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IT’S YOUR BOOK LAUNCH…PARTY IF YOU WANT TO

 Lorraine Devon Wilke- Author There are lots of rules in the writing game. LOTS. Ask anyone in the biz for advice, do a little research on norms and protocols, get active in social media groups on the topic, and you’ll be bombarded with generalized and specific do's and don'ts, articles with titles like, “the 10 most important rules of writing,” debates around, “are you an author or a writer?”, and certainly lists of what to avoid, what to absolutely avoid, and how to “do things right.” In the swirling eddy of contradictions and occasional hits of inspiration you will likely get… exhausted. But take a deep breath and know that, in the midst of all that information, you can glean enough good advice and worthwhile input to create your own set of protocols and preferences to fit your style, while still getting the job done. Here’s the trick: You have to be selective. You have to curate that advice. You have to experiment on your own to discover what you agree with, what you don’t. Let’s take the “book launch.” Now, there’s a topic that inspires prodigious amounts of opinion. Just this week I read a lengthy blog filled with…

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More Thoughts on the Newsletter Rage-

  A reader’s thoughts First of all, let me say that, at times, I like getting newsletters from my favorite authors- but it can be over done! Most of the time I am the one who seeks out subscription on their newsletter but I am definitely not a fan of being “forced” to sign up when visiting a website. Pop ups that require you to sign up for the newsletter to allow you onto the website really annoy me – not what an author wants!  I actually think this may discourage some people who are just browsing and getting to know you as an author.  Getting an email for your list is not as important as winning a fan!  I have found that sometimes I sign up just to get a look at the authors website  and his/her books and then when the emails come pouring in, I unsubscribe, and I am sure I am not alone. The big question is Do Newsletters turn into sales?  I’m not sure.  I don’t think that forcing subscribers to sign up for your subscription is helpful and too many emails is soon considered spam.  Where I do think it is helpful is when…

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Author Newsletter vs. Author Blog: Five Reasons I Prefer a Blog, and Six Reasons You Might Not

“The one with the biggest email list wins” is the current mantra of pretty much every book marketer on the planet. The author newsletter is supposed to be the most important weapon in your book marketing arsenal. Marketing experts tell authors their #1 goal should be to collect as many email addresses as possible for the purpose of sending our victims fans weekly or even daily doses of our spam news. This week Kristine Katherine Rusch wrote a great in-depth post on newsletters. She pointed out there are two types of newsletters that authors are using today: the old school, chatty  letter that reads like the newsy Christmas letter you get from Aunt Susie. Those newsletters appeal to your established fans who know your characters, and want to know what’s coming up and what’s going on with you personally. Then there’s the newer type of newsletter which is like an advertising circular that aims at getting new customers. It’s all about marketing. It’s the latter I have the most trouble with. (So does KKR) but if you’ve got a lot of marketing savvy, it may work for you. Unfortunately I personally have negative reaction aggressive marketing, so I’m not comfortable with doing it myself. Should You…

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Another Tasty Idea and a Great Book!

Kitchen Brigade by Laurie Boris Dystopian novels have a long and popular history, from classics such as The Time Machine, Brave New World and 1984 to the more modern Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale and Divergent.  Some take place in a specific time and place and some are vague or fantasies. Some dystopian novels use unknown tyrants while others use current US rivals, such as the Chinese, Cubans or Russians. That is the route of The Kitchen Rivals by Laurie Boris, which uses a specific enemy, the Russians and their allies, the Cubans, as the tyrannical rulers who have taken over the eastern part of the US. Its setting is also specific, taking place in the Hudson Valley, where the author lives. Laurie skillfully places the main scenes in the kitchen, where main character Valerie, now called Three, with her fellow chefs, including Chef Svetlana, under whom she had previously studied at the Culinary Institute of America create meals for the general, his staff and visitors. Food is an important focus in the novel.  While the kitchen chefs are prisoners, food still provides joy, love and artistry. It is used as payment, as for chef Four, and used horribly, as when the child Tomàs is forced to taste food in case…

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Author Janie Dempsey Watts- In Praise of indieBRAG!

Mama taught me not to brag, and when I first started trying to promote my books, I was haunted by her words. Now, the Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion does the bragging for me. I explain to potential readers that this award signifies a book is of high quality and is worth their time. While at book events, I often point to the gold seal and explain that a panel of readers from around the world recommends my book. Thank you Indie B.R.A.G.  Mama would be proud! Janie Dempsey Watts, author of three B.R.A.G. Medallion books, Return to Taylor’s Crossing; Mothers, Sons, Beloveds, and Other Strangers; and Pap Pap Goes to Paris, and so does Ricky Author Janie Dempsey Watts

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Author victoria Thurman – In Praise of indieBRAG!

“When I received my B.R.A.G. Medallion 7 years ago, I had no idea the depth and breadth of the organization. Nor did I know to what extent the honor afforded me. Geri Clouston is one of the best cheerleaders a self-published author could have. She and her team do the very best to rotate recognition and spotlight different books in different and unique ways. I am very proud to have my book included in this elite group.” Victoria Thurman                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Author of The Dating Dilemma of Delilah Dunnfield Find this award winning book here  

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An Irish Tale and Guinness Chili- ready for St. patrick’s Day!

Secrets of the Apple Tree Tavern: The Making of an Irish Godfather (Irish Fires Book 1) by Mary Ellen Gavin   In The Secrets of the Apple Tree Tavern, Mary Ellen Gavin writes movingly and deeply about the Irish in New York and in Dublin. Raised in an Irish family, she shared, “The joys and sorrows of family are taught to the Irish from birth. All good and all bad can only come from your Family. A brother who succeeds in life is your joy ... a sister who births a sickly baby is your sorrow. The Irish build strong family ties and know how to wield guilt. It is the way I was raised. I thrived from it and I cried from it ... more than some other families.” Life is seen through the eyes of Frances Fleming, an orphan of Irish immigrants during the Depression, then adopted by a tavern owner. Like the author, family becomes extremely important to him.  At a young age, he is put to work, gladly on his part for his new “family.”  His childhood is happy and his years filled with stories of Ireland and the “old ways.” So many of us are enchanted…

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Helen interviews Lola James of The Texacali Game-

To be a little different from the usual 'meet the author'  let's meet a character Aran Bruce The Taexali Game’s a time travel historical novel where I was whizzed back to A.D. 210, along with my friends Brian and Fianna. ‘Course, when we started playing our Rubidium Virtual Reality game we’d no idea where we were, or when it was, and had to work that out from really neat visual clues. Just as well that I’ve got a fabulous recall of facts. Oh, and then we had to come to terms with it all being really real, you know, and that death actually did mean being a dead-guy for ever. Some of the local Taexali Celts were our friends, others were dirty traitors, but the best bit of all was besting that nasty Ancient Roman Emperor Severus and his even more evil son – Caracalla – while we were solving the local mystery. We’re talking about Aberdeenshire, Scotland. That’s where I live when I’m not time travelling. Aron Bruce Read Helen Hollick's complete interview with Aron Bruce of The Taexali Game @Novel Conversations By Nancy Jardine Visit author Nancey Jardine @ Her Website

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The Thrill of Mountain Climbing and the Delight of Home Cooking!

The Altitude Journals by David Mauro One would never have picked David Mauro, author of The Altitude Journals to climb the major 7 mountain peaks in the world. Not only wasn’t he a climber, he wasn’t even a hiker. He was down on his luck, living in his sister’s spare room while going through a divorce. Then, he received an invitation from his brother-in-law to climb Mount Denali. And that was the turning point. The Altitude Journals are about his journey, through mountain climbing, with its adventures, its difficulties and its redemptions.  I climbed each mountain with David, routed for him and read every word in his retelling of this journey. David’s sense of humor is evident throughout. When I asked him what he had initially thought when Thai asked him to join him climbing Denali, the highest point in North America, he told me, “My initial thought was, ‘Well, I'm not even a mountain climber so that sounds like a bad fit.’  By the end of the journey I had come of age as an altitude climber, so I understood clearly what I was getting myself into with Everest. I liked my chances of success, which I placed at 30%.” Hiking and climbing…

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“Reconstructing Jackson”- Heartbreak, Love and good food for Valentine’s Day!

  Holly Bush’s Reconstructing Jackson. The year is 1867. The Confederates have lost and the South is bitter, much in ruins.  Throughout the US, the former slaves are free yet most remain fearful, unable to exercise the freedoms they have been given. Enter Reed Jackson, lawyer, handsome and defeated Confederate officer. One leg amputated during the war, the other said to be too weak to use, Reed is in a wheel chair, angry, hopeless and uncertain about his future. His plantation and financé have been given to his younger brother and Reed is sent to the Aimes cousins in Missouri. Holly told me, “He knew the South could not support slavery forever, he knew his father was a cruel man, he knew that good people existed (his mother), he fought in a war he did not support but was expected of him, and he knew that the law must be followed blindly to begin our crawl out of our national conflicts.” So begins the historical romance written by Holly Bush. Reed is confronted with the historical reality of his era. His cousins own a boarding house and employ Beulah, a free Black manager, a bright, educated former slave. She is also a teacher, who elevates…

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