Thursday, August 30, 2012

September is Make-A-Wish month for this author

I've been very lucky ... both as an author and as a parent. My 5 books on Amazon are doing well. I get nice royalty checks ... not enough to live off of yet, but still people are buying my books. As a parent, my son is healthy and way too smart for his own good. Although there are ups and downs, my life is more than I ever expected it to.

Others aren't as lucky. The company I work for, Daymon Worldwide, uses the month of September to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Last year I had an idea, donate some of the profits from my one book to that organization. I was able to sell 300 books and sent in a check for $300.
This year I hope to do even better. I have five books on Amazon and should be able to pass that $300 mark quite easily.

But I still ask for your help. So come on over to my website, and buy any of my books, either a paperback or a Kindle edition and I'll make a donation. Even if you don't read, buy a book anyway and donate it your local library or women's shelter or anywhere else that could use it. That way you're helping two ways ... someone gets a book and Make-A-Wish gets the needed donation that they deserve.

Here is a picture of my flyer ... feel free to share this post with any of your friends through e-mail or on Facebook or Twitter or however!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Autographed Copies of My Books

People ask me all the time 'how can I get an autographed of your books if you never come to my area?' Well, now I have answer for them.

Before I discuss that, let's talk about my books so you know what I write about. My 'tag' is "Real life fiction for real life people." What does that mean? Here's how I answer. Some readers love stories about werewolves, shape-shifters or science fiction ... things that may never happen to them. I write about situations that CAN happen to you and maybe already have ... or at least they're ones you can relate to.
Take Misguided Sensitivity for example. 

It is the story of a young boy who goes searching for acceptance and happiness after his parents get a divorce. Kenneth Weene, author of Widow's Walk, says,  "I think it would be much more effective than Men are from Mars ... for understanding the male/female relationship." Bonnie Cehovet, an independent reviewer, states, "A book that addresses our relationship with ourselves, with others, and with Spirit. A tremendously good read ... and could very well help those who are still trying to define their path in life."

Or how about my newest release, Life Is a Balance, It isn't only about you.

One reviewer states, "I recommend this book as an enjoyable read, but also as a book that will help the reader to better understand themselves, and those around them. We all deal with the same issues in life, but we deal with them in our own unique way."

Or how about Legends of the Lake

This is what Susan Mahoney, an independent book reviewer, says, "This reader would describe this book as a lazy Sunday drive through time, involving generational memories and shares the joy and sorrows of the legends of the lake." 

And finally You're Never Alone ... A Child of Divorce Searches for Happiness

"This is a very insightful, emotional and educational story about the lessons one learns in their journey to self-discovery. It could be used as a study guide for parents and young people to explore together and discuss the insecurities one faces ..." says one reviewer.
This is the Young Adult version of Misguided Sensitivity, one which is written with teenagers in mind.

Now that you have a feeling for my writings, here is how you can get an autographed copy no matter where you live.

I will sign any ONE book of your choice to whoever you want it to go to, AND will write whatever you wish AND send it FREE of postage for only $18.99.

But I'm not done...

I will send you BOTH Misguided Sensitivity and Life Is a Balance, you get the WHOLE journey of self-discovery of one boy for the low price of $29.99. Plus you get all the above freebies, including FREE postage. That's a 20% savings over buying them separately. 

But wait ...

I will sign all 4 of my books, just like above, and give you FREE postage and also throw in a FREE copy of my poetry book, What the Heart Feels, for only $48.99. That's a 30% saving over buying them separately, PLUS you get the free book.

 So how do you do all this.? Send me an e-mail at with the sentence I want autographed books in the subject line. I will respond with the next steps and how to pay for them. Remember, a reader loves the feel of a paperback book in their hands, and what is better than to get a personalized message from the author? This is great for birthdays, graduations, Mom's Day or Dad's Day, and, of course, for the holidays. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Review of Memoirs from the Asylum

In Memoirs from the Asylum, Kenneth Weene allows the reader to enter a world most of us pray we never have to … the world of mental illness and the effects it has on both the victims and those that are paid to help them.

There’s Marilyn, the catatonic schizophrenic, who spends all of her time seeing an altogether different world through a crack in her bedroom wall. It’s the world she once related to and is populated by those of her past who meant something to her. How will she respond when the crack gets repaired?

Dr. Buford Abrose is the first year resident who also has seen his share of problems. From a loveless marriage to the feelings of failure on his part when he can’t balance the paperwork aspect of the job from the actual attempt to make a difference, he is caught within the walls of the asylum. The closer he tries to understand the patients, the farther he falls from his own life.

The unfeeling workers of the asylum add to the misery and complications these, and the other characters, of the book experience. Their answers normally include medications and isolation for the patients … or is it for themselves?

There is a feeling of connection between these characters that becomes apparent as the book goes on. Although they all react in their own way, the connection that they share is that of fear. Fears that were brought on by the “real world” when they were younger … probably none of their own doing. Possibly a death of someone close, maybe the physical abuse of a parent or friend … something made these people afraid and wanting to escape. Now that they did, all they really want is freedom, whatever that means to them.

In the unique style of narration, Weene allows us to see what really happens in the minds of those that are institutionalized. Sometimes the book was hard to read, using words and imagery that the normal person may not understand or relate to and was lacking an actual plot, but somehow at the end it all comes together.

Not one to be a spoiler, all I can say is that Memoirs from the Asylum is a book that everyone should read and at the same time pray to the God of your choice that the freedom you have is the freedom that you really want.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Things I've learned as a published author

My first book was self-published in 2009. After the editing was over I thought I was on easy street. I sent in the manuscript to AuthorHouse, a publishing company, and waited for my book to be listed on Amazon. Then everything would be simple. People who didn't know me would buy up my books by the bundles, so my editor told me. It was a good story, one he had never seen before, even after editing for twenty years and over 250 books. He even asked if I was ready to quit my day job and just travel the country talking about my book ... it was that good!

Well, I've learned a few things since then. These are in no specific order, as they all come to fruition to every Indie author out there.

1) Writing the book is the easy part. The ideas that form in your head and the resulting sentences placed onto a Word document really is the easy part of writing. Yes, there is some editing ... and then some more ... and then even more. But the process is fun, at least for me. You just have to have an open mind. And keep this in the back of your head: you will never satisfy everyone. There will always be someone to tell you how wrong the subject is, that the commas are in the wrong places, that the novel you wrote should be a screenplay instead and that they can do a better job than you did. They will say that being published on your own or with a small independent publishing company isn't really being published at all. They say that no bookstore will carry your books because they are POD (Print on Demand) and they don't want to get stuck with non-returnable books. All this MAY be true, but not always. I have my books in 3 brick and mortar Barnes & Noble bookstores, they are in many of the gift shops along the Las Vegas strip, and I am published by a reputable publisher. My name is out there, maybe not as big as Janet Evanovich, but still people know me and my books. But then comes the marketing.

2) Marketing is hard. With so many inferior books being 'published' by so-called 'authors' this is what separates the 'men from the boys' as the saying goes. Just by being on Amazon doesn't mean you will sell your books. I use the "Look Inside" part of Amazon to see how the writing is. If it isn't formatted correctly, or if I see many errors right off the bat, I pass on purchasing those books. Some authors live and die by what their Amazon ranking is. I don't even look at it. The numbers are deceiving and change by the hour. It may make it easier for your fans to buy your book, but there are so many ways of marketing that don't include Amazon at all.
Look to specialty stores, the little mom and pop stores willing to buy in small amounts or on consignment, to start with. Anywhere you have to wait is a place to market. Try doctors offices, dentist offices, cafes, fast food places, the list goes on. The best thing to remember is that if you buy at your author discount price and sell at the same price as advertised on-line you will make more. I like going to flea markets and arts and craft shows. The people look up to you there because it is something that is handmade and they can't do it. When you sign your books, it adds a personal touch, too!
But for every idea you come up with, there is company willing to take your money to help move your sales forward. After 5 books and 3 years of talking about my books, this is what I've found to be true. Another thing to know is that WHATEVER you can pay someone for, you can do yourself for free or for at least less money out of pocket. Take some time to search the internet and you'll find free sites to post your excerpts, trainings on how to write your own press releases, even step by step lessons on how to make your own book trailer. Here's a little video I made for free about my book Misguided Sensitivity. It may not win an Academy Award, but it has been shared on Facebook over 40 times and has been seen by over 240 times in the last 2 months.

Why pay someone else when you know your book the best? Oh yeah, that leads me to number 3 ...

3) There is never enough time. Ah yes, time. There are only so many hours in a day and in a week. What can you do to make the most of them? I set up a timeline for myself. I did a little investigation and talked to other Indie authors and found out that social media was probably the best way to get your name out there. So of course, I set up a Twitter account, a Facebook author page, a Goodreads profile, etc. etc etc. And then the timing thing came came up again. I made sure I set up my Facebook author page with a widget which allows my posts on that page to go directly to Twitter. This saves time as you only have to post once. I'm sure there are many more tricks, but I'll stop there.

4) There are good people and bad people. I think I've seen it all in this business. There are some people and companies just waiting for you to write your book so they can get rich. You never sell any books, but they are laughiing all the way to the bank. These people or companies promise you the world and never deliver. Even other authors sometimes fit that bill. I started out by swapping my books with other authors in return for reviews on Amazon for each other. Well, I read faster than the average person and after I'd finish the book, I'd post my review of their book on all my sites. Many times I never got a review back. I'm still waiting to hear from one author who I did a review for in January 2011 to get back to me. I have found a group of authors who really do care for each other. The people from All Things That Matter Press, both the publishers and the authors, do what they say. That's why they are my publishers, and friends, from now on.

5) Luck is better than skill sometimes. I know my books are good and so do the people who have read them. Still, you sometimes need luck to actually sell your works. Shortly after my first book came out I was on a plane trip to Arizona. The lady sitting next me was a 'talker' and I'm not. I gave her a copy of my book to politely shut her up. As I closed my eyes to rest, she started to laugh, and then cry. At the end of my trip she asked if she could keep the book and if I'd autograph it for her. So I did. The man sitting next to her stopped me once we walked into the terminal. He wanted to know where he could buy my book. I told him to go to Amazon, but he wanted more. To make a long story short, I gave him my publishers and my information and later that day I got an e-mail from him saying he owned a chain of gift stores on cruise ships and that he just bought 1000 copies of my book to stock them. Like I said, sometimes luck is better than skill.

6) The journey never ends. Even after having 5 books published, with over 3000 combined copies sold, and thinking that everyone knows my name, I find that, although this is good for a self-published or an independently published book, I'm still a nobody, except in my own house. So I continue to 'pimp' my books wherever and whenever I can. Most times I sound like a broken record. Even my car is a rolling billboard for my works.

I got into this business as way to relax after a hard days work. What I've found is that there is no relaxing when it comes to authors ... and I think I like that fact. Come over to my website  to see about all my books and to order a copy. I need as much support as I can get! And PLEASE tell your friends, your family and even your enemies about my books!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Turn of the Karmic Wheel

“What goes around comes around.” “Good versus evil.” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “Live and let live.” “Forgive and forget.” These are all saying which revolve around Karma. In “The Turn of the Karmic Wheel” Monica Brinkman explores all of these. In writing an interesting and easy to read work of fiction, she allows the readers to experience how everyday people can either come together for the better, or stand alone for the worse. In my book “Misguided Sensitivity” I include a quote from my great-grandmother which fits this book’s theme. “Treating people with the respect they deserve is the best way to get into heaven,”
Most readers will come away with the idea that the book is about how the interactions between individuals affect the masses, and how the resulting actions can affect your own well being. How the ability to love one another overshadows any selfish act that only benefits you. And how kindness is rewarded, while selfishness is punished.
I came away with a totally different perspective. I related to the characters as “the good guys and the bad guys.” In this story, the bad guys to me are those who are only concerned with greed and how they are seen in the world. Take the three main “bad guys”, Joshua Allen, a financial advisor who never advised, just let his clients lose all their money while he knew when to get out on top. His attitude was “Those goody-goodies who preached forgiveness, empathy, love and understanding were losers with a capital L.” Life was for him and nobody else.
Then there is Monty Frank, the owner of a debt elimination service which never eliminated anyone’s debt except his own. He believed “they got themselves into this, and if he didn’t take their money, someone else would.”
And finally Rosie Richards, the town’s best real estate agent who played the games needed to get people bigger homes than they could afford without any concern for what they would encounter later on.
These “bad guys” represented greed to me. The more I read, the more I began to think this book was a commentary about how the greed in the world has taken over the best of us. And in the end that we have to either change our attitudes or face the consequences, just as is happening today throughout the world.
The “good guys” were three people who had never met before but were on a crash-course to come together and save the world, or at least the town of Raleigh.
There was Angela Frank, Monty’s wife and a doctor who had always heard the “good music.” Karman Shelton, a nurse who was compassionate and kind although her life wasn’t exactly what she had hoped for. And finally Euclid Hannigan, an aging widower who has lost his will to live after his wife dies from cancer, but who listens to the voice of his dead wife to allow him to hear the “good music” also.
When the three of these people do meet and join forces, good triumphs over evil in some ways. Not one to be a spoiler, I will stop at this.
The book was well written and kept my interest from start to finish. Everyone who reads this will come away with a different perspective, mine was that “to those who wait, good things will come” and “everything you do and think will affect your lot in life.” I recommend this book for those looking to escape for a few hours and for those who like books which make you think.

Review of Sydney's Song

After reading Sydney’s Song I have come to the conclusion that growing up, no matter where it takes place, isn’t an easy thing to do. Welcome to Sydney’s life. She is a typical Australian teenager … well sort of. When she comes home one day and her mother and father tell her they are getting a divorce, she can’t believe it. But they both have their separate lives already … and neither one includes the other. They have come to grips with it, but Sydney can’t.
          Mum and Dad leave and seventeen-year-old Sydney has the house to herself and her trusty dog, Dimity. She gets a job answering phone calls about public transit. It is a boring and demeaning job, but she puts in her best effort and makes the best of it.
          Sydney decides never to drink or do drugs, never to give herself to the beckoning of the boys interested in her, and never to fall in love. But those decisions get tested by the new group of friends she meets at her job. They don’t understand her, but they accept her.
          Not to be a spoiler, Sydney does eventually meet a handsome American boy and they start to build a relationship together. He changes her mind about her feelings of wanting to be alone and they grow together. In fact, she decides she can’t live without him. But he has a secret back home ... one that Sydney must face head-on. Who should she trust?
          That’s as far as I will go. The twists and turns inside this book make the reading fairly easy. I found myself turning pages as fast as I could.
          There is SO much more to this story, but I believe that you the reader should experience it for yourself. The morale is to listen to your heart and not always to those around you. Believe in something, anything, and then make it happen. Although some things in life don’t go as planned, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from your experiences, try new things and eventually still end up happy.
          I give Sydney’s Song a 4-star rating. The writing was superb, the story kept me interested and the ending touched me ways most books don’t. God works in mysterious ways sometimes, and this book proves it. I recommend this book to anyone, male or female, who is trying to find their way in this world. It is a reminder that life can work out if you just trust your insides and follow what you feel. 

Support Indie authors

I am an Indie author, all of my books are self-published or published by an small independent company, All Things That Matter Press. Most of my author friends are also Indie authors and we all need support. So I will pass on some of my reviews of others.

The story of Anistasia and John is a normal teenage romance … not at all. Toni G Sinns has crafted a unique adventure romance in I’ve Got You Covered.

Ani, as she is called throughout the story, has a secret. She is a teenager on the run. With no parents in the picture and only her older alcoholic brother to watch over her, whenever a ‘situation’ arises they run. But what from?

John is a rebellious teenage boy who talks back to his teachers, doesn’t do homework, and doesn’t care for too many people in this world. He’d rather work on his cars and run an illegal racing circuit than go to school. He too has a secret.

What happens when Ani and John meet? At first nothing, but both feel something special about the other. Even though John has a ‘girlfriend’ he still would rather hang out with Ani. And when she finds out he is a racer, something she is interested in also, they just click. But there is much more to their story …

I’ve Got You Covered chronicles the beginning of their relationship and eventually uncovers both of their secrets. You’re not going to believe what they are. Not one to be a spoiler, I will let you, the reader, find out for yourself how this book turns out.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Life Is a Balance: It's not only about you

My newest book, Life Is a Balance, is now available on Amazon. Here is a quick synopsis.

The journey of self-discovery is a lifetime trip; and just like the fingerprints you possess, yours will be uniquely different than anyone else’s. There are things that are common in each—such as good and bad times, emotional highs and lows, and choices that will need to be made. These choices that are presented to you can greatly define how you live your life. They may be influenced by the people you meet, symbols that are strategically placed along your journey, and especially by however you choose to worship your idea of God. Being that no choice ever comes without consequence, there really is no right or wrong answer; either road taken will eventually get you to where you’re supposed to be. Although some roads take longer than others in order for you to reach where you're supposed to go.