A cheeky UK hockey player tells dragon tales! Meet Paul Cude

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Turning cheeky for kids!

Turning cheeky for kids!

I look after my two girls, and when they’re at school I’m a teaching assistant. I love playing hockey, and help coach kids, mine included. Other interests include reading, building computers, squash, cycling, great days out with my wonderful wife and kids, as well of course as WRITING! I’m currently editing my second book in the series. This one is called  ‘Bentwhistle The Dragon in A Chilling Revelation’.

 What is your favorite quality about yourself?

I suppose my sense of humour. I always try and look on the bright side of anything, and I’d much rather be laughing than crying. It’s always lovely to see my kids laugh, and be rather cheeky at times…….although I’d never really tell them that. My sense of humour is interspersed throughout my book…….look out for the giant grinning spider.

 What made you want to be a writer?

Oddly it just happened. Sounds a bit crazy really, but one night, when my eldest daughter was just a baby (she’s not far off 11 now) I had the single most realistic dream I’ve ever had. I didn’t remember it until the following day, but when I did, I swear it was just like watching a movie in my head…..so graphic, so intense, so…..mesmerising. Anyhow, I told my wife, who was gobsmacked to say the least. And so was what she said to me, “You have to write it, you just have to.” At the time I just laughed off her idea, bearing in mind that at the time I could only type with two fingers. But over a period of I suppose months, I kept getting more dreams, flashbacks into the story…….sometimes little details, sometimes insights into the characters, sometimes twists and turns to do with the plot. In the end I suppose looking back it was inevitable that I would write it. First I taught myself to type properly…..3 months, and then, well………..I began. At first I needed complete silence to be able to write, something there wasn’t a lot of bearing in mind I was taking care of one young child, with another on the way. But over time I’ve learned to filter it all out and can now write with the kids playing around me if I need to, but I still think I do work more efficiently in total silence. It has taken a long time, and I was surprised how hard and crucial the editing  process was. But in the end it was most definitely worth it.

The most surprising part of all though, is that sometimes…the words just flow out of you, almost as if it were supposed to be that way. On occasions, I’ve sat down to write for half an hour or an hour, and in the blink of an eye, over two hours have passed, and I’ve written three or four times the amount I was aiming for. It’s a little bit spooky, in a good way, but wonderful and rewarding at the same time. I wouldn’t swap it for anything.

 How did you come up with the title?

The whole story came to me in a dream one night, and in the dream, I could see the main character in his dragon form, with this very clear marking of a bent whistle, etched on his scales……hence his name…..Peter Bentwhistle. Whenever I think of him, that’s the first thing that pops into my head. As for the ‘threat from the past’, that’s more about the opening part of the book, that in my mind loops around and connects to the very ending, while still leaving a few unanswered questions for the readers to think about. All will be revealed, some bits in the not too distant future.

 What do you do when you are not writing?

When I’m not writing I like to either spend time with my wife and children, or play hockey. A day at the beach down in Swanage or Hengistbury Head followed by a meal out on the way back sounds perfect. If not that, a family bike ride somewhere or a walk in the New Forest. I do love a game of hockey with my friends at Salisbury hockey club, but as I get older it’s much harder to do on a regular basis. I help coach my kids and other children every Sunday morning though, and still try to get to men’s training weekly. Playing squash weekly with an old friend, helps me get through the week. (He’s mentioned in the book.)

What was your favorite part of the book to write? Why?

My favorite part to write was easily the second to last chapter……….’Fawking Hell!!!!!’ As you may have gathered from the chapter title, it has something to do with bonfire night. This whole chapter had been in my head for years before I started writing it, and given that it’s around twenty-two thousand words long, I absolutely whizzed through it. It was a pleasure to write, and the words just zipped out of my head and on to the screen. I could genuinely see every little detail of what happens. Twists and turns abound in that chapter, and it includes a graphic fight scene, which ends in a most unexpected way. It’s easily my favorite part of the book, and just thinking about it sends goose bumps down both of my arms.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Well, I’ve only just finished writing my follow up book….’Bentwhistle The Dragon in A Chilling Revelation’, and before any editing it’s just over 215, 000 words long, considerably longer than the previous one. It picks up pretty much from where the first book left off. Only in this one, things get much……..chillier. Quite literally. There’s another tale from the nursery ring (where dragons grow up), related to something that happens much further on in the book. Old and new characters alike feature in what I think is an adventure even more action packed throughout. We come across the mysterious nagas, for good or bad, and we learn a little bit more about the background and living conditions of the king, as well as discovering that he’s far from past his sell by date. There’s much more dragon and human team sport. Tank, one of Peter’s friends, even gets to play a whole detailed game of rugby, in a much similar vein to Peter’s hockey match in the first book. Plus more death defying laminium ball matches, this time in the league, rather than the global cup, with the Indigo Warriors perhaps biting off a little bit more than they can chew. Some of the action here is truly EXPLOSIVE! (A clue, methinks…) The characters, new and old alike, reveal a little bit more about themselves, with something for everyone. The new places visited include Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Egypt, USA, and of course the underground world of the dragon domain. My warped sense of humour still features in places of course. Watch out especially for two of the King’s Guards in the early part of the book, that are particularly good value on that front. Other than that, there’s not much more I can tell you without giving away some of the plot, which of course I’m reluctant to do.

How and where can my readers purchase your books?Bentwhistle

Currently my book can be found for free at Smashwords, in all formats, or can be purchased in either paperback or kindle version from Amazon

The Goodreads page for my book can be found here

Keep up with Paul Cude on facebook here

Or on twitter @paul_cude

Or his website to support the book www.bentwhistlethedragon.co.uk.  In addition, blog www.thesoberhockeyplayer.co.uk which provides further insight into his creations and author interviews.

 

 

Belle of Steel #10 Captain Valerie Ormond, USN (Ret.)

What would it be like to be aboard a floating city of men? Essentially , a men’s only club, where the sign reads “No Girls Allowed.”  Retired Navy Captain Valerie Ormond knows. She was among the first female naval intelligence officers aboard a combat ship for the United States Navy. One of very few women aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.

All aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln

All aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln

An aircraft carrier’s crew consists of the ship’s company, those permanently assigned to the ship, and  the air wing personnel, who come on when the air wing is deployed. Normally, the air wing comes aboard for training, work ups, and deployments. The total ship’s company is normally around 3200.  The air wing totals about 2400. Therefore, the total personnel on board a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier is usually over 5500 people. In addition, there are others that are not part of the ship’s company.  These peeps consist of NCIS agents, contractors, teachers, the Admiral’s staff, and the like. Some interesting factoids on the USS Abraham Lincoln and photos can be found here.

The number of women assigned to the USS Abraham Lincoln’s ship’s company, air wing, and Admiral’s staff was 363 out of 5500.  She was one woman amidst a sea of men.

Valerie was assigned to Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron FIVE (VQ-5) as part of Carrier Air Wing ELEVEN (CVW-11) from November 1994 – July 1996. Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron FIVE flew the ES-3A Shadow, an aircraft carrier-based electronic reconnaissance aircraft. Carrier Air Wing ELEVEN  was assigned to the USS Abraham Lincoln in 1994 and 1995. Missions included a Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf deployment participating in Operation Southern Watch, the enforcement of the no-fly zone over southern Iraq, and Operation Vigilant Sentinel, in response to Iraqi threats against Jordan and Kuwait. VQ-5 is now decommissioned, but for some great data on VQ-5 and naval aviation click here .

As an intelligence officer, Valerie found that being on the squadron’s first six-month deployment on board a carrier with real world missions to be very fulfilling. There were some who said that as a woman, she had no place there.

But Valerie would hear nothing of it. To her, it mattered not whether she was male or female. She was there to use her mind over matters of war. With a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Mass Communication from Towson University in Maryland, as well as a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence from the Defense Intelligence College in Washington, D.C., she was a match for any man’s mind. She loved school and learning, and it showed. Valerie later attended the U.S. Army War College and was awarded her second Master’s degree in Strategic Studies. She believes that all of that schooling reinforced what her parents taught her early on: education teaches one how to think.

Valerie’s training has ranged from basic military survival skills to executive military leadership. But she doesn’t believe that any education or training is as important as experience. She feels she’s learned from every experience and as such, has tried to apply that learning to future steps in life.

Captain Valerie Ormond, USN (Ret.) at work as an author.

Captain Valerie Ormond, USN (Ret.) at work as an author.

As a retired, decorated, naval officer, Valerie never dreamed she would be where she is now; especially as an author. She didn’t plan either path from childhood, but fortunately followed where life led her. One of Valerie’s favorite quotes is from Alfred Lord Tennyson, “I am a part of all those I have met.”  She describes being lucky to have met extraordinary people and sharing the lessons learned from them with others.

The top two mentors who have inspired Valerie are retired Vice Admiral Jake Jacoby, U.S. Navy, and her dad.  But her mother comes in a very close third!  Admiral Jacoby believed in her, supported her, and never told her she couldn’t do something because she was a woman.  He advised her to take jobs which at the time she didn’t understand would be the best for her and her future in the navy.   Valerie now understands that being a mentor doesn’t mean always telling the person who seeks your guidance what THEY want to hear.   Sometimes a mentor must bear bad news and say, “No, I understand that’s what you’d like to do, but this is what you need to do.” She appreciates that Admiral Jacoby took her under his wing and never steered her wrong.

Although Valerie hadn’t planned on a naval career from childhood, her father indoctrinated her in the Navy from day one. Her father served as an active duty officer, a reservist, a naval civilian, and a navy contractor. Quite simply – he loved the navy.   A ship’s clock rang in their house 24/7. Her dad explained the meaning of the bells and their relation to watch shifts aboard ships. Her brother and she grew up with and learned expressions like “Rank Has Its Privileges,” “Change Step Move Out,” and   “Reveille, Reveille” in grade school. Her father taught her about navy traditions, leadership, and the pride and value of service. Interestingly, he was also a very gifted writer, which he never pursued beyond a hobby.

With such a strong, naval minded father, what about her mother? Valerie describes her as “brilliant, sassy, creative, supportive, and still working at the age of 78. Need I say more?”  Valerie thinks SHE is the real “Belle of Steel” here.

Concerning obstacles in her path to success in a male dominated world, Valerie remembers early in her navy career being teased by salty fleet sailors. They felt since she hadn’t served at sea, that somehow she was a less worthy member of the team. It made no difference to them that there were so few positions at sea for women officers at the time. And they were not being filled by English major Ensigns.  A memory struck her regarding the sign outside of a boy’s fort. “No Girls Allowed.”  As a young girl, she would have walked in and challenged the threat, but Valerie knew the United States Navy was far from a kid’s fort. Protocol and decorum were at play. She had to navigate the game.

Although she felt it was unfair to have something held against her, it was something over which she had no control. She volunteered for and served in assignments designated “sea duty equivalent” per the bureaucracy, but that didn’t seem to matter to naysayers. The impetus which compelled her to do her part occurred when the exclusion on women serving on combat ships and in aviation squadrons was lifted in 1993. She decided she could and would overcome the obstacle. Finally, she had the Navy’s permission to enter the fort.

When the first jobs opened up for female intelligence officers on combat ships, there were few positions for the many seeking them. Valerie was lined up for four separate jobs before she finally received orders as one of the first women aboard a combatant aircraft carrier as an intelligence officer in its air wing. Persistence, flexibility, and a willingness to do things never done before paid off in the end.

Valerie believes her most rewarding experiences in the military occurred when she could do something for someone else. In her current career as an author and national speaker, sharing her leadership experiences with others through media is the most rewarding experience. It struck her that she still had much to offer. Valerie believes that sometimes, “We don’t know what we know about ourselves until we share with others.”

As a naval officer, Valerie attributes one of her personal strengths to be the revelation that she can’t do everything herself. It was earth-shattering to realize that it’s okay to admit that. Valerie knows that tenant probably comes from having support from so many for so long. To this day, she is thankful to have the most amazing support a person could ask for from her husband, also a retired naval officer. She never takes that for granted. Valerie describes herself as someone not afraid of change. In fact, she’s become pretty good at not only accepting, but embracing, change. And finally, Valerie still believes that everything happens for a reason. Her mantra? Rather than dwell on the negative, try to move on to the positive.

Believing in Horses

Believing in Horses

Five years from now Valerie would like to still be helping other people – such as young women aspiring to leadership positions .  She trusts that helping someone else by sharing something she’s learned will achieve goals far beyond her own.   Her award winning book, Believing in Horses just won the Gold in young adult fiction for the Military Writer’s Society of America.    It is a story  of a young girl whose father is serving in Afghanistan.    It’s a coming of age story regarding overcoming the fear of losing her father in battle through horsemanship.   The powerful fiction is a beacon for children of deployed parents.    Again, Valerie giving hope.   For this reason, AgeView Press is proud to select retired Captain Valerie Ormond, U.S. Navy (Ret.) as Belle of Steel #10.

Follow Valerie Ormond and her career inspiring others.

What makes Southwest Airlines rock? Superman-like service that’s what!

Southwest Airlines logoOn a rainy Sunday afternoon in Baltimore, MD, I was desperate to catch my flight back to Dallas.    After all, my showtime as an author over, it was back to reality.   On Monday AM, I was due back at my real job.   The one that paid the aching nursing.

 Honored to have been selected to participate, I had been in DC as a part of an amazing group.    Academy Women, a Women in Military Service leadership group had invited four authors, all book award finalists from the Military Writer’s Society of America.  I was one of them.   What an amazing event it had been.  Young, brilliantly smart women representing the multi-cultural tapestry of America.   Midshipmen, Cadets, Lt. Colonels and Generals.   Students and leaders.   Active duty and retired.   It was a mecca of honor, courage and commitment.

The two day conference, designed to mentor future women leaders of tomorrow was held at the Women’s Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.  Hallowed halls depicting the history of women’s service within our U.S. armed forces.  As featured authors, we presented on what motivated us to write about women in service.

I had timed my departure from Arlington down to the tee.   A quick dart up 295 to the Baltimore-Washington parkway and I would be on my way to BWI – and my Southwest Airlines flight back to Dallas Love Field.  Except for one small detail, somehow I missed my turn.   I was on 395 and then Highway 50, being stopped at every red light in roughtown DC!  There wasn’t a chance in heck I was going to make my 5:20 PM departure.   And that was the last series of flights back to Dallas that evening.

To make matters worse, once I got to I-95 into Baltimore, my cell phone died.  I had no way to notify Southwest I was going to miss my flight!  According to the new cancellation policy, I would lose those funds.   For a starving author, that simply wouldn’t do.  This honorary trip has alrea-dy cost me more than $400 bucks.

As I approached the terminal, I had to make a choice.  Return the rental car and surely miss the ten minute notification window or park at departures illegally, run in and try to find an agent.   I chose the second.   Rushing inside the terminal I spotted Southwest gate agent, Darlene F.   She greeted me with calm reserve. “Take a deep breath, with the rainy weather, some of our flights are about ten minutes late.

A smile and a plan - taking care of customers!

A smile and a plan – taking care of customers!

“No, you don’t understand” I protested.  “My plane to Dallas leaves in twelve -minutes.  I am going to miss it and couldn’t notify you.  I can’t afford another ticket!” my voice quivered.  The tears had started up.

“Just breathe.  Consider me Lois Lane.  See Clark Kent over there?” she joked pointing to a grey haired, pleasant gentlemen at check in. “We’re gonna work some magic for you and save the day.  Have you got your reservation?”

I nodded and handed her the copy of the electronic ticket.   –

“You go turn in your rental car, before you get a ticket.  When you come back, just find me.  We’ll have it all worked out for ya.  No need for those tears.”

I smiled then with a huge sense of relief.   Dashing back out the front door of the terminal, I managed to get to my rented VW bug just before the airport cops made it around the circle.   Off to the rental car pavilion some two miles away.  Then, back on the rental car bus to the terminal.   Total time? Fifteen minutes.  It was now just after 5:00 PM.

Running into the terminal, I spotted “Lois.”

“Here comes your problem child” I called out.

“Head over to Kent” she pointed. “He’s gotcha all sorted out.”

“Really?  Wow, you guys are awesome!”

“That’s what cha get when you fly Southwest.  Great customer service”

“Boy, no kidding!  Thank you so much” I exclaimed.

As I made my way to the counter,  My “Clark Kent” who was really gate agent Kent B. gave me a big smile.  “Got cha all taken care of.  We routed you through St. Louis, but you’ll be home before bedtime.  Your flight leaves in twenty minutes”

“Wow, you guys are just awesome.  I can’t tell you enough how great my service has been on Southwest!   Great flight attendants.  Kind, upbeat people at the counters.  It’s been great!”

“Thanks, just doing our jobs.  But it’s nice to hear.”

What surely would have been a missed flight and hassle on another airline, was made doable by people that really care about their customers.    Thanks Southwest – yet again.  I know I have a choice when I fly.  Thanks for reminding me why I love to fly Southwest!

They love to fly and it shows!

They love to fly and it shows!

PEACE IN TIME – Blog Hop & amp Blitz Starts Today

It's Time We Make Peace  Around the World

It’s Time We Make Peace Around the World

PEACE POST SEPTEMBER 21st 2013 by M.C.V. Egan

Today we celebrate the UN’s INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE, the resolution to have loud voices for PEACE and a special day was passed in 1981; the first celebration was in 1982.

If we can at least try as a society to visualize the possibility of PEACE perhaps someday we will be able to accomplish this. It is a great tool to teach said desire tour children, so that they perhaps find a way to instill PEACE as a way of life*.

On a personal note, I spent my formative years in the 1970swatching the Vietnam War on TV. Literally eating dinner as I watched soldiers from both sides, kill and die.

Inasmuch as there were Peace movements the conservative society that surrounded me represented an acceptance of war. It was simply an accepted principle. Historically it has been an accepted necessity, countries are born through bloody revolutions and re-formed through just as bloody civil wars. We watch it every day.

There have however been great examples of NON violent changes with great results. As per Wikipedia:

A nonviolent revolution is a revolution using mostly campaigns of civil resistance, including various forms of nonviolent protest, to bring about the departure of governments seen as entrenched and authoritarian. While many campaigns of civil resistance are aimed at much more limited goals than revolution, generally a nonviolent revolution is characterized by simultaneous advocacy of democracy, human rights and national independence in the country concerned. In some cases a campaign of civil resistance with a revolutionary purpose may be able to bring about the defeat of a dictatorial regime only if it obtains a degree of support from the armed forces, or at least their benevolent neutrality.**

My favorite principles and acts of a peaceful resolution are those from Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi:

A nonviolent revolution is not a program of seizure of power. It is a program of transformation of relationships ending in a peaceful transfer of power.

Mohandas Gandhi, 1942***

I hope you enjoy the Peace Hop, ponder on Peace and spread the possibility.

http://www.un.org/en/events/peaceday/

**  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peaceful_revolution

*** http://san.beck.org/GPJ20-Gandhi.html

Virtual Book Tour Cafe

Peace In Time Book Blitz

About M.C.V. Egan’s Books:
Genre: Historical ParanormalBOOK_FRONT_AND_BACK
Publisher: AuthorHouse Publishing
Release Date: June 14, 2011
Amazon

On August 15th, 1939 an English passenger plane from British Airways Ltd. Crashed in Danish waters between the towns of Nykobing/Falster and Vordingborg. There were five casualties reported and one survivor. Just two weeks before Hitler invaded Poland with the world at the brink of war the manner in which this incident was investigated left much open to doubt. The jurisdiction battle between the two towns and the newly formed Danish secret police, created an atmosphere of intrigue and distrust.

In the winter of 2009-2010 a young executive, Bill is promoted and transferred to London for a major International firm. He has struggled for the better part of his life with nightmares and phobias, which only seem to worsen in London. As he seeks the help of a therapist he accepts that his issues may well be related to a ‘past-life trauma’.

Through love, curiosity, archives and the information superhighway of the 21st century Bill travels through knowledge and time to uncover the story of the 1939 plane crash.

The Bridge of Deaths is a love story and a mystery. Fictional characters travel through the world of past life regressions and information acquired from psychics as well as archives and historical sources to solve “One of those mysteries that never get solved” is based on true events and real people, it is the culmination of 18 years of sifting through sources in Denmark, England and the United States, it finds a way to help the reader feel that he /she is also sifting through data and forming their own conclusions.

The journey takes the reader to well known and little known events leading up to the Second World War, both in Europe and America. The journey also takes the reader to the possibility of finding oneself in this lifetime by exploring past lives.

 About The Author:

M.C.V. Egan lives in South Florida. she is fluent in four languages; English, Spanish, French and Swedish. From a young age became determined to solve the ‘mystery’ of her grandfather’s death, she has researched this story for almost two decades. the story has taken her to Denmark, England and unconventional world of psychics.

Stay in contact with M.C.V Egan!

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Rafflecopter Giveaway – Peace Prizes

An Ab-fab interview with awesome author Jaimie Admans!

It’s been so much fun to interview authors this season, especially those from the across the pond, that I wanted to share with you another one.  She’s a riot!  One of my most favorite BritComs is Absolutely Fabulous.  It is a pleasure to introduce to you the “ab-fab” Jaimie Admans.
 

Author Jaimie Admans

“Ab-fab” author Jaime Admans

Tell me a little about why you started writing.   I’ve always loved writing, when I was little I was always writing stories and I was absolutely rubbish at everything in school, all I wanted to do was write! It took me until I was about 15 to realize that I wanted to be a writer, and a couple more years to discover chick-lit and start writing that!

Why is chick lit a favorite genre?   
I love it because it’s feel-good escapism, I think. It’s also relatable. It’s stories about women just like me, who get themselves into embarrassing situations just like I do, and it usually has a happy ending, which gives us all hope! Chick-lit books are usually uplifting, fun, not too serious, and sometimes just what you need to take your mind off things or get lost in after a stressful day!

I absolutely loved the Bridget Jones stories.  Tell me about your writing as it relates to the UK.   
I think my writing is very British sounding. It’s always set in the UK, obviously because this is my home and the place I know best, and I use a lot of British ‘slang’ words that are second nature to me but other people have never heard of! It’s quite funny to get messages from Americans saying they didn’t get half the words in it, because it’s stuff I use in every day life! I recently read a list of British words with their alternative American versions and was quite surprised by how different we are!
You mean word’s like fag, serviette, boot, lorry, and corny?  You betcha and I love it!!!!! 

Where do you get your story ideas?  Any particular motivation?  
The smallest things! Inspiration comes from the weirdest places, it can be a picture I’ve seen, a sentence someone has said to me, a news report, anything really. The smallest thing can spark off a landslide of ideas – the hard part is transforming them into a coherent book plot!

How do you feel about being Indy published?  I love it! I love having absolute control over my own work, being able to set my own dates and deadlines, and not have to wait months for publishers to get their act together! I don’t think the method of publication matters much to readers, as long as the book is good, most people don’t care if it’s indie or traditionally published. Being indie is also very satisfying as you know that you are solely responsible for a book, so when it’s well received, it’s brilliant. Of course, if it’s badly received, you only have yourself to blame too!

Who would you say were your greatest author influences?   Judy Blume for one! It was after reading her books as a teenager that I decided I wanted to be a writer. Her books touched me so much, they meant so much to me when I was growing up, they inspired me to want to do the same – to write books that meant as much to other people as hers meant to me.

What was your most flattering moment after writing the book?   A wonderful book blog, that I was already a huge fan of, chose Kismetology as ebook of the year 2012, that was definitely my most flattering moment! I put it out there with very little confidence in my own work, hoping against hope that people would like it, and for someone who reads hundreds of books a year to give it that honour was just amazing! Every good review is always so flattering, and reading people saying nice things about my writing always makes me so happy, but that particular honour really made my entire year!

Don’t you just love the UK spelling?  Me too!  My daughter had a terrible time passing her HSC exam in Australia because of it!  Having lived in Australia for couple of stints, I often catch myself spelling those words the UK way too!  
Why would readers want to choose this book?    Because it’s funny (I hope!) and a bit different to normal chick-lit in as much as it’s not a straightforward girl-meets-guy tale, it’s actually about the protagonist looking for a man for her mother. Her mum meddles in her life too much, so Mackenzie sets out to find her a partner of her own, she meets a lot of men, some good, some… not so good, and she learns a lot about herself in the process! It’s full of dates, good and, er, quite bad, but overall it’s fun and feel-good, and will hopefully leave you with a smile on your face!

What are you working on next?   I have a Christmas YA romantic comedy coming out on November 6th, called North Pole Reform School. It’s about a girl who hates Christmas, but is taken to a reform school in the North Pole, run by a group of elves who are determined to make her and her fellow Christmas-haters learn to love the season!

 Where can my readers get your books?Book Kismetology
I’m mostly on Amazon, although I do have a free children’s Christmas story available for download through all ebook retailers.
You can find Kismetology on Amazon by clicking here
My author page on Amazon and more information about me is here. And all my books are on listed there.
You can stay reach out to Jaimie on social media by clicking these links.  You won’t
be sorry.   She’s an absolutely fabulous delight!
Here’s Jaime’s website and blog
Give Jaimie a shoutout on Twitter
Or follow Jaimie on Facebook 

Springtime romance all year round – meet Jude Ouvrard

Author Jude Ouvard

Author Jude Ouvard

Tell me a little about why you started writing.  I started writing when I was a kid. I always had stories going on in my head. Most of them were about a bunch of girlfriends starting college.  I started writing my first story after I had read my fist young adult novel. It inspired me and gave me a sense of freedom.

Why is romantic fiction a favorite genre?  I love reading romantic fiction. I’ll read any genre of book as long as there is a love story. I decided to write romance because I truly enjoy creating the first moment, first kiss and passion.
Tell me about your writing as it relates to Canada. All of my stories are based in the USA: New York, Boston, Seattle etc…  I only have one story that is based in Montreal and it isn’t published. I wrote it two years ago. It’s actually the first story that I have written in English. I might eventually work on it and publish it.

Romanic Novella by Jude

Romanic Novella by Jude

Where do you get your story ideas?  Any particular motivation?  I get my ideas or motivation from events that occurred in my life or simply out of my imagination. I get most of my ideas when I’m driving; it seems to be the only place where all the ideas come together.
How do you feel about being Indy published? It feels good. I hope to become a bestseller author someday. I want to be able to write as a living.

Who would you say were your greatest author influences?  Nicholas Sparks inspired me a lot at the beginning. I read most of his books. Later, I read Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire and it changed everything. I admire her a lot. I think she is an amazing writer.  I love her style and her writing.

What was your most flattering moment after writing the book? The most flattering moment was when I got my first review. It was a five star review and that made me the happiest person alive.

Why would readers want to choose this book? My novella, Under the Sun, is easy to read. Nothing is complicated. It’s the story of two persons falling in love. Both of them have gone through a lot and together, they can help each other.  It’s part of a beach read anthology called Heat Wave.

What are you working on next?  My next novella Wonderland will be out at the end of October.  I am also working on a novel right now. The title is Body, ink, and soul. I am hoping to publish by the end of 2013.

Where can my readers get your books?

AMAZON CANADA       AMAZON US

Jude Ouvard is a young, aspiring Canadian author.   She is mother to small children and works full time, yet still finds time for her passion of writing.   Enjoy her blog.

 

 

 

 

Give Peace a Chance

peace in our nation

Peace among our nation . . .is it possible?

As writers, we hold a power.  The power of the spoken word.  You have the power to transmit the reader to a world which may or may  not exist.   Within the genre of historical fiction, as a writer you have the ability to recreate historical experiences and events through a new lens.   Now that is power.

By virtue of that power, you as a writer can craft works which bring out learning lessons, challenging journeys, heroic feats, and humbling demises.   One can learn from controversy.   Educated debate is what fuels the souls of the gifted.   Those with political klout can fuel huge paradigm shifts of the masses.  Just take a look at Oprah Winfrey.  Small town abused girl come multi-million megastar.   What bliss that her intentions are genuine.  Bring messages which can change the way we look at life.

Yes, as the writer you hold the power of the pen.  The written word far outlasts what is spoken.   It is printed.  Copied.  Archived and saved for generations to come.

As we face a controversial decision in our world – facing the atrocities in Syria, we are a nation polarized.  Do we, as a free nation, champion the injustice of chemical warfare against women and children?  Or. . . do we follow suit with the cautious hesitance to enter a dangerous war – another winless battle against evil.   Do we risk losing our sons and daughters?   The resounding answer is NO!

Our Congress must listen.  Hear the voice of the people. Click here to make your voice heard!  In the words of John Lennon, “Give PEACE a chance.”

Dan McNeil rocks his way into writing!

Okay readers, I was so elated to snag this interview with sexy, Canadian rocker-writer Dan McNeil!  Can you say score?   Not only is he adorable, but talented with a pen.   Dan hails from Canada and was able to take some time away from his busy schedule for an author interview.  Enjoy!  Ladies, please show your admiration not by salivating but by placing your comments below!  

Tell me a little about why you started writing.

A rocker with a story!

A rocker with a story!

 Honestly, the reason why I began writing was to see if I could actually pull it off. Writing a book (could I really do that?) was not something that clawed at me, to tell the truth. I’d always loved reading and it seemed to me that I had a book idea or two bouncing around inside waiting to come out but the thought of writing a book just seemed like a whole lot of work! What I really wanted to be was a songwriter. My cousin and I had a band and we wrote and recorded two CDs of original music (I maintain that there are some hits on some of them!) but somehow we never could capitalize on it. When that fizzled, I redirected my creative outlet from music to novels so I decided to give the book thing a shot, in spite of the fact that I knew that diving into something like this would no doubt, kick my ass. (Can I say ass?)

 Why is historical fiction a favorite genre?

 I love history and I’ve always loved novels with historical settings. They’re just so much more appealing to me. They transport you to a different time and place and isn’t that what a good book is supposed to do? I find that the heroes of these stories usually have to work a little harder and use their wits more. There’s no cell phones, no GPS, no internet, etc. Something as simple as say, getting a message to someone can become a pretty big obstacle that needs to be surmounted, and for me, things like that make for an exciting read. Although I do read contemporary stories, the historical genre is my go-to genre. (I think that I’m a bit of a Luddite at heart…)

Tell me about your writing as it relates to the Beatles.

 I’d had the idea for “Can’t Buy Me Love” for many, many years. I’d read somewhere that while the Beatles performed on the Ed Sullivan Show in February of 1964, not a major crime was committed in New York City. Not even a hubcap was stolen. Everyone was glued to their television sets to watch this phenomenon from Liverpool. I remember reading that and thinking “what a great time to rob a bank.” Of course, I love music and I am a huge Beatle fan and the idea of this bank heist set during one of the most important eras in the history of rock and roll (and including the Beatles – it’s a natural!) appealed to me in a big way.

 Do you think your interest comes from your talent in music?

 Oh, no doubt. The funny thing is, when I was writing songs, I was always more interested in creating the music rather than the words.  I love interesting chord structures and melodies and that’s what drew me to creating music in the first place. You can draw a parallel between a great piece of music and a novel – just as a great book draws the reader in, so can a great song. Towards the end of my songwriting phase though, I was contributing more lyrics and so I guess the natural progression from that was to writing books.

 Who would you say were your greatest author influences?

 As a kid, I read “The Catcher in the Rye” by JD Salinger. It’s cliché I know, but what teenage guy doesn’t identify with a screw-up like Holden Caulfield? I also loved the casual way Salinger wrote so it was certainly a major influence to me when I started writing.  I re-read it about once a year – still my favourite book. Another influence to me was Caleb Carr and his book “The Alienist.” It’s a historical novel that takes place in 1896 New York City. Carr peppered his story with real life characters of the time and that really made the book come alive. Both of my books have real life characters in them too, so you could definitely say that Caleb Carr was a pretty big influence. I’m also a big fan of Jeffery Deaver’s work too.

What was your most flattering moment after writing the book?

 There were two, actually. One was as I was writing it and the other when I finished it. After I’d written the first one (“The Judas Apocalypse”) and spent a crapload of time and energy trying to get it published, I wasn’t really sure if I was all that interested in writing another book. The first one took four years so the thought of doing another one was less than appealing than a root canal. I have a great friend that I used to work with who loved my first book and when I told her I was thinking of attempting a second book, she became so excited about the prospect of it, that it spurred me on. The fact that she really wanted me to do this was very flattering. When I finished it, I let her read it. She took it home and over the next few days she read it 3 times. She also told me that she cried at the end. The fact that it affected her like that was also very flattering. I dedicated the book to her.

Why would readers want to choose this book?

 Because it’s a lot of fun! It takes place during a seminal moment in rock history, it’s got loveable characters, a great plot line, a ton of heart and the Beatles. Seriously, what else could you possibly want?

 What are you working on next?

 Right now, I’m trying to promote this one, but I do have a couple of ideas I’m toying with. One is a Western murder mystery and the other a crime story set in the sixties – both historical ideas (surprise, surprise!)

 Where can my readers get your books?Can't Buy Me Love Sept 2012 for poster[1]

 Right now you can get the Kindle version of CAN’T BUY ME LOVE from Amazon http://tinyurl.com/9z8zquc , Nook for Barnes & Noble http://tinyurl.com/a5qllk4 or directly from the Pulse, the publisher http://www.shop.pulsepub.net/. Print is available from the publisher as well, although should be up on Amazon very soon. You can also get the audio book from Audible and iTunes.

 Can we be groupies at your next concert? 

 Sure…can never have too many groupies although Ottawa is pretty far away to catch a gig.

A little bit about Dan McNeil

You can follow him on twitter @DanMcNeil888

Dan McNeil was born in Toronto, Ontario Canada in October of 1962. He grew up in a home surrounded by books and music, ensuring that he would have a love for both. When he got older, his love of all things trivial led him to make an appearance when he was 16 years old on the CBC television show “Trivia” where his team managed to make it all the way to the finals. He spent much of the 80’s playing in bands around Ottawa, later writing and recording two albums of original pop rock with his cousin and song-writing partner Steve Casey. The two had some success, winning a number of song-writing contests including the prestigious NSAI (National Songwriters Association International) competition in 2002. Dan spent 24 years at CHRO TV in Ottawa as a camera operator and later as senior editor for the station, often composing much of the music for many of their local productions. It was during this time that he decided to try penning a novel. His first book, “The Judas Apocalypse” was published in 2008. He fully enjoyed the experience and decided to write another. His latest offering is “Can’t Buy Me Love,” a light hearted romp about a heist during the Beatle’s first visit to the United States in 1964, which was released September 2012.

Indie publishing options? Yep You’ve Got Em!

Amanda M. Thrasher author

A woman with a pen and a purpose!

This post is a guest blog post by successful Indie publisher Amanda M. Thrasher of Phoenix Rising Press.   Not only is she a publisher but an award winning author who knows the ropes.   Enjoy!

Despite what you might think many authors CHOOSE independent publishing- commonly known as self-publishing, instead of going down the traditional publishing path.  Reasons vary, but include the following:

1. queries and submissions take forever

2. marketing via the author is still required

3. splitting royalties gets old

4.  tracking sales can become an issue

5.  pressure to meet projected sales in order to keep advances is a burden

6.  reserve held against royalty accounts for returns (unsold books returned to publisher) actually a reason most authors aren’t familiar

and my personal favorite

7.  overall lack of control of the product – your book

I left my publisher for some of the same reasons, as did my business partner.  I personally pulled three titles.  But once that decision was made, time was of the essence. We decided that if we were going to do this, we were going to do it our way –  the writers/author way.  It was for this reason that we started our own small press.   Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, LLC was founded this year, 2013.  We’re not a traditional publisher – don’t even claim to be.  We’re authors working together for the good of all, marketing cooperatively.  We know strength in numbers is smarter than working alone, gives us industry recognition under a label. I guarantee that’s where most small authors miss the boat –truly working together to sell titles, that’s different than a plug, true cross- selling.

Cross marketing is so important to what we’re tying to build, strength in numbers.  In fact, I’d go as far to say that it’s an authors responsibility.  Everyone pulling his or her weight benefits all.  Ten heads are better than one.  Just ask our authors – we ask them.  Why? Because we know their creative minds have brilliant ideas and they count.   We know the industry is changing.  That’s not news.  It’s our job to try and keep up.

We took six months off.  We didn’t do events or even promote our own work, in order  to build our label.  We networked to figure out what options we had and what industry requirements were needed.   The issue was returnable books, mandatory for large vendors.  How would Indie press deal with those?   There were  choices out there, but they were combined with risk.

Solution?  We used certain printers who offered specific things for authors and vendors, retailers, wholesalers, depending on the fan base required.   We plotted the  market, overall goals, projections of potential sales.   Going with a small press gives you options and strength in number.  There’s far too much additional  information to share within a blog,  but there are some basic differences between a small press and self-publishing alone of which an author should be aware.  Please feel free to contact me regarding questions.  I’ll share what I know, still learning, but we’ll get there.   Options – yep, you’ve got em!

Fundamentally, here are some resources to begin scoping out!

*CS = CreateSpace

*LSI= Lightning Source Ingram (Lightening Source division of Ingram)

*Returnable Status= Returned books that do not sell

*BookPartners=Printer

Here are some basic differences to understand between CreateSpace and Lightning Source:

 CS – Cheaper books for author / direct sells.

CS – 100% Royalties less production, Royalties Defined as Sales Price Less Printers Share

LSI – Returnable Status option – Mandatory for brick and mortar vendors (C.S. non-returnable)  R/ Yes R/N R/Destroy

LSI – Multiple Print options

CS doesn’t offer hard covers posted for distribution sale (they will produce) for an extra fee, but will not sell. Children’s books: can not put titles on spine or produce glossy pages, dust cover, saddle stitch, staple, perfect (again perfect bound important for children’s books name on spine), plastic comb. Nice choices for the author.

LSI- has every available print option you’d like- title on spine must be a certain page count, trim size etc. expensive due to inks, pricey but available quality, industry compliant.

C.S. picture books, a little cheaper per print page (good for children’s) gets pricy to SRP = suggested retail price (listed price)

LSI- Paper back (trade paper), Hard Cover- files are considered two separate files. Two fees.

LSI- will offer a Multi-Volume set of books sold under one ISBN. Ex: The Selected Works of William Shakespeare.

* Othello * Hamlet * Romeo and Juliet *King Lear * Macbeth * The Merchant of Venice  (Once again…options).

By the way, BookPartners and its organizer,  Tim Mallot are an excellent choice for author copies of books and books for direct purchase for special events.  They are a great source for hardcover, glossy print children’s books  requiring title on the spine.  Their books are perfectly bound and shipped direct.  We love them!

 Best wishes, 

Amanda M. Thrasher

http://www.progressiverisingphoenix.com or http://www.amandamthrasher.com

Why some folks are ruining the Indie pub market!

Wrong, wrong, just so wrong!

Wrong, wrong, just so wrong!

One of the well known montras for savvy authors in the Indie publishing world is to avoid shouting out “Buy my book!  Please, buy my book!”  Just ask Jonathan Gunson at Best Seller Labs.   Yet, the goal of course is to sell as many books as you can.   Learning the tricks of the marketing trade isn’t easy.   As egotistical as many writers are, sometimes their biggest failure is in promotion.   Here’s a great post on that exact subject from Martin Crosbie, a contributor to Indies Unlimited. Gone are the days when the big six publishers market you.   Not to mention small Indie press.

You might sign with a publisher, have them order ten thousand copies of your book only to have those books returned to you at cost because they did not sell.   Your ten thousand dollar book advance, now in arrears.  It happens.  Everyday.   Why do you think shops like Books a Million and Half Priced Books exist?   It is called returns. 

One of the advantages of being Indie pub’d and print on demand, POD is that your books aren’t returned en masse.   In the next week, AgeView Press will host a guest blogger, author and publisher Amanda Thrasher who is an expert in navigating the slippery slope of Indie Press.    What exactly is the relationship between CreateSpace, Amazon, Lightning Source and Ingram.   Who is in bed with whom?   How does it all work?

There is a new game in town.   Small press cooperatives.   Within these cooperatives are authors just like you.  Looking to get that edge.  Sure, it is an ego booster to say that you have your own Indie press:  i.e. you self pubbed your books and now are owner of “xyz books.”   But just take a look on Goodreads and Amazon.  There are over one million books Indie pressed each year.  Each year!  The competition is daunting.  

Not everyone is going to be an EL James or Amanda Hocking.   There is strength in numbers.   Don’t contribute to watering down the industry with onesy and twosy “Indie” Presses that you own yourself.    Shop around.  Find a small press that offers you what you want.   Better yet, form a cooperative with several authors yourself.   But buyer beware, the latest rip off are the fees that some of these small presses charge you to participate.    There have been scalpings for sure.  

Do your homework.  Check them out.   Find out what is required on your part.   Explore what bang you get for your buck.   Ultimately, you will find that with faithful social media, blogging, and a small budget for advertising the sky is the limit.   So tell us, what is your biggest struggle with shameless self promotion?  Do you have a marketing secret?  Please share it below.   We won’t tell.