Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Interview with Alex R. Carver

I had the opportunity to interview the author of a book I recently read. I hope you enjoy!

What was your favorite book as a child? 

It’s hard to say what my favourite book was as a child, but the book that sticks in my mind the most is Lord Of The Rings (I was a precocious reader and was only about 11 or so when I devoured Tolkien’s masterpiece) My half-brother was working in a hotel in Devon and found a single volume copy of LOTR in the lost property, when no-one claimed it he gave it to me and I absolutely loved it.

What inspired you to write your book?

I don’t think anything in particular inspired me; I’ve been writing since the age of 10, when I was given a creative writing assignment in school. The only thing that I can say might have led to me writing the Inspector Stone series is the TV series A Touch of Frost with David Jason, I’ve been a fan of it for years, and there are similarities in setting and the personality of my inspector, except that Frost was widowed and elderly, and my detective (initially at least) is relatively young, married and has kids.

How did you research your information for the book and what were the biggest challenges?

Research for the book turned out to be fairly easy, if occasionally time-consuming, thanks to the internet, which had articles on pretty much every subject I needed, including how to get untraceable bearer bonds and how much money weighs. The biggest challenge, I think, was keeping the story as grounded in reality as I could while keeping it interesting enough for people to read

What are you working on next?

Now that Where There’s A Will has been released I’m working on a thriller about a serial killer in a small English village, Written in Blood, before I sort out An Eye For An Eye, which is the second book in the Inspector Stone series.

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crime drama at its best

Not your everyday crime drama, Buried Ladies is diverse and thrilling, rich and exciting. Estella and Joan are neighbors and best friends. The action starts when Joan calls the police sure that Estella's been murdered by her husband. After all, there is blood on the rug and the body is missing. Joan knows something is wrong, and all the evidence points to her husband Jaime, an IT technician. Is she the victim of domestic crime, a pawn caught in the middle of the Mexican drug war, or has she become the latest statistic of women who are murdered by a serial killer? Hausman starts the book with a bang and never slows down, taking the reader on a wild zigzagging ride through dangerous territory. Just when you think you have the book figured out, she throws another surprise your way, making you read as quickly as you can to see where she's is going. Some of it is hard to read, there is rape and violence, but this is a crime drama filled with all the nefarious characters one associates with drug cartels, murder, and kidnapping.
Satisfying and different enough to tweak a reader's interests, Buried Ladies is crime drama at its best.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Friday, November 25, 2016

Free Books!!!

Visit me on Facebook and find free books on my wall! Free Kindle downloads today, Saturday, and Sunday!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Exciting and fast-paced

"Someone has to do it, if not me, then who?" are the words that can motivate someone to be a hero and a suitable introduction to this book. Joseph Campbell has said, "A hero is someone who has given his life to something bigger than oneself."
Mikkael Dryfuss lives with a group of friends on a ship called Skysail. They fly above the surface of the earth, towing ships into port without any physical contact with the rest of the population. They are emotionally scarred from a traumatic event from their youth, the outcome making them rich beyond their dreams and allowing them to distance themselves from a world that brings them only pain.
Dryfus is troubled by the breakdown of society. The world has overextended itself with an exploded population and a tapped out ecology. The government now ships large amounts of its population to live on Mars, enslaved and working in the mines. Mikkael yearns to help them, and with the resources of his small group and an outliers colony of scientist and intellectuals on the moon Titan, he is able to build a super weapon that will give him the advantage over the corrupt controlling government on Mars.
Driven in his need to overcome the dark forces, he must first make the rebel forces support and believe in his mission.
At one point, someone in the opposing force says,
"I would wager that somewhere, at some point, a member of the PDF is responsible for shaping him into the demon he has become."
Heroes are born from the need to protect the innocent and are sometimes created by the very forces trying to destroy them.
Mickkael Dryfuss embraces his forlorn hope driving himself to the edge of endurance to finish his missions.
Exciting and fast-paced, this sci fi thriller dresses the hero in a new suit of armor to fight his crusade, bringing chivalry and honor into the imaginary future. I have a feeling that both Starkindler and Mikkael Drufuss will fight again.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Saturday, November 19, 2016

C.L. Lynch

At first, I thought it would be simple. Edit my book, get a cover design, publish it on Amazon.

Then I started researching it.

After reading more self-publishing websites than I can count, I felt that I had learned five things:

1. The more professionally-published your book is, the most likely it is to be read and reviewed. Most people won't read a book that appears to be self-published, because they don't trust self-published books to be written at the same level of quality as books published through major publishers. Which is completely understandable, really. The more self-published stink your book has on it, the less likely anyone is to read it.

2. Professionally-published books have early editions,called galleys or ARCs (advance review copies), which are mailed to reviewers for editorial reviews. That's how newly published books already have quotes on them from the New York Times, or Booklist, or Foreword saying things like "stunning!" or "another tour-de-force from whatshisname!"

3. In fact, most of these major reviewers who have a lot of clout, like Library Journal, won't even review a book after it has been published.

4. Without a review from a big editorial reviewer, libraries, book stores, and other really important potential purchasers will likely never hear about your book. Even if they do, they won't think your book is a real, professionally published book and won't be likely to take a chance on it. If they don't take a chance on it, they won't sell or recommend your book to others.

5. If no one hears about your book, or recommends your book, then no one will read your book.

So it became very clear that if I wanted my book to have a chance of being read, recommended, and then sold to more people, I needed to do a professional job in publishing my book.

The first, and most obvious step, was making sure that I actually had a professional quality book. I spent YEARS editing my book, and getting people to read it, and then re-editing it. I fretted about plot holes. I made sure each character had their own style of speech and was easily distinguished from the others when speaking. I deleted dialogue tags by the dozen, and adverbs by the gross. I looked for places where I could show instead of tell. I read lines aloud making sure that they didn't sound awkward. I made sure that my characters had depth. I got rid of anything that seemed hokey. I picked up books on writing and made sure that I wasn't committing any famous errors, or using stylistic devices which are commonly considered synonymous with the word "hack". I rewrote the ending three times, until I felt that my main character went through a true journey, and wasn't just being carried along for the ride. I asked myself if each and every word really belonged there.

Then I made sure that it was formatted appropriately, which was an odyssey all by itself.

Then I found a cover designer who would make changes to the cover free of charge, so I could have an ARC edition put out, and then (hopefully) put blurbs from reviewers on the back before my book was published for real-reals.

In order to make my ARC cover I needed to get my ISBN (it turns out that Amazon ISBNs are anathema in the industry, since they scream self publishing, and also because brick and mortar stores are understandably resentful of Amazon and have no interest in supporting it by giving it money). Happily, ISBNs are free for Canadians so this involved some annoying paperwork but it didn't cost me any money. I also submitted my book to Library and Archives Canada, the Canadian version of Library of Congress in the USA, so I can get library cataloguing information for my book.

Then I needed to set a publication date 3-4 months in advance, because as formerly stated, most big reviewers won't even consider reviewing your book if they don't get it several months before publication.

I had ARC copies made up on Amazon by uploading my ARC cover and having proofs mailed to me, which you can do 5 at a time. I have a US postal address to avoid customs costs, which my American husband maintains and uses.

I went down to Sears with my proof copies and had an author photo taken, and within 24 hours I had my photo on my website, on my cover letter, my press release, and my media press kit, all of which I made with the awesome advice available on the Midwest Book Review's site.

Finally, I mailed off my ARC's.

...And after all of that work, I know the chance of my being reviewed is still very, very slim. The big review houses receive hundreds to thousands of books per day. They toss away anything that doesn't meet their submission requirements, and then they pick and choose the best of the best from the rest. My chances are near to nil. I know this. But if I hadn't done everything I listed above, my chances would definitely be nil. As it is, I have a lottery ticket's worth of a chance that maybe one of them will read and review my book. If I'm really lucky, I'll hit the jackpot and get a great review, or at least a good by-line that I can use on the back of my book which tells people, "Yes, this is a real book, a good book - one worthy of reading."

Assuming that I don't get reviewed by a major editorial reviewer, my next best hope is to build buzz among other readers. So my next step was to get my book submitted to Netgalley.

Netgalley is a website that posts digital versions of ARCs for librarians, book bloggers, and fanatic readers to see. They can request your book if they like the look of it, read it, and maybe they will even choose to review it. A librarian or independent book store owner who reads and likes my book might order it into their library, where patrons can read it, and may even put it on the "staff picks" shelf. A book reviewer for a newspaper might spot it and enjoy it and decide to write about it. And every day readers can take a chance on it for free, and if they love it, maybe they'll review it.

Of course, there's always the chance that they'll hate it, too, and Netgalley readers often post reviews on goodreads and Amazon, where everyone can learn how awful your book is. Netgalley seems to be a big risk, because while my ARCs only cost me less than $10 to order and mail, and my book will likely just be ignored if it's bad, and even if it's good... Netgalley is REALLY pricey. They want hundreds of dollars for 6 months listed on the site, and chances are you will get at least couple of reviews out of it - and not necessarily good ones. When your books are rubbing shoulders with the newest John Green novel or Jodi Picoult, the reviewers are going to expect that level of quality to your writing. Woe betide ye lest ye disappoint them!

I got around the money aspect by discovering Broad Universe, an organization which promotes female writers of genre fiction, which defines me quite nicely. They rent their Netgalley space to any indie author who wants it, not just women, for quite a reasonable monthly fee.  If you become a member, which I chose to do, you get a discount and three months on Netgalley pays for the membership in savings. So my book is now also on Netgalley, where it could be read and either beloved or reviled, or both. Since I don't have an account directly with Netgalley, I can't see any reviews posted there. Broad Universe will let me know how many people read it and whether they reviewed it at the end of the three month trial.

So far, only one person has turned up on my book's Goodreads page claiming to have read my book on Netgalley, and to my relief, it was a rave review. But I'm sure there will probably be at least one stinker. I just cross fingers that more people will like my book than hate it. And, let's face it, if my book really and truly sucks, it's better that I find it out now, rather than after months of promoting it. If everyone hates it, I'm probably better off to drop the whole thing and go back to the drawing board.

In the meantime, I'm in limbo land, waiting to find out whether my book stinks or not.

And so, while I wait, I continue to hunt up reviewers. The next step down from Netgalley is a website like Story Cartel or Xpresso Book Tours, which has a base of reviewers who are known for being gentle, but honest. I paid Xpresso book tours some money for a "review alert" which is basically an email blast to her reviewer base and posting on her website, to fish for people who might be interested in my book. I got a lot of responses back, but we'll see how many people read it, and how many people like it.

Even if I get lots of reviews, that won't matter unless someone READS those reviews, so my next step was to arrange advertising. There's a popular body positivity blogger whom I follow. She uses a lot of swear words, and she actually reminds me a bit of my main character. I think that's one of the reasons I started following her, actually, because I realized that she was like a real life version of Stella Blunt. She does advertising on her site, but it's usually clothes and such. I contacted her about my book and she was very enthusiastic. I have arranged a giveaway and advertising. Her readers like her, so they should like my character. It seems like a good bet.

I've also arranged advertising on YA book central, which is like Goodreads for YA and kids books. My book is YA. Seems like a good place to advertise. If people click on my link, they may read my reviews, and if they like the reviews, they may buy my book.

Ultimately, I can push for reviews all I like, and advertise all over the place, but people will either like my book, or they won't. If it stinks, or it doesn't strike a chord with people, I can promote my book until I hemorrhage money and it will be for naught. I know this. So these next couple of months are my litmus test. There are self-published authors who have made it big - Andy Weir of The Martian, for example, and E.L. James with Fifty Shades of Grey. Some of it is about quality - The Martian is excellently written, truly entertaining. Some of it is just about striking a chord - Fifty Shades of Grey commits basically every "hack" error that I ruthless eradicated from my writing, but people still loved it. Reviewers care about writing quality. Readers just want a story they will love.

I don't know if I can produce either, and I won't know how any of this will turn out until I get a few more reviews. Nor do I know how well my reviews will turn into sales. I don't just need people to leave me good reviews. That's nice, and it helps. What I want, what I need, what people like Andy Weir and E.L. James had, are FANS - people who don't just click a five stars and write a few sentences, but people who crush on my characters make fan art and push my book into the hands of their friends.

Either my book has that capacity to inspire fandom, or it doesn't.

Time will tell. But in the meantime, I feel like I have done what I can to give it a good start, and the best possible chance of finding those fans.

If no one likes it... well... I'll just have to write a better one.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

How To Survive The Zombie Apocalypse

The author had me at the disclaimer. Anytime a writer warns that his book does not guarantee survival in the event of a zombie apocalypse, you know you are going to have some fun. Ben Johnson has written a comprehensive guide to survive anything from a natural disaster to a zombie apocalypse. Filled with thoughtful and well-researched information, this is a surprisingly fascinating read. Chock-full of interesting tidbits, Johnson explains everything one needs to know to protect themselves. Written tongue-in-cheek style, it is brilliantly laid out in an outline that begins with identifying the enemy, then systematically lays out a reasonable and comprehensive plan to protect oneself, including chapters on food, water, clothing, bug-out-bags, weapons, transportation. Johnson leaves no stone unturned. He gives credible explanations of what has to be done and I especially loved the part describing setting up a group or community in his post-apocalyptic world. Whether you are worried about the end of the earth, or planning to write a book about it, this is a great source that will give you plenty of information that just may keep you alive. It has the added benefit of keeping the reader entertained while it doing it. I received this book to read voluntarily.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Interview with Segilola Salami

Tell us a little bit about yourself
  • I'm a mom, an author and a podcaster.  I write bilingual Yoruba English children's book and I recently wrote a paranormal erotic romance as Elizabeth Salawu called Abiku: A Battle Of Gods. My podcast show is called (very imaginatively I must add) The Segilola Salami Show. It's set in a virtual cafe. I collect the orders and my 1 (soon to be 2) year old serves it. I have guests from all works come on the show and talk about books in one form or the other. I think its a show unlike any you have ever listened to. As the year is fast coming to an end, I'm doing a 7 episode theme on child abuse from the 15th of November. I have expert guests coming to talk on what it is, how to identify a child being abused, getting justice and the 5 stages of grief. There'll be lots of book recommendations.
Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for your novel?
  • I can but it didn't start out to be a novel. My mom passed away a little over a year before my daughter was born. One day when my daughter was sleeping (she was only a few months old then) I was thinking about my mom and the folktales she used to tell my sister and me. I couldn't remember in detail all the folktales she told me, so I decided to look into it further so that I could tell my own daughter when she was older. Whilst compiling it, I had (what I thought was a brilliant idea) to turn the folktales into 3D animation. Nollywood is the 3rd largest movie industry in the world but they focussed mainly on film and not animation. I thought it was the best time to bring change. Sadly that plan was deflated when I found out the cost of getting animations done. I thought that instead of letting the script gather dust whilst I looked for funding, I should re-write it into a novel and that was what I did and that lead to the birth of Yetunde: The Life And Times Of A Yoruba Girl In London (1). Doing so I think is the best decision I could have made. I hope to re-visit my original plan sometime in the future after I would have established my author platform.
What are you currently reading? OR What is currently on your to-be-read shelf?
  • Eden Enslaved by Alexa Lochlyn
Any project in the works?
  • I'm organising a book launch event for my paranormal erotic romance Abiku: A Battle Of Gods on the 9th of December 2016 to coincide with its release in paperback. It's to take place at the Park Plaza Hotel in London Victoria. You can find out more about it here
What inspired this book? 

  • Yetunde: An Ode To My Mother was inspired by my mom. If I had a minute more, what would I tell her? The book covered what I was feeling