Sunday 25 September 2011

Review of No Money Marketing: All You Need is Like by Angela Yuriko Smith

My Book Review of No Money Marketing: All You Need is Like:

No Money Marketing: All You Need is Like by Angela Yuriko Smith is one author’s view on how to promote your book, culled from her own experiences publicizing her own novel, End of Mae. The approach she uses offers some appealing and creative avenues to book marketing.

The first part of the book is devoted to marketing techniques the author used in the virtual world of Second Life. Now I don’t belong to that Second Life, although I have heard of it, and I always assumed it was more of a recreational website. After reading I find myself quite convinced of its marketing potential for authors; any writer on Second Life (or thinking of joining) should avail themselves of Ms. Smith’s helpful suggestions. The remainder of No Money Marketing: All You Need is Like is geared towards more traditional marketing sites such as Facebook, but even here the author has some individual ideas of where and how to promote your book.

I especially appreciated the fact the author backs up her suggestions with specific information on how her marketing techniques affected her sales and book visibility. So many marketing suggestions tell you that they will boost sales, without the details.

Overall, I found the book had good ideas, written in an easy style and I can recommended it to any author looking for ways to get their books noticed.

Available on:
Amazon Kindle

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Madcap Fun: A Review of Doodling by Jonathan Gould

My Book Review of Doodling:

Doodling by Jonathan Gould is absurd, quirky, breezy, fun and a total delight to read. It is also a witty little metaphor for today’s social climate, without being preachy or heavy-handed. The book makes some subtle observations while maintaining its air of entertainment.

The book begins with Neville Lansdowne falling off the world. Literally. After the shock wears off he sets out exploring a nearby asteroid field, and finds out he’s not the only one who fell. From there his adventures just commence.

The premise of Doodling is unusual, surreal and not the least bit scientific, but from the moment you begin reading, the book enchants with its style. It weaves an alluring charm with its eccentric farce that amuses and captivates. Odd characters and fantastic situations abound, flit through your imagination with verve, before settling around you in a warm, clever cosiness. I couldn’t help but imagine this book as a wonderful animated film.

Doodling is a thoroughly pleasing book and I highly recommend it.

Amazon Link:
Smashwords Link:

Friday 16 September 2011

Dark Shades of Cyberpunk: My Review of Shadow of a Dead Star

Book Review of Shadow of a Dead Star by Michael Shean:

Shadow of a Dead Star by Michael Shean is grungy, slightly nihilistic, fabulously enigmatic cyberpunk at its best, painted in the hues fashioned by Philip K. Dick. The world inside the pages is screaming neon, ad driven, nanotech chic laid over top a seedy underbelly of dissipation.

The novel begins with Agent Thomas Walken investigating the arrival of contraband tech into the futuristic city of Seattle, just another corrupt excess imported from a place called Wonderland. But this routine bust turns into a something else, a blood-soaked conspiracy that turns Walken into a fugitive looking for elusive answers to a very sinister problem.

The author knows how to build a futuristic world, and some of the best passages in the book are the way he describes the landscape and surroundings in which the characters live and breathe; he vividly creates a Seattle fallen through a cyber-tech rabbit hole. And the inhabitants that dwell among the distorted spires are brought to life with equal skill, showing a darker side of humanity, with their flaws and self-interest on display. Even the protagonist has a murky, bitter side that unfolds as he plummets into the mystery he is trying to unravel.

It is that mystery that is at the center of a well-written, complex, multi-layered plot that peels away with suspense and tension, drawing the reader ever further into its web. I thought I knew where the book was headed until the finale took a sudden turn, morphing from the body of the story, and twisting everything that went before into an enigmatic question. While I suspect some readers may find the conclusion disconcerting, I thought it was an interesting and bold choice. It may not have been the ending I wanted as a reader, but I think it fit with the overall tone of the book and it does leave you thinking.

Shadow of a Dead Star is a fascinating book, and a definite recommend.

Michael Shean's Website:

Saturday 10 September 2011

Interview with Lin Sten, author of Mine

Yet another author joins us today, Lin Sten, who's latest book is the science fiction novel, Mine.

Interview with Lin Sten:

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

Intellectually I sense human civilization is being propelled toward an apocalypse based on humanity’s delusional mass psychology, the risks of technological advance, and Earth’s environmental limits. Emotionally and physically I tend to ignore that possibility, and to simply enjoy each day for the miracle that it is. Usually I enjoy swimming and bodysurfing in the Pacific Ocean, but for the last two weeks there have been several shark sightings up and down the coast; because I’m a vegetarian, I would get really mad if I were eaten.

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing for several decades.

Can you tell us about your latest book, Mine?

The idea of our solar system attracting extraterrestrials—helpful or antagonistic—has intrigued me for as long as I can remember. While it is a common theme in science fiction, and there is certainly nothing new either about an insane person believing himself to be an extraterrestrial, my angle on this long-standing theme seemed original enough and like it could be a great deal of fun. Too, there is the intriguing SETI silence, which increases the likelihood that any soft-spoken claimant to interstellar spurs is actually a charlatan. On the other hand, even down-to-Earth politicians (such as Ronald Regan) have imagined the possible beneficial human attitude adjustment that an extraterrestrial threat to Earth might provide. So here we have a simply expressed question about our universe, one that almost everyone can understand, and yet any reality might yet emerge. What more fertile ground could there be!

What is it about the science fiction genre that you find interesting?

Science fiction allows an expansion of the spectrum of environments—technological, biological, and natural physical—within which to set a story, or about whom to write it.

Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?

As an example of my writing process, the story for Mine evolved over the period of about one week, resulting in a chapter-by-chapter outline, after which I spent six months writing a treatment. (I also always write a treatment before I write a screenplay.) Then I spent about a year writing a readable draft of the novel; using my outline, I wrote the chapters in whatever order they seemed to emerge or gel. After that it took another year to finish the necessary research and the editorial process. As to the general question of where my ideas originate, I do not know, but there are always more of them than I have time to deal with and they seem to choose me rather than I them.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

I find it difficult to find enough time to read.

You’ve penned some historical writing as well as science fiction. What kind of research have you done for your books?

For my unpublished series of four historical novels set in the ancient Mediterranean, a sense of the amount of research I did can best be suggested by the number of books I purchased: 22.

You also write poetry. Do you find that enhances your ability to write fiction?

My poetry tends to be more purely romantic than my fiction. Also, it speaks more directly and with more immediacy to the sense of the miracle that encompasses us here on Earth. For me, each raindrop is a miracle. When I write a novel, I experience each of my characters, but they do not experience me; however, in my poetry, mine is the only voice. On the other hand, something I have never done, but could do, is to write a poem from the standpoint of one of my characters as a way of understanding that character better.

Who has inspired you as a writer?

The list is very long, and it includes many beings who are not authors, and some who are not human. In summary, I should mention that I always have on my desk a volume of the The Complete Works of William Shakespeare and Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick; the last important book that I read was Paulo Coelho’s The Witch of Portobello. On the other hand, there was a time when the library did not contain enough science fiction books to fill my need—Verne, Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, McCaffrey, etc. Of course, who has not been inspired by Albert Einstein? I have also been inspired by many different animals, rocks, raindrops, rivers, lakes, trees, and celestial objects and events, not to mention incredible films (Gone With the Wind, The Cranes are Flying (Russian), Chariots of Fire, Les Enfants du Paradis, Pelle the Conqueror (Danish), Die Hard, Luther, Il Giardino dei Finzi-Contini, The Mission, and many others). Even though your question was only about “who,” I guess it is equally important that even the falling of a leaf—being the miracle that it is—can inspire me.

What’s next for you?
Right now the marketing of Mine is uppermost in my mind. Nonetheless, I have a zillion stories waiting in the queue.

Anita, thank you for these questions. They have made me reflect on myself—my goals, philosophy, and appreciation for what we have.

Thursday 8 September 2011

Interview with Kenneth Weene

Another author joins the blog today for an interview.   Kenneth Weene has stopped by to share his thoughts and to tell us about his books.

Interview With Kenneth Weene:

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself?

I’m a New Englander by birth and inclination even though I have lived most of my adult life in New York and now Arizona.
My undergraduate degree was in economics and my doctorate in psychology. (I’m also an ordained minister.) I practiced as a shrink for over thirty years, but now I principally identify myself as an author. I have two novels in print and a third in contract.
Married with one son and three grandchildren, I love travel, theatre, good food, and music.
No, I don’t like long walks on beaches, and I am now too old to be taking care of pets.

How long have you been writing?  Did you always desire to make it your line of work?
I wanted to write when I was a child, but I was brought up expecting to go into a profession. My mother always told me that my first name should be Doctor. When I had had enough of the helping profession and started thinking about retirement and life beyond, I began writing – poetry at first but then it just expanded.

Can you tell us about your writing style and your books?

I strive for literary fiction, which means that I craft words and characters rather than plots and actions. This doesn’t mean that my novels lack plot, only that the action is less important than how I tell the story and how fully-drawn the characters seem.
My first novel, Widow’s Walk is about relationships and love, about the conflict between religion and responsibility on the one hand and spirituality and sensuality on the other. This is a book that celebrates faith while questioning how people approach God.
Memoirs From the Asylum is primarily set in a state mental hospital. It is written to convey the power and the chaos of madness. Underlying the novel are questions about freedom and the fears and forces that keep us from being free. As more than one reviewer has pointed out, Memoirs is an existential novel. Many reviewers have also commented that it is better than One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; who am I to disagree?
Tales From the Dew Drop Inne: Because there’s one in every town will soon be released by my publisher, All Things That Matter Press. It is somewhat different in structure, being composed on interlocking stories all of which focus on the men and women who hang out at a neighbourhood bar, The Dew Drop Inne. Many of the stories have a bittersweet quality. This novel asks us to think about what are home and family.

You write poetry as well as fiction, something I do myself.  Do you prefer composing poetry to fiction or the opposite?

I write as the muse directs. In the middle of a novel, I might stop to work on an idea for a poem. It is the process of massaging words that matters. Here are two short poems that I particularly like sharing.

He coughs down his multi-hued pills with rancid brew
left day after day in an old unwashed carafe.
Decay is the status of things when life is through
as age prepares for death and final awkward laugh.
He pisses like a mule – rancid with years of sweat.
Too many empty bottles and whores he’s left;
opportunities that he’s missed without regret;
a lifetime of love and friendship long since bereft.

Early Breakfast
The worm - half eaten - burrows deeper
The robin’s beak is even fleeter.
Regrets the worm that he must eat her;
the apple makes her that much sweeter.

Can you tell us about your writing process?  Where do your ideas originate?  Do you have a certain writing routine?

Like most writers I draw on life as I have known and experienced it, but not always. The ideas often seem to be voices in my head demanding to be heard. While I usually spend an hour or so each morning at the keyboard, it is when those voices become most demanding that my fingers fly. At those times absorption becomes total, and my wife suffers my inattentiveness.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

I hate to answer this question honestly. The biggest challenge is getting readers. Marketing takes so much time and effort. Even when I enjoy doing an interview, a radio show, a signing, or a blog, I can’t help wishing that I had the time to create the next story or to work on that great poem.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

Find others who will listen to you read what you have written and give you honest feedback.
Read what you have created and pick it apart.
Write again.
Now find an editor to check for the things you cannot see in your own eye.
A final rewrite, and you have something ready to offer to the world – wich will usually reject it.

Who has inspired you as a writer?

I have always read voraciously. Steinbeck and Vonnegut are among my favourites. Whitman, Thomas, Elliot, and Ferlinghetti in poetry. Goodness, so many.

What’s next for you?

I have a fourth novel, a conspiracy/coming of age book, which is currently looking for a publisher. I am taking a few weeks at The Writers’ Colony in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, to work on my next novel, of which about a third is done. It is very much a work of literary fiction, but it also has a science fiction component. I hope it will be finished by the end of 2012, at which time I can start the rewriting. Got to love the process!

You can find more about Kenneth at his website:

And for a taste of his books:

Widow’s Walk:

For Memoirs From the Asylum:

Monday 5 September 2011

Interview with Doc Lucky Meisenheimer, author of "The Immune"

Today I'm interviewing the talented author of the entertaining sci-fi book, The Immune, Doc Lucky Meisenheimer.

Interview with Doc Lucky Meisenheimer:

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

Well, I guess I’m a bit eclectic. I am a board certified Dermatologist, Mohs Surgeon, and the chairman of the Division of Dermatology for the Orlando Regional Health Care System. Yet, I am perhaps best known for some of my more unique activities. I currently hold the Guinness world record for the largest yo-yo collection. I also hold Record Holder Republic world records for swimming a half-mile with my foot-in-mouth and for ear wiggling.
I have also held some FINA world records for Masters swimming in the past. I continue to be a bit of a water person. Although I don’t do much competitive pool racing anymore, I still do several open water races each year and I host a daily lake swim at my home (known by the swimming/triathlon community as Lucky’s Lake Swim). I also play underwater hockey and have coached Orlando’s Special Olympics swim team since 1993.
When I’m not in the water, I am usually involved in a film project or two. I am a member of the Screen Actors’ Guild and I own a small production company called Lucky-Rose-Films. When I’m not doing projects, I hang with my wife and three boys.

How did you become interested in writing?

I think I have always enjoyed writing. I remember a trip to the principal’s office in fourth grade for a short story I wrote called “Super Fink.” It involved some of the same themes as the currently popular captain underpants series. In the 60’s, that stuff got you sent to the principal’s office. Now it makes you a millionaire and garners teacher awards.
My fourth grade teacher didn’t feel I had much of a future as a human being let alone a writer. I guess when a copy of my first non-fiction book, “Lucky’s Collectors Guide to 20th Century Yo-Yos” was placed in the Smithsonian Institution, this proved her wrong. Not about the human being part, but definitely about the writing.
Later in medical school, I was asked by the administration to not write for the annual Lampoons, as I was a bit too edgy. The irony there was that I eventually wrote a featurette film for National Lampoons that was released on one of their DVDs. I think I was always a writer in search of the correct audience.

Can you tell us about your book, The Immune?

To sum it up in one sentence, it is a Sci-Fi thriller with political intrigue.

The longer version would be: A biological crisis of epic proportions threatens the world. Biogenetically created creatures called airwars (which are like airborne man-of-wars the size of zeppelins) threaten humanity and are difficult to kill because they reproduce upon death. A very small percent of the population are immune to the stings and one of these “immunes” discovers a way to enter and kill the monsters without having them reproduce.
In the meantime, the government uses the crisis to consolidate power and to try to control the “immunes.” Although The Immune was written as a fun adventure, the substance of the book is allegorical and a commentary on current societal troubles with warnings for the future.

Why did you decide to write a sci-fi novel?

Well I’ve always loved the genre. I grew up consuming Heinlein and Edgar Rice Burroughs. For many of my younger years, I was only interested in reading science fiction and about ants. I don’t know why I liked reading about ants, but I still find them fascinating. Currently my reading breadth is a bit more widened, but Sci-Fi was a first love. I like writing speculative science fiction because I feel it gives me a voice.

Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate?

I have absolutely no clue where my ideas come from. They just pop into my head. I have never had a problem with writers block and I’m not sure this could happen to me with so many ideas always swirling around in my brain (I’m going to knock on wood for that one).

Do you have a certain writing routine?

I write whenever I can, but my best work seems to be late at night or in the early morning hours. I seem to be the most creative from about 10-12 pm, but I edit the best about 4-6AM. I don’t know why, but that’s just the way it is. I also tend to write in spurts instead of a little bit along. I will go sometimes weeks without writing, then I will spend many hours writing for several days in a row. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this routine as it wreaks havoc with your sleep cycles.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

Finding time. I squeeze as much out of a day as just about anyone, but I wish I had a clone or maybe a pair. I could work them to death for 100 years, and still not get everything done that I would like to do in this lifetime.

How do you research your books?

I tend to write my stories straight through without stopping and just leave blanks where I need to fill in some factual information. I look the specifics up later, then mold the story to fit. I see most of my writing like a movie in my mind. I just write down what I hear and see. It’s a fun process for me.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

Well, I like a quote from Ben Franklin, "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." My preference would be to do both at the same time. You will find they are synergistic.

What’s next for you?

We just released a new book I worked on with my sons called The Zombie Cause Dictionary. It was a hoot doing the writing and we are planning on doing an internet show based on the book. I also have someone interested in doing a Teachers’ Guide on The Immune, and I would love to help them along in that venture. It would be great to see The Immune being discussed in the classroom.

You can read more of Doc Lucky Meisenheimer at his blog:

My review of The Immune:

Spotlight on The Immune:

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