Jack Canon's American Destiny

Broken Pieces

Friday, October 31, 2014

RJ Blain Shares a Day in Her Life @RJ_Blain #AmEditing #AmWriting #SelfPub

It’s 8:30, and the phone rings. It’s reminiscent of one of those old-fashioned tellies most people only see in museums nowadays. If I wasn’t already at least a little awake, the sound would’ve had me sitting up groping around to answer the phone, only to realize it’s my alarm. What can I say? I have to trick myself into waking up in the mornings.

Usually, though, I beat the alarm up by five or ten minutes, sleepily checking my email for any new stuff from my editing clients. I have roughly an hour to wake up, and I tend to spend most of it addressing little things I can do on my phone while half asleep.

By 9:30, I’m mostly conscious, and have sent my husband off to work. Then, and only then, can my real work begin.

Cue chaos.

First up, I have client work to address. This means I’m reading through manuscripts trying to find ways an author can improve their novels on a structural level. Some days, this involves picking at writing on a sentence level, making recommendations on style improvements, tension and pacing improvements, and even general improvement of English-language skills. On other days, I’m picking apart character arcs, plot arcs, and the general tone of a novel.

Once I reach my benchmarks for the day, I’m drafting or editing my own novels. This can be rewriting scenes I think need a lot of improvement, tweaking sentences, or addressing problems my editor(s) have pointed out.

During this, I’m dealing with household emergencies, bills, making sure my four cats don’t try to eat me, you know, the usual. Sometimes, I flake out and do things other than what I’m supposed to be doing. One of my favorite flaking-out activities is drawing maps of my world. I used to sketch them on my computer, but now I do them on imitation parchment paper and scan them into the computer. Sometimes I sketch things like dragons. Other times, I’ll crochet something (badly) or try to knit.

Mostly, though, I work and try to pretend that I’m not falling behind on the house chores again. One of these days I will get a maid. Of course, one of these days will probably never come, but a girl can dream, right?

At night is when things get really weird. On the surface, I look like this responsible and serious editor-writer person. Then, my husband comes home. If I owned the proper attire or felt comfortable in that sort of thing, I’d probably get into a catgirl suit, find some daggers, and try to play my computer game character. My fellow gamers just call me StabbyStabby. I play a rogue, and I’m prone to saying StabbyStabby before it’s time to kill something in the game.

I guess all work and no play for a few years made me a kind of crazy person. I raid in Everquest with my husband a few days a week, which gives us time to spend together doing something we both enjoy. Rogues are great therapy characters. If I have a bad day at work, it’s no problem. I can take it all out on some unsuspecting monsters in Everquest. Stabbystabbystabby…

Whenever I find time, I settle down and read books. I usually try to review the books I read, because I enjoy the process of explaining what I liked and didn’t like about a story. I also find it useful for readers who are potentially buying a story.

To sum it up…

A day in the life of RJ Blain: Busy but rewarding.

Here’s to tomorrow.
Kalen’s throne is his saddle, his crown is the dirt on his brow, and his right to rule is sealed in the blood that stains his hand. Few know the truth about the one-armed Rift King, and he prefers it that way. When people get too close to him, they either betray him or die. The Rift he rules cares nothing for the weak. More often than not, even the strong fail to survive.

When he’s abducted, his disappearance threatens to destroy his home, his people, and start a hopeless and bloody war. There are many who desire his death, and few who hope for his survival. With peace in the Six Kingdoms quickly crumbling, it falls on him to try to stop the conflict swiftly taking the entire continent by storm.

But something even more terrifying than the machinations of men has returned to the lands: The skreed. They haven’t been seen for a thousand years, and even the true power of the Rift King might not be enough to save his people — and the world — from destruction.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Fantasy
Rating – PG - 13
More details about the author
Connect with RJ Blain on Facebook and Twitter

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

@GaryTroia on Publishing Your Writing & Marketing Your Own Work #SelfPub #IndieAuthors #Fiction

So, you’ve written your book, found an agent, your agent has matched your book with a publisher. What next?
  1. It can take one year before your book is in print. Throughout the year you will receive two or three rounds of edits, then copyedits, then line edits. You’ll be asked to proof the cover copy of your book. A bio and a professional headshot will be created. Blurbs need to be written. At least 3 months before publication your book will be sent to reviews and the press for pre-publication reviews and to bookshops. 
  2. You may or may not be lucky enough to have a publicist, either way you still have to market your own book. If you are fortunate enough, you might have a book tour. But touring Authors around the country is expensive, don’t expect any-more travelling by coach! You need to market yourself in any way possible, talk to local papers, radio shows, apply to be a guest at local conferences or speak at libraries, book clubs or schools. And don’t forget social media twitter, Facebook etc… 
  3. You get to select your book cover. This is very unlikely, the book cover is usually the work of an art department, with the opinions of everyone from the editor, publisher, marketing and PR departments. Everyone has their say but you!
  4. You still get rejections. It’s true. Just because you have a publisher doesn’t mean that your new manuscripts or proposals won’t be rejected. 
  5. You will still be poor. If you are extremely lucky your book will make enough money so you can quit your job, the average book advance is a mere £3,000-£5,000 then you have to wait a year until it is in print-then if you’re fortunate enough to sell tens of thousands of copies you may be in a position to quit your day job.

For the first time ever, this collection of short stories by Gary Troia brings together, in chronological order stories and memoirs from Spanish Yarns and Beyond, English Yarns and Beyond and A Bricklayer’s Tales into one complete volume.
“Excellent! A collection of short stories about depression, alcoholism and drug use. Very compelling reading. I read this short story collection all in one go.” (Maria, Goodreads.)
A Bricklayer’s Tales is the ultimate “I hate this job” story, written as a collection of short stories and memoirs, each one revealing a snapshot in the life of Ray. Troia captures the tedium of working in a low paid, menial job and living hand to mouth. This book of short stories is sad and questions the reader to ask questions about their own life. This book achieves clarity without trying.
Ray has three expensive hobbies: drinking, drugs, and running away. Without the income that Bricklaying provides, he would not be able to maintain his chosen lifestyle, so he compromises his principles and continues with his trade.
A collection of short stories and memoirs that include:
The Cuckoo’s Egg. Boyhood antics lead to tragedy.
My Grandfather’s Shed. The making of an English key
No Comb on the Cock. Gypsies, champion fighting cocks, and career choices.
What I Did In My Summer Holidays In 1000 Words. Could having an idea ever be considered a criminal act?
My Best Mate’s Head. Did a weekend of boozing save Ray from certain death?
The Shetland Isles. A trip to sunny Benidorm, a chance meeting with some Glaswegians, and a cold, miserable job in Lerwick.
Pointing a House in Islington. Too much alcohol and cocaine don’t mix well on building sites!
Angel Dust. The peculiar story of a man whose new life in America leads to conversations with Ancient Greek philosophers
Peyote. Hippies, LSD and an idyllic refuge
Return Ticket. Handcuffed and ready for deportation. A sad departure from the States
When I Joined a Cult. Sober dating as Ray discovers religion.
Bilbao. How very, very English!
Teaching Other People. The grass is always greener-the escape from bricklaying.
A Week in the Life of Ray Dennis. With the prospect of no money for food or alcohol this Christmas, Ray has to find work quickly.
Catania. A meeting with a Sicilian fox, some Neapolitans, and a man with a camel haired coat.
Advert In The Art Shop Window. Will a new building job in Spain be the start of a new life?
Gaudi. A flight to Barcelona for a kebab, and a look at the Sagrada Familia.
The Day My Soul Left Me. “To be or not to be? That is the question”
How Not to Travel to The AlhambraHung-over, the wrong fuel, the car breaks down. Will they ever make it to Granada?
The Road To Ronda. A terrifying drive to Ronda, was it worth it?
Poking A Carob Tree. A new home and new neighbours, just in time for Christmas.
Spain Reborn.No more commuting to London. Lets celebrate!
Home From HomeA parallel world where the Spanish have taken over Weymouth.
Three Common Carp.An epic battle with a whale and marlin it is not.
Mrs. McClintock. An absurd farce in which a Glaswegian couple retire to Spain
Steak, Egg and Intensive Care. A harmless dinner leads to hospitalisation.
The Unchangeable Chameleon. Can a leopard change it’s spots?
A Bricklayer’s Tale. The story of a disillusioned, alcoholic bricklayer
A collection short stories and memoirs of British dark humour.
 Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Fiction, Short Stories
Rating - PG-16
More details about the author
Connect with Gary Troia on Facebook & Twitter

Saturday, October 25, 2014

James Rada, Jr. on Winning Two Dozen Journalism Awards @JimRada #AmWriting #HistFic #CivilWar

I was asked to give you a little insight on me by telling you 10 things that you might not realize about me from author biographies that you see in the back of my books.

  1. My first short stories were published while I was in high school. I was a senior in high school when I had short stories accepted for publication in the National Vietnam Veterans Review. I wasn’t paid for them, but I still count them as my first publishing credits.
  2. My first professional publishing writing credit was in 1988. The first time that I got paid for something I wrote was when I was still in college. I competed in a competition to develop a marketing and advertising campaign for a new business. I put together an entire campaign with ads, press releases, etc. and won the competition.  What I was particularly pleased with was that I was competing against teams of other college students, and yet, I won by doing it all by myself.
  3. I have won more than two dozen journalism and advertising awards. I have won awards from the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association, Society of Professional Journalists, Associated Press, Maryland State Teachers Association, CNHI, Utah Ad Federation and American Advertising Federation of Greater Frederick. I figure it is only a matter of time before my books start winning awards. I’ve got my fingers crossed.
  4. My family is not interested in writing. You would figure that at least someone in my family would also be interested in writing since it’s my work. They’re not. In fact, only my youngest son is the only regular reader in the family and my wife admits the only book of mine that she has read was my first historical novel published in 2000.
  5. Both of my sons are adopted. My wife and I have two sons. They are both adopted; one from Kentucky and one from Russia.
  6. I love to bicycle. I can’t say that I’m particularly fast on my bike. I average about 13.5 mph, but I do bike about 100 miles a week. I tend to meander along the back roads in the county where I live. I love the scenery, but sometimes the hills kill me. I will even ride my bike if I have to run errands in Gettysburg.
  7. I own a dinosaur egg. I have a small collection of interesting fossils, rocks and minerals that I’ve accumulated over the years. At a festival I attend annually to sign books, there’s another gentlemen who sells rocks and minerals. I always check out his items. Last year, he had a fossilized hadrosaur egg from China. It’s about the size of two softballs. It was a splurge purchase.
  8. I have had articles published in more than 110 publications. I like to write and I try to get in a wide variety of publications as well as getting published multiple times in the ones I like. I do this rather than focusing on a few magazines because I have had magazines that I write for go out of business. I have been published in magazines, newspapers, web sites, newsletters and newspapers that cover a lot of different markets and subjects. One of the reasons for the variety is that I usually come up with an idea first and then try to find the market for it.
  9. I started out as a business major in college. I did this because my grandfather kept telling me that I needed a major that I could get a job with. I figured out that when I get falling asleep in class, though, that I might want to find a major that better suited me. With my grandfather’s advice in my head and my interest in writing, I settled on advertising copywriting, which was an enjoyable major.
  10. I am a big Jimmy Stewart fan. Forget modern actors. My favorite actor is Jimmy Stewart. I’ve enjoyed his movies since I first watched Mr. Smith Goes to Washington while I was in college. I think I have seen all of his movies and most of his television roles. I have even listened to his old-time radio series and guest appearances.
So there you have it. That’s 10 things I bet you didn’t know about me. Does it make me seem geekier? Oh well, it’s me.

The Civil War split the United States and now it has split the Fitzgerald Family. Although George Fitzgerald has returned from the war, his sister Elizabeth Fitzgerald has chosen to remain in Washington to volunteer as a nurse. 

The ex-Confederate spy, David Windover, has given up on his dream of being with Alice Fitzgerald and is trying to move on with his life in Cumberland, Md. Alice and her sons continue to haul coal along the 184.5-mile-long C&O Canal. It is dangerous work, though, during war time because the canal runs along the Potomac River and between the North and South. Having had to endured death and loss already, Alice wonders whether remaining on the canal is worth the cost. She wants her family reunited and safe, but she can’t reconcile her feelings between David and her dead husband. Her adopted son, Tony, has his own questions that he is trying to answer. 

He wants to know who he is and if his birth mother ever loved him. As he tries to find out more about his birth mother and father, he stumbles onto a plan by Confederate sympathizers to sabotage the canal and burn dozens of canal boats. He enlists David’s help to try and disrupt the plot before it endangers his new family, but first they will have find out who is behind the plot.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Historical Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with James Rada Jr. on Facebook & Twitter
Website jamesrada.com

Thursday, October 23, 2014

#Excerpt from GLIMPSES OF HEAVEN ON EARTH by John E. Wade II #NonFiction #Quotes

From the chapter on prosperity, by co-author John E. Wade II:

“In the long term I am quite optimistic that humankind will learn how, individually and collectively, to prosper. Unfortunately, most developed nations have debts and obligations that have gotten beyond prudent levels for a healthy world economy. Our world leaders and their electorates must come to terms with this enormous obstacle to our future. We can and we must address this huge problem in a kind and wise manner. Once this onerous debt is properly alleviated, nations and individuals can move forward toward sustainable prosperity.”

From the chapter on democracies, by co-author John E. Wade II:

“A world full of stable, robust, prosperous democracies would be a world of permanent peace. Democracies almost never make war on each other; so, if democracies were the only form of government on earth—and they were stable, robust and prosperous—humankind’s age-old dream of world peace would be assured. Globalization, with its intricate and intense connections, helps to guarantee the peaceful planet that humankind has always sought.”

Glimpses of Heaven on Earth

Editor and author John E. Wade II has compiled a spiritual guide of invaluable insight for finding peace and meaning in life while making the world a better place for all. Along with co-authors Charlotte Livingston Piotrowski, Daniel Agatino, Michael Nagler, and Martin Rutte, this collection of enlightening essays and inspirational quotes from renowned thinkers and leaders throughout history provides the intellectual tools needed to live a more harmonious life.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Inspirational
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with John E. Wade II on Facebook

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

@GayleTrent on Watching TV & Movies to Become a Better Writer #AmWriting #WriteTip #Mystery

1)      Read, read, read.
Reading within your genre as well as within other genres will make you a better writer. See what works for you as a reader and what doesn’t. Incorporate the good traits and resolve to eliminate any bad habits you observe.
2)      Study writing blogs, books, and sites.
You might feel like you’re an expert once you’ve gotten your book published, but there’s always more that you can learn. Writer’s Digest, other authors’ websites, genre-specific magazines, and writing newsletters can help you understand what mistakes other authors are making and how to avoid those mistakes. For instance, one writing ezine often discusses disreputable publishers and agents, warning other writers to say away.
3)      Watch TV and movies.
Yep, you read that right. Watching television and movies helps you to understand what’s popular and can help you to see issues in ways you might never have considered. Let’s say you watch a detective program. It could give you insight into why your villain behaves as she does. Granted, your villain might not be a murderer, but her long history of abuse could explain her actions.
4)      Subscribe to agents’ and editors’ blogs.
They know the industry like no one else. If you want to know what’s going on in the publishing world, this is an excellent place to start.
5)      Follow Publisher’s Weekly on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pubweekly) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/PublishersWkly).
6)      Learn to proofread.
In order to properly proofread your own work, you might have to read the story backward or in some other order to truly see the words. When we’re proofing our stories, we tend to see what we believe is there.  If our intention was to write, “We took the dog to the groomer,” then we’ll see that even if we’ve actually typed, “We too the dog to the groomer.” The eye skims right over that missing k, and the mistake isn’t highlighted as such by my word processing software.
7)      Learn to self-edit.
Self-editing differs somewhat from proofreading because it is more involved than correcting typos. Self-editing includes fixing flaws. Did your character say something that doesn’t ring true? Have you used the word jump ten times on the same page? Does your character behave in a way that isn’t faithful to her personality for no apparent reason? Once you’ve had your work edited by a professional, you’ll be more aware of what to look for. In the meantime, do a search for some helpful articles.
8)       Listen to how people actually speak.
To do dialogue well, you need to truly listen to people talking. This is another good thing about watching movies. The first time I picked up an Elmore Leonard novel, I thought, “Huh? This guy doesn’t follow the rules.” But his dialogue rings so true! He uses dialogue to create characters that are realistic.
9)      Experiment.
Write outside your comfort zone. If you don’t write poetry, try a poem to see what you can come up with. I took a creative writing class where students had to read a short story in a particular genre and then write a story in that genre. We had to write western, science fiction, romance, horror, mystery, and even how-to instructions. Stretch your limits—you might be surprised at what you can do.
10)   Write.
All the study in the world won’t make you a better writer if you don’t simply put your butt in the chair and write.
Embroidery shop owner Marcy Singer is about to have the rug pulled out from under her….

Marcy can’t wait to see the new exhibit at the Tallulah Falls museum on antique tapestries and textiles, including beautiful kilim rugs. But her enthusiasm quickly turns to terror when, the day after the exhibition opens, she discovers a dead body behind her store, the Seven-Year Stitch, wrapped up in a most unusual fashion.

The victim appears to be a visiting art professor in town for the exhibit. Did someone decide to teach the professor a lesson, then attempt to sweep the evidence under the rug? Along with her boyfriend, Detective Ted Nash, Marcy must unravel an intricate tapestry of deception to find a desperate killer.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Cozy Mystery
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Amanda Lee on Facebook

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Ted Tayler (Unfinished Business) & What You Didn't Know About Him @ted_tayler #BookClub #Thriller

  1. I joined the choir in my local church when I was eight years old. I left to sing a different type of music when I was eighteen. When my treble voice was in its prime I sang with the choir at evensong in Salisbury Cathedral.
  2. In the mid 60s I worked for the Kray family. This could send a shiver down the spine of a lot of people who either experienced the family first hand or have read about their ‘reign of terror’ in London at that time. Charles Kray, who was related to the infamous brothers, was a director of an entertainment agency who booked us to play at pubs and clubs across London. His name appeared at the head of every contract we received; one of his ‘boys’ arrived at the majority of venues to pay us the contracted amount or to tell us it was ‘cheque to the agent’ tonight; we never argued. We worked for the agency for eighteen months and had no trouble whatsoever; it was probably the best agency we ever worked for!
  3. In the early 70s I appeared on several editions of a sports quiz programme on the radio. British readers of a certain age will remember the celebrity team captains, Brian Johnston and Ted Moult. The quizmaster was Peter Jones, a broadcasting legend. It was an unbelievable experience.
  4. I started playing snooker when I was sixteen years old. The local League provided me with many happy years of competition and after 25 years of playing I decided to give something back. In 1991 I became League Secretary and I plan to pass the reins over to someone else in 2015. I’ve operated a ‘benevolent dictatorship’ and it has seemed to work without too many problems! I plan on playing after my long term of office is over!
  5. We played at The Granary Club in Bristol supporting Genesis on February 22nd 1971. It was a regular venue for us and we had backed several big names there. The gig was voted the best night in the history of the Club (1969 -1988). Happy days! The full story is in my first book.
  6. Lynne and I ran a quiz night at a local social club for almost twelve years. I hosted over five hundred quizzes, all of which I prepared myself. Lynne was my glamorous assistant. The last quiz we ran was on 21st December 2012; seven days after I started to write ‘The Final Straw’ my first novel.
  7. I was made redundant in March 2000 after thirty four years with a tyre company. I took the money and ran! When I had joined them in the mid 60s it was a friendly, sociable working environment that made it a pleasure to go to work. By the time I left it had become a soulless money making machine and I haven’t given the place a second thought since I walked through the gates for the final time.
  8. It’s not very rock ‘n’ roll but the summer after I finished work I started playing bowls. The vast majority of my colleagues were twenty years older than me at least, yet the next eight summers were the happiest sporting times of my life. I was Club Captain in 2008 and maybe I’ll find time to take it up again when I get older!
  9. I have been an Exam Invigilator at our local school since 2002. I look after children sitting various stages of their examination life from eleven to eighteen years of age. We have a team of twenty or so invigilators and I’m possibly the longest serving member now. It’s rewarding work and I keep an eye out for how the ‘superstars’ develop as they leave us and go on to university and beyond.
  10. In November 2012 I was joined by two of the original members of my last group for a reunion gig. It was to mark the 65thbirthday of one our road managers. Almost 40 years after our last gig together we played some of our favourite songs; it was the first time my children and a lot of my friends had heard me sing! We had a great night, but it was probably just a ‘one-off’. My friends asked me whether I missed how it felt to be on stage singing to an audience that enjoyed what they heard. I replied ‘Only every day!’

The sequel to the award winning ‘The Final Straw’ sees Colin Bailey return to the UK after almost a decade abroad. With a new name and a new face he still has scores to settle. His meticulous planning takes him ingeniously across Scotland and the North of England ticking names off his list with the police completely baffled. 

DCI Phil Hounsell pitted his wits against Colin before and so he is sent to Durham where he teams up with super intelligent young DS Zara Wheeler; together they track their man to Manchester and then eventually south to Bath. 

The final scenes take place on the streets of the Roman city; Phil Hounsell’s family is threatened and in a dramatic conclusion reminiscent of Holmes and Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls, the two men struggle above the foaming waters of the historic Pulteney weir. 
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-18
More details about the author
Connect with Ted Tayler on Facebook & Twitter

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

@KentBurden's Thoughts & Experience on Book Marketing with #KDPSelect (#SelfPub #AmWriting)

I have put together a synopsis of what I did for the free 5 day free promotion  on amazon .com for my book Is Your Chair Killing You?
My personal goal for the promo was 3,000 downloads, although I secretly thought that the chances of getting that many were slim to none. I told myself I would be totally jacked if I could get 1,500 and pretty darn happy with 1,000. I kept all this to myself because I wasn’t going to make the same mistake I made when we originally launched the book (I had told my wife we would never sell 10 copies of the book in the first week because most indie authors sell about 4 books a month. She said we would indeed sell 10 and I defiantly said “if we sell more than ten copies in the first week, I’ll run naked down the street.” She took the bet. We sold 40 copies… the neighbors thought my midnight run was hilarious).
In March when I first launched Is Your Chair Killing You? I set up several Google Alerts. One for my name, one for the title of the book and one for “sitting health risks.” It would prove to be very helpful to my promo.
Three weeks before my free promo I sent out my first press release to some local news outlets, magazines I have contributed to, and several health and wellness blogs and websites. As far as I can tell no one paid any attention at all.
Two weeks before my promo I sent out a second press release which generated just about as much enthusiasm as the first. I also registered with Pixel of Ink which showcases free Kindle Books as well as a couple of other free sites. Every couple of days I did a teaser on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for the upcoming promo. I also tried to find an E-zine to post to with no luck.
One week before the promo I contacted some of the companies that have products featured in the book. Really wish I had done this sooner. Several said if had I contacted them a couple of weeks earlier they would have sent out press releases as well ( they have professionals doing theirs that actually get some attention on the web). Oh well; live and learn. The companies did agree to push the book on their social network platforms. I decided not to waste my time with a third press release. A couple of days before the promo I sent out an email blast to my data base. In all honesty I thought that this was a waste of time because I figured I had pretty much exhausted most of my people in my original March launch, but I did it anyway. The night before the promo I posted the book on 24 free book and freebies sites then headed off to bed.
Day 1. I woke up to 250 downloads. I was in shock. My wife and I danced around the bed in our pajamas. I spent the morning announcing the promo on my social network platform with a direct link to my book page. I hit Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn 3 times in the morning and 3 times in the afternoon with non book posts in between to keep from getting too spammy. The book started moving up in the free healthy living category and in the free personal health category. By the end of the day we had more than 800 downloads and were ranked #4 in the free healthy living category.
Day 2 . Slept in, dawdled around the kitchen making breakfast then checked our stats. Holy shitake mushrooms! We had over 1,500 downloads. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I went back and hit my social media again and by early afternoon we had 3,000 downloads. I checked our overseas downloads but they were pretty meager—just 11 in the UK and 1 or 2 everywhere else. I was starting to get a few new reviews, most of them 5 stars, and then I got my first 1 star review.  I was a little ticked about it–not because it was a bad review, because I totally expected to get a few bad reviews (you can’t please everyone) but because it wasn’t actually a review of my book. The reviewer just accused me of faking my reviews (I didn’t) and never talked about the book at all.
In the late afternoon I got a Google alert for sitting health risk. A big study in a prestigious British medical journal had just been released. The new study found that people who sat for extended periods of time doubled their risk of getting diabetes, heart disease and dying (which just happens to be the subject of my book). Eight or nine major online news outlets (BBC, New York Times, Huffington Post) were reporting the story and I plugged my book in the comment section of each one of the stories telling people about the book and where they could get it. All of the outlets posted the comments. By the time we went to bed we were #2 in free healthy living category and had 4,500 downloads.
Day 3. I sent out a follow up email to my list and suggested that if they had already gotten the book they could also go on Amazon and gift a copy to a friend or family member. Got more Google alerts and again left comments. Went back to all the free sites and reposted (the original posts had been pushed down below the first page by then because of newer posts). At the end of the day we had a little over 6,500 downloads and had climbed to the #1 spot in the free healthy living category as well as the free personal health category. Even more surprising, we had cracked the free Kindle top 100 list at 38.
Day 4. Things started to slow down a bit on the fourth day in the USA but the UK was on fire. I had gone from 11 downloads to almost 300 and every time I looked the numbers were going up. I kept hitting my social media while trying not to piss off my followers by being spammy. Headed to bed with a little more than 8,000 downloads. We were still #1 one in both free healthy living and personal health and in the top ten of free Kindle nonfiction. Even better we hit #13 on the free Kindle top 100 list.
Day 5. I spent most of the day just checking the numbers. It had been an incredible ride. Now I had to figure out how to keep this momentum going and try not to worry… “is there going to be anyone left to actually purchase the book?” Somehow even though it had been five days, it still didn’t feel real. It was like a great dream that I really didn’t want to wake up from. As day turned to night I started to feel sad, which is nuts because it’s one of the coolest things I had ever experienced, but sad none the less because it was almost over. I turned off the computer at 9pm. We were #1 in both free healthy living & personal health and cracked into the top 10 of the kindle free top 100 list. My book had been downloaded 10,542 times worldwide in those five days. Honestly it still doesn’t feel real, but it certainly feels good. I think that when my next book is published (in the next three weeks) I think I’ll do a two or three day free promo and position it to start mid-week—I’ve heard that the numbers can be bigger during the week. That’s all I know.

Sitting for extended periods of time is as bad for your health as smoking cigarettes. And exercising for 30-60 minutes a day isn’t enough to undo the damage from extended periods of sitting. Is Your Chair Killing You reveals shocking new research showing that sitting for long periods greatly increases your risk of developing obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer. Our bodies were designed to move constantly over the course of the day, but most of us sit for hours a day at work and at home! Fitness and wellness expert and award-winning author Kent Burden has created brief, simple movements you can incorporate into your daily life to combat the damaging effects of sitting. These simple movements, done standing for 1-5 minutes each hour will burn calories, energize and refresh you, and you won’t even break a sweat; you’ll even improve your back pain. This book is a how-to for weight loss and disease prevention. Read this book–you’ll be healthier in as little as 8 minutes a day.
Nominated for the Dan Poynter Global Ebook Awards and won honorable mention at the Los Angeles Book Festival
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Non-Fiction
Rating – G
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Mike Hartner on Networking Online & Being Social @MHartnerAuthor #WriteTip #AmWriting #HistFic

How To Network Online to Sell Your Book

First, I must print this disclaimer. I’m not a marketing individual. And I, James, the second book of The Eternity Series which will be released in September 2014, is only the second book that I’ve tried to market. So, everything has been trial and error. But, I will borrow heavily from badredheadmedia.com’s Rachel Thompson, and several others, and the lessons they have taught me.
  1. You need an Online Presence. Gmail+, FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest…. They all have their uses. Personally, I’m on FaceBook, and Twitter.
  2. Facebook has my personal page, where my family and friends reside, and then a Corporate page which is where I try to publicize The Eternity Series. And other projects that I have. BcBaldEagles.com also comes to mind. It’s also a separate corporate page. And the three pages share posts from each other.
  3. Twitter is my second social media channel. @MHartnerAuthor is my identity, since Rachel once said, it’s better to publicize yourself as an author than to publicize individual books, and keep changing the identity. Son’t confuse people. Publicize yourself as an author.
  4. First Rule of Social Media: It’s Social. Don’t Spam. Don’t spill every word saying ‘Buy my book’. Build relationships, show people your interests outside of writing. If you’re interested in Nutella, and Alaskam wilderness cabins, show that. If it’s quilting, crocheting and flowers you’re interested in, show that. Let people meet the REAL you.
  5. Pluggio and hootsuite are great tools. Pluggio allows you to ‘drip’ every few hours news topics of your interest. Hootsuite allows you to post on more than one site from a consolidated dashboard. Both are useful.
  6. Don’t expect everyone who follows you to remain. But help them by not including expletives in every second post, or every third word. Show them that you can enjoy life as much as it can frustrate you.
Social Networks allow you to reach out to a lot of other people. AS much as you want others to follow you, follow them. Find others with your interest. Other authors, other Nutella aficionados, other quilters, whatever… By following a wide range of others, a wide range of them will follow you.

BLOG, or get blog tours. Blog tours are GREAT exposure for your book. They usually have a wide and diverse cross section of reviewers, who are all interested, to some extent, in your writing.

HELP OTHERS. If you can help others with your lessons, do. If you can Share other’s posts, announcements, etc… chances are they’ll share yours. And your messages will get out to people you never expected.

90/10 Rule. At least 90 percent of your posts and blogs should be focused on things OTHER THAN selling your book. Great reviews are one thing you can announce more often. Share Reviews of books you’ve read. Even better if they’re current books (last five years). Even Better if you’re following the author when you post the review.

ENGAGE your audience. Snippets, comments, and reviews of everyone’s work are great things to post. Top Ten lists about your life, about your hobbies… all of these build audience.

And while you’re building audience, but not screaming BUY MY BOOK, chances are some people will buy it.

And that’s what makes social media so great. Being Social.


James Crofter was ripped from his family at age 11. 
Within a year the prince was a pauper in a foreign land. 
Is nature stronger than nurture? And even if it is, can James find the happiness he so richly desires? 

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Genre - Historical Fiction, Romance
Rating – PG
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John W. Mefford on Internal Struggles & Mid-Life Enlightenment @JWMefford #AmReading #Suspense

I look in the mirror, and what do I see? Extra lines, less hair, a little more weight, depending on my current level of fitness. Time stands still for no one. And, if you’re open to growing, learning, that’s a good thing. A very good thing.
By looking at that reflection—literally and figuratively—I’ve seen more changes than I can possibly count over the years. With more salt than pepper in my goatee, my facial hair shows some tread on my tires. Muscle strains, joint pain, squinting to read small print, all come with living a full life year after year for almost five decades. And don’t get me going about my torn rotator cuff. But it certainly beats the alternative.
I’ve never been one to hide my age, starting when I was a young kid, and looking even younger. I always had a stubborn, driven core that pushed me to work hard, even if the task or nature of the job was unappealing, or even if it made me want to puke. In my teenage years I built banana splits and flipped burgers, then mowed yards in triple-digit temperatures. Once I made it out of college, I worked long hours trying to scoop my rival reporter at the cross-town newspaper—my first paying gig in the writing world. But my drive and competitiveness hit an advanced level once I hit the grind of corporate life.
Information Technology was the field, the very hot field that sucked me in like an F5 tornado. It’s a remarkable industry, with an amazing array of talented, visionary people, especially in the early days, before anyone had used the term start-up.
From day one, I never quite felt comfortable working in IT, and most of the time truly felt out of place. Technology has never been a keen interest of mine. I had a few talents that helped me along the way…I’m pretty good with numbers and motivating people to get stuff done, even if I didn’t truly understand the nuts and bolts of what the hell we were trying to accomplish. It didn’t matter. I was told to break through the brick wall, and I did anything to reach the goal. I was about the best grinder around. Many were smarter, but few worked as hard. I never let my brain relax, because I couldn’t afford to.
And then I woke up. It wasn’t an overnight epiphany. I had internal struggles for years, my true voice softly telling me to find a job or business that suited me. It took a good ten years for me to take action, to recognize that little voice as my true self.
I have a friend who knew what he wanted to do when he was fourteen years old, maybe younger. He dreamed of working as a nuclear physicist. I’m not kidding. He was—is—brilliant. He wanted it so badly he could taste it. He talked about it all the time, studied everything about that world, and mapped his path toward his destiny.
Outside of dreaming to play for any number of sports teams, while growing up I could never figure out what I was destined to do with my life. Working as a reporter allowed me to work a muscle that I’d never used. The job itself was bit confining, but it ignited a creative spark in me that stayed alive like the Olympic flame. Then came the IT gig.
It was all meant to be…to provide life experiences that have taught me plenty, that I can share with others, my family, and, yes, write about in the most unbridled, embellished way possible. It’s empowering to finally admit the truth about who I am, how I want to contribute to the world, to evoke emotion from readers of my work. Is it a mid-life crisis? That’s not how I see it. I don’t want to buy a red sports car, I love my wife more than ever, and I have great fulfillment by watching three kids grow up and figure out life.
Instead, I’ve experienced a mid-life enlightenment. I might be in my late forties, but it’s better to admit who you are and what you’re passionate about before there’s no life left to live.
My only advice to my kids and anyone else of any age? Listen to your true self. Find your passion and then don’t hide it. Work like hell to be better at it, and be proud of who you are and how you impact the world.
It’s funny how things work out in life. My friend? Well, the government shut down funding for the super-collider, and after investing seven years of college and low-paying internships in cold-weather cities, his dreams of making a living as a nuclear physicist were flushed down the toilet. Now, though, he’s one of those visionary, brilliant people in the IT industry. He’s damn good at it, and I think he enjoys most of it. Bravo for him!
As for me, I’m a writer. I think I’m pretty damn good at it, and I’ll work my ass off to get better. That’s my passion. I hope you find yours.

Behind the fa├žade of every corporate takeover executives pull levers this way and that, squeezing the last profitable nickel out of the deal. But no one knows the true intent of every so-called merger. 

No one knows the secret bonds that exist. 

An Indian technology giant swallows up another private company that has deep roots in North Texas. For one unassuming man the thought of layoffs, of losing his own job to a bunch of arrogant assholes feels like a kick to the jewels. 

Until the day Michael’s life changes forever.   

Perverse alliances. An affair of the heart. A grisly murder. A spiraling string of events thrusts Michael into a life-or-death fight to save a tortured soul and hunt down a brutal killer…one who lurks closer than he ever imagined. 

Greed knows no boundaries.
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Genre – Suspense, Thriller
Rating – R
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Connect with John W. Mefford on Facebook & Twitter
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