Friday, May 28, 2010

SUPER SUMMER CONTEST - 2010


SUPER SUMMER CONTEST - 2010

 
Are you looking for a good summer read? Well this contest is for you...the Super Summer Contest 2010 has a three book prize package - all signed by the authors! And in addition, we've included a Barnes & Noble giftcard and a Starbucks giftcard too. So if you need a good read for the beach, the park, or the pool, here's how to enter...


Add a comment to this post with your entry categories and the total number of entries by June 6, 2010 (midnight).
+1 Become a blog follower (or current follower)
+1 Tell-a-Friend about the contest
+1 Tweet the contest
+1 Become a facebook follower (or current follower)

Winners will be chosen at random from all the entries received. The prize package includes: Signed copies of the following books...The One That I Want by Allison Winn Scotch, From Where The Rivers Come by Terin Tashi Miller, and An Unfinished House by K Patrick Malone. And there's more... a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card and a $10 Starbucks Gift Card.

Book Details:_______________________________________________________
The One That I Want: A Novel
Signed copy of The One That I Want by Allison Winn Scotch (New York Times Bestselling Author) - releasing June 1, 2010

What if you woke up one day to all your dreams coming true...but those dreams were more like nightmares? Tilly Farmer is thirty-two years old and has the perfect life she always dreamed of: married to her high school sweetheart, working as a school guidance counselor, trying for a baby. Perfect. But one sweltering afternoon at the local fair, everything changes. Tilly wanders into a fortune teller's tent and meets an old childhood friend, who offers her more than just a reading. "I'm giving you the gift of clarity," her friend says. "It's what I always thought you needed." And soon enough, Tilly starts seeing things: her alcoholic father relapsing, staggering out of a bar with his car keys in hand; her husband uprooting their happy, stable life, a packed U-Haul in their driveway. And even more disturbing, these visions start coming true. Suddenly Tilly's perfect life, so meticulously mapped out, seems to be crumbling around her. And as she furiously races to keep up with - and hopefully change - her destiny, she faces the question: Which life does she want? The one she's carefully nursed for decades, or the one she never considered possible? What if you could see into the future? Would you want to know what fate has in store?


From Where The Rivers ComeSigned copy of From Where the Rivers Come by Terin Tashi Miller 

Meetha Sharma, an Indian woman who attracts the affections of more than one young American student in Benares, desires to be like her American friends. But her desire has consequences, including for the traditional Hindu musician to whom she was promised when she was 13. “From Where The Rivers Come” received honorable mention recognition at the 2010 Paris Book Festival in the fiction category and the 2009 New York Book Festival, the London Book Festival and New England Book Festival.

An Unfinished HouseSigned copy of An Unfinished House by K Patrick Malone

Steel yourselves readers, because nothing you have ever read can prepare you for An Unfinished House, K. Patrick Malone's most harrowing and uncompromising foray yet into the darkness of both the natural and supernatural, and New York Book Festival 2009 Fiction First Runner Up. Michael Golden, a hard working, every man builder and family man comes home from work one evening to find that his shy home maker wife has been killed in a car accident leaving him with two small children in the historic old colonial house they'd just bought. But something no one could have ever imagined happens when an outlaw biker arrives on his doorstep with a secret so devastating that it rocks An Unfinished House and those who live there to the very core of their existence; tearing the face off of human emotion and redefining the meaning of the word "love" with a haunting that will peel the paint off your walls and an ending that will leave you . . .shattered.
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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Contest Alert - Second Annual Poetry Contest (Narrative Magazine)

Narrative Magazine: The Second Annual Poetry Contest is open to all poets and all forms of poetry. All entries will be considered for publication.

$1,500 First Prize $750 Second Prize $300 Third Prize Ten finalists receive $75 each.
 
Click here for more information: Second Annual Poetry Contest
 
*information quoted from the Narrative Magazine website

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Author Interview - Terin Tashi Miller

AUTHOR INTERVIEW - Terin Tashi Miller

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Terin Tashi Miller at The New Book Festival awards banquet last year at the famed Alonquin Hotel. He is the author of the book, "From Where the Rivers Come" which was a finalist in the 2010 Paris Book Festival, 2009 New York Book Festival, London Book Festival, and New England Book Festival. His enthusiasm for his work and for life in general is a great inspiration to writers everywhere. I think you'll enjoy learning more about Terin; his process & perspective on writing.


Your book, From Where The Rivers Come, is set in Benares, India and really brings a tangible feel to daily life there. What was your inspiration for writing a book set in India?
From Where The Rivers Come
Well, first of all, I’d lived there—in India—on-and-off during my “formative” years, starting when I was about 3 ½ and living in the hill districts and traveling with my parents, going to middle school in New Delhi after a few years back in the U.S., and winding up with a reporting trip I took as a journalist. I’d also spent a year in Benares—now officially Varanasi—as a language student at Benares Hindu University connected with the University of Wisconsin and, partly because my parents had never lived there, sort of adopted it as my city, the place in India I knew best because I’d lived there as a young, reasonably poor college student. It also struck me as where everything—life, death—in India either wound up eventually, or began (such as the Hindu and Buddhist religions).


I had a friend once leaving for the first time for Asia, to start covering Thailand. I told him to take great notes on his impressions of everything, from how he does his laundry to his daily routine, as he would never see the place as fresh as when he first arrived.


So, the short answer: the book, the setting, it was all in my head already. All I had to do was go back into my memories , like dreaming, and walk the streets…

What is your process for developing characters for your novels?
This is an excellent question. I have read many debates on it. I like to base my characters on people I either know, have met, or composites of both—it could even be someone who just attracted my eye on a bus or on the street. But I do firmly believe, as some well-known writers have said, you should not only know your characters before you write about them, you should know who their parents were as well.


The “good” characters as well as the “bad” characters probably see themselves if they read my novels. But I try to write them in such a way none of the people on whom they might “loosely” be based could or would ever want to challenge their characterization, lest they embarrass themselves.


Best thing about writing fiction: I lie. Sometimes a little. Sometimes a lot. But only I—and maybe a few who are objective observers of themselves—will ever know for sure how much or in what instance.


In a workshop I attended with Agent & Author Donald Maass, he said that a book’s setting should be treated like another character in the story. What are your thoughts on that?
Absolutely. First, I’d never presume to argue with Donald Maass, about anything—and especially about writing—at least, not until I have my own agent again. But seriously, Tolstoi, Turgenev, Prevost, Balzac, Galdos, all of them, they recognized that people don’t merely exist. They exist somewhere. And where they exist as much as how they exist helps shape, and in some cases define, their character.


My favorite depiction of India is a large watercolor I acquired from my parents’ home. It’s kind of greenish on bright white, and it’s a half-naked farmer, a “kisan-log,” turbaned, walking somewhat hunched over behind an ox pulling I think it was a plow (don’t have it out yet). The whiteness of the background is that of a bright, hot sun. It’s another reason I like to quote Ecclesiastes so much. That’s India, to me, in a nutshell. People come, people go. But the land abides forever.


You were a finalist in several recent book festivals. How have those accolades affected you as a writer?
They’ve inflated my already arguably air-filled ego, and occasionally help me to cage drinks. Seriously, it’s always nice to hear someone, somewhere, considers what you wrote worthy of praise. Or recognition. Or admission to a drink fest. How has it affected you? (The praise is uplifting for sure, but also getting to meet other writers that share in the same passion for books and stories - that is wonderful too.)


Do you have any specific writing habits that you follow?
I get up every morning at 5 a.m., make sure the baby’s fed, the cat’s fed, then work with a small, sharpened number 2 ticonderoga brand pencil in a teeny, tiny moleskin notebook….

Ha! Had you fooled! I know. I’m supposed to have a routine, to develop writing as a habit. Honestly, I have too many other routines—get up, get showered, shave, rush through breakfast to catch the train to work. Concentrate carefully on my work for 7 hours, rush to cach the train home. Then, depending on the day, my son has baseball, and or homework. And then there’s the television. Who wants to work at home?

My latest “habit” is to pull out an old-school “composition” notebook on the train to work, and drift mentally back into my story and start essentially taking notes on it with a fountain pen. Seriously. I first wrote with a fountain pen in India, at a time before they actually had ball-point pens. It wasn’t that long ago. But any technology India lacked was kept back from them, so don’t’ blame the country. I love fountain pens. The words literally flow from my brain to my fingers out in ink onto the page. No sharpening involved. I only have to refill them once in a while.

And composition notebooks are a handy size. I started at the advice of an old and dear friend, the mystery and Western writer Loren Estleman, with a “Big Chief” writing tablet and a pencil. I believe that’s how he still writes. I know he still types his manuscripts on a manual…

To me, the important thing is to get the idea onto paper. Any paper, and any way you can. I almost literally wrote a short story, “Like Murano Glass,” on a paper knapkin right there and then at Harry’s American Bar in Venice. It has the best, crispest (why not? It’s accurate) dry gin Martini I ever tasted in my life. My long-suffering wife wasn’t the least surprised after I took my first sip from the small juice-style glass that had been kept in a cooler behind the bar top almost as if it had been waiting for me that I had to start taking notes on a napkin.

I’m a habitual notetaker. There. That’s a habit I can suggest to be proud of.


If you woke up one day and learned you could no longer write, what would you do instead?
Hmmm. Can’t be flippant or people would take me seriously. Why couldn’t I write? Something wrong with my brain, or another physical part of my body? As long as the old gray-matter sparks, I figure I can probably write. It might not be any good, but I could dictate or even use “voice recognition” software if I had to. You don’t need hands, or fingers, or much more than a brain, really, to write, I don’t think. But if the old grey-matter just sits there like a dead battery….

I’m a pretty good motorcycle mechanic. And I’ve been everything from a dishwasher to a bartender. And I love to read….oh, and nap. I’m a great napper. I’m sure I’d find something to do.


How has your work as a reporter influenced what and how you write?
Immeasurably. I went into journalism—print journalism, not broadcast—because I came to realize a majority of my favorite writers, dating back to Mark Twain and Emile Zola, even Dante, were journalists. I got into journalism, as I explained to one of my favorite professors, to learn how to write. And to get into a field that could provide me the experiences from which to write. I owe eternal gratitude to every newspaper, every wire service, every person who ever hired me to write. And especially to Gene Kramer, former New Delhi bureau chief of The Associated Press. He knows why.


How aware are your kids of what you do? How do juggle responsibilities of being a father, husband, and writer?
My son is getting to the age now where he’s doing writing and reading in school and for homework. I recently helped him on an assignment by just telling him the best way I know how to start anything on a page. Start with the first simple, true, declarative sentence about something you know. It never fails. That’s precisely how I started “From Where The Rivers Come.”


What was the last book you read, and what are you reading now?
Hmmm. I’m currently reading a collection of the columns of Cecil Adams, the second compilation, “More Straight Dope.” And thoroughly loving it. Last book I read (as opposed to reread, which I do sometimes): Epiphinea, an interesting thriller about a physicist during the early Cold War in New Mexico.


What’s next for Terin Tashi Miller?
More of the same, hopefully. I’d like to write about three or four more novels, at least one set in Spain, and a non-fiction book on something I did in India. And short stories. I know a few of them I’d like to write.

My second novel, “Down The Low Road,” was a semifinalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

And travel. I like living in different places more than visiting. But there’s a number of places I’ve never visited I think I’d like.

About Terin Tashi Miller:
Terin spent many of his formative years in India, the child of anthropologist parents. Since then, has lived and worked in a variety of countries in Europe and Asia.

His writing has appeared in guide books, international magazines including Time and Geografica Revista, and newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, The Dallas Morning News and The Los Angeles Times.

He began his writing career as a part-time reporter for Time magazine, then worked for The Associated Press in India and North Dakota and AP-Dow Jones News Services in Spain and New York, and as a reporter for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Milwaukee Sentinel, Amarillo Daily News and the Hilton Head Island Packet. Born in St. Louis, Mo., and raised in Madison, Wis. and several provinces in India, he currently lives in New Jersey.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Exciting Week - Here's What's Coming...

This is an exciting week, because not only will I be launching a series of author interviews, but I'll also be announcing the details of the Super Summer Contest 2010. If you are an avid reader and looking for something new to add to your reading list this contest is for you.

So here's a taste of what's coming...

  • Wednesday - I'll be sharing my interview with Terin Tashi Miller, Author of "From Where The Rivers Come"
  • Thursday - to be determined
  • Friday - Super Summer Contest 2010 released - with details on the prize package and entry guidelines
  • Monday - off for the holiday weekend
  • Tuesday - Interview with New York Times Best-Selling Author Allison Winn Scotch
This is a week you don't want to miss!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pubit! by Barnes & Noble

Pubit! by Barnes & Noble is coming Summer 2010 - how cool! Get your name on the list now for additional information. Pubit! allows you to upload files & cover art, converts digital files to ePub format, and then allows you to sell your e-book with Barnes & Noble. This is good stuff!

Thanks Terin for sending me the link.   Check it out here: pubit!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Book Reports, Book Reviews, Interviews...and the Super Summer Contest

I think it's incredible that book reports are now written even in first grade! And here's my son's book report for George Shrinks, written by William Joyce. I don't remember doing book reports in first grade, do you?

George Shrinks Next week I'll be sharing my review of a book I'm finishing up by Allison Winn Scotch (New York Times Bestselling Author), Time Of My Life.

Time of My Life: A Novel
All I can say right now is this book has made me look at my own life in ways I hadn't done before. This book will stay with me for quite awhile. And to top it off, I'll be interviewing Allison in preparation for the release of her new book, The One That I Want - scheduled for release June 1st. AND in June we will have a signed copy of Allison's new book as part of the Super Summer Contest for readers & writers...right here...on this blog...so stay tuned. Many more prizes to be announced.
The One That I Want: A Novel

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

All Writers Get Rejected...

I couldn't pass up posting this link that I saw via Nathan Bransford's blog. We all get rejected, and here's the proof that even the best writers get rejected before they become big successes. So here it is: 50 Iconic Writers Who Were Repeatedly Rejected.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Habits

Habits are one of those tricky things in life that can either be the magic that contributes to success or the thing that can break someone's will. A writing habit, for example, is a good thing, and an essential part of having a prolific writing career. The habit of a work routine in a job that is uninspiring, that numbs the senses and tames the creative juices can be detrimental. So how do we decide which habits to keep and which ones to break? I think a person needs to take time, at regular intervals, to reevaluate the habits that we attach ourselves to, whether daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly. It's an individual decision. But if we just continue every habit we ever establish without taking a step back to decide the value of our daily routines, then we may miss important opportunities to refresh our perspectives; to create new and better habits for the future.

Here are some common habits/routines that can be considered for evaluation. These may or may not be ones that you need to evaluate in your life. But the key is to look at your habits and figure out which ones support your goals both in the present and the future.

1. Work environment habits

2. Commuting habits

3. Family life routines

4. Recreational activities

5. Future/Second career path activities

Monday, May 17, 2010

Free Books at The League of Extraordinary Writers

If you are a fan of dystopian & sci fi books, then you should check out the new blog: The League of Extraordinary Writers. They are doing a giveaway for free books. As quoted from the site:

"This month, we're giving away a SIGNED copy of Rick Yancey's MONTRUMOLOGIST (did I mention it won the Printz Honor?) and a SIGNED copy of Carrie Ryan's THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH and signed bookmarks by PJ Hoover and Maria Snyder and a signed magnet by Stacey Jay!"
I'm headed there now to sign-up myself.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Fortune That Rings True


I don't always open the fortune cookie after eating Chinese food. Many times my son gets to it before I do. He's a fortune cookie fanatic. But today, I broke open the cookie and found this nugget of wisdom, "It takes a lot of time to achieve instant success."

Hmmm. Maybe I needed that today, because to be honest I had let my revisions fall behind the last three days. Other things slipped ahead of my manuscript on the priority list. So maybe this quick little reminder will help me get back in gear, because without the work there is no success.

No matter how much you think someone is an overnight success, there's always work hidden behind it. At least for the ones that are talented and have staying power. And that's where I want to situate myself, with that group.

I've been putting in the time, but I'm not done yet. Back to work on revisions. Thanks to the universe for getting me back on track.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Great Movie - Hachi

I watched an amazing movie last night, and yet I had never heard of it until just recently when I saw a trailer for it's release on video. If you like tear-jerking animal flicks you have to run to your video store and rent Hachi - A dog's Tale. I cried for the last 1/2 hour non-stop. And it's based on a true story! Amazing! The main characters are played by Richard Gere and Joan Allen. It's a good family movie - G rating.


Hachi: A Dog's Tale

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Do You Have A Question for Allison Winn Scotch?

I'll be interviewing New York Times Bestselling author Allison Winn Scotch this week. If you have a question you'd like to ask, post it in the comments or send it to me via email. I'll pick two of the best questions submitted to include in the interview.
The One That I Want: A Novel

And stay tuned for the posting of the interview at the end of May. Allison's new book, The One That I Want, comes out June 1st.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Writing Toolbox

My Writing Toolbox:
Dictionary
Thesauras
Retractable pencil
laptop/paper/hard copy of ms
earplugs
calculator (for revision counts)
Glass of ice to crunch
Cup of tea (Chai Tea Latte)

What do you have in your writing toolbox?

Friday, May 07, 2010

Bye Bye Revision Blahs

For those of you who read yesterday's blog, you know I was in a revision slump. I just did not feel like doing it, end of story. But the good news is that instead of giving in to the blahs, I forced myself to start. I told myself it was ok to just get through 500 words and then I could make up another 500 today. Well the trickery worked, because once I started, the words were flowing faster than ever. I revised 1,255 words in under 45 minutes. That's a record for me I think. If I didn't have a full time job commitment and need sleep to function, I would have continued into the wee hours of the night.

Let's hope for some more quality revising today!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

I Just Don't Want to Revise Today...

I just don't feel like revising my manuscript today. I know I have to do something, but I'm just not in the mood. I know, I know, that means I need to revise more than ever. I've been on a roll for the last 15 days and I've kept to the 1,000 words per day schedule, and then there's today. I'm finding lot's of little things that I just HAVE to do tonight, and now it's already 10:15 pm and I still haven't started revising. Let's see...bills need to get paid, the fish needed some attention, my agenda needed updating, hmmm what else. Ok, I know, get to it all ready.

Ok, I've opened the manuscript. Here's the plan...I'm going to hit "publish" for this blog entry, and then I'm going to go straight to the word doc that's waiting for me. The goal is at least 500 words, and then I'll make up the other 500 tomorrow.

Here goes...publish.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

BooksTo Movies - Which Ones Work and Which Ones Don't

I think it's always interesting to see how a book transitions into a movie. Most times, I think the books are better, sometimes I feel that each are good in their own right, but rarely do I feel a movie is better than a book.  Here's my take on a few of my favorites...

I think most Stephen King books are much better than the movies. There's something about Stephen King's books that don't translate well into film.

The Lord of The Rings trilogy - Peter Jackson made the books come alive and created artistic genious in the movies.

The Lovely Bones - movie & book equally moving, I was on the edge of my seat watching the movie and I already knew what was going to happen!

The Twilight Saga - Books are better, but movies can stand on their own.

The Harry Potter series - The first two movies were a little tame, but then Bam! they picked up after that.

Eragon - movie sucked, book rocks

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Missed Opportunity

I missed a great opportunity to promote myself on Saturday, but as I think back over it, it's great to learn this lesson now, and fix it. I was at the hair salon for a day of hair beauty. I go to get my hair conditioned, colored, and cut. It's usually a 3-4 hour process, so I go prepared with my manuscript in hand and a pencil and eraser for editing. So throughout the process I pull out the manuscript when I can, like when the color is setting, and work on my writing. While I was working on Saturday, I had two people approach me and ask me if I was an educator. I politely told them no, that I was a writer editing a manuscript. They asked me a few more questions - they were curious and interested in what I was working on. Then the conversation moved on to other things. Had I been smart, and prepared, I would have talked up my book (with a prepared elevator pitch) and left them each with a business card that directed them to my website. One step further I could have asked them if they were interested in being added to my mailing list.

So, here's the checklist I've put together with what I need to prepare to be ready for the next opportunity:
  • revise my elevator pitch (I had one from about a year ago, but my novel has changed so much I need to review it and revise)
  • create an extended pitch
  • practice my pitches until they flow as if in conversation
  • update my business cards. The ones I have are outdated, I need to be sure to include my blog address, a 1 sentence bio, and my elevator pitch on the back of the card
Once those are done, then I just need to make sure I don't leave the house without bringing what I need with me.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Book Covers & Titles

"Never judge a book by its cover." I think we've all heard that saying before, and used it too. I now realize how apropos it really is. I mentioned on Friday that I was reading The Midnight Charter, and I finished it yesterday. After I put it down, I realized that the cover never did it any justice. Granted I was reading an ARC copy, and the cover got changed before it was released, so thankfully someone saw that the change was needed. The ARC copy cover is a feather next to an ink spot (which is taken from a scene in the book) and the colors are dark browns. My first impression when I got the book, from the cover and the title combination was a book rooted in history (not usually my thing). So I let it sit on the shelf for nearly seven months before finally picking it up to read it. I probably would not have given it a second glance in the bookstore. The updated cover is shown below, which adds more drama and intrigue which is better suited for the book.

And there is the important lesson that I got out of this. The cover and the title have to attract the readers that the book is meant for, if not you've already got a black mark against you in selling the book.
The Midnight Charter