Monday, December 31, 2012

My first post-promo review!

I woke up this morning, set up the computer to Skype with family in England, waited for brothers to come online, and checked my book on Amazon. Of course, it's not free anymore, so it's lost that glorious #1 position, but here's a screenshot I took earlier, just to remind me...

and here's a link to a lovely review that arrived overnight on Amazon!


I bounced around the room in excitement. What a great review! Then my kind husband responded, yes, it's good, but it's not great.

"Of course it's great," say I in dismay. "Just look at it! My first post-promo review, and it says everything I could possibly want it to say. What's not great about that?"

"It's a good review," says my husband, then tells me I should have more confidence. "You should expect good reviews; shouldn't be so amazed."

Which, I suppose, is a compliment. But I'm  still amazed, still over the moon, still thrilled and delighted and more...

Genesis People... "exactly what the Sunday School teacher needs to reach and teach youngsters... a perfect gift." Thank you to my wonderful reviewer, and to all the people who bought and are reading my book. I hope you'll love it.

And, if you didn't buy it when it was free, well, it's still there, still on sale, still waiting to entice you.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last day of the sale !!!!!

It's the final day to get a free kindle copy of Genesis People, my last day to stare longingly at those ratings and positions. It's #1 in Old Testament Studies at the moment, and #3 in children's fiction>religious>Christian, so I'm somewhat over the moon, thoroughly delighted, trying not to listen to my cynical mathematical self analyzing the data. Hey, it's good data! #1 is good! And, if you want to download it and find out what I'm writing about, Genesis People is here:
US: http://www.amazon.com/Genesis-People-Five-Minute-Series-ebook/dp/B00ANV941M/
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Genesis-People-Five-Minute-Series-ebook/dp/B00ANV941M/
and free until midnight!

Meanwhile I have still been reading, in between cooking, shopping, cleaning, eating (ah yes, eating...), washing (must wash son's clothes before he departs...)... So here are some more book reviews with coffee recommendations (for flavor--I don't rate coffee, I savor it!).

First is Glastonbury by Donna Fletcher Crow, a wonderful masterpiece reminiscent of  Edward Rutherfold's glorious historical tomes. Nicely split into separate books covering different eras from Druidic times to the dissolution of the monasteries in England, it tells a well-researched tale of fascinating people, very real events, and satisfyingly plausible roots of favorite English myths. I love it! Recommended for reading with many long comfortable mugs of 4-star elegant coffee.

After such a long (and wonderful) read, I needed some short stories for a change of pace, so my next reviews include several very short ones. First is the Haunting of Alligator Lake by B. J. Robinson, an odd mix of scary, ancient and modern, common sense, and sweet salvation in the haunting mists of a mysterious lake. Then comes Will o the Wisp by P. L. Parker, an intriguing short paranormal romance that will leave you wanting more once you puzzle it out--nicely lyrical, pleasingly odd. And then comes Sunflower, another B. J. Robinson short story, which, of course, I have to love because I love dogs! Enjoy 2-star easy-drinking coffee with each of these.

Then there's  Athine Verses, the Beginning, by Shannon McRoberts (who recently toured through my blog). It's certainly an interesting beginning to her mythological series, combining many myths and backgrounds, adding hints of worlds beyond worlds, and describing a complex, well-imagined history. Enjoy with some 5-star bold, intense coffee.

Then, changing pace and space again, my next review is for A Little Crushed by Vivian Brentanos, a well-told and evocative tale of a wounded teen who hides her feelings behind crushing rejoinders, then surprisingly finds herself falling for an unlikely visiting teacher. Set in England and Australia, with characters that grow on you and dark situations that offer genuine hope for recovery, it's a well-told tale to read with a well-balanced 3-star coffee.

And finally some puzzles to while away those brief moments between cooking Christmas dinner and eating it... Grabarchuk's 101 puzzle quizzes (reissued) is as entertaining and fascinating as all the other puzzle books, with a nicely smooth interface on the kindle, well-designed and easy to pick up and put down.




Saturday, December 29, 2012

Liebster, and the plotting of a mystery

I just won a Liebster award from the wonderful MissusWolf so here's my thankyou post with 11 random facts about me, answers to 11 questions posed by the honorable MissusWolf, and 11 new questions for my eager (and probably mysterious) recipients. (Are you eager? Are you mysterious?)

First I have to post the award button, and so do you if you choose to accept this award:
Then,  I offer 11 random facts:
  1. I used to be unable to read my own writing due to holding the pencil in my fist.
  2. Then I learned to write properly and legibly, just for a while.
  3. Then I went to college where lectures forced as much information from the lecturer's book to the student's notes without going through the brain of either. My writing deteriorated.
  4. Then I got a job and used computers a lot.
  5. Then I had kids.
  6. Then my writing went full circle and became illegible again, but I can usually read what I type.
  7. I can't always spell what I type.
  8. I was just beginning to realize English spelling is logical when we moved to the States.
  9. American spelling is scarily illogical.
  10.  I like logic (and math, and science, and history, and faith, and writing, and fiction, and myth, and...)
  11. I think eleven's a very strange number.
11 answers:


1) What inspired you to start writing/blogging? I started writing as soon as I could hold that pencil (see #1 above), probably because people kept complaining that I talked too much. I can't imagine not telling stories, and writing's the easiest way to convey them.
2) What is your new year’s resolution? To balance writing, marketing and networking a little better than I have done this year.
3) If you could be in someone elses shoes for one day, who would that be and why? Someone with smaller feet than mine so I could buy shoes more easily.
4) What is your favourite season? Spring because everything comes back into bloom and the world's full of promise--and I love Easter.
5) Where has been your favourite holiday destination? We went to Alaska in 2011 and it was amazing!
6) Where do you see yourself this time next year? This time next year it will be just after Christmas. I'll be home enjoying the presents, cards, greetings and Christmas tree, with as much of my family as possible gathered around.
7) What has been the highlight of your writing/blogging experience so far? The highlight so far was seeing (and signing) my first novel in a bookstore.
8) Do you prefer coffee or tea? Morning coffee, afternoon tea.
9) What is your favourite song? It's a hymn we sang at my brother's ordination. There's a verse that goes something like "The dreams I dream today my Lord are only a shadow of your dreams for me."
10) What has been the most influential book you have read, that has really caught your attention and made you think? Frank Collins' The Language of God.
11) What has been your highlight of 2012? See #7

Finally, 11 questions for my willing or unwilling victims: I just ran a workshop with our local writers' group where we tried to plot a story, so I'll base my questions on that:
    1. Imagine you want to write a mystery. Who is your main character?
    2. Where is your main character?
    3. Your next nine answers should form a mystery story. At number one, how would you introduce the character and place?
    4. At number nine how would your story end? Does your MC ride off into the sunset, or jetski into space, or...?
    5. At number five, what crisis or mystery would you like your character to solve?
    6. At number seven, how would a second crisis grow from the first one, making it a mystery that really has to be solved?
    7. At three, how might your character end up in a place where he/she/it would encounter the mystery?
    8. At two, why would your character end up there?
    9. At four, give the character a need to care.
    10. At six, show how one crisis turned into another.
    11. And at eight, tell how the crisis was resolved by your character before the ending.
    I'm feeling lazy, worn-out, shattered, etc. (see new year resolution, #2 above) so please nominate yourselves in the comments and accept the award if you want to mysteriously answer my 11 questions. And thank you MissusWolf for nominating me.

    Thursday, December 27, 2012

    Books, books and more books by Shannon McRoberts

    Shannon McRoberts is touring with a wonderful list of books as the old year ends and the new year begins, so here are my reviews of two of her books, and links to others for your reading pleasure...

    But first, let me introduce the author:



    Shannon McRoberts was born in Kentucky and currently resides there with her family. She began writing novellas late in her career after fulfilling a college dream of publishing her poetry book.

    When not writing or working at her day job she enjoys creating fantasy art in Poser; this helps spur on her writing about fantasy worlds. Shannon is also an avid reader enjoying many books that feature strong female leads. It comes as no surprise that when she writes that her characters are also strong female leads

    Shannon’s books are not long at all as she feels that something should be left up to the reader; no you don’t really need to know that the walls were blue on the fourth floor to enjoy a story!

    If she has any spare time Shannon enjoys playing things like World of Warcraft, Elder Scroll games, Guild Wars, Rift, and Second Life. However, she often doesn’t have any spare time between work, family, and her art/writing hobbies.


    I know that "lack-of-spare-time" feeling. I used to dream of playing some of those computer games, but instead the kids played them and I looked on in wonder. Still, like Shannon, I'm writing now, and thankfully reading too.

    I've read two of Shannon McRoberts' books recently:

    The Secret of Genetic Corp X is set in a slightly futuristic world where rules have been adopted for the regulation of clones, but cloning’s still restricted to tissues and organs. With nicely topical connections to the esoteric science of cloning and the practicalities of Alzheimer's research, the story certainly starts from an interesting premise. Meanwhile the super-intelligent Zarra makes an pleasing main character as she wakes from a coma and searches among supposed friends and family for her lost memories. The story’s short and the telling’s fast, especially in exciting action scenes, while slowly detailed dialog conveys all the necessary information to build a background where mysteries abound. A Blade-Runner feel strengthens this quick novel, and some pleasing twists keep the reader engaged as the inevitable conclusion approaches. An enjoyable and nicely thought-provoking read.


     Athine Verses, the beginning, is a very different tale blending multiple myths and histories as gods and demigods (and godesses) with magical powers learn that sometimes the quiet can change the world more than the wielders of thunder--and sometimes the quiet wield the thunder. Nicely imagined and well-drawn from a wealth of cultures, there's lots of background given and a world worthy of many computer games, or many books--and it is, indeed, the beginning of an intriguing series.



    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received these books for review from First Rule Publicity from the author as part of a virtual book tour. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
     

    With poetry, mythological fantasy, hard science fiction and more, Shannon McRoberts is definitely one of those writers who crosses, combines and switches genres. For more stops on her tour, and links to more books go to http://www.firstrulepublicity.com/current-tours/shannon-mcroberts-tour/, and enjoy!

    Thank you First Rule Publicity for letting me take part in this tour.


    Wednesday, December 26, 2012

    Refreshing that Amazon page

    I never thought I'd sit here refreshing an Amazon page, but seeing my book climb from #5 to #4 has got me clicking that refresh button way too often. (What about coffee? What about lunch? What about plans for Boxing Day afternoon? say the family...) Still, it's kind of cool, and I'm definitely dreaming of #1 whether or not I make it--can you help?

    Genesis People, book one of the Five-Minute Bible Story Series, is free on kindle from today till December 30th, and it's #4 in Old Testament Studies, #15 in childrens fiction > Christian on Amazon as I type! How cool is that? Try it free! Load that kindle you found under the Christmas tree!

    Arghghgh--I'm turning into a marketer!

    Meanwhile there's another great book from the same publisher on the same free kindle deal--romantic suspense set in Appalachia and the world, spanning poverty and riches, love and betrayal, hope and recovery. Two books for the (free) price of one, both on kindle. Please download Genesis People and Promises, and I promise I won't spend all day staring at the computer and clicking "refresh." I promise... seriously... yes, I'll go make that coffee.



    Genesis People on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Genesis-People-Five-Minute-Series-ebook/dp/B00ANV941M/
    Reviews of Genesis People: http://inspiredbyfaithandscience.blogspot.com/2010/03/reviews-of-genesis-people.html






     
    Promises on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/PROMISES-ebook/dp/B002S527E2/

    my review of Promises: http://books.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474981598056

    Sunday, December 23, 2012

    Five-Minute Bible Story Series

    The Five-Minute Bible Story Series is growing. Re-edited, re-formated, re-proofread (my Mum's a wonderful help, though I'm not sure this is really what she planned when she flew here from England), and re-covered with the most gorgeous cover art (Thank you Cape Arago Press), the storybooks should all be available on Kindle for Christmas. For those of you with kindles under the Christmas tree and an urgent need to fill them, Genesis People will even be free on kindle from December 26th to 30th , so you can try the stories before you buy. Kindle inspiration in the little ones, curiosity in the older kids, and a renewed interest in the Bible for adults. http://www.amazon.com/Genesis-People-Five-Minute-Series-ebook/dp/B00ANV941M/. Then look for  E.G. Lewis's Promises, also from Cape Arago Press and also free at http://www.amazon.com/PROMISES-ebook/dp/B002S527E2/

    But now I'm wondering, should I write about those Battling Judges next, as I always planned, or should I sneak forward, in celebration of the season, and write about shepherds and wise men, angels and a scared young bride with her elderly cousin... What do you think?

    Meanwhile, if you're ever planning on re-editing and re-issuing a previously self-published book, be prepared to be suitably dismayed at what escaped your proof-reading gaze the first time around, and suitably delighted at the chance to fix things.






    Wednesday, December 19, 2012

    Heading into the dark with Stacy Green

    Today I get to interview Stacy Green, author of the recently released Into the Dark. I'm planning to read Into the Dark soon and I know I shall enjoy it. I also know I'll enjoy this interview, as I really enjoyed my visit to Stacy's blog back in October. So, welcome Stacy and it's good to "see" you here.



    Thanks so much to Sheila for having me today!

    I read on your website that you stay home and play writer while looking after children. It sounds like a busy life. What would a typical writing day look like for you?

    It is a busy life, and I’m lucky that for the last several months, I’ve only got one part-timer. She’s a pretty easy kid, so I’m able to work a bit, then play with her, then work, etc. She also takes a great nap, and I’m able to get a lot done. Once 3:30 hits, though, all bets are off. My daughter gets home from school (she’s in first grade) and then its time for homework, fun stuff, and swim team. I’d like to say I work once she goes to bed, but by then I’m usually beat and any work I do is usually social media stuff.

    How long have you been writing? When did you first realize you might like to be a writer?
    I’ve wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember, but after high school, I never really thought it would happen. I was instructed to go into magazine journalism because that’s where writers who will “never be published” go. I followed the rules and then went into advertising for several years. It wasn’t until I became a stay-at-home-mom in 2006 that I really started writing again.

    I headed into math instead of writing, so a slightly different path. You understand though, now your book’s coming out you can’t say you’re playing writer anymore. This is work. Does the thought of writing being work dismay you?

    No. It’s the one thing I feel I have some real skill at, and what I truly love to do. I’m SO LUCKY to be able to be home all day and make my own schedule. Even with the little one, I have things pretty easy, and she is a great break from the stress.

    They're still a great break from stress when they get big too, though they do cause their own different stresses. I remember you said you wrote a romance that will never see the light of day. Then you wrote suspense. Do you prefer writing suspense, and what do you like best about writing it?

    To be honest, I don’t know why I ever wrote that romance novel. It’s also a drama/suspense, and I honestly had no idea about plotting or craft when I wrote it. I just wrote. And then when I decided I was going to try to write something for publication, I focused on suspense because it’s what I love. I love that feeling that something is coming, of trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle, and the nervous energy you get when you’re reading a great suspense novel. That’s what I hope to accomplish with my books. And as I venture further into my writing career, I’m really going into psychological suspense, because I love trying to figure out what makes people tick.

    What don’t you like about that first romance novel, and how do you decide what you like or don’t like about your own writing?

    For one thing–get ready for it–it’s nearly 400,000 words! (Ah!) There are actually some really good parts to it, but like I said, I knew nothing about plotting, so I just wrote as it came to me.

    As for what I like or don’t like about my own, that’s tough. I think I’m good at description, at making the reader feel as though he/she is in the scene. But I have to be careful I don’t get too carried away and to remember to write what the reader needs to know. So it’s a fine line.

    And I’m terrible about comparing myself to other authors. Reading is essential to getting better, but it’s also tough sometimes. And I think we all go through that.

    Do you prefer reading suspense, and what do you expect to find in a good suspense novel?

    Yes, suspense and thrillers. First off, I want a villain I can’t figure out. I’m pretty good at that, and I love books that keep me guessing until the very end. Most of Lisa Gardner’s books are like that, and I just read Now You See Me by S.J. Bolton that had me guessing the whole time. Loved it. Also love a great main character who isn’t just a cliché of someone on television.

    Do you prefer suspense novels where the evil character is pure evil or where there’s some good in or good excuse for his/her/its behavior?

    I love a villain who isn’t all bad. That’s why Hannibal Lecter and Dexter are such great characters. Both–even Lecter–have rules and redeeming qualities. You can’t help but like them, especially Dexter. To me, that adds a whole other layer to the book.

    How much research goes into your novels?

    Oh man, a lot. And more with each book. For Into The Dark, I did a lot of research into Las Vegas and the storm drain system. I also had to learn a fair amount about SWAT. And because of my villain’s history, I had to freshen up on my knowledge of the old South. And my next book, Tin God, has some serious legal and religious issues in it, so that meant more research. I’ve also interviewed excerpts, especially for the trilogy I’m plotting now. But I love the research–it’s such a key component of a tight plot and good description.

    Which comes first, character or plot?

    For me, depends on the book. With Into The Dark, Nathan and the idea of his being a SWAT officer came first. And then the plot wove itself around the storm drains and so on. With Tin God, the heroine came first because she truly drives the book. And now with the trilogy, it’s a mixture of both. And I think that’s different for every author.

    What question do you keep wishing someone would ask, and what’s your answer to it?

    Ooh. That’s tough. The first thing that comes to mind is “What are your goals with the Charity Blog Tour for Into The Dark?

    And the answer is simply to give back. Although the storm drains and their inhabitants don’t have a lot of scenes, they are an integral part of Into The Dark’s plot. I can honestly say that without the discovery of the homeless living in the drains, Into The Dark wouldn’t have near the depth it does. Writing the book around such a harsh reality really made me dig deep for the character’s motivations. The least I can do is try to give back. That’s why the Charity Tour gives readers the option of donating to HELP of Southern Nevada, the organization that assists the homeless, and the grand prize is a donation from me to the shelter of the winner’s choice.

    Thanks so much to Sheila for having me! 

    Thank you for visiting my blog Stacy. I really enjoyed your answers.
    And now, dear readers, read on for your chance to... 

    Enter the INTO THE DARK Charity Raffle!
    The homeless living in the storm drains of Las Vegas played a vital part in INTO THE DARK, and I want to give back. From November 1st until February 28th, participants will have several options to enter the raffle, including donating to HELP of Southern Nevada. The grand prize will be a $100 donation from me in the winner’s name to the homeless shelter of their choice.

    And there’s more! To celebrate the release of INTO THE DARK, I’m giving you TWO ways to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Both options will get your name into the drawing, which runs from November 5th until the end of my blog tour on January 30th.

    Entry Option 1: Earns FIVE entries in the contest. Email Stacy your receipt of purchase (simply copy and paste proof of the order into the email, excluding personal information) of INTO THE DARK or the answer to this question: in what state was the Taker born and raised?

    Entry Option 2: Earns TWO entries in the Contest. Donate to HELP of Southern Nevada and help the homeless. Readers can go to HELP of Southern Nevada, the organization that aids the homeless featured in INTO THE DARK, and donate. Email Stacy the receipt (personal information excluded). No donation is too small!


    Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you enjoy INTO THE DARK!

    I know I shall enjoy it, and I'm sure others will too after reading the following excerpt. Thank you for letting me post it here Stacy.

    An Excerpt from Into The Dark

    Stale air washed over Nathan as soon as he stepped into the room. Half of the track lighting flickered. Old equipment and boxes of office supplies littered the unused space. Two paramedics stood talking to an auburn-haired woman—Emilie. Her head was bent so that her hair shielded her face. She looked smaller and more fragile than Nathan had imagined. In the far corner of the room, Johnson and Chris struggled to force the door open.
    “Bastard jammed it shut,” Chris said as Nathan inspected the door. It was made of sturdy oak. Rusting metal rods held the planks together.
    “This sucker is old, Nate. Our perp didn’t put it here.”
    “How the hell did he know about it?”
    “Ram’s here,” Johnson said. “Let’s get in there.”
    The door splintered open after several blows from the ram. A fetid scent oozed out from the gaping crack.
    “Damn.” Chris gagged. “That’s rank.”
    Weapon raised, Nathan peered over his shoulder into the dark opening. At first glance it appeared to be nothing more than a crude hole in the wall, but on closer inspection, he realized it was a long, narrow passageway. Decaying redwood posts supported the walls. Warped plywood served as a makeshift ceiling.
    “Give me some light.” Johnson led the group single file over the threshold. “Be ready. The son-of-a-bitch is probably hiding.”
    Nathan flipped on his Glock’s tactical light and shined the beam in the tunnel. The walls of earth rippled with the movement of insects as they sought refuge from the foreign light. The cobwebs were so thick in places the ceiling couldn’t be seen.

    Find Stacy Online:
    Twitter: StacyGreen26
    Facebook: Stacy Green, Author


    Author Bio:

    Stacy Green is fascinated by the workings of the criminal mind and explores true crime on her popular Thriller Thursday posts at her blog, Turning the Page. 

    After earning her degree in journalism, Stacy worked in advertising before becoming a stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. She rediscovered her love of writing and wrote several articles for Women’s Edition Magazine of Cedar Rapids, profiling local businesses, before penning her first novel.
     Her debut novel, Into The Dark, is set in Las Vegas and features a heroine on the edge of disaster, a tormented villain, and the city’s infamous storm drains that house hundreds of homeless. Available November 30th, Into the Dark may be purchased for Kindle, Nook, Ipad, Kobo and all other digital formats, and on paperback via Amazon.