Posts Tagged ‘Book Promotion’

There’s No Place Like Home

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

The holidays are upon us and my guest blogger today is the talented author of The Coal Elf, Maria DeVivo.

The Coal Elf is about Ember Skye, a teenage Coal Elf with a big ashy chip on her shoulder. Having been torn away from a carefree life and forced into a world of dirt and darkness has started to get the best of her. And being the only girl-elf working as a coal miner at the North Pole doesn’t help much either. She wants to go home and yet she can’t.

When a mysterious illness threatens to decimate elves both Above and Underground, Ember is thrust into a journey that will see her confront the literal and figurative demons of her past and lead her to the head of the North Pole himself.  Yes! Santa is real. But this isn’t your childhood Christmas tale.

The Coal Elf is an original, dark and evocative tale with a different take on Christmas. Scroll to the bottom for a peek at this unique story and help us drive it up to the top of Amazon’s charts by buying The Coal Elf at a special holiday price of only $2.99!

And now find out why There’s No Place Like Home during the holidays.

Enjoy!

D.

There’s No Place Like Home

By

Maria DeVivo

Maria De Vivo

What’s the old saying?  “Home is where the heart is.”  It must be true because one of the prevalent themes in story-telling is the concept of Home – Having one, being a part of one, rejecting one, leaving one, desperately trying to find your way back to one.

Humans have an innate honing device that draws us to a nostalgic place of comfort and love. Some of the most influential stories of our time use HOME as a central theme.  After having experienced the wonder and glory of Oz, Dorothy said there was no place like it.  Her journey brought her to the realization that her black and white world of farm animals and twisters was really where she belonged.  Thrust onto an island while the war-torn world around them has no idea of their whereabouts, the children in The Lord of the Flies are in constant pursuit of returning home while in the process, create a home. And more recently, Katniss Everdeen initially strives to win The Hunger Games to go where?  Back Home.

In The Coal Elf, Ember Skye deals with this notion of Home from the moment she is called to her Life Job.  When she is sent to the Mines, her memories of her life Aboveground grip her so tightly that she is almost blinded by nostalgia.  The entire novel follows her path of dealing with those memories, confronting certain realities, and altering her own perceptions as to where she belongs, where she fits in, where she’s meant to be.

So what is HOME?  What defines it?  For me, it’s an unseen structure made up of memories.    Spring birds singing in the morning as I waited for the school bus.  Running outside on a cool summer night to flag down the ice cream truck.  Standing on tree stumps in my backyard as dead leaves fell from the autumn trees.  The smell of my father’s work boots in the hallway.  Cuddling with my sister on Christmas Eve.  Coming home from school and being so angry with my mother for cleaning up my room.  My uncle’s voice booming as he and my mother sang Kenny Rogers’s songs.  My concept of Home expands far beyond the actual dwelling itself, and now I’m making a Home for my daughter, hopefully helping to build those memories of love and comfort she will seek refuge in her future.

****

About Maria DeVivo

Maria DeVivo is a New York native who has had a lifelong love affair with “the pen.”  A graduate of St. John’s University, she has a passion for all things mystical and mythological.  She has taught 7th grade Language Arts since 2000, and in 2010, designed the curriculum for an academic elective course entitled Folklore, where she was able to share her passion and knowledge on concentrated topics such as folktales and mythology with her students.

Having grown up in a large Irish/Italian family (where Maria is the oldest child, and of course, the wisest) the mystery and wonder surrounding the holidays were a main staple of her upbringing.  At the age of seven, when her mother finally admitted “the truth” to her, she has become somewhat of a “Santa-phile”, an obsession that has rooted its way into every fiber of her being.  Maria is one of those people who cries when Santa makes His grand appearance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Coupled with an obsession for all things dark and demented, her debut novel, The Coal Elf, was born.

Maria now lives in Florida with her husband, Joe, and daughter, Morgan.  When not teaching or writing or running around after her daughter, she enjoys drinking iced coffee, watching horror movies, and playing video games.

Connect with DeVivo:

www.mariadevivo.com

www.facebook.com/mariadevivoauthor

@Maria_DeVivo

****

THE COAL ELF

Ember Skye is a fed up teenage Coal Elf with a big ashy chip on her shoulder. Having been torn away from a carefree life and forced into a world of dirt and darkness has started to get the best of her. And being the only girl-elf working as a coal miner at the North Pole doesn’t help much either!

Then there’s Sturd: a power-hungry, twisted elf with a checkered past and a serious grudge against Ember. Slowly but surely, his maniacal tendencies are revealed, leaving Ember with the sacred “Naughty List” literally in her lap.

When a mysterious illness threatens to decimate elves both Above and Underground, Ember is thrust into a journey that will see her confront the literal and figurative demons of her past and lead her to the head of the North Pole himself.

Yes! Santa is real. But this isn’t your childhood Christmas tale!

coal elf pic for vid

AMAZON

Reviews

“…A story with plenty of twists and turns, the reader is drawn into a world of dust and darkness with tension so strong it can be felt throughout. You will hold your breath at the challenges Ember must face and be pulled along as the plot thickens.” ~ Anne K. Edwards, author of The Last to Fall

“The teenage protagonist of Maria DeVivo’s debut novel, The Coal Elf, published by Twilight Times Books, November 2012, got screwed by “the Boss” of the North Pole. Imagine having your wonderful life and future destroyed when, instead of receiving the job assignment to make toys or bake cookies for a living, you were thrust into a gloomy, underground life of mining coal for the children on the naughty list. Ember Skye stole my heart from the first page as DeVivo describes her life as a Coal Elf and sets up the conflict and her epic battle with the antagonist, Sturd, a despicable, nasty elf who embodies evil.

Throw this conflict, these and a handful of other memorable characters into an incredibly creative North Pole setting, and you have a story that I could not put down. What I particularly enjoyed was DeVivo’s portrayal and extension of Christmas with her creation of a detailed fantasy world where we learn how the North Pole might actually work. This awesome setting is expertly woven into the story so that I was transported into this amazing world as I read.

Do yourself a favor and read The Coal Elf–I highly recommend it. This is one of those books that should be made into a movie (Tim Burton are you listening?). Great characters, engaging plot, believable dialog, wonderful setting and, above all, writing that compelled me to keep turning the pages (that’s what we all really want as readers, right?).” ~Daniel Springer, author of the award-winning The Wilco Project.

Don’t forget! The Coal Elf is now available at a special holiday price of only $2.99!

The Power of Repetition: A Guest Blog by Scott Eder

Monday, October 14th, 2013

I’m delighted to introduce my friend and Twilight Times Books fellow author, Scott Eder, whose first contemporary fantasy novel, Knight of Flame, was just released to great praise and excellent reviews. In his blog today, Scott shares his search for an irresistible first chapter. So it’s only fitting that we should begin with a gift from this talented author, the first five chapters of Knight of Flames, free, right here, at your fingertips:

http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/KnightofFlame_ch1.html

Enjoy!

D.

***

The Power of Repetition

By

Scott Eder

I’m always looking for ways to take my writing to the next level. Classes, books, podcasts, conversations… the list goes on. As a perpetual student, I’m learning and practicing every single day. But some lessons are tougher than others and require multiple strikes of the hammer to drive a single point home. In my case, the single point I struggled with was grabbing the reader right out of the gate. It’s a simple concept, really. A story needs to grab the reader’s interest as soon as possible, and refuse to let him go. Compelling characters, barbed hooks, unique conflicts, scintillating writing, and a crisp, unique voice combine to clamp onto the reader’s imagination, tightening his interest with each turn of the page.

Easy, right? You’d think so, but it took listening to a panel of agents and editors at DragonCon for the meaning to really sink in.

When I first started writing, I thought I had time, story time that is. I opened at a soft, descriptive pace that gently introduced the reader to my setting and characters. After that, I stirred in the conflict, ratcheting up the stress and intensity, until eventually achieving resolution. I thought this approach meshed with the fantasy genre. I needed time for world building, and to introduce the uniqueness of my characters, right? So why didn’t I get any interest from the agents and editors I queried? The form rejection letters didn’t help, didn’t tell me what I needed to fix.

I realized that I was missing some critical piece to the story-telling puzzle, and made the decision to seek professional help. (Hehe. I felt a little crazy at this point.) After taking several classes where the instructors helped me understand that I needed to get to the conflict sooner, that I needed to hook the reader up front, I thought I had it. Instead of getting to the action within the first few chapters, I streamlined my writing, introduced setting, characters and conflict in a more compelling way by the end of chapter one.

Woohoo! With my newfound skills, I’d break into the biz in no time. My stories rocked. Or so I thought. But the growing collection of form rejections told a different story. If one of those editors or agents would take a minute and give me something, a hint, a bit of advice, anything to clue me in as to what was missing, I’d have a chance to fix it. Nope. Just a thanks for playing, and have a nice day.

Crap. Now what?

One of the things David Farland mentioned in his class was that you could meet editors and agents at certain conventions. I checked the Interwebs and found DragonCon. I’d heard about this fabled event, but never attended. Once I found several editors and agents on the guest list, I booked my travel plans.

DragonCon has an excellent writer’s track. Panels conducted by authors, publishers, agents, and editors, with topics ranging from writing basics to more advanced publishing concerns, run all day, every day. One of the most heavily attended is the combined editors and agents panel. I got there early, but by the time it started, it was standing room only. It turned out to be more of a question and answer session, than a formalized presentation, which was fine, because I had a lot of the same questions other aspiring writers in the throng dared to ask. And then it happened. The crowd disappeared, the lights dimmed, and the panelists turned to face me, metaphorically anyway. Their comments hit me hard.

One agent said, “Look, you need to draw me in right away. Like on the first page. With all the submissions I get, I don’t have time to read pages and pages, waiting for something interesting to happen.”

An editor chimed in. “Yeah. I’m rooting for you, but unless you hook me within the first page or two with something, and it doesn’t have to be your primary conflict, but something to make me keep reading, you’re done.”

“Hell, you need to grab me in the first paragraph or two,” said the agent at the far end of the table. “I’ll give you a little more time if you have a nifty voice, but not much.”

I blinked a few times as the import of their words sunk in. The first page or two? Hmm…The chatter continued, but I zoned out, churning over how make my first few pages addictive. I wanted the reader turning the pages of my book as if he’d just popped the top on a fresh can of Pringles.

After several iterations, and an enthusiastic thumbs-up from my critique group, I sent it back out. This time, it sold!

And all it took were several books, a few teachers, and one panel at a convention to make it stick. Never stop learning. Make it a part of your writing process to seek out new techniques and information. You never know which one will make the difference between rejection and acceptance.

Have fun,

Scott

Against the Shadow, burns a noble light.

***

Knight Of Flame

Fire. The most chaotic of the primal elements. When wielded properly by the Knight of Flame, it burns like the sun. Otherwise, it slowly consumes the Knight, burning away his control, driving him towards dark deeds.

KnightofFlame_med (1)

“In Knight of Flame Scott re-imagines traditional fantasy and forges something new from old metal–a fast-paced thriller that delivers a healthy dose of wonder. As enjoyable as it is engrossing.” – David Farland, International Best-Selling Author of The Runelords

Knight of Flame is available today for only $2.99!

Buy Links:

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/knight-of-flame-scott-eder/1116911291

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Knight-Flame-Knights-Elementalis-ebook/dp/B00F7SXQ8I/

About the Author

Since he was a kid, Scott wanted to be an author. Through the years, fantastic tales of nobility and strife, honor and chaos dominated his thoughts. After twenty years mired in the corporate machine, he broke free to bring those stories to life.

Scott lives with his wife and two children on the west coast of Florida.

Website: www.scotteder.net

Twitter: @Scotteder

Blog: https://madmuncleforge.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/knightselementalis

My Interview with Karen Swart

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Hi Folks,

Here’s my brand new interview with South African paranormal and urban fantasy author, Karen Swart, where she asked me all kinds of interesting questions, including whether my books had a hidden message. You know what? I had to think about that one.

Enjoy!

D.

****

Hi Dora! Did you always wanted to be a writer?

Hi Karen. Yes! I’ve wanted to be a writers since as far back as I can remember.

When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?

Good question! I think I only began to call myself a writer after my first book, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone, was published.

How long did it take to get your first book published?

About a year from beginning to end. It felt like a century!

Do you do another job except for writing?

Not anymore! These days I’m lucky enough to write full time and I’m enjoying every minute of it.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in fewer than 20 words what would you say?

My latest book is called The Curse Giver. Twenty words, eh? Why, let’s give the old logline a try: An innocent healer condemned to death must ally with the cursed lord pledged to kill her to defeat the curse giver who has already conjured their ends.

Who is your publisher?

I’m a very lucky gal. The Curse Giver was published by Twilight Times Books, an independent publisher based out of Kingsport, Tennessee, that specializes in publishingcritically acclaimed literary, mystery and SF/F books. A dynamic, top-of-the-line, quality-oriented publisher, TTB has more than 140 titles in the 2013 Spring Catalogue and is the home of a talented and friendly bunch of authors who have enriched my publishing experience. Check out TTB at http://twilighttimesbooks.com/

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?

It takes me about four months, give or take a little. Keep in mind that the time invested is not always consecutive when you are working on a novel. Sometimes I’ll advance one project and then shift to another novel, before going back to complete the first one.

What can we expect from you in the future? More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?

You can expect more stories from me in the future, more dark fantasy romance, a dark contemporary fantasy with a Latin twist, and more about the world of The Curse Giver in its companion novel, The Soul Chaser.

What genre would you place your books into?

The Curse Giver falls into the fantasy genre and fits well in the subcategories of epic fantasy, dark fantasy, fantasy romance and romantic fantasy.

What made you decide to write that genre of book?

I’ve always been intrigued by the fantasy genre. I love the genre’s creative freedom, the opportunity to rethink, redesign and reinterpret the human experience, the creative challenges that that arise from world building, and the mysteries that magic brings to the human equation. I grew up in the Dominican Republic and my life always felt kind of magical in many ways. I’ve always straddled different worlds. Fantasy is a perfect fit for me.

Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?

I do. I think it’s a tossup between the main characters, Bren and Lusielle. I’ve always been a sucker for the underdog, the reluctant hero and the tortured soul. In The Curse Giver, Bren, Lord of Laonia, is all of those. He’s got the makings of a hero, but his circumstances make him an outcast and a villain in his own mind. He is weary, bitter and troubled, but he’s also dutiful and determined, and he will not betray his people. As the story begins, he rescues Lusielle from the pyre, but only because he’s hunting a birthmark she bears. To defeat the curse that has obliterated his family and is killing him, he has to murder the woman who bears the birthmark in the foulest possible way. But as he escapes with his prey in tow, she is not what he expected. He faces yet another dismal choice: Can he murder the only woman capable of healing more than his body, his soul?

Lusielle is also one of my favorite characters in The Curse Giver, but for a totally different reason. When the story begins, she’s been betrayed by her greedy husband and condemned to die for a crime she didn’t commit. After years of abuse and slavery, the false accusations destroy her bleak but orderly world. As she flees with the bitter lord who has rescued her, she finds herself in an impossible situation: If she’s going to survive, she must help the mysterious lord who is determined to kill her to defeat the curse giver who has already conjured their ends. What I like most about Lusielle is that she has to change; she has to muster the courage to free herself from her tragic past and find the strength within to thrive in a world she doesn’t understand.

How long have you been writing? And who or what inspired you to write?

I’ve been writing for publication for about seven years now. I’m inspired to write by many people and many experiences, but ultimately, I write because I can’t stop writing. I swear. I’ve tried. I just can’t. My mind is powered by this story generator that keeps on going and won’t quit.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? Do you listen to music, sit in a certain chair…?

I’m one of those people who prefer to write in silence. I guess my mind is way too noisy as it is! I have a writing studio in my home, a cozy little room that opens up to a veranda that overlooks a beautiful, spring-fed river. It’s quiet and peaceful, and it’s my favorite place to write. I like to sit on my favorite chair, a Scandinavian ergonomic design that offers excellent support for the long hours of writing.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book, then choose the title?

I usually discover the title of my novels at the very moment when I write it for the first time into the story. It can happen early on, during the opening paragraph or late in the process. It’s really neat. It’s always a “wow” moment.

Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals such as those in Aesop’s Fables: “The moral of this story is..”)

I don’t strive to preach any kind of morality in my stories, but I do write a lot about conflicting situations, injustice, opposing beliefs, and the meaning of concepts such as truth, faith and prejudice. Sometimes, the storyline leaves me and my readers thinking about things. For example, in The Curse Giver we join with the characters as they discover how reason, knowledge and awareness are the main components of our personal sense of strength. We don’t have to be magical to be strong. We just have to believe in ourselves.

Which format of book do you prefer, e-book, hardback, or paperback?

I’m partial to the indestructible, beach-proof, throw-it-in-your-bag, good old-fashioned paperback. I love the feel of a book between my hands. But I will confess—albeit reluctantly—that my latest e-reader has been growing on me. The idea that I can carry ALL of my favorite books around in my purse is irresistible.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is your favorite/worst book-to-movie transfer?

I think that books and movies are two different and distinct media. I usually approach them with different expectations. What makes a book great is not the same thing that will work for a movie. The translation is particularly challenging for science fiction and fantasy. There are an awful lot of great SF/F books that have been made into terrible movies. I used to say that I never wanted to see my books made into movies. That is, until I watched George R. Martin’s Game of Thrones on HBO. It might be time to rethink the old prejudices. . . .

Your favorite food is?

Cake. I know. Not a good one. I like carrots too. Does that help?

Your favorite singer/group is?

That would be a long list!

Your favorite color is?

Blue.

Remember to check out today’s spotlight to find out more about Dora and The Curse Giver.

http://authorkarenswart.blogspot.com/

http://authorkarenswart.blogspot.com/2013/10/book-blitz-curse-giver-by-dora-machado.html

The Making of an Audiobook

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

An Interview with Melissa Reizian

One of the best voice actresses in the business tells us how she chooses her projects and why writing for speech is at the heart of successful storytelling

by

Dora Machado

When I started this great adventure of writing, I never dreamed my novels would be published, let alone made into audiobooks. From the first time I typed “The End” at the bottom of a manuscript, to the first time I held each of my books in my hands, every step of this voyage has been filled with lots of emotions and incredible joy. I didn’t expect any less when we embarked in the new adventure of making the Stonewiser series available in audiobook, but I have to say: As an author, listening to the professional narration of Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone has been one of the most powerful experiences I’ve ever had.

Once the decision was made to create the audiobook, it was an incredible journey. Following the advice that my friend and fellow TTB author, Aaron Paul Lazar, gave in his award-winning Murder by 4 blog,  http://bit.ly/157aX8H, I approached the Stonewiser series’ publisher with the idea. From there on, it went really fast. ACX was contacted. Voice auditions were held. I stepped into a new world where voices became characters and characters developed their own voices. I learned about pitch, tone and accents. I listened in wonder as actors bid to tell the story. None was more gifted than the talented Melissa Reizian. And thus she became my heroine’s enduring voice.

Intrigued by her world, I talked to Melissa Reizian about the process of creating an audiobook, her project selection criteria, and her best advice for writers who want their books to become audiobooks. I also talked to her about her voice’s magical ability to tell a wonderful story and turn a book into a magnificent listening experience.

Welcome, Melissa. Thank you so much for being a guest on my blog today. Can you tell us how you first became interested in narrating books?

I have been a full-time voice actor for more than 13 years. Before that, I was a television news reporter/anchor/producer/videographer—a “one-woman band,” we used to call it—and during that time, people always commented on my voice and my delivery. I have always had a “storytelling” kind of voice. I quit the news business when my oldest son was a few years old so I could spend more time with him (and now my two other sons as well!). For the first decade, I focused on commercials, e-learning training voiceovers, and other types of narration. I had a client who presented the opportunity to start auditioning for audiobooks and I jumped on it! Since then, I’ve narrated more than a dozen audiobooks. I feel this is the part of the job I’m most passionate about…and get the biggest sense of pride and reward from doing. It allows me to utilize my acting skills, bringing characters to life, either with fun accents and dialects, or just with intonation and the delivery of the read. I remember my oldest son, Jarod, looking up at me with big, incredulous eyes one night as I was reading the Disney novelization of Treasure Planet to him. I was doing the cat-captain’s voice with a British accent, and he just stared up at me and said, “You can BE HER?” I was hooked!

For those of us who are not familiar with the steps involved in creating an audiobook, can you tell us a little bit about the process?

First, you should always read the book you’re narrating. You would then research any foreign accents or dialects you need to learn.…I usually find other voice actors who are native speakers of that language and ask them to read some of the lines for me.…I’m a good mimic, so that usually is all it takes. If you don’t know what’s coming up in the book, and you are suddenly faced with, “…he said, with his thick Scottish brogue” (which HAS happened to me!), you are in a bit of trouble if you can’t pull it off! (I was told by a native speaker that my first attempt at an Irish accent in a recent romance novel sounded like a “Canadian vampire.” Not sure how he knew what a Canadian vampire sounded like…but I did work on it until it was right!)

I also ask the author his or her intention for any of the characters.…Sometimes we learn something important about a main character in book two of a series, so knowing that she will become a fae, for example, is helpful in giving her lines the appropriate interpretation in book one. As I read, and decide how the characters will sound…accent, rate of speech, confidence, volume, etc.…I record snippets of their lines on my iPhone. Then I refer to this as I go, because sometimes a character is off canvas for a good bit of the book and you forget what he sounds like.

After I record, I edit out any mistakes I’ve made and edit out the dogs barking at the mailman, the neighbor’s lawnmower, the kids running down the hall like a herd of elephants, etc.! I also adjust the length of pauses to make the narrative and dialogue flow appropriately. This is one of the most, if not the most important parts of the process. You may have heard someone read and leave too short or too long of a space between lines. It totally takes you out of the story! Timing is the difference between being immersed in the story and “judging the book.”

How do you select your projects, and what are the elements that make a novel well-suited for narration?

It might seem obvious that it is much easier to do a great job on a book that you actually like! I can attest from personal experience that that is true. For example, with Stonewiser: the Heart of the Stone, I found myself wanting to get back to it to keep Sariah’s story going…. It’s exciting to bring the story to life. There was one book I did—that I did not choose, but rather was assigned—that was horribly written. It made me wonder how it even got published…and it was really, really hard to finish. I found myself making excuses not to get back in the booth with it. So now, I have completely learned my lesson, and only audition for books once I’ve researched them. I look at comments and reviews on Amazon and GoodReads. I also look at the subject matter. I’m certainly not opposed to some story-propelling steamy scenes, but gratuitous, extreme sex is not my bag…because frankly, I have to consider the impact it would have on my boys if they were to hear it, or hear ABOUT it from their friends!  I especially love narrating books that are written in first person (Sorry, Dora! J) because you get to do a “character” the whole time. But just a book that has strong, well-written characters with a story that moves is great. Pretty much the same things you’d look for in choosing a book to READ is what I look for when picking a book to NARRATE. You are spending about 40-50 hours with a 10-hour book from research to mastering, so you better love it!

Why did you choose to work on Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone?

I love fantasy as a genre. I got started really voraciously reading, as a kid, with Piers Anthony’s Xanth series. The idea that there is a whole other world with its own set of rules is just cool. And when it’s a story about real people living in that world, it’s a great escape from reality. Like in your case, Dora, you created this whole other universe that is totally believable because you are careful to maintain all the “rules” you established and write your characters true to themselves.

What was the most challenging part of this project?

Actually, figuring out what the characters should sound like was a challenge. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but suffice it to say that there are mysteries revealed as the story develops and all is not what it seems! As these secrets come to light, it becomes a little harder to justify what everyone should sound like. We actually went back and changed some characters’ accents after getting quite far into the book!

What was your favorite part of this project?

I loved the confrontational scenes between Sariah and…well, just about everyone! The girl doesn’t exactly have the easiest time of it! But performing and editing a really strong “acting” scene is very rewarding for me. Also, Dora, your descriptions are just phenomenal! You can “see” what you are writing happen in your head, and I really hope that readers get that from my narration when they listen to it!

What kind of readers do you think might enjoy listening to Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone?

People who love the fantasy genre—or sci-fi—will love it. But I would think this would even be enjoyable to someone who does not label themselves as “fantasy fans” because, when you come right down to it, this is a love story and a story of survival, self-awakening, and liberation. There are powerful messages in this book, as it challenges our notions of one’s “place in society,” the idea that we think we know everything about our enemies, and, to paraphrase my favorite Vulcan, “the needs of the one over the needs of the many.”

What would be your best advice for authors seeking to make their novels into audiobooks?

Write for speech! Nothing is more frustrating that narrating a book and realizing that no one would actually speak that way! Make your characters distinct and well-defined. This gives the narrator a good basis to make acting and voicing choices and helps the listener believe they are real.

I’d like to add that I can’t wait for people to get the chance to experience the audio version of Stonewiser: the Heart of the Stone. You can listen to a free sample at: http://bit.ly/18rUjkS. I really hope you’ll take the time to leave feedback (well, unless you don’t like it! J). I’ve gotta get going now and get back to reading part two—Stonewiser: the Call of the Stone!

Melissa, thank you very much for being my guest today and special thanks for all the hard work and passion that you put into giving voice to Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone.

Thank you so much!

****

Stonewiser The Heart of the Stone Audible

Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone, the Audible edition, is now available at: http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Stonewiser-Audiobook/B00F52CJIY/ref=sr_1_1?qid=1379186069&sr=1-1

And on Amazon at:

http://www.amazon.com/Stonewiser-Heart-Stone-ebook/dp/B001F7ATEO/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1379351789&sr=1-1&keywords=stonewiser+the+heart+of+the+stone

Contact Melissa Reizian at her website www.YouChoiceVoice.com or email her at Melissa@YourChoiceVoice.com.

About Dora Machado

Dora Machado is the award-winning author of the epic fantasy Stonewiser series and her newest novel, The Curse Giver, available from Twilight Times Books, July 2013. She grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a fascination for writing and a taste for Merengue. After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. She lives in Florida with her husband and three very opinionated cats. To learn more about Dora Machado and her novels, visit her website at www.doramachado.com or contact her at Dora@doramachado.com. For a free excerpt of The Curse Giver, visit  http://twilighttimesbooks.com/TheCurseGiver_ch1.html.

Subscribe to her blog at http://www.doramachado.com/blog/, sign up for her at newsletter at http://doramachado.com/newsletter.php,

Facebook and Twitter.

Website: http://www.doramachado.com/

Email: Dora@doramachado.com

Blog: http://www.doramachado.com/blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DoraMachado101

Twitter: @DoraMachado or https://twitter.com/DoraMachado

Amazon Author Central: amazon.com/author/doramachado


Working the Marketing Plan – Local Independent Book Stores: A Guest Blog By Scott Eder

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

I’m really excited to introduce to you my talented Twilight Times Books colleague, fantasy author Scott Eder, whose first novel, Knight of Flame will be coming out October 15th, 2013. In this excellent blog, he shares his adventure while visiting his local independent bookstore.

Enjoy!

D.

***

Working the Marketing Plan – Local Independent Book Stores

With Knight of Flame coming out on October 15th, I turned the crank on my great wheel of marketing to the notch labeled—Local Independent Book Stores (LIBS). While a tremendous amount of work can be done online, there is no substitute for, or a peripheral device yet invented that replaces, a firm handshake, and that personal touch.

Building relationships is still important, still relevant, and a great way to garner support at your local independent book seller. It’s not a one visit, wham, bam, buy my book, kind of deal. It can be, if your end goal is to see your book on their shelves; but, if you actually want the store personnel to keep you in mind and recommend your books to their customers, it takes a little more time and attention. I learned a lot during my first visit, and would like to share it with you.

The LIBS I targeted is touted as one of the biggest new and used book stores in Florida. They host quite a few author events, as evidenced by the huge array of signed book cover posters along the walls. These guys have been around a long, long time, founded in 1933 to be exact. I haven’t been in a store like that in years. The arid smell—of old paper, dust, adventure, and wisdom—filled the place. I loved it.

Now, I’ve been in tons of bookstores before, but as a reader. This was my first sojourn with more on my mind than picking up the latest release from Brooks, Farland, Anderson, Owen, or several of my other favorites. So, my expectations were low. I wanted to go in, look around, introduce myself, ask how they made stocking decisions, buy a book (I didn’t want to take up their time without giving something in return), and call it a successful recon mission with a plan to come back in a few weeks.

It didn’t quite work out that way.

I struck up a conversation with one of the guys behind the desk. It only lasted a few minutes, but I got the chance to introduce myself, handed him my business card, and mentioned that I had a book coming out soon. He gave me the owner’s card in return and suggested I give him a call. Done. Nothing major, but I was nice, made the initial contact, and gained the information I needed. Mission accomplished.

Free to peruse the shelves, I found the Fantasy section. Being an avid Fantasy guy, most of the other shelves, and there were shelves everywhere, appear grayed out to me anyway. While perusing the new releases, the gentleman I had spoken to, Roger (name changed to protect the innocent), walked over and picked up the conversation where we left off. We talked about some of the different authors, and then changed topics to cover art.

Roger appeared to be roughly my age, give or take, and he’d worked in the store since he was three, THREE, said he started in the comic book room. Based on his confident demeanor, and the comfortable, familiar way he talked about the authors that had held signings over the years, I got the impression he’d seen just about every book that had come out in the last thirty years worth seeing.

We discussed some of the old Frank Frazetta and Boris Valejo covers from the ’80s, among other things. Then, in the midst of Roger bemoaning the trend of some Sci-Fi covers being too abstract, I offered to show him my cover art. I mean, what could it hurt? We were in the midst of the cover conversation and he seemed to know a lot about the topic. He said, “Uh, sure.” Not overly enthused, but willing to take a peek. (He mentioned earlier that the owner of the store gets at least twenty calls a day from authors asking for him to stock their books. I bet he sees all kinds of covers, all the time. By his demeanor I assume that most aren’t all that spectacular.)

So, I pulled my cover up on my cell phone. Did I mention that I love technology?

Roger’s eyes widened. His stance changed. He stared at the cover. “That’s a really good cover.” His voice sounded deeper, different than it was before the reveal. “You know, every book is judged by its cover. I don’t care what anyone says. And yours is really good.”

His demeanor changed. I felt he took me more seriously. That great conversation we were having before just took on a new level of subtext.

Still on the topic of cover art, he pulled me to another section in the store, explaining how one particular cover sold well. It was a serious military series with a rifle on the cover. Nothing else. It left no question as to what the story was about. He related that the publisher was concerned that the cover was too serious, and rebuffed some readers who were looking for an element of romance. But there was decidedly no romance in the series. At all. None. Still, they changed that cover, depicting an abstract human torso dressed in a nebulous uniform. It gave no clues as to what the story was about, and the artwork sucked (his words). Sales for that entire series tanked. Roger said that he practically had to force people to check it out. Once they did, though, the story sold the rest of the series.

Since our relationship had evolved, and we were talking about a series of cover, I boldly took another step forward. I explained the plan for the changing covers in my four-book series. There are three consistent POV characters throughout my series to ground the reader. In each book, there is an additional POV character, typically one of the other members of the Knights Elementalis. I explained that each cover would showcase the face of that new POV character in the same style as my Knight of Flame cover. The next book features the Knight of Air.

Again, he paused for a moment, taking in the new information. Eyes wide, assessing, mulling over the possibilities, he said, “That sounds really cool. That could work well. Very distinctive.”

I got the same impression as before, could even see it on his face.

We talked about a few other things, moseying about the store. He kept track of the work going on around him, making sure the guys behind the counter could handle the steady flow of customers. When we got to the subject of local writers using recognizable settings in their work, I couldn’t resist. I mean, he lobbed a big juicy pitch over the center of the plate, I had to swing for the fence.

“Hmm,” I said. “Knight of Flame takes place here in the Tampa/St. Pete area. There’s an epic battle atop the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, and major events take place on the top floor of the Regions Bank building in downtown Tampa. I’ve got a strong mix of real and fantasy settings in the story.”

He waited for me to continue.

“While the first book in the series is primarily local, the next book expands to the west coast, Canada, and Europe as the influence of the Gray Lord is felt on a more global scale. It escalates further from there until things wrap up in book four. My plan was to build a large story that would draw in readers all over the world.”

He smiled and nodded as I spoke. “Sounds really good.” That’s when he told me the process to win over LIBS. I’ll paraphrase.

  1. When you go into an independent book store, don’t talk about the big retailers like Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. It really doesn’t matter to them how much you’ve sold through the other guys. Focus on the store at hand.
  2. Be nice. Roger called out a number of the authors on the wall, all exceedingly nice people. He mentioned a few others, no posters marking their presence, giving examples of how not to behave.

That’s it. The key is to be nice. Got it. Roger that, er…uhm, Roger.

Business picked up in the store, so he excused himself. Not to belabor the issues, or to push my luck, I paid for my selections and left, exhilarated.

I’ve had a few days to mull this phenomenal adventure over, and I think there are more steps for a successful visit than Roger let on. I lucked out to some degree. I always try to be nice on general principal, and I have no past history with the big book dogs, so there was no way for me to cross the line there. Here’s the process I came up with:

  1. Be Professional
    1. Plan the trip – Don’t go in on a whim. Set the date and treat it like a business meeting.
    2. Look decent – Look the part. Be the protagonist in your own author success story.
    3. Leave a business card – A good looking, professional business card will enhance their perception of you, and leave a souvenir of your visit.
  2. Be Nice
    1. Courteous
    2. Respectful
    3. Watch language – treat the encounter like it’s a professional business meeting.
    4. Get to the point – don’t waste their time.
  3. Be Prepared – if you follow the first two points, especially number two, be prepared to take it to the next level. Create the opportunity to sell yourself and your work.
    1. Cover art – my awesome cover art was done by Brad Fraunfelter – www.bradfraunfelterillustration.com
    2. Back cover copy
    3. Story pitch – you’re not selling to an agent or editor, but you are trying to interest someone in your work.
    4. Anything else you might be able to use to tell your story
  4. If you have the means, buy a book – the LIBS guys and gals need to eat too, and your to-be-read pile can never be too large.

That’s it. Simple, right? Now, go out and win over your LIBS.

****

About Scott Eder

Since he was a kid, Scott Eder wanted to be an author. Through the years, fantastic tales of nobility and strife, honor and chaos dominated his thoughts. After twenty years mired in the corporate machine, he broke free to bring those stories to life.

Scott lives with his wife and two children on the west coast of Florida.

KnightofFlame_med

Scott Eder’s upcoming Knight of Flame

Fire. The most chaotic of the primal elements. When wielded properly by the Knight of Flame, it burns like the sun. Otherwise, it slowly consumes the Knight, burning away his control, driving him towards dark deeds.

Stationed in Tampa, FL, Develore Quinteele, sixth Knight of Flame, waits impatiently for the predicted emergence of the last Gray Lord, his Order’s ancient enemy. Hampered by a centuries-old tragedy, Dev knows of only one way to control his elemental power—rage. It broils just below his surface, waiting for the slightest provocation to set it alight.

After a brutal attack by the Gray Lord’s minions for which Dev is blamed, he’s stripped of his freedom until he learns to control his violent impulses. With the help of his fellow Knights, can he balance his rage and unlock his true elemental potential to prevent Tampa’s devastation?

Knight Of Flame, coming October 15th, 2013.

For additional information about Scott Eder and his novels, please contact Scott at:

Email – scotteder@verizon.net

Website – www.scotteder.net

Blog – madmuncleforge.blogspot.com/

Facebook – www.facebook.com/knightselementalis

Twitter – @scotteder

99 Cents!

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Hello there!

I just found out that 99 cents can get you The Curse Giver and three other fantastic new releases from Twilight Times Books, but only in the next 48 hours.

Indeed, The Curse Giver, my newest release, will be on sale for only 99 cents on Friday, August 23 and Saturday, August 24. If you haven’t gotten around to purchasing The Curse Giver, today and tomorrow will be your best chance to get it for only 99 cents!

Three additional releases from Twilight Times Books are also offered for 99 cents for the next forty-eight hours, including Dragon Fire by Dina Von Lowerkraft, Don’t Let the Wind Catch You by Aaron Lazar, and Lucid by Natalie Roers. Please help me celebrate and support my talented fellow TTB authors by purchasing their books!

Scroll down to learn about these wonderful TTB novels, available for only 99 cents, but only for today and tomorrow.

Enjoy!

D.

The Curse Giver from AmazonBuy Link:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Curse-Giver-ebook/dp/B00DSUQL4I/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377230945&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Curse+Giver

Lusielle’s bleak but orderly life as a remedy mixer is shattered when she is sentenced to die for a crime she didn’t commit. She’s on the pyre, about to be burned, when a stranger breaks through the crowd and rescues her from the flames.

Brennus, Lord of Laonia is the last of his line. He is caught in the grip of a mysterious curse that has murdered his kin, doomed his people and embittered his life. To defeat the curse, he must hunt a birthmark and kill the woman who bears it in the foulest of ways. Lusielle bears such a mark.

Stalked by intrigue and confounded by the forbidden passion flaring between them, predator and prey must come together to defeat not only the vile curse, but also the curse giver who has already conjured their demise.

Dragon's Fire

Buy Link:

http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Fire-ebook/dp/B00ECNEZ6G/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377230520&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Dina+Von+Lowekraft

Some choices are hard to live with.
But some choices will kill you.

When seventeen-year-old Anna first meets Rakan in her hometown north of the Arctic Circle, she is attracted to his pulsing energy. Unaware that he is a shape-shifting dragon, Anna is drawn into a murderous cycle of revenge that pits Rakan and his clan against her best friend June.

Torn between his forbidden relationship with Anna, punishable by death, and restoring his family’s honor by killing June, Rakan must decide what is right. And what is worth living – or dying – for.

Lucid

Buy Link:

http://www.amazon.com/Lucid-Natalie-Roers/dp/160619027X/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377230654&sr=1-3&keywords=Lucid

Disfigured at birth and ostracized at school, Travis Hunter dreams of acceptance and secretly yearns for the affection of a beautiful young woman named Corrine. When a mysterious doctor promises to help Travis through something called lucid dreaming, Travis gets more than he ever bargained for and soon finds himself learning the secrets of love and life in a fantastic unconscious world.


Don't Let the Wind Catch You

Buy Link:

http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Let-Wind-Catch-ebook/dp/B00ECNEOTE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377230847&sr=1-1&keywords=don%27t+let+the+wind+catch+you

When young Gus LeGarde befriends Tully, a cranky old hermit in the woods who speaks to an Indian spirit, he wonders if the man is nuts. But when the spirit rattles tin cups, draws on dusty mirrors, and flips book pages, pestering him to find evidence to avenge her past, things change fast. What Gus doesn’t understand is why his mother hates Tully and forbids him to see the old man. What could Tully have possibly done to earn this distrust?

Faced with long-buried family secrets and danger, Gus summons courage beyond his years in this poignant and powerful telling of the sultry summer of 1965.

Are All Writers Egoists? A Guest Blog by Aaron Lazar

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

As some of you might remember, today is the official release and book bomb day for Aaron Lazar’s Don’t Let the Wind Catch You, which is available at http://amzn.to/1bxNnB7 for only $2.99.  And just in case you want to learn more about this talented author, here’s a funny and endearing guest blog by Aaron Lazar.  Enjoy! D.

Are all Writers Egoists?

Writers are terribly self-centered.

Now, don’t get offended. I’m not really talking about all of you. I’m pretty much talking about me.

Strangely enough, I don’t think anyone in my non-writer life would label me an egoist. Or an egotist, for that matter. I had to look up the difference, but there isn’t much of a distinction, as far as I could tell.* Anyway, I can’t picture someone calling me either one of those. At least not to my face.

With my family, colleagues at my day job, and with neighbors and friends, I try to be a good listener. I try to be generous. I take time to be there for them, to encourage them when they’re down, to support them when they’re mourning. I care about family and friends and frequently make sacrifices for them.

I sound pretty great, don’t I?

Ahem. Read on.

In my writerly world, I am horrified to admit that I have recently come to learn I’m a HUGE egoist.

Look at the first few paragraphs in this piece. How many times did I use the word “I?” TWELVE! It’s always all about what I think, or what I noticed, or what I wrote. Isn’t it? (Of course, I guess it might be hard to write about what you think or notice. LOL.)

I started to ponder this recently when I had a confrontation with a friend, and she pointed out to me how much I write about **me**. After a bit of soul searching, I realized she was right.

But it got me to thinking.

I try to be a good guy. I really do. This is in spite of all the stupid things I do, like dribbling my red herbal tea on the new carpet at work yesterday (I spent an hour cleaning it) and consistently forgetting to attach files to emails. If it can be screwed up, I’ll do it.

So, I’m an egoist and a klutz.

That’s not all. No. Not only am I all of the above, I’m mean.

REALLY mean.

I am merciless to my characters. I put them through the wringer time and time again, without care for their suffering. I torment them. I make them endure horrible losses. I hurt ANIMALS, for God’s sake. Okay, so I rescue them in the end, but what kind of a jerk does that to poor, defenseless animals?

Sigh.

I suppose we writers can always pretend to sit back and be the philosophical documenter, the great observer, the quintessential Hemmingway-esque witness of life. But however life presents itself – brutal or tender, seedy or majestic – all fiction comes from our inside our own minds. It’s all about how we see it. How we imagine. How we think our characters would feel.

Isn’t it?

So, how do we compensate for being such egoists?

It’s not as bad as it sounds. It certainly isn’t hopeless, and I’m pretty sure we can redeem ourselves.

Maybe we can find redemption by setting good examples through our characters’ actions while they’re in the midst of dashing here or there during the page turning suspense.  One thing I never intended to do with my three mystery series was to teach lessons about nurturing a family, tending to a disabled wife, dealing with trauma or loss, or being a good father or grandfather. Those things just found their way into my books, because my characters do that stuff in their everyday lives. To my surprise, my readers have come back and thanked me for doing just that. It humbles me to think that by including some amusing family scenes in the middle of the mayhem, I might have actually done some good. One fellow actually told me I made him a better dad. And another wrote to say I got him through his chemo. Like I said, it’s all pretty darned humbling.

Can examples like these make up for my weaknesses and faults? For that great big ego? For my incessant ranting about me???

Man. I sure hope so.

***

–Egoist, noun

1. self-centered or selfish person ( opposed to altruist).

2. an arrogantly conceited person; egotist.

Egotist, noun

1. a conceited, boastful person.

2. a selfish person; egoist.

*****

About Aaron Paul Lazar

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. The award-winning and bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys.

Visit his website at www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming Twilight Times Books releases DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (August 15, 2013), the author’s preferred edition of UPSTAGED (FEB 2013), and SANCTUARY, book #3 in Tall Pines Mysteries in JULY 2013.

Help us drive Don’t Let The Wind Catch You to Amazon’s top rankings by purchasing it on August 15th, 2013 at:

DontLettheWind-cover-front HI RES

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ECNEOTE

A Review from Here Interview with Dora Machado

Monday, August 12th, 2013

This is one of my favorite interviews that I’ve done this year. It asked some tough questions and it really made me think. It is reprinted with permission from:

http://reviewfromhere.com/2013/08/07/interview-with-dora-machado-author-of-the-curse-giver/comment-page-1/#comment-36989

Enjoy! D.


1. Could you please tell us a little about your book?

Of course! I’m very excited about my new fantasy romance, The Curse Giverpublished by Twilight Times Books. The Curse Giver is about an innocent healer called Lusielle, who is betrayed and condemned to die for a crime she didn’t commit. When she’s about to be executed, Lusielle is rescued from the pyre by an angry, embittered lord doomed by a mysterious curse. You might think that Bren, Lord of Laonia, is Lusielle’s savior, but he isn’t. On the contrary, Bren is pledged to kill Lusielle himself, because her murder is his people’s only salvation.

What ensues is a dangerous journey, where Lusielle and Bren have to escape their ruthless enemies and unravel the mystery of the terrible curse that ails the lord of Laonia. They also have to overcome the distrust they have for each other, struggle with the forbidden attraction between them, and defy the boundaries between love and hate and good and evil to defeat the curse giver who has already conjured their ends.

2. Who is your biggest supporter?

My family, especially my husband, who was the one who encouraged me to seek publication. I don’t think I would have ever undertaken the journey to publication without his support and encouragement.

3. Your biggest critic?

I’m my biggest critic! It’s a heavy burden because I’m always questioning myself , but it’s also an advantage because I’m driven to do more and better.

4. What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as an author?

Hmm, that’s a tricky question. I think I would have answered this question quite differently a few years ago. When I first started writing, I measured achievement step by step, the first completed manuscript, the first full edit, the first acceptance letter, etc. Then came the day when Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone, my first novel, was published and I remember thinking that it was my greatest achievement ever; that is, until it won the Benjamin Franklin award for best debut novel in 2009. I thought I was hot stuff then!

After The Heart of the Stone came two more award-winning novels. When I finished the Stonewiser trilogy, I was absolutely sure that completing the series was by far my greatest accomplishment. But then came The Curse Giver and here I am, once again, enjoying this moment but also redefining my concept of achievement.

You see, these days, I’ve come to realize that a writer’s journey is not about a moment or a book. On the contrary, a writer’s journey entails many moments, some lived far away from any sense of achievement other than the occasional appreciation for a well-constructed sentence or an awesome plot twist. To me, an author’s accomplishments are not measured in terms of books, awards, sales, reviews or accolades. An author’s accomplishments are defined by his or her ability to bring enjoyment to the reader. These days I feel most accomplished when I hear from a reader who has connected with my stories or who has been touched by my writing.

5. What do you feel is your biggest strength?

As a writer, I feel like one of my biggest strengths is plot design. I love an interesting, fast and complex plot that surprises with clever twists. I also feel like my characters come across real and vivid and that my stories are enriched by the quality of the relationships between the characters. But perhaps my biggest strength as a writer is the passion that I bring to both the craft and the story. It’s a passion that sustains me and permeates every line I write and every character that inhabits my stories.

6. Biggest weakness?

That would be a long list! Self-deprecation, maybe? Seriously, now, let me think about that.  I think I’m shy and sometimes reticent to step into the public eye. I want to be writing all the time. I have been known to neglect my own blog or skip a FB post in favor of writing some more.

7. What do you feel sets The Curse Giver apart from others in the same genre?

The theme is a complete departure from the usual and a fresh take on magic and fantasy. The relationships are powerful, conflicted, deep and daring.  The world and the settings are diverse and inspired by my multicultural life experiences. The issues are neither white nor black but rather complex and nuanced. There’s a lot or realism to my fantasy and I’m not afraid to mix a powerful, edgy romance with a truly epic fantasy story.

8. Is there anything you regret doing/not doing?

I wish I would have started writing my stories sooner!

9. What is your favorite past-time?

I love traveling and I find a lot of inspiration for my stories along the way. In fact, I was traveling through Peru when I was writing The Curse Giver. I also love hiking, despite the huffing and puffing, which might explain why I’m answering your questions at 37,000 feet on a jet bound from Colorado. Of course I love reading, but that’s a given. My most favorite past-time involves spending time with my family.

10. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

I want to thank you again for having me and giving me an opportunity to reach out to your readers. If you like fast-paced, plot-twisting fantasy, epic, dark, and yes—why not?—incredibly romantic fantasy, give The Curse Giver a try. I’m betting you might like it.

****

Dora Machado is the award-winning author of the epic fantasy Stonewiser series and her newest novel, The Curse Giver, available from Twilight Times Books. She grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a fascination for writing and a taste for Merengue. After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. She lives in Florida with her husband and three very opinionated cats. To learn more about Dora Machado and her novels, visit her website at www.doramachado.com or contact her at Dora@doramachado.com. For a free excerpt of The Curse Giver, visit  http://twilighttimesbooks.com/TheCurseGiver_ch1.html.

Subscribe to her blog at http://www.doramachado.com/blog/, sign up for her at newsletter at http://doramachado.com/newsletter.php,

Facebook and Twitter.

CurseGiver_Front Cover Final

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/12AOH3Z

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/16EbUzM

Romance eBooks: http://bit.ly/14TXNbC

Stuff is Happening: A Guest Blog and a Review of The Curse Giver by Jerry Hatchett

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Congratulations are in order for my good friend and talented techno-thriller author, Jerry Hatchett. His free Kindle giveaway of Seven Unholy Days netted over 63,000 downloads in only five days. That’s huge folks! In the middle of the well-deserved celebration, Jerry found time to review and recommend The Curse Giver because–well–that’s the kind of generous guy he is. Here’s Jerry’s blog. Enjoy! D.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Stuff is happening!

Sorry for the long dry spell without a post, folks. Life got busy and the blog got back-burnered for several weeks. I’m excited to share some news with you about Seven Unholy Days. I ran a free promo on this, my most recent novel, for the Kindle edition. The promo was a stunning success that exceeded my wildest expectations. I know many of you reading this helped to make that happen, whether it was downloading yourself or helping spread the word, so: THANK YOU!

Kindle Cover

http://amzn.to/10tDIVN

5 DAYS: 63,546 DOWNLOADS

Even better, once the free promo ended and the price went back to its normal $4.99, Seven Unholy Days has remained on Amazon’s list of bestselling technothrillers. I am appreciative and humbled by the kind reviews that are now pouring in almost daily.

Moving on, I have a couple authors/books I want to share with you. If you’ve followed my blog long, you know I don’t often do this, and the reason is simple: My credibility with you is everything. I absolutely do not trade reviews with other authors. I don’t buy reviews. I don’t do sock-puppet reviews. The first and most important purpose by far for reviews is to inform and benefit the potential buyer, not the seller. I fervently believe this to be true whether I’m reviewing a book or an automatic litter box or a pair of athletic shorts.

With all that said, if you enjoy fantasy novels, I have a couple authors I can wholeheartedly recommend for you to explore.

First up is my longtime friend and so-very-talented fellow author, Dora Machado. Her Stonewiser series was award winning and highly acclaimed for good reason, and I of course invite you to check out that trilogy. But her latest work, called The Curse Giver, is positively excellent. I enjoyed it immensely and I’m not really a fantasy reader. It’s a big, rich, robust tale told with Dora’s characteristically splendid prose, and it’s a joy.

CurseGiver_Front Cover Final

http://amzn.to/11X5VKd

Next, I’ve discovered another author of (darkish) paranormal fantasy novels who is really going to be something special. Her name is Lea Ryan and I was honored to recently read her upcoming book called Pestilence Rising. You can read about it on Goodreads right now and it will be available September 18th on Amazon. Ryan’s a great storyteller, but what will really hook you with her writing is her amazing gift of language. She has that intangible ability to write sentences and paragraphs and pages that are almost melodic. Discover her now. That way, in a few years you’ll be able to say, “Oh, I was reading her way back when!”

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18269885-pestilence-rising

Finally, a new chapter is coming SOON for The Projectionist!

Thanks for your patient loyalty!

http://jerryhatchett.blogspot.com/2013/08/stuff-is-happening.html

An Interview with Aaron Paul Lazar

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

As you may know, this week we are celebrating my fellow TTB author, Aaron Paul Lazar’s upcoming release, Don’t Let the Wind Catch You. I thought perhaps you would like learning about this wonderful writer and the mysteries he writes so well. Enjoy! D.

BANNER windcatchyou

Q) How was writing Don’t Let the Wind Catch You different from the other books in the LeGarde Mystery series?

A) When I write from “young Gus’s” POV, I need to let myself go back to that eleven or twelve-year-old inside me. It was an age I remember with great clarity and with intense nostalgia. I simply try to be me (or Gus) at that age and let the story flow.

Sometimes I have to look up when certain songs or events took place, because I don’t remember the precise year they came out, etc. And of course I’d already created the characters of young Gus, Siegfried, and Elsbeth in Tremolo: Cry of the Loon, so it wasn’t hard at all. It can be almost like a magical trip back to childhood for me, which is probably why these types of books are among my favorites.

Q) Where does the German influence come from? Brigit Marggrander, the twins’ mother, has a real problem dealing with her past life in a Nazi concentration camp. How did this come into your story?

A) When I worked for Kodak I lived in Germany for months and visited frequently, thus my passion for German culture. And my daughter, Melanie, performed in “The Diary of Anne Frank” when she was in high school. I’d sit in the back of the auditorium during rehearsals and as time went on my hatred for the Nazis deepened. So I had to include some kind of theme here for my German twins’ mother. Also, I have always been fascinated by stories about asylums, especially in the older days. I realize that in the fifties and sixties mental illness was often considered an embarrassment, and people frequently went years without help like Brigit does in this side-plot of Don’t Let the Wind Catch You.

Q) Will you ever write a story that shows what happened to Siegfried in 1966? (The boating accident that made him lose his math genius and left him partially mentally impaired)

A) I do plan to write a sequel to Don’t Let the Wind Catch You, and it would make sense for it to take place the next year, in 1966. So stay tuned!

Q) How hard is it to take a fully mature adult character and portray him as a child? You did this with Gus LeGarde, Siegfried, Elsbeth, and also made Gus’s parents, The Marggranders, Oscar and Millie Stone, and the LeGarde grandparents thirty years younger in these “young Gus” stories.

A) It was actually a lot of fun to take the “adult” part away from my main characters who started in Double Forté (book 1 in the series) and bring them back to 1964. (Tremolo) I decided to show Siegfried, the gentle giant in Double Forté who lost his mental acuity, before his accident. It was fun to portray him as a bright, math genius who also excelled in orienteering. Bits of Siegfried transcend across time, of course, and can be found in the pre-accident young boy as well as the mature adult who works in Freddie’s veterinary clinic and around the LeGarde homestead.

Q) Where did you learn so much about horses? It seems like you really know the details. Research? Or first hand experience?

A) Ah, my horse chapters are among my favorites, mostly because I miss my own Morgan horses my wife Dale and I used to ride every day. We were both horse fanatics—one of the reasons we bonded so well before we were married. We talked horses all day long, cared for, rode, bought, and sold them. But mostly we adored them. When we were married, Dale brought her little Morgan mare out to live with us in Upstate New York, and I purchased my first sixteen hand high Morgan gelding. Oh, the rides we had. It was Heaven. As a child I also rode the woods with my buddies. But we never met up with a hermit or a little Indian ghost!

Q) You cover a difficult subject in this book with great sensitivity. Were you trying to teach a lesson in anti-bigotry here by “showing, not telling” how Gus reacts to the discovery that his grandfather loved another man?

A) I didn’t plan to do this – it just came about. I wanted to have a scandalous secret that was revealed over time, and it just happened to involve a gay couple who sadly had to give up their love because of the morés of the time. In hindsight, I think Gus’s reaction to this “taboo” subject was authentic. He hadn’t been tainted by discussion of homosexuality being an “illness” or that it was wrong. People didn’t discuss such things in those days, not openly, and especially not with children. I grew up when Gus did and never even heard about gay people until I was in college.

So I’m proud of Gus for his understanding and compassion, and glad that maybe in hindsight he can help folks young or old learn to accept people who don’t fit into a supposedly “normal” mold. I realize, also in hindsight, that I have included mini-lessons in all my books about accepting those people who aren’t perfect, like Siegfried (mentally damage) or Cindi (Downs Syndrome, from Upstaged), or Penelope (gay lover of Sam Moore’s daughter in For Keeps), or Raoul Rodriguez (transgender in For the Birds) or Slim (Huge black convict in FireSong), etc.

Q) Why did you choose mysteries? Was it an easy choice, or did you have to make a conscious decision?

A) I always read mysteries, since I was a kid. I used to read Hardy Boys, Agatha Christie, and all the “animal” mysteries I could get my parents to buy on the Arrow Book Club in elementary school. I remember reading about Black Diamond (a horse) and lots of dog stories. My folks read and adored John D. MacDonald and I, in turn, fell in love with the Travis McGee mysteries of the master, Mr. MacDonald. They also had Rex Stout, Agatha Christie, PD James, and more mysteries always available in plentiful quantities. I guess it was genetics. I was born to two mystery fanatics. So I really didn’t depart from the genre. When I began writing, it was almost a defacto decision to create a mystery.

Q) Do you enjoy writing?

A) I love the process of writing. It’s as if I’m living in the movie in my mind. It’s a fantastic escape mechanism and I crave the process like a drug addict. Lately I’ve had to do more promotional efforts and I must say, I don’t enjoy that as much as the pure process of creating!

Q) Do you write in a specific place or time of day? Do you keep a notebook to jot down ideas?

A) I write mostly in the early morning hours or the later, quieter moments of the day. But I can write anytime, anywhere. I have been known to write some great scenes in a hospital, waiting for family to come out of surgery, or in the airport, waiting for a plane to Germany. It seems whenever I have a moment to myself, it is the “perfect” time to write. Although I must say my favorite time to write is the dark, early hours of morning.

I don’t keep a notebook, but there is a file I have on my computer with “ideas for stories” that I occasionally refer to. Usually I have an idea brewing for one particular story that seems to overpower me. I think about it constantly. I dream about it. And then the new book begins to take shape. That’s my typical process.

Q) Do you know the end of a novel when you begin? Do you ever change your planned plot in midstream?

A) I don’t always know the endings in advance. I usually know the beginning and the general themes I will use. I start to write and let my characters take over, then as the themes deepen and become more complex, the ending seems to fall into place. If you’ve read my works, you’ll know I usually like to end my stories in an upbeat, positive fashion. People still die, someone is still hurt, but in the end, the stories resolve to a positive outcome.

Q) Do you discuss your work with family or friends?

A) I used to drive my wife crazy, asking her about what Gus LeGarde (my first protagonist in LeGarde Mysteries) would do, or what she thought of one plot twist or another. Lately, however, I’ve been giving her a break. I think I used to drive her mad! These days, I sometimes run my plot ideas by my wonderful mentor, Sonya Bateman, who is a superb writer and a great teacher. She’s shared so much with me over the years and I know my writing has improved dramatically because of her influence.

Q) The Genesee Valley is almost a character in your novels. Have you always lived there?

A) I moved to the Genesee Valley in upstate NY (just south of Rochester, NY) in 1981, the same year I married Dale and the year I started working for Kodak. Two years later, we had our first of three daughters, and we have lived here and loved it ever since. I can’t think of another place on earth I’d rather spend my days, it is so beautiful, with the rolling hills and the Finger Lakes.

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About Aaron Paul Lazar

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. The award-winning and bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys.

Visit his website at www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming Twilight Times Books releases DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (August 15, 2013), the author’s preferred edition of UPSTAGED (FEB 2013), and SANCTUARY, book #3 in Tall Pines Mysteries in JULY 2013.

Help us drive Don’t Let The Wind Catch You to Amazon’s top rankings by purchasing it on August 15th, 2013 at:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ECNEOTE

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