Guest Post by Mike Phillips

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I’m hosting a guest post today by Mike Phillips, author of “The World Below”. He’ll talk about his experience as a writer, and then you can find out more about his latest novel. I’ll leave the word to Mike Phillips now.

Guest Post: About the Author

mikephillipsHello everyone, and thank you for reading my guest post. My name is Mike Phillips and my new book is The World Below. I was asked to talk a little about my experiences as a writer, so I thought I’d start at the beginning. I was raised on a small farm in west Michigan. As a child, my family and I grew our own fruits and vegetables and meat. We heated our house with wood. We even made most of our own furniture. During the summer, my father turned off “The Idiot Box” and took us to the library. When not pulling weeds, repairing fences, tending livestock, or just goofing off, I spent my time reading. That’s where my love of a good story came from. When I went off to college, I chose a career in engineering. My first real job, however, bored me to tears. Before the year was out, I started writing short stories just as something to occupy myself. I had no intention of trying to make a career out of writing. Nothing was further from my mind. Well, one story led to the next and I enjoyed the process so much that I thought I might try a novel. That’s a huge undertaking and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I loved every minute of it. I really loved the work. That first novel is still tucked safely away on my hard drive, never to be seen, but it did light a fire in my heart. Reign of the Nightmare Prince was completed the following year and was my first published novel. Now I have two published novels with a third on the way and a ton of short stories that have appeared everywhere in print and online. But the level of success I have been able to achieve in writing hasn’t been easy. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. Just when I think everything is going great, something bad happens. At different times, I had contracts with a half dozen book publishers that went out of business, and my books never got published. For a while I thought I might be a jinx. Unfortunately, I’ve had much the same kind of luck with agents. There were many times when I felt like giving up. I’m glad now that I didn’t. Life is so weird. If you have a dream, stick to it and see what happens. Thank you so much for joining us. I hope you enjoy The World Below. Please visit me at mikephillipsfantasy.com.

About The Book

Title: The World Below

Author: Mike Phillips

Author Website: http://mikephillipsfantasy.com

Print ISBN: 978-1-61572-886-2

Digital ISBN: 978-1-61572-885-5

Amazon Link | Damnation Books Link | Damnation Books Coupon Code:       50worldbelow

Watch the video trailer.

In ancient times, magical creatures inhabited the earth. They lived on mountaintops, in trees, at the bottom of lakes and rivers. But that was long ago, before the human race declared war on the creatures they feared and hated. Now the enchanted peoples are all but gone. Those few that remain fear being stretched out on an examination table in some secret, governmental facility. The only place they can hide from the ever increasing number of satellites and smart phones is in the World Below.

Mitch Hardy is going through a hard time in his life. In his early twenties, he was working his way through college when he suffered an accident that left him flat broke and physically deformed. When Mitch decides to make a fresh start in a new town, things start looking up. He finds a place to live, a decent job, good friends. He even meets a nice girl. Unknown to Mitch, his new girlfriend is one of the Elder Race, what some call the Faerie Folk. Mitch doesn’t know that Elizabeth is looking for a father she never knew. The key to finding him is somehow tied up with the mysterious Blade of Caro. Desperate, she steals the Blade from its protector, the despotic ruler of the World Below, the Dragon of Worms, Baron Finkbeiner. When Elizabeth is kidnapped by the Baron, Mitch is pulled into a world or magic and monsters he never imagined.

Guest Post by Carolyn Holland

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I’m hosting a guest post today about extreme weather, fact or fiction, by Carolyn Holland. Carolyn is the author of “Seeds of Transition, Book one: The Genesis Project”.

Extreme Weather; Fact or Fiction

Our weather is changing. There aren’t many folks left in the world who will try to deny that. Some will still argue that it is a natural occurrence and that our effect upon the environment has no bearing on climate change whatsoever.  Lately however, I have not heard these folks talking too loudly. Scientific data trumps the state of denial every time. We, human beings are causing the changes.

In our book, Seeds of Transition, we endeavored to send a message, one that we thought was important. Rather than write about what we are doing wrong, how we are bringing about these weather events, we decided to take a more positive approach to the problem and write about what we may do to overcome the challenges presented to us by climate change.

We in no way wanted to imply that efforts to slow the changes or possibly reverse them shouldn’t be made, but realistically, we may not see the results of that type of effort for a very long time. With population on a staggering rise, it is paramount that we learn to adapt to our changing environment so that we can continue on while we are making the needed changes to save it.

Seeds of Transition is full of extreme weather scenarios. Killer cyclones, super cell storms and hurricanes occur throughout. It was our objective to show subtle changes in the where, when and how these events occurred to indicate how different our weather may be in 2057. One example of this was our story about the “early” twin hurricanes, Divan and Earnest that strike the east coast during the month of May and how the residents living in their paths were surprised to be threatened by not only one but two hurricanes so early in the year. The most deadly hurricanes to ever make landfall in the US have come in very late summer, certainly not during the throes of springtime.

In our very near future, it is very possible that what we all know about weather and its seasons will change. Longer, more frequent drought will occur in areas never affected before, storms will threaten new areas, and flood and torrential rain may occur in our deserts…the list of potential scenarios goes on and on. While some of these ideas may sound like wild fiction, they may not be as far from the truth as one may think.

http://thinkprogress.org/tag/extreme-weather/?mobile=nc

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/09/extreme-weather/miller-text

About Seeds of Transition

TGPS-Paperback3D-12.Jul.13Seeds of Transition engulfs the reader with riveting adventure, emotional thrills, and conflict from beginning to end.

As the world’s population approaches 10 billion people severe weather extremes diminish crop and livestock production, driving the demand for and price of food to new heights. The American government, as well as other powerful individuals, turns to the world of academia in search of gifted, albeit unlikely heroes.

Dr. Jarod Farra is one of those unlikely heroes. An assistant professor of agriculture at Cornell University, Farra quickly finds himself at the forefront of both his longstanding dreams, and perhaps, some of his worst fears. Dread of the developing global food shortage and ever- worsening weather extremes cause cultural turmoil, political turbulence, population shifts, and economic havoc. Jarod and a range of characters come together to perform an experiment that will change the world, and provide new hope for generations to come with the most radical agricultural undertaking that society has ever seen.

Author Bio

AuthorImage-CarolynHolland-72dpi-28.May.13Carolyn Holland grew up during the 70’s in the coastal wetlands of North Carolina in a small, rural fishing village near Topsail Island. Her love of books developed at a very young age, keeping her up late in the night reading about faraway places and distant times. In summer, every other Thursday would find her waiting on the front porch of their little house for the Book

Mobile as the closest library was 20 miles away. Her favorite genre was historical fiction and in the summer of her tenth year, she checked out Margaret Mitchells Gone With The Wind , Even as a small child she dreamed of being an author someday.

Carolyn recalls that as a child growing up, very little of the families food was purchased at a grocery store and trips into town only occurred about once a month. The summer months were spent maintaining a huge garden and the vegetables grown there were canned and frozen for winter consumption. The family gathered, fish, clams and oysters from the New River for the table year round and raised pigs to eat as well.

To her parents delight, Carolyn proved to be a strong student who loved school and study. Her first year in high school landed her in English class with a teacher whose love for literature greatly influenced her. This teacher, who would forever be Carolyn’s mentor, encouraged her to write. In that same year, for her birthday, her parents bought her a manual typewriter which she used clear into her late twenties writing volumes that she would never attempt to have published and loads of children’s stories for her three children. In the late eighties, Carolyn earned extra money for her family by painting portraits of local shrimp trawlers and coastal wildlife.  Both of her daughters are gifted artists today.

In the mid nineties, Carolyn found herself to be a single Mom of three. She often describes this time as a blur as she often worked two jobs to make the ends meet during those days. Then in 2000, she met and married her husband, James Holland, who was then an active duty US Marine. Very soon after that, James began to encourage Carolyn’s creative nature and she began to explore the world of pottery making. In 2005, she became a pottery instructor with the

ASYMCA aboard Camp Lejeune NC, teaching the art to the wives and children of deployed servicemen. Shortly after meeting James, Carolyn began to write again.

After James retired from the USMC, he and Carolyn started their own small home based business which allowed the couple to spend time together doing the things that interest them

both.  Carolyn has revisited her love of nature and gardening, and since James grew up on a farm in Arkansas, the two have transformed their backyard into a mini farm, complete with

greenhouse and chickens; it is their own little experiment in sustainable agriculture.  She and James take at least two, weeklong primitive camping trips each year along with their dogs and no cell phones to the Uhwarrie national forest. It is here that the couple enjoys experimenting with edible wild vegetation and likes to drink pine needle tea by the campfire on cool nights.

Over the last twenty years she has written many poems and short stories, some of which were gathered from her family and youth, as well as several works of fiction. With a strong, long standing interest in both agriculture and history, she has always been naturally intrigued by the changing agricultural and socio-economic climate and what it means for society as we know it.

Links

Facebook

Createspace
Amazon (Paperback)      
Amazon (Kindle)      

Smashwords

Guest Post The Granite Key

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I’m stepping aside today and offering a spot on my blog for N.S. Wikarski, the author of archaelogical thriller “The Granite Key”.

TIPS FOR WRITING YE OLDE HISTORICAL FICTION

“My God, they can’t expect to put ‘Ye Olde’ in front of anything they want and get away with it.”

If, like me, you’re a fan of The Big Bang Theory, you’ll immediately recognize Sheldon Cooper’s complaint about the historical inaccuracies of a Renaissance Faire, California-style.

As much as I’d like to distance myself from most of Sheldon’s opinions, I’m forced to agree with him on this point. As a writer, I’ve penned five books that are either historical (Gilded Age Chicago Mysteries) or have a strong historical element (Arkana Archaeology Thrillers). As a critic for Deadly Pleasures, I’ve reviewed my share of historical fiction (some good, some not) so believe me when I say that you can’t just put “Ye Olde” in front of anything and expect to get away with it. Authors of contemporary fiction have to juggle plot, pacing, and character development. Historical fiction writers wish it was that easy.

Timing Isn’t Everything

The first thing to consider as a historical fiction writer isn’t simply when something happened but what the world surrounding that event was like. We all know that Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 but it’s a good bet that when he first landed in the Bahamas, he didn’t head for the closest Tiki bar to order a boat drink. Objects and places we take for granted in the 21st century may or may not have existed in the corner of the past an author is exploring. To make that fictional world believable, the times as well as the timing need to be understood.

Clothes Make The Man (Or Woman)

Period costume is something that most historical authors (good and bad) get right. The only difference is that bad writers fail to think about the impact costume can have on conduct. For example, everybody knows Victorian women wore corsets. What most people don’t realize is that a woman who is laced tightly enough to give her an eighteen inch waist can’t bend, stretch, or engage in anything more strenuous than lifting a tea cup. Most of her conscious attention is focused on the struggle to breathe. She’s probably a very uptight, cranky creature for no better reason than that her underwear feels terrible. People who wear whalebone corsets or chain mail armor are going to think and feel very differently from people who wear sweat pants all day long.

The Past Is Another Country

It’s often been said that human nature doesn’t change over time. Perhaps not, but cultural values can shift radically in a heartbeat. The contemporary fiction writer has the luxury of writing about people who are immersed in the same cultural soup as she /he is. Not so a historical fiction author. Cultural values are absorbed much like the air we all breathe–invisibly and with very little conscious effort (unless, of course, you’re wearing a corset). The greatest mistake a historical fiction author can make is to believe that people in ancient times thought and felt exactly as we do today.

To write effective historical fiction you have to immerse yourself without condescension in the values of the past no matter how odd they might seem to a modern sensibility. So if you’re planning to write a historical novel any time soon, be prepared to walk around in your character’s high-button shoes. And if the shoe pinches, write it.

The Granite Key

GK-Ecover-Bull-ExSmTitle: The Granite Key

Author: Nancy Wikarski

Genre: Archaeological Thriller

 

THE ARKANA SERIES: Archaeological Thrillers That Defy History
Volume One – The Granite Key

“Think ‘MEDIUM meets THE LOST SYMBOL’ and it only begins to describe the pleasures of THE GRANITE KEY – 5 Stars.” (Kindle Nation)

A Wake-Up Call
In a nightmare, nineteen year old Cassie Forsythe sees her sister attacked by a man in a cowboy hat who demands something called “the key.” Her nightmare mutates into reality before the night is over. Cassie is called to identify her sister’s body–murdered exactly as her dream foretold. Cassie dismisses her vision as a fluke and fights to get on with her life. Disconnected and aimless now that her only family is gone, she drifts until the evening when she catches the man in the cowboy hat ransacking her sister’s apartment. He bolts with an odd-looking stone cylinder–the granite key. From that moment, Cassie’s normal world evaporates.

A Secret Society
She learns that her sister led a double life–retrieving artifacts for a secret organization called the Arkana. The Arkana’s leader, an elder named Faye, explains that her group performs a controversial kind of archaeology. They scour the globe for evidence of ancient pre-patriarchal civilizations in hopes of salvaging the lost history of the world. Their network of troves safeguards artifacts from highly sophisticated goddess-worshipping cultures on every continent. Cassie’s sister had the psychic ability to touch an artifact and relive its past. Cassie has now inherited this gift. Faye wants the girl to take over her sister’s role in the organization. Cassie doubts her powers but agrees. Now an insider, she is transported to the Arkana’s mysterious underground vault in the countryside outside Chicago where the group tackles the mystery of her sister’s murder.

A Dangerous Cult
The Arkana learns that the man in the cowboy hat is a hired mercenary named Leroy Hunt and that he is working for a fundamentalist religious cult known as the Blessed Nephilim. He takes his orders directly from the cult’s domineering prophet–Abraham Metcalf. The granite key which Leroy stole is inscribed with hieroglyphics revealing the location of a mythological artifact reputed to have mystical powers–the Sage Stone. Although skeptical of its legendary capabilities, the Arkana is still afraid to allow the relic to fall into the cult’s hands. Abraham’s fanatical belief in the power of the Sage Stone could be the catalyst to start a war of religious genocide.

Unlocking The Key
Before she died, Cassie’s sister took photos of the strange markings on the granite key. The Arkana decodes the hieroglyphics which point to the ancient ruins of Minoan Crete as the hiding place of the Sage Stone. Faye hastily assembles a retrieval team including Cassie, her newly-appointed bodyguard Erik, and a British researcher named Griffin. The band of treasure hunters is mismatched and wildly dysfunctional from the start. Griffin has never gone on a field mission, Erik treats his inexperienced colleagues with contempt, and Cassie second-guesses her psychic hunches. She battles to prove herself to Erik at every turn. Their internal clashes rival the bigger crisis of what to do when they come face to face with their enemies.

A Matter Of Life Or Death
Even as they rake through megalithic tombs and Minoan palaces for clues, Abraham dispatches his son Daniel and hired gun Leroy Hunt to recover the Sage Stone. The Nephilim operatives won’t hesitate to kill anyone standing in their way. Will Cassie and her teammates avert global disaster or find themselves casualties of Abraham’s mania to exterminate the world of unbelievers? The Granite Key holds the answer.

Author Bio


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“There’s a 52% chance that the next Dan Brown will be a woman … or should we just make that 100% now?”

–Kindle Nation

Nancy Wikarski is a fugitive from academia. After earning her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, she became a computer consultant and then turned to mystery and historical fiction writing. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, the Society Of Midland Authors, and has served as vice president of Sisters In Crime – Twin Cities and on the programming board of the Chicago chapter. Her short stories have appeared in Futures Magazine and DIME Anthology, while her book reviews have been featured in Murder: Past Tense and Deadly Pleasures.

She has written the Gilded Age Chicago History Mysteries series set in 1890s Chicago. Titles include The Fall Of White City (2002) and Shrouded In Thought (2005). The series has received People’s Choice Award nominations for Best First Novel and Best Historical as well as a Lovey Award for Best Traditional Amateur Sleuth.

She is currently writing the seven book Arkana Archaeology Thriller Mystery series. Titles include The Granite Key (2011), The Mountain Mother Cipher (2011), and The Dragon’s Wing Enigma (2012). The fourth volume in the series, The Riddle Of The Diamond Dove, is scheduled for publication in December of 2013. Ms. Wikarski’s work on the Arkana books has prompted Kindle Nation to call her one of its favorite authors.

Links

Purchase Link – Amazon (for US store) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004NIFTI8

Website: www.mythofhistory.com

Facebook public page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/N-S-Wikarski/111546722263900

Guest Post Deadly To Love Book Tour

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I’m hosting a guest blog post today for the “Deadly To Love” Tour. I loved reading the guest post and hope you enjoy it as well!

Hitting Publish

I don’t know whether it is the same for other self-publishing authors but for me, hitting publish on Amazon is one of the most nerve-wracking things in the whole process. I hover over that minute button for ages, just trying to build up the courage to send the book into review.

When it comes to pressing that button all of my confidence goes and suddenly I am questioning things I would not under normal circumstances, for example my form filling in skills are suddenly under scrutiny as I check, double check and most probably check a further three times to make sure I have filled everything in correctly. Even the spelling of my name is brought into question. I mean how hard can it be to spell “Mia?” It only has three letters in it, but as soon as it comes to clicking that button my mind starts to doubt things I have done all of my life.

Pressing that button is the culmination of months of hard work. It is the final hurdle for authors and even after all the work that goes into writing the novel itself, I still find pressing that button harder. My head is full of ideas I am hoping to turn into novels, I enjoy the planning and seeing the ideas unfold on paper and I love the writing process, especially watching the pages/word count slowly increase. The editing process I don’t like so much but more time goes into re-drafting and editing than writing it the first time. So after all that it seems silly to worry about pressing a tiny button doesn’t it? I mean, I’ve put the effort into writing something and getting it ready for the public to see so shouldn’t I be excited about the prospect of it being available to buy?

Well of course I am, I love seeing my work out there but every time I go to press that button saying “finish and publish” nothing seems as good anymore.  I automatically think I have uploaded the wrong draft of my novel or my computer has a mind of its own and has done something it shouldn’t – which did happen once, Chrome auto fill put my name as ‘Mia Hoddell Hoddell,’ luckily I noticed it before in one of my many checks.

Combined with this there are also the nerves caused by people being able to see and read my work. Questions form in my head like “is it really good enough?” or “are people going to like it?” as I doubt myself. Sadly, this feeling never goes away and I don’t think it ever will. Authors have a personal connection to their work and getting any kind of feedback will always be nerve-wracking  as each book is a little piece of us.

I still find that little button the biggest hurdle though. Once I’ve clicked it my mind goes into overdrive, screaming at me “What did you do?!” and that fact that I have to wait 12hrs to change anything I may have got wrong only increases this feeling. However once I get the email through from Amazon saying my book is live and I can see everything is fine the whole drama of clicking that button seems just slightly over the top.

Thanks to I Heart Reading for hosting me on their brilliant blog and remember to check out Deadly to Love and the rest of the tour stops here: http://miahoddell.blogspot.co.uk/p/tour-schedule.html!

About Deadly To Love

Title: Deadly to Love (Elemental Killers #1)

Author: Mia Hoddell

ASIN: B00BDQ3QGA

ISBN: 9781291319170

Genre:YA/Paranormal/Urban Fantasy/Romance

There is a love that is so dangerous, so powerful, so intoxicating that it embraces your heart and smothers your mind until it leaves you defenceless.

Serena knew that but still, it didn’t stop her. His name was Kai. He was the most beautiful, irresistible man she had ever encountered. Their attraction was too compelling to fight and she knew she would go to the end of the world beside him. That is love.

However behind the allure was hidden a deadly secret – a secret that threatened her fragile life… But secrets best left unsaid never remain hidden forever. When Kai reveals his true identity, she is exposed to a frightening world she had no idea existed. Controlled by powerful Elemental forces her life is placed in mortal danger.

Unbeknown to them, their lives have been entwined from the beginning and it leads her to discover an even greater secret about who she really is. As the pieces begin to unravel and death becomes a reality, Serena is forced to decide what is more important…her love or life.

Buy Links:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Paperback (Lulu) and will be available on Amazon soon

About the Author

Mia Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two cats. She spends most of her time writing or reading and her preferred genre is Young Adult, Paranormal Romance. Before 2009, Mia wouldn’t even pick up a book and was more interested in sports. However she finally found some novels that captured her interest and developed a love of both reading and writing. Mia began with poems and after getting two published in separate anthologies she moved on to short stories. Although she enjoyed this, Mia found she had too much to tell with too little space, so later on she created her first series The Wanderer Trilogy and from there other ideas have emerged which she hopes to turn into novels as well. Elemental Killers is her second series and book two will be out soon.

Blog: http://miahoddell.blogspot.com

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mia-Hoddell-Author/421368247889610?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MiaHoddell

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/miahoddell

"The Chick Flick Project" Book Tour: Guest Post

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I’m hosting a guest post written by author Courtney Elliot today for “The Chick Flick Project” Book Tour. Courtney is touring with her romantic comedy novel, “The Chick Flick Project”. You can see the full tour schedule here.

Why I started writing

When I was probably about four or five years old, I decided to write my first book. It wasn’t any good, and in fact there weren’t even words. At the time I was obsessed with horses, and I wanted my family to know everything there was to know about them. I figured the best way to do this would be to put it in a book.

Most of it was badly drawn pictures and random letters in no particular order. Needless to say it was not a big seller. A few years later when I was eight years old, I made another attempt to become an author. I decided to write a book based on my favorite movie, Titanic. It was a little better than my horse book but still not great. To this day it remains in my family and is often brought out to embarrass me while laughing hysterically at the innocence of youth.

When I turned sixteen, I tried again and wrote my first novel. I spent five years trying to get it to perfection, but sadly, it fell short. I eventually became tired of it, and the novel suffered because of it. My heart just wasn’t in the story anymore.

Now in between these failures, I never gave up on myself. I knew this was something I wanted to do. I love writing. To sit down at my desk with my laptop and create these stories is something I think it completely fascinating. It’s a way to just get away from whatever things might be stressing me out.

If I have a bad day at work, I come home and create an island paradise where two people fall madly in love, but they’re torn apart for some reason or another. Suddenly, my problems don’t seem so great.

My favorite part of writing is not always knowing the outcome of a story. Now, there are times where I will have the whole thing mapped out from beginning to end before I ever write my first sentence. Then there are times where I will start writing, and a character will do something that I never saw coming. They will take the story in a direction that I initially never even thought of. Those are the moments that I find the most thrilling. It’s almost like reading a story while you’re writing it, and I think it’s great.

I can have a character that at the beginning of the story isn’t really important, but by the end he could end up being the one to save the day and get the girl. I never know when I begin where things might end up. I live for those moments.

The Chick Flick Project

13570404Title: The Chick Flick Project
Author: Courtney Elliott
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Publisher: Senzuri Books
Release Date: November 2nd, 2012

Ally Nichols is fed up with constantly putting herself out there to only be rejected again and again. After her most recent failure, she comes up with a solution. She decides to start modeling her love life after all of the big screen’s most recognizable love stories. Hilarity, heartbreak, mishaps and mayhem ensue. She hopes that maybe one of them actually figured out the secret to true love. The only problem: no one ever told her that sometimes your Hollywood Happy Ending is where you least expect to find it.

Author Bio

Courtney Elliott lives in a small town in Texas called Cleburne. She has been writing stories since she was eight years old. She’s an easy person to get along with. She loves making jokes, most of which are self deprecating. She’s not ashamed of who she is therefore not afraid to be herself. She may be young, but does not believe age should be a factor, her writing should speak for itself.

Links

Goodreads | Author on Goodreads | Facebook | Courtney’s Blog | Senzuri Books Facebook

Guest Post for The Rebel Princess Tour by Anne M. Strick

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Today I’m putting a step back, to let author Anne M. Strick be a guest blogger on I Heart Reading. Anne M. Strick is the author of The Rebel Princess, a contemporary romance novel, but as the pictures below will show you, there’s more to her than that!

Guest Post: What Shall I Write About?

Sometimes writers worry about what their next subject might be.  And sometimes that subject is right under their noses.  Once in a while, it hasn’t even been written about before.

That is what happened to me.  That is where two of my recent books come from:  THE REBEL PRINCESS and ALL THE DOORS TO HOLLYWOOD AND HOW TO OPEN THENM.   The first is  a steamy insider’s  skinny about a film company on location in Mexico – and how movies are really made.  The second is a series of interviews with those behind-the-screen wizards   who make movie magic actually happen. They  tell  us what they do, how they do it, how they got their first jobs, some adventures they’ve had, and  what they love about their work.

The  two books derive from my twenty-plus years in the movie industry, working for Universal, Paramount,  Warners and EMI, as a Unit Publicist, Project Coordinator and National Publicity Director, and with such Hollywood legends as Jack Nicholson, James Earl Jones,  Sean Penn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Lynch, Sting and Dino De Laurentiis, among many others.

The accompanying   photos – of me  with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Wilt Chamberlain –  were in fact taken on the set of the movie CONAN THE DESTROYER,  at Churubusco Studios in Mexico.  The photographer and I, Time Magazine’s renowned Dirck Alstead,

Halstead, had become buddies  on the movie GREYSTOKRE, in Africa – where  I’d helped lug his equipment through the mud of Cameroon’s rain forest.  And it often amused him, at the end of a day’s shoot, to set up gag shots with me and the principals.  (The  shot of me  with Sting  and  his fellow    villains – in  which I look as silly as I felt  -was made on the set of DUNE .)

It finally occurred to me that I’d experienced the film business from the inside.   I had seen, on a daily basis, the nuts-and-bolts of movie-making; and the riveting and often hilarious dramas of the participants.  And that very few people, if any, had written about this curtained world before.

I began to write.  I got two books out of it – and perhaps more to come.

So look around you.   Look with a fresh eye.  Look at your workplace, your volunteer activities, your political or church groups, if any.  Look at your parent’s lives, your children’s, your neighbor’s.  Look at your doctor’s waiting room and your children’s school.  There are ideas, and people interacting in unique environments, everywhere.   Indeed, every human relationship is a unique environment.  And read your newspaper every day. Be aware of the stories that catch your attention; that stay in your mind and touch your heart. Let them germinate.

And then write.   I did!

About The Rebel Princess

9418699Title: The Rebel Princess
Author: Anne M. Strick
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

An insider’s first-ever behind-the-scenes scoop on how movies are REALLY made: gritty, grinding, tunnel-vision labor, back-stage intrigue, explosive dramas, parties, and relationships that last a night or a lifetime.
Larger-than-life characters who live life with fervor, while contending with their own inner demons and one another, all in the pressure cooker of a location shoot in the exotic world of Mexico. This romp of a story follows the making of a movie from pre-production through wrap. A hotly passionate love story and a murder elevate the stakes.

About the Author

Anne M.Strick has spent over twenty years in the movie industry. She has worked for Universal, Warners, Paramount and EMI, as a Unit Publicist, Project Coordinator and National Publicity Director, and with such Hollywood legends as Jack Nicholson, James Earl Jones, Sean Penn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Lynch, Sting and Dino De Laurentiis, among many others. She has published theater reviews, articles in Parents Magazine , Frontier and The Nation, and six books: two novels, two self-help books, one memoir (a best-seller in Italy); and a non-fiction, scholarly critique of our adversary trial system. (”remarkable”) . Born in Philadelphia, and educated at Bennington College and UCLA, she lives in Los Angeles.

Author Website | Amazon | Smashwords

Book Tour: Guest Post by Law Reigns

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I’m hosting a guest post by Law Reigns, the author of Superheroes Wear Faded Denim, a new adult fantasy romance novel today. Law is going on tour with her book. You can find the full tour schedule here.

Guest Post: Interview with Don Shimada

Hello wonderful readers of I Heart Reading.  I am Audrey. Law hired me to conduct all her celebrity interviews, and today I am interviewing Don Shimada. Starring as Blissany’s hot crush and partner in crime to world salvation in the fantasy romance novel Superheroes Wear Faded Denim, I have been told he is a walking, talking love potion. Warning ladies, reading this might cause you to fall in love instantly.

Just to give you a brief introduction. Don is 6’4 with a runner’s physique. He has short black hair, dreamy brown eyes, and a face made for the cover of teen romances. A senior studying pre-law, his life-long pursuit is saving damsels in distress.

Now I took this interview in my living room. Bookshelves line every inch of my wall. Thick Victorian styled couches stuffed with pillows encircle a coffee table where two cups of hot chocolate sit. While sitting in such an intimate setting, I boldly asked Don:

In what way, or area, do you think women are superior to men:

They have bigger boobs. Anything with boobs is superior.

Not funny? Don’t hit me. Okay, I’ll be serious. Their bodies. No, I’m being serious. The fact their bodies can you know, create. Then they nurture. Men don’t nurture, not like women. If they did, there’d be less war.

How does it feel being caught in a love triangle between two equally gorgeous women:

The dangers of being handsome, let me tell you. Kidding. It’s stressful. My life is on the line here. Trying to balance a war on evil and a social life is hard enough as it is. Then when I’m not fighting, I have to deal with women.

Demi is sexy. Just thinking about it is making me warm. She’s smart, witty, and dangerous. If you asked me a year ago if I’d date her, my answer would be, are you crazy? Then there’s Blissany. She’s so sweet, pure, shy, awkward. My god, she is awkward. Thing is when you’re around her, you get this feeling you can be you.

Oh, and why not throw Cassandra in the mix? Just for fun. I’m not dating her, but from the way she tries to control my love life you’d think I put a ring on her finger.

To Fifty Shades Of Grey or not to Fifty Shades of Grey:

I don’t even know what the hell that is.

Given 24 hours all by yourself and money is no object, what would you do:

Train. Run. You don’t need money to run. Have you heard of barefoot running? Don’t cringe. That’s why women have pedicures. When running, a forefoot or midfoot strike is better than a heel strike. It causes less stress on your joints, enabling you to run easier on hard surfaces. You’re more likely to run with a forefoot strike if you run barefoot.

I know we don’t have time for this, but read up on the Tarahumara’s and other tribes who run barefoot.

What are 3 qualities you look for in a friend:

  1. Trust
  2. Goals
  3. Kindness

What is one lesson a past relationship taught you:                  

Cassandra taught me nothing. I taught her everything. I’m joking. Although I did teach her how to cook, and now she thinks I’m her personal chef. Never give a key to your ex. Don’t ever give them your phone number. The day you break up with them, change it.

Your mother is Vietnamese and your father Japanese. What is that like:

Both my mother and father have huge pride in their cultures. Thing is Vietnamese and Japanese cultures are very different. Some of it goes deeper than just the languages and the types of food we bring to the dinner table. You have to accept culture shapes how we view the world. Our different viewpoints provide opportunities for disagreement.

There we go. That’s the one thing dating Cassandra taught me. You have to be open. The person you’re dating is not always going to see the world as you do. That’s something you both have to overcome.

What is the best compliment you have ever received:

I receive so many on a daily basis, where do I start? This might sound cheesy, but I do volunteer a lot. People tell me all the time I have such a kind heart. What does that mean? I don’t know, but I like the sound of it.

About Superheroes Wear Faded Denim

14058779Title: Superheroes Wear Faded Denim
Author: Law Reigns
Genre: New Adult fantasy romance

Blissany Cherry is tired of sleeping around. Her neurologists’ sleep solutions have failed her. Now that her bizarre sleeping habits have begun to include week long dreams she has resorted to her own methods for a cure.

METHOD ONE: CONTROL DREAMS. All attempts to morph dreams about a gorgeous warrior into romantic fantasies are thwarted. He keeps on insisting she is destined to marry a great king and lead their armies into war. At the end of every dream he asks her: will you fight the war and save mankind?

She laughs in his face.

METHOD TWO: RESIST! Blissany has plans for her life. None include fighting an intergalactic war. When her dreams begin spilling over into reality, she is forced to make a decision that will forever redefine her life. Standing between destiny and desire, she is left with only one option.

METHOD THREE: SURVIVE.

Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback) | B&N

Author Bio

Law Reigns has an odd obsession with romance. At the advice of her friends, she gave up the plight of playing cupid in their lives. Developing her own characters to manipulate proved to be more rewarding. After having studied creative writing at the University of Florida, she decided to write Superheroes Wear Faded Denim. A proud Gator alumni, she based her novel where blood runs orange and blue. She personally invites all adventure druggies and love fanatics to dive into the pages of Faded Denim, a story that transforms a swampy, southern town into a battlefield for life and love.

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Guest Post: Lynda M. Martin

10386945Lynda M. Martin
Books:
This Bird Flew Away | Read my Review
Author Website | Goodreads

What is real love? The whole world wants to know. They should ask Bria Jean, because she has it all figured out. Opinionated, stubborn and full of woe, Bria would tell you real love is having one person you can always count on through thick and thin. For her, that’s Jack. And it doesn’t matter to her that she’s nine and he’s twenty-three-not one bit.

When, at the age of twelve, Bria disappears, he and his Aunt Mary search for her, and when she surfaces, injured, abused and traumatized, Jack fights to become her guardian with no idea of the trials ahead of him. By then, Bria is thirteen going on thirty, full of her own ideas on how her life should run and with some very fixed notions about who is in charge.

This Bird Flew Away – The reality behind the fiction

I’m honored to be writing here, discussing my novel This Bird Flew Away and the true life experiences behind the fiction. Thank you, Majanka,  for inviting me to your blog.

Let me begin by introducing myself. Yes, I’m an author, a writer, an editor and a teacher, but that’s only my present life. For thirty years I was an outreach worker in child protection.

So what’s an outreach worker, you ask.

Until the late 1990’s an outreach worker was a usually a volunteer who used a combination of training, natural ability with children, and personal experience with the issues to act as a first contact with victims of crimes against children. Ideally, this person had no concrete connection to law-enforcement, or any social agencies, therefore had no agenda other than the welfare of the victim. Lately, this role has been ‘professionalized’ to a degree, and may often be a police officer or social worker with special training.

Law enforcement, including police and prosecutors are primarily concerned with ‘making a case’ against the perpetrators of these crimes, and are not always inclined to view the welfare of the child to be of first importance. Social agencies have a mandated policy of preserving the family unit, decisions to make as to whether or not to apprehend the child, and all the politics involved in these bureaucratic organizations, and as such, may not be able to consider the short-term best interest of the child. Parents, particularly those dealing with incestual abuse, are often emotionally charged, in denial, enraged, and therefore ill equipped to assist the child. In most cases of familial abuse, the child has kept this terrible secret for so long a parent is the last person he/she will be comfortable confiding in.

An outreach worker comes into the situation as a stranger, but a stranger who understands, with many similar stories to share and most importantly, someone uninvolved in the situation. They do not carry the authority of the law that the child fears may break up the family, or put a loved one in jail. They are there only for that child.

An outreach worker is often the first person who hears the child’s story, and having gained her trust, must now stand between her and those who, however much they sympathize, do have their own professional needs of her.

Ideally, once the situation has normalized, inasmuch as it ever will, the outreach worker disappears. I say ideally, but in the latter half of my thirty-year career, I fostered some of these children in my own home, some for a few weeks, and a few for several years.

This was very unprofessional, and a great weakness in an otherwise very professional career. I couldn’t maintain the required distance from some of the victims, particularly those victims of child trafficking, or the ‘throwaway’ children, unwanted, neglected and abused. They became part of my family. I’m still in contact with some past clients. Some are friends; some are closer; some of their children call me Nana.

I no longer do this work. One day, not too many years ago, I woke up and started crying. I entered a profound depression that lasted for many months, during which I lived with a terrible fantasy in my head. I wanted to get my hands on some automatic weapon, line up all the child molesters and shoot them dead. It was time to stop.

Today, I use the knowledge I gained from these years in my writing. This Bird Flew Away is the first in a series of three novels centered on these issues, in the hope that fiction may reach those that another dry sociology paper will not. My novels concentrate on healing, on the whole personalities of those I came to know, not the dark, and twisted ‘survivor’ tales of the mainstream media (which drives me crazy, by the way. I’d like to see Law & Order, Special Victims Unit off the air for the distorted, destructive portrait of sexual crimes and the victims they present.)

When I first presented This Bird Flew Away to agents, hoping for representation, several agents told me that the public doesn’t want to read about this. “They want feel-good stuff and fantasy,” said one.

“Nonsense,” I replied. I know something those agents do not.

The scope of sexual crimes against children is far wider than the public is led to believe, or the statistics presented by law enforcement state, which are 10% of boys and 22% of girls. These represent only reported cases, and as all workers in the field know, those are but a chip off the tip of the iceberg.

Some years ago, I attended an international conference on crimes against children and the best information these experts put together suggest at least 4 of every 10 boys and 7 of every 10 girls, worldwide, have been sexually exploited before the age of sixteen. That’s 70% of women! Does that seem unreal? It isn’t. In the United States alone, an estimated one in three households is the scene of familial sex abuse. 100,000 children are trafficked within the U.S. every year. At any given time, somewhere between 240,000 and 300,000 children are bought and sold on American streets. Did you know?

But what this does mean is at least two thirds of survivors receive no help, no counseling, nothing to help them reconcile their traumatic past. I hope the story of Bria, full of optimism, courage and humor, as indeed are most of the girls I’ve worked with, will help them learn that they are not alone. Quite the contrary, they are the majority.

For those who’d like to know more about my career in child protection, or of the issues involved, here is a link to my article, ’The Rape of the Innocents’, which receives more views than all my other articles put together. Doesn’t that say something?