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Indie Authors TV #66 presents: August McLaughlin, author of sexuality-body image-psych thriller IN HER SHADOW

Posted by Alana Woods on August 19, 2014 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)


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Indie Authors TV #66  interviews sexuality writer/activist August McLaughlin. August discusses sex, body image, eating disorders and more within her psych thriller IN HER SHADOW.


     


About August McLaughlin

 

August McLaughlin is an award-winning health and sexuality writer, radio personality and creator of the empowering female sexuality brand Girl Boner. Her work has been featured by LIVESTRONG.com, Sexual Wellness News, DAME Magazine, Healthy Aging Magazine and more.

Her first novel, IN HER SHADOW, a thriller loosely based on her battle with anorexia while working as an international model, was an 2013 Indies for Excellence finalist, and in 2014 she was named one of BlogHer’s Voices of the Year.

Known for melding personal passion with activism, she uses her skills as a public speaker and journalist to inspire other women to embrace their bodies and sexuality, making way for fuller, more authentic lives.

August is represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency and loves connecting with readers and listeners throughout social media.


Hosted by Jason Matthews and Marla Miller

    


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Petition Day in CHASING BOOK SALES LAND

Posted by Alana Woods on August 16, 2014 at 9:10 PM Comments comments (2)

My books on Amazon   Imbroglio | Automaton | Tapestries | 25 Writing Tips


            


Once in a rare while, when petitions have banked to a degree that I can no longer ignore them, I’ll hold a Petition Day where all the inhabitants who have something they wish to discuss with me can come to the palace and gain an audience.

On this particular morning I was busy trying to get to the bottom of my in-box before Petition Time when I heard a loud bang. Not concerned, because sometimes the roof likes to herald its presence by making annoying noises, I continued with the correspondence.

Imagine my horror, then, when peering out at the queue forming to see me I spied one of my subjects in extremis on the palace window ledge.

It looked like Little Spoggy had tried to beat the crowds into the palace only to find what she thought was the entrance barred by an invisible barrier—glass.

I rushed outside and to my relief found her still breathing although her eyes were closed, her mouth open and her heart beating as though it would burst from her chest.

I stroked her little chest to calm her and tried dripfeeding her some water after which The Consort led me away to grieve as he predicted she would not recover.

Imagine my joy then, when an hour later I returned to collect her fragile little body for burial and found her sitting. Another hour later she had recovered sufficiently to fly home.

I hastened to ask what it was she had come to petition me for but she said she had such a headache it had flown right out of her head.

Egbert, on the other hand, was granted his request.

Recent rains have brought about a second flush of new rosehips and I consented to not net them.

I was so upset about Little Spoggy in extremis I felt it not appropriate to capture her image but Egbert, on the other hand, he’s always happy to pose.



Take this link to all CHASING BOOK SALES LAND stories





Indie Authors TV #65 presents: LYNNE SPREEN Amazon Bestseller Dakota Blues

Posted by Alana Woods on August 12, 2014 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)


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Indie Authors TV #65 interviews award winning author Lynne Spreen about her Amazon bestseller DAKOTA BLUES, a coming-of-age story for mid-lifers. Lynne discusses the novel and what coming of age for mid-lifers means for her.


     


Lynne wrote DAKOTA BLUES, in part, because she wanted to express her optimism about aging. She has a core belief: life is better after fifty.

DAKOTA BLUES has received over one hundred reviews, earning an average 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com.


Lynne's website book blurb: In the traditional coming-of-age story the main character has to figure out who she wants to be when she grows up. She struggles to earn an education, develop a career, find a life partner, establish a home, start a family…

But then what? After you’ve lived through your first coming-of-age you reach a place where you think you have it figured out, but then life changes. Maybe you’re not happy anymore. Something’s missing – or you’ve been dealt a tough hand. What happens now?

That’s the midlife coming-of-age story!


Hosted by Jason Matthews





BOOK BLAST: Who am I? by Megan Cyrulewski

Posted by Alana Woods on July 30, 2014 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)


My books on Amazon   Imbroglio  |  Automaton  |  Tapestries  |  25 writing tips


                      



 

BOOK BLAST!


 


Megan Cyrulewski's new memoir WHO AM I!

is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble from Saturday 2 August 2014

I'm participating in the BOOK BLAST promotion, helping Megan to spread the news


WHO AM I! synopsis

Megan’s book, Who Am I? How My Daughter Taught Me to Let Go and Live Again, is about her journey into post-partum depression, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, stays in the psych ward, divorce, emotional abuse, domestic violence, law school, how she managed to graduate from law school and a beautiful little girl who emerged from all of this chaos.




Megan's bio

Megan Cyrulewski has been writing short stories since she was ten. After attending Grand Valley State University she eventually settled into a career in the non-profit sector for eight years. Deciding to change careers she went back to school to study for a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

While studying she wrote her memoir, documenting her divorce, child custody battle and postpartum depression struggles.

Megan lives in Michigan with her 3-year-old daughter who loves to dance, run, read, and snuggle time with Mommy. Megan also enjoys her volunteer work with various organizations in and around metro-Detroit.




Excerpt from the book

On January 18, 2012, we all convened in the courthouse for the Motion for Parenting Time hearing. My dad and I arrived with my attorney, but Tyler loved an audience so he brought his dad, step-mom, and his new on-again off-again girlfriend, Heather. Tyler walked in with his posse in tow, cocky as hell. It took all of two minutes for the judge to knock him off his feet.

The Judge addressed our respective attorneys. “Why are we here?”

“Your honor,” Tyler’s attorney began, “my client has clearly been denied his parenti—”

The Judge didn’t even let him finish. “How?” She turned to my attorney. “Don?”

“Your honor, as you can see in the divorce decree, there was supposed to be a review when the minor child turned twelve-months-old. The Defendant has ignored that review.”

“I—if I may, your honor,” Tyler’s attorney sputtered.

“I see the review in the decree. It’s here in black and white,” she told Tyler’s attorney. “What is the problem? Why didn’t you understand the review? Your client signed the divorce decree.”

Tyler’s attorney tried again. “But your honor—”

The judge cut him off. “There is to be a review conducted by the Friend of the Court referee assigned to the parties. Until then, the Defendant will continue his parenting time schedule as agreed upon in the divorce decree. Dismissed.”

And that was it. After eight police reports and numerous harassing text messages, phone calls, and e-mails, we won. As Don and Tyler’s attorney went to speak with the clerk to file the necessary paperwork, Don told us to wait for him outside the courtroom.

As we exited the courtroom, the hallway was so packed with people that my dad and I were only able to find enough space to lean against the wall. We were talking about the court proceedings when we looked up and saw Tyler and his new girlfriend standing right across from us.

“Why do you lie about everything?” Tyler screamed.

Heather walked up to me and stood about an inch from my face. “As a mother myself, you should be happy that Tyler is the father of your child.”

My jaw dropped. “I’m sorry but I don’t know you.”

She smirked. “Well you’re going to get to know me, bitch.”

Tyler made a big show of pulling her from me like I was going to punch her or something. By this time, everyone in the hallway was watching us. We were pure entertainment.

Heather continued her rant. “Two times in the psych ward, Megan? What a great mother you are.”

“Where is your mom, the real mother of our child?” Tyler screamed. “She’s the one who takes care of Madelyne.”

My dad and I tried to move away from Tyler and Heather but they followed us.

“Awww…” Heather mocked. “Do you have to take a Xanax because of your anxiety?”

“Go take your Xanax and sleeping pills, you drug addict,” Tyler shouted.

Finally, Don emerged from the courtroom and pulled us into a quiet corridor. He explained that I needed to call our referee to set up a meeting to discuss a visitation schedule. I told Don about the verbal assault by Tyler and Heather. Don said he would call Tyler’s attorney to let him know that Heather would not be allowed in my house.

Upon leaving the courthouse, Heather screamed, “See you on Sunday, Megan.”

I turned toward her and said calmly, “I don’t know you, but you are not welcome in my home.”

That night, Tyler sent me multiple texts attacking my mothering skills, my supposed drug addictions, how he was going to fight for joint custody of Madelyne, how Heather would be accompanying him for his visitations, and a barrage of other insults:

• “Get a life already.”

• “Don’t you have something better to do than wasting your parents’ money?”

• “Go take your pills and relax, oh yeah, then your parents would have to watch our daughter. Oh yeah, they already do.”

• “Go talk to your friends. Oh yeah, you don’t have any because of how crazy you are.”

• “Interesting to know you’ve been to the hospital a couple of times. You really need to get it together.”

• “Better go call your lawyer and make up some more stuff about me.”

• “Don’t be mad at your sorry life.”

• “I am sure living with Mom and Dad the rest of your life will be fun.”

• “When you get a job, then you can pay me child support. Fun.”

 

I finally had to turn my phone off at midnight.

 

Available from Amazon in paperback and ebook

Available from Barnes & Nobel in paperback and ebook





Alana Woods' book reviews: COUNTERPOINT by Paul V Walters

Posted by Alana Woods on July 29, 2014 at 8:30 PM Comments comments (0)

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COUNTERPOINT: Take Back That Which Is Yours is the third novel in the Jonathan Savage Trilogy


Something wicked this way comes … and, boy, is it wicked.

This is the final book in Walters’ Jonathan Savage trilogy and it doesn’t disappoint. In fact it ramps up a dozen rungs or so on the ladder delivering a non-stop fireworks show, burst after pyrotechnic burst.

The main players from FINAL DIAGNOSIS and BLOWBACK unite to meet their varied ends. The villains are villainous, the heroes are real and, given what’s happening in our world, the scenario is all-too-terrifyingly possible.

The pace never slackens and the words flow effortlessly to create scenes easily conjured into images.

A really good finale. Thanks for the entertainment, Mr Walters!


COUNTERPOINT on Amazon

 

Take this link to an earlier interview with PAUL V WALTERS.

Take these links to my reviews of FINAL DIAGNOSIS and BLOWBACK.

Take this link to all my book reviews.


                   





Genius links are here!

Posted by Alana Woods on July 21, 2014 at 8:45 PM Comments comments (0)


My books on Amazon   Imbroglio   |  Automaton   |  Tapestries  |  25 Writing Tips

 

Are you an author or artist who has their product for sale on multiple sites that can be accessed on a variety of devices?

Have you dreamed of the day when one link would take a buyer to the right store for the device they’re using?


Dream no more, that day is here.

GeoRiot has delivered just such links. They’re called Genius links.

I’m not going to attempt to recreate or paraphrase the information GeoRiot provides except to give you the first paragraph of their media release. After that click on the GeoRiot links below to go to their site for all the information.

 

Genius Links eliminate the need to create multiple links for a single product that's available across different ecosystems. Scenarios can now be created within a single link, to route each click individually based off of the user’s location, device, operating system, and even date. This eliminates the hurdles of promoting to your ever-growing audience as more storefronts and devices come online.

Check out GeoRiot’s Step by Step Guide or visit our blog to learn more about Genius Links.


 GeoRiot website link.

Take this link to all my GeoRiot articles.

 

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Alana Woods' book reviews: BETTER YOU BETTER ME by Jason Matthews

Posted by Alana Woods on July 20, 2014 at 3:00 AM Comments comments (0)

My books on Amazon   Imbroglio  |  Automaton  Tapestries  |   25 Writing Tips




I’ve read this book twice now, the first time as a beta reader and the second time after buying it to review. It’s a book I’m not going to get tired of. I’ll be returning to it often because the message resonated deeply with me.

 

The author describes himself in the introduction as a mess for much of his life. He intimates troubles that threatened to overwhelm him. He thought life was conspiring against him. He wondered what the point of it all was. Then after a particularly harrowing episode he woke to the fact that it was within his power to help himself. And that’s where his journey to a better self began. Not by trying to make big changes immediately but by focusing on striving continually to become slightly better. After a while he noticed that the little changes were accumulating into big ones.

 

In writing this book Matthews is documenting the steps he took to remake himself into a person he liked. He is sharing those steps in the belief that others will also be struggling and will find the information useful, even valuable.

 

So what is he talking about when he says we can be better versions of ourselves? He looks at all aspects of life: the physical, as in our bodies and our environment; the mental, as in our consciousness and happiness; our relationships, both personal and professional; and much more.

 

Matthews doesn’t talk at you, he guides you. There are plenty of scenarios and examples to highlight his points. At the end of each chapter he itemises the key concepts made and the questions we need to ask ourselves.

 

If you take only one thing from this book it might well be the message that happiness is a choice. I now remind myself of it every day. But that isn’t the only lesson I’ve learned and to remind myself of what are essentially the easy things I can do to be happier and a better person is why I’ll be returning to it regularly.


 

BETTER YOU BETTER ME on Amazon   US   |   UK  |   CA   |  AU   |   India


Take this link to an earlier interview with Jason Matthews.

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Alana Woods interviews GRAHAM HIGSON, author of Flither Lass

Posted by Alana Woods on July 5, 2014 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (2)


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My guest today is UK author Graham Higson whose book about a small UK Yorkshire fishing village in 1915 attracted my attention because John and I were walking those very spots in July last year. Heartbeat country, if Graham's photo is anything to go by.





Alana: Graham, welcome. Wyke Bay, the fictional setting for FLITHER LASS, is based on Robin Hood’s Bay, which is the end point for the Coast to Coast walk that John and I did. We loved the place. Why choose that spot?

Graham: Thanks, Alana. Because you've been there you'll be able to appreciate the timelessness of the village, which is very much as it was in the story's time period. Then there's the coastline, and the beaches teeming with rock pools. I could see the characters tramping through the streets, sense their hunger, feel their anguish. It was if they were there every time I turned a corner. And when we walked along the beach and saw a cliff top waterfall, I knew that I would use it in the story.

So yes, it's very much like the fictional Wyke Bay, but I had to write in some differences because if readers think that a place is real, then they might (heaven forbid) believe that the characters are also based on actual people.


                      


Alana: On your website you talk about visiting Whitby, which is close to your setting of Wyke Bay. I bought a silver and jet bangle there to commemorate our walk. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to get used to wearing it because it was stolen less than a month later. But you say that although living nearby all your life it wasn’t until you were an adult that you visited Whitby.

Graham: I know the very shop where you must have bought the jet bangle. Sorry to hear about what happened. The shop is at the bottom of the famous 199 steps …

 

Alana: It is! W Hamond. Guarantees that it uses only genuine Whitby jet.

Graham: That’s it … and I'm pleased to say that on a couple of occasions I have run up those two at a time without stopping.


Alana: Hope you don't mind. I'm throwing in two of my own photos here. There's me outside W Hamond with my new purchase in my hot little hands, and then there's John on the famous 199 steps.


     

 

Alana: I doubt that I could have gone up them two at a time. Quite a feat!

Graham: Yes, but dare I do it again …? So why did it take us so long to visit Whitby for the first time? It is in a part of England that we'd not yet got around to. It's as simple as that.

 

Alana: So where is home? And why is it home?

Graham: Home is in an outlying Pennine village in Yorkshire, about half an hour from Leeds in one direction and Manchester in the other.

It's all open countryside, which we like, even though you can be held up by cows crossing the road for milking, and there is plenty of wind and rain. Come to think of it, it's very much like the village where my character Briscoe lives in OAK SEER.

 

Alana: There’s nothing quite like using what you know. You’ve been a journalist for most of your life I believe, although if I’m not wrong you’re a fulltime writer, as in author rather than journalist, nowadays.

Graham: Yes, I gave up my day job so I could write fulltime, but in and amongst I decided to complete my education. I trained as a screenwriter at University College Falmouth, which I think taught me much more about things like structure and dialogue. I was the only one taking screenwriting, by the way, which meant that the tutor had no one else to pick on but me.

 

Alana: But think of all that one on one! Invaluable! And nowadays you’re involved in the republishing of another local author, Leo Walmsley, who lived 1892-1966. Would you tell us a little about him and what you’re doing.

Graham: I found Robin Hood's Bay in about 1989 and there was this cottage with a blue commemorative plaque above the door saying that an author once lived there. I thought, "Crikey, I've never heard of him." I really believed they were grasping at straws for tourism purposes, although my wife Margaret was certain she had read one of his books. But then there was a television program about the village that mentioned a major film had been shot there in the 1930s. There was no internet back then (not for civilians, anyhow) and it was whilst asking around in the village that I found the film, Turn of the Tide, was based on a Walmsley book. We bought the book, THREE FEVERS, and six years later joined the Walmsley Society. Two years after that my wife and I were voted on to the committee. At that time none of the major publishers was printing his books, and it was me who said we should do it ourselves. Here we are, 11 books republished and another on the way. Very satisfying.

 

Alana: Do you have a link that anyone interested can take to check them out?

Graham: Yes. I also administer the website.


Alana: Let’s talk about your books now. FLITHER LASS, which I’ve just read and reviewed, to begin with. Give us a flavor of the story line. I have to say I love the video trailer for it. I called the book atmospheric. Well, so is the trailer.

Perhaps you could also explain what a flither is and what they were used for.

Graham: In the 1800s, maybe even farther back, many flither girls traveled in gangs, but in 1915 my flither lass Amy works alone, often in harsh weather conditions as she scours the shore for limpets, or "flithers". These are the mollusk-type creatures that live inside the conical shells usually found sticking to the rocks, almost with the strength of industrial adhesive. She collects them to use as bait on her father's fishing lines. Hardy, strong, practical, she is an expert at climbing steep cliff faces, and refuses to allow her highly impractical long skirt to prevent her wading out into the water. Instead she simply rolls it up to her waist, despite exposing her bare thighs – quite shocking for those times.




     

       

     

But she is estranged from the local community which believes, in its ignorance, that she is backward, slow-witted. The reality is that she is a wild, unruly girl, passionately protective of the small bay that she believes is hers. She works things out by instinct and whatever else she can pick up from odd snatches of conversation that are not obscured by an undiagnosed hearing condition. You wouldn't get that sort of thing happening nowadays, would you? Naturally, sometimes she gets things wrong.

The story begins when her father is caught in a storm, leaving her with no-one apart from a hard, embittered mother and an idle sister. Convinced that her father is still alive she searches the shore, and instead finds an injured man. He's not her father but for the time being he'll do, and she decides to keep him for herself. The First World War is waging in France and Belgium and only a few hundred yards out from the coast at Wyke Bay merchant shipping is under threat from mines and U-boats. And Amy's new friend is German.

 

Alana: The book’s a corker. I don’t hand out 5 stars easily but FLITHER LASS deserved them. And your other book?

Graham: OAK SEER (a supernatural mystery) is about an obsessive who deals in old wooden artifacts. One night he finds he can no longer handle these wooden items without being haunted by images from the past. He's something of a Lothario, doesn't much like people, yet women throw themselves at him … and suddenly he can’t perform, so he's washed up, whichever way you look at it. There's a modern day high priestess of a coven in Scotland, women who lust after an ancient medieval carving of a monster's face, blood loss, and a girl in a white dress. And poor old Briscoe must take a look at himself and do the right thing to save them. But what is the right thing? And is he so set in his ways that he won't be able to exorcise the past? Or is it that the past is exorcising him?



 

Alana: Sounds like he’s got some real problems! Are you working on anything else at the moment?

Graham: Yes—a memoir, would you believe? It's based on the magazine column I wrote for over 10 years and is about the observations from behind the counter of an independent hardware store. This time there's an underlying theme with much more at stake. I'm reluctant to describe it as funny because those readers who don't find it as such then give bad reviews, but I can tell you that it is meant to be a little humorous. I've just completed the first draft and it's been a pleasure getting reacquainted with the characters I've known for so long they almost write themselves. Naturally, being a memoir, there are some real people in there, but their names have been changed to prevent lawsuits.

 

Alana: Graham, thank you so much for chatting with me today.

Graham: And thank you, Alana, for having me. I've rather enjoyed being here with you.


Graham's links   website   |   blog   |   Twitter   |   Facebook   |   YouTube trailer   |   LinkedIn

Goodreads   |   Flither Lass Goodreads page   |   Amazon author page

FLITHER LASS on Amazon smartURL   |   CreateSpace for paperback

 

Take this link to my review of FLITHER LASS.

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Alana Woods' book reviews: FLITHER LASS by Graham Higson

Posted by Alana Woods on July 5, 2014 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

My books on Amazon  Imbroglio  |  Automaton  |  Tapestries  |  25 Writing Tips




 


FLITHER LASS is incredibly atmospheric. The further I got into it the more I became convinced it would not end well, I couldn’t see how it could be otherwise. Without giving anything away I will just say that when the ending came I thought ‘How apt. Perfect.’

 

The wildness, of characters and setting, is consistent from start to finish. The bone-chilling cold of the sea and terrible weather wafted out of the pages and into my bones. I had to put the heating on. The language was like a pop-up picture book opening up scene after scene. The dialogue of these illiterate and mostly ignorant fishing folk did its job in revealing their characters to me. Higson is a helluva story teller.

 

The story? It follows a few days in the life of Amy Trott, a 15 year old living in a poor fishing village on the wild UK Yorkshire coast. Everyone ekes a precarious living looking out for themselves. There’s no room for caring about neighbours. Anyone thought to be even a little different is treated harshly and Amy is that little bit different, thought to be simple. Her only protector is her father. There are two young men who also have soft spots for her but neither knows how to show it and don’t have the courage anyway. Amy collects flithers, limpets, from the rocky shore for her fisherman father to use as bait on his lines. It’s back-breaking dangerous work. The year is 1915 and paranoia regarding the Germans abounds. So when Amy finds one washed up on the rocks her life becomes very precarious indeed.

 

This is the story of people struggling to exist and find their place in that existence. Wrap your hands around a hot coffee or chocolate and let Graham Higson immerse you in Amy’s life.


FLITHER LASS on Amazon   US   |   UK

 


Take this link to my interview with Graham Higson.

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Alana Woods interviews MICHEAL MAXWELL, author of Diamonds and Cole

Posted by Alana Woods on June 21, 2014 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (0)


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Micheal Maxwell is my guest author today. I like to do a bit of ferreting about authors before having a chat so check out such places as their websites, Facebook and Amazon author pages. Micheal is obviously someone who likes to keep himself to himself because all I could find was a teaser. I immediately wanted to know details and am now going to attempt to get them.

Here’s the teaser from his author bio: Mr Maxwell has traveled the globe, dined with politicians, rock stars and beggars. He has rubbed shoulders with priests and murderers, surgeons and drug dealers, each one giving him a part of themselves that will live again in the pages of his books.



 

Alana: Micheal, welcome. There is no way I’m going to let you go without enlightening me about the travel and the people you’ve met. So tell me, in what exotic spots did you meet such diverse types and how did you come to meet them?

Micheal: Thanks for having me. Since I am unwilling to enter a 12-step program there is no hope of curing my Travel Addiction. This June I will visit my 39th country. Along the way I’ve met a lot of folks.

 

Alana: I’m all ears to hear about them.

Micheal: Okay, let’s see, I’ve traveled to China and met with the head of National Chinese Radio, who at the time was the Party Chairman for Yunnan Province. The Governor of Aguascalientes, Mexico, and I had a meeting a few years ago. I thought American politicians were a shady bunch until I met him. He gave me a nice gift though.

I ate dinner with Ace Frehley of KISS. I remember it, he was beyond remembering anything. I’ve been known to give beggars part of my lunch, some were grateful, some, well, not so much.

Been to the Vatican twice, they wouldn’t let me in once. I had walking shorts on. The woman in line in front of me had on a gauzy see through summer dress and a thong. Nothing else. They put her right through. (laughs)

On a more serious note, when I was in the music business I met a lot of drug dealers. Speaking of murderers, I am sad to say I have known 11 convicted murderers on a first name basis. They were all in my classroom over the years.

A car I was riding in was stopped by New People Army guerrillas in the middle of nowhere in the Philippines. They opened my luggage and tossed it around with the barrel tip of a machine gun. That was a bit unsettling.

 

Alana: I bet. Getting back to the music business—what did you do?

Micheal: Actually music is my first love. I am an avid collector, wannabe guitarist and it seemed only natural that when, as a disenchanted worker bee, I wanted a job that I would love, I turned to music. Over the years I have written record reviews, done specialty radio shows, promoted concerts and owned a small chain of record stores. I mentioned meeting rock stars, that’s when most of that happened.

I still long to introduce people to music they haven’t heard so every Sunday morning on my Facebook page I post a mini-radio show called Sunday With Micheal, where I post two Youtube videos of artists I think people need to know about.


Alana: Apologies for interrupting your run. Please continue.

Micheal: Talking about music is never an interruption.

I once had a woman tell me over dinner how she tried to hire a hit man to kill her daughter’s abusive husband. Thankfully she didn’t pay the ten grand. (laughs)

 

Alana: That would’ve given me a restless night or two wondering if she was serious! Anyone else?

Micheal: This is turning a bit dark. (laughs) Let’s lighten it up a bit. I met a family while traveling that were very devote Jews. We spent many hours over Kosher meals discussing faith. The daughter had never met a Christian to actually sit and talk with. They lived in a really tight community in Toronto. So, she asked me everything she had ever wondered about. At the next table was a couple from Melbourne that as the evening progress seemed to be leaning closer and closer to hear us. At one point the wife turned and asked if we were disturbing them.

He said, 'No, I just want to see who wins.'

He had missed the whole point. Even though we were loud and there was a lot of waving of hands, our talk was done in love and respect for each other’s beliefs.

I told the fellow we weren’t arguing and that we were having a great time sharing our faith.

'You people are so intelligent I can’t believe you believe all the bulls**t!' the man replied.

I will never forget what my friend said to him, without missing a beat he quoted Psalm 14:1, 'The fool hath said in his heart: "There is no God"; they have dealt corruptly, they have done abominably; there is none that doeth good.'

That was the end of our evening.

I ran into the guy from Melbourne the next day and he apologized. Turned out to be a nice guy.

I have found that everyone has a story. If you are an active listener, people will open up with the most intimate details of their life. I think there is almost a confessional element or psychological release in talking to strangers. As a writer I think it’s important to keep your eyes open and your mouth shut as much as possible. Sometimes you have to prime the pump though.

The funny thing is, one on one, they were all just people who breathe the same air we do.

I still haven’t met Bob Dylan yet. That’s a disappointment.

 

Alana: I recently read and reviewed the first in your Cole Sage thriller series DIAMONDS AND COLE. Did any of the people you’ve met influence the characters in the story and, if so, how?

Micheal: It is often said, ‘Careful what you say to a writer, it will end up in print.’ I would certainly be less than truthful if I said that the characters weren’t drawn from people and events I have either seen or been party to. Writing is kind of the same confessional cleansing I spoke of earlier. Before you ask, no, I haven’t committed any crimes.



 

In the Cole Sage series there are also biographical elements that make such good stories I would be foolish not to use them. The roots of COLE DUST, book four in the series, are deep in my own family’s oral history and legends. In the end, fiction is still fiction though, and certainly parallels between Cole Sage and I would be flattering, but a bit misguided.

In THREE NAILS I think there is a much finer line between fiction and memoir. Some stories just seem to haunt me until I get them down properly. In the case of THREE NAILS I really tried to examine the pain of losing a child and how it would color the world around you. Thank God I have never lost a child, but someone dear to me did. The idea of braiding their story with anecdotes from my own life seemed a very natural thing to do.

So to your question, yes, everything and everyone I have ever met or things I’ve done play a role in my books. I think that’s why I enjoy writing so much.

 

Alana: Why a world-weary reporter for your leading man?

Micheal: As a young man I got a job fresh out of university as a writer. My boss was an old school newspaperman from Chicago. In the two years I spent with him he taught me more about the craft of writing than all the writing courses I ever sat through. There is no resemblance other than Chicago and the newspaper connection but it was my way of honoring him.

The character of Cole Sage is intended to be an every man hero. He’s a good guy who finds himself in situations not of his making, that put his investigative skills and sense of right and wrong constantly to the test.

I really wanted Cole Sage to be free of the over-used character flaws that almost every mystery/detective/private eye character seems to be burdened with. So, Cole isn’t a drunk, degenerate gambler, PTSD patient, womanizer or recovering drug addict. He’s just a regular guy that a lot of bad stuff happens to. That’s why, in DIAMONDS AND COLE we take care of the great burden of losing the woman he loved and lost. As he grows as a character it is his commitment to his friends that find him with decisions that stretch the boundaries of how far he is willing to go to take care of those he loves.


Alana: I liked his being normal very much.

Micheal: I think Cole is a character that women will love and that men can relate to.


Alana: I think you’re right.:)  I believe you now live in California; are you on the coast, inland, in a city? Have you always been there or is it a recent settling, after your travels?

Micheal: I am sadly landlocked. If you drew a cross on the map of California, where the lines intersect is home. I once heard someone say where they lived was, ‘a good place to be from’. That’s Modesto, 80 miles east of San Francisco but it may as well be a million. Therein lies the secret of my travel bug. ‘Anywhere but here’ as my wife tells people when asked why I like to travel so much.


     

 

Alana: I’ve heard of Modesto—can’t say why or how—so it can’t be too bad. Are you a lone traveller and your wife keeps the home fires burning, or is she a willing accomplice?

Micheal: Like I said, Modesto is a great place to be from. George Lucas of Star Wars fame is from Modesto. His sister is my neighbor. If you’ve seen American Graffiti, that is about Modesto. Actors Jeremy Renner and Timothy Olyphant are both from Modesto. Of course our two most famous achievements are Gallo Wine and Micheal Maxwell the author! (laughs)

As to my wonderful wife Janet, she is my ever present traveling partner, photographer, navigator and chronicler of facts. I leave a town and twenty minutes later can’t remember its name. Janet keeps nearly hour by hour logs of places, facts and details that I love to read later. We have two bookshelves full of her amazing photo/scrapbooks of our adventures. This photo was taken in Yosemite National Park, three hours from Modesto.



 

Alana: I must say that I find it awkward to type your name. I have a brother called Michael and the a is before the e. My fingers just don’t want to type it any other way.

Micheal: Truth is stranger than fiction. Here’s the scoop on the name thing. I was an eleven pound, two ounce baby. When I was born my poor mother was pretty wiped out after, and when they brought the clipboard with the paperwork she transposed the a and e. Viola! Micheal!

The thing is, nobody searches for Micheal, so on Amazon.com, Facebook, Twitter, my blog, stuff like that, I spell it Michael.  If you notice the covers of my books are all spelled correctly.

We carried on the ea curse with my youngest son Austin, his middle name is Micheal! Clever or cruel?


Alana: I noticed and wondered about the difference in those spots. As to passing on the spelling, on one level it would be just plain confusing, I think, for them to be spelt differently, but on another level—speaking as someone who has had to spell her name and correct pronunciation all her life—I’m a great proponent of going with the norm.

Micheal: Well, there you are, I’ve been shying away from the normal for years! (laughs)

 

Alana:  Let me clarify; as far as spelling names is concerned I’m a great proponent of going with the norm. You now have four books in the series published. Would you tell us a little about where Cole finds himself in them, and are there any more on the horizon?

Micheal: You did a wonderful job in your review, thank you, of getting the story started. DIAMONDS AND COLE introduces us to Cole Sage and sets in motion the journey I intend to keep him on for quite a while. They say you can’t go home again, but Cole is forced to try. When he receives a call from his great lost love he is thrown into a mix of con-artists, street thugs and a fortune in stolen diamonds. Who gets hurt and who survives questions his loyalty and commitment to legality.

#2 CELLAR FULL OF COLE moves Cole from Chicago to California, but before he can leave he tries to help a colleague with an abusive family member and finds himself facing a pedophile with ties to child murders and pornography.


     

 

Alana: It has a very unsettling cover.

Micheal: The little girl is my granddaughter! Quite the little actress! The hand belongs to my son. It is dark but not graphic.

 

Alana: And the rest in the series?

Micheal: #3 HELIX OF COLE is the worst nightmare of anyone in the public arena. A piece Cole wrote years ago is the catalyst that sends a 60s radical and 21st century terrorist on one last mission, and he wants Cole to tell the story. Nasty fellow this one, bomber, murderer, and has a nuclear suitcase bomb! Charles Manson even pays a visit! Look out San Francisco.

From book 2 on San Francisco is home base for Cole Sage. This photos shows San Francisco Marina from Pacific Heights



 

Alana: I’m going to amend what I said about him being normal a while back. A normal bloke who encounters much more excitement and life-threatening problems than most of us normal folk!

Micheal: Some guys have all the luck.

#4 COLE DUST is one I am particularly proud of. Cole inherits a farm in Oklahoma. He discovers the journals of the grandfather he never knew. It is actually a book within a book. We follow the life of a very colorful tormented man through the journals and Cole’s discovery of a long buried family secret in the other. Some of my most rewarding reviews I’ve received as a writer have come from this one. By the way that is my grandparents on the cover.


     


I am currently working on #5 COLE SHOOT and #6 CROSS OF COLE. You heard it here first folks! COLE SHOOT opens with the Chinese New Year’s Parade in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Cole is right in the middle of a street gang shoot out that ends in the death of a close friend. Lots of old friends from the other books return for a visit.

CROSS OF COLE is about half finished. It has Cole investigating the death of a charismatic religious leader.

I have a lot more Cole books planned and outlined. I just have to find a few more hours on the clock to get them done!

 

Alana: You mentioned THREE NAILS earlier.  Can you tell us a bit about it, or any other books you have outside the Cole Sage series? I’m curious how your process works.

Micheal: THREE NAILS is a novella. It tells the story of a teacher who loses his son in a car accident. Like a handful of stones thrown in a pond, the circles of his life and memories are all interconnected to his processing his grief. His relationship with his wife, his other children, colleagues at work and even the kids he teaches are part of his healing. I think it raises a lot of questions of faith, love and why we do the things we do to survive tragedy. The story takes place over the course of a school year.



I am currently working on a young adult book. This is a real departure for me, but it kind of helps get out of the crime and suspense box for a while. It’s called THE TIME PEDALER and tells the story of a boy, 14, who finds a time machine. Lots of adventure and dare I say it, history lessons. It is also something new in that I’m working with a writing partner. More on that another time. Shhh, it’s a secret.

 

Alana: My lips are sealed.

Micheal: My other project I am really excited about is a Western novel, inspired by the lyrics of a song by Bob Dylan. Sort of a Dylan Inspired Western. Tight lips on this one for now, but I think it is going to be really interesting.

So, you can see I’ve got a lot of work to do!

 

Alana: All I can say is Whew. Now then, before I let you go tell me where your next trip will be to.

Micheal: We are going to be spending five weeks in a little town in Ecuador called Banos Aguasde Santa. It is in a beautiful valley at the foot of a volcano. Just the other side of the mountains is the Amazon basin. We’ve rented an apartment and hope to immerse ourselves in the community. We’ve been studying Spanish like crazy. Who knows, if we love it I might retire there!

 

Alana: Micheal, thanks so much for talking with me today. It’s been a pleasure finding out the details behind that teaser.

Micheal: Thank you for the opportunity. So nice to do an interview with fresh questions and ideas. Thanks for not asking me what my favorite book is or favorite author! I hope your readers will find our chat as much fun as I did.


 DIAMONDS AND COLE on Amazon   US   |   UK

Micheal’s links: Blogspot   |   Facebook   |   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK


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Alana Woods' book reviews: DIAMONDS AND COLE by Micheal Maxwell

Posted by Alana Woods on June 21, 2014 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)


My books on Amazon  Imbroglio | Automaton | Tapestries | 25 Writing Tips




 

A tale of regret and coming to terms with it told in a very well-put-together way.

Cole Sage is a newspaper hack working for the Chicago Sentinel, having worked his way down from a top-flight award-winning career with The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine. The fire had gone. Then the love of his life, the woman he let slip away, contacts him asking for help. And so his path back to caring begins.

The story encompasses diamond smuggling, money laundering, horrible husbands, sincere cops and eager journalists, the forgotten residents of nursing homes and a crook with a good heart. Beginning with what Cole believes is the simple matter of making sure his ex-love is cared for while she succumbs to a terminal illness, he soon finds himself on the receiving end of threats and a beating.

Maxwell knows how to keep his readers interested, unfolding the story evenly without any dips. I liked his fleshing out of the secondary characters as well as the primary with, among other things, natural dialogue. Combined with a fluent use of language and good plotline it made for a well-rounded story. One I enjoyed.

This is the first book in the Cole Sage series.


DIAMONDS AND COLE on Amazon   US   |   UK

 

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Indie Authors TV #64: presents SONIA MARSH on hosting author events like an expert

Posted by Alana Woods on June 17, 2014 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

My books on Amazon   Imbroglio  |  Automaton  |  Tapestries  |  25 Writing Tips


This week's #64 Indie Authors TV presents Sonia Marsh who discusses how to host author events like an expert. Sonia does it all from book launches to Costco signings to movie theatre premiers for her releases. Discover what she knows for making these things happen.



Sonia is the author of a memoir FREEWAYS TO FLIP-FLOPS A Family's Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island and MY GUTSY STORY ANTHOLOGY True Stories of Love, Courage and Adventure from Around the World (Volume 1).


     

 

Indie Authors TV is hosted by Jason Matthews and Marla Miller


     

     

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Where lies CHASING BOOK SALES LAND?

Posted by Alana Woods on June 14, 2014 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (2)


 My books on Amazon   Imbroglio  |  Automaton  |  Tapestries  |  25 Writing Tips

 

We have been receiving communiqués querying where lies this little Fiefdom of Chasing Book Sales Land.

It’s a minor fiefdom abutting The Consort’s petty fiefdom of Why don’t you give it away land.

Both are within the borders of the minor kingdom of The Bush Capital, which itself sits within the realm of New South Wales.

It is part of the mighty island nation of Australia that occupies a great swathe of the southern regions.

A long and perilous journey is required to reach its shores but if you ever undertake the arduous trip and travel on to Chasing Book Sales Land you will receive a warm welcome from its inhabitants.

Please note that gifts for My Fiefdomness are customary.




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Alana Woods' book reviews: THE FOREVER GIRL by Rebecca Hamilton

Posted by Alana Woods on June 7, 2014 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (0)


My books on Amazon   Imbroglio  |  Automaton  |  Tapestries  |  25 Writing Tips





This is the first in a fantasy series that could at a superficial level be compared to the Twilight series in that the central character, Sophia Parsons, is a young human who becomes involved with supernatural earth beings including vampires.

However, while I considered the Twilight series to be light reading I found this one more absorbing because of the intricacies of characterisation and what those intricacies added to depth of plot and story.

The Universe is a ‘they’ never explained but obviously sentient beings of some sort who created Elementals to watch over the human race. Earth elementals, vampires called the Cruor, were the first to be created. Then came Water, Fire and Air. Along the way some of the Cruor became corrupted and as we enter the story the battle for supremacy is beginning. Sophia, a practicing Wiccan, is drawn in through her attraction to Charles, a dual-breed Strigoi, a Water elemental who is also half Cruor.

Told mostly in the first person from Sophia’s point of view the storyline follows a satisfactory arc to the end which, this being the first of a series, is obviously only the struggle’s first stage. I liked Sophia who had already overcome quite a lot in her 22 years including the suspicious deaths of both parents. Like Charles, her love interest, she is well-fleshed out. Less satisfactorily drawn is Ivory, a major secondary character responsible for much of what happens to Sophia. We learn her history in what is a departure from Sophia’s point of view. It’s brief and encompasses centuries so we only see snippets that, while revealing the motivation for her actions, doesn’t allow us to really get to know her.

This was one of those reads that I didn’t like putting down to get on with other things. I wanted to keep reading.

Well written and entertainingly told.


THE FOREVER GIRL on Amazon   US   |   UK


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Alana Woods interviews Rebecca Hamilton, author of THE FOREVER GIRL series

Posted by Alana Woods on June 7, 2014 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

My books on Amazon   Imbroglio  |  Automaton  |  Tapestries  |  25 Writing Tips

 

Rebecca Hamilton is my guest author this week and I know you’ll find her story as interesting as I do. Rebecca writes paranormal fantasy, and part of her reason for doing so is because she has a son with autism and this has inspired her to illuminate the world through the eyes of characters who see things differently.


 

 

Alana: Hi Rebecca, welcome. First off, I read that you live in Florida but you hate sand! How is that possible? :)

Rebecca: Like my son, I actually have severe sensory aversions ... sand and cotton balls are at the top of the list.

 

Alana:  I can empathise with sand; it’s one of the things I dislike about the beach!

Rebecca:  They’re a bit like nails on a chalkboard for me. I guess this helps me relate to my son’s sensory issues, though. I’m also deathly afraid of escalators. Escalaphobia they call it…

 

Alana: I’ve never heard of that before so here’s a link for anyone wanting to read about it.

You write paranormal fantasy fiction, what was the impetus for choosing that genre? Did it stem from your son being diagnosed with autism or were you already interested in it?

Rebecca: I write paranormal fantasy because it interests me. Always has, even since I was a kid. Which is strange since I don’t believe in any kind of higher power, but still, I find the supernatural thrilling! I do write in other genres as well, but one thing all my stories have in common is that I like to take unlikely points of view and make them more relatable—this is where the inspiration from my son and his autism come into play. I don’t think people with autism think wrong—they just think differently, and it’s harder to relate to since their line of thinking isn’t as common as the mainstream.


Alana: THE FOREVER GIRL, which I’ve just read and reviewed, is the first in a planned series. How many books do you envisage in the series and will they follow the same characters?

Rebecca: The series will have seven books in total. Book 2 is ready to go but we’re waiting for publishers to make their decisions so we can find out where it will be homed. Currently the first book is with Harlequin in Germany, so we’re also hoping they will take and translate the second book as well. There is a lot of crossover between characters, but the main characters differ in some of the books. Books 1, 4, and 7 all follow Sophia’s journey through the stages of her Wiccan character development (Maiden, Mother, Crone). Books 2, 3, 5, and 6 meet other elemental characters. They all come together in the final book, though, and many of them make cameos in each other’s stories.



 

Alana: It’s been very successful for you I believe. A bestseller plus available in three languages—which ones and what was the reason for choosing them?

Rebecca: THE FOREVER GIRL is available in English, German, and Hungarian. If it were up to me it would be available in all languages!


Note: The following two books are HER SWEETEST DOWNFALL a companion novella to THE FOREVER GIRL and available on Amazon. COME, THE DARK is the second in THE FOREVER GIRL series and yet to be released.

 

     

 

Alana: Oh for the time when all it takes is the push of a button to have top quality translations!

Rebecca: I agree, but alas for now we are at the whim of which mainstream publishers decide to pick up the title and have it translated and published. My favorite publisher to work with so far has been Harlequin (Germany). Right now we are currently working with some publishers in Brazil in hopes the book can be translated into Portuguese (I have so many fans in Brazil!), but we also have interest in France and Italy, and readers from Spain have shown interest as well. Only time will tell what the future holds there. :)

 

Alana: I also believe it’s been optioned for film. That’s every author’s dream and you must be excited? Is it too early in the process to talk about or can you give us some details. Perhaps how it came about, who and how you were approached, that sort of thing.

Rebecca: I’ll actually maybe possibly hopefully (wink) be finding out more this month! But for now I can tell you this: my agent was approached by Brian Witten, who was the producer for American History X, Final Destination, The Wedding Singer, Friday the 13th, Chernobyl Diaries, and more recently he’s working on the Cell with John Cusack. At one point when the contract was in the works my husband and I even travelled to LA to meet with him. We had a lovely dinner and saw a concert together. Brian’s totally awesome! I actually do know who is considering writing the screenplay and I’m SUPER EXCITED about who it is, but I’m not sure I’m allowed to say. Also, I don’t want to jinx it. Before her it was being considered by the screenplaywriter for Coraline, and it received fantastic feedback but time was an issue so it didn’t work out. Still kind of exciting to me that it’s even being considered by such amazing writers!

 

Alana: The main character in THE FOREVER GIRL, Sophia, is a Wiccan, a witch. You’re going to have to explain what that means.

Rebecca: Wicca is a form of paganism. It’s not really so different from most walks of faith. It’s rather nature based, however, and their biggest ‘rule’ is to harm no one. I think that’s why I am most fascinated by it. In a world where people will use anything (including religion) to hurt others, I appreciate those who hold not hurting people above all else. That said, I’m often asked if I myself am Wicca. For the record, I am not. Just a fan of many Wiccan people! I’m agnostic.



 

Alana: I did wonder, so now I don’t have to ask. :) Would you tell us about your other published books? Your Amazon bio says you also dabble in horror and literary fiction.

Rebecca: I have a title, CIRCUS OF LOST SOULS, that I co-wrote with another bestselling author Riley J Ford. She’s the real star of that show, though, but it’s a fun horror read. My literary project is still in the works and actually deals much more closely with autism. I’ve had a lot of professional interest in that title and it has me panicked that I might not live up to the expectations, so I’m in no rush to release it. I want to be sure I get it right. I’m working with Bram Stoker Award nominee Carole Lanham on this one. The first draft has been written and sitting in a drawer for ages, so I’m excited to have her on board to help revive it and get the ball rolling again.



 

Alana: How has living with autism affected your lives? I’ve read your guest article for ASAN (Autistic Self Advocacy Network) in which you describe some of the misunderstandings you face.

Rebecca: It’s up and down. I think I’ve learned a lot and I think it’s made me a better person. It’s helped me identify some issues with myself and work through them, somewhat. However, it makes life harder. I know some people feel it’s a blessing; I feel my children are all blessing, but I don’t find autism itself to be a blessing. Yes, I’m a better person for living with it (at least I think so) but daily I watch my son struggle and suffer from the problems and stress that his autism presents and I see the way it affects my typical child and it puts a strain on the flow of day to day life. That’s just being honest about it, about my experience with it. In fact, we now homeschool because the school system was just epically failing my son, and in a lot of ways that has made our lives easier, but it does make it more stressful at times, too.

 

Alana: I understand that to a certain extent. My sister homeschooled her son who had health problems when growing up and I know some of the pressure it put on her.

Rebecca: I often feel like there are just not enough days in a week. Well-intentioned people often want to offer advice that doesn’t apply or make assumptions about problems they can’t begin to comprehend and (sad to say) it’s at the point now where we find it’s easier to figure these things out alone than try to get ‘help’ from people who don’t fully understand what we’re up against.

 

Alana: I believe you donate a percentage of THE FOREVER GIRL royalties to ASAN.

Rebecca: Yes, at times I do! Not all the time. I usually make an announcement when I’m doing so, and what I usually do is a month-long promotion where I donate half of the proceeds for that cause. Usually I do it during autism awareness month, but the past year was not a good year for us due to the birth of our fourth child (born prematurely) and the health complications that followed. I hope to do it again next year as it really feels good to give back to such a wonderful community as ASAN.

 

Alana: Rebecca, it’s been a pleasure. I wish you every continued success with THE FOREVER GIRL series as well as everything else in your life.

Rebecca: Thank you, and you as well with your own writings! I appreciate you having me here today.


 Rebecca's links:  website   |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Pinterest   |   Instagram

THE FOREVER GIRL on Amazon   US   |   UK

 

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Indie Authors TV # 64: Amazon keywords for books and authors

Posted by Alana Woods on June 3, 2014 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

My books on Amazon   Imbroglio  |  Automaton  |  Tapestries  |  25 Writing Tips


In this episode of Indie Authors TV, #64, Jason Matthews takes a look at how to make the most of keywords in Amazon to optimise searchability for your books. For instance, the title of your book is the most important thing you have to help the Amazon search engine to link browsers with search terms.

Jason advises using Google keyword planner in conjunction with the Amazon search box to check the effectiveness of your keywords.

 

Hosted by Jason Matthews and Marla Miller

     

 

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Do you know who is selling your books?

Posted by Alana Woods on May 24, 2014 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (4)

My books on Amazon   Imbroglio  |  Automaton  |  Tapestries  |  25 Writing Tips


When I was checking out the free download sites of my books last week I also discovered over a dozen online sellers offering print versions, some saying they had multiple copies, one purporting to have 120 in stock.

I’m talking about new, not second-hand, copies. 

If you click on the Buy Now button of some of these sites you are taken to Amazon, which is the only seller I have listed my books with.

My question in this case is this: What does the seller get out of it? Presumably the royalty will come to me because the sale is from my authorised seller Amazon. I don’t have an Amazon Associate arrangement with these sellers, so what’s their purpose for listing my books? What gain do they make from it?

My second question has to do with sellers who are offering direct book sales? Where have they sourced their copies? CreateSpace? Which is the only printer/supplier I deal with. Perhaps.

I can see where they may order a copy or two and then sell at an inflated price to make a dollar or two.

But there are sellers saying they have multiple copies. I know they didn’t come from CreateSpace so where did they come from if, indeed, they aren’t another version of the scammers who offer ‘free’ e-copy downloads for a fee. Meaning you pay but never receive the book.

I have to say that all of this totally bemuses me.

Have you ever done a similar search? Were your results as equally perplexing?

 


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Indie Authors TV #63: interviews Matthew Mather, author of #1 Amazon ranked CYBERSTORM

Posted by Alana Woods on May 20, 2014 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (0)


My books on Amazon   Imbroglio  |  Automaton  |  Tapestries  |  25 Writing Tips


Indie Authors TV #63 interviews Amazon #1 Technothriller CyberStorm author Matthew Mather.




Matthew Mather is the best-selling author of CyberStorm and the six-part hit series Atopia Chronicles. He is also a leading member of the world's cybersecurity community who started out his career working at the McGill Center for Intelligent Machines. He went on to found one of the first tactile interface companies, which became the world leader in its field, as well as creating a major award-winning brain training video game.

Jason Matthews' comment: A movie deal with 20th Century Fox, over 120,000 copies sold in 6 months and 1900 reviews, 10 foreign language deals... yeah, this author is doing it right and sharing valuable tips.


Hosted by Jason Matthews and Marla Miller.

     


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Are scammers using your books?

Posted by Alana Woods on May 17, 2014 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (6)


My books on Amazon   Imbroglio  |  Automaton  |  Tapestries  |  25 Writing Tips


I was incensed several weeks ago when a Google alert notified me that my novel IMBROGLIO was being offered as a free download.

Foolishly perhaps I immediately clicked on the link and found myself at an inactive page because the domain name had expired. A WHOIS search showed the company was Chinese.

I calmed down and forgot about it.

Until earlier this week when I received another Google alert.

This time the page—DownloadGenius—was active and surprisingly perhaps had a copyright page with a contact form. The copyright statement pretty well said that if content was on the site then it was authorised but if you had issues then contact them with details, being sure to include all links you wanted removed.

I contacted them with the offending download link and my book was removed the same day, although the Google link remained.

Heartened by this I sent another email querying where they had sourced the book file but it came back as undeliverable, leading me to believe they’d cut the link.

Have I since found other instances? Yes.

Belatedly I searched ‘IMBROGLIO by Alana Woods’ and within the first 10 Google search pages found seven sites offering free downloads.

They all had different domain names but three sourced back to DownloadGenius and the others—all but one of which presented the same download form—had been de-activated when I returned to them a day later.

It transpired that none were actually free. DownloadGenius requires you to become a member for a fee, and the others asked for credit card details when I clicked on the download buttons. I clicked out at that point.

At first it didn't occur to me that these were scams. It took a conversation with my IT guru son-in-law, whose opinion I've come to regard as sacrosant regarding IT matters, to tell me what was really happening.

Before speaking with him what puzzled me was where these people had accessed the book file. I have it on my personal system and Amazon has it because they’re my authorised seller. But no-one else.

A clue was that the book image on all sites was obviously copied from Amazon because they included the Look Inside graphic. But I scratched my head for a while as to whether the book file could have been somehow stolen from Amazon.

More likely, I thought, they had bought a copy and had the technical expertise to turn it into a file for their own purposes.

It was gratifying in a weird way that someone somewhere thought IMBROGLIO was worth pirating.

And because none of them were actually free downloads I doubted I going to lose much if anything in the way of missed royalties.

But then my son-in-law said 'If they want your credit card details it's a scam. They more than likely don't have the file. And be flattered they believe your book is one that will attract people to their pages.'

So, I'm going to stop worrying. And I'm feeling flattered.

However, I issue this warning to book buyers or, rather, downloaders. If you don't want to be scammed, if you don't want your credit card details falling into the wrong hands, only buy from a credible source, in the case of my books the seller is Amazon.

Has anyone else encountered this?  What have you done about it? And what’s your opinion about pirated copies and your books being used in scams?


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Indie Authors #62: interviews #1 ranked Amazon author Catherine Ryan Hyde

Posted by Alana Woods on May 13, 2014 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (0)


My books on Amazon   Imbroglio  |  Automaton  |  Tapestries  |  25 Writing Tips


Indie Authors #62 interviews Catherine Ryan Hyde who shares how she became a no. 1 ranked author on Amazon.



Catherine is the author of 25 published books.

Her best-known novel, PAY IT FORWARD, was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than 23 languages for distribution in over 30 countries. The paperback was released in October 2000 by Pocket Books and quickly became a national bestseller.



For more information visit Catherine at catherineryanhyde.com


Hosted by Jason Matthews and Marla Miller.

     

 

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