangely enough, I don’t use these as ideas for my novels. I don’t know where my ideas come from. They just find me. I have many more ideas than I could possibly write down, so I’m not afraid of ever running out of them…
Q: What is more difficult: writing a novel or finding a publisher? 
A: For me, writing is the easiest task. After all, I started writing my first book when I was fourteen. I wasn’t able to finish it yet back then, but at eighteen I wrote one that I did finish, and I placed second in a novel-writing competition with a book I wrote after that. And though these novels were never published – which I don’t mind at all, since they were just early attempts – and for years after that, I only wrote for myself, for my desk drawer, or for my friends, the feeling of writing always made me very happy. So for me, writing is easy. At the same time, for years, I never thought it important to find a publisher. I never took this too seriously either. I believe that I managed to find a publisher for the Hungarian version of Bangkok Transit when the time was right, and I was never impatient or dissatisfied. The subsequent national success of Bangkok Transit and my other novels showed that I had made the right decision: I was on the right path. I won’t say that it was hard to find a publisher; I just had to find the right time within myself. I enjoyed the journey leading up to it precisely because I had written several novels already, for myself… Now I am publishing them in my own publishing house. Obviously, finding a publisher abroad will be more difficult, but I’m not impatient now, either.
Q: Is it difficult for an author to take part in marketing? 
A: Part of marketing is a question of finance, and an author clearly cannot take part in that, as they are usually lacking the funds demanded by a ‘proper’ marketing campaign. But an author is in possession of something else, a device that is very important which, unfortunately, many people do not utilize. This device is the power of a personal voice. In my opinion, a personal tone is becoming more and more important in all fields. Therefore, a novelist can only make the best of having talent with words and situations. In social media and meetings with readers this provides great power, and we have to look at aspects of media which focus on our strengths and not our weaknesses.
Q: Who are the people that support you? 
A: My partner, my friends, and of course, my readers. I think I receive the most reassuring messages from my readers when I am stuck in my mid-novel crisis. They ask me to keep going, tell me they are with me and will be patient till the new novel is completed. Some of my first readers include my cousin and a good friend. They read my novels chapter by chapter, but don’t tell me their opinion, but are drawn into the story and can hardly wait for what comes next. Naturally, I have a professional editor who offers advice. His opinion is important to me with regards to content as well.
Bangkok: a sizzling, all-embracing, exotic city where the past and the present intertwine. It’s a place where anything can happen… and anything really does happen. The paths of seven people cross in this metropolis. Seven seekers, for whom this city might be a final destination. Or perhaps it is only the start of a new journey? A successful businessman; a celebrated supermodel; a man who is forever the outsider; a young mother who suddenly loses everything; a talented surgeon, who could not give the woman he loved all that she desired; a brothel’s madam; and a charming young woman adopted at birth. Why these seven? Why did they come to Bangkok now, at the same time? Do chance encounters truly exist?
Bangkok Transit is a Central European best-seller. The author, Eva Fejos, a Hungarian writer and journalist, is a regular contributor to women’s magazines and is often herself a featured personality. Bangkok Transit was her first best-seller, which sold more than 100,000 copies and is still selling. Following the initial publication of this novel in 2008, she went on to write twelve other best-sellers, thus becoming a publishing phenomena in Hungary According to accounts given by her readers, the author’s books are “therapeutic journeys,” full of flesh and blood characters who never give up on their dreams. Many readers have been inspired to change the course of their own lives after reading her books. “Take your life into your own hands,” is one of the important messages the author wishes to convey.
Try it for yourself, and let Eva Fejos whisk you off on one of her whirlwind journeys… that might lead deep into your own heart.
About Eva Fejos, the author of Bangkok Transit
- Eva Fejos is a Hungarian writer and journalist.
- has had 13 best-selling novels published in Hungary so far.
Bangkok Transit is her first best-seller, published in 2008.
- has won several awards as a journalist, and thanks to one of her articles, the legislation pertaining to human egg donation was modified, allowing couples in need to acquire donor eggs more easily.  
- spends her winters in Bangkok.
- likes novels that have several storylines running parallel.
- visited all the places she’s written about. 
- spent a few days at an elephant orphanage in Thailand; and has investigated the process of how Thai children are put up for adoption while visiting several orphanages. 
- founded her own publishing company in Hungary last year, where she not only publishes her own books, but foreign books too, hand-picked by her. 
- Her books published in Hungary thus far are:
Till Death Do Us Part (Holtodiglan) | Bangkok Transit | Hotel Bali | Chicks (Csajok) | Strawberries for Breakfast (Eper reggelire) | The Mexican (A mexikói) | Cuba Libre | Dalma | Hello, London | Christmas in New York (Karácsony New Yorkban) | Caribbean Summer (Karibi nyár) | Bangkok, I Love You (Szeretlek, Bangkok) | Starting Now – the new edition ofTill Death Do Us Part (Most kezdődik) | Vacation in Naples – the English version will be published in summer, 2014 (Nápolyi vakáció)
To be published in spring of 2014: I Waited One Hundred Nights (Száz éjjel vártam)
Bangkok Transit (English version):
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Eva Fejos on Facebook & Twitter

Danny Wynn Shares His Memories About Majorca, the Spanish Island #Literary #Drama

My novella “Man from the Sky” takes place entirely on the Spanish island of Majorca.  I first became aware of Majorca in 1987 when I was living in London.  A the time, in the U.K., Majorca was perceived as a vacation spot predominantly for a tacky, low-brow crowd, and there was a famous Heineken TV advertisement in which people recited, in a very low-class English accent, the line, “The water in Majorca doesn’t taste what it ought to” (I think from “My Fair Lady”).  Thus, I had never considered it as a vacation destination for myself.
However, I acquired a Dutch girlfriend, whose mother had renovated an old farmhouse on the island to use as a second home, and my girlfriend essentially said to me, “Look before you laugh.”  She explained to me that it is a large island, and yes, there are some tacky enclaves, but they’re very contained, and the rest of the island is very beautiful and has a lot to offer.  We went to a spot on the mountainous western coast, and I immediately fell in love with the place.  (It was a shame she was so unpleasant on the trip because she had turned me on to one of my favorite places in the world, and that should been a big plus for our relationship.)  There is a certain kind of beauty that is specific to the Mediterranean – a dry green, reddish-tan, and textured rustic beauty – and I saw that Majorca was the finest example of it I had ever seen.  I couldn’t stop looking at the place.  Since then, I’ve been back about two dozen times, the longest stay being six weeks, and have explored much more of the island.  Also, now a close friend of mine lives there with his family, further increasing the enjoyment I get from being there, and making it more fun to go solo.
The main city is Palma – about 250,000 residents, I think – and when I first went to the island, it was quite seedy and run-down.  I tended to stay away from it.  But over the years, as the Majorcan economy has done very well, the city has been cleaned up and re-vitalized.  Today, it is a vibrant, attractive city, with a fair amount of culture and very mild winters (on some days, you can dine outside during the winter).  As I say in my novella, the sun and the sea don’t hurt.
Also, over the years, the cuisine has gone from simple country fare to some of the finest in the world.  There are exceptional restaurants everywhere, not to mention about 100 gorgeous, luxury hotels scattered over the island, mostly in beautiful converted old structures like monasteries and large manor houses.
The best beaches are on the southern and eastern coasts, and the greatest visual beauty is found on the western coast where a 100-mile long mountain range descends to the sea, with villages halfway up the mountains scattered along the way.  The car-rides along that coast are one of those things that belong on a list of things to do before you die.
It not only proved to be the perfect setting for my novella, but it also partly inspired the novella, which is consistent with the fact there is a mountain there said to inspire creativity in people. The island became virtually a character in the story.
I’m headed there again at least once this year, and maybe a second time to promote my book there.  I can’t wait.

How far would you go to add excitement to a life you felt was boring and meaningless?
For seventy-three-year-old Jaime, the answer takes him by surprise. Accustomed to a lonely life high up in the mountains on the western coast of Mallorca, his dull routine is suddenly shattered when a man parachutes from a plane and lands nearby. The plane crashes; the man lives.
It’s a drug smuggling operation gone bad. But Stefan, the man from the sky, has escaped with eight kilos of cocaine in a gym bag. Jaime brings Stefan home and is soon entangled in Stefan’s attempts to sell the cocaine and start a new life.
As they dodge Parisian drug dealers and corrupt Mallorcan police, Jaime’s search for excitement and Stefan’s resolve to find stability lead them both down dangerous paths.
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Genre – Literary Fiction, Adventure
Rating – PG-13
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#Author Brian Bloom & How He Started His #Writing Career @BrianB_Aust #amreading #amwriting

What inspired you to write your first book?
I am a slow thinker. I know a lot of words, but I have trouble putting them together out loud and on the fly – especially when I’m under the affluence of incahol. Too often people don’t understand what I’m talking about. Those with big egos think I’m stupid. Humble people think they’re stupid.

Neither is true. When the adrenalin is pumping, I tend to gun-sling words from the hip. Sometimes they hit the mark. Mostly they miss. In the mid 1980s, a mate and I were playing a game of snooker and drunkenly arguing about the gold price. I thought it would go up and he thought I was talking nonsense.

My six-gun word bullets were obviously missing the target. In a fit of madness, I finally blurted out: “Okay, I’ll tell you what: I’ll write down all my arguments and you can see them as a cohesive whole.”A week later, I took him about 30 pages of explanation.

“Why don’t you turn this into a book?” he asked. So I did. The book was called “Stock Market Magic” and it turned out to be a three volume self published book of around 50 pages a volume.

How did you develop your writing?
I placed an ad for Stock Market Magic in a local financial newspaper and sold enough copies by mail order to pocket a reasonable profit after paying the cost of the ad. In the hope of getting some publicity, I delivered one full copy to the editor of that paper. A few days later I received a phone call:

“I’m moving to become the editor of a new national broadsheet newspaper. I like the way you write. How would you like to write a weekly column for us?”

“What about?” I asked

“Anything you like.”

And so, my writing career commenced as a sideline to my day-job. I wrote a column called “Albert Tells How”. It was ostensibly a report of a conversation between me and a 300 year old Swiss gnome by the name of Albert. N. Sane. I owned a small factory at the time and Friday was the day I had to pay wages.

Naturally, on Wednesday nights I couldn’t sleep so I would go to the refrigerator to get a snack. In those days, the refrigerator light didn’t just switch itself on. Personal service was still important. Like the old days when you stepped into an elevator and the operator would ask “which floor?” That’s how I met Albert. He was 3” tall and he was taking a sabbatical in our ‘fridge.


He had done a deal with Westinghouse. In exchange for free board and lodging it was his responsibility to switch the light on and off whenever it was appropriate. Albert and I became friends. Having lived for 300 years he had seen it all. When I had a business problem or I was worried about the economy or about the stock market, he would draw on his vast experience and calm me down. I was always able to pay the wages on the Friday.


More importantly, I came to understand that, for me, writing could be a “do it first and think about it afterwards” kind of activity. Once a week I would sit at the computer – sometimes with no ideas in my head. When that happened, I would shoot word bullets out of my fingers and, eventually, a coherent pattern would emerge. Then, with a bit of iterative editing, I was able to craft a column. Often the final column looked nothing like the original thoughts. That’s when I came to understand how to manage writer’s block.

So you’ve been writing on and off since the 1980s?
Yup. When I emigrated to Australia with the family in 1987 I stopped for a few years, but then I started blogging from about 2002. Eventually, Denise – my loyal and long suffering wife – turned around and asked me why I didn’t do something more challenging, like write another book.

In 2005, I took her advice and decided to write a novel. I had no idea where to start, but I knew that the answer would come to me. You’ve heard the expression “wired for sound”? Well I seem to be “wired for inspiration”. In Denise’s language, my third eye is wide open. So I just waited for inspiration. It didn’t take long.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
The ideas just come to me. Most often it happens in the dead of night when my conscious mind is asleep. Of course, they don’t just come out of the black (it’s night time, remember J); I’m usually mulling over a problem in my mind when I’m awake and, if I can’t solve it I just let it go and I wait.
Eventually, one of two things happens: Either I wake up at around 4:00 am with a clear picture of how to proceed, or a book or a person will jump into my life from somewhere – usually in the daytime, when I’m awake – and in the book or in conversation with that person, there will be a clue.

For example, with Beyond Neanderthal, my first novel, a friend of Denise’s suggested that I write about Blue Amber. I had never heard of Blue Amber, but I started researching it and then I put pen to paper and, along the way, I found I was writing about humanity’s social evolution – so I changed the name to Beyond Neanderthal. It was a name that just popped into me head in the dead of night after I realised that the original name , “Blue Amber” would not be appropriate.

This type of experience has been happening to me for most of my life. Denise tells me I’m “plugged in”. I first assumed she was talking about the collective unconscious that Carl Jung spoke about. Later, I came to understand that the entire universe is like a giant database of information – something like The Cloud, only much more all encompassing. Religious people might describe it as the mind of God. New Age followers might talk of Akashic Records. It’s a matter of how one perceives things.

In my imagination, I see how it might have been possible for the prophets of old to tap into that database and see the future. I don’t really understand how it works and I can’t “force” it to happen on demand. I’ve come to understand that I should just go with the flow. My best bet is to maximise the potential for my remaining plugged in to the database. I do this by meditating as often as possible – but no more than once a day – and, recently, I have joined the Tai Chi class that Denise teaches.

Mostly, I like to be at one with nature, “surrounded by nobody” as our daughter Jenna used to put it when she was a child. When my mind is quiet, the ideas flow. When my mind is cluttered, it tends to go into cruise-control mode.

How did you come up with the title?
With both books, I asked the question of my unconscious mind and the answer manifested in the dead of night. (I’m not kidding). I think that the names of my two books – Beyond Neanderthal and The Last Finesse are spookily representative of the ideas those books are trying to communicate. Denise would argue that they are examples of my being plugged in.

The Last Finesse

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Genre - Conspiracy Thriller
Rating – MA (15+)
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Quick #Author Chat with Karen S. Bell @KarenSueBell #Romance #Contemporary

Image of Karen S. Bell

What are you most passionate about? What gets you fired up?
Right now it’s politics and the seeming war on women. It disgusts me to have men using religion to control women.To stand against the use of birth control pills, to be against abortion even in incest or rape. Men, who flee from responsibilities in those instances either because they are in prison or run and hide. Conservatives in this country will protect the fetus at all costs until it is born.Then if it needs food stamps or welfare, it might as well die.The hypocrisy is sickening. What’s next? The veil? Don’t get me started.

What makes you angry?
Hunting. I can’t stand the idea of going out and killing Bambi. Looking at innocent creatures as something to kill. Well, some say we eat what we kill to justify it.That’s not why they kill. That’s not the motivation. It’s the lust to kill. And those that say we are having a day in nature, I say, let them go into the woods and shoot at each other. Along with this unnecessary killing of wildlife is this crazy gun culture we have. The second amendment was about militias not crazies having automatic weapons.

What social issues interest you the most?
This country is not a happy place. The Scandinavians are much happier. Why? Because everyone there has health care. A catastrophic illness is taken care of without going broke. University tuition doesn’t enslave the student for the rest of their lives. Maternity and paternity leave is for many months to nurture the infant. Civilized. We seem barbaric in comparison. We are trying to get there with the Affordable Care Act but those same conservatives want to stop it. But we have a lot of legacy problems with the cost of higher education. Hopefully the movement toward online universities will lighten the financial burden on students.

Do you find the time to read?
Yes, I try to read all the time. I have several books on my kindle app, and iBooks app. Some books grab me right away and some I can’t get into. I keep looking for that book that will blow me away. I have found a few like that over the years.

Last book you purchased? Tell us about it.
Gone Girl. Engrossing at the beginning. The mystery was intriguing. But then it turned ridiculous, totally unbelievable, distasteful. I read another book by that author and I don’t understand all the accolades.  If she draws anything from her experiences in life, she must know a lot of despicable women.


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Genre – Contemporary romance, Magical Realism
Rating – PG-13
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Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Since You've Been Gone .... #Excerpt from Olga Soaje's TWELVE HOUSES #Fiction #Women #TBR

Since You’ve Been Gone

Stay with me.
Don’t fall asleep too soon.
The angels can wait for a moment.
—Westlife, “Written in the Stars”

You promised you would never leave me. Thirty-five years ago, I looked you directly in the eye and heard, “I will never leave you,” as we stood next to the ocean. And now, like a thief in the night, you go. No last words, no promises, no tears.

As I look back at that moment, I can still feel your hand intertwined with mine, each finger between mine, like an oyster shut tight against the sea, protecting the treasure it carries inside. But the treasure was in my belly, full of love and expectations.

We walked like tourists along Pier 59, a place we came to think of as home. Wind in our faces and a carefree spirit in our hearts. Gently you stopped and pulled my hand so I would follow suit as you turned; I could see your eyes full of love and complete devotion. I felt I could stay in that moment forever. It was this feeling, this sublime happiness, that I did not want changed or challenged. That’s when I turned to you and looked into those blue eyes as I said aloud, “I don’t want this to change.”

Your face distorted into a concerned expression as you tried to reassure me. “It will be different when the baby arrives; it will be even better.”

“It’s not that. I’m excited about meeting the baby and having it with us.”

So you poked at the subject with concern on your face, as you asked, “Then what is it? What don’t you want to change?”

“Us,” I answered blithely, taking in a large whiff of air through my nose as a source of strength for what I was about to request of you. As I looked out to the sea right in front of us, I said, “I don’t want to forget this feeling. I want to always feel this love and peace between us.”

You gave me that dimply smile. “We will always have it. And when we don’t, we will have the direction in which we want to go.”

As a sea gull passed close to us, landing in the water with a tiny splash, I looked at you and finally said what had been on my mind, the deep seed of this conversation. “I don’t want to lose you.” Once again, your easy laugh, followed by an enveloping hug, while you gave me the grin I’d come to realize meant, You’re hormonal. “I’m serious. Just promise me…”


Can anything good follow the best thing that ever happened to you?
Amelia Weiss loved her husband of thirty-five years very much, but now he’s left her a widow. Without him, she is unable to work in her sculpture studio without crying. She no longer has a bridge to her estranged daughter. And she can’t seem to keep her mind in the present.

But when her daughter reaches out asking for her help and her agent threatens a lawsuit if Amelia doesn’t deliver for an upcoming exhibit, she’s forced to make a choice. Will she reengage with her life and the people in it—allowing room for things to be different than they were before? Or, will she remain stuck in the past, choosing her memories over real-life relationships?

Thrust fully into the present, Amelia stumbles into a surprising journey of self-discovery.

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Genre – Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction, Women's Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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