Sunday, April 28, 2013

This Week on Books Direct - 28 April 2013

This Week on Books Direct - 28 April 2013

Here is a list of the articles you may have missed this week:

"Blogs and Typos: A Big Deal?" - Article by Victoria Grefer.
How much do typos drive you up the wall? I'm with Victoria. If you ever see a typo in one of my blog posts, please let me know privately so that I can fix it.

"Writers: Create Your Digital Press Kit" - Article by Web Design Relief.
Every author who is serious about self-promotion should invest in an author website and engage in social media. The next step to making your digital author platform shine is creating your digital press kit and making it available online.

"Deciding What Your Brand Is - aka Finding Your Author Tagline" - D. Kai Wilson for Book Junkies Journal.
Kai discusses the importance of coming up with an author tagline. Have you got one?

"Follow You, Follow Me" - Tutorial by Carol E. Wyer for Indies Unlimited.
Let Carol guide you through the tricky business of setting up follow gadgets on your blog.

"How Indie Authors Can Work Together" - Article by Jason Boog for GalleyCat.
What a great idea! A team of indie authors recently banded together to create The Indie Voice group and release an eight-book To Die For boxed set, expanding their fan base and promotional reach.

You’ll make a lot more real friends and sell a lot more books in the long run if you heed Anne's list of do's and don’ts.

"How to Correctly Format Your Book Interior Using Word" - Article by Chris Robley for BookBaby.
We've all seen self-published books put together by well-meaning authors who really want to succeed but, for one reason or another, are unclear on how exactly to go about it. Chris has the solution.

"Formula for a Bestselling Horror Novel" - Article by K. S. Brooks for Indies Unlimited.
K. S. Brooks has already shared her tips on writing other genres. Today it's time for horror.

"The 4 Best Strategies for Savvy Self-Publishers" - Article by Brian Klems for Writer's Digest.
Having read the amazing stories of authors who've made it on their own, you may start to consider taking the leap into self-publishing. Brian shares four simple strategies to help you on your way.

Authors often question if they should have a blog but if you have a done a book signing recently you will quickly realize that the answer is yes. Take a look at these tips which should help you get your blog up and running.

Charlie shares his experience using Scrivener writing software to write his book.

Happy First Blog-iversary to Victoria! Victoria shares the most important lessons she has learned during her first year of blogging.

Kim gives us a run-down on the difference between the Mystery and Suspense genres

Do you ever feel alone in your journey to self-publish? You don’t need nurturing. You need connections and support. One of the most fabulous aspects of self-publishing is that the community is large, noisy, active and supportive.

Structure applies at all levels of writing, from the structure of your sentences and paragraphs – which help you grab the reader and convey the essential emotion that is at the heart of all writing – to the over-arching structure of your entire work.

"The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap" by Paulette Mahurin

The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap
by Paulette Mahurin

Paulette Mahurin's debut novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, is available in Kindle edition and in paperback format. Profits from sales go to The Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center, the first no kill animal shelter in Ventura County, California, where Paulette lives.

A women's Brokeback Mountain. The year 1895 was filled with memorable historical events: the Dreyfus Affair divided France; Booker T. Washington gave his Atlanta address; the United States expanded the effects of the Monroe Doctrine to cover South America; and Oscar Wilde was tried and convicted for gross indecency under Britain's recently passed law that made sex between males a criminal offense. When news of Wilde's conviction went out over telegraphs worldwide, it threw a small Nevada town into chaos. This is the story of what happened when the lives of its citizens were impacted by the news of Oscar Wilde's imprisonment. It is a chronicle of hatred and prejudice with all its unintended and devastating consequences, and how love and friendship bring strength and healing.

When Paulette asked me to review her novel, it was with great pleasure that I undertook the project. She is a dynamic person, a great friend and an observant, sensitive human with whom I have grown quite fond of. Few people I know could pull this off, that is to stage a story in the events of recent history, 1895, and make it so poignant for the present. There is great history here, but there is also so much about our present day societal problems. With all the political turmoil regarding same-sex marriages, homosexual behavior, and our place in history, she captures this on the stage of a small Nevada town, and the trying and impossible situation of this lesbian couple. She reveals our denied prejudices, and our hidden hypocrisy. It is entertaining and exceptional, she is a true word-smith that will rivet your attention.

From the Author - On Writing
From the time I was ten year old, I've loved to write. While in college I wrote two award winning short stories. This encouraged me to continue to write, and write I did but never completed any of my novels due to other responsibilities: education, jobs, family, etc. After attending and receiving a Master's Degree in the Nurse Practitioner Program at UCLA, I went to work in the second busiest emergency room in Los Angeles county. I saw and learned about things that haunted me, until bit by a tick and diagnosed with Lyme Disease (which went to my heart valves, brain, and muscular skeletal system) knocked me down and afforded me time to write and release the memories onto pages before me. I wrote, and wrote, and released what was stored inside, which finally gave way to a story that was to change my life, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap. When I began to feel better, I joined a writing class, in Ojai, CA, where I live. The teacher, Deb Norton (screenwriter/playwright of The Whole Banana) had us do an exercise involving a photo. We were to write a 10 minute mystery. The photo I picked was of two women huddled close together in clothing that looked circa turn of the twentieth century. I made them a Lesbian couple trying to avoid being found out. In my research, I came across Oscar Wilde's imprisonment. Britain had recently changed its laws to make homosexual activity, a man having sex with another man, a criminal offense resulting in a two year hard labor prison sentence. The combination of the photo from that writing class and Oscar Wilde's imprisonment were the seeds that started the story, six years in the making. For those six years, I studied Wilde, the history of Lesbians, western settlement in the United States, and I opened to what it must have been like to live in fear of being persecuted because of the nature of one's existence, that can no more be changed than the color of grass. As I wrote, I saw myself in the characters who I dialogued with, related with as if we were friends today, and in doing this I learned that external factors may change (the environment, technology, family relating, etc.) but the nature of the human condition and how we manifest remains the same. There will always be stories to tell, to write, to read, to appreciate, because we invest in literature from our humanness, our emotional composition, and we relate to the imagery created with narrative and dialogue that suit our preferences. We are drawn in, over and over and over again, to similar story lines, themes, sequels, because of this human experience--that in sitting down before a book or eBook  we are transcended out of our ordinary lives to magical places that written words create, no matter how similar or repetitive the story, because, after all, we are all living, breathing, stories.
I hope you read and enjoy my story.

From the Author - On Rescuing Dogs
My husband and I have been rescuing Rottweilers for the last twenty-eight years. When Tazzie, our last one, died at the age of fifteen plus years, it left a huge hole in my heart. She had been through the worst years of my life with me, a life altering long bout with Lyme Disease, and there were days when looking at her was all that gave me motivation. After her death, we went to a kill shelter to look at another Rottie puppy that had been thrown away, and still with a heavy heart I couldn't bear to see all the dogs behind bars, looking so depressed, awaiting their death sentence in this kill shelter. I became compulsive about wanting to help, yet not knowing how to. This was around the time I finished my novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap. It was also around the time I first heard of the plans to open the first no-kill animal shelter in Ventura County, where I live. It was a no brainer for me to want to support this. I contacted the shelter and told them I wanted to have the profits from my book go to help them, and so began my journey in doing what I can to help avoid the tragedy of animals being put to death for no reason, other than they were born. The shelter is The Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center.

About the Author

Paulette Mahurin is a Nurse Practitioner who lives in Ojai, California with her husband Terry and their two rescued dogs, Max and Bella. She practices women’s health in a rural clinic and writes in her spare time. She also taught in several college level nursing programs, including UCLA, where she had a Master's Degree in Nursing from their nurse practitioner program. Her two passions are writing and rescuing dogs. While in college she wrote and published two award winning non-fiction short stories. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap is her first novel.
For further insights, you can read an interview with the author.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

"The Zul Enigma" by J. M. Leitch

The Zul Enigma 

by J. M. Leitch


The Zul Enigma, best selling futuristic science fiction thriller, seamlessly weaves New Age beliefs with hard, physics facts. Set in 2068 it spans two generations following a quest to expose the perpetrator behind a cataclysmic event that takes place in 2012, changing the world forever.

In March 2012, when an alien entity claiming to represent the Galactic Federation contacts Dr Carlos Maiz, Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, he thinks it's a hoax. But Zul persuades Carlos that, without his intervention, the coming month of December will not just mark the end of the year... it will be the end of the world.

Carlos, doing battle with his own demons as well as with a skeptical boss, NASA, the National Security Agency, National Intelligence and the President of the USA who wants him committed to a mental asylum, races the ticking clock to set up a global initiative to avert Zul's horrific prediction. But when a monstrous apocalypse of a different nature altogether brings the planet to its knees, rather than being lauded for saving humanity Carlos is accused of destroying it ... and of inventing Zul.

Fifty-five years later, Rachael Harris makes a disturbing discovery. She is related to the infamous Carlos Maiz. The more she learns, however, the more convinced she is that he was the victim of a sophisticated conspiracy. Delving deep and tracking down two of his old associates she uncovers the hideous reality underlying the events of that frightful day in December 2012, revealing a tale of global deception for a prize of absolute power.

Underpinned by a theme of betrayal, this dystopian novel is set against a backdrop of climate change, overpopulation, world war, alien encounters, presidential plots and a new world order. A venomous twist reveals the most horrific conspiracy one could ever imagine and Zul is behind it.


By K. Berry

The Zul Enigma gripped me from the start to its stunning and shocking end. It's a unique futuristic thriller and sci-fi conspiracy adventure rolled into one. The story begins with Dr Carlos Maiz, Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, being contacted by an entity, purporting to be an alien whom he calls 'Zul', who outlines a theory of galactic evolution linked to the 2012 Mayan calendar prophecy. Once he is convinced of the authenticity of 'Zul', he tries to convince others, including the US President, of the messages given him. This doesn't go down well for him at first.

After various adventures, twists and turns, Dr Maiz and friends help to implement Zul's message that the world should embrace meditation to assist with the looming evolutionary jump once the Mayan calendar runs out, which if not achieved, will result in dire consequences. What happens on the deadline date, when it comes, was a shock that shook me to the core. Some other reviewers have called this book controversial, and I can see why they do, but that is purely a personal opinion of theirs. As a piece of imaginative writing, this is quite cleverly done, intriguing and thought-provoking.

The latter part of the book is set some fifty-five years in the future, when a relative of Dr Maiz finds a lost journal of the time reads her mother's journal of the time and seeks to find out what really happened and why. It is at this time that the extent of the conspiracy is revealed.

I found this book to be a compelling page-turning read and highly original.

From the Author

The Zul Enigma is my first novel, a futuristic thriller. It took me 7 1/2 years to complete. It started out as a simple idea but evolved over the years into something quite different - a story with a shocking twist - that I would never have dreamed of at the start of my writing journey.

Because the underlying plot is so incredible I somehow had to draw in my readers to convince them that it might... just might... be plausible. The best way of achieving this, I thought, was to cement the characters and action in reality. As a result, I had to conduct a tremendous amount of research, which I very much enjoyed, especially the part that involved reading about the latest physics theories.
There is a page on the book's website called Fact or Fiction? that describes which theories, concepts, technology, organisations and establishments mentioned in the book actually do exist. The vast majority are real.
The thing that struck me most about writing this book was how the characters ended up driving the plot. I'd occasionally read or heard about authors saying this, but I never understood it until it happened to me. When you think about it, it's obvious. If you're pretending to be one of your characters you have to speak, think and act like them, meaning that they'll do things their way, not yours. And this is how they take over... pushing your book in directions you would never have imagined.
I love this aspect of the writing process, opening my mind to the characters I create and trusting them to move the action forward in an unpredictable and exciting way.
Should you decide to download or buy a copy of The Zul Enigma, I truly hope you'll enjoy it. After all, I wrote it for you.

About the Author

The author states: "When Mum picked me up after my first day of primary school I was in tears. 'Whatever's the matter?' she asked. I spat out words between heaving staccato sobs. They were an accusing finger. 'YOU said I'd learn to read!'

"It took much longer than I expected... but I did learn to read and I've not stopped since. I also learned to write and I published my first novel in 2011, The Zul Enigma.
"As to my background? Well, I was born just outside London, England, and moved to Asia where I've lived half my life. I now spend my time between Singapore, Assam in North East India, Bali in Indonesia and the UK.
"In addition to reading and writing I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends. I love laughing and try to spend as much time doing that as I can. I think it keeps me healthy! My hobbies are reading, tennis and travelling. I also enjoy good food and wine. Mmm... "
For further insights read an interview with the author.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"The Tier of Eternal Grace: The Moon Clearing" by Tania Elizabeth

The Tier of Eternal Grace:
The Moon Clearing
by Tania Elizabeth

Today I introduce you to Tania Elizabeth, writer, fellow Aussie, and passionate advocate for the Starlight Children's Foundation, a charity dedicated to granting the wishes of terminally ill children. Please help Tania in her fundraising quest for this worth cause.

A Message from Tania Elizabeth

I am asking for everyone's assistance.

To give to others is to give to oneself, and I NEED YOUR HELP!!!

Help us to raise funds for the Starlight Children's Foundation, which supports terminally ill children and their families.

There are two ways in which people can help. It is very simple.

By simply hosting, reviewing or interviewing myself/my book via a blog post, Amazon, newspaper, radio, TV within a 21-day window frame, between the dates of 12 April and 3 May. For every appearance, I will be donating $1 to the Starlight Children's Foundation.

If any of you could help, I would be so grateful. If you could connect me with anyone else who would be happy to interview, do a short post or review on myself/my book, I would be ever so grateful.

I am also asking for donations, even $1, which you may do direct via this link:

You may also follow our progress on the Starlight Author's Aid Facebook Page.

We are looking at making this an annual event. This year it is based upon myself, though every year after, we will base it upon another upcoming author. So please share and pass this along to all. Let's make this a huge affair and raise much needed funds for a very worthy cause.

My heartfelt thanks to all.

Love, Blessings and Faerie Kisses always xo

I am a divine being of divine beauty and power.
My power lies in love, my strength I’ve gained from grace
I am grounded in thy truths and live purely of heart.

I’ve a gratitude for all life’s glory; never shall I be misplaced.

Though it comes to pass that I am rivaled
By the name of another and that of my own uncertainties,
dare I be denied my truths, my mind’s clear
By the name of another, I am now in jeopardy.

Beyond the boundary that separates the mundane and earthly planes from the divine lies Eterna Fadas, a place ruled by extraordinary beings, lithe and human-like in appearance, yet ethereal in their grace and beauty, and sensuous in nature.

"I have existed always! Where I began I do not know, for all I know is just as I am today!"

As Queen, Tatiana was thought to have lived a life of opulence, her faith and beliefs her endearing essence. Why then was it so, that beneath the picture of perfection laid torments and terrors even she dare not explain. Being She came with its prices paid. Being She came with a deal; a contract in which she was to relinquish herself to a rogue of unmerciful fury. Would this be the end of all she know? Would this be the end of her existence?

Book Trailer

Crystabella had never seen him so vulnerable. She had never seen or felt such sincere looks of gratitude and love from him. So although she despised that he was under so much pain, she relished his innocence. He sincerely needed her for the first time ever . . . not the other way around.
That was to be the last she had seen of him before she was to hear the every detail from the night of the Moon Clearing, including Edan’s true intentions regarding herself.
It was then that Crystabella snapped herself out of the senseless dream she had now been living for so long.
“Do you see now Tatiana? Why it is I apologize! Why I must redeem myself!”
Tatiana took a deep breath so as to gather her thoughts before answering.
“My beautiful Crysa, you have absolutely no reason to apologize for following your heart. If anything, I am proud of you!”
Crystabella looked at Tatiana so confound.
“How is it that you can be so proud of me when I have gone against all our beliefs? I have disregarded myself, our kind and you; not just as our Queen, but as my friend!”
“But don’t you see, you have done no such thing! You have unfortunately been misled at times, but there was not one moment where your best intentions were not apparent.”
Making sure the following comment was heard evidently clear, Tatiana paused before speaking with conviction.
“Your heart was always in the right place even if it was in the wrong place!”
“How could I ever be ill tempered at you for that? I can’t!”
Crystabella would continue to fight with her percipient choices of mind versus heart. Her mind would try to deceive her, have her believe that she was not worthy. Though her heart, her soul knew better. She was worthy and deserving of more than she had allowed herself to acknowledge in a long time.

A Devine tale of magic and mysticism, of love and lust, of loyalty and deception, of endearing friendships and betrayals, Tania Elizabeth's debut, must read tale The Moon Clearing is sure to enrapture the hearts and minds of readers of all genres. Set in the beautifully depicted faerie realm Eterna Fadas, mother earth is both the splendid scenery and an integral character of the story, vivid depictions of the magic and wonder that abounds our existence are plentiful. Queen Tatiana's story is not unlike our own life's journeys as she faces and overcomes obstacles and obligations, experiences heartache and joyful splendor, relishes in admirable friendships and battles her ego mind as she encounters a tortured soul whose inner turmoil wrecks havoc on her own existence and that of her devoted people. Through the entwined lives of these stunning, enchanted beings you will become lost within a world of magic and of faith, where beauty abounds and a deep seeded belief that love prevails is prevalent throughout. You will become enthralled by their stories and find yourself deeply invested in these characters, consumed with all that they are, feeling as they do, absorbed by both the beauty of Tania Elizabeth's writing and the underlying message that seen or unseen, love, magic and faith in oneself are contained in the hearts of us all should we simply choose to trust in ourselves. I found myself getting lost in this story, only ever putting it down to savor in the anticipation and the enchantment of Tatiana's fate. I have been left hungry for the second installment and I am certain you will be too.

Interview With the Author
Hi Tania Eizabeth, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book The Tier of Eternal Grace, Book One: The Moon Clearing.

Which writers have influenced you the most?
To begin with, I would have to name Enid Blyton. For it was her books, The Magic Faraway Tree and The Adventures of the Wishing Chair in which had me lost in the fantasy worlds as a child. The classical and poetic writings of William Shakespeare. And, Florence Scovel Shinn, who wrote the book in which was the catalyst for my own journey of self love and discovery.

What age group do you recommend your book for?
The glory of The Tier of Eternal Grace is that it is for all ages from late teens through to that of the older generations.

What sparked the idea for this book?
My ideas arose from the desire to write a book that not only enabled the reader to delve into an enchanting realm of magic, love, betrayal, deceit, every emotion under the sun. But that also had the reader begin a journey of self discovery and to learn to love oneself within. As for the faeries, I have had an avid interest in faeries ever since I was a child.

Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
In the case of The Tier of Eternal Grace, I have to actually say that is was a mixture of both elements arising all at the same time.

What was the hardest part to write in this book?
The very deep disturbing emotional elements were most definitely the hardest, as much of my book relates to that of my own life in one way or another. Thus it unearthed particular moments in my life that I had pushed beneath the carpet so to speak. Though in the same breath, I am grateful. For it is through the writing of this book in which I have healed and found my true self once more.

How to you hope this book affects its readers?
To live and breathe in the words of Tatiana and her people. To learn a greater respect for that of Mother Earth and that of oneself. And to simply loose themselves in the enchantment and the magic of each page they cast their eyes upon.

How long did it take you to write this book?
11 months in total.

What is your writing routine?
Most of my writing is done in the darkness of the night skies. For as a single mother of three beautiful children, my days are full running around after them. Once they are in bed ... give this girl a cup of coffee and my chocolate, and I am set for another long night of writing.

How did you get your book published?
I am self-published. I had long made the choice to self-publish, for I was not willing to lose any control when it came to how my book was to be perceived and read by the public.  Not to say that my thought on this would not change. I just knew that this was the right decision at the time for myself.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
First and foremost, Believe! Do not allow doubt and fear to become one's friend.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Ahh ... that’s easy. Spend quality time with my angels. Be it at the beach, hiking the mountains or snuggled up on the couch watching a movie. Perfection lays best when my babies are at my side.

What does your family think of your writing?
They are incredibly supportive and love all of my work.

Did you enjoy school?
Yes, very much so. I was at times an outcast, though I loved it all the same. I seem to now flourish in being different. I love it ... just as I love my life!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
It has always been a dream, though it was not until I had come to a place of pure contentment with oneself and learnt the true meaning of I Love Me, that I gained the courage to pursue my dreams.

Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Yes, many of my weekends were spent in the countryside and the rainforests of Far North Queensland by the Great Barrier Reef, where I would lose myself in my imagination along with my siblings and cousins in abundance. My father, Lionel, also began to enlighten me on how to meditate and understand the sagacity of energy. Thus, my growth into the spiritual world.

What was your favorite book as a child?
The very same books that inspired me and began my love of fantasy ... Enid Blyton’s The Magic Tree and The Adventures of the Wishing Chair. Mind you, I also loved, The Sleepover Club series. Once a teenager, I found myself delving into poetry book after poetry book.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I have had some beautiful comments and reviews made. I like to stay well connected to my readers as much as possible.

What can we look forward to from you in the future?
The second and third installment to The Tier of Eternal Grace series. From there, the world is my oyster J

Thanks for joining me today, Tania. I wish you every success with your writing and in your fundraising endeavors.

About the Author
Like each and every one of us, Tania's journey has been one of trials and tribulations, of Love and of passions; and the dissolutions of it. Heartache, sorrows, smiles and laughter always seeming. Through the writing of this book and the words of Tatiana, Tania has found a peace within and learnt the true meaning of 'I LOVE ME!'"
Tania Elizabeth is the author of The Tier of Eternal Grace. Book One, The Moon Clearing, was released earlier this year. Book Two, The Mirror's Shadow, will be released about September. Book Three will then follow in the early part of 2014.
Aside from her writing and her three angels, Tania is also an advocate for the Starlight Children's Foundation. Being a mother herself and having seen firsthand what some of these children are dealt with on a day to day basis, and yet seeing the strength and courage they each maintain, Tania felt the need to not only donate her time, but to also help raise much needed funds.