Monday, March 26, 2018

How Brand Marketing Can Help You Succeed as an Author l Michael Robert Dyet @mdyetmetaphor

12:00 AM 0 Comments



How Brand Marketing Can Help You Succeed as an Author

You’ve poured your heart and soul into the writing of your book. Circling back and rethinking the plot and the character profiles again and again. So many revisions you gave up keeping track.

Now, at long last, it is finished and you are ready to put it out there for the world to see. The hard work is done. Or is it? In reality, one of the biggest challenges you will face still lies ahead. When you approach a publisher, they will want to know:

How will you stand out from the crowd and get people to notice you as an author?

If you succeed in capturing their attention, how will you convince them your book is worth their hard-earned money to purchase and their valuable time to read?

Contrary to what you may think, it is not the job of the publisher to answer those questions. The onus lies on you. I found a publisher for my latest work Hunting Muskie: Rites of Passage –Stories by Michael Robert Dyet in large part because I had already laid the groundwork in this area.

Consider that there are over 300,000 books published every year in North America – and possibly many times that many self-published. The task of standing out is a daunting one. Where do you even begin?

There is one avenue that many authors overlook. It is called brand marketing.

I hear you saying: Brand marketing? That’s just for big companies. Time to change your thinking. Brand marketing is a powerful tool you can use to connect with potential readers and win the battle for attention.

We all have a handful of authors whose work we love. Whenever they publish a new book, we have to have it. No need to reach the book synopsis. We pre-order it the first day it is available. Why so? Because we are brand loyal to that author.

Brand Marketing 101

Where do you begin to climb the brand marketing mountain? First, a few Brand Marketing 101 definitions in the context of authors.

Brand: In its simplest form, a brand is a name. But it is much more than that. It must say something specific about you as an author that resonates with your target market.

Brand Identity: How you want to be perceived by your prospective readers and the value you will bring to a reader who invests in you both emotionally and financially.

Brand Positioning Statement: A concise statement that communicates what makes you unique. It is the elevator statement you will come to know by heart.

Brand Equity: The value that readers come to trust that they will derive from the books you give them.

If you put the time and effort into working through these four principles, you can achieve the holy grail of brand loyalty. People will buy your books because they know you will deliver what they expect.

Why I Became The Metaphor Guy

A decade ago, I realized my lifelong dream of completing a novel. I knew that I did not have the publishing track record necessary to be commercially published. I decided to self-publish which, believe me, is a tough road.

The one advantage I had was that marketing is my day job. I knew the power of branding. I decided I had to put the same effort into creating my brand as I had put into writing my novel.

I asked myself: What is at the core of my writing? The answer: I write literary fiction with deep character studies and carefully crafted prose with liberal use of metaphors. It became clear to me that my brand should be built around the metaphor concept.

I developed the following brand positioning statement:

The Metaphor Guy. Novelist, closet philosopher, chronicler of life’s mysteries – all through the lens of metaphor.

In adopting this brand positioning, I am defining and communicating my target market – readers who want serious writing they can get their teeth into and that challenges them to think and ponder. If that is what you are looking for, I’m you’re guy.

Conversely, if you do not like metaphors, don’t bother to read my work. Yes, I do want to communicate that message. I do not want readers who like fast-moving books they can read in a few days and move on. Those readers are likely to give me bad reviews, so I would rather they not read my book.

Consistency is Critical

Consistency across all communication mediums is critical in branding. That is why every profile I create or submit contains my positioning statement. It is in every social media profile I have created. It is in the author bio I submit whenever I do a reading.

I also built this branding into my online presence.

My website URL is mdyetmetaphor.com. The home page cover photo is a silhouette of a diver. The teaser line – Dive in if You Dare – is a metaphorical invitation into the landscape of my writing.

I created a blog titled Metaphors of Life Journal: AKA Things That Make Me Go Hmmm with the URL mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. Every weekly post ends with a metaphor which encapsulates the topic of that post. I include “metaphor” in the key words for each and every post.

And to differentiate myself from other self-published authors, I created an online companion for my debut novel and gave it the URL mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

And more recently, I applied the same thinking to the title for my latest work. It is a short story collection titled Hunting Muskie: Rites of Passage which is named after the title story in the work. In that story, hunting muskie is a metaphor for facing and subduing an unseen foe. It conveys what all the stories share – the search to find our way back home after life’s unexpected storms knock us off course.

I want to be known and introduced as The Metaphor Guy. My brand equity is embedded in giving my readers what they desire: A story or a book they can lose themselves in for a while. Metaphors they can intellectually engage with and piece together. I strive to create brand loyalty by singling out the readers I want and giving them what they want.

My Challenge to You

Define what is at the heart of your writing. What kind of readers do you want? What kind of readers do you not want?

Think of yourself as a brand and define your brand identity around the answers to those questions.

Create a brand positioning statement and use it everywhere your name appears.

Strive to create brand equity because it is the gateway to brand loyalty.

Working through this process is hard work and takes as much mind power as you put into writing your book. But if you make the investment, it will pay dividends. Bonus: Prospective publishers will look upon you more favourably because you have shown them you have cleared a space for yourself in the crowded landscape of fiction books.

About the Author

Michael Robert Dyet is the Metaphor Guy. Novelist, short story writer, closet philosopher, chronicler of life’s mysteries – all through the lens of metaphor. He is the author of Hunting Muskie: Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet, Blue Denim Press, October 2017.

Michael is also the author of Until The Deep Water Stills: An Internet-Enhanced Novel – traditional print novel (self-published) with a unique and ground-breaking online companion featuring text, imagery and audio recordings. This novel was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Michael posts weekly in his blog: Metaphors of Life Journal aka Things That Make Me Go Hmmm

Metaphors of Life Journal Blog: www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2
Novel Online Companion: www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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About the Book:

Title: HUNTING MUSKIE: RITES OF PASSAGE – STORIES BY MICHAEL ROBERT DYET
Author: Michael Robert Dyet
Publisher: Blue Denim Press
Pages: 240
Genre: Literary Fiction/Short Story Collection

BOOK BLURB:
Life becomes a search to find our way back home after unexpected storms knock us off course. This collection of 16 stories reflects that deep urge to return to where we feel at peace. The journey back becomes a rite of passage.

The title story, “Hunting Muskie”, sets the tone – the hunt to find and subdue an unseen foe. Each of the other stories elaborates on this theme.

Hunter is haunted by the mistake that defined his life. A chance encounter sets Edward on a search for answers. An act of bullying committed decades ago brings a day of reckoning for Quentin. Will must pay the ransom of conscience. A shocking event causes Laurel to fall victim to a temptation she cannot rationalize. Huck shuts out the loss he cannot face until he can deny it no longer. Malcolm seeks atonement for a desperate act committed in the name of love.

The longer piece, Slipstream, ties together the connecting threads: the powerful forces that derail us, how we are driven to search for answers and the harsh truth that redemption often comes at a price.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Facing Reality l Karen Sue Bell @karensuebell

12:00 AM 0 Comments

Facing Reality

Selling one’s art today is a hard business. Too many sites are giving away books or if not free almost free at 99 cents. And charge high prices for that privilege.  Readers have come to expect that from indie authors and from traditionally published books close to becoming remainders. Too much free stuff out there so how can one attract a paying readership? Well, first get published by Penguin et. al, be touted as a bestselling author, and get a large advance. For the unknown indie author, you become like the Maytag repairman with a big difference. The repairman doesn’t work for free but indie authors do. Oh, there are success stories about how by giving away your work as a loss leader brings a paying readership. It happens…sometimes. The internet has changed the playing field even for musicians. When I was growing up, you had to buy music at a store, buy books at a store or get one from the library. Now you can buy a song for 99 cents or stream from an internet radio station, get an eBook online delivered to your iPad. So, having a career in the arts where all your bills are paid is elusive. Musicians must tour and indie authors must hope for the one book that captures the collective imagination. Unfortunately, for me that’s become erotica bordering on porn, a genre for which I have no interest.
Also, with new technology, I’ve noticed that some indie books have thousands of reviews and even some traditionally published work have thousands of reviews. Of this I am very suspicious. I think you can buy programs or companies that create reviews with bots. But thousands of good reviews do bring some paying customers. And if you buy enough of your own books it can became a best seller. Lots of scams to fake the paying readership. The internet has created a whole new world full of scams.
So what is an indie author like me to do? Face reality. I’ve became a KDP exclusive author for two of my books so I can create promotions and giveaways. I still haven’t found out how to buy thousands of reviews and I don’t want to. That’s going too far. So I get it. I understand that making a living at your art is a crap shoot. But I’m one of the lucky one who doesn’t have to worry about that. So I write for the pure bliss of writing. Yes, I’m lucky indeed.

About the Author

When a Stranger Comes…is Ms. Bell’s third novel. Her debut, Walking with Elephants, was initially published by a small publisher who went out of business. Subsequently, she took over as an indie publisher. It went on to win the Awesome Indies Seal of Excellence and was a top-five finalist in the Kindle Book Review’s 2012 contest for the best indie books. Sunspots, her second novel, was awarded the IndiePENdents.org Seal of Approval for good writing. She holds a Master of Science in Mass Communication and for 15 years, she was an editor/copyeditor for a "Big Four" public accounting firm. Ms. Bell was also technical editor for an accounting industry magazine. 
 Here are some reviews of her previous work published in the Florida Times Union:

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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About the Book:

Title: WHEN A STRANGER COMES…
Author: Karen S. Bell
Publisher: KSB Press
Pages: 222
Genre: Thriller

BOOK BLURB: 
Achieving what you crave can also bring the terrifying fear of losing it. For Alexa Wainwright, this truth has become her nightmare. Born Gladys Lipschitz, the daughter of an unwed Soviet-era Jewish immigrant, her debut novel, A Foregone Conclusion, soared to number one on the bestseller’s list and became an international sensation. The accompanying fame and riches were beyond her expectations. Unfortunately, her subsequent work has yet to achieve the same reception by critics and readers. Yes, they have sold well based on her name recognition, but she dreads the possibility of becoming a mid-list author forgotten and ignored. She vows to do whatever it takes to attain the heady ego-stroking success of her debut. But is she really?

Witnessing an out-of-the-blue lightning bolt whose giant tendrils spread over the blue sky and city streets below her loft window, Alexa doesn’t realize just how this vow will be tested as she’s magically transported to an alternate reality. In this universe, the characters from her books are given the breath of life and she meets publisher, King Blakemore, who just might be the Devil himself. At first, she shrugs off her doubts about this peculiar publisher and very lucrative book deal offer because the temptation of riches and refound fame is too strong. But all too soon, Alexa realizes she’s trapped in an underworld of evil from which she desperately wants to escape. For starters, she finds herself in an iron-clad book contract that changes its wording whenever she thinks of a loophole. Desperate to get her life back, she devises schemes to untether herself from this hellish existence. She’s also aided by the forces for good who attempt to help her. However, King Blakemore is cleverer and more powerful than she can begin to understand. Playfully, he decides to give Alexa a second chance to save herself from eternity with him and to be free. He offers her the prospect of a rewrite, as most authors do as part of the writing process. Given this chance, will Alexa make the same choices and the same mistakes again?

Alexa, as the MC, is relatable, likable, and vulnerable with a keen sense of humor. Her world is very small because writing is her life and so she is an easy target for entrapment. Her pact with the Devil is an allegory for the evil lurking in our midst. The social decay of modern society with its excessive greed, the ignorance of our political leaders, and our indifference toward the survival of all species from the effects of climate change, among other environmental pressures, are perhaps brought forth by the darkest forces of human nature.
When A Stranger Comes is available at Amazon.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Last Puffs Is the Sort of Book I’d like to Read So I Had to Write It l Harley Mazuk @fswiver

5:47 AM 2 Comments


Last Puffs Is the Sort of Book I’d like to Read So I Had to Write It


“Write what you like” is common advice to beginning writers. When I realized that I had read all of Raymond Chandler’s novels, and most of his short stories, and that I’d finished the Dashiell Hammett canon too, I was at a loss for what to read next. I wanted new “Black Mask” stories, and it looked like I’d have to write them.

What does my new novel, Last Puffs, owe to Hammett? First the prose for the most part is simple—straightforward declarative sentences, like Hemingway might write. Second, as Hammett might do, writing up his reports for his job as a Pinkerton operative, I tried to write in a voice like a private eye, typing up his reports for the boss. I give meticulous, objective descriptions of suspects, clothing, settings. Third, I saw value in setting your stories in situations where social institutions have broken down, like the Spanish Civil War setting with which I open my book. In such circumstances, tensions run high, and stakes can be high too. I added common Hammett-like elements to my stories, such as a working-class protagonist, (private eye Frank Swiver, a wino and a womanizer, who takes on his clients’ problems for $25 a day). I used dry wit and understated humor. And I put Frank in troubled or unconventional romantic relationships—his trysts with femme fatale Joan Spring, and with troubled heroine Amanda Zingaro.

What does, Last Puffs, owe to Chandler? Raymond Chandler was a wonderful resource. In addition to what I learned from his Phillip Marlowe books and stories, he was a prolific letter writer, and even a rather opinionated critic. I learned in Chandler’s “Twelve Notes on the Mystery Story,” that “The most effective way to conceal a simple mystery is behind another mystery. Make the reader solve the wrong problem.” And so in Last Puffs, we have the murder most foul of a couple Chinese women in San Francisco in 1948. To keep the reader from puzzling out the secret of those killings, I give him a story of a cigar factory lector, accused of murder in Fresno in 1949. And we set it all against the backdrop of a young woman, out for revenge against the fascists who killed her father and left her for dead.
Does Frank solve those murders? Maybe. Consider that according to an essay by Steven Marcus in The Continental Op, the P.I.’s job, when called out on a case, is to investigate the “reality” that anyone involved in the case will swear to, to deconstruct their accounts, and to construct his own “reality,” (a true fiction) of what really happened. Frank Swiver can do that as well as Marlowe, the Op, or Sam Spade.
I learned to incorporate the tropes of pulp fiction I enjoy. What’s a novel without a curvy femme fatale with gorgeous gams and straight seams on her stockings? Throw in tough guys, a double cross, gunplay, murder, colorful slang, a sap to the back of the head, a crushed fedora, nefarious schemes, and . . . another double cross.
The other influence on Frank Swiver has been Ian Fleming’s James Bond. I chose Bond because of his totally inappropriate over-the-top drinking—a 2013 study of Fleming’s novels revealed that Bond averaged 92 drinks per week (http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/12/12/science-confirms-james-bond-is-an-alcoholic/)—and his ability to go into action thoroughly toasted. Of course I also appreciated Bond’s eye for the women, and his zest for sex, angles I want in my stories, even if Marlowe was a bit puritanical in such matters.

P.I. Frank Swiver, of the Old Vine Detective Agency on Post Street in mid-20th century San Francisco has turned into my “series” character. I’ve had a lot of luck with him. Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine bought my first professional effort—“The Tall Blonde with the Hot Boiler”—in 2010 and put it in their “Black Mask” section. If they put it in Black Mask, I figured I must be doing something right, attaining that pulp feel I want.

So if you’ve been waiting for the next installment in the glorious tradition of classic P.I. novels, Frank Swiver may be the shamus for you.

Title: Last Puffs                       Genre: Mystery (private eye)
Author: Harley Mazuk              Website: http://www.harleymazuk.com/

About the Author

Harley Mazuk was born in Cleveland, the last year that the Indians won the World Series. He majored in English literature at Hiram College in Ohio, and Elphinstone College, Bombay, India. Harley worked as a record salesman (vinyl) and later served the U.S. Government in Information Technology and in communications, where he honed his writing style as an editor and content provider for official web sites.

Retired now, he likes to write pulp fiction, mostly private eye stories, several of which have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. His first full length novel, White with Fish, Red with Murder, was released in 2017, and his newest, Last Puffs, just came out in January 2018.

Harley’s other passions are his wife Anastasia, their two children, reading, running, Italian cars, California wine and peace.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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About the Book:

Title: LAST PUFFS
Author: Harley Mazuk
Publisher: New Pulp Press
Pages: 293
Genre: Mystery/Crime/Private Eye

BOOK BLURB:
Frank Swiver and his college pal, Max Rabinowitz, both fall in love with Amanda Zingaro, courageous Republican guerilla, in the Spanish civil war. But the local fascists murder her and her father.

Eleven years later in San Francisco in 1949, Frank, traumatized by the violence in Spain, has become a pacifist and makes a marginal living as a private eye. Max who lost an eye in Spain but owes his life to Frank, has pledged Frank eternal loyalty. He’s a loyal communist party member and successful criminal attorney.

Frank takes on a case for Joan Spring, half-Chinese wife of a wealthy banker. Joan seduces Frank to ensure his loyalty. But Frank busts up a prostitution/white slavery ring at the Lotus House a brothel in Chinatown, where Joan was keeping refugees from Nanking prisoners.

Then Max sees a woman working in a Fresno cigar factory, who is a dead ringer for Amanda, and brings in Frank, who learns it is Amanda. She has tracked the fascists who killed her father and left her for dead from her village in Spain to California. Amanda wants Frank to help her take revenge. And by the way, she says the ten-year-old boy with her is Frank’s son.

Joan Spring turns out to be a Red Chinese secret agent, and she’s drawn a line through Max’s name with a pencil. Can Frank save Max again? Can he help Amanda avenge her father when he’s sworn off violence? Can he protect her from her target’s daughter, the sadistic Veronica Rios-Ortega? Join Frank Swiver in the swift-moving story, Last Puffs.

Praise:

February 10, 2018
Format: Kindle Edition| Verified Purchase
Frank Swiver is a detective. Murder investigations are his specialty. He likes wine, loose women and fast cars. Not necessarily in that order. Swiver inhabits an earlier world that is archaic and, without doubt, politically incorrect by today’s standards. Harley Mazuk recreates in Swiver a character from another era whose story is fun and entertaining. Mazuk has an impressive knowledge of wines and cars which permeate his narrative. As to his knowledge of women, I am not competent to judge. I do know that the geography and time period portrayed is well researched. There are many twists and turns to the plot as well as an injection of espionage that keeps the reader guessing. Fans of old fashion detective novels will enjoy this book. I know, I did.
-- Amazon Reviewer

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Friday, March 9, 2018

Inspired by Greatness l Kraig Dafoe

12:00 AM 0 Comments

Inspired by Greatness

As a young reader, I was taken with the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. Many years later, I found myself as a non-traditional student in college, seeking my degree in English writing. During one of my classes, Major Authors, we had an assignment to write a short work in the style of a famous author and I chose Poe. Having read the majority of his writings, including letters and essays, I noticed his writing maintained a certain style across genres. My short story later became the first story in the book, A Collection of Twisted Tales.

With this work, I tried to do what Poe did; keeping a certain style across genres. The work is a mixture of different genres, but they all have something in common, death. That may sound a little dry, though I assure you, it isn’t.

Though most of my characters remain nameless, the reader gets to know them through their actions and through much of their dialogues. Many of my stories are narrated by a character and they speak directly to the reader, drawing you in and making you feel like you’re part of the experience.

They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. I’m almost certain Poe wouldn’t be flattered by my imitating him and his reviews for these works would probably kill any chance of their success, but nonetheless, I would like to think that the average reader, given certain passages, would have a difficult time determining who wrote what. If only I were that talented. Maybe someday.

About the Author

Kraig Dafoe was born in Potsdam, New York and grew up in Canton. He played high school football and joined the Army Reserves at the age of seventeen. 

Kraig has earned his BA in English writing and graduated cum laude from Washburn University in 2017.

Kraig has published two novels and published poetry. He is currently working on another writing project.

His current novel is A Collection of Twisted Tales.
You can visit his website at http://www.kraigdafoe.com.

About the Book:

Title: A COLLECTION OF TWISTED TALES
Author: Craig Dafoe
Publisher: Createspace
Pages: 114
Genre: Short Story Collection / Thriller

BOOK BLURB:
Most of these stories have one thing in common, death. Although death is the common thread, there is nothing common in the way that it comes about.
This collection is chock full of interesting characters scattered among various settings that inspire the imagination, such as a Lavish English mansion or the dark interior of a rundown home.
This book is inspired by and written in the style of, Edgar Allan Poe.

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PRAISE:
"A Collection of Twisted Tales is an ambitious project that testifies to the author's appreciation of Edgar Allan Poe's fiction in particular. In this collection, Kraig Dafoe offers a creative homage with many original ideas and unexpected twists."
Professor Vanessa Steinroetter, PHD

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Creating Believable Heroines in Historical Fiction l Malia Zaidi @maliazaidi #historical #fiction

12:00 AM 0 Comments

Creating Believable Heroines in Historical Fiction

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and my novels, The Lady Evelyn Mysteries, combine this passion with another, my love for mysteries. Yet with the task of writing in this genre before me, I have to face the obstacle of writing historically realistic characters, in particular heroines as I envision Lady Evelyn to be. I want her to be sassy, smart, independent, ulnerable, in other words, I want her to be like a rounded human being. That being said, I have to take into account certain imitations history placed on women. My books are set in the 1920s in Europe, and this time between the wars both offered women greater freedom and took away some of the responsibilities and occupations they took on during the war years.

Do get a sense of how women moved through the world in the 1920s in post-war Europe, I read a lot of books, btoth fiction and non-fiction. I wanted to learn what obstacles they faced in their day-to-day, as well as greater, societal hurdles. For example, women under thrity only got the vote in England ten years after women over thirty. Or, of particular interest to me in my latest novel, I discovered the limitations of women when it came to higher education. Universitities such as Oxford were very stingy when it came to accepting female scholars. I thought a lot about how these limitations could exits, but also how women who had both means and motivation could find ways to thrive nonetheless. I wanted Evelyn to be a woman modern for her day, and relatable even to readers in the present. The more I thought abut this, the more I realized that women have, throughout history, had many aspects of their lives in common. Laws may have changed, but especially in the current climate, when I think of the women’s movement, I realize that historical heroines share many qualities of modern heroines. They live in different times and Lady Evelyn certainly would have benefitted from a smartphone every once in a while, but in the end of the day, we all just try to make the best of our lot. Lady Evelyn is a historical heroine, but she is a woman in whom I hope readers can find a little of themselves as well. The past and the present are bound by what we share and that is how we learn and grow.

About the Author

Malia Zaidi is a writer and painter, who grew up in Germany and lives in the US. An avid reader and traveler, she decided to combine these passions, and turn her long-time ambition of writing into a reality. The Study of Silence is the third book of The Lady Evelyn Mysteries.
                                 

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About the Book:

Title: THE STUDY OF SILENCE
Author: Malia Zaidi
Publisher: Bookbaby
Pages: 448
Genre: Historical Mystery

BOOK BLURB: 
Lady Evelyn Carlisle has returned home to England, where she is completing her degree at St. Hugh's, a women's college in Oxford. Her days are spent poring over ancient texts and rushing to tutorials. All is well until a fateful morning, when her peaceful student life is turned on its head. Stumbling upon the gruesome killing of someone she thought she knew, Evelyn is plunged into a murder investigation once more, much to the chagrin of her friends and family, as well as the intriguing Detective Lucas Stanton. The dreaming spires of Oxford begin to appear decidedly less romantic as she gathers clues, and learns far more than she ever wished to know about the darkness lurking beyond the polished veneer. Can she solve the crime before the killer strikes once more, this time to Evelyn's own detriment?

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Rescuing Cats Was a Dream l Jeffyne Telson #cats #books #catrescue

12:00 AM 0 Comments

Rescuing Cats Was a Dream

Rescuing cats was a dream I had long before I established my own non-profit cat rescue organization, RESQCATS, Inc. in 1997. As far back as I can remember, I had a vision of making a difference in the lives of cats and their human companions. Cat Tails: Heart-Warming Stories about the Cats and Kittens of RESQCATS is a book that embodies that vision...a dream that became my passion and ultimately the reality of my life's work...caring for stray and abandoned cats and kittens.

In the beginning, I wrote stories for the RESQCATS newsletter as a way of raising funds for the organization. But I discovered that writing about the cats and kittens was a creative way to share my feelings about rescue and its many challenges. I began to realize the valuable lessons that the animals taught me about life. I also discovered that writing about the losses of those that could not be saved, as well as the grief that followed the loss of my personal animals, was a path to healing. Putting pen to paper was a safe, less vulnerable way for me to express my feelings. Then I started to share my views on topics that pertained to my experiences with the animals and people. I wrote to educate others about all that it takes to get many of the kitties healthy, including expensive veterinary care and the emotional ups and downs that can occur before sending that nice, healthy, fluffy little kitten home with a qualified adopter.

For years, a friend encouraged me to write a book and tell my story. I resisted the idea for a long time, but one day I decided to take her up on the challenge. I was inspired to share the lessons as my way of making a difference in the world. But the book is also a collection of stories about myself...my life and my vision as told through the realities of caring for cats and kittens.

Most of the stories in this book are truly heart-warming and uplifting. Some will draw on deep underlying emotions...while others are intensely touching and poignant. But every story contains a meaningful, inspirational message of how animals make a difference in people's lives.

Cat Tails: Heart-Warming Stories about the Cats and Kittens of RESCATS is a book that began more than thirty years ago about a woman caring for abandoned cats. I started out with the aim to make a difference in the lives of cats and kittens and discovered along my journey that the impact on my life and the people that adopted the cats was equally profound.

It is my hope that my book will encourage you to expand your compassion for animals and discover a greater appreciation for the important lessons they teach us. If I touch the heart of even a single reader, then I feel I have accomplished my goal.

As a footnote, RESQCATS has placed over 2800 stray and abandoned cats and kittens into qualified homes and 100% of the proceeds from the sale of my book goes directly to the cats.

About the Author


Jeffyne Telson grew up in Dallas, Texas but has spent most of the last half of her life in California. Although she has Bachelor of Arts degree in graphic design from Texas Tech University, she has devoted the last two decades to the pursuit of her real life’s passion…caring for stray and abandoned cats and kittens.

In 1997, Jeffyne founded RESQCATS, Inc, as a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue, care and adoption of stray and abandoned cats and kittens.

In the ensuing 20 years, with the help of a small group of dedicated volunteers, Jeffyne has grown RESQCATS well beyond her dreams, into a highly respected rescue organization that has placed more than 2700 cats and kittens with qualified families and individuals.

Today, in addition to being the President of RESQCATS, Jeffyne and her husband, Mitch, share their Santa Barbara, California home with 14 unadoptable cats, 9 collies and 15 giant African sulcata tortoises…all rescued of course!

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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About the Book:

Title: CAT TAILS: HEART-WARMING STORIES ABOUT THE CATS AND KITTENS OF RESQCATS
Author: Jeffyne Telson
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 332
Genre: Animals/Cat Rescue

BOOK BLURB:
In 1997, Jeffyne Telson founded RESQCATS, Inc, as a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue, care and adoption of stray and abandoned cats and kittens.
In the ensuing 20 years, with the help of a small group of dedicated volunteers, Jeffyne has grown RESQCATS well beyond her dreams, into a highly respected rescue organization that has placed more than 2800 cats and kittens with qualified families and individuals.

And now, she has written a book about her journey of creating a cat rescue, the challenges and opportunities she has faced, and most important of all, the valuable life lessons the cats and kittens have taught her.

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Monday, March 5, 2018

Back Story: A Tangled Web by Mike Martin @mike54martin

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Back Story: A Tangled Web by Mike Martin

A Tangled Web is the latest book in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series, which is set in small fishing communities in Newfoundland, on the easternmost tip of Canada. This series began when the main character, Sgt. Windflower walked out of the fog one night in Grand Bank and started talking to me. I just wrote down what he and the other characters told me. True story. I couldn’t make all of this up myself.

I have always been a writer, but most of my writing was from my head and not from my heart. I wrote business articles and created newsletters and wrote speeches and backgrounders. Then, I became a freelance writer and started writing a little more about what I wanted to write about, but still writing from my head about what I thought and what I knew. But I realized something was missing. I started writing short stories for my friends and family and that felt good.

I write from inspiration and try and connect to the creative flow that I believe exists in and around all of us. I find a beginning. Usually it is a scene or a picture or something in the news that catches my attention. That’s my starting point. If it has resonance I begin writing about what I see and the rest of the story comes along

For me, every book kind of starts the same way, with some connection to a picture or scene. In the case of A Tangled Web, I actually did see a truck parked near the brook in Grand Bank one day and thought that some small child could climb inside, without anyone noticing. Months later, when I sat down to start the new book, that image was still there.

All of my books have been self-published and while it may have been easier using the traditional publishing route, it would not have been such a great adventure. Just like the ones that Sgt. Windflower has in A Tangled Web.


About the Author

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a longtime freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.


The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home.

A Long Ways from Home was shortlisted for the 2017 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web is the newest book in the series.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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About the Book:

Title: A TANGLED WEB
Author: Mike Martin
Publisher: Booklocker
Pages: 338
Genre: Mystery

BOOK BLURB:
Life is good for Sgt. Wind­flower in Grand Bank, Newfoundland. But something’s missing from the Mountie’s life. Actually, a lot of things go missing, including a little girl and supplies from the new factory. It’s Windflower’s job to unravel the tangled web of murder, deceit and an accidental kidnapping that threatens to engulf this sleepy little town and destroy those closest to him. But there’s always good food, good friends and the love of a great woman to make everything better in the end.

A TANGLED WEB is available at Amazon.

The Writing Process l Judy Serrano @authorjserrano #writing

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The Writing Process

One of the questions I often get asked is, “Do you outline your books before you write them?” The funny thing is that I never really thought about it until the question was proposed. I remember sitting in a media class in Commerce, Texas listening to the teacher speak about writing. He went over the much preferred outline technique and then played a YouTube video. The video featured the American screenwriter, playwright, and television producer, Rod Serling. For those of you who are too young to recognize the name, I will help you along. He was most famous for his science-fiction, drama The Twilight Zone. In this video, Mr. Serling spoke about how he would just sit down in front of his typewriter and type. Yes, I said typewriter. The truth of the matter is that I do not outline. It has always bothered me that I have never been able to function the way I was told most writers do, but when I saw the video of Mr. Serling, I knew I was not alone.

When I sit in front of my Macbook, a feeling comes over me. I sometimes dream my ideas, and that certainly makes it easier to begin my literary journey. I will set my hands upon my lonely, cold keyboard, and my characters come to life for me. As fire flies from my fingertips, my characters take me on a painstaking journey. If I had originally planned for Ivy to fall in love with one certain person, she may have ideas of her own. My books never end the way you think they will (Did I give away too much?), and you will always be surprised. Like life in general, unexpected events happen. These events make for page-turning thrillers in my humble opinion.

As for the outline, I have tried my hand at it. I began to write what I had planned when my character chastised me and changed direction. Then I rewrote the outline only to be foiled again. Some of the best writers go with the outline, and I am not saying it is not a good idea, but it is not for everyone. Writing is a personal thing, and everyone is different. What it comes down to is life is short. We must do what brings us joy and how we do it … even if it is the road less traveled, it is still your road to take.

About the Author


Judy Serrano holds a Master of Arts in English from Texas A&M University-, Commerce. She is the owner of Make Cents Editing Service, and was an adjunct professor at a local college. Currently she teaches high school English and is a freelance writer for certain on-line publications. Judy also writes romantic suspense and paranormal romance novels. She is the author of The Easter’s Lilly Series, The Linked Seriesand Ivy Vines, Visions.

Although originally form New York, Judy resides in Texas with her husband, four boys, two dogs and now five cats. She sings and plays guitar when she has time and enjoys singing with her very musical family in church when she is able.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK


About the Book:

Title: IVY VINES, VISIONS
Author: Judy Serrano
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 267
Genre: Paranormal Romance

BOOK BLURB:
Moving to Sedona was the only way Ivy could think of to start over. She would meet her high school sweetheart and work on making things right between them. Her psychic abilities were gradually becoming a curse and she needed a new start. Little does she know that when she applies for a waitressing job at a local, upscale French bistro, she will come in contact with the dark and mysterious Eli Dubois. What she doesn’t realize is she has just walked into the middle of the Vortex Murders, which involve a great deal of paranormal activity. Elijah’s army of seers are being murdered, one by one, which seems to be magnifying Ivy’s special abilities. 

Eli's best friend, Jake, arrives on the scene and reveals the secret that changes everything. With nowhere to turn, Ivy leans on the two men who offer her solace. And who is the old woman in the shroud? Is she a vision, a dream, or is she real? Only time will tell.

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