World Book Day 2012

What is World Book Day?

World Book Day is a celebration! It’s a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.
This is the 15th year there’s been a World Book Day, and on 1st March children of all ages will come together to appreciate reading. Very loudly and very happily. The main aim of World Book Day in the UK and Ireland is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own. That’s why we will be sending schools (including those nurseries and secondary schools that have specially registered to participate), packs of Book Tokens and age-ranged World Book Day Resource Packs (age-ranged into Nursery/Pre-School, Primary and Secondary) full of ideas and activities, display material and more information about how to get involved in World Book Day.
What happens?
Thanks to the generosity of National Book Tokens Ltd, publishers and booksellers, we can send millions of book vouchers to children and young people (more than 14 million, in fact: that’s one for nearly every child aged under eighteen in the country).

Then…

They can take their voucher to a local bookseller and can use it to pick one of EIGHT (exclusive, new and completely free) books. Or, if they’d rather, they can use it to get £1 off any book or audio book costing over £2.99 at a participating bookshop or book club (terms and conditions apply).

How can you get involved?

You can download the new packs here (nurseryprimary andsecondary). And please visit our Resources section which is full of exciting and fun new resources based on your favourite books, brands, characters and authors.
It’s all about getting kids closer to the books and authors they already love, and letting them discover more books and authors they’ll love every bit as much in the future.
Visit http://www.worldbookday.com/ for full details about the event or download the press kit here
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The future of e-book lending

Is there a future for libraries lending e-books?

Recently several big name publishers have been limiting their e-book licensing to libraries. In fact many  have decided not to allow libraries to lend e-books. From Penguin to Random house, publishers have been cutting down on e-book lending and restricting the legal terms on their books. As the books that libraries stock depend on Publishers and authors making them available laws would need to be changed considerably in order for libraries to grow in this area.

E-book lending in the private sector

Libraries are also facing tough competition from the private sector. Amazon has already launched its own e-book lending library for its prime members which allows them to borrow one book at a time with no due dates. Although this service is currently only available for a limited number of titles and only to those signed up for the paid program, Amazon may well make it more widely available in the future.

Given how e-orientated Barnes and Noble are becoming it's only a question of time before they too offer their own e-lending model.

The future of e-lending?

There is little room for libraries to become active e-lenders. Publishers and authors want to sell books and so want to limit the amount of e-lending allowed. Private sector companies like Amazon are already making moves to increase e-lending. The e-industry is growing and no doubt readers will be happy at more e-books being made available for free.

How do you feel about lending e-books?
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How do you use Twitter?

The social media platform Twitter has come a long way since it was launched in March 2006. 

Although Twitter is one of the most efficient social media platforms around and now boast over 200 million users it is probably also the most misunderstood.

The marketing reach of Twitter is huge and it's excellent for driving traffic to sites.


Twitter web traffic around the world


Image source: twitter

"Twitter's traffic comes from SMS, Instant Message, Mobile Web, and all those wonderful API projects out there. However, we also have good old-fashioned web traffic. 60% of our web traffic comes from outside the United States and this chart shows the top ten non-US sources.

Remember this is just web traffic. It doesn't include any of the other popular ways that people use Twitter. For example, Australia ranks 6th if we look at SMS usage. We'd get altogether different numbers if we looked at instant messaging, m.twitter.com, and API devices such as Twitterrific."


In a recent study Lab 42 asked 500 people over the age of 18 a series of questions about their tweeting habits (see http://blog.lab42.com/whats-trending-twitter):



What I think of Twitter

I personally joined twitter because it was recommended to me by friends and I access the site multiple times a day. I have the 'share this' bookmark in my tool bar and often tweet interesting pages as I find them on the internet. If I regularly find great content on someones website I either follow them or add them to my twitter lists. I'm a big Mashable fan and follow Pete Cashmore and the Mashable team on various social media platforms. The use of hashtags makes searching Twitter so much easier and I often them them on my own posts. I'd also like to see them roll out image preview.

You can follow me at @jolinsdell


Reasons to use Twitter

  • To promote your blog/ website to a global audience
  • To build a reputation as an expert in your field
  • To get feedback in real time about your projects
  • To market your writing services/ books
  • To network with your target market
  • To stay on top of the latest industry news and events
  • To communicate with your readers and build a fan base
  • To do LIVE interviews
These are just a few ideas I came up with off the top of my head. Why do you use Twitter? What would you like to know more about with regards to using Twitter and its features?
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SENTINEL LITERARY QUARTERLY POETRY COMPETITION


CLOSING DATE: 5-APRIL-2012

Details: For previously unpublished poems on any subject, in any style, up to 50 lines long (excluding title). Poems entered must not have been posted on a publicly accessible blog or website, must not be under consideration for publication, or accepted for publication elsewhere, and should not be simultaneously entered into another poetry competition during the competition period.

Prizes: £150 (First), £75 (Second), £50 (Third) and 3 x £10 (High Commendation)

First Publication: 15 poems from this competition will be published in Sentinel Champions magazine in print and eBook in November 2012. The authors will each receive a free contributor’s copy.

Anniversary Giveaway: As part of the celebration of 10 years of Sentinel Poetry Movement, 1 entrant selected at random will win a year’s free subscription to Sentinel Champions magazine.

Entry Fees: £3/1 poem, £6/2 poems, £9/3 poems, £11/4 poems, £12/5 poems, £16/7 poems, £22/10 poems.

Judge: Miles Cain, author of The Border.

Cheques in GB£ payable to SENTINEL POETRY MOVEMENT to:
Unit 136, 113-115 George Lane, South Woodford, London E18 1AB

To enter online or to print off an Entry Form and further details:
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Site of interest: So Slang



This site of interest was sent to me by Writers and Authors reader Linda Malone. 




I totally agree with Linda when she says this is "a cool web dictionary".  It is an interesting, useful and fun to use tool.


What is SoSlang?
So Slang is an un-complicated online slang dictionary which is contributed and edited by thousands of people online just like you. Unlike formal dictionaries, you can add your own meaning to millions of words. 

Definitions 
With more than 6 million definitions, So Slang is the biggest hub for street definitions of each and every word in the dictionary. These definitions are added by people all over the world wide web. If you'd like to add a definition, click here. 

Examples 
SoSlang gives you definitions which are explained in an easiest way possible making sure its simple enough for you to grasp. We try to show as many real examples as possible for each word. These examples are ranked by how useful we think they are in helping you understand the meaning of a particular word, especially words that may not have traditional dictionary definitions. For instance, here is an example of the word 'douche' in a sentence. 

 

In Short, So Slang is the biggest hub for street definitions of each and every word in the dictionary.  Well worth a look.
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HOOK, LINE AND SINKER…LET’S GO FISHING!



Today I would like to invite you to take a little trip with me, sooooooo let’s go fishing in the writer’s stream. When you write you are always told that you need to have a HOOK to draw in the readers. Let’s go from there and start with the HOOK, then we will look at the LINE and finally the SINKER

Of course we will need the BAIT as well. And let’s not forget the BASKET to bring it on home. LET’S BEGIN.

What is a hook? Well, the hook of a good story starts with the first line. (sometimes the first line might be only two or three words, or it might become your first paragraph) Did you know that some book publishers’ readers might only read the first line of a submitted manuscript? Or maybe just the first paragraph? If you’re lucky they will read the first page, or the first few pages. So you had better be giving all that you’ve got in order to hook a reader in. 

So start with that FIRST LINE. The one you are going to write and rewrite and rewrite a few more times until you think you have it right. It has to be stunning. It has to reel the reader right into the story. Then you have to follow that with a stunning sinker. The first paragraph and even the next few, right on down to the end of the first page. The words that are going to SINK your readers right into the book, make them so comfortable that they won’t want to do anything else except read your book.

Did we forget the LINE? This is where you string out the words, and they better be in perfect order and not all jangled up. You know what happens when you mess up the line, you won’t catch anything.

Give your reader a smooth flowing line. Take them on a journey they won’t soon forget. Let them breathe with your characters, laugh with them, cry with them, be shocked with them, and hopefully in the end, be satisfied with them.

The BAIT is of course the beginning hook and the following paragraphs where the readers will immediately have all kinds of questions flow into their heads. Who is this character and why is she acting like that? Why is he so sad? Why is he so scared? How did anyone get into such a predicament anyway? Or any one of a number of immediate questions that might come to mind.

When one writes an article for a newspaper or a magazine, there are rules to follow. For one thing, an enticing title,(which tells the whole story in a nut shell) followed by a short blurb of the complete story, without all the details. After that a writer will begin to write the five W’s. When did it happen, where did it happen, why did it happen? What happened? Who did it happen to? And then there is the how. How did it happen? Of course that can be classified under the what happened part. You don’t necessarily have to write these five W's in that particular order or in any particular order. If you did that for every article they would become stagnant and boring.


Much the same thing will happen in a novel. But you will have many pages more to describe and explain your story. And you will do it in a different writing form. But even an article should be entertaining in order to keep a reader’s interest. One of my favourite types of articles to write is the personal interest story.


Now I could start talking about the Need in a story. How you start out with a character who needs or wants something, so now they have to figure out how to get what they want. But that would lead us into Motivation and that’s a whole nother post.

So I will keep to the subject at hand and continue on with the BASKET. You might wonder what a basket has to do with writing. This is my take on a basket of writing. So you’ve created a nice hook and an interesting first few pages or first chapter to entice your readers to read on. And then you add the nice words (the line) and you sink your reader in. You hope they will take the bait now so you’ve given them opportunity to think about all kinds of possible questions that might arrive in their mind. You let them sit a spell and read peacefully, contentedly, much like a fisher sitting on the bank of a stream, with the line in the water and the bait dragging below attracting a crowd of fish (they hope) so they can bring it on home.

So after you have created all this and you have the readers right where you want them, (this is a fine craft and sometimes takes many years to prefect) you begin reeling them in. They are into the story, they know some of the answers to some of their questions, they know the motivation of the characters and what drives them on. They are coming down the home slope and this is where you toss in the basket, where you tie up all the lose ends and give your readers some kind of satisfactory ending. 


You have put all your eggs in the basket now and your readers have sampled all of them. You have laid out everything; you have bared your soul to your readers. You have journeyed with them and all of your little tricks are now in the basket and they have seen them all. You’ve brought them all home. You’ve put everything in your basket of writing and placed it in their hands.


I enjoyed this little fishing trip. I hope you did. It’s something to think about when you write or even when you read. Some readers actually enjoy analyzing what they read. Happy Writing and Reading everyone.

Copyright 2012 by Carol Marlene Smith


Carol Marlene Smith is an author and artist living in Nova Scotia, Canada. She has five published novels and a number of short stories. She loves to write about The Positive Power of Writing on her blog at www.carolmarlenesmith.blogspot.com


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PROMO DAY: Online event for people in the writing industry


What is PROMO DAY?

PROMO DAY is a FREE online international event for people in the writing industry. A whole day dedicated to promoting, networking and learning.

As Promo Day is an entirely virtual event there are no travel or accommodation expenses and people from all over the world can take part. Virtual attendees can ask questions during the workshops in the forum, promote their writing and network with other attendees and presenters all from the comfort of their own computer.

When is PROMO DAY?

This years event takes place on Saturday 19th May 2012.

Where does PROMO DAY take place?


Who can take part in PROMO DAY?

Everyone! Avid readers, writers, authors, publishers, editors, graphic designers, virtual assistants etc… Anyone with an interest in books, blogging, writing, marketing and networking from anywhere in the world.

How can I connect with PROMO DAY attendees before, during and after the event?

By using the hashtag #PD12 to talk about the event you can join in the global conversation. You can follow @promodayevent on Twitter. Via the PROMO DAY Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/promoday or the Google+ page https://plus.google.com/u/0/102036723212856268042/posts. You can also connect via the official Promo Day blog at http://www.promoday.blogspot.com.

How can I get involved with PROMO DAY as a sponsor?

This year there are two sponsorship opportunities available; Official Sponsor and Bookstore Sponsor. Full details of what is included, pricing etc... can be found under 'Sponsorship Opportunities' on the PROMO DAY website.

How do I register?

Just go to the Promo day website www.PromoDay.info and click on the button 'Register for free entry'. You then just fill out your details on the registration form to create your profile.

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Interview with Virginia Lori Jennings




    When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
    I had always enjoyed getting the chance to write in school, but I began to realize that I wanted to be a professional writer during the 6th grade. We were asked by our English teacher to write a longer short story. While many of my friends had trouble making something long enough I noticed that the story just flowed easily from me. Finishing it gave me a thrill. From there I kept writing on my own at home and later asked my English teacher to look over two other short stories that I had written. Even though these short stories were not for classwork she reviewed them and encouraged me to keep writing. 

    What genre do you write and why?
    I write Science Fiction and Fantasy because I have always enjoyed reading both Science Fiction and Fantasy books, and I also enjoy reading and researching anything related to space. I wanted to write something that I would like to read. When I am writing I can create anything I want to create... it just feels more natural for me to create science fiction universes than real earth scenarios. I prefer to make the impossible into the possible.

    Tell us about your latest book.
    When I started homeschooling in my seventh grade year I found I had a lot of extra time... This is when Visionary from the Stars was started, though at the time it was called Exandra Missions. I would put together the story before I fell asleep. It eventually became so long and complex that I started writing it down, though it was another 10 years before I felt ready to find a publisher.  Visionary from the Stars is a story about the intergalactic controversy that is created when a group of scientists finds an alien map that leads them across the galaxy in search of the one universal truth.

    Here's the back copy:

A lone scientist, while observing the activities of a planetary object from her spaceship, is faced with the unbelievable proof that aliens do exist. For centuries, humans have thought that we are the only ones in this galaxy…and here, forcing its way onto her ship, is an alien species claiming to have humanity’s best interest in mind.

Meanwhile, the Star Traveler’s crew sets out on a camping trip on the surface of the moon. They stumble upon an object covered in alien writing that gives them the first piece of a galactic map. Unknown to them, it will lead them into an intergalactic controversy, with a group of aliens called the Platonians striving to sabotage their every move.

    What marketing methods are you using to promote your book?
    I primarily market my books online through my website and social media sites like Twitter, Facebook or Google+. However I have done a few book signings and school visits. I have also just joined a writing challenge called Row 80 (http://aroundofwordsin80days.wordpress.com/) that uses blog tour's to keep everyone connected, on track, and motivated towards finishing their own personal writing goals in 80 days.

    What formats is the book available in?
    Paperback format.
    Readers can find my book in all online retailers; Booksamillion, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.com just to name a few! Though if there is a cheaper price I try to list it on my website for your convenience. 

    What do you like to do when you're not writing?
    I do house work, run errands... Oh, you asked what do I 'like' to do! I like to knit or play video games with my kids and my husband. I also like to watch movies... Even though my favorites are always the science fiction and fantasy movies, I have also been known to watch romance and even the occasional horror film too.


    Who are your favorite authors?
    I am a big fan of series'. I read pretty fast so I need a good couple of books in a series to keep me satisfied! My favorite authors so far are: the Redwall series by: Brian Jacques, Lord of the Rings series by: J.R. Tolkien, the Harry Potter series by: J.K. Rowling, the Twilight series by: Stephanie Meyer, and the Fablehaven series by: Brandon Mull.

    What advice do you have for other writers?
    Keep writing, keep reading, keep learning. Write what you would want to read, if you put it away and months later it still entertains you... then it will entertain someone else too!

    What's your favorite quote about writing/for writers?
    My favorite quotes change often, but here are two that are pretty good:
    There are three difficulties in authorship: to write anything worth publishing -- to find honest men to publish it -- and to get sensible men to read it. - Charles Caleb Cotton
    and

    To write good Science Fiction today...you must push further and harder, reach deeper into your own mind until you break through into the strange and terrible country wherein live your own dreams. - Gardner Dozois 

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An Unscripted Life of Words


Borrowing from the title of my blog, an unscripted life of words sums up how I sort of “stumbled” into writing. It wasn’t planned, not the way some people plot their way to the White House, anyway. No, before I even thought about a career as a writer, I had imagined myself seated at a Steinway in Carnegie Hall or Roy Thomson Hall or on the stage of the Grammy Awards, wooing the audience as I belted out song after song. Oh, how that seems like a lifetime ago.

I grew up in a musical household. My father played the piano, as did my mother and sister for a time. And then when I was six I took up piano lessons, demonstrating a natural ability for the piano since I played by ear. Music came to dominate my life, playing at church, singing in as well as directing adult and youth gospel choirs. I dreamed of the rock star life, at least as I saw it portrayed on TV — roaming from city to city performing, hearing the crowd chant my name for an encore.

While I love music, and still play the piano almost daily, something shifted when I entered high school. I found myself writing more. And by the time I had to start thinking about university, pursuing music was no longer of interest to me. I went off to study journalism, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that that was not the type of writing that I wanted to do. But what would I do? I took some time to think, moving to Nice, France, to study for a year. I returned to Canada and completed a Bachelor’s degree in French Literature. But while I was studying, I spent more time writing — holed up in a coffee shop or in a quiet corner of the university library — than I did researching term papers or studying for exams.

After university, life went on and me along with it. I moved to Ottawa, Ontario, and eventually joined the civil service. But my move to Ottawa was an important first step, as I look back now, on the trajectory of me becoming a writer. In Ottawa I made time for my writing, something that I hadn’t done before that time. I wrote in the morning before heading to the office, on my lunch hour, and in the evening before returning home. My morning writing time especially was sacred. I wouldn’t give it up for anything, even when I went on vacation or visited family.

And now, if I could point to an event that made me stop and listen to my heart’s true desire, it was the day my father passed away. It was March 2001 when cancer claimed my father, who was 58, and only three short years into his retirement. It made me realize that now was the time to do what I was passionate about, and not wait for my retirement. I didn’t just up and quit my job, though. Well, not exactly anyway. But I made changes to my lifestyle that allowed me to put my writing at the centre of things, and when I did that, providence moved.

Ten years after my father’s death, and with several publication credits to my name, my first novel, Freestyle Love, was released by Lazy Day Publishing. There were times when I wanted to give up because I doubted myself and my talent. There were seasons when almost every short story I submitted was accepted for publication and there were other times when rejection was the dominant theme. But I managed to keep on keeping on. I learned to husband my dreams and, oddly enough, I’ve learned to let myself be guided, to listen to that small still voice.

Yes, this writing life of mine has certainly been unscripted — taken me to places I never imagined going — but as the saying goes, I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.

Guest post by Marcus Lopes.


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Pinterest: The new social media giant?

Pinterest is quickly becoming hot property in the social media world (already over 10 million users). Whether or not they manage to stick around long term and compete with the other social media giants or disappear into the archives of 'platforms that once were' is unclear but they have certainly captured interest and started off with a bang.

So what is Pinterest?

Pinterest is an online pinboard where you can 'pin' pictures you like and share your own. It allows you to capture images, sort them into themes and share them with others.


This infographic sums up nicely the current situation:




How can writers use Pinterest?


These are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Planning your book- Use it to find inspiration for your scenes and characters. Make boards for each of your characters to get a complete, visual view of them.
  • Promoting your writing career- Pin your book covers into a themed board. If you're a travel writer pin photos of the places you've visited. Share author photo's to build recognition or your site logo for branding.
  • Sharing videos- Yes videos can be pinned too. Share your book trailers and video interviews.

Infographic via Mashable
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Twitter hashtags for writers

Using hashtags on Twitter can be a great way to network with other writers, industry experts and readers. These keywords are floating around on tweets all over Twitter and are useful time savers when searching for information but also great tools for reaching your target audience.

Hashtags are community driven and work much like the tags you place on blog posts or images. You create a hashtag by simply prefixing a word with a hashtag e.g. #hashtag.

Here's a list of a few useful twitter hashtags for writers:

  • #AmWriting
  • #AmEditing
  • #WW (or #WriterWednesday)
  • #WordCount
  • #Writerslife
  • #LitChat
  • #WriteTip
  • #PromoTip
  • #Publishing
  • #Ebooks
  • #SelfPublishing
  • #AskAuthor
  • #AskAgent
  • #WritingPrompt
  • #WIP (Work in Progress)
  • #BookMarketing
  • #Writers
  • #Write
  • #Writing
What hashtags do you follow? Know of any other useful hashtags fo writers?



Image source: http://twitta.it/blog/
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20 Things I love about writing

Inspired by all the messages of love I've seen everywhere this week I thought I'd try a little writing related exercise. A quick list of the things I love about writing. The reason behind this exercise is to get a better perspective of why I write and what my writing goals are.

Try it out for yourself. List the first 20 things that come to mind when you think about why you love to write.

Here's my list:

  1. expressing myself
  2. learning more about myself
  3. building a reputation
  4. earn money
  5. being successful
  6. inspiring myself
  7. inspiring others
  8. freedom
  9. feeling connected with others
  10. honing my skills
  11. allowing people to know me
  12. helping people
  13. therapy
  14. leaving my mark on the world
  15. lets me be someone else
  16. knowledge
  17. self employed
  18. work from any where
  19. flexible hours
  20. being 100% me

Don't think about it too much. Just write the first things that come to mind. Should only take you about 10 minutes tops but will give you a better understanding of why you write and therefore help give direction to your writing career.

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Interview with Gregory Marshall Smith




When did you know you wanted to be a writer?


I'd say it was back in 1976. I used to watch a Saturday afternoon anthology series on WLVI-Channel 56 in Boston, called Creature Double Feature. The films were cheesy and laughable, but I loved them. I also liked to say I could do better. My mother finally called me out on it and said why didn't I actually write a story instead of just talking about it. Sometimes, I think she regrets that advice because I got into science fiction. I think she loathes any Toho monster movie now. 



* What genre do you write and why?



Again, thanks to Creature Double Feature (and also shows like Star Trek, Space: 1999 and In Search Of...), I found a great interest in science fiction. Though I write horror as well now, science fiction is still my first love. It really lets me be creative. And I can get away with so much more in terms of plot and with characters. 

  
Tell us about your latest book.



It's called Hunters and is a refreshing change from the "vampires as romantic interest" sub-genre as shown by Twilight, Vampire Academy, Blue Bloods, Vampire Beach et al, and also by TV shows like Vampire Diaries and True Blood. And while my book does have a female vampire warrior sort of like Kate Beckinsale's character in Underworld, Lin Tang is a villain.




Literally, a powerful vampire clan master named Louis Riordan aims to create an alliance of 16 of North America's most powerful masters, with himself as head of it thanks to his lethal enforcer Lin Tang. A small band of humans sets out to destroy not only the alliance, but Riordan and Tang as well. They're outnumbered and outgunned, with a traitor in their midst, but they've got surprise on their side, as well as Cantrell Ryker, a man who is supposed to be dead but isn't. He's Lin Tang's most hated enemy, with a legendary reputation for destruction that makes even his allies fear him.


I'll be very honest and tell you that I wrote the book as an answer to Twilight. I grew up on vampire films like Dracula (the Christopher Lee/Peter Cushing versions for Hammer Studios), Salem's Lot, The Lost Boys and The Night Stalker. I don't view vampires as romantic interests (we're their food source, as Brad Dourif explained in Blade). There might be a psychological reason for this, but vampires are bad guys or tragic figures who might be redeemed if they give up their evil ways.



Anyway, there is lots of action and drama in the book. Readers tell me they love the characters, especially the level-headed Marcus Van Niekerk, the fiery Dolores Montoya, the efficient warrior Lin Tang and even the borderline psycho Ryker. And the finale is something that must be read to be believed.



What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 



Much of my marketing has been on the Internet, such as with ebook tours by Danielle Gavan and Roxanne Rhoads. I use Facebook a lot, along with Twitter. I have promoted the book on my radio show. I have even used word of mouth, especially when I have been on my various movie and television shows. 



What formats is the book available in?



It's an ebook, available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iTunes, Apple and Lightning Source. 



What do you like to do when you're not writing?



You mean there's more to life than writing? Well, let's see. I bowl, mountain bike and volunteer at a local food bank. I also do work as an extra on whatever movies and TV shows are around. My last movie was Flight with Denzel Washington and that was in Atlanta. The most recent TV show was Homeland, which won Golden Globes as Best Drama and Best Actress in a Drama for Claire Danes. In the season 1 finale, you can see my face all over the place when the assassination goes down (somehow, I am passed by Claire one second, then behind her the next and then in front of her right after that; I can be fast, but that episode was ridiculous).



Who are your favorite authors?



For old-school authors, I like George Schuyler (he's a distant relative of mine), Samuel Delany, Octavia Butler, Isaac Asimov, S.M. Stirling, Robert Heinlein, C.J. Cherryh, Philip K. Dick and Marion Zimmer Bradley. On the horror side, there's Robert Bloch, Robert McCammon and, of course, fellow New Englander Stephen King. 



For modern writers, I have to go with David Weber, Maurice Broaddus, Steven Barnes, William Gibson, Starlene Stringer, Elizabeth Moon, David Drake and C.J. Ellisson (an exception to my dislike of romantic vampires).



What advice do you have for other writers?



Funny you should ask that. The other day, after I finished my latest YouTube radio program What's Out There?, I stuck around for a session with an up-and-coming singer. I won't name her but you could see she had writing talent and could play a mean acoustic guitar. Yet, her voice trembled and faded. She needed to build her confidence a lot more before putting her songs to tape.  



Though I'm not a singer, I've been where she is. I was very nervous when I first submitted news stories for my high school paper and then professional publications. Some stories came back with so much red ink, I thought someone bled out on them. But, I took the advice of my editors and continued honing my skills. Now, my sports articles and news stories rarely need editing and people even ask me to vote in national college polls. Had I not taken the advice and let my fears get me, I wouldn't be here chatting with all of your readers.



So, my advice to other writers is to keep writing and, most importantly, learn as you write. Learn from your mistakes. Read books on writing or take creative writing classes and learn from pros. And, of course, keep on trying when you don't succeed. There are tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of would-be writers thanks to the Internet. You want to be like a job seeker and do something to rise above those teeming masses. Being the best writer you can be will do that.



What's your favorite quote about writing/for writers?



"You've got the perfect face for writing." 



Yeah, one of my editors at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram told me that back in 1999, but it was true. TV news reporters worry more about looks. Radio reporters worry about their voice. Writers don't have vanity issues like that. We just have to write and write well.



What's the best thing about being a writer?



Freedom. You can write from anywhere. When I act, I'm stuck on set for up to 14 hours. But, I can still write. When I'm on the air, I'm basically behind the microphone. Yet, I can still write. No matter where I am, all I need is a pen, paper and my mind. 



Where can people find out more about you and your writing?



Besides finding my books on the aforementioned websites (I currently have Hunters, They Call the Wind Muryah and Dark Tidings on them), I have short stories at Writing.com, on Lulu.com (with my novella Crawl -- about giant spiders), in the anthologies Far Side of Midnight, Rebel Tales, Mini-World Magazine, Aussie Horror, Texas Tales, SFH Dominion, Separate Worlds, Writer's Bump Vol. I and Farspace 2. And of course, there is Digital Digest, also available on Amazon.com. 



Anything else you'd like to add?



Thanks for having me here on the blog to talk to your readers! I should also mention that I am part of a great 4,000 ebook giveaway that your readers can check out. They can get a FREE book just by entering their name, email, and type of eReader into a form!





    

Stop by the Red Hot Readers page on Facebook to get books delivered within 48 hours, directly from the participating author! If your readers aren't on Facebook much, they can stop by the website instead and sign up for their twice a month newsletter telling them when more authors have been added to the giveaway (http://www.redhotreaders.com/index).
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