Has just released a new book of fantasy poems.
This book showcases his talent at interweaving
prose with his phenomenal imagination. If you
haven’t picked up your copy yet, you may do so here
for only .99 cents!Okay enough about you Charles. Sheesh. In case you are admiring the awesomeness of this cover and the idea of the claws of an unknown beast slashing through it, you can thank Charles’ wife for this. She did this cover. I have rarely met anyone as talented as she is, she can literally do just about anything without breaking a sweat. You can find her blog here: If you would like to have your family/event photos made into an unforgettable scrapbook, contact her. She really is very talented and has a truly incredible ability with visual perception and design.
In 2005, 14-year-old Savannah Grace’s world is shattered when her mother unexpectedly announces that she and her family (mother, 45; brother, 25; sister, 17) would soon embark on an incredible, open-ended journey. When everything from her pets to the house she lived in is either sold, given away or put in storage, this naïve teenage girl runs headlong into the reality and hardships of a life on the road.
Built around a startling backdrop of over eighty countries (I Grew my Boobs in China relates the family’s adventures in China and Mongolia), this is a tale of feminine maturation – of Savannah’s metamorphosis from ingénue to woman-of-the-world. Nibbling roasted duck tongues in China and being stranded in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert are just two experiences that contribute to Savannah’s exploration of new cultures and to the process of adapting to the world around her.
The first portion of this memoir tells the story of the average teenage girl. She is somewhat insecure, has had plenty of experience being the new kid in town and is trying to settle into a rhythm in her young life. She loves her dog, her best friend and her family. A phone call changes all of her plans, when her mother decides they are going to travel through China and live out of a backpack for a full year.
I could feel the devastation that young Savannah felt through her writing. She is very talented at expressing her memories and emotions through words and truly makes the reader feel as though they are right along beside her for the duration of the journey. What a journey it turns out to be–so many ways to experience all of your senses in this book!
It was amazing to read about this girl and her family and how much she grew up and changed over the course of their adventures. The descriptive language she uses to tell of her surroundings and each new place they visit made this somewhat like watching a movie. You could smell the air and see the colours through her words.
This is more than just a simple travel memoir. This is a story of spiritual and mental growth, physical change and family. Be careful when you read this, you might just want to sell everything you own and buy a sturdy backpack for your own adventure.
One of the main things I enjoyed about this book was the humor. There is a thread of hilarity that spans the course of the story, and the author never loses the ability to make her reader feel warm inside even during the portions that are more serious.
This is an excellent book from a talented author, and I recommend checking it out. You won’t be sorry you did.
On one final note–what a great title for a book!
My very first Author of the Week is the lovely Sarah Cradit. Sarah is smart as a whip, funny and has been one of my very favourite bloggers ever since I started this blog.
She is also an author and has written a series that you will not want to miss. You can already find St. Charles at Dusk and will soon be able to get your hands on the second book in the series.
For more info on how to find Sarah’s books or if you just want to go say hello to her, click here:
Here is the description:
Owen Sage is the emblematic college freshman at Easton Falls University. He studies hard, plays hard, and is incredibly charming. With all the worries about his first year in college, he was not prepared for what would happen next. His way of life was flipped upside down when he was drawn into a different world, a world unbeknownst to him. He mysteriously crossed into another dimension, into the beautiful land of Everville. His tragic excitement was abruptly halted when he discovered that there was a darkness forged against both the natural world, which he knew well, and the new land which he discovered, Everville. He must devise a plan to save both worlds while joining forces with the race of Fron and The Keepers, whom both harbor hidden secrets he must learn in order to gain power over the evil that dwells in The Other In Between.
With a race against time to save both worlds, his short time at Easton Falls did not quite prepare him for the evil, dark forces he must fight in order to conquer The Other In Between.–goodreads
I read this book and fell in love with it. Roy Huff has a unique style that makes you feel almost as if you are one of his characters.
I asked him to do a guest post about publishing and why he chose the route he did, and he kindly agreed to do so.
You can find him at
Please welcome him to Readful Things:)
The original idea to write the book Everville: The First Pillar came from the response I received to an English paper written for a college course I had taken. It was the first time, I had seriously thought about writing a book, though I had often flirted with the idea through various stages of my adult life. After I decided to embark on the journey of writing a book, my initial plan was to go the traditional publishing route. My thoughts were that I wanted to be respected in the writing community as well as have a better chance at a commercially viable book. Even though I expected it to be a little more challenging, I thought using the standard method would make the most sense.
Over the next eighteen months, I slowly wrote a page or two in fits and starts, while periodically doing research into literary agents, publishing companies, and what would be the best approach to getting published. It soon became clear that before I even approached a literary agent, I would need to have a polished manuscript. Even then, it would still be difficult to find an agent willing to look at the completed manuscript, and I would likely receive numerous rejections beforehand. If I were fortunate enough find a literary agent who would have been willing to represent me, the manuscript would still need to be sent to publishers for review with no guarantee that it would be accepted. I could have tried to go directly to the publishers, but considering most publishers do not even consider unpublished authors, it seemed unlikely that would have been a good idea.
After writing only thirty pages, I realized that the daunting task of getting represented and published was preventing me from writing the book. I did want the book to be commercially successful, but I also wanted to finish the idea that I had in my head as well as make a contribution to the literary world. I then did a little more research into self-publishing and e-book options, and I eventually decided that it would be the best approach. Once I made the decision to self-publish, through Kindle as well as print, I finished the first draft in three months and took other steps to market the book. I can honestly say, that had I not done that, the book would not have been written.
If only for the purpose of completing the book, self-publishing was clearly the correct choice. There were some mistakes that were made, and the traditional route may still be an option now that the first book in published, but the initial decision has so far seemed like the right one, and it has allowed me to start on a path that I otherwise might not have taken. Whether the book or subsequent books in the series achieve commercial success, remains to be seen, but deciding to take the plunge and self-publish has encouraged me to make connections and contacts in the writing community, as well as research additional ways to improve my writing and market future books. More importantly, has also allowed me the opportunity to get feedback from readers who have already been inspired by my work. That alone has made it all worth it.
Thank you so much Roy for sharing your thoughts with us. I would love to have you back for another visit to tell us more about your series!
You can see my review of Roy’s fantastic book here:
It’s Thursday (thank goodness) and we are back with the next part in the Marketing tips series featuring the well spoken gentleman Harry Steinman. He paid me to say that. I don’t say kind things for free.I would once again like to thank Harry for sharing his wisdom, his success stories, trials and errors with all of us. He is a man that one can learn a lot from and I truly, greatly appreciate his friendship. Okay, I gave him that one free. I might send him a bill later. Feel free to ask Harry questions and make him tell you his secrets. Studies say that nothing keeps the brain young like giving it a good workout. If you missed part one and two, you can find them here.
Overnight Success: the Planter and the
By Harry Steinman, a Guy Who Sold
Some Books Despite
Writers: heed the wisdom of a clever proverb, “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”
Many experts say it’s part of ancient Chinese lore. One internet authority credits the bon mot to a guy named Tom. Whatever its literary DNA, the proverb reveals an important instruction on a preliminary task in the self-publishing process.
First, let’s take a one-minute review of Parts I and II. The main point of, “Hot Stoves and Wet Paint” was, “Marketing is the backbone of publishing. You publish because you want others to read your writing. Marketing connects you to your readers.”
Don’t like the word, “marketing”? Think it’s whorish, Madison Avenue, snake-oil deception? Then go on to the second post, “Know Thy Reader”. You’ll discover that marketing is simply figuring out who is your audience and communicating clearly and honestly with those readers.
Today’s installment covers another step in preparing for self-publication: building a platform. Here is a story of two writers, two books, two successes and two approaches that reflect the ancient tree-planting wisdom.
Kelly Thompson a free-lance writer, blogger, graphic novelist, habitué of social networks and interest groups. And she’s a damned good writer. Her debut novel, The Girl Who Would Be King garnered kudos from the likes of io9, USA Today, and 72 Amazon reviewers.
Kelly planted her tree ten years ago when she submitted her first poem for publication. Now she touches several thousand readers through her website, blog, free-lance writing, Twitter, Facebook, and regular columns in a constellation of publications. She says that she offered much of it for free during the tree-growing years, and the freebies paid off. Today, she enjoys a platform any independent writer would envy.
Me? I’m a palooka with a pencil. I planted my tree—created a platform—as an afterthought. Kelly grew her audience. I bought mine. Want my advice on which choose? Emulate Kelly. It takes longer. It’s harder. It works better. Build a platform before you publish.
What, exactly, is a platform? Writer’s Digest magazine defines a platform as, “your personal ability to sell books through (1) who you are, (2) [your] personal and professional connections (3) any media outlets (including blogs and social networks) that you use to sell books.”
According to Forbes magazine, the model emphasizes, “an unobstructed back and forth between authors and their readers, with the authors — not the publishers — controlling the flow.”
Kelly Thompson did what she loved—wrote—to build a platform. She contributed her writing as often as possible, including freelance assignments. “Freelance doesn’t pay well—often not at all—but you create a lot of content. You write about what you love, you learn about deadlines and editing, and you build a platform.”
Blogging helped build her platform too. “I started blogging in 2007…by 2009 I was writing for other sites. That led to regular, paid columns…and a following. I suspect people could feel my genuine interest and love for superheroes—and they responded by supporting my fictional work. At some point, I discovered that I’d built a platform.”
Kelly is not a one-call closer. She stays connected to her audience. “I built my audience through quality content on Twitter, my blogs and pieces I write for other publications.”
The effort paid off. Her novel, The Girl Who Would Be King, gathered critical attention…and sales.
If I were to publish my first novel again, I’d follow Kelly’s lead. Take at least a year or two to build a platform. But patience isn’t my long suit and I thought I could use my sales and marketing experience to create an overnight success. I read an armful of books on how to be an instant best-seller. There were a few good tips, and little more. (Even the authors of these books are not best-selling authors—except when they had built a following before publication.)
The result? I sold books, sometimes a lot of books. But I gained few followers. Little Deadly Things now hits best-seller status only when I’m running a promotion. I lack sneezers—readers who can infect others with their enthusiasm. Sure, I sold books, but through transactions, not through followers.
Advertising is a long-term effort. You need several months to test even a few ads. You can run only one ad at a time if you want to determine which ads draw. You must test at different times of the year to rule out seasonal effects. For example, Christmas can be a boon; July 4 can be a bust.
When you finally identify a handful of ads and promotions that work, guess what? You’ll have spent about as much time testing ads as you would building a platform the old-fashioned way, follower by follower—like Kelly Thompson and other tree-planters.
So, before you start the publishing process, be sure you’ve built a platform. A damned good book isn’t enough. You need an audience, too.
A Kindle best-seller
on sale on Amazon or www.littledeadlythings.com
Every purchase supports the Young Adult Writers Program at
Anna Sanchez, a recent college graduate, has inherited the family cattle ranch. Having promised her mother she would take care of it, she is now faced with a tough choice.
She is a city girl, and running a cattle business certainly isn’t in her plans.
A lot of repairs need to be done and she hires Steve Johnson, a local handyman. Their first encounter leaves them both at a disadvantage.
Through the summer’s adventures, including a wildlife encounter that turns deadly, and a shadow from her past, Anna will learn that things don’t always go according to even the most organized aspirations.–Description generously loaned from Goodreads
The characters themselves are an interesting bunch with diversity and flaws that make them seem more real. I had no trouble identifying with the main character. The things she thought, said and did many times were things I find myself doing.
I liked that the author didn’t choose to make her main female character perfect. I hate perfect characters and never feel close to them. Both the male and female lead characters in this book have things that hold them back from one another and make it exciting to read. You just aren’t ever sure exactly if things are going to turn out as you expect them to.
The even better:
The descriptions Robynn Gabel uses throughout her book give you a real sense of being there. You can see the town, the house she is in and even the expressions on the character’s faces. I never felt while reading this like I had to guess where the activity was taking place.
This author has an excellent way with showing emotion through the actions and reactions of her characters without having to return to the basic ‘and then she cried’ or ‘she smiled’ a million times. This is something that I see overused in a lot of books, and I was impressed that Robynn found ways around that type of redundant word usage.
The Best: This plot is not as simple as it first seems. There are other things going on besides just the romance angle between the two main characters. There is a bit of mystery, some suspense and well written and believable side stories that tie together to form an enjoyable reading experience.
Thankfully, there isn’t much in this book that I didn’t love, but if I was pressed to choose something that could be improved, I would say it would be that the dialogue between Anna and the secondary characters other than Steve felt a bit labored. I do understand that the two main characters require the most spotlight and development, but the other conversations in the book felt a little lacking in some places.
Overall, this is a book I would recommend to any romance lover. There is a nice amount of love, romance, bonding, friendship and spice in this novel. I look forward to seeing what this author comes up with after this. A very good debut.
This book opens in a small town in Michigan where fifteen-year-old Sarah Cole is stuck spending the summer at her Aunt and Uncle’s with her sister, Lacey. She’s not happy with the situation until she befriends a girl named Jackie. The three girls stumble upon the ruthless murder of a reclusive neighborhood woman. One of the officers investigating the crime believes the girls are responsible for her death. Fearing that this officer will frame them for the murder, the girls organize their own detective squad. They become the Super Spies and start their own fact-finding mission. The Super Spies can’t understand why anyone would want to murder the “Cat Lady” until they start digging into her past and discover a horrible crime that happened thirty years ago. They uncover a connection between the two crimes and attempt to bring this information to the police, only to be reprimanded for meddling in the inquest. Not only are the girls upset by the admonition, but they also struggle with the fact that their exuberant investigating could provide a legal loophole allowing the killer to go free. To make matters worse, the police don’t even believe them. Frustrated by this turn of events, the Super Spies realize it’s up to them to snare the Cat Lady killer.–Description taken from Goodreads
You can go visit Lisa and find out more over at lisaorchard.wordpress.com
If you grew up reading Nancy Drew or Judy Blume, then this book will feel like a return to your childhood. What I found endearing about this novel, was the author’s ability to get inside the mind of young teen girls and make the dialogue between them seem believable. A lot of authors attempt this, and few succeed as well as Lisa Orchard has with this book. I like feeling as though I am listening to an actual conversation, and that was easy to imagine while reading this.
The characters are a good match for one another. There is the annoying little sister, the daring and bold friend and the not always certain but still determined older sister. I found them to work off of each other well and the varied personalities added a nice tension to the story even before the real mystery began. I knew pretty early on in this story that i would enjoy it.
The one thing I would like to note, is that visually speaking, I couldn’t get a very clear picture of the characters in the beginning. While the author did not waste space giving the reader too much description, she also didn’t offer up quite enough in my opinion.If I can picture the main characters within the first few chapters I can relate to them more easily.
Plot-wise, this book moves along at a nice pace, and the eventual resolution to the mystery was not completely expected. This is important to me, as I hate guessing right within the first couple of chapters. The suspense was just right, not too much to be unbelievable, but enough to keep the reader turning pages.
I think these are strong enough characters to lead a series, my only concern would be, how many times can these girls get themselves into such situations before there just isn’t any way for the reader to believe that this much could happen to one group of kids? If Lisa Orchard can keep going with this series, while coming up with new mysteries for the group to solve she just mind find herself up there with the aforementioned greats. She certainly has the talent and understanding of how to tell a good story.
I would recommend this book for kids age 12 and over and anyone who enjoys a good mystery. The story is worth the time.
The story of the R.M.S. Titanic has always been close to my heart. Every year I try to do something to honour the memories of those who were lost on that icy night. What better way to commemorate Titanic week than with Walter Lord’s Classic works, “A Night to Remember” and “The Night Lives On”
The complete story of the sinking of the Titanic, told by Walter Lord in two acclaimed and riveting chronicles of the ship’s doomed maiden voyage
In just two hours and forty minutes, 1,500 souls were lost at sea when the RMS Titanic succumbed to the icy waters of the North Atlantic. Based on interviews with sixty-three survivors, A Night to Remember tells the story of that fateful night, offering a meticulous and engrossing look at one of the twentieth century’s most infamous disasters. In The Night Lives On, Lord revisits the unsinkable ship, diving into the multitude of theories—both factual and fanciful—about the Titanic’s last hours. Was the ship really christened before setting sail on its maiden voyage? How did its wireless operators fail so badly, and why did the nearby Californian, just ten miles away when the Titanic struck the iceberg, not come to the rescue? Together for the first time, Lord’s classic bestseller A Night to Remember and his subsequent study The Night Lives On offer remarkable insight into the maritime catastrophe that continues to fascinate and horrify a full century later.–Description generously loaned by Goodreads
This may be one of the most talked about disasters in the history of the human (and particularly maritime) world, but it never touches your heart quite the way it does when you hear it told step by brutal step with actual accounts of the survivors and stories from the remaining crew that did not meet their fateful end with the ship of dreams. I was amazed the first time I read this, and was equally as amazed this time.
This was the first time I had ever read “The Night Lives On” and it added to the overall experience by filling in all of the lesser known details that were not covered in the first book. Years after this disaster happened, the media still gets their reports wrong when a disaster does strike. It makes one stop and think about what we really believe and how information is passed along to us.
I think the most important part of this story, and what makes it so enduring, is how preventable it actually was. The lack of lifeboats, the unheeded warnings about the fields of ice, and the determination to be the biggest, fastest and most impressive vessel in the world ended the lives of more than 1500 people that night, not an iceberg. Throughout the various ages of history there have been many fine examples of things being overlooked that caused mass destruction, and the Titanic disaster is certainly no exception.
The author of this book did more than just his research. He opened the eyes of all who have read it to a startling revelation: Nothing is impossible, unthinkable or unsinkable. Should you wish to know more about this great seafaring blunder or just find a compelling read to while away the hours, this is a first rate choice.
This review is based on a digital ARC from Open Road Media.
Love at first sight shakes Angel to her core. No doubt her love is real she up and leaves her security for life at a harness-racing track. Tensions begin to rise in her new environment. Even though she is devoted to Stephen her insecurities creep in. She finds herself going in a new direction. A direction that wasn’t her. She experiences a lot of dips and dives as she tries to sustain her sanity.
The times she feels pain, fear, frustration and anger Stephen comes through for her in a very big way.–Description from Goodreads
My thoughts on this book:
“No Reigns” is a charming love story about a girl who falls instantly in love and must navigate the rough road to her chosen one’s heart while helping to maintain her family’s horse stable.
I liked this book for two main reasons. First, the main character is young and the romance that blossoms throughout this book was well thought out and appropriate for the age of the character. Rather than following the cliched not much happens and everything is peachy format that many authors who choose a young character tend to take, Angie Skelhorn offered up a dose of reality in this book. There are unexpected twists to this story that I didn’t see coming.
Secondly, I felt the descriptions of the horses, the stables and the general environment were dead on. This allowed me to appreciate the story without stopping every few minutes to shake my head and wonder if the author had any idea what she was talking about. I find that fiction which is grounded in reality is far more enjoyable than the type where the author just doesn’t know anything about their setting.
There are some characters you love right away, and one that you can’t help but hate. I liked the varied personalities in this novel, it gave the book depth.
The story that is told in this book is believable, endearing and just makes you feel good by the time you are finished reading. My only complaint, and it is a small one, is that when the magic happens at the end of the story, I would have liked to have seen more pizazz. You grow to love the characters in this book and support them on their journey, and I thought they deserved a little more fireworks and cannon fire when they reached their eventual goal.
Overall, this was fun to read, well written and the kind of romance that reminds a reader why they like the genre in the first place. Angie Skelhorn is clearly a talented author who knows how to write a book you want to read.