Lily Marin – the book

Dear reader,

This title may make you wonder. Why ‘the book’? There are already 2 books. Yes, there are 2 books with 3 short stories each. However, considering the success of these two books and mainly the wonderful feedback I received, I am venturing into writing a proper book about Lily Marin, the singer with her mysterious background. I don’t know if this will become the conclusion to Lily and her adventures; at this moment I have about 1100 words written so to make any statements is far too early.

It is a lot easier, I notice, to write a proper book than it is to put so much information and story inside the confines of a short story. Still I am very glad that I wrote these 6 very short stories. It was a great way to introduce and develop Lily and the people around her. As a safeguard for this coming story I made a number of notes to use for the book. Safeguard? Yes. The short stories around Lily were very difficult to write for me. The last 3 took me about a year. The notes I have now should get me through the story a bit swifter. Which does not mean it will be done faster though, as this book will most certainly contain more text (and adventure!) than the other 2 previous books combined.

Original image at http://walyou.com/steampunk-dalek/

Indie promotion

Dear reader,

It is another Monday. How time flies. So without further dilly-dallying I present to you: today’s Indie Promotion:

Where The Heart Is


by Jeanette Hornby

Ebook Short Description: After the breakdown of a relationship, Daniela (Dani) Sante moves from Perth where she has lived for a year, and returns to her hometown, Waroona. Surprised by house-guest, Antonio Bartolini, Dani is not pleased that he is residing in her home.
The return to Waroona does not give Dani the comfort she had hoped for. The drama taking place around her is unsettling and she longs for peace, but the problems of family and friends are not easily pushed aside. When the police arrive at her door, Dani realises that her Perth ‘home’ was not the safe haven she thought it was.
Added to this, is her growing resentment towards Antonio. Having struggled to accept her Italian heritage for most of her eighteen years, Antonio represents all that she loathes. The fact that he is extremely handsome and charming only adds to the conflict within her.
Will Dani overcome her bias and accept Antonio for who he is? And will she follow her heart, before it’s too late?

Where to find.
You can find the e-book on Amazon.com and on Smashwords.com.

Spotlight on “Life in Death”.

Today I am hosting Harlow Drake, author of Life in Death. At the end of the post there is a giveaway where Harlow is giving away 3 autographed paperbacks and a $15 Amazon Gift Card. Check out this great novella and enter to win!

When a girl that social worker Kari Marchant places in foster care is brutally murdered, she’s compelled to learn why. Her quest for the truth pits her against friends and coworkers. As Kari works to solve the horrific plot, more people die. How far should she go to learn the truth—even if it threatens her life?

Trailer:

Here is an excerpt from the book:

PROLOGUE

I remember everything. 

“Bitch.” Jefferson Winton stared at the letter in his hand. Last month, he had announced his intention to run for mayor. Today, he got this letter.

Kari Marchant. She’d tell everything if he ran.

He’d heard her name mentioned over the years in various circles and had been surprised they knew some of the same people. Still, she’d never attempted to contact him directly before.

He pushed the button for the elevator and paced. He hadn’t expected to see anyone at 2 a.m. The elevator opened to an empty cab. He breathed a sigh of relief and pushed the second floor button.

He didn’t want to worry about that bitch again. He smiled. His henchmen, Ren and Stimpy, could handle this.

He pulled out his phone and placed the call.

“I have some work for you boys. Kari Marchant at 2612 Osceola Street. Get rid of her, but make it look random.” He hung up as the elevator door opened again.

Jefferson waited for his eyes to adjust to the darkness of the parking deck before he scanned the lot for his car and strode toward it. A shuffling sound startled him from behind as he opened his car door A sharp pain stabbed at the back of his head before he could turn around.

***

A douse of cold water jolted Jefferson back to consciousness. His head throbbed like a heartbeat and the rusty taste of blood filled his mouth. He squinted his eyes and tried to focus through the stickiness that plastered his eyes together. He stared at the person in front of him; dull recognition seeped into his brain. He couldn’t believe who’d done this. He lunged forward but couldn’t move. Twine bit into this forearms, stomach, and ankles as he fought to free himself from the chair.

“What the hell is this?” he yelled and struggled wildly.

“There is always a reckoning for one’s misdeeds, in this life or the next. For you, today’s that day.”

The glint of the shiny steel scapel caught his attention. “Shall we begin?”

Author Bio:
Author Harlow Drake was born in Kansas City, MO, but grew up in Denver, CO. She relocated to North Carolina five years ago with her husband, two dogs, and 16-year old twins.

She shares a birthday with the notorious Napoleon Bonaparte. In keeping with his legacy, she is currently working on taking over the world. Harlow’s positive attitude and fresh take on life are her tools and conquest is certain. She spends her free time writing, dancing, traveling and defending mailboxes from her 16-year-old twins’ driving.

Her debut novel, LIFE IN DEATH, is a murder mystery which pulls from real-life situations from her own family history. She felt compelled to share her story with the world while offering a thrilling, entertaining, and amusing escape for readers.

In keeping with her commitment to improving the lives of children, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of her book will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club in her home state of North Carolina.

She loves to connect with her readers and can be found on Twitter, her blog, or on Facebook

Giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway

10 things about reading

Reading is one of the best hobbies a person can have. But it’s saddening to know that majority of us aren’t introduced to the fabulous world of books. If you are one of the non-book readers who feels you “don’t need no stinking books”, here are some reasons to start the habit…before you are left behind!

  1. Reading is an active mental process: Unlike sitting in front of the idiot box (TV), reading makes you use your brain. While reading you would be forced to reason out many things which are unfamiliar to you. In this process you would use the grey cells of your brain to think and become smarter.
  2. Reading improves your vocabulary: Remember in elementary school when you learned how to infer the meaning of one word by reading the context of the other words in the sentence? You get the same benefit from book reading. While reading books, especially challenging ones, you will find yourself exposed to many new words you wouldn’t be otherwise.
  3. Gives you a glimpse into other cultures and places of the world: How would you know about the life of people in Mexico if you don’t read about it? Reading gives you an insight into the diversity of ethnicity of people, their customs, their lifestyles etc. You become more aware about the different places and the code of conduct in those places.
  4. Improves concentration and focus: It requires you to focus on what you are reading for long periods. Unlike magazines, Internet posts or e-Mails that might contain small chunks of information, books tell the whole story. Since you must concentrate in order to read, like a muscle, you will get better at concentration.
  5. Builds self-esteem: The more you read, the more knowledgeable you become. With more knowledge comes more confidence. More confidence builds self-esteem. So it’s a chain reaction. Since you are so well read, people look to you for answers. Your feelings about yourself can only get better.
  6. Improves memory: Many studies show if you don’t use your memory, you lose it. Crossword puzzles are an example of a word game that staves off Alzheimer’s. Reading, although not a game, helps you stretch your memory muscles in a similar way. Reading requires remembering details, facts and figures and in literature, plot lines, themes and characters.
  7. Improves your discipline: Making time to read is something we all know we should do, but who schedules book reading time every day? Very few… That’s why adding book reading to your daily schedule and sticking to it, improves discipline.
  8. Improves creativity: Reading about diversity of life and exposing yourself to new ideas and more information helps to develop the creative side of the brain as it imbibes innovation into your thinking process.
  9. You always have something to talk about: Have you ever found yourself in an embarrassing situation where you didn’t have anything to talk about? Did you hate yourself for making a fool of yourself? Do you want a remedy for this? It’s simple. Start reading. Reading widens your horizon of information. You’ll always have something to talk about. You can discuss various plots in the novels you read, you can discuss the stuff you are learning in the business books you are reading as well. The possibilities of sharing become endless.
  10. Reduces boredom: One of the rules I have is if I am feeling bored, I will pick up a book and start reading. What I’ve found by sticking to this is that I become interested in the book’s subject and stop being bored. I mean, if you’re bored anyway, you might as well be reading a good book, right?

If you want to break the monotony of a lazy, uncreative and boring life, go and grab an interesting book. Turn the pages to explore a new world filled with information and ingenuity.

(Source: inewsindia.)

When going gets tough, publishers turn to celebrity books and Tumblr blogs

By Chris Meadows from Teleread.

new_back2It’s certainly a great age of uncertainty for publishers. These are the days when publishers, scared silly by Amazon’s price-chopping tactics, (allegedly) band together to try to put an end to them—and then get told that’s a big no-no and the Department of Justice will see them in court. Falling margins, the uncertain future of bookstores, changing public tastes, piracy, scanning, self-publishing…sometimes I think it’s a wonder there’s any Pepto-Bismol left in New York City.

These are the days when you would think that publishers would be desperate to smarten up—to develop some better judgment about the kinds of things readers want, and figure out how to sell it to them as economically and with as little waste as possible. But it turns out that these are also the days when a publisher decides to make a book out of a Tumblr blog of made-up text message conversations between a man and his dog.

On TechCrunch, John Biggs writes an open letter to publishers in general, taking them to task for what he sees as only the latest in a long chain of bad publishing decisions.

You’re about to be flattened. Book piracy is about to smash your top shelf revenue while books like Text From Dog are going to kill any respect we once had for the big six. You guys clearly have no idea what you’re doing and you’re depending on your recent Yale-grad philosophy major Assistant Editor to bring you some hot, hot web trendz to capitalize on. Real fiction and non-fiction? Blah, that’s for old people and nerds. What the kids want to do these days is go into a book store and buy a book based on a Tumblr blog. Because kids are stupid. Also vampires. And sex.

(To be fair, I’m not sure whether Headline, the publisher mentioned as putting out the Texts from Dog book, is even part of a big six company. But why let that get in the way of a good rant?)

Biggs suggests that rather than this funny-for-a-few-moments humor stuff, publishers should be looking for quality writing on the web, be it fiction or nonfiction. It should focus on championing good authors, putting them on book tours, building their audience. More of that stuff, less of Text from Dog and ghost-written celebrity tell-alls.

But while Biggs accuses publishers of going for low-hanging fruit in publishing books like this, I have to wonder whether Biggs himself is going for low-hanging fruit in making fun of books like this. It’s definitely an easy book to send up, but there will always be books like that. As many books as are published in a year, some of them are always going to seem ridiculous to someone.

But by the same token, these books continue to get published because they make the publishers money. If they didn’t, then publishers would stop publishing them. So perhaps if Biggs doesn’t want to see publishers publish more of this kind of book, he should be scolding the public, not the publishers.

Featured quote

You yearn to turn out a book-length, your typewriter is silently shrieking abuse, you are itching to go. First read! Read the work of top-notch writers in your field. They know how! Read first for entertainment, then reread for analysis. Soak yourself in their stuff-for atmosphere, color, technique.
– Fred East, June 1944

Writers can be mean

Dear reader,

Writers have a very mean side, a dark streak, a danger zone. It is uncanny how much pleasure a writer can get from thinking up misery, setbacks and other problems for the characters in a book.

For now I have: a hidden discovery, fires, a fire engine gone out of control with someone aboard who does not know how to deal with the thing, a very interesting way to get on a fire engine, a performance that brings a lot of stress, an encounter that will shock the area once it happens, and a lot of … that need to replaced with proper misery, malice, thieving and injustice. And of course there will be people in there too.

Good start for only a few minutes, isn’t it?

Two years

Dear reader,

It’s amazing but true. Two years ago I published my first little book, about a wicked witch called Grimhilda. Hilda for friends. When I pressed that “publish” button for the first time, little did I know…

What followed was a small avalanche of books (at least that is how it seems to me). More Hilda books, and people kept downloading them. I brought out a few books in a different genre too, but Hilda apparently is everyone’s darling. Not bad for a wicked witch. I started an author facebook page to have a way to interact with fans of my written heroes and heroines, which was a good idea. I met very nice people!

A very nice and also surprising milestone was the invitation to join the Alexandria Publishing Group, a collective of independent writers who stand for books that are good in every way. Not just the story, but also the grammar, spelling, etcetera. Quality all through the work.

I am grateful to Sharon and Jean, who made Hilda happen, and Arlene for nearly getting on my nerves to publish that first booklet of Hilda. Without them, this all would not have happened. Thank you, Carol, who patiently looks for all the mistakes I hide in the texts, and of course, I am grateful to the fans of Hilda, William, Babs and Lily (and all the others), for downloading and buying my books. Without them, this would never have taken off the way it has!

Two years. Amazing. How will things look two years from now…

ENGLISH IS A STUPID LANGUAGE

Lets face it

English is a stupid language.
There is no egg in the eggplant
No ham in the hamburger
And neither pine nor apple in the pineapple.
English muffins were not invented in England
French fries were not invented in France.

We sometimes take English for granted
But if we examine its paradoxes we find that
Quicksand takes you down slowly
Boxing rings are square
And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

If writers write, how come fingers don’t fing?
If the plural of tooth is teeth
Shouldn’t the plural of phone booth be phone beeth?
If the teacher taught,
Why didn’t the preacher praught?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables
What the heck does a humanitarian eat!?
Why do people recite at a play?
Yet play at a recital?
Park on driveways and
Drive on parkways
How can the weather be as hot as hell on one day,
And as cold as hell on another

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy
Of a language where a house can burn up as
It burns down
And in which you fill in a form
By filling it out
And a bell is only heard once it goes off!

English was invented by people, not computers,

And it reflects the creativity of the human race
(Which of course isn’t a race at all)

That is why
When the stars are out they are visible
But when the lights are out they are invisible
And why it is that when I wind up my watch
It starts
But when I wind up this poem
It ends.

 (Original found here.)

School fail

Dear reader,

Sometimes the IT departments of institutions are not doing the smart thing. You may have seen evidence of that here and there.

Last year a Dutch school made the headlines as they were the first school in the Netherlands to hand and ipad to all their students, to move into the digital age. This school invested a quarter of a million euros to accomodate that investment. Now this same school announced that they are taking back the ipads and returning to the paper books. And the reason? There is not enough Dutch study material available electronically, making the ipads basically useless.

This is something I have seen happen far too often. Wouldn’t it have been a show of sense to first examine if there is material available before spending such an amount of money on hardware?

(Source -in Dutch- here.)