Sunday, June 25, 2017

What is the most pivotal point of an author’s life? l Dorothy Thompson

6:10 PM 0 Comments

Nothing compares to that euphoria one feels when they see their published book for the first time. There are many exhilaring points of being an author. That’s only one of them. From the time our words are put on paper to the time when our book is published and all the trials and tribulations that go along with it, nothing compares to it.

There have been many pivotal points in my own writing career – too many to remember – but I do recall one time when I was working and all I could do was talk about my upcoming release. After it was published, I carried my books with me everywhere, selling them to whoever was interested. But maybe the most pivotal point in my whole writing career was when one of the editors of OK! Magazine contacted me by email to arrange a phone interview about Jennifer Anniston and Vince Vaughn’s failing relationship. I had established myself as a relationship expert at the time and that’s how the editor found me – Google. Isn’t that the neatest thing? God love the Internet. A week after he took my quotes, it appeared in the next OK! Magazine in grocery stores all over the country. I’ll never forget it. It was definitely one of my best pivotal moments.

I asked other authors what was their most pivotal point in their writing career as published authors. Maybe you can relate?

“The first time I signed a copy of a book for somebody.”

“The day that my book was published so I can finally share my story with the world.”

“I think it was getting published after the many rejections.”

“When I really learned what a “flat character” meant. Good writing is so much about character development and finding ways to make readers fall in love with a character was what really changed my writing.”

“It was actually a letter I wrote to a girl who I was interested in, while I was in college.   It was a long, rambling, comic description of a train ride I was on, and it was something of an aha moment about how to inject life and wit into descriptions of the everyday world around you - the little overheard snippets of conversation, the passing daydreams, the petty annoyance of your neighbor’s snoring.  Thinking back, it is not really surprising that my first passably decent bit of writing was born of an effort to impress a girl.”

In my mid 20’s I was fortunate enough to be accepted as a Scholar into Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf Conference where I met the late novelist, John Gardner.  John became my mentor and over the next few years I returned to Bread Loaf as a scholar two more times.  There I worked with other greats of that era, John Irving, Toni Morrison and Tim O’Brien. I also studied with John back in DC and Virginia. Gardner was hands down the best teacher I have ever had for any subject ever.  It was through my work with him that I found my essential voice and truly began my career as a writer.”

I think I’d say when I discovered that I actually had a talent to write in a way that people wanted to read me and were affected meaningfully by what I wrote.”

“Actually holding a physical copy of the book in my hands after working towards that moment for so long was very emotional for me, and almost surreal. It was the culmination of countless hours of writing, rereading and rewriting, editing, the queries, and back and forth between me and the publisher, so it was really a great relief to have the final result in my bookshelf.”

“I think the first time I met with an agent. That first time was really scary because I had no idea what to expect. But now it’s over and I rarely get nervous pitching to agents these days. They are usually very pleasant and helpful…unlike that mean gatekeeper image we often picture in our minds.”

“Getting stopped in a restaurant by someone who recognized me from a magazine bio picture.   That was a pure ego rush for a struggling grad student.”

Interesting how many different kinds of pivotal points there is in an author’s life. What’s your most pivotal moment as an author so far?

Dorothy Thompson is President/Founder of Pump Up Your Book with over twelve years experience in book publicity. She is also the compiler/editor of Romancing the Soul (Zumaya 2004) and writes a syndicated relationship column for online and print publications including, MindBodySpirit Magazine, Singles Café, SinglesStop, Into the Mystic and other New Age publications. She also writes articles for the Eastern Shore News and The Daily Times.  Her upcoming book, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Soul Mates And Were Not Afraid to Ask, will be released in 2017.

Dorothy has appeared on Lifetime Radio with Donna Britt and the Around2It radio show with Delores Thornton at ArtistFirst Radio, as well as being featured in the Spring ’03 issue of Pleasant Living Magazine and has been quoted in the supermarket tabloid, OK! Magazine. Aside from writing and speaking, Dorothy is a book publicist and founder/owner of Pump Up Your Book, an award winning public relations company promoting authors, publicists and publishers on the web.  Dorothy has represented such celebrities as Paula Deen and Judge Glenda Hatchett, as well as representing other critically acclaimed authors such as John Locke, Claire Cook, Caridad Pineiro, Cody McFayden, Lisa Jackson, Ray Comfort, Jane Green and hundreds more.

Ms. Thompson resides on the beautiful island of Chincoteague, Virginia.  She enjoys biking, traveling and spoiling her beloved Maltese, Cody (aka Booder) and her high-spirited Sheltie, Khloe. Never a dull moment!

Follow her on twitter at

Friday, June 23, 2017

Amazon Bestseller Lists: Why Some Books Make It and Some Don't by Dorothy Thompson

6:12 AM 0 Comments
As of this writing, I have had some wonderful news. Several of my authors have made bestseller lists at Amazon and I’m still not finished checking all of them. But the ones I have checked – while some have made it and others not so much – I knew there had to be a secret or a formula for this sudden success for some of them.

If your goal is to make Amazon’s bestseller list for your particular genre, here’s what I have figured out. I pay close attention to Amazon rankings. While they don’t tell the whole picture of how many books are selling, making it on the bestselling categories definitely means something is moving. Oh,
don’t I wish I had a magic wand which would open the doors of Amazon once and for all and be able to tell me how many books my authors are selling. Only the publisher has privy to that information.

I am but a lowly book promoter. But, I do keep a watchful eye on things in the hope that I can figure out the Amazon jigsaw puzzle. This is how I learn. And grow. And pass on this valuable information to my authors so that they can achieve success. Getting to #1 in any particular main category is huge. This is what happened to one of my clients, Kevin Bohacz, and I wanted to find out how his book, Immortality, achieved this. Scientifically, of course. Sales, you say? Of course sales, but why did these people want to buy it? That’s the million dollar question. If we knew this, then everything else would be a piece of cake. The author wasn’t particularly very well known in the book community. He was self-published, and the only method of promotion I knew he was undertaking was the blog tour which I set up for him. He didn’t even have a Twitter account until I suggested he get one. One week into the tour, he contacts me with this super great news that he is a new Amazon bestseller. Sure, it makes him proud, but I don’t know who was prouder, him or me. I’m like a mama hen. When my chicks do well, I am prouder than a one-legged man winning a potato sack race.

But to know more about me, I am an experimenter. I’m a modern day Emmett Brown. I want to go to places not too many people know about whether it’s back to the future or not. But to get to the main point of this article – I think I know how he did it and when I tell you, you’re going to agree with me that it’s not rocket science.

 Kevin’s book was available as an eBook. And…it was priced at 99 cents. Aha, you say? Yep. That’s the secret. This author’s book was priced as reasonable as he could go without giving the book away. What’s good about this is that his #1 status showed up in the paid rankings and not the free ones. And today he gave me more wonderful news. He’s the 38th most popular sci-fi author on Amazon, and his book is the 20th most popular sci-fi on Amazon.

From what I learned in the last year or so of keeping watch, eBooks are selling better than paperbacks and in order for you to gain merit and not have to give your book away, price it as low as you can get it. It’s okay. You can always raise the price later if you’re self-published which Kevin was.

This won’t work if you’re with a publisher because they don’t like to budge in price. You ask them if they’ll lower your book to 99 cents and watch them laugh you out the door; although I have seen it starting to happen slowly recently with one small press publisher, and there might be more out there who will do this for a short period of time. But don’t count on it if you’re published with the big kahunas. It ain’t gonna happen.

Their eBooks are priced higher than the paperback sometimes. Case in point, I went to buy Stephen King’s On Writing, two years ago at Amazon. The paperback ended up being cheaper than the eBook which didn’t make any sense at all. Of course, I bought the paperback. Don’t even ask why they did that because I don’t have the answer to that, but they’re getting better about it. I think they like taking baby steps opposed to giant leaps when it comes to learning new things, or they’ve got it in their heads “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

So, you price your eBook as low as you can go, just long enough to see what kind of difference it makes. I have another author, Lauren Carr, who made #3 in the paid section for cozy mysteries during her tour with us. That’s no easy feat as there are many, many cozies at Amazon right now. Her book, Twelve to Murder, is only available as an eBook and is priced at 99 cents also.

I had a chance to talk to Lauren, who also happens to be the owner of her own publishing company, Acorn Book Services, and she told me she sold 2500 eBooks two weeks into her tour. Do the math. That’s sweet income, and it happens to be her biggest seller to date.

“My biggest seller right now is Twelve to Murder,” she says. “That had sold 2500 in eBook since the first of March, when the tour started. The lion’s share of my sales is in eBook at 99 cents each. I always keep my eBooks at 99 cents and make a lot of money due to the volume of sales. I have a very hard time convincing authors to keep their prices low on their eBooks. Readers don’t want to gamble a lot of money on an author they don’t know. They don’t blink about spending 99 cents on an unknown, and if they like the book, they feel like they’ve found a treasure.”

Here’s a really neat tidbit of information. When you achieve #1 or #3 or anywhere in the top of your category, you’re now known as an Amazon bestselling author. I had one author achieve this, and he ended up putting that wonderful fact on the covers of his subsequent books. Also, you can use your new star status to your advantage when trying to get the attention of the big publishers. Publishers pay attention to rankings. Don’t think they don’t. This is how Amanda Hocking got her super deal, and we’re all familiar with that story.

It just all depends on whether you want to end up on bestseller lists or make less money in the long run by pricing your eBook higher. What authors don’t realize is that when it’s all said and done, you’ll still make just as much money and even more so if you just bite the bullet and give it a chance.
If making bestselling status at Amazon hasn’t been in the cards for you lately, try lowering the price and making sure it’s available in eBook format and see what happens.

Dorothy Thompson is President/Founder of Pump Up Your Book with over twelve years experience in book publicity. She is also the compiler/editor of Romancing the Soul (Zumaya 2004) and writes a syndicated relationship column for online and print publications including, MindBodySpirit Magazine, Singles Café, SinglesStop, Into the Mystic and other New Age publications. She also writes articles for the Eastern Shore News and The Daily Times.  Her upcoming book, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Soul Mates And Were Not Afraid to Ask, will be released in 2017.

Dorothy has appeared on Lifetime Radio with Donna Britt and the Around2It radio show with Delores Thornton at ArtistFirst Radio, as well as being featured in the Spring ’03 issue of Pleasant Living Magazine and has been quoted in the supermarket tabloid, OK! Magazine. Aside from writing and speaking, Dorothy is a book publicist and founder/owner of Pump Up Your Book, an award winning public relations company promoting authors, publicists and publishers on the web.  Dorothy has represented such celebrities as Paula Deen and Judge Glenda Hatchett, as well as representing other critically acclaimed authors such as John Locke, Claire Cook, Caridad Pineiro, Cody McFayden, Lisa Jackson, Ray Comfort, Jane Green and hundreds more.

Ms. Thompson resides on the beautiful island of Chincoteague, Virginia.  She enjoys biking, traveling and spoiling her beloved Maltese, Cody (aka Booder) and her high-spirited Sheltie, Khloe. Never a dull moment!

Follow her on twitter at

Monday, June 19, 2017

Writing Humor into Your Work by S.K. Nicholls

3:17 PM 0 Comments
My favorite books are the wacko Florida regional crime adventures for which my lovely State is famous. The characters in Tim Dorsey’s series, Serge and Coleman, serial killers who only murder scammers, are knee-slapping hilarious. Carl Hiaasen’s Skink, an old man who lives in the swamps, fights crime, and used to be Governor makes me chuckle every few pages. Tim Baker’s Ike, a former Navy Seal, who works as a strong arm for a bookie that owns a restaurant on A1A but tracks down outrageous criminals encroaching on his turf, has me laughing out loud every couple of chapters. And there are many others that keep me highly entertained.
Murder is easy, humor is hard.
I have heard humorist say you’ve either got it or you don’t, but there are techniques to employ in writing humor or gearing up to write humor. It doesn’t matter if you are writing chick-lit, crime romps, romance, or fantasy, keeping people entertained is a large part of what writers do. Most fiction has room for comic relief. But, you say, “I’m not a comedian.” That’s okay. There are many ways to interject funny into your work; writing words out of context, using puns, and more. Today I’m going to tell you about four of these ways to include humor in any work:
·       Banter
·       Slapstick
·       Sarcasm
·       Clever Jokes
At the end of this post, I’ll introduce you to my warm up method for getting into the right mind to write humor.
Banter is likely the easiest way to work humor into your work—if you have the right characters. It works well to slow pace between action scenes. For banter to work best, the characters have to spend enough time with each other and know each other well enough to understand how to push each other’s buttons. Opposing personalities make this an easier trick to pull off.
In Naked Alliances, Richard and Brandi, co-protagonists, are like oil and vinegar. He’s a private investigator, reserved, chivalrous, and prefers to work alone. She’s an outrageous exotic dancer, brassy, and loud. Their opposing personalities make it easy to toss one-liners back and forth in dialog that also aids in demonstrating or “showing” their personalities.
“No, nuh-uh,” he said, imitating Brandi when she wasn’t happy with how things were going. “We’re trying to look inconspicuous here.”
She stretched the back of her luminous dress down to cover her buttocks. “It’s party time and this is who I am. I’m an exhibitionist, you know.”
“No, you can’t go to the Ranch, in the middle of a swamp, lookin’ like some freshly minted Krugerrand!”
Brandi turned away and adjusted her blonde wig. “I resent that remark. There’s an African American insult in it somewhere…My white father can trace his lineage all the way back to the American Revolution.”
“Sorry. I’m sure he can. It’s just that we can’t go over there drawing attention to ourselves. After what happened to your friend, you should know you can’t go there lookin’ like an advertisement on Times Square.”
Sparring like this can be quick, blunt, and to the point and can can be used in other genre, like romance or fantasy. While having opposing personalities can make it easier, it’s not necessary.
Banter usually starts with a casual comment made to be a joke or mild tease.  It can be a simple conversation leading to a joke too.  Here’s another example from Charles E. Yallowitz’s fantasy series, Legends of Windemere, a book titled:  Family of the Tri-rune. In this instance, there are no opposing personalities, but a window of opportunity for comic relief. Two characters, Tzefira and Nyx, engage in friendly banter. They are about to face the enemy.
You’re hoping that my magic scares them off.”
“It has crossed my mind, so feel free to put on as big a show as possible.”
“What if they laugh at the display?”
“They won’t.”
“How can you be so sure?”
 “I’ve never heard a krypter laugh.”
Short, sweet, and good for a chuckle to break the tension of the moment.
Slapstick, you either love it or hate it. Slapstick involves setting up a funny scene. Think of The Three Stooges. It’s much easier to portray in film than in written words, but your work might have a place for it.
In Naked Alliances, a whole chapter is dedicated to rescuing one of Brandi’s friends, Gloria, a female impersonator. She’s been wrangled like a bull, drugged, trussed like a turkey, and stuffed into a dark room…freeing her becomes an act of calamity.
Tim Dorsey’s Serge and Coleman are well known antiheroes, bad guys who take on the bad guys. Serge is a genius and Coleman is a stoner. They banter, but they also have very unique ways of murdering scam artists in Tiger Shrimp Tango..., I mean death by lobster, who woulda thunk it? Only Serge.
With slapstick you are setting up a scene, giving readers a visual into an awkward series of events with a hilarious outcome.
Sarcasm doesn’t need to be explained. It’s not so much how the sarcasm is written as it is how it is perceived by the reader. Sometimes sarcasm makes a character appear to be mean or tough...but sometimes that’s just what you need. It’s important to know your audience. But again, these little tips on humor can be used in any genre.
Wings of Meyhem, a psychological thriller about a hideous serial killer authored by crime writer Sue Coletta, keeps you on the edge of your seat with suspense and tension. However, Shawnee, a tough girl who is a cat burglar by night and a Police Department employee by day, has a tendency to respond with sarcasm that works to break the tension and add a touch of humor, while keeping her tough girl image.
“Good morning, Shawnee,” said Detective Charles North, a royal kiss ass, and a pain in mine. If Lieutenant Holt stopped short, he’d need to wear a neck brace for a month. “How’s it going in here?”
Staring at the monitor, I droned, “Chuck.”
“Charles. You know I go by Charles.”
“Right. My bad.”
“Did you find anything yet?”
“Did I call you?”
“No, but…”
“Listen, Chuck. This isn’t the movies. Information doesn’t magically appear in seconds. It takes time.” He dragged a chair next to my desk and hovered over my shoulder. Regurgitated peppers and eggs repeated on him and, by proximity, on me. Waving away the stench, I said, “Do you mind?”
He scooted his chair back literally six inches. “Better?”
As you can see, even tough-girls can be amusing in a psychothriller. And then you have romance and chick-lit with plenty of room for sarcasm. Characters simply make snide remarks to other characters. Don’t try to plan to be funny yourself, allow your characters to take the reins.
Clever Jokes can be dropped into narrative or injected into dialog. Here you might have to be more of a comedian…or at least think like one.
You have a character, a female, complaining to another female about men. What can she compare men to?
“You know men. They’re like panty hose. They run, they cling, or they don’t fit right in the crotch.”
Or a male character complaining to another male about women. What can he compare women to?
“You know women. They’re like shed roofs. If you don’t nail them hard enough, they end up next door.”
Comparisons and hypothetical questions are good exercises to warm up for writing humor.
I promised to share my method for loosening up to write humor. The hypothetical questions exercise.
I get anxious about writing humor because different people find different things funny, and appealing to a large audience is a challenge. I can be funny all day, but sit down to write something amusing and draw a total blank.
Yes, murder is easy. Funny is hard. The characters and the plot are all there when I sit down to write. My anxieties stem from the fact that I am a serious person who worked to save lives. Shaking off that seriousness and letting go, releasing my inhibitions, and learning that it really doesn’t matter if I offend somebody cause somebody else is gonna laugh, have been key to loosening up to write humor.
I was scolded as a child for constantly asking the question, “What if…?” What if dogs could fly? What if horses had feathers? What if all the people in the world had blue hair? What if Leprechauns had club feet? What if dentists paid you to let them pull your teeth? What if you got scared half to death twice? What if you throw a cat out a car window, does it become kitty litter? 
It was cause for punishment as a kid, but I still use hypothetical questions as a warm up exercise to write humor.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and maybe learned a few tricks of the trade.

Genre: Mystery
Author: S.K. Nicholls
Publisher: Brave Blue Heron Books
Purchase on Amazon
About the Book: In Naked Alliances, novelist S.K. Nicholls takes readers on a witty, wild, wickedly fun romp that exposes a side of Orlando tourists rarely see. The debut release in The Naked Eye Private Investigator Series, Naked Alliances introduces lone wolf P.I. Richard Noggin. 
 When a young immigrant woman and an exotic dancer are forced to flee men with guns and have no place to hide, Richard Noggin, P.I., can’t turn his back—even if helping out makes him a target. Richard plans to impress an aspiring politician by taking on a big white-collar case that could take him from the streets to an air-conditioned office. Instead, he's handed a cold case and quickly finds himself sucked into a shadowy world of sex, secrets and…murder. Marked for a bullet and stretched thin by his investigations, Richard reluctantly teams up with the unlikely, brassy custodian of the young woman on the run. With bodies piling up, Richard and his companion are forced to go undercover in a most unlikely locale: the Leisure Lagoon, a nudist resort.  Going undercover in this instance will mean going uncovered…but lives are at stake—and this Naked Eye will have to juggle to keep his balls in the air and connect the dots before anyone else is murdered. As his pulse-quickening quest for answers leads from the dark corners of Orlando’s Little Saigon to the sunny exposure of the Leisure Lagoon, Richard will be put to the test. Just how much will this Naked Eye have to bear…or bare? The heat is on in this quirky Sunshine State crime thriller.

About the AuthorS.K. Nicholls’ family owns and operates one of the oldest and largest nudist resorts in the nation located in Central Florida, Cypress Cove. Her experience gives her a deep understanding of the lifestyle choice and how it is extremely different from the sex industry, yet harbors clandestine elements of intrigue and fascination. Social issues are at the forefront of her writing. A former sexual assault nurse examiner, she has a special interest in the subject matter of sex-trafficking. A native of Georgia, she lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband, Greg.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Inspiration Behind I Can Find You by Joss Landry

12:19 PM 0 Comments
Life experience, disappointments, joys and rebounds may all contribute to the birth of a novel. Sometimes, the perfect mix of mishaps can engender the perfect story.
Of course, to understand a little of the backstory behind I Can Find You, you have to take in a little about me, the author.

Introverted as a child, I loved to read so much I would forego friends to finish a novel. Two things I loved unconditionally, holding a book in my hand, and riding my bicycle.

I was the eldest of six children close together in age, and I always sensed I came from an odd sort of family.

My grandmother would read palms and tea leaves, as a favor to others, never for money, and her sister, my mother’s aunt, would predict catastrophes well in advance. Both were usually right.

People came to New Brunswick from all over, even from as far as Boston to have their fortune told. My grandmother would refuse the money each time they offered. “It cost you enough to get here,” she would say.

Then there was my mother who was so intuitive, the gift slowly made her sick. She could see inside people’s minds, interpret dishonesty and duplicity. She had a difficult time dealing with this.

I guess, because I had to help around the house because my mother was so fragile, when I began to read people, one of my favorite hobbies, I told everyone my talent came from reading and a brilliant power of deduction, like Sherlock Holmes. Hiding this gift became a priority. This made my dad happy, comforted my mother, and allowed everyone around me to treat me with normalcy.

I remembered this when Emma brandished her ten-year-old smile my way. She would tell my story and the story of many others I met along the way. Of course, this being fiction, I embellished her powers in the second book and she will no doubt enhance them again in the third version.

The first book in the Emma Willis series, I Can See You allowed ten-year-old Emma to flex her power of sight and to work with out of body experience (OBE), which almost put her in mortal danger, along with a little conjuring that created more than a little upheaval.

The second book in the Emma Willis series is just now being released. I Can Find You. Emma is now fifteen years old with regular teenage problems, and one year left before she has to decide what she wants to do with the rest of her life. Her family situation has changed for the better, and Tommy Carson is interested in being more than just friends. Amelia, her best friend, convinced her parents to let her attend Belleville high instead of private school and for the first time in a while, Emma feels her life is in order. Until she meets  Hawke from Earth Optimal, and encounters wizards capable of entering anyone to possess and alter their decision making powers.

It’s not so much the new people she meets that frighten Emma, but the goals they need to achieve. She will need all of her powers, and some new ones to escape the Devronairs’ wrath, the wizards plans, and help chief of police Hank Apple rectify what needs to be done.

The Emma Willis series is my way of paying forward some of the wonderful gifts I was blessed with, and hoping many of you will understand and be encouraged to use your own repertoire of gifts. We all harbor the power to love unconditionally, to forgive and really forget, to move on and smile when we would rather frown. Intention is the most potent of all human powers. Wield intention with a big heart, you will perform miracles. Ask Emma.

About the Author

Joss Landry has worked as a consultant for more than twenty years, writing copy for marketing firms and assisting start-up companies to launch their business. She recently made the switch from composing copy and promos, to writing fiction and prose. She is developing her style through courses and the support of other writers and is presently working on honing three other novels for publication.
Blessed with four children and six grandchildren, she resides in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband, a staunch supporter, and enjoys spending time biking, rollerblading, playing tennis, and swimming. She loves creating stories as she says they fulfill her need to think outside the box.
Her latest book is the urban fantasy/paranormal, I CAN FIND YOU (Emma Willis Series #2).



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Inspiration Behind Tapped Out For College Students by Kelley Pryor Amrein & Becki Stevens

12:00 AM 0 Comments

Tapped Out For College Students: Stress Relief Using EFT, was inspired by my wish for an EFT book geared specifically at relieving the stressful situations facing college students. Because both Becki and I are Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) practitioners, I wanted an EFT book because I knew how effective this technique is at relieving stress. Our work with clients entails using this energy therapy to guide them in releasing the negative emotions and stress around specific issues and situations. We are both passionate about the impact EFT can have on people, having witnessed many amazing transformations as clients have used tapping to support their healing process.

At the time I wished for this book, my oldest son had graduated from college, my daughter was in the middle of her university years, and my youngest son was nearing the end of high school. He heads to university this fall. I’d fielded numerous phone calls from my son and daughter as each dealt with the stress and feelings of overwhelm most college students experience. Additionally, my daughter was struggling with a chronic illness and I was too far away to be able to effectively help. I did my best to guide and support my kids, but after each call I still felt frustrated and concerned. I am a mom, after all. The worry comes naturally.

I had looked for tools to offer my kids, ways to support them. Fortunately, my daughter was happy to use EFT and tap with me when our schedules were compatible and she had a private space to talk. My son wasn’t interested in tapping with me, and I understand his reluctance. Tapping with a parent can be difficult. Parents are usually too close to a situation involving their own kids, and I even found that to be true with my daughter sometimes. What I wanted was an effective self-help tool my students and others could turn to when stress and negative emotions were weighing them down. But none were available.

On the January morning when Becki and I decided to write our book, we had been discussing a few of the books about EFT that had been written for children and elementary aged students. I remember saying to Becki that I wished there was a book specifically for college students. Becki’s immediate response was, “Let’s write one.” This shows you what a great team we are. I write all the time and have published fiction, but it hadn’t dawned on me to write an EFT book and solve my own dilemma. Thank you, again, Becki, for this awesome idea.

Becki and I got busy researching for the book, surveying college students to discover the most pressing issues they faced in school. We were also fortunate to meet with a group of college students, introduce them to EFT, and get valuable feedback. Additionally, both Becki and I have worked with college students, giving us personal insight into their stressors. We brought all of this knowledge together as we organized the book and began the writing process.

All along, we knew we wanted this project to become a workbook, something a college student could use quickly and easily, without having to read the entire thing from cover to cover. We organized the information into sections and created a detailed Table of Contents so that busy students could easily find the issue facing them and quickly flip to the appropriate section of the book. The Introduction of the book explains how to use Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) or Tapping. Each section of the book consists of customizable tapping scripts which students can use as it to release negative emotions and the accompanying stress.

Our hope is for college students to discover Tapped Out and give tapping a try.  EFT is an empowering tool, allowing students, and anyone who uses it, to let go of stress and respond to every situation calmly and successfully. College is stressful. Tapped Out for College Students can help.

About the Authors

Kelley Pryor Amrein is a writer and EFT practitioner. Kelley first discovered Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) in 2007. She used EFT personally and with her family before becoming certified as an AAMET Level Two practitioner in 2014. As a coach, Kelley has witnessed the power of EFT to release negative emotions, relieve stress, and lessen physical pain. As the parent of college students, Kelley believes that Tapped Out is a much-needed resource on college campuses, where stress levels are on the rise. The book provides students with a life-long tool, allowing them to easily alleviate stress and enjoy a healthy and successful life.
You can find Kelley on Amazon at and
You can connect with Kelley at,, and

Becki Stevens is an AAMET certified Advanced EFT Practitioner. For the past two years she has owned a successful EFT practice in southern New Hampshire. She works with people of all ages, including college students, to ease their physical and emotional distress. Becki focuses on how a person’s emotions can sabotage their success. Becki believes that Tapped Out For College Students is an empowering introduction to EFT for college students, giving them a tool they can use throughout their lives to relieve stress and foster healthy relationships, creativity, and overall health.
You can find Becki at and at



About the Book:

You’re in college and college is stressful. Your stress impacts every facet of life, from classes to grades to work commitments. Even your physical health can be affected. Studies show that college students like you now face more stress than ever, leaving you with less time for relaxation and self-care. When you’re already overburdened, the idea of finding a way to relieve stress sounds like one more way to add extra stress to your life. But, what if you can relieve the stress of college in minutes? What if homework didn’t have to be so hard, and you did have time for school and fun? Tapped Out For College Students: Stress Relief Using EFT, is a guidebook that empowers college students like you, allowing you to reduce your level of stress and opening the door to success in college and in life.
In Tapped Out, college students are introduced to our unique BESD (Because, Emotions, Sensations, and Distress) system, which easily guides them through the tapping process. Once you’ve defined your personal BESD related to a specific issue, you can easily translate this into a tapping session. The book is full of tapping scripts relating to the most common stress-inducing issues you face in college. Students can tap through the scripts as they are written, or they can personalize them, using the responses they develop using the BESD system.
The Table of Contents is the perfect starting place, allowing students to pinpoint their issue and flip to the appropriate section of the book. Some of the topics covered in the book include time management, homework, exams, relationships, money, health, and preparing for the real world following college.
Students no longer have to be stressed throughout their college career. With Tapped Out as a companion, college students can face the college landscape calmly. This unique book, intended to be used as and when needed, empowers students to control their reactions and respond to each situation successfully. College is stressful. Tapped Out for College Students can help.



Friday, June 9, 2017

What Would I Tell a New Author by Mark Spivak

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What Would I Tell a New Author
I’m actively involved in mentoring beginning writers. For the past year I’ve been hosting a Meetup group in my home base of South Florida. Participants send me samples of their work via email, and they receive an intensive, one-on-one critique at the session.
I usually start out by trying to get a sense of the person’s background, their life experience and literary training (if any). I try to discover how
much time they have to devote to writing, and whether their literary aspirations are hampered by real-life considerations such as jobs, families and economic pressures. I want to find out if they are someone with a particular story they feel compelled to tell, or whether they want to make writing a career. Either way, my role is the same: to help them master the craft and find their own voice.
At some point, I usually ask them if they are writing to express themselves, or if they want other people to read their work. Either situation is fine, but they require different decision-making processes.
I normally suggest that they pick one piece of work and stick with it until it is as polished as it can possibly be. This is particularly difficult for many people to accomplish. Part of the problem is the current popularity of self-publishing, where you can print anything whether it’s ready or not.
Speaking as someone who has a degree in literature, I think life experience is more important than formal education. If someone is lacking skills in grammar, sentence structure or composition, they can easily take a course at a community college or online.
When I started the group, I was dreading the process of delivering criticism to people. Part of the hesitancy stems from how difficult it was for me to accept criticism at many points in my career, but the truth is that becoming a writer is a long journey filled with criticism and rejection. What I discovered was that in cases where a piece of work was seriously flawed, the writer knew it. They had really come to the group to get a realistic idea of what they needed to do to go forward.
Many beginning writers are yearning to be told that they have talent. I have no problem telling them that, since most of them are indeed talented. Talent, though, is only part of the equation. Most of the process consists of hard work, which is something people tend to resist hearing.
The most important thing I tell beginning writers? Don’t give up. I never did, and I finally succeeded despite a long and difficult journey. With enough determination, it can be done.
About the Author
Mark Spivak is an award-winning author, specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants, and culinary travel. He was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post from 1994-1999, and was honored by the Academy of Wine Communications for excellence in wine coverage “in a graceful and approachable style.” Since 2001 he has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group, as well as the Food Editor for Palm Beach Illustrated; his running commentary on the world of food, wine and spirits is available at the Global Gourmet blog on His work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Men’s Journal, Art & Antiques, the Continental and Ritz-Carlton magazines, Arizona Highways and Newsmax. From 1999-2011 Spivak hosted Uncorked! Radio, a highly successful wine talk show on the Palm Beach affiliate of National Public Radio.

Spivak is the author of two non-fiction books:  Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History (Lyons Press, 2012) and Moonshine Nation: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle (Lyons Press, 2014). Friend of the Devil is his first novel. He is currently working on a political thriller set during the invasion of Iraq.
For More Information

Monday, June 5, 2017

Why I Wrote Forever King by Diana Sims

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My son King Josiah Sims was the inspiration for writing this book, all the women and men that have lost an unborn child and/or children were my inspiration. I want them to know that I am praying for them, that I understand exactly what they are going through. That there is help for them and support groups for them. I wanted the extended family, friends, peers, church family, work family to know exactly what parents go through after the loss of a child. I wanted people to be educated to not isolate people that have lost a child but to embrace them and give them support of being there and listening to them. I wanted people to be inspired that life continues after a loss and miracles can and will take place. I experienced a successful, healthy, pregnancy and my Rainbow baby Anthony was born alive and well. I wanted people to be educated through my personal story to know that people are hurting and not just the parents who lose the child/children are affected but the immediate family and close friends as well. During the writing process I looked at pictures of my son that I had, poems that I wrote to my son and one my brother wrote for my son. I looked at ultrasound pictures for raw detail and to paint the best picture in my story so people could see and feel the very emotions I felt and experienced during the loss, after the loss, and pregnancy following the loss of my son King. I decided in writing this book that I wanted it to be personal and to have full creative control over everything from the cover to the content and how I would share it with the world, so I made the best choice and published my book as a self-published author.

About the Author

As a self-publishing author, Diana Sims has felt compelled to share her journey regarding the loss of her son, and the miracle that took place after his passing. She simply wants to let other women, who have lost children, know that there is still light at the end of the tunnel.

Aimed primarily at all mothers ranging from teenagers to the older women, Forever King: Surviving the Loss of My Unborn Child particularly addresses those who have lost a child, no matter the circumstance.




Friday, June 2, 2017

A Writers Life – To Write or Not to Write by Jane Jordan

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A day in the life of a writer must be different for every author. While we all share the common practice of writing, I suspect that many other traits are unique.
Some days, I have an all-consuming passion to write, other days, it’s merely luke warm, as life has a habit of distracting me.  There is a belief amongst some people that you have to be disciplined and write every day, or for a set number of hours, to be considered a proper writer. 
I disagree.  As a writer I am not bound by constraints of what is right or wrong, I am free to do what works best for me.  In fact, stepping away from the computer and doing something completely different, can bring other ideas and thoughts to mind.  It can give you an entirely new approach when you do eventually return to write. 
I have never suffered from writer’s block, maybe not being regimented in my style, keeps it at bay and I have always written without the worry that my work will be accepted or even liked.  Ultimately, I write to please myself.
My new novel, took me several years to complete.  My imagination can run riot as I follow different story ideas at the same time.  Ironically, I am also one of the most organized when it comes to action, it’s just my mind is often disorganized. In this case, two other books got in the way and I moved countries twice.  A serious obstruction to any writing career.  When I did re-visit, The Beekeeper’s Daughter, I gave it my full attention, but even as I was finishing this novel, I was already working on another.  
To an outsider, it might seem a chaotic and confusing way to write, but I know exactly what is happening in all story lines and with my characters, even when I am forced to break away.  
When I thought about a typical day in my life as a writer, I realized there was nothing typical, only a series of events that happen, and each day I have to consider whether I have the time to write, or not to write. 
A typical (unpredictable) day during the week:
6.15am – wake up to the alarm ringing in my ear.  See my daughter out of the door, and then, rush around getting ready. Wash up any plates or cups from yesterday. Feed my three cats and Japanese fighting fish.
7.05 – Drive 20 minutes to office.
7.25 – Arrive at my husband’s company. First cup of tea of the day as I set to work.  I check phone messages, emails, while invoicing customers and answering the phone. Occasional meetings or trips out of the office.
9am - breakfast – (typically a yogurt) call any customers that I need to, and discuss their accounts. Pay outstanding bills.
10.30 – coffee break.  I check personal emails and back to dealing with email queries or phone calls.  The positive thing about working for my husband is that I can spend time on research for my stories, when I get a free moment.
12pm – 1pm - Leave office and drive home
1.30 – the all-important second cup of tea. I feed my cats again, despite their bowls being half full, they are pampered and will only eat fresh food.  Sometimes, I eat lunch, most often, it’s a bowl of cereal.
2pm - go into my office and turn on my computer and begin to write. 
2.15 - this is an unpredictable time in my day.  Several different things can and do often happen. My sister or friend from England sometimes call via skype, my son wants me to do something, and so I get sidetracked for a while. Or I have to deal with a phone call from my husband’s office.
3pm - my daughter returns from high school, and I talk to her for a few minutes, sometimes, throw laundry into the washing machine, or empty Rumba before going back to my office with another cup of tea. 
3.15 - This is often the time I get to write with less disturbances.  
5.30 – 6.00 - start preparing dinner
6.30 – I eat dinner, tidy the house, water plants, do housework if I am not too tired, and pay household bills.
8.15 - watch TV with another cup of tea and maybe some chocolate
9.30 – Feed cats again, and tidy up after them. - Generally I feel exhausted by this time, so I go to bed with a cup of herbal tea to fight insomnia.
Occasionally, I wake up in the early hours of the morning and write for four to five hours straight. On weekends I grab an hour or two at my computer if I can, but my weekends are mainly devoted to catching up with housework, gardening and spending some time with my family.


Title:  The Beekeeper’s Daughter
Genre: Thriller
Author: Jane Jordan
PublisherBlack Opal Books
Find out more on Amazon and B&N
Beekeeper’s daughter Annabel Taylor grows up wild and carefree on the moors of England in the late 1860s. A child of nature and grace with an unusual ability to charm bees, Annabel follows in the footstep of her mother Lilith, a beautiful witch.  With her closest friend and soulmate Jevan Wenham by her side, Annabel’s life is a life filled with wonder and curiosity. But Jevan, the son of a blacksmith, lives his life on the verge of destruction, and his devotion to Annabel probes the boundaries between brutality and deep desire, passion and pleasure. When Jevan leaves Exmoor to pursue an education in London, Annabel’s world shatters.  Devastated without Jevan, Annabel is sure her life is ending. But everything changes when she crosses paths with Alexander Saltonstall. The heir to the Saltonstall legacy and son of Cerberus Saltonstall, the wealthy landowner of the foreboding Gothelstone Manor, Alex is arrogant and self-assured—and enamored of the outspoken Annabel.  Even though the two are socially worlds apart, that doesn’t stop Alex from asking, or rather demanding, Annabel’s hand in marriage.  But when Annabel refuses, she is forced into an impossible situation. To further complicate matters, Jevan is back—and so are those same desires, that same passion and intensity. But nothing is as it seems, and Annabel and Jevan are in grave danger.  At risk of being ensnared into the dark legacy of the Saltonstall family, Annabel faces the ultimate test.  Will her fledgling powers be enough to save those she loves most? Can she even save herself?
Jane Jordan grew up in Essex, England and spent six years in the South West of England living on Exmoor.  A trained horticulturist, Jane worked and volunteered for Britain’s National Trust at Exmoor’s 1000-year-old Dunster Castle. The atmosphere, beautiful scenery, and ancient history of the place inspired Jane’s first novel, Ravens Deep, the debut release in her gothic vampire trilogy, which also included Blood & Ashes and A Memoir of Carl Jane Jordan lives in Southwest Florida.
Connect with Jane Jordan on the web: 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Just the Facts: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Wanna-be’s by Mark Connelly

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Just the Facts:  10 Things You Didn’t Know About Mark Connelly’s
1.     The lead figure Winfield Payton is a mashup of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Pat Hobby, Saul Bellow’s Augie March, and Curb Your Enthusiasm’s
Larry David.  He is the ultimate wanna-be and fall guy – both social seer and a stooge.
2.     Wanna-be’s got a 5-star review its first week on Amazon: 
This book right here! What can I say about Winfield he the most unlucky pasty or most unlikely fall guy...what a schmuck...I laughed so hard at this, for this guy....with this guy....every character described in this book will immediately remind you of a real life joker in the in the 24 hour news cycle on all of the Major networks and cable television channels regurgitating skewed facts benefiting them and lining their's hip and fresh writing which could easily become a HBO series....
3.     The exponent of Liberation Capitalism Dr. Versawami is named after a character in George Orwell’s first novel Burmese Days. 
4.     The most over-the-top character Father Moses is actually a toned-down version of Alderman Mike McGee who urged blacks to engage in “urban guerilla warfare” to “fight our way to the promised land.” 
5.     The black Republicans in the novel speak their own jargon – calling liberals  whi’s whi’s for “white whiners” and token whites chiclets.
6.     The restored B-25 is named “The Ruptured Duck” after Ted Lawson’s plane featured in Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.  The perfect prop for an embarrassing confrontation with Japanese businessmen.
7.     At a Halloween party in a black gay bar a Good Witch Glenda sprinkles glitter over a sweatered Bill Cosby leering, “Hey, hey, hey.”  There are several references to Halloween in the book because all the characters are wearing masks whether they know it or not.
8.     The bondage scenes were written years before Fifty Shades of Grey.
9.      Sadly, the bar called The Black Shamrock no longer exists.
10.  Wanna-be’s is set in Milwaukee because the bar is so low.  To call yourself an intellectual in New York you have to write a book – in Milwaukee you just have to read one. Or say you have.
About the Author

Mark Connelly was born in Philadelphia and grew up in New Jersey.  He received a BA in English from Carroll College in Wisconsin and an MA and PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  His books include The Diminished Self: Orwell and the Loss of Freedom, Orwell and Gissing, Deadly Closets:  The Fiction of Charles Jackson, and The IRA on Film and Television.  His fiction has appeared in The Ledge, Indiana Review, Cream City Review, Milwaukee Magazine, and Home Planet News.  In 2014 he received an Editor’s Choice Award in The Carve’s Raymond Carver Short Story Contest; in 2015 he received Third Place in Red Savina Review’s Albert Camus Prize for Short Fiction. His novella Fifteen Minutes received the Clay Reynolds Novella Prize and was published by Texas Review Press in 2005. 
Mark’s latest book is the literary fiction/humor/satire, Wanna-be’s.
Connect with Mark on Facebook and Twitter.
About the Book:
Author: Mark Connelly
Publisher: Mark Connelly Productions
Pages: 188
Genre: Literary Fiction/Humor/Satire
With his new girlfriend – a soccer mom with a taste for bondage – urging him to “go condo,” failed screenwriter Winfield Payton needs cash. Accepting a job offer from a college friend, he becomes the lone white employee of a black S&L. As the firm’s token white, he poses as a Mafioso to intimidate skittish investors and woos a wealthy cougar to keep the firm afloat. Figure-skating between the worlds of white and black, gay and straight, male and female, Jew and Gentile, Yuppie and militant, Payton flies higher and higher until the inevitable crash. . .
Praise for Wanna-be’s:
This book right here! What can I say about Winfield he the most unlucky pasty or most unlikely fall guy...what a schmuck...I laughed so hard at this,for this guy....with this guy....every character described in this book will immediately remind you of a real life joker in the in the 24 hour news cycle on all of the Major networks and cable television channels regurgitating skewed facts benefiting them and lining their's hip and fresh writing which could easily become a HBO series....or Starz..maybe..anyway get this book....I laughed so hard...almost popping my recent stitches from surgery...Mr. Connelly...thanks for making my recuperation fun...this book is not for the faint of heart..or PC sensitive readers...
-- Lynda Garcia Review

For More Information

  • Wanna-be’s is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

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