Review: “The Photograph” by Grant Leishman

30353515Today I’m glad to present “The Photograph” by one of my favourite authors, Grant Leishman. Remember my post of “The Second Coming

 

I’m not a big fan of horror stories but I trusted Grant Leishman enough to bring some class to the supernatural / horror / mystery novel, and he did.
The story begins with the rise and fall of photographer Tony Logan. His business during the old days of photography and his failure to catch up with the technological advancements in the field. His wife also leaves him as the business is going under.
Just as he has hit rock bottom he finds a role of film from his mother’s funeral in 1970. He hadn’t dared to develop, since he feared it might open up old wounds.
Up to this point the main character has already a lot of depth and we identify with him deeply. There is a sense of impending doom prevailing through this first part of the novel. Then the horror really takes off when Tony looks at the background of one of the pictures he took in 1970. I almost had to put the book down at that point, not sure if I could read on. The formerly so gentle and gradually building tension now is much more prominent from then on.
As Tony and his siblings try to investigate the supernatural mystery they find much more than they had bargained for.
I think there is potential for a series from here on.
If you like gret suspense then you will definitely love this. It isn’t dreadfully scary throughout, just right and for me, an occasional visitor to the genre, it has definitely something of a Stephen King feel to it. Just with more character depth.
I would definitely recommend this to fans of the genre.

Link to the book: http://mybook.to/photograph

Author Bio:Me

I am an expatriate New Zealander, living in Manila, The Philippines, with my wife and two step-daughters.

At age 55, after careers in Finance and Journalism, I have finally discovered my true passion in life – writing and I’m now “living the dream”, writing full-time.

My first novel was a romantic, fantasy, adventure about the return of Jesus Christ to modern day Manila to try and sort out the problems of the world – yet again! “The Second Coming”, which was published by Pentian in June 2015.

My second novel “Just a Drop in the Ocean”, a romance that spans a generation and two continents, is completed and was published in October 2015.

The sequel to “The Second Coming” – “Rise of the AntiChrist” is completed and will be published in December 2015.

The final novel in The Coming Series – “Holy War” is around 15% complete and will be published in March or April 2016.

Links to Social Media et al:

My Website: http://www.grantleishman.com/

My Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Grant-Leishman/e/B012ATB9N0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1445550695&sr=8-1

My Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14119893

My Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorGrantLeishman

My Facebook Personal Page: https://www.facebook.com/grant.leishman.37

My Twitter Page:  https://twitter.com/GLeishmanAuthor

My Linkedin Page: https://ph.linkedin.com/pub/grant-leishman/97/222/77

My Pintrest Page: https://www.pinterest.com/grantleishman37/

Review: “The Rubber Fence” by Diana Stevan

Rubber Fence ebook cover As many of you know I am a big fan of intense books and books with a tough subject matter. Psychiatric wards and mental health are high up on that list, so I was glad to have come across this book. 
Having lived in the 1970s, I could relate to the setting. I always imagined I would work in social care when I was younger, but chickened out in the end, fearing I might not have what it takes.
In this book, a young idealistic doctor tries her best in a psychiatric ward. What she witnesses is shocking to her as it will be to the reader.
Drawing the line between professional commitment and personal involvement must be hard in the sector and our heroine finds this difficult, too.
Throw in superiors and personal problems and you have a rich novel full of moving, harrowing and interesting moments. Very recommendable.

Blurb:

It’s 1972. Women are breaking out, families are breaking down, and men are trying to hold on for the ride.

Dr. Joanna Bereza is a psychiatric intern who wants to have it all: a career, a loving marriage, and a family, but her passion to do what’s right sets her against a system that’s as stuck as the people it treats.

On ward 2B, Joanna becomes obsessed with the treatment of two women: a mute young mother suspected of trying to kill her baby and a feisty old woman who’s been through the mill one too many times. Blinded by her obsession, Joanna not only neglects her own husband, but in trying to stop her patients from getting shock treatment, she also puts her career in jeopardy. Further complicating matters is the seductive senior resident who looks more like a hip rock star than an aspiring shrink. Shadowing Joanna’s work is her own unresolved grief over something that happened when she was a child.

The Rubber Fence was inspired by the author’s experience as a family therapist on a psychiatric ward.

 

The author:

Diana Stevan

Website
Twitter

 

Diana Stevan is from Winnipeg, where she got her Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics and a Master of Social Work with honours.

Having worked as a professional actress, model, family therapist and CBC television sports broadcaster, she uses her experience to weave her stories.

Her time-slip novel, a romantic mystery/adventure, A CRY FROM THE DEEP, was published on October 15, 2014.

On March 15, 2015, she published her novelette, THE BLUE NIGHTGOWN, a story about family life in the 1950s and coming of age.

Her second novel, THE RUBBER FENCE, inspired by her work on a psychiatric ward in 1972, is now out as both a paperback and e-book.

Visit her at www.dianastevan.com, https://www.facebook.com/dianastevan…., and on Twitter @DianaStevan

The book on Amazon Uk and Amazon US

A Blue Million Books: AUTHORS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Source: A Blue Million Books: AUTHORS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

AUTHORS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media is a big asset to authors, allowing us to connect with multitudes in an instantaneous fashion. But lately I’m wondering how should authors spend their time on Facebook or Twitter? Does social media really help sell books? Is Facebook a valuable marketing tool, a way to connect with readers, or just a huge time vacuum? I wondered what other authors thought about this subject, so I asked. Read on for thoughts from Christoph Fischer, Celeste Burke, Brent Hartinger, Maria Grazia Swan, P.C. Zick, Sarah Mallery, Jane Firebaugh, Julie Moffett, Julie Seedorf, Ritter Ames, Frankie Bow, Kathy, Carol Keen, Cindy Blackburn, Lisa Binion, Amy Reade, and Tricia Drammeh. Next up (July 26) authors on social media from a reader’sperspective.

Do you use social media for business or pleasure or both?


Christoph Fischer:
Both. Sadly, I spend most of the time on it for business.



Celeste Burke: I use it for both . . . but spend much more time on FB involved in writing-related activities. That includes time spent in activities in groups that I have joined focused on various aspects of writing and marketing books.

Brent Hartinger: Honestly, I’m not sure I would be a big social media user if not for my writing career. That said, to have any success at all in social media, you have to enjoy it, and it has to be personal. Just constantly flogging your work is pointless, and probably counter-productive.
The most important thing isn’t what you post, or how you post. I think it’s how you react and interact with people. Are you accessible? Are you genuine? This sort of thing really builds up fans, and allows you to make contacts with people who will be your devoted boosters. But it has to be genuine. And because it’s genuine, it’s really time-intensive.
Another way to look at it is that you’re serving your reader, giving them something of value—and it’s something a lot more valuable that the opportunity to buy your brilliant book or bask in your genius. No, you’re giving them genuine personal access to you, an author they’re somewhat or very interested in. That’s valuable! But again, it’s also very time-consuming, at least if you’re doing it right.

Maria Grazia Swan: Both, and while I should talk books, 80% of the time I don’t. It feels too crass . . . plus, I do enjoy my FB friends . . .


P.C. Zick: I do both, but really most of my time is spent on business and trying not to annoy my friends and family.

Sarah Mallery: I use FB mostly for business. I share other authors’ announcements/posts, but if I have a more personal message to add, I will PM that person privately. However, these days, I’ve been concentrating far more on Twitter.

Jane Firebaugh: Both – More time spent on business.

Julie Moffett: I use it for both, but I think I use it more for personal than business. Still, I’m pretty active on both of my pages.

Julie Seedorf: Both they seem to meld together.

Ritter Ames: Both, but it’s kind of a merged thing. I tend to stick to more personal things on my profile page and more “my writing” type things on my author page.

Frankie Bow: For me, Facebook is a great way to connect with other authors and mystery fans. There are groups devoted to cozy mysteries, to favorite series, and to specific author interests.

Kathi Daley: Both but mostly business.

Carol E. Keen: More business, but my business is a pleasure, so that is harder to answer.

Anonymous: Both—mainly business.

Cindy Blackburn: Both—spend more time on Twitter.

Lisa Binion: I mainly use Facebook to share my articles and info about my book. I also use it to keep in touch with friends and family.

Amy Reade: I use Facebook for both business and pleasure. It’s hard to know how I spend my time, since I follow a lot of authors and bloggers in my personal feed. I spend time commenting on their posts as well as posts by family and friends. I try to post something original on my author page at least once a day. Sometimes it’s book news, sometimes it’s just what I’m working on. I also like to share posts from other pages that focus on the places where my books are set. I guess I would say I probably spend a bit more time on author stuff than personal stuff—maybe 60% business, 40% pleasure.

Tricia Drammeh: I use my Facebook Author Page for blog posts, book-related posts, and to promote other authors. I post everything on Twitter! Links to a variety of articles (book related or non-book related), promos for other authors, pictures of my dog, you name it.

Tony Scougal:  Facebook for business and pleasure but mostly business since I am a member of numerous book groups and run/administer Kindle Books 2.

On what type of posts do you get the most response?


Christoph Fischer:
Positive success stories and positive personal stories, e.g. getting awards and getting a new puppy, getting engaged etc. get the most responses.

Celeste Burke: Now that FB has reduced the reach that we get from posting, I get the most response to posts that actively engage my readers. That includes giveaways, news about books, events held on FB. Posting in FB groups about books and book promotion also seems to help create activity.

Brent Hartinger: Well, it’s sad to say, but simple is always better than complicated, and a video or attention-getting photo is always better than text. I used to bristle at this, but I suppose it’s human nature. I’m a busy person too, and I scan just like everyone else, only clicking on things that really jump out at me.
Mostly, it’s important that the post have some kind of “hook”—something that is instantly obvious, and draws the reader or viewer in. There’s a reason why cat videos and baby photos are so popular!
Unlike most authors, I do occasionally do long, thought-provoking posts on Facebook. Sometimes they go nowhere, but sometimes they do. And when they do, I’m pleased, because I feel like they reinforce my brand more than yet another cat video. But if you go this route, it’s important to have something to say. And it’s also important to frame it with a big, fat, attention-drawing hook or title.
It’s easy to get a response to political posts, or general rants about life, but I think this is a mistake. I don’t see what’s to be gained by getting into politics, or negatively in general, except that you’re potentially alienating half your readers. The point of social media as author isn’t to change the world. It’s to reinforce your brand, and create interactions with readers that ultimately leads to more book sales (and other assorting opportunities, like speaking gigs). Unless your brand IS politics, I don’t see the point of this.

Maria Grazia Swan: Jokes, PG jokes and blogs with pics of people . . . yes. . . I keep track. Faces get you the most views.


P.C. Zick: I get responses from my groups—street team and colleagues—where I ask for shares or tweets.

Sarah Mallery: Actually, the posts that have clever sayings on them, or sometimes URLs from YouTube that I’ve shared get the biggest response.

Jane Firebaugh: New releases and multi-author giveaways.

Julie Moffett: Giveaways for sure, announcements of new releases, and Facebook parties/giveaways with other authors.

Julie Seedorf: New releases and multi-author giveaways. The most response is when I ask a question, share something personal, and giveaways. They tend to be even.

Ritter Ames: Funny things that relate to everyday life, contests, and things that show the goodness of others.

Kathi Daley: Contests and specific questions that readers are prompted to answer.

Carol E. Keen: Book launches and free books of mine or someone else’s.

Anonymous: I post pictures/quizzes/blogs about the 70s. You never know what will resonate. McDonalds’ glasses did, drinking out of a hose did, a caftan did not.

Cindy Blackburn: Twitter—lots of RT’s on blatant self-promo stuff.

Amy Reade: The posts that get the most responses are those about book news- covers, progress updates, etc.

Tony Scougal:

Do you feel Facebook or Twitter has an impact on your book sales?


Christoph Fischer:
Not on the same scale as they were a few years ago. I think the number of books published and tweets being tweeted has put a damper on things a little. They are still important tools, though.

Celeste Burke: That is such a difficult question to answer because I’m doing everything at once. My understanding is that the different social media outlets reinforce one another by offering repeated exposure to information about me, my books, and the material I share about other authors.

Brent Hartinger: It’s not a direct relationship, but yes, it’s a huge impact, almost beyond measuring. Honestly, I think I sell way more books through social media that I ever did through newspaper profiles. If I had to choose between social media and never having another media profile of me, I’d choose social media in a heartbeat.
Social media is as much of a revolution as the Gutenberg press. It’s HUGE. It’s changing EVERYTHING.
The key revolutionary features are (1) it speed (instantaneous), (2) its reach (the entire world instantly!), and (3), mostly important, its interactivity. Mass communication is no longer a one-way street! Think about that, what a monumental change that it is. It gives me the chills just thinking about it.
For authors, this allows us to create a genuine, interactive relationship with our readers. That means more than just posting things and selling yourself. It means also being accessible, being open to instant messaging, responding to comments, responding to tweets. More than half the time I spend on social media is interacting with readers. It’s one on one. But I also think that’s the most important part of it, the part that sells books.
Interesting side-note: social media has mostly replaced email for me. I used to get ten to twenty emails from fans a week. Now I get maybe five. But I get dozens of messages and inquiries via social media. Honestly, I find social media easier, and better, because I don’t feel the pressure to write a 500 word response, and because there’s more of a back and forth. I can answer exactly what the person wants to know about.

Maria Grazia Swan: Honestly I have no clue, but I tell myself it does in order to justify the time I spend online.


P.C. Zick: Twitter does more than Facebook unless it’s a new release.

Sarah Mallery: Since I don’t use FB except for specific book promotions and sharing, I would say Twitter has had more impact on my sales.

Jane Firebaugh: Yes, probably both do.

Julie Moffett: Absolutely.

Julie Seedorf: Yes, absolutely. But not always because I promote my books, but because I let them know me.

Ritter Ames: I think it’s a long game approach. I don’t think either affects my day-to-day sales, but as I build a relationship with the fan with both venues, I think I gain later sales that way. Unless a book is on sale—then I think I gain immediate sales from both FB & Twitter.

Frankie Bow: Facebook, no. Twitter, maybe. Twitter is a great way to get out news about promotions and new releases, both mine and those of other authors

Kathi Daley: Absolutely. Big time!

Carol E. Keen: Yes, I do. Facebook especially. I’m still rather new to Twitter. (I would NEVER have joined Twitter if it weren’t for my books.)

Anonymous: I do think FB can be especially helpful for a new author. There is a cozy community.

Cindy Blackburn: Yes—I’m a firm believer in Twitter. The more I do there, the better my sales

Lisa Binion: Not really, but I don’t often send out posts that advertise my book. I do feel that Facebook has had a positive impact on my editing business. Since I’ve never mentioned on Twitter that I edit books, I doubt that social media site has sent any authors to me.

Amy Reade: In terms of selling books, I’m sure FB is more helpful than Twitter. Twitter is like a vacuum of authors, all trying to out-shout each other. Most of my tweets are actually retweets of other authors’ stuff, though I try to post something original every day on Twitter.

Tricia Drammeh: I’m not sure if I can directly link book sales to my activity on social media, but I’ve met a lot of amazing people, and for me, that’s what matters.

Tony Scougal: I post Amazon links and my blogsite links to my groups about 3 times a week. I tweet the same links about 3 times a week on twitter. I probably spend about 1 hour a day on these two social media sites (in total) posting links, usually at coffee time when relaxing and quite literally hitting ‘share’. There is no doubt in my mind that posting these links directly to these two sites results in sales. As another ‘guide’ I share my blogsite which is book related only and have taken 220,000 views using Facebook and twitter sharing capacity.

Is there a secret to getting “likes” on a Facebook post or an author page?


Christoph Fischer:
I know Rafflecopter giveaways ask people to like pages, tweets and Facebook post campaigns try to entice readers. I’m not sure what works. I think the significance of a high number of likes is over-rated. When people see your page they are already interested. More important is the actual content on the page. To keep the following you need to produce fresh and interesting, original content.

Celeste Burke: Posts that engage visitors and then are shared seem to help new readers discover me. They often will come to check out a post and like my page as well as the post! So, it happens as a byproduct of those other activities. Giveaways do that, too, even though FB does not want you to expressly request people to “like” your page in order to enter a giveaway. Friends will respond to invitations extended to them to like a page or post, but I don’t like to do that often since I don’t want to swamp people with social media requests.

Brent Hartinger:
Writing good books? Being a positive, accessible, kind human being? Doing things that people actually like?😉

Maria Grazia Swan: Again, clueless, but when I feel particularly brave and ask for a like I usually get it.

P.C. Zick: I get most of my likes from Facebook parties where I request it and on new release information.

Sarah Mallery: Recently I’ve been asked by people on Twitter if I would like their page, and after I do, I ask them to reciprocate. Also, because I’ve been getting more and more people following me on Twitter, I noticed I am get far more Friend requests on FB.


Jane Firebaugh: I wish I knew it. lol

Julie Moffett: Tag it to a giveaway. That almost always seems to work for me.

Julie Seedorf: Usually for me it is when someone reads my books or sees a post about something they are interested in and then they like my page.

Ritter Ames: I think in regard to both venues, the more you interact with fellow members, the more others will see your posts and want to like or follow you. I also gain a lot of likes and follows from my Amazon author page, btw.

Kathi Daley: Give stuff away or post cute pet photos.

Carol E. Keen: What I’m seeing is many authors having giveaways, and using Rafflecopter. Several entries have to do with liking FB pages, Amazon pages, and so forth. It’s free, and easy, and counts towards the odds of winning whatever it is that is being offered.

Anonymous: I think being consistent and not trying to sell something all the time helps immensely.

Cindy Blackburn: Funny, pics of animals. Pics of any sort get more attention.

Lisa Binion: If there is, I wish I knew what it was.

Amy Reade: If there’s a secret to getting likes on Facebook other than being wildly famous, I hope someone shares it with me.

Is there a secret to getting followers or retweets on Twitter?


Christoph Fischer:
There are re-tweet groups to share each other’s platform. That gets you retweets, as does Twitter etiquette of retweeting tweets of similar content, which often results in kind reciprocation.
 Relevant hashtags in moderation will get you attention and retweets. 
One way of getting followers is by following them first, hoping they will reciprocate.
‘Raiding’ the followers of similar author accounts can be useful. 
Again, hash-tagged, relevant content in your tweets will bring the right people your way.

Celeste Burke: I don’t think it’s a secret, but joining retweet groups on FB helps. Using hashtags when you send out a tweet is important. Tweets with pictures attract more attention and get more exposure. Supporting other authors is always good too—following something close to the 20-80 rule: 20% about me 80% about others. That’s another advantage to joining retweet groups—you get your tweet sent out but you do the same for the others in the group so you’re sure not all of your content is about yourself.

Brent Hartinger: Honestly, a big part of this is being uniquely you, being genuine. What is it about you (and your books) that is different from others? What makes you worthwhile as an author, what sets you apart? What do you bring to the table that no one else does? What is your personal “voice”? That’s your brand!
I see my own brand as that of a “storyteller.” I am a novelist and screenwriter, and I love the whole idea of a “story:” what it is, and how to make it accessible. So I write about my own personal and professional struggles as a writer, examples of successful and unsuccessful stories by others, and also other media trends. I sometimes include personal anecdotes, to give readers a sense of “me,” but I mostly focus on my life as a storyteller. My personal life? That’s not really relevant to my social media presence, except as it directly relates to my brand.

Maria Grazia Swan: Retweet and you get retweeted and you get followers, that’s my experience.


P.C. Zick: Join groups that share tweets. I use ManageFlitter to get rid of those who don’t follow back and to search for readers, reviewers, bloggers for my genre to follow.

Sarah Mallery: I have discovered that if someone RT’s my Tweet, it takes a little extra time, but I first go check out that person if I’m not already following them. Then, if they seem legit, I will go to their Media stream and RT something from them. That’s been garnering a lot of RTs and good will from people.


Jane Firebaugh: I wish I knew that too! lol

Julie Moffett: Same as Facebook. Make it a required part of a giveaway.

Julie Seedorf: Sharing with other friends and writers and sharing my cat pictures.

Kathi Daley: I follow almost everyone back—there are exceptions. I also belong to several tweet teams.

Carol E. Keen: See above for followers. For retweets, I do all I can to promote other authors. IF they do the same for me, we all prosper. There is this CoPromote app, I can’t totally figure it out, but I’m using it. It is able to use Twitter, Vine, Tumbler and Instagram. I feel a bit drowned in social media sometimes.

Cindy Blackburn: Effort. I follow and unfollow people every day. I try to RT as much as possible—especially those the RT me. I repeat–effort.

Lisa Binion: If there is, I don’t know it.

Amy Reade: I’ve noticed that pictures on Twitter are essential. I get far more likes and retweets when there’s a photo with my tweet. Also, I tend to get more likes and retweets when I use specific hashtags. Not just “#fiction” or “#blogging,” but something that narrows the focus, like “#CR4U” (clean reads) or “#lucilleball.”

Do you have both an author page and a profile page or just one or the other?


Christoph Fischer:
I have both. Author page for book-related issues only, the profile page for some of the book content and personal. The line is fluid, as I have become friends with many colleagues and readers via my personal profile. The profile gets more attention overall, possibly because enthusiastic readers like to know a bit about me as a person, too, and a few have sent me personal friend requests.

Celeste Burke: I have a personal page and an author page. I believe the author page gets more activity. I try to use that page to keep readers informed about what’s new, but also use my blog and newsletters to do that.

Brent Hartinger: It’s essential that authors have both a fan page and a personal page, mostly because you’re limited to the number of “friends” on a personal page. Furthermore, Facebook will probably eventually restrict the use of personal pages for promotional purposes.
I get much more activity on my personal page, and I do accept superfans as friends. But an author page allows you to “boost” occasional posts (for a small charge), and this can be extremely helpful in reaching interested, but less passionate fans. It’s absolutely targeted marketing in a way that’s never existed before. I think this is even better targeted marketing than a newsletter, which is supposedly the “holy grail” of marketing. Not everyone opens newsletters, but almost everyone will see a boosted post on Facebook.
I’ve also had great luck uploading videos directly to Facebook (as opposed to embedding them from YouTube), then “boosting” the video. This has sold an almost surreal number of books. I spent $25 boosting one video, and immediately sold well over $1000 worth of books in the two days that followed.
(If I had to do it over again, I would have an author fan page, a personal-fan page, AND a private personal page, to keep my personal life completely separate from my professional one. Ah, well!)

Maria Grazia Swan: I have both, and my profile page gets a lot more activity. Then again, I have more friends on that page than on my author’s page. And I don’t post the same thing, also, whatever I post is for the whole wide world to see. I have yet to figure out how to be selective and limit some posts to specific friends . . . so far so good.

P.C. Zick: I have an author page. I don’t know what a profile page is. But I also have several pages for specific genres since I have a diverse selection of published works.

Sarah Mallery: I have an author “Fan” page and a profile page on FB. Probably my profile page gets more activity, since I’ve not been promoting on the other so much.

Jane Firebaugh: I have both, but I don’t use the author page enough. Personal page gets more activity, because I use it a lot more.

Julie Moffett: I have both and am active daily on both.

Julie Seedorf: I have both, and they both get a lot of activity, but I don’t use the author page enough.

Kathi Daley: Both plus several group pages. When you post to an author page only a very small percentage of those who have liked the page even see the post. I have almost 15,000 likes and I have a lot of posts where it says my reach is around 50. That’s sad. I feel I get a lot more bang for my buck on my personal page and my group page.

Carol E. Keen: Yes, I have both. My regular page gets way more activity from others, because I was a “person” before having an author page. FB’s algorithms are so messed up, it is wonder we see anything AT ALL!

Cindy Blackburn: I have an author page on FB. Don’t even know if I have a profile page??? Not sure what that is.

Lisa Binion: I have a personal page. Then there is my Fiction Writing page that attracts a lot more activity than my personal page. That makes me happy because that is the page I want people to pay attention to. Why? It will direct them to my website.

Amy Reade: For Facebook, I have author and personal pages. I do this because not all my FB friends want to know about every little book thing that goes on with me. Likewise, all my author followers (there’s some overlap, but not total) might not care to know what’s growing in my flowerbeds. 
For Twitter, I only have one account- my author account. 
I would say my personal FB page gets a bit more activity than my author page.

Tricia Drammeh: On Facebook, I interact with authors and readers on my regular profile, and though I do sometimes post reading-related articles, I don’t do any hard selling. The only time I post about my own books are when I have a new release or a free book offer.

THE SECRET

I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no secret. The right way to use social media is as diverse as its users. It can be a marketing tool, a way for authors to check in with friends and make new ones, or both. In a post titled“Please shut up: Why self-promotion as an author doesn’t work,” Delilah S. Dawson wrote: “Because here’s the secret: None of us know what we’re doing, but we’re all trying our asses off. We are all hungry.”

The good news is the lines of business and pleasure can blur in social media. I think Facebook recognizes that too, hence the opportunity they give us with author pages. Is social media a place to sell ourselves or a place to share ourselves? Authors get to decide whether to “push” (constant tweets and posts about their book), or “pull” (sharing a bit of themselves to forge a genuine connection with others).

Social media can be so much more than just “buy my book” or “notice me, talk to me.” Facebook is a great way for authors to connect, support, and encourage each other. And authors promoting fellow authors’ work, particularly when it’s new, on a special sale, or in a giveaway, can more effectively help readers discover a new author than self-promotion.

For a lot of authors, Facebook is their water cooler. For those who work alone, it may be the only human interaction they have all day. And even at the water cooler, you’ll find some who are there for some “it’s all about me” time, while others are there to share ideas, news, and thoughts.

Sometimes authors can get so caught up in selling their book that marketing becomes their sole reason for using social media. They friend and follow people with the intent to be friended or followed back. Where’s the social aspect in that approach? Dawson made the point: “Would fishing be fun if the fish jumped out of the ocean and smacked you in the face?  . . . that’s what a lot of social media by authors is starting to look like, to feel like: being smacked in the face, repeatedly, by hundreds of fish.”

Authors can use social media for the hard sell or as a way to attract new friends (and readers) with their personalities, making sales a happy by-product of connecting with others. Beyond “networking” with other authors, Facebook gives authors a chance to connect with people, whether they are writers or readers. It’s a way for authors to use their work to make friends, not use their friends to make money. I don’t want to go to the water cooler to be bombarded with a sales pitch. I want to go for some levity, friendship, and genuine connection. I think to use social media purely to promote a book or to “like” and “friend” other authors only to sell a book would be missing the point of social media. What do you think?

ABOUT THE AUTHORS


Christoph Fischer is a UK based author of historical fiction (Three Nations Trilogy, Ludwika, In Search of a Revolution), contemporary fiction (Time to Let Go, Conditions), and thrillers (The Healer, The Gamblers).
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Amazon

Celeste Burke is the author of the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities mystery series, the Corsario Cove cozy mystery series, and The Georgie Shaw cozy mystery series.
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Amazon

Brent Hartinger is a writer of just about everything that involves words: novels (including the Russel Middlebrook new adult series), screenplays, plays, web content, even greeting cards. A feature film version of his first novel, Geography Club, was released in November 2013.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  
Amazon

Maria Grazia Swan is the author of the Mina Calvi Adventures, Lella York series, and non-fiction.
Website  |  Facebook Twitter  |  Amazon



P.C. Zick  is the author of contemporary romance, contemporary fiction, and non-fiction.  (Florida Fiction series, Behind the Love trilogy, Smoky Mountain romances.)
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Amazon

Sarah Mallery is a historical fiction writer with four published books to date: Tales to Count On, Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads, Unexpected Gifts, and The Dolan Girls.
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Amazon

Jane Firebaugh is the author of the White Mountain Romantic mystery series: Antiques & Avarice, and Old Crimes & Nursery Rhymes.
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Amazon

Julie Moffett is the author of fifteen published novels in the genres of historical, paranormal fantasy, and time travel romances, and action/adventure mysteries (the Lexi Carmichael series).
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Amazon

Julie Seedorf is a cozy mystery author of the Fuchsia Minnesota Series, Granny Is In Trouble children’s series, and Brilliant Minnesota series.
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Amazon

Ritter Ames is a cozy mystery author of the Art Mysteries Series & Organized Mysteries Series.
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Amazon

Kathi Daley is the author of six cozy mystery series, including: Zoe Donovan Mystery, Whales & Tails Cozy Mystery, Sand & Sea Hawaiian Mystery, TJ Jensen Mystery, Paradise Lake Mystery, and Seacliff High Mystery.
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Amazon

Frankie Bow is the author of The Professor Molly Mysteries, Miss Fortune Kindle Worlds Novellas, and coloring books for all ages.
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Amazon

Carol E. Keen currently writes books in fantasy genres for adults and YA, as well as in the Supernatural Thriller Mystery genre.
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Amazon

Cindy Blackburn is the author of the Cue Ball Mysteries cozy series.
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Amazon


Lisa Binio
n is a freelance editor and the author of Softly & Tenderly, a paranormal horror novel.

Website  |  Facebook  | Twitter  | Amazon

Amy Reade is the author of women’s contemporary and gothic fiction with three published books to date: The Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and The House of the Hanging Jade.
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Amazon

Tricia Drammeh is the author of the Spellbringers series, The Seance, Sweet Sorrow, The Fifth Circle, and Better than Perfect.
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Amazon

Tony Scougal: Tony writes under the pseudonym Paul Anthony. A former counter terrorist detective forCumbria Police proper, he is anuthor of thrillers, murder mysteries, espionage, television and film scripts, and screenplays.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Amazon

Amazing new reviews for “The Luck of the Weissensteiners”

Luck of the Weissensteiners by chritoph Fischer coverMore positive reviews for The Luck of the Weissensteiners – Thank you!

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Period Drama., July 15, 2016
By
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Luck of the Weissensteiners (The Three Nations Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
The Luck of the Weissentheiners is a wonderful story about one family caught up in the pre, during and post eras of World War II and the rise of Nazism. Centered on a hard-working non-practicing Jewish family who operate a weaving shop in Bratislava, Slovakia, we follow the exploits of Jonah, Greta and Wilma Weissensteiner as they try to negotiate the complex and ever-changing political environment of Eastern Europe at that time. The characters are very believable and easy to identify with. The Weissensteiners meet so many different characters of all persuasions during their long journey to liberation.
This was a well-researched and enjoyable read. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves Historical Novels, as I do. What we see is the triumph of the human spirit even in a time of such horror and terror. I really enjoyed it.

4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, July 23, 2016
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Luck of the Weissensteiners (The Three Nations Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
THIS BOOK WAS VERY GOOD BUY DEPRESSING..SO MUCH HATRED THEN…KIND OF LIKE TODAY..NEVER ENDING

 

 

4.0 out of 5 stars The presentation of the daily struggles and anxieties of Jews …, July 11, 2016
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Luck of the Weissensteiners (The Three Nations Trilogy Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
The presentation of the daily struggles and anxieties of Jews in the Prague, Bratislava areas opens eyes and hearts.

Trailer: http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/OtmyZh4Dmc/?autoplay=1

 

Links: 11068243_684273991684777_4536204768149481255_n

http://www.amazon.com/Luck-Weissensteiners-Three-Nations-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00AFQC4QC

https://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/WriterChristophFischer

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6590171.Christoph_Fischer

The Luck of the Weissensteiners (Three Nations Trilogy Book 1)

In the sleepy town of Bratislava in 1933 a romantic girl falls for a bookseller from Berlin. Greta Weissensteiner, daughter of a Jewish weaver, slowly settles in with the Winkelmeier clan just as the developments in Germany start to make waves in Europe and re-draws the visible and invisible borders. The political climate in the multifaceted cultural jigsaw puzzle of disintegrating Czechoslovakia becomes more complex and affects relations between the couple and the families. The story follows them through the war with its predictable and also its unexpected turns and events and the equally hard times after.
But this is no ordinary romance; in fact it is not a romance at all, but a powerful, often sad, Holocaust story. What makes The Luck of the Weissensteiners so extraordinary is the chance to consider the many different people who were never in concentration camps, never in the military, yet who nonetheless had their own indelible Holocaust experiences. This is a wide-ranging, historically accurate exploration of the connections between social location, personal integrity and, as the title says, luck.

On Amazon:  http://smarturl.it/Weissensteiners

http://bookShow.me/B00AFQC4QC

 

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/527811
On iTunes: https://itun.es/i6LL9CF

Nook Book Link: http://ow.ly/LMhlm

On Goodreads: http://bit.ly/12Rnup8

On Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1bua395

 

B&N  http://ow.ly/Btvas

Interview with a Holocaust Survivor

A great interview with a holocaust survivor. As times and politics are on the verge of turning ugly, this couldn’t be more timely, sadly.

historywithatwist

Frank - Auschwitz Young prisoners in Auschwitz

Frank Grunwald was just 12 years old when he and his family entered the concentration camps. Terezinstadt, Auschwitz, Melk, Mauthausen . . . he was in them all. Unfortunately, neither his brother nor his mother would leave Auschwitz alive.

Frank was born in Czechoslovakia in 1932. His father was a doctor, as well as being a very talented photographer. Both of his parents, Kurt and Vilma, were musicians and instilled a love of music into Frank and his brother, John, who was four years his senior.

The family lived a comfortable life in Prague. Growing up, Frank liked art – he focused on it, as he did playing the accordion. For him, the instrument’s melancholy sound was both personal and human.

The notion of being Jewish never really entered Frank’s head. He was just a Czech, like his fellow citizens – but not in the eyes…

View original post 1,562 more words

Politics Is Ugly: Can We Change It?

Great article about the ugliness of recent politics. This is not about my political leanings but about media bias and our need to change this

The Last Krystallos

I don’t often, if ever, get political on my blog, but I am political.
I am a big fighter for human justice, fairness and compassion,
and the way the world is lead is important to me.

Politics is Ugly - Lies and Deceit – We Need Change - The Last Krystallos
I don’t want this post to be about my political leanings.
We all have them and in this world, at least where I live, we are free to air them. I realise not all parts of the world have this freedom, and I am very grateful that I live with political freedom. Our views, our opinions and our politics are our own and we are allowed them.

Politics is getting very ugly.

Some of you, who are much better historians than me, will point out that politics has always been ugly.That it’s always been full of lies, deceit, ambition, and corruption. You’re probably right. But with the advent of social media, we…

View original post 1,443 more words

There’s a great editor in Cybertown, and you found her!

Lorna has helped me as beta reader and friend with several of my novels and her input has been invaluable.

Lorna's Voice

Uh. What? Is something important happening here? Do I need to pay attention? Uh. What? Is something important happening here? Do I need to pay attention?

How many times in the past hoursdaysweeks months have you wondered why your favorite dizzy blonde wonkerific blogger hasn’t been posting as frequently as she used to?

Really? You haven’t noticed what I may or may not have or haven’t been doing or not doing? Shizzlesticks in a mudpie!

Well, wake up and smell your smoking motherboard.

It's good to have options. It’s good to have options.

I’m here to tell you that Lorna is back in Cybertown and she’s been busy being a darned tootin’ fine editor. (By the way, I’m Lorna.)

These are my Professional Editor glasses. I will put them on for the remainder of this post. You WILL notice a difference. These are my Professional Editor Glasses. I will put them on for the remainder of this post. You WILL notice a difference.

Don’t concern yourself that prior sentences in this post may or may not have been technically grammatically correct or that there were words the Oxford Dictionary…

View original post 541 more words

Today With Nigel Williams | Judith Barrow

Source: Today With Nigel Williams | Judith Barrow

Today With Nigel Williams

Introducing the authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair, http://bit.ly/27XORTh, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival http://bit.ly/24eOVtl .  I’m looking forward to having many more such chats over the next couple of weeks. 

So far I’ve interrogated interviewed Rebecca Bryn: http://bit.ly/1XYWbtF, Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/1P6zDQh , Matt Johnson: http://bit.ly/1RUqJFg , Christoph Fischer: http://bit.ly/1svniAr , Sally Spedding: http://bit.ly/1VNRQci, Wendy Steele: http://bit.ly/1PMoF8i ,Kathy MIles:  http://bit.ly/1twN3Bg , Carol Lovekin:http://bit.ly/1Y2z6HT, Colin R Parsons: http://bit.ly/1tvBc5G and Lisa Shambrook: http://bit.ly/28NMI5v:  and Alex Martin:  http://bit.ly/28VLsQG ,  Judith Arnopp:  http://bit.ly/290cJMl , Sharon Tregenza: http://bit.ly/29frGPq   and Juliet Greenwood: http://bit.ly/29jylrM And thanks to Thorne Moore for interviewing me: http://bit.ly/1VTvqGq  Over the next week or two I’ll be introducing the rest of the authors. I’ll also be showcasing the publishers who will be in attendance and who will be giving short talks and may be able to give advice to would-be authors: http://honno.co.uk/ , http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/   and  http://www.cambriapublishing.org.uk/ ,

There may also be a short chat with John and Fiona of http://showboat.tv/ who, as usual, will be filming the event.

Today I’m talking to Nigel Williams; an interesting and generous chap as you will see.

nigel

Welcome to our author interviews, Nigel. It’s great to see you here… finally!

 It’s good to be here… finally. (He’s grinning!!)

So… my favourite question, what were you like at school?

I loved school, for the most part. I looked forward to the summer and the athletics season. I was a keen long jump and high jump competitor and made up the numbers in the 4×100 relay for the school. Academically, I was lazy. I did what had to be done to scrape through but never really applied myself. I realised, even back then in the 70’s, that school measured and valued only a very limited range of skills.

Were you good at English?

I managed to pass my O’level in English but certainly didn’t shine. That was because I sat next to Ed Thomas (author, poet and producer of television programmes such as Hinterland). Ed played wing for the school rugby team and was a good player, fast and elusive. I played inside him at centre. In the same team were Steve Alexander (drummer for Brother Beyond and session musician for Jeff beck and Duran Duran) and there was also Wyndham Price – another writer and director and producer with Spinning Head films in Cardiff.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I would love to write to pay my bills and retire from teaching. I’ve had two big careers and have worked for over thirty years. I’d like to retire somewhere nice and warm, with a sea view and write full-time.

Which writers inspire you?

I’ve never really been interested in literary novelists. I suppose my ‘action’ background as a police firearms officer has coloured my taste.

So, what have you written?

My first novel – EDEN RELICS, was the result of a mid-life crisis. I was rapidly approaching fifty and writing a novel was at the top of my bucket list. I had always written throughout my life but never finished anything. I was determined to complete this action-adventure book before my fiftieth birthday. I did get 100,000 words written within that deadline but it took several more months to re-write and edit.

Set in the Swansea Valley, EDEN RELICS featured a retired police officer drawn into the search for ancient relics discovered a century earlier by the opera diva Adelina Patti. I managed to sell over 3,500 downloads and paperback copies of that book in the first month or so and even had interest from a major publisher. Nothing came of that interest but it was flattering.

My father-in-law passed away from Mesothelioma (asbestos lung cancer) and I decided to donate all the subsequent royalties for the book to this charity.

Next up came WELSH GOLD. This started off as a screenplay entitled “GILT.” I had written it entirely just prior to the mine disaster in the Gleision Colliery in the Swansea Valley in 2011. Spookily, it was set in the same mine system and also featured a similar disaster that left the owner bankrupt and without a family home. The protagonist ends up moving to a dilapidated cottage in Dolaucothi and discovers the house sits above an ancient Roman gold mine. Torn between his promise to his wife that he’ll never return underground and the temptation of the gold, Gwyn becomes involved in events that threaten the safety of the whole family.

The screenplay is currently with a production company but whether it will ever see the small screen is another matter. Royalties from this book are donated to the British Heart Foundation.  

FAKE BAKED was my first attempt at writing a crime comedy about a small-time Cardiff con man dreaming of pulling the ultimate scam. The story was based on the cons of a real hustler called Victor Lustig. Lustig sold the Eifel Tower to Parisian scrap dealers, not once but twice. He somehow managed to convince them the tower was due for demolition at the turn of the last century and got away with it. My protagonist uses the same con by trying to sell the old Severn Bridge.

I was drawn back to the crime genre through Facebook. A former colleague – Alan Lloyd MBE -contacted me and said he was writing his ‘disguised’ memoirs of his time in the South Wales Police. I offered to provide advice and guidance but before Alan could complete the book he died suddenly. With permission of his family, I completed the book and NO STEP BACK was published last Christmas. This book triggered events that became frantic over the next few months.

I wanted Alan’s main character to continue his adventures in the police service of the nineteen sixties and took an unresolved plot point from NO STEP BACK and wrote A HARD PLACE. This led on to A COLD PLACE and was to be followed by A DEAD PLACE but that was put on the back burner due to a new series of books I became involved with.

Another former colleague – Arthur Cole (a former detective sergeant) also contacted me through Facebook and asked if I could collaborate on a story he had in mind about police corruption. He wanted to write one book and donate the royalties to Marie Curie. I agreed and UNETHICAL CONDUCT was published in January this year.

 

Although it was only a novella, the story line had a main character that simply didn’t want it to end there, and so EDGE OF INTEGRITY quickly followed.

We were able to keep some common threads running through the books and DEATH AND DEPRAVITY allowed us to tie up a few of the loose threads from the earlier books. ANGEL of DEATH came next in the series and NEST OF VIPERS will be due out in the next month or so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All royalties for these books will be donated to Marie Curie Cancer Trust.

How much research do you do?

I spend a lot of time on research, though much of it never makes the finished page. Research is essential for any novel and forms a crucial link between the author and the characters living within the story.

Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?

I write every day, at some point. I write quickly and can complete 10,000 ‘rough’ words a day with ease. My collaborator on the Terry McGuire stories, Arthur Cole, can do the same. It provides us with a huge amount of material in a short time for editing.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I always have a rough idea but only really plan things after the first draft is written. I like to get the body of the book down and then add or subtract chapters as necessary. It’s probably not the best way to write efficiently but it seems to work okay for me.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

I don’t tend to get writer’s block because I always have someone I can bounce ideas off. That’s the great benefit of collaboration.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

Let someone read your words. Even if they aren’t interested in your story they will be able to pick out things that work or don’t work. Rectifying these problems keeps you writing and will open the door to new directions.

What are your thoughts on writing a book series.

I never thought I’d get involved in writing a series but I’ve found the experience enlightening. It’s great to let a character develop far beyond the initial pages of the first book, to deal with new issues and to discover how he or she will handle them.

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.

I love to read the action and adventure books, books that keep me turning the page. A little horror now and again is okay too. The first book I ever read was THE TIME MACHINE by HG Wells. I love the way Bernard Cornwell uses incredible research to weave fiction within historical events.

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.

As an art teacher, I can create the covers myself but through a stroke of great good fortune, Arthur Cole’s daughter, Karen, is a graphic designer and produced the covers for the Terry McGuire series. A professional touch is invaluable. Makes a big difference to the finished product.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

I only ever submitted one book to a traditional publisher and that was EDEN RELICS. It did get some really good feedback from one of the big houses (Harper Collins) and I was offered the chance to try again with them. To be honest, I really can’t be bothered. The idea of sitting down and condensing a novel into a one-page synopsis fills me with dread. I have never wanted to be taken that seriously. I just love to tell the odd tale. If people enjoy them then that’s all that really matters.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

Some negative reviews are invaluable, they keep you striving to improve, but it’s true that one or two people out there are perhaps over zealous with their criticism. As a teacher I’m always aware of the need to provide positive criticism, to highlight issues that need improving but to do it with care. We’re all different and the odd troll will delight in destroying those with delicate natures. Ignore them. Take the good with the bad, learn from it and move on. Not everyone will love your story.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?

Facebook and Twitter etc are great for letting friends and family know about your next release but it’ll never compete with the financial power of traditional publishing. I’m disheartened by the growing trend of ‘self-help experts’ that offer marketing and advice for authors at a price. Many are exploiting new writers and some have little or no experience to justify their self-proclaimed expertise. Be careful with these. You could end up losing a lot of money.

Thanks for the great chat, Nigel. I ‘m sure we all wish you luck with the sales of your books to raise money for these brilliant charities. So, tell us, how can readers discover more about you and you work?

It was good to be here… finally (he’s still smiling, folks!) And here are all the links to find Nigel and his books.

Website: http://www.nigel-williams.biz

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nigel.williams.14661

Twitter: http://bit.ly/29oF1oQ

Lnkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nigel-williams-baa10b59?trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic

Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.)

I’ve just included a few of the books – the first in the series etc to keep it a little shorter.(Sure we’ll find the rest!)

EDEN RELICS

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Relics-Woods-action-adventure-novel-ebook/dp/B008NWT6L6

http://www.amazon.com/Eden-Relics-N-Williams/dp/1291867384

http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=11614

WELSH GOLD

https://www.amazon.co.uk/WELSH-GOLD-Royalties-British-Foundation-ebook/dp/B00B1UOCGG/

FAKE BAKED

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fake-Baked-You-cant-innocent-ebook/dp/B00CB1OOPI

UNETHICAL CONDUCT

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01B6KXV0I

http://www.amazon.com/Unethical-Conduct-Arthur-Cole/dp/1523724129

NO STEP BACK

https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-Step-Back-Policemans-Different-ebook/dp/B018XOXZ7E

A HARD PLACE

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hard-Place-Book-Frank-Thrillers-ebook/dp/B019IRFF2I

 

Today With Lisa Shambrook | Judith Barrow

Source: Today With Lisa Shambrook | Judith Barrow

Today With Lisa Shambrook

Introducing the authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair, http://bit.ly/27XORTh, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival http://bit.ly/24eOVtl .  I’m looking forward to having many more such chats over the next couple of months.

So far I’ve interrogated interviewed Rebecca Bryn: http://bit.ly/1XYWbtF, Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/1P6zDQh , Matt Johnson: http://bit.ly/1RUqJFg , Christoph Fischer: http://bit.ly/1svniAr , Sally Spedding: http://bit.ly/1VNRQci, Wendy Steelehttp://bit.ly/1PMoF8i  and Kathy MIles:  http://bit.ly/1twN3Bg , Carol Lovekin:http://bit.ly/1V4Yupr  and Colin R  Parsons: http://bit.ly/1tvBc5G:  And thanks to Thorne Moore for interviewing me: http://bit.ly/1VTvqGq  Over the next few weeks I’ll be introducing the rest of the authors and I’ll also be showcasing the publishers who will be in attendance. There may also be a short chat with John and Fiona of http://showboat.tv/ who, as usual, will be filming the event.

Today I’m delighted to introduce inspirational author, Lisa Shambrook, who recently has launched a lovely new book.

Lisa-2015-author-photo-Square-900kb (1)

 

Hi, Lisa, so good to have you here today to talk abouit your work.

 Hi Judith, Good to be here.

Please explain how you came to be a writer, what inspired you to write your book (s) and how long it took.

 

Writing, along with reading and art, was always part of my life. When I was young I wanted to be an author and illustrator, but my words came faster and stronger than my art, and writing became my passion.

It was after reading the first Harry Potter book that I thought I could do this for real, and with the birth of my youngest sixteen years ago I began to write. Within a decade I had a fantasy trilogy and one and a half more books written. After querying I realised the books were woefully inadequate and I set about learning and improving my craft. A few years of education and flash fiction really honed my words and skills, and I set about writing a new series. In 2013, 14 and 15 I released The Hope Within novels, very different from my first forays into writing, but they have been well received and taught me much.

What facets of your life, both personal and professional, are woven into your book, if any?

Beneath the Rainbow (A Hope Within Novel Book 1)

Beneath the Old Oak (A Hope Within Novel Book 2)Beneath the Distant Star (A Hope Within Novel Book 3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hope Within books: ‘Beneath the Rainbow’, ‘Beneath the Old Oak’, and ‘Beneath the Distant Star’ have dealt with difficult subjects. These books cover grief, depression, self-harm, anger issues and bullying. It’s heavy stuff, but essential to understand the human condition. I have suffered anxiety and depression for most of my life and so the themes have been woven easily into the books with compassion and empathy. I am also a big dreamer and my imagination soars. The main theme of Beneath the Rainbow is living life to the full and reaching for those so called impossible dreams. The book’s tagline reads “It’s those silly dreams that keep us alive.” And sometimes they really do. Reach for those distant stars!

Are you like any of the characters (and how so)?

I am very much like both Meg, and her mum Martha, in ‘Beneath the Old Oak’. Meg suffers anxiety and a desire to be there for her mum, but just isn’t able to cope with her mother’s deep depression. Having been clinically depressed and a regular self-harmer I am well qualified to write about them and their effects. I am an advocate for mental health awareness and blog regularly about mental health issues alongside positivity and reaching for your dreams.

When did you decide to write in your chosen genre(s)

The Hope Within novels are contemporary and fit well into the Young Adult genre, but I have had lovely feedback and reviews from all ages and genders. I don’t think I decided to write for a particular genre at first, ‘Beneath the Rainbow’ doesn’t fit clearly, but the subsequent books do, and I feel comfortable with the YA placing. I am currently working on a Post-Apocalyptic/Fantasy series set in Wales, far, far in the future, which will be aimed at the YA market, and the wonderful thing about YA is that we’re all young at heart, so the genre is very accessible to all.

Describe where you do most of your writing. What would I see if I was sitting beside you?

I write in my living room on my laptop on my sofa with my German Shepherd close by. Though, amusingly, if I write a sad scene and weep, she wanders over and rests her head on my lap. She’s as empathetic as I am! One day when my children have left home, I plan to take over one of their bedrooms and write at a desk overlooking the garden, though I might end up procrastinating as I stare out into the wilds…

What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?

The best is allowing my imagination free reign. I write to escape. The worst is finding time. Right now both my parents are fragile and ill, and need a lot of my time, so finding those moments to write are precious. I used to love sitting and writing all day, but currently, that’s just not possible.

Tell us one odd thing about you and one really mundane thing.

Let’s go mundane first – I’m an introvert, a lot of writers are, we like to hide away and we value our own company. And the odd thing – my children joke that I’m a squirrel as I seek out acorn cups and hazelnut shells. There is a reason. I suffer anxiety and panic, and I use these cups and hollowed shells as anchors and stims. I’ve written about it on my blog as they also work as a preventative for self-harm too. When panic rises and I feel the urge to run or escape, particularly in social situations, I smooth my thumb across the acorn cup or hazelnut shell and it calms me. I carry a multitude of them, in all my pockets, and it makes my family smile.

Lastly, what are you up to right now?

I am currently releasing a Post-Apocalyptic collection with a wonderful group of authors. It began when my family did a post-apocalyptic family photoshoot and one of my daughter’s pictures garnered a lot of attention. My writing community wanted to write for her character, so we gave her a name, and a world, and something to fight for. Then we instructed those involved to write for their own characters, but somewhere in their stories they had to meet Ghabrie, our main character. The stories are amazing and the book very different to usual collaborations and anthologies out there. You get a full length epic book with stories by fourteen very different authors, which all tie together in the most unexpected ways. It’s available now in Lulu and will soon be available on Amazon too. Look out for ‘Human 76’.

Human 76 - An Unprecendted collection of Post Apocalyptic Stories - Ghabrie

My Links: Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/LisaShambrookAuthor

Twitter: twitter.com/LisaShambrook

Blog: www.thelastkrystallos.wordpress.com

Website: www.lisashambrook.com

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B005AV9M8K/ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1?ie=UTF8&text=Lisa+Shambrook

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LisaShambrook

Human 76 Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/Human76

Review: “Dear Dad” by John Hazen

14409555Today I would like to share another amazing work by a writer colleague of mine whose work has been on my radar for some time: John Hazen. Here is a link to my Interview with him and a link to my review of his novel Acaldama and Journey of an American Son

John Foster is a product of the ’60s. The question is: which ’60s? Leading a sheltered, cozy life growing up in the small town of Fairbrook, Massachusetts, John is plucked from his secure cocoon in 1969 and dropped into the maelstrom of the Vietnam War. As he witnesses and participates in the horrors of war, John literally feels his very soul, as well his will to live, eroding away. His redemption only comes after he is seriously injured and awakens to find himself in 1862 Tennessee where he joins General Grant’s troops in the days leading up to the Battle of Shiloh, one of the Civil War’s bloodiest conflicts. As his father, a decorated World War II veteran, had always told him, he discovers that it is possible to be part of something larger than himself. His humanity is ultimate restored after he embarks on a dangerous mission to make right a brutal wrong from his past.

My Review:
“Dear Dad” is a marvellously composed novel about war. I had expected a historical novel with patriotic undertones that would teach me about parts of American history I didn’t know about.
While that is also true, I found much more than that: a mature reflection on war and humanity, where naive dreams meet harsh reality.
Hazen gets a lot of milage out of the fact that he combines, compares and plays off against each other three different war time experiences.
John’s father’s time in WW2, John’s timein Vietnam and a surreal experience of the Civil War.
While the last part confused me at first, I soon realised the message that stands behind it all: whatever the individual circumstances of a war are, the weapons, the reasons and the setting: war is war.
Taking the uniqueness out of the equation leaves us with questions about purpose and humanity.
As I found with other work of Hazen, there is a lot of reflection in his writing, a depth and profoundness that warms the soul and provides a lot food for thought.
This is a great novel. Well written ,clever and unique. A must read.

 

Website – www.johnwhazen.com

Twitter – @john_hazenJOhn Hazen

Facebook – john.hazen.92@facebook.com

Book links:

Aceldama – http://www.blackrosewriting.com/suspensethriller/aceldama or

http://amzn.to/1qWS97P

Fava – http://www.blackrosewriting.com/suspensethriller/fava?rq=fava or

http://amzn.to/1TCi1zH

Journey of an American Son – http://www.blackrosewriting.com/suspensethriller/journey-of-an-american-son?rq=journey or

http://amzn.to/1UY5lG3

Dear Dad – http://www.amazon.com/Dear-Dad-Novel-John-Hazen/dp/1466394757

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