Guest Post: Turn Up the Lights by Jean Naggar — Part 2
Guest Posts , Latest Posts / April 17, 2012

There is one mantra for every writer who believes in his or her work: Never give up. I have taken it to heart for others, and have seen it work for my own book. If the book has intrinsic value, a writer can alert readers in any number of ways. The ultimate challenge is to inform the world that it exists. It is no longer enough to write a good book, to create and formulate an enticing production, taking advantage of POD (print on demand) options, setting it up with Kindle for high royalties. If no traffic drives by, the glow of the higher royalties will never reach the outstretched hand of the writer. Years ago, one of my authors who had young sons constantly skateboarding around her neighborhood, had T-shirts made up for them. The book jacket of her first novel was on the back, and the front read “my mother wrote the book.” Another author left a voicemail message on her phone: “I can’t take your call right now. Leave your name and number, and while you are waiting for my return call, visit your neighborhood bookstore and ask for my latest book (title).” Clearly, it is imperative…

Guest Post: Turn Up the Lights by Jean Naggar – Part 1
Guest Posts , Latest Posts / April 16, 2012

While the publishing industry has been going through a confusing sea change, and ways for a writer to get published are multiplying like weeds, some things never change. The first step toward selling and marketing a book is probably trying to find a good literary agent. If you have faith in your book, that is still the smartest thing to do. Not only does a reputable agent have the know-how and the contacts to make a good deal, but having someone in your corner when everything around you is in flux is beyond priceless. Not everyone comes to publishing as a seasoned national celebrity. The buzzword bandied about in publishing circles is “platform,” although once upon a time, building up an author’s visibility was a job undertaken by the publisher of a book. Now it is up to authors to find ways to enhance and promote their work. Now, the internet reaches out into the cosmos, providing both a challenge and an opportunity. Many writers today are more savvy than their publishers as to what to do, and how to do it. While I started out seriously technophobic, I acknowledged reality. Swept along by my desire to see my book…

Thoughts on: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy — Book 2 Part 1
Latest Posts / April 14, 2012

About: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy is a fictional book first published in 1869. The work is regarded as one of the most important works of world literature. The copy I read was translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude. 1350 pages Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; New edition ISBN: 0199232768 Great price on this book in paper or elec­tronic for­mat through the Man of la Book Affil­i­ate Account More books by Leo Tolstoy Thoughts: This section starts with an excellent narrative about joy. When reading this I felt as if I were part of the party welcoming Nikolai back home. This part was very intense on an emotional level especially the middle part where a father is told that his son is dead. I cannot even imagine anything remote to this happening and Tolstoy manage to squeeze every ounce of sympathy he could manage. I don’t know why, but I hate to see or read about men crying. Whenever my wife watches reality shows (her “chill” hour) I turn away in disgust. In this book there is a heart wrenching scene of the old Prince mourning his son Andrei which I could barley get passed. The unimaginable had happened…

Fun Facts Friday: Eudora Welty
Latest Posts / April 13, 2012

Southern writer Eudora Welty was born today, 13 April 1909 (died 23 July 2001) in Jackson, Mississippi. Books by Eudora Welty 1 ) Eudora Welty was the daughter of an insurance company owner and had a sheltered childhood and a led a sheltered life. 2 ) Many of Ms. Welty’s stories feature strong women, however feminist scholars shunned them due to negative comments she made in the 1970s about the feminist movement. 3 ) Eudora Welty was the first woman to study at Peterhouse College in Cambridge. 4 ) Ms. Welty was an accomplished photographer who took pictures for three years in the south during depression in the 1930s. 5 ) When she returned home from college (Columbia University School of Business), Ms. Welty worked as a radio writer and newspaper society writer. 6 ) The Death of a Traveling Salesman was Eudora Welty’s first published short story (1936). Her work appeared in the Southern Review for the next two years. 7 ) A Curtain of Green, a book of short stories was published in 1941. 8 ) Ms. Welty was awarded the O. Henry Award for best short fiction in 1942 and 1943. The novel The Optimist’s Daughter was…

Thoughts on: Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh & Rob Ten Pas (Illustrator) (The Graphic Adaptation)
Latest Posts / April 12, 2012

About: Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits Passion and Purpose by Tony Hsieh is a shortened, graphic version of the famous book by the successful entrepreneur. Tony is the CEO of Zappos, an online shoe seller. 80 pages Publisher: Writers Of The Round Table Press (April 16, 2012) Language: English ISBN-10: 1610660242 My rating for Delivering Happiness – 5 Buy this book in paper format or the full length book in electronic format Thoughts: Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits Passion and Purpose by Tony Hsieh is a wonderful graphic adaptation of the book and certainly brings out the main points across. As with many good business books, this one also left me with ideas on how to implement what I learned at my job. Tony is an entrepreneur by blood. He started his own earthworm farm at 9, moved on to newspaper routes and made custom buttons and more. As Tony discovered computers he became a tester for video games, a programmer and worked for Oracle while creating LinkExchange. Tony’s company was sold to Microsoft for $265 million. Always looking for the next great opportunity, Tony started a venture capital company and got involved with Zappos.com. Along the way…

Author Q&A with RJ Smith
Latest Posts / April 11, 2012

RJ Smith is a journalist and an author. I recently read his wonderful biography of James Brown called The One which I enjoyed very much. I was pleased when he agreed for a short Q&A. Q. You have written several biographies and non-fiction books. How do you decide on the subject? A. I write about stuff to learn about stuff. Researching and then writing gives you a chance to focus your attention on something you are obsessed with and wonder about as you live your life, it lets you peer into other people’s lives and ask questions you would NEVER dream of asking if you were just meeting them at a party or in a line somewhere. You also have to ask the question, Do I want to have this subject living inside me for the next few years or more? If it’s a dark story, you have to consider what you will be living with until you are done. Q. How do you go about starting your research?
 A. I am big on timelines, writing huge long chronologies that grow like bamboo. I assemble subject folders on people and ideas connected to the topic. I try to read everything,…

Thoughts on: Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall
Latest Posts / April 10, 2012

About: Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall is a fictional book taking place in an insane asylum during the American Civil War. The lines between insanity and sanity are always blurred and this is especially true during war time. The pub­lisher is giv­ing away one copy of this book— use the form at the end of the post to enter. 288 pages Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (April 10, 2012) Language: English ISBN-10: 0547712073 My rating for Blue Asylum – 4 Buy this book in paper or in elec­tronic format. More book by Kathy Hepinstall Thoughts: Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall (website | blog) is a solid story which blurs the lines between what’s real & imaginary, sane & insane and right and wrong. The novel is short and fast paced with clear writing and excellent characterization. I could vividly see the characters, scenery and settings in my mind’s eye. This is an intriguing book with compelling writing. Ms. Hepinstall has a wonderful linguistic gift which makes her work enjoyable to read. There are many themes to the book sanity, slavery, love, and more. What is it like being sane in an insane world and being insane in an insane world are some of the subjects that are being touched on. The…

Thoughts on: Hell Above Earth by Stephen Frater
5 Stars , Latest Posts , Non-Fiction / April 9, 2012

Werner Goering, a United States B-17 pilot during World War II for the Mighty 8th Air Force, had a hurdle to overcome – his uncle is Reich Marshal Hermann Göring, head of the Luftwaffe and Hitler’s second in command. Unbeknown to him, Goering’s co-pilot, Jack Rencher had a standing order from J. Edgar Hoover to kill Werner in-case they got shot down or if he was trying to commit an act of treason.

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