Wednesday, November 15, 2017

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY: SIX FLOORS FROM SOMEWHERE

Have you signed up for a free copy of Six Floors from Somewhere? No? Well, here's the link.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Six Floors from Somewhere by Rachel Tolman Terry

Six Floors from Somewhere

by Rachel Tolman Terry

Giveaway ends November 23, 2017.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Saturday, November 11, 2017

REVIEW of ELSEWHERE by GABRIELLE ZEVIN

ELSEWHERE
Gabrielle Zevin
Square Fish
2007

SUMMARY (from publisher)
Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It's quiet and peaceful. You can't get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere's museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe's psychiatric practice.
Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver's license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she's dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn't want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?
This moving, often funny book about grief, death, and loss will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin is a 2006 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.


REVIEW
Reincarnation isn’t a topic covered in young adult novels every day, but that’s exactly what Elsewhere is about. It’s interesting to read about the author’s vision of what reincarnation would look like in the details.

Elsewhere begins with the death of 15-year-old Liz Hall. She is riding her bike to the mall to help her friend pick out a prom dress when she forgets to look both ways and is hit by a cab.

Now Liz finds herself in Elsewhere, the place people go in between their deaths and their next lives. Once there, Liz meets her grandmother Betty whom she never got to meet on Earth. Betty died before Liz was born, and it takes them some time to feel comfortable with one another. Liz also gets to know the lead singer of her favorite band back on earth. He becomes a mentor to Liz, someone she can talk to when she feels confused or angry.

Readers see this strange journey through Liz’s eyes, and she has characteristics that many people will identify with. She’s adventurous and a little anxious, and she doesn’t want to let go of the good life she had back on Earth. She’s not the most likable character in the story, but she’s well-developed and her age makes the story all the more poignant. There are so many things she didn’t get to do on earth: get her driver’s license, go to college, get married, etc. At the “Observation Decks” she can watch her family and friends back on earth, and she becomes addicted to watching their lives and hoping they’ll talk about her and miss her.

Life after death is a topic we’re all curious about, and this is an interesting take on the subject. The story is engaging, and the characters are fun. You even get to meet some talking dogs! For a quick, light read, it’s awfully thought-provoking.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

REVIEW of SILENCE OF STARS by HOLLY J. WOOD

SILENCE OF STARS
Holly J. Wood
Brigham Distributing
September 20, 2017

SUMMARY
For as long as she can remember, Lark Taylor has been looking to the stars but she never dreamed that someday she d find herself among them. She is Chosen to join an intergalactic academy attempting to save Earth s toxic society from self-destruction. Lark relies on Gideon, her alluring, off-limits guardian, to show her the ropes.

During training, Lark feels something she hasn t felt in a long time hope. She may hold the key to saving her planet. But as her training progresses, she learns that the Academy isn t as altruistic as she thought. And the more she and Gideon try to deny their growing feelings for each other, (turns out interplanetary relationships are forbidden), the more they gravitate together. 


Just when Lark thinks she has found a way to be with Gideon, she uncovers a secret that puts her, the Academy, and the people of Earth in more danger than ever before. If she doesn't act quickly, she will lose everything including the only boy she s ever loved.


REVIEW
This intergalactic young adult romance is a real page turner, but it has more than a riveting plot and interesting characters going for it. The novel also touches on themes that are very relevant to life in 2017 America: freedom, political correctness, the importance of history, and privacy.

Lark Taylor is just a teenager, but she knows that the world she lives in has been declining for some time. She knows this because her father left her an archive of books. Books have been banned, so most of her peers don’t know anything about World War II or Abraham Lincoln.

One day, aliens from another planet arrive to carry off specially chosen teenagers from around the world to re-educate them at a planet with a superior civilization. They learn practical skills like combat, gardening, and cooking, but they also learn about what has gone wrong on Earth and what needs to be done to fix it.

Lark falls in love with Gideon, the young man assigned to be her guardian. Dating and courtship customs are quite different on Lior than they are on Earth, but for some reason, Lark and Gideon immediately have a connection, even though interplanetary romances are strictly forbidden.

While Lark and her friends from Earth are gaining hope and confidence that they can make a difference when they get back home, a rogue member of the Council is working to sabotage any progress. Can Lark, Gideon, and the others figure out what’s going on before it’s too late?

I’m looking forward to the next book in this series. While this one ended neatly, there’s obviously more to the story that we need to know!

Visit Holly J. Wood at her website to learn more about her other books and upcoming projects.

Friday, October 13, 2017

INTERVIEW with author LAURENCE O'BRYAN


book signing
Laurence O'Bryan
I've been spending some time on Laurence O'Bryan's blog because he has so much information for authors about book marketing. Having published a series of thriller novels and developed his own tried-and-true marketing techniques, O'Bryan is an author worth getting to know. Many thanks to Laurence for taking the time to share some of his wisdom with us at the Book Pound.

You've been in the book business for over 7 years. What do you think are the biggest changes you've seen and experienced in the industry?
The biggest change is the ease of publishing. Even 7 years ago people talked about book formatting for print and I remember paying over $400 for one book to be set up. And after that, the never ending growth of Amazon. I expect they'll be buying a big publisher soon. 

How did you get started with fiction writing?
It's a cliche, but I always wanted to write. I started writing in 1999. I was bored with being a cog in a big wheel. I had no idea what I was doing too. I had to buy a shelf of writing books to work it all out. The second book I started I finished, but it was never published. The third, The Istanbul Puzzle, was published in 2012 by Harper Collins and translated into 10 languages. Never give up is the simple lesson from that story.  

What writing projects are you currently working on?
I finished a 5 book series and now I am resurrecting that earlier second book, Imperatrix, as it's a Games of Thrones meets Gladiator type story and we're all allowed to put sex in our books now, after JRR Martin, aren't we?

How did you develop your marketing strategies for authors?
I spent 25 years in sales and marketing, mostly in IT. I got an MBA in marketing and I was always fascinated by marketing. This is why I started BooksGoSocial, to help authors by doing their marketing for them. Not every author wants to be their own marketing expert.

What's next for you?
I hope my new book will do well, but what keeps driving me forward is expanding BooksGoSocial. We do free promotions now for authors and we have free team support and training, free blog tours and more. And we have a Chrome Extension and a Chat bot!

Is there anything else you'd like to share with Book Pound readers? Any advice for new writers?
The key is persistence. There are more opportunities than ever for authors. If you love writing, stick with it! You never know what's coming for you!

Find Laurence O'Bryan in the following places:
Website: Books Go Social


Friday, July 7, 2017

GUEST BLOG POST: LEA CARTER, author of THE SEEKER'S STORM

Welcome back to the Book Pound, Lea Carter! In the following guest post, Lea discusses research for her upcoming fantasy novel, The Seeker's Storm. Although research doesn't always show up in stories, it can be one of the most enriching parts of writing. Be sure to connect with Lea on Twitter.

Researching The Seeker’s Storm was a fascinating experience.  It might sound odd for someone who writes fantasy to need to do research, but I love the challenge of making something that can’t possibly happen come as close to reality as it can. 

One example of this would be the electricity, or “lightning” as it’s called in Fairydom.  After reading several old (and I mean from around the time of Benjamin Franklin!) engineer and electrician publications, I learned that it was once commonly accepted that electricity was a fluid.  Scientist from that time period developed static electricity machines and crude batteries so that they could study electricity.  Some recommended uses for electricity were medicinal and sounded quite frightening.  My father was another invaluable asset during this portion of my research, having years of practical experience with electricity.  Thanks to resources like those and this one https://www.facebook.com/groups/electrostaticmachines/, I was able to get a basic grasp of how a Water Fairy “lightning machine” might look and be used. 

I also did quite a bit of research on the weather.  A weaponized snowstorm was the threat hanging over them at the end of the last book, Dress Blues, and I had to figure out a way to overcome that.  This research took me to the children’s section of the library, for starters.  I’ve often found that non-fiction books for adults infer a level of knowledge on the part of their readers that I simply don’t have.  Ergo, the children’s section!  The most important thing I learned was that something called a “thunder snowstorm” was supposed to drop more snow than any other kind.  (See https://www.kidsdiscover.com/did-you-know/thundersnow/, also.)  I also found out that “cloud seeding,” as they call attempts to coax clouds to precipitate, is anything but foolproof.  (See https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/cloud-seeding-china-snow/)  Still, I needed to find a way to neutralize the snowstorm.  When I realized that the fairly rare occurrence of lightning inside a snowstorm results in a measurably heavier snowfall, I knew I could use that. 

All sorts of research followed that decision!  What causes lightning?  What is the average temperature at the top of an anvil cloud?  What are the parts or fairy-sized dangers of a thundersnowstorm?  (Such as graupel, or a sort of soft hail: http://www.weatherboy.com/graupel-snow-pellets/.)  Granted, I had already created a world where the Sky Fairy Tribe contracts rainstorms and sunny days as their chief exports to the other tribes…but I still try to get a solid feeling for the science behind what I write. 

Perhaps the most fun part of this last bit of research was that I had to find a delivery system that was suitable to the world of Fairydom.  For that I reached back into military history, clear back to the times of the Roman and Greek empires.  After hunting through a dozen or more possibilities, such as trebuchets and catapults (nope, they’re two different things: (jarodsforge.blogspot.com/2008/08/whats-difference-between-catapult-and.html), I settled on the ballista (https://users.ece.cmu.edu/~koopman/ballista/defn.html).  Ballistas are on the order of giant crossbows, except that instead of pulling the bowstring back to cock it, the throwing arms are forced forward.  When they are released, they hurl their ammunition to great lengths and with wonderful accuracy for such primitive weapons.  I say “primitive” only because we live in a digital world, where smart bullets and such are realities. 

I had a great deal of fun researching for The Seeker’s Storm and I hope you had as much fun reading this post.  Thank you so much for your time!  For the “rest of the story” of how lightning and ballista save the Sky Fairy Tribe from being buried under a monster snowstorm, you’ll just have to read the book!

Lea Carter
https://sites.google.com/site/leasbookshelf/ 
http://tinyurl.com/SilverPrincessKindle 
http://www.goodreads.com/klcislc 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

INTERVIEW with HEIDI TUCKER, author of FINDING HOPE IN THE JOURNEY

Heidi Tucker recently published Finding Hope in the Journey, an inspirational book about learning to recognize God's messages of hope in the midst of struggles. Her book received a 2017 Illumination Book Award, and she's already hard at work on her next writing project. Many thanks to Heidi for joining us at the Book Pound.

When did you first want to write a book? What was your motivation for writing?  
Writing a book was never on a bucket list of mine. During a difficult period of my life, I had a dream and saw my hands holding a book. I knew it was mine. That dream and continued strong promptings from God was a calling that my story and lessons learned needed to be told. Writing this book was the most exhausting and exhilarating period of my life. It was bigger than me from the very beginning and I’ll never forget that. I’m always honored when a reader contacts me and lets me know how my words made a difference. When I speak at various events, I always meet individuals who were touched by something I said. We all struggle and we can all find hope if we know where to look.

Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you find that reading certain kinds of books helps you with your own writing?  
My favorite author is Brad Wilcox. His writing is from the heart and real. When I first started my book I remember thinking that if I just tell my stories and speak the truth, it will touch hearts. I like to read anything that is uplifting and positive whether it be nonfiction or fiction. Real life can be painful enough. I consciously choose to fill my mind with light.

You've said that you have a passion for hiking. Do you think there's a connection between the outdoors and your writing? If so, how?  
Hiking is my escape from depression and anxiety which runs deep in my roots. It keeps me emotionally healthy. It is also a space to clear my mind and organize my thoughts, whether that be prayer or reflection on future writings. In my book, hiking is a metaphor for the trails we are required to walk in life. God won’t move the mountain, but He will help us climb it. I actually wrote a good part of this book while hiking. I would stop on trails and quickly write notes on my phone and then type it up when I returned home.

Talk about the process of writing and publishing Finding Hope in the Journey. What advice would you
give to other writers who have yet to embark on the publishing process?
I’m actually a Type A personality and want to get everything checked off my organized list before I write. That didn’t work for me. I had no creative energy or time at the end of the day. Then I heard someone say that if you really want something – to conquer your dream – you need to make it a priority every day, even if it is just a short period of time. I took that to heart and I ignored emails, phone calls, and all those other items on my to-do list and wrote first thing in the morning every single day. Sometimes it was only 30 minutes and sometimes that 30 minutes stretched into five hours. Publishing is the same method. Every day I researched and read as much as I could to learn how to take a manuscript and get it into the form of a book. I contacted everybody I knew who might give me two cents of advice. The publishing and marketing process is hard work and I faced a lot of rejection. But if you believe in your book, you focus on that and continue to push on closed doors.

What's up next for you as a writer? Do you have any upcoming projects?  
I’ve just finished my second book which is a true story about a woman from Zimbabwe whose husband dies and leaves her with six children. She cannot feed them or pay for their schooling. An opportunity comes up in the United States for her to work and send money back to family who will care for the children. It is a heart-wrenching journey to follow her story from incredibly painful tragedies to a peaceful triumph. Her life teaches so many lessons. I also have outlines of a couple more inspirational books. I love to tell stories.

Is there anything else you'd like to tell Book Pound readers?  
You are here to make a difference. Think about someone who makes you want to be better. Someone who motivates you. You have the power to be that inspiration to somebody else. God will direct you into paths that you never expected. In difficult times, we often emerge feeling beat up, but stronger somehow. We each have the opportunity to reach others in so many different ways. When you recognize your worth and who you really are, it means everything. That assurance and your influence will be felt by others.

Connect with Heidi Tucker at her website or on InstagramTwitter or Facebook. You can also find her at Goodreads.

Friday, May 19, 2017

INTERVIEW with NIKI MEADOWS, author of FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE!

After conquering a 17-year battle with depression, Niki Meadows wrote a book, Fight for Your Life!, to help other people to overcome their struggles and take control of their lives. We're pleased to have Niki with us at the BookPound to talk about her own journey, her writing, and what's up next for her.

When and how did you decide to write a book to help others to conquer their battles with depression?
It's not something I planned on. I was actually inspired to write the book back at the end of September 2016. Once the inspiration hit me, I went with it. There were a couple of times I thought it was just a project that wouldn't go anywhere (as a creative this isn't uncommon for me). Yet somehow I'd always meet someone that would share their struggle with depression just as I was toying with the idea of pulling the plug on the project. I took that as a sign to keep writing and proceed to publish it.

Had you always wanted to be a writer? What gave you the courage to write a book?
As a kid I dreamed of being a writer. As I got older, I realized I wasn't a great or even good fiction writer so I pursued other avenues. I never even contemplated writing non-fiction so I was actually quite surprised when the inspiration hit me. Honestly, the intention that this book might support someone when they need it most was what gave me the courage to move forward. I open up about myself in a way that is uncomfortable and makes me feel naked in a room full of people. I thought that if one person could benefit from even one chapter of the book, it would be worth the temporary discomfort I felt of putting myself out there.

How has writing this book changed your life?
It's been very liberating. I used to think that being what I call a high-functioning depressive was a good thing. It was almost like curse and a badge of honor at the same time that no one knew how hard my internal struggle was. This book is one of the most valuable things I've been able to contribute to the world to date. 

Do you have any plans to write another book? Do you have any upcoming writing projects?
Initially I hadn't really contemplated it. As the book progressed, I realized it needed to be broken up into two parts. This book is half of a four-year journey of healing. The first part details how I climbed out of rock bottom and the second part will detail the steps I took each day to get further and further away from that place. I have plans to release two separate books that will make this at least a four book series. I don't have any other writing projects aside from my personal blog.

Do you think the act of writing can help people to work through their problems? Is there a link between writing and therapy?
I believe so. I think writing is very therapeutic. There's something about the intimacy between you and your written words that's incredibly powerful for better or for worse. During my dark times it was a way to vent and drain the pain. Now it's a way to breathe life into myself and others. I encourage readers to document their journey through journaling and even include some written exercises because of my personal experience using writing therapeutically. 

Is there anything else you'd like to tell BookPound readers?

I'd like to thank them for their time to read this today. I'd also like to encourage them to continue down the path that best supports them in their life. Whether it be seeking resources, surrounding themselves with positive empowering people, or connecting with themselves in a way they are comfortable living their life authentically. You deserve to live a fulfilling life filled with joy and satisfaction. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

INTERVIEW with C. FULSTY, author of BLAKE AND THE TURTLES

Author and illustrator C. Fulsty coaches roller hockey, loves working with children, and would rather not eat olives and mushrooms. We're pleased to have C. Fulsty today at the Book Pound, sharing his interests and ideas with us. You can find C. Fulsty at his website, on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon.

Who were your favorite authors and illustrators when you were younger? Do you think they had a big impact on your work?
My favorite author and illustrator was Dr. Seuss. I know that may be a boring answer, but you can't deny he was original and had his own style. I did like other illustrators like Eric Carle, but I just found Dr. Seuss drew you in (yes that's an illustrator joke) with his crazy and wacky illustrations. I believe he had a big impact on my work because I did start out trying to imitate his work and style. From that I did begin to find my own style and the way I felt more comfortable going with illustrations and my written work.

Where do you get your inspiration for your books? 
I get my inspiration from kids today. I try to constantly think like a kid, and think about struggles kids might be facing today, or issues that a child might just want reassurance that he's not facing those issues alone. For example, I've recently been thinking about stories having to do with children changing the world, not by doing something big, but by doing something small that has a ripple effect. Always with a child-like, goofy twist.

Who is your favorite character that you've created? Why do you like that character?
My favorite character so far....I'd actually have to pick two. Blue from "How High Can You Jump?" and Blake from
"Blake and the Turtles."

Blue is one of my favorites because I created him based on myself. In "How High Can You Jump?" Blue tries to beat Sunflower in a jumping contest, but the rock that's tied to his string keeps him from winning. No matter how hard he tries, he's just never able to shake the rock from holding him back. I've felt like that a lot with writing and life in general. I've had lots of negativity with my writing and people, even close people, doubt me and say I'm wasting my time. I've also suffered with severe depression for a good chunk of my life. So, Blue to me is just a representation that you can't let things hold you back. You have to push through.

Blake is one of my favorite characters because in my book, "Blake and the Turtles," he's a nice, sincere snake that is judged just because he's a snake. He tries to explain that he's not like other snakes, but the turtles continue to judge him on his looks. I feel like this book has a very big message to give, and even with Blake trying to fit in, he eventually learns that one of the turtles has a secret. After Blake learns the secret, he still has a positive attitude telling the turtles that they can all still be friends. Blake is just such a positive, happy character that I believe we should all strive to be like.

Do you think playing hockey has any impact on your writing?
I believe hockey has a huge impact on my writing. Hockey, in a way, is the reason I started writing in the first place. I coached youth roller hockey for around 6 years and I loved it. After a conversation with one of the parents, I started to research how to write children's books and started my career. All of this, because I was told one of my students didn't like reading because children's books were either boring or old. Even the name "Blake" from "Blake and the Turtles" is related to hockey. I didn't pick it because it rhymed easily with snake, I picked it because another student in my learn-to-play class named Blake, told me when I start writing books, that I should put him in one. So I did. I even have a project on the back burner right now that has a tie back into the learn-to-play hockey class. There are lots of those, so don't be surprised if more come out as more books come out.

When you create a children's book, do you start with the writing or with the illustrations? How do they affect each other?
I always begin with the written part of the book first. Mostly because I feel like it's easier for me to change the writing and get a better idea of the images I want then it would be to write from the illustrations. Another reason is because I do have a friend who does some of my books illustrations for me, and it's worked out great with taking my time to get a good written story before I send it to her to illustrate it the way she wants. She's done the illustrations for the "Not So Bad Christmas Stocking" and "Blake and the Turtles." She's also working on a book currently that I'm hoping to have completed by the end of the year.

Is there anything else you'd like to tell BookPound readers?
One thing I would like to mention is that I love talking to people and learning about people's stories so don't ever be scared to email me or anything. I'm also working on something new I'm calling "donation books." They are books I will be collaborating on with a company/group and having my friend Shanilee illustrate. Once the book is done, I plan to give all the profits and rights to the group to assists them in financial help to support what they do. I am currently working on a book for the Colorado Veterans Project, and I have had talks with a group that does suicide prevention for teens. Fingers crossed.