Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Gibsen's LIFE UNAWARE releases today!

Life Unaware
Release Date: 04/28/15
Entangled Teen

Book Summary:
Regan Flay has been talking about you. 

Regan Flay is on the cusp of achieving her control-freak mother's "plan" for high school success―cheerleading, student council, the Honor Society—until her life gets turned horribly, horribly upside down. Every bitchy text. Every bitchy email. Every lie, manipulation, and insult she's ever said have been printed out and taped to all the lockers in school. 

Now Regan has gone from popular princess to total pariah. 
The only person who even speaks to her is her former best friend's hot but socially miscreant brother, Nolan Letner. Nolan thinks he knows what Regan's going through, but whatnobody knows is that Regan isn't really Little Miss Perfect. In fact, she's barely holding it together under her mom's pressure. But the consequences of Regan's fall from grace are only just beginning. Once the chain reaction starts, no one will remain untouched... 

Especially Regan Flay.
About the Author
Cole Gibsen first realized she different when, in high school, she was still reading comic books while the other girls were reading fashion magazines.

It was her love of superheroes that first inspired her to pick up a pen. Her favorite things to write about are ordinary girls who find themselves in extraordinary situations.

Author Links:
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Book Blitz Organized by:

Charlie Flowers: Characters & "What if?" bring his writing into focus

Welcome to this week's guest, CHARLIE FLOWERS. Charlie was born in Eastern Europe sometime in the late Sixties and arrived with his family in Britain in 1975. 

After training as a journalist in London, he had a varied career as reporter, roadie, truck driver and record label boss. In the late Nineties, he formed two cult bands, and is currently an adviser on terrorism and extremism to certain departments and think tanks. 

Charlie Flowers is published by Endeavour Press, and is a member of the Crime Writers' Association and International Thriller Writers, Inc.

What brings your writing into focus-- the characters, the stories, the love of words? The characters, who drive the stories, and today's news. I see some crazy stuff happening and I think "What if...?"

How do you find time to write and do a demanding job? I wait till the early hours, stick the headphones on... and we're off!

What inspired your latest book? My latest book was inspired by the small English village I grew up in, the locals, and the woods around it.

What movie star would be perfect for (your main character) and why? We've actually cast all my main characters for a graphic novel and film adaptation of the first book in the series. Riz is played by Zulfikar Ali Malik, and Holly is played by Anu Patel.

Is there a different genre or type of book you’d love to try to write? I'm just about to branch out and write a Young Adult novella. It ain't easy, but it's an interesting challenge!

MURDER MOST RURAL: Meet Riz and Bang-Bang. MOD troubleshooters by trade, their work normally involves covert ops and counterterrorism. A routine exercise with the SAS takes them to a sleepy Essex village, where not only do they stick out somewhat as a British Pakistani couple, but there has also been a mysterious suicide. 

Or have they stumbled across the perfect murder? 


"A cracking yarn written with tongue firmly in cheek!" 
--Stephen Edger 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Guild presents Rankovic's “They Judge Your Book by Its Cover” workshop 5/2

Book covers and titles aren’t an afterthought to the text you worked so hard to finish; they're a whopping 70 percent of a book's appeal! Catherine Rankovic’s “They Judge Your Book by Its Cover” workshop will help authors develop effective covers and titles. It will be held from 10 a.m. to noon, May 2, at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 S. Geyer Rd, Kirkwood, Mo. Free to St. Louis Writers Guild members; $5 for nonmembers

“Authors today are often tasked with creating their own covers,” she said. “We'll visit covers and titles that attract buyers and others that repel.”

Learn basic design principles such as colors to avoid, typefaces and type size, and illustrations, for covers still distinct and viable when they're shrunk to half-an-inch high on Amazon.com.

“And there are multiple strategies for finding the perfect title,” Catherine added.

Catherine Rankovic’s books include Meet Me: Writers in St. Louis, Hide and Sex, Island Universe: Essays and Entertainments, Fierce Consent and Other Poems, and Guilty Pleasures: Indulgences, Addictions, and Obsessions. She is a professional manuscript editor at the website www.BookEval.com, worked for years as a web editor and publication designer, has published with huge commercial publishers and one-man presses, and is on a crusade to save wonderful books from being throttled and shanghaied by unprofessional covers.

Learn more about the St. Louis Writers Guild at www.stlwritersguild.org.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Kelly: Debut novelist aims to engage readers through believable characters

Welcome to this week's guest, ANGELINA KELLY. Before becoming an author, Angelina was a wife, mother and therapist. She is a member of the Irish Writers’ Union and served on its Executive Committee. Angelina has appeared on N.E.A.R. FM Radio, Anna Livia Radio, Today FM, Dublin Community Radio, Open House (RTE,TV), TV3 (Xpose,) South Dublin FM. She writes articles on natural health, which are published in Ireland and the UK, and is the author of “The Whole Person, The Holistic Approach To Health.” Angelina has just completed her debut novel, The Priest & The Prostitute. Her characters are strong-minded individuals who, through personal discovery, rule-breaking and emotional decisions, are tested and challenged to integrate with others, sometimes against their will. Angelina lives in Dublin, Ireland, is interested in ancient history and health; she is currently working on her next novel. 

To find out more about Angelina, like her on facebook/Angelina Kelly Author and follow her on 
-- twitter/@AngelinaAuthor. 
--www.Amazon.co.uk:Angelina Kelly
--The Priest & The Prostitute: www.amazon.co.uk-/e/BOOP251PAK.

What do you think readers will like about your book? The characters, their personalities and their relationship with each other.

What's your favorite way to interact with fans/readers? Face to face.

How much fact is in your book? The places names and historical characters and events are all fact. 

What movie star would be perfect for (your main character) and why? Bernard Hill (Paedur).   Because he has the looks, the build, the voice and the presence.

What's the highest compliment someone could make about your writing? The story is engaging and the characters are believable.

If you could borrow one person's zest for writing/life, whose and why? Cecelia Ahern because she seems to have the writing/life balance correct, she writes what people want to read and she churns out a book a year.

What tune/music could be the theme song for your book? Lady by Kenny Rogers

If you could meet one of your characters, who would it be and where? I  would love to meet Paedur in Conwy Castle, Conwy, North Wales.

Click image to enlarge.

Click flyer to enlarge.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Rud's cat is her favorite writing accessory

Welcome to Tracy Rud, an information developer by day and novelist by night, who has always been interested in spinning a yarn, from a good joke to a good adventure. Growing up on the New England coast and now spending as much time as possible there and on the Florida coast provides many story backdrops and fuels her fondness for pirates and tales of the sea. She currently resides in North Metro Atlanta with her husband, daughter, and two cats. SEA BEGGAR is the first book in the SEA BEGGAR series. Tracy is currently writing SEA SHADOWS, the second book in the series.  

The Writers’ Lens is about "Bringing fiction into focus." What brings your writing into focus-- the characters, the stories, the love of words? I think the best stories have a good balance between an interesting plot and relatable characters. I use a lot of dialog to drive plot, so definitely it’s my characters that bring the story into focus. I don’t want the reader to simply be a voyeur on the outside looking in. I want the characters to draw you in so you’re right there next to them experiencing everything they are.

The characters shouldn’t lie flat, they should jump off the page at you. I want readers to either love them or hate them but never be indifferent to them. If I get that “meh” reaction to any character, then I know I either need to rework or kill off the character!

What makes your book/characters unique? I have parallel story lines that run through my book—one line takes place in the 1700s, the other in modern day, and the lines intertwine. The overall story is told from the perspective of the protagonist in each line, both strong women characters.

What’s the highest compliment someone could make about your writing? If someone told me my writing stirred something in them, then I would consider that one of the highest compliments a reader could make. If a character inspires you or if you find yourself hating one of them, or you get emotional during a scene, then I would consider my writing mission accomplished. I want my readers to feel a certain level of intimacy with the story and the people in it.

What’s your favorite writing accessory or reference? My favorite writing accessory is my cat, Peaches. Weird, I know, but she likes to hang out with me when I write. Writing can be such a solitary endeavor, and it’s good to have someone (or something) to bounce ideas off of and read passages to, just to hear how they sound. Best of all, she almost always agrees with me, rarely has any dissenting viewpoints! Given the opportunity my other cat, Sadie, would argue every punctuation mark.

What tune/music could be the theme song for your book? Oh good question. If I could, I would have John Williams compose something fabulous for the theme. Barring that, I would choose a theme that evokes all the emotions of the buccaneer life—the raucous excitement and thrill of sailing the open water, the apprehension about what lies over the horizon and beneath the waves, and the serenity that comes from sleeping on deck under the stars. Maybe one of the movements from Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks or something similar from that time period. 

Sea Beggar is available on Amazon in trade paperback and Kindle download:   

SEA BEGGAR: This rollicking, historical pirate adventure that spans oceans and generations, is told from the perspective of two strong female characters in two different time periods. Macy Macmillan discovers treasure in the Florida Keys then is drawn into the mystery behind the 18th-century ship that had carried it. Macy inherits her parents’ property in the Keys after their sudden death in a horrific car accident. There, she befriends an old acquaintance of her father's and together they find treasure hidden in a cluster of mangroves.

Flash back to 1719 when a ship called the Sea Beggar roved the Caribbean. Her crew were no ordinary pirates, but rather sea rovers and mercenaries who would fight to the death to protect what they believed in; integrity, duty, love. 

Back in present day, after finding the treasure buried in secrets and sand for nearly 300 years, Macy also finds something in the legacy that Keary Dunbarton left. Could this be the true treasure of the Sea Beggar? 

Praise for Sea Beggar
Just when you believe there remains no adventure worth seeking, there appears upon the horizon the stout silhouette of the Sea Beggar—author Tracy Rud’s stirring saga of lyrical larceny and love upon the high seas. As Rud so aptly pens, “If we sail far enough, we will find our dreams.” Indeed, plus much, much more—pirates both good and bad, and a king’s ransom in treasure, both lost and found. Not even Cap’n Jack Sparrow could have spun a better yarn. 
 –Jedwin Smith, author of Fatal Treasure and Our Brother’s Keeper

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Advice on Pitching and Querying to Literary Agents and Publishers

March 2015 workshop, picture by Steven Langhorst
Advice on Pitching and Querying to Literary Agents and Publishers
By Brad R Cook

In March 2015 I gave the annual conference kick-off workshop to St. Louis Writers Guild titled Querying andPitching: How to Track down Literary Agents and Publishers. I wanted to share what we talked about that day, and what I’ve written about before for the Writers Lens, wrapped up in a single post.

In my workshop I referenced two previous articles on the Writers Lens where I discussed pitching. The first was The Mechanics of a Perfect Pitch and the second was Lens On: Pitching. Just click on the titles to view the articles.

I’ll let you read the articles – they repeat what I said at the workshop and then definitely check out the SLWG Author Series interview where I discussed the workshop.

SLWG Author Series interview with Brad R Cook 

My workshop is an amalgam of several other workshops and articles I’ve read or experienced over the years. It started when I first heard Chuck Sambuchino at The Writer’s Digest Conference in New York back in 2011 and mixes in advice from Jane Friedman, literary agent Kathleen Ortiz and several other sources with a few of my own experiences added in.   

If you are looking for query letter examples you can find hundreds of examples online, but I highly recommend Chuck Sambuchino’s website where he’s posted successful query letters. The best part, not only can you read the letter but you can also see comments from the agents themselves. Click Here for Query Letters

We also discussed ways to “Track” down literary agents and publishers using the website QueryTracker.net. I am a huge fan of the site and have used it for years. But it’s not the only one, you may prefer AgentQuery.com or see if an agent is listed in AAR, or one of the large literary groups, they often have lists of approved publishers or agents.

Let’s run over some of the basics –

These suggestions are for fiction genres. Non-fiction has a different set of rules. We touched on them in the workshop but I would recommend searching for tips and examples online.

A query letter should have three parts:
            First an introduction where you mention the title, word count, and genre. This is also the place to mention why you picked the agent or if you’ve met them before.

            Second a paragraph about the book, include the hook, the main character, and the main theme and plot of the book.

            Third is a short paragraph about the author.  

A log line is a short sentence or two about the book. It can also be referred to as an Elevator Pitch.

A synopsis is a 1-2 page single-spaced document that outlines the entire book – including the ending.

Don’t forget fictional manuscript formatting is 12 point standard font, in black, with a one inch border, and the first line of every paragraph indented.

There are now some online ways to pitch - but only at certain times - check out Pitch Madness on Twitter using the hash tag #PitMad. 

Allow me to leave you with this advice. It comes from literary agent Kathleen Ortiz. I asked her, what was the best advice she could offer someone who was pitching – “Keep it short, to the point, and deliver a good hook.”

Good luck with your query or pitch!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Rebecca P. McCray: Envisioned a world where cultural differences are valued

Welcome to Rebecca P. McCray! Her debut novel, The Journey of the Marked, tells the beginning of the epic Miyran Heir story. Currently, she resides in the western US, but has lived in various locations across the US and UK. Her interest in cultural anthropology contributed to the myriad of species and backgrounds incorporated into her new world. 

What brings your writing into focus-- the characters, the stories, the love of words? The characters drive my writing. I know my characters and love sharing the story through them. My book changes point of view with some frequency, which allows me to not only explore more than one personality, but tell the story from both sides of the conflict. 

How do you find time to write and do a demanding job? This is a tough one and definitely a reality. I wake early, so I can write before I go to work. Then, I try to write on the weekends. I have many readers eager for book two, which means this balance is important, and I’m finding ways to make it work. 

What inspired your latest book? First and foremost, I wanted the story to be fun. But the true inspiration comes from the following: I find cultural differences fascinating and enjoy traveling the world to learn about them. What I envisioned for this series is a world where such differences are not only respected, but valued. Regardless of ability or belief, an individual can contribute. However, as persecution and conflict are a part of life, I wanted to explore those, but in a different way, which you’ll see as the series evolves.

What do you think readers will like about your book? The excitement I hear from readers tend to center around two areas: the characters and the future. Many readers love Tip. He’s easy to understand and I think most of us can empathize with him. I know many respect Natal (see comment below) and find other characters interesting, as well. As for the future, I answered many questions in book one, but left a few key items open that need more story to be explained. I love hearing how anxious someone is to learn about a particular character or point in the book because it means the story really captured them.

If you could meet one of your characters, who would it be and where would you meet? Natal. Okay, yes, he’s one of the bad guys, but I find him respectable and intriguing. He believes in his cause, is very loyal, but is also willing to challenge authority or think outside of the box if he disagrees with something. If I’m being honest, there’s a little bit of “bad boy” attraction there, too. If I were to meet him, it would be somewhere well-lit with other people around — no back alleys for this one!

THE MIYRAN HEIR: On a distant planet, Eros thrives in the Human settlement he calls home. Raised to follow his grandfather's noble footsteps, he studies the details of each species that co-exists here. But when his sixteenth birthday arrives and he's called to fight, his life changes forever. Forced to abandon his home and relentlessly pursued by savage hunters, he joins forces with others, including a scrappy, street fighter named Kenrya, who loathes the planet's self-appointed rulers. As Eros faces perils that test his training and push the limits of his resolve, he and Kenrya must put aside their differences and learn to work together to survive. Discover this epic, dystopian adventure where an individual's unique abilities can change the course of the future.