Author in the chair – Serena Fairfax

Where the Bulbul Sings
Serena Fairfax

Buy NOW!

In this atmospheric, passionate and poignant
account of a clash of cultures, caste and creed, divided family loyalties,
wealthy heartthrobs and the power of love, the story is told through three
women whose lives entwine.

Hermie – a headstrong and bewitching Anglo-Indian –
turns her back on the Anglo-Indian community and reinvents herself only to find
that a dark secret threatens to send her life spiralling out of control and
cost her everything.
Sharp-witted Edith, exiled in India from her native
Germany by Nazi persecution, faces stark choices in a future very different
from that she envisaged.
Enchanting Kay, separated by more than a generation
from Hermie and Edith, is haunted by a family mystery and risks her prospects
in London to pursue a quest for roots in India where fate hurtles her in an
unexpected direction. Can they confront the storms or are their dreams destined
to shatter?
 website         blog
Author in the chair – Serena Fairfax
What inspired you to write WHERE THE BULBUL

I’ve always been interested in minority communities
and exiled people so thought I’d combine the two in a sprawling time-zone saga.
What does the title mean?
Well, a bulbul is an Indian songbird with a long
tale (no pun intended) and short, rounded wings with plumage that ranges from
drab to colourful. I chose the title before I embarked on the novel and it
wasn’t until I reached the end that I realised the title bore a double-edged
meaning! I leave that to the reader to figure out.
What is it about?
It’s a time zone saga spanning the dying days of
the British Raj – i.e. the end of British colonial rule in India – to the
present day.
Hermie’s the engine of the story and her early life
was far from easy. Although she’s scheming and manipulative- indeed your
average sort of girl! one’s always rooting for her. Will she, won’t she? She
takes a lot of emotional punches and never wavers. I hope the novel’s
appeal will extend to both genders from age 16 to 99 (the latter’s the age
Indian Railways records you as being when it doesn’t know your date of birth.)
It’s a satisfying happy- ever- after but in very different ways for Hermie,
Edith and Kay.
Was there a character you struggled with?
I struggled with Kay because I didn’t want her to
come across either as submissive or aggressive.
It has a powerful opening where a character commits
suicide; did you find such scenes difficult to write?
Oddly enough, no! I wrote it with clinical
Going by the reviews, which say WHERE THE BULBUL
SINGS is rich in nostalgia your love of India shines. How did you distance
yourself from the nostalgia to “real” research?
A reader who has experienced life in India would
probably feel nostalgic – a sentimental longing for past times. But the
characters are living and breathing in an era that for them is the present .
Research  was the horrendous part. It was hard graft but unavoidable and
for me completely devoid of nostalgia.
Are you living in India at present?
I’m living in England although I’ve just returned
from a holiday in India visiting the exotic,  erotic 10th and
11th century temples of Khajuraho  followed by
 trekking in the Himalayas with views of the snow-capped mountain Nanda
Devi (elevation 25,643 feet and twin peaked – that’s probably why it was named
after the big breasted goddess Nanda Devi who’s both benevolent and wrathful –
not unlike Hermie). Interestingly, the CIA planted  a telemetry relay
listening device on the mountain in the late 1960s  in order to eavesdrop
on China but an avalanche consigned it to oblivion.
The main characters are Hermie, Edith and Kay. Did
you base any of these on real-life people?
Hermie, Edith and Kay are products of the
imagination. I don’t know anyone remotely like them!
If you knew them in real life, what would you say
to them?  
Good on you Hermie, you wouldn’t take what life
dished out. Edith, you’d have made it wherever you lived. Kay, you can never
tell what’s round the corner and you followed your instincts.
WHERE THE BULBUL SINGS is described at a Literary
Romance. Is this your niche? Or have you written other genres?
“Literary romance”? Ooh, that sounds very
grand! Bulbul has strong elements of romance but I’m reluctant to categorise it
as literary. I started writing category romances and I still enjoy doing that.
Didn’t the poet Gibran say that life without love is like a tree without
blossoms or fruit? There are hugely successful category romance writers whose
skills surpass anything I’ve produced so far. 
completely different genre (I like experimenting with styles and would be
interested to hear what readers think!) My short story
THE BOARDROOM is another departure as is THE SIX JUDGES  and THE FEARLESS CHATTEE-MAKER which are short
stories for children.
How long does it take you to write a short compared
to a novel?
A short (50,000) would take about 4 months
(including “distance time”) and a longer one (80,000 to 100,000 words) probably
about 9 nine months.  
Are you an indie/self-published writer or do you
have a publisher/agent?
published by UK publisher Robert Hale Ltd. The rest are indie-published. Thank
goodness for that opportunity.
Why have you gone the “indie route” when you had a
Robert Hale Ltd ceased its Rainbow Romance imprint
under that). Then 
WHERE THE BULBUL SINGS didn’t appeal to it. I found an agent who liked BULBUL but
couldn’t match it to a publisher. It languished on my pc for ages after that
until in 2011 I stumbled across self-publishing with Amazon and Smashwords. I
submitted  it to a third party professional editor who  made some
very helpful and insightful  editorial suggestions  that had me
gnashing  my teeth but after I’d thrown some crockery, I  revised it
and voila posted it on both sites.
How do your juggle a writing schedule?
I’m still in the day job but I write every day,
even for a short while, to keep the momentum going. Often it’s just rubbish but
that’s better than nothing!
Does your day job help with your writing?
Yes, because I don’t give writing a thought during
the champagne of the day job and I resume the art of a wordsmith thereafter
entirely refreshed and intoxicated.
If you became world-known for your writing, would
you give it up?  
Not unless my earnings from writing trumped those
of JK Rowling.
What’s the worst part of being a writer?
Research is difficult because for me it’s hit and
miss  as I  find myself unable to identify the  keyword that
will instantly reveal all I need. A lot of research is computer based but
there’s nothing like the British Library for the meat. Also, when  researching
I find myself wasting a lot of time being lured  off the beaten track
 by interesting snippets that would make an interesting theme for another
I was once Googling when my golden retriever,
Inspector Morse (IM) leapt up on to the keyboard – thump- the result being
wacky tips about listening carefully to your inner quadratic equation. Hmm…
Will that win me the lottery?
And the best?
Telling a story and making characters come alive.
What is the most productive time of the day for you
to write
My pc rests on an oak Victorian bureau/bookcase.
In front of it, there’s just room for a crystal pen and ink
stand that I bought at an antiques fair. (A contrast between now and then). In
the upper part (bookcase) are a dictionary, Roget’s Thesaurus and Brewer’s
Dictionary of Phrase and Fable and a well-thumbed Dummies manual
on computers. In the bureau drawers are hard copies of my books and CDs of
films I missed when they were on general release and which I want to catch up
with. At my feet lies IM and through the study window I have a bird’s eye
view of the pretty garden that’s a joy in all seasons.
The only sound I can tolerate when writing is IM
slurping water, snoring and snuffling and drubbing his tail on the floorboards.
The chair is black leather, rather like that in Mastermind (the
popular British TV quiz programme that features a black chair where contestants
sit facing the Quizmaster). Oh, and the walls are covered with prints of
pictures by Picasso.
Do you start your projects writing with paper and
pen or is it all on the computer?
 It used to be scribble, scribble, scribble
but I use a pc now.
What/who do you draw inspiration from?
Funnily enough, biographies and autobiographies are
very inspiring and set the imagination alight.
Whose biographies do you like? Which one has given
you the most inspiration?
 Bill Clinton’s is riveting. Then there’s Ava
Gardner by Lee Server – she was a Hollywood legend. Love them or hate them,
both sprang from an ordinary background and ended up holding a stellar
place in world history. I would’ve  loved to have met them , although
 I must confess that Ava’s ability to engage  the most amazing
 admirers is nothing less than  inspiring! I suppose the same could
be said of Bill but Ava had more jewellery and I’m a sucker for that.
Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to
write such as word count?
I write something every day. I make myself sit down
for at least three quarters of an hour, and five minutes before that’s
elapsed I find I’ve actually written a sentence. That prompts me to carry on.
Do you find that once you get working, it’s hard to
I get to what’s a natural break and stop there.
Sometimes the natural break is reached in two hours; at other times it’s a
longer process rather like a Trans-Siberian journey.
How do/did you deal with rejection letters?
Bin them.
Are you submitting to agencies/publishers? Or are
you happy being an indie author?
Currently, I’m happy being an indie author,
although I consider all options and never say never.
What do you think of the (sometimes) bad press
indie authors get?
 It depends what the bad press is about. If it
relates to poor grammar, spelling, punctuation, proofreading or research, then
that’s justified. If it’s about  a poor plot, excessive narrative, poor
 dialogue or  wooden characters  the bad press  is unfair
and disproportionate  given  there are heaps of books out there,
 equally wanting in that respect that shouldn’t have seen the light of day
(published by  mainstream publishers) that don’t get  undermined or
Do you have a critique partner? Where do you get your inspiration for writing? What motivates
Friends and family are too nice to be genuine
critique partners and I don’t inflict my writing on other writers. I paid for BULBUL
to be critiqued by a professional third party editor and found her insights and
comments very useful. Inspiration just pops into my head! As for motivation,
writing’s a challenge and I can’t resist that.
Do you pre-plan your stories, or are you a
by-the-seat-of-the-pants style writer?
Oh, definitely the latter. Obviously that’s not to
be recommended but it works for me in a disorganised, rambling sort of way.
What do you enjoy the most about writing?
Telling a story and making characters come alive.
Is there any part of writing that you don’t enjoy? Research and, because I’m an indie writer, promotion and marketing
is like wading through treacle.
Do you have any tips on marketing that you can
 I’m happy to share my experiences. A website
and blog is pretty much expected. My eBooks are on Kindle and Smashwords. I’ve
joined and posted on forums run by Amazon, Kindle, Goodreads and Mobilereads.
I’m on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to LinkedIn. Scribd is a great place
to air the first chapter of one’s novel (a taster) and then there’s Pinterest
(although I don’t really have to grips with that).  
What would you say to a new writer starting out
Write what you know. Show don’t tell. Genius begins
great works, labour alone finishes them.
Serena Fairfax spent her childhood in India,
qualified as a Lawyer in England and joined a large London law
firm.   Her first romantic novel STRANGE INHERITANCE (published
by Robert Hale Ltd in 1990) went into UK and USA large print editions in 2004
(published by BBC Audio Books Ltd and Thorndike Press) and is a Kindle and
Smashwords eBook. The second romantic novel PAINT ME A DREAM (published by
Robert Hale Ltd in 1991) went into UK and USA large print editions in 2004
(published by BBC Audio Books Ltd and Thorndike Press) and is likewise a Kindle
and Smashwords eBook.

Fast forward to a sabbatical from the day job when Serena  traded in
bricks and mortar for  a houseboat  and embarked on WHERE THE BULBUL
SINGS a time-zone saga set in India spanning the last days of the Raj to the
present day. After a long gestation, this saw the light of day in 2011 as a
Kindle and Smashwords eBook as well as a printed version.  Then, wanting
to experiment, she burst out of the romance bubble with IN THE PINK (Kindle and
Smashwords eBook)   a quirky departure in style and content.

But romance is hard-wired in her DNA so there’s GOLDEN GROVE, another romantic novel (Kindle and Smashwords eBook).  WILFUL
FATE is the latest release, a romantic story with a horse riding background.
(Kindle and Smashwords eBook). THE BOARDROOM, a short story with a twist,
features on Serena’s blog as does THE SIX JUDGES where animals get in a few
light jabs at humans and THE FEARLESS CHATTEE-MAKER.

 The saying age cannot wither
her, nor custom stale her infinite variety 
aptly describes the tug of law so Serena
still enjoys the day job, although she has plunged into drafting a new
time-zone saga with an exotic backdrop. A long standing member of the Romantic
Novelists Association, Serena  is convinced  there’s not a more
wonderful, supportive organisation. She and her golden retriever, Inspector
Morse, who can’t wait to unleash his own Facebook and Twitter page, divide
their time between London and glorious rural Kent. (Charles Dickens said: Kent,
sir. Everybody knows Kent. Apples, cherries, hops and women

Sock Puppets: No Strings Attached

Keira Michelle Telford

In 1873, a British puppeteer called John Carpenter
created the largest sock puppet the world had ever seen. It measured 18.7
inches long, and required both hands to operate. It was … oh, wait. I think I
might’ve gotten the wrong end of the stick with this guest post … o.O
Let’s try again …
Sockpuppet [sok-puhp-it]
An online identity used for the purposes of deception.
Part One of the Silver Series
In this case, we’re talking about authors who pose as
unbiased third parties to post glowing reviews of their own work. In the UK, we
might call that ‘bigging themselves up’. What I learned recently, is that there
are also sub-categories of sock puppetry.
A Strawman Sockpuppet, for example, would be an author
posing as someone else for the express purpose of attacking negative reviewers.
There are also Meatpuppets, who have been recruited by the original Sockpuppet
to support the false claims that have already been made by the Sockpuppet
against others.
I never knew this. I never knew that sock puppetry had
become so endemic in the indie publishing world. But then, I’m still fairly new
to this. It just wouldn’t have occurred to me to fake a different identity in
order to promote myself on forums, or to post glowing reviews of my own work. I
mean, it’s fraud. Isn’t it? We’re talking about authors making false
representations of themselves and conning readers into buying their work.
That’s no different than a shop owner deliberately misrepresenting a product in
their store just to get a sale.
Part Two of the Silver Series
It’s a dodgy business. If you sell a five-star rated
product that fails to live up to the hype, your buyers are going to feel ripped
off. In terms of the book market, the author’s name will be on a permanent
blacklist for that reader, and the reader will undoubtedly share their negative
experience with others. Given that, why would any self-respecting author want
to risk it? Here’s my take on it all:
We’re all stuck in a never-ending auditions round of
Indies’ Got Talent. And in every talent show, there are the contestants who
insist on embarrassing themselves on stage. You know the ones. They’re the
contestants you pity when they walk on stage dressed in clothing that’s meant
to be ‘sexy’ and proceed to wail a Britney Spears song off-key while attempting
to shake their booty at the audience. They’re desperate, and they’re trying to
get noticed.
Part Three of the Silver Series
Unfortunately, they’re getting noticed for all the
wrong reasons. Perhaps even more unfortunately, they don’t seem to care. I
guess, for the Sockpuppets, it’s all about sales. The fake reviews keep
bringing in downloads, so they’ve got no reason to stop. At least, not in the
short term. I do question what their long-term plans are, though. By the time
their current titles have run their course, their brand (their name) will be
So I’m left wondering: what’s the point? As someone
who’s had a book out since last November, and only has a grand total of 5
reviews on the .com site, I know how hard it is to come by the panty-dropping
five-star reviews that all indie authors are drooling over. It sucks to have a
book sitting on a (virtual) shelf with no reviews for months on end. People are
buying it, but nobody’s vouching for it. It’s hellishly frustrating, and I can
see how very tempting it could be to take a short cut. But…

I’d rather sell to ten readers and have them keep
coming back to read the other books in my series, than sell to a hundred
readers who will dump my book in the virtual trash can and never read anything
else with my name attached to it. In other words, I’m hoping to build a
long-term readership. I want people to trust me, so that they know exactly what
they’re getting when they choose to download one of my books.
Coming Soon!
Put quite simply: I’d rather spend the effort to make
my work worth five-stars, rather than to make five-stars for my work.


Reader reviews or high profile reviews from ‘professional critics,’ which do you prefer?

How do you feel about ‘Sock Puppet Reviews?’
article by Deidre Havrelock

Of course, I’ve dreamed about getting those coveted high profile reviews like the ones found in The New York Times. What writer doesn’t dream about a glowing report filled with fancy adjectives, telling us our book was “nothing short of spectacular,” “a monument to literary genius,” “spellbinding and flawless,” “compulsively readable,”  “jaw-droppingly brazen.” A great review from a professional critic is marketing gold and an ego booster. But a bad review…eeek! (Let’s not go there.)

But really, when it comes to reviews what matters most to me are the ordinary readers—readers who know and like my particular genre. And I think most authors would agree. After all, if a romance reader doesn’t get my sci-fi dystopian adventure, then really who cares? I can’t go around worrying that I’ve missed a potential market. Make sci-fi readers happy and they’ll tell more sci-fi readers about the great book. (Throw a little romance in, though, and you might make everyone happy.) Ultimately, I think most readers know what they like and they know when a book works. So even if I receive a review (of my creepy spiritual journeySaving Mary) that goes, “Gr8t to red…liked it lots!” I go to bed with a smile on my face because what I really hear is, “Mesmerizing journey …unequivocally fabulous.”

As far as ‘sock puppets’ go, I first had to take a few moments to figure out what the heck the term meant. I mean, apparently a sock puppet is no longer a quirky character made from your brother’s white sport sock. It’s an insidious little thing, a mask of mis-representation that authors place on Amazon in order to stimulate sales. It’s a desperate act of a starving author (or a quirky one, I’m not sure).

When I was first invited to write this post regarding reviews and sock puppets (after I figured out what a sock puppet was) I thought I was being asked to write my own sock-puppet review for Amazon. 

My initial response was, “I can’t do that!” (It’s soooo wrong!) But as I poured through the bloggers and writers discussing the term and its definition, I realized that some people considered even a review by your mother as hideously unscrupulous—“Well, of course your mother is going to praise your book…sock puppet!!” 

Personally, I don’t care if your mother writes a review for your book on Amazon—she has a right to. And I certainly don’t care if your best friend since grade two writes you a glowing review, praising your literary genius. I also couldn’t care less if the guy you gave a kidney to last summer decides to post a spectacular assessment of your work on Amazon. They all have the right to do that…and, eventually, as authors gain more readers (and reviewers) everything will work out (and readers will see that Mom really was right).

However, I have to vehemently oppose the devious act of authors giving their own reviews. Authors CANNOT give their own reviews…reviews MUST come from other people who aren’t socks! Such as mine … A SOCK PUPPET REVIEW

Deidre D Havrelock grew up in Edmonton,
Alberta, Canada where she eventually met her husband to be, DJ. It was DJ who
initially noticed Deidre’s dark state and worked to seek out someone willing to
perform her exorcism. Eventually, the newlyweds found their way to the southern
hot spot of Brooks, AB where Deidre began writing. From there the family
trekked across eastern Canada to Moncton, NB where they learned to love French
fries with cheese curds and gravy. Currently nestled in the hills of Kennewick,
Washington, Deidre has two horses, one dog, three cats and too many rabbits…and
let’s not forget her wonderful husband and three energetic daughters. Her
memoir, Saving Mary: The Possession chronicles her dark childhood and
the path that led to her demonic possession. She is currently working to finish
book two of her spiritual memoir, Saving
Mary: The Deliverance
. You can find her at

Excerpt from chapter four – Curses
Me and Kelly, we
make plans for sleepovers all the time. We don’t ever sleep at my house. We
sleep at her house. I sleep over at Kelly’s a lot ‘cause I know there’s no
little eyes or ghosts creepin’ around at her house.
At Kelly’s house we play in her playhouse. We sit on neatly stacked
bricks, pretending they’re chairs. She’s writing the rules for our new club.
I’m colorin’ the membership cards, tellin’ her about the little eyes in my
house. She calls me a freak. I then decide to tell her about a dream I had. The
one she was in.
“It’s dark outside. And quiet. The leaves in the trees aren’t
moving, that ugly ol’ Fort Road is empty and the street lights—they’re dim.
Only the moon gives light. It all looks like one of those old pictures, you
know, shadowy and still. The only sound comes from Angie’s shiny black tap
shoes as she moves down the sidewalk. They’re all, clippity-clop, clippity-clop, CLIPpITY-CLOP, clippity-clop ’cause of the echo. Angie isn’t dancing
though. She’s just walking, wishin’ her shoes would shut up. We’re all wishin’
her stupid shoes would shut up. You turn to Angie with your eyebrows pointing
to your nose. The way you do when you’re mad … ”
I tell Kelly about the church and about the robbers and about how
she hid and how I didn’t hide very good. She says, “That figures.” And we
laugh. Then I say how I was pulled to the altar, how I was made to get married and
how I was kicking and screamin’. 

Coming Soon – Book Two – Saving Mary: The Deliverance

If you’re a fan of supernatural fiction then you will be captivated
by the continuing true story about a demonically possessed girl and the path
that led to her
deliverance. Part two
of a two-part series,
Saving Mary: The
is the story of a modern-day Mary Magdalene—the woman from whom
Jesus cast out seven demons.

At seventeen, Deidre Daily finds herself oddly altered. Recently kicked out of
her New Age channeling group for having bad karma, she slowly draws within
herself, spiraling deeper into the darkness that has taken up residence inside
her body. Now bulimic, depressed and harassed by spirits nightly, Deidre waits
for the God who once spoke to her as a child.  

Deidre’s fascinating spiritual memoir relays her story from adolescence to
marriage. It is a candid account of possession and exorcism from a first-person

Blog Hop begins April 2012! Get your name down NOW!

The blogging A-Z challenge begins April 1st. What’s it about? Well, I’ll tell you. Follow this blog and use your own, at the start of April, by writing an article beginning with the letter of the alphabet starting with A through to Z. It can be silly, informative, a one-liner, a ditty – anything! 

The aim is to make friends with other bloggers and gain followers.I love looking at other bloggers; I’m one of those sad individuals who enjoy looking around show homes – this is a blog equivalent for me!

To keep up with other announcement regarding the Challenge, please follow the A to Z Challenge Blog. Now we are gearing up for the April 2012 A to Z Challenge and signups have already started.

Introducing the blog hosts: 

Arlee Bird at Tossing it Out
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs
Jenny Pearson at Pearson Report
Matthew McNish at The QQQE
Jeremy Hawkins at Retro-Zombie
Tina Downey at Life is Good
DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude
Shannon Lawrence at The Warrior Muse
Elizabeth Mueller
Damyanti Biswas at AmlokiBlogs
Konstanz Silverbow at No Thought 2 Small

Let’s go!

BOGOF offer on Aaron Drew’s novel Light Under the House

For TODAY ONLY, when you purchase Light Under the House by Aaron Drew for just $.99 on, with your proof of purchase, Aaron will gift you another book of your choice valued at the same price of $.99, (exluding Erotica). That’s 2 books for the price of 1! So jump on the bandwagon and go get yourself some awesome books!
Send Proof of Purchase to with your Amazon receipt number, and the book of your choice (title and link) and preferred email. Once it’s been verified, Aaron will gift you your book and send you a personal note of thanks.

Available at Amazon for $.99 

The Levi family has a
secret lying just beneath their house that could potentially ruin them. Light Under the House by Aaron L. and Donna
, a story-telling duo that readers are certain to come to love,
chronicles the lives of the Levi family for a generation, taking readers on an
exciting and thought-provoking journey that is certain to leave them with
profound lessons and meaning. This page-turning story is set in the late 1960s
during a period of cultural rebellion, with a flashback to biblical times, as
well as a flash-forward to the 1980s and the present (2005). There is an
ancient evil that will stop at nothing to uncover the secret that the Levi
family is hiding.

The events of this
allegoric novel are interwoven within several themes that create cohesion for
the story. Messages of courage, forgiveness, faith, the power of consequence,
and the hope of redemption are all found within the pages of Light Under the House.

Light Under the House stands out
from other novels of its genre, establishing Aaron L. and Donna Dawson as true
masters of their craft. The fusion of a riveting plot with compelling characters
and deep thematic elements takes this novel out of the sphere of the ordinary,
catapulting it into the sphere of the true literature. The story found within
its pages is certain to leave a lasting impression on readers, as it is simply

Night Secrets by BK Walker will also be given for
FREE with proof of each purchase of Light Under The House.

PictureAaron L might be a newcomer
to the creation of fiction but is not one when it comes to the arts and all
things creative. Growing up in places from Seattle to South Africa, he spent a
lot of his time drawing. Aaron always knew that his future lay in a creative
field. In 2010, he graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in
graphic design. Although the usual application of this degree is in the
creation of different types of art and design, Aaron chose instead to focus his
creative skills on the task of storytelling. He lives near Chicago,
See his website at 

Letter of complaint to guest bloggers

I don’t ask for much; a follow, a tweet or two. I don’t even
mind if the article has already been published (if copyright is your own) but I
am SO wound up by badly written, poorly edited posts, so much so that if I get one more I’ll pull out my own eyes, and stick them in the shredder!

I’m not perfect, my blog’s not perfect either, and mistakes
will probably be found if you look hard enough, but I do my utmost to keep it
mistake and typo free.

I receive nicely written emails from people requesting
exposure, I give them a topic and leave them to get on with it. Back it comes.
The topic, well, it’s SO off-topic I don’t recognise it anymore! It’s all about
THEM and their BRILLIANT book and the usual sign-off is “Enjoy”.  


This is how they start (topic should be Marketing):

Dear Lewis (who?)
My book is called Vampires and Cowboys. I wrote it when I
was in Middle Grade and my Teachers thought it was Wonderfull, and had it not
been for there support I would never of fiinished it. I finished my education
at Disney University and from their went on to fullfill my dream of being an Doctor. Due to a accidant I had to give up my Career and my Family
reminded me of my book. I published it last weak. Your readers’ will love it.

Please, edit your post. Write on topic, or if you don’t like
the topic supplied ask for another one (I usually give a selection though). And for frigging sake, blogging works both ways. Link, Tweet, FB and blog the post URL.

Guys, together we are a force, on our own we’re pitiful!

Our Mother’s Recipes – Jewish Cookbook.

Easy Jewish Recipes:
Bringing Tradition to Your Kitchen
Everyone loves traditional Jewish cooking.
The problem is, not everyone has the time to prepare their favorite Jewish
meals.  Let’s face it, not many of us can
spend all day in the kitchen like our mothers used to do.  Fortunately it is possible to enjoy your
favorite Jewish dishes without breaking a sweat.  It’s just a matter of finding easy Jewish
recipes that fit your tastes and schedule. 
Have no experience whatsoever with Jewish cooking?  Don’t sweat it!  There are great Jewish recipes that don’t
take a lot of time.
and Easy
Whether you want comfort food like Jewish
chicken soup or a filling meal with brisket as the main course, there are many
easy Jewish recipes to try out in the kitchen. Yummy potato latkes, delectable
blintz dishes and satisfying beef briskets can often be prepared with little
time and effort.  Don’t let the taste
fool you.  The best Jewish dishes can be
prepared quickly, so there is no reason you and your family can’t enjoy them
every day of the week.

Easy Jewish recipes aren’t just a great
resource for experienced cooks who are just looking to save time in the
kitchen.  Easy Jewish recipes are also a
great way to prepare a delicious meal and to break into the tradition of
cooking Jewish cuisine.  If you’ve never
tried Jewish cooking before and you don’t want to start out with the most
complicated dishes, then easy Jewish recipes is a great way to break into the
Jewish cooking experience.
Your Cravings
Now, you may be
asking yourself, can easy Jewish recipes really satisfy your cravings for the
best Jewish foods?  Don’t be fooled into
thinking that dishes prepared from easy Jewish recipes don’t taste as good as
the more complicated ones.  Some of the
best Jewish dishes are very simple and easy to prepare. Our Mother’s Recipes cookbook is filled with fantastic recipes that
even people with the most discerning tastes can enjoy.  You’ll find easy recipes not contained in the
cookbook by roaming around our Web site. 
There is no reason to avoid your favorite
Jewish meals due to a hectic schedule or a lack of advanced cooking skills.  Not all good meals take hours to prepare or a
degree in the culinary arts.  Easy Jewish
recipes can fill your kitchen and your life with the Jewish food you’ve been
longing for, without the hours of effort that you just don’t have the time to
put in.  If you’re not familiar with
Jewish cuisine then use our recipes to start your own family traditions.  

Armin Feldman and Dorene SagerBio: 

Dorene Sager and Armin Feldman are sister and
brother.  The idea for the cookbook
sprang from the discovery of a treasure trove of their mother’s recipes after
she passed away. Now Our Mother’s Recipes, Carrying On a Jewish Tradition is a website, a cookbook, a TV show and a place to learn about what the best Jewish
cuisine has to offer.
: Dorene
represents the best of so many different things. Dorene is a cookbook author, a
wife and mother, a commercial real estate broker, a devoted family member, a
true friend and so much more.
 Dorene is a fantastic cook in her own right.
She learned a lot about cooking from her mother, Helen Feldman.  Dorene is married and has three children and
6 grandchildren.  Dorene and her husband just
celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Dorene enjoys reading, movies,
playing canasta, and of course cooking.
 I had so much fun working with my brother
putting together all of the different ways to showcase our mother’s recipes.
Armin wears a number of hats too. Armin is a
cookbook author, husband, dog lover, supporter of friends and family, medical
doctor and a lot more.
Armin is also a wonderful
cook.  From the time they could reach the
kitchen counter, their mother taught Dorene and Armin how to make traditional
Jewish recipes. If you watch the videos on their website,
, you can feel the joy these siblings radiate while cooking their mother’s
recipes.  You can also sign up for the
recipe of the week sent right to your email address.

Armin says, What
a treat to work with the best sister ever in creating all of these venues to
showcase our mother’s remarkable culinary skills.

Add a wonderful cuisine to your everyday meals
and special gatherings. Traditional Jewish cooking is flavorful, fun and hearty
particularly with Our Mother’s Recipes, Carrying on a Jewish Tradition. These
recipes have been handed down through many generations influenced by Middle
Eastern, Mediterranean, Spanish, German and Eastern European styles of cooking.
In our family all of these cultural influences were combined, synthesized and
affected by local ingredients through the years resulting in sumptuous, rich
and wonderfully fulfilling traditional Jewish dishes. Try our mother’s farfel
instead of noodles. Replace that tired chocolate cake with some really yummy
Helen Feldman brownies or warm fruit compote. You will have the secret to
Jewish penicillin, chicken soup with matzo balls. There’s enough here to keep
you going for years of great food, family, friends and memories to enjoy.

There will be a virtual book tour starting on
December 15th. See the vtb banner, or full schedule here 

The Book Launch will be on February 1.  Anyone who buys the book from Amazon on
bruary 1 will get 25 entries into the Book Launch Contest.  There are other ways to get entries.  One is to comment on three of the blogs on
the tour days.
  See the schedule.

To get your entries and to find out how to get
more entries visit to access the contest
The prizes:
$100.00 Amazon Gift Certificate for a Kindle
Two $50.00 Amazon Gift Certifcates
Authors can choose a video book trailer or
Facebook Welcome Page instead of the Kindle.


    window.RAFLIN = window.RAFLIN || {};

    window.RAFLIN[‘a164b711’] = {id:

head=(document.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0] ||



href=””&amp;amp;gt;You need javascript enabled to see
this giveaway&amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;gt;.

Film Director, Guy Magar, shares his behind the scenes moments of Hollywood!

Front CoverKiss Me Quick Before I Shoot
is an unconventional memoir because it deals with diverse topics such as the
magic of making movies and the magic of finding true love. I’ve been blessed to
have had such a kaleidoscope of experiences starting as a child in Egypt and
immigrating to America, growing up in New York and learning to speak English,
going to college at an incendiary political time in the country (late ‘60s),
and then setting myself on such an unlikely journey to become a film director
in Hollywood. That career adventure was a story I always wished to share
because it’s been rich with wild and crazy experiences such as my first
producer turning out to be a real Mafia assassin, almost decapitating Drew
Barrymore right after ET, and coming
close to derailing James Cameron’s career though he is so talented I doubt
anyone could have altered his storied destiny. Everyone loves to look behind
the curtain of the movie world and this memoir takes you there on a very
personal experience like no other.

Regarding the title, “Kiss me quick before
I shoot”
was my welcoming catchphrase to my wife Jacqui whenever she
visited on-set, seemingly always just before I rolled cameras. And so this book
is also about a deeper magic, the magic of finding your soulmate, your life
Finding true love for me is all about falling in love
with Jacqui, and having a costumed Camelot wedding where I got to duel for her
hand (a la Errol Flynn) in a romantic
Renaissance celebration that has blossomed to this day, twenty-nine years
later. This journey was also worthy of telling due to the extreme dramatic turn
of Jacqui suddenly being diagnosed with leukemia three years ago.

That unique medical journey to heal her through a cutting-edge clinical trial
was a triumphant story of the human spirit – of her great courage – that deserved
to be shared with the world. Everyone knows someone with cancer, and so I
wanted to write a book about our experience that would inspire folks to get
through their illness. For me, the grateful feedback from caregivers and cancer
patients has been the most emotionally satisfying response to this memoir and
the 18-month writing journey it required. It took me longer to write this book
than any movie I ever made.

I wanted this memoir to be a good friend with which you curl up with while
sipping a hot chocolate because writing this memoir was a celebration of life. For
me, it’s about following your dreams and making them come true. And that’s
magical, as it is for all of us, and I wished to share that universal
commonality. I encourage my readers to be inspired to celebrate their own
unique life experiences. It was my desire and hope that by sharing my magic it
would inspire folks to reflect, to take the time to appreciate their own great
life journeys. We are all so busy living life and dealing with our daily
challenges that most of the time we don’t take a time out to celebrate our own
magic of being alive. This is why the last parting line in my book is “Dare to
dream…I did. From one magician to another: Peace.”
invite you to
and enter our weekly contest – just pick your favorite book excerpt short – and
win a signed paperback mailed to you. Pe
ace to all fellow writers and visitors.

Guy Magar was nine years
old when he left Egypt in 1958. His family immigrated to the U.S., where he
grew up in Middletown, NY. Graduating from Rutgers University, Guy began his
film career at the London Film School. Soup Run, his first short won a
Special Jury Prize at the 1974 San Francisco Film Festival.

In 1978, Guy relocated to Los Angeles to attend the American Film
Institute.  His first short, Once Upon an Evening (made for $500)
got him a 7-year deal at Universal Studios. Guy went on to earn over 100
film production credits including episodes of La Femme Nikita, Sliders, The
A-Team, Blue Thunder, Fortune Hunter, The Young Riders
, Lawless, Our Family Honor, Hunter, and the
CBS pilot/MOW Dark Avenger. He also directed 35 shows of the
daytime drama Capitol      

Guy’s feature
film credits include Lookin’ Italian (starring
“Friends” Matt LeBlanc and singer Lou Rawls in their first film); Stepfather
which launched HBO’s World Premiere Series; and the cult thriller Retribution
which will be released for the first time on DVD on its 25th anniversary in
summer 2012. His recent feature is Children of the Corn: Revelation
based on Stephen King’s original story.       

Guy is
founder of the Action/Cut Filmmaking Seminars, which for the last ten years,
has provided the acclaimed “page to screen” 2-day educational
industry workshop. Action/Cut has taught thousands of filmmakers
during seminar tours which include most major USA cities. His seminar
is available as the acclaimed Action/Cut Home Film Course 12-hour DVD Collection.

Guy is the founder
of the annual Action/Cut Short Film Competition, which provides an opportunity
for young filmmakers to showcase their talents. Action/Cut was one of the
first to stream films on the Internet, which can be viewed year-round on its
website. MovieMaker reviewed Action/Cut as one of the “Top 10
Shorts Festival in the World for Filmmakers!”          

Guy has launched the
marketing of his Hollywood memoir Kiss me
Quick Before I Shoot
and looks forward to promoting it throughout 2012. Guy
writes a popular blog at the book’s website and welcomes visitors to share it,
and where there are links to purchase the memoir in various formats. He lives
in the Hollywood Hills with Jacqui, his beautiful wife of 28 years. 

Competition website:

America’s Most Disillusioned Generation

Generation X is all grown up, but with one hell of an inferiority
Phil Stern

We were supposed to conquer the world, our first million in the bank by age 25.
At worst, we’d live in plush homes, firmly established within lucrative,
interesting, stable careers. Anything less was unthinkable.  
Of course, running companies was more our thing. Hey, the corner office was
already picked out. A couple of years of business school, a few boring years
paying our dues…and then our inner genius would take care of the rest. No

Divorce? Screaming and yelling over the dinner table? That was our parent’s
scene. We knew better, had a far greater understanding of human nature. We’d
all be in stable marriages with loving, supportive spouses, our children
paragons of health and well-being.

Not so long ago, say back in the 1980s and 1990s, fame and fortune was our
birthright. Now, we’re all just struggling to pay the mortgage.

With The Bull Years, I
wanted to write a novel for us, for everyone who thought they had the world at
their feet, but instead, often found themselves kicked to the ground. It’s
harder now than for most other generations, because our expectations were never
managed. We were supposed to be kings and queens, always in control of our own
fate. Instead, so many of us are just scrambling to get by.

At times, the self-alienation is almost overwhelming. Sophia Danton, one of
the main characters in The Bull Years, says it best:

“I’ve come to realize we’re all two different people. Our younger,
innocent self that’s inevitably mangled along the highway of life, and our
tougher adult persona that evolves from the wreckage. Happiness comes from
juxtaposing the two, nurturing the maimed spirit within you, welcoming it into
your adult life and giving it the time and understanding you never received as
a child, no matter how sane and loving your parents tried to be.”

It’s my hope that The Bull Years can help provide both the
perspective, and the voice, that our generation needs. I think everyone will
find something of themselves in the struggles of Steve, Sophia, Dave, and
Hayley. Nothing’s held back. It’s all there, raw and uncensored.

We can all reconnect with that maimed spirit within ourselves, welcoming it
to the here and now. It’s there. You may just not have seen it for awhile. Because to that younger, innocent version of yourself, the future remains as
bright and glorious as it ever was.

Phil Stern is the author of both Contemporary and Science
His début novel, The Bull Years, was published in 2011. A hard-hitting
commentary on both the frustrations and ultimate validation of modern-day life.
“I wanted to write about characters everyone could relate to,” Stern says. 

Stern now lives in Florida, and is working on his next novel. 

A day in the life of an Author

but not this day!

Pink and fluffy chick lit

struggled to get out of bed. Had a late night trying to finish an awkward scene on a novel I’m working on, but ended up playing chess with the computer. This
resulted in a tense stand-off with several more games until I was satisfied
that the computer was sorry that it beat me in two moves on the first game.

coffee, and turn on computer. I can hear it groan. No, that’s my stomach. I
haven’t eaten since, er, Saturday (it’s Monday). Funny, I’m as porky as
ever. Must be the constant supply of Hobnobs. In the kitchen I pour flakes into a bowl,
and top it with milk.

said flakes into my mouth, I open my email. Spam. Spam. Spam. And more spam.
Oh! Win a holiday with one click.

click. And read. And imagine I’ve won the holiday. I think about the new
clothes I would have buy. Would have to buy a new suitcase, too. And lose
weight. My dream ends, and the very nice, but very loud Chris Evans declares it’s
nine. Already?

make another coffee, the previous cold, and delete the spam and the holiday. A
new email comes in. It’s from a lady whose work I was editing. She’s not happy
with the edits. Thinks I was too harsh. Harsh? Learn how to punctuate, muppet!

Another email comes through from an agent I was hopeful on bagging. No, she isn’t
going to pursue with my submission after all. I hit the minimize button. Too early
in the morning to deal with, and I don’t feel strong enough. Insufficient caffeine
circulating the blood stream for a start!

glug the coffee, but still don’t feel like reading the agent’s email. I wonder
about deleting it. If I call her and act
like I haven’t seen it, maybe she’ll change her mind?

open last night’s scene. Then immediately minimize it, and click on Twitter. Ah, I’ve several
messages and RTs that I need to reply to/thank. Oh no! Kate Moss is trending.
Has she died? I click and see that it’s her birthday. I wish her happy

I go
into #wip to see how everyone is getting on with their writing. @Flashgit has managed
5k this morning. I unfollow @Flashgit.

is still editing her  novel. She said she wrote in the whole damn thing in the NaNoWriMo month. I don’t believe her. I report her for abuse.

type: On second coffee and still can’t
get started #wip

Beauty and the Beast
for grown ups
open up The Scene and re-read aloud to see if it sounds any better. It

on Twitter I see if anyone has answered me. They have. @pruebatten suggests I go for a walk to think things over in my head. Good idea actually. The “me time”
is very, very important. Note to self – make more “me time”.

shower and dress, and immediately feel better. I grab my bag and car keys and
out I go. Walk? Is she frigging joking! I head to the shops. Nothing like
retail therapy for “me time”.

hours later, and a lots of pounds lighter (money, not weight – I wish!) I come
home. I’ve bought a pair of boyfriend jeans and a T-shirt. I go to dump the bags in
my wardrobe, but as I open the door a pair of jeans, with the label still on, fall
out. I pick them up and remember I bought them last week. They are EXACTLY THE


at my computer I check my emails. The agent one is still there and I open it sulkily:
“the round table isn’t keen on your concept and doesn’t think it’ll sell”.
Round table? What is she, bloody King Arthur?

Welcome to the dark side
of chick lit

open Twitter to pour out my woes: Rejected
again #wip #submission #reject #author Might hit the bottle later.

I glance
at clock to see if this idea is doable. Almost mid-day, a little early, even
for me!

I notice
I’ve lost three followers. Really depressed now. I call my friend and tell her
all about my horrendous morning. She can’t really talk because her house was
burgled last night, and the police are there taking statements. Still, she could
have been a little more sympathetic, selfish cow.

the computer I open The Scene.

know, it reads really good now. Think I’ll keep it after all.

Children’s writer and illustrator Joanna Cook with her second in the series of The Wrenolds

 The “Wrenolds,” a family of wrens, have survived a tornado and rebuilt their home just in time to celebrate Grandma’s birthday.  

5-12 years.

This is the
second story in the delightful and whimsical series about a bird
community.  Join the cardinals, Sir Al and Alberta, the robins, Mr. and
Mrs. Robinson, and the elegant hummingbirds, Tony and Mary Hummingway, and
See what happens when Jackie Wrenolds finds the perfect birthday
gift for Grandma and the story takes a mysterious turn.

Children will delight in this charming story written from the perspective of birds – and learn something too!

Published by Mirror Publishing: Written/illustrations by Joanne Cook. 

Join “The Wrenolds of Elm Tree Cottage” on Facebook
Buy on Amazon

10 Novels That Nail the College Experience

Is there one single novel that captures the college experience? Well … no. The institution you decide to attend, the subjects you choose to study, and your own predilection for hitting the books versus enjoying all of the other , ahem, distractions that college has to offer, all help to define your personal “experience” of college. But, though one novel alone doesn’t tell the whole story, we’ve found 10 that each nail at least some aspect of the college experience. Have a look:

From agents offering editing services to Amazon Jimmy Gordon offers his entertaining view of the publishing world.

I must say I have been completely lost as far as topic for today’s post goes. But, since this seems to be more of a site for writers than readers I thought we might discuss just where we are going, where our lives in literature are concerned.


author of Dartboard

I often read that changes in the field of literature move along at a pretty slow pace. However, I can’t agree with that I have witnessed the dynamic of this business change, well, dynamically! Once I had blundered through that first book, upon the strike of the very last key, I really had no idea where to move from there. How does one get a book published? I turned to the internet and typed in a simple search: ‘how does one publish their first book’? Naturally, one of the vanity presses popped up, and not knowing any better, I jumped on board without any idea that an author taking that road for publishing would be scorned, dragged out into the streets, their books burned, and their backs lashed out in the courtyard just for having the nerve to ask a bookseller to sell their self-published stuff, even on consignment!

That was just ten years ago, and look what’s happening now: there are folks like J. A. Konrath setting the traditional form of publishing aside to self-publish on their own. And other big name stars seem to be following his lead. But how does that help the small fry? I’ve read Joe’s blog, and don’t get me wrong, I love the guy. In fact, his name and words are on the cover of my current book in the form of a blurb. In his blog he talks about the sales he’s making without the need to cut an agent or a publisher in on his booty. I imagine for many of us, all of us who have insulated our homes with rejection letters from publishers and agents, it offers a little bit of hope that we can make it big. But should it? After all, yes, these folks are self-publishing, but they’ve had the benefit of publishing with a large publishing house. They didn’t enter the self-publishing arena as a complete no-name starting from scratch. Their audiences had already been built. So I ask, is this new trend one to be embraced? Or should we stiffen up our backsides and keep sending out those emails and letters to publishers and agents?

Let’s talk about those agents. I already mentioned the rejection letters. How often has any writer found themselves staring at their inbox, seeing that one agent’s email address, the one that seemed interested, and not wanting to open it because you just know you’ll get the “I’m sorry, it’s not you, it’s me” routine?. I’ve been there.

Another tough spot is one that hit me twice. You think you land an agent, you even work through some edits, but eventually, “Well, Jim, there have been some big changes in the industry. If this was two years ago, I’d take you on. I just didn’t see this coming.” That sucked.Those rejects finally prompted me to take a look at the hundreds of small, independent publishers out there. In my opinion, I think this road is a mighty fine road to travel. There are so many of these small presses and each one seems to know their niche in the market. I had so many stories from my big press friends… after their book was published; they had a quick meeting with a PR person, and were patted on their behinds, and told to go sell their book. Only the bestsellers get the full boat PR treatment, does that make any sense whatsoever?

The big guys are already big, folks will buy their stuff regardless, no? Isn’t a publisher dooming their investment by sending a first timer out in the cold with nothing but a match and sheet of one-ply toilet paper to keep them warm? I’ve found it might be just as tough to land a quality small press as is it to land that agent, but there seems to be hundreds to choose from, they all seem to fill a niche or two, they know their market. I must say, I’m happy to have found a home in the small press world. I often wonder if others feel the same.

A little irony where agents are concerned: has anyone noticed, in the hard times for the book biz, that many agents have turned to offering editing, or book doctor services on the side? Andy, if you’re reading this, I’m talking about others, not you, you’re top notch! Anyhow, I think I’ve now opened my inbox three or four times now and found an agent spamming me, saying they now offer editorial services to non-clients at stellar rates; that stellar rate being something like $200.00 an hour. I’ll tell you this, it felt mighty fine to click reply and tell these folks that they are just not the right fit for me at this point in time. Has anyone else come across this?

Finally, I think my word count is running short here, so let’s talk about those brick and mortar stores and their e cousins like Amazon. The ones that sell actual printed books compared with the Kindle-type of books. Again, let’s go back ten years to when I just stepped into literature. The ebook was still considered trash. A comment like “Hey, I got an offer for a publishing contract. Yeah, it’s for an ebook.” Well, I think we all know what the reaction would look like—a kind nod and a sniff of rotten eggs.

I’m not sure that will be the case anymore. I really think e publishers/Kindle/Nook type of publishers will be a totally respected form of publishing, if it isn’t already. Of course, I’m not sure e-publishing can really be considered cheap or inexpensive publishing, the books will still need dynamite cover art and primo editing, and that’s pretty big money stuff where publishers are concerned. So there is no printing cost. Perhaps that money can be used for marketing. One of my books, Kritterkreep,  is offered in ebook through Kindle and the Nook. My next kids’ book, Field of Screams, will be along shortly. There’s seems to be a new trend in marketing authors who have more than one book to peddle, giving the Kindle edition away for free a month or two prior to the release of the next book. I had several conversations with other writers about this tactic and I’ve heard nothing but good things. Has anyone out there had a similar experience to share? I am totally excited to see how it goes. I’m hoping the folks who publish my adult stuff will follow suit and offer the same.

As far as paper books go, and the brick and mortar stores, I’m thinking the book to the Nook will be like the horse to the auto. As soon as those gas-driven machines hit those old dirt roads, the horse was kicked off the path as the primary form of transportation. While I may use the hell out of my car, every now and then, from time to time, it’s a blast to jump into the saddle and hit the dusty trail. We’ve seen the death of Borders, a huge blow to the marketability of print books; think of how much shelf space was lost practically overnight. Will Barnes and Noble and other nationwide chains survive, or will we be a Kindle world with the occasional paper book read for kicks, picked up from a dusty shelf in a small downtown’s independent bookstore?

I think humans, in general, are resistant to change, but I must say, I’m looking forward to the future of this industry. I can’t wait to see where things land. Anyone else feel the same?

Genre Adult/Adventure

1776: An English payroll ship loses sight of its convoy and wrecks on the shoals of a small, remote Caribbean island during a terrible storm, marooning its crew and a small group of soldiers. After rescuing the gold and burying it on the island, they are overrun by a tribe of cannibals, leaving the treasure hidden… Today: Jimmy Quigley, a small town cop, inherits a boat and a treasure map from his Uncle Jackson, a renowned world explorer. He hooks up with Evelyn Quinn, who also received a small inheritance from his uncle. He heads to the Caribbean with Evelyn and her friend, Kristin, and his friend, Rick, for some fun in the sun and a possible treasure hunt. When the boat is ransacked by thieves not once, but twice, Jimmy wonders if his uncle’s warning to watch his back has more to it than he first thought. With his friends’ safety and the fate of the Lorraine gold in mind, Jimmy heads off into the biggest adventure of his life…
New to blogging is firefighter and paramedic-turned-author Jimmy (J.D.) Gordon. He was born and raised in Chicago  and lives with his wife and children in Glen Ellyn IL, a suburb of Chicago. He writes in two different genres: adventure for adults and paranormal spooky stuff for middle school children from age nine until, and above, twelve years. 

Unlike many writers (most seem to catch the writing bug early in life) Jimmy only began writing as a hobby ten years ago. But skip back twenty or thirty years and you’d find someone who thought they’d never write a book! Jimmy was the lousy student in the back of class, avoiding the teacher’s gaze! 

Jimmy Gordon dropped into the world of literature quite literally. After falling off a train and breaking his knee Jimmy had to spend time recuperating, and his peers asked what he planned to with  his new-found free time. And Jimmy said the words that he now claims to have changed his life: “I should write a book.”

Despite some skepticism (“You don’t even use punctuation on your run reports!”), he completed a novel, Island Bound, and made it a point to use punctuation throughout – good idea!

But then he had another accident, sustained on the job, which ended his career in the fire service and the rest, as they say, is history.

Aside from writing Gordon spends his spring and summer as an umpire for high school and youth baseball. He now lives with his wife and children in Glen Ellyn IL, a suburb of Chicago. 

Free paranormal novel by Lisa Graves.

What would you do if you thought your boyfriend were a figment of your imagination? That is Lilly’s problem. 

YA Paranormal Romance / Mystery
 by Lisa Graves

Sure he randomly seems to appear and
disappear out of nowhere.  
Perhaps he is cryptic and evasive when it
comes to details of his past?
But what if you can feel in your soul
that you are meant to be together?  
Would that tiny detail matter?

Excerpt from Atlantis:
My eyes looked at the
ground. I didn’t want to, but I made myself say it. “You’re not real.”
Elliott was quiet. I
looked up to see what he was doing. He continued to sit on the grass but he
looked shocked. “What do you mean by that?” I noticed a cautious tone in his
I dove into my brain
trying to find the right words to use when breaking up with yourself. I came up
empty handed. The fact that I desperately wanted to stay and live in my fantasy
land didn’t make it any easier. My torrent stream of emotions was giving me away.
I bit my lip, trying to keep my face from exposing all of my secrets.
Strangely, he did the same.
“What do you mean, I’m
not real?” Elliott asked again. He gently placed his hand on mine. The usual
sensation of electricity flowing through him to me, pricked my mind and made me
doubt my hallucination theory. He wasn’t helping me.
It was probably a
combination of my emotions keeping me an inch from tears, and his penetrating
eyes bearing down on my soul, but I had overflowed. I couldn’t stop the words
from pouring out.
yelled, more at myself than at Elliott.
I stood up. His mouth
gapped open at me as I paced the cove and continued.
“You are too perfect.
And good looking. And sweet…”
He looked as though he
was going to argue, but I went on.
“No one has seen you but
He whispered something
to himself and shook his head.
“You appear and
disappear out of nowhere.”
I turned again at the
edge of the cove, racking my brain for more proof of my theory. When I resumed
my pacing, he spoke.
“I know,” he said in a
soft, apologetic purr and looked straight at me.
Elliott caught me off
guard. I hadn’t expected my hallucination to agree with me. “What do you mean
you know?”

Find out more from Lisa Graves at:

A brand new thriller from M. D. Cliatt

When criminal defense attorney Maeven Dayne decides not to walk away from her job to defend a teenage girl with no family and no money, she finds herself taking on a corrupt juvenile justice system and winds up in the middle of a murder plot.
I’m brand new
to the world of writing fiction, and from what I see and hear, the world has
changed with the advent of ebooks and online publishing. When I started writing
my novel four years ago, I had no idea
how I was going to publish and market it

I just knew I wanted to write it and I’d worry about the rest
later.  So, when later arrived, I found
myself pulling my hair out as I tried to figure out how to get it done: to
publish through a traditional house or to self-publish. Both options seemed
intimidating. I never really concerned
myself with how my favorite books ended up in my hands
; I just wanted to
find the nearest hidey hole and plunge into someone else’s imagination. Well
now, I wanted to share my imaginary world and story through a book, and I
didn’t know how to do it.  Ugh!  So, I jumped on my trusty steed–my laptop of
course–and galloped into the virtual new world of cyberspace looking for

I discovered
there’s a lot of help out there. I’m really blown away by the presence and
power of the book reading and writing community. Who knew?! I certainly
didn’t.  From block buster plot consultants to literary agent query sharks to ebooks to YouTube marketing
to virtual tours to book bloggers, an aspiring writer can
get a lot of useful advice and get a lot done. 
As I began my research on whether to self- publish or try a literary
agent and a publishing house, I learned that authors have a lot of options as well as obstacles. 
Because I’m
not a very patient person and I believe that I should control my dreams, I
chose self-publishing.  I’ll be honest
and admit that I bristle a little bit at the idea of a faceless agent standing
between me and my goal.  I drafted a few
queries, but deleted them.  Trying to
figure out what agents like and dislike proved maddening.  With self-publishing, when I’m ready, I can
upload my book online with Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Create Space, and
others, and it’s published, I don’t have to wait a year for the publishing house. 
The real
source of book marketing now seems to be social media–as it should be.  Social
media is how word-of-mouth moves at warp speed
.  It allows aspiring authors to rise and fall
on their own merit without some middleman or woman shaking their head at you
and telling you to not even bother. With
Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, blogs and etcetera, an author can tap social
media on their own.
  I’m excited
about the possibilities in this new world of writing; I’m excited about the
self-empowerment it provides. 
Feel free to
drop me a comment on this subject on my blog at I’ll send the first commenter a free digital copy of my book The Public Pretender
. Meanwhile, something to whet your appetite: 

The Public Pretender Synopsis 
Unlike what she thinks of her own mother, Maeven Dayne considers herself to be a great mom who loves all of her kids, but she must choose between them: the juvenile defendants at work or her sons at home. She pleases her devoted husband when she decides to quit her job as a public defender to spend more time with their sons. But, on Maeven’s last day at work in the courtroom, a juvenile probation officer she despises drags a weeping young girl before an irritated judge for an unscheduled hearing while Maeven is packing up her things to leave. She is walking out of the courtroom, fighting her urge to turn around, when she realizes the probation officer didn’t notify the girl’s parents or arrange for a public defender to represent her. Maeven can’t resist the girl’s pitiful pleas for help and decides to intervene even though she is risking her family. 
While defending this girl, Maeven discovers people are profiting from imprisoning innocent kids in juvenile placement facilities, but whom? A juvenile psychologist who tries to expose the kids-for-cash scheme is murdered, but he’s left clues. As Maeven delves deeper into the case, she discovers, to her horror, that she is just like her mother. When her oldest son is beaten, arrested and detained on false charges, her husband receives a message proposing an offer: Maeven quits her job and the case, or they lose their son. Her husband insists that she choose their son. The problem? She doesn’t know if she can sacrifice one for the other.
Monica Cliatt is a wife and a mother who
loves to tell stories.  She was born and
raised in Georgia, but now lives in Central Pennsylvania. She is a staff
attorney in a law school clinical program, and is an adjunct law professor who
teaches juvenile justice and legal writing. She used to be a public defender
specializing in representing children, and for the most part, loved the work. She
thrived on the heat of courtroom battle, but the highs are very high and the
lows are very low and she burned out. Now, she spends her time grading papers,
supervising law students as they represent indigent clients in court and
reading with her sister in their long distance book club.